All posts by jamie.wheeler

About jamie.wheeler

Jamie Wheeler holds a Master’s degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is currently writing her dissertation on John Steinbeck. Jamie lives in Dallas with her two children, Austen and Collin, and her two cats, Cheese and Burger. Jamie is also the Lead Editor at eNotes.com, an educational resource for literary criticism and teaches writing, rhetoric and literature at two community colleges.

Seven Tips To Pamper Your Hair Naturally

shutterstock_31909057You put your hair through a lot: heat, chemicals, weather. Of course, there are lots of expensive commercially available products out there that do a great job, but there are also many fantastic home remedies you can use that are much less pricey and can help you maintain gorgeous, enviable locks. Here are of the best ways to pamper your hair at home, with items your probably already have.

Olive Oil has been used for hundreds of years to give hair a soft and lustrous glow. It’s very simple to do. Just heat a ½ cup olive oil in a microwave-safe bowl for 20 seconds. Massage into your hair. Cover with a cap or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes. Shampoo as usual and use a light conditioner. Rinse completely.
Eggs also have a long history of hair restoration. Eggs have a high protein content, which helps repair damaged follicles. To treat your hair with egg, just beat an egg or two (depending on the length of your hair) until scrambled. Apply all over the hair, massaging into scalp and working through to the ends. Leave it on your head for 15 minutes. Rinse, then shampoo. For best results, use an egg treatment once a week.
Mayonnaise is a terrific conditioner for dry hair. Using just one tablespoon on mayonnaise and comb through your hair, beginning at the crown and pulling it through to the ends. Leave on for one= hour. Wash out with a very gentle shampoo (baby shampoo is typically recommended).
Coconut Oil is a terrific way to repair split ends but use caution. With your fingers, apply mostly to the ends, very little in the middle, and stay away from the crown. Shampoo thoroughly. If it still seems oily, re-wash.
Apple Cider Vinegar is another way to improve shine and suppleness. It strips away hair products that can leave build up over time. Mix a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to a pint of warm water. Work through hair and rinse with more, plain, warm water.
Not all methods of improving the quality and texture of your hair are external. Here are some additional ways you can help your mane shine!
Almonds and Cashews are rich in melanin, which will restore luster to the hair. Other copper-rich foods include chickpeas (garbanzo beans) oysters, and liver. 
Dark Green Vegetables are loaded with iron, another element that will increase melatonin in your hair follicles, making the hair more manageable, full, and shiny. Add vegetables to your diet such as spinach and/ or kale, and also yellow veggies like tomatoes. If you aren’t big on vegetables, bananas area also a great iron source.
Originally published in 2011
 

 

Your Cheat Sheet To New Year’s Resolutions

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions

Unlike Calvin from Bill Watterson’s comic Calvin and Hobbes, most people resolve to change something about themselves or their lives in the coming year. Time.com reports that about half of all Americans, 48% will make a resolution. The top three desires are to lose weight, stop smoking, and to exercise more often. However, despite our good intentions, Time also reports that 35% of us never even make it a single day. How do you prevent yourself from falling into an illusion and instead create a reality? Here are seven ways to make things you want to change actually happen!

1.      Be Realistic and Be Honest. Thomas Jefferson said, “ Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Be wise and realize what your limits are. For example, if you want to get in shape and the most stringent thing you’ve done for the past six months is lift the remote, don’t resolve to begin running twenty miles a week starting January 1st. Instead, build up your goals and stamina so you don’t get discouraged and give it up all together.
 
2.      Spread the Word. Have someone other than yourself to hold you accountable for your behavior. Tell one or two people you trust to help you talk through temptation when the need arises. 
 
3.     Reward Yourself. Having something to look forward to can be quite helpful. If you are trying to quit smoking, for example, put the money you would have spent on cigarettes and save it for a week. At the end of the week (or for however long you decide to save), reward yourself with something new: clothing (that now will no longer smell like smoke!), a DVD, some music, whatever you find appealing.
 
4.     Keep a Journal to track your progress. If you are on a diet, keep a food diary. If you are exercising, write about what you have done.   If you are stopping smoking, right about how you are feeling. As each day progresses, you will see how your attitude improves and your addiction diminishes. Whatever your goal, seeing measureable progress and your feelings about your progress will help you stay on track.
 
