Vaccinations are increasing, but many worry about venturing out

Experts advise pacing yourself and taking small steps over time. Photo by Tim Douglas from Pexels

I was genuinely excited to get my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine last Friday.

After living through lockdown in a rural North Carolina county where residents — to this day — remain at very high risk for COVID-19, it felt like a tremendous weight was lifted.

Although at least one in nine people living in my county has been infected since the start of the pandemic, I still see folks without masks every single day.

At the very least, I thought, the weekly trip to the grocery store will no longer feel so fraught.

Fatigued and suffering from chills…

The program is in ‘early access,’ and the company says additional features are on the way

Is Amazon starting a new chapter with book clubs? Photo by Shayna Douglas on Unsplash

Amazon’s story began with book sales. Now the e-commerce giant is building on that foundation by testing book clubs.

According to the company’s website, book clubs are in “early access,” and customers with an Amazon account can join for free. The site currently says that some customers can start their own clubs and that it will extend club creation to all customers this year.

Participants who sign up for existing clubs receive book recommendations from Amazon editors. There are no forums for book discussions, though club members can suggest their favorites to others.

Amazon is inviting feedback to “inform what…

Roxana Saidi’s Táche joins the multi-billion dollar nut milk market

Pistachios are front and center in the nut milk from startup Táche. Photo by Mockup Graphics on UnsplashC

Pistachios are popping up everywhere these days.

From soufflés to salads and from pasta to cinnamon rolls, their crunchy goodness plays a supporting role in a wide range of dishes.

In entrepreneur Roxana Saidi’s pistachio milk, Táche, the nuts take the starring role.

The founder and CEO, whose father is Iranian, told Refinery 29 that she grew up eating pistachios.

“I joke that pistachios are to Persian households as potato chips — or even, like, toilet paper — are to American ones,” she said. “You must always have pistachios on hand. It’s a standard thing.”

On a family trip to…

The retailer’s abrupt about-face ignores a market worth billions

A Loft store in a mall.
A Loft store in a mall.
Loft’s decision — and the way it was revealed — left shoppers upset. Photo purchased from

Women’s retailer Loft is eliminating size-inclusive fashions just three years after embracing them.

The company didn’t make an announcement. Instead, the news was revealed in response to shoppers’ inquiries on social media. It was a shock — and a huge disappointment — for many customers.

“The vast majority of my clothes come from Loft, but based on this, I guess I’ll be looking for a new favorite store,” one woman responded on Twitter. Another commented, “This doesn’t make sense — and it sends an awful message. Please reconsider this decision!!”

Loft’s response to a shopper’s question.

Loft announced that it…

How generosity and kindness help us through the pandemic

A greater sense of goodwill prompted many individual acts of generosity and kindness during the pandemic. Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

Although COVID-19 is wrenchingly awful, the pandemic has brought out the best in many of us.

That’s according to the newly released World Happiness Report, which showed “surprising resilience” in how people rated their lives.

“We asked two kinds of questions. One is about the life in general, life evaluation, we call it. How is your life going? The other is about mood, emotions, stress, anxiety,” said Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs, one of the report’s co-authors.

“Of course, we’re still in the middle of a deep crisis,” Sachs told the Associated Press. “But the responses about long-term life evaluation…

Craft brewers tap the $3.3 billion health and wellness market

Many runners picked up the pace and logged more miles during the pandemic. Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU from Pexels

Runners kept pounding the pavement during the pandemic, and brewers are ready to reward them with “performance beer.”

Facing limited exercise options during lockdowns, many runners upped their mileage, according to a new global survey from RunRepeat.

Those who formerly ran once or twice a week increased their activity by an average of 117 percent. Those who previously ran three times a week reported an average increase of 55 percent. Only four-times-plus per week runners decreased their activity, with an average drop of 9 percent.

After logging their miles, some runners say they’re ready to quaff a cold brew that…

4 ways to keep assumptions from ruining relationships

Unspoken assumptions can leave partners puzzled about what you really want. Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

I’m an unabashed fan of advice columns.

Just about every publication I subscribe to features one, and I lap up every single word.

There’s a lot of comfort in knowing others face similar struggles, and intrepid advice-givers and their faithful followers offer some great tips.

One complaint that appears with startling regularity is the mind-reading failure.

Ever had a partner who shrugs when asked what they want to watch on television then sulks when you vote for Netflix over basketball?

Or been baffled by a loved one who says they want to spend a lazy day relaxing but complains about…

5 strategies I used to ditch junk food and get back on track

Nachos for the Super Bowl were the first step on a downhill slide. Photo by Ismael Trevino on Unsplash

Our downhill slide started with the Super Bowl.

Feeling festive, my husband and I took a detour from our healthy diet with a big tray of gooey, cheesy nachos. They offered some solace as my hometown team, the Kansas City Chiefs, floundered and ultimately lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31–9.

That was just the start of one of the dreariest Februarys on record. As we trudged through the cold, snowy days, comfort food started looking mighty appealing.

Things we hadn’t bought in months wound up in our grocery cart. Chili cheese corn chips, frozen egg rolls, diet soda, and…

It doesn’t have to be a bone of contention

Dogs love to spend time with us and revel in our affection. Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

My husband returned home from work, walked into my office, and gave me a quick kiss. He then leaned down to pet our collie, Vince.

“How ya doing, buddy?” he asked, scratching Vince behind the ears.

Vince opened his eyes, wagged his tail once, and promptly resumed his nap.

“Well, I guess you’re his favorite,” my husband said with a laugh.

“Of course, I am,” I retorted. “He knows who his food and treats come from.”

As silly as it seems, this is a common conversation for pet lovers. And while feeding your dog and showering him with attention helps…


Former reporter and editor now freelancing from the base of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.

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