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The ultimate gift guide for grads

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Six awesome gifts that will make graduates want to toss their caps

Commencement is a time of celebration, whether your grad is going on to middle school, high school, college, or the world. Mark this rite of passage with a gift that stays with them for the years ahead.

A great, long ride

It will be a long summer, so give your grad a longboard that will carry them forward, down the street, or across the quad. The RazorX Longboard Electric Skateboard ($199.99, ages 9 and up) features a 37.5-long, 5-ply bamboo deck and custom, reverse kingpin trucks for smooth traveling at speeds up to 10 mph, powered by 125-watt, geared, rear-wheel-drive motor, and operated by a handheld digital remote control. Way cooler than walking, and less hassle than locking up a bike, your board can be picked up and carried with you when you’re done riding. It makes getting to college algebra fun! Be sure to observe all regulations regarding use of skateboards on campus.

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Sound at your command

Whether your grad is a Wi-Fi aficionado, binge watcher, movie buff or a gaming fan, the Polk Command Bar ($249.95) will give their AV system a resoundingly smart make over. The Alexa-compatible sound bar can play and control music across multiple Amazon devices and be integrated into a television speaker set up and works with 4K and HD TVs, with built-in dual HDMI 2.0b inputs to ensure 4K HDR content looks great; or the bar can stand alone to deliver outstanding sound, activated by voice or remote control. The smart speaker features Bluetooth capability, modes for ideal music and movie listening, and the ability to adjust voice levels so that the user can customize their superior sound experience. A sub-woofer component adds even more depth for a full surround sound experience.

Big good wolf

Your grad is growing up, but you never outgrow your favorite blankie. Give them the comfort of a cuddly cover to snuggle up with on the couch, in their college dorm, or keep them warm in their first apartment. The Thermarest Argo ($89.95) throw blanket is filled with lightweight eraLoft insulation that is water-resistant and luxuriously soft, to keep them cozy and warm wherever they go. Its cinch cord at the bottom edge cinches around feet to keep out drafts, and stuffed into its own pillow pouch, it’s perfect for taking along on road trips. Comes in Tomato red or Wolf Print.

Grade-A shades

Grads will hear a lot of platitudes as they head onto the next leg of life’s journey, like, “May the wind always be at your back,” and, “May the sun shine warm upon your face…” But for those times when the glare is a bit too bright, they can look cool, and truly be cool, wearing Sunski sunglasses, the eyewear brand that is not just great for its winning styles and excellent fit but also because they are fairly priced and made from recycled materials and are 100-percent sustainable. Sunskis shield peepers from harsh rays with looks for the beach, sporting, outdoors adventure and everyday life, and even mini frames for kids. ($58-$98, kids $38).

Can you noise cancel me now?

Your grad can block out annoying college roommate, or they’re annoying squabbling brother and sister, or simply indulge in an immersive stereo experience with the MIxCder E9 ($69.99) noise canceling headphones. These premium-yet-affordable over-the-ear Hi-Fi stereo headphones won’t break the bank but will give your grad rich tones for their tunes to enjoy privately. They feature Bluetooth connectivity for wireless use, Active Noise Canceling technology, 30-hour battery life, foldable design, built-in microphone and an included airplane adapter for listening on the fly.

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Just-in-case case

Every grad knows that the school of hard knocks teaches life’s best lessons, but that doesn’t mean your phone needs to suffer slings and arrows, or scratches and dents, which is guaranteed not to happen if you keep it in a Pelican GO case ($39.95). This tank-of-a-phone-case seals out water, dirt, snow, and dust and is constructed so heavy-duty that it’s the preferred protector for divers, firefighters, police and military. It can also hold credit cards, keys and other personal items and can tag along on a backpack by a carabiner or hang from a tent hook by its handle.

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Dress down, up on the mountain

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Get mountain chic and elevate your style on your next alpine excursion

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Head to the hills in fashion, equipped with attire and gear that will outfit you for the outdoors.

A little ditty

Basic economy air travel can save you a few bucks if you pack right, or it will cost you an arm and a leg if you exceed the stringent airline requirements for a “personal item.” Sling the Eagle Creek 15L National Geographic Adventure Series ($24) backpack over your shoulder, and tote along all the essentials you need while you’re in the air and on the ground. It features a 15-inch laptop sleeve, a top zip pocket for quick access items, internal zip and slip pockets, and a padded moisture-wicking back panel, and durable and wipeable bottom. Plus, this handy bag gives back, as a portion of each purchase funds the work of scientists, explorers, and educators around the world.

