Sunday, November 24, 2013

Best Way to Flat Abs

Having a flat stomach takes a commitment to both exercise and a healthy diet.  Doing regular cardiovascular exercise is as important as doing toning abdominal work.  When you do cardio exercise you are engaging many muscles of your core as well as burning excess fat and calories that are covering your abdominal muscles.  Spot toning your abs with sit-ups, crunches, and planks is necessary to strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles and core as well as your back muscles.  For the most bang for your buck, do planks. Planks activate more muscles and are gentler on your back and spine.  So how much should you do to get your stomach into fighting shape? At least 3-4 times a week for cardio  and 3-4 times a week for ab work. Spend at least 30 minutes on cardio and at least 10 minutes working your abs.  Please check out my channel on YouTube (YouTips4U) where you will find tons of ab workouts as well as fun and challenging cardio exercises you can do right at home.  Also, don't forget your diet.  In order to have the body you want, you must fuel your body with healthy nutritious  foods and always practice portion control because eating too much of even a healthy food is not good because you are taking in more calories than your body needs or can process at one time.

Stay healthy!

What's the Perfect Hair Color as You Age

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is: stick to warm tones as you get older.  They are the most flattering to most skin types.  Warm does not mean brassy or orangey though. There's a big difference between orangey and warm carmel or honey tones.  If you're over 35, you may want to stay away from extreme colors like platinum or jet black, which can make you look pale or tired.  The effect is too harsh and aging.  Also, cool shades like ash or champagne blonde can make you look washed out.  So stick to warm caramels and honeys and you will bring depth and warmth to your skin and a more youthful appearance.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Soybeans for Anti-Aging

If you're looking for a great anti-aging cream that doesn't cause redness and peeling, you may want to give Aveeno Positively Radiant Intensive Night Cream a try.  It contains soybean extract.  Studies show that soybean extract works similarly to retinol to boost collagen in the skin. You can have the wrinkle-reducing benefits without the irritation and sun sensitivity of retinol.


Make Your Own Natural Hand Sanitizer

If you want to avoid the harsh chemicals that are in hand sanitizer, you can make your own green version. It's very easy. Here's a great recipe:

1/2 c.         pure aloe vera gel (you can buy at natural foods stores)
1 1/2 tsp.  witch hazel (you can buy in drugstores)
15 drops    tea tree oil (you can buy in drugstores and natural food stores)
5               drops lavender essential oil (you can buy in natural foods stores)

Stir ingredients together in a bowl. Use a small funnel to pour ingredients into a squeeze bottle. It's ready to use.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Best Way to Clean Cuts and Scrapes

Water is the most important tool for cleaning out debris and bacteria that could cause infection in a wound.  In most cases of minor cuts and scrapes, using mild soap with water to gently clean your cut is sufficient.  Be careful with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol because they can be damaging to the surrounding healthy tissue needed for the healing process.  It can be helpful to apply a dab of antibiotic ointment to help fight bacteria and it also helps keep the bandage from sticking to the cut as it heals. Always be careful not to rip of the bandage because you don't want to remove the newly formed healing scab.  Peel slowly or soak it until it comes loose.   If, during the healing process, you experience any warmth, redness, pain, or pus, around the cut or scrape, or you develop a fever, you should see your doctor as you could have a possible infection.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Natural Sleep Remedies that Work

If you are having a hard time sleeping, there are things you can do to help you fall asleep naturally without having to turn to sleeping pills. Here are a few suggestions to try that really work:

l.  Have a bedtime snack.  I do it almost every night and it really works. The best bedtime snacks are:
    -peanut butter on crackers or bread
    -kefir with granola or cereal
    -cereal with milk

2.  Tire yourself out with exercise during the day, but not too close to bedtime
     -even adding just 10 minutes of movement a day can lead to better rest. 
     -vigorous activity will give the best results, so aim for cardio

3.  An hour to 90 minutes or so before bed you can take melatonin supplement.  Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that helps control your natural sleep/wake cycle.  Be careful you do not take too much or you can disrupt your sleep cycle. Recommended doses are 0.3 -1mg of melatonin before bed. Melatonin supplements can interfere with certain medications so please check with your doctor first.

