Some of the Causes of Obesity


When someone is more than 20% heavier than the average for their height, they are classified as obese. Obesity is linked to a range of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, cancer (breast, colon and prostate) and gallbladder disease. Every year, some 300,000 people in this country die as a direct result of them being obese. As such, obesity is more than a health hazard – it is a life threatening disease. This is also why it is so important that you understand what actually causes obesity.

It is likely that you believe that there are just two causes of obesity, which work in combination with each other. Those are overeating and lack of exercise. This is absolutely true, and inescapable. We are forced to live sedentary lifestyles due to our busy work schedules, and almost all of our food is actually processed. However, there are some other causes of obesity and if those apply to you and you also eat poorly and exercise insufficiently, you are on a slippery slope towards various diseases. Let’s take a look.

Lack of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is a big cause of obesity, as surprising as that may sound. One prominent study, the US Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, concluded that those who sleep 7 hours or less each night are more likely to have a high BMI. Another study, the US Nurses’ Health study, concluded the same after studying 68,000 women over a period of 16 years. They found that women who sleep just 5 hours on average are heavier than those who sleep 6 hours, who are also heavier than those who sleep 7 hours. The more you sleep, therefore, the less you weigh.

It is believed that the reason behind sleep deprivation and weight gain is due to the fact that hormones become unbalanced in people who lack sleep. Particularly, leptin (which tells your body when it’s full) decreases and ghrelin (which tells your body it’s hungry) increases.

It is also a known fact that we are not getting enough sleep. We simply have too much to do every day to also spend at least 8 hours (or even 7) asleep. In the 1960s, the average American would sleep for 8.5 hours. A poll was conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2002, which showed that this had dropped to just 7 hours. There is a clear correlation between this and the rise of obesity.

Prenatal Effects
There is also some suggestion that you being bigger or not will, at least in part, be determined before your birth. Women who are obese are much more likely to birth babies who grow up to be obese themselves. This isn’t due solely to genetics either. Scientific evidence suggests that there is some degree of intra-uterine programming. Mice were used in a scientific study, and the babies of mice that ate food high in fat content were more likely to grow up into fat adult mice than those who were fed normal food.

Steps That Every Good Gift Giver Follows

Everybody loves getting a gift. But there are some people who just seem like they have a knack for giving better gifts than other people. What is it that sets them apart? Well, they understand that in order for a gift to be good, it has to be something that the receiver either wants or needs. A gift has to show that the giver knows the recipient very well.

The first step in creating the perfect gift is to understand the receiver. One trap that people fall into frequently is purchasing gifts that they themselves would like to receive. Just because the giver likes to read books does not mean that the recipient wants to receive a gift card to a local bookstore. So part of being a good gift giver is being observant. Find out what the gift recipient likes, what do they do with their time, what are they interested in, and what would they buy for themselves if they could afford it.

The next part of being a good gift giver is being organized. An anniversary gift that is seven months late or a wedding present that comes eighteen months after the wedding does not have the same impact as one that is given on time. In order to give gifts in a timely manner, it may be necessary to make a list of important dates and anniversaries and create alerts as a reminder for when presents need to be purchased. Searching for gifts is fun when there is plenty of time to do it. When gifts are purchased in a last-minute panic, it can be a very stressful thing.

When it comes to giving a good gift, presentation is everything. It doesn’t matter how thoughtful or how expensive the present is, a beautifully wrapped present will trump one that is not as beautifully wrapped all the time. Sometimes when people have multiple presents to send out at once or when they need to send out multiple packages over the course of the year, they will order custom packing tape. This custom tape adds an extra touch to a package that is being sent out. It allows the sender to give a gift that reflects a touch of their personality.

As the old proverb goes, ‘there is a lot more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.’ The better thought out the gift is, the more personalized it is, and the more presentable it is, the happier the receiver will be when they get it.

Kickstart Your 2016 Resolution with Centrum MultiGummies #CentrumMultiGummies

It’s a new year, and maybe like a large percentage of people, you’ve resolved to get your nutrition and fitness overhauled.  Or maybe you’re just not feeling like yourself and are looking for a supplement to support your energy and immune system.  No matter what health goal you’d like to pursue this year, Centrum MultiGummies are the perfect vitamin to help you on your way!


Centrum MultiGummies are easy to take, perfect for everyday multivitamins that are designed to help support your energy, immunity, and metabolism.  With 100% or more of your daily value of vitamins B12, D, and E, these gummies are a great addition to a New Year’s health regimen to help you feel your best!


