Holidays Decorations

Most of us decorate our houses for Christmas and the holidays. I get my fake tree up the first weekend of December to put myself in the holiday mood.

But do you decorate your house for other holidays?

My daughter has made it a tradition to decorate for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Spiders and pumpkins are set in the front yard, at the door, and in the living room.

Three years ago, when I screamed after hitting my head against a spider dangling from a lamp in the kitchen, the kids squealed in delight, and made sure they multiplied their cute decorations—I call them disgusting.

Two days before Halloween, my grandchildren invite a dozen of friends who arrive in costume and with a pumpkin to carve and decorate in the backyard. Pizza is served to the hard-working artists and at the end of the party, they fill their basket with candies.

On the following weekend, the Halloween decorations disappear in a plastic container and the Thanksgiving ones come out. This time the celebration is a family gathering with adults and children around a big table. During the traditional dinner of turkey, green beans and sweet potatoes, and dessert of pumpkin pies and pecan pies, each guest, grandparents, parents and children take turns telling us what they are most grateful for.

Setting traditions and building memories is important to raise happy children according to my daughter, a pediatrician who knows her business.

Do Aphrodisiacs Work?

Being the confirmed sensualist that I am, I’m a true believer in the power of food to affect our moods and desires.  That said, I loved this terrific article by Diana Herrington (@DancinginLife) on the power of aphrodisiacs to affect our love life.

Do aphrodisiacs really work? Can you change your mood with food chemistry? Here are famous foods and activities known for love, the science behind them, and tasty recipes to share with your sweetie.

Aphrodisiacs

  1. Honey
  • Honey is a great source of boron, the mineral that helps the body metabolize estrogen, the female sex hormone.
  • Studies show that boron may also increase testosterone, the hormone responsible for promoting sex drive in both men and women.
  • Medieval hopefuls drank mead, a fermented honey drink, to promote sexual desire.
  • Ancient Persian couples drank mead every day for a month (known as the “honey month”–a.k.a. “honeymoon”) after they married to prepare for a successful family life.

Tip: Start the morning with Honey Syrup on pancakes or waffles.

Chocolate

  1. Chocolate

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~Charles M. Schulz

  • Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which mimics the brain chemistry of a person in love. It also promotes serotonin production. Together they give you a hormone rush that feels like the rush of love or love making.
  • There are other foods that may contain more of these ingredients (like cheese) but who cares? Chocolate tastes so good!
  • The problem with chocolate is that you risk a sugar crash, putting a damper on your “happily ever after.”

Tip: Create Homemade Walnut Dark Chocolate, a healthy choice since it has no refined sugar unhealthy oils, or preservatives!

Almonds

  1. Almonds
  • Through history, almonds were regarded as fertility symbols.
  • The aroma of almond supposedly arouses passion in females–or so thought the poets and scribes.
  • Almonds provide high doses of vitamin E, magnesium and even fiber.

Tip: Share some Almond Milk that you made yourself with love.

Beets

  1. Beets
  • One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac.
  • Beets contain high levels of nitrates which increase blood flow by expanding blood vessels walls. Increased blood flow to the genital areas is one of the mechanisms Viagra and other pharmaceuticals create their effects.
  • Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
  • Beets have a host of other health benefits.

Garlic

  1. Garlic
  • Garlic is full of allicin, another ingredient that will also increase blood flow.
  • In eastern traditions monks and priests are not allowed to eat garlic (or onions) because they are particularly stimulating.
  • Garlic has a host of other health benefits, many of which boost your immune system.
  • The obvious trouble with this food is that unless your partner is also a garlic eater, they might not like your smell!

Exercise

  1. Exercise
  • Exercise doesn’t sound romantic unless it’s a “moonlit walk on the beach.”  But it turns out, exercise is so good for the body, that it triggers romantic moods, as well.
  • During vigorous activity, endorphins–the ”feel good” chemicals–are released. They can feel like a rush of love.
  • Exercise increases blood flow to the whole body and thus like beets and garlic, can increase moods and desire.
  • Exercise and building muscle mass also usually increases testosterone levels.

Tip: Go for a walk together. What better way to deepen your love then while connecting with nature.

Licorice

  1. Licorice
  • In ancient China, people used licorice to enhance love and lust.
  • The smell appears to be particularly stimulating.
  • Alan R. Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Tip: Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, conducted a study that looked at how different smells stimulated sexual arousal. He found that the smell of black licorice increased the blood flow to the genital area by 13 percent.

Ginseng

  1. Ginseng
  • Asian ginseng is an adaptogen, or a substance that helps keep proper hormone balance in your body.
  • Ginseng, helps moderate the harmful effects of stress, enhances your energy and stamina and may improve your sexual function.
  • Caution: Because ginseng has an estrogen-like effect, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take it. Although ginseng is not a kitchen food in the west, it is so well known and universally used that I have included it.

