Spice Up Your Water

Finally, it seems like the temperatures are rising a little bit and the sun is shining more than it has been, and spring, or dare I say it, even summer, may be on it’s way. (Although as I type this, of course, I look outside and see a rainy, cloudy, fifty degree day outside.) Well, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place where the weather is predictable and you actually may have consecutive days of nice warm weather before you get rain or cold again, than it may be time to start thinking about summer and spring foods and drinks. Of course on a hot summer day, nothing tastes better than some refreshing and cooling water. If you are like me however, you get easily bored with the same thing over and over again, so I decided to make some tips about spicing up your average every day water.

1.) Fruit Infuser

These are about one of the coolest things ever. Now of course you can also do this without the special water bottle, it may just make it easier if you do it this way. This bottle helps you put a fruit flavour into your water. It is very delicious and tastes really refreshing and clean to drink. You can add in almost any kind of fruit there is and than your water will taste just like it. You can even try different combinations of fruits. Usually I prefer strawberries, they usually taste very very good. The only warning for these is that you can’t leave the fruit in there for too long and you should be constantly refilling your bottle so the it doesn’t go bad or anything.

 

2.) Detox Water

This is what my spring and summer plant will heavily consist of, as I need to start getting back on track to where I was. Detox water is amazing. You make it yourself and usually there are specific drinking instructions like how much and for how long people usually drink it, but it helps you boost metabolism, clean out your insides and make them pure and detox them, hence the name. This water will make you feel fantastic and it tastes really good. There are millions of recipes that are out there, you just have to find the right one for you. For example here are a couple good ones.

Weight Loss

Ingredients: 3 lemons sliced 1/2 cucumber

A bunch of mint leaves (per gallon of water)

Preparation: 1. Slice lemons and cucumbers, wash mint leaves and place in a gallon of water.

2. Let it sit over night in the fridge so the water can soak up all the flavors. Drink up and enjoy the next day!

General Detox

4 Servings; Drink Throughout the Day)

3/4 c unsweetened pineapple juice,

1 lemon

1 c unsweetened pomegranate juice

3 cups water

Stir ingredients together and drink up!

3.) Chai and Cucumber

Chai seeds are very very good for you especially for weight loss reasons and just in general health. One trick to adding them to your diet is through water. I usually put about a spoonful or a little less of the Chia seeds in a bottle of water, add in some cucumbers, strawberries, lemons, or mint leaves and you have a really good healthy drink that you can have anytime. It may be an acquired taste for some, but I really enjoy it.

How Schools Kill Creativity

I am a huge believer in education reform and the fact that today’s school systems are archaic and need updating and changing because they are damaging children and could be so much more effective with some changes. This was a video that we had watched previously in my AP Lang class that really struck a chord with me. This basically is my opinion on the education system that we currently have adapted and the problems with it. I would HIGHLY suggest watching this video and the descriptions of it, it’s really a mind opener.

Wait, That Was A Book?

It’s amazing once you do a little research what you’ll find. There are so many popular movies out today that many people would recognize, that we’re not a product of Hollywood, but of an author and a keyboard. I love the fact that some of my favourite movies were based off of less popular books, because it gives you the opportunity to  see kind of behind the scenes, more detail, more experiences, and to relive the excitement again. Than if you’re a movie enthusiast it gives you a chance to critique the movie compared to the book and argue different ways that it could be done, judging things is one of my biggest passions so this is a fun highlight of mine. So here’s the collection of movies that were actually books.

1. Forest Gump

 

Surprised? I was too! This extremely famous movie, from which many famous quotes and moments came from, is not to the credit of a director and script writers, but of Winston Groom. He originally wrote the book and it was later adapted into a movie. Even the covers are slightly similar. This will be one to put on the list to see if it has the same humorous element or if that part was purely Hollywood.

 

2. Die Hard

That right, this classic awesome movie, origionated from a book. This book was actually written so that Frank Sinatra could play the leading role, but it fell through and never worked out but it was later adapted into the Bruce Willis movie we all love, Die Hard.

 

3. How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

 

This has to be one of my favourite movies ever! Its perfect in almost every way and has the added bonus of getting to see and hear the amazing and gorgeous Matthew McConaughey. This is for sure one of the books that I’m going to have to add to my list.

 

4. Pitch Perfect

The movie that made thousand of preteen girls bang cups around all day, was actually based off of a book too! This one really surprised me and sparked my curiosity. It would be interesting to see what was based off the book and what elements were from the actors, mainly the funny Rebel Wilson who is excellent at improv.

 

5. Mrs. Doubtfire

This movie has to be one of the funnies things that I have ever seen in my life. You have to love Robin Williams and this movie was the perfect role for him. It is halarious but also very sweet. If you haven’t seen it, you are for sure missing out and need to get on your netlix account as soon as possible. This is a classic amazing movie, and im sure an awesome book also.

As Much Stress As An Asylum Patient?

