Wine Lovers: Can You Make It Through This Post Without Spending $50?

Wine is one of those rare things that has the power to make pretty much every situation better. Having a bad day? Pour yourself a glass. Having a good day? Pour yourself a glass. Most wine drinkers appear to fall into one of two camps: the fair-weather fans and the fanatics. If you’re a part of the latter group (guilty!), we’ve rounded up a list of 19 products you need in your life:

JK This Is Totally Wine Mug 1. JK, This Is Totally Wine Mug

Not all vices are created equal. Exhibit A: It’s not exactly socially acceptable to walk around the office with a glass of pinot. But no one bats an eye when you’re on your third cup of coffee. Keep your coworkers on their toes by sporting this mug. “It’s 10 a.m., there can’t really be wine in there,” your coworkers say with a laugh. Wanna bet?

($ 14.95; zazzle.com)

SipCaddy 2. SipCaddy Bath and Shower Cup Holder

A short list of things we were introduced to in college: all-nighters, ultimate frisbee, and shower beers. Since we’re adults now, it’s time to class up that last one. Introducing shower wine. Fill up your glass, place it comfortably in the SipCaddy, and take sips in-between sudsing. If you really want to indulge, use the cupholder while taking a bath. After all, vino will always do more to relax you than bubble bath. 

($ 13.95; amazon.com)

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up to No Good 3. I Solemnly Swear I Am Up to No Good Wine Glass

Butterbeer is great, but nothing is as magical as a glass of wine. It’s enough to cast a spell on you. OK, enough bad wizarding puns—even without them, these wine glasses are a Harry Potter fan’s dream come true. 

($ 13.99; integritybottles.com)

Wine Condoms 4. Wine Condoms 

For those *rare* times when you don’t finish a bottle in one sitting, you need to figure out how you’re going to keep the leftover wine from spoiling or spilling. We’ve had so-so luck with wine stoppers, so we like the look of wine condoms. The tight seal means you can lay a bottle on its side in your fridge and not worry about any of it dripping onto the shelf. Plus, just like regular condoms, you can keep one in your pocket at all times so you’re ready when the moment strikes. 

($ 13.97, set of 6; amazon.com)

BellaVita Portovino 5. BellaVita Portovino

OK, at first we thought this Franzia with handles was a hilarious (and slightly pricey) gag gift. But there are lots of situations where stealthily carrying around wine would be a major plus. Sitting through a boring movie? Visiting those relatives who look down on drinking before noon? All fair game. 

($ 74.95; bellavitabags.com

Oenophilia Neoprene Stemstrap 6. Oenophilia Neoprene Stemstrap

Don’t let the fancy name fool you: This is a glorified wine necklace. The lanyard and rubber lining hold your glass snugly in place so you can use your hands for other things—like eating, gesturing wildly, or filling up another glass of wine. 

($ 7.99; amazon.com)

Hakuna Moscato T-Shirt 7. Hakuna Moscato Tank 

Some people wear their hearts on their sleeve. We wear ours on a graphic t-shirt. Different strokes for different folks, right? Wine and Disney films are our two true loves—and they also happen to be our Friday night plans. 

($ 21.99; lookhuman.com)

Yes Way Rose Beanie 8. Yes Way Rosé Beanie 

Sommeliers will tell you rosé is a summer beverage—and probably scoff at the fact that you consider drinking pink at all. But who are they to tell you how to live your life? Celebrate rosé all winter long—when sunshine and balmy temps are a distant memory—with this adorable and super-warm beanie.

($ 40; yeswayrose.com)

Wine Wipes 9. Wine Wipes 

Few things hit the spot like a full-bodied red wine after a long day. (Look at us trying to sound like we don’t walk into the liquor store and say, “Your cheapest bottle, please.”) The not-so-fun part of drinking red wine? It stains your teeth. Unless, of course, you have Wine Wipes. They’re mini stain removers that come in a compact mirror so you can make sure your pearly whites are, well, pearly white wherever you are. 

($ 7.62, pack of 15 wipes; amazon.com)

Tony Moly Red Wine Mask 10. Tony Moly Red Wine Mask

If you’re using a sheet mask and you don’t have a wine in hand, are you doing it right? Actually, it doesn’t matter. This Tony Moly mask, infused with red wine extract, takes boozy self-care to a whole new level. The manufacturer claims that wine extract “reduces the appearance of enlarged pores while tightening and purifying skin.” We’re not so sure we buy that, but it left us feeling (and smelling) good. 

