Fall Leaves

What You Need to Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression in which symptoms are more severe in the winter. It is sometimes called the “winter depression” for this reason, although it is not uncommon for symptoms to start to appear in autumn as the days get shorter. What Causes SAD? Experts are not entirely sure what causes SAD but there are a few theories that have been put forward. The main theory is based on the effects of lack of sunlight on the body, particularly the production of melatonin and serotonin. Both melatonin and serotonin have important roles to play in the body. Melatonin is most commonly associated with sleep and many people do not produce enough of it at night, which can c

Weatherization Myths Busted

Weatherizing your home for each season can make it more comfortable – but how to do it can be confusing. Here are four common weatherizing myths – busted – to help get your home ready for cooler weather to come. Myth 1: It doesn’t matter where your thermostat is placed. Truth: Location, location, location! You may be spending more on heating and cooling than you need to be if your thermostat is in the wrong place. Placed in direct sunlight, you run the risk of getting false readings, as it can “think” the room is warmer than it actually feels, causing your air conditioner to turn on when it isn’t needed. Similarly, a thermostat placed near the kitchen often reads that the home is far warmer

Make the Best of Traveling With Your Pets

Do your upcoming travel plans include pets? Whether you’re flying to an exciting destination or hitting the road, these suggestions can make the journey easier for animals and humans alike. • Prep your pet: Traveling can prove stressful to animals, so don’t catch your pet off-guard. Before leaving town, practice taking short rides in the car or spending time in a carrier. This will help your pet get used to the experience. If you haven’t already microchipped your pet, this may be a good opportunity to do so. This is also the time to ensure your pet’s collar is up-to-date with your current contact information. • Pack right: Pack plenty of food and fresh water and a sufficient supply of any me

How to Manage Prediabetes and High Blood Pressure

Even as chronic diseases like prediabetes and high blood pressure touch more and more Americans, physicians are urging patients to keep in mind that early detection is key, and that chronic disease can often be managed with lifestyle changes. “To confront our increasing chronic disease burden, patients must be aware of their risk for type 2 diabetes and hypertension,” says Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., president of the American Medical Association (AMA). “To prevent both of these chronic diseases, awareness and action are key.” As part of the effort to empower Americans to confront chronic disease, the AMA offers the following guidance. Prediabetes While prediabetes -- the precursor to type 2 di

Practical Ways to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season

Although people hope they won’t get a cold or flu during the winter season, the odds are that they will catch some type of illness during these months. However, you can take some action in advance to minimize the likelihood of getting ill, and if you do, you can have some items on hand to make yourself and your family more comfortable for the duration of your illness. Flu Shots One of the best ways to protect your health during the winter months is to get your annual flu shot. These immunizations help your body resist the most common flu viruses that spread through the population in most years. Although flu shots do not protect you from every flu virus, nor from other types of viral infecti

Tips for Starting a Personal Financial Plan

It’s important for every working adult to have a personal financial plan. The components of the plan will vary greatly from person to person because of differing circumstances and stages of life. But it’s definitely not something that you should delay until you’re facing retirement. By that time, your options will be limited. Here are seven tips for starting your financial planning: 1. Gather the data. The first step in personal financial planning is to gather all the relevant data. This includes your income, account balances, debts, assets, and credit score. 2. Assess your spending. In order to do this, you’ll need to track your spending for a month. Keep a detailed record of wher

Combatting the dangers of unused opioids

Want to help protect your family and community from the opioid crisis? Get rid of any unused prescription opioids that may be in cabinets, drawers or anywhere else you store medicine. What are opioids? Prescription opioids are powerful, pain-reducing medicines found in pill forms, syrups or even prescription patches. Commonly prescribed opioids include hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone. But they also can cause overdose deaths. Every day, more than 100 Americans die from opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Why leftover opioids are dangerous The U.S. is battling an opioid crisis. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association f

Feminine, Fashionable, and Fearless

What image comes to your mind when you envision militant women fighting for a cause? I’ll bet it’s not “fashionable,” “elegant,” “ladylike,” or “well-dressed.” However, these attributes accurately describe the suffragists of America. These shrewd women used their savvy sense of style and their intrinsic sense of dignity to help them win the right for women to vote. The term “suffragist” was originally coined from the women’s suffrage movement. It was also commonly used to describe these contemporary women in an insulting, derogatory manner. After all, how dare women believe they have the right to vote? While the men of this era falsely presumed that women couldn’t possibly have the ingenuity

Little-Known Facts About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has become a popular national holiday on the American calendar. Families celebrate it by coming together and feasting on a meal of turkey with all the trappings. But did you know that the modern-day festival bears little resemblance to what the Pilgrims did in the 17th century? Read on to learn more little-known facts about Thanksgiving. Pilgrims did not wear buckled hats: Thanksgiving is meant to commemorate the Pilgrims’ harvest festival at the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts in 1621. The stereotypical image of a Pilgrim is of a man dressed in black and white and wearing a black buckled hat. However, the buckle did not become fashionable until the 18th century. So, chances ar

Nutritious Ways to Use Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin is not only one of the most popular ingredients in the fall season, but it is also one of the most nutritious. This delicious, orange fruit, loaded with vitamins and minerals, contains vitamin E, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folate, iron, and magnesium. It is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol. If you want to stick to a healthy diet and incorporate pure canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree into some fall recipes, here are three great ideas. 1. Add Pumpkin to Your Smoothie While often used for desserts that aren’t necessarily good for you, pumpkin can also be a delicious and nutritious part of breakfast. Pure canned pumpkin should be used so that it doesn’t have any added preservati

