Gearing up for the Breast Cancer Walk: How to Prepare

walking-crowdMillions of people across the country are getting ready to lace up their sneakers to walk in support of breast cancer research and awareness. If you’re one of the millions gearing up for the Breast Cancer Walk, here are some ideas on how to prepare before you set out on your journey.

Before the Walk

Walking isn’t the most strenuous of exercises, but it’s still exercise and when you’re walking for miles, it takes training. The amount of time you spend on training depends on the distance your charity walk is. Generally, you’ll want to walk 30 minutes five days a week, increasing the walk time by five minutes each week. Use a 13-mile training schedule as a guide for your training. Walk rain or shine during your training because you never know what the weather will be on the day of the big walk.

Make sure you have shoes dedicated to walking. When you walk for exercise, you walk differently than you would doing errands or going to work and your shoes adapt to how you walk. This can reduce your risk of injury and blisters.

Stay Motivated

Walk with a training group for some of your walks. This can give you a chance to meet other people walking for your cause. Another way to stay motivated is by keeping a walking log or journal where you can track your progress.

Information

As walk day approaches, start gathering information about what you’ll need on the day of the race. Generally, organizers send you a walk day packet or send you information on where to pick up your packet. The packet can include:

  • Information on how to get to the start and when you should arrive
  • Your number
  • Safety pins for your number

tying-shoeWalk Day

Carry as little as possible. It takes a lot of energy to carry even small items. The longer you carry something, the heavier it feels and it uses energy you need to get across the finish line. Items you should carry:

  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Poncho or light rain jacket
  • Protein bars
  • First aid kit (small)

Wear moisture wicking clothes. Moisture wicking clothes draws moisture away from your body so your body can regulate its temperature based on the elements rather than moisture gathered on your body.

Drink before you get thirsty and eat before you get hungry. Eat about 100 calories each hour you’re walking. Staying hydrated and energized can keep you going and you’ll feel less exhausted toward the end.

Start slow. When the walk begins, the crowd can be big and hard to navigate. When the crowd thins out, start walking at a comfortable pace for you. Be aware and respectful of other walkers and volunteers. Walk only in designated areas.

After the Walk

Now that you’ve completed the big Breast Cancer Walk, you’ve got a great base for an exercise regimen. Keep it up and start thinking about your next charity walk. Do good things for a good cause and do good things for yourself.

walking-foot

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

We’re flipping through the catalog to pass the time between now and when the weekend starts. We’ve picked out some items we can’t wait to use now that the weather is finally warm! Here are LTD’s product picks for the week.

hanging-lantern

This Solar Scrolled Hanging Lantern enhances your outdoor space with elegant accent lighting featuring beautiful scrollwork. A ring on the handle makes it easy to hang from any hook. It has a solar panel on top that uses the sun’s energy to automatically power the light at night. 

think-big-sports

Now kids can practice their favorite sports right in their own backyard! Whether your kids are into soccer or basketball, we have the set for them! Each set comes with an oversized inflatable plastic ball and accessories that are safe and fun to use. Kick the soccer ball through the goal cones or shoot the basketball through the hoop. 

 

you-frame-it

Transform your most cherished photos into framed canvas artwork in your own home in a matter of minutes. With the Flipo You Frame It system, you can take any image from a camera or cell phone, print it on specially formulated canvas paper, then frame it. Printing is done on your inkjet printer without the need for special ink or computer software.

 

can-coolers

MLB Coleman 24-Can Cooler is easy to carry wherever the action takes you. Its adjustable strap has a shoulder pad embroidered with the Coleman logo. Full-color MLB team logo is embroidered on the cooler’s front panel. Made of 600D polyester, the soft-sided cooler is lined with PEVA. Includes a carabiner clip and mesh carry pouches on the sides. 

tickin-tater

The Tick N’ Tater Water Balloon Game takes the traditional game of hot potato and cools it down. Fill up a water balloon, then place it inside the Tick N’ Tater. Set the attached timer and start passing it around. When the timer runs out, the balloon will burst, soaking the person holding it. This easy game is a refreshing and fast-paced way to spend a hot afternoon outdoors.

 

Throw Back Thursday: What would you have given your sibling for Sibling Day 25 years ago?

It’s Sibling Day and in honor of our sisters and brothers, we’re looking at our catalog of yesteryear and thinking about what we might have given our siblings on Sibling Day 25 years ago. Here’s a glimpse at LTD Commodities teen gift offerings from 1989.

sibling-acid-wash-denim

Wouldn’t your brother or sister love a new backpack? These fancy acid wash denim backpacks can catch any teenager’s eye – from Alex P. Keaton to The Karate Kid, everyone wants acid wash. Madras tie, geometric shapes sweater and bandanas sold separately.

