31 March 2010

Eating to Avoid Depression

Saw a great article today at Lifetime.com about how to eat to help avoid depression. I sense that a lot of women may experience the blues or ups and downs due to hormones and energy levels. It makes sense that eating the right kinds of foods to keep the body energized and hydrated would have to help keep one on a more even keel.

I have people close to me who have suffered serious depression and in no way do I mean to imply that eating from a list of healthy foods is a cure. It does seem like a great idea to maximize the body's ability to function well and heal when needed.

30 March 2010

Great Vegetables & Salads

Steamed vegetables are a big favorite of mine: broccoli, green beans, asparagus, carrots. This steamer from Martha Stewart would be a great replacement for the steamer I currently have that has no handle. I invariably burn my fingers trying to pull mine out of the steamy hot pan.

This salad chiller from Martha's collection at Macy's is great for crisping lettuce and make-and-go salad. There an ice pack & dressing dispenser inside. When I saw this it reminded me of a great blog entry I read at Stephmodo, one of my favorite blogs. Stephanie, the talented, wise & congenial author, shares great instructions for improving the quality of salad by crisping the lettuce first. Click the link to learn this great trick and please browse around her blog for other inspiring topics, including the gorgeous rental property, La Maisonette, that she and her husband purchased and renovated in France last year.

A summer filled with fresh vegetables is just around the corner. Make plans to enjoy them now with a few little touches that will make them even more tasty.

photos 1 &2 via
photo 3 via

Found 'em! Square-toe Ballet Flats

 I never did find these,but even better, found these at Target for $25. Thanks to my lovely friend DG for buying and wearing them to work so that I could see them and fall in love. For her very sweet gesture to try to find them for me, and to the Point Loma Target in SD for having them in my size! Two pairs of flats in 3 months, that's a big step for me.

29 March 2010

Thanks Mom & Thanks Martha - Great Kitchen Time-savers

This may sound silly, but this nut chopper was the most exciting gift I got for Christmas this past year. When I was a little girl my mother had one of these and it made chopping nuts that came out uniform in shape and size a breeze. When I moved away I had to chop nuts with a knife and that has always just been not only time consuming and annoying, but I am incapable of getting the pieces anywhere near uniform in size. I always end up with the cutting board covered with half nut dust and half big chunks. I longed for one of these, but didn't know if they still existed.

I should have learned a long time ago that when you mention to other people things you are on the prowl for, they remember and often help connect you with what you are looking for. The first present I unwrapped under our family Christmas tree was this nut chopper, in the beautiful Martha Stewart robin's egg blue color. I was so excited. No longer must baking projects turn to frustration. Now when I forget to chop nuts until it's the last ingredient to add to a recipe, I can literally crank out a cup of chopped nuts in less than a minute.

Here are a couple of other items I am ready to add to my kitchen collection. Chopping onions and garlic are equally annoying tasks for me but I seem to need these ingredients all the time. These lovely items below are on my list next:

Items like these make life in the kitchen much easier. They are great for pulling together a quick onion, red pepper and garlic omelet in the morning, sliced apples with sandwich for lunch, and fast prep work at dinner time and when baking. I'm not one of those people who has every kitchen gadget ever created. In fact I didn't even own an electric hand mixer until a few years ago. But I've learned that simple items make a big difference in the kitchen for me. What are your favorite quick helps in the kitchen? I'll share a few other kitchen favorites tomorrow.

25 March 2010

So What Would You Do?

Today's post is all about getting reader advice. So I hope when you read this, you will please share your thoughts. Here's the question. If you were going to take a few days away, where you would try to really unwind, get quiet, sit in the sun, read, think about your life, and make some goals & plans for the future, how would you spend that time?

What would you do? What would you take with you? Would you get spa treatments? Walk? Hike? Read? What music would you listen to? How would you structure your day? Please share your ideas.

24 March 2010

A Show to Look Forward To - 9 By Design

There's a new show I am looking forward to: 9 By Design on Bravo. NYC designers, owners of SIXX Design, a very cool web site, authors of this cool book, with seven kids, including two sets of twins.

