Riley Heruska
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With all the back-to-school items on your shopping list, it's the perfect time to embrace some sales and save some money. This weekend (Friday through Sunday), Texas is giving shoppers the chance to avoid sales tax while they stock up on supplies for the coming academic year. Sources estimate that Texans will save as much as $87 million dollars during this tax-free weekend. Sounds pretty amazing, right?

However, there are some things you should know before you grab your wallet and dash to the nearest mall. 

Not Everything Is Tax-Free

As much as we wish everything was on sale at some point over the next few days, there are some things that don't qualify. All eligible items must be under $100, which excludes plenty of pricey electronics or designer items. Most clothing items, backpacks, and school supplies will be tax-free, but you might want to check this website to be completely sure. 

Online Sales Might Offer Better Deals 

Just because there's no tax doesn't mean that in-store deals are always the best. Sure, check out Staples and Target for some of the items on your list, but don't forget to look online for better deals. Amazon has an entire back-to-school section, and some stores have sales that are only available online. Do your research by comparing prices before you throw everything in your cart at one store. Tax-free doesn't always equate to the cheapest price. 

Some Stores Are Adjusting Their Hours 

If you're trying to squeeze in some in-store shopping over the busy weekend, consider visiting during extended hours. Some stores will be open earlier or later so that everyone can take advantage of the sales. If you can manage it, going outside of normal shopping hours can save you some time and energy. No one wants to fight the crowds during the mid-day rush. 

Riley Heruska
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When the sun's beating down and the temperature's in the triple digits, you probably don't feel like cranking up the oven and baking any sweets. Enough of this Texas heat, am I right? Bring on the autumn weather! Anyway, now is the perfect time to turn to some colder dessert options. A few weeks ago, we rounded up some of the best no-bake cookie recipes out there. Now, we're turning to the coolest treat out there: ice cream. 

Here are some of the yummiest milkshake recipes online. Just click on the title for a detailed how-to guide! Which one will you try first? 

Cookies & Cream Milkshake by Table for Two 
Everything about this cookies and cream milkshake sounds yummy. Added bonus: it only requires four ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand in your home! Really, there's no excuse for not whipping one of these up when the sugar cravings hit. 

Peach Milkshake by Delightful E Made 
Love Chic-fil-a's famous seasonal peach milkshake? Well, you're in luck because this blogger has created a make-at-home replica recipe! It's the perfect combination of quality vanilla ice cream, milk, sugar, and ripe peaches. Honestly, my mouth is watering just talking about it. 

Caramel Apple Milkshake by My Organized Chaos 
If you're a caramel addict, then look no further: this shake is an amazing blend of all things apple and caramel. Top with whipped cream and some gooey caramel sauce and you've got yourself a winner. 

Mint Brownie Milkshake by Go Eat and Repeat 
This shake has multiple personalities. With layers of brownie, ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream, it'll please any mint chocolate lover! Plus, it only takes a few minutes to create, so you can indulge whenever the occasion strikes. 

Banana Split Milkshake by Butter With a Side of Bread
This one is exactly what it sounds like: a delicious banana split in milkshake form! If you've got some fresh bananas on hand, then you should really give this one a go. It's cream, classic, and simply wonderful. 

Funfetti Cake Batter Milkshake by Lil' Luna 
This colorful creation screams "fun," and it tastes even better. All you need is some vanilla ice cream, milk, cake mix, sprinkles, and the toppings of your choice! Happy birthday to you. 

Unicorn Milkshake by Cutefetti 
Need a dessert that will really pop on your Instagram account? This one is as beautiful as it is tasty. With whorls of blue and pink, it looks downright magical. Just pop some vanilla ice cream, milk, and food coloring in a blender, then let your creative juices flow as you add a dash of toppings. 

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie by Amy's Healthy Baking 
Not only is shake creamy and perfectly chocolatey, but it's also a pretty healthy choice! Made with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of ice cream, Amy's creation will satisfy your dessert cravings without ruining your diet. 