Sibling-electric-guitar

If your brother or sister is musically inclined, the Song Maker Electronic Amplified Guitar with Stage Microphone ad Speaker box promises hours of magical fun. This is pretty amazing – the guitar is pre-strung with six real steel guitar strings and the microphone stand is adjustable. There are no messy wires to deal with because it operates on four “C” batteries. The only thing missing is an electric keyboard…

 

sibling-piano-calculator…and here it is — in the form of a calculator! This Mini-Piano Melody Calculator will allow the nerdy brother or sister to choose between musician and mathematician with the flip of a switch. Yes, you can actually play the piano on this calculator! It comes with two pens and batteries are included.

karaoke-machineIf your sibling’s talent is in vocals, loading up a cassette tape will be loads of fun with this Sing-Along Cassette Player/Recorder. You and sis can have “inspired jam sessions” at “the beach, a slumber party or a picnic.” Your parents will be delighted to hear the gift that keeps giving when the auto-stop reminds you to flip the cassette tape.

Sibling-mini-headphone-radio

Not all siblings have musical talent. Some of them choose to listen – for those siblings, perhaps you can add music to their life with an AM- FM Mini Headphone Radio. How cool would it be to exercise to music without getting tangled in a cord? The only thing you have to worry about is keeping the tuner in the right spot on the dial. At the price of $4.95 each, you can buy one for yourself, too, it does, after all, adjust to fit any size head.

sibling-shoe-phone

What teenager doesn’t want a shoe phone? This one comes in the shape of a pump and all the cool girls have one. The Shoe Fashion Phone is designed with impact resistant high gloss plastic so it can stand up to Sally’s wrath when she’s having a bad hair day.  It’s Tone/Pulse Switchable, has last number redial and comes with – get this – Fully Modular Plugs.

 

sibling-ultimate-equalizerFor the jokester … the Ultimate Equalizer is the ultimate Sibling Day gift. This is awesome. Totally awesome.  This little box is a noisemaker in the shape of a radar detector. It relieves tension and hostility the fun way! When someone makes your brother mad, he can just turn on the flashing lights and choose from noises that include “auto machine gun, grenade launcher, death ray, and rifle gun”.  It will freak your brother’s enemies out. It’s the “crowning option for combating frustrations.” It can be mounted on a desk or dashboard.

sibling-vhs-rewinderAnd for the sibling who keeps racking up fees for returning video rentals without rewinding – give your sibling a practical and helpful gift. The Cassette Rewinder allows you to watch the latest episode of Full House that you recorded while rewinding that Mathew Modine movie that you missed when it was in the theaters.  It comes with the choice of VHS or Beta.

Of course, it’s 2014 and not 1989 so those items, to our disappointment, are no longer available at LTD Commodities, and our catalog has been updated with items you would be equally excited to give to your sibling today. Check it out.

 

Tax Day Countdown: Tax Deductions You Didn’t Know About

TAx-form-with-cashThe countdown to tax day is on. If you haven’t already filed your taxes, consider yourself lucky. Here are 7 tax deductions you didn’t know about.

1. Generosity If you loaned money to a friend or family member and they didn’t pay you back, don’t sweat it. Unpaid personal loans are tax deductible. Uncle Sam is looking out for you if you were being a little too generous this year. This also includes unpaid child support. You can read more about it in Publication 535, Business Expenses and Publication 550, Investment Income and Expenses on the IRS website.

2. Home Office Getting tax relief for your home office is a little bit easier this year. The IRS simplified the option for you this year and they’ll you deduct $5 per square foot of your home office up to 300 square feet.

Tax-file3. Sales Tax If your income tax was low this year, you may want to look into how much sales tax you paid. You can claim your sales tax rather than your income tax. If you spent a lot of money, it may be worth going through your receipts and adding it all up. In addition to sales tax, if you didn’t get a state income refund last year, you can deduct it from your taxes this year.

4. Seasoned Students Even if you finished college 20 years ago, you can still get tax relief for returning to school. You can get up to a $4,000 deduction in your income tax for post-secondary education to improve your skills or add to them.

5. Early Withdrawal Penalties When you have money tied up in a time deposit account (like a certificate of deposit) and you make early an withdrawal, money that you give up in interest is tax deductible. Refer to page 18 in the IRS Publication 550 for more information.

