Archive for the ‘Did You Know?’ Category
Great Foods for Healthy Skin
As it turns out, a healthy diet has even more benefits than we may have considered, including those affecting the appearance and quality of the skin. Our skin needs care from the inside and from the outside, and selecting foods that contribute to healthy glowing skin involves learning about super foods and those high in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. These substances may prevent or delay the cell damage leading to a number of diseases, including cancer. Antioxidants appear in many fruits and vegetables and other foods listed below.
Most health experts will agree that it is optimal to obtain nutrition mainly from food however, the following factors may indicate smart use of supplements:
- The foods we purchase may vary in terms of nutrient levels
- Extended periods of stress can deplete the body’s reserves
- Certain medical conditions may benefit from targeted supplements
Super Foods High in Antioxidants
Blue, Red, Purple Grapes
Dark Green Vegetables
Sweet Potato/Orange Vegetables
High Impact Foods for Enhancing Skin Health
Carotenoids include: Beta-carotene (β-carotene) and A-carotene (α-Carotene), lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. Along with active vitamin A, carotenoids help prevent premature skin damage and skin cancer. Diets high in carotenoids are beneficial for preventing UV light damage, which can lead to melanoma, aged-looking skin, wrinkles, drying, scaling and thickening of the skin. Great choices for foods high in carotenoids include:
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
Selenium is an essential mineral found in small amounts in the body. It works as an antioxidant, especially when combined with vitamin E. Antioxidants like selenium help fight the damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. Foods containing selenium include:
- Brazil Nuts (2-3 per day will fulfill this requirement)
- Sunflower Seeds
- Wheat Germ
Alpha Linolenic Acid
Alpha linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that must be obtained from the diet or supplementation. Omega-3s have been shown to reinforce the skin by protecting it from dryness and reducing skin sensitivity. Other benefits may include protection from autoimmune skin disorders like psoriasis or inflammatory conditions like acne and eczema. Great sources of alpha linolenic acid include:
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Hemp Seeds/hemp oil
Vitamin C is an antioxidant powerhouse with multiple benefits. For the skin, Vitamin C fights free radicals and protects from sun damage, contributes to collagen production, better wound healing, prevents skin discoloration and improves skin texture. The overall health benefits of Vitamin C intake are considerable, and many dermatologists and aestheticians also recommend topical application of Vitamin C which is present in a wide variety of products from lotions to serums. Great dietary sources of Vitamin C include:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Bell Peppers
Long Chain Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and, in general, increasing intake will improve skin moisture and appearance and may improve eczema. Even psoriasis may benefit from increased omega-3 intake. While cold water fish has always been high in omega-3, grass-fed beef has a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids and is generally leaner in total fat. Good sources of these omega-3s include:
- Grass-Fed Beef
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for the breakdown of fatty acids. Often referred to as the beauty vitamin with benefits for hair, skin and nails, it is easy to obtain the recommended amount in the diet. Including regular consumption of these foods with high nutritional value that ensure adequate intake of this vitamin:
Water, Water and More Water
Food choices can have wonderful skin benefits along with a recommendation we just can’t hear enough: maximize water intake, and minimize alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, and those who overindulge may see it on their faces the next day. Chronic overuse negatively affects skin tone, dryness and reflects an aged appearance. Re-think those couple glasses of wine or cocktails you may be having each day…Water is your skin’s best friend, and the formula for staying hydrated is the amount of water it takes to consistently produce urine that is colorless.
What NOT to Eat for Beautiful Skin
Nutritionists and aestheticians recommend avoiding foods that cause inflammation especially for those who may be suffering with skin disorders. Inflammatory foods include sugars, refined starches, vegetable oils, dairy products, wheat, processed corn, and many food additives. Foods with a high glycemic index that produce a quick rise in blood sugar are not recommended for several reasons including the negative effects on your skin.
Following these nutrition and diet recommendations will result in multiple benefits, including better health and higher energy as well as keeping your skin feeling and looking its best.
* This information is not intended to substitute for the advice or direction normally provided by a licensed medical professional. See your physician or a registered dietician for optimal dietary recommendations that are consistent with your comprehensive wellness plan, treatment you may be currently receiving, and to avoid interactions with prescription or over the counter medications you may be currently taking.
The end of the year is a time to reflect upon the past and plan for the future. Here we present you with some important income and estate tax items to consider before year’s end.
Contributions to a Retirement Plan
Self-employed individuals can establish and fund a qualified retirement plan. There are many different types of plans, including Simplified Employee Pension Plans (SEP), Solo 401(k) Plans, Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (Simple Plans), profit sharing plans, and defined benefit plans. Each plan has advantages and disadvantages, and the maximum contribution for each plan varies. Some plans need to be established before December 31, 2014, although they could be funded in 2015 with the amount contributed treated as a deduction in 2014.
