76-year old man sends thank-you letter to Tim Cook after the Apple Watch helped save his life

Apple Watch

Apple may have initially positioned the Apple Watch as something of a fashion accessory, but it’s become apparent in the years since its release that most users are drawn to the device for its fitness and health tracking capabilities. In turn, one of the more interesting aspects of the Apple Watch is that there are a growing number of stories involving Apple’s wearable actually saving lives.

Last October, for example, an Apple Watch wearer named James Green received a notification that his heart rate was abnormal. Upon going to the hospital to get things checked out, doctors discovered a pulmonary embolism, a condition that could have proven to be fatal if James didn’t seek immediate medical attention.

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76-year old man sends thank-you letter to Tim Cook after the Apple Watch helped save his life originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 13 May 2018 at 15:25:18 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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How Alan Hollinghurst Helped Make ‘Gay Literature’ Mainstream

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Novelist Alan Hollinghurst is the literary bard of modern British gay life. His 1987 debut, The Swimming Pool Library, tells the story of a young gay aristocrat tasked with writing the biography of an elderly gay peer. Set in 1983 immediately prior to before the onset of the AIDS crisis— during “the last summer of its kind there was ever to be”—it reaches back in time to the years before World War I, when homosexuality was criminalized and necessarily secretive. The Folding Star, Hollinghurst’s next effort about a young Englishman teaching in Flanders who falls in love with his 17-year-old student, was described by the New York Review of Books as a “homosexual Lolita.” The Line of Beauty, which earned Hollinghurst the Booker Prize in 2004 and was faithfully adapted into a BBC miniseries, takes off from at the point where The Swimming Pool Library ends, following a young Henry James scholar from the provinces lodging with the posh, London family of a Conservative MP elected in Margaret Thatcher’s 1983 landslide. Beautifully written and beguilingly told, its stand-out scene culminates at a party with our coked-up protagonist asking the Iron Lady for a spin on the dance floor.

In keeping with his gay perspective and intergenerational interest, Hollinghurst’s latest novel, The Sparsholt Affair, tracks the lives of a (mostly gay and male) set of characters across seven decades. The story begins at Oxford (a reference point in most of Hollinghurst’s fictions, and from which the author himself graduated) in 1940. The shadow of war hangs over the school, with blackouts and air raid duty and requisitioned buildings. Through a window across the quad, a group of students spot an engineering student on his way to joining the RAF, a young Adonis lifting weights named David Sparsholt. Though his surname adorns the book’s title, he is a character we never really get to know, almost as inscrutable as the chalk portrait one of the captivated fellows draws of him showcasing his perfectly defined torso yet with a neck “open[ing] up to nothing, like the calyx of a flower.”

From Oxford, the novel jumps to 1966, where we see things from the vantage point of David’s 13-year-old son, Johnny. The Sparsholt clan is on a beach vacation in Cornwall with another family, and it is here that the book’s nominal “affair” occurs. We never find out quite what exactly the scandal entails, although it involves David, a Tory MP, a rent boy, and is definitely gay. The only other detail Hollinghurst provides is mention of a blurry, tabloid newspaper photograph taken through a window, a tragic resonance of the means by which the book first introduced us to David 26 years prior at school. Hollinghurst then skips to 1974, 1982, 1995, and 2012, revealing how l’affair Sparsholt reverberates through the generations. The narrative mainly following the travails of Johnny, by now an openly gay and highly in-demand portrait painter whose life intertwines with that of David’s chief Oxford-era admirer.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Shackelia Jackson: ‘People thought I was obsessive, but that activism helped me to heal’

Human rights defender Shackelia Jackson is next in our Women Who Win series, fighting against police violence and brutality in Jamaica…

Shackelia Jackson

Additional reporting by Victoria Fell

Next in our #WomenWhoWin series is Shackelia Jackson, who refuses to give up in her quest for justice after the death of her brother, Nakiea, who was shot and killed by police in 2014. They had been searching for a ‘Rastafarian looking’ robbery suspect – Nakiea fit the description and so was shot dead in his small restaurant.

The case against the officer who shot Nakiea was dismissed in 2016, after one of the key witnesses did not attend court. According to Amnesty, he was too afraid of what might happen afterwards: in 2015, 8% of all murders committed across Jamaica were at the hands of law enforcement officials.

‘We are scared of the police, of their very presence,’ explained Shackelia.

Not only has Shackelia had to deal with her grief, she has also faced intense intimidation from the police and an unresponsive legal system.

Still, she refuses to be silenced.

Our Women Who Win interview series celebrates strong and inspirational female trailblazers, shaping the future for us all, and Shackelia Jackson and her fight for justice is that in a nutshell.

Shackelia has been fighting not just on behalf of her family, but for others in the same situation. As she puts it, ‘I became a beacon of hope’.

We sat down with Shackelia to talk about the legislative change achieved by her tireless campaigning and her hopes for the future.

What was your upbringing like?

‘I was raised in the inner-city in a large family, it was a really small community, very tight-knit. I didn’t even have a key for my house, that’s how much it was always open and accessible. It was a space of love and a space where our parents allowed us to dream: there wasn’t really any social limitations. We really represented what was right about Jamaica and could have been the model for what leaders talk about in terms of their vision for the inner city.’

How did that change after the death of your brother?

‘It wasn’t as if there was a gradual progression. We went from being this happy, safe space, where there were no feelings of vulnerability, to a very paranoid space. The community felt like prisoners.’

Shackelia Jackson

Credit: Richard Burton/Amnesty International

What made you dedicate your life to the cause?

‘I never said, “Okay, I’m going to do this” or realised anything; I was just on autopilot. I worked every single day until my phone crashed, I tried to engage with the authorities in terms of understanding the procedure, I took a year off from school. I became a genuine servant of the process: everything I did was peripheral to this. Maybe people thought I was obsessive, but that kind of activism was helping me to heal. I was learning to take care of myself.’

What keeps you motivated?

‘I have three brothers to also live for and protect, and to ensure that if a police officer were to stop one, [they’ll] always remember that they have a Shackelia. So, unless [the police officer] is prepared to go through the process, he might not be as fortunate as the previous officer.

On a daily basis, I get phone calls and texts saying, “This is happening, I am fearful of this police officer, what can I do?” I have become a source of protection, and a source of information, who people feel will take them to a place of hope. This experience has allowed me to really own and come into my purpose. The worst really brought out the best in me.’

Credit: Richard Burton/Amnesty International

What has been your biggest achievement?

‘I’ve become a better person. The need to be more socially aware and socially conscientious is often there, but we don’t do anything about it. I’ve invested in my education and I’m dreaming for a sound mind to be able to continue this process, to drive it towards the results where things are now documented and in policies, and we are holding people accountable.’

What active legislative change do you want to see?

‘I would like to see change in terms of how a crime is processed and how police officers are treated after being charged with a crime: it’s almost as if they haven’t broken the law. I’m comfortable with policy changes, but we need legislative changes that are there, on the books, to ensure accountability and transparency. The police have the same training as they did in the 1960s and it needs to evolve to suit 21st century society.’

Have you seen the effects of your work reflected in the law?

‘I’ve been told, “Your brother has saved many.” That was kind of a double-edged sword: I was happy that the writing is now on the wall but if we’re working according to policies and procedures, it should not have come to that point. It means that there are still systemic issues that need to change and promises that were not fulfilled, so we’re continuing to work towards achieving these. But [people] know there is a Shackelia now.’

