Creative Stay-at-Home Date Ideas from the Relish App

Creative Stay-at-Home Date Ideas from the Relish App

Ideas for great dates can be hard to come by. Once you settle into a routine, though, your relationship can suffer. That’s so much more true when it’s hard to get out. Relish, a leading relationship guidance app, works with you and your partner to identify your challenges and growth opportunities and help you thrive as a couple. After discussing how you both felt about your week, Relish might suggest room-by-room activities like these:

Dating in the Backyard

Head outside for a Star Date. Bring light refreshments if you like, binoculars or telescope if you have them, and a star chart or app if you want to get specific. The stars are still out there, and when you see them with someone you care about, somehow this little ol’ world seems a whole lot bigger.

New Ideas for the Bedroom

Sensory deprivation date. Turn out the lights, close the curtains, and maybe put a small light in the corner. Spend time getting to know each other with the other four senses, relaxing and letting yourself be surprised at a new way of seeing your partner.

Bathroom Date Ideas

Bubbles or battleships, tub time together can be both peaceful and ridiculously fun. You choose, but either way you’ll come out squeaky clean with prune-y fingers. Not a bad outcome for a date.

Dining Room Date Encounters

Casino night! You can just use a deck of cards or get one of those cheap casino games from the toy store, but either way, do it informally like Vegas or dress up for Monte Carlo. Bet with kisses, and may the winner take all!

Kitchen Intimacy

The joy and trouble with cooking together is that you’re intimate, but you’ve got a project to do and you don’t eat if you don’t finish it. That can help you have fun, get silly, or get intensely creative and produce a masterpiece. Will one of you be a Gordon Ramsay?

Living Room Togetherness

Haiku writing spree. Write to each other, with a bit of leeway in the 5-7-5 structure of this concise Japanese style. It can be a time of romance, picturing cherry blossoms and romance in the spring, or it might expand to creative fun and joy, each trying to outdo the other in crazy images and ideas. Add sushi if you like!

Relish is a relationship coaching app that takes an active role in couples’ lives. It asks for weekly updates and discusses your relationship with you, then offers ideas about next steps and new perspectives. It personalizes mindful advice to help people turn their investment in their relationship into a source of growth, joy, understanding, and rich experience. Engaging via an annual subscription, users of the app gain from the experience and insight of a team of diverse relationship counseling professionals who contribute a broad base of ideas and insights. The results are practical, personal, and often a lot of fun to implement!

The Latest Renaissance in Design Education – VR and AR at The Academy of Art University

The Latest Renaissance in Design Education – VR and AR at The Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University has been on the cutting edge of creative instruction since its inception in 1929. From then until now, a defining feature of the Academy’s ethos has been to employ active creatives as classroom and laboratory instructors. These working artists and creators bring up-to-date and even forward-thinking trends and developments directly from industry to the classroom. This affords Academy students unprecedented and unparalleled access to knowledge that is shaping various creative fields right now and for tomorrow.

It is no surprise, then, that Academy of Art University has been on the Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) front lines from its earliest days. Beginning in 2016 with a VR Summit hosted by the Schools of Communications & Media Technologies and Motion Pictures & Television, the Academy has since sought to incorporate these emerging technologies into various curriculum and facilities to reflect how creative industries are using them in the real world.

What is AR and VR?

Both AR and VR are advanced technologies that seek to expand the experience of the human senses in a given environment. With AR and/or VR technology, users can find themselves interacting with faraway or imaginary scenes or objects as if they actually existed in the user’s present location. Instead of projecting images before a user, AR and VR project the user into the realm of the images or scenes.

Augmented Reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live view that the user sees through a camera. A simple example is using Snapchat lenses on your smartphone or playing Pokémon Go and chasing images on the screen that are not really present.  

Conversely, Virtual Reality (VR) is a complete immersion experience that transports the user to another environment through the use of a VR viewing device. Wearing the device over the eyes effectively blanks out the user’s surrounding environment so that the new digital environment can be experienced to the fullest. For example, a user wearing a VR device can participate in a virtual village elders meeting by sitting between participants in a dirt-floored hut in Central Africa.

While early proponents of these technologies saw them as enhancements for the gaming world, others saw potential for other uses. Antonio Borja, Director of the School of Industrial Design at Academy of Art University, visualized how artists and other creative professionals could actually employ VR sketching as a pivotal tool for design in many industries.

In an early VR workshop for students, Borja shared, “I know at first this thing seems like a gimmick but it’s not. Because it allows you [to] think and experience your design in 3-D, true 3-D. It’s not like sketching on paper where you see a two-dimensional representation of your 3-D object. Here, you actually get to walk around it.”

AR & VR Education and Innovation at Academy of Art University

In an Industrial Design class early in the Academy’s venture into exploring AR and VR, Borja guided students in using a VR sketching software product called Gravity Sketch, pairing it with a commercial Oculus headset and handheld instruments. Students learned the basics of creating textures, surfaces, shapes, and more, including tools for ensuring exacting accuracy and symmetry in designs.

