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Good Sense for Sensitive Skin

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

Good Sense for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is a problem for millions of people. The uncomfortable feelings of stinging, burning, itching, redness and tightness can occur when certain ingredients found in everyday household products react to delicate skin after contact. Being mindful of chemicals your skin comes in contact with and incorporating more natural, gentle products into your daily routine can help reduce these unwanted reactions.

"When it comes to choosing products, I recommend those that are hypoallergenic and have been clinically proven to be gentle on the skin," says dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Ph.D. "Skin-friendly products include those that are mild in nature and free of alcohol, preservatives and dyes."

Instead of disrupting your skin with irritants found in everyday household items, you can choose more gentle, dermatologist recommended products to keep your skin healthy and comfortable:

Soap - Washing hands with antibacterial soap strips the natural oils and can result in dry, chapped skin. Choose mild soap, free of heavy scents or artificial dyes and wash hands with warm, not hot, water.

Household cleaners - When it comes to household cleaners, it can be difficult to avoid harsh chemicals. To ensure your skin is protected, wear rubber gloves and long sleeves when it's time for heavy cleaning. Look for products labeled for sensitive skin or consider making at-home cleaners with everyday products like baking soda for an all-natural alternative.

Laundry products - If you've experienced discomfort where the skin is covered by clothing, there may be something in your laundry products causing the irritation. Try dye-free or skin-friendly scented options.

Facial creams - Wrinkle creams, skin peels and cleansers can sometimes cause more problems than they solve. Check the label for common irritants such as ascorbic acid, paraben preservatives, and the alpha hydroxyl acids glycolic acid, malic acid and lactic acid. Test a new product by dabbing a small amount behind your ear and leaving it on overnight each day for five days.

Clothing - Rough fabrics such as wool can cause itchiness and rashes. Wear clothing made of soft, smooth, natural fabrics like cotton and silk. Clothing should be loose fitting, but with a minimum of creases and folds, which can cause more irritation.

If you're unsure of how your skin will react to certain products, talk to your dermatologist. Taking good care of your skin just makes good sense. And taking a few simple precautions can keep your sensitive skin feeling good.

Source: www.armandhammer.com.

Clean Air Essential for an Open House

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

Bug Buster: Itch Relief Basics

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

Bug Buster: Itch Relief Basics

From bug bites and dry skin to poison ivy and chronic skin conditions, itching makes life very uncomfortable. And it's an annoyance that gets under just about everyone's skin.

Sixty-five percent of U.S. adults have suffered from some kind of itch in the past 12 months; and for 26 percent of those polled, the itch was bad enough to see a healthcare professional, according to a recent poll conducted online by Harris Interactive for TriCalm, a new anti-itch gel.

You know it when you feel it, but what exactly is an itch, and is there anything you can do about it?

Anatomy of an Itch
The skin is your largest organ, and the average body is covered by about 20 square feet of it. Because it's so large and exposed, it comes in contact with a lot of potential irritants. Itching, known as pruritus, is a built-in defense mechanism against those irritants.

Sometimes the body's immune system overreacts to an illness, producing an itchy rash. (See sidebar story, "When is an Itch More than Just an Itch?") But for most non-illness related itching, here's how it works:

Stimuli -- such as dust, pollen, bug venom or plant oils -- land on your skin.
When the irritant gets past the surface layer, skin receptors get irritated.
The receptors send a signal to your brain.
You start to itch.

The natural response to an itch is to remove the irritant -- so the scratching begins. The scratching sensation interrupts the itching sensation because it tells your brain that the irritant is gone. While this may give some initial, immediate relief, scratching ends up irritating the nerve endings in that spot even more -- and can open up the skin, exposing it to more irritants. And more itching.

Itch Treatments
It's important to make sure you know the cause of the itching so you can take appropriate measures to stop it. There are some things you can do to help reduce itching and soothe irritated skin:

Avoid scratching -- Cover the area with bandages or dressings if you can't stop scratching. If needed, trim your fingernails and wear gloves to bed.
Apply cool, wet compresses.
Apply a topical anti-itch cream or lotion to the affected area.
Moisturize your skin with a high-quality cream at least twice a day.

