Friday, May 31, 2013

Why I Adore Green Tea So Much {FabHealthFriday}

For those of you new to this blog, you might be curious about the obvious obsession with green tea.
Well, I started drinking this fabulous beverage several years ago, and ever since then it's been just about my favorite thing to drink, besides water, of course! (Speaking of which, I can never understand why some folks don't like water...I mean, it's practically the basis of all life, people, how can you not like it?)
Why do I like it so much? And why does green tea even get all this emphasis here on Apassionata?
I'll let this little graphic below do the health benefits explaining for me, in simplified form, anyway.
(Besides all these reasons being true, isn't the little illustration just darling?!)
So, yeah.
This covers the basics of why green tea is so good for you, physically. There are plenty of other reasons why green tea is beneficial to your health - such as, the fact that green tea contains antibacterial agents that help to prevent tooth decay.
 And, green tea is good for you in that the antibacterial agents it contains also helps to prevent certain forms of food poisoning, which would otherwise have been caused by a build up of harmful bacteria on food. 
Green tea is a stress reliever and can cause your body to feel more relaxed and calm. It helps control blood cholesterol levels; and if you have rheumatoid arthritis, it has an amazing ability to help relieve inflammation and therefore bring relief.
One last thing I'll note about its benefits: Green tea is a terrific cancer fighter. It contains powerful antioxidants, which are known to fight against free radicals connected with cancer.
You can slice your chances of getting cancer in any various form, just by drinking a cup of this fabulous tea daily!
So, by now, if you just read all this stuff, you should have no reason not to want to drink green tea. Well, okay, maybe you don't care for the taste. (But, have you even tried it yet, before you say you don't care for its taste? Oh come now. Just try it before you start nay-saying, please!)
BUT. Stop right there. How long have you been drinking it? Because let me tell ya, when I first started on green tea I care for the taste either. In fact, I didn't like it at all.
However, one of the beauties in repetition is the ability of our bodies (and taste buds, for this matter!) to develop habits, tastes for things we mayn't have even liked beforehand. With repetition, many things happen. We memorize things, like music, factual information. We begin to enjoy tastes that were disgusting to us at one point.
This, my friends, is exactly what happened with me and green tea.
Over time, I began to love the drink and even crave it. Now, it's a staple in my everyday routine and I have to keep from drinking too much!
I think it's a great energy booster, and honestly, I feel as healthy as ever, and the strongest/fittest I've ever been. Maybe the green tea has assisted in this, and I'm sure it has, to a degree.
So there's why I adore green tea so much. An why you should, too.
Have a blessed day, y'all!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Keep Calm & Keep On Dreaming {review}

Good evening, peoples!
Today I bring you another review post, because, some time ago I was sent a glass tile necklace from Moodies By Jen.
It's actually a bit greener than the pictures portray, but you know how it is with trying to capture things on camera. It just doesn't never does the actual thing justice, does it?
I liked this particular one because of the unicorn, and optimism in the "keep on dreaming" line.

The chord material is rather peculiar. It's rubbery - which is kind of weird for necklace stringing. I guess the black chord just doesn't look as classy as a traditional chain. It works though and at least it isn't scratchy on your neck like some chain necklaces.

The pendant itself is solid, as it's a glass tile. The chord is fastened together okay enough, but it isn't nearly as tough.

I believe this is the signature of the creator.

I like this necklace, overall. It's cute, unique and "me".
While we're on the same topic, as I was just looking through the Moodies By Jen Etsy shop again, I came across this.
I swear if I were to buy another necklace from this shop, I'd definitely get this one.
  It's perfffff, and also very "me". As much as I like the one I was sent, I wonder how I missed this one. *scratches head*
Keep Calm and Direct on, retro style, color choices, acting, movie, producer, Director
So, overall, these are cool pieces of jewelry. On the more simple side, but fun and nerdy.
Check out the Moodies By Jen. shop and you'll find scores of other "Keep calm and..." tile necklaces. Scores is not an exaggeration, either.
Note: I was provided this item from Moodies By Jen in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Health Benefits of Running {FabHealthFriday}

So, in the past, I wrote on the importance of getting enough exercise, and also, runners' highs.
Today, I wanted to expound on why exactly running is so beneficial as a means of exercise.
First of all. I know I'm not the only runner here...surely somebody reading this blog also likes to run, be it sprinting or long distance? (By the way, this post relates primarily to distance running just for clarification)
Running has become a very popular way to work out, especially in the last two decades. Really, I think it is the most efficient way to burn calories and maintain fitness and endurance. Not to mention, it's fun (for the most part anyways, haha!) and satisfying, with visible signs of progress along the way.
According to The Runners' Guide,
"There are a number of different benefits which an individual can gain from running on a regular basis. There are some runners who run simply for the joy of running but there are others who run because they realize there are a great deal of benefits which can be gained from rigorous such as running. Some of these benefits may include weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, improved bone health, improved mood and better coordination. 