The post Shackelia Jackson: ‘People thought I was obsessive, but that activism helped me to heal’ appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Exclusive Interview: ‘Solo’ Director Ron Howard on How ‘Rush’ and ‘Bullitt’ Helped Inspire the Newest ‘Star Wars’ Movie

Exclusive Interview: 'Solo' Director Ron Howard on How 'Rush' and 'Bullitt' Helped Inspire the Newest 'Star Wars' Movie

For the first time since 2005, a Star Wars movie is opening in late May. The first six Star Wars movies debuted in theaters in front of sold-out crowds during this same timeframe, and Solo: A Star Wars Story, which officially arrives on May 25, will mark the first Star Wars spin-off movie to arrive alongside what many consider to be the real beginning of summer: Memorial Day weekend.

With tickets for Solo officially on sale here at Fandango, we caught up with the director responsible for…

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How an App Helped This Guy Save for 2 Vacations He Couldn’t Miss


For the past three years, Monday through Friday, Jeremy Kolodziej clocked into his job at 6:30 a.m. and commenced his daily 18-mile walk.

The 27-year-old worked as a meter reader for an electrical company in the greater Chicago area. Each day, he’d trek yard to yard, gate to gate and deal with dogs, the weather — a little bit of everything unexpected.

“It wasn’t quite big-time bucks,” he says of the entry-level job.

He also worked a handful of part-time jobs here and there, as a bartender and a Pizza Hut manager.

“I was living comfortably,” he explains. “I make more than some people, but I’d start spending as soon as I made more money. Then you’re still living paycheck to paycheck.”

When Kolodziej committed to taking two vacations in July 2017, he started backpedaling, thinking there was no way he could afford both trips. He’d have to either disappoint his long-time buddies, who were planning a cruise as a last hurrah before getting married and settling down; or his mother, who wanted her son to finally attend a family reunion after missing the past two.

Kolodziej resolved to make a financial change — to start saving his change so he could take both trips.

He’d heard about Acorns through The Penny Hoarder, so he downloaded the microinvesting app and began both passively and actively saving money.

How This Guy Afforded Two Vacations in One Month

Jeremy, along with his cruise mates, got matching tank tops to commemorate the vacation. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

For some, scheduling two vacations in one month sounds like a dream, but Kolodziej knew he wouldn’t be able to afford both trips. He didn’t know how to decide which trip to take, and he dreaded breaking the news to one of the parties

“I got to the point where I was like, ‘maybe I can do both if I really buckle down and get serious about saving and just see how much money I can put away,’” he says.

He set a goal. If he could save $ 1,500 in about a year, he could comfortably afford to take both trips.

Using Acorns in conjunction with a savings account, Kolodziej easily met his goal. At the time of the trips, his Acorns savings covered nearly half of the $ 1,500 total costs — which meant he didn’t have to choose one vacation over the other.

Continuing the habit, he’s saved a total of $ 2,087 with the app since downloading it in July 2016.

Saving $ 2,000 Was Effortless With Acorns

Backing up real quick, Acorns is a microinvesting app. It allows consumers to invest small amounts of money into exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which is basically a grouping of stocks with something in common.

Acorns offers a round-up feature, which appealed to Kolodziej. When selected, purchases made on his connected debit or credit cards would be rounded up. Once the digital change added up to $ 5, it’d be deposited into his Acorns account and invested.

“So many people use plastic and debit cards,” he explains. “Not a lot of people carry cash, where you can have a coin jar at home. It’s a virtual coin jar. You don’t even think about it.”

In the 20 months since downloading the app, Kolodziej has saved $ 1,076 in spare change through round-ups.

He also made an effort to deposit $ 10 into his Acorns account each Thursday. If he worked overtime, he’d boost his account with $ 20 using the one-time feature.

Acorns isn’t just a way to save, though. Kolodziej is investing his money, too. Because he was investing small amounts into ETFs, the return wasn’t huge. He’s earned about $ 46 since opening his account. However, he counts that as free money — money he otherwise wouldn’t have made.

He also referred his friends and family members to the app, which earned him another $ 40 in bonuses, $ 5 for each.

“Saving can be overwhelming,” Kolodziej says. “[Acorns] is just all set up for you. You don’t have to do anything.”

Jeremy compares the Acorns app to a virtual coin jar, conveniently in his pocket. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Acorns’ Downsides (at Least for Some People)

When asked about Acorns’ cons, Kolodziej paused to think. He personally hasn’t found any downsides, but he notes the $ 1-per-month fee that some people have a problem with.

For him, $ 1 per month is nothing when put into perspective. The app has helped him save money, take two vacations he thought he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford — and has even earned him money.

He did the math: He’s earned $ 46 in returns and $ 40 in referral bonuses. Over 20 months, he’s paid Acorns $ 20. He’s still made $ 66. Plus, he’s saved more than $ 2,000.

Another downside that hasn’t affected him but that his friends have noted is the potential to overdraft.

When you make a purchase of $ 5.10, for example, 90 cents isn’t just automatically dumped into your Acorns account. You have to build up to $ 5 in round ups first. If your checking account frequently runs low, you risk overdrafting because you never know when the change will add up to $ 5 and trigger a withdrawal. Then you might be stuck paying something like a $ 30 overdraft fee.

You also can’t immediately withdraw your money. Like all things banking, the transaction takes a few days to complete. For Kolodziej, this acts as a safety net.

“I see it as an accountability thing, because you can’t have an impulse weekend and just take money out of your Acorns account,” he says. “It won’t be there. You won’t get it in time.”

The Acorns of His Labor… (Get it?)

Jeremy is excited to keep on track with his Acorns savings and hopes to meet this year’s goals. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

With the help of Acorns, Kolodziej was able to go on both vacations.

The first one was the cruise. He road tripped down to Port Canaveral, Florida, with his friends and boarded the ship. They spent four nights aboard and had two stops in the Bahamas.

Even now, nearly a year later, he still gets excited talking about the getaway. “It was like a dream,” he says. “Being out on the ocean in beautiful Caribbean weather with some of your best friends — and a 15-drinks-a-day alcohol package… just so much fun.”

After the cruise, they road-tripped back to Illinois, stopping in Atlanta and Nashville along the way.

“It’s pretty cool that money I spend driving down to Florida and stopping in Atlanta and Nashville on the way back ended up going into my Acorns account for the family reunion I was taking just a week later,” he explains.

The reunion took place in Sevierville, Tennessee, where 30 of his family members (he has a lot of cousins) stayed at a cabin in the mountains. There, they zip-lined, explored caves, drank Tennessee whiskey and bounded down hills in zorb balls, which are basically giant hamster balls for humans.

“Everyone at the family reunion was asking me how I went on a cruise one week and then I was there [in Tennessee] the next, so I told them about Acorns,” he says.

Acorns actually helped him exceed his savings goal for the trips by $ 150. He used that money at the Lodge Cast Iron store in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Cooking is one of his favorite hobbies.

Since last summer’s trips, Kolodziej has continued to save money using Acorns.

In December, he once again emptied his account — this time to pay for Christmas presents. Three months later, in March, he’s back up to a $ 500 balance in the app.

Now that Kolodziej has implemented strategies that help him save, his next conquest is to tackle his debt.

“I’m definitely on the right track,” he shares.

