Friday, November 30, 2012


THC 101

"THC (Rick Simpson's Cancer Cure ALL 95-98% THC Hemp Oil) achieves this wizardry by binding to protein receptors on a cancerous cell's surface. Once attached the THC induces the cell to make a fatty substance called Ceramide, which prompts the cell to start devouring itself. We see programmed cell death, noncancerous cells don't make Ceramide when they come into contact with THC. The HEALTHY cells don't die."

Guillermo Velasco and Manuel Guzmán, Complutense University
☏ 34-91394-4668

my friend, the jerk.

Part of the trauma therapy that I'm doing has to do with the idea that--stay with me, here--we are each made up of different parts that help us survive, cope, and succeed. So my therapist and I are working on identifying these parts in me and then communicating with them.

Yeah. I didn't buy this at first, either.

In fact, the first time she wanted me to talk to a "part," I looked her dead in the eye and reminded her I'm not Sybil.

BUT. Weirdness of the idea aside, once you start to learn about it, it does make some sense. Warning: psychology jargon ahead.

I've learned about the "Internal Family Systems Model," which supposes that aside from a true, core self, people have additional "parts." These parts fall under three main umbrellas: exiles, firefighters, and managers.

Exiles hold on to painful experiences long after we've banished them from consciousness (or tried to). Here's an example from a well-written piece on trauma by Heather Armstrong: Silence fills every inch of the car. I want it to swallow me whole. My ten-year-old self is a specter who hovers just above my shoulder. I don’t know what the hell she wants or is waiting for. (I highly recommend reading the rest, titled Bad Days, on 

Firefighters are the soothers in times of distresss. They are the idea that you'll feel better after you polish off that pint of ice cream, or stay in your pajamas all day.  This is where addictions, binge eating, compulsions, and what have you come in. They're self-destructive coping mechanisms. They don't have to be actively harmful. See: me watching Law & Order all yesterday because the thought of getting anything done wass too overwhelming. (Because what if it's not done right?)

Last up are the managers. Oh, the managers. They strive to protect and keep the person in control of every situation and relationship to avoid pain or rejection. Can you guess which of the three is loudest in my mind?

The thing is, these parts, negative though they may seem, all served a purpose at some point in my life. My jerk manager, it turns out, was actually a pretty good friend to me during childhood. Instead of shutting down or rebelling, I was managed and motivated by the jerk to do well in school, which is eventually what led me to be able to leave an abusive household on my own.

Would I have gotten into a good college without that voice constantly pushing me to work harder, to be better, to strive for complete control over myself? Maybe not. So I do truly thank my friend, the jerk, who played an important role when I was in a bad situation and needed a way out. But now?

I don't really need it anymore. I have to nod, give a silent thank you, and move on.

 Why aren't you rich? You'd have nicer furniture and you'd look more polished, like the girls in magazines and on lifestyle blogs. You're 28, your life should look like that by now.

If you only do one hour of yoga at home, you may as well do nothing at all, because you know that good results only come from heading to the studio for 90 minute classes five times a week. You are lazy.

If you don't want that plant to die, you should Google all of the care tips that you can and become aware of every possible bad situation that could occur so you can constantly check its leaves to look for signs of trouble. 

If you want your house to look nice, you need to keep working, buying, rearranging-- until it's perfect. Otherwise everyone will think you're a fraud.

Okay, thank you for the advice.

Because that's all it is. Advice for a situation that I'm no longer in. I don't have to escape the home or the life I've built. I don't need that absurd, backwards motivation anymore. It's okay for me to be happy here.

So thank you, old friend. Thank you, and now shut up.

Don't forget flood coverage

We can't stress this enough: many people assume that their homeowners policy includes flood coverage.

It doesn't. Standard homeowners-, renters- and business policies do not cover flood damage. If your property is in a flood prone area, you should strongly consider buying flood coverage.

How do you know if you're in a risky flood area? Type your address into the red box on the home page for the federally run National Flood Insurance Program. That's where most people buy their flood coverage. Many local insurance agents sell these policies.

And if you think a few inches of water wouldn't cause much damage, you might be surprised. The NFIP put together an interesting interactive simulator that details -- item by item -- the costs of different levels of flooding in a typical home. See the link above.

Food Reward Friday

This week's winner... the Starbuck's Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino!

