Monthly Archives: May 2019

Tighten Your Arms~Exercises

5 exercises to tighten and tone your arms for summer

Add this 10-minute upper body routine to your regular workout to tone flabby arms for summer.

Adding exercises that focus on the biceps, triceps and shoulders will help sculpt your arms for tank top season.John Duarte / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

May 30, 2019, 12:29 PM ETBy Stephanie Mansour

We all have those trouble zones we’re self-conscious about and want to tone up. Perhaps it’s your midsection or your glutes. For many, upper arms top the list, and this is the time of year this insecurity is brought to light.

The good news is that by adding the right exercises to your workout routine you can start strengthening the muscles in your arms rather quickly. One of my clients added a 5-minute arm routine to her typical workout routine and noticed a change after just three sessions. Within a week she already felt more confident in her sleeveless tops and dresses.

If tightening and toning the arms is on your list of summer goals, try adding these exercises to your fitness regimen three times a week. I recommend performing them with 3-5 pound dumbbells. Remember that some exercises may be easier than others, so it’s okay to alternate between weights based on what feels right for your body.

My favorite way to put these exercises together is to perform one set of 10 repetitions of each, and then repeat the whole circuit three times. In the end, you’ll complete 30 repetitions total of each exercise.

Bicep Curls

The bicep curl is the quintessential arm exercise. It tones and strengthens the front of the arms, which many people associate with the ability to “flex a muscle.”

To perform this exercise, grab your dumbbells and start with your arms by your sides. Hug your elbows in towards the side of your body, and then curl the weights up towards your shoulders. Be careful not to let your arms swing. (If you need to swing your arms and use momentum to get the weight up, you are likely using too heavy of a weight.) Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.

Tricep Kickbacks

The triceps are what people are referring to when they say that their arms are flabby. This is the part of the arm that jiggles when you wave. (During one of my workout segments for the “Today Show,” Kathie Lee called them bat wings!) In order to tighten this area and reduce “jiggle” it’s necessary to strengthen the backs of the arms. The most basic dumbbell exercise to accomplish this is a tricep kickback. Holding weights in both hands, lean forward with a flat back. Hug your elbows in towards your sides and pull them up towards the ceiling. Keeping your elbows still, kick the weight towards the back of the room by moving the lower half of your arm back and up towards the ceiling. Hold for a second, feeling the back of your arm tighten, and then release back to the starting position. Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.

Hug a Tree

This exercise works the biceps from a different angle, while also working the sides of the chest (and that pesky area by the armpits) and sculpting the shoulders. Hold the weights at shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Relax the shoulders down, and then hug the arms towards the front of your body as if you’re hugging a tree. Keep the elbows level with your shoulders — don’t let them dip down — and be conscious of the shoulders starting to raise up towards your ears, which means the weight is too heavy or you’re too fatigued. Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.

Serve the Platter

This move is a three-in-one, working the biceps, shoulder and chest. Start with your arms at your side, bending your elbows at 90 degrees. Reach the arms forward, straightening them as if you’re serving a platter, then reach them out to the sides in a “T” position, back to center, and then pull them back in towards you. Keep the palms facing up the entire time. Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.


The ultimate toner for the front of the shoulder is the V exercise. For this exercise, hold your dumbbells down at your hips. Then reach the weights forward and up on an angle, drawing a V, and then release them back down towards your hips. Keep the arms straight throughout the entire exercise. Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.

Thank you for reading 🙂


Sunshine blogger Award Accepted

Culture Shocks,, Thank You For Nominating Me!


  1. What are your plans for the summer? I will be at my home watching 2 of my three grandkids, and just enjoying life, I hope.
  2. What is one of your favorite posts that you’ve written on your blog? I love my poems, they are an extension of myself. I write to share with others and to give some sort of healing to myself. Life has not been the easiest.
  3. What place in the world would you want to visit? I would love to visit Switzerland or a place where the water is clear!
  4. Which book had an impact on your life? No book in particular. I would say the poem, IT by Rudyard Kipling.
  5. If you were an animal, what animal would you be? I would be a cat, definitely. I feel a sense of kinship with them.
  6. What is your favorite memory from your childhood? My favorite memory as a child would be the World’s Fair, in 1982, I went to it with my family and everything I saw was as big as life to me.
  7. What is your creative style? If you’re curious, here’s a quiz! My creative style would be

