NATURAL MOMENTS: Breastfeeding

We recently posted some amazing photos of Ivette Ivens titled: “Breastfeeding goddess”. This post was so successful, and your engagement was truly amazing, that we decided to create a collection of moments, private, intimate, between mom and baby. But this time instead of working with professional photographers, we have decided to give space to YOUR natural moments. What follows is an absolutely real, magical, portray of secret instants, glimpse of a sacred relationship between you and your baby. We thank you for the opportunity to be part of these moments and we encourage you to send us more photos (should we get enough, we would like to publish a book.)

Getting to the Root of Summer Skin

Recognize the plant root above? If you guessed tumeric, you’d be correct. You’ve probably noticed tumeric in another form on Daily Concepts lately…

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That’s right, it’s the primary plant ingredient in Daily Concepts’ Your Konjac Sponge.

As per our product description, Your Konjac Sponge in Tumeric has the following benefits:

This gentle facial sponge delicately cleanses, exfoliates, balances, and energizes your skin.

  • Turmeric Konjac sponge hydrates and regenerates your skin.
  • Made from 100% natural and preservative-free Konjac root.
  • Biodegrable, vegan and never tested on animals.
  • No chemicals added! Delicate for sensitive skin.
  • No parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

So you can bet we’ve been using it to slough off dull, winter skin in preparation for the fast-approaching summer months. Bring on the hydration!

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Then we read up on what WebMD had to say about tumeric’s benefits:

Turmeric is a plant. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine.

Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomachbloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems and gallbladder disorders.

It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, and cancer. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, worms, and kidney problems.

Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, inflammatory skin conditions, soreness inside of the mouth, and infected wounds.

In food and manufacturing, the essential oil of turmeric is used in perfumes, and its resin is used as a flavor and color component in foods.

Don’t confuse turmeric with Javanese turmeric root (Curcuma zedoaria).

How does it work?

The chemicals in turmeric might decrease swelling (inflammation).

All this great information got us thinking — why not add tumeric to our diet to rev up its benefits.

A quick scan of the Internet led us to ALOHA.com and some of the healthy healthy recipes they offer. We give the company’s philosophy a big thumbs’ up: We believe that the best nutrients come from whole foods, but even the most health conscious among us aren’t able to get everything our body needs from food alone. ALOHA provides the nutritional support you need to help maintain your already healthy lifestyle — plus a little nature-made oomph, just for good measure.

Lo and behold, we found a recipe that includes tumeric.
We loved and we think you will, too.
Check it out: Daily Concepts

Via Daily Concepts

A Father Wrote His Kid 14 Things to Always Remember

When I found out, I was holding a six-pack of beer.

“I’m pregnant,” she said. Words I knew would be coming one day soon, but not this soon. I always pictured hearing them on a sunny front porch, wind gently rocking a wooden swing back and forth. Or something like that. And there’d be music. Something upbeat and hopeful like what plays before the final credits of a Zach Braff movie.

I never thought I’d hear those words standing in the doorway of our dark, half-packed apartment, weary from a long day. My wife, Sarah, eyes puffy and mascara-soaked from her own shitty day, and then again from crying tears of joy, holding not one, but two pregnancy tests as proof.

My first thought was that we were about to miss our fantasy football draft.

My second thought was to open a beer.

My third thought was, “I can’t believe those were my first two thoughts.”

It takes a moment like that to realize how woefully unprepared you are to be responsible for another human being. How terrifying it all is. And I’m not talking about waking up in the middle of the night to sooth a crying baby. I’m not talking about changing a dirty diaper or saying goodbye to your “raucous” social life (Sarah and I watch, on average, ten thousand hours of TV every night; so, that shipped sailed a while ago).

I’m talking about when your child learns to talk and what you say to him or her actually matters. When you have to start really thinking about how you want to raise them. What you’ll tell them when they get picked on at school. What you’ll say when they take a philosophical stand against the concept of homework.

It makes you question your values. Or wonder if you even have values to question.

And this line of thinking has led me to believe that I am already a terrible father. Because when I think about the things I want to instill in our first child, I realize that I embody exactly none of them.

But here they are, anyway:

I’ll say, listen, kid, not everyone has to like you. Speak your mind when you know you’re right. Tell friends the truth even when they don’t want to hear it. Don’t just nod and “see both sides” and give pity laughs to people who make bad jokes.

I’ll say, work hard in school. Not so you can make money and not for the bragging rights, but because if you don’t, one day you’ll look back and wish you’d made yourself proud.

