Saturday, February 16, 2019

Mealtime Magic: Margarita Day Recipes from Sparkling Ice

As if we need an excuse to enjoy our favorite tequila cocktail, February 22nd is National Margarita Day!

Here are some options from zero-calorie Sparkling Ice.

A margarita on the rocks can pack anywhere from 450 to 800 calories, but Sparkling Ice makes it easy to make great-tasting margarita with only a fraction of the calories (aka more room for chips and guac!).

Spicy Sparkling Margarita 

2 parts Blanco Tequila
½ part Cointreau
3 slices of JalapeƱo pepper
Juice of 1/8 lime

Shake Tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and peppers with ice. Pour into rocks glass with salted rim and lime wedge. Top with Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime.

Pomegranate Margarita
2oz tequila
2oz pomegranate juice
1oz lime juice
1oz simple syrup
Vanilla flake salt rim, for garnish
Lime wedge, for garnish

Rim glass with a lime and dip into salt, fill glass with ice and set to the side. In an ice filled cocktail shaker, combine tequila, pomegranate juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and shake. Strain into glasses and top with Sparkling Ice Classic Lemonade, stir lightly to combine. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Sippin’ The Beet

1 ½ oz silver tequila
½ oz Agave
½ oz beet juice
1 oz lime juice
Salt for rimming the glass
Kiwi slice, for garnish

In an ice filled cocktail shaker mix together tequila, agave, beet juice, and lime juice. Rim your glass in salt and fill with crushed ice, pour in the margarita mix and top with Sparkling Ice Kiwi Strawberry. Garnish with a kiwi slice and serve.

Healthy Habits: Clear Aligners Are Popular Alternative To Metal Braces, But Myths Persist

Instead of traditional metal braces, more people are opting for the clear aligners on the market such as Invisalign, Candid Co., Byte and similar products, but plenty of myths and misconceptions surround them.
“There are a lot of new clear aligner products hitting the market now, but many patients seem to be misinformed about them,” says Dr. Michael McCarthy, DMD, author of the new book The Smile of Your Dreams” (“Patients should consult their orthodontist if they are confused about the issues concerning these devices.”
Clear aligners are almost invisible, are used to help adjust teeth, and are often considered a good alternative to metal braces, Dr. McCarthy says. They are customized for each patient’s mouth to fit snugly and securely.
 “They can also be removed by the patient for sports and eating. They can be also be easily removed and put back in place for regular cleaning of the teeth and the aligner,” says Dr. McCarthy.
The aligners, over time, will begin to move teeth both horizontally and vertically as needed, Dr. McCarthy says. Patients typically visit the orthodontist every eight to twelve weeks to receive new sets of aligners and to check on progress.
Dr. McCarthy says some of the myths surrounding these products include:
  1. More expensive. One of the biggest misconceptions about these products is that they are more expensive than traditional braces. However, the cost is about the same.
  2. Not as effective as metal braces. Clear aligners work just as effectively as metal braces, even though they may not seem as sturdy, McCarthy says.  However, more significant problems may require the metal braces.
  3. Insurance doesn’t cover it. Most insurance companies that cover metal braces will cover the clear aligners as well.
  4. Patient is too old. Braces and aligners will work well for people of almost all ages.
  5. Too much maintenance. Clear aligners require about the same maintenance as traditional braces and may be even easier, since they can be taken out of the mouth for regular cleaning.
  6. There is no discomfort:  People often think that because they are clear aligners and are not made of metal, they are a painless alternative. Since teeth are being shifted into a new position, it may not be a comfortable experience regardless of what type of braces are used. The clear aligners may not be as uncomfortable as traditional braces because of the absence of metal wires, but patients should expect some discomfort and gum soreness.  
  7. Faster than metal braces. The teeth are slowly and slightly moving into position in very small increments, just as you would see with metal braces. Both types of braces take about the same amount of time.
“I think the use of clear aligners will continue to increase as more people find out about the advantages,” McCarthy says. “But they aren’t right for everyone, and you should consult with your orthodontist to determine what type of treatment is best for you.”  

