Sunday, July 22, 2012

Volunteer Around The World!

Have you ever wanted to see the world...and at the same time, help others? There are TONS of opportunities out there where you can volunteer your time to help someone, and at the same time, experience new countries, cultures and people. 

I have started to put together a list of great organizations (with more added everyday)...thru my facebook and twitter pages (you can subscribe to these lists as well). I wanted to share these with you - and if you know of any others, please send them my way, and I will add to my list!

For facebookers:

For twitterers:

And for those who are not on either, check out the tab "Volunteer"
here on my blog!

Go BEYOND yourself....see the world and lend a helping hand!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Follow ‘The Bike Rack Test’ And You’ll Always Pick The Best Bike Rack For Your Needs -by guest blogger Steve Richardson

*Thank you to guest blogger, Steve Richardson, for this post! He loves all things bikes, but when his bike rack fell off loaded up with 4 family bikes, as he headed down the highway looking forward to a vacation, he’s since got a bit geeky about bike rack essentials! Check out his site at, on Facebook: Best Bike Rack Reviews, or Twitter: @bikerackreviews*

When you need to buy a bike rack it’s not easy. The most reliable way to go about making the right decision for you isn’t clear or it is at best confusing. Reading 5star and 1star reviews for the same bike rack doesn’t help and you know that relying on manufacturer’s sites will not deliver unbiased information. Of course it will accurately list features for specific products but that’s about it.

And yet the importance of ending up with a good bike rack that is capable of transporting your bikes without problem is extremely important because the problems that can arise aren’t pretty.

Bike racks that are unfit for purpose can cause problems
Serious problems:
  • Damaged bikes
  • Damaged car
  • Stolen bikes
  • Stolen bike rack
  • Bikes fall off, potential accident
  • Bike rack falls off, potential accident
Less serious problems - (hassles):
  • Difficult and time consuming to attach
  • Difficult and awkward to load bikes
Because a bike rack may be expected to transport thousands of dollars worth of bikes and an unfit for purpose bike rack is a disaster waiting to happen, we say it’s very important you know how to pick out the best bike rack for your needs.

We have introduced a method that removes the uncertainty surrounding choosing a bike rack by introducing a much more scientific approach to the process that gives you certainty and a confidence to know what you are looking for and how to fine it. The method gives you all the information you need to disregard those racks that don’t pass The Bike Rack Test. Plus you are presented with all the essential information in a format that lets you compare bike racks that are fit for purpose and to end up with the best rack.

The Bike Rack Test
Collecting the information you need. Does a bike rack pass the test and how does it compare with other bike racks that also pass.
What you discover about each bike rack: 
  • Where to attach the rack and why - the pros and cons associated with each location
  • Does the bike rack deliver the 7 most essential components
    • Quick and easy to install and attach
    • The attachment system and how snugly it clamps
    • Fast and simple to load & unload bikes
    • Bike loading technology will fit many bike sizes and frame shapes
    • Strong and secure 2x locking
    • Well designed to stop damage
    • Anti-wobble/sway/vibration etc. technologies
  • Does the bike rack pass the 7 essential components
  • Grading system for each bike rack allows you to accurately compare bike racks against one other
  • The final outcome – you end up with the BEST bike rack!

The Bike Rack Test does away with uncertainty and gives you a firm foundation to objectively compare bike racks.

Less reliance on subjective and inconsistent comments is a good thing. Less reliance on sales and marketing literature increases objectivity. What you have is real test that breaks down into manageable sections essential components that every bike rack must deliver well. The process can give you confidence in making the right decision for the right reasons.

As a consequence the whole process is more methodical in choosing the best bike rack, and that leads to the best bike rack being picked out for your needs which is what it’s all about.

When you use ‘The Bike Rack Test’ you’ll be able to pick out the best bike rack for your needs

Learn how to use The Bike Rack Test by following the link.

Happy cycling,
Steve Richardson
Transporting your bikes safely 

Friday, July 6, 2012


Sometimes, you have to realize.... and accept....that you did the best you could with what you had and what your life was offering. And sometimes, it's no one's fault. It just was what it was.

And the fact that you know now, it would be better, doesn't change the past. But from here on out, it will always be better than the past...because you have learned and have grown stronger and better!

And now, it is what it is...

be AMAZING that you know better!

(and don't forget to smile along the way!)


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yeah, I juice.

I think it's ironic how the term "juicing" can be taken 2 different ways (1 - steroid use, and 2 - extracting the juice from vegetables and fruits), and yet both are used to describe a way of becoming "powerful".  Have you ever thought about vegetables and fruits making you powerful? Well, you should! There are soooo many benefits from these food groups....from general support for your immune system,  to weight loss, to cleansing, to increased energy and many more! Oh, and will start to notice a beautiful glow to your skin!

