Saturday Night Favorites

Today Show

Keenan Thompson will make history this fall for the longest running tenure for an SNL cast member. As an avid SNL fan since adolescence, I have very few complaints about Thompson’s reign, as he’s added so much more winners than losers. My favorite being his singing obsessed ‘What’s Up with That’  talk show host Diondre Cole whose proclivity for breaking into song won’t allow his long-suffering guests to get a word in. As someone who also routinely breaks into song with the slightest provocation, I can relate. Jason Sudeikis in the back doing the Running Man and Roger Rabbit in a red Adidas tracksuit and a gold rope chain is just a bonus. I also love Thompson’s cameos as the no-nonsense PE teacher who reprimands presumably ‘urban’ students for their increasingly bizarre and dangerous shenanigans in the ‘Principal Frye’ skits (aka: ‘Attention Teachers and Students’). We all know that teacher who thinks he’s a badass and steps in when he perceives the other teachers are being too soft (shout out to Mr. Garvey).  He also plays the only iteration of Steve Harvey that I can bring myself to watch as he mocks Harvey’s Family Feud hosting gig and his decade’s long penchant for ghastly suits and accessories (“[Tie] Knots as thick as Shaq’s Fists!”).


There are dozens of recurring character/skits that have claimed their place in the American zeitgeist (Two Wild and Crazy Guys, Stuart Smalley, The Cheerleaders, The Roxbury Guys, Mary Katherine Gallagher, Wayne’s World,  Debbie Downer, Target Lady) and lexicon (“Well isn’t that special?”; “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me!”; “Bu-bye!”; “Daaa Beeears!”), here are my favorites:


Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet (Tracy Morgan)

A favorite phrase(s): “That’s crazy!” and “I’m Brian Fellows!”


This is absurdist humor at its best. The skits open up with the disclaimer “Brian Fellows is not an accredited zoologist. Nor does he hold an advanced degree in any of the environmental sciences. He is simply an enthusiast young man with a 6th-grade education and an abiding love for all God’s creatures.” His ignorance of animal knowledge is apparent as he responds to every fact spouted off by the animal handlers with “That’s crazy!” Each animal is introduced with a bellow reminiscent of Oprah’s exuberance for bread and he uses deadpan delivery and an implied feminine quality (glossy lips, crossed legs and enthusiastic neck-rolling) to project ridiculous anthropomorphic attitudes onto hapless animals (“What’s up with that beaver? He seems snotty.” and “I bet that cow is all stuck up with its big head.”)


Amber, the one-legged hypoglycemic (Amy Poehler)

A favorite phrase(s): “Jealous?”


Amy Poehler’s hilariously defiant, disaffected character Amy made her first appearance as a contestant on a spoof of Bret Michael’s ‘Rock of Love’, where she boasts about “rocking one leg”. Her subsequent appearances on spoofs of reality shows like The Swan, America’s Next Top Model and The Bachelor show her confidently detailing her competitive ‘advantages’ including “a hardcore learning disability, hypoglycemia, Lyme disease, constant horniness, and a bad case of bed bugs” When she inevitably loses, she makes a flatulent exit before shouting “Yeah, I farted. Jealous?” “Jealous?” remains my staple anxiety diffusing spiritual practice anytime I’m having a bad hair, outfit, or all-around day.


Celebrity Jeopardy (Will Ferrell & Darrell Hammond):

Favorite phrase(s): “Suck it, Trebek!” and anything Alex Trebek says in resigned disgust


Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond) brilliantly and maniacally taunts a beleaguered Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell)  by insulting him (“Suck it, Trebek!”), insinuating sexual relations with Trebek’s mother and explicitly mangling the names of Jeopardy categories such as Therapists=The rapists, Who Reads?=Whore Ads. Will Ferrell in a rare moment of playing the straight man amazingly portrays a consummate professional at his wits end (“I stand before you a broken and miserable man”) with impossibly juvenile and absurd behavior from celebrity contestants despite his best efforts to include categories designed to give them a leg up  (i.e., “Is this a hat?” “Colors that end in ‘urple’” and “Anything”).


Dysfunctional Family Dinner (Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, and Sarah Michelle Gellar):

A favorite phrase(s): “I own a Dodge Stratus! You don’t talk to me like that!” and “I wish you weren’t a liar.”


