Thursday, October 30, 2014

5 Tips to Prevent Dry Eye This Winter

The winter season is fast approaching and that change in weather can affect muscle, bone, and even eye health. According to recent statistics, approximately 33 million Americans suffer from eye health issues like dry eye syndrome. Although there is no cure for dry eye syndrome, there are some effective treatment options available to keep your eyes healthy during the winter months.

5 Tips to Prevent Dry Eye This Winter:

1. Specialized Treatments

LipiFlow® is a revolutionary dry eye treatment that opens up and cleans out the inflamed, clogged oil glands by gently heating the glands in the eyelid then “milking” out the inflammation-causing, clogged oils. The treatment is painless and only takes 12 minutes to perform. Ophthalmologist Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler explains how easy the procedure is and even says, “There is no downtime, just like having your teeth cleaned at the dentist.”

2. Warm Compresses

Dry eye is caused by a lack of natural tears, which are composed of water and a much-needed oily substance. Over time, cells in the glands may harden, keeping the oil from getting into the tear film. Without that oil, the water in tears evaporates too quickly, leaving eyes feeling dry. A warm compress can help liquefy those plugs so the oil can flow into tears.

3. Artificial Tears
Over the counter eye drops like Visine and Clear Eyes are excellent methods for treating dry eye, although short-term. These eye drops are synthetic chemicals that mimic natural tears, providing the eye with the lubrication they need to remain comfortable throughout the day.

4. Keep Distance from Fireplaces and Indoor Heaters

During the winter months, it is normal for fireplaces and indoor heaters to be regularly in use. What many people don’t tend to realize is their effect on the eyes. Standing or sitting too close to indoor heaters and fireplaces can alter the room’s humidity level and dry out the eyes dramatically.

5. Sunglasses

The sun and wind can be harmful throughout the year; during the winter months, the snow on the ground can double as a blinding reflection surface and the harsh wind can lead to intense dry eye. This reflection of the sun directs sunlight right to the eyes, so wearing sunglasses can help protect eyes from harmful UV rays as well as keep cold wind from hitting the eyes.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

3 Tips for Beauty Product Shopping with a Conscience

How many of you are savvy beauty shoppers? For those of you who buy beauty products, do you buy them with a conscience or do you just buy what you like? Do you put any thought into your shopping habits?

Today I am sharing a beauty article with all of you that points out some great things and gives you some great tips. The article is courtesy of Santosh Krinsky.

3 Tips for Beauty Product Shopping with a Conscience - Consumers Can Reinforce Good Ethics in the Cosmetics Industry, Says CEO of Cruelty-Free.

Irony is nothing new in the beauty products industry, says animal rights advocate Santosh Krinsky.

“Most women are aware that animals have been used to test products, but many may not realize that their current favorite makeup played a role in the torture of rabbits or mice, or that their favorite conditioner is not as ‘organic’ as packaging would have consumers believe,” says Krinsky, head of the international personal-care brand Beauty Without Cruelty ( -- the first to ban animal-testing for its products in 1963.

BWC’s products are produced with zero animal testing and contain no animal ingredients.

While vegetarianism, veganism and an overall concern for the ethical treatment of animals have experienced a welcome boom in recent years, animal rights advocacy has a long history, Krinsky says. Among the pioneering entrepreneurs were Lady Muriel Dowding and Kathleen Long, who recognized the plight of conscious creatures and led the animal rights charge in England, eventually launching BWC.

“They helped change the course of how we see other living things and ourselves, pointing out the cruel irony of animal torture as a means to feel beautiful,” he says.

Krinsky outlines three tips for consumers who want to support cosmetics manufacturers with shared values.

• Labels can be misleading, such as “not tested on animals.” While there are multiple organizations dedicated to animal well-being, there is no strict set of rules governing product labels that read, “not tested on animals” or “we are against animal testing.” The claims may simply mean that a third party does the testing, or they acquire raw materials that are being actively tested on animals by the raw material vendor to supply to the manufacturer. Or, companies may have a loose interpretation of “cruelty-free.”

Most chemicals in most products were, at some point, tested on animals. The certifying agencies, recognizing this fact, have set a “fixed cut-off date” (such as 1996), which acknowledges that no one can undo what was done in the past. “It deepens my joy that BWC, since its inception in 1963, has never commissioned nor accepted animal testing either on its own or by its suppliers for the ingredients used in its products,” Krinsky says.

Look for the endorsement of groups with high certification standards, such as the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, whose “leaping bunny” logo is an internationally recognized and trusted symbol. The Vegan Society of England is the stringent clearing house for vegan trademark registrations – look for the word “Vegan” with a flower forming the V.

