Today’s Top Stories
Type 2 Diabetes Nutrition

Type 2 Diabetes Nutrition

In today’s fast-paced world, it is hard enough to stay healthy even without a condition. If you have type 2...

The Best All-Inclusive for Couples

The Best All-Inclusive for Couples

If you are planning your honeymoon, you will want to enjoy your time in peace and not have much to...

Honeymoon Destinations in Europe

Honeymoon Destinations in Europe

Europe is full of rich history and cultural delights. However, with nearly 50 nations and countless cities to choose from,...

Kiss Winter Blues Goodbye

Kiss Winter Blues Goodbye

My family has a long history of clinical depression. I see everyday what depression can do to individuals and their...


Technology and the Power of Disruption

Have you ever been told that things are the way that they are in your business because “that’s how we’ve always done it”? This is a way of thinking that proved successful in big business for many years. Well, it’s 2014, and while we may not be living life like The Jetsons, times have certainly changed. This way of thinking does not inspire creativity, and most importantly, prohibits innovation. Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever before, and every minute that you’re pushing away new technologies, your competitors are gaining an edge on you. It’s time to be disruptive.

Let’s look at Big Data for example. There’s a large divide on companies who support big data analytics and those who don’t. For those who don’t, a common argument is that customers want a human-to-human interaction, and that’s something you cannot get simply with numbers and analytics. It’s the same “Moneyball” argument (for those of you who are baseball fans)

While that’s important, that will not be enough in the future. Kroger company embraced big data early and now the midwest grocery chain is the second-largest in the country (second to Wal-Mart). They were able to accomplish this by mining all customer purchase history with their Kroger Plus card and then creating personalized marketing sent to the customer on products that fit their “consumer profile.” But it doesn’t stop there. They can also use this data to determine which products they will put in a particular store. The products at Kroger in Terre Haute, Indiana may be completely different than a Kroger in Little Rock, Arkansas, and even different than a store in Cincinnati, Ohio. With the advancement of mobile technologies and smart Wi-Fi networks, retailers will even be able to gather location-based analytics that will allow them to determine which part of the store the most products are sold, where the most foot traffic is, and even what times lines are the longest. Retailers embracing these technologies and stepping away from the status quo are instantly gaining a substantial competitive advantage.

Technology and the Power of Disruption

Mobile technologies are also disrupting businesses more than ever before. Let’s take a look at the taxi industry. For decades, getting a taxi in any city required you to stand on the side of the street and “hail a cab” or just call a number to request a driver. Many taxi cars still require riders to pay cash, which is a huge disadvantage in today’s age. Now introduce Uber and Lyft. They went against the status quo and introduced mobile technology, and are now making a huge dent in the industry. By creating mobile applications that allow consumers to request a car, pay a fee, check driver location on a map, and rate drivers, these companies made it easier to use these services. They took advantage of mobile trends and made technology easy. They disrupted the industry by going against the status quo, became successful, all while the taxi industry as we knew it will continually see a decline in revenue because they did not embrace new technologies.

These are just a couple of examples of how going against the status quo has allowed businesses to be more successful. The point is that technology is going to play a huge part in business for many years to come. There will never be a replacement for human interaction, and there shouldn’t, but adding a layer of technology to help your business succeed is going to pay big dividends. Let’s get rid of the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality, especially if your business is flat-lining. Be disruptive, be innovative and be creative to help your business succeed at the next level.

Mining companies, investors steer through rising tide of water risks

More than 70% of the western U.S. has been hit by drought, while China has been suffering from a national shortage of water and energy resources, prompting plans to develop 172 major water projects by 2020, says Paul Simpson of the CDP research firm working for institutional investors.

A survey by CDP of the world’s largest listed companies finds an increasing number of corporate executives say water is or soon will become a restraint on their corporate growth. In the CDP Global Water Report 2014, more than two-thirds of the Global 500 companies reported substantive water risks, “therefore investing to conserve, manage or obtain water has become crucial for some sectors,” said Simpson.

Mining companies

For instance, BHP Billiton has invested nearly US$2 billion “in a desalination plant in Chile to ensure adequate water is available for its desert mining operation,”’ he noted.

“Competition for scarce water resources is leading to business disruption, brand damage and the loss of the license to operate. A lack of water, or insufficient water of the right quality, can cut or even halt production,” observed the survey. “This is of growing concern to institutional investors as evidenced by investors’ support for CDP’s water programs.”

