Thursday, November 27, 2014

Naughty or nice, presence or presents?

Why can’t we have both?

by Maryanne Comaroto

Here’s an email I got recently:

I wanted to thank you also for your story about "presence" that you told at your talk recently at Open Secret Book Store in San Rafael. I had an important experience of that this weekend. I have been contemplating dating a man I met recently who is a financially successful lobbyist, and we have many other interests aside from politics. The wining and dining is great, but when we're together, it is odd: he is always distracted by his cell, a meeting, not enough time, etc.

This weekend, another man, a very old friend, came to town...we've known each other 35 years (college). He came to my studio and asked about my work, and he was incredibly "present" with me. And you are right, it was a total and complete turn-on. Whoa!

The next day, I had dinner with the other man (the lobbyist) and he spent most of the time talking about how his recent ex-girlfriend is using a popular dating site and how her profile is full of lies, and that he ought to get his own profile on the site so he could compete in attracting new women (so what am I, chopped liver?). Not present at all. Big turn-off! We were supposed to go on a date this Saturday, to the ballet, but I cancelled it because I decided I would rather have my own precious company, than his....

So I just wanted to echo what you said, that presence is really "IT"! and my back-to-back experience of it, with these two men, absolutely convinced me of what I want, and do not want, in a relationship with a man. Thank you for your teachings, Maryanne!”

A few days later…

Hi Maryanne, so interesting what happens when I choose me. I came home to find a huge box of flowers from my college friend. I'm sure that saying goodbye to that lobbyist was the best decision I've ever made.

Thank you...”

J..Alder, Nor Cal

Bottom line, ladies and gentlemen: when we don’t know who we are, what we want or have our priorities intact, we fall into the default loop that was programmed into our subconscious long ago. “I want someone handsome, tall, and strong; someone rich, who will take care of me, someone sexy who is great in le sac, etc.” At some point we start to realize these aren’t things that make a great relationship. Someone we thought was hot becomes really unattractive when their real character starts to show.

I have met too many people who, time and again, confess that the things they thought they wanted weren’t essential at all—or, at minimum, fell lower on the priority list than they once realized.

Perhaps rather than “hot and successful” being at the top of the list, you could alter it some and require that certain other qualities be immediately apparent:

  • Present

  • Kind

  • Interested

  • Honest

  • Generous

  • Purpose-driven

  • Attractive

  • Sensual, etc.

So, yes, make that list, but check it twice as the holidays approach. Do you really want someone naughty or do you want someone one who’s mostly nice (and maybe a little naughty only on special occasions)?

If you have specific questions you want Maryanne to comment on please send your requests to

- Maryanne

by Maryanne Comaroto of Maryanne Live

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Skip the Grains But Not the Treats This Holiday Season

Cardiologist, Best-Selling Author Shares  2 Grain-Free Recipes

At a time when we most want to look and feel our best, we seem to do everything possible to ensure we don’t, says cardiologist Dr. William Davis.

“The weather starts to change and we reach for the pumpkin-spice cookies, cider doughnuts and beer, which launches us into processed carbohydrates season,” says Dr. Davis, author of “Wheat Belly Total Health,” (, the latest in his bestselling “Wheat Belly” series. 

“They make us tired and sluggish when we especially need energy as we prepare for all the fun stuff and preparation that lead up to Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hannukah, and they cause us to gain weight, which we immediately pledge to shed come New Year’s.”   

People have been taught that the refined, processed carbohydrates in foods like white rice, white bread and traditionally baked goods are “bad carbs.” We’re told we’ll be healthier, happier and slimmer if we get stick to the “good carbs” in fruits, nuts and whole grains.
Not true, Dr. Davis says – at least in the case of grains.

“Grasses and grains like wheat are a great food source for goats, cows and the like,” he says. “But humans have a different digestive process and different nutritional needs. Grasses are not only responsible for unwanted weight gain, but also more serious conditions, including Crohn’s disease and other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. We just weren’t meant to eat them.” 

That doesn’t mean you have to do without your favorite treats during the holidays. Just make them a different way.