• “Natural” and “organic” do not necessarily mean a product is cruelty-free. These buzzwords may fall short of certification from a reputable organization. “Natural” and “organic” doesn’t necessarily equate to cruelty-free and “not tested on animals.” Suppliers are required to assess safety for natural and organic ingredients just as for synthetic materials, and evidence may be gathered using animal tests, so those products are as likely as any others to have relied upon animal testing.

“Of course, most of these companies probably are doing their ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ product ethically,” he says. “I encourage conscientious consumers to dig deeper if it’s not clear.”

Also, it’s sometimes the case that ingredients not being tested by a company or its suppliers may still be actively tested for other purposes, or by other companies or in other parts of the world. That is outside the control of the company using the ingredient in a conscientious way.

• Look for the country where the product was manufactured. The EU agreed on a European ban on animal testing, but animal testing is still common practice in the United States, Asia and other parts of the world. American companies no longer test on dogs and cats, however, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and other creatures are subject to various tests that constitute torture.
About Santosh Krinsky: Santosh Krinsky has been in the natural products industry since 1974. He has founded and built a number of companies that offer positive alternatives to the toxins and environmentally unfriendly ingredients found in many products, while focusing his attention on developing awareness about the issue of animal testing of cosmetics, which he opposes. Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) products brand was founded in England in 1963 by BWC Charitable Trust, an animal welfare organization. Lotus Brands obtained the American rights to the BWC brand in 2010. BWC Features a complete line of hair, skin and facial/body care products and an extensive range of color cosmetics.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pennsylvania Fall Foliage

It is amazing at how quickly the autumn season is flying by. Halloween is just around the corner and Thanksgiving follows shortly thereafter. While I do enjoy the Fall season, I really dislike what is coming after it...WINTER!

Anyway, for my "almost" Wordless Wednesday post this week I wanted to share a photo with all of you of one that I took this past weekend while hubby and I were on a road trip. It features some of the gorgeous Pennsylvania Fall Foliage that we recently saw on a road trip up to State College.

If you have never visited the State College area or the Centre Hall area in Pennsylvania, we highly recommend it...especially during the Autumn season when all of the trees & leaves are changing color. You can really see some beautiful scenery while traveling through the area.

The photo was taken about 15 minutes outside of Boalsburg where several mountain ridges come together. We were down in the valley and I shot the photo while looking up. I love all of the pretty burgundy, yellow, orange, gold and green trees in that particular area. Luckily for us...we were visiting during the peak season!

Well, there you have it! Another "almost" Wordless Wednesday photo for this week! Next week I will share some additional photos that are really fantastic! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sparkling ICE's Apple Cider Recipe

Looking for a great beverage recipe for all of your upcoming Fall get-togethers, parties and events? If so check out this recipe from Sparkling ICE for a delicious apple cider. YUMMY! I think it makes a great beverage for any party you may be hosting!

Sparkling ICE's Apple Cider Recipe

3 bottles of Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE
1 bottle dry white wine
1 cup apple brandy
2 apples, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 pear, sliced

In a large pitcher combine sliced fruit with brandy and wine. Let this sit in the refrigerator for approximately 3 hours. Right before serving, top with Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.

Disclaimer: Recipe and photo is courtesy of Sparkling ICE. Please drink responsibly.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Smoky Babaganush Eggplant Dip Recipe

Football season has been back in full swing and with that comes the continuous parties, burgers and brewskies. But...if you haven't been able to score tickets to the games this year and opt for a homegating alternative, don't let your stale last season recipes spoil it. This season try COOKINA's recipe for Smoky Babaganush courtesy of George Duran and we can guarantee it will be a sure touchdown among guest. In case you aren't familiar babaganush – it is a delicious and creamy eggplant dip that goes almost too well with some crisp pita chips. With all the robust flavors this dip has to offer guests will definitely be rooting for you.

** This recipe and photo is courtesy of Cookina.

Smoky Babaganush Eggplant Dip Recipe

2 eggplants
4 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp. Salt
Pita chips

Pre-heat broiler on high and place COOKINA® Cuisine sheets on baking sheet. Fork eggplants about 10 times and place on the baking sheet. Place in oven and broil about 5 minutes on four sides of the eggplant. The skin will blister and char.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes and carefully use tongs to remove burnt skin. Place pulp inside food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Pulse no more than 10 times, or until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with pita chips.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cluck 'n Moo's Fiesta Burger Recipe

Now that Hispanic Heritage Month is under way what better way to celebrate than with a FIESTA!? With Cluck 'n Moo (the first and only half-chicken and half-beef burger) preparing a fiesta just a whole lot easier and little more unconventional. With Cluck 'n Moo's Fiesta Burger recipe, typical fiesta favorites are no longer limited to just quesadillas, empanadas and tacquitos. This tasty (and festive) meal can easily be assembled in just minutes, which allows you to celebrate even on your busiest nights.

