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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

July 17, 2015 Edition Under silhouettes of tree canopies and a summer sky sprinkled with shooting stars, I swim laps in the dark tranquil water of my pool. My strokes, while unrefined, transport me back and forth, during what I call my hour of peace. House lights, patio lights, and even pool lights are flicked off. Only the stars, the moon, and surrounding ambient light illuminate my way. But for the faint strains of favorite music playing in the background, the quiet rippling of water soothes the tension of busy days. Every night while I float serenely on my back and admire the view above, I thank my lucky stars for having lived another day.

#1 – Stargazing
Star Gazing Calendar Decades ago, when I moved into my current home and when ambient light from auto malls, shopping centers, and the like did not exist, my husband, my children, and I would take advantage of our steep driveway and place sleeping bags on it to stargaze. Our driveway became our amphitheater to the sky. If you enjoy stargazing, don’t miss out on exciting upcoming celestial events. Here are 3 sites that will keep you informed. For a quick preview, click on the photo above to learn about events in July and August:

Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events
Skywatching in 2015: 9 Must-See Stargazing Events
Weekly Stargazing Tips

#2 – Wet Workouts
Although swimming under the stars is one of my favorite things to do, I also use my swimming pool to get additional exercise. Below are two great videos that show a variety of exercises you can do in a pool.
Calorie-Burning Pool Moves:

Tighten Your Abs in the Pool:

#3 – Playing With Food
Carl Warner's Incredible Foodscapes What if the water in your swimming pool were really blue jello and the trees providing you that lovely little bit of shade were made of parsley and ginger root? Carl Warner, a London-based photographer creates incredible landscapes using food. In his world, loaves of bread create mountains, celery stalks form a verdant forest, and romanesco becomes undersea coral. The ingredients in these detailed “foodscapes” don’t go to waste either. He or his crew take the food home and eat it or they donate it to a homeless shelter.

#4 – Naturally-Flavored Water
10 Natural Flavored Waters Why drink plain water when you can sip refreshing naturally-flavored water? Check out the tantalizing combinations in 10 Natural Flavored Water Recipes.

#5 – Lose to Find
Swimming Inspiration

Now go and spread joy!

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Spiced Grilled Sweet Potatoes One sweet potato contains more potassium than a banana. Why is potassium so important? An article in Women’s Health states, “Potassium is a crucial nutrient, playing key roles in muscle strength, nerve function and heart health. And if you don’t get enough—4,700 mg a day—it could lead to a deficiency, complete with fatigue, muscle cramps, heart palpitations and dizzy spells.” These grilled sweet potatoes with their smokey and spicy flavors make the perfect accompaniment to other grilled vegetables and grilled meats. This recipe is a trifecta: easy to prepare, delicious to eat, and good for your body.

Spiced Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Recipe from Whole Foods

INGREDIENTS
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds), scrubbed well
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS
1. Cover potatoes with cold salted water in a large pot, then bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly resistant when pierced with a sharp small knife, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain well. When cool, slice potatoes lengthwise.

2. Mix together salt, spices and apple cider vinegar; add oil in a slow stream. Brush this mixture on sweet potatoes.

3. Grill potatoes on a lightly oiled grill rack over medium heat, until grill marks appear and potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

4. Serve potatoes warm.

Serves 8

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I usually slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise, but this time I sliced them crosswise to make smaller servings.

2. One of my favorite ways to serve these potatoes is to cut the slices into cubes and then toss them in a green salad.

Enjoy!

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Felt Baby Shoes “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Reading this six-word piece of flash fiction, purportedly penned by author Ernest Hemingway, always made me feel sad. Like other people, I wondered about the tragic tale and about the fate of the baby. Now, I know of a plausible good ending to the story. A month ago, I decided to sew shoes for my infant granddaughter. I worked on them sporadically throughout the month, as there never seemed to be enough time to sit down for more than five minutes. By the time I finally finished embroidering the last of the three pairs and tried them on Charlotte, they were too small. Babies’ feet grow all too quickly. Alas, I have baby shoes for sale, never worn.

#1 – Workspaces of the Famous
Inspiring Workspaces of the Famously Creative Some people think that Ernest Hemingway wrote the six-word story while he was at lunch with friends and not in his office. Was he that much of a literary genius to produce incredible work just anywhere? Where do you do your best creative work and what does your creative space look like? Check out these Inspiring Workspaces of the Famously Creative and see if your workspace more closely resembles that of Georgia O’Keefe or that of Alexander Calder.

