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3 Delicious Cold Soups You Can Make in Your Blender

Soup is one of the most versatile and hearty and nutritious foods you can eat. The range of soup possibilities you can whip up in your kitchen is made even wider when you consider that you can use any standard blender to make delicious cold soups.

One very attractive feature about soup is that you can make huge batches, even if you’re just cooking for one. Soup freezes really well, so feel free to go crazy with your cold soups batch sizes. You can make a giant batch and freeze portions for later. Here’s how to freeze your cold soups in a safe manner.

  1. Purchase a box of large-mouth Mason jars or Ball canning jars.
  2. Purchase a canning funnel. These are made to fill the large mouth jars without spillage.
  3. Run the jars through your dishwasher to get them squeaky clean.
  4. Use a ladle to fill the jars, leaving at least an inch of headspace at the top. (The headspace allows for the water in the soup to expand as it freezes without cracking the jar.)
  5. Seal the jar with the 2-piece canning lids.
  6. Label each jar according to what kind of soup and store in the freezer for up to three months.

Here are some cold soups to whip up in your kitchen blender today!

Chilled Avocado Soup

This soup is rich and creamy, yet it won’t leave you feeling uncomfortably full. Perfect for lunch or brunch on a warm summer day!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 avocados, medium
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • dash salt

In your blender, puree all the ingredients until smooth. Serve immediately. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

Cold Cucumber Soup

Cold cucumber soup is something that dates all the way back to the Victorian age, and maybe beyond that. This classic is still popular, especially for those who live in hot regions of the world. This blender soup is possibly one of the easiest soup recipes you’ll ever make.

Ingredients

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and deseeded
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coriander

Blend the cucumbers first, then add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve chilled. Garnish with cucumber slices and a sprinkle of fresh dill. Serves 4-6.

Chilled Lettuce Soup

If you’re looking for an unusual way to add more greens into your diet, this is a delicious option. Serve before lunch on a warm day, or anytime you want a pick-me-up.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and deseeded
  • 1 head of Iceberg lettuce, quartered
  • 1 large potato, boiled
  • 4 scallions
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup sour cream or yogurt

Blend the cucumber and lettuce first, then add the remaining ingredients, reserving one scallion for the garnish. Blend until thoroughly smooth, then store in refrigerator to chill. Serve cold. Garnish with chopped scallions if desired. Serves 4.

 

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How to Properly Socialize Your Dog

No matter if you recently brought home a new puppy or adopted an older rescue dog, your overall training plan should include socializing your dog. Socializing your dog includes getting him accustomed to being around other humans as well as other animals.

According to dog trainers, instilling good socialization in your dog helps to ensure that your dog will behave in a predictable manner in almost any situation. This is important because otherwise, you or your dog could experience unwanted behavior leading to negative consequences.

Teaching Socialization With Other Humans

Dogs may not understand that the common things we wear and use are not to be feared. After your dog has become settled in with your family, give your new pet opportunities to get used to a variety of items within the comfortable environment of his or her own territory—your home. Ask your friends and family members to help you with socializing your dog in the following ways:

  • Have friends visit you in your home wearing various head attire. A wide-brimmed sunhat, head scarf, baseball hat, motorcycle helmet and batting or bicycle helmet are all good ideas to try.
  • Ask a friend to come over wearing dark sunglasses that completely hide their eyes.
  • Have a friend come inside the house with an open umbrella. Ask them to close and open it a few times in a gentle, slow manner.
  • Get a few people over in the yard to kick a large ball around, such as a soccer ball.

By now you get the picture. Things that are ordinary to us may spook your dog if they aren’t used to it. You don’t want your dog to chase kids wearing bicycle helmets or walking home from school in bright yellow galoshes. If you make sure your dog sees these things in the safe haven of your home, you help ensure calm behavior when you come upon them unexpectedly at parks or walking along the street.