Although the clinking of silverware against china far exceeds actual dialogue in this skit, they make the words count. Its banal family talk peppered with angry outbursts, most specifically the father (Will Ferrell) justifying why he doesn’t deserve to be spoken to disrespectfully by his family (“I work too hard! I can do 100 push-ups in 20 minutes! I own a Dodge Stratus!”).

Shanna K Housers Contributor

‘It’ and 8 other makings of **childhood nightmares

The movie remake of Stephen King’s ‘It’ has been all over the interwebs for weeks, with the movie finally opening last week to record setting earnings. I never saw the original ‘It’ TV movie starring Tim Curry (say what you will about his iconic roles in ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’, ‘Clue’ and It, but I will also love him most as the Grand Wizard of HBO’s 1986 Worst Witch movie), but I am intimately acquainted with the creepy visage of its sewer-dwelling titular character. This and the sick reality of John Wayne Gacy are single handily responsible for my fear of clowns and I’m sure many people can relate. But child-eating and serial killing clowns were only about 1/8 of my childhood nightmares. The world delivers many, many other opportunities to terrorize the minds of helpless children. I’d like to share a few:

*Denotes things that my brothers specifically weaponized against me per their required duties as sadistic older siblings

**Denotes things that still make me uncomfortable to this day


The Leo the Trash Lion in Kiddieland: Seriously? Who’s idea was this? What kid didn’t think that the lion was going to “accidentally” eat their hand? Although the video shows that he specifically says he doesn’t eat kids, the whole thing is so creepy, no kid really hears that part. And that’s a little too long of a monologue. Just say you eat paper–damn! Was this a payback for parents who had to forgo their own fun to watch their kids cautiously ride rides that go 2 MPH? And it doesn’t even look like a lion! It looks like a wild-eyed, satanic bear.


*Large whale replica at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History: Extremely large replicas of animals and humans alike (see: statues) have always and continue to unnerve me. One of my brothers’ crowning achievements in their endeavors to traumatize me was telling me that the whale told them that he specifically ate little girls named Shanna. Needless to say, my mother had to usher a near hysterical child through the museum for the rest of our visit.


**Larges statues/Statue Faces: In my attempts to pinpoint the origin of this fear, I am lead back to 1981’s Clash of the Titans movie. A movie I watched at the behest of who, you ask? My brothers. Le sigh. Anyway, there is a scene in the movie where Queen Cassiopeia compares Princess Andromeda’s beauty to that of the goddess Thetis. Thetis does not take kindly to this comparison and shows herself and her righteous indignation by having the head of a HUGE statue of herself fall off. Promptly upon landing on the ground, the head “awakens” to curse Andromeda and sentences her to be sacrificed for her mother’s crime of vanity and sacrilege. The fear has stuck with me for all of these years. It’s really inconvenient. It makes museum exploration and sightseeing, which I love, intermittently uncomfortable. I think the worst experience was when I visited New York City for my first college Spring Break. My friends and I visited the Statue of Liberty and went all the way up to her crown to see the magnificent city skyline. I was uneasy when we were walking up the steps just behind her face, but I preoccupied myself by talking to my friends and not looking directly at it. Anyway, upon our descent to the museum store, I somehow lost my friends. As I turned around to look for them, I came face-to-face with the statue’s GIGANTIC previous face. During the monument’s renovations in the 80’s, her face was replaced and someone thought it would be a great idea to mount her old face to a wall. No. I turned around in what seemed like slow motion and ran outside. I’ve been to NYC many times since then and I refuse to return to the SOL.    


**Egyptian Museum Artifacts: Museum/Monument terror makes yet a third appearance on this list. It is my cross to bear in this life, I suppose (FUN FACT:  I was obsessed with dinosaurs between the ages of 5-7, so I’ve never had a problem with large dinosaur statues–weird). This fear is two-fold; one is obviously the size of many of the statutes, i.e. more large faces. The second is mummies. Like, REAL, well-preserved, ancient dead people are in those beautiful sarcophagi. Hell to the no, to the no, no, no. To this day, I cannot visit this part of the museum alone, and I will talk non-stop as a means of self-soothing, kind of like how kids stick their fingers in their ears and chant “Lalalalala!”. #Lifehacks. Once again, I blame cinema and its obsession with turning seemingly harmless and static relics into bloodthirsty monstrosities. I was only able to watch the Night at the Museum movies because the artifacts were overtly benevolent or at least amusingly comedic, but I find the idea alone of things coming alive at night chilling.


