Reviewing the Get Noticed Theme…

Pros, Cons, and Random Thoughts

Genuine Kentucky Header

The Get Noticed Theme on Genuine Kentucky

This review for the Get Noticed WordPress Theme is, admittedly lengthy, but I hope you’ll stick with me. The pros will roll out after the cons and they are just as important… maybe more so.

I write a lot of reviews and I mean A LOT. So many, in fact, that I feel like I should have a t-shirt that says, “I have either reviewed you, am reviewing you, or WILL review you.”

I’m pretty sure I won’t have one printed up, however, for too many reasons to even count.

But, seriously, I am a prolific reviewer. I write…

  • restaurant reviews for my Kentucky website.
  • cookbook, kitchen gadget, and food reviews for my food blog.
  • office gadget, furniture, and gizmo reviews for my office supply blog.
  • countless book reviews on Self Help Daily and other blogs.
  • cat toys and cat furniture for my cat website.

See the temptation for the t-shirt?

I bring all of this up to set the stage for the following review of the fairly new Get Noticed Theme for WordPress. This is one of the most difficult reviews I’ve ever tried to write.  In fact, I’ve actually attempted five…. FIVE… different times to sit down and gather all of my thoughts together, only to have them run free like wild, untamed buffalo.

What can I say, I have big thoughts.

Why is this so difficult? Well, because I am – in equal amounts, no less – thrilled AND disappointed with the Get Noticed Theme. Because I am, by nature, a Mary Poppins, Suzy Sunshine type… for better or worse… I’ll want to end my review on a high note, so let’s get the low notes out of the way.

The Get Noticed Theme Costs More Than Other Premium Themes

Allow me to say this – I don’t blame people for trying to get as much money as they can out of a product. If you put a lot of work into something, you should get all that you can out of it. I never hesitate to pay more for something it it’s worth it. In fact, my family often teases me for my love of “name brands” and my aversion to “off brands.”  There are exceptions, but very often you get what you pay for.

I also approve, and even applaud, the fact that charging more for this theme will keep it from popping up everywhere and causing everyone’s website to look the same. This happened with the Thesis WordPress Theme years ago – the internet began to look so much like Suburbia, America that you weren’t sure which site you were on.

It reminded me of a story my dad once told me of a drunk going home one night (in one of those neighborhoods with houses that all look the same) and spending an hour trying his key in different doors until he found his own!

No one really wants to look just like everyone else, so the concept of a higher price keeping this from happening is fine by me.

Also, when thinking about the price, I want you to keep this in mind because (in my experience) this is very important. Many functions that you would have to pay a coder for if you used a cheaper premium theme are built into the Get Noticed Theme.

For example, the mobile responsiveness. Other theme developers aren’t doing as good a job as the Get Noticed Theme when it comes to making their themes completely mobile responsive.

CAN they? Absolutely, because their own websites are glorious on all devices. However, when you try to make a lot of their themes look just as good on all devices, you’ll end up banging your head against the wall.

Want to know something else you’ll end up doing? Paying a coder to achieve what you’re looking for… and coders do not come cheap.

Get Noticed is higher in price, but they include a great number of things that would, in the end, cost you even more to have a coder do for you.

Having said all of that, when you set your price for something, you set everyone’s expectations. If you put your price on a rocket to the moon, mark it down, the expectations will shadow you the entire trip.

Set your price high… set expectations high. Simple.

If someone is willing to roll up their sleeves, put in long hours, never stop learning and improving, and honor the pre-set expectations… MAGIC will happen.

If they fail to hold up their end… if they stop fueling their rocket ship, well, I’m afraid there won’t be much MAGIC. It’s like Bullwinkle reaching into the hat, saying, “Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat… Presto…” and… no rabbit in sight.

Everyone ends up being as disappointed as Rocky the Squirrel. “Ohhhh, Bullwinkle…

What We Have Here is a Failure to Fuel

Over the many years that I’ve been in web publishing, I’ve used countless different premium themes.  While each one I’ve previously used has cost less than Get Noticed (until you need them or coders they know to do something extra for you), each one has had a far, far, far superior “support community.” In fact, the forum is one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had with this particular theme.

With other themes I’ve used, questions (or even ideas) posted on the forum would be answered or addressed within 24 hours. It would be highly unusual for them to be unacknowledged or unaddressed within a day. On Get Noticed, you might just go weeks or months.

I wish I were exaggerating.

Basically, there is no support or help to be found on the forums.  For anyone building or even maintaining a blog or website, this is a pretty big headache. You cannot put everything on hold until you hear back from someone.  For days.

Just this morning, I had something I wanted more information about. I checked the forum and found someone with the same question. His question was posted in May and he still had no reply.

This is June 20.