4.  You can also try Valerian root tea at bedtime. It is frequently combined with hops, lemon balm, or other herbs that also cause drowsiness.

Be sure to stop using your computer at least 90 minutes before bed if you have trouble falling asleep. The light from the computer stimulates your brain and disrupts your natural melatonin production causing your brain to think it's still daytime.

Have a bedtime routine or winding down and relaxing to prepare your body and brain for sleep.


My Secret Weapons Against Cold and Flu

Cold and flu season is here so it's important to keep our immunity up to guard against viruses and bacteria.  Here's my special immune boosting tip:  mushrooms and garlic!

Mushrooms, especially shiitake and Maitake, are packed with immune boosters and fight off colds and flu by boosting our body's immune response.  Garlic is a wonderful antiviral and antibacterial and should be consumed regularly and especially when you feel the onset of symptoms.

So how can you get more of this into your diet.  How about adding them to soups, or you can sauté them up with a little olive oil and red wine and add to pasta.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Going From Day to Night with Makeup

One of my YouTube viewers wrote me recently asking whether it's ok to reapply more makeup after work before she goes out for the evening, without washing her face first.  She said the only thing available to wash her face is the hand soap in the ladies room and should she use it.

Well, if all you have is the hand soap, then I wouldn't recommend using that. Some soaps contain detergents that can strip skin of important moisture causing dryness, irritation, and even rashes. Best to  just reapply some more makeup.  If you want to remove excess oil, simply pat the shiny areas with some toilet paper or a tissue, then apply more makeup. You can even use a little powder to help absorb excess oil.  
A good solution would be to keep some makeup remover toilettes in your desk drawer so you can freshen up easily and you're ready for happy hour!

Watch the Sugar

Halloween is coming next week so this is a perfect time to remind you to watch your sugar consumption.  It's so easy to just nibble here and there on your Halloween stash without being aware of the extra calories you are adding to your day. How many of us have to buy more candy right before Halloween because we've eaten too much and we no longer have enough for the trick-or-treators?

Well, you're not alone. Most people do exactly that, and Halloween marks the beginning of the downward spiral into the holidays where we just keep eating too many treats.  So be wary of your sugar consumption.  If you've been hard at work trying to lose weight, or to maintain your weight then stay true to your goals and be aware of the addition calories that are lurking in the coming months.

You don't have to be a total abstainer either. You don't want to turn sugar or holiday treats into the forbidden fruit, or take all the fun out of family dinners. Just remember moderation! Have a small amount and enjoy every bite. Go ahead and have a fun-size candy from your Halloween stash for dessert, just don't have 10 of them...1-2 is fine, and will nip your craving in the bud so you can carry on with your day!

Happy Halloween to All!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Natural Air and Fabric Freshening Spray

Looking for a natural spray to clear the musty smell out of your carpets or fabrics after a long winter?  How about making your own Natural Spray Freshener with natural essential oils and natural antibacterial properties.  Here's a great recipe you can make in minutes:

1 cup water
2 tsp unflavored vodka (or you can use witch hazel)
1 tsp cornstarch
5 drops of essential oil of lemon or lavender (buy in natural food stores)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Then pour into a clean dry spray bottle.

To use your new fresh spray simply spray 6-8 inches from the surface of upholstery or carpeting to freshen and eliminate odors.

The lemon scent has been shown to lift spirits and improve mood.  Also, this plant oil has natural antibacterial properties.  Vodka or witch hazel are two other germ fighters and help the mist evaporate faster.


