• THE ART OF DISTRACTION

    Has all this extra time at home got you searching for new ideas for staying busy? We’ve discovered some great ways to continue enjoying your favorite interests and activities via the virtual world. (Most are free, except where otherwise noted.) Keep boredom at bay by checking out the websites below.

    ART AND SOUL

    We know how much you appreciate the arts. Certainly now, more than ever, we all can benefit from a bit of beauty. You still can be a museum maven by exploring some of the world’s most celebrated collections and exhibits, taking video and audio tours, and reading behind-the-scenes blogs from curators. Here are a few of our favorites:

    The Art Institute of Chicago

    The Musée du Louvre

    The National Gallery of Art

    The Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery

    HEAD OF THE CLASS

    Could your brain use a boost? Take advantage of this time to learn something new. From mastering a second language or expanding your culinary skills to auditing nearly 500 free online courses offered by such prestigious Ivy League Schools as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and more, school is now in session anytime you wish to attend.

    Duolingo Language-Learning Platform

    Kitchen Quarantine,” hosted by Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura, of the famed Italian restaurant Osteria Francescana

    Publix Supermarket Aprons Online Cooking School

    Online Ivy League Courses

    CULTURE CLUB

    Just because Broadway is currently dark doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a multitude of acclaimed theatre productions and musical performances. (Best of all, you can control curtain time and enjoy a snack while you watch.) Movie buffs can also quell their craving for cinema by viewing comforting classics or newer films.

    BroadwayHD (free seven-day trial, then $8.99 per month)

    Kanopy Free Movie Streaming Service

    Living Room Concert Series (Broadway performers sing selections from their shows.)

    Popcornflix Free Movie and TV Streaming Service

    CALL OF THE WILD

    Animal—and fish—lovers can still commune with their favorite creatures by venturing to the websites of popular zoos and aquariums throughout the country. Taking a peek at the antics of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians can brighten your day, while gazing at serene aquatic scenes can actually help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart rate.

    San Diego Zoo

    Georgia Aquarium

    Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

    Shedd Aquarium

    ON THE MOVE

    Getting your body in motion will make your mind feel better, too. Of course, talking a walk in the fresh air is a go-to way to get some exercise these days. But if you’re looking to switch up your fitness routine, go online to participate in a variety of workouts guaranteed to boost your energy and raise mood-enhancing endorphin levels. Our Zenergy® collection of comfortable, breathable pieces will keep you feeling and looking great, whatever you’re doing.

    Planet Fitness Live Streaming “Work-Ins”

    Orangetheory 30-Minute Daily Workout

    YMCA 360: On-Demand Videos

    Forge Pre-Recorded Hot Yoga Classes

    KID STUFF

    As difficult as it is for adults to cope with the challenges posed by self-quarantine, it’s even harder for little ones to be housebound. The following websites provide engaging, kid-friendly content that ranges from learning math-based card games or listening to audio books to doing art projects and going on virtual field trips.

    We Are Teachers: 16 Card Games to Turn Kids into Math Aces

    Storynory Audio Stories

    Little Red Window 50 Crafty & Creative Facetime Activities to Do with Kids

    Kid Out and About.com Virtual Events

    To visit this blog from Chico's or others, go to https://insidechic.chicos.com

  • HOW TO ENSURE YOU NEVER MISS ANOTHER HOME BARRE WORKOUT AGAIN

    By  May 18, 2020

    As a barre enthusiast, you may fall into one of a few troupes – those that wake up early to jeté to their studio’s 6 am Barre Body class, those that awaken at 6 am and promenade their way into their home barre spaces or those that piqué their pointed toes into both troupes and find that their happy place is a combination of both in-person and at-home workouts.

    If you belong to the latter two troupes, you may sometimes find it difficult to exercise from the comforts of home. As a die-hard home workout fanatic (I’ve been working out from home for most of my life), I know the perils and pleasures of the convenience of doing my favorite barre workouts from my own space. And to limit those times when thoughts of staying in bed or savoring my morning coffee just a bit longer are more appealing than countless pulses and tucks, I’ve learned a few tricks to ensure that I don’t get sidetracked from my morning barre bliss.

    Set Up Your Schedule

    As a mom of two daughters, I’ve realized that if I don’t schedule my workout into my day, I won’t get to it. Over time, I’ve had to adapt my work out schedule, but as long as I make it part of my daily routine, it will get done.

    When my girls were babies, I would exercise while they napped. And as they got older and went off to school, I found that setting an early alarm and getting my sweat session in before they wake up enables me to start my day off on an endorphin-approved note. So, whether you prefer to get your workout done before breakfast, during your lunch hour or following your afternoon coffee break, as long as it’s on the calendar, it’s harder to skip over.

     

    Set Up Your Physical Space

    We all love plié-ing in a beautiful barre boutique surrounded by soothing colors, carefully curated décor and spa-like amenities. The good news is that you can replicate these feelings at home with just a tiny pulse of creativity and ingenuity.

    I practice barre in my home studio (i.e. the extra bedroom in my basement) on a daily basis. In order to make the space more inviting and reminiscent of a barre studio, I made and installed my own double barres, store my props (weights, balls, resistance bands, mats, etc.) in decorative wicker baskets, and attached several framed floor mirrors to the wall behind the barres using sticky strips.

