The hottest months of the year are here, with a vengeance! With the temperatures hovering around the triple digits, heating up your home with an oven seems like the worst idea! Instead of living off of take out food and cold dinners, why not break out a slow cooker?
There are many different types of slow cookers on the market, ranging from basic models to advanced cooking options for full feasts. A quick Amazon search shows that models range from $11.99 to $499.00 – With that being said, there’s a model perfect for everyone!
Now that you have your slow cooker ready, here are our top 5 favorite main dishes, side dishes and desserts!
This recipe can easily be adapted for other proteins, including meat substitutes. It is a favorite amongst family.
This slightly tart meal is perfect with a simple side of rice. It’s filling, and tastes of summer!
One serious favorite from local restaurant Opa! Opa! is the lamb stew. Now, nothing compares to their in-house stew, but this one comes in a close second. It’s filling, which is perfect for summer active life!
You haven’t lived until you’ve tried this simple yet oh-so-tasty recipe! Works just as amazingly with chicken or turkey, and the resulting meat can be used on sandwiches, salads, or just eaten straight from the pot!
Pronounced fuh, this classic Vietnamese soup has taken California by storm. If you’ve never tried it, what are you waiting for! There are many many variations, with meat and without. This refreshing take on chicken noodle soup will leave you asking pho more!
Creamy, dreamy and always welcome, this take on mac and cheese is a surefire crowd pleaser!
Cornbread is a staple for so many different cultures. This basic recipe can also be spiced up by adding jalapenos, cheese, chili, or anything you want!
SO good. So simple. Add in black olives or green chilies for added flavor.
This summer medley pairs perfectly with a protein and rice or other grain, or even eaten alone! The coconut milk gives it a slightly sweet edge, and compliments the mix of squash and zucchini well.
This simple recipe cleans up how to make refried beans- no frying required! You’ll never eat canned again.
Usually reserved for holidays, pecan pie should be enjoyed all year round! This nutty taste of tradition is a favorite, hands down.
Although traditionally enjoyed during Autumn months, apples are available year round. Grab your favorite apple and make this yummy treat.
Decadent fudge-y cake that cooks itself AND has have natural good for you ingredients? You won’t be able to say no.
This blueberry cobbler-esque treat is so good, you’ll want to make it again and again! Add a dash of cinnamon and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for extra yum!
This fancy and tasty treat is SO good! Even though this is a crock pot recipe, it only takes about an hour to prepare. Start it while dinner is going, and you’ll have fresh and nice and hot bananas ready for dessert.
Hopefully, these tasty treats can help you stay cooler, eat well, and enjoy these warm days!
With the current very popular trend of having colorful dyed hair, everybody is letting their colorful souls out to play! Before you run to your stylist or attempt a home dye job, do you know how to properly care for treated hair? Keep reading for a few helpful tips for before you color your locks.
Hair color that lasts needs a good foundation.
Like painting or applying makeup, everything needs a good strong foundation. This means prior to coloring, you should start a regular conditioning routine, including weekly conditioning at minimum, and monthly or bi-monthly deep conditioning treatments. Coloring your hair makes hair more porous, which causes it to absorb and release moisture more easily. This can cause loss of color molecules every time your hair gets wet.
See a professional if you have any doubts.
Home dye jobs can easily go wrong. If you are unsure of what to do, please be sure to visit a well trained professional in a salon, and they can help your colored hair dream come true.
Only use quality products.
Using the most affordable products isn’t always the best idea when your hair is concerned. Instead, opt for a product that you have taken the time to research and learn how to properly use the product.
After coloring, shampoo less frequently.
Shampooing strips the hairs of oils and dirt. To retain those natural oils that help condition your color-treated hair, shampoo just two or three times per week if you must, and never more than every other day. It is best to shampoo once a week however. This will help your color last longer and help maintain health in your colored hair.
Product usage matters on color treated hair.
What you put on your hair will make a difference in the longevity of the color and the long-term health of your hair. Dyed hair requires special attention, so invest in salon-grade products formulated for colored hair. Using color-protecting shampoos and conditioners on color-treated hair can help protect the color and add shine, volume and luster.
Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to gorgeous vibrantly-colored hair, always remember to be gentle, as hair is delicate. Regardless, embrace your colors and have fun! Because hair always grows back, or can be replaced.
