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Tips for Heart Health

Prioritizing heart health becomes increasingly important over time for a fulfilling and energetic life. Adopting lifestyle choices that support cardiovascular well-being can contribute to a healthier and more active aging process. Here are simple tips to stay heart-healthy as you navigate this new year.

Heart-Healthy Diet

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining heart health, especially as we age. Embrace a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Choose nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Minimize salt intake to support healthy blood pressure levels.

Consider the Mediterranean diet, known for its heart-protective qualities, emphasizing olive oil, fish, nuts, and plenty of plant-based foods. Consulting with healthcare professionals or a registered dietitian can help your dietary choices based on your health needs and preferences.

Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity is a cornerstone of heart health, regardless of age. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, incorporating activities that elevate your heart rate. Walking, swimming, cycling, and low-impact aerobics are excellent choices.

Additionally, include strength training exercises to maintain muscle mass, supporting overall cardiovascular fitness. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.

Manage Stress

This is difficult for most of us, but stress management is integral to heart health. Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or spending time in nature.

Cultivate hobbies that bring you joy and relaxation, providing a healthy outlet for stress. Prioritizing mental well-being contributes not only to heart health but also to overall quality of life.

Regular Health Check-ups

Regular health check-ups and monitoring are necessary components of heart health maintenance. Schedule routine visits with your healthcare provider to assess blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall cardiovascular health.

Early detection of potential issues allows for proactive interventions and lifestyle adjustments. Stay informed about your health metrics and collaborate with your doctor to create a personalized plan for heart wellness.

Stay Hydrated

Maintaining proper hydration is often overlooked but is crucial for heart health. Ensure an adequate water intake to support overall bodily functions. Additionally, limit alcohol consumption, as excessive alcohol can contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular concerns. When alcohol is interfering with family, friends, or your job it’s time to rethink your drinking and seek help.

Staying heart-healthy involves a holistic approach encompassing dietary choices, regular exercise, stress management, and proactive health monitoring. Adopting heart-protective habits enhances the quality of life, allowing you to age gracefully while prioritizing cardiovascular well-being.

Remember, consulting with healthcare professionals and making gradual changes, helps a heart-healthy lifestyle and supports a fulfilling and vibrant life.

For more self-care tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Valentine’s Day Gifts

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and what better way to express your affection than gifts from the heart? While grand gestures are wonderful, sometimes it’s the simple, thoughtful presents that leave a lasting impression. Here are three heartfelt and budget-friendly gift ideas that will surely make your Valentine’s Day special without breaking the bank.

Handwritten Love Letter

In the age of online everything, there’s something incredibly intimate about receiving a handwritten love letter. Take the time to put pen to paper and express your feelings in a heartfelt note. Share your favorite memories, the reasons you love your partner, or your hopes for the future.

A handwritten letter adds a personal touch that can’t be replicated by a text or email. Consider placing the letter in a decorative envelope or tying it with a ribbon for an extra romantic touch.

Customized Memory Jar

Create a personalized memory jar filled with cherished moments and shared experiences. Gather small pieces of paper and jot down memories, inside jokes, or reasons why you love your partner. Fold each note and place them in a decorative jar.

Your significant other can pull out a memory whenever they need a pick-me-up. It’s a sentimental gift that continually reminds both of you of the special moments you’ve shared. This gift not only reflects on your shared history but also looks forward to creating more beautiful memories together.

DIY Book

Gift your loved one a homemade coupon book filled with redeemable gestures. Include IOU’s for a homemade dinner, a movie night of their choice, or a relaxing massage. Personalize the coupons based on your partner’s preferences and the things they love.

This gift shows your commitment to spending quality time together. It also allows you to tailor the coupons to your partner’s tastes. It’s a meaningful and cost-effective way to offer your time and attention, making for a memorable Valentine’s Day.

Thoughtful and affordable gifts can be just as meaningful, if not more, than expensive ones. By putting in the effort to create something personal, you not only save money but also show your partner that your love is genuine and comes from the heart.

