Each morning we surf at Playa Hermosa, the beach next to our resort. Incidentally, Giselle Bundchen has a house here (we can see it from the beach) and surfs here about 4 times a year. The only drawback is we were told not to bring our cameras (lest we tempt passers-by with unattended, expensive items), so I can't take any photos of us surfing. Note to future visitors: bring a disposable camera for this purpose. There will be a professional photographer there later this week to capture the action. Until then, I'll leave you with this:
I need this. Seriously.
The Walkstation is an electric, height adjustable work station attached to a commercial grade treadmill with a maximum speed of 2 miles per hour, allowing office workers to burn up to 100 calories per hour.
It's the first in a series of FitWork™ products designed to get sedentary office workers moving.
As the holidays are approaching, this looks like a much better option than the hedonic treadmill :)
Move over, Coconut Water. There's a new drink in town: Camel Milk.
A centuries-old staple in the Middle East and Africa, the drink has been called "liquid gold" for its healing and nutritional qualities (some even say it's an aphrodisiac). Camel milk has three times as much vitamin C as cow's milk and contains high amounts of iron, unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins.
It hasn't been widely available in the US, mainly because camels aren't listed in the rules governing the sale of milk here (which apparently cover "milk coming from hooved mammals" - and camels don't have hooves). And also because there aren't a lot of camels here. And they don't like to be milked.
But that hasn't stopped Dr. Millie Hinkle, a NC-based holistic health practitioner, from creating Camel Milk USA, a company "devoted to the research, development, sales, and promotion of camel milk and camel milk products in the US."
She also founded the American Camel Coalition, an organization composed of camel owners and breeders here in the U.S. People like Larry Seigal of Ferncroft Farms, a breeder of rare white Dromedary and Bactrian camels (and, interestingly enough: French Bulldogs!!).
They're all hoping to replicate the success of foreign camel dairies, like Dubai's Emirates Industries for Camel Milk & Products, which sells camel milk and camel-milk chocolate under the brand "Camelicious" - purported to be the Godiva of the Middle East. But the drink hasn't yet been FDA-approved here at home, so for now you'll have to settle for Hinkle's logo products, or take a trip abroad. Or, you could always buy your own camel.
It's the Twitter Curve created by Kathy Sierra back in 2006 (referenced again here in 2007) and included in a fascinating blog post about the growth of communications channels leading to continuous partial attention, to the detriment of mankind. An excerpt:
Moore's law for the brain doesn't quite work. We're evolving much, much, much too slowly... Brain 2.0 isn't coming anytime soon. And we're all feeling the enormous weight of not being able to keep up. We can't keep up with work. We can't keep up with our social life. We can't keep up with the industry, our hobbies, our families. We can't keep up with current events. We'll never read a fraction of those books on our list. And we are hurting. Worst of all, this onslaught is keeping us from doing the one thing that makes most of us the happiest... being in flow. Flow requires a depth of thinking and a focus of attention that all that context-switching prevents.
For the uninitiated, the letters used in making the above ransom-esque note are pulled from the most popular new media sites & tools (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo!, Gmail, eBay, Blogger, Flickr). The creator, to my knowledge, remains unknown.
But really, it could be any of us. Two years have passed since Kathy so keenly hit on the issue (and dozens of others have as well), and the problem only seems to have gotten worse.
Here's a peek into my world [which will hopefully shed light onto why my responses to some of you are so tardy...and my blog posts of late, fewer & farther apart]:
There's also, of course, the work email account, text messages on the phone (my new T-Mobile/Google Android phone which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, even though it feeds into all this craziness), and assorted activity in other accounts like Flickr, IM clients, and my social media graveyard (MySpace, Friendster). How do I manage? Well, I'm an information junkie and obsessed with emerging media, so it's my nature to consume a lot to begin with. The above outline seems out of control, but really I'm continuously scanning the headlines and subject lines and addressing the things of utmost importance [to me]. I also make time to read books, cook, and travel, among other things (lest you think I'm sitting in a dark room, illuminated by the glow of a monitor 20 hours a day).
But even I am noticing the hardship caused by continuous partial attention. It's tiring. And the value:time ratio isn't maybe as strong as it used to be, when following a lot of publishers meant I was always "in the know." Now it just means that I see a lot of the same news, in muliple places (welcome to ReTweet Nation). It's time to cut back, and/or find a trusted digital curator.
Don't get me wrong; I still love the Web and all things emerging media...I just want my life back.
Here's a test: Spend one day surfing the Internet and spend another roaming your neighborhood. See how many good dinner table stories you have after each. There won't be a contest.
You may not be familiar with the acronym, but you're likely familiar with the concept: it refers to that segment of the population that is looking for balance (in their diets, budgets, lifestyles) and mindfulness (through self help books, yoga practice, or eco-tourism, for example).
And as you can imagine, the LOHAS market represents big business for a variety of products and services related to good health, eco-consciousness, meditation, yoga, and holistic wellness. In fact, it was worth an estimated $209 billion domestically in 2005 — equal to the value of the aerospace industry and more than the food services industry. Last year, Americans spent $5.7 billion on the yoga subset alone — including equipment, clothing, vacations and media — which was an increase of 87% since 2004. And here's something else of interest: while yoga practitioners may be a relatively small group (~ 7% of US adults), they are a relatively affluent one, with 44% reporting incomes of $75K+ and 24% with$100K+ (read: a marketer's dream).
Apparently, I'm a Lohasian and I didn't even know it! Here's why:
I love my yoga practice at Charlestown Yoga. Nothing beats an hour of Hatha Flow after a stressful, desk-bound day in the office.
