Cinco de Mayo: 12 Innovative Margarita Recipes to Try

A margarita is a simple cocktail that is oh-so-refreshing! Whether you crank up the heat in your apartment in an attempt to make yourself feel like you’re in the tropics or you’re enjoying the drink on a patio on a breezy summer day, the margarita is a classic drink. In recent years the drink has had a serious comeback with a thousand and one variations that make it a little more sweet or a little more spicy, and here are a few of the recipes to shake up your margarita mix.

    1. Cranberry Margarita Need a way to make your favorite drink a little more holiday friendly? Throw some cranberries in it! Cranberry puree adds depth to the color and taste of this delicious margarita.

    2. Avocado Margarita Indulge this cool, rich margarita that is sure to surprise even the most seasoned margarita drinkers. The combination of lime and avocados are just what the doctor ordered on a hot summer day.

    3. Apricot Margarita Add major sweetness to the standard margarita with apricot nectar. It’s an sweet flavor that will be unexpected compared to the usual strawberry or mango flavors used.

    4. Coco Margarita This unique margarita will take your mind to the tropics. A combination of pineapple juice and cream of coconut create an ultra sweet margarita that will make you feel like you’re on the beach.

    5. Mighty Margarita A potent combination of gold tequila and Tabasco Green Pepper sauce will make your taste buds come alive. This one’s not for margarita newbies! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how amazing this unique margarita tastes and how easy it is to whip up for a crowd.

    6. Watermelon Margaritas Sweeten up your next party with a pitcher of these margaritas. Sugar and watermelon chunks are combined for a delicious drink that works well with or without tequila.

    7. Prickly Pear Margaritas This recipe calls for prickly pear syrup (though prickly pear-infused tequila can be used too), which adds new dimension to the standard margarita. It’s definitely a recipe for those who love to tickle their taste buds with new flavors.

    8. Diabetic Margarita Recipe This is a simple margarita recipe that diabetics can enjoy. Keep in mind that alcohol does convert to sugar once it’s in your body, so while there’s no sugar in this recipe, diabetics should limit their alcohol intake.

    9. Creamsicle Margarita Recipe Swap dessert for this dreamy, creamy margarita. The vanilla ice cream makes this feel like the most indulgent cocktail we’ve ever had. This is one you want to blend little by little to avoid a soupy consistency.

    10. Jello Margarita This fabulous margarita recipe is ideal for a get-together. A new take on Jello shots, this recipe is refreshing, light and incredibly easy to make in large batches for a big shindig.

    11. Chocolate Margarita Get decadent with this chocolate margarita. The recipe also calls for orange juice and the blogger suggest rimming your glass with crushed Oreos for even more chocolate goodness.

    12. Blackberry Mint Margarita This one is a must-try and works well for a brunch or anytime you’re entertaining. Tart tequila, sweet blackberries and the freshness of mint are a winning combination that will satisfy every party-goer.

For more margarita inspiration, check out Margarita Blog. Penned by an Austinite searching for the best margaritas in town. Her stops at drink stops on both ends of the spectrum are sure to make you think about margaritas beyond top shelf tequila and lime

Quick, Healthy and Tasty Meal Ideas for Busy People

Life is short and life is busy – most people don’t have time to do all the things they want to do; they wish they had more than 24 hours in a day. There’s no time to stop and smell the roses and even less to invest in wholesome home-cooked meals. But by neglecting the latter, you pay a heavy price in terms of your health, and no amount of money can give you back what you’ve lost. So to safeguard and boost your health, you must look for healthy meal ideas that are also tasty and which take no time to prepare. Here are a few to get you started on your quest to good health:

