Life & Food Omega-3 Supreme Fish Oil Supplement Review

Before I launch into my review of this omega-3 fish oil supplement, let me state that I received a free bottle of Omega-3 Supreme Fish Oil from Life & Food for evaluation purposes. They asked for an honest review, so here it goes…

Omega-3 Supreme Fish Oil

If you’re worried about heart disease, eating one to two servings of fish a week could reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack. Don’t eat enough fish in your diet? Then maybe an Omega-3 fish oil supplement is the way to go.

Fish oil is widely known for several health benefits, including: improved blood pressure levels, reduced cholesterol, vision and cognitive function support, and reduced pain and inflammation.

 

I won’t go into the nitty gritty details of this supplement as several other reviewers have already done that. I will say that I have tried several other fish oil supplements, and this one is by far the easiest to take. Each softgel is small and round, easy to swallow.

Also, I didn’t notice any fishy odor or aftertaste – a huge plus! And I like how you only have to take one serving each day. Other fish oil supplements I’ve tried must be taken before each meal.

As for the benefits I could notice, after taking these fish oils for two weeks my blood pressure has dropped from my average of 120/80 to 114/76. That’s not bad for just two weeks! I also felt my overall mood improved and I found it easier to stay focused on my tasks. I can’t be positive that this is due completely to the fish oils, but I have to believe it played a part.

All of this without making any changes to my lifestyle.

I am generally active and workout almost daily, so maintaining my health is a high priority for me. I am happy with these omega-3 supplements and will continue to take them to support my health, as I’m sure they can only help me live a longer, healthier life.

If you would like to try OMEGA-3 Supreme fish oils for yourself you can find them on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/pharmaceutical-omega-3s-fish-burps-absorption-molecular/dp/b00r56ix6a/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=utf8

I did get this in exchange for my honest and unbiased review but in no way was my review influenced.


Snack Smart: 10 Foods to Curb Your Cravings

“Chew quietly and keep your mouth closed.”

This childhood lesson in manners taunts me now as I gnaw my afternoon snack of celery with hummus. It’s impossible. No matter what I try, I can’t muffle the ‘crunch, crunch’ echoing in my cubicle. I try to convince myself that my coworkers are applauding my smart snacking, rather than hoping I’ll choke on a seed.

You have to admit, there’s something satisfying about snacking on foods that make you work. I don’t know if it’s primal instinct, but it is so gratifying to pry open a pistachio or pull apart an orange.

Not only are hard-to-eat snacks fun to eat; they can play a big role in weight loss. Smart snacks help you control your hunger so you’re not starving for your next meal and primed for overeating. They also keep blood sugar levels stable, so you don’t start craving a high-calorie pick-me-up. Not to mention, eating often keeps your metabolism revved up so you burn more calories all day long.

snack smart: woman eating a bowl of berries

Photo: “Women Eating Fruit” by MikeHenryPhoto on Flickr

Simple Rules for Healthy Snacking

Before we talk about what to munch on, let’s go over the basics of how to snack smart.

1. Aim for 150 calories.

Choose something that has both fiber and protein to fill you up, and avoid sugary, empty-calorie foods.

2. Slow down.

Make your snack last at least 15 minutes, and savor each bite. Taking your time will help you feel satiated by the time you finish, which will prevent you from wanting to reach for more.

3. Eat when you’re hungry.

Sounds simple enough, but don’t snack just because you think it’s time or because others are doing it. Pay attention to the signals your body is giving you. Every few hours, take a moment to assess your hunger level, and decide if you need fuel.

The Best Snacks to Curb Cravings

The next time you get a craving, munch on one of these ten smart snacks.
smart snacks: baby carrots and celery

1. Baby Carrots

Benefits:

Carrots are well known for being an excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene. This plays a vital role in eye health as well as maintaining healthy skin. Carrots are also a good source of immune system-boosting vitamin C, vitamin K (which helps blood clot) and fiber. Just 8 baby carrots offers 2.5 grams of fiber and more than double the vision-boosting vitamin A you need!

How To Snack Smart:

Bite-sized and somewhat sweet, baby carrots are a perfect stand-alone snack. Help your body absorb the nutrients in carrots by eating them with an olive oil-based dip or dressing. Choose firm, bright-orange carrots, which have the most beta carotene.