Miami Vice: Watching the original, Jheri-curled version (shout out to Philip Michael Thomas) Miami Vice was a family night event when I was growing up. Sadly, the only episode I remember is the one where Tubb’s girlfriend dies in a booby-trapped car explosion. I just remember experiencing shock and disbelief by the depravity of the crime and that it could actually happen. Years later, watching a similar scene in my favorite movie ‘The Godfather’ only aroused momentary sympathy for my anti-hero Michael Corleone. #Growth…or #desensitization. You decide.


Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ song/video: This one was a doozy. When this phenomenon dropped, there was no escaping it. One time when the video was on the TV in my house, I vividly remember running into the kitchen and sticking my fingers in my ears so I wouldn’t hear the creepy monologue. I did the same thing at Hills when the video department was playing it on a loop. And once again when my dad gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to see MJ in concert at the Civic Arena in the early 90’s.


*Basements: This is a childhood fear staple– dark, subterranean fear factories basically. My family did not jump on the furnished basement bandwagon. Our original basement was a dank, cement floored, mold-proliferating laundry room, storage space, older brother torture chamber and when I was brave and it was still daylight outside (it had a few windows), a decent hide-and-seek space.


*Bullfighting portrait in my grandparent’s bedroom: This time, my brothers united with my cousins to convince me that the bullfighter in the portrait above my grandparents’ bed was actually a picture of THE Boogeyman. And much like statues, in my mind, it could come alive and jump out of that picture and snatch me at any time. Whenever my grandmother asked me to retrieve something from her room–which was often– I would do it as fast as I could, my heart pounding, while averting my eyes or contorting my body to avoid looking at it.

Shanna K Houser Contributor to Urban Media Today


Fall travel: Best in world


Fall is the most amazing season. When else can you see a perfect blend of fall foliage in every part of the world? Every recipe has either cinnamon, apple or pumpkin. While the weather may turn cooler, it doesn’t mean that you have to tuck away your passport. Try to hit these travel hot spots and you’re going to have some lifetime memories in the bank!


Let’s travel first to Budapest, Hungary. If you’ve ever been here in summer, crowds are everywhere. This isn’t the case in autumn. There is more room to stretch your wings and move about the attractions. Check out the CAFe Budapest Festival. It’s a festival celebrating literature and arts. ( This festival is going to let you indulge in the local culture. Dance to their music, enjoy the theatre and walk through all the art exhibitions.


Scotland, too, is an idealistic tourist destination. Regardless of where you go, the scenery is going to be astonishing and breathtaking. During autumn, the fall foliage is in full swing. There’s going to be a perfect blend of fall colors all around you with a picture perfect rural backdrop. There is likely to be fewer crowds during the fall as well. Take your time browsing the attractions; there shouldn’t be any long lines. The weather is still mild in Scotland and, the midges from the hot summer months are not as populated anymore. These flies have a tendency to bite, so be thankful you’re missing them!


Next, let’s travel west to Paris, France. To most this is the city of love. And guess what? You’re going to love the price you pay to get there! In autumn airfare to France is much cheaper. Booking a hotel and/or rental car is less competitive. Travel agencies are willing to barter with you in order to strike a deal. This is a perfect fall destination if you want to relax and be on the down-low. It’s colder and darker than most fall destinations, but there is still plenty of city life to see. Check out the local stores and street cafes. Enjoy the nightlife and take architectural tours. If you’re willing to rent a car and go on day trips, there is much to see!


Another autumn getaway is Spain. Each October they have a chestnut festival, where they feature 50+ recipes that are made specifically from chestnuts. They also have tools and clothes on display that are related to this autumn treat. If you enjoy wine, try to visit Spain in early September. This is their wine harvest time. It’s the perfect opportunity to tour vineyards and sample the wine that you can only buy in your local grocery store. And, let’s not forget the food. Seriously, now—try Spanish chocolate! It’s some of the best around!


