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February 2012 (120 posts)
But as creative as I thought I was, the truth was: my lattes always looked like plain old cups of sad boring beige. Try as I might, I never figured out how to make those lovely leafy designs that elevate a coffee into a liquid work of art. I love them, though, and as it turns out, I'm not the only one: there is actually a World Latte Art Competition. As Jeshurun Webb writes for Salon.com this week, the judges at this competition assess the milky masterpieces based on the following criteria: "Balance and Symmetry (dividing lines are even and show no hesitation), Harmony (between the size of the cup and the size and position of the design), Clarity of Design (contrast), Quality of Milk Texture (yes, it takes a lot of practice to perfectly texture milk)."
It's not just my fiendish need for caffeine that makes this list sound like poetry, right? Because these are qualities I'd like to have in everything I do. Balance and Symmetry? I love the idea that creating something beautiful involves showing "no hesitation" It's all about doing things with confidence, whether it's presenting at a meeting or painting a picture or creating a cup of coffee. Harmony? May we all match the scope of our creations to the size of our cups, so to speak. Clarity of design? May we all have vision (please). Even the phrase "quality of milk texture" seems to me to apply to everything—because shouldn't we all master whatever materials we choose to work with?
Plenty of us toil away at jobs that, like slinging java, don't immediately suggest creativity, but we can all strive to achieve balance and symmetry, harmony and clarity, in every day. Even the dullest task can become a canvas. I wish I'd been able to see this while I was sullenly concocting endless cappuccinos myself, but that's okay—when it comes to my day-to-day now, there's no end to mundane tasks that I can try to make creative. Here I come, Slow Cooker Casserole Art Competition!
You must see the rosettes gathered on the Salon site, which are displayed alongside the barsita/artists' signatures, as a study of line quality.
Three Ways To Tune Out and Get Creative
How Everyone is a Creative Person
Tea Light Holder, $22. So smart: A narrow vent down the side of this glass vessel lets you bring a lit match down to the tiny candle’s wick without burning your hand.
Swimming Soap, $12. Sized to fit in your palm and shaped like a fish, this scaly carved soap has notes of fresh citrus, bergamot, lemon, cucumber and watermelon.
Box of the Month, $30. Get a personalized present delivered every 4 weeks...for yourself. A style questionnaire helps ensure the gifts are spot-on.
Egg Cup, $6. Put your soft-boiled egg, still in its shell, in this modern, arch-like holder, and suddenly breakfast becomes a very hip affair.
Hot Chocolate on a Stick, $10 for 3. Step 1: Pour steamed milk into a mug. Step 2: Stir hot chocolate stick into milk. Step 3: Happiness.
From a cuisine standpoint, a mission to the red planet—estimated to take three years, much longer than the typical one- or two-week trip to the moon—poses unique challenges. Most of the prepackaged foods on which astronauts have long relied can spoil in half that time. Cooper, who studied chemical engineering at Texas A&M University, helped develop organic snacks for Frito-Lay before becoming a contractor for NASA. There, she researches the costs, benefits and risks of extraterrestrial farms on which astronauts may someday grow food during extended exploratory missions.
The "Plug-In Better" Manifesto: How to unplug from distraction, not from the Internet.
Our favorite political candidate this election season, hands—er, paws—down.
Catch him doing something right. The best things you can do for your relationship.
Behold, the cutest sound you will ever hear: a snoring hummingbird.
"When one foot walks, the other rests": A reminder to appreciate the in-between moments.
The Life-Lifter: The 26 happiest animals in the world.
1. Tingling, burning or numbness in your outer thighs. Too-tight bike shorts can compress nerves that run from the groin to the thigh, leading to a chronic condition called meralgia paresthetica, says Orly Avitzur, MD, a New York-based neurologist and medical adviser to Consumer Reports. When she sees patients with this problem (it's also caused by too-skinny jeans), she advises them to cast off the "offending garment," and exchange it for underwear that doesn't have tight elastic openings around the legs. The irritation can take a while to subside, but usually disappears within a few weeks.
What constitutes a life worthy of being remembered? The amazingly prolific author, short filmmaker, and project-inventor Amy Krouse Rosenthal, made this Thought Bubble video about dealing with the whopping question of how to be remembered in the way you want. The graphics of this video are quirky and charming, but her overall message is what sent chills through me (good ones!), because Rosenthal provides an actual plan of action for how to best live a life worth living, despite our stress and anxiety and to-do lists. Watch and learn:
As she says in the video, "A society is actually fueled and propelled by kindness. There's a sort of economics to it. " She's not asking a lot of us, just an awareness of the people around us, and the little ways you can share some kindness and make life a little more pleasant for everyone around you
If the you haven't run off on a random-acts-of-kindness rampage by now, check out Amy Krouse Rosenthal's super-inspirational website, where you can read about her many books, hear her 7 Notes on Life, learn about her wonderful ongoing project The Beckoning of Lovely, and even make a wish.
Pass It On: Living Kindness
The 60-Person Kindness Chain
Learn more about Beat 2012 and watch the trailer here. (And come August, check out the athletes performing the song at the Olympics!)
The Spiritual Side of Extreme Sports
Top Moments from the 2010 Olympics
Here's an uplifting idea for some retirement travel: take an elevator to outer space.
Life is too short to spend it tottering around like a tipsy geisha. Advice to help you become to queen of your own life.
For when you need a reminder that the world is a wonderful one.
The Life-Lifter: This teenager with cancer is about to go on the date of his life with a world-famous country singer.
Bring both a small and a large pot of salted water to boil. Add 2 cups chopped kale to the small one and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. In the large pot, cook an 8-ounce package of soba noodles according to package directions, reserving 1 cup cooking water when draining. Toss noodles with 1 Tbsp. oil. In a frying pan, sauté a large handful of chopped walnuts in oil until golden. Add kale, walnuts, small pinches of salt and cayenne pepper, and ¼ cup cooking water to noodles. Stir and add more cooking water, if desired, and lots of grated Parmesan.
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