Archive for December, 2012

28 dec

5 Ways to Manage Stress in the Workplace

RobertCordrayMost of us are no strangers to stress. In fact, it seems like today more than ever, stress is too prominent in our lives. And nothing makes us more stressed than work. If you are working in a stressful environment however, it is much harder to a) enjoy your job and b) produce your very best results. So if you struggle to manage stress at work, it is best that you try to eradicate it, and here are five ways in which you can.

Make your Workplace as Comfortable as Possible

You may not be able to control which office or cubicle you work in, but there are always some things that you can control. Make sure that you have a comfortable chair, that your work space is well lit and ventilated. If you are spending all day confined to a small, badly lit area, you are likely to feel the pressure a lot more. Decorate your desk with things that make you happy such as photographs. Do what you can to make your office feel like home.

Take Real Breaks

A lunch break is not a break if it means that you grab a sandwich and eat it at your desk. So often we are so focused on what we are doing that we are afraid to step away for any period of time. Go out for lunch, or at least find a nice peaceful place to eat it. If you work mostly alone, find some coworkers or friends with whom you can eat lunch.

Keep Organized

Stress is heightened by never ending to-do lists and piles of tasks to take care of; so the best way to ease it is by taking care of them! Start by prioritizing and take care of those things that are the most urgent first. Find a way to organize your tasks in a way that will help you to keep on top of them. This way you can tackle one thing at a time and it will not feel as overwhelming.

Get to Know your Coworkers

Stress is bad enough, but if you feel as though you are tackling each work day alone it will be a whole lot worse. Try to get to know your coworkers. Create a friendly and casual yet professional work environment and you will feel that the lightheartedness also eases the tension in your own mind.

Do Something that you Love

It may seem obvious, but you are less likely to worry and feel stressed about things if you are doing something that you love. Work is always going to be work, but it is a lot nicer if your job is something that allows you to believe in what you do. If you stay in a stressful job and you do not even like it, it will be that much harder to convince yourself that all of the stress is worth it. So make sure that you are doing a job that you love!

About the Author:
Robert Cordray is currently residing in the Los Angeles area with his wife and three kids. After 20 years of experience in the business realm with entrepreneurship and consulting, he decided to dedicate his services to the coaching business.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on December 28th, 2012 in Career | No comments

11 dec


ZulmaCarbajalMany of us exceed in taking care of others; however, we struggle to take care of ourselves. This mostly happens to be the case for women with children. You might wonder why self-care is so important when there is an abundance of daily tasks and others to attend to. Based on my experience and what I have witnessed others experiencing from lack of self care, it is crucial that you do attend to your daily needs.

When I first started learning to prioritize my own needs, I realized that I really did not know what it meant to take care of myself. So what I did was to make note of all the things I did for others to ensure they were healthy, happy and ready for life. Then I incorporated some of the things I did for them and began to do them for myself. The following are some examples of what I do in order to practice self-care.

Take Care Of Your Body
The first thing to do in order to have the health and energy for your life is to take care of your body. Feed it nutritious foods and exercise it most days of the week. You do not have to be ridiculously strict nor do you necessarily have to do any streneous exercises. Just keep it simple. Easy does it. What I do when I do not feel like exercising is go for a walk for at least thirty minutes. I come back recharged, energized and in a great mood. When I do not take my walk I feel more tired during the day and I am not so happy. On the days I feel that I have too much to do and want to just skip it, I remind myself that walking not only ensures that my body remains healthy, but it also elevates my mood which helps me deal with daily challenges in a better way.

Get enough sleep and rest. Doing this is so much more healthier for your body than filling yourself up with caffeine or an energy drink in order to make it through the day. I understand that there are days when no matter what you do, you just can’t get to bed on time. But as a general rule you should get to bed at a decent hour or work on arranging your schedule so that you can eventually get to that point. Also, if your schedule permits, take a nap during the day. I know this is not always possible, if ever. But see if you can work something out. There have been a couple times I had to postpone a few things in order to take a short nap because I was too exhausted to even get basic stuff done which did not require much brain work, much less was I able to do the things that did.