About Dr. Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy, DMD, received his orthodontic training while serving in the military.  During his 10 years in the US Army, Dr. McCarthy rose to the rank of Major and served as a Green Beret.  Dr. McCarthy author of the new book “The Smile of Your Dreams”(, is a board-certified orthodontist with more than 25 years of experience.  He has been recognized as one of America’s top dentists by the Consumer Research Council every year for the past decade.  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Fun Freetime: MARVEL-ous DIY Costume and Accessory Ideas

The next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is upon us and it is giving us major girl power vibes! Hitting theaters this March, Captain Marvel becomes one of the most powerful heroes in the universe as she battles in a galactic war between Earth and aliens. And what better way to celebrate the release than creating a Captain Marvel look for you or your child!?

Whether you’re heading to a costume party, or your child is having a theme day at school or you simply wants to look like Captain Marvel, this DIY hoodie tutorial is the perfect way to look the part!

DIY Captain Marvel Hoodie

Not necessarily looking for a new outfit? We have accessory ideas too, like this DIY Avengers Infinity Gauntlet.

Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet

Avenger’s Infinity War was one of Marvel’s most epic movies and from that came Thanos’ gauntlet. A collection of 6 infinity gems that, when combined, give the wearer powers of a god. Now THAT is an accessory!

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Amazing Apps: NEOU

If you don't know what NEOU is, it is a digital fitness platform that has plans to become the largest fitness streaming-streaming platform in the world. Think Netflix for workout videos from some of the best talent, influencers and studios out there. Work out whenever you want, anywhere you want, with whatever equipment you have available. Want to go for a 30 minute run, strength or interval train, do yoga, meditation or boxing, you finally can. New classes are added daily and it's currently free to use so check it out here - free till March 15th - download here 

Parenting Pointers: 7 Simple Ways To Get Kids To Clean

Life with kids can sometimes get a little messy, to say the least. Toys find their way into every part of the house, dishes double, food spills are plenty, and don’t get me started on all the spilled bits of Play-Doh or worse-- slime! Plus, we’re often too busy juggling so many other things -- or just chasing after our kids -- that dedicating time to clean consistently can be tough.

But just because your kids helped make the mess doesn’t mean they can’t help clean it up! With just a few quick tips and tricks, you’ll have your little ones helping around the house in no time.
  1. Start Them Young

Starting good habits when your kids are young sets them up for long-term success. In fact, toddlers as young as 12 months old can begin helping with some basic household chores, like putting toys back in their toybox. As they get older, you can include them in more chores, like sweeping or wiping down their play area with a damp cloth. Sure, it may not always be perfect, but a few extra crumbs on the floor are worth it for teaching such a great habit.

  1. Make a Game of it

Who doesn’t love playing games? It’s a great way to bond with your kids and turn a boring task into a fun activity. Who can make their bed the fastest, or sweep the floor? Who can fold and put away the most laundry in 15 minutes? You can even combine a few chores to make a fun relay event! Remember, laughter makes the work seem way more like play!

  1. Create a Home Cleaning Chart

A fun chart is a great way to make sure everyone in the house knows what they’re responsible for and keeps everyone accountable for their chore! Make it eye-catching and place it in a popular spot in your home. You can even have your kids help you create one -- as long as they help clean up the craft supplies afterward.

  1. Use a Reward System

Let’s face it, we all need a little incentive to get our chores done sometimes. For me, a clean, empty sink is enough motivation to get the dishes done. To motivate your kids to do them, though, you might have to get a little creative.

For older kids and teenagers, this may mean an allowance or pay-per-chore system. Besides getting them to clean, this also helps teach your kids about the value of every dollar, which may make them think twice the next time they ask you for money. For younger kids and toddlers, rewards can be as simple as a special sticker or letting them pick a movie for the family to watch together.

  1. Make it Musical

Whether it’s the soundtrack of an actual musical (they are so much fun to clean to!) or just a favorite album, this is a great way to add a little fun into your cleaning routine. Encourage your kids to clean to the beat, sing along loudly, or just bust a move between chores. You’ll turn cleanup time into party time!

  1. Switch Up Your Cleaning Supplies

Not all cleaning tools or cleaning products will work for kids. Brooms and mops may be too big for little kids, and household cleaning products are often full of chemicals that aren’t safe for kids. To help with cleaning, give your kids only kid-friendly products to work with, like a damp cloth or a small duster. Did you know you can also buy toddler-sized brooms and dustpans? Not only are these mini-tools totally adorable, but they’re also functional and fun for your toddler to use.
  1. Lead by Example

Young kids and toddlers love mimicking their parents. Sometimes this means dress-up parties in your clothes, cooking alongside you, or pretending to be on important phone calls or meetings with their dolls and stuffed animals. Why not extend this to cleaning? If you have fun while cleaning, your kids will want to join in too!

