• Bringing People Together With Balloons

    Bringing People Together With Balloons

    Addi Somekh, balloon artist and author of Inflatable Planet, shares his journey to explore life and laughter 

    Picture a remote Ghanaian village. There’s a simple mud hut supporting a thatched straw roof. Out front stands an elder in a traditional Ghanaian smock. A woman next to him dons a colorful kente cloth dress. They’re adorned with strands of beads and have a stately air about them. However, atop both of their heads rests an elaborate conglomeration of color. Intricate bubbles and loops accompanied by swirls and spirals are piled so high they reach several feet above their heads. 

    This is what happens when Addi Somekh visits your village.

    Inspired by his unique talent and sociological curiosity, Addi set out on a four-year, thirty-five- country trek to bring joy and facilitate fun via balloon art.

    The Balloon Guy

    Addi’s beginning with balloons is an interesting part of his story. “I learned how to twist when I was 19 when I got a job as a balloon guy in a local restaurant, working for tips. I knew I was good at it right away because it was the first time I was ever good at anything. I instantly made good money, so I kept doing it.” 

    Bringing People Together With Balloons

    Although it was making him money, he didn’t quite embrace his new talent as admirable or worthy right away. “The problem was that I was also embarrassed because I thought it was the lamest art form ever – I was definitely a self-hating balloon guy at the beginning.”

    Something happened, though, that changed Addi’s mind and his heart toward his newfound talent. It would prove to be the defining moment that altered his future. “One Thanksgiving Day, I was volunteering at a local nursing home, going from room to room, making balloon flowers for people. As I was leaving, one of the nurses told me, ‘You know, for a lot of these people, you just gave them surprise and delight for the last time in their life.’ When she said that, I realized balloons weren’t a silly game, but emotional dynamite.” 

    Perhaps at that moment, the idea for Inflatable Planet was born. “From that point, I wanted to explore and understand the nature of joy by making balloons for people and seeing what happens next.” 

    The Journey Begins

    Addi set out with photographer Charlie Eckert to capture and chronicle just what happens when you travel around the world, making balloon hats for everyone you meet. Addi’s goal? To use his interactions as a way to learn about human nature in the modern world. 

    Embarking on such an unusual and epic quest with no real idea of how his balloons would be received took a bit of mental preparation. Addi and Charlie got some advice from a mutual friend. “Charlie and I had a really good friend named Bill Tracey, who was a Vietnam vet. He told us the thing the soldiers would say to each other right before a battle was, ‘Hope for the best, expect the worst; be ready for both.’ So we entered the whole project, each trip, and each day with that philosophy in our heads.”

    Expect the Unexpected

    As you can imagine, a trip that spans four years and thirty-five countries comes with its share of new experiences. Even though Addi had an idea in mind of how he wanted the journey to go, it was not without its unexpected moments, particularly in the reactions of the people he encountered.

    Addi shared one instance that stood out to him as they were sharing balloon hats in a remote part of northern Ghana, Africa. “Some people came and asked me if I was a prophet and if I had come to celebrate Easter. Because the headdress is so important in African culture and the fact that they had never seen colors just being inflated into the air and then twisted into an elaborate crown, their mind genuinely thought something magical and divine was happening.” 

    Logistics were challenging at times for Addi and Charlie, who were traveling alone without a manager, assistants, or any type of security. They were charged with navigating all aspects of the trip, like procuring lodging, exchanging currency, and figuring out transportation.

    “We went to thirty-five countries over four years, from Milwaukee to Mali to Mongolia; every place had its own specific culture, weather, requirements, and challenges. For instance, you can board a train in Berlin at night and wake up in Amsterdam, but you can miss a bus in Africa and wait days for the next one to come.” 

    Then was the reality of finding opportunities to approach individuals and present them with their custom balloon headwear. Addi explains how they made it work. “Sometimes we would just wander on our own; sometimes we would have to hire a driver and/or a translator. Sometimes we had friends in the area who would take us around. Really, we had to do whatever it took to meet people and have a fun balloon experience with them.”

    Have Balloons Will Travel

    Addi says one of the best ways to break the ice is with balloons! He likes to encourage travelers who seek to find connections and camaraderie in other countries to try his method. “I always advise that people take a bag of uninflated 11-inch round balloons, preferably the multi-colored round balloons. They are easy to mouth inflate, relatively inexpensive, easy to pack, and you can even stick it in a shirt and use it as a pillow.”

    Bringing People Together With Balloons

    His experience, as told in Inflatable Planet, demonstrates the connective power of balloons and the remarkable interchanges his artworks prompted. He says others can harness the power of balloons too. “If you show up to some place and just give the kids these balloons, it will make them happy and their parents happy, and it makes it easier to facilitate trust.” 

