Let the Sunshine In

You need some sun.  Turns out we all do.

Open the blinds. Move the drapes. It’s time to let some sunshine in.

Here are 11 health benefits of sunshine from Mind Body Green:

1. Sunlight and whole foods send breast cancer into remission. The American physician Dr. Zane Kime used sunbathing and nutrition to cure his patients. Even in terminal cases, Dr. Kime was able to completely reverse the metastasized cancer.
2. The sun’s light kills bad bacteria. The German solders after WWI knew of the discoveries that had been made in 1903 by the Nobel Prize winner, Niels Finsen. They used sunlight to disinfect and heal wounds.
3. Sunlight has a beneficial effect on skin disorders, such as psoriasis, acne, eczema and fungal infections of the skin.
4. Sunlight lowers cholesterol. The sun converts high cholesterol in the blood into steroid hormones and the sex hormones we need for reproduction. In the absence of sunlight, the opposite happens; substances convert to cholesterol.
5. The sun’s rays lower blood pressure. Even a single exposure significantly lowers blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure. On the other hand, pharmaceutical drugs such as Statins have side effects, such as robbing the body of Coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is essential for cellular and heart energy.
6. Sunlight penetrates deep into the skin to cleanse the blood and blood vessels. Medical literature published in Europe showed that people with atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) improved with sun exposure.
7. Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood. And, it also enhances the body’s capacity to deliver oxygen to the tissues; very similar to the effects of exercise. The sun has a great effect on stamina, fitness and muscular development.
8. Sunlight builds the immune system. The white blood cells, which increase with sun exposure, are called lymphocytes, and these play a major role in defending the body against infections.
9. Regular sunlight exposure increases the growth and height of children, especially babies. Many cultures throughout history have recognized this fact. Studies have shown the amount of sun exposure in the first few months has an effect on how tall the person grows.
10. Sunlight can cure depression. The noon sunshine can deliver 100,000 lux. When we sit in offices for the best part of the day, out of the sun, under neon and artificial lights (150-600 lux), we are depriving ourselves of the illumination of nature. Sunlight deprivation can cause a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression. It is more common in winter months, but also common in people who work long hours in office buildings.

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Sweet Summer Desserts

Time to satisfy your sweettooth with delectable summer desserts. The sweetest fruits are in season so it’s only natural to peruse them to make the most decadent and colorful combinations. Here are a few of our favorites:

Raspberry Cheesecake:

INGREDIENTS

1 cup finely ground graham crackers (5 ounces; about 8 sheets)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 3/4 cups sugar

6 ounces raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
Boiling water, for roasting pan
DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch springform pan (including base) in a double layer of foil; set aside.
Stir together cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Process raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pass puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar, and set aside.
Put cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing each until just combined (do not overmix). Pour cream cheese filling over crust.
Drop raspberry sauce by the teaspoon on top. With a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl sauce into filling.
Set cake pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes.
Transfer cake pan to rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around edge of cake

Stawberry Parfait:

INGREDIENTS

4 cups sliced strawberries, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup amaretti cookie crumbs (about 8 cookies)
1/2 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

DIRECTIONS:

Place 2 cups of strawberry slices and granulated sugar in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Set strawberry puree aside.

Combine ricotta and next 4 ingredients (ricotta through vanilla) in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk. Spoon 2 tablespoons cookie crumbs into each of 4 parfait glasses. Top each portion with 2 tablespoons strawberry puree, 1/4 cup strawberry slices, and 3 tablespoons ricotta mixture; repeat the layers. Drizzle the remaining strawberry puree over each serving. Chill for 2 hours. Top each parfait with 2 tablespoons whipped topping and 1 1/2 teaspoons almonds.

Cherry Topped Ice Cream Cake:

INGREDIENTS

For chocolate sauce
2/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces imported milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For ice cream cake
3 pints cherry or cherry-vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
3 cups coarsely crushed amaretti cookies (about 9 ounces) or almond macaroons

DIRECTIONS

Make chocolate sauce:
Heat 2/3 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; let stand 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate melts and sauce is smooth. Mix in vanilla extract. Cool sauce to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Make ice cream cake:
Line bottom of 9 x 5 x 2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on long sides. Using back of spoon, spread 1 pint ice cream over bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup cookie crumbs. Spread another 1 pint ice cream over cookie crumbs. Freeze until ice cream is firm, about 20 minutes. Spread with 3/4 cup sauce; freeze 20 minutes. Spread with remaining 1 pint ice cream; sprinkle with 1 cup cookie crumbs, pressing crumbs into ice cream to adhere. Cover pan and freeze ice cream cake until very firm, at least 4 hours. (Can be prepared 5 days ahead. Keep cake frozen. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce. Store remaining 1 cup crumbs airtight at room temperature.)
Stir remaining sauce in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until warmed through; pour into small pitcher or bowl. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto platter. Peel off parchment. Sprinkle top of cake with remaining 1 cup crumbs.
Cut cake crosswise into slices. Serve immediately with warm sauce.