Teaching Socialization With Sounds

Socialization has to do with getting used to the sounds we encounter at home, too. When you bring your dog home and they have grown comfortable in the home, continue to use things as you did before. Make sure your dog hears the sound of the stand mixer on weekends, the coffee grinder in the mornings and the sound of the telephone ringing. Encourage your kids to laugh heartily in the dog’s presence. Chew some gum and blow a bubble and pop it. Blow up a balloon and let the air go out while the balloon flies around the room. These things aren’t meant to be a game to startle your dog, but to make sure they don’t startle him into negative, unpredictable behavior in the future.

After each encounter or introduction to a new sound, praise your dog and pet him to let him know that everything is okay. Offer a few tiny treats to let him know that new experiences can be rewarding.

Teaching Socialization With Other Animals

As soon as you feel comfortable, expose your dog to other animals. You might bring him to a dog park, for long walks on the street where others walk their dogs, to a pet store where animals are welcome, or to a beach where pets are permitted.  These encounters will help your dog feel safe and comfortable around other animals, and give him the opportunity to make friends with other dogs and animals.

Be sure to keep your dog on a leash, at least in the beginning. Dog parks and beaches that allow animals to run freely are terrific, but in the beginning, you want to retain control over your dog’s movements. Over time, once you have completed command training, you can consider letting your dog roam off-leash within safe confines.

Why Socialization is Important

When your dog is well socialized, you help prevent unwanted behavior such as:

  • Barking whenever someone rings your doorbell
  • Chasing children or cars
  • Snarling at your friends when they visit
  • Biting or snapping when they hear a sudden noise

Give your dog all the help you can to ensure he becomes a well-adjusted, behaved member of your family. When you do, your family and friends will be able to enjoy the company of your dog to the fullest.

 

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The Hidden Cost of Fad Diets

It seems like every month, magazines are touting the next great diet. One month it’s the ketogenic diet, the next everyone’s talking about going paleo, and the next month some doctor is warning against eating white food. A girl could get dizzy trying to keep up, and your bathroom scale dial is probably spinning wildly. Does your weight control plan consist of shifting from one fad diet to the next? Serial fad dieting has serious consequences you should be aware of. Before you jump on the next diet bandwagon, read this.

The Risk of Malnutrition

Fad diets very often restrict one or more food types. Doctors, nutritionists and most physical fitness experts, on the other hand, stress the importance of eating a diversified diet that gives a person the best chances of getting all the necessary nutrients that their body needs to function at its peak.

When you drastically restrict your food intake or completely eliminate one or multiple foods, you run the risk of malnutrition. It may seem unheard of to have malnutrition in an age when so many foods are at our disposal. However, malnutrition is more common than you think, even in first world countries like the United States. A Journal of Nutrition study conducted in 2015 revealed that 85% of Americans don’t receive the FDA’s recommended daily vitamin and mineral intake. Malnutrition can lead to muscle loss (remember, your heart is a muscle, too), fatigue, headaches, and even disease.

Your metabolism is a finely tuned operating system—when you eat right. When you constantly jump from one diet to the other, however, your body doesn’t know what the heck is going on out there. One month it’s enjoying processing that fresh-squeezed orange juice you made, and the next month, all you’re glugging down is some chalky protein powder shake that has no vitamin C at all. Scurvy, anyone?

The healthiest diets don’t exclude entire food groups. If you feel you must diet, choose one that incorporates all whole food groups.

The Risk of Obesity

That’s right. Fad diets can contribute to obesity. Many fad diets have less than optimal calorie counts. If you’re used to plenty of calories at each meal sitting, you could end up feeling deprived the whole time you’re dieting. Even if you see some weight loss on the scale, you might not be able to shake the constant hunger pangs and feelings of deprivation and resentment toward those who seem to be able to eat as much as they like and still stay thin.

You’re human. You don’t like feeling hungry all the time, and really you shouldn’t have to. So, eventually, your brain starts coming up with reasons why you should eat more. It will validate the upcoming binge. Then you cave. As you binge, you savor every delicious bite. You overeat. The next morning, you feel guilty and perhaps ashamed. You decide that it feels better to eat than to starve, and you relax the reins on your dieting. You may even give up altogether. Finally, you weigh yourself again and find that amazingly, you weigh more now than you ever have!

