June 19, 2019 // Archive

Date based archive
19 Jun

1 Roast the (optional) poblano chiles: If including poblano chiles in your burger, you will need to roast them first. Coat the poblanos with a little oil and grill or broil them until they are blackened on all sides. Alternatively, you can take the plain, un-oiled peppers and place them directly on a gas stovetop burner, turning them as needed, until they are blackened on all sides.

Place the blackened peppers in a covered bowl for 15 minutes or so to steam. Peel off the charred skin and remove all the seeds. Slice into thick ribbons and toss with a little vegetable oil and salt and set aside.

2 Make the chipotle burger mix: Mix the ground beef, grated onion, minced chipotles, the adobo sauce, salt, cumin, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Mix gently, just until the ingredients are combined. Do not over-mix or the burgers will be tough.

3 Form the burger patties: Form 4-6 patties from the burger mix, about 1/4 pound to 1/3 pound each. Press a shallow indent in the middle of the patties to keep the burgers from puffing up while grilling (read about why this works here).

4 Prepare the grill: Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high heat grilling, or until you can hold your hand about an inch over the grates for 1 second.

5 Grill the burgers: Lay the burgers on the grill and cook with the lid down for 6-7 minutes. Raise the lid, flip the burgers, and continue grilling with the lid down for another 6-7 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is and how well-done you prefer your burgers. Cook until the internal temperature is 140°F for medium rare, or 160°F for well done.

6 Add the cheese and grill the buns: When the burgers are almost ready, place a slice of jack cheese on each patty and close the grill lid. The cheese should melt in a little over a minute.

If you want toasted burger buns with your burgers, toast them after you’ve flipped the burgers. Watch that the buns don’t burn; when they are lightly toasted move them to a tray near the grill.

7 Serve: When the burgers are ready, place them on the buns. Top with slices of avocado, then some of the roasted poblanos (if using), a little cilantro, and hot sauce

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19 Jun

In May, Firestone Walker released Napa Parabola, a brand spanking new addition to their Proprietor’s Vintage Series. This release sees their standard Parabola imperial stout, a much-loved brew that’s normally aged in bourbon barrels, matured instead in red wine barrels, reportedly from one of Napa Valley’s most prestigious “cult” wineries. Suspicions abound, but the brewery is tight lipped about exactly which winery contributed the barrels or how long they were used to age the beer. They did, at least, say what kind of barrels were used: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Let’s dig in!

The beer pours jet black with an amber tinge and almost no head (never mind the photo). The nose holds plenty of familiar Parabola elements: dark malts, dried tobacco, vanilla custard, and burnt sugar. Woven in, however, are softer notes of grape must, dried berries, and currants, which give the aroma fantastic complexity and depth. The palate is rich but with a light, velvety texture. It’s definitely more lightweight than the standard bourbon barrel-aged Parabola.

Speaking of barrels, the wine cask influence seems to come in waves with this one. In one sip, I get almost all wine-forward flavors, like prune, raspberry, and boysenberry jam. On another, bitter baking chocolate and coffee grounds dominate. Firestone Walker encourages you to let this one warm in the glass (as they do with all of their Proprietor’s Vintage Series beers), and it definitely improves the experience on this one, integrating all those disparate flavors. In time, things coalesce into dark chocolate-covered raisins, berry custard, and Nerds candy. The finish is creamy and long, lingering with a slight roasted bitterness, vanilla cream, and grape soda. It’s a fun rendition of a great stout and proof that Firestone Walker isn’t slowing down on its barrel-aging innovations any time soon.

11.3% abv.

A- / $15 (per 12 oz. bottle) / firestonebeer.com

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Firestone Walker Napa Parabola (2019)

$15

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19 Jun

Blogger Füsun Lindner posts an image as part of Dior’s Instagram campaign for the 30 Montaigne bag | Source: Instagram/@ shortstoriesandskirts

PARIS, France — Big-spending luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior are splashing out on everything from dance-fuelled fashion shows to teams of advisers as they target social media platforms in the hunt for young shoppers.