5.     Fell Off the Wagon? Climb back ON! Don’t let a slip up destroy your larger plan. We all miss a day of exercise every once in a while, or over eat, or sneak a cigarette at a party. The important thing is to continue on, forgive yourself, and start a new day.
 
6.     Twenty-one Days. I heard long ago that it takes about three weeks to get used to any change, whether it is a new job, a new home, or a new habit. Make sure you give your new resolution at least this long and it will become ingrained into your normal routine.
 
7.     Never Say Never. Avoid absolutes. Saying things like, “ I will never eat another cookie again,” is bound to fail. Cookies are good after all! Instead, set realistic goals and if you have a cookie, don’t beat yourself up. Ten minutes more on the treadmill will be your penance! 

Originally published in 2010

From Sunscreen To Food Safety: Summer Health And Wellness Tips

 

 



Everyone looks forward to summertime picnics, beaches, boating, and barbeques. However, summer brings unique health challenges that can affect family fun. Avoid some of the pitfalls of the season by following these helpful tips.

 

 

 

Food Safety

One of the nicest things about summer is sharing homemade food with family and friends.  But frequent handling and exposure to heat carries dangers of bacteria-related illnesses and viruses. Here are some ways to lessen your exposure:

·      Wash your hands and use clean containers and utensils. Dirty hands, work surfaces, and utensils can all contaminate your food.

·      Keep mayonnaise-based foods cold. Bacteria grows very quickly in warm weather when mayonnaise is mixed with food.

·      Do not prepare foods more than twenty-four hours in advance. The longer a cooked food sits, the more the danger increases for bacteria growth. Foods that need to be cooked more than 24 hours ahead of time should be frozen.

·      Cut melons need to be kept cold. Melons are a favorite spot of two nasty viruses, Salmonella and Shigella, and are often found in the rind. Wash the melon and keep it cold.

·      Keep cold food cold. The temperature of your cooler must be 40 degrees or below to prevent bacteria growth.

·      Keep hot food hot. Foods meant to be eaten hot need to stay at 140 degrees or higher to avoid harmful bacteria growth.

 

 

 

Avoid Swimmer’s Ear

Frequent immersion of the head in water, whether at the pool or at the beach, can cause the outer ear canal to become painful and inflamed. Although it is more common in children, adults can and do get “Swimmer’s Ear.” Reduce your risk by following these steps:

·      Dry your ears after swimming.

·      Do not stick things like Q-Tips (or other objects) into your ear canals.

·      Stay away from water that had been previously closed due to pollution.

·      Ask the pool staff about their chlorine and pH-testing. Don’t swim there if they don’t know or won’t give you an answer.

 

 

 

 

Poison Ivy

One of the dangers of camping or hiking is poison ivy, which grows quite well in hot weather. Touching it can result in painful blisters. First, learn what it looks like and teach your children too. Poison ivy, as you see in the picture, is three-leafed; a large, tear drop-shaped large leaf in the center, flanked by two smaller leaves on its side.

If you do get exposed, here are some hints on managing the rash:

·      If possible, wash your skin immediately. If you are able to wash it off in ten minutes or less, you are less likely to develop the rash.

·      DO NOT scrub or use hot water, which can push the poison deeper into your skin.

·      If you were not able to wash in 10 minutes, a reaction will likely occur within 48 hrs.

·      AVOID scratching! It’s hard to do but will only spread the poison. To lessen the itch, take an anti-histamine, apply Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream.

·      Oatmeal baths (like Aveeno) will help dry out the blisters as well as sooth the skin.

·      Wash all the clothing you were wearing . Surprisingly, the active poison, called “urushiol” can remain active for a year!

 

 

Apply Sunscreen Frequently

Nothing can ruin an otherwise great day like a nasty sunburn. We all know we should use it, but there are some things you need to be aware of before you head out this season. Just this week the FDA announced new guidelines for sun protection and offered other advice for avoiding sun burns and skin damage.

·      Most people don’t put on enough sunscreen. Doctors say that to be fully covered, you need to apply the equivalent of a shot glass full of lotion to your body.

