Best Miyazaki Animated Films

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the best animators of our time. He also likes to create a lot of drama around his work.

In 2014, when “The Wind Rises” premiered at the Venice Film Festival, he said it would be his final feature film. It was also an announcement he’d repeated several times before.

It would be fair to say that he stopped making feature films, but Miyazaki continues to work on smaller projects, such as Boro the Caterpillar.

If you’ve never had the chance to view his work, these are his best animated films.

1. Spirited Away

Several of Miyazaki’s movies can get interpreted as a riff on a classic story. This film puts the traditional “Alice in Wonderland” story into a unique package, creating a tale of childhood wishes getting fulfilled while learning how to navigate the rules of the new world.

2. Princess Mononoke

This film follows the story of Ashitaka, a young warrior banished from his village after he gets cursed. You’ll follow his voyage to the land of forest sprit, where he falls for the local princess. The tale is remarkably complex, establishing Miyazaki’s credibility as an artist globally.

3. My Neighbor Totoro

This animated film is the one most people know from Miyazaki’s work. The giant cat-rabbit creature became arguably his best merchandising and cross-over opportunity. The story is set in post-war Japan, discussing the challenges of that world that the west doesn’t often remember.

4. Porco Rosso

Although many people describe this Miyazaki film as strange, it’s his most straightforward movement. It takes on a Tintin-style feeling, following an aviation ace who earns his living as a bounty hunter. With its geographic specificity and romantic themes, there’s a lot to love about this movie.

5. The Castle of Cagliostro

This film was Miyazaki’s first feature as a director. It’s based on Lupin III, coming from an anime series that he directed several episodes for before coming to movies. Although the plot is a little heavy with some unrealistic spots, it does hit all of the right notes for this genre. How can you not love the ninja assassins?

Have you seen Hayao Miyazaki’s work in the past? What are your favorite movies from his lifetime of animation?

Best Herbs for Love and Romance

What ingredients help love and romance to flourish in your home?

Some people might say things like “washing the dishes” or “taking me out for a surprise.” You might be surprised to know that certain herbs can encourage chemical reactions in the body that enhance the feelings of love and romance for couples.

If something feels missing, it could be that you need some more of these ingredients in your life!

List of the Best Romantic Herbs for Valentine’s Day (And All Year Long)

1. Lavender

This herb was historically burned to attract members of the opposite gender. You can use it today as a calming symbol of your undying love for your partner. In some circles, its presence represents devotion.

2. Calendula

If you need more joy in your life, consider adding more of this herb to your daily routine. As an extra benefit, you’ll have the power to ward off evil thoughts or spirits on Valentine’s Day.

3. Basil

This fragrant herb works with many flavors, ranging from tomatoes to potatoes to your favorite protein. It comes with several different colors and odors, with leaves ranging from a deep purple to the traditional green. Italian traditions say that if a single man accepts a basil plant from a single woman who wore it, the two would fall in love immediately.

4. Rosemary

People would wear this herb during any special occasion that celebrated love. It is said to have the power to bind people together in harmony and love. It can also symbolize remembrance, togetherness, and peace.

5. Rose

Although it isn’t a traditional herb in some cultures, this flower has a special presence on Valentine’s Day. You can create a lovely rose tea with cinnamon and ginger with dried buds to create another layer of togetherness to celebrate.

If you want more herbal options for love and romance, you could consider the product lines from Pharmax and Enzymedica. These all-natural solutions can support your health and hopefully, the romance you’d like to have in life!

Most Romantic Valentine’s Day Surprises

With Valentine’s Day soon approaching, it can be fun to look at some of the past surprises that help romance to blossom. Whether you’ve been together for a couple of decades or this is your first holiday to celebrate, consider these ideas to have some fun.

1. Take a Hike Together

It might be cold where you live, but have the courage to go outside to start exploring anyway. You can turn it into a surprise by adventuring to a specific location, bringing a favorite treat, or using the opportunity to propose.

2. Be a Tourist

Take your partner to all of your favorite hangout spots – you know, the ones that you don’t usually share. When you offer the person you love extra access to your personal life, it helps your relationship grow closer.