Read more »

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My week during Operation Pillar of Defense, by Jamie Klein

I do not believe it is my position to write a political response to what occurred during Operation Pillar of Defense. As it is my first year at the Medical School for International Health, this is my first exposure to an experience like this and I feel it is most appropriate to share my story rather than my political beliefs.

Wednesday November 14th
Around 4pm
 As the sun began to set on Wednesday evening, I received an alert from Haaretz newspaper informing me that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) had assassinated Ahmed Jabari. Not knowing who he was, I placed my phone down and continued to study. About fifteen minutes passed and my boyfriend, who sat next to me, received a call from his friend asking if he had heard the news. I watched as his face expression changed abruptly, not knowing what consequences were to follow. Once off the phone he explained to me that Jabari was the operational head of Hamas military wing. While we sat and discussed the possible repercussions of his death, the IAF continued to target rocket storage facilities throughout the Gaza strip. Following an hour of discussions, we decided that the potential for a retaliation from Gaza was highly probable and it would be a safe decision to leave Be’er Sheva for the night. Shortly after making the decision to leave, I received an email from Mike Diamond that classes would be canceled on Thursday November 15 – confirming the decision we made only moments before.

In the midst of packing clothes for the weekend and ensuring I had enough books to study, I called a classmate of mine, Zach, to see if he had been released from his Global Health Module (an additional seminar that students register for throughout the year). He informed me that they had indeed been released early and he was on his way home. I offered for Zach to come with my boyfriend and me to the Arava (an area in southeast Israel on the border with Jordan) for the weekend, as a precaution for the number of sirens that may occur later in the night and into the weekend. He agreed and we decided to meet at my boyfriend’s apartment around 9.

I was informed that our ride to the Arava was nearing the apartment, so I decided to call Zach and tell him to come over. Less than thirty seconds after hanging up the phone, the air-raid siren sounded. My boyfriend, his mom and I went briskly to the safe room, closed to window and door and waited patiently for the siren to end. Usually one cycle of the siren lasts a minute and only occurs once - this time the siren cycled through three times. Towards the end of the final siren we heard about 15 explosions only a kilometer or two away. Immediately I called Zach to find out his whereabouts. Luckily he had not left his apartment, but I urged him to run over to us before another siren sounded. I turned to the television and was surprised to see video footage of what I heard only moments before. One orange explosion after another appeared in the black canvas of the night sky and I felt my heart beat just one thump louder.

Although it seemed like an hour, Zach made it to our apartment in less than twenty minutes. While I was on the phone, giving him the access code to the apartment, another siren sounded. I told Zach to get into the stairwell while we went to safe room once again. This time the explosion was different – it was closer than before and did not have identifiable sound of the Iron Dome interception. This time the rocket landed inside Be’er Sheva. When the siren finished we retrieved Zach from the stairwell and together sat wide-eyed staring at the news. Shortly after we were notified that our ride arrived and we headed down the stairwell to the car. As we left the building we could smell the smoke from the rocket that landed inside the city. The smell of hot metal and fumes burned the inside of my nares, forever ingraining that moment in my memory. The following half-hour car-ride out of Be’er Sheva and passed Dimona, the next closest city, was the most quiet and apprehensive I have ever felt.

The following days…
My first few days in the Arava were spent in constant communication with my classmates. We knew at all times which students remained in Be’er Sheva and those that traveled to other destinations outside of rocket range. As one of the class representatives, my cell phone remained in the palm of my hand at all times. There is no question it was a stressful time for my classmates and me. As the situation continued to escalate, Israeli families all across the country were opening their doors to residents of the south. Never had I witnessed such hospitality and sincere compassion before in my life. Host families offered to take in each and every individual residing in the south, no questions asked. Thankfully Zach and I were able to find a host family in the Arava able to accommodate the Kiv family of six!  My classmate Sakal, his wife Faith and their four children were finally able to sleep peacefully. Their host family’s father even whittled wood toys for the children to play with. It was remarkable that we could transform such an uncomfortable situation into a mini-vacation.

As our days in the Arava continued, Zach and I were fortunate to tour the agricultural fields.  The Arava is a very special region of Israel that is at the forefront of agricultural technology and development. Almost every vegetable imaginable is being grown there, sprouting from the depths of the desert.

Final remarks
A week after Operation Pillar of Defense began, MSIH students were notified that school had been suspended to the end of December. Ironically, later that same day a cease-fire was declared. However by this time many students, including myself, had booked plane tickets home hoping to get home in time for Thanksgiving.

