All posts by venturachorale

Do you have an Alter Ego?

For about a month now, I’ve been on a personal journey to really get my karma in harmony, tie up some loose ends, and get a fresh perspective on things, just relax and be less uptight. I resigned from my dead end job at a staffing company and I have given myself the goal of December 31, to make definite progress in those objectives so that I can kick-start my energy level again. Since January of this year, I have just been sort of low on enthusiasm and haven’t really been as upbeat as I normally would be…you know excited & optimistic about my personal life as I would like. I just had a job interview on yesterday that seems very promising and I am excited about the opportunity. I sent my hand-written thank you note today, no delay, and my expectation is that I will to be starting work at this company soon.

The interview yesterday was my 7th interview this year, the most I have EVER gone on and not gotten an instant reply back as in, “Yes, we need you to work for our company. When can you start?” One of my more interesting job prospects this year was to work as an announcer for the local lottery drawing here in Georgia. I made it through 3 call backs, which I thought was quite impressive considering I have no tv experience, however, needless to say, I didn’t get the gig, so I am continuing on the conventional corporate path for the time being. Often times, I have to admit,I sometimes wonder, why do what I’ve always been doing? This afternoon, as I was driving to pick up my children from school, I saw a young lady walking from a very popular hair salon in my neighborhood.

She had purple hair, it was actually violet, a tiny diamond piercing in her nose and a really pretty tattoo on her upper left arm – – I think it was lotus flowers or something of that nature. I thought her hair was gorgeous – – ditto for her tattoo and her nose piercing. I had a violet colored streak in my hair in college, and I think tattoos are pretty and for whatever reason, I have often contemplated a nose piercing or a navel piercing, especially a navel piercing when I am really on my work out and feeling ultra sexy, don’t ask me why! If you saw me, however, I am totally NOT that way. I have long dark hair, that I wear parted in the middle, and it is past my shoulders; I wear it sort of full and with slight curl, and sometimes parted on the left side.

Whoopee! LOL As for my wardrobe, I mostly wear things that a corporate employee would wear. For instance, to my interview , I wore a black suit from Ann Taylor , a white blouse fitted, with french cuffs for flair , black round-toed pumps and a cute, over-sized bag. Very corporate. Very appropriate….but sometimes, I’d like to do things to shake up my routine, not be so “hum-drum”. I know the field I work in, expressing myself with violet hair and a nose piercing would not be the wisest fashion choice to make , so I do other things that express my “alter Ego”, but only I know it. That is why I sometimes have that “cheshire grin” people ask me about every now and again – – at least those that see past my exterior.

I once read that the entertainer, Beyonce, has an alter ego when she is on stage, that she has named Sasha. Sasha is her alter ego that we see when she is dancing, performing and in the zone. I am not sure that my alter ego has a name per se, however, I know the part of me that flirts at the gas station when I’m not with my children or goes to Houston’s and has a martini and sushi or even chills out in my room on my pretty fuschia leather couch with my scented candles burning , lounging just listening to my I-pod in my favorite peignor set, is not the everyday me. It’s just that I sometimes wonder…..do I want the two sides of my personality to be more in sync for all to know, or is it more alluring & mysterious of me to have those aspects of my personality under wraps for only a few to be privy to? What do you think? Is there always a part of ourselves that will be hidden to others? Share with me your thoughts.

Written by Mocha Mama

Diabetes Robbed My Friend of Her Sight and Life

On the eve of my high school reunion, I am slightly giddy with anticipation. Not because my life began and ended with high school: my 30s have been where I’ve really hit my stride.And I have remained connected with my high school friends who made an impact on me.But I am curious and genuinely looking forward to catching up with my classmates to see where the journey has taken them over time. However, my excitement is marred by the absence of one of my dearest friends since grade school.