Riley Heruska
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As September hurtles towards us, thousands of teenagers across Texas are frantically dashing to The Container Store and Target to stock up on college essentials. The shopping list can be a tad bit overwhelming, covering everything from basics like bedding to fun knick knacks that can make a bare bones dorm room feel like home. 

If you're not careful, that list can start to feel like a monster looming over the last days of summer. Don't let that happen! Here are a few tricks that will help bring a dorm room together, plus save your money (and possibly your sanity). 

Create a Comprehensive List (Include Prices!) 

First things first: You have to figure out what you need. There are several helpful checklists online, and those can provide a great structure to start with. However, I'd recommend making your own list to feel truly on top of things. Not everyone needs the same things, and your dorm room might have different rules or requirements. Once you've created an exhaustive list, write down a ballpark price next to each item. This will help you formulate a budget and stick to it as you toss various items in your cart. 

Pick a Color Scheme and Run With It 

With so many adorable setups being advertised in every store, it's difficult to decide exactly what design you want your dorm room to embody. Before you head to the store and pick out a bunch of items that don't match at all, pick two to three colors and stick with them. Trust me, it'll make picking out everything from shower caddies to throw pillows so much easier. Can't choose what colors you want? Start by deciding on the bedding you like and take it from there. 

Decide What to Put on the Back Burner 

Believe it or not, you don't have to show up to college with everything on your list checked off. In fact, it's often a good idea to hold off on some things. Not sure how many posters you can fit on your wall? Don't buy them all until you can measure the space. Wondering if others will try to fit a couch in their room? Don't purchase one until you know if that's what you want. Not only will holding off save you some return trips, but it will also keep you from breaking your budget. 

Coordinate With Future Roommates

If you can, reach out to your new roomie and ask them a few questions. Who should bring the mini fridge? Does he/she already have a TV? By communicating, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and money. Plus, if you care about color coordination, you can make sure you're on the same page with your dream dorm design.

Now take a deep breath and tackle the list! Before you know it, you'll be moved in and enjoying a dorm room that makes college feel like home. 

Riley Heruska
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So, you finished Sunday night's mind-boggling episode of Game of Thrones, and you're left with the desperate, all-consuming sentiment of "BUT I NEED MORE." I mean, seriously, that cliffhanger? How are we supposed to wait seven whole days to find out if a certain someone lives? It's cruel, I tell you, especially for those of us who are accustomed to binge-watching three episodes a night in the past. *Clears throat* but I digress. 

While we're all at the mercy of HBO's scheduled episode premieres, you can turn to a handful of other authors who will enchant and frighten you as much as George R. R. Martin himself. These authors might not have created Daenerys Targareyan or Jon Snow, but they've whipped up some fantastical tales that will keep you turning pages late into the night. You might even forget how desperate you are for the next episode of GoT Season 7! Okay, so that's probably not realistic, but still, it'll give you something to hold on to in the meantime.

The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta 

This is perhaps one of the most underrated fantasy series out there. Marchetta weaves a story of pain and betrayal in the world of Lumatere and the surrounding kingdoms. Lumatere, once ruled by a fair and just royal family, has been cursed and left under the control of cruel tyrants. The curse? No one can get in or out. Families have been separated, and the Lumatereans on the outside search for a cure to the curse while those on the inside struggle to survive. Follow Finnikin of the Rock as he and a motley crew of characters attempt to restore the rightful ruler to the throne. 

The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory 

This interesting take on historical England follows those who ruled Britain before the Tudors. Gregory brings ancient characters to life and tells a story of ambition and beauty. Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen of England, is rising to her seat of power, and those around her keep dangerous secrets. Not only will you be whisked away by the tale Gregory spins, but you'll also learn a little bit about the historical era and various events that shaped history. 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 

Ready for some magic and a handful of intense peril? Then don't skip this one. Told through an intimate narrative, the story follows Kvothe, a gifted young man who is quickly becoming one of the most notorious wizards his world has ever seen. You'll witness everything from a school of magic to murder and mayhem. The Name of the Wind is a true work of fantasy, and it won't leave you dissatisfied. 

