Monday, March 30, 2009

The Carrot, the egg and the coffee

by: Theodore Tan
A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She said, "Father, I do not know how I am going to make it. I just feel like giving up. I'm tired of fighting and struggling. It seems as though every time one of my problems is solved, a new one comes along. I just can't take it anymore."

Her father took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed them each on high heat. Soon, the pots came to a boil. In one pot of boiling water, he placed carrots. In the second, he placed eggs, and in the last pot, he placed coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

Twenty minutes later, he turned off the burners. He strained the water from the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He lifted the eggs out and placed them in another bowl. Then he ladled the steaming coffee into a bowl. Turning to her, he asked, "What do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft and mushy. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its flavor and smelled the rich aroma. She humbly asked, "But what does it mean, Father?"

He explained that each of them had been plunged into boiling water, but each had reacted differently. The carrot went into the water strong and hard but after being subjected to the boiling water; it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its soft, liquid interior. But after sitting in the boiling water, it became hard on the inside.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, the water did not really change them. THEY CHANGED THE WATER! "Which are you?" the father gently asked his daughter.

"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you more like a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

How about you? Are you the carrot that started out strong and hard long ago, but with the pain and adversity of your life struggles, did you become soft and lose your strength?

Are you the egg that started out soft on the inside? Were you a fluid spirit, but after the pain of death, abuse, rejection, poor health, divorce, or a layoff, have you become hardened? Your outer shell might look the same, but have you become hard-boiled and toughened in your spirit and your heart?

Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean that was plunged into the rapidly boiling water actually changed the hot water and gave it flavor and aroma, reaching its peak flavor at 212° Fahrenheit! THAT IS HOT WATER!!!

When people say bad things about you, do your praises to the Lord continues, or do you blame Him? When the hour is darkest and your trials are their greatest, does your worship elevate to a higher level, or do you desert Him? When you feel burdened by your own troubles, do you still reach out and help others? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

When you are plunged into hot water, into anything that brings you pain, like being immersed in the adversities of life, be like the coffee bean. When things are at their worst, you will get stronger and make things better around you, and? YOU will always leave an aroma that's most pleasing to others as well as to yourself.

How do you deal with trials and failures? Do you become weak, hard on the inside, or do you try to influence the outcome of the situation that you are faced with? Think about it. :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Two Boxes

Here's to remind everyone to think happy thoughts... always... :)

I have in my hands two boxes Which God gave me to hold;
He said, "Put all your sorrows in the black, and all your joys in the gold."
I heeded His words, and in the two boxes both my joys and sorrows I store;
But though the gold became heavier each day, the black was as light as before.
With curiosity, I opened the black;
I wanted to find out why-- and I saw, in the base of the box, a hole which my sorrows had fallen out by.
I showed the hole to God and mused aloud, "I wonder where my sorrows could be."
He smiled a gentle smile at me. "My child, they're all here with Me."
I asked, "God, why give me the boxes, why the gold, and the black with the hole?"
"My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings, the black is for you to let go."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients

Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS )
A detergent found in about 90 percent of commercial shampoos that can cause eye damage in young children, cancer, skin damage, and premature hair loss.

Coal Tar
Known human carcinogen. May contain harmful impurities or breakdown products. Found in dandruff shampoos, anti-itch creams and hair dyes.

Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Paraben
Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Studies have shown that they are weakly estrogenic and can be absorbed by the body through the skin. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic.

Dibutyl Phthalate
Possible human reproductive or developmental toxin. Endocrine disruptor. Found in some nail polish, perfume and hair spray.

Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA)
Often used in cosmetics as emulsifiers and/or foaming agents. They can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are "amines" (ammonia compounds) and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. Toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.

Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea
These are widely used preservatives. The American Academy of Dermatology has found them to be a primary cause of contact dermatitis. Two trade names for these chemicals are Germall II and Germall 115. Neither of the Germall chemicals contains a good antifungal agent, and they must be combined with other preservatives. Both these chemicals release formaldehyde, which can be toxic.

Possible human carcinogen. Possible human reproductive or developmental toxin. Found in some eye drops and ointment.

Lead Acetate
Known human reproductive and developmental toxin. Found in some hair dyes and cleanser.

Known human carcinogen. Found in some nail treatments.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate
A cheap, harsh detergent used in shampoos for its cleansing and foam-building properties. Often derived from petroleum, it is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the phrase "comes from coconuts." It causes eye irritation, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, skin rashes and other allergic reactions.

Also known as petroleum jelly, this mineral oil derivative is used for its emollient properties in cosmetics. It has no nutrient value for the skin and can interfere with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dryness and chapping. It often creates the very conditions it claims to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.

Petroleum Distillates
Possible human carcinogen. May contain harmful impurities or breakdown products. Prohibited for use in cosmetics in the European Union. Found in some mascara, perfume, foundation, lipstick and lip balm.

