SPF from Food?


One of my favorite sites, Eat This, Not That, sends me regular emails with great nutrition and weight-loss secrets.  They have some awesome lists and are very informative, but this one article is a really new concept to me: you can get SPF benefits from food!  The idea never crossed my mind before.  And not only do you get sun-protection benefits from foods, but some of my most favorite foods in particular, like wine, bell peppers, almonds, and even dark chocolate!  No wonder I never burn–I’m making up for my lack of external sunblock by eating it.  Ha!  Seriously though, as I’ve been getting way more serious about skin-care, it’s so important to protect your biggest organ from harmful sun rays, regardless of the weather.  Now you can do it from the inside out. 🙂

Full article: https://www.eatthis.com/sun-protecting-foods/?utm_source=nsltr&utm_medium=email&utm_content=dehydrationstation&utm_campaign=etntNewsletter

P.S. The photo credit goes to Daily Burn and they have some tips for sun protection as well: https://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sun-safety-best-sunscreens/


Interesting Language Stats

hello lanuages

I found this great info-graphic on world languages that I thought I’d share from Stephen Liddell’s Blog.

Photo credit: Australian Business Traveller

Home Organization Tips

I got this article from the realtor.com email newsletter.  It’s full of handy tips for getting and staying organized. 

Another organization rule I’ve always lived by: the Ohio method.  Only Handle It Once

Get Running Now

I found this amazing article on running for weight loss–must read!



My Graduation Day


One might think that a Master’s graduation would be the best day of someone’s life (unless they’re married or have a baby or something like that).  It’s certainly the loftiest accomplishment of mine thus far, especially from such a fine Ivy League institution in the Greatest City in the World (yes, I’m talking about Columbia University).  And the day truly was magical.  Not only did I wake up on time, get ready without a hitch, and have a stress-free commute, but the actual university commencement was incredible.  I sat by friends and we cheered and screamed and stood on chairs.  The School of Social Work even gave us those inflatable noise makers that you bang together, just so we could be as loud as possible.  The speakers were actually motivating and cracked plenty of jokes (you know how some of those speeches can drag).  Pictures were taken by overjoyed families, and you could just feel the positive energy in the air.  It was truly the stuff that dreams are made of.

The School of Social Work ceremony would have been pretty great too.  I was excited to get called up to receive my diploma, and it was at the famous Beacon Theater.  It would have been great, except 2 days prior I started having stomach pains.  On the first day, I felt bloated, dizzy, and miserable so I took some gas medicine and laid around all day feeling crappy.  By day 2, I was determined not to be ill, so I forced myself to get moving and run some errands and whatnot; I wasn’t great, but OK.  Day 3, Graduation Day, I guess I was too pumped to feel pain in the morning, but by the time the CUSSW ceremony rolled around I was tired, my feet were throbbing in my adorable shoes (worth it), I was getting a migrane for no reason, and my stomach was doing summersaults.  Of couse I was seated next to someone I don’t know, so for her sake I tried hard not to complain about feeling like absolute shit (but some complaints snuck out from time to time).  I shifted uncomfortably in my seat throughout the whole ceremony, finding no relief and praying for it to be over.  When it was my turn to get my diploma, I plastered on the biggest smile I could muster and glided across that beautiful stage.  My family and friends cheered when my name was called, and I think my pictures came out beautifully.  I made it.  When that was over, I waded through the mob of smiling families and grads, holding back the urge to shout “let me through or I’m going to throw up on you!”  The room wouldn’t stop spinning.

When I finally found mom, dad, and grandma outside, they excitedly recapped our plans to go back to campus to take photos, and asked where I wanted to go for dinner.  I couldn’t even think about food and told them I needed to sit down; in fact, the aroma of the spicy cart food that a nearby woman was eating nearly made me vomit.  Dad ran into a nearby bodega to get me water and crackers.  Rosemary crackers.  I usually like rosemary, but the herby-ness of them did not sit well with me at the moment.  We decided to go home and we’d have dinner after I rested a while.  But going home wasn’t that simple; it was now 5:10pm on 75th street in Manhattan.  By the way, I get very motion sick.  But I was in no shape to drive, so I laid down in the back of my moms car.

We made it all the way to the West Side Highway before I puked into the bag from the crackers.  It was violent and painful.  I think some even came out of my nose.  Mom kept very few napkins in her car.  Then, the only thing that could have made that worse, did happen–we hit a bump and I spilled the bag of bile… onto my graduation gown.  Fighting the urge to cry, I sat as close to the door as possible through the whole rest of the rush-hour drive home, trying to keep the pool of vomit away from the rest of my stuff.

After the eternity it took to get to my apartment, my mother tucked me into bed like a child and cleaned her back seat while grandma scrubbed down my regalia.  I didn’t want them to leave because I felt so awful, but I was sleeping by 6:30pm.  I didn’t wake up until 8am the next day.  I’d like to take this opportunity to curse whomever gave me a stomach virus for the most exciting day of my entire life.  This is a prime example of one of those things you could laugh about in the future, but at the time it was beyond awful.

And still, I endured it all; I graduated.  I am a Master!

Ways to Make Extra Cash


Now that school is winding down and I’m about to have an expensive Master’s degree with no job in sight, I decided to be proactive instead of worrying myself to death.  After scouring the internet, I found some extra ways to make money.  I can’t say they’re all appealing, but if your situation is desperate enough, give ’em a shot.

