Archive for September, 2013

How do you get people to come to your party? It’s all in the invitations

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

How%20to%20get%20people%20to%20come%20to%20your%20partyIt’s a story that’s been told a thousand times. You’re throwing a reception and need to purchase some generic invitations, but you’ve passed the six week mark. Ms. Emily Post recommends to send them in the mail to your potential guests. Once inside your nearest invitations retail location, you browse the aisles and get a sinking feeling when you realize that nothing truly fits your needs and you’re too late to customize something.
Or, perhaps you are a business owner seeking to retain your patrons by hosting a series of events and private parties to show appreciation for their business. You also have very limited time to dedicate to the creation of an invitation from the ground up, but you’d like to have something tangible to send to your customers. 
Here are some tips for meeting your invitation needs:
* When designing your invitation, first and foremost, you want to ensure that your guests have a clear understanding of when and where the event will be. It’s imperative that you allow enough time in your party planning to give those invited plenty of time to respond and reserve space in their calendars. If you find the date of your event quickly creeping up and you haven’t finalized anything aside from the date itself, a save-the-date may be a good option for you. It serves as a courtesy by notifying guests to reserve the day, and lets them know more details will follow.
* If you are hosting your event in a remote location, be sure to include directions and look into getting a group discount on hotel accommodations for out-of-town visitors. Integrating this information into the invitation will assist attendees in making the ultimate decision as to whether or not to attend your event. Additionally, when giving the location, state whether it’s outside or inside so guests can plan their attire. If you plan on holding your event on a boat, airplane or other vehicle, provide ample notice to your attendees. You should also feature the reason you’re hosting the event prominently on the invitation itself. For instance, if you’re hosting a gala to celebrate the election of a new president for your company, then attendees will know it’s more formal than a birthday party for a child.
* The design, color and paper quality selection also play an integral role in grabbing your invitees’ attention and getting them to commit to attend. This is why it is so important to take advantage of an invitation vendor who can accommodate your customization needs, with styles available in full color, in a matte, glossy or even linen finish and matching envelopes to complement your masterpiece. Be sure to include a way for your guests to RSVP. A low-cost option is to provide a phone number or email address where guests can leave their responses. If you want to be slightly more formal, include a response card with a pre-printed, postage-paid return address envelope with your invitations.
* Finally, it’s important to remember to stamp those invitations and RSVP envelopes. Otherwise, the chances of you getting RSVPs will be slim to none. Following these simple tips will help you create the perfect invitation for your next big event.

Courtesy of BPT

Secrets for choosing flip-flops that look and feel great

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Let’s face it – flip-flops are mainstream, and not just because they’re stylish, easy-to-wear and cooler when the weather warms. For many of us, flip-flops are the equivalent of comfort-food for the sole. Slip into those comfy, light, lovely shoes and you feel like summer really has arrived.

Yet if you’re prone to foot problems or concerned with overall foot health, you may shy away from one of summer’s great joys, believing flip-flops aren’t good for your feet. After all, 50 percent of Americans have experienced foot pain or discomfort at some point, and improper footwear is a leading cause, according to a survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

“Non-supportive flip-flops cause a common foot injury known as plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue along the bottom of the foot and the heel,” says podiatrist Phillip Vasyli, co-founder with integrative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil of Weil Integrative Footwear. “Flip-flops leave feet prone to common muscle overuse injuries, which can be easily prevented with the right footwear.”
The good news is, you can wear flip-flops-even if you never thought you could. It is possible to find stylish, good-looking varieties that feel great and are healthful for your feet.

The APMA offers some tips for choosing flip-flops:


* Look for shoes, including flip-flops, that have earned the APMA’s Seal of Acceptance. This seal indicates the APMA considers the shoe to be one that promotes good foot health. Footwear like Orthaheel that carries the APMA seal has demonstrated its ability to provide proper support to feet.

* Choose a flip-flop that bends only at the ball of the foot. You shouldn’t be able to bend your flip-flop in half. Footwear like Weil Integrative Footwear that are designed with orthotics in mind provide balance, arch support and alignment for the feet.