He offers these recipes:
•  Pumpkin Spice Muffins (makes 12):
 2 cups ground almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed
 Sweetener such as Truvia or stevia extract equivalent to 3/4 cup sucrose
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of fine sea salt
1 can (15 ounces) unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sour cream or canned coconut milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup walnut oil
melted coconut oil or extra-light olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Stir together the almond meal, walnuts, flaxseed, sweetener, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir together the pumpkin, sour cream or coconut milk, eggs, and oil in another large bowl. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the almond meal mixture and mix thoroughly. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about half full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out dry, about 45 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pans 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

•  Wheat-free Cauliflower Mushroom Dressing:
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 pound loose ground pork sausage
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 head cauliflower
1 green pepper, chopped
4-ounce can/jar roasted red peppers
8 ounces Portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground tarragon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring approximately 12 ounces water to a boil in sauce pan. Toss in porcini mushrooms and turn heat down to maintain below boiling. Stir every couple of minutes for 20 minutes. In deep sauce pan, sauté sausage in 1 tablespoon olive oil, along with celery and onions, until sausage is cooked. Drain excess oil. Place saucepan back on low heat. Break cauliflower into small florets and add to sausage mix. Toss in drained porcini mushrooms along with approximately 4 ounces of the porcini broth, remainder of olive oil, green pepper, roasted red peppers, Portabella mushrooms and flaxseed. Add onion powder, sage, thyme, tarragon, salt and black pepper and stir. Transfer to baking dish and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes.

About Dr. William Davis

William Davis, MD is a cardiologist and author of several books that have sold more than 2 million copies, including the No.1 New York Times bestseller “Wheat Belly.” He has appeared on major national media including the Dr. Oz Show, CBS This Morning, National Public Radio, and Live! with Kelly.. Davis has built a substantial online presence on his Wheat Belly Blog, (, with more than 300,000 visits per month. He is a graduate of the St. Louis University School of Medicine, with training in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease at the Ohio State University Hospitals. A Case Western Reserve University Hospitals, he served as Director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship and Assistant Professor of Medicine.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday - 7 ways to Add Holiday Cheer, not Holiday Pounds

Do the words "Seasonal Seven" mean anything to you?... If you're like most Americans, seven pound is the average amount of weight you will gain during this Holiday season. This year, let's not let that scale move up during the holidays - a reasonable goal would be to just stay the same for the next 6 weeks or so. Trying to lose a few pounds during this hectic time of the year is definitely not impossible, but does require more advance planning and willpower.

Here are a few tips to help you get through the "Holi-daze" without adding the dreaded "Seasonal Seven":

1. Don't forget your journal - Keep up writing in your food journal during the holidays. It may not be easy to write down all the goodies we consume at parties, but it will help you keep track and make you feel somewhat accountable for what's going into your mouth.

2. Snack before you go - Never go to a party on an empty stomach. The temptation to overeat on completely non-healthy foods can be overwhelming. Before you venture out for an evening of fun, have a snack that is healthy and contains some healthy fat (preferably a MUFA).

3. Go for the healthy stuff first - When you arrive at your party (with a tummy that's not rumbly because you've had a healthy snack first) head for the healthy items first - veggies, plain chicken, fruits - then you can move on to the less healthy stuff (truth be told, you'll probably be full by the time you're ready for the calorie-laden foods anyway!).

4. Go easy on the Alcohol - Sure, a glass of wine is fine, but try to keep sweet, mixed drinks to a minimum - they're just empty caolories. Aim for a white wine spritzer (white wine and soda water) instead, or better yet, just go for a glass of soda water with lemon or lime.

5. Bring your own - If your headed to an event where you need to bring a dish, be sure to bring something you know will be healthy. At least that way you'll have one thing you can eat without feeling guilty!

6. Don't begin a new program - Stick to just making sure that you're being as healthy as you can be. Eat the right foods, make time for some exercise (no, shopping doesn't count!) - just try to keep things as healthy as possible. You can try a new plan after New Years.

7. Get enough Rest - This can't be stressed enough. Getting enough rest is crucial to not only your health, but it helps you not to overeat. Be sure to get to bed on time and try to stick to your regular sleeping routine, not going to bed late and sleeping in to make up for lost sleep - this will just throw your body clock off kilter.

