Success doesn’t come to you… you go to it.

As alumni of Newtown SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, we, just like the remaining world, were stunned at the horrific news from your home.  Graduates of the NHS Class of 2001 reached out to one another through Facebook, connecting those that have moved to another side of the united states with those folks who stayed in your community.  But whether near or far, the overwhelming sentiments were yet, we wished to do something to greatly help and we wanted the planet to learn how proud we have been of Newtown. One classmate posted an image of a t-shirt she made a couple of years ago for herself and her friends which very simply said “I  <3 Newtown” in hawaii of CT outline. Within moments, other classmates and community members responded, saying they might purchase a shirt like this to both raise money for Sandy Hook’s victims and proudly support our town.
With a simple idea was created. One alum who works in marketing wanted to help obtain the t-shirts and arrange a printer. Another volunteered to greatly help develop a website. Thus www.newtownpride.com was all set. It's not only very important to us to greatly help our very own, but to allow world to learn we have been so pleased with our community, our schools, our neighbors, and can continue being proud that we was raised here.
What's most telling in every this, is that the idea for these t-shirts was created a long time before this event shattered us. These t-shirts were born because our classmate like ourselves, always loved Newtown and we always will.

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Physical fitness is a general state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations. Physical fitness is generally achieved through correct nutrition, moderate-vigorous physical activity, exercise and rest. It is a set of attributes or characteristics seen in people and which relate to the ability to perform a given set of physical activities.

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28 October 2020

  • Solving the Mystery of Emotional Labor: It’s Trickier Than You Think

    We know that most jobs require a measure of physical and/or mental labor to execute them properly. And we should have a good idea of how much labor is required ahead of time. But there are a good number of jobs that also require something called emotional labor. 

    Put simply, emotional labor consists of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job. For instance, a cashier or server having to put on a constant smile to keep customers happy — even though the worker may not be happy themselves.

    Many people may not realize how much they expend emotional labor every day because practicing habits that help us put forth a pleasant attitude for strangers in public is part of our social norms.

    But while you may not be able to totally avoid emotional labor in our day-to-day — especially working in the service industry — it shouldn’t cost your emotional and mental wellbeing. There are ways to manage it while avoiding burnout. 

    PER SWANTESSON/Stocksy

    Emotional labor explained

    Though the term emotional labor has become more widely known in recent years, it’s also commonly misused.

    It was originally introduced by sociologist Arlie Hochschild in 1983, as a term presented in her book The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. By her own original definition, emotional labor is when your paid work centrally involves trying to feel the right feeling for the job. 

    She identifies the following as jobs that require emotional labor: 

    • teacher
    • childcare worker
    • flight attendant
    • nursing home attendant
    • bill collector

    It can also be required of those working in the food service industry, retail, and the healthcare industry. 

    On the flipside (and contrary to popular assumption) emotional labor shouldn’t be confused with feelings attached to the following: 

    • perfectionism
    • doing daily chores like laundry or shopping
    • planning complicated events for work or the holidays

    So, to be clear, emotional labor isn’t about how you feel about the work itself. Rather, it’s the front-facing emotions that you need to have in order to execute the full requirements of the work.

    In an interview with The Atlantic, Hochschild says that emotional labor ultimately involves evoking and suppressing feelings.

    “The point is that while you may also be doing physical labor and mental labor, you are crucially being hired and monitored for your capacity to manage and produce a feeling.”

    Where does emotional labor happen most? 

    Some jobs that contain a great deal of emotional labor in the job requirements include: 

    • receptionist
    • server
    • customer service representative
    • flight attendant
    • cashier
    • nurse
    • home care attendant
    • retail staff
    • social worker
    • childcare worker
    • journalist

    Since emotional labor is seen as the invisible work of managing other people’s emotions, it isn’t just confined to your daily occupation. It can easily creep into home life, interfering with personal relationships, too. 

    If someone feels the need to give less than genuine emotions in a relationship, or if someone often has to succumb to emotional demands in order to maintain a friendship, those are also examples of emotional labor.

    Emotional labor vs. other labor

    Emotional labor differs from mental labor, physical labor, and emotional exhaustion because it primarily deals with the management of others’ feelings as opposed to your own.