* Look for flip-flops made of high-quality, soft leather for the thong and a sturdy, comfortable, supportive base. 

* Choose flip-flops in the correct size so your toes or heels don’t hang off the edge of the sole.

* Replace last year’s worn flip-flops if they show signs of wear. Cracked or frayed shoes may cause foot irritation and provide inadequate support.

* Wear your supportive flip-flops and stylish, comfortable sandals at the pool, beach or for a fun evening dining al fresco. Save them for another time if you’re planning on doing yard work, playing sports or will be walking for a long time. Athletic shoes or supportive sandals make better choices for those occasions.

“From the integrative medicine approach, we’re always looking at simple, low-tech, noninvasive ways of improving health,” Weil says. “An obvious area in which to concentrate is designing really comfortable, effective footwear that can enable people to have an active lifestyle. Orthotics can bring preventative relief to many people and I commonly recommend them.”

To maintain your foot health, find a podiatrist at For more information on supportive flip-flops and stylish sandals, see and

Courtesy of BPT

New resource helps moms overcome dinnertime challenges

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

As every parent knows, the dinner hour can be fraught with friction and frustration – how can you get your picky eater to abandon his “no green foods” rule or make your chatterbox stop talking long enough to take a bite?

Relax, says mother of three, parenting expert and author of “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions,” Dr. Michele Borba, who notes that all parents want to feed their kids well and enjoy the time together at the table. “Sometimes, the littlest members of the family establish patterns at mealtime that are difficult to break,” Borba says. “Thankfully, there are scores of parents out there who have gone or are going through the same challenges; communities where moms can discuss and, hopefully, provide solutions to the everyday dinner time challenges from picky eaters to table manners.”

Other tips for dealing with picky eaters, provided by Borba and registered dietician, Dr. Felicia Stoler include:


  • Don’t make it a big deal. “Research shows that picky eaters can become even pickier depending on how we respond,” Borba says. “It’s best to be neutral and calm and hold off on lectures. In fact, the less said about the food, the better.”
  • Branch out. “The best way to get the pickiest eaters to discover new foods is to send them to a friend or family member’s house,” Stoler says. “I am amazed at what picky kids will eat at my house and what my kids have tried at other people’s homes.”
  • Turn your kid onto cooking shows. “One mom swore her kid was the world’s pickiest eater,” Borba says. “One day she caught her daughter watching a cooking show and it was the ‘moment’ she’d been waiting for. She bought her a small recipe box and showed her daughter how to find recipes on the internet. Each week her daughter found a recipe and encouraged her mom to make it. The best part: she ate it.”
  • Mix favorites with new tastes. “Children will refuse to try new foods without anything familiar on their plate,” Stoler says. “Try filling their plate with their favorite foods and add a small amount of the new food to inch them toward exploring new flavors.  My son loves pasta so I just make sure to mix in different vegetables each week to have him try something different. On top of that,  traditional pasta sauce has two servings of veggies in every half cup so I always feel confident that he’s receiving a wholesome meal.”

Finally, trying a family-friendly recipe like Veggie Pizza Cupcakes that’s fun to make and eat with the kids will get everyone around the table and asking for seconds. 

Veggie Pizza Cupcakes

For meat-lover’s cupcakes, substitute cooked ground beef for the veggies. Simply mix it in with the sauce and continue as in recipe.


1 package (12 oz.) refrigerated biscuits (10 biscuits)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1-1/2 cups assorted diced fresh vegetables (red bell pepper, zucchini, summer squash, onion)

1-1/2 cups Traditional Pasta Sauce

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 oz.)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll biscuits and press each into a 3-inch round. Evenly press each biscuit in bottom and up sides of each cup in 12-cup muffin pan; chill until ready to fill.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in 10-inch skillet and cook vegetables, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in pasta sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly reduced.

3. Evenly spoon vegetable mixture into prepared muffin cups. Bake 15 minutes. Evenly sprinkle tops with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and biscuits are golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Gently remove pizza cups from muffin pan and serve.