The gummies themselves are quite small, and very easy to eat both in one bite.  They are a more firm chew, and on the tart side rather than being very sweet.  You can tell these gummies are made for adults, not kids!  There are a few different shapes but I myself could not tell the difference in flavors.  The overwhelming flavor is a citrus/orange, but there is a bit of berry too.

Centrum MultiGummies are gluten-free and have no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Want to try Centrum MultiGummies for yourself? You can get a $4 off coupon here! Also, be sure to check out the Centrum Facebook page for the latest product news and offers.

Going Gluten Free in 2016? Try Foster Farms!

If you’ve decided to make changes to your diet in the coming year, know that going gluten free doesn’t have to mean giving up taste or convenience. I’d love to remind of you the gluten free offerings made by Foster Farms!

If corn dogs are a family favorite, make the switch to Gluten Free Honey Crunchy Corn Dogs.  These are better for you in two ways: they are made with a chicken frank, and the batter is gluten free.  Baking these up in the oven makes the honey infused batter crunch up and become perfect for dipping.  If you need some ideas for pairing with a dip, check out my previous post!

If you have a kid in your house, you have to have chicken nuggets, right?  Foster Farms has you covered for that too! Whether you like strips or nuggets, you can get them gluten free as well.  Both varieties are 100% natural and made with quality chicken.  These are found in the freezer section and are fully cooked so you can prepare them in minutes.  The dips I mentioned above would also be amazing with one of the gluten free chicken products!


You can feel great about feeding Foster Farms Gluten Free products to your family, because all three are certified Gluten Free by the Gluten Intolerance Group. You can find them in your local supermarkets such as Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway and more.  For more ideas on gluten free eating, here is my tailgate party post. Here’s to your health in 2016!

REVIEW: If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

If I Fall, If I Die

by Michael Christie

Literary Fiction/Mystery

Book Description

Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises only the rooms in their home, each named for various exotic locales and filled with Will’s art projects.

Soon the confines of his world close in on Will. Despite his mother’s protestations, Will ventures outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. He eventually meets and befriends Jonah, a quiet boy who introduces Will to skateboarding. Will welcomes his new world with enthusiasm, his fears fading and his body hardening with each new bump, scrape, and fall. But life quickly gets complicated. When a local boy goes missing, Will and Jonah want to uncover what happened. They embark on an extraordinary adventure that pulls Will far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.

If I Fall, if I Die is a remarkable debut full of dazzling prose, unforgettable characters, and a poignant and heartfelt depiction of coming of age.

3 fleur

If I Fall, If I Die
by Michael Christie
It’s hard to become a normal teenage boy when you’re sequestered in your own home because of your mother’s extreme agoraphobia. Will knows something isn’t right with the way he lives, but it takes venturing outside for him to realize just what he’s missing–and that the world is so much more complicated than he could have imagined.

I am not sure if I would describe this as a coming of age story, per se, though Will does go through an enormous amount of growth. Part of it is due to puberty, and part of it is due to finally being able to explore the town around him and meet other people besides his mother. Will is sublimely innocent in many ways, and it’s heartbreaking to watch him fall and get disappointed, but you also know it has to happen in order for him not to end up like his mother.

The agoraphobia/boy venturing out storyline would have been plenty enough for me, but around the 60 percent mark there are other elements and characters that come into play that I really could have done without. Yes, some history and background on main characters is important, but in my opinion the author often went off on tangents exploring events that didn’t really matter in the end.

Once I committed myself to reading I got through it quickly, but ultimately I was left unsatisfied by the ending. A lot of questions were left unanswered, and not in a way that the reader can divine the answer for themselves. I liked Will and enjoyed seeing him blossom, but the rest of the story dragged me down.

View all my reviews

About the Author

MICHAEL CHRISTIE’s debut book of fiction, The Beggar’s Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Prize for Fiction, and won the Vancouver Book Award. Prior to earning an MFA from the University of British Columbia, he was a sponsored skateboarder and travelled throughout the world skateboarding and writing for skateboard magazines. Born in Thunder Bay, he now lives on Galiano Island with his wife and two sons. If I Fall, If I Die is his first novel.

REVIEW: Wine Aerator by Vino Aria #vinoaria

The holiday season is upon us, and for a lot of get togethers, that means a lot of wine will be flowing!  Make sure it tastes its’ best by using the wine aerator made by Vino Aria.


Sometimes a bottle of red wine can taste a little stale or bitter upon opening, especially if you’ve opted for a cheaper brand.  Using a wine aerator is the quickest way to get your wine to its’ optimal flavor level.  This aerator allows oxygen to circulate through your wine as you pour it, decreasing the amount of “breathe” time your glass of wine will need, and letting you enjoy it that much faster!


