A Sweet Superfruit for Summer Meals

From backyard barbecues and family picnics to a bright addition to seasonal recipes, sweet cherries not only provide a boost of flavor but also pack a punch when it comes to nutrition, helping keep you and your family healthy during busy summer months.

Cherries can help reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure as well as relieve stress and gout, and can improve sleep quality.

The perfect time to take advantage of the goodness of Northwest-grown sweet cherries is through August. Eat fresh cherries straight out of hand as a snack, bake them into a pie or pair with ice cream for a sweet summertime treat.

The rich fruitiness of sweet cherries helps blunt the sharp edge of dried fruit in a quick and easy Cherry Sauce recipe. Low in sugar and versatile, this sauce can be used as a base ingredient for cocktails, a glaze for meats, a spread for sandwiches, a topping for yogurt and more. Add some ginger or orange peel to complement your menu and you may have a new, nutritious summer favorite. Or, for a sweet, simple snack, use cherries to make an appetizer like Cherry Bruschetta.

Find more recipes and ways to use cherries at nwcherries.com.

Cherry Sauce

Servings: 16

  • 3/4       cup water
  • 3/4       cup maple syrup
  • 4          cups fresh Northwest-grown sweet cherries
  • 4          cups dried cranberries
  • 4          peels (2 inches each) fresh ginger (optional)
  • 3          tablespoons citrus zest (optional)
  • black pepper (optional)
  • fresh herbs (optional)
  • raspberries (optional)
  1. In medium saucepot, add water, syrup and sweet cherries. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally and more frequently as sauce begins to form.
  2. Add cranberries; continue stirring. Once reduced, remove from heat and add fresh ginger, citrus zest, black pepper, fresh herbs and raspberries, if desired.
  3. Cool 30 minutes-1 hour before transferring to wider, shallow pan for speed cooling.
  4. Once cooled, store refrigerated in airtight container up to 2 weeks.


Cherry Bruschetta

Servings: 6

  • 18        slices (1/2-inch thick) small baguette-style bread
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2    cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4       cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4       cup diced yellow sweet pepper
  • 2          tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2          tablespoons lime juice
  • 1          teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2          ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1          tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Arrange baguette slices on cookie sheet and toast one side 5 minutes. Turn slices, brush with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and bake 5 minutes.
  3. Combine cherries, cilantro, sweet pepper, green onions, lime juice, lime peel, garlic salt, pepper and remaining olive oil; mix well.
  4. Top each baguette with thin slice cheese, 1 tablespoon cherry mixture and sprinkle of basil. Serve warm or cold. (Family Features)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Cherry Sauce)

Photo courtesy of Northwest Cherry Growers (Cherry Bruschetta)

Northwest Cherry Growers

Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel Kicks Off Summer with Live Music and Cocktail Popsicles

Series of seasonal events celebrate summer with live local music, boozy popsicles, and non-alcoholic pet pup-sicles

The inviting Terrace.

The inviting Terrace.

The Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, an iconic luxury property in the heart of downtown Austin, is pleased to announce a series of celebratory events to kick off the summer. Events include the new Summer Sunset Sessions, featuring live music from three local Austin musicians on Thursday evenings, and the second annual 7 Flavors of Summer Pop-tails series menu complete with boozy popsicle cocktails, a special PRIDE popsicle, and non-alcoholic pup-sicles for pets.

The Stephen F’s Bar & Terrace Summer Sunset Series will feature three local artists every Thursday evening. Entertainment includes tunes from acoustic guitarist Joshua Klaus, country blues singer/songwriter Willy McGee, and folk-pop duo Call Me Cavalier. Free and open to the public, guests and non-guests will be able to enjoy the entertainment at the Stephen F. Austin Bar & Terrace as the sun sets.

“Summer in Austin is one of the most exciting seasons, and there’s nothing like enjoying live music and a summer treat on our beautiful terrace,” said Danelle Awtrey, Director of Sales and Marketing at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel. “Austin is known for its spirited hospitality, and we’re pleased to welcome guests and patrons to unwind with local entertainment and specially curated boozy treats. In the heart of downtown, there’s no better place to meet friends and family as the sun sets.”