    Addi believes balloons bring about an understanding between individuals who would otherwise have difficulty communicating. “That is the power of the ephemeral and colorful nature of balloons; it is like a social lubricant that transcends the language barrier and can help people who speak different languages communicate and even laugh.”

    Inflatable Planet Lessons and the Future

    Addi’s making moves to keep spreading balloon love and hopes to get youth excited about using balloon art to serve their communities. “I have started a college and high school club called the Balloon Art Brigade, where young people learn how to make balloon art and then go volunteer in the community. Right now, it is happening at UC Santa Cruz and a high school in Los Angeles. The goal is to use these two schools as a proof of concept and raise some money to spread it to other schools.”

    At the heart of Addi’s balloon mission is a genuine and much-needed acknowledgment of the ties that bind us together as humans. “I think it is both healthy and useful to remember that laughter sounds the same in every language. As different as we all are – different politics and languages and gods and aesthetics – no group of people on the planet doesn’t laugh. It is software that comes already installed in our hard drives when we are born. We all know this to be true, but we forget, so it is good to remind ourselves on a regular basis.” 

    Once Daily News Bringing People Together With Balloons

    Inflatable Planet is a stunning visual journey through Addi’s balloon adventure. Experience all the joy and balloon twisting exploits in vivid detail. The stories are heartwarming, and the pictures extraordinary, conveying a sense of humanity and humor that can only be conjured up with, apparently, balloons. 

    Learn more about Addi by visiting his website and following him on Instagram @inflatableplanet. Explore Inflatable Planet and purchase your own copy. You can see Addi’s work with the Balloon Art Brigade here.

  • Our Fascination With Fandom

    Our Fascination With Fandom

    Think of all your favorites. Television, movies, music, sports teams, celebrities, books, athletes, reality stars, animation, one thing they all have in common is fan culture. You name it; there’s a fandom for that. 

    Some call it an experience; others consider it a lifestyle. Regardless of where you fit in on the fan scale, there’s no doubt fan culture is popular and powerful. 

    Figuring Out Fan Culture

    As the name implies, fan culture is made up of fans. Fans are those who are actively engaged and support something or someone they admire. We venture into fan culture territory when those fans begin to create, promote, debate, interact, and disseminate products and information related to their faves.

    We’ve always had fanatics in our midst. In fact, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work Sherlock Holmes is credited with inspiring the first active fandom circa the late 1800s. Sans Internet, Sherlockians, or Holmesians as they were often called, conjured up some of the world’s first fan fiction and even held a mock funeral in 1893 when Holmes was killed off in the famous series. Fans were so outraged at the character’s death that Doyle brought him back to life and continued the series. 

    We can also think back to Beatlemania or maybe even to your own bedroom where you plastered every inch of blank wall space with magazine pictures of your favorite boy band, but fan culture these days is seriously amped up. 

    Technology has truly changed the game, and there’s some psychology behind why we take our fan level to frenzy.

    Let’s examine just what draws us into the depths of fandom.

    Our Fascination With Fandom

    Content Connections

    Social media has revolutionized how we interact with, well, everyone, but we have access to our favorites and follows like never before. Tweets, TikToks, Snaps, IG Live, etc.; content is literally in the palm of our hands all day, every day. And it’s not just static content.

    Fan culture means interacting with that content online. It used to be (way back in the dark ages, the 90s! Gasp!) Interactions with traditional media meant you watched something, read something, or listened to something, and likely that was it. Perhaps a chat or two with some fellow fans, but Now, we can be in the mix.

    You can send hearts to Halsey while she sings her new release live or write your own blog about The Bachelor so that everyone knows who should receive that rose!

    Social Connections

    Everybody wants to belong! In fandom, we often find our people. We enjoy socializing and interacting with people who share common interests, and it provides a sense of comfort and camaraderie.

    There are also interesting psychological and physiological effects.

    The Mayo Clinic tells us that social ties that accompany a sense of belonging help us feel protected and manage our stress levels. It can even be a positive influence on certain behavioral issues.

    When we belong to a group, we feel:

    • Supported
    • Connected
    • More resilient
    • A better ability to cope with adversity
    • Higher self-esteem
    • More positive overall

    Well, fandom gives us that sense of belonging. Whether online or in person, like-minded fans with similar interests share a community.

    So if you want to wear fishnet stockings while throwing toast at a movie screen, you can, and there will be an entire room full of people who accept you and support you in doing it.


    What’s the next chapter in your Fifty Shades fan fiction? What Eras outfit are you wearing? How’s that watercolor portrait of Han Solo looking? No matter your medium, fan culture allows for expression. 