Basil

  1. Sweet Basil
  • Sweet basil herb is known across cultures to naturally increase sex drive and fertility by fostering a feeling of total relaxation in the body and muscles while increasing circulation.
  • In Italy, it is a symbol of love.
  • The scent of basil was said to drive men wild–so much so that women would dust their breasts with dried and powdered basil.

Is it all in your head? Well…yes. Each of these foods and activities can affect your chemistry but the effects are often subtle. If we are cued for love though, even a boost of energy from carbs could be perceived as an emotion or an attractive force. The body then enhances that effect since it can manufacture any number of its own mood enhancing brain and body hormones.

“Money is a powerful aphrodisiac. But flowers work almost as well.” ~Lazarus Long

This is why western science officially states that there are no effective aphrodisiacs. Scientists are looking for something as powerful and immediate as steroids or Viagra. But why would we want to use those strong drugs when we could simply have fun eating real food that will enhance our health? An attractive happy body and mind comes from a healthy body and mind.

****

I can’t say it better.  Let’s eat real food for love of our self and our loved one. And to feed all of our senses, check out this terrific Box Set from my Author’s Billboard gang.

Sweet and Sassy Heroes

 

My book in this Sweet and Sassy Heroes collection is:

Exposed Taylor Lee

EXPOSED

Prequel: The Criminal Affairs Collection

By

Taylor Lee 

 EXPOSED: The Prequel Novella in USA Today best-selling author Taylor Lee’s Sizzling Hot Detective Series, The Criminal Affairs Collection.

  • A renegade police officer infiltrates a dangerous cartel intending to take down its leader. 
  • Little does she know that the handsome Drug Lord is a special operative hotshot heading up a mission two years in the making. 
  • Learning who the outrageous woman is, the undercover commander does the only thing he can to protect the mission, and her. He claims her for his own.  

WARNING: Romance so HOT it singes the pages.  HOT, tough, explicit. Not for the faint at heart.  Definitely bring a fan!

 

Let’s Celebrate September 30

According to the National Calendar Day website, September 30 is a day to celebrate some very fun things! Of course, it’s the last day of September, but it’s also a day to celebrate people, and chewing gum, and mud packs, and hot mulled cider. Let’s get started!

September 30

National Love People Day encourages all of us to lift up others with the healing power of unconditional love. Every single one of us is feeling stressed during these tough times. We can make the world a better place by loving each other, whole-heartedly.

Ways to Celebrate

  • Call a friend who is going through a rough time and lend an ear or a shoulder. Listening is easy to do and it goes a long way in making people feel loved.
  • Visit a shut in. Offer to shop for someone who can’t drive.
  • Practice generosity. Take some non-perishables to a local food bank. Donate some clothing you no longer wear to a shelter.
  • Show your appreciation. Say thank you to the store clerk. Smile at a stranger. Offer a complement to someone… anyone. This kind of gratitude lifts spirits. And it’s free!

It’s Chewing Gum Day. Did you know that people have been chewing gum for over 5,000 years? Almost 15 years ago, a British archology student found 5,000-year-old chewing gum made from the tar of tree bark and it had teeth marks in it. Wow!

Ways to Celebrate

  • Chew some gum!
  • Take a picture of the biggest bubble you can make and post it on social media.
  • Buy a bubble gum flavored product: ice cream, tooth paste, shampoo, soap.

Today is also Mud Pack Day. Give yourself permission to get muddy! Mud packs are made of therapeutic clay. When used on the face, mud packs increase blood circulation. They also ease pain in joints and muscles.

Ways to Celebrate

  • Give yourself a mud pack. You can find one here (this one claims to shrink and tighten pores).
  • Get together with some girlfriends and enjoy a spa day. Some spas offer mud baths.

Lastly (but probably BEST), today is Hot Mulled Cider Day. There is nothing better than mulled cider on a chilly autumn day.

Ways to Celebrate

 

Me, a Health Nut? Guilty as Charged! by @TaylorLeeWrites

I admit it.  I’m a health nut.  I don’t know how anyone could sit on their butt all day the way we writers do and not be concerned about their health  much less the size of their ‘butt.’

Health Nut

I’m a seven day a week exerciser and am seriously out of sorts if I miss a day at the gym where I do a minimum of seven miles on the elliptical and fifteen minutes on the rowing machine. I’ll admit, vanity is probably a bigger impetus for me than paying attention to my health but both spur me on.  Even I know that the benefits of daily exercise are more than looking good or even feeling good. Which brings me to this terrific article in the New York Times that was catnip to this addicted exerciser:

Regular Exercise May Keep Your Body 30 Years ‘Younger”

The muscles of older men and women who have exercised for decades are indistinguishable in many ways from those of healthy 25-year-olds, according to an uplifting new study of a group of active septuagenarians.

