Mindfulness (Motivation Monday)

Today’s post comes from the University of California, Berkeley’s The Greater Good Science .

Image Source: Medical Xpress

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.

Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

Though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular, inspiring countless programs to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers, and beyond.

Source: greatergood.berkeley.edu

11 Ways to Prepare for Mosquito Season

Image Credit:City of Philadelphia

I am one of those lucky people mosquitoes love. According to Web MD, your genetics account for 85 percent of why some people get bit more than others (thanks great-grandma!).

Studies have shown that mosquitoes are attracted to about 400 different things, but are more likely to attack individuals with a high concentration of cholesterol on the skin, a high concentration of uric or lactic acid, and people who produce a lot of carbon dioxide and heat. That is why you are more likely to get bitten if you are exercising than if you are sitting still (unless you are me).

Conditions that Make Mosquitoes Outbreaks Worse

Mosquitoes are more likely to be present in warmer climates. Mosquitoes can survive in temperatures over 50 degrees. If a region never falls below 50 degrees, mosquitoes can be a year-round problem.

Stagnant water is the ultimate breeding ground for mosquitoes. Keep all stagnant water covered, if you must have it near your house for any reason. Even small puddles can produce thousands of mosquitoes.

Rains that occur after a long drought can often produce the worst mosquito swarms, simply because predators that normally eat the mosquitoes are no longer in the area.

A Word on West Nile Virus

Texas has faced several outbreaks of West Nile Virus over the past few years. West Nile Virus can be deadly, but is usually harmless. In fact, 80 percent of people who get the virus show no symptoms at all, according to the CDC.

If you are in the 20 percent that shows symptoms, they will look like this:

  • Unexplained body aches or headaches
  • Unexplained joint pain
  • Rash
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

If you have any of these symptoms in combination with mosquito bites, consult with a health professional right away. According to the CDC, about 1 percent of infected people could have a serious reaction to the virus, resulting in encephalitis or meningitis. Individuals with existing health issues are more likely to develop serious complications.

Following the tips outlined below will reduce your risk of getting the virus.

How to Prepare for Mosquitoes

Preparing to fight mosquitoes is a continual process. The biggest preventative measure you can take is to eliminate breeding places. It takes 7 to 10 days for mosquito eggs to hatch. Standing water should not be allowed to remain uncovered for more than 7 days. Pay special attention to areas like empty buckets, uncovered boats, low areas in the yard, rain gutters, and pet food bowls.

Keeping ducks or chickens may also help control your mosquito population because birds eat mosquitoes and other insects. Keeping fish and frogs in ponds and small bodies of water will also help prevent mosquitoes from breeding and keep live mosquitoes under control.

Certain plants also have mosquito-fighting properties. Rose scented geraniums contain citronellal oil, and can help ward off mosquito attacks. The lemon balm plant also offers mosquito-repelling properties. Catnip is also an effective plant remedy against mosquitoes. A study from Iowa State University found that the oil in catnip is 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET. The basil plant also has some mosquito-repelling properties. Other plants that can provide benefit include marigold, ageratum, and horse mint.

Natural Prevention Methods for Mosquito Bites

While using the above methods can help reduce mosquito infestations at home, what about when you are out and about? Do you have to resort to chemical sprays? Of course not!

  • Light up a few citronella candles and place them around the perimeter of where you will be.
  • Try rubbing lemon balm, catnip, or basil on the skin to ward off aerial attackers. Re-apply every 30 minutes.
  • Use a hand-held fan to blow the insects elsewhere.
  • Don’t use perfumed shampoo and soap. Perfumes tend to attract mosquitoes.
  • Use a natural bug repellent spray. You can either purchase one at a store, or make your own. You can use essential oils as a natural repellent.
  • Wear loose clothing that covers up as much of your body as possible.
  • Avoid going out at dawn and dusk, when possible.
  • Smoke will also repel mosquito attacks.

How do you prepare for mosquito season?  Comment below!

Source: momprepares.com

3 Days in Napa Valley, California

The perfect itinerary for a long weekend of indulging in wellness, fine dining and wine.

