No, it’s not Super Tuesday or spring-times nearness. It’s U.S. college basketball finals. That’s right ! Times to chug some brews and cheer on your favorite college bb team to victory.
The NCAA describes it as:
March Madness is one of the biggest, most exciting and most fun events in all of sports. Here’s everything you need to know about the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, which has been played annually since 1939.
What is March Madness?
The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament is a single-elimination tournament of 68 teams that compete in seven rounds for the national championship. The penultimate round is known as the Final Four, when (you guessed it) only four teams are left.
What (and when) is Selection Sunday?
Selection Sunday is the day when the Selection Committee reveals the full NCAA tournament bracket, including all teams and all seeds. In 2020, Selection Sunday is on March 15. It will be broadcast at 6 p.m. ET on CBS.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people get stuck in a rut at the end of a season. The exciting anticipation of the holidays and snowflakes dwindles. The refreshing warmth of the summer becomes overbearing. Anyone else feel like August’s humidity can be relentless? The enthusiasm for a workout program fades. It can be hard to refocus or start fresh with goals and plans. So, how do you get out a rut? Here are just a few simple ways you can get back on your feet (metaphorically and literally).
Move in New Ways
I’ve blogged about moving in all three planes of motion to enhance our body’s circulation, strength, flexibility and balance, but what does that look like in a workout routine? Now’s the time to shake off the stagnation and try a new workout (see below). Maybe it will inspire you to try some other new moves? Nothing like a good sweat to feel better…
12 alternating lunges
30-second straight-arm plank
14 alternating lunges with single dumbbell twist across front leg
V-sit with overhead single dumbbell press (total 30-45 seconds)
20 lateral squat jumps
Single dumbbell wood chop with side lunge (10 per side)
14 alternating backwards lunges with dumbbell lateral raise
Plank position with single dumbbell alternating arm row and body twist (8-10 per side)
15 lateral box jumps or step ups
15 sit-ups with oblique twists
14 alternating curtsy lunges with dumbbell bicep curls
12 double leg lifts with scissor open/closes at top/bottom
20 “speed skater” side-to-side jumps
10 prone back extensions with breaststroke arms as lift
Commit to a Daily Routine
The simple daily actions we can take towards better health and happiness are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They may feel like the journey but they’re the destination. Enjoy your journey.
Microwaving food is one of life’s simple pleasures: chuck in some cold food and in two minutes you have yourself a hot, tasty meal. It’s magic, really. In saying this, we often mostly microwave food oh-so-badly — dangerously, even. We’re looking at you, people who don’t cover their food.
Cover EVERYTHING, people !
Photo by GK Hart/Vicky Hart
Now for some safety tips from HuffPost Australia:
1. Don’t use metal bowls or utensils
“Don’t put metal in the microwave. It’s really not a hot idea as it tends to shield and spark,” Williams said.
“Metal containers are bad. Glass and ceramic are probably the best things to microwave food in. Plastic is fine if it’s suitable for the microwave.”
2. Do use glass, ceramic or microwave safe plastic containers
“Some people don’t like putting food into plastic containers as chemicals can leach into the food, and food can leach into the plastic, depending on the plastic it is,” Williams said.
“You’ll notice this when you have a bolognese which stains the plastic, whereas this won’t happen with glass and ceramic as they are neutral, so there’s no likelihood of them leaching chemicals into the food.”
This being said, many plastic containers are designed to be microwaved, so always check the container.
“Microwavable plastic can work well. Always check the bottom of the container to see if it’s actually microwavable and opt for a BPA-free container,” Williams said.
3. Don’t cook all foods for the same time
“It’s really hard to put times on foods because different foods are going to heat in different ways,” Williams told HuffPost Australia. “The more dense a food is, the more different it will heat compared to something that has more liquid in it.”
Microwaving a solid, more dense food such as a steak or potato is going to heat very differently to a soup or stew.
“A soup is going to heat up a lot quicker, but it will also lose its heat more quickly,” Williams said. “Something dense like a steak or potato will heat up slower, but will also hold their heat a little bit longer.”