Using a juicer (imagine that!) to extract the juice from fruits and vegetables, you can enjoy a nice glass of premium vitamins and minerals. There are 3 types of juicers. Here is just one site to learn about the differences: Joyful Juicer. Basically, there is one that just extracts the juice - leaving the pulp behind, one will grind up every part of the fruit/vegetable, and the last is one that is best for smaller leafy greens, such as wheatgrass. Read the link for more info...

*Side note: If you use the extractor-type, you can use the leftover pulp in sauces, lasagnas, etc!

So, one of my first questions in learning about juicing, was WHY?? Why not just eat the fruit/vegetable? Well, although eating them whole is a wonderful way to get your nutrients, a benefit of juicing, is that those nutrients will be absorbed by your body much more quickly, since it doesn't have to breakdown the food. 

A few things to also remember when it comes to juicing....

Jack LaLanne Power Juicer
- Although it would make life easier to make up a big batch of the juice and refrigerate it to drink throughout the week, this is not a good idea. When the juice is exposed to oxygen and light, the nutrients start being broken down, and so the effects of them decrease.  Therefore, after juicing, you should drink it immediately. (This is also why eating fresh vegetables are the best - as soon as they are picked from the garden. The longer they sit, the less effective they are. But, then again, please don't stress about this. Eat your vegetables!!! This is MUCH better than NOT eating them.) 
- Try different combinations!! I have found, personally, that as long as I include a red delicious apple (I prefer these over granny smith, etc.) that the end result juice, for the most part, tastes like apple juice. Also, beware of using too many fruits in 1 juicing. Fruits have a lot of natural sugars, and for those who need to watch their sugar consumption, (really, everyone should be aware of this), it's best not to have too many fruits at once. 

I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to shopping for vegetables to juice! I have tried almost everything!! Here is a list of a few ingredients I have tried:

- Spinach leaves (make sure they are the fresh ones, NOT the packaged kind. The ones packaged don't seem to have enough water to create juice from)
- Green and Red leaf lettuce
(before stirring)
- Kale (again, the fresh bundles)
- Apple (red delicious)
- Kiwi
- Blueberries
- Strawberries
- Carrots (carrots have a lot of sugar as be careful with how many you use!)
- Cucumber (one of my fav to include!! It makes the juice taste light and fresh!!)
- Bell peppers (green, red, orange, and yellow - just a small piece, since it is pretty strong-tasting!)
- Broccoli
- Celery
- Tomato (I like using Roma Tomatoes)
- Asparagus
- Sweet potato (yes, I juiced it!)
- Beet (not one of my favorite flavors, but I like using the leaves!)
- Ginger root (use only a SMALL amount...believe me! lol)
- Garlic clove (again, only 1 little piece! Believe me, I tried a little more one day, and I think I was sweating out garlic all day long! ha!)
- Orange (this seems to only work well with a fruit juice recipe - NOT with the vegetables, in my opinion)

*Another side note: Since I don't have the type of juicer for wheatgrass, and other grasses, I went to Whole Foods and bought bottled wheatgrass juice, and just added it to my homemade juice. I have also tried adding some aloe vera juice (great for your digestive system!) and a little flax seed oil (contains Omega-3 fatty acid). I have also tried including some protein powder (french vanilla flavor) for times when I want a meal replacement - this way, you have something other than just the veggies. It, actually, didn't taste too bad!

Juicing does take some time, and can be messy. One thing I have tried in my time management of juicing is that once I get home from the grocery store with the many bags of veggies and fruits, I separate the ingredients for each "juice session" in to ziploc bags. This way, when I'm ready to juice, I just grab one of the bags and get to work! 

Another fun thing I have recently tried, due to our summer heat wave, is to FREEZE the juice!! I made popsicles!!! I look forward to these when I get home from a work after driving in the 106 degree weather! Now from what I have read, it seems that freezing the juice immediately, will help it hold on to the nutrients, so they're not broken down. You may want to google for more info.....

(after freezing...the juice seemed to separate)

There is a TON of juicing info out there on the benefits, the best juicer, recipes, etc. It can be a little overwhelming. I would suggest just starting, and then play around with ingredients, types of juicers, etc. But most importantly, have FUN!!!

Here are a few sites you can check out for more juicing info: 
(by the way, there are also Juicing apps for your phone!)

Good luck, enjoy, and remember to SMILE - you are doing something healthy for your body and soul!