One Woman and Her VW Beetle

vw-beetle-sleepEcho McNamara is quite detached from material possessions. Her house is a simple hut with a wood-burning stove that provides both heat and her only source for cooking meals. Her closet contains only a few changes of clothing, suitable for all types of weather. While most women spend loads on health and beauty products, McNamara makes her own biodegradable, all-natural soap from scratch, and that’s the only health and beauty product she uses. Not one for worldly things, there is one item McNamara simply can’t live without. It’s her 1967 Volkswagen Beetle.

Volkswagen experts say that the Beetle was at its prime in 1967. That year, Beetles had front end disc brakes, improved ventilation, tended to rust less than models of other years, better headlights, factory 12-volt electrics, and a very reliable 1500 single-port motor. McNamara certainly knew a thing or two when it to Beetles. A young teen in the 60’s, McNamara embraced the bohemian lifestyle of her older siblings. Her brothers were Volkswagen fanatics, and she often overheard their passionate conversations about all things Volkswagen. Thanks to her brothers’ knowledge and research, McNamara searched far and wide for a ’67 Beetle when she was ready to own a vehicle in 1985. Since then, she has not had the heart to part with her prized possession.

McNamara loved her VW Beetle so much that she outfitted the vehicle as her second home. With a cooler and stove stashed under the dashboard on the passenger side and a custom mattress that filled her back seat, McNamara is able to take her Beetle out and about for days and camp out of it at night. On some nights when she felt lonely at home, should would simply spend the night in her Beetle and feel cozy, warm, and loved. Who needs a husband when you have a ’67 Volkswagen Beetle?

My New Hobby is Running and I Love It!

My New Hobby is Running and I Love ItRecently, I have just taken up running and it is one of the greatest sports. There are many reasons why I consider it to be so great. First, it has helped me to lose weight and start to shape up. Secondly, it is something you can do absolutely anywhere without even needing to spend money on a gym membership. Thirdly, running shoes are the only equipment you need. Lastly, it is a great sport to partake in with friends. If it is not something you have considered, you should, running is a great deal of fun and besides you get healthy doing it.

I have only been running about a month and I have already begun noticing that weight has begun dropping off. It really does burn calories and without a ton of work. Obviously, it is important to start out slow. If you go at it too fast, it can be dangerous on your body. Also, always make sure to take the time to stretch, I can’t stress that enough. I have pulled muscles by not doing that before and after a run. If you struggle, you might walk more than you run at first, but eventually, you will get there.

When you do get there, remember it can be done anywhere! This is fantastic as you don’t need a fancy gym membership. Just step out the door and move it. If you prefer to run on a treadmill go ahead, but increase the grade a little to strengthen yourself as you go. I am not a fan of the grade, but they tell me it is good. Otherwise, do what I like and hit the pavement. It is great to breathe in the fresh air.

Guess what? You don’t even have to purchase any equipment! Just a great pair of gym shoes with good supportive soles and you are good to go. That is the only investment that is important. If you don’t invest in anything else, a pair of the most comfortable running shoes is a must. It will help you by keeping your feet in tip-top shape for a very long time. This will keep you on the street running for a long time.

Lastly, I have found it encouraging to run with friends. They are a great source of encouragement. My friends and I have already signed up for our first 5K and we are ready to run our very first race in a few weeks. I am told this is a great way to stay motivated because you want to get stronger for the run, not weaker by sitting on the couch.

This is how I have fallen in love with my first month of running. Hopefully, you will find some interesting tidbits in my tiny little piece of experience. Enjoy the fresh air in your lung and length in your new found stride.

Running is not all I’m excited about in my life these days! Read this to find out why I think a water softener is the best thing ever!

Why One of My Favourite New Purchases is a Water Softener

Why One of My Favourite New Purchases is a Water SoftenerIt’s a proven fact that high-quality water is critical for good health. However, did you know that it can also save you money by utilising less energy while extending the life of you appliances? There are actual many physical and financial benefits to owning a water softener system. In fact, one of my favourite new purchases is a water softener.

Home Benefits

While hard water is safe to drink and use, it can cause several problems related to appliance usage and cleaning. Water softeners work to dilute the mineral concentrations in the water which have many benefits for my household.

