Misty Copeland Becomes First Black Principal Ballerina at American Ballet Theater

Originally posted on TIME:

The American Ballet Theater has promoted Misty Copeland to principal ballerina, making her the first black female principal ballerina in the company’s 75-year history.

Copeland, who has been with the company for 14 years and danced as a soloist for 8, is one of the most widely visible ballerinas dancing today, with fame spreading far beyond the ballet world. She has written two books (Firebird, a children’s book, and Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, a memoir,) presented at the Tony’s, made an ad for Under Armour that got over 8 million views, and was honored this year as one of the TIME 100. Last week, she became the first African-American ballerina to dance Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera House.

“Something that my mother instilled in me, as a biracial woman herself, and me being biracial, was that the world was going to view me as a black…

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One Phone Call Showed Me How People Dismiss Black Humanity When They Defend Police ~ Julia Craven

WASHINGTON — Interviewing a source can be an eye-opening and harrowing experience, especially when speaking to someone who has been victimized — or someone who feels her people have been wronged.

The Huffington Post published a story last week giving an account of the now-famous McKinney, Texas, pool party police debacle, based in part on an interview with one of the partygoers who had a gun pulled on him. But the real shock came when a resident who wasn’t even at the party emailed me to say that I had it all wrong.

“The story you just posted where you interviewed [the partygoer] is ridiculously inaccurate. I live in the community and know people that witnessed the incident first hand. I am also on a neighborhood Facebook group and was getting information before anything even escalated,” the woman, who called herself Jen, said. “If you’d like to talk to one of the adults in the video who was a first hand witness to the whole situation, and not responsible for trespassing, I can put you in contact.”

Jen rescinded the offer when asked about contact info for two women who can be seen attacking 19-year-old Tatiana Rhodes in a video. McKinney police were called sometime after the altercation. Rhodes, one of the party hosts, said the women were hurling racial slurs at the black teens — Rhodes herself was allegedly called a “black fucker” — and telling them to go back to their “Section 8 homes.” 

Instead, Jen replied with a lengthy screed that gave insight into how some people can defend McKinney police officer Eric Casebolt’s handling of the situation. Her email hinted at the deep-seated mindset among white Americans who dismiss black humanity in order to preserve an unwavering deference to authority — so I called her.

As the phone rang, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from our conversation. But our chat turned out to be meaningful and worth dissecting. It illustrated how white fear and misperceptions can be used to justify actions that traumatize or sometimes even end black lives. It showed the troubling ease with which some people can explain away this trauma as an inevitable — and, worse, acceptable — outcome of black behavior. 

Before ending our chat, Jen, whose last name I’m withholding, told me she didn’t want to be quoted — and I let her know that requests to talk off the record need to be made prior to an interview with a reporter, not after.

She required him to use force. Had he grabbed her arm and had she followed him willfully, it wouldn’t have looked the way it looked. But she required the force.

Jen’s take on the majority of the day’s events differ from testimonies given by teenswho were actually at the party, though everyone agrees the chaos began with an end-of-the-school-year cookout. Jen said that teens were trading off a key to get into a pool area and that when the security guard started denying them access, the situation began to escalate. She accused the teens of rebelling — she said they started “taking over,” “jumping the fence” and “being aggressively sexually active.” 

Her analysis of what happened says something about why this incident sparked a national conversation that has further exposed racial divides. Jen didn’t see this as an incident involving implicit racial biases. (Based on her Gmail account photo, I guessed that she is white, and I also assumed she knew I’m black based on my Gmail account photo.) She refused to consider Casebolt’s actions — particularly his treatment of 15-year-old Dajerria Becton — as part of a widespread practice of police brutalizing black people. She didn’t seem to see any problem with the way he acted. 

The emphasis in the following block quotes was added by HuffPost.

So basically once the cops were called, nobody would leave. Nobody would listen to authority. Nobody was doing what they were supposed to be doing. … The cop? Was he out of line? That’s for the police department to decide. It sure seems like he was kind of a loose cannon. But at the same time, when it came down to arresting this girl, he asked her multiple times, “Get away, get away, get away, get away.” She kept coming back. She kept coming back, yelling racial slurs. Finally, he had enough with her. And here’s the deal, if you’re trying to maintain control in like a mob-like situation — because that’s what it felt like. It felt like a mob. I had moms posting on Facebook “What’s going on,” leaving the pool because they didn’t feel safe. And not because the kids were black. It had nothing to do with that. It had to do with the energy of the situation. 

While Jen tried to discount the role that race played in her description, the racial undertones can’t be ignored. Black people are regularly associated with “mobs.” It’s a common media theme — whether we’re protesting or just turning up at a party — primarily because blackness is associated with unruliness, violence and trouble. A group of black folks, or even rowdy kids, can’t just be hanging out. We have to be doing, ya know, “mob” stuff. Or, as Jen put it, displaying a “blatant” disregard for authority and order — pretty much asking to be kept in check. 

As Casebolt ordered the black kids to the ground, white teens were walking around freely, including 15-year-old Brandon Brooks, who filmed the incident. Brandon offered a poignant perspective to BuzzFeed:

“Everyone who was getting put on the ground was black, Mexican, Arabic,” he said. “[The cop] didn’t even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible.”

In her remarks to me, Jen disregarded this aspect of the situation and, instead, placed most of the onus for what went wrong on those kids. I wish I could say I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. 

And I don’t know if that’s how they’re raised. I don’t know if there’s maybe — it was just a general sense of entitlement that they didn’t have to follow the rules.


Jen sounded so caught up in the vision of black rambunctiousness that the age of these kids — some as young as 14 — didn’t seem to matter. And perhaps it didn’t. Black children, especially boys, are often seen as older and less innocent than their white peers. 

Jen also sounded relieved to get her sentiments off her chest. I’m not sure if she was just frustrated that the prevailing narrative was different than the one she believed or if she had been harboring these thoughts for too long. But something was coloring her perspective:

As far as the little girl goes, that was brutally taken down, it appeared that way. It absolutely appeared that way. See, that’s exactly what she wanted you to think. She was running her mouth, running her mouth. It’s cancerous in a situation like that. In like a mob mentality like that, people like her are cancer. And it spreads. So all of a sudden she gets control, guess what’s gonna happen. Everybody else is, “Oh, well, she gets to do this, she gets to do this.” And it spreads. The officer, I believe — and this is just my opinion, I cannot speak to what he was thinking — I feel like she was threatening the situation. He asked several times; still she wouldn’t leave. [He asked her] several times; still she wouldn’t leave. She kept running her mouth … like she was calling him racial slurs. It was just ugly and nasty. So finally, he decided to detain her.

At that point, you’re detained, sweetie. You have to follow the rules. Whether or not you think you should be detained or not, he’s made that choice because that’s what he feels he needs to do to maintain control. What did she do? She slithered up. Yeah, she pulled. She’s fighting him. She required him to use force. Had he grabbed her arm and had she followed him willfully, it wouldn’t have looked the way it looked.


I thanked Jen for sharing her perspective. Then I asked if she felt as though Casebolt could have handled the situation better — especially considering how small Dajerria is — but she still couldn’t bring herself to place any blame on the officer. She repeatedly said she didn’t know how cops are trained and emphasized what the teenage girl could have done better, saying she “was absolutely out of control.” Jen was firm in her stance that when an officer “arrives to do his job, you do what he tells you to do.” 

White Americans as a whole tend to trust their local police more than black Americans do — 67 percent compared to 36 percent, according to a recent HuffPost/YouGov survey. Jen did admit that Casebolt’s handling of the situation didn’t look good a few times during our conversation. She also continuously pulled away from that observation and returned to the idea that the true culprits were the black kids — and that Casebolt was only responding appropriately to their threats:

She absolutely was breaking the law. By simply resisting what he was telling her to do, that’s breaking the law. And when you’re a criminal, you get treated like a criminal. Do I think he could have handled it better? I really don’t know. I don’t know what his training is. … Do I feel like she deserved to be taken down? Yes. In my opinion, she was obstructing justice. She absolutely deserved what she got. But what that looks like — I mean getting down to the details, do I think it could have been better? I honestly don’t know. It looks very cringy. … She’s not doing what she’s told. She’s absolutely interfering with [Casebolt’s efforts]. That’s a threat. And I know that they are trained to deal with those threats. Whether or not he did as he was trained, I don’t know. I don’t know what that looks like because I haven’t been trained. I don’t what that looks like. You want to look at it and say, “Oh, she should never be thrown to the ground.” But at the same time, what other choice did he have?


Casebolt could have acted like other officers on the scene, opting for a softer, more patient approach to the so-called mayhem. He didn’t have to yank Dajerria by her arm, push her head into the ground, pull her by her hair and complete his abuse with a knee in the back. He could have not let his emotions take over. He could have been a “guardian” instead of a “warrior.” This was a pool party. 

Essentially, Casebolt could have done his damn job. After I spoke with Jen, Casebolt resigned from the force following the McKinney Police Department’s decision to launch an investigation into his questionable conduct. 

Anyway, yeah, it looks brutal. It makes your gut reaction — your initial reaction is to just “Get off that baby girl.” That was my reaction, too. Hearing those wails, your momma bear instinct comes out. … And as far as drawing his gun, if you watch the video slow, and I think it’s at 3 minutes 13 seconds, you can see a kid coming up on his left with his hands near his pockets like he’s gonna pull something. Did the cop feel threatened that he felt like he needed to pull his gun? Maybe, I don’t know. Maybe not. Your gut reaction is to say, “Oh, you don’t pull a gun on teens.” But I don’t know. I have no idea.


I was shocked that she tried to justify Casebolt pulling his gun on two people at a pool party, but then it hit me: Jen is a victim of a larger systemic issue. Racism ruins everything it touches, even those privileged by the power dynamic. It probably hasn’t even crossed some folks’ minds that their views are hurtful and damaging.

This one woman’s comments on Dajerria and the other black kids struck a nerve with me. They reminded me of the first time I was called a “nigger” by a white guy who saw no value in me. They reminded me of when my great-grandmother explained to an 8-year-old me that I was black and that meant I was different. I couldn’t be a kid. I didn’t have any wiggle room to make average, youthful mistakes and grow from them, because blunders can get black people killed. Perceived defiance, like Dajerria’s, has been the catalyst for other controversial police shootings. Who’s to say things couldn’t have escalated this time? 