When we chatted on the phone in mid-March, Kolodziej was in his car, headed home from work. He’d just graduated from meter-reading, an apprenticeship, and he’ll now be working as a helper at a substation — a big promotion.

“They’ve already got me working overtime tomorrow,” he says. “No time to celebrate.”

In the meantime, Acorns will keep rounding up the change on his purchases. Maybe he can’t celebrate now, but he’ll eventually have enough money saved to take another cruise with his buddies in July.

man against a wall
Jeremy lives in a small town outside of Chicago and finds it to be just the right fit. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

If you’re feeling like you need to take a cruise, sign up for Acorns and pocket a $ 5 bonus when you invest your first $ 5.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She could use a cruise right about now…

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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How the Mets’ offense ‘killing it’ helped, hurt Steven Matz’s night

There were two or three pitches Steven Matz might have wanted back Friday night, but the way these Mets are going, the mistakes were not the crushing blows they could have been. Matz allowed a pair of two-run home runs on an otherwise solid night as he pitched the Mets to a 6-5 win against…
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Who was Linda Brown? The woman at the center of the Brown v. Board of Education case helped change history

Who was Linda Brown? The woman at the center of the Brown v. Board of Education case helped change history


Who was Linda Brown? The woman at the center of the Brown v. Board of Education case helped change history

In the current movement for gun control, there is a special focus on young people who are fighting for their rights and yearning for schools to become safe spaces. These young people’s desires to facilitate changes on their campuses echo another era that transformed the American school system.

If you’ve gone to school in the United States in the past few decades, you have heard of the Brown v. Board of Education case. The lawsuit was taken to the Supreme Court after 9-year-old Linda Brown was denied enrollment in an all-white elementary school. Her father refused to allow this injustice to go unchallenged. He spent years fighting for not only his daughter’s rights, but the rights of children everywhere. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unfair. Thus the work to give all children a just opportunity to learn began.

The little girl at the center of the case, Linda Brown, passed away on Sunday March 25th, at the age of 76.

But beyond the child we see standing in front of her segregated school in black and white news photographs, who was Linda Brown?

Linda was born to Oliver and Leola Brown in 1942. The family lived in Topeka, Kansas, and although it was not exactly the Deep South, the instances of racism were just as horrible. When Linda began school, the Browns were living within walking distance of Sumner Elementary School, an all-white campus.

Oliver was upset because his daughter could not attend the school that was nearest to them. Instead, Linda and her sisters trekked two miles to get to the bus stop that would take them to a faraway all-Black school.

Linda described the experience on Eyes on the Prize, the PBS documentary series:

“And then when wintertime came, it was a very cold walk. I remember that. I remember walking, tears freezing up on my face because I began to cry because it was so cold, and many times I had to turn around and run back home.”

Linda Brown walking with her sister to the bus
Carl Iwasaki/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

After Linda was denied entry into Sumner, her father (along with the NAACP and other families whose children had been rejected from segregated schools) filed a lawsuit. They won the case unanimously. Linda Brown was in junior high school by the time the ruling was made.

Following a brief relocation to Missouri and the death of her father, Linda’s family found themselves back in Topeka, Kansas. Brown attended both Washburn University and Kansas State University. Throughout her life, she worked both as a public speaker and an education consultant. Brown also married twice — she and her first husband divorced, and her second husband sadly passed away.

Brown’s feelings about her childhood role as a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement were rightfully complex.

She eventually expressed disdain for the amount of attention the case had received. Linda felt as if people paid less attention to her as a human, and more attention to her as a concept signifying equality. It is difficult to find information about her life beyond the Supreme Court case, which makes her feelings that much easier to understand. After Linda’s passing, longtime friend Carolyn Campbell told The Topeka Capital-Journal, “It was difficult for Linda to be pushed into the spotlight at a young age.”

Despite the landmark victory, Linda knew that we still had work to do to achieve equality and desegregation in schools. Years later, the Topeka case was revitalized due to claims that the school system was continuing to segregate students. It took several years for a concrete ruling to be made. Following a federal decision that was overturned, there was a plan to truly integrate schools in 1993.

During this revisit of Brown v. Board of Education, Linda and one of her siblings started the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research in the late 1980s. The foundation awards scholarships to POC pursuing teaching degrees, holding conferences, and working to preserve the rights won by the Brown v. Board of Education case.

Plaintiffs from Brown v. Board of Education
Carl Iwasaki/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Linda Brown’s death is a reminder that many of those who participated in the Civil Rights Movement (such as Rosa Parks, Recy Taylor, and Fannie Lou Hamer) are no longer on this earth with us. But their stories of resilience live on through us. It is our duty to ensure that they are never forgotten.

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So, Drake just helped to smash a Twitch record

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So, Drake just smashed a Twitch record playing Fortnite. Really.

Late Wednesday night, the hip hop superstar jumped on Twitch to play the popular “battle royale” game with big time streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and rapper Travis Scott. 

The squad casually drummed up over 600,000 live viewers at one point.

While Mashable has reached out to Twitch to officially confirm that this is a record for the streaming platform, the previous record was held by Dr. DisRespect, who reached a total of 388,000 concurrent viewers in February 2018.

playing fort nite with @ninja https://t.co/OSFbgcfzaZ

— Drizzy (@Drake) March 15, 2018 Read more…

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This Simple Trick Helped One Man Go From No Credit to a 700 FICO Score


If you look at your dog and he stares back at you probably wondering, “Why do you keep me in this tiny cage of an apartment?”, you might start thinking about buying a house.

But if you have no credit history, it can be hard to do adult things like get a mortgage, negotiate insurance rates or even rent a bigger apartment for Fido. The easiest place to start building good credit is with a credit card. But how do you qualify for a credit card with no credit?

A secured credit card may be the route for you.

What Is a Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card is a great way to rebuild if you have damaged credit or no credit at all. You put a deposit down as collateral, and the bank gives you a credit card with a limit that’s around the same amount as your deposit. The bank essentially uses your deposit as your line of credit.

So if you put $ 200 down, your credit line on most secured cards will be $ 200. Keep in mind that once you deposit that cash, you generally can’t withdraw it until you cancel the card, so make sure you don’t need that money any time soon.

Unsecured credit cards, on the other hand, only have the cardholder’s promise to repay.

Make a Secured Credit Card Work for You and Your Credit Score

Like unsecured cards, secured credit cards charge interest, so you still need to pay them off on time and in full every month to avoid fees.

To make your secured credit card work in your credit score’s favor, you need to know what a credit score is and follow some simple rules:

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Keep your credit usage below 30% of your credit limit.
  • Don’t open multiple cards at a time.

How Does a Secured Credit Card Build Your Credit Score?

The issuing bank reports your activity to at least one of the major credit bureaus, so after using and paying your card off for a while, your credit history and score will grow.

That’s what Matthew Ramachandran did when he was 18. He put a $ 400 deposit on a Bank of America secured credit card, which helped him grow his nonexistent credit score to a 700 in eight months. Asked about his tips for using secured credit cards to build credit, Ramachandran said, “I always used less than 30% of my credit limit.”

After hitting that 700 credit score, he canceled the secured card and got approved for an unsecured Chase Visa with travel rewards. Now he now makes business purchases with unsecured cards to get travel rewards. He even stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Hawaii for five nights with his points.

All thanks to that first secured credit card.