($ 3.75; ulta.com)

Igloo Daytripper Insulated Backpack 11. Igloo Daytripper Insulated Backpack

Picnics seem so romantic, but the only one we’ve been on turned into a disaster. We opened our tote bag and found the wine had crushed the crackers and dented the cheese. Oh, and of course, we forgot a corkscrew. Tears followed. We’d actually consider picnicking again with the Igloo Daytripper Insulated Backpack. It has separate pouches for drinks and food (plus plenty of padding to stop the bottles from clinking) and comes equipped with knives, a cheese board, and a bottle opener. What more could you ask for?

($ 79.99; amazon.com)

Wine Bottle Lights 12. Wine Bottle Lights

We’re going to take a wild guess and say you’ve got a bunch of empty wine bottles lying around (no judgment). You’re keeping ’em for all those DIY projects (wine bottle candles, wine bottle vases, etc.) you’ll probably never do. So maybe save time and opt for the do-it-mostly-yourself route. This strand of battery-powered lights is designed specifically for wine bottles and tells the world, “Yes, I like to drink and watch HGTV.”

($ 8.99, set of 3; amazon.com)

Winosaur Tote 13. Winosaur Tote

Scientists can’t vouch for the accuracy of this illustration. For starters, it’s not clear that grapes existed during the Triassic period. Plus, could a T. rex—with its small hands—really hold a wine glass? (These are the questions that keep us up at night.) But the Winosaur Tote is also irresistibly cute, so go ahead and snag one. Wine not, right? 

($ 18; society6.com)

Primavera Wine Opener 14. Primavera Electric Wine Opener 

Confession time: We usually buy bottles with a screw top because we somehow made it to adulthood without learning how to properly use a corkscrew. It’s not that we can’t use one. It’s just that, like, half the time, we break the cork. But then we learned about electric wine openers exist to do all the hard work for you. This one from Primavera is a savior—no more cold sweat when someone asks, “Hey, can you open this bottle?”

($ 16.99; amazon.com)

Legless Pirate Corkscrew 15. Legless Pirate Corkscrew 

For those of you who have mastered the art of using a corkscrew, check out this pirate-themed one. The design is hilarious—the pirate has a bandana, beard, eye patch, earring, and a parrot on his shoulder—and it’s functional. Well, at least that’s what our friends who can use a corkscrew tell us. Oh, and once you get the cork out, it looks like the pirate has a peg leg. The designers behind the Legless Pirate Corkscrew are geniuses. 

($ 15; amazon.com)

Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Wine Cooler 16. Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Wine Cooler 

We love a crisp sauvignon blanc or a dry pinot grigio on a hot day. But it’s only refreshing (and drinkable) if the white wine is chilled. Seems easy enough, but we’re terrible at planning ahead. Since ice cubes dilute wine and ruin the whole experience, we’ve become fans of the Vacu Vin. It’s a specially designed ice pack that chills bottles in five minutes. We keep one in the freezer at all times in case of emergency. 

($ 9.56; amazon.com)

The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert 17. The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert

Supposedly half the sensory experience of drinking wine comes down to smell. But what are we supposed to be smelling? Fruity and woody notes? What does that even mean?! We were lost before we got our hands on this incredible scratch-and-sniff book. Author Richard Betts is a master sommelier, but not the pinkies-up kind. He explains the basics in a way everyone can understand.  

($ 8.68; amazon.com)

Lockey USA Combo-Cork Bottle Lock 18. Lockey USA Combo-Cork Bottle Lock

Some wine is for sharing, but most isn’t. For all those bottles that fall into the latter category, you need this lock. It’s basically a bottle stopper with combination lock on top so you can keep your precious vino away from moochers. 

($ 19.88; amazon.com)

Meow Wine Glasses 19. Meow Stemless Wine Glass 

Not sick of puns yet? See if you feel that way after reading this: A glass of Malbec is the purr-fect end to a long day. And two glasses? That gets us feeling frisky. We’re paw-sitive all the cat lovers in your life will be fans of these stemless beauties. Makes you want to drink, doesn’t it?

($ 16, set of 2; urbanoutfitters.com)

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How Candice Kumai Found Major Confidence After Some Serious Setbacks

Welcome to Behind the Confidence, a video series about the real, unfiltered journey to self-belief. We talked to four health and wellness pros who prove true confidence doesn’t stem from a “like,” nor does it magically happen overnight. It’s about finding what makes you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Your confidence levels can go up and down depending on what’s going on in your life. Chef and wellness expert Candice Kumai knows this all too well. Her confidence plummeted during two of the toughest years of her career. “I think inevitably… you end up struggling one way or another, and sometimes you have to look back in life and say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I got through that, and I came out a better person because of it,’” she says.

Better is an understatement: Kumai is at the top of her game. In this video, she talks about how important it is to pursue your passion and live a life full of chances and challenges—and how to remain confident through it all.

