Author Archives: adguru101

About adguru101

Formerly a creative director and writer in NY and NJ ad agencies, I'm now a freelance writer living in Austin, TX. With this blog, I hope to reach "mid-century moderns" -- women born in the '50's -- with content and observations about the issues we deal with every day.

Good News Monday: A Baby Boomlet For An Endangered Species

Here’s a whale of a story complete with cute photos.

One of the rarest species in the world, the North Atlantic right whale, is making waves with recent sightings of three new mother and calf pairs in Cape Cod Bay.

All together now: “Awwwww!”

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Good News Monday: Youth v. Gov

File this under “From the mouths of babes”: A group of 21 young plaintiffs aged 11-23 years old, have filed suit against the Trump administration for actions that cause climate change, and for failing to protect essential public trust resources. Bravo!

The case (officially Juliana v. United States) argues that their generation will be denied their constitutional right to life, liberty and property if nothing is done. Adding fuel to the fire: a United Nations report issued in October predicts climate catastrophe if global emissions continue at their present rate. Significant progress must be made in the next 12 years, a timeline that’s all too real to these young activists.

Youth v. Gov, as the suit has been nicknamed, aims to put the administration in the spotlight, with the goal of holding corporations and governments accountable for their role in the crisis.

Call it the tip of the quickly-melting iceberg.

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Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on Pexels.com

 

Beauty Adventures: I Was a Late-Middle-Aged Hair Model

Time: a couple of weeks ago.

I’m recruited by my salon to test a new smoothing treatment.  I have high hopes, since I’ve been waiting for them to find a replacement for the straightening treatment I’d loved and which, sadly, has been discontinued.

This will be fun and instructive — I’m a geek about beauty info — and hey, it’s free.

I arrive for the class at 9 a.m. sharp  (a model must always be professional!) and have coffee while the stylists arrive.  There are six in all, including S, my go-to stylist, and they’re eager to learn about the new product.

Before she starts the presentation, the representative for Keratin Complex asks me about my hairstyle goals and lifestyle, e.g., do I do a lot of vigorous aerobic workouts? (Um, no.)

I do explain that I’d like my unruly waves to become as smooth and “ruly” as possible so that my hair can air-dry without a lot of fuss.  She explains that this process will smooth my hair and loosen the curl but it won’t straighten it the way a chemical process would. This is disappointing, but did I mention it’s free?

(IF I just let my hair dry naturally…) IMG-1110

All the stylists sit in a circle and K passes around information on the products and levels of curl. (Mine is considered moderate; I was hoping for something more dramatic, such as, “Wow, your hair will be such a challenge!”) I love all the technical stuff.

The company offers two types of treatments: an “express”, which is what we’ll be testing today and lasts up to 5 weeks, and a more in-depth option that should last about 5 months.

S washes my hair and K shows the team how to apply the product, comb it through, blow dry, and then do several passes with a special flat iron.  Each stylist takes turns doing sections of my hair, which is a bit weird, but they are here to practice. The whole thing takes about an hour, but a lot of that is Q&A from the class.

When they finish, my hair is shiny and silky, and the treatment has brightened up my highlights. I’m instructed to wait at least 24 hours before washing it, and I’m given small bottles of the brand’s sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to use at home.

K says that she charges $75-$150 at her salon for the express treatment. This sounds a little steep to me, given that it’s only going to last a few weeks.  I’m thinking it should be priced more like a glaze since it’s not a straightening procedure that would alter the hair’s chemical structure for long-term results.

Anyway, off I go, armed with my products, to see how it works in real life.

The next day, my stylist texts to ask if I like the results (yes) and would I be willing to pay that amount for the treatment. (Honestly? Probably not.)

Two weeks and a few shampoos later, here’s my assessment: While my hair is a bit smoother and less likely to frizz, it’s not as silky as it was when I had the treatment. It’s still wavier than I would like, and takes a lot of time to blow-dry. To get a similar look I’d have to use a flat iron, which I try to avoid because it’s so damaging.

However, I’d recommend Keratin Complex to someone who isn’t looking to change their natural texture but does want their hair to be softer, smoother, shinier and resistant to humidity. 

Would this treatment appeal to you? How much would you be willing to pay?

(Left) After salon treatment.  (Right) Minimal styling, 2 weeks later.

 

 

 

 

 

Good News Monday: Fool Me Once

Happy Hilaria (aka, April Fools’ Day)!  If you’re curious about its origins, this is a great summary of the holiday from history.com:

“Although April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.

People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

READ MORE: 9 Outrageous Pranks That People Actually Fell For

Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises.

There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.

In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.

In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.”

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Souper Sunday

 

As I write this, my DH (dear husband) is creating something he calls “Clear Out The Refrigerator” Soup. We’re at the start of a two-day cold snap, which calls for gloves, turtlenecks and something warm, comforting and low-calorie to eat.

Pretty much anything edible can be turned into soup.  In this case, we’ve been stockpiling withered vegetables, accidentally frozen herbs, and most of a large box of chicken broth. It either needs to become soup or compost.

Making soup couldn’t be simpler, even for you non-cooks out there.

  1. Chop up an onion, a couple of garlic cloves, some celery and some carrots. This will be your mirepoix (“meer-pwah”).  Sauté them with a little olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Roughly chop the rest of your ingredients and throw them in. Today’s haul includes carrots, turnips, some kale, some collard greens, mysteriously frozen basil, some dill, red potatoes and a can of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) without the liquid. Quantities don’t matter.
  3. Cover with liquid: approximately half chicken or vegetable stock, and half water.
  4. Simmer on low heat for a couple of hours until vegetables start to soften. Add water if it’s getting too thick (more like a stew than a soup).
  5. Season to taste with salt and fresh pepper. Add ground herbs such as oregano and rosemary for more flavor.

Here, DH and I diverge.  He likes the individual tastes of the separate veggies in broth. I prefer using an immersion blender to purée them to a texture resembling pea soup.

Either way, simmer until the flavors blend, re-checking and adjusting your seasoning as needed. Add a hunk of crusty bread, some cheese and a glass of wine. Voilà: dinner!

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