See you on YouTube,

Protect Your Neck from Aging

A sunscreen reminder!  Summer is here and that means more time spent enjoying the sunshine. Be sure to use sunscreen liberally when going out in the sun between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm when the sun's rays can be most harmful to your skin.

Don't forget your neck! The skin there is thinner and we often forget to apply sunscreen there. Creases and lines form naturally on your neck as you age due to repetitive motions such as nodding, but sun exposure can greatly speed up the process, so it's important to keep that area protected.

If you have wrinkles in your neck and would like to help minimize them, using a cream with hyaluronic  acid can help as it traps water in the skin and helps to plump it up.

See you on YouTube,

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Hi YouTips4U, 

I have an embarrassing question but I watch you all the time and know I can ask because you are kind and compassionate and knowledgeable.

I have been watching your Motivation Monday videos regularly and they are helping so much with my diet. I started an exercise and healthy eating plan of more fruits and vegetables this Spring. I'm doing really well and have lost weight. The problem I'm having is gas and bloating.  I never had this before and I'm wondering if you think it's due to my healthy diet and what can I do about it.


YouTips4U Answer:  

Hi, I'm so glad you wrote. Your gas and bloating can definitely be due your diet. Very often eating fibrous foods can result in gassiness as it is digested.  A little gas is normal, but if it's very excessive, you may want to consider adding more healthy bacteria to your diet in the form of yogurt and kefir.  These foods have active cultures and can help break down bacteria in the colon.  Eating bitter foods along with your meals can help as well. Things like chard and kale can stimulate the production of enzymes that help your body digest more efficiently.  Pineapple and papaya are also excellent enzyme-rich food to have with your meals and help aid digestion.

If you are bothered by cramping and bloating, try having some herbal tea to sooth it.  Herbs such as fennel, anise, ginger and peppermint can be very soothing and help stop the cramping. My personal favorite is fennel tea.

The good news is your body will adjust to your new healthy fiber-filled diet and eventually gasiness may dissipate so give it time. It's worth the adjustment!

See you on YouTube,
- YouTips4U

Friday, June 7, 2013

Quickie Workouts for Lowering Blood Pressure

If finding time to fit in the recommended 30 minutes a day of exercise is a challenge for you, here's a tip:

Quick little workouts throughout your day may be just as beneficial.  Taking just a 10-minute walk  three times a day is excellent for lowering blood pressure, and stress levels. This also helps curtail appetite and cravings.  Feel like snacking, but know you're not hungry, go for a quick walk.

Aim for one before school or work, one at lunch and one after dinner.   It's a wonderful way to relax at night instead of sitting in front of the TV.

See you on YouTube,

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Incontinence or Bladder Control Problems After Pregnancy

Question:  Hi YouTips4U, I have a question about bladder control.  My baby is 6 months old now and sometimes I still have problems with bladder control, especially when I exercise.  Will this ever go away and what can I do about it?

YouTips4U Answer:  Thanks so much for your great question.  In all likelihood  you will get over this problem.  Postpartum stress incontinence can usually be remedied with exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises are called Kegels.  You can do them several times throughout the day and no one will ever know.  To do them, you tighten your pelvic floor muscles momentarily as if you were trying to stop urinating midstream.  Try to do at least 50 each day.  After I gave birth to my first child, the nurse told me to start doing them, right then and there, an hour after delivery.  She said I should plan on doing them for the rest of my life. I still do them periodically although my children are much older now.  Most women get excellent results. If you have trouble isolating your pelvic floor muscle, ask your OB/GYN for help. For more information on Kegels, please watch my YouTube video: Kegel Exercises to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor and Prevent/Alleviate Incontinence   

If your incontinence persists for more than a year despite regular Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, you may want to consult a urologist, but talk to your OB/GYN first.

Ladies of child-bearing age who have not yet become pregnant.  You should also be performing Kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor. This will help prevent incontinence problems.  A growing baby puts a great amount of pressure on that area of your body so have well-toned muscles in that region is a significant benefit.  It's never too early to start.

See you on YouTube,

Tips for Overweight Exercisers

In order to lose weight, it's very important to exercise. Exercise combined with cutting calories is the most successful and healthiest way to lose weight. If you are very overweight, oftentimes exercising can be difficult due to aches and pains that arise in your feet and joints; much of which can be directly related to the burden of the excess weight. So what can someone who is overweight and wanting to exercise do?

 l) It's important to start slow. Start with just 10 minutes a day. You want to give your body time to adjust to the new challenge. Once your activity becomes more comfortable, then you can add more time. Work up to a half hour to an hour of exercise/activity each day.

 2) Be sure you have the proper sneakers. Invest in a quality cushioned pair to absorb the shock. Insoles like Superfeet can be very helpful in distributing weight evenly on your feet. It's best to go to a good running store to buy Superfeet because there are different types and sizes and the sales person can help you decide which is best for you.

 3) You should try to mix up your routine so that you give your joints a break from the same exercise. Do non-weight bearing exercises several times a week like cycling or swimming.

 4) Don't forget to stretch. Stretching is the best way to avoid heel pain, achilles problems, and tight quads and hamstrings which can lead to back problems. So be sure to spend some quality time stretching. You may also want to give the Foam Roller a go. It really helps with tired sore muscles and can help you heal faster. For more information on using a Foam Roller, please see my YouTube video: Amazing Stretch Exercises with Foam Roller.

 Remember, getting in shape is not a race, it's a slow and steady continuous process. Putting pressure on yourself to do it quickly is not healthy for you and does not have good long-term results. It's a life change that you have to get used to so it takes time. It took a while for your bad habits to become ingrained so you must give enough time for your good habits to replace those bad ones and become ingrained in your daily life. It will happen. It just takes time and commitment. If you have someone who you can this with like a spouse, significant other, or friend, it can really be fun and a terrific adventure for both of you.

 See you on YouTube,

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Keep Your Teeth Their Whitest

Love the way your teeth look after a professional cleaning by your dentist? Want to keep that bright white clean smile for as long as possible? Well, with a few adjustments to your daily habits, you can do your best to keep you teeth stain free.

 After you drink coffee, red wine, tea, or any other beverage that can stain your pearly whites, be sure you swish some water around in your mouth to rinse your teeth, and whenever possible, use a straw for staining liquids. For foods that stain our teeth such as blueberries, cherries, tomato sauce, curry sauce, etc. use the same remedy; rinse your mouth with water as soon after eating these foods as possible. Wait an hour after eating and then brush your teeth.

See you on YouTube,

Foam Roller to Prevent Injury and Promote Range of Motion

Rolling your muscles on a foam roller after a workout helps break up scar tissue and helps massage tired overworked muscles. You can significantly increase your range motion for stretching after using the foam roller. It can help you prevent injury by deeply stretching tightened hamstrings and quads. Great for achilles sufferers. If you are not familiar with using a foam roller and would like to learn about he benefits including demonstrations on how to use them, please check out my video on YouTube: Amazing Stretch Exercises with Foam Roller for Legs, Thighs, Butt

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Hi Guys!

 I posted this quote to my Facebook and so many people wrote me about how it inspired them in their own lives about how they were feeling about themselves. I decided I would print it here on my blog as well for those who did not see it:

 “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
 ― Marilyn Monroe

So true isn't it. In this age of cosmetic quick fixes, I think true unique beauty is being lost. I do think beauty lies in the little quirky features that make "YOU" "YOU". So, don't pick yourself apart about a birthmark, hairstyle, wrinkle, breast size, etc. and always think twice about permanent cosmetic alterations because you just may miss the "old You". I think it takes years for people especially women, to realize the true natural beauty that's unique to them and to embrace it. My hope is that the younger generation will come to this realization sooner rather than later because quick fixes are so prevalent now in the media that young people often feel they don't measure up to the media personalities. So my message to all the beautiful young teens and 20 somethings is that the very people you idealize are just as insecure as you feel at times and their fear of not being accepted by their audience drives them to alter their natural beauty with more than just hair and makeup. It used to be that only older actors and actresses did this sort of thing to try to erase years of aging or a bad lifestyle, so they could continue working in film younger roles. It is unfortunate that now we see so many young beautiful girls altering their faces, breast, etc. before they even reach full maturity. I hope this trend will fade as trends often do, but it can take years to happen and that means that someday many people will look back at a high school or middle school photo and wish they still looked like they used to.

