Thursday, March 26, 2020

How to Make a Difference in Your Community

It's easy to feel as though it's impossible for just one person to make a difference. People who have this feeling, who do not believe that their actions can make a significant impact on the world around them, often suffer from hopelessness and despair. It is important to remember that the behavior of one person really can change society for the better. All that it takes are a few small steps, such as the following.

Vote in Local Elections
Major national elections such as the presidential race are not the only ones that matter. When you cast your vote in a local election, you will effect change by bringing the people into office who will make decisions about property taxes, the funds devoted to public schools, local businesses and more. The results of township elections often come down to just a few votes, meaning that your vote really does count when you vote in a local election.

Volunteering is an effective and rewarding way to help your local community Baltimore. Based on your schedule, your skillset and the type of volunteer work that you are interested in doing, you will be able to find appropriate volunteer opportunities at many wonderful organizations in your area. Do research online or ask friends and family members to find an organization that works for you.

Patronize Local Businesses
Small businesses are the heart and soul of any community. Next time you're on the hunt for a gift or splurge, instead of going to a large chain store, take the opportunity to visit a local business. You'll help to ensure the continued vitality of your community, and you may even make a new friend.

By voting in local elections, volunteering in your area and shopping at local businesses, you will make a difference in your community, form connections and boost your self-esteem. Enjoy, and remember each day that your positive and negative actions have a ripple effect that extends far beyond your neighborhood.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Why You Should Build Your Own Home

Are you ready to move? Perhaps you’ve looked around at some houses for sale and you’re just not impressed. One exciting option is to build your own home! It may sound daunting, but there are many advantages to building instead of buying.

You Are in Control
You get to have a say in every step of the process. From the beginning step of choosing where you want it built, to home design Fleetwood Pa, to the construction – you are in charge the whole time! It is your home, after all. Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything exactly as you want it?

You Get the Décor You Want
If you’ve looked at homes for sale, you’ve probably noticed that some of the décor is a bit dated, or maybe it just plain doesn’t look good. If you build your own home you don’t have to worry about ugly paneling in the den or a kitchen island that takes up way too much room.

You Get Exactly What You Want, Where You Want It
Do you want your own man cave but can’t find any houses with enough room for one? Build your own home and you can have a huge room built to your specifications for your man cave, with all the additions you could ever dream of.

You Can Design Your Own Landscaping
If you buy a home and then do the landscaping, it can be difficult to get a look that both matches the home and your taste. If you build a home you can plan both the home and the landscaping at the same time, so that they can complement each other.

A home is more than just a building. Build your own home and get exactly what you want so that it is a place you can truly enjoy spending time in.

Basic Maternity Fashion for Moms-To-Be

If you are pregnant, you should wear clothes that are comfortable but also chic and fashionable. Choose materials that are skin-friendly like cotton, with a share of lycra or spandex so it stretches with your growing tummy. Here are some basic items that you should have to accompany you during your pregnancy 

1. Comfortable Shoes: Whether you choose for ballerinas or mules with a low heel, they are simply easy to put on - you just slip your feet in and they are also never go out of style. With such shoes, you also do not have to bend over your growing tummy to, for example, tie your laces or adjust straps. Choose styles that have a slightly tapered tip as rounded ones will tend to optically shorten your legs. Choose good quality shoes, as there is a high chance that you will still be wearing them post pregnancy.

Mama straight jeans in dark wash from H&M.
2. P-pants / jeans: It is always good to have a pair or two of p-pants or mama pants. Choose a pair with a dark washing, because it optically makes you look leaner than light jeans, and a pair with a straight cut. These pants have an elastic adjustable band to ensure optimal comfort. Allow time to try a few pairs until you find one in which you truly feel comfortable in.

Tunic blouse from Esprit.
3. Tunics: Tunics have been a trend for sometime now and you can choose one that doesn't have to be a maternity model. These type of clothing are cut wide and long and offers enough space where a mom-to-be needs it the most: on the bust, of course in the tummy area, and also around the hips. Choose cheerful colors or with a decorated neckline. A round or v-neck cut may show a bit of skin but it optically lengthens the neck.

Wraparound dress from H&M.
4. Wraparound: A wraparound dress made from elastic material accentuates your figure. The V-cut beautifully emphasises your growing décoletté. The band slung around the waist optically separates the tummy and the bust and emphasizes your feminine figure. This flexible dress also grows along with your growing tummy. There are also styles that are breastfeeding friendly.

Mama jersey leggings also from H&M.
5. Leggings: black or dark colored leggings or elastic pants are comfortable and fashionable all year round. You can pair with a knee-length boots in winter or with ballerinas or sandals in summer.  Maternity leggings have an extra adjustable band. Just be sure to pair your leggings with a top that reaches down to your hips and  bottom!

So these are just some of the basic clothing to have during your pregnancy. What are your maternity fashion must haves? Do share them with me! 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

4 Ways to Improve Skin Aging

As we grow older, our skin may show signs of age. Your diet and overall environment can affect your skin in varying ways. You may want to regain the youthful appearance you once had. Keep reading to learn four ways you can help aging skin look young and vibrant again.

1. Get Enough Sleep
We’ve all heard that getting enough sleep is important for your health, but it’s also important for your skin. Getting at least six to eight hours of sleep can improve your skin. It may also be beneficial to sleep on your back, since your skin may furrow and wrinkle when you sleep on your side.

