Posted in Creative Writing

Strange Fruit

The boy turned up on her sofa one afternoon while she was out picking grapefruits. It wasn’t Ivy’s grapefruit tree. Her neighbor had prolific fruit trees which smelled of tequila and ceviche and which made her dizzy, because of her allergies. Ivy was driven by intoxication to pick the low-hanging grapefruit, which dipped over the red wooden back fence and into her yard. Not that her yard was barren: she had cultivated a beautiful garden of cacti and stones. A “desert landscape,” the magazines called it.
It was in this state of parched drunkenness that Ivy climbed down her staircase — catching a splinter in her bare foot from the worn wood on the way down — and limped out into the rocky terrain of her garden. She was accustomed to walking barefoot on the warm stones that covered the ground. A nice kind of massage, she thought. And she massaged her feet all the way to the back of the yard where the red fence stood, wincing whenever she stepped on the splintered part of her heel.
The neighbor’s grapefruits were forever plopping into her garden. They lived there unnoticed for weeks before she came upon one on the ground and was forced to clean up the unpleasant mix of rot and flies. Ivy had taken to picking the fruit in hopes of avoiding that sorry situation. But, like when she vowed to wear sunscreen every day before going out, or when she promised to visit her parents at their beach house once a month, her best-laid plans often went awry.
On the day the boy appeared, Ivy picked two pieces of fruit. One she would eat this afternoon, with sugar. The other she would save for later when she would cut up a steak and sautee it in the grapefruit’s juice and a little soy sauce. Little clusters of pleasure in her brain were lighting up at the thought when she returned into the house through the back door. She went to cut the bigger piece of fruit in half, anticipating: Tequila. Salt. It smelled like dinner on the beach in Cozumel.
“Mmm mmm mmm,” she said to no one as she grabbed a plate and a spoon and limped into the living room to flip on the TV.
And so she saw him.

Posted in Professional Blog Posts

Creative Storage Ideas for Your Art Room

Are you a creative spirit, always coming up with ideas to add a splash of color here or a ribbon there? If so, it’s a good bet you have an art or craft room full of supplies and “nowhere to put them.” Take a cue from these inventive storage hacks to make your art room organized, productive, and original– and let xxx glue help you do it.

Borrow From the Kitchen

The kitchen is full of items with delicious (happy) associations that bring joy to your art and craft room. There are surprisingly many pieces you can borrow from the kitchen which work great for art and craft supply storage.

Cheese Grater Pencil Holder

This adorable pencil holder from boredpanda.com has a semi-industrial feel. The grating holes remind us of little pencil sharpeners, and the metal looks especially nice against a handful of your favorite colored pencils. Use xxx glue products to attach a simple cheese grater to your wall and let dry.

Egg Carton Organizer

This simple but effective organizer can be custom designed to suit your tastes. Paint a clean, empty egg carton any way you like and let it dry. Then, use the compartments to store loose items.

Cookie Jars-Full of Buttons, Odds-and-Ends

Your color-coded buttons will look precious when displayed in glass cookie jars straight from mom’s kitchen. Cookie jar-type storage can also be used for spools of thread, bundles of ribbon, pins, tacks, or any other small item. This image from diynetwork.com shows thread organized by color.

Mason Jar Pincushion Sewing Kits

Smashedpeasandcarrots.com has a great DIY Sewing Kit idea which utilizes empty mason jars from the kitchen to create vessels for your thread. Turn the lid into a pincushion and voila! Your sewing needs are organized in one place. To make this project the best it can be, get some xxx glue help from xxx glue products.

Lazy Susan Supplies Holder

You may have used a large one in a restaurant, and (if you’re lucky) a smaller one to organize your kitchen table. Why not use a lazy Susan in the art room? They’re not only fun to use but they make searching for supplies easier. This DIY Spinning Caddy from HGTV.com is made from a lazy Susan, three cake pans, and candlesticks glued together with some xxx glue help.  Xxx glue products are durable, reliable, and have been trusted around the world for over 60 years.

Washi Tape Spice Rack

This colorful idea from stampedinhisimage.blogspot.com involves repurposing the space in a standard spice rack to organize all those rolls of Washi Tape you’ve got rolling around in your art room. There are various styles of spice racks which can include drawers (as pictured) or open shelving so your Washi Tape can be tucked away or put on full display.

