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Sheila's Posts

Check out all the posts by Sheila ~ (Owner/Author)

About Sheila Thomas

Hi, My name is Sheila and I am the Living Smart Girl. My goal is to bring everyone the latest and greatest tips and advice on fitness, healthy choices, recipes, shopping, beauty, home and garden, family and parenting, daily deals, travel, and so much more. I love fitness, but life is more than just exercise and when you visit Living Smart Girl you can connect the dots and live a well rounded life ~ the Living Smart way :)

I love working online and spend most of my day blogging, and researching new topics and tips to bring my readers.

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Sheila Thomas

Care in the Kitchen: Knife Safety Tips for Cutting and Sharpening

A sharp and sturdy knife is a food preparer’s best tool, yet cutlery items are dangerous implements when used improperly. Pay great attention to cutting technique and sharpening tips to avoid accidents and operate an efficient kitchen.


Free of Distraction


One wielding a knife needs to keep free of distraction and maintain concentration. Multitasking dilutes much-needed attention and leads to accidents and cut fingers. Respect the knife and give it 100% of your prepping attention.


Keep ‘Em Sharp


Contrary to intuition, a sharp knife is considerably safer than one with a dulled blade. Dull blades require more effort and sometimes slip off food surfaces. Contrarily, sharpened blades cut through surfaces with minimal effort and less opportunity to make a mistake.


Cut Away


Covered within the first hour of ‘Using a Blade 101,’ always cut away rather than toward yourself when using or sharpening a blade. If the blade is facing away from you, there’s no way it can inflict injury. Also, don’t ever use a body part to ‘check’ the sharpness of a blade. Keep blades sharp at all times and never use a body part in a testing process!


Not for That


Yes, knives could come in handy in a number of alternative situations; it could help tear open a piece of mail or accompany a Halloween prop. However, blades belong in the kitchen and reserved for preparing foods; don’t use sharp knives for other purposes.


Find the Right Knife


Technically, a sharp knife can address a wide range of foods, yet using the wrong knife for a task is asking for trouble. A number of knifes proliferate chef sets since different blades are used for distinct purposes. For example, a paring knife makes it much easier to dice fruits and vegetables. The task could be performed with a larger 8-inch knife, yet invites opportunity for making a mistake.


Let it Fall


Do not try to catch a dropped knife or attempt to save it from falling by pressing your body against the counter. Both scenarios lead to injury. Contrarily, a dropped knife only needs to be washed, which is not such a horrible consequence.


No Horsing Around


As obvious as not using on your body parts, do not use a knife to play with friends or family members or pretend you are a psycho killer. Please resist the temptation to act like a child (why children aren’t allowed near knives) and place yourself and others in unnecessary danger.


Different Sharpening


A number of methods sharpen a dull blade, including using a stone or sharpening knife. However, like using each blade, you’ll need to know how to address each kind of blade. For example, a serrated edge is manufactured at a different angle than other blades and requires a different sharpening technique. Find the right sharpening tools to complete the task and keep your kitchen safe.


The kitchen is a place to prepare delicious treats and not a destination for avoidable disasters. Mind the above knife tips and practice safety each time you’re in the kitchen.


Michael Perry is a busy dad and husband who likes to spend a lot of time in his kitchen. An avid cook, he enjoys writing about new techniques for aspiring chefs on the web. You can read his informative articles on many of today’s top websites.




Natural Treatmens for Wrinkles, Eczema, and Poriasis


They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but it’s your skin that really tells the world about you. Unfortunately, sometimes it tells the world things you don’t want it to know, or it outright lies. Wrinkles can tell the world your age, but they can also make you look much older than you are. Skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis often signal illness, or contagion, even though neither is true.

We talked earlier about cosmetic treatments for several popular skin conditions. Today we are going to focus on more natural interventions, which you can use alone or as a companion to the cosmetic treatments.



It’s almost impossible to go through life without developing some wrinkles. Every emotion eventually etches itself into your face, creating creases and lines that are visible signs of the life you have lived. But everyone doesn’t get wrinkles at the same rate, and there are certain factors that can determine how many wrinkles you get and when. Heredity is a big factor, but so is sun exposure, and how well you moisturize. Smoking can also contribute to wrinkles, especially around the mouth.