573 financial institutions with assets of US$60 trillion were signatories to the CDP 2013 water questionnaire dated Feb. 1, 2014.

“CDP investor signatories are essentially seeking the answer to one question: what shareholder value is put at risk by poor management of water exposures?” said the report. “They are concerned about potential impacts to the bottom line, and about the threats that poorly understood and managed water impacts pose to the future performance of their investments.”

The organization’s CEO Water Mandate defines water stress as having three core components: water availability; water quality; and water accessibility. “Compared to water scarcity, water stress is a broader concept as it considers several physical aspects related to water resources, including scarcity, but also water quality, environmental flows and the accessibility of water.”

“The good news is that respondents are increasingly acknowledging the importance of water security as a corporate issue,” said CDP. “The responses to CDP’s water questionnaire this year show clear progress on some of the most important indicators of effective water risk monitoring and management.”

“Furthermore, analysis shows that companies exposed to water risk are prepared to invest—in technological improvements, monitoring, and staff training, among other things—to minimize those risks,” said CDP.

Mining companies

Among the technical solutions highlighted in water monitoring by the report is Vale, which “has invested US$8 million in monitoring systems to track changes in precipitation patterns, allowing it to take any preventative measures necessary.”

Nevertheless, CDP finds that while in some cases, “companies may be able to engineer solutions that secure their own water needs, this may do little to address the underlying risk drivers. There is little advantage to being a clean fish in a dirty pond.”

“Furthermore, those parts of the world that offer the greatest potential for economic growth in the years to come are also those that are at most risk from water stress,” the report advised.

The materials sector, including mining, provided a high rate of response to the CDP water survey as 73% companies responded. The majority of metals & mining companies answered the survey including Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Amplats, Antofagasta, Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals, Freeport-McMoRan, Fresnillo, Glencore, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold Mining, Hitachi Metals, Impala Platinum, Newcrest Mining, Newmont Mining, Northam Platinum, PotashCorp, Rio Tinto, Sumitomo Metal Mining and Vale. Among the mining companies that did not respond to the survey were Cliffs Natural Resources, Grupo Mexico, Randgold Resources and Southern Copper.

Among the survey’s key findings within the materials sector: Almost half of the respondent experienced detrimental water impacts in the last report year, the second highest among all the sectors; and 80% of respondents have committed to both goals and water targets this year.

Mining companies

In the risk analysis portion of the materials sector survey, 64% of respondents report that water poses a substantial risk to their businesses. 14 respondents reported a total of 118 risks, 47% of which are expected to materialize within the next three years.

A wide range of risk drivers were reported with 54% of them physical, including increased water stress or scarcity. Thirty three percent of drivers fell under regulatory risk, such as increased difficulty in obtaining operations permits, and 7% were reputational.

“Respondents are pursuing a wide range of response strategies including engagement with suppliers (11%), engagement with policy makers (8%), compliance with local legal requirements (7%), and supplier diversification (6%),” said the survey.

“For example, Anglo American implements water efficiency and conservation measures and works with government to develop sector water efficiency targets aligned with principles of water conservation and demand management,” CDP cited.

The Best All-Inclusive for Couples

If you are planning your honeymoon, you will want to enjoy your time in peace and not have much to worry about. That is the point of all-inclusive resorts. Just about everything you could need or want is included in one package price at these resorts to make vacations easy to manage and enjoy. If you are looking to book a vacation, consider staying at one of the world’s finest all-inclusive resorts designed with couples in mind.

The Best All-Inclusive for Couples

Galley Bay Resort and Spa

Galley Bay is an adults-only four-star located on the shores of Antiqua. This premium upscale resort was modernized and fully renovated in 2008, and each suite features flat-panel television screens, iPod docks, wireless Internet access, a desk area and telephones with voicemail access. Guests have on-site access to a fully-equipped exercise studio, water sports that include kayaking, jet skiing and scuba diving, nightly entertainment, a number of spools and spas and several on-site restaurants and bars. One swimming pool features a swim-up bar so you can stay cool while you relax. Ask a concierge at the front desk to help you plan adventures into the rainforest, book tee times at local courses or just ask for advice about the best shopping destinations in the capital city of St. John, which is just a few minutes from the resort.