Recently there’s been news about a 27 year old who had part of her right leg amputated three years ago after being hospitalized due to complications from toxic shock syndrome, or TSS. After news broke, many women have turned to social media, condemning the use of tampons, and praising the use of other menstrual products that pose very little to no risk for TSS. The victim, Lauren Wasser, is currently suing Kotex with the claim that the illness was the result of using a tampon.
While it is true that tampons have been linked to TSS, the bacterial infection doesn’t only occur in women, and tampons are not actually the cause.
What causes TSS?
A specific strain of staph bacteria (staphylococcus aureus) must be present in the vaginal flora to contract TSS. If it is present, the staph can multiply in a tampon’s absorbent layers, producing a very harmful toxin, TSS.
How many people are staph carriers?
About 20 percent of the population have the bacteria on their skin, and more have it in their nose according to a 2011 study. Experts are unsure how many women have it present in their vaginal flora.
Should I get tested while at my next gyno appointment?
No. Vaginal flora changes throughout your cycle, so you would need regular ongoing cultures to check for it, which is not necessary for prevention.
How many annual cases of TSS are linked to tampon use?
In 2014, there were 59 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and there have been 26 in 2015 so far. TSS can also occur due to skin infections, burns, nosebleeds that require packing, after childbirth, or surgery according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The exact number of cases that have been specifically linked to tampon use is unknown. However, the NIH estimates that about half are menstruation related. It is a very rare event, considering the millions of women who use tampons everyday.
What are the symptoms of TSS?
Symptoms include high fever, rash, muscle aches, vomiting or diarrhea, confusion, low blood pressure, and if left untreated, multiple organ failure (usually the kidneys and liver). If you start feeling lightheaded, ready to pass out, experience vomiting and have a high fever within a few days of your period, you might want to see a doctor.
How can you prevent TSS?
Gynecologists recommend using the lowest absorbency you can. Terms like light, regular, super and super plus are the standard, so shooting for regular and light would be best for women with a normal to light flow. It doesn’t matter if the tampon is made of synthetic or natural fibers.
If the possibility of being at risk for TSS is too much, there are always other options available for use on the regular market. From menstrual cups, sea sponges, and reusable pads, it is very likely you will find a product that works with your body’s natural flow. No matter what products you use, always remember it is better to change your product maximum every 4-6 hours. Better safe than sorry, for your health.
Who gets to say what beautiful means? Being beautiful can mean so many things.
Beauty is being in love.
Beauty is creating a new life.
Beauty is working hard for what you want.
Beauty is embracing your uniqueness.
Beauty is letting your radiant soul shine bright.
Beauty is embracing your ‘flaws’.
Beauty is being successful.
Beauty is sticking through until the end.
Beauty is being a sister.
Beauty is being a friend.
Beauty is not giving up hope.
Beauty is doing what makes you happy.
Beauty is being confident.
Beauty is being you.
Acne is a very common skin condition. It doesn’t matter what race, age, or social status; Anybody is susceptible to it. It’s long been thought that acne just goes away. While untrue, there ARE ways to treat, and potentially cure, acne completely. Keep reading to find out more.
So what IS acne?
Acne is a disease of the skin’s oil glands. Pores, which are small holes in your skin, connect to the sebaceous (oil) glands underneath the skin. The glands secrete an oily substance known sebum. Your pores connect to the glands by a canal, known as a follicle. Inside the follicles, oil carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin, while a tiny hair grows within the follicle, and out the top of the skin. When that follicle clogs up, you get a pimple. Women have been proven to be more susceptible to acne, with a growing number of women in their 30s and beyond suffering from the disease. It’s not just a sign of puberty as many once believed.
One common myth is that you have to let acne run its course. This has been proven by dermatologists to be very incorrect, for several reasons.
What are the signs of acne?
Common belief is that acne is just pimples, but an acne sufferer can have one or many of these issues:
Acne can appear on many different parts of the body; the face, any part of the back, chest, shoulders, neck, upper arms and the buttocks are all common.
Having acne isn’t fun. It can sometimes cause many other physical and psychological problems. Low self-esteem, depression, dark spots on the skin, and permanent scarring have all been side effects of acne.
How do you treat acne?
While there are many convincing at-home acne treatments available, the only proven solution is to see a dermatologist. There are many effective acne treatments available today, but this does not mean that every acne treatment works for everyone who has acne. It simply means that most, if not all, acne CAN be controlled.