Creativity is a release

For you, creativity is first and foremost a form of expression: it creates a special link between the internal and external worlds. It allows you to get a grasp of your powerful emotions, by moulding them into a physical form. In fact, the most important thing for you is to be able to release your emotions. You need to be able to touch them or look at them in concrete form, and to do that you have to find a way to make them come alive. This is how your desires and anxieties take shape. Keeping things bottled up creates a tension that can only be resolved once you have expressed how you feel. This means you have to be strong enough not to let yourself get swept away by chaotic impulses; if you turn your creative urges on everyday life — making a picnic, singing to the baby, choosing what to wear — you can express yourself while staying rooted in reality. Creativity is principally cathartic. It relieves a deep need, an almost primal, archaic impulse. For you, being creative is about having the power to give form to something you feel, to those deep personal issues that are often raw and disorganised. For these reasons you are usually attracted to art that demands physicality, that allows you to express what’s inside, and that unites spontaneity, strength, freedom, power and movement. • To find out about how to tap into your creative side, see our feature in the August issue out now. What have you done to pursue your dreams lately? How about today?

8.When you think of your home, what immediately comes to mind? Safe place

9,Describe the greatest adventure of your life The greatest would be having a family

10. When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone? Every time I write a poem.

I nominate anyone who wishes to participate, using the same questions I was given.

Thank you for reading 🙂

DIY~ Hooks For Kids

After my Toy Animal Valentine DIY, I had a few leftover animals and didn’t know what to do with them. My friend Jess suggested that I made tiny wall mounted animal heads, so I did! The elephant was simple but the unicorn took a little more work. It was well worth the effort if you ask me because, well, unicorns are awesome. 
What you’ll need:

  • toy animals (found in the dollar section of Target)
  • wooden plaques (found at Joann’s… the tiny ones are cheap)
  • hot glue
  • spray paint
  • a saw
  • sandpaper 
  • paint pens (if you choose to make a unicorn)
  • a pointy wooden dowel (also if you choose to make a unicorn)

The first thing you’re going to need to do, and there’s no nice way of saying this, is cut their heads off. I know, this photo looks a little gruesome. Sand the cut edges of the heads until they’re smooth.

Next, spray paint your wooden plaques whatever color you like. I chose a natural brown color for the elephant and bright purple for the unicorn. I also added tiny silver specks to the purple plaque by spraying metallic paint just next to it and letting the wind carry some of the paint over. 

If you’re making a unicorn, spray paint the horse head white. Once it’s dry, use paint pens to paint the mane like a rainbow. For the horn, I used the pointy wooden dowel that comes inside bags of Poly-Fil. I sawed off the pointy part, spray painted it hot pink, and hot glued it to the horse’s head.

Finally, once everything is dry, line the back of the heads with hot glue and attach them to the plaques.

Glue or nail a tiny hook to the back and hang them up!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Upcycle Idea~Book shelves

8.) Making shelves out of old books.

Making shelves out of old books.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Too Much Lemon Water? DYK

Unfortunately, like everything in life, it’s possible to have too much lemon water. In excess, lemon water can have some surprisingly worrying impacts on your health. While a cup or two a day might not hurt, guzzling large amounts of lemon water can do more harm than good, and in the long term, snowball into serious health problems.

Bear in mind that there’s no set amount of lemon water that’s considered unsafe; we’re all different, and all have different tolerance levels. That said, here are six health issues that can arise from drinking too much lemon water. If you’re experiencing any of these, then it might be time to take it easy on the lemon water.

Lemon water can harm your tooth enamel

Signs of enamel damage include a yellowing of the teeth and a sensation of roughness. Run your tongue along your teeth; if they feel sandpapery instead of pearly smooth, then you might have some enamel damage.

Another common sign of tooth problems is more obvious: pain or sensitivity. For example, if you feel a jolt of stabbing pain in your teeth whenever you drink something particularly hot or cold, then you might have a problem. In fact, if you experience any of the above, then it’s probably time to cut back on the lemon water and perhaps pay a visit to your dentist.

Lemon water can exacerbate cavities

Lemon water doesn’t just strip your teeth of their enamel; it can also exacerbate issues with cavities. Cavities are typically caused by bacteria that munch on sugar and excrete acid. Pure, natural lemon juice won’t do much to exacerbate cavities on its own. However, if you use a lemon concentrate or add a bit of sugar to your lemon water, then you’re creating the perfect environment in your mouth for the development of cavities.