After watching the trailer, I have to say I wasn't expecting it to be so DRAMA but I may be pleasantly surprised based on  the fact that I've learned a thing or two about television promo creation over the past few years. Appearances can be deceiving. To learn more click here.

photo via

Summer Sandals from Nordstrom - Heels & Wedges

It's day two of Summer Sandals from Nordstrom. Today it's all about heels and wedges. Some great looks for when you want to rock a tan and strut your stuff.

Sandal 1

Sandal 2

Sandal 3

Sandal 4

Sandal 5

While the rest of the country is beginning to enjoy Spring it seems June Gloom has set in here in SoCal. That stinks, but at least we get a little sun during the mid-day. Hope you are enjoying Spring and will be ready to hit the street is some pretty new sandals soon!

23 March 2010

Summer Sandals from Nordstrom - Flats

For the past couple of summers, I have been in search of sassy sandals that I can wear with skirts that are flat and still make me feel like a woman. I have big issues with flats because I feel they make women walk like they are wearing clown shoes. Women who walk well in high heels walk like sexy women. Women in flats rarely exude that oozing femininity. Compare the two from behind the next time you are around a group of women.

So on my quest for flat sandals I am seeking these critical elements: shoes that make me feel like a feminine woman, that I can wear out and about on long weekend adventures and won't damage my feet in the process. Here are a few options from nordstrom.com all under $100.

Tomorrow I'll share some great summer heels. Looking at my choices, I am clearly a girl who loves wedges. Be well until then!

all photos via

21 March 2010

Reading for Big Life Questions

I went to the bookcase today and looked at all my book titles. It's been a long time since I really perused my bookcase and got a good look at what I have on all the shelves. I went after one book I thought would be good to peruse, in search of Who I Am questions. Here's the interesting combination of books I came out with.

Looking In The Mirror

Have you ever paused in your life to look in a mirror and ask, "Who am I now?" I am at the end of a very busy few months at work, where life has had to adjust to work schedule daily. It's almost unbelievable that things aren't as crazy as they were, a shock to get used to. I keep checking my work mobile to make sure it's not broken.

The blaring stillness of my mobile and the increasing peace that is returning to my life has me wondering something. "Who am I now?" Lots has changed since I went from self-employed designer/artist back to the corporate world. Life for me and most of my friends has changed dramatically over the past four years. Many have married, moved, had children, changed jobs, stopped working for a while, had to reinvent themselves in a new career, dramatically changed their financial situation, bought houses, had to let go of houses, lost loved ones and seen so many other life-changing events.

I have gone from single gal about town to a committed relationship. I wonder how much my career in the past four years has influenced who I am. I have put aside many of my hobbies and creative activities in that time. I have spent far less time at home and with friends. I have been on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Activities have often been disrupted by calls. I have sat in parking lots in several cities and states taking care of emergencies via email and phone, always carrying a binder of work info in case of emergencies.

In my religious world I have changed assignments several times. I have worked with teenage girls, the women's organization and now with the under three-year-olds. That has been a lot of change. I have lost an advisor and confidante in my life who I anticipated having close to me for decades to come. Had I know I would've just made a list of life issues to discuss with her long before they ever happened and gotten her take on all of them just in case.

I have gotten older. Wiser some too, but older. I look different than I did. I see things a bit differently now and realize that things will continue to change as the years pass. I think of what I anticipated for my life when I was young, who I thought I would be today and what my life would be like. I can tell you that I could not have been more wrong about where I would be in my life right now. That is not to say I would change anything, but my imagination was not in tune with reality. Even what I anticipated two, four, six, ten years ago is nothing like where I am now.

So I have paused this week and been surprised to catch myself asking "Who am I now?" and been really surprised that I'm not sure. I have focused a lot on incorporating things that are important to me in my life, worked on my dream life list, and other lists. But I seem to be a little lost about who I am and I find that I want to reinvent. That I want to get closer to doing things that are what I was meant to do, where my talents can best shine, things that make me happy and feed my soul. I feel certain that the more we spend our time that way, the happier, kinder, more patient, more motivated and driven, more successful, move loving, compassionate, understanding, generous and...fabulous we will be.