Yountville, photo by Mars Lasar/marslasarstudio.com

Less than two hours north of San Francisco and nestled between the Mayacamas Mountains and the Vaca Mountains, California’s Napa Valley is a glorious part of the world to explore. Take a bike tour through some of Yountville’s wineries, browse the riverfront boutiques in Napa, discover the outdoors in the hills near the charming town of St. Helena and indulge in some pampering at a historic or contemporary spa in Calistoga. Each community has something a little different to offer, but all are tied together with delicious, farm-fresh dining experiences—and plenty of great wine, of course.

Getting around: The Napa Valley stretches 50 kilometres from Napa at the south end to Calistoga at the north with the towns of Yountville and St. Helena in between. You can drive the entire valley in about 45 minutes.

Day 1

Photo courtesy of Napa Valley Bike Tours


Start exploring with Napa Valley Bike Tours in Yountville. Cruise through the vineyards enjoying light wine tastings along the way. On the well-paced, half-day tour you’ll learn about how Napa’s climate, terrain and fertile ash soil from Mount Saint Helena provide ideal growing conditions for a wide range of grapes; Beringer, Mondavi and Beaulieu make their famous wines here for a reason.


Enjoy lunch at Lucy, the field-to-fork restaurant at Yountville’s Bardessono Hotel & Spa, and check out the garden beds that grow produce for the hotel’s bar and restaurant. Walk off your meal in Napa (about a 15-minute drive south). Browse the Napa Riverfront district’s boutiques and the Oxbow Public Market, where you’ll find locally made goods like artisanal bitters, chocolates and soaps.


Treat yourself to dinner at La Toque at The Westin Verasa Napa and opt for the seasonal six-course vegetable tasting menu that includes dishes like fennel salad, mushroom tempura and potato gnocchi.

Day 2

The Meadowood Spa, photo courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley


Sign up for an eco-fitness workout on the forested grounds of the Meadowood Napa Valley, a luxury resort high in the hills near St. Helena, about a 15-minute drive north of Napa. The eco-fitness class includes a scenic hike through the property’s forest trails with stops for stretching, calisthenics and kettle ball. After the workout, visit Meadowood’s luxury spa, which offers individually curated treatment plans and his-and-hers relaxation gardens with saunas and mineral soaking pools. Following your treatment, enjoy a cold-pressed juice and elixir tasting at Meadowood’s health-focused restaurant, The Grill. The Ginger Elixir—orange, Meadowood honey, cider vinegar and cayenne—will zing your palate back to life.


Check out Cairdean Estate in St. Helena, the name giving a nod to its owner’s Scottish heritage. Relax in the leather club chairs in the private tasting room of the winery with a glass of crisp Fumé Blanc in hand. The winery is built on the site of a former mall and the sprawling buildings have been transformed into a cohesive property, complete with restaurant, curated store and a deli and bakery.


Round out your day with a glorious dinner at Harvest Table. Michelin-starred celebrity chef Charlie Palmer opened this restaurant on the grounds of the manor-style Harvest Inn in St. Helena. Go ahead and opt for the “blind vine” wine-tasting experience. Your bottle will arrive wrapped in foil, and the guessing begins as to which wine accompanies each course. Take the time to savour Palmer’s creations—especially the succulent, shared-plate organic chicken.

Day 3

Photo courtesy of Solage Calistoga


Book an aromatherapy massage at Indian Springs Resort & Spa in Calistoga, then relax by the Buddha Pond and Gardens before taking a swim in the geyser-fed, Olympic-sized pool, complete with throwback, white-painted cabanas. The iconic resort harkens back to another era, and one is tempted to swim long, languid laps while wearing a ruffled bathing cap in the oldest mineral pool in California.


Follow your relaxing morning with more pampering, this time at Solage Calistoga. Set on 22 acres near downtown Calistoga, this spot offers a contemporary spa and natural geothermal pools. The mud bath is a Napa Valley tradition, and the Spa Solage offers a modern twist with the detoxifying Mudslide treatment; it includes mineral-enriched mud with your choice of pure essential oils. Try a Spa-tini before a late lunch on the patio of Solbar.