4. Do stir food occasionally
A microwave needs a turning table so that the waves reach all sections of the food. Even so, when microwaving food, often not all parts will be heated thoroughly.
“Because of those bands and the fact that the product is being turned through those, you’re not going to get consistent heating with microwaves compared to the oven or hot plate,” Williams explained.
“You need to stir the food to spread the heat. Open it up and give it a stir to make sure it’s heated thoroughly throughout.”
5. Do heat it until bubbling and/or steaming
“You should always be heating up your food to at least 75 degrees Celsius,” Williams said.
“To do this, you need to make sure that you put it in a shallow dish, in the microwave on ‘high’ and give it 2-3 minutes (depending on what it is).
“Then you actually check it halfway to give it a good stir because you’ll find you’ve got hot spots. If it isn’t bubbling, put it back in.
“With anything that’s got liquid, you’re looking for a good bubble — that way you’re making sure it’s at least 75 degrees. And when you open the container, you want to see steam coming off it.”
6. Don’t microwave food uncovered
Don’t be that person at work who doesn’t cover their food when microwaving, resulting in a bolognese explosion (and then doesn’t clean it, GEEZ). Please cover the damn thing.
“Having it uncovered — particularly if there’s fat or liquid in there — means it can tend to explode,” Williams said.
“I would cover anything in the microwave, even if it’s just using paper towel. That stops it from splattering all over your microwave.”
7. Do clean it often
“You need to make sure your microwave is kept clean,” Williams said.
Have a look in the microwave — not just along the sides and the bottom but on the top surface. If there are bits of food there, it could drop back into your food the next time you microwave something.
“The best way to clean a microwave — in fact, all food contact surfaces — is simply good detergent, a clean cloth (don’t reuse a damp, dirty cloth!) and hot water,” Williams said.
“There’s no point in cleaning something with a cloth that’s dirty. I’d honestly say, instead of using cloths, use recyclable paper towels. Tea towels are okay, but only if you use them once.”
8. Don’t thaw meat
“Solids foods are going to partially cook in the microwave, so I would suggest with foods like meats, to not put them in the microwave,” Williams told HuffPost Australia.
“If you know you’re going to make steak tomorrow night, get it out in morning, put it in a covered container in the bottom of your fridge and it will be pretty close to ready to use.
“For thawing liquid-containing meals like stews and soups, microwave it, give it a stir at half way and thaw and cook it completely.”
9. Do check on your food frequently
As different foods heat differently, it’s important to check your meal while it’s cooking. That’s right, those poached eggs will not cook the same as your pumpkin soup.
“I often have curries with papadums, but papadums have no moisture. These dry types of foods will become very quickly ruined in the microwave, so you only give those short periods of heating time,” Williams said.
“Also, for eggs, they will explode so you do need to cover them.”
10. Do remember the golden rule(s)
“Microwaving is all about making sure you keep stirring, heating it consistently all the way through and heating to at least 75 degrees, and that the food is bubbling or steaming,” Williams said.
“And cover everything you put in the microwave and keep your microwave clean.”
How on earth did that small arborvitae I planted in front of the house get so huge?
It happens all the time.
Either a previous owner, or maybe it was you, planted something that was tiny when it was new, but over the years it has slowly turned into a hulking monster.
It is really hard to imagine the size that a shrub or tree will eventually achieve even a few years, let alone when it is fully mature. Plant companies and breeders know that this a common problem so the influx of dwarf (or latin ‘nana’) varieties are very common. But if there is no dwarf, you may find you need to seek out other options. Here are some smaller options for four of the most loved, but often overgrown garden plants.
Arborvitae commonly found in nurseries top out at anywhere from 20 to 60 feet tall —not exactly what you want in front of your living room window. Look out for Thuja occcidentalis ‘De Groot’s Spire’ (pictured above in the background) on the other hand, is a slim, tall-ish column that slowly grows to just 15 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
Thuja occcidentalis ‘De Groot’s Spire’ is a cultivar of the native Eastern arborvitae that works beautifully as a foundation bed accent or a repeating vertical theme in a large mixed border. It prefers full sun to part sun and will be much less dense if grown in shade. USDA Zones 3-8.