This Valentine’s Day, let your creativity and affection shine through these thoughtful, budget-friendly gift ideas.

For more inspiration or a travel idea for Valentine’s Day check out my travel website: KathyHusserTempe.net

 

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Self Care

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to get caught up in demands and responsibilities surrounding us. As I’ve journeyed through my own life experiences, I’ve come to realize the importance of self-care and power of meditation.

Taking the time to prioritize my well-being and cultivating a regular meditation practice has been nothing short of life-changing. Here are some insights I’d like to share with you about embracing self-care and the art of meditation.

Self-Care

First, self-care is about acknowledging and honoring your own needs. It’s not selfish; it’s an act of self-love and preservation. Begin by carving out dedicated time for self-care activities that resonate with you. It could be as simple as taking a warm bath, reading a good book, or taking a walk in nature.

Whatever it may be, the key is to make it a regular practice. This ensures it becomes a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.

Meditation

Meditation is an incredible tool for finding stillness amidst the chaos and noise of the outside world. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Start by setting aside just a few minutes each day to sit quietly, focusing on your breath.

Allow yourself to observe your thoughts without judgment, letting them come and go like passing clouds. Gradually increase the duration of your practice as you feel comfortable. Through regular meditation, you’ll experience a profound sense of calm, clarity, and inner peace.

Physical Well-Being

One aspect of self-care that often gets overlooked is nurturing your physical body. Engaging in activities that promote physical well-being is an integral part of self-care. Whether it’s practicing yoga, going for a run, or dancing to your favorite music. You need to find an exercise routine that brings you joy and makes you feel alive.

Additionally, pay attention to your nutritional needs. Fuel your body with nourishing foods that provide energy and support overall health. Remember to stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and listen to what your body is telling you it needs.

Connections

Another powerful self-care practice is cultivating meaningful connections and setting healthy boundaries. Surround yourself with individuals who uplift and inspire you, and who truly care about your well-being. Learn to say no when necessary and honor your own limits.

Setting boundaries allows you to preserve your energy and protect your mental and emotional health. Prioritize activities and relationships that bring you joy and fulfillment. Also, remember to gracefully let go of those people that no longer serve your growth and happiness.

I’ve discovered that self-care and meditation are not merely acts of indulgence but components of a fulfilling and balanced life. They provide the foundation for personal growth, inner peace, and resilience in the face of life’s challenges. Embracing self-care and making space for meditation allows us to tap into our true selves. It nurtures our mind, body, and soul, to live authentically happy lives.

So, I invite you to embark on this beautiful journey of self-care and meditation. Start small, be gentle with yourself, and be open to the transformation that awaits. Prioritize your well-being, and watch as your inner light shines brighter, radiating love, peace, and harmony into the world. Remember, you deserve every moment of self-care and the deep nourishment it brings

For more living well, tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

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My First Waymo Ride

 

Ever wonder what it’s like trying something totally new?  My first Waymo ride in a driverless car for work was wild and here’s why.

No Driver

Yep, the car got me from Point A to my home without a driver! The car maneuvered through traffic and “watched” for foot traffic (which can be challenging in Tempe near Arizona State University.) All six miles without a bump or hitch the entire drive. The car maintained the speed limit and was never “aggressive” like some people in vehicles can be.  Plus, all the stares from the other cars was hilarious since I was in the back seat!

Easy to Use

To locate a Waymo vehicle and have your ride arrive, install the Waymo app.  The app is similar to Uber or Lyft in that Waymo knows where you’re currently located and the address of where you want to go. Once paid, the app tells you how long the wait will be and your estimated time of arrival.

When Waymo arrives, driverless, you enter the code provided by the app to unlock the door and enjoy your ride. Easy to use for work or personal errands any time of day even during a late night.

The car takes over, and safely drives you to your final drop off spot. That’s it, except for that weird feeling of being out of control and anticipating traffic. The car’s multiple computer sensors detect obstacles and maps out other vehicles surrounding the car. The trip was uneventful and so convenient when you just “need a quick ride.”