This is how some studies have shown that starving yourself on fad diets can end up making you even fatter than you were before.

Opt for diets that have allowances built in for in-between meals snacking, and the occasional indulgence. This will give you the best chances for sticking to the plan and achieving the weight loss you desire.

Of course, the best diet is no diet at all. Making an eating lifestyle change is better than “going on a diet.” Be present when you shop for food, and when you eat. Note how you feel after each meal and avoid things that make you feel grumpy, bloated or tired. When you start to look at food as nourishment instead of as treats or rewards, you may not be tempted to go on another fad diet ever again.

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Feel Fresh With These Homemade Toothpaste & Mouthwash Recipes

Read the labels of commercial brand toothpaste and mouthwash, and you’ll see plenty of ingredients that you may not like. Worse, many of these ingredients have been clinically proven to cause harm. Although you wouldn’t normally swallow toothpaste or mouthwash, why subject your body to potential health risks?

Pesticides in Commercial Toothpaste and Mouthwash

If you’re worried about a moth invasion inside your tube of toothpaste, you might not mind having a pesticide as an ingredient. Otherwise, not so much.

Triclosan is added to toothpaste and mouthwash as a purported germ-killer. It’s a pesticide that has been approved for use by the FDA in products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Yet, it’s efficacy for killing germs in humans has never been clinically proven. It has, however, been scientifically proven to be an endocrine disruptor. Young children are especially susceptible. That’s something to think about, right?

If you want to ensure only natural ingredients in your toothpaste and mouthwash, try these homemade toothpaste and mouthwash recipes. Ingredients for the following homemade toothpaste and mouthwash recipes are easy to find, and the instructions are simple to follow.

Homemade Toothpaste, Version 1

First off, this is more like tooth cleaner than toothpaste. You’ll be storing it in a sealed jar, which you can keep on your bathroom sink at room temperature.

Ingredients to make homemade toothpaste:

  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 5 drops tea tree oil
  • 1/8 cup filtered water, more or less

Put the baking soda in a sealable container. Stir in the tea tree oil with a spoon. Add the filtered water, a little at a time, until a paste is formed. Stir well.

Homemade Toothpaste, Version 2

This isn’t really a toothpaste recipe, so much as a tooth polishing trick. But it comes from Catherine Zeta Jones, whom I adore, so I’m including it here. According to one interview, Catherine said she polishes her teeth with crushed strawberries. Apparently, the malic acid in the strawberries helps to whiten teeth. I tried it, and by golly, it works! Just crush a strawberry in a little bowl and use your toothbrush to polish. Tastes great, too!

Homemade Mouthwash

Remember that mouthwash should never be swallowed. Just rinse, swoosh and spit out. Even though the following recipes use natural ingredients, you still shouldn’t drink mouthwash.

You can store this mouthwash in a Mason jar, re-use an old empty container of mouthwash or even use a used water bottle that’s been cleaned and sterilized.

Ingredients for Homemade Mouthwash:

  • 8 ounces of rum or vodka (for tincture)
  • 1 teaspoon dried cloves or clove powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried Peppermint Leaf
  • 2 tablespoons dried Plantain Leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosemary Leaf
  • 15 drops of Cinnamon or Peppermint Essential Oil (or more to preference-optional)

Directions:

  1. Place herbs in a pint size mason jar. Pour enough boiling water over herbs to just dampen all of them. (this helps release the properties of the herbs).
  2. Pour the rum or vodka into the jar with the herbs and hot water.
  3. Cover tightly and put in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks. Each day, shake the jar to help the herbs infuse into the alcohol mixture.
  4. After 2-3 weeks, use cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer to strain the herbs out of the tincture. Discard the herbs and pour the tincture into small dropper bottles or other glass jar to store.
  5. Add the essential oils, return lid and shake well.

Homemade mouthwash recipe sourced from WellnessMama.

 

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Your Microwave: Not Just For Popcorn Anymore

Does your microwave only get used on movie night when there’s popcorn to be made? Get more use out of this versatile appliance with these handy microwave hacks.

