Summer Solstice is Here

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Today is the longest day of the year meaning it is the Summer Solstice. So let’s celebrate the start of summer with some interesting Summer Solstice facts:

  1. Solstice comes from the latin words sol, meaning sun, and sistere, meaning to come to a stop or stand still.  Today the sun reaches the northernmost position as it can be seen from earth. At this moment, its zenith does not move north or south as during most days of the year, but it stands still above the Tropic of Cancer. It then reverses direction and starts moving south again.
  2. The Summer Solstice happens when the tilt of the earth’s axis is more inclined towards the sun, directly above the Tropic of Cancer.
  3. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the Summer Solstice can occur between June 20th and June 22nd.
  4. It occurs at the same time across the world. Technically, the Summer Solstice occurs the exact instant the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. Today that is at 22:34 UTC.
  5. Today the sun rose at 5:39 am and will set at 8:33 pm giving us 14 hours, 53 minutes and 52 seconds of daylight.
  6. Many think that since it is summer in the northern hemisphere, the earth is closest to the sun during the Summer Solstice. But it is the opposite — the earth is technically the farthest from the sun during this time of the year.The Artic Circle will have 24 hours of daylight today.
  7. This will be the first Summer Solstice with a full moon in decades. The full moon — also known as the Strawberry Moon — will coincide with the Summer Solstice. This is the first time these two events have occurred on the same day since 1967 and will not happen again until 2062.

Surprise! Sleep Deprivation Affects Emotional Intelligence

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It is 8:00 am, pre-coffee (if that’s your thing), and you’re getting ready to walk out the door after a night of staying up with your sick spouse, child, or roommate. You’re starting to feel super-human, juggling all your pre-work morning responsibilities with a heavy head and groggy eyes, when your spouse/child/roommate walks up to you and asks an innocent question: “I’m hungry. What are we having for breakfast?” You look at their cheerful face and take instant offense. You think, “What do you mean, what’s for breakfast? Can’t you see I’m simultaneously feeding the dog, prepping the beans for tonight’s slow-cooker dinner, and reading Junior’s school newsletter?

According to a new U.C. Berkeley study published in the Journal of Neuroscience earlier this week, there is a strong link between a lack of quality sleep and decreased ability to distinguish between positive and negative emotional facial expressions in others. Researchers viewed brain scans and monitored the heart rates of 18 adult participants while they randomly viewed 70 images of faces with random expressions: positive, neutral, and negative emotions. Each individual viewed the facial images twice, once when they were fully rested and once after they had been awake for 24 consecutive hours. The study noted a neural link between the quality and amount of sleep a person gets and his or her ability to correctly process others’ facial expressions. The results of the study inferred that there is “a role for REM sleep in affective brain recalibration” and “the next-day success of emotional discrimination…” Sleeping_angel All the more reason to get a good night’s sleep!   For more information on the study, you can refer to the following articles: http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/07/14/brain-facialexpressions/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/15/sleep-brain-emotions_n_7801726.html

The Problem with the K-Cup

k-cupsIf you work in an office, have a busy schedule and drink coffee everyday… then there is a good chance that you used a share of the 9 billion Keurig K-Cups that were sold last year! And who could blame you? In our fast-paced society, it’s hard to resist the opportunity to have hundreds of beverages available at the touch of a button (and without all the hassle of cleaning out yesterday’s pot of coffee).

A few weeks ago I came across an article on The Atlantic website that confirmed the fear that had slowly begun to creep in as I brewed my coffee every morning: eventually these K-Cups are going to take over! I had already noticed the waste building up in our office, but James Hablin’s article, A Brewing Problem, really opened my eyes to just how big this issue is becoming. If we were to line up all of the K-Cups that were sold in the past year alone, they would circle the earth at least 10.5 times! Not only that, but the K-Cups are made using a type of plastic that is not recyclable in the US…which means that the only home for those 9 billion K-Cups is the landfill.

This knowledge is worsened by the fact that several competitors have successfully designed a recyclable or biodegradable version of the K-Cup…and instead of embracing it, Keurig has trumped the competition by launching a second-generation machine that only works with Keurig-brand cups. Last year, Keurig promised to come up with a fully-recyclable version of its K-Cup by 2020. However, that promise was not enough to stop Egg Studios from producing a theater-quality horror movie about the impending “K-Cup Apocalypse.” While it may be a little far-fetched, this video has certainly gotten people thinking and has lead to the #KillTheKCup movement on Twitter.

By the end of this article, you may find yourself considering giving up coffee entirely (I know I was), but wait — there’s still hope! Somewhere in the course of the past few weeks, a lovely little box (like the one below) showed up in our kitchen. Turns out, there is a way to recycle these things after all! Click here for more information about Keurig’s Grounds to Grow On program.

There may still be room for improvement, but I can honestly say that my Keurig-brewed coffee takes a little sweeter now that I know that the K-Cup can be converted into something useful!

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Why Your Body Loves Sleep

You may think your body just shuts down when you sleep. However, your body goes through an amazing and complex process. As you go through the four stages of sleep each night, your body triggers processes that help you achieve that rested and healthy feeling the next morning.

Here’s a graphic from the Huffington Post that shows each stage of the sleep cycle and the effects that being in that stage have on your body.

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For more information on the the cycles and their effects, check out the full article, Your Body Does Incredible Things When You Aren’t Awake.

So be sure to rest up and get your ZZZs!

OMI Nominated for Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards!

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Exciting news! OMI has been nominated for Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards in the Design, Furniture & Home Accessories category. The American Made awards is a program that is designed to spotlight great American makers, entrepreneurs, artisans, and small-business owners who are creating beautiful, inspiring, useful products; pioneering new industries; improving local communities; and changing the way we eat, work, and live.

Although the executive editorial team of Martha Stewart Living will serve as category judges and oversee the selection process, Martha serves as head judge and makes the final picks. However, you too can vote for Audience Favorite. Cast your vote for OMI HERE

The Products will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Innovativeness, demonstrated creativity, and originality of idea
  • Workmanship
  • Appearance
  • Embodiment of the American Made theme

For more information on the awards, click HERE.