By Amy Shearn
Photo: ThinkstockOld Lesson: Pay Off Your Mortgage ASAP
Here's what I've been taught about money: It's not good to be in debt, and therefore it is good to pay off debts as quickly as possible, including a mortgage. Turns out, this conventional wisdom is a holdover from a different time. Carmen Wong Ulrich, the president and co-founder of ALTA Wealth Management, told me: "People think that it's a good idea to pre-pay a mortgage and/or pay a mortgage off ASAP." What's wrong with that? "This advice comes from a previous couple of generations who had horrible interest rates on their mortgages--in the 1980s, the average mortgage interest rate was in the teens. Imagine--my dad, who had great credit, was paying 17% on his mortgage. That's expensive. Today, mortgage rates are at incredible lows--you should be in no rush."
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Old Lesson: Bank with the Local Guy
Supporting local businesses is great, but you don't need to follow your parents' footsteps in
Blog Posts by Oprah.com
By Amy ShearnRead More »from Outdated Money Rules to Break Today
- Oprah.com | Healthy Living – Tue, Feb 12, 2013 6:43 PM EST
Photo: ThinkstockBy Jena Pincott
Mistake #1: Skipping Your Morning Joe
Too many cups of coffee make you feel as restless as a puppet and as highly strung. So the smart thing to do when you're stressed is to avoid the stuff completely, right? Not necessarily, finds a study at the U.K.'s University of Bristol. So long as you're female. When women collaborated with other women under nerve-racking conditions (like most stress studies, public speaking was involved), they performed better when they drank about three cups of caffeinated coffee (compared to decaf). They trusted their colleagues more, had more confidence in their performance and coped better overall. Meanwhile, coffee-drinking male groups performed worse under pressure. Stressed women often "tend and befriend," the researchers contend, while their male counterparts resort to "fight or flight." Caffeine appears to augment these behaviors--and, at least for women, that's a real perk.
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Photo: Oprah.comBy Nathalie GormanRead More »from How to Find $1680 in Your Bedroom
Your Bed Frame
If you've been thinking about replacing your bed but need a bit more cash, consider selling your current one--especially if it's the Ikea Edland. A frame from the Swedish vendor might not seem like a covetable item, but the Edland was dubbed the world's most popular bed by the cult home-design blog Apartment Therapy. It's certainly been featured in many a design magazine spread. Since it was discontinued recently, its desirability has increased, and you can expect to receive at least $150 when you sell yours.
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Photo: ThinkstockFramed Prints
Whether it's an old magazine cover or a rendering of sailboats gliding across a bay, almost any image in a frame will net you some cash on eBay. Assuming you're not waking up each day to a heretofore undiscovered print by Picasso, the going rate is about $30.
Your steamer trunk went with you to college. It was the coffee table in your first
Photo: Oprah.comPersonal trainer Ulrick Bien-Aimé had been working with harried corporate executives for years when he noticed something interesting: Many of his clients complained of feeling both physical and emotional stress in their lower back. "Stiffness in the body was the number one issue I heard during workouts," says Bien-Aimé. "When we're anxious or stressed, many of us don't breathe or contract our abdominal muscles properly, and tension builds up." To help clients release trapped energy, he made these four moves mandatory (hold each pose for 15 seconds).Read More »from 4 Exercise Moves that Help You Destress
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Start by lying on your back with your legs straight and your hands on your abdomen, about two inches below your navel. Inhale slowly through your nostrils and focus on pulling in your belly. Exhale gradually while pushing your abdomen toward your back.
Next, bring your knees to your chest while continuing to inhale and exhale. Remember not to hold your breath--whenever you extend or exert energy, you
- Oprah.com | Love + Sex – Mon, Feb 4, 2013 6:50 PM EST
Photo: ThinkstockBy Dr. Mehmet OzRead More »from Roadblocks to Intimacy--and How to Get Around Them
Roughly 53 percent of Americans say they're too worn out at the end of the day to fool around, according to a poll by Consumer Reports. To power up your sex life, consider powering down your gadgets. New research indicates that the backlight from the screens of electronics may be the reason you're not getting a good night's rest (the light tricks the brain by simulating daylight, making you less likely to fall asleep). A study by the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that two hours of screen time before bed suppressed melatonin--the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep schedule--by about 23 percent.