Lemon water can mess with your tummy

For some people, lemon water can be quite soothing, but not everyone. We’re all unique, and our stomachs can have moods of their own. For some people, lemon water can put their stomachs in a seriously bad mood, causing pain and irritation. Anyone with a stomach ulcer should steer well away from lemon water, as it can worsen the pain and make you feel absolutely terrible.

Also, excessive consumption of acidic foods and beverages like lemon water has been linked to the development of gastroesophageal reflux disorder. This is a gut condition that can lead to nausea, vomiting, and heartburn.

Lemon rinds are gross

This is less of a problem with lemon water, and more of a concern with the rinds themselves. In 2007, a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health found evidence to suggest as much as 70 percent of lemon rinds served in restaurants are contaminated with organisms like the notorious E. coli, which can make you extremely ill.

Regular consumption of lemon water with the rind submerged in the beverage can expose you to these contaminants, so be careful. If you regularly consume lemon water, ensure you either wash the rinds thoroughly or remove them entirely.

Lemon juice can give you migraines

This one certainly doesn’t apply to everyone, but lemon juice might give you one hell of a headache. A number of studies have shown a clear link between citrus and migraines. It’s worth noting these results aren’t consistent, with some studies failing to find a clear link. Nonetheless, there’s enough evidence on the table to lead many doctors to advise migraine sufferers to avoid citrus, especially if they suspect fruits like lemon exacerbate their migraines. So if you likewise experience migraines from time to time, you may want to consider avoiding lemon water.

Lemon juice can make mouth ulcers worse

Mouth ulcers (canker sores) are horrible. They hurt and make eating unpleasant. Due to their high acidic content, lemons can make these ulcers even more painful, according to the American Dental Association. So if you’re prone to mouth ulcers, then keep away from lemon juice.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Egg Salad Crostini

Egg Salad Crostini

Egg Salad Crostini

Prep Time
15 min Cook Time
4 servings Recipe by: Kraft

This dressed-up egg salad is perfect for a party or just your lunch!


  • 4 Eggland’s Best Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Miracle Whip Dressing
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 5 pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 4 slices Italian bread, toasted


Serving Size1 Calories194 Fat12 g   Saturated Fat2 g Cholesterol165 mg Sodium332 mg Carbohydrates13 g Dietary Fiber1 g Protein7 g Preparation

Combine all ingredients except toast slices.Spread onto toast slices and enjoy! Filed Under: Appetizer, Main Course, Vegetarian

Thank you for reading 🙂

Brain Fog?

5 Foods that Cause Brain Fog 

1. Histamines
– You may have heard of histamines. They are what cause allergy symptoms. People take antihistamine drugs during allergy season to fight the effects of pollen in the air.

But histamines are in foods too, and if you are sensitive to them, they may be causing your brain fog. Foods high in histamine include shellfish, legumes, and nuts.

Instead try: Meat, poultry, eggs, salmon, fresh produce.

sparkling water with fruit on white towel

2. Alcohol – Impaired thinking is obvious when it comes to drinking too much, but it can be true with a little alcohol, too. Alcohol contains lots of brain fog triggers, including gluten and histamines.

Instead try: Switching to sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. If you want to fancy it up, add some fresh fruit.

3. Artificial sweeteners – Those handy little packets of aspartame can give you headaches and brain fog. It stops the production of dopamine and can cause inflammation in the brain that leads to long-term damage.

Instead try: Skipping the sweeteners entirely, or use stevia. It’s a natural sweetener that doesn’t have negative side effects.

4. Gluten – We all know about the health problems that gluten can cause. But did you know that the inflammation that gluten causes can have an effect on your brain?

Instead try: An alternative flour like almond flour or oat flour.

cup of coffee on marble table

5. Coffee and Caffeine – You may find it odd that caffeine could cause brain fog. After all, don’t we drink our coffee to wake us up and clear our heads? The problem with caffeine is that once you get used to having it, you become dependent upon it.

That leads to brain fog hitting any time that you go without caffeine for too long. Plus, there is a greater risk of missing out on sleep because the caffeine is keeping you up.

Instead try: Breaking the caffeine cycle by cutting back slowly. Drink plenty of water and switch to decaf or herbal teas. Turmeric tea may give you the energy you miss from caffeine without the brain fog problem.

Brain fog often comes on slowly, so you don’t always recognize you feel it until you remove the foods that cause it from your diet.

Thank you for reading 🙂