    Emotional laborMental labor
    Politely apologizing for the 10th time after another customer scolds you for a small mistake on their food order that you didn’t makeGoing over data for the 10th time so you can prepare for a big presentation the following morning 
    Emotional laborPhysical labor
    Smiling to welcome guests at an amusement park even though you’re still reeling from the bad news you received Cleaning the food court for the third time that day as an employee of the amusement park
    Emotional laborEmotional exhaustion
    Making the kids in your class laugh to keep them engaged even though you just found out that you can’t pay for your parent’s assisted livingYour friend just shared some great news with you, but after a chaotic week, you’re too emotionally numb to react as expected 

    Long-term effects of emotional labor

    Emotional labor can cause burnout, which stems from prolonged exposure to a stressful work environment. It’s a state of exhaustion that is dysfunctional and can actually lead to reduced job performance. 

    According to a 2018 research review, data from a 2007 study surveying 2,055 service and sales workers found that emotional labor is associated with an increased risk for depressive mood in female workers and in men who have lower-paying jobs.

    It can even cause serious physical health conditions. Another study found that emotional labor has been linked to the loss of memory, depersonalization, hypertension, heart disease, and has even been shown to exacerbate cancer. 

    Despite the serious effects emotional labor can have on our health, we tend to think it’s just part of the package that comes with the job. 

    Anxiety and emotional labor

    Anxiety can stem directly from emotional labor due to the toll it can take if unmanaged.

     Stress and anxiety go hand in hand, and can be triggered by something happening that makes you feel frustrated or nervous, which can then trigger anxiety.

    Having to be in these situations commonly in the workplace can fuel distressing anxiety cycles, which worsen as each situation is repeated, as you associate politeness and professionalism with those feelings of anxiety. 

    Ways to manage emotional labor

    It’s important that you draw boundaries so that emotional labor doesn’t have a negative effect on other parts of your life.  

    You may be dealing with emotional labor if you ask yourself any of the following questions: 

    • Why was I not honest about my answer?
    • Is it important for me to nurture this person’s feelings? 
    • How does that make me feel?
    • What should I do next time?
    • How am I still smiling?
    • Why do I have to keep pretending?
    • Why can’t I say no?

    It can be difficult to draw boundaries, especially in a work environment. But there are ways to address or manage your emotional labor without being rude or aggressive. 

    Professional example:

    When a customer has scolded you for not providing their proper shoe size.

    Response: “I am sorry that we do not have your size, but I have checked, and I am certain it’s not in stock. However, I can recommend a shop that supplies similar clothing, as I have other things to do now.”

    Personal example:

    Your partner goes back on their promise to do something, and you’re annoyed because you know it won’t get done unless you do it.

    Response: “I’m feeling tired. We agreed you would do this. I have done what I needed to do, and now you need to do the same.”

    Other responses you might want to try:

    “Thank you for your text message, but for my own personal boundaries, I hope we can continue our professional conversation via email.”

    “That is something I am not comfortable doing and I hope that you can respect that.”

    “I feel that I am being asked for more than the position stated. It would be great if we could arrange a meeting to discuss my duties and what is expected of me.”

    It is important to be assertive, to get your point across, but in a way that doesn’t cause confrontation.

    How can professionals help?

    It can be helpful to examine your thoughts and feelings to find out if your stress or anxiety stems from emotional labor. It can also be helpful to pinpoint when your stress or anxiety feels like it’s at its peak. 

    Talking to a therapist could help, not only with releasing built-up emotions, but also with providing specific boundaries and talking points helpful for navigating emotional labor. 

    It’s important to understand the prevalence of emotional labor while not ignoring the potential impact on your mental and emotional health. It takes practice to identify it, but with self-awareness and honest communication, you can learn how to manage it like a pro. 

  • Comfort Food, Cocktails, and Coping Tips: An Election Day Survival Guide
    Design by Alexis Lira

    I’m at a loss for words as to how to describe the 2020 election cycle — or 2020 in general, for that matter. So I will direct you to this video of “two lynx having an intense conversation.” Or you can consider it actual footage of the first presidential debate. It’s your call. 

    The 2020 election has been intense. And that’s not a surprise, because so much is at stake. But it has also been absurd. (Kanye was on my MF-ing ballot, y’all.) 

    Obviously, we don’t know how the election will turn out, or if we’ll even have a bona fide decision on November 3… or the next day… or the next… The magic eight ball says, “Reply hazy, try again.” 

    What we do know is that Election Day and that evening will be a wild ride. So buckle up! But don’t worry — we’ve put together this survival guide to help you get through it.

    How much election news should I consume?

    No one can really answer this question for you — except you. You have to decide what’s best for your well-being. 

    Keep in mind that by the time Election Day has rolled around and you’ve cast your vote, you can’t do anything else to change the course of the election. No amount of refreshing your news or social feed will alter the end result. So give yourself permission to relax.