    It opens opportunities for the perfect mix of interest, talent, and identity. Fans become inspired and often find their creative juices flowing when they focus on their fan culture icons.

    Excitement and Energy

    A stadium full of screaming fans can get the endorphins flowing! There’s something special about thousands of voices united in chanting, “I believe that we will win!” or singing in perfect harmony with Harry Styles. 

    There’s a feeling generated when you’re experiencing something you love in a large group of equally devoted individuals. Nearly 170,000 Comic Con attendees can’t be wrong. The annual event is perhaps the pinnacle of fandom gatherings, hosting nearly 2,000 activities and hundreds of panels, and autograph sessions.

    Sometimes fan culture is just downright fun. 

    Fan Culture: We’re Here for It

    When it comes down to it, fan culture provides so much of what we crave as human beings. Belonging, self-expression, feeling excitement, and of course, our newfound love for social media 

    Whovians, Beliebers, Potterheads, Trekkies, Cityzens, and everyone in the Beyhive, we know you’re not obsessed. You have dedication and passion and are driven by innate human desires that we all have; sometimes, it just manifests itself in a 25-stanza poem and a great cosplay costume.

    Better stop reading now and go get started on that fan fiction.

  • Brighter days, sunnier skies

    Brighter days, sunnier skies

    As the weather gets warmer, it’s important to keep in mind that your skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Sun damage is one of the biggest culprits behind premature aging, wrinkles, and even skin cancer. (C’mon, you don’t need your mom to tell you that, right?!) That’s why making suncare a part of your daily skincare routine is suuuper important.

    One of our new favorite brands that’s been killin’ it in the suncare and skincare game is Sunnie. Sidenote: their branding and packaging are on point! Their mission is to provide high-quality skincare products that protect and nourish the skin. Here are some of our favorite products that are perfect for incorporating into your daily routine.

    The Protector SPF 40 Face and Neck Moisturizer is a must-have for anyone who wants to keep their skin safe from the sun. Not only does it offer broad-spectrum protection, but it also contains a blend of nourishing ingredients like shea butter and green tea extract that help hydrate and soothe your skin. Plus, the lightweight formula absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling soft and protected all day long.

    Don’t forget about your lips! The Plump It Hyaluronic and SPF 30 Lip Plumper not only protects your lips from the sun but also contains hyaluronic acid to help plump and hydrate them. The formula is non-sticky and glides on smoothly, leaving your lips feeling soft and moisturized.

    Brighter days, sunnier skies

    Lastly, the On The Daily Antioxidant Moisturizer is packed with antioxidants like vitamin C and E, which help protect your skin from free radical damage caused by the sun and other environmental stressors. And of course, it also contains SPF 30 for added protection. The lightweight formula is perfect for daily use and absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling soft and hydrated.

    Incorporating these suncare products from Sunnie into your daily routine can make a world of difference in protecting and nourishing your skin. Remember, suncare is not just for the summer months but all year round. UV rays can still harm your skin even when it’s cloudy, so it’s essential to wear SPF daily to keep your skin protected.

    When it comes to suncare, it’s important to choose products that work for your skin type. Sunnie offers a range of products that cater to different skin types and concerns. For those with dry skin, The Protector SPF 40 Face and Neck Moisturizer is perfect for providing hydration and sun protection. If you’re looking for a product that offers both sun protection and lip plumping benefits, the Plump It Hyaluronic and SPF 30 Lip Plumper is a great option. And for those looking for a daily moisturizer that also provides sun protection and antioxidant benefits, On The Daily Antioxidant Moisturizer is a great choice.

    Remember to take other measures to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, such as wearing protective clothing like hats and sunglasses and seeking shade during peak sun hours. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is crucial for maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin. Incorporating suncare products from Sunnie into your daily routine is an easy way to ensure that your skin is protected from the sun’s damaging effects. With the right suncare products and practices, you can enjoy the sun without sacrificing the health of your skin.

  • The Best coffee subscriptions to try

    The Best coffee subscriptions to try

    Some of our faves for getting a caffeine fix

    We want coffee. We need coffee. It’s the fuel that propels us to participate in that dreaded meeting with corporate and gives us the energy to immerse ourselves in errands. Sometimes that comforting jolt of java is the only thing that gets us through the day.

    If you can’t live without your regular coffee treat, you’re not alone. According to the National Coffee Association, coffee consumption in the U.S. has hit a two-decade high, with 66% of Americans who report drinking coffee daily.

    The same survey reports that at-home coffee consumption is up as well. This you? 

    If your morning ritual includes brewing up your own cup of joe, we have a suggestion you might want to consider.

    To ensure you don’t get caught without your caffeine, try a coffee subscription (although prescription may be more apropos.) It’s a great option to make sure you always have your favorite brand handy when you’re craving a cup.