Kids Get Itchy, Too
The TriCalm poll found that itches make kids -- and their parents -- feel pretty bad.

81 percent of parents are miserable when their kids are miserable from itch symptoms.
62 percent said itching keeps their children up at night.
68 percent indicated they've used creams to treat itch symptoms.
75 percent said they worry about using steroid treatments on their children to treat itch.

When is an itch more than just an itch?
It's obvious when an itch is caused by a bug bite or poison ivy. But what if you're not sure what's causing the itch?

Dry Skin -- Itching that doesn't come with obvious skin changes, like a rash, is most often due to dry skin, also known as xerosis. Dry skin usually results from environmental factors like hot or cold weather with low humidity, and washing or bathing too much.
Skin Conditions -- Eczema, psoriasis, scabies, hives, and chickenpox can cause itchy skin. The itching is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as bumps, blisters, and red, irritated skin.
Internal Diseases -- These include liver disease, kidney failure, thyroid problems, celiac disease and some cancers. Typically the itching affects the whole body, not just one area.
Allergic Reactions and Irritations -- An irritation can come from wearing wool, or coming in contact with soaps, chemicals or other substances. Sometimes the substance can cause an allergic reaction, such as poison ivy or some food allergens.
Nerve Disorders -- Multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, pinched nerves and shingles are conditions that affect the nervous system, and thus can cause itching.
Drugs -- Some antibiotics, antifungal drugs or narcotic pain medications can cause rashes and itching.

It's important to understand and treat the cause of itchy skin, so always seek medical advice before choosing a treatment.

Source: TriCalm

How-To: Help Your Kids with Their Homework

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

How-To: Help Your Kids with Their Homework

It has been decades since you tackled the topics your kids are bringing home from school—but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them with their homework.

Students who do their homework consistently tend to have better grades. It's not always easy to get them to do their homework, especially after a busy day, but these tips can help:

Talk to your children about their homework. It's important that your kids understand why it's important to do their homework and the positive impact it has on grades. Homework helps them practice what they've learned as well as prepare them for upcoming classes. Plus, by doing their homework they develop the discipline and skills they need to be successful throughout their school years.

Talk to the teachers. Different teachers might expect different things from parents, so be sure to talk to them to figure out your role. For example, some teachers prefer parents review their kids' homework; others prefer parents make sure kids do their homework. Teachers can also tell you how much time your child should spend doing homework and what to do if the homework is too easy or too difficult.

Select a fixed time to do homework. The best time to do homework is the one that works best for your child and you. It can be before or after playing, watching television or dinnertime. What's important is that homework time is consistent. Avoid leaving it for the end of the day, when your child is tired and sleepy.
Pick a quiet area and eliminate distractions. To help your children focus on homework, pick a place in the house where there's plenty of light and no distractions. It doesn't have to be fancy. It can be the kitchen table or a desk. Make sure the TV is off and put away electronic devices, unless they're essential to doing homework.

Get them the resources they need. You don't have to be an expert in all subjects to help your kids with homework. However, you need to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. If you need expert help, you can always take them to the library or help them with their search online. You can also visit kids.gov to find information on homework topics. The Department of Education also has several resources to help your child with homework in different areas, including math, reading and writing.

Source: GobiernoUSA.gov and USA.gov

First Impressions Make the Sale

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

Survey Shows: Kids Want More Guidance on Money Matters

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

Survey Shows: Kids Want More Guidance on Money Matters

The 2012 Parents, Kids & Money Survey from T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ-GS: TROW), which surveyed parents, and for the first time, their kids, reveals that kids ages 8 to 14 want to know more about money matters, particularly about saving and how to make money. Yet, while talking about money is generally encouraged, and 76 percent of parents are having money conversations with their kids at least somewhat often, survey findings indicate that parents are not doing enough to teach their kids basic financial lessons. The survey results, which are being released in recognition of Financial Literacy Month in April, also revealed that although kids give their parents a B+, parents were found to be lacking as financial role models.