People who suffer from mild acne (whiteheads, blackheads, papules, and/or pustules) can use over the counter products, no prescriptions needed. Products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid often can clear the skin. This does not mean skin will clear overnight. At-home treatments usually require upwards of 4 to 8 weeks to see improvement. Once the acne clears, you must continue to treat the skin to prevent any breakouts.
If you have a lot of acne, cysts or nodules, over the counter medicine may not work for you. If you want to see clearer skin, the best option would be to see a dermatologist. Dermatologists can offer several ways to treat acne, from topical (applied to the skin), oral (taken by mouth, working throughout the body), or procedural (laser, peels, or removal).
Topical treatments work to either kill bacteria on the surface of the skin or reduce the amount of oil that is produced. Topical treatments may contain a retinod, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, an antibiotic cream or lotion, or salicylic acid.
Oral treatments are mostly used when you have red and/or swollen types of acne. Treatments include antibiotics to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, birth control pills and other hormonal correcting medications (most helpful for women), or Isotreinoin, a very strong acne treatment that works on all causes of acne. The last treatment is very serious, and if used incorrectly can lead to serious side effects, so it is saved for extreme cases only.
Procedural treatments include light and laser therapies, which reduce the p. acnes bacteria; Chemical peels that treat blackheads and papules and cannot be purchased over the counter; and lastly, acne removal techniques. Your dermatologist may preform a procedure refered to as a “drainage and extraction” to remove a large acne cyst. This procedure helps when the cyst does not respond to medicine, and helps ease the pain. It also lowers the chance that the cyst will leave a scar. Watch a cyst removal below.
Warning: This video is a real medical procedure, and may be graphic to younger viewers.
There are many ways to manage acne at home, to help reduce breakouts. A few of these methods include:
Acne is a treatable disease; With the right care and a bit of patience, you’ll be completely acne free. Good luck on the journey to clean, healthy skin!
Women have menstrual cycles, and that’s just the way it is. Sometimes, you feel like an expert on the subject, passing down information you learned from a mother, sister, aunt, etc. onto the next generation.
But did you know there’s more to it than bleeding? Check these five facts out.
1. Your cycle is designed to get you pregnant.
When ovulation happens in the middle of your cycle, an egg is released from the ovaries and moves to the Fallopian tubes where it could possibly meet with sperm and get fertilized. While this is happening, your body is producing more hormones than usual, which causes the lining of your uterus to thicken, and encourage an egg to implant itself. But if no pregnancy happens that month, the lining comes loose, and that’s your period!
2. Taking hormonal birth control? You’re basically having fake periods.
If you’re taking the pill, the ring, an IUD or an implant, then you are experiencing something just a bit different. The hormones in birth control tell your body that it doesn’t need to produce any more hormones. Without those added hormones, you don’t build up much of a lining each month, thus why birth control makes periods a lot lighter. Unless you’re using an IUD, most women don’t ovulate at all while on BC.
3. There is no reason to have a period while on birth control, and you can even SKIP IT.
Since it’s a fake period, there is no medical reason requiring you to experience a period.
You can experience some spotting here and there, but there is no harm in taking birth control back-to-back without having a free week for your period. There are actual birth control pills prescribed with this in mind! This is especially helpful for women who experience horrible periods or bad causes of PMS. Be sure to check with your doctor before making this lifestyle change.
4. The best way to help cramps is to take medicine BEFORE they start.
Nobody likes to experience pain, especially abdominal cramps. While a lot of women sweat it out and only take Motrin or Tylenol once it becomes unbearable, the best method as proven by doctors is to take an over the counter pain reliever before the symptoms even start, which also dramatically decreases bleeding. Smart!
Put down the scented tampons! The inside of your vagina should not smell, at all. However, it is very common to have a slight odor during your period since your pH levels are altered by having a cycle. Scented tampons are chemically scented, and the toxins and perfumes contained within them can cause all kinds of nasty and potentially life-threatening infections. Proper vaginal hygiene can help prevent odors and infections as well; make sure you are following a proper diet for your vaginal health!
Recently, John Oliver brought up the topic of paid maternity leave in the United Staes on his popular show “Last Week Tonight”.
There are only 2 countries in the world without unpaid time off for new mothers— and the United States is one.