6. Made in the USA Uncle Sam wants to keep business in the family. If you make goods here in the United States, you get up to a 9% deduction of your adjusted gross income. However, if your business involves oil, this amount is significantly reduced. You can learn more about this in the instructions for IRS Form 8903.

Tax-form7. Alimony If you are contributing income to a former spouse in the form of alimony, this money is tax deductible. This money has to be part of the divorce settlement — and other details of the divorce agreement, like child support, are not tax deductible. More can be found on the IRS website on Tax Topic 452.

Tax time is taxing, but if you do your homework, it doesn’t have to be as damaging to your wallet as you expect it to.

 

April Fool’s Day: 5 of Recent History’s Great Pranks

People all over the world go all out to trick people on April Fool’s Day every year. One of the best and most elaborate pranks of all time was a British news segment about the Spaghetti Harvest in Switzerland that was broadcast in 1957. It takes a lot to fool anyone, but to really trick someone on April Fool’s Day like that takes some intelligence. Here are 5 of recent history’s great pranks:

eiffel-tower

Image credit: aparisguide.com

1986 Moving the Eiffel Tower

Parisians were up in arms over an announcement that the Eiffel Tower would be moved to Euro Disney. French newspaper Le Parisien said it was part of the 1992 Summer Olympic bid plan – the site of the Eiffel Tower would become part of the world stage. To the relief of Parisians, moving the Eiffel Tower was a joke, but, to their disappointment, the erection of Euro Disney was not a joke and the Olympic bid went to Barcelona.

1997 The Great Comics Switcheroonie

The funny papers got even funnier when readers opened the newspapers to find the comics jumbled – the characters had out-comic-strip experiences. Garfield and Jon were staying at the Bumsteads’s house (Blondie), Luann was babysitting Trixie from Hi and Lois, and Elizabeth and Michael in For Better or For Worse were speaking suspiciously like Mother Goose and Grimm. It was all part of a very elaborate hoax from the comic strip authors – they all got together and traded comics to write. It’s now referred to as the Great Comics Switcheroonie.

bass-fish

Image credit: cplandandlakes.com

2000 Snoozing Fish

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) threatened to subvert a fishing tournament in Texas by putting the fish to sleep. PETA announced they would fill the lake with tranquilizers before the tournament so the fish would nap rather than bite. Tournament organizers took the threat seriously and assigned officers to the lake to keep PETA members from carrying out the plan. Shockingly, PETA organizers admitted the idea was a hoax.

2010 Pet Sounds

The geeks at Google appealed to the furry side of British search engine users. Google.co.uk unveiled an application that would allow pet owners to understand meowing, barking, squeaks and what have you. The Google Translate for Animals claimed to convert animal noises to English. Brits figured out the application was too good to be true and now settle on guessing what Snowball is meowing about and what’s behind Rover’s woof.

2013 Virgin’s Glass Bottom Plane

virgin-airplane

Image credit: elitechoice.org

Richard Branson has been dazzling people with his innovative ideas through his Virgin brand for more than 40 years. From record stores to orbital launch vehicles, nothing seems to be too outrageous for Virgin to try – except for, maybe, the glass-bottomed plane. The fake announcement was made on April Fool’s Day 2013. They called it “Little Red” offering flights over Britain and hopes for flights abroad. Flights through Virgin Air are still possible, but expect to look down and see neutral colored carpet rather than vibrant greens of the British Isles when you fly.

 

Pinteresting Picks for March

Slowly but surely, we’re easing our way into spring. According to our Pinterest followers, some home maintenance is underway and a little summer planning is starting flower in our minds. Here are our Pinteresting picks for March.

Lodge-log-shelvesWhy put up a regular shelf when you can put up a log shelf? Give your home a cabin feel without ever leaving the city with the Lodge Log Shelves. The realistic look of chopped wood that adds a touch of nature to any home.  They’re sturdy enough to hold books or any of your rustic treasures.

turtle-stepping-stonesKeeping critters in your garden can help keep your plants safe. These adorable Mosaic Stepping Stones come as a family of turtles or a family of frogs. Each piece is set with glass mosaic chips that reflect the sunlight for an eye-catching effect. While they’re lovely to look at they also give walkers a place to put their feet so they won’t damage your flowers.

Easy-change-artwork-framesGranny and gramps will be so excited to have a special frame to show off work from their little artists. It’s easy to change the art and there’s a built-in mat to keep to work straight. The wooden frame is inscribed with sentiments and has enough space for about 42 pieces behind the display.

floating-water-barFloating the water never tasted so good. This Floating Water Bar lets you bring the party in the pool — it even comes with floating chairs so it’s like being in a bar only better! It’s perfect for lounging on a sunny afternoon or it can be a great addition to your next party.

