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How Sex Changes During the Second Trimester

Being pregnant will have a ripple-down effect on many parts of your life, including what takes place in the bedroom.

The good news is that after the stress, uncertainty, nausea and fatigue that many expectant mothers (and fathers) deal with during the first trimester, things settle down a bit in trimester number two.

Here is what pregnancy expert Robin Ellis Weiss has to say about second trimester sex in “The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion.”

“The second trimester brings many changes, including your sexual relationship. One of the biggest and best changes is that you are starting to feel more human. For most pregnant women, the round the clock nausea, exhaustion, and moodiness that punctuated the first trimester is gone or fading. All of this leaves you feeling more romantic.

pregnancy legs 1You should not be worrying about the possibility of a miscarriage any longer, which is a worry that can certainly have a negative effect on your sex life. So as you grow more confident in your pregnancy, your sex life is likely to experience a boost as well.

The same can be said for your partner, who is also likely feeling more confident and less worried.

At this point, you need not make any physical changes to your sex life. (You do not have to use different positions to accommodate your abdomen).

Whatever side effects you may have from being pregnant can actually enhance sex. For instance, most women experience an increase in lubrication, and many find that achieving orgasms—even multiple orgasms—becomes easier, due to the increased blood flow in the region.

You may still be enjoying the relief from not having to count cycle days and trying to get pregnant.

This freedom can be a great benefit for many couples, while the opposite is also a benefit, not having to worry about getting pregnant and the freedom from birth control. Your focus can be on each other and the pleasure you bring to your relationship.

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Pregnancy CompanionThe Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion” is a fully illustrated pregnancy guide gives an expectant mothers week-by-week information on their body and the child’s physical development; and then explains what they should do at each week of pregnancy for an optimally healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby.

A chapter is devoted to each week of pregnancy and covers everything readers need to know including, baby’s size, mother’s size, what’s normal in terms of physical symptoms and development, and what could indicate a potentially serious problem.

Nutritional, exercise, and lifestyle advice, tips on treating common pregnancy discomforts like morning sickness and sciatica, and pregnancy do’s and don’ts, ensure a happy and healthy mother and baby.

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Have You Met the “Steampunk Ghostbusters”?

The steampunk trend has been around since the late 1980s.

An offshoot of traditional science fiction, it embraces retro-futuristic technology, steam powered inventions, clockwork technology, the writings of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and hundreds of other influences.

Sound interesting? A little daunting, perhaps?

If you’re interested in steampunk but not sure where to begin, the performance group the League of S.T.E.A.M. seems like a great way to get into the genre.

They are a fun and accessible collective that is remarkably creative in the characters they create, the inventions they develop and the humorous scenarios that they portray in their videos.

Here is what Katherine Gleason has to say about the League of S.T.E.A.M. in her book, “Anatomy of Steampunk.”

 

Monster Hunters

Monster Hunters

“This is the performance troupe the League of S.T.E.A.M., a group of artists, actors and inventors who present stage shows, interactive live entertainment, and demonstrations of their fantastic and fully-functional gadgets.

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Those include tools such as the “Phantom Eradication Apparatus,” a backpack-like device that shoots bursts of steam to drive away paranormal pests, and the “Hunting Utility Gun,” which, with the pull of a trigger, launches a net twenty feet into the air.

MonsterHunters2

Troupe members play retro-futuristic monster hunters. Poised and ready for action, they have come from the Victorian era to make our world a safer, zombie-free place. They also make it a more fun place.

Dubbed “Steampunk Ghostbusters” by L.A. Weekly, the League’s presentations, which are modeled on old-time medicine shows, have been described as part magic show and part circus. In addition to appearing at conventions, festivals, weddings, nightclubs and corporate events, the League has shared the limelight with groups from the music world.

League members appear in various roles in the music video “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” by Panic! At the Disco. The League also records its own videos for their award-winning web series “The Adventures of the League of S.T.E.A.M.”