Being a teenager is very stressful, as many of you will also agree with me. There have been some recent studies that are kinda mind blowing as to just how stressful it can be. Busy schedules and expectations can all add up very fast for the adolescent mind and leave us with anxiety disorders and an emotional burnt out system. Yesterday kicked off the first day of the AP Exams, so I took my Psychology exam, my first of the three that I will do being crossed off the list early. This is an EXTREMELY stressful time for people in AP classes and seniors as they are looking forward to their graduations and all the emotional and planning that goes along with becoming a real person. Sometimes the stress of high school life can really get to you and most adults, no offense to them, don’t understand the stress that modern students are effected with and consider us to be simply over reacting and that we need to grow up. I highly disagree and so does a study recently done that shows that the average teen today has the same stress level as an asylum patient in the 1950’s. Scary right?

Teens are under so much stress and so many expectations that honestly this fact doesn’t surprise me at all. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t scare me a little bit. Even me, who is absolutely fascinated by psychological disorders, especially old fashioned creepy asylums, am pretty freaked out. What could all this stress be doing to my future physical and mental health? I often get stress colds when I am busy and very stressed out, in fact I have one as I am typing this post. Stress can be extremely detrimental to the physical health and can cause illness and stroke. It may also lead to a higher chance of mental disorders later in life, or even now.

To give any adults a more accurate representation of the stress levels of high school students, first let’s look at the busy schedules. So the average school day lasts from around 8-3 and that’s if you have the minimum requirement of classes for most schools. So that’s 7 hours a day times 5 days is 35 hours of school a week. Doesn’t seem like much right? Well lets add in the homework load, because that’s not all fun and games, that’s work and effort too, school but just at home with no instruction. The average high school student in America has an average of about 7 hours of homework a week that is assigned, for an AP student that adds about another 3-5 hours of homework depending on the class load and ect. So now we’re at a total of 42 hours of school for a non ap student and 45-50 hours of school for an AP student with only 6 classes. The average American adult works around 40 hours a week, maybe a little less, and they get paid for their efforts. Most teenagers than have to get jobs on top of that. The average teen works about 20 hours per week during the school year. So that brings us anywhere from 62-70 hours a week of business for the average teen. That isn’t adding sports or social events, or extra studying for tests and other situational events. There are 168 hours in a week. 168-62 = 106. After working and school we are left with 106 hours at the very most. Now let’s take away the recommended amount of sleep per night for a teenager, a little more than 9 hours. So 106-(9.25*7)=39.5. After all that time, we are left with almost 40 hours a week. After family dinners and time getting ready for school and places we are left with about 16 hours a week. 16 hours of free time. Teens are also expected to keep their rooms clean, read and be intelligent, spend time with friends and family, and figure out who they want to be when they get older. All in about 16 hours a week, which is a little over 2 hours per day at the very most amount for free time.

With all the stress and expectations put upon teenagers in today’s world, we really have no choice but to just deal with the stress. This is not an easy time to be an adolescent and live in this era, when everything is being expected of you and you have no break time to be healthy. So parents, next time you see your teen close to the edge or they come to you telling you they’re stressed, please don’t simply tell them to suck it up. In many cases teenagers are more stressed and busy than you adults are and we have less life experience, coping techniques, and strength to deal with it all. So give us a break, world. Let us live and enjoy the last few years of freedom without developing mental disorders because of stress.

Upcoming Reads

If anyone else is like me and curious about what books to look forward and make time for in your busy schedule, than today is your lucky day. Looking at many upcoming releases, there is a lot to look forward to in the coming months so prepare your bookshelves or your e-readers! A special thanks to the Barnes and Noble website for posing all of these and the information. Here are some select books that I figured would be the most popular and exciting;

Unlucky 13- James Patterson

Unlucky 13

The Women’s Murder Club is stalked by a killer with nothing to lose.

San Francisco Detective Lindsay Boxer is loving her life as a new mother. With an attentive husband, a job she loves, plus best friends who can talk about anything from sex to murder, things couldn’t be better.

Then the FBI sends Lindsay a photo of a killer from her past, and her happy world is shattered. The picture captures a beautiful woman at a stoplight. But all Lindsay sees is the psychopath behind those seductive eyes: Mackie Morales, the most deranged and dangerous mind the Women’s Murder Club has ever encountered.

In this pulse-racing, emotionally charged novel by James Patterson, the Women’s Murder Club must find a killer–before she finds them first.”

James Patterson has always written really good thrilling mysteries that never fail to excite you. I don’t expect any less from this next book which should be released the week of May 5th.

Any Other Name-Craig Johnson

Any Other Name (Walt Longmire Series #10)

“A sheriff’s mysterious death spurs the new novel in the New York Times bestselling Longmire Mystery Series

Sheriff Walt Longmire had already rounded up a sizable posse of devoted readers when the A&E television series Longmire sent the Wyoming lawman’s popularity skyrocketing. Now, with three consecutive New York Timesbestsellers to his name and the second season of Longmire reaching an average of 5.4 million viewers per episode, Craig Johnson is reaching a fan base that is both fiercely loyal and ever growing.

In Any Other Name, Walt is sinking into high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Conally, asks him to take on a mercy case in an adjacent county. Detective Gerald Holman is dead and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend to take his own life. With the clock ticking on the birth of his first grandchild, Walt learns that the by-the-book detective might have suppressed evidence concerning three missing women. Digging deeper, Walt uncovers an incriminating secret so dark that it threatens to claim other lives even before the sheriff can serve justice—Wyoming style.”