Clean A Dirty Sponge

One of the strangest microwave hacks is using a microwave to clean a dirty sponge. The crevices in sponges harbor all kinds of bacteria. To clean a dirty sponge, just wring it out thoroughly and zap it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.

Freshen Soggy Chips

If you live in a humid climate, your potato chips probably turn soggy a little too often. Crisp them up in your microwave for a minute on a paper towel. The towel will absorb the moisture, leaving your chips crunchy.

Easily Peel Garlic

If you have a recipe that uses lots of garlic cloves, you could spend too much precious time trying to pry the skins off each clove. To easily peel garlic quickly, pop them in the microwave on high for 5-10 seconds. The skins will fall away effortlessly.

Soften Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is known for getting hard as a rock, and you usually don’t discover it until you need it for a recipe. Soften brown sugar in the microwave by putting it in a glass bowl with a wet paper towel on top. Zap for 20 seconds or until you can sift through the brown sugar with a fork.

Treat an Earache

It’s almost as painful to see your child experience an earache as it is for them to have one. While you’re waiting for the morning to come when you can see the doctor, treat the earache with a warm cloth. Wet a washcloth and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds or until warm (not hot). The moist heat will provide some relief.

Form a Mouth Guard

Those plastic mouth guards your kids wear for sports are uncomfortable right out of the package. Heat it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds or until the plastic is malleable enough to form with your child’s bite.

Make Soap Flakes

Are you out of laundry detergent? Make your own soap flakes to use in the washing machine using a bar of Ivory soap and your microwave. Just place the bar of soap in the microwave on a dish and turn on high for two minutes. The soap will expand and turn into soap flakes when you crumble it with your fingers.

Dehydrate Fresh Herbs

Do you have fresh herbs that are going to go bad before you can use them up? Dry them quickly inside your microwave. Place a glass bowl in the microwave. Put about 1 cup of loosely packed fresh herbs on the dish and microwave for about 4-5 minutes. Crush them and store in a jar.

Now about that popcorn…

Did you know you can make your own popcorn bags?

Fill a brown paper lunch bag with half a cup of popcorn kernels. Fold the bag end so it’s nicely sealed. (No need to fold the bag into thirds.) Set your microwave to “popcorn,” and watch as the bag fills with your oil-free popcorn treat.

Enjoy these easy microwave hacks!

 

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4 Distracting Things to Do Until Your Food Cravings Pass

Food cravings can sabotage your health and weight loss goals. We all suffer from food cravings at some point, but it is possible to get through them without succumbing to the temptation. Experts say that food cravings usually go away after 15 minutes. Here are some ideas for distracting activities that will not only make the time fly by, but maybe even cut that food craving time in half.

Play Tetris

A surprising study conducted late last year at the University of Plymouth indicates that playing the video game of Tetris for as little as three minutes can reduce cravings by one-fifth. There’s something about this game that makes players forget about whatever food craving they were experiencing. This is the first test of its kind, so it’s possible that other video games can achieve similar results, though that hasn’t yet been put to the test. In the meantime, why not download this Tetris game on your smartphone so it’s ready to play when your next food craving rears its ugly head.

Have Sex

Food cravings can sometimes occur from the desire to fill something that’s missing in our lives, such as an emotional connection with another person. Having sex instead of binging on a bag of chips will not only keep you busy for 15 minutes (longer if you’re lucky), but it may also help to show you that a real emotional connection is available to you. And by the way, your partner doesn’t have to know that you’ve made a choice between him/her and a Milano cookie. That can be our little secret.

Use Aromatherapy

There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence to suggest that aromatherapy can reduce or eliminate food cravings. The next time a craving comes upon you, try brushing your teeth with minty toothpaste. The fresh taste in your mouth and your minty breath may inspire you to want to avoid ruining that fresh-brushed taste and smell. You can also keep a bottle of peppermint essential oil in your medicine cabinet. Whenever a food craving occurs, just pass the jar under your nose. Some people say that the peppermint scent will rid you of cravings and refresh your senses.

