Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Rubbing Vodka On Your Face Might Seem Stupid, But It's Actually A Great Idea

Ahh, vodka. The universal part-starter. If you really want to take your get-together to the next level, it's smart for you to include vodka in your list of social supplies.

But there are a ton of other uses for the strong spirit. If you have some lying around the house and you know you aren't going to drink it, here are some awesome ways to utilize the alcohol.

Bet you didn't know you could do that stuff with your vodka, did you? This is especially helpful if you no longer enjoy the taste of the alcohol, have an extra, old bottle around, or just don't want to drink alone!

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

A nurse makes wigs for kids with cancer, and they've got a special twist.

By: Evan Porter

When you're a kid, nothing beats dressing up like your favorite character.

For me, it was the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz" (pretending to be rusted in place is surprisingly fun) or Raphael from the Ninja Turtles. For lots of kids, though, the absolute pinnacle of dress-up is getting decked out like a Disney Princess.

This one simple fact led Holly Christensen and Bree Hitchcock to a wonderful idea for those kids who really need some cheering up.

The Magic Yarn Project "creates soft and beautiful yarn wigs for little warriors who are bravely battling cancer."

That's according to the GoFundMe page set up by the two women. But, wow, is that an understatement.

These aren't just any wigs. They're wigs that make kids feel like their favorite princess, whether that's Elsa of "Frozen" fame or Ariel from "The Little Mermaid." 

And they should win the award for Cutest Things Ever in an unprecedented landslide.

Holly, a former cancer nurse, first made a Rapunzel wig for a friend's daughter going through chemotherapy. Soon, everyone she knew wanted one.

And the coolest part? These wigs aren't just adorable; they're practical.

"The chemotherapy leaves their skin very tender and sensitive," Holly told ABC News.

Magic Yarn wigs are crocheted with super-soft material, with a cozy beanie underneath- a big improvement on the scratchy undersides found on most wigs.

What's not to love? 

Holly and Bee are raising money for the supplies needed to make even more princess wigs, which they give away for free.

They're even trying to launch Magic yarn as a genuine nonprofit to amplify their reach. And good thing, too- over 10,000 children under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

That's a lot of brave kids who need people like Holly and Bree in their corner.

"To bring a little bit of magic into such a difficult time in their life is so rewarding," Holly says. "It's almost equally been so rewarding and magical to meet peole who want to help."

This tiny piece of paper can keep fruits and vegetables fresh 2 to 4 times longer

This small sheet of paper could help remove one of the biggest obstacles to getting fresh food to those who need it most.

It's called FreshPaper, and according to inventor Kavita Shukla, it preserves fruit and vegetables two to four times longer than conventional storage methods.

Shukla came up with the idea when she was 12 years old while visiting her grandmother in India.

Shukla as a toddler with her grandmother in India.

After accidentally drinking a glass of water from her grandmother's tap despite having been warned before to drink only purified water, Shukla began to fear she would get sick.

"My grandmother didn't have a lot in her kitchen, and she came back with this murky brown mixture, which was kind of like a spiced tea," Shukla said.

Shukla drank the tea and didn't get sick. And while there is no way to know if the tea really helped or not, it gave her an idea: Certain spices have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

Could these same spices help prevent food from going bad?

Years later, while Shukla was working on a $300 budget in her apartment, FreshPaper was born. It's small, paper sleeve infused with some of the same spices in her grandmother's tea mixture. It can go in any container that stores produce, looks similiar to a dryer sheet, and is reusable.

"When I first developed it, I really had people like my grandmother in mind," she said.

Despite the fact that millions of people don't have enough to eat, the world wastes a surprising amount of food.

According to a 2014 National Geographic report, up to one-third of all food produced for human consumption worldwide is wasted or lost. The problem is especially acute in areas of the world without adequate refrigeration infrastructure, which causes food to spoil. India alone has to scrap between 30% and 40% of its fruits and vegetables.

"People still go hungry every single day because of all these inefficiences in food distribution," Shukla said.

It's a problem that is familiar to many American families as well.

"Mostly when we are talking to people who are living paycheck to paycheck, the food-purchasing decisions they're making are entirely based on what they can afford, and sometimes it's not a good economic choice to buy fresh fruits and vegetables," Shukla said. The quicker food spoils, the less cost-effective it can be for a struggling family.

Shukla and a partner first began selling FreshPaper at a farmers market in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

According to Shukla, they were shipping the product all over the U.S. and to over 30 countries worldwide within a year. As of Oct. 29, 2015, FreshPaper boasted an average 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon

"This is an amazing product. It does exactly what it says and keeps berries fresh much longer," writes one reviewer.

For Shukla, however, bringing the product to market is just the first step. Other products can preserve perishable produce after all, but many are non-biodegradable or require refrigeration. Shukla hopes to leverage FreshPaper's simplicity, accessibility, and environmental friendliness into a truly global social enterprise that can help bring much-needed aid to hungry people around the globe.

A cheap, effective method of preserving perishable food could be a Godsend for people who don't have consistent access to refrigeration.

Shukla is currently partner with food banks and NGOs to make the technology accessible to families in need.

In the meantime, FreshPaper is a finalist for the chance to win a Super Bowl ad and is actively seeking votes. Shukla hopes this will increase visibilty of the product and help start a discussion around food waste.

That discussion comes not a moment too soon.

