How to Use Less Plastic in Your Home

Plastic is one of those persistent enemies that the world just can’t seem to get rid of. Though everyone knows how harmful it is, it’s still used in incredible amounts. Take a 10-minute walk around your house and briefly note everything you see that’s made of plastic. You may be surprised to discover just how much of this undesirable material you have in your own home.

Fortunately, you can do what I did and make these lifestyle changes to turn yourself and your family from plastic consumers to plastic shunners.

Buy Boxed Instead of Bottled Products

This tip may seem nearly impossible at first, but it is possible to avoid some bottled products by looking for boxed alternatives. For example, instead of buying liquid laundry detergent in plastic bottles, shop for laundry detergent in powder form that comes in cardboard boxes. If you absolutely must purchase plastic bottles for food or hygiene items (sometimes it’s unavoidable), choose only bottles that have the recycle symbol on the bottom.

Invest in Reusable Straws

Straws are small and may seem harmless, but they’re used in huge quantities and contribute to the world’s plastic waste problem. If you love straws and don’t want to give them up, don’t worry! There are reusable options available. Consider purchasing a pack of reusable glass or stainless-steel straws and keeping one or two in your purse or car so you can use it when you go out to restaurants.

Ditch the Plasticware

No one likes to do dishes, but if you regularly use plasticware to eat your meals, it’s time to consider how you’re impacting the environment. It’s best to use reusable silverware, even if it means spending a few extra minutes doing the dishes. When you request take-out from nearby restaurants, specifically request no plasticware with your order.


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Use a Reusable Water Bottle

Reusable water bottles are so much better for you and the environment than their plastic counterparts. Plus, they often come with cute patterns that match your personality. Drinking from plastic water bottles can leave a bad flavor in your mouth, so you’ll love switching to reusable bottles for the taste alone.

Invest in a Water Purifier

If you like to drink bottled water because your tap water is gross, why not invest in a water purifier? You’ll not only save money, but you’ll help save the environment as well. Every year, billions of plastic water bottles make their way to the landfill. You can make a small dent in that number by ditching your bottled water habit and using a purifier instead.

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Cleaning products are not only bottled in plastic containers, but they’re also full of toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and to you. Instead of purchasing commercial cleaners, consider making your own using natural ingredients such as vinegar, antibacterial essential oils, lemon juice, and/or baking soda. There are plenty of recipes for cleaners online. Use glass spray bottles to store and use your environmentally safe cleaning products.

Use Reusable Produce Bags

Did you know a single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to fully degrade? Instead of using single-use plastic bags, opt for reusable produce bags. Just make sure you wash them frequently to cut back on germs.

Drink Fresh-Squeezed Juice

Do you love drinking juice? Try squeezing it fresh from oranges or apples. You’ll be using less plastic, and you’ll also maximize the health benefits fresh juice can offer. Fresh-squeezed juice is not processed and it hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for days or weeks, so it’s packed full of nutrients.

Once you make it a habit to avoid plastic whenever possible, the task will become easier (I promise!). You’ll also have greater peace of mind knowing you’re doing your part to protect this beautiful planet we call home.

New Year, New You: How to Use Resolutions to Become a Morning Person

Woman Waking Up

Be honest: would you say you're a morning person? If the answer is a resounding no, you're not alone.
Lots of people dread waking up early or can't function until they have at least two cups of coffee coursing through their veins. While molding yourself into a chipper and cheerful morning person may seem unlikely, it's absolutely possible.

With a new year comes a renewed commitment to health, wellness, and personal goals. Like everything else, you just need to tease out those bad habits and develop a strategy for eliminating them. Here are a few great tips to help you beat the morning blues and attack every day with everything you got.

Alarm Clock

Say No to the Snooze Button

The snooze button is an evil temptress. You tell yourself "just a few more minutes", only to find that an hour has passed, and now you're late for work. While it's best to not use the snooze button at all, it can be difficult to go cold turkey completely. Once again, technology comes to the rescue. Smart alarm apps offer creative ways to snooze, including math problems that must be solved before you can secure that ten extra minutes. If you're not a math person, don't fret. The act of working out a problem can help wake up your brain, even if you don't get the correct answer.