I'm thinking about all those things. Who I am and who I want to be in my life. I'm caught by surprise to have the opportunity. I'm taking my time, making sure that I am enjoying my life more, being kind and generous with myself in the way I see things in my life and the expectations I set for myself.

I would love to hear from you readers how you evaluate where you are in your life and construct the path to where you want to be. I will write about this topic again I am sure in coming days and would love to share a conversation with you about it. Please share your experiences!

18 March 2010

Recommended Daily Amounts of Sanity

It's late Thursday night and I have not posted anything since Sunday. My apologies to blog readers. It's been a big, crazy week full of all sort of surprises and adventures. We've had an earthquake here in LA (just another day here...), I've eaten out every night this week and spent much needed evening time with dear ones from near and far. What a gift and a blessing.

I read once that people need 11 touches a day to stay really sane and healthy. I believe that. I realized I was way, way under my daily quotas for a few weeks there, working late, the beloved away on business for a few weeks, my little "Punkin" had not been here for a visit and a play and I had not seen many friends. Not good. Needless to say, it was delightful to have the beloved  here for a few days and go to dinner with two great big, strong boy cousins of mine. Talk about great hugs! Hugs are good! So safe.

If you aren't getting enough hugs, start giving them to anyone you can. They all count towards that magic sane touch total. Caring touch is one of the most stabilizing, healthy interactions you can have in a day. And think about the people around you in your life that you can help get their 11 totals a day. I especially think of single friends who live alone. They can definitely use an extra hug. If you have kids, you would probably like to go 11 seconds without being touched. You could get together with your single friends and let them enjoy some huggy-snuggle time and it would give you some time to just sit in solitude for a few minutes.

Another thing I've been doing this week is sitting out in the sun for a few minutes each day. Vitamin D is apparently being recognized as more important than once thought. It's good for the soul and the mind to just sit quietly for a few minutes.

Good healing things to do: go home from work earlier, spend time with loved ones, get out of the house, get and give your 11 touches and sit in the sun for a few minutes.

photo via

14 March 2010

Sorel Boots -- End Of The Season Steal

I wrote this post just before the Olympics and thought I had published it, but apparently I didn't. Spring is here we all pray, so it's a little late for snow boots but there are still a few places in the country that will enjoy snow for a few more weeks. But best of all these boots are all on sale now and will be ready for you next year!

I bought my first pair of Sorel Caribou Boots when I worked here. Wore them all day every day working here too. I’ve always loved them but they were a little bulky for city wear and impossible to drive a car in because they are so wide in the sole. Now Sorel has come up with a whole new line of delicious women’s boots that make me wish that I lived in a cold climate again! That’s saying a lot, because I don’t miss the cold at all.

Here’s a quick tip I learned for my Sorels, which are still in fantastic shape after all these years, from one of the guys who’d worked at Sundance for decades. To keep your feet warmer, buy thick felt shoe liners, and place them underneath your felt boot liner. It adds a great deal of additional support for your feet and another barrier from the cold. I am still using the first pair of shoe liners I bought for about $4 and I've never once had cold feet in my Sorels, even out in the nastiest cold weather all day long.

Boden USA - British Beautiful

I haven't seen a catalog that has gotten me so excited as the Boden USA catalog that arrived in my mailbox a while back. So it was with great excitement that I anticipated perusing the Spring line on the web site this week. I can only say MEOW.

 So many beautiful dresses, jackets, shoes, accessories and more
 I am so impressed. I was even more impressed when I read reviews from women of all sizes who said their purchases were a flattering fit and worked for their unique body shapes. Well done Boden!

Here's a little sample of some of my favorite items  -- things that I'll be dreaming about.

{photos via}

The Quest for Inner Peace

Peace is Every Step, by Thic Nhat Hanh is a little book I have had on my bookshelf or in my purse for many years. Just seeing it reminds me that peace inside is my choice and it's a choice I need to make many times every day.