See the bubbles in the picture?  That’s how an aerator works! The pourer fits very snugly on top of your bottle of wine–I did not experience any spills or leaks at all.  I’m not entirely sure if my own palate is distinguished enough to tell a huge difference, but my husband said he noticed a lighter taste and that the wine felt less heavy in the mouth.


The Vino Aria comes packaged in a sleek black box perfect for gift giving.  Make your party host’s night by gifting them a better way to indulge in their favorite wine!

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Chomps Snack Sticks

Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for that hard to buy for guy in your life? Or how about something you can gift without adding to the empty-calorie filled goodies you are running into everywhere during this holiday season?

Give them a snack they’ll love–Chomps Snack Sticks!

So why isn’t Chomps like your average beef snack stick?  Well first, they are made with 100% Non-GMO Grass-Fed Angus Beef which is sourced from New Zealand.  I don’t think any other brand can say that!  Even better, the sticks contain no artificial ingredients (no nitrites, nitrates, MSG, colors, flavors) and are shelf stable for a year with the help of celery juice! But how do they taste?  I got to try the three flavors and find out!


Original Flavor is the one you will enjoy if you love snack sticks such as Slim Jim.  Think of this as a better for you version of that!  The stick is hefty at one entire ounce (lots of brands are under this), and has a fantastic beefy flavor.  You can tell when you open the wrapper that this is quality meat–there is no yucky orange grease anywhere to be seen.


Hoppin’ Jalapeno is the one you should try if you want a bit more spice!  Made with real jalapeno powder, it offers a pleasing tongue tingle but not an overwhelming burn.  You will know you are eating something jalapeno-flavored, and you will enjoy it.


Crankin’ Cran is the spicy-sweet snack for those who want to turn up the heat!  This one is made with habanero and cranberry.  So you are getting a good kick of heat but the tartness of the cranberry is there to add another level of flavor! This was my favorite one, even though I needed some water when I was done :)

Chomps Snack Sticks are the perfect protein filled pickup you need to make it through your day.  They are amazing  whether you have them post workout, on the go, in the office, or serve them to your kids after school!


If you’re ready to get some of this beefy goodness in your house, be sure to enter the giveaway to win a box of goodies from the company, including these three flavors of Chomps and much more!


Super Middle Grade Mondays SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Jennie K. Brown #SuperMGMondays



Welcome to this week’s Super Middle Grade Mondays
presented by Tantrum Books/Month9books!

Today, we get up close and personal with

Jennie K. Brown

author of Poppy Mayberry, The Monday
a 2016 title coming from Tantrum Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!



Jennie K. Brown is a high school English teacher by day, freelance magazine writer by night, and middlegrade/young adult author by late-night and weekend. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Jennie can be found reading a good book, traveling, or spending time with her awesome husband, amazing son and super-spoiled yorkie.In 2010, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) named Jennie the Pennsylvania English teacher of excellence, and she currently serves as President of the Pennsylvania Council for Teachers of English and Language Arts (PCTELA). She is also an active member of SCBWI, NCTE and ALAN.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram


Inspiration with Jennie K. Brown


Many people have asked me where I got the big idea about having magical powers based on the day of the week you’re born for my MG novel POPPY MAYBERRY, THE MONDAY. So, I’ve written a bit about my inspiration below!

The idea actually came to me when I was stopped at a red light in my hometown. I glanced up at the Starbucks on the corner across the street to see a young girl tossing a ball into the air. From the angle I watched, it looked as if the girl was controlling the ball with her mind. At pretty much the same time I asked myself, What day of the week is it? (I have a tendency to lose track of the days over the summer!) And then I put those thoughts together – What if a person had certain powers depending on the day of the week? Or what if a person had a special power specific to the day of the week in which they were born? And that’s where I got the concept for Poppy’s town of Nova. Then I took that a step further and gave certain powers to certain days of the week. If you check out this link, you can see what day of the week you were born and the power behind that day!

Monday – telekinetic powers (controlling things with your mind)
Tuesday – teleportation
Wednesday – energy/electricity manipulation
Thursday – mind reading (So cool!)
Friday – invisibility (disappearing!)
Saturday and Sunday – powerless  (This is funny, because I was actually born on a Saturday myself!)