  • Start out with simple soups: Soups are probably the easiest of healthy foods to make – all you need to do is throw together the ingredients, add some seasoning, and voila! Your soup is ready! If you don’t have time to chop fresh vegetables for your soup, buy packets of cut vegetables that you can just wash and add to the broth. Include lean meats like chicken or turkey to add flavor and body to your soup; and invest in a slow cooker that allows you to put all the ingredients in and come home to a perfectly cooked and hot dinner many hours later.
  • Veggies, fruits and nuts make great snacks: If you’re searching for smart snack ideas that don’t take too much time to put together, you best bet is to munch on fruits and eat veggies like carrots and celery. If you want, you can choose healthy dips to make your snack more enticing. Nuts like walnuts, hazel nuts and almonds also make healthy and filling snack options – they’re loaded with the good kind of fat, and as long as they’re not fried or salted, can be eaten to your heart’s content. Steer clear of peanuts though – they may cause allergies and are not really healthy.
  • Throw together your own healthy desserts: Instead of gorging on ice cream, pies and cakes, make your own smoothies using skim milk and fruit or mix yoghurt and your favorite fruit in the blender for some delicious flavored yoghurt. Make fruit salads and top up with low-fat ice cream if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. When you make a conscious choice to avoid fatty desserts and instead make your own healthier alternatives, you not only lose weight, you also provide your health with a much needed boost.
  • Make meals that are easy: Don’t feel guilty that you’re not making elaborate meals; it’s enough to throw together a simple salad or make pasta with a readymade sauce and some veggies on the side. As long as you avoid eating out or resorting to frozen dinners, as long as your hunger is satisfied, as long as you haven’t stuffed yourself, and as long as you don’t feel guilty about what you’ve eaten, you’re ok in terms of a healthy meal.
  • Set aside a day to stock up your pantry: This could be a weekly or fortnightly affair depending on your convenience. You’re inclined to cook only when you have all the ingredients on hand, and when everything’s available, cooking takes no time at all. So the first thing you need to do to start your journey towards healthy meals is to make a list of ingredients based on the foods you’re going to cook often, and stock up on them. This way, you don’t feel tempted to buy takeaway, eat out, or resign yourself to a frozen, pre-packaged meal and are prepared to cook healthier and more wholesome options.

Time is of the essence to everyone, but if you really want to make your hours count, invest a few of them in your health.

Drug Safety and AE Reporting – How Far Have We Come?

It’s not something we care to think about, but it’s a well-known fact that drugs, which are supposed to save lives, end up taking them as well. The reasons are varied – the drugs are not safe, patients don’t follow instructions and overdose on them, spurious drugs enter the market and are sold along with the genuine variety, and worst of all, sometimes doctors and other healthcare providers goof up when treating patients and writing prescriptions.

Again, we’d rather sweep the issue under the carpet than acknowledge the fact that the medical fraternity is prone to errors that take lives. Healthcare practitioners make mistakes because:

  • They are negligent in checking patient history and the drugs that they’re already taking. This may cause a fatality if the drugs they prescribe react adversely to the ones they’re already on.
  • Patients mislead them or fail to inform them of the drugs they’re taking, not deliberately but because they may not know that they’re supposed to be open with their doctors.
  • They don’t have the time or/and the inclination to check with patients and find out if they’re allergic to certain drugs or if they’re on any prior medication.
  • They’re overworked and tend to make mistakes.

If there is one good thing about mistakes, it’s that we can use them as examples to learn from and to ensure that they do not happen again. This is what Adverse Event (AE) reporting is all about; as a part of the MedWatch initiative that was set up almost two decades ago by the then FDA Commissioner David Kessler, AE reporting involves the identification and evaluation of adverse events and product quality issues regarding the use of drugs and medical devices and appliances. The success of this endeavor depends largely on the willingness of doctors, nurses and pharmacists to provide adequate support and timely feedback so that errors can be rectified and prevented from happening again. It’s a voluntary process, but one that is apparently quite successful as the FDA receives as many as 40,000 AE reports directly from doctors, clinicians and patients and many more indirectly from reports that are sent to manufacturers by clinicians.

Top 50 Vintage Accessories Blogs

The Fashion industry is ever changing, but somehow modern designers keep looking back to their predecessors. These days is hard to find a fashion accessory today that does not have some sort of vintage or retro inspiration behind its design, and for this, vintage will forever be “in style.” Accessories are the crucial items that make or break an outfit, so their pure existence is imperative to the fashionista’s wardrobe. CoCo Chanel once said, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,” and all of these top 50 vintage accessory blogs know both classy and fabulous. If you are looking for inspirational outfit ideas or just a piece of vintage jewelry, look no further, as your vintage personal shopping list is right here.

SHOP

While is it hard to find vintage items inside actual stores, these ten online shops make it easy for an online shopper to find the best vintage accessories from home.