Nepal is another destination that is passport-worthy. Make sure to visit the Chitwan National Park and go on a safari. Here you can see wild elephants, one-horned rhinos, and leopards. You’ll have the opportunity to ride atop an elephant within the park, which is amazing in itself. Pokhara is another attraction that you must see. This has breathtaking, natural scenery. Stroll through the lakeside towns or enjoy boating on the water.


Finally, we end our journey at Greece. Be sure to take an Athens Food Tour, which showcases the hot spots that local Greeks enjoy. You’ll get a glimpse of eateries, pie shops, and bakeries. In addition, tour guides will dish out information on local cuisine, and the origin of the Mediterranean Diet. Another tourist attraction is the Goulandris Natural History Museum, located in Athens. This showcases animals and plants that are relevant to the Greek culture. It has a botanical garden as well and a well-established collection of ancient fossils.


So where are you traveling to this autumn? If you’re stumped, I encourage you to try a location on this list. You may just be surprised how much fun you may have away from home!

Black History

As the only student of color in my entire elementary school class, I would always dread when the time arrived for our perfunctory lessons on ancient civilizations and the American civil war. Discussions of ancient civilizations would inevitably review the geography of the African continent, including the river Niger.  And as if on cue, some dim-witted child reading aloud his or her assigned paragraph would trip over the name, attributing the word a short “i” rather than the appropriate long “i” sound, and almost pronounce it “nigger”, before they caught themselves, their face turning bright red (you would have thought the apocalypse was near the day they realized my face could do the same) and stare pleadingly at the teacher for assistance.  During this heroic struggle, I could feel the other 23 pair of eyes staring in my direction, as I kept my head between the pages of the heavy textbook, praying for it all to be over. In a save Stanley Cup worthy, the teacher would interject the correct pronunciation before promptly moving on.


The American Civil war was a whole other ball game.  Rather than one uncomfortable day, it was only befitting to devote six weeks to the war that ravaged our country and pitted brother against brother and slave against the master. So for six long weeks, I would avoid the staring blue and green eyes boring into my skin, as I focused my gaze down to read or write in my notebook, or straight ahead at my teacher as he/she recounted the unfortunate atrocities visited upon African slaves and their descendants in America, always with a stern admonishment that this was one of the darkest periods of our American history.


In sixth grade, it got worse.  My teacher elected to show the class the Civil War mini-series The Blue and Gray.  Most of the class was excited because this six and a half hour mini-series spread throughout a 45-minute class equaled almost two weeks of watching TV!  Before pressing play, my teacher got up from her seat and stood in front of the blackened screen.

“Class” she began “this movie was made to show the attitudes of Americans in the North and South during the Civil War.  At that time in our country’s history, many people living in the South, those who owned slaves and those who did not, believed that slaves were inferior, they were property and considered only ¾ a man.  You will hear the word “nigger” used throughout the movie.  While it will be very uncomfortable to hear this word, you must remember that this movie depicts a time in the past, and language and attitudes that are no longer acceptable today.”


Great, I thought.  It wasn’t enough that the word almost spilled out of some kid’s mouth last month!  After the second day, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I kept a mental tally on the number of times derogatory names were used to describe southern blacks. The uncomfortable, embarrassed stares slowed down halfway through that second day of viewing as these words were used as casually back then as we used the words “cool” or “awesome”. That’s when I got scared. What if people in my class started using those words? “Get in line, darky!” or “Look at the coon’s new shoes.”


And my fear was not too far-fetched. Over the years, in fits of anger, some of our classmates did indeed call my brothers and me niggers. In high school, another peer in my homeroom even had the audacity to get mad at me for being upset when I heard him use the word nigger and angrily tried to school me as to the real meaning of the word: an ignorant person of any race. All this, in addition to constant microaggressions.


I am not implying that expanded and nuanced black history lessons will stop racism in its tracks, but if we are serious about addressing and dismantling systematic disenfranchisement and racism, it is imperative that we re-tool education. To be clear, schools are not simply reading, writing, and arithmetic training grounds, they are also tools for cultural and national indoctrination. The fact that the history of American Indians–the sovereign inhabitants of this land– and African Americans–whose labor built this country– can be distilled into a few paragraphs in most history textbooks directly correlates to why white men in 2017 can ignorantly, yet assertively, chant “You will not replace US!” No progress can be made without a commitment to frank and multifaceted dialogue about US history which must be necessarily uncomfortable for all children, and not simply children of color.

