Favorite Website – MarthaStewart.com

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One of my favorite lifestyle websites to peruse when I’m bored is www.marthastewart.com because it has nearly all of my favorite things, all packed into one fantastic site. It has countless delicious recipes for all meals and all occasions, equipped with tantalizing pictures that are sure to make your mouth water. It also has tons of fun DIY tasks, from home décor, to jewelry and even pet toys. Basically, this is the type of website that you can get lost in for hours (and I definitely have), but it also provides you with information that is useful and easy to follow. Here are my favorite aspects of the website:

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If you’re looking for quality recipes that produce great results, this website is the place to go. You can either browse through the different categories of recipes (Appetizers, Breakfast & Brunch, Salads, etc), or search with the search bar, but I guarantee you will find a recipe for whatever you are looking for.

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In addition, for each food dish there are multiple different recipes you can choose from, so there is an option that will suit anyone. The recipes all have simple directions, and some even have video tutorials, making them extremely easy to follow. I just made the 3 Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo over spring break and it was absolutely delicious!

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The DIY content on the website is also very creative and informative. There is DIY tasks for everything you can think of, and just browsing through them makes you want to complete them all! One of my favorite places to look is the “homekeeping multitaskers” section, which gives you simple household items and tells you a whole list of other ways to use them. For example, the simple toothpick can now be used to “Outline letters and designs on a cake before piping the icing. Clear the holes in a strainer or garlic press. Unclog the burners of a gas stove,” and more.

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DESIGN

Another reason I love this website so much is because it has a simple and attractive design that is very image based and easy to navigate. The tabs at the top and the search bar make it quick and easy to find whatever you’re looking for. In addition, all of the recipes and DIY projects are organized by picture, which allows you to see what the finished product will actually look like before you attempt to make them. The appearance of the website is also nice because there is enough white space that it doesn’t appear too cluttered or overwhelming. Overall, the website provides a nice user experience.

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INTERACTIVITY

The website is also very user driven and allows you to determine where you want the website to take you. For example, if you want to make something with spinach, then you can search spinach and you are posed with a variety of options. You can go to spinach dips, or spinach and vegetable pies, or even spinach juice recipes. I like that the website gives you the control to go where you want to go because it makes you feel like you’re creating the recipe/DIY project yourself. I also like that the social media icons are conveniently located on the page so that the content is easy to share with others.

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If you’re looking for some great food inspiration or some creative project ideas than www.marthastewart.com is the place to go! But be warned that it is very easy to get sucked in and you might not come back out for hours!

Happy Browsing Everyone!

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Snacking Healthy…It is possible!

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*Image courtesy of giphy.com

I think we can all admit that eating healthy is hard. There are just too many foods that taste so good (ie. Oreo cookies), yet are bad for your body. The hardest part for me though, is snacking. As a college student, I am constantly snacking, whether it be while I’m studying, watching TV, or even when I’m just bored. It seems like I’ll have a full family size bag of Doritos one second, and the next they’re all gone, every last crumb. After a snacking session like this I often feel guilty and my stomach usually doesn’t feel so great from the onslaught of preservatives and fat I’ve put into my body. It is possible, however, to still munch on your snacks while being healthy. Here’s a list I’ve made of healthy snacks you can eat to satisfy every type of craving.

1.) The Salty Craving

This one is a big one for me since I am an absolute salt addict, but instead of reaching for that bag of potato chips, here are some healthier options.

-Kale Chips: Being the superfood that it is, kale is the perfect food to snack on, and kale chips are super easy to make. Just throw some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on some fresh kale and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes, and voila, you’ve got a deliciously salty snack that you do not have to feel guilty about.

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*Image courtesy of www.tinamarinaccio.com

-Air-popped popcorn: Popcorn is low in calorie and high in fiber, making it a great substitute for your salty craving. Just don’t add the butter and add a pinch of salt, and you have a healthy, guilt free snack.

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*Image courtesy of www.itsmecassie.com

2.) The Sweet Craving

Put away the cookies and ice cream, because here’s some delicious snacks that make great substitutes when you’re craving something sweet.

-Yogurt Parfait: Take some Greek yogurt, top it with some organic granola, and add your favorite fruit to make a yummy and satisfying snack.

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*Image courtesy of www.stanford.edu

-Frozen grapes: Pop your grapes in the freezer for a few hours and you’ve got a healthy snack that is just sweet enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. Grapes are also packed with antioxidants and can lower your levels of bad cholesterol.

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*Image courtesy of www.bigredkitchen.com

3.) The Chocolate Craving

Instead of reaching for your favorite candy bar, here’s some options to please all chocolate lovers.

-Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate that is more than 70 percent cacao is a great substitute for your traditional milk chocolate. With less fat and sugar, and high levels of antioxidants, dark chocolate makes a great healthy snack in moderation.

