How to Help Ease an Aching Back

Whether it’s from age or injury, just about everyone will encounter an aching back at some point in his or her lifetime. If you’re suffering from back pain, these smart and all-natural tips might help you to find some relief, but be sure to ask your doctor for advice first!

  1. Do some stretches. Many people find that doing stretches that target the upper or lower back help to ease tension and banish pain. Things like spinal twists, back extensions, or even gentle yoga classes are the most enjoyable.
  2. Use a cold compress. Purchasing a cold compress from your local pharmacy is an easy and affordable way to ease pain from sore muscles or back strain. With a few 10-minute applications each day, the cold will help to reduce inflammation in your sore back muscles.
  3. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Instead of using an expensive prescription medication that could make you groggy, try a simple over-the-counter medication first. Things like NSAIDs or acetaminophen will inhibit the body’s pathways that produce pain, leaving you feeling relieved.
  4. Apply a topical cream. For a treatment that goes straight to the source, try a topical cream from your local pharmacy. These creams apply either heat or cold right at the nerve endings in the back, which helps decrease pain on contact.

Lower Back Stretches [About Health]
10 Ways to Ease Back Pain [Everyday Health]
6 Doctor-Recommended Remedies for Back Pain [Real Simple]

Two Websites with Soup Recipes You Can Make at Home

Hot, steamy soups are some of the simplest and most fulfilling meals you can make, whether you choose a creamy tomato or a light vegetable soup. These step-by-step recipe websites are full of simple, delicious soup recipes that even the least experienced chef can make right at home.’s list of 12 Healthy Soup Recipes is a great resource for finding nutritious soups and stews. Unlike store-bought soups that can be full of sodium, these recipes are naturally flavored and low in calories. The Chunky Chicken Noodle is a heartier version of the childhood classic, with much less salt than the original version. On this site, even seemingly fattening, creamy soups like the Broccoli, Cheddar and Potato Soup use only low-fat, low-calorie ingredients to create nutritious soups that are just as tasty as the traditional versions.

Smitten Kitchen
This site isn’t just a clever name; it’s also a wonderful resource for healthy, flavorful soups. Smitten Kitchen’s Matzo Ball Soup contains fluffy, doughy matzo balls made with simple ingredients. Unique soups like Black Bean Pumpkin, Winter Squash with Gruyere, and Silky Cauliflower are gourmet-style choices that will impress your friends, and only you’ll know how easy and enjoyable they were to make.

What to Look for When Shopping for Quality Cashmere

Whether you purchase it secondhand or invest in a brand-new piece, cashmere is a luxurious material that every fashion lover should have in his or her closet. A soft cashmere scarf or sweater is incredibly cozy when cold weather comes around, but it can also be quite pricey. Here are a few tips for what to look for when shopping for cashmere to get the best bang for your buck.

  1. Check for two-ply yarn. Truly high quality cashmere sweaters are made of two-ply yarn, a type of yarn that is made of two individual “legs” that prevent the garment from torqueing. Be sure to purchase two-ply instead of the lesser quality one-ply.
  2. Check the stitching. Look closely at the garment to see if the stitching is loose and open or if it is tight and closed. Open stitching could lead to pilling down the line, so be sure to avoid cashmere items unless the stitching is almost impossible to see.
  3. Use your senses. If you’re prepared to invest in a high quality cashmere pieces, you likely have something in mind about what it should look and feel like. Using your own senses is one of the best ways to tell if cashmere is made well, so get up close and rub it with your fingers, try it on and inspect the color clarity to see if the quality is up to snuff.

What to consider when purchasing a cashmere garment [CCMI]
What Do I Need to Consider When Buying Cashmere? [Real Simple]
7 Secrets of Cashmere [Marie Claire]
Expert Tips on How To Buy a Cashmere Sweater [The Vivant]

Organize Your Kitchen in 5 Simple Steps

Is your kitchen overrun with dirty dishes, loose pot lids, boxes of cereal, and unused utensils? Here are five simple tips to achieve an organized kitchen that looks straight out of a magazine.

  1. Make the most of your cabinets. Cabinets are an important part of any kitchen, as they store all of your loose items and keep dry groceries out of sight. Add removable shelving and storage to make your cabinets work for you.
  2. Keep the most-used items within reach. Clear the unnecessary items from your countertops and keep only the items you use most, such as a few bowls and plates, basic cooking tools, and maybe a coffee station.
  3. Divide drawers. Stop overflowing your kitchen drawers and divide them instead. Simply place drawer organizers inside.
  4. Don’t forget about under the sink. Though many of us simply shove cleaning supplies under there, the underside of the sink is actually great storage space. Add a few storage containers or plastic drawers to keep things separated.
  5. Maximize odd-shaped spaces. If you have a skinny cabinet or a cabinet in a corner, don’t write it off. Add a lazy Susan to a corner cabinet to keep things within reach, and store flat objects like cutting boards in those ultra-thin spots.

23 Kitchen Organization & Storage Tips [BHG]
26 Kitchen-Organizing Tips from Real Cooks [Simple Bites]

How to Keep Home Offices Neat and Organized

With so many beautiful photos of inspiring home offices floating around the Internet, you may start to feel a bit insecure about your own humble workspace. Even if you can’t hire your own personal interior designer to re-vamp your office, there are a number of ways to make it more attractive and functional. Here are some tips for organizing a home office.