And indeed I did. I arrived home at 3pm on Thursday afternoon, just in time to surprise my family for Thanksgiving and celebrate my birthday with them.  24 hours prior I could not have imagined myself sitting at home surrounded by family and digging into my mom’s famous turkey and mashed potatoes. There was no doubt about it, I definitely had a thing or two to be thankful for this year. - blogger of the month, Jamie Klein

what's new?

Hello, there! I added some extra features to this here blog, so here's a short rundown.

First up, if you want to search for something specific--like "crying"-- you can type it into the search box on the right, and it will search this blog for you. (Don't search crying though. On this blog, that's like searching "the" or "and." You'll pull up every post.)

Next, I've added labels to all of the posts, so if you'd like to only read the posts in a specific category, you can do so by clicking the label on the right. I've tried to keep them general for the most part, the most obvious two being health and home (though a lot of the time, those two are intertwined for me, hence the creation of this blog). You'll also be able to sort by posts that have to do with art, books, design + decor, and more.

If you're so inclined, you can sign up to receive updates about new posts by email. Also, feel free to leave a comment if you plan on stopping by every so often. You'll make my day! Unless your comment is an insult, and in that case I've probably already said it to myself in my head. So I win.

Last but not least, if you see a picture you want to pin to one of your boards on Pinterest, you can hover your mouse over the image, then click the Pinterest icon that appears in the lower left corner. 

P.S. Since I've been avoiding getting anything done at home because it's too overwhelming, I made a list for just one room--the kitchen. Why am I telling you this? Because if I haven't checked those items off the list by the end of the day, I'm going to be embarrassed, since I've mentioned it here. Let's go...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

motivational speech.

Yesterday I broke into tears when my boyfriend came home from work because "the scale of the lamp by the desk is all wrong but we can't buy a new one right now!"

I need to have our place clean and in ship shape by Sunday for something I've been looking forward to. I'm excited, but it's stressing me out. Instead of doing small tasks one at a time, I have been sitting, frozen, while the list of things I need to do whips through my head. 

I would like to give myself a swift slap across the cheek or grab myself by the shoulders and shake some sense into me, like a character in an old black and white film might do. I'll deliver a line like, "Get a hold of yourself, damn it!" or "For God's sake, pull yourself together!" In my head, I'm a man wearing a hat and smoking a cigar as I do this.

A Woman is a Woman, Godard

And that's where I'm at today.


Verbal Behavior Techniques for Increasing Language

By Tricia Gray

With ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, one is taught to look at the function of inappropriate behavior in order to make treatment decisions. Practitioners and parents quickly learn that negative or interfering behaviors often serve a communicative function for adults and children with language deficits. These deficits can range from an inability to vocalize or express wants and needs to an inability to recognize and adjust to social cues. In either case, language can determine whether a child can develop their own maximum level of independence.

Verbal Behavior programs are a part of ABA, and they take communication beyond the traditional rote responding typified in children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Their origin is with B.F. Skinner’s book Verbal Behavior (1957). In contrast to the rules of formal language, which focuses on the form of language, Verbal Behavior focuses on the function of language. The driving force of Verbal Behavior is the “demand” or request, as it is naturally reinforcing to the child to receive what has been requested. Other verbal operants include tacts, intraverbals, and echoics. Verbal Behavior utilizes motivation to build language by transferring control between various verbal operants, thus showing a child new ways to use language. For instance, a child who likes bubbles learns to ask for bubbles, identify or name bubbles (tact), and answer the question “What can you blow” (intraverbal). Each function of the word “bubbles” is taught explicitly and to the point of fluency. The Verbal Behavior approach also teaches imitation, which is an extremely important skill for increasing compliance, building pro social behavior, and decreasing prompt levels.

Verbal Behavior includes more than spoken word. It includes using PECS (picture exchange communication system), sign, and gestures. The important thing is that there is intent to communicate. Parents, teachers, and treatment providers should always use the spoken word, however, while supporting communication by any of the methods above. Emphasis is placed on errorless learning to promote success and to keep the child from “practicing mistakes”. Emphasis is also placed on how well the child can express his needs and wants rather than the length of sentence or the rote use of extraneous words such as “please”. A good Verbal Behavior program pairs the practitioner with reinforcement (access to bubbles in the above example), while shaping verbal behavior quickly and effectively. Verbal Behavior programs can be implemented with the assistance of a trained behavior consultant, and are most successful when used for early learners with family support and implementation.