Remember, getting kids to clean doesn’t have to be hard. Just focus on having fun and building a consistent cleaning routine -- and be patient when the kiddos take a little longer to get things done that you would have. Building good habits can take some time!

Not sure where to start with your cleanup? For big jobs or just to give yourself and your family a reset, hire a cleaning service.

Have you tried any of the above or have other tips or tricks that have worked with your kids? Share them below!

**About the Author: Linda Floyd**

Linda Floyd is the owner of Upstairs Downstairs Cleaning Service. Linda is a mother of 3, loves to travel and spend time with her family.

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Money Makers: 4 Digital-Marketing Tips Financial Advisors Cannot Afford To Ignore

It’s a popular approach, even in this age of email and social media.
Just about any day, someone who is in or near retirement checks their mailbox and finds a friendly invitation to a free dinner where they can learn more about Social Security or how to protect their savings.
These types of mailings have long been favored by financial professionals trying to reach out to potential clients. But nearly two decades into the 21st century, are too many advisors stuck in the past when it comes to marketing – and failing to embrace the digital-marketing world?
“It’s understandable that direct mail has been a time-honored way to invite people to these dinner seminars,” says Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (
“But it’s more efficient to make sure your message finds people where they spend a good part of their time. And more and more, that’s on their computers, their tablets and their smartphones.”
Of course, when it comes to marketing, those dinner seminars aren’t the only place where many financial professionals are still tethered to their old ways, he says. While some have quickly adapted to digital marketing, others have been more reluctant to part ways with their long-time strategies.
“The most dangerous thing I hear financial professionals say is ‘digital marketing is the future,’ ” Musgrave says. “No. Digital marketing is now. For example, advertisers globally spent more on digital advertising than any other medium in 2017, displacing television at the top of the chart for the first time ever.” 
He says a few key points for financial professionals to ponder include:
  • Compliance issues aren’t the stumbling block you think. “Compliance may be the No. 1 thing that holds advisors back from using digital marketing in their business,” Musgrave says. “But it is possible to leverage this tool in your practice while making your compliance department happy.”  The trick for advisors who are fearful of compliance is to make sure they’re working with a digital-marketing firm that understands that the messages need to be compliance friendly, even as they engage people and turn them into clients.
  • Your target audience can be found on social media. Financial professionals aim much of their marketing at Baby Boomers, all of whom are nearing retirement or already in it. Social media, and especially Facebook, can be a powerful vehicle for marketing to the Boomers, Musgrave says. “Facebook is the primary way Baby Boomers interact with content online, so it’s critical that financial professionals understand how to leverage it in their business,” he says.
  • There definitely is method behind social-media marketing. Anyone can create a profile or page on social media, but not everyone is good at making the best use of social media as a marketing tool. “Facebook has totally changed how advertisers are able to segment audiences on their platform,” Musgrave says. “Without experience or guidance, most advertisers won’t be able to leverage the thing that makes their platform special – laser-focused targeting.”
  • Educationally based messages are the key to getting traction with social media advertising. While plenty of goods are sold on Facebook, it’s not primarily an e-commerce platform, Musgrave says. “The reason people are addicted to social is to see what’s new,” he says. “What’s new with their friends? What’s new in the news? What’s new with brands they like? When you position yourself as an educator, you’re the one telling them what’s new. This is a powerful paradigm shift to make, and it’s a critical part of direct-response marketing on a social platform.”
“If you keep kicking the digital can down the road in your practice,” Musgrave says, “by the time you catch up to it again, your competitors will have already passed you.”

About Jonathan Musgrave
Jonathan Musgrave is the owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (, which he founded in 2017. Musgrave got his start in the direct mail business, using his communication skills to craft powerful marketing messages that reached more than 1,000,000 households each month. He’s started his own wholesaling company that brought digital marketing tools to the financial advisor space for the first time in 2013 that were responsible for doubling sales for three consecutive years.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Healthy Habits: Reducing Obesity in Children

Obesity is a rising epidemic today and more and more children are considered obese than ever before. What can parents do to help their kids beat obesity and stay healthy?