Glass of water

Drink a Glass of Water Upon Waking

It's true that coffee is associated with a quick pick-me-up in the morning, but water is a better choice of beverage. Water rehydrates the body, fuels the brain, and gives you the burst of energy you need to function optimally in the early hours. For an even greater rejuvenating effect, make the first beverage you drink in the morning a chilly glass of ice water.

Good night


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Establish a Sleep Schedule

A consistent sleep schedule gets your body in tune with waking up early each morning. Additionally, your schedule should extend to the weekends as well, meaning if you get up at 7 am for work during the week, you should get up at the same time Saturday and Sunday. If you have problems falling asleep at a reasonable hour, develop a bedtime ritual. Avoid exercise, digital screens, and caffeine at least two hours before bedtime. Make your bedroom a work-free zone, meaning no laptops, no emails, and no texting. Try reading or taking a relaxing bath to get you in the mood for sleep.

Morning Yoga

Exercise Right After Waking Up

Much like math problems help wake up your brain, exercise helps wake up your body. Now, that doesn't mean you should pop out of bed and go run a half-marathon every morning. Something simple and low-key, like yoga or stretching exercises, should be enough to get you up and moving. There are plenty of free videos online featuring quick and easy exercises you can do each day. Fair warning, the first morning of exercise will probably be difficult. Stick to it, and you'll find each day getting easier and easier.

Cup of coffee

Invest in a Wake-Up Alarm

A bit of sunlight is just the thing to get you up in the morning. When your bedroom lacks strategically placed windows, or you're faced with a gloomy morning, a wake-up alarm is the next best thing. Also known as sunrise lamps, these devices gradually illuminate to mimic sunrise. This signals to your body that it's time to wake up, which is a more comforting process than being roused out of sleep by a blaring alarm.

Anyone can be a morning person when properly motivated. Using one or more of the above techniques can change your perspective, and your life. With the right attitude, you'll be greeting mornings with a smile before you even know it.

How To Deep Clean Your Kitchen and Save Money With Green Cleaning Products

Clean kitchen

I love green cleaning products. They’re environmentally friendly, practical and safe for my kids. Those benefits are all a huge bonus on my mom checklist. Plus, things such as vinegar and baking soda are insanely cheap! Here are a few of my favorites.

Baking Soda

For Everyday Cleaning/Disinfecting: 

White Vinegar Kitchen Cleaner

What You Need

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Essential oil (optional)

I use this solution every day. It makes me feel great whether I’m mopping the kitchen floor, scrubbing the microwave or cleaning up around the sink. I especially love the touch of essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree. They make the cleaner smell wonderful and my hands never dry out like they used to with harsh cleaning chemicals.

Oil on Water

For Grease:

Olive Oil, Vinegar and Baking Soda Cleanser

What You Need

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp liquid castile soap
  • 1 tbs baking soda
  • 3 cups warm water

Technically, this deep cleaner gets a lot of its cleaning power from something called pure castile soap, not the olive oil in your kitchen. Even though it’s green, castile soap packs quite a punch when it comes to dirt and grime. To boost its grease-cutting power, I add white vinegar and baking soda to the mix. This is everything you need for cleaning the inside of the oven, range hood, grill grate, kitchen backsplash and other greasy areas.


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Granite counter top

For Granite and Marble:

Pure Castile Soap Solution

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons of pure castile soap
  • 1 gallon of distilled water

The one area you have to be careful with when you choose green cleaners is stone countertops. Granite and marble have a special protective layer that keeps them from scratching or staining, and acidic ingredients such as citrus or vinegar slowly eat away at this coating.

The one area you have to be careful with when you choose green cleaners is stone countertops. Granite and marble have a special protective layer that keeps them from scratching or staining, and acidic ingredients such as citrus or vinegar slowly eat away at this coating.

Citrus Cleaner

For Deep Cleaning:

Citrus DIY Kitchen Cleaner

What You Need

  • Peels from any citrus fruit (grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges)
  • White vinegar
  • Large glass mason jars
  • Mesh sieve
  • Spray bottle

How To Make It

  1. 1
    Save up your citrus peels and put them in the mason jar.
  2. 2
    Add enough white vinegar to cover all of the peels completely. Seal the jar and let it sit for a week or two. The longer you leave it, the more powerful the cleaner will be.
  3. 3
    Use the sieve to pour only the liquid into a separate mason jar or covered container. Get rid of the leftover peels.
  4. 4
    Fill a plastic spray bottle halfway with this citrus liquid and the rest distilled water.
  5. 5
    Use this mixture to clean any kitchen surface except marble or granite. For stubborn grime, use the citrus liquid directly without diluting with water.