2. Celery

Benefits:

Celery is a zero-calorie food, mostly being made of water and fiber. Celery is a good source of vitamin K, with one cup containing about 30 percent of the recommended daily intake, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Its seeds are a natural diuretic, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

How To Snack Smart:

There’s nothing quite like that refreshing crunch you get biting into a celery stalk. Add your favorite low-calorie toppings to give it some flavor. Hummus is my favorite! I’ve also made a Greek yogurt/peanut butter dip that is delicious and light.

3. Pistachios

Benefits:

Pistachios have high amounts of potassium and vitamin K, which help promote heart health, lower inflammation, and control blood sugars. And, when consumed in moderation, these nuts can help control body weight.

How To Snack Smart:

Each time you crack one open it’s like you’re discovering a tiny, tasty treasure. Pistachios can be bought in your local market or from many convenience stores in a variety of flavors. I love the taste of Wonderful’s Sweet Chili pistachios and Salt & Pepper pistachios (both available on Amazon).

4. String Cheese

Benefits:

Packed with bone-building calcium and muscle-building protein, low-fat mozzarella string cheese is a great snack. One stick contains around 20 percent of your daily calcium needs.

How To Snack Smart:

I give you full permission to have fun as you peel pieces off of your string cheese! The smaller the strings, the longer you get to enjoy the cheese. You can even braid your string cheese before eating it, if you feel inspired.

5. Jerky

Benefits:

It may be hard to believe, but beef jerky (and other jerky snacks) can be a healthy choice! Beef jerky is high in protein and it won’t raise your level of insulin—a hormone that signals your body to store fat and regulate blood sugar.

How To Snack Smart:

Jerky comes in a wide variety of flavors and types. Some jerky brands are packed with high-sodium ingredients, such as MSG and sodium nitrate, so check the label. Look for brands that are made from all-natural ingredients, and be sure to drink plenty of water to balance the sodium intake. I like Buffalo Bills Teriyaki Beef Jerky (available on Amazon).

6. Apples

Benefits:

You’ve no doubt heard the saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Apples are sweet, juicy, filling and packed with soluble fiber. Apples are also a good source of vitamin C, providing 14% of your Daily Value. The phytochemicals in apples may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer

How To Snack Smart:

Eat an apple whole, or cut it into wedges and dip in your favorite greek yogurt spread or nut butter.

7. Sweet Mini Peppers

Benefits:

Give your body a healthy dose of B-vitamins while satisfying your desire to crunch. Red peppers have almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C than green ones. What’s the difference? Red peppers simply stay on the vine the longest, so they are able to ripen and accumulate the most nutrients.

How To Snack Smart:

Sweet mini peppers taste great on their own, but you can also fill them with Laughing Cow cheese or your favorite hummus.

8. Frozen Grapes

Benefits:

The phytonutrients in grapes contain protective, disease-preventing compounds. Grapes are an excellent source of manganese, vitamin B6, thiamin, potassium, and vitamin C. Manganese, much like calcium, supports healthy bones, but it also helps monitor free radicals, control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, and supports the digestive tract, among many other things.

How To Snack Smart:

Eat grapes after freezing them overnight. They take longer to consume this way, plus they tend to induce brain freeze, encouraging you to pace yourself.

9. Pomegranates

Benefits:

Pomegranates have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. In fact, the antioxidant potential of pomegranate juice is more than that of red wine and green tea! One pomegranate contains 16 percent of your daily required vitamin C.  Pomegranates also have high amounts of vitamin K, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B5 (which helps the body metabolize protein, carbohydrates and fats), immune-boosting zinc, and iron (which transports oxygen throughout the body).

How To Snack Smart:

To make a pomegranate last, slice the top off, then pick it apart with your fingers and eat the seeds one by one. This takes a long time and tastes great, even if your fingers get stained.

10. Unshelled Edamame

Benefits:

Edamame, or green soybeans, are high in protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. One ½ cup serving of edamame contains 10% of the Daily Value for vitamins C and A, and as much iron as a 4-ounce chicken breast. Plus, edamame provides almost as much protein as it does carbohydrate.

How To Snack Smart:

Snack on edamame pods fresh or steam them with your favorite seasonings. One delicious way to add flavor is with sea salt and olive oil.