Employees not covered by a retirement plan at work can establish an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and all individuals should consider establishing a Roth IRA.
Preparing State Income Taxes
State income taxes are deductible when paid. If you have a state estimated tax payment due January 15, 2015, consider accelerating that payment to sometimes prior to December 31, 2014 in order to deduct the payment to 2014. However, keep in mind that state income taxes are not deductible for alternative minimum tax purposes.
In addition, a new wrinkle is the impact that state income taxes have on the net investment income tax. A careful analysis of your 2014 and 2015 tax liability (including your alternative minimum tax and net investment income tax) should be done to determine if it is beneficial to prepay state income taxes.
Evaluating Year-to-Date Capital Losses and Year-End Capital Gains
Capital losses can offset capital gains plus $3000 of ordinary income. Now is the time to review your investment portfolio and your year to date capital gains and losses to determine if you should realize any more losses and/or gains. If you have an overall net loss so far, consider selling some appreciated positions to lock in the gains. If you have an overall net gain so far, consider selling some loss positions to reduce your potential tax liability. Triggering capital losses could also reduce your net investment income tax. You could buy back the securities sold at a loss provided you purchase the securities either more than 30 days before or 30 days after the sale. Capital losses in excess of capital gains plus $3000 can be carried over. However, some states do not permit carryovers of capital losses.
If you are charitably inclined, a donation to a charitable organization can reduce your tax bill. Checks to charities must be in the mail on or before December 31, 2014, while donations charged to a credit card can be deducted if charged in 2014, even if not paid until 2015. Consider giving appreciated securities to a charity instead of cash. The tax deduction for a contribution of appreciated securities is equal to the fair market value of the securities given and you do not have to pay income tax on the appreciation associated with the securities. Contributions of appreciated securities to public charities are limited to 30% of your adjusted gross income. Contributions of cash to public charities are limited to 50% of your adjusted gross income.
Annual Exclusion Gifts
Everyone is allowed to give $14,000 each year to any number of recipients. Married tax payers can give up to $28,000. This amount is free of any gift or inheritance tax and the recipient is not subject to income tax on the gift. The gift can be any type of asset—cash, check, stock, artwork, etc. However, it must be a gift of “present interest”—meaning the recipient must be able to access property now, and not just in the future.
Annual exclusion gifts are a simple and effective way to significantly reduce one’s estate tax. For example, a married couple with three children and nine grandchildren can annually give away $336,000 ($28,000 to each of their 12 descendants) without paying any gift tax. By following this practice for five years, they would have removed $1.69M from their taxable estate.
Children or Grandchildren Education Planning
Consider opening and funding a section 529 plan. There are many different plans available—all essentially college savings plans.
Earnings in a section 529 plan and qualified distributions are not taxed. Qualified distributions are those used for a person’s qualified higher education expenses at an accredited post-secondary educational institution, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment. Certain room and board expenses also qualify.
In addition, you are allowed to fund up to five times the annual exclusion ($70,000) in one year and treat the transfer as made over five years. Married taxpayers can fund up to $140,000 in one year and treat the transfer as made over five years.
Review Important Tax Documents
Now is a good time to review all of your important tax documents, such as last wills and testaments, health care proxies, powers of attorney, and trusts. In addition, you should review beneficiary designations for retirement plans and life insurance policies and check how all your bank/brokerage accounts are titled. As you go through, consider the following:
- Have children been born since documents were last updated?
- Has there been a divorce?
- Has there been a marriage?
- Are the named trustees still close confidants?
Should you need assistance with your year-end income and estate tax planning, contact Aspen, Allen, & Associates, located at 616 North Court, Suite 130 in Palatine. For more information, visit www.aspenallan.com or call (847) 358-3909.
This event allows you to discuss opportunities with various employers in the information technology industry and other industries.
Date: Thursday, January 29, 2015
Time: 10:30am to 1:00pm
Place: Grayslake Campus Building E, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030
If you have available positions in the Information Technology field, register to participate in this event. Register here.
Information Technology Focus:
- Computer forensics
- Computer programming
- Desktop support technician
- Network administration and security
- Office applications specialist
For additional information, contact Annette Halsey at email@example.com or (847) 543-2059.
Pita House celebrates 15 years serving the lombard area. The restaurant has been remodeled inside and out, and the mayor of Lombard and Chamber of Commerce were on-site November 20 for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The owners have a family history if diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so following a healthy diet is very important to them. In an attempt to make it easy for the whole community to eat healthy, Pita House partnered with Health Dining to compile nutrition facts on 10 menu items and pita bread. All 10 items are “Sodium Savvy” and calorie counts and nutrition facts are available at both Pita House locations. (There is also a restaurant in Schaumburg.)