Design students quickly grasped the very real benefits of this incredible new tool as they created and manipulated various product designs in real time. In more traditional methods, product concepts are modeled with clay or other media to allow designers to see, feel, and analyze their designs from different perspectives. Using the VR tools, even the student designers could discover design problems and other ideas much faster than by creating a physical model.

Antonio Borja now conducts a more comprehensive class in VR sketching as part of the Digital Imaging 2 course (IND 363). He explains, “It’s a very valuable tool that will allow you to experience your designs in a way you haven’t been able to do until you design a prototype. It’s better to find these issues early on in the workflow and make it so that we have time to make these adjustments so that our final project is that much better.”

Normal Rockwell Museum VR Project

One stellar example of how Academy students are learning how to use AR and VR technology to produce valued projects is the Normal Rockwell Museum VR Project. This enormous undertaking took Normal Rockwell art pieces that were originally produced for and featured in The Saturday Evening Post in 1943 underscoring the four enduring ideals from President Franklin Roosevelt’s Annual Message to Congress in 1941.

Numerous pieces depicting Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – Freedom of Worship, Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want – were combined into a VR experience for a traveling museum exhibition. Users would wear an Oculus VR headset to interact with the exhibit, which opened in May 2018 at the New York Historical Society before touring the United States and France, and then returning to the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in Fall 2020.

A diverse team of 24 developers from the Academy School of Game DevelopmentSchools of Animation & Visual EffectsSchool of IllustrationMusic Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, and Web Design & New Media worked a full four semesters to complete the project. It included various testing phases that involved students as well as senior citizens from the Institute of Aging. The project was to be designed so that users from age 7 to 70 could enjoy the experience.

Phil Kauffold, technical lead for the Academy’s School of Game Development (GAM) and project lead for the Rockwell exhibit, said, “We have to design for the young kid who knows the language of video games and understand this stuff. But also, we have to design for somebody [who] is older [and] doesn’t have that intuitive understanding of what we think of as the normal visual language.”

As a result, “Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt and the Four Freedoms” has been a resounding success, even being presented at the US Capital building to members of Congress during 2019.

Academy VR Featured on “California by Design” TV Show

Recently, advanced uses of VR technology in industrial design at the Academy was showcased on the TV series “California by Design.” In each of the six shows, a judging panel, which includes Tom Matano, Executive Director for the Academy School of Industrial Design, chooses finalist creations that will compete to be named the top innovation of the year.

Episode three, which aired on July 11, 2020, featured AURA, a student project led by IND student Santiago Bastidas. The featurette (watch 7:20 – 10:07) highlights how the Academy is incorporating VR technologies into the design process to reflect current industry uses in the real world. AURA is an automobile design project created for PSA Peugeot Citroën Group as part of a corporate sponsorship with the Academy.

Bastidas shared that he and his team used VR technology to design a new automobile that “extends users’ experience beyond a physical journey.” He went on to say, “With AURA, we wanted to create not only this spatial journey but to target a much deeper journey. We broaden the interactions for a much more humanistic final journey.”

In episode three of California by Design, the host, Dan Hardin, is guided through how Bastidas and his team used a VR headset and software to actually design their creation in 3-D. He is also able to experience the 3-D model of the futuristic auto itself and even create his own, rather rough, design on camera, obviously delighting in the experience.

Hardin exclaims at once point, “This is really fun, isn’t it? Just try to get this off my head now!” The Academy students in the Industrial Design program use Gravity Sketch for Virtual Reality Sketching and Autodesk VRED Pro for Virtual Visualization.

Antonio Borja, Director for School of Industrial Design explains “Incorporating virtual reality technology in the design process enables designers to execute evaluations in a shorter timeframe and find potential flaws or issues with their designs earlier in the process. This helps streamline entire projects and allows more time for making any necessary adjustments before completion, resulting in higher quality designs overall.”

Academy of Art University – Revolutionizing Arts Education

Art and creativity are often viewed as abstract concepts that are expressed on a canvas or through music. While these means of expression are valid and valued, creativity extends into many industries that produce helpful devices and objects that improve our quality of life. Safer, more fulfilling means of transportation, better medical devices, and other important discoveries all incorporate creative technologies in their development.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are finding traction in more industries as time goes on, leading to better products with streamlined processes for development and testing. Academy of Art University is a top arts education institution that offers students the chance to experience these cutting-edge technologies as they are currently being used in today’s vital industries.

Interested prospective students can obtain more information by following the links in this article or by calling the Academy Admissions Department at 415-274-2222.

