Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wine: Good drink for dieting?

Drinking wine in moderation—that means about a glass a day, tops—has some awesome perks.

Happy Hour Does Your Body Good...

Researchers kept tabs on nearly 20,000 normal-weight women for 13 years. Over time, the women who drank a glass or two of red wine a day were 30 percent less likely to be overweight than the nondrinkers (they tracked women who drank liquor and beer too, but the link was strongest for red wine). That’s not surprising, since vino has other benefits. "It’s rich in antioxidants that reduce cholesterol and blood pressure,” says Jana Klauer, a New York City physician specializing in nutrition and metabolism.

One reason wine may contribute to a healthy weight is that digesting booze triggers your body to torch calories. “Women make smaller amounts of the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol than men do, so to digest a drink, they have to keep producing it, which requires the body to burn energy,” says Dr. Klauer. That means you’re likely to see more of a benefit than your guy since his body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest a glass of the grape.

Alcohol also may burn calories due to a process called thermogenesis, says Lu Wang, MD, PhD, the lead study author and member of the division of preventive medicine at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Alcohol raises your body temperature (one reason some people get red cheeks when drinking), causing the body to burn calories to create heat.

...But That’s Not All

The study also showed that women who drank moderately ate less. While researchers can’t say why, it’s possible that they were more likely to slow down and savor their food and drink.

If you combine all these factors, drinking wine could lead to taking in fewer calories while your body is burning energy, meaning you’re less likely to gain weight, says Dr. Wang. Awesome, but you don’t want to replace food with wine—you’ll miss out on key nutrients and wind up schnockered. And keep in mind that wine has calories: about 125 for 5 ounces. “That’s why drinking isn’t a weight-loss strategy on its own,” says Dr. Klauer. Overdoing it is linked to health risks you don’t want to take, like breast cancer. “But having a glass,” says Dr. Klauer, “along with a healthy diet and exercise, seems to be a marker for a healthier lifestyle.” Hey, we’ll salud to that

Why women Love Shoes?

Shoes instantly updates an outfit from last year or just making women feel hotter than hell.

Happy Feet

First of all, there's some serious mood-boosting going on when you try on any kind of apparel. "The neurotransmitter dopamine is released, providing a feel-good high, similar to taking a drug," says Martin Lindstrom, a branding expert for Fortune 100 companies and author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. "The dopamine increases until you swipe your debit card." Usually, the high then flatlines, and guilt starts creeping in...except, that is, when the item you're purchasing is a pair of shoes. "Shoppers rationalize shoes as a practical buy — something they can wear multiple times a week — so they hold on to that pleasurable feeling longer," says Lindstrom.

But it's not just dopamine at work. Shoes' mood-altering traits also come from another brain reaction, says Lindstrom. Buying new footwear stimulates an area of the brain's prefrontal cortex termed the collecting spot. "Shoes are a collector's item, whether women realize they perceive them that way or not," says Suzanne Ferriss, PhD, editor of Footnotes: On Shoes. Just think of how they're often stored artfully on shoe trees and shelves. "They're like sculptures," says Ferriss. As a result, collecting each type provides a mini-adrenaline rush similar to the satisfaction a stamp collector gets when he acquires a rare find.

A Higher Power

All those wonderful feelings are intensified when you choose high heels...but again, it's biology, not Jimmy Choo, at work. "Like most animals, we're wired to associate height with power," says Helen Fisher, PhD, professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. "High heels can literally raise your status because you're taller when you wear them."

Heels carry historical significance as well, adding to their appeal. In previous centuries, only the wealthy wore high heels — everyone else had practical footwear to do manual labor. "Shoes were a measure of class," says Fisher, "and we still have a bit of that mind-set ingrained in us."

Sexual Heeling

Now go even higher — to stilettos — and another element rears its head: sex. Stilettos are undoubtedly foxy, but why, exactly? "When a woman wears them, she assumes a primal mating pose called lordosis," says Fisher. "Her butt lifts, and her back arches."

But there's more to it than how hot your ass looks. According to Daniel Amen, MD, author of The Brain in Love, our minds are structured in a way that may associate feet with sex. "The area of the brain that communicates with the genitals is right next to the area that deals with the feet," says Dr. Amen. "These regions share neural crosstalk, which may be why shoes can be erotic." And we thought it was just our lust for high style talking

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Holiday Shopping is BACK!

Meredith Barnhill says her favorite part of the holiday season is giving gifts.