  1. Make a place for everything. One of the main problems with messy home offices is that the storage space to clutter ratio is off. Incorporate more storage solutions, from a tall shelving unit to a traditional file cabinet, depending on what type of clutter is most prominent in your workspace.
  2. Clear clutter. Throw away any papers or files that you haven’t looked at in years, broken or outdated office supplies, and especially any furniture or other home goods that don’t belong in the office area.
  3. Add wheeled furniture. If you often have tasks that require more surface space than you have, purchase a wheeled cart or filing cabinet that can be tucked away when not in use.
  4. Add shelving. Although many people think of floor space when maximizing storage, it’s usually more beneficial to think of wall space. Most people’s walls are under-utilized, so add some sturdy shelves for storing paper files, office supplies, books and other small items.

10 Ways to Organize Your Home Office by Monday [How Stuff Works]
20 Home Office Organizing Tricks [Real Simple]
10 Steps to a Cleaner Office [Oprah]

Four Unique Chicken Noodle Soup Recipes

Even when you don’t have the sniffles, chicken noodle soup is a warm and delicious dish that’s full of nostalgic charm. You love the traditional chicken broth and egg noodles, but there are a variety of other ways to prepare this classic soup. Update your chicken noodle soup recipe to something a bit more sophisticated with these simple and flavorful recipes.

Tyler Florence’s Chicken Noodle Soup [The Food Network]

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup [Country Living]

Sensational Chicken Noodle Soup [Campbell’s Kitchen]

Healthier Chicken Noodle Soup []

Bite Into These Recipes for Delicious Pizza Dough

Everyone loves pizza, which means that it’s likely one of your go-to dinner recipes on casual nights at home. Here are three great recipes for pizza dough that you can make right in your own kitchen.

The Pioneer Woman’s Favorite Pizza [The Pioneer Woman]
This vegetarian pizza dough recipe makes enough for two whole pizzas, so you can either store it for later or make two different types of pies. It also only requires four common ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

101 Cookbooks’ Best Pizza Dough Ever [101 Cookbooks]
The addition of olive oil gives this thin-crust pizza dough its moist, supple texture, and the overnight fermentation process provides the fluffy rise and golden brown color after baking. This recipe is a bit more involved than most, but if you want to create truly gourmet pizzas, it’s well worth the wait.

Martha Stewart’s Quick Basic Pizza Dough [Martha Stewart]
Most people make pizza on nights when they don’t have much time to spare, which makes this recipe a great one to have in your arsenal. Plus, you can refrigerate it for up to two hours or freeze it for up to three months for quick dinners in the future.

These Apps Can Help You Practice Pilates Anywhere

While you love the effects that Pilates has on your body and your mind, sometimes you just don’t have the time to make it to an entire class. Lucky for you, these innovative apps can help you to get a core-building Pilates workout right from the comfort of your own home.

Pilates Workout Exercises
This app offers a truly impressive selection of Pilates workouts, containing more than 350 instructional videos with new videos added every day. Each video is categorized by either beginner, intermediate, or advanced skill levels, and certified Pilates instructors guide you through every step of the way.

Pilates Workouts
iPhone users will love this simple, easy to use app, which includes a number of videos that are taught just like a real Pilates class. With acclaimed instructors like Denise Austin, you’ll feel completely confident and at ease throughout your entire workout. There are also a variety of classes for different skill levels, ailments, and time restrictions to help you tailor your exercise to your specific needs.

Pilates for Beginners
Just like the name suggests, Pilates for Beginners is a wonderful resource for anyone just starting a Pilates routine. Informative articles help to educate you about the benefits of Pilates, while tips and tricks will teach you how to choose the right studio or pick the best workout for you.

Displaying The American Flag

Before you display your American Flag, be sure you are doing it properly. Click here to check out a few guidelines to ensure you are honoring your country in the proper and most respectful way.

How to Keep Your Houseplants Alive and Happy

Adding a green plant to your home's decor is easy; keeping it alive is a whole other story. Even if you aren't blessed with a green thumb, these three tips will help you keep your houseplants happy and thriving.

1. Go easy on the watering.
Over-watering is the number one killer of houseplants. Even if the soil on top looks dry, the plant may, in fact, have plenty of water. To test if your plant really needs a watering, stick your finger about two inches into the dirt. If it emerges dry, then your plant could use a drink. Otherwise, hold off on watering for a few days. After watering, ensure that the plant doesn't having water its tray, as this will cause root rot.

2. Find the right plant for your circumstances.
Before you bring that new plant to your home or office, read its tag to see its light requirement. Plants are divided into three light requirements: low light, medium light, and full sun. If your office doesn't have any windows, then a full sun plant won't work for you. Keep in mind that flowering plants require more light than foliage plants.

3. Ward off the chill.
Plants are typically happiest between 65° to 80° F during the day and 55° to 65° F in the evenings. Keep your plant away from heating/cooling vents, and don't allow its leaves to come in contact with a cold windowpane during the winter.

Houseplant Pests and Diseases [Gardener's Supply Company]
A Beginner's Guide to Caring for Houseplants [Mahoney's]
Care for Houseplants [Lowe's]
Tips on Caring for Houseplants in the Fall and Winter [HGTV]


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