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6 Cleaning Hacks That Will Change Your Life

Some people like to clean. I’m not one of them. If you’re like me and you clean only because you have to, you’ll appreciate these six cleaning hacks that will change your life. You’ll especially enjoy number 4!

1. Refrigerator Cleaning

One of the worst cleaning jobs is the refrigerator. It seems like bottles and jars are always leaving sticky rings on the shelves. If it isn’t that, it’s a package of raw chicken that leaked all over the shelf. Cleaning the refrigerator can take most of an afternoon, unless you use these hacks.

Cut shelf liners to fit from inexpensive vinyl placemats. Use them to cover the bottom of door shelves. For vegetable and fruit drawers, lay down a layer of wax paper. For standard interior shelves, remove them and cover with plastic cling wrap. When shelves get dirty, just replace the liners or remove and wipe down the vinyl mats. Now if you could just figure out a way to make door fingerprints disappear…..

2. Easier Laundry

A lot of people hate doing laundry for good reason. It’s time consuming and tedious removing and changing bed sheets. For an easier day, try these hacks.

When you make your bed, put not one but two fitted sheets on the mattress. When the top one is ready to be washed, just pull it off and you automatically have another fitted sheet on there ready to be used. To keep like sheets together, store clean folded flat sheets and pillowcases between the box spring and the mattress on the bed. Everything you need will be right there when you need it.

3. A Cleaner Bathroom

Bathroom countertops are the worst. They get covered with toothpaste, hair color, lipstick and more. To clean the bathroom countertop, you have to remove all that stuff, put it….somewhere….and vigorously wipe.

To keep your bathroom countertop almost spotless, place a large decorative vanity tray on the counter. Instead of placing all your lotions and potions on the counter, put them on the tray. When it’s time to clean the tray, just pick it up and bring everything to the kitchen where you can rinse off all the jars and bottles, plus the tray. Meanwhile, your countertop stays clean!

4. Spot Clean Floors

Cleaning floors takes a long time and is, frankly, exhausting. You can clean floors every other week with this cleaning hack.

Don a pair of thick sports socks and wet the bottoms with a water and vinegar solution. Now simply walk around on the floors and rub lightly wherever you see a little spot that needs to be lifted. You’ll feel like you cheated at housework just a little—because you did!

5. Use One Glass

If you’re like most people, you accumulate dozens of drinking glasses during the day. Is there no end to the dishwashing cycles you have to run?

Instead of running out of clean drinking glasses on a daily basis, set a cute tray on the kitchen counter. Line the tray with parchment paper and write each family member’s name on it. Have family members put their own drinking glass on the tray over their name. Whenever they want a glass, there it is!

6. Clean Skillets and Blenders Easily

Whenever you use a skillet or blender, instead of placing it in the sink to be cleaned later, just clean it right away with this hack.

For blenders, fill it with water and a few drops of dish soap. Turn on high and blend it clean. Rinse thoroughly and allow to drain in the dish rack.

For skillets, cover the bottom with some tap water, add a drop of dishwashing liquid, and put it back on the burner on low. Don’t take your eyes off it. The soap will make it overflow quickly. The heating action will lift the dirt, and you’ll be able to practically wipe clean.

Who wants to spend exorbitant amounts of time cleaning when there are such great cleaning hacks like these? Leave a comment in the box below if you have some cleaning hacks you’d like to share.

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3 Awkward Work Situations and How to Deal With Each

No matter how much you may love your job you sometimes encounter an awkward work situation that seems impossible to figure out. You’ve finally found your dream job, and now it’s probably ruined because of this stupid thing/person/situation. Don’t you just hate that?

Do not despair, fair damsel. You’re not the first person who has had to deal with awkward work situations, and you won’t be the last. Here are three awkward work situations and some suggestions on how to deal with them.

1. Your hot boss is hitting on you at work.

This situation is awkward because of the no sexual harassment rules, but let’s face it: it might not be altogether unpleasant. Nevertheless, it does make for tension at work that you could do without, especially since you’re trying to make a good impression on the job.