    We’ve evaluated some top coffee subscription options. Each of them offers a monthly delivery of Here’s a rundown of four of our caffeinated favorites.

    Good Citizen Coffee Co.

    Good Citizen is a company that truly lives up to its name. They offer sustainably sourced coffee and are touted for fostering strong relationships with their farmers. They truly prioritize a balance between producing great coffee and respecting the planet. 

    Their practices promote regenerative agriculture and encourage biodiversity. If you’re an eco-conscious coffee consumer, Good Citizen Coffee Co. is for you. Their coffee? It’s just as impressive as their environmental efforts.

    With plenty of flavor profiles that appeal to all types of coffee drinkers, a Good Citizen subscription will get you top-quality coffee roasted on-site at their Nashville roastery, delivered monthly, biweekly, or weekly.

    They also offer quality, trendy brewing accessories at reasonable prices, as well as flavored syrups and sugar cubes in downright adorable packaging. 

    Good Citizen gets our nod for all-around goodness in your mug and toward Mother Earth.

    The Best Coffee Subscriptions to Try

    La Colombe Coffee Roasters

    If cold brew is more your style and you want ice-cold caffeine at your fingertips, try La Colombe.

    Pick 12 or 24 packs from 13 different flavors. If you can’t choose your favorite flavor, they have a variety pack with four top-selling options, including triple latte, double latte, mocha, and vanilla.

    Their dark-medium roast comes in a convenient tap fridge pack; enjoying a cool coffee treat doesn’t get any easier! La Colombe offers beans and ground coffee as well, but we think their iced selection is top-notch.

    La Colombe is our pick for best cold brew options. Just don’t confuse the fridge pack container for your boxed wine. 

    Madcap Coffee

    You’d be hard-pressed to find more unique flavor profiles than those offered by Madcap Coffee. Red apple, nougat, orange blossom, lemonade, and plum are just some of the distinctive tastes apparent in their flavor profiles.

    A Madcap subscription means access to special offers and your shipment roasted to order. Choose your quantity and frequency and get regular deliveries of your preferred morning pick-me-up.

    You can also rep some Madcap merch. They have a whole line of branded apparel to show off your love for this innovative company.

    Madcap is our choice for the most unique and interesting flavor options. Adventurous palates, this should be your pick.

    Atlas Coffee

    If you want to be surprised about the origin of your next coffee buzz, check out Atlas Coffee. They’ll send you a new coffee each month from a different country. 

    By joining their “Coffee Club,” you get a bag of single origin coffee and a postcard from the country, along with notes and brewing tips for that specific batch.

    They also get extra credit for their recyclable coffee pod cups compatible with Keurig coffee makers, which is a subscription option.

    We choose Atlas as best brand to expose you to different coffee locales. Enjoy a coffee journey around the world.

    A Coffee Shop in Your Own Kitchen

    If you’re in the 66% who need their daily dose of liquid energy, consider a coffee subscription service to keep you stocked. It’s a great accompaniment to all the other perks of percolating at home.

    Reasons to be your own barista:

    1. It saves money. If you buy to-go coffee regularly, add it up; it may be a lot more than you think!
    2. You don’t have to deal with long lines or cranky customers. Well, we hope not.
    3. You can experiment with flavors in both the coffee itself and what you add.
    4. You can experiment with brewing methods. Perhaps you have always wanted to try a French press or are intrigued by the science of siphon coffee, be adventurous in how you brew.
    5. Establishing a morning routine is a positive practice; make your coffee-making ritual a part of that.

    Enjoy coffee on your own terms; brew at home and try a subscription to supplement your coffee supply.

  • Comfort Cravings

    Comfort Cravings

    How Our Brains and Our Bellies Collaborate to Comfort Us

    We know you’re watching your waistline. Calorie count and nutritional content matter to you. You’re always oh so disciplined and dedicated to eating healthy until that comfort food comes calling.

    There’s nothing quite like being wrapped in the warm, cheesy, doughy security blanket of your favorite comfort food. What makes it so special that we’re willing to forfeit a week’s worth of progress on the scale?

    When the doldrums hit, why do we run to dark chocolate? What is it about Mom that has you craving mashed potatoes? 

    Turns out there are several reasons rooted in science and sociology.

    What Constitutes Comfort Food?

    When it comes down to it, comfort food is (surprise!) comforting to you when you eat it. That makes comfort food a matter of opinion and personal context, but there’s some commonality in what we all crave.

    Dishes that are often identified as comforting usually consist of either:

    • High carb
    • High sugar
    • High fatty acid

    French fries, cheeseburgers, ice cream, candy, and chocolate, common comfort choices, all fit that nutrient profile.