I’ll say, clean your room. I’ll say, you see this 6-inch pile of dirty clothes next to my bed? It makes me feel horrible every time I look at it. You’d be surprised how accomplished seeing your bedroom floor can make you feel.

I’ll say, always finish what you started. There’s a reason I can only teach you to be “pretty good”, and not great, at guitar, or photography, or card tricks, or any number of things I picked up and abandoned. If you have a talent for something, don’t ever waste it.

I’ll say, don’t wait so long to get comfortable in your own skin. Phases are great and all when you’re a teenager, but there’s a fine line between exploring things and getting caught up in fads. Don’t ever feel like you need to fit into a mold or a category to be accepted.

I’ll say, take care of your body, because you only get one. Floss every day. And don’t drink so much soda and Red Bull. You can’t ever undo the cavities they’ll give you.

I’ll say, force yourself to experience new things. I know that people who studied abroad in college are obnoxious, but I don’t care; you should do it. Because when they’re yammering on about their summer in Madrid, you’ll roll your eyes but you’ll really just be jealous that you spent your summer watching TV.

I’ll say, don’t get so uncomfortable around homeless people. They’re not going to rob you. Be better than that. Treat them with respect. Buy them a sandwich if you can. And give to charity as often as possible. You’ll always have a few bucks to spare.

I’ll say, pay attention to the news. And politics. Don’t spend all your time on social media and TV and movies and sports. Devote your attention to things that actually matter. Be informed and well read. Don’t ever be forced to stealthily object from conversations about current events.

I’ll say, be ruthless. Don’t go with the flow. Find something you want and put in the work to become exceptional. So many people dream big, but they’re afraid to sit down and do the work. Don’t be one of them.

I’ll say, don’t text and drive. Seriously. There’s nothing that can’t wait. I mean it.

I’ll say, put your family first, above everything. When they need you, be there. Don’t ask questions. Don’t let being tired from work become an excuse. They’re all you have.

I’ll say, don’t ever wish you were anything or anyone else. Embrace your flaws, because everyone has them.

And I’ll say, if you fall short of anything, even everything on this list, that’s alright.

I’ll still love you.

I’ll always love you. People keep asking me if I’m scared. And I guess — even in light of everything I said above — the answer is no.

I know that there’ll be times when I have no idea what to do with this kid. When I reach into my bag of morals and values and come up empty. And for times like that, I’ll look to my wife. I’ll remember how, standing in our dark, half-packed apartment, on one of the most important nights of our life, she put the pregnancy tests down on the table, smiled, and said:

“Of course we’re still doing the fantasy draft.”

A small reminder of why we fell in love in the first place. That what we’ve created together didn’t happen in spite of our flaws.

It happened because of them.

And knowing that, there’s really nothing to be scared of.

Via Upworthy

Bring on Summer!

Kookoo Sabzi is a Persian herb frittata. It’s one of the many traditional dishes served during the New Year, and it’s loaded with nutritious vegetables, herbs, nuts, and more.

I should note that Persian food is not simple fare. And that’s what makes it so special and unique. It’s not the type of food you can whip up after a long day at work. But, Kookoo Sabzi is one of few Persian dishes that is actually possible to make during the week. I hope you give this recipe a try, and let me know what you think!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 bunch dill
  • 1/2 leek
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 4 leaves iceberg lettuce
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pack ALOHA Daily Good Greens
  • Dollop of plain yogurt

PREPARATION

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Roughly chop dill, leeks, parsley, cilantro, and lettuce. Place cut herbs in a large bowl. Set aside. While it seems tempting, don’t use a food processor for this step; it’ll draw out the moisture from the herbs and cause the mixture to be too wet.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs. Pour the eggs in the herb mixture. Stir in flour, baking powder, Daily Good Greens, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Add cranberries, walnuts, and one tablespoon olive oil, and combine well. For our family recipe, we actually use barberries, which give the frittata a tart bite. But, given that they’re hard to find in grocery stores, you can substitute with unsweetened dried cranberries.

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil to coat the pan.

Pour the herb mixture into the pan, and use a spatula to spread evenly. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes.

Use a plastic spatula to cut the frittata into eight slices. Continue cooking for two minutes, then carefully flip each piece over. Let cook for five minutes.

Kookoo Sabzi is usually served along with rice, but you can also enjoy it on its own. No matter how you serve it, definitely have a few dollops of plain yogurt on the side. The savory flavors of the herbs and crunch from the walnuts pair nicely with the creamy yogurt—it’s delicious! I like to dig right in while it’s still hot, but you can also serve it at room temperature.

As for summer and great looking skin… Bring it on!

