All posts in Miscellaneous

Take Care of YOU This Spring

Hello, longer days. Hello, warmer weather. Hello, Spring!

Spring feels like a fresh start for many of us. It feels like a great opportunity to fling our closet doors open and remove the things we no longer want nor need. We clean, we dust, we mop – we spring clean!

But, what about us? We should use spring as a reminder to take care of ourselves as well as we take care of our homes.

And here are a few ways to do just that…

Unplug and take a break from the online world! It’s a great way to decompress and unwind. Be more aware of the world around you as opposed to what’s happening on your phone. “Spring is my seasonal reminder to slow down and practice more mindfulness in everyday mundane tasks,” says Ashley Rose Howard, meditation teacher at Exubrancy, a national wellness provider.

Get more/better sleep! The recommended seven to nine hours of sleep are an extremely important time for your brain and body. In fact, cutting your sleep short by just one hour can directly affect your health. Everything from your mood to your immune system to your risk of weight gain can get thrown off kilter if you aren’t getting enough sleep.

Sit in the sunshine! It’s assumed that by the time spring rolls around, most of us have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is linked to helping prevent everything from osteoporosis, to heart disease and certain types of cancer. Plus, it plain old feels fantastic!


Super Bowl Sunday: Fun Facts

Who’s watching the Super Bowl on Sunday? Even if you’re not planning to watch the big game, a huge chunk of Americans are. So, we thought we’d share some fun facts with you that you can share with fellow fans (or non-fans) this Sunday!

Sunday’s halftime show will last for 30 minutes, while every other game has a quick 15 minute intermission.

Jerry Rice has the most touchdown catches in Super Bowl history.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most Super Bowls – six!

The Jaguars, Browns, Lions and Texans are the only four teams to never reach the the championship game in the modern era.

The day of the big game, Americans will drink an estimated 325.5 million gallons of beer and devour 1.25 billion chicken wings.

The NFL might be an American sport, but Super Bowl Sunday is worldwide. The big game is broadcast around the globe in 34 different languages.

No team that has ever hosted the Super Bowl has also played in the game. This year, the Minnesota Vikings came SO CLOSE!

Super Bowl rings cost around $5,000 and each team gets about 150 of them. Bling, bling!

Who has lost the most championship games? That particular “honor” goes to the Denver Broncos who have lost five.

The Lombardi Trophy is awarded to the winner each year. It is made by Tiffany & Co. and weighs seven pounds, stands 21 inches tall and is worth $25,000.

Behind only Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the second largest day for food consumption in the United States. Eat up!

Home and away teams in the big game are alternated each year. NFC teams are home for odd-numbered games, while the AFC gets the even-numbered games.

Many believe that Super Bowl Sunday should be its own holiday. Approximately 1.5 million people will call in sick to work the day after the big game. Cough, cough!

And finally, who won the very first Super Bowl? Why, it was the Green Bay Packers, of course!


Here Comes the Eclipse!

What are you doing next Monday afternoon? Watching the solar eclipse, perhaps?

NASA is, of course, the best source for information about the upcoming event, but we can break it down for you.

What they’re calling the Great American Total Solar Eclipse will darken skies across the country, from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles wide.

This phenomenon happens when our view of the sun is blocked by the moon. When the moon lines up between the sun and Earth, the moon will cast a shadow onto Earth. This is what we on the ground observe as a solar eclipse.

This will be the first total solar eclipse crossing the US from coast to coast since 1918, making it a once-in-a-lifetime event for most folks.

Lucky for us in Apex, NC, we’re just beyond that line, meaning we’ll see approximately 93% of the sun blocked by the moon.

If, like us, you’re in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, here are some ideas for where you might watch this truly awesome event unfold:

Keep in mind, skywatchers, you should NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness.

Even if you can’t see it in person, most local news stations, and even some national cable stations, as well as dozens of websites (including the NASA link above!) will allow you to watch the sun disappear for a few minutes from the comfort of your home.


It’s Time for Fireworks

To quote Katy Perry, “Baby, you’re a firework!” And although we’re obviously not ACTUALLY fireworks, a lot of us will be SEEING them next week at Fourth of July celebrations large and small.

But how did they come to be part of our nation’s independence celebrations? And where did they come from in the first place?

Many historians believe that fireworks originated in China around 200 B.C. China, by the way, continues to produce and export more of them than any other country in the world. 

At some point, Chinese chemists put together charcoal, sulfur and other ingredients, and unwittingly yielded an early form of gunpowder. They then began stuffing the substance into bamboo shoots that were then thrown into the fire to produce a loud blast and visual explosion.

Ta-da – the first fireworks were born.

And here’s a little U.S. history from Wikipedia:

“America’s earliest settlers brought their enthusiasm for fireworks to the United States. Fireworks and black ash were used to celebrate important events long before the American Revolutionary War. The very first celebration of Independence Day was in 1777, six years before Americans knew whether the new nation would survive the war; they were a part of all festivities. In 1789, George Washington’s inauguration was also accompanied by a display. This early fascination with their noise and color continues today.”

Fun fact: The Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the United States.


April Showers and May Flowers

Although it’s nearing the end of April, we haven’t had many showers in the Apex, NC area (which is where we’re located). And that’s got us thinking… do April showers really bring May flowers?

Believe it or not, it’s not a simple answer! It depends if you’re talking about annuals or perennials.

Perennials are plants and flowers whose roots stay alive even after the part aboveground dies. Their beauty is usually what announces the arrival of spring. When they arrive depends on where you live. If you’re way up north somewhere like Maine, you won’t see them until around May. But down here in the south, we see them much earlier, in March and April.

Regardless of when the perennials bloom, the rainfall of the previous month isn’t that relevant. 

And annuals, those beauties you plant each and every year, they kind of depend on April showers. But that actually has more to do with when they’re planted than any specific April showers.

You see, lifespan and growth are influenced by the rainfall in the months immediately after they’re planted, not the month before. But if they’re planted in the month of April, those showers could be helpful.

According to Slate:

The one place where April showers would truly bring May flowers is the desert. In arid regions like the Mojave, plants sit under the sand, sometimes for years, just waiting for enough water to send up shoots and leaves. A few weeks—or sometimes even days—after a heavy rainfall, the desert will explode with color.