Read more about other Academy of Art University workshops

Chicago’s Beal Properties’ Guide to Off-Campus Student Housing

Chicago’s Beal Properties’ Guide to Off-Campus Student Housing

Merely one year ago, college students were enjoying the throes of summer break, and casually considering their plans for a seamless fall return. From declaring housemates based on inseparable bonds already formed, to saving up cash for an upgraded sofa, figuring out off-campus housing plans was now a nostalgically straightforward process. However, with the unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic, the realm of college life, and real estate, dramatically changed. From cancelled courses to limited apartment showings, students’ lives were impacted vastly. Now, as this year’s summer break brings uncertainty, change, and a completely new “normal” for the imminently upcoming school year, students should take the time to solidify their housing plans for the upcoming fall semester early. With so many changes, intricacies, and evolving protocols to consider, Chicago staple in real estate development and management, Beal Properties, has provided tips for students to successfully, safely, and expertly secure housing.

Check Out Options Early

With limited inventory, and more people staying put, options for students may be somewhat limited upon the beginning of the upcoming semester. For students looking to pursue off-campus apartment living, competing with the entire local neighborhood population means that the generally witnessed market trend of limited inventory will potentially impact their choices. Beal Properties has been providing countless tenants with a multitude of apartment options spread amongst the company’s expansive 100 building portfolio, offering studio to three bedroom apartments within many of Chicago’s most sought-after neighborhoods. With varying price ranges, a commitment to tenant satisfaction, and a forward-thinking business model, Beal Properties has long been a staple for students looking for a positive apartment living experience. The professionals at Beal Properties advise students to be aware of rising demand for apartment dwelling coupled with limited inventory, and encourage students to act early.

Embrace Tech

For out-of-state students, virtually touring potential apartments, and communicating digitally with landlords and roommates may have already been a commonplace standard. Conversely, most other students may have been used to physically touring potential apartments, meeting with Property Managers, and signing leases at the local pub. With social distancing continuing to dictate behavior, and rapidly changing state regulations regarding social interaction, Beal Properties encourages students to embrace technology during their apartment search process. While Beal has already adapted and implemented technology to innovate various services, from creating a fully-functional tenant portal, to servicing client communication online, the company has ramped up “virtual tour” services. By allowing prospective tenants, including students, to virtually tour their properties, Beal Properties is safely allowing prospective tenants to ensure that properties meet their needs, and providing tenants with the opportunity to receive seamless service in light of the continued changes brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

In addition to these forward-thinking virtual tour options, many property management companies, including Beal Properties, are offering tenants contactless applications via various virtual resources, contactless or limited contact move-in procedures, and other digitally enhanced procedures designed to maintain the safety of all parties during this unprecedented time. For students hesitant to pursue the traditionally in-person act of apartment searching, Beal Properties reminds students of the seamless implementation of technology that renders this process now digitally enabled. 

Consider Neighborhoods, Transportation, & Lifestyle

For students at the University of Chicago, DePaul, Loyola, IIT, Chicago State, or any of the other higher learning campuses within the vicinity of the city, ease of commute is an integral consideration in choosing the perfect apartment. The experts at Beal Properties point out that an easy access to the ‘L’, bus routes, bike routes, and highways can create a seamless experience for busy students. Between busy class schedules, rotating study groups, part-time jobs, and lifestyle activities, students need to have access to needed locations without too much hassle. Without such ease of access, students are more likely to forgo “non-essential” classes, seminars, and other otherwise positive opportunities. 

With many students, and professionals alike, choosing to forgo automobile ownership within bustling cities like Chicago, renters’ preferences are steering toward housing in convenient proximity to public transportation. For Beal Properties, consideration of students who rely on public infrastructure to service their needs is a factor for determining adding properties to the company’s thriving portfolio. Whether in Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, or any other coveted Chicagoland neighborhood, the majority of Beal Properties’ complexes are conveniently located within walking range to trains, subway stations, bus routes, and bike paths. For students, this provides an excellent opportunity to hop on the bus to their University, and retain a convenient commute.

In addition to the importance of considering proximity to school, Beal Properties professionals encourage students to consider neighborhoods as a whole, looking for particular “live-work-play” microenvironments that suit their unique needs. For example, active students may prefer neighborhoods with robust gym options, hiking trails, dedicated bike lanes, and community pools. Conversely, social students may prefer hyper-local communities nestled between restaurants, bars, and trendy hotspots. Since student housing is essentially home, choosing a neighborhood that is conducive to needs, desires, and lifestyle will create an easy transition for students leaving their hometown for the first time.

Consider Budgets

For students whose financial status has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through the loss of part-time work, or otherwise, budgeting is instrumental in ensuring successful living arrangements throughout the year. By creating a realistic budget for groceries, rent, essentials, and “fun” expenditures, students can stave off the potential panic of having limited work opportunities, and can safely determine which apartments can fit their needs. Recognizing the need to offer modern apartment dwellings at varying price points, the experts at Beal Properties maintain a diverse portfolio of studio apartments perfect for singular students, or 1, 2, and 3 bedroom options that are suitable for roommates who will split costs. The company encourages students to create budgets prior to beginning their apartment search, and sticking to only considering dwelling options that fall within the pre-set budgets.

While the landscape for students has certainly changed in every aspect as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, innovative companies like Beal Properties are implementing proactive measures to ensure that the apartment hunt is seamless, easy, and direct during this unprecedented time. By following a few simple pivots, students can ensure a safe, successful, and positive return to the fall semester.

