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Winter Running Tips

Posted in Main Blog
January 09, 2015 by Jenn R.
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couple running outside in winterHave you signed up for your first 5K of the year yet? Maybe your New Year’s Resolution involves running more. Either way, it’s time to get started right? Wait, what’s the temperature outside? 10 degrees? Oh no. I can’t do another day on the treadmill but I’m going to freeze if I run outside.

If you’re like me, and you live here in New England, you’ve faced this dilemma every winter. However, if you plan and dress accordingly, you can survive and get a good run in outside even during these extremely low temperatures with the following cold weather running tips.

Have a plan. When it’s cold out, it’s best to plan your route before you leave. There are plenty of sites available, like Runkeeper or MapMyRun, that will help. It’s a good idea to plan your route to include places you could stop along the way, since you never really know how cold or wet it might be while you’re out there. Weather can suddenly change, wet feet will freeze, then what? Be flexible and have a backup plan in case conditions get worse and you need to cut your run short. There’s always tomorrow!

Bring a friend. As mentioned above, you don’t know how it’s going to be until you’re out there, so why go alone? Invite a friend or co-worker, or join a “group run” with local running club. Not only will it keep you motivated and give you someone to chat with along the way, it’s safer. If you do have to run alone, let someone know where you’re planning on going and get a runner’s I.D. to wear on your body or your clothing.

Dress appropriately. You want to dress in layers, but how many of layers you wear isn’t as important as what type of layers you wear.

  • Active.com suggests dressing for 15-20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature to let your body temperature increase, and reduce the risk of overheating.
  • Start with a wicking layer, a shirt or tank top that will pull the moisture away from your skin
  • Select a mid-layer like a fleece, for those extra cold days
  • Top layer should be wind and water resistant
  • Warm running pants or tights, and if they’re water resistant – even better
  • Thicker sole running shoes, like trail running shoes have more tread for traction on slippery or uneven surfaces
  • Don’t forget the accessories – lightweight winter hat or headband, gloves, moisture-wicking wool socks, and a scarf or fleece neck warmer that you can slide over your mouth and breathe thru to prevent burning your lungs by inhaling frigid air

What not to wear

  • Avoid cotton as it doesn’t evaporate your sweat fast enough
  • Heavy gloves will be too warm and difficult to take off if needed
  • Worn-out running shoes can lead to injury
  • Heavy clothes can cause you to overheat or sweat too much

Stay hydrated. When it’s cold outside, your body has a harder time regulating hydration. As we know, fluid is lost from sweating, but it is also lost from the air you exhale. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) close to 95% of hypothermia cases result when people go out without being hydrated sufficiently. Replenishing the lost fluid is key to prevent dehydration.

Now that you’re fully prepared to hit the cold pavement, let us know how it goes and if you have any tips to add.

Sources:
Stay.Work.Play.
RoadID
Wise Geek
POPSugar Fitness

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Winter Skincare on a Budget

Posted in Main Blog
January 07, 2015 by Trish R.
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home made skin care ingredientsIf you live in the northeast like I do, winter can be rough on your skin and your wallet. I have extremely sensitive and acne prone skin. As a 40-something woman this is incredibly frustrating. I’ve tried just about every skin care routine out there from Proactive and Neutrogena to Mary Kay. I’ve even tried several of the store brand products, all with very limited success.

Recently, I’ve started to question if all the chemicals in these products were doing more harm than good to my sensitive skin, not to mention they cost a lot of money each month. I did some research into some all-natural skin care alternatives and I found five that have worked well for me and saved me some money in the process.

Brown sugar is a great exfoliator and gentler than salt scrubs. I like to mix the brown sugar with coconut oil for an amazing treatment. It leaves my skin soft and smooth. When exfoliating, remember to massage the skin gently, you don’t want to damage your skin.

I love coconut oil as a wonderful multi-use product. It works great as a makeup remover, is gentle on my skin, and a small amount goes a long way! It’s also great as a deep conditioner for my hair. Just ten minutes and my hair is softer than any store bought conditioner could achieve.