Fiesta Burger Recipe

1 1/3 cups chopped seeded tomato
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup taco sauce
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
2 pounds Cluck 'n Moo Ground
2 tablespoons low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon onion powder
8 green leaf lettuce leaves
8 reduced- calorie hamburger buns, split and toasted

Combine first four ingredients, cover and chill 30 minutes. Preheat broiler. Combine meat and next 4 ingredients; divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 4-inch patty. Place a lettuce leaf on bottom half of each bun; top each with a patty. Top evenly with tomato mixture, and cover with bun top.

About Cluck 'n Moo
Cluck 'N Moo™ is the first and only half-chicken (50%), half-beef (50%) burger, made from antibiotic and hormone free, humanely raised chickens and grass-fed cows. Cluck 'N Moo is unique in that it offers that same beef burger taste we all crave, but without the large amounts of artery-clogging fat. Cluck n' Moo's innovative "Smashed Burger" blend offers 52% less fat, 34% less calories and 57% less saturated fat than a regular all beef burger.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Some of My Favorite Halloween Decorations and Yard Art

Our Decorations During the Daytime
Fall is such a fun time of the year and Halloween is one of my favorite times to decorate our home for some spooky fun. When I decorate for Halloween I don't do anything evil, exceptionally scary, witches or devils. Sorry folks, I am Catholic and we just don't do that here.

I would call my decorations as a "Cutesy" Halloween style with a little retro-vintage thrown into the mix! I don't over-do it either because we have no small children at home. We do have a grand child, nieces and nephews who visit us often. Plus, the neighborhood kids like seeing it too.

In the top photo you will see some of our LED outdoor lighting on the bushes. We did an orange and purple color scheme this year. If you look close, you will see pumpkin and ghosts hanging in the windows, a pumpkin on the front door, lighted wooden ghosts & pumpkins on each side of the door on our porch, a small pumpkin stake & cement tombstone (near the walkway) and black spider hanging wind chimes.

Years ago when our daughter was 6 years old we purchased a big plastic lighted ghost and always put that in our front yard. Our daughter is now 29 years old so that ghost has been around for a very long time. Last year we got this little wooden pumpkin face yard stake and he is shown on the right in the photo above. Underneath him is a lighted scarecrow ceramic pumpkin that sits in our dining room window. I think he is adorable and I love putting him out every year.

Next is the wooden lighted ghosts that we purchased this year. We got them at the Christmas Tree Store and absolutely love them! We put batteries in them and their eyes glow a beautiful purple color. Not scary at all, but definitely cute! To the right you will see our hanging spiders wind chimes. When you walk by them they jiggle and make a creepy noise. The kids love them. Underneath that is my scarecrow flag which I think is cute...especially nestled among our fall outdoor flowers in the same colors.

Decorating for Halloween is so much fun! In the photo above is our stacking wood pumpkins that we also got this year at the Christmas Tree Store. Love those eerie glowing purple eyes, don't you? The wood pumpkin on the right is a new addition this year too! He is hanging on one of our doors.

A few years ago a family member who is no longer here with us (bless her sole) gave me this adorable fiber optic light scarecrow head which sits proudly on a table in our family room every year when Halloween rolls around. It is a memorable keepsake to us now.

Another new addition this year is this gorgeous Fall Harvest Pumpkin Wreath that I got at Kohl's which I absolutely LOVE! I have it hanging on one of our doors but when it comes to special Fall family dinners, I will put it onto the table with some LED candles in the center and use it as a table centerpiece. It is large and very pretty!

Finally, I picked up this adorable metal yard state featuring cute pumpkins at Kohls about 3 weeks ago and my little grand daughter loves seeing it every time she comes over. It's a great little piece welcoming guests to our home and sits proudly in our front yard.

We have several more Fall and Halloween decorations that we put inside and outside our home. For now, I thought I would highlight a few of our favorites! Do you have favorites that you put out every year? If so, what are they?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chocolate Mint Kiss Cocktail Recipe

Halloween is a great time for food, family and fun! Now that my husband and I are empty nesters, we like to do Halloween a little differently. Every year we invite our adult friends over for a little appetizer and cocktail party...all Halloween theme'd of course!

Today's cocktail recipe is courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka. It looks delicious and I am adding it to my "must make" cocktail list.

Chocolate Mint Kiss Cocktail Recipe

2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
½ oz. Crème de Menthe
½ oz. Chocolate Liqueur
½ oz. Cream

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a Peppermint Pattie candy wedge.