How to Get a Secured Credit Card

You can visit a bank or apply online. If you’re a credit union member, you may want to check there first because they often offer lower interest rates and waive annual fees.

If you have a bankruptcy on your record or a history of missed payments, the bank may not approve you for a secured credit card. If you’re denied, you have a legal right to know why. You can contact the card issuer for that information.

If you find that the card issuer rejected your application due to an error on your credit report, you can — and should — dispute the error with the credit bureaus. Once the issue is resolved, you can contact the card issuer to reapply.

How Much Will a Secured Credit Card Help my Credit Score?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule on how to use a secured credit card to build credit. The key is to keep usage low and pay off your balance in full every month.

Worried you’ll overspend or forget to pay your bill? A new app called Debitize basically turns your credit card into a debit card, for free. With it, you can connect any credit card to a checking account.

Whenever you swipe your credit card, Debitize pulls the same amount of cash from your bank account. It stores the cash for you until it’s time to pay your credit card bill. Then it pays that bill for you a week before the due date.

Card issuers want to keep you as a customer, so they’ll usually offer you an unsecured card if you’ve made about a year’s worth of on-time payments.

Disclosure: A toast to savings! Thanks for allowing us to place affiliate links in this post.

Jen Smith is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and gives tips for saving money and paying off debt on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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New Fed chairman says Amazon helped keep inflation low

Powell says oil prices, e-commerce and labor slack were factors in keeping inflation low.
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The Big Loophole That Helped Russia Exploit Facebook: Doctored Photos

This use of doctored images was a crucial and deceptively simple technique to spread fabricated information during the 2016 election. Tech companies, which are increasingly under fire, struggle to screen for indications photos might have been distorted or taken out of context.
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How Sproutling helped our daughter stay asleep

by

Kelly Wilbanks

posted in Products

It was three in the morning and I was researching ways to get my baby to sleep. Sound familiar? My youngest daughter just doesn’t like to sleep, at all. In desperation, I scrolled through the interwebs in the wee hours looking for anything promising.

That’s when I came across the Sproutling Wearable Baby Monitor. I’d been keeping track of Annie’s sleep by using my Fitbit to see how often I woke up at night. The Sproutling system looked better, though — it would track Annie’s sleep patterns specifically and give us the data we needed to make a better sleep plan for all of us.

Sproutling is a wearable monitor, but it doesn’t track heart rate or breathing like other wearables. Its most impressive claim is that after enough monitoring it can begin predicting sleeping patterns. It will let me know if I have enough time to take a shower or start dinner. It had me at “take a shower.”

Annies-fighting-sleep-face

I was so excited when it arrived in the mail. It’s an incredibly simple system, which is great because who needs complicated at 2 a.m.? It was easy to set up once I read the instructions (which I didn’t do before trying to set it up the first time). You need to download the app on your phone to control the charger. There are no buttons on either the charger or the band, because everything is controlled by your phone.

sproutling-charger-monitor

While I downloaded the app and created Annie’s profile I charged the battery. Charging the battery is so simple that I was once again confused. (Seriously!) To charge the monitor you just set the band down on top of the charger. A light will display once it’s on correctly. There is nothing to plug in, which I’ve discovered is helpful when Annie is in my arms — I can set it down with my one free hand.

In addition to charging the monitor, the charging station also acts as a sound machine and night light. I had fun setting the colors and brightness levels from my phone across the room. I also can choose from a number of sound options included, but not limited to lullabies, white noise, and thunderstorms. All of which I can switch mid-nap using my phone.

sproutling-monitor-side-by-side

The monitor comes with two different sizes of straps in order to fit babies from birth through 24 months. The Sproutling came with the smaller strap already attached, but I needed the bigger strap for my bigger baby. Once I replaced the strap, the Sproutling fit perfectly. The strap was wide and made from a soft material and they used the good (not loud) Velcro, too.

baby-sleeping-sproutling-monitor

I put the monitor on Annie’s ankle with the monitor portion directly on the back of her ankle. It’s curved to hug her calf/ankle and it’s low profile so it easily fit under her pants or sleeper and stayed put. I try to put it on right before I know she’s going to sleep. I get a lot of these updates if I don’t:

sproutling-updates

I was excited to begin collecting data, but I struggled to remember to put the monitor on consistently. Even if I remembered, my husband would forget, or the babysitter would. I didn’t want to take the chance of waking her up to put it on after she fell asleep if she was in a sleeper. I could easily put it on her ankle if she was wearing pants, but I feared waking her if I had to zip down her entire sleeper to get to her ankles. So, we missed a few nights and a few naps here and there.

First Night Summary:

sproutling-nighttime-log

Last Night Summary:

sproutling-nightime-data-3

You can see there are a few important differences. Annie went from twenty night-wakings to nine. She stirred less and was awake less the last night versus the first night. She slept longer and was much more rested the next morning.

Nap Summary:

sproutline-nap-log

Sproutling also collects data from naps, and after we’d used it a few days, it helped us figure out we were putting Annie down for her nap too late in the afternoon. If we laid her down right after lunch she slept better and went down in the evening more quickly. This has really helped us with our current nap schedule.

The Sproutling records the most accurate data if used when your baby is asleep in a crib. We are struggling to consistently make this happen. My daughter does not want to sleep in her crib, and will wake herself up and cry angrily if she finds herself in there.

Annie-sleeping

So we are still working on consistency. But having more data has helped me get on top of her sleep cycles and it has given me more motivation to establish crib sleeping. If we can be consistent about Annie’s sleeping schedule, she is a much easier baby overall.

Even now our girl isn’t sleeping perfectly, but we have a plan and that’s given me the hope I need to brew my coffee and try again.

Buy it:
$ 249.99

How do you track your baby’s sleep?

Photos by Kelly Wilbanks

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Married American Skaters Open Up About How Faith Helped Them Through a Shocking Health Scare

Just skating at the Winter Olympics this year, medal or no, is already a victory for pair figure skater Alexa Scimeca Knierim, she tells PEOPLE, less than two years after facing down a rare and potentially deadly gastrointestinal condition.

“This competition’s very meaningful for us,” says Alexa, who skates with Chris Knierim. “We’ve kind of been lacking the joy and lightheartedness of life for about two years now, from all the struggles we’ve been through, so being here together, Chris and I are kind of just enjoying it.”

The couple competed Sunday afternoon at the team figure skating event, in Gangneung, South Korea, where they placed fourth in their free skate. It was somewhat of a let-down following a short program on Thursday that earned them a season’s best score and helped keep alive Team USA’s chances of a medal in the event.

Even so, the Knierims made it to the Games — its own reward.

“Today wasn’t a brilliant skate by any means, but we’re just so happy to be here,” says Alexa, 26, adding, “We’ve already won by being able to step on the ice.”

Asked if such a competition feels like a celebration, having made it through the lows of her health struggles, the couple is quick to reply yes. “One-hundred percent,” Chris, 30, tells PEOPLE.

Speaking to reporters not long after their free skate, he and Alexa also discussed the key role their Christian faith has played in their lives, from Alexa’s worsening condition, her diagnosis on through her recovery.

“It’s the reason I was able to get back on the ice,” Alexa said, “because I stopped worrying and stopped trying to control life, because I couldn’t. In the moment, you know, I was so sick and didn’t really know where things were going to go for me, whether it was skating or life in general. So I finally just threw my hands up and said like, ‘You lead the way,’ and it’s my testimony and I stay true to it.”