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Thin is in

Less is more when it comes to packing for an outing in the outback, which is why though Cotopaxi Fuego Hoodless Down Jacket ($230) fits perfectly in your to-go wardrobe. This lightweight fitted jacket is big on warmth but can be compacted into its tiny drawcord ditty bag to fit in your backpack, or even a purse. It’s 800 fill RDS – certified down insulation, baffled in a ripstop nylon shell, is built to last and is versatile enough to go from a hike in the hills to your next night out.

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Under the hoodie

For the man who likes to live life large and outdoors, the Black Diamond Forge Down Hoody (sale priced $149.25) jacket, featuring the super insulation power of ALLIED Feather & Down, the most premium quality down fill on the planet,  is the perfect packable, versatile outerwear for alpine missions of any discipline.  The adjustable hood can accommodate a climbing helmet, and the underarm gussets allow for added arrange of motion when you need it. When the weather warms up, the jacket compresses into its own chest pocket and can be hooked on your belt with an integrated carbineer clip loop.

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Warm kid, happy kid

Kids love the outdoors, but when they’re cold, the fun is over for them and everyone who’s along on the adventure, so keep young outdoor enthusiasts warm and keep the adventure going with the Helly Hansen Jr Barrier Down Insulator ($120). It features ALLIED down in a super lightweight poly rip stop shell that’s reversible for two different looks. It has two handy pockets and Lycra bands on the hem and cuffs to keep the jacket snug. When the adventure’s over, it packs up into its own pocket.

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Catch a case

In the backcountry or back at the lodge, your smartphone can be essential equipment, loaded with trail maps, navigation apps, and of course a camera to capture those selfies at the peak, so protect your device with an Otterbox case that’s made to withstand bumps and drops. The shimmering Stardust case from the Symmetry Series Clear Case ($42.46) features fortified drip protection yet has a slim profile so it can easily slip into your pocket. For extra protection cover your screen with the Alpha Glass Screen Protector ($39.95) to shield against scratches and smears.

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Casual comfort

Dressing down doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish. Unwind after your alpine adventures in Mountain Khakis, the casual but fashionable clothing line built for comfort and function. The designers thought of everything when it comes to active apparel, with strategic pockets, articulated knees, and packability, such as the Classic Fit Cruiser Pant II ($94.95) in flattering styles for men and women, made of stretchy, quick-drying, wicking fabric, perfect for hiking and trout fishing or power lunching and jet-setting.

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Top off your classic casual look with a the go-anywhere gauzy plaid Women’s Jenny Tunic Shirt ($74.95) or the Men’s Passport EC Long Sleeve Shirt, ($89.95), made with a silk-weight, easy-care fabric, and featuring a hidden right chest security pocket with zipper closure perfect for passport, phone, cash and cards.

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If you want to really get down to nature, try Mountain Khaki’s newest collection made with soft, warm, and quick-drying SeaWool, a blend made of crushed oyster shells and blended with recycled Polyfill and PET bottles.

Global clothes

Sustainability means using natural resources in a balanced way in which the resources can be replenished, now and in the future. When it comes to clothing, Toad & Co., knows something about sustainability, as spring 2019 marked the brand’s crossover to 100 percent sustainability. The company also sustains its community with a social program that donates funds and helps people with disabilities. The eco-clothing line features garments made with a minimum of 80 percent sustainable fibers, such as hemp and bamboo, in fashionable, versatile styles suitable for outdoor adventure, or suiting up for casual day at work, such as the breathable, feminine jersey shirt, the Tamaya Tres Tunic ($65) and the comfy form-fitting Flextime Skinny Pant ($85). To find out more about Toad & Co. and their social program, check out this video.

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Down under

No one will know what you’re wearing underneath, but you will know, by the comfort and performance, that in Runderwear you’re wearing power underwear. Runderwear’s Women’s Support Running Bra ($60) is designed specifically for runners looking for reduced bounce, maximum support and comfort. A soft fabric layer against the skin prevents chaffing, along with non-slip, adjustable straps, vs. a one-size-fits-all racer back. Sizing runs small, so larger busted women need to order up one or two sizes. Men can enjoy comfortable, chafe-free running adventures with maximum support in Runderwear Men’s Long Boxer Briefs ($35).