The reality is that black people are all too quickly seen as criminals, aren’t afforded the benefit of doubt and are held to incredibly high standards of personal responsibility that we’ll never attain because as long as our skin is black, we will never meet white standards. We’re expected to be a reflection of them, yet flawed white perception is never assuaged. Instead, black behavior is endlessly attacked.

It was a painful conversation. I took a break after getting off the phone with Jen because the rage that consumed me was too much. See, I encounter racism frequently, but Jen’s obliviousness to how her racially biased opinion would make me feel caught me off guard. It was almost like she expected me to understand where she was coming from — like this was how everyone, including black people, feels about black people. It was so nonchalant and normal for her.

Like I said, Jen is a victim. But what differentiates us is that she’s primarily a victim of her own ignorance. She can defeat her prejudice through education, greater awareness and stepping outside of her white comfort. Black people, on the other hand, can’t directly control or change the ignorance that fuels these systems of racial oppression. 

Dajerria, the other black teens at the party and black folks in general are in a Catch-22 — and I don’t know if there’s a way out.


Strawberry Limeade Cake Recipe

Strawberry Limeade Cake is a complete delight to the senses. A wonderful choice for a summer birthday.


For the Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2-4 drops green food coloring

For the Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, (12 tablespoons)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweetened strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 (8 inch) round cake pans and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cake flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed for two minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating and scraping the sides of the bowl after each. Add lime juice and mix until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture alternately, starting and ending with flour. Stir in a few drops of green food coloring. Give the batter a good stir from the bottom, then pour evenly into prepared pans.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched in the center.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for about 7 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add pureed strawberry mixture, beating on low until smooth.
  3. Add 5 cups powdered sugar and continue beating on low until JUST mixed.
  4. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for one minute. If frosting is too thin, add additional cup of powdered sugar.

Assemble the Cake:

  1. Carefully level cooled cakes with a serrated knife, then frost and assemble. Keep uneaten cake stored in the refrigerator.

How To Make Friends As An Adult In 4 Simple Steps ~ Margaret Manning

As many people in their 50s have discovered, making friends as an adult is difficult. Without the social bonds that connect us to others as parents, many of us feel isolated — or even a little lonely.

The truth is that it is possible to have an active social life at any age — but, first, we need to accept the fact that making friends after 50 is an active process. We can no longer afford to wait for other people to come to us. We need to take action.

This is the main reason that I decided to build Boomerly. I wanted to create a place where older adults could go to meet like-minded people. Along the way, I had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of people about their experiences making friends as an adult. Through these conversations, I learned that the people who succeed in building meaningful friendships as an adult are the ones that follow these four steps. 

Step 1: Start by Getting to Know Yourself

When you ask people how to make friends as an adult, they usually give you suggestions like, “just get out there,” “join a dance class,” or, “try speed dating.” On the surface, these are fine suggestions. After all, making friends does require us to get out into the world and take a few emotional risks.

Most of the time, however, we are not lacking for ideas on where to meet people. We are missing the motivation, confidence and self-esteem to get started. For this reason, most people find that reconnecting with themselves is a prerequisite to reconnecting with others.

Think back over the last five decades. Have you spent most of your life looking after other people? Have you left your own passions on the back-burner? Have you let your physical appearance go as you focused on raising your family? Do you feel a bit emotionally bruised by the disappointments that you have faced over the years? Do you have regrets that are holding you back?

Dealing with these issues won’t happen overnight. Be gentle with yourself. If you don’t feel like “getting out there” right away, don’t force yourself. Instead, identify the issues that you can control in your life and focus on those.


Step 2: Develop Your Physical and Emotional Resources

If you feel tired, out of shape, or sad, most of the time, making friends is going to be extremely difficult. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple things that you can do to increase your physical and emotional resources.

Most people don’t realize just how disconnected from their bodies they have become until it is too late. Fitness after 50 is not about looking a certain way for other people. It is about having the energy and confidence to explore the world and make friends on your own terms.

Start small. Use the 1-minute technique to gradually increase your commitment to exercise. Get out into nature. Set a timer to remind yourself to get up every hour to stretch. Try gentle yoga.

Then, as your confidence and stamina improve, increase your level of commitment. Join a local gym or see if your community center has fitness equipment that you can use. Find a sport that you love. Whatever you do, do something.

While you build up your body, don’t forget to nourish your mind. Write down one thing every day that you are grateful for. Spend a few minutes every day in meditation or prayer. Learn to become your own best friend.

Step 3: Chase Your Passions, Not People

When people tell you to “get out there and make friends,” they are telling you to chase people. There are several problems with this approach. First, it puts other people on a pedestal. They are the prize to be won. Second, chasing other people simply doesn’t work. By this point in our lives, we know that the best way to push someone away is to follow them.

The alternative is to approach relationship building from a position of strength. Instead of chasing people, we need to chase our passions. This is the only way to meet people on an equal footing.

What have you always been passionate about? Are there any activities, sports, hobbies or skills that you sacrificed to give your family more attention? What fascinates you? What are you curious about? What gets you excited? These are the questions that you need to answer to make friends after 50.


Step 4: Be Proactive and Invite People Into Your Life

By the time you reach this step, you will be in great shape. You will have a better understanding of who you are and the kinds of people you want to attract. Perhaps most importantly, you will have recommitted yourself to exploring your passions and getting the most from life after 50. Now it’s time to invite people into your life.

As you explore the world, you will meet hundreds of people who share your interests. Don’t settle for acquaintances. Look for opportunities to bring people deeper into your life. Organize movie nights. Invite small groups over to your house for cocktails. Propose hiking trips. The specifics aren’t important. Just don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. They usually won’t.

Making friends as an adult is possible, but, it requires a new approach. Instead of relying on our social circumstances to bring people into our lives, we need to take the initiative. We need to learn to understand ourselves. We must build our confidence. We need to pursue our passions, not people. Then, when the time comes, we need to reach out and invite people into our lives.

What do you think are the secrets to making friends as an adult? Do you agree that the first step to improving our relationships with others is to learn to understand ourselves? Why or why not? Please join the conversation and “like” and share this article to keep the discussion going.


Here’s What Real Healthy People Actually Snack On ~ Casey Gueren

When it comes to avoiding that hangry feeling, the best defense is a good offense. And a good offense consists mostly of snacks.


That means planning ahead and stocking up on healthy options you’ll actually keep in your kitchen/purse/office fridge/pockets/whatever.

Here's What Real Healthy People Actually Snack On

Because when you have zero time in your day and need to grab something fast, you’ll go for the peanut butter cup every damn time. BUT if you already have something satisfying and better for you on hand: snack win!

HOWEVER, if you hear one more person call a handful of almonds a snack, you can rightfully throw it in their face.

Here's What Real Healthy People Actually Snack On
History / Via imgfave.com

Here are 23 better, more interesting options that will awaken your starving soul.

They’ve all been made (and devoured) by real, seriously healthy people who say things like “satiety” and “fuel your body.” Steal their snackspiration so you’ll never have to go head-to-head with the vending machine again.

1. Open-Faced PB & Blueberries

“This is one of my favorite snacks. Almond butter is a great way to start the day with some awesome protein. And blueberries are my favorite fruit because they’re super low in sugar. When I eat bread it’s ONLY Ezekiel, which is a sprouted grain bread that has no yeast.” —Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Miracles Now

2. Egg and Apple Combo

Egg and Apple Combo

Courtesy of Aaron Flores

“Eating should stimulate all of our senses, and a perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg is about as good as it gets for me. Paired with a green apple, this is the perfect snack to satisfy any hunger and please your palate as well.” —Aaron Flores, RDN, California-based nutritionist specializing in intuitive eating and Healthy at Every Size (HAES)

3. Spiced Apple Chips

“The recipe is incredibly simple — only very thinly sliced apples sprinkled with a little apple pie spice and popped in the oven on a low temperature for a couple hours. The outcome is nutritious and delicious and a great substitute for fried chips. My husband and I brought a bunch of them hiking with us — they make a great portable snack.” —Anne Mauney, MPH, RD, founder of fANNEtasticfood.com

4. Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

Courtesy of Amelia Winslow

“My favorite way to eat avocados is smashed onto toast with a sprinkle of salt and a few red pepper flakes. If I’m really hungry I add a fried egg. The healthy fat from avocado plus carbohydrates from bread makes it ultra-satisfying and always delicious.” —Amelia Winslow, MS, MPH, nutritionist and founder of Eating Made Easy

5. Spicy And Sweet Roasted Chickpeas

Spicy And Sweet Roasted Chickpeas

Courtesy of Nita Sharda

“I like this as a snack for when I’m craving something savory. The crunchy bite size peas are also loaded with protein and fiber, so a little goes a long way.” —Nita Sharda, RD, owner of Carrots and Cake Balanced Nutrition Consulting (See the full recipe here.)

6. Banana Nut Toast

Banana Nut Toast

Courtesy of Anjali Shah

“This is a slice of sprouted wheat bread with ½ tablespoon almond butter, ½ tablespoon peanut butter, ¼ sliced banana and 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts on top — with an optional sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzle of honey. This delicious snack packs a protein and fiber punch guaranteed to keep you full in between meals.” —Anjali Shah, board certified health coach and founder of The Picky Eater

7. A Makeshift Pudding Cup

“Greek yogurt mixed with some chocolate protein powder and raspberries makes for a perfect high-protein snack under 200 calories. You’re getting a good source of probiotics from the Greek yogurt, antioxidants and fiber from the raspberries, and an extra boost of protein from half a scoop of whey protein.” —Katie Yip, New York City-based Pilates teacher

8. Miso Zoodle Soup

“I love noodle soup, but most are just carb bombs in a bowl. I used my new spiralizer to make zucchini noodles, then whipped up miso broth, which contains probiotics that boost gut health by supporting digestion, and then tossed in some carrots, mushrooms, ginger, and spinach.” —Michele Promaulayko, editor-in-chief of Yahoo Health and author of the new book 20 Pounds Younger

9. Blueberry Coconut Balls

Blueberry Coconut Balls

Courtesy of Danielle Omar / Via foodconfidence.com

“These no-bake snack balls are made with antioxidant-rich frozen wild blueberries. If you eat them right away they are super cold and refreshing, but if you let them thaw a bit they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious!” (See the full recipe here.) —Danielle Omar, MS, RD

10. A Picturesque Cheese Plate

“This is a simple, on-the-fly appetizer made up of stuff I had in the fridge — olives, grape tomatoes, caper berries. Anchoring the plate is a hunk of feta cheese that I dressed up with some chopped oregano from the garden and red onion.” —Monica Reinagel, licensed nutritionist and host of the Nutrition Diva podcast

