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The Best Ways to Have Family Fun During a Lockdown

By: Marie Miguel

It hasn’t been easy trying to navigate everything during the pandemic. The tragic loss of life has been difficult for many families around the world. It’s also been hard adjusting to not being able to go out and do things that you normally like to do. If you’re raising kids, then you might feel as if you’re going stir crazy being stuck inside together with your family. 

The kids want to be able to do something fun, but you’re going through another lockdown. What are your best options to keep everyone occupied and happy? Keep reading to learn about the best ways to have family fun during a lockdown. This might give you a few good ideas that will make your time spent together at home a lot more entertaining. 

Play Board Games

Have you sat down as a family to play a board game recently? This is a tried and true family activity that has helped many families bond over the years. There are a wide variety of different board games out there that you can try out. You just need to find one that the entire family can enjoy and understand. 

If you have younger children, then you might wish to pick a board game that is a bit on the easier side. If you’re playing with older kids, then you might be fine playing more complex games such as Trivial Pursuit. Whether you’re going to play Monopoly together or if you want to have a rousing game of Scrabble, it’ll be a good time. It’s a fun way to pass the time that you should take advantage of. 

Play Video Games

What if your kids aren’t quite so into old-school board games? You could always try sitting down to play video games with them. Even if you don’t play a lot of video games, it’ll be fun to interact with your kids. There are all sorts of good family-friendly titles that you can choose from. The Nintendo Switch is a particularly good console choice if you’re looking for games that will be fun for kids (and adults) of all ages. 

You can start a little family rivalry in Mario Kart. Or you can work together to try to solve puzzles in games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There are hundreds of games that you could choose to play, but the important thing is to enjoy your time with your kids. Games can be magical because they can help you to escape when you need to the most. 

Arts & Crafts

Sitting down and doing arts & crafts with your kids could also be a good time. Sometimes it’s nice to just take it easy and try to create something artistic as a family. There are all sorts of little art projects you could take on if you’re so inclined. Create decorations for various holidays or help to teach your kids how to paint. 

Many have rediscovered their love of art during the pandemic. This could be a good weekend activity that you can enjoy with your significant other and your kids. You’ll simply need to ensure that you have the materials for whatever art project you’re interested in. You’ll be able to admire the results of your work when you’re finished, too. 

Listen to Music

What about just relaxing in the living room as a family and listening to music? Yes, sometimes it’s hard to agree on what to listen to when everyone in the family has different tastes in music. However, it can still be fun to share your favorites with your family. Some families have decided to let each kid pick one record, and they will sit down to listen to all of them on a special music day each weekend. 

Another idea is to share your love of music by teaching your kids how to play instruments. If you’re a musician, then this could be a good time. Of course, your kids will need to be interested in music or it might not be so fun for them. Music is powerful, and it can help you have a great time even when you’re stuck inside during a lockdown. 

Watch Family-Friendly Shows

Most families will spend copious amounts of time watching shows on Netflix or Disney Plus during the pandemic. Your family might wind up being no different. That doesn’t mean that watching some great shows with your family won’t be a valuable experience. You can enjoy movies and all sorts of other entertainment media together. 

With so much great content to watch, it’ll be easy to find a new movie to enjoy with your family each weekend. Make some popcorn and sit down in the living room to watch something together. It gives you something to look forward to as a family. Turning it into a fun occasion with snacks and mood lighting should be a good time. 

Cook Together

Have you thought about cooking together? Depending on how you feel about cooking, this might sound like a great idea or a terrible one. Cooking can be a lot of fun when you approach things with the proper attitude. It can also be valuable to teach your kids how to cook early on in life. 

You can make simple dishes together, and the kids will enjoy it. If you want to make things really easy, you can have kids help you with baking. When you’re making cookies it’ll be easy to let the kids cut out the cookie shapes with cookie cutters. Family cooking time could become a staple in your household even once the lockdown is finished. 

Remember That You’re Never Alone

Remember that you’re never alone when you’re starting to feel depressed or anxious. These are trying times, and you can reach out if you feel like you need help. BetterHelp has some awesome resources on parenting, which can help you get through difficult times. Whether you need parenting advice or if you just need to talk to someone about the stress that you’re experiencing, BetterHelp can assist you in the process of putting things into perspective. 

Don’t hesitate to contact an online therapist if you’re feeling uneasy about things in life. Online therapy has helped many people to work through significant problems. It’s easy to talk to a therapist from the comfort of home, and it’s great that this therapy option is so affordable. Look into things today if you’ve been having a tough time and would like to start feeling better. 

LOS ANGELES TOURISM KICKS OFF MEGA SPORTING EVENTS

LOS ANGELES TOURISM & CONVENTION BOARD CELEBRATES LA’S COMEBACK, KICKS OFF THE DESTINATION’S HISTORIC DECADE OF MEGA SPORTING EVENTS WITH SERIES OF EVENTS IN NEW YORK INCLUDING A LOS ANGELES-THEMED TAILGATE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

For its first client, media and consumer events since the beginning of the pandemic, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (Los Angeles Tourism) set its sights on New York, LA’s largest domestic visitor market. Aligned with the timing of the Rams vs. Giants game taking place at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, October 17, Los Angeles Tourism is hosting four days of activity beginning this Friday, October 15, with a preview of the Los Angeles-themed tailgate experience that is open to the public on October 16 and 17 and concluding on October 18 with an intimate luncheon for key sales clients.