Galley Bay Resort and Spa
P.O. Box 305
St. John’s, Antigua

The Best All-Inclusive for Couples

Barbados Beach Club

Rooms and suites at Barbados beach Club are available in several layouts with several bed choices, and every suite features a panoramic view of the ocean and the surrounding area from a private balcony or patio. Dine on a diverse selection of gourmet fare at one of three gourmet restaurants on the property, and enjoy drinks at one of two two full-service bars known to serve colorful libations. Barbados Beach Club also caters to the sports-minded traveler by offering water sports, volleyball, tennis and a modern workout area. After playing and exercising, relax in a number of swimming pools and whirlpools throughout the property. A health spa is also available and its services can be booked for in-suite to ensure privacy and comfort.

Barbados Beach Club
Maxwell Coast Road
Christ Church, Barbados

Ritz-Carlton Kapalua

The Ritz Carlton Kapalua is one of the most popular all-inclusive honeymoon destinations in the world for the wealthy and privileged. More than 450 rooms and suites await you here. Enjoy large flat-panel high-definition televisions with satellite program and DVD players, iPod docks, bathrooms that feature spa tubs and premium bath notions and a wireless Internet connection that be used from a large desk area. Property amenities include a modern fitness studio with a private yoga room, swimming pools with private cabanas, whirlpools and a spa and a salon that offers services that can be done in in-house or in your suite. Four restaurants serve gourmet fare on site, and several full bars serve long wine lists and a number of specialty tropical cocktails.

Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
1 Ritz-Carlton Drive
Kapalua, Hawaii 96761

Online Streaming Radio Presents Opportunity for Brands

When internet radio exploded onto the scene around 2005, it completely transformed radio from both a consumer and marketer perspective. Paired with the hundreds of new internet-enabled devices, radio has become on-demand consumer experience.

RadioWith apps such as Pandora, Slacker, TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio available at your finger tips, internet radio has become a popular way to access audio stream. Through the eyes of the advertiser, this phenomenon provides the opportunity to get what they really want: active consumers willing to engage in their brand.

Unlike traditional radio, many of these on-demand apps offer customized playlists, allowing the consumer to design the type of content they want. With registration data often including zip codes, this allows the advertiser to place relevant and compelling ads based on the consumers personalized music selection and their location. Internet radio can provide national reach or local market targeting and allows consumers to interact and engage with the advertisers website or Facebook page.

So what do these Internet stations offer and how do they differ in both a consumer and advertising perspective? Here is a brief summary of just a few of the popular stations being used today:

One of the main stations, and arguably the most well-known one is Pandora. According to a study released from Nielsen in June 2010, Pandora is one of the top three most downloaded apps from the Apple app store and consistently ranks in the top five most used apps in the BlackBerry and Android stores.

RadioLike Pandora, iHeartRadio allows users to listen to stations based on artist, song or album. The difference with iHeartRadio is its vast majority of song selections. iHeartRadio listeners can choose from a massive catalog of more than 11 million songs and 400,000 artists- more than 10 times the number of songs offered by Pandora.

Another popular consumer choice is Slacker Radio. What sets Slacker apart from its competitors is that it has professional DJ’s that customize the song selections and stations. This offers more personalized content than the other technology run sites.

Stitcher is the leader in internet radio for the “world beyond music.” This online site “stitches” together news, sports or talk shows from stations like Fox News, CNN and ABC.

TuneIn allows you to listen to live local and global radio from wherever you are. Whether you want to listen to sports, news, music or current events, TuneIn offers over 50,000 stations and 120,000 shows. It gives you the effect that you “right there with the people and places that are important to you.”

RadioSpotify allows branded apps and channels that allows an advertiser to provide an added value to their target audience. Louisiana Tourism recently used this to their advantage. When the campaign is no longer live…the channel lives on as a wonderful reminder. Spotify utilizes the king of social networks; Facebook. You can share your playlist with your friends. They have taken this one step further with the “life sound tracker.” Using the tracker, consumers can select friends on Facebook and Spotify will generate a playlist containing music from upcoming concerts in your area based on a mash-up of your friends’ music. Users can then have the option to generate a Facebook invite and send it to their friends.

Although Internet radio offers advertising opportunities across both online and mobile platforms, users can also pay a fee in order have an ad-free experience, which could be dismaying to a media partner.

