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You Are More Attractive Than You Think, Study Confirms.

There is nothing more beautiful than a confident woman.

Research shows that people perceive you at least 20 per cent more attractive than you think you are. That’s because, when you look in the mirror, you’re simply judging yourself on looks, but there’s more than looks alone that makes one attractive.

A confident, happy, spontaneous and intelligent woman will be perceived as much more attractive than she thinks she is.


In their book, The Complete Formula For Looking And Feeling Beautiful, Doctor Eva Ritvo and Dr Debra Luftman share some of the secrets that we are all looking after: How can we look and feel more beautiful.

I always believed that true beauty comes from within, and in my quest for answers, I stumbled upon this blog post by Dr. Eva Ritvo, in which she explains this interesting concept she calls: The Beauty-Brain Loop.

“The women you know who are genuinely magnetic, who draw every eye when they enter a room–they aren’t just about good looks. They’re confident, passionate, fulfilled and quick-witted. They’re beautiful from all angles. That’s the kind of complete beauty that optimizing the Beauty-Brain Loop can help any woman achieve.” She says.


The Loop is a holistic system with four parts:

1. Inner Beauty: Your self-esteem, attitude, sense of purpose, love for others and compassion.

2. Health: Fitness, diet, weight control, medical checkups, habits.

3. Outer Beauty: Your skin and skincare, hair, nails, cosmetics use, wardrobe and anything else that determines your external “packaging.”

4. Environment: How people respond to you socially, how you create and see beauty around you and enrich your relationships.

“When you enhance any one stage of the Beauty-Brain Loop, you’ll see positive changes in all the others. That’s how the system works. Even if the improvements are small and incremental, you’re going to feel more beautiful, and when you feel more beautiful, you ARE more beautiful. That’s the most important lesson of all.” She adds.

Source: Dailymail / Psychology Today 

Better Sleep with Pink Light Apps

So many people have trouble falling asleep at night, and there are lots of pills for that… but:

What you might not know is that our modernized activities we think we’re relaxing or unwinding with at the end of the day are actually the things keeping us up at night.

Our brains are amazing. They’re computers with unlimited storage space!

In the brain, the hypothalamus controls the sleep cycle (circadian rhythm) and is linked directly to the day and night time cycles of the planet. When light shines in early in the morning, it says: “human, wake up now” and as the day progresses, and becomes a more warm toned light, the brain slows down and says: “human, get tired, it’s almost bed time”

Throw in the phone, the computer, the tablet, and it’s a major disaster for that poor master clock, the Hypothalamus!

It doesn’t know what to do, it thinks the sun is rising again, but you never went to bed in the first place… oh what is a poor brain to do?

Blue light that comes from our screens can set up your brain to refuse sleep when you finally do go to bed. It can take, on average an hour longer to fall asleep after using a device with a screen. But don’t we all mess with the phone right before bed? Lots of us use the phone as an alarm clock, so we set it up right before bed. Even the ambient lighting on some air purifiers are blue! We don’t want that in the bedroom. Put a piece of black electrical wiring tape over it if you can’t turn it off. (maybe even just a band-aid or cute sticker)

As far as the screens go, there’s an app for that! All of them, although they have different names, are a pink screen overlay. You can adjust the brightness and time that it comes on. The one I have automatically detects the time zone and gives me the right light at the right time so I can sleep. (It’s called Twilight on Android, F.lux on the computer. F.lux says they’re coming to Apple soon, but in the meantime they do have a paid app equivalent)

The Twilight program does interfere with some programs but it’s easy to swipe down and pause it. It’s definitely worth it! You barely even notice the subtle pike hue, and it’s completely adjustable. I’d be up all night without mine! I would imagine the effects on children would be at least equal if not more pronounced than in adults. That pink screen might be a big help… unless of course you wear pink sunglasses all the time, in that case you’re already covered.

A Simple Gift Idea

You only need a Plant, a Teacup, and Soil.

This is a simple gift that is completely unique. You can pick out the perfect teacup that suits the giftee’s personality.

It’s not just exclusive to teacups, you can use almost any container.
An antique creamer works well, and if you keep it for yourself, you get to have it on display instead of hiding it in a cupboard.

African Violets are a great small container plant. They do well in humid conditions, so a bathroom or kitchen window is ideal. African Violets have flowers in colours ranging from hot pink, to light pink, white, bright purple and fancier variations with ruffles and colour tipped petals.
If a leaf snaps off, you can stick the stem right back in the soil and it will start to grow roots. (more plants for gifts) Just water it as you normally would and it will turn into a whole new plant.