Keep in mind these seven simple strategies when the "Holi-Daze" sneaks up on you. You'll be able to enjoy your friends and family at this wonderful time of the year and when January hits, you'll have outwitted those nasty "Seasonal Seven".

What Gets You Through Thanksgiving???

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dinner Diva: It's tea time . . . green tea for me!

We've been hearing for years that green tea is good for us, but do you know why? And do you know how much good it really does once you've consumed it?

Well, let's take a look.

First of all, why is green tea different than black tea?

Both come from the same tea bush but it's in the processing where things get a little different.

Green tea is picked, partially withered and then heated almost right away to just about 200 degrees Celsius so that fermentation doesn't take place. It's then shaped and heated again.

Black tea is withered and rolled before it's heated at all, then it's left to ferment until it turns black and develops flavor before it's heated again to stop the fermentation process.

So green tea is not fermented and black tea is. Now that that's out of the way, let's look at the benefits we can gain from green tea!

Cancer prevention. Green tea is believed to destroy cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. Green tea is also shown to reduce the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

Weight loss. Green tea revs up your metabolism and aids in weight loss.

Heart health. Scientists believe green tea might prevent clots from forming in arteries, preventing heart attacks. Green tea is also believed to help blood vessels remain relaxed, which leads to healthy blood pressure.

Diabetes. Green tea can help regulate glucose levels in diabetics, preventing insulin spikes.

Cholesterol. Adding green tea to your diet can reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood.

Tooth health. If you drink green tea, you may be killing viruses and bacteria that lead to dental cavities, throat infections and other tooth issues.

Younger skin. If you want to slow down the aging process (who doesn't?), drink green tea. Put some on your face, too, because it may reduce signs of sun damage.

Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. You may be able to slow down the effects of these two diseases by adding green tea to your diet, as it can help to protect brain cells from dying while also restoring those with damage.

Mood boost. Green tea contains an amino acid by the name of Theanine, which can ease feelings of depression, making you feel nice and relaxed.

How much green tea should you drink every day to reap the benefits? The jury's still out, but somewhere between two and five cups is the general idea. If you're sensitive to caffeine, you might want to limit yourself to one cup a day.

If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you may want to avoid green tea. It contains tannins, which can disrupt the absorption of folic acid and iron which are important minerals for developing babies.

Do you drink green tea?

Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

Your Dinner Diva at your service on

Copyright (C) 2010 Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

10 Tips for Growing Your Business the Organized Way

Growing a business is similar to tending a vegetable garden. Knowledge, careful planning, organized systems, use of proper tools, continuous care, and dedication give you the very best chance of producing a beautiful and abundant garden that brings forth fresh veggies for years to come.

The same is true when it comes to growing your business. By following a specific sequence of steps, just like growing a garden, you can succeed. Neither can be accomplished with a haphazard approach.

 Discovering how other businesses are growing, thinking through your marketing strategy, taking an organized approach, using the proper tools to get the word out and focusing on achievement will help you reach your business goals and set you on the right path towards accomplishing your greatest success.

PROSPECTING. For most services and products, it is imperative to first generate qualified prospects. Only then do you work on converting those prospects into first-time buyers, repeat customers, and finally, life-time customers. If you’re trying to generate an immediate sale, chances are, you’re going to be disappointed with the results. You will make most of your sales by following up with your prospects repeatedly.

WHAT IS A PROSPECT? A person is a prospect only if they:

a) have a genuine interest in the particular service or product you provide


b) have responded to one of your offers


c) they have provided you with contact information (name, e-mail, etc.)


d) they have the authority to buy your service/product and can afford it. Everyone else is a stranger. Not a prospect.

TARGET. You can’t try to market to everybody. When you do, you’re marketing to nobody. Pick a niche market and focus on your main audience. Target them in all of your marketing materials.

OFFERS. To get people to respond to your marketing, develop an enticing offer and get it in front of as many people in your target market as you can. Perhaps, a free tips report, free e-zine, or free sample. The best offers are generally the FREE offers.

