Beauty Is Only Skin Deep Look Beautiful all Winter

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep Look Beautiful all Winter
By: Isadora Dunne

When the weather’s frosty and dry, skin becomes dryer, flakier and more irritated. So how is it that some women look so
darn supple and healthy, even in the dead of winter, while you’re all dry and chapped? As usual, we’re here to help with 10
tremendous tips to keeping beautiful in winter.

Apply full-spectrum sunscreen even when it’s chilly: You probably know that UVB rays are the sun’s burning rays, but UVA
radiation is the principal cause of wrinkling and skin cancer and can penetrate glass. Hello! This means that even if you’re
at home, driving or in the office by a window, you’ll need full-spectrum (both UVA and UVB) coverage. This is true on even
the cloudiest winter days. Murad Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 15 ( is a high-quality choice.
Don’t linger in the bath or shower: Healthy skin has a protective superficial layer called the stratum corneum — essentially, a
natural “lipid barrier,” and as temperature and humidity drop, this natural barrier becomes vulnerable to damage, says
Stacy P. Salob, MD, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New
York. She cautions against prolonged bathing, especially with hot water, because the water will sap moisture from this
superficial layer, leaving the skin drier, flakier and more susceptible to damage and irritation.
Cut back on acids and astringents: For the winter months, consider limiting your use of alpha-hydroxy acid products and
astringents that contain alcohol, Salob says. We may love these products for their exfoliating properties, but they can strip
the skin of its natural protective oils, leaving it easily irritated.

Humidify thyself: Bicoastal dermatologist Karyn Grossman recommends a humidifier in your bedroom and office to
prevent winter skin from drying out. Humidifiers keep air moist. Look for a UV model because they offer a germ-free mist,
better to soothe those dry lips and chapped skin. Grossman recommends brands such as the SlantFin GF350
Sip hot cocoa and get your antioxidants: According to recent studies, cocoa beans were found to contain large amounts of
natural antioxidants called flavonoids; thus cocoa powders made from these beans are an undeniably compelling choice of
drink. Go ahead, steam some milk and enjoy your cocoa-anti-oxidants!

Resuscitate Frigid Feet: For dry and flaky winter feet, try exfoliating with a scrub like Alba Sea Salt Body Scrub. Which
contains organic jojoba, avocado and vitamin E. Afterward, dry your tootsies and slip on cozy cotton socks overnight. Your
feet will feel pliant and smooth in the morning.

Revive Chapped Winter Lips: Aside from looking wretched, chapped lips feel awful. Problem is, we continually
exacerbate the condition by licking, so it’s an endless cycle. To roll off the dead skin, try the clever Dr. Feel good’s
Lipscription, expressly made for “dry-lip emergencies,” which buffs away dryness with exfoliating beads, then softens with
Vitamin E & chamomile.

Protect Those Tresses: Tippi Shorter, consulting stylist for Pantene, recommends using a leave-in conditioner before
blow-drying hair, or using hot irons. She likes Pantene Pro-V Daily Renewal Treatment and if you regularly use heated
styling tools, she suggests biweekly or monthly deep conditioning treatments to keep hair hydrated and soft.

Repair Winter Cells: Robert Scott, aesthetician and wellness expert, explains how skin is nourished by blood and lymph
fluid, and since less blood flows when you’re cold, you’ll want to compensate by giving skin extra protection and
nourishment. He recommends regenerating your skin’s appearance by using products that feature amino-peptides, which
work by renewing the skin’s outer cell layer, and he loves Olay Regenerist) because it repairs without irritating the skin.

Some Tips for Winter Yard Care

Winter Yard Care

1.Winter is the time for bare root, planting and transplanting of roses. This time of year is when you need to prune your
roses back. Leave the stalks at least one foot high, and take off all plant material that is dead and diseased.

2.Dormant spray is a good idea to use on your fruit trees. Its will keep pests in check. Make sure to fallow label instructions
and ask your local greenery plenty of questions to ensure best results.

