Show your Host or Hostess some love

HostorHostessGifts

Does anyone out there ever bring gifts for their host or hostess anymore?

I will admit I have been very neglectful of this when I attend gatherings at friends and families homes, but I think it’s time to turn over a new leaf, bring the classy back, and start showing our gratitude to those who go through the effort of hosting us for the day, evening or longer.

If you are feeling like you would like to get your host(ess) a gift there are a variety of gifts you can try, gifts like:

  • Beverages (Beer, cider, tea, wine, etc.)
  • Candles
  • Card or Board Games
  • Flowers (Cut bouquets or potted plants)
  • Gift Cards
  • Hosting accessories (Decorations (decor), kitchenware etc.)
  • Treats (Savory or Sweet)

Whatever you choose to give, you will be spreading warmth and cheer back to your host/hostess, who in turn will spread warmth and cheer to you and their other guests.

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Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe (No Oil)

Pumpkin Seeds

I love snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds! So delicious, easy to eat and prepare, and with numerous health benefits, who could say no? Traditionally I make large batches every year after we carve our Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and snack on them for weeks!

I do not use oil in this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salt
  • Seasoned salt (optional)
  • Water

Directions:

As you carve your pumpkins, keep all the seeds in a bowl. I find it easier to separate the seeds and pulp into two separate bowls as I go, rather than sort that mess out later.

Throw the seeds into a colander and rinse under cold water, stirring with your hands to make sure all the seeds are all rinsed thoroughly.

Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt for each half cup of seeds.

Bring the saltwater and seeds to a boil for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Coat a baking sheet with whichever nonstick cooking spray you prefer and spread the drained seeds out in a single layer.

I took this opportunity to sprinkle seasoned salt over the damp seeds. You are welcome to leave them with just the salt that was boiled into them, or add any variety of other toppings depending on your taste.

Cook the seeds until dry and crispy, this could take an hour or more. Remember to stir occasionally so the seeds get baked evenly.

Let them cool for a few minutes…then let the snacking begin!

65 Ways to be Elegant

  1. Accept compliments gracefully.
  2. Always bring a gift to your host and/or hostess.
  3. Apologize sincerely.
  4. Appreciate the arts.
  5. Arrive on time.
  6. Be a lady or a gentleman at work.
  7. Be kind.
  8. Be positive.
  9. Be quietly self confident.
  10. Be respectful of others.
  11. Be well groomed.
  12. Be well read.
  13. Concern yourself with making others feel comfortable.
  14. Do small favors for others without expecting reciprocation.
  15. Don’t boast.
  16. Don’t complain.
  17. Don’t call attention to other’s mistakes, gossip, or speak ill of them.
  18. Don’t curse.
  19. Don’t overindulge.
  20. Dress appropriately for every occasion.
  21. Chew with your mouth closed.
  22. Express empathy.
  23. Express gratitude.
  24. Give thoughtful gifts, rather than expensive ones.
  25. Give others sincere compliments.
  26. Have a fabulous signature meal you serve guests.
  27. Have a signature perfume/cologne.
  28. Have impeccable manners; say please and thank you.
  29. Have integrity.
  30. Host small dinner parties.
  31. Keep a journal.
  32. Keep your home clean and uncluttered.
  33. Keep your nails well manicured.
  34. Know thyself.
  35. Learn another language.
  36. Learn less is more.
  37. Learn proper etiquette for a variety of situations.
  38. Learn to dance.
  39. Learn to politely decline.
  40. Listen without interrupting.
  41. Maintain boundaries.
  42. Maintain a budget.
  43. Maintain good health.
  44. Move with grace.
  45. Open the door for others.
  46. Practice discretion.
  47. Practice good posture.
  48. Practice patience.
  49. Practice quality over quantity.
  50. Remember birthdays.
  51. Savor the moment.
  52. Send holiday and thank you cards and/or notes.
  53. Serve coffee or tea after meals.
  54. Show restraint in expressing anger.
  55. Sip your beverages; never slurp or gulp.
  56. Speak eloquently.
  57. Speak softly, never yell or scream.
  58. Spend time outdoors.
  59. Take responsibility for yourself and your own happiness.
  60. Think before you act or speak.
  61. Turn your mobile off at the table.
  62. Understand your own worth.
  63. Wear dresses and/or suits more often, and on dates.
  64. Wear less makeup.
  65. Write a letter rather than send an email to those you love.

Closure Microreview

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Closure Microreview – 16/20!

Closure is a unique independent puzzle/platformer video game developed by programmer Tyler Glaiel and artist Jon Schubbe, with music and sound by Chris Rhyne, that focuses on the concept of light and dark.