But in an article written about Pandora, media and marketing specialist Kathryn Koegel, states:

“Typical radio stations play nine minutes of ads per hour according to a 2006 study and in a study of clutter on radio, it was reported to be as high as 20 minutes per hour on some stations*. A service like Pandora currently runs a maximum of three audio ads or less per hour and banner ads only appear on a device when a phone is not locked or dimmed thus only when the consumer is interacting with the device.”


The research shows that only 9% of Pandora subscribers pay to use the product. It is also shows extreme growth in the amount of users listening to Pandora on their mobile device versus the web. It allows optimization as we saw with a recent client. By paying attention to ongoing measurement, we saw that mobile’s click-thru rate was much higher than the web; therefore we switched impressions to only mobile.

As marketers, we can conclude that the majority of consumers do not mind advertising, especially if it is targeted to the listener. However, we must stay ahead of the curve in terms of unique and targeted advertising. With mobile technology rapidly advancing, the way consumers listen to radio will continue down this ever-changing path.

Top 20 Best Convenient Diabetic Snacks

When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes one of the hardest things for me was to come up with meals and snacks that would taste good, would give him proper nutrition and also would keep his blood glucose levels in check.

While he was at home I could monitor his food intake and make changes if he didn’t like something. During the school days however it was a different story. I had to make sure that the snacks and meals I pack in his lunchbox would be eaten.

Top 20 Best Convenient Diabetic Snacks

For diabetics it is not only about watching sugar and carbohydrate intake……. It is about carefully choosing foods and snacks mostly with fiber and protein while watching carbohydrates, calories, fat and sodium.

My son’s diabetic team was very helpful with designing his menu plan and suggesting snacks……it was up to me to make sure that my diabetic child is well being taken care of.

Few years ago I read an article in Diabetic Living about selecting smart snacks for diabetics when grocery shopping.

With the help of that article and their research my son and I made a list of top 20 diabetic snacks he liked.

I keep that list on my fridge for a quick reference and snack ideas.

I do prefer to make meals and snacks from scratch or serve them in their natural state, but sometimes you just don’t have the option or time. That’s when the convenience of prepackaged foods kicks in.

Top 20 Best Convenient Diabetic Snacks

Top 20 Convenient Diabetic Snacks:

  1. Honey Maid Cinnamon Rolls Thin Crisps (100 calories, 16g carbs, 3g fat, 115mg sodium)
  2. Sun-Maid Mediterranean Apricots (per 1/4 cup – 100 calories, 23g carbs, 0g fat, 15mg sodium, 3 g fiber)
  3. Triscuit Thin Crips Quattro Formaggio (15 crackers – 140 calories, 22g carbs, 4.5g fat,160g sodium, 3g fiber)
  4. Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop!94% Fat Free Butter (3.5cup – 120 calories, 25g carbs, 2g fat, 240g sodium, 4g fiber)
  5. Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Light (50 calories, 0g carbs, 3g fat, 6g protein, 160mg sodium)
  6. Planters Harvest California Almonds (25 nuts – 160calories, 6g carbs, 14g fat, 6 g protein, 95mg sodium, 3g fiber)
  7. Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Oats ‘N Honey Bars (2 bars – 180 calories, 29g carbs, 6g fat, 4g protein, 2g fiber, 160mg sodium)
  8. Plocky’s Original Three Grain Tortilla Chips (1 oz – 129 calories, 24g carbs, 4g fat, 2g protein, 2g fiber, 90mg sodium)
  9. Quaker Snack Mix – Baked Cheddar (3/4cup – 130 calories, 19g carbs, 4.5g fat, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 230mg sodium)
  10. Del Monte Fruit Naturals – No Sugar Added Peach Chunks (1/2cup – 40 calories, 12g carbs, 0g fat, 1g protein, 2 g fiber, 0g sodium)
  11. Simply Jif Creamy Peanut Butter (2Tbsp – 190 calories, 6g carbs, 16g fat, 8g protein, 2g fiber, 65mg sodium)
  12. Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar 100 Calorie Mini Bites (per pack – 100 calories, 12g carbs, 4.5g fat, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 110mg sodium)
  13. Dannon Activia Light Nonfat Yogurt (4oz – 70 calories, 13g carbs, 0g fat, 5g protein, 3g fiber, 75mg sodium)Top 20 Best Convenient Diabetic Snacks
  14. Genisoy Soy Crisps – Rich Cheddar Cheese (17 chips – 120 calories, 13g carbs, 4.5g fat, 7g protein, 2g fiber, 190mg sodium)
  15. Kashi TLC Original 7 Grain Crackers (15 crackers – 130calories, 22g carbs, 3g fat, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 160mg sodium)
  16. Planters Harvest Dark Chocolate Forest Blend Trail Mix (1/4cup – 170 calories, 18g carbs, 10g fat, 4g protein, 3g fiber, 45mg sodium)
  17. Dannon Activia Strawberry Dairy Drink (160 calories, 27g carbs, 3g fat, 6g protein, 1g fiber, 60mg sodium)
  18. Jell-O Sugar Free Chocolate Vanilla Swirls Pudding Snacks (60 calories, 12g carbs, 1.5g fat, 2g protein, 180mg sodium)
  19. Praeventia Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (1 pouch – 150 calories, 21g carbs, 6g fat, 2g protein, 4g fiber, 95mg sodium)
  20. Kettle Baked Potato Chips – Hickory Honey BBQ ( 1 oz – 120 calories, 21g carbs, 3g fat, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 160mg sodium)