Preparation time: 15 Minutes

Cook time: 20 Minutes

Yield: 10 pizza cups

Nutrition Information per serving

Calories 140, Calories From Fat 45, Total Fat 5g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 460mg, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 5g, Protein 4g, Vitamin A 6 percent, Vitamin C 25 percent, Calcium 4 percent, Iron 6 percent.

Courtesy of BPT

Enhance your wedding with memorable aromas

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Enhance%20your%20wedding%20with%20aromasWeddings are a feast for the senses. Anyone who’s been part of planning a wedding knows that every detail of the sights, sounds and tastes of the event are given attention. But what about the aromas? You can make your special day even more memorable by using the clean, natural scents of pure essential oils to create the perfect atmosphere for your celebration.
The ceremony. The fragrance we inhale during any important event often becomes inextricably linked with our memories of that event. In fact, the scents that your guests encounter when they first enter the wedding venue are no less important than the decorations they see. So pick a scent that you want the wedding to be remembered by. Take cues from the style of your gown, the time of year and the setting. Here are some examples of how you might match essential oils to your event:
* Elegant little white dress during the warm season (especially outdoors) is the perfect stage for fresh aromas such as citrus (bergamot, sweet orange, grapefruit) and orange flower (neroli).
* Traditional lace dress with tulle and train in a church setting trends toward timeless rose and jasmine underpinned with the balsamic, resinous scents of frankincense and sandalwood.
* Bold color dress choice in an autumn or wintertime setting equals luscious aromas of spice and fruit, coriander, cardamom, tangerine and Mandarin orange.
The reception. You’ll want to stay very low key here. Since aroma and taste are so intricately intertwined, you don’t want to introduce outside aromas that might clash with the flavors and aromas produced by any food you’re serving. There may be opportunities for subtle citrus or spice scents – perhaps at an isolated drink or snack table – but for the most part, let the aromas of the food prevail.
The dance. When the tables are cleared, and it’s time to kick up your heels, reinforce the change by introducing a distinct party aroma. Take a cue from the kind of music you’re offering:
* String quartet and elegant classical music: sophisticated cedarwood, balsamic myrrh, and earthy vetiver, sweetened with a generous dose of sweet orange.
* Lively dance band: tangy-sweet lime, bergamot, sweet orange, and spicy, candy-like fennel, anise and coriander seed.
* DJ spinning contemporary tunes: invigorating peppermint, spearmint, and uplifting citrus (lemon, sweet orange).
Diffusion is the key to designing an aromatic ambience at your wedding. This can be accomplished using a variety of apparatus that feature a fan and/or heat to propel the evaporation of the essential plant oils into the air. Simply place the oils in the device according to the instructions and add more as needed. Visit for more tips on using essential oils as well as a wide selection of plug in diffusers, vaporizers, candle lamps and essential oils.
By considering aroma – along with color, sound and flavor – during the planning stages of your celebration, you can create a complete and memorable impression on your big day.

Courtesy of BPT

Six ways to keep your workouts regular, fun and injury-free

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

In a perfect world, you’d develop a workout schedule for the next six months, stick to it flawlessly and find yourself at the level of fitness you hoped to achieve. But as many know all too well, life sometimes gets in the way, be it in the form of an injury, lack of motivation or simply running out of time. While sticking to a regular workout schedule is a challenge, there are a number of ways to keep you moving both physically and mentally.

Making your workouts fun, getting creative with both your routine and schedule, and making a few simple changes to stay healthy are all great steps toward sticking to your fitness goals. Ryan Sutter, a former professional football player who also happened to be the top choice on “The Bachelorette”, now finds himself in the role as a fulltime firefighter and family man. Yet he still enjoys amateur athletic pursuits to keep himself if shape, such as mountain bike races and marathons.

Sutter offers six tips to fellow weekend warriors looking to stay in shape:

* Set successive short-term goals to keep you going. For example, schedule a 5k one month and a mountain bike race for the next. The feeling of accomplishment you get from fulfilling each goal will help you achieve the next. You can even set weekly goals with rewards, such as allowing yourself to order a pizza after sticking to your schedule for that week.

* Use peer pressure in a positive way. Enrolling in team sports or group activity can help provide the motivation for sticking to your plan. When others are depending on you, you’re less likely to skip out.