3.Frost sensitive plants can be covered with a bed sheet, blanket or plastic sheeting. If the plant is wet when covered, frost
temperatures can still damage the plant. Make sure leaves and soil are simi dry before coverings.

4.Do not cut frost damage off the plants until you you see new growth.
Winter is a good time to get seed catalogs for the next seasons planting and to think of new design ideas.

Hot Cinnamon Pudding Cake


Hot Cinnamon Pudding Cake

1 c. sugar
2 T. butter
1 c. milk
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix all together and pour into a greased 13 x 9″ baking pan. Add topping.

2 c. brown sugar
2 T. butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1-1/4 c. water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Pour over cake batter and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Serves 12. Good with ice cream or cool whip.


Incense for Cats

Incense for Cats

Cats and magic have enjoyed a natural partnership throughout history. The Egyptians relied on feline cunning to destroy the rodents that plagued the Nile Valley granaries. Cats saved the population from starvation. Thereafter, cats were given a place of honor in Egypt.

The black jaguar of the Mayan people represented their most powerful deity and was the driving force behind their magic.

This is still true today. Giant ground pictures called intaglios, which are etched in to the Colorado basin of California, two mountain lions, each over a hindered feet long. According to the Mojave tribe, these are the tribal creator’s helpers.

Of course, no cat story would be complete without mentioning all the wonderful tales of Witches and their feline familiars.

One gem that has been handed down through English history is an incense recipe for cats:

3 teaspoons pine needles, dried and crushed

1 teaspoon frankincense

3 teaspoons catnip, dried and crushed

1/2-3/4 teaspoon gum arabic

Rain water to bind gun Arabic to the other ingredients.

Mix all ingredients together in a glass bowl. Burn on self-igniting charcoal. For your cat’s safety, burn this recipe before he or she comes in to play, or place the burner out of reach.

Pagan Hearth Recipes


Spell of the Day for Dec. 23rd – Family Holiday Pictures

Family Holiday Pictures
December 23rd, 2011

For a good dose of familial magic for the holidays, make or purchase a small picture frame. Select eight photos
which represent the magic of your family during seasonal celebrations. As part of your observances, change the
image at each important holiday. If you like, frame each one separately for the greatest ease in making the changes.
Giving children the responsibility for changing the picture is a wonderful way for them to participate.
By: deTraci Regula

Secular Santa Claus is Coming to Town: What’s so Christian about Santa Claus?

Secular Santa Claus is Coming to Town: What’s so Christian about Santa Claus?