Muffin Pan Desk Organizer

Bring the “sweet scent” of freshly baked muffins into your workspace by placing a new or vintage muffin tin on your worktable or desk as an organizer. This idea from apartmenttherapy.com is perfect for collecting office supplies like paperclips and push pins as well as small scraps of paper, stickers, and any other little item you have collected that needs keeping track of.  For those projects that require xxx glue help, muffin tins are perfect for storing small tubes of xxx glue products.

 

Posted in Professional Blog Posts

Balancing Life with Breast Cancer Treatment

Maintaining your work-life balance is only one of the many challenges you will face while undergoing breast cancer treatment. You will probably experience extra stress and anxiety while you adjust to therapy and learn to cope with illness. This is a time to take care of yourself by eating right, getting enough rest, and if possible, exercising. If you take it one step at a time, you may find that balancing life with breast cancer treatment is completely do-able.

Work-Life Balance

Finding a healthy work-life balance is a continuous process- especially as your priorities, interests, family, and schedule perpetually change. Here are a few ideas to help you find the best work-life balance for you:

Track Your Activity

Track everything you do for a week – work and personal. Decide what satisfies you the most, and what tasks are necessary. Delegate or cut out the remainder.

Explore All Your Options

Ask your employer about flexible hours, a compressed work week, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility to help reduce stress and free up time for other things.

Leave Work at Work

Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. Because of modern technology, there are virtually no boundaries between work and home and many people are tempted to use their computers or smartphones to finish projects after-hours. Enforce your own boundaries and focus on personal or family time while at home.

Get Better at Time Management

Make a point to run a few errands every day instead of saving them all for your day off. Put family events on a weekly calendar and keep a daily to-do list. Make as many notes as you need!

Build an Emergency Support Network

At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you, and vice-versa. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to help with your kids or household responsibilities when you need to work late or travel.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can be very frustrating issues as they are pervasive in life, especially when going through breast cancer treatment. Here are some helpful tips for treating and reducing your symptoms:

Exercise

Whether you go for a walk, take a dance class, of life weights, exercise is one of the best things you can do to combat stress and anxiety. The physical activity relieves tension and lifts a heavy spirit. Exercise also sends endorphins to your brain, boosting your mood for hours or longer.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you reconnect with the sources of strength, balance and peace that practitioners of this technique believe are already within you. Through mindfulness skills, you learn to distance yourself from thoughts, emotions and reactions that lead you to feel out of control. Instead, you refocus on simple moments in the present and discover that right now, in this moment, you are okay.

Relaxation Techniques

Deep breathing is a very simple and effective method of relaxation for when you feel anxious. As you inhale, inflate your abdomen out if you can; hold for a few seconds. Then exhale fully, using your abdominal muscles to push out all the breath (talk with your doctor first if you had surgery that affects these muscles). Breathing techniques taught in yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices also help reduce stress.

Laughter

Keeping your sense of humor intact is important, especially when you feel stressed. Laughter brings on the body’s relaxation response, boosts immune function, and can be a good coping mechanism. Spend time with people you think are funny, put on a funny movie, and find humor in the life’s little moments.

Pets

Bonding with a pet can be one of the most emotionally rewarding experiences of your day-to- day life. Pets provide love, comfort, joy, and laughter. They can also be sources of routine, diversion, exercise, and physical comfort. If you’re not feeling well and need help feeding or walking your pet, you can ask a friend to help.

Talking it Out

No matter how loving and supportive your friends and family are, talking to someone outside that circle can be helpful. You can find Support Groups at hospitals, at cancer centers, in the community, or online. Even if you regularly attend a support group, there may be times when you might benefit from private sessions with a confidential, knowledgeable listener such as a Therapist. This could mean a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or community counselor.

You’re not “failing to cope” if you seek counseling services. In fact, asking for help is a sign of strength.

Added Strategies

  • Maintain a good sleep schedule. Rest or nap when you need to.
  • Take your medicine for pain or anxiety as prescribed.
  • Try not to compare yourself to anyone else, even someone with the same type of breast cancer.
Posted in Professional Blog Posts

Why Have Cosmetic Procedures for Men Tripled in the Past 20 Years?