If you can tear yourself away from Calistoga’s mud baths and spas, head downtown for some early evening browsing in the dozens of beautiful boutiques along Lincoln Avenue that are full of clothing, jewelry and the work of Napa Valley artisans. Stop in at one of the tasting rooms provided in the wine shops along the way. Once the sun goes down, stroll around the corner to Evangeline, a mostly outdoor patio restaurant that serves French cuisine with a Creole twist. After dark, the walled courtyard comes alive with soft lighting and music.

Source: westjetmagazine.com ; PAM FIEBER

Avenida Brazil Churrascaria Steakhouse (Local Eats)

When it comes to celebratory eating, nothing beats a Brazilian Steakhouse.

The highest quality buffet of endless meats that come to you? Count us in. Start the meal with an all you can eat, gourmet salad bar stocked with fresh, delicious meats, vegetables, and soups. Oh, about the soups, the lobster bisque rivals the best we have ever had in the area. You are going to want to keep going back for more and we don’t blame you. But keep in mind that you have an endless stream of beef, lamb, chicken, and shrimp coming your way. So, maybe limit yourself to five two cups.

Now that drinks have arrived, you’ve restricted your bisque intake, and everyone has settled in, it’s time to flip that magical card to green. If you’ve not dined Churrascaria style, they will explain the simplicity of it all to you. The card next to your plate has a red and a green side. Green indicates to the attentive staff to keep bringing on the delicious meats. While red means that you’ve given up or that it’s time for a break.

Image Source: Yelp

The protein options come in waves to allow your party to sample any or all of Avenida’s amazing options. They are carved tableside from a skewer and delivered to your plate. As with any dining experience you should let the staff know of any allergies in the party. The shrimp is absolutely delicious but would require one of our friends to use a pricey EpiPen if they came in contact with the crustaceans. The server made sure this would not be an issue.

Speaking of crustaceans, our shrimp allergic friend can have lobster and he HAD lobster. The special that was available on our last visit and will be available through March 20th is $3 lobster tail weekends. You read that correctly, $3! If seafood isn’t your thing and there are a few types of meat that you fell in love with all you have to do is request them. They will arrive as promptly as the kitchen can ensure their perfection. Meats can be ordered to temperature. If you’re a caveperson and like your meat well-done, it’s done. They will readily offer up medium rare cuts to those who appreciate a perfectly cooked cut too.

It can be difficult to find the perfect dining spot for a group with varying tastes, allergies, and dietary requirements. Avenida seems to be ideal in all regards. As mentioned above we have a friend with a severe shrimp (iodine) allergy. We also have a couple that joins us frequently who strictly adhere to a diet requiring Halal fresh meat. This is available at Avenida with 24 hours advanced notice. Seriously, this is one of the only restaurants at which we can all meet and eat meat (or salad bar for the meat-averse).

The cost should not be surprising. You have just had the endless filet, lamb chops, shrimp, chicken, gourmet salad bar, lobster bisque, and a finely crafted cocktail or ideal bottle of wine. This is one of a handful of places that we visit and don’t feel awkward asking for separate checks. It deservingly receives the $$$ or $$$$ from the review sites. But it also deservingly receives glowing reviews all the same. There seems to have been a staffing issue on Valentines Day that has resulted in some poor reviews. I suspect the lesson has been learned and that likely won’t be an issue going forward. We dined at Schilleci’s for V-day like we always do. So, we can’t comment to those reviews on that day. Trust us when we say that we have NEVER had bad service or slow wait times for requests when we have visited.

So, somehow you have made it this far and are still reading rather than booking a table. I suppose now would be a good time to remind you about the $3 lobster tails going on for just one more weekend! See you there and Bon Appétit!

On This Day (Tomorrow) March 14

Today’s post looks ahead to tomorrow, pi day!

Tomorrow, March 14 is Pi Day, an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi), which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The trillion-digit ratio is rounded to 3.14.

Albert Einstein was born and Stephen Hawking died on Pi Day. But of course, there is more than coincidences on this mathematically based holiday. There are savings on, you guessed it, pies of all varieties. The discounts range from coconut cream to deep dish pepperoni. More on some of the discounts are listed below.

Here are some fun Pi Day facts from PiDay.org.