 

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How To Display Flowers for Summer

Guest post from Caitlin Kruse of Style Within Reach
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French inspired market tins are one of my favorite ways to display flowers in my office. Either cluster a group together or let them stand alone, add a variety of heights for visual interest.
Sometime’s simple is best — especially when you have a standout flower to display! Let it take center stage by using a simple and sleek vase and minimal greens. It’s a great way to bring color to a drab room or add a pop of color to your coffee table!
I love to mix small groupings of flowers throughout shelves — scattered about, both big and small arrangements. Be sure to use different types of vessels but keep your blooms in a similar color family or variety.
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Travel Toiletries Checklist

Never forget a razor, deoderant, or q-tip again. Skip a trip to the drugstore while you’re overseas with this handy dandy toiletries check list.

Teeth:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Dental floss

Face:

  • Facewash
  • Facial Moisturizer
  • Cotton Balls and Q-tips
  • Routine skincare items likes astringents, nightcreams, or acne medication

Body:

  • Body wash or soap bar
  • Body Lotion
  • Deoderant
  • Body Exfoliator like loofahs or sponges
  • Sunblock
  • Perfume
  • Towels

Hair

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Styling Products
  • Comb or Hairbrush
  • Shower cap
  • Extra Hair Ties

 

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Packing Hacks to Save Suitcase Space

Big dreams. Tiny suitcase. Get all the space you need out of your suitcase with these four very important travel hacks.

Get rolling. Roll up your wardrobe instead of fold. This will help increase your spaces while also keeping cotton pants and tops wrinkle free. Don’t forget to roll it up tightt to maximize your space and to stop the items from rolling apart.

Think in layers. Socks can go in shoes. Undergarments can be rolled into bras. Use socks as caution wrappers for fragile items.  You can use your clothing in a multitude of ways that makes folding them as a stand-alone item almost impractical and very secondary.

Shoes at the bottom. Always put shoes at the bottom. Almost like a base, to keep them from taking up too much space in your suticase and to avoid getting any dirt on your clean, freshly packed clothing . Wear your heaviest pair of shoes to the airport and your lightest pairs at the bottom of the bag. Wrap shoes in shower caps to keep debris from falling onto your clothing, too.

Use resealable sandwich bags. When it comes packing, resealable sandwich bags are everyone’s answered prayer. Pack jewelry, toiletries, electronic chargers, leather belts, and other accessories that could get lost in a suitcase and use sandwich bags to keep them organized and protected.

 

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7 Tips You Need to Know to Survive a Red-Eye Flight

How do you survive a red-eye flight? With these 7 tips, very graciously. Consider this your checklist to an easy, breezy sleep that just so happens to be on an airplane to your next destination.

  1. Brush Your Teeth – Mentally prepare yourself with quick brush before take off. Plus, you’ll wake up feeling extra minty. Good hygiene = good sleep.
  2. Bring a jacket or sweater – Not just for when it gets chilly. But you can also use it as an extra pillow or way to prop up you head just by rolling it up. So many uses.
  3. Stay hydrated – Drinking a nice big bottle of water before the flight will keep you hydrated and sound asleep as the elevation increases.
  4. Wear comfy clothes – Clothes that are comfortable are important. Think  yoga pants or loose slacks. The comfier you are, the better you’ll sleep.
  5. Travel Pillow – A travel pillow will make a world of difference. It will cradle your neck for comfort and keep it from rolling off to the side and drooling onto your neighbor.
  6. Eye mask – This will help shield you from ay unexpected light that may wake you. Whether it’s someone opening up the window at 6 AM or an ever-glowing ipad, you have the power to keep it from being a bother.
  7. Noise-cancelling headphones – If you can sleep with headphones on, consider investing in noise-cancelling ones. Think of purchasing some ambient sounds or downloading a white noise app to help shield your senses from crying babies and booming engines.

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How to Pack for a Summer Trip

Packing ain’t easy. Whether it’s just for the weekend or 3 weeks, nailing down the science of sweet suitcase  skills is essential. We break packing down into four easy, essential groups to ensure you’re rocking your getaway in a super smart and still very stylish way.

Basics. Start with the basics. Undergarments and neutral staples like black tights or plain shirts that can be multi-used as pajamas and loungewear during you trip. Denim. Tank tops. Pick a neutral palette, like black or white, that’s a shade that can be mixed and matched effortlessly and easily. Think of these as the foundation of your wardrobe.

Color and fun. Time to have some fun. Pick a few bright and fun pieces that can be layered or multi-functional. Like a cover up that can also serve as a dress, or a skirt that can be also scrunched up into a scarf on chilly nights. Get creative and pick bright, happy prints and shades that scream “vacation time!”

Accessories. Rule of thumb would be to bring 6 versatile statement pieces on your trip. Mix and match metals and choose large, inexpensive date night pendants so you can have fun without worrying about losing it while your out and about.

Shoes. Wear your heaviest pair to the airport and pack your lightest ones. Essentially, think of packing your shoes by tie of meal. Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner. Sneakers, sandals, and heels. If you already have a set itinierary consider bringing an extra pair for the activity that you will be doing most. More beach? Another pair of flip flops. More dancing? Another pair of date night heels.

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