Pita House provides quick service Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. All dishes are prepared fresh, from scratch daily. Customers can enjoy quick, dine-in service, carry-out and catering. Delivery service is also available.
Pita House uses only fresh ingredients, meaning no canned sauces. They use all farm-fresh beef, lamb and chicken, and the meats served are from free-range livestock, which aren’t treated with antibiotics or steroids.
Pita House Schaumburg
365 S. Roselle Rd.
Pita House Lombard
340 E. Roosevelt Rd.
by Rachel Cruze
If you’re like me, then this is your favorite time of year. I absolutely love Christmas! One of the reasons I love the holiday season is because I’ve learned to live on a budget and completely avoid debt. That way, I don’t have to worry about the thrill of Christmas turning into a debt hangover in January.
But our culture is so used to debt. We assume that Christmas presents are just something we automatically put on the credit card. That’s nuts! The holidays are supposed to be a fun, festive time of the year with shopping, parties and gifts. But the temporary thrill of all that fun turns into a long-term headache when all the bills start rolling in.
The main reason people use debt during Christmas is simply because they don’t have a plan. They haven’t saved any money all year, and they wait until the last minute to fight the crowds at the mall. Without a plan, they end up overspending and piling on event more debt than they already had.
If you want life to be different this Christmas–less stressful and more festive–then you absolutely need to create a Christmas budget. You can check out mychristmasbudget.com to help you get started. All you have to do is list all of your Christmas expenses–every dollar you want to spend on each person you’re buying for. The amount you’ve budgeted for should equal your planned spending amount.
It’s called a zero-based budget, and it’s the same way I budget every month–except, this time, it’s Christmas specific. And when you’re not shopping online, use crash. The great thing about cash is when it’s gone, it’s gone.
As a woman, I know the pressure you face. You want the Christmas season to be perfect–and that means everyone gets the right gift, everyone gets invited to the party and everyone gets the right amount of food. All of that is fine… if you can truly afford it. If you’re going into debt to fund this Christmas lifestyle, then you’re only hurting yourself and your family.
I promise you, the holiday season will be much more enjoyable when you have a plan. I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by simply putting boundaries on my spending and making sure I know exactly how much I have to spend in the first place. Come spring, when you start planning that family vacation, you’ll be thankful you aren’t still paying off Christmas debt. So, if you want your Christmas to be truly merry, stay away from credit cards at all costs!
Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter, helping Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. Her new book Smart Money Smart Kids, co-authored by her dad Dave Ramsey, was released April 2014 and debuted at number one of the New York Times best-sellers list. You can follow Rachel on Twitter @RachelCruze, online at rachelcruze.com or at facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.
The IRS issued a consumer alert today providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS. These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.
“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”
The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:
- Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
- Demand you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484.
- You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant. Choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
Remember the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.
Additional information about tax scams are available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube and Tumblr where people can search “scam” to find all the scam-related posts.
Wheaton’s Cantigny Park invites amateur photographers to enter their best images in the Cantigny in Focus annual photo contest. The submission deadline for entries is Friday, November 7.
Submitted images (maximum 10) must be from the grounds of Cantigny Park or Cantigny Golf in Wheaton, the 500-acre former estate of Robert R. McCormick. Pictures taken in 2014 or earlier are eligible.
Cantigny-appointed judges will select winning images for public display in the park’s Visitors Center Gallery. Judges look for photographs that best represent the scope of Cantigny, including golf, museums, special events, gardens, adult and children’s programs, concerts, military events and nature. Family photos are welcome, too, especially those taken during the early years of the park, which opened in 1958.
The entries chosen for display will be enlarged, professionally framed at Cantigny’s expense and returned to the photographers at the end of 2015. Top finishers also will receive a free annual membership (basic level) to Cantigny Park.
Winning entries will go on display starting February 6, 2015. Park visitors will then vote for their favorite images throughout 2015. Owners of the top three vote getters will receive a prize.
About Cantigny Park
Cantigny Park, part of the nonprofit Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundations, is the 500-acre Wheaton (Illinois) estate of Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955), longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. It is home to 30 acres of spectacular gardens, the Robert R. McCormick Museum, the First Division Museum and a 27-hole championship golf course. All are open to the public. Cantigny also is a favorite destination for special events, weddings, concerts, lectures, workshops and other recreation and learning opportunities for all ages. Full-service banquet and dining facilities are on site. More information, including hours, directions and a calendar of upcoming events is online at Cantigny.org.
NEW AGE SPA OPEN HOUSE
October 22 between 5pm and 7:30pm in Desplaines
October 25 between 10am and 1pm in Arlington Heights
The New Age Spa Institute has the finest instructors and offers lifetime job placement! Here, you’ll receive state-of-the-art education for the future, including esthetics, massage therapy, nail tech and makeup.