Granted, unfortunately, a lot of premium themes are getting away from the forums in favor of “support tickets” or contact forms.

Frankly, I hate everything about that arrangement.

I remember in the early days of premium themes, the support forums were a dream come true. You’d almost always find someone experiencing the issue you had and… EUREKA!… the theme’s developer or a coder who was familiar with the ins and outs of the theme would give you the solution or an excellent piece of advice then and there.

NO creating your own post in the hopes that someone would eventually see it. NO contacting someone, receiving an automated “We have received your ticket and you’ll hear from us soon…” message and NO waiting for their idea of soon to meet up with your idea of soon.

Allow me to say this – the Get Noticed Theme isn’t the only theme with disappointing forums these days. There are others where you’ll run into rude coders who I’m convinced have the words, “I can do this for you for a price” saved so all they have to do is paste it into their replies.

Again, a lot of things you’d have to pay someone to do “for you” are built into the Get Noticed Theme.

You Aren’t Set Up for Success at the Launch Pad

I guess the thing that disappointed me the most was the fact you aren’t given any really helpful tutorials when you order the Get Noticed Theme.  Other themes provide documentation and sometimes even videos (love those!) to help the proud new owner succeed.

Not with Get Noticed.

In all fairness, if you have the time to spend looking around on your own and don’t mind doing some trial and error posts and pages, the way they have things set up is pretty simple. However, not everyone works from home like I do. Not everyone has the time that’s afforded to me – time which allows me to poke and prod around and “see what this does“… or “I wonder what happens if I do that…

Someone recently (not at all associated with Get Noticed) came up with a series of helpful videos to help new Get Noticed Theme owners find their way around – and he sold the series of videos for hundreds of dollars.

I’m ALL for anyone using their time, skill, and know how to earn a living – ALL for it! – especially given the fact that he obviously put a great deal of work into these videos – but, in my opinion, this is something that should have been provided by Get Noticed in the cost of the theme.

It’s kind of like buying a Lexus, then having to pay even more for an owner’s manual.

Mini Posts

Built into the Get Noticed Theme are “mini posts” which I’ve used here on Self Help Daily a few times.  These mini posts are short simple ways to share content if you don’t have a lot of time or a lot of content.

These mini posts include Books (intros to favorite books), Videos, Snippets, Shared Tweets from Twitter, Tips, Surveys, Ideas, Questions, Announcements, Links…

Problem is, they are all but invisible to Google.  Search engines are convinced that the mini posts I’ve used are wearing cloaks of invisibility.

Do I even have to tell you how deep in the waters of “That’s Not How I Need This to Work!” that sinks? I’ll be going back and republishing my mini posts in “regular” post formats.

Again, in an effort to be fair, let me say this – not all mini posts are interested in Google or any other search engine finding them.  If you’re sharing a great tweet, for example, it’s not imperative that it show up in search results.

However, I’d like for anything I publish to be acknowledged by both Google and all search engines.  The last thing I want them to do is forget about me!

That would cut into my trips to Target in such a way that’d leave me drowning in disappointment.

Not A Lot of Options for the Overall Appearance

I would love to see “child themes” come out for the Get Noticed Theme which would include “magazine styles.” I use a magazine style on my food blog, “Get Cooking” and absolutely love it. The rotating pics, the thumbnails, the professional-looking front page… they do it for me.

I’d love to see more options for taking the Get Noticed Theme further.

Unusual Approach to Updates & Support

I’m accustomed to purchasing themes and getting updates… period. You make the purchase, you get the updates. In this way, a community is built – a community of people who are loyal and help one another on support forums.

From Get Noticed Theme’s FAQ Page:

6-12 months of updates are included with your initial purchase, depending on the license level you choose.

If you want continued updates and support after your included period, you will be able to renew on an annual basis at a substantially discounted rate during your renewal window. We have not yet determined the exact pricing or details of renewals as we’re waiting to see what our support costs are before making a promise we can’t keep.

I just… I dunno… there has to be a better way to do this. Again, you set the cost – you set the expectations.

I spoke earlier about the lack of a strong Get Noticed community in the forums.  I don’t think things like this do anything to help the matter. A strong community – for any product – is built on trust in the product and in the people who stand behind the product. When these people seem to be thinking of themselves more than they are the rest of us.. well, it’s just a bit of a turn off.

I believe that if you buy a theme, you should be able to expect updates and support. Period.  That’s how a loyal community is built.

Not Really a Pro or Con, But…

A lot of people don’t love the fact that there isn’t an affiliate program with the Get Noticed Theme. Seriously, though, that’s just not that big of a deal to me. If I love something, I say so – I want people to have a chance to love it too. I don’t need compensation for this.

Okay, so there’s the bad news. The negatives are out of the way, so we can move on to the positives… and there are plenty.

