7.18.2013

{black or white}

you always hear that lighter colors, especially white, are cooler for summer. i always refer to white clothing as summery whites. i even have a white tee that i wear constantly during summer because it's too hot and humid to put on anything else. why, then, am i still miserably hot? i have heard mentions of black being cooler, but how can that be if it absorbs heat?

so i wanted to know, which color clothing keeps you cooler in warm temperatures...black or white?


answer: black.

while there are many factors that contribute to this explanation, the jist of it is this: white reflects sunlight, but also reflects internal heat back to your body. black clothing absorbs sunlight and heat from your body, but wind, if present, can convect heat away faster than it is absorbed.

so given the exact same conditions...a loose-fitting, black tee would keep you cooler on a breezy summer day.

read the full scientific mumbo jumbo here.

6.20.2013

{when to buy organic.2}

summer brings lots of fruits to the table.
as we chow down on these juicy and refreshing fruits, i am reminded of the dirty dozen which i wrote about last year. every year, the environmental working group (ewg) tests for pesticide residue on produce and compiles a list of the most and least contaminated fruits and vegetables.

so i wanted to know...what's on the dirty dozen list for 2013?


here's 2013s dirty dozen:
(buy organic when possible)

1) apples
2) celery
3) cherry tomatoes
4) cucumbers
5) grapes
6) hot peppers
7) nectarines - imported
8) peaches
9) potatoes
10) spinach
11) strawberries
12) sweet bell peppers

here's 2013s clean 15:
(save money on these, no need to buy organic)

1) asparagus
2) avocado
3) cabbage
4) cantaloupe
5) sweet corn
6) eggplant
7) grapefruit
8) kiwi
9) mangoes
10) mushrooms
11) onions
12) papayas
13) pineapples
14) sweet peas - frozen
15) sweet potatoes

you can check out last year's list here.

4.03.2013

{dry erase board: quick tip}

we have a dry-erase calendar in our kitchen to help keep us organized. appointments, birthdays, events, sports practices and games, holidays, and school breaks are all written down. but at the end of each month, i'm left with the arduous task of erasing everything and setting up the new month. supposed to be easy, right? wrong. over time, i found myself struggling to get those older marks off the board; my paper towel just didn't work anymore. i knew there had to be an easier way (other than buying the actual board cleaner), but i was too lazy to find out.
when i ran out of 'white' space, i knew it was finally time to ask, how do you remove those old marker stains from your
dry-erase board?

(photo: random google search)

answer: simply re-draw over the stains
with a dry-erase marker, then wipe.
works like a charm. i can't believe i didn't try this sooner. this also works on permanent ink marks.
(who used the sharpie?!)

there are many other ways to remove stains, but based on ease and likelihood of having these around the house,
here's a few more methods:

- any cheap brand hand sanitizer
- white toothpaste
-vinegar & water

you can see the complete list here.

1.16.2013

{laptops not for laps}

since i began blogging three years ago, i have been spending an exorbitant amount of time on my laptop. sometimes three to four hours a night. most times i would have a pillow underneath to elevate it, but i could still feel heat on my legs. i've heard claims of radiation and cancer,
so i wanted to know...
does the heat from my laptop have any negative effects?


answer: yes.

while it is highly unlikely to develop cancer from laptops (especially because it is easily preventable), prolonged and repeated exposure to the heat can cause a mottled, sponge-looking skin discoloration called erythema ab igne, or toasted skin syndrome (google it for images). reported cases say the subjects used their laptops on their laps three to six hours a day for several months. in mild cases, simply staying away from the heat source will help the skin to heal over time, but in severe cases, the skin damage is irreversible.

males can experience lower sperm count and even infertility as a result of repeated exposure to heat in the scrotum area.

keep in mind this 'heat source' can also include:
heating pads
(repeated use for chronic pain)
ovens
(think bakery workers)
portable heaters
(space heaters under your desk)

despite its name, laptops are not meant to be used on your lap. (note that some companies have begun to call theirs notebooks instead of laptops). overall, your laptop is safe to use. take precautions by placing it on a desk or table and sit at least 20 cm away. if you have to place it on your lap, get up and take a break every 15-20 minutes, or place a cushion of at least 6"
on your lap.