I have carried this book in my purse with me on many days when I was not sure I could find my way through. I have read it in moments of intense hurt and anger. It has blessed me with greater calm, focus and mindfulness about my life and my interaction with others. I have learned to use school bells, wind chimes and even fire engine sirens from the station house near where I live to remind me to stop and be mindful of the moment I am in and to feel happiness and peace.

I learned that there is nothing I can do about the past, nothing I can do to control the future, the only moment I control is this one, right this moment. That is such an empowering idea! I control the happiness now. If you, like me need help occasionally returning to peace, I highly recommend this book to you. I'm going to skim it again this week myself. Peace and happiness be with you!

photo via

10 March 2010

Quantum Wellness

I started reading Quantum Wellness, by Kathy Freston, today. I've only read a few pages, but I like the philosophy. What I have absorbed so far is that wellness is a process and path, not something you accomplish or finish. Small choices and changes make the difference in big changes to your overall well-being.

I like the idea that big things happen when we make small changes in the direction we want to go. I really believe that and have seen it happen in my life many times. If I make a small effort, it's amazing that I get a big return. There's definitely something to that. Try it and see. And please share what happens!

We are often so quick to give up our well-being for things of lesser value.  I have experienced this in my own life and seen it often. We overeat and harm our bodies because we value more the comfort of food that physical health, we ruin our health and family relationships by giving all our devotion to the workplace, we overreact with other people because we are out of sorts with ourselves, we complain about our lives and do nothing to change them.

Standing up for our wellness in all areas of our life protects us from these harmful dangers. It's amazing how quickly people can pick up on where we are on the continuum of healthy. It's very apparent in the energy we carry around. The way we treat others. The way our faces look. The sound of our voice. The state of our relationships or lack thereof. The feeling in our home.

I'm looking forward to reading Quantum Wellness and learning new tools to better master the management of my health and well-being. Kathy also has some great meditation CDs and other books. Check them out here.

photo via

09 March 2010

A Universal Truth

Today I was inspired by a beautiful universal truth. You get what you give. You sow what you reap. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What you give comes back to you double fold. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Take the high road. Be the bigger man.

This is not always easy. We see examples of this every day, people who take advantage of others for their own gain, who put the needs and wants of others behind their own. Remember that they too reap what they sow. What they dish comes back to them double fold.

As for me, I will give out kindness, love, caring, honesty, earned loyalty, and be a light of good to the world. Because I do this, I reap what I sow. I am surrounded by amazing and inspiring friends and family. I count many bloggers I "know" amongst these good people. I give where I can. I express thanks, love and appreciation regularly. I am blessed beyond measure. I am at peace, and I will not let anyone take these things from me. Not that they could unless I willingly obliged. And that's just not going to happen.

photo via

08 March 2010

Swim Little Girl, Swim!

Five years ago, with a big birthday a couple of years away I set a goal for myself. I thought about where I wanted to spend my birthday and if I could do anything in the whole wide world that day what it would be.  I would spend my big birthday surfing in Hawaii. That does sound delightful, right? There was just one problem. I couldn't really swim that well. So I started taking beginner lessons at the local city pool. I swam three or four times a week. I loved it. Two years later I surfed on my birthday in Hawaii. I surfed and afterwards had the best pizza & Coke I have ever had in my life - that may have been highly influenced by the facts that we were starving and exhausted after a couple of hours in the water. A fantastic shave ice, lounging on the beach and dinner at my favorite restaurant eating my favorite meal - a dinner that makes my mouth water instantly any time I think about it-rounded out the perfect birthday. I proudly achieve my goal.

I was horrible at surfing, but I was learning. A few months later I went surfing again in Hawaii. I learned that my body proportions are goofy for surfing. My short torso and super long upper legs make it impossible to get legs under me while holding the sides of the board, but I learned a new way to position my arms that suddenly made sense to me. I am enjoying the contuation of my surfing adventure.