Serving as a kickoff to the decade of mega sporting events LA is hosting beginning with Super Bowl LVI in February 2022, Los Angeles Tourism officials will visit with key clients and media to share information on the destination’s safe and responsible reopening and LA’s seemingly endless supply of new hotels, restaurants, venues and cultural exhibitions.

“New York is an important market for us, both in terms of leisure and group business, so when the time was right to host our first mission since the pandemic, we knew it had to be in the Big Apple,” stated Adam Burke, the President & CEO for Los Angeles Tourism. “While technology has been instrumental in keeping us connected during these challenging times, I think we can all agree there is no replacement for meeting in person. We are elated to see our industry colleagues and share all that’s new in the destination as LA continues its comeback.”

On Saturday, October 16, and Sunday, October 17, Los Angeles Tourism is hosting an “LA Tailgate,” which is open to the public, at the aptly named TailGate Outdoor Sports Bar in Brooklyn. The experience features tacos from Enrique Olvera’s new LA taqueria, Ditroit; beer and wine from LA brands Golden Road Brewing and Angeleno Wine Co.; LA trivia hosted by dumbfoundead; major trip giveaways including round-trip air transportation to LA courtesy of American Airlines; and a limited-edition merch drop from LA Tourism x Obey Clothing by House Industries and Studio Number One.

Over the next decade, Los Angeles plays host to an historic line up of sporting events including the 2022 Super Bowl LVI; 2022 MLB All-Star Game; 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship; 123rd U.S. Open Championship at LA Country Club; 2024 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball West Region Championship; and, the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

To learn more, visit @discoverla on TwitterInstagram or Facebook. Visitors are encouraged to #TravelResponsibly and follow all guidance from Los Angeles County Public Health.

ABOUT LOS ANGELES & LOS ANGELES TOURISM

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (Los Angeles Tourism) is the non-profit destination marketing and sales organization for the Los Angeles tourism industry and the ultimate resource for where to stay and play in the L.A. area.

Los Angeles is a dynamic, ever-evolving destination – where diversity thrives, and everyone is welcome. Discover the true L.A. by exploring its more than 30 culturally rich neighborhoods, each one offering a distinct vibe. L.A. is home to more than 300 days of warm sunshine, 75 miles of idyllic shoreline, more museums and performing arts venues than any other U.S. city, and an innovative culinary scene led by influential tastemakers. A global creative capital and the epicenter of the sports universe, L.A. presents limitless possibilities for visitors from around the world. For more information, visit discoverlosangeles.com, follow at facebook.com/DiscoverLosAngeles, or @discoverLA on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Emotional Support House Plants illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

How to Start an Indoor Garden

You might think you need acreage to have a garden plot. Nonsense — if you have sunshine in your apartment, you can start an indoor version.

Container growing offers unparalleled convenience. You don’t have to slog through the weather to tend your crops — you can do so from the comfort of your climate-controlled abode. Here are five tips on starting an indoor garden that will have you making fresh tomato sauce and passing out blooms to all your friends in no time.

1.    Get Your Water Tested

Plants have a lot in common with animals. Both require a place to live, grow and reproduce safely from the worst of the elements. They also need food and water. This final necessity might do more to influence the health of your indoor plants than any other. However, it’s a factor many novice gardeners overlook until they find themselves wondering why their spider plant fails to thrive.

The first thing to determine is whether your water comes from a well or a municipal water supply. One advantage of the former is that your liquid remains free of sanitizing agents as it comes up from an underground source. Elements like chlorine, chloramine and fluoride can slow the growth of your plants and impact the flowering cycle.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods if you have a well. Such groundwater sources often have high levels of arsenic, lead and sulfur contamination. Additionally, the water might be rather hard, containing magnesium and calcium. These minerals are responsible for accumulating on plumbing surfaces, causing clogs.

The first water quality you must determine is your pH level. This scale measures how basic or acidic your water is. An overly alkaline pH can lead to mineral loss in your soil and poor harvests from your indoor garden crops.

Your water also contains beneficial bacteria, unless it comes from an overly clean municipal source. This riddance inhibits the processing of organic compounds for plant availability. You might have better luck harvesting rainwater to use for your plants — doing so also cuts down on waste. Before doing so, ensure you’re legally allowed to use a barrel in your jurisdiction. Some places restrict collection out of fear of providing breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Understanding your water quality starts by reading your bill. Your municipality should publish a quality report you can access. You can also purchase PPM meters, although they won’t tell you the precise mineral content of your water. For the best results, you should refer a sample to a lab for testing.

2.    Choose the Right Location

You might end up with more than one indoor garden — and that’s perfectly OK. Different species have varying needs for sunlight. Your golden pothos may adore hanging by a sunny window, but your primroses have another preference. Honor it if you want the best results.

Discovering your various plants’ penchant for light or shade is as simple as reading the instructions that come with most varieties. The internet is also a glorious resource for all things horticulture. You can even find plant identifier apps that will diagnose possible diseases and recommend the best course of treatment.

