Feathered hair, blindingly bright colors, shoulder pads, bulky jewelry, and scrunchies. All we have to do is name a few fashion pieces and you’re now thinking of an entire generation of people. It’s crazy to think about how much fashion can define eras and culture itself–that a feathered hairstyle could represent a whole generation or that a hat could represent an entire culture…but it can. While wearing your favorite hat, you could discover anyone from a fellow sports team enthusiast to someone from your home town when you’re on vacation in another country. In fact, some hats have come to represent cultures not only on a national scale but on a global scale as well. Let’s go on a-head and take a look at some hats that have become a symbol for their culture:

sombrero

1) The Sombrero

Although the sombrero has become a colorful and decorative head accessory, it was originally created for the humble purpose of keeping the sun from the wearer’s eyes. Its signature wide brim accomplishes this very effectively, and even the name ‘sombrero’ comes from the Spanish word for ‘shade’ or ‘shadow’. The exact origins of the hat are a mystery, but it has long been associated with wealth, economic status, and Spanish culture.

2) The Fez

Variations of this tiny bright red hat can be found all over, from Cyprus to Serbia. It is most commonly associated with Morrocan and Middle Eastern Men’s dress, and rightly so since Morroco is responsible for originally giving it that signature shade of red using dye from crimson berries. The hat became popular during the Ottoman Empire because, in an attempt to modernize the uniforms, Sultan Mahmud II banned turbans and made the fez part of the standard military uniform. Now, the hat can be found everywhere from the Middle East to making loving appearances on Doctor Who.

3) The Tam O’ Shanter

This hat has been the long since chosen accessory to the kilt for Scottish men all over their country. In fact, the hat was worn exclusively by men until the 1920s until comparable hats called ‘tams’ were introduced into women’s fashion. But this wasn’t the first iterations of the bonnet since Scottish men had been wearing variations of these hats since the 16th century. The hat was officially given its name in the year 1790 when Robert Burns published a poem using the name and it’s stuck around ever since.

Man Wearing Ushanka

4) The Ushanka

Even if you didn’t know its name, you’re sure to recognize this stereotypically Russian head accessory. One of the most reliably warm and cozy hats around the world, it’s most known for its characteristic ear flaps and actually gets its name from the Russian word for ‘ears’ (ushi). What was once a political and cultural symbol of the Soviet Union is now worn casually by both its citizens and those in other countries during their respective winter months.

5) The Tyrolean Hat

Coming to you straight from Central European countries like Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, this little forest green hat originated in Tyrol which is located between present-day Italy and Austria. We may not see too many of these walking around in the U.S., but you’re sure to recognize it from films like Sound of Music. Even in its native countries it’s no longer considered stylish day-to-day wear, but it’s still seen as a symbol of Tyrolean and Bavarian culture, popping up a few times a year including the Oktoberfest season.

6) The Conical Asian Hat

According to Matador Network, this hat isn’t specific to one country or region, but hats of this style have cropped up in several countries between East and South Asia. Similar to the Sombrero, it was designed to keep the wearer safe from the sun, but the Conical Asian Hat has the added benefit of protecting the wearer from the rain. This made it an excellent choice for farmers and it remains both useful and cultural to this day.

woman wearing beret

7) The Beret

You may notice some similarities between the Beret and the Tam O’ Shanter. Similar floppy hats have been popping up all over Europe as far back as the Bronze age, with different countries creating their own variations. However, you may be surprised to learn that the actual Beret wasn’t mass-produced until the 19th century. To the surprise of no one, it became extremely trendy and the military beret was adopted by several armies after the first world war.

If you’re having a bad day or feeling just a little under the weather, a soothing cup of tea could just be what the doctor ordered. No, literally: certain varieties of herbal tea contain plenty of health and medicinal benefits. These ten are our favorites.  Sometimes all you need is a hot cup of tea, a blanket, and a Netflix binge to help you feel better.

PEPPERMINT 

  • Supports digestive health
  • Fights off cramps
  • Ends stomach pain
  • Possible antibacterial and antiviral properties (not tested in humans)

HIBISCUS

  • Effective against high blood pressure
  • Fights oxidative stress

Note: hibiscus tea shouldn’t be consumed when taking aspirin or hydrochlorothiazide due to interactions.

SAGE

  • Improves mood
  • Improves blood lipid levels
  • Improves cognitive functions and memory
  • May protect against colon cancer

ROSE HIP

  • High in vitamin C
  • Effective at reducing inflammation
  • Good for weight management
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Reduces stomach fat over a prolonged period
  • Fights aging skin

CHAMOMILE

  • Excellent sleeping aid
  • Antibacterial effects
  • Fights diarrhea and stomach ulcers
  • May relieve premenstrual symptoms
  • Could improve insulin levels

ROOIBOS

  • May benefit bone health
  • Lowers cell toxicity
  • Prevents heart disease
  • Lowers cholesterol

LEMON BALM

  • Improve elasticity of the arteries
  • Increase in natural enzymes in the body
  • Improves mood
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduce anxiety

PASSIONFLOWER

  • Relieves anxiety
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Promotes calmness

GINGER

  • Remedy for nausea
  • Prevents stomach ulcers
  • Reduces inflammation
  • May help with diabetes

ECHINACEA

  • Boosts immune system
  • May shorten the duration of the common cold
  • Soothes sore throats
  • Clears stuffy noses

 

Remember to use our Jokari Tea Infuser for best results. It can hold bagged or loose leaf teas and the built-in plunger lets you press your tea for a more intense flavor, without the mess.