What’s your favorite smart snack? Share it in the comments below!


9 Things To Say Yes To For A Happier Life

say yes to adventureWhen did you last say “no” to something? Chances are you can recall it fairly easily.

Now, when did you last say “yes”? A little harder, right?

Life is busy and full of demands. It’s easy to become used to saying no whenever possible. But I encourage you to start saying “yes” more often. Why? While it is easier to avoid change or challenge, when you say yes, you open up your life to so much more happiness and opportunity.

If you want to start being happier without much effort, keep reading, because this stuff is simple. Here are a few things I’ve said yes to that help me feel happy. Incorporate the ones that resonate with you into your everyday life. Go forth and rain YESes on the world!

1. Say Yes To Being Imperfect

It’s noble to want to improve your mind/body/fill-in-the-blank. But aiming for perfection is a disaster waiting to happen. Clever advertising campaigns and those you admire can cause you to have unrealistic expectations. You can find yourself in a downward spiral of self-loathing and non-productivity.

Perfectionism is a form of procrastination.  Learn to know when something is “good enough”, and move on. You’ll soon realize that you can have a much greater impact on the world when you let go of being perfect.

2. Say Yes To Scary Challenges

When you step outside of your comfort zone and take on a new challenge, you might find out you’re stronger or smarter than you thought. Or you could end up failing, but at least you learned something and know more about yourself than you ever did before.

Say yes to challenges that scare you, and you will grow. This works for work and in life. Say yes to new experiences. Say yes to working in a different country. Say yes to hosting a podast or speaking at a conference. It doesn’t matter if you feel underprepared or underqualified; fake it until you make it.

Lindsay Kolowich, Staff Writer at HubSpot Content got some great advice from her boss:

“One of my bosses gave me an opportunity to run paid ads on Twitter, and when I hesitated, he told me to say yes even though I had no idea how to run paid ads on Twitter. Say yes now, figure it out later.

3. Say Yes To Your Passions

Hard work is a virtue, but always leave enough time for the things that bring you pleasure. Discovering and nurturing the things that make you tick will help you be more successful, both at work and in your personal life. When you’re having fun you can be inspired for your next great idea or regain the energy you need to tackle a difficult task.

Not sure how to find your passion? Think back to your childhood, and what you enjoyed doing then. You might pick up on some themes you can follow to find a hobby, or maybe you can re-ignite a passion for a musical instrument or art.

4. Say Yes To Breaking The Routine

Try to try something new every day. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy – maybe you get a green tea instead of your usual mocha latte, or a vegan meal instead of a burger. Mixing it up, even for a short amount of time, will give you new perspective and add fulfillment to your life.

Habits and patterns provide comfort, but they don’t offer the creative boost and increased self-awareness that straying off the beaten path can. Shake off the numbness of your everyday routine  and open up to new sensations. You can learn a lot about what makes you happy and unhappy and have a better idea of how to shape your life rather than going with the flow.

5. Say Yes To A Sunnier Outlook

Every morning when you wake up, decide that today will be a great day. Optimism doesn’t leave room for passiveness or insecurity.

Whenever you catch yourself in a negative train of thought, try to turn it upside down. One thing that’s worked for me is journaling. Every morning, I write down three things I’m thankful for, and three goals I have for the day. At the end of the day, I reflect on what happened, which goals I achieved, and what could have made the day even better. I also write down one “memorable moment” for the day when I experienced something or someone that made me feel good.

Improv actors learn to say yes to whatever another actor says or does. Try this yourself! Let’s say someone just complained about the weather: “Why is it raining so much?” It would be easy to jump on the bandwagon of negativity and respond with something like, “Ugh, I know. This weather is so depressing!” Instead, try responding with something like, “So the beautiful flowers in my garden can bloom.” You’ll be surprised at how this simple exercise can change your entire approach to life’s curveballs.

6.Say Yes To Being Your Own Cheerleader

If you are anything like me, or most people, you are your own worst critic. When you make a mistake or fail, or someone criticizes you then that small inner voice can become deafening.

It’s important to keep your motivation and your self-esteem up to be happy. One way you can do this is to shut down that voice whenever it starts nagging. Create a stop word or phrase you say to yourself whenever you start hearing it. Say: Stop! Or: No, no, we are NOT going there! Another technique is to spend a minute every day writing down or saying aloud everything you like about yourself and your life. Reaffirm why you want to meet your goals. It may seem silly at first, but you will feel the motivation growing!