This one is great for a kitchen or office. The cup just makes you cheerful looking at it!

It’s a great way to get rid of those mismatched cups or to reuse a chipped or cracked cup that might otherwise end up in the trash.

Spider plants like the one above are easy to care for and can tolerate lower light situations and some neglect. Great for the “not so green” thumbs out there. They also help remove formaldehyde, xylene and toluene according to NASA’s clean air study.  Spider plants are nontoxic to cats and dogs.

Besides the Spider plant and African Violets, a Jade makes a really cute house plant.


Coleus plants are good candidates for smaller containers and come in amazingly bright colours.
They do need quite a bright window, but for all the colours they come in, I’m sure there’s something for every taste.


Superfine Rainbow Color Pride Coleus

This is the Recipe you’re going to Fake your Baking Skills With

In my mind this really is: The Best Chocolate Cake on Earth!
It’s a really simple great cake that’s rich and delicious, made using real ingredients.

This is the best go-to cake for any occasion. You can even use it to fake baking skills!
Everything you need to know is on this page.

Baking Gear Required:

2 – 9″ inch pans, or 2 regular sized cupcake tins and cupcake papers
(Wilton 1M Star tip if making cupcakes)

2 Bowls,  (one needs to be pretty big)
Electric mixer
Silicone spatula, handy but not entirely mandatory

Ingredients list:
2 C Sugar
1 – 3/4 C Flour
3/4 C Cocoa Powder (I use the dark kind)
1.5 Tsp Baking Powder
1.5 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1c Milk
1/2 C Vegetable Oil
2 Tsp Vanilla

1 C Boiling Water (we use this last, so put it on when you need it later)

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix it together. You can use a whisk or just a spoon or fork.

Put all the wet ingredients in a bowl, (but not the boiling water!!)
Use the electric mixer to combine everything well, but no need to beat or mix for very long.

Add the dry ingredients, or wet ingredients… depending on which is in the bigger bowl. Either way, combine them!!

Mix on a medium speed for 2 full minutes. It will be quite thick. Don’t get scared.
Now is the time for the boiling water. Add the 1 cup of boiling water to the batter.
I use the mixer to blend it in for 30 seconds or so.
It will be very thin, don’t worry. It’s the way it’s supposed to be.

If you’re making cupcakes, use a ladle to move batter to the cupcake tins. Fill them 3/4 full.
Remember to use cupcake liner papers. The tins work well for muffins, unlined, but not cakes.
You might have a couple of tins empty at the end, but that’s no big deal. I usually come up missing anywhere from 2 to 4.

If you’re using 2 – 9″ pans, coat the pans with cooking spray, or oil. You can put a teaspoon of oil in the pan and rub it around with a paper towel. Put some flour in the pan, shake it around, coat the whole interior of the pan, and do the same with the second pan. Dump out any excess flour, and tap it, to remove the excess.
Try to divide about half of the batter between each pan.

Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes for a cake or 20-25 minutes for cupcakes.
Ovens vary, so check in on them and adjust accordingly.

You can poke them with a fork when you think they’re ready. If the fork comes out clean, they’re done. (Or use a toothpick) Another way to tell is if you push gently on the top and it springs back up and doesn’t leave a major indentation, but the fork or toothpick is the easiest way to really make sure. You only need to poke the the biggest one usually.

Take them out of the tins if you made cupcakes, and let them cool for a couple of hours.
If you made cakes, let them cool for a few hours before trying to get them out of the pans.
It won’t come out of the pan if it’s hot, and if it does it will be in pieces, many pieces!
It will be much easier after it cools.

Chocolate Frosting

1 C Butter
3/4 C Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp Vanilla
4 c Icing Sugar
3-4 Tbsp Milk or Cream

Makes 3 Cups of Icing

Toss that all in a bowl, and mix mix mix. On medium high speed for about 3 minutes. If it’s really too thick, just add a little bit more milk. Watch out when you add the icing sugar and cocoa powder, it tends to fly into the air when you start mixing.

I would recommend making cupcakes if you really aren’t that experienced with baking. They’re a lot easier to make, handle and finish. The bigger cakes are less forgiving. But hey, you’re going to want to make this again… so you will get better at it over time. In the future you might even want to poke holes in those cupcakes and fill them with white frosting and maybe a maraschino cherry… then frost over the poke hole in the top.

To simply frost cupcakes, attach your tip to the bag, and fill with icing. Take a cupcake in one hand, and go around the outer edge, piping the icing onto the cake, (like an ice cream cone) in circles, until you get to the middle, and stop.