3. Make Waffles

You don’t need to make heart-shaped waffles to have a romantic Valentine’s Day. Even the frozen kind works if you set up a toppings buffet at home. You can use apples, cherries, pears, cranberries, strawberries, honey – just don’t forget the whipped cream!

4. Breakfast in Bed

If you plan to spend most of Valentine’s Day in bed, ordering breakfast for delivery sounds like an excellent idea. After the COVID-19 economic changes in 2020, most places offer this option for your morning meal. If not, check with UberEats or a similar service to see what is available.

5. Take a Drive

When you don’t have anywhere to be and nothing to do, hop in the car to go somewhere new. Don’t worry about the GPS or bringing a map. Head out down the road, stop at something intriguing, and see what you can find.

6. Play Hooky

Valentine’s Day might be on a Sunday in 2021, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t play hooky. If you work on the weekend, take the day off. Stay home from church. Cancel the youth sports practices on your schedule. When you take the day for yourself, it’ll help you to remember the day you fell in love.

What are some of your favorite Valentine’s Day surprises or traditions?

Best Sad Foods to Eat on a Lonely Valentine’s Night

If you are feeling sad about Valentine’s Day, you are not alone.

Although it doesn’t make you feel any better about being single, at least there is some comfort in knowing that others understand your circumstances.

Having some of your favorite foods available can also soothe an upset soul.

Are you preparing for a solo Valentine’s Day? If so, here are some of the best sad foods to eat so that you can start feeling better.

1. Dark, Leafy Greens

Having a healthy salad when you’re not feeling happy can give your serotonin levels a boost. This result happens because these veggies have high levels of vitamin B12 and folate.

2. Salmon

The antioxidants found in fatty fish help your body flush out the free radicals that can cause several potential health issues. You’ll also get some extra omega-3s and vitamin D, contributing to boots of serotonin and dopamine to help you feel better.

3. Dark Chocolate

Eating about a half-ounce of dark chocolate over 60 days can reduce stress-causing hormones in the body. Don’t rely on your favorite candy bar on Valentine’s Day for this benefit. The item should contain 75% cocoa, and unsweetened versions are the best to eat.

4. Avocados

Although the fat content of an avocado is relatively high compared to other foods, you also get a bunch of tryptophan to balance your mood. It also provides some extra vitamin B6 to enjoy.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Instead of settling for starchy white potatoes, opt for this fall favorite. They’ll help you maintain blood sugar levels better, which means you’ll experience fewer emotional swings as the day passes. If you want to spice things up, add a little bacon, cayenne pepper, and a touch of sour cream for a satisfying dish.

If none of these foods sound appealing, you can always drown your Valentine’s Day sorrows in triple fudge ice cream. Splurging one day during the year isn’t going to harm your health.

White Elephant Gift Ideas That Are Delightfully Terrible

Most people have experienced the funny and terrible gifts that people bring to a white elephant gift exchange. You may have seen everything from rubber chickens to fanny packs with a hairy belly as the primary graphic.

If you have a white elephant gift exchange or party to attend, here are some delightfully terrible gifts to consider getting for a big laugh.

What White Elephant Gift Should You Give This Year?

Framed Tweets

Grab a favorite tweet from someone in your crew. Next, have it professionally printed so that it becomes a photograph. Once you have that step accomplished, get it framed to have the perfect white elephant gift on display all year.

Dammit Dolls

When you get frustrated with someone, the swear words might come out in a stream faster than the Niagara Falls falls. Since you can’t bash in a person’s head (legally), this gift is the next best solution. They come in numerous patterns and colors to match almost any personality.

Chicken Harness and Leash

Who wouldn’t want to walk their chicken around the neighborhood?

Selfie Toaster

When a mirror isn’t enough to celebrate how gorgeous you are, the selfie toaster puts your face on bread. Forget about giving this gift to yourself – that’s a bit narcissistic. Let someone else enjoy your smiling image throughout all of next year.

An Otamatone

If you can’t be good at something, you should be the worst at it. That lofty goal is the perfect opportunity to give the gift of an Otamatone. It’s often called the world’s worst musical instrument because the sound is reminiscent of a goat with its hoof stuck under a heavy hay bale.

Horse Head Squirrel Feeder

The squirrel sticks its head into the feeder for some munchies. You snap a picture that makes it look like the animal has a horse face.
Additional items include ugly Christmas sweaters, moon deeds, reindeer poop, and rubber chicken pursues.