Tricia Gray holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Tricia serves as the Behavioral Treatment Service Coordinator for Family Preservation Services, Peninsula Region. She can be contacted at


Barbera, Mary (2007) The Verbal Behavior Approach. London: JKP Publishing

Gulick, R and Kitchen T (2007) Effective Instruction for Children with Autism. Erie, PA: Dr. Gertrude A. Barber National Institute

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

science and waves.

So, I have an anxiety thing. I have many things really, but here is the one that is the most visible:

hole in my brow

See that hole there, in my eyebrow? I did that. It's a habit that started in college when I was up late writing papers. A quick Google search shows that this is a thing. (Update: there's a name! Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors. Thought to fall under the umbrella of OCD, from what I understand. It sounds terrible and I feel fortunate not to have dealt with anything major. "BFRBs are among the most poorly understood, misdiagnosed, and undertreated groups of disorders," according to this).

After watching me rub my eyebrow throughout an entire episode of Law & Order (dunDUN) this week, my boyfriend asked why I was anxious. I didn't have an answer. There wasn't any one thing I could put my finger on that I was worried about at the moment.

So I tried to explain it like this. (Bear with me.)

You know how you have like a certain baseline that's your regular mood? Picture it sounding like this: buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum. A smooth, low pitch, steady like a heart beat.

He nodded.

Well if your baseline is a nice low buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum at any given resting point, mine is a much higher beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. A frenetic, high frequency sound wave flitting back and forth like a fly stuck between the windowpane and the screen.

Graphic from the Soundproofing Company

Test out the difference between four hundred hertz and a thousand. Sometimes my thoughts follow right in line. Other times, I don't even notice it; I can't put a specific face to the worry. It's just there. My body carries it for me when my mind doesn't.

Sometimes it's a gap in my left arch. It's my jaw popping after continuous teeth gnashing throughout the night and into the day. It's my shoulders setting up camp where my earrings should be.

When I catch myself, I can mindfully slide my tongue between my teeth to stop the grinding. I can melt my muscles down for a moment so my shoulders can slide back home. But then three minutes later, I find myself doing it all over again.

So that's what it's like a lot of the time. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. 

And that, my friends, is SCIENCE.

5 Minutes...

{Images via my Pinterest}

If I had 5 minutes today to do whatever I wanted, I would whip my hair into a gorgeous mess of a braided frenzy like that photo above, slip into the dress below, rest beneath my magic tree, and leave golden glitter footprints wherever I went.

What would you do with 5 minutes of anything?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Alternative Therapy – a Therapy Alternative?

Alternative Therapy – a Therapy Alternative?

Some people swear by it.  Some dismiss it out of hand and others don’t really know enough about it to have an opinion.   Alternative medicine comes in as many forms as there are opinions on it.   Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Bowen Therapy, Homeopathy, Hypnotherapy, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology, Reiki, Shiatsu, are just some of the therapies that have gained in popularity over the past years.   

Gwynneth Paltrow swears by a form of acupuncture called cupping, which involves placing heated cups over the skin and is said to relieve aches and pains while Kate Moss uses ear acupuncture.  Pamela Anderson is a devotee of Homeopathy and Madonna believes in the powers of herbalism.  Prince Charles and Sir Cliff Richards have also had treatment with alternative therapies.

So that’s all very well for them, I hear you say, What about the man in the street, isn’t this all a bit ethereal, a bit of a pastime for those with the time and the money and nothing very seriously wrong with them?  I used to think so, now I’m not so sure.

I want to tell, you the story of a friend of mine.  She had been unlucky enough to have to have major heart surgery before she was 50.  As if that was not enough of a burden to bear, she developed very severe arthritis in her hands, which became so disabling that she could barely carry out even the most basic  functions with them.   We used to meet when we were both on holiday and keep in touch sporadically in between.   As summer approached a couple of years ago, I half expected to hear from her to say that she would not be able to make it because she could not drive her car.   But no call came and when I bumped into her in our Cornish village, I could barely believe my eyes.  She was walking like a woman 20 years younger and her hands showed no more signs of arthritis than mine did!  It turned out she had discovered Reiki.   And not only discovered it she was training to be a Reiki practitioner herself.  Reiki is the name given to a system of natural healing which evolved in Japan.