11. Fruit Pizza

“This watermelon ‘pizza’ is a perfect low-calorie treat that satisfies the sweet tooth, replenishes your muscles, and hydrates your body. Ideal for a hot summer day, a party snack, or post-workout, since it will help replenish glycogen stores in your muscles and aid recovery. Both the watermelon and banana also help with bloating! ” —Idalis Velazquez, NASM-CPT, founder of IV Fitness

12. A Loaded Sweet Potato

A Loaded Sweet Potato

Courtesy of Anjali Prasertong

“My favorite mid-morning snack is a leftover roasted sweet potato, split open and stuffed with a couple dollops of plain Greek yogurt. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll sprinkle it with furikake, a super-flavorful Japanese seasoning mix with toasted nori and sesame seeds. With all the protein, healthy carbs, and fiber, it’s a snack that keeps me satisfied for hours.” —Anjali Prasertong, contributing editor at The Kitchn and graduate student studying to become a registered dietitian

13. A Fruit Smoothie That Only Looks Like a Daiquiri

“California Sunshine Smoothie! Yummy — 139 calories and 7 grams of fiber. Try it! All organic: 10 strawberries, 1 orange, ½ a medium banana, 1 cup of ice, and water!” —Jeanette Jenkins, president of The Hollywood Trainer

14. Cheese, Crackers, Tomatoes, and Veggies

“This great combination keeps you full and promotes satiety. Protein comes from the delicious mozzarella cheese (a low-fat selection), the fiber comes from the high-fiber crackers (one with 5 grams of fiber or more), and vegetables!” —Shelly Marie Redmond, RD, author of Eat Well and Be Fabulous

15. Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

“I love this because it’s whole food eating – a two-ingredient snack solution.” 
—Rachel Beller, MS, RDN, founder of Beller Nutritional Institute and author of Eat to Lose, Eat to Win

16. Apple Peanut Butter Toasts

“A good, satisfying, filling snack and the tasty health benefits of cinnamon and SunButter — a healthy option for anyone with nut allergies. It also has more unsaturated fat, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamin E than peanut butter.” —David Kirsch, celebrity trainer and founder of David Kirsch Wellness

17. Cheddar Kale Chips

“Dedicated to all the people who are over ridiculously priced kale chips. These savory chips make for the perfect snack, and won’t hurt your pockets.” (See the full recipe here.) —Wendy Lopez, nutritionist, and Jessica Jones, MS, RD, co-hosts of Food Heaven Made Easy

18. A Cookie You Can Make IN A PAN

“Cookies have been a great tool for me when I train really hard in the gym and need a carbohydrate or sugar boost to refuel my muscle and liver glycogen. Often store-bought cookies are too high in fat to be a good post-workout tool. Therefore, I get creative in my kitchen and got obsessed with a cookie that gets cooked in a pan. I dreamed of something that was part pancake, part gooey and crunchy cookie! This is ¼ cup quick-cooking oats, 1 tablespoon coconut flour, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 1 whole egg, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, Stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, and a dash of salt. Stir it up and add a splash of milk if needed for consistency. Cook in a nonstick pan sprayed with coconut oil. Cook on low and flip when it starts to bubble — just like when cooking pancakes. It’s only 330 calories!” —Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of the upcoming Lift to Get Lean

19. Crudités For One

“This is what I typically eat as a mid-morning snack. It is carrot sticks, celery sticks, half an avocado, beetroot, and spinach, accompanied with almond butter and cottage cheese. This gives the perfect balance of protein and veggies to keep me satisfied and full until the next meal.” —Aina Hussain, registered nutritionist and founder of The Fruitful Foodie

20. Cauliflower Fries

From her Instagram: “I just made French fries out of cauliflower and @questnutrition protein powder. Hey! Don’t say ew until you try it. It’s seriously amazing!” (See the full recipe here.) —Cassey Ho, creator of POP Pilates

21. This Bright and Cheery Deliciousness

“I love because it I looove fresh fruit and veggies — and goat cheese and avocado call my name regularly! It’s a perfect mini meal or snack, because it’s packed with nutrients including antioxidants and fiber to help keep you full. Plus the healthy fat in avocado provides satiety, and who doesn’t love the sweetness of mango and taste of goat cheese? The combo may seem funny, but it is a real food combo that is a winning gem. Promise!” —Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, author of The New You and Improved Diet

22. Kale Guacamole Wraps

“Just wilt kale or any other leafy green by soaking in warm water for a few minutes, then stuff with whatever you want and enjoy!” (See the full recipe here.) —Wendy Lopez, nutritionist, and Jessica Jones, MS, RD, co-hosts of Food Heaven Made Easy

23. A Smoothie In A Bowl

A Smoothie In A Bowl

Courtesy of Kath Younger

“One of my favorite snacks is a smoothie made with oats served in a bowl. This one is a cup of frozen berries, half a banana, a cup of milk, and a quarter cup of oats thrown in a blender, then topped with toasted buckwheat and nut butter. The oats give the smoothie a nice doughy taste, plus they amp up the nutrition with extra fiber and energy! And enjoying it as a ‘soup’ means I savor every last bite.” —Kath Younger, RD, founder of Kath Eats Real Food


11 Black Queer and Trans Women Discuss Self-Care ~ By L.G. Parker

11 Black Queer and Trans Women Discuss Self-Care

“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” –Gwendolyn Brooks

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” –Audre Lorde

I know a few things about depression. After Thanksgiving, I checked myself into the hospital because repression was no longer enough. There was limited access to anyone beyond the narrow hallway, art and dining room in the hospital’s psychiatric unit, so I wrote and read often. What sustained me were the words I remembered from poems, like Lucille Clifton’s “won’t you celebrate with me,” Rickey Laurentiis’ “You Are Not Christ,” and Audre Lorde’s “A Litany for Survival.” 

When I got tired of walking up and down the hall reciting those poems to myself, I would re-read the African American Women and Depression Fact Sheet. What stays with me is that only 12% of Black women ever get help or treatment for their depression. Economic access, of course, plays a huge role in that, but how many of us never stop to acknowledge that we are hurting? How many of us actually can afford to stop at all to feel anything?

Audre Lorde tells us that we were never meant to survive, but to speak anyhow. I spoke with 11 queer and trans Black women artists, creators, and activists about their specific practices of self-care. May their insight be useful to you and their art inspire you to continue to dream, build, imagine, love, cry, laugh, dance, and live.

regina1. Regina Battle

Location: Richmond, VA
Title: Web Developer
Where to find her: Tumblr 

“Being the introvert that I am, I spend a lot of time alone. Taking time to myself allows me to recharge while doing the things I enjoy most. I respect my own limits and know when it’s necessary to step back, which often requires saying, ‘no.’ Surrounding myself with good, positive people is essential as well as minimizing my exposure to negativity. I practice mindfulness, live simply, and just always remember to breathe.”

blair2. Blair Ebony Smith

Location: Syracuse, New York
Title: Scholar, Feminist, Student
Where to find her: SoundCloud

“I practice self-love by creating with the intent to be present and non-judgemental. I create with the intent to honor Black (queer) ancestors and honor my own creativity. To honor my creativity, I let myself create whatever it is I may want to in the moment, whether that’s a beat from a sampled record, painting, collaging or writing. I also move and breathe. I love to walk and practice yoga. Self-care is also about community. I enjoy being in community celebrating life, talking shit (or just being) with other Black queer people.”

llerret3. L’lerrét Jazelle Ailith 

Location: New Orleans
Title: Queer Black transfemme visionary
Where to find her: InstagramTwitterllerretallure.com

“Self-care to me is about hanging stuff up until I’m absolutely ready to carry the burden again. If that means ignoring phone calls, texts messages, emails, and even resting as opposed to studying for that exam, then I will do so.

Sometimes, no matter what the circumstance, you need to just clear your mind and at least pretend you’re all good and can’t a thing hold you down or stand in your way. Pretend that you have all the time in the world and allow your body and mind to reset before you pick back up where you left off.”

4. Stasia Mehschel

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 8.32.45 AM

Location: Brooklyn, NY
Title: Producer and Vocalist for THEESatisfaction x DJ Stas Thee Boss
Where to find her: TumblrTwitterFacebookInstagramSoundCloudBandcamp

“The first step for me was self-love. I love my body, my mind, and my spirit. I want to preserve it in the finest and most luxurious ways that I can within my means. I take vitamins. I make sure to work hard and play equally as hard. I try my best to keep bad energy and vibes away, ridding myself of toxic relationships. A bath with scented oils and a fresh haircut can also do wonders for your confidence.”

5. Denise Maurice

Location: RVA (Richmond, Virginia)
Title: Creator
Where to find her: FacebookTwitterInstagramGoFundMe

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 8.36.51 AM“How do I practice self-care? In a world designed to break me, I keep myself healthy by first understanding that it is my strength that is being discriminated against, not my weakness. These Black woman hips bear the weight of the world with style and grace. This melanin in my skin can withstand the harshest of sun rays and some days…I feel as if I am the Sun herself.  I would be jealous if I wasn’t blessed to be who I am. How dare I step outside of gender norms and express myself when given strict commands to fit into a mold so that everyone else can understand me? How dare I not care about the opinions of people I will never even meet? Because I know who I am and am aware of my own strength and beauty. I practice self-care by creating spaces that allow not only myself but other gender nonconforming and artistically expressive individuals to flourish without having to twist and bend themselves into the form that society deems acceptable and employable…I am a firm believer that we are all born with specific gifts and if we become passionate enough about those gifts we can create our own means of survival. I practice self-care by refusing to believe the lie that I am not good enough. Spread Love!”

6. Monica Roberts

Location: Houston, TX
Title: Writer, activist
Where to find her: transgriot.blogspot.com

“When I’m not writing on TransGriot, I have to take a moment to step back and actually do stuff for myself. There are times that I like to write poetry, and I do have a couple of fiction manuscripts and novels that I’m working on. There are times when I just sit back and just chill and go to a ball game or something, just to get away from always being in 24/7 serious activist mode.”

7. Diamond Sharp


Location: DC-based; Chicago native
Title: Poet and writer
Where to find her: Twitter

“I take time to myself. I say ‘no’ often. I don’t feel bad for putting myself first.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 8.39.19 AM8. Stud Slayer

Location: Washington, DC
Title: Advocate for Masculine Women of Color
Where to find her: Tumblr

“Self-care…is something I recently learned how to do. In the past I never had time to take care of myself. That neglect made me very grumpy and stressed. Now I make it a point to look out for my own well-being and mental health no matter what’s going on. Kind of like ‘Pay yourself first’ in regards to finances.