Shanna K Houser Contributor

Back to school: College Students


Hip…hip…hooray! They are finally off to college. You’ve waited 18 years to be empty nesters, mom, and dad! What are you going to do with your newfound freedom? But let’s not start your snowbird adventure…just yet. After all, you still have to prepare your college-bound teen for their bright school year ahead. Here are helpful tips for you to do just that.


First and foremost, buy in bulk. Take advantage of back to school sales in August. One big difference to college is that classes are semesters and not a full year. If you buy your child’s school supplies for both semesters in August, you’re going to save money. Notecards are usually fifty cents, while notebooks are usually a dollar each. Packs of 400-sheet paper are between $2-3. Any school supply you would need is not going to be full price. You know when it’s going to be full price? In January, when most students are halfway through their school year.


Your student should also know their course agenda. Teach them to mark the dates in their planner. When is each assignment due? When are their quizzes and tests? If they have all this written down, there isn’t any way they can fail. They will know they are having a history test on September 29. It’s not up to you if they study for it; that’s on their shoulders. It’s up to you to give them guidance.


Another great thing about college is the campus clubs and organizations. Encourage your child to get involved in them. This is going to help them meet people and be social. Those that get involved on campus often have higher GPAs. There is a club for every interest. Encourage them to go to all the meetings and to not be shy. They should give their opinion when it’s asked; volunteer their time when it’s needed. This shows that they are a team player.


Furthermore, college allows your student to explore what type of learner they may be. Are they a more visual learner? Powerpoint presentations, graphs, and charts speak their language. Audio learners learn best by hearing, such as with audio books. There are learners that memorize everything and learners that focus more on logic. Once your student figures out their best style, stick with it. Keep in mind that not every teacher is going to cater to their particular learning style, but that’s okay. They have to stand on their own two feet; they have to learn their own unique way.


Finally, it’s important that the student finds a study group. While it’s all right to do homework alone, sometimes it’s best to compare notes with classmates. They may have gotten down information that your student missed from the teacher, especially if the teacher talks fast. Friends can also help clarify topics within a chapter. They may understand more thoroughly and can offer a new perspective. Your student doesn’t get this when you study alone.


So, as your student goes away to college, have these back to school tips in mind. They are going to help you achieve success.

Back to school: Middle and High School


Middle and high school is a busy time for students. At this level of school, a child has already begun forming their personality. This means they have their individual quirks and mannerisms. Likewise, they also have their own specific group of friends. Regardless of all of this, it’s important to keep your child excited about their education. Here are helpful tips to get your teen ready for the new school year.


First, teach them how to be organized. This group of students gets a lot of homework. Learning how to use a planner is a life skill they will carry throughout the rest of their life. Buy them a planner that has a monthly view, as well as days where they can write assignments, due dates, and relevant information. Teach them to organize their paperwork in a way that makes sense to them. All homework that is due goes in front of their folder, for instance, while notes from teachers and/or other school staff go in a separate part of their planner.


On another note, help your teen develop excellent time management. It’s fine to go out with friends on Friday night, but not when you have yet to start your research paper. Don’t allow your teen to put things off until the last minute. The result of this is never favorable. Teens that sacrifice study time often see poorer grades as a direct result. If your teen is struggling in school, sit down with them. Help them prioritize their time. If homework is taking too long, open up dialogue as to why. Do they transpose numbers or letters? This is dyslexia. Maybe they have struggled with reading. There are programs that can help you find the answers.


During these years, too, there may be a lot of drama in your teen’s life. They may be up against peer pressure by their friends to try a dangerous substance, such as alcohol, or dress a particular way. You, the parent, has to be the voice that rises above the noise. Make sure your teen knows they are beautiful and accepted. They need to understand that they don’t have to change for anyone. If they receive this message, especially from their parent, they will be less likely to fall prey to the peer pressure.


Also, teach your child how to be prompt. In Sleeping With Strangers, Eric Jerome Dickey quotes: “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is never acceptable!” If your child has a geometry class at 10:45, encourage them to be in their seat by 10:35. This means they are ready for the teacher to call attendance. All their materials are under their desk and they are ready to learn. If your child shows up to class at 10:50, however, this is disruptive to the class. The teacher doesn’t care why the student was late, but they do want the student to be on time.