#2 – Six Things
Throw a Six Quote Hemingway’s six words provoked much thought. Here are six quotes about “six things” that will certainly inspire you at least six times over:
Six Things Go Unsaid Quote

Tom Hopkins: Six Things

Arabic Quote: Six Things

Eddie Rickenbacker quote

Lewis Carroll: Six Impossible Things Quote

Marcus Tullius Cicero: Six Things

#3 – Toast, Anyone?
Creative Breakfast Toasts If you wake up at 6:00 in the morning and are looking for an energy-boosting breakfast, look no further. Here are 21 Energy-Boosting Breakfast Toasts. They all look good to me!

#4 – Six Innovations
Interview with Steven Johnson: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World If you had to name six innovations that made the modern world, what would they be? Author Steven Johnson did that in his book “How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World” and for the accompanying PBS television series. He interviewed last year with SFGate to discuss how he “traveled the globe to tell the little-known stories of men and women who came up with revolutionary innovations of modern civilization.” Read about how he crawled through the sewers in San Francisco and learn more about some of the innovations he researched here.

#5 – Creativity
“Creativity is not a talent or ability. It is the fruit of a person’s decision to matter.”
Eric Maisel

Now go and spread joy!

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Friday's Fresh Five! Oh, we’re going to a hukilau
A huki, huki, huki, huki, hukilau
Ev’rybody loves a hukilau
Where the laulau is the kau kau at the big luau

Oh, we’ll throw our nets out into the sea
And all the ama ama come a-swimming to me
Oh, we’re going to a hukilau
A huki, huki, huki, huki, hukilau

Words and music by Jack Owens

The Hukilau Song can be heard throughout my home, as my husband and I practice playing our new ukuleles together. It all started when my husband asked for a ukulele for Christmas, so that he could sing to our granddaughter. He began taking classes at a local music shop and started spending a lot of time searching for instructional videos on the internet. I felt left out, but being already overextended, I had no intention of learning how to play a new musical instrument. Seeing the joy it brought him, however, I itched to get my hands on a ukulele and try playing its happy music. A few weeks ago, he surprised me with an early Valentine’s Day gift – my very own ukulele. Our mastery of chords and strumming patterns is progressing well, but our singing definitely needs work. Besides learning a new skill together, filling our home with music, and having a ton of fun, we’ve also discovered that it is a great stress reliever. The moral of the story is: the couple that strums together, hums together!

#1 – The Nimble Brain
Ways to Exercise Your Brain Whether you are learning how to play a new musical instrument or learning a new language, your brain thanks you for keeping it nimble. Want to learn more ways to exercise your brain? From mental_floss comes this list of 11 Ingenious Ways to Exercise Your Brain When You’re Stuck Inside.

#2 – Love Is All Around
Hearts In Nature When looking for love, it’s a matter of perspective. See if you can find the hearts in the captivating Hearts In Nature photo series.

#3 – Repurposing Photos
30 Creative Ways to Repurpose Photos If you have boxes of photos taking up space in your home, you might want to repurpose them. I like to use them to make photo mosaics, but so many other clever ideas exist on the internet. To get started, check out Brit + Co’s 30 Creative Ways to Repurpose Photos.

#4 – Rules For Being
12 Rules for Being a Beautiful Human Being “This moment is a gift” is rule number 11 of the 12 Rules For Being a Beautiful Human. They are good reminders for all of us, as we journey through life.

#5 – Making Your Own Music
“Play with your heart, sing with your soul.”
Unknown

Now go and spread joy!

 

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Dandelion Waiting patiently in the gentle breeze, the white hair-like tufts of salsify plants sway to and fro. Suddenly, a perfect gust of wind releases them from their mother plant and they float effortlessly in the air, promising to fulfill their destinies. We are each blown to the “wind” to discover and create our own destinies.

#1 – Award-Winning Photos
Astonishing Award-Winning Photographs of 2014 To be in the right place at the right time and to be able to capture something extraordinarily special with a camera is what many photographers live for. I have an appreciation for photographers who travel, because through them the rest of us can see the world. Here are The Most Astonishing Photos That Won Awards in 2014.

#2 – One Piece of Advice
Advice That Changed Experts Lives Getting advice from fitness, nutrition, and health pros is interesting, but learning about what specific advice helped them the most is even more interesting. Check out We Asked 25 Experts for the One Piece of Advice That’s Changed Their Life the Most.

