Lifestyle News You Can Really Use!

Summer can’t come soon enough for most people, who are likely looking forward to getting away for their annual summer vacation. While many people have probably already booked their trips, there are still some people out three who haven’t made any plans, and now “U.S. News & World Report” is here to help them make up your mind.

The site has just come out with their first-ever list of the Best Summer Vacations in the U.S., featuring 20 destinations around the country that are ideal for a seasonal getaway. They also revealed other summer vacation lists, like overall destinations, which include international spots, as well as cheap destinations and family beach vacation spots.

Topping the list of Best Summer Vacations in the U.S. is Boston, Massachusetts which gets high marks for its historical attractions, as well as Fenway Park for baseball lovers, and Faneuil Hall Market Place for foodies. When it comes to overall Best Summer Vacation, Paris, France tops the list, while Grand Canyon, Arizona was named Best Cheap Summer Vacation, and Outer Banks, North Carolina is the Best Family Beach Vacation.

Top Ten Best Summer Vacations in the U.S.

  • Boston, MA
  • Seaside, OR
  • Steamboat Springs, CO
  • Nashville, TN
  • Portland, OR
  • Portland, ME
  • Seattle, WA
  • Bar Harbor, ME
  • Sonoma, CA
  • Grand Teton National Park, WY

Click here for the complete list of “U.S. News & World Reports” summer vacation picks.

Source: U.S. News & World Report 

These days we’re always hearing about the latest exercise craze, or how working out is good for your health, but are Americans really all that concerned with getting into shape? Well, a new poll finds that while getting in shape is important to people, not everyone is necessarily succeeding.

According to a survey by Reportlinker, 77% of Americans say being in good shape and looking good is very important to them, yet only 37% of those polled believe they are actually in good shape. What’s more, 42% consider themselves overweight, and 56% don’t think they’re strong or muscular enough. And it doesn’t help to have folks around who are in shape, because 75% of people say they compare themselves to how others look.

For those who do exercise, joining a fitness center is the most popular way to do so (40%), with 39% of people working out between three and five hours a week. Other popular forms of exercise include: 

  • Basketball (35%)
  • Swimming (35%)
  • Jogging (34%)
  • Yoga (21%)
  • Baseball (19%)
  • Tennis (18%) 
  • One of the biggest obstacles to working out is motivation, with only 31% of people saying exercising is a habit. As for what keeps people motivated, 31% say they train or engage in sports with fiends, while 30% of people say they're more likely to work out if they set a personal record, 30% challenge themselves by monitoring their performance, and 17% say changing their workout routine keeps them motivated. 

Source: ReportLinker

New research shows eating more fruit and vegetables could ease symptoms of depression and other mental illness, but it’s got to be raw. Experts say we should be focusing on the types of produce we eat instead of how much of it we’re eating.

Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand have found raw fruits and veggies are better for your mental health than those that are cooked, canned and processed. Study authors say this is probably because cooking and processing can reduce the amount of nutrients in the food, so we don’t get the full benefits from them when we eat them in that form.

“Our research has highlighted that the consumption of fruit and vegetables in their ‘unmodified state’ is more strongly associated with better mental health compared to cooked/canned/processed fruit and vegetables,” explains lead study author Kate Brookie.

So what kind of produce should we be eating to get the biggest mood boost? The best foods for mental health include carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens, grapefruit, citrus, fresh berries, cucumber and kiwi. Let’s add these to the shopping list ASAP.

Source: New York Post

If you’re ready to clear out your kid’s toy chest Marie Kondo-style and banish all the blocks and stray Lego pieces that don’t spark joy to you, we feel your pain. Toy clutter is a constant battle for most parents, but a recent study may give us the push we need to downsize our kids’ toy collections.

According to the study, when children are in an environment with fewer toys, they actually have a happier, healthier playtime. Researchers tested toddlers for half an hour, one group with four toys and the other with 16, and found that the tots with fewer toys stayed actively engaged for a longer period of time. With fewer to choose from, they found new ways to use the same toy, which further develops their cognitive skills.

So basically, the more toys kids have, the less focused they will be. And when kids are young in those early developmental years, their attention spans are short enough already, we don’t need to make it worse by overloading them with dozens of things to play with.

But don’t feel bad if your kids room is packed with toys. Caregivers of these study participants said they had an average of at least 90 toys at home for their toddlers. At least now we can start pairing down without feeling guilty, we want our kids to be happier, after all.

Source: Good Housekeeping

We rely on financial therapists and family assistants, like sitters and nannies, to help us get through life, but we had no idea homework therapists were a thing. But it turns out, these mental health experts/tutor hybrids are here to help parents cope with Common Core curriculum and stop the screaming matches with their second graders over homework. And who wouldn’t want that.

Homework therapists are often clinical psychologists who help ease students’ anxiety using things like mindfulness breathing techniques and lavender-scented “stress dough” while helping them focus on tasks for class. Their background in therapy helps students with social and emotional situations while lowering stress to help boost academic performance.

Sounds great, right? Except paying for a service like this could be tough: some professional homework therapists charge up to $600 an hour. Lots of students could benefit from help with organizational and time management skills and test anxiety, but not many parents have room in their budgets for the expense.

Source: PureWow

Jay and Dawn

Jay and Dawn

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