·      You need to reapply sunscreen every 90 minutes to 2 hours

·      Make sure your sunscreen is “broad-spectrum” and protects against both UVB and UVA rays.

·      Choose an SPF of at least 30. Doctors say that anything over SPF 50 doesn’t really mean anything.

·      New guidelines will no longer allow sunscreens to claim they are “water proof” or “sweat proof.” They can claim they are “water-resistant” but even so, doctors and scientists say, you still need to apply every 90 minutes to 2 hrs.

 

 

 

Drink water!

It’s very easy to become dehydrated in hot weather, and children are very susceptible to water loss. Although they may ask for soda or juice, make sure they (and you) are mostly drinking water. Sugary drinks, whether natural or artificial, are simply not as effective at hydration (and they add unnecessary calories).

Warning signs of dehydration include:

·      Feeling dizzy

·      Having a dry or sticky mouth

·      Producing less or darker urine

If you notice any of these signs in yourself or in your children, get somewhere cool as quickly as possible and drink cool water.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / mysza831

 

Ten Super Staycation Ideas For Kids And Adults


 

Five Fun Flings for Kids:

 

1.      Backyard Campout

Equipped with their imaginations and only a few inexpensive supplies, your kids (and perhaps a friend or two) can go on an adventure. Small tents are inexpensive (many under $50). A couple of flashlights, some comic books, board games, and snacks will make your little ones giggle and feel ever so adventurous!

 

2.     Surprise Jar of Fun!

With your children, come up with a variety of low-cost activities that they want to do this summer. Everyone, ideally, should agree that the choices are plausible and fun! Let each child, and adults, if you wish, take turns choosing a random slip. Here are a few ideas to add to your own:

·       Science Museum (most cities have wonderful, interactive, hands-on museums).

·       Spa Day! Backrubs, home manicures and pedicures, massages, comfy robes, scented candles.

·       Make-your-own pizzas and board games night

·       Water park

·       Kite Flying

·       Bike Riding

 

3.      Picnic Around the World

Who doesn’t like a picnic? But for your “Staycation Picnic,” make it even more interesting. Get a globe and spin it. Wherever the child’s finger lands, investigate the food of that nation. For example, if it is France, croissants and chocolate; Greece, olives and dolmas, and so on. Bring some music of the country of choice to play while you nibble and share some fun facts with the children too!

 

4.     Slumber Party!

Get out the sleeping bags (and the ear plugs) and invite a few of your child’s friend’s over for a slumber party. Pizza, movies, and popcorn can make for a memorable evening!

 

5.      Minor League Baseball

For an affordable evening of great fun, take the family out for an evening of Minor League Baseball. Not only is it easy on the budget, you get good seats and players who are often eager to converse with fans.

 

FIVE FABULOUS IDEAS FOR GROWN-UPS

1.      White Elephant “Sale” and Party

For a twist on the traditional yard sale, try this. Have all your friends bring over the most awful thing they have in their possession. Your yard sale will be a “penny clearance.” Everything is only ONE CENT! Place bets on whose item will be the first to go, the last to go, etc. It’s amazing what people will take when they think something is “free.” Freeze a couple of buckets of margaritas, set up a bunch of lawn chairs, and let the games begin!

 

2.     Neighborhood Block Party

Take the initiative and organize a neighborhood block party. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors, eat good food and enjoy a summer day or evening.

 

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3.     Go for a Day (or Night) at the Museum

Take advantage of the slower pace of summer and the reduced attendance at museums and soak up some art. Many museums also hope to boost attendance by offering “Nights at the Museum.” Some even include live music and wine.

 

4.      Bookstore Date

Mark off a few hours to spend perusing used bookstores together. Grab several titles to keep you occupied during those long summer days. Perhaps choose a book for each other that you’ve always wanted the other person to read. Follow up your leisurely morning with lunch and drinks on a mist-cooled patio or a neighborhood bistro.