* Vary your activity. Run one day, play basketball another and hit the weight room the next. One benefit to a varied routine is keeping you interested, but it’s also great for your body. Different activities use different muscle groups, meaning a varied workout helps you become more comprehensively fit and can help you avoid overuse injuries. “Focus on being an athlete rather than a specialist,” says Sutter.

* Listen to your body. You’re likely to have some aches and pains, but those can be reduced with the proper treatment. Always take time to warm up before and stretch after workouts, and ice sore areas after your workout. To make icing easier, keep an ACE Brand Reusable Cold Compress in your freezer at both home and work. More injury prevention tips can be found at

* Get creative with your scheduling. Look for ways to make workouts a part of your daily routine. “I really enjoy yoga in the morning with my kids,” says Sutter. Rather than heading out to dinner to catch up with your friend, see if he wants to hit the racquetball court instead. Or maybe you can occasionally bike to work instead of driving, spending the minutes you normally would be sitting in the car working out.

* Always keep your gym bag stocked and with you. This way, you can’t back out of your workout because you weren’t prepared. “There are three essentials I keep in my gym bag: food for energy, hydration to keep me going and clean clothes to change into when I’m done with my workout,” says Sutter. “You may also want to keep an ACE Brand Bandage that offers compression to help you deal with any soreness that might arise.”

“The most important thing is to have fun,” says Sutter. “Otherwise, it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re working out in the first place.”

Courtesy of BPT

While ’sitting kills,’ new tips and technology keep people moving

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

It’s common knowledge that an inactive and sedentary lifestyle is a sure way to trim years off your life. However, only recently has research been able to confirm that your job is a silent killer, assuming you’re sitting at a desk for much of the day. And although many of us try to squeeze in a workout or two a week, the studies also indicate that it’s not necessarily enough to offset the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.

Experts say that the cure is very simple and recommend we aim for 10,000 daily steps as a goal and fulfill that goal by moving throughout the day. To be motivated and reminded of this goal, using a step counter is an easy way to keep yourself on the path of being consistently active and beating that silent killer.

Recent technology advancements in step counting have made these devices barely resemble the pedometers you grew up with. One of the market leaders in the new type of step counters is the Fitbit Wireless Activity Tracker.

The popularity of Fitbit trackers seems to be driven by their ability to create a fun fitness experience by providing a small, sleek, high-tech device (containing a 3D accelerometer and altimeter)  with a fun and helpful online experience. The tracker is small and comfortable to wear (no one can see it), and the displays provide real-time stats on your fitness. The device wirelessly uploads, so people don’t have to manually enter their information online. On, users can set and track fitness goals, compete and share fitness achievements with friends, win badges for achieving daily and cumulative goals and track their progress in real time.

With the constant battle against the bulge, why not build healthy active habits now? Here are a few tips to build in a more active lifestyle without devoting hours each week to working out.

* Buy a step tracker that fits with your lifestyle and is easy for you to use. Find one with a real-time display to motivate you to move throughout the day. Track your steps for a week to get an accurate sense of your activity level.

* If you are consistently below 3,000 steps per day, track when and where you are most sedentary. If it is during the work hours, consider walking around for 5 minutes every hour. And if you are able to take breaks, try getting out for a walk rather than sitting.

* If you are in the 7,000 to 10,000 range daily, consider a few minor changes to build those extra steps and establish long-term healthy habits like parking farther away and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

* Consider taking the stairs when you can, as studies have proven that regular stair climbing has significant health benefits. A good place to start is climbing three more flights of stairs than you usually do each day. Fitbit Ultra has a setting that tracks stair climbing so you can track this fitness metric as well as distance, steps and calories burned.

* Commit yourself to a long term stair-climbing goal, like climbing 10,000 stairs for a month or 100,000 stairs  by Thanksgiving. While psychologist may disagree on how many days it takes to form a good habit, all would agree it takes more than a week’s commitment. can track how many steps you have taken daily, monthly or cumulatively.

Once you have established a goal that’s easy to track, you’ll be much more likely to reach the fitness level that will help you live a long and healthy life.

Courtesy of BPT