Vinay Saranga M.D., a child psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry, offers this advice:

-        Talk to Your ChildA conversation about weight needs to be handled delicately so that you don’t hurt your child’s feelings. It’s important to be empathetic while educating yourself and your child on the detrimental effects of added weight. It’s best to let your child guide the conversation to keep an open line of communication. While speaking with your child about his/her weight, refrain from making statements and ask questions instead. For instance, instead of saying “You’re not very active” rephrase it into a question “How can you become more active?”

-        Encourage Healthy Eating Habits: Eating a balanced diet is a great way to help control weight. Be sure that your child is eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and buy whole grain foods instead of white. It’s also best to limit beverages loaded with sugar and opt for more water. Let your child get creative with his/her water by adding some fruit to naturally sweeten it and make it more exciting.

-        Go slow: If you introduce too many new things at once you may overwhelm your kids. Go slow and remember that every little step helps you accomplish the bigger goal of better health. For example, every meal might not be 100% low fat or low sugar, but a good place to start might be to reduce the serving of salt or sugar you use to prepare a dish, slightly reduce portion sizes, exchange water in place of soda or juice, and offer a serving of veggies at each meal.

-        Make Activity a Family EventBeing active at least 30 minutes a day is a great way to help remove excess weight and strengthen muscles. Brainstorm with your child some outside activities that he/she enjoys and make a plan. Even if you don’t have much time during the week to be active with your child, make activity a family event on the weekends. Go to a park, take a walk in nature, or visit a zoo. Those include lots of walking and provide some education along the way.

-        Include Your Child in Healthy DecisionsChildren want to feel included in family decisions so let them participate in the healthy decisions. Ask your child what he/she would like to have for dinner or where he/she would like to go on family activity day. Including your child increases the likelihood that your child will stick with a healthy lifestyle.

-        Make it fun: After including them in the discussion, be sure to make it fun for them. When your kids look forward to something and get enjoyment out of it, they are more likely to want to engage. For example: you can invite their friends to partake in an outdoor activity or offer them something to look forward to if they eat well for a week.  

-        Set the example: Children are always watching every move their parents make. If you want your children to eat better and be more active, you must also model this behavior. You lose credibility with your kids if you tell them to do something but you don’t practice what you preach.

-        Get help: There are a lot of food choices, recipes and recommendations out there, and sometimes it can all be confusing. When in doubt about what’s right for your kids, always talk to their pediatrician or seek the advice or a dietician or nutritionist who can help clear up any confusion or questions you have.


Big Fat Belly Good Seasoning

World Wisdom: Natural Living Family with Dr. Z and Mama Z

There's a new podcast by bestselling author Dr. Eric Zielinski and his wife, natural health guru Sabrina Ann Zielinski (Dr. Z and Mama Z). On February 4th, 2019 they will launch their new weekly podcast and streaming video series Natural Living Family With Dr.Z And Mama Z with 3 episodes on iTunes and Spotify and multiple mobile services and apps.

Certified “Clean”, the family-friendly show will feature many of the easy-to-follow tips, DIY recipes, and expertise visitors can find online at NaturalLivingFamily.comThe author of the National Bestseller, The Healing Power of Essential Oils, Dr. Eric Zielinski has pioneered natural living and Biblical health education since 2003. His wife Sabrina Ann Zielinski is a home birth mom of four, a certified group fitness instructor, health coach, and beauty pageant trainer, with a vast background in natural living that has helped empower thousands of women to reach their true potential. Together they started their online ministry in 2014 to help people learn how to use natural remedies, like essential oils, safely and effectively. Now, with more 6 million visitors every year, it has rapidly become the #1 source for Biblical Health and non-branded essential oils education online.

I had a chance to interview Dr. Zielinski to learn more.

Why did you decide to launch the podcast?
Sabrina and I talk about this a lot in our first episode, What’s a Natural Living Family & Why We Started this Podcast because it’s definitely a question we were getting. After all, you don’t just completely rebrand a 6-million visitor-per-year website on a whim! But Natural Living Family is a much better fit for our focus and mission because we aren’t here to shine a light on ourselves, but to help others get encouragement, information, and support they need to move closer to the abundant life we pray for them. 

