Marvelous Girl Has Moved!

Archive for July 2009

average cost vacationWith the recession restricting budgets, families are trying to spend less while still enjoying a summer vacation. But what is the cost difference between getaways? Industry research firm IBISWorld investigated the average cost of roughing it outdoors versus a more luxurious alternative for a family of four vacationing:

Camping & Driving Your Own Car:  $158.33 per day

– Driving Your Car & Renting A Folding Travel Trailer:  $241.77 per day

– Rent A Type-C Motor Home:  $397.33 per day

– Drive Your Car & Stay At A Hotel:  $398.88 per day

– Air Travel, Car Rental & Hotel:  $575.11 per day

“Aside from wanting to save money, families are increasingly showing a desire to enjoy the simple pleasures of the great outdoors,” said George Van Horn, senior analyst at IBISWorld. With camping being the number one outdoor vacation activity, and with over 14,000 government and commercial campground and RV parks, families have an excess of destinations to choose from.”

The two major segments in the industry, RV parks and campgrounds, are getting the most hype lately.  The research shows the RV holiday to average in at $3,576, making it the third cheapest type of vacation. Although RV sales have expectedly gone down this year (to 155,000 – from a peak of 390,500 units in 2006), the RV rental and lease market, on the other hand, has gone up. The $2.14 billion dollar sector has increased by 3.3 percent this year.

With a growing number of franchised resort-type campgrounds sprouting across the nation, roughing it in the wilderness does not necessarily entail getting down and dirty. Operators of camping chains have been upgrading their facilities and amenities, such as introducing wireless Internet access, health and fitness centers, playgrounds, and even restaurants and cafes.

“Camping appeals to families of all income levels,” said Van Horn. “Whether it’s boating, fishing, or soaking in some fresh air with your laptop at hand, modernized campgrounds can accommodate just about every need.”

bottled water truth tapSure, bottled water is convenient, trendy, and may well be just as pure as what comes out of your tap. But it’s hardly a smart investment for your pocketbook, your body or our planet. Eat This, Not That! decided to take a closer look at what’s behind the pristine images and elegant-sounding names printed on those bottles.
 
You may actually be drinking tap water.
Case in point: Dasani, a Coca-Cola product. Despite its exotic-sounding name, Dasani is simply purified tap water that’s had minerals added back in. For example, if your Dasani water was bottled at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Philadelphia, you’re drinking Philly tap water. But it’s not the only brand of water that relies on city pipes to provide its product. About 25 percent of all bottled water is taken from municipal water sources, including Pepsi’s Aquafina.
 
Bottled water isn’t always pure.
Scan the labels of the leading brands and you see variations on the words “pure” and “natural” and “pristine” over and over again. And when a Cornell University marketing class studied consumer perceptions of bottled water, they found that people thought it was cleaner, with less bacteria. But that may not actually be true. For example, in a 4-year review that included the testing of 1,000 bottles of water, the Natural Resources Defense Council—one the country’s most ardent environmental crusaders—found that “about 22 percent of the brands we tested contained, in at least one sample, chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits.”
 
It’s not clear where the plastic container ends and the drink begins.
Turns out, when certain plastics are heated at a high temperature, chemicals from the plastics may leach into container’s contents. So there’s been a flurry of speculation recently as to whether the amounts of these chemicals are actually harmful, and whether this is even a concern when it comes to water bottles—which aren’t likely to be placed in boiling water or even a microwave. While the jury is still out on realistic health ramifications, it seems that, yes, small amounts of chemicals from PET water bottles such as antimony—a semi-metal that’s thought to be toxic in large doses—can accumulate the longer bottled water is stored in a hot environment. Which, of course, is probably a good reason to avoid storing bottled water in your garage for six months—or better yet, to just reach for tap instead.
 
Our country’s high demand for oil isn’t just due to long commutes.
Most water bottles are composed of a plastic called polyethylene terepthalate (PET). Now, to make PET, you need crude oil. Specifically, 17 million barrels of oil are used in the production of PET water bottles ever year, estimate University of Louisville scientists. No wonder the per ounce cost of bottled water rivals that of gasoline. What’s more, 86 percent of 30 billion PET water bottles sold annually are tossed in the trash, instead of being recycled, according to data from the Container Recycling Institute. That’s a lot of waste—waste that will outlive you, your children, and your children’s children. You see, PET bottles take 400 to 1000 years to degrade. Which begs the question: If our current rate of consumption continues, where will we put all of this discarded plastic?
 
To learn the truth about diet soda, energy drinks and discover the best no-diet weight loss solutions on the planet, check out all of the eye-popping lists at eatthis.com. Also, sign up for your FREE Eat This Not That! newsletter and stay informed about the best choices for you and your family.

Article by David Zinczenko, with Matt Goulding

heidi_klum_4kids busy momShe’s a supermodel that seems more like Superwoman, but Heidi Klum confessed in a recent interview that family life often keeps her too busy even for her own TV show, Project Runway.

“With three children and a hot husband, who has time to watch television?” she said. “I don’t even watch my own show to be honest with you. When I film it, I’m done with it.”

Klum is married to singer Seal and the couple are expecting a baby girl in October, making it Heidi’s fourth child!  The new season of Project Runway starts August 20 on Bravo.

To see Heidi’s baby bump, click here.

blackberry frozen yogurt recipe 2

2 (16-ounce) cartons vanilla low fat yogurt
2 ½ cups Driscoll’s Blackberries
½ cup light-colored corn syrup
¼ cup sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate (3 ounces)

In a blender container or food processor bowl, combine half of the yogurt, ½ cup of the berries, half of the corn syrup and half of the sugar.  Cover and blend or process until almost smooth. Pour mixture into ice cream freezer container.  Repeat.  Freeze mixture in an electric ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions.  Remove dasher from freezer.  Add remaining 1½ cups berries and the chopped chocolate; stir to distribute. 

*Note:  To ripen frozen yogurt or ice cream, after stirring in berries and chocolate, cover top of freezer can with waxed paper or foil.  Plug hole in lid and replace lid. Pack outer freezer bucket with enough ice and rock salt to cover top of freezer can, using about 4 cups ice and 1 cup salt.  Ripen about 4 hours.

Nutritional Information Per ½ Cup Serving:  175 calories, 3g total fat (2g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 4g protein.

chocolate study women heartDo you ever wish you could eat chocolate every single day? Well, some lucky women are getting the chance as scientists are looking for women willing to eat chocolate every day for a year — for medical science of course!

Researchers in England are trying to prove chocolate lowers the risk of heart disease and need 40 women to conduct their study.

The majority of the women must eat two bars of “super-strength chocolate specially formulated by Belgian chocolatiers” daily for one year while undergoing several tests on the health of their hearts. The remaining participants will eat regular chocolate as a placebo.

Volunteers for the research should be menopausal but aged under 75 and have type two diabetes. Peter Curtis, the study’s coordinator, said, “A successful outcome could be the first step in developing new ways to improve the lives of people at increased risk of heart disease.”

All new episode Monday at 9pm ET

Remember the movie The Holiday, where Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet swich lives…and cities?  Well, each week on SOAPnet’s new original reality series, Holidate, two women will switch cities and go on dates handpicked for them.  They may date each other’s friends, brothers, or coworkers in the hope of finding true love.  
 
The show premiers tonight, WEDNESDAY, JULY 29th AT 10PM/9c.

Also, check out the official Holidate Facebook page, for giveaways and you can take the Holidate “Where is the Perfect Guy For You?” Quiz to find out what city the perfect guy is waiting for you in!


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