 There is power in acceptance of yourself, so please try that first, O.K. 

See you on YouTube,

How to Break Up with Your Hairdresser

I call it a break-up because it can feel that way. You feel loyal to your hairdresser, almost as though they are a friend of yours, and they are, to a point. This is still a business relationship and you are a paying customer. So that means you call the shots! If you've left your hairdresser on more than one occasion feeling as though you were not treated as personally as you used to be or would like to be, or you have had bad color or cuts for the last few visits, it's time for you to consider making a change. Everyone has a bad day and that includes hairdressers. Unfortunately, their bad day can be carried home on your head. When poor results become a routine and you no longer look forward to going, but feel like you're settling, you should find someone new. Also, if your desire is to try something fresh and bold and you don't think your hairdresser is up to the job, that's another telltale indication that you may need to move on. Another reason for deciding to move on is if you are forced to wait a long time between appointments or if they keep you waiting a long time once you arrive. A poorly run salon is like any other business that's poorly run, it doesn't deserve your patronage. It's a competitive world out there and businesses are competing for you. If they are not putting their best foot forward, find someone who will. I once went to a salon where the receptionist who checked you in and who you saw when you were finished was very unfriendly. Not a smile on her face, nothing. This wasn't just A BAD DAY. The receptionist is the first person you meet when you walk in and it gives you a feel for the business and the way it's run. I go to a salon to be lifted up, not brought down, needless to say I eventually left. If a business wants to make a good impression, they will care about who answers their phone and who greets and serves their customers. So how do you make the break: If you have been going to a particular hairdresser regularly for years and you've finally strayed and found someone new, you may want to send a quick note explaining why you're taking a break. Perhaps say you received a gift certificate for another salon so you are going to give it a try. That way if you want to go back, there won't be any hurt feelings. Many times you can find a new style or cut elsewhere and just have your tried and true stylist duplicate the look for you. If you haven't gone for many years to your hairdresser, or you've been irregular at best, then it's easy to just disappear and move on. Your hair is a very personal part of your body and very tied into who you are. A good stylist recognizes and respects this and accommodates you. Remember, you know your hair best so good communication is key to good results from your salon. See you on YouTube, -YouTips4U

Herbal Tea Remedies

I usually always use natural herbal remedies for whatever ails me rather than turning to over-the-counter medications. I find I get excellent results and very quickly from using the right herbal teas. They are soothing and restorative. Here are a few that have helped me: 1) If you're suffering from period cramps: -Red raspberry tea is wonderful. Sip it as warm as you can while resting on the couch. 30 minutes later, you will be good to go. 2) Having allergy problems: -try nettle tea. It can help inhibit the production of histamines that trigger allergies without the side-effects of using over-the-counter antihistamines. It's also good for urinary tract infections. 3) Having urinary tract issues: -Dandelion leaf tea is wonderful. Nettle tea may also be used and don't forget cranberry juice. Be sure you buy unsweetened cranberry juice. You can mix it with the sweetened one and water to make it more palatable, but you don't want all that sugar from regular cranberry juice. 4) Having trouble sleeping: - valerian tea can help as it helps increase a brain chemical that helps induce relaxation and sleep. Warm milk is wonderful as well and so is having a cup of kefir. 5) Have a tummy ache or unsettled tummy: -Peppermint tea is terrific as it helps to relax the stomach muscles and ease bloating. I also love fennel tea for any gassy tummy problems. 6) Have indigestion: -Try some ginger tea. Works wonders for me. 7) Need stress relief: -Chamomile tea has a very relaxing effect on the nervous system. I also use this one for helping me sleep. 8) Reduce a fever: -try Elderberry tea. I also use this when I'm sick but don't have a fever. It's terrific. These herbs have been around for centuries, but you always want to make sure you are not allergic to any herb before you consume it, so always check first. I have used each of these herbs as herbal teas with no problems and only terrific results. The brands I use most are Alvita Herbal Teas and Celebration Herbal Teas. Be sure to steep tea bag for at least 5-10 minutes for best results. You can find them in natural foods stores like Whole Foods or online. See you on YouTube, -YouTips4U

