Wednesday, February 25, 2009

15 Simple, Inexpensive Ways to Care for Yourself

by Karly Randolph Pitman

1. Use the library. The library is a self-care treasure trove. During a time in my life when a $10 pizza was a luxury, I used the library for much of my entertainment needs: I checked out armfuls of books, CDs, magazines, and videos for free. I didn't let my library's offerings stop me, either: I ordered books or videos that my library didn't have through interlibrary loan, for a mere $1.50. The best part was receiving the call that my interlibrary loan had arrived: Picking up the book that I was so eager to read was like a Christmas present.

2. Buy quality over quantity. While I'm careful with how I spend my money, I'm likewise careful with what I spend my money on. I save for what I really want --- even if it takes me months or years to do so --- instead of buying a cheaper alternative that I can afford immediately. Buying what you want serves your spirit because it honors your need for beauty, quality, or choice. Too often, we buy junk, gadgets, knicknacks or things we don't need because we are surrounded by objects that don't speak to our truest hearts. So we search endlessly for it, parting with our money --- our life energy --- for things that only end up collecting dust, clutter our homes, or show up in the give away pile. When you give yourself permission to buy the $100 cashmere sweater instead of the $30 cotton one, you lose the deprived feeling that accompanies a habit of making do; settling for second best. That deprived feeling is often what leads to overspending in the first place. So my advice is don't settle. Buy the cashmere sweater. But do it mindfully: wait until you can pay cash, not credit. Likewise, reconsider how many sweaters you really need and wear. (My closet is spare, but I love and wear everything in it.) Swinging for the cashmere sweater may mean having four sweaters in your closet, instead of 10. In my experience, having one sweater that makes you swoon is preferable to ten that don't.

3. Learn how to do it yourself. Do you love Chinese take-out, authentic Mexican, or gourmet pizza? With a recipe, basic lessons, or a tutorial from a friend, you can learn to make these yourself. Our family prides itself on cooking good food: we love to eat well. It makes us feel richly abundant on a daily basis. Likewise, you can learn decorating skills to transform your home, or how to give yourself a lavish mani/pedi. I've made my own jewelry, sewed clothes, pillows and curtains, and knitted scarves and shrugs. Learning a new skill has an extra side benefit: it feeds your self-esteem, as well as your spirit.

4. Make your own pampering products. I make bath salts for friends and my own use. They take five minutes and cost pennies. I've also made my own face masks out of everyday kitchen ingredients ---- they are fantastic for my skin, and are a bargain when compared to organic skin care products.

5. Barter. In today's consumer culture, we limit our creativity when we don't think of alternatives to buying. What about bartering for what you want, instead? I've swapped cooking for childcare; accounting for a cleaning service; a collage lesson for a jewelry making class. That sweater that is the wrong color on you? A friend might swap you for something in her closet that calls to you.

6. Ask around. Are you looking for craft supplies? Put up a sign in a community bulletin board, like a friend of mine did: She received an entire bag of needles from a woman who no longer wanted them. Or try Freecycle, where you can use your neighbors to get (or give) things for free.

7. Give yourself the luxury of time. When I'm feeling frazzled, what I most crave is time: time to take a long shower, paint my nails, or read a book. How can you give yourself 20 or 30 minutes a day, a sacred space to cultivate your relationship with yourself? We often think we don't have the time, but how much of our daily lives is spent buying, scouting for things, or running errands (to buy)? Cutting down your consumption may create the very pockets of time you need to feel whole, without buying the new outfit.

8. Cultivate low-cost entertainment. There are a myriad of ways to entertain yourself, without cost. I meet girlfriends for walks, or at the coffeehouse for tea: a $2 investment. I exercise outside or do yoga in my bedroom --- I run, bike and walk, all free, aside from my gear. We make the most of our Netflix subscription, getting "fun" movies as well as documentaries, how-to videos, or other educational entertainment. Book clubs and game nights are other ways of adding inexpensive joy. Check your local paper: you may be amazed at the wealth of free entertainment in your area.

9. Rest. Too often, we give ourselves shabby alternatives to what we really need. Think of the times that you eat when you're really tired, or you push yourself to go to the mall when you really desire an evening of quiet. Give yourself the rest that you desire: go to bed earlier, take a nap (there's nothing that feels richer in the middle of the day), or spend a few hours puttering around the house.

