Long Weekend Links

longn weekendIf you’re anything like me, the Friday work hours before a long weekend are excruciatingly well, long. Here are some links to help you get through the day and into the glorious three day end of summer celebration.

Finally all of those years of not being able to cut construction paper and learning how to play sports the “right” way are paying off.

I am glad I finally won’t have to explain what a blondie dessert is to everyone, and that twerking has been defined so Miley knows she is doing it wrong, but really? Does food baby need to be in the dictionary?
These photos are stunningly gorgeous, and I love the back story that goes along with their captions.
You’ve probably already seen Olivia Wilde’s Advice on Turning 30 everywhere, but it’s just too good not to share again.
Every year during fashion month, I get a serious case of the gimmes. Want.Want.Want.Want.Want.
If you like drinking, and you like vacation and want to put those two together, this is for you.
I can’t wait to tell all those annoying people who love to puff e-cigarettes inside like they’re cool this news that they are just as dangerous for certain toxins as the real things.
If you need some lady-power inspiration, read this advice from Smith’s President.
Every airline should do this: child-free sections for childless travelers.
I want this Comme Des Garcons clutch to put everything in.
What have you been reading lately?
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Explaining Why Debbie is ALWAYS Such a Downer

haters

We all have that friend who can make any situation into a Debbie Downer moment, regardless of what is going on. My Grandmother used to call it being contrary, when I used to disagree with everything my sister said just to be difficult as a child (luckily I grew out if it). Now researchers call this tendency to take an EVERYTHING IS AWFUL or EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL point of view “dispositional attitude.”

What it means is that how people feel in a particular situation isn’t 100% motivated by the circumstances surrounding them. Instead, it is a result of the properties in the mind of the person evaluating them. A person with a dispositional attitude will automatically be pre-disposed, or more inclined, to either love everything or hate everything regardless of whether the sky is full of rainbows and sunshine, or rain clouds and thunder. It is not the situation itself making them feel that way, but an internal tendency to view all circumstances in a particular light. I’ve been known to tell my friends, “Haters gonna hate,” when that kind of person gets them down. Now, at least we have an inkling as to why!

The Varied Types of Optimism

optimismIt’s been found that optimists tend to live longer, and be healthier overall than their often unhappy counterparts, the pessimists. However, in the past, many believed that the idealism employed by optimists could hamper their ability to function in the “real world” which may not turn out to work they way idealistic optimists wish to believe it should. Optimists were seen as a uniform group who may ignore actual conditions to look at only the positive. Now, thanks to researcher Sophia Chou, optimists can be sorted into two groups: realists and idealists.

While realism was previously associated with pessimism, and linked with poor well-being scores and often depression, when a realistic view of the world is paired with a tendency to look on the bright side, it leads to greater happiness and success. Realistic optimists tend to choose accuracy, while idealist optimists choose self-enhancement. They look at situations with a more global view, making plan B and plan C in case plan A is not successful, and feel in control of their life and relationships. By acknowledging potential challenges and planning for how to cope with them, realistic optimists can maintain their cheerfulness and look forward to good things in the future even when they experience difficult times in the present. They key is to focus on self-control and the efficacy to exert control over relationships and life choices.

Helping Sort Out What to Eat and How to Eat it

omnivore's dilemmaI just finished reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (long after it came out), and it really opened my eyes about the industrial food industry, and farm policy in the United States. It’s made me think about where my food comes from, how it is produced, and why it is produced that way. While I’ve read many animal ethics and food philosophy books in the past, I would recommend this one to anyone. It’s not over the top with the gross-factor, but still exposes the icky side of industrial meat, and dangerous environmental impacts of industrial agriculture without making you want to give up beef and chicken forever. It takes a look at organic food’s shortcomings and achievements, and examines the way humans and animals evolved to eat/live versus they way they actually eat/live through the lens of industrial production, small farm production, and hunter/gatherer food sourcing.

It can be a slow-read at certain points, but I am happy I forged through until the end. Am I now an expert on the best way to eat? No, but I feel more equipped with the tools I need to make food choices that fit the way I want to eat – more nutritious, less cruel, and more local. I think that if everyone read this book, we’d be one big step closer to changing the bad stuff in our food production, and moving towards a more humane and healthier way of life. Go pick it up!