Important part to remember is that prepackaged and convenient snacks are to help in times when homemade is not an option and as a treat. Fresh and natural foods are always the best option.

Honeymoon Destinations in Europe

Europe is full of rich history and cultural delights. However, with nearly 50 nations and countless cities to choose from, determining which places would make ideal honeymoon destinations in Europe can be quite the task. Whether looking for love in the city or a private getaway, your options are limitless. However, for the ultimate romantic experience, these five European destinations have it all.

Honeymoon Destinations in EuropeParis, France

Paris is considered the most romantic place on earth to many, making it the perfect European honeymoon destination. Sip a hot coffee on the banks of the Seine, share a special moment on the romantic Avenue des Champs-Elysees and indulge in a traditional French meal. Paris can be a wonderful honeymoon choice any time of year due to its moderate climate. In the heat of the summer, temperatures rarely reach the 80-degree point. In the winter, freezing temperatures are rare.

Florence, Italy

Florence is steeped in culture and history. Few things are more romantic than watching the sun set on the ancient city in the heart of Tuscany. Enjoy some fine art in one of the many galleries or museums, catch a ride on the river or shop for unique Italian fashions. If traveling between April and October, the tourist high season in Florence, ensure that any tickets you need are reserved ahead of time, as many sightseeing activities are prone to selling out admission quickly.

South Wales, United Kingdom

For those couples seeking a U.K. getaway, consider South Wales. South Wales is a quiet area seldom seen by tourists, making it the perfect secluded honeymoon destination in Europe. Enjoy the emerald green hills, quaint old-world houses and jovial community feel. Make some time for romance on the coast at Cardiff and enjoy a few local treats like traditional tea.

Honeymoon Destinations in Europe

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria’s capital city, is full of breathtaking architecture and an unmatched musical history. Listen to the Vienna Philharmonic Symphony playing the classical music of city sons Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn, dine in an upscale restaurant or opt for a smaller intimate cafe and share a moment of romance at the Belvedere palace.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is the northernmost capital city in the world. In Reykjavik, you can expect to find fresh seafood, geothermal steam rising from the earth and unique shopping experiences. Walk the entire city to enjoy the sights and take the time to breathe in some of the freshest air in the world. This beautiful green landscape is sure to astound any couple seeking honeymoon destinations in Europe.

7 Steps to Learning a Language

Learning a second language is valuable for anyone. But if you are spending a significant length of time in a location where you do not speak the language, you will be continually handicapped until you learn. Learning a new language is not difficult; even a few months of immersion in a foreign language will help you learn enough to function in many situations.

Listen and Observe

Start by listening. Listen to conversations in the language, even if you do not understand them. If you are in a situation where you do not have to understand everything–such as at a meal with friends–ask others not to translate for you. Instead, listen to their conversation. At first, you will just hear meaningless sounds, but gradually you will be able to distinguish words and phrases.

Use What You Know

Many people hesitate to begin speaking in a new language until they are certain they will not make any mistakes. If you wait until you are sure you can speak correctly, then you will never begin communicating. Jump in and repeat what you hear, even if you don’t know exactly what it means. When you hear a new word or a phrase, begin using it immediately.