Love Your Body As Is
Most of us have some problem area in our body and no matter what we do it stays the same. Love your problem area(s) anyway. Love everything about your body as is. For whatever reason, you were given the body that you have. Know that it is perfect for what you are meant to achieve and learn in this lifetime. Be grateful for the years it has hung in there when you were not so nice to it and sometimes even abused it.

Practice building up your self-esteem. We all have a critical voice, but high esteemers notice it, thank it for sharing and replace the judgemtal thought with a more positive one. Other people have gotten so use to having a critical voice that they do not even notice it anymore. Some people have a very mean and abusive critical voice. I just cringe when I hear them talking negatively about themselves. I wonder what they tell themselves in private. The critical voice was developed as a child. It is the voice of your primary caretakers, family, peers, teachers, media, culture and society.You must know that the critical voice only has false things to say. The truth is that you are a magnificent being and the warped perceptions of others has made you believe otherwise.

Look For Your Tribe
It is part of self-care to look for your tribe. To find those like minded people that you enjoy spending time with. We all have some family members or other relationsips in which we spend time with out of obligation not because we want to. Finding people that are more like you and have similar interests makes life more fun, fulfilling and meaningful. But also your tribe is a huge support

when you are going through a challenging situation. Practicing good self-care means staying away from people who deplete you or you just don’t like spending time with for whatever reason. It also means looking for those people who nourish, encourage, support, motivate and make you feel good about you.

Have Fun!

Our body, mind, heart and spirit need time to have fun. When we get older we tend to forget how to do it. Life seems gloomy when you do not allow your inner child to come out and play. It does not have to take lots of time or need to be expensive. What I do is play my favorite music while I am working or cleaning. I always have something handy with me to read when I am waiting somewhere. I also water color and have learned to just “make fun” and not worry about how it turns out. I sing out of tune to make my son laugh. Find out what is fun for you, make a list and do at least one thing daily from the list. It could be as simple as skipping around the house for a few minutes.

If you would like more information on this article please contact me at or you can view my blog for related articles

Posted by Zulma Carbajal on December 11th, 2012 in Health, New Directions | No comments

10 dec

Don’t Let Stress Ruin Your Marriage

RobertCordrayStress! It’s a natural part of life. No matter who you are or how strong you may be, stress can effect everyone from time to time. Not only does stress affect the person directly under the pressure, but it also affects the other people around them. It can take a heavy toll on relationships when not dealt with appropriately. While trying to cope with stress it’s important not to let it affect the others around you. There are some simple ways to go about doing this.

How Stress Affects Relationships

Just because you’re married doesn’t mean stress can’t affect your relationship. On the contrary, highly stressful situations probably have more of a negative impact on marriage relationships than any other relationships. Dealing with situations of work, financial worries, in-laws, or children can all pileup to add large amounts of pressure on a couple. These events can add up and present real challenges on a marriage.

Recognize Stress

Before you can deal with stress you must first recognize that you have it and it is a problem. It’s fairly easy to do a personal stress assessment to understand what your stress level might be. There are some free stress assessment quizzes available online that take less than 1 minute.

These quizzes will ask things like how well you can handle your problems or control the factors in life. Once you complete the assessment it should tell you that, yes you are stressed or no you’re not, but chances are if you’re taking the assessment you’re stressed out.

Once you recognize that you have a high level of stress it’s then possible to start targeting the cause of stress. Start by looking at the source of your problems and ways to limit it. Some stress comes from the inside, like fears or unrealistic expectations. Other stresses come from outside sources like work demands or family life. Simple things like a difficult daily commute can be a major source of stress.

Once the source of stress is identified the next step is to strategize ways to cope with it. Luckily there are many ways to self-manage stress. Exercise is a good place to start. Also, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and rest every day to help you deal with stress in a rested frame of mind.

If you’re having a hard time recognizing where stress is coming from in your own life, sometimes a trusted friend, or someone with an unbiased opinion can be of help. Life coaches can be very effective in helping you identify where the root of your stress is. A trusted friend or a life coach can help, and they can help fast.