The secret to major germ-fighting power actually lies in the peels, not the juice. What I love the most about this cleaner is the fresh scent you get with orange, lemon or grapefruit. It's so bright and cheery.

Cleaning Kitchen

Don't forget: When life hands you lemons, make DIY kitchen disinfectant! Your entire kitchen will smell 100% clean afterwards and look amazing, and your hands will thank you.

5 Tricks To Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Woman Sleeping

Are you having trouble falling asleep at night? Do you wake up many times every night? You’ve love these five easy and effective tricks for getting a great night's sleep all year long:

1. Eat Breakfast at Night

What kind of nonsense is this?! Breakfast for dinner? Well, according to scientists, absolutely.
I know it’s hard to eat a mouthwatering omelet, some lean bacon, a fresh banana and some delicious whole-grain toast for dinner, but … oh, who am I kidding? Breakfast is amazing!

Eating breakfast at night is good for falling asleep because most breakfast foods are rich in the right nutrients. Eggs are packed with protein, toast has filling carbs and bananas are rich in potassium. This combination makes your muscles relax, which is just what your body needs to fall asleep.

Bananas

2. Go Outside

I’m not encouraging you to sleepwalk. What you need is to get some sun and fresh air during the day. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, go for a short walk, admire your summer garden or watch your dog play around in the snow. Sunlight keeps your normal sleep rhythm balanced, so when it gets dark, your body understands that it’s time to sleep.

Sunny Day outside


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3. Try Some Spiced Almond Milk

Just about everyone has heard the secret of drinking warm milk before bedtime. But did you know it doesn’t have to be cow’s milk? Almond milk has a ton of tryptophan, melatonin and magnesium, natural compounds that get your body in the mood to sleep.

Plus, I’ll be honest. The idea of sipping warm cow’s milk doesn’t appeal to me. On the other hand, I love this spiced almond milk recipe. It’s delicious and relaxing, and it helps me sleep like a baby.

What You Need

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbs almond butter
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey

How To Make Spiced Almond Milk

This recipe is really easy. Just put all of the ingredients in a small pot and heat on the stove until it’s warm. Serve in a mug and sip calmly while listening to soft jazz or classical music. I recommend Etta James.

Almond Milk

4. Invest in the Best Sheets

Your mattress isn’t the only thing that makes a huge difference in sleep quality. So do your bedsheets. Look for breathable cotton or silk. Yes, they cost me more than polyester, but they were so worth the investment.
Trust me, if you wake up a lot during the night, tossing and turning, you won’t believe how much great sheets can change that. They keep your body cool, dry and comfortable all night long, so you wake up more refreshed in the morning.

Bed Sheets

5. Let There Be Dark

Your body won’t know it’s sleepy time unless your bedroom is dark. A dimmer switch or lamp is ideal. Turn down the lights about one hour before bedtime, turn off your smartphone or tablet, and try reading a book or listening to an audiobook. You’ll be asleep before you know it.

Dark Bedroom

These are just some of the sleepy-time tricks I have up my pajama sleeves. Next time I’ll tell you about the benefits of wearing socks to bed! Do you have other questions about sleep troubles? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help.

3 Gifts I Will MAKE Instead of BUY

Presents

OK, it’s time for a reality check, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it. The holidays are knocking at your front door, and if you don’t have your gift list nailed down, it’s time to put your game face on. This year has been a crazy one to put it lightly, and if you’re like me, you’re probably feeling a little more sentimental than usual. In the past, I’ve bought most of my gifts online, but this year I decided that my friends and loved ones deserve a little bit more thought. So here are three gifts I will make this year instead of buy. Feel free to use these ideas to make gifts for your own family and friends.

Knit Blankets

1. Blankets

Warm, cozy blankets are some of the best gifts I’ve ever received, which is why I’m going to make a few for my loved ones this year. If you decide to make blankets, be careful. It’s easy to overestimate how many you can make in the days and weeks leading up to the holidays. The last thing you want to do is overburden yourself with so many blankets that you’re stressed out trying to get them done in time.