Closure reveals a dark world where landscapes and objects only exist when and where the light touches. Gameplay features maneuvering light sources (fixed lamps and light orbs the player can carry) to phase objects in and out and therefore manipulate the environment for platforming. Due to real-time lighting of each level, there can be various solutions to get from point A to B by manipulating portions of platforms. Keep in mind: If it can’t be seen, it doesn’t exist. It’s possible to jump through walls and fall through floors, push boxes through walls, or drop a key through floors and walls to get to the door; just remove or add light.

The main playable character is an amorphous being who explores the stories of three human characters; a factory worker struggling to escape a decrepit factory, a young woman travelling through a murky forest to reunite body and soul after a horrific car crash, and a little girl who leaves the comfort and safety of her home to chase a black cat through an abandoned carnival. Of course, these are my interpretations, many players have speculated what the plot of this game could be. Based on the title of the game I assume each character is seeking “closure”. Although the developers may have had a specific plot in mind, I believe they have left a great deal open to your interpretation.

Each story consists of twenty four levels that can be accessed through unique doors within surreal central hubs, with ten additional levels designated to the amorphous being. The objective of the 82 levels is to travel from the start of each level to a door, some doors require keys or light sources to open. If the player reaches a dead-end in a puzzle, they can push the R key (PC) or Select button (console). There’s also an additional 30 Silver Moths to collect, where if all are found, a special unlock is rewarded. If the player reaches a dead-end in a puzzle, they can press [Select] to restart the level. A special ending is awarded to those players that also manage to collect thirty silver moths hidden throughout the game.

I really enjoy unique games that really challenge the players to think. Closure is extremely thought provoking. I loved illuminating the surroundings and devolving ways to reach the door and better still, the plot behind each character. Design and sound were also really engaging, it reminded me strongly of something born of Tim Burton’s mind.

Comment below to start a conversation about this game!

Sorcery! Parts 1 – 4 Microreview

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Sorcery! Parts 1 – 4 Microreview – 17/20!

Sorcery! Parts 1 through 4 is a series of text / graphic adventure video games developed for iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows and Mac by inkle.

Choosing a male or female character, the player embarks on a text-based fantasy quest inspired by Steve Jackson’s choose-your-own-adventure novels. The gameplay of Sorcery! incorporates audio and visual interactive elements; including character icons, maps, burn-by-turn energy, a spell-casting starscape and more. Much like choose-your-own-adventure novels, the player can choose to turn back the pages (or rewind the game) if they dislike the outcome of their choices along the path.

I used to love choose-your-own-adventure books (I may still own one involving a Unicorn) and I found this game to be charming, yet frustrating. Maybe it’s my obsession with getting everything exactly right, but I found myself rewinding A LOT. And because I rewound a lot, I found myself getting frustrated and bored with the story.

Comment below to start a conversation about this game!

The Last of Us Microreview

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The Last of Us Microreview – 20/20!

The Last of Us is an action / adventure survival horror video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

You play as Joel, a smuggler in a now post-apocalyptic United States, as he escorts a teenage girl named Ellie across the country. Firearms and improvised weapons can be used, in stealth or a more direct approach, against hostile humans and the Infected. The Infected are once human beings who have been exposed to fungus spores that warp their minds and mutate them into cannibalistic creatures akin to zombies.

Naughty Dog is exceptional at bringing all the heart and soul into their stories. I am a total coward when it comes to survival horror games, but I had heard so many good reviews about this game’s story that I had to bold-up and experience it for myself. In terms of emotion and storytelling, this is truly one of the greatest games ever created and I cannot wait for Part II!

Comment below to start a conversation about this game!

Coconut Oil for Health

CoconutOilThe more I research and use coconut oil, the more I am convinced it is one of those rare ingredients (much like apple cider vinegar) that can be used for all kinds of good in your life. Some of these remedies will take more than one application to work, so don’t lose hope if you apply once and your acne doesn’t immediately vanish!

