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A Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. Publication

‘Spring up’ your yard

By Oanhie “Shinsen” Pham

Tending the garden becomes a breeze when you have it all prepared.

Ahh. Spring is in the air. With the spring season comes warmer weather, fragrant flowers and plants. Imagine your home decorated with fresh-cut flowers straight from your yard or tossing a salad with delectable greens grown by your own green thumb. Not sure where or how to start? Below are some tips to help you get started.

Supplies-

Gather up your gardening tools. A lot of supplies can be found at your local home improvement store or plant nursery. To make tending your garden easier, prepare a small caddy or bucket that can hold small, frequently used supplies (such as gardening gloves, pruning shears and hand trowel) so you can tote them around. In addition to all the tools, a garden knee pad will be a good, inexpensive item to have.
Prepare the land-

Order plants online, check out your local garden store or ask a neighbor. See if you have a plant nursery nearby. The selection may be much better. When looking for plants to add to your garden, find out watering requirements and how much maintenance they need.  Some great things to plant in the spring are shrubs, trees, perennials such as the daylily and hosta, and flowers that will bloom come summer. It is also a good time to sow the seeds of cool-season flowers such as poppies and sweet peas, or vegetables such as lettuce and spinach, according to www.marthastewart.com.

Make sure the soil is ready to be worked on. When to start depends on where you live. You can begin if there is no danger of frost. Clear out your garden area by removing debris and weeds. Rake up old, fallen leaves and mow the lawn. Check your soil with a soil test (kits can be store-bought) to make sure it’s OK for plants to grow in. If the soil is ready to be used, spread compost/manure and soil amendments over it. (www.marthastewart.com recommends a compost layer of 4 inches).

Another option for your garden is to purchase or create raised beds. Although the level of difficulty in building one is low, it might take a few hours. To get an idea on how to start, check out this video.

Raised beds will organize your garden and give it an aesthetic touch. For example, if you’re looking to create a raised bed for an assortment of herbs and veggies, adding dividers will allow you to keep the plants contained yet separated in one box. This video from The Home Depot talks about gardening raised beds.

If your area is known to have wild rabbits, moles and other uninvited garden-lovers, you can help protect your garden by fencing it up. Rabbit fences can keep rabbits and other pests out.  If you make raised beds, chicken wire (or similar) on the bottom should keep moles from digging through.

Maintain your garden-

Prune shrubs and bushes in your garden. If there are any dead or damaged branches, remove them. Deadhead old flowers to allow your plants to flower more. Preparing a garden is only half the journey. Regular maintenance helps ensure your efforts won’t go to waste. Obvious to-dos (easier said than done) include mowing the lawn, keeping your garden free from debris and other unwanted intruders, and giving all your plants the right amount of water and sunlight. When your plants start to bloom, you’ll know your patience is paying off. Happy gardening!

Photo credit:

Card and letter writing

By Gaoli “Chamomile” Moua, Staff writer and Copy Editor

Every now and again, I go through my mail hoping to find a letter, a card or a package among the bills and special offers.

But very seldom do I ever receive anything of personable value, except for the occasional car insurance offers that try to imitate the intimacy of a handwritten note.

If large corporations recognize the value and power of receiving cards and letter writing among consumers, why have ordinary citizens neglected this lost art?

Who does not long for a letter of news from distant friends and family, for an invitation uniquely designed for a specific celebration or just a simple “Hello” from abroad? As simple as they seem, these small gestures tickle hearts and can make any day better, more so than the typical Facebook poke and emoticons embedded in text messages.

While the mail tradition has declined in popularity due to the convenience of e-mail, e-cards and the increasingly fast but less personal social media, the appreciation for card and letter writing, particularly handwritten ones, has been forgotten. For this reason National Card and Letter Writing Month, starting April 1 and ending on Mother’s day, developed to celebrate mail and the connections between people and history that it has facilitated.

To commemorate the dying art of card and letter writing, find those stamps and dusty stationary that have been stored away and brighten someone’s day with a spontaneous greeting that can be kept for a lifetime.