Without the entry barriers of magazine advertising — where a one page glossy ad can cost tens of thousands of dollars – sites like Instagram, a fashionista favourite, have allowed unknown labels to find an audience with canny or eye-catching campaigns.

But big bucks are changing the game as cash rich luxury goods groups like LVMH and Kering hike their social media budgets, giving them vast means to drown out rivals on platforms once seen as a leveller for brands big and small.

As the use of bloggers and influencers becomes mainstream, fees per sponsored post commanded by those with four million followers have reached well over 20,000 euros (£17,794), according to marketing experts.

Less active than some smaller brands on networking platforms even five years ago, luxury’s leading players are now leapfrogging the competition.

Kering — owner of fast-growing Gucci, which scored the highest level of publicity impact on social media last year according to data trackers Tribe Dynamics — said that half its 2018 media budget was spent on digital advertising, up from 20 percent only three years earlier.

“There’s a big shift in how we’re thinking about advertising and creating aspiration,” Kering’s digital chief Gregory Boutte told journalists on the sidelines of an investor day.

“Now with every type of social platform, you need different types of videos, of pictures. You don’t create content on YouTube as you do on TV.”

Kering does not reveal its total advertising expenditure.

Its cross-town rival LVMH increased its total marketing spending at the fastest rate in seven years in 2018 to 5.6 billion euros, reaching 12% of group revenues — more than most brands that disclose this budget and topped only by another big online trendsetter, privately-owned Chanel.

Louis Vuitton, LVMH’s major sales driver, also now allocates half its marketing costs to digital media, the brand’s CEO Michael Burke said at a closed-door briefing this week, according to Citi analysts.

LVMH declined to comment.

Vuitton, as well as LVMH’s Christian Dior, Marc Jacobs and Givenchy labels were among Tribe Dynamics’ top 10 brands last year, with Kering’s Saint Laurent and Balenciaga also making the cut. The firm quantifies how much social media buzz is worth, including non-paid for content.

Embracing the New 

Rewind three years, and Italy’s Valentino, seven times smaller then than Vuitton, outflanked peers in the Instagram stakes, coming first in a listing by Engagement Labs which measured the most effective brands on social media.

Valentino’s formula was simple, mixing content generated by fans with its own professional photos, while answering online comments – a standard approach for labels now, but which helped fuel a sales spike at the Mayhoola-owned firm at the time.

Valentino’s Instagram followers have doubled to 12.4 million since, though revenue growth has slowed; Vuitton’s followers have almost tripled to 32.1 million, and revenues are still expanding at a robust pace.

Marketing investments are just one factor separating luxury brands riding high on demand from markets like China and those struggling to make a mark, with product designs and funkier store strategies playing a role too.

And funds only go so far, with social media savvy also making a difference.

Gucci co-designed a collection in 2016 with “Guccighost”, a street artist who painted quirky versions of its logos around New York and posted them online, helping its social media credentials, Tribe Dynamics’ co-founder Conor Begley said.

“Gucci embraced those connections. Usually a brand would have sent attorneys after him,” Begley said. “That sends a message to other content creators who think ‘Oh My God, maybe I’ll get to work with Gucci’ if I post about them.”

Big Groups, Big Means 

As digital investments rise, mid-sized luxury labels are now in an increasingly awkward spot as they try and stay visible.

“The ones that are suffering are those in the middle, of an average size, which are stuck between the small innovative pure digital players and the big groups with big means,” said Michael Jais, CEO of Launchmetrics, which compiles digital data on the fashion industry.

Italian shoemaker Tod’s is among a clutch of brands in turnaround mode investing more in social media in a bid to revive sales — a strategy welcomed by analysts but which will likely keep weighing on its profit margins, some said.

Analysts at HSBC, which have a “reduce” rating on Tod’s, said in a note this week that it was losing ground and “facing intense competitive pressure” as LVMH and Kering pushed funds into online marketing.