Courtney, an intern at a major aviation supplier in Florida, had this happen during her first three months on the job:

“At first, I was pretty nonchalant about it. This was my first real job, and I guess I thought maybe this was pretty common at big companies. He was really attractive, so I kind of flirted back a little. Then my coworkers started noticing it and treating me differently, and I realized I was being typecast, which wasn’t okay with me. I ended up confronting the guy about it, and he got really angry with me and denied everything. Then his attitude toward me went in the opposite direction. He made things more difficult for me while I was interning, but I stuck with it. I finally gained back my coworkers’ respect, and I just recently got offered a permanent position in a different department.”

Bottom line: Sexual harassment in the workplace is not cool, no matter how great-looking the guy is. It can damage your reputation and grind your career to a halt. Don’t tolerate it, and don’t engage in it. Although Courtney’s situation turned out well, it’s best to have a private conversation with an HR manager if you’re experiencing sexual harassment.

2. You got the promotion over your best friend.

Office friendships can be great, and some people might even say they’re necessary. But when one friend gets promoted over the other, the atmosphere can get chilly very fast. Here’s what happened to one person.

“My best friend from college and I both got hired at the same telecommunications firm. We were more than psyched, and for the most part, it’s been really fun having my best friend at work with me all day. But since I got this promotion and she (obviously) didn’t, it’s like she’s turned into a whole new person. Now, it’s like she’s on this campaign to turn all the employees—the same people I’ve been promoted to manage—against me. It sucks. I’ve lost my best friend, plus now it looks like I’m going to fail at being a manager.”

Bottom Line: Your best friend isn’t being a good friend. It’s important to realize it’s her issue, not yours. You got the promotion because you deserved it, and she didn’t. Her actions after the fact validate that she mightn’t have made a good manager, because her people skills aren’t the best, are they? You can attempt to solve this by taking her out one night and having a chat like in the old days. There’s no need to mention the “campaign.” She already knows about it. Just say how it’s too bad there was only one spot open, and how you’re sure next time it will be her turn to get promoted. Remind her why she liked you in the first place. Extend the olive branch and make it clear you don’t think you’re better than her. If she changes her attitude, that’s awesome and you can continue being her friend. If she doesn’t, you’ll need to deal with her in the same way you’d handle any insubordinate employee in your new role as manager. That’s too bad, but she created the situation, not you.

3. Your Co-Worker is Stealing From the Company

It sucks to discover information about somebody that could land them in trouble if people found out, or you in trouble if they find out you told. Just ask Edward Snowden what that feels like. Here’s a case that happened recently to someone I know.

“After work one night, my co-worker offered to give me a lift home so I wouldn’t have to wait for my boyfriend to pick me up. As I was getting into her car, I noticed some stuff on the back seat that had spilled out of her tote bag. I recognized it as some stuff from the office. There were binders with the company logo, mouse pads, pens—it was like she raided the supply closet. Basically, there was so much stuff back there she could have opened an office inside her car! I can’t decide if I should say something to my boss.”

Bottom Line: You don’t know the reason why your co-worker had all that stuff in her car. Yes, from all appearances, it’s likely she stole it, but you can’t convict a person on circumstantial evidence, and anyway, you’re not the judge. The best thing is to keep quiet on this. If someone asks you in the future if you’ve seen anything related to office theft, you can speak up then if you feel comfortable. Other than that, just stay mum.

Whatever awkward office situation you find yourself in, take a minute to really think about what to do, and what the consequences of your actions might be. Whatever you do, try not to have a kneejerk reaction that you haven’t thought through. If you approach the situation logically, you’ll be able to figure it out after all.

How to Know When You Need a Career Switch

When you’ve worked hard to get where you are in your career, it can be difficult to even consider the notion that your career, well, sucks. At least for you, maybe this particular line of work isn’t the best. If you find yourself in agreement with the following statements, you might be ready for a career switch.

  • You didn’t choose your career – your parents did.
  • You do it for the money.
  • You fell into this career.
  • You hate the way you have to dress for work (uniform, office attire, etc.).
  • You compromise your values everyday at work.
  • You watch the clock all day, every day.
  • You generally hate what you do.
  • You are starting to get physical symptoms from the constant pressure.
  • You feel like you have no integrity left.
  • You see corruption everywhere in the industry.

