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Keep Your Home And Yourself Cool Now That Heatwave Time Is Here

Who doesn’t love summer? Wait, do I see a few hands being shyly raised? Well, go head and admit it: summertime is absolutely incredible . until it’s not. When the thermometer starts to climb up past that 90-degree mark, the heat is on and suddenly sunny turns into steamy. Your electricity bills start to shoot up too, and you worry about the effect on the environment. Fortunately, there are ways to keep cool at home without cranking the thermostat up, up, and away.

Refresh yourself fast.

After commuting home from the office or doing some work in your garden, give yourself a quick, cool lift without cranking up the ol’ A/C. Takea mini “shower” by spritzing face and neck with cold water from a plant sprayer. Alternatively, change into a T-shirt that you stashed in the freezer before you headed out. Or you can simply cuddle up with an ice pack. (Wrap it in a dishtowel to prevent skin damage, please.)

Stay hydrated.

Drink lots of water during a heatwave, even indoors. Remember that if you begin to feel thirsty, that’s a sign you’re already beginning to dehydrate. As well as watching your fluid intake, replenish your electrolytes with natural yogurt,coconut water, or miso broth (lukewarm if the very idea of hot soup gives you the heebie-jeebies). Think of your animal friends, as well make sure your pet’s water dish is constantly full of clean water.

Tune up your air conditioner.

Make yourair conditioningrun more efficiently: give it a tune-up every summer and clean the filter at least once a month in the warm weather, more oftenif you live on a dusty area or have furry pets. To save even more energy, set the temperature two or three degrees higher than you normally would and supplement with a fan.

Dehumidify.

You will feel cooler if the relative humidity indoors is fairly low. Forty degrees is comfortable for most people. To reach this level, use the dehumidifying function on your A/C or a separate dehumidifier.

Don’t add useless heat.

Turn off as many electrical appliances and lights possible when not in use, to avoid adding unnecessary heat to your home. A timer,smart home system, or power strip will make this task easier. Include your fan in the list of appliances to switch off; it cools people not air, so it can only do its job when someone is in the room.

Hang thermal window treatments.

Hanging sun- and heat-blocking curtains and blinds is an inexpensive, eco-friendly way to keep your home cooler. They are especially useful when you have unshaded south or west facing windows. These exposures tend to make your house nice and sunny, which is pleasant when the weather is mild, but HOT in the summer.

Take advantage of cooler nighttime air.

Open draperies and windows themselves at night. This works when both the dew point andpollen countare low, usually below 50. The pollen count starts to increase shortly after the sun comes up, so close all those open windows as early in the morning as you can.

Insulate your attic.

Attic insulation is not just for winter. It will also help reduce heat exchange in summer, increasing your A/C energy efficiency by keeping hot airoutsideand air conditioned airinsideyour home. You will feel more comfortable while using less electricity. No wonder this upgrade offers the best return on investment of any home improvement, according toRemodeling Magazine’s annual report. HANDY HINT: If you already have insulation but it’s not enough for your needs, you can install more right on top of the existing insulation. Just don’t put a vapor barrier between the two.

Handle your thermostat with TLC.

Test this useful device to make sure that it is functioning as it should. Move heat-producing appliances like lamps or TV sets away from the thermostat so that they don’t trigger it to get the air conditioner going needlessly.

By Laura Firszt,Networx.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Keep Your Home And Yourself Cool Now That Heatwave Time Is Here

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Wow. The Grand Canyon Is Being Stolen By a Sea of Fog.

Mother Jones

This story was originally published by HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM: KAIBAB ELEGY from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

A stunning time-lapse video of the Grand Canyon shows the carved formation as it may have looked millennia ago — but instead of water, it’s filled with what has the appearance of an ocean of fog.

Filmmaker Harun Mehmedinovic has set up his camera at the canyon 30 different times since 2015. During one visit, he managed to witness and film the dramatic changes of a full cloud inversion, which occurs when warm air traps cold air beneath and creates a sea of fog. The inversion lasted the entire day, allowing time for Mehmedinovic to film fog “crashing” on the “shores” of the canyon and swirling through winding passages.