Just over 10% of social media influencers earned $100,000 (£78,462) or more a year in 2018, according to a Launchmetrics report, compared to 3.7% in 2017, though hiring the most popular bloggers is only one of the costs involved.

“The big groups understood they had to invest more in experiences – what happens around a catwalk show, exhibits, store openings,” said Uche Pezard, CEO of Luxe Corp, which advises brands on strategy.

“That’s what’s expensive, not the technology. That’s what’s changed in the past five to eight years.”

By Sarah White and Pascale Denis; Editor: Elaine Hardcastle.

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19 Jun

Goldie

Colour Pop Goldie Matte X Lippie Stix ($6.00 for 0.0352 oz.) is a rich, deep red with neutral-to-cool undertones and a matte finish. It had nearly opaque color coverage that adhered evenly and smoothly across my lips. The lipstick had a velvety consistency that was incredibly silky, comfortable to apply and to wear, and lightweight with a nearly flat-matte finish (without it being a liquid lipstick or prone to tugging). I did find that the shade would be easier to apply using a lip brush to avoid slightly uneven edges, though. The product stayed on well for over six hours, left a very long-wearing, fuchsia stain, and was non-drying.

  • NARS Rouge Indiscret (LE, $28.00) is lighter (95% similar).
  • Maybelline Cruel Ruby (P, $7.49) is glossier (95% similar).
  • Pat McGrath Vendetta (P, $38.00) is glossier (95% similar).
  • MAC Viva Glam I (P, $19.50) is lighter, glossier (90% similar).
  • Milani I Am Motivated (P, $6.99) is glossier (90% similar).
  • MAC Wild Memories (LE, $19.50) is lighter (90% similar).
  • Sephora Red Desert (97) (P, $14.00) is cooler (90% similar).
  • Chanel Experimente (154) (P, $37.00) is lighter, cooler (90% similar).
  • Pat McGrath Guinevere (P, $38.00) is darker (90% similar).
  • Buxom Voodoo Spice (P, $22.00) is more shimmery, cooler, glossier (90% similar).

Ingredients

Cyclopentasiloxane, Caprylyl Methicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Stearyl Methicone, Polyethylene, Phenyl Trimethicone, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Lauryl Laurate, Microcrystalline Wax, Synthetic Beeswax, Paraffin, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Flavor, Glycerin, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Tocopherol, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, C12-16 Alcohol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Palmitic Acid, Betaine, Momordica Grosvenori Fruit Extract, Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410).

Poison

Colour Pop Poison Lippie Stix ($6.00 for 0.0352 oz.) is a medium-dark red with neutral-to-cool undertones and a natural sheen. It had semi-opaque pigmentation that adhered evenly and smoothly across my lips without emphasizing my lip lines. The consistency was lightweight, thin, and a touch tacky but had enough slip that it didn’t tug on my lips during application and felt comfortable to wear. It lasted well for five and a half hours, left a fuchsia stain behind, and was neither drying nor hydrating over time.

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19 Jun

There are just a few weeks left for NHS and private dentists to complete the Dentistry Confidence Monitor survey.

Dentists from both sectors are being asked to share their views and experience of working within the profession.

The results of the survey run by Practice Plan will provide insights and understanding into the real challenges facing dentists in 2019.

It includes questions on areas such as knowledge about the contract reform and the impact it will have, the GDC and mental health.

Nigel Jones, sales and marketing director of Practice Plan, said: ‘There is a strong desire among dentists for change, but also a feeling that this is unlikely to come from outside the profession.

‘Surveys like this help to create a bigger picture of the reality of practising dentistry today and can support any impetus for change.’

You can fill the survey in here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/confidencemonitor7.

Nigel JonesNigel Jones

Author at Dentistry.co.uk

Nigel Jones is sales and marketing director at Practice Plan, a provider of conversion support and practice-branded dental plans. Nigel first began helping dentists convert from the NHS to private care in 1990, continuing such support throughout the majority of his 23-year career. He has added to his understanding of the healthcare market and the Government’s NHS reform programme through his involvement with the independent sector healthcare providers such as Netcare and Virgin Healthcare.