Want to stay connected with Beal? Follow them on Instagram!

Why is Access to Healthy Foods Important?

Why is Access to Healthy Foods Important?

Healthy foods provide us with the nutrition our bodies need. Without this nutrition, our bodies break down leading to future health issues.

For some of us, eating healthy food is not much of an issue. For others, it can be a matter of life and death.

If you look in your grocery stores, you may notice that healthy foods are often more expensive than “not as healthy” food products. When you compare organic to non-organic, organic will always have a higher price tag. Lower fats and non-fat foods also tend to be more expensive than foods with a high fat content.

Because healthy foods are more expensive, lower income people may not be able to afford them. As a result, grocery stores in lower income neighborhoods may not carry these foods at all.

But the problems don’t stop there.

Data from 2012-2013 shows that the average person lived 2.19 miles from a supermarket. While that is not very far for those who have a car, it is impossible to walk this distance with a week’s worth of groceries, and carrying them on public transportation isn’t much easier.

Then there are the food deserts. Food deserts are areas where food resources are limited which is often the case in low income areas. As a result, convenience stores and small food markets may be the only way for these people to access food. Unfortunately, these smaller businesses tend not to offer a lot of healthy food options.

Why is Access to Healthy Foods Important?

If you are wondering, why is access to healthy foods important, read on to find out.

Those who do not have access to healthy foods are likely to experience health problems in the future. Diabetes and obesity are two health issues that are quite common in low-income neighborhoods where people do not have access to the healthy foods they need.

What is Being Done?

Fortunately, the issue of a lack of access to healthy foods has not gone unnoticed. As a result, several strategies have been implemented to “improve diets by altering food environments.” For instance, Supplemental Nutrition Access Programs have helped low income individuals afford the healthy food they need.

Other strategies include opening supermarkets in underserved neighborhoods, lowering the prices of healthy foods and limiting the number of fast food restaurants in communities.

It Starts with You

Healthy foods are important but to really make sure you are getting the nutrition you need, supplements are recommended.

Garden of Life is a brand that is dedicated to creating a world where obesity and diabetes are a thing of the past. They manufacture whole foods nutritional supplements that they believe will help make that dream a reality. Products like their Omega 3 Fish Oil, their Woman’s Once Daily, and their FucoThin Fat Burner are just some Garden of Life products designed to boost health and wellness.

The question is not really, “Why is access to healthy foods important?” Rather, it’s “What do we need to do to make healthy foods more accessible?” Fortunately, programs are underway to help people get the nutritious foods they need. Hopefully this will make a change in promoting better health throughout the world.

Interactive and Social Apps to Get You Through the Isolation of Quarantine

Interactive and Social Apps to Get You Through the Isolation of Quarantine

Do you find yourself nostalgically daydreaming of the camaraderie of your favorite Spin class? Have you started talking to your houseplants as though they were newly created connections made naturally on 80’s night at your local bar? Do you long to fill your afternoons learning a new craft, exacerbated by the desire to share your fledgling successes with like-minded individuals? With boredom, loneliness, isolation, and lack of interpersonal communication plaguing countless individuals throughout quarantine and social distancing measures, you are not alone! To offset these growing feelings of isolation and distance, consider downloading these interactive and social apps to get you moving, sharing, and connecting.

Fitplan

Fitplan: Home Workouts and Gym Training - Apps on Google Play

Though there are multiple apps available on the market for fitness junkies looking to take their workout game digital, or novices looking to embark on a fitness journey during quarantine, Fitplan is highly interactive, social, and communicative. If you’re looking for fitness inspiration, teamwork and camaraderie, and a social community of health conscious members, Fitplan is the app to kickstart your virtual fitness journey in a manner most consistent with in-person group fitness clubs. You can choose from hundreds of bespoke fitness plans, with new home workout plans released each week. Additionally, for personalized care and attention, you can receive one on one instruction from top personal trainers. With tools and markers designed to track progress, you can reach milestones and achieve personal goals easily, sharing your success with a community of over 3 million Fitplan members.

With ample gym workouts available, Fitplan will transition with your evolving needs and preferences as social distancing guidelines change, rendering this app a long-term wellness must-have. If you’re starting out with your first workout plan, and don’t know where to begin, the app features a simple series of questions that help to create a bespoke workout plan to meet your needs, eliminating any guess work that may leave you feeling left out, or otherwise unmotivated. As a bonus, the app integrates with Apple’s Health app to track comprehensive data, making it easier than ever to keep track of your health, progress, and goals.

LinkedIn Learning

File:LinkedIn logo initials.png - Wikimedia Commons

If the Coronavirus pandemic, and subsequent job insecurity, has left you scrambling to secure occupational stability in the future, look to LinkedIn Learning to develop crucial skills that will help you become proficient in in-demand fields. With lessons taught by industry experts, the app provides courses in leadership, marketing, IT, web design, and after growing industries. You can explore a multitude of courses, work at your own pace, and even share course completion certificates with your network. Whether you’re considering a complete career overhaul, or want to leverage newly perfected skills to become a more competitive candidate for promotion, LinkedIn Learning can provide the infrastructure needed to reach these goals.

