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Nurse Advice: How to Prevent the Coronavirus

I know these are difficult times for many of us. Things become even more difficult when faced with a potential threat that we don’t really know a whole lot about. One thing is for certain , even though we are all fearful of different things, we all know what fear feels like…and it’s not fun. I’ve been a registered nurse for over 10 years and want to share some nurse advice on how to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. So here it is, nurse advice for preventing Coronavirus.

Know Your Enemy

The first step in protecting yourself and your loved ones from the Coronavirus is understanding what it is. How can we figure out how to do this if we aren’t sure what it is? Here are the facts: the Coronavirus is just that, a virus. This virus affects the respiratory system and is spread by respiratory droplets. There are no vaccines or treatments for viruses. Viruses simply need to run their course. The average healthy person will not have any difficulty recovering from a virus, however people with weakened immune systems may.

The Best Defense

I know you have all heard the importance of hand washing, however I am going to step up on my soap box and preach about this until I am blue in the face.

This. Is. How. You. Prevent. Coronavirus.

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best defense you have to protecting yourself and your loved ones from contracting and/or transmitting the Coronavirus. I am not talking about a quick squirt of hand soap and a quick pass under the water faucet. I am talking about a dollop of hand soap, lathering it up good and scrubbing adequately between your fingers, palms, wrists and under your fingernails for at least 20 seconds.

Also, for the love of all things holy, after washing your hands in a public place turn the faucet (if its not touch-less) off with a paper towel. Reaching for the grimy faucet handle with your freshly cleaned hands to turn off the water will only reintroduce those pesky germs you just spent the last 20 seconds washing down the drain.

Can I Just Use Hand Sanitizer?

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a great option for when traditional hand washing with soap and water is not available. What most people don’t know is that it is not the hand sanitizer or the hand soap that effectively gets rid of the virus. It is actually the friction you create with your hands when washing them. This friction, the act of briskly rubbing your hands together, is what causes the “break-down” of the virus from contact with your skin and allows it to be rinsed down the drain during hand washing. If you really wanna get down and dirty, you can obtain the same effectiveness simply with friction and water, no soap needed. However, this is a discussion for another time lol.

Sneeze in Your Sleeve

This is a practice pretty much every healthcare worker already implements. When you have to sneeze or cough, do it into your elbow or shirt sleeve instead of covering your mouth and nose with your hand. By covering your mouth and nose with your hand, you are putting secretions on your hands which you will spread to surrounding people and objects when you touch them. If you bury your face into the crook of your arm, you are trapping these little germy-germs into the fabric of your clothing which keeps your hands cleaner and contaminate free. Give it a try next time you sneeze or cough. You’ll like it.

Final Prevention Tip

Try not to panic. I know, I know, easier said than done. Keep this in mind, we have been dealing with viruses foreeeeeever. Remember that pesky virus called Influenza that we all get shots for every year? Well, it too is a virus. It actually claims tens of thousands of lives every year, sadly enough. I won’t go any further about that because I’d have to pull out my big mama soap box. It would get real, real quick. Anyways, the point that I am absolutely failing to make is that keeping calm and thinking rationally will win the race every time. Freaking out in the isle 15 of your local Walmart because you aren’t able to buy 96 rolls of toilet paper is not going to help you prevent the Coronavirus. This is what my family and I use that keeps us from having to hoard toilet paper. You can thank me later. There are also a ton of DIY essentials you can use to replace items that seem to be non-existent in the stores.

Here’s my final food for thought and final nurse advice for preventing Coronavirus. Staying level-headed, sneezing in your sleeve and washing your hands like it’s going out of style is all the defense you need against this pandemic. Everything else is over kill and honestly, a complete waste of time. Till next time, happy hand washing.

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10 Ways to Burn 200 Calories Without Exercise!

Love/Hate Relationship

When I think of a love-hate relationship, only one thing comes to mind…exercise! Now don’t get me wrong. There are days when I am totally into it but let’s be real. Exercising gets me all sweaty, takes up free time and ruins my blowout. So, how can I lose weight/stay in-shape/be healthy if I don’t exercise? Well, it’s pretty simple. Here’s 10 easy ways to burn 200 calories without exercise.

It’s Like Science or Something

First of all, it takes approximately 3,500 calories burned to lose one pound of fat. This is the bare-bone basics. In order to lose one pound of fat in one week, you would need to burn or reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories. (3500 calories / 7 days a week = 500 calories per day) Now, you can cut back on your food calories, increase your calorie burn with exercise or a combination of both.

