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The temperature in your bedroom is perfect. Your blackout curtains have been drawn shut. And you’ve just finished a cup of chamomile tea and novel that made you laugh out loud and forget about whatever was bothering you earlier in the day.

You’re just about ready to drift off, and suddenly the air conditioner kicks on. Or a car alarm screeches through the night air. Or your partner sneezes. Suddenly, you’re wide-awake again. Your brain responds to noises when you’re awake and asleep. But if the interruptions wake you up, that can keep you from getting the restful shuteye that you need.

When ambient noise is disrupting your sleep, white (or pink) noise can help to smooth out the rough edges. Imagine sitting next to a person who is loudly chewing gum in a library. Then imagine sitting next to that same person in a crowded bar. It’s the same chomping gum, but underneath the drone of a crowded place, you can’t even hear it anymore. White noise, whether it’s from a sound machine, a simple fan, or crowd noise helps to mask noise-related disruptions by creating a constant ambient sound that makes a “peak” noise, like a door slamming, less of a contrast. And that makes you less likely to be startled awake.

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The untold truth of Ina Garten

Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa, is the picture of effortless elegance. Watching her show, her home always looks warm and inviting. She lives life to the fullest, and it’s hard to tell which she loves more… cooking or her husband Jeffrey.

However, her life has not always been decadent meals and impressive dinner parties. She started out as an unfulfilled government worker before making the leap to the food business. She worked hard to teach herself new cooking skills and grow her following. She still doesn’t make everything perfectly and struggles with one dessert in particular. Yes, there is so much more to learn about beloved cook Ina Garten.

If Ina Garten had not taken a chance on herself and thrown herself into the world of food, you would most likely find her on her couch watching television. “I worry that if I don’t challenge myself professionally I’ll lie on the sofa and watch old episodes of Law & Order all day,” Garten told Vanity Fair. Garten does not like this quality in herself (or in anyone else), so she is constantly pushing herself and trying new things.

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The Best Gadget Gifts for Cooks

It can be hard to shop for the chefs in your life. You might not know what they already have, what they like, or how well-equipped their kitchen is. The sheer number of cooking gadgets out there is mind-boggling, but most of them are pretty low-tech (and generally fall into the As Seen on TV category).

You can always get some fine German or Japanese steel, or some thick-walled, copper bottom cookware, but that gets very pricey, very quickly.

Most of these devices let you monitor or control what you’re cooking with your smartphone or tablet. Whether you want to sous vide, smoke meat, grill, bake, or mix cocktails, there are clever devices that can make the process easier and ensure better results.

Air frying quickly circulates heated air to cook food with a crispy, almost fried texture with a fraction of the fat used with conventional frying. The Gourmia GTA2800  air fryer shows just how many different ways you can cook using air frying, thanks to precision temperature control and a slew of accessories. You can roast skewers, make rotisserie chicken, air fry fish and vegetables, and even make pizza and cakes with this big countertop cooker.

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The truth about Trader Joe’s

Ever tried Two Buck Chuck? The much beloved, and often maligned “super-value” wine, only available for sale at Trader Joe’s stores (that offer booze), has been leaving Trader Joe’s doors by the case since they began to offer the brand in 2002.

But how much do you really know about your favorite $2 bottle of vino? Fantastic rumors have swirled since Two Buck Chuck (aka Charles Shaw wines) hit the market. Speculation on how they manage to bring the wine to us at such a ridiculously low cost, urban legends about how the wine ever came to be, and mystery about Charles Shaw himself (does he exist?) make Two Buck Chuck an intriguing wine with an even more intriguing story.

I remember buying my first ever bottle of “two buck Chuck” at the brand new Trader Joe’s in NYC way back in 2005, and being slightly bummed to discover that I was actually buying three buck Chuck. I chalked it up to everything in NYC being pricey, but it turns out that the $2 price tag isn’t the standard in every Trader Joe’s location. The price of shipping, taxes, and pesky local liquor laws mean the budget price can vary from state to state, with California being the one place you can count on getting a true $2 bottle.

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12 best and 12 worst foods to buy at Aldi

We’re all looking for ways to save money on our grocery bills, and if there’s an Aldi near you, that might be the way to go. With Aldi hitting a growth spurt in the US market, you’re more likely than ever to find yourself heading to this European favorite for your shopping. Not everything there is a great buy, though, so let’s talk about some of the best and worst things you can find at Aldi.

Why? Because their chocolate aisle is filled with deliciousness imported from Europe. You’ll be paying a little more, but it’s worth every penny. Pick up some Belgian or German chocolates, and you’ll be surprised to find how much creamier and richer they are than American chocolates.