Natural wrinkle treatments focus hydrating and exfoliating the skin to soften the appearance of lines and creases, or on gentle stretching to smooth the appearance of wrinkles.

Hydrating and exfoliating methods include cleaning with a mild abrasive, such as a paste made of baking soda and oatmeal, or a cleanser made with walnut husks. They can also include fruit masks that contain acids to exfoliate and plant oils to hydrate your skin.

Gentle stretching methods involve the use of mechanical devices to gently stretch the skin. These can include products that stretch all of the skin on your face, or devices that focus on specific areas like Dermastrips, which focus on mouth wrinkles.

Eczema and Psoriasis

Eczema is also called dermatitis. It’s inflammation, redness, and itching often caused by an external irritant, like an allergen. If you don’t know the direct cause of your eczema, the condition can often be embarrassing and difficult to treat. Eczema can occur anywhere on your body, including your face and scalp.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where your body makes too many skin cells at once. The new skin underneath pushes its way to the surface causing the older skin to flake off in big, scaly patches. Like psoriasis, eczema can be embarrassing and difficult to treat. Psoriasis can appear anywhere on your body, but is most common on your scalp and joints.

Natural eczema and psoriasis treatments focus on relieving the redness and itching, and reducing the amount of flaking.  Many of these treatments are lifestyle-related since both conditions are very sensitive to extremes of heat, and humidity. These treatments include, but are not limited to:

  • Applying a heavy-duty moisturizer, especially after showering or when moving from one temperature extreme to another, such as going out into the cold from your warm home;
  • Using a humidifier when heating your home, to prevent the heat from drying out the air;
  • Bathing in warm water instead of hot water, which can strip the natural oils from your skin;
  • Washing with a non-soap cleanser that contains moisturizers. Like hot water, soap can strip the natural oils from your skin;
  • Taking warm oatmeal baths to treat the itching and inflammation;
  • Using special shampoos to control the itching and flaking in your scalp; and
  • Staying well-hydrated by eating water-rich foods, and drinking plenty of fluids.

Because eczema and psoriasis are both considered medical conditions, you should also consult your physician about possible treatment options. Natural treatments can relieve your symptoms and improve the look of your skin, but you might need some prescription help to really get your condition under control.

Cinderella Cinderella!!


Image from Walt Disney Pictures


OH MY GOODNESS!!  I am so freaking excited for this movie.   I was so excited when Maleficent came out because I just love Disney stuff, but I think I might be even more excited for this one.  It looks so good.

Check out the trailer for it ~


Healthy and Beautiful Desserts for the Holidays


Disclosure ~  This is a sponsored post brought to you by Sverve and Edible Arrangements.  All opinions are 100% that of Living Smart Girl’s.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Do you feel it?  You know what I am talking about.  The feeling of being so full you want to explode! Full from all the holiday feasting this Thanksgiving.  The heaviness of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, pies, etc,.  Yes, we all know the feeling even before the day comes.  We know we will eat way more than we need to of those holiday favorites, and then regret it as we lay or sit in pain the rest of the day.

Why do we do that to ourselves?  Well, it’s time to start a new tradition, to make this Thanksgiving and all the future holidays healthier ones.   There is no reason we need to eat like we were raised to do.  Portion control, and smarter choices this holiday season.   Now, how about eating healthier food, that is also beautiful to look at?   Why not get yourself an edible arrangement to help your holiday table look amazing and also help with eating healthier.   Just look how beautiful, and yummy these look ~


How amazing would it be to have your guests show up and see a couple of these sitting around on the tables.   Baskets filled with fruit, some dipped fruit, and all cute as could be.   Forget those cocktail weenies and bowls of chips and dip.   Try something new for a change and treat yourself and your guests to healthy snacks before a meal.  This way, everyone can fill up on the good stuff and they won’t over indulge in all the other stuff.  A few tips, cook a smaller turkey and make less of all the extra fixings and that way people don’t over eat.   And, of course having a beautiful and yummy edible arrangement within snacking reach all day helps.   Oh, I am drooling looking at these.  YUM!


Have you ever tried an edible arrangement?   I have and have to say they are always a huge hit and when everyone is enjoying the healthy snacking I notice my guests are happier.   And, as we all know fruit goes with some fun cocktails too, so you can really get creative and have fun with your holiday festivities.   Make a healthy and beautiful desserts arrangement part of your Thanksgiving this year.

Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest.