I ended up moving away from my regular city pool here and started a new job and soon swimming went by the wayside. I still swam on trips and any time I was near a pool, but my routine broke. I missed it. A few months ago, my mom and I were talking working out and she said, "You should start swimming again. You love swimming. It would make you happy." I was surprised by this insight because my mother lives 600 miles away and never saw me during my regular swimming days. But she was RIGHT! Call it mother's intuition or maybe just years of vacations together in Hawaii. I was invigorated to know that someone knew this about me, that I knew this about it. And I started dreaming about swimming again.

A few days later I looked up the city pool online to see what the hours were and if anything major had changed. Much to my chagrin, the pool was closing THE NEXT DAY for a several month refurbishment. BUMMER! So disappointed.

The pool finally reopened a few weeks ago and tonight I went swimming. Just walking in the door and heading towards the pool counter window was invigorating and brought back so many happy memories. I was thrilled to find out the that 30-visit card I bought several years ago was still valid. Lovely! Then I turned and entered the door to the women's locker room, half way through the door I stopped and checked to make sure it was still the women's locker room. With the re-opening, anything could've changed! It was. I loved the anticipation of walking down the long hall to the showers and lockers. The lockers didn't look anything like I remembered. The shower looked exactly like I remembered. I lockered my stuff, showered and headed to the pool. This is how my heart felt when I left. Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

What about you, fab readers? What activity makes your heart sing? What workout activities do you most enjoy and least dread? Please share your inspiration!

photos via

Love it. Hate It.

Why don't we enjoy Sam Worthington while I write the following: I have to say that I really enjoyed watching FASHION POLICE on E! and reading all the blog comments around on the Academy Awards red carpet fashions.

So fun to see how many differing opinions there are out there. Some loved one thing and others hated it. What I loved most was that there is room for all the opinions and you can see how different people's personalities, style, shape and size affected what they liked and didn't. Thanks for sharing everyone!

What about you lovely readers? Who were your favorites? What did you dislike? Who were your best dressed men?

07 March 2010

Academy Awards Red Carpet Favorites

Quick Picks from The 2010 Academy Awards

The Academy Awards has taken over my full-time work week and weekend, so I won't write much today.
But will leave a few photos and thoughts on red carpet arrivals. I loved SJP's hair and thought she looked good.

Have to say Nicole Richie has a great sense of style and just always looks comfortable in her look. She always owns it.

But this lady looks so amazingly fresh. She just stood out and seems to look better and better all the time. She has got to be eating well, sleeping well, living well. She just shines. That inspires me!
Nice job, Mrs. Kutcher! And to Charlize, I so wanted to love that pretty dress of yours, but every time I look at it, all I can do is think of that TV commercial from a few years ago with the girl with the cinnamon buns on her tush. Marishka Hargitay looked lovely, Kathy Ireland surprised and so many other lovely girls.

So many handsome men. The men that stood out for me were Sam Worthington (might have a little crush, but don't tell), Chris Pyne, Matt Damon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds (maybe another crush) and of course George C. Does it seem like maybe I have a type...light hair...interesting how that didn't work out in real life.

04 March 2010

Three Important Efforts Towards Personal Preparedness

So far this week, topics have focused on being prepared to fill physical needs. Today's topic is personal preparedness in three important areas.

First physical preparedness. Consider where you are in your physical health. If you needed to today would you be able to run to safety is needed, possibly carrying a child? Would you be able to drag a loved one to safety if necessary? Move heavy debris? Walk miles to your home or a safe place to stay? Do hard core physical labor for many hours a day to protect and provide your family?

What can you do now to make yourself more useful and independent in a crisis? How can you improve your physical strength and stamina? Just like adding to your food storage a little bit every week, you can do lots of little things every day to improve your strength and well-being. All over the internet there are great suggestions for all levels of strength training, running and physical fitness. Pick a plan that will allow you to be act in an emergency with strength and speed.

Second educational preparedness. How much do you know about basic home safety? First aid? Car safety and repair? Camping? Basic outdoor cooking? Survival foods? Can you put up a tent? Build an emergency shelter? Make a preparation plan to give you the skills you need to survive on your own. You may not be near your family, spouse or others to depend on. The more you know, the calmer you'll feel and the more proactive you'll be able to be in any situation.