Via Daily Concepts

Prisoners of Age

See the following photographs and it may seem like an ode to grandmothers. These women, though, aren’t at the corner beauty shop. They’re prison inmates.

The name of the exhibition: Prisoners of Age (POA).

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Where you can see Prisoners of Age from July through December 2015 is, fittingly, the New Industries Building of San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island.

Here, 60 works (both visual and narrative) of photographer Ron Levine and designers Michael Wou and Russel Volckmann feature aspects of crime and punishment, incarceration, freedom and social justice.

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Mostly, though, POA opens one’s eyes to what life is like for aging offenders in the correctional system. To give the world entrée into this world, Ron Levine spent 18 years photographing geriatric residents of prisons and prison wards in the United States and Canada.

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Some enlightening stats about prison life for the elderly:

“Prisoners of age comprise the fastest growing age group in the United States. One-in-ten inmates is 55 or older. A decade ago, that was one-in-twenty. Existing prison space is in serious decline and medical costs are soaring.

Incarcerating geriatric men and women in prison is becoming prohibitively expensive- up to 9 times the cost of a younger inmate.

As Federal and State prisons begin to look more like high security nursing homes, the people who manage North America’s prison system worry about how to handle the imminent explosion in the geriatric population.”

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“Through photography and interviews, ‘PRISONERS OF AGE’ offers a microcosmic glimpse of what lies ahead in this new millennium.”

The POA exhibition has traveled the globe. The idea of seeing it in Alcatraz adds an element to these stories that goes beyond thought-provoking.

POA is open to the public visiting Alcatraz Island during daytime hours for no extra charge. Exhibit hours are 10 am to 2 pm. For additional information, please call NPS Alcatraz at 415-561-4900.

Tickets to Alcatraz frequently sell out many days in advance. They are only available through Alcatraz Cruises, the official park concessionaire for ferry service, 90 days in advance: alcatrazcruises.com

Via Daily Concepts

Normalizing Breastfeeding Through the Creative Lens

For photographer and mother of two, Ivette Ivens, taking pictures of breastfeeding moms has personal meaning. “Every time I nurse my baby with my burp-spotted shirt on and messy hair, I still feel like some kind of superhero, and nursing is my super power,” she told The Huffington Post.

 

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Ivens takes her subjects outside to capture them breastfeeding in nature as a reminder that nursing is “a totally normal thing.” “I want people to look at it as if it was a cat nursing her baby kittens. Or any other mammal, if you’re not a cat person,” she said, adding, “Forget the covering up, nursing in a public bathroom, age restrictions. It’s between a mother and her child.”

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The photographer breastfed her older son until he was a little over 3-years-old and still breastfeeds her 10-month-old baby today. “I nursed them both anywhere I wanted. From church to parties, from farmers market to high-end designer stores. I believe that mothers should nurse their little ones whenever they want to,” Ivens said. She also believes moms should breastfeed as long as they see fit for their own families. “Children know when it’s time to wean off. Mothers do too. Strangers don’t know, so they shouldn’t care.”

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Later this year, Ivens will release a photo book titled Breastfeeding Goddesses. It will be available for pre-order on May 3 — the day of the photographer’s “I breastfeed my toddler” art show in Chicago.

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Via Huffington Post

Belly Ballot

BellyBallot is a fun and interactive new way parents name their baby. It is a comprehensive baby naming platform that meets the social needs of parents today. It was conceived when a co-founder, Lacey, had a baby shower and wanted her friends and family members to get involved with selecting a name for her baby. She created ballots with 5 boy and 5 girl names, passed them out to the attendees to vote, whom then dropped their votes into the “Belly Ballot Box.” The experience was so rewarding and inspiring that Lacey wanted to bring her creation to the public.

When you visit Belly Ballot you are instantly engaged by how they breakdown the naming process. There are lists of “heroic, romantic and bad boy names,” names divided by ethnicity, and even lists of the popular names from the last 10 decades! Not to mention that every name comes with a definition. Once you and your partner have selected some of your favorite names, get your friends and family involved by having them vote!

Join the funnest way to name your baby here: Belly Ballot

Forgotten Toxics in American Water

No matter where you live, the tap water is likely to contain some chemicals you don’t want to drink. Earlier this year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reviewed the water quality tests of 201 water utilities that serve 100 million Americans. The report shows that every single one of them was polluted with unwanted chemicals called trihalomethanes, which are linked to bladder cancer and other serious disorders. One member of this family is chloroform, which the US. Government considers a probable human carcinogen. Trihalomethanes form when chlorine, a disinfectant added to the water to kill dangerous bacteria, reacts with rotting organic matter such as runoff from farms, sewage or even dead leaves and insects. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates this chemical family, but the rules should be tighter.

