Saturday, December 29, 2012

Turn a Pack of Ramen Noodles into a Healthy Snack

Martha Stewart's Crunchy Ramen Snack MixMartha Stewart's Crunchy Ramen Snack MixThis crunchy Ramen Noodle snack mix makes for a delicious and healthy way for adults to enjoy Ramen noodles. Plus, it's incredibly easy, with only three steps. 

Related: 27 Easy and Delicious Party Foods to Make and Eat

Crunchy Ramen Snack Mix Recipe
Ingredients 2 packages ramen, broken into small pieces (seasoning packet discarded)
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw peanuts
1 cup cornflakes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup fried or freeze-dried peas 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss ramen, cashews, peanuts, and cornflakes with oil until coated.
2. Spread mixture in an even layer. Combine curry powder, cayenne, and salt; sprinkle over ramen mixture. 
3. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Stir in peas and let cool completely before serving. 
More from Martha Stewart: 

The recycler’s guide to plastic

Feature Photo: how can i recycle this | Photo Above: Mr. T in D.C.
Even though National Recycling Week was started in Australia by Planet Ark, it doesn’t mean that we all can’t be more conscious of our waste this week.
Starting with plastic.
As plastic bag bans are starting to pop up around the world, it is becoming quite obvious that people are becoming more aware that plastic isn’t a necessity and isn’t too good for the environment. With all the different types of plastic out there, it can be hard to discern what is recyclable and what is not, so let this guide help you out. Keep in mind that different cities have different recycle rules, so double check before tossing that plastic product into the recycle bin.
#1 PET (polyethelene terephthalate)
PET is the most common plastic and is one of the safest plastics to produce and recycle. It is safe to use, considering that most soda bottles and cleaning solution bottles are made from this type.
#2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene)
Similar to PET, it is a safe plastic that is recyclable and is used to create milk jugs and detergent bottles.
#3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
PVC is not recyclable and production of this plastic releases carcinogenic by-products into the environment. The new car smell that so many people love is the off-gassing of PVC. Great, right? Anything with that distinct smell – shower curtains, rain boots, and other things such as plumbing pipes contain PVC. Take it to a hazardous waste site for disposal.
#4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene)
This is the plastic that you find in the form of clear produce bags at the grocery store, garbage bags, dry cleaning bags, and disposable diapers. It’s pretty easy to recycle, but even better is not using them in the first place. Even if the community recycle center doesn’t recycle the bags, many major grocery stores accept them.
#5 PP (polypropylene)
Yogurt containers, syrup bottles, and clothing can contain PP. It can be recycled, but isn’t in all cities, so be sure to check.
#6 PS (polystyrene)
Also known as Styrofoam, polystyrene is made into many, many different things – packing products, cups, take-out containers, and more. It can be recycled into building materials, but the pellets that result as it is broken down can be a hazard to birds and marine life. Not to mention that it takes centuries to completely decompose. It is difficult to recycle Styrofoam that has come into contact with food, so it’s better not to use it at all when there is another option available.
#7 Other plastics (including polycarbonate, ABS, PPO/PPE)
These plastics are usually too unstable or brittle to recycle, but are found in everything from toys to Tupperware. While they can’t be recycled, they are compostable under high heat.
Source: Green Made Easy by Chris Prelitz

Community Connection:

If you still don’t think all of our waste is “that big of a deal” check out the World’s Most Offensive Landfills, one of which can be found in the Pacific Ocean.
Read more at 

7 Everyday Beauty Products You Could Be Using Wrong

BellaSugarBellaSugarSource: 7 Everyday Beauty Products You Could Be Using Wrong 

Not to get on anyone's case, but there are a few beauty blunders you could be making every day. Some of these no-nos are well-known, like pumping your mascara. But there are others that fly under the radar. Get the quick fixes to the flubs you didn't even know you were committing when you read on.