Signs Your Lawn is Toxic

You might not think of something as benign as your lawn in terms of being toxic or not, but the truth is that it can very well be the case. A lawn can be considered toxic for a number of reasons, but the results are always detrimental. Here are signs your lawn is toxic and what to do if it is.

bermuda grass

Sleepy Grass One reason your lawn could be toxic is due to a type of vegetation known as sleepy grass. It’s found throughout the Midwest and in southern states like Texas and New Mexico as well as Hawaii. Sleepy grass prefers to grow in dry soil.

While it doesn’t look problematic, sleepy grass has a fungus in it which contains ergoline compounds. Lysergic acid amide is a good example of this. Scientists believe it is this fungus that causes the sedative effects in any mammals that ingest it. As the name suggests, they literally fall asleep.

Bermuda Grass Bermuda grass is another example of a type of grass you want nowhere near your lawn, although it looks plain enough. The texture of Bermuda grass is indistinguishable from other common varieties. It has a grayish green color and a short build.

The plant isn’t actually from Bermuda. It’s an invasive species there and has caused all kinds of problems. Because it’s believed the grass traveled from Bermuda to America, it was given the name of the island.

This grass likes warmer environments, meaning it’s quite at home down south. It grows quickly and it’s extremely tough. Bermuda grass is great for sports fields because it can take damage and quickly recover. However, it’s also believed that Bermuda grass is quite toxic and, if you don’t like the way it looks, you’ll have a hard time ridding yourself of it. This is a very common type of grass in the south and Florida — a lawn care program in Pinellas County is a must! West central Florida is right off of the gulf and the weather stays warm all year yet we have plenty of rainfall which allows this plant to grow very rapidly.

Organochlorines Unfortunately, sometimes you’re to blame for your yard being toxic. You add certain substances to your yard with the best of intentions, but these chemicals end up being the last thing they need. In the end, your yard becomes toxic.

Organochlorines are a good example. These chemicals include toxic compounds like aldrin, DDT, chloroform, tetrachloroethylene, PCBs, heptachlor and dieldrin.

These chemicals can have positive effects in terms of lawn care on a short term scale. However, over the long term, their presence can be destructive to all forms of life. If you have pets that enjoy your lawn, they’ll be especially at risk. Even you and your family can suffer the consequences of these chemicals. Your symptoms could include nausea, anemia, lung damage, convulsions, central nervous system damage, hypertension, and even cancer.

Solutions Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do. First, learn to recognize the aforementioned toxic grass. The first step is knowing if you have it. Keep in mind, depending on how much of a lawn you have on your property, you may not notice either type as an invasive species.

So one way to deal with it is simply to dig it out and remove it altogether, replacing it with a healthier, more natural form of grass. But this invasive method is very expensive. Instead, try using an all natural product on it that can kill it off. You can also use all natural methods like mowing and irrigation to dry out the toxic grass and only the toxic grass, leaving everything else just fine.

When it comes to toxic chemicals that could be in your lawn, your one and only solution is to switch over to a non-toxic alternative. There are many ways to handle your lawn without using harmful chemicals. This includes conditioning it long before it can become an issue. Take the proper steps prior to your growing season and you’ll have a much better lawn to look forward to.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably a bit surprised by what can be lurking outside your front door. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to catch the problem before it becomes destructive or dangerous. Just look for the above signs and follow an organic regimen to rid yourself of the problem.

>Pete Kontakos is a certified wrestling coach and has experience in the retail industry and restaurant industry as a General and District manager.

Ideas to Make Your Garden Shed Unique

It’s time to think about spring home improvement projects to beautify your home for summer.

 garden-shed

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jollyroberts

 

If you’re thinking about adding to your garden or improving it, a great way to dress up or create new focal points by adding a garden shed. Other than the small structure holding all your gardening tools, it can become a showpiece. It doesn’t take much time or money to create anything from a cute dollhouse or an eye-catching central point. 

By the addition of windows, window flower boxes and shrubbery, a garden shed can begin to look more elaborate. Go rustic by planting a climbing vine to cover part of your shed; it’ll add some country charm. To give your shed more class, use tastefully colored paints to create a very enchanting cottage.

Shed-Flower-boxes

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24069019@N00


If you don’t want to put too much work into a shed you already have, a splash of paint can dress it up. With an earthy red and blue or green highlighted trim and a greenish yellow door, you can make it energetic or toned down. A new coat of paint can always create a new look without breaking the bank.  If you are the artistic type, start with a beige building and paint on vines or floral decorations. But if you don’t have the knack for free-hand painting, you can always use stencils and get the same result.