Propylene Glycol
Ideally this is a vegetable glycerin mixed with grain alcohol, both of which are natural. Usually it is a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. It has been known to cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema. When you see PEG (polyethylene glycol) or PPG (polypropylene glycol) on labels, beware, these are related synthetics. Although exposure to high levels of Propylene Glycol is known to cause serious and potentially irreversible health conditions, the chemical industry tell us that "small" quantities or low level exposure of Propylene Glycol is "safe" to use on the skin and in food. According to the safety data sheets of industrial chemical manufacturers, chemicals such as Ethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol will cause serious health conditions, including liver and heart damage and damage to the central nervous system if sufficient is absorbed by the body.

PVP/VA Copolymer
A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, styling aids and other cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since inhaled particles can damage the lungs of sensitive persons.

Stearalkonium Chloride
A quaternary ammonium compound used in hair conditioners and creams. Developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, it is a lot cheaper and easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins or herbals, which are beneficial to the hair. Causes allergic reactions. Toxic.

Synthetic Colors
Used to make cosmetics "pretty," synthetic colors, along with synthetic hair dyes, should be avoided at all costs. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Many synthetic colors can be carcinogenic. If a cosmetic contains them, don't use it.

Synthetic Fragrances
The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are, since on the label it will simply read "fragrance." Some problems caused by these chemicals include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation, the list goes on. Advice: Don't buy a cosmetic that has the word "fragrance" on the ingredients label.

Read the labels of the products that you are going to buy, and be wary of the above ingredients. Being beautiful is about being smart. Be cautious and conscious. Cosmetics are there to enhance our beauty and boost our confidence, not to cause irreparable damage to our health.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Sharing this with you. I really like this because it has a lot of practical lessons about living life to the max.

Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)
Mary SchmichChicago Tribune

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '97... wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be IT.
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.
I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.
Never mind.
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are NOT as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind.
The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't, maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either.
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body, use it every way you can.
Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings; they are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you'll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Most Important Relationship in your Life is with Yourself: 10 Quick Tips to Get You in the Right Track

This article was forwarded via e-mail by a colleague at work. I thought it would be nice to share this on a weekend, as we end another busy week at work and take time off to relax and unwind. love yourself, you only have one life and you owe it to yourself to live it to the fullest! have a great weekend! :)

Taking care of yourself is so vital to a healthy, fulfilling life that professionals, lay people, clergy, and even business organizations sing its praises. The airlines stress it (put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then the children), therapists give it as homework (focus on positive self talk and affirmations), and life coaches center their businesses on helping clients achieve it (creating work and life balance).

Self care is vital to having healthy relationships yet so few people know how to do it. Here are quick, easy tips that will get you started on the right step for healthy relationships. Start incorporating these into your life today and feel the shift in your self and your relationships tomorrow.

1. Remove ALL negative self talk from your life permanently. When you make a mistake, look for the gift in it. All mistakes have something to teach us so look for the lesson and stop with the put downs. When you hear that inner voice calling you stupid, ugly, fat, or…(fill in the blank), silence it; don’t give it more than a second’s notice and remind your self that talking negatively is not going to help you or anyone else.

2. Remove all disrespect from your life. Know that you deserve to be treated well by all people, at all times…and settle for nothing less than that. Also know that those around you deserve to be treated well at all times, by all people (including you) so do not be disrespectful to others under any circumstances either.

3. Take care of your needs first, followed by the needs of others (when it will not be harmful to you). Do not care-take others; it’s grandiose of you and an insult to the other person. The only exception to this is with a child or an extremely ill person who cannot live without someone to provide for him/her. Even then, get help and do not sacrifice your life for theirs.

4. Learn to say no. Not every request needs to be met by you. Learn to say yes to the ones you truly want to say yes to and set limits, by saying no, to the ones you know you should say no to. Too many people say a thousand yes’s to every one around them and have little left for themselves. This will not help you or your loved ones. Learn to say no when you need to--without guilt.

5. Begin to surround yourself with healthier people. Healthy people don’t hang out with unhealthy people--at least not for long. If you’re surrounded by unhealthy people, then it’s time to take an honest look at yourself and ask yourself why. Stop trying to be everyone’s savior and get yourself healthy.

6. Do not excuse abusive behavior for any reason. Too often people make excuses for their partner’s inexcusable behaviors by saying s/he was stressed, drunk, not feeling well, hurt, upset, depressed, etc. Stop the excuses. It doesn’t matter why someone’s mean to you, what matters is that they are mean. We’re all stressed, struggling, worried, etc., at some point in our lives, that doesn’t give us the right to take it out on other people. They need to stop that behavior or you need to move on.

7. Own your worth. Every single human being in this world has the same inherent worth as the next one. No one is worth any more than or less than anyone else. Every person is either someone’s son or someone’s daughter; a life is a life. We are all equal. Know this, own this, and live by this. You have a right to be on this planet and your presence impacts this planet. If you struggle with this then use affirmations to help strengthen your sense of worth. State twenty-five times a day, for thirty days, the following: "I am absolutely worthy to be in this world and I deserve to be treated well, by all people, at all times."