“And even here at the Games, it’s no longer about me,” she continued. “I have fans out there who know that I am a true believer in the Lord and I’m trying my best to shine his light and let people know that it’s okay to promote him and do things for him, because in the Christian life that’s kind of what we’re supposed to.”

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

For her, the Olympics is an opportunity to “glorify God, and my followers know that that’s my purpose and it makes me happy,” Alexa said. “I’m here living my dream, and if that’s the way that I have to go about it, I’ll keep doing it.”

Standing beside her, Chris agreed: “We both share the same thing,” he said of the place of religion in their lives. “I think it’s played out in her a little stronger than me because of the situation she was put in.”

Alexa and Chris have a group prayer before each of their competitions, just after warming up off the ice, she said. They also meet regularly with other Christian athletes in Colorado.

“So it’s taken a big kind of role in my life and Chris’ and I truly believe that’s why we were able to get here,” she said.

The Knierims previously detailed Alexa’s health journey to PEOPLE in an interview last fall, explaining then how she became ill in the spring and summer of 2016, eventually being diagnosed two months after their June wedding that year.

“In April of 2016 I started feeling very sick at a competition, it was the last one of the year, and issues continued to develop all the way through August of 2016 when I was finally diagnosed and had immediate surgery in my abdomen,” Alexa told PEOPLE. “I ended up having three surgeries and we had to withdraw from all of our events for the first half of the year. My life, our life, changed drastically in that time period — life was on hold and we weren’t really sure what life would be for the two of us.”

“I’m 5-foot-2 and I was about just over 80 lbs. before and after surgery,” Alexa said. “I lost all of my muscle, and my body mechanics when I started getting back into working out were like next to none … the very first time I stepped back on the ice after my surgeries, Chris had to hold me up because my body was not capable of standing on its own.”

And yet here they both are now, together, at their first Olympic Games.

“Coming here, you know, this is the cherry on top,” Chris said last week after competing in the pairs’ short program. “We’ve had a tough couple of years, and this is just something really special.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.


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DOJ busts counterfeiter who helped sell more than 40,000 fake iPhones and iPads in the US

Counterfeit iPhones

The DOJ on Friday announced the arrest of Jianhua Li, a Chinese national living in the United States who, over a period of nearly five years, participated in a massive iPhone and iPad counterfeiting operation that netted him more than $ 1.1 million in proceeds.

According to a press release from the DOJ, Li worked with a small group of people who smuggled in sophisticated iOS counterfeits bearing the same look and feel of authentic Apple products, right down to the appropriate trademarks and Apple-style packaging. Li pled guilty and will be handed down a sentence on May 30.

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DOJ busts counterfeiter who helped sell more than 40,000 fake iPhones and iPads in the US originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 3 Feb 2018 at 16:41:09 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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How the iPhone’s Health app helped authorities gather details about a brutal murder

Health App

In something of a bizarre story, the Health app on Apple’s iPhone may play a pivotal role in definitively proving who raped and murdered a young medical student in Germany late last year.

As detailed by the BBC, German authorities already have a suspect in custody, a man who we only know by Hussein K. As the story goes, Hussein K has already admitted his involvement, though some details regarding the murder still remain fuzzy. Incidentally, Hussein K refused to provide the pin code of his iPhone to investigators, thus prompting authorities to outsource the task to a Munich-based security firm which managed to hack into the device.

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How the iPhone’s Health app helped authorities gather details about a brutal murder originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 14 Jan 2018 at 15:33:07 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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The 3 Things That Helped This Woman Lose 100 Pounds in 10 Months

A scary health diagnosis was the wake-up call she needed.

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The ‘gold hands’ that helped deliver Alabama’s sweet revenge

Da’Ron Payne wasn’t surprised by his interception or his touchdown reception, both career firsts. The 308-pound defensive tackle insisted he saw those plays in his sleep. “I dream crazy dreams,” he said. “It just so happened to come true this time.” Payne’s interception and touchdown keyed No. 4 Alabama’s dominant 24-6 win over No. 1…
Sports | New York Post

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McConnell: Bannon’s ‘Political Genius’ Helped Lose Alabama Race

During his final press conference of the year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took a shot at Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist who has positioned himself as a kingmaker for Republican candidates running against the so-called “establishment.” Asked if he blamed Bannon for Democratic candidate Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election, McConnell took the opportunity to mock the supposed strategizing of the Breitbart chief. “Well, let me just say this: the political genius on display throwing away a seat in the reddest state in America is hard to ignore,” McConnell said. The Senate majority leader shied away from publicly endorsing the Republican candidate Roy Moore, an accused pedophile, while Bannon and Trump openly endorsed him even after a litany of sexual-misconduct allegations emerged.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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3 Tips That Have Helped Me Manage My Irritable Bladder

People develop irritable bladders for a number of reasons, but it’s not a topic that gets talked about a huge deal, probably because a lot of people expect an irritable bladder to be something that only develops later in life. However, as a person in their early 30s, I can confirm my bladder is something I have to manage on a daily basis, and that means monitoring what I drink.

The symptoms of an irritable bladder include waking in the night several times to pee, having a sudden urge to urinate and being unable to control your bladder, possibly even peeing a little as a result. Basically, the struggle is real.

My irritable bladder is caused by multiple sclerosis, but that’s not the only condition that can trigger an irritable bladder. As the Mayo Clinic notes, things that can cause an overactive bladder include neurological conditions, infections, excessive alcohol or caffeine, certain medications and other health issues. If you think you might have an irritable bladder, then it’s worth consulting a medical professional.

More: The Incredibly Simple Thing You Can Do to Prevent UTIs

For me, I realized I had a problem when I needed to rush to the toilet once an hour. This meant sleeping through the night was impossible, as I’d routinely wake up desperate for a pee several times before morning. I was tired and cranky and felt as though I was getting a urinary tract infection far too often. And sometimes, I was getting an infection for real, but because my bladder felt so acidic so often, it became difficult to tell for sure.

My MS nurse suggested I get a bladder test and immediately asked me what I’d been drinking. As a heavy soda drinker, she suggested I cut back on my intake of Coca-Cola. She gave me a helpful list of drinks that make the bladder more active than it should be, such as citrus juices, soda, tea and coffee. The thought of cutting down on all my caffeine intake was terrifying, but if it was going to help my overactive bladder, it was worth a try. Here are just some of the ways you can manage an irritable bladder.

Drink more water & less fizzy or caffeine-based drinks

As Health magazine says, drinking both too much or too little liquid can cause an irritable bladder. If I’ve forgotten to have enough water, this causes a severe burning when I pee, not unlike the feeling when you have a urinary tract infection. Conversely, returning to my old habits of drinking too much soda makes me way more aware of my bladder and makes the urge to pee even greater. If you’re peeing too frequently and it’s interfering with your day-to-day life, then check the list of drinks that aggravate your bladder and moderate your intake. Switching caffeine-based beverages for water is almost always a great choice, although I find that a water-based coffee, such as an Americano, is usually fine on my bladder.

Make sure you empty your bladder fully when you pee

As my sensation has been affected by my multiple sclerosis, I’m not always 100 percent sure I’ve emptied my bladder fully. But it’s so important to make sure you’ve flushed out all the urine in your bladder so germs can’t manifest, causing infections and irritating the bladder more than is necessary.