    I’ve also hung up barre-inspired prints and quotes all around the room. Recently, I added to the room’s ambiance with a white rose table lamp and upped the temperature with a space heater for a greater barre burn. As time goes on, I’m sure I’ll find other barre artifacts to add to my makeshift studio, but in the meantime, I look forward to exercising in my own unique space.

    Set Up Your Emotional Space

    Not only is it important for you to enjoy being in your physical space, but part of what I also love about taking barre classes is the strong mind-body connection that I feel during every workout.

    To enhance this experience, as well as my mood, I diffuse my favorite essential oils (lemon, lavender, orange, and lime) while slowly breathing through some back dancing. For an added mood booster, I sometimes sashay my way across the room to the beats of a barre-specific playlist. And, when the time comes to cool down, I’ll turn off the overhead lights and stretch out under the soft glow of my white rose table lamp.

     

    Set Up Your Accountability Group

    If you need that extra push to get you to the barre, you may want to consider putting together an accountability group with your favorite barre buddies. Applications like Zoom, Facebook, Instagram Live or even a simple text message may be enough to ensure that you make it to the mat that day.

    Exercising from home has been and continues to be my personal preference for so many reasons. And just as I’ve discovered the types of workouts that work best for me, I’ve also realized that my surroundings matter just as much as the quality of the movements. I’m more motivated to contort my body into Pretzel or test out my Teaser in a space that looks, feels and smells inviting.

    So, during those times when you have trouble pulling yourself out from under those comfy covers, yanking yourself from your computer screen or dragging yourself away from binge-watching another Netflix series, remember that your own barre oasis can be just a few jetés away.

    See you at the barre!

    To see this blog and others from Pure Barre, visit https://thebarreblog.com


  • 10 Summer Fruits and Vegetables in Season Right Now

    In season and never better than right now — here’s why you should add corn, tomatoes, berries and more of our favorite peak-season produce to your shopping list.

    From crisp corn to juicy watermelon and ripe peaches, the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables coming into our Produce department is an exciting celebration of colors, flavors and textures. Here’s what’s best in season this summer so you can get cooking — or not, since all of these can be enjoyed raw. We also feature weekly sales on your favorite produce, so make sure to check your store before you shop. See all Sales

    Cherries

    Cherry season is on now, and it’s short but so sweet. When our field inspectors scout out cherries for our stores, they’re looking for fresh green stems and firm, juicy fruit. Add them to salads, desserts and salsas — and keep an eye out for unique varieties like Skylar Rae and strawberry cherries.

    Try it: Cherry Salsa with Balsamic Vinegar and Basil

    Corn

    Long, warm days and light summer meals make fresh corn a summer must. Generally at its sweetest when it’s eaten as close to harvest as possible. If you have local corn available in your store, summer’s a great time to enjoy what local farmers have harvested.

    Try it: Corn on the Cob with Feta and Herbs

    Cantaloupe and Honeydew Melons

    Melon season is when our Produce department celebrates a variety of melons, so it’s a great time to try something new. Keep an eye out for unique varieties like Galia, Hami, Canary, Casaba or Crenshaw melons.

    Try it: Heirloom Tomato and Melon Salad

    Berries

    Though berries are around for the whole year, summer brings a windfall of peak-season sweet blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. They’re best stored unwashed in the refrigerator and eaten within a few days — wash them just before you eat them.

    Try it: Summer Berry Pie

    Stone Fruits

    Fruits with pits like peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries (and the many juicy stone fruits in between) — peak at different times throughout the summer. Firm fruits are great for grilling, but if you prefer riper fruit, store on the counter until there’s a slight give.

    Try it: Gluten-Free Grilled Stone Fruit Trifle

    Tomatoes

    From little grape and cherry tomatoes to the large varieties of heirlooms, summer is the absolute best time of the year for tomatoes. That’s when you’ll spot a whole spectrum of colors and sizes — each type of tomato varies in texture, sweetness, juiciness and acidity, and this is the time to try them all.

    Try it: No-Cook Tomato Sauce

    Watermelons

    Nothing says summer like watermelon. Packed with cooling, hydrating juice, it’s the ultimate heat quencher. A whole watermelon will keep at room temperature for seven to 10 days. Although it’s best to eat ASAP once cut, it can be refrigerated for two to three days.

    Try it: Watermelon and Arugula Salad

    Summer Squashes

    Squashes like zucchini and yellow squash are some of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen. They can be eaten raw as vegetable noodles or crudités, diced for omelets or simply grilled. Store your squash haul in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer and wash just before using.

    Try it: How to Cook Grilled Summer Vegetables

    Okra

    Long celebrated as a summer staple in the South, okra is more versatile than you might think. Fried okra and gumbo are the usual go-tos, but okra really stands out when it’s pickled, it picks up smoky flavor well on the grill or when it’s halved and roasted into oven fries.

    Try it: Crunchy Okra Picnic Salad

    Grapes

    The season’s sweetest grapes are here for the summer. Chilled grapes make the easiest snack, but frozen grapes make smart “ice cubes” for chilling wine. Look for firm, fresh grapes — the greener the stem, the fresher the grapes — and wash just before eating.

    Try it: Sonoma Chicken Salad

    To see this blog post and others, visit https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com


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