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    • Timely Tips for Women Traveling Solo

      2 June 2023

      For many women, traveling alone can be an empowering experience, providing fun, independence and the increasing joy of discovery. There are memories and new friendships to be made for women who choose to pursue them. 

      • Keep Your Accommodations to Yourself – Share your location with friends or relatives at home, but otherwise keep it to yourself. If people ask where you are staying, it’s perfectly okay to be vague unless and until you feel secure in sharing the information with others.
      • Find a ‘Safe Space’ – When you are in a new place, it’s nice to have an anchoring point; a restaurant, perhaps, where you feel welcomed and comfortable and secure in meeting new acquaintances. 
      • Learn the Best Walking Spots – Especially when going out at night, learn all you can about the streets or districts considered safest for women walking solo. Your hotel concierge, a tour guide or the wait staff in your chosen ‘safe space’ should happily provide this information.
      • Keep Your Phone Charged and Handy – It will not only help you stay in touch, but it can help you check maps, Metro and bus routes and schedules, and other local information. (It’s a good idea to pack and keep a portable battery charger in your purse or backpack.)
      • Learn How to Say, “Not Interested” in the Local Language – You can learn how from your guide book or your concierge or a tour guide—and the phrase can be helpful to ward off unwanted passes, whether flirtatious from a persistent sales vendor.
      • Watch Your Back–and Your Drink - Sadly, spiking drinks is still very much a thing—another good reason to learn a bit about where to go or not go in a new city. Some women say that taking a self-defense class before traveling alone provides some added peace of mind. Most of all, though, women are typically blessed with incredible instincts! Trust your gut when your intuition talks to you.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Ways to Keep Kids Hydrated This Summer

      2 June 2023

      Active kids playing outdoors during the summer months are frequently having too much fun to think about stopping to drink water. But as parents, we know that all that activity leads to greater sweat production—and that kids need to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes in order to keep their energy high and ward off fatigue, nausea and other signs of potentially dangerous heat exhaustion.

      Additionally, drinking water keeps bones and teeth healthy, helps regulate blood pressure and circulation, transports nutrients to the cells and tissues, and improves focus and mood—and children can start drinking water as young as six months.

      • Know How Much is Needed – Children under a year should take in four to eight ounces of fluid daily. Those between one and three should have about four cups a day, typically two cups of milk and two of water. School age kids need about five cups daily, and kids over age eight should have eight cups daily, about the same amount as adults.
      • Make it Fun – If children balk at plain water, enhance the look and taste by popping a few berries or orange slices into it—or buy a couple of fancy straws or a fun water bottle for their exclusive use.
      • Make Snack Time Count – snacks are fun, but they can be an important part of hydration, too. At snack time and at meal time, choose foods with high water content, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes and citrus fruits. For veggies, opt for broccoli, celery, cucumbers and iceberg lettuce.
      • Sports Drinks Have a Place – Although water is the best source for hydration, sports drinks can be helpful to replenish lost electrolytes, which help maintain the body's natural energy systems, including alertness and mood. But steer clear of ‘energy drinks’ which, in addition to their added sugars, typically include caffeine or other stimulants that have no role in a child's diet.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 Easy Food Hacks to Make You a Better Cook

      2 June 2023

      Whether you fancy yourself a chef, cook for a family or are simply tired of take-out, there is no better time than now to take some cues from the experts to cut the cost of cooking and make you more of a master in the kitchen.