More: I have a common bladder condition no one talks about, & it’s taking over my life

Always pee right after sex

Before I began moderating what I drink, I often developed urinary tract infections after having sex. This was a combination of my irritated bladder and the germs that come into contact with the urethra during sex. Making sure I pee right after sex ensures any germs are flushed away, and I also find that showering wards off any potential infections. Everyone’s different, but for me, mixing sex with an irritable bladder was once a painful combo. Drinking plenty of water before sex also helps and makes sure my bladder isn’t overly stimulated.

By Amy Mackelden

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Stressed Out? This Free Chatbot Helped Me Feel Better in Just 15 Minutes

Are you feeling stressed, anxious or depressed?

You’re definitely not alone. And as a mostly broke writer trudging through the holiday season, I’m right there with you.

The key word there is “broke,” which is one reason why more than half of Americans who need some sort of mental health treatment go it alone instead of springing for therapy.

But what if I told you there was a free “therapist” you could talk to right now? And what if I told you I personally felt better after just one 15-minute session?

Oh yeah, and the therapist fits right in your pocket.

Meet Woebot, a personal chatbot designed to monitor your mood and teach you about what makes you tick using a technique called cognitive behavioral therapy.

It’s available through Facebook Messenger, and according to a Stanford University study of young adults, Woebot reduced anxiety and depression in participants in just two weeks..

It’s definitely no substitute for a true human therapist, but with its current price tag of free (at least, they say, until they decide to push for a more sustainable business model), it’s certainly worth a try.

So I tried it.

Here’s How to Get Started With Woebot

Your first session with Woebot will take about 15 minutes or less, depending on whether you have a pile of issues to deal with, like I do. Start by finding its page on Facebook, and shooting it a message.

A simple “HELP ME PLEASE I’M FREAKING OUT” will suffice.

Woebot started off our first session by putting me at ease.

“The beauty of talking to me is that we can learn together in the context of everyday life,” it said.

“No childhood stuff?” I asked.

“No you have to go to a proper therapist for that 😃,” Woebot retorted.

It’s simple enough. After an initial questionnaire about anxiety and depression levels, I just check in with Woebot daily. The software charts my energy levels and feelings to help find trends in how life events affect my emotional well being.

“Sometimes I see patterns that can be hard for humans to see,” Woebot said. “It also helps that I have a perfect memory 😇.”

How I Felt After My First Session With Woebot

I definitely felt at ease and even giggled a few times during my first interaction with Woebot. I mean, after my initial assessment, it sent me a gif of a hedgehog getting a belly rub.

Woebot explained the general causes of some of the thoughts in my head giving me anxiety, forced me to confront them, and then rewrite — er text —  the thoughts objectively. Then it would congratulate me on my progress and send an emoji of some kind (Hats off! 🤠).

I chose to work through three thoughts at first, but you can choose how many issues to explore.

As weird as it was texting my deepest thoughts to a dang robot, after the session I felt remarkably more relaxed and focused on the day ahead. It was like getting a $ 60 therapy session for free (but don’t take my word for that.)

“Although I am merely a guide, I’m very proud of you and you can be proud of yourself,” Woebot said.

Thanks, Woebot.

Does This Mean More Mental Health Apps Are Coming?

Woebot is particularly exciting when you consider the fact that serious mental illness is most prevalent among the poorest Americans, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker.

But there are still plenty of obstacles that could slow the spread of similar apps.

For one, the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) doesn’t cover these chatbots and therefore can’t ensure patient privacy, according to an article in the Washington Post. And while Woebot did have some human warmth, it’s just not good at chitchat.

“These things can work well on a superficial level with superficial conversations,” John Torous, co-director of a digital psychiatry program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told the Post. “[But] are they effective tools, do they change outcomes and do they deliver more efficient care? It’s still early.”

In the meantime, there are plenty of other free or low-cost ways to supplement your chosen chatbot. Finding a training clinic at a university or attending support groups are a couple of options.

Exercise keeps me on top of my mental health game. So find yourself a cheap gym that’s right for you.

You could always try caring about work less, although that one is a bit of a stretch for all my fellow anxietyheads out there.

For now, there’s always Woebot —I’ll be checking in with it first thing tomorrow.

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. He is totally not freaking out right now. He swears.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Interview: Guillermo del Toro on How Making ‘The Shape of Water’ Helped Save His Life

Interview: Guillermo del Toro on How Making 'The Shape of Water' Helped Save His Life

It's not all too common to refer to a movie about a sea creature as being beautiful, elegant and one helluva tearjerker, but that's exactly the best way to describe Guillermo del Toro's magnificent new film, The Shape of Water. In it, Sally Hawkins stars as a mute woman whose janitorial job at a mysterious laboratory leads to her uncovering of a sea creature being held captive and experimented on. She befriends the creature, then puts forth a plan to save it without being detected by…

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How the Instant Pot Helped This Woman Lose 125 Pounds

Getting a healthy dinner made in less than 30 minutes changed *everything.*

Health – Good Housekeeping

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These Are the Tips That Helped Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson Finally Lose Weight

They’re incredibly doable.

Health – Good Housekeeping

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How Bob Menendez’s friends helped him steer clear of jail

‘Gifts to cultivate friendship are not bribes,” Abbe Lowell said in his closing in defense of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez — and enough jurors agreed to result in a hung jury and a mistrial. The Biz Markie defense — he’s just a friend — worked. Lowell was worth every penny of the $ 4.5 million raised…
Opinion | New York Post

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Apple’s offshore move has helped save them billions in taxes

Apple quietly sidestepped a crackdown on its much-maligned Ireland tax avoidance practice by moving its overseas operation to the tax haven of the Channel Island of Jersey, documents leaked from an offshore law firm revealed. The move, beginning in 2015, allowed Apple to continue to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes. Apple, the most…
Tech | New York Post

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A Few Lifestyle Changes Helped This Woman Lose 175 Pounds

At 320 pounds, with a serious risk of high blood pressure, she knew she needed to make a change.

Health – Good Housekeeping

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How the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor helped save a man’s life

Apple Watch

For as helpful as the Apple Watch is for keeping up with notifications and keeping tabs on your fitness, it’s easy to forget that the increasingly popular wearable also has the ability to help save lives. This past Friday, James Green sent out a tweet explaining how the heart rate sensor on the Apple Watch did just that.

After receiving a notification that his heart rate was abnormally high, Green — who was using the iOS app HeartWatch to monitor his heart rate readings from his Apple Watch — went to the hospital to get things checked out. As it turns out, Green had a pulmonary embolism, a serious ailment that occurs when a blood clot is present in the lungs. Notably, a rapid or irregular heartbeat are just two of the few symptoms that often manifest when an individual has a pulmonary embolism.

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How Donald Trump Jr. Helped Push The Now Highly-Controversial Gun Silencer Bill

For the second time in three months, a bill that would ease regulations on the purchase of suppressors for firearms and counts the president’s eldest son among its top booster has been sidelined by a high-profile domestic shooting.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Diet And Workout Plan That Helped Paul Rudd Get Ripped At 46

You won’t even recognize him in this photo.