GETTING THE WORD OUT. There are a multitude of ways to get the word out about your offer. You can try traditional marketing, such as direct mail, press releases, networking, ads, etc. Or, you can use the internet, such as online networking, joining in discussion forums, submitting to search engines, link exchanges, affiliate programs and so on. Whatever you choose, schedule time each day to market your business. Write it on your calendar. When it’s written down, it is more concrete, and there is a better chance that you will do it.

FOLLOW-UP. Once you begin to generate prospects, it is imperative that you get their contact information (i.e., name, e-mail address, and any other pertinent information) into an organized database. Why all the work? Because follow-up is the key to successful marketing. Once you have contact information, you can continue to make enticing offers for your product and/or service (discounts, gift certificates, 2 for 1 deals, etc.)

ONE SERVICE/PRODUCT. Choose ONE product or service to market at a time, or you’re liable to confuse your prospects. You can have more than one product listed on your website. However, when you contact your prospects, it’s best to focus on one product at a time.

GUARANTEE. Guarantee your products or services. Offer, at minimum, a 100% Money-Back Guarantee. When it is clear that you stand behind your services/products, you will have accomplished a trust-factor. This is called risk-reversal.

PROACTIVE. Don’t use the Passive Marketing technique. That’s when you distribute general information, verbal and written, about your company, and then just sit around waiting for the phone to ring, or for your e-mail inbox to fill up with orders. In the real world, it doesn’t work that way. You have to be proactive.

TRACK. Track. Track. I can’t say this enough. Keeping accurate numbers will help you make good marketing decisions. If you don’t know what’s working, you’re going to waste a lot of time and money. However, if you do know exactly what’s working for you, you’re practically guaranteed to reach your goals.

 By Maria Gracia

Get Organized Now!™ Want to get organized? Get your FREE Get Organized Now!™ Idea- Pak, filled with tips and ideas to help you organize your home, your office and your life, at the Get Organized Now!™ Web site

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Keeping Safe during the Holidays

The Holiday season is in full-swing. For a great many people all over the world, it is a time when they will be celebrating some sort of Holiday tradition. The Holidays are a joyous time when we gather together with family and friends - sometimes we exchange gifts - sometimes we're just happy to be with the ones we love. During all of our Holiday festivities, we need to make sure we keep our home and family safe - here are a few tips to help you:

At this time of the year, the crime statistics go up and break-ins are among those crimes that rise. Help keep your home safe from intruders by making sure your home looks occupied (especially if you'll be traveling!). Ask a neighborhood teen to shovel your snow (and have them walk around outside in the snow to leave tracks), install timers on your lights in various places in your home (you can even put one on a radio and outdoor decorations so they will go on and off at various times during the day). Keep presents away from the windows where someone can easily see them. Don't stack your wood near a window (it is all too easy to pick up a log and use it to break a window).
Also make sure your garages and cars are secure - don't leave your wallet in your car just because it's in the garage. After the big gift-opening festivities, take care when breaking down boxes and putting them in the recycling - An empty big-screen TV box sticking halfway out of the recycling bin the day after Christmas is a great advertisement for thieves looking for new goodies in a home.
Be Fire Safe

Did you know that Holiday fires cause more than $900 million in damage annually? Now is the time to be extra vigilant about fire safety. Choose a spot away from heater vents and heat sources for your tree if you have one. Cut the bottom inch or two off your tree when you bring it home and put it in water (ideally water with tree preservative added) right away. My favorite tip to help keep your tree fresh is to grab a few diapers (new, unused, of course!), rip the lining open and take out the thick "inner core" (the absorbent part), tear it into pieces and put it all around the base of your tree trunk (I usually put some in the bottom of the stand before the tree goes in and then add more all around the trunk - usually about 2 large size diapers worth - of course, it depends on how big your stand & tree are). Then add your water - the diaper lining will expand into a white gel-like substance, and will help to hold water for your tree for days - be sure to keep adding water as necessary though to keep your tree fresh and green. Be sure to check your smoke detectors and replace batteries as needed. Don't leave those holiday candles burning unattended, it only takes one spark to start a fire. Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace - it isn't just paper, but paper coated with a bevy of inks and chemicals - sometimes even lead.

Your family certainly doesn't need to breathe those fumes, plus if the chemicals build up in your fireplace they can explode (which certainly wouldn't make for a fun holiday).