7. Say Yes To Letting Go

We cling to painful memories and people who hurt us. You might find yourself in a vicious circle of reminiscing about what was or what could have been, but the past is the past. Look to the now and the future to find more happiness. Forgive others, let go and move on. Realize that holding a grudge only hurts you and prevents you from focusing on the people here and now who do love and support you.

And forgive yourself! The only way you will be at peace with yourself is to let go of guilt and focus on being the person you want to become .

8. Say Yes To Making Someone’s Day

Sometimes we’re so focused on finding happiness in ourselves that we neglect others. But the truth is, making others happy can make you happier than anything else! The happiness spreads back to you as the people you touch give back and spread their good cheer to other people.

Do something nice for someone else. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Flash a goofy face at the kid in the window. Smile at the elderly woman walking towards you. Even if the smile is not returned, you’ve put that out into the universe. And you never know – just because she doesn’t smile back doesn’t mean you haven’t had a profound impact. And all that smiling is good for you, regardless! It’s scientifically proven that the more you smile, the happier you’ll be, even if it’s fake.

So grin and share it!

9. Say Yes To Being In The Moment

Ahh, my number one challenge. Live in the moment. We aren’t guaranteed one single second beyond this one, so make it count. Meditation is great for this, but do yoga or go for a walk or whatever helps you focus on the here-and-now.

My favorite technique is to close my eyes and try to name every single thing I hear, one at a time. Then I move on to what I’m feeling, physical and emotional, one at a time. It’s amazing what we tune out in the bustle of everyday life! This exercise can help you center yourself and give perspective when things seem out of control.

I hope you start saying yes to these and so many other parts of your life. Let me know what works for you in the comments below!


Find Motivation After Work With These Simple Fixes

Find Motivation (1)

Let’s face it – holding down a full-time job and pursuing other projects on the side isn’t easy. I struggle from time to time with getting motivated to write after a full day of work. Sometimes, all I want to do is pour a glass of wine and plop on the couch for a marathon session of The Walking Dead.

But I also know that I do some of my best writing after sunset. After much trial and error, I’ve discovered a few techniques that help me to get the ball rolling. Hopefully you find that they make your evenings more productive, too!

Create A Mental Break

Use a routine to create mental space between the work day’s frustrations and the evening’s possibilities . For example, imagine putting all of your work concerns into a cardboard box and closing the lid as you walk out of the office. Or, listen to your favorite podcast or talk show on the way home. Do something everyday that is relaxing and helps you unwind.

Get Active

Workout, even for just a bit! You’ll feel much more energized after a 30-minute run or elliptical workout. Then you can tackle the items on your to-do list. Set up a fitness class that is right after work, or agree to meet a buddy for a jog.

Unplug For One Hour

Take the time to disconnect from your devices, even just for a short amount of time. You’ll feel refreshed and will give your eyes and brain a much-needed rest from information overload and bright screens. I like to cook, play with the dogs, or just go for a walk to refocus during this time.

Prioritize Personal Relationships

Take some time each night to have a cup of tea or eat dinner with your spouse or roommate, or just call up a friend. I spend two hours or so each night cooking, eating with my hubby and watching a few of our favorite shows before diving in to my next round of work. After all, strong relationships are the key to happiness!

Avoid The Couch

I joke that my couch is my personal sink hole. Once I sit down, it’s very, very hard to get back up and feel motivated to do anything. I blame the plush cushions and my snuggly puppies. So, when I have bigger plans for the night, the couch is simply off-limits. Sometimes, I simply avoid going home until I’ve accomplished what I need to do. I’ll either stay late at the office, or take my laptop to a coffee shop and treat myself to a latte while I work.

Focus On One Bite-Size Task At A Time

Instead of trying to accomplish large projects or write that 100-page dissertation, pick a few easy-to-do tasks you’ve been putting off. Save your bigger projects for the weekend, when you have more time (because you got all of your chores done during the week) and you’ll have more energy to devote to them. I use Trello to schedule and “check off” these tasks as I complete them. But more on that later 😉

Did I miss anything?