As LinkedIn is inherently social in nature, and relies on the concept of digital networking for occupational success, the Learning app features robust communication tools to champion a community spirit, bolster success, and share tips with other learners. Through the app’s “Q & A” section, featured on every course, you can ask pertinent questions to the community, and the course’s instructor. This function champions interactive communication, often resulting in successful social learning experiences.

Zynn

Zynn (@ZynnApp) | Twitter

This exciting new short-video sharing app is the ultimate community-building tool, encouraging artistic creators to make entertaining video snippets across a variety of categories, and serving up diverse content for all users. If you’re yearning for creative expression and community integration, but are sick of platforms that only champion influencers, and creators with a certain number of followers, Zynn is the innovative app for you. Zynn’s groundbreaking suggestion algorithm creates an equal opportunity for all videos to be seen, regardless of a creator’s follower count, profile characteristics, or popularity. This leads to more inclusive and diverse content being readily visible on Zynn, perfect for users who want to discover interesting content, and be seen as their authentic selves.

With purposeful design that allows for swift sharing of content, viewing of creator profiles, and interaction, the social nature of Zynn is expertly manifested in the app’s design. If you’ve always wanted to create professional quality videos, Zynn has easy-to-use customization tools to transform everyday videos into works of art. With extensive editing capabilities, a soundtrack creator, and the ability to add stickers and magic effects to videos, you can express your personality freely with Zynn. With a constantly growing community of loyal users, Zynn’s commitment to expression, equality, and diversity makes this app truly innovative, forward-thinking, and social.

DIY.org Creative Challenges

DIY.org (@DIY) | Twitter

With more time at your disposal, you may be considering learning a new craft, perfecting a creative skill, or embarking on a quest to ultimately become a skilled photographer. From activities created to keep little minds busy, to learning creative occupational skills, DIY.org is home to thousands of creative challenges to spark creation, innovation, and artistic release. From how-to videos to step-by-step tutorials in art, chemistry, camping, singing, sewing, and a myriad of other topics, DIY.org encourages you to try something new.

Interactive and social, the child-safe community allows you to post your creations, comment on users’ ventures, and discuss the outcomes of projects in a community setting. Tracking your growing skill sets and endeavors, the app allows you to create a bespoke profile, which showcases your creative accomplishments to date. Viewing the accomplishments of community members can be inspirational, and motivate you to get creative, while celebrating the growing skills of like-minded individuals.

As you navigate these unprecedented times, participating in digitally based social endeavors can successfully alleviate feelings of isolation, negativity, boredom, and loneliness. While traditional in-person networking and interactions may be limited for the time being, there are various digitally based alternatives for anyone looking to remain connected, socially engaged, entertained, and motivated. From apps dedicated to personal wellness and physical fitness, to social media platforms dedicated to showcasing diverse content, leading interactive and social apps can get you through quarantine without losing a sense of community, authenticity, and self-expression.

4 things you can do in your backyard to keep yourself entertained during the quarantine

4 things you can do in your backyard to keep yourself entertained during the quarantine

The pandemic is impacting individuals differently. One thing is for sure though, that it’s still taking some getting used to. With so many rules and regulations to pay attention to, it’s all enough to make you lose your mind but staying at home is by far the most effective way to flatten the curve.

Although it’s essential, we also acknowledge that being stuck at home might mean that you are more restless, tense, and bored than you have been for a while. And if you have kids, schools may be out for the foreseeable future, which means that there are a lot more hours in between the day to fill up that should be used for entertaining everyone in the household. 

As you probably already know, entertaining kids is no small feat; it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Sure, you could always let them watch hours of TV because it will buy you a little peace and quiet when you need it. However, giving your kids unlimited screen time is no way to spend time during this quarantine period.

With most spaces only opening up gradually, you’ll find that a lot of the playgrounds, community spaces, and stores that you once loved are still closed. Lucky for you, there are still lots of things that you can do when it comes to keeping yourself and your kids entertained during the quarantine. To prevent you from going stir crazy, here are things that you can do- and you don’t even have to leave your backyard to enjoy them:

1) Set up and backyard ping pong tournament

If you are still doing the responsible thing and staying at home as much as possible, it only makes sense that you want to make full use of your side, front, or back yard. One of the simplest things that you can do outdoors is to organize some lawn games such as a ping pong tournament.

Since you’ll be hosting a game at home, there’s no need to follow all the rules of ping pong. You can have a totally reasonable game with a few paddles, a ping pong table, and a few participants. If you don’t have a ping pong table, simply grab your dining table and create some boundaries and markings.