Finally, know your child’s friends. I’m not saying lurk around every corner, mom, and dad. In fact, that alone would creep any teen out! Instead, be an active parent. Show up to every music recital. Be present at every soccer or volleyball practice. Have an open communication with your child’s teacher and anyone in their life. If you do this, you’re going to know when your child is bottling something inside. They may be too embarrassed to tell you they are being bullied, but the best friend (whom you have a direct communication to through your child) will tell you and you should trust it.


Being a teen isn’t easy. This may be the time when children rebel against a school, but don’t let that happen. Encourage your teen to be social and active. They have so much to look forward to with the new school year!


Back to school with Urban Media Today


Summer is nearing to an end. Lazy mornings and late nights are soon to be exchanged for routines and homework. If you have young kids going back to school, the best thing you can do is start to prepare early. Start your preparation a solid three weeks before their first school day. Here are some tips on how to get your child back to that early bedtime.


First, practice routine each day. Have your child get up, get themselves dressed and make themselves breakfast. Take it a step further and have them make themselves lunch. Turn it into a teaching moment of which foods are healthy for the body and which foods are so nutritious. Remember, Jack or Jill, aren’t going to be under your wing to college. Learning this skill young, instead of having mom and dad do it, will teach them independence.


Later on in the day, have your child relax and get ready for bed. They should bathe and brush their teeth by a set time, usually after dinner. Most children this age still enjoy parents reading them bedtime stories. If your child is old enough, allow them to learn on their own. Then, allow them to play with their toys in their pajamas. When your set bedtime has arrived, let’s say eight o’clock, make sure they have picked out tomorrow’s clothes. Have they packed their lunch? Both of these tasks will make their routine for the next day that much easier.


You should also teach your child to be enthusiastic about learning. Try to stick to their teach’s supply list, but allow your child to have personalized school items at home. If they want the red notebook, then let them have it. Saying no is going to damper their excitement. Let them pick out their school clothes and their book bag. Furthermore, allow them to see friends they have missed over the summer. All of this is going to help your child get ready for the new school year ahead.


On this note, be attentive to new people. Your child is going to a new classroom. They will have a new teacher. They may (or may not) know students from the previous school year. If they don’t, this can cause some children to become shy. This is one reason most schools have back-to-school nights. It’s the perfect setting for parents to meet one another, as well as students to meet one another. The teacher explains what the children will learn, and there is less reason for your child to be nervous. If they still are, however, encourage play dates or activities after school.


If your child is Pre-K (preschool/kindergarten) age, then the gradual entry may help ease the transition. If your child has been at home up to this point, they may not want to leave mom and dad. Don’t worry; there’s aren’t any teachers that will close the door on you. In fact, they encourage to stay as long as your child wants you there. But, more likely than not, your child is going to meet friends or find interest in a toy. They would have forgotten about you by the first story time. Trust that they’ll be okay and you’re going to make it through the day.


Finally, talk to your kids. Tell them what they can expect the upcoming school year. Ask your child what makes them nervous and wholeheartedly listen to them. Follow up their concerns with related stories. For instance, your child may be concerned they won’t have anyone to eat lunch with in the cafeteria. You could relate by telling them a story in which you had this happen, too, but you met a new friend in class. This encourages them to open up to their classmates, be more trusting and friendly.


Going back to school is exciting. It should be something that your child enjoys. Keep the conversation open about school, and they’re going to be lifetime learners. 

Change Your Life And Become More Fit!

Getting in shape has tons of benefits, such as preventing illness and injury, but it can also help you gain strength, gain confidence, and look better. In fact, most people have no idea how to get started on a program to become fit. The following article will give you some tips on how to start a fitness program.

Set up your weight lifting routine around your fitness goals. If you are trying to create large, bulky muscle you’ll want to do more weight, but with longer rest periods between sets and between workouts. If you are trying to develop lean muscles with high endurance, you want to lift less weight, but do it more often and with shorter rest times.