How To Charm Baby Boomers On Social Media

couple

It’s hard for me to picture my Baby Boomer mom tweeting the latest news or checking her Google+ feed first thing in the morning. I imagine her squinting at the screen, trying to figure out what it means to “poke” someone.

This misconception was smashed to bits last month when I was hired to work on a Facebook campaign targeting the over-50 crowd. It turns out my mom and her peers are quite a force to be reckoned with on social media!

Adults born between 1946 and 1964 represent one-third of all social media users. And, they wield a huge amount of online purchasing power.

Even so, many digital marketers cater primarily to the youth culture, pushing “Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation” to the side. Don’t miss this opportunity! Hone your own digital strategies for Baby Boomers with these insights.

Recognize Their Value

Britain's Leading Ladies, shot by Annie Liebovitz

Women of substance … Lulu Kennedy, Rachel Khoo, Alek Wek, Rita Ora, Emma Thompson, Annie Lennox and Doreen Lawrence Photograph: Annie Liebovitz

“As the baby boomers like me are retiring and getting ready to retire, they will spend whatever it takes – and they’re the wealthiest generation in our country – to make themselves live an enjoyable life in their retirement years.” –David Rubenstein

Besides the fact that there are 77 million of them (that’s roughly 25% of the U.S. population), Baby Boomers have money and want to spend it. They control 70% of disposable income ($7 trillion) and spend more money per-person than any other age group. In fact, Baby Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis.

By 2050, it is estimated that the Baby Boomers population will more than double to 161 million people. This is a large, growing, wealthy and winnable demographic.

Don’t Take A One-Campaign-Fits-All Approach

Baby Boomer Motorcyclists

Advertisers gear less than 5% of advertising specifically toward Baby Boomers.  Brands are missing the mark by targeting younger age groups in the belief that the older generations will follow. Not so. Baby Boomers are notorious for knocking the norm and redefining every aspect of their lives. They expect – and deserve – nothing less than a unique approach. And, they aren’t particularly loyal to brands. Given the right opportunity (or a poor enough experience), they won’t hesitate to jump ship.

Put Yourself In Their Shoes

stairs

Boomers Demand Excellent Customer Service

Members of this demographic grew up in the age of consumerism. Their sheer size helped define brands, and they’re used to influencing the products and services they use. Brands who are fast to respond to questions, comments, and concerns will win their trust and business. 

Boomers Are Tech-Savvy

Throw out the belief that Baby Boomers are not comfortable with social media, online shopping or mobile apps. 27 million people over the age of 55 use social networking. Over one third of all tablet owners in the U.S. are over the age of 45.  Approximately 66% of U.S. adults over the age of 50 regularly buy from online retailers.

Boomers Are Self-Reliant

Baby Boomers hate it when you patronize them. They are a do-it-yourself generation and get satisfaction from completing projects on their own. Enable them by providing instructions and tips, and don’t speak down to them. Provide graphic tutorials and how-to videos to engage them.

Don’t Call Boomers Old!

While it’s undeniable that Baby Boomers are aging (aren’t we all?), they don’t see themselves as old. Avoid calling them “old”, “senior”, or “aging” at all costs. Instead, try “experienced” or “young-at-heart”. Baby Boomers are redefining what it means to age. 

Boomers Want To Pursue Their Passions

This is an adventurous bunch with the money and free time to pursue their passions. They enjoy how easy it is to shop as well as book travel online. Provide content that helps them live the lives they want and speaks to their hopes and dreams. Give them the ability to learn and do things and you will create happy customers and loyal brand advocates.

Get To Know The 3 Types of Baby Boomer

3 types of Baby Boomers

While it’s tempting to target Baby Boomers as one group, not all members of this age group use technology the same way. There are three types of adopters in this demographic:

  1. Adventurous Adopters (aged 50-59): These consumers are serious smartphone users who research online and buy in-store.
  2. Confident Adopters (60-69): This group is all over social media, particularly YouTube. They are happy to buy online.
  3. Comfort Adopters (70+): These consumers love their tablets and Smart TVs. They prefer to shop in-store.

Engage Baby Boomers On Their Favorite Social Media Platforms

While not all Baby Boomers share the same online habits, they do tend to use certain social media platforms.