    Remember that you’ve performed your civic duty with your ballot and done your part. And every vote matters! Maybe you’ve even donated cash — every dollar counts — to a campaign you feel strongly about or sent postcards or called others to encourage them to vote for a particular candidate. The point is that the work is done. 

    Also, you can’t do Election Day wrong, whether you watch the news or bury your face in your dog’s fur at 5 p.m. But it can be helpful to decide your Election Day personality ahead of time. Take your middle name, the first street you lived on, and divide it by the square root of a litter of kittens. Kidding! This is more about how you plan to tackle election night information.

    Choose your own adventure

    • Frantic feed refresher. You’ll be channel surfing through the networks, watching the returns and switching between all your socials for any info. No sleep until president.
    • Namaste away from it. You’re going to be on your mat, mostly in Child’s Pose, probably until Inauguration Day.
    • Peek-a-boo in on the exit polls. You’ll finally watch “The Haunting of Bly Manor” on Netflix while occasionally checking in on the other horror show that is the 2020 election.

    However you choose to dive in to the Election Day news cycle, remember to take breaks early and often. Check in on your Animal Crossing pals. Scratch and sniff your “I voted” sticker. “Home Edit” your pantry by eating snacks in rainbow order. 

    Just be sure to step away from the screens for a bit. And if you must stay glued, remember that “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central will have its own live election coverage, called “Votegasm 2020: What Could Go Wrong? (Again).”

    What about social media?

    You might be tempted to doomscroll. Or root out posts that have fake news. Or comment on other people’s posts to set them straight. But like you, others have already cast their votes and made up their minds by Election Day. So chances are any energy spent trying to change someone’s mind is wasted energy — and shaming someone for their actions or beliefs won’t lead to change anyway. 

    That doesn’t mean you can’t engage with social media. Just keep it in check. Like your friends’ “I voted” selfies, post your own, and engage in online convos that encourage you to be the change you wish to see in the world. If you have to, you can always sit on your thumbs.

    Comfort foods to keep you chill

    Let’s be real: You can eat whatever suits your fancy on election night — or any night, obviously. I’ll probably superstitiously consume all the marshmallows in a box of Lucky Charms. #AddsToGroceryOrder

    Election night, though, likely calls for some good old-fashioned comfort food to keep you sated, carbed-up, and calm while you watch what happens with the fraught electoral college.

    What is comfort food? It can be anything, really. What’s your go-to when you don’t feel so great? I’m a sucker for grilled cheese and tomato soup. What’s a food you always asked your parents to make when you were little? My dad used to melt my ice cream in the microwave. We called it Sloopy-Sloppy. But you can call 2020 that if you want to. Need some ideas? We’ve got you!

    There will be booze

    Obviously, not everyone drinks, so please skip this section if it’s not appropriate for your election night plan.

    Personally, I admit I will have red wine lips while I cheer or holler at the map of battleground states on my TV, though I might switch to a cocktail if the mood strikes.

    I’ve curated some old favorites for you and given them election-y names just for the absurdity of it all. As always, remember to drink in moderation, and absolutely do not drink and drive. 

    • Battleground Alexander. This classic three-ingredient Brandy Alexander will help you urge your favorite swing state in the right direction.
    • Bipartisan Mama. Yes, you have a side, and you’re sticking to it. But you could probably use a vacation from the election right about now. And a fruity Bahama mama will be your temporary ticket outta town.
    • Ballotmaker. It’s not exactly a cocktail, but if casting your ballot made you want to reach for both a whiskey and a beer — and who could blame you? — then the classic combo that is the boilermaker is your best bet.
    • Vote by Mai Tai. Admit it: It was supersatisfying to vote by mail this year, even if you weren’t on vacation. Enjoy a mai tai for getting the deed done from your bed.
    • Electoral Collins. The pandemic likely did a number on your summer, so extend it with the decidedly summery Tom Collins cocktail while you watch who takes the electoral college by storm.
    • Incumbent Fizz. The incumbent fizz, normally called the imperial fizz, is just the whiskey drink you need if you’re hoping for certain candidates to fizzle on out of office.
    • Campaign Bowler. If you’re eager to taste sweet victory for your candidate at either the state or the federal level, then the Champagne bowler is for you. 
    • Fuzzy Nominee. Sometimes it seems like a nominee is a little fuzzy on the facts. There’s not much you can do about, but a fuzzy navel might ease your angst.
    • Rum Return. If you’re going to watch those returns, at least do it with a rum runner in hand. Maybe it will encourage Florida to do what you want it to. 