If you bake with chocolate, take The Country Basket’s word for it that European chocolates melt much better than your American staples, and that’s true whether you’re using milk, dark, or even white chocolate. You’ll also find a variety of different flavors you won’t find anywhere else. Toffee and Irish cream liqueur? Yes, please!

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Former vegetarians tell us

There are a number of reasons why people decide to become vegetarians. From animal cruelty concerns to health reasons, becoming a vegetarian may be the right choice for many of the people in your life. So what makes a committed vegetarian go from kale smoothies to bacon cheeseburgers? I had the chance to interview former vegetarians and learn exactly what made them make the switch.

A common theme from the former vegetarians I spoke with was listening to their bodies. So many started noticing symptoms and cravings that let them know it was time to make a change. “My body simply started craving meat again, and I was starting to have a lot of digestive issues eating the way I was,” registered dietitian nutritionist Emily Cooper told me. “I listened to my body, slowly started eating meat again, and found myself a lot more satisfied at each meal.”

When health concerns come up, vegetarians need to make the tough call of whether or not to stick with it. Many felt tired and never satisfied when they weren’t eating meat.

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The untold truth of how the royal family eats

So you think you’re fancy? You think that Michelin restaurant you visited last year is the pinnacle of choreographed, opulent dining? Think again. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the British royal family — you know, the most famous family on the planet, and one of the wealthiest, too — live an utterly unique gastronomic lifestyle.

It’s not just the bizarre magnificence of their meals and traditions that proves fascinating about the royals, however, but also the day-to-day quirks each of them enjoys or insists upon.

The media circus behind the family often makes it easy to forget that they’re, you know, actual human beings, with foods they hate and silly little preferences and personal touches they like to add to their meals. And then, of course, there’s stuff like the fact that they’re not allowed to drink tap water. Seriously. It’s a strange life.

They’re banned from lobster, crab, shrimp and the like, for the simple reason that it’s just too much of a risk. Shellfish, of course, is a notorious source of food poisoning and the rigorous schedule and constant touring of the royals means that taking the risk of being put out of action for any period of time is a serious no-go. The same logic applies with other meats, and the leading members of the family are also forbidden from eating anything cooked rare.

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Things you probably don’t know about avocados

Avocados are having a serious moment. Just think about it, if you eat avocados, chances are you eat many more now than you used to. With the prevalence of avocado on the rise, you might think you know an awful lot about them, but there are probably an awful lot of things you don’t know about avocados, that you probably should.

From environmental impacts to human impacts, health effects and more, avocados are more than just the base for guacamole. If you love avocados or, at least, can appreciate them added to a sandwich, mashed into a dip, or blended into a smoothie, here’s what you need to know.

Americans insist on avocado on everything now. The demand is so great, farmers are doing whatever they can to grow more to meet the supply. As a result, some of Mexico’s pine forests are being illegally cut down to make way for avocado trees

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This Color Will Make You Feel

Just as you switch over your closet when the temperature dips, a change in seasons is a good time to switch up your goals, motivations, and even the colors you wear. The energy still radiating from the fall equinox, as well as the energy from the recent full moon in Aries, may make you feel like whatever goals, dreams, and priorities you manifested in the summer just aren’t working this fall.

If you feel confused, conflicted, or unsure of next steps this month, one great way to make a powerful change is to change up the colors you’re wearing. Use this guide to find out what color your body is craving, and how to use it to maximize and manifest your goals and dreams! —The Horoscope.com editors.

In “healing” speak, the chakras represent the seven energy centers of the body. Running from the bottom of the tailbone up to the crown of the head, these seven spots are especially key for harnessing our full potential. That’s because our life force energy (some might call it “spirit”) runs through these cosmic portals, “powering up” different organs and, in turn, ruling different areas of our lives.

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Food combinations that are terrible

I have to admit it was a bit painful to write this one. I feel like the bearer of bad news, because turns out there are a lot of tasty food combinations that are terrible for your health. Sometimes when we combine two amazing foods, their health risks together are greater than the sum of their parts.

Combining the wrong foods can lead to slower digestion, altered gut bacteria, and even illness. I would never tell you to give up all of these combos, but start paying attention to how you feel after eating them.

No offense to your high school self, but your past diet of pizza and soda was incredibly bad for your health. “Soda and pizza, or anything with high fructose corn syrup, and refined carbs increases false hunger pangs and decreases satiety,” explained hysician, health coach, and chef Colin Zhu, DO told me.

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