Exercise

One of the best ways to avoid the temptation of a food craving is to exercise. The activity will take your mind off whatever is in your kitchen, and the knowledge that you’re getting in better physical condition will give you willpower to resist food cravings. To make it work, keep your gym bag in the car or closet, ready to go when cravings hit. If you don’t have a gym membership, a brisk walk or jog through the neighborhood will accomplish the same thing. After as little as 15 minutes, your food cravings will likely vanish.

One thing you can count on is, the more often you can resist your food cravings, the less frequent they will become. Remember, all you have to do is get through the next 15 minutes without giving in. After that, it will get easier as time goes on.

 

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How to Deal With Workplace Bullies

Are you being picked on at work, but feel unable to prove it or do anything about it? Workplace bullies operate differently than schoolyard bullies. Adult bullies at work won’t try to steal your lunch money, but they will try to steal your self-esteem, your dignity and your respect. Workplace bullies can make you feel threatened, humiliated, offended and intimidated. This pervasive threat that exists in at least half of all organizations, can lead to substance abuse, distrust, depression, loss of employment and violence.

What Shape Does Workplace Bullying Take?

In workplaces where bullying exists, almost 75% reported verbal abuse, about 62% reported behind-the-back gossip with intent to harm, and approximately one-half reported direct threats and intimidation.

In astonishing findings reported by the Society for Human Resource Management, 44% of organizations polled say that they do not have a workplace bullying policy in place, and they have no plans to put one in place for the future.

Bullying is an insidious poison that works to destroy those who are the victim, the perpetrators, and even the organization where it takes place. In a Canadian research study, those who work in a place where bullying occurs, even if they are not the intended target of the bullying, are more likely to quit in order to avoid the atmosphere of bullying.

How to Handle Workplace Bullies

Here are some tactics to handle workplace bullies, in ascending order.

Try to Reason With Them

You aren’t dealing with a child, even though the bullying behavior might make it feel like you are. In some cases, as an adult, rational conversation may smooth everything over.

Use non-emotional, non-judgmental words to communicate your dissatisfaction with the bullying behavior. Be prepared to recall specific incidents when the bullying took place. It is within the realm of possibility that the bully will stop the behavior once they realize how unacceptable it is.

Record the Instances

If the bullying continues, make a written record of the instances when it occurs, along with the situation. Keep a log that entails the time, date, who was present, what was said, what happened, and the duration. This log will provide valuable data for future steps that you may need to take to protect yourself. Keep the existence of the log and its location, private. Don’t tell the bully or bullies that you’ve started keeping track.

Report the Bullying to HR

Request a private meeting with your HR department and bring your log. Don’t surrender your log, but use it as a memory jog to help you recall dates and details. Ask the HR department to record the meeting in your employee record. Find out what action the HR department intends to take on your behalf. Be sure to log in your HR meeting in your record book.

Bring it to a Higher Level

If the HR department doesn’t stop the bullying, take your case to the next higher level of management. Without using threats, convey that your case is a serious one that needs to be addressed immediately. Ask the manager what action they will be taking. Again, record this meeting, along with details in your log.

Remain Calm and Patient

Although you’re the so-called “victim,” you don’t have to act like one. During all these proceedings, it’s important that you remain calm and patient. It can take time for upper management to make changes to take care of bullying. Don’t sabotage your own situation by acting out or being hysterical. Maintain a professional demeanor and proceed with business as usual. You have a powerful weapon in the form of your log, and in the end you will prevail.

Take Legal Action

If your organization continues to fail to support you, it’s time to take legal action. Bring your log to an attorney to discuss your options. Don’t hand over your log, but do allow the legal office to make a copy for their reference. Legal action is your best defense against a workplace bully when your own organization does not back you up.

Gather Personal Support

If you’re in a situation where you are experiencing workplace bullying, it’s important that you have some personal support at home while all this is going on. Bullying has a way of making you feel small and worthless. This is false thinking, and it will help immensely to have someone who knows you help you remember your value in this world.

