21 Cozy Makeshift Reading Nooks

Creating the perfect reading space doesn’t require building a window-seat or converting a closet. Sometimes all you need is lots and lots of pillows in your own little corner of the world.

1. Prop up some old tires.

Prop up some old tires.

2. Fill an inflatable pool with pillows.

3. Create a two-tier book loft with bookshelves.

Create a two-tier book loft with bookshelves.

4. Build an igloo out of milk jugs.

5. Make this easy teepee fort for like, no money.

6. Build an outdoor reading nook with pallets.

Build an outdoor reading nook with pallets.

7. Place a round canopy over a beanbag.

Place a round canopy over a beanbag.

8. Or a cushy blanket.

Or a cushy blanket.

9. Prop up a huge body pillow in the corner of the room.

Prop up a huge body pillow in the corner of the room.

You can get a similar pillow here for $55.

10. Use a deep big shelf that’s big enough to climb into.

Use a deep big shelf that's big enough to climb into.

11. Section an area off with a bookshelf or dresser.

Section an area off with a bookshelf or dresser.

Make sure there’s lots of natural light. Add a giant cushion and VOILA. Instant plot of reading land.

12. Toss down some floor cushions.

Toss down some floor cushions.

13. Place pillows on a coffee table.

Place pillows on a coffee table.

14. Utilize the dead space in a stair landing.

Utilize the dead space in a stair landing.

15. Throw some old sofa cushions on the floor.

Throw some old sofa cushions on the floor.

16. Give the nook a theme, like “camping.”

Give the nook a theme, like "camping."

17. This one is “beneath the apple tree.”

18. Turn a fireplace into a nook with string lights and pillows.

19. Delineate your area with rugs.

Delineate your area with rugs.

20. Make a hanging swing chair.

Get the directions here.

21. Reuse an old crib mattress.

Read the original article at http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/cozy-makeshift-reading-nooks#pseyhb

The Health Benefits of Coffee

Woman Smiling With a Tiny Cup of Coffee

Coffee is actually very healthy.

It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health.

The studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases.

Here are the top 13 evidence-based health benefits of coffee, that have been confirmed in actual human studies.

1. Coffee Can Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter

Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels (1, 2).

This is because it contains a stimulant called caffeine, which is actually the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world (3).

After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, it travels into the brain (4).

In the brain, caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine.

When that happens, the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine actually increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons (5, 6).

Many controlled trials in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function. This includes memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general cognitive function (7, 8, 9).

Bottom Line: Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.

2. Coffee Can Help You Burn Fat

Cup of Coffee And Coffee Beans

Did you know that caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat burning supplement?

There’s a good reason for that… caffeine is one of thevery few natural substances that have actually been proven to aid fat burning.

Several studies show that caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by 3-11% (10, 11).

Other studies show that caffeine can specifically increase the burning of fat, by as much as 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people (12, 13).

However, it is possible that these effects will diminish in long-term coffee drinkers.

Bottom Line: Several studies show that caffeine can increase fat burning in the body and boost the metabolic rate.

3. The Caffeine Can Drastically Improve Physical Performance


Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, causing it to send signals to the fat cells to break down body fat (14, 15).

But caffeine also increases Epinephrine (Adrenaline) levels in the blood (16, 17).

This is the “fight or flight” hormone, designed to make our bodies ready for intense physical exertion.

Caffeine makes the fat cells break down body fat, releasing them into the blood as free fatty acids and making them available as fuel (18, 19).

Given these effects, it is not surprising to see that caffeine can improve physical performance by 11-12%, on average (20, 21).

Because of this, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about a half an hour before you head to the gym.

Bottom Line: Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels and release fatty acids from the fat tissues. It also leads to significant improvements in physical performance.

4. There Are Essential Nutrients in Coffee

Coffee is more than just black water. Many of the nutrients in the coffee beans do make it into the final drink.

Happy Middle Aged Couple

A single cup of coffee contains (22):

  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the RDA.
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of the RDA.
  • Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA.

Although this may not seem like a big deal, most people are drinking more than one cup per day. If you drink 3-4, then these amounts quickly add up.

Bottom Line: Coffee contains several important nutrients, including Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin.

5. Coffee May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

Measure Blood Sugar

Type 2 diabetes is a gigantic health problem, currently afflicting about 300 million people worldwide.

It is characterized by elevated blood sugars in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to secrete insulin.

For some reason, coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The studies show that people who drink the most coffee have a 23-50% lower risk of getting this disease, one study showing a reduction as high as 67% (23, 24, 25, 26, 27).

According to a massive review that looked at data from 18 studies with a total of 457,922 individuals, each daily cup of coffee was associated with a 7% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes (28).

Bottom Line: Several observational studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of getting type II diabetes, a serious disease that currently afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.

6. Coffee May Protect You From Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Smiling Elderly Woman

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide.

This disease usually affects people over 65 years of age.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s.