Right step

You’ve heard of slow cooking, now there’s slow fashion, which means buying items that last. Step out in style and sustainability in ethically produced Mohinders’ slippers and flats for men and women ($145-$185). These classic woven sandals are made using a 37-step process in Athani, India, by a multi-generational cooperative of master shoemakers. Made with water buffalo leather, each shoe is hand-tanned using a vegetable-based solution of water, acacia tree bark, myrobalan nuts and no chemicals. These raw-looking sandals soften with time and wear to become your favorite footwear, for years and years.

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Outdoors

The outdoors enthusiast’s essential gear list

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Must-haves for your next adventure

Get out and enjoy the great outdoors with these proven products that will keep you going – climbing, camping, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and doing whatever you do in the wild, in style, comfort and with gusto.
  

Get down tonight

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s time to get down. Really good down. Every outdoors aficionado knows that not all down-filled puffy jackets or sleeping bags offer the same warmth, wearability and durability. The difference is the quality of the down. ALLIED Feather & Down insulation is the industry gold standard, with superior loft and a proprietary multi-wash cleaning and drying process for freshness and allergen-free comfort. Their down is also certified as sourced ethically and responsibly. Look for ALLIED Feather & Down in top-rated outerwear and sleeping bag brands like Slumberjack, Helly Hansen, and The North Face.

Puffed up

Cuddling up by the campfire or huddled in a camp chair for a chilly soccer game, the Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket ($159) provides a comfortable layer of warmth that goes anywhere. This all-purpose throw blanket, made with the same technical materials found in premium sleeping bags, comes in bright colors and patterns, including the latest design, a collaboration between artist and outdoor adventurer Stickfort and camping gear companies Rumpl and Yakima, is a beautifully printed blanket inspired by the Pacific Northwest sunset. A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit the environmental preservation non-profit group Friends of the Columbia River Gorge.

Lock and ride

Most cyclists love their bikes, but they don’t love lugging around a heavy, bulky bike lock for securing their wheels when they park. The lightweight but sturdy Otto DesignWorks Ottolock ($55 and up) is a tough, smash-proof cinch lock that is compact enough to tuck one into a pocket or seat bag. They unlock using a resettable, three-number combination, so there’s no key to keep track of—perfect for a stop by the brewery at the end of a ride.

Boom tunes

Remember the boom boxes of yester-yore, balanced on a shoulder and pumping out tunes people could hear a block away? The go-anywhere compact bottle-sized BoomBottle MM ($129.99) has captured that grand, satisfying surround-sound acoustics of the famed traveling stereo with its two 12W speakers and two 45mm passive radiators, providing a full-range of crisp highs and deep bass tones, all situated in an IP67 rated dust and waterproof enclosure. This rugged, waterproof wireless speaker can travel anywhere, and it even has a MagicMount magnetic base to keep it stuck to metal surfaces. Available at Costco and other retailers.

Soft hands, warm hearth

Out in the wilderness, catching dinner, chopping wood, and building a bonfire, your hands can get dry, rough and sore. Take along Lansinoh’s HPA® Lanolin Minis and apply soothing salve to hands, lips, heels and any exposed skin that needs protection from the elements. Originally developed as a nipple cream for nursing moms, this ointment is 100 percent natural, containing just a single ingredient, HPA Lanolin, providing a barrier layer that hydrates skin without perfumes or other harmful additives. A three-pack of .25-ounce minis is $10.99, available at CVS and Walmart.  

Eyewear for life

Good eye wear is more than a fashion statement, but who says you can’t look stylish while shielding your peepers from glare? Sunski sunglasses, the recycled plastic eyewear that supports the environment with every pair sold, are ideal for the beach, the mountain, or anywhere the sun shines. Sunski’s polarized lenses protect her eyes from harmful rays, and they stay put thanks to a fit for active lifestyles. Designed by San Francisco surfer dudes and tree huggers, Sunski frames, are quality crafted from industrial scraps and guaranteed forever.  Available at sunski.com. $55-$68, kids frames ($38) also available.