This time of year boasts a bevy of holiday dangers, keep your kids and pets safe. Of course, we all know that Mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are potentially poisonous - if you suspect your child has ingested any of these items, call the National Poison Center: (800) 222-1222. Alcohol poisoning is common this time of year - parents hold parties with cocktails and guests leave unfinished drinks around. If a child drinks any leftovers, they can become sick quite quickly as their bodies are so small.
Shop Safe

Even though money and credit are tight this year, there are still crowds of shoppers. It's important to keep safe while shopping too! Never leave your car (even for a minute) without closing all the windows and locking the car. Place all purchases in the trunk, out of sight. Always be alert of your surroundings and check take a quick peek into your car before entering it. Park in well-lighted areas, and take a friend with you - it'll be more fun too! Don't leave your purse in the font basket of a shopping cart - turning your back for even a split second can mean losing your purse. Make sure you get back your credit card and drivers license when you make a purchase - it is not uncommon for a clerk to get busy and forget to give it back to you.

The Holiday season is fun, festive and filled with friends and family - keep the fun by keeping safe!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday - Curbing the Cravings

Today, we're going to talk about something very important when you're trying to lose weight.... Curbing your cravings.

We all get them and, yes we're even aware that sometimes, they're totally wacko - like getting a craving for chocolate twenty minutes after you finish dinner (your brain knows you're not hungry - but somehow, you must have some!)

We've been scouring every source we could find to bring you the best tips for curbing those annoying cravings...

Cinnamon: It's more than just a spice! Cinnamon can not only help you control your hunger, but it also gives your metabolism a little boost and it can help diabetics process their insulin better. There have been studies that show that cinnamon can cut blood sugar levels by as much as 20 to 30 percent. It has a natural appetite suppressant quality plus it can help increase your body’s production of muscle mass. That's not all …cinnamon may help lower your cholesterol levels anywhere from 10 to 30% - how much do we love cinnamon?? (nooooo, this does not make cinnamon rolls okay!) One of my favorite things for breakfast is a bowl of steel cut oatmeal topped with cinnamon, chopped toasted almonds, diced bananas and sugar free maple syrup - yummmmy! It keeps me full all morning long!

Water: Of course, one of the tried and true methods for curbing a craving and tricking your tummy into thinking it's full is good old H2O. I am soo in love with Hint Pear Essence Water (although they come in lots of other awesome flavors like Mango-Grapefruit, Pomegranate-Tangerine, Lime, Raspberry-Lime, Peppermint, Tropical Punch and more!- some can only be purchased online, but I get mine at my local Pharmaca). They're refreshing and thirst quenching with just a hint (hence the name) of the flavor - with absolutely no sweetener at all - I L.O.V.E. them!

Chocolate: Yes, it may seem kind of odd that chocolate would even be on the list of "tips" when we're trying to lose weight, but sometimes, nothing but chocolate will do. You know what I mean, ladies... So, instead of reaching for the M&M's switch to a cocoa-rich dark version (look for those with 70 per cent or more cocoa solids). Not only will you be satisfied with a very small amount, but dark chocolate hosts a bevy of health benefits. Research has shown that dark chocolate helps to lower blood pressure and is rich in antioxidants (but, be sure there's no milk in the chocolate and don't drink milk with your chocolate - milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from the chocolate). So next time you're yearning for chocolate... just grab a small amount of dark chocolate instead!

Grapefruit: No, not to eat, but as aromatherapy! It is especially useful in curbing sweet cravings. I don't really have time for all the "essential oils" kind of thing, but what I love is Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value Shower Gel in Citrus Grapefruit. It smells soooo good! I use it in the shower for everyday, plus I refill all my hand soap dispensers with it (it's so inexpensive - like $1.99 for 16oz.!). So next time you're craving something sweet, just go wash your hands!

Now we all know... next time you feel a craving coming on, just remember that there are ways to get around them - try one of these tips!

Do you love the healthy food reviews we feature on most Weight Loss Wednesdays? They come to us courtesy of Hungry Girl who knows all there is to know when it comes to great products to help you drop a few pounds (or keep off the pounds you've already dropped!).