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19 Jun

Have you ever paid attention to the way you think? Have you ever noticed that your thinking is often repetitive or unoriginal?

One of the biggest things meditation can help you with is becoming aware of your habits of thought. Through regular and consistent practice, we slowly but surely lift up and out of the stream of thought that runs through our minds like a hypnotic river of glittering gold.

Meditation gives you space from that thought stream. It helps us release our mostly unconscious and tenacious grip on our thoughts.

And for most of us, we are deeply identified with what we think. And that’s not inherently a bad thing. It’s just that when we are not conscious of it, we tend to act and respond to life in ways that are not as conscious as we think.

So meditation can help us identify deeply ingrained patterns of thought.

How? Well, at its core, meditation is about letting go of everything…including our thoughts. In the process, we gain perspective on them. Like an aerial map, over we can start to discern patterns and habits.

But why is that even important? It may be completely obvious to you. But let’s just be clear upfront.

For one thing, what you think about every day has a huge effect on you.

What you think affects your moods, your behavior, your choices, your emotional bandwidth, your outlook on life, your decisions.

But the thing is, we are often blind to the deeply patterned and conditioned nature of our own thinking. And that’s one reason it can be hard to make big changes in our lives.

In  this episode, we explore how meditation can help to free you from deeply ingrained habits of mind and why that’s so important.

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19 Jun

Many of today’s games often promote
narcissism and anti-social behaviours. The worst examples exploit players,
forcing them into vulnerable and uncomfortable positions in order to make them
easier to monetize; harming players’ physical and mental health and creating
resentful, aggressive and toxic online communities.

It seems that lately we’ve seen more and
more high-profile warnings about the negative impact of video games, including Prince Harry’s condemnation
of the popular video game Fortnite
.

Many games have in fact adopted dark lessons
learned from the advertising and casino industries.

The most obvious connection between games
and casinos is the adoption of straight-up gambling mechanics such as “loot
boxes,“ “portals,“ and “eggs.“ These are usually in-game items that players can
purchase in exchange for real money, which when opened or activated, give
players a small chance to receive over-powered game items. They are in effect, slot
machines.

But many game companies often implement more
complex behavioural conditioning techniques such as “threat generation” in
order to maximize a player’s time in-game. Threat generation often puts the player
in situations such as “unless you log on regularly, your crops will die”, or “you
can be attacked and lose progress when offline”. This type of game is often
easy to spot because they almost always sell a “shield” that allows a player to
sleep normally in return for real money.

Another exploitative technique being used
is “fun pain”. This is the practice of encouraging consumers to spend money by
making them increasingly uncomfortable if they don’t. Often when a player
demonstrates a willingness to pay to avoid discomfort they are confronted with
an even bigger discomfort in a never ending cycle. These games usually try to
sell players “boosts” that help them “just get over the hump.”

Perhaps one of the most invasive exploitation
techniques, especially in online games, is “pay to win.” Pay to win occurs when
one player is able to pay money to gain a competitive advantage over other
players.

With each purchase pay to win empowers one player,
while disempowering the other players. It’s an inverted pyramid – all the
purchases other players make negatively affect every other player. In order to keep
up, a player must not only spend, but outspend the combined effect of all the
other players’ purchases!

Players in a pay to win game are ultimately
far more often disempowered than empowered, and because spending harms everyone
else, it also generates great resentment between players and encourages toxicity
in the gaming community.

Video games also have enormous potential
to be positive social influences.

Look at some of the examples of the
powerful effects games have had on peoples’ lives as captured by Scott Jones in
his podcast Heavily Pixelated.

Can a video game bring people together and
create meaningful social interaction? Can playing games be a healthy
experience?