The method of receiving a Reiki treatment from a practitioner is a very simple process. The recipient simply lies on a couch and relaxes. If they are unable to lie down the treatment can be given in a sitting position, the main thing is for the recipient to be as comfortable as possible. There is no need to remove any clothing, as Reiki will pass through anything, even plaster casts. The practitioner gently places their hands non-intrusively in a sequence of positions, which cover the whole body. The whole person is treated rather than specific symptoms. A full treatment usually takes 1 to 1½ hours with each position held for several minutes.
It is possible to heal at any level of being: physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Acute injuries can be helped to heal very quickly but more chronic illness takes longer. In some cases such as terminal illness, there is not enough time for the progress of the disease to be reversed. However, in such cases there is usually great benefit and enhancement of the quality of life giving a sense of peace and acceptance during the time remaining.

The difference in her was astonishing and from that point I had to re-think my opinion on alternative therapies. If you would like to know more some links will be posted on the website.

Please note that all information and content on UK Health Radio and this blog are provided by the authors, producers and companies themselves and is only intended as additional information to your general knowledge and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. So please do not delay or disregard any medical advice received due to information gathered on UK Health Radio.
UK Health Radio – the health radio station for the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond at – is kindly sponsored by

Amanda Thomas
UK Health Radio


Those who suffer from migraine headaches are more than familiar with the debilitating pain that ensues when one strikes. While there are numerous OTC and prescription drugs available to combat the pain, some people would rather choose a more natural approach. 

Natural remedies for migraines aren’t accompanied by the same side effects that drugs have, and are often used for prevention rather than treatment. A healthy diet, herbal therapy and whole food supplements are natural options available to migraine sufferers; here are some tips for preventing and treating migraines naturally.

1. Natural Remedies for Migraines - Avoid Processed Foods

Many processed foods contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives that are known to trigger migraine headaches in some people. A common preservative, monosodium glutamate (MSG),is just one of many preservatives that have been found to cause severe reactions including migraine headaches.

In 2002, the FDA reported 92 cases of aspartame toxicity. The artificial sweetener was taken off the market due to reported side effects, but eventually allowed to be sold again even after the reported incidence. Other artificial sweeteners such as Splenda  have also been reported to have caused adverse side effects, including headaches. Sucralose, the chemical name for Splenda, is actually responsible for a variety of ailments, giving a clear answer to the question: Is Splenda safe?

Limiting processed and fast foods as much as possible and using natural sweeteners such as honey and stevia may reduce the chance of having a reaction and a painful migraine headache.

2. Avoid Certain Foods

Some people experience migraine headaches after they consume certain foods. Among these foods are caffeinated drinks, alcohol, chocolate, peanuts, grains with gluten and dairy products. Switching to a very simple plant-based diet and introducing the suspected foods one at a time helps to sort out which foods are causing the headaches.

3. Lavender Therapy

Lavender has long been used by herbalists to treat a wide variety of conditions including insomnia, post surgery pain, anxiety, fungal infections and headaches. Migraine sufferers experience increased inflammation in blood vessels and spasms in the neck and eye muscles. Lavender acts as an analgesic and reduces inflammation in those that suffer from migraines. Lavender treatments can be administered in any number of ways including inhalation therapy, dried flower sachets, teas or hot packs.

4. Butterbur

Butterbur is an herb used commonly for pain. Acting as a beta-blocker, this medicinal plant controls blood pressure, reducing inflammation and stabilizes blood flow to the brain. Because some butterbur treatments contain chemicals (pyrrolizidine alkaloids) which can cause damage to the liver, it is important to choose only products that are certified and carry a “PA-free” label.

5. Lemongrass – Other Herbal Remedies

Although less implemented among natural remedies for migraines, herbal remedies have great potential in treating headaches or even migraines. Scientists from Griffith University found that Australian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon Ambiguus) has been used for an untold number of years by indigenous Australians as traditional medicine, and with good reason. They say the effects of the plant could be as “good as aspirin when it comes to treating headaches,” only this is one of many herbal remedies for headaches without the side-effects associated with OTC medication.