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21 Low-Impact Workouts That Are More Effective Than You Think

Every once in a while you should give your body a break from pounding the pavement, whether you’re running, dancing, or playing sports. But before you take this as a sign to sink even deeper into the sofa, try a low-impact workout. They’re easier on your body—your joints will thank you—and they can be a great way to get in a heart-pumping workout without worrying too much about injuries. Effects of low-impact, moderate-intensity exercise training with and without wrist weights on functional capacities and mood states in older adults. Engels HJ, Drouin J, Zhu W. Gerontology, 1998, Sep.;44(4):0304-324X.
Impact and overuse injuries in runners. Hreljac A. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 2004, Sep.;36(5):0195-9131.
Physical activity at leisure and risk of osteoarthritis. Lane NE. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 1996, Dec.;55(9):0003-4967.

Most trainers define low-impact as any exercise where one foot stays on the ground at all times. But rather than doing single-leg dead lifts until keeling over, we rounded up 21 low- (or no!) impact exercises worth trying:

Walking

1. Walking

Walking is a stress-free way to get moving. If taking a lesiurely stroll is too easy, there are plenty of ways to add intensity: Hit the hills or add weights (try dumbbells or ankle weights) to really get that heart rate up.  Intensity and energy cost of weighted walking vs. running for men and women. Miller JF, Stamford BA. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 1987, Jul.;62(4):8750-7587.

2. Elliptical

Sorry, treadmills. Ellipticals take the cake when it comes to putting less stress on your legs. Try spicing up your routine on the elliptical with a 20-minute interval workout

3. StairMaster

Feel winded every time you go up a set of stairs? It’s time to get acquinated with the StairMaster. No gym nearby? No problem. Any old stairs will work—just follow this workout.

4. Strength training

We already have a list of 19 reasons to strength train, and here’s one more: Most strength training exercises are low impact, and they still work up a sweat.  Muscle Forces or Gravity: What Predominates Mechanical Loading on Bone? Kohrt, W.M., Barry, D.W., et al. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2011 Feb 10. (Keep in mind monster box jumps wearing a weighted vest don’t exactly qualify.) 

5. Cycling

We’ve loved biking ever since we finally took off our training wheels. It just so happens to be a great way to fit in some exercise without putting a strain on your joints. And you don’t even need to sign up for an indoor cycling class to see results. Try this 30-minute at-home cycling workout.

Rowing Machine

6. Rowing

Here’s a super-easy way to get in some cardio while also pretending that you’re soaking up some sun on a boat. Of course, the florescent lights in the gym eventually snap you back to reality. But at least you’ll be working out your arms, back, legs, and core. (Give this 30-minute rowing workout a go.) Score!

7. Kayaking

Want to actually hit the water? Grab a kayak and jump in (or maybe don’t jump in, if you want to stay dry)! Kayaking works your arms and core (no crunches necessary), and you can see some stellar sights along the way.

8. Tai Chi

This gentle, fluid movement improves flexibility and may even ward off headaches. A randomized controlled trial of tai chi for tension headaches. Abbott RB, Hui KK, Hays RD. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2006, Aug.;4(1):1741-427X. (Whether that includes hangover headaches is unclear.)

9. Hiking

Looking to upgrade your walks? Take a hike! To keep things low impact, start with low-grade terrain. Save climbing Everest for later. 

10. Rock climbing

Climbing requires slow, controlled movements, which means your muscles get a serious workout without the added strain.  Functional ankle control of rock climbers. Schweizer A, Bircher HP, Kaelin X. British journal of sports medicine, 2005, Jul.;39(7):1473-0480.

Yoga

11. Yoga

The ancient practice will have you feeling the burn without feeling the pain. So add some downward dogs and half moons to your fitness routine. Or try aerial yoga to really take your practice to new heights.

12. Pilates

You aren’t going to get a strong core by doing crunches all day long. Try Pilates instead—plus, you’ll seriously improve your flexibility without putting too much strain on your joints. 

13. TRX

TRX gets its name because it lets users do total-body resistance exercises using a strap suspension system (say that three times fast). The workout is easy on your joints but challenging for the rest of your body. Once you learn the ropes, see if you can master these 45 TRX exercises.

14. Swimming

Skip the inner tubes and start doing laps. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise with a boatload of benefits, from strengthening your shoulders to improving lung function.  Effects of weight bearing and non-weight bearing exercises on bone properties using calcaneal quantitative ultrasound. Yung PS, Lai YM, Tung PY. British journal of sports medicine, 2005, Aug.;39(8):1473-0480.

15. Water aerobics

If swimming laps gets repetitive, bring aerobics class to the pool. Some gyms even offer underwater treadmills to really keep things interesting. (We may want to rethink calling them “dreadmills.”)