If you know about how long it takes you to make a blanket, create a schedule for yourself. Figure out how many blankets you can reasonably make by the time the holidays are here. And by “reasonably,” I mean, at a pace that you can sustain while still taking time to clean your house and watch your favorite Hallmark movies.

If your blanket-making skills won’t win you any awards, don’t try to tackle a bunch of King-size quilts. Instead, go easy on yourself and make a few simple lap blankets or throws as gifts. If possible, ask for pictures of your gift recipient’s living rooms or bedrooms in advance so you can create throws and blankets that match their home décor and color themes. Of course, if you’re going for the surprise factor, this isn’t an option. In that case, choose neutral colors that are likely to complement any color palette.


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Homemade Tree Ornament

2. Christmas Ornaments

Christmas ornaments make great handmade gifts because they provide memories and cheer year after year. They’re also extremely affordable, which is great news if you’ve already overextended your holiday budget (no judgment here!)

Call me old-fashioned, but I adore making classic cross-stitched ornaments featuring adorable little Christmas characters or scenes. But if you don’t have the time or patterns to make ornaments like these, try making dried citrus ornaments, wooden bead ornaments, or even wood slice ornaments. I’ve found so many online tutorials that make homemade ornaments a cinch to make. So once you decide what type you prefer, go online and figure out how to DIY it!

Stovetop potpourri

3. Stove Top Potpourri Kits

OK, this gift isn’t one that can be used year after year, but it’s one of my favorite gifts to make (and receive). Stove top potpourri kits are so simple, festive and cheery. To make them, just get a few small jelly jars and fill them with holiday-scented items that can be warmed in a pot on the stove to create a heavenly aroma. Here are my favorite ingredient ideas:

  • Small peppermint sticks (make sure they contain real peppermint oil)
  • Pine sprigs
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Dried lemon peel
  • Whole cloves
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Anise pods
  • Cranberries

Mix and match ingredients to create your own custom scents. Place the ingredients in your jar, put the lid on, and tie a festive bow around the neck. Consider including instructions or a label so your gift recipient knows what it is. This gift idea can fill a home with warm, comforting holiday aromas. Plus, it’s just so adorable! Figure out which gift idea you want to try this year and get ready to help create the most sentimental Christmas yet.

5 Tips on Eating Mindfully When Doing Everything from Home

Woman working from home

If you're like most people, you spend most of your time at home these days. While you surely don't miss your morning commute and cherish spending more time with your family, it's likely your diet has taken a turn for the worse.

Let's face it, it's tough to eat mindfully when you're constantly surrounded by snacks and goodies. It's also natural to turn to food for comfort when life gets stressful, which is a common experience for many. Fortunately, it is possible to eat mindfully these days, especially when you use the following tips.

Meal Plan

Make an Eating Plan Each Day

Meal plans eliminate the stress of deciding what to eat each day. When you have your food prepared and ready to go, you won't fall victim to ordering bad-for-you junk food just because it's quick and easy. When grocery shopping, consider your meals for the rest of the week. Prep your breakfast, lunch, and dinner the night before, so they're ready to go the next day. When meal time rolls around, just pop your prepped food out of the fridge and re-heat. It's as simple as that.

Salads

Know When You're Hungry

It's easy to mistake boredom for hunger, especially when you're working on a tedious task. Your chance of mindless snacking is highest during times of boredom, so pay attention to what your stomach is telling you. If you've recently eaten lunch or breakfast and aren't really feeling hunger pangs, look for another outlet that isn't food related. If you can, take a brief walk around the block. If you're stuck at home, take a ten-minute mediation break. You can also try moving to another task for a brief period to keep your mind engaged.


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Eat Smaller Portions

If the urge to snack is just too strong, consider reducing portion sizes. Try eating a light breakfast of yogurt and a slice of toast, followed up by a banana or other type of fruit. For lunch, have a lettuce wrap or healthy salad, followed up by a snack of kale chips or veggies with hummus. When you eat smaller meals consistently throughout the day, your metabolism will experience a much-needed boost. This helps you maintain a healthy weight, while also fighting back against any cravings you might experience.