    Takeaway

    The election is almost over. Just hang in there. I know that in the months leading up to it — and even before that — you’ve probably asked yourself what David asked himself after that fateful dentist trip: “Is this real life?” It is indeed real life. And we will get through it. And we will tackle whatever comes afterward.

    Obviously, I’ve made jokes throughout this piece to bring some levity to the situation. But the truth of the matter is that we do have a lot at stake.

    If you’re feeling a ton of anxiety over the election — who isn’t? — try to remember that the Oval Office isn’t the only one to keep your eye on. Every candidate elected has the power to effect change. So celebrate the victories at the state level, too, folks! Because there will be victories. And we will take them as they come.

    Jennifer Chesak is a Nashville-based freelance book editor and writing instructor. She’s also an adventure travel, fitness, and health writer for several national publications. She earned her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill and is working on her first fiction novel, set in her native state of North Dakota.

  • Thanksgiving for Two: How to Make the Most of It While Keeping Stress Low

    A lot of us are sizing down our Thanksgiving festivities this year. Whether you’re missing family or relieved about there being fewer dishes, there’s one definite upside to a gathering of two: way less competition for pie leftovers.

    Though the recipes may be smaller when you’re prepping and cooking a Thanksgiving for two, the meal can still be full of all the good, traditional stuff you love: turkey, dressing, sides, sweets — and all the joy.

    Here, we’ve rounded up the best recipes for a smaller — yet mighty! — Thanksgiving dinner for two people, plus how to make it a cozy experience for you and your loved one. 

    Sheet pan recipes: Cook your whole dinner at the same time 

    Photography courtesy of Chelsea’s Messy Apron

    Thanksgiving dinner on two sheet pans

    Let’s be honest: A Thanksgiving dinner with all the bells and whistles creates a ton of dirty dishes. Rather than spend time scrubbing and cleaning, you can sit back and relax with this super-easy two-sheet-pan Thanksgiving dinner. It takes less time but still packs plenty of flavor with sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, stuffing, and yep, turkey!

    Get the recipe! 

    Sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner for two

    Butternut squash, brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds, stuffing, and turkey all come together to create this delicious sheet-pan Thanksgiving dinner for two.

    Get the recipe! 

    Easy sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner

    You don’t have to skip any of your favorite go-to Thanksgiving dishes with this sheet pan recipe. It covers the classics — from turkey to sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Win, win, and yum!

    Get the recipe! 

    Turkey recipes sized down for a modest feast

    Photography courtesy of Zestful Kitchen

    Rosemary and orange glazed turkey

    If you want to take the traditional route and bake up a full turkey, just look for a smaller bird when you’re at the grocery store. Then, have fun with flavors, like the ones found in this recipe, including orange and rosemary. 

    Get the recipe!

    Baked turkey spinach meatballs

    A big ol’ turkey for all your aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings makes total sense. But there’s only so much leftover turkey you can gobble down. Instead, consider taking a different approach with these garlic and spinach turkey meatballs. 

    Get the recipe!

    Roast turkey breast

    Instead of roasting a full turkey, scale down and focus on the breasts. This yummy recipe is simple to follow and requires a fraction of the prep time. The end product is a fall-off-your-fork, make-your-mouth-water tender dinner. 

    Get the recipe! 

    Mains that are easier — and, dare we say, more delicious — than turkey

    Photography courtesy of Feel Good Foodie

    Simple oven-roasted chicken drumsticks

    If you aren’t committed to Team Turkey — or don’t want to spend all day tending to a bird in the oven — roasting parts of a chicken is a low stress, high reward alternative. You can throw together these buttery rosemary-lemon drumsticks in less than 40 minutes. Praise be.

    Get the recipe!

    Soy Dijon pork tenderloin

    It’s your Thanksgiving — you can eat tenderloin if you want to! Honestly, though, there really aren’t any rules, and the sweet and savory marinade for this pork dish will have you saying, “Turkey? Never heard of her.”

    Get the recipe! 

    Sheet pan lemon garlic Parmesan salmon

    Baked salmon may seem like an odd choice for Turkey Day, but salmon, loaded with flavor and nutrients, is a special occasion type of food. Plus, many of the classic side dishes — like carrots, potatoes, and brussels sprouts — pair perfectly with salmon. 

    Get the recipe!

    Show-stealing sides (that can be made in a jif)

    Photography courtesy of Averie Cooks

    Herb roasted tri-colored carrots

    This rainbow of sweetly roasted carrots is the perfect veggie side dish to round out a spread for two. Herb-speckled and tossed with fresh lemon, it looks and tastes fancy and is still easy to pull off.