Snowshoe

16. Snowshoeing

For a different kind of walk in the park, strap on a pair of snowshoes. Walking on snow—like walking on sand—is more of a workout than walking on pavement. And it’s still tame on your body. The energy expenditure of snowshoeing in packed vs. unpacked snow at low-level walking speeds. Connolly DA. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 2003, Mar.;16(4):1064-8011.

17. Step aerobics

For a good cardio workout without all the pounding, science suggests signing up for a step aerobic class.  Osteogenic+index+of+step+exercise+depending+on+choreographic+movements,+session+duration,+and+stepping+rate. Santos-Rocha,+R.A.,+Oliverira,+C.S.,+Veloso,+A.P.+Sports+Sciences+School+of+Rio+Maior,+Portugal.+British+Journal+of+Sports+Medicine,+2006+Oct;40(10):860-6;+discussion+866.+Epub+2006+Aug+18. Researchers found an hour of step aerobics gives you the same workout as a mid-distance run.

18. Ballroom dancing

Take a tip from Dancing With the Stars. Not only is dancing super sexy, it’s often gentle on the body.  The metabolic cost of two ranges of arm position height with and without hand weights during low impact aerobic dance. Carroll MW, Otto RM, Wygand J. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 1992, Mar.;62(4):0270-1367. So go grab a partner and give those dips, twists, and twirls a try.

19. Rollerblading

Let’s take a trip back to the ’90s and strap on some Rollerblades. Gliding on pavement puts less stress on your limbs while still burning calories. Just make sure you remember how to stop. 

20. Cross-country skiing

This flat-terrain travel keeps things heated—even in the cold. So put on your skis and start pumping those poles. You’ll keep the pressure light (as powdery snow) on your body.

21. Golf

Now, now—golf isn’t just for the pros (or the retired). Take a trip to the fairway and get swinging. Bonus points for skipping the golf cart and walking the course!

Originally posted April 2012. Updated March 2017. 

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A 15-Minute Vinyasa Flow That Eases Neck Pain and Tension

A bad night’s sleep, a killer upper-body workout, a long day hunched over your desk—whatever causes your neck pain and tension, you need relief fast. This 15-minute vinyasa flow will help soothe the sore muscles in your neck and around your upper spine. 

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You’ll flow through a sequence of seated poses—that’s right, you don’t even need to stand up for this one. Just sit back, relax, and use your breath to guide you through each stretch and pose for relief. This practice is gentle and calming, making it a perfect choice for when you wake up with a stiff neck or before bed after a stressful day. All you need is a mat; then hit play to get started. 

Looking for more short and effective at-home workouts? Grokker has thousands of routines, so you’ll never get bored. Bonus: For a limited time, Greatist readers get 40 percent off Grokker Premium (just $ 9 per month) and their first 14 days free. Sign up now!

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7 Struggles Every Extrovert Understands

No Regrets With Susie Moore In our hyper-social culture, which tends to favor outgoing personalities (not to mention nonstop connectivity and networking), there’s an unfortunate stigma that surrounds introverts; it’s generally perceived as less advantageous to be one. But as it turns out, extroverts (myself included) face an entirely different set of social struggles and judgments:

1. You’re apparently not allowed to be sad.    

“What’s wrong with Susie/Clare/Marianne?” people ask if ever we’re not our talkative selves for any reason. The truth is, extroverts need a little down time too. I purposefully choose the end of a table at a dinner party on nights when I feel less chatty or a bit tired. That’s OK! It does not mean we’re unhappy or upset.

2. You’re expected to be the entertainment, everywhere, every time.

It’s an incredibly helpful skill to have a knack for talking, laughing, and engaging with others, especially strangers. So, naturally, extroverts receive a lot of social invitations. But oftentimes extroverts are expected to bring the party wherever they go. We like to do that a lot—just not 100 percent of the time.

3. You’re perceived as superficial and/or insincere.

Vivaciousness has become a synonym for shallow. Extroverts are just as capable of intellectual discussion and complex thinking as introverts are of talking to people. Two extroverted friends of mine are some of the brightest people I know, but sadly, not everyone perceives them that way. In fact, they feel they have to prove themselves or highlight their education or career accolades to dispel negative presumptions. But it’s so important for everyone not make these assumptions. Communication styles are all unique!

Friends Drinking Coffee

4. You’re expected to carry the conversation.

 Just because you are gifted at something doesn’t mean you have to put that talent on display constantly. Introverts are not always expected to just listen to everyone, all the time. Women, in particular, have expressed to me in coaching sessions the pressure they feel to be social lubricants at work and with family. It’s no one’s job to keep an environment light and chatty. Plus, you’d be surprised how often discussions can stay on track without you directing them. So give your vocal chords a break! 