Third emotional/spiritual preparedness. One of the most challenging jobs we have in our lives is to maintain our emotional and spiritual well-being. As life changes from a traditional family based structure to a world where people are more isolated and alone, it becomes even more critical and difficult. Certainly in a crisis, being strong of soul may be the difference between surviving and crumbling. Are you regularly challenging yourself, looking inside and seeing where you need to make course corrections? Do you dare admit and act upon healing past pains? Do you have the courage to see how you hold yourself back, perhaps by being stuck in a rut, holding to tightly to habits & perceptions from the past, and expectations you refuse to change? Are you able to admit fault, apologize, make amends?

Can you explore the possibility that the reason you may not have the life you want is because of you and not others? Do you dare make small, simple changes required  to have the life you want and to be all you can be? Do you consider that the things that happen in your life, even the heartbreaking things, are to teach you lessons? Are you open to quickly learning those lessons and moving  happily and quickly forward to a higher level in your life or do you prefer to kick against the wall and focus on "Why me?"

You can do it! Being open to being healthier of body, mind and soul is the most incredible preparedness work you can do. It will serve you every day and in every area of your life. It will open new doors and windows, bring new people into your life, give you the moxie to try new things and adventure more. It will carry you through hard days, loss and sadness, providing you the buoyancy you need to stay afloat when all seems lost. It will help you remember that the sun will rise again tomorrow, better days will come and happiness is never far away. Taking care of ourselves, keeping ourselves healthy is the best gift we can give to ourselves and those we love.

What do you do to stay personally prepared, feeling upbeat, positive, strong and healthy? Please do share!

Danish Spring in Your Step

It's Spring or very soon will be. Time for me to miss Denmark, tulips, pastries, rainy green hills, clogs, biking and my lovely days there once upon a time. Such a charming place. So lovely to ride an old 3-speed through downtown Copenhagen on any day surrounded by other cyclists.

What better way to celebrate Denmark than check out the fun things going on with Dansko Clogs. Much better for you than pastries, although they don't taste nearly as good. Here are a few favorites that would look so cute peeking out from a pair of jeans or with just the right skirt. I have a thing for simple, mellow clothing with a funky shoes.

I think it might be time for a visit to Solvang for a good Danish meal, fab pastries, trinkets and treasures, jewelry and occasionally the sound of a great Danish-English accent! Love it!

photo 1 via
clogs via 

03 March 2010

Be Prepared, Safe, Comfortable and Make the Best of It

Here are some good tips to help you creatively pursue a greater level of preparedness in all areas of life.

Keep your gas tank full. You do not want to run out of gas during an emergency or not have enough gas to get to safety. There will be a rush on gas stations in an emergency and gas will run out quickly if tanks cannot be refilled. If you tank is full you can ration it out as needed.

Keep a pair of comfortable shoes and socks under your bed. Keep a flashlight in your nightstand. If the electricity is out in a crisis, you do not want to injure yourself walking around barefoot or in the dark. In the Northridge CA earthquake in 1994 one of the most common injuries was cut feet from stepping on glass and other broken items on the floor.

Keep an emergency kit including comfortable shoes, flashlight, water and food in your desk at work. If there is a crisis at your office, there will be very little food available. You may not be able to leave the building. If you park in a parking garage you may not have access to your car if you are able to leave and may have to walk to safety. If electricity is out is can be very dark in office buildings or on the street after dark. If you park in a building with valet parking, do not leave your house keys with the valet. Use a spare car key. That way if you can’t get to the garage or to your keys you will at least have your house keys with you when you are able to return home.

Pay attention during fire drills, know your way out. Know where the closest first aid kit is, they are often maintained in the lunchroom area. Know the number to building security, they are your first line of defense and in large capacity buildings they receive broad training and must maintain emergency plans. 

Keep an emergency kit in your car: including food, clothing, water, tools, a small shovel, easy fix flat tire in can, blanket, disposable camera if you don't have one on your phone (in case you get in an accident or need to quickly record information), entertainment (book, magazine, kid’s toy, etc.) and other items you may need if you are forced to spend the night in your car. In a bad storm or if there is a road closure you may spend a cold night in the car in the middle of nowhere. Being prepared will make this a much easier experience.