My friend was a beautiful, smart, funny, and vivacious woman, and could light up a room. The tough environment and inner city in which she grew up was no match for her sense of humor, feist, and wit, which all got her out of trouble.? I learned so much from her. How to take chances and see the light in anything. To love Robert Smith. To make the mistakes teenagers do, and hopefully learn from. ?She witnessed all my proud teenage milestones: first cigarette, first car accident, first intoxication.

Our lives took different paths at graduation when I went away to school. Lack of college didn’t stop her from kicking ass in Corporate America, working her way up the ladder into management at a credit union. She was whip smart and a fast learner.

It’s as if she knew her time on earth was limited, being diabetic since the age of 14. Her health was always precarious and she made the most of her well days. Eventually diabetic retinopathy robbed her of sight.?I don’t like to talk about her last days, because it’s not how I want to remember her, but she lost her sight and her husband, who passed from complications of the same disease.

Many people do not take the impact of diabetes seriously…but uncontrolled it can have devastating consequences such as blindness, renal failure, amputation, and death. Some cases of diabetes, notably Type II, can be prevented and managed through diet and exercise. Traditionally, many urban areas where rates of diabetes are disproportionately higher, lack access to fresh produce and are lined with fast-food franchises.?I commend the efforts of the Obama Administration for encouraging fresh food in school cafeterias and planting an organic garden in the White House. Community gardens are springing up in urban areas and this summer, I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of produce stands outside the subways in New York. In addition to re-shaping our focus on health and nutrition in this country, we need to support the efforts of research and science to find a cure for this fatal disease.

RIP, girl. You are sorely missed.

Authentic Recipe for Nikujaga, or Japanese Beef Stew

Takeaways:

  • Nikujaga contains beef, onions, potatoes, assorted vegetables, and a soy-sauce based broth.
  • It is a home-style recipe considered “comfort food” by many Japanese people.
  • This dish appeals to the Western palate, making it an excellent starter dish in Japanese cooking.

Did You Know:

Nikujaga was adapted from an English beef stew recipe, then modified to appeal more to Japanese tastes in the late 19th century.

Japanese Home-Style Cooking

A little-publicized component of Japanese cuisine is home-style; the food commonly prepared for one’s family. The Japanese word for this kind of food is “ofukuro no aji,” literally “mother’s taste”. Or, as we would say in English: just like my mother used to make. And, as in many countries around the world, this food occupies a special place in the Japanese consciousness.

Izumi-sensei, an energetic woman who liked to call herself my “Japanese grandmother” while I was living in Japan, shared several of her family’s favorite recipes with me. The first dish we prepared together was nikujaga. It remains a favorite, especially when introducing skeptical friends to Japanese cooking. Having served this dish to even quite finicky eaters, I have never received less than positive responses. As an unpretentious middle ground between distinctively Japanese and more familiar Western fare, it enjoys almost universal appeal.

The name offers a clue to the contents. “Niku” means “meat” and “jaga” is a shortened form of “jagaimo”: aka “potatoes”. Yes, meat and potatoes! It was adapted from English beef stew recipes in the late 19th century. But, as is common with adopted practices, the expression of the dish changed to appeal more to the Japanese palate. The most noticeable difference is the somewhat sweet-salty broth containing soy sauce and sugar.

This is an excellent recipe for those who are attempting weight loss or simply want a healthy, delicious meal with reasonable calorie content. Customize the recipe by adding more vegetables and less meat and potatoes if you would like to reduce the calories further. The broth is what really pulls the dish together; the other ingredients always vary widely from family to family anyway.

Nikujaga (Japanese Beef Stew)

? lb. Beef, sliced thin and cut into bite-size pieces (ask someone at the meat counter to slice a roast as thin as possible – or just use stew meat, but the stew meat won’t soak up as much flavor.)
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into fourths
1 onion, cut into eighths
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1Tbsp soy sauce (I like Kikkoman, it’s much closer to Japanese-style soy sauce than La Choy)
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup peas, sliced carrots, or other colorful, bite-size vegetable

Heat the vegetable oil in a soup pot and fry the beef, onion, and potatoes until the beef is cooked thoroughly. Add the water, then the sugar, soy sauce, and salt. Bring to a boil; skim off any fat floating on the surface using a wooden spoon. Add the vegetables and simmer 20-25 minutes. Enjoy hot.