With stunning views of Congress Avenue, the State Capitol, and the historic Paramount Theatre, the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel’s Bar and Terrace offers the perfect location for guests and non-guests to enjoy Austin all throughout summer. The schedule of events include:

Summer Sunset Sessions – Every Thursday from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Enjoy entertainment from local musicians on Stephen F’s Bar & Terrace. The full Summer Sunset Sessions schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, June 20: Joshua Klaus – Acoustic guitarist

  • Thursday, June 27: Willy McGee – Country blues singer/songwriter

  • Thursday, July 4: Willy McGee – Country blues singer/songwriter

  • Thursday, July 11: Willy McGee – Country blues singer/songwriter

  • Thursday, July 18: Call Me Cavalier – Folk-pop duo

  • Thursday, July 25: Joshua Klaus – Acoustic guitarist

  • Thursday, August 1: Joshua Klaus – Acoustic guitarist

  • Thursday, August 8: Willy McGee – Country blues singer/songwriter

  • Thursday, August 15: Call Me Cavalier – Folk-pop duo

  • Thursday, August 22: Call Me Cavalier – Folk-pop duo

  • Thursday, August 29: Joshua Klaus – Acoustic guitarist

  • Thursday, September 5: Call Me Cavalier – Folk-pop duo

  • Thursday, September 12: Willy McGee – Country blues singer/songwriter

Photography of Poptail courtesy of Julia Keim.

Photography of Poptail courtesy of Julia Keim.

7 Flavors of Summer Pop-Tails menu: Spotlighting Texas’ rich bounty of craft distillers in a fun format that provides a refreshing way to cool off during the warm Austin summer. New flavors will launch every Monday starting June 17th, 2019 and be available through August 4th, 2019, with new flavors rotating each week. The second annual 7 Flavors of Summer menu includes:

  • 6/17 – 6/23: White Russian – Café de Fuego, vodka, yogurt. $8

  • 6/24 – 6/30: Bourbon Creamsicle – Bourbon cream liquor, yogurt  $8

  • 7/1 – 7/7: Watermelon Mojito – Watermelon, lime, rum, mint syrup  $8

  • 7/8 – 7/14: Strawberry Daiquiri – Strawberry puree, rum, lime  $8]

  • 7/15 – 7/21: Peach Prosecco – Peach puree, yogurt, peach schnapps $8

  • 7/22 – 7/28: Pina Colada – Rum, pineapple juice, coca cream, coconut flakes  $8

  • 6/17 – 8/4: PRIDE Punch – Specialty popsicle to celebrate Austin PRIDE – Choose your own Skittle infused vodka pop in ruby red grapefruit juice, soda  $8

Pup-Sicles: Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel will also offer complimentary non-alcoholic Pup-Sicles for four legged friends, with flavors including:

  • Raspberry/Honey Puptails

  • Banana, Peanut Butter, Apple Puptails

Prep Your Home for Summer Gatherings

When temperatures rise, it’s time for sun dresses, cranking up the grill and entertaining. Spending time with your loved ones during the warm months can make for some of the best memories of the season, which is why it’s important to take simple steps to de-stress, declutter and refresh your home before your guests arrive.

Refresh Your Home

Our homes are reflections of who we are, and Renuzit Snuggle helps create a welcoming environment for friends and family. With Renuzit Snuggle, you can welcome guests into your home all summer long with fresh scents like Linen Escape, Relaxing Lavender or Enchanting Tropical. It’s crucial to have an air freshener that is long lasting and easy to use, so you never have to worry about lighting candles just before your guests arrive. Welcome them in with the inviting scent of snuggly freshness, available in Plug-In Scented Oils, Gel Cone Air Fresheners and Fabric Refresher Sprays.

Stock Up on Summer Supplies

One of the main causes of stress when prepping for friends and family to arrive is ensuring you have everything on-hand to make your gathering a success. Consider buying summer hosting essentials like paper plates, cups and utensils in bulk to help save time and ensure you’re fully stocked for guests all summer long. Having extra snacks and supplies ready to go can also provide peace of mind when it’s time for any last-minute party-prep.

Spruce Up Accessories and Decor

Update your home’s look by switching out accent pillows, throws or rugs for colorful or patterned options that can excite you and your guests. Buying all new items each season can get expensive, so consider reusing your current pillow inserts and picking out some new covers in bright summer colors to revamp your home’s look.

Bring the Outdoors In

Plants can add color and life into your spaces and create a warm and welcoming environment for your summer gatherings. Bring the outdoors in by adding a few succulents or an herb garden to your kitchen then consider a large, leafy houseplant for your living room. For added pops of color and detail, plant your flowers in fun, decorative pots.