Treadmill Tip

A quick tip for those of you who use the treadmill: increase the incline! Having the incline set to zero is actually slightly downhill, so raise it up to at least 1.0 if you want to simulate a flat surface and help burn more calories. Raising the incline level is a great way to shed extra calories and fat and firm up your entire lower body. So try to get up to at least an incline of 4.0 with a good solid pace where you're swinging your arms and using full strides. If it gets to be too much for you, you can always lower both. Interval training is a great way to challenge your fitness level. See you on YouTube, -YouTips4U

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mushrooms to Boost Immunity

Cold and Flu season is in full swing. We must keep our bodies functioning optimally during this time in order to thwart those nasty bugs. One of the best natural immune boosters we have available to us in plenty are mushrooms! Mushrooms are a Superfood. Scientists are continually researching mushrooms and finding new ways that mushrooms help the human body fight diseases such as cancer. Research has shown that mushrooms have been shown to attack killer cells that often is the start of cancer and tumors. Rich in antioxidants and fiber, mushrooms are also a natural source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is more difficult for our bodies to get enough of during the cold winter months when we get less sunshine. Mushrooms attain the superfood title because of their significant vitamin and mineral content and should be a regular part of a healthy immune boosting diet. A little personal insight: As many of you know, I am very attune to my body. Whenever I get sick, I have found that I crave mushrooms! Specifically I want them in soup. I will always make a chicken soup, to which I add the traditional vegetables like celery, carrots, onions, plenty of garlic, kale, and of course, lots of fresh mushrooms. The best immune boosters are shiitake and maitake mushrooms, but the regular baby bellas and white muschrooms are great too. Just throw them in at the end because they cook immediately. Please remember to pick up some mushrooms the next time you go grocery shopping and add them to your favorite dishes: -salads -soups -pasta sauces -chicken dishes -steaks You name it, mushrooms can be added! --Abondanza

How to Stop Wine from Staining your Teeth

We all enjoy a glass of red wine before or during dinner, but oh the stains to our teeth! Here's a little tip to keep your pearly whites white so that you can smile with confidence on your next hot date. Have some cheese with your wine. Having cheese with wine changes the pH of your mouth, reducing acidity and making it hard for stains to stick to your teeth. See, the French have the right idea! Wine and cheese please :) Want even more whitening, have some celery after your drink. Celery cleans your teeth naturally by scrubbing away the stains like a toothbrush. -Bon Appétit

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Kale is a dark green leafy vegetable and is a member of the cabbage family of vegetables. It's a high fiber, low calorie, fat-free vegetable. If you haven't tried it yet, I hope you will. I just uploaded a video to YouTube that will tell you all about it's important benefits to your body and I show you step by step how I prepare it. It's so versatile, you can eat it with almost any meal you are having. It's a great cancer fighter, rich in flavenoids, carotenoids, and many important vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins C, E, K, B, Iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and lutein. So please check out my YouTube video to learn more about Kale and I hope you will add it to your diet. Here's the link to my video: How to Make Kale - Lose Weight with this High Fiber Nutritious Food See you on YouTube, -YouTips4U