  1. Lulu’s Vintage Lulu’s Vintage, “the retro retreat for the fashion elite” is a great blog that focuses on all of the latest trends in retro and vintage fashion. There is a plentiful accessories section with a store and online auctions.
  2. Stacked Vintage Stacked Vintage is a blog that has everything from vintage accessories to vintage posters. This boutique in Toronto has a lot of charm, and is worth a browse if you are looking for a nice throwback piece.
  3. Annie Cream Cheese Annie Cream Cheese is a blog that goes by “Vintage of the Future.” A resale shop with endless items to choose from, there’s no way you can’t be fashionable with anything you snag here. Check out the designer section for a steal!
  4. From Betsy with Love From Betsy with Love is a “webshop” run by Betsy, featuring any and all things vintage-related. An eccentric blogger, Betsy goes beyond fashion with other great parts of her blog.
  5. Jewelry Blog This one of a kind jewelry line takes older, vintage looks and replicates them into modern, affordable buys. Another one of their non-vintage jewelry lines, 2028, is featured at Macy’s.
  6. Corsets and Crinolines Corsets and Crinolines has a bit of a different spin, as their vintage is described as antique fashion. They offer a special section for lingerie, so check out this blog if you are in the market for an antique brazier!
  7. Vintage Clothesline Vintage Clothesline is an online store run by Linda. Linda has always loved fusing old with new, and has an immense collection on ebay. A great site for all things vintage.
  8. Proper Vintage Clothing Proper Vintage Clothing is a new-age blog with an old-timey feel. They offer items from the 20’s to 80’s that are available to buy online. Happy shopping!
  9. Fresh Vintage Accessories Fresh Vintage Accessories is a wonderful stop for those looking for the perfect gift (even for yourself!). You can find any type of vintage hat, jewelry, or accessory to fit your vintage style.
  10. Chictopia Chictopia is an exquisite blog that defines vintage couture. While not everything on the site features a vintage-tie, there are many vintage inspired options to choose from.

PHOTOS

A picture is worth 1,000 vintage words. The photographs on these blogs do an excellent job of portraying the vintage beauty.

  1. Liebe Marlene Liebe Marlene is a blog that features the unique “Look Book.” A great source of photos old and new, don’t’ worry, you can buy them from her shop!
  2. PETA RUDD PETA RUDD is a beautiful blog that has a multitude of photos of the latest and greatest vintage accessories. Peta, the boggler, is a freelance stylist and photographer, so she gets to enjoy her job everyday!
  3. Vixen Vintage Vixen Vintage is a beautiful blog that excels in the “how-to” section. This blogger has a great selection of hats, and has the awesome pictures to prove it!
  4. Wilbur Vintage Wilbur Vintage is a shop in Philadelphia with a great blog that shows the stores latest finds. The store’s blogger does a great job of capturing the newest items on camera.
  5. Couture Allure Couture Allure is a blog that features authentic vintage photographs of all the greatest fashions of different time periods. The blogger also sells some items on her own website, inspired by vintage couture.
  6. Mandi Brighton’s Blog This blog focuses on summer accessories that are sure to keep you from melting. Offering some hot flair, these vintage suggestions are keepers.

GENERAL

Generally speaking, these blogs know everything about vintage couture. From how-tos, to online discussion forums, these blogs cover all aspects of vintage accessories.

  1. Dorothea’s Closet Dorothea’s Closet is a well-read site that lives by the mantra of “living a lifestyle in very modern vintage.” Items on this site are also available to buy on eBay and other sites.
  2. Shrimpton Couture Blog The Shrimpton Couture Blog is a great site that pairs vintage with modern fashion. A great stop for the latest in vintage couture- it has won several awards.
  3. The Vintage Bulletin The Vintage Bulletin is a group of bloggers that have submitted various pictures, items, and posts to this site. From lingerie to jewelry, this group has it covered.
  4. The Best in Vintage The Best in Vintage is a great source for tips and clues on to how to look your most vintage. This blog comes with a directory of resources and a list of designers’ background. This blog definitely has vintage expertise.
  5. Perk Up! Perk Up! Is a blog run by Irish sisters, Sharon and Lisa Perkins. They are avid traders on the weekends, so their stock is always fresh with the latest in vintage fashion.
  6. Clothing Obsession Clothing Obsession is a “one stop” fashion blog for any vintage enthusiast. Specializing in selling accessories, you’re sure to find something that fits your vintage needs.
  7. Vintage Shopping Guide This blog is written by Malie Bingham, an internet entrepreneurial fashionista. Malie specializes in finding the latest NYC vintage events, while also publishing an informative e-book on the business of vintage.
  8. Debutante Clothing Debutante Clothing is a fashion-tip blog that helps mix vintage with modern fashion. The blogger, Sandra Mendoza-Daly, wants to ensure that you are not overwhelmed by online shopping, and she gives many tips to avoid that stress.
  9. Vintaage by La Raffinerie La Raffinerie specializes in jewelry with a vintage feel. Designer, Julie Vallelunga, has a passion for vintage jewelry, and is an expert at transforming older pieces into new pieces with a vintage look.
  10. The Vintage Fashion Club The Vintage Fashion Club is the place to visit for the latest European vintage fashion trends. This blog provides insightful blog posts from all sorts of vintage fashionistas. Worth a visit if you want to be in the vintage loop!
  11. LA Vintage LA Vintage is a superbly informative blog that is up to date on all things vintage. With an ultra-hip vibe, this site is for the younger ones trying to go retro.