Application Lifespan

Many of the minerals in hard water accumulate inside of appliances thus shortening their lifespan and decreasing efficiency. Studies have proven that water softening systems extend the life of appliances versus hard water. The longer life of appliances equates to saving money by infrequently replacing them.

Easy Cleaning

One of the leading reasons why one of my favourite new purchases is a water softener is the easier cleaning of dish and clothes. When washing dishes and clothes with hard water, white spots, soapy residue or streaks remain. Using a water softener thoroughly rinses away residue resulting in clean dishes and clothes. Also, soft water reacts well with soap and detergent thus reducing the amount required for cleaning which lowers costs.

Quicker Water Heating

Another advantage is quicker water heating for the dishwasher and in the shower. When there is mineral build-up it takes longer for the water to get hot. With a water softening system, electric and gas-powered water heaters are more efficient.


Plumbing maintenance and flow is another benefit of a soft water system. Hard water leaves mineral deposits in fixtures and pipes which accumulate over time resulting in clogs that shorten the lifespan of the plumbing system. By reducing these deposits there will be less buildup and clogs which will drastically extend the life of the plumbing and allow fixtures to operate at a higher efficiency.

Health Benefits

In addition to the many home applications of a soft water system, there are health benefits as well, including:

Sodium Levels

Salt in the water softening system removes minerals like Calcium and Magnesium during the Ion Exchange Process. This leaves higher levels of sodium in the water which dissolve toxic metals like lead and cadmium that may corrode from the pipes.


Hard water minerals interfere with cleaning tasks and combine to form soap curd. This residue is difficult to eliminate and prevents the skin from returning to its regular condition after bathing, makes hair dull and hard to manage and can cause skin irritation. A water softening system eliminates this issue as it does not contain any of the minerals that produce this residue.

There are many benefits which is why one of my favourite new purchases is a water softener. It is good for my health as well as the appliances and fixtures in my home. They are easy to use and cost-effective when compared to the need of frequently purchasing new appliances and replace plumbing systems.

Also read: A VW Beetle fan’s new love: The self-balancing scooter

A VW Beetle fan’s new love: The self-balancing scooter


A VW Beetle fan's new love The self-balancing scooter

When the Volkswagen Beetle first landed in the United States, the overwhelming majority of people not only passed it by – but they actively ignored this “ugly” and ridiculously small vehicle in favor of gigantic cars made by American manufacturers.

There were a couple of reasons that the VW Beetle didn’t get a lot of love in its early days.

For starters, it was introduced to the United States just a few decades after the end of World War II – when people in the United States weren’t exactly excited at the prospect of purchasing vehicles directly from an industrialized Germany.

On top of that, the VW Beetle was the exact opposite of everything that America was looking for in a vehicle at that point in time. Cars were getting bigger and bigger, heavier and heavier, and as long as a football field, and then along comes this tiny little round German automobile to buck the trend.

An amazing advertising campaign (“Think Small”) from a legendary advertising firm in Chicago changed public perception of that VW in a hurry, and it went on to sell out its entire run of vehicles in record time – forcing the German automaker to kick the production into high gear to meet the demand.

Why are a Volkswagen Beetle fans falling in love with hoverboards?

Well, the same people that have fallen in love with everything that the VW Beetle draw to the table back in the 1960s are the same kinds of people that are falling in love with hoverboards or self balancing scooters.

Here are a couple of reasons why!

A quirky ride

To say that a hoverboard is a “quirky ride” just might be the understatement of the century.

It is absolutely impossible to see someone simple round on one of these scooters and not think that they are at least a little bit crazy. After all, a hoverboard looks a lot more like a motorized skateboard (road the wrong way) or a hybrid overboard like the one in Back to the Future than something comfortable and effortless to control and cruise around on.

However, just like that old school VW Beetle, the self balancing scooter is hiding a lot of advanced technology and comfort inside of an unorthodox “wrapper”.

A minimalist approach to transportation

You aren’t going to find anyone that will argue with you about whether or not the VW Beetle represented a minimalist approach to transportation when it first landed up on US shores.