Trying to make life as simple as possible can also calm down stress levels. There are many more ways to deal with stress so pick things that might work for you and give them a shot. Avoid dealing with stress by drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

Don’t Forget Your Relationships

As you work to identify and mitigate pressures and stress in life don’t neglect important interpersonal relationships. Keep an open dialogue between yourself and your partner. Many couples spend more time talking to friends about their issues than with their partner.

That can lead spouses to feel their being rejected. Instead of silence, try strengthening your relationship by confiding in your spouse. Talk about everyday things that are going on in your life. Day-to-day tasks at work, the news, children, or other interests you have are great places to start sharing. Silence in marriage can become habitual, so breaking those bad habits can be a challenge.

The sharing will lead to increased intimacy between couples. Intimacy does not necessarily pertain to sex. Emotional intimacy is a strong bond that can be created through sharing intimate and personal feelings. Times when stress levels are the highest are the best times to be emotionally intimate with a spouse. Having someone to confide in and take some of the pressure off can be a huge stress management tool.

At the end of the day we all deal with stress in different ways. But because we’re all stressed out from time to time we must all learn to deal with it effectively. Find activities to do individually or as a couple which minimize the buildup of stress. If stress starts to build learn to deal with it appropriately. And most importantly, keep open the lines of communication at all costs with the ones closest to you.

About the Author:
Robert Cordray is a former entrepreneur/business consultant with over 20 years of experience. He is currently an aspiring life coach, and motivational speaker. If you can’t find him writing articles, you’ll most likely see him on the beach spending time with his beautiful wife and wonderful three kids.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on December 10th, 2012 in Uncategorized | No comments

10 dec

The Benefits of Music Lessons

JennaSmithThere are many ways a person can benefit from studying music. The benefits are both mental and spiritual, and many research projects show there is a correlation between the study of music and better performance in academics. If every parent were aware of the evidence, he or she would find the best music teacher available for their children.

The Benefits to the Brain: Cognitive Development

Students in high quality music classes score high on standardized tests. Playing an instrument enhances the brain stem’s sensitivity to speech sounds. Experiencing music at a young age can “fine tune” the auditory system according to Nature Neuroscience, April 2007.

Among other benefits, music lessons will improve memory, teach patience, self-discipline and develop organizational skills and management of time.

Finding the Right Teacher

There are many good musicians who are not necessarily good teachers. On the other hand, there are many good teachers who are not necessarily the best musicians. Making a true connection with an instructor can be a huge, deciding factor. When you find your teacher, you will know it.

Since teachers are not equally skilled on all instruments, your teacher will possess a concept of music that he or she will easily convey to you. The teacher should be firm but not intimidating. You should feel challenged with each lesson and know what you are expected to accomplish during your practice sessions.

Any good instrumental teacher should be able to critique your playing ability to a certain level. After that, you should seek a professional player of your instrument specialty. Good teachers will tell you when you have reached the level at which they cannot help you.

Instruments of Choice

Different people have different traits that are suited for their personality and embrasures. Good teachers can help you select an instrument that is best suited for you.

In learning how to play the violin or any other string instrument, the musician develops a sensitive ear, due to the tuning of each string. You will also master the position of the fingers on the strings determine the pitch of the note. The tone is determined by the movement of the bow across the string.

Clearly the violinist must concentrate on sound, pitch and the notes on the page. This combination encourages cognitive development and improves the musician’s intelligence.


The benefits of learning to play a musical instrument are valuable life skills. One of life’s greatest pleasures is being taught the right instrument by the best teacher.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on December 10th, 2012 in Family, Health, New Directions | No comments

10 dec

Downsizing Tips and Tricks: Make Your Whole House (Almost) Fit into Your New Apartment

JennaSmithLet’s pretend that you’re moving to Denver from Seattle (the reason why could be pretty much anything). You’ve found a small apartment to live in for the foreseeable future and you already know that there is no way that you will be able to fit everything from your house into the new space. Here are some tips for how to make that move work.