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini 

Chances are, you've probably heard of this one in some context or another. If you just saw the movie Eragon, please please wipe that association from your mind. The film truly doesn't do this inventive work of fiction justice. Paolini wrote the series when he was a mere teenager, but you'll be impressed by his storytelling abilities and imaginative world. Can't get enough of Drogon and Daenerys' other dragons? Then you'll definitely want to give this series a chance. 

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson 

Roshar, the world in which Sanderson sets his dramatic tale, is ruled by tempests and chaos. The four main characters struggle to survive in this unforgiving realm while facing dangerous political schemes. The intricate world-building and concepts will force you to pay close attention, but in the end, you'll probably fall head-over-heels for this series, just like thousands of other readers. 

The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas 

Although the first books in this series seem to be geared toward a slightly younger audience, things quickly gain intensity as the books progress. Maas' main character, a trained assassin named Celaena Sardothien, has not had an easy life. Between struggling to survive as a paid killer and getting locked up in the realm's worst prison, she's faced more than her fair share of danger. When the royal prince comes to her and offers to free her from captivity if she serves him as his champion, she immediately agrees. Sounds intense, right? Except that's just the bare surface of the story Maas unleashes on her readers. Prepare for ancient fae warriors, romance, royal secrets, and of course, epic battles. 

The Lies of Locke Lamora
 by Scott Lynch 

Even though this is his first novel, Lynch has impressed thousands of readers with his thrilling tale of criminals and tricksters. Locke Lamora has spent his life as an orphan and was therefore forced to steal to live. While many orphans steal in the realm Lynch creates, none do so with as much flare as Locke Lamora. When he falls into the hands of a man called Chains, he becomes a part of something bigger. As he pulls off outrageous feats of confidence, Locke will face more than a little danger, and if he's not careful, even death. 

The Falling Kingdoms Series by Morgan Rhodes

There are three kingdoms in Mytica, and although they have lived in peace for centuries, political upheaval threatens to change everything. Rulers are grappling for power and secrets are weakening alliances that have stood for ages. Rhodes follows four different characters: a princess, a rebel, a sorceress, and an heir to the throne. Packed with action and complex characters, this series will have you addicted instantly. 

Riley Heruska
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Starting to feel a little underwhelmed by your options on Netflix? Never fear, the company will be adding a large selection of new shows, movies, and documentaries over the course of the following month. Which August additions are you most excited to binge-watch?

Netflix Original Films and Shows

Max Jobrani: Immigrant
Surviving Escobar - Alias JJ Season 1 (8/1)
Icarus (8/4)
Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 3 (8/4)
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later Season 1 (8/4)
Atypical Season 1 (8/11)
Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh Season 3 (8/11)
Naked (8/11)
True and The Rainbow Kingdom Season 1 (8/11)
White Gold (8/11)
Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo (8/15)
Dinotrux Season 5 (8/18)
Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 1(8/18)
Marvel’s The Defenders Season 1 (8/18)
What Happened to Monday (8/18)
Lynne Koplitz Hormonal Beast (8/22)
Disjointed Part 1(8/25)
Death Note (8/25)
DreamWorks Dragons Race to the Edge (8/25)
Ryan Hamilton: Happy Face (8/29)

Television Shows

Crematorium Season 1 (8/1)
The Hollywood Masters Season 1 (8/1)
The Royal House of Windsor Season 1 (8/1)
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Season 7(8/8)
Murderous Affair Season 1 (8/15)
Gomorrah Season 2 (8/21)
Once Upon a Time Season 6 (8/25)
The Good Place Season 1 (8/29)

Documentaries and Biographies

The Truth About Alcohol (8/1)
Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (8/13)


