Summertime — at Last!

DSC_4338 copyI love summer. Summer reminds me of so many fun pastimes — horseback riding, cookouts with friends, and (of course) vacations! Each year, Americans take over 650 million long-distance trips in the summer. This got me thinking: how do others celebrate this hot season?

As it turns out, summer means different things in different locations. In America, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and Russia, the summer holidays are normally considered three months, compared to a much shorter six-to-eight weeks in Britain, The Netherlands, Canada, and Germany.

Here are some other quirky facts about summer in other countries:

  • In southern England, over 37,000 people gather at Stonehenge to see the summer solstice.
  • France’s Eiffel Tower grows by more than six inches in summer due to the expansion of the iron on hot days.
  • In some locations, there is constant sunlight during the summer solstice. The so-called “midnight sun” shines all day and night in some parts of Alaska, Canada, Sweden and Finland.
  • The Alaska Goldpanners, a Minor League Baseball team in Fairbanks, celebrate summer with an annual baseball game that starts at 10:30 and stretches well into the following morning, known as the Midnight Sun Game.

However you decide to celebrate the start of the summer season, try to make sure you’re surrounded by family, friends, and (needless to say) some beautiful outdoor scenery.


Hamilton_pocketwatchWhat do you do when trying to lose weight? Probably the same thing most people try – eat less, drink more water and increase physical activity. The hardest part is continuing this routine on a daily basis. The smell of a filet mignon, cravings of Coca-Cola and general laziness all create barriers that alter our weight-loss plans.

But what if we could be successful with weight loss by using something we all have? Time. According to CNN, studies have been conducted to show that fasting and eating a majority of our daily caloric intake early in the day can lead to weight loss. Although conducted mainly with mice, the study shows great evidence in how the timing of caloric intake can predict metabolic health and chronic disease prevention.

Here’s three ways to use the power of time:

1. Cut out midnight snacks – a large cohort study on women showed those who went more hours at night without eating have better control of their blood sugar levels.

2. Eat the bulk of calories in the first part of the day – a study in Spain found that adults who ate their largest meal of the day before 3 PM lost more weight over a 20-week period than those who ate their largest meal after 3 PM.

3. Skip a meal, maybe – although breakfast is claimed to be the most important meal of the day, a study of college students found those who skipped a meal (breakfast or lunch) did not consume more later in the day compared with students who did not skip a meal.

Keeping Cool…and Safe!


Air conditioners are back in style! With warm days here (and warmer still ahead), people have started to look to AC systems to provide an almost instant relief of cooler air in households and at the workplace. These systems not only prevent heat-related illnesses and death, they also filter pollen from circulating in the environment.

However, it is important to remain aware about potential negative outcomes that could arise when using an AC.

According to CBS News, if AC systems are left unchecked, the condensation that leads to the build-up of moisture in the fan blades and coils can lead to bacteria and fungus growth. The air blown out with these microorganisms can then lead to breathing problems such as pneumonia and Legionnaire’s disease.

Additionally, sick building syndrome is an issue, caused by prolonged time in indoor environments. Itchy eyes, dry throat, dizziness and nausea are some symptoms that may arise with an AC system.

To reduce and prevent harmful effects of AC system usage, it is important to:

  1. Clean or change the air filter regularly.
  2. Remove chemicals near the AC to prevent the spread of dangerous fumes.
  3. Make sure exhaust fans are in working condition to continue to provide adequate ventilation.