Woman drinking water

Drink More Water and Other Fluids

Water is your best friend during a long and tedious day. It keeps you hydrated and refreshed, while also eliminating food cravings by creating a feeling of fullness. There are lots of other healthy beverages you can add into the mix for variety. Instead of coffee, try green tea. Green tea offers a boost thanks to caffeine and is also brimming with antioxidants. If you're trying to reduce your caffeine intake, try drinking a chamomile or ginger tea instead. You can also jazz up your water by adding a splash of lemon or picking up some flavored sparkling water.

Woman working at her desk

Don't Bring Food to Your Work Area

When there are delicious snacks right there on your desk, it's even harder to resist temptation. Consider your desk off limits for eating, even when it comes to healthy snacks. This will benefit you in a couple of ways. First, it will stop you from mindlessly snacking throughout the day. It will also help you achieve a good work/life balance. Taking time to enjoy meals is important for your health, both mentally and physically.

Try implementing the above tips during the day for a more enlightened attitude towards meals and snacking. It may be tough at first, especially if you're used to eating a lot during the day, but over time you'll feel better about yourself and your diet, which is much more gratifying.

5 Unique Ways To Use Your Dishwasher

Dishwasher

Most people are grateful for standard home appliances like the dishwasher. While washing plates by hand is not challenging, the machine makes the traditional process seem prehistoric. However, while washing away grease and grime is phenomenal, the dishwasher is so much more versatile than you may imagine. There are at least five other unique uses for this glorious device, and this article will detail each one.

Dishwashing sponge

1. Clean Cleaning Tools

Sponges, dishcloths, brooms and other tools make maintaining a clean home possible, but even these tools become dirty. What do you do when a sponge or rag becomes so disgusting that it requires the use of a hazmat suit to touch? Many people will throw the item away and buy new, but that is financially irresponsible. Instead, throw that grotesque sponge, rag or broom head into the dishwasher. The hot water, steam and soap wash away the germs and nastiness, allowing you to get even more use out of cleaning tools that you once thought to be trash.

Kid's toys

2. Wash Away Hat and Toy Germs

Hats are a great comfort in the warmer and colder months. In the summer, a hat provides needed shade and shelter from the sun, and in the winter, it gives warmth. However, how often do you wash your hat? You can use the dishwasher as a rinsing station for your hat, but do not put hats with cardboard in the brim.

Like your hat, your children's toys do not make it into the sink for a good scrubbing. Many toy manufacturers use durable plastics and dishwasher safe materials, which means you can load them into the dishwasher for a cycle to eliminate the buildup of germs.


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>> NEW “Cinnamon Trick” for Rapid Fat Loss


Dog with Toy

3. Get Rid of Slobber

While people love their pets and love to pamper them with toys, most owners do not focus on keeping those toys clean. The great news for pet owners is that pet toy manufacturers now create dishwasher-safe toys, and they label their packaging as such. However, read labels carefully because some chemicals may be harmful, and some toys may not be durable enough to handle a cycle.

Soccer Shin pads

4. Freshen Up Sports Equipment

Shin guards, elbow pads and other hard plastic materials can hold up to a full dishwasher cycle. You will want to put the items on the top rack to reduce the amount of heat, but washing grubby athletic gear can be done.

Carrots

5. Rinse, Cook or Steam Food

Believe it or not, a dishwasher is a safe and effective way of handling food. When getting back from the market, you can place your fruit and veggies through a cold rinse cycle to remove the dirt and grime. You can also steam vegetables. Place a variety of chopped veggies in a mason jar with a cup of water. Place the closed jars on the top rack and set your appliance for a normal wash cycle. The veggies will come out tasty and hot in a few minutes.

Finally, you can cook a meal, salmon specifically. While it sounds crazy, a Food Network chef, Bob Blumer, created the dishwasher salmon recipe.

Dishwasher rack

While a dishwasher is a beautiful device that freed many people from wet hands, too many do not understand its true uniqueness. Consider the five uses above and see what else you can come up with. If you enjoyed this blog, then read more of The Calorie Myths for tips on health, life and appliance creativity.

