October 2008

God Bless George Renninger, and Happy Halloween!


Candycorn Though his name may not be familiar to you, George Renninger is a man whom we, as a society, owe a lot to. He invented candy corn. That’s right: CANDY CORN!

Unfortunately, not much is known about George, except that he invented candy corn while working at Wunderlee Candy Company in the 1880s. There is no historical documentation of how he exactly gave birth to the delicious, kernel shaped, tri-colored confection, but sufficed to say, we are all happy he did.  In the 1900s, the Goelitz Candy Company (now known as Jelly Belly) started mass producing candy corn. (I suspect that George did not profit as much as he should have from his invention, but let’s not think about that for now.) Today, 8.3 billion kernels of candy corn are sold every year.

On this Halloween day, we will eat our fun size Snickers, chomp on some Twix and digest handfuls of M&Ms, but none of these treats hold a candle to dear ole candy corn.

George, wherever you are, we raise our glasses to you to say: Happy Halloween!

First Aid Kit for musical healing


Firstaidkit_johannafrankel Everyone should always have a first aid kit around. Wait, no—we don’t mean that kind of first aid kit (although one never knows when a tourniquet could come in handy). We mean First Aid Kit, the musical duo of teen sisters, Klara (left) and Johanna (right) Soderberg from Sweden.

A pair of singing sisters, accompanied by an acoustic guitar and soothing harmonies, isn’t reinventing the wheel, but we love these girls because, as their MySpace tagline says, they “aim for the hearts, not the charts!” Inspired by singer-songwriters like Conor Oberst, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, the sisters realized music was much more than spandex, bubblegum pop and how many times your name could appear on Perez Hilton’s blog (for the record, we think Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse are in the lead).

So with a heartfelt sincerity, Klara and Johanna began writing songs. Songs that are both pretty and sad and beautiful and melancholy. After they put up a MySpace page, First Aid Kit started to attract attention, gaining fans and industry recognition, all leading up to an indie record signing to Rabid Records and a debut release set for April 9th. 

If you can't wait until then, go check out their MySpace page! And add them as your friend. They're nice like that.

Finally, here's a little YouTube appetizer of First Aid Kit covering Fleet Foxes' "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song." Lovely!

Cool girl: Arielle Wisotsky of Help Darfur Now


Arielle_obama Think high school field trips don’t change lives? Think again.

Back in 2005, Arielle Wisotsky visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. with her high school class. There she learned of the genocide going on in Darfur for the first time. It deeply affected her and realized she couldn’t just stand there letting another tragedy happen (her grandmother is a Holocaust survivor). So, Arielle decided to take action. Educating herself on Darfur, she then started to educate others by forming the non-profit Help Darfur Now with two of her friends, David and Eric Messinger.

"I had done some community service before, but nothing to this extent,” says Arielle. ‘Help Darfur Now is basically an organization of high school and middle school students. Our main goal is to raise awareness of what's going on in Darfur and raise money. When we started out, we thought we'd raise $1,000. We sent fundraising letters to family members and family friends, but then we started getting press, because people thought it was interesting that we were so young.”

Now, three years later, Arielle is a student at Tufts University, and Help Darfur Now has raised over $400,000 aiding the relief of Darfur, giving its money to organizations like Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee.

“I know it sounds cliche,” she admits, "but one person can make a difference, three people can make a difference. People think you can't, but you can.”

Take That, Hat Head!


Hat head It’s getting cold, and that’s a great reason to wear scarves. They're cute and fashionable, and they’re a good way to work the plaid trend into your ensemble. We have no issues with scarves.

Hats, however, can cause trouble. They muss up your hair and create static flyaways—it’s a mess. We understand. That’s why we talked to three beauty experts and got these tips, so you don’t have to choose between a cold head and a hot hairdo.

1. Amber Katz, editor of Beauty Blogging Junkie, says:
“Coil your hair into a low bun and secure it with a small jaw clip (an elastic will leave a ponytail mark) to minimize any indentation before putting on a hat. To help tame static, John Frieda Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Creme is excellent. I keep a tube of it at work. It's also great for dry ends.”

2. Jamie Allison Sanders, Editor-in-Chief of The Beauty of Life, says:
“The two products in my arsenal are Ojon Revitalizing Mist and Pureology Glossing Mist. Ojon revives locks that are seemingly beyond repair -- bedhead, hathead, you name it, a few spritzes of this and your tresses are as good as new. Finishing with Pureology Glossing Mist sprayed into the hands and then patted gently throughout your strands to give them a glossy sheen.”

3. A FOIHD (that’s “Friend of I Heart Daily”) who works at a major fashion magazine and prefers to remain anonymous adds:
“Try dry shampoo, especially one with volumizing properties. To fluff up the unwanted matted-down look post-hat, just spray some dry shampoo at the roots, toss your head around like a Vidal Sasson girl, and you're all set. One I recommend is T3's Refresh Volumizing Dry Shampoo, created by Orlando Pita, a MAJA backstage/editorial hair stylist. It also has a pretty good fragrance to it, just in case you have a stink fest under that hat.”

Ooh, bonus, there’s some sweet smelling advice too. Happy hat weather!

Right Round Album Studs


Right Round earrings Sometimes you’re just not in a dangly earring mood, but pearl and diamond studs seem a little… dinner party old lady. Not to mention way out of budget. Almost Amy, a designer with a shop on Etsy, has a solution.

These 19mm vinyl studs make me wanna get out the old record player and put down a needle. Or at least wear earrings again. They're great for being semi-fancy (like, Hey, I wore jewelry, didn’t I?), but also totally chill (like, That's right, I’m spinning accessory albums on a casual day).

And, oh yeah, they cost just $4 a pair.

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