When looking for another way to improve fitness sometimes one needs to look no further than their pet dog. By taking the dog on walks around the neighborhood or specific trails an individual can increase the amount of exercise they and their pet get. Apart from all the extra exercise and the benefits from that one will strengthen the bond between owner and their pet.

To become more fit, you need only put one foot in front of the other. Walking is an excellent way to improve your aerobic fitness level. You will get your heart pumping, and muscles working. You can start small, walking a little bit more every day. Your body will adapt, and soon you will be able to walk miles and miles.

Do not think of the process of getting fit as a short-term exercise with a cut-off date. Fitness is a long-term commitment. In fact, it should be a permanent one. When building a fitness routine consider not just the immediate benefits but whether or not the routine is one that can be sustained indefinitely. Fitness is for life, not just for bikini season.

To stay fit it’s important to break bad food habits. While a healthy diet contributes greatly to overall fitness, it can be one of the hardest goals to achieve. Most people enter a fitness program accustomed to eating unhealthy foods. This is a habit that can be broken. The quicker the fitness enthusiast acclimates to a healthy diet the faster cravings for junk food will disappear.

A good tip to help you lose weight is to exercise moderately. A lot of people make the mistake of going too hard at first. They’ll do over two hours of cardio in one session and pretty soon they’ll burn themselves out. It’s best to go with a more moderate workout routine.

It’s important to replenish your body’s sodium levels when you exercise, so make sure you aren’t letting them dip too low. Most sports drinks contain plenty of sodium, or you can add an electrolyte supplement to water. Keep an eye out for any symptoms of low sodium, such as headaches, muscle cramps, and disorientation.

A good nutritional tip is to keep eating healthy even when you’re trying to put on muscle. A lot of people think they can eat whatever they want when they try to gain muscle, but that kind of reckless eating will only result in fat gain. Instead, keep eating healthy as you normally would.

Use your workout equipment in an order to see maximum results. The order should be dumbbells first, regular barbells second and machines last. Doing exercises in this order will ensure that you don’t get fatigued too early in your workout, by engaging in the more labor-intensive equipment first. This also works your muscles out, from smaller to larger.

You can prevent illness if it is really difficult for you to exercise during the week or if you just don’t do it at all by adding two 20 minute aerobic or weight workout sessions to your weekly schedule. This small amount of exercise can help you avoid sick days.

When shopping for shoes for your fitness workouts, try going at the latter part of the day. This is because, at the end of the day, your feet swell and are at their largest. You should leave at least half an inch between your toe and the end of the shoe.

Giving a part of your home or your car a deep cleaning will not only improve the look of your house or vehicle but burn a lot of calories. Going to the gym or setting a time to exercise is not always necessary when you keep active and do high-intensity activities.

Before you begin squatting heavy weight, you must practice squatting with proper form. First, you should stand in front of a bench. Then, as you squat down, you should imagine that you are about to sit down. As your butt touches the bench, push back up. Attempt this with a light bar and as you improve gradually increase your weight.

When you are doing your working routine, try not to use a weight belt. Constantly using a weight belt can actually weaken the muscles in your lower back and abdominal muscles. Use it only when you are going to do maximal lifts in exercises including the overhead press, deadlifts, and squats.

A great fitness tip that can help you lift more weight is to start developing your weaker muscles. Sometimes it’s your weaker muscles that are preventing you from increasing the weight you can lift. By developing these weak muscles, you’ll be surprised at how much more you can lift.

The fitness of your chest if very important when dealing with structure and form while working out. If you want to achieve a balanced workout, you must work your chest as well as your other muscle groups. If you only work out your chest, these muscles will grow stronger disproportional to the rest of your muscles.

Walking is one of the best ways to maintain good fitness. It is a low impact exercise so it is easy for people of all ages. You can incorporate it easily by walking to the places you frequent that are near you. Walking provides a fantastic aerobic workout if you maintain an appropriate pace.

As a fit individual, you enjoy a world of benefits for both your mind and body. Use the information shared here. By following these tips, you will soon see your fitness level start to improve.

Get Back Your Security Deposit: Tips and Reasons for End of Lease Cleaning

Plenty of services specializes in end-of-lease cleaning, and for some tenants, they provide a viable option. Many others opt to do the job themselves. End-of-lease cleaning can be beneficial to you, and it’s not rocket science. You can do it.