Get Noticed is a Mobile Responsive Dream

One of the things that made me initially fall head over heels in love with the Get Noticed Theme was the beautiful (and I mean BEAUTIFUL) and effortless way it displays on all devices – desktops, laptops, tablets, iPads, and even iPhones.  I have had issues with all other themes I’ve used when it comes to mobile responsiveness. Images, usually header images, would either be cut off or, worse yet, would suddenly look as small as a Smurf’s smile.

On my Kentucky website, Genuine Kentucky, this is a huge problem because I use so many pictures. I want my website to look good and coherent for my visitors no matter how they’re accessing my website.  In addition to this particular website (Self Help Daily), I also use the Get Noticed theme on Genuine Kentucky and I’ve never had a single mobile responsiveness issue.

My header looks as pretty on an iPhone as it does on a desktop computer.

I appreciate and downright love the fact that I don’t even have to think or worry about this VERY important aspect of web design anymore… not with the websites that have the Get Noticed Theme, anyway.

Simple, Painless, and Quick to Customize

As someone with multiple websites and blogs (I’d count them, but it’s simply too overwhelming), I love how the Get Noticed Theme is set up. You can simply click a few buttons and change any of the fonts, colors, or other details on your website. No digging through code.. how cool is that?!

This innovative approach is something all themes should use, whether they know it or not.  People don’t want to have to pay coders to do it for them, they want to be able to control the changes themselves. Fast. Easy. Painless.

While I know how to dig through code to change a font or color, the way Get Noticed is set up, my time can be spent doing more important things.  A lot of coders forget that we aren’t here to “fix” or  “change” their idea of what looks nice – we’re actually here to write and provide content (and reviews!).

Any time we spend on “the other” takes away from our bread and butter. Or, to be more accurate in my case… it takes things out of my Target cart.

That’s a NO.

So Many Beautiful Options!

I haven’t “fancied up” Self Help Daily yet, simply because I’ve been busy with the crazy needs of other websites, but the options for making your website look beautiful are endless.

One option that I am totally in love with is the ability to have “rotating” header pictures that change throughout your website. I use this on Genuine Kentucky and I’m having the time of my life with it. I can use summer pictures in summer, autumn pictures in autumn, etc. This creates an overall “mood” for the website and it’s something I’ve wished for since I first began the website.

The header picture at the top of this review is one of the ones featured in my “Summer Rotation” on Genuine Kentucky.

When it’s College Basketball season (or as it’s known in our house, UK Basketball season), if I were obnoxious enough (which I am), I could make all of the pictures blue and white (which I will).

I’ve always wished for the ability to do this and finally a theme has given me the go ahead.

With Get Noticed, you can painlessly make your website look just how you want it to and it’ll take you far less time to do so.

What’s more, it’s even fun.

Comments, SEO, and Social Sharing

Personally, I have not noticed a difference – either way – since switching to the Get Noticed Theme on two of my websites.  Traffic, Google performance, social interaction and sharing have all been steady.

While this may not seem like much to some, many will realize that this is a big deal.

I always get nervous when I change themes – especially when the ENTIRE foundation is SO different. I was honestly scared of the outcome. However, my desire to make my websites 100 percent mobile responsive forced me to face my fears.

I literally looked at Genuine Kentucky one day on my iPad, saw the beautiful header reduced so small it couldn’t even be read, took a big sip of my Chai Tea Latte, and vowed to jump into the Get Noticed waters.

I haven’t regretted it once. I’m happy to say, the end of the world did not materialize and the trips to Target weren’t affected.

Genuine Kentucky and Self Help Daily are two of the most important websites I have – the fact that they’re still on the Get Noticed Theme and the fact that I trust the Get Noticed with these websites says something.  However, the fact that I haven’t switched all of my websites to the theme can’t totally be discounted either.

The cost along with the fairly limited layout options mean that I’ll use Get Noticed on some websites and other premium themes on others.  It would be easier if I had ONE premium theme I used everywhere, but that just isn’t in the cards.

Not yet anyway.

If you are a blogger interested in a theme with effortless customizing and beautiful mobile responsiveness, I’d urge you to look into the Get Noticed Theme.  The theme is fairly new and they very well may turn the negatives into positives.

I always believed Bullwinkle would pull a rabbit out of that hat and I believe they will make magic with this theme. WHEN that happens, I’ll come back here and edit the review.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at joisigers @ aim.com.

~ Joi

Things That’ll Help You Live Longer

A Few You May Not Have Even Thought Of...

Things that Make You Live Longer
The infographic above is from Successstory.com and I think it makes a couple of excellent points.