Now, Hungry Girl has her very own book!! Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World. It's PACKED with 165 recipes (about half of which are NEW and TONS more which are HG classics!), and it also has a whole chapter with TEN survival guides (for everything from Italian restaurants to cocktail parties). The book has 326 pages (it's THICK!) and is gorgeous (with 8 pages of beautiful full-color photos plus lots of super-cute illustrations!). It's crammed with fun facts, shockers, food comparisons, and more. WE LOVE IT SO MUCH, IT SCARES US!!!! It'll hit store shelves on 4/29, but you can PRE-ORDER your copy NOW (and some copies for your friends!)...

Regular price will be $17.95 - But you can preorder this awesome book for only $10.77!

I'll leave you with a little quote for your refrigerator this week:

"When thoughts become action, success is attainable"

Posted by Liz of Pink Lemonade

Featured Weekly on Posh Mama Online Magazine

Eric actually has a question this week - can we all say yippee!!! He's not feeling so glum anymore - thanks & keep those questions coming!!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

10 Steps to a Happy Clothes Closet

The clothes closet is one of the least respected areas in the house. It's often stuffed from floor to ceiling with clothing, briefcases, purses and shoes. Valuable clothing rod space has been taken over by vast armies of mis-matched hangers. Books and magazines have managed to somehow sprout out of nowhere. Bed linens are mixed in with towels, umbrellas and shoes. You can barely see the floor. Before you know it, your closet has become clutter central!

 Here's some friendly advice. Heed the old saying, "Less is more." You'll save an enormous amount of time, money and stress by thinning out your huge wardrobe.

GET THE PROPER SUPPLIES. Buy a starter set of 30 hangers, or 60 if the closet is shared by two people. Get the sturdy, plastic ones. They're inexpensive and can be obtained at a homegoods store. Buy all one color for uniformity (or if you're sharing closet space with someone, get one color for yourself, and another color for the person you're sharing space with.)

While you're at the store, pick up a few sturdy skirt and pants hangers. Vertical skirt hangers with clips that hold 5 to 6 skirts on one hanger are a great choice. In addition, pick up an expandable shoe rack and a tie rack if you wear ties.

START WITH A CLEAN SLATE. Pull out everything (yes, everything) that's currently in your closet.

Keep in mind, as you're doing so, that you probably only wear 20% of your clothes on a regular basis, 10% of them are for special occasions, and the other 70% of them are probably never used at all.


A. Clothes that meet any of the following criteria: it is outdated it is ripped it is stained it doesn't fit (if you're not sure whether or not it fits, try it on now) you think it may come back in fashion someday you wouldn't dream of ever wearing it again

B. Wire Hanger Pile (they're weak, they stick up in the air, and they damage your clothing)

C. Clothes that need minor repairs such as sewing a hem or replacing a button. If it’s too much of a hassle to repair it, then don’t put it in this pile.

D. Clothes you love and wear at least once a month AND clothes you love and wear at least twice a year (special occasion wardrobe). Your wardrobe should always make you feel good about yourself. If you don’t love it or wear it often, it doesn’t belong in this pile.

E. Any other items that don’t fit into Category A, B, C or D.

CATEGORY A OR B: DUMP IT OR DONATE IT. Ok, now here's the fun part. Grab a large plastic garbage bag and dump everything (yes, everything) from your A pile into it. Bring it to your local charity organization first thing in the morning or dump it now.

If you're still reading this in disbelief, take a deep breath to get over the initial shock, then go ahead and toss it or donate it. You’ll feel better in the end.

While you're at it, take all those terrible, awful, lousy wire hangers (Have you gotten the point that I really don’t like wire hangers?!) in your B pile and bring them to your Dry Cleaner for recycling or dump them immediately.

C'mon now. Are you still considering keeping something in your A or B piles?? Please, dump it. It's clutter. You'll feel better about it later when your closet is organized, inviting and free of chaos.

CATEGORY C: REPAIR IT WITHIN 2 WEEKS. Ok, now that your A and B piles are donated or trashed (I hope), let's move on to your C pile. This pile should contain those articles of clothing that need minor repair. Get a basket or container. Dump this entire pile in it. Now, carry that basket over to your clothing repair area.