6. Tryptophan Therapy

Tryptophan is an amino acid that simulates the brain to produce dopamine which releases serotonin. Serotonin elevates moods, relaxes the small muscles around the capillaries in the scalp, and reduces tension and anxiety. Consuming a high quality tryptophan supplement is the best way to get more off this helpful amino acid.

7. Herbal Pain Relief Tea

There are other herbs that are beneficial in the treatment of migraines including, peppermint, cayenne pepper and ginger. Ginger is especially useful to combat the nausea that often accompanies migraine headaches. To use the 3 herbs together in tea as a natural pain reliever, mix a one inch piece of ginger with a teaspoon of dried peppermint and a pinch of cayenne in boiling water. Allow the mixture to seep for 15 minutes before drinking. Sweeten only with  honey or stevia.




Did You Know: Foods that heal the kidneys are purple plums, purple potatoes, black quinoa, blackberries, black carrots (purple carrots), hijiki(potent seaweed), black seaweed salad, black grapes, black beans, and black elderberries. 

Black fruit and veggies are high in antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which give them their blue color, and they are bursting with natural compounds that reduce inflammation. And don't forget beets. 

screen shopping-- with a diy idea mega-update

I will be sitting on my hands all day to keep from clicking "buy..." But if I were doing more than looking, I'd score some items off of my wishlist with Cyber Monday discounts from two of my favorite home décor and art shops.

furbish shop, jamie meares

I've followed this shop's owner for a few years now and I can definitively say of all the interior styling I've seen in person and online, hers is most closely aligned to my own aesthetic. 99% of the time, I love what she is posting about or selling in her shop. On to the goods! (20% Furbish discount code below).

rebuild home and health decor wishlist from furbish studios

one | two | three* | four | five | six | seven* | eight | nine*

rebuild home and health decor wishlist from furbish studios

Furbish Home Decor Cyber Monday Discount Code

Next up is 20x200. If you want a good discount on great art, act quickly-- the discount decreases as time ticks on (see code below.)

We watched The Prestige over the holiday weekend (Christopher Nolan + Christian Bale can never go wrong), so this Elizabeth Huey print of a magician caught my eye:

abracadabra magician print from an elizabeth huey painting
Abracadabra, Elizabeth Huey

This next one looks deceptively simple--crude, even-- but the longer I look at it, the more I like it. It's called Portrait of Sandy from Far Away. Tucker Nichols made a series of these portraits after watching Hurricane Sandy roll in. A portion of each sale goes to charity. 

print of Portrait of Sandy from Far Away
Portrait of Sandy from Far Away, Tucker Nichols

Last up, Sharon Montrose's animal baby menagerie is always so damn cute. It seems redundant to say a menagerie of babies is cute. Anyways. I'd love to frame them all in a nursery one day. Here are my two fave guys available on 20x200.

baby monkey animal portrait by sharon montrose
Baby Monkey no. 5, Sharon Montrose

baby bear animal portrait by sharon montrose
Bear Cub no. 4, Sharon Montrose

P.S. This post just got waaaaay longer. Updates below.

*           *          *

Some alternate and/or DIY options for the cash-strapped, focusing on the asterisked items from my Furbish picks above:

a) If we could have afforded it, this lamp from Furbish (left) would have been the bedside lamp I chose--it has a dimmer switch. Instead, we found these somewhat similar task lamps (right) for about $80 each from Wayfair (grainy image from our bedroom mockup)...

I couldn't find ours on the site anymore, but they do have these somewhat similar styles, all of which are closer to $100 than $200.

From left to right: 1 | 2 | 3

b) These gem magnets (left) are so pretty, but a bit steep for me at $45 for 5 even with a discount code.  Last week I found out about these babies (right, $10.50 through Amazon) on Young House Love and I was (not surprisingly) in love. A youngish, house-y sort of love, even.


Here are Sherry's craft suggestions:

I'd probably grab thick, circular magnets (places like Home Depot sell inexpensive packs of them) and some crazy glue to replicate the Furbish originals. You could look around for other sets of inexpensive rocks and minerals and use those, too-- looks like the set at Furbish has some fool's gold in it. If you make several magnets, small sets of 3 or 4 in pretty boxes would make great Christmas gifts.

c) The fabric on this set of bolster pillows looks very familiar, no? 

We have the same suzani print fabric for our living room chairs & pelmet boxes. I'm sure the pillows at Furbish are plush and luxurious and sewn with threads of spun gold, but if you were so inclined to create a more affordable option, I think it can be done. 