  1. The importance of sleep cannot be emphasized enough! Our bodies need sleep to revive, heal, and rejuvenate – especially when we’re stressed or sick. During “tough” patches, our bodies actually crave more sleep than usual but we often try to fight through it or tough it out. Big mistake! When we don’t get enough sleep (not just rest… but actual sleep), we end up paying the price for it.  Unplug, turn off the lights, and fall in love with the wonderful way getting a good night’s sleep feels.
  2. Exercise and activity are essential for good health.  And here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be a jog at the park or a workout at the gym. When you’re active, your heart doesn’t know if you’re giving it a great workout in your home with chores, in your yard mowing, or at the gym on expensive equipment. All it knows (and responds to) is that you’re giving it what it needs to keep right on ticking for years to come.
  3. Be happy! Okay, it’s not always as simple as that, but you catch my drift. Try to focus on the good things in life and look away from as many bad things as possible. Even in a storm, you can think about sunshine, right?! Focus your energies and thoughts on things that make you happy. In the long run, it’s MUCH more important than most people realize.

Two Things I Would Add…

  1. Have a good doctor and schedule (and keep!) yearly checkups. The sooner a problem is “caught,” the sooner it can be dealt with. A doctor can even let you know if you are “headed” in a bad direction. For example, I once had a bone scan that let me know I had ostopenia  – pre-cursor to osteoporosis. Learning this kind of alarmed me and by  kind of I mean completely.  With this information, I was then able to do a little research on my own and determine what foods a lactose-intolerant person such as myself could eat to get the calcium they need.  If I had not gotten that information, I wouldn’t have been able to make changes.
  2. Always have something to look forward to!  This goes along with happiness to a very large extent, but I think it’s important enough to mention.  I hear from a lot of people who are looking for happiness or ways to cope with life-changing events such as “empty nest syndrome,” divorce, the loss of a loved one, etc. One of the things that is most essential is as simple as it gets – always, always, always have something to look forward to. It could be a favorite television show, new movies coming out at the theater, monthly family get-togethers at a favorite restaurant, sporting events… anything that gets you excited and gives you something to look forward to. Each day I look forward to the special time in the evening – after supper is eaten and the dishes have been washed. It’s when my husband, our cat, and I kick back and watch television (baseball, college basketball, football, History Channel, Animal Planet… ).  Something as simple as this makes the entire day even sweeter because I know the story’s going to end perfectly…. happily ever after, whether our team wins the game or not. I actually tell everyone who’s dealing with an empty nest to set up as many family events throughout the year as possible. Birthdays, holidays, special events, monthly cookouts during summer, and game-day get togethers are just a few ideas.  This gives you events to plan for and look forward to.

Infographic Credit: Successstory.com

If you have infographics you’d like to share with Self Help Daily’s readers, simply e-mail them to me (joisigers @ aim.com) along with the link you’d like linked to in the credits. If you don’t hear back from me, that does not mean I won’t use your infographic. Simply watch for it… I try to space them out a bit, so it may take a week or so. Thanks! ~ Joi

Book Review: The Complete Thyroid Health & Diet Guide

Understanding and Managing Thyroid Disease

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide
I have had Thyroid Disease for more years than I was Thyroid Disease free. My Grave’s Disease flat out refused to let any medication control it, so they had to destroy it with radiation.

Since then, I’ve had to take thyroid medicine every morning.

Like allergies, asthma, diabetes, hypertension or a host of other diseases – thyroid disease will sometimes award its owner with good days and will other times make leaving the house seem like a chore.

Also like other diseases, a lot… make that A LOT.. of these days can be controlled with our own actions and diet as much as it can with a pill.

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide
For a lot of years, I craved more information about what things I SHOULD be eating and what things I SHOULD NOT be eating. I wanted an expert in the field to tell me what I could do to control my own health and prevent thyroid disease from causing any more harm than it already has AND to help heal the damage it may have done.

I wanted an all-in-one guide to lay it all out for me… “This is what you should be eating more of… this is what you should be eating less of… and here’s why.”  Unfortunately a guide never existed.

Now it does.

When I was contacted a while back about reviewing The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide: Understanding and Managing Thyroid Disease, the first thing I thought was, “Could this be what I’ve been looking for for SO many years?” I said it would be my pleasure to both read and use the guide as well as tell others all about it.

I only hoped that it would live up to what I wanted and needed it to live up to.

It actually exceeded everything I could have ever hoped for. The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide is easy to read, easy to follow, easy to comprehend, and easy to implement into your daily life.  I lost track of the number of times I thought, “I didn’t know that!” as I read along.

It wasn’t long before I grabbed a highlighter to highlight the information and a pen and notebook to record the knowledge.