Your kitchen windowsill is the ideal place for a herb garden. You might not need to travel beyond your grocery store for supplies. Many fresh soft herbs will sprout in water, allowing you to keep them going that way or plant them in soil for improved longevity.

Don’t overlook your bedroom as a location for shade-loving plants. In the 1980s, NASA studied houseplants to see if they could provide sufficient oxygen for supporting life in space. They discovered that these herbal wonders also scrub toxins like formaldehyde from indoor air — meaning you might breathe more comfortably at night, especially if you’re sensitive to allergens.

3.    Select the Perfect Pots

Your plants are beautiful, and much like the right outfit can accentuate your natural beauty, the correct pot can showcase your collection in style. Will you mix and match or go for a monochrome look? You have several options.

You’ll find that plastic planters are the most affordable and lightweight option. You can carry a stack of them home from the store without ever breaking a sweat. However, this material may fade in sunlight and attract and store heat, leading to premature wilting of your plants. You may also need to replace them after a couple of seasons, particularly if you use them in sunny locations.

Clay pots and planters offer superior longevity and can also help you if you’re a novice gardener. This substance controls moisture levels, keeping your plant roots from suffering rot if you accidentally go a bit too heavy with the watering can.

Disadvantages of clay pots include the cost, weight and size. They may also break if you drop them. However, they’re your best long-lasting and eco-friendly bet for an indoor garden that grows season after season.

4.    Invest in Beginner-Friendly Plants

Your plant choices partially determine your indoor garden’s success. For example, you probably don’t want to start with orchids if you’re new to horticulture. These plants look elegant but have a longstanding reputation for being finicky about their treatment.

Golden pothos is an ideal starter plant for sunny locations. Succulents also make easy-to-care-for choices for lining the brightest windowsills of your home. Bamboo and peace lily plants work well in darker bedroom areas, as they prefer the shade.

5.    Keep Your Hobby Going on the Cheap

Once you establish your indoor garden, it’s relatively simple and inexpensive to add to it using materials you already have. One way to do so is by propagating live herbs from cuttings. Soft-stemmed herbs such as basil and oregano require little more than water, although you can buy liquids to encourage root growth. Woody-stemmed herbs take a little more prompting, although you can still use this technique by cutting stems from newer growth that hasn’t hardened yet.

You can also amass a bumper crop of the vegetables you use most often in the kitchen. It’s simple to save the seeds from plants like peppers and tomatoes, dry them and use them to start new seedlings. You won’t even have to drive to the farmers market once you establish your indoor garden on your balcony.

Start an Indoor Garden

You don’t need acreage to enjoy growing things. Use the five tips above to start an indoor garden that fills your home with joy.

10 Unexpected Causes of a Headache and How to Prevent Them

What causes headaches? Is it your boss? Your friends? Maybe it’s something you ate or the song you jammed out to on the way to work. Either way, your head hurts, and you don’t know why. If you did, you might be surprised by what’s to blame. 

Take a look at your diet, weight, environment and personal habits to determine whether one of the following unexpected causes is contributing to the pain. 

1. Obesity 

If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, you’re likely to suffer migraines and headaches more frequently. Some research suggests that low physical activity may be to blame for this co-occurrence. However, scientists still aren’t entirely sure how obesity causes more severe and frequent attacks. Maybe it’s due to inflammation or dietary choices. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt to focus on your health and fitness. 

Hit the gym or try incorporating a few cardio or strength-based exercises into your daily routine. Head to the kitchen and prepare a few healthy dinners, too. Eventually, your hard work and determination will pay off so you look and feel happier and healthier. 

2. Poor Posture

How many hours do you spend in an office chair every day? Poor posture or sitting in the same position all day can cause tension in your back, shoulders and neck, which can easily lead to a migraine. Typically, the pain will begin at the base of the skull and radiate up through your head. Sometimes, your forehead and face will ache, too. 

Luckily, you can prevent these headaches by frequently switching positions and practicing better posture when you do have to sit or stand for long periods. A midday stretch or a more ergonomic office chair may also minimize symptoms and alleviate pain. 

3. Sex

You’ve probably heard that a little hanky panky can cure a headache but, sometimes, sex can actually cause one. That’s right. Any type of sexual activity — especially the big O — can trigger a dull ache or sudden, throbbing pain in your head. Symptoms can last anywhere from several minutes to multiple days. 

If avoiding sex altogether isn’t an option, try taking a more passive role during intercourse. Drinking water before and after may also help prevent headaches. However, if your symptoms grow more severe, there may be an underlying issue. In that case, it’s best to consult your doctor. 

4. Bruxism

Have you ever woken up with a sore jaw or toothache? Odds are you’re subconsciously clenching or grinding your teeth at night. This condition is called bruxism, and it often causes headaches and worn-down teeth. However, it may lead to more serious problems like temporomandibular joint disorder, which can cause lockjaw and chronic soreness in or near the ear.

What can you do to stop clenching and grinding in your sleep? Wear a mouthguard and try reducing your stress levels. Up to 70% of bruxism is triggered by stress, so consciously relaxing your face and investing in self-care throughout the day may help. 