We grabbed a set of cheap pillows at Ikea a few years ago, or you can use a 50% off coupon from JoAnn's to grab inserts (if you're not getting their coupons, join their mailing list...also, educators get a 15% discount with school ID). 

The plain white Ikea pillows.

A loooooong time ago, I came up with these bare-bones instructions to make no-sew pillows, which I'm sure can be elaborated upon with a little bit of elbow-grease and know-how. Or sewing skills. You definitely won't have to use rubber bands if you have sewing skills.


d) Barring unforeseen difficulties that I haven't considered, I think it would be pretty simple to make a purdy little box for your desk or dresser like this one

Three steps: 
1) cut a hole in that box
2) put your--- Kidding! Take a moment now to enjoy this holiday family favorite:

But seriously, I think you can replicate the look of the Furbish one with three items. Pick up an unfinished wood (or even cardboard) box and some Mod-Podge from JoAnn's (or use a plain lacquered box you already own or can find at HomeGoods), order some marbled paper from Paper Mojo, and get mod-podgin'. 

Picture from Paper Mojo.

If you try any of these out, let me know. I will probably continue thinking about them for a few more days, and then maybe in two years I will get around to actually gathering some materials, and three months from then I might try one out. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted.

No fat gain while eating well during the Holiday Season: Palatability isolines, the 14-percent advantage, and nature’s special spice

Like most animals, our Paleolithic ancestors had to regularly undergo short periods of low calorie intake. If they were successful at procuring food, those ancestors alternated between periods of mild famine and feast. As a result, nature allowed them to survive and leave offspring. The periods of feast likely involved higher-than-average consumption of animal foods, with the opposite probably being true in periods of mild famine.

Almost anyone who adopted a low carbohydrate diet for a while will tell you that they find foods previously perceived as bland, such as carrots or walnuts, to taste very sweet – meaning, to taste very good. This is a special case of a more general phenomenon. If a nutrient is important for your body, and your body is deficient in it, those foods that contain the nutrient will taste very good.

This rule of thumb applies primarily to foods that contributed to selection pressures in our evolutionary past. Mostly these were foods available in our Paleolithic evolutionary past, although some populations may have developed divergent partial adaptations to more modern foods due to recent yet acute selection pressure. Because of the complexity of the dietary nutrient absorption process, involving many genes, I suspect that the vast majority of adaptations to modern foods are partial adaptations.

Modern engineered foods are designed to bypass reward mechanisms that match nutrient content with deficiency levels. That is not the case with more natural foods, which tend to taste good only to the extent that the nutrients that they carry are needed by our bodies.

Consequently palatability is not fixed for a particular natural food; it does not depend only on the nutrient content of the food. It also depends on the body’s deficiency with respect to the nutrient that the food contains. Below is what you would get if you were to plot a surface that best fit a set of data points relating palatability of a specific food item, nutrient content of that food, and the level of nutrient deficiency, for a group of people. I generated the data through a simple simulation, with added error to make the simulation more realistic.

Based on this best-fitting surface you could then generate a contour graph, shown below. The curves are “contour lines”, a.k.a. isolines. Each isoline refers to palatability values that are constant for a set of nutrient content and nutrient deficiency combinations. Next to the isolines are the corresponding palatability values, which vary from about 10 to 100. As you can see, palatability generally goes up as one moves toward to right-top corner of the graph, which is the area where nutrient content and nutrient deficiency are both high.

What happens when the body is in short-term nutrient deficiency with respect to a nutrient? One thing that happens is an increase in enzymatic activity, often referred to by the more technical term “phosphorylation”. Enzymes are typically proteins that cause an acute and targeted increase in specific metabolic processes. Many diseases are associated with dysfunctional enzyme activity. Short-term nutrient deficiency causes enzymatic activity associated with absorption and retention of the nutrient to go up significantly. In other words, your body holds on to its reserves of the nutrient, and becomes much more responsive to dietary intake of the nutrient.

The result is predictable, but many people seem to be unaware of it; most are actually surprised by it. If the nutrient in question is a macro-nutrient, it will be allocated in such a way that less of it will go into our calorie stores – namely adipocytes (body fat). This applies even to dietary fat itself, as fat is needed throughout the body for functions other than energy storage. I have heard from many people who, by alternating between short-term fasting and feasting, lost body fat while maintaining the same calorie intake as in a previous period when they were steadily gaining body fat without any fasting. Invariably they were very surprised by what happened.