Check out the trailer for the series here (it’s worth the watch—we guarantee some giggles)

Be sure to enter this giveaway to win a copy of the book!

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Anatomy of SteampunkFrom formal outfits to costumes crafted for the stage, from ensembles suited to adventure to casual street styles, steampunk fashion has come to encompass quite a few different looks. But what exactly is steampunk?

Originally conceived as a literary genre, the term “steampunk” described stories set in a steam-powered, science fiction-infused, Victorian London. Today steampunk has grown to become an aesthetic that fuels many varied art forms. Steampunk has also widened its cultural scope. Many steampunk practitioners, rather than confining their vision to one European city, imagine steam-driven societies all over the world.

Today the vibrance of steampunk inspires a wide range of individuals, including designers of high fashion, home sewers, crafters, and ordinary folks who just want to have fun. Steampunk fashion is not only entertaining, dynamic, and irreverent; it can also be colorful, sexy, and provocative. Most of all, steampunk fashion is accessible to everyone.

Illustrated throughout with color photographs of the dazzling creations of numerous steampunk fashion designers, “Anatomy of Steampunk” is an inspirational sourcebook. In addition to presenting the looks and stories of these creative fashion artists, the book also details ten steampunk projects for the reader to try at home. Allow steam to power your imagination!

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How to Overcome The Grocery Store Temper Tantrum

Grocery store tantrums. They’re enough to give any parent nightmares, especially if you are trying to encourage your children to eat healthy and cut down on unhealthy sugary foods.

Given the way that foods are marketed to appeal to children, and how grocery stores are designed out to catch their eye (ever noticed how the sugary cereals are at just the right height for little eyes?), it’s no surprise that children may develop a sudden and urgent need for unhealthy snacks during a trip to the store.

Have no fear, for help is here in the form of Drs. Jacob Teitelbaum and Deborah Kennedy and their book, “Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids.”

Teiltelbaum and Kennedy offer some great advice for facing down that grocery store tantrum so you can leave the store with your healthy eating plan (and your sanity) intact.

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Q. How do I deal with my children when they scream and beg for sweet treats and salty chips at the grocery store?

A. The best way to limit the pleading, whining and outright screams for products that your children see on the shelves in the grocery store is to try the following tips.

Give them some control by letting them know they are in charge of choosing one sweet (or chip) snack item per week. They get to choose whatever they want. Even if you do not agree with their selection, it is important to let your children win this battle. The sense of control they get will help them stick with the program.

If your children scream for other items in the store, in addition to their one treat, either leave them at home, especially in the beginning, or tell them they will lose the privilege of picking out their snack for the week. When they scream for more, actually put the item they choose back on the shelf and walk away. You will be surprised how quickly they learn not to misbehave

Let your children choose the “fruit of the week” or the “vegetable of the week” to have with their snacks. You can make this a fun experience by investigating new fruits and vegetables online or in books so they get to know the “personality” of the produce. If you have multiple children, let each select his or her winner for the week.

Before you go shopping, make a list of snacks that your child likes from the list provided in my book. Have your child help you find those healthy items when you go shopping.

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Beat Sugar Addiction For KIDSThe modern American child’s diet is awash in sugar—including mainstays such as juice, chocolate milk, sugary cereals, soda, energy drinks, and fast-food burgers and nuggets with added corn syrup and sweeteners, let alone candy and cookies prevalent at school parties and play dates. Beat Sugar Addiction Now! for Kids gives parents a proven 5-step plan for getting and keeping their child off sugar. Bestselling author and noted physician Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum and pediatric nutrition specialist Deborah Kennedy, Ph.D., give parents a toolkit for avoiding the common pitfalls such as guilt and temper tantrums, managing the 5-step process successfully on a day-to-day basis, and getting their child emotionally, as well as physically, unhooked from sugary drinks, breakfast foods, snacks, and desserts, as well as “hidden” sugars in foods.