The Best Apples for All Your Autumn Needs

Apple pie

From biting into a succulent Fuji apple to enjoying the tartness of a green Granny Smith, apples taste delicious and work any time of day as the ideal grab-and-go snack. And of course, we know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But with so many apple varieties at your grocery store or farmer's market, how do you know which apples you should choose for pie and which are best for your kiddo's lunchbox? Here's your fall guide to the best uses for our favorite types of apples.

Braeburn

While this apple hails from New Zealand, it's readily available throughout the United States. With autumn hints of cinnamon and spice, the tart yet sweet Braeburn tastes wonderful plucked right from the tree (or your kitchen table fruit bowl). However, it also works well for baking, with firm chunks that make the perfect pie or apple crisp.

Apple Tree

Crispin

This big, chunky apple has juice to spare. Crispins are tart yet sweet and just as crunchy as their name suggests. This is also one of the most versatile apple types, equally yummy in salads, pies, sauces and slices.

Fuji

These Japanese apples landed in the U.S. in the 1980s, where they immediately became renowned for their low acidity and delectable flavor with hints of honey and orange. Because they're just so darn juicy, Fuji apples are best when you eat them whole. You can also slice them thin to add a punch of sweetness and crunch to your favorite fall slaw or salad recipe. We also love cooking down Fujis on the stovetop and using the jammy results to top vanilla ice cream, yogurt or oatmeal.

Apple cake

Gala

You'll notice this versatile apple right away because of its distinctive red and yellow stripes. Also from New Zealand, the Gala is one of the sweetest apples you'll find anywhere. What's more, it works equally well sliced as a snack, reduced into sauce or added to your go-to pie crust recipe.

Granny Smith

This lunch-box classic is distinguished by its bright green hue and tart flavor. Use Granny Smiths in baking to offset the sweetness of sugary cakes and pies. We also love pairing Grannies with a sweet dip like peanut butter or caramel for a low-cal yet satisfying late-night snack. Have an abundance of Granny Smiths? This apple variety also freezes quite well, so you can save them for later.

2 Minute Ritual

McIntosh

This apple variety is a favorite for snacking because of its sweet, white flesh. While delicate McIntosh slices won't hold their shape well in pies and other desserts, this is a great apple to cook down if you've been dreaming about homemade applesauce or even cider to enjoy at all your fall festivities.

Apple crate

Red Delicious

If you picture an apple in your mind, it's probably the Red Delicious. This Iowa variety is the most popular snacking apple in the United States because of its gentle sweetness and satisfying crunch. While this grocery store fave works well for salads and slaws as well as eating whole, it's not the best for baking.

Apple slice cake

The Best of the Rest

Have a special favorite apple that didn't make it into this guide? Here's what we know about the best uses for some of the less ubiquitous varieties:

  • Applesauce: Cortland, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Jonathan, Lodi and Rome apples
  • Baking: Crispin, Cortland, Melrose, Golden Delicious and Winesap apples
  • Snacking: Cortland, Cameo, Empire, Jonathan and Macoun apples
  • Freezing: Baldwin, Crispin, Ida Red and Northern Spy apples

Regardless of which is your preferred apple, you can feel good about adding any of these fruits to your fall food plan. As an autumn superfood, apples are packed with healthy fiber, vitamin C and disease-fighting antioxidants. Plan a trip to the orchard and grab your cookbooks to start experimenting with this fabulous fruit.

5 Laundry Hacks That Are All-Natural

Natural laundry room

It seems like every day there is some new study suggesting the potentially harmful effects of chemicals found in cleaning products. While many products, especially for laundry, are safe, it is necessary to note that some things that people routinely use, like dryer sheets, can harm your appliances, leading to costly repairs or replacements. If you are interested in avoiding any potential health risks and you want to hold onto your appliances for the long haul, then maybe consider using natural products for your laundry cycles.

1. Essential Oils

Essential Oil

Many people choose a laundry detergent not based on its cleaning abilities but rather its smell. While there is no getting around the marketability of names like fall showers or natural spring, what benefit do you get from the scent other than odor?

2 Minute Ritual
2 Minute Ritual

Essential odors provide significant benefits beyond a pleasant smell. You can choose lavender, which has the advantage of being antimicrobial, anti-mold and anti-mildew, or if lavender is not a favorite scent, you can try tea tree oil, which is also antibacterial. However, purchase therapeutic grade oils to avoid skin sensitivity.