Card and letter writing month encourages revisiting the emotional connection evoked by cards and letters that have been kept through the years. Despite the diminishing time-space continuum, technological innovations have not been able to affect people in the capacity that carefully handwritten letters and cards has and still does today.

Photo credit:

http://www.flickr.com/people/jonno23/

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

By: Alexandria “Wisteria” Prejido

Underage drinking continues to be the most common substance abuse that communities face, with about 11 million underage drinkers in America today.  This is why the month of April is dubbed Alcohol Awareness Month. It is an annual public awareness campaign working to have communities focus on alcoholism and alcohol related issues.

According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, adolescents used alcohol more often than any other abusive substances combined. Rates of alcohol usage in the national survey were 3.4% among children ages 12 and 13, 13.1% among  14 and 15 years of age and 26.2% among 16 and 17-year-olds. More than one million adolescents needed treatment for alcohol use but the majority did not receive it.

Studies show that alcohol abuse in a family member, caregiver or friend can have harmful influence and effects on children and adolescents. Children with parents who abuse alcohol are at a greater risk for trauma, including verbal, physical and sexual abuse. Children with alcoholic parents show more anxiety and depressive symptoms and have lower self-esteem than children with non-alcoholic parents.

Alcohol Awareness Month is not only about being aware of the numerous alcohol abuse and alcohol-related issues within communities but also encourages people to make healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some questions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that can help you determine if you or a loved one has an alcohol issue.

If you answer “yes” to any of the following, you may have a problem with alcohol:
  • Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
  • Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
  • Does your drinking worry your family?
  • Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won’t?
  • Do you ever forget what you did while drinking?
  • Do you get headaches or have a hangover after drinking?

There are also several strategies one can do to cut down or quit drinking.  Here are tips from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on how to get started.

  • Keep track of your drinking and set a drinking limit.
  • Try to avoid places where heavy drinking occurs.
  • Ask for help from a doctor, family, or friends.
  • If you keep alcohol in your home, keep only a limited supply

Sources:

Photo credit:

http://lifesaverdrivingschool.com/alcohol.html

Understanding stress to keep it in check

Christine “ECKO” Ho
There are many helpful and healthy ways to prevent stress that lead to a better lifestyle and a more peaceful atmosphere. However, it is hard to avoid stress altogether. Also, not all stress is bad, since it helps certain people perform under pressure and lights a fire under their tail, so to speak. But once you are stressed, how do you know that you are stressed? And how do you keep that level of stress from going out of control? 

Stress can affect your daily life drastically, and can cause physical symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, aches, chest pains, etc. To recognize stress, you need to monitor your body’s reactions to your situation. Your heart rate and blood pressure should accelerate and rise, your muscles may tighten, your breath comes faster, and your senses become heightened. Stress tends to narrow your focus on what is upsetting you. The “fight-or-flee” response is a huge indicator of stress. Once you start feeling like you must fight or flee, you are stressed. Stress indicators include memory problems, an inability to focus, anxiety, agitation, depression, and constant worrying. Behavioral problems from stress are also a common occurrence, such as nail biting, or if you know me personally, finger-biting.

Once you find yourself going out of control with stress, there are many factors to help keep your balance. Your friends and family, your attitude and outlook, and knowledge and preparation are just a few. Turning to your friends and family during times of stress should be natural, and should also release a certain amount of tension. Your own attitude and outlook go a long way helping you deal with stress. If you expect the negative, your own body expects it for you. Knowledge and preparation also help in situations that you can plan in advance. If you know a big project is coming up in school, plan ahead. Do not push it off so that it will overwhelm you.

Finally, just relax. Take a deep breath. Examine all the good in your life, and why you should not be stressed. Stay in control, know that you can handle whatever is thrown your way, and cruise on. If you like stress and it keeps you on your toes, always know your own levels and your own limits. How much stress can you handle? The answer is always different, since no two people are the same, but understanding yourself goes a long way to helping prevent any health and mental problems.