1. Blow Dryer:
 Holding the hair dryer closer to your strand or directly on the brush isn't getting your hair drier faster. It could actually be scorching your strands, causing damage and more frizz. Keep the heat at least one inch away from the hair - and keep the dryer in motion to avoid uneven heating. 
2. Nail Polish:
 Although most products come with instructions to shake before use, nail polish isn't one of them. Avoid treating your lacquer like maracas, lest you want an air-bubble mani. Instead, roll the bottle in your hands to warm and mix the color.
3. Mascara: By pumping mascara, you're putting oxygen (and therefore bacteria) into the tube. And that very bacteria can eventually land in your eyes. Prevent trips to the doc by twisting and turning your mascara as you release it instead. And make sure to wipe any excess off the tip to stop clumps from occurring. 
4. Flat Iron:
 First rule of flat iron club: if there is smoke coming up from your strands as you're ironing, your iron is probably set too high. Adjust the temperature to a medium 350 degrees, andalways work in two-inch sections or less to get the best results. 
5. Brush:
 Do you use your brush in the shower on wet hair? Are you using the bristles to rip through knots? Yes, the brush is a must-have tool, but it can also do harm if you're using it too harshly. Use your fingers on wet hair for the most gentle detangling. And when you do work with a hair brush, begin at the ends and move upward to minimize snags. 
6. Face Serums:
 If you want to get the full benefits of facial serums, be sure the sun doesn't counteract with their active ingredients. Make it a point to wear sunscreen on top of face serumsduring the day. Or better yet, slather your serum on at night. 
7. Shampoo:
 The directions seem simple: wash, rinse, repeat. But you could be shampooing you hair all wrong. First, make sure your strands are fully saturated with water before you start (it could take a few minutes under the stream). Then, apply product primarily to the roots and scrub. Avoid piling hair on top of your head as this can cause tangles and dry out your ends. Let the product clean the ends as you rinse, and skip the repeat for a longer rinse. No one likes soap curd behind the ears, after all. 

Letter from Chinese Laborer Pleading for Help

This letter was found in Halloween decorations purchased from KmartJulie Keith was unpacking some of last year's Halloween decorations when she stumbled upon an upsetting letter wedged into the packaging.

Tucked in between two novelty headstones that she had purchased at Kmart, she found what appeared to be a letter from the Chinese laborer, who had made the decoration,pleading for help.

Samsung in hot seat over abusing Chinese workers

The letter reads: "Sir, if you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever."

"I was so frustrated that this letter had been sitting in storage for over a year, that this person had written this plea for help and nothing had come of it." Julie Keith told Yahoo! Shine. "Then I was shocked. This person had probably risked their life to get this letter in this package."

The letter describes the conditions at the factory: "People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month)." That translates to about $1.61 a month.
The letter was found inside this packagingKeith, a mom who works at the Goodwill in Portland, Oregon, did some research into the letter. "I looked up this labor camp on the internet. Some horrific images popped up, and there were also testimonials about people who had lived through this camp. It was just awful."

Horrified, Keith took to Facebook. She posted an image of the letter to ask friends for advice. One responded with a contact at Amnesty International. Keith made several attempts to alert them about the letter, but the organization never responded.
With no response from various human rights organizations, Keith took her story to The Oregonian. "The reporter, Rachel Stark, got through to Human Rights Watch, but I had no luck."
This is not the first time a letter like this has turned up. Just this week, another plea was found written in Chinese on a toilet seat and posted on Reddit. Commenters on the website have questioned the letters' authenticity.
Though the letter lists the address of the specific camp, officials at Human Rights Watch were unable to verify the authenticity of the letter. However, Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, told The Oregonian that the description was consistent with their research. "I think it is fair to say the conditions described in the letter certainly conform to what we know about conditions in re-education through labor camps."

The concern over the conditions laborers must endure in China and other countries first came to the public eye in the 1980s with the use of sweatshops to make Nike sneakers. Since then, according to an article recently published in The New York Times, Nike "has convened public meetings of labor, human rights, environmental and business leaders to discuss how to improve overseas factories."