Her Christmas purchases last year -- an Xbox for her brother, clothing from Urban Outfitters for her sister, jewelry for her mom and Blu-ray Discs for her father -- totaled twice the amount she anticipated on her credit card bill.

"I couldn't enjoy Christmas because I had to worry about debt for the new year," said the 25-year-old web producer from Austin, Texas.

This year, Barnhill is reforming her spending habits. Instead of waiting until the last minute, in July she started saving $100 a month in a Christmas fund. To cut back on spending, she is creating a list rather than arriving at the mall clueless. She is also relying on coupons and deals from social group-buying websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial.

With Black Friday and the holidays approaching, shoppers face a deluge of retail, catalog and online options along with pressures from stores and family and friends. Last year, the average person planned on spending $417 for holiday gifts, according to the American Research Group Inc., a group that conducts national surveys.

Many families also are financially strapped this year. The unemployment rate was at 9.6 percent in October, according to the U.S. . Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Experts predict the economic downturn will continue to influence the way many Americans spend money. The National Retail Federation reported than 40 percent of shoppers will be keeping sales and discounts in mind during holiday shopping.

Ladies; How can you save money during the holiday gift-buying?

Setting the budget

I know its hard, but it is a start to give you a middle and an end to spending.
You should limit the number of credit cards you use during the holiday season. Mint research has found the average American holds four credit cards. The more credit cards a person uses, the less you are able to keep track of bills.

The best solution is to set aside good old fashioned cash, which can eliminate anxiety and tricky finances. You should really have a way of tracking down all your spending in one place.

Families should try to set aside a special bank account for holiday spending. Several banks offer the option of creating separate special accounts. ING Direct, the online-only banking arm of ING Group, allows users to create subaccounts, as does, a social banking site.

Shoppers should make a habit of buying a few gifts on payday to avoid overdraft fees or high credit card interest.

To buy or not to buy

Making a list -- and checking it twice -- can help shoppers stay on track.

April Benson, a psychologist who wrote the book "To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop," suggests making organized shopping lists to avoid overspending and last-minute panic. She says the list should be as detailed as possible with what each person will receive and how much money will be spent.

Before buying something, Benson says shoppers should ask themselves these questions:

• Does he or she really need it?

• Can I actually afford it?

• What are the implications of buying this?

Great deals online

Louis Scatigna, radio show host and author of "The Financial Physician," says technology is a helpful tool for the budget-conscious.

Online shopping offers many opportunities for money-savvy consumers to snag better deals. Sites such as eBay and Amazon allow customers to compare multiple selling prices.

Easy-to-navigate sites such as NextTag and PriceGrabber also allow buyers to compare prices, he says. Many online sites offer free shipping during the holiday season. Customers should always search for coupons and other deals before making a purchase online, he says.

"It's much less stressful, and you're not out there going crazy," he says.

Smartphones are a convenient way to make purchases without fighting for parking spots at the mall. The National Retail Federation reports a quarter of adults surveyed plan on using these mobile devices to buy presents.

Another way to use a smartphone is to use an application that transforms it into a bar-code scanner, which can help shoppers compare prices and save money.

The holidays may often be centered on giving and receiving gifts, but Scatigna said the season also can be a good time for selling unwanted items online. The extra cash can be used to buy new gifts. The process can also clean up clutter and force a person to assess what he or she really needs to buy for Christmas, he says.

Cutting down on presents?

In a down economy when money is tight, Andra Davidson, co-founder of MothersClick, a social network site and online resource for moms, says several of her members saved money by eliminating gifts.

Last year, many mothers wrote to her site about cutting down the number of children's presents.

"Kids are used to a certain tradition of getting lots of gifts and maybe expensive gifts," Davidson said. "You really have to sit down and explain to them things are not the same as they used to be."

Top 10 places NOT to flirt

Earlier this week, a juror in a Connecticut murder trial was chastised by the judge for passing a note to the court marshal asking him for a date. After being alerted to the note, the judge told the juror he was a "'romantic at heart," but not in the courtroom, and said sending the note was a "g------ dumb thing to do."

Obviously, there are appropriate places for flirting and a murder trial isn't one of them.

Here are 10 more dumb places to play a game of "pick-up."

1. A hospital waiting room

A hospital waiting room is prime breeding ground for anxiety. People are anxious about tests they're about to take, results they're about to be given, and all the things they could be doing in the hour(s) they're sitting there waiting for these unpleasant affairs. Anxiety is not the emotion you want in play when you make your move.