    Other highly desired dishes are characterized as:

    • Warm
    • Creamy
    • Rich
    • Flavorful
    • Savory
    • Sweet
    Comfort Cravings

    Essential Ingredients

    Since pizza and mac and cheese consistently make it to the top of comfort foods favorites lists, bread, cheese, and pasta are contenders for components of comfort. 

    But what about those dishes that delight us for other reasons? Surprisingly our idea of comfort can have little to do with taste. 

    Maybe rich pasta sauces, cheesy filling, and creamy potatoes are not your thing (we’re calling the cops), but chances are there’s a food that gets you feeling some type of way, and it all has to do with our brains.

    Chemicals that Connect to Comfort Food

    We all react to food whether it’s comforting or not. Our brains are wired to reward us for fueling our bodies, so when we eat, we feel good. This is due to a naturally occurring chemical in our system, dopamine.

    Dopamine is known as the “feel good” hormone, and science proves it is released when we experience a good meal. This dopamine release was important from an evolutionary standpoint because it encouraged our ancestors to eat foods necessary for survival.

    Serotonin is another one of those happiness hormones, 95% of which is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, furthering the connection between what we munch and our mood.

    The act of eating, in general, can bring joy, and when it’s connected to a few other aspects, well, you’ve got yourself a bonafide comfort food.

    Nostalgia and Pride

    Sometimes the most powerful component of comfort food is the memory it evokes. In many cultures, food is connected to traditions and special holidays. Those are often occurrences we associate with joy and loved ones. 

    Our brains make connections between moments we recall fondly and the sensory stimuli during those moments. Flavors and smells of food can be a vehicle taking us back.

    Food can become a display of our heritage. If you’ve ever felt the accomplishment of recreating your great-grandmother’s boliche or realized you’ve perfected the secret family sauce, you know that pride can be derived from food. 

    Food represents our lineage, history, nation of origin, and family. Those things matter, so our mind makes that connection, and it adds to the positive feeling from the food.

    Connecting With Others

    Just like we connect food with special traditions and holidays, food is also often the center of our social gatherings. 

    We get together with colleagues for apps and drinks after work. We have friends over to share a meal in our homes. We tailgate at sporting events, snack at book clubs, and enjoy popcorn and sodas at the movies.

    Food is often a part of interacting and enjoying each other’s company.

    Comfort Food? Yes, Chef

    Wanna whip up a batch of bliss? When the comfort cravings kick in, here are some tips for 

    As previously noted, comfort has a different context for everyone. Still, you can follow some general rules to be sure whatever food you’re going for is comforting to your feelings and delicious to your tastebuds.

    For a trophy comfort food:

    • Think about balancing the five basic tastes: sweet, salt, bitter, sour, and umami.
    • Choose fresh, quality ingredients. 
    • Create flavor layers with herbs and spices.
    • Taste along the way! Check-in on that flavor while you’re cooking.
    • Make the presentation worthy of a cherished recipe. Serve it in a special dish, add garnishes, and use the good silverware.

    Also, consider some of the best kitchen gadgets to help you get your comfort food fix:

    • Instapot-For comfort food fast
    • Slow cooker-Fill your house with the smell of simmering deliciousness
    • Popcorn maker-Movie night!
    • Electric mixer-Mashed potato must have
    • Air fryer-Experience less guilt without the deep fryer
    • Ice cream maker-Try making your favorite flavors

    Sometimes it’s okay to choose comfort over calorie count; science and sociology say so.

  • Fermented Foods: A Gut Gamechanger

    Fermented Foods: A Gut Gamechanger

    You’ve got a friend in fermented foods! Health professionals are finding that fermentation offers more than just adding to the lifespan of our foods; it could add to yours!

    The ancient practice of fermentation might just be what the doctor ordered for our modern abdominal ails.

    Biotechnology From 10,000 BC

    Historians believe the first human civilization used fermentation. Think 6th-grade world culture class and the fertile crescent. They didn’t know why, but fermentation allowed them to preserve foods to get them through the harsh winter months.

    Because our ancient ancestors didn’t understand the science behind fermentation, like so many phenomena, the gods were given credit. All hail leavening lord!

    So What is the Science?

    We now know that fermentation isn’t a product of divine intervention; it’s all about a chemical reaction that can be explained with science.

    Fermentation is a process where yeast and bacteria break down sugars. During that process, active peptides are produced by the bacteria, and these peptides possess an array of impressive health benefits.

    (Please excuse the scary, multi-syllabic medical terms. You can blame the National Library of Medicine.)

    • Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) have a blood pressure-lowering effect
    • Exopolysaccharides contain prebiotic properties
    • Bacteriocins show anti-microbial effects
    • Sphingolipids have anti-carcinogenic and anti-microbial properties
    • Bioactive peptides are anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, opioid antagonist, and anti-allergenic 

    So, fermented foods have the potential for anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-atherosclerotic activity. Whew!