A Cinderella Story (8/1)
Bad Santa (8/1)
Cloud Atlas (8/1)
Everyone’s Hero (8/1)
Funny Games (8/1)
Innerspace (8/1)
Jackie Brown (8/1)
Lord of War (8/1)
Nola Circus (8/1)
Opening Night (8/1)
Practical Magic (8/1)
Sleepy Hollow (8/1)
Small Soldiers (8/1)
The Addams Family (8/1)
The Astronaut’s Wife (8/1)
The Bomb (8/1)
The Last Mimzy (8/1)
The Matrix (8/1)
The Matrix Reloaded (8/1)
The Matrix Revolutions (8/1)
The Number 23 (8/1)
The Wedding Party (8/1)
Tie the Knot (8/1)
Who Gets the Dog (8/1)
Wild Wild West (8/1)
Jab We Met (8/2)
The Founder (8/2)
Sing (8/3)
The Invisible Guardian (8/3)
Holes (8/5)
Black Site Delta (8/9)
Diary of an Exorcist - Zero (8/10)
Arthur and the Invisibles (8/13)
Hot Property (8/13)
The Outcasts (8/14)
Urban Hymn (8/14)
Barbeque (8/15)
21 (8/15)
A New Economy (8/15)
All These Sleepless Nights (8/15)
Donald Cried (8/15)
My Ex-Ex (8/15)
The Sweet Life (8/15)
Gold (8/16)
I Am Sam (8/18)
Hide and Seek (8/19)
Camera Store (8/20)
AWOL (8/21)
Bad Rap (8/21)
Beautiful Creatures (8/21)
Unacknowledged (8/21)
Sadie’s Last Days on Earth (8/22)
Feel Rich (8/23)
Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack (8/29)
Be Afraid (8/31)

So what additions are you the most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

Riley Heruska
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With hundreds of books hitting bookstore shelves every month, it can be difficult to sift through new releases for the best finds. That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you! Here are ten of the most popular novels that were published in July

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

A few weeks ago, we interviewed Rachel Caine on BubbleLife before she released her newest work, Stillhouse Lake. Since then, the novel has received quite a bit of praise from readers. The novel follows Gina Royal, a Midwestern housewife whose life is thrown into turmoil when her husband is found to be a secret serial killer.  As if being a mom isn’t hard enough, Gina must now learn to fight for her children’s lives.

“In this rapid-fire thriller…Caine spins a powerful story of maternal love and individual self-realization.” - Publishers Weekly

Final Girls by Riley Sager

When Stephen King hails a book as “the first great thriller of 2017,” then you know it has got to be a worthwhile read. Sager’s novel tells the tale of a college student who went on vacation with her five friends… and came back alone. She was the one survivor in a horrifying massacre, and now she must attempt to put her ever-present nightmares behind her. Unfortunately, they begin to seem more real than ever.

“The tale builds to a fantastic conclusion that will have readers thinking of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train… This brilliant horror/psychological thriller will fly off the shelves.” - Library Journal

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

In the mood for a charming, funny piece of young adult fiction? Then look no further: Buxbaum’s What to Say Next is equal parts emotional and funny as it tackles the struggles teens often face. High school junior Kit Klowell lost her father in a recent car accident, and now she’s having a difficult time handling the social pressures of school and friends. Buxbaum’s insight into the teen psyche, as well as the tenuous relationships formed during high school, will strike teen and adult readers alike.

“Heartfelt, charming, deep, and real. I love it with all my heart.” - Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places

The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Acclaimed author Ellen Marie Wiseman’s most recent novel is packed with tender, heartbreaking moments, as well as an indomitable sense of hope. Lily Blackwood, a young woman living in the Depression, was sold to the circus when she was young. She becomes one of the circus’ biggest stars after she discovers a rare affinity for animals.  Meanwhile, Julia Blackwood’s life is full of strict rules and boundaries back at her parents' estate. Wiseman brings the two girls together in an extraordinary way that will leave you impressed.