Honey has wonderful antibacterial properties, especially for people with acne prone skin. I spread a small amount of raw honey all over my face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. It makes my skin look and feel amazing.

As I get older I’m finding dark spots on my skin (please do not call them old lady or old age spots). While researching homemade skin care, I learned that lemon juice can be used to brighten skin and lighten discoloration on the skin, especially from acne scarring, who knew? I’ve only used the lemon juice a few times but I’m already seeing a difference.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a great multi-purpose kitchen staple. It’s used to clean coffee pots, pickle vegetables and in salad dressings, but have you ever used it as part of your skin care routine? I dilute the ACV with distilled water and use it as a toner on my face.

I usually have these items in my pantry. The only change I made was to buy them as organic or raw, this does increase the price slightly. Ultimately, for the amount I’d spend for a month’s supply of a traditional skin care routine, I could get 3-5 months with my homemade routine. The results of these alternative treatments have been so wonderful that I’ve shared them with friends and family. Do you have a favorite all natural or homemade remedy that you love? Please share it in the comments section below.

Sources:
MindBodyGreen.com
Earth Clinic
National Center for Biotechnology Information

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New Year's Resolution: To Do or Not To Do?

Posted in Main Blog
December 30, 2014 by Jenn R.
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listing of New Years resolutions

It’s 11:55pm on December 31st and I just realized – I never decided on a resolution! Darn it. Hmm… well, I’ll just say lose weight because, well because it’s always a good one and who knows, maybe if I say it, it’ll happen… NOT!

Sound familiar? Sometimes I’ve come up with a New Year’s resolution months in advance and other resolutions I don’t select until mid-January. Sadly, either way, most of them still fizzled out well before April. Everyone has their reasons and excuses for what they decide and if they succeed, but out of the 45% of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions, only 8% actually achieve them.

Reason Why New Year’s Resolutions are Good

Setting goals is a part of life. It challenges us to do better, be better, and step outside of our comfort zone. Then, once you’ve completed your goal, you’ll feel accomplished and it’ll give you a confidence boost to challenge yourself again and again. Developing realistic expectations and allowing room for unexpected setbacks are keys to success for New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe your resolution doesn’t always have to involve weight loss, smoking, or becoming BFFs with your mother-in-law. Maybe you could try to stop overreacting when a family member annoys you, throw away socks without a mate (in my house this would mean we have to go out and buy new socks pronto) or something less predictable.

Reasons to Avoid New Year’s Resolutions

Failing is also part of life; however, it’s not a very fun part. And when you set unrealistic goals, you are setting yourself up for failure. “I’m going to lose weight, spend less money, and complete a marathon!” Wow, that sounds awesome, but as Huffington Post suggests “when we take on too much at once, our brain chemistry works against us. Successful resolutions require self-control -- say, the self-control to wake up early and run five miles -- and self-control is an exhaustible resource.” Exhaustible… that sounds like me at this time every year! Focus on one, attainable goal at a time, and maybe we’ll both be celebrating in the new year!

So, where do you fall – are you “for” resolutions or “against” resolution?

Sources:
Statistic Brain
The Frisky
Time
PBS

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Top 5 Last Minute Gifts for Mom

Posted in Main Blog
December 23, 2014 by Amanda N.
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Here it is, 2 days before Christmas and I still haven’t bought a gift for my mother. Every year, it’s the same thing “oh, I don’t need anything, just seeing you is all I need for Christmas!” Yeah, ok Ma, we’re on to your lame routine. We’re not accepting that one. You aren’t going to be the only person not opening a gift on Christmas morning, so give it up! What’s on your list?