New mothers are not always guaranteed any paid time off after giving birth at all here in the States. However, you can always take unpaid time off to tend to your new little one. This leads to a difficult choice for some; stay working, and miss important firsts and cause possible stress to you and your baby, or take the unpaid time off and cause unneeded stress due to missed paychecks, while caring for a newborn.
The Family and Medical Leave Act lets you take the unpaid time off— with restrictions of course.
To qualify, you have to have worked or the same employer for 12 months, have logged at least 1,250 hours in the past year (which is an average of 24 hours per week), and work for a company with more than 50 employees within 75 miles of your location. This also doesn’t apply to contractors, freelancers, or employees at small businesses fewer than 50 workers.
That seems to really cut out a lot of working mothers, doesn’t it?
Fathers would like family leave as well; sadly, the long-held thought that women should take care of the children while men work is still holding true. This makes the idea of paternity leave but a dream for most.
Not every family works in the traditional sense. Sometimes the mother is the main source of income, sometimes its equally split. Sometimes it’s two mothers, two fathers, etc.
Why are we still stuck with archaic restrictions?
Lobbyists and legislators.
Using scare tactics and fear mongering, the lawmakers in 1993 who discussed the ideas for FMLA over complicated everything. “…This bill will cost jobs”, said Rep. Thomas Ewig, “This bill is unfair, anti-business, anti-growth, invasive, deathly expensive”, so said Rep. Tom DeLay.
Did FMLA cause all the destruction predicted? The answer is short and simple: No. Other things may have caused issues, but not FMLA.
What happens next?
With the help of active mothers and their supporters, we can help change these ridiculously outdated practices. Mothers need the time off to care for the new life. They also need the pay to provide the care, and by not allowing paid maternity leave, we are only damaging the future generations.
Want more? Read the President’s statement from FMLA’s 20th anniversary.
No matter what your lifestyle is like, most people these days are busy. Always running, and not much downtime. So how could you possibly fit exercise in? There’s always a way.
If you work in an office, be sure to stretch your legs and give your eyes a break at least every 2 hours. It’s not only good for a quick round of exercise, but the break in looking at a computer can reduce eye strain and lessen the chance for a headache or other fatigue. Start a group with co-workers, and have set times to stretch or walk- it’s good for everyone!
For stay at home parents, learn to use what you have around the house! Have a new baby? You can use small children or even a bag of rice as a weight and preform several exercises. Squats, lunges, and even resistance for (gentle!) side-to-side twists, to name a few.
If you are in a high-paced line of work that keeps you moving all day, congrats! You’re probably getting more exercise than you think!
Something else that is really helpful is a fitness tracker. There are many options on the market, from high-range on down. Don’t need an extra gadget to forget? Fear not! Most phones have build in function to track your steps, which can be unlocked by fitness apps and widgets. A favorite is My Fitness Pal, which not only tracks steps, but also acts as a food diary and weight loss helper. It is both Apple and Android friendly, so no excuses! 😉
Lastly, don’t overdo it! Sometimes our bodies give off signals that we need to rest. Don’t ignore these! A small headache, a simple cough, even a stress-related bout of hives. All of these are indications that you may be overdoing it in some way. Take a step back and analyze what you could be doing wrong, and be sure to correct it as soon as possible, as they could negatively impact you until it is dealt with. And most importantly, drink plenty of water! On average, most people are not making their daily intake of water, and are causing themselves problems because of it.
Women have been getting stretchmarks naturally for centuries. Why is it that in this day and age they are seen as something to be ashamed of, something you hide or want to change?
Stretch marks tell a store that is your life. They tell the tale of growth, change, birth and much more. Taking them away doesn’t change your story, but why change what is perfectly you? If we don’t start loving ourselves more, how can we pass self-love to the next generation? It starts with you.
Loving every piece of yourself is the first step to true happiness. In this era of media domination, you are told to look, think, act, and even feel a certain way. But why? Why change what is the most perfect version of you just to make yourself an imperfect clone of everyone else?
Having stretch marks doesn’t mean you aren’t sexy. It doesn’t mean you aren’t smart. It has no standing on your personality. They’re just a part of who you are. Everybody can have them, tall, short, slim, or curvy. Love the skin you are in. Nourish and worship the body you have, for all its wrinkles, freckles, stretch marks. Because a true tiger works hard to earn her stripes.