Baby Strains On Your Veins

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Pregnancy brings a number of changes within the body—some expected and some unexpected. Among these changes are increased blood volume, which can lead to spider veins, varicose veins, and other vein diseases.

While vein diseases are not exclusive to pregnant women, the unique physiological changes associated with pregnancy may result in these vascular complications or worsen existing ones. In order to support the uterus during pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume may increase by up to 50% so that oxygen and proper nutrients are delivered to the fetus. Caused by an increase in both blood plasma and the number of red blood cells, this increase in blood volume puts pressure on the veins, which can lead to visibly enlarged veins—usually in the legs—more commonly referred to as varicose veins. These bulging, sometimes discolored veins are just one of the signs of an underlying issue known as venous insufficiency, or vein disease. Vein disease can also cause painful symptoms such as swelling, restlessness, cramping, and even fatigue in the lower legs. Read more

How to Plan the Ultimate Staycation

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Who wouldn’t want to take a vacation every month, or even every weekend? Unfortunately for most, there isn’t room for a trip in the schedule—or budget. Plus, as most holiday vacations prove, it can be exhausting and overwhelming to coordinate a family trip out of town. That’s why many people in need of a small getaway take staycations instead. Staycations allow you to relax and do fun activities with your family, all without the expense of travel or booking hotels. No matter where you live, there’s likely someplace you’ve never been locally that would make for an excellent afternoon for the whole gang. Or if you prefer a relaxing vacation, a spa day at home is an excellent way to unwind. Read more

Top of the Tingles: The ASMR A-List

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Relaxation. Euphoria. Tingling. These are the words used to describe the result of an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, trigger. In a piece I recently wrote for Sanity & Self, I describe the concept as “the physical response to auditory, visual, or tactile triggers, usually a tingly sensation similar to feeling chills. Think of the goosebumps you might get when someone whispers into your ear. That’s ASMR. Most experts attribute ASMR’s relaxing sensations to the release of endorphins, a chemical in the brain that leads to feelings of happiness and euphoria, and a surge of oxytocin. You experience a surge of oxytocin during orgasm, which most likely parallels the chemical release of ASMR and why devotees refer to this phenomenon as brain or head orgasms.”

Common ASMR triggers include whispering, personal attention or touch, humming, tapping, role playing, crinkling materials, and hair brushing. Learning what triggers ASMR for you involves trial and error. Begin by exposing yourself to a variety of sounds and content. “A major source would be ASMR video channels which contain a large selection of quality content,” says Dr. Craig Richard, an ASMR researcher, biopharmaceutical sciences professor, and ASMR University founder.

The ASMR community has exploded since it first appeared on whisper vlogs and chat rooms around 2009. Search ASMR on YouTube, and there are over twelve million results. Here’s a look at the top of the tingles: Read more

90 Inspiring Quotes to Uplift Your Life, Love, and Career

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The holidays are a time to come together and have a good time with your friends and family. But if you’re feeling more dreary than cheery this time of year, you can learn a lot from those who have struggled but ultimately overcome their hardships.

Bestow compiled 90 inspirational quotes to pick you up on challenging days or keep you motivated on good ones! These success quotes will go a long way toward making you happy in every facet of your life. Read more

10 Easy Activities You Can Do With Your Kids Right Now

Posted on by Crystal in Kids, Parenting | Leave a comment

“I’m bored,” is a phrase no parent ever wants to hear. When kids are restless and feel like they have nothing to do, it can be tempting to hand them an iPad or turn on the TV. But there are better ways to keep them entertained. Stop boredom in its tracks with these ten easy activities you can do with your kids right now. They require minimal equipment and materials and offer satisfyingly instant results. Read more

Saying ‘Goodbye’ to Elf on the Shelf Comes with Unexpected Grief and Sadness

Posted on by Crystal in Kids | Leave a comment

“Parting is sweet sorrow,” they say. In our case, parting has been a confusing and very unexpected side of the Elf on the Shelf tradition—one that placed a dark cloud over our holidays.

Unlike 13 million current owners, for more than a decade I resisted the temptation of buying an Elf on the Shelf. I didn’t want the responsibility of another “living” thing, and, I knew I might forget to move the Elf and ruin the game. So, I dismissed the awkward glances from other parents when I told them we’d never have one of those disturbing little Scouts in our house. I closed a plethora of ads urging me to jump on this “fun” and “endearing” bandwagon. And, I declined my children’s requests to let Santa send one of his elves to keep an eye on them. “We’ll be sooooo good!” they promised. Nope. I was Team #NoElfontheShelf and nothing could change my mind.

Then, around Thanksgiving, my daughter caught me at just the right moment—no doubt when one of those ASPCA commercials aired—and broke me down. A few weeks later, the very anticipated box arrived on our doorstep. What could go wrong? Read more

Holiday Road Trip Printables for Your Next Family Trip

Posted on by Crystal in Parenting | Leave a comment

The holidays are right around the corner and many of you may be getting ready to hit the road to visit family or simply go on an adventure. Whether you’re expecting to hit a lot of traffic, as one does during this time of year, or your destination is just a long ways ahead, keeping the kiddos entertained will help make the ride go a lot smoother.

Although phones, tablets and video games are great to keep kids busy for quite some time, it’s always best to mix in some screen-free activities and downtime. These can be printable games, coloring pages or any other family bonding activities you like to play in the car. With that in mind, I thought I’d share these adorable holiday printables from Car Rentals Read more

Attracting Cheerful Backyard Songbirds

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Birding with children is a fun and educational outdoor activity. On average, kids spend more than seven hours per day with electronic media. Studying birds at the convenience of your backyard can teach children about wildlife and ecology as well as engage all of their senses. You could take up birding with your kids year-round — even in winter. Here are some ways to get your youngsters excited about birdwatching. Read more