Good News Monday: There’s (A Bit) Less Secondhand Smoke In The Air

Belated good news, released late last fall: fewer Americans are lighting up these days. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking was down to 14%, versus more than 40% back in the mid-60’s.

Even the French have cut back.  2017 saw a drop of one million smokers, and there’s been a decline among teenage smokers as well.

I’m breathing easier just knowing this. Still, it’s hard to imagine that anyone still smokes these days, given the well-documented health risks. What’s happening in your country?

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The Longest Day

Happy Summer Solstice — the longest day of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere.  What will you do with those extra moments of sunlight?

In case you’re curious, here’s an in-depth explanation of this annual event. But, really, the “longest day” is often in the mind of the beholder, depending on circumstances. These events should also qualify:

  • April 14, if you file your own taxes
  • When your flight is delayed, then switched to a new aircraft, and you find yourself sandwiched between two people who are a) portly, b) eating something smelly, or c) both
  • Waiting for the results of a medical test
  • Waiting on line anywhere — grocery store, drugstore drive-through, bank
  • Finals
  • Meeting your future in-laws for the first time
  • Interview Day
  • Giving a big presentation to new clients
  • Waiting (and waiting) for a service call: cable, appliance installation, telephone
  • Childbirth

Fortunately, these are offset by the wonderful long days you hold in your memory: that July afternoon when you were a kid and stayed all day at the beach; the day you got engaged, the morning after you got a decent night’s sleep after your baby finally slept through the night, etc.

Happy Summer!

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Kitchen Confessions

Live long enough, cook long enough, and you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way.  Last week I may have surpassed myself.

Lately, I’ve been baking bread using a perforated double loaf pan.  They can be hard to clean, so instead of putting the dough directly on the pan I first place a sheet of parchment paper on top.  The paper tends to slide around, so I weigh each side down with something to keep it in place until the dough goes on it.

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For last week’s French bread, I weight one side with an apple and the other side with a paring knife until I’m ready to put my dough down on the paper-covered pan. I let them rise and bake as usual.

Both loaves of bread look good, although I do notice a groove on the bottom of one loaf when I take them off the paper to cool.

Cue the music: “Dumb, da dumb dumb”….

I remove the paper and discover my paring knife… not in the bread, but under the paper, melted directly onto the loaf pan where it is stuck for all eternity! Of course, my loaf pan/knife combo has to be thrown away and both items replaced ASAP.

I still can’t figure out how this happened.

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Good News Monday: Music Helps Preemies Build Better Brains

Scientists have learned what India’s snake charmers have known for years: flute music has calming properties. But it’s not just about stress relief: hearing certain instruments actually improved brain function in premature babies.

Quick — someone please commission this composer to create music for our government buildings!

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Good News Monday: Tropical Topics

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The Nature Conservancy recently reported survey results indicating that Hawaiian coral reefs are showing signs of growth and stabilization after devastating bleaching occurred in 2015. The healthier reefs were generally further away from excessive exposure to “human influences”, but even the most vulnerable species are starting to recover.

What’s more, there’s good news for fish living on coral reefs impacted by climate change*.  A new study suggests that these reefs can still be productive, as the fish get most of their food from the currents which flow past them.

Celebratory piña coladas, anyone?

yellow and white fish

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(*Isn’t it “reassuring” that so many politicians deny the existence of climate change?! ARRGHHH!)

 

 

How Much Is Too Much?

Quick question for you experienced bloggers, and followers thereof:

How often do you want to see posts from people you follow?  For me, it’s about once a week so I have time to actually read, digest, and comment.  When posts arrive daily, I feel overwhelmed because I rarely have the time (or inclination, if I’m being honest) to give them appropriate attention.

Just curious.

xoxo, Alisa

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Vain Hopes: DIY Eyelash Tinting

After my recent beauty misadventure, I currently find myself in Beauty Purgatory, aka the Oregon Coast, where the only day spa that did eyelash tinting has suddenly gone out of business.

I mean, is it me? WTF?!

Determined to find a solution, I order a lash tinting kit online after perusing some reviews.

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The Godefroy “28 Day Mascara” comes with a tube of color and a tube of developer, plus an applicator and under-eye pads, which I quickly discover are a bit too thick and awkward.

The process is simple:

  1. First, wash and dry your lashes to remove any oils, creams and moisturizers.
  2. Apply petroleum jelly around the eye area, making sure not to get it on your lashes.
  3. Apply color, doing one eye at a time. I suggest using a disposable mascara wand.
  4. Apply developer and leave it on for one minute. Disposable wand for this, too.
  5. Wipe down eye with damp tissue and do the other eye.

Results: Meh, even though I do them twice.  I suspect I’d get better results if a) my lashes were longer, 2) my eyelids weren’t as droopy, 3) I didn’t blink 80,000 times while attempting this.

The search continues…. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I still haven’t heard anything from my erstwhile eyebrow guru.  I really hope she is ok.