Travel Etiquette Tips Every Jetsetter Should Know

When you’re planning a big trip, you likely think about what to pack, what travel arrangements to make, and which sights to see once you arrive at your destination. But do you ever think about travel etiquette? Proper etiquette on airplanes or buses is something that most people don’t think about until they’re faced with an awkward situation. Avoid uncomfortable run-ins with fellow passengers with these smart tips:

  1. Start in the gate area. At the airport, try to take up as little space as possible in the gate area. Don’t leave bags or other luggage on empty seats, as these places often get very crowded.
  2. Stick with your zone. Although it might be tempting to board your plane early, boarding zones are created for a reason: to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.
  3. Recline kindly. Before you jolt your seat backward and hit another passenger’s knees or jostle his or her computer, simply turn around and ask if it’s okay.
  4. Don’t rush off the plane or bus. Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s important to let the seats ahead of you exit the plane first.
  5. Navigate the airport or subway station like a highway. This means always stay to the right while walking. If you’re on a moving walkway, walkers should stay to the left, standers on the right.

Travel Etiquette Dos and Don'ts [Travel + Leisure]
10 Travel Etiquette Tips [TripIt]
Whose Feet Are Those? Negotiating Air-Travel Etiquette [The New York Times]

How to Read a Nutrition Label

If you look at the nutrition label on foods simply to count the calories, you’re missing out on a number of other dietary concerns that may be standing in the way of your fitness goals. Nutrition labels may seem overwhelming, but these simple tips will help you to figure them out.

  1. Serving size. The serving size of a food is always printed first on a nutrition label. The serving size can make a big difference (if something is 100 calories for only 1/4 cup, for example), so be sure to check this first.
  2. Calories. Calories measure how much energy a food provides, but you should first know how many calories you should consume each day in order to decide how much of this food to eat.
  3. Calories from fat. This number refers to how many of the food’s calories come from fat. The closer this number is to the amount of calories, the worse the food is for you.
  4. Total fat, cholesterol and sodium. Most Americans generally eat too much of each, so look for foods with lower numbers here.
  5. Vitamins, fiber, calcium and iron. It is beneficial to consume more of these items, and foods with higher numbers here can prevent your risk for many dangerous diseases.

How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label [FDA]
Understanding Food Nutrition Labels [American Heart Association]
Eating Healthier and Feeling Better Using the Nutrition Facts Label [Choose My Plate]
How to Read Nutrition Facts Labels [Real Simple]

Simple Ways to Eat More Healthfully

It may seem difficult to change how you eat. But if you'd like to begin eating a more healthful diet, one of the best ways to do it is to start with some small, incremental changes. These tips from the NIH can help simplify the process of making positive changes to your daily diet.

Here's just some of the site's advice:

  • Make a grocery list before you shop. It may seem obvious, but planning meals in advance can prevent you from becoming frustrated and reaching for frozen meals.
  • Buy a new fruit every time you go to the grocery store. Have you ever tried papaya? If not, it can be a fun way to discover a new favorite fruit!
  • When you go out to eat, share entrees! Portion sizes have become increasingly larger in recent years, and sharing helps to cut calories and avoid overeating.
  • Change your cooking techniques. Often it’s not the foods you prepare that are unhealthy, but the ways you cook them. Instead of frying chicken, grill or bake it. Instead of using heavy oils, cook with olive or coconut oil instead. Seasoning with herbs and spices instead of heavy sauces also helps to reduce the fat in your meals.

To find more simple tips for eating more healthfully, visit the NIH website.

4 Shoe Organization Tips to Reclaim Your Closets

From high heels to running sneakers, shoes have a habit of overtaking closets. They tumble off of shelves, get lost under the bed, and fill the entryway with unmanageable clutter. Here are four simple tips to help you tackle your shoe collection for good.