If you want to get rid of trihalomethanes and other chemicals that linger in your tap water, you can buy a water filter. EWG has reviewed and listed 137 of the most affordable and effective water filters. To pick the right one, consumers need to know what chemicals are in their water. The answer is not that simple because everybody’s drinking water contains different mixes of contaminants.

A good resource is the Consumer Confidence Report or Water Quality Report published annually by water utilities. The law requires that the utilities provide this report to all its customers by July 1. Water contaminants and concentrations detected by the water utility are typically presented in a table. Some common terms include: Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG), and Action Level (AL). Readings higher than the MCL violate federal law and regulations. They can be dangerous to human health. Take a particularly careful look at the measurements for arsenic, lead and trihalomethanes. Even if they don’t exceed the regulatory cap, they can be linked to serious health problems.

EWG believes that many of the EPA’s regulations, based on a compromise between health risk and costs, are too lenient. Moreover, there are countless other contaminants that are not even regulated by EPA. Consumers should consider a filter that can reduce the concentration of these chemicals in the water they drink. But which one should you buy? Here are some guidelines to help you choose the right one:

If you are on a tight budget, filters using activated carbon are your best bet. They remove lead, chlorine and trihalomethanes and many other contaminants at a modest price.

If you have have highly polluted water and can afford a more expensive, more comprehensive filtration system, you may want to consider reverse osmosis combined with activated carbon. A superior activated carbon pre-filter can filter out everything that activated carbon catches and reduces other contaminants, including arsenic, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate. Reverse osmosis filters are typically installed under the sink and integrated into your plumbing.

For ease of use and affordability, pitcher filters are a good pick. But if constant refilling bothers you, try a faucet-mounted filter. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to cleaning up tap water, so to get the best results for the money, do their research. And remember: all types and styles of water filters require regular maintenance to keep working!

Tip – Stay Away From:

  • Trihalomethanes
  • Chloroform
  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • Hexavalent Chromium
  • Nitrates
  • Perchlorate

The He(ART) of the Hotel

Art Breathes New Life into Boutique Hotel Design, Giving Guests Something New.

Boutique hotels are a hot trend in the field of hospitality design, known for their modern furniture, contemporary decor, and more often than not, expensive room rates. As such, guests want to get the most out of their money, and their stay – they want something new. Hoteliers and developers alike seem to have found a solution with the art hotel. Art hotels are growing in number, and variety. They provide guests with modern flare, while also being able to enjoy a cultural experience.

Hotels Dedicated to Artists

Founder of the Art Series Hotel Group and CEO of the parent company, Asian Pacific Group, Will Deague, has taken a unique approach to the art hotel. The Deague family has always been very passionate about art. Their love for the arts resulted in funding an artists’ expedition to Central Australia for ten of Australia’s leading artists. It was during this experience that Deague conceived the concept for The Art Series Hotel Group. Deague knew that he wanted to enter the hotel market with a boutique hotel, but he wanted this hotel to stand out from the ones he himself had traveled to. Deague explains, “There are hotels that call themselves design or boutique hotels, but other than having some funky furniture, they are all kind of the same. So we wanted to do something different and really dedicate these hotels to Australian artists.”

The Art Series Hotel Group is made up of three hotels all located in different areas of Melbourne, Australia: The Blackman, The Olsen, and The Cullen. Each hotel is inspired by, and dedicated to a well-known Australian artist. The artists were paired with each hotel specifically to match the location and design. The figurative painter Charles Blackman is the “quirky” inspiration for The Blackman; Adam Cullen is the “edgy” inspiration for The Cullen; painter Dr. John Olsen is the “lyrical and poetic” inspiration for The Olsen. For authenticity and to be true to the artist and brand, Deague felt it was important to use only artwork by the respective artists. Each of the three artists were very involved in the art selection, and created new pieces specifically for their hotel. Such as the twenty foot by ten foot mural painted exclusively for The Olsen. Deague wants his guests to have the opportunity to enjoy great art and learn about amazing Australian artists, but he doesn’t want them to be overwhelmed by it. Deague said, “It’s a real art experience and you can take as much or as little out of it as you want.”

