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It's Friday! Before a holiday weekend! There's almost too much to be thankful for. So let's get thanking.... Hooray for:
The turtles! They crawled onto the runway at JFK, and summer travelers didn't go ballistic. Team JFK moved them along, while someone else set up one very witty Twitter feed (@JFKTurtles)
Jill Scott's video for "Shame." Just try not to walk around singing "I'm magnificent" after watching that
8,000 paper lanterns, floating in the sky
An 18-year-old German girl, Sabine Lisicki, coming off two ankle surgeries (two!) delivers the fastest serve in women’s tennis history (Faster than Venus. Faster than Andre Agassi in his prime.) and surprises everyone by making it to the semifinals at Wimbeldon
10 rules to reverse the email spiral. Um? Yes, please
And with that in mind, we're logging off to go celebrate one big thing to be thankful for: freedom! Have a wonderful happy Fourth, everyone. Life Lift will resume regular posting on Tuesday.
Can you guess where the nation's top four cleanest, most pristine beaches are located? (Nope, not in Kauai or the Outer Banks).
Salt water taffy is, alas, not made with salt water, but good ol' sugar and corn syrup. Despite the simple ingredient list (it also contains sea salt and flavorings), I still would not attempt making it myself--especially after watching this video of a Maine candy shop's impressively powerful 100-year-old machines in action. New York confectioner Marisa Wu, however, is undeterred by the upper body strength required to twist and pull salt water taffy by hand. Her fancy-flavored salt water taffy (think coconut, hibiscus and black cherry) are just hitting stores now. Until they reach your neighborhood, you can order them through Brooklyn's Bedford Cheese Shop, which will ship anywhere, allowing you to combine your childhood memories with your adult palate--no matter where you are.
If you have a question, send it to us!
Q: Can I cheat on my diet on the weekends?
A: We asked Janis Jibrin, MS, RD, Best Life lead nutritionist and diet counselor, to answer this question. She says she's heard this a lot lately—and she gave us four reasons to rethink this as a weight loss plan.
Some weekend cheaters gained almost 9 pounds in a year.
Your body doesn't know the difference between weekdays and weekends. If you splurge on the lumberjack breakfast or a plate of beignets, that could have three times the calories of your ordinary oatmeal breakfast. A 2008 study published in the journal Obesity found that participants who were likely to increase their calories on Saturday and decrease their activity on Sunday racked up tiny weight gains that led to almost 9 pounds at the end of a year.
This morning, Cary Tennis, the Salon advice columnist, shared a moving letter from a man who is losing his mother to leukemia at age 87.
"I owe my mother a lot, " the writer says. "Besides the fact that she took care of us as a single mother, she also had to help me through an accident I had when I was 10 years old, which involved a number of surgeries; she made sure we were housed and fed, and she pushed us to get educations. ... My problem is that I have such a hard time visiting her. All she wants is someone to sit with her, but that is hard for me. I take my son with me sometimes, and it is wonderful to see her face light up. She doesn't say much, but we just sit for a while and then leave. I wish I could go there and spend more time, but it is really hard to do that. It literally drains me of all of my energy. I'm not complaining about her. She makes no demands. I'm not the dying person. I feel I should want to go see her as much as possible now."
While Tennis responds in a loving, thoughtful manner to the writer's confusions, what struck us most was the mother—and the idea that to sit and be with somebody sick is enough. So often we visitors worry about flowers (is pollen allowed?); we worry about bringing balloons or tabloid magazines; we worry about whether to sit on the bed (too close?) or sit on the chair (too far); we worry we're talking about silly, selfish things (our broken dishwasher, our jerky ex) when these sick people are struggling for their lives. However, instead of doing all this worrying, which may just lead you not to show up in the hospital room at all, or to panic and act in the least way you'd like to act, you can just sit and be there. Being there is enough.
Read more: Ways to help an ailing friend or parent
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.
* It was nice to learn what the real Ernest Hemingway looked like in a swimsuit after completely falling for Corey Stoll's hilarious yet smoldering portrayal of the lion-wrestling, hard-drinking ultra-macho writer in the utterly charming Midnight in Paris (go see it this weekend!).
* Having received two heart transplants, 31-year-old Erik Compton knows "golf is not that big of a deal," but that only makes the fact that he won the Mexico open and qualified for the PGA tour that much more impressive. [PGA Tour]
* We spent some time this week cataloging the unique advantages of being a woman. A male cheerleader whose Bring It On-worthy performance has gone viral reminds us that anyone striving to make us forget our differences is worth celebrating too. [Towleroad]
* Surely you will be shocked to learn that men don't visit McDonald's for the salads. Still though, this infographic of guys' fast-food habits has plenty of fun facts—like how many hot sauce packets the average guy has squirreled away at home. [Mashable]
* "We were united, we were strong, we were righteous, we were unmovable, we were funny, we were corny as hell and as serious as death itself...Together, we told an older, richer story about the possibilities of friendship that transcended those I'd written in my songs and in my music. Clarence carried it in his heart."—Bruce Springsteen remembers Clarence Clemmons
A bottle of beer can be a thing of beauty—just ask Homer Simpson. Class up your next barbecue with one of these five options.
Bohemia Frida Kahlo
A Mexican beer pays homage to the iconic artist with a limited edition bottle featuring Kahlo's face and designs that appear in much of her work: flowers, hummingbirds and monkeys.
Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus
The label on this Belgian ale walks a fine line between racy and sophisticated. And the pink, raspberry-based beer inside is lovely.
[Next, three more beers that belong at your barbecue]
Besides the obvious benefit of getting designer clothes on sale, the best part about these discount destinations is that you don't even have to get out of your pajamas to get in on the action:
Newly launched this week is Clique To Know, a flash sales website dedicated to luxury brands sizes 10 and up. You'll find high-end labels that will hug your curves in all the right places at prices you can afford. Something to note: these sales last 48 hours (and items only stay in your digital cart for 10 minutes).
One of New York City's best-kept shopping secrets is now available anywhere you can log on. Century 21--a department store and fashion destination for tourists and native New Yorkers alike--features a new set of designers online every Monday and Thursday at a major discount. Need a shopping alert? This site allows you to add future sales to your digital Outlook or iCal calendar with the click of your mouse.
Will you shop these sites? Tell us about your all-time favorite bargain.
For more great deals keep reading:
Find More Deals at Oprah.com's Great Buy of the Day.