Keep a wide range of over-the-counter medicines and first aid products in emergency kits.  If you are in a disaster you may face health and injury concerns.  In a crisis environment there is the possibility to get scraped, cut and bruised. You may do much more physical work than usual and may want a good muscle cream and sunscreen.  You may get scraped up, bitten by bugs, heat rashes, infected cuts, or even just get badly dry skin. You can get ointments & creams for these ailments at 99 cent stores, which makes it easy to gather a variety of treatment options to have on hand.

Think about emergency sources of transportation. If you are unable to use your car and there is no electricity or fuel available your best transportation source will be YOU. You can walk, run, skate, board or cycle if you invest in keeping yourself healthy and active. Keep a few extra repair parts for your sports gear in your home so if you must use them frequently you will be able to do simple repairs. You can learn to do your own repairs at your local sports shops, from books or online. REI often teaches classes on simple bike repair.

Pack a bit of fun for emergencies. Even in the worst of times, you can still have bright moments. Entertainment, laughter and distractions can be your best ally in bad times. In emergency kits pack simple card games, paper, crayons or pens, small toy surprises like small plastic animals for kids, joke books, crossword puzzles, word searches, Mad Libs, a couple of novels, a ball, anything that would be fun and divert minds from the stresses at hand.

If you are in a shelter or brought together with other people these activities will also be a great icebreaker and way to build relationships.  And if you have enough to share you might just make the day of a harried mother or bored and lonely senior citizen. Have some fun snacks to share and you’ll certainly be popular. Easily packable treats like hard candies, bite-size licorice, lollipops, a little chocolate with be especially delightful on a hard day.

Create a meeting place plan with your family. Choose one place you will all meet if there is an emergency then pick two backup locations in case those areas are off limits or damages. You may also choose one relative that does not live in your immediate area and may be away from danger and available to help coordinate regrouping your family. Each member if unable to find each other may contact this person for more information.

Give some key people in your life basic information that will help locate you and family members in a crisis. You should make sure that a trusted friend or family members outside of your immediate family have contact information and addresses for your family, including schools, church, office, parks and anywhere that you regularly spend blocks of time and contact information to friends in your local area who may be able to help them. That way if they must search for you or members or your family they will have some starting point.

Don't use the phone, TEXT instead. Phone lines are the first thing to get overwhelmed in a large-scale crisis. We are asked to stay off phones so that emergency services and those really in need will have access to reach out for help. Often when phone lines are not available, text messages can still be sent and received. They do not overburden phone lines and are a much better way to communicate in an emergency.

Finding ways to increase your preparedness will help you live more peacefully now and in any crisis that might come your way.

02 March 2010

Emergency Preparedness Week Day Two -- Food Storage

I was raised in a community that is big on emergency preparedness. Food storage was always a big part of that conversation. Having a three-month to one-hear supply of food on hand can be a great comfort if one has lost a job, money becomes tight or disaster strikes. There are many inexpensive ways to develop an individual or family food storage program and many resources available with useful guidelines.

Even in a small apartment there are ways to store emergency supplies under beds and in other out of the way places. Great tips include learning to rotate food, how to store food to maximize shelf-life, and buy things you'll actually eat. Granted you'll eat anything if you are hungry enough, but on the first day of using your stored food you don't not want to be miserable eating food you find no joy in. If you are in a crisis, a good meal will be meaningful and memorable. Buy good wholesome foods, without unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients, don't scrimp to save money. In a crisis you will need your body at peak functioning and health.

About.com - great list of books and links to a wide variety of food storage issues
Consumer's Guide - excellent food lists with amounts included
Establish a Food Storage System - simple, clear suggestions including food rotation
providentliving.com - check out the great links on 3-month and longer term food storage

With just a few dollars each week you can build up an emergency food supply and find creative ways to store and protect it no matter what kind of home you live in. It doesn't have to be expensive or overwhelming. 

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