7 Steps to Learning a Language

Ask Questions

Never hesitate to ask questions or to admit that you do not understand something. Most people, even strangers, will be pleased that you are trying to learn their language and will be happy to help you. If adults seem unwilling to help you learn new words, ask children. Children are usually pleased and proud to teach an adult something. Learn how to say, “What is this?” and “How do you say…?” and use those phrases often.

Keep a Notebook

As you begin collecting vocabulary and phrases, start a notebook of everything you are learning in your new language. Keep a list of vocabulary and organize it in a way that makes sense to you. Write down any rules you learn about grammar in your notebook as well. Ask people to help you write things down so you spell them correctly, but also include a phonetic spelling so you will remember how to pronounce words later.

Force Yourself to Communicate

Put yourself in situations where you will be forced to speak the language. Run a simple errand, such as going to the post office by yourself, without a translator. Bring a vocabulary list if you need to, but do not just show a clerk the list. Take the opportunity to have as many real conversations as you can. You will remember vocabulary much more easily after you have used it in a situation where you really needed it.

7 Steps to Learning a Language


As early as you can, start reading. Begin with something fun and simple, like children’s stories. Picture books for toddlers are perfect for your reading level, and even the simple language of these books will introduce you to new words and improve your spelling and grammar. You can also read your favorite books in translation; if you choose a book that you are familiar with in English, then you will be able to understand it in your new language. Keep a copy of the original nearby to help you out if you cannot figure out a phrase.

Try a Language CD or Software

Languages can also be learned through CDs and from online sites. Companies like Rosetta Stone, a leader in the industry, specialize in this type of language education (see link in References). Rosetta specializes in the total immersion technique and does not start with grammatical explanations. You learn by constantly interacting with the program.

Exploring Seattle Aquarium

I am almost ashamed to admit it…….,but I never thought that Seattle had an aquarium….

….on our recent December trip we decided to walk from our hotel to waterfront in a search of the best seafood restaurant.Exploring Seattle Aquarium

The weather was looking pretty good considering being Seattle in December…..till we almost reached the waterfront….that’s when the sky opened and the waterfall started….

Right in front of us was a building with a big sign…..SEATTLE AQUARIUM….

I just looked at my kids and hubby and all of them were thinking the same thing…..”For Crying Out Loud Woman….Enough Walking….Lets Go In”….How could you say no to that.

Exploring Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium is located on Pier 59 and it’s open every day except Christmas Day and June 1st.

It is not very big, but it offers many beautiful and educational exhibit….activities….

Don’t miss octopus feeding every day at noon and 4pm….your children will enjoy seeing, touching and exploring sea life of Puget Sound in tide-pools…take a virtual trip to Pacific Coral Reef… the adorable otters and seals.

Exploring Seattle Aquarium

….and of course don’t forget to stop by Cafe for some delicious and fresh seafood dishes.

The Best Places to Vacation in Jamaica

Jamaica is always a great place to vacation, but choosing the best place is somewhat impossible because each city is equally amazing. It simply depends on what you want to do during your vacation. Do you want to lie at the beach by day and party by night, or do you want to hike on mountainous waterfalls? After finding a spot, everything else will come together.

The Best Places to Vacation in Jamaica

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay is an extremely popular vacation destination on the island of Jamaica. Being the second largest city on the island, Montego Bay is renowned for snorkeling and swimming since Montego’s bay has many miles of coral reefs. The city has amazing colonial architecture along with bright colors. Shoppers should visit Harbour Street, which features unique woodcarvings, straw arts and crafts, and batiks. Along with these arts and crafts, perfume, crystals, cigars and more are sold on Harbour Street. After a long day of shopping, go to the nightclubs and casinos of the Hip Strip and let loose for the night.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios is located on the northern central coast of Jamaica. This tourist-cruise hot spot is known more its The Best Places to Vacation in Jamaicawilderness than its consumerism. Home to the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls, Ocho Rios is a great place to take your family and get your adventure on. With countless forests, lakes and waterfalls, some of the activities that are popular in Ocho Rios are kayaking, river-rafting, hiking, fishing and even diving. If you are here for shopping as well, do not panic, there are some great stores and shopping spots that are sometimes overshadowed by the wilderness. Actually, there are six shopping plazas that sell clothes, Jamaican handcrafts and other great souvenirs. Overall, Ocho Rios is for that person who loves adventure and rigorous activities instead of beaches and causal living.