Those who are looking to lose a few pounds often find running to be one of the most effective forms of exercise for helping them to achieve their ideal body weight. Running is an excellent form of exercise for losing weight because it requires a great deal of energy. This energy requirement means the body burns a large number of calories while running. The number of calories burned while running is typically significantly more than would be burned during less taxing forms of exercise such as walking or doing yoga. The simplest formula for weight loss includes burning off more calories than the individual consumes. When this type of calorie deficit is created, the body begins to shed excess weight in the form of fat. In order to lose one pound of body weight, the body must create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories. This is equal to burning 500 calories per day. Most runners can easily burn off this many calories in less than one hour of exercise. The number of calories burned while running depends on a number of factors including the individual’s weight, the intensity of the workout and the efficiency of the runner."
 Another of the health benefits of running is: much improved sleep. Millions of people suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea and various other sleep related problems and disorders. Several studies have been able to successfully link a positive relationship between running and getting a better nights sleep. (source)

As I wrote about in the my runners' highs post, another great benefit of running is the awesome chemicals which are released into your brain after a good-sized run. What are these chemicals? Endorphins, of course! And, in case you didn't know, they are the very thing which runners' highs come from.
So, not only does running help in assisting in physical health, but also with mental health, by causing you to feel more energetic, happier and overall, in a much better mood. When I run, most of the time I end up feeling like a superhero. Yes, endorphins are that epic.

Oh, and this little graphic above? It totally relates to me on days when I don't get a chance to run. I'm serious! Once you start running, you literally can't stop. And if you happen to miss a're miserable. Isn't that crazy?
One last benefit before I sign off - Running is said to slow the body's aging process.
"Running benefits your health by giving you strong bones and muscles, which means you'll be able to retain your youthful grace and your figure, and with that, your enthusiasm for life and continued endurance and stamina for many years to come." Taken from Health Stories.
This is just a vague covering of the many great things about running. Hopefully, however, it will spur you to either a., preferably start running, so you can experience the awesomeness of it yourself! Or, b., research it further, to gain more knowledge on your own.
I hope this post was beneficial to you and that you learned something new!
Have a blessed day!
Soli Deo Gloria,

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Three Questions Every Writer Should Ask Themselves {WriterlyWednesday}

Today for WriterlyWednesday I'm not going to write a lengthy article-esque post like last time. Why? Well, for one, I don't have the time to do so today. And two, I don't want to bore you guys to death again.
So, today I'm simply going to give you a few questions, which, if you're in a spot of brain-deadness or loss for inspiration towards your WIP, should hopefully help get some wheels turning again in the brainstorming/creative side of your brain.
And, if you're not stuck in writers' block? Well, yay for you. You should be thankful for this because you'd not believe how much writers' block has been plaguing me lately. Gah! So hopefully these three questions will get both the currently inspiration-challenged and the on-a-roll writers thinking deeper about their stories.
Question #1
Think several scenes ahead, even to the end of the plot. Now ask yourself this: Where am I going with this? If you can't answer this fully than consider taking some time simply to plan out how exactly your story will progress and where it's going to go. It's helpful to create a chapter/scene map, assisting with this.
Question #2
Why must I tell this story? Again, if you can't provide a solid answer to this question, than you need to seriously ponder what the point of the whole thing is. Everyone does what they do for a reason, and with all the valuable time you're investing in this WIP, you certainly don't want it to be in vain. People want stories with meaning, that have a reason they must be told. This adds so much to their value and appeal.
Question #3
Think about your main characters/protagonists/whoever you want the book's focus to remain primarily on. Now. What is the worst possible thing that could happen to them? This may sound like a drastic, non relevant question, but just muse on it for a moment and see what comes up. If you're needing a good inciting incident, turning point or climax, "drastic" and dramatic (if accomplished correctly) have major appeal.  Especially in the film industry, for those of you who are writing screenplays. Just thinking about what could turn your MC's life totally upside down - what would wreck their present life and make them reconsider everything they've always known - might just spur a wave of inspiration for an awesome new scene or plot twist.
I know it was only a mere several points; but hopefully that won't matter and you'll have gotten something useful out of them. I am personally a huge fan of asking questions...about everything.
 I find that you can learn so much more - about yourself, the world around you, everything.
Questions are indeed truly wonderful things. What are some you like to ask yourself to keep your writing in check, or to help spur inspiration?
Have a blessed day,