  1. Since the exact value of pi can never be calculated, we can never find the accurate area or circumference of a circle.
  2. Although Pi day is celebrated on March 14 (3/14), the exact time for celebration is 1:59 pm so that the exact number 3.14159 can be reached.
  3. There is an interesting reason why the name ‘pi’ was coined. Before the name pi came, mathematicians had to say a mouthful. The only descriptive phrase they could use was “the quantity which when the diameter is multiplied by it, yields the circumference”. Pi was named pi by William Jones, a not-so-popular mathematician.
  4. There is an entire language made on the number Pi. But how is that possible? Well, some people love pi enough to invent a dialect in which the number of letters in the successive words are the same as the digits of pi. But it is not just another nerd quirk that nobody knows about. Mike Keith wrote an entire book, called ‘Not a Wake’ in this language.
  5.  The calculation of pi is a stress test for a computer. It works just like a digital cardiogram since it indicates the level of activity within the computer’s processor.
  6. William Shanks, a British mathematician, worked manually to find the digits of pi. He spent many years trying to calculate the pi digits by hand and found the first 707 digits. Unfortunately, the 527th digit he found was wrong, which made his efforts of finding the remaining digits useless because they were all wrong by default.
  7. Even comedians use pi to make people crack at their jokes. John Evans, a comedian, once said in his performances, “What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o’-lantern by its diameter? Pumpkin π.”

We can geek-out all day for the math behind π but you probably want to know what deals are available for your pie cravings. Here are just a few from USA Today (link below to their complete list).

  • 7-Eleven: With the 7Rewards app, get one slice of pizza for 50 cents. Or buy a whole pie in-store and get 314 7Rewards bonus points. With 7NOW, the convenience store chain’s delivery service, get up to two whole pizzas for $3.14 each. 
  • BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse: Get a mini one-topping pizza for $3.14 Thursday. Dine-in only. Learn more at www.bjsrestaurants.com/piday.
  • Cicis: Buy one adult buffet and large drink Thursday and get a second adult buffet for $3.14 with a coupon.
  • California Pizza Kitchen: Get a slice of Key Lime Pie for $3.14 Thursday.
  • Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen: Order the restaurant’s Homemade Chicken Pot Pie for dining in or to-go Thursday and get a free second pie to bake at home. No coupon needed, and Cheddar’s says it will provide the baking instructions. Learn more at www.cheddars.com/pieday.
  • Kroger: Select pies are $3.14 for Pi Day including apple, cherry, peach and pumpkin pies.
  • Schlotzsky’s: The fast-casual chain is celebrating National Potato Chip Day Thursday. Get a free bag of potato chips with entrée purchase. (So, the sandwich shop famous for round sandwiches is celebrating Potato Chip Day rather than Pi Day!? That’s ridiculous.)
  • Whole Foods Market: Large bakery pies are $3.14 off the regular price Thursday. Varieties vary by region.

Here is the full list from USA Today.

So throw your dieting plans out the window for just one day this month and indulge in some π!

Chicken Burrito Lasagna (Instant Pot) – Only 5 Ingredients!

You read that right. Do you like lasagna? How about burritos? And enchiladas? Consider this layered, saucy chicken dish a hybrid of all three.

This recipe comes to us from Denise at mylifecookbook.com. There are links below to see more from My Life Cookbook that we encourage you to check out and enjoy!


  • 4 small flour tortillas
  • 1 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/2 can refried beans.
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


The 5 ingredients are cooked chicken, salsa, cheese, tortillas, and refried beans. So to make this dish, you want to use a springform pan so that it holds [its] shape. I first spread some refried beans on a tortilla and then placed it on the bottom. Then I added the (frozen) shredded chicken, spooned the salsa and finally sprinkled some shredded cheese. I repeat the layers 3 times and then placed a final tortilla on top with just the salsa and cheese. 


Place the trivet in the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water on the bottom. Place the springform pan on the trivet and press the manual button for 10 minutes and let it cook. When it’s done use a quick release. Take it out of the pot and let it sit for 10 minutes before taking it out of the springform pan.

As I said it’s easy and doesn’t take much time and is a great quick and easy dinner. I hope you like it as much as we did. Enjoy!