In POPPY MAYBERRY, THE MONDAY, the main character (Poppy Mayberry) is struggling with her telekinetic Monday power. Because of this she is sent to a remedial summer camp for the powerless – Power Academy – where she gets teamed up with her archrival, a mind reading Thursday, and a few other weekday hopefuls to combat the awful headmistress Clothes-too-tight Larriby and her equally awful sidekick. The novel is set to release in April 2016 with a sequel in December! Find out more and Jennie and her writing inspiration on her website

:)    Jennie



What if your teacher could read your mind just because she was born on a Thursday? Or the kid next to you in class could turn back the clock just because he was a ‘Wednesday”? In the quirky town of Nova, all of this is normal, but one thing is not—Poppy Mayberry. As an almost-eleven-year-old Monday, she should be able to pass notes in class or brush her dog, Pickle, without lifting a finger. But her Monday telekinesis still has some kinks, and that plate of spaghetti she’s passing may just end up on someone’s head. And if that’s not hard enough, practically perfect Ellie Preston is out to get her, and Principal Wible wants to send her to remedial summer school to work on her powers! It’s enough to make a girl want to disappear…if only she were a Friday.

“Whimsical, imaginative, and fun. Poppy Mayberry is a modern Annie – immediately likable, charming and spunky. Kids will be rooting for this wonderful heroine from page one.”
— Robert Beatty, New York Times Bestselling Author of SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK

add to goodreads

Poppy Mayberry, The Monday
by Jennie K. Brown
Publication Date:  September 2016
Publisher:  Month9Books



Complete the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a digital copy of the book!




Why Men’s Dress Socks Should Be Colorful, Pattern-Rich, and Unapologetically Fun

The days of the stiff workweek and black and neutral tones in the office have been over for a while, but it seems not everyone got the memo. To bring everyone up to date on what works at work, we begin from the bottom — crazy socks may not be the status quo just yet, but nearly crazy and definitely avant-garde socks and footwear are steadily making their way from the cubicle to the boardroom, and from the statehouse to the Pentagon and beyond. All those reams and reams of black and taupe socks are in your past now — it’s time to fly your freak flag… at least from the calf down.

Patterned Socks: Getting Past Argyle

While argyle is a fine print and a beloved one, there are many others that in decades past would never have been spotted at a leading law firm or on the feet of a corporate mogul. What’s great about argyle is that it’s been rebooted — argyle 2.0 is brighter, more daring, utilizes more vivid and disparate colors, and are definitely encouraged for the 21st century businessman or entrepreneur.

Yet, no matter what is done with argyle, it is still argyle, and so a whole host of other patterns have come to the fore in the world of socks, and all of them are worthy of your attention as potential assets to your wardrobe. Polka dots, stripes, zig zag patterns, art-inspired prints, thick vibrant stripes, and even a variety of camo prints are all well within the realm of the workplace sock of today.

The Brighter the Better: Don’t Be Scared to Be Bold

With the dress sock trend delving deeply into endless unconventional patterns, solid or heather versions of bright colors are also a welcome look. From animated blues and vivacious reds, every color of the rainbow is welcome nowadays in men’s and women’s dress socks. The key to making brightly colored socks work is to maintain confidence while wearing them — if you’re not confident enough to pull it off, this will show in your demeanor. Just as they say, “dance like nobody is watching,” choose your socks the same way — after all, they are your feet, and what goes on them is your business.

The other key to pulling off brightly colored socks is not to flaunt them voraciously. Let people see them, let them be known, but don’t wear high water pants with your low-cut brogans the same day you wear your solid hot pink socks. In other words, you wear the socks; don’t let the socks wear you! Whether you’re wearing tapered pants or traditional flat front slacks, there should never be more than a couple of inches of sock showing. That means keeping your trouser length on point when you decide to wear brightly colored socks or socks with crazy or fun patterns. It’s fine if a little more sock creeps out when you cross your legs, and in fact this can be a great icebreaker when new hires come aboard.


COVER REVEAL: Black Diamond by Ali Dean


It’s not a place for the weak.
No one here tolerates wimps.
If you can’t handle it, leave.
Welcome to Stark Springs, Colorado, home to the most talented young athletes in the world.
When Roxie Slade snaps into a pair of skis, there’s no one on Sugarville Mountain in Vermont who can keep up with her. Not even the boys. Still, Roxie was shocked when she received a scholarship to Stark Springs Academy, a boarding school that churns out Olympians in each graduating class. Entering as a high school junior, Roxie can’t wait to learn from renowned coaches and train with the fastest ski racers from all over the globe. But upon arrival, Roxie discovers that Stark Springs lives under its own set of rules, and it appears one boy plays dictator.
Ryker Black is not friendly and Roxie cannot fathom why everyone wants to be his friend. Sure, he’s gorgeous and rides a snowboard like it’s his fifth limb, but he’s cold, ruthless, and holds way too much power over the Stark Springs population. Roxie won’t put up with it. She’s here to train, and she doesn’t care about impressing anyone off the slopes. The only problem? Ryker Black doesn’t permit defiance. Not without consequences.

About the Author

Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband, twin toddlers, and golden retriever. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

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