It’s a Wonderful Life – 20 Fun Facts You May Not Know

The original movie poster for the 1946 classic film “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Takeaways:

  • “It’s A Wonderful Life” was nominated for 5 Academy Awards but failed to win.
  • The set of Bedford Falls is one of the largest in American film history with Main Street alone measuring over 300 yards.
  • The film was originally set up at another studio with Cary Grant in the lead role of George Bailey.

Did You Know?

“It’s A Wonderful Life” was a box office flop when it was released in 1946 partially due to an opening weekend snowstorm that rocked the Midwest.

Chances are that at some point this Christmas season you and your family are going to sit down and watch the perennial classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore. The classic film tells the story of George Bailey (Stewart), a man who works his whole life in a small town to make good only to feel that he has failed and decides to end his life. George’s guardian angel comes to George at his greatest moment of despair to show him that his life has not been wasted and is worth living.

Directed in sentimental fashion by veteran Frank Capra, “It’s A Wonderful Life” is one of the few films that seem to improve with age. There are very few people out there that don’t enjoy this beautifully told comedy/drama while most people outright love it.

Here is a list of 20 fun facts about the film that you may or may not know. When you sit down with your loved ones or curl up next to a blazing fire in the fireplace to watch this movie, you can look for some of these facts in the movie or later share them with your friends and family.

1) The film was nominated for 5 Academy Awards (Best Picture; Director; Actor; Sound Recording; Editing) but failed to win a single award. “The Best Years of Our Lives” would win the Best Picture Award.

2) When the film was released in 1946 it was a box office flop. The weekend it opened happened to be the same time as vicious snowstorms slammed the entire Midwest.

3) The film was made on a budget of $3.8 million dollars and was completely financed by Frank Capra, who set up Liberty Films with fellow directors William Wyler and George Stevens. The failure of this film resulted in the bankruptcy of the new studio.

4) This was James Stewart’s first film after finishing his service in World War II. Initially he rejected the part feeling it was too soon after coming home to return to work but was convinced to take the role by Lionel Barrymore.

5) The film was originally set up as a project for Cary Grant at another studio. When that version failed to materialize, Frank Capra stepped in and re-wrote the character of George Bailey to suit Stewart.

6) Jean Arthur was Capra’s first choice to play Mary Bailey but she rejected the script as “too sappy.” Capra then chose Donna Reed, who would make her starring debut here.

7) Vincent Price was Capra’s first choice to play Mr. Potter. There is no known reason as to why Price didn’t get the role that eventually went to Lionel Barrymore.

8) Before “It’s A Wonderful Life” snow was created using painted cornflakes. Unfortunately the flakes would make so much noise that any dialogue would have to be dubbed in later in postproduction. Capra wanted to record the sounds live so a new snow effect was created using foamite (a chemical used to fight fires), soap and water. The mixture was then pumped through a wind machine to create the falling snow. Over 6,000 gallons were used during the production. The effects department at RKO was awarded a special award by the Motion Picture Academy.

9) In the scene where Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) is leaving George’s house drunk, he walks off camera and sounds as if he stumbles over a pile of garbage cans. In reality a young crewmember had dropped some equipment at the moment Mitchell walked off camera. Both Mitchell and Stewart continued the scene with Mitchell improvising the line “I’m alright! I’m all right.” If you look closely at Stewart’s reaction you will see him laugh but he stays in character. The crewman believed he was about to be fired but Capra liked the moment so much he kept it in the film and gave the crewman a $10 bonus.