10. Use the power of a group. My local art center has a woman's craft group that meets one evening a month for a girl's night out. A different woman directs the group each month, and offers instruction on everything from wire wrapping to batik dying. It's a fantastic way to learn a new hobby, with a minimal cost. I know other women who band together to tackle house projects, spending one Saturday month at a different girlfriend's house, painting or finishing another project that can be overwhelming for one person.

11. Change your expectations for entertaining. I used to think that I couldn't have people over unless my house was immaculate, my meal, gourmet and of multiple courses, my table, perfectly presented. But, while there is a time and place for a beautifully set table and a chef-quality meal, there is much freedom in lowering our expectations for entertaining as a whole. There is nothing wrong with paper plates, or a simple dinner of soup and salad. After all, having friends over for dinner is about enjoying their company, not impressing them with your domestic skills. Some of the best times I've spent with friends have been impromptu get togethers: the last minute nature of the meal means I don't fret over the food, but focus on the company.

12. Embrace potlucks. We all crave variety, a richness of experience. When we have extra cash, it's easy to rely on money to meet this need: going out to eat because we're tired of our own cooking. Enjoy your friends' cooking instead. Host potluck parties: it's always fun to try new foods, and you get the rich feel of eating out without the rich expense. Potlucks also create a feeling of community, the connection that comes with sharing a meal. This interconnectedness with others is especially necessary when we're feeling afraid, anxious about our finances.

13. Share your wish list with friends and family. Ask for what you need. After I had my baby and carried an extra 20 pounds, I lamented my lack of wardrobe options to a friend. She gave me a pair of her jeans that she was about to give away, and I wore them for many months. They were a welcome shift from my sweats, and I didn't have to fret about "wasting" money on something I wouldn't be using long-term. I have another friend who is a thrift store and garage sale hound. I'll mention my wishlist to her --- a laundry basket; art supplies; something for my kitchen --- and she often surprises me by finding the very thing I need, for pennies. If my birthday is coming up, and there's something I really desire, I let my family know: they're usually grateful for the guidance.

14. Host swaps with friends. Ever had a "New to You" swap? Everyone brings things they no longer use, need or like --- this could be anything from clothing to household decor --- and you "shop" your friends' wares. This gives you the rich feeling of having something "new," without having to spend money: everyone leaves feeling happy.

15. Give yourself an allowance. There is something very empowering about having your "own" money. If you have a partner or spouse, tensions can arise over different expectations about spending vs. saving money. An allowance gives each person freedom to spend a small sum of money however they choose. Even if it's just $10 a month, I've found that giving myself a regular treat tames any feelings of lack or deprivation, particularly if I'm in a savings or pay-off-debt mode. Just knowing that I have a bit of money each month to spend as I choose quells those cravings to spend.

Feeling cared for, pampered, nurtured, supported: they are all about creating feelings of love. It is from this love that life feels meaningful, even joyful, in the midst of the pain, trials and suffering that is a part of every human life. It's so easy to focus on our lack, our feelings of deprivation, the unfairness of our current economic situation. While most of us can honestly say we'd like more money in our lives right now, we can still feel loved --- by creating these experiences for ourselves, and others --- even when our pockets are empty.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

November 2008 Nurse Licensure Exam Results

The roster of new nurses who took the November 2008 Nurse Licensure Exam (NLE) has finally been out after months of waiting. Congratulations to our new RNs!

To view the list of new nurses, please click on this website:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dealing With In-Laws

It's sometimes hard to deal with in-laws. I for one would agree to it since I got my own personal share of stories when I dealt with a supposedly in-law. I knew some do share the same sentiments with me but I hope this article by Jenna Barry helps:

Drawing Boundaries with Difficult In-laws
by: Jenna Barry

Can you relate to the following statement?

"My in-laws call constantly, drop by unexpectedly, criticize the way we raise our kids, and manipulate us with guilt if we don’t do exactly what they think we should. They often put my husband in a position to choose between being a great spouse and an obedient son."

Most experts agree that the best way to handle destructive in-laws is to draw boundaries with them. The question is who should be the one to draw those boundaries? Some say that if the husband’s parents are the problem, then he—rather than his wife—should confront them so they are less likely to get their feelings hurt. Likewise, if the wife’s parents are the problem, then she should deal with them directly. That’s terrific advice in a perfect world. The problem is—yes, you guessed it—we don’t live in a perfect world.