Best foot forward

As Del Griffith expressed so eloquently, nothing’s worse than when your dogs barking. Whether you’re pounding the pavement, hiking through the woods, or standing in a stream in waders all day, your feet will thank you if slip Sof Sole insoles into your footwear. Freshen up the insoles of an old favorite pair of boots or give new life to your worn-out trail running shoes with the Sof Sole Airr Insoles ($27.99), for all-day comfort of a COOLMAX moisture-wicking top-cover and the and shock-absorbing relief of Polymer Gel that your puppies will love.

Patch it up

A great down jacket will last for a decade or more, but accidents happen, and that’s why there’s NOSO Puffy Patches. Fix up those tears and snags in your favorite outerwear with this permanent rip-stop nylon fixer that will seal up holes in your coat, backpack, sleeping bag, tent or other gear with just the sun or a clothes dryer to activate the adhesive. They come in six colors and 13 shapes that are so fun and stylish, you might just want to stick them on for fashion. $14.95 for a pack of 3.

Eat, love, tell

Pack a picnic basket that will tantalize your taste buds, with True Story Foods, purveyors of ethically sourced meats that are wholesome and delicious. Every meat-loving and health-conscious foodie will find something tasty to chew on, like organic apple & wildflower honey chicken sausages, organic grass-fed beef hot dogs, or organic bacon and tenderloin from Non-GMO fresh pork. The culinary carnivore on your list can enjoy premium flavor every day in a brown-bag lunch, with sliced deli cuts like black forest ham, oven roasted turkey breast or uncured Italian dry salame.

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Lifestyle

Awesome summer stuff for the whole family

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The weather is hot, the pool is cool, the kids are out of school. Here’s what you need indoors and outdoors, for fun in the sun and summer entertaining.

Glide through summer

Cruise through the neighborhood, head to the pool, or coast over to your BFF’s house, and arrive like a rock star on the Razor Hovertrax DLX 2.0. This ultimate Nirvana-on-wheels hoverboard features a self-balancing deck that makes it easy to mount and maneuver, and the anti-slip rubber traction platform lets you stay in control for a smooth and easy ride. The exotic finishes and multi-color LED lights will make your entrance memorable, and the 60-minute extended-life battery will keep you going for the long haul. The powerful but silent motor can move you at up to 9 miles per hour, and the shatter-resistant polymer frame and fender bumper keeps your board looking sweet ride after ride.

Mighty bike

The bike paths beckon over summer break, and the serious cycling kid will love power peddling through the neighborhood or catching some air on an Islabike, the Rolls Royce of specialized bikes for young riders.

This high-end brand of bikes, created by renowned British bicycle designer Isla Rowntree, respects the young rider with quality construction and attention to detail never before seen in a child’s bike line – down to the option of the child’s name embossed on the frame.

 

Built as light as possible and ergonomically sized for children’s bodies, Islabikes fit and feel right for kids. As youngsters in their formative years hone their skills, the Isla design gives them the advantages of a high-performance bike, preparing them for the next level of competitive riding, or recreational cycling at its finest.

Cool for the pool

Summer is for lounging, and for hanging at the pool or lake, so why not combine the two with the Airhead Sun Comfort Cool Suede Zero Gravity Lounge. This upright floating lounge allows you to feel weightless as you relax in a comfortable position for reading, tanning or checking out the views, while you keep cool with a beverage in the convenient drink holder. String up the lounger through the molded rope holder and tether yourself to docks, buoys, boats or other loungers. Available in three vibrant colors of sapphire, line and raspberry.

Cookies that complete you

Kids at camp compare care packages, so make sure your little camper has snacks that rule. Load ‘em up with an assortment of cookie goodies from Complete Cookie by Lenny & Larry’s. These freshly-baked protein packed cookies are vegan-friendly, non-GMO and free of soy/dairy to appease a wide array of dietary needs and come in a variety of flavors like the scrumptious Double Chocolate, Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and more! Their new 2oz cookies with 8 grams of protein & 5 grams of fiber is the perfect size to satisfy hunger and give them the energy to paddled across the lake.

Fat is where it’s at

Headed out for a day of summer sporting? Power up with FBOMB’s all-natural macadamia nut butters, with plenty of energizing good fat, which is what the “F” stands for. Each 1-ounce snack pack is a handy squeezable pouch of deliciously creamy, low-sugar nut butter with nut bits, all gluten-free, non-GMO, vegetarian, keto- and paleo-friendly. Available in three flavors: Macadamia with Coconut, Macadamia with Sea Salt, Macadamia Pecan with Sea SaltSalted Chocolate Macadamia.

