How to Avoid Bug Bites

Summer time is almost here, and that means lots of time outside. Whether you are going on a camping or hiking trip, or just planting a garden in your backyard, protection against bug bites can prevent you from irritated and itchy spots on your skin.

Bug spray, such as Repel Lemon Eucalyptus or Sawyer Picaridin (safe for children), should be applied before any outdoor activity to prevent bites.

Wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent bites. Avoid wearing bright colors that attract bugs. Don’t wear sandals.

Don’t wear perfume or scented hair or body products.

Stay away from still-standing water and remove bodies of water around your home to prevent mosquitoes laying eggs.

Use screens on open doors and windows. Use air conditioning during hot, summer days.

Taking these steps will help you spend lots of time outside this summer without pesky bugs attacking you!

Let’s Talk About Moving

Moving. I don’t mean the “get off the couch and exercise kind.” I’m talking about gathering your belongings and relocating to another house or apartment. It’s May, which means you may even have kids of a certain age who will likely be moving to or from a dorm or apartment.

Here are some tips to keep the transition stay as simple as possible.

Invest in plastic bins: Especially if you are going to be moving every year or so due to an expiring lease, these are life savers! You can fit a lot in them, you don’t have to buy new cardboard boxes every year, they are easier to carry and they are unlikely to bust open on your way to the car.

Clean AFTER you’re finished: When you move, you notice a lot of dirt you probably didn’t know was there before. It is tempting to get out the vacuum immediately to handle it right away. But keep in mind that you will likely have to clean at the end of your move regardless since you will be constantly moving furniture and tracking dirt in.

Breathe: Take things one thing at a time and start early. Moving can be stressful. Relax, manage your tasks and enjoy the process as much as possible: one room at a time.

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Is Organic Really Better?

With the increasing options at the grocery store, how do you know what to buy to get the best nutritional value for your money? A number of studies have been done on the nutritional value of organic food vs. inorganic food, so let’s break down the basics.

  • One study found a significantly higher level of antioxidants in organic foods than in conventionally grown foods. Nutrients and antioxidants are two different things and affect the body differently. However, based on their findings, these researchers declared organic food to be a more nutritious option.
  • Researchers also found higher levels of pesticides on conventionally grown foods, which they said made them more unsafe.
  • None of the studies have detected levels of pesticides or chemicals that approach anything near what would be classified as an unsafe level.
  • There is no known difference between organic and conventionally grown food with respect to nutrient content.
  • The most recent study found that organic crops are lower in protein.

As you can tell, opinions and research findings vary greatly, making it hard to feel confident in one decision on this subject. When it comes to eating healthy, ultimately the answer is to eat a balance of foods that are nutrient-rich and processed as little as possible.

Vaccinated for Vacation?

Going on vacation across the world can be very rewarding, but there are a few steps of preparation you have to take to protect yourself from coming home with a harmful disease or illness.

First, you should make sure you are up-to-date on all of your general vaccinations and any medical conditions you have are controlled (such as asthma).

General travel vaccinations include Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, and Yellow Fever. Whether you need all of these vaccinations or just a few depends on which countries you are visiting, what activities you will be participating in (indoor or outdoor) and the time of year (is it mosquito season).

To see which vaccines you need before your vacation or trip, check with your doctor and go online to the CDC website. Taking these precautions will help you have a great time on your trip and prevent you from obtaining any unnecessary diseases. Bon voyage!

Ways to Boost Creativity

Feeling tired of doing the same thing every single day? Stuck in a creativity drought? Here are a few scientifically proven ways to boost your creative juices and get out of your rut:

  1. Exercise before work.
  2. Mix up your routine.
  3. Travel abroad.
  4. Go see a movie.
  5. Take a walk outside.
  6. Paint a picture.
  7. Start an idea notebook.
  8. Listen to classical music.
  9. Do something that scares you.
  10. Stop watching TV.

Letting yourself try new things without fear of failure, mixing things up and getting out of your routine will help you become more creative. The key is that no idea or thought is out of the question. Creativity makes room for unexpected ideas and thoughts. Let go of the thought that you are not creative, because everyone has creative potential – it’s just a matter of tapping into it!

Interested in Pinterest?

Mason jars full of salad. Cupcakes that look like the Muppets. Arts and crafts galore. But how can you use Pinterest to make your life easier or more fun? If you haven’t tried this addicting site yet but want to, the layout can be a little overwhelming. Follow these simple tips to get the most out of it:

  1. Organize your pins into different boards. If you are looking to use Pinterest for recipes, make a food board. Planning a wedding? Make a wedding board. This will make things easier to find when you go back looking for that one thing you saved 3 months ago.
  2. Use the search feature. Starting a new project? You can pretty much search DIY anything on Pinterest. Learn how to build your own porch swing or paint a piece of furniture. The great thing about Pinterest is it will show you pictures and instructions for almost any project you can think of.
  3. Don’t pin everything you see. As with anything else in life, it pays to be selective. When you are looking through thousands of old pins trying to figure out what to make for dinner, it can be tedious. Only pin things you think you will use and delete ones you no longer want.