I write frequently and spend a lot of time at the gym. Working out and exercising is not only good for my physical health, but mental health as well.

I take care of my soul by writing on my blog and continuing to reach out, be there for and mentor masculine women of color in regards to sexuality, self esteem, gender identity and a myriad of other issues that aren’t always addressed in our under represented community. Female masculinity is very much misunderstood and misused and we need to continue having discussions about how we move in the world as masculine women and the micro aggressions that come with that.

Giving back keeps me close to the people that matter to me and makes me feel like I’m contributing to the solution instead of just complaining about the problem.”

9. JP Howard

Location: New York
Title: Queer/Diva/Poet/Nurturer
Where to find her:  FacebookTwitterInstagramwomenwritersinbloompoetrysalon.blogspot.com

(Photo taken by Rachel Eliza Griffiths)

“During the work week, I practice self-care when I seek out and find moments of ‘quiet introspective time.’ Like so many of us, my days are super busy as I’m in a relationship with my partner, we are raising our two sons and I also curate a NY-based literary salon, while working at a full-time, fairly demanding day job. When I can, I take long walks, usually by the water, during my lunch hour to regroup and focus on self. Those quiet moments are very precious to me. I also try to make a habit of traveling outside of New York to attend writing residencies or fellowships that let me pursue my own creative writing for an extended period of time either in a quiet setting and/or in an environment surrounded by fellow writers (for this full-time working mom even a week away from home is a true indulgent writer’s luxury!). While those residencies or fellowships may only happen a few times a year for me, they satisfy my self-care needs. I get so much writing done, I get a week away to solely focus on being a writer and while I miss my family during those trips, I think a necessary part of self-care is finding quality time to nurture ourselves, especially for those of us who are often busy nurturing others.”

INasah10. I’Nasah Crockett

Location: Down South
Title: Recovering Artist, Black Culture Junkie, Semi-Professional Big Mouth
Where to find her: Twitter

“This question kinda stopped me in my tracks because I’ve been doing such a poor job at it this year especially. [Laughs.] But more recently, I’ve been working on taking deeper breaths, being nicer to myself, and doing some yoga at home. It takes me being attentive to my body’s needs (which for me is also a form of self-care, not ignoring what my body and mind is trying to tell me), which takes some work, but I always end up feeling better for it. Also, binging out on my favorite TV shows and spending times with my friends always always always helps make life a little sweeter!”

11. Lourdes Ashley Hunter, MPA


Location: Washington, D.C.
Title: Black Trans Revolutionary
Where to find her: Twitter

“I love to cook and take walks in the park with my dog, Cashmere, but I also enjoy taking time to touch myself. There is healing in your own touch and I love all up on this body. Taking time to breathe because every breath a Black Trans Woman takes is an Act of Revolution. I practice self-care by becoming submerged in self-love.  Allowing others to give love and allowing myself to receive love but also being particular with my love and with the love I allow in my life. For me, practicing self-care is an act of self-love.”

For more information about self-care, visit Black Girl + Mental Health or purchase I’Nasah Crockett’s zine Death Valley: Or, How to Not Kill Yourself in Less Than Ten Days.


LGPL.G. Parker is a student and writer living in Northern Virginia. Connect with her on Twitter at @posttragic

‘Fat Femme’ Yogi’s Instagram Mission: Yoga Is For Everyone ~ JOANNA PRISCO

‘Fat Femme’ Yogi’s Instagram Mission: Yoga Is For Everyone
‘Fat Femme’ Yogi’s Instagram Mission: Yoga Is For Everyone (ABC News)

A North Carolina yogi is causing a sensation on social media by breaking down body stereotypes with her personal photos.

Jessamyn Stanley, 27, who lives in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and posts to Instagram under the handle @mynameisjessamyn, has attracted more than 42,000 followers in the last two years sharing images of challenging forearm stands and intense back bends.

The difference between Stanley and the seemingly myriad talented yogis posting online? She is a self-described “fat femme” with ample curves where others are stick straight.

“People need to see diversity, to feel included,” Stanley told ABC News. “It’s really not that I look different, it’s that I look the same as everyone else.”


Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley

A lifelong North Carolinian, Stanley was first introduced to Bikram yoga as a teenager by an enthusiastic aunt. But at the time, she was put off by the high-temperature rooms and studio experience. Years later, in college, when a friend mentioned a Groupon discount for Bikram classes, Stanley decided to give the practice a second try and this time something clicked.

“I was going through a lot of transitions and personal changes at the time, I was depressed,” she said. “And being forced to stare at yourself in the mirror and challenge your body was very useful for self-reflection. It turned out to be the saving grace of my entire life.”

Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley

But after committing to a regular practice, Stanley eventually moved and didn’t immediately have the disposable income to attend studio classes in her new neighborhood. It was then that she began doing yoga at home and documenting the experience online.

“When you practice, it’s important to note your alignment and progress,” she said. “And it’s a great way to get positive feedback from people. In the studios, there is a lot of judgment. And where I live, it was predominately white, well-educated, upper class people who attended and it tints the student’s perspective. I would feel like, ‘oh, my body will never look like that.’ So, [sharing on] social media has become a great way of feeling normal about being different.”

The attention she’s since received does at times detract from the original intent of recording her postures. But, Stanley reasoned, it’s not a bad thing.

“Sometimes I do wish I would get more feedback that was along the lines of ‘let’s talk about how we can all strengthen our practices,’” she acknowledged. “But if people are more focused on my physique, and connecting with someone they can look to as a peer in this life struggle… if you feel like there’s someone who really gets where you’re coming from, that’s way more powerful.”

Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley

Stanley, who currently also teaches classes in Durham, N.C., will embark on a yoga tour in select cities this fall with a fellow “curvaceous teacher.” There are also plans for a full-figured retreat next year.

“My big thing now is trying to be as accessible as I can to as many people as possible,” said Stanley. “I’ve always felt the yoga community is badly cloistered and it’s really important to me to make it clear that it’s for everyone.”


The Ancient Aztec Food with More Calcium Than Milk ~ GiadaWeekly

Of all the so-called superfoods, the tiny chia seed just may be the mightiest of them all, and is certainly one of the most versatile. Once most associated with gag gifts (yep, chia seeds are what sprouted “hair” all over that Chia Pet you got in fifth grade), these nutritional powerhouses are packed with omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants and are a great source of fiber—in fact, just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds fulfills almost half of your daily fiber requirement. They have more calcium than milk, more antioxidants than blueberries, and more potassium than bananas, and pound for pound are quite rich in protein, although you’d have to eat quite a lot to satisfy your protein requirements—and remember, they are positively full of fiber. On the plus side, chia seeds don’t need to be ground, as flaxseeds do, in order for your body to access their nutrients; you can sprinkle whole chia seeds directly on salads or cereal, or stir them into stews and baking batters for a nutritional boost.

Turbo-charge your morning meal with chia seeds! (Photo: Amy Neusinger)

When mixed with liquid the coating on chia seeds dissolves and forms a gel, a reason they are often used as an egg replacement in baking recipes. Soaking makes the seeds less crunchy but also makes it easier for the nutrients to be absorbed into your system. Commercially bottled chia beverages have become very popular, but you can easily make your own for a lot less. (For a refreshing and throat-soothing hot or cold drink, try swapping out the flaxseeds in the Flaxseed Lemonade, issue 20, for an equal quantity of chia seeds.)

My favorite way to eat chia seeds, though, is in this easy overnight pudding. It’s almost like magic; as the mixture sits in the fridge the texture becomes smooth and creamy, no cooking required. It couldn’t be easier and it’s the perfect neutral canvas for a few berries, nuts, or some crunchy granola. Make a big batch on the weekend and know you’ll be starting off your day with the fuel you need to set a personal best all week long!

Chia Seed Pudding

This is a real treat: a no-cook creamy pudding that’s good for you. Once plumped in almond milk and creamy yogurt, chia seeds remind me of tapioca—only they are high in omega-3s and fiber. Chia seeds can be found in some grocery stores these days as well as in natural foods stores. The great part, too, is that you make this pudding the night before. Come morning, you just pull it out of the fridge and top it with some almonds and fruit, and breakfast is ready. (From Giada’s Feel Good Food)

  • 1 cup vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup plain low-fat (2%) Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (preferably grade B), plus 4 tablespoons for serving
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and diced
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted (see Cook’s note)


1. In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, vanilla, and salt until just blended. Whisk in the chia seeds. Let stand for 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. The next day, in a medium bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 4 tablespoons maple syrup. Mix in the almonds.
3. Spoon the pudding into 4 bowls or stemmed pudding glasses, mound the berry mixture on top, and serve.

Cook’s Note: To toast sliced almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven until lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool completely before using.



A Number Of Colleges Are Under Scrutiny For Sexual Harassment, But You Wouldn’t Know It ~ Tyler Kingkade

A little over a year ago, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights began disclosing which colleges and universities were under Title IX investigations for potentially mishandling sexual violence cases. When the Education Department first released the list, it said it was an inventory of “possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.” However, the department did not publicly explain that the list it released didn’t include institutions being investigated for only sexual harassment complaints.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, The Huffington Post obtained a list of all of the schools under Title IX reviews due to concerns with how they handle sexual harassment. There are 162 cases involving either sexual harassment or sexual assault and harassment under investigation at 143 postsecondary institutions, as of May 13. However, the version of the list the department releases to reporters without an open records request shows there are 121 cases involving sexual assault under investigation at 111 colleges, as of the same date.


When the government doesn’t name colleges and universities solely under investigation for sexual harassment cases, these schools are able to essentially hide the scrutiny from the public. Virtually no college has come forward to state that they are under these Title IX reviews, absent probing by reporters, and even then they sometimes avoid the issue.

The University of Notre Dame, for example, which is under investigation for sexual harassment cases but not sexual assault, declined to even acknowledge HuffPost’s request for comment about the federal probe last month. 

Colleges are obligated to address both sexual assault and harassment under Title IX, and experts say the behaviors are inextricably linked.

Colby Bruno, ‎senior legal counsel at the Victim Rights Law Center, said it’s important to address how colleges handle sexual harassment because perpetrators will often “test the waters” to see whether someone would make for a good target. “Perpetrators will not go straight in for the rape,” she explained. “They will hedge their bets at some point and see how far they can get with someone by doing inappropriate things, but not quite rape.”

