Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

Welcome to our latest issue, where we take belonging and position to task. The voices in these poems, stories, and essays question what it means to long for place, and how to create it. What if the definitions of home, the locations of the past and ancestry, have been refuted, moved, lost? What succeeds them? Here are twenty-five writers who create huge new fields for expression of metaphysical inquiry with humor, delicacy, brutal understanding, and style.

A subversion of category defines much of the work found here. Truth and meaning, art and genre, are suspicious subjects; to deal with them, we turn to keen, curious writers. They question their subjects in turn with reverence and dismissal, until a corporeal understanding – one that defies description – quickly fills the spaces. A poem moves on the page in ways that escape explanation; a story walks its subject up an impossible stairway and returns with three more. And did I mention the fishing tales?

Real Estate Listing

You will be amazed by this beautiful, convenient home on a lovely piece of property! This home is close to downtown Landrum, where interstate access, shopping, dining, schools, medical services, and much more are just up the road. But the house at 207 Forest Avenue is tucked away on a quiet road, where you will enjoy cozy, peaceful living with the sounds of nature past your front and back doors. 2,000 square feet of living space include 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The sunrise in the east fills the home each day with beautiful light. Relax on the front porch or on the back decks with your coffee, breakfast, or a good book. Out back, the two raised decks offer peaceful views of the large ¾ acre lot. The yard backs up to a lovely open space, and is perfect for birdwatching or gardening. Stunning mature trees surround the home, offering shade and privacy.


This home is updated with a new roof and is fully-furnished. The modern, spacious kitchen has elegant dark cabinetry, ample counter space, built-in microwave, and new appliances. Separate laundry room. Beautiful master bathroom features a jetted tub. All three bedrooms are well-appointed with stunning molding, finish, and trim. Gorgeous lighting fixtures and touches throughout. The dining room off the kitchen is the perfect place to gather or entertain in this welcoming open floor plan. What’s more, this home includes a den, a second kitchen, a workshop, a bonus room, and a large two-car garage, making it perfect for families, hobbyists or enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys the luxury of extra living space or the opportunity to rent out this second living area. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to own a unique home that is both ready for move-in and bursting with possibilities!

Script: Sample Dialogues for Adult English Learners

1.1 Word: Outshine (verb)

Where: Office

Employee: I am here for my performance review.

Boss: I want to congratulate you on your excellent work. You continue to outshine everyone else in the office.


1.2 Word: Outshine (verb)

Where: School

Student 1: How did you do on the science test?

Manager 2: I got almost all the questions right. But Steven will always outshine me. As usual, he got a perfect score.



2.1 Word: Delightful (adjective)

Where: Library

Mother: Which book do you want to read? This book about unicorns has delightful illustrations.

Girl: I would rather look at a book about animals.


2.2 Word: Delightful (adjective)

Where: Park

Child: Why is it so cold outside?

Mother: The weather in spring changes quickly. Later today, the weather will be delightful.



3.1 Word: Nauseous (adjective)

Where: Home

Father: The bus will be here soon but you aren’t ready for school.

Child: I can’t go to school today. I feel nauseous. My stomach hurts.


3.2 Word: Nauseous (adjective)

Where: Hotel

Wife: Do you want to go to the hotel restaurant for dinner?

Husband: I don’t want to eat anything yet. I still feel nauseous from our long hours of travel.



4.1 Word: Sneaky (adjective)

Where: Home

Son: Where is our new kitten hiding?

Mother: I can’t find him anywhere. He’s being sneaky.


4.2 Word: Sneaky (adjective)

Where: Gas station

Manager: We are missing several items from our inventory.

Employee: There have been several thefts lately. Sneaky customers came in and hid small items in their pockets, but we didn’t suspect them because they paid for gas.




5.1 Word: Insider (noun)

Where: Mall Kiosk

Employee: I can offer you an insider deal on these new toys if you stay for our demonstration.

Customer: No, thank you. I’m in a hurry.


5.2 Word: Insider (noun)

Where: Office

Employee 1: Where is Jonathan? He hasn’t been at work all week.

Employee 2: Didn’t you hear? He was fired for trading stock using secret information about our company. As an insider, only he knew the information.



6.1 Word: Intense (adjective)

Where: Police Station

Police Officer 1: We brought in a suspect this morning in the robbery case.

Police Officer 2: This case is intense. He broke into three homes in broad daylight. Everyone in the neighbourhood is uneasy.


6.2 Word: Intense (adjective)

Where: Store

Manager: Why are you taking another break?

Employee: I’m sorry, but I have helped almost a hundred customers today. The pressure is too intense.




7.1 Word: Meticulous (adjective)

Where: School

Teacher: You made several mistakes in this report.

Student: If you show me how to correct the mistakes, I will correct them. My new report will be meticulous.


7.2 Word: Meticulous (adjective)

Where: Home

Wife: We have guests coming over. Help me clean up.

Husband: The house looks fine as it is. There’s no need to be so meticulous.




8.1 Word: Monetize (verb)

Where: Airplane

Flight Attendant: Would you like to upgrade to another seat for more room?

Passenger: I shouldn’t have to pay for extra room around my seat. Why does the airline try to monetize everything?


8.2 Word: Monetize (verb)

Where: Boardroom

Manager: We are having trouble coming up with new ways to monetize our software, which customers can download for free.

CEO: We should add a way for customers to download premium features for an additional fee.



9.1 Word: Neglect (verb)

Where: School

Teacher 1: My students neglect to turn in their homework.

Teacher 2: Did you give them a reminder? My students have turned everything in on time this week.


9.2 Word: Neglect (verb)

Where: Home

Mother: Don’t neglect your dog. He needs attention.

Child: I already fed and walked the dog today. What more do I need to do?



10.1 Word: Ostentatious (adjective)

Where: Bookstore

Friend 1: I like the bright cover of this new book. What do you think?

Friend 2: That design is too ostentatious for me. It makes me wonder whether the book will be any good.


10.2 Word: Ostentatious (adjective)

Where: Sports Stadium

Coach: Why did you give him a penalty? He did nothing wrong.

Referee: The foul was ostentatious. He pushed the other player to the ground.



11.1 Word: Elaborate (adjective)

Where: High School

Student 1: The assignment due on Friday is very confusing.

Friend 2: I agree. The guidelines are far too elaborate. I don’t even know where to start.




11.2 Word: Elaborate (adjective)

Where: Hotel

Guest: I would like to check in. Am I in the right place? There are so many elaborate decorations in the lobby.

Desk Clerk: Yes, you are in the right place. The decorations are for a wedding that we are hosting tonight.



12.1 Word: Ambivalence (noun)

Where: Office

Manager: You have not been working hard enough lately.

Employee: All of us are suffering from ambivalence. We have been working on the same project for over a month. Please assign us something more interesting to do.


12.2 Word: Ambivalence (noun)

Where: Shopping Mall

Teenager 1: Where should we look first? Do you want to shop for clothes?

Teenager 2: Let’s just walk around; I don’t want to buy anything. I have been feeling a sense of ambivalence about how to spend my time.



13.1 Word: Grateful (adjective)

Where: Library

Patron: I would be grateful if you could help me track down this novel.

Librarian: I’m sorry, but someone else has already checked it out. Come back next week.


13.2 Word: Grateful (adjective)

Where: Dinner Table

Parent: Before we eat, we should say what we are grateful for.

Child: I am grateful for our house, our food, and for my new video games.



14.1 Word: Getaway (noun)

Where: Hotel

Guest: We are staying here for a week. What activities are popular on this island?

Concierge: We offer several getaway packages. There are local tour groups that will show you around the island for the day.


14.2 Word: Getaway (noun)

Where: Office

Employee: I would like to take some vacation days next week.

Boss: I need everyone to be here at work next week because we’re very busy. Plan a weekend getaway instead.




15.1 Word: Exquisite (adjective)

Where: Restaurant

Boyfriend: You look exquisite this evening.

Girlfriend: Thank you! I wanted to dress up since this is such an expensive restaurant.


15.2 Word: Exquisite (adjective)

Where: Bakery

Customer: Can you help me place an order for a wedding cake?

Employee: Here is a book that shows all the designs we offer. We are known for our exquisite three-tier cakes.



16.1 Word: Ample (adjective)

Where: University

Professor: I am assigning a research paper for next month. Allow yourselves ample time to complete it.

Student: Even with a month to prepare, it will be difficult to write twenty pages.


16.2 Word: Ample (adjective)

Where: Store

Manager: I received a call from the warehouse. A large delivery of supplies will be arriving this afternoon.

Employee: No problem. We organized our back room last week and there is ample space on the shelves.



17.1 Word: Apparel (noun)

Where: Department Store

Employee: Why do we have to organize the department?

Manager: A new line of apparel will be coming in next week. Last season’s clothing line needs to go.


17.2 Word: Apparel (noun)

Where: Shoe store

Customer: After I buy these shoes, I need to pick out some socks. Is there a store nearby that sells socks?

Employee: Actually, we sell more than shoes here. On the other side of the store, we sell apparel and accessories. I will help you find the socks you need.



18.1 Word: Aptitude (noun)

Where: School

Teacher 1: My students are preparing for the aptitude test this week.

Teacher 2: They can practice strategies, but they will only do well on the test if they have natural ability in the subject.


18.2 Word: Aptitude (noun)

Where: Ballpark

Player: We haven’t scored a single run in this game.

Coach: Don’t feel bad. That pitcher has incredible aptitude. No one can get a hit off of him.



19.1 Word: Artisan (noun)

Where: Restaurant

Waiter: What would you like to order?

Diner: I want to try the sandwich with hand-milled oat bread. I love artisan food with unique ingredients.


19.2 Word: Artisan (noun)

Where: Fair

Visitor: Where were these crafts and quilts made?

Seller: Everything at this booth was made by a local artisan. She works with natural materials and has studied with many experienced artists.



20.1 Word: Attire (noun)

Where: Coffee Shop

New Employee: What is the dress code? I want to be prepared for my first day of work.

Manager: All employees need to wear professional attire with neutral colors, but we don’t have uniforms.


20.2 Word: Attire (noun)

Where: Office

Manager: This is the third time you’ve worn jeans to work. I don’t think your attire is appropriate for the corporate environment.

Employee: I’m sorry. I thought we could wear casual clothing on Fridays.



21.1 Word: Buoyant (adjective)

Where: Restaurant

Diner 1: The waiter is taking forever to place our order.

Diner 2: He’s been over there talking to his friends for a few minutes. He clearly has a buoyant personality.


21.2 Word: Buoyant (adjective)

Where: Party

Man: We should head home now. It’s getting late.

Woman: You must be kidding. I’m in a buoyant mood tonight and I want to stay and celebrate for a while longer.



22.1 Word: Cautious (adjective)

Where: Street

Police Officer: I’ve pulled you over because you were driving much too fast, and you ran a stop sign.

Driver: I apologize. I promise to be more cautious.


22.2 Word: Cautious (adjective)

Where: Office

Employee: I haven’t received a bonus this year. Last year we had all gotten a bonus by now.

Manager: I’m sorry, but the company’s sales are low. Upper management has asked us to be very cautious with our spending, and that means we will not get bonuses this year.



23.1 Word: Chore (noun)

Where: Kitchen

Daughter: I have finished my chores.

Mother: Thank you. You can go upstairs and play.


23.2 Word: Chore (noun)

Where: Store

Employee: Why am I the only person working today?

Manager: I’m sorry, but Jason is late again. It is becoming an impossible chore to get him to come to work on time.



24.1 Word: Comprehensive (adjective)

Where: Bookstore

Customer: Do you sell any books by South American authors?

Clerk: Yes, we have a comprehensive selection of works by South American authors in the foreign fiction section.


24.2 Word: Comprehensive (adjective)

Where: High School

Student: What should we study for the final exam?

Teacher: The test will be comprehensive. You should review all the material we went over this year.



25.1 Word: Conscientious (adjective)

Where: Park

Man: There is too much litter here. This park used to be so clean.

Woman: The new park service staff is not very conscientious. It’s been a mess since they hired new workers.



25.2 Word: Conscientious (adjective)

Where: Office

Manager: Your work on the new client package has been very conscientious.

Employee: Thank you. I tried to gather as much information about the client as I could.



26.1 Word: Credible (adjective)

Where: Office

Secretary: Eric isn’t going to be here today. He has the flu.

Manager: That doesn’t seem credible. He had the flu last month. I will call him and find out what’s going on.


26.2 Word: Credible (adjective)

Where: School

Student: How can I find a credible source for my essay?

Teacher: Use the research database I listed on the guidelines. All the sources in that database are dependable and verified.



27.1 Word: Tackle (verb)

Where: Football Field

Player: What should our strategy be in the second quarter?

Coach: We need to find a way to tackle their best player. If we don’t, he will score another touchdown.


27.2 Word: Tackle (verb)

Where: Office

Manager: Someone needs to find a way to manage our new customer calls.

Employee: I have an idea about how we can tackle the problem. If one of us takes calls during lunch, we won’t fall behind.



28.1 Word: Tantalizing (adjective)

Where: Restaurant

Customer: Do you have any special meals tonight?

Waiter: Yes, in fact. Our chef is offering a tantalizing baked chicken entrée that comes with a chocolate dessert.


28.2 Word: Tantalizing (adjective)

Where: Home

Husband: Let’s go out to eat tonight.

Wife: That’s a tantalizing idea, but we should stay in and save money since we’re going out with friends next week.





29.1 Word: Tender (adjective)

Where: Mall

Friend 1: I thought that Maria was going to join us today.

Friend 2: She can’t make it. Her little sister isn’t feeling well. Maria has such a tender heart that she decided to stay home and help her feel better.


29.2 Word: Tender (adjective)

Where: Office

Manager 1: Melissa says that Sara is intimidating our potential clients.

Manager 2: She doesn’t have a very tender approach. She tries to sell to them without taking time to talk to them first.



30.1 Word: Tense (adjective)

Where: Home

Mother: You seem tense. What’s wrong?

Son: I didn’t have a good day at school. I’m worried about getting all this work done before tomorrow.


30.2 Word: Tense (adjective)

Where: Office

Employee 1: The managers have been in a meeting all day.

Employee 2: They don’t usually have meetings like this. Things are getting tense around here. I’m afraid they’re discussing letting someone go.


Local School Newsletter

Newsletter Superintendent Message


Hello [ ] Community,


As we near Thanksgiving, I’d like to express my gratitude to our students, staff, parents, and community for a wonderful start of the school year.  Our staff and students have been busy working to ensure our students make substantial academic gains throughout the year.  We truly believe that with time and effort every student can achieve academic mastery.  As we wrap up the first quarter, now is the time to review your student’s progress and engage your child’s teacher in conversations about their academic performance.  The partnership we have with our parents is vital to the success of our students.  Fall conferences are happening the first week of November, and we’d love to see everyone there.

There is so much to be thankful for in regards to our facilities.  On the construction front, the bond project we passed in [ ] is finally getting started.  Our goal is for the work to be 90% complete prior to the beginning of school next fall.  The sinking fund continues to allow us to update our facilities. We plan to provide our students with an environment that is safe and conducive to learning.  At this point, [ ] Schools plans to continue renovating our facilities with existing revenues.  This means no new tax increases.  We will be asking for your support to renew our current sinking fund in the 2019, but this is just a renewal and not a tax increase.


We are thankful for everyone’s support and involvement!  Hope to see you around soon!


[ ], Superintendent



Professional Cover Letter Template (Education Industry)

Dear Samuel,


I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to thank you sincerely for expressing interest in bringing me on as a [ ] at [ ]. I am honored and warmed that you were pleased with the work I have been doing.


After several years of rewarding and enlightening efforts in this field, I appreciate the opportunity to move forward into a broader role, one that will allow me to provide more meaningful contributions to [ ]. The structure of [ ]’s programs appeals to me as the perfect setting to make a wealth of new things possible for [ ].


Working for [ ] will offer me invaluable experience. The years I have spent working in settings with [ ] and [ ] have taught me a great deal about [ ]. I hope, in return, to be able to translate my own insight into providing enriching activities, employment opportunities, and support.


Thank you, again, for your encouragement, and for the work that you do.



[ ]


[note any enclosures here:

résumé, portfolio, and so on


like so:


Encl: ]

Online Article: Caloric Deficit

Calories In, Calories Out


Your body’s recipe for weight loss is deceptively simple: calories in (what you consume) and calories out (what you burn and metabolize) equal your total energy. What does this really mean, though? To break down the mechanism of weight loss, let’s review the basics of how the body uses calories. Before that, let’s review what a calorie even is.


What Are Calories?


A calorie isn’t a vague idea; it’s a scientific unit of energy. This is important to know; in order to understand how to create a caloric deficit for weight loss, you’ll want to take a moment and think about what a calorie means.


One calorie constitutes the energy it takes to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree. But what does heating water have to do with our bodies and our weight? Our bodies need energy to power everything from cellular processes and regeneration, organ function, breathing, digestion, and our thoughts and nervous systems. In the context of our bodies, calories have everything to do with, well, everything we do. A calorie simply represents a measurable amount of energy. And at every moment of every day and every night, your body is “using” energy, whether you know it or not.


Calories Out


An adult body uses between 1,000 and 1,500 calories per day to maintain all its key functions. The amount of calories a body requires to maintain its functions at rest is called the resting metabolic rate; this depends on age, weight, sex, and muscle composition. Bodies need additional calories each day according to activity and exercise. All this, taken together, constitutes calories out, or the calories your body “uses” every day.


Calories In


Calories in is pretty simple; though there all kinds of foods, drinks, and nutrients, all food contains calories (energy); how much you consume in a day constitutes calories in.


Weight Loss: A Deficit


When you compare your calories in (how much you consume) to your calories out (how much your body burns), and see a deficit (you have consumed fewer calories than you have burned), you’re on the way to losing weight. All types of weight loss require you to maintain a caloric deficit.


A caloric deficit can be achieved through diet alone, exercise alone, or a combination of both. How? Let’s look at an example. Mary, a thirty-year-old woman, has a resting metabolic rate of 1,400 calories per day. If she does little to no exercise, and rests all day, her body will burn an amount of energy equal to 1,400 calories, plus those calories she uses up from walking around at home and at work, grocery shopping, and getting in and out of her car. Let’s call her daily energy use on such a day 1,600 calories. If Mary eats exactly 1,600 calories over the course of the day, she’ll have a net caloric balance; she will neither gain nor lose any energy.


However, if Mary eats a snack, bringing her up to 1,800 calories, she has a net caloric gain. She has consumed more calories than she burned. But what if Mary goes for a walk? If she walks for two hours, and burns 400 calories, she will now be in a caloric deficit; at the end of the day, her calories consumed equaled 1,800, and her calories burned equaled 2,000. She had a deficit of 200 calories for that day.


To lose a pound, you must have an overall deficit of 3,000 calories; with Mary’s example in mind, she would have to continue that pattern for 15 days to lose one pound. You can see how, if Mary at less and exercised more every day, she would lose weight faster. The opposite would be true if she ate more and exercised less.


How to sustain a caloric deficit


It isn’t always easy to do something as simple as burning more energy than you consume. That’s because easy, to begin with, to forget, and to slip into old habits. The key to maintaining a caloric deficit for a long period of time—and to losing weight—is managing your hunger. If you feel hungry, no diet in the world will succeed in putting you on the path to weight loss. But if you feel full, you’re on your way to success. Learning to eat responsibly, avoiding insulin spikes and cravings, and training the body to maintain its resting metabolic rate more easily is the key.

Policy Papers: The US and Rome

As the United States enters into a renewed and heated debate about immigration policies and reform, it is worthwhile to question how immigration changes our society. What would open borders mean for social values in the United States? Will an influx of people change how we view ourselves? Rome had a distinct outward movement until it was invaded in the fifth century AD by “barbarians,” but before then it still assimilated people from the lands it conquered, and gave them paths to citizenship especially if they served in the military. It seems that Rome’s approach to assuming new people was to accept them only once they were sufficiently “Roman.” Would Rome have fared better with its outlying territories if it had treated its borders differently? If the United States loosens immigration laws, we will have more people from more countries participating openly in our society; if we continue to make it nearly impossible for immigrants and refugees to come to the United States legally, the population we gain cannot freely and openly participate.

Rome suffered grave consequences when it could not maintain and juggle its foreign interests and territories because it had too few soldiers, and that, conversely, it suffered civil war when it had too few farmers and generals with strong, loyal armies. Cullen Murphy cited the loosening criteria for the military here in the United States, and the increasing privatization of federal government agencies. Meanwhile, liberal and progressive politicians have increasingly called for more affordable (even free) and accessible college education for future generations of Americans. If the United States were to adopt a policy of “college for everyone,” how would this affect our society? Large portions of the United States are primarily agricultural, and in the past we had strong centers of heavy industry and manufacturing; these jobs have largely disappeared, and we see the impact in our trade deficits with countries like China. College for everyone is beneficial to the individual and the family, as Gibbon argued, and in the very long run it might lead us toward a Scandinavian-style state that cares more comprehensively for its workforce. But it could create an imbalance within the workforce, and it could change the way people between the ages of 18-35 move into their eventual fields.

A workforce where young people front-end their training for many years in their youth could create a ripple effect: more free time and intellectual growth for the individual, but fewer resources for the country. Would we create more intellectual property, like software, to sell around the world, and transform our society from a military-industrial nation to a bastion of ideas? Or would we create a void that might cripple our very American “go-ahead,” ambitious work ethic, our farms, and our industry? How would this change the way that we view our country’s future? Would we be less ambitious around the world, and more isolationist, if we focused on education more than on wealth and power?

Farming or agricultural study ought to play a significant role in the “free college” programs of the future. Institutions should continue to offer a liberal arts education with core programs, but students should also have the choice to attend purely technical schools. Graduates of such specialized programs will be able to enter the workforce as apprentices to skilled experts. The United States should use this system of “free college,” if it adopts it, to take its success in exporting intellectual property like software, electronics hardware design, and renewable energy technology a step further, and cement its place as the world leader in idea creation, building out and manufacturing its ideas domestically instead and selling the blueprints for innovation overseas.

Article: Dieting with Herbs

Incredible, Edible, Fat-Burning Herbs


Is your idea of the ideal weight loss meal some plain fish with wild rice, a green salad, or bland, tasteless chicken breast? Forget it! You’re missing one of the key elements that’s been indicated time and again, in study after study, to start the body burning fat and keep it that way: spices and herbs.

When you’re dieting, getting fit, or working to lose weight, you definitely won’t want to miss out on delicious ingredients that contain no calories, no sugar, no sweeteners, and no sodium—especially when they add delicious flavor and character to your dishes. That’s where herbs and spices come in.

Research has indicated that you’re far, far less likely to devote yourself to a diet with any amount of discipline when you dislike the foods you’re eating. If you cook and prepare your food with herbs and spices like paprika, cumin, salt, freshly-ground pepper, basil, oregano, and more (the list goes on and on), you go from eating bland to eating gourmet, and become excited about your meals.

Herbs and spices do something even more magical: they work to speed up your metabolic rate, and when you have a higher metabolism, your body gets rid of fat much faster.

The following thirteen spices and herbs have been scientifically proven to go a long way to helping you get rid of your unwanted weight. No matter what diet or plan you’re following, you’ll want to incorporate these thirteen things into your regimen.



 Cinnamon is a beloved spice, enjoyed year-round on many types of food, that can even out blood sugar, cut cravings, and make you feel satisfied after you eat. You might be accustomed to mixing cinnamon into your oatmeal, but did you know you can put cinnamon in yogurt, tea, drinks, cottage cheese, coffee, and fruit? You can even rub cinnamon on savory foods, and mix it into marinades for meat.



Turmeric is an unmistakable, knock-out spice, easily recognizable for its bright yellow color. A Tufts University study in 2009 showed that turmeric can make you burn fat faster. It contains a chemical called curcumin, and it made mice lose more fat than mice on the same diet without curcumin. Turmeric is a warming spice, and it jacks up your body heat, in turn increasing metabolism. You can add turmeric to stews, casseroles, soups, or sprinkle it on nuts and vegetables. It has many health benefits, and may even soothe menstrual pains and PMS and fight Alzheimer’s Disease.



Talk about a warming spice: cayenne has a kick, which you’ll know if you’ve ever overdone it with cayenne in your food. Like turmeric, cayenne raises your body’s temperature, and has the same metabolism-boosting qualities. If you add cayenne to your meal, you can burn up to an additional 100 calories, says Lauren Minchen, RD. Cayenne tastes great on roasted nuts, on scrambled eggs, in dressings and dips, and in soups. You can add it to all kinds of savory foods. It even tastes good with chocolate.



A recent study of overweight women showed that adding a teaspoon of cumin to one meal per day can make your body burn three times as much fat. Cumin is quite a spice! It can be added to most any food, and should be a staple of your kitchen. You can put it in soups and stews, marinades, sauces, curries, eggs, savory muffins, and mix it into all kinds of doughs. It goes well with other spices to; you can get creative with pairings where cumin is concerned.



 Get used to the smell of garlic, because this is one food you’re going to love. A study found that mice on a garlic diet lost more weight over the course of seven weeks than mice eating no garlic; that’s a major indication of possible benefits to humans. You can eat garlic raw, which makes it even healthier. You can even eat sprouted garlic. You can mince it and sauté it with onions to make the beginnings of an excellent mirepoix, and top healthy breads and spreads with it.



Ginger, like cinnamon, works to control your blood sugar: after a meal full of carbs and sugars, it prevents levels of glucose from spiking. It’s thermogenic, like cayenne and turmeric, says Barbara Mendez, RPH, MS, who’s an integrative nutritionist from New York City. Since it’s a warming spice, it will help you burn fat. You can grate ginger on stir fries, add it to almost any juicer recipe (especially to offset the taste of bitter green juices like kale and spinach), put it on baked fish, and stir it into fruit salads.



Cardamom’s yet another thermogenic, fat-burning spice. It cranks up your body’s temperature and metabolism, and it’s a favorite spice in Indian fare; it tastes wonderful blended with cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It’s part of the signature spice blend called garam masala. You can put it in coffee, make a citrus-style blend to infuse in teas, and mix it into curries or rub it on lamb.


Black Pepper

 We’ve saved the best for last. Talk about a fat burner: black pepper has wonderful fat burning abilities. It can prevent the body from forming new fat cells, says Mendez, and therefore stop you from gaining weight to begin with.


Black pepper can be cracked on just about anything! Add it to freshly-sliced tomatoes and salads, sprinkle it on healthy sandwiches, boiled eggs, vegetables, and even cottage cheese, oatmeals and cereals, and greek yogurt.




Dandelion isn’t just a tenacious garden weed. Its growing popularity with cooks and chefs is all thanks to its versatility: it can add flavor and variety to foods and drinks both. Dandelion is full of vitamins C, E, and A, and iron and potassium, and its natural anti-bloating tendencies make it a great anti-weight tool in your regimen. Try it in a soothing herbal tea, or with a fresh green salad with light dressing and a cool drink.



Original Wedding Speech

[Open with a short introduction, such as: “My name is Julie { }, and I am Darla’s best friend. We’ve known each other for more than { } years.” This would also be a good place to briefly acknowledge some of the other people at the head table, the beauty of the decorations or the venue, etc. Something light.]


We were both young girls in high school when I first met Darla. Little did I know back then that our friendship would blossom into a lifelong bond. We have shared so much, from our time in high school and advisory together, to the many birthdays and holidays we have celebrated: together, we have worshiped, laughed, and learned. Our birthdays are just a few days apart, and it makes me think that the universe had something in mind when it threw the two of us into our friendship. I have to smile when I think back on all the memories we’ve made, from crafting to learning how to budget together abroad. Memories like these are irreplaceable treasures that we will always share. I feel incredibly grateful to have been able to spend my formative years with a friend as wonderful as Darla.


Darla is a deeply curious and passionate person, and I have always known that she was someone special. There are few people as kind and considerate in this world. In her boundless compassion, she creates the world she believes in, one where the most vulnerable people are valued. In all aspects of her life, her politics, and her work, she strives fiercely to create and actualize this ideal. She has always taken care of me—she even took care of me the first time I got sick from drinking. Well, when she met Dan, I was so happy to see how well their personalities complemented one another. In Dan, Darla has finally found her caretaker.

It isn’t every day that life bestows deep and abiding love—the kind of love we often encounter in fairy tales—on the people we care most about. I am so honored to see my dear friend Darla marry the love of her life today. I am deeply blessed to have Darla and Dan as friends, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness and prosperity. Congratulations to both of you, and to the magnificent and bright future ahead of you. I can’t wait to see what it holds in store.

