Imponderable of the Day: Why Does Looking at the Sun Make You Sneeze?

It’s a very curious sensation: You’re inside a dark room for a bit too long and when you step back outside into the bright sunlight, you suddenly feel a sneezing fit coming on. What’s the deal?

Staring at the sun makes about 20 to 35 percent of humans sneeze, and although scientists have a general idea of what causes this sensation, it’s still a very confusing conundrum. The phenomenon, which is known as “photic sneeze reflex,” is actually a genetic trait, which is why it only affects a small percentage of people. These people have visual systems that are more sensitive than those of other people, causing them to become agitated by the sunlight and send panicked responses to all of the nerves in the face, including the somatosensory system, which controls sneezing!

Now, go ahead and impress your friends with this new tidbit of information!

Looking at the Sun Can Trigger a Sneeze [Scientific American]
Why does bright light cause some people to sneeze? [Scientific American]
Does the sun make you sneeze? It's not just you [NBC News]
How Staring at the Sun Can Make You Sneeze [Gizmodo]

Three Surprising Sources of Lactose

Millions of Americans suffer from lactose intolerance, a sensitivity to foods that contain the natural sugar lactose. Most often, lactose is found in dairy products such as milk and cheese, but there are some foods that contain it that you might not know about. Here are three surprising sources of lactose you should look out for:

  1. Lunch meats. Cold cut meats are great for having on hand for a quick sandwich, but they're often made with processed ingredients that include lactose. Even a small amount could be harmful to those with sensitivities. So the lactose intolerant sure to purchase farm-fresh deli meat when possible.
  2. Nougat. This creamy sweet filling in candy bars contains lactose. There are many other candies that contain lactase as well, so do your research before you indulge.
  3. "Non-dairy" creamer. This tricky label might seem like a safe choice for lactose intolerant individuals, but many brands of this milk-derived substitute still contain trace amounts of lactose. Avoid it altogether and use soy- or almond-based creamers.

8 surprising sources of lactose [Best Health Mag]
Lactose Intolerance [National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse]
Learn to Detect Hidden Lactose [Cornell Women’s Health]
What is Hidden Lactose [Lactaid]

Expecting Last-Minute Guests? Here’s How to Speed-Clean Your Apartment!

You were thrilled to hear that your friends were coming to town for a visit… but then they told you they would be there in an hour. When your apartment isn't exactly ready for visitors, you can follow these last-minute cleaning tips to tidy it up in no time at all.

  1. Keep all of your cleaning supplies in one place. That way you can simply pull out the bin or bucket in situations just like this one.
  2. Banish clutter. When it comes to making a room look clean, your guests are more likely to notice your dirty laundry on the floor than a bit of dust in the counter. Make one quick sweep of the apartment and clean up clutter as you go.
  3. Clean the bathroom. Your guests will likely use the bathroom before, say, your office, so be sure that all counters are clean, the toilet is scrubbed, and fresh linens are hung. Don't forget to restock the hand soap and toilet paper!
  4. Don’t get hung up on little things. Now is not the time to rearrange your shelves. Instead, dust only the visible surfaces, fluff up the pillows, and look at the room as a whole instead of focusing on individual details.

9 Tips For Speed Cleaning [About Home]
13 Tips to Help You Speed-Clean Your Home [Better Homes & Gardens]
Speed Cleaning [Real Simple]

Happy Memorial Day!

Windsor at Arbors would like to wish everyone a very Happy Memorial Day!

Spring Forward: How Start Your Warm Weather Workouts on the Right Foot

Whether you want to tone up before bathing suit season or you're striving to lead a healthier lifestyle, the spring season is a good time to begin an exercise routine. If you’re struggling to find the motivation to begin your spring workouts, these tips can help.

  • Put it on paper. If you write down your fitness goals and a loose schedule, it will help you to remain accountable and stay on track.
  • Start slow. Remember to keep your schedule light at first and work up to more difficult workouts. Begin with 30 minutes of moderate cardio exercise three or four times per week, and be sure to switch up your workouts to keep things interesting.
  • Enlist a partner. If you’re still feeling sluggish, ask a close friend to work out with you and help to keep each other motivated.
  • Invest in new workout gear. If your sneakers from last season have seen better days, invest in a brand-new pair that will get you excited to exercise.
  • Get outdoors. Now that the cold weather is over and the days are longer, you likely want to get outside as much as you can. Schedule early morning runs before work, go for weekend bike rides, or even sign up for yoga in the park.