Plan for Extra Space “Off Site”

Make plans to rent a storage unit. These are a great way to store the things that you want to keep but don’t need to have on hand on a regular basis. You can store holiday decorations in them. You can store old paperwork and records in them. They are an affordable way to expand your “stuff space” by quite a lot (and for less than it would cost to simply rent a larger apartment). They’re also incredibly helpful spaces to have while you explore the city and figure out which Denver neighborhood would be best for you and your family.

Figuring Out What to Take

Before you move, sort through your things. Make four piles: “trash” “no” “maybe” and “definitely.” Sort your things (including your furniture) into each of those piles. Throw out everything that you’ve labeled as trash (these are things that you’ve stored but that are beyond repair or hope of salvation.

The things that you know you don’t want or need to keep but that are still in good condition, put in the “no” pile (we’ll explain that in a minute). The things you aren’t sure about go in the “maybe” pile and the “definitely” pile is self explanatory.

Plan to go through the “maybe” and “definitely” piles a few times as you figure out what you truly need to keep and what you’re just holding on to because you’re having a hard time dealing with packing and moving.

What About the Stuff Not Going With You?

Once you’ve got what you are absolutely taking with you squared away, it’s time to tackle everything else. This is where the downsizing process can become quite exciting because the first thing you want to do with your leftovers (that weren’t tossed out as “trash”) is try to sell them.

You can have an estate sale or yard sale. If you have the time before your move, you can put things up for auction on eBay and list them for sale on Craigslist. The amount of money that you bring in through these avenues could be quite substantial. Some people have earned enough to finance their entire move!

Whatever doesn’t sell, you need to donate. Make sure you get a receipt for your donations because those donations should be tax deductible.

Finally, pack up all of your definitely items and move them to Denver. Send the things you don’t need every day (or even every week) to the unit you’ve rented for storage. Unpack everything else and be amazed at just how easy moving from a house to an apartment can be!

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Posted by Jenna Smith on December 10th, 2012 in Family, General, House and Home | No comments

10 dec

Going Back to School as an Adult

JennaSmithFor those who have been out of school for a period of time, it’s not uncommon for the inkling to get back to school to come out eventually. After all, many people remember their time in college as being exceptionally enjoyable, and heading into the real world after graduation can be easier said than done. Going back to school as an adult is never a bad idea, as it can help to launch whatever career it is that you’ve embraced to new heights.

It’s not always easy to understand how to to best go back to school, however, as there are a variety of things you’ve got to do in order to ensure that you’re taking the right route. Consider the following tips, each of which can help to make it easier for you to pursue an education even if you’re knee-deep in the working world.

Consider Part-Time Classes

Gong to school part-time is one of the only ways that many people find they can attend classes and continue to work at the same time. It’s important to view going back to school as an adult as being different from getting an undergraduate degree; most people find they need to continue working in order to support themselves, unlike the way they lived their lives in their late teens. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to receive an education, from the UC’s in California to colleges in Miami FL that offer part-time programs, which means it’s possible to find a solution that will work for you no matter what discipline you intend to study.

Take to the Internet

Online classes tend to be polarizing, as there are some people who simply would never consider such an option. This being said, many find that online classes are the best possible way to study while still managing a normal lifestyle. If you are pressed for time in your life, you might wish to give online classes a shot. Typically, an online program allows you to work at your own pace, which can be extremely helpful for those who have little holes in their schedule but no significant periods of time to devote to schooling. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on online classes, so long as you put a lot of effort into finding those which are ideal for you.

Look For Grants

Getting grants is not always a possibility, but depending upon the circumstances, grants may be the best possible way for you to take your education to the next level. If you can get enough grants to support you fully while you’re in school, you may be able to take time away from your job and attend classes full-time. Full-time programs are the quickest ways to getting a degree, and should not be underestimated. Scholarships and loans can also be effective.

You don’t have to stress out over going back to school as an adult. If you take the right route, you’ll be well on your way towards doing so and taking your career and education to the next level.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on December 10th, 2012 in Uncategorized | No comments

10 dec

Staying Healthy in 2013

JennaSmithOnly a few weeks left until 2013 arrives. Right now, you’ll be actively participating in the holiday eating marathon, but if you plan on to make a New Year resolution to stay healthy, you must have a plan to follow. Many people see their health resolution fade as weeks pass by because they didn’t have a proper plan.