The film made its debut on BBC Earth in early May and has been viewed online millions of times.

The video is part of the Skyglow Project, a crowdfunded operation to record the effects of light pollution from urban areas and contrast them with stunning vistas.

Mehmedinovic is a Bosnian-American who went into hiding in his war-wracked hometown of Sarajevo for three years when he was 9. His family stayed indoors in a cellar of their home to escape the Serbs. He moved to the U.S. when he was 13 and went to film school in Los Angeles.

Check out the Reuters video below for more information about background:

Reuters TV interviews Harun Mehmedinovic from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

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Wow. The Grand Canyon Is Being Stolen By a Sea of Fog.

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Sex, Drugs, and Oysters: This Book Explains What It’s Really Like to Work at a Fancy Restaurant

Mother Jones

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It takes Tess, a 22-year-old waitress new to Manhattan, about three months to master the art of balancing three plates on one arm. It’s not long before a fine-dining restaurant kitchen becomes her whole world, and its crew of employees, her family. Tess quickly adapts to a life of cocaine-addled adventures in Sweetbitter, novelist Stephanie Danler’s coming-of-age story.

Danler drew detail from her own experience working as a back-waiter, bartender, and restaurant manager in New York City. In our latest episode of Bite, we talked to Danler about her career waiting tables while moonlighting as a writer, how restaurant staffs mirror families, and the fast life that often comes with a job in the service industry. We also talked about our favorite food-filled fiction.

Inspired by Danler, we polled Mother Jones staffers and readers for some of their favorite descriptions of food in novels. Here, in no particular order, are their responses. Enjoy, and leave your ideas in the comments.

1. High Bonnet: A Novel of Epicurean Adventures, by Idwal Jones, originally published 1945, a new edition available with a great intro by Anthony Bourdain. Balzac in cook’s whites—earnest young guy from the provinces goes to Paris with the intention of making it big as a chef, experiences mishaps, triumphs, etc. Great stuff on the inner workings of the kitchen model that still dominates the restaurant scene, even here in the United States: the “brigade” system, modeled after the military, characterized by strict hierarchy and division of labor—the intrigues, betrayals, hazings, unexpected acts of solidarity and kindness. And great food descriptions! Bourdain wrote that with a few tweaks, it could have been set in modern NYC. -Tom Philpott

2. Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s Understood Betsy, with its wonderful descriptions of the meager meals Betsy had before she went to live in Vermont, and the hearty meals she had once she moved there, and of course the great descriptions of butter churning and the like. -Linda B.

3. The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen. This novel follows an elderly couple from the Midwest and their three adult children. One is a hipster chef in Philly, who experiences culinary triumphs and misadventures, and another is Chip, a disgraced academic who’s down on his luck. Franzen creates a hilarious scene when Chip attempts to buy food at a market on Grand Street in New York City (cleverly dubbed the “Nightmare of Consumption”) and realizes he can’t afford much of the fancy food items. -Tom Philpott
A sample: “Finally he abandoned the Italian idea altogether and fixed on the only other lunch he could think of–a salad of wild rice, avocado, and smoked turkey breast. The problem then was to find ripe avocados. He found ripe avocados that were the size of limes and cost $3.89 apiece. He stood holding five of them and considered what to do. He put them down and picked them up and put them down and couldn’t pull the trigger. He weathered a spasm of hatred of Denise for having guilted him into inviting his parents to lunch. He had the feeling that he’d never eaten anything in his life but wild-rice salad and tortellini, so blank was his culinary imagination.”