However, there are several things you can do to prevent the disease from showing up in the first place.

This includes the usual suspects like eating healthy and exercising, but drinking coffee may be incredibly effective as well.

Several studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease (29, 30, 31).

Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, which is a leading cause of dementia worldwide.

7. Caffeine May Lower The Risk of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, right after Alzheimer’s.

It is caused by death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain.

Same as with Alzheimer’s, there is no known cure, which makes it that much more important to focus on prevention.

Coffee Beans Spread Horizontally, Smaller

In studies, coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, with a reduction in risk ranging from 32-60% (32, 33, 34, 35).

In this case, it appears to be the caffeine itself that is causing the effect. People who drink decaf don’t have a lower risk of Parkinson’s (36, 37).

Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have up to a 60% lower risk of getting Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder.

8. Coffee Appears to Have Protective Effects on The Liver

Waitress Holding a Cup of Coffee

The liver is an amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions in the body.

Several common diseases primarily affect the liver, including hepatitis, fatty liver disease and others.

Many of these diseases can lead to a condition called cirrhosis, in which the liver has been largely replaced by scar tissue.

It turns out that coffee may protect against cirrhosis. People who drink 4 or more cups per day have up to an 80% lowerrisk (38, 39, 40).

Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing cirrhosis, which can be caused by several diseases that affect the liver.

9. Coffee Can Fight Depression and Make You Happier

Blue Eyed Woman Drinking Coffee

Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life.

It is incredibly common and about 4.1% of people in the U.S. currently meet the criteria for clinical depression (41).

In a Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed (42).

Another study with 208,424 individuals found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to commit suicide (43).

Bottom Line: Coffee appears to lower the risk of developing depression and may dramatically reduce the risk of suicide.

10. Coffee Drinkers Have a Lower Risk of Some Types of Cancer

Coffee Beans

Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death and is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body.

Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer… liver cancer and colorectal cancer.

Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth (44).

Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer (45, 46).

One study of 489,706 individuals found that those who drank 4-5 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer (47).

Bottom Line: Liver and colorectal cancer are the 3rd and 4th leading causes of cancer death worldwide. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of both.

11. Coffee Does Not Cause Heart Disease and May Lower The Risk of Stroke

Female Doctor Drinking Coffee

It is often claimed that caffeine can increase blood pressure.

This is true, but the effect is small (3-4 mm/Hg) and usually goes away if you drink coffee regularly (48, 49).

However, the effect may persist in some people, so keep that in mind if you have elevated blood pressure (50, 51).

That being said, the studies do NOT support the myth that coffee raises the risk of heart disease (52, 53).

In fact, there is some evidence that women who drink coffee have a reduced risk of heart disease (54).

Some studies also show that coffee drinkers have a 20% lower risk of stroke (55, 56).

Bottom Line: Coffee may cause mild increases in blood pressure, which usually diminish over time. Coffee drinkers do not have an increased risk of heart disease, but a slightly lower risk of stroke.

12. Coffee May Help You Live Longer

Coffee Maker

Given that coffee drinkers are less likely to get many diseases, it makes sense that coffee could help you live longer.

There are actually several observational studies showing that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death.

In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% lower risk of death in men and a 26% lower risk of death in women, over a period of 18-24 years (57).

This effect appears to be particularly strong in type II diabetics. In one study, diabetics who drank coffee had a 30% lower risk of death during a 20 year study period (58).

Bottom Line: Several studies show that coffee drinkers live longer and have a lower risk of premature death.

13. Coffee is The Biggest Source of Antioxidants in The Western Diet

Cup of Coffee

For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may actually be the healthiest aspect of the diet.

That’s because coffee contains a massive amount of antioxidants.

In fact, studies show that most people get more antioxidants from coffee than both fruits and vegetables… combined (59, 60, 61).

Coffee is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. Period.


Read the original article here: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/


Study: Reading novels makes us better thinkers

New research says reading literary fiction helps people embrace ambiguous ideas and avoid snap judgments

Study: Reading novels makes us better thinkers

This piece originally appeared on Pacific Standard.

Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making.

Fortunately, new research suggests a simple anecdote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction.

A trio of University of Toronto scholars, led by psychologist Maja Djikic, report that people who have just read a short story have less need for what psychologists call “cognitive closure.” Compared with peers who have just read an essay, they expressed more comfort with disorder and uncertainty—attitudes that allow for both sophisticated thinking and greater creativity.

“Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal, “may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds.”

Djikic and her colleagues describe an experiment featuring 100 University of Toronto students. After arriving at the lab and providing some personal information, the students read either one of eight short stories or one of eight essays. The fictional stories were by authors including Wallace Stegner, Jean Stafford, and Paul Bowles; the non-fiction essays were by equally illustrious writers such as George Bernard Shaw and Stephen Jay Gould.

Afterwards, each participant filled out a survey measuring their emotional need for certainty and stability. They expressed their agreement or disagreement with such statements as “I don’t like situations that are uncertain” and “I dislike questions that can be answered in many different ways.”