5. Pollutants

Various air pollutants, including volatile organic compounds, lead, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide, can rob your body of oxygen and alter blood flow. These acute effects often result in headaches but can also trigger migraine attacks in sensitive populations.

Unfortunately, air pollution is unavoidable, especially if you live in a metropolitan area or someplace that experiences frequent forest fires. However, you can limit exposure to some pollutants inside your home by avoiding harsh chemical cleaners and paints that contain VOCs. Opt for all-natural products instead, and periodically open windows to increase airflow and improve ventilation. 

6. Weather 

Gray skies, high humidity, storms and temperature fluctuations can all incite head pain. These weather conditions alter atmospheric pressure and create an imbalance in your sinus cavities and inner ear. Chemical imbalances can also occur within your brain, so headaches are common whenever the weather changes. 

You can’t control the weather, so preventing pressure-related headaches ultimately comes down to taking care of yourself. Drink plenty of water, get adequate sleep, avoid stress triggers and keep some pain relievers nearby just in case. Limiting your time outside may also help. 

7. Hunger 

Most people know you can get a headache from being dehydrated, but few realize hunger can have the same effect. When you skip a meal, your body releases hormones that tell your brain you’re hungry. These same hormones raise your blood pressure and tighten vessels, triggering a headache. 

The most obvious way to prevent these symptoms is to eat something. Snacking throughout the day will also help ward off hunger-induced migraines. Plan ahead and pack meals for work, long car rides and other situations that limit your access to food. 

8. Coffee 

For most people, a morning cup of joe is nonnegotiable. In some cases, it can even relieve a headache. However, drinking too much coffee can trigger caffeine rebound, which occurs from withdrawals after repeated overconsumption. 

If you consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day and often experience headaches between lattes, you might be dealing with rebound. In this case, it’s best to slowly decrease your intake, enjoy coffee in moderation and find more natural ways to boost your energy. 

9. Hair Accessories 

How you wear your hair can also take a toll on your noggin. Tight ponytails, headbands, twists and braids can pull on your hair and strain the connective tissue on your scalp. Eventually, these styles can cause headaches and even hair loss. 

If you suspect your updo is hurting your head, let your hair down and give your scalp some time to recover. You can also try switching up your style to include loose braids or messy buns that don’t put so much stress on your scalp. 

10. Lunchmeat

Cold cuts and other processed foods often contain tyramine and nitrates, additives that can constrict blood vessels in your head and brain. If you’re sensitive to these substances, you’ll typically develop a headache within 24 hours due to the stress on those nerves and vessels. 

Avoid food-induced headaches by skipping the premade grocery store subs and cured or processed lunch meats. Opt for deli meat and fresh protein sources like chicken, pork and fish instead.  

Talk to Your Doctor

Taking preventive measures is key to keeping headaches at bay. However, if you take precautions and still suffer frequent or severe migraines, it’s time to seek professional help. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and consider potential causes. They may also schedule an MRI or CAT scan to take a closer look at your brain and rule out any underlying conditions. At the very least, they’ll offer a diagnosis or prescribe treatment to alleviate or prevent symptoms.

8 Tips for Office Workers to Avoid Carpal Tunnel

Office workers conduct repetitive tasks every day, such as typing and moving a mouse. Even other jobs have motions that repeat themselves, like driving, sanding, assembly line work or knitting. Each of these activities could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that happens when the nerve that goes from your forearm into your hand, called the median nerve, becomes compressed at the wrist by a tendinous band. This can result in severe pain, numbness and weakness, especially in the fingers and wrist. 

People who perform repetitive tasks, like those working in the office, are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Usually, you’ll know if you have it if you’re complaining of hand weakness and numbness, even when asleep. 

It’s essential to take care of every aspect of your health, even while you’re at work. Here are eight tips for office workers to avoid carpal tunnel.

1. Make Your Workspace Ergonomic

One of the best ways to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome or mitigate the symptoms is to make your workspace more ergonomic. An ergonomic workspace fits and supports your body. You should be in a more neutral position, meaning your neck isn’t bent down, your arms aren’t away from your body, and your wrists and hands aren’t turned up or sideways. 

Invest in a desk and chair that is at a proper height for your keyboard. You can also get an ergonomic keyboard and a mouse that fits your hand.

2. Take Frequent Breaks

Doing repetitive tasks can take a toll on your wrists and hands. If your wrists start to cramp up or you feel a tingling sensation in your hands, take a break. Letting your wrists rest for a few minutes can do wonders for your symptoms and overall health. 

Ideally, you should take a break for 10-15 minutes every hour. You can choose to complete other tasks during those times that don’t use the same wrist motions as you were doing before. 

3. Use Correct Posture

When trying to prevent carpal tunnel, it can be easy to focus on your wrists and hands. However, how you hold the rest of your body, including arms, back, neck and legs, can impact them, too. Poor posture leads to your shoulders rolling forward, which throws your body out of alignment. 

Switch positions while sitting at your desk and take brief walks around the office. Make sure your back is fully supported and relax your shoulders. Avoid crossing your legs, and keep your elbows close to your body. This will help adjust your posture, leading to more relaxed hands and wrists. 