For more information on scents to refresh your home, visit renuzit.com. (Family Features)


8 Recipes to Take Summer Gatherings to the Next Level

The summer months offer seemingly endless opportunities to enjoy the warm weather with friends and family. Serving crowd-pleasing foods and drinks can go a long way toward a successful gathering, whether you’re hosting a brunch, relaxing by the pool or throwing a backyard bash.

Regardless of the occasion, a store like ALDI has everything you need to savor summer, including entertaining items and high-quality ingredients, without the premium price tag. When you make this one-stop shop your destination for summer essentials, you can get more of what you love for less.

Find more seasonal recipe ideas like these appetizers, main dishes, desserts and drinks at ALDI.us.

Grilled Avocados with Vegetable RelishBoost a favorite summer flavor like avocado by using your grill. Start by slicing the avocados and removing the pits before grilling flesh-side down. Fill with a vegetable relish mixture of tomatoes, bell peppers and onions then sprinkle with feta cheese.

Citrus Popping Kale SaladThis light and refreshing salad is a perfect make-ahead meal-starter. Made with a quinoa base, the combination of kale, mangoes, cranberries, toasted almonds and crumbled goat cheese provides a unique mix of flavors.

Grilled Strip Steak Skewers with Pear SlawSkewers are a summertime favorite that can be easily customized to meet the tastes of your guests. This version features steak marinated in a soy sauce mixture, cooked on a grill pan and served over a bed of cabbage, carrots, radishes, onions and julienned pears.

Grilled Pear and Apple Pork TenderloinCombining a sweet yet savory glazed pork tenderloin with a side of fresh apple and pear (or peach) wedges, this simple dish is an ideal accompaniment to a day or night spent dining al fresco.

Frozen Greek Yogurt with BlueberriesSummer calls for frozen treats, and you can put a healthier spin on dessert by substituting frozen yogurt for ice cream. Just blend blueberries, lemon juice and vanilla with Greek yogurt and freeze for a perfect indulgence on a warm afternoon.

Freezie Fruit PopsMix and match assorted fruits like kiwi, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, pineapple, peaches and more with fruit juices. Once mixed, freeze to create healthy fruit pops. For a grown-up version, substitute wine for the juice.

Very Berry Chiller with Lemonade Ice CubesWhen looking for a way to cool off on a hot summer day, reach for a combination of classic summer flavors. Freeze lemonade overnight in an ice cube tray then drop the cubes in a pitcher of blended blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries for a sweet, refreshing beverage.

SanGritaA refreshing twist on a traditional Spanish punch, this adults-only beverage calls for blending frozen lime bars with sangria and garnishing with strawberries and blueberries to your liking. (Family Features)


Pop Up Sweet Treats

When the weather is warm and it’s time for a sweet treat, look for seasonal goodies that complement summertime fun. For example, reach for an option like whole-grain, fluffy and crisp popcorn which can be an easy, DIY snack.

Combine sweet and salty flavors to create something delicious to devour like Coconut Popcorn Crunch Pie or delightful Down Home Apple Pie Popcorn.

To better serve a crowd, try these Perfect Picnic Popcorn Squares, Popcorn S’mores or Key Lime Popcorn Clusters at your next family pool party or summertime barbecue with friends.

For more creative, DIY popcorn recipe ideas, visit popcorn.org.

Down Home Apple Pie Popcorn

Yield: 10 cups

  • 3          tablespoons melted butter
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2          tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1          teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 1          cup dried apple chips, broken into large pieces
  • 1/4       cup toffee bits


  1. Heat oven to 300° F. Whisk melted butter with vanilla. Toss brown sugar with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
  2. Toss popcorn with butter mixture. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture. Stir. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Sprinkle apple chips and toffee bits over top. Bake 15 minutes, or until toffee bits start to melt. Cool before serving.

Tip: Add chopped pecans for extra crunch.

Key Lime Popcorn Clusters

Yield: about 32 clusters

  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 4          whole graham crackers, finely chopped, divided
  • 1          jar (7 1/2 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1/4       cup butter or margarine
  • 2          tablespoons grated lime peel
  • 1          tablespoon key lime juice
  1. Line 9-inch square pan with foil.
  2. In large bowl, combine popcorn and all but 2 tablespoons graham cracker pieces.
  3. In large glass bowl, microwave marshmallow creme and butter on high 1 minute. Stir until butter is melted. Stir in lime peel and lime juice.
  4. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn, mixing thoroughly.
  5. Using damp hand, firmly press mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved graham cracker pieces. Refrigerate 2 hours until firm.
  6. Lift foil from pan. Break popcorn mixture into clusters.