10) In the high school dance scene, the young man spurned by Mary to dance with George and eventually opens the floor to reveal the swimming pool was played by Carl Switzer, best known as “Alfalfa” in “The Little Rascals.”

11) The gym floor that opened up to reveal a swimming pool was real and located at Beverly Hills High School. The pool is still there today.

12) For the scene where George and Mary make wishes and throw rocks into the windows of the Granville house, Frank Capra had a marksman on hand to throw the rock off camera for Donna Reed. Reed insisted that because she had all brothers she could make the throw accurately herself. Capra agreed to give her one take to make the shot and, to the amazement of the crew, she made an accurate throw and hit the window she was aiming at. That shot is the one that is in the film.

13) The set of Bedford Falls took over two months to build on the RKO lot and became one of the longest sets ever created for an American movie. It covered over four acres and included over 70 buildings. Main Street alone was three blocks long and measured well over 300 yards.

14) In the scene where George prays in the bar, Stewart filmed a rehearsal that was extremely powerful and even resulted in him crying real tears. When it came time to shoot an actual take, Stewart informed Capra he didn’t think he could come close to recreating the emotions so Capra took the rehearsal and blew up the film to make it look like the camera was moving in for a close-up. The rehearsal is the scene in the final cut.

15) Actor Sheldon Leonard, who played Nick the bartender, claimed he only took the role so he could have money to buy Brooklyn Dodgers season tickets.

16) The scene where Clarence comes to George on the bridge was shot on the RKO back lot on a 90-degree day. Because of the heavy clothing required it is possible to see Stewart sweating in a few shots.

17) In the scene where police officer Bert shoots at a fleeing George, you can see the “Pottersville” lighted sign in the background. At the moment Stewart runs by its path you can see the “s” on the sign go out. This was a pure accident as the bulb simply burned out but it appears as if it has been shot out.

18) James Stewart was petrified to film the phone-kissing scene with Donna Reed, as it was his first romantic scene since returning from the war. Capra assuaged Stewart’s fears and filmed the scene in one long take. It worked so well and was so passionate that Capra had to cut several seconds out to avoid censorship problems.

19) If you turn the volume WAY up it is possible to hear two lines of dialogue after young George is shown out of his father’s office when berating Potter (“You can’t say that about my father”). When George is outside the office you can hear the following lines:

POTTER: What’s the answer?

BAILEY: Potter, you’ve just humiliated me in front of my son.

20) Director Frank Capra later sighted this film as his personal favorite. Likewise, James Stewart said that George Bailey was his favorite performance.

Breathing Exercises for Pink Puffer or Blue Bloater

As we known, Pink Puffer and Blue Bloater are two types of COPD, this disease is actually one of the leading causes of disabilities in the United States and ranks as the fourth cause of disease-related deaths in the nation. It has been diagnosed on approximately twelve million patients and it is estimated that another twelve million people also suffer from it without even knowing that they have it. COPD is very similar to asthma but as where the latter is irreversible since it is a condition regarding the passage of air into the body, it is permanent. The damage is caused by a person’s lifestyle and not by hereditary complications or allergies. The symptoms between the two are similar and when one gets into a COPD attack there are several breathing exercises to help them relieve themselves of the pain and cycle back into a regular breathing routine. This will prevent them from passing out, experiencing a heart failure, or developing a stroke. Consider the following COPD exercises:

Approved COPD Breathing Exercises

1. Pursed Lip Breathing – the key to stopping the attack is to get your body to breathe regularly. The pursed lip breathing technique is one of the best ways to regulate your breathing process. You have to keep your lips closed and then breathe in for three, full seconds through your nose. When you exhale, keep your lips pursed and open them up as if you were to whistle. Keep the opening small and then exhale slowly. You should not rush the air out. If you took three seconds to breathe in, take six seconds to breathe out. Continue to do this until the attack fades. Make sure that you do this as calm as possible. You do not want to force the air out as it will only make the attack painful.

