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Categories: Tips


Writing Tips~

A Handy Checklist to Help You Edit Your Writing

By: Courtney Carpenter | December 7, 2012

fiction writing | getting published

This excerpt from The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith Jr., explores the common mistakes that writers make–and how to avoid them. Refer to this checklist when you’re ready to submit your manuscript to an agent or editor.

Amateur and Common Mistakes

Before you send your manuscript or writing sample to an agent or editor, check for these items.

❏ Avoid multiple exclamation points!!!!! Avoid even single exclamation points! Except for the case of a true exclamation, like the rare Rats! Or the too-rare Cubs win!
❏ DON’T WRITE TEXT IN ALL CAPS. It’s too hard to read, and it’s shouting in print. AND WHY SHOUT?
❏ Avoid per, as in per instructions. Other than uses like words per sentence, let cats per.
❏ Use the search function to find -ly words, adverbs. Check each adverb ending in -ly to see if it can be cut. Use stronger verbs and you won’t need the help of adverbs.
❏ Search for -ize and -ization and cut those when you can.
❏ Search for -tion words, too, and cut them down to size.
❏ Affect is a verb meaning to influence. Effect is sometimes a verb meaning to produce, but it’s most often a noun, meaning the result produced.
❏ Impact is a noun not a verb.
Wrong: The ten-pound report impacted him a lot.
Right: The impact of the ten-pound report broke his ribs, his spirit, and his momentum up the career ladder.

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Categories: Tips


Keto Tips

  • Ghee is the shizzy. I mean, butter is awesome, but ghee is amazing, especially if you throw it on steak.
  • Take Omega-3! Seriously! You need to have more Omega 3 in your system than Omega-6 (all those fats you are consuming) otherwise all that oil and stuff will do you harm. 
  • Don’t drink alcohol unless you’re having a cheat day, because it literally stops your weight loss.
  • Cream cheese is not your friend, to make anything half decent you need a ton of it and it usually has a decent amount of carbs.
  • If you whisk up heavy cream and peanut butter (I like Teddie Flax PB) you can use less peanut butter to make more and create a creamy delicious mousse we like to call “Peanut Butter Delight” around here – add a little stevia if you want!
  • Lemon water is awesome (helps your ph which gets screwy on keto and makes you want to drink more). I LOVE True Lemon packets.
  • There are naturally low-carb dark chocolate chips out there that’ll solve any sweet craving.
  • Cast iron pans will make all of your meat taste better. 
  • Toast coconut flakes to make keto cereal!
  • Land O’ Lakes makes a whipped cream that’s sugar-free because it’s made with heavy cream. It has zero carbs and it’s amazing. Cool Whip also makes a heavy cream version that’s super low carb too, even lower than their sugar-free tub.
  • Anything that’s “light” or “sugar-free” is usually still full of carbs, sometimes more than the original one.
  • Don’t waste your time with low-fat anything, you need to have the highest percentage of fat in your diet, versus protein and carbohydrates otherwise, your protein will convert into sugar too.
  • Don’t eat too much bacon when you start or you will grow to hate bacon. No really, I was the baconator and I can’t even smell it now.
  • Make sure you’re digesting! If you’re not, you won’t lose weight and your belly will be mad at you.
  • Drink boullion, or throw some coconut oil in your coffee if you need a boost. Or, if you prefer supplements, take probiotics or psyllium husk.
  • Also, http://www.reddit.com/r/keto is a bible of good keto advice and stories.
  • Drink a shitton of water. I hate drinking water, I practically have an aversion to fluids (other than wine), but this is a must. If you drink a lot of water you’ll lose more weight, period.
  • Buy the pre-made boiled eggs in the bag to make quick and easy deviled eggs for a snack or breakfast! Most grocery stores and Walmart have them.


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Categories: Keto Stuff


Flat Belly Tips

Muffin tops used to be something good, as in yummy. Today the phrase refers to that ugly spillover of fat at your waist.

Belly fat is more than unsightly. The overflow you see is just regular old fat. Scientists call it “subcutaneous,” which just means “under the skin.” But underneath that visible fat often lurks a hidden layer of fat, called visceral fat, made up of active cells that can trigger an inflammatory process in the body. Inflammation has been linked to everything from diabetes to heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. So, not only ugly, it’s dangerous.