2. The gym

With all those hot bodies in skimpy clothes, the gym may seem like an ideal pick-up joint, but for a lot of people, the last thing they want to deal with is someone hitting on them when they're dripping with sweat and dying to finish their third mile on the treadmill so they can shower and get home.

Your best bet is to catch your crush on her way out or use your gym connection to say "hi" if you see him or her "out in the wild."

3. A funeral

Come on, now; that's just tacky.

4. A job interview

If you must, grab a business card and send a friendly e-mail after the job is filled, but don't blow your shot -- at the job or a date -- by making googly eyes during the interview.

5. In the underwear section of a department store

You should probably at least have dinner together before you know what kind of underwear the other prefers.

6. In line for the bathroom

Look, no one feels sexy with a full bladder. Catch her on the way out when she's had a chance to relieve herself and apply a little lip gloss.

7. Your therapy appointment

You're there to fix your problems, not make more of them.

8. A parent-teacher conference

There are far better ways to embarrass your kid (and yourself) than hitting on his/her teacher. Keep things professional at least until the end of the school year when a potential relationship wouldn't be a conflict of interest.

9. On a date with someone else

Even if your date is a bust and you both know it, you'll be the cad who has no clue about social etiquette if you make a move on someone else. You can always go back after you bid your date farewell and see if your dream girl is still there.

10. At work

Office romance is an oxymoron. You may meet the love of your life at work, but keep things professional for everyone and leave the flirting for after-hours.

Famous JetBlue flight attendant escapes jail time

The JetBlue Airways Corp. flight attendant whose job-quitting meltdown landed him in court avoided jail time in a plea deal Tuesday that requires him to undergo counseling and treatment for a least a year.

Steven Slater spoke politely and calmly as he entered a guilty plea to a charge of second-degree attempted criminal mischief, a felony, and a lesser charge of fourth-degree attempted criminal mischief.

He admitted he pulled the emergency chute Aug. 9 on a JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh after it landed at Kennedy International Airport. Slater went on the public-address system, swore at a passenger who he claimed treated him rudely, grabbed a beer and slid onto the tarmac.

"At the end of the day, I'm a grown-up and I must take responsibility for my actions," Steven Slater said outside court. He thanked his attorney, prosecutors, his mother and his partner, and said the public interest in his case had surprised him.

Under the terms of the deal, Slater must undergo at least a year of counseling and substance-abuse treatment. If he completes the program to the judge's satisfaction, the top charge will be dismissed, the misdemeanor will remain and he will be sentenced to a year of probation.

He must check in with the court periodically and could also have to pay restitution to JetBlue. If he does not fulfill the requirements, he will get one to three years in jail.

Slater's dramatic and unusual departure made him a cult hero to some. He was a topic on TV shows, on the front pages of newspapers and many cheered him for standing up to the inhospitable world of airline travel and for quitting his job so spectacularly.

His fame has waned, but it's not gone: In a homage to Slater this Halloween, several retailers are selling their own versions of the disgruntled airline employee or the angry steward.

"It's a blue steward shirt with a light blue tie and it comes with a Band-Aid for your forehead," Todd Kenig, chairman of Ricky's NYC, told the AP last week.

JetBlue suspended Slater, and he resigned from the company last week, leaving him unemployed. He had worked at JetBlue for about three years, though he spent nearly two decades in the airline industry.

JetBlue told employees in a memo that press coverage was not taking into account how much harm can be caused by emergency slides, which are deployed with a potentially deadly amount of force.

District Attorney Richard Brown scolded Slater — and the public — for not taking his actions more seriously, noting it cost $25,000 to fix the slide and that the plane had to be taken out of service afterward, causing flight delays.

Slater's attorney, Daniel J. Horwitz, said his client took the matter very seriously. He said Slater had been under tremendous pressure because of his terminally ill mother, recently deceased father, and health problems of his own, adding that his client is HIV positive.

Slater was upbeat and smiley outside court, dressed in a gray suit, blue shirt and gold tie.

"I am very grateful to the court for making these arrangements," said Slater, who did not answer questions.

Slater was initially charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing. He underwent a mental health evaluation and it was determined he was fit for the alternative sentencing program. His case was transferred to Mental Health Court, a special division of state justice where defendants are monitored and treated instead of immediately jailed.