    Putting it Simply

    All that “anti” mumbo jumbo is great, but what about immediate and applicable health effects? Here are three straightforward ways fermented foods are your gut’s greatest ally.

    1. It makes food easier to digest. The process of fermentation breaks down some of the natural sugars and starches, which means your gut gets a break! 

    2. It increases nutritional content and improves taste. Unlike canned vegetables, fermented vegetables retain all their nutrients. In fact, fermentation can add nutrients. For example, B12, which is not typically found in plant-based foods, exists after fermentation. It also creates new and more complex flavors making bland items more palatable.

    3. It improves the intestinal microbiome. Fermented foods boost the number of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your gut. This is linked to improved immunity, and decreased inflammation, and can even aid in weight loss.

    Famously Fermented

    While some fermented foods are perhaps more, uh, exotic (look up surstromming or stinky tofu), others are readily available, gaining popularity, and won’t assault your senses.

    The next time you head to your neighborhood supermarket, keep an eye out for these grocery store staples.


    Kombucha is a fizzy sweet and sour tea drink. Its main ingredients are yeast, sugar, and black tea. Many companies are jumping on the kombucha bandwagon leading to an endless variety of flavor choices ranging from lemon ginger to peach pie. 

    Kombucha is also available on tap, making its presence more prevalent in bars, cafes, and restaurants. Check for availability at your favorite watering hole.

    Flavor Profile:


    • Tart
    • Slightly sweet
    • Added flavors can be fruity, floral, or herbaceous
    Fermented Foods: A Gut Gamechanger


    Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish that usually contains a combination of vegetables, most commonly that includes cabbage and an array of spices, including garlic and ginger.

    Flavor Profile:

    • Sour
    • Salty
    • Tangy
    • It can be spicy when made with chili flakes


    Sauerkraut comes from finely cut cabbage. The recipe may simply contain salt or can be spiced up (pun intended) by adding garlic, dill, cilantro, or even jalapenos.

    Flavor profile:

    • Distinct sour flavor
    •  Acidic
    • Salty


    Kefir is made from milk by adding kefir grains, which are a combination of yeast and bacteria. 

    Flavor profile:

    • Tangy
    • Creamy

    You may come across pickles, beets, onions, and other veggies that are fermented gut allies. A good practice is to look for labels that say “naturally fermented.”

    Tips for easily adding fermented foods to your diet:

    • Toss pickled vegetables in as salad toppings
    • Add sauerkraut to sandwiches, hotdogs, or burgers
    • Stir fermented veggies into tuna, chicken, or crab salad
    • Add yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk to your morning smoothie
    • Treat yourself to sipping a kombucha for a mid-day pick me up

    Add excitement and variation to your meals, and get that gut microbiome in check while you’re at it – put some fermented foods on your shopping list!

  • Salt Scrubs are a Win for Your Skin

    Salt Scrubs are a Win for Your Skin

    There are a lot of beauty gimmicks out there. Products that promise to erase your wrinkles in 60 seconds or eliminate your double chin might not live up to the hype, but salt scrubs are something else. 

    It turns out that salt isn’t just for the rim of your favorite margarita. It has powerful properties that can soften your skin and really get you glowing!

    Why Scrub Anyway?

    The superpower of salt scrubs is their ability to exfoliate. Exfoliation of the skin means using a granular substance to remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. When salt is the granular substance, you also gain an extra ingredient. Salt contains magnesium, which is said to absorb toxins and help ease inflammation.

    Not Just for Your Face

    Your face isn’t the only beneficiary of a salty slather; you can use it on your whole body. Heels, knees, and elbows are particularly susceptible to dry, dead skin, and a good salt scrub can rid those areas of unsightly ick.

    We focus a lot on our faces, but the rest of our bodies need skincare too. Give those legs a summer glow, and prepare to bare your arms. Basically, scrub away on any spots you want to look more youthful and radiant.

    Our Scrub Selections

    If you’re intrigued by the notion of sloughing off those unwanted dead skin cells, salt scrubbing might be for you. We’ve done our homework to narrow down a few good finds for you.

    Take these top three suggestions as the best salt scrubs to introduce into your skincare regimen.

    Osea Salts of the Earth Body Scrub

    We award Osea for the best-added ingredient. Their skin-nourishing formula contains shea butter, a nutrient-rich, natural moisturizer. Most users report extreme hydration that helps with sun damage and soothing skin in dry air climates.