  1. Turn them into a display. If you have a too-big shoe collection and a too-small closet, make the most of your addiction. Treat your shoes like invaluable art by displaying them somewhere unexpected, like along a windowsill or in a credenza.
  2. Maximize space with flat shoes. While boots or heels can be clunky and hard to store, things even out with flats and sandals. These shoes can help you save a bit of precious storage space, so invest in a hanging shoe rack with flat pockets, or tuck them into an unused drawer.
  3. Stow fancy shoes away from the others. If you have a pair of expensive heels or leather tuxedo shoes that you only wear on special occasions, keep them in clear shoeboxes on a high shelf to make room for everyday pairs.
  4. Create DIY storage. Shoe storage units can be expensive, so why not get crafty and create your own? Bend some wire hangers to hang flats and sandals from sturdy cords.

25 Ways to Store Shoes in Your Closet [HGTV]
Shoe Storage Tips [The Container Store]

6 Healthy Garlic Recipes With Big Flavor

Garlic is a superfood that’s full of healthful properties. Garlic adds robust flavor and dimension to any dish, and there’s scientific evidence that it helps to prevent many types of cancers. Whether you press your own fresh garlic or use canned, minced versions, it’s an important seasoning to keep on hand. Here are a few great recipes with savory, garlicky tastes.

Asparagus with Anchovies and Garlic
This one is a nutritious side dish with a similar flavor to a Caesar salad, and it perfectly complements grilled chicken or fish.

Brazilian Grilled Flank Steak
Grill up this steak recipe in just 30 minutes for a flavorful entrée with a bold garlic flavor.

Mashed Red Potatoes with Garlic and Parmesan
Garlic is a necessity in mashed potatoes, and this recipe adds even more flavor with the addition of zesty Parmesan cheese.

4 Minute Spicy Garlic Shrimp
Combine Jumbo shrimp with lemon, red pepper and garlic cloves for a fresh and healthy summer dish.

Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta
The creamy garlic and cheese sauce on this hearty pasta makes a perfect comfort food that the whole family will love.

Chicken Garlic Bites
These small chicken hors d’oeuvres have a big garlic flavor and can be accentuated with a variety of dipping sauces.

Turkey Day S.O.S.! Solutions to Common Thanksgiving Kitchen Mishaps

So you volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner this year, but you didn’t consider one very important detail: cooking the Thanksgiving turkey! If you’ve never prepared such a large bird before, it can be quite stressful to cook both the turkey and all of its corresponding sides. Here are a few smart tips to help prevent (or at least amend) a Turkey Day cooking emergency.

  1. Many turkey mishaps come from frozen meat, so be sure to leave at least one day of thawing for every four pounds of bird. If your turkey still isn’t thawed on the day of Thanksgiving, soak the whole thing in cold water for 30 minutes for every pound.
  2. Be sure to keep in mind that a turkey takes quite a long time to cook, so leave more than enough time before the meal. An 18 to 22-pound turkey takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours to roast, so plan accordingly.
  3. Keep gravy from clumping by adding the flour very gradually to the base instead of adding it all at once.
  4. If your mashed potatoes are lumpy, it probably means that the potatoes are undercooked. Fix it by simply add some extra milk or water and cooking them a bit longer over low heat.
  5. To fix a burnt pie crust, simply take a fine-holed grater and run it gently across the burnt parts of the crust.

Thanksgiving Hero Videos [All Recipes]
Avoid Common Thanksgiving Cooking Mishaps [SparkPeople]
Disaster? What Disaster? 5 Thanksgiving Day Fixes [Food Network]

These 3 Pasta Dishes Don’t Require Any Cooking

Many people are switching to raw diets because of the numerous health benefits, but it can be difficult to abstain from eating your favorite dishes. Lucky for anyone beginning a raw eating plan, there are a number of different ways to make pasta-like meals in a raw way. Here are three nutritious pasta dishes that don’t require any cooking at all!

Raw Beet Marinara Sauce with Zucchini Noodles
Not only are the noodles in this dish raw, but the lovely, bright red beet sauce is as well. Zucchini noodles are very easy to make and provide a sort of al dente texture to the dish, while the earthy beet sauce with sun dried tomatoes is full of antioxidants to aid in your body’s natural detoxification functions.

Raw Tomato Sauce
If you prefer a more traditional Italian sauce, this raw version will satisfy your cravings without messing up your diet. All it takes is some fresh and sun dried tomatoes and a few simple spices to give it that wonderfully zesty flavor.