“Wiseman offers heartbreaking and historically accurate depictions… The richly developed coal town acts as a separate, complex character; readers will want to look away even as they're drawn into a powerful quest for purpose and redemption… A powerful story.” - Publishers Weekly

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Many people were anxiously awaiting this book’s publication, and most of them felt that Paris exceeded expectations. A first-rate psychological thriller, The Breakdown describes a school teacher living in England who happens to leave a party during a heavy rainstorm. Of course, she decides to take a dangerous shortcut through the woods, which leads to her discovery of a ghastly scene. Mysterious and creepy, this one will have you turning pages as quickly as you can.

“A story with a ratcheting sense of unease — a tale of friendship and love, sanity and the terrible unraveling of it.” - USA Today

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

This powerful Southern novel confronts various big topics, from the truth about privilege to other harsh realities. The main character, Leia Birch Briggs, is a graphic novelist who becomes pregnant with a biracial baby and must deal with her future as a single mother. When she returns to her grandmother’s house in Alabama after her death, she discovers secrets from her family’s past, as well as other hidden aspects of the world she thought she knew.

“In a story of incredible love and bravery, [Jackson] lasers through the weathered grace and mossy tradition of the contemporary south to explode its comic book dualism with blistering genius… Imagine Flannery O’Connor in a Wonder Woman suit, and you’ll get close to the big heart of this brilliant book.” - Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine 

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Although most wouldn’t know it, there are a handful of people living in modern-day New York who have magical abilities. The Mageus, as they are called, are confined to the island by a dark energy barrier. Esta, a talented thief, has been raised to steal from those who created the barrier in hopes of uncovering hidden secrets. In doing so, she’ll face betrayal, danger, and of course, magic. Maxwell’s story is both enchanting and entertaining, as well as packed with characters you’ll grow to love.

"This twisty tale of alchemy and magic in Gilded Age New York will keep you guessing until the very last page." - Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

Teddy Telemachus, Gregory’s main character, is a charming man with a knack for sleight of hand. When he has the opportunity to participate in a government study about telekinesis, he leaps at the chance. There, he meets Maureen, who has genuine powers and intense blue eyes. From then on, his life is changed forever. Fast-forward a bit and the two are married with three children who are anything but normal, and the story really begins. 

“Masterful... gracefully balances the outrageous melodrama of Chicago mobsters and shadowy government agencies with the ordinary mysteries of family dynamics... Readers will emerge from the fray sure they know each Telemachus down to the smudges on their hearts. A skillfully written family drama that employs quirk and magic with grace.” - Kirkus Reviews (Starred)

Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir by Steve Rushin

Rushin tells a story of road trips, cartoons, and childhood in the 1970s. It’s not just any story; it’s his. His witty commentary on youth culture forty years ago will have you laughing out loud and taking a step back in time. With anecdotes about his family and friends, Rushin weaves a story full of truth and love.

"Magnificent... You will not read a better book this summer - and maybe well into the fall and winter, too." - New York Post

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Connelly’s protagonist, the fierce young Detective Ballard, works the night shift in Hollywood. After filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor, she is assigned the job as punishment. One night, she catches two assignments that she just can’t turn over to the day shift. She sets out to solve some terrible mysteries (and break some rules in the process).

"Any new book by Michael Connelly is a cause for celebration." - Jackie Cooper, Huffington Post

Riley Heruska
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Whether you're helping a teenager move into a college dorm or packing up your entire house to switch locations, moving is stressful. There are so many different aspects to cataloging what you have, planning for your new space, and most predominantly, getting all of the old stuff to the new pad.

Although it's tempting to simply pay someone else to box up all your belongings and truck them to their new home, that choice can be mighty expensive and exasperating. Some of your property will probably end up damaged by movers who don't care about your stuff as much as you do, and you'll still have to do a ton of the work on your own even with their paid help.