    Get the recipe!

    Roasted brussels sprouts

    There’s a reason brussels sprouts are a mainstay on the Thanksgiving table — no matter if it’s set for two, three, or a dozen. They’re a versatile member of the cabbage family and can be dressed up or down with oils, spices, and even bacon. Consider this recipe a starting point and add your own touches.

    Get the recipe!

    Homemade mac and cheese

    A must in Southern homes, this gooey, warming dish will soothe you from the inside. Plus, it’s a piece of cake to throw together. If you’re hesitant about the amount of dairy, you can substitute almond milk and lactose-free cheese. 

    Get the recipe! 

    Maple browned butter mashed sweet potatoes

    You can’t have Thanksgiving without some sort of sweet potato recipe. We like this one for the sweet additions of maple syrup and brown sugar, which pair nicely with the tartness of cranberry sauce and the crisp taste of green beans or brussels sprouts. 

    Get the recipe! 

    Cranberry-orange relish

    This cranberry relish gets a lovely sweet tang from the addition of orange. It’s perfect for slathering on your turkey or chicken slices or just enjoying all by itself.

    Get the recipe!

    Easy homemade turkey gravy

    Last — but definitely not least — don’t forget the gravy! This simple recipe doesn’t take much effort but will add even more goodness to your turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.

    Note: You’ll need turkey or chicken drippings to make this gravy.

    Get the recipe!

    A dessert spread fit for a pair

    Photography courtesy of Ari’s Menu

    Individual apple crisps

    A personalized apple crisp is the perfect cap to your dinner. But if you and your Thanksgiving partner want to skip dinner altogether and just have these crisps, that’s fine by us.

    Get the recipe!

    Pumpkin cheesecake bars

    These rich, pumpkin-y puppies are to die for. The graham cracker crust adds a crumbly texture to the thick, creamy filling. Try not to get drool on your keyboard.

    Get the recipe!

    Pecan pie thumbprint cookies

    Rather than have a dessert that lasts only one night, make these cookies to enjoy for a few days. These adorable pecan pie thumbprints are sweetened with coconut sugar and maple syrup, which give them an extra-rich flavor.

    Get the recipe!

    Tips for a cozy Thanksgiving dinner

    1. Prep the night before to reduce stress

    By prepping your ingredients the night before — chopping veggies, making the marinade for the turkey, making pies and desserts — you can save time and headache. Just remember: Fresh vegetables like beans or carrots should be placed in cold water in the fridge so they don’t lose their crispness. 

    2. Make a plan for the leftovers

    When deciding what to cook on Thanksgiving, consider what you want to eat on National Pie for Breakfast Day, National Pie for Breakfast Day Two, and so on. After all, this holiday revolves around food, and even if you make smaller portions, you’ll likely have leftovers for days.

    Plan ahead by baking (or buying) bread for turkey sandwiches! Get creative with your turkey leftovers. And experiment with new post-Thanksgiving recipes.

    3. Skip the turkey

    And don’t feel guilty about it! The most complicated part of Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey. If you don’t want to worry about checking on it every few hours… don’t. There are literally countless alternatives, pretty much all of which require less elbow grease.

    4. Don’t forget the gratitude 

    During a difficult lap around the sun, finding silver linings can be a challenge. You may be missing your extended family on Thanksgiving, which can make it tough to find joy. Even so, take time to discuss what you’re thankful for as you enjoy your meal for two.

  • New Year's Day Brunch and Cocktail Recipes to Keep the Party Going

    New Year’s Eve may be all about excesses. But come New Year’s Day, there’s a fresh perspective. The first day of the year is a time to regroup with friends to reflect on the year past, look forward to better things ahead, and — hopefully — eat some delicious food.

    So, assemble your inner circle for a celebratory brunch — we’ve got 33 recipes for everything from hearty pancakes to breakfast nachos to unique twists on favorite a.m. cocktails.

    How to gather safely

    We’re all antsy to get on with normal life. But unfortunately, the threat of COVID-19 is still very real. So, we highly recommend checking the CDC’s most recent guidelines for gatherings this holiday season before you make any plans.

    A New Year’s Day brunch menu

    You can, of course, mix and match any of the recipes below. But for a spread that covers all the brunchy bases, here’s our star lineup:

    Start the year off with a brand-new egg dish

    Photography courtesy of Budget Bytes

    Ratatouille frittata

    Ratatouille has a reputation for being a pain to make. (So. Much. Slicing.) This frittata includes all the Mediterranean flavors with less of the slicing and dicing.

    Get the recipe!

    Eggs Florentine

    Fun foodie fact: In recipes, “Florentine” is code for spinach. Here, the iron-rich greens nestle beneath a poached egg and a traditional hollandaise sauce drizzle.

    Get the recipe!

    Roasted red pepper deviled eggs

    Jarred roasted red peppers make these distinctive deviled eggs a snap to prepare.

    Get the recipe!

    Denver omelet breakfast muffins

    The classic Denver omelet, compacted into muffin form!

    Get the recipe!

    Salmon Benedict arugula breakfast salad

    Salad for breakfast? Yep, totally a thing. Lighten up your New Year’s spread with this superfood mélange of eggs, smoked salmon, and arugula.

    Get the recipe!

    Easy crab quiche

    Prep this egg dish ahead! Quiche can be served at room temperature or even cold. (Just don’t let it sit out longer than 2 hours.)

    Get the recipe!

    Bacon egg salad tomato bites

    These juicy bites won’t derail your low carb pals’ eating agenda.

    Get the recipe!

    Sweet potato turkey sausage egg bake

    If you’ve made resolutions to eat more veggies in the new year, this casserole fits the bill with sweet potatoes, spinach, red onion, and bell pepper.

    Get the recipe!

    The sweet stuff: Pancakes, waffles, and French toast

    Photography courtesy of Cook Nourish Bliss

    Raspberry almond baked French toast

    On a hectic morning of last-minute table setting and dining room vacuuming, an overnight baked French toast means one less thing to worry about. Prep this the night before, then pull it out of the fridge and pop it in the oven on New Year’s Day.

    Get the recipe!

    Oatmeal blender pancakes

    Praise be for the blender! These oat-based blender pancakes are a total breeze. Plus, they’re gluten-free for your GF guests.

    Get the recipe!

    Grapefruit poppy seed crispy waffles

    For a perfectly seasonal New Year’s brunch option, grab some grapefruit. This twist on the usual lemon poppy seed mixture uses fresh grapefruit juice for an even tangier taste.

    Get the recipe!

    Vegan stuffed French toast

    Vegans can get in on the creamy goodness of stuffed French toast with this animal product-free version.

    Get the recipe!

    Whole-wheat zucchini pancakes

    Amp up the nutrition — and the color — in whole-wheat pancakes by grating in some zucchini.

    Get the recipe!

    French toast pancakes

    Can’t decide between French toast or pancakes? Now, you don’t have to. This fun recipe dips pancakes in an egg mixture and griddles them like French toast.

    Get the recipe!

    Honey cinnamon whole-wheat waffles

    Earthy cinnamon and hearty whole wheat combine forces in these stick-to-your-ribs waffles. If you’re serving multiple items at your brunch buffet, cut the waffles into quarters so everyone can sample a little of everything.  

    Get the recipe!

    Hearty potatoes recipes to refill the tank

    Photography courtesy of Minimalist Baker

    Healthy hash brown bites

    Haul out the muffin tin for these bite-sized, veggie-filled hash brown cups.

    Get the recipe!

    Bacon and potato latkes with fennel citrus slaw

    A fennel-citrus slaw adds a touch of fancy to humble latkes in this unique recipe.

    Get the recipe!

    Roasted rosemary sage home fries

    Savory herbs are a no-fail complement to roasted potatoes at any meal, including brunch.

    Get the recipe!

    Air fryer breakfast potatoes with peppers and onions

    Use the air fryer to get the crispy texture of homestyle taters with less of the oil. Just 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil is all you need here.

    Get the recipe!

    2-ingredient sweet potato hash browns

    Even novice chefs should have no trouble with these simple sweet potato hash browns, made even easier with the help of a spiralizer.

    Get the recipe!

    Sweet potato breakfast toasts

    Move over, avocado toast. In this twist on toast, thin slabs of roasted sweet potato serve as the base for a scrambled egg and chive topping.

    Get the recipe!

    Sausage potato hash

    There’s more to this hash than its simple name might lead you to believe. With green and red bell peppers, onions, and garlic, this one may be the hit of the party.

    Get the recipe!

    Breakfasts inspired by Mexican cuisine

    Photography courtesy of Cookie + Cake

    Chilaquiles breakfast nachos

    Ooh, pretty! A garnish of neon pink watermelon radishes brings a pop of the unexpected to these saucy morning nachos.

    Get the recipe!

    Breakfast street tacos

    The smaller size of street taco tortillas makes the mini breakfast-themed Mexican delights perfect for buffet grazing.

    Get the recipe!

    Fresh huevos rancheros

    The classic Mexican breakfast, updated! Huevos rancheros get a makeover with a fresh pico de gallo-style salsa atop tortillas, beans, and eggs.

    Get the recipe!

    Amazing Mexican breakfast casserole

    An easy casserole never fails to save your bacon (or, in this case, your sausage) on brunch day.

    Get the recipe!

    Mexican sweet potato hash with black beans and spinach

    You may end up making this nutrient-dense hash for breakfast, even on non-holiday mornings. It’s black beans, spinach, and sweet potatoes — a very good way to start the day indeed.

    Get the recipe!

    Drinks and cocktails to wash last year away

    Photography courtesy of Love & Lemons

    Blood orange mimosas

    With three ingredients, these mimosas don’t actually take a lot of work, but their striking red hue is sure to impress.

    Get the recipe!

    Almond milk cold brew coffee latte

    Those who stayed up ’til dawn ringing in the new year may need something to get them perked up the next morning. A jolt of almond milk cold brew just might do the trick.

    Get the recipe!

    Green machine juice

    New Year’s Day is all about starting fresh. With five different veggies and three fruits, this green juice is full of the best edible intentions.

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    Grapefruit screwdriver

    Tweak the traditional screwdriver in this recipe that subs grapefruit juice for OJ.

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    Lavender lemonade

    For a virgin drink that’s still oh-so-special (and lovely to look at), try lavender-infused lemonade.

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    Bloody Mary bar

    You provide the basic mix (tomato juice, vodka, Tabasco) then let guests go to town with creative mix-ins like olives, celery, fresh herbs, bacon, and more.

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  • Out of Shape or Excerise-Induced Asthma? We Got You

    You’re out for a nice fall run, but 5 minutes into it, you’re coughing and can’t catch your breath. Is this just what it feels like to be out of shape? Is it allergies? Maybe and maybe. But it could also be exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), aka exercise-induced asthma.

    Does EIB mean you have to throw in the towel and park yourself on the couch? Heck no! In fact, with the right treatment, people with EIB can be as active as they want. Lots of elite athletes have asthma or EIB.

    How can you tell if it’s exercise-induced asthma or if you’re just out of shape?

    The biggest clue is EIB symptoms tend to start 5 to 10 minutes into your workout and continue after you’ve stopped exercising.

    Javier Díez/Stocksy

    Signs it’s exercise-induced asthma

    Coughing is the most common symptom of EIB, and sometimes it’s the only symptom. You may also experience:

    • wheezing
    • shortness of breath
    • tightness in your chest
    • decreased endurance
    • upset stomach
    • sore throat

    Symptoms usually start several minutes into a workout and are most severe 3 to 15 minutes after stopping. Breathing usually returns to normal about 20 to 30 minutes after that. It’s possible to have a second wave of symptoms over the next 4 to 12 hours.

    Talk to a doctor if any of these symptoms interferes with your ability to exercise. There are medications and ways to modify your workout so airflow isn’t an issue.

    Why exercise-induced asthma happens

    Breathlessness from exercise isn’t a mystery: your body works hard, it needs more oxygen, you breathe harder to get that O2. EIB is different because your airway actually starts to constrict, making it harder for the air to get into your lungs. Weird, right?

    If you have EIB, rapid breathing through your mouth introduces more cold, dry air into your airway, triggering the constriction.

    That’s why you may find symptoms are worse on cold days or in dry conditions. Other triggers like pollution, pollen, smoke, fumes, or a recent respiratory infection or asthma attack may also make an episode of EIB more likely.

    Who’s at risk?

    Researchers estimate that 40 to 90 percent of people with chronic asthma also experience EIB. Between 8 and 20 percent of people without asthma have symptoms of EIB.

    Elite athletes are at increased risk of EIB because their participation in sports requires a lot of time inhaling cold, dry air and pollutants. Children also seem to be at higher risk of EIB than adults.

    Side effects of exercise-induced asthma

    Episodes of EIB can cause temporary inflammation and damage to lungs, but it’s reversible with proper treatment. The biggest complication associated with exercise-induced breathing difficulty is… GIVING UP ON EXERCISE!

    Some people with EIB feel anxiety, fear, and embarrassment about exercising. Rightfully so! What’s not scary about feeling like you can’t breathe?