We live in a culture where youth and beauty are prized – for men and women alike, it seems. In the past three to five years, there has been a huge boom in male spending on cosmetic procedures, busting the misconception that all patients are women.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of cosmetic procedures performed on men has increased more than 325 percent since 1997. While men still only account for 7.7 percent of surgical procedures and 9.2 percent of minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures, they spent approximately $1.5 billion on the two combined last year.

The Reason Men are Flocking to the Cosmetic Surgeon’s Office

Its no secret that men want to look young, fit, and masculine. What may come as a surprise is what is cited as the primary reason for the rise is cosmetic procedures among men: climbing the corporate ladder. “The days of staying with your company for 40 years until you get your gold watch at retirement are over,” says plastic surgeon Dr. Marc Mani. Plus “in an economy driven by tech and social media, youthful looks are more important than ever before.”

The ‘Forbes Facelift’

Helping men advance their careers is a powerful marketing tool, and one that Manhattan-based plastic surgeon Dr. Douglas Steinbrech uses to attract patients. His so-called ‘Forbes Facelift’ is geared towards men who “feel young and confident but are worried they don’t look it.” Steinbrech says he purposely leaves some wrinkles – “since wrinkles are sexy and trustworthy (on a man)” – and gives them a neck lift, eyelift, jaw contouring, and possible liposuction.

A Social Taboo

As cosmetic surgery becomes more common among men, it becomes less taboo to talk about. Men are now openly discussing cosmetic procedures among themselves, which is a completely new phenomenon. In our youth-obsessed culture, men have discovered that cosmetic procedures are just another way to stay ‘young.’ “Men don’t find it as taboo as it might have been. They are taking care of themselves,” says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Anthony Rossi. “Its like going to the gym or eating healthy.”

Ageism in the Workplace

Patricia Barnes, an ageism lawyer and author of “Betrayed: The Legalization of Age Discrimination in the Workplace,” said the trend shows just how pervasive the problem is.

Renato, a 40-year-old who works in real estate, says he felt that pressure. “I had this one client who was a first-time homebuyer in his late 20s. We were talking about social media and apps I wasn’t familiar with and he said, ‘You wouldn’t understand because you are older.’ But he was only about five years younger,” Renato said.

“That’s pretty dramatic, to feel like, ‘If don’t have surgery, I might not have a job,” said Barnes. “It’s a sad commentary on how insecure older people feel in the workplace today.”

Renato has since spent upwards of $50,000 on cosmetic procedures, and he is thrilled with the results. “I certainly don’t look like I’m 40,” he says.

The Human Ken Doll

34-year-old Brazilian-born British citizen Rodrigo Alves, aka “The Human Ken Doll,” has gained worldwide recognition as the poster boy for male cosmetic enhancement. Alves has undergone 60 plastic surgeries and 103 non-invasive cosmetic procedures, including “10 nose jobs, a butt lift, silicone chest implants, eight pack abs, hair implants, and rib removal to enhance his waist.” His love of the cosmetic method of self-improvement has lead him to spend an estimated 508,000 British Pounds on the procedures.

Alves says he hopes to “break the taboo” that surrounds male cosmetic enhancement – and in doing so he wants to shed light on the pros and cons of ‘going under the knife.’ In September 2017 he was reported to have been held at a Dubai airport for three hours because his face no longer matches his passport photo.

While a little freshening up can make you look and feel better, take a cue from Rodrigo and remember, less is often more.

The 5 Most Popular Surgical Procedures for Men 2017

  1. Facelift
  2. Eyelid surgery
  3. Tummy tuck
  4. Male breast reduction (for the treatment of gynecomastia)
  5. Nose reduction

The 5 Most Popular Non-Invasive Cosmetic Procedures for Men 2017

1. Botulinum Toxin (Botox, Dysport and Xeomin)
2. Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
3. Laser or Pulsed Light Hair Removal
4. Photorejuvenation (IPL)
5. Chemical Peel

Posted in Professional Blog Posts

Your Choices for Eye Rejuvenation

You may have heard the old adage “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” When we look into another’s eyes, we search for clues about who they are and how they feel. But for many people, the effects of aging, genetics, and external factors like sun exposure have made their eyes send the wrong cues.  You may be sending the message that you are tired or sad when really, you feel great.

 

Eyelid surgery XXX fights the effects of time and circumstance to restore a naturally youthful and refreshed appearance to the eye area. Dr. XXX offers both non-invasive and surgical rejuvenation solutions for the eyes and brows.

