Sleep Sunglasses

Also in February's issue, Reader's Digest did an article called "Energize Your Life!" They interviewed a bunch of health professionals to get their tips for feeling better.

The neurology expert had a potential solution for a common sleeping problem that people have now that digital devices are such a big part of our lives:
Pick up some sleep shades 
The blue light emitted by your computer screen, smart phone, and television stimulate your brain, making it hard to fall asleep. But even insomniacs typically aren't willing to give up screen time for the recommended hour or two before bed, says Lisa Shives, MD. So she's found another solution: blue-light filtering glasses. Put them on if you're using the computer before bed, and you'll sleep much better, Dr. Shives says. Find them at: safetyglassesusa.com/amberlens.html
Hopefully this will help you still get enough sleep after catching up on "Stuff I Just Learned". :)


Customer Service App

In the "Money Digest" section of February's issue of Reader's Digest, it suggests this app if you need to talk to a customer service representative and are fed up trying to get through the automated system:
FastCustomer is a free iPhone and Android app that calls customer service numbers, navigate those maddening phone trees, and notifies you when a service rep is on the line.
Almost makes me want to get an iphone!


Cleaning Tips & Tricks

For their February issue, Reader's Digest interviewed housecleaners and collected their best ideas for getting houses spic and span.

Here are a couple that may be particularly useful:
- The best way to clean blinds: Close them, then wipe up and down with an old dryer sheet. It'll create an antistatic barrier that helps prevent dust from building up again. 
- To clean glass and mirrors: Use coffee filters, not paper towels. They leave no streaks or lint -- and they're cheap. 
- A great nontoxic all-purpose cleanser: Just put two squirts of Seventh Generation dish liquid in a spray bottle and fill it with water. 
- To clean your microwave oven: microwave a cup of water with some baking soda in it until it boils. That eliminates odors and makes it super easy to wipe away all of the stuck-on stuff. 
- To clean cobwebs: Use a yardstick covered by a tube sock. That also works for cleaning under stoves and refrigerators. 
- Shine your bathroom tiles: Use lemon oil. It also helps prevent mold and mildew. 
- To eliminate that ring in your toilet: Drop in a bubbling denture tablet, and leave it for at least 30 minutes. The stain will come off with just a few swishes of the brush.
Also, the housecleaners said that their "biggest secret weapon" is a product called Bar Keeper's Friend. It apparently can be used on almost anything (glass-top stoves, counters, toilets, sinks) and leaves a great shine after easily cutting through grime.

Hope it helps!


Homemade Ice Packs

From the Reader's Digest December issue:

How To Make a Better Ice Pack
Pour 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol in a ziploc freezer bag (quart size); seal the bag and throw it into the freezer. The alcohol will keep the water from freezing solid, leaving you with a moldable slush that conforms perfectly to knees and foreheads.
That sounds like a much easier and cheaper alternative to running out to the store to buy an ice pack next time you get hurt!


Texting Acronyms

The next in our Reader's Digest series, the "Texting Cheat Sheet" from their October issue.

I am a frequent texter, and I definitely didn't know most of these - I have been using so many characters unnecessarily! :)

*$: Starbucks
B4N: Bye for now
BCNU: Be seeing you
BG: Be good
DQMOT: Don't quote me on this
HMU: Hit me up
IDC: I don't care
IDK: I don't know
IMHO: In my humble opinion
IMNSHO: In my not so humble opinion
ILY: I love you
IMY: I miss you
IRL: In real life
JK: Just kidding
KWIM: Know what I mean?
LQTS: Laughing quietly to myself
MYOB: Mind your own business
NMU: Not much, you?
ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
TTYL: Talk to you later
UW: You're welcome
W/E: Whatever
WYWH: Wish you were here

Hope this helps improve your texting efficiency!


When To Use "Lay" vs. "Lie"

Hello, all! Long time no see. Don't worry, I haven't stopped learning things. I've simply run out of time to share them. :)

To catch you up, I am going to make a flurry of posts describing a couple of the things I've learned over the past six months from my favorite little magazine, Reader's Digest. It's always jam-packed with interesting facts. Hope you get to learn something, too!

This first post is about something I know I get wrong all of the time: using "lay" and "lie" correctly.

Here's an excerpt from Reader's Digest's "Word Power" from last summer:
This month, we revisit lay and lie, specifically in the phrase lay/lie low. Lie low is the correct present-tense form. Why? Standard usage still applies: Lie doesn't require an object ("go lie down"); lay does ("lay your head down"). In the past tense, lie becomes lay; lay becomes laid. So a wily predator might lie low as it stalks its prey.
To further this point, I found these rules on The Grammar Curmudgeon website:

1. Lie: "to recline" or "to rest", with no object.
present: lie
past: lay
present participle: lying
past participle: lain

2. Lie: "to tell an untruth"

present: lie
present participle: lying
past/past participle: lied

3. Lay: "to put" or "to place", with an object.

present: lay
present participle: laying
past/past participle: laid

Examples the site gives:

- Once you lay (place) a book on the desk, it is lying (resting) there. 
- For your vacation, you spend your time lying (reclining) on the beach [to get a suntan]. 
- You lie down (recline) on the sofa to watch TV and spend the entire evening lying (reclining) there 
- If you see something lying on the ground, it is just resting there; if you see something laying on the ground, it must be doing something else, such as "laying eggs".
I think I just need to make myself some flash cards. :)