My parents and I are a big fan of the show, Longmire, and have just recently found out that the show is based loosely off a book series. My father has read the books, and really enjoyed them, so I trust his opinion in recommending these to you. Hopefully the books closely resemble the tv show unlike the pile of crap that was (is?) the Under The Dome t.v. series. This book is to come out the week of May 12th. .

Veggie Meals

With summer (hopefully quickly) approaching us, many people are looking for new healthy eating styles to be able to get their weight down for their summer swimsuit ready bodies. There are endless amounts of fad diets that you can find out there and many different ways that you can healthily get your summer body back. One way that I would recommend to do that is to eat more fruits and veggies. Yes, I know, I really should alert the media at my profound new development-who knew eating fruits and veggies could help you get healthier? Well, to some people it may only sound so easy in theory and they may need a little push to the healthy eating side.

In America we tend to eat our meals backwards from everybody else in the world, much like we do everything else. In Europe it is more common to eat a big lunch and a very small dinner because it is more likely that you will retain more fat from your meal if you eat more later in the day. So, how do we begin to make the transition to the European style meals? Well one easy way to do that is to trick our minds. If we eat veggies, we can eat more of them which will make our minds feel fuller, but they have less calories so that we can stay on track to healthy eating habits and feel better, so you’re not so stuffed at night that you can’t breathe.

There are so many good veggie options out there that can be very delicious as well as nutritious for your dinner meal. I have a few suggestions from the meals that I tend to eat and really enjoy.

 

Zucchini and Squash

This is a really good and light meal that you can have. All I do to make mine is cut up some slices of both Zucchini and Squash and put it in one of those Steamfresh bags, that you can find at any local market or store. After you warm them up or cook them for a while and make them steamy you can add other ingredients. Often when I am feeling lazy, I simply add some 0 calorie French Dressing to them and that is fabulous. Although you could also add other seasonings and spices to your taste, it may be a trial and error sort of thing.

 

Eggplant

This is by far one of the best meals that I have ever eaten and one of my favourites by far. Breaded eggplant is very very good and I would highly recommend it to anybody. Even if you’re a little skiddish before trying it, it would be well worth the effort to go for it. it is really good and really easy to make. A simple recipe that I found online is as follows:

Ingredients
2 medium eggplants
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk or half and half
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups dry panko crumbs
Lemon ricotta mixture:
2 pounds ricotta cheese
3 eggs, beaten
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Cut off the top of the eggplant and slice crosswise. Sprinkle with salt and arrange the slices on a plate at an angle. Put a weight on top of it to sweat the eggplant, allowing the juices to drain for 1 to 2 hours. Dry the eggplant slices with a paper towel.

Mix the eggs, milk and pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir the crushed garlic into the olive oil in a cup. Lightly coat a baking sheet with the garlic-olive oil mixture.

Dip each slice of eggplant on both sides in the egg batter and then into the bread crumbs. Tap in the bread crumbs with your palm to get a good adherence to the surface. Shake off the excess crumbs and place breaded slices of eggplant on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes on each side at 375 degrees until the eggplant is tender

Lemon ricotta mixture:
Put the ricotta in a bowl and stir in the eggs; add the remaining ingredients and mix together.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/breaded-eggplant-recipe.html

 

Assassination Vacation

In the past few weeks we have been very busy children in our AP Lang class, and have started our next author study project. At first I was disappointed at my author that I received, Sarah Vowel, but my initial reaction was soon proven wrong. I learned the lesson to never judge an author by the two sentence summary you hear about her. While I was expecting another few weeks of forcing myself to read books by an author that I didn’t chose, I was delightfully proven wrong. When I found that her first book was called Assassination Vacation, I was excited to read it. Anything with the word assassination in it will immediately catch my interest.

This book is about her adventures around the United States to places where presidents have been assassinated or places related to the act of killing them, such as the place that John Wilkes Booth ran to escape the police after him after shooting Lincoln in Ford Theater. This book is actually really interesting and fun to read. She explores the world of presidential assassinations and how they happened and why. She also brings in a lot of trivia facts about the deaths, such as the correlation between Robert Lincoln between everyone of the presidential assassinations. For example Robert was supposed to be set up with Booth’s fiance not a week before his father was killed by the man. He also saved Booth’s brother from getting hit by an underground one day many years later. He has been associated with every one of the assassinations, not only the one of his father.

The history of death in the United States is always fascinating and interesting especially when you add in the element of historical background.  Vowel throughout the book explains how she is obsessed with death, but not pleased by the result or the act of it. I share this belief with her. The art of death and peoples means behind it are fascinating but the fact that people have to die to have the fascination is sad. There are many places and facts about these things that many people aren’t aware of and Sarah Vowel brings these to life through her adventures. There is also a fun element of humour throughout the book as she describes how her friends are aware of how odd her passion is and how she often has to drag them along to the places that she describes in the book.

If you’re fascinated by history or the minds of people I would totally recommend this book. Happy Booking!