(Life) hacking refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life.

Life Hacking ~ A Generational Thing

   Hacking's meaning has now evolved into more than breaking into a computer. Thanks to countless YouTube videos and the entertaining TV series on truTV, Hack My Life, hacking is all the rage. (Yes, the watermelon/rubber band hack aired there 1st) Well I am here to say women have been hacking for generations! Hacking skills have been passed down from mother to daughter & we are proud of it.
   My friends & I reminisce about this one every winter. It is the bread bags on the kid's feet held up by rubber bands before they go in the winter boots to keep the feet dry hack. Our Mother's generation began this one. (Sliced bread was not commonplace in our grandmother's generation) With those bread bags, the kids were able to play out in the snow longer. Yes, our mothers were pretty crafty with their hacks! Also, our moms showed us the secret to a happier marriage: by keeping any non-necessity (i.e. shoes) shopping purchases in the trunk of the car until an opportune time came to secretly unload. My Mom did this and among my friends, most have done this one and we are definitely passing this hack to our daughters.
   For all my years the Vaseline (petroleum jelly) hacks have been a part of my life. Everything from beauty hacks (moisturizer, healthy mascara, cuticle cream) to preventing blisters, healing cuts, removing scuffs marks & shining patent shoes have been seamlessly used from generation to generation.
   In a few weeks, Mother's Day will be here. This is not just another Hallmark holiday, Ladies. No, it is a hack that has enabled women for decades to have that one day a year to be waited on hand & foot and do whatever they please. (mimosa time, gardening time & nap time for this Mom!)
   Some of my favorite gardening hacks include using coffee filters in the bottom of you pots to help the water drain a bit slower while keeping the soil in place. In the larger containers, displacing some space in the bottom of your pot with packing peanuts (not the water soluble kind!) or an overturned destined to be disposed of plastic pot. This bloggers favorite hack to refresh your garden furniture, chachkis & birdfeeders is spray paint. It is my single most favorite springtime hack (along with my Mother's Day nap) Enjoy & keep hacking away; generations of daughters are depending on it!

7 Ways to Flatten that Belly!

   Whenever you can incorporate ways to flatten that belly without cutting calories JUMP at the chance! According to this month's Shape magazine, there are seven belly fat traps you can avoid and lose some inches.

~ Living on a busy street ~ Regular exposure to traffic noise makes you 29% more likely to have a bigger waistline. Yes, lots of noise may spike your cortisol, a hormone associated with abdominal fat. Using soothing music, white noise apps or noise cancelling ear buds can help.

~ Your diet soda habit ~ Yes, in a 9 plus year study, diet soda drinkers gained more inches (3.2) than regular soda drinkers (under an inch). There is science behind this, but really just give up all the soda for a healthier you! If you need bubbles, flavored seltzer works.

~ Mental multitasking ~ People who are able to focus on singular tasks carry a pound less belly fat on average. Mindfulness is the key. Regular exercise helps along with a physical/mental practice such as yoga.

~ Skimping on calcium ~ Studies show that consuming a calcium rich diet (three servings a day) will help you lose more belly. Mix it up with low fat dairy and non-dairy foods like broccoli, spinach & pumpkin seeds.

~ Your commute ~ Simply stated, the more time you spend on your commute the less time you have for workouts. Find ways to get more steps in your day like parking your car further away from your destinations, taking stairs.

~ Tossing & turning ~ Yes, a longer night's sleep (6-8 hrs) & more quality sleep will get you a thinner waistline. Turn off blue-light emitting devices at least an hour before bedtime & turn in earlier!

~ Watching food TV ~ Logically, those who watch more than 3 hours of TV a day have significantly more belly fat than those that watch under an hour. Interestingly, tuning into cooking shows (which don't always cook the healthiest of recipes) boosts your risk of gaining weight even more to the tune of 10 pounds! Lesson here: find your (healthy) recipes online or from friends.