Monthly Archives: March 2014
The Water Tank Project
I have always had a thing for water towers. I enjoy seeing them dotted around on top of buildings. I think it’s cool that they are made like barrels. I went and saw Ivan Navarro’s water tower installation in Madison Square Park, and I am now VERY excited for the next big thing in water tower art. It’s called The Water Tank Project, and it will be decorating the skyline starting this spring. It will pair decorated towers with action on the ground including educational programs, tours, and social media to draw attention to global water issues. I can’t wait!
Working Out for Charity
Everyone has that thing that they envision will happen when the future is here. For some, it’s flying cars. For me, it’s gyms that create electricity. I mean, there are all of those people sitting in one place, pedaling away on stationary bikes, wouldn’t it be cool if they powered the lights? While I haven’t seen any of those popping up, I did hear about gyms driven by charity that sound pretty cool in the meantime. It takes philanthropy out of the distant future, and makes it a part of everyday life. There are a variety of options to choose from, but most gyms getting on the fund-raising bandwagon donate $1 per student per class to a different charity. In NYC, Studio 360 and The Movement yoga studio offer donations built into the price of your class. Here’s to hoping that more pop up soon, because sweating for a good cause makes it a lot more difficult to come up with an excuse to skip your workout.
Choose Your Own Adventure – Cereal Style
I am not a big cereal person. Ever since my mom told me I couldn’t eat Fruity Pebbles or Corn Pops because they were too unhealthy for breakfast, I kind of gave up the cereal game. I did develop quite a fondness for granola, but abandoned that too, when I found that most of it was loaded with sugar and waaaaay too many raisins for my taste. And, it left me hungry after a couple hours. The closest I come to cereal for breakfast is plain oatmeal that I mix with peanut butter, shaved coconut, chopped nuts, maybe a little jelly, or really anything I have in my pantry that seems good in combination. I prefer this breakfast because I can choose what, and how much I add in. Now there’s a website that will let you do just that, with your cold cereal options.
It’s called MixMyOwn, and it lets you create your own cereal blend. You can choose from 8 different bases ranging from flakes to grains, or mueseli. There are low sugar and gluten free options – removing two of the most common obstacles to good, healthy cereal. Then after you select the base, you can add as many fruits, nuts and seeds as you like, choosing anything from macadamia nuts and chia seeds to dried mulberries and blackberries. You can even add quinoa or kamut puffs for an extra crunch. Then if that’s a little too healthy for you, you can choose to throw in some candies. Or if it’s not healthy enough, add some nutrition enhancing powders.
The boxes come in 12oz or 16oz sizes, and are delivered directly to your door. I love the concept because it’s like make your own trail mix. You can choose your own combinations, and avoid too much sugar or an overload of the things you don’t like. And if you’re not feeling creative, you can select their healthy mix of the month sent to you each month or view popular pre-mixes for ideas on what to include. Genius!
Honey – a Natural Neosporin
When I have a cold, I often reach for the honey in my cabinet. While I am often adding it to my tea with lemon to soothe an irritated throat, I also swallow a spoonful of the stuff before I go to bed as a cough suppressant. Studies have found that it’s just as effective as over-the-counter remedies containing dextromethorphan, and I am much more likely to have it in the cabinet. Now it seems that honey is good for more than just that. New research has found that honey, particularly a type made in New Zealand has the ability to weaken bacteria, particularly when it is applied directly to a wound as a topical treatment. When bacteria flourish, they communicate with a behavior called quorum sensing. Honey works to disable this ability with it’s antibacterial properties, allowing you to more effectively fight infection. While the effect isn’t believed to be as strong when you ingest it, it seems to be emerging as a natural Neosporin for topical treatment.
If Only You Could Find the Perfect Gift
Everyone has at least one person in their lives who has absolutely everything. At Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries, they become your nemesis as you search in vain for some novelty item that says you care, and won’t just be one of a thousand they already have. Until now, that is. If Only has emerged as a site that connects people with extraordinary experiences, and makes you feel good about their expensive price tag at the same time. Their concept is about gifting experiences rather than baubles (but you can only go to see so many broadways shows, right?), and in this case the experiences are with someone pretty famous or special in their field. The bonus is that each time that experience is booked, part of the proceeds go to that special person’s charity of choice. There are gifts with extravagant price tags, like a $25,000 trip for 2 two Coachella that includes a hang with Big Boi himself. This particular gift benefits the BigKidz foundation. For more reasonable (under $500) sticker prices you can have personalized and hand signed items from your favorite chefs or sports players. And that special person now has an unforgettable experience, and you have contributed to a good cause – not just something that will accumulate dust in the back of an already overcrowded jewelry box.
Let’s All Celebrate International Happiness Day
Today is the second annual UN International Happiness Day. It seems appropriate, right? It’s the first day of spring, the sun is shining, and it’s a little warmer than it’s been. I know I have been in a good mood. So let’s take a few minutes and appreciate some of the good things going on.
First, there’s these 10 things to be happy about. Then I’ll just go ahead and add some of my own. My favorite fast food place, Taco Bell, is launching it’s breakfast menu, and today they announced some of the things that will be on it– waffle wrapped tacos, AM crunch wraps, little cinnamon balls stuffed with things. I keep waffling (see what I did there?) about if this stuff is going to be amazingly good or amazingly gross, but I walk by it on my way to work from the gym in the morning and I know one day I am going to cave and try everything. There’s some new evidence that tequila can help you lose weight. If that’s not an excuse for a margarita and some fun, I don’t know what is! Starbucks is going to start serving alcohol, so when that lame-o asks you out for a coffee, you can have the glass of wine you really wanted in the first place. Virtual Reality gaming is pretty close to being a real thing, and even if video games aren’t your bag, you can appreciate that it’s a cool moment. There’re some intriguing new leads in the missing plan case, because you know you have been obsessively tracking it. It’s the first full day of March Madness, so now you have an excuse to taunt your coworkers and place bets on a bracket.
What are you feeling happy about today?
Visit Cuba, Learn to Dance
I don’t know about you, but I have always been curious about Cuba. It seems like a beautiful place, with the added mystery that Americans can’t legally travel there. Unless, that is, you are taking a salsa retreat. If you’re taking part in a licensed cultural exchange program, it’s totally ok! I read about The Salsa Retreat in the March issue of Marie Claire, and it sounds like a pretty awesome vacation. The next trip is 8 days in Havana in May. It includes group dance classes, meals with host families, and lots of local live music. With a price tag of $2,900, not including airfare, it’s a little on the pricey side, but the teachers and accommodations are paid directly by the trip, bolstering the local economy while you experience the culture, and learn a new dance.
Pop Rocks for Fresh Breath
I don’t know about you, but I loved pop rocks (despite all of the urban legends). I forgot quite how much until I was at a party where the hostess dipped pretzel rods in chocolate, then the candies for a snack. After eating 5 in a row, I couldn’t get enough of the childhood treat – the fun little sizzle and crackle while you chewed. And now I just read that 32 Oral Care is using a similar crystal candy to freshen breath. That’s a whole lot more fun that chomping on another piece of gum, amirite?
Basically how they work is you tear open a pack, and pour them into your mouth (much as you would with pop rocks), then move them around with your tongue while they pop open zinc and IsoVoxy to kill bad-breath bacteria and clean your teeth. They come in cinnamon for all you Big Red fans, spearmint, peppermint, honey mint, and lemon mint. While they’re a bit pricier than my Orbitz multipack habit, I can’t wait to try them out!