Adding a lean-to with inside access for a small greenhouse will make a garden shed both elegant and functional for your delicate plants. Or, if you organize the contents of the shed, your garden shed can also double as a playhouse for your kids.

Lean-to-garden-shed

Photo credit:
Found on sashanunez2ag.blogspot.com

Not only can a garden shed be a versatile and practical building but also can create an ambiance encompassing your gardens. Best of all, it does not have to cost a bundle!

5 Facts You May Not Know About St. Patrick’s Day

Today everyone claims to be Irish, but there are more to the traditions of this holiday than you may know. We’ve found some interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day we’d like to share with you.

Corned Beef and Cabbage is Not Irish 

Corned-beef-and-cabbage

Photo credit: tasteofhome.com

This traditional St. Patrick’s Day fare is not Irish but it is an Irish-American dish. It’s derived from the Irish entrée, Bacon and Cabbage – back bacon (a traditional British cut of bacon) boiled with cabbage and root vegetables. Pigs and cabbage were readily available in Ireland, but cows were not. There are a few explanations for this: some say in the early 20th century Irish laborers were lured to bars that offered a free meal of corned beef and cabbage. Others say early Irish immigrants were drawn to their Jewish comrades’ corned beef because it was comparable to the back bacon they were accustomed to.

Leprechauns

Leprechaun

Image credit: http://confanon.wikia.com/

Here’s a little known fact about the mythical little people: they’re protected by European law to prevent extinction. The leprechaun is on a list of items in an area near Carlingford, Ireland designated to preserve the heritage, culture and folklore. It is on a site where a leprechaun was allegedly spotted in 1989.

Drinking

St. Patrick’s Day falls during Lent – the six week period before Easter in which people of Christian denominations give up indulgences. St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is used as a break from the fast in which people can partake in excesses like drinking alcohol or eating chocolate; however, until the 1970s, by law pubs in Ireland were closed for the holiday.

Green

There are many explanations for why we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. One allegation is that it’s worn by fairies and immortals and by farmers to help their crops grow. A more plausible explanation is that St. Patrick used the three leaves on a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity so people started wearing shamrocks. That little piece of green evolved into a symbol of pride and nationalism and why we wear green to honor the Irish now.

Parades

The St. Patrick’s Day parade did not start as an Irish tradition. It’s a religious holiday – a day of feast – and in Ireland the day is spent at church and with the family. The first record of St. Patrick’s Day parade was in 1762 when a group of Irish men marched to a tavern in lower Manhattan in New York City. Today it’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade; it attracts more than two millions spectators every year.

St-Patricks-day-parade

Photo credit: hottrip.net

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

The snow is finally starting to melt and we’re thinking about summer!  Here are our product picks of the week to shed a little sunshine on the winter that won’t end.

Portable-Cabana

The Portable Cabana is the ultimate poolside accessory. Along with offering shelter from the sun, it also gives you a little privacy to change at the beach, pool or campsite. The huge striped umbrella and screen set up and fold down in minutes. The side screen can be pulled back for an open view, left partially open to provide a doorway or completely closed. Or, detach it to use just the adjustable-height umbrella.

 

Glow-in-the-dark-bbq-skewers

This set of 2 Glow-in-the-Dark BBQ Skewers gets a modern upgrade with glow-in-the-dark handles fit for outdoor cookouts after dark. Perfect for use at a grill or around a campfire, the handles glow in the dark after they’re exposed to light, which makes them easy to find after dusk.

Animal-shaped-bird-feeder

An Animal-Shaped Bird Feeder is outdoor decor with a purpose–adding to the beauty of your landscape while feeding your feathered friends. It features a metallic finish that glistens in the sunlight and mesh sides that the birds can grip to get at the food. When a bird jiggles the feeder, it rings the bell that dangles beneath.

Mesh-food-covers

Great for outdoor events, the set of 4 Mesh Food Covers helps prevent bugs from invading your dishes at picnics and barbecues. The large cover shields community trays or multiple bowls and containers. The 3 smaller covers are ideal for individual plates. A pull string on the top opens each tent-style cover for use and collapses it for flat, space-saving storage when you’re done.

LED-Solar-Rope-Lights

50- LED Solar Rope Lights are an energy-efficient way to light up your porch, patio or landscaping. Because they do not require a power outlet, you can place them anywhere for decorative lighting right where you want it.