4. Learn Wrist Exercises

Hand and wrist exercises can reduce your chances of getting carpal tunnel. Any sort of strengthening or stretching exercises are best. Throughout your workday, stretch and perform a few basic activities to lower your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are a few examples:

  • Shake it out: Shake your hands to get relief from any pain or numbness. 
  • Fist to fan: Make a fist and fan out your fingers, stretching them as far as you can. Repeat this up to 10 times.
  • Thumb touches: Touch the tip of each finger to the tip of your thumb and repeat.
  • Hand squeezes: Get a rubber ball or even a pair of balled-up socks. Squeeze it, hold for five seconds, slowly release and then repeat.
  • Yoga: Yoga can help your whole body posture, leading to better hand and wrist positioning. 

Learning these few simple exercises and doing them every day can help you avoid carpal tunnel.

5. Wear Fingerless Gloves

Offices can get cold during the day, and it can be challenging finding ways to warm up when you’re not in control of the thermostat. Cold temperatures can make your fingers stiff, which makes the pain even worse. 

Invest in fingerless gloves, which will keep your wrists and hands warm and loose as you work. You could even get a small space heater for your office if your supervisor allows it. 

6. Consider Wearing Splints

If you already have carpal tunnel symptoms or the syndrome, you should consider getting wrist splints. They can help you train your wrists to stay straight and offer temporary relief to any pain or numbness you experience. 

Splints are not meant to be worn over a long period. You could wear them throughout the day as long as they don’t affect your productivity, or you could wear splints at night to have free wrists and hands throughout the workday.

7. Loosen Your Grip

Your office tasks are so routine that you probably don’t think about them. You get used to doing things a certain way, and it can be challenging to change a habit. Sometimes, you might use more force than needed to complete a particular job. 

If you find you’re pounding your keyboard a bit too hard or you have a firm grip on your mouse or telephone, try loosening up and softening your touch. These activities can put a lot of pressure on your hands and wrists, so focus on backing off a bit. 

8. Visit an Occupational Therapist

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can creep up if you’re not careful to take the proper steps to avoid it. In these cases, you should visit an occupational therapist, especially if your issues become debilitating or are affecting your work and daily life.

An occupational therapist can help show you a wide range of exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your hands and wrists. Additionally, they can show you how to change your repetitive movements to ease the stress on your joints. If symptoms worsen, injections or surgery may be the next move.

Follow These Tips at Home

Follow these tips both at home and in your office to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. Exercise, stay healthy, take breaks and seek intervention if you have worsening symptoms. Figure out what’s causing the problem and continue to put your physical well-being first.

How to Meet Your Celebrity Crush

Is there any one celebrity that you have, well, a bit of a crush on? We all have pop culture figures that we follow through their different projects. What happens when you have the opportunity to meet your idol? Here are some ways to make that dream a reality.

Lowering Monthly Expenses

Chances are, you’ll need to pay to meet the icon of your choice. You might need tickets to a convention panel or a concert. Alternatively, celebrities might charge for one-on-one meet and greets. One way to lower your monthly expenses is to refinance your existing student loans. That’s an especially good option if you have a good credit score, or you need more pocket money now. 

You can use a student loan refinance calculator to determine what your monthly payments would be and see how you could save. Another option is to do more home cooking. Takeout and TV dinners might be easy, but they’re also pricey. That goes especially for people living in a large household. The best way to feed several people at once is by making meals with large portions. Consider investing in cookbooks and some updated kitchen cookware.

Looking Up Scheduling

The easiest way to encounter a celebrity is when they’re on a tour of some kind. Whether you want to meet a musician, actor, author, influencer, Youtuber, or someone else entirely, your best bet is to meet them at a fan gathering. Find out about any upcoming tour dates. Maybe a band is touring to promote their new album, an author is touring for a book release, or a celebrity is planning to speak at a con about their latest project. 

Whatever the case, scheduling is key. Look for the venue closest to you and book your tickets well in advance. Depending on how popular the individual or the event is, the tickets have the potential to sell out quickly. You don’t want to miss your opportunity. Or you can make a vacation out of it and travel somewhere to experience the tour. Meeting your celebrity crush would definitely make the difference between a good versus a great vacation one that’s for sure.

Pay for the Meeting

Just getting tickets to the show won’t necessarily be enough. Are the celebrities having any meet and greets before or after the event? Find out about these opportunities and make sure you have tickets to get in. Once you’ve done this, you should give some consideration to the meetup. Is there anything special you’d like them to sign? What about something you’d like to tell them? Are there any photographs allowed, and how long will you have with the person? 

In most cases, there will be a line of people following the same dream you are. The celebrity might not have a lot of time to make your acquaintance. So, it’s important to make your limited moments with them count for as much as you can. With all this consideration, you can come to the meeting fully prepared. And keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to bring anything except your enthusiasm. What’s important is that you’re getting the chance to meet someone you admire without any strings attached.

15 Tips for Starting a Plant-Based Diet

Moving to a plant-based diet can be difficult, especially if you’re used to eating mostly animal products or processed foods. However, this switch can challenge you and nourish you better than your former lifestyle. Luckily, you’re not the first person to make this change, so it’s easy to find techniques that will help make the adjustment a little easier for you.