5. You worry you’re a little intense.

A common fear that extroverts have is that they are “too much” for some people. That might be true. But not all people are your people. That’s true (and fine!) too. Extroverts don’t conceal their passion, and it shows. Some perceive this trait as a flaw, as it can appear a little forceful. But we can’t help it.

6. Your friendliness gets mistaken for flirting.

Just because someone smiles, engages, and talks with zest does not mean they’re romantically interested in their conversational partner. My friend Sarah once said to me, “Just because I’m friendly doesn’t mean a man can make a pass at me! Nor should I have to tone down my personality, right?” It feels like a bit of a tricky balance. All that’s important is that you feel comfortable. And remember: You don’t owe anyone a thing! 

7. You’re high-maintenance.

Extroverts love to share a crisis, a win, and everything in-between (with a lot of people). That means we actually need you to pick up your phone! And no, it cannot wait. Sorry. But does being high-maintenance have to be a bad thing? What if it were re-framed as making your needs a priority? That’s a very healthy thing to do.

article divider asterisk asterisks asterix Making the world a colorful and balanced place requires both extroverts and introverts. No one personality type “has it all” or should be celebrated over another. In the end, we all just want to feel heard, seen, and accepted. We may express this in diverse ways and require different forms of support, but at our core, we’re more alike than not. And that simple truth is worth celebrating.

Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!

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A Science-Backed 7-Minute Workout That Hits All the Muscles You Forget About

Don’t get us wrong—we’re all about bodyweight exercises. And quick, high-intensity routines like the scientific 7-minute workout (plus the research that inspired it) prove you can get in a great workout with very little time and equipment. 

But one issue with relying on body weight as resistance is that it can get a little tricky to work the muscles of your back body—you know, your upper and lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.

“It’s easier to find bodyweight exercises that include squatting and pushing than pulling and hinging,” says Noam Tamir, certified personal trainer and owner of TS Fitness. “These exercises are great; however, they mainly strengthen areas that are already dominant and promote short, tight muscles in the front of the body, leading to poor posture, possible injury, and aesthetic imbalances.” (That’s no bueno.)

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Not to worry. We’ve teamed up with Tamir to create a sister workout for the original 7-minute circuit. This routine is the perfect companion, because each exercise works the opposite muscle groups of the original. “These moves are efficient at keeping the body fit and functioning optimally,” Tamir says. And since you shouldn’t perform HIIT every single day, it’s easy to alternate between the two workouts once or twice a week.  

How to use this list: Perform each exercise in order below at a high-intensity effort for 30 seconds. For single-sided exercises, such as Lateral Squat and Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift, perform the exercise for 15 seconds before switching to the other side. (If you have extra time, perform 30 seconds on each side.) Rest for 5 seconds between each exercise to reset. This circuit can be repeated 2-3 times if desired. All you need is an exercise mat. 

7-Minute Workout: Ice Skater

Ice Skater

Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Hop right leg to the right and swing left leg behind as left arm crosses front of body and right arms swings back. Repeat on other side by reversing the movement with left leg. Continue to hop back and forth (like you’re gliding on ice skates) for 30 seconds. 

7-Minute Workout: Back Widow

Back Push-Up

Lie faceup on mat with knees bent, feet on floor. Bend elbows to 90 degrees with fists toward ceiling (as if you’re holding an imaginary pull-up bar above chest). On the exhale, engage core and press elbows into floor as you squeeze shoulder blades together to lift upper back off the mat. Lead with chest (like a crunch) and keep neck in a neutral position. This should feel like a row, just using body weight (as opposed to cables or weights) for resistance. Inhale and lower back down to starting position. 

7-Minute Workout: Hamstring Curl

Hamstring Curl

Lie facedown on mat. Bend arms and stack hands on top of one another below head to support upper body and maintain a neutral neck. Engage quads and glutes so that lower legs hover above mat. Keeping hips glued down, use backs of legs to slowly bring heels to butt. Resist as you straighten legs back to starting position.  

7-Minute Workout: Shoulder Tap

Shoulder Tap

Start in high plank position, wrists under shoulders, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Engage core and butt for stability. Tap left hand to right shoulder, then place back on mat. Resist the urge to let hips twist or dip; keep them square to mat. Repeat by tapping right hand to left shoulder and continue to alternate. 

7-Minute Workout: Mountain Climber

Mountain Climber

Start in high plank position, wrists under shoulders, core engaged. Maintaining a straight back, draw right knee to chest, then return to starting position. Repeat with other knee. Continue to alternate legs as fast as possible as if you’re running in place. Keep core tight the entire time to prevent hips dipping or piking.