Ferociously good snacks

Sleep in on the lazy days of summer and let the kids make their own breakfast, or snacks, with Kodiak Cakes, exclusively at Target. The brand known for their protein-enhanced Flapjack & Waffle mix offers a wide range of whole-grain protein-packed breakfast treats and snacks in self-contained cups with powdered ingredients that can be stirred up with a little water or milk and microwaved for a mini-meal or muffin in about a minute. Flavors include Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cup, Blueberry Muffin, Homestead Cornbread, Buttermilk & Maple Flapjacks.

Get Jaded

Entertaining indoors or outdoors, a summer scented candle adds an ambiance to your gathering. The fresh, sweet aromas of the Jaded Candle collection will elevate any space, with clean, refreshing fragrances. Jaded candles are handmade from 100-percent pure soy and contain no additives, chemicals or colors. The natural ingredients ensure a healthy, soothing aroma for any occasion, in seasonal scents including Himalayan Bamboo, Hydrangea, Island Hibiscus.

Chem-free pest control

When the summer months arrive, so do insects. Keep them out of your home and away from your family naturally with EarthKind’s Stay Away fast-acting pest repellent products. In the form of sachet-like pouches doused in botanical oils that humans find pleasant smelling, but bugs hate, these products ward off all kinds of pests, from mice and spiders to ants. The pouches are powerfully effective yet contain no poisons or toxic baits, and can be used anywhere indoors, in kitchens, pantries, closets and basements. Sold at Target.

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EducationParentingUncategorized

How Social Learning is Critical for Academic Success

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The character Sheldon Cooper from the CBS TV show “The Big Bang Theory” is a familiar example from popular culture of an individual who has achieved impressive academic success but experiences difficulty and conflict in his relationships and work life due to his social limitations. While this show provides comedic entertainment for its audience, it also demonstrates a very real struggle for many children: social development and success.

 Social development is an ongoing, lifelong process, but the social learning that occurs in childhood is essential for building and maintaining fulfilling relationships, receiving social acceptance, and ultimately achieving a successful career as adults.

What is social learning?

When we think about social learning, we typically focus on social skills, or the specific behaviors that are expected given a situation (e.g., staying on topic when making a comment during a conversation). However, underlying these skills is “social thinking,” specifically the cognitive processes of figuring out the thoughts, feelings, motives and beliefs of those around us and adjusting our behavior accordingly to ensure that everyone in the social setting is comfortable. Via social thinking we are able to assign meaning to the words and actions of others and read the contextual cues of the social environment, which are critical for social, emotional and academic success, as well as professional fulfillment in the long-term.

How social learning influences academics

Simply being in a classroom is a social situation with expected behaviors that are conducive to learning. The behavior of a student with social-thinking difficulties can interfere with the academic learning of self and peers. For example, interrupting others and lack of volume regulation can both disrupt the attention, processing, and understanding that are required for learning. Social learning also has a direct bearing on the ability to work in a group and engage in cooperative learning.

Social learning can also influence specific academic areas such as reading comprehension and writing. Successful comprehension of the curriculum, particularly as students advance in school, requires social inferencing, understanding figurative language, and engaging in perspective taking. The task of writing requires social thinking in order to take another’s perspective while formulating a persuasive argument or describing a character’s emotions, beliefs, and intentions during narration.

Social difficulties that may affect students with learning differences

Because many types of learning disorders can yield social learning difficulties, students with learning differences may require social thinking intervention to help them with:

●      Perspective taking
●      Relating to peers
●      Making and maintaining friendships
●      Conversation (e.g., initiating and maintaining topics, using comments and questions to expand the           conversation, and avoiding the interruption of others)
●      Working with peers in groups
●      Reading contextual cues of situations to guide expected behavior
●      Understanding the words, actions, and nonverbal cues of others
●      Social wondering
●      Emotional regulation

Fostering social learning alongside academics

Students with social learning difficulties that require additional social thinking intervention can benefit from knowledgeable educators who can address social challenges as they occur in the classroom, on the playground, and at the lunch tables. For instance, a student may need his teacher to help him notice and interpret the contextual cues of the classroom situation (i.e., test papers on desks, students working independently, and silence in the classroom) in order to identify and execute the expected behavior, which is to sit down quietly and begin taking the test.