source source source
photo: random google search

9.24.2012

{when to buy organic}

organic has been all the rage in recent years.
i first considered buying organic foods after having kids, because i only wanted the best for them. but, it was overwhelming trying to shop for and plan organic meals, not to
mention hard on the wallet. so i wanted to know,
when exactly do i need to buy organic?
 
 
every year, the environmental working group (ewg) tests for pesticide residue on produce and compiles a list of the most and least contaminated fruits and vegetables.
 
here's 2012s dirty dozen:
(buy organic when possible)
 
1) apples
(also consider applesauce and apple juice)
2) celery
3) sweet bell peppers
4) peaches
5) strawberries
6) nectarines - imported
7) grapes
(also consider grape juices and wine)
8) spinach
9) lettuce
(also consider kale, collards, and green beans)
10) cucumbers
11) blueberries - domestic
12) potatoes
 
here's 2012s clean 15:
(save money on these, no need to buy organic)
 
1) onions
2) sweet corn
3) pineapple
4) avocado
5) cabbage
6) sweet peas
7) asparagus
8) mangos
9) eggplant
10) kiwi
11) cantaloupe - domestic
12) sweet potato
13) grapefruit
14) watermelon
15) mushrooms
 
source: ewg.org/foodnews
 
*     *     *
 
some other things to consider are milk (because it's a big part of a child's diet), coffee & chocolate (the coffee/cocoa beans may be grown in countries that do not regulate use of pesticides), and foods in jars or boxes vs. canned varieties (the lining of the can has chemicals that may leak into foods).
 
and finally, a great rule to follow is to buy organic versions of your favorites. buying organic versions of things you eat or use the most will greatly reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides and chemicals.
 
what's your thoughts on buying organic?

photo: random google search


9.13.2012

{tipping: the owner}

while researching tipping etiquette, i was surprised at the many different views people have on this subject. there are some who tip for everything and some who think tipping is getting out of hand with tip jars popping up everywhere. discussing all the different situations in which we can/should/don't tip would be quite lengthy, so i'll break it down into morsels. a question that i hear all the time is,
do you tip the owner of a hair salon?
answer: yes.

old thinking was, no, because the owner already gets the profits of the salon. but nowadays, people are tipping owners the standard 15-20% when he/she provides the service, and the owners are accepting the tips. in the event that they don't, thank them for a wonderful job and consider passing your tip on to assistants who may have helped you.

(i always say...when in doubt, tip!)

what are your experiences with or thoughts on this?

photo: random google search

9.05.2012

{the dinner party}

recently, i've been attending a lot of dinner parties, and
i'm always faced with the question of what to bring.
after researching the web for etiquette and ideas,
here's five ideas i love:

photo/source: gq.com
top shelf olive oil
a top shelf olive oil or flavored oil is something your host probably wouldn't buy for themselves but will greatly appreciate.

here are some names that kept coming up:
Frankies
McEvoy Ranch
A L'Olivier

photo/source: martha stewart
gourmet coffee
a bag of good quality beans + breakfast pastries is something the host/hostess can enjoy the morning after.

two of my favorites:
koko krater coffee roasters kona peaberry (roasted locally)
starbucks coffee caffe verona

photo: random google search
vintage books
a vintage cookbook or unique book about a hobby they love.

try this site:
Best-selling out-of-print books


photo: random bing search / source: la times
olives + almonds
nice table olives + marcona almonds can be set out for guests in the event the host is running behind.

here's a couple with pretty packaging:
1880 Marcona Almonds
Superior Nut Company Gift Tin

dog treats
is there a pampered pooch in the house? bring treats for the dog. (or if they have kids, a little something for them.)

these have cute packaging perfect for gift giving:
Orvis Comfort-Food Treats
Polka Dog Bakery Meatlover's Can

*     *     *
of course, these take some planning/ordering ahead. wine is perfectly fine for those last minute get togethers. i usually go with a red in the $25 - $40 range. what are your thoughts? do you have any unique ideas? 

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