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May 2012 (135 posts)
Happy Friday! The Friday before a long weekend always puts us in an extra good mood, and so does this list of things that made our week. See you back here on Tuesday!
Drop everything: This is your new to-do list
How's this for a modern book club?
Google gets a doodle; this kid's education gets a big boost
10 ways to play with your food (now cue that Tetris music)
A few years ago, I bought myself a sleek little desk lamp with a solar panel built into its base. I thrilled at the thought of harnessing the sun to power late nights at my desk—both lowering my electricity bill and lessening my drain on the planet. But my eco-honeymoon was short-lived: My desk isn’t positioned near the slim window in my home office, meaning to fully charge that little lamp I had to move it back and forth between the desk and windowsill each morning and night. It’s no surprise that my green dream had been abandoned within the week, that lamp left to gather dust (and induce guilt) on the desk.
So when I first heard about the Solar Monkey Adventure, I had my doubts: After thirty-plus years of plugging in, could I train myself to sometimes rely on the sun? And could solar ever feel more convenient than electricity?
It took one long weekend at the beach to convince me that the answer is yes. The Solar Monkey Adventure is two slim solar panels that charge mobile devices like cell phones and iPads. The brilliance of the new gadget isn’t that setting it on your windowsill lets you charge your phone at home—though you can do that—it’s that tucking the lightweight device into your suitcase guarantees you can get a charge on the go, whether you’re hiking mountains (a Velcro strap securely attaches it to backpacks) or, like me, lounging near the water’s edge, fully charged cell phone happily in hand.
Kids, right? How I wish I felt this way! It is certainly a part of my mothering-a-girl-plan to teach her to feel confident in her own skin. And yet, my excitement about summer plans -- the pool! the beach! the sprinkler! -- is, let's admit it, tempered by my Fear of My Black Suit. You know, that same unassuming black thing I've sequestered myself in since puberty. Usually with a cover-up. And pants. And a portable tent. I'm kidding. (N,o I'm not.)
But you know what? It's National Swimsuit Confidence Week, darn it, and I think we should celebrate. Okay, so it's an ad campaign for Land's End. But it's an ad campaign with a valuable message: Land's End has teamed with the Curvy Girl Guide to encourage women of all sizes to feel confident this summer, and I think it's an idea we can all stand behind. In swimsuits, no less. And let's hear it for these brave ladies who put photos of themselves in their swimsuits online, over at the Curvy Girl site -- and on the Today Show (as pictured). If they can do it, so can we. I mean, I'm totally not going to do that. But public pool... brace yourself. Mama's leaving the cover-up at home. (Or maybe in the car. You know, just in case.)
7 Ways To Find a Swimsuit That Looks Great
The Best Bathing Suits for Every Body
As Ravitz puts it, Aesha, who "was given away by her father to settle a family score," "seems starved for attention, and cannot get enough cuddling." The portrait that follows is of an unforgettable personality -- wild, tempestuous, as full of joy and rage as the most capricious toddler. According to Ravitz, "She has had to learn far more than language. Aesha didn’t know there are days of the week...In many ways, Aesha is at a crossroads -- somewhere between a wide-eyed and innocent child, a young woman who has a lifetime ahead of her, and a survivor who’s already experienced more than anyone should."
Read the whole moving essay and watch the video to learn more about Aesha, including the unexpected turn her story has taken. As I weepily read, I can't help thinking how one of the saddest (and most beautiful) parts of this story is how with everything that has happened to Aesha, all she wants is a family. What she's missing most seems to be a chance to be, belatedly, a kid. How the simplest things in life -- a cuddle, swinging at the playground, feeling safe and loved -- are, so often, the most elusive.
Afghan Girls Box For Sisterhood
Digging through county archives, Holt-Orsted was stunned to learn that as late as the 1980s, industrial waste had been dumped into a landfill near the Holts' well. When the state tested the well in 1988 and found the carcinogen trichloroethylene (TCE), the results were chalked up to an error. In 1991, after further tests, the Holts were told their water was safe to drink. Their well went untested for the next nine years, during which time area white families' water was tested, found to be contaminated, and the families were advised not to drink it. It wasn't until 2000 that the Holts' well was finally tested again and deemed unsafe.
"During my treatment, I thought, 'If I live through this, I'm going to hold someone responsible,'" Holt-Orsted says. While recovering, she spoke to science professors about TCE's structure, met with local officials, and organized town hall forums to galvanize her neighbors.
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.
* Calling all couch potatoes! Let's all take a moment to remember Eugene Polley, the inventor of the remote control, who died this week at 96. (MPRNews)
* Spend some time getting to know fashion's forgotten god, Luis Estevez. (The Daily)
* "My job is to have empathy and curiosity for things I've never done."—The novelist Richard Ford on writing. (NYTimes)
1. Italian Sandwich
Take the popular combination of melon and prosciutto and turn it into a mini open-faced sandwich: make sure the cantaloupe slices aren't too big, and tear the ham into equally bite-sized pieces. Top with a sprig of fresh mint or basil.
2. Sweet and Salty
Cook six slices of bacon, remove from pan and break into bits. Saute half an onion in the bacon fat until translucent. Add a splash each of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and brewed coffee to the pot. Stir the bacon back in and cook slowly until concentrated.
3. Mexican Minus the Tortillas
Saute a diced onion and green bell pepper until lightly caramelized. Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 tsp. salt. Add a diced sweet potato and a bit more olive oil, then roast in a 400° oven for 15 minutes. Stir in a cup of rinsed, drained black beans.
A: At least you can be grateful that it's not an actual 5 o'clock shadow, right? What you've got sounds like melasma, which is commonly caused by genetics or an excess of estrogen or sunlight, says Wendy E. Roberts, MD, a dermatologist in Rancho Mirage, California. (Roberts also mentions a host of other possible causes, among them a course of tetracycline, waxing, or a harsh microdermabrasion treatment.) She recommends using a prescription skin-lightening compound containing either hydroquinone, kojic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, retinols, or Lumixyl. A series of Fraxel laser treatments may also help fade the discoloration.
Keep in mind: Wearing an SPF 30 sunscreen every day will help prevent your 5 o'clock shadow from reappearing.
How to read the new sunscreen labels
The 7 best new sunscreens
4 different approaches to aging gorgeously
This hotel in Africa includes unusual breakfast guests with serious charm.
Reprogram your life-GPS and lose that lost feeling.
For anyone who's ever wondered what actually happens when you hit "send" on an email, here is the story. Don't worry, it's in cartoon form.
Take cues from a farmer—and other ways to make your to-do list (and work day) more efficient.
Time for a career-change? How about...a bookstore in Paris?
The Life-Lifter: "For all the kindness you've shown me and all the support you've given me over the years, here's one-hundred, two-hundred, three-hundred dollars to put towards your new a/c." A local news station's "$300 Act of Kindness" campaign, in action.