Lisa Maatz, the top lobbyist for the American Association of University Women, referred to a “continuum of violence” that “starts with bullying and sexual harassment and moves up the scale.”

Another law dealing with sexual violence on campus, the Clery Act, requires colleges to track and disclose reports of rape, burglary and other crimes. Recent amendments also stipulate certain rights for students involved in sexual assault cases, like access to attorneys. Violating the Clery Act can result in a $35,000 penalty per error for a college, but right now, the Education Department will not confirm or deny when a school is being investigated for breaking this law.

At an April lunch with reporters in Chicago, Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted how “proud” he was that OCR was releasing the list of colleges under Title IX investigations. When asked why the department was not publicly naming the schools under certain Title IX investigations or under Clery reviews, Duncan deflected.

“We’re looking at that,” Duncan replied. “There’s a whole host of things we’re looking at where we can upgrade our transparency.”

Parents have a right to know if schools their children may attend are under investigation for such serious issues, Maatz said.

“We need to be talking harassment, we need to be talking about bullying, we need to be nipping this in the bud,” she said. 

The list of colleges under sexual harassment investigations includes several technical and community colleges, a for-profit college, several state universities and one flagship.

Below are the colleges under Title IX investigations for only sexual harassment:

  1. Fortis College (Alabama)
  2. University of Pikeville (Kentucky)
  3. California State University-Bakersfield
  4. San Diego City College (California)
  5. Everest College (Colorado)
  6. American Medical Academy (Florida)
  7. Embry Riddel Aeronautical University (Florida)
  8. Florida A&M University
  9. Valencia College (Florida)
  10. Atlanta Technical College 
  11. Columbus State University (Georgia)
  12. College of Coastal Georgia
  13. City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College
  14. Western Illinois University
  15. University of Notre Dame
  16. Loyola University New Orleans – School of Law
  17. Southeastern Louisiana University
  18. Maryland Institute College of Art
  19. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  20. Central Piedmont Community College (North Carolina)
  21. Coastal Carolina Community College (North Carolina)
  22. Middlesex County College (New Jersey)
  23. Hofstra University (New York)
  24. State University of New York – Binghamton
  25. State University of New York at Albany
  26. Youngstown State University (Ohio)
  27. Northeastern State University (Oklahoma)
  28. San Jacinto College-Central Campus (Texas)
  29. Texas Southern University
  30. University of North Texas
  31. Marquette University (Wisconsin)
  32. New River Community & Technical College (West Virginia)

And below is the latest tally of colleges under Title IX investigations for sexual assault and harassment:

Colleges Under Title IX Investigations For Sexual Assault Cases – May 13, 2015 by Tyler Kingkade



10 Things Retirees Won’t Tell You ~ Catey Hill

(This article appeared previously on MarketWatch.) 


Older retired woman sitting at a table


Contrary to popular belief, retirement can be a very stressful time. According to a number of studies and surveys, retirees are not all living the dream. Here are 10 things they may neglect to tell you if you ask how things are going:

1. We’re Broke

Each day, roughly 10,000 boomers turn 62 — the average age at which people actually retire, according to a recent Gallup poll.
But many of these retirees, and ones a few years older, aren’t spending their golden years traipsing around the world. In fact, quite the opposite. According to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which takes into account out-of-pocket health-care spending and government benefits like food stamps, in addition to income, roughly 15 percent of people over age 65 — that’s 6.1 million people in all — live in poverty. And nearly half are considered “near poor,” meaning that they live with incomes that are less than twice the poverty threshold.
Tomorrow’s retirees aren’t in much better financial shape: Among workers age 55 and older, nearly 60 percent have saved less than $100,000 for retirement, and 24 percent have saved less than $1,000, according to the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute. That’s far less than financial advisers typically recommend: For example, AON Hewitt estimates that Americans will need roughly 11 times their final working salary when they retire, so someone with a $50,000 salary would need $550,000 upon retirement to maintain his or her standard of living.

(MOREWhat Women Fear Most About Retirement)

That may help explain why even retirees who have retirement savings say that they rely heavily on Social Security — which pays an average monthly benefit of around $1,290. Indeed, 57 percent of current retirees consider it a major source of income, according to a recent Gallup poll (up from half in 2003); only 33 percent say that pension plans are a major source of retirement income, 24 percent say 401(k)s, 23 percent home equity and 15 percent individual stocks and mutual funds.
2. Retirement Is More Stressful Than It Looks
Retirement is supposed to be the ultimate in relaxation, with mornings spent leisurely reading the paper over coffee, afternoons hitting the links or chilling on the beach, and evenings at pleasant dinners with your spouse or watching your favorite programs.
But for many people, it’s just the opposite. In a study by the American Institute of Stress, out of 43 potentially stressful major life events, retirement was ranked the 10th most stressful, ranking just higher than a major change in the health or behavior of a family member (11th). The death of a spouse, something many people experience in their retirement years, ranks Number One. 
Only 39 percent of people who are actually retired say that it is less stressful than life was during the five years before they retired, according to a survey of more than 1,200 people 50 and older by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

(MORESecrets of Successful Retirees)

Studies show that money tends to be the number one stressor. In Merrill Lynch’s 2013 Family & Retirement study, “running out of money to live comfortably” was the biggest concern for members of both the Silent Generation (people aged 68-88) and boomers, followed by the worry that they are or will be a burden to their family.
It’s also hard for many retirees to give up working. “We get a lot of our happiness from purpose and meaning in our lives — and jobs give us that,” says Chicago psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, the author of Better Than Perfect. She adds that other retirees get stressed out by the lack of structure in their days, and some find change, even if it’s positive change, to be stressful.
3. We Spend Too Much Time By Ourselves
Roughly one in 10 people aged 65 and older report that they are severely lonely, according to a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied — a finding that has remained roughly constant in studies for the last few decades. Often, the lack of a career exacerbates loneliness: “We often don’t realize that our careers provide quite a bit of interaction,” says California-based psychologist Traci Lowenthal. “When retirement begins, most of those daily connections are gone.
People in their 80s and older tend to experience higher rates of loneliness than do younger people, other research shows, as spouses and friends pass away.

(MOREHow to End the Senior Loneliness Epidemic)

Worse yet, loneliness can lead to health problems and premature death. Older adults who report extreme loneliness had a 14 percent greater risk of premature death than those who didn’t, according to studies of more than 2,000 adults age 50 and older by researchers at the University of Chicago.

In a discussion at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting this year, the researchers noted that loneliness can be twice as unhealthy for older people as obesity can, with health consequences that include disrupted sleep, elevated blood pressure, increases in the stress hormone cortisol, altered gene expression in immune cells, increased depression and lower overall well-being.

4. We’re In Denial About Our Health Problems
It’s an unfortunate reality of aging: our health declines as we get older. According to the Health and Retirement Study, one of the most comprehensive data sets looking at older Americans, almost half of Americans ages 55 — 64 say they are in good or excellent health, while only about a quarter of those 65 and older say the same. Among the most common ailments facing older adults are hypertension, heart conditions and arthritis, the study found, and roughly one in four people 65 to 74 and nearly one in three people 75 to 84 have two or more major health problems.
But even though it seems like common sense to assume that our health will deteriorate as we age, most people approaching retirement don’t believe it.

When asked “All in all, how would you say your health in retirement will be/is as compared to the five years before you retired?,” just 13 percent of pre-retirees said they expected their health would be worse in retirement, while nearly 40 percent of those who have actually retired said it was worse, according to the NPR/RWJF/Harvard study.

Justin Sayde, a research manager at the Harvard School of Public Health, says the result is “intriguing” and notes that “in recent decades, health and disability levels have improved in the 60-70 age group,” which may in turn lead pre-retirees to be overly optimistic about what to expect in the long run.
Some studies show that compared with those who keep working, retirees have worse health. A 2012 study that followed more than 5,400 men and women 50 and older over a 10-year period found that those who had retired had a 40 percent greater risk of stroke and heart attack than those who kept working — and that this effect was the most pronounced in the first year after retirement. (To be sure, other studies show a health benefit to retirement.)
Perhaps just as important, many retirees are having trouble getting the health care they need. According to the NPR/RWJF/Harvard survey, 13 percent of retirees say they have trouble finding quality health care and 13 percent say they had trouble seeing the doctor of their choice.
5. Our Health-Care Costs Are Huge
While Medicare covers plenty of health-care expenses for people 65 and older, it doesn’t cover everything — a fact that surprises some people, says Ethan Staats, an Atlanta-based financial adviser for Morgan Stanley. 
In fact, Medicare doesn’t cover longer term skilled nursing or rehabilitative care, hearing aids, eye exams and most dental care. A couple who retire at 65 need an average of $220,000 to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses over the course of their retirement, according to Fidelity Investments — and that doesn’t even count the costs of having to go into a nursing home, which Medicare doesn’t cover under most circumstances. A semiprivate room in a nursing home costs a median of roughly $77,000 a year and living in an assisted living facility costs $42,000 a year, according to 2014 data from Genworth.
Given how little most people have saved for retirement, many retirees are likely to struggle to afford the health care they need. And some are already feeling the strain of these expenses. Nearly one in four retirees say they’ve had trouble paying for the medications that they or their spouse needed; 21 percent say they’ve had trouble paying for health insurance premiums, 21 percent for medical bills, 19 percent for long-term care and 18 percent for preventative services, according to the NPR/RWJF/Harvard survey.
6. We’re Coming After Your Jobs
The percentage of workers 65 and older who are in the labor force has risen from 11.5 percent in 1992 to 18.5 percent in 2012 and is projected to hit 23 percent by 2022, according to Census Bureau data.
That’s a trend that’s likely to continue as the population ages. According to a 2013 survey by AARP of 1,500 American workers ages 45 to 74, about 72 percent of older Americans say they plan to work in retirement, with 29 percent of that group saying they plan to work part-time mainly for interest or enjoyment sake, 23 percent for the income it provides and 13 percent so they can start their own business or work for themselves.
For some younger workers, this isn’t good news, because many employers prefer older workers. A 2012 survey of more than 500 hiring managers by HR consulting firm Adecco found that companies were about three times as likely to hire a worker 50 and older than they were to hire a millennial (defined as someone born between 1981 and 2000). Among the traits they attributed to older workers were that they were more reliable and more professional.
Such findings aside, age discrimination remains alive and well in the workplace. According to a study published in the journal Ageing and Society in 2011, 81 percent of workers 50 and above had encountered at least one instance of discriminatory treatment in the workplace in the previous year; other studies indicate that some hiring managers show preference to younger hires.  
7. We Still Get Frisky
This may come as a shock to the younger generation, but your grandma and grandpa likely still get it on. While men and women ages 57 to 72 have less sex than their younger counterparts, they’re still having sex. Nearly three in four men and about half of women in the age group report that they are sexually active, having sex an average of about four times a month, according to a study published in 2011 in The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.
All that frisky behavior sometimes has negative consequences. While rates of sexually transmitted diseases are still much higher among younger than older Americans, the 55-and-over set saw an uptick in infection rates for some sexually transmitted diseases between 2007 and 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even HIV is becoming a problem for older Americans: 19 percent of the 1.1 million people living with an HIV infection in America are 55 or older, and 5 percent (or 2,500) of the new HIV infections in 2010 were from this age group, according to the CDC.
8. We’re Planning to Move In With Our Kids
More than 43 million adults in America care for someone 50 or older, according to the National Center on Caregiving. What’s more, the proportion of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years, according to insurer MetLife.
While most care recipients live in their own homes (58 percent), one in five lives with their caregiver, usually in a spare room in the home. Wherever the retiree lives, caregiving can be a financial drain on the provider, not only because the care and medications cost them thousands of dollars, but because it can impact their careers over the long-term.