    Biossance Squalane and Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub

    We choose this brand as the best bang for your buck. At $28, it’s a bit more economical, albeit a smaller amount than our other two tops. It might be a good choice if you’re interested in testing out if a scrub routine is right for you. Biossance also switches up the salt for sugar, but the granular exfoliating effect is still there.

    Sun Coast Salt Scrubs

    We rate Sun Coast as best overall! With minimal ingredients and a variety of fragrances to choose from, Sun Coast Salt Scrubs offers a luxurious spa-like experience with a formula that rinses completely clean with no oily residue. Their packaging is on point, and part of their proceeds benefit Oceana, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans.

    Other appealing aspects of salt scrubs are the fact that they can be used every day, and their results are immediately noticeable. You’ll feel an improvement in softness and texture upon your first use. Keep up with the scrubbing, and you’ll maintain the look and feel of skin you’ll want to show off.

    If you want a simple solution for healthier, more vibrant skin, just add salt!

  • All About the Academy Awards

    All About the Academy Awards

    On Sunday, March 12th, the Dolby Theatre in the heart of Hollywood will host the 95th Academy Awards ceremony. It’s fitting that the biggest night for the film industry will take place on one of the largest stages in the country. 

    This year’s ceremony honors films released in 2022 for their artistic and technical merit. Most agree an Academy Award is one of the most prestigious and significant awards in the entertainment industry.

    After landing the gig in 2017 and again in 2018, Jimmy Kimmel returns for his third time playing host to the event. Kimmel will emcee the evening and lead audiences through the gamut of the twenty-three award categories. 

    Categories include awards for such achievements as best cinematography, best costume design, best director, best film editing, best original score, and an array of other accolades for film production components. The ones that keep us tuned in, though, are those that feature our favorite celebs and our most-loved movies.

    Best actor, best actress, best supporting actor and actress, and best picture tend to be the big five of the night. We’ll stay up to watch which one of our picks walks away with what might be the most recognized statue in the world.

    All About the Academy Awards

    And the nominees are…

    Best Actor in a Leading Role

    • Austin Butler, Elvis
    • Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
    • Brendan Fraser, The Whale
    • Paul Mescal, Aftersun
    • Bill Nighy, Living

    Best Actress in a Leading Role

    • Cate Blanchett, Tár
    • Ana de Armas, Blonde
    • Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
    • Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
    • Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

    Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    • Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
    • Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway
    • Judd Hirsch, The Banshees of Inisherin
    • Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
    • Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

    Best Actress in a Supporting Role

    • Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
    • Hong Chou, The Whale
    • Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
    • Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
    • Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once

    Best Picture

    • All Quiet on the Western Front
    • Avatar: The Way of Water
    • The Banshees of Inisherin
    • Elvis
    • Everything Everywhere All At Once
    • The Fabelmans
    • Tár
    • Top Gun: Maverick
    • Triangle of Sadness
    • Women Talking

    Fun Facts for This Year’s Big Five

    • Only four performers (all female) up for an acting award have been nominated previously
    • Five nominees are Irish actors, an Oscar record
    • The lineup includes the most Asian and Asian-American nominees on record
    • For the fifth straight year, supporting categories contain multiple nominees from the same movie
    • Judd Hirsch is the second oldest actor ever to be nominated, and his last came 42 years prior
    • Angela Bassett became the first acting nominee for a Marvel Studios film

    More to Note About the Night

    Musical performances by Lady Gaga and Rhianna will highlight their nominations for best original song, “Hold My Hand” and “Lift Me Up,” respectively. Also, expect each of the twenty-three categories to be awarded during the broadcast, unlike in years past when some categories were awarded off-air.

    As always, it promises to be an elegant affair featuring the best talent, fashion, and glamor that Hollywood has to offer.

  • CHATGPT – Human and emotionally removed

    CHATGPT – Human and emotionally removed

    As an AI language model, ChatGPT has gained widespread popularity among individuals and businesses alike. This is largely due to the fact that it offers an efficient and effective way of communicating with customers and clients.

    One of the main reasons why everyone is looking into ChatGPT is its natural language processing capabilities. Unlike previous chatbots, ChatGPT has the ability to understand and interpret natural language, which makes it much more effective at engaging with users. By using machine learning algorithms to analyze language patterns and user behavior, ChatGPT can provide highly relevant responses that are tailored to each individual user.

    Another reason why ChatGPT has become so popular is its versatility. It can be used for a wide range of purposes, including customer service, sales, marketing, and even personal assistance. For businesses, ChatGPT offers a cost-effective way to provide support and engage with customers, without the need for expensive call centers or large teams of support staff.

    For individuals, ChatGPT can be used to streamline everyday tasks, such as scheduling appointments, making reservations, or even ordering food. By simply typing in a request, ChatGPT can quickly and efficiently provide a response that meets the user’s needs.