Why Consider Eyelid Surgery?

Signs of aging usually show around the eyes sooner than other areas of the body, This is because the eyes house the thinnest, most delicate skin we have. Drooping eyelids not only make a person’s face look older, but they can also make it look tired or sad– even angry.  Eyelid surgery XXX counteracts the effects of aging so your eyes properly express your emotions.

 

Another issue that arises with droopy eyelids is they can obstruct vision. Here, eyelid surgery allows the patient to open his or her eyes more fully, restoring the ability to see clearly.

What is Botox?

Botox is a muscle-relaxing neurotoxin used to improve visible lines and wrinkles around the eyes, between the brows, and across the forehead. In addition to using Botox around the eyes, Dr. XXX utilizes Botox to give the brows a subtle lift.  Both procedures are ideal for those seeing the first signs of aging and the slight sagging of the upper lids.

What is Blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is known as “the gold standard” for rejuvenating the eye area. A type of Eyelid surgery XXX, blepharoplasty eliminates excess skin and repositions fat around the eyes by creating an incision in the natural crease of the lid. This incision is virtually invisible when healed. Blepharoplasty can be performed under local anesthesia and recovery is relatively quick and painless. Blepharoplasty can be performed on the upper lid, lower lid, or “quad” (combining upper and lower eyelid surgery.)

What is Browlift Surgery?

If the brows need more than a small lift, browlift surgery may be recommended. Browlift surgery is done in addition to blepharoplasty to rejuvenate the eye area. Often, the combination of procedures reduces the need to remove too much skin from the eyelid, because the brow lift tightens the eye area more naturally. In combination, brow lift and blepharoplasty create more comprehensive, youthful-looking results.

 

Posted in Creative Writing

BangCrash

There was a crash. It was more silent than a dream. As if nothing had happened at all, whole words reshaped themselves unnoticeably, right under men’s beards and women’s mustaches. Nobody spoke. Or, if they did, the sound was mute. The force was so strong it erased all sense. Afterward, it took months for things to be sorted again. When they did, the world was different. Things had a different shape: buildings were lopsided, roads had new curves. They had to put up a series of new hazard signs to protect people from the possibility of it happening again.

 

The universe started with a bang.

Posted in Creative Writing

Peacocks

Screenshot_20190521-193440

There was a party once. It started fashionably late. Very glamourous people gathered at an ordinary house and ate pizza. They spoke plainly about the lives of common people and unless you knew to look, you would think they were dressed as everyone did in those days. They got away with their charade for a long time; until one day they turned into peacocks. They were all male birds.

A burst of energy shot through the room. A picture fell off the wall, its glass frame crumbling on the carpet. Someone rushed to clean it up. Guests covered their mouths with their napkins. Women fell off their high heels. Two toddlers crashed into one another.

They had all turned into bright blue peacocks. Some fanned their tails right away; others slumped their long necks down to the ground, ashamed of their transformation. The brave tried to fly home across the backyard swimming pool.

As a group, they moved to the arboretum in Arcadia where they continue to wander. You will see them around the area, stomping on front lawns, still thinking themselves more special than the people who live there. They will even stop traffic in various attempts to get someone to notice their predicament, anyone who might be able to reverse the spell. But who would believe a wild peacock’s story?

Posted in Professional Blog Posts

Benefits of Crafting with Children

Teaching kids to use glue is a great way to get them involved with crafting. There are so many wonderful projects to make using xxx glue products which will engage their creativity and their physical senses.

 

Did you know that doing arts and crafts with your child is good for their brain? We already know that arts and crafts are good for social and emotional development, but recent studies conducted by Dr. Richard Rende, a developmental psychologist, show that these activities are good for cognitive development as well.

 

This means that arts and crafts touch on nearly every part of your child’s development. So, that messy activity involving glitter and xxx glue products may just be worth a lot more than you previously thought.

 

These are some of the major benefits of crafting with children.

Hones Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are small movements dedicated to specific tasks. People utilize their fine motor skills when they do things like write with a pencil, eat with a knife and fork, or use a key to open the front door. As you can see, these are important life skills that should be developed at an early age. Many craft projects your child participates in at school and at home, such as those involving macaroni chains and pipe cleaner shapes, involve their fine motor skills.