Tempe, Arizona

I live in Tempe and Waymo, along with other companies, is piloting the driverless program here. The cars regularly “hang out” waiting to be called up in my neighborhood. I’m located next to Arizona State University, so I live in an urban hub with lots of activities, tourists, and students. Tempe is a perfect “testing ground” for this innovative technology that is being refined to go mainstream in time.

I think the main obstacle to overcome isn’t the technology or driverless ride, but rather people’s expectations. It’s difficult to change behaviors especially as something as emotional as driving and our love of cars.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 10 or 15 years and how this new industry is adapted.

For more living well, tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

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kathyhusser Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Jobs work

Gardening Is Like Life

Gardening is like life in many ways. What I’ve learned about life, I learned from my gardening experience outdoors and here’s why.

Time Will Tell 

A garden, a really solid variety of flowers (vegetables are a different story) takes about 2 years to establish. Like life, any new relationship, job, or new subject you’re trying to learn takes about 2 years to master. It’s two years before Gerbera Daisies take hold and bloom. The blanket flowers and periwinkles need a few years to take root and really blossom…just like in life.

Having two years of experience in a new job or with a new partner shows you different situations and effects. These “seasons” show you the good, the bad and ugly of that job or person. After about two years, patterns repeat themselves and habits are formed.  Just like your garden where seeds germinate and come back season after season. Time will tell you what you need to know and what direction to take, so listen.

Believe What You See

Flowers especially some bulb varieties are difficult to take root and thrive. Some flowers bloom easily with a little water and care. Others, take so much time to nurture, even “baby along,” until you’ve done very your best and can’t be successful.

Believe what you see, and know that some people, like flowers, will never bloom (like you expect them too.) People’s actions, just like flowers, are who they really are…don’t believe words, believe their actions. Actions tell you someone’s true character, if they’re honest, and trust worthy…just like a hearty garden that grows with care and love.

Can’t Change Mother Nature

In a garden some flowers and plants will only grow in a certain environment, think zone gardening. I live in the desert, zone 9b. The climate is dry and very hot in the summer months. Like some people in your life, some relationships won’t last or thrive. It all comes down to what you want in your life and who you let into your circle. You can’t change someone like you can’t change Mother Nature.

Work especially exposes you to different personalities. Some of these folks will help you grow in your career and support your goals. Others won’t, whether it’s their motivation, the environment, or your personal boundaries. Some people (like plants in your garden) are not meant for you.  Find your peace and people and live like your garden…in abundance.

 

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Desert Gardening

I garden to relax and unwind, but I also live in Arizona. Planting a vegetable garden in a desert zone 9B can be intimidating. The hot, dry climate can present unique challenges for growing vegetables. With some planning and preparation, a bountiful harvest is possible in a few months.

Garden Location

The first step in planting a desert vegetable garden is to choose the right location. Look for a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil must be well-draining and not too clay-like. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider adding compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.

Best Vegetable Type

Next, choose vegetables that are well-suited to the dry climate. Some good plating options include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, beans, and okra. These vegetables thrive in hot, dry weather and are relatively low-maintenance.

When planting your vegetables, be sure to space them out properly to allow for adequate air flow and sunlight. This can help prevent disease and promote healthy growth. Additionally, consider using mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth.

Watering

Watering is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to gardening in a desert climate. To conserve water and promote healthy growth, consider using a drip irrigation system. This will allow you to water your plants directly at the root zone, minimizing evaporation and runoff. You can also try using a soaker hose or watering by hand. However, be sure to water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth.

Fertilize

In addition to watering, it’s important to fertilize your plants regularly. In a dry climate, nutrients can be quickly depleted from the soil. Consider using organic fertilizers or compost to provide a slow-release source of nutrients. I use Arizona’s Best which is a solid multi-purpose fertilizer available at garden centers.

Pests

Finally, be prepared to deal with pests and diseases. Common pests in a desert garden include aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. Consider using natural pest control methods. These include ways to naturally deter common pests, like companion planting or insecticidal soap, to keep these pests at bay. If you do notice signs of disease or infestation, be sure to act quickly to prevent the problem from spreading.