For the many families around the world who struggle to put food on the table, any help is much needed and long overdue.

"FreshPaper's creative solution to cutting food waste is needed in light of the fact that about 40 percent of our hard-working farmers' produce never reaches our stomachs," Dylan Menguy, spokesperson for the Washington D.C.- based Capital Area Food Bank said by e-mail." As technology evolves, we are glad to see creative solutions to this heartbreaking problem."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Photographer Documents Her Parents' Struggle With Illness In 'Cancer Family'

Nancy Borowick is a 28-year old photographer who's spent last year documenting her parents' battles with cancer. In a turn of events many families fear, both her mother and father, Laurel and Howie, were diagnosed with advanced diseases within just over a year of each other- breast cancer and pancreatic cancer, respectively.
Borowick had already watched and supported her mother as she dealt with two previous diagnoses, photographing Laurel's struggles with chemotherapy and surgery. So it made sense for Borowick to want to capture the journey her parents were about to embark on together, a period marked by vulnerability, compassion and love.
Howie calls these “his and hers” chairs. He sits beside Laurel, his wife of thirty-four years, as they get their weekly chemotherapy treatments, side by side at Oncologist Dr. Barry Boyd’s office. Greenwich, Connecticut. January, 2013.
The project became known as "Cancer Family, Ongoing," a black-and-white series that reveals the great bonds families forge in the face of illness. While Laurel and Howie persevered through moments of pain and sadness, Borowick sought to record the joy, humor and tranquility that her parents experienced as well -- including attending their daughter's wedding in October 2013.
"Anyone who knows anything about cancer knows its not pretty," Borowick explained to The Huffington Post. "For me, I've chosen to share certain images that I think speak to my family, and how we are dealing with the cards we've been dealt. Our story looks at love and life, in the face of mortality, and how we process and cope with our reality."

Like wedding rings, Laurel and Howie Borowick wear similar medical bracelets which the nurses scan throughout their chemotherapy treatments together at the oncologists office. They do a dance, as both caretaker and patient and husband and wife, simultaneously trying to be there for the other but also trying to get through the day themselves. Greenwich, Connecticut. January, 2013.
This December, Borowick's father succumbed to his disease, passing away after months of beating the odds of pancreatic cancer's high mortality rates. As she and her family grieve and celebrate Howie, Borowick continues to share her project online, affording viewers the opportunity to find comfort and understanding in their story.
"I actually call it 'Cancer Family, Ongoing' because the story continues... even after death," said Borowick. "Just as we've opened our lives and story to the world, the world has shared it's stories with us right back. I hope people feel less alone in their struggles with illness and remember that there is, unfortunately, a worldwide community out there sympathizing and empathizing with them."

In his kitchen, Howie Borowick breaks into a bouncing dance to hopefully get a smile out of wife, Laurel. Chappaqua, New York. February, 2013.
"For me, the scariest part of illness is not knowing," she added, "so by sharing our intimate story, I hope viewers find support and understanding."
Borowick encourages those moved by her series to consider making a donation in her father's name to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. You can scroll through her project below (with captions supplied by the artist) and let us know your thoughts on the touching photographs in the comments.

It’s a familiar afternoon scene around the Borowick home, with Howie fast asleep, exhausted from the week’s chemo and Laurel, his wife, waking him with a loving kiss on the forehead. Chappaqua, New York. March 2013.

Laurel Borowick calls this treatment, “slash and burn.” After new cancer cells were found in the scar tissue of her original mastectomy, she had the reconstructed breast removed, followed by radiation at a nearby medical center. White Plains, New York. March, 2010

On the eve of new rounds of chemotherapy treatment, Laurel and Howie Borowick take a last minute trip to Florida. Naples, Florida. January, 2013.

After three breast cancer diagnoses, and undergoing chemotherapy treatment multiple times, losing her hair for a third time seemed inevitable and unfair to Laurel Borowick. Cancer has taken her breast and her hair, leaving her feeling like she no longer looks like a woman anymore. Chappaqua, New York. February, 2013.

At the Rodolfo Valentin Salon in Manhattan, Laurel Borowick gets fitted for a new wig, as she gave away most of her older wigs from previous cancer diagnosis. New York City, New York. February, 2013.

Weak from chemotherapy, Howie Borowick floats effortlessly and slowly around the pool during a midweek getaway to a warm climate. Naples, Florida. January, 2013.

Howie and Laurel Borowick embrace in the bedroom of their home. In their thirty-four year marriage, they never could have imagined being diagnosed with stage-4 cancer at the same time. Chappaqua, New York. March 2013.

The drive to chemotherapy treatment takes half an hour, and Howie and Laurel Borowick take turns, resting and driving, depending on whose getting treatment that day. Greenwich, Connecticut. January, 2013.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Healthy Matters Factoid

The body is a wonderful creation laced with millions of miles of veins and blood vessels. However we are only blessed with one body in this lifetime- take care of it! Contrary to populare belief, cancer is not the leading cause of death of millions of Americans each year. The number one killer of Americans and people worldwide is sleep deprivation. 

The number two killer of Americans and people worlwide is dehydration. More people die every day from dehydration than those that die in car crashes, floods, fires, earthquakes, and tornadoes combined! Simply getting the proper amount of sleep and drinking water greatly slows down the aging process and extends your life exponentially.