4. My first book, Island of a Thousand Mirrors. Lots of Sri Lankan food. I’ve had readers say it makes them want to cook it. -Nayomi Munaweera

5. The Hundred-Foot Journey, by Richard Morais. Only 100 feet separate a traditional French restaurant and a new Indian eatery across the street, but there is a world of cultural distance between the two. The novel, set in the foothills of the Alps, follows the son of the Indian restaurant’s owners, from his introduction to cooking as a boy in Mumbai to his education at the French restaurant and beyond. Steven Spielberg’s 2013 movie version starred Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal. -Jenny Luna
A sample: “This was a weekly ritual at the restaurant, a constant pushing of Bappu to improve the old recipes. It was like that. Do better. You can always do better. The offending item stood between them, a copper bowl of chicken. I reached over and dipped my fingers into the bowl, sucking in a piece of the crimson meat. The masala trickled down my throat, an oily paste of fine red chili, but softened by pinches of cardamom and cinnamon.”

6. If you read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books as an adult, as I just did (to my daughter), you realize it’s all about food. Probably because the Ingalls family was frequently hungry. Lots of cream. Salt pork. Beans. Corn porridge and corn bread. Butter. Wild game. Bear meat. Quail. Sugar on everything. The beginning of comfort food. -Moises V-M

7. In the memorable first scene of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, an ex-slave welcomes an old friend into her house with Southern biscuits. Meals play many different roles throughout this heart wrenching novel. -Kiera Butler

8. The description of making molasses snow candy in Little House on the Prairie blew my mind as a snowless southern Californian kid. It just seemed so fun. -Sarah Z.

9. All of the Yashim mysteries, by Jason Goodwin. (The Janissary Tree is the first one.) Cooking in Istanbul, with fresh ingredients. -Jan H.

10. The Joy Luck Club is Amy Tan’s classic, heartfelt story of Chinese-American women coming together to tell stories over food and games of mahjong. -Jenny Luna

11. Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels. Lots of mouthwatering early 19th century shipboard meals: spotted dick pudding, toasted cheese, burgoo, hard tack with weevils. -Heine C.

12. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies, by Laura Esquivel. This sensuous novel focuses on a young woman who is in love with her sister’s suitor. Because she can’t express her emotions, she instead unleashes them in her food—with powerful results. -Jenny Luna

13. Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. So much camp coffee, so many tortillas. -Casey M.

14. The Epicure’s Lament, by Kate Christensen. A dying man plans on relishing his final days alone in his family’s mansion with copious amounts of food and whiskey—but his family members have other plans. -Jenny Luna

15. Sylvia Plath was interested in the shame most women associated with the sensual pleasure of eating. In The Bell Jar, she delves almost comically into how much Esther loves to eat compared to the other girls on her college internship. -Katie F.
A sample: “In New York we had so many free luncheons with people on the magazine and various visiting celebrities I developed the habit of running my eye down those huge handwritten menus, where a tiny sir dish of peas cost fifty or sixty cents, until I’d picked the richest, most expense dishes and ordered a string of them. We were always taken out on expense accounts, so I never felt guilty. I made a point of eating so fast I never kept the other people waiting who generally ordered only chef’s salad and grapefruit juice because they were trying to reduce. Almost everybody I met in New York was trying to reduce…Under cover of the clinking of water goblets and silverware and bone china, I paved my plate with chicken slices. Then I covered the chicken slices with caviar thickly as if I were spreading peanut butter on a piece of bread. Then I picked up the chicken slices in my fingers one by one, rolled them so the caviar wouldn’t ooze off and ate them.”

16. Dickens has amazing writing about food and not necessarily “good” food. I read Great Expectations years ago and I still describe it as “bolting” my food. -Tej S.

17. Desperate Characters, by Paula Fox. Not only does this novel dramatize the first stirrings of the gentrification wave that would decades later transform Brooklyn—it’s set mainly in Cobble Hill—it also beautifully depicts the late mid-century stirrings of foodie-ism that would later engulf US culture. -Tom Philpott
A sample: “Mrs. and Mrs. Otto Bentwood drew out their chairs simultaneously. As he sat down, Otto regarded the straw basket which held slices of French bread, an earthenware casserole filled with sautéed chicken livers, peeled and sliced tomatoes on an oval willowware platter Sophie had found in a Brooklyn Heights antique shop, and risotto Milanese in a green ceramic bowl. A strong light, somewhat softened by the stained glass of a Tiffany shade, fell upon this repast.”