Throughout history, games originally served
as a means to bring people together, acting as a vehicle for social and
physical interaction. In the best cases, such as the Olympics, they provided a
venue for people with different perspectives to come together and share
experiences. This improved social bonding, happiness, and mental health.

For the majority of our existence, we acted
cooperatively to improve our chance of success and then shared the fruits of
our labors with our community.

Video games can encourage this kind of positive
social interaction by promoting interdependence, rewarding interaction and
ensuring accountability among players.

It turns out, this may be best practice
both ethically AND commercially.

Creating healthier online gaming
communities results in better social cohesion, increased player retention and
higher levels of organic user acquisition as satisfied customers tell their
friends about their positive experiences.

At 2Dogs Games, we’re working together with veterans and mental health experts to build Destiny’s Sword, an online game which explores mental health and the long term consequences of conflict.

Destiny’s Sword promises a healthier gaming
experience, cultivating empathy and cooperation as players work together to
manage the mental health of their squads.

We’ve teamed up with some great
organizations to help guide us along the way:

Take
This
is a mental health charity. Their mission is “to decrease the stigma,
and increase the support for, mental health in the game enthusiast community
and inside the game industry.”

Alda Communication Training
was founded by renowned actor Alan Alda. Their mission is “to develop the
qualities of authenticity, clarity, and empathy as the foundation of powerful
communication.”

SpartanVeteransSpartanVeterans

Spartan
Wellness
serves current and ex-military personnel in Canada. Its mission is
“to ensure consistent and outstanding delivery of services through integrity,
honesty, respect and giving back with a focus on those in uniform and their
families who served and still serve Canada.”


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19 Jun

Social media users have been sharing their tips for dealing with depression thanks to a popular hashtag.

#HowIFightDepression was one of the top trends in the UK on Wednesday as people who had experienced the illness spoke about their coping strategies.

Depression, described by mental health charity Mind as “a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life”, hits around one in 10 people at some time in their lives, according to the NHS.

The hashtag inspired many people to talk about their own experiences – particularly how they deal with the illness.

Some talked about the benefits of doing exercise or going outside.

Twitter user Leanne Roger said animals are a big part of her strategy for dealing with depression.

The 31-year-old from Cornwall told the Press Association: “My cat Gizmo and my pony Lula give me reasons to get up every day, no matter how bad I feel at the time. Some days are easier than others, but my animal family are always pleased to see me, and it puts life into perspective.

“Explaining how we feel verbally to another human can be overwhelming, but animals know exactly how we feel – no words needed. I have found animals are the best therapists for me, and help me with my struggles.”

For some, things like listening to music or talking to friends may alleviate the situation when depression strikes.

But for others it may feel hard to do anything at all other than “ride the wave of emotion”.

Komal Shahid, a blogger and mental health activist from Pakistan, wanted to stress that it is “okay” if you stay in bed all day.

The 24-year-old told the Press Association: “A few years back I was suffering from depression but I didn’t dare talk about it.

“Then I saw a hashtag trending on Twitter. It was about depression and it helped me a lot.

“I realised that I can get help and I can talk about it too, because so many other people were talking about it. Since then I have been working on it. Reading others’ thoughts and views about depression helped me a lot so I know my views and thoughts might help others too.

“These hashtags are so, so, so important. They can literally save lives.”

The Samaritans also joined in with the hashtag, saying: “Sharing your story could give someone else the strength they need.”

Among the steps suggested by Mind to help cope with depression are talking to someone you trust, trying mindfulness, keeping active, spending time in nature and practising self-care.

NHS advice is to seek help from your GP as soon as possible if you feel you may be depressed.

“Many people wait a long time before seeking help for depression, but it’s best not to delay,” reads the advice on the NHS website. “The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery.”

You can find out more about depression and how to cope with it on Mind’s website.


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19 Jun

Grilled peaches are bomb, but they’re not necessarily the first thing you think of when you think of protein. We’re here to change that with this simple and delicious four ingredient recipe. Follow the instructions below and you’re on