Girl Uninterrupted Blog

Jun
3

Plant a Summer Garden & Boost Self Esteem

Posted by in #GirlUBeWell, Health, Summer, Tips

gardenPart three of our #GirlUBeWell blog series to provide you with an off-screen, self esteem boosting activity is planting a garden.  If you start this weekend, you will be rewarded all summer long. Doing an activity outside gets you “back to nature” and an easy garden provides a soul satisfying experience of playing with dirt and nurturing a plant’s growth.

Even if your only outdoor space is technically a sunny kitchen window, or a balcony, you have enough space for a garden.  But even with acres of land, if you are a newbie, your best bang for the buck is to start off growing herbs.  They thrive in pots or in a small plot of land.

A trip to your local Home Depot, or Lowes, or hometown nursery will provide everything you need…the planters, soil and small plants of herbs.  Here is what we think will make the perfect starter herb garden!

Basil – Grows like a weed as long as it has good sunlight and regular watering.  Since is grows abundantly, pinch off leaves for a caprese salad, bruschetta or a quick pesto sauce.

Mint – Also a hardy plant that grows quickly!  If you put it in the ground, give it room to spread.  Mint is perfect for Mojitos and for infusing water.  Mix in chopped mint with lemon juice and Greek yogurt and you have a great topping for grilled food.

Thyme – Excellent all around flavor and easy to dry for winter use.  Thyme is great for a lemon chicken dish or in pasta sauce.

Marjoram & Oregano – Do you have a spice bottle of “Italian Seasoning?” These two herbs are staples in sauces.

Tarragon – Adds a rich, woodsy flavor to mushroom risotto or a chicken dish.

Rosemary – Excellent on roasted vegetables or potatoes and it smells heavenly in creamy sauces.

Sage – Another woodsy herb that grows quickly and the leaves are soft and fuzzy and a pale green that looks so pretty in the garden.

Chives – A subtle onion flavor and a welcome addition in salad dressing and on baked potatoes with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

This is a satisfying way to spend a few minutes every day and there are plenty of other herbs to consider!  Fussing over the plants, either watering or picking some herbs, becomes a daily habit.  Your finger tips will be fragrant with whichever herb you pick and it feels good to grow some of the food you eat. You might find yourself looking for easy recipes using tarragon or sage if you have a bumper crop, or taking a bunch of basil in a mason jar filled with water to a friend’s house to share.  Who knows, growing herbs might entice you to try growing tomatoes or zucchini next summer.

May
20

Get Rid of Cramps with Heat!

Posted by in Health, PMS, Products, Tips

Sometimes the best course of action when cramps are ruining your life is to place something warm on your belly and let heat work its magic.   Here is a product roundup of hot water bottles and heating pads to get rid of cramps.

SpaComforts Cozy Comfort Hot Water Bottle, Spa Girl Pink

$9.99, Walgreens.com

SpaComforts Cozy Comfort Hot Water Bottle

 

This old-fashioned hot water bottle has a stylish, plush cover with a little girlfriend reminder to “relax.”  Fill it up with hot water and place it on your belly for hours of heat therapy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Size Heart Warmer Pillow Red

$11.01 on sale, Bucky.com

heartwarmer_flat-hr_765155507230_3_1__38692.1415127403.1280.1280

It is a little heart shaped hug and at 5”x 5” in size, it is discrete enough to use the office kitchen microwave and place on your lap at work.  Whole buckwheat seed is used in spas since it provides a gentle, moist heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CVS Heatwraps Menstrual Cramp Relief

$5.99 for 3 patches, CVS.com

cvs heat wraps

They are not sexy, but a patch provides 8 hours of heat exactly where you need it and no one will ever be the wiser!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunbeam Moist/Dry Heating Pad

$12.99, Drugstore.com

heating pad

The electric heating pad is great for those days on the couch in sweatpants when long-lasting, steady heat is the only remedy for those cramps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat is an all natural way to deal with the pain of PMS cramps and the good news is that there are many affordable options for relief.

 

May
13

PMS Food Cravings

Posted by in Health, Nutrition, PMS, Tips

cupcakesFull disclosure: This blog was drafted in writer’s head on a walk to coffee shop for decaf skim latte to avoid office birthday cake temptation!

As rational women, here is what we know.  We know that diet is critical to mitigating PMS symptoms.  By eating small meals throughout the day to avoid extreme hunger and by choosing vegetables and lean protein, we can fill our bodies with the food it needs to maintain balanced blood sugar and avoid food cravings.

But food cravings are powerful and fluctuating hormones can sometimes be hard to overcome.  During our PMS days, stress hormone, cortisol, can spike and feel-good hormone, serotonin, drops.  What temporarily boosts serotonin? Carbohydrates boost serotonin.  And the problem is that we crave the most fat and sugar filled carbohydrates during stressful and emotional times of the month.

We asked for coping strategies from a sampling of women and here are their answers.

  • Taking a walk and sipping on a warm beverage are two coping strategies. Both light exercise and caffeine can provide a boost.  If you are stressed out, go easy on the caffeine because you really don’t need a boost, you need the Zen affect of sipping something warm and soothing.   A dusting of chocolate or cinnamon to the top of a latte or cappuccino provides a dessert type flavor to the coffee, satisfying a sweet tooth for some.
  • Chew gum. Sugarless grape bubble gum was the respondent’s choice for a sweet pick me up, but mint or bubble gum flavors are also fine.
  • Have a conversation with yourself to understand the craving. Ask yourself if you are really hungry or are you bored?  Are you eating your emotions and is there something else you could do instead (take a walk, pick up your knitting, write in a journal) to work through the emotions?
  • Make a satisfying substitution. One respondent said that she eats a few dark chocolate covered almonds versus a candy bar and rationalizes it by saying that the almonds are healthier than a candy bar from the vending machine.  Plus, it satisfies the craving for chocolate.

Here is a little secret that most women don’t know, your metabolism revs up during your PMS days.  It is Mother Nature’s little offset for those PMS food cravings!  Try to bust through cravings by distracting yourself or substituting a healthier option, but forgive yourself and move on if you find yourself in a miserable mood finishing a bag of chips.

May
8

Knit 1, Purl 2…Stress Relief Just 4 You

Posted by in #GirlUBeWell, Products, Tips

YThe focus of our #GirlUBeWell blog campaign is to introduce a few analog activities for stress relief and to carve out some “me time” during the week.  Working, exercising, family obligations and overall busyness erode any free time to sit quietly and just be.  These quiet times are important to rejuvenate the mind.

Why knitting?  There are so many reasons but start with “community.”  If you want to meet new people, find a yarn store and purchase your yarn and needles there, take a class and join a knitting circle.  You can ask for help as you get stuck or have an expert available to pick up a dropped stitch, or help you rip a few errant rows.   Grab a few friends and make it a new kind of happy hour.  Sitting around with a bunch of women and the “click-click” of needles working always sparks conversation, and it is nice to talk versus text sometimes.

“Creativity” and “concentration” are second and third on the list of reasons.  As you gain confidence and skill, you will try new things.  It’s ok to make twenty scarves, eventually you will want a hat, socks or maybe some fingerless gloves.  As you learn to more stitches, you might move up to a poncho or a shawl!  Knitting requires reading a pattern and counting things, like stitches and rows, so it is an activity that demands focus.  Checking your newsfeed is not advisable!

Knitting a few rows is a great way to wind down your night, no yarn pun intended!  There is no blue light from a screen that revs up your brain and the tactile feel of soft yarn and the repetitive motion is soothing.  And when you hold a finished product in your hand, even a simple scarf, it is a gratifying sense of accomplishment.  For more on knitting and why it is a great activity to try, check out this Yahoo article or this HuffPost article!

May
6

The Right Bra for Sore Breasts

Posted by in Health, PMS, Products, Tips

braDuring those PMS days of the month, breasts may become sore, swollen and tender and a bra that fits correctly goes a long way to keeping “the girls” comfortable. Have you had a proper fitting for a bra? If you answered “no,” you are like most women who guess their bra size by trial and error. However, most women pick out the wrong size and that can have consequences!

Department stores and lingerie stores have employees who are trained to measure and fit a bra properly. Everything about getting fitted, buying one bra at that store and paying a higher price for the right size, is worth it. Most of the support from a bra comes from the band and the right cup size will prevent squishing, spillage and extra movement.

Here are a couple of key tips for wearing the most comfortable bra every day, but especially on PMS days.

The Band – The band should rest on the top of your rib cage. This is especially important if you are wearing an underwire bra. If the wire or band is digging into breast tissue, this can be very painful on PMS days.

The Cup – Breasts not only move up and down, but also side to side during normal everyday activity. A cup that is too big allows a larger range of motion, which can be painful during PMS. A too small cup will squish breast tissue, which is also uncomfortable when breasts are swollen and tender.

The Support- Breasts don’t have a lot of built in support, “Cooper’s Ligaments” hold your breasts up. This tissue is responsible for the “shape and lift” of your breasts, so excessive bouncing can damage the tissue.

We have written extensively about how exercise is good for combating PMS, like here and here, but if your boobs hurt that could really make exercise unappealing. So sports bras need to fit well too! A good sports bra will restrict bouncing which is important on PMS days. A good rule of thumb is to replace a sports bra when you replace your sneakers since the elastic wears out with frequent wear and washing!

If your breasts are sensitive to the touch during PMS, pick a bra with a soft lining versus a lace bra. Even a layer of padding will be helpful if your breasts are really sensitive.

One last note, the band and the shoulder straps should not leave visible marks on your body when you remove your bra. Use this as a quick check to see if you are wearing the correct bra size. If the straps dig into your shoulders and you have an imprint of the band around your chest, then do yourself a huge favor and get properly fitted for a bra as soon as possible!

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