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Enjoy the Peace of 8 New York Parks

 Often a loud and bustling metropolis, New York City may surprise you with its peaceful corners and serene landscapes. If you like to run, picnic, frolic, cloud-gaze, or just relax and read a good book, Siobhan Wall has done the legwork for you and listed out the top parks in the Big Apple, where you can go and have a few minutes of tranquility.

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Bruce Reynolds Garden

Community Garden

Dias y Flores Community Garden

New York Chinese Scholars Garden

Snug Harbor

Socrates Sculpture Park

Wave Hill

 

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New York is the city that never sleeps, but many visitors to the Big Apple want to enjoy its quiet side – to discover places off the beaten track, to explore enticing small museums or enjoy peaceful gardens. Busy New Yorkers often look for places to relax and recuperate – to find somewhere to have coffee and cake or a restful spot to unwind, away from the hustle and bustle. This is a guide to over 120 quiet places to meet, drink, dine, sleep, read or browse. Covering all five boroughs and with evocative photographs and a short description for each location, including travel, access and contact details, Quiet New York reveals the hidden, tranquil places in one of the world’s liveliest cities.

 

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It’s funny how often we hear something and assume it to be true without taking the time to break down what it means.

For example, we’ve known for a long time that certain fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, and we know that this is a good thing, but we didn’t know how antioxidants worked or what made them so good for us.

Luckily, Color Me Vegan author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau takes the time in her book to help out those who are uninitiated to the power of antioxidants and aren’t quite sure how to get them. See below for her explanation of how antioxidants work and how to go about getting them.

(Please note that the food recommendations below come from us here at the blog and not from her. We thought it would be helpful to give you some examples of each, but didn’t want to put words in her mouth. Thanks and happy antioxidating!)

How Antioxidants Work

We often hear that antioxidants are a good thing, but we don’t necessarily understand why. To understand the benefits of antioxidation, we first have to comprehend the effects of oxidation. It’s a phenomenon we witness every time we cut into an apple or potato and the flesh begins to brown or when bicycle spokes turn rusty or a copper penny turns green. Oxidation occurs in everything from living tissues to base metals.

In short, oxidation occurs when oxygen interacts with a vulnerable surface (such as exposed fruit flesh). It’s not always a bad thing, but it can be destructive.  For instance, free radicals promote beneficial oxidation that produces energy and kills bacterial invaders.

However, in excess, free radicals produce harmful oxidation that can damage cells. Antioxidants, such as those found in plant foods, fight free radicals and prevent them from causing damage.

The degenerative diseases we’re grappling with today, such as cancer, cataracts, arthritis, and heart disease, to name a few, are in many ways caused by oxidative damage. The research being done on phytochemicals, particularly those with antioxidant properties, suggest that the more antioxidants we consume (i.e. through fruits and vegetables), the more we increase we increase our chances of repairing the damaged cells and thus preventing and treating certain diseases.

Antioxidant Recommendations

Although there is still much research to be done on the benefits of antioxidants, two things are certain: they are best obtained from food (not pills), and there is no upper limit for consuming them through food.

Avocado

Avocados are a great way to boost your natural intake of Vitamin E, a known antioxidant. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Because antioxidants as a group aren’t considered nutrients, except when they’re vitamins or minerals, there are no specific recommendations for daily requirements. Although there are troublesome finding in research conducted on antioxidant supplements, experts agree that there is no upper intake level for antioxidants in food.

In other words, it is not recommended that people take vitamin E supplements (in addition to the small amount of vitamin E found in most multivitamins), but it is recommended that people take in vitamin E through food.

(Foods rich in vitamin E include spinach, nuts, almonds and avocados, according to the website healthaliciousness.com

It is not recommended that people take beta-carotene supplements, but it is recommended that people take in beta-carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A) through food.

(Fruits and vegetables high in beta carotene include sweet potato, carrots, dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce, squash, cantaloupe and sweet red peppers, according to healthaliciousness.com)

So pile on the fruits and veggies and begin reaping the benefits, in both taste and health.