I recently discovered (and subscribed to) Ode Magazine, a magazine and Web site "written for intelligent optimists” that focuses on ways to sustain "ourselves, our minds, our energy, our planet, our society." In fact, as part of your paid subscription, Ode will plant a tree to help stop global warming.
I've raved about The Source to numerous people. It's Dr. Woodson Merrell's guide to integrative medicine, including tips for better eating, exercise, and social connectivity.
And there's probably more.
While I don't consider myself an activist like, say, the other Stephanie Rogers, I would say I'm much more conscious of health and sustainability than I've ever been. And I'd venture to say that the general population is heading there as well.
Watch for the current green marketing fad to shift subtly in order to encompass simplicity and inner wellness for the consumers, not just the environmentally-friendliness of the products.
[Note: I have no affiliation with the above products and services, other than being a happy customer.]
This one's for all my health-food friends.
Many of you know that after reading The Source a few months back (great guide to healthy living, BTW), I've been trying to eat healthier on a regular basis. This includes consuming less red meat and processed foods and more chicken/fish/tofu and fresh fruits & vegetables. The Source actually provides 21 days' worth of recipes to make it easier, and many of them are so good they've become staples in our diet.
So when I received word from BzzAgent that they were launching a campaign for Quorn meat-free products, I took notice. Historically, I've avoided items in the "meat-free" and "meat-alternative" aisles at the grocery store, assuming they'd be tasteless or just plain gross. I tentatively started eating tofu after reading The Source, and still struggle with it bit thanks to the consistency (the only way I really like it is sliced thin and fried in a coconut milk & curry paste, per one of the book's recipes).
But given my newfound resolve to eat healthy, I decided to give Quorn a whirl. And I'm glad I did.
Quorn products are made from mycoprotein, a member of the fungi family (like truffles, morels, and mushrooms), which gives them a tasty, meat-like texture. Mycoprotein is a good source of protein and fiber, and contains less fat, calories, and cholesterol than meat products. Apparently, a diet rich in mycoprotein can help reduce cholesterol and manage the risk of obesity and type-2 diabetes.
There are 11 different varieties of Quorn products in the frozen food aisle at the store; I went with the Cranberry & Goat Cheese Chik'n Cutlets, figuring the fruit & cheese would offer more flavor than say, the plain Chik'n Cutlets. We popped them in the oven for about 20 minutes and ate them a couple of side dishes. DELICIOUS.
On my next trip to the store, I purchased the Naked Chik'n Cutlets and the Gruyere Chik'n Cutlets. I cooked the former one morning before work and sliced it into a whole wheat wrap with cheese and mango salsa. YUM. We ate the latter another night after a long day at work, along with some fresh vegetables and potatoes. YUM.
So now I'm sold, and Quorn products are a staple in our diet. I realize we're heading into Memorial Day Weekend - traditionally the domain of steaks, burgers, and hot-dogs on the grill - but give Quorn a try. They are really tasty, and easy to cook - in the oven or on the grill!
In keeping with the fish theme this week (see my previous post on The Headhunt Cape Cod fishing tourney), I'm compelled to comment on the fish pedicure controversy sweeping the nation's nail salons.
And my comment is this: GROSS.
I first heard about the fish pedicure last Summer, when Mr. John Ho brought his skin-eating fish here from China, in a U.S. nail salon first. Ho, who ran a salon in Virginia with his wife, had been looking at alternatives to pedicure razors, which are effective at removing calluses but banned in many states due to their risk of dangerous cuts.
One day, a customer mentioned "skin eating fish" from Asia that piqued Ho's interest. In the course of his research, he discovered an old Turkish legend [from WSJ] about:
a shepherd who injured his foot and stuck it into a hot spring teeming with small fish. The foot healed. Word spread. A treatment center for skin ailments grew around the springs near the Turkish town of Kangal. From Turkey, the practice spread throughout Asia, employing garra rufa, toe-size carp that live in warm water, have no teeth and, according to those in the business, like to suck off dead skin. Another fish sometimes used to treat feet, called chin chin, is bigger in size and grows tiny teeth.
Mr. Ho subsequently introduced the fish to the States and became a media - and cosmetic - sensation. His salons charged customers $35 to have their feet nibbled by fish for 15 minutes.
Until now. At least 14 states have outlawed the fish pedicures, deeming them unsafe. The issue: "Cosmetology regulations generally mandate that tools need to be discarded or sanitized after each use. But epidermis-eating fish are too expensive to throw away." Despite Ho's best efforts (e.g., ditching his original community pool approach for individualized fish tanks where the water is changed between sessions), there's still concern about how safe this practice is. For example, if the fish nibble on infected feet, can they pass it on to the next innocent pedicure recipient?
I'll say it again: GROSS.
I admit to ego surfing - not so much out of vanity but because in this day and age, it's fairly common to monitor your personal brand, especially when you're a blogger.
It used to be that the only other Stephanie Rogers that consistently showed up in my Google Alert was this one, the folk-rock singer that locked in my namesake URL before I did (but was kind enough to let me take a photo with her on stage when I randomly met her in Chicago one time).
More recently, a new Stephanie Rogers has been popping up on my Google Alerts - this one is a writer for the green blog EarthFirst, and while I religiously read her headlines, I've never introduced her content on CultureJunkie.
The topic of her recent post is too good not to share: Non-dorky Bike Helmets.
How cool are these?!
According to the other Stephanie, A group of Danish designers has created bicycle helmets that look like hats, but include the chin strap (and presumably, padding). Copenhagen-based company Yakkay sells them for about $120, and although they're not yet available in the US, an international launch is expected soon.
Or, you can just opt for a home-made Viking model, like this one:
Safe (and stylish) riding!