There are few things in life more difficult than being assertive with our own parents, especially if they are controlling and manipulative. In order for your spouse to confront his (or her) parents about their destructive behavior, he must (1) realize their behavior is destructive, and (2) have the courage to confront them about it. Without proper counseling or education, it may be nearly impossible for your partner to realize his parents are controlling, intrusive, and/or manipulative. Why? Because they are his definition of "normal." Even if you are fortunate enough to have a spouse who recognizes that his parents’ behavior is a threat to your marriage, he may not have the courage to confront them.

There are things you can say and do to help your spouse recognize destructive behavior and be courageous enough to draw boundaries with his folks (I cover this in detail in my new book). However, this is not an overnight process. For many years, your partner has learned false beliefs from his parents. For example, he may believe his parents are superior to him when actually he is an adult on an equal level with them. It could take a long time to re-define normal by replacing his faulty thinking with the truth.

So then what should you do while you are waiting for that perfect world in which you are united as a couple to deal with difficult in-laws? Are you doomed to remain in the role of a helpless victim? Should you be silent while your in-laws’ behavior wreaks havoc on your marriage? Certainly not! You can do what is in your power to protect your marriage. In other words, while you are waiting to gain your spouse’s loyalty, you can draw healthy boundaries with his parents.

Here are four important things to remember when drawing boundaries:

1. Treat your in-laws the way you’d want your spouse to treat your own parents. In other words, be respectful, mature and tactful.

2. You can only draw boundaries effectively on issues that affect you. For example, you can control how often you talk to your in-laws on the phone (by screening calls), but you can’t control when your spouse talks to them.

3. In some situations it’s better to gain respect by standing up for yourself rather than expecting your husband to rescue you. For example, if your father-in-law teases you about your weight, you could say, "It’s not okay for you to tease me about my weight."

4. You can’t force your in-laws to change their behavior, but you can change your own behavior. If you start to speak and behave in a different way, then they will likely change their behavior. For example, you can’t force them to stop dropping by unexpectedly, but if you stop answering the door, they probably won’t keep showing up. At first your in-laws will probably be upset by your behavior, but eventually they will learn to expect it, and then you will have re-defined "normal."

While it’s true that you can’t force your partner to draw boundaries with his parents, here’s what you can do:
1. Tactfully help him recognize the difference between healthy and destructive behavior
2. Communicate your feelings and needs to him in a calm, gentle manner
3. Focus on reaching loving compromises

It won’t be easy for your partner to transform from a parent pleaser into a loyal spouse, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is possible. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to draw boundaries with your in-laws. It’s better to speak the truth in love—even if it causes a few hurt feelings—than to stay silent while your marriage suffers.

Jenna D. Barry is the author of "A Wife’s Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband’s Loyalty Without Killing His Parents." Find more at


Yesterday, I cried myself out. I never imagined I could cry bursting myself into plenty of tears. I just felt like sooo empty as I imagined why I tend to like guys who don't really deserve me. urgh! But the very good thing was, I had a good cry which I've never done for many months. At least I had a good one making myself feeling a bit lighter after all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Art Of Letting Go

"The Art Of Letting Go"


Put away the pictures.
Put away the memories.
I put over and over
Through my tears
I've held them till I'm blind
They kept my hope alive
As if somehow that I'd keep you here
Once you believed in a love forever more?
How do you leave it in a drawer?

Now here it comes, the hardest part of all
Unchain my heart that's holding on
How do I start to live my life alone?
Guess I'm just learning,
Learning the art of letting go.

Try to say it's over
Say the word goodbye.
But each time it catches in my throat
Your still here in me
And I can't set you free
So I hold on to what I wanted most
Maybe someday we'll be friend's forever more
Wish I could open up that door

Now here it comes, the hardest part of all
Unchain my heart that's holding on
How do I start to live my life alone?
Guess I'm just learning,
Learning the art of letting go

Watching us fade
What can I do?
But try to make it through
the pain of one more day
Without you

Where do I start, to live my life alone?
I guess I'm learning, only learning,
Learning the art of letting go.


Stereotypical Girly Survey

01: Boring I know, but what is your name? -- mm
02: Date of birth? -- 042678
03: And where are you located in this world? -- planet earth in PI exactly
04: What is your Starsign? -- taurus
05: Do you consider yourself as girly? (Why/Why Not) -- I am cos I definitely am!