How to Reconcile Switching Careers

Whether you’re a lawyer, a physician or a paralegal, building a career is an expensive, time-consuming process. It would be foolhardy and immature to just throw all that money and hard work away just because you don’t like your career, right?

Wrong!

It would actually be foolhardy to continue to go on in a career that is making you unhappy. Unless you have some secret to living forever, your time is limited just like the rest of us. As the saying goes, “Don’t throw good money after bad,” don’t throw good time after bad. Start the rest of your life anew, and start today. If you built up a good career once, you can do it again.

Steps to Building a New Career

First, don’t quit your day job just yet. Give some thought to what career you wish you had gotten into. Maybe that other career will require additional education or certification. Go ahead and get started on that while you remain gainfully employed in your current career. When you leave, you want to ensure a seamless transition into the new career.

Second, when considering the new career, think about going into something that will utilize your existing experience and credentials. For instance, maybe you hate being a criminal lawyer. You could become a contract lawyer or a family counselor. If you’re a dental hygienist, you could work in animal dentistry, or overseas helping in the Doctors Without Borders program. If you can land on a career that utilizes existing expertise, you won’t feel you “wasted” anything.

Going 180

Are you completely tired of everything to do with your career? Looking for something completely opposite of what you currently do? Then it helps to find a mentor in that other career field who can advise you on the steps you need to take to get into it. Lay out a map to get from here to there. It will make the transition much easier, especially if you don’t know too much about how to get into the new career.

Switching careers won’t be easy, but it’s a whole lot easier than living out your live doing something that is making you miserable. Don’t do anything rash, and move slowly. You don’t need to jeopardize your livelihood in order to build a new career. Soon enough, you’ll be on your way on a new path in life that you can be proud of.

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7 Things a Woman in Her 30s Should Have By Now

There are certain milestones in life where you can reasonably expect to have attained a level of achievement. By 19, you should have graduated from high school, and by 25 you should have figured out a career path that you’re (hopefully) already on. And, by the time you’re a woman in her 30s, there are come things that you should have by now.

A Reliable Car

The days of owning a used car that can only be relied upon to break down when you need it most? They should be long gone. As enjoyable as it was to watch your hot and dirty high school boyfriend bent over your car’s engine as he pretended to know how to change the spark plugs, it’s time to move on. By now you should either have a car that you bought new and are making payments on, or one that you already paid off. Oh, and you should also have a nice insurance policy on that car, even if you live in an insurance-optional state such as New Hampshire.

A Quality Mattress

Yes, futons were very trendy for a time, and waterbeds were an even bigger statement-maker. But let’s face it, it’s time you slept on a quality mattress. By now, you should be lounging around on a mattress you bought yourself, not your grandmother’s hand-me-down that’s not even a Queen size, it’s a full. For one thing, you deserve it after working as hard as you do, and for a second thing, your body needs it. No more sagging, springy mattresses for you. These days, you’ve got your pick of innovative mattress designs that your grandmother could never have imagined.

A Tool Box

As an independent woman in her 30s, you’d better have a fully-outfitted tool box on hand. You can’t expect to claim independence and still be calling up your best male friend every time you drop your earring in the kitchen sink. Get a pink tool box if you must, but get one today if you don’t already own one.

A Crock Pot

As a working woman, you might not relish the thought of cooking homemade every night when you get home. With a crock pot, you don’t need to, either. Make sure you get a crockpot with a good timer on it that allows you to set it and forget it. Better yet, make sure it has an automatic off switch for those times when drinks after work turn into sneaking back home at 6 a.m.

A Kickass Hair/Face Mask

Let’s face it. You’ve spent enough time and money testing out hair and facial masks over the years to know which ones work and which ones leave your hair and skin looking stringy and sparse. You should have go-to hair and face masks from a brand you trust.