About the Author

Dr. Nikolas R. Hedberg, DC, DABCI, DACBN, BCNP, is a board-certified naturopathic physician and a chiropractic physician. In addition, he is board-certifed in nutrition by the American Clinical Board of Nutrition. He is the founder of the Immune Restoration Center, located in Asheville, North Carolina.

Danielle Cook, MS, RD, CDE, has a master’s degree in nutrition and food science. She has worked as an inpatient clinical dietitian a nutrition support specialist and a diabetes/educator/dietitian in an outpatient setting.

{Review Continued Below…}

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide
 

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide looks at each system in the body and how they are affected by thyroid disease. The disease reaches further than most people realize. That’s why it “feels” like it touches us head to toe… because it DOES touch us head to toe!

As someone who recently had to stop eating gluten and wheat, I was especially fascinated by the connection between gluten and thyroid disease. I also thoroughly enjoy the recipes and excellent nutritional advice.

A Few Nutritional Tips from this Guide:

  • Increase your fiber intake. Add 1 to 3 tbsp of ground flax seeds or chia seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods.
  • Choose healthy fats. The best fats for thyroid disease include avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia nuts, macadamia nut butter, macadamia nut oil, organic butter, organic ghee (clarified butter), and olive oil.
  • Use unrefined Celtic sea salt. Processed table salt has many added chemicals and is deficient in nutrients. Unrefined Celtic sea salt contains over 50 different minerals that are important for health and thyroid function.
  • Asparagus is an excellent source of folate and a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, and vitamin B6. It is high in rutin (a flavanoid that helps lower inflammation, strengthen blood vessels, and protect cells from damage) and glutathione (a potent antioxidant, critical for detoxification).  It contains protodioscin which has been shown to reduce bone loss, improve libido, and help defend against cancer. (two recipes in the guide for asparagus: Roasted Asparagus and Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic)
  • Cilantro is a powerful antioxidant and a source of iron, magnesium, and manganese.  It helps remove heavy metals, such as mercury, from the body. Cilantro is also antibacterial and can aid in digestion by enhancing pancreatic enzyme activity and stimulating bile flow and secretions.

The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide is the type of all-in-one guide I’ve been looking for for years. If you have thyroid disease, I hope you’ll check this book out for yourself. It’s a winner!

~ Joi

 

Three Week Challenge: Be Kinder Than You Have to Be….

Why This Will Lead to Greater Peace and Happiness

Be Kinder than You Have to Be
This is one of those “Self Improvement Hacks” that is so simple and so “flowery” that the average person dismisses it without a single thought.

I hope you aren’t average.

We’re all after the same thing – peace, happiness, joy, stress-free days, good health, and more reasons to smile than to frown.

More reasons to laugh than cry. More opportunities to speak positive words than negative ones.

We want happier families and relationships – everyone getting along, laughing, and enjoying life’s ride together.

One of the simplest paths you can take to this “ideal world” doesn’t involve hard work, special talent, acquired skills, or even money.

It simply calls for you to show up!

This challenge is simple: you just have to be kinder than you have to be for three weeks.

What does being kinder than you have to be entail?

  • Saying kind things to others when you’d rather just say, “Hi.”
  • Biting your tongue when you want to ridicule, criticize, or even “tease.”
  • Telling people to have a wonderful day… and meaning it.
  • Asking how their day was, THEN listening and actually caring.
  • Allowing others to think differently than you do.
  • Complimenting people for the sake of seeing them smile.
  • Doing little things that you know will make someone else happy.

The list goes on, but you get the idea – being kinder than you have to be means thinking about THEM instead of YOU.

But here’s the thing. This challenge isn’t even for them. It’s actually for you…. but, shhhh, no one has to know.

 

It won’t even take the full three weeks for you to reap the benefits. I promise you, you’ll feel happier and more at peace almost immediately. Watch how others respond to this kindness and watch how it makes you feel.

It feels good to be make others feel good… so good, in fact, that it’ll become a lifelong habit.

I promise. Please try it. Be kinder than you have to be for three weeks. You’ll never go back to being any other way.  It is truly one of the secrets to happiness, happier families, peace, and even better health.

~ Joi

Trying to Wear too Many Hats Doesn’t Do Anything But Cause Headaches

Sometimes It Pays to Remember You Just Have One Head

Quote About Trying to Do Too Many Things
 

This past week, alone, I’ve witnessed the following:

  • An e-mail from a Christian newsletter publisher talking about treating joint pain.
  • A department store with a bank, clinic, and tax prep booth – all where better shoe, books, and clothing selections once were.
  • A bar-b-que restaurant serving fried fish. BAD fried fish.
  • Another e-mail newsletter (“specializing” in health) talking about relationships.

And it’s just Wednesday!

Is it just me, or are people trying to DO too many different things and BE too many different people these days?