Tech companies, like Apple and Hewlett Packard, are being made to be accountable for their labor practices. After receiving a great deal of criticism, Apple is now making public statements that they are aware of the harsh conditions in China and are taking steps to improve them.

As for Julie Keith, she had a general idea about the conditions in Chinese labor camps, but this letter has been a dramatic eye-opener into the stark reality of the issue. "I was aware of labor camps. I knew they had factories but I had no idea of the gravity of the situation. I didn't realize how bad it could be for people."

Finding the letter has made Keith more aware of the origin of many products sold in the United States. "As I was doing my Christmas shopping this year, I checked every label. It's virtually impossible to avoid purchasing things made in China as over 90 percent of our goods are made there. But if I saw 'made in China,' this year I asked myself, 'do I really need this?'"

Related links:
Apple labor fixes in China said ahead of schedule 
Xbox workers threaten suicide in China labor tiff 
Apple supplier halts China factory after violence 

White House: China human rights still a priority 

10 Unspoken Marriage Rules You Must Follow

10 Unspoken Marriage Rules You Must Follow

happy couplehappy coupleBy Dawn Papandrea
Every married person knows to be faithful, stay truthful and be there for her partner through good times and bad--they're in the wedding vows, after all. But most seasoned couples would admit that some unspoken rules are vital for getting past rough patches and growing stronger as a couple. Here, experts share 10 of the less apparent (but just as important) marriage rules to live by.Photo by Getty Images.

1. Don't criticize your partner's parents or friends.
 You know how it is-your family can tick you off but no one else had dare speak ill of them. That's why you should tread carefully with your in-laws and your husband's dearest friends. "Even when he's venting to you, your contributions can put him on the defensive," explains LeslieBeth Wish, EdD, a Florida-based psychologist and licensed clinical social worker. "When you take position A, you prompt your partner to take position B." Instead, says Dr. Wish, put yourself in his position so that you can empathize with him.

2. Tell your spouse about any ex encounters.
 Whether you get a Facebook friend request or run into an old flame at your kid's soccer game, keeping the news to yourself could backfire, despite having zero feelings for the ex. "If there's nothing to hide, why hide it?" says Deb Castaldo, PhD, a couples and family therapist and professor at Rutgers University School of Social Work in New Brunswick, NJ. "That leads to an air of secrecy and dishonesty," she says. Just clue in your hubby matter-of-factly: Try, "I knew it was only a matter of time before old boyfriends came out of the woodwork on Facebook. I got a friend request from one and ignored it." Or, "I saw my ex in the mall today. His kids are cute. Glad to see his life turned out nicely."

3. Keep unsolicited advice to yourself.
 Offer your support, lend your ear, but avoid speaking in an "I know what's best" tone. "We give advice because we're trying to be helpful, but it's seen as criticism when we offer too many corrections," says Harriet Lerner, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up. This goes for everything from your husband's outfit choices to how he deals with a work issue. Give your spouse space to make decisions and gain confidence through trial and error-and ask that he do the same for you, says Dr. Lerner. "What matters in a relationship is not that things get done 'right,' but that two people are dedicated to contributing to each other's happiness."

Related: Discover the 10 things men wish women knew about sex.

4. Don't take charge all the time. Whether you fold all the laundry because you don't like how your husband does it or you manage the finances because you don't think he's as careful, you may feel more at ease doing all the work. But stop! "The spouse who does the rescuing can become tired of that role," says Dr. Wish--and resentful that everything is on her shoulders, even if she volunteered for that burden. Get in the habit of asking your partner, "What do you think works best here?" or telling him, "I could use a hand cleaning out the pantry." These requests will foster the idea that you're teammates.