Need a ladder to smell your lilacs?
The common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, matures at 12 to 20 feet tall and spreads 8 to 15 feet across. A good alternative is S. meyeri ‘Palibin’, a compact 4-5 foot cultivar of Korean lilac. Or Also, The Bloomerang lilacs (S. x ‘Bloomerang’, ‘Bloomerang Purple’) were developed using S. meyerii as a parent and are a great, short 3-4 foot alternative.
Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ has pale pink, fragrant flowers that bloom profusely in late spring. As a bonus, its foliage is quite resistant to powdery mildew. Full sun, USDA Zones 4-7.
Bloomerang lilacs (Syringa x ‘Bloomerang’, ‘Bloomerang Purple‘) are a great 3 to 4 foot alternative to the larger and more mildew-prone common lilac, S. vulgaris. Another plus is their sporadic re-bloom throughout the summer and into fall. Full sun, USDA Zones 4-7.
Why did you think that river birch would work as a foundation plant?
River birch is a beautiful native tree with gorgeous form and bark, accompanied by a great constitution, but it is also fast-growing to and can quickly reach 30 to 40 feet,. It’s baby cousin, however, Betula nigra ‘Little King’, is just as nice but it tops out at no more than 12 feet.
Betula nigra ‘Little King’ (Fox ValleyTM River Birch) is a dense, compact, multi-stemmed shrub with an irregular crown, typically growing close to 10 fee tall and wide. It fits nicely in a foundation garden or as a centerpiece of a mixed border. Full Sun to Part Shade, USDA Zones 4-9.
Love butterflies, but can’t get over the big ugly butterfly bush mess that happens every winter?
Late summer blooms and butterflies, especially in a small garden, can be had with dwarf Buddleia x ‘Lo and Behold’ series – none gets more than 3 feet tall.
The ‘Lo and Behold’ series offers lots of color choices: blue, lilac, pink and deep purple. Any one (or a combination) would make a fantastic mass planting in a hot, dry, sunny spot, and you can sit back and watch the butterflies at play. Full sun, Zones 5-9.
Thanks to Rochelle for this useful and timely article. Her website:
Steel, who has been writing novels on the same typewriter since she was 19 years old, has sold over 800 million copies and is the bestselling author alive.
In this candid Q&A, Steel opens up about her legendary career, her beloved brood of nine children, and the secret side of her no one knows.
The events of Danielle Steel’s life read like a modern-day fairy tale. Or perhaps they read like the plot of one of her own bestselling books—sagas about ordinary people whose lives turn sharply in the direction of adventure.
After her first book, Steel’s next five books didn’t sell—but the sixth one did. “I always say to young people who are writing: If I had quit after three, I wouldn’t have the career I have today,” Steel says.
She adds that as much as her jet-setting life seems glamorous, there’s also an isolation that accompanies literary fame.
I got hooked on writing books. I love it. Now, it’s my dream job. I can’t think of another job I’d enjoy as much. Writing books makes you more interested in people’s problems, because we all have those problems. It doesn’t matter who you are—you’re subject to the same worries and problems and illnesses and losses.
I try to be in my office by 8 every day. If I’m in San Francisco, I meet with my staff. If I’m not working on a book, I answer emails, work on an outline, do research. I pretty much stay at my desk all day. I eat at my desk, which I’m sure is very unhealthy and uncivilized. If I am working on a book and haven’t had a chance to write that day, I usually start writing around 8 pm and go until about 3 am. But if I start writing in the morning, whenever that is, I’ll start on the book and keep going through the day. I work, on average, 20 hours a day. Sometimes 22. Occasionally 24. And then whatever time of day it is, I sleep for four hours, then I go back to the book. I think my body is used to it.
So after 179 books, you’re still not satisfied?
Sorry, 185 books. Will you ever be able to rest?
I hope not. I can do that when I’m dead.
There is much more to this article, fellow writers. It’s a look inside the writing and personal life of someone who didn’t quit after rejection. Read more at: