Back in the day, tea was simply the stuff with the Lipton label on it. Good, basic, but no surprises. Then, over the years, in swept the herbal varieties (Red Zinger, anyone?), the green, health-boosting versions, the rooibos (still struggling to pronounce that one …) kind, and more. We longtime and recent tea lovers rejoiced!
Now, in most cities and towns across America, there are many, many more types of tea. And some of the newest ones are worth discovering this summer. Bubble teas or boba teas are found in cafes and mall shops, offering concoctions that hail from Taiwan. They’re usually served icy cold, in tall glasses with wide straws, because along with the tea, milk, and flavorings are tapioca pearls or other jelly-like beads that add a fun, offbeat texture (at least to U.S. palates) to the drink.
These drinks are a fun indulgence instead of ice cream as the temperatures tick up—and when we say indulgence, that’s code for calorific. They are often blended with sweetened condensed milk instead of regular milk, bringing the calories into the 300 to 600 range! (You can ask to swap in different milks to bring it in line.) Now that we’ve shared the buzzkill details, let’s focus on the fun. Often brightly colored, these teas come in all kinds of enticing flavors. At Boba Tea KC in Kansas City, Missouri, you can sample honeydew, lychee, mango, or taro, the latter being a root vegetable.
Another kind of tea to try: Fruit tea. One chain, Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea, serves up tea with different levels of sweetness and ice, and you pick the fresh fruit that gets chopped up and added to your drink. Pineapple, passion fruit, winter melon, green plum, apples, and oranges are among the options. And if you want to go all in, you can get fruit tea with the boba/bubbles in it. Regardless of what variety you try, it’s a fun way to cool off this season and a perfect way to break out of the afternoon “Want to get an iced coffee?” rut. — Janet Siroto
Go ahead and cheer for the members of the French team, who just won the World Cup, or bemoan the fact that another squad you were rooting for lost. But after that, you may find yourself wondering about the woman you saw while watching the final – the one who was cheering so enthusiastically from the stands and hugging the second-place Croatian team after the loss. She’s Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the 50-year-old female president of Croatia.
At a time when women fighting for better representation on the world’s political stage, Grabar-Kitarovic is an example of success, having served for three-plus years as her country’s highest-ranking elected official.
Prior to earning that office, she served as deputy of NATO’s General Secretary for public policies, Croatian ambassador to the United States, and Croatia’s foreign minister. Impressive! Grabar-Kitarovic has been credited with putting Croatia on a path to overcome a devastating recession and helping to improve relations between Iran and Europe. In addition, she’s raising two teenagers with her husband, Jakov Kitarovic. She’s well-liked for her upbeat, accessible demeanor – and the fact that she runs her own social media in a positive and uplifting way is a good example for politicians around the globe.
More than a million adults in the US attended some sort of summer camp in recent years; would you be ready to join their ranks between now and Labor Day? While some of these programs cater to a younger crowd, there are plenty of options for those of us at midlife, and they are often tailored to people who want to just dip their toes in the water. In other words, you can bunk at these camps for just a few days or a week, versus a longer, “school’s out for the summer” commitment.
Among the most popular are those programs that allow campers to pursue a hobby or passion, while meeting new people and breaking away from the everyday. A few examples:
The New York Times (aka The Gray Lady) has a new way of handling their obituaries, which we think deserves a round of applause. Acknowledging that too often it has only run tributes to the lives of white men, the newspaper is trying to course-correct with a feature called “Overlooked No More.”
Here, the Times turns back the clock and salutes notable female lives, including Qiu Jin, a revolutionary Chinese feminist, and Ida Wells, a pioneering black journalist who crusaded against lynching.
Since NextTribe is focusing on food this month, we also want to mention another woman whose life is chronicled in this column: Ruth Wakefield, who lived from 1903 to 1977. Her contribution to our culture is a delicious one. In the 1930s, she and her husband owned and ran the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts, where she developed a certain cookie you may have heard of—the Toll House Chocolate Chip, later popularized by Nestle. There are conflicting stories about whether the chocolate bits were added to the dough in the hopes that they’d stay intact or whether Wakefield had assumed they’d melt and create a uniform chocolate color and flavor.
Whatever the case, millions of people are in her debt.
In addition to appreciating Wakefield’s ingenuity, let’s thank The New York Times for coming up with this excellent way to look back and salute previously unsung female heroes.
Think back to your teenage summers. Remember slathering on baby oil, grabbing one of those silver reflective gizmos, and lying on a beach, by a pool, or pretty much anywhere unshaded in pursuit of the perfect tan? Your older and wiser self knows that was not the smartest strategy, but you may think an SPF 30 cream is the best sunscreen you can use right now. Nope!
Skin cancer rates continue to rise, and medical professionals advise you use at least SPF 50, reapplying every two hours that you are out in the sun. Since sun screens are an inexact science – Did you really reach all of your back? Did you sweat some off? – some dermatologists are recommending you go even higher. For instance, Joshua Zeichner, MD, who’s Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, recently said, “There’s been a recent study that looked at sunscreen with SPF 100+ compared to SPF 50 on the ski slopes of Colorado showed that the SPF 100+ gave significantly better protection against the sun.”
To take care of your skin and yourself, look for a stratospherically high SPF. We like Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+ for less than $10 a tube.
– Janet Siroto
And you thought onesies were just for babies!
That all-in-one fashion garment is baaaaack — and in a big way. It may seem like a redux of that 80s catsuit (remember, worn with heels and maybe a boxy man’s style jacket with sleeves pushed up?). Its return is a hot trend for workout rats, especially those hitting the yoga mat.
Call it a onesie, a unitard, a jumpsuit, a catsuit, a bodysuit or a leotard; it’s actually quite brilliant as a workout garment. No more shirt slide-ups (or drop-downs) when you’re working hard in half-pigeon or handstand. Since the top and yoga pants are all-in-one, onesies withstand all kinds of flexibility and motion maneuvers. I, for one, hate when my tank top scooches up my back in child’s pose, falls over my face in rag doll or drapes down exposing my stomach in headstands.
Great options are available at Carbon 38, Lululemon, Onzie and Free People. The company called Live the Process goes one step beyond onesie architecture to what looks like a retro weight lifter’s uniform that they call “The Suspender Leotard.”
Now, get out there and sweat. No need to be a baby about it.
Here are a few onesies we love:
Funny, isn’t it, how the urge to redecorate, declutter or purge down to the studs hits when one reaches midlife. (Is it hormonal?) Whether your tastes run towards rustic or midcentury modern, there are plenty of places to get your design sense stoked as well as the nuts and bolts of renovating. Here, a few of our favorites:
Apartment Therapy (photo at left): Whether you live in an apartment or a small home, this site is a trove of inspiration, allowing you to peek into dwellings around the globe (New York, Nashville, Amsterdam) to see how others express their style and make the most of the space available. Fun product picks, advice for petite gardens, and other great features.
Houzz: This is the biggest site out there, filled with inspiring photos of every room of the house, links for finding products and design professionals, as well as features that take you inside homes (sign us up for the Parisian loft they recently showcased, please), share designer wisdom and even offer smart spring-cleaning advice.
The Inspired Room: Meet Melissa Michaels, whose award-winning blog led to a series of books, including “Love the Home You Have.” She opens the doors to her Seattle cottage and shows budget-conscious ways to chic things up–using maps as wallpaper in a hall; adding shutters without losing your sanity.
Remodelista: Started by four friends with similar design aesthetics (think Ikea and Design Within Reach), this is a brilliant place to get advice before you start a renovation project, with guides to topics like choosing kitchen equipment, countertops, and storage systems. Also plenty of “Steal This Look” and “High/Low” decorating #inspo and info.
Style by Emily Henderson: Who doesn’t love some HGTV? Emily Henderson is one of their hosts (and a spokesperson for Target), as well as a best-selling author and décor guru. Her site has gorgeous design-heaven images, and great advice, too–like where to find readymade, non-budget-busting options for awkward window sizes and shapes.
– Janet Siroto
Last month, National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale made a quick and anxious trip to Kenya to say goodbye to a beloved rhino. And maybe a whole species. Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino on the planet, died at the age of 45 after efforts to breed him with female rhinos had failed. (There is talk of harvesting their eggs and trying other reproductive procedures.)
Now Vitale is trying to raise money for Ol Pejeta so it can continue its mission of protecting and fighting for some of the world’s most vulnerable creatures. Each print is $225, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Kenyan conservancy. “Anything we can all do to collectively protect what is left of this magnificent planet is so appreciated,” says Vitale.
To learn more and order a print, click here.
There’s probably a lot you know about Barbra Streisand – that her breakthrough was in the movie Funny Girl, that “Evergreen” was one of her biggest hits, and that you’ll never forget the way she said that line, “Your girl is lovely, Hubbell” in The Way We Were. But did you know she’s such a pet lover that she had her favorite dog—an adorable white fluffball–cloned after it died?
She recently told The New York Times: “I was so devastated by the loss of my dear Samantha, after 14 years together, that I just wanted to keep her with me in some way…So Sammie’s doctor took some cells from inside her cheek and the skin on her tummy just before she died. And we sent those cells to ViaGen Pets in Texas.”
Streisand wound up with two puppies who were the offspring of this process. Of them, she’s noted, “You can clone the look of a dog, but you can’t clone the soul. Still, every time I look at their faces, I think of my Samantha…and smile.”
The first cloned dog was created in 2005 in South Korea, and today, it takes about 60 days – and $50,000 – to complete the procedure. While a dog is alive, some cell samples are taken and these are later fused with a canine egg. Basically, a clone is like an identical twin born at a later date.
So, pet lovers, tell us: If the price tag were more affordable, would you clone your beloved pet? Tell us in the survey below.
If our 2-question survey doesn’t show up below, click this link.
As you’re watching the Academy Awards this weekend (and you are, right?), let’s take a minute to give a round of applause for all the 45-plus remarkable women who are nominated to take home a golden statue. Still not as many as it should be, but at least in the Supporting Actress category one of us is guaranteed to take home an Oscar. Chin-chin.
Some terrific work being recognized:
Best Supporting Actress
Which were your favorite performances this year, and who do you think will win? Tell us in the comments.