2) Throw an impromptu Karaoke session

If you are a shower singer or just love music in general, an impromptu Karaoke session can be a great way to spend time with your loved ones in the backyard. When the sun goes down, there is absolutely no reason why the party has to stop. Rather, it’s an opportunity to turn things up with an outdoor Karaoke session.

To throw a successful outdoor session, ensure that you keep your guest list tight; try not to invite more than 10 attendees. If you are thinking about how you can host more people, consider making Karaoke night a weekly thing, that way you will be able to host a different group each time without overcrowding.

If you don’t have enough supplies, request your guests to kindly bring their own blankets or chairs. If there are outsiders that aren’t part of the household, ensure to layout your blankets in the appropriate six feet distance. And don’t forget the hand sanitizer.

You will also need some basic equipment such as a portable projector, a projector screen and some speakers. Make the space as comfortable as possible so that your guests can relax and have fun. Consider setting up some walkway lights or offer your guests inexpensive flashlights to prevent them from accidentally stepping on or tripping over each other.

3) Create a reading nook outdoors

You now have more time than ever to complete those unfinished DIY projects that you have always wanted to try. One of them should be creating an outdoor reading nook where you can retreat to in the quiet of the night or just before sunset to read a book or a magazine.

Don’t have access to a whole ton of books? No problem. Simply get yourself a Kindle and you can read anywhere, anytime. What’s so great about reading on Kindle is that you can read in your backyard without worrying about illumination. Kindles are also mostly waterproof and you can store all your favorite reads and podcasts without worrying about space.

4) Set up an outdoor movie party

Netflix and chilling is great and all, but sometimes you just need to shake things up, which is where an outdoor movie party comes in. With a few supplies and a simple, non-frilly setup, you can create an outdoor theater to beat all outdoor theaters in no time.

First and foremost, you will need to select an outdoor spot with access to electrical outlets. You can’t watch a movie without power, now can you? Also, make sure that the location that you select is quite and where headlights, house lights from nearby houses, or street lights will not make viewing hard.

You also need a retractable projector screen. However, if you cannot afford to buy one straight away, there are plenty of DIY options to try. You will also need a projector, as well as surround sound (regular computer speakers will also work just as fine). Set everything up, grab some popcorn, an outdoor blanket, warm drinks and you’ll be good to go.

Final Thoughts

You may not have as many options as you once did to eat, drink, and get out into the world as you once did pre-quarantine. However, there are still plenty of things that you can try to keep yourself entertained.

Like most people that have been forced to self-isolate or quarantine owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the best thing that you can do is look for alternative ways to make the best of your situation. If you look around, you’ll find that you can do a lot more with the little that you have and still be able to stay safe and sane.

The good news for you is that these tips that we’ve listed above will definitely keep you occupied until the next time you will be able to go out dancing, catch a movie, check out a new restaurant or simply just hug the friends that you miss.

What CBD Salve Can Do For You

When my brother and I were growing up our household had two main ‘treatment’ remedies that were my mother and granny’s ‘go-to’ cure. 

The first one was a red watered down liquid that looked like imitation blood which seemed, as much as it was horrific to look at, to speed up the healing process. 

Cotton wool drenched in the stuff would be smeared all over, and then some, of the emergency area and you walked around looking like you had just come back from war. Let’s just say this went down well with the boys, anything that made a sore look gross and they were all for it. Yuck.

The other was a topical cream, pale pink as if a red shirt had found its way into the white load and smelled like a pureed hospital, old granny’s, and care homes all in one, it’s not something you are likely to forget let me tell you this. 

The funny thing is, and I’m wondering now if it was because it was used so religiously used on us, but I put it onto everything on my kids. It’s ‘magic’ and there isn’t a problem it can’t tackle. This is what I tell them and try to convince myself, of course, splinters to blisters to scratches, ‘get the tube,’ and it hasn’t failed me yet.

For a trip down memory lane on all things grannies used to practice as a self-proclaimed doctor no doubt, click here and see how many relate to your childhood, you’ll be surprised at how many you can remember never mind that you may implement them into your family dynamics now like I do.

When it comes to muscles, on the other hand, you need something that penetrates a little deeper than the surface, one that can be massaged into the muscles and tissues and get to the root of the pain or problem. 

I have always known only one brand left unmentioned but it comes in a red tube and can burn your eyes dry just by getting too close, and even then its results weren’t guaranteed and you have a heated patch on your body for the next 2 hours. 

Thankfully coming across this innovative product and one that has saved my eyeballs a lot of stress is CBD Salve. CBD comes from the cousin of the marijuana family and this flower has a long list of beneficial factors and healing properties, but with all the negatives removed it makes this product that much better.

A CBD story.

People hear CBD or Cannabidiol and immediately jump to an idea of a group of youngsters sitting huddled in a circle surrounded by a cloud of smoke. While this may be true if the THC component, which is responsible for the hallucinogenic and psychoactive reaction, is not fully extracted to a concentration of less than 0.3%.

You can brush up on your insight here on what THC is and how it works in the body, the chemical reactions, and its history of being discovered. 