Give yourself a 2 week deadline. If it's not done in two weeks, dump or donate the entire basket. After all, if it's not important enough for you to repair, it's clutter. Sound drastic? I wouldn't steer you wrong. It's very easy for clutter to build up, and I want to help you eliminate any chance of it happening to you again.

CATEGORY D: ORGANIZE YOUR KEEPERS. Sort everything in your D pile by category of clothing (blouses, skirts, pants, suits, etc.) When done sorting, start with one category. Take one article of clothing at a time, put it on a hanger (the colorful, sturdy, plastic kind) and hang it in the closet. (Important Note: If you found something that didn't belong in the closet in the first place, don’t put it there again.)

Do this until you've managed to hang all of your categories of clothing, making sure that all clothing and hangers are facing the same direction. (By the way, if you share your closet with someone, don't mix clothing together. Put each individual's clothing on either side of the closet.)

CATEGORY E: CATEGORIZE AND ORGANIZE EVERYTHING ELSE. If, due to lack of additional storage space, you have some items that simply have to be returned to your closet which haven't been put there already (your E pile), categorize them. Then, get some inexpensive organizing containers so that each category remains separated and place the containers on shelves in your closet.

Now is a good time to set up your brand new, sturdy, expandable shoe rack and neatly place your shoes on it.

FINISHING TOUCHES. Now, you're ready for some finishing touches. If you install a few hooks on an empty closet wall, you'll be able to hang belts, umbrellas and handbags. If you're lucky enough to have cubbies in your closet, purses and hats can be stored there; otherwise, put them on your closet shelves.

You can even pick up a clear, over-the-door shoe bag for small accessories such as hosiery, scarves, jewelry and the like. Don't put shoes in the shoe bag. It may sound funny, but these bags are too flimsy and awkward for the weight of most shoes, plus they collect dirt from shoe bottoms.

FINAL THOUGHTS. Don't overstuff. There should be plenty of room in your closet to get an item in or out. If there's not, consider thinning out your wardrobe a little more. The goal here is quality, not quantity. Don't buy another thing to wear without first determining if you really need it. Some people like to discard something they're not really happy with anymore, for a new item.

CELEBRATE. Congratulations! You're done. Don't you feel great?! You deserve a special reward for your hard work. Treat yourself to dinner, or a double hot fudge sundae. Go for a massage. Rent and watch a favorite movie. Be happy. Your closet is!

By Maria Gracia

Get Organized Now!™ Want to get organized? Get your FREE Get Organized Now!™ Idea- Pak, filled with tips and ideas to help you organize your home, your office and your life, at the Get Organized Now!™ Web site

Dinner Diva: Do you consider coffee your friend or foe?

Last week I wrote about foods that will do wonders for your mood. One thing I didn't mention in that piece, however, was why you might want to think about easing back on a certain little trouble making drug from your diet.

You know it and you probably know it well (I know I do!): caffeine.

Caffeine is a drug found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, those evil energy drinks and chocolate, and a lot of people have quite a solid relationship with at least one of these four items. I very much enjoy my coffee, so I can relate to any of you with dependence issues!

The question is . . . is caffeine a friend or a foe?

I'm not going to tell you that caffeine should be avoided altogether so don't worry about that. Coffee is great but let's look at some information about the effects caffeine has on the human body, and then you can go ahead and draw your own conclusions from there. Sound like a plan?

Ever wonder why you feel the effects of caffeine in your system so quickly? It's because it goes straight to your hormones and stays in your system for hours. Once you've ingested it, caffeine causes the following hormonal responses:

Adrenaline rush. Caffeine gives you that adrenaline rush that perks you up. It puts you in "fight or flight" mode so that your body is sitting there at your desk on edge, waiting for something to respond to. That state will end up leaving you tired later on so that you need more coffee to bring you out of the doldrums. From there, you'll be jumpy and agitated, reaching for more caffeine or sugar to make you feel good.

Adenosine inhibition. Adenosine is a hormone that calms your body, and caffeine inhibits its absorption. That's why you feel alert just after you drink a coffee and why you sometimes can't sleep for even hours afterwards.