Photo source:

http://www.stressfree.com/cmsimages/stressmodel.jpg

Poetry provides much needed break, revives creativity

Cecillia “Celeste” Barr
The end of the semester is nearing for those of you who are still in school.  Finals week is creeping up on you, the stress of finding a new apartment for next year is building up, and most important, GRADUATION is so close yet not close enough.  The days are beginning to feel shorter and shorter and sleep is becoming something like a dream.  Your mind is drifting from you and you’re losing touch with any feelings apart from anxiety, hunger and restlessness.  You might be getting to that point; that breaking point where you start to think “Ah! I’m so over school!”  Don’t do it! Don’t lose it! You’ve come this far already.  Simply, take a few moments to:

Free your thoughts, let them unravel.

Free your mind, allow it to escape and travel.

Free yourself, be anything you want to be.

Free your soul, with poetry.

April is National Poetry Month.

The American Poets Society established this month in 1996 to increase awareness of “the art of poetry to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern” in today’s popular culture.  Poetry is not just about multiple couplets or stanzas that follow a rhyming scheme or a pattern of emphasized or non-emphasized syllables.  No.  There is certainly more to poetry than that.
Poetry is about expressing yourself.  Letting your emotions pour out of you with a very specific style.  Whether it is free-verse or a highly structured piece, there is a particular way of poetry.  It allows you to run deep through the words; through the line breaks; through the rhyming schemes.  Poetry allows for you to see into the author’s soul and allows for readers to see into yours.
So, you are studying for an exam, apartment hunting, or trying to figure out what outfit you will wear under your cap and gown.  Take a break.  Give yourself a break.  Read a poem while you’re at it.  As a matter of fact, write one.  Give your mind a rest from all the books and allow yourself to be creative and free with your words.  I promise, it will be:

An invigorating, exhilarating, rejuvenating time,

That’s what you can expect with each and every line.

An essence so structured yet wild and free,

So again, free your soul with poetry.

There is so much more to poetry that today’s culture is unaware of.  Please visit www.poets.org to learn a little more about poetry and to see if there are any events near you that you can attend to be a part of spreading the awareness of poetic culture.

Source:
Photo credit:

Chapter efforts raise over $500 for Japan Disaster Relief

 

Last month a powerful earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a deadly tsunami that left northern areas of the country devastated.

Though damages were estimated between $122 billion and $235 billion by the World Bank, the Japanese government estimated that the cost of the earthquake and tsunami would reach $309 billion which would make it the most expensive natural disaster ever recorded.

In conjunction with members of the National APIA Panhellenic Association (NAPA), Delta Phi Lambda sisters across the nation heeded the call for relief assistance and hosted various fundraising efforts to show their love and support for those affected by the tragedy.

Sisters at the Georgia Institute of Technology encouraged over 150 guests at their annual “Night of Diversity” event to make donations to the Red Cross Japan Earthquak Relief site while sisters at the University of Georgia showed their support by selling “Hope for Japan” wristbands to students on campus.

In addition sisters at Grand Valley State University donated proceeds from their lollipop fundraiser to International Medical Corps.

Relief from the disaster is still far from over as the country continues to rebuild. Individuals who are interested in donating to this relief cause as well as other relief initiatives around the world can do so at the American Red Cross website.

Donate here.

Photo credit: 

http://www.angeloplessas.com/blog/uploaded_images/Japanese_flag-712397.jpg

Add some color to your food

By Oanhie “Shinsen” Pham, Copy Editor

Celebrate this year’s National Nutrition Month by munching down healthy, colorful food choices.

The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month — which is celebrated in March — is “Eat Right with Color.” The campaign is created by the American Dietetic Association to help spread about the importance of eating and exercising properly.

Going on a diet or exercising alone won’t give us the full benefits we want and need. When we go on diets, we tend to think that eating less will give us the most beneficial results. However, up to a third of women between the ages of 20 and 40 don’t get enough protein, which should be about 50 to 175 grams a day (or 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories, based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. What’s more, not getting enough protein in your body can actually put you more at risk for osteoporosis, a disease that will cause you to have brittle bones.
Osteoporosis can affect anyone at any age, but more so women than men. Asian and Caucasian women are even more at risk. As women, we need to take care of our bodies to prevent or slow down bone loss. Some factors we are in control of are our activity levels and diets.

