Cool Coats, Chocolate Bliss and Hearty-Healthy Advice
A book of love
Valentine's Day isn't just about couples and romance. Make it a family affair by creating your own book of love. Buy an inexpensive blank book with a heart on it (or glue one on). Call it The Book of (your last name) Love and have every member of the family write one loving thing about every other member each year. (Take dictation for younger kids.) It makes everyone feel special and create a family keepsake in the process. Adapted from The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox.
Eat for your heart
Eating healthfully doesn't mean dining on bland, cardboard-like foods. Many heart-healthy foods are packed with flavor as well as nutrition. Add the following to meals and snacks to boost nutritional goodness and eat your way to a healthier heart:
Blueberries – Rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidant responsible for their dark blue color, blueberries top the list as one of the most powerful disease-fighting foods and are full of fiber and vitamin C.
Soy protein – This inexpensive, high-quality protein provides fiber, vitamins and minerals. A diet rich in soy protein can lower triglycerides, which helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
Salmon – Salmon is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association advises eating salmon and other foods rich in omega-3 twice a week for benefits that go beyond heart health.
Oatmeal – Oats are nourishing whole grains and a great source of vitamins, minerals and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Research has shown that oats and oatmeal help lower cholesterol levels, keep you regular, and may even help prevent certain cancers.
Spinach – Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrition. Its rich, dark color comes from the phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals (including folate and iron) that also fight disease, protect against heart disease and preserve your eyesight. Popeye was on to something.
The scent of chocolate has been proven to increase theta brain waves, which in turn helps relax you. Now you can treat yourself to the scent of chocolate without expanding your waistline. Chocolat Special is an indulgent line of hair care products from the Brazilian company nuNAAT, specifically designed to restore chemically treated hair.
Enriched with the goodness of cocoa butter and Brazil nut oils, Chocolat Special products treat hair to maximum conditioning, regeneration and revitalization. The line includes Chocolat Creamy Shampoo, Chocolat Shake Conditioner and Chocolat Anti-Frizz Therma Active to help your hair shine. Find nuNAAT's Chocolat Special products at www.nunaat.com for around $7, or request a sample pack for $1 plus shipping costs.
Pampering hands and feet
Hands and feet work hard, and they don't get pampered as often as they should. Take a few minutes each day to keep them moisturized and looking their best with Liz Earle's Hands and Feet Try-Me Kit. Stocked with gentle, soothing products, including Orange Flower Hand Wash, Hand Repair, Foot Scrub and Foot Repair Moisturizer, it's bliss in a zipper-top bag. Available from http://us.lizearle.com for $32.
Shop sales strategically
As winter winds down, sales start to heat up. This is a great month to save a bundle on items that will fill the gaps in your cold-weather wardrobe.
Coats – Snatch up that coat you've had your eye on all season, but beware of trendy designs. With just a short time before spring, you'll get the most bang for your buck if you choose a classic design that will look perfect next winter, too. Think timeless styling and choose a neutral color for longest-lasting wear. A wool trench coat never goes out of fashion.
Boots – Boots have been hot this season, and now you'll find them at rock-bottom price. But like coats, choose boots that have staying power. It's not such a bargain if you only get to wear them for a month. Select a classic style you can wear next year. Whether you're shopping for snow boots, rain boots, shoe boots or to-the-knee boots, the simpler, the better
Mary Michele Little is a style expert, image consultant and mother of two who lives in Raleigh. Read more of her tips at www.onechicmama.com.