2. Skin Procedures
Skincare has come a long way and there are many skincare procedures that you can choose from, depending on your needs. One very popular non-invasive skin procedure is microdermabrasion. This is a procedure in which the outer layer of the skin is sloughed away with microcrystals. Non-invasive procedures are gentle enough on the skin that few may require downtime.

3. Anti-Aging Creams
Many anti-aging creams on the market may help to rewind the signs of aging. Retinol, for instance, can help your skin produce more collagen and may make your skin more supple. Increased suppleness and elasticity may help to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making you appear younger.

4. Wear Sunscreen
You may have heard how important sunscreen is in the prevention of skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen can also help reduce skin damage. Damage from the sun’s rays can cause your skin to show the signs of aging. Sunscreen with an SPF level of 30 can help protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.

Growing old gracefully doesn’t have to mean showing your age. Consider using some of the options above in your quest to recapture younger-looking skin.

Why You Should Never Reboil Boiled Water

Technology has made it a lot easier for us to boil water using electric kettles. They come in many different designs, shapes, sizes and material. But like the good old water kettle, it is always advisable to use fresh water when boiling a new one.

Water from the tap naturally contains chemical components, even germs and bacteria. When you boil water, the chemical components undergo a chemical transformation and the germs and bacteria are killed in the process. When you reboil it, the transformed components like nitrates and fluorides for example become more concentrated. The more you reboil, the more concentrated they become and become  significantly toxic. And you don't want this to enter your body. Who does?

Studies have shown that chemical substances such as arsenic, when accumulated in the body can result in a number of health problems like for example cancer, heart disease, even infertility.  Nitrates become carcinogenic when they are converted to nitrosamines. Water naturally contains calcium salts, a high intake of which can lead to health problems including kidney stones, gallstones. 

If you are pregnant, better be on the safe side and always use fresh water when preparing your tea.

3 Ideas for Kitchen Renovations

After many years of working in the same kitchen, it can sometimes start to feel stale and in need of a revamp. Luckily, there are many available products and services available that can help you renovate your kitchen to one that you are proud to call your own. Here are a few ideas for kitchen renovations.

New Floors
The kitchen can often be a center of activity in a home, and due to this, the floors can get quite worn out. Investing in new floors is a great way to keep your kitchen clean and up to date, and looking at options for floor tiles Honolulu HI is one way to carry out this type of renovation. 

Appliance Upgrades
Kitchen appliances can easily become dated without you really noticing until they're on their last legs. Replacing your appliances with newer, more effective ones will ease your overall kitchen experience. Another benefit of getting new appliances is updating your kitchen to have a sleeker look. New appliances can breathe new life into a kitchen that was just a bit dated.

Granite Countertops
One of the newest trends in popular kitchen design is the addition of granite countertops. What makes granite countertops so effective is the singular, smooth surface that they allow you to perform your kitchen tasks on top of. Traditional kitchen countertops have creases in between tiles where food can get caught. Granite countertops eliminate these for one smooth surface. Plus, the aesthetics of granite countertops can't be beaten.

New floors, appliance upgrades and granite countertops are three ideas for kitchen renovations that will have your kitchen looking and functioning like brand new in no time. The kitchen is such a central part of the home. By renovating it, you're making sure that it stays an effective and functional area that looks great too.

Pregnancy in a Foreign Country

After many years of waiting, I am very happy to announce that we are pregnant with our second child. This is my second pregnancy away from my home country, and is a different country from the first pregnancy, which was in Japan. 

It is not always easy to be pregnant in a foreign country especially if the language is very different. Thankfully, we have been here in Germany for 10 years now, so we are more or less fluent with the German language. Germany also has a very good health care system, and the health insurance pays for the routine check-ups and the medications that may be needed during the course of the pregnancy. There are of course extra medical checks that you will need to pay yourself, the ones that they call IGEL-Leistungen, which are not included in the routine checks but you may choose to get if you are a high-risk pregnancy patient, if there is a history of hereditary illnesses in the family, or if you want to know if your baby is healthy or not.

Here are some of the things I learned while on my pregnancy here: 

If you are pregnant, you will get a Mutterpass (mother passport) from your OB-Gyne, where all important information pertaining to your pregnancy is recorded and which you will need to bring everytime you come for a routine check up.

If you are employed, you also need to inform your employer, the latest when you are past the critical first trimester, that you are pregnant so that you will be registered and protected by the Mutterschutzgesetzt (maternal protection law). This law protects mothers-to-be in the workplace, especially for example those who are doing shifts, are working at the factory, or at areas where they are exposed to harmful chemicals, etc. The law also gives the mother-to-be ample time to prepare herself for D-day. Six weeks before the scheduled birth, the mother may already stop working. She will still get her full income during this time, as well as eight weeks after the baby's birth. The employer and the health insurance company shares in the payment. After this Mutterschutzfrist (maternity protection period), the mother and/or father can apply for Elternzeit (parental leave) as well as for Elterngeld (parental allowance) for a maximum of 14 months. After the parenteral leave, she may opt to go back to work for her employer. 

There are also paperworks that need to prepared. And right after the baby is born, you will also need to find a day care facility and reserve a place so that after the parental leave is up, you can go to work worry-free knowing that your baby is in capable hands.

I still have a long way to go in my pregnancy. I am now on the early stage of the second trimester and with the Corona scare going on, it is not that easy as I thought it would be. I pray that all these will pass, that a cure, a medicine or a vaccine will soon be developed so that we can all move on with our normal lives. There is nothing else that I could wish for but for a healthy and stress-free pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

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