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Life Is A Balance

I don't know about y'all, but lately my life has been full of reminders.
Reminders of how precious time is, and how little of it there really is. Reminders that my childhood is slipping away; and that soon adulthood shall be at my door, beckoning me into its world.
This isn't a bad thing., no not at all. Sometimes however I let it drag me down.
I mean, seriously...the time passes so ridiculously quick, does it not?! If you think on it too much it can get you in a mindset of serious depression.
If you think on it too much.
And forget to be thankful for the days you've already been blessed with.

Something else that's been on my heart lately has been the fact that so easily, things in life can get out of balance.
One particular activity takes center stage while more important things slip to the back burner.
Priorities get misplaced and suddenly you're wasting time on something completely NOT on the schedule.
Unfortunately, it happens oh-so-easily. Without even thinking about it, I manage to do exactly what I
'preach against', so to speak.
Lately, I'll admit that I've struggled with misplaced priorities. I've gotten on Facebook and spent way too long there - whether it be chatting with friends, commenting on other peoples' posts or even just scrolling the newsfeed. I've given it too many of my hours, and for what outcome? How will spending so much time on social networking sites benefit me - or others - in the eternity to come?
When I spend too much time "connecting" on Facebook, what better, more fruitful activities could I be doing instead?
I've also been considering how much time I spend blogging. I currently own four different blogs, and contribute regularly to at least two of them. This has occupied a good portion of my time as well. At least with blogging, I've told myself, I can see visible end-products. I can hope that my posts have touched y'all's hearts and pointed you to the Savior. I can hope that I was able to pass on useful information which might benefit you readers.
Which is more important - blogging about God, or actually spending time with Him?
Please note - I aim not to condemn anything or anyone, but only to raise some heartfelt questions.
If I were to say nothing else but a few more words, I'd say this: Life is a balance.
Everything we do, every choice we make - it's all about balance. You can upset the balance by misplacing priorities and putting important things on the back burner while more trivial items get center stage; or, you can maintain proper balance by making sure the more vital things are accomplished first. And if these things do get accomplished first, everything else will fall into place.
Once, several years ago, I was in a season of almost-too-abundant (wait...who am I kidding? My whole life has been way-too-abundantly blessed!!) blessing and I puzzled over why things were that way. Why had God given me such favor?
My mom gave me an interesting answer. "Because you've been putting Him first in your life". (paraphrased)
I still believe that all my years have been blessed incredibly beyond what I deserve. I do not exaggerate when I say incredibly blessed. It's just truth plain as that.
However, some days you feel the presence of God more than others. There were days when I felt His presence so incredibly often. I had joy that was indescribable. Sure, I had days when I fell out of whack and didn't give Him the time He deserved, but overall that joy was immense and oh-so-wonderful.
I still experience this joy now, but sometimes I wonder if I am subtly pushing my Creator away by the things I do - or don't do - in my days. The choices I make for how I spend my time affect my relationship with Christ. My choices affect my future.
Choices are so important. And it's all the more vital that we make the right ones. ANYTHING can be overdone, or had too much time/energy/thought put into it. Anything can be placed out of balanced, prioritized wrongly. Anything that is, besides God and His Word.

So, I know this was a rambling kind of post. Hopefully it wasn't boring or preachy-sounding to you. I have just had these thoughts on my mind and felt led to share them with y'all.
On a lighter note, summer is here and I can't wait to go to the beach in a few weeks. Above is a collage of photos from 4-5 years ago at our beach hotel we visit every year for our annual family reunion.

This one (yes, I edited it and put a filter on it *grins sheepishly*) was from 3 years ago.
Am I the only one who is loving this jumping-in-photos thing? My brothers and I did the whole shebang before it even got popular, as evident above. ^_^ I hope we can take some more fun jumping pictures this year too.
What are you looking forward to about summer?
Soli Deo gloria,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Handmade Ear Cuffs {review}

Who here has ever worn/tried wearing ear cuffs?
I came across this shop and was fascinated by the concept of ear jewelry which doesn't require pierced ears, to wear...and yet, it's not the old, cumbersome snap-on earrings, either!
Anyways, Jennifer, at Merlin's Apprentice, sent me two different ear cuffs to review.