While public schools are not required to teach social skills, there are other solutions such as external social-skills classes, occupational therapy and private schools that serve students with learning differences. Academic achievement alone will not lead to success in life without healthy social skill development.  Adequate social learning during childhood can yield great professional and personal success.

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She wears the pants

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Slimsation everyday pants, to wear wherever you are

There are a lot of crop pants out there, but SlimSation pants by Multiples are not your garden-variety pants. This slimming pant, as the name implies, is designed to slim your figure, and make you look your sensational best.

The pants feature a flexible tummy control panel that smooths and holds in the tummy, thighs and rear. SlimSation states you can drop one size instantly and look and feel 10 pounds lighter wearing their Spanx-on-the-outside pants (obligatory disclaimer: Slimsation is not associated with the actual Spanx brand). The Bottom line (pun intended) is, with a $69 price tag (prices vary depending on style), you might expect something more from these pants, and in my estimation, they deliver. 

They have a slightly higher waistline, which helps reduce tummy bulge and the dreaded muffin top of low rise waistbands. They hug the body like Lycra leggings, but because the fabric is heavier and thicker, the wearer feels more contained rather than exposed.

SlimSation pants come in many styles, from walking shorts and skirts, capris and crops, to ankle-length pants and jean styles, including the skinny Boyfriend Crop, Knit Ankle Legging, Lace Print Crop Legging and styles in solid colors and patterns. The brand also carries a number of figure-flattering tops, such as tanks and knit tops that hang longer at the bottom to cover the tummy and are flowy rather than clingy.

The line was designed by fashion designer John Bourgeois, who endeavored to create the perfect fitting pant that would be a woman’s essential staple piece to wear and enjoy every day, for business or casual looks. After extensive wear-testing, and re-designing, he designed the SlimSation collection, using fabrics that are comfortable and move with you while having a slimming effect, without compromising style.

SlimSation apparel can be found with hundreds of specialty retailers across the United States.

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Petit Pot: Heaven in a spoon

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Glad to be a puddin’ head when it comes to the world’s most delicious pots de crème

My cousin used to call people Puddin’ Head if they were dorks. Well, I’m glad to be a puddin’ head, if that means eating Petit Pot gourmet puddings every day, and every night.

These amazingly delicious French-chef-made concoctions come in tiny little baby-food-like jars, but don’t let the understated presentation steer you away from tasting these beyond-scrumptious puddings, made from simple ingredients, like milk, eggs, salt and sugar.

I sampled three varieties: dark chocolate pot de crème, lemon curd pot de crème, and the the Riz Au Lait rice pudding, and I can’t get enough, of any of them. okay, so you might not lose weight indulging in these delicious, decadent French custards, but the indulgence is totally worth the calories; and you can make yourself feel better knowing that the ingredients are certified organic, non-GMO and gluten-free, and these delicious French puddings are produced in the good ol’ USA, in South San Francisco.

These adorable tiny pots can be a special treat in your lunch tote, or an after-dinner delight, or shell them out into decorative dishes and pretend you made it yourself, and your dinner guests will talk about your incredible dessert for weeks.

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HealthUncategorized

Get on a (foam) roll

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How to use a foam roller to relieve muscle stress and soreness

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Dr. Michelle Beamer, PT, DPT, Cert MDT, ASTYM, Rapid Rehabilitation guides me through my roller routine.

 

When we hear the term DIY, we usually think of home improvement, but in an age when insurance coverage is uncertain and responsibility for one’s own health care is more important than ever, it is empowering to know there are many things we can do at home to take care of ourselves.  Recently I discovered a physical therapy tool that I now use daily to maintain the progress I made in therapy sessions.

Everyone likes a massage, and now you can do it for yourself with a number of tools designed for self-massage. The most common of these are foam rollers, which can be used for a variety of applications that can release muscle tension, stretch tense areas and rub out sore spots.

Manipulating your body on a foam roller gives you a sense of control over what muscles need the most work and how much pressure to apply.

A company named OPTP makes a wide variety of these rollers. They have rollers of different density and firmness, different textures, sizes, links, and even an assortment of colors and patterns. For just about every musculoskeletal ailment, they make a roller for that.