    In addition to its natural language processing and versatility, ChatGPT is also highly scalable. This means that it can handle large volumes of requests and can be easily integrated into existing systems and workflows. As a result, businesses can quickly and easily implement ChatGPT without disrupting their existing operations.

    Finally, ChatGPT offers a level of personalization that is unmatched by other chatbots. By analyzing user behavior and preferences, ChatGPT can provide highly targeted responses that are tailored to each individual user. This makes for a much more engaging and interactive experience, which in turn leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    Overall, it is clear why everyone is looking into ChatGPT, but is it really connected to what we as human think or speak? With its natural language processing, versatility, scalability, and personalization capabilities, ChatGPT offers a powerful tool for businesses and individuals alike. As more and more people discover its benefits, it is likely that ChatGPT will continue to gain popularity and become an essential part of our daily lives. The question is – how do we embrace technology without losing the art of writing?

  • Colors Got Us Feeling Some Kinda Way

    Colors Got Us Feeling Some Kinda Way

    They surround us, yet we likely put little thought into them. Feeling energized? Have a hunger pang? Notice a soothing feeling in a certain room? Those might just be attributed to color.

    Whether it’s conscious or not, we connect with color. Color is so important in our daily lives, behaviors, and feelings that a field of psychology is devoted to it. Businesses use color to influence our purchases, and designers incorporate it to make spaces more appealing and suited for their purpose. Authors, songwriters, movie directors, and artists all use these commonly held color meanings to add impact to their work.

    Color matters and can make a difference in what we think, how we feel, and what we buy.

    Color Psychology

    The idea that colors affect our behaviors and emotions has its very own study. Color psychology  <runs to change major> explores the link between people and how color affects them, taking into account aspects like age and cultural background. At the heart of color psychology is the idea that colors elicit an emotional response that can have a powerful influence.

    Color psychology also tackles topics like:

    • The meanings of colors
    • What influences color preferences
    • How color can impact mental health
    • What colors are best for work environments

    Perhaps the most relevant study in our modern era regarding color psychology and what has led to much of what we believe to be true today was done by neuropsychologist Kurt Goldstein in 1942. Goldstein found in his research that certain colors produced certain physiological reactions. He also believed that colors could prompt individuals toward specific emotional responses and physical behaviors.

    Colors Got Us Feeling Some Kinda Way

    Associations and Symbolism

    A lot of what we feel about color comes from some universal associations that have long been attached to specific colors. These associations are generated from our learned experiences, cultural norms, and even natural instincts.

    For example, in the U.S., we tend to associate the color orange with Halloween. Orange reminds us of pumpkins. Pumpkins are popular on Halloween; thus, our brain connects the color with the holiday. Our culture and past experiences have built the association.

    Think of the symbolic meanings we tend to attach to the following colors:

    Red: power, danger, love, passion
    Think Valentine’s Day, alarms, and stop signs.

    Green: nature, freshness, fertility
    Trees and lush foilage have helped frame our perception of green.

    Blue: stillness, water, calm
    We associate water with being blue, and water’s visual and auditory effects are often viewed as pleasing or soothing.

    Yellow: joy, brightness, energy
    We’ve got the warm sun and vivid lighting to thank for this association.

    Mood and Emotion

    Our brains start at an early age allowing color to affect our mood and emotions. Consider how babies are attracted to bright colors. They’re more prone to pick up a brightly colored toy. It starts with eyesight; these colors are simply easiest for them to see, but their brains begin to connect those colors with a sense of enjoyment and interest.

    Our preferences as adults can depend more on our personal experiences and tastes, which can vary from person to person, but there are some common feelings attached to many colors.

    In an international color-emotion survey, individuals were asked to select an emotion word to describe their feelings when they saw particular colors. Here are some examples of colors and their most commonly cited associations:

    Red– love 
    Yellow– joy
    Green– contentment
    Blue– relief
    Grey– sadness

    The emotional associations to colors are subjective, again due to our personal experiences and culture, but it seems we agree on a majority of them.

    Color and Consumers

    Because of our learned assumptions of colors and what they convey, advertisers and marketing agencies make use of hues to entice us to do everything from downloading an app to buying a certain snack. 

    Logos, packaging, ads, and websites are all carefully curated to be visually appealing but are also based on what emotion or association the business wants to evoke in the buyer.

    You might be more apt to choose a jewelry brand for its use of sleek, black packaging that notes sophistication and nod to luxury. Your new leather boots are likely labeled with brown tones to denote earthy ruggedness. Those yummy gummies may have come dressed in a bright purple wrapper to pronounce their mystery and magic.

    The next time you’re “seeing red” or “tickled pink”, remember there’s a reason. If your grey hair has you feeling sad, well, that’s another story.