By Austin Cline

Santa Claus as a Symbol of Modern Christmas:
Christians treat Christmas as a Christian holiday, and it certainly started out that way, but we can tell a lot about the real nature of holidays by how they are represented in popular culture. The most common, popular, and recognized symbol for Christmas today isn’t an infant Jesus or even a manger scene, but Santa Claus. It’s Santa who graces all the ads and decorations, not Jesus. Santa Claus is not, however, a religious figure or symbol — Santa is an amalgam of a little bit of Christianity, a little bit of pre-Christian paganism, and a whole lot of modern, secular myth-making.
Santa Claus, Christian Saint?:
Most assume that the Santa Claus of modern Christmas is based on a Saint Nicholas in Christianity, but any connection is tenuous at best. There was Nicholas who was bishop of Myra in the early 4th century and who stood up to anti-Christian persecution, but there’s no evidence that he died for refusing to renounce his faith. Legend has it that he did good works with his family’s fortune and he became a much-loved figure in most European cultures. Over time, he was given attributes of pagan figures who were popular during winter festivals.
Washington Irving and the Invention of Saint Nick:
It is argued by some that the modern Santa Claus was basically invented by Washington Irving who, in a satirical history of New York, described alleged Dutch beliefs about Sinter Claes, or Saint Nicholas. Most readers accepted Irving’s descriptions as fact and helped people to eventually adopt many of the beliefs and traditions attributed to the Dutch, though not during Irving’s lifetime.
Clement Moore and Saint Nicholas:
Most contemporary ideas about what Santa Claus does and looks like are based on the poem The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore. That has two things wrong: it’s original title was A Visit from Saint Nicholas, and it’s unlikely the Moore really wrote it. Moore claimed authorship in 1844, but it first appeared anonymously in 1823; explanations for how and why this happened are implausible. Some of this poem borrows from Washington Irving, some parallels Nordic and Germanic myths, and some may be original. This Santa Claus is completely secular: there’s not a single religious reference or symbol to be found.
Thomas Nast and the Popular Image of Santa Claus:
The poem attributed to Moore may be the basis for current conceptions of Santa Claus, but Thomas Nast’s drawings of Santa Claus during the latter half of the 19th century are what engraved a standard image of Santa Claus into everyone’s mind. Nast also added to the Santa character by having him read children’s letters, monitor children’s behavior, and record children’s names in books of Good and Bad behavior. Nast also seems to be the person who located Santa Claus and a workshop for toys a the North Pole. Although Santa here is smaller, like an elf, the image of Santa is basically fixed at this point.
Francis Church, Virginia, and Santa Claus as an Object of Faith:
In addition to Santa’s visual appearance, his character also had to be created. The most important source for this may be Francis Church and his infamous response to a letter from a little girl named Virginia who wondered if Santa really exists. Church said that Santa exists, but as everything but a real person. Church is the source of the idea that Santa is somehow the “spirit” of Christmas, such that not believing in Santa is the same as not believing in love and generosity. Not believing in Santa is treated like kicking puppies for fun.
What’s so Christian about Santa Claus?:
There’s little to nothing about Santa Claus that is either uniquely Christian or broadly religious. There are certainly a few religious elements to Santa, but he can’t be treated as a specifically religious figure. Almost everything that people today understand as part of the Santa Claus myth was invested in this figure fairly recently and, it appears, for entirely secular reasons. No one took a beloved religious icon and secularized it; Santa Claus as a Christmas figure has always been relatively secular, and this has only intensified over time.Because Santa is the central figure for Christmas in modern America, his basically secular nature says something important about Christmas itself. How can Christmas be essentially Christian when the leading symbol of Christmas is essentially secular? The answer is that it can’t — while Christmas may be a religious holy day for many observant Christians, the Christmas holiday in the broader American culture isn’t religious at all. Christmas in American culture is as secular as Santa Claus: it has some Christian elements and some pre-Christian pagan elements, but most of what makes up Christmas today was created recently and is basically secular.

The question of “what’s so Christian about Santa Claus?” is a stand-in for the larger question of “what’s so Christian about Christmas in modern America?” The answer to the first helps us answer the second, and it’s not an answer which many Christians will be pleased with. Not liking the situation won’t change anything, though, so what can Christians do? The obvious route to take is to replace secular observances of Christmas with religious ones.

So long as Christians continue to focus on Santa Claus coming to town to deliver gifts rather than on the birth of their savior, they will remain part of what they see as the problem. Dispensing with, or even just limiting, the role of Santa Claus and other secular elements of Christmas probably won’t be easy, but that only demonstrates just how deeply enmeshed in secular culture Christians have become. It also reveals just how much of their own religious Christmas they have abandoned in favor of secular celebrations. In effect, the harder it is the more this shows that they need to do it if they want to claim that Christmas is religious rather than secular.

In the meantime, the rest of us can enjoy Christmas as a secular holiday if we want.