Fortunately, science has discovered many different ways to attack both kinds of fat and blast them away. Here are seven ways to whittle your waist and get a flat belly:

1. Lose weight with diet and exercise.
When you drop pounds, no matter how you do it, your belly will definitely shrink. But a study at the University of Alabama in Birmingham found that the women participants, who lost an average of 24 pounds lost both visceral and subcutaneous fat. But only those women who kept up their exercise programs after their weight loss—only 40 minutes twice a week—maintained that visceral fat loss while the others experienced a 33 percent increase in this dangerous form of belly fat.

2. Go all out, then rest.
That’s a description of an exercise program called high-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short. Studies at the University of Virginia, Australia, and elsewhere have found that it specifically targets belly fat while helping to preserve muscle. Basically, it’s any high intensity exercise that you do for a certain period of time (even just a minute) then drop the intensity (say for 30 seconds), then repeat. To be considered high intensity, you should be exercising at 80 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate—the max number of times your heart will beat in a minute “without overexerting yourself,” according to American College of Sports Medicine. Think running or speedwalking rather than jogging.

But, says the ACSM, HIIT can be easily modified for people of all fitness levels and even those with conditions such as obesity and diabetes. You can do high intensity intervals in your water aerobics or spin class, on the elliptical or rowing machine at the gym, or on your daily walk. Bonus: Not only does it provide similar fitness benefits as endurance activities, it actually burns more calories, usually for hours after you exercise. So, calculate 80 to 95 percent of your max heart rate (it varies with age) and wear a heart rate monitor to make sure you hit the mark. And watch your belly shrink right under your nose. (Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.)

3. Cut down on sugar.
It’s not just about the calories. It’s also about cortisol, the chemical your body makes when you’re stressed out. Cortisol contributes to belly fat and, as it turns out, says a 2013 study published in journal Obesity, having high cortisol levels and eating too much sugar magnifies the effect. A similar study published in 2016 confirmed that sugar consumption—in this particular case, sugar-sweetened beverages—is linked to more visceral belly fat and higher levels of cortisol.

4. Speed up the crunches.
Crunches alone aren’t going to reduce belly fat, particularly the dangerous fat deep under the skin, though doing core exercises can help strengthen those muscles so the fat is reined in a bit. The ab muscles are, after all, like a natural girdle. But a 2008 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that speeding up those crunches (one per second) while still maintaining good form helps activate the muscles that can help tighten up your belly. Talk to your doctor before speed crunching and, if possible, have a skilled trainer check your form.

5. Get out and walk.
All you need is a pair of good sneakers for this one. Researchers at the College of Sports Science at Sungkyunkwan University in Korea provided some of the latest evidence for the benefits of walking to blast belly fat. In their study, published in the Journal of Exercise, Nutrition and Biochemistry, they found that obese menopausal women who participated in a walking program (three days a week, for 50 to 70 minutes, at about two-thirds of their maximum heart rate) significantly reduced both visceral and subcutaneous fat compared to a similar group who remained sedentary. Their fat cells actually shrunk, the researchers reported, and the regular walks appeared to also reduce some symptoms of a prediabetic condition called insulin resistance that is characterized by, among other things, a large waist size and elevated blood sugar.

6. Sleep!
Like too much sugar, too little sleep can nudge your production of cortisol, the stress hormone, which tells the body to accumulate fat around your middle. Cortisol can also trigger cravings for high sugar and high-fat foods, adding insult to injury. Too much sleep has also been linked to belly fat accumulation. A recent study in the journal, SLEEP, found that people sleeping fewer than five hours a night had a 32 percent gain in visceral fat versus a 13 percent gain in people snoozing for six or seven hours a night. Sleeping eight hours was linked to a 22 percent gain in the deadly form of belly fat. Your best belly bet: Stick to six to seven hours of sleep.

7. Relax, chill, find your peaceful place.
You’ve heard it already: Too much of the stress hormone cortisol equals too many inches around your waist. This particular fat storage issue is probably caused in part by the sugar and fat cravings that cortisol brings to the party, but it’s also because the stress hormone tells the body to store fat in your midsection. It sends the signal that you’re in survival mode—it can’t be more specific—so your body stores all your calories as fat in that warehouse you call your waist, where it can be accessed quickly in case of emergency. There’s a sort of logic there we can all appreciate, until it’s time to button our pants. To cut back on cortisol, you need to cut back on your reactions to stress. Among the best ways to do both are by learning to meditate (one study found it cut cortisol by 20 percent over a four-month practice); listening to your favorite playlist (Japanese researchers found that it slashed cortisol by 66 percent), get a massage (it cut cortisol by a third in study participants at the University of Miami), or do something spiritual (University of Mississippi researchers found that church-going slashed cortisol by a quarter).

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