Baby Boomers Favorite Social Media

1. Facebook

70% of Baby Boomers have a Facebook account, and 40% are active users. Baby Boomers use it for personal reasons, to stay in touch with family and friends. Grandkids who are unreachable by phone are just a Facebook post or message away. Long-lost friendships can be rekindled with a friend request. But, they are also increasingly using Facebook to connect with brands they trust and to reach out for customer service. Allow a two-way dialogue on the platform to address comments and concerns.  Use feedback to improve your products and services.

2. YouTube

34% of Baby Boomers have a YouTube account, which they use for entertainment and to learn how to do new things. Share DIY tutorials, interactive lectures, and heartfelt videos to grab their attention.

3. Google+

39% of Baby Boomers have a Google+ account. Google+ is all about transparency!  Your Google+ page will show up whenever someone searches for your company. Fill out your profile completely, and include a phone number and work address to show you’re available to help. Link your YouTube account to your Google+ business page so your videos get pulled in.

4. Twitter

31% of Baby Boomers have a Twitter account. While they don’t use the platform as much as other age groups, they are one of its fastest growing audiences. Use Twitter to provide news and tips relevant to your audience. Focus on educating rather than promoting.

Remember to cross-promote your posts on other social media sites. For example, share your latest Instagram post on Twitter and Facebook. Cross-promoting lets your followers view everything you post without signing up for another platform.

Keep Things Easy

touch screen

Engage Baby Boomers with a social media campaign that requires little effort. They are less likely to take part in complicated contests or crowd-sourced campaigns. They prefer taking polls, rating, ranking and voting items, and providing user feedback.

Use Authentic Images And “Ageless Marketing”

dove-pro-age-skin-care-mary-small-72894

Use images of people who are close to your target demographic’s age group, and emphasize vibrancy and activity. Show Baby Boomers being active and involved, but keep it realistic. Not too many 65-year-olds will be able to identify with a mountain-climbing Boomer, for example. Avoid words like “elderly”, “retirement”, “senior citizens”, “seniors”, “nursing home” or “assisted living”.

Get Inspired By Brands Doing It Right

These brands know their audience well and are doing a great job connecting with Baby Boomers on social media. Take notes, go forth, and create your own campaigns!

AARP

AARP Facebook

The American Association of Retired Persons uses Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube. The association covers topics like grandchildren and tips for staying healthy. With over 1 million likes on Facebook, AARP connects more with its customers than many “younger” brands do.

Merrill Gardens

Visit Merrill Gardens’s profile on Pinterest.

As one of the top assisted living homes in America, Merrill Gardens connects with its residents and their children on social media. They have an active following on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The company also pins to lifestyle boards on Pinterest to inspire its residents to live to the fullest.

Depend

Depend social media campaign #underwareness

It might surprise you but the incontinence protection brand Depend has an engaged online following. The brand has found a sweet spot when it comes to subtly talking about its customers’ issue. Rather than spelling out the problem and solution, they show the benefits. Take, for example, the#underwareness Twitter campaign. This campaign encourages people of all ages to talk about bladder leakage. It raises awareness among younger consumers while reducing the stigma of an “old person” problem.

Start Marketing To Baby Boomers Today!

Baby Boomer in Coffee Shop

Don’t wait to factor Baby Boomers into your social media strategy, because their numbers keep on rising. The number of baby boomers on social media has tripled in the past four years.  By 2030, the 65-plus population will double to about 71.5 million, and by 2050 it will grow to 86.7 million people, according to the U.S. Census.

To connect with Baby Boomers on social media, you need a fresh strategy. Make sure your campaigns provide transparency and empowerment to your audience. Use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ to show you are authentic and trustworthy. Win them over with social media campaigns that enable them to stay active and improve their lives.

How are you marketing to Baby Boomers?


5 Skinny Shamrock Shake Recipes

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, which means the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is back! The creamy minty concoction is magically delicious but extremely unhealthy. Just the small shake is a whopping 530 calories, with 10 grams of saturated fat and 73 grams of sugar!

Luckily, several fellow shamrock shake admirers have set out to create healthier versions of the frozen treat.

I’ve been on a green smoothie kick these past few weeks trying to shake those last five pounds. So far, so good! I’ve never felt more energized and I’ve avoided getting sick during these last two harsh winter months. Needless to say, I’m all about blending fruits and veggies in new and yummy ways!

The next time you feel the urge to hit the drive-thru, try blending up one of these five fiber-filled smoothies instead.