1. Know Why You’re Transitioning to a New Diet

Plant-based diets don’t necessarily mean you’re only eating plants. You can have meat and dairy on the table, too. A plant-based diet simply signifies that the majority of what you eat comes from produce.

You might have chosen to transition to this diet to decrease your carbon footprint. Eating less red meat can make your household more environmentally friendly, particularly since livestock takes up so many resources. Whatever your reason for transitioning to a plant-based diet is, make sure you’re doing it for your own benefit rather than anyone else’s.

2. Do Your Research

Learn the macros in your food. To plan your diet correctly, you need to understand what nutrients you need and which foods offer them. Switching to a plant-based diet can help you become healthier, but you’ll only reap the benefits if you put in the work and acknowledge what your body needs.

To keep yourself nourished and healthy, you’ll have to learn which foods your body needs on what day. Learning more about your needs can help you educate others and make the choices that will benefit you in the long run.

3. Make Meal Plans

Sometimes, planning your macros for a single day can feel overwhelming. That’s why you should plan to get a whole week’s meals under your control and manage your nutrients effectively. Meal planning means you won’t be scrambling to think of something to eat for dinner that provides the nutrition you need.

Meal planning correctly can also help you cut down on food waste, as you’ll be using everything you bought. You’ll also save money and time since you won’t have to head to the grocery store every evening by planning the week at once. You can breeze by the snacks you used to eat without feeling tempted to pick them up.

4. Build a Budget

It’s entirely possible to eat completely healthy and clean on a budget. You just have to plan around the staples of your meals for a week and save leftover money or use it to buy healthy snacks that can keep you nourished throughout the day.

Budgeting goes hand-in-hand with meal planning. Planning your meals for the week ahead requires you to build a budget based on your needs. Without meal planning, you might stray from your intended plan and end up devoid of the nourishment your body requires.

5. Find and Use Coupons

Coupons can be your best friend when it comes to changing your lifestyle. If you aren’t sure how to afford some items you want on your budget, see if you can find coupons for some of the items in your cart.

You can subscribe to grocery stores’ email lists to receive daily or weekly coupons. If you shop somewhere frequently, it’s worth subscribing to get discounts from them. It’s even handier if you have a store card that takes down the price of your grocery trip.

6. Eat Breakfast

Going plant-based doesn’t mean you need to give up breakfast. Consider whole-grain cereal options. The sugary stuff may taste great, but it’s not necessarily on the dietary plan you want to follow.

You can couple whole-grain breakfast foods with all-natural animal products to keep you full. Having a few hard-boiled eggs can satisfy you throughout the day, and they pair well with toast. If you want a dash of sugar, consider spreading jam on whole-grain bread.

7. Remind Yourself of the Benefits

Plant-based diets offer numerous benefits. When you feel close to quitting and going back to junk food or eating excess meat, remind yourself of how much healthier you’ve been since you began.

You’ll obtain more vitamins naturally when consuming a plant-based diet, without the help of supplements, due to the nature of the food you eat. You may also lessen or eliminate your risk of contracting certain ailments and diseases. If you want to stick with your plant-based diet, keep reminding yourself of the good you’re doing your body while on it.

8. Curb Your Sweet Tooth

Look into foods with naturally occurring sugars if you have cravings. Fruits would make for a great dessert or midday snack — and there’s no sugar added to them. They will never taste like cake, but you can train your brain to enjoy them just as much by saving them as a special after-dinner snack.

You should check to see which fruits are in season before buying them, as you’ll likely find higher quality if you choose them based on their optimized growing times. For example, strawberries are plentiful in the summer, but blackberries are great in the winter.

9. Find Supporters

If the rest of your household isn’t switching to this diet with you, consider getting them involved. Changing your eating habits can feel a lot less lonely when you know someone’s in your corner and having the same cravings as you. Plus, you can motivate one another if you start to slip from the habits you want to keep.

10. Keep a Journal of Your Progress

A journal is a great tool you can look back on in the future to motivate yourself. If you mark your daily food intake every day, you can glance at it to see how far you’ve come when you’re feeling hopeless. You can also gain more ideas for meal plans from your journal, and sharing it with your family members might motivate them to join you in your lifestyle change.

11. Take a Cooking Class

When you don’t know which recipes go best with your new diet, consider learning from the professionals. You may have to pay for a cooking class, but making food at someone else’s teaching could be fun, especially if you’re doing it with a friend. You’re paying for the experience and some quality recipes you can take home with you.

12. Eat Enough Food

You might feel fuller longer due to the quality of the food you eat, but you still need to maintain a caloric intake that supports you. Your recommended daily calories may change depending on your age and activity level, so you shouldn’t assume something that works for someone else will work for you. Even if you feel fuller for longer, you should strive to meet your maintenance caloric needs to remain healthy.

13. Make Snacking More Challenging

Remove snack foods from your home. If you have family members or roommates who aren’t embarking on this adventure with you, ask them to keep the junk food out of your area so you feel less tempted to eat it.

People often drift toward snacks because they’re more convenient than cooking a meal. Consider finding healthy items you can simply grab and go, such as bananas or nuts. When you have these nutritious options and eliminate or hide unhealthy snacks, you may feel more inclined to eat them.

