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Take a Walk Outside Day 1/20

How is national “Take a Walk Outside Day” going to be in the middle of January? It is so darn COLD outside! Who really wants to take a stroll on a typically cold day? I have to wear so many layers during the winter, I look like I’m 20 pounds heavier than I really am.

Some Basics About Body Heat

When we make the brave decision to venture outside for this January stroll, our bodies constrict the blood flow to our skin and extremities. It is instead preserving all that heat to keep or vital organs toasty. This results in our skin feeling cold to the touch, our noses turning red and runny, ears, fingers and toes turning to ice cubes. If outside long enough, we begin shivering; our muscles’ way of generating more body heat. theconversation.com

Body temperature regulation is a balancing act between heat production and heat loss. “…you lose heat from any part of your body that comes in contact with a cold environment. And the part of your body that is most often exposed to the elements during the winter is your poor defenseless head!” – The Washington Post. Ugh! so true. I choose vanity over a warm head and ears all the time.

According to Andrew Maynard, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan, “The amount of body heat lost is determined by skin exposure. The head only makes up about 10% of the body’s total area, so it accounts for 10% of total body heat lost” (thehealthy.com). That 10% feels like a whole lot more on cold, windy winter days.

To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate

Ok, so if I’m committing to this January walk outside, I need to bundle up! Living in Virginia I won’t be worried about frostbite, but it’s still cold. Maybe not below zero, but enough that I need to wear some cold weather gear. Multiple layers of shirts/sweaters, leggings with jeans over the top, cabin socks, gloves, scarf and hat. Check, check, and check. Luckily, I have recently made a whole bunch of beanies that I can choose from to celebrate this (in my opinion) frigid day. There’s a rainbow beanie that would be particularly festive.

Get Your Own!

There are several colors and a couple different styles of hats available for purchase for the next couple of months on the website.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a cozy hat is just the ticket to warm up your significant other. Or treat yourself, it’s for medical reasons, don’t want to get frostbite on those delicate ears!

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Hello Coffee, my new friend!

Ok, so I have only recently developed a deep appreciation for coffee; but it wasn’t very easy to fall in love with it. I found it to be way too bitter and just one cup made me super jittery. Already a morning person, everyone found it amusing that I was running around like a squirrel on Red Bull after a few sips of coffee. I couldn’t drink it late in the day or I’d be up until tomorrow. But, I was committed to giving it a go because I wanted to quit my very unhealthy soda habit. As long as I’m smart about my coffee additives (milk, sugar, cream, flavoring, etc.) it’s way better for me than soda and coffee has some amazing health benefits as well. 

Some Benefits

healthline.com lists 9 unique health benefits of coffee, ranging from the obvious energy boost to supporting the brain, heart and liver to lowering the risk of depression and Type 2 Diabetes. Last time I checked, soda didn’t help with anything other than a slight energy boost! 

That’s not all coffee can do either. According to an article on hopkinsmedicine.org, studies are finding coffee can reduce the development of colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. 

Some Drawbacks

Too much of this good thing called coffee can have bad side effects; for example high blood pressure, anxiety, irregular heart rhythms, dehydration and insomnia. For an amateur like me, one cup a day is all I can handle. The Cleveland Clinic recommends healthy adults shouldn’t consume more than 400mg (four 8oz cups of coffee) per day and teens no more than 100mg (one 8oz cup of coffee) per day. Of course, your doctor might recommend otherwise due to preexisting medical conditions.

Get your own fancy mug to enjoy your coffee from!

Looking up all the benefits of switching over to the dark side, I found a ton of delicious coffee recipes. I always play around with them, using the ingredients that I have instead of running out and buying a bunch of stuff for one morning’s dose of caffeine. My favorite so far has been a play on Almond Joys; recipe is listed below. Plus, I have all these cute mugs to enjoy my coffee with!

Almond Joy Latte Recipe

  • 2 cups milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 2 TBS of almond butter (unsweetened for me)
  • Shot of espresso
  • 1 tsp of cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Sweetener of choice to taste (everyone’s sweet tooth is a different size)
  • Blend together and pour over ice.
  • Enjoy!
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    5 Tips For Safer Cyber Shopping

    The kids have made their lists for Santa, commercials are all about Christmas and holiday gift giving, social media is overflowing with targeted ads. Pre-Black Friday Sales have started already, Black Friday is just around the corner, and Cyber Monday has turned into Cyber Week. It has begun, the holiday shopping season is here! If you’re doing the bulk of your holiday shopping online, here are 5 tips to keep you and your bank accounts safe.

    1. Ho-ho-hold on before you click on that email/tex link. 

    Many people fall victim to “phishing” scams this time of year. Phishing emails are designed to look like the real deal, but instead they lead you to a website that is designed to steal your info. Check who the sender is if you are not 100% confident of where the email came from (Macy’s will never use a gmail account), don’t click on it. As technology changes, so do the scams. There are now Phishing Texts to be wary of. Same rule applies though, if you don’t know the sender, don’t click the link. Instead type in the URL – www.blacksheepcreations.net.

    2. There’s no place like home for the holidays… 

    For safe holiday shopping. You might be stuck in the airport or at a coffee shop with free Public Wi-Fi but try to hold off hitting that “buy now” button or logging into your account. Public Wi-Fi is just that, public, anyone can access the network, including naught elves who are just waiting to get your passwords, billing info and other sensitive data. Keep it to window-shopping, price comparing, or list making instead of buying. 

    4. Santa’s Watching, and so are naughty elves! 

    When shopping online, make sure the website is secure. There are two ways easy ways to do this. Look for the lock symbol; it might appear in the URL bar or elsewhere in your browser. Or you when you look at the full URL address, does it start with “http” or “https”. “HTTPS” are websites with data encryption to keep your personal information safe.

    5. Don’t turn your bank account into a lump of coal. 

    Debit cards are linked to your bank account and use a greater risk if your card number is stolen (think about all those auto-paid bills). Instead of using a debit card for online shopping, use a credit card or PayPal account. They offer more protection, less liability and are able to reverse the transactions much quicker when notified of fraudulent charges. 

    Finish your holiday shopping early, safely order great gifts right here!