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June 2012 (119 posts)
--Lilli Leight, 15.
(--Also, Thomas Jefferson.)
No one reads books anymore. Especially not kids and teens. They're all tweetin' and textin' and emoticonning and watching 3-D YouTube videos on their hologram-lenses or whatever it is they do. Or anyway that's the story lately. Then an old-fashioned lady like myself hears about an intrepid young book lover like 15-year-old Lilli Leight and breathes a sigh of relief. Lilli loves books. She loves books so much that she was disturbed when she noticed that the children at the homeless shelter where she volunteered (is she the best kid in the world or what?) automatically turned on the center's TV when they had a free moment. Lilli told Publishers Weekly, " I realized that there were no books available to the children, and that no one ever thought to ask for a book.”
So she did what all 13-year-olds (as she was then) would do: she started a library. On her own. Read the whole article to find out how she acquired over 5,000 books for the homeless kids she works with. And the next time someone bemoans the state of today's youths, think of the library of Lilli Leight.
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Hailey Bartholomew was feeling depressed. So she decided to remind herself of one thing she was thankful for every day, and to take a Polaroid photo of it. But it didn't work so she crawled under the covers and never came out again.
Wait, not really! What actually resulted was that this chore she'd created for herself became an incredibly life-affirming project. She began to notice the things she loved that she'd been overlooking -- most of all her marriage. Her relationships improved. Her health improved. Her spiritual life improved. And what's more, she found that her project was inspiring others to be thankful for everything around them, too. She's working on a documentary about how being grateful affected real change in her life, and you can watch a wonderful video about it here.
There are many ways to acknowledge our gratitude, but I love Bartholomew's unique angle of creating actual photographs, actual artifacts. The other day I realized my daughter had been a little too quiet for a little too long, and I peeked into my bedroom, where she was "having alone time." She looked up from the massive pile of photos I'd been meaning to put in an album, and smiled a guilty, mystified smile and said, "This is really interesting."
It is really interesting, isn't it, how we can hold a moment in our hands? We're so used to seeing pictures online that the actual photograph has become an object that calls attention to itself, that makes us pause, that induces us to actually look in a way we don't when clicking through a Flickr album.
What are you grateful for? Go on, snap a photo of it. And print it. And hold it in your hands.
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Maybe, says Ellen Marmur, MD, vice chair of cosmetic and dermatologic surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, especially if you have sensitive skin. "Many of the children's products are free of irritating chemicals, which can be good for women who have sensitive skin and are possibly overdoing it with other anti-aging pharmaceuticals throughout the day," she says. However, it's important to do your research. Be sure to compare the kids' brand to the adult version (if the company makes one), noting active ingredients, because both sometimes contain the same chemicals. Marmur adds that the premium adult formulations also tend to be more sheer and easily absorbed into the skin, creating a more natural finish. While a shiny high-beam face might be perfectly appropriate for a day building sandcastles, you may prefer the subtle, matte protection of an adult sunscreen (they come in natural formulations, too) when heading to a grown-up BBQ or deck party.
Looking to go au naturel (or at least "more naturel")? The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit that monitors the use of potentially harmful chemicals in consumer products, recently issued their list of the safest, most effective sunscreens for 2012 (this includes products for kids as well as adults).
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From Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker and Dabney Gough, based on ice creams from Bi-Rite Creamery:
Vanilla and tangerine. A scoop of tangerine granita (or just whole tangerine sections) on top of plain old vanilla results in a smooth and tangy Creamsicle-like effect.
Chocolate and blackberry. The darker and more intense the chocolate ice cream, the better this duo tastes.
Cookies & cream and mint chip. There's a reason Nabisco created a spin-off of Double Stuf Oreos in "cool mint"; this kid's dream combo is a winner.
Here, a moment of pure strangeness from the master of wackiness, Jim Henson. This short film, which according to boing boing was nominated for an Academy Award, is an off-kilter meditation on time -- time as a running Abraham Lincoln, time as a painted elephant -- but I think what I love most about it is that it's also so off-brand, Jim Henson-wise. No puppets. Not for kids.
In our creative and work lives, we're always getting the message to, well, stay on message. To consider each public showing, each event or idea or tweet, as a part of our persona, to build the brand of self. So it's good to have a reminder, now and then, that you do best is being yourself. We can watch this odd film and figure out how it fits into the brand of Jim Henson -- he just had to concern himself with making the things he wanted to make. Like this. Which is totally weird. (via boing boing)
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As he told Chicago Parent, "This is for my daughter, first and foremost. I want her to see how easy it is to give back to others. I have a newborn, a life outside of work and a full-time job, but it's still easy to do random acts of kindness." Okay, guy. I can't even manage to floss every day, but that's just me. Garcia is on Day 151 of his mission of kindness and hasn't missed a day yet, whether it's donating money to a charity, wearing a color to support a cause, or something more involved like passing out valentines to strangers or making laminated signs for the homeless. Go, Ryan Garcia! Only 215 days until you can start being mean to everyone! (Ed. note: Just kidding.)
The more of Garcia's good works I click through, the more my initial feeling of guilt (so many kind acts!) dissolves into a sense of lightness. He's right. It really is possible to perform one small act of kindness every day, and the key is just that, keeping it small. Donating the extra dollar at the pharmacy register for pediatric cancer; paying a library fine. These really are things every one can do without going broke or having to spend a ton of time, things that can make a little difference in the life of someone else, and will make a big difference in your own life.
Inspired to do some good today? Like or follow Garcia and guess what, he'll donate 10 cents to charity. There, wasn't that easy?
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