 

As we get further into 2019, we reflect on the previous year’s happenings – the highs, the lows, the successes – and hone in on things we want to do better in the New Year. How can we Make Life Better?

When you look back at 2018, many of us tried to Make Life Better each day, at least in a tasty and healthy way, as food culture and healthy living propelled the kitchenware category. In a HomeWorld Business magazine article, Senior Editor Lauren De Bellis outlined the highlights of previous years:

“Foodie culture propelled the kitchenware category into the spotlight this year. Between the increased sophistication of tastes, a continued interest in at-home meal prep, as well as a renewed confidence in their cooking skills, consumers actively turned to the kitchenware category for innovative tools and gadgets,” said De Bellis.

These are themes we expect to continue in following years. After all, now that we’ve all developed a sophisticated palate keen on the tastes of healthy and delicious foods we might never have thought to try, why not continue with goals that not only make us healthy, but happy?

Whether you began this positive journey this year or are ready to jumpstart a happier, healthier life next year, follow these tips on how to cook and eat better this New Year!

Meal prep.

The whole point of “meal prep” or meal preparation is to make life easier, and ultimately better, for you during the week. We all lead busy lives and sometimes that busy gets the best of us. This leads us to make unhealthy choices when it comes to our meals.

While the new year may be here fast and furious, take a moment to slow down in the kitchen. Take some time to plan before you begin your actual prep as this will make the process simpler and smoother and save frustration in the kitchen (nobody wants that ingredient in the mix!).

While it’d be great to meal prep for seven days of the week right away, don’t feel you have to jump right into the process. As fitness expert Kayla Itsines said, “If you are just starting out with meal prep, don’t overwhelm yourself! Cooking up a whole week’s worth of meals is a big task and even the best of us can struggle with that. My biggest tip is to ensure that it is manageable. I recommend sticking to a few days at a time to help you get used to the process.”

Allow yourself a little help

Asking for help is important for a lot of things in life, healthy cooking and meal prep is no exception.

You’re only one person. You only have two hands. It may seem obvious, but we understand the conflicted struggle we all sometimes feel about it because we want to tackle everything ourselves! Even if you’re going to be that independent go-getter, go at it in a way that makes it easy and efficient for you. Our Baggy Rack provides a hands-free way to fill baggies with all of your ingredients or freezer meals. Also, Erasable Food Labels are good tricks of the trade when it comes to meal prep.

Get in check with proper portions.

We developed our Healthy Steps Collection to provide the tools of the trade when it comes to healthy eating. So many of us struggle with proper portions. We get that! That’s why we created each item in this collection to easily measure single servings.

Coolest Gadgets recently highlighted our Healthy Steps Pasta Basket as a way to “keep your pasta cravings in check.” Each basket helps you measure a single serving of any type of pasta. Fit up to four baskets in one pot; this even allows you to cook everyone’s favorite pasta at the same time! Time-saving and possibly life-changing.

What are your goals for next year? Share it with us by using the hashtag #MakeLifeBetter!

Paula Deen Tree Storage Bag Design Sketch

Another sign that 2019 is officially off and running? Most of us begin taking down our their holiday decorations and packing them away for another Christmas to come (except that ONE neighbor. You know the one. Christmas ’till July….) With National Take Down the Christmas Tree Day just around the corner on Sunday, January 6, we wanted to take you behind the innovation of a particular storage and organization item related to this holiday. The  Tree Storage Bag within our Paula Deen Holiday Collection was created o help (festively) Make Life Better.

Begin with a concept sketch

Every product starts with a problem, followed by a solution. The big question we always ask is, “How can we Make Life Better?” After sketching out several concepts, it’s an amazing feeling for our team when we reach that “Aha!” moment. We analyze a design sketch and come to the conclusion that, “That’s it! This is the solution to the problem.” Check out one of the design sketches for our Tree Storage Bag!

Think about the features and benefits

A new innovation doesn’t hold the power to Make Life Better unless it has various features and benefits that not only make it unique but also make it useful. In designing the Tree Storage Bag, as with any new item, we went back to the basics. What were the problems we were trying to solve?

Bulky Christmas trees are often difficult to fit back in the same boxes they came from the store in. Plus, over time, those cardboard boxes simply don’t stand a chance…they will inevitably start to deteriorate. A sturdy bag of cloth fabric construction would help solve that problem.

So, now we have a sturdy tree bag, but how can we make it easy for end-of-Christmas elves to carry and store it away for another joyful holiday season? By incorporating carry handles and a drag handle, this provided two easy carry options. A sled plate with glide wheels makes the bag easy to pull (much like a wheeled suitcase), even up the stairs.

Adding a personal touch.

With the Tree Storage Bag as part of our Paula Deen Holiday Collection, we wanted to work with our friend and celebrity Paula Deen to add her own personal touch to add to the design aesthetic. The holidays are about celebrating and enjoying time with friends and family, so the red and white toile fabric was designed to pull in that aspect.

“The pattern was inspired by my family’s decorations from years past,” said Paula Deen. “I hope you love it as much as I do!” From a Christmas wreath to sketches of ornaments that hung on Paula’s very own family tree, to her signature “Hey, Y’all,” the toile fabric used throughout the holiday collection is a perfect reflection of Paula and her signature style.

Goodbye holidays. Hello New Year!

When do you take down your Christmas tree? Let us know if you could use a little bit of this kind of innovation in your life by using the hashtag #MakeLifeBetter! Best wishes for a Happy New Year. 2019 is your year to Make Life Better.