Tag Archives: bloggers 50+

Good News Monday: Sustainable Shopping Made Easy

News to me, at least: mega e-tailer Net-a-Porter is highlighting beauty and fashion products created with a sustainable future in mind.

From natural skincare to organically sourced materials, items in the NET SUSTAIN collection meet at least one of eight key attributes that align with the fashion and beauty industries’ goals for positive impact on human, animal, and environmental welfare.

Of course, not shopping — or shopping vintage and pre-owned items — would be even better, but sometimes the heart just wants what it wants.

woman holding card while operating silver laptop

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

 

My Way or the Highway

Is there any household disagreement more common than, “Is it better to wash dishes by hand, or use the dishwasher?” (Well, maybe, “Does the toilet paper roll go paper side over or under?” As it happens, the patented tp holder was designed to be paper side over. Now you know!)

Being curious, as saving water is a topic around our house, I did some research.

In this fun, independent test, the participants compared using the dishwasher (a popular Bosch model) vs. soaking everything in hot, soapy water vs. handwashing each item one at a time.

The results confirmed what I suspected.

Regardless of method, when you hand wash, you use 3.5-5 times more water than a dishwasher. Not to mention the energy used to heat that water, or how much time you waste standing at the sink.

The more dishes you wash, the more water you waste.

person washing his hand

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

You might think that dishwashers fill up to the top with water, or spray a constant stream of fresh water. They don’t.

Modern dishwashers reuse water throughout the cleaning process, utilizing a system of pumps, sprays and jets. Clean water is only used at the very beginning and for the final rinse. During the rest of the cycle, the water is filtered and heated for maximum cleaning.

If you’re a dishwasher fan, now you have some science to back you up when the subject gets, er, heated.

 

Good News Monday: Game of Drones

If the word “drone” conjures negative thoughts of spying and remote warfare, here’s something cheerful to contemplate.

Drones and digital tags are helping scientists study humpback whales in remote areas of the Antarctic, where in-person access is limited.

A partnership among Duke University Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab (MaRRS), Friedlaender Lab, California Ocean Alliance, and the World Wildlife Fund is using drone photography to study how the whales feed, how healthy they are, and how they’re being affected by climate change.  Drone images are also used to count local populations.

Game-changing technology, at its best.

brown dolphin figurine

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Good News Monday: The Clean Slate Club

Now, a brush with the law might end with a brush in the hand.

Begun as a pilot program for teens in 2015, Project Reset in New York City offers the police a constructive alternative to prosecuting anyone arrested for nonviolent, minor crimes such as trespassing or shoplifting.

Individuals may be able to avoid court — and a criminal record — by voluntarily participating in art classes, a gallery walk, or counseling sessions. The philosophy: education and reflection are more effective than punishment.

Here’s how it works: Police inform someone arrested for a low-level offense that he or she may be eligible for Project Reset. After prosecutors review each case, those who qualify are offered a chance to engage in three hours of programming rather than going to court.

Participants are offered voluntary referrals to social services, such as job training, counseling, and substance abuse treatment. If they successfully complete the intervention, they never set foot in a courtroom. Instead, the local district attorney’s office declines to prosecute the case and their arrest record is sealed.

inspirational quotes on a planner

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Happy Blue Year

 

 

Good News Monday: You’ve Got Some Nervines!

Got stress? Lately I’ve seen several mainstream press mentions of nervines, natural herbs that are reported to help support the nervous system.

These include tonics made from organic skullcap and oat tops, mildly calming herbs such as catnip and chamomile, and stronger relaxants such as valerian root and hops.

Lavender and chamomile tea are pretty mainstream these days but here are several I didn’t know about, per a few websites. Many are staple folk remedies that have been used for centuries.

Have any of you tried any of these? I can’t personally vouch for them and since herbs aren’t regulated the way drugs have to be, it’s always wise to consult a physician about dosing and possible side effects. Still, I’m intrigued. Any recommendations?