Detailed Instructions

  1. Spray your springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. Take 3 tortillas and spread the refried beans evenly on each.
  3. Place the first tortilla in the springform pan and then add 1/3 of the chicken meat.
  4. Add 1/4 of the salsa on top of the chicken and then sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese.
  5. Repeat for two more layers.
  6. Add the last tortilla and top with remaining salsa and cheese.
  7. Add trivet to the Instant Pot along with 1 cup of water.
  8. Place the lasagna on the trivet, lock the lid and turn the pressure release to the back.
  9. Use the manual button to cook for 10 minutes.
  10. When finish(ed), move the release button to vent for a quick release.
  11. Take out the springform pan (be careful it’s really hot) and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Source: mylifecookbook.com ; Denise

10 Morning Habits Successful People Swear By

Motivation Monday

Up and at ‘em! Morning people are successful people. Just ask any CEO, politician, professional athlete or inventor out there – they all start their day at the crack of dawn, gaining a leg up on the competition. Create a routine and stick with it. Studies prove that willpower is the strongest in the morning before exhaustion and other priorities get in your way. Adopt a morning ritual and you will start to see BIG results. So hold off hitting that snooze button and read up on some tips to guarantee a more productive future!

1. Get Up An Hour Early:

There is a 25th hour in the day. You’ve just been sleeping through it. Getting up an hour earlier is going to take time to adjust to, but once you make it a habit, you will never look back. Research has shown, not only are early risers more optimistic and conscientious, they also anticipate problems and minimize them more efficiently.  Which of course is crucial to success in the business world.


2. Visualize!

Early hours foster reflection. Enjoy the quiet and take some time to map out your day. Think through your goals and to-dos. Take whatever notes you need to ensure your day will be calmer and more efficient. Research has shown that even two minutes of visualization and positive thinking can improve your mood and clarity for the entire day ahead.

3. Eat Breakfast:

Time is a luxury, enjoy it and feed yourself a wholesome breakfast. Sit down with your family and enjoy a hearty bowl of oatmeal. Fuel your body for the tasks that lay ahead of you. It will help you maintain a steady focus throughout the day.

4. Say Buh-Bye To THAT One Big Task:

Reprioritize your to-do list, placing the most dreaded task at the top of your list. Instead of letting it loom over you all day save yourself the agony and stress and get it done first thing. You will feel a sense of relief and be more ready and willing to tackle any trivial task that follows. Besides, the morning is the time when you typically have the most energy and feel the most rested. Sounds like a win-win to me!

5. Motivational Mantra:

Step One – Dig deep and find out what inspires you. Step Two – Create a mantra. Step Three – Repeat that same saying to yourself every morning. Step Four – Breathe and relax. You will feel more motivated and focused than ever before.

6. Get Moving:

Morning workouts not only give you a boost of energy, they pump you up, ensuring your senses are up and running. You’ll feel ready to tackle any problem that comes your way. Studies have shown that people are less likely to come up with excuses early in the morning. So with fewer interruptions, you now have no excuse not to set your alarm 15 minutes early and sneak in a quick jog or a 5 minute workout. There’s even an app, Hot5 Fitness, that features easy and effective full body workouts.

7. Pack Snacks!

Eating fuels your brain, improving focus, productivity and memory. Plan your snacks ahead of time and drop some bars into your bag. I opt for a protein-filled KIND Bar which is completely natural and prevents my blood sugar from dropping.  Smart snacking is critical for keeping your metabolism going and your brain working at full capacity through your busy day.

8. Toss It!

Learn to let go of the things that are cluttering your life. It’s one thing to try to clear your mind, but sometimes you have to physically toss something to feel lighter. So get rid of something – old magazines, junk mail, apps on your phone, old receipts or papers and watch how your attitude changes throughout the day. Our lives get cluttered so easily, but they can become uncluttered just as fast. Remember that.

9. Go To Bed Early:

If you want to watch one more episode on Netflix think again.  Getting the proper amount of sleep is critical to not only your mental health and creativity but to weight control. When your biorhythms are off it wreaks havoc on your entire system. Getting the proper sleep your body needs sets you up for success in everything else you want to achieve. So rest up, you have much to accomplish tomorrow!

10. Silence:

Waking up early offers you opportunities that few get to enjoy – watch the sun rise, hear the sound of birds chirping, and just be still. We are always on the move. Sit and enjoy the morning calm. It’s a brief time where you can be alone with your thoughts. Just breathe.

