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April 2012 (116 posts)
Hello again, Friday! It's time to write in our gratitude journal. These are a few of the things that made our week:
Thank you, Ashley Judd, for saying exactly what we all needed to hear
Poetry in everything—even the life of a cat
Abandoned, tiny and hungry hungry: Meet a pygmy hippo and the heroes who saved him
The Huffington Post's Healthy Living section has an eye-opening slideshow about foods that contain more sugar than a Twinkie. The one that really threw us for a fruit-loop wasn't kids' cereal but yogurt, that calcium-rich, go-to treat for for nutritionists, athletes and the nutrition-obsessed everywhere. HuffPo reports that an 8-ounce container of vanilla yogurt can have around 31 grams of sugar, while a 6-ounce container of the fruit-flavored kind can have around 32 grams. That's almost almost double the amount in a spongey, "cream"-filled snack cake!
But before you toss that tub, check the nutritional info, as sugar and portion sizes vary widely. For example, we found that that amount of sugar in Stonyfield Farms yogurt seems to increase in inverse proportion to the fat content: for French vanilla flavor, the non-fat had 17 grams, low-fat had 21 grams, and whole milk had 22 grams--more than a Twinkie, but less than the unspecified brands of yogurts HuffPo was referring to. Their slideshow did include this great piece of advice: When in doubt, or if nutrition info isn't readily available, go for Greek yogurt, which naturally has less sugar because of the straining process used to give it that thick, rich consistency. (Check out the slideshow to find out what other foods are more sugary than Twinkies--and let us know if any of these surprised you).
You know that really-annoying-but-also-very-true saying "Only boring people get bored"? I was on a flight yesterday, trying to brain-message this thought to a teenager who was complaining of ennui to her mother while flipping through a magazine. Meanwhile, I was glamorously attempting to wrestle my 1-year-old into a sitting position while my 3-year-old slammed the window shade up and down and smashed goldfish crackers into her seat. Being bored, what a luxury! Still, I can relate -- I remember when flying was not a frenzied fever dream of shushing and wrangling, but, well, a bore.
So, should you find yourself bored on a long flight you could watch a dreadful movie you'd never choose, buy a drink for any mothers you see traveling with small children, or you could get really, really creative. Like the artist Nina Katchadourian.
Finding herself on a long flight and, you guessed it, sensing the onset of the dreaded boredom, Katchadourian decided instead to take to the lavatory, where she created a headdress out of toilet paper and commenced to take portraits of herself in the Flemish style. The results are hilarious, pitch-perfect, and rather beautiful. And the reminder -- that truly there is no boredom when you can be creative -- is priceless.
(via Laughing Squid.)
6 Ways to Get Your Creativity Going
The Creativity-Spirituality Connection
Where would you be without your library? I had occasion this week to visit the library I grew up visiting, and passing by a particular shelf in the children's section I happened to glimpse the exact set of ancient hardbound Oz books that I devoured as a kid. I had a kind of sensory flashback: the scent of the yellowed paper, the art deco-weirdness of the illustrations. Even the slightly reverential act of kneeling -- they were on the bottom shelf. The excitement of being done with one and moving on to the next (even then, at 9 or 10, I knew there was something great about being able to say, "Oh, The Wizard of Oz? Sure, that one's good, but do you mean to say you haven't read Rinkitink in Oz?"). I discovered so many books at that library, and thus so many (fictional) friends, and it was because I loved reading that I wanted to become a writer.
What about you? Where would you be without your library? This is the question posed by the tiny M.N. Spear Library of Shutesbury, MA as they try to raise money for a new building. Their 900-square-foot library is a center of community life, but lacks space for studying, story times, and is hopelessly outdated -- they don't even have running water. Here is the charming video filmmaker Lindsay Van Dyke made, with the help of local library patrons, which states the case for why this small town needs a new library:
It happens to be, right now, an uncanny nexus of National Library Week AND National School Library Month. I know, I know, we all read books on kindles and write novels via text and memoirs on Twitter, but still, as the video above demonstrates, there is nothing quite like a brick-and-mortar library. Nothing like finding a book by accident, or being drawn to a crackly spine for an unknown reason; nothing like losing oneself in a quiet corner studying or reading. My current library life is, in fact, nothing like this at all, but one of rowdy story times and chewed-up board books -- important, too, in its way. What about you? Where would you be without your library? Post to M.N. Spear Library's Tumblr or in the comments below!
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.
* How does a leading man get dressed? With lots of help, as it turns out. GQ goes behind the scenes with a celebrity stylist. (GQ)
* Speaking of getting dressed... Real men know how to iron. (YouTube)
A: I'm always happy when I see a question with the words skincare and tight budget, because it's easy to put together a simple, effective, and inexpensive routine. Here, according to Arielle Kauvar, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, is what you need:
1. A gentle cleanser for morning and night. Skip any that contain treatment ingredients—they only get washed off.
2. A serum or lotion with an antioxidant (like vitamin C, E, polyphenols, or CoffeeBerry), to be applied after morning cleansing.
3. A moisturizer with sunscreen to be applied after the antioxidant.
4. An exfoliating scrub or a microdermabrasion-type brush (to be used with cleanser) to smooth the skin once or twice a week (or less frequently if your skin is sensitive).
5. A moisturizer and/or retinoid treatment product for bedtime.
Keep in mind: All the products Kauvar suggests can be bought for a reasonable price at the drugstore.
Val Monroe's skincare regimen
How to keep hands looking youthful
Do firming lotions work?
If you've ever had a job, you've probably had paranoid delusions and/or fantasies about being fired. What would your response be? Screaming "You can't fire me, I quit!"? An "Office Space"-inspired beating of the office equipment? A weeping nervous breakdown? (My preferred reaction to any life change.)
Well, former University of Illinois college basketball coach Bruce Weber was let go from his job last month after his team didn't make it into the NCAA tournament. Here was his response:
A large ad in the Sunday Champaign News-Gazette, thanking his team and fans. Thanking them! Now is that a classy move or what? May we all deal with career setbacks in such a graceful manner.
via Yahoo! Sports.
How Getting Fired Could Be a Good Thing
Turn Failure Into a Success
There is something so important about having someone who takes you seriously, especially when you're a kid and most of the people in your life respond to your Big Ideas with a "Mm-hm, that's nice, dear." I think this is what I love most about this video which has been all over the Internet the past few days: Caine's Arcade.
The short film features one of the most creative kids you've ever seen, a 9-year-old boy named Caine, who spent a summer hanging out in his father's auto-parts shop in East L.A., building an elaborate cardboard arcade. Watch it for Caine's boundless creativity and the intricate arcade games he creates out of boxes, old toys, hooks, and tape. But also, look out for Nirvan, Caine's first (and for a while, only) customer, who ended up making this film:
There are many wonderful moments in this -- when Caine first sees the flash mob Nirvan invited to the arcade is a heart-buster -- but I think my favorite is when Nirvan pronounces Caine's "arcade fun pass," "a really good deal." He's not being facetious in the least. He means it. He thinks Caine's games are awesome, and he thinks 500 plays for $2 is a really good deal, and he's right. And because he takes Caine's awesomeness seriously, others do too, and they come to play at the arcade not to be nice or to indulge a kid or do anyone any favors -- it's because the games are fun to play, thanks to Caine's careful planning and attention to details (the tickets!).
Sometimes that's the greatest gift you can give someone -- a child, an adult, anyone: yout full attention and support. After all, when someone takes your creation seriously it starts to become, well, a real arcade.