According to “Women’s Health” magazine, women aren’t getting their recommended amounts because a diet trend is to count calories. Foods such as meats, fish, beans and cheese not only come packed with protein, they also have more calories. So it seems logical to avoid them. However, protein is essential for building lean muscle and zapping away unwanted calories, according to “Women’s Health.” If you want to build lean muscle, “Women’s Health” recommends consuming skinless white chicken or turkey, seafood, low-fat dairy, pork tenderloin and lean beef. For seafood, try salmon and canned tuna to get the vitamin D you need. Fat-free or low-fat yogurt (frozen or not), milk, soy milk, tofu, cheese, bok choy, broccoli, almonds and soybeans are all examples of food that contain calcium.

Not only will getting enough proteins and other nutrients in your body make you look and feel good, you are also lowering your risk for osteoporosis. Of course, it’s not just about eating healthy. Regular physical activity will help you achieve your health goals. Best Bones Forever states that you need to do at least 60 minutes of physical activities every day, and do bone-strengthening activities at least three days a week.

So let National Nutrition Month remind you to get your nutrition on by starting a healthy eating pattern or continue doing so. Eating healthy does not have to be bland and expensive. Have a girls’ night in with a potluck. Create a salad potluck by having each person bring in a yummy (colorful and healthy) ingredient to share. Have a sushi night and make rolls of sushi using brown rice instead of white rice. Don’t forget the salmon, tofu and other calcium and protein-filled ingredients.

Give your meals a colorful splash by following this guide by the American Dietetic Association.
**With these in mind, the association recommends lower intakes on foods with added sugars, solid fats, including trans fats, refined grains and sodium.**

Whole grains:
Increase whole grains by choosing whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Make at least half your grain servings whole grain.

Vegetables:
Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas. Most adults need 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day.

Fruits:
Add fruit to meals and snacks — fresh, frozen or canned — to get about 2 cups each day.

Low-fat or fat free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages:
Include 3 cups per day for calcium, vitamin D, protein and potassium. Lactose-free milk is also an option.

Vegetable oils  such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean:
These are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Use in moderate amounts in place of solid fats.

Seafood:
Include a variety of seafood more often in place of some meat and poultry.

For some deliciously healthy recipes, including one for gluten-free wild rice spring rolls, check out www.eatright.org.

Want to calculate how much calcium you get every day? Find out at www.bestbonesforever.org.

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Love your bones with healthy alternative to chocolate

By May “Mosaic” Advincula, Editor-in-chief

Chocolate is a common staple during the month of February, and store shelves are often stocked with an assortment of these sweet indulgences. It is estimated that US chocolate and cocoa companies ship approximately $14 billion worth of products a year for Valentine’s Day.
One of the most common myths about chocolate is that it lacks any nutritional value. However, when consumed in small quantities, there are a few proven health benefits. For example, dark chocolate contains flavanoids that come from cocoa bean extracts. Flavanoids have been known to have antioxidant effects that can reduce cell damage. In addition, they have also been linked to heart, brain, skin and teeth benefits while also reducing stress and improving your mood.

Dark chocolate that contains about 65% or higher cocoa content have the most beneficial compounds, but these benefits decrease when pure chocolate is mixed with sugar, milk, butter and other ingredients that are often found in most Valentine treats. This is why the term “milk chocolate” might be a bit misleading, as it does not make a huge calcium contribution for your bones.