Disclaimer: You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly. Photo and recipe is courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tomato and Chile Pepper Salsa Recipe

We love to make homemade salsa and frankly, we rarely buy the stuff at the store. When you make it yourself, you are controlling the ingredients yourself and you can make it as spicy or as sweet as you would like it. One of our favorite homemade salsa recipes is one that I got from my mother-in-law about 20 years ago. It is delicious!
Tomato and Chile Pepper Salsa Recipe

28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup green Chile peppers, finely chopped
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl combine together all of the above ingredients in the order they are given in the recipe until well combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours to allow the flavors to infuse. Remove and serve chilled with your favorite snacks.

Note: If you like it less spicy, you can cut down on the chile peppers. If you like it a little more sweat, add in additional white or brown sugar. In addition, you can toss in some chopped up green peppers, canned pineapple or mangoes if desired.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sparkling ICE Sip Pink for the Cure Cocktail

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) upon us, I wanted to let you know about the efforts of Sparkling ICE, a bold-flavor, zero-calorie sparkling mountain spring water and the fastest-growing beverage brand in the U.S. As part of the Sparkling ICE mission to “Imagine a World Without Breast Cancer,” a Pink Ribbon is proudly displayed on its Pink Grapefruit flavor bottles all year long.

Throughout the year, Sparkling ICE donates a minimum of $25,000 to research facilities nationwide to help find a cure, in addition to aiding local affiliates and communities with more than $100,000 in donations annually.

By working closely with each community, Sparkling ICE allows them to select the charity right in their region that they would most like to offer the donations (i.e. Susan G. Komen Affiliates, Local/Regional Breast Cancer Research Foundations, etc.)

Sparkling ICE, a beverage of Talking Rain Company, is also a Susan G. Komen Puget Sound Affiliate Promise Partner, the highest tier of recognition awarded to corporations, foundations, and 3rd party fundraising organizations or events that provide exceptional financial or in-kind resources throughout the year to the Komen Puget Sound Affiliate. For more information, please visit

In honor of its support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sparkling ICE has also created a specialty “Sip Pink for the Cure” Cocktail using its Pink Grapefruit Sparkling ICE flavor.

Sparkling ICE Sip Pink for the Cure Cocktail Recipe

3 oz. Grapefruit Sparkling ICE
1 ½ oz. vodka
1 oz. lime juice
Fresh lime wedge
Sliced fresh jalapeño
Chili salt for rim of glass (Kosher salt mixed with chili powder)

1. Use a lime wedge to rub the entire rim of a chilled martini glass, and dip into chili salt mixture.
2. Combine vodka and jalapeno slices with ice in a shaker.
3. Strain and pour into the chilled martini glass.
4. Top with Grapefruit Sparkling ICE.
5. Garnish with a few Jalapeno slices.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Shutterfly Party Decorations Infographic

With holidays around the corner, now is a good time to brush up on the latest party tips. Let's face it, many of us struggle with what to do when Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's rolls around.

Here are a few examples from the graphic:

Living Room:

Be neat but not too neat – it should look lived in

Create a theme – perhaps “Memory Lane” and have everyone bring their favorite picture

Dining Room:

Consider serving all appetizers – they’re easier to prepare and finger foods foster mingling

Create one-of-a-kind coasters


If using your bedroom for coats, make sure the bed is made and put recent photos of a trip on an end table as a conversation starter


Ask your guests about food allergies – this will make them feel safe and welcome

Party Prep Home Decor Party Tips And Ideas

This interactive is provided to you by Shutterfly, the leading online provider of photo books, cards and home decor.

Decorating your home for parties is easy thanks to Shutterfly home decor products. A living room gets cozier with pillows decorated with a favorite photo or saying. Custom plates with the family monogram make gatherings more personal.

The infographic above will give you a lot of great ideas and help you get started. If you are going to be entertaining guests this holiday season, now is the time to prepare. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

VOGA Italia's Spiced Sangria Recipe

Who is ready for the weekend? I know I am! It has been a long, hard week and I am ready for some rest, relaxation and a good cocktail. Today's recipe is courtesy of the great folks over at VOGA Italia. The recipe will make approximately 15 yummy servings!

VOGA Italia's Spiced Sangria Recipe

3-4 fresh figs, sliced (or 1 cup dried figs)
1-2 fresh gala apples, sliced
1 cup of cherries
2-3 oranges, sliced (not peeled)
1 lemon, sliced
2 bottles VOGA Red Fusion
3 cups sparkling apple cider
1 cup orange juice
½ cup brandy
½ cup dark spiced rum
4 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves

Slice apples and insert whole cloves directly into the fruit. Combine all fruit slices in a glass pitcher and slowly pour in brandy and wine. Cover and chill from 2-24 hours (the longer, the better!) Before serving, add sparkling cider and orange juice. Stir gently and serve over ice.

Disclaimer: You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly. You can visit VOGA Italia online to learn more about the product and to get additional recipes.