For the average woman 50 or older caring for an aging parent, the amount of lost wages due to leaving the labor force early or reducing work hours totals $142,693 over the duration of the caregiving; for men, that number is $89,107 — and that doesn’t include their lost Social Security benefits, which in both cases total over $130,000, according to a MetLife survey.

Making matters worse, many caregivers take a dual financial hit, as they care both for their parents and their children. According to a 2013 survey from the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of Americans ages 40 — 59 say they have provided financial support both for a parent 65 and older and for a child within the past year; that’s up from 12 percent in 2005.
9. That Big Hawaii Trip? It’s More Like a Pipe Dream
Nearly six in 10 American retirees say that travel is one of their top two dreams for retirement, according to a 2013 study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. But while they lust after frequent trips to far-flung locales in retirement, the reality is much different for most.

About 59 percent of older workers say they plan to travel more in retirement, according to the NPR/Harvard/RWJF survey. But only 31 percent actually do so. In contrast, 34 percent of retirees say they take fewer trips than they did in the five years before retiring.

There are many reasons that retirees can’t just jet off to far-flung locales, including financial constraints. One in four retirees say one of the top things they’d change about their retirement is that they would have saved more for travel, the Transamerica survey revealed.

Lowenthal notes that health issues, especially those that limit mobility or cause aches and pains, may make travel “less comfortable and more trouble than it’s worth,” while others, like incontinence, are embarrassing. She also notes that spending time with grandchildren, another goal for many retirees, often competes for time and money with more ambitious travel plans.

10. We’re Scam Magnets
Each year, older Americans get bilked out of billions of dollars, thanks, in part, to scammers who take advantage of the elderly’s high rates of dementia and often poor health, which sometimes leave them less able to make smart financial decisions. A study published in 2011 by MetLife estimated that financial abuse costs older Americans at least $2.9 billion each year.
Most victims of such fraud are between 80 and 89, live alone and need some kind of health or personal care help from another person, the study found, and women are nearly twice as likely as men to be victims of elder financial abuse. A little over one-third of the cases of fraud were perpetrated by family, friends and neighbors. According to data released in 2013 by the Federal Trade Commission, some of the most common fraud types against people 60 and up were telemarketing scams (17 percent); fake sweepstakes, gifts and prizes (8 percent); and government impostor scams (8 percent).
No matter what the scam or who the victim is, one thing is clear: Financial fraud against the elderly can have life-altering, negative consequences.

The MetLife study points out that elder financial abuse “increases rates of depression among elders.” Plus, it makes people feel shame, Lowenthal says: “They feel they ‘should have known better’ or ‘shouldn’t have trusted’ the person who victimized them.” Or as Lombardo put it, becoming a victim of a scam “puts you in the mind-set of ‘I am old, frail and a victim.’” And, in turn, “whatever the label we put on ourselves, we often act as if that is real.”


Catey Hill is a freelance personal finance writer, who has written for Next Avenue, The Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney, Worth, MarketWatch.com, Forbes.com and others.


27 Stunning Works Of Art You Won’t Believe Aren’t Photographs ~ Heben Nigatu

1. Omar Ortiz – Oil on linen

Omar Ortiz - Oil on linen

2. Paul Cadden – Small drawing pencil on paper

Paul Cadden - Small drawing pencil on paper

4. Gregory Thielker – Oil on canvas

Gregory Thielker - Oil on canvas

5. Lee Price – Oil on linen

Lee Price - Oil on linen

6. Ben Weiner – Paintings of paint

Ben Weiner - Paintings of paint

7. Ron Mueck – Sculpture, mixed materials

Ron Mueck - Sculpture, mixed materials

Photo © Thomas Salva

Photo © Gautier Deblonde

8. Kim Ji-hoon – Pencil

Kim Ji-hoon - Pencil

9. Christina K – Drawing on tinted brown paper

Christina K - Drawing on tinted brown paper

10. Ray Hare – Acrylic painting on canvas

Ray Hare - Acrylic painting on canvas

12. Alyssa Monks – Oil on linen

Alyssa Monks - Oil on linen

13. Pedro Campos – Oil on canvas

Pedro Campos - Oil on canvas

14. Dirk Dzimirsky – Graphite on paper

Dirk Dzimirsky - Graphite on paper

15. Thomas Arvid – Limited edition Giclée on canvas

Thomas Arvid - Limited edition Giclée on canvas

16. Rafal Bujnowski – Black and white paint

Rafal Bujnowski - Black and white paint

“Bujnowski painted a photo-realistic self-portrait in black and white, had it photographed and enclosed the picture as his official photo in the U.S.A. visa application form. The consulate workers failed to notice the manipulation and, eventually, the artist received a passport with a replica of his own painting.”

17. Paul Cadden – Pencil on paper

Paul Cadden - Pencil on paper

18.Robin Eley – Oil on Belgian linen

Robin Eley - Oil on Belgian linen
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Poet Aja Monet Confronts Police Brutality Against Black Women With #SayHerName ~ Maddie Crum & Irina Dvalidze

“Melissa Williams,” Aja Monet reads, “Darnisha Harris.” Her voice is strong; it marches along, but it shakes a little, although not from nerves. She’s performing a poem that includes the forgotten names of girls and women who’ve been injured or killed by the police. She finishes forcefully, then pauses, exhales. “Can I do that again?” she asks. “It’s my first time reading it out loud, and … ” she trails off. 

Monet had written the poem — a contribution to the #SayHerNamecampaign, a necessary continuation of the Black Lives Matter movement focusing on overlooked police violence against women — earlier that morning. That evening, she’d read it at a vigil. Now, she was practicing on camera, surprised by the power of her own words. 

As a poet, Monet is prolific. She’s been performing both music and readings for some time — at 19, she was the youngest ever winner of New York City’s Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam — and her work has brought her to France, Bermuda and Cuba, from where her grandmother fled, and where she recently learned she still has extended family. Next month, she’ll return to visit them. But first, she wants to contribute to a campaign she believes in.

Though she’s disheartened that a hashtag is necessary to capture people’s attention — “I think #SayHerName is the surface level of the issues but beneath that there is the real question of, ‘Why?’” she says — Monet wields her art to achieve social and political justice. While discussing political poetry with a fellow artist in Palestine, he observed, “Art is more political than politics.” “I feel him,” she says. “I think he’s right.”

Can you explain #SayHerName in your own words?
It is us calling out the lack of attention on women of color also affected by state violence. We recognize the power of our voices and so we raise the spirits of our sisters by daring to utter their names.

A recent Washington Post write-up said it’s difficult to even quantify police brutality against black women. How will #SayHerName honor those whose stories are lost? 
I can’t speak for what a hashtag will do in the actual hearts of people but I know that anything worth paying attention to these days in America has to be sold and marketed as if worth buying into. We recognize that the attention span of our generation is so short: How else do we make the issues we care about accessible and also relevant? This is what activism has come to. This is where we are at in the age of the Internet. We must be honest with ourselves about how human interaction is now only affirmed or confronted based on the projected world we live in through screens. 

I think #SayHerName is the surface level of the issues, but beneath that there is the real question of “Why?” Why do I need to make saying her name a hashtag for you to pay attention? The goal is to use this as an opportunity to redirect the attention of people, to hopefully get folks researching the names and stories of all the women we’ve lost. To educate themselves so we are all more informed on how policing works. Black women’s bodies are the most policed bodies in this country. 

Also, I didn’t read the Washington Post write-up, but it seems silly to me. Like, of course it’s difficult to quantify any brutality against human beings. It’s not more difficult when it comes to black women, I think it’s just easier for us to ignore them because if we acknowledge them then we must acknowledge all of the women affected by violence and brutality, not just by police but by an entire patriarchal, racist system. We keep scratching the surface of these issues and neglecting the root, which is this country never loved black people, and of course that meant black women. We who birth the men they also hate. We are an extension of each other. 

aja monet

What inspired this poem, and what inspires your poetry in general?
I was at an event where I read a poem in solidarity with my Palestinian brothers and sisters, and Eve Ensler was in the audience. We spoke briefly after and she admired the poem I read. I was honored and she gave me her email. I followed up immediately the next day and informed her that if she ever needed a poet at any point, I’d be there, no questions asked. 

She responded with this vigil for #SayHerName and asked if I’d be willing to read a poem. I have been meditating on this issue of women of color affected by police brutality, but the poem hadn’t quite come to me yet. I started writing a piece for Rekia Boyd but it just isn’t ready to be done yet. So I woke early the morning of the vigil and forced myself to write this poem. I sat with all the names of the women and I asked them that I may find the words to do justice. They came to me hours before I had to meet with you all to record. 

And maybe they’ll change, but the process of inspiration is a strange thing. For the most part I call on my ancestors. Not to be all, “I call on my ancestors,” but it’s true. I know I’m not the only one writing when I write. I also know that more times than not inspiration is subjective. You can find inspiration in anything if you pay attention. If you’re careful enough to notice how divine this world is and we are, to be here together, creating.

aja monet 2

Obviously you appreciate overtly political art — why do you think political art can be powerful?
I met an artist in Palestine who said “art is more political than politics.” I feel him. I think he’s right.