CBD comes in many forms, oils, edibles, and my new favorite, salve. This has changed the way I perceive pain.

No longer do I dread the onset of a muscle spasm or twinge, I simply reach for my little tub of cream and enjoy the quick effects.

This is of course hidden away from my achy-bones hubby who thinks he is in pain when I just mention loading the dishwasher after dinner, suddenly he needs the kids to do a 15-min massage. Cheeky. 

If you are nodding your head in agreement but don’t have your hands on this ‘miracle’ salve then don’t wait, you may be unsure or overwhelmed by which is best or what is suited to you, browsing products on sites such as Cheefbotanicals.com is a good way to get you started and set off on the right foot.

You can begin your CBD journey with something small and work your way up, the main objective is to use an all-natural product and eliminate chemical-based alternatives. Who knows what toxins are being put on your skin or ingested into the system?

We need to take care of ourselves in the safest way we can, and if CBD is the answer, count me in.

How to Show Your Significant Other You Appreciate Them Consistently

How to Show Your Significant Other You Appreciate Them Consistently

Relations take work whether you have been together for 6 months or multiple decades. This could be working on communication or talking about some less than pleasant issues that need to be confronted. There could even be a chance that you are spending too much time together especially with social distancing measures in place. Appreciation of your partner is going to be essential as everyone loves to feel valued in a romantic relationship. Below are a few tips to show your partner you appreciate them or just want to do something nice for them.

Cook Their Favorite Meal

Small things matter when it comes to showing that you appreciate your significant other. Flowers after work of a favorite meal prepared when they get home is important. Large gestures are sure to put a smile on the face of your partner while it is the little gestures that count. Taking time out of your busy day to cook a great meal that you can both enjoy can be a great way for you to reduce stress. Plenty of people view cooking as therapeutic as you can forget your problems and become immersed in prepping the food.

Gifts for Big Accomplishments

A promotion or certification that has taken a long time to achieve needs to be celebrated in a huge way. A promotion that your significant other has worked hard for deserves a gift. Looking into Raleigh jewelers or ones in your area can give you a better idea of what type of budget you should set aside. Booking a trip is far more difficult than it had been but this is a great option as well once the pandemic has subsided. Meaningful gifts can be from the heart but still be luxurious which is something to keep in mind.

Get a Couples Massage or Take a Spa Day

A couples massage or day at the spa together can provide that relaxation you both truly need. Spending a great day together can work wonders for your relationship as small things that were bothering you do not seem as important. Take the time to plan out which treatments you will get at the spa. You might be surprised what a day of relaxation will do for you personally and your partner.

Order in Their Favorite Restaurant by Surprise

More restaurants than ever before are offering takeout or delivery. Having a meal delivered from your partner’s favorite restaurant can be that pick me up they need during a tough week at work. Life has changed due to the pandemic and has reduced the number of things you can do together as a couple. Supporting local businesses during this time is also important as you do not want your favorite restaurant to go out of business.

Showing your significant other how much you mean to them with your actions is important. You do not have to go over the top constantly but make a point of doing something incredibly nice a few times a week.

Tips On Finding A Reliable Used Car

Tips On Finding A Reliable Used Car

Buying a used car is trickier than you might think. Sure, you want to get a used car to save some money, but you’ll need to balance trying to find a low price against safety and reliability. Just jumping at the first deal you see may put you at risk of purchasing an unreliable vehicle that’s prone to accidents, say auto attorneys McLachlan Law, so how do you find a used car that’s solid while still saving plenty of money? The following tips should help you on your search.

Know What Kind Of Car You Want, But Stay Flexible

It helps to go in with a plan, and if you’re looking to save some money, you’ll benefit yourself by concentrating your search on cars that were already economically priced when they were new — between $10,000 and $20,000 if possible.

Seeing as most cars lose between 20 and 30 percent of their value by the end of the first year (and 15 to 18 percent per year beyond that), targeting cars that started off relatively affordable when they were new will net you a great value if you can find them used.

Be sure to stay flexible and add more than one model to your wish list, though. This will grant you a bit of latitude in your search, and prevent you from feeling “boxed in” on a choice if you can’t find the first model you’re looking for (or at the price you’re after).

Do Your Research

There are certain indicators you can use to gauge the reliability of a used car, and you’ll find some of these by going through the vehicle’s detailed history. If you know the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the car you’re eyeing, you can use the NHTSA’s Vin Lookup Tool to search for safety recall information on the vehicle in question.

There are also companies like AutoCheck and Carfax that can help you get a vehicle history report, which will give you more information to chew on beyond the mileage and age of the car. You can use a vehicle history report to learn about whether the car has suffered any damage, what repairs and maintenance it has undergone, and other factors that will help you determine its safety and reliability.

Perform An Independent Inspection

As a final step, you might want to cover all your bases by hiring a mechanic to perform an independent inspection on the used car you’re looking at. This will help you identify any hidden issues that may not have been present on the auto history report. With that complete, be sure to take it for a test drive to see if you really like the car, and, if everything checks out, ride off into the sunset with your “new” vehicle.