In a diet of mostly natural foods, with minimal intake of industrialized foods, short-term calorie deficiency is usually associated with short-term deficiency of various nutrients. Short-term calorie deficiency, when followed by significant calorie surplus (i.e., eating little and then a lot), is associated with a phenomenon I blogged about before here – the “14-percent advantage” of eating little and then a lot (, ). Underfeeding and then overfeeding leads to a reduction in the caloric value of the meals during overfeeding; a reduction of about 14 percent of the overfed amount.

So, how can you go through the Holiday Season giving others the impression that you eat as much as you want, and do not gain any body fat (maybe even lose some)? Eat very little, or fast, in those days where there will be a feast (Thanksgiving dinner); and then eat to satisfaction during the feast, staying away from industrialized foods as much as possible. Everything will taste extremely delicious, as nature’s “special spice” is hunger. And you may even lose body fat in the process!

But there is a problem. Our bodies are not designed to associate eating very little, or not at all, with pleasure. Yet another thing that we can blame squarely on evolution! Success takes practice and determination, aided by the expectation of delayed gratification.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How I Wore It :: Bright Pleats

I love going to church on Sundays because, well, I love church, but also because it is pretty much my only day of the week to dress up. That doesn't mean my clothes are spit-up free, but at least the materials involve things other than spandex and elastic. 

Jacket - Armani :: Turtleneck - Theory :: Skirt - Urban Outfitters {currently on SALE for $39!} :: Booties - Chanel :: Sunglasses - House of Harlow 1960

Always enjoy mixing punchy, girly colors with black leather too :)

Everyone have a GREAT week!

for sunday:

Today I will try to sit still--mind, quiet--and let this wash over me until I've absorbed it all.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
       love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver

The Poppy Field, 1873, Monet

Previous Sundays: 3, 2, 1

Saturday, November 24, 2012

have a seat in the salon; alfred will take your coat.

Cam, Sloan, and Ferris at the Art Institute

When I was little, I took painting and drawing classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. At the start of lessons, we would walk through the galleries and look at a certain work of art that demonstrated a technique or style we would be learning about that day.

Growing up in the city, I took for granted access to a museum that owns some of the world's most renowned pieces of art. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte? Duh, I've seen it a million times. (This must be how Parisians feel all day, every day. About everything.)

Cam looking at La Grande Jatte

This means I've seen a lot of famous pieces by big artists, but not many of their lesser-known ones. Last summer, we visited Cleveland for a wedding and stopped at the Cleveland Museum of Art. It was exciting to see paintings I've never heard of by artists that everyone's heard of. Here are two of my never-seen-before faves from that day, both by Matisse:

The Windshield, On the Road to Villacoublay, Matisse, Cleveland Museum of Art
The Windshield, On the Road to Villacoublay, Cleveland Museum of Art

Intérieur au vase étrusque, Matisse, Cleveland Museum of Art
Intérieur au vase étrusque, Cleveland Museum of Art

Last night we did some rearranging involving the television, and now I'm jonesing for prints of European paintings to add to a salon wall. (Salon? you ask. Your four-room apartment has a salon now?  Shhh. Let me have this.)

I spent some time searching through post-impressionist art over on the revamped  These are some of my favorites, sticking to the theme of new-to-me works from well-known artists. Some of these may be bedroom contenders as well. picks, Sept Singes, Seurat picks, Bouquet of Flowers, van Gogh  

Left: Bouquet of Flowers, 1890, van Gogh | Right: Sept Singes, Seurat

portrait art for gallery wall, Skull with Burning Cigarette, Van Gogh
portrait art for salon wall, Study, Nonelli

         Left: Skull with Burning Cigarette, Van Gogh 
         Above: Study, Nonelli

       Below: La tasse de thé du matin, Vuillard
portrait art for salon wall, Portrait of Armand Roulin, van Gogh
pink art for salon wall, La tasse de thé du matin, Vuillard
  Above: Portrait of Armand Roulin, van Gogh

art for salon wall, The Black Marble Clock c. 1870, Cezanne
art for salon wall, Laurencin: Women, 1920

Is it weird to have a portrait of a smoking skeleton in your bedroom? Yes. Weird and awesome.