Fast food restaurants may be the worst. There’s even one clown who seems to think he’s Starbucks.  Stick to the fries and burgers, buddy.  Oddly enough, people seem shocked that this restaurant is falling in profits and popularity. That happens when you stop trying to “perfect” what you’re supposed to be doing.

There’s a beauty salon I drive by frequently and it seems that each time something new has joined the lineup: manicures, pedis, botox, fillers, and other things I can’t even pronounce. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to drive by today and see, “Now doing open heart surgery! Get your nails done before you even come to!”

Even my own much, much beloved coffee shops are branching out further and further. Pastries, sandwiches, smoothies, candy, nuts, etc…

Trying to do everything doesn’t perfect anything.

Take the flip side. Think of  Chick-Fil-A, Cracker Barrel, NBA Players, and Waffle House.

  • Chick-Fil-A sticks with chicken. They concentrate solely on what’s on the sign out front and you will not find better chicken in any fast food restaurant.
  • Cracker Barrel doesn’t try to be anything they’re not. They serve great home-style cooking and leave the rest to… well, they leave the rest to the rest.
  • NBA and WNBA Players Defy Logic. Ever think of how incredibly difficult it would be to get a small ball into a hole that’s hanging so far away? All while there are 5 athletes, your size or bigger, giving their all to defeat your purpose?! But these men and women commit themselves to the game and they are just mind-boggling to watch. They specialize in perfecting their game and their conditioning. They do things we can’t even begin to imagine doing because they work at that one thing – basketball.
  • Waffle House? Breakfast food all day, all night. Can you imagine how ludicrous it’d be to see “Now serving lasagna” on the sign out front? A lot of the scenarios we see everyday are just as ludicrous, we’ve just gotten used to them.

Now let’s bring it home to where we live. Do we ever fall into the same traps to the ones above? Of course we do. It’s human nature, I suppose to think, “More = Better.”  Wal-Mart’s reasoning is that if they create essentially a “small city” inside each store, more people will shop there. They think, “Let’s give them a bank, a clinic, a beauty salon, a pharmacy, an Optometrist, a place to do their taxes…”

None of which, of course, makes them a better department store. Ironically, it makes them LESS valuable as a department store because all the other clicks and whistles are squeezing out the LAST things they should be squeezing out. I can remember when Wal-Mart had the cutest, most affordable shoes in town. This was about 10 years ago and their selections have gone downhill since. I guess they just don’t have room for things like that anymore.

Mark my words, Sam Walton would not be a happy man.  Can you imagine what he’d said the first time someone said, “Hey, Mr. Walton, I have a great idea. Let’s put a clinic inside each store!

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud ambition but, like they say, “Ambition without knowledge is like a boat on dry land.”  And since NO ONE knows everything, that stands to reason that a lot of people are treading water they never should have jumped into in the first place.

What happens when an individual tries to do too many things, wear too many hats, and tries to walk on too many different paths? Well, for one thing, they look like a darn fool.

On a more serious level, though, he or she suffers in three key areas:

  1. The MORE they do and try to do, the LESS happy they will be. They find themselves so BUSY trying to do all things and be all things that they’re left with no time to simply enjoy life. Life is passing them by and they never actually even look up long enough to see it. Stress is a particularly ugly monster and he prefers people who have too many hats. They’re like some kind of signal to him – he thinks, “Easy prey!”  How can you tell if stress is sneaking up on you or already has you in his clutches? I think the easiest way is to ask yourself how your RESPOND to situations and people. Do relatively small things set you off? Do things that once wouldn’t even measure a blip on your radar now cause your heart rate to speed up, your neck muscles to tense up, and an angry disposition to show up. Sure signs of stress…. and since stress leads NOWHERE good, deal with it today.
  2. The GO! GO! GO! mentality creates physical problems that can be deadly. Heart disease, hypertension, and even gastrointestinal problems can, and are, directly linked to this type of hyper lifestyle and mindset.  Have you ever seem someone in the throes of thinking they had to do a million and one different things? I swear, sometimes they even forget to breath.
  3. Relationships Suffer. While this is the last one in the list, it certainly is not the least. Moms and dads who think they HAVE to work extra long hours at the expense of actually spending time with their children are making one of the biggest mistakes known to man or womankind. It’s also one of the mistakes they’ll, one day, regret the most.  The same can be said for husbands and wives who become so wrapped up in “making money,” “having more,” and “getting caught up…” when every topic of conversation revolves around these subjects, the stage is set for misery.

Life isn’t something we’re going to be able to get out and enjoy for hundreds of years, you know. If you’ve become so busy that work or money are all you ever think or talk about and you’re forever looking for your next hat – do yourself (and everyone in your life) a favor…

  • slow down
  • breath
  • live in the moment
  • enjoy life

Your level of happiness will rise with each hat you cast aside.  Life is to be enjoyed, not rushed through.