Spaghetti al Marinara
Don’t let the word spaghetti fool you; there are absolutely no grains and no cooking involved with this healthy dish. The noodles are made from squash or zucchini shredded into strips that look and feel just like real spaghetti. Topped with a classic raw marinara sauce, this dish is perfect for your weekly pasta night.

Sample These Acorn Squash Recipes This Fall

Acorn squash is a type of winter squash with a unique dark green rind, longitudinal ridges and a yellowish-orange inside that tastes sweet and mild. This squash is so versatile that even the most novice home chef can easily prepare it in a variety of different ways. Here are just three ways to try your hand at serving acorn squash this fall.

Baked Acorn Squash [allrecipes.com]
To really get a good idea of how acorn squash tastes, you should first prepare it all by itself. This simple recipe involves baking a halved acorn squash with just a bit of butter and brown sugar to create a healthy side dish or even a unique dessert.

Acorn Squash Soup with Kale [marthastewart.com]
With a hearty texture and autumnal flavors, this soup is perfect for those chilly fall evenings. Pureeing the acorn squash is one of the best ways to prepare it for use in a soup, while adding crispy bacon and finely chopped kale adds a darker, smokier flavor that contrasts the sweetness of the squash.

Spinach and Acorn Squash Ravioli [myrecipes.com]
Acorn squash makes a wonderful filling for pasta, and in this creative recipe it’s blended with creamy ricotta cheese and chopped spinach for added flavor. Plus, using wonton wrappers instead of the usual pasta dough saves on calories, and it’s much easier than rolling out that dough by hand.

Easy Ways to Incorporate More Folic Acid Into Your Diet

When you think of the necessary vitamins and minerals that you should be getting from the foods that you eat, folic acid likely isn’t one of the first things that come to mind. It is a very important element in everyone’s diet, however, especially women who are pregnant and those who are susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some of the best ways to incorporate more folic acid into your diet.

  1. Broccoli. You already know that you should eat your vegetables to get the proper nutrients, but broccoli contains a great deal of folic acid as well. Just half of a cup of broccoli contains 52 micrograms of folic acid, which equals approximately 13% of the average person’s recommended daily value. Steaming broccoli or eating it raw is one of the healthiest ways to consume this veggie, but you can also add it to salads or stir fries for a more flavorful taste.
  2. Sunflower seeds. These tiny, toasted snacks are not only tasty, they’re also a very impressive source of folic acid. Just one ounce of sunflower seeds provide 20% of your recommended daily intake, and they also provide Vitamin E, beneficial fats, and other essential nutrients.

Surprising Sources of Folic Acid [Yahoo! Shine]
Foods High in Folic Acid [Prenatal Vitamin HQ]
15 Foods High in Folic Acid [Global Healing Center]
18 Foods High in Folic Acid to Prevent Cancer & Birth Defects [Bembu]

How to Improve Your Penmanship at Any Age

Having good penmanship is an invaluable life skill, and even if it’s been decades since you first learned to write in cursive, it’s something that you can always try to improve. Here are a few helpful tips to help you improve you handwriting or teach your children the proper way to write.

  1. Point out the flaws. Write a few sentences and evaluate them to see where you’re going wrong. Is the slant uneven, or are the letters spaced too far apart? Do you write with straight, bold lines or are they shaky and fine? Deciphering where your handwriting needs improvement will help you to make it better.
  2. Use the right muscles. Most people with less-than-perfect handwriting draw the letters on the page with only their fingers instead of using their full arms to write properly. Try writing with your entire arm and shoulder in order to put the right amount of force behind each letter.
  3. Go back to the basics. Many bad habits begin when people start writing letters in a way that is different than the proper formation. Using a kindergarten-style alphabet worksheet, re-train yourself to write each letter the way it should look. This will help you to make your writing more consistent and, in turn, more legible for those who have to read it.

How to Improve Your Handwriting [wikiHow]
8 Easy Tips to Improve Your Handwriting [Matador]
Improve Your Handwriting by Writing With Your Shoulders, Not Your Fingers [Lifehacker]