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Color Me VeganEat by color for more flavorful meals and extraordinary health!

In “Color Me Vegan,” author and vegan extraordinaire Colleen Patrick-Goudreau brings an edible rainbow of plant-based cuisine to your kitchen table with 150 flavorful recipes designed to boost your health and perk up your palate.

With color as the guiding principle behind each section, Colleen shows vegetarians, vegans, and everyone in between exactly how phytonutrients—the most powerful, pigmented antioxidants on earth, found in everything from select fruits and vegetables, to grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds—can be expertly incorporated into your meals for the greatest nutritional punch.

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Do You Know These Three Running Terms? A Pro and an Amateur Give Their Thoughts

Tom Holland is a nationally recognized fitness expert who has competed in more than 15 Ironman Triathlons, which makes him a great candidate to explain some common running terms and what they mean to him. In fact, Holland has a second edition of the 12-Week Triathlete, which is a complete training guide for anyone who wants to take on the triple threat of swimming biking and running. Holland is an expert when it comes to endurance training, and no one would argue with the advice that he gives. But since some of our readers may not end up competing in 15 full length triathlons (slackers!), we thought that it would be good to share the experiences of a regular runner as well. In this post, we’ll first take an excerpt from the “12-Week Triathlete” where Tom introduces a common running term and explains his take on it, and then we’ll have Brian chime in with his thoughts as an “average Joe” runner. Also be sure to pre-order Tom’s newest book, “Swim, Bike, Run — Eat” available July 1st.

Running economy: Namely “how” you run. While individual differences do exist, there is such a thing as “good running form.”

Tom Holland

National fitness expert and author Tom Holland

Tom says: Great runners require less energy to perform at high speeds, and part of this has to do with the manner in which they run. Speed training not only improves overall speed by making physiological changes to your body, it also forces you to become a more economical runner, making you faster as a result. I also believe that running long distances over time also forces us to become more economical runners. Our bodies are incredibly smart machines, and as we get more and more fatigued during a long run, we simply can’t afford to waste energy and our body adapts in order to survive. Chances are you won’t see someone running with too much bounce at mile 22 of a marathon.

Brian says: I couldn’t agree more. As someone who walks my dog at ponds and parks that are frequented by runners, I have a chance to observe a wide variety of running styles and like to think that I can tell when someone’s form is working for them, and when it is working against them. I’m not going to claim that I have perfect form (I could be equally unaware of my flaws), but I like to think that I am not doing anything too bad to slow myself down. I also feel more comfortable when I use an economy of form on long runs, where it is crucial to preserve energy for later miles. I try to stay light and loose for as long as possible, because once I start hitting miles in the late teens and early 20s, it becomes a lot harder to get the job done. The best form on those early miles is the one that conserves the most juice.

Brian

Local running newbie and blogger Brian

Negative Splits: Essentially getting faster as the run progresses. You might start your half marathon running 9-minute miles and slowly pick up the pace until you finish running at 8:30 or even faster pace.

Tom says: I personally follow this race strategy and believe it is a smart way approach longer running races, especially longer distance triathlons. You run conservatively at the start and finish strong rather than go out too fast and end up walking the final miles.

Brian says: I also agree with this strategy. Even though I have run a fair amount of races, I always go into the race with a seed of doubt as to whether I can complete the distance required. So it feels good to keep some energy in the tank at the beginning of the race. The burst of adrenaline you get at the starting line can convince you to come out fast, but that will wear off and you don’t want to blow out early. For me, the most important thing is establishing my pace and my breath on long runs and making sure that I can get as many miles out of the way without straining too much, so I have enough in the tank for the challenges ahead.

Bonk: Quite simply, to run out of gas during your race.