Spring-Clean Your Exercise Routine [Health]
20 Ways to Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine [Shape]
Spring Clean Your Workout Routine: 21 Bad Habits To Toss Today [LiveStrong]

6 Fantastic Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day this Year!

1.) Have Breakfast in Bed
Drop a few not-so-subtle hints that you’re expecting a Mother’s Day brunch. Peruse these delicious Mother’s Day brunch recipes to find the perfect meal to start off your Mother’s Day.

2.) A Day Together
Set aside all other plans and treat the mother in your life as a queen for the day. Turn the day into a one day adventure to someplace special. Grab the whole family and head to a favorite park, lake or ocean. Spending the time together (preferably outdoors) is what really counts, so have a picnic, go for a bike ride, take a hike, or do some gardening together.

3.) Generations Unite
Gather all the grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles and other ‘mom’ family members together for a joint celebration. If the weather is nice a barbeque is the perfect venue.

4.) A Simple Celebration
Making a Mother’s Day celebration memorable and unique doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It could be as simple as heading to your favorite local ice cream shop and sharing an ice cream sundae (this would be top choice in our house!).

5.) Give Mom the Day Off
This could be the best gift of all. Encourage everyone to pitch in and let the moms in your life sit back and relax. They deserve it! Have the family prepare dinner (go for something simple and pre-packaged like Tyson’s chicken) and serve Mom on her special day.

6.) Give to Others
Mother’s Day is about honoring all mothers. This Mother’s Day help a mother in need by donating to organizations that help mothers and children.

Click here fore more information!

Add Some Pizzazz to Your Kitchen with These DIY Projects

You don't have to be Martha Stewart to tackle these kitchen decor projects. All that's required is a little time, creativity, and a desire to add a some pizzazz to the most used room in your home.

Oven Mitt and Hot Pad DIY [abeautifulmess.com]
To complete this project, you'll need some fabric, insulating liners, and basic sewing skills. Use pretty fabrics in contrasting colors and patterns to create functional oven mitts in eight simple steps. The accompanying hot pads are even easier to make, requiring only six steps.

DIY Cheese Markers [BHG]
This is a great project (or gift!) for the frequent host or hostess. Shop around to find some older or antique forks. Use a vise to curl the utensils' handles, then use a metal stamp to imprint the name of a different cheese into each fork. The next time you arrange a cheese plate, pierce each cheese with its corresponding marker for a display that's equally whimsical and useful.

DIY Magnetic Organizational Board [thehouseofsmiths.com]
Corral your receipts, to-do lists, and coupons with this eye-catching organizational board. Paint and frame a magnetic metal sheet, then hang it wherever you could use a little organizing. Coupled with decorative radiator covering, a distressed wooden frame proves the board to be as pretty as it is practical.

Read About Some of the Country’s Weirdest, Wackiest Museums

While the Smithsonian is fascinating, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is always a sight to see, some lesser-known American museums are just as interesting—if a bit weirder! If you have a flair for all things out of the ordinary, these unique museums are worth a visit.

1) International Cryptozoology Museum
Cryptozoology is the study of “hidden animals” not verified by science, and this small museum in Portland, Maine, is dedicated to just that. From Bigfoot to Lake Monsters, take a tour of all of the world’s most intriguing—and mysterious—unknown species.

2) International Banana Museum
This fruity museum in North Shore, California, is filled with every type of banana-related item that its curators could hunt down, from salt and pepper shakers to staplers and even a banana record player. Be sure to visit the famous banana bar and sample a banana-flavored milkshake or banana split.

3) Mütter Museum
Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Mütter Museum is one of the finest museums of medical history in the world. While it is a bit creepy to see the 19th-century medical instruments and anatomical specimens, it is also completely fascinating.

4) The Museum of Bad Art
The name says it all at this silly museum in Somerville, Massachusetts. Keep in mind that it’s all in good fun, and just enjoy the truly awful displays of artistic expression.

Hosting a Party? Check Out This Handy Food and Drink Calculator!

It seems that every time you host a party, you never prepare the right amount of food and beverages. From the time that you overshot the buffet and had leftovers for months to the last minute drink run at your last shindig, something just doesn’t add up.

Luckily, this handy food and beverage calculator from Real Simple will help you to calculate exactly how many refreshments to make for your party size. Simply enter the number of guests that you’re expecting and whether or not their children are also invited and the online tool will do all of the food and beverage planning for you.

The calculator’s results detail how many bottles of wine, cases of beer, and even ice to purchase. It also details cheese by the pound, hors d’oeuvres by the piece and a number of other food options. Take the results with you to the grocery store and you can be sure that you’re getting exactly the right amount of everything for your party.

Party Food and Beverage Calculator [Real Simple]

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