Santa Claus by Many Names

Santa Claus by Many Names

By Kelli Mahoney

The jolly elf most Christian teens know as Santa Claus goes by many other names around the world. Like many Christmas symbols and traditions he has evolved from old stories and practices. In some cases his stories are based on actions by real people that have acted to add some joy into others’ lives. Still, he is a quintessential symbol of Christmas as we know it.
St. Nicholas:
Once there was a monk known as St. Nicholas. He was born in Patara (near what we now know as Turkey) in 280 AD. He was known to be very kind, and that reputation led to many legends and stories. One story involved him giving away his inherited wealth while he helped those who were sick and poor around the country. Another story is that he saved three sisters from being sold into slavery. Eventually he became known as the protector of children and sailors. He died on December 6th, and so there is now a celebration of his life on that day.
Sinter Klass:
The Dutch maintained the celebration of St. Nicholas far more than other cultures, and brought that celebration to America. The Dutch gave St. Nicholas the nickname, “Sinter Klass”, and by 1804 woodcuts of Sinter Klass came to define modern day images of Santa. Washington Irving popularized Sinter Klass in The History of New York by defining him as the patron saint of the city.
Christkind, which is German for “Christ Child,” was considered something like an angel that went along with St.Nicholas on his missions. He would bring presents to good children in Switzerland and Germany. He is sprite-like, often drawn with blond hair and angel wings.
Kris Kringle:
There are two theories on the origin of Kris Kringle. One is that the name is simply a mispronunciation and misunderstanding of the Christkind tradition. The other is that Kris Kringle began as Belsnickle among the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1820s. He would ring his bell and give out cakes and nuts to small children, but if they misbehaved they would receive a spanking with his rod.
Father Christmas:
In England, Father Christmas comes down the chimney and visits homes on Christmas Eve. He leaves treats in children’s stockings. He would traditionally leave small toys and presents. Children would leave out mince pies and milk or brandy for him.
Pere Noel:
Pere Noel puts treats in the shoes of well-behaved French children. He is joined in his travels by Pere Fouettard. Pere Fouettard is the one who provides the spankings to bad children. While wooden shoes were used historically, today chocolate wooden shoes are filled with candies to commemorate the holiday. Northern France celebrates St. Nicholas Eve on December 6th, so Pere Noel visits then and on Christmas Day.
There are several stories about Babouschka in Russia. One is that she put off traveling with the Wise Men to see the Baby Jesus, instead opting to have a party, and regretted it afterward. So she set out every year to find the baby Jesus and give Him her gifts. Instead, she does not find him and gives the gifts to the children she finds along the way. Another story is that she purposefully misled the wisemen, and soon realized her sin. She places gifts at the bedsides of Russian children, hoping that one of them is the baby Jesus and that He will forgive her sins.
Santa Claus:
Christmas shopping has been a tradition since the early 19th century. By 1820 stores advertised Christmas shopping, and by 1840 there were already separate holiday ads that featured Santa. In 1890 the Salvation Army began dressing up unemployed workers as Santa and having them solicit donations throughout New York. You can still see those Santas outside stores and on street corners today.

Yet it was Clement Clarke Moore, and Episcopal Minister, and Thomas Nast, a cartoonist, that brought us the epitome of our modern day Santa. In 1822 he wrote a long poem titled, An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas. It is what we now know as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and it gave us many of the modern day characteristics of Santa such as his sleigh, laughter, and ability to fly up a chimney. It was Nast that drew the cartoon of Santa in 1881 that depicted him with a round belly, white beard, large smile, and carrying a sack of toys. He gave Santa the red and white suit that we know so well today. He also provided Santa with his North Pole workshop, elves, and Mrs. Claus.


Deity of the Day for December 23rd – Odin

Odin – Ruler of the Norse Gods

By Patti Wigington, Guide

In the Norse pantheon, Asgard was the home of the gods, and it was the place where one could find Odin, the supreme deity of them all. Connected to his Germanic ancestor Woden or Wodan, Odin was the god of kings and the mentor of young heroes, to whom he often gave magical gifts.

In addition to being a king himself, Odin was a shapeshifter, and frequently roamed the world in disguise. One of his favorite manifestations was that of a one-eyed old man; in the Norse Eddas, the one-eyed man appears regularly as a bringer of wisdom and knowledge to heroes. He pops up in everything from the saga of the Volsungs to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. He was typically accompanied by a pack of wolves and ravens, and rode on a magic horse named Sleipnir. Odin is associated with the concept of the wild hunt, and leads a noisy hoarde of fallen warriors across the sky.