Some ideas for support include: bullying support groups for adults, personal therapist, supportive friends, understanding spouse, and supportive family members. Don’t try to handle this all by yourself. Away from work, confide in someone who can give you a shoulder to lean on. At work, be the strong, capable person you are, and handle it in a professional manner with the objective steps as explained above. You can rise above workplace bullies.

Easy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Eclair Recipe

If you’re an éclair lover who lives in America, you’ve probably been feasting on those imitation versions found in supermarkets. But as any true éclair connoisseur knows, those aren’t éclairs so much as rectangular, cream-filled donuts. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have ever visited France, you have tasted the true éclair, and you have longed for that genuine airy choux pastry filled with rich cream. Of course, here in America, we also long for the rich blend of chocolate and peanut butter, so why not have it all?

To commemorate National Chocolate Éclair Day, here you’ll find a delicious—and easy—unique version of a recipe for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Éclairs. Maybe this will even make its way back over the Atlantic where French people will yearn for our distinctly American version of one of their favorite pastries.

First, a little history. According to many historians, the éclair was invented by pastry chef Antonin Carême, for the royal Duchess in France, back in the nineteenth century. He named it, “pain à la duchesse,” but it has been since renamed the éclair. Interestingly, the first English-language recipe for the éclair appeared in the 1884 edition of the Boston Cooking School cookbook, written by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln. The word éclair means “lightening” in French, which some say refers to the shiny glaze on top of this oblong-shaped pastry.

And finally, here is a simple and easy to make Recipe for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Éclairs for you to celebrate National Chocolate Éclair Day. These are a little different than what you may be used to. The actual filling is chocolate, and the topping is peanut butter. When you bite into it, the chocolate and the peanut butter combine in that ever so delightful way. Yummy!

Recipe for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Éclairs

Yields 6

Ingredients:

For the Shells:

  • 4 sheets Phyllo (find in your grocer’s freezer section)
  • 3 Tablespoons softened butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

For the Filling:

  • 15-ounce can of premade chocolate pudding

For the Topping:

  • 1 cup of smooth peanut butter

Instructions:

  1. Lay out a piece of tinfoil measuring 12 x 6.
  2. On top of that, lay out a piece of parchment paper measuring 12 x 6 inches. (This ensures that the aluminum doesn’t touch your food.)
  3. Use a pastry brush and brush with softened butter.
  4. Lay a 12 x 6 measure of Phyllo on top of the parchment paper
  5. Brush the Phyllo with softened butter.
  6. Sift a sparse layer of powdered sugar over the butter.
  7. Repeat steps  4-6 until you have 4 layers of Phyllo.
  8. Repeat the process with the rest of the Phyllo on separate parchment paper.
  9. Use a spatula to spread a layer of pudding on top of the Phyllo.
  10. Carefully roll the Phyllo into loose logs, being careful to wrap the ends.
  11. Bake on a baking sheet at 300 degrees for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven.
  13. Unwrap from tinfoil.
  14. Unwrap from parchment paper.
  15. Allow to chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  16. Use a spatula to spread a layer of smooth peanut butter across the top of your Peanut Butter and Chocolate Éclairs.

Serve with a napkin and Bon Appetit!

2 Super Easy Ways to Get a Base Tan

Getting a base tan is essential for certain situations. Maybe you’ve been invited to join your boyfriend’s family on their boat in the Bahamas. Or, you’re going down to Florida to visit Disney World. Maybe it’s just that upcoming 4th of July BBQ. Whatever the occasion, you don’t want to show up with your lily white legs while the rest of the girls show off their golden tans. Here are two easy ways to get a base tan.

Method #1: Fake It

Since the dawn of time, women have been faking beauty features they lacked for one reason or another. During WWII, when silk was hoarded for making paratrooper parachutes, women found their lingerie drawers woefully lacking in silk stocking. Not to be caught out walking around barelegged, clever women of the time simply sued an eyeliner pencil to draw that telltale line that simulated a silk stocking seam up the backs of their legs. The effect was surprisingly realistic.

Which brings us to method number one of achieving a base tan. There are lots of great fake tanners on the market, so there’s no reason to resort to those orangey self-tanning lotions that you might have tried in high school.