~ Joi

Infographic: 6 Ways to Conquer Your Fears

19 Million People (in the US Alone) Suffer Phobias!

6 Great Ways to Conquer Your Fears

I thought it was deliciously ironic that I received this infographic to share with you on the same day I had the last post (Overcoming Fear: Truth Be Told It’s Pretty Darn Cool) scheduled. Things happen like that so often that I’m really not even surprised any more… I just think, “Meant to be,” and have another drink of coffee.

Credit: 6 Great Ways to Conquer Your Fears [Infographic] by the team at Vegas Extreme Skydiving

 

Overcoming Fear: Truth Be Told, It’s Just Pretty Darn Cool

How Our Mind Can Both Create and Solve the Same Problem

Canoeing at Sunset
 

My husband and I recently took a canoe trip on one of Kentucky’s many beautiful lakes.  For most people, this would simply be another beautiful adventure in the great outdoors. But for someone, like me, who has a “nearly” paralyzing fear of bodies of water larger than a bathtub and a “totally” paralyzing fear of snakes, it was like riding a roller-coaster at an old abandoned amusement park… a roller-coaster without seat belts in an old abandoned amusement park.

A roller-coaster without seat belts in an old abandoned amusement park being operated by a clown with an evil laugh.

OK. You get the idea.

When we set off from the safety of the land (I really, really love land) and the canoe started swaying “too far” that way, then overcompensated by swaying “too far” in the other direction, my mind went full on “fight or flight mode.” It started coming up with scenarios that could get my feet right back on the nice safe land. I thought,  “I could say I forgot something…” then, when my husband said, “What?” I could say, “I forgot to stay in the car.”

Then, I thought, “I could say I’m sick… and it won’t be that much of a stretch…”

By the time I was deciding on one approach, I realized we’d gotten too far away from precious land. Frankly, I didn’t have any intention of ruining the husband’s day by making him step in my chicken &$!^.

Just as my brain tried to console itself by thinking, “At least we haven’t seen a s-n-a-k-e yet…” guess what slithered by the canoe with its head held up high, trying to get away from us as fast as possible.

That’s right.  A s-n-a-k-e.  My brain spells it out… makes them seem less real.

Here’s the kicker. I thought he (she???  – how in the heck would you know??) was downright cute.  The whole head up above the water while the body tried frantically to get it to safety made me feel both a kinship and a pity for it.

It was cute. There I said it.

I even somehow managed to raise the camera I was holding in a death-clutch and tried to take a picture of him (her). It was too fast, its fight or flight speed left mine in the dust.

It wasn’t long before I had actually relaxed enough to actually speak. I managed to tell Michael that I was going to need lots and lots of chocolate when we got off that lake.

Chocolate is my adult pacifier.

By the time we’d seen beavers, an epic beaver lodge, herons, eagles, ospreys, geese, and deer (in the distance… they weren’t swimming out there, now THAT would have freaked me out), I was having the time of my life. As the sun began to set, I realized that our canoe trip was nearly over and I actually felt a sense of regret.

Then I remembered the chocolate and all was well.

What I took away from the entire situation was this: Sometimes we tell ourselves SO OFTEN that we’re afraid of this, or we’re afraid of that that we cause the fear to seem larger than it actually is. We make it a huge monstrous two-headed beast when it’s actually usually much smaller, not that monstrous, and has just the one head.

When we allow fear to dominate us, we’re actually giving it too much credit and ourselves not nearly enough.

One thing that helped me fairly early in the canoe trip was a certain little “mental checklist” I did.  I asked myself what was the worst case scenario and what I would do if it came to pass.

I determined that if the canoe flipped and I found myself in deep water approached by a s-n-a-k-e, intent on using my soaked body as a buffet, I would club it with my oar. My brain also reminded me that I could always climb back into the canoe and that, after all, I was wearing a life jacket.

After I saw the you-know-what fleeing the scene, it also occurred to me that a clubbing wouldn’t even be necessary. I’d have to chase it to do so and I have no intention of doing that.

Ironically, I was ITS huge monstrous two-headed beast.

During the canoe trip, I also got a live, up close look at what irrational fear looks like. In a canoe near us, a “football player size” teenage boy nearly turned the canoe he and his girlfriend were in completely over. Seriously, they were inches from landing in the water.

He caused such a commotion, their canoe swayed like Gilligan’s ship in the opening credits and I still have no idea how it kept from wrecking.

Come to find out… he did all of that because he saw a spider. I’m not even kidding you.  As I was laughing at the big ole boy afraid of a tiny little spider, my over-stimulated and shot out mind asked me, “What are YOU laughing at, snake charmer?”