Happy pinning!

Cooking Healthier Meals

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of tricks to making tasty, easy, and healthy meals for you and your family or friends. The first step is to cut out certain ingredients and substitute healthier options into your recipes.

Here are some simple substitutions I found from Go Red for Women that you can use to create healthier meals:

·         Whole wheat flour can replace white flour to add more fiber into your recipes. Fiber keeps you full longer and supports a healthy digestive system.

·         Unsweetened applesauce and canola oil can take the place of butter! This combination reduces the amount of saturated fat in your food.

·         Instead of using sour cream, you can use Greek yogurt and lemon to add protein and probiotics.

·         Avocado can be substituted for mayonnaise or cheese. While still high in fat, it contains healthy fat to keep your heart healthy.

·         Using ground turkey instead of red meats can help reduce your risk of heart diseases.

When it comes to cooking healthy, it’s all about balance and nutrients. Cut out as much sugar and saturated fat as you can – but don’t be afraid to enjoy your favorites every now and then.

Top Spots to Visit in 2017

Don’t look now, but it’s time to start planning your summer vacation! Whether you have a month to explore or just a few days off, planning any vacation takes time. Here are a few suggestions for places that make great vacation destinations in 2017.

Banff, Canada
From hot springs to gondola rides, Banff has something for everyone. Spend a few days outside admiring the beauty and spend a few more just relaxing at a spa.

Atacama Desert, Chile
Dunes, starry nights, and salty lakes are just the right combination to take in some of the best Chile has to offer. If you like being outside and have an adventurous spirit, this is the perfect place for you.

Agra, India
Bustling streets, bright colors, and busy markets are full of culture in Agra. Aside from the Taj Mahal, this city has many museums to explore. It is also easily accessible today, thanks to a new expressway train.

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Historic buildings in this coastal town make you feel like you’re in another time. Croatia is a hidden gem that boasts of private beaches, boats, and local restaurants. 

Ketchum, Idaho
This hidden ski town is a great spot to get cozy, if you want more cold weather and need to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

While the list could go on and on, traveling is a great way to expand your knowledge and learn about new cultures. Vacations don’t just have to be a time of relaxation – they can also be a time of learning and experiencing new things!

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How to Avoid a Cold

Ask the cold makes its yearly rounds, it’s important to take all precautions to avoid getting hit hard with the virus. You don’t want to have to miss out on work, travel or a fun event because of catching a cold.

Here are some ways you can be careful and avoid catching a cold:

Wash your hands — and keep them away from your face.

Your hands are a hub for germs. Make sure you wash them throughout the day, especially after shopping, going to the gym, or being in a public area.

Use disposable items if someone in your house is sick.

Use disposable cups that can be thrown away after each use and use paper towels to dry hands after washing them to prevent the spread of germs from person to person.

Maintain a healthy dose of sleep and exercise.

To keep your immune system at its best, take care of yourself and give your body what it needs. It is also important to control stress levels to maintain a healthy immune system.

Clean all household surfaces.

Phones, door knobs, keyboards, remotes, and sinks are all covered in germs. Make sure to clean them regularly to avoid germs.

It’s hard to completely avoid contact with sick people, so taking all of these precautions can lower your chance of getting infected with the most common sickness.

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Spring Break Skin Safety

We are getting into the early weeks in March, which can only mean one thing: Spring Break. Or, for those of us who work, a great excuse to use some of that PTO. And what better way to spend that time than somewhere warm and sunny? I’ve covered the importance of getting enough sunlight and Vitamin D, but you also don’t want too much of a good thing. Here are some tips to keep you and your skin healthy under the hot sun on your vacation:

Wear sunscreen. This is probably overused advice, but for good reason. Wearing sunscreen not only keeps you from getting painful burns, but it can also protect you from skin cancer. Using a sunblock with SPF 30 or higher may not help you tan as quickly, but you’ll thank yourself later.

Drink lots of water. When you’re having fun at the beach, it’s easy to forget about proper hydration. But under the hot sun, it is even more important to get your daily dose of H2O. This will keep you healthy and will also help to keep your skin from getting too dry. Try eating fruits such as watermelon as well for extra hydration.

Wear a hat. Make sure you keep your face protected! A pink and peeling face won’t be flattering when you return back to work. Wearing a hat can help keep that sensitive skin protected. Besides, keeping your skin healthy also helps fight signs of aging, which is something I think we can all get behind.