The 4 Most Festive Essential Oil Aromas

Although essential oils are an attractive health investment to use all year long, the holidays bring out some of the most festive arrangements.

You can enhance your joy, snuggle up nice and warm with the family, or relax after a stressful day of managing whatever else 2020 decided to throw your way.

Having supplies available from top brands like Aubrey Organics and NOW Foods ensures that you can embrace a celebratory spirit whenever the mood strikes! Here are the essential oils that will help bring out the joy that comes with the holidays.

Best Essential Oils for Christmas


One of the best scents of the season is a fresh Christmas tree at home. Bringing in the aroma of pine, spruce, or fir trees provides the traditional evergreen experience that speaks of togetherness. When using pine essential oils, you can stimulate your metabolism, reduce stress, and even knock the edge off of some chronic pain.


Many families still celebrate the tradition of placing oranges in stockings on Christmas Eve. This fruit became the symbol of the gold sacks that St. Nicholas dropped to pay for a poor man’s daughter’s dowry. These fruits are commonplace today, but it was a great luxury to afford one over a century ago. Using orange essential oils can boost your mood, reduce stress, and lower your blood pressure.


This essential oil is useful for treating several health concerns, ranging from immune system deficits to anxiety attacks. It has long been associated with religious ceremonies, going as far back as Ancient Egypt to celebrate spiritual matters.


What is unique about this essential oil is that it may help normalize a person’s lipid profile. It could reduce the influence of hunger hormones that cause some people to overeat, especially during the holidays. The fruity, spicy aroma speaks of the season, filling your home with love and joy.

What are your favorite essential oils to use during the holidays?

5 Best Bedtime Stories for Kids

Bedtime stories are a fun way to encourage healthy bedtime routines at home. Once your kiddos get a little older, they may transition from having you read them to doing it by themselves.

If you’re thinking about starting this habit at home, here are the best bedtime stories to consider grabbing today.

List of the Best Bedtime Stories for Children

Owl Babies

This story takes your child through an adventure where some owl babies find their mother is missing. It offers a reassuring end, beautiful illustrations, and a lesson learned about how to manage scary feelings.

Stories of the Night

This children’s book has a mama bear telling her cub three different stories in this imaginative adventure. The illustrator’s colors are bold while your child gets to explore this innovative world with your narration.

The Way Home in the Night

In this story, a sleepy rabbit gets carried through the streets by her mother. It lets the little one view the different ways that the world approaches the idea of bedtime. When your child sees that everyone else doesn’t mind going to sleep, they might also embrace that concept.

Thank You and Good Night

You’ll discover a little girl putting her stuffy rabbit to bed. He asks if he can invite two friends for a sleepover. Once they’re together, they have all sorts of adventures that keep them from settling. It’s a wonderful story that teaches the benefits of gratitude.

I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed

This story is part of the Charlie and Lola series. You’ll discover collaged art instead of the typical illustrations, which helps the tale stand out even more. Lola comes up with lots of exhausting ideas, while Charlie tries to help keep things settled down for them both.

What are some of your favorite bedtime stories for children?

Greatest Cold Weather Accessories to Stay Warm Through Bitter Winters

Surviving winter’s chill can be challenging. When less sunlight and cold weather combine forces, it can be powerful enough to trigger conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder.

When the outside turns bitter cold, you know that a warm coat, gloves, a hat, and thermal underwear are essential items. What you’ll want are these accessories to make life more bearable before, during, or after your time outdoors.

List of the Best Items to Have for a Cold Winter

1. Throat Coat Tea

This product takes the scratchiness away that winter’s cold and low humidity causes. The herbal infusion works with the hot water to keep everything open while offering some relief to those with a sore throat.

2. Ice Scraper Glove

Using a glove with an ice scraper is helpful, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll avoid having the cold stuff go down your arm. This product lets you stick your hand inside of a mitten while working, reducing how much snow exposure you receive.

3. Tire Traction

Driving in the snow can be challenging. If you have an ice layer to manage, a device that encourages vehicular traction can get you moving to your warm home again.

