Thursday, November 26, 2020

6 Top Reasons why Eating Chocolate is Beneficial for Your Health

This was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind. Freelance writer, Delicia Warren, is passionate about the environment and the impact humans are having on the world around us. She's an advocate of holistic approaches to life's issues, including alternative medicines, as well as having an interest in helping individuals make small changes to their lifestyles to minimize their carbon footprint.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Well, I have some good news for you. There’s no need for you to feel guilty the next time you decide to eat chocolate, since eating chocolate can be healthy.  

Chocolate is often considered as a treat and you will be amazed to know that Americans spend up to $10 billion dollars every year on chocolate treats. 

Despite chocolate often being responsible for the increase in one’s weight, there are varied health benefits linked to this mouth-watering treat.

Now, you can finally get to indulge in your preferred snack without having a guilty conscience. However, there’s one catch. It must be dark chocolate, since it possesses a higher percentage of cacao. 
Cacao, which is one of the major ingredients in chocolate, contains active biological phenolic compounds that have been proven to possess some health benefits. This has greatly helped people’s perception of chocolate and has led to a lot of research into how the consumption of chocolate might impact ageing. 

It’s advisable to strike a balance when consuming chocolate. Ideally, you should aim to have just one or two pieces of high quality chocolate such as mozart kugeln.

Top Benefits of Eating Chocolate

 A study issued in The Journal of Nutrition suggested that the use of chocolate may assist in the reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, which is often referred to as the ‘bad kind’ of cholesterol. 

Research conducted on chocolate bars (that contained cocoa flavanols and plant sterols to determine the effect they had on cholesterol levels) showed that routine consumption of chocolates that contained these ingredients supported cardiovascular health by regulating one’s blood pressure and lessening cholesterol levels.

Improves One’s Cognitive Function
Research has shown that when elderly people were treated to chocolates that contained specially prepared cocoa extracts (which were high in flavanols) their cognitive ability tended to improve. 
The main problem associated with consuming chocolate is that the percentage of cocoa flavanols tends to be greatly lowered through the addition of milk, eggs, and sugar.

Heart Disease 
The BMJ published research that proposed that consumption of chocolate could reduce dangers relating to heart disease by up to a third. 

According to the author’s observation, increased levels of chocolate consumption resulted in a lessened risk of contracting cardiovascular complications.

Consuming Chocolate May Assist those with Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is known to cause a dreadful loss in one’s certain mental tasks. Lavado, which is an extract that is contained in cocoa, can assist in the reduction of the damage done to the brain’s nerve pathways, which is often a result of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Reduction of Blood Pressure
Eating chocolate which contains flavanols can help your body produce nitric oxide which is vital to helping your arteries relax. So eating dark chocolate which has the higher amount of flavanols in it can help alleviate pressure within your arteries, so as to improve your blood pressure.

Aids in the Production of Endorphins 
Dark chocolates containing flavanols help in the production of endorphins which can help relieve stress and anxiety – therefore helping to treat mental illnesses. 


Friday, November 20, 2020

How to Become a Funeral Director

This post was written for the Life According to Steph audience> Dan Cormac knows how to make his money go further. A freelance financial journalist, Dan is passionate about personal finance. Whether you hope to escape the chains of debt, to save for a house, or to retire within a decade, Dan explores the most effective ways you can achieve your financial goals.

Are you sick and tired of doing what every other person is doing? Are you bored with the endless talk about white-collar jobs in fashion, banking, and the rest of them? Are you poised for a change in career? Would you be comfortable being confronted with a corpse? Have you considered a career working with the dead?

More than half a million funerals are conducted in the UK every year. With only 5,278 funeral homes catering to a teeming population, it is easy to understand why there are untapped opportunities in the funeral industry. The funeral industry might just be the career boost you need right now. After all, people need extra support during these unprecedented times. 

Who is a funeral director?
A funeral director is a person who arranges funeral services. When people turn to a business like, they can have piece of mind that everything will be dealt with. This role includes the provision of adequate support, guidance, and advice for families of the deceased. Funeral directors can accept donations on their client’s behalf, which can be given to a designated charity. They can prepare cards that clients can offer to guests as a token of their appreciation.

How can you get into this job?
Broadly speaking, you can become a funeral director by going through either of two routes:
1. By becoming an apprentice
2. By taking up support roles

You can begin an intermediate apprenticeship role by becoming part of a funeral team. After having at least one-year experience in the industry, you can be qualified to take up an advanced apprenticeship role. Your basic academic qualifications (GCSEs) will be useful in both instances. 