So, how can you make a move easy without shelling out the big bucks? Well, there are a few things you can do in advance to make the whole transition run smoothly. 

Label One Bin "Need ASAP" 

Once you finally get all of your belongings to your new home, you're going to immediately reach for certain items. The last thing you'll want to do is dig through box after box in search of a few specific things. Make life easier on future you and pack the things you'll know you'll need right away in one box. For instance, when I moved into my most recent apartment, I was constantly reaching for rags and wipes to clean off dusty boxes. Other ideas include electronic chargers, a tape measure, and pen and paper for your ever-growing "to do" list. 

Pack a Bag to Keep With You 

Although you might plan on unpacking most of your stuff as soon as you arrive, chances are that you'll fall behind in some aspect of moving. Therefore, it's always handy to have an overnight bag packed with your essentials. That way, you won't be frantically hunting down your nightly medication in the huge bathroom box or trying to find a pair of clean underwear buried in all of those bags marked "CLOSET." Trust me, you'll be exhausted from a busy day of lifting and unpacking, and having easy access to clean clothes and your necessary bathroom supplies will make a world of difference. 

Come Up With an Overarching Organizational System 

Before you start tossing things in boxes, decide exactly how you want to tackle this move. Do you want to sort things by the rooms they're coming from in the old house, or would you rather do it by what room they'll go in at your new house? While some swear that labeling boxes by room is the best way to go, others say that packing by priority is more important. After all, you'll need clean sheets for the beds way sooner than you'll need those dusty Halloween decorations. The strategy isn't necessarily the important part: the important part is picking one method and sticking to it. 

Handle the Address Change Paperwork Before You Leave

When you get to your new place, you'll have a million things on your mind and a seemingly never-ending list of tasks. Do yourself a favor and take care of what you can in advance. One of the biggest chores will be changing your address for mailing subscriptions, driver's licenses, bills, etc. You can fill out a change of address form online, so why not knock it out before you're overwhelmed by the specifics of moving? 

Take Note of How Your Electronics Are Set Up

You do not want to unpack a box full of electrical cords and wires with mysterious purposes. Believe it or not, getting your WiFi, television, computers, and other electronic gadgets will be one of your first priorities when you arrive at your new home, so pay close attention to them. How are they set up at your current address? Will you be setting them up the same way again, or do you not need some of the current cords buried behind the TV cabinet? Taking a picture of how everything hooks up can help later on, as can labeling various connections. 

Opt for Garbage Bags Over Cardboard Boxes

Boxes may be more practical for packing many items, but clothing doesn't really require a structured bin. Instead, take a plastic bag and poke a hole at the top. Then cover your clothing with the bag without even removing the hangers. Not only will this process save space when it comes to cramming stuff in the car, but it will also make unpacking a breeze. Simply remove the bag and hang the clothes in your new closet. Voila! 

These are just a few ideas that will help during the chaos of packing. Everyone has their own way of handling a big move, and some things work better for others. What are your top suggestions when it comes to preparing for a move? 

Riley Heruska
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We've all heard how important various sports can be when it comes to children and their development. Running track teaches you endurance, soccer makes you a team player, etcetera. However, we talk quite a bit less about how incredibly beneficial dance classes can be for young athletes. Many would presume that this is because it's an activity mostly reserved for young girls, but in fact, that's not true: most dance studios encourage both boys and girls to give dancing a try. Not only are there many different types of dance to choose from, but each kind also comes with its own specific challenges and benefits. 

So, if your little one is interested in taking a dance class at any point, here are some of the impressive skills they might walk away with. 

Strong Sense of Self-Confidence

Dance is very much about "the performance," regardless of whether you're moving in front of a large audience or simply your other peers. The presentation is a huge part of any dance type. Therefore, your kids will learn to plaster on a smile and act like they know what they're doing, even when they lose track of a routine's step or fall behind on a count. Chances are they will eventually perform in a recital of some sort, and facing that stage will give them strength when it comes to dealing with large audiences. Teachers will instruct them how to recover from falls and other embarrassing moments that might mess up an otherwise strong routine, and your kids will retain that ability to handle stressful situations later on. 