#3 – Another Tile Game
2048 Tile Game Take a break from what you are doing and play a game. Stand up, stretch, and be ready to sharpen your brain. A little while back, I linked to the K Tile Game. Now, I have discovered its numeral soul mate in the form of the 2048 Tile Game. Click on the link to play. Using the arrow keys on your keypad, manipulate the numbers in the grid so that similar numbers can touch and then merge. The goal is to get to the 2048 tile. Warning: this game is more challenging than the K Tile Game.

#4 – Mixing Reality With Fantasy
Realistic and Fantastical Art by Rob Gonsales When a realistic painting style collides with fantasy elements, you get the intriguing artwork of Rob Gonsales, a Canadian artist.

#5 – Let It Be
“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be . . . .”
John Lennon

Now go and spread joy!

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September 5, 2014 Edition Stealthily, I tiptoe outside with a weapon in my hand. I spot my unsuspecting nemesis, take aim, and rush towards him. I’m armed with a fully loaded Super Soaker that my husband purchased on clearance. My target is a squirrel, one of many who are breaking the branches off of my delicate Japanese maple tree. Once back inside, I think to myself, “Really? It’s come to this, has it? I’m a grandmother shooting squirrels with a water gun.” Am I crazy?

#1 – Get Some Sleep!
12 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep Maybe if I got more sleep, I wouldn’t be so crazy. And it’s not just me, several of my female friends also have sleeping issues. Of course, I’m not saying they’re crazy, too. If you have issues falling asleep and staying asleep you might want to read 12 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep from Pick the Brain. It’s a good reminder on how to develop better sleeping practices.

#2 – Saving Space
17 Space-Saving Designs Storing two apartments’ worth of stuff in my home for my adult kids is driving me crazy. Stuff is everywhere. Knowing that my space situation is temporary, I still appreciate the clever designs in 17 Ingeniously Designed Products That Will Solve Your Space Problem.

#3 – What Matters?
Knowing what Matters the Most to You Life is crazy, but do you let the business of life dominate the meaning of life? It’s easy to get caught up in the details of the day and lose sight of the big picture, your life. The four tips from the article Knowing What Matters to You Instead of Living by Default will help you focus on what matters to you the most.

#4 – Generated Paper
Generate Your Own Specialized Papers When you need a specialty type of paper, like graph paper, children’s writing paper, or music paper, don’t go out to the store to buy them. Just print them up on your home computer. That’s the concept behind the website generatedpaper.com, where you can download templates for free. I haven’t tried to print any paper yet, so let me know what you think of this site.

#5 – Be Crazy
“Sometimes, the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy.”
Matt Nguyen

Now go and spread joy!

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Acorn Woodpecker “Splish, splash, I was takin’ a bath . . .” sings an Acorn Woodpecker as he splashes around in the top tier of my backyard fountain. Goldfinches stop short of landing on the rim once they eye the big fellow dominating the cool water. Oblivious to other approaching birds, the woodpecker takes a leisurely bath, shaking and lifting his wings periodically. During the drought, my little fountain has become a center of much activity. Small and large birds, butterflies and other insects all make use of the fountain. For their sake, I continue to run it during these times of water conservation. Little water is wasted, as it uses a recirculating pump and is set on a timer. More importantly, my husband adds only bird-safe algaecide to the water. I am ever cognizant that the plants in my garden are not the only living things struggling to survive during the drought.

#1 – Through His Eyes
Photos by Trey Ratcliff Whether it’s your people-watching fix, your travel-itch, your appreciation of nature, or your love of photography, you’re bound to find a photograph in this portfolio that mesmerizes you. Take your time as you scroll through the textural and color-rich photographs taken from around the world by photographer, artist, writer and adventurer Trey Ratcliff.

#2 – Unflabby People
The 10 Habits of Highly Unflabby People GQ Magazine’s article on The 10 Habits of Highly Unflabby People is a good reminder about how the “little things” add up. If you follow the author’s tips, you could potentially save 10,142 calories a week!

#3 – Nailed It!
Baking Projects From Pinterest That Went Hilariously Wrong We all do it. We all see something on the Internet or in a magazine and say, “That doesn’t look too hard to make.” I’m not going to lie, looking through the photos of Baking Projects From Pinterest That Went Hilariously Wrong made me chuckle. As a tester of recipes for this blog, I’ve had my fair share of creative disasters.

#4 – Tips, Tricks, and Hacks
Life Hacks Imagine 466 pages of life hacks for you to investigate. Some of them are very intriguing as well as clever. LifeTricks is an online community that allows people to post “tricks, tips and life hacks for absolutely everything!”

#5 – Do More
“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”
― William Arthur Ward

Go now and spread joy!

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