1. Skinny Shamrock Shake w/ Soy Milk

skinny shamrock shake

Photo: Wine and Glue

The Skinny Shamrock Shake may not be as rich as the original, but it’s plenty tasty thanks to creamy banana and nutty soy milk. (recipe)

2. Healthy Shamrock Shake w/ Greek Yogurt

healthy shamrock shake

Photo: Peanut Butter and Peppers

Who knew blending in just one thin mint cookie could work such wonders? (recipe)

3. Dairy-Free Shamrock Shake w/ Avocado

dairy-free shamrock shake

Photo: Holistically Engineered

Blend naturally green and creamy avocado with coconut milk and you’ve got one tasty and dairy-free shake! (recipe)

4. 77-Calorie Protein Shamrock Shake

77-calorie protein shamrock shake

Photo: Undressed Skeleton

Fresh mint leaves and organic vanilla help cover the flavor of spinach in this supremely low-calorie shake. (recipe)

5. Skinny Shamrock Shake w/ Mini Chocolate Chips

skinny shamrock shake w/ chocolate chips

Photo: Shugary Sweets

Just a tablespoon of chocolate chips adds the right amount of decadence to this healthier shamrock shake. (recipe)


5 Simple Tricks to Organize Your Home Office

Today is National Organize Your Home Office Day (who knew that existed?!). My “home office” is more of a room corner. Having a small work space can be challenging, but with a few tweaks I’ve come to adore it. In light of this obscure holiday, I thought I’d share with you five simple tricks that have helped me get organized.

1. Reuse Shoe Boxes for Storage

shoe box storage

As an avid shoe lover, I have amassed quite a few shoe boxes. I put them to use storing small, light books and papers, and I use pretty labels to keep track of what’s in each. You can make the boxes a part of your decor by covering them with colorful or patterned contact paper and displaying them on shelves.

2. Create a Corkboard Wall

inspiring corkboard

I have a large piece of corkboard that I framed and put up on my wall. I pin to it inspirational words and artwork, as well as little notes I don’t want to forget. If you want to get even more use out of your wall space, hang a peg board to store small items like scissors and tape. Or, you can create a nifty carpet bulletin board using carpet squares!

3. De-Tangle Cords with Binder Clips

separate cords with binder clips

Isn’t it great when you find a new use for something you have lying around the house?! Clip binder clips to the side of your desk to hold USB and other cables. The metal part of the clip keeps the cords from tangling.

4. Store Cords Out Of Sight

cord labels

Project Office Wire Organizer, via Martha Stewart

I learned this tip from Martha Stewart: Feed cords through a hole drilled in your desk, and mount a surge protector on the underside. Keep cords in a coated wire basket suspended under the desk with wire hooks. If you’d rather not damage your furniture, use Velcro strips or zip ties to secure the cords into an organized cluster. Use tags to identify each wire.

5. Go Paperless with a Neat Scanner

Neat Receipts scanner

Last October I decided to ditch my old-school filing system and invested in a NeatReceipts scanner. It took some time to scan everything but now I have an efficient system in place. Any time I get an important paper in the mail, it gets scanned and shredded. NeatReceipts came with software that lets me easily organize and find documents on my computer. There is even a mobile app for anywhere access. The scanner costs about $130 but it is worth every penny!

What challenges are you facing right now with organizing your home office? Have any tips to add? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!


8 Simple Steps to Creating Your Fashion Uniform

8 Simple Steps to Creating Your Fashion Uniform

How often have you been late to an event because, despite an overflowing closet, you can’t find anything to wear? It’s happened to me more times than I’d like to admit. One recent evening, after spending an hour trying on dozens of outfits, I collapsed on the floor in a heap of skirts, leggings, sweaters and dresses. Finally I had been defeated by my own wardrobe the exhausting possibilities.

In light of that low, I decided to create a fashion uniform.

Did you just scrunch your nose at the word “uniform”? Yes, it can conjure images of schoolgirl outfits and military uniforms, neither of which are very stylish. But a fashion uniform is so much more. It can greatly enhance your life.

The Benefits of Having a Fashion Uniform

INCREASE YOUR CREATIVITY. With a simpler fashion foundation, you can get creative with your accessories and other accents. Don’t forget – hair is a fashion statement, too!