My favorite is the simple swirly one. It's considerably more solid and fits better on my ear.

I like these cuffs because they look somewhat reminiscent of Elvish couture.

(Majorly messy hair day.)


The only negative with these is, I am still trying to figure out how to wear them properly without them falling out. Maybe I need to just readjust the size of the opening where it hooks around the ear cartilage.
(Edited: Actually, Jennifer commented and told me I was wearing them wrong...this is probably why they kept falling off! See photos of how to really wear them here. Sorry y'all!)

Find where you can get your own hand-made ear cuffs here!
This is definitely a unique accessory. I will likely be using these in upcoming elvish costumes and movie attire.
What do y'all think of ear cuffs? Have you ever worn them?
P.S. Only four more days to enter my guitar string earrings giveaway! Go check it out while you can!
Oh, and what do you think of the new blog header I fashioned the other day? I thought it was time for a change...something brighter, and more summer-y.

 Note: I was provided this item from Merlin's Apprentice in exchange for my honest review. All opinions remain mine and mine alone.

Friday, May 10, 2013

White Tree of Gondor Pendant Necklace! {review}

Howdy, y'alls!
Well, after some brief technical glitches I'm back again, bringing you another review post, this time, generously hosted by KaielDesigns!
SO. I was sent an awesome White Tree of Gondor necklace.
First off, the packaging alone was just so perfect! And, I don't know if it was intentionally done this way or not, but it actually happened to even match the pendant!

And as far as the pendant goes, I'm in love with it. Well okay. It's a piece of jewelry, maybe that's a little over the top to say about such a thing. But you get my point. ^_^ I really, really like it.

It is a very solid piece; actually, both the pendant and chain are quite solid. I love the length of the chain, and of course I adore the pendant's style, being a big LOTR fan! More specifically, another reason I like this is because one of my favorite characters from the series happens to be Aragorn. And who can tell me where he came from and eventually ruled as king? *winks*
So yeah. I have been wearing this everywhere.

To be honest? It's one of my favorite review items I've received so far.
And, not to mention, I've already gotten several compliments from fellow LOTR fan friends of mine. *grins*

Hannah, the owner of KaielDesigns, even included a handwritten note! I just love handwritten letters and notes so this made it all the more fun.

Here you'll notice the firm backing of the pendant.

And, another view of the front since I couldn't help but take another picture.
The bottom line: I give this a double thumbs up, and if I had more thumbs, I'd add them to the rating too! So, cutting through the totally-random lingo right there, what I'm saying is, I really, really like this piece and would certainly recommend this shop.
Purchase your own White Tree of Gondor necklace here!
Speaking of which, why not head over and check it out for yourself? (Click here!) There are some really cute necklaces and other geeky accessories!
What did you think of this review? Which is your favorite Middle Earth country/province?
Note: I was provided this item from KaielDesigns in exchange for my honest review. All opinions remain my own.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ColorCove Narnia Necklace {review}

I was sent this adorable Chronicles of Narnia necklace from ColorCove a couple weeks ago.
Since I was young girl, the Chronicles of Narnia has been a series much beloved on my bookshelf, and the first Disney film they made, the rendition of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", I love almost as much as the book itself.  
Well guess what is on this necklace?

That's right, cover art from the second novel in C.S. Lewis' treasured fantasy series!

Isn't that so cool? I love the old, booksy feel the art on the tile pendant has.

The pendant came with two different means of stringing - one, a maroon two-piece ribbon, and the other, a blue chord shown above. Personally I liked the maroon ribbon best. It gives a nice contrast with the glass pendant.

I know my face looks disgusting with all the acne...Or, as we call it in the south, zits. But that will be a post to come in the future, maybe for FabHealthFriday - acne/zit prevention....*sigh*
Anyways. I'm getting off topic already. (As usual!)
Overall, I think this a very cute necklace, especially for those who are great Narnia fans!
If you'd like to get one of your own, here's the link!
ColorCove has literally myriads of other glass tile necklaces, military dogtag style pendants, and more...Why not take a look at their shop?
I know there's been so much lately here about LOTR...but what do y'all think of Narnia inspired jewelry?
Note: I was provided this item from ColorCove in exchange for my honest opinion.