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December 2011 (104 posts)
She's the First I.D. bracelet, $20: This organization helps send underprivileged girls to school—many of which will be the first in their families to graduate. Twenty percent of these eco-friendly leather bracelets created by Asha Patel Designs support She's the First and the Shanti Bhavan and Kenya Education Fund programs.
Pencils of Promise Braced-Lets, $12 for 3: While your friends may be happy to have left their braces and overbite behind, these bangles made of power chains and brackets will make them happy to wear them again—but this time on their wrists. Two dollars from each pack helps build the El Cacao High School in Nicaragua.
What are you giving to your friends this holiday season?
14 more stylish gifts that give back
8 ways to build a better gift basket
Every Monday, we're rounding up the things, small and big, that make us stop and think. Today, we're inspired by...
"Every baby's first breath on Earth could be one of peace and love. Every mother should be healthy and strong. Every birth could be safe and loving. But our world is not there yet."
-2011 CNN Hero of the Year "Mother Robin," whose clinic provides prenatal care to poor Indonesian women.
-Meryl Streep, on her career as an actress—20 years ago.
"It's about putting her in a position where she can be her own boss and learn early about business."
-Ludacris, on the educational website he created for his ten-year-old daughter.
"We've tried to take that black rainbow and make it brighter."
-Yoshiomi Tamai, on the piece of child's artwork that inspired him to open healing centers for orphans all across Japan.
1. Trimming the tree makes your nose run and your eyes itch. While fir tree allergies are relatively rare, many people are hypersensitive to the mold, dust and dead needles on live trees, says Sakina S. Bajowala, MD, an allergist and fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "Most trees are cut in October or November, leaving them lots of time to accumulate debris," she says. Don't give up on live trees, though: just ask the sellers to put yours through a mechanical shaker that can loosen potential allergens, or hose it down in your yard (let it dry for a week before bringing inside). If you've already festooned your tree with ornaments, Bajowala suggests taking an OTC long-acting non-sedating antihistamine like Claritin. Keep in mind that artificial trees can also be irritating, especially if they've gotten dusty in the attic, and will need a good cleaning before you hang them with garlands.
It's Friday again, and that means it's time for us to write in our gratitude journal. Here are just a few things we're appreciating this week...
When you're tired of cocktail party chatter, break out these 10 quirky, crowd-pleasing tricks.
5 rules for life—in Paris.
We can't believe these are real: nature photos that give your imagination a run for its money.
So many Nutcrackers to choose from! We'll have to watch them all.
In my day, college students dealt with high levels of finals-week stress the old-fashioned way: drinking and crying. But apparently there is a better way. George Mason University School of Law offered its students a rare respite from the stress of upcoming finals with its second Puppy Day. According to the Washington Post, “Studies have found that the legal profession has higher-than-average rates of depression and problems with substance abuse. Many law schools now teach students how to balance the stress of late-night legal research, tort outlines and case summaries with healthy habits: running marathons, volunteering or hanging out with a pet.” (Running a marathon? Really?)
So the school brought in 15 puppies for these future lawyers to snuggle. The mixed-breed puppies were saved from euthanasia by A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation, and are living with foster families. As one third-year student, who didn’t go home for Thanksgiving so that she could study, said, “‘Especially this time of the year, law school seems to ruin your life...[holding a puppy] you get to be human again.’”
We may not all be law students, but everyone can relate to that
end-of-your-rope feeling, especially this busy time of year. And stroking a soft
animal seems like the kind of stress-relief anyone can love. For more ways law schools are helping their students to destress, read the entire article at the Washington Post (via Jezebel).
Salon has a great user-generated series right now called “My Brilliant Second Career,” the latest installment of which is Katie McCaskey’s fascinating essay “We Never Thought We’d Be Grocers.” McCaskey tells the surprisingly suspenseful story of how she and her husband lost their jobs, left New York City, and, through many twists and turns, started a grocery store in small-town Virginia. Her story appeals to the “chucking it all” fantasy many of us harbor, while providing just enough realism – investor drama! No heat in the winter! – to avoid romanticizing the life of the small business owner. But in the end, McCaskey writes that starting the grocery store, which has become a kind of community center, "taught me a great deal about community. Specifically, how tightly connected we are, economically and emotionally." (Read McCaskey's essay to find out what feta cheese had to do with this life-changing adventure. )
For this couple, starting a small business not only revitalized their own careers, but also an entire town. As McCaskey put it, “George has taught me how much I value living in a walkable city where my economic efforts directly impact the health and happiness of my neighbors. It’s a role I didn’t imagine but have grown to love.” Maybe we won't really miss those retirement parties after all.
Check out the entire "My Brilliant Second Career" series -- they are as fascinating as they are hope-inspiring.
5 People Who Switched Careers
It's Never Too Late to Find Your Calling
Still, there is something about seeing that image that makes the author human, that reminds us of the mind behind the world we are about to enter. Which is why, let's admit it, we all peek, and feel disappointed when a publication is too sensible to include an author photo. It's also why we are always looking for new images of beloved authors like Shakespeare and Jane Austen, who had the bad manners to live before Google Images. Luckily for lovers of all things Austen, a new portrait of her has been found. Dr. Paula Byrne, the Austen biographer who found the image, told the BBC that right away she recognized the long, straight "Austen nose" and that the pencil sketch presents a very professional woman writer at the height of her creative powers." It certainly presents a different image than the sweet, bonneted Jane we are used to seeing reproduced on mugs and totes the world over.
As to why there aren't more images of the celebrated novelist, "When Jane Austen was writing, she wrote her novels anonymously. People didn't really know who she was at all and even after her death, when her name appears in print for the first time, she's not at all popular." Apparently, she didn't even tweet, either. Check out the BBC story for more on the controversy over authenticating the image, and to see the picture itself.
A new book by Jane Austen (sort of).
Celebrities share the classic books that changed them.
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* File under: There will be tears. This marine is deployed to Afghanistan, but that didn't stop him from making an incredible video holiday card for his wife. (Buzzfeed)
* Speaking of excellent husbands . . . "You know what's funny? I don't ever feel the need to escape. I have a strong marriage. I like my life. You hear about these guys having midlife crises—I don't see that happening to me."—Harry Connick Jr. makes us swoon. (O Magazine)
* Remember singer Dobie Gray, who passed away this week, by listening to his classic hit, "Drift Away." (Vulture)