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*www.marksdailyapple.com

-Homemade hot-cocoa: Take some organic soy milk or almond milk, add two tablespoons of cocoa and a pinch of sugar and you have a deliciously warm beverage that will warm up your tummy and give you some extra calcium too.

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*Image courtesy of news.health.com

So next time you’re reaching for the chocolate chip cookies or Cheetos, try some of these options instead. I guarantee you’ll feel less guilty while eating them and your body will most definitely thank you later.

To see where I got a lot of my recipes and to find more healthy snack options check out these websites here and here.

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*Image courtesy of seasonsstudios.com

Happy Snacking Everyone!

Hot Yoga – The New Fitness Trend that has Everyone Heating Up

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*Image courtesy of www.bikramyogarichardson.com

When it comes to relaxing, one of my favorite ways to calm myself down and ease stress is by doing yoga. For hundreds of years, yoga has been used by different cultures to relax both the muscles and the mind. However, for fitness gurus the one downside of yoga is that it isn’t much of a workout. Doing a downward dog for 30 minutes isn’t exactly physically strenuous. Recently though, this has all changed with the expanding popularity of hot yoga – a type of yoga that not only relaxes the body and mind, but also burns calories.

Officially called “Bikram yoga,” hot yoga is a 90 minute program that consists of 26 different postures, all of which require well-controlled and forceful muscle contractions. The catch? This 90 minutes of yoga is spent in a room heated to 105°F with a humidity of 40 percent.

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*Image courtesy of www.dreamatico.com

If you aren’t a fan of sweating, hot yoga is definitely not for you, but the sweltering heat does have its many benefits.

  • First off, heavy sweating is said to help flush out toxins from the skin, which helps detoxify the body.
  • The intense heat relaxes the muscles and allows you to go more deeply and safely into the yoga positions.
  • The intense heat causes your heart rate to elevate, which makes your body work harder and gives you a better workout.
  • The heat also helps your body relax, helps improve your breathing, and forces you to focus your mind, which can give you a better overall yoga experience.

Sounds fantastic right? Even though hot yoga has its numerous benefits it also carries risks, including severe dehydration. It is recommended that if you are attending hot yoga, you drink A LOT of water throughout the day in anticipation (at least 2 liters). In addition, afterwards you should drink a fortified beverage such as Gatorade to replenish lost electrolytes.

Many celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna swear by hot yoga and its benefits, and if you can embrace the sweat, you can too. It’s basically like doing yoga on a very humid tropical island, right?

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*image courtesy of blog.spafinder.com

Check out this website to see where I got a lot of my information and to learn more about the benefits of hot yoga.

Happy Relaxing Everyone!

JC Penney – The Teapot Crisis

Crises come in all different forms; some are big, some are small, but if they aren’t handled well any crisis, no matter the size, could damage a company’s reputation. In today’s world, social media is a huge component to crisis management, and if utilized correctly, it can benefit the company and help manage the crisis effectively. One example of a company that utilized social media to squash a crisis was JC Penney, when they had to deal with their teapot that bared a striking resemblance to Hitler.

How did it all began? According to this article, in 2013 a user on Reddit (a social bookmarking site) jokingly posted about this billboard of a teapot, saying it vaguely resembled Adolf Hitler.

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*Image courtesy of www.powerretail.com.au

Even though it was a joke, the image quickly blew up and soon it was all over the internet. People from all around the world were talking about the seemingly offensive teapot. According to USA today, people were responding with messages such as “It’s easier to see Hitler than the kettle.” The Telegraph even tweeted a news article about it, which forced JC Penney to take action.

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*Image courtesy of http://blog.spinweb.net

Even though this “crisis” doesn’t seem like a big deal, JC Penney had to respond in order to preserve their reputation as a brand. They decided to respond via social media, since that was how the crisis all began. However, they had to wisely choose how to respond. On one hand, they did not want to take themselves too seriously since most people were talking about the teapot in a joking manner. However, if handled inappropriately, this small crisis could turn into a much bigger deal.

JC Penney thus responded to hundreds of tweets about the teapot with a light-hearted response that conveyed the message, while still being humorous. They also took the billboard of the teapot down.

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*Image courtesy of http://blog.spinweb.net

Did it solve the problem? Yes, it did. In fact, a few days after the social media storm, the teapot was sold out on the JC Penney website. According to USA Today, people were even selling the teapots on eBay, pricing them at over $200.

Thus, the crisis was averted and JC Penney could breathe easy. Their quick response helped turn the “crisis” into a non-issue, and they even had a rise in sales. What could they have done better? Perhaps they could have made more personalized messages to each user, but their strategy was effective too, as they were able to reach a large amount of people very quickly. Well done JC Penney!

But really…who knew a simple teapot could cause so much commotion?

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*Image courtesy of www.redesignrevolution.com