Theoretically, as long as you decrease your calories by 500 every day, you will lose one pound every week. ( I do need to mention for obvious reasons: the information in this blog is not to take the place of medical advice. I am only sharing what works for me. Please consult your physician prior to starting or altering your nutrition or exercise regimen. )

Now that that’s out of the way. Let’s get into it. I like to mix in sneaky little ways to burn extra calories during the day so that I don’t need to sweat out my blow-out. Here are 10 simple and easy ways to burn 200 calories without exercise.

  1. Drink ice cold water! Seriously?! Yes! When you drink cold water your body has to use extra calories to warm the water to body temperature. You can burn about 25 calories for every glass of cold water you drink. Just chug 8 glasses of cold water every day and you’ll easily burn an extra 200 calories! Put it in a water bottle like this one and you’ll be keeping cute and hydrated!
  2. Laugh. I don’t mean at this tip, I mean laugh out loud. Laughing can burn up to 40 calories in under 15 minutes. Imagine if you put on a funny movie or watched stand-up comedy? You could burn 200 calories in about an hour and a half.
  3. Take your pooch for a walk. Not only will your fur baby enjoy getting some fresh air but you will burn 200 calories for every one hour walk you take with your pup.
  4. Chew gum…all day long. It is possible to burn 200 calories by simply chewing gum for roughly 18 hours. Of course, you don’t need to chew the same piece for that long. Also, stick with sugar-free gum or you will be sacrificing some unnecessary calories that you don’t need.
  5. Take a nap or sleep for 3 extra hours. Not only do you burn calories while you sleep but you will also have prevented yourself from consuming calories you normally would while you were awake.
  6. Type 5,000 words. Yes I know that’s a lot. Maybe you have always wanted to write a short story. Well, here’s your chance to do it and burn 200 calories at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
  7. Get busy…and I am not talking about chores. With just one hour of sexual activity, you can easily burn 200 calories.
  8. Get to first base. No, no, no put down the ball and glove. I am talking about kissing. Grab your honey and make-out for 2 hours. You’ll burn 200 calories…and maybe even 400 if it leads to #7 😉
  9. Mop your floors and scrub your toilets! Deep cleaning your house for an hour will burn 200 calories. Plus, you’ll have a squeaky clean home to show for it. Here are the top 6 things you can do every day to keep your home clean and fresh.
  10. Last but not least…go shopping! Walking around a mall or pushing a cart around the grocery store are all ways that you can burn 200 calories in just a little over an hour.

There You Have It

You can use one or all of these easy ways to burn 200 calories a day without exercise. Which of these tips are you going to try? Leave a comment below so I can also share with you which one of these tips is my favorite to implement when I am trying to burn 200 calories without exercising.

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How to Get Starbucks for FREE!

Yes, you read that correctly. Most of you know how obsessed I am with Starbucks. If you’re new here and want to read about my obsession and near bankruptcy from funding my Starbucks addiction, read this blog post. Now, if you are ready to learn my secret hacks to getting Starbucks for free, keep reading.

Now that I have your attention, shall I get on with it? Ok, hang on to your knickers ‘cuz it’s gonna be a wild ride.

Let’s Get The Obvious Out of the Way

Starbucks has a reward program cleverly called Starbucks Rewards. This is a reward program that allows you to earn “stars” a.k.a. points on purchases made using their app. These stars can then be redeemed towards free food and drinks. To sign up, you do need a gift card or and e-gift card to get started. If you would like to learn more about their rewards program or would like to join, you can click here.

Here’s What You Came For

Speaking of gift cards, this is the method I use to get 95% of my Starbucks drinks for free. Have you heard of rebate apps like Drop or Swagbucks? If you want to learn how I use these apps to make extra money, you can read this blog post I wrote about easy passive streams of income here. Aside from using these apps to make a little extra cash, I also use them to earn free gift cards to Starbucks.