2. Breathe Deeply – Breathing deeply is another way to let a COPD attack such as pink puffer and blue bloater fade out quickly and for you to regulate your breathing. You have to either sit upright or stand erect. Make sure that your head, neck, and chest are comfortable. Tuck in your elbows at your side and relax. It may seem hard at first since a COPD attack does make it difficult to breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose. Hold your breath in for at least five seconds and then exhale slowly to ease the air out of your lungs. Continue to do this until the COPD attack passes. Many physicians prefer that you mix this with pursed lip breathing, especially if you get a breathing attack when exhausted.

3. Diaphragm Breathing – this exercise requires you to lay down flat on the floor. You have to bend your legs so have pillows to give them ample support. Keep a hand on your chest and then place the other on your abdomen. Again breathe in slowly for three seconds. This time, as you inhale, make sure that your chest is as still as possible. It should be your abdomen and lower ribs that rise and fall. The motion will help your body relax and reduce the pain of sporadic breathing attacks. Purse your lips and exhale slowly. Continue to do this routine until the attack subsides.

Blue Waffle Facts

blue waffle

Blue waffle disease is a top condition in the recent years that most women asked on internet. Firstly you should know the fact about this disease. Risky sexual behavior, large number of sexual partners, not using condoms during sexual intercourse increases the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, infections of genital organs and unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

A large number of children and young people, during the summer, replace their residence by sea resorts or similar destinations. When place of residence is changed so is the way of life. Leading public health problems of teenagers are connected with certain behaviors and habits, so you should remember the basic recommendations.

Proper nutrition is one of the prerequisites of health for preventing blue waffles. Diet should be based on the variety of foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, white meat and fish. They provide enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The daily amount of calcium will be provided from dairy products, fermented best. You should avoid fast high calorific meals without biologically valuable substances (so-called “dead food”), which young people like to eat. It is very important not to skip breakfast, which should provide 40 % of daily caloric value of the food and know that breakfast is not fattening, also note that the girls are “always” on a diet.

Preventing hemorrhoids is easier than treating them

In most health conditions prevention is wiser and easier than treatment and hemorrhoids are no exception to this rule. While they are quite easy to treat as soon as the first symptoms arise, they can evolve into a source of terrible discomfort, pain and embarrassment if left untreated. Hemorrhoids develop as a result of pressure on the veins of the anus, which cause the latter to swell and develop bulges. They are believed to be positively related to constipation, pregnancy, obesity, poor dietary habits and hereditary factors. Other factors and health conditions, such as chronic diarrhea, hypertension and a sedentary lifestyle with little or no exercise, may also cause or aggravate hemorrhoids.

Although you probably have little or no control over many of these factors, or eliminating them would require extreme lifestyle changes on your part, others are much easier to take under control. If you are prone to hemorrhoids or if they tend to be a recurring condition, you should consider adopting certain mild preventive measures against them. It is probably a small price to pay in order to get permanently rid of them.

Useful tips for hemorrhoid prevention 

Constipation is considered to be the most common cause for hemorrhoids when coming to the question how long hemorrhoids last. Straining to pass hard stool results in excessive pressure on the rectal area, which causes the veins to swell, bulge and sometimes bleed. Furthermore, constipation creates a vicious cycle, because the pain and discomfort of trying to pass hardened stool through such a sensitive and irritated area, causes the anus to tighten instinctively in order to prevent anything from further hurting it. This makes it even harder to pass stool, causing more strain and resulting in further constipation, which may be psychological to some degree, due to the agony involved in having a simple bowel movement.

Your first preventive measure therefore, should be focused on dealing with constipation. This is easily done by including more natural fibers in your diet. High-fiber foods include whole meal bread, fresh and dried fruit (plums and figs are great for constipation), vegetables, beans, cereals. You can also get over-the-counter fiber supplements if you like. On the other hand, try to avoid laxatives because they may cause diarrhea which is nearly as bad for hemorrhoids as constipation.