Odin was said to summon dead heroes and kings to Valhalla, which they entered accompanied by the host of Valkyries. Once in Valhalla, the fallen engaged in feasting and combat, always ready to defend Asgard from its enemies. Odin’s warrior followers, the Berserkers, wore the pelts of a wolf or bear in battle, and worked themselves up into an ecstatic frenzy that made them oblivious to the pain of their wounds.

As a young man Odin hung on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days while pierced by his own javelin, in order to obtain the wisdom of the nine worlds. This enabled him to learn the magic of the runes. Nine is a significant number in the Norse sagas, and appears frequently.

Odin continues to maintain a strong following, particularly amongst members of the Asatru community.

Earth Science Pic of the Day for December 23

Tibetan Fogbow

December 23, 2011

Tibet Nepal fogbow(603) resize

Photographer: Alan Millar
Summary Author: Alan Millar; Jim Foster

The eye-catching fogbow shown above was observed while trying to get a glimpse of Mt. Everest when I visited the Tibet Plateau in China. Fogbows, also known as cloudbows, are colorless (or nearly so) cousins of rainbows. It’s the small fog droplets rather than falling raindrops that are responsible for the wan color and broader arch of a fogbow compared to the more showy rainbows. Actually, as long as the drop size is greater than about one millimeter in diameter, faint coloration is usually present. In spite of the long shadows noticeable in the picture, the photo was taken just after noon, on October 29, 2011.

Is it possible to see a rainbow or fogbow near noontime in the middle latitudes? Well, evidently the short answer is “yes,” but the answer should be “no.” Because the minimum angle of deviation of light rays in a spherical drop of water is 42 degrees, a rainbow can only be observed when the Sun is higher than 42 degrees above the horizon. This is why these bows are typically appreciated in the late afternoon or early evening. However, this classic fogbow was captured 37 minutes past noon. China stretches from about 135 east longitude into central Asia at a longitude of about 75 east, a distance of nearly 3,000 mi (4,828 km). The U.S. extends about the same distance and carries four time zones. Nonetheless, there’s only one time zone for all of China: when it’s noon in Shanghai, it’s also noon in western Tibet. During fall and winter, while the Sun is relatively high in the sky at noon time in Shanghai, it’s still clutching the horizon in western China. Thus, it’s at least technically possible to see a mid-day bow in the mid-latitudes.

Note how well the red parka stands out in this foggy landscape. Is it any wonder Rudolph leads Santa’s sleigh on those gloomy Christmas Eves.

Astronomy Picture of the Day for December 23rd

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2011 December 23
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Shell Galaxy NGC 7600
Image Credit & Copyright: Ken Crawford (Rancho Del Sol Observatory)
Collaboration: Andrew Cooper (MPA), Carlos Frenk, John Helly, Shaun Cole (Institute for Computational Cosmology),David Martinez-Delgado (MPIA), Star Stream Pilot Survey Group 

Explanation: Similar in size to the Milky Way, elliptical galaxy NGC 7600 is about 160 million light-years distant. In this deep image, spanning about 1/2 degree on the sky toward the constellation Aquarius, NGC 7600 sports a remarkable outer halo of nested shells and broad circumgalactic structures. The tantalizing features can be explained by the accretion of dark matter and stars on a cosmic timescale. In fact, a movie generated by simulating galaxy formation using a cosmological model with cold dark matter for the halos of merging galaxies reproduces the appearance of NGC 7600 in amazing detail. The remarkable simulation movie is available here on Vimeo and here in other formats. It presents compelling evidence that detailed features of galaxy mergers observed with small, wide field telescopes on planet Earth, are natural consequences of galaxy formation and fundamental properties of dark matter.

Can Poinsettias Kill Your Cat?

Can Poinsettias Kill Your Cat?