The Drop App

I know I shouldn’t have favorites, but I can’t help it. The Drop app is my favorite rebate/cash back app to use. This app rewards you for shopping the brands you already shop. What makes this different than other rebate apps is that you get your rewards or cash back instantly. None of this “you’re check will be there in 3 months” nonsense. You make a purchase, you get rewarded. It’s that simple. All you do is link the debit card that you use the most and every time you use it, Drop matches it with their available rewards and gives you cash back. You can redeem your cash back through direct deposit, PayPal or my favorite…gift cards. It’s like I get free coffee just for doing my grocery shopping, buying my kids a birthday present or paying for a dinner out. It’s a wonderful life, truly. If you would like to sign up for Drop and give it a try you can click here. Then, enter your phone number and it will text you a link to download the app. But wait, let me sweeten the deal. After you install the app, if you sign up using my code x4e2b then we will both receive $5 loaded to our app for free. Sweet, right? I think I just got a cavity.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks works a little differently than Drop. Swagbucks rewards you for shopping online, watching videos and taking surveys. You earn “SB’s” a.k.a. points for these which then can be redeemed for gift cards to tons of different places. As for me, I always redeem my points for gift cards to Starbucks. You can use Swagbucks from your phone or desktop computer. I don’t really do any online shopping or watch videos through Swagbucks, but I do take a lot of surveys. Whenever I am waiting at a doctors office, long grocery line or whenever I have nothing else to do, I will hop onto Swagbucks and complete a few surveys. There are different types and lengths of surveys but all of them are very easy to complete. If you want to try out Swagbucks and earn some free gift cards, you can sign up here. If you sign up through that link, you and I will both receive 300 SB immediately for free.

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Starbucks on a Budget

Hi, my name is Melissa and I am addicted to Starbucks. It’s hard for me to admit that but I feel a lot better now that I’ve put it out into the Universe. What makes me feel even better is knowing that I can get Starbucks on a budget!

The Hook

We are all familiar with the green twin-tailed mermaid logo. You can find these coffee houses on pretty much every corner and inside almost every retail store across America. I know mythically Sirens were believed to use their mysteriousness and beauty to lure sailors into the sea. I am no sailor but let me tell you that this Siren has a hold on me. Her hold is so strong that my morning coffee is no longer a commodity but a legitimate splurge. I had to figure out a way to get my Starbucks on a budget.

My Go-To drink is a Venti iced Caramel Macchiato sub sugar free vanilla, sub blonde espresso and add two Stevia. (Don’t judge me. I am #teamsweet and complicated) The way the caramel dances with the vanilla syrup and the precision of the espresso as it marks the freshly steamed milk. All poured over ice in a way that causes the clouds to part form the Heavens. Mm mm I can almost taste it now. OK Melissa, get back on track, focus. What was I saying? Oh yeah, this delightful drink was what I looked forward to every day. What I didn’t look forward to was the $5.90 I had to hand over every single morning.

Rock Bottom

As I started to get more serious about budgeting and living within my means, it forced me to take a good hard look at my Starbucks addiction. The damage this was doing to my finances is what really woke me up. A $5.90 iced coffee seven days a week amounts to $165.20 a month. A MONTH! My water bill is less than this. Yet, here I was. Drinking my water bill away every single morning oblivious to the decreasing girth of my bank account. The financial impact this was having on my life was the main reason I needed to find a way to get my Starbucks on a budget.

Speaking of girth, did I mention that my delicious drink I had every morning also amounted to an extra 350 calories and 53 grams of carbohydrates per day? That’s an extra 10,500 calories a month that I definitely did not need. This realization forced me to find a healthier and cheaper alternative because obviously I couldn’t give it up completely. That was be ludicrous.

The Negotiation

Ultimately, I knew I had to be logical and methodical about this. This was serious. This was DEFCON 5 for Pete’s sake! First, I was going to need to figure out how to cut out the actual times I physically visited my beloved coffee shop. I work three days a week out side of the home. Since I like to fully enjoy my coffee and experience all of the joy it has to offer sip by sip, I decided to only buy Starbucks on my days off. This way I would not be rushing to work in the mornings rushing myself to gulp down 24 ounces of my caffeinated beverage. I could sit back, relax and fully enjoy it in all it’s glory. To compromise, on the days I worked I would make my coffee with my trusty ole Keurig. This was totally doable for me.

Bringing it All Together

Next, I had to figure out how to make this drink cheaper and healthier. This drink I was obsessed with is basically all carbs. How could I get more protein and less carbs into this drink? The only solution I could think of would be adding in a protein shake. I have tried hundreds of different types of protein powders and protein shakes. Even those protein coffee powders that claim to taste just like coffee only to fail miserably. Basically, I needed a protein shake without the grittiness. Oh yeah, it also couldn’t taste like protein.