I’ve made this recipe well over a hundred times. It never leaves me disappointed. Never fails. It’s really easy once you get used to the recipe, and doesn’t take a lot of dishes or time.

There are so many cute cupcake papers to choose from.
You can pick out some sprinkles and shapes to go on top, they even sell edible glitter for cakes!

If you make it, let me know how it turns out in the comments. (or if you have any questions)

Cold Coffee, in a Good Way

My version of iced coffee is easy to make, stores well, and can be a real treat when it’s too warm for hot coffee.

I’m a major coffee lover. Everything coffee is good with me, but sometimes it’s still nice to mix it up a bit.

This is a simple recipe that you can change to meet your dietary requirements, be it vegan or otherwise.
Cold brewed coffee is less acidic, and that means you can taste the sweetener more while using less of it.
It’s easier on the stomach too.

The Ingredients are:
4 Cups Cold Water,
3/4 Cup Ground Beans. I love the Swanson Brand Organic Ground Coffee. (just search for Coffee on the site)
Optional Vanilla Extract, Whipped Cream, Chocolate to sprinkle on top.

Get a pitcher, bottle or other container (A large mason jar works well)
Add the coffee grounds and water, shake it up and let it sit for 12-24hrs at room temperature,

After 12-24hrs. Strain the coffee through a cheesecloth or mesh coffee filter…  a fine tea strainer should work too, if you don’t mind a little grit in the bottom of your cup.

Pour the coffee into ice cube trays and freeze.

When you want your iced coffee, Put about 2 cups of cubes in a blender with your cream and sugar, and away we go! It makes a nice frothy indulgent drink without all the strange emulsifying ingredients and additives that you often find at the local coffee shops, and the price is great too!

You can add a few drops of real vanilla extract.
I like to use coconut creamer in mine to avoid the dairy.
The cubes can be popped out of the trays and put in a freezer bag for storage.
If the coffee is too strong just add a few plain ice cubes.
For special occasions you can put whipped cream on top and chocolate shavings.

Have fun and get your caffeine buzz on!

Safe and Natural Bug Repellent Recipe

~ Tadpole

We’re always hearing about how many chemicals there are in every day products and that we should be avoiding them. What we might hear less about, is how to actually get these more natural products easily, affordably, and how to make simple and effective ones at home.

There are plenty of places to buy  overpriced natural products online, but what if you want to make your own? Where do you get the oils? How do we know which ones are the right ones?

Essential oils have been proven to be just as effective, and sometimes more effective than their chemical rivals.
In my case, with severe allergies and chemical sensitivities, most commercial brands aren’t an option whether or not they work.
I’ve been using essential oils my whole life, before they were popular or even common.
Thankfully plant essences have become commonplace and much easier to find in recent years.

Extremely cheap or imported oils of questionable origin are still a bit of a problem. You don’t want to see “scented oil” or “perfume oil” on the label. We’re looking for “pure essential oil” “organic oil” and “100% oils”.
Anything else could be unsafe, chemical based or mixed with other oils or chemicals. As a rule, if the ingredients aren’t listed, you don’t want it. I generally go with the idea that if you don’t want to ingest it, you don’t put it on your skin either. Everything we touch absorbs into the blood stream, so we have to keep it as clean and pure of a product as possible.

In this post I’d like to show you how to make an effective insect repellent, using affordable, easily obtainable essential oils.  The brand isn’t all that important as long as it’s a quality oil. I get most of my natural products from SwansonVitamins They have a great selection of oils, they’re affordable, and the company is above all accountable and reliable. You can get $5 off your first order by going through my link. It’s a lot easier than trying to find the oils locally for me and the prices can’t be beaten. I’ve also had good luck with the oils from PipingRock,

This simple insect repellent is made using any of these oils: Cedar, Citronella, Mint, Tea Tree, Catnip, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass oil, in a carrier of Sweet almond oil, or coconut oil. In a pinch you can even use a light olive oil.

Each oil works on it’s own but has more power as a combined team.
You can use them all together or choose your favorites.
Unlike the chemical repellents, these ones actually smell good, and can help improve your breathing.

First thing, get a roller-ball bottle or any little container that you want to use to store your repellent in.
As a precaution, please know that Tea Tree Oil does eat away at rubber droppers and plastic. If using Tea Tree Oil, you must use only glass. The rest are ok to use with droppers and plastic rollers.