A Favorite Makeup Brand

Finally, you don’t have to wear your mom’s brand of makeup just because your allowance doesn’t provide enough to go out and buy your own. You should be buying your makeup from a cosmetic counter, too, not the local drugstore or a 24-hour shop.

A Signature Scent

By the time you’re in your 30s, you should have landed on a signature scent. It should be something that makes you feel womanly and strong. Something that others know you by, and something that’s not for sale at Walmart.

So now you have it. Beyond the little black dress, these are the essentials of being an accomplished woman in her 30s. Are you missing one or more of these items? Your life choices may be different, but they shouldn’t be too far off. As a mature and responsible woman, it’s not too much to ask that you have a safe car, along with some of the other niceties of life. You know you deserve them, and so do we.

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Why You Should Never Wear Shoes at Home

You know that household. The one where they make you take your shoes off at the door. The one with the basket at the front door where you’re required to make a shoe deposit. The one where you’re expected to socialize in your stockinged feet. Annoying, right? Well, maybe they know something you don’t about wearing shoes in the house. Here’s why it’s a good idea to never wear shoes at home.

Germs and Bacteria

University of Arizona study confirmed the existence of high levels of bacteria on the insides and bottom of shoes. Bacteria found included:

  • E. coli, which causes intestinal upset, urinary tract infections and meningitis
  • Klebsiella pneumoni, which cause blood and wound infections as well as pneumonia
  • Serratia ficari, which causes wound and respiratory tract infections

Are you grossed out yet? We are.

Physiological Health

collaborative study done by researchers from the University of Antwerp, the University of Gent and the University of Liverpool proved long-held theories that footwear negatively alters the natural form and function of the feet. The longer you wear shoes, the more misshapen your feet tend to be. Over time, secondary, related issues can arise, such as knee and back pain. All because you refused to go barefoot in the house. Tsk, tsk.

Cleaner Home

Almost everyone is looking for ways to reduce the amount of time spent cleaning the home. You probably already use cleaning tips and tricks to make cleaning less of a chore. One of the most obvious ways to reduce your cleaning time is to prevent dirt in the first place. If you instigate a “no shoes in the house” policy, you’ll notice your floors are a lot less dirty, and require a lot less cleaning. You are very welcome.

If you or your friends have youngsters who play on the floors in your home, that’s all the more reason to never wear shoes at home. Youngsters are much more susceptible to germs and bacteria because their immune system hasn’t yet built up. If you can make the home’s floors cleaner and safer for the young children in your life, doesn’t it make sense to do so?

Pleasing Solutions for Storing Shoes at the Door

Now, you probably don’t want your family and friends to leave their shoes in a big heap by the door. Here are some pleasing yet practical solutions for storing shoes by the door.

Shoe Tree

A shoe tree is a circular, vertical metal stand with a very small “footprint” (no pun intended). This is a practical option if you have a small living space.

Shoe Shelves

Shoe shelves take up a lot of space, so they will work best if you have a dedicated foyer.

Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer

If you have an entryway coat closet, you could easily hang one of these over-the-door shoe organizers inside for guests and family to use.

Hall Tree

Hall trees provide much more than just shoe storage. They typically have coat hooks, a seating bench, and one or more drawers to store shoes.

As you can see, there are lots of smart reasons why you should never wear shoes in the house, as well as practical ways to store shoes by the door. Please comment below if you have more ideas about keeping shoes neat and tidy by the entryway.

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How to Help Your Kids Be More Active

According to a recent study reported in The International Journal of Obesity, obese children who regularly exercise aerobically are up to 36% less likely than less active kids to develop cardiovascular disease and diabetes as adults. Clearly, exercise of any kind is a strong indicator of a healthy child, but this is a way that parents can help protect their children well after they’ve grown into adulthood.

The problem is, how can you get your kids to be more active when the majority of activities that kids now participate in are passive? Modern youngsters are often more interested in sitting down and texting friends, sharing photos or playing video games than running around and being active. Yet, no matter what age we live in, kids are kids, and there are still some time-tested things that will entice your kids off the couch. Especially with the holidays coming up, you have an opportunity to promote fitness and health in your kids. Try these to help your kids be more active and spend more time outdoors.