7-Minute Workout: Superman

Superman

Lie facedown on mat with arms at sides. Inhale, then on the exhale, engage core, back, and glutes to lift upper body and legs up off mat as far as possible. Draw shoulder blades together to engage the upper back muscles and keep neck relaxed by keeping your gaze down. Hold for full exhale, then lower back down on the inhale and repeat.  

7-Minute Workout: Lateral Squat

Lateral Squat

Stand with feet just wider than hip-width apart. Take a big step to the left with left foot as you hinge at hips to send butt back (like a squat). Bend left knee and keep right leg straight. Shift all body weight to the left side as you squat back while keeping chest lifted. Push off with left leg to return to standing, then repeat. 

7-Minute Workout: Bicycle Crunch

Bicycle Crunch

Lie faceup on mat with core engaged so that lower back presses into mat. Lift legs to a tabletop position and lightly touch fingertips to back of ears (this will help you avoid pulling on your neck). Use core to rotate at waist, bringing right elbow to left knee as right leg straightens. Then twist to bring left elbow to right knee as left leg straightens, and continue to alternate. 

7-Minute Workout: Butt Kicker

Butt Kicker

Stand with knees slightly bent. Bring right heel to butt then quickly switch legs to bring left heel to butt. Continue alternating legs while you pump arms (like you’re running in place). Remain on your toes the entire time, landing softly rather than stomping feet to protect your knees. 

7-Minute Workout: Press-Up

Press-Up

Lie facedown on mat with neck neutral, elbows bent to 90 degrees, and hands placed next to ribs. Press through palms to lift upper body up off mat (even hips will come up, but only go as far as lower back will allow). Engage upper back muscles to prevent collapsing into your shoulders. Slowly lower back down and repeat. 

7-Minute Workout: Single Leg Deadlift

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Stand with feet together and shift weight to right side to balance on right leg. With a slight bend in standing leg, inhale, then bend at hips to bring upper body and arms forward while left leg shoots back. Keep toes of back leg foot facing the floor and exhale as you return to starting position. 

7-Minute Workout: Down Dog to Plank

Downward Dog to Plank

Start in high plank position. Press floor away as you shift hips back and straight up into downward dog position—you’ll feel a stretch along the backs of your legs and through your upper back. Hold for one count then shift forward back into high plank position and repeat. 

7-Minute Workout
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Jamie Tworkowski Has a Message of Hope for Anyone Who’s Struggling

Welcome to Behind the Confidence, a video series about the real, unfiltered journey to self-belief. We talked to four health and wellness pros who prove true confidence doesn’t stem from a “like,” nor does it magically happen overnight. It’s about finding what makes you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Take it from Jamie Tworkowski: Confidence doesn’t mean you have it together all the time. It’s not about being perfect. “I think in a way, we find confidence by realizing that we belong to other people, and we’re all in it together,” he says.

His nonprofit organization, To Write Love on Her Arms, is set up specifically to let people who are struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts know they’re not alone. Here Tworkowski opens up about how he finds moments of confidence despite his own battle with depression—and how to have hope when life isn’t perfect. 

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The Best Slow Cookers to Buy (Because Not All Crock-Pots Are Created Equal)

Though there are some superheroes who manage to whip up delicious meals from scratch after a long day at work, we can’t all be like that. For the rest of us, there are slow cookers. Throw in some protein, grains, veggies, and sauce before heading out the door, and when you come home, you’ve got a tasty, piping hot meal waiting for you. (OK, so it’s not quite that easy. You should follow a recipe, but you get the point.)

Still, not all slow cookers are created equal. Since you’ll be leaving the appliance unattended for hours, you want to pick one you can trust. Here are our four favorite models:

If You’re on a Budget

Crock-Pot 4-Quart Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot 4-Quart Manual Slow Cooker

If you’re looking for a no-frills, top-notch slow cooker, this is the model to buy. It looks nearly identical to the one our mom had 20 years ago—it’s what marketers would spin as “a timeless design.” But, as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Plus, its four-quart size makes it ideal for small kitchens where counters and cabinets are a precious commodity.

($ 19.99, crock-pot.com)

If You Like to Party

Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker

Need to cook something for a crowd? Let us introduce you to your new best friend, the Stay-or-Go slow cooker. Making big meals—without slaving away in the kitchen—has never been easier. And if you’re leaving the house for your party, you don’t have to worry about spilling your dish in transport. The locking mechanism on top keeps everything sealed (and warm) until you’re ready to serve.

($ 22.49, target.com)

If You Cook Tons of Meat

Hamilton Beach Set-n-Forget

Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Now we’re getting to the models with cool bells and whistles. This step up from run-of-the-mill slow cookers comes with a built-in meat thermometer. Next time you’re cooking a full chicken or a roast, poke the meat with the thermometer and set your desired temperature. Once the meat reaches the right temp, the cooker automatically turns from “cook” to “warm”—meaning the meat comes out perfectly juicy every time!