Other readers recommended John Lanchester’s The Debt to Pleasure, Patricia Storace’s Book of Heaven, C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Joanne Harris’ Five Quarters of an Orange, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, Joanne Marshall’s Chocolat, George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, the novels of Haruki Murakami, Brian Jacques’ Redwall books, the mysteries of Diane Mott Davidison, Enid Blyton’s books, Eli Brown’s Cinnamon and Gunpowder, Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son, Laurie Colwin’s Happy All the Time, Andy Weir’s The Martian, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna, and from the iconoclasts among you, George Orwell’s 1984, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, and, ahem, Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs.

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Sex, Drugs, and Oysters: This Book Explains What It’s Really Like to Work at a Fancy Restaurant

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8 Ways to Detox Your Home

We are exposed to more synthetic chemicals in our food, air and water, than ever before. While many people avoid chemicals in their food, the sad fact remains that most people arent aware of the nasty toxins they may inadvertently invite into their homes. While there really are countless ways to give your home a detox, here are 8 of the best ways to eliminate excess toxins from your home:

1. Skip the So-called Air Fresheners: Dont be duped by commercials claiming that you may be suffering from “nose blindness,” declaring that you need to spray air fresheners to eliminate odors in your home. Does nose-blindness actually sound right to the advertisers, or anyone for that matter? Whether they come in ozone-depleting aerosol cans, plug-in, candle or spray bottle forms, the vast majority have been found to contain dangerous phthalates. These nasty chemicals are linked to abnormally-developed male genitalia, poor semen quality, low testosterone levels and other reproductive issues. And, if that isnt bad enough, they typically contain lighter fluid, acetone (the same ingredient that makes up nail polish remover), liquefied petroleum gas and a dizzying array of other toxic ingredients that increase the risk of breathing disorders.

2. Reduce the Amount of Plastic You Use: Just because you may have switched to BPA-Free (Bisphenol-A) plastic doesnt mean you are safe from the damage plastics can cause. Many manufacturers removed BPA from their plastics, replacing the toxic ingredient with equally damaging compounds known as EAs, which is short for estrogen activity. These synthetic chemicals pose a threat to human health, and to children in particular, increasing aggression, damaging the immune system, and wreaking havoc on hormones. Switch to stainless steel or glass water bottles, food storage containers, or other household items.

3. Stop Heating Food in Plastic Containers in a Microwave Oven: The heat increases the leaching of the toxic ingredients into the food stored in them. In research published in the journal Environmental Health, both BPA-free plastic and BPA-containing plastic were found to have estrogen activity, which means that they can throw off the delicate hormonal balance when they leech into our food or water.

4. Make the Laundry Switch: Most commercially-available laundry detergents and fabric softeners are loaded with harmful, and even cancer-causing, ingredients. While it may be tempting to assume that the amounts used were approved by the government as safe, the vast majority of ingredients used in laundry products were never tested for safety prior to their being allowed for use in consumer products. Heres a sampling of the chemicals in most laundry products: alpha-terpineol (linked to disorders of the brain and nervous system, loss of muscle control, depression and headaches), Benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer) and pentane (linked to headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness and depression).

Related: How to Make Your Own Fabric Softener and Laundry Soap

5. Stop Cooking with Teflon-coated Cookware: Teflon, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, has been linked to cancer, birth defects and heart disease. DuPont, the makers of this nasty carcinogen, declared in an interview with the Washington Post over a decade ago, that: processes will be developed to ensure that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) would not be released into the environment from finished products or manufacturing plants. However, more and more research shows that were paying a high price for this non-stick cookwareits showing up in tissue samples from most humans along with the drinking water of over 6.5 million Americans. Some samples ranged between 5 and 175 times the level considered safe by new research. Simply choose Teflon-free cookware options, including many that seem to be much safer non-stick choices.