Tom says: Symptoms may include (but are not limited to) being lightheaded, dizzy, and having legs that feel like lead. Some say that it is the result of running out of glycogen stores, some say it is from the lack of adequate endurance training, and others content that it is a combination of the two. Quite often it happens at around mile 20 of a marathon, and for good scientific reason if you haven’t adequately fueled yourself.

Brian says: Because I tend to run on the conservative side (as outlined above), I have been mostly fortunate to avoid the dreaded bonk. That’s not to say that I haven’t been miserable during the last six miles of a marathon, or that I finish with tons of energy left in reserve. There was one marathon where I did experience the bonk–and unfortunately for me, it was at mile 13. That means I was only halfway towards my goal, and I knew I was in for a grueling grinder of a finish. The reason I bonked is that I had foolishly run a half marathon the weekend before and didn’t give myself enough time to recover. My body just didn’t have the energy I needed. As I trudged through mile after painful mile I used every mental trick in the book to keep myself going. I managed to finish, but I found the experience humbling to the point of being embarrassed. I wanted to run the race on my own terms, not push myself through it by any means necessary. When I finished, I was genuinely surprised that my knees were not damaged because I felt like I was grinding on my joints for hours. Since then, I have been more careful about spacing out my runs prior to big races to keep my legs fresh and avoid the dreaded bonk.

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The 12-Week TriathleteIt takes only 12 weeks to train to compete in a triathlon—no matter what level you’re at now! Imagine being able to successfully compete in a triathlon in just three short months! You can, with fitness expert Tom Holland’s all-encompassing, easy-to-use training manual, “The 12-Week Triathlete.” This completely revised and updated edition gives fitness enthusiasts the most exciting, encouraging, and up-to-date exercise information, including 12 brand-new training plans that outline exactly what you need to do every day up until the big event for ultimate triathlon success. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned triathlete, training for a Sprint, Olympic, Half-Ironman, or Ironman event, this book offers a complete, step-by-step program that will help you strengthen, tone-up, and both physically and mentally prepare for the big day. You will learn how to:

Swim – Start your race confidently, swim strongly surrounded by others, and transition easily from a wetsuit. Bike – choose the right bike, transport it safely to the race, and fuel yourself properly while you ride. Run – Don’t bonk, improve your speed, and see your race through to the end. Put It All Together – Eat right through the 12 weeks, train for each segment of the race, gather your equipment and transport it safely to the race, plan for and avoid last-minute emergencies, and, most of all, have fun and continue to compete in the future.   In addition all this, you’ll also find insider information on weight-training, endurance training, and speed work, as well as answers to questions like “Can you eat during a race?,” “How do you line up your bike so you can jump right on it?,” and “What is the best way to quickly shed your wetsuit?’ The 12-Week Triathlete is your secret weapon to triathlon triumph—start training today!

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It’s race day and you have your quick-closure running shoes, sleek suits, bikes, goggles, and watches, but if you haven’t been training with the proper nutrition, you’ll be left in the dust in the third mile.
 
Enter Swim, Bike, Run­—Eat to guide you through day one of training to the finish line and help your body perform at the 240x4009781592336067peak of fitness. In this book, an ideal companion to author Tom Holland’s The 12-Week Triathlete, he will join sports dietitian Amy Goodson covering race-day essentials, food choices to complement your training regimen, as well as recovery nutrition.
 
Learn how to determine what to eat; what to drink; how many calories to consume each day; whether or not to carry snacks while training; the difference between taking in calories from solid foods, semi-solids, and liquids; and whether or not to take electrolyte or salt tablets. Casual and core triathletes alike require a nutrition guide that is easy to understand with expert advice that is easy to implement. Look no further and get ready to take your triathlon to a new, healthier level.

 

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Five Listening Barriers that Prevent You From Being a Better Flirter

Have you ever been flirting with someone and found your mind wandering, even though you were interested in the person you were talking to?

Or have you ever started thinking ahead to what the next step in the flirting process will be and missing something that the other person was saying at that moment?