General Appearance & Health
01: Do you think you look after yourself the way you should? -- yes
02: Do you eat a healthy diet? -- not really cos I ate anything.
03: Do you exercise regularly? -- nope and am guilty for not doing it
04: Are you one of those girls who are scared of getting fat? -- uh huh
05: Do you think size matters? -- yes
06: Has anyone ever bullied you for being under or overweight? -- yes
07: Or have you been one of the bullies? -- hahaha,am also one of them
08: Do you consider yourself pretty or attractive? -- just a so,so but still pretty hahaha
09: Do the opposite (or same) sex generally find you attractive? -- you better ask them
10: Are you content with your over all appearance? -- uh huh
11: What would you do to improve it? -- i'm already satisfied with what has been given to me

01: What was your hair colour as a child? -- brown
02: What colour is it nowadays? --still the same
03: Do you dye it? -- nope
04: What colours have you dyed your hair in the past? -- haven't done anything with mah hair
05: Is your hair thick or thin? -- thick
06: Is your hair naturally straight, curly, frizzy or wavy? --wavy
07: What shampoo & conditioner do you use? -- any
08: Do you use any other products on it?-- nope!
09: How often do you wash it?-- twice a day
10: What styles do you wear it in? -- ponytails or just hang it down
11: Are you generally happy with your hair now? -- uh huh
12: How often do you get it cut? --every 6 months

Make Up
01: Do you wear make up? --not really
02: What are some of the brands you use? -- marks and spencer
03: What is the most expensive make up item you have bought? -- none, those were just given
04: How old were you when you first started wearing it? -- college
05: Do you wear eyeliner (what colour?) -- not much
06: Do you think you are good at applying it? -- uh huh
07: Do you do anything unusual or different with your make up? - nope
08: What colours do you wear? any

Clothes & Style
01: How would you describe your style? -- not really conservative hahahha
02: How is it different from five years ago? --really very different cos i used to be conservative then
03: Do you have a favourite item of clothing? -- yep, skirts
04: Where do you buy your clothes? -- dress shops
05: Do you dress like your friends or do you have your own style? -- got my own style
06: Do people ever label you? -- nope
07: What piercings do you have? -- ear piercings
08. Any tattoos? -- none
09: Do you wear skirts / dresses? yes!
10: How many pairs of shoes do you own? - i lost count

01: How would you describe your figure? -- just plain and simple
02: Do you want or need to lose weight? -- need to lose weight
03: Have you ever been on a diet? -- nope.
04: Do you think there is too much pressure to be slim these days? -- nope!
05: What is your favourite part of your body? -- shoulders
06: Least favourite? -- stomach
07: What part of your body is complimented often? -- bust? hahaha!
08: Would you ever get cosmetic surgery? -- why not? hehehe

01: What size are you? -- 36
02: Do you like your boobs? -- yes
03: Are they considered large, medium, or small? -- medium
04: Would you ever get them enhanced?-- nope!
05: What does your favourite bra look like? -- push up
06: Where do you buy your bras from? -- triumph
07: What would you change about them, if you could? -- nothing
08: What colour are your nipples? -- brown
09: Do you show cleavage often? -- at times

01: When did you start them?-- highschool
02: Are you too embarrassed to talk about it? -- at first yes but later, not anymore
03: At what time of the month do you get it? -- sometimes 3rd week of the month
04: Do you suffer badly from cramps? -- at times
05: Do you get bad PMS? --yes!
06: Do you get more sensitive or just irritable / bitchy? --sensitive
07: Pads or tampons? -- pads
08: Are your periods always regular? --irregular

Sex / Relationships
01: Do you like anyone at the moment? --none
02: What is his / her name? -- not applicable
03: Are you straight / bi / or gay? -- straight
04: Physically, do you have a type (describe)? -- yes, someone so masculine hehehe
05: Personality wise, what is your type? -- understanding and sensible
06: What was your longest relationship? -- 3 months
07: Are you a virgin? -- haha
08: If not, how much do you enjoy sex? -- haha (again)
09: Do you think it’s important in a relationship? -- yes
10: Do you like kissing (obviously, but how much)? -- yes
11: Are you romantic at all? -- i think so
12: Have you ever been in love? -- i think so
13: Are you affectionate? -- i think so
[ Love from ServinSurveys dot multiply dot com ]