Source: forbes.com ; Jennifer Cohen

Three Days in Paradise

Many of our guests in Nassau Paradise Island stay with us for a week or longer. But did you know The Bahamas is a great destination for shorter trips, too? With nonstop flights from many major US cities, getting here is quick and easy, and with so many attractions and activities within a small area, you won’t have to spend much time traveling around the islands in order to have a fun and rejuvenating getaway. In just three days, you can create tons of memories that’ll last a lifetime!

Here’s just one sample itinerary for three fantastic days in Paradise.

Day One: Explore Nassau

After you arrive and check in, head to downtown Nassau to check out some of the city’s top attractions. Start your day at the Pirate’s Museum, where you’ll learn about The Bahamas’ rich pirate history and climb aboard a replica pirate ship. The museum opens at 9 am every day, so it’s a great place to begin in the morning.

Did you work up an appetite at the museum? Perfect! You’re just in time for the Tru Bahamian Food Tour. You’ll have a chance to see the sights of Nassau and learn about the city’s rich heritage while sample food and drink from seven authentic local restaurants and specialty food stores. The tour takes approximately three hours.

After all that walking (and eating), you’re probably ready for a rest! Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on one of our spectacular beaches. Grab a beach chair or just plop a towel in the sand and soak up the sun. Be sure to take a dip in the crystal-clear turquoise water, with an average temperature of 80 degrees!

Wind down with a fresh seafood dinner next to the water. Nassau’s famous Arawak Cay Fish Fry is the perfect place to try conch fritters, cracked conch, or conch salad. Wash it down with an ice-cold Kalik beer, brewed right here in The Bahamas.

Day Two: Dive In at Atlantis, Paradise Island

Grab your swimsuit, your sunscreen, and your sense of adventure because it’s Aquaventure time! Explore the 141-acre waterscape, which features thrilling slides and a lazy river. Lockers are available onsite to stash your valuables, as well as plenty of snack or lunch options when you get hungry. Aquaventure is open to guests of Atlantis Paradise Island and Comfort Suites, but you can also purchase a day pass to access the park – see day pass information.

Once you’ve had your fill of water slides, check out The Dig. Stroll the streets and tunnels of the lost city of Atlantis and bring your camera to capture the gorgeous marine life exhibits. Make sure to stop by the interactive touch tank aquarium for a chance to get up close and personal with conch, starfish, crabs and more.

Cap off your day at Atlantis with dinner at one of the fine dining options onsite, such as Nobu for gourmet Japanese cuisine or Olives for a Mediterranean-inspired meal. Or indulge your inner James Bond at Café Martinique, which originally appeared in the 1965 Bond movie Thunderball. After dinner, enjoy a moonlit walk through Marina Village and check out the impressive yachts parked there. If you happen to be visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday, stick around for the Junkanoo parades, which happen twice weekly at 9 pm.

Not sleepy yet? Pop into Moon Bar for a nightcap, dance the night away at Aura, or try your luck in the Atlantis casino.

Day Three: Sailing and Shopping

Set sail to explore some of the nearby islands on a boat cruise! An Island World Adventures excursion will take you to Saddleback Cay, where you’ll be able to unwind on an uninhabited beach and enjoy an authentic Bahamian lunch. Or hop on a high-speed powerboat with Powerboat Adventures and spend the day snorkeling reefs, feeding stingrays, sharks, and iguanas, and exploring a private island.

Once you’re back on dry land, it’s time to stock up on souvenirs to bring home. For truly authentic Bahamian arts and crafts visit the Craft Cottage and Doongalik Studios. The two locations are adjacent to one another, so it’s a one-stop shop, and you’ll likely have a chance to meet a couple of local artisans too! Just five minutes away from Paradise Island, Bahama Art & Handicraft is well worth a visit for island-made crafts and artwork.