Darla, Dan, we are all so lucky to share this day with you. Let’s all raise our glasses and toast the happy couple.

Online Article: “Stress: Reading Your Way to Relief”

Stress can manifest itself in many ways. When you’re under stress, you feel emotionally- and physically-overdrawn, weak, and out of control. What’s more, it can feel mentally and physically impossible to escape the cycle of anxiety that stress traps you in. When you sense yourself getting ensnared in a vicious, self-propagating cycle of stress, how can you free yourself from it? Especially when free time feels more and more like an antique luxury and less and less like a natural, healthy part of everyday life? Read.


What Reading Does


These days, it’s easy to get lost in Netflix and social media, and easy to forget why we read, and why humans have evolved to so passionately use written communication. But we shouldn’t be so quick to abandon our bookshelves: television, music, and movies are no replacement for the immersive act of reading. Reading—whether books, magazines, articles, or newspapers—activates pathways in our brains that allow us to absorb and comprehend information in meaningful, significant ways.


Reading is relaxing, enjoyable, and solitary. It gives us a choice to be alone not only with our own thoughts but with someone else’s. A study from Mindlab indicates that reading, even for a few minutes can reduce stress levels by 68%. Neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis says “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism. It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.” Read more here. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/5070874/Reading-can-help-reduce-stress.html)


According to Maryanne Wolf, “when you read, you have more time to think. Reading gives you a unique pause button for comprehension and insight. By and large, with oral language—when you watch a film or listen to a tape—you don’t press pause.” Wolf is the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.


Reading can even improve the way our brains work. Reading longer works, like novels, can improve brain function and enhance brain connectivity, according to a study published in Brain Connectivity. The study’s researchers determined that by reading a novel, participants were able to improve mental function and increase their empathy for others. Being able to empathize with other people allows us to manage our own stress levels better. (More here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201401/reading-fiction-improves-brain-connectivity-and-function)


In the study, participants indicated that they “[loved] being exposed to ideas and being able to experience so many times, places, and events,” and one individual said “I look at it as a mind stimulant, and it is relaxing.” Others expressed the pleasure of living vicariously through a character and having another “life of the mind.”


Professor Gregory S. Berns, who was the study’s lead author, said “Stories shape our lives and in some cases help define a person.” He added, “We want to understand how stories get into your brain, and what they do to it.”


It turns out that readers had better connectivity in key brain areas the following morning: areas correlated with language comprehension, sensations and movement. Being better equipped to deal with an onslaught of stimuli and becoming more compassionate are incredibly important tools to possess in order to combat stress.


It’s hard to imagine any better way to escape and cope with the stresses in life than by immersing yourself intelligently in other worlds and ideas. After all, we only have so much time to use our minds. Why limit the ways in which we use them? We should do everything we can to expand our forms of thought.


All it takes is a few minutes a day. Immerse yourself in a book. Instead of turning on the TV at the end of the day and being faced with a wall of personalities and unintelligible information and bad news, curl up with something different. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll wake up the next day feeling alert, capable, and refreshed. You’ll look at life in the world in subtly different ways.


Some Great Things to Read


Don’t want to comb through bestseller lists? Not sure where to start? Try out some of these websites. They’re full of meaningful, thoughtful articles. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, over-stressed, and over-worked, this is a good place to start. Lose yourself in some fascinating information.


Brain Pickings (https://www.brainpickings.org/)


Packed with all kinds of carefully-researched articles on literature, life, psychology, and more, Brain Pickings is a website that aggregates and carefully curates content that makes you think.


Longreads (https://longreads.com/)


Longreads is another aggregating / curating site; all their content comes from journals and online magazines, and takes a while to read. The articles on Longreads are highly-immersive and incredibly fascinating. They feature all kinds of nonfiction, essays, and more.


Don’t Only Read Online


The act of reading a physical book can’t really be replaced! Head to your local library. Libraries are incredibly relaxing places. There are few distractions. You could go to a coffee shop, but why not head out and find a book instead?


Just go to WorldCat (https://www.worldcat.org/libraries) and find your local library. Many libraries are open late on weekdays, and feature comfortable sitting areas, new magazine subscriptions, newspapers and periodicals, and—of course—books!