The Perfect Use For Cherry Pits!

Millennials are all about going green and reusing things that our parents used to just throw away. What’s more satisfying than repurposing an item in a way that feels both fresh and responsible? Maybe cheese fries.

Complex carbohydrates aside, we get a real kick out of being crafty and useful with items usually just tossed into a landfill, and that doesn’t stop at food. When we make a cake that requires a lot of egg whites, we search for hours to find a recipe that uses the yolks as well. It’s been ingrained into us that this is the one planet we get, and we better preserve it as much as possible. Which is why we were super excited to find that there are uses for cherry pits! We know they’re inedible, but that doesn’t mean they’re unusable.

If you’ve ever sucked on a cherry pit for an extended period of time, you know they taste like cherries, but also a bit nutty, like almonds. It’s a very pleasant flavor, and it’s a shame that we can’t just crunch up the pits and eat them! We can, however, soak them in things to extract the flavor. You can make all kinds of things with the pits of stone fruit, like flavored liquors, vinegars, or our personal favorite, whipped cream! For this tasty and refreshing dessert topping, simply soak the desired amount of pits in your heavy whipping cream for at least four hours (but we recommend overnight). Strain the cream in the morning, whip it up with a touch of sugar or vanilla for sweetness, and you’ll have a lovely, lightly flavored whipped cream that’s much much better than anything you could buy in the store!

Make Your Brain Work For You

If you’re a successful entrepreneur, chances are you have some sort of mental challenge. People might call you obsessive or scattered, they might laud your manic periods but get confused when you fall into a depressive one. This is because many very successful and driven people share a characteristic: they struggle with some sort of mental health concern. In fact, according to a new joint study by UCSF and Harvard, a whopping 75% of entrepreneurs report having this factor. However, the entrepreneurs themselves often report that these mental health struggles have aided and not hindered their business success!

So how can you turn a challenge into an asset? The very first step is to recognize that there is not something wrong with you. This is the way you are, and there is no hiding from or changing it. Coming to peace with that is half the battle, but once you do, you’ll find it easy to plan for the ways your health concerns will affect your life. For instance, if you have intense highs and lows, learn to ride the waves of your highs – these might be your most creative and productive times – and plan for the lows. Know that when you’re feeling this way, you have to slow down, maybe take a day off, and allow yourself to rest before you come back up. To make this easier, know your triggers. The more advanced warning you have that you’re going to be out of commission, the better you can plan for it.

Finally, keep the rest of your life very simple. If your business is the most important thing in your life, the other elements (home, wardrobe, diet) should be very simple so you don’t overload your brain. Outsource the things you don’t feel like you can keep track of yourself (like hiring a maid, for example) and allow your attention to be focused on the things that matter to you. Your business (and your brain) will thank you for it!

Man Proposes to Woman… and Her Sister!

Normally, a marriage proposal is only between two people. While you may invite people to watch, you almost never ask them to join in. However, when Will Seaton decided that he wanted to propose to his girlfriend Ashley, he knew that he had a very special proposal to make to her sister Hannah as well. He drove them both to a field in their hometown in Indiana, got down on one knee, and asked Ashley to marry him. He then, knee still bent, asked Hannah to be his best friend. Both sisters happily accepted.

When they first met, Ashley told Will that her little sister Hannah was a huge part of her life, and that if Will wanted to be close to her, he’d have to be close to Hannah too. “Hannah and I have a very special bond,” Ashley explained. “She has Down syndrome and diabetes, and I look after her and protect her. To be with me, you must accept her and love her as well.” He did, and the three soon became thick as thieves. When Ashley and Will moved in together, they made sure it was close to Hannah’s home, and they hang out and fish all the time.

Because of their closeness, the happy couple knew that Hannah had to be a huge part of their wedding as well. Not only was she the maid of honor, but she even said vows along with them, promising to Will “to always care for one another, share secrets, make jokes and go fishing, as that’s one of their favorite things to do together.” We can’t think of a better way to show the bond of these two adorable sisters – they’re both lucky to have Will in their lives!


This Little Girl Will Blow You Away

There’s nothing like a mother’s love to give you the strength you need. When Courtney and Evan Westlake found out they were expecting their second child, they were over the moon. Their son Connor was very excited to have a little sister, and the small family waited eagerly until the day that they would grow by one. However, when that day came, it wasn’t what anyone expected.

When little Brenna Westlake was born, she was covered in a viscous yellowish film, had sores all over her body, and was running a dangerously high fever. Doctors were not sure what was wrong with her initially, but they knew she needed intensive care right away to survive. They eventually diagnosed her with Harlequin ichthyosis, a disease that causes her skin to grow at about 14 times the normal rate. It’s incurable, and usually fatal. Courtney and Evan both knew that their new baby would require a lot of special attention and care, but they were willing to give her the best shot they could.

Each day they have to gently but firmly wipe away Brenna’s extra skin. She’s constantly peeling, which gives her a red, swollen look all the time, and her hair growth is limited by the disease. Courtney says the hardest part for both her and Brenna is the negative reaction of other people, not just children but also their parents. “When a child asks their parent why Brenna is red and swollen, why can’t they just be honest and answer, “I don’t know, but it’s not very important how someone looks. We’re all unique, right?” Still, Connor adores his little sister and Brenna’s parents are incredibly proud of her fighting spirit as well. If you’d like to learn more about Brenna or Harlequin ichthyosis, you can check out Courtney’s blog Blessed by Brenna, or her book A Different Beautiful.



A Journey To Happiness

Michaela DePrince had a tumultuous beginning. She was born in Sierra Leone during civil war and by age of three, both of her parents had died and she was living in an orphanage. At four, Michaela was blessed to be adopted by an American couple, and moved with them to Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Even with her new life, her battles were far from over. Michaela was born with vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that causes the loss of skin pigmentation.

This disease caused her to be an outcast at the orphanage, and continued to cause her issues in her new life as well. Because of her condition, it was very difficult to let people in as a child. She was already afraid people would see something negative if she opened up, but she soon realized that if she did not open up, she would never be able to become the artist that she really wanted to be. She believes in some way that the adversity she experienced as a child helped to prepare her for the struggles in her chosen profession.

The now 21 year old dancer is a soloist for the Dutch National Ballet. She was also a breakout ballerina in a documentary film First Position, which chronicled the attempts of 6 proteges as the prepared for the Youth American Grand Prix.

DePrince’s personal outlook is a positive one, she is always focusing on the good rather than the negativity of the past. Her attitude has propelled her into such campaigns as Jockey’s “Show ‘Em What’s Underneath” campaign. Her memoir, Taking Flight, has been published in 12 countries and she has garnered a solo in Beyonce’s Freedom Video from the album, “Lemonade,”. Along with the love and support, her career has helped her to heal from the hardships of her past. She states that it is not worth your time on people who think negative thoughts about you. Be who you are, do what you love, and tell YOUR story.

Today she works on paying it forward as an ambassador for War Child Holland, an organization that helps children in conflict areas. She says helping people, especially the children, makes her happy. She currently lives in Amsterdam where her dance company is based and enjoys biking.