Your second preventive measure should be to adopt some good bathroom habits. Straining is very bad for hemorrhoids, so try to avoid it. Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge but do not spend any more time sitting on the toilet than necessary. If nothing happens after two or three minutes, get up and retry later. Also, refrain from reading or distracting yourself in any other way while trying to have a bowel movement.

Your third preventive measure should be focused on your work and leisure habits. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. If your type of job requires that you do, try to take breaks in order to move around a bit. Also, try to include some light exercise in your lifestyle, if the latter is kind of sedentary.

Adoption of such measures will make you see a significant improvement. if you suffer from mild or occasional hemorrhoids. However, in some severe cases, you may need more serious treatment.

ExtenZe Side Effects

ExtenZe is a formula that is all natural and it’s supposed to be effective and safe. After all, when you’re not getting a prescription, you expend that they will give you those results, right? And you expect that it will give you other benefits, because of course herbal ingredients have to be that way, right? Of course, that has been proven wrong more than once. There’s the fact that realistically speaking, there are plenty of “natural” supplements that have been proven to be in some cases just as dangerous as prescription options.

Some of ExtenZe’s ingredients are fine, unless of course you’re a woman. Obviously, a male enhancement product is going to use testosterone building ingredients. So obviously, that would be detrimental for women. But that’s why they call it “male enhancement.” But the risks aren’t just to women. There are also side effects that can hit men. For example, some men may experience heart attacks, stroke, and renal failure due to one ingredient known as yohimbine.

It naturally has some sources of caffeine. So one might experience side effects such as those often expected with caffeine such as nausea, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, headaches, etc. Of course, those only happen if you happen to be sensitive to caffeine in the first place. But for those who are, it’s still something to consider. All in all, it will still cause a certain number of side effects, some more serious than others, some comparable in some ways to ingredients like ephedra.

But luckily, this is not the only way to go. There are other options available. For example, you can achieve greater male enhancement results without the side effects. Frankly, ExtenZe doesn’t even really have the mix to show results in the first place. But there’s a product known as Orexis that does. Orexis has all the benefits without the side effects for real male enhancement benefits.

Americans need to start sweating

With holidays looming, many of us are not only thinking about our growing shopping list but also our ever expanding waistlines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that currently “only 45.9 percent of those aged 18 and over met the U.S. government’s recommendation of at least 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate exercise five days a week or at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three days a week.” Currently approximately 1/5 of those polled reported that they were seriously inactive, meaning that they had not even exercised at least 10 minutes per week.

That last bit seems particularly stunning. Ten minutes is not much time. Ten minutes could be spent walking from the car to the shopping mall entrance. Ten minutes could be hand delivering Christmas cards to neighbors. Ten minutes could be walking to nearest community volunteer center to help with those less fortunate.

TLC Diet

There a lot of diet fads out there that promise weight loss and lessen the risk of having heart disease and/or lower cholesterol levels. It usually entails a person to avoid a certain food group, and sad to say that most of these fads do not work. However, there is hope with the TLC diet. The program is especially good for people with heart diseases and has high levels of cholesterol.

What is it all About?

The TLC Diet is one best ways for one to proceed with watching what they eat by looking out for the certain amount of cholesterol that they take in from food. While such a matter is often observed by other dieting trends in the world today, this plan makes for a more precise approach on the matter, as it would require a specific amount of cholesterol that will be watched over one’s diet.

Referred to as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, this plan allows one to observe the amount of cholesterol that they take in order to help the body effectively regulate its metabolism and energy building process. Because it works such a system, there are specific guidelines that one has to follow to allow it to be effective.

This will involve a close monitoring of one’s cholesterol intake, which would have one taking less than 7% of the total calories for the day from saturated fat. This TLC Diet will also involve getting one’s daily total calories to less than 25 35%, and will have one looking after to receiving only cholesterol intakes of 200 milligrams a day.