Coconut-Popcorn Crunch Pie

Yield: 12 servings

  • 2          quarts popped popcorn, unsalted
  • 1          can (4 ounces) flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 1          cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2       cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 2          teaspoons salt
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 1          quart vanilla, spumoni or butter pecan ice cream
  • fresh fruit, for topping (optional)
  • chocolate sauce, for topping (optional)
  1. In large, buttered bowl, mix popcorn and coconut. In saucepan, combine sugar, syrup, butter, water and salt. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until syrup reaches hard crack stage (290-295 F).
  2. Stir in vanilla. Pour syrup in fine stream over popcorn mixture; stir until particles are evenly coated with syrup.
  3. On buttered, 12-inch pizza pan, spread half of popcorn mixture in thin layer, covering bottom of pan. Mark off into wedge-shaped servings; set aside. Repeat using remaining popcorn mixture; cool.
  4. Cover one layer with ice cream; top with second popcorn layer. Store in freezer. To serve, cut in wedges. Serve with fruit or chocolate sauce, if desired.

Perfect Picnic Popcorn Squares

Yield: 12 squares

  • 1          cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2       cup sugar
  • 1/2       cup brown sugar
  • 1          cup reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 3/4       cup raisins
  • 8          cups air-popped popcorn
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. In large saucepan, combine corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter.
  2. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly; boil 2-3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.
  3. In large bowl, combine raisins and popcorn; pour hot mixture over popcorn and toss carefully with wooden spoons until well-coated.
  4. Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; press popcorn mixture into pan and cool completely.
  5. Cut into squares and serve.

Popcorn S’mores

Yield: 20 pieces

  • 1          cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1/2       cup corn syrup
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda
  • 10        cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 1          package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
  • 2          cups mini graham cookies
  • 1          cup chocolate chips
  1. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.
  2. Cook over high heat 5 minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
  3. In large bowl, combine popcorn and marshmallows.
  4. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.
  5. Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.
  6. Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan.
  7. Let cool completely. Break into pieces. (Family Features)

Popcorn Board

Where to Catch Your Favorite Stars this Summer

New and classic shows and movies available in June

Many of your favorite shows are airing season finales, and soon many will start searching for ways to fill the entertainment void this summer. With a plan in mind, you won’t have to wait for the next big blockbuster to hit theaters or stay glued to reruns on TV to spend some quality time watching your favorite stars.

Some of the biggest names in entertainment can be found on streaming services like Netflix, and one of the best parts is there is no offseason. Everything is available on-demand, so you can watch on your schedule without disrupting your summer fun.

The classics are in full force this month, including some on-ice action that celebrates the United States Men’s National Ice Hockey Team’s classic 1980 Olympic victory with Kurt Russell in Miracle; searching the globe for lost treasure hidden by the United States’ forefathers with Nicholas Cage and Jon Voight in National Treasure; or even King George VI, played by Colin Firth, overcoming his struggles with a stutter to deliver one of the most iconic addresses in history in the award-winning film The King’s Speech.

These are just a sample of the titles you can find that are new to Netflix this June. New shows and movies are added to the service every day, so whether you’re into comedy, suspense, drama or anything in-between, you can find those genres and more on your smartphone, tablet or TV. Sign-up is easy; simply visit Netflix.com, choose a plan and provide payment information and your zip code.

Here’s a look at other shows and movies coming this month:

Explained: Season 1

This docuseries spotlights a wide range of topical and timely issues that impact lives on a daily basis, such as the gender wage gap, geopolitical politics, the rise of cryptocurrency and why diets fail. (Episodes available June 6, 13, 20 and 27)

The Staircase

This documentary series offers an inside look at the high-profile murder case of author Michael Peterson, accused of killing his wife in 2001. (Available June 6)

The Ranch: Part 5

Being a pro athlete didn’t pan out for Colt (Ashton Kutcher). Now he’s helping his dad (Sam Elliott) and brother keep the ranch afloat while figuring out how he fits into the family. (Available June 15)

Set It Up

In this romantic comedy, two overworked and underpaid assistants concoct a plan to get their insufferable bosses off their backs by setting them up with each other. (Available June 22)

Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle with the First Order. (Available June 26) (Family Features)


5 Tips for Healthy Summer Hydration

Summer provides countless opportunities to get outside for hiking, biking and running around with friends and family. However, having fun in the sun also requires proper hydration.