WEDDING

Something Borrowed, Something Old? A bride’s wedding day is the most important day of her life. These wedding blogs feature the best accessories for that special day.

  1. Smart Bride Smart Bride is a wedding website that is exactly what it sounds like: Tips for the smart bride. While the blog’s got all parts of the wedding covered, the vintage accessory options will help any bride stand out!
  2. Love My Dress Love My Dress is written by Annabel, a blogger from the UK that specializes in anything wedding related. As vintage trends have become popular in the wedding realm, Kat does a great job displaying the latest and most elegant trends.
  3. Brenda’s Wedding Blog Brenda’s Wedding Blog is a series of posts written by Brenda, a wedding enthusiast. Specializing in a particular vintage look, this blog has gorgeous imagery that makes any wedding look like a royal one!
  4. Bow Occasions Bow Occasions is a wedding blog that specializes in various vintage wedding-eras. The blogger, Louise, is also a wedding and event planner, so she knows her stuff when it comes to vintage couture!

NICHE

These “niche” blogs are all based around vintage accessories, but each one has it’s own little “special something” to offer.

  1. DeniseBrain Maggie Wilds of DeniseBrain is an inline entrepreneur that sells vintage clothing and accessories. She also carries her own vintage fabric handmade bag line called “Material Girl Bags.”
  2. Polyvore Polyvore is an extremely unique site with a cutting edge idea. Polyvore allows you to mix and match looks from different sources and stores, allowing you to create your own look. Each style-idea has a well-written snippet about why this trend is currently hot.
  3. Glamour Splash Glamour Splash is a niche-vintage blog that specializes in swimwear. The author, Pamela Fierro is well versed in all things swimwear related. A great site for some retro photographs.
  4. Zuburbua Zuburbua is a blog that features vintage for the contemporary woman. This blogger shares her tips, hints, info and vintage shopping adventures, in addition to bringing you her Vintage Pick of the Day (VPOD).
  5. Go Knit Your Hate Go Knit Your Hate is a wonderful blog that stands out due to its tiny audience… babies, that is. This blog focuses on baby and children’s wear from vintage eras. This blog will have you oohing and ahhing in no time.
  6. Fashion Doll Guide Fashion Doll Guide is a niche vintage blog that specializes in Doll’s fashion from way back when. Check out this site for an amazing vintage Barbie collection that will bring back the memories!
  7. Here’s Looking Like You, Kid Here’s Looking Like You, Kid, is a great old-timey blog that is worth a visit for the insight on vintage make-up. From compacts to the actual products used, this post knows how to give your face the elegant, vintage look.
  8. Adore Vintage Adore Vintage is an outstanding blog that hones in on the hats of yesteryear. With such a beautiful selection of photos, this blog will have everyone rushing out to buy a new (old) hat!
  9. Mona and Midge Mona and Midge is a cutesy blog about handmade accessories. While not all accessories are vintage inspired, most have a vintage touch. Kate Bergmann, the blogger, uses this blog as a creative outlet to display her love of all things vintage and retro.
  10. B Vintage B Vintage is an exceptional blog from the UK that is also an online shop. While everything offered is top-notch, this blog provides affordable options for any vintage aficionado.
  11. Antiques Avenue Antiques Avenue is a blog that specializes in antiques, mainly focusing on jewelry and fashion accessories. There is a nice shop with much to sell, as well as an appraisal section.

HOME LIVING

Fashion accessories do not always have to be found on the body. These “home living” vintage accessories vary from the kitchen to old-school sewing kits.

  1. Vintage Goodness Vintage Goodness features accessories around the home. This site really stands out because of the ample amount of photos posted, for each accessory in each room. If you’re looking to give your home a vintage touch, visit this site for some tips.
  2. Accessories Online Blog Accessories Online Blog features many types of accessories, but has a unique section on vintage pieces. Most of the vintage pieces are from the kitchen, giving an old-style, homey feel to the blog.
  3. Smith’s Occasional Blog This blog post explores the option of finding vintage items in your own home. This blogger is convinced that if you take a hard look around, you’re bound to come across something a dusty gem!
  4. sewing.org This sewing blog has a small section on vintage accessories made from Linda Griepentrog. A sewing expert, she will show you how to create a vintage look from scratch.
  5. Slap me Fabulous This blogger specializes in decorative items from the early to mid 20th century. She also maintains a salesroom on etsy.com and is interested in artisan interviews.
  6. Vintage Junky Vintage Junky concentrates on beautiful home décor for the vintage fiend. Michelle, the blogger, would like to help everyone infuse vintage charm on his or her own home.
  7. Mom’s Patterns is a great source for “real retro fashion” sewing options. Whether or not you are able to make your own items, or you get someone else to do so, these fabrics will have everyone thinking vintage.
  8. Interior Dream Interior Dream specializes in Interior Design and has a bit of a vintage touch in some of the non-modern and contemporary designs. A lovely website for anyone looking to decorate a home or living space.

