Archive | March, 2012

March / April 2012 Issue

March / April 2012 Issue

Right at Your Back Door

Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area

Creative Reuse Has Come to Denton

SCRAP Denton

Why Should I Care What I Feed My Dog?

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Just Say Ahh…

Just Say Ahh…

by Taryn S. McColpin

Ahh, March…Spring is almost here, and there are telltale signs everywhere.  The green and blue trash bins at the curb are overflowing, there is a long line of cars at the dump on Saturdays, and the Garage Sale section of the Denton Record Chronicle Classifieds has grown from a half-column to two full ones.

And why is all of this the harbinger of the season? Because it’s all about our STUFF, which has its own holiday: Spring Cleaning.

How do we accumulate so much stuff? So much stuff that there are never enough closets in a house, no matter if there are 10 or 20. (Nature abhors a vacuum, and we fill the closet vacuum with our stuff. Have you ever visited an occupied home where there is even one empty closet?) So much stuff that there is an industry devoted to decluttering, which is ironic in this age of consumption and the constant hurry to acquire more stuff.  So much stuff that some of it has its own home: a storage unit, where we can house our stuff and visit it occasionally when we pay its rent.

We keep our stuff because it is somehow painful to part with it. We might forget that happy time if we don’t keep that memento. We might need those rubber bands or ketchup packets and not have them.  We might fit into those ten-year-old jeans again, even if they’re out of style. Some of us keep our stuff to pass on to our children, who have their own stuff, but would, of course, value our old stuff we want to pass on to them. Right?

Then, every year, with winter creeping away and the promise of spring hovering in our subconscious, comes the urge to clean house. We might do it because our mothers did it, we might do it because our spouses nag us to do it, or we might do it because we just plain have to, before the Hoarders TV crew shows up at our doorstep.
The origins of spring cleaning harken back to prehistoric days, when the extra light allowed people to see the messy state of their caves and the time and warmth to clean them. Then when houses became the favored domiciles, people kept them shut tight against the cold of winter while heating them with coal, oil, and wood, and spring allowed for an airing out and cleaning of all that residue.

Spring cleaning can also be traced to the ancient Jewish practice of cleansing the home before Passover. Jews are not only supposed to refrain from leavened foodstuffs, they are also expressly commanded to rid their homes of even the smallest remnants of such, and observant Jews conduct a thorough cleaning of the house prior to the spring holiday.

This urge may have more to do with simple biology. During winter, we’re exposed to less sunlight due to shorter days, and the pineal gland produces melatonin, a hormone that induces sleepiness in humans. With the advent of spring and more sunlight, our bodies produce much less melatonin. It’s easy to allow a house to get a little messy when you’re sleepy, and easier to clean when your days are longer and you have more energy.

There is some kind of subconscious extension of our feelings out into the stuff we own, and if we have lots of boxes of unused or extraneous things, then it is almost like having extra layers of visceral fat. Take some deep breaths, muster up some courage to be honest, and ask yourself a few questions about your stuff: What am I holding on to? Why am I hesitant to let go? How does this item serve me or not serve me?

Clutter takes up valuable resources – space, money, time, energy – without providing any tangible benefit. How much of your square footage is designated for storage? If you didn’t need so much space for your stuff, could you live in a smaller, less expensive home? What about the time and effort you invest in caring for your belongings that could be better spent on other pursuits? Don’t forget the expenditure of emotional energy; ownership can weigh heavy on a person’s mind. (What if someone steals my stuff? What if a tornado blows it all away?)  How often has the stress you experience in your life been related to your material possessions?

When you create space in your home and get organized, you feel calmer and less stressed. Spring cleaning really has new meaning when we link it to cleaning out the cobwebs of our minds. How are we to allow in new thoughts and ideas if we are holding on to the old thoughts? Making room for the new can be healing and therapeutic. When we rid ourselves of outdated and unnecessary stuff, whether in our living spaces or our minds, we create space for newness to come in. In a way, it’s a rebirth process. Just like Spring.

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Community Takes On the Fight

Community Takes On the Fight

Lace up those shoes, stretch those muscles and be part of a community fight…it’s Relay time again!

The 17th annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life is on April 21-22 from 3:00 pm – 6:00 am at UNT’s Fouts Field.  It’s a “celebration of life” that brings the community together in a unified effort to fight cancer and symbolizes the battle cancer patients face after they are diagnosed with the disease.  The group is dedicated to saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, and advocacy.

Relay For Life is a fun-filled, overnight event that mobilizes the community to celebrate survivors and remember loved ones. Teams gather to participate and raise funds for the American Cancer Society’s research, education, advocacy and patient service programs.

“Cancer does not stop at nighttime, so we’re not going to stop at nighttime either,” said Kendra Williams, Relay For Life of Denton Chair. “We hope the community will join us in this fight.”