Get Them a Tent

Who among us doesn’t have fond memories of the tent in the backyard? Knowing that mom and dad aren’t far away and that lions aren’t likely to be lurking in mom’s rosebushes makes the backyard tent exciting yet secure.

Your kids will love setting up a campsite in the backyard. Supply them with all the extras, including sleeping bags and a flashlight. To make this outdoor tradition more active, encourage the kids to find their own firewood (sticks in the backyard), and plan a backyard scavenger hunt that all their friends can participate in.

Make Time and Set the Example

Young kids love one thing above all else, and that’s spending time with parents. Have family time frequently. When it does become available, use family time as a way to show your kids the joy of being outdoors. This can be as simple as tossing a ball to each other in the backyard, or renting a canoe for a ride in the local lake. There’s nothing wrong with family game night where everyone sits around a board game, but if health and fitness are an issue in your family, consider swapping a passive activity for one such as playing tennis together or building a go-kart in the driveway.

Your example will create a lifetime of memories, as well as set a pattern of healthy choices for your kids now and when they become parents.

Give Them Outdoor Chores

Most parenting experts agree that kids of all ages should have chores. As a family member, it makes sense that everyone should contribute something to the household, no matter how small. Even a 3-year old should be helping to pick up toys from the floor and putting them back in the toy basket. With fitness and outdoor activities in mind, consider giving your kids outdoor tasks and chores that will get them out of the house and into the fresh air. Examples include:

  • Raking leaves
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Gathering stick kindling for the backyard fire pit
  • Shoveling snow
  • Delivering a welcome basket to a new neighbor
  • Washing/Painting the backyard fence
  • Changing lamppost light bulbs
  • Planting/weeding the garden
  • Provide Active Toys

Throwing money at a problem is rarely a solution, but in the case of helping kids be more active, making sure they have active toys can help. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on these items. Toys are abundant at yard sales, and you can usually find things that are nearly as good as new with a little fixing up. Consider providing these items that will help promote activity:

  • Skateboard
  • Hula Hoop
  • Bicycle
  • Unicycle
  • Trampoline

Let’s face it. Kids are kids. They are easily distracted, especially when presented with something “awesome” like a new bicycle. Why not distract your kids from their screens, throw open the doors and introduce them to the great outdoors, where health and fitness await!

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How To Stay Stress-Free During The Holidays

Let’s figure out how to stay stress-free during the holidays. The American Psychological Association reports that holiday stress affects women more than men. The added work of preparing holiday meals, shopping for gifts, decorating the home and coming up with extra money for holiday spending, apparently takes its toll, and not the cookie kind of toll. 61% of women polled reported feeling stressed out during what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.

Stress can cause its own bevy of problems, including reduced cognitive function, lowered immune system, headache, fatigue, depression and more. So what’s a girl to do with so much to do during the holidays? Here’s what you can do to stay stress-free during the holidays.

  1. Delegate

Who ever said you have to do everything by yourself? There are lots of tasks to do during the holidays that are perfect for delegating. But first you have to reconcile yourself with the fact that everything is going to work out, even if it doesn’t work out the way you wanted. Relieving stress through delegating won’t work if you’re stressed out that the other person won’t do their assigned task “correctly.” So loosen the reins and be prepared for imperfect results. Some tasks that you can delegate to another adult in the family without the holidays being utterly ruined for the rest of eternity include:

  • Buying wrapping paper, ribbon and tape
  • Wrapping gifts
  • Shopping for ingredients for holiday meals
  • Cleaning the interior of the car for transporting friends and family
  • Doing extra loads of laundry
  • Bringing decorations down from the attic
  • Clipping coupons on favorite food brands
  • Gassing up the car/grill/snow blower
  • Selecting holiday music
  1. Indulge a Little

As a woman, you already know that you often put your needs last. With so much holiday hustle and bustle, it’s even less likely that you’re going to make time to relax and distress. After all, who has time for a scented bubble bath when the furniture hasn’t yet been polished for your white-glove wearing Aunt Myrtle who’s arriving in two days?