Flirting is stressful, and listening takes concentration. Those two things don’t often go hand in hand, but the irony is that the more we learn to relax and be a better listener, the better of a flirter we can be. So what to do? Give up all hope? Join a monastery?

Don’t panic just yet.

It’s a good thing that we have dating expert Fran Greene to help us become a better listener, and by extension, a better flirter. In this excerpt from her book, The Flirting Bible, Greene explains why good listening is key to good flirting, and what the common barriers are that prevent us from being a good listener.

“Listening is one of the most valuable parts of the flirting communication process because it creates an interpersonal bond. When you feel that someone has heard you and that he/she truly understands your feelings, you connect with that person and you want to continue the conversation.

What is there to learn about listening? All you have to do is sit and do nothing, right? No, it’s much more than that! Listening is not a passive process. It is as active and alive as talking, and certain rules accompany it.

Good Listening

Being a good listener is key to being a good flirter.

It’s no biological accident that we have two ears and one mouth. It means you should listen twice as much as you talk. This may seem hard for some of you, but it is essential.

Before you can uphold this rule successfully, however, make sure that no barriers—no listening pitfalls—stand in your way. Once you are familiar with these common obstacles, you can easily overcome them and move one step closer to listening enlightenment.

Five main types of barriers get in between people and their ability to listen intently. Let’s review each:

Listening Barrier #1: Emotions

It can be exciting and scary when someone you’ve had your eye on approaches you. Your mind races, your heart beats quickly, and anxiety makes listening difficult. Likewise, if something unrelated to your flirting encounter has you preoccupied or worried, you diminish your ability to listen with clarity.

Listening Barrier #2: Outside Distractions

Because so much is going on around you when you flirt, it can be hard to zero in on your flirting interest. Some of the most common distractions include other conversations, loud music, other people, or even the room’s light and temperature. Tuning out the distractions is challenging but necessary.

Listening Barrier #3: Mind Wandering

Our minds wander for a myriad of reasons. Maybe you can’t stop thinking about your bad day at work, your to-do list, the homework your child still needs to do, or even dinner. No matter the issue, when your mind wanders, you are not in the present and you can’t listen attentively—a serious roadbloack for flirting banter. Your small talk loses its spontaneity. When your mind takes a temporary vacation, flirting is impossible.

Listening Barrier #4: Comprehension Difficulties (a.k.a. Pretending to Understand When You Don’t)

We are often afraid to admit when we don’t understand or know what someone is talking about, such as a sports or political figure, an unusual cocktail, something trendy, a word or expression, or a piece of history. We often nod in agreement, afriad of appearing stupid or out of touch. But is this the best course of action? Will that make a better impression, or will others like you more if you pretend to hear or understand something your flirting interest has said.?

Listening Barrier #5: The Next Rather Than Now Focus

Focusing on what to say next rather than listening now turns super flirts into flirts who fall flat. Do not waste your flirting moments figuring out what to say next—it never works.

OK, now that you know what the barriers are to being a good listener, isn’t it time to learn some solutions? Be sure to check out the Flirting Bible for lots of tips for being a great listener, and a full range of flirting advice that will have you flirting like a pro in no time at all.

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The Flirting BibleBecome the People Magnet You’ve Always Wanted to Be!

Want to make an unforgettable first impression? Or learn how to speak in a way that makes you stand out in a crowd? Or find out what signs a love interest might give if they’re attracted to you?

You’ll learn all of these flirting secrets and more with The Flirting Bible, your definitive guide to using and reading body language and other social cues to find instant adventure, friendship, fun, and romance.

Nationally renowned relationship expert Fran Greene, former advice columnist for Match.com, will walk you through her thirteen tried-and-trusted techniques for becoming the most confident and attractive person in the room (no matter if you think you are or not!). You’ll learn how to:

Make the perfect amount of eye contact to establish trust and intimacy Use the “flirtatious handshake” to make a memorable impression Listen in a way that makes you a people magnet Get conversations started and get noticed by using the props of flirting And so much more!