I think being an artist, you are in the business of telling it like it is. You create of the world you live in, unapologetically. What that means is you aren’t catering to an eye or group or specific niche so much as your own truth as you see fit. Politicians, on the other hand, are constantly determining their worth and issue relevance based on approval ratings and polls. They are always campaigning, which becomes less about the issues we need to be dealing with and more about who can be bought to speak about what you want them to speak about. It’s an ugly game I want no business in. 

Art that addresses the business of politics recognizes its power and influence. It unveils the mask of “politics” and gets to the people we are fighting for. It does the difficult work of reaching people’s hearts and minds. No great change takes place without art. It’s necessary. 

Who are some fellow poets you currently admire?
Since we are in the spirit of saying her name, here’s a few names: Jayne Cortez, Wanda Coleman, Carolyn Rodgers, June Jordan, Audre Lorde and, of course, my sister, Phillis Wheatley. 

aja monet

Monet’s two books of poetryInner City Chants and Cyborg Ciphers and The Black Unicorn Sings are available online.


Ten Veggies and Herbs That (Practically) Grow Themselves ~ K. Jane Satorius

Love the idea of cooking with homegrown herbs and veggies, but aren’t a genius in the garden? Don’t worry: these 10 options are simple to grow even if you lack a green thumb. Most can be grown in containers as well as in the ground, and can be adapted to different planting zones, which range from 10 in the deep South to 3 up in the North. Check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to learn yours. 

1. Chives

Ten Veggies and Herbs That (Practically) Grow Themselves

Chives in bloom. (Credit: Herbco.com)

Chives have a reputation for being the number-one easy-to-grow herb, with the ability to tolerate a variety of soil and light conditions. They do best in zones 3 to 9—everywhere except extreme desert or cold climates—and thrive in full sunlight, though they can handle partial shade. They like relatively well-draining soil, but otherwise aren’t too picky. Plant them in containers or in the ground. As a bonus, their pink-purple flowers are pretty.

2. Mint

Luscious, green, prolific mint. (Credit: HarvestToTable.com)

Mint is so easy to grow, it can even get a little out of hand. It’s an excellent choice for a container garden, since the pot keeps mint’s aggressive nature in check. Varieties include peppermint (best for zones 3 to 8), spearmint (best for zones 5 to 10), apple mint (best for zones 5 to 10) and lemon mint (best for zones 5 to 9. Peppermint is the most popular and versatile.

Plant mint after the last frost if you live in a zone that experiences winter. Otherwise, it’s fine to plant mint throughout the season. Morning sun, afternoon shade, and rich, well-draining soil are its favorite conditions, but it will grow relatively well even if you can’t give it a perfect environment. 

Harvest mint sprigs before the plant begins to flower, and prolong the life of your harvest season by pinching off the flowers as soon as you see them. 

3. Cilantro

A fresh crop of cilantro. (Credit: Sunset.com)

Not quite as foolproof as chives and mint, but still pretty simple—and a delicious addition to all kinds of dishes, especially Mexican. Cilantro likes soil with good drainage and full sun, and grows quickly in spring and fall, when the weather is cooler. In hot weather, cilantro can “bolt,” meaning it grows very tall very fast, and produces flowers while the leaves lose their taste. Bonnie Plants recommends giving cilantro “its own patch in the garden where you can harvest, then ignore, then harvest again.” The seeds that appear on cilantro stalks, by the way, are coriander. You should harvest them, too!

You can also plant cilantro in a pot: Sunset magazine recommends “a bowl-shaped container at least 18 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches deep.”

4. Basil 

Bright green, pesto-ready basil. (Credit: OregonLive.com)

Basil is a crowd-pleaser, excellent for summer pastas and a tomato’s best friend. Plant basil in full sun, keep the soil moist and you’ll have an ample supply of leaves. It works in pots, and even indoors on a sunny windowsill. Pinch off the flowers when they appear to prolong your harvest.

5. Thyme

Thyme, with flowers. (Credit: NeighborhoodNotes.com)

With its little lavender flowers and delicate leaves, thyme is lovely as well as fragrant. It’s an easy-going perennial—just put it in full sun and give it relatively dry soil. (As a Mediterranean herb, it prefers conditions on the warm and arid side.) Thyme thrives best in zones 5 to 9. To harvest, snip a few stems at a time. Even the flowers are edible when freshly bloomed.

6. Rosemary

Rosemary needles. (Credit: BlueHeronHerbary.com)

This evergreen is a good choice for containers, and if you live in a frost-free climate, you can plant and grow it any time of year. Or, if you place your rosemary in a small pot, you can simply bring it indoors for the winter. Like thyme, rosemary is a Mediterranean plant and prefers hot, dry conditions. It thrives best in six to eight hours of full sun, and in slightly sandy soil. 

Related story on Yahoo Makers: Hot Craft Trend for 2015: Fairy Gardens

7. Tomatoes 

A juicy bunch of tomatoes. (Credit: DavisGardenShow.com)

Plant them in containers or beds—either way, tomatoes are easy to grow and add bright color to your garden. They enjoy full sun and rich soil with lots of compost. Water them well—about 2 inches per week during the summer, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. With dozens of varieties from heirloom to cherry, tomatoes also offer tons of options, and can be adapted to virtually any growing zone. For an easy way to start your own tomato container garden, check out this tutorial, courtesy of ApartmentTherapy.com.

8. Lettuce 

Salad in the making. (Credit: HarvesttoTable.com)

It’s hard to imagine a fresher salad than one that you snip directly from your garden. With its frilly leaves, lettuce is a beautiful plant, and good news: it’s one of the simpler veggies to grow. If you’re using beds, you can easily tuck lettuce among flowers, and it does well in container gardens, too. It prefers full sun, but—unlike most other vegetables—it doesn’t mind a little shade. Moist, rich soil with good drainage will help your lettuce thrive. It does best in temperatures on the cooler side, between 45 to 80 degrees, making spring and fall the most ideal times for planting.

Also on Yahoo Makers:



Yahoo Makers

Grow More This Spring With a Raised Rock Garden, Katie Brown Workshop Original

Spring is here! Some regions may still feel like it’s the dead of winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking of activities you want to do once the season is in full bloom. If you want to plant vegetables at home, a little trick is to build a raised rock garden. The rock wall helps house the nutrient rich soil you need for your vegetables and other plants to thrive. Watch as Katie and guest gardener Cindy show you how to make an easy raised rock garden.


9. Radishes

Radishes fresh from the ground. (Credit: AgricultureGuide.org)

Add some crunch to your salads and a colorful garnish to all kinds of plates. Radishes do well in gardens and containers alike, and can grow fast—in as little as three weeks. In fact, they’re so famous for their quick, easy growth that pro gardeners often recommend them as good first plants for kids. Six hours of sun per day is ideal, and you should water them in moderation. Radishes are available in numerous varieties—experiment with heirloom types for fun colors and shapes. 

10. Summer Squash

Summer squash with blossoms. (Credit: LovelyMorning.com)

Zucchini squash, yellow squash, round squash, oval squash, tromboncino squash—all are types of summer squash, and all are easy-growing, productive plants. Summer squash are fans of good sun, good drainage and compost. Since they’re relatively large plants, they’re usually planted in beds, spaced widely (3 to 6 feet) apart, but certain varieties will work in containers, too. Make sure you don’t miss out on the tasty edible blossoms, which you should pick off when they’re still fresh. You’ll want to harvest the squash itself regularly once it appears, to keep the plant from getting weighed down.


One Big Thing You Can Do to Help a Loved One with Depression ~ Korin Miller

One Big Thing You Can Do to Help a Loved One with Depression

If you know someone struggling with depression, some simple words can make a positive difference. (Photo: Stocksy/Ronnie Comeau)

Fans of Jared Padalecki were concerned when the Supernatural star sent out cryptic tweets late last week, canceling scheduled appearances.

“Dear and . I am in desperate and urgent need of my family. I am so sorry to tell you this but I must head home.

He followed that up with another message:

“I need all of the love I can get right now. Please please give me a few seconds of your time and write me.

Padalecki’s #AlwaysKeepFighting hashtag is a reference to a shirt he designed to benefit the nonprofit To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), which supports people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. The 32-year-old actor recently told Variety that he struggles with depression, and said he began to feel better after taking a step back from his hectic work schedule. 

Actor Jared Padalecki recently revealed his experiences with depression. (Photo: Corbis/Joe Stevens)

“There’s no shame in having to fight every day, but fighting every day, and presumably, if you’re still alive to hear these words or read this interview, then you are winning your war. You’re here,” he said.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 3 to 5 percent of people suffer from depression at any given time, and the lifetime risk is 17 percent. The condition is often treated through cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. But while we don’t know what type of treatment Padalecki has undergone, if any, outreach from fans seems to have helped on some level. He later issued the following tweet:

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and soul, for your love and support. It’s going to good use. All of my love and

If Padalecki was impacted by positive affirmations, could they be helpful for other people suffering from depression? 

Absolutely, says clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, PhD, author of Your Next Big Thing: 10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy

Positive affirmations can help people who are feeling depressed by getting them to change their focus, he tells Yahoo Health: “When someone is depressed, nearly all of their mental energy goes toward negative thoughts and feelings. Changing the focus of one’s thoughts can have a chain reaction from thoughts to feelings to actions.”

Positive feedback can move people with depression along in this chain and help rework the way they perceive the world and themselves, says licensed clinical psychologist Simon Rego, PsyD, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Changing a person’s thoughts can impact their feelings, he explains, so by hearing more balanced and self-affirming thoughts as well as thinking them, a person can often feel better as a result. 

How can you tell if someone is clinically depressed? Rego tells Yahoo Health that someone is typically depressed if he or she has symptoms for at least two weeks (including difficulty sleeping, appetite changes, low energy, and thoughts of life not being worth living) and these symptoms have an impact on the ability to function at home, at work, or socially.

Have a loved one struggling with depression? In addition to encouraging them to seek treatment, Rego says there are several types of affirmations you can provide that can help: 

  1. Validating statements: Trying to let the person know how hard it must be for them, and that their problems are real. 
  2. Accepting statements: Letting the person know that you’re there for them no matter what.
  3. Encouraging statements: Gently pushing the person to keep trying, despite how they might feel. 