Your plan should contain activities that provide both motivation and exercise. However, doing the same activity everyday can get boring, and you may end up giving up altogether. It’s always better to switch up the days for each activity. Here’s a sample activity plan you can follow.

Physical Activity

1. Monday, Wednesday and Friday

On these 3 days, you can go to the gym for weight training and cardio. If you have ample time, do cardio in the morning on an empty stomach for 30 minutes for ultimate fat burning as all the glycogen will be consumed by the body during the night. Weight training can be done for 30 minutes in the evening. For those who don’t have much time on their hands can follow a 1 hour session either in evening or in the morning consisting of weight training of 40 minutes and cardio of 20 minutes.

2. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

For building up stamina and conditioning the body, both males and females should play sport on these 3 alternative days. Calorie-burning motivational sport is recommended. The selection of the sport activity should be on the basis of availability of equipment. For example, lacrosse balls and accessories are easily available. After selecting the sport, you can join a center, or invite friends over to play.

Diet is also going to play an important role for staying healthy in 2013. As with physical activity, eating the same meal on a daily basis can get boring. Here is a sample diet plan to follow.


1. Monday, Wednesday, Friday

You’ll be doing weight training on these days, so you can follow a high protein diet and keep the carbs to a minimum. Lean red meat, organic eggs, organic chicken and fish should be the staple in your diet. However, don’t cut out the carbs completely and take them in minimum quantity. You can skip them for the last meal of the day.

2. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

On the days where you play sport, you can take in more carbs and keep the protein to the same quantity as the weight training days. However, carbs should be as organic as possible. Slow burning carbs are going to work the best. Examples include whole grain cereal, organic past and brown rice.

Note: Eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables on all 6 days as they provide you with vitamins and minerals.

What about Sunday? Sunday is going to be your rest, and you can also binge in on this day. This is going to be important for removing any cravings you might have during the week. Eat what you love and rest. With these pointers in mind, you’ll spend a healthy 2013.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on December 10th, 2012 in Diet and Fitness, Health | No comments

10 dec

How to Help a Loved One Who Has Lost a Parent

JennaSmithIt is never easy to lose someone you love, but it can seem especially hard when it is a parent. Parents help shape and contribute to so much of who we are as people that their loss seems to hit extra hard. At the holidays, loved ones will be missed even more and good friends will be needed to get you through. As a friend it may be difficult to know what to do, but a few ideas of how to help a friend grieve their parent can help.

One of the first tips is to realize there are specific stages to grief. There is no set way in the order that someone will go through them, or for how long each stage will last, but they will cycle through all of the stages at one point or another. Theses include:

· Denial and Isolation

· Anger

· Bargaining

· Depression

· Acceptance

You need to know that no one will grieve the same and taking the time to listen to what your friend needs will be important. Let them take the lead on this and tell you how to help. They may need someone to sit and listen, share memories with, or just talk to. Or you may find giving them practical help like running to the grocery store, making some food, or helping with house or yard work can be most beneficial.

Depending on how your friend is grieving, you may be able to do something creative with them to help them re-channel their grief into something positive. Asking them about some of the holiday traditions they did with their parents can be good, and maybe even participate in a tradition with them. Finding old photographs and repurposing them into a photo wreath, wall collage, or even a special scrapbook can be great for a good walk down memory lane.

Doing something completely special for your friend is great too. For a female friend you could take them out for a pampering day and get pomegranate or holiday spiced facials and spa treatments for under $50. For a guy friend maybe you could have an outdoor ATV day followed by some pizza and maybe bowling or watching a game on TV. If they tend to be a little more quiet or private in their grieving then sending them a special gift from someplace like In Time of Sorrow can warm their hearts and help them feel remembered. And depending on your or their personal beliefs, you can never underestimate the power of prayer.