Old Factory Candles are Perfect Holiday Gifts


One of my very favorite things about the holidays is being able to go out and stock up on all the exclusive seasonal scents that hit the shelves around Halloween. Cinnamon, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Spice, Winter Evergreen, the list goes on and on! Every year those scents and many more fly off the shelves in the form of items like Febreeze, Wall Plug-ins, Potpourri and more. People go nuts for them! My item of choice of course are the candles.  They’re decorative, pretty and unlike with spray scents you never have to worry about releasing too many fumes into the air when you light them.

To further my love for seasonal scents I was recently given the chance to work with Old Factory to review their wonderful scented candles! Old Factory is an Amazon Exclusive company, meaning you can’t find them anywhere else on earth but Amazon. Exclusively on Amazon, makes it sound so trendy, like an Amazon VIP or something. Just kidding but hey, at least you can say you have quality, exclusive scents that not everyone in Target or Bed Bath and Beyond has in their carts.

Each Candle from Old Factory is hand-poured, made of high quality soy and burn clean without leaving the sooty residue we all hate. They also burn evenly which is something that I think we can all appreciate. After all, who wants a candle that only burns in one place and leaves those hideous wax craters in the center? Not this girl, that’s for sure. And, being an ex candle maker I know a good candle when I find one, and these are little gems.  My favorite of the ones I got was the pumpkin spice … YUM!


If you’re looking for a great alternative to those Target brands you find yourself buying each year then head over to Old Factory on Amazon and check out their line of scented candles. There are a dozen great scents to choose from and the best part is that they’re made in the US so you know exactly what you’re getting without the worry of outsourcing.


Here’s a few helpful tips on how to get the most out of your candle experience:

1. We recommend burning your candles for 1 to 3 hours at a time, and then letting them cool an hour before burning again. We’ve found that this helps to extend the burning life of the candle.

2. We’ve carefully formulated these candles so they are pleasing to smell but not overpowering. These candles burn great individually in small rooms, or you can burn 2 at a time in a larger room. We’ve grouped the fragrances in each gift set to complement each other nicely so you can pair them up for a great-smelling combination.

3. A little bit of wick management will help your candles last longer. Make sure to keep the wick trimmed to a reasonable length. And if you notice that the wick is starting to lean against the side of the jar, use a spoon to carefully reposition the wick to the center of the jar while the wax is warm and pliable.

Connect with Old Factory  on Amazon!


Now for the super fun part.. The Giveaway.     Enter to win a 3 pack of Old Factory Candles, valued at $25.00.    You choose the scent pack.

Open to US Only.   18+    Ends December 15th 2014 at 11:59pm CST.  Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below.


New but Old Living Room Furniture


New but Old Living Room Furniture

Welcome to my living room.    This is my husbands favorite place in the whole house.  It is our gathering room, meeting room, most nights our dining room, TV room, and so much more.  And now, it is our memory room.   We recently sold our couch and took this couch and chair from Tony’s Mom, because she was moving into a rental unit we own and she didn’t want this much furniture.  I have been in love with this couch, chair and ottoman since she got it back in 1999/2000.  It is a very well built set and still has many years left in it.  It is hard for my hubby and I to find furniture we like as all the new stuff is so puffy and big and made poorly but priced highly.  So, this fits us, and our home just right.


The brown recliner we have had for about 15 years, and we acquired it from his Grandma when she passed (RIP Agnes).  You see Nellie there taking a stand on the recliner, claiming it as her’s.  Then off to the side is a wooden rocker, that was Tony’s Dads and we acquired that when he passed as well.  (RIP Art).    The little table between the 2 chairs, is made from a hunk of wood Tony found, and it is super cool and one of a kind.  The 2 deer heads on the walls, are ours.  My first buck and one of Tony’s largest bucks.

I am not one of those girls who need or wants all new stuff.  I love old stuff, decorate with old, vintage, retro, lodge, etc., items and love it!    The only things in the room that are “new” or bought new was the rug (and that needs to be replaced again) and my other lamps.  Those lamps were bases I had from other lamps and I put new lodge style shades on them.   And no lodge home is complete without some fake trees to add that outdoor feel.   I add lights to mine for the holiday’s and some homemade ornies from some prim gals I know.