My roller of choice Pro-Roller soft style, which runs $22.50 to $36. Since I am a bit of a light weight when it comes to “no-pain, no-gain,” I prefer a softer consistency roller which I find more comfortable, particularly on my neck and back where I have chronic soreness and stiffness.

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Rollers come in a variety of firmnesses, textures, sizes and shapes.

 

The soft compression of this roller works well on tight and rigid areas and is ideal for lying supine. In this position I use the roll like a weight bench, using light dumbbells to do chest flies; or I edge up to the top of the roll to do neck extensions.

For these exercises I lie with the roll in the middle of my back, cushioning my spine. This is also a great position to do core exercises where I lift one arm off of the floor and raise the opposite leg, holding that pose while balancing to keep the roll in place.

A terrific feature of foam rollers is that they are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, easy to store —  hidden away under a bed or desk, and you can conveniently use a roller several times a day without a lot of set up, to get in a little relief or relaxation when needed, even at work, if you have the space and privacy where you can lie down on a floor.

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Rollers can be used to perform core exercises for balance and strengthening.

For those people who like to have someone walk on their back to crack it, rollers let you achieve this same effect using your own weight against the roller, and if that is not enough pressure you can apply force as you roll. When I first began rolling, my back would crack frequently; then, as I rolled more often, the cracking diminished, as my alignment improved.

There are plenty of online videos and articles about roller exercises, though I would advise getting a baseline program from a professional physical therapist who can tell you if there’s any contraindications with your particular condition. My physical therapist provided me with an illustrated printout of base exercises which I have built upon, and already within six weeks I have seen measurable improvements of 30 and 40 percent in my flexibility and range-of-motion in my problem areas. Clearly, I am on a roll.

 

 

 

 

 

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LifestyleUncategorized

Smart baby monitor measures baby's sleep

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nanitFirst comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the Internet of Things in the baby carriage.

After Baby Gigl, the smart baby bottle that notified caregivers via an app of the quantity of nutrition babies received and detected bubbles that could cause colic, now there’s Nanit, the “Tesla” of baby monitors and the first video monitor which can measure sleep and evaluate how well the baby is sleeping— without a wearable device.

Going beyond mere surveillance, Nanit provides comprehensive reports that measure a baby’s sleep behavior throughout the night. Since it launched, Nanit has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, BabyCenter, and The Today Show. In December 2016, Business Insider included Nanit in its “Best startups to launch in 2016” list.

The creators say Nanit is the most advanced baby monitor ever created, using cutting-edge computer vision technology to deliver scientifically-backed insights designed to help babies and entire families sleep better.

Nanit features a mobile app experience that allows parents and caregivers to share important information with each other via Nanit’s private social feed. Other key features include an easy set-up floor stand, a night light, a “white noise” maker, six nature soundtracks, a fully integrated cable management system, sound/motion notifications, and HD surveillance of the nursery.

Nanit is designed to help new mothers (and fathers) for whom baby’s sleep is as elusive as those sheep jumping over the fence.  It might even help those weary parents get a few extra winks too.

Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/qASwMefxodM

Nanit costs $279, not including an additional monthly subscription fee for analytics.

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LifestyleUncategorized

Oddest Easter egg hunt promo ever

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DSC_0668Okay, this will probably be the yuckiest egg hunt you read about this season. Yes, I know, this is something most parents will have to deal with, and embarrassment and shame about it just perpetuates the issue, but really, did they have to bring it up in association with Easter?

Here’s the pitch from the PR folks:  This year there is a new type of “egg hunt” you’ll want your family participating in: a hunt for Super Lice and lice eggs. With the continued news of Super Lice invading most of the country, parents might be worried their little ones are picking up more than just chocolate bunnies this spring.

To help the local community, Lice Clinics of America wants to give families the opportunity to eliminate lice and eggs with their own Egg Hunt on April 8th. On that Saturday, clinics in Tustin, LAX, Los Angeles, Huntington Beach and Pasadena will open their doors offering treatments free of charge, helping those who might otherwise not be able to afford proper lice treatment or have been unsuccessful with home treatment and would just like the nightmare to end.

Being the only option to cure super lice once and for all, the clinics use a 3-step process which includes the FDA-cleared AirAllé, which kills lice and eggs through dehydration. Families are guaranteed to go home lice-free, just in time for the holiday.  

So hop on over and have your head checked!  That last sentence was mine.

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