While staying hydrated may seem easy, healthy hydration is not always a given. For example, the water coming out of your faucet can travel through miles of aging pipes before it reaches your home, potentially picking up unwanted contaminants such as lead, pesticides and industrial pollutants along the way.

These tips can assist in achieving healthy hydration throughout the summer months:

Drink Plenty of Water. It may seem simple, but consuming an appropriate amount of water can be especially important when temperatures reach sweltering levels. Since the human body is 60 percent water, it’s a vital step for your health to make sure you’re getting enough of it, which is why Healthline recommends 6-8 glasses (8 ounces each) of water per day.

Make Sure It’s Pure. In addition to drinking the right amount of water, it’s also important to drink the right kind of water. Consider installing an in-home filtered water solution like the PUR Advanced Faucet Filtration system. It’s certified to reduce more than 70 contaminants, including 99 percent of lead – more than any other brand, according to NSF. Filtered water can be used to refill water bottles and ice cube trays, prepare infant formula, cook and make beverages like coffee, tea and even smoothies.

“Staying hydrated is especially important during the hot, summer months,” said Deb Mudway, PUR marketing vice president. “Our lead-reducing faucet filtration systems make it easy to enjoy cleaner, better-tasting water at home or on-the-go.”

Take It To-Go. Keeping a bottle of water with you when you’re out and about is a convenient way to stay hydrated. Rather than disposable plastic water bottles, consider using a refillable, BPA-free bottle, which is a more environmentally friendly choice and typically more affordable.

Add a Little Flavor. Quench your thirst and add some refreshing flavor and nutrients to your water by infusing it with strawberries, kiwi, orange, mint or melon slices.

Eat Water-Rich Foods. An overlooked option for maintaining proper hydration is eating fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumbers and celery that naturally contain water. For the freshest results, wash your fruits and vegetables with filtered water prior to eating them.

Find more ways to ensure cleaner water consumption for proper summer hydration at PUR.com. (Family Features)


Simplify Your Lifestyle this Summer

From backyard barbecues and trips to the beach to baseball games and swim meets, summer is all about family fun. It’s also an ideal time to slow down and incorporate a more mindful routine at home.

This season, prioritize a “less-is-more” lifestyle by making smart swaps, like using products with better ingredients, to simplify your life and create an even healthier home for your family. With these easy, helpful tips, you can arm yourself with the tools to spend more time focusing on family and fun.

Pick Produce, Not Processed. What you feed your family often fuels summer fun, but favorite treats like ice cream and hot dogs can be full of unwanted ingredients and added sugars.Skip prepackaged items and look for fresh, seasonal produce that can be incorporated into multiple meals throughout the day, which can also lead to a shorter grocery list and less waste. For example, you can add nutrient- and antioxidant-rich stone fruit to Greek yogurt for breakfast, mix into salsa for a snack and throw on the grill then top with whipped cream for dessert.

Focus on the RightIngredients. Warmer temperatures and fun, outdoor activities can lead to extra stains and more laundry. It’s important to keep summer items dirt-free and smelling fresh with products you can feel good about bringing into your home. For a powerful clean without harshness to keep your summer wardrobe clean and fresh, try all fresh clean Essentials, which is formulated without sulfates and contains effective ingredients for deep cleaning the toughest stains.

Minimize Your Regimen. Take advantage of the seasonal climate to shorten your beauty routine and save time, energy and products. There’s no need to blow dry hair with warm weather – sleep in two twisted braids for beachy waves, air-dry after the shower or throw on a wide-brimmed sun hat to hide bed head. Also focus on products that do double duty: replace sticky lipsticks and gloss with tinted chapsticks that include SPF or mix in a drop of sunscreen to liquid foundation.

Simplify Cleanup. It’s easy to let the myriad rotating summer activities turn your space into an unexpected mess, so proactively prepare for the chaos by creating a cleanup kit. A clean towel, water bottle, sunscreen, change of clothes and snack in a small tote or plastic container can be left in the trunk of the car or in the garage to keep you from running around searching for supplies. This way, you’re prepared for whatever summer brings, be it spilled ketchup, an unexpected shower or even a care-free run through the backyard sprinkler.