5. Don't bring up past arguments.
 Or at least put a statute of limitations on them. "People repeat ancient disagreements because they haven't resolved the problem," says Dr. Castaldo. Letting things fester often causes marriages to break down, she says. It's important to address issues as they happen and come to some sort of resolution--agreeing to disagree counts. "Leave it there, and respect each other's opinion," she says.

6. Choose your battles, but don't stifle your feelings.
 "There's going to be toothpaste globs here and Post-it notes there; that's human nature," says Dr. Wish. "You have to be able to say, 'this isn't important.'" Or if it is, speak up. "Tell your partner why it bothers you and that you'd like to work on a solution," suggests Dr. Wish. You'd be surprised what you could learn about each other. For instance, your husband may not leave dirty dishes in the sink anymore if you explain that your childhood home was piled high with plates and you were stuck washing them. It's also important to understand that he's not plotting to upset you every time he's sloppy or forgetful. A simple request like: "Honey, it'd be great if you could pick up the dry cleaning while you're out" beats getting mad that he didn't offer to help with errands.

Related: Check out 9 fights you should have with your husband.

7. Don't post private thoughts or photos publicly.
 You may not want to be tagged in a politically charged rant he starts or he may not want you to share photos of the kids. And you each deserve the other person's respect for those wishes. "Discuss the ground rules regarding posting about yourself, as a couple and about the other person," says Dr. Castaldo. And no matter what, don't take your grievances with your husband to the masses for support. "It's destructive to air conflicts on Facebook," she warns.

8. Log off.
 When your attention is focused elsewhere, your spouse is bound to feel unimportant. So make quality time a top priority and restrict tech gadget use if necessary, says Dr. Wish. "Pay attention to the concept of ratio: How much time am I spending doing this compared to how much time I'm spending with my family?" she says. Create a rule that works for your household and stick to it, whether it's no devices at the dinner table, shutting down phones at 8 p.m. or going gadget-free on weekend afternoons.

9. Don't use the "D" word (divorce, that is).
 Even in the heat of an argument, avoid threatening to pack your bags or head to the lawyer's office. Besides the "D" word being downright hurtful, repeated warnings may result in a spouse calling the other's bluff. "We act as if the intensity of our anger gives us license to say or do anything," says Dr. Lerner. "But threatening divorce is never useful, and it only makes the probability of separation more likely."

Related: See 10 New Ways To Spice Up Your Marriage 
10. Be each other's number one. In other words, be wary of outsider influence, like a friend putting relationship-threatening ideas in your head or work or hobbies competing for your attention. "Happy couples have just as much conflict as those who divorce, but they know ways to get through it," says Dr. Castaldo. "A couple has to have a strong boundary around themselves and they can't allow anybody to get in between."

Original article appeared on

23 super creative repurposed items

Answering the age-old question, “How can I turn my Cyndi Lauper cassettes into a classy lighting fixture?”
REPURPOSING is so hot right now. At least if you’re on Pinterest or Tumblr, that is. If the most hardcore “upcyclers” are to be believed, there’s no such thing as trash anymore. These folks turn old yoga mats, washing machines, and even dumpsters into cool items with a new and clever use.
1. Luggage to medicine cabinet