As an alternative to the apprenticeship route, you could take up support roles and climb up the ladder as you gain experience. You can be enlisted with a trustworthy, fully licensed funeral service providers. A strict academic background is not necessarily required. It would be helpful to have good customer service skills and the ability to make use of simple gadgets and accessories. In the course of the job, you could enroll for a diploma or certificate course in disciplines related to funeral service. More academic qualifications may be required as you come up through the ranks.

What places can you work?
As a funeral director, there are a variety of places you can work. You can work indoors or outdoors. You can work in an office, at a cemetery, or at a funeral home. You can also work at a crematory or at the home of your client.  

Do you need to wear a uniform?
It is not compulsory to have a uniform as a funeral director.

What is the salary like?
Funeral directors typically earn between £16,000 to £30,000 per year.

Are there opportunities for promotion?
An organized system is in place, and as such funeral directors have opportunities for career growth. You can rise up the ranks and become a manager of a funeral service organization at the local, regional, or national level. You can also teach students who enroll for a number of training opportunities and qualifications at the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), the umbrella body regulating the practice of funeral directors.

With lucrative job offers, opportunities for career progression, and the particularly deep inner satisfaction that comes with supporting bereaved families during these uncertain times, becoming a funeral director is worth considering. 

Friday Five 11.20.2020

1. If I wear something with pockets and don't wash it there is an 85% chance I will find a shell in it when I put it on next.

2. As we head into winter, I'm getting diligent about my body moisturizing again. Two of my favorites, both of which are cruelty free: Andalou Naturals CannaCell Botanical Body Lotion in Joyful. The scent is rosemary and lemon balm and, you know, joyful. I also like Scottish Fine Soaps Au Lait Body Butter - you can find this at TJMaxx (online for those not going to stores) and Marshalls too for great prices. Perfect stocking stuffer. 

3. It is my estimation that everyone has at least one thing they are never happy with the results of other people cleaning. For me that is my gas range top. This slippery little sucker can be difficult to find, but it is amazing: Weiman Gas Range cleaner. They make the stainless steel cleaners that are great too. 

4. Always, RBG.

5. I have loved kiwi since I was a child. I've subsisted on that, steamed asparagus, and various ravioli (toasted from Aldi's freezer section and cauliflower cheese boiled from Trader Joe's fridge section) this week.

I hope you have not slept on the High-rise ankle pants from Target (that link is an affiliate for Chelsea at The Girl Who Loved to Write, who turned me on to these, purchasing  through an affiliate link costs you nothing and the person benefitting makes approximately three cents on each transaction) from last week's Friday Five because Sunday I got showered and dressed to go for a bike ride and MFD asked me why I had nice pants on and when someone says that about your lounge pants I think you know you've made it. Order that shit for pickup and wear for Thanksgiving!

Happy birthday to Steph today!

I'm off next week and I cannot wait to exhale. Happy Friday. Wear a mask and be kind to each other out there, okay? 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - we can go out driving on slow hand row

1. It's me.

2. As typical of this time of year, I've increased my sponsored post acceptance. That's where the bulk of my end of year charitable donations come from, so if you are annoyed about sponsored posts, tell it to someone who cares. So many organizations and people in dire, dire need this year. 

3. I killed it Monday AND Tuesday AND Wednesday. This is rare in Coronaland, to operate at such a high level not for just one day, but three in a row. Unheard of for me. Hashtag grateful. Not grateful for...