Visit allsulfatefree.com to learn more and watch videos featuring wellness expert and mom Hilaria Baldwin that focus on smart tips for living cleanly. (Family Features)

Top Tips For Healthy Hydration: You’re Probably Missing This Key Ingredient

This summer, most of the United States experienced a heat wave that kept many people indoors or in the shade. Very high temperatures, especially for a prolonged period of time, can be extremely dangerous — and not just for the elderly or other vulnerable individuals. Participating in any outdoor activity, especially sports or physical labor, can be risky even for the healthiest among us. The key to staying healthy is staying hydrated.

As our bodies try to cool off, we sweat and lose not just the water we need, but something just as important — electrolytes. Electrolytes are made up of sodium and potassium among other elements which need to be replaced. Experienced athletes and runners know the importance of electrolytes, and drink sports drinks like Gatorade rather than just water. Replacing water without sufficient sodium can quickly produce hyponatremia, a potentially fatal condition caused by too little sodium in the blood stream.

Hyponatremia: A real threat

Hyponatremia symptoms are similar to those of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and are often overlooked. Sometimes people drink more water when they start having these symptoms and end up making their condition worse. Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, confusion, seizures, coma and death. To avoid this condition, medical experts advise marathon runners to consume extra salt. This advice should also be considered by anyone exposed to excessive heat.

There have been several documented cases of illness and even death from hyponatremia over the past several years. According to the British Medical Journal, 16 runners died as a result of too little sodium and over-hydration, while another 1,600 became seriously ill. It is true that water intoxication is more commonly seen among extreme athletes, but older individuals are also at high risk for several reasons.

An increased risk

As we age, our kidneys become less efficient at conserving the salt we need when the body is stressed, such as from dehydration and high temperatures. When combined with common medications such as diuretics, which are commonly prescribed to treat hypertension, the result is a greater risk for hyponatremia.

The key lies in finding the proper balance of electrolytes essential for normal function of the cells and organs. Electrolytes help to regulate cardiovascular and neurological functions, fluid balance and oxygen delivery.

Recipe for hydration

Ideally, anyone engaging in outdoor activity in the heat or even an indoor exercise program should drink eight to 12 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during a session. If exercising exceeds an hour, a beverage that contains salt and an energy carbohydrate is far superior to plain water. The recommended concentration of salt in a fluid replacement beverage is a quarter teaspoon per liter. Most sports drinks contain salt, although the amount is not quite that high. Anyone can make an alternative to commercial fluid replacement beverages easily by adding a quarter to a half teaspoon of salt per liter, or 32 ounces of water.

When you exercise, your body’s metabolism works at a much higher rate, breaking down and regenerating tissues and creating waste metabolites that need to be flushed out of your system. However, regardless of your level of activity, you still need to maintain good hydration. So remember to always drink plenty of water to beat the heat, but also up your intake of electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium.

7 Gotta Get Summer Gadgets

By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor

I just love summer. Aside from the longer days, jaunts to tropical locales, weekend barbeques and balmy nights out on the town, it’s a season during which my thirst for innovative and utilitarian gadgetry is thoroughly quenched. Indeed, there’s a myriad of totally awesome tech that are particularly well-suited for the summer lifestyle. Here are a few relating to lawn care, skincare, entertainment and edibles that I’ve found to be particularly pleasing.

Photography courtesy of Rachio

Photography courtesy of Rachio

Rachio Smartphone Sprinkler Controller (www.Rachio.com) – $299.99

Take control of your watering this summer with Rachio, the Smart Sprinkler Controller that gives you control of your sprinklers and watering bill right from your smartphone! The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller changes the way people water since it makes running sprinklers easy and convenient while also saving on water usage and money. Rachio automatically creates a customized watering schedule using local forecasts, soil and plant types, sun exposure, and more while keeping water conservation and landscaping health in mind. It’ll help keep your yard lush and green all summer long. Go ahead, make your neighbors green with envy with Rachio.Photo Ownership/Copyright Credit for Above

VocoPro KaraokeDual System for SmartTVs and Tablets (www.VocoPro.com) – $229

Here’s a way Karaoke singers can sound their best at home using their mobile tablets and SmartTVs. VocoPro’s KaraokeDual system is a powerful digital “boom box” with high-quality effects to provide the best possible sound. Users can connect to the system through Bluetooth and stream karaoke audio tracks wirelessly. Or, connect the KaraokeDual to an Internet-connected Smart TV using the available digital optical input and access thousands of tracks through YouTube, or popular karaoke apps like “Karaoke Channel” or “Red Karaoke.” Even sing duets with the system’s two wireless vocal microphones bundled in the package. Each mic has the controls built right into the handset for maximum convenience. For more than two decades, the VocoPro name has been synonymous with professional karaoke systems, and still holds the number one spot for high-end professional karaoke products. The company prides itself on providing industry-leading customer service. Now that’s music to my ears.