The simplest blend to start with would be Cedar and Citronella.
Take the Cedar oil, and put about 25 drops of oil into the container, add an equal amount of Citronella oil. Now you have a concentrated oil that can be used as is, but can cause issues with sensitivity on the skin. To fix that, all you need to do is add the carrier oil, Choose from Sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or a light olive oil.  You could use grape-seed oil or other cosmetic oils but we’re supposed to be keeping this simple!

Just add about a tablespoon of carrier oil to the bottle, to make a potent anti-bug-serum. Mix it up and you have your finished product. If you find that the scent is too strong, or not strong enough, you can add more essential oil or more carrier oil until it suits your needs.

Be sure to label it so you know what it is, and experiment with more blends.

Catnip oil is a great repellent for mosquitoes particularly. I find the Mint and Cedar to be very useful for black flies. When adding Tea Tree Oil, it’s stronger than the rest, so just a few drops will usually be enough.

If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments.


Why not grow your own herbal tea at home?

Photo Credits:

Lemon Balm, Catnip and Mint are my favorites for herbal tea.
They taste great and have medicinal properties that are quite useful, in addition to being decorative as plants.

To grow your own, you’ll need some pots. You can use store bought pots, coffee cans with holes poked in the bottom, or even a plastic dish. If it’s a container that holds some amount of moisture, it could work. You can be creative.

The soil I usually use is just simple African Violet dirt. It doesn’t need to be an expensive brand.

You can start with seeds and follow the directions on the package or start with greenhouse plants.
Either way, you want to let them dry slightly between waterings,  and water regularly thereafter.
After a while, you’ll get to know what your plants like and how often to water them.
The great thing with growing your own is that it can be as natural and organic as you make it.

Lemon Balm Photo Credits: Quinn Dombrowski

Lemon Balm likes a lot of sunlight and can go outside in the ground in the warm months, or out on a patio.
Indoors it’s great to have a south-facing window, or east, to get as much sunlight as possible.
The same goes for the Catnip and Mint.

Lemon Balm is also known as “Melissa” and has many medicinal uses,
ranging from toothaches to upset stomach and allergies.
It is believed that lemon balm has calming effects, and can be taken for  for anxiety, sleep problems, and restlessness.
It’s a personal favorite of mine and I believe it has quite a significant effect on peace of mind and mood.

Lemon balm is also used to lend a helping hand for Alzheimer’s disease,
attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), swollen airways, (potential for easing asthma symptoms)
rapid heartbeat caused by nervousness, and insect bites.

It’s a versatile plant to say the least!
It does have a lemony flavor and you can use more or less according to your own personal taste.
You can add a few drops of lemon juice, or a handful of blueberries to your tea as well for added flavor.

Catnip Photo Credits: Tadpole

The Catnip!
It’s a great herb for helping you get to sleep. It really helps with insomnia. It also drives away mosquitoes.
I’d caution anyone with a cat on this one, because cats love it and will go to great lengths to smash it out of a windowsill and roll in it.
Not much will stop a determined cat after a plant.
Like the Lemon Balm you can add more or less according to your tastes, but it isn’t as tasty… On the other hand, if you use it as a sleep aid, you can probably suffer the taste more easily. It helps calm people enough to get into a deep sleep and dispels nervousness and general icky feelings.
I’ve used it a lot and I can say it works for me.

Mint Photo Credits: Tadpole

I prefer spearmint to peppermint because it has a slightly different, more intense flavor. It calms the stomach and tastes great. you can mix it with catnip or lemon balm to make your own blends.
It can be used in baking as well. One drink I like to make in the summer is this:

Add about a cup of frozen red grapes to a blender, add some water to facilitate blending… give it a whirl…
Take two or so cups of ice, throw that in, crush the ice up… add water as needed so everything doesn’t get stuck.
Take 2-3 sprigs of Spearmint or Peppermint, put that in, blend it up and you’re done.
It should be sweet enough from the red grapes, and very flavorful with the mint.
You can serve it in Mason Jars with  a straw. It’s like a low calorie natural slush.
It’s very refreshing, and super simple!

When you harvest your leaves for tea, you can snip off individual leaves with scissors or pinch them off with a fingernail, making sure to only take the lower bigger leaves, or the first few leaves at the top of the plants. There’s no need to dry them first. Fresh leaves make great tea, but on the other hand, if gardening just isn’t for you, there are lots of stores that sell these dried herbs. 2-3 Teaspoons to a pot should be enough for dried teas.

Mix and match all three.
You can experiment as you go.

Happy Brewing!

Photo Credits: