Sweet Land of Liberty
The Fourth of July is a day of national pride for Americans as the country celebrates Independence Day. Commemorating the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the holiday is viewed by many as an opportunity to give thanks for their freedom and spend time with loved ones.
Keeping a potted aloe vera plant in your home can come in handy. Plucking one of the succulent's leaves and cracking it open reveals a soothing gel that you can apply topically to sunburns, scrapes and minor burns from cooking. Plus, the houseplant's green, spiky leaves add an appealing pop of color and nature to your décor. Help your aloe vera thrive with these tips:
Most succulents like to be dry. Plant the aloe in a container with a drainage hole, and use a well-draining soil mix. Only water about every three weeks, or when the soil feels dry 2 inches down.
Aloe vera loves light. Place it in a sunny spot where it receives bright, indirect light. If the leaves start to turn yellow, orange or brown, it may be too close to the window and getting sunburned! Move it farther away.
Keep the plant away from pets and children. The gel inside the leaves can be harmful if ingested.
On the Summer Screen
Stay home, stay cool and stay entertained by streaming a summer blockbuster. What makes a movie earn this status? It's a little more than being released during warm weather and earning a lot of money at the box office. A majority of summer blockbusters blend action, adventure and humor into a thrilling experience for all ages. So sit back with a cold drink and some popcorn and queue up a classic title such as "Jaws" (1975), "Star Wars" (1977), "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), "Back to the Future" (1985), "Jurassic Park" (1993) or "Independence Day" (1996).
Adults may need to drink as much as 4 liters of water a day to stay hydrated in the summer heat, say dietitians, and that amount can change based on factors such as body type and activity level. A general rule is to divide your body weight in half to find the number of ounces you need daily. For example, a person who weighs 180 pounds should drink 90 ounces, which is about 3 liters. Experts say the best way to stay hydrated is to sip water throughout the day, as well as enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, soups and broths, and herbal teas.
Sunscreen: Your Skin's Best Friend
For many of us, sunny summer days remind us that it's time to put on some sunscreen to protect our skin. But we actually should be wearing sunscreen every day, and here's why:
- The sun damages the skin in two ways: UVA rays cause wrinkles and age spots, and UVB rays cause sunburns. Both types of ultraviolet rays are linked to skin cancer.
- Staying in the shade helps, but UV rays can still pass through clouds and also glass, so you need sunscreen even on a cloudy day or when you're inside a building or riding in a vehicle.
- Sun damage affects all complexions. Yes, fair skin may burn more easily, but all skin types can develop problems due to sun exposure, including discoloration, premature aging, and cancer.
- Water, sand, snow and pavement all reflect ultraviolet rays and make them stronger, so sunscreen is important year-round, no matter where you are.
Fortunately, sunscreen is available in many different forms, so there's no reason to skip it. Health experts suggest picking a formula you like whether it's a lotion, spray, gel or solid stick-and getting in the habit of applying it every day. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating.
There are two important things to look for in any sunscreen: Be sure that it's labeled broad-spectrum, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and that it's SPF 30 or higher. SPF stands for sun protection factor and refers to the percentage of the sun's rays being blocked. SPF 30 blocks about 97% of cancer-causing UVB rays.
"Nothing looks better in your 50s than sunscreen in your 20s." -Jennifer Garner
Enjoy a splash of summer with this refreshing drink.
- 2 1/3 cups water, divided
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
- 15 to 20 spearmint leaves
Add 1/3 cup water and sugar to saucepan. Cook on medium high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear, resulting in a simple syrup.
In pitcher, combine syrup, lime juice, strawberries, spearmint leaves and 2 cups water. Refrigerate for 2 hours. When chilled, pour into glasses and garnish each with a sprig of spearmint.
TRIVIA! Cactus Makes Perfect
- The tallest cactus in the world, the Mexican giant cardon, is known by what other name?
- In the comic strip "Peanuts," which of Snoopy's brothers lives in a cactus?
- A cactus is usually covered in prickly _______.
- The organ pipe cactus and saguaro cactus depend on what animals for pollination?
- "Landscape With Cacti" is the name of a famous painting by what artist?
Think you know the answers?
Email your answers with "Trivia: Cactus Makes Perfect" in the subject line for your chance to win cool stuff! Deadline for entry is July 31, 2020.
Five winners will be selected by August 15, 2020 and notified via email.
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