($ 49.49, target.com)

If You Love Gadgets

Crock-Pot with WeMo

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo

This model is pricey, but it comes with a really cool feature: If you download the WeMo app and plug in your Crock-Pot before you leave home, you can turn this model on and adjust the temperature from anywhere. But, you ask, isn’t a slow cooker’s selling point that you can turn it on before you leave for work, not worry about it all day, and come home to a perfectly cooked meal? Well, yeah. But there are plenty of slow cooker recipes that require more precise timing, so being able to control the Crock-Pot from a distance can be really helpful.

($ 129.99, crock-pot.com)

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An Ode to Ranch: How I Fell in Love With America’s Condiment

What are your first memories of middle school? Catching a glimpse of your crush’s braces-crossed smile? Straining to remember your locker combination? Half-heartedly digging through your backpack to “find” the homework you knew you’d forgotten at home? My earliest middle school memory took place in the cafeteria, on the first Friday of the month: pizza day. I was sitting across from my friend Allen, mouth agape, as I watched him douse his slice of pizza in ranch dressing. I’d never seen anyone do that before.

“You ever try this?” he asked, grinning.

“No,” I said, trying my damnedest to decipher the swirl of cheese, tomato sauce, bread, and tangy buttermilk. It didn’t make any sense. Ranch was for salads, not pizza. That combination simply couldn’t be good… could it?

“It’ll change your life,” he said, offering me a bite.

Allen was right.

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The marriage of ranch and pizza is said to have begun in the South, when Pizza Hut began offering it as a side with their pies, but we’ll never know for certain who came up with that brilliant scheme. I can only deduce that the person in question was a bona fide genius.

However, the practice of dipping pizza—or even just the crust—into ranch dressing has its detractors. In protest of the growing trend, one Dallas pizzeria famously charges $ 1,000 for a side of the stuff, and more than one publication has sounded off on the matter.

In a recent article published by The Washington Post,Ranch Dressing Is What’s Wrong With America,” Ben Adler suggests, among other insults, that ranch is something other than perfect.

Clearly, that’s an absurd statement, and the article was met with controversy (just scroll down to the comments section). But while there are die-hard ranch fans and people who want to see every last bottle dumped out, if anything I think Adler proved ranch is more beloved than it is scorned.

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Ranch dressing was invented in 1949 by a cowboy from Nebraska named Steven Henson, while working as contract plumber in Alaska. In 1954, Steve and his wife, Gayle, opened a ranch near Santa Barbara, California, and would often serve their guests a special dressing made of buttermilk, mayonnaise, and herbs. Their home was called Hidden Valley, and the dressing would eventually be known as… well, you know.

In 1972, the entire dressing brand was bought for a staggering $ 8 million by The Clorox Company, but it wasn’t until 1983 that the more popular non-refrigerated bottle hit supermarket shelves. Less than a decade later, ranch would become America’s favorite condiment, and by the mid-90s, it had become a staple far beyond salads: Kids would trade anything in their lunch for a snack-size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.

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As a kid, I was never one to consume ranch with reckless abandon. But after that day in the cafeteria with Allen, my taste for the dressing started to grow. Soon I was regularly using it as a condiment for pizza and fries. The only thing holding me back was the knowledge that my family would ride me out of town on a rail if I polished off the entire bottle the way I really wanted to.

But eventually I left for college, where rules were meant to be broken. In our dorm, my friends and I engaged in what I can only refer to as “culinary experimentation.” Ranch on burgers. Ranch on steak. Ranch on beans. Ranch on pie. Ranch and Diet Coke. OK, we never did the last one, but there is such a thing as ranch soda.

I never considered the possibility that I might take it too far, but in the end, I flew too close to the sun on wings sprinkled with dill and dried parsley, and the inevitable happened: I made myself sick. I know plenty of people who lost their taste for tequila after an overambitious night in college. But me, I overdid it on the ranch. I put the bottle back and didn’t touch it for over a year.

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When my favorite condiment and I got back together, it was—appropriately enough—in the Midwest, where the ranch dressing flows like wine. I was sitting in a bar, waiting for my girlfriend to finish class. We were doing the long-distance thing, and she was finishing a degree from the University of Wisconsin. I ordered a pint of Spotted Cow and the fried cheese curds, which were served with a plastic tub of ranch dressing for dipping. I stared at it with cautious interest, like a bear gazing at an open picnic basket. I knew what ranch had done to me in the past, but I wasn’t ready to pass over a regional delicacy. Gingerly, I dipped the curd in the dressing… and promptly went back in time.