    The truth is avoiding exercise is counterproductive. It’s totally possible to have an active life while managing EIB. (Remember those elite athletes? They don’t get to the Olympics by giving up.) In fact, exercise improves quality of life.

    Go ahead, test me

    The most common way to diagnose EIB is by measuring lung function before, during, and after exercise.

    A person is diagnosed with EIB if their forced exhale volume in 1 second is reduced 10 to 5 percent after exercise. Forced exhale volume is measured with a spirometer, a device that you breathe into.

    Normal lung function test

    Your doctor may use spirometry (that tube you breathe into) to measure how much air you can exhale forcefully and quickly. If you’re not experiencing symptoms or haven’t been exercising before the test, results will likely be normal.

    Exercise challenge test

    To get a full picture of the impact of exercise on your breathing function, the doctor will do a bronchoprovocation test. Sound provocative? It just means they’ll measure the volume of air you exhale at rest, during exercise, and after exercise.

    For this test you may use a treadmill, a stationary bicycle, or recreate the exercise that caused your symptoms before.

    Ruling out other possibilities

    You may be tested again after using a bronchodilator like an albuterol inhaler. If the inhaler doesn’t improve symptoms, you might have exercise-induced vocal cord dysfunction instead of EIB. Vocal cord dysfunction symptoms will also stop as soon as exercise is stopped.

    Bronchial hyperresponsiveness can also mimic EIB when the airways “overreact” to inhaling allergens or airborne irritants, causing cough and phlegm production.

    What’s the Rx for exercised-induced asthma?

    There are a number of prescription medications that can help control exercise-induced asthma. Here’s your cheat sheet for medication options.

    Take these before hitting the gym

    • Short acting beta agonist or bronchodilator: Using this inhaler 10 to 15 minutes before exercise can prevent symptoms. It can also be used to treat symptoms after they occur.
    • Long-acting bronchodilator: Inhaled 30 to 60 minutes before exercise, it prevents symptoms for 10 to 12 hours but offers no rescue benefit once symptoms occur.
    • Mast cell stabilizers: Taken 15 to 20 minutes before exercise to prevent EIB.

    An Inhaler for the long haul

    • Inhaled corticosteroids: Taken daily for long-term treatment of asthma.

    More tricks for preventing the wheeze

    Try these recommendations to reduce your risk of EIB while exercising:

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or mask during exercise so the air entering your lungs is warmer and more humid.
    • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before the main workout. (This helps more than 50 percent of people with EIB.)
    • Try to breathe through your nose. Your nose is great at converting air to the best temp and moisture for your lungs.
    • In a study of 64 asthmatic children, positive pressure treatment (CPAP and BIPAP) reduced EIB and lung inflammation.

    What’s the alternative?

    You don’t want to mess around when it comes to breathing. Follow your doctor’s recommended treatment for EIB, but you may find some of these alternative therapies are helpful too.

    • Caffeine before exercise may help prevent airway constriction.
    • The American Thoracic Society says a low salt diet and taking fish oil and vitamin C supplements may help.
    • Breathing exercises and yoga may improve symptoms or at least decrease the anxiety and depression people with EIB feel.

    Best exercises if you have exercise-induced asthma

    Like we said, even if you have EIB, you can totally get your exercise on. However, some forms of exercise are better than others for people with exercise-induced asthma.

    You might have worse symptoms exercising in the cold (think ice hockey, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing). EIB symptoms are also more likely with sports that require sustained activity like long distance running and soccer.

    Choose exercise that’s leisurely or requires short bursts of activity like:

    • walking
    • hiking
    • biking
    • swimming
    • volleyball
    • baseball
    • gymnastics
    • golf
    • short track and field events
    • tennis
    • fencing
    • weightlifting
    • martial arts

    Always be prepared (for your doctor’s appointment)

    When you experience symptoms that may be exercise-induced asthma, make a note of the temperature, where you were, what kind of activity you were doing. Also record your symptoms and approximately when they started and stopped.

    All that information will give the doctor clues about whether it’s EIB. Also let them know if you’ve ever been diagnosed with asthma or have recently had any illness that could be related to your symptoms. Since your doctor may conduct an exercise challenge, dress for breaking a sweat.

    Bottom line

    While you might expect to be a little (or a lot) breathless during your workout, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) can put a real cramp in your exercise plans.

    Watch for coughing or wheezing that starts a few minutes into your workout and gets worse after you stop. A doctor can use lung function tests to confirm whether it’s EIB and prescribe inhalers or daily medications for prevention and treatment.

    The most important thing to remember with EIB is for your physical and mental health, keep exercising!