The Importance of Vitamins

I always start my day with a variety of vitamins – so, I thought that I would share this article.

Prevention Magazine: Best Vitamins For Women, by Elizabeth Somer, RD

Always remember to take with a meal and a full glass of water! Don’t forget to review the Food Sources listed under each reference, too. Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before trying or using any sort of supplement!

Personally, I look forward to trying the following (after consulting my doctor):

Ginger (one 500-mg capsules every four hours as needed);

Ginseng (100mg twice daily);

Vitamin E (wheat germ, nuts, spinach);

Vitamin B6  & B12 (avocados, bananas, whole grain);

Copper (leafy greens);

Omega-3s (fish, flaxseed).


Somer, Elizabeth. “Vitamins for Women: Best Multivitamins.” Prevention, Sept. 2012. Web. 08 Jan. 2014. <;.

Smart:Vocab GRE App

smart-vocab-gre-study-app-screen-shotSmart:Vocab GRE

This app is a fun and effective way to learn vocabulary! Uses iOS or Android operating systems.

When you first open the app, you must take a diagnostic test of 30 words. This test places you at an appropriate vocabulary level – from “White Belt” to “Black Belt.” You move up the ranking as you “master” more words. Once Black Belt is achieved, you will get “bonus words;” therefore, even if you place at an advanced level in the diagnostic, you will always be given additional words.

Words are organized into three different categories: Mastered; Current; Words Left (see icon above). Quizzes are available for both previously “mastered” words, as well as current words. Repetition is key to this app: you must correctly define a word on three different quizzes before it is considered “mastered.”

Once you have a couple hundred vocab words “mastered,” I recommend starting a Google doc or Excel spreadsheet that aggregates all similar definitions. This encourages the most efficacious vocabulary building. I also recommend regularly reviewing the “mastered” list within the app.

The cost is a flat fee of $4.99. It is definitely worth the investment.

Fragile and Functioning States


Upon recently completing a class at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) (“Promoting Development in Fragile States,” as taught by Professor Seth Kaplan), I highly recommend using Kaplan’s work (The Fragile States Resource Center and “Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development”) as a basis of understanding.

He believes that there are “two factors [that] decide how a country’s political, economic, and societal life evolves: a population’s capacity to cooperated ([social cohesion]) and its ability to take advantage of a set of shared, production institutions (especially informal institutions at the crucial early stages of development)” (Seth Kaplan 17). These two factors explain how and why nation-states are more developed than fragile states. The divided natures of fragile states have left the with no unifying identities, no unifying institutions, and no unifying governance systems with which to bind their peoples together” (Kaplan 35).

According to his book, “Fixing Fragile States,” fragile states are “plagued by two structural problems – political identity fragmentation and weak national institutions” (Kaplan 36).

For more info, get his book or check out his website. Both are great resources for topical discussions and current events. Highly recommended to anyone.


Interesting article posted 29 MAR 2013 from the IMF on the stability and development of fragile states:

What exactly is a fragile state? As stated by the IMF, “a country suffering any or all of the following adverse conditions—political and economic instability, poverty, civil disorder, terrorism, human trafficking, or disease—can be labeled a fragile state. These fragile situations are not limited to low-income countries. The issue of governance is a concern for countries around the world.”

So, then, what characteristics must a state possess to be considered “functioning?” According to Clare Lockhart, a functioning state is capable of the following: “managing the public finances in a sound way; investment in human capital; managing infrastructure services; how the state approaches the rule of law; whether the rulers themselves are subject to the rule of law; and how they manage the assets of the state.”

“IMF Survey : Security, Stability Measures Needed to Fix Fragile States.” IMF Survey : Security, Stability Measures Needed to Fix Fragile States. International Monetary Fund, 29 Mar. 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2013. <;.

Kaplan, Seth D. Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008. Print.