14. Prep Your Meals the Day Before

Get your lunches for the next day ready in the evening so you don’t scramble to find something to take to work with you. Worse, you could forget your lunch entirely and have to find something nearby that may not be part of your new lifestyle. By taking extra time the evening before, you’ll become more mindful of the food you put in your body and support your new diet with little effort.

15. Throw It in a Salad

When you don’t know what to make, just throw everything into a salad. Lettuce is an excellent base for a healthy meal because you can add several foods and top them with a tasty dressing. Consider choosing something for protein, such as chickpeas or eggs, as well as a handful of vegetables or fruits to nourish you.

Plant-Based Diets Made Easy

While it initially may be difficult to change your eating habits, it will get easier as time goes on. Learn what meals to make before committing to the switch, and focus on getting enough nutritional food every day. As long as you have others to keep you accountable and a record to look back on, you’ll find that it’s easy to keep up with your new plant-based lifestyle.

PLUM GUIDE EXTENDS ITS FOOTPRINT WORLDWIDE

WITH AN EXPANDED PRESENCE IN THE U.S.

Recognized as a global benchmark for quality, innovative vacation booking platform, Plum Guide (www.plumguide.com), the world’s most recommended homestay company, is extending its footprint worldwide with an expanded presence in the United States.  A success story since it launched in London in 2016, Plum Guide has attracted $57 million in investments and has become the premium alternative to Airbnb.

Ready for the post-pandemic global travel boom anticipated with this holiday season, Plum Guide offers the affluent traveler access to exceptional properties across the United States, such as New York, Los Angeles, Aspen, Miami, Joshua Tree, and the Hamptons among their roster of 500 destinations worldwide including some of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.

According to Co-Founder & CEO Doron Meyassed, “Restaurants have the Michelin Star. Books have the New York Times Bestseller List. Vacation homes now have the Plum Award. Our mission is to find and award the best homes in the USA with our mark of trusted quality.” He adds, “It’s time to upend our competition’s model of letting anyone rate  a home.  We are taking a powerful new stance on quality control by allocating a team of trained professional home-reviewers dedicated to ferreting out ‘home truths.’ Our quality standard is one the world can trust.”

Plum Guide is more than simply a booking platform. It is, in essence, the Michelin guide for home rentals. With standards so high that they eliminate literally millions from the 5,000,000+ vacation homes listed online, accepting only 3% of submitted places to stay.  Understanding that the pandemic postponed travel plans for many, leaving some with a residual sense of travel anxiety, Plum Guide takes the guesswork out of booking a stay with their highly curated approach to global vacation home selection. Guests can expect excellence; quality is guaranteed no matter the price point.

WHAT SETS PLUM GUIDE APART

Plum Guide has a unique model for curating homes unlike their competitors.  They use a combination of technology, data, and human expertise. The quality control process culminates in an onsite visit from a specially trained “Home Critic” and only homes who have passed this final test receive the Plum Guide Award.

“Home truths” are revealed on each listing —such as, assessments revealing if the kitchen is indeed fully functional, or if the living area really has enough dedicated space for a family of four. It is this highly curated approach that sets Plum Guide apart.  Explains Co-Founder and CEO Doron Meyassed, “Not only has every nominated and awarded home been subject to a meticulous vetting process but our comprehensive price-checking assures that our prices are consistently the best available.” Given the stringent testing before being accepted as a home rental option, only one in a 100 pass the 150 different criteria set forth by Plum Guide.  It is important to note that such “musts” include only properties in a desirable neighborhood with three places for breakfast within a five-minute walk. Additional “musts” include rooms with plenty of natural light, ample space for socializing, bedrooms quiet enough for restful sleep, showers with strong water pressure and fast Wi-Fi connection.

THE BACK STORY

The origins of Plum Guide are personal, rooted in a vacation home Meyassed booked in Tel Aviv. “I felt like I won the lottery. I asked myself, ‘Why isn’t it always like this? Why is booking a home so hit-and-miss?’” Then he realized, “Every time someone books a holiday, it shouldn’t feel like a lottery.” So how to avoid the gamble? A team of architects, travelers, interior designers, and psychologists was assembled to scientifically decode the secret ingredients of the perfect stay. 150 criteria determining everything from shower pressure to Wi-Fi speed as well as design credentials became the stringent standards allowing just the smallest fraction of homes submitted to be accepted as Plum Guide properties.

THE PLUM AWARD

The Plum Award is a coveted honor. To earn it, homes must pass all four stages of The Plum Test, successfully meeting 150 criteria, with a personal home visit from an independent Home Critic as the final deciding factor. Leaving nothing to chance, with every new city or country opened, Plum Guide creates a database of available homes which are then systematically reviewed. The multi-stage vetting process allows travellers to select from a remarkable selection of the world’s best homes in the US as well as global destinations including Paris, Milan, and Rome. New locations are constantly being added as Plum Guide continues to delight customers with their rigorous selection of only the best homes available from a worldwide catalogue.

Kaelen Felix illustrates beauty and dental article for 360 MAGAZINE

Ten Tips for a Whiter, Healthier Smile

There are plenty of occasions where you’d want a gorgeous smile. Birthdays, weddings and graduations are just a few of the celebrations in which you should beam confidently. When looking back on photos, you might feel so much happier knowing you smiled with your whole heart instead of hiding it away.