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Reese Witherspoon’s real-life experiences helped her relate to pretty much every woman on “Big Little Lies”

Reese Witherspoon’s real-life experiences helped her relate to pretty much every woman on “Big Little Lies”


Reese Witherspoon’s real-life experiences helped her relate to pretty much every woman on “Big Little Lies”

Season 1 of HBO’s Big Little Lies was about more than just murder and intrigue — although we love both of those things in our TV. Big Little Lies centered on a group of women who all had different life experiences and were v. relatable. And Reese Witherspoon recently said that her own life experiences helped her relate to basically every woman on Big Little Lies.

Season 1 told the stories of Madeline (Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman), Jane (Shailene Woodley), Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz), and Renata (Laura Dern). They are five women who ultimately have each other’s backs when nothing goes as planned.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Witherspoon discussed how she prepared (or didn’t have to prepare) for the role of Madeline…

And how her real-life experiences informed all of that.

“You know, you pull a lot from life. I’m a mom, I’ve been divorced, I’ve been remarried, I’ve had more children. I just lived a lot of this life! I was a young mother…I’ve pretty much been every woman in that show.”

And the other actresses on the show?

They drew upon real-life experiences as well:

“Sitting with Nicole and Laura and Zoe and Shai, we all had experiences that were applicable to each character. So instead of spending a lot of time thinking about lines and doing deep research, we just spent a lot of time getting to know each other.”

It’s clear when watching Big Little Lies that friendship is at the heart of the show, so it’s pretty cool to see the actresses became friends IRL too. Now we’re even more excited for Season 2!



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Mom Explains How Giving Birth Helped Her Learn To Love Her Body

A California mom’s side-by-side photos show how much she’s changed in 10 years ― and how much she’s learned to love her body.

Lindsay Wolf, an actress and writer, shared two side-by-side photos on Instagram on June 5. The first photo shows her at 23 years old, and in the caption, Wolf wrote that she was self-conscious then and “critical of her physical shape.” The second photo shows her at 33. Wolf wrote that the pic captures a “woman who is learning to love her body without pressuring it to be anything other than what it is.”

“And in the process, she is healing a lifelong struggle of never fully seeing herself for the extraordinary human being she is,” she wrote.

Wolf, who has an 11-year-old stepdaughter and a 19-month-old daughter, told HuffPost she felt motivated to share the post because her journey to completely loving her body has been “20 years in the making.” After she gave birth, she wasn’t actively attempting to make herself smaller for the first time in her life, which marked an incredible turning point for the way she viewed her body. 

“It took becoming pregnant and watching my body support a baby, along with a weight gain of almost 50 pounds over the course of 20 years, to realize that my body is just right exactly as it is,” she told HuffPost.

Wolf said a photo her husband took immediately after she gave birth reflects the pride and appreciation she had learned to have for her body.

“I’m grinning from ear to ear at him in the photo, because while my body looks vastly different than it ever has before, I was basking in the immediate pride of my body doing something truly magical,” she said. “This body of mine held and grew and pushed out my incredible daughter.”

Through her post, Wolf hopes other women learn to embrace their bodies, especially moms after they’ve given birth. She pointed out how many moms are encouraged to erase their pregnancies from their bodies as soon as they welcome their babies.

“It’s funny ― women are cherished while in their pregnant bodies. We are constantly told things like, ‘You’re glowing!’ and how beautiful we are in the state of pregnancy,” she told HuffPost. “But it seems like as soon as we’ve transitioned into full motherhood mode, the appreciation for what our bodies continue to be capable of ― and how they look ― goes completely away.”

Though she’s focusing on moving forward, Wolf said if she could go back and tell her 23-year-old self anything, she’d tell her she is “so much more than her physical body.” She’d also tell her that one day she would learn to love herself unconditionally despite the harmful things she heard and damaging pressures she faced growing up. 

“Most importantly, I’d tell her that she couldn’t control how others viewed and commented on her body growing up and that those destructive words slung at her body had nothing to do with her and everything to do with how little we are taught to love ourselves,” she said. “But it is now her responsibility to love herself as fiercely as she can.”

The HuffPost Parents newsletter, So You Want To Raise A Feminist, offers the latest stories and news in progressive parenting. 

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Christina El Moussa Says Yoga Helped Her Cope with Her Divorce — and Shares Her Fitness Secrets!

Christina El Moussa has been open about her difficult decision to split from her husband of seven years, Tarek, and says working out has helped get her through.

“Exercise is my stress reliever,” the Flip or Flop star, 33, tells PEOPLE.

El Moussa does a combination of running and yoga to help her feel her best.

“There is nothing like a good three-mile run for me to really clear my head and get my endorphins going,” she says. “My other go-to is yoga. I have the most amazing private instructor who has changed my life. Our sessions are very spiritual and have really helped me cope with my divorce and other emotions I’m going through during this time.”

The home design expert practices yin yoga, which includes a lot of meditation.

“I love it so much, it’s inspired me to take a trip to Bali this summer,” she says. “I can’t wait!”

RELATED VIDEO: Christina El Moussa: I Leaned on My Kids and Friends Through the Divorce

El Moussa has also recently started taking circuit-based classes at Orangetheory Fitness.

“I discovered Orangetheory and I’m totally hooked!” she says. “It combines running, which is my favorite workout, with weight training, which I never do on my own. It goes by super quickly and is always challenging. And it helped to get me in the best shape of my 30s!”

And it definitely shows! El Moussa recently showcased her fit physique while doing a photo shoot for L*Space’s Mommy & Me line “Little L.”

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When it comes to nutrition, El Moussa sticks to “a very clean, organic diet.”

“My kids have food allergies so we all try and limit gluten and dairy,” she says.

“I eat five small meals a day that usually consist of overnight oats for breakfast, a green juice for a snack, salad with a protein for lunch, granola bar as a snack and then a healthy dinner of chicken or salmon and veggies, tacos or vegan chili,” says El Moussa. “For a little dessert, I love Justin’s Organic Mini Peanut Butter Cups — delish!”


PEOPLE.com

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How Watching ‘Gilmore Girls’ Helped These Marines Escape The Reality Of War

Gilmore Girls” holds a place in every fan’s heart, but for a group of U.S. Marines, the beloved WB series took on a special importance during wartime. 

As shown on a recent “CBS This Morning” segment, when Jesse, Luke, Erik and John were stationed together in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2005, they stumbled upon a DVD boxset of the second season of the series and immediately gravitated toward the world of Stars Hollow. 

The idyllic Connecticut setting, heartwarming storylines and the focus on friends and family provided a much-needed escape from the horrors of war they experienced outside the military base.

“At least for me, Stars Hollow was the America I think we all thought — we all wished we were fighting for,” Erik told CBS.

“Gilmore Girls” became a central part of their friendship over the years, prompting the veterans to show their appreciation in an emotional letter to showrunners Amy Sherman-Palladino and husband Daniel Palladino. 

“Part of the attraction is a simple case of contrasts. I live in a strict, macho, sometimes violent world that very often does not make sense,” Luke says in the clip, breaking down while rereading the letter. “In the end, much of the entertainment is escapism. And for me and a few friends over here in Iraq, there’s no place we’d rather escape to. It reminds us of all the best parts of home.”

The recent Netflix revival of the series provided the perfect excuse for the unit to reunite years after they returned from war and the opportunity for a surprise phone call from the Palladinos during their binge-watching session. 

“I have actually kept the letter in my various desks over the years, always,” Amy admitted. “So it’s been very close to me.”

Although Jesse, Luke, Erik and John couldn’t wait to see what was in store for the Gilmore girls in the revival, the real gift, they say, was being able to spend time together again. 