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Thirty-Seven Artist Designed Guestrooms

The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, Canada has historically been a place of respite for artists, so it is fitting that each of the rooms in the Victorian hotel are completely designed and re-imagined by 37 different artists or designers. “You can stay here 37 times and have a completely different ex- perience,” said Noa Bronstein, Director of Exhibitions at The Gladstone. Each of the artists had complete creative freedom for their room from the wall paint to the furniture. They worked with the hotel president and developer, Christina Zeidler, to ensure that the room was functional and within budget. The unique room designs range from sleek and modern, to rustic, to whimsical – there is something for everyone. For the art enthusiast who craves more than their artist-designed guestroom, the hotel hosts between 70-90 exhibits each year. Zeidler’s mandate for The Gladstone, “to facilitate other people’s ideas”, is the cornerstone behind this successful hotel model.

Are Art Hotels The New Art Gallery?

Noa Bronstein believes there are several reasons why hotels are a great alternative to traditional spaces for both artist and art lover. Hotels provide an accessible public space to view and enjoy art, without any pressure to buy, and an artist’s work is introduced to a much broader cross-section of the public than it would in a traditional gallery. Artists who have unique practices, and find it difficult to work within the confines of traditional institutions are allowed more flexibility when it comes to exhibiting their work. Bronstein explains, “We are not collection based, and we are not a public institution. So we don’t look at art, craft, and design as being in separate silos. We look at them as being in conversation and in dialogue with one another.” Art hotels are increasing in the boutique market, but larger hotel chains have not yet adopted this business model. Are high thread counts and modern furniture enough to keep guests coming back? Not according to Stina Funch, hospitality designer and Founder of Atwater Inc. Studio. “ I think setting yourself apart from the masses is what it’s all about. And I think the boutique approach and incorporating art is a growing trend. The traveller has lots of choices for hotels these days and it’s about standing out and creating a new vibe to attract the savvy traveler”, explains Funch. Like art galleries, art hotels can change collections, providing guests with “something new” and memorable every time they visit.

Artistic Hotel

How to Slow Down Your Life and Enjoy the Ride – Right Now

Here are 4 Considerations to Help You Embrace The Moment

 

It’s finally Friday night, the beginning of a weekend of freedom, which also happens to include your birthday. Your family, friends and spouse all have celebratory plans for you.

You have a rewarding career and a network of beautiful people who want to rejoice in your life. As you walk out to your car to officially kickoff the fun, a giddy thrill washes over you.

But as you click the seatbelt into place, rather than sitting in awe of how lucky you are, a list of concerns begin worming their way into your consciousness: “I need gas, but the conveniently located gas station charges more than others … I hope it’s not a surprise party … Maybe I should get the beverages I like before going home … I haven’t been to the gym all week … Did I pay the electric bill?”

And so it goes.

“I think we’ve all had this experience, which often has us psychically living 30 minutes into the future – no matter how great the present circumstances might be,” says Steve Gilliland (www.stevegilliland.com), a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame and author of the widely acclaimed “Enjoy The Ride,” for which he is set to publish a follow-up that will be released in May 2015.

“Are we doomed to this torrent of noise which distracts us from enjoying our life? We don’t have to be.”

Don’t live your life 30 minutes ahead of the present. If you won’t live your life now, in the present, then who will?

“An older man came up to me, grabbed my hand, and said he wished he’d heard me speak decades ago,” Gilliland says. “After I asked why, he said that when he was eating lunch on break or dinner with his family, he was always thinking about what he had to do after the meal, which represented his daily life. ‘At the age of 97,’ he said, ‘I’ve officially lived my life 30 minutes ahead’ – 30 minutes ahead of whatever he was doing at the moment.”

Laugh more! It’s better than crying before you’re hurt.

Don’t put your umbrella up until it rains. Worry restricts your ability to think and act effectively, and it forces you to mortgage fear and anxiety about something that may never occur. Laughter is the opposite. When you laugh, you’re living almost completely in the moment, and it’s one of the best feelings you can have.

No one can ruin your day without your permission.

As much as we cannot control in life – our genes, our past and what has led up to today – there is much control we may take upon ourselves. Today, for example, we can understand that life picks on everyone, so when the going gets tough, we don’t have to take it personally. When we do take misfortune personally, we tend to obsess, giving a legacy to something that may make you a day poorer in life.

Cure your destination disease.

Live more for today, less for tomorrow, and never about yesterday. How? You might have to repeatedly remind yourself that yesterday is gone forever, yet we perpetually have to deal with now, so why not live it? And what if tomorrow never occurs? There is a difference between working toward the future, which is inherently enjoyable in light of hope, and living in an unrealistic future that remains perpetually elusive. If tomorrow never comes, would you be satisfied with the way today ended?

“It is not how you start in life and it is not how you finish,” Gilliland says. “The true joy of life is in the trip, so enjoy the ride!”