Negril, Jamaica

The Best Places to Vacation in JamaicaNegril, located in western Jamaica, is well-known for its bays and lighthouses. Along with epic rugged cliffs, white-sand beaches are everywhere in this utopian city. Negril is known as the “Capital of Casual” for a reason; the first visitors to Negril were hippies. The local hippies helped create a carefree atmosphere. It is an ideal place to hang out with friends and meet some new friends. You can stay on the beaches all day long, then clean up to go out at night. Negril is notoriously known for its excellent restaurants and active nightlife. With many places and many ways to stay within your necessary budget, Nergil’s nightlife is a great thing. In addition, there are great places to shop, such as boutiques, antique stores and clothing shops, and there are cute, little and affordable rooms and cottages.

Kiss Winter Blues Goodbye

Kiss Winter Blues Goodbye 1My family has a long history of clinical depression. I see everyday what depression can do to individuals and their families.

I also see how hard it is to live with depressed person who refuses to ask for help and take medications. My own father suffers from clinical depression as does his older brother. Their mother died lonely and depressed woman because she refused help and drove everybody away. It was sad for me to watch my grandma suffer and it is sad to watch my dad making the same mistakes.The only thing my father has going for him is my loving and supportive mother.

My sister was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder few years ago. So depression will always be part of my life. It’s sad, but that’s reality and it’s up to me to take control of my life.

I am not clinically depressed , but I have tendencies towards depression. Especially during winter. Winter depression affects so many people around the country.

Winter depression also know as Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder that affects many people with normal mental health. It’s caused by the hormonal imbalance due to less natural light, sun and lower temperatures.

Kiss Winter Blues Goodbye 1

I personally start feeling the strong affects of winter blues or seasonal affective disorder in January. I noticed lots of people around me feel the same way. Some have stronger symptoms of winter depression and some have minimal symptoms of winter depression, but it’s there.

In January the days are shorter and darker, sun is minimal, weather is cold and when you look outside the window everything is gray and sad looking (in many parts of the country).

The holiday cheer is all gone. Last visitors has left. Parties are over. The holiday credit card bills (for lots of people) start showing up…and the economy still sucks. It’s a sad, sad situation so no wonder we are depressed.

I’ve been noticing last few years that my levels of winter depression are getting higher and the winter blues are taking over.

I decided to do a little research on Seasonal Affective Disorder and on beating the Winter Blues.

There are many natural ways we can use to beat the winter blues and be free from this temporary depression.

I started following 5 simple tips for beating The Winter Blues. I am here to tell you that this is the best January I had in many years.

Kiss Winter Blues Goodbye 1

5 Tips for Beating The Winter Blues:

  • Bright and Cheery Home – after all holiday decorations are gone many homes look very plain and sad. It’s time to bring some vibrant and warm colors in shades of yellow, red and orange. Brightly colored bedding, tablecloth, throw cushions or even new curtain accents will do wonders for symptoms of depression. These days fresh spring flowers are available in local stores in January. Pick up a bouquet of bright yellow daffodils or red tulips once a week. Make sure all your light fixtures have bright light bulbs in them. Keep the blinds open. Get as much natural light as you can into your home.
  • Get Your Sleep – most of us survive on 5-6 hours of sleep during the year, but come winter it’s very important to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Two of the symptoms of winter depression are fatigue and craving sugar and starchy foods and that comes from not having enough rest.
  • Exercise – it’s important to be active all the time, but for depressed people exercise is a must. Go outside as much as you can. Take your family skating, skiing, sledding or for a walk in a nature. To beat winter blues make sure you get 30 minutes of exercise 3 to 4 days a week.
  • Eat Healthy and Take Vitamins – eating healthy and well balance diet is very important during winter depression especially after indulging in rich foods during the holidays.Taking vitamin D and C supplements is also very important as most of us don’t get enough in our daily diet.
  • Social Interaction – after the holidays we have tendency to keep to ourselves and take a break from socializing. Don’t! Depression hits when we are left alone with our thoughts especially when we already caught the Winter Blues bug. Get together with your family and friend. Watch funny movies, have a game night…do something that will make you happy.

Do you or anybody you know suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder or Winter Blues?

Are there other things that help you to deal with winter depression?