For a healthier alternative to milk chocolate that can quell your cravings and is good for your bones, try this following recipe from Best Bones Forever:

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Strawberry Cream
Ingredients:

Crust
2 cups or 1 (6.5-ounce) package crushed chocolate sugarfree sandwich cookies
1 tablespoon light margarine, melted
1 egg white

Filling
1 (1.4ounce) package sugarfree, fat-free pudding mix (chocolate or white chocolate mousse flavor)
1¾ cups fat-free milk

Topping
1¾ cups fatfree whipped topping
¾ cup frozen no-sugar-added strawberries, thawed and mashed
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Combine all ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl and stir well using a fork to combine. Press crust mixture in an 8inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. (It may help to press crust with the back of a spoon coated with cooking spray.)
3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
4. Once the crust is cool, prepare pudding with milk according to package directions for making pie filling. Pour pudding into crust and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. In a medium bowl, fold mashed strawberries into the whipped topping. Remove plastic wrap from surface of the pudding and spread strawberry topping on top of the pie. Chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish with slices of thawed strawberries before serving.
*Note: You can also use 1 cup of frozen, mashed raspberries in place of the strawberries.

Sources:
http://crofton.patch.com/articles/love-and-chocolate
http://www.modbee.com/2011/02/13/1552941/casting-lighton-benefits-of-dark.html
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1019

Photo Credit:

http://www.sxc.hu/

January Resolutions

With the start of the year comes the determination to make resolutions, and oftentimes, they serve as a roadmap of things people would like to accomplish.
New Year’s traditions date back to 2,000 B.C. in which the ancient Babylonians marked the occasion by returning items borrowed from their neighbors. Then in 154 B.C., the Romans designated January 1 as the first day of the New Year. The two-headed god, Janus, with one head looking back and one head looking forward, became symbolic of the old and the new.
According to statistics from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, about 40 to 45 percent of American adults make resolutions each year and about 67 percent of people make three or more resolutions. Statistics indicate that only 46 percent of people maintain their resolutions six months into the year.

We’ve mapped out five of the most common resolutions and provide some examples of how you can approach them. The key to keeping resolutions is to make them as realistic and specific as possible, so that you don’t end up in the 54 percent of people who disregard their resolutions later in the year.

Sources:

http://www.newberlinnow.com/blogs/communityblogs/112759804.html

http://www.43things.com/resolutions/history

http://www.timessquarenyc.org/nye/nye_history.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20101223/lf_ac/7454098_history_of_new_years_resolutions

Help Others, Volunteer

By Mia “Lavender” Liem, Copy Editor

The easiest and most enjoyable way to contribute is to do something you truly feel passionate about. Sites such as Do Something and VolunteerMatch are a great way to start. Just enter your zip code and any keywords, and you can find a list of possible organizations to work with. Volunteering your time and talents is a great way to help others if you don’t have extra cash for donations.

Stick with your interests. Love animals? Volunteer to walk and play with the dogs at the animal shelter. Passionate about reading? Go to your local library and help shelve books or read to the kids. Have an interest in medicine? Help out as an orderly at the nearby hospital. Care about the environment? You can be part of a neighborhood or highway cleanup.

Look for well-known organizations. There are also a number of organizations that may cater to your interests. Peace Corps is a popular choice for those wanting to travel to other parts of the world. But if you plan to stay local, the Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Ronald McDonald House are just a few options. Visit their websites to find the nearest location.

Think outside the box. Many smaller organizations are seeking skilled people to create web pages for them. This is your chance to revamp their image and create more public interest in the organization. You can also raise money to pay for the website itself if the organization is lacking funds.

Start your own nonprofit. Feeling ambitious? Want to promote a cause that is close to your heart? You can always start your own nonprofit. It will take a lot of work, but the rewards will be great. Talk to people who are heavily involved with existing nonprofits for tips on how to get started.

Take 2011 to contribute and feel good about yourself. It doesn’t take much … just a fraction of your time and your skills. And who knows – your volunteer experience could help you out in your career in the long run!

Photo credit: http://www.playworks.org/files/images/Volunteer.JPG

Sources:

Boys & Girls Clubs of America: http://www.bgca.org
Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org
The Humane Society of the United States: http://www.humanesociety.org/
American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/
The Salvation Army: http://www.salvationarmy.org/
Ronald McDonald House Charities: http://www.rmhc.org

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