2020 Is The Summer Of RV Travel And Camping: Here’s How To Prepare For A Great Trip

2020 Is The Summer Of RV Travel And Camping: Here’s How To Prepare For A Great Trip

Camping is one of the best outdoor activities to partake in during the summer months. Yes, some hardcore adventurers will still camp in the winter months, but summer is an opportunity for anybody to give the activity a go. Whether it’s a fun vacation in a family-orientated campsite, a group of young people heading to a weekend adventure at the lake, or a group of friends going on a multi-day hike, camping is an activity that so many people take part in once summer hits.

There are generally three types of camping: backpacking, tent camping, and RVing. While they all share some tips to beat the summer heat, each one comes with its own special considerations, as well.

General Summer Camping Tips

  • Pack only light-colored clothing

There’s no way around this law of nature: Solar radiation soaks into dark-colored surfaces and reflects off light-colored surfaces. Don’t try to fight it. Instead, work with it by packing only light-colored clothes on summer camping trips. These will keep you much cooler during the day. Also, choose fabrics that breathe and release heat, such as cotton and linen. If you are wearing short sleeves or shorts, make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen.

  • Drink lots of water

Hydration is the most crucial part of staying cool, safe, and healthy on camping trips. Water has a high specific heat value, which means it takes a lot of energy to change the temperature of the water. Since your body is made of about 60 percent water, keeping it properly hydrated is one of the best weapons against overheating.

  • Avoid Sunburn

Pick an SPF (30+) with avobenzone, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide. These will block both UV-A and UV-B rays. Reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating madly. Sun-scorched? Wear a wide-brimmed hat.

  • Use bug repellent

It’s summer, so you’re probably camping by the water. And that means bugs. The basis of anyone’s anti-bug arsenal needs to be a DEET-based bug spray. One problem DEET does have is that it can reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen by up to one-third. Try to apply your sunscreen at least 20 minutes before DEET to minimize its effect.

  • Tarps are the ultimate multitool

The most-mentioned summer camping tip from park rangers was to pack tarps. A lot of them. Tarps aren’t just for keeping the rain off your tent or draping a picnic table; you can use tarps as sun protection, too. They keep the body from overheating and dehydrating.

Backpacking Tips

  • Cots

If you buy nothing else, make it a mesh cot. Lifting your body off the ground allows air to circulate all around you. 

  • Bring a satellite GPS messenger

A leisurely hike can turn dangerous quickly if you run out of water or lose your way. Every year, thousands of adventurists go missing. Some never return. GPS messengers let you share GPS coordinates, track your adventures, reach emergency responders, and check-in with family or friends — all from the push of a button.

  • Campground fans are pretty great

We’ve all been there – it’s 2 a.m., the sleeping bag is far too warm, and there’s no way you’re getting back to sleep without a couple of ice packs. An easier solution? Bring a battery-powered fan that either hooks on to your tent or that you can position at your campsite. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

Tent Camping Tips

  • Set up your tent in the shade

If you can find a camping spot in the shade, take it. Letting trees absorb the sunlight, instead of your tent, will go a long way in keeping you cool. If the trees you are parked under provide ample shade from the sun at all angles you may be able to leave your tent up during the day.

  • Choose a tent with lots of mesh

The fine mesh walls of a tent offer protection from biting insects, while also allowing a breeze to pass through, thus providing the best of both worlds. If you will be camping in the summer, it is advantageous to choose a tent with as much mesh as possible. 

  • Make use of the breeze

The wind is nature’s air conditioning. Even if there is not a significant breeze, making use of it is a critical move in staying cool during summer camping. When you figure out which direction the wind will be blowing, face your tent door into the wind.

RV Camping Tips

  • Service Your AC Before You Hit the Road

The air conditioner in your RV will help you beat the summer heat and also the humidity. Before you start it all, you have to make sure that you have had your cooling system serviced and inspected. You should have the filter replaced and inspect the unit for any signs of damage. 

  • Do Not Cook During Peak Times

You may love having a fully functional kitchen, but do not use appliances in the kitchen that can heat up the space. Your range and stove will become interior heat sources, and it is best to avoid using these heat sources until nighttime. Opt to use a microwave or to cook over a fire or a grill instead to stay cool.

  • Make a Checklist

As stated in Everything You Need to Know About RV Camping, make a checklist. There a lot more things to remember to check and do with an RV than a tent or backpack. “With every RV comes a list of precautions and steps to take before you are ready to hit the road. Forgetting even the smallest of tasks can put you, your RV, and others on the road with you in danger.”

Beating the heat is all about buying the right accessories, packing the right clothing, the right food, and being strategic with your activities during your trip. Create memories and stay cool in the process during this summer’s RV camping trip. Enjoy your time lounging in your RV and being active outdoors and keep these tips in mind before you hit the road. Stay hydrated, stay covered, and alternate your time indoors and outdoors during the peak heat of the day.