"Kids are eager to learn, and if we want to put them on the right financial path, parents need to be open and honest about money, demonstrate better financial behaviors and spend the time teaching basic financial lessons the way they do other skills," says Stuart Ritter, CFP®, a T. Rowe Price senior financial planner and father of three. "While kids think their parents are good financial role models and do a good job teaching them about money, parental behavior suggests there's a lot of room for improvement. Parents don't need to be experts, but doing more to instill sound financial habits is crucial, especially given the uncertain financial future parents believe awaits their kids and if they don't want their kids to have the same financial regrets they do."

According to the survey, 77 percent of parents say they are not always honest with their kids about money-related items, with 15 percent not telling the truth at least weekly. Most commonly, 43 percent of parents report not being honest about how worried they really are about money, 32 percent tell their children they can't afford something when they really can, and 27 percent withhold information about the family's true financial situation.

When it comes to financial discussions, the survey revealed that parents are more comfortable talking about bullying, drugs, and smoking than family finances or investing, and find talking about investing just as difficult as talking about puberty/coming of age. In addition, while most parents (82 percent) say they are at least fairly well prepared to discuss basic financial concepts such as setting goals, the importance of saving, spending smartly, inflation and diversification, they are not following through and teaching these lessons to their kids. Only half (51 percent) are teaching how to set a savings goal, only 46 percent are teaching about spending/savings trade-offs, and very few are teaching about inflation (19 percent), investing (16 percent), diversification (11 percent), and asset allocation (8 percent).

Parents also do not always set the best example when it comes to their own finances, with only half regularly setting aside money to save/invest, only 43 percent setting savings goals, and only 24 percent ensuring investments are diversified.

Here are five tips for helping kids learn money basics and develop better financial habits:

1. Take advantage of everyday teachable money moments – Trips to the grocery store, attending a sporting event, getting money from the ATM, and planning family vacations are just a few examples of opportunities for parents to reinforce financial lessons.
2. Set a good example – In order to help their kids learn, parents should not only teach the core financial concepts but also demonstrate good financial habits through their own behaviors.
3. Help your kids set specific savings goals – With kids wanting to know how to save more, parents can help them set short- and long-term savings goals that provide an incentive to save, while also helping them make smarter spending decisions that leave more money available for saving.
4. Don't be afraid to talk openly about finances – Although parents don't have to reveal everything, openly discussing family finances will make it more likely that kids will learn and share financial lessons – and help them understand that the topic of money is not taboo.
5. Learn with your child – Fun activities where parents learn alongside their kids can be a welcomed shared experience, especially for topics such as inflation, diversification, and asset allocation that parents say they do not understand as well. 

Source: troweprice.com.
 

7 Tips to Saving Money while Preparing Your Kids for School

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

7 Tips to Saving Money while Preparing Your Kids for School

Preparing your kids for school can be an extremely busy time, putting a damper on the end of your summer. But with some simple planning, it can be a manageable and less stressful process. For many Americans struggling with debt problems, the end of summer is an anxious time because school supplies, sports gear, updated clothing and other necessities can be expensive, but there are things every parent can do.

"It is important to take an objective look at what your children need for school and what you can afford," says Etta Money, InCharge's President. "We all want to do everything we can for our kids, but for those dealing with limited financial resources or debt problems, the task can be overwhelming.”

Here are seven things every parent of school-age kids should do:

1. Prepare a written budget – Just as you would prepare a guide to your overall expenses, a detailed written plan to follow as you prepare your kids for school is vital.
2. Do an inventory – Take stock of what supplies you have on hand, what you and the kids can make yourselves, and what clothing can be used again for the new school year.
3. Develop a shopping list – Eliminate what you already have from your list and write down everything you need to buy to get your student(s) ready for school to open.
4. Look for deals – With a month or more to go, you have plenty of time to shop online for deals, look for coupons, and search the local papers for sales.
5. Plug in the numbers – armed with the best deals you can make, take the numbers you have discovered for the items you need and work them into your household budget.
6. Cut where needed – If the numbers don't work, you may need to spread out purchases, or make some cuts, either in the school budget or your household expenses.
7. Make your purchases – It's time to buy, but don't forget to distinguish between "needs" and "wants."

Source: www.InCharge.org

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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Photo of Vicki Graham, Broker Associate Real Estate
Vicki Graham, Broker Associate
#1 Properties
6106 Yellowstone Rd.
Cheyenne WY 82009
(307) 631-6884
307-773-8454