Photography courtesy of Overstock.com

Photography courtesy of Overstock.com

iBasics Tote Bag with Built-in Speaker (www.Overstock.com) – $50.00

Speaking of music, nothing beats a perfect picnic or beach outing like your favorite tunes playing in the background. Now that’s super easy with the fashionable iBasics Tote Bag with Built-in Speaker, which allows you to make your own background music while carrying your favorite outing essentials, including wet towels and bathing suits since the bag is waterproof. In addition to the detachable battery-powered speaker that plugs right into your audio source, the cute clear blue-tinted tote bag also features a large main zippered compartment and a small zippered side compartment for your smartphone and other small electronics.

Photography Courtesy of Silk'n

Photography Courtesy of Silk’n

Silk’n Flash&Go Express Hair Removal Device (www.Silkn.com) – $299

Of course, in preparation for a day at the beach or pool requires some grooming, including dealing with unwanted body hair. Now you can kick old-school razors to the curb and say goodbye to unwanted hair forever with help from the Silk’n Flash&Go Express. The FDA-cleared device uses patented Home Pulsed Light (HPL) technology and a convenient, compact design to permanently remove hair from head to toe with ease. Simply target the treatment area and let the Flash&Go Express do the rest with gentle pulses of light that disable hair growth at the root. In only two-to-four sessions, the company reports that most users experience visually diminished hair that is comparable to results produced by professionally administered procedures. The best part is you never have to deal with ingrown hairs, razor burn or refill cartridges again! Go ahead, be stubble free forever and make shaving a thing of the past with the Silk’n Flash&Go Express.

Photography Courtesy of Silk'n

Photography Courtesy of Silk’n

Silk’n FaceFX Anti-Aging Device (www.Silkn.com) – $149.00

During those sunny summer months, anti-aging skincare should remain top of mind lest those UV rays get the best of you. Luckily I found the Silk’n FaceFX at-home anti-aging device that uses a synergistic combination of red light therapy and deep thermal heating to stimulate collagen production, diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and provide a brighter, clearer, more radiant complexion. Each session takes only 15-20 minutes and is done just three times per week for the first month, and then merely once per month going forward. The company notes that some results can be seen immediately with the most dramatic changes occurring after three to seven weeks. This clinically tested and dermatologist recommended anti-aging tool can be used on crow’s feet, under the eyes, cheeks and virtually any other problem area. This gadget is a true summer savior.

Photography courtesy of Silk'n

Photography courtesy of Silk’n

Silk’n Blue Acne Treatment/Prevention Device (www.Silkn.com) – $149

Another way to save face this season is with a device called Silk’n Blue, which is a revolutionary new way to treat and prevent acne. The clinically proven, dermatologist-recommended and FDA cleared Silk’n Blue at-home device combines the synergistic power of blue light emitting diode (LED) technology and infrared (IR) heat radiation. The device offers a safe, drug-free, non-invasive, gentle and effective way to combat the root causes of both present and future acne. By simply pressing the device down on problem areas, the blue light penetrates the skin to destroy bacteria that lives deep beneath the skin’s surface, while the IR heat initiates deep tissue warming and dehydrates the oil-overproducing sebaceous glands. With regular use, visible results can be seen in as little as three to seven weeks and is a great way to put your best face forward.

Photography courtesy of Overstock.com

Photography courtesy of Overstock.com

Nostalgia Electrics Vintage Collection Old-fashioned 6-quart Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker (www.Overstock.com) – $93.45
Create your own chocolate ice cream, peach frozen yogurt, vanilla gelato and more with the Nostalgia Electrics ice cream maker. Designed to make up to six quarts of dessert (ice cream, frozen yogurt or gelato) at a time, this adorable Vintage-styled electric ice cream maker features an old-fashioned woodgrain appearance. The aluminum canister is rust-resistant and, with hits large capacity, you can entertain several guests or family members in one go. Use ingredients right from local market for fresh homemade treats this season and beyond!


Merilee Kern

Merilee Kern

“The Luxe List” Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***