Here are two of our favorites:

Art Naturals Sunless Tanning Lotion works for light, fair, medium and sensitive skin. It contains jojoba oil, so it moisturizes while it’s making your skin look tanned. You get an instant tint to your skin without the sun, and you can build it up to look darker with each application. I like that the packaging is BPA and paraben-free, and that the kit comes with an application mitt.

Beauty by Earth Self Tanner is an organic, natural sunless tanning lotion that works within 4-6 hours to give your skin a sun-kissed natural glow. Works on skin tones from light to medium and is okay for use on sensitive skin. I like it because the ingredients are all organic, including coconut oil, argan oil and aloe vera. Its non-streaking formulation works to give you a fake base tan for between four and seven days.

Method #2: Build It

You can build a real base tan if you have enough sunny day with which to work your tanning magic. Seven sunny days should be long enough to implement this build-it method. Remember, the goal is to build a healthy base tan without burning or otherwise damaging your gorgeous skin.

First, arm yourself with a 6-day, descending supply of sunblock. On day one, use the sunscreen with the highest SPF. On day two, use the next lowest SPF, on day three, the next lowest, etc. On the last day, which will be day seven, switch to a Hawaiian Tropic sun oil that contains all natural oils but no sunscreen. By the end of day seven, even the fairest in all the land (you!) will have achieved a base tan you can be proud to show off in shorts and a sleeveless top.

You may notice that I’ve left out the option of tanning beds in this list. The reason is that the CDC has specifically called out tanning beds as potentially more dangerous than outdoor tanning. Because tanning beds operate on a timer, and users normally stay in the tanning bed until the timer goes off, the odds are greater that a burn will develop. Outdoors, you can regulate your skin exposure, but inside a tanning bed, it’s much more difficult to do so, if not impossible. I recommend one of the above methods instead of resorting to a tanning bed. Whichever of those two methods you use, you will be occasion-ready with glowing, tanned skin that everyone will envy!

How Long Is Too Long For Pets To Be Outside in Summer?

Your pets enjoy spending more time outdoors in the summer. There’s no snow or wind to contend with, and there are plenty of interesting new smells to enjoy. But with summer comes a different set of conditions that can be hazardous to your pet. Even if you’re with your pets outside, things like high humidity, intense sun and a lack of water can become dangerous for your pets. Here are some things to watch out for, and how to prevent harm from coming to your pets in summer.

High Humidity

You may be aware of the high temperatures in your region, but you also need to watch for high humidity days. Just as seniors and those with respiratory issues can have trouble breathing on days with high humidity, so can your pets.

On high humidity days (anything over 60%), try to keep your pets indoors as much as possible. When they do go out, don’t run your dog on a leash or push them to exercise in the yard. Consider allowing your pets to stay inside on such a day, especially if you typically leave them outside while you are at work.

Intense Sun

In summer, the sun sits higher in the sky than the rest of the year. Exposure to intense sun can cause heat sickness and heat stroke in your pet just as it can with you. If heat exhaustion does occur, water may not be enough to get your pet back to normal. The remedy is to get into the shade or a chilled environment as soon as possible.

On hot summer days, make sure your pets have access to a cool, shady environment where they can get out of the sun. Consider positioning the doghouse under a shady tree, or leaving the garage door open a little while you’re at work. If the temperatures are really predicted to soar, keep your pet indoors in the air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning in your house, let your pets stay inside the house with a breeze blowing via an open window or a box fan.

Lack of Water

On hot days, a shallow bowl of water can evaporate quickly, leaving your pets lacking in hydration, and exposed to the outdoor elements.

To make sure your pets have plenty of water outside in your absence, invest in a weighted bucket or very deep water bowl that won’t tip over. Check it daily, and keep it accessible, and filled with clean water for your pet. When you’re home with your pet on hot days, you can throw a few ice chips in the water to cool your pet from the inside out.

Remember, your pets are prone to the same problems with heat that humans have. If you feel it’s time for you to go inside, it’s probably time for your pets to go indoors, too.