Vintage suitcases; too cool to throw out, but not built to handle today’s batshit-TSA airports. This is my favorite suitcase repurpose project. Add a mirror, hang it over the sink, done. (Source: limitsizenerji)
2. Card catalogue to mini bar
“You have a card catalogue in your den?” “Yes, I own so many books, I’m forced to use the Dewey Decimal system. Just kidding, I’m a wino.” (Source: The Sugar Monster )
3. Wine barrels to drum set
As a percussionist, I can’t help but wonder what kind of sound those shells would get. Is there any resonance? Eh, whatever. It looks cool. (Source: Econesting )
4. Climbing rope to chandelier
Created by Son of Nils, these lamps are “made of used climbing ropes that have been in action in various places all over the world.” Source: (Son of Nils)
5. Tennis racket to mirror
There are tons of things out there that can be repurposed into a mirror, by simply…gluing a mirror on it. But I think the tennis racket is my fav because it looks like a giant’s handmirror. (Source: The Berry)
6. Skateboard to sconce lamp
This one, created by MFEO, is a vintage board with brass hardware. Modern skateboards would work too…although they might not look as classy in your study. (Source: MFEO)
7. Dumpster to swimming pool
Insert ‘dumpster diving’ pun here. This New York City mobile pool project is the endeavor of Macro Sea, a company that specializes in projects that combine art and urban renewal. (Source: Macro Sea)
8. Washing machine to fire pit
I vastly prefer s’mores to clean clothes, anyway. Play it safe and surround the pit with bricks or stones if you’re grilling on the grass. (Source: Memoirs on a Rainy Day)
9. Newspaper to yarn
All I can think is “what would happen if I knitted a newspaper yarn sweater and got caught in the rain?” But according to Green Upgrader, this stuff is only slightly less durable than real yarn. Maybe I should just start with a scarf. (Source: Green Upgrader)
10. Globe to lamp and bowl
Here’s what I would do with this: hang the globe lamp directly above the kitchen table, then fill the globe bowl with colored marbles and center it on the table right below the globe. It looks cool in my head. Maybe I should buy a kitchen table so I can do this. (Sources: Happiness Is and Indulgy)
11. Suitcase to chair
These luggage seats will go around my globe table. I’ll have map napkins, airplane trays, and…maybe I’ve gone too far. (Source: Fuck Yeah Upcycle)
12. Suitcase to boom box
These BoomCases are handmade by the three employees of Mr. Simo and are fully customizable. And also, wicked cool. (Source: Mr. Simo)
13. Vintage plane parts to furniture
That Austin Powers-esque bed brought to you by Motoart, a company that specializes in creating corporate and home furniture from old plane parts. (Source: Motoart)
14. Vespa to rolling chair
So rad. Even better, the Barcelona-based company responsible for these also makes car seat sofas with headlights. (Source: Bel&Bel)
15. Light bulb to greenhouse
Now imagine a few dozen of these strung around your patio. Or hanging from a skylight. They’re just beautiful, and apparently pretty easy to make. (Source: Imgur)
16. Bucket to rocket stove
According to the folks at Root Simple, the best fuel source for this homeade five-gallon stove is twigs, and is great for boiling and frying. (Source: Root Simple)
17. Credit cards to guitar picks
While you could try cutting your own picks, it’d be a lot easier with the Pickmaster Plectrum Punch. Definitely a cool way for a guitarist to put old bank cards, gift cards, and carton lids to good use. (Source: Firebox)
18. Floppy disk to notebook
Love this one. They look pretty hip, and the cover is nice and sturdy. Too bad I haven’t had a floppy in my possession in about a decade. (Source: Environment Team)
19. Yoga mat to laptop sleeve
Brit actually offers 20 cool ways to repurpose yoga mats, but this laptop sleeve is my favorite. The flip flops and wine bottle stopper are pretty cool too, though. (Source: Brit)
20. Cassette tapes to lighting fixtures
This one’s pretty classy, but if I could find my old shoeboxes of cassettes, things would be a bit more colorful. Fluorescent, actually. (Source: Make Magazine)
21. Light bulb to oil lamp
According to Recycled Light Company, this thing burns for over five hours. Which is more than I can say for the last bulb I bought for my bedroom. (Source: Recycled Light Company)
22. Piano to water fountain
Apparently, an employee of Piano Works in Atlanta took this irreparable piano home and turned it into a planter that pumps out 2,000 gallons of water an hour. Oh, and it’s freaking beautiful, too. (Source: Piano World)
23. Thrift store painting to badass monster art
I don’t know if this counts as repurposing, and I don’t care. This is too cool not to include. Artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal pick up landscape paintings from thrift stores and add their own beasties. Prints are available (I recommend the cowboy lassoing the octopus-dog looking thing). (Source: Twister Swifter