The day was as enlightening as it was entertaining.  My irrational fear came thisclose to ruining it for both me and my husband and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am that I chose “fight” instead of “flight.”

It’s not an overstatement to say that it made me stronger. Winning battles does that – especially when you’re your own opponent.

Our minds are utterly fascinating and utterly powerful.  While this may seem like a reach, It’s one I’m willing to risk: Our minds determine the world in which we live.

We pretty much create the world we live in all between our ears. If we want something to be beautiful, it will be beautiful.

If we want to find fault in a person or a situation, we will be able to find as many as we’d like.

If we want to make a situation fearful, we won’t have to break a sweat, we can make it horror-story quality.

I’m sure you’re asking the same thing I am… why would we want to create anything negative?  Why would we desire to create anything frightening or ugly?

Unless we’re as crazy as crazy has a right to be, we want our world to be beautiful, peaceful, and infinitely happy. Right? Well, the good news is we have the power to set it on the right track.

This power is our mind.

Next time your mind tells you something is scary, ugly, or even hideous, don’t just take its word for it (especially if it spells it out). Step back from the situation, take a deep breath, and create the world in which you truly want to live.

~ Joi

Your Turn: What are your own personal phobias or fears and what have you done to overcome them? Anyone else “highly cautious” around snakes?!

Canoeing

Prevent Dementia with Smart Food Choices

Out of Bounds
5/4/2015

Dementia (including the most fearsome type of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease) has become as feared in our society as cancer. Fortunately, there are proactive changes we can make to greatly reduce our odds of getting dementia. In addition to getting plenty of physical and mental activity – eating a healthy diet is absolutely essential.

Read more about brain foods that’ll help prevent dementia by clicking the link.

Heart Healthy Benefits of Drinking Your Heart’s Favorite Drink: Green Tea!

How Tea Can Help You Prevent Heart Disease

Cup of Green Tea
 

The health benefits of green tea are legendary.  I could, I’m certain, write a 6,000 word essay on the powers of green tea and still not cover half of the information.  Since I have a lunch date with my family in a few hours, I won’t launch into that right now.  I know one thing, though, as usual, I’ll be ordering tea to drink.

Green tea isn’t just one of the smartest drinks anyone can choose, it might just be THE smartest one an individual at risk for heart disease could choose. Given the sobering fact that, each year, roughly 1.5 million Americans have a heart attack, it makes sense to do absolutely everything to make sure we don’t fall within this number. When lowering our risk is as simple as choosing the right drink to pour into our glass, it’d be ridiculous not to jump on board.

The following excerpt from Prevent a Second Heart Attack lays it all out beautifully:

Just like chocolate, tea is a form of plant food – and plants contain a plethora of phytochemicals that, when stacked together, will maximize the strength of your daily heart disease defense system. No doubt about it, a few daily cups of tea, and especially green tea, can provide cardiovascular protection via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

There are three main varieties of tea – black, oolong, and green – and all are derived from the tea plant known as Camellia sinensis (Countless herbal infusions are informally referred to as “tea,” but these are unrelated to real tea produced from Camellia sinensis). Teas are classified based on how the leaves are processed, with the leaves of green tea being the least processed of the three varieties. Green tea is dried but not fermented; hence it retains the greatest amount of polyphenols.

What exactly is in green tea that wards off heart disease? Researchers believe that the primary therapeutic component in green tea is another type of flavonoid, the catechin family of plant polyphenols, found in exceptionally high concentration.  The most abundant of the green tea polyphenols is called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. EGCG is believed to be the most active health-protective component in green tea. (Incidentally, green tea contains 40 percent more polyphenols than black tea.)  According to researchers out of the University of Hong Kong, EGCG is a highly effective agent for lowering inflammation in the bloodstream as well as reducing oxidation of LDL, thereby protecting against plaque buildup.  – Page 225, Prevent a Second Heart Attack by Janet Bond Brill, PH.D., R.D., LDN

Did you know that research shows that drinking tea may reduce the risk of death following a heart attack. A study showed that people who drank two or more cups a day had a 44 percent lower death rate following their heart attacks than did non-tea drinkers.

Some of the health benefits of drinking tea may come from the fact that it keeps you from drinking soft drinks and diet soft drinks – both of which aren’t even remotely healthy.  It’s always the right time for tea… so I think I’ll go have a cup right now. – Joi

You can read my Prevent a Second Heart Attack Review by clicking the link. The article includes GREAT advice on heart health whether you’re looking to prevent a first or second heart attack! The author also answers some questions about heart health and heart attack prevention.

See Also: I’m not just a tea drinker or a tea lover… I’m actually a Crazy Tea Chick. Click the link for my tea blog!