Those who read a short story had significantly lower scores on that test than those who read an essay. Specifically, they expressed less need for order and more comfort with ambiguity. This effect was particularly pronounced among those who reported being frequent readers of either fiction or non-fiction.

So how does literature induce this ease with the unknown? Djikic and her colleagues, Keith Oatley and Mihnea Moldoveanu, have some ideas.

8 Board Games That Will Never Bore You… Ever!

Age is just a number, especially when it comes to board games. To be precise, age is just a number that determines the order of which you roll

the dice. Board games are crazy fun regardless of how old you are. Here are 8 board games that are fun no matter what the age. Sorry I’m not sorry, but Sorry is not on this list.

1. The Settlers Of Catan

fun games cation

Never do I care more about wheat production, than I do in Settlers of Catan. This is a game of both luck and strategy, which makes it fun for kids, who rely mostly on luck and adults who rely mostly on luck but like to believe they are using strategy. It’s a Win Win! But it’s actually just a win, because there are no ties in Catan. I like to say it is a combination of Monopoly and Risk, but way more fun than both. The Settlers Of Catan has a, dare I say, nerdy reputation. Honestly, I don’t understand where that comes from. I’m not a nerd, and I love it! Oh, crap. I have to wrap this up. The Dungeon Master does not approve of Dwarf Fighters blogging.


2. Scattegories

fun games scattegories

Why is this game so fun? For one, anything with a timer is immediately exciting, and b) it is really interesting to hear the crazy weirdness from your friends and or/families brains. It’s one of those games that in theory should be really easy, and everyone should be able to get every single category filled with every single letter in less than the timer, but it’s WAY harder than it seems. Off the top of my head, I can come up with a hundred “things with windows” that start with a G, but in the moment, under pressure, it is really hard. This challenge along with knowing you are competing to, lets be honest, be the smartest person in the room makes this game so fun. Actually, I can really only think of 10 “things with windows” that start with a G. Okay, 4. OKAY 1!!! GARAGE!!!!! THAT’S IT!! LEAVE ME ALONE!!


3. Clue

fun games clue

Murder, Manipulation, Manhunt. FOR ALL AGES!


4. Catch Phrase

fun games catchphrase

Catch Phrase (verbal hot potato) makes you think quickly on your feet, which is fun, and it also makes you feel like everyone is stupid all the time. If you have the wheel and nobody is getting your PERFECT descriptions, they all stupid. If you don’t have the wheel and the wheel holder is giving ASININE descriptions, DANG they so stupid. If there is one thing that is impervious to maturity and age, it’s feeling superior to everyone at all times.


5. Apples To Apples

fun games apples

If you think Apples To Apples is just a kid’s game, you would be so so wrong. Apples to Apples is good, clean, albeit bias and opinionated, fun that is great for the whole family. It’s perfect, because you get to expose your personality in your answers, which is pretty rare for board games. It is a confidence boost when your answer gets picked, and also makes you want to cry in your feather down pillow when nobody picks your answers. YAY!! Don’t be sad. You are privileged, you have a feather down pillow. You can’t have everything. Also, if you enjoy good, clean fun, but also love bad, dirty, fun, check out Cards Against Humanity. It is literally dirty, stinky, rotten Apples to Apples. It is incredibly fun, but is for adults only. Or terrible parents who want to truly destroy their children. I repeat… YAY!!


6. Guess Who


fun games guesswho

Who doesn’t love Guess Who? No, but really, who? Does this person wear glasses? Does this person have blue eyes? Does this person exhibit normal human nature like needing to uncover secrets and identities??? Does this person wear a hat? Oh, it’s Eric!


7. Cranium

fun games cranium

Everyone get’s to shine in their niche with Cranium. Whether you are an artist, or great at trivia or have a great humming voice (ME ME ME!!), there is a place in your heart for Cranium no matter what the age. One disclaimer that should be written on the box- if you are an actor and you play this with a group of actors, you will NEVER finish. This is a hard and fast rule. Too many Star Performers and not enough Data Heads. Yikes. That’s, actually, a sadly accurate representation of society. Oh, well, Charades are fun!!


8. Balderdash

fun games balderdash

This game, honestly, is the worst. It was invented by the Neo-Nazis, and it was used as a spy game during the Russian Revolution in 2012. Guys, I’M LYING!!! This game is great, because it teaches kids to become eloquent liars at a very young age. It also teaches kids to sound intellectually proficient when they are actually repeating 3rd grade for the 4th time. People LOVE lying and getting away with it. It’s one of the true joys in life. I’m really good at Balderdash, because I’m really good at lying. I’m so good, you didn’t even know I killed Colonel Sanders with the chicken wing in the Employee bathroom.


What’s your favorite board game? Let use know  in the comments below!


Read the original article here: http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/articles/board-games-are-fun-no-matter-what-your-age-0