Planting a vegetable garden in zone 9B can be challenging. Be sure to check climate charts, against your seeds so they root during your season. Or you might need to use a green house or inside germination for your sprouts.

With the right planning and preparation, it can be a very rewarding experience. Choose the right location, select well-suited vegetables, space them out properly, conserve water, fertilize regularly, and deal with pests regularly. With a little patience and persistence, you’ll be enjoying a bountiful harvest of fresh, delicious vegetables all season long.

Happy gardening!  And be sure to check for more tips at: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Life Lessons

 

As a librarian, I love reading the latest books. Tom Hanks’ first novel is out and follows the story of how a fictional motion picture is made. The story has many life lessons that apply to real life too, and I thought I’d share a few.

The Right Partner

Finding the right “partner in life” will lift you up, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. The main characters have extensive backstories. From surviving abuse and war trauma to fulfilling your creative dreams, these folks have seen it all. The thread tying them together is the passion to enjoy life and finding their partner for success, (however that’s defined.) Whether it’s a career, spouse, or creative channel to express yourself, find the right partner to get you there.

Strength

The author brings to life each character from their childhood to their interaction together as adults. All of these characters have a solid inner strength and “will” to go on.  When you read fiction like this, you experience these lives first hand. Reading about others’ stories of strength, you realize you have it as well. Inner strength is tested all the time, and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

Some call it “the grind,” grit, or just plain tenacity.  The lesson learned, is we all have something heavy we carry and don’t necessarily share. Consistently strong people grow from those tough life experiences and flourish.

Fate

Call it fate or divine intervention, but things do happen for a reason. It might be to protect you and direct you to a different life path. Fate is there for you, to help you be your best self.

What the Hanks does in his story is intertwines each character’s experiences into one successful finale. Will we all be successful or happy?  How do YOU define success or happiness? It depends, just like in life…it all depends on you and how you react.

Finally, I’d recommend The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” to help understand human nature. The story helps define the realities of war, trauma, relationships, and yes, especially movie making. I’m a diehard movie fan.  I love the happenstance method the author shows the reader the filmmaking process is in Hollywood. I’m looking forward to Hanks’ next novel.

Happy Reading!

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Health Retreats

Going on a health retreat by yourself can be a great way to take some time for yourself. You can focus on your physical and mental well-being. However, it’s important to do your research and choose a retreat that meets your specific needs and goals. Here are some things to look for when going on a health retreat solo.

The program

Make sure that the retreat offers a program that aligns with your goals. If you’re looking to lose weight, a retreat that focuses on yoga and meditation may not be the best fit. Also, if you’re looking to detox and cleanse your body, a retreat that focuses on clean eating is a better fit.

Location

The location of the retreat can have a big impact on your overall experience. If you’re looking for a peaceful and secluded retreat, consider a remote location. A location that is far from the hustle and bustle of daily life is a good match.  If you’re looking for a more active retreat, consider a location offering outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, or swimming.

The staff

The staff at the retreat can make or break your experience. Look for a program that has experienced and qualified staff who are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. Read reviews and testimonials from past guests. These will give you an idea of the level of care and attention you can expect from the staff.

Accommodations

The accommodations at the retreat can affect your overall experience. Look for a retreat that offers comfortable and clean rooms that will help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Consider the type of space that best suits your needs, such as a private suite or a shared room.

Your Budget

Look for a program that fits your budget. Retreats can vary widely in price, so it’s important to find one that meets your financial needs. Keep in mind that a higher cost doesn’t always guarantee a better experience. Do your research…always!

Length of Your Stay

Look for a schedule that offers the length of stay that best fits your individual needs. Some retreats offer a day, a weekend, or a week-long program.  Consider the success (and joy) you’ve had on similar trips. You are the best judge to know your limits, so don’t push it.

Finally, look for a retreat that offers follow-up care, such as coaching or support groups. This is to help you maintain the progress you make during the retreat. Sustainable habits will last a lifetime and so will your memories.

Remember, taking care of yourself is a lifelong commitment. Your first health retreat can be an excellent step towards that goal.