A Good Reason to Take Back What’s Yours


Retrieving your security deposit or cleaning fee isn’t the sole reason to thoroughly clean your rented apartment or house when your lease has expired. In addition to receiving the money, your landlord likely will give you a glowing reference, which can be invaluable when you again rent or even purchase a home.


Before You Begin


Refer to any documents or photos that record the condition of the space, and any appliances, before your residency. Also, remember any conversations you may have had with the landlord. It’s ideal to have a friendly relationship with your landlord, though that’s not always how things turn out. Whatever the case, your job is easier when you know what the owner expects of you as a tenant.


Make a Custom Checklist


If you live in a small apartment, you might not be eager to wade through an end-of-lease cleaning checklist geared toward those who rent a larger home. On the other hand, a list that’s reasonable for the renter of a small apartment may not prove adequate for others. So it’s best to create a checklist based on your rental space. This may take only a few seconds of thought, but any project goes more smoothly if you have a plan. Don’t forget:


.   Dust as needed, paying attention to cobwebs and dead bugs; remember the ceiling fixtures.

.   Clean the windows, including the sills; wash any stains on the walls, paying attention to light switches and outlets.

.   Scrub the sinks and toilet.

.   Clean inside and behind the refrigerator, and any large appliances.

.   Remove nails or screws from the walls and ceiling; properly fill the holes with putty

.   Sweep or vacuum the floor; remove any stains.


An Ounce of Prevention


Now that your lease is up, it’s time to move into another apartment or house. Seize this opportunity to make a fresh start. Schedule a walk-through with your new landlord. Discuss their expectations of you, and document them in writing. A simple digital camera is perfect for recording any actual damages. Finally, resolve to take care of messes as they happen and immediately report needed repairs to your landlord.

How stress effects the heart

What stresses you out? This question is sure to be answered differently by each person, but it’s an important answer. More importantly, how we handle our stress matters. If we are too stressed out, it spikes our risk of a heart attack or heart disease. On the flip side, if we manage stress well, it lowers the risk. As you read through this article, ask yourself how you rate with each of the techniques.

First and foremost, stress can increase your chances of a heart attack. Heart attacks are associated with pain not only in the chest but all throughout the body. It’s common to have pain the back, arm, jaw, and neck. Shortness of breath and headaches are also common. Most experience these symptoms with high levels of anxiety, but a heart attack is serious. Chest pains can be absolutely frightening. If you have a stressful job, you may want to switch careers where your stress is more under control.

Stress also impacts blood sugar levels. Most people think of diabetics when this is mentioned. However, non-diabetics should still be concerned with their blood sugar. When you get angry, your blood sugar rises. When you stay calm, so does your blood sugar. You can tell when it rises because you feel like you’re about to pass out. A person’s face gets red like a cherry, their hands get red and their voice trembles. Your body turning you red is a warning sign. It’s telling you to calm down. It’s telling you that, should you get any angrier, it’s probable there could be a heart attack.

Digestive problems or obesity could also be a sign of stress. Many people have nausea or vomiting when they are too stressed out. They stray away from their typical eating habits and start eating comfort foods, which may lead to excessive weight gain. They sneak food where nobody will see them eat it, such as closets as if they are ashamed. Diarrhea or constipation may also affect the body. These are also signs that you’re stressed out. When you’re experiencing these symptoms, your body is having to pump more blood. Your heart knows you have anxiety and it’s trying to keep up.

Sleep problems may also be an issue. Many times I have been kept up thinking. Stress always get the better of me at night, but you have to get sleep in order to stay healthy. Without sleep, it opens the door to insomnia and other problems. It also increases your chances of encountering heart attack, stroke or diabetes. If you lose too much sleep, it could lead to memory problems, a weakened immune system or weight gain. Likewise, it could contribute to high blood pressure or heart disease.

Finally, stress can cause broken heart syndrome. This mimics the symptoms of a heart attack and often occurs when someone is a great deal of physical stress. It may occur after a job loss or the death of a loved one. In contrast to a heart attack, however, the arteries are not blocked due to too much fat buildup. Rather, the heart enlarges and does not pump as well. While this is a treatable condition, it can strike an old person or a young and healthy person. The best way to protect your heart is to reduce your stress. Learn how to manage it well and stay ahead of the game.