  • Acid Reflux – Take a small spoonful of coconut oil with meals to help prevent acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Acne – Coconut oil gently fights the bacteria that cause acne. Dab it directly on the offending pimples and watch them shrink.
  • After Shave – Coconut oil soothes sensitive skin and promotes healing
  • Age Spots – Coconut oil has beneficial effects on any skin blemish. Use it to help fade age spots with powerful antioxidants.
  • Athletes Foot – The powerful antifungal properties of coconut oil make it perfect for any fungal infection. Add a few drops of oregano or tea tree oil for more antifungal power.
  • Bones – Coconut oil aids the body in the absorption of calcium and magnesium. Both minerals are important for strong bones and teeth.
  • Bruises – Rub coconut oil into bruised skin to speed healing and watch the bruises fade fast.
  • Canker Sores – Dab coconut oil on canker sores to kill infection and speed up healing.
  • Chicken Pox  – Ease the itch and encourage healing with dabs of coconut oil.
  • Cleanser – Coconut oil makes an effective and gentle cleanser to remove the grime of the day.
  • Cold Sore  – Coconut oil has antiviral properties that will help the body get rid of the virus that causes cold sores. Rub it on when needed and add a drop of oregano oil to speed healing.
  • Conditioner – Coconut oil conditions, strengthens, and repairs hair. Massage it in and rinse it out after ten minutes. A small amount can be rubbed in to dry hair to tame frizz.
  • Cooking – Coconut oil doesn’t transform into harmful by-products when heated like most other oils and animal fats. Use it to replace butter, cup for cup in recipes. Sauté, cook, bake, broil, braise, and more using coconut oil as a healthier alternative.
  • Cradle Cap – Coconut oil is gentle and safe for infants and helps ease the itching, pain, redness, and flaking associated with cradle cap.
  • Curb Appetite – Take a spoonful before meals to curb appetite so you don’t overeat.
  • Dandruff – Massage coconut oil into the scalp to ease symptoms of dandruff, both itching and flaking.
  • Deodorant – Mix coconut oil with cornstarch, baking soda, and your favorite essential oils for a natural deodorant that smells fantastic.
  • Diaper Rash – Coconut oil can help heal mild diaper rash gently and effectively.
  • Earaches – Earaches, swimmer’s ear, and ear infections clear up fast with a few drops of coconut oil mixed with garlic oil.
  • Energy – Coconut oil and its medium chain triglycerides make it an excellent energy source to improve stamina, endurance, or just to give you a boost through the day.
  • Eye Cream – Reduce puffiness and dark circles with a few dabs of coconut oil.
  • Fitness – Coconut oil boosts energy, increases metabolism, improves thyroid function, and aids healthy weight loss.
  • Furniture Polish – Coconut oil gives a protective shine to wood furniture. Test on a small area first.
  • Gum Removal – Coconut oil gets the sticky stuff out of hair, carpet, and anywhere else it doesn’t belong.
  • Hemorrhoids – Coconut oil eases the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids and encourages natural healing both internally and externally.
  • Lice – Coconut oil kills and removes this pesky problem.
  • Lip Balm – Coconut oil hydrates and protects lips and offers some protection from the sun (spf 4).
  • Lubricant – Coconut makes an all-natural personal lubricant for intimate moments without chemicals.
  • Makeup Remover – Coconut oil removes oil-based makeup easily, like mascara. It cleans, hydrates, and makes skin glow.
  • Massage Oil – Coconut oil soothes tired and sore muscles. Add a few drops of essential oils for more effect.
  • Moisturizer – Coconut oil is an excellent way to soften and hydrate dry, rough, or damaged skin.
  • Nose Bleeds – Rub a bit of coconut oil in nostrils to fight the dry cracking that can lead to nose bleeds.
  • Nursing – Coconut oil works great to repair dry, cracked skin, including sore nipples from nursing.
  • Pet Health – Coconut oil can do a multitude of things for pets, both topically and internally. It improves breath, makes for a shiny coat, eases joint problems, cleans ears, gets rid of fleas, and much more.
  • Ring Worm – Rub coconut oil onto affected area to kill the fungus that causes ringworm. Add tea tree oil to clear the infection even faster.
  • Shaving Cream – Coconut oil keeps the razor gliding smoothly while leaving skin smooth and soft.
  • Skin Condition – Coconut oil reduces the itchiness, pain, flakiness, and dryness of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
  • Skin Irritations  – Ease the itch of poison ivy, poison oak, mosquito bites and other insect stings or bites, and encourage healing with dabs of coconut oil.
  • Sore Throat – Dissolve a spoonful in your mouth and let it slowly roll down the throat. This will coat and protect the throat, boost the health of mucus membranes, and fight any infection.
  • Stretch Marks – Prevent and soften stretch marks with coconut oil for soft and supple skin.
  • Stys/Pink Eye – Rub a small amount of coconut oil on the sty or around the eyes to get rid of these infections.
  • Sunburn – Coconut oil can help prevent sunburn for short exposures. When you are sunburned, applying coconut oil will speed healing and take some of the sting away. Wait 24 to 72 hours after the burn to allow the heat to dissipate rather than seal it in.
  • Toothaches – Coconut oil strengthens teeth and helps soothe painful toothaches. Adding a drop of clove oil can almost instantly relieve the pain.
  • Toothpaste – Mix one part coconut oil with one part baking soda and add a couple drops of peppermint oil. This makes a refreshing, natural toothpaste that whitens and cleans without added preservatives, fluoride, sweeteners, or other chemicals.
  • Urinary Tract – Treat urinary tract infections with a spoonful of coconut oil.
  • Warts and Moles – Rub oil into area and cover with a bandage. Rub in fresh oil and place a new bandage each day.
  • Wrinkles – Rub into lines, creases, and wrinkles to rehydrate skin and soften those wrinkles away.
  • Yeast Infections – Coconut oil fights these fungal infections internally and externally.