Now is the time to indulge yourself just a little. These shouldn’t become lifelong habits, but if they relieve the stress a little during the holidays, there’s no harm in these indulgent treats.

  • Sip on some spiked eggnog with your honey after the kids have gone to bed.
  • For every time you buy gifts for your family, get yourself a tiny single piece of chocolate at the register counter.
  • Rent a movie that only you will love and lock yourself in the bedroom while you watch it on your tablet/laptop/bedroom TV. Don’t answer the door if anyone knocks (especially kids who need help finding something).
  • After work, order a pizza delivery for the family and go to a spa for a facial instead of rushing home to cook dinner.

I’m sure you’ll be able to think of more and better ways to indulge yourself than I can. After all, you’re you! Creative genius and master of your domain!

  1. Stop

That’s right, just stop. Sometimes preparing for the holidays can be like painting a picture. As the artist, you never can tell when it’s finished. Or maybe it’s never finished. If you are saying things to yourself like, “just one more side dish – three isn’t enough,” or “I think the tree needs more tinsel,” or “does Jimmy have enough presents to open?” then it’s time to—stop. Pencils down. Or rather, whisks down. At some point, enough is enough and it’s time to sit down and watch the holiday come to you.

Remember, everything is going to be all right. It really will. Aunt Myrtle will probably bring her green bean casserole like she always does. Jimmy won’t even notice that he “only” got ten gifts. And the tinsel? Your cat will have it all pulled off the tree by Christmas anyway. Live a little. Have another glass of eggnog.

 

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Savory Shrimp and Scallion Quinoa Bowl

 

Are you looking for an easy way to combine all the nutrient-dense ingredients that make you feel your best? This Shrimp Scallion Quinoa Bowl is a bountiful and flavorsome recipe made with quinoa, kale, shrimp, scallions, red peppers and cashews. It’s clean, wholesome food that you can serve up for lunch or dinner.

One thing that I really love about Shrimp Scallion Quinoa Bowl is that it travels well. Because it isn’t laden down with oils or sauces, it doesn’t get soggy. And yet, it has plenty of natural moisture to make it really tasty when you are ready to eat it.

I’ve brought my Shrimp Scallion Quinoa Bowl to work, on road trips and even to the beach. It’s a light meal that doesn’t leave you feeling heavy or bloated, so it’s fine to eat while you’re stuck in the car on long drives, sitting at your desk all day, or enjoying listening to the waves in your beach lounger. Even though it’s light, it’s very filling and satisfying. Once you’ve had Shrimp Scallion Quinoa Bowl, you won’t feel hungry again for hours. It may even ride you through the three o’clock afternoon slump!

Quinoa

Quinoa is the main ingredient in the Shrimp Scallion Quinoa Bowl. Now, before you start backing away when I say “grain,” you should know that quinoa is actually only a partial grain. It’s completely gluten-free, so worry no more. It’s one of the only foods with all of the essential amino acids your body needs, which is why they call quinoa a complete protein. You could actually live off this stuff!

In fact, quinoa has an interesting backstory. It’s over 6,000 years old, and served as a staple food for the Andes Indians. The Incas considered quinoa to be the most sacred food, believing it to be a gift from the god. It’s one of three grains that was able to withstand the harsh climate of the Andes Mountains, so you can see why they would venerate it so. The indigenous people of Peru and Bolivia still heavily rely on quinoa in their diet, because it nourishes and sustains the body for long periods of time, staving off hunger until the next meal can be found.

Kale

Kale is a contentious little green; people either love it or hate it. I have to confess, before our family came up with this recipe, the only way I could get kale inside me was in green smoothies (which I love). This recipe has kale in it, but it’s not an overwhelming taste. It truly complements the other flavors in the dish, and without kale, this Shrimp Scallion Quinoa Bowl just wouldn’t be the same. So, even if you’re not a fan of kale, I urge you to try this recipe at least once.