Our living room means the world to us, in more ways than the typical.  It has been the room for long discussion, tender moments, tears, laughs, secrets, a little lovin (hehehe) and so much more.  This living room, used to be a bedroom and we ripped out a wall between the living room (old one) and bedroom to make it bigger.  So, aside from all the hard work and money put into it, it holds a special place in our hearts because our family lives here in the memories we have made and the furniture we use.


Do you have a room that is special to you?   Do you like old or new goodies for your home?  Have you kept something from a family member that has passed?  Share your thoughts with me.

Disclosure  ~  Thanks for visiting Living Smart Girl.  Some of the links in my posts are affiliate links, which means when clicked you help support Living Smart Girl so I can continue to bring you great posts :)    Every click is much appreciated!

Compression Wear Doesn’t Have to Wreck Your Fashion Plans


One of my good friends has the worst luck when it comes to her legs. In the past two years, she has had two deep vein thromboses (DVTs or clots). DVTs are serious and if ignored or not treated properly, they can kill someone. My friend’s DVTs both occurred in her legs (where they are most common) but they can occur in any deep vein. They can happen to anybody but are especially common in people who have to stay still for very long periods of time, pregnant women (scary, right?) and people whose blood pressure is elevated (source: MayoClinic).

The good news is that, when caught, a DVT is almost always treatable. Treatment involves specific types of medication that are used to break up the clot, filters to keep any clots that do break free from entering your lungs and the use of compression clothing–typically socks or stockings.

This is where things get tricky. Filters and medication aren’t readily visible to others (though their side effects can be). Compression socks and stockings, though, they can cause some issues. The ones issued by your doctor are almost always going to be strictly utilitarian and, sadly, kind of ugly. They are best hidden under pants and behind boots.

This is fine if you’re happiest in boots and jeans (or other pants) but not everybody likes that look. My friend, for example, prefers skirts and dresses. Thankfully, just because your doctor gives you compression wear, you are not required to limit your compression wear that is issued by medical facilities!

There are lots of really cute options for compression clothing out there now. Even better, there are designers who offer compression clothing that is built specifically for the “type” of person who will be wearing it. Athletes, for example, can buy special sweat wicking and other types of compression gear that is meant to be worn during a workout. The compression hose offers pregnant women helps with leg-based DVTs while also providing non-constrictive support for their bellies.

Really, the problem isn’t that there isn’t any cute compression wear available. The problem is finding the right compression socks, tights, whatevers for you. How do you do that? How do you narrow down your options?


What Will You Be Doing In It?

What are you most likely to be doing while wearing your compression gear? For example, if you work in a very formal office you will want to choose wear that reflects the dress code (tights and socks in muted colors, for example). If you’re going to be working out, you’ll want something that wicks sweat and still allows your skin to breathe. Choose tights, socks, sleeves, etc that are designed for your activities.

Consider Your Existing Wardrobe

Yes, compression tights in bright green leopard print might be fun, but if they’re going to clash with everything you already own, maybe go for the leopard print in a different bright color. You don’t want to have to design a whole new wardrobe around this stuff, you want it to blend in with what you already have.

That said, sometimes getting the bright green leopard print tights just because they cheer you up and make you happy when you wear them–clashing be darned–is a good enough reason to buy one of the sillier or more fun options you find.

Will It Last?

All compression wear tends to relax over time–it’s like regular clothing that way. Compression clothing, though, is designed to resist that relaxation for a longer than regular clothing. Still, there are some manufacturers out there who like to cut corners on their fabrics and stitching. Make sure you read the reviews before you buy! The last thing you need is the expense of replacing something made cheaply!

The point is: you have options. You can be cute and fashionable even while wearing something that is supposed to be strictly utilitarian. Working them into your fall wardrobe should be really easy to do!



Not a Pretty Sight This Morning

Warning.. the images in this post are very graphic!!


I was awaken this morning at about 7 am, to our front door shutting.  I figured hubby was going out hunting so I got up to look out my bedroom window.  Hubby was standing in the yard, and seen me in the window and he pointed down at the lake (which is frozen).  I wasn’t sure what he was pointing at, except I seen a huge lump of something greyish black and didn’t know what it was.   We are about 125 yards from where the lump on the lake was.   I headed downstairs to the kitchen window and grabbed the binoculars to see what he was pointing at.  YIKES!!   It is a dead deer, on the lake.   Not a pretty sight to wake too.