4. Foot Warmer

Slippers are helpful when your feet are always feeling cold. When you can wear wool socks with them and still feel uncomfortable, an electronic foot warmer can add more comfort to your day. Some models provide massage to help you relax after a long day.

5. Car Seat Heater

Newer cars come with this feature as part of the standard package. If you have an older car or had to pay for an upgrade you decided against, a portable model that straps to your chair can provide warm relief. When it isn’t needed, pack it away in your closet!

6. Fleece Throw Blanket

Buy this cold weather accessory for practical reasons instead of decorative ones. You’ll love the soft warmth that comes from modern microfiber. You’ll relax in almost any conditions, especially with a good book in your hands.

The best cold weather accessories can warm you up quickly. What are the go-to items that you love?

Inviting Non-Denominational Holiday Decorations for the Home

When the holidays come around each year, many families decorate with their faith at the center of the process. There’s nothing wrong with a focus on religion, culture, or the solstice. When it’s your home, you call the shots!

Blended families may have a different experience. The parents may have diverse beliefs, leading to a duality in the decorating.

Others prefer a more secular approach, featuring Santa, Rudolph, and cornucopias.

If you want to make a non-denominational impression in your decorating this year, these items are an attractive way to celebrate the holidays.

1. Use Sparklers

Although you wouldn’t want to light them inside, sparklers are a fun way to celebrate any occasion. When all the presents are opened or bellies are full, consider handing some out for some fun. You can use fireworks displays outside to continue the theme.

2. Welcome Bags

Offering gifts during the holidays is a non-denominational approach. Instead of providing favors, couples are offering welcome bags instead. It could be a bottle of wine, a charitable donation, or some baked goods. If you’re having family stay over for a few days, it may be helpful to provide toiletries and some daily living essentials.

3. Lights

You can decorate your home with plenty of colorful lights to ring in the holiday spirit. You can use white strings to create a fun social outdoor area, use smart bulbs for unique experiences, or stick with something classic.

4. Wreaths

A winter wreath is a family tradition that goes beyond all holidays. You can bring greenery, garlands, and other natural elements to your celebration without ever mentioning religion. Add a few berries, flowers, or evergreens to create some lovely plumage.

5. Champagne Tower

A champagne tower is a decoration that doubles as a coping mechanism to manage the same stories you hear each year. Your guests will love the concept!

Decorations don’t need to be denominational to make a positive impact. With these ideas, you can turn your house into an inviting home.

Best Sides to Serve at Thanksgiving

Even if your Thanksgiving this year is smaller than during previous holidays because of COVID-19, you’re likely planning a big feast.

Cooking that turkey takes a lot of energy! You’ll want to have your Natural Factors and Standard Process supplements available to stay focused.

You’ll also want to think about the sides you plan to serve this year. With potential grocery shortages and supply disruptions in the shopping equation, planning early ensures you can get what you require.

What sides are your favorites to serve each Thanksgiving?

1. Roasted Cauliflower

This side dish is made with golden raisins, panko, and toasted pine nuts. If you have an allergy, almonds are an excellent substitution to consider. It’s one of the best Thanksgiving items you never knew you needed.

2. Dirty Rice

Instead of stuffing this year, why not embrace this Creole classic? It adds a touch of spice while creating a gluten-free alternative.

3. Green Bean Casserole

You can’t beat the classic combination of cream of mushroom soup, fried onions, and fresh vegetables. Add some chili powder and paprika to the liquid for a spicier finish. If you want some flavor pops, mix a few pearl onions into the recipe.

4. Mashed Potatoes

Adding some minced garlic to your mash creates an intense flavor, especially if you mixed them with cream and salt. You can also go with some parsley and ranch dressing for an interesting combination. If you want to reduce the fat content, try using 1% milk to create the tasty peaks and fluffs.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Instead of using the ultra-sweet marshmallow and honey recipe, try roasting this dish with a touch of brown sugar. Place them on top of some Greek yogurt to get a flavorful return.

6. Biscuits

Having flaky buttermilk biscuits at Thanksgiving is a family tradition for many. If you’re in a rush, Pillsbury makes a decent alternative you can find in the dairy section at the store.

7. Cranberries

A wonderful cranberry chutney can be sweet and tart simultaneously. The secret to a great sauce is to heat the cranberries whole over low temperatures.