6. Start Filtering Your Drinking Water: Our tap water now contains a myriad of toxic ingredients, including: lead, chlorine, fluoride and even sometimes prescription medications and hormones. As you learned above, 6.5 million Americans now drink water with Teflon. Choose the best quality water filter you can afford. If thats a simple pitcher model, it is likely better than nothing at all (assuming you choose one that isnt loaded with all sorts of chemical ingredients).

7. Add a Water Filter to Your Showerhead: While youre picking up a water filter, be sure to add one to your shower head. There are many affordable options that simply attach to a standard showerhead. Most of our water now contains chlorine, which we breathe in and absorb through our skin in the shower; however, most showerhead filters remove chlorine.

8. Choose Sustainable and Healthier Flooring Options: Carpets contain a whole host of toxic ingredients including the carcinogen formaldehyde. Vinyl plank flooring and linoleum can off-gas chemicals for years after they are installed. Choose wood, tile, bamboo, cork or another type of healthy flooring option when you are renovating or building your home.

Related:
Dont Believe in Herbal Medicine? 10 Things to Change Your Mind
The 5 Best Herbs to Soothe Your Nerves
Should You Actually Starve a Fever?

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news Worlds Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds: The 4-Week Plan for a Sharper Mind, Better Memory, and Healthier Brain.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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8 Ways to Detox Your Home

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25+ Beneficial Plants That Ward Off Pests and Protect Your Garden

Everybody agrees that good neighbors are so much better than bad ones. This is true not only at home and at work, but also in the garden.

There are good plants — companion plants — that do a lot for their plant neighbors and your garden overall. They help each other grow, they can increase the yield that each neighbor produces, and some even provide added nutrients to the soil.

One of the things that make companion plants great neighbors is that they offer pest control benefits. They mask or hide a crop from pests, produce odors that confuse pests, and act like trap crops that draw pests away from other plants.

Not all plant visitors are bad. In fact, some are so good that we actually want to encourage them to come into our gardens. Unfortunately, we tend to think that any bug we see is bad; when we focus so much on removing any and all pests, we can wind up killing off the “good” guys in the process.

That’s why companion plants are so great.

While they discourage “bad” garden pests, companion plants also help to attract beneficial insects by providing them with breeding grounds and creating a habitat for them.

Some beneficial insects feed on weeds, some feed on insects and mites like aphids, and some attack insect pests by sterilizing or debilitating them. Good pests you want to invite to your garden include: lacewings, parasitic wasps, lady beetles, spiders and predatory mites. And, of course,bees andbutterflies are considered good guys, and we need to attract them to our gardens for pollination.

One of the best ways to attract beneficial insects is to provide a diversity of plants that takes into account seasonality and the different feeding requirements they have at the different stages of development. Make sure to use plants that are rich in pollen and nectar at different times of the year.

To get you started, here are some of the most common beneficial companion plants:

In general, plants with many small flowers work better than those with a large single flower because small insects may drown in large blooms with too much nectar. Small flowers include:

asters
alyssum
lobelia
small sunflowers and
yarrow.

Umbelliferae plants also make great beneficial plants. These include:

angelica
clovers
coriander (cilantro)
dill
fennel
parsley
Queen Anne’s Lace and
rue.

Herbs help repel certain pests like the cabbage moth and the carrot fly. These include:

basil
borage
chamomile
lavender
mints (spearmint, peppermint)
rosemary
thyme and
sage (Salvia) family plants.

Annuals or perennials in the sunflower/aster family (many small flowers/petals around a central disk) also make great companion plants. These include:

cosmos
zinnia
daisy and
coneflower.

Do you have favorite companion plants you’d like to recommend? Share them in the comments section.

Related:
DIY Pesticide Recipe is Safe Enough to Eat
5 Ways to Save Water in the Garden

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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25+ Beneficial Plants That Ward Off Pests and Protect Your Garden

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