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In October, you were delighted by the story of Mr. T, and many of you shared that you gained a new perspective on having a rat as a pet. But before you decide to bring one home, rat expert and director of adoptions at the San Francisco SPCA Laura Routhier says there are a few things you should know.
"People tend to think rats are dirty, but they can easily be trained to use a litter box," she says. "In fact, they groom themselves almost as much as a cat." Routhier recommends getting your rat neutered or spayed, to help avoid tumors—or an unexpected litter.
She also suggests giving a rat in need a home by adopting from an animal shelter or rescue group (find one near you at adoptapet.com). "And you might want to consider which gender is better for you," Routhier says. "Females are on the go and full of energy, while males are mellow and love to be cuddled."
A: Nothing against big, sweet, heady fragrances, but the ones you've been trying may be too big, sweet, and heady, says Adam Eastwood, cofounder of luckyscent.com. He suggests you try something light and sheer with a citrus or white floral base (like gardenia or jasmine). But if you've already gone down that garden path and still smell a bit more indecorous than you'd like, you may be one of those people whose skin just doesn't tolerate fragrance. (Why the intolerance? There are so many variables in formulas and skin chemistry, it's probably impossible to determine.)
Calice Becker, executive perfumer at fragrance and flavor company Givaudan, has a solution: Spray your favorite fragrance in your hair, where it won't react with your skin. And because hair contains oils, it's very good at retaining scent, she says.
Keep in mind: Some fragrances are specially formulated for hair; try the sexy Serge Normant Avah Eau de Parfum ($60; sergenormant.com). For details see Shop Guide.
In Judy Fox's studio, a mermaid stands in the corner. Instead of a fanciful tail, she has iridescent legs, tinted bluish purple. Her hair floats above her shoulders as if swept by the ocean's current, her gaze dreamy, if a little sad. The sculpture is part of Fox's exhibition Out of Water, opening October 25. It will be surrounded by ceramic sea worms and cephalopods, including an octopus with eyes "slightly more human than they should be," says Fox—whose genial, easily amused nature belies the eerie intensity of her work.
For more than three decades, she has drawn from art history, mythology, and world events to create beguiling sculptures, like a series of cultural icons (Friar Tuck, Albert Einstein, Saint Theresa) imagined as babies, or an interpretation of Snow White in which the dwarves embody the seven deadly sins. In the current exhibition, at New York's PPOW gallery, Fox turns her playfully subversive eye to the sea, sculpting oddly sexual worms and mollusks a few surreal degrees removed from nature. "Creating these animals felt like intelligent design," she says. "I got to run my own little version of evolution."
Fox first discovered her affinity for sculpture when she experimented with the form as a teenager during summer camp, and honed her technique as an art major at Yale. "I felt at home in sculpture," she says. She is particularly excited by improvisation, incorporating her models' peculiar traits into her sculptures. The mermaid's awkwardly bent fingers, for instance, derive from the model's own double-jointedness. "That kind of discovery is an almost mystical thing," Fox says. "The model becomes a coauthor of the work."
Fox begins her sculptures of humans by photographing a model in a predetermined pose, then shapes, carves, plasters, and paints terra-cotta in a process so intensive that each adult-size sculpture takes roughly a year. "I spend a lot of time getting the curves right, because they create the rhythm and the mood," Fox says. "Sculpting is like standing on a mountaintop before you ski the slope, thinking about how you'll curve your way down."
It's Friday! We're grateful for so many things this week, starting with...
Military dad surprises family at a football game for one of the sweetest coming home videos around [via Mashable]
Fingertip portraits. Silly, brilliant, awesome.
An "F" student, who was told his dreams of being a scientists were ridiculous, is now a Nobel Prize winner [via Anderson Cooper 360]
A rescued dog and cat make an inseparable pair [via The Huffington Post]
A: Yes, you can get better eye makeup if you pay more for it—up to a point, says cosmetic chemist Jim Hammer, founder and president of Mix Solutions in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. There are terrific options at the drugstore, home of big brands with great research and development teams. Because they're vying for your loyalty, these companies are constantly developing cutting-edge applicator and pigment technologies. At the department store, says Hammer, you'll see diminishing returns on your money: What you get is very similar to high-end drugstore brands.
Very similar, maybe, but not the same, says Anne Carullo, senior vice president of global product development at EstÉe Lauder. "The arsenal of ingredients and processes available to us aren't available to less expensive brands," she says. "We create our own pigments and coat them in a way that makes the application smoother and the wear longer, and we use a higher concentration of color." Department store brands are also likely to have more-durable packaging and include more bells and whistles. (A weighty gold compact does not equal better eyeshadow, but pulling it out of your bag can feel pleasingly luxurious.)
Keep in mind: Whether you're thrifty or extravagant, don't forget to replace your mascara every three months and your eyeshadows every two years, because they can become a breeding ground for bacteria.