The authors of the study confirm that “worryingly, statistics and simple observation suggest that many elderly people experience frailty, illness and dependence.” They add, “But science has not established whether and to what extent such physical decline is inevitable with age or if it is at least partially a byproduct of our modern lifestyles and perhaps amenable to change.”

“While there have been hints, that physical activity might alter how we age. Recent studies have found that older athletes have healthier muscles, brains, immune systems and hearts than people of the same age who are sedentary. But many of these studies have concentrated on competitive masters athletes, not people who exercise recreationally, and few have included many women.”

So for the new study, which was published in August in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., decided to look at a distinctive set of older men and women.

Exercise as a Hobby

“We were very interested in people who had started exercising during the running and exercise booms of the 1970s,” says Scott Trappe, the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State and the new study’s senior author. They took up exercise as a hobby.”

The fact that this is precisely when I began my focus on regular sustained exercise encouraged me to read further. Indeed like me, the participants in the study maintained that exercise regimen throughout the next 50 or so years, running, cycling, swimming or otherwise working out often, even if they rarely or never competed. And like me the men and the women are well into their 70’s (Ditto.  Seventy-seven for me)

Using local advertisements and other recruitment methods, they found 28 of them, including seven women, each of whom had been physically active for the past five decades. They also recruited a second group of age-matched older people who had not exercised during adulthood and a third group of active young people in their 20s.

To test their premise the authors also recruited a second group of age-matched older people who had not exercised during adulthood and a third group of active young people in their 20s.

A Hierarchical Pattern

The researchers focused on the cardiovascular system and muscles because they are believed inevitably to decline with age and the scientists had expected they would see what Dr. Trappe describes as a “hierarchical pattern” in differences between the groups.

The young people, they thought, would possess the most robust muscles and aerobic capacities, with the lifelong exercisers being slightly weaker on both counts and the older non-exercisers punier still.

But that outcome is not precisely what they found. Instead, the muscles of the older exercisers resembled those of the young people, with as many capillaries and enzymes as theirs, and far more than in the muscles of the sedentary elderly.

“Together, these findings about muscular and cardiovascular health in active older people suggest that what we now consider to be normal physical deterioration with aging “may not be normal or inevitable,” Dr. Trappe added,  “These people were so vigorous, I’m in my 50s and they certainly inspire me to stay active.”

WOW!

P.S. If you found this article intimidating or downright annoying, take heart. There is always the inimitable Joan Rivers, who lived to be 81 years old and said: “I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.” 

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

P.S. AFTER you’ve done your promised workout, reward yourself and curl up with a hot book.  If you want a book sure to raise your heart rate, I recommend:

JARED: Book 1; The Justice Brothers Series.

 

It’s FREE September 25-29

Jared

  • On her first mission, Officer Hailey Michels confronts the leader of a dangerous Cartel.
  • Her chance to become a hero evaporates when the powerful Cartel member turns out to an undercover agent.
  • It was bad enough to blow his cover but when she discovers who he really is, Hailey’s budding career, along with her heart, takes a decided nose dive.
  • The rookie cop learns the hard way that when tangling with the Justice Brothers, Justice—like Love– isn’t always fair or
Sweet and Sassy Falling In LoveAnd check out our Author’s Billboard terrific new box set:

SWEET AND SASSY: Falling in Love

 My book in the box set is—“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

Challenging Year

About the book:

He’s a hard as nails police chief. She’s a feisty ADA. The one thing they have in common is arrogance. Sparks flare when the challenging duo face off.

Police Chief Garrett Drake rules his dominion with an iron hand. Short tempered, irascible, and a fierce taskmaster, the chief doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He barely tolerates the cowering ADAs the DA sends him.

Zoe Tanaka is legal royalty. The talented Japanese-American ADA, happens to be the daughter of a former associate justice of the California Supreme Court. Outspoken, confident and beautiful, the diminutive force-field isn’t easily intimidated.

Garrett concedes he’s never run up against a woman like Zoe Tanaka. Hell, she was almost as arrogant as he was. She’d clearly been bred to think that she can rise to meet whatever challenges she faces. As she no doubt had—in the past.

Amped by the adrenaline of the near-death attack, Garrett surprises himself when he invites the sassy woman to his pad for a nightcap. The only person more surprised is Zoe who accepts his daring invitation.

If you like smart characters, cops, courts, and scorching passion, you’ll love Taylor Lee’s sizzling thrill-ride.