Increased Cortisol. Caffeine makes your body create more cortisol which is also known as the stress hormone. When you have too much cortisol in your system, you end up moody but you can also gain weight, develop heart disease or even diabetes. (although coffee can actually help diabetes type 2 and is often recommended just like cinnamon is for diabetics, but too much is too much).

Increased Dopamine. When you consume caffeine, your body will increase its levels of dopamine giving you the same sort of feelings as if you were using amphetamines. That makes you feel happy for a little while, but when the buzz wears off, you feel worse than you did before.

Now, caffeine isn't all bad.

While it can lead to weight gain because of increased cortisol levels (which can also make you crave fatty sugary carbs), some research suggests that caffeine can speed up your metabolism. If you consume caffeine before exercise, it can also help your body break down fat more efficiently. If you combine your morning coffee with exercise, for example, it may help enhance your performance and you'll have a boost from the exercise that will help negate any slump in your mood from the effects of the caffeine wearing off.

What does this tell us?

Caffeine can be a foe, but it can be a friend if you take it in small, controlled doses. You also may want to stop ingesting caffeine after 2PM.

When you buy coffee, I recommend buying organic fair trade beans and grinding them yourself. Then brew your coffee with filtered water for the best cup. I've been grinding my own organic coffee beans since the 80s and I can hardly drink anything else!

Energy Drinks

Oh, about energy drinks. Don't drink them. These canned beverages have between 80 to 500mg of caffeine per serving. 200mg of caffeine is what's deemed safe for human consumption. A can of this stuff can also contain up to 14 teaspoons of sugar. Those little 5-Hour Energy "shots" you see in gas stations and convenience stores have actually been implicated in at least 13 deaths. Please don't let your children drink these things!

Cutting Down

If you have a major caffeine addiction, you can experience serious withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back, such as headaches or irritability. To negate those nasty effects, be sure to drink lots of water to help flush excess caffeine from your body. As you try to cut out the caffeine, start mixing it with non-caffeinated versions (so coffee with decaf or tea with herbal). As a general rule, if you drink more than a couple cups of java a day, you might want to consider drinking half regular and half decaf - organic, please! Use a water processed decaf coffee, too, because you don't need any extra chemicals.

Have you beaten a caffeine addiction?

Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

Your Dinner Diva at your service on

Copyright (C) 2010 Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Thanksgiving Inspired Cocktails From Smirnoff

Thanksgiving is right around the corner which means family, friends, food and delicious cocktails – of course! There are countless ways to celebrate Turkey Day, but what better way than to kick back, bond and enjoy a festive drink or two with loved ones?

Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving with family, or hosting your own "Friends-giving", no meal is complete without the perfect cocktail and your guests will be giving you thanks after each sip from their glass. With the hours spent prepping for the big day, you should be able to whip up quick and easy drinks that satisfy as much as indulge the senses. Let SMIRNOFF help you toast to everything you're thankful for with festive Thanksgiving-inspired cocktails below!

Apple Pie Punch
Serves 8

·         1.5 cups  SMIRNOFF® Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka
·          2 cups  Apple Cider
·         1.5 cups  Cranberry Juice

Preparation: Mix ingredients in punch bowl over ice. Serve as a punch or in a glass over ice.

Kissed Caramel Mule

Serves 1
·         1.5 oz. Smirnoff® Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka
·         1.5 oz .Ginger Ale
·         1.5 oz. Club Soda
·         Squeeze of Lime
·         A Dash of Bitters

Preparation: Combine all ingredients and serve over ice.

The SMIRNOFF Limelight

Serves 1
·         1.5 oz.  SMIRNOFF® Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka
·         4 oz. Ginger Ale 
·         .75 oz. Simple Syrup
·         Squeeze of Lime
Preparation: Combine all ingredients, except for ginger ale, in a shaker with ice. Shake well, strain into glass and top with ginger ale and garnish with lime wedge. 

Caramel Spiked Cider
Serves 8
  • 1.5 cups. Smirnoff® Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka
  • 4 cups of Apple Cider
  • 4 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 2 oz. Grenadine
Preparation: Mix ingredients in punch bowl over ice. Serve as a punch or in a glass over ice.