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[After the jump, the explanation behind the study, plus five things that are comforting to touch that are not George Clooney]
Imagine grocery shopping at your local megastore, reaching down into the assortment of dented, limp red onions and pulling out an envelope with the words "This letter is for you" written on it in loopy blue ink. Would you leave it there because you might not be the real "you?" Would you open it on the spot? Or would you look both ways, then scurry off with it hidden in your purse to read later?
This spring, Brooklyn artist Liz Medina has been dropping off these anonymous missives around as part of her Eternally Yours project. She tucks them into bushes and weaves them into the spokes of bikes. She hides them in old antique cannons and on the shelves of toy stores and—just yesterday—in the bill of her restaurant check.
Each envelope contains three things: (1) a love letter that asks how you have been and tells you how wonderful you are, which you are invited to respond to, (2) a drawing that you are invited to add to artistically by drawing or painting or writing on it, (3) a prepaid envelope to send your contributions back.
"I'm trying to address the breakdown in traditional communication, such as with letters and writing," says Medina. "I want to ignite a small spark in people's lives, for them to feel a flash of joy as they go back and forth from work—if not some mystery."
Eternally Yours volunteers now hide letters in states as far flung as California, Texas and Iowa. Medina herself has tucked over 500 on her home turf of Brooklyn. Her favorite response back from a reader was a tiny scrap of torn white paper with the words "try harder" written by manual typewriter. But over 20 other examples are posted on her site.
"I went to art school to paint and draw," she says, "I thought I would spend my life simply perfecting those skills. But when I moved to New York, I decided to act on all the crazy ideas that I think about but never do. I mean, why not, if it makes people happy?"
Her next project is a 20-foot-tall inflatable gumball machine.
Our response: Why not, if makes people happy?
Tell about your love letters—the sweetest, the strangest, the one you wish you'd written...
State and county fairs seem to serve as laboratories for fried foods. Remember Oprah and Gayle's trip to the State Fair of Texas? Take a trip down a crispy, powdered sugar–dusted memory lane with this slide show of some of the fair's most bizarre fried foods.
Imagine my dismay when I
read in this month's O magazine that jet dryers actually increase the amount of bacteria on users' hands—it's because the air inside isn't exactly sterile. Even worse, the dryers blast bacteria all over the restroom (and presumably, those inside), "spewing germs more than six feet." After reading this, the jet dryer morphed in my mind from a
futuristic time saver to a potential weapon of germ warfare. O writer Ramona Emerson explains that the superiority of jet dryers is actually a myth. The hand-drying
researcher whose work she cites says that paper towels are more sanitary, but this still doesn't solve my eco-dilemma.
Here's an idea: We could take a cue from the Japanese, who have taken hand drying (among many other things) to a new level. Many public washrooms in Japan lack towels or dryers, and it is common for Japanese people to carry small, personal hand towels or handkerchiefs (okay for drying your hands, but not for blowing your nose). The towels are so ubiquitous that there's even a museum dedicated to them. By tucking my own little reusable towel in my purse, I'll at least be able to keep my germs to myself. But I admit: I'll miss the roar of the jets.
When it comes to fashion trends, we all make mistakes. Some uh-oh moment flashbacks: harem pants, retro tube tops, the head-to-toe designer logo trend. This summer’s jumpers might not be the easiest thing to wear, what with the bra problem (to wear or not to wear?) and shorts that are just a tad too short. But jumper are fun and flirty, and ideal for summer bike riding or...a tennis match?
Today, the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed the jumper that Venus Williams wore at Wimbledon describing it as “open in the back and generally unwieldy” and remarking that “it brought to mind togas, or hospital gowns.” Then and only then did the paper mention her 6-3, 6-1 victory over Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan.
Not to be picky, because Williams clearly dresses to get attention, but does the message for women so often have to be: clothes first, achievement second? This woman has won 43 major tennis singles titles, 18 doubles titles, and earned over 27 million in prize money. She can wear a naked-looking bloomers if she wants. Oh wait....she already did that.
The jumper looked pretty elegant to us, except from the back where things got a little low cut (note to self: remember to look behind you in the dressing room). But at the end of the day, women who know how to risk are usually women who know how to win.
Besides, a certain other woman close to our heart has risked a little fashion ire—and lived to laugh about it.
Grow Your Own Mushroom Garden, $19.95. Cut an opening in the box, mist the soil--made from recycled coffee grounds--twice daily, and within two weeks, you’ll have a pound and a half of oyster mushrooms, ready for stir-frying.
Mattese Elite Happy Hour Nail Polish Collection, $5.99 each. It's cocktail time--for your nails. Paint all 10 with a bright shade that smells like your favorite summer drink. The best part: No hangover.
Tatcha Blotting Papers, $12 for 15 papers. Soak up excess oil with these handmade Japanese blotting papers flecked with gold. Bonus: One sheet is big enough to de-shine your entire face.
TOMS Sunglasses, $135. TOMS shoes now has a sunglasses line as part of their One for One campaign. They donate a pair of eyeglasses for every pair of sunglasses purchased. (We personally love the stripes.)
Coming to my rescue is the Asian Market Shopper app I just loaded onto my iPhone. The new $3.99 app, created by Asian culinary expert and cookbook author Andrea Nguyen, categorizes 100 of the most commonly used ingredients, from miso to curry pastes to dried kelp, by region: Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia. Although many Asian ingredients are available in regular supermarkets these days, Asian markets still carry a wider variety of produce, grains, spices, noodles and condiments—and they're a fun place to explore (where else would you find chestnut rice cake mochi balls?).
Each ingredient in the Asian Market Shopper app, from annatto (the heart-shaped seeds of the evergreen annatto tree, used in Filipino and Vietnamese cooking) to yellow split peas, has a photo, its English name and its Asian name—and with the tap of an icon, Nguyen speaks the ingredient's name in both languages.
You can "favorite" certain ingredients, email them to yourself or a friend, even post them to Facebook or Twitter. The app has 25 recipes (and as you'd expect, any Asian ingredients have links to their specific pages on the app). There are instructional videos too, covering how to rig a steamer, how to clean and break down a crab and other tasks that are easier to grasp when demonstrated.
And zhenjiang xiang cu, in case you're wondering, is an inky, smoky, slightly bitter vinegar made mostly of sticky rice and malt. Besides kung pao dishes, it's also used for dipping northern Chinese dumplings. Thanks to my app, I know that Golden Plum brand is the standard bearer—and I even know to watch out for imposters.
Well...not just yet. But in their new study, scientists at New York University's Langone Medical Center discovered how hair goes gray. They found that Wnt signaling (a network of proteins known to control many biological processes in the body) between hair follicles and melanocyte stem cells (color producing cells) can dictate hair pigmentation. A depletion of Wnt signaling in hair follicle stem cells prohibits hair re-growth and prevents the production of hair color--essentially turning it gray.
So what does this mean exactly for the salt and pepper popping up on your head? In an interview with BodyOdd.com, the study's lead researcher, Mayumi Ito, PhD, assistant professor in the Ronald O. Pereleman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone, said that their findings could help "provide a new target for designing therapies for color loss and restoration." In other words: They could stop your gray hair in its tracks.
While you wait for these therapies and new technology to be developed, however, here are seven makeovers-in-gray to inspire you--plus a few ways to amp up the white and silver hair you've got.
Rather add some color? Try these tricks from our beauty director, Valerie Monroe, for covering up grays (even those stubborn, wiry ones).
Are you jumping for joy at the prospect of stopping grays before they start? Or do you think you look sexiest in silver? Let us know!