      • Embrace ‘Mise en Place’ – It’s a French term meaning, ‘everything in place.’ A big mistake many home cooks make is to start a recipe without having everything at the ready. Then they have to stop what they're doing to prepare something else and they burn or overcook what they started. Read the recipe, gather all the ingredients, prep and wash the veggies, and have it all ready to go when you start.
      • Have Theme Nights – Out of ideas? Meal planning may be simpler overall if you stick to pre-planned theme nights, such as Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Pizza Thursday or Pasta Friday .
      • Make Your Own Marinara – Jarred pasta sauce is expensive. Open a can of crushed tomatoes, add some garlic, fresh or dried basil, salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil, and simmer until it reaches the consistency you prefer. 
      • Elevate Your Popcorn – Don’t stop at adding butter or salt. Toss in chili flakes, coriander, cayenne or cinnamon to make it uniquely your own.
      • Bake Bread and Dough – Any chef will tell you that making bread is not difficult. It just takes time—and most of that is waiting—and homemade bread or pizza dough is fresher, cheaper, crunchier and tastier than anything you can find at the grocery store.
      • Make Loaded Baked Potatoes – You can start with butter, sour cream and chives, but make that baked potato your dinner. Add grated cheese, caramelized onions, cooked veggies, chopped chicken, bacon or ham—the possibilities are endless. Put the fixin’s out there and let everyone in the family add what they like best. 
      • Use More Eggs – Eggs are too good a reliable protein to be used solely for breakfast. Expand your dinner menu with simple, delicious entrees like cheese or spinach quiche or omelets of any variety. Served with a salad and some good bread, eggs make a hearty meal anytime.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Get Your Kids to Read More This Summer

      1 June 2023

      Summertime is here! The sun is out. The skies are clear. But day by day, back to school gets  nearer. Let summer be a time to play, not just outside, but inside the pages of your kids’ favorite books. No matter what time of year, children should be exposed to stories of adventure, magic, tragedy, joy and exploration. Since they’re away from their desks, reading throughout the summer keeps your kids’ minds sharp and encourages them to use their imagination in new ways.

      Books open doors to curiosity about the world, new experiences and important conversations. Expand your kids’ minds and their understanding of the wonderful world around them. Use these fun tips to encourage your kids to read more this summer. 

      Make a Reading Nook 
      Make reading enjoyable for the body and the mind. Use blankets, pillows, cushions and anything else you may have laying around your house to create a cozy corner for your kiddos to snuggle up with their favorite books. 

      Set Aside Designated Reading Time 
      Find time every day to shut off the screens and take to the books. Set a block of time aside for everybody to read together. Prepare your yummiest snacks, gather your comfiest cushions and enjoy 30 minutes of worlds of imaginative adventure. 

      Create a Book Club
      Help your kiddos create their very own book club. Reach out to other families. Let the kids decide on a book. Set milestones to meet and discuss the book each week. Gather in one another’s houses or outside at a local park. Take turns with the other parents leading the group with helpful questions and fun discussions. Create snacks that coordinate with the book. Then, once you’ve finished your chat, let the kiddos enjoy time together. 

      Check Out Your Local Library 
      Many libraries host fun reading challenges for the kids in their area. Contact your local library to see what opportunities they provide for the youth. Set up library accounts for your kids and let them explore the shelves until they find something they love. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Maximize Your Thrift Store Trip

      1 June 2023

      Hit the racks and explore the benefits of thrifting! Save money, shop sustainably and find unique, affordable pieces. Thrifting is a fun activity that—if done effectively—can result in a whole new wardrobe at a fraction of the typical cost. Try out these five tips and tricks to maximize your trip to the thrift store. 

      Have Something in Mind
      Walking into a thrift store can easily be overwhelming. Weeding through colorful Hawaiian shirts, cow and pig salt and pepper shakers, and shining silver platform boots can seem almost impossible. Going in with a plan will help to alleviate this feeling and will ultimately result in a much more effective visit. Have a loose idea of what you’re looking for. Your goal could be as loose as a category or as specific as an exact piece. 

      Bring Headphones
      Shifting through the hangars can quickly become a tedious task. Bring along a pair of headphones, cue up your favorite playlist and enjoy your time searching. If you’re shopping with a friend, create a listening party so you can jam out together. 

      Look at EVERYTHING
      Yes, many pieces at thrift stores are going to be utterly outrageous (looking at you, sweater covered with knitting cats.) But among the rough, you are certain to find a diamond if you’re patient and persistent. Look at everything and—who knows—you might find something greater than you could’ve ever expected. 

      Check the Labels 
      Once you find a piece you like, be sure to check the label. Oftentimes, you can find high-quality, designer brand items wedged between store brand clothing. Check out the tag to guarantee you’re getting the most bang for your buck. 

      Be Daring!
      Don’t be afraid to be bold! This is the time and place to do so. Items at thrift stores come at a relatively inexpensive price. Choose outrageous pieces that you’d typically shy away from without a big risk. If you don’t like it, simply return or donate it back. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.