4. I'm also grateful to be off next week, and to spend it with my Dad and Carol, Stephen & Aubrey, and the kids. We've all locked ourselves down and weighed risk and reward, and we're under that magic number NJ allows to gather. There are definitely people out there wilding out and giving no shits who never stopped throwing parties and refuse to wear or wear masks below noses etc, but most people out there are weighing risk and reward just like I am. Judgement is rife on the internet again as numbers go up and people seem to feel they are the only people doing it right. Literally everyone I know is like, "I can't believe people are doing this, the only thing I've done is insert something here that I am definitely not comfortable doing like outdoor dining but they think is totally fine." Do I think you're doing it wrong because you have weighed risk and reward on “approved” activities and chosen differently than I have? No. I have given up pretty much everything to see a very small number of people, safely and well planned in advance, throughout the year. Are you being careful and honest, wearing your mask and washing your fucking hands? Okay. That's the shit I care about. Our country did the wrong thing at every turn and here we fucking are. I am not into making each other's lives even more miserable by being shitty on the internet. The only thing I'm judgmental about is wearing a mask in public around other people. Otherwise send your kid to school/keep them home, have lunch outside to network/do zoom, let kids do sports/don't, see a small crew honestly about exposure/see no one, order groceries/go to the store, dine out/do curbside pickup, go back to the gym/keep working out at home, be out in the world as safely as you can/never leave your house...whatever fits your risk and reward in the current parameters for where you live, you have to do the best for you and your family and I don't know what that looks like for you because I don't live your life. I get that we are all connected through this but it is still true that worrying about yourself is a full time job and we could stand to mind other people less. Believe me, I have ENDLESS rage surrounding this pandemic, but it is ALL aimed at the federal government, especially the shitstain outgoing president who has people thinking this is a hoax or not that bad when 240,000+ people have died; and Congress who gave people fucking crumbs of $1200 or less one time and let extra unemployment lapse. They should all lose their fucking jobs. It is a fucking disgrace and absolutely fucking awful that the lack of a cohesive federal response from the start has left citizens to make so many hard decisions and pit them against each other and scientists so NO, I do not have any energy to spare about someone eating Thanksgiving with a few of their loved ones they have discussed parameters/precautions/etc with before or people saying no to everything and staying home for Thanksgiving. You don't know if people have isolated, tested, etc - we are all so up in each other's business that we're making this even harder. They should have shut this country the fuck down in the spring and paid people to stay home and paid small businesses to stay closed. January cannot come soon enough. This idiot impeached one-term two-time loser of the popular vote president refusing to transition just delays getting two vaccines planned for distribution and a handle on this fucking virus. As long as it rages, your economy has no hope. Why are people still supporting this idiot? I have no words for people who don't know the election is fucking over. Or people who can't recognize that they are not the only ones doing it right. Do you know how you sound? The lot of you. Also can we get our nurses some fucking hazard pay? 

5. But your dogs eat asparagus? Look at Bruce.
6. Bruce is that coworker who does whatever the F he wants. 
7. We'll head back to the beach today probably. The insane winds kept us inside yesterday. How happy am I that I got baseboards installed in all of my bathrooms? I will not be happy with the electric bill, but still. 
8. I painted my nails Tuesday night (Essie Warm & Toasty Turtleneck)...after I cut my nail bag open like an ogre because the zipper was stuck. Why am I like this? 

9. Reminder

10. Ecards - I swear I have four of these dogs.

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Rikki Don't Lose that Number by Steely Dan - at the bottom of my choices when it comes to Steely Dan, but it was on

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

4 Ways to Make Your Room Smell Fresh

When you enter your bedroom for the night, you want to walk into a fresh space instead of one that smells dingy and stuffy. Moreover, a room that smells bad might very well be one in which the air quality is poor. This can make it difficult to sleep as dust, and small particles in the air can affect your ability to breathe properly. 

If you notice that your room doesn’t smell as fresh as it should, there are a few things that might be the culprit. It also might just very well be time for you to give your room a much-needed deep clean. 

Here are four things that you can do that will help your room to smell fresh and clean so that you can relax and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

1. Clean Your Mattress
The first thing that you should start with might very well be the most difficult thing in your room to clean. You might be tempted to simply invest in a new one if you find that your mattress is preventing your room from smelling fresh; however, this can be expensive and unnecessary, especially if your mattress is less than eight years old.

Instead of breaking the bank with a new mattress purchase, you can try giving your mattress a good cleaning on your own. If the issue is worse than one that a simple scrub can fix, though, then you will want to call in the experts. Professional mattress cleaning is a simple way to have your mattress freshened up and smelling like new.

2. Shampoo the Carpets
If you have carpets in your room, this might very well be the source of your stinky problems. Carpets, like any other fabric, can easily trap dust, dirt, and debris that can end up making your space smell bad and make the air quality in your room poor. You can always purchase or rent a machine that you can use to shampoo your carpets, but if the problem is a bigger one than that, you can always have a professional company come in and tackle the cleaning for you.

3. Air Your Room Out 
From time to time, the air in your room might just need to be freshened up a bit. You can air out your room by opening the windows for a few minutes every day or so. This can help move the dust in the air through the room and replace it with fresh, clean air. If it isn’t a particularly breezy day, you can always open up with windows on the other side of the house as well to create a through breeze.

4. Wash the Bedding
One of the simplest things you can do to freshen up your room is to wash the bedding. You should look to wash your sheets at least once every week or two and wash your duvet cover as well. You can also hang your duvet out on a line on a windy day to help freshen it up as well.

Maggie Hammond writing for you today: Proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.

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