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Portland



Homemade Blackberry Muffins are a Sweet Vacation Souvenir

Last week I ran far, far away from home, where it’s been six-digit temperatures for the better part of the summer, in to the cool, loving arms of Portland, Oregon. I’ve never been to that part of the country and I can say it was just about love at first sight. To you Portlanders – well done! It’s one of the most beautiful, friendly, genuinely unique places I’ve ever visited.

I took in the scenic hikes at Mt. Hood, enjoyed tastings at local wineries, had lunch at the downtown food carts, and even picked up a bottle of honey (my go-to souvenir for any vacation). One of the things I loved the very most were the blackberries. They were very much in season while I was there, with many restaurants advertising all sorts of blackberry treats. The ones I enjoyed most were right out of a basket at the Portland Farmers Market on the PSU campus. Plump, juicy, and perfectly sweet… they were a far cry from any blackberry I’m used to having in Kansas.

When I returned home, I couldn’t get that sweet taste out of my mind. So this weekend, I made due with the blackberries I had access to and made what my husband called the best muffins I’ve ever baked. It seemed only right to share them with you.

I wanted a muffin that would let the blueberries shine, not be too heavy, and complement a breakfast rather than be the main course. I found a recipe that I could easily modify over at DozenFlours.com. Her recipe was great as-is, but I had to add a few of my own tricks to truly make it mine, make it a touch healthier, and help me savor that Portland blackberry flavor I was after.
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Portland is the Best City for Your Skin; Las Vegas is the Worst

Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and yet, it’s one that we tend to neglect more than any other. Some more so than others. Today, Daily Glow announced its 55 Best and Worst Cities for Your Skin, and you may be surprised to see who makes which end of the list.

Your ZIP code can play as much a role in the health of your skin as your genes and sun exposure this summer. This is good news for people in Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA, and Seattle, WA, the top three best cities for your skin. Daily Glow points out that skin health is determined by a variety of factors including the environment, genetics, and lifestyle. In those locations there is low pollution, low ozone rates, and minimal sun shine. In San Francisco, they have the least tanning beds per capita.

“One of the most surprising things we found was that cities in areas that are sunny actually have conditions that are good for your skin,” Dr. Jessica Wu told us. Dr. Wu is a dermatologist to the stars and works as Daily Glow’s Skin and Beauty advisor. She pointed out that Honolulu, Hawaii, which is number six on the list, is a great place for skin because of the low incidence of pollution and high levels of humidity.

There are 10 cities on the list deemed the Worst Cities for Your Skin, and it’s there where the environment and lifestyle are taking a toll on the residents’ skin. Las Vegas, Nev. was named the worst city, as it has the highest number of smokers in the entire country. Forth Worth, TX landed on the list for having the highest number of tanning beds per capita. And Tulsa, OK is the 10th worst because it has the highest number of skin cancer-related deaths.

Dr. Wu’s findings show that we could actually be doing a lot to improve the health of our skin. For starters, stop going to the tanning bed! Dr. Wu called the practice “shocking and disturbing,” and pointed out that any tanning salon that’s advertising their safety is clearly not safe.
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