Project: Homemade Edible Fingerpaint

When you make your own edible fingerpaint, like this one from theimaginationtree.com, toddlers and babies as young as six months old can join in the fun. This product is easy to make, is non-toxic, and lasts a long time. It is not delicious, so chances are most of it will end up on the page where it belongs and not in your child’s belly.

Supplies:

* 2 cups of cornstarch

* 1 cup of cold water

* 4.5 cups of boiling water

* Liquid food coloring

Instructions:

  1. Stir the cornstarch and cold water together.
  2. Add the boiling water one cup at a time, stirring between each cup.
  3. Keep stirring until it melts into a “custard-like” consistency.
  4. Separate the mixture into individual jars and add food coloring.  
  5. Allow your child to enjoy painting with her fingers and hands!

Helps with Visual Processing Ability

Visual processing skill is your ability to see and assess the visual information around you. As an adult, you may notice patterns, colors, and physical improbabilities without delay. You can do that because of the skills you learned in your early childhood– by naming and identifying colors, shapes, and objects. Visual processing is vital for the development of early reading and math skills. It is also necessary to complete everyday tasks. Without developing this ability, your child would not be able to ride a bike or play catch, for instance.

Dot-to-Dot Pictures with Super Glue Products

Do you remember dot-to-dot pictures from your childhood? Your teacher may have presented you with a page scattered with numbered dots, instructing you to use a single colored pencil to connect 1-to-2-to-3, and so on. When you were done, you had drawn a picture!

 

These dot-to-dot pictures from kidsactivitiesblog.com can be “painted” using xxx glue products such as xxx and then sprinkled with glitter to create a very special craft. Your child will exercise his hand-eye coordination in addition to his visual thinking skills, and practice working with glue while he’s at it! 

Promotes Executive Function

Executive function controls impulses, focuses attention, and uses memory. It is also responsible for emotional control, planning and organizing, and taking action (task initiation.) Executive function is promoted when you sit down for quality time with your child and work on a directed activity like a craft. From activities like these, the child learns to plan their behavior and becomes successful at more grown-up tasks like study and work.

Skyrockets Self-Esteem

One of the most important phases of development for toddlers is when they begin to feel good about themselves. Arts and crafts activities that empower children and encourage self-esteem can be vital at this stage of growth and create positive emotional responses to learning. Just the feeling of having created something encourages a feeling of self-pride.

Rainbow Compliments

Ourfamilyworld.com recommends this fun activity to boost your child’s confidence in multiple ways at once.

Supplies:

White paper

Colored construction paper

Scissors

xxx glue products

Colored pencils

Instructions:

  1. Cut a large cloud shape out of the white piece of paper.
  2. Cut one long strip out of each color of construction paper.
  3. Ask your child to tell you one good thing about themselves for each piece of colored paper. If they need some help, you can add your own compliments to some of the colors.  
  4. Use xxx glue products to glue the colored strips to the top or bottom of the cloud, forming a beautiful rainbow of feel-good compliments.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

About an Object

People always said that ocean air was salty like the rim of a margarita glass, but to Penelope, it was sweeter, more like fresh-squeezed orange juice. She grew accustomed to the taste of the ocean air on her lips as she sat out on the beach during the hottest part of her day. She only drank water, with silicone ice cubes in it that didn’t make any satisfying clanking noise in her glass. They didn’t melt in the summer’s blaze, either.

Penelope didn’t give her drink a thought as she lounged, the sand between her toes bringing all the usual sensations and plotted her next article. She had a laptop computer on a pillow over her legs, which were stretched long and lean across a chaise lounge set up just at the shore – right in front of the action. That was where she did her best thinking. Her editor at Midwestern Style Magazine would allow her only two days to write an article about a new trend in plastic surgery called “designer dimples.” Penelope wasn’t afraid. What could she say? She had a gift.

The hardest part was the research, which was why Penelope made such a to-do about working, off of her phone’s 5G hotspot, by the ocean. She needed all the distraction she could get, especially when she had to write such an obviously insipid article. What a joke! What she hadn’t counted on, as a first-time visitor from South Dakota, were the expertly sculpted boobs, butts, calves, and even hairlines which paraded through her line of vision and made her feel like she had been born in the wrong body. There were no two ways about it – she needed those dimples, now.