More Advanced Social Skills 

Whether you're learning to waltz with a partner or planning a hip-hop routine with a team, communication is key in pretty much any kind of dance class. Just like many other sports do, dancing teaches children to interact with others in a constructive manner while working towards a collective goal.

Is your child extremely shy? Consider signing them up for a partner dancing class that will encourage them to interact with others on a close basis. Plus, partner dancing is a skill that they can use for life! Trust me, they'll thank you when they get married someday or can show off at the school prom. 

Flexibility and Strength 

Ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and any other style of dance will definitely get your blood pumping just as much as most other sports, but they also lend athletes to be more limber. There's a reason football players are encouraged to take dance lessons on the side. Even if your children don't want to become dancers full time, a class or two can help improve flexibility which allows them to reduce the likelihood of injuries when playing other sports. Every style of dance encourages participants to perfect their senses of timing, balance, and rhythm, which can be beneficial in and out of the studio. Additionally, dancers can be some of the strongest athletes out there. Ballet, in particular, helps to develop intense muscular strength, even if it doesn't manifest in the bulk that other forms of strength do. 

Higher Grades and Brain Functioning 

Dancing requires a high level of concentration. Just try remembering every count and step to a six-minute song and you'll see what I mean. The bodily coordination, counting, and memorization skills can help your child in school as well as in the studio. In fact, students who dance regularly tend to perform better academically! FamilyTalk magazine even estimates that students who dance tend to receive higher SAT scores and do better in math/science competitions

Improved Posture

Like I said before, the presentation is everything, and posture plays a big part in one's appearance during a routine. Your children will become aware of how they hold each and every part of their body. If they work hard, they will be able to move each limb purposefully and improve their posture over time. This can make a huge difference when it comes to their health in the later years, so why not start working on it now? 

If your child has ever expressed an interest in learning to tap, hip-hop, two-step, or participate in any kind of dance, then consider encouraging that activity. Dance is great for their mental well-being, as well as their health, and they'll obtain skills that other sports don't always provide. 

Riley Heruska
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With how hot this summer has been for Texas, it's the perfect time to embrace no-bake cookies that are best served cold. They can be scrumptious and incredibly easy to make, so you and your little ones can enjoy an afternoon in the kitchen whipping up some unique desserts without even turning on the oven. 

Here are some of the best no-bake cookie recipes from around the baking blogosphere. Which one will you try making first? 

Nutella No-Bake Cookies

Aimee at Shugary Sweets has developed a delicious recipe for cookies with just the right amount of Nutella and peanut butter. The best part? They take almost no time to make, so you can make a batch in a split. 

No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Oatmeal Cookies

These sweet snacks are a great fix for your chocolatey cravings, and they take so much less time to make than most recipes. Brown-Eyed Baker posted an instructional video that is super easy to follow. Before you know it, you'll be addicted to this dessert. Oh, and there's no raw egg in the recipe, so you can lick the batter straight from the bowl! 

No Bake Healthy Cinnamon Roll Cookies 

Looking for a healthier alternative? These cookies are guilt-free! Packed with protein and made with no butter, oil, flour, or granulated sugar, they're both delicious and healthy. The Big Man's World has a step-by-step guide, so go check it out. 

Fudgy Mint Chocolate No-Bake Cookies 

If you have a mint lover in your family, then they'll gobble up this gooey chocolate and mint cookie. There's a chocolate base covered in a creamy mint frosting, all of which is topped with a rich chocolate ganache. Is your mouth watering yet? You can thank The Recipe Rebel for her creation later! 