Here are some of the top *realistic* (for most people) ideas I found:

  1. Dog walking/pet sitting
  2. Babysitting
  3. House cleaning or handiwork
  4. Participating in medical/research studies (I already do at Rutgers)
  5. Donating body parts (blood plasma, eggs or sperm, hair, etc.)
  6. Selling my stuff–(get ready for a garage sale guys!  …or eBay, Craigslist, Poshmark, etc.)
  7. Freelance work (oh, wait, my skill set doesn’t really work like that)
  8. Work special events (sounds interesting: read what they said here)
  9. Renting out a room (I already do that, too)
  10. Blog or make websites (sooo… where’s my money from this?)

Some things I found were pretty shocking and some made me laugh.  One of the pages I found was Xfinity Finance, which had a 24-item list, some were ridiculous, while others are worth considering.  DailyFinance.com says “Go Scavenging: 100,000 homeless can’t be wrong!”  Ha!  That’s terrible, but I don’t know if it’s worse than them suggesting you “Head to a Casino” for extra cash.  Money.HowStuffWorks.com had some oddly-career-specific suggestions, like Teleradiology or teaching a college class–really?  Let me just start that tomorrow for some extra pocket cash.  Several sources also suggesting wrapping your car with ads–do people really want to do something like that?

This search has been both intriguing and depressing, but I think I’ll get back to sending out résumés now.

Photo credit: http://coloradopeakpolitics.com/2013/08/02/follow-the-money-initiative-22-funders-in-the-spotlight/money-ii/

Great Resources for Quitting Smoking

Happy 2014 everyone!  Like so many of us, I have some pretty cliché New Years Resolutions this year–but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to make them happen.  At the top of my list (and most other people’s) is quitting smoking.


One thing I’ve found comforting and helpful during this process is that I’ve quit before.  There’s some very high average of times that it takes a person to quit for good because many people don’t stay quit after the first try.  A little over a year ago I quit cold turkey and stayed quit for 9 months–I know that I have my own dumb reasons (*cough*excuses) for starting up again, but the first time was so much scarier because everyone always talks about how hard it is to quit; that terrified me.  This time, I’m armed with the knowledge that I’ll have a few days of mild to moderate discomfort and then be back on my merry way.  It’s not actually that bad.  And I’m not some casual or light smoker saying this, I smoked for 11 years, some times up to 2 packs/day.  So if I can do it, so can you (or your mom or boyfriend or cousin, or whomever you’re supporting in this–anyone can do it!)

Other helpful tidbits:

  • Clean your house, car, etc. Get the lighters and ashtrays and smell out of there so you don’t think about it (as much)
  • Avoid people, places, and things that trigger you, or make you want to smoke the most.  Don’t go to the bar the first week or 2 of quitting (if that’s a major issue, maybe cigarettes aren’t your only addiction, seek help), don’t hang around your smoker friends for a little while (just stay home and read or get something accomplished), do things that you couldn’t smoke while doing anyway (like going to a movie theater)
  • Exercise will make you not want to smoke and you’ll feel even better about yourself
  • Food is a tricky reward for some people (like me); not only will I want to eat everything all the time, but then I’ll feel guilty and sad about gaining weight and slacking on my overall goal of getting healthy, and plus I’ll be so full that I’ll want to smoke more after ’cause I’m stuffed.  Food might work as a reward for you if you can keep it in moderation, but if not just stick to chewing gum or pen caps or straws.
  • Vacation – the first time I quit, I was on a trip to my aunt’s house where my boyfriend and I were the only smokers.  It seemed wrong to intrude on her nice, healthy lifestyle with our routine smoke breaks, and she lived in such a lovely area it even felt wrong to throw our butts out.  Not only did we not fit in there, but it was easier to stop while being out of our daily grind.  The triggers and cues weren’t there, so it wasn’t that bad.  Obviously not everyone can get away for a few days, or find an affordable place to stay that’s so lovely and peaceful that smoking feels wrong, but if you can it works.
  • Water … just drink it, a lot of it
  • It gets easier and easier with time!

It’s been 4 days for me now, and I can’t say it’s easy, but I’ve had some help.  Supportive friends and family members can go a long way.  Additionally, I’ve searched the web looking for help.  Here are some great resources I’ve found online in my battle with cigarettes:

“Quit Smoking” Timeline — Maybe you’ve seen this or something like it in a different form, but I find it fascinating.  It’s a timeline of the health improvements that occur when you quit smoking.

Become An Ex — I really liked this website; it’s all about planning to quit and what to expect.  It also helps you target a quit date, identify triggers, and other great tools.  Well done.

SmokeFreeTXT — this text messaging service from smokefree.gov (which is also helpful) was a pretty interesting idea to me, so I signed up.  They check in about how I’m doing and text me various times throughout the day with little inspirational messages, such as “Think about what you are gainign and why you want to leave cigarettes behind.  Stay focued – it will get easier.”  It might not be helpful to everyone, but I really like their little messages.  They send out a few throughout the day randomly (not annoyingly) and it makes me feel a little comforted.

I hope this was in someway helpful to your struggle with quitting smoking.  It’s a difficult time but it’s well worth the payout.  If you have any tips or resources, or a success story, feel free to share them below!

photo credit: http://www.quittingsmokingabc.com/about/