SAVE MONEY. You might spend more money at first investing in high-quality staple garments. But you’ll spend less money over time than if you bought cheap, of-the-moment fashions several times each year.

SAVE TIME. Less options means less time debating what to wear. Once you have your uniform are familiar with how to build upon it, it will be a breeze to get dressed.

FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT. You no longer have to worry about picking out a new outfit each day, because your signature style awaits. You can look professional and make a statement with very little effort. This means you can focus on growing your business and pursuing your goals.

It’s no wonder why successful people wear the same thing every day! If you’re ready to follow suit (pun intended), use these 8 simple steps to create your own fashion uniform.

How to Create a Fashion Uniform

1. Channel a Fashion Icon

The easiest place to start is by looking at how others have created a signature look. While the highest form of flattery is imitation, I wouldn’t suggest you dress exactly like a celebrated style-setter. Observe how fashion icons approach their everyday style to find inspiration for your own uniform. Take, for example, Anna Wintour’s oversize sunglasses and bob hair style or Karl Lagerfeld’s monochrome suit and studded black gloves.

2. Identify Your Favorite Pieces

The idea is to have a wardrobe of only your favorite clothes. If you don’t have favorite clothes or don’t don’t care about fashion, ask someone you trust to help you.

3. Select Versatile Clothing

Find pieces of clothing that will work in several different settings. For example, a crisp pair of black pants or a shift dress can transition easily from the office to an evening event.

4. Create Separate Uniforms

If you can’t make one thing work for several occasions, create separate uniforms, e.g. a work uniform and a casual uniform.

5. Buy What You Like In Every Color

Well, not really every color, but if you like something, buy it in multiples. Then, mix and match as you please!

6. Go High-Quality

Quality is much better than quantity when it comes to your uniform staples. A well-made skirt, pant or shirt can last you years with the proper care.

7. Choose Classic Cuts in Muted Colors

Think of your uniform as a blank canvas. Select neutral, classic clothes that can be combined in any number of ways and still look good together.

8. Accessorize!

This is the fun part. Add variety and style to your uniform by wearing colorful undershirts, accessories and jewelry. You can get away with wearing the same blazer and pencil skirt every day if you only change your necklace and blouse.

Do you have a uniform? Share your tips in the comments below!


Hello, World! This is Simply Anna

If you’ve just stumbled across my blog, welcome!  I’d like to take a moment to tell you a little about me and what I hope this blog will become. I already have a question for you – do you prefer video, or text?

Who Am I?

My name’s Anna and I am a freelance writer and digital communications professional. My day job is Communications Manager of Guru.com, but I am also a lifestyle writer and shoe blogger. While completing my journalism degree I enjoyed creating advertising copy, social media posts, and writing content for this intriguing medium called a “blog”. So, I decided to throw myself head-first into this new world and started my own blog, ShoeSmitten.com. It took off, landed me my first real job, and is still going strong today.

Blogging for seven years has taught me not only to stay curious (or “stay hungry” as Steve Jobs would say), but also to savor the simple things. Because it’s these simple things that empower my work and inspire my life.

When I’m not at the office or writing an article, you’ll find me either in the kitchen on in my gym room. I love cooking and baking, especially when the challenge is to make something healthy and inexpensive. Luckily, I’m married to a witty Frenchman who loves to eat, so I always have a reason to cook! We have two furry, mischief-making bundles of joy to help clean the kitchen floor.

Why Am I Blogging?

Blogging at Shoe Smitten has allowed me to connect with amazing individuals who I would have never met otherwise. Now I think it’s time to show more of who I am as a whole and tackle some deeper and dear-to-me topics. My hope is that the workouts, recipes, tips, thoughts, and products that I feature will ignite your passions and help you to form habits that will make the most of what you have. After all, small things add up and make a difference in the long run – whether you’re cooking, working out, writing, building your brand, or shifting your mindset.

What Will I Cover?

I plan to write 2-3 times per week on topics including:

  • Health & Fitness
  • Food & Recipes
  • Productivity & Motivation
  • Content Marketing
  • Branding

How Can You Get Involved?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and topic ideas, and I encourage all types of feedback. If you want to get in touch, leave a comment below, pop an email to bassham[dot]anna at Gmail, or tweet me @annabassham.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear from you soon.