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Grab Bag Global Hide n’ Seek:

I’ve got a secret.

There is a treasure hunt of EPIC proportions going on… right now…. all over the world... and right where you live…hidden in plain sight. You can start by just finding the millions of hidden treasures, but soon you’ll be hiding your own for others to find.


This is a great way to explore areas when traveling, get to know your own neighborhood better, and entertain kids of all ages (including you).

Geocaching (pronounced Geo-cashing) is here and begging you to play, my friends. For years, people have been hiding small containers of varying goodies and posting the location (in longitude and latitude coordinates) on the internet for you (yes, you!) to find.

Recently, with the proliferation of portable and affordable GPS units like the Garmin, Magellan and Tom Tom devices so many use in their cars, playing this game has become wildly popular.

Now it’s even easier to participate, as there is a Geocache app for the iPhone/iPod Touch:


Different caches have different purposes. Some hold small items to share, as long as you leave something else in it’s place. Others have small tokens that you are encouraged to take and move to another cache… sometimes half way around the world! Whatever the task, you record all discoveries and movements back on the internet, thus creating a global log (a glog?) of the treasures.

The number of caches to be found is astounding. This map below shows all the caches registered and available for discovery in the North Lake Tahoe area:



And lest you think this is merely a rural diversion, look below at the treasures just waiting to be discovered in San Francisco:



There are simple rules to the game, and all can be quickly learned here by clicking below on this Getting Started page at Geocaching.com. So get going…. Ponce de Leon’s got nothin’ on you….

Grab Bag Berry Interesting News:


Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thanks to dedicated reader Roxanna S., I was directed to a recent study showing that the proteins in milk likely interfere with the absorption of the powerful phenols found in blue (and other) berries. So, I guess we best pair berries with non-dairy partners…. like almond milk on your berry-laden cereal.

Why bother? From what I have read over the last few years in food science, the goodies in berries are well worth maximizing their absorption. Kinda like maxing out your 401K when your employer is willing to match you.

I tend to have a 4:00PM snack of berries and yogurt… I might be looking at breaking up those lovers and rematching each with other things.

Grab Bag Get the “Skin”ny:

Marie Veronique, natural cosmetics maven extraordinaire, makes amazing skin care products (see link in the right column), and gives great advice on how best to treat your body’s biggest organ.

Marie’s products and advice not only yield healthy skin, but GREAT skin as well… my neck in particular has IMPROVED (since when does THAT happen??) in the last few years since using these and other chem-free products.

Of note…. MV has revamped the entire line, dropped the price of a few items, and really stepped up the website. Looks great. Above all, I remain absolutely committed to many of her products, and find her approach and integrity rare and admirable. Her advice bears weight, and I share some with you here…


The following is lifted from her blog:

Skin Food Rules

1. Here is the major rule from which all else follows. Look at the ingredients, not the claims. There’s very little that can’t be said about a product, but the ingredients are its fingerprint. Here are some things to watch for when you read an ingredients list.

2. If you have allergies: Fragrance aka “parfum” is the number one cause of allergic dermatitis. Be aware that “unscented” can be translated as “this product contains a masking fragrance.” Look for “fragrance-free,” particularly if you have sensitivities.

3. Shopping for an anti-aging product: Studies show that ascorbic acid is crucial for both repairing existing UV damage and building new collagen. Since Vitamin C oxidizes rapidly in liquid Vitamin C serums should be avoided. The color guide is, if it’s clear it’s okay, but when it starts turning yellow, orange or brown it’s time to throw it away!

4. To exfoliate or not to exfoliate: Abrasives can eliminate precancerous cells with regular use. The rule here is to use gentle scrubs, avoiding those that contain irregularly shaped kernels that may tear skin.

5. Glycolic vs lactic acid: lactic acid is less irritating to the skin than glycolic acid. It also has humectant properties and assists in skin lightening. If you like AHAs stick with lactic acid, and especially avoid “sunscreens” containing glycolic acid.

6. Chemical sunscreens vs physical sunblocks: about 15% of the population will break out from some ingredient in a chemical sunscreen. For a large number of reasons your safest choice in sunscreen ingredients is zinc oxide, preferably non-nanosized.

7. For skin lightening: avoid hydroquinone. Look for natural ingredients that help lighten skin gradually over time, such as: ascorbic acid, licorice root, paper mulberry, uva ursi, kojic acid.

Note from LK: Hydroquinone is known to have a backlash or rebound effect on some patients, where it initially fades the dark spots, only to have them return with more intensity once you stop using the product 😦

8. For vegans: in case you were wondering, lactic acid is derived from a fermentation process using beet sugar and is vegan. However, there is an ingredient which shows up frequently in skin care products that you should be aware of –stearic acid. Used as an emulsifier, its source can be either animal or vegetable.

9. To alleviate dry skin: Most skin creams are made up of water and wax, with a little oil thrown in. Water and waxes can be more drying than emollient, since the inappropriately named “cream” sits on the surface of the skin. Look for hydrators that contain more oil than water or wax, since what the skin needs in order to protect itself, heals itself and retain moisture, is oil.

10. For acne: every skin needs oil. If you are using treatments which dry out your skin rebalance with an oil blend at night. Some good oils for acne-prone skin: pumpkin seed oil (high in zinc), sea buckthorn and red raspberry oil (anti-microbial).

Grab Bag “Uh oh” Moment:

Maybe you resemble this remark. I know I do. And I admit that I paused for a moment and considered editorial discretion in NOT including this information because, well, it pertains directly to me 😦

But that would be childish and hypocritical, two things I suppose I should shy away from. So, here it is in a nutshell:

Don’t get enough sleep and you run a significantly increased risk of breast cancer.

Image: Shaun Dovey / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There. I said it.

I wish I could now come forth with a bunch of caveats, criticizing the amount of participants or the length of the time participants were tracked. But here is a summary of the details of the study, published in the British Journal of Cancer:

A team of scientists at Japan’s Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine analyzed the lifestyle habits over eight years of nearly 24,000 women ages 40 to 79. The women who slept six hours or less a night on a regular basis were 62 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who slept seven hours.

Many thanks (?) to kind and sleepless reader Carolyn M. who, like me, suffers the slings and arrows of  2:00 AM reading. We both now know that we MUST…. never be Japanese??

I’m going to take a nap now.

Grab Bag Brain Game:

WHEEL IT

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

A random trifecta of smiles….

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