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Chronic Conditions Are Taking a Toll
High blood pressure and diabetes can decrease blood flow in arteries, which may make it more difficult to get aroused. If you're unable to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar levels in check through diet and exercise,
Photo: ThinkstockBy Corrie PikulRead More »from What to Eat when You're Feeling Blue
Oranges and papaya are high in vitamin B6 and folic acid, both of which have been found to be lacking in studies in patients who suffer from depression.
Added perk: Many people swear that these fruits, with their pleasantly tangy scent and cheery orange hues, help wake up the senses.
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The Thinking Woman's Pick-Me-Up
Fish oil is famously high in polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential to brain function and cardiovascular health. While there is an established link between people with depression and low levels of these omega-3 fatty acids, scientists are still trying to definitively prove that the reverse is also true. Some encouraging studies found that omega-3s have boosted the mood-elevating power of prescription antidepressants; in another large study, omega-3 supplements improved the symptoms of those diagnosed with depression but who do not suffer from anxiety (although this research was funded
Photo: ThinkstockBy Jenny Bailly
UnscentedRead More »from 4 Bogus Skincare Claims
What you think it means: Free of any fragrances.
What it really means: The product doesn't have a detectable odor--but may contain fragrances to mask its natural scent. If you're trying to avoid fragrance ingredients (which are the most common allergens found in skincare products), "fragrance-free" is a better label to look for--although it, too, can be tricky. "If the primary reason for including a fragrance is not related to scent--some fragrances, for example, can act as preservatives--then a product may still be labeled fragrance-free," says Baumann.
What to look for instead: If possible, test products labeled fragrance-free on your inner wrist and wait a day to see if you have any reaction. You can also scan ingredient lists for the most common fragrances that cause allergies: cinnamic alcohol, cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol, hydroxy-citronellal, geraniol, isoeugenol, and oak moss absolute.
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Photo: ThinkstockBy Lynn AndrianiRead More »from 6 Low-Cal Ingredients Every Kitchen Needs
The New Asian Green
As meatless mains become, well, mainstream, we're seeing more interesting vegetables in produce aisles. Komatsuna is one; it's a leafy green that's rich in vitamins and minerals. Like kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, it has a lot of flavor and can punch up everything from soup to pasta. Earthbound Farm has just started selling a mix it calls Zen Blend, which includes komatsuna, baby spinach, baby kale, red pak choi and red mizuna. Eat it raw in salads; sauté it with garlic and olive oil and stir into pasta or serve as a side dish; or add a fistful to soup in the last five minutes of cooking.
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The Sneaky Baking Staple
You may have occasionally baked with applesauce before, but what you may not realize is that you can use any variety, smooth or chunky, in nearly any baked good, from pound cake to cranberry muffins to brownies. By replacing half of whatever fat the recipe calls for--such
Photo: Mauricio Alejo
By Nancy Kalish
Exhaust fumes, smog, secondhand smoke: When you step outside, you expect to be exposed to unhealthy elements lurking in the air. But if you think staying indoors is automatically safer, think again. Your home can be up to five times more polluted with common organic chemicals than outdoor air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And in winter, as you keep windows locked tight to seal in warmth, you could be inhaling a concentrated cocktail of potentially dangerous chemicals found in products like air fresheners and cleaning supplies.
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Detoxify the Way You Clean
The cleansers, sprays, and stain removers you use to keep your home spotless are major sources of indoor toxins. A 2012 guide of more than 2,100 common cleaning products by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research organization, found that 53 percent contained chemicals like sodium or potassium hydroxide, whichRead More »from Is Your Home Making You Sick?