No-Bake Avalanche Cookies 

The Slow Roasted Italian has created a simple recipe that only calls for five ingredients. Follow the directions on the site and you'll have no trouble creating a creamy peanut butter fudge that is speckled with Rice Krispies, marshmallows, and chocolate chips! Can I say yum

Riley Heruska
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Not too long ago, we talked about the overabundance of clothing that's clogging America. Landfills, resale shops, and our own closets are often bursting at the seams with cheap, out-of-date fashion accessories. Not only does this accumulation of clothing pose a problem for the environment, but it also takes a toll on our mental wellbeing when it gets out of hand. Many different psychological studies have indicated that clutter and disorganization can lead to depression, dissatisfaction, and fatigue.

Chances are, it's high time you braved the darkest corners of your closet and ruthlessly eliminated some of your own unused clothing. No, you don't need those balled up sweatpants in the back or six versions of the same black top. Believe me, if you follow these organizational steps, you'll find yourself with a calmer mind and a far, far neater closet. 

Step One: Designate Your Boxes 

You'll need three separate, clearly labeled boxes: one for trash, one for donations, and one for selling/giving away. Although you can use trash bags for this step, that can often be (a) more confusing to keep track of and (b) a little more depressing. I mean, who wants to chuck their well-loved (but all too ratty) hot pink sweater into a garbage bag? Not I. By neatly folding it and placing it in a box, you'll be able to keep track of what you're getting rid of and feel less like a heartless monster when tackling your sentimental fashion items. 

Step Two: Decide on Your Plan of Attack 

Despite what various organizational gurus say, I believe there are multiple different ways to clean out a closet. You can employ Marie Kondo's extremely popular motto and get rid of anything that doesn't bring you joy, but that isn't always the best for everyone. You can also decide how much space you have for a certain type of item and base your decisions on that. For instance, if your shoe racks only hold twenty pairs of shoes, then you might want to eliminate the extra six pairs that don't fit on the rack. Do some research and figure out the strategy that will work for you and your closet setup. 

Step Three: Weed Out the Throw Aways 

In step one, you designated one box as "trash." Now is the time to fill this box. Start going through your clothes and tossing anything that has holes, has shrunk to an unwearable size, is stained beyond repair, or is extremely faded. Sure, you can reason that some people might still want these items if you were to donate them, but the reality is that even people in need don't want your white t-shirt with the gross pit stains. It helps to be a little ruthless in this step so that you aren't stuck with as many items to decide on in the next steps. 

Step Four: This Is the Hard Part 

Honestly, this step is going to take the longest, but you have to tackle it. Employ whatever strategy you decided on in step two and start picking through the items that are left after your trash haul. It won't always be easy to decide if something is worth keeping, and how strict you are about tossing things depends on the method you're utilizing. The most important thing is to evaluate every single item. Take everything out of your closet and hang items back up one by one. The choice to keep something needs to be deliberate, not just a lazy "sure whatever, I'll just hang it back up." Trust me, you'll thank yourself for being meticulous later. 

Step Five: Use Your Other Two Boxes 

So you've finally decided what you're keeping. Now it's time to deal with the leftovers. If you and your friends/family have no use for an item, place it in the "donation" box so that someone else can benefit from it. If you have a daughter who might want the skirt that is too small for you now, place it in the "sell/give away" bin. You might also want to consider the value of the items while sorting. For instance, I'd recommend selling any expensive handbags, designer items, or other quality purchases that have only been gently loved. Cheap clothing really won't make you any money, so you should probably throw all of those Forever 21 dresses in the donate pile. 

Step Six: Follow Through 

This is the step that so many people skip. If you decided to sell some items, sell them as soon as you can. If you're donating a box, take it to the donation center ASAP. Don't leave your boxes lying around for too long or you might never deal with them, which will effectively make your closet even messier than it was before. 

Cleaning out your closet is never easy, but for those of us who love shopping and keeping up with trends, it's a necessary task. It'll take a few hours, and it won't be fun, but hopefully these steps will transform a tear-your-hair-out situation into a less taxing (and more fulfilling) experience.