Suddenly, I was in eighth grade all over again, in that noisy cafeteria with Allen. Enough time had passed, and my heart was ready to accept the treasure trove of buttermilk and herbs. I’d rediscovered white gold. Elated, I texted my girlfriend, who responded with understandable confusion. She’d grown up in Massachusetts but had spent enough time in the Midwest to know that ranch was king. Despite being in the middle of her class, she texted me back: What? Yes. Ranch is effing majestic. How could you not know it’s good on cheese curds?! Or like… on everything??

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The question remains: Why is ranch so good on everything? NPR pondered this a few years ago and came to the conclusion that ranch is so good just because… well, it’s delicious. It’s tangy, creamy, smooth, and naturally, full of calories. It tastes good because it makes you feel good, like eating an ice cream sandwich or waking up for work—only to realize it’s Saturday.

I’ll never understand the snobs who think ranch isn’t high-end enough to be delicious. Like other classic comfort foods, it doesn’t require expensive, difficult-to-procure ingredients in order to be amazing, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable to me. However, ranch did end up teaching me a valuable lesson in temperance. It may be delicious on everything—and I do mean everything—but I’ve learned to use the American classic the way it was intended: in moderation, savoring each and every bite.

Show how you ranch out your favorite foods with a dip, dunk, or drizzle of Hidden Valley Ranch. Snap a picture of your Ranched Out dish and then visit RanchOutSweeps.com to enter. You can also enter by sharing it on Instagram or Twitter with #RanchOutSweepstakes. NoPurNec18+ Rules @ HiddenValley.com Ends:4/19/17@11:59am PT.

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The Best Gluten-Free Pastas You Can Buy

Gluten-free pasta is something of a contradiction. You can’t expect mac and cheese made with bean pasta to taste like the boxed stuff you made in college, but that’s actually the best part of cooking with these noodles. With different flavors and textures than your typical box of penne, alternate grain and carb-based noodles allow you to play with ingredients you never thought would go together. Just looking for a GF option to cover with cheese and sauce, you say? Some of these grain-free pastas taste just as neutral as the spaghetti Mom used to make. Open your mind and pick up one of these nine gluten-free pastas at the grocery store this week.

GF pasta: banza

Photo: Amazon

One of our favorite pastas of the bunch, protein-rich Banza gets its power from chickpeas. Toss the subtly nutty-flavored pasta with sautéed veg and sun-dried tomatoes for a bright dinner you’ll want every night this week.

Ready for a chickpea bonanza? Buy it now.

GF pasta: King Soba

Photo: Amazon

These striking purple-black noodles pair just as well with marinara as they do with peanut sauce. King Soba noodles’ best texture is revealed when slightly undercooked and refreshed with cold water.

Go purple. Buy it now.

GF pasta: ancient harvest

Photo: Amazon

The most similar to wheat pasta in flavor and taste, Ancient Harvest is just waiting to help you trick your dinner guests into eating a completely GF bolognese.

Mmm, penne bolognese. Buy it now.

GF pasta: jovial

Photo: Amazon

Throw Jovial pasta into a big grain bowl with sautéed greens, mushrooms, and cabbage—only this time, you won’t be waiting an hour for the brown rice to cook.

Start building your grain bowl. Buy it now.

GF pasta: bionaturae

Photo: Amazon

A blend of rice, potatoes, and soy (all neutral-tasting carbs), Bionaturae pasta is ready to become the most satisfying mac and cheese your GF stomach has ever had. You. Are. Welcome.

GF elbow noodles FTW. Buy it now.

GF pasta: eden

Photo: Amazon

If soba noodles aren’t part of your weekly pasta routine, it’s time to change things up. Toss Eden pasta with roasted broccoli and soy-ginger sauce, and plop a chunk of salmon on top. Ohhhhhhyeah.

It’s better than takeout. Buy it now.

GF pasta: explore asia

Photo: Amazon

Only know edamame as that out-to-dinner appetizer? Open your mind to Explore Cuisine pasta and embrace the green noodles by coating them in kale pesto and sautéed greens.

Go green. Buy it now.

GF pasta: tolerant

Photo: Amazon

Take a break from lentil soups and curries in favor of Tolerant pasta. The red lentil-based noodles are perfect in pasta primavera—just made sure not to overcook ’em so they hold their shape.

Think you can Tolerant it? Buy it now.

GF pasta: trader joes

Photo: Amazon

With a distinct flavor, Trader Joe’s bean pasta is the best choice when you want your noodles to actually bring something to the dish. Refusing to hide behind neutral flavor, this gluten-free option makes a perfect base for a corn, tomato, avocado, and red onion pasta salad.

Just in time for summer. Buy it now.

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