What we are in need of:
Relay Teams:  families, co-workers, friends and youth groups
Sponsorships:  businesses are a vital part of this event
Volunteers:  get involved and make this event part of your fight

We want to honor survivors. Come be part of the survivor activities, and be honored for the courage of your battle as well as pass the torch of hope on to others battling cancer.  Cancer does not discriminate – it affects everyone. Fight back against the disease that has attacked a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, friend or even yourself. This is why we Relay!!!

It is about a community taking up the fight, contact Kendra 940-206-3831

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Local Salon Gives Back

Local Salon Gives Back

It was their first makeover event and we are not surprised that this salon has decided to make this an annual event. HeadRush the Salon recently ran a contest to select a few deserving local people for makeovers and the event was a huge success. Entries were submitted and the heart felt process was started for each stylist to choose, from the pool of contestants, their selection for their special pampering and makeover.

Clients chosen would get to discover the joy of looking and feeling their absolute best because of an event where it was all about them.

As it turns out the rewards were greater than might have been initially expected.  The stylists were especially blessed from those “seeds they had planted” and reminded of the simple joy they get to spread doing what they do every day. It was a night where they could let their talents affect the lives of really deserving people.

For the makeover clients, the energy was inspiring and uplifting with wonderful shared stories, a lot of laughter and fun. Professional photographer Chris Arnet donated his time and superior talent to photograph the makeover event, as well as before and after photos for the winners to have.  You can find Chris at

If you are a stylist, salon owner, or know one, please check out their Facebook page the Salon for information on taking this event out of Denton and across America.  HeadRush the Salon is a “pay it forward” group of people and let’s keep the spirit of giving alive!

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If The Shoe Fits…

If The Shoe Fits…

by Lauren McKelvey

Nobody can ever have too many pairs of shoes.  Shoes are a girl’s best friend.  This spring, shoes are one of the main focuses in fashion.  With new styles and trends rising, it’s definitely time to go shoe shopping.  If the shoe fits…buy it in every color!

Perhaps the most controversial trend in footwear this season is the “shootie.”  This interesting spring shoe combines the concept of fall’s bootie with the styles and trends of spring sandals.  The “shootie” is literally a sheer bootie made of materials like mesh, netting, and vinyl.  Whether these shoes are for you or not, they’ll be everywhere in the coming months.

If the “shootie” is too bold to rock on your feet this spring, fear not – there are plenty of other simpler trends in footwear for the season.  Big chunky heels will be taking over not only the runway, but also the sidewalks as a casual day-to-day heel.  Look for a variety of these block heels in cork, wood, and so much more.

The minimalist approach really stands out this season so don’t be afraid to go almost barefoot with simple strappy shoes with a skinny heel.  This trend is a great way to show off your new pedicure with a fun and flirty sundress and strappy sandal combo.

Cuffed heels are another hot trend for the spring.  These heels can be a variety of different styles but they all have one thing in common: the ankle cuff.  Unfortunately, this cuff can be difficult to pull off for everybody and should be worn with discretion.

For ladies with long and slender legs, a thick cuff with decorative buttons or buckles is ideal and for shorter legs, try a more strappy cuff with a wedge heel and a shorter dress to lengthen the legs.

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Reclaim Dinner Time Together

by Anna Love PhD, RD, LD, MCHES, Dietitian,

Last week I spoke with two women about family dinners. One woman said, “I’m lucky if my family eats together 3 times a week.” The other woman replies, “We haven’t used our kitchen table in weeks. If we eat together, it’s because we are watching the same TV show.”  Sound familiar? Here’s an update of the national trends on family meals:

•  Over 50% of families surveyed nationally report eating together 3-5 times a week.
•  As children grow up the frequency of family meals declines. Twice the number of 12-year-olds (55%) as 17-year-olds (26%) report eating dinner with their families 7 days a week.
•  About 27% of families reported eating meals together 7 days a week while about 23% of families ate meals together 2 or fewer days a week.

So what difference does it really make? Well, maybe more than you think. The list of benefits and reduced risks associated with eating together as a family are tremendous, especially for children and young teens.  A positive relationship exists between the following child wellbeing indicators and eating family meals together (as family dinners increase, so do positive child wellbeing outcomes):  academic achievement, language development, vocabulary growth and a better commitment to learning, positive values, better sleep, increased fruit and vegetable intake (in both children and adults)

What’s more, as the number of family dinners together goes up, the following high-risk behaviors go down:
•  Substance use
•  Sexual activity
•  Behavior problems in school
•  Depressive symptoms
•  Body mass index/ body mass index percentile (children and adults)
•  High fat/sugar intake (children and adults)
•  Disordered eating

In fact, the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reports that teens having family dinners fewer than three nights a week are at two to four times the risk for substance abuse compared to teens who have dinner with their families five to seven nights per week.

There is no single daily activity that we do as a family with more regularity and no better opportunity to develop the physical and mental health of your family, especially from childhood into adolescence. If you think you’re too busy to invest the time, think again.

Here’s my challenge to you Denton County: Choose just one more night this next week to invite your entire family for Dinner Time Together. For college students and single professionals, broaden your scope of family to include neighbors and friends. Share your experiences at Bon Appetit!

See for references to this article and free tips to make this challenge easier.

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