Okay, I know I have been keeping you in suspense! Without more ado, here’s the recipe for Shrimp Scallion Quinoa Bowl. Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Quinoa, dry (to yield about 2 cups cooked)
  • 2-3 leaves Kale, washed and finely chopped
  • Handful Shrimp, cooked (baby or large)
  • ½ cup Red Pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 Scallions, chopped
  • ¼ cup Cashews, roasted and rough chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Finely chop the kale, and toss it in a bowl with drizzled olive oil, lemon and salt. (Don’t go nuts with the olive oil. “Drizzle,” not “drown.”)
  3. Heat a skillet with a little water and quickly sauté the red peppers and scallions.
  4. Add the kale and cooked shrimp and quickly toss together with the pepper and scallion until heated through.
  5. Add the kale, shrimp, scallions and peppers to the quinoa and mix.
  6. Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped cashews.

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How to Prepare For a First Date in Your 30s

If you find yourself still dating in your 30s, take heart. There’s a lot to be said for a first date when you’re old enough not to race out the door for a guy who’s sitting in his car at the curb beeping his horn. Now that you’re older and wiser, here are some tips on how to prepare for a first date in your 30s because, after all, you still might be a teensy bit nervous about going out with a stranger.

Do Your Due Diligence

Look, it’s 2017. There’s no harm in checking up on this person just a little bit before you let him drive you off to who knows where in his car. You don’t need to spend $30 for one of those online background checks—in fact, that would be a little creepy at this stage in your relationship. But a little peek at his social profile can’t hurt. At least you can find out if he routinely posts any randomly violent remarks or seems to be a subversive social deviant who is looking to recruit unknowing women (you) into his quasi-cult. In your 30s, you don’t have your parents making sure you don’t hang with bad people, so it’s all up to you.

Bring Protection

What you do on your first date is up to you and the other consenting adult. But many adults are a lot more sexually free than they were in their teens. After all, you don’t have a high school or college reputation to protect. Since sex is a definitely a possibility between two adults in their 30s, it behooves you to bring along a little protection in that department. You don’t have to use it, but if the need arises spontaneously, you’ll be all set to be in control of what happens in your body.

Tell a Friend

Do you live alone? If so, no one will know if you come home tonight or never. Not to be a worry wart, but go ahead and tell someone—a friend, a co-worker, or a trusted neighbor, that you’re going out on a first date with someone you don’t yet know very well. It’s a good idea to tell someone what your plans are, as far as you know. If you run into trouble, at least you’ll know someone will come looking for you.

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Holiday Gift Guide for the Chef in Your Circle

Is there a home chef on your gift list? It’s a lot of fun to shop for someone who appreciates the bliss of creating home-cooked meals. Whether they are just beginning, or are already good enough to open up their own bistro, you’re sure to find something yummy on this holiday gift guide for the chef in your circle.

INDIAN SPICE BOX

In India, women carry their own spices with them, much the same way a head chef in America carries and uses his own kitchen knives wherever he goes to cook. An Indian spice box is an aluminum sealed container that traditionally holds the seven spices that comprise Masala Dabba, but your friend can store any spices they want. Your gift recipient will certainly appreciate the culture and care that is behind this unique chef’s gift.

PRESSURE CANNER

Most chefs dream of canning their own fresh vegetables and fruits for convenient use any time of year. A pressure canner utilizes technology to make the tricky process of canning just a little easier. Its dual function as both a pressure cooker and a canner helps save storage space in your recipient’s kitchen.

SUSHI KIT

For daring home cooks, making sushi is a feat worth trying. Sushi can be made with vegetables or with seafood, so even vegetarian chefs will enjoy receiving this deluxe sushi kit that comes complete with a cookbook and enough ingredients to make 125 pieces of sushi. Even after the ingredients are gone, the special sushi making tools will last a lifetime.

Anti-Fatigue Mat (https://www.amazon.com/Comfort-Waterproof-Sultans-Linens-Espresso/dp/B01D9AA2XW/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1481664025&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=kitchen+mat&psc=1)

Standing in the kitchen making meals for hours is hard on the feet. Show your chef friend how much you care with the gift of an anti-fatigue mat. The one featured is easy to clean, skid resistant and waterproof, three additional qualities your cooking kin is sure to appreciate!

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