Saying How You Really Feel (with a qualifier)

verbalIn my current job, I have to give presentations on a fairly regular basis. As such, I usually do a practice run with my coworkers first, especially before delivering to clients. One of the major criticisms I used to receive was about the cadence and volume of my voice. They warned me to avoid vocal fry and uptalk especially, and said instead to speak with authority. Throughout my life, I’ve always had people comment on how I talk. From friends to people I waited tables for, my unique way of speaking is always drawing comment. I talk very slowly. I sound like I’m from California. My voice goes up and down  in pitch like a lullaby (really). So, I tend to pay attention to how I sound when it matters, and am sure to speak in an evenly measured pace and tone, because even though it’s difficult to remember to moderate your voice, I like to be taken seriously when I talk.

While there has been a movement against valley-girl speak on the internet for a while, recently there have been several articles written about a newly identified vocal trend among women. It’s about how frequently women start sentences with the phrase, “I feel like,” and (again) it’s a verbal tic I am guilty of using.  The articles suppose that women use it to moderate their opinions, making them softer, less aggressive, and hence more likely to be accepted by their (particularly male) conversation partners, and I think they are probably not far off. When I find myself using the statement, it’s typically for one of two reasons. First, when someone is forcing me to give an opinion that I would rather not share, so I’m not fully committing in case everyone totally disagrees (think when your professor calls on you in class and you haven’t been paying attention). Second, when I know that people aren’t going to love what I have to say, so I am making it a sentence they can empathize with as a feeling more than attacking them with my opinion.

The phrase reminds me of the way people are often taught to discuss uncomfortable situations, or reason with unreasonable people, the “when you do X it makes me feel Y” communication technique, by making the sentence a feeling, people are less likely to outright reject what you are saying. Additionally, Lean In, and all it’s spin-off literature has called attention to the fact that overly assertive or aggressive women are seen as less likeable by both men and women. Starting a sentence in a less aggressive way may be a verbal way that women are trying to make their audience like them more, and get on their side, because people who like you are always going to be more receptive to what you’re trying to say.

Do you use this lead in? Why do you think women are using it more and more often than men?

Giving to Someone You Know Makes you Happier

giveLots of people volunteer, or donate to charities. This type of generous behavior usually comes from two interconnected motivations. First, there’s the desire to help others. Second, there’s the enjoyment that people experience when helping others by giving time or money freely. Yet, a new study has shown that certain ways of contributing to charities and non-profits will lead to greater happiness for the giver. People were most satisfied with their donation when it created a social connection, or was given to someone they know, rather than making an anonymous donation to a cause they support. It called to mind a post I read a while back on Yes and Yes, when she donated to Planned Parenthood online. While it was a cause she fully supported, contributing a significant sum of money to support them didn’t leave her basking in the warm glow of charity as she thought it might. It turns out that science is behind those lack luster feelings, and that because there was no social connection the positive enjoyment just wasn’t there. The researchers suggest that these new findings might impact how non-profits seek new donations using social networking, and they definitely impact you if you’re planning to do any donating. Give time face to face when you can meet and get to know the people you are helping, host a clothing swap party to give your friends old clothes you want to get rid of, or donate to your favorite charity through a friend who is doing a run for the cause, and you’ll feel happier while helping others.

Brand of Beer Linked to Likelihood of an ER Visit

beerYou may already know that drinking ups your chance of injury. New research pointed out that even walking after a few alcoholic beverages can be deadly. Alcohol has been linked to increased risk of visiting the emergency room, having a car accident, and drowning, and is often involved in homicides. Now a recent study has even further dissected the issue, examining particularly which brews seem to make people more at risk for injury. It found that about 1/3 of all visits to the ER are drinking-related, and that most often, when people in Baltimore where the study was conducted, visit the hospital after consuming alcohol, they’ve been drinking Budweiser, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice or Bud Light. The scientists involved speculate that it may be because the malt liquor classification of Steel Reserve, Colt 45, and Bud Ice means they are higher in alcohol content than other beers, leading to more drunken recklessness and more injuries. While they are not sure if these results are specific to Baltimore, they suggest that this new data might have implications for labeling and marketing for beers containing a higher alcohol content.