For more living well, tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Gardening Desert

The desert, with its scorching sun, arid climate, and sparse vegetation, may seem like an unlikely place to garden. However, with the right knowledge, techniques, and a touch of creativity, it is possible.  To create a flourishing garden in the midst of a dry landscape like my home in Arizona can be done. Starting a garden in the desert opens up a world of possibilities, and here’s how to start that new world.

One of the basic aspects of desert gardening is water conservation. In arid regions, water is a precious resource that needs to be used efficiently. Drip irrigation systems, which deliver water directly to the plant roots, are particularly effective in minimizing water wastage. Mulching is another essential technique that helps retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering. Using organic mulch such as wood chips or straw not only conserves water but also improves soil quality over time.

The choice of plants is crucial when it comes to desert gardening. Native plants that have adapted to the harsh desert conditions are often the best options. These plants have evolved to withstand extreme temperatures, limited water availability, and high levels of sunlight.

Some popular desert plants include cacti, succulents, desert marigolds, and agaves. These resilient plants not only thrive in the desert but also add a unique beauty to the landscape. Their striking shapes and vibrant colors add so much to a desert garden.

Creating microclimates within the garden can also significantly improve the chances of success. Positioning taller plants or structures strategically can provide shade and create cooler, more sheltered areas. Building raised beds can help improve drainage and prevent waterlogging in the desert’s compacted soils. Additionally, constructing windbreaks using fences or hedges can shield delicate plants from the harsh desert winds. This minimizes water loss through evaporation and reduces plant stress especially in the summer months.

Starting a garden in the desert requires patience, experimentation, and a willingness to adapt. (Kind of like life!) It is essential to monitor the garden regularly, observe how different plants respond to the environment, and adjust. Learning from your successes and failures of each gardening season will help refine your techniques. This will increase your chances of creating a thriving oasis in the desert.

Starting a garden in the desert may seem like a daunting task.  However, with careful planning and using appropriate techniques, it is possible to transform barren landscapes into vibrant havens of life. Focusing on water conservation, suitable desert-adapted plants, and creating microclimates, gardeners can overcome the challenges presented by the dry environment.

Desert gardening allows us to connect with nature. And enables us to appreciate the incredible resilience and beauty of life in even the most challenging conditions. So, roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and embark on the journey of creating your desert garden. This a true testament to the triumph of life in adversity!

Follow me at KathyHusserTempe.com for more living well and gardening tips.

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Travel Abroad

What brings you joy? What gets you up in the morning every day even when times are tough? Travel brings me joy, and here’s why it fills me with happiness every time, every trip.

New Experiences

As we get older you experience the highs and lows of life. As a wise soul once said, you can’t see the light without experiencing the darkness. You also find that one (or two) joys in life will fill you up, bring you light.  New experiences that bring me happiness, contentment, and joy involve traveling.

I don’t have to travel far.  Learning about historic waterfalls in my neighborhood was a fun and enjoyable bike ride. I just love learning and planning out my new experiences, which a good part of that involves seeing new places.

Solo travel

Recently, I’ve started enjoying my travels solo. Discovering new destinations on my own, has given me the freedom to see more and do more. I won’t let the lack of a travel partner hold me back. I plan the trip on my own, and have the flexibility to enjoy the location I want to see.

I’ve become a better navigator and risk taker, with solo travel too. Traveling gives me confidence to do even more in life. And now, I’m planning much longer trips in the future for summer and fall.

Photography

Traveling bring me joy afterwards with the photos and memories I bring home. I’ve become a better photographer through practice and a lot of trial and error. Enjoying the images from my trips, allows me to relive those joyful experiences.

Traveling feeds my photography hobby as well as and providing me great pleasure in discovering my next shot. Capturing landscapes during different seasons and my own flower garden photos to share, gives me another creative outlet.

Self-Reliance

Finally, planning and taking a trip on my own builds my self-reliance to do more and take more risks.  If you’re not growing, you’re not living. And I want to continue to grow, experience new countries and cultures and build new memories.

What will you be planning today?