Ridiculously small (the first compact, way before compact cars became anything), the VW Beetle was stripped-down, streamlined, and all about efficiency.

Well, that’s exactly what you’re going to get out of a hoverboard.

Compact, effortless to control, and very energy efficient of their thanks in large part to the advanced lithium ion battery technology that the overwhelming majority of these scooters run off of), you’re going to enjoy a very minimalist approach to transportation.

A little bit off of the beaten path

The kind of people that enjoy self balancing scooters (and VW Beetles) aren’t exactly your most traditional folks.

Usually very creative, a little bit quirky, and certainly taking a journey down a path not exactly well-worn, these people are always willing to try something new, always looking for something fun and exciting, and always looking to turn traditional concepts upon their heads at every opportunity.

If you’re a little bit of a wild child yourself, you might want to check out hoverboard reviews to find out what the best brands are and how each one performs. It fits perfectly in the backseat of a VW Beetle!

How Bella Got Her Groove Back

exercise-machineA year ago, Bella was your typical Italian-American young woman living in South Jersey. She resided in a house with her two best girlfriends, and these three musketeers did just about everything together. When she wasn’t working at Alicia DiMichele Boutique, she was practicing makeup techniques and tricks she learned from YouTube, downing drinks at Marlton Tavern, or making the short drive to the shore so she can work on her tan and meet some cute shore boys.

After a few years of living the young, uninhibited life, Bella faced what she had been long denying: that she had packed on more than a few pounds and that every few months she had to buy new clothes because she could no longer fit into her old ones. This time, instead of turning to the Patron bottle that had long been her crutch, she called a house meeting with her besties.

Her friends, too, had gained an unhealthy amount of weight. Making a pact to lose the “extra baggage” together and support one another through the process made their weight loss goal much easier to manage than if they were to attempt it themselves. The three musketeers vowed to get back to a healthy weight and for everyone to hold each other accountable.

Bella knew that weight loss was one-half diet, and the other half exercise. The first order of business was to clean out the pantry and refrigerator of unhealthy food options. Water and tea will replace soda and fruit juices loaded with sugar. Fruits and vegetables will replace chips and cookies. Quinoa and brown rice will replace breads and white rice. Chicken and fish will replace bacon and sausages. And so forth. Bella and her housemates decided that one glass of wine with dinner was fine, and that on one night out of the week, they will allow themselves three vodka sodas…because even though they are trying to lose weight, they still got to live a little.

Diet aside, Bella knew she had to develop an exercise routine that would keep her interested and motivated. After a quick Google search, it was apparent that what would best suit her lifestyle and needs is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of exercise routine involves alternating intervals of heart-pumping cardio with periods of lower-intensity exercise. HIIT would only take 30 minutes out of her day, and the alternating, short intervals would make the time seem to pass much more quickly. For the high-intensity phase of the exercise, Bella decided to vary her workouts by choosing between running on the treadmill, rowing on the row machine, or climbing stairs. Her lower-intensity phases will involve a short circuit of legs, abs and arms of her choosing. This could mean a set of squats, planks, and push-ups or lunges, crunches, and tricep dips. She found that the rowing machine tending to offer the best all round workout, you can check reviews of models to buy for your own home.

As Bella became acclimated to her exercise regimen, she quickly fell in love with the rowing machine. This machine offered a great entire body workout that raised her heart rate fast. It made her upper body and core work out just as much as her legs, and she felt exhilarated by watching the equipment monitor and trying to keep up her strokes per minute. Bella’s housemates quickly became enamored with the rowing machine as well.

As Bella and her two best friends stuck to their diet and exercise (except for a few days of “falling off the wagon”), the pounds began to melt away from their bodies. Six months into a healthier lifestyle, and Bella was in the best shape of her life. Eating healthy and going to the gym regularly no longer became a chore, but were simply things she did to make her feel good. They were things that she can now not live without. Since her transformation, both physically and mentally, Bella decided she wanted to help others through the same transformational process she experienced and left her retail job to pursue a career in fitness and lifestyle coaching. Bella definitely got her groove back, and she’s happy spreading that to the world.