How did you get interested in the idea of natural living?
When I was growing up I was very unhealthy. I suffered from addictions, depression, cystic acne, and more. Sabrina, similarly, had a lot of health issues related to digestion and weight and when we first met she was on ten different prescription medications! 

When I became a Christian and started learning what God says about health and wellness, it transformed my life. Sabrina also had a dramatic change in her health after meeting the Lord and changing her lifestyle. The more we researched and learned, the more passionate we became about helping others. 

Why is it important for people to consider more natural alternatives?
First, Western medicine has a time and place when it’s beneficial so I want to be clear that we aren’t anti-medical-care when it’s needed. What we’ve noticed, however, is an alarming tendency to treat symptoms individually, often with powerful drugs that introduce new symptoms. 

Without looking at the root cause, or whole-body wellness, it can be difficult to ever be truly healthy. We’ve seen many cases when people are able to achieve true health by feeding their bodies well, paying attention to spiritual and emotional health, and more. Natural tools like essential oils, nutritious foods, meditation, and more can be powerful aids in achieving the abundant, healthy life. 

How do you define "natural living?"
To us, natural living means experiencing abundant living, that is having your needs met and finding balance in all seven areas of your life; spiritual, financial, physical, mental, emotional, occupational, and social. Having a group of people around you to help support your development in any one of those areas is invaluable. If you don’t have that we invite you to join our free Facebook Group at! 

Mealtime Magic: Peanut Butter Pump is the Easiest and Most Convenient Way of Measuring and Dispensing Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter Ventures just introduced the Peanut Butter Pump, the easiest and most convenient way of dispensing and measuring peanut butter.  The Peanut Butter Pump, which delivers peanut butter without the mess, reduces the work of extracting it from the jar and saves users annoying cleanup time.  The perfect tool for making sandwiches, smoothies, snacks, etc., it’s also great for measuring exact amounts for recipes without the need for a knife, spoon, or even having to remove the lid.  An Indiegogo Campaign, which is being managed by The LaunchPad Agency, launches today and has a funding goal of $20,000 USD.  It features limited Early Bird Specials of $20 as well as several other rewards for backers.

The patent-pending device features a sliding airlock mechanism that ensures a perfect pump every time by locking out the air to create suction that pulls the airlock downward with each pump.  Because of this, a good, consistent flow of peanut butter is ensured right to the end!  As an added bonus, the pump cleans the inside of the jar as it removes the peanut butter, so users no longer have to scrape the sides of the jar to get out the last little bit.

Easy to use and easy to clean, the Peanut Butter Pump comes with two nozzles: a ribbon nozzle - for making a sandwich in the user’s desired thickness, and a stream nozzle - for snacks, smoothies and recipes.  With the ribbon nozzle, users can move quickly for regular thickness, or go slow for a thicker layer.  With either nozzle, each pump dispenses a fixed amount, so users can measure (measurements marked on the pump shaft) accurately every time.

The Peanut Butter Pump works with existing peanut butter jars (pump must be inserted after the jar is filled) that comprise the majority of retail containers.  It is inserted into a full container and is a great kitchen tool for homes, restaurants, cafeterias, buffets, and more because it saves prep time, reduces mess, saves on cleanup time, offers better recipe control (measured pump volume, means less need for utensils, and assists with Allergen Control programs.

The Peanut Butter Pump comes with a limited lifetime warranty for all parts under normal household use, excepting the valves and sliding airlock, which may require eventual replacement depending on use.

NOTE: The Peanut Butter Pump only works with stabilized peanut butters, so natural style peanut butters such as Laura Scudder's orAdams, where the oil separates, should not be used.  But, for crunchy peanut butter lovers, Peanut Butter Pump works just as well!

Online Press Kit: HERE

About Peanut Butter Ventures
Burbank, CA-based Peanut Butter Ventures was created in 2018 to take the hassle out of consuming and cooking with peanut butter.  At PBV, we believe peanut butter is a healthy natural food that is undervalued because it is difficult to manage. The Peanut Butter Pump is designed to make peanut butter easier to use and more convenient than ever before, and to elevate peanut butter from childhood nostalgia back into our fast-paced modern lifestyle, in everything from healthy protein snacks to sweet desserts and savory sauces.