8. Discover the things you like to do and put some time aside to do them. You need to schedule "life breaks" into your weekly routine. If you’re home with the kids 24/7, then take some time to yourself and have your partner watch the kids for a couple hours each week. If s/he refuses, hire a babysitter. If you work 24/7, schedule in a work-free zone each week with no e-mail, phone, or projects. Fill in that time with something you like to do and enjoy yourself guilt free.

9. Stand up for yourself and stop worrying about what others will think or how they will react. Too often people avoid conflict at all cost. They stay away from difficult conversations, "eat" their feelings, and don’t stand up for themselves when an injustice has been done or they’ve been slighted. Excuses include: s/he’ll just get mad, I don’t want to make things more difficult than they already are, he’s not a talker, and on and on. Speaking your truth is not about your partner; it’s about you taking care of yourself. Forget about what you imagine his/her response is going to be and focus on you. Speak it respectfully and with love… AND SPEAK IT.

10. Realize that people in your inner circle need to treat you the best. I’ve seen couples who treated strangers on the street better than they treated each other. That’s not okay! It’s a privilege to be in your inner circle so make sure that only those who treat you well may enter that circle and remain in that circle. (This is also true for your partner…it’s a privilege to be in your partner’s inner circle and you therefore need to treat him/her well).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Value of Time

This is one of my favorite poems. It is true that people tend to forget how valuable time is. But if we look at time from a different perspective, we get to realize how valuable it is. Read on.. :)

To realize the value of one year:
Ask a student who has failed a final exam.

To realize the value of one month:
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of one hour:
Ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of one minute:
Ask the person who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize the value of one second:
Ask a person who has survived an accident.

To realize the value of one millisecond:
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Time waits for no one. Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when you share it with someone special.

~Author Unknown~

Monday, March 16, 2009

The 13 Closet Essentials

1. LBD - Little Black Dress
Think Jackie O and her cousin-in-style Audrey Hepburn. This classic item has been around for years and never fails to make it on the list of closet staples of stylish women. The LBD can be paired with a tailored blazer, or a classy scarf, or a string of pearls. You can wear it from day to night, or from work to a cocktail party.

2. Classic Black Pumps
Black heels elongate the wearer's legs, and can be paired with anything from a basic white tee to a power business suit. Every woman should invest on a pair of comfy yet stylist black pumps as this will be one of the most frequently worn item in the closet Make sure that the shoes fit you well and choose a timeless style that will always be present on the fashion do list.

3. A Crisp White Button-down Shirt
Another classic essential. For a casual look, wear this with a pair of tailored denim and boots. Or you may also opt to wear it with a black pencil skirt and blazer for a polished look at work. When shopping for a white button down shirt, take into consideration the style, fit and fabric. The perfect fitting shirt must be long enough to tuck into a pair of jeans or trousers.

4. A Basic White Tee
White goes with everything. This is a must-have for the woman on the go. You can wear it under a jacket, a cardigan or on its own with your favorite pair of jeans.

5. Jeans that fit well
No matter her age, a woman must have a nice fitting, solid pair of jeans. Dark denim is usually best, as it never goes out of style, and accentuates the body.

6. Neutral Colored Trousers
A great asset to any woman's closet is a pair of nicely tailored trousers in gray, black or brown.

7. A Pair of Pearl Earrings and a String of Pearl Necklace
Instantly adds glam and elegance.

8. The Power Business Suit
An up-to-date, well-fitting suit flatters your shape and lets you project confidence and power.

9. Twin Set
The shell and cardigan duo provides a splash of color with your jeans or trousers. The cardigan may also be worn with a simple dress to add some fun and personality without the extra cost!

10.Ballet Flats
If you’ve been wearing heels everyday, then it’s time to give your feet a well-deserved break. However, wearing a laid-back, drab pair of flats is not an option. When choosing a pair of shoes for more relaxed occasions, opt for a style that is feminine and fun. Try a knockout color like red. Heels aren't the only way to fancy up your feet. You'll surely love the way flats look with jeans, dresses and trousers.

11. A Classic-yet-eye-catching Black Bag
Your bag must be roomy enough to keep your papers, cellphone, make-up kit, wallet and other essential items in place. For a put-together look, pick a well-structured leather tote.

12. A Slimming A-Line Skirt
Wear it at work or on a date. A skirt with just the right fit and length to move with you is always feminine and fun.

13. A Fab Pair of Face-Flattering Sunglasses
The easiest way to class up any outfit, be it for work or weekend is with a super-classy (and UV-protective) pair of sunglasses. When shopping for the perfect pair, always remember that it should match the shape of your face: Rounded frames soften a square jaw line, square frames slim cheeks and rectangular frames add width and dimension to your face.

Fashion trends come and go so fast. While it’s fun to shop for items that we see in magazines, it is best to invest for items that never go out of style. The above list is just the basics. You may mix and match them for an elegant and classy look or you may also opt to pair them with trendy pieces for a more exciting ensemble. Happy shopping!