3 Ways to Reprogram Your Brain

It is one of God’s greatest creations, this mass we have inside our heads that we call a brain. It is responsible for who we are and what we do. It dictates our every move and changes with every new experience. And the best part of the human brain is the fact that it is not hardwired and that it can be taught to do anything in the world. This is amply demonstrated by the natural growth of human beings and the progression of our brains as we traverse the path of life, from the time we’re born till the time we die. So if you want to reprogram your brain and make it learn new behavior and unlearn old ones, all you have to do is apply yourself in the following ways:

  • Practice: The best way to teach your brain to do new things is to practice, practice and practice some more. This works when you’re trying to learn a new language or how to play a musical instrument. Even people who are naturally skilled get better and become the best only when they practice. Your brain adapts itself to the new task the more you practice, and in time, the behavior becomes part of your subconscious and you seem like a natural.
  • Persevere: When you’re trying to unlearn behavior that is detrimental to your physical and mental health, persistence and perseverance are more rewarding than anything else. You may be trying to get rid of an addiction or get out of a bad relationship – the trick to achieving your goal is to stay the path you’ve chosen; and when you feel like straying, remind yourself of all the negative things that could happen if you do go back to your old ways, and encourage yourself to go forward by tempting your brain with all the positive things that await you when you reach your goal.
  • Push: There are times when your brain needs a push in the right direction – this may come about as a result of your circumstances or because someone else is effecting the change. It may be a positive or negative experience that pushes you to reprogram your brain, but whatever the reason, the outcome has to be a positive experience for your brain. At the end of the journey that the nudge has sent you on, you must become a better person, physically and mentally. For example, some people lose loved ones and are forced to become independent and self-sufficient through necessity; others may seek life-altering paths when they are jilted or when they are confronted with the death of someone dear to them.

Change is inevitable, and the human brain knows this. It’s when we resist change that we become stuck in ruts and assume our brain is hardwired to behave the same way forever. So the key to reprogramming your brain lies in accepting change and directing the flow to where you want it to go through practice and perseverance.

3 Don’ts of Direct Marketing

Ask any customer what their pet peeve is, and they’ll tell you that it’s direct marketing. It’s not that they don’t want to learn about new products and services; it’s just that they don’t like the in-your-face attitude and approach most marketers adopt. The problem with marketing today is that it has become an intrusive affair – those of us who are selling seem to think that unless we thrust ourselves into potential customers’ lives by hook or by crook, we’re not good marketers. However, the key to good marketing is to know what to say, when to say it, how to say it, and to whom to say it. Time, place and situation are very important if you want to convert your pitches into actual sales. So here goes, three things that you must not do when you’re a direct marketer:

  • Never try to sell to angry customers: I’m usually very patient with marketers and try to hear them out; however, it’s hard to stay calm and collected when the person on the other end of the line tries to sell me something when I’m already angry with their company. If customers have an existing grouse against your organization, they can never be persuaded to buy from you again unless you resolve their initial problem. And if you keep trying to push your sales pitch, you’re only going to be at the receiving end of some choice epithets. So lesson number one – leave angry customers alone, at least until their problems have been resolved to satisfaction.
  • Never attempt to persuade customers during cold calls: Not many people are tolerant of cold calls, and even if they’re only follow-ups to emails and newsletters that they’ve signed up for, they’re not going to give you the time of day. Any cold caller with a little common sense knows that if they don’t have the customer hooked on their opening line, the call is not worth it. People hang up on you because they’re busy or because they are not interested. So don’t waste your time calling back immediately and pestering them to listen to you. You’re only going to get their hackles up even further, and antagonizing potential customers is never a good sign for future business.
  • Never fall back on your promises: And finally, never ever fail to deliver on your promises because customers tend to remember your failure and use this to move over to the competition. You may think you’re being very clever in using fine print or pre-conditions to get out of delivering what your marketing material has promised, but the joke could very well be on you when your customers talk to others about your deceitful practices – you’re going to lose something much more valuable than your customers themselves – their trust.

So be aware of your customers’ moods and needs, and act accordingly to achieve success in your direct marketing campaigns.