Kindness goes a long way, too, Michaelis says: “Just letting someone know that you care about them can have a major impact.”


Here’s the extreme diet and fitness plan regular people used to look like underwear models in 30 days ~ Jessica Orwig

These people might look like underwear models, but they’re not. And 30 days before this photo was taken, they didn’t look like this.


(Viceroy Creative) From left to right: Viceroy Creative’s CFO Aaron Bearce, creative director Gabrielle Rein, account manager Raegan Gillette, and president David Moritz

In fact, they were just regular people who worked for an advertising agency and, while they worked out a fair amount, they ate pretty much what they pleased.

But in just a few weeks, the women slimmed down to have as little as 12% to 14% body fat and the man had just 5% to 6% body fat.

And that woman on the left? She was pregnant just five months before the photo was taken.

The key to their success: A low-fat, high-protein diet and intense, professionally guided exercise. They also had some good motivation from their employer: They were asked to be models in an upcoming photo shoot for their agency’s rebranding, posing buck naked.

Why they chose to pose buck naked 

The three extreme dieters work for Viceroy Creative, an advertising agency that wanted to rebrand itself in a powerful way last March. As part of the rebranding, they asked some of their key executives to be part of a buzzy photo shoot that would present them totally nude.

The participants were the firm’s creative director Gabrielle Rein, account manager Raegan Gillette, and president David Moritz — the naked man in the photos. Mortiz tells AdWeek they agreed to the shoot for the good of the company and their clients.

Getting model-thin in a hurry took a great deal of mental and physical endurance, and it’s that kind of diligent dedication that Viceroy wanted to communicate in their new campaign, Moritz tells Business Insider.


(Viceroy Creative)
How they got rock-hard abs in such a short time

Before they started preparing for the shoot, Viceroy’s executives were in decent shape. Still, each worked hard those final weeks to get ready for the big nude day. Here’s a picture of a topless Moritz two years before the training began:

G1  122

(Courtesy of David Moritz) What David Moritz looked like two years before he started training with Equinox.

Gabrielle Rein, Viceroy’s creative director, had a baby just a few months earlier, so the preparation was especially challenging and rewarding.

When they agreed to the nude photo shoot last year, they gave themselves five months to get fit.

For the first four months, they completed a series of trainings designed to strengthen their muscles, bolster their cardiovascular strength, and increase their metabolism. Here’s the company’s account manager, Raegan Gillette, doing one of the exercises:

Your browser does not support the video tag. Viceroy Creative 

But those four months of exercises weren’t what ultimately got them the sculpted bodies in the photos.

Diet was the key to their success

“No matter how much exercise you do, that will only get you part of the way. In terms of seeing abs and muscle definition, it’s all about diet and reducing your body fat percentage. That’s essential,” Moritz says.

For the last four weeks, the Viceroy executives committed to a grueling diet. The goal, said Moritz, was to cut body fat so that the muscles they’d been toning for the previous four months would shine through.


(Viceroy Creative)
Each executive ate six meals a day, catered specifically to their needs by a nutritionist. Although each diet was unique, the meals mostly consisted of the same types of food, Moritz says, and included a lot of protein.

“You need [protein] to continue to build muscle,” Moritz explains. “Which is a little bit more than one gram of protein per every pound that you weigh.”

For Moritz — who was still able to recite the diet by heart months after the shoot — the meals consisted of:

  • Meal 1: 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup blueberries, one scoop carb-free protein shake
  • Meal 2: 3 egg whites, 1/4 cup plain potatoes
  • Meal 3: 3 oz. ground turkey, low-carb wrap with a cup of romaine lettuce
  • Meal 4: 3 oz. grilled chicken and 1/4 of an avocado
  • Meal 5: 6 oz. fish with a 1/4 cup steamed jasmine rice and six pieces of asparagus
  • Meal 6: 6 oz. of 99% lean ground beef with 1/4 avocado and 1 cup romaine lettuce
  • No alcohol was allowed and most condiments were banned (with the exception of hot sauce, since it added a negligible amount of extra sugar or fat)

That’s it, each and every day, for an entire month! At first they had the meals prepared for them by a chef but that quickly became too expensive to maintain. They began preparing the meals themselves, which required a scale and measuring cups to make sure they consumed exactly what the nutritionist ordered.

Despite consuming significantly fewer calories than he was used to, Moritz said he didn’t feel too many negative effects from the strict plan, aside from boredom from the food.

“You don’t feel tired because your body is getting what it needs,” said Moritz.

Moritz pointed out that he was at about 5% body fat on the day of the photo shoot, which is close to the lowest a man his age and height should be. Body builders have between 3.5% and 5% body fat on competition day.

The number of calories they burned versus how many they ate

If you add it up, Moritz consumed roughly 1,700 calories per day, far fewer than the 2,400 to 2,500 calories he was burning throughout the day, he tells Business Insider.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a man his age and height should be consuming at least 1,600 calories a day even if they’re trying to lose weight. So he was pushing the bare minimum.


(Viceroy Creative)
The women were eating about 1,300 calories and burning 2,000 calories each day. For them, the Mayo Clinic estimates that women in their age and height ranges should eat at least 1,200 calories a day even if they’re trying to lose weight.

“The plan puts you in a relatively significant caloric deficit every day,” Moritz says. “And it forces your body to burn stored fat.”

In addition to the diet, the executives stuck to a grueling fitness routine. All of them worked out every day for an hour and a half, seven days a week with the help of professional trainers at their local Equinox gym.

The exercises included intense weight lifting and low-impact cardiovascular activities — like walking on a treadmill set with the highest incline — that burned most of the large amount calories they were losing each day. The rest were lost through regular daily activities like walking.

Here’s Gillette doing one of the weight-lifting exercises:

Your browser does not support the video tag. Viceroy Creative

The regimen wasn’t cheap. The nutritionist Viceroy used charges $700 a person for a month-long program. And an average Equinox Tier 3+ trainer — the most intense trainer you can get at Equinox — costs $135 per session, and each exec was completing a few sessions a week during the entire training process.

Moritz says anyone can get into this kind of shape given the time and motivation, however.


(Viceroy Creative)
“While we did it with a lot of extensive help, a person can do this on their own given just a little more time,” Moritz says. “Follow the same basic principles and find a way to get really motivated. It’s just all mental.”

For Moritz and the rest of the team, the motivator that kept them dedicated was a pretty strong one:

“Knowing that you’re going to send naked pictures of yourself to as many people as you can makes you stay with it,” he says.

After the shoot, Moritz, Rein, and Bearce slowly regained some of their body fat to a more reasonable amount, but they continued to stick with a modified version of the diet.

For Moritz, the five-month regimen was only a beginning. Since the photo shoot, he’s stuck with it. (He now uses a food-delivery service to stick with his diet.) By the end of the summer, he says, that he suspects he’ll even be in better shape than he was in March. Rein also kept her beautiful post-baby physique, getting into increasingly better shape even after the training was over, Moritz said.

Here’s what she looks like months later and after feasting on ribs, BBQ, and hamburgers over Memorial Day weekend of this year. She’s 31 years old.

img class=

(Courtesy of Gabrielle Rein) 


5 Hawaiian Words To Redefine Health, Happiness And Power In Your Life

For many first-time visitors, Hawaii is a place where perfect weather and pristine beaches make for good vacationing and pretty postcards.

But Hawaii is much more than its idyllic setting. For native Hawaiians and those lucky enough to call the islands home, Hawaii is a way of life and a way of thinking. The native Hawaiian concepts of pono, aloha, aina, ohana and mana are crucial to understanding how Hawaii has consistently ranked as the least stressed and happiest state in America.

Apply these concepts to your own life and you may begin to understand what all the fuss is about.

1. Pono generally translates to righteousness. According to actor Jason Scott Lee, who grew up in Hawaii, living pono means living “with a conscious decision to do the right thing in terms of self, others, and the environment.” The idea that moral character leads to happiness has been around since Aristotle, but few places incorporate the idea into everyday life as much as Hawaii. The importance of pono, or doing what is morally right and selfless, is even found in the state’s motto: “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono,” or “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”

hawaii helping

2. Aloha: When you look up “aloha” in the Hawaiian dictionary, every warm and fuzzy word in the English language pops up: love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity. Aloha is most often used as a greeting or parting phrase to create an atmosphere of friendliness and love, but the aloha spirit is a part of everything in Hawaii: people surf with aloha, cook with aloha, and even write work emails with aloha. It’s as if people in Hawaii are constantly surrounded by an affirmation or mantra to live life with love.

lei heart

3. Aina means land. Life in Hawaii is lived outdoors — malls, homes, offices, and even the airport are built with open-air walkways, large windows, or lanais (balconies or patios) so you’re never fully indoors. Native Hawaiians see their identities and wellbeing entwined with the land, and so respecting it and living in it are of the utmost importance. You don’t have to live in a tropical paradise to be connected to nature, however. A recent Canadian program initiated by the David Suzuki Foundation challenged participants to get out into nature for 30 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days. According to Dr. Elizabeth Nisbet who conducted the research, participants reported “significant increases in their sense of well-being, feeling more vitality and energy, while feelings of stress, negativity, and sleep disturbances were all reduced.” Simply having lunch outside or taking a stroll through a park can help reconnect you to the aina.

nature man laptop hawaii

4. Ohanaas the movie Lilo & Stitch taught us, means family. The word comes from oha, which is the highly revered taro plant, and it signifies that all ohana come from the same root. No matter how distantly ancient Hawaiians were related, they recognized that they all came from the same root and thus were all part of the same family. Ohana is more generally used to describe any group of people with a common bond; people in Hawaii have a community ohana, a friends ohana, even a work ohana. One of the clearest findings from happiness research is that humans are social creatures — we need to feel like we’re part of a group and that we have support and security. Imagine how differently you would feel if you approached your work colleagues like they were your family.

coworkers hugging

5. Mana translates to mean power, but the native Hawaiian concept of power doesn’t equate to material possessions or what floor your office is on. Mana is a life energy that flows through all things and is highly individual: you have a chance to gain or lose mana in everything you do. In Fundamentals of Hawaiian Mysticism, Charlotte Berney explains that, “Having meaningful work to do, enjoying harmonious relationships with those around you, and being of service in some way all help to gather mana.”

Perhaps one of the best examples of mana can be seen in the late Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s life and career. The beloved Inouye was often described as soft-spoken, modest, and a man of integrity, and his mana led him to be the second longest-serving senator in U.S. history. His last word was “aloha.”