We know that many of us deal with a similar situation every year. That’s why we’ve done some research and come up with 5 “can’t miss” gifts to get your mom, or any “mom” in your life.

alarm clock on top of box

  1. Skip the gift card, get the real deal! While everyone would love to have a day at the spa getting pampered, massaged, and beautified, it’s not always convenient. So rather than buy a gift card that may never get used, treat Mom to an at home spa day to do at her convenience! You can save money by creating a custom basket full of shower gels, clay masks, exfoliating scrubs, moisturizing lotion, and don’t forget the aromatherapy candle! Or you can order a basket of relaxing & rejuvenating goods online.
     
  2. Tickets, tickets, tickets! And, no, I don’t mean scratch tickets! (However, you may want to pick up a few of those for her stocking, in case Santa forgot!) What does she like? Is she a music fan? Get her tickets to see one of her favorite artists, like Michael Bublé, Garth Brooks, or if she is a bit more of a rocker, Bush is touring again! If Broadway is her thing, you can always get her tickets to see a play or musical. Save money by seeing one at a local theatre, rather than dropping big bucks to see a show in Boston – you won’t be disappointed.
     
  3. Give ‘em an Oyster subscription. No, not the ones that come from the ocean, Oyster is an online ebook subscription service. (Think Netflix, but with books!) For $9.95/month the recipient will get unlimited access to their library. While it is available for iOS, Android, Nook & Kindle products, it can also be used thru a regular internet browser.
     
  4. The Gift of Speedy Shipping (and more)! If you’ve done any shopping in the past, well, decade, you know that Amazon.com is your one-stop shop for everything. For a busy mom, saving time is crucial! Help her out by giving her a subscription to Amazon Prime. She’ll receive FREE 2-day shipping on millions of items, instant streaming of tons of movies & TV shows, free books, and much more.
     
  5. The Season of Giving. Make a donation in her name. Is she passionate about animals, the planet, local community or world-wide causes? Whatever it may be, you can make a donation in her name and then print out a gift receipt to show her. And what’s even easier, MakeACharityChoice.org lets you choose from over 1,000 charities all on one site.

Looking for more ideas or maybe some DIY gift inspiration? Check out our Pinterest board! (Repin your favorite or share it below!)

Sources:
Heavy.com
Cool Mom Tech
Geeks of Doom

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Mobile Everything from Bellwether!

Posted in Main Blog
December 19, 2014 by BCCU
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woman using cell phone

 

 

Checking account balances, transferring funds, or paying bills…it's all possible on our Bellwether BCCU Mobile24 phone app (for iOS or Android devices.) Image from xpedientmail.com

 

 


Things we do online: Check the weather forecast, check movie times, check in at the airport, check in with friends and families…check, check and check!

But what about...checks?

With our mobile app, you can deposit checks—and handle other banking needs—right from your phone. Our mobile banking service is free, easy, safe, and practical.

Mobile Remote Banking

Bellwether members can enroll in our free Mobile24 service, which lets members access their Bellwether accounts from their iOS or Android devices via our app or our website. Mobile24 lets you check your account balance, deposit checks, transfer funds, pay bills, or find the nearest fee free ATM on your phone—where ever you may be, 24 hours a day.

What? Deposit Checks by Phone?

Yes, you really did just read that! Members can use our Mobile Remote Deposit Capture service to instantly deposit checks. All you need is a camera-equipped smartphone or tablet, and a check (of course!) To take advantage of this, download the our app and deposit away. We have step-by-step instructions here.

 

Our Bellwether BCCU Mobile24 app turns your hand-held device into your personal finance center—a free service for our members.

 

Screenshot of mobile app

BCCU.org is mobile-friendly too!

Our iPhone and Android app are handy, but for those who prefer using our regular website, we've made sure accessing it from your smartphone or tablet is a happy, easy experience as well. You can access everything you need, simply and efficiently.

Everything you need from wherever you are

Bellwether members can text, browse, or log into an app to manage all their financial needs. For more information, visit our website.

Download our App today!

iOS app (for Apple devices)

Android

Check account balances,
transfer funds and
more—easily and efficiently.

 

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