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T (1655 posts)
Proceeds from the sale of each bag provide 15 nutritious meals to hungry children through the UN World Food Programme. So you can indulge and give back at the same time. ($120; available Sept. 17 at deandeluca.com)
My problem appears to have been solved, though, by the new Clarins 3-Dot Liner ($26; clarinsusa.com). The tiny applicator brush at the end of the pen has three points, which I dot along my upper lashline; the result looks like a continuous line, very neat and consistent. Brillante!
But as anyone who's ever tried to do anything knows, sometimes it's really hard to have willpower. We all have 20 zillion things to keep track of (had to stop typing that sentence to make a note to buy dogfood), so it's not always easy to monitor our own "non-essentials" (just ignored a text from my mother!) -- which is why I downloaded Lift, a free app that helps you to build good habits.
Lift is an easy way to track what habits you want to build, but unlike other "to-do" apps, it connects you with other users. I have to admit, in the week I've had the app I have not been great about updating my lists all the time, but even just knowing I should be checking in has induced me to lace up those stinking running shoes a few more times than I would have otherwise. I think maybe what I like best about the app is the list of habits it suggests, along with the number of people working on each one. The list reads like a poem of hopefulness, a song of self-improvement: Good Posture (2500 participants) / Inbox Zero (2280 participants) / Pray (2251 participants). Write for 30 minutes (2203) / Stop and enjoy life (2063) / Call mom/dad (1993). People want to remember to floss regularly and drink more water and go to sleep on time, but they also want to meditate and work on secret projects (!). One aspirational habit on the list even made me stop short: Tell my wife I love her. (1688 participants).
Lift offers very real and practical help, yes, but it's also telling a story: In many ways, and in every day, we all want to be better.
(via The Next Web)
Fix Your Life
The No-Gimmick Way to Make Real Change
And then, just like that, summer is ending. Do you feel this way too, that every year the end of summer comes as a surprise? After months of groaning about how hot it is and longing for a crisp day of wearing sweaters and apple picking, suddenly the kids are back in school, there is a hint of chill in the air, and there is that eternal bittersweet sense of September.
Amy Jean Porter's "Return to Cat Town" drawings in The Awl capture the end-of-summer feeling exactly. Her evocative sketches and their accompanying captions cover the wildness of summer days -- her kids wander around inventing games, she reports, which makes her feel as though she's living in the novelist Haruki Murakami's invention, Cat Town, where cats roam and chat and can't even see humans. There is that wild element of magic in summer, to be sure, even when your days unfold in a climate-controlled office. Still, and always, it's a time when you'd believe that cats sit around having human conversations, that the woods are alive with surreal happenings, that anything is possible.
Check out all of Amy Jean Porter's drawings, with their dreamy imagery and wise commentary, on The Awl.
An Artist's Imagined Collections
Whimsical Japanese Animations
Her restless feeling
In 2006 Vivian Reccoppa found herself in an empty nest—with more time to focus on herself than she'd had in years. "I remember thinking, I want to do something different," she says. "I want to learn something." "Why don't you try an instrument?" suggested her friend Elena. Reccoppa's dreary year of piano lessons at age 10 had convinced her she lacked the discipline for music. But Elena, a violinist who cofounded an orchestra for amateur adult musicians, kept suggesting the idea until Reccoppa agreed to try the viola—which, she figured, was small enough to schlep on the subway.
Her rocky start
Reccoppa braced for the humiliation of being the lone adult towering over a line of 6-year-olds in the lobby of her local music school. But her insecurity dissipated the moment her teacher tucked a viola under her chin and helped her guide the bow across the strings. "Every once in a while, there was a note that sounded like...a note," Reccoppa says. The lessons became a bright spot in her schedule. "I always leave happy," she says.
Reccoppa bought a student viola on eBay for $120 and began supplementing her private lessons with free instructionals she found on YouTube. She aimed to practice three or four hours a week but didn't beat herself up when a late night at work interrupted her schedule. Eventually, she tagged along with Elena to a rehearsal of her orchestra. "It was wonderful to be a part of something so big and beautiful," Reccoppa says. She started rehearsing with the group every Sunday.
At first it was hard to imagine "how I'd ever hold my left wrist level, get my fingers in the right position, hold my bow correctly, move the bow straight, and look at the music while keeping an eye on the conductor," Reccoppa admits. But she now tackles works by Handel and Haydn. "I feel like I'm waking up a new part of my brain," says Reccoppa, who believes that her age, far from holding her back, has only increased her determination to succeed. "I'm not there because my mom is making me go," she says. "I'm there because I'm excited to learn this."
Beauty the Eagle had her beak disfigured in 2005, when she was shot by a poacher. Set aside the grim symbolism of shooting an American Bald Eagle in the face, for a moment -- it's sad and brutal, yes. But what happened to Beauty is a lovely tonic. Jane Fink Cantwell, a raptor specialist at Idaho's Birds of Prey Northwest, has cared for Beauty all these years, through the hopes that her beak would grow back (it didn't) all the way to the near-unanimous call for euthanization (Cantwell refused). Beauty could not clean or feed herself, and so needed constant care and attention, and faced the possibility of never again living in the wild. Then, while giving a talk about Beauty, Cantwell met mechanical engineer Nate Calvin. Read the whole story in the Guardian for the amazing process Calvin used to fashion a prosthetic beak with a 3D printer.
The video below shows the process of fitting Beauty for her new beak. Watching it, especially the palpable nervousness of the poor confused bird, is a real nail-biter. But it worked, and Beauty was finally able clean and feed herself.
While the Guardian reports that Beauty has had problems with keeping the beak attached, to me the best part of the story is that so many people have worked so hard to help the eagle reclaim her life. "It's a story about a Bald Eagle becoming a teacher," Cantwell says. And knowing that her process of rehabilitation is ongoing is a good reminder to all of us. Transformation may not happen overnight, but it's the process, not necessarily the result, that has the most to teach us.
Saving Species on the Brink of Extinction
A Woman Who Devoted Her Life to Wolves
In case you missed this 3-year-old reciting a Billy Collins poem from memory back in January, please, please, please watch it now.
Steve McCurry's beautiful photographs of people reading around the world
"It's a pizza shop that's a shrine to pizza." The world's first pizza museum is opening in Philadelphia (via The New York Times)
An eight-year-old girl starts a lemonade stand to help end slavery...and raises $50K in two months (via Huffington Post)
It's one of the more annoying aspects of growing up, but it's undeniable: at some point, you are forced to admit that many old saws turn out to be true. I almost gagged the first time a stranger said to me, as I walked with my 5-day-old firstborn, "The days are long, but the years are short!" And what do you know, a blink of an eye later, that kid is starting school. Wise Crone Stranger was totally right! Weird!
Speaking of aging quickly, how about going from 0-years-old to 100 in 150 seconds? This video is not only the most uplifting way ever to learn to count to 100 in Dutch, but also a beautiful portrait of time. Filmmaker Jeroen Wolf asked people on the streets of Amsterdam to look into the camera and say their ages. The result is a fascinating compendium of faces, of the different ways people show their age, as well as the different attitudes they have toward their age. Just watch the range of emotions with which these people say their ages: happy, resigned, proud, reluctant. (According the filmmaker, it took him nearly a year to complete the project, and the hardest person to find was the 99 year-old.)
Singapore's Secret to Aging Well
How One Actress Refused to Admit Her Age