Grief is difficult for anyone to deal with at any time, but especially at the holidays. As a friend to someone who is grieving a parent just remember to connect with them in some way. They will let you know what they need and how you can help. And no matter if it is a day out, a meal in, or them just knowing you are their being patient and encouraging with someone in the grief process is perhaps one of the greatest things you can do.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on December 10th, 2012 in Family, Health, Personal Stories, Relationships | No comments

09 dec

How to Protect Yourself from the Gym

JennaSmithPeople go to the gym to get healthy and stay fit. The don’t, however, go to the gym expecting to get hurt their first week into training. Unfortunately, this happens with lots of people all the time. They do not know how to properly prepare for intense gym training, and they end up losing out in the long run due to an injury they could have avoided. Besides a comprehensive workout, the best thing that fitness enthusiasts can do to stay protected is invest in the proper types of clothing and accessories during the workout.

Shoes are one of the easiest fixes that people can do to protect themselves from injury. You need a shoe that is going to properly support your body across the duration of your workout. Make sure that the shoe you purchase has significant arch support and ankle support to keep you from hurting your foot from overuse. If you fail to get a proper shoe for exercise, you are dooming yourself to a life of joint and bone issues.

Sometimes people already have bone and joint issues before they even begin working out regularly. This could have stemmed from hereditary issues or even past injuries that never completely healed. Regardless of the reason, you may need even more support than a simple shoe can offer you. In these kinds of cases, purchase braces and wraps to support the weaker areas of your body. For example, if you have tendonitis in your knee, you can get a knee brace that will give it the extra support it needs. Then you won’t get further injured and it will receive adequate amount of help during the workout.

In addition to proper shoes and support systems like braces, there are even more things that you can do to ensure that you do not get injured at the gym. Compression sleeves are a great way to relieve the stress and tension from the body during your workout. Doing this greatly minimizes the stress on the joints that cause injury. You can purchase these compression stockings and underwear from places like Rejuva Health to ensure that you stay healthy and injure-free.

Nobody wants to suffer from completely unavoidable injuries from workout out. However, people create unnecessary stress and overwork themselves to the point that injury is inevitable. Don’t fall into another one of these statistics. Instead, use these items to protect yourself during every workout. When you include these things along with proper hydration, diet and a comprehensive warm up, you will be well on your way to remaining protected every time you begin your workout.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on December 9th, 2012 in Diet and Fitness, Health | No comments

04 dec

Fitness Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

JennaSmithThere are all types of new year resolutions out there, but the most common ones happen to deal with ‘fitness’. Right from losing weight to gaining weight, people have all sorts of goals planned out for the new year. If your loved one has such an objective, then it makes sense to gift him/her a something that helps them with it.

Given below are a some fitness gift ideas for the holiday season for you to consider:

#1: Workout Apparel

Fitness starts with what you wear while working out. Having the proper workout apparel can make a huge difference to the daily exercises routines. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go buy a complete wardrobe for your gift recipient. Something that complements the weather and their style would work great.

If your recipient is someone who likes working out in the outdoors then it would be a good idea to buy warm thermals. If not that, then go for workout clothes made of moisture/sweat absorbent fabric.

#2: Health Supplements

Health supplements are a great way to add to the daily diet intake. With the right dosage of vitamins and proteins, your recipient will be able to get the most out of his/her workout. However, the type of supplement you buy depends on their fitness goal.

So choose a supplement depending on whether you’re loved one is trying to lose weight, gain weight or simply maintain the current weight. Also, make sure you go for quality supplements such as PureFormulas Supplements, since you’ll find a lot of variety.

#3: Fitness Equipment

Regardless of what type of workout your recipient is involved with, you will find fitness equipment to complement their interests. Besides that, if they’re thinking of starting a new fitness regimen then your fitness equipment will work out great to help them begin.

So if your recipient is going to take yoga classes, you can gift him/her a yoga mat or a yoga ball. Or if he/she is into weight lifting, then some top quality dumbbells would make a good gift. There are many different choices that you can choose from, as long as you know what kind of fitness regimen they’re following.

Finding a good, fitness gift may take you awhile, but if you look at the ideas we discussed above – it’s not that hard. So go ahead and experiment with these ideas or mix/match with your own to give your loved a unique fitness gift this Christmas.

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Posted by Jenna Smith on December 4th, 2012 in Diet and Fitness, Health | No comments