Organic skullcap in bloom with purple flowers

  • Oat tops – Although they may not produce an immediate physical feeling of relaxation, oat tops are called a superfood for the nervous system, meant to support nerve functioning over time. Suggested for anyone who is overworked or relies on caffeine to get through the day, this herb is said to calm the nerves, reduce fatigue, relieve emotional instability, and help restore peace and tranquility to over-stressed and chronically upset people.
  • Skullcap – Helps relieve occasional tension and stress, circular thoughts, and nervousness. Can be used throughout the day during stressful situations or at night before bed to calm worried thoughts. I’m curious to try this one. Considered to have anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, herbalists recommend skullcap for muscle tension, insomnia, chronic headaches and relaxation.
  • Chamomile – A classic, relaxing nighttime tea, the herb is also helpful for relieving mild daily mental stress.  If you don’t like the taste, try adding a little lemon and honey.
  • Lavender – This lovely calming herb is often used in aromatherapy applications. Wonderful in the bath or shower, massage oils, pillows, room sprays, and fragrance.
  • Lemon balm – Sunshine in plant form, this citrusy herb helps with nervous exhaustion, gloom, and restlessness, while also providing pure aromatic pleasure. Rub a leaf between your fingers and inhale deeply for an immediate mood boost.
  • Catnip – Gentle, calming herb suggested for sleeplessness in children and the elderly. Are we all cats at heart?
  • California poppy – Used for its calming properties, this plant helps promote relaxation in those seeking rest. Picture that wonderful scene in The Wizard of Oz!
  • Passionflower – Considered helpful for relieving general tension, occasional nervous restlessness, and supporting restful sleep.
  • Hops – With a distinctive flavor and action known well by beer drinkers everywhere, this plant supports relaxation and helps calm a nervous stomach.
  • Valerian – When sleep seems impossible thanks to nervous energy and a brain that won’t shut off, this potent herb encourages relaxation. Caution: for some people, valerian can have the opposite effect, causing stimulation and even more anxiety.  If this happens, an herbalist can suggest something else.

Wishing you all a relaxing, stress-free New Year.  We all deserve one! xx Alisa

Regifting: Taboo or To Do?

“‘Tis the day after Christmas, and all through the land,

Folks are regifting the gifts they can’t stand…”

tabby cat lying under christmas tree with gifts

Photo by Jenna Hamra on Pexels.com

An article in the Wall Street Journal argues that regifting is a perfectly acceptable practice and preferable to throwing away something the giftee doesn’t want or need.

(Reprinted here because the link forces you to subscribe in order to read the whole piece. I hate that.)

From the Wall Street Journal

A recipient wants items A and B (say, a hat and gloves) yet receives items C and D (say, a scarf and mittens). Another recipient wants C and D, yet receives A and B. The solution seems simple: The two recipients can simply pass along the gifts they received to each other.

The psychology, however, is more complex. People in a study published in the Journal of Consumer Behaviour, for instance, used such words as guilty, lazy, thoughtless and disrespectful in describing their feelings about regifting. Popular culture casts it as taboo, as well. An entire episode of “Seinfeld” highlights the stigma attached to giving away presents meant for ourselves.

Getting stuck with gifts we do not want is no small problem. Consider that the National Retail Federation calculated that the average holiday-season shopper in the U.S. last year spent more than $1,000 on gifts. In a survey across 14 countries in Europe, meanwhile, 1 in 7 said they were unhappy with what they received for Christmas, yet more than half simply kept the gifts.

Why can’t more gifts be passed along to people who appreciate them?

Our research with Francis J. Flynn, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, suggests the shame associated with regifting is largely unwarranted. Indeed, our research consistently tells us that people overestimate the negative consequences.

Next, we tried to shed light on just how serious the perceived offense is. We asked two groups—again, givers and regifters—to compare regifting a hypothetical wristwatch with throwing it in the trash. For the original givers, regifting the watch was a much less offensive act than trashing it. The regifters, however, wrongly assumed that the givers would find both equally offensive. The results were the same when regifting presents that the recipients didn’t like much.

Finally, given that the feared offense looks more imagined than real, we turned our attention to how people might be encouraged to break this taboo.

For this part of our research, we invited to our lab at Stanford people who had recently received presents, and divided the people into two groups. When we gave the first group an opportunity to regift that present, 9% did so.

When we gave the second group the same opportunity, we added that it was “National Regifting Day,” a real event that happens each year on the Thursday before Christmas. It wasn’t really National Regifting Day, but the group didn’t know that: 30% of them agreed to regift.

Everyone has received bad gifts in their lives, and we generally accept that we will receive more in the future. Yet for some (mathematically impossible) reason, we believe that we give only good gifts.

Our research offers a simple solution to the problem of unwanted gifts. This holiday season, consider regifting, and encourage recipients of your gifts to do the same if what you gave them isn’t quite what they hoped for.

Dr. Adams is an assistant professor at the University of Virginia. Dr. Norton is a professor at Harvard Business School. Email them at reports@wsj.com.