Baking Soda

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile product, especially when it comes to cleaning kitchen appliances, but did you know it can also be used on laundry. Baking soda will lighten stains and deodorize clothing, which should not come as a huge surprise since that is why many people place an open box in their refrigerators. However, what some people may not know is that the product can also balance the pH levels in your washing machine, leading to brighter and fresher clothing.

Laundry

3. Vinegar

While vinegar may not be a person’s first choice when it comes to laundry softeners or washes, it is a useful product, especially for musty smelling materials or items that are frequently damp. The residues that build up on clothes can lead to stiffer materials and hold hard to remove odors, but if you add vinegar into the wash cycle as a laundry detergent or fabric softener, the acid in the distilled white vinegar will eliminate the persistent residue, leaving clothes softer and fresher.

Tennis Balls

4. Tennis Balls or Wool

Dryer sheets, while well-loved, are among the most harmful products to your clothing and appliances. The fragrances that make dryer sheets so appealing can damage your dryer, and the chemical coating that affects the dryer can also affect the wearer. Many people cannot use dryer sheets because of allergies or sensitive skin.


Instead of using the sheets, consider using dryer wool or tennis balls. While you will not get the same pleasant aroma, a tennis ball or wool will leave your clothes softer and smelling fresh.

Folded Laundry

5. Warm Folding

Folding laundry is among the most hated laundry tasks, and many people find it frustrating when they fold and find their clothes wrinkled when they go to wear them. The problem is that most people wait to fold clothes instead of doing it right out of the dryer. If you fold clothes when warm, you can prevent post-laundry wrinkling.


If you are interested in doing an all-natural laundry cycle, then try the tips above. If you want more helpful home and lifestyle tips, then continue reading The Calorie Myths blogs.

3 Fall Decorations To Transform Your Home

Fall decorations

The summer is over, and 2020 is nearing its end (thankfully). With hopes for a new year, it is time to dress up houses in the warmth necessary for the coming months. Unfortunately, many people struggle to come up with the best ways to decorate their homes.

Warmer months are easier to decorate, especially the outside because of flowers and lawn ornaments, but when the cold arrives, the focus turns to the inside. While there are plenty of healthy and sturdy fall plants, like mums, what else can you use to bring color and worth into your space? How do you transform your area for the fall and coming winter? Three decorative elements help to resolve the next seasonal transition with beauty and grace.

Fall Wreath

1. Wreaths

Nope, wreaths are not just made for Christmas. Stick wreaths are a popular choice among home DIYers because of the item’s versatility. You can use ornaments from any holiday to create a unique set of wreaths that can completely alter your living space: exterior and interior. For example, you can use dyed black leaves and flowers with skeleton accents for a lovely and whimsical Halloween decoration, or you can use fall foliage and pinecones for Thanksgiving festivities.

2 Minute Ritual

A wreath is an excellent way to transform an entry door or entryway. These decorations are inviting and warm, and with no limit on decorative ideas, you can use and reuse the wreaths for months and years to come.

Plaid chair

2. Plaid and Flannel

As the summer ends and transitions from fall to winter, the temperature begins to plunge, which means most people seek warmth. Plaid and flannel blankets are common during the cooling months, and by introducing the materials, you create a warm ambiance in your home for visitors. However, throw blankets and bedding are not the only way to incorporate the bold patterns of plaid and flannel. You can also include patterned curtains, kitchen towels and rugs for a somewhat country cabin aesthetic.

Pumpkins and Gourds

3. Pumpkins and Gourds

If you want to transform the exterior of your home, then consider buying a selection of pumpkins and gourds for the fall aesthetic you are after. Nothing says autumn more than several groupings of colorful vegetables. You can even break up the hard lines and contours by placing mums between, creating a bright and textured exterior.

However, do not be limited to only decorating the exterior of your home. You can also use a combination of gourds and pumpkins to decorate your dining table or fireplace.

Pumpkins

The autumn is the final transitional phase of the year before winter and a new beginning. As many people worldwide have struggled through 2020, it is easy to say that 2021 must be better, so hold on to some optimism and transform your home in preparation for the coming winter and the end of a challenging year. If you would like more advice and information about home decorating and lifestyle choices, then continue reading The Calorie Myths, a blog dedicated to personal improvement.