Luckily, there are quite a few ways you can boost your grin. You should love your smile no matter what it looks like, but you can make it even better with simple tasks and lifestyle changes.

  1. Drink Water 

Water doesn’t leave stains like other liquids, nor is it bad for your health. It can help free your mouth of any food debris left in it, and it’s the best liquid option for your teeth by far. Sugary drinks can increase the rate of tooth decay, while water can contain the fluoride you need to promote healthy teeth. 

Make sure to drink tap water if you want a dose of fluoride. Because it occurs naturally in tap water, it’s easy to get the recommended amount to protect your teeth. You should be aware of the levels of fluoride in your water, though. Too much isn’t a good thing, but too little of it can lead to weaker teeth and more cavities.

  1. Quit Smoking

In addition to being bad for your lungs, smoking can impact your smile by staining your teeth. If you’re smoking often enough or don’t tackle the stains when you can, the pigments can go deeper and root permanently on your teeth.

Smoking can also give you fine lines around your mouth. Procedures such as injecting Botox can help reduce these wrinkles. If you don’t want to undergo a process, quitting smoking now is the best way to reduce the appearance of those lines.

  1. Improve Your Overall Health

Consider your overall health when looking for a way to improve one area of your body. Taking proper care of yourself means you’ll be able to devote more attention to your teeth. 

You’ll also likely feel happier, healthier and more confident in yourself if you focus on more than just your teeth. Adopt healthy habits, like exercising and eating right, and you’ll find that improved oral health will follow.

  1. Watch What You Eat

While sugar is a definite food group to avoid if you want an effortlessly beautiful smile, plenty of other substances can affect your teeth, too. Salty snacks can stick to your teeth. Since there are a lot of starches in processed foods, you’ll likely find more plaque buildup if you eat them constantly. 

Fibrous foods can increase your saliva production, which in turn protects your teeth. Eating foods that are higher in fiber can keep your teeth cleaner and, potentially, whiter. After snacking on any kind of food, make sure you brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water to rid yourself of anything that remains.

  1. Use the Right Toothbrush

Make sure the toothbrush you use daily is optimized for your teeth. Soft bristles are a great option because you don’t want too much force to affect your tooth enamel and gums. Buying an electric or angled brush can guarantee you can clean your teeth thoroughly.

Many electric toothbrushes have settings for whitening or sensitive teeth. However, they can be expensive, so you might want to opt for an angled brush if you’re on a budget. Make sure the bristles are firm enough to remove debris and plaque from your teeth yet soft enough to treat your enamel and gums with the care they need.

  1. Try at-Home Whitening

Choosing a whitening toothpaste might be the most effective way to treat yellow teeth or stains on a budget. While you have to use it often to work, you should ensure it’s not too abrasive on your teeth. Toothpaste that is too abrasive will break down your enamel, which leaves your teeth vulnerable.

At-home whitening kits can also help you achieve a flawlessly white smile. Different kits may require various steps. Some may include whitening strips you leave on your teeth, while others might require you to use gel. Whichever you choose, make sure to follow the directions to avoid weakening your teeth while whitening them.

  1. Go to Regular Checkups

Make sure to visit your dentist regularly. Periodic cleanings can help you keep a benchmark on your oral health and identify any problems before they escalate. Most insurance plans cover basic cleanings and some treatments, so it could be in your best interest to schedule an appointment sooner rather than later.

You should visit your dentist at least twice a year to keep up with your regular health checkups. Depending on your personal needs, you may have to go more frequently to maintain the smile you love. Routine cleanings mean you shouldn’t have to worry about something out of your control happening inside your mouth.

  1. Limit Alcohol Intake

Wine, along with coffee and tea, has the potential to stain your teeth. Stains can be challenging to remove, but you shouldn’t see much of a problem if you keep your alcoholic intake in check. Staining liquids can be mitigated by using a straw. It can also slow down tooth decay because the liquid won’t be touching your teeth if you do it correctly.

  1. Use the Right Makeup

If you’re worried about yellow teeth ruining your night out, consider wearing lipstick with pink or blue undertones. These colors will make yellow less apparent, so your teeth will appear white even if you might have some discolored areas.

If drawing attention to your teeth in general makes you squeamish, make up for it by playing up other features. Maybe you can add more color to your cheeks, or perhaps you can create a gorgeous eye look that will bring people’s attention elsewhere on your face.

  1. Keep up With Your Hygiene

Brush and floss your teeth daily, if not more than that. You should brush your teeth after you eat a meal. If your toothbrush and toothpaste aren’t available to you after you’ve eaten, consider rinsing your mouth out with water to remove any food debris that’s been left behind.

Keep up with your daily oral hygiene, and you’ll find it’s an easy habit to stick to over time. As long as you work toward it every day, you can follow your routine without even thinking about it.

Smile With Confidence

No matter who you are, your smile is one of the most extraordinary things about you. It draws people in and conveys when you’re happy. Treat your mouth right, and you’ll have a grin that lasts for years. Ensure you care for your teeth and gums correctly, like using the right toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste, and you’ll gain the confidence you need to beam at the world.