“While we are going to watch the ‘Gilmore Girls’ and that’s a huge part of it and we’re very, very excited for this revival, the reality was, we just need to get together,” Erik said. “We need excuses to get together. We need excuses to remember.”   

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How Nothing But Junk Food Helped One Man Lose Weight

Everything, including donuts, in moderation.

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When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II

When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II


When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks, for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks, in every theater of war.Comprising 1,200 different titles of every imaginable type, these paperbacks were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy; in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific; in field hospitals; and on long bombing flights. They wrote to the authors, many of whom responded to every letter. They helped rescueThe Great Gatsbyfrom obscurity. They made Betty Smith, author ofA Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon.When Books Went to Waris an inspiring story for history buffs and book lovers alike.
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Dick Cavett Explains How David Letterman’s ‘Mask Of Innocence’ Helped Him Get Away With Anything

Late-night TV legend Dick Cavett joined HuffPost Live on Wednesday to look back on the legacy of David Letterman and say goodbye to the subversive comedy icon, who officially begins his retirement after his final “Late Show” episode airs tonight.

Cavett, a longtime fan of and former guest on Letterman’s show, told host Josh Zepps that the key to Letterman’s incredible interview style was his ability to hilariously insult his guests even as they sat right next to him, creating a unique “sense of danger” on his show. Cavett said Letterman was able to sneak by his biting barbs thanks to “that hayseed, rustic, Midwestern, innocent, clownish face.”

In order to do “those things that he was criticized for and the dummies didn’t get,” Cavett explained Letterman often hid his cutting wit “behind a wonderful mask of innocence, and I think that’s what made it effective for those who dug it, among whom I was one.”

Cavett added that often guests had no idea they’d been hilariously ripped apart by Letterman until after the interview was over.

“David’s attitude — it wasn’t so much ever what he said — but his attitude and his looks were priceless, and I’m sure some of [the guests] were stunned when they got home, saw themselves with David and saw what he had done to them,” Cavett said.

Click here to watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Cavett and former Letterman writers and associates.

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Rape Survivor: Working On A Sexual Assault Documentary Helped Me Heal

Ari Mostov says she was bitter that she felt pushed out of her “dream school” in 2013, after campus officials didn’t take her report of rape seriously.

Now, the 22-year-old is channeling her energy into “It Happened Here,” a documentary about campus rape — work she said makes her feel like she is making an impact and has also helped her heal.

Mostov filed a complaint in May 2013 against the University of Southern California that resulted in an ongoing federal investigation of the school. In the complaint, Mostov detailed that the university’s Department of Public Safety had told her she had not been raped because her assailant stopped and did not orgasm.

Records later obtained by The Huffington Post showed that the DPS had also labeled Mostov’s report as an “injury response” rather than rape, which she believes shows how the school kept sexual assault statistics low.

The increased scrutiny on USC began to subside in 2014. Some of the complainants graduated, while others said they became too stressed to continue speaking about their cases in public. Mostov was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and clinical depression. She had found university employees’ responses to her report of an assault to exacerbate her mental anguish, so she left USC behind.

“I knew returning to school, it was going to be absolute hell again,” Mostov said, so she took time off to address the aftermath of her assault on her own terms.

Mostov was a film and screenwriting major at USC, and was able to find some short-term production work after leaving school. Then she was introduced to Marjorie Schwartz Nielsen in November 2014, who agreed to hire Mostov to help work on the “It Happened Here” release and subsequent campaign and promotions. The film debuted on the cable channel Pivot earlier this year and began being screened on college campuses in conjunction with the White House’s “It’s On Us” anti-sexual violence campaign. It will be released on iTunes and Google Play on May 12.

Working on the film, Mostov said, has been “one of the most amazing experiences” of her life.

“For the longest time I wasn’t able to think about what happened, I wasn’t able to grieve,” Mostov said. “Not being able to return to the school of my dreams and all of this hurt and pain I was putting off — I was finally able to put it to work.”

Nielsen said the survivors she has worked with and interviewed came forward for various reasons — that their assailant attacked someone else, that they felt their school’s atmosphere was getting worse, that they were tired of hearing stories similar to theirs — but what has kept them involved is a desire for “not letting the momentum die.”

“None of them pursued civil suits against their attackers,” she said. “They took up activism because they wanted it to change things.”

Neilsen said the social activism component is critical because to actually eliminate sexual violence, awareness isn’t enough — advocates need to address actual solutions.

At each screening, Neilsen said she explains campaigns some colleges have hosted on their campuses to inspire copy-cat demonstrations, and asks students in attendance to take the White House’s “It’s On Us” pledge.

The “It Happened Here” team has had more than 130 screening requests for the film, including some from organizations in France, Canada and Bangladesh. It’s stretching beyond college campuses, getting screened at several California high schools. On March 30, Mostov and Neilsen spoke about sexual assault at a TEDxYouth event in San Diego. Over the summer, the team will plan for more screenings at schools in the fall. They said they are particularly hoping to get more high school students to see the film, so they can start engaging young people before they arrive at college.

“This affects everyone, and really, in order to stop the cycle, we need to get ahead of these behaviors,” Mostov said. She envisions a day when asking for consent is as routine as asking for a condom.

“We’re really hoping to help to teach people, especially the younger generation, that they have a right to advocate for themselves,” she added. “It’s personally something I really struggled with because I didn’t know.”

Mostov wants to send the message that “I am brave.”

“I am doing this, this happened to me and I’m not going to be silent about it,” she explained. “My story matters too. This is what happened. I don’t care if you don’t believe me, I don’t care. This is what happened to me.”

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Therapy That Confronts Trauma of Sexual Abuse Helped Teen Girls With PTSD

It worked better than standard supportive counseling and was deemed safe for younger patients
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Lea Michele Reveals Kate Hudson Helped Her Heal After Cory Monteith’s Death

Lea Michele is opening up about her boyfriend Cory Monteith’s death in the new issue of Elle magazine.

The “Glee” star, 27, covers the December issue and reveals that her co-star Kate Hudson took her in and helped her cope with Monteith’s death. Michele admits that Hudson was one of the first people she called upon hearing the tragic news, explaining, “I called her and said, ‘I don’t know where I’m going to go because my house is swarmed [with reporters].’ She was like, ‘Oh, you’re going to stay at my house.’ Like it was nothing.”

And Hudson didn’t just open her doors to Michele.

“She let my family stay there, and any of my friends. She made sure that in the refrigerator were my favorite juices,” Michele tells Elle. “I’ll never really be able to thank her, truly, for what she did for me.”

Monteith died in July at the age of 31 from a “mixed drug toxicity” consisting of heroin and alcohol and Michele has been slowly adjusting to a life without him ever since.

“It’s very hard,” she admits, continuing, “You have to be very strong to come out of this alive, but I think by doing the best for myself, by showing that you don’t have to lose yourself, maybe someone else will feel some sort of strength or comfort.”

In the interview, Michele also admits that she and Monteith began dating during the first season of “Glee,” but that “no one really caught on.” In early 2012, they made it official: “‘You wanna do this?'” Michele recalled them asking themselves. “We knew.”

“I know that Cory would want nothing more than for me to take this situation and use it to help people,” Michele adds, “I don’t know if I will. I don’t know how.”

See Lea’s Elle cover below:

lea michele
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