Fabulous party foods

With the holidays right around the corner the likelihood of you having to throw a party or attend a party is probably pretty high. Here are three great party foods that are easy to prepare, relatively cheap to make and will be enjoyed by everyone. Sausage Balls Sausage balls are and all time favorite party food. They are relatively fattening and most people find it difficult to eat only one! The ingredients you will need are: 1 pound of Jimmy Dean Sausage, 4 cups of your favorite cheese Kraft’s Crackle Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar seems to work best and 3 cups of Bisquick flour. You will need to preheat your oven to 400 degrees and either grease your cookie sheet or line it with foil because

Western North Carolina's Top 10 Must See Attractions

Western North Carolina is home to a number of attractions, sure to please everyone from the nature-lover to the amateur historian. If you’re vacationing in western North Carolina or even just stopping for a couple hours on your way through, you can’t miss the opportunity to see one or all of these attractions. Nantahala Gorge With a wide variety of activities to be found, the Nantahala Gorge is one attraction you don’t want to miss. Searching for adventure? Try one of the many white-water rafting trips offered. Want something a little more peaceful? Try ruby mining. Just want to explore? Go horseback riding and take in the beautiful views in the area. There’s something for everyone and every

Quick & easy slow cooker dinners

Stressing over dinner is a waste of time; you should be enjoying time with your family instead. Prepare the ingredients needed for your meal ahead of time and let your slow cooker do the work for you instead of worrying about what to make when you get home. Get started with the three delicious dinner recipes below. These recipes are simple to prepare and made with easy-to-find ingredients. Hamburger Stew 2 potatoes, cubed 3 carrots, sliced 1 onion, sliced 1 cup celery, sliced 1-cup peas, frozen 1-cup corn, frozen 1/2 cup green beans, frozen 1 small can cream of mushroom soup 1 small can water 1 large can diced tomatoes 1 pound ground beef, browned 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning Salt

It's beanies, gloves, and sock season

A few mornings ago, I walked out onto my back porch to drink my cup of coffee. One step out and I turned around. I went back inside to grab my hoodie and put on a pair of socks. Finally. Cool mornings and chilly evenings have returned to Western North Carolina. I love this time of the year. While I have friends who moan the fact that winter is around the corner, I look forward to wrapping up in cozy clothes and sitting in front of a flickering fire. As a lot of winter clothing is made from fuzzy yarn, I thought it would be fun to learn more about this twisted fiber and how it relates to fashion. It is believed that the idea of using “yarn” to create clothing has been around for over 20,000 y

Living with a ghost

In 2002 I bought a small house in the Beaver Lake community of Asheville. It was just what I had been searching for, and I quickly fell in love with my new home. Little did I know that buying and living in this house meant that I would enter a supernatural world I never dreamed of. My first encounter with a “spirit” happened only a couple of weeks after I moved in. I was sound asleep when all of a sudden I woke up to see a woman staring down at me. I could see her face, neck, and shoulders that somehow morphed into transparent arms as she hovered directly above me. Her white hair was loosely pulled back from her face. I could feel her curiosity. She was there to check me out. She lingered fo

Say goodbye to Summer and welcome Fall

There’s a chill in the air, leaves are turning from green to crimson, and pumpkins adorn every front porch you pass. Autumn is officially here. If you’re anxious to bid farewell to summer but are struggling to get into the fall spirit, don’t give up too fast. Below are five simple ways to embrace fall. 1. Carve a pumpkin Pumpkins are the quintessential autumn decoration. They’re inexpensive, and you can find a good one no matter where you live. If you have young children who want to participate or if your carving skills aren’t up to snuff, try decorating a pumpkin with paint, stickers, or glitter. The possibilities are endless. 2. Build a fire Nothing embodies the comfort of fall like a cozy

Essentials of doggie dental care

Proper dental health is crucial to a happy, healthy pooch so here are some tips for better doggie oral hygiene. Regular veterinary check-ups Have your veterinarian check your dog’s teeth and gums at least once per year. Depending on your dog’s needs, he or she may need to have more frequent checkups, but it’s important to catch periodontal disease in its early stages. Regular dental cleanings can prevent serious damage to your pet’s overall health. Daily brushing You brush your teeth daily, so why not your dog’s teeth? Just like in humans, daily brushing can help prevent plaque buildup, which leads to gum inflammation. It may take a bit of training, but most dogs adjust well to this daily ha

How to cut years off your home mortgage

Whether you’ve just moved into your dream home and are experiencing the elation of making it your own or you are a few years into paying off your mortgage, if you are like most homebuyers, chances are you have the standard 30-year mortgage and may feel daunted as you anticipate decades of payments. What if there were a simple way to cut years off that mortgage and potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in interest? By making just one extra payment a year to your mortgage or by spreading that one payment over 12 months, you can do just that, say experts. “If you have a nest egg and are in a good place financially, put a little extra money to work to cut the mortgage term and add equit

Things you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women, with over 10 percent of women receiving a breast cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. Breast cancer also affects men, although there are far fewer cases. Lifestyle factors play a large part in the development of breast cancer, which means there are several things you can do to reduce your risk. Weight Control Carrying excess weight, particularly after menopause, is a risk factor for several types of cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important for women with a family history of breast cancer. Controlling weight and eating a Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish an

Apple cider three ways

There is nothing better than a warm glass of apple cider on a cold day. The crisp, tangy smell of cider and spices will permeate every nook of you home making it smell amazing, and you’ll also have a wonderful treat to share with your family or guests. Classic Apple Cider Serves 14 - 16 Ingredients: . 1 gallon apple cider . 2 oranges, thinly sliced . 1 lemon, thinly sliced . 6 cloves . 3 cinnamon sticks Directions: . Pour the gallon of cider into an 8 quart pot or larger. . Heat the apple cider over high heat until the liquid reaches a simmer. . Add the oranges, lemon slices, cloves, and cinnamon sticks to the mixture. . Reduce the temperature and conti

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