 

5.     Community Theater

A fun and inexpensive way to spend the evening is to take in a show at your local community theater. Summer stock productions often offer familiar titles, from comedies to classics.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / nicadlr

Seven Tips To Make The Most Of Your Summer Vacations

Everyone looks forward to summer vacation. But we’ve all had vacation-related let-downs, whether it be mismanaging time or forgetting a crucial item at home, or feeling unprepared for a day’s adventure. Reduce the chances of disappointment by following these tips:

 

 

Book Flight and Hotel Together

·      Consider using one of the websites pictured above to book your flight and hotel together. Airlines and hotels have many deals together and you get great savings on both.

 

 

Consider “All-Inclusive” Vacations

·      All-inclusive vacations are wonderful, especially if you are traveling with children. It’s a good idea because as travel writer Anna LoBuono says, ““Kids like to try different things, but if you’ve shelled out $60 to rent snorkeling gear and they suddenly get cold feet, it’s wasted money.” Typically, all-inclusive packages include meals, snacks, activities and tips.

 

Pack Light, Pack Right!

·      Bring clothing that can be easily coordinated, for example, a shirt that will go with either shorts or a skirt.

·      Pack one pair of walking shoes (flip flops on a day you plan to walk all over the place will make your feet ache), one pair of sandals, and if you know you might be going somewhere nice, a pair of dressier shoes. That’s it.

·      Pack two swimsuits, so one can be worn when the other is drying. Putting on damp swimwear feels yucky.

 

 

Sunscreen and Sunglasses

·      Be sure to pack an extra pair of sunglasses.

·      Bring sunscreen and apply it before you leave your hotel or other accommodations. Be sure to read the new FDA guidelines about sun protection before purchasing to select the best product to keep your skin safe. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than a nasty burn!

 

 

Umbrellas!

·      Pack collapsible umbrellas for everyone. Not only are they good for downpours, if the sun gets to intense, they are portable shade.

 

 

Purchase Tickets in Advance

·      If you and your family have been dying to see an attraction such as Alcatraz or the Statue of Liberty, purchase tickets in advance. Many popular sites limit the number of visitors. Buy in advance to avoid disappointment.

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Be Flexible

·      If something doesn’t work out, don’t be a slave to your schedule. Take off and explore some of the less-trodden paths and be open to new, unplanned adventures. Sometimes, that turns out to be the best thing after all!

 

Cool Down With Style: Seven Summer Cocktail Recipes

 

 

One of the most wonderful things about summertime is its dual nature. Summer seems to invite both relaxation and adventure. It’s a time to lay by the pool or stick your toes in the sand, luxuriate in the sun and try new things. A beautiful summer cocktail can be pleasing to the eye, delightful to the palate, and refreshing to the spirit. The next time you are headed to a pool party or entertaining on the patio, surprise your friends with one or more of these fabulous summer cocktails.

 

 

 

Bolshoi-Basil Cocktail

Beautiful in a tall glass, basil provides a hint of sweetness to the vodka and smells heavenly.

4 parts Russian Standard Vodka
3 parts fresh lime juice
3 fresh basil sprigs
2 tsp. sugar

 

What a pretty drink for the Fourth of July! A maraschino cherry is just the pop you need in this slightly sweet, slightly sour drink while awaiting the fireworks, hopefully on a private veranda with a great group of friends!

Fresh Whisky Sours

 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whiskey (recommended: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey)

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)

  • 2/3 cup sugar syrup (see note)

  • Ice cubes

  • Maraschino cherries

 

Directions

Combine the whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice, and syrup. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and pour in the drink mix 2/3 full. Shake for 15 seconds and pour into glasses. Add a maraschino cherry and serve ice cold.

Note: To make the sugar syrup, bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil, and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Chill before using.

 

This pretty cocktail gets its sensational summer color from Berry Vodka. Mix up a glass or a pitcher, grab your new paperback and snag that chaise lounge chair by the pool.

 

The Stiletto

2 ounces Three-O Berry Vodka

4 ounces Tonic

Splash grenadine

 

Mix in a glass filled with ice and garnish with an orange slice.

 

This Berry Mojito captures all that is beautiful about summer, in a glass… azure skies, blue oceans, plump red berries, cool mint and ICE! It’s hot! Cool off your guests and yourself with this lovely concoction.