Hubby headed to the lake to check it out.  Took some pictures so we could share on FB and with family and friends.  I know, gross.  But, the wolf population is large where we live and this just proves that something needs to be done.  This was one single wolf that took down this approximately 200# buck.  I realize it’s all natural, but not 125 yards from my house.  I have animals here, as do all our neighbors.  They recently trapped over 11 wolf pups right across the road from our house, and relocated them.  The deer population is down, and wolf population is up.  They issue wolf tags here, but wolves are very smart and don’t generally come out till dark so it is hard to shoot one.  I am sure for those who are not from area’s like where we live, you will fight for the wolf rights.   I don’t think any animal has more rights than another.  I just know that when one is sitting in a deer stand all day, and you don’t see deer, but see many many wolves.. that is to many wolves in an area.

Yes, wolves have to eat.  Yes, it is the way the chain of nature goes.  Animals kill, and eat other animals to survive.  We are all animals and we all eat meat and in order to eat meat, it has to be killed.   I get that.  That isn’t what this is about.  This is about wolves being to close for comfort.   I know if a wolf didn’t kill this deer, a hunter most likely would have or it might have been hit by a car.  Fine and dandy… that is life.   But, I have dogs, who have to be outside to do their business and I don’t like that a wolf is in the area.  Where there is one, there are many.

When I was a kid, our neighborhood had a wolf issue.   There were wolves taking small dogs right from yards.  At least 8 dogs in the area were killed by wolves.  The DNR said a wolf will never come near anything with human scent. Well, our little dog Kakeena, slept with me every night, under my covers.   My mom took her from my room one morning and put her on her tie out to go potty, at 5 am.  My Mom heard a yelp, she ran to the door and opened it to have a wolf, with Kakeena in it’s mouth, stare right back at her and then take off around the house.  My Mom screamed for my Dad, who grabbed a gun and took off running out the back door after the wolf but being it was dark he lost sight of it.   So, our poor little dog became a meal for the wolf.  Ours was just one of the many little dogs in the area, with human scent on it, to be taken.  So, a wolf will attack something with human scent, if hungry enough or if in an area where they should not be.

Here are the images of the deer kill… proceed with caution ~

deerkill4 deerkill3 deerkill2 deerkill1

Fall Giveaway Link Up

Fall Giveaway Link Up Image

Technology helps keep you close to home even when you’re far away

Remember when you used to go on vacation to get away from it all? These days are over now that we have a battery of high-tech tools which keep us connected with our daily lives even when we’re miles away from home.

Here’s a quick guide to getting the best out of technology so you can keep in touch with the wider world, share good times with friends and family or get the skinny on the best local attractions.

Tablets and smartphones

With free wi-fi available almost everywhere, a tablet or smartphone could become your favourite travelling companion.

Sure, you can book your accommodation ahead, arrange airport pickups and check out currency exchange rates. But if you put the practical advantages to one side, your tablet or cell phone is also your one-stop entertainment system.

Download podcasts or movies, listen to music or catch up on the latest news. You can even play your favourite casino games on the move by using a mobile-friendly online casino like Mzanzi Casino. You can enjoy free play or real-money casino games like slots, blackjack or roulette while you hang out in the hotel lobby or endure the long journey home.


Whether you’re on a two-week family break in the sunshine or a year-long adventure of self-discovery, your loved ones will be thrilled to hear about it all.

Who needs postcards when you can upload photos of your experiences as and when they happen, as well as reassuring everyone that you’re safe and well…?





There are 284 million Twitter users across the world. Dip into that massive social pool and you’ll be throwing away your guide book in favour of some real-world recommendations.

You’ll be able to find out about local festivals and events, get tips on where to find the best restaurants and get clued up on undiscovered hideaways that haven’t yet made it on to the tourist trail.


Weighing down your luggage with a library of bestsellers is a thing of the past. With the rise of e-readers, we can stuff as many books as we like inside one light, compact appliance and take it with us just about anywhere.

E-readers have excellent battery life and come with screens that are viewable in direct sunlight or total darkness, making them an ideal companion on the beach or on an overnight flight.



A word of warning

Don’t get caught out with a budget-busting data bill at the end of your vacation.

Check with your local carrier before you travel and find out about roaming charges. If you want to use your cell phone to make calls, consider buying a local SIM card when you arrive at your destination.