  • Melissa Breyer

It’s possible that poinsettias get the bummest rap in all of the plant world. They’ve got a bad-girl reputation as deadly beauties, but is the ubiquitous holiday plant actually toxic? About 70 percent of the population will answer yes, and although every year there is a bumper crop of stories explaining otherwise–the myth persists. In reality, ingestion of excessive poinsettia may produce only mild to moderate gastrointestinal tract irritation, which can include drooling and vomiting–kind of like drinking too much brandy-spiked eggnog? The poor poinsettia, so misunderstood…

It all started back in the early part of the 20th century when the two-year-old child of a U.S. Army officer was alleged to have died from consuming a poinsettia leaf. As these things have a habit of doing, the toxic potential of poinsettia has become highly exaggerated–and many a cat-keeper now treat poinsettias as persona non grata (or, as the case may be, poinsettia non grata) in their households. Keeping this plant out of the reach of your pet to avoid stomach upset is still a good idea, but according to the ASPCA, you need not banish the poinsettia from your home for fear of a fatal exposure.

So poinsettias, consider yourself absolved. As for the other holiday fave? Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems (and not just from forced smooches)–however, mistletoe ingestion usually only causes gastrointestinal upset. But there are other common household plants that have been reported as having some serious systemic effects–and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract on animals.

Lilies. Members of the Lilium family are considered to be highly toxic to cats. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats. While the poisonous component has not yet been identified, it is clear that with even ingestions of very small amounts of the plant, severe kidney damage could result.

Marijuana. Ingestion of Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma–even if they don’t inhale. But cats can get all the same fun without the buzz-killing side effects from marijuana’s cuz, catnip!

Sago Palm. All parts of Cycas Revoluta are poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts” contain the largest amount of toxin. The ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in very serious effects, which include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.

Tulip/Narcissus Bulbs. The bulb portions of Tulips and Narcissus contain toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.

Azalea/Rhododendron. Members of the Rhododenron family contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.

Oleander. All parts of Nerium oleander are considered to be toxic, as they contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious effects–including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.

Castor Bean. The poisonous principle in Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.

Cyclamen. Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.


Kalanchoe. This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate.

Yew. Contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.

Amaryllis. Common garden plants popular around the holidays, Amaryllis species contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.

Autumn Crocus. Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression.

Chrysanthemum. These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.

English Ivy. Also called branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy and California ivy, Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins that, should pets ingest, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea.

Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily). Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.

Pothos. Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum) belongs to the Araceae family. If chewed or ingested, this popular household plant can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.

Schefflera. Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.

What do do? Should your cat eat part of a poisonous plant, promptly bring your cat to your veterinarian. If you can, take the plant with you for ease of identification. If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435.

Daily Feng Shui Tip for December 23rd

Take a break from all the holiday hoopla and do something special just for you today. Go for a long walk in the fresh air and count all your many blessings. Take a bike ride if climate and location permit. Do anything that takes you outside your head, your office or your home. Connect with nature by hugging or just touching a tree. Some Shamans say that sitting with your back against a tree will do more to keep you rooted and grounded than any amount of the same style of meditations. Celtic cultural tradition tells us that touching wood, usually with the right hand, is a custom that has long been thought to bestow the benevolence of Mother Nature upon you and everyone you love. Many other cultures believe that touching wood while discussing new projects or ideas will encourage those efforts to spread roots and grow while also being shaded from failure or misfortune! So show the universe that you mean business and swallow some vitamin E (as in Ellen’s Empowering advice!) during these hectic holidays by giving yourself a much deserved and all-natural break! It will do you good — knock wood!

By Ellen Whitehurst for

Your Daily Number for December 23rd: 2

You’re extremely sensitive to the world around you today, and it may seem as if nothing escapes you. Use your intuition for a good cause by helping a friend or family member in need of advice.

Fast Facts

About the Number 2

Theme: Adaptable, Tactful, Gentle, Cautious
Astro Association: Moon
Tarot Association: High Priestess