 

Berry Mojito

5  fresh mint leaves

1 teaspoon(s) granulated sugar

4 wedge(s) lime, juiced

2 ounce(s) Bacardi Razz

1/4 ounce(s) Chambord

1/4 ounce(s) blue Curaçao

1 splash(es) club soda

Mint, for garnish

Raspberries and blueberries, for garnish

Directions

In a tall glass, crush mint with a fork. Add sugar and lime juice; stir. Add Bacardi, Chambord, and blue Curaçao; mix.http://a19.g.akamai.net/7/19/7125/1450/Ocellus.coupons.com/_images/showlist_icon.gif Top with club soda. Garnish.

 

 If you are thinking fun and fizzy, think Dragon Fruit Fizz! It’s a delicate combination of dragon fruit vodka, passion fruit puree, and lemon lime soda. A cool afternoon surprise for the senses

 

Dragon Fruit Fizz

2 1/2 oz. SKYY Infusions Dragon Fruit
1 oz. Passion Fruit Puree
1/2 oz. Raspberry Liqueur
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
4 oz. Lemon Lime Soda

Combine all ingredients except soda in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into highball glass. Top with lemon lime soda and garnish with lime wheel and raspberries.

 


 

 

Lots of “fad” cocktails come and go, but the Pina Colada is here to stay. Supposedly invented in 1957 in Puerto Rico by a bartender, this smooth and cool blend of pineapple, coconut and rum has become a standard summer cocktail.

Pina Coladas

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces light rum

3 ounces pineapple juice

3 ounces coconut cream

Pineapple wedge

Maraschino cherry

Ice, crushed

 

Instructions:

Pour all ingredients into your blender with ice and blend well

 

Wondering what to do with all that watermelon? Well, put some of it to good use in this fresh and surprising summer cocktail. Tequila and watermelon… who’d a thunk it?

 

Watermelon-Tequila Cocktail

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
8 cups (1 pound) diced seedless watermelon
1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 3/4 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup fresh mint leaves, lightly packed
8 mint sprigs, for garnish
1 1/4 cups silver tequila
ice cubes

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer with the sugar and stir over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute; let the sugar syrup cool.

2. In a blender, puree the watermelon until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the watermelon juice, pressing gently on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp.

3. In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the lime juice, blueberries and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon, lightly muddle the blueberries and the mint. Add the watermelon juice and tequila. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

4. Pour the cocktail into tall ice-filled glasses. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

 

 

Ten Sizzling Summer Grilling Recipes

Grilling takes the formality out of entertaining. Everyone wants to get involved.” ~ Bobby Flay

There are few things in life more pleasant than a summertime barbeque, whether it is in the backyard or the beach. There is a leisurely quality to grilling that serves to make the food seem even more delicious. This summer, in addition to the usual fare, why not try one of these great recipes and bask in the glow of your friends’ praise…well, when they stop eating long enough to do so!

Appetizers

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs with Bleu Cheese and Pecans

Replace the chips and queso with this innovative combination of the sharpness of bleu cheese, the sweetness of figs, and the saltiness of prosciutto. Make quite a few. They disappear quickly!

 

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Bruschetta

A tasty treat to begin your feast! Portobello mushrooms taste fabulous on the grill and this twist on the traditional tomato bruschetta is an easy and delicious blend of Portobello, garlic and parsley on lightly toasted French bread.

 

 

Main Dishes

 

 Grilled Chicken and Peach Kabobs

Delight your guests with these flavorful kabobs. Peaches hold up well on the grill and their flavor infuses the bites of chicken. A tangy temptation that everyone will love!

 

 

Grilled Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

If you want to grill something a little fancier and watch your guests ooh-and-ahh, you can’t go wrong with this beautiful dish that pleases both the eye and the palate. Here, “tender filet mignon is drizzled with a savory gorgonzola cream sauce and topped with crumbled bacon bits and sliced green onions."

 

 Grilled Salmon with Dill Pickle Butter

A picnic isn’t a picnic without dill pickles, but stir things up a bit and include that classic flavor in this scrumptious seafood dish. Moreover, salmon is a good choice for the grill because “it doesn’t need careful testing for doneness — the fish is wonderful cooked anywhere from rare to medium.”