Source: nassauparadiseisland.com ; Nassau Paradise Island 

3 Rarest and Most Valuable Coins in the World

We’ve gathered 3 of our favorite rare and valuable coins from an article written by one of our favorite sites The Spruce Crafts.
Image Credit Coin News

Price Realized: $3,737,500
Date Sold: January 7, 2010
Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas  (Auction #1136, Lot #2455)

Researchers widely believe that five 1913 Liberty Head nickels were struck by a mint employee in the middle of the night. They are not sure how coin dies for a 1913 Liberty Head nickel were created since Buffalo Nickels were first produced in 1913. However, five of these nickels found their way into various public and private coin collections.

Starring in one of the 1970s television series Hawaii Five-O apparently did not help this coin to increase in value. This coin was used for close-up shots for the television show while producers used a common Liberty Head nickel for action shots where the date could not be discerned. They feared the risk of damaging a rare and expensive coin was too great of a risk to take.

Auction Listing: 1913 5C Liberty PR64 NGC Olsen Specimen

$1 Million Gold Canadian Maple Leaf

Image Credit: Kitco

Price Realized: $4,020,000
Date Sold: June 2010
Sold By: Dorotheum Auction House, Vienna, Austria

In 2007 the Royal Canadian Mint produced the world’s first million dollar coin. The coin measures 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter by 3 cm (1.2 inches) thick and contains 100 kilograms (220 pounds or 3,215 troy ounces) of  99.999% pure gold. The idea for the coin was originally conceived as a centerpiece to promote the Royal Canadian Mint’s new line of 99.999% pure one Troy ounce Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins.

To date, five of these majestic gold bullion coins have been purchased by investors from around the world. The last coin to sell at a public auction sold for 3.27 million euros (USD 4.02 million) at an auction in Vienna at the Dorotheum auction house.

1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

Image Credit: USA Coin Book

Price Realized: $10,016,875             
Date Sold: January 24, 2013
Sold By: Stack’s Bowers Galleries

Sold by the auction firm Stack’s Bowers in the January 2013 New York Americana Sale, this coin set the world record for the sale of a single coin. Numismatic researchers believe it was the very first silver dollar ever minted by the United States.

The United States Mint first opened in 1792, and only minted copper coins and some pattern coins for the first two years. Coin collectors have preserved this pristine example in its original mint state condition for over 200 years. It’s not very often that you come across a coin this old and in almost perfect condition.

Of the entire known population of 1794 silver dollars, this is the only example to exhibit Proof-like reflectivity in the fields. When viewed out of its encapsulation, the fields flash with an astounding deep mirror reflection, providing a remarkable contrast to the fully frosted devices. Several 1795 silver dollars have the silver plugs but also show adjustment marks. On this coin, adjustment marks are light but noted on both the obverse and reverse, primarily around the rim. The term “once in a lifetime opportunity” is seen now and again, but for this piece, it is especially relevant, according to a press release by Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

Auction Listing: Stack’s Bowers – The January 2013 New York Americana Sale Lot #13094

Source: See the full list of 10 at The Spruce Crafts ;  James Bucki

28 Ways to Use Vinegar Around Your House

Image Credit: FirstCry Parenting

1. Window cleaner

Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water. Apply to windows with a sponge. Wipe clean using a squeegee. (Remember to wet the squeegee blade first so it won’t skip.)

2. Blinds

To clean washable blinds, mix 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup white distilled vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda and 1 gallon of warm water. Using a sponge or cloth, wipe blinds with mixture. Rinse with clear water.

3. Automatic coffee makers

To dissolve minerals and oily build-up, fill the reservoir with white distilled vinegar and run the coffee maker through a brewing cycle. Empty the carafe. Rinse away vinegar residue by running a full reservoir of water through the brewing cycle. (As always, follow manufacturer’s care instructions.)

4. Kill grass

Forget store-bought grass and weed killers. Pour full-strength white distilled vinegar on unwanted vegetation. Reapply as needed.

5. Keep cut flowers fresh

Fresh flowers last longer if you add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sugar to the water in a 1-quart vase. Trim stems and change water every few days or when water starts to get cloudy.

6. No-wax floors

For rinse-free cleaning, mop using a solution of ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water. Change water as it gets dirty.

7. Microwave

Boil a solution of ¼ cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave until steam forms on the window. Wipe away food residue.

