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March 2012 (121 posts)
Unless it's just Instagram. Could it be? Instagram, for the uninitiated, is a free iPhone app that lets you choose filters and frames to lend your humble phone-cam-pic the feel of a vintage photo. Mashable recently posted their top Instagram photographers, and I instantly recognized the ridiculous gorgeousness of my friend's photographic style. Yes, these photographers have good eyes, and (some of them) some really remarkable subject matter. (When was the last time you took a phone-pic of an elephant's eye?) I'm sure these snappers could take great photographs no matter what. But for the rest of us, the neat-o features on Instagram can transform a slightly blurry pic of a day in the park into a heart-stoppingly beautiful memento to share with the world.
And you know what the best thing about an awesomely addictive photo app like this is? The way you start to look at the world. That's beautiful, you start to think about every crocus sprout and parked car and pile of garbage you see. Or at least, it could be.
Photography that inspires the imagination
Capturing joy on camera
Every day, in one way or another, we take a leap. "Sure, I'll take on that new project!" we chirp to bosses and PTA chairwomen and neighborhood council members, momentarily swept up by excitement (or guilt), forgetting the 900 other things we've also committed to. Or else we impulsively book a getaway somewhere we've never been, or quit a loathed job in the midst of a recession, or eschew the day's to-do-list to take the kids to the beach on a weirdly warm day. Life-changing or little, a leap is a leap. Personally, I'm forever over-committing myself and then just holding my breath, closing my eyes, and hoping I can fake-it-until-I-make-it (which seems to be my motto in life).
So how do you maintain balance once you've signed on to something that's a little bit crazy? I suggest that if you're going to leap -- and by all means, leap, and leap high! -- you leap like a lizard. Observe:
Science News, "University of California, Berkeley scientists filmed lizards leaping onto rough and slippery surfaces and assessed the launchings with some clever math. The team then built a lizard-sized robot with a movable tail and, like the lizard, the robot used the same tail maneuvers to correct the angle of its body after launching so it would land safely." The lizard doesn't just splat against the wall, and it can't exactly quit leaping once it's begun. And so, like all of us, it uses what it can in order to balance. What would it take for you to correct your angle once you've launched towards something impossible, potentially treacherous? A call to your mother? Asking someone for help? A rest on a warm rock?
I think I'll add it to my list of life mottos: "Angle the tail."
Balancing Work and Family
Are you balanced? The quiz.
A Twitter-bit of self-discovery: Ask yourself this probing question about the day you were born.
Don't you just love those videos that make you see the world with scrubbed-clean eyeballs? Behold, the jump-rope-cam.
New year's resolutions are meant for the new year, not just January 1st. Here, a reminder to check in with yours in the present.
The tastiest chicken recipe in the world. You're welcome.
1) Figure out how bad your distraction problem is. 2) Follow this advice on how to be more focused and productive. 3) Whee, a cat gif! Wait, no. Back to step 1.
The Life-Lifter: "Here goes something!" A 10-year-old girl ski-jumping for the first time inspires us all to be brave. (Just wait for the cry of complete, unadulturated triumph!)
1. Add some color to your dinner tonight. Garnish the plates with herbs or edible flowers such a mint and nasturtium, or see this slideshow of 45 satisfying salads, which provides tons of inspiration.
2. Plant herbs on the windowsill. Urban farmer Gayla Trailer explains which ones offer the biggest rewards in the shortest amount of time.
3. Spring clean your kitchen. Or just your fridge. Or simply...the counter. These 9 window, countertop and floor cleaners smell so good, you'll actually look forward to the dirty work. Plus, having a spotless workspace will make assembling meals much more pleasant.
It might just be that I'm not spending enough time strumming that out-of-tune guitar that's busy bullying the broom in my utility closet. According to this excellent infographic on luminosity.com, playing a musical instrument at least one time a week is one (very pleasant) thing I could do to improve my brain. The infographic lays out, in an appealingly comic-booky way, five easy things to do every day to get better: First, exercise a bit, but not too much. Then read. Then have a drink, but not too much. Play some music, and then sleep a good amount, but you guessed it, not too much. That sounds doable, doesn't it?
There are the tips we've all heard before, like sleeping and exercising, but luminosity's post specifies the amount of time that should be devoted to these things in a specific, and illuminating, way. For example, the evidence shows that exercising 2-3 times a week boosts brain performance, but that the benefit falls off after 7 workouts. Is that the best thing you've ever heard or what? 2 workouts a week I can do. If I remember to. And the good news doesn't stop there -- check out the full infographic for the details on why you should kick back with a glass of wine and a fat novel.
The Better-Brain Diet
11 Brain-Boosting Activities
The 3-second vacation: visit far-off places with a click of the mouse.
Relax with some chips and guacamole. Er, dice and poker chips. The "cooking" video that must be seen to be believed.
Celebrate spring with the almost-too-pretty-to-be-real phenomenon of cherry blossoms in bloom.
Isn't it great when couples go through different stages together? Photographs to marvel over.
How being more independent may just be the key to your happiness.
The Life-Lifter: "The list of what we cannot do grows shorter and shorter." 28,000 flowers turn a mental institution into a locus of hope.
"When you get a job – say [to design] an ad for a dry cleaner – many images come to mind, we all have preconceptions. My suggestion is to forget every image that comes to mind, forget everything you know about dry-cleaning.
"Instead of sitting at your computer, and looking at books, go to a dry cleaner, and sit there. The way to get an interesting idea is to go to the source. Stay there until you have thought of something interesting about dry-cleaning. Then, listen to that idea and it will design itself."
This, from Bob Gill, creative industry great and co-founder of D&AD, a British educational organization that celebrates excellence in design and advertising. Good timing too, this advice coming at the brink of spring. You have our permission to tell your boss: "Sorry, I was trying to have a brilliant idea so I just had to get outside this afternoon and go straight to the source."
The United States Preventive Services Task Force determined that there isn't any evidence to support that more frequent screenings help catch cervical cancer. The government isn't the first group to change its recommendations--in fact, it's one of the last: Cancer groups and others have been urging for less frequent screenings for the past few years. But this basically means the annual Pap will be RIP (of course, these recommendations apply only to healthy women, not those who have puzzling symptoms, an unusual Pap test result or a history of dysplasia, cervical cancer, H.I.V. or other issues).
Just because you no longer need a Pap smear every year doesn't mean you should schedule your next ob/gyn appointment for 2015. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) gave us four more great reasons to keep up the yearly visits:
1. To assess your lady parts (and other parts). At a typical exam, ob/gyns perform abdominal exams (to make sure the ovaries and uterus feel normal), breast exams and pelvic exams. Beyond your reproductive organs, they also usually check your blood pressure, weight, BMI and pulse. Good ob/gyns have been known to help women with weight problems, bloating, acne and skin discoloration related to hormonal fluctuations.