 

 Spicy Pork Tenderloin

This dish marinates in a spicy combination of chili powder, pepper, garlic, and oregano for about an hour and grills quickly.

 

Vegetables

 

 Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

Asparagus is a great choice for the grill and bacon makes it even tastier! Serve it up with some fresh, sliced tomatoes for a fresh summer veggie snack or with your main course.

 

 Grilled Corn-on-the-Cob with Chive Butter

Corn-on-the-cob is one of those ephemeral treats of summer. Great on the grill, give this classic an update by coating it in yummy chive butter.

  

Dessert

 Grilled Banana Splits

Make kids and adults happy with this spin on the traditional banana split. Just brush the bananas with butter and grill, surround with vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

 

 Rum-Spiced Grilled Pineapple with Toasted Coconut

Everyone will have “saved room” for desert when you serve up this marvelous dish. Grilling caramelizes the sugar for a bit of a crunch over hot and juicy pineapple. Great on its own, or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice and top both with lightly toasted coconut.

 

Summer Road Trip Tips

 

 
The American Road Trip: it’s a staple of summer, celebrated in story and song. You probably have memories of family road trips: playing Old Maid with your sister in the backseat of the station wagon, stopping at Stuckey’s for a “Pecan Log” or an “All-Day Sucker,” and waiting anxiously for the sight your hotel and the promise of a swimming pool. Even though gas prices are high, a road trip is still the most cost-effective vacation you can have. Make it easier, more affordable, and more enjoyable with these helpful tips:
 
 
Tires
·       Check Your tire pressure, Including the spare. Your Owner’s Manual will tell you the proper amount of pressure.
 
 
 
·       Check the tread depth. Insert a penny with Lincoln’s head down. If the tread covers his head halfway, you’re good to go.
 
·       Check the walls of the tires for any cracks or bulges.
 
 
Check Hoses, Fluids, Brakes and Air Conditioning
·       Look under the hood and inspect hoses for any signs of threads or rough spots. Squeeze them to make sure they are firm. Spongy hoses probably need to be replaced.
·       Get an oil change and have your mechanic check fluid levels.
·       Replace wiper blades, if necessary.
·       Check brake fluid. Listen for sounds of squeaking or grinding. If you hear either, ask a mechanic to inspect your brake pads and rotors.
·       Ask the mechanic to check the cabin air filter for your air conditioner and replace if necessary. A system flush is probably a good idea as well.
 
Cell Phone Car Charger
In addition to making sure you pack your regular chargers, purchase in a car charger as well. An operational cell phone can be the best safety tool you have!
 
 
GPS (Global Positioning System) for Cars
Invest in a GPS, now available for under a $100 . Not only will you relieve the stress of getting lost, most GPS systems will also alert you to on-the-road features like food, gas, and points of interest.
 
 
 
Travel First Aid Kit
Make sure you purchase or inspect your existing first aid kit. Bumps, bruises, bug bites and headaches happen, but you can make it better by being prepared. Your kit should include bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain reliever such as ibuprofen, sunscreen, gauze, motion sickness relief, anti-diarrheal medicine, anti-histamine, and a small pair of scissors.
 
Keep the Kids Entertained
Even in our age of iPods, portable DVD players and handheld videogame systems, kids will want something to do on a long trip that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. Encourage them to actually see the surrounding they are passing through with some classic games for the road:
 
·       License Plate Bingo: To play this game you’ll need to bring along a few writing utensils and have paper to use for game cards. If you’d like, you can print out game cards ahead of time here. There are a few variations of this game, so you can either write down the names of states as your bingo squares or random letters and numbers. As players see the states or letters and numbers on passing license plates they cross them off. First player to get 5 in a row wins, and it might be a good idea to keep a few prizes on hand for the lucky winner.
 
·       I Spy: For kids, run through the alphabet, such as “I spy something that begins with the letter A.” For adults, up the challenge with a line like “I spy something German.”
 
·       Travel Scavenger Hunt: Keep children occupied with a travel scavenger hunt. Compile a list of objects for each child to find along the road. For example, you could have things like "brown cow" or "water tower". Anything that comes to mind that you might be passing will work, or you can use prepared lists like this. You can also turn this game into a form of bingo with a game card like this. The winner is the first one to find everything on his or her list.
 