8. Hair rinse

After every few washings, remove shampoo build-up by rinsing hair with a solution of 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar (either white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar) and 1 cup of water. Adjust amount of vinegar to suit your hair type. Less vinegar for dry hair; more vinegar for oily hair. A second rinse with plain water is optional. Hair will be silky and shiny.

9. Cleaner dishes and glasses

For sparkling results, add 1 ½ to 2 cups white distilled vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher. Wash on regular cycle using the usual amount of detergent.

10. Copper, brass and pewter cleaner

To effortlessly remove tarnish, apply a mixture of 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ cup of white distilled vinegar and enough flour to make a paste. Apply to the metal and allow it to stand for 15 minutes. Rinse with clean water and polish with soft, dry cloth. (The flour keeps the vinegar and salt in contact with the tarnished surface.)

11. Bathtub film

Remove bathtub film by wiping it first with white distilled vinegar then with baking soda. Rinse away grime with clean water.

12. Shower doors

To prevent soap scum build-up, wipe shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar. No need to rinse.

13. Clogged showerhead

Use vinegar to dissolve mineral build-up in showerheads. Add a cup of vinegar to a plastic storage bag. Position the bag so that the showerhead sits in the vinegar. Allow it to soak overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and turn on the shower to rinse.

14. Boiling a cracked egg

When boiling a cracked egg, add some vinegar to the water — about 2 teaspoons to a quart of water. This will keep the white from running out.

15. Pet urine in carpets

Blot up as much of the urine as possible by laying several paper towels over the area and walking on them (the extra pressure increases absorption). Replace towels and blot until most of the urine is removed.

Before treating the area with vinegar, test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous place. If colors don’t run, saturate the stain with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water. Allow it to sit on the area for 10 minutes. Blot as before, replacing towels as needed. When the carpet is mostly dry, sprinkle baking soda on the area. This will help absorb odors. Vacuum in about an hour.

16. Bumper sticker removal

To remove bumper sticker residue, saturate the area with distilled white vinegar. Bumper sticker pieces should peel off easily. Test first on an inconspicuous area of the car to make sure it doesn’t damage the paint.

17. To soften a paint brush

Soak the paintbrush in hot white distilled vinegar until brush softens. Then wash with warm, soapy water.

18. Wine stains

To remove wine stains from all-cotton, cotton/polyester and permanent press fabrics, it’s important to treat the stain within 24 hours. Sponge white distilled vinegar directly onto the area until the stain disappears. Launder according to directions on care label.

19. Clothes rinse

Remove dingy soap and detergent residue in clothes by adding 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to the final rinse. To remove soap residue from heavier blankets and quilts, add 2 cups of vinegar to the final rinse.

20. Deodorant and antiperspirant stains

Rub the underarm areas of white or light-colored clothing with white distilled vinegar then launder as usual. If stain remains after washing, do not machine dry. Re-treat the area with vinegar and place garment in the sun to bleach.

21. Keep colors from running

To keep colored fabrics from running in the wash, first soak them for a few minutes in white distilled vinegar.

22. Setting colors

When dying fabric, help set the color by adding a cup of white distilled vinegar to the last rinse water.

23. Unclog steam iron

To dissolve mineral residue in steam irons, pour equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water into the water reservoir. Turn the iron to the steam setting and allow it to steam for five minutes in an upright position. Unplug and cool the iron. Empty the reservoir — and the dissolved minerals.

24. Clean a scorched iron bottom

Heat equal parts white distilled vinegar and salt in a small pan. Rub mixture onto the bottom of a cooled iron to remove scorch marks.

25. Scorch marks on clothes

Dip the corner of a cloth in white vinegar. Rub lightly on scorched area of fabric. Wipe with a clean cloth. Repeat as needed.

26. Deodorize the kitchen drain

To keep drains fresh, pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain once a week. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes then flush with cold water.

27. Fruit-stained hands

Wash berry-colored hands with vinegar to remove fruit stains.

28. De-calcify sleep apnea (CPAP) machines

To remove calcium deposits in the reservoir, heat 1 ¾ cups of vinegar in the microwave for 2 minutes. Pour vinegar into reservoir and replace the cap. Allow this to sit for 1 hour before pouring out the vinegar. (As always, follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.)

Source: today.com ; Karen B. Gibbs