My favorite protein shakes are Premier Protein ready to drink shakes. It also just so happens that the caramel flavor is my favorite as well. Perfect! Let’s throw that into the drink. Now all I have to do is add in my blonde espresso, sugar free vanilla syrup and sweetener. I remember the first day I tried this concoction. I only have one word for you, earth-shattering. OK, that’s technically two words or does the hyphen make it one? I don’t know. Anyways, check out the price difference and calorie difference with this drink.

However, you do need to take into account the nutrition information of the protein shake. This would bring the calories to 170, 6 grams of carbohydrates and 30 grams of protein. Mission accomplished! Instead of drinking my water bill every month, I successfully cut my Starbucks addiction from $165.20 a month to $47.68 a month. Also, I cut my calories from 10,500 a month to 2,720 a month.

The Coup De Grâce

Ultimately, it comes down to taste right? Does this drink have all the bells and whistles that the original drink had? I am proud to say that it most certainly does! In my opinion, I think it even tastes better than the original drink. I am happy to say that I now get to enjoy my Starbucks on a budget without all the guilt and without needing to take out a second mortgage to fund my addiction. I challenge you to try it out and let me know in the comments if I’m right or completely delusional.

Want to know what’s even better than getting Starbucks on a budget? Getting Starbucks for free. Check out this post on how I do just that. Shhhh!!! It’s our little secret!

Happy caffeinating!

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Why New Year’s Resolutions Suck

Why New Year’s Resolutions Suck

Yep, you read that right, not a fan. New Year’s resolutions suck almost as much as diets and budgets lol. Anything that makes me commit to certain rules or tries to stuff me into a perfectly gift wrapped box is honestly not for me.

Our brains are actually wired to revolt against conformation. Think about it. From the time you were able to pick up a pencil to write your name, you favored one hand over the other. To this day (unless you’re ambidextrous) you still write with your dominant hand. This is because our brains have been wired to know that we use our right (or left) hand to write. Have you ever tried to write with your non-dominant hand? Yeah, so have I lol. It’s pretty difficult to do. This reminds me of resolutions.

Why are resolutions so difficult to stick to? Well for me, I have a routine. I like things a certain way. I mean, who doesn’t? Now I have made a resolution that requires me to adapt and stick to it immediately because if I don’t, then I fail. Therefore, I am a failure. Sheesh, this does not sound like a good time amiright? If I didn’t mention before, New Year’s resolutions suck!

This is the same concept behind why diets don’t work. Forcing yourself to conform to something that takes you out of your comfort zone is a recipe for disaster. Now I know people will say, “But Melissa, being out of your comfort zone is when a person experiences growth.” Ok, you’re not wrong but you’re not right either. Ultimately, it depends on the architecture of your comfort zone. Was I able to draw out my own blue print? Am I able to make my own rules? What are the repercussions if I fail? If I am not able to stick to it will I feel like crap about myself? These are all questions that are important to ask when designing your comfort zone.

Intentions? What are Those?

So, instead of resolutions, I like to set intentions for the New Year. This isn’t to be confused with Day 1 pedal-to-the-metal resolutions. An intention is more of an acknowledged notion of moving forward. Setting an intention removes the pressure of a set-date or time to complete the goal. Setting an intention is like setting your radar or your GPS. You know where you’re going but you have options (highway or surface streets?) on how you will ultimately arrive at your destination.

Another tip to setting successful intensions is asking yourself why this is important to you. Whether it is to lose weight or to stop smoking to improve your health, or maybe it’s to stop impulse shopping to improve your financial situation, you need to ask yourself “why.” Having a reason that is important to you and a reason that actually means something to you helps you to be mindful of the intentions you are setting.

However, the best tip IMO is to stop beating yourself up mentally. Thinking negative thoughts about why you won’t be able to accomplish a goal or getting down on yourself because of a setback is no bueno. Self-demoralizing thoughts sabotage progress and hinder our belief in ourselves. The easiest way to overcome this is to recognize when a negative thought enters your mind then add “but I am doing/making/choosing such and such to change that.” For example: “I am never going to lose weight…but I am making small changes like walking for 30 minutes every day to change that.” Using this method turns your negative into a positive. And when all else fails, fake it till you make it baby!

In Closing

Really guys, I am excited for the New Year. It’s an opportunity to reflect on our own progress and acknowledge new goals. I have set my intentions and am ready to see them come to fruition this year. I hope you have all set your intentions as well. While you’re at it, head over to the “Free Stuff” section and download some freebies to use, especially if your intentions are to improve your finances this year.

I would like to wish each and every one of my readers a safe, prosperous and happy new year. Cheers!