 

How To Find The Perfect Swimsuit


 

Supermodel Cindy Crawford once said, “They were doing a full back shot of me in a swimsuit and I thought, Oh my God, I have to be so brave. See, every woman hates herself from behind.”

Just think of it… if a woman near perfection has doubts about her body, what hope is there for us, mere mortals?

Well, while most of us are not supermodels, there are ways to pick the most flattering suit for your body type and feel more secure by accentuating the positives and diminishing the negatives. Here are some tips for choosing the right swimsuit.

 

 

Large Busts

 

 

If you are well-endowed in the chest, follow these guidelines:

 

·      Choose bright colors or prints. Dark colors can look frumpy.

·      Choose a top that lifts and separates.

·      Look for a top with an underwire to maintain and lift your breasts.

·      Try horizontal stripes on the bottom half to detract from the upper.

·      Tankinis with a flirty skirt will also lessen the bust-line.

 

 

Small Busts

 

If you have a small chest, there are many ways to enhance your bust-line.

·      Bandeau-styles, like the one shown here, and halter neck lines give the illusion of a larger chest.

·      Slight padding, such as gel-cupped liners, enhances your natural cleavage.

·      Horizontal stripes also create a visually larger bust.

 

 

 

Large Hips

Good news! Big hips are now very popular, thanks to celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce.

·      Go for a string bikini; avoid “boy shorts.” Your ample hips will look better with a bit of an accent rather than trying to keep them contained.

·      A darker bikini bottom in the string style will work well with a lighter color top and a plunging front.

 

          

 

 

Tummy Control

If you feel like you need help in the stomach area, go for a swimsuit with a “control panel.” As you see here, they are very discreet and enhance your shape.

If a control panel seems too restrictive try a tankini. A tankini covers up problematic areas but allows more freedom of movement.

 

 

 

Lacking curves? Create some with suits designed to make your boyish figure appear more girlie. This style of suit has been made extremely popular by thin, boyish-figured celebrities like Paris Hilton.

 

Scrumptious Summer Picnics For Adults

 

Summer time is the perfect time for a moveable feast. Less face it: most of us spend far too much time basking in the glow of a computer screen instead of basking in the glow of the sun. We can forget how pleasant is to be unplugged. Make it a point this summer to pack up your pic-a-nic basket, grab a blanket, grab your sweetie and leave all of your electronics at home. Yes, ALL of them (or at least leave them in the car). The following tips will help make your outing delicious, rejuvenating, and memorable.

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First, let’s talk food. A great picnic need not take a lot of effort, but since this is an adult picnic, it can be more adventuresome than what you’d pack if the kids were along. So leave the Cheetos and chocolate chip cookies at home, and consider some of the following goodies instead:

·      A loaf of French bread. Slice it up, butter the slices, and put the loaf back together again. Put the buttered loaf in a paper bag.

·      An assortment of olives. Most better supermarkets now have fresh olive bars.

·      An assortment of fruit: raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries

·      Cheeses and crackers

·      Assorted meats like summer sausage, salami, prosciutto

 

Don’t forget the beverages! Chardonnay is a good choice for a picnic.

If you want to get a little bit fancier with the food, this wonderful sandwich recipe is not too laborious and tastes fantastic!

Turkey, Avocado, and Brie Sandwiches with Herbed Mayonnaise

 

 

Got room for desert? Of course you do! Cupcakes are easy and delicious. Buy some at the store, or consider these romantic bites from Martha Stewart.

 

A picnic is not just about eating; it’s about re-connecting with each other. For a romantic tone, do a little bit of pre-picnic prep. Divide a set of index cards between the two of you, say, 6-8 each. On each card, ask a question that you’ve always wanted to know the answer to about your significant other. Be creative, but not invasive. Fan them out in your hand, let your partner choose one at random to be asked. 

Or, hey, if that sounds a little too touchy-feely for you, just bring a regular deck of cards. Play poker, or Old Maid, or Crazy Eights. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you get to spend some quiet, quality time together, enjoying a summer afternoon and each other.

 

 

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