Friday, January 19, 2018

Healthy Snack Ideas for Family Movie Nights

I'm not a fan of the cold, winter weather, but what I like is staying warm and cuddled at home on the comfy couch (or bed) and planning family movie nights. It's also a great time for family bonding. We get to stay comfortable in our pajamas and make our own delicious snacks without spending a whole lot. It's definitely more relaxing at home.

Did you know that January 19th is National Popcorn Day?

I know the first snack that comes to mind when we think of movies is popcorn. Many people think of it as junk food, but is popcorn healthy? Actually yes, because it is still a whole grain and is high in fibre. Movie theater popcorn, however, is high in fat and sodium. For a healthier option, you can skip the grease and butter and use a bit of extra-virgin olive oil instead (or just plain popcorn). You could also use less salt when making it at home.

Here are some of our creative healthy snack ideas for our family movie nights (in addition to popcorn):

► Homemade Apple Chips

Homemade apple chips are all-natural with no added sugar nor any preservatives. You will need to make this ahead of time. Since I don't have a dehydrator, I used a regular oven to bake these.

How to make apple chips using an oven: Place apple slices on metal baking sheet with oven set to 225F. Bake the apples for about 45mins to 1 hour until dried and edges are curled up.

► Veggies and Dip

Very simple -- just slice some cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, celery, etc. That day, we just used cucumbers and baby carrots. We created homemade veggie dip using mayonnaise, sour cream, dried vegetables, and some seasoning.

Whole Grain Crackers with Strawberry & Almond Butter Topping

These snacks are very healthy and high in fibre. Don't forget to drink liquids too because too much fibre in the diet can cause constipation.

Any kind of finger food or bite sized snacks work. We like sharing a bowl of fresh fruits and berries to have sometimes.

Besides food, our must-have movie night essentials include blankets and pillows on a comfy couch.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Free DesignEvo Logo Maker {Review}

I was recently introduced to DesignEvo, a free online logo creator that helps you create unique and professional logos.  No creative experience necessary.

I decided to try it out for fun and see what I've come up with. It was easy to use and I was able to resize and place my text wherever I like.


* 3000+ fully customizable logo templates.
* Over one million icons available to search through.
* Hundreds of text fonts and shapes to choose from.
* Freely customize a logo with powerful editing tools.

Logo made with DesignEvo

It's not completely free, but it is only free to download low resolution of the file.  If you really like the logo you've made and seriously decide to use it for high quality prints, you have an option to choose between two package fees: Basic or Plus. See the chart below:

If you want to just have fun trying it out, go to www.designevo.com and let me know what you've come up with. Comment below and describe which designs are your favorite.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Motivational Monday: Don't Give Up

It's Motivational Monday! Think positive. Have faith in yourself. You got this!

Artwork credit to chibird.com


Monday, January 8, 2018

January Swago with Spin & Win (Intl)

The digital rewards site Swagbucks is offering big payouts during their January "Swago" promotion starting Monday, January 8th at 9am PT and running until Monday, January 15th! Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you're thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it, meaning you can get more gift cards faster. Here are a few tips:  

  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!  
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.  
  • You have until 12pm PT on Monday, January 15th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.  
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.  
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you'll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and you have until 11:59pm PT on Monday, January 15th to use all your spins.  

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus, which is enough for a $5 gift card from the retailer of your choice.   

Click here right now and click "Join" to get started! If you don't already have a Swagbucks account, you'll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of January, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!


How to Make New Year’s Resolutions that Stick

Every year we begin a new year resolving to do (or quit doing) something and expect to be the game changer in our lives. For some it’s to workout, lose weight, cut out all carbs and sweets. For others, it’s a promise to save more money and get finances on track. Regardless of what you resolve to do, according to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, there is a way to set yourself up for failure or success. The mindset we are in when deciding on a resolution determines it's stickiness. Below Dr. Hafeez, a New York based neuropsychologist affiliated with Columbia University, shares key insights on how to make New Year’s Resolutions that stick.

1. Envision the end result and reverse engineer it.

According to Dr. Hafeez, neural pathways in the brain can be changed through a combination of visualization and aligned action. She encourages people to journal about what it is they want. Write it all out. “How would life improve? What would all the benefits be? Cut pictures out of magazines of what you want and post them to a wall (or if appropriate, the refrigerator). Get very clear on what you think you will feel like once you see results,” she recommends.

2. Get clear on your triggers.

Set yourself up for success by understanding what may potentially get you off track. “Sticky resolutions come with planning. If you want to lose weight then begin with clearing out your fridge and cupboards of junk food. That in itself is an action that will tell your brain that you are serious. Get recipes and write out a new grocery shopping list. Writing plans, micro goals and ideas that serve the greater accomplishment you're reaching for creates “buy in” from your brain, says Hafeez.”

For the people resolving to save more money Dr. Hafeez says to evaluate when and why you spend. If you notice you spend $40 a week on coffee, think of alternatives. “You don’t want to cut yourself off from anything cold-turkey. The brain doesn’t respond well to deprivation. It sends brain chemicals that signal displeasure which is what makes resolutions lose their stickiness. Shift to a possibility or curiosity mindset. Asking yourself, what can I do to save $5 per day invites in inspired thoughts and creative ideas,” explains Hafeez.

3. Pace yourself.

“The reason why resolutions don’t stick is because people set the bar way too high and expect achievement way too fast. Think of every week as a win! Break it down into weekly chunks and train the brain to value quick accomplishments,” she advises. The people who resolve to lose weight and get more exercise won’t stick to it if they don’t celebrate small milestones and try to do too much too soon. Resolve to lose 1 to 3 pounds per week. Do this by cutting out soft drinks or juices and drinking water instead. After 10 weeks you''ll be 20 pounds lighter with great skin just because you did one thing week by week until it became your new normal.

4. Trick your brain by making it fun.

“Our language and self-talk is everything and determines if our resolution will fade or will become something we’re still doing in June,” says Dr. Hafeez. “When someone resolves to change their diet, exercise and lose weight they already envision how difficult it is going to be so they are already dreading it before they started. However, shifting the brain to doing something fun that is in line with the goal gets you more committed," she adds. Create a playlist of great music to work out to. Look up recipes on Pinterest to build your new shopping list. When you do the advance preparation that is more fun, and take small steps towards building the new lifestyle to support your resolution, you’re setting yourself up for a win.

5. Fuel your resolution with greater purpose worth committing to.

If you want to resolve to save more money, it’s is helpful to have a clear purpose for the money you plan to save. Resolving to save more money is vague making it hard to remain on track. Saving more money to take an amazing vacation or to purchase a home or car is something tangible you can stick to. “It’s common for people to commit to doing something when they connect it to a greater purpose beyond them or an experience they want to have. This explains why lifetime smokers can instantly quit when they learn they are pregnant. It’s not about them anymore. We see the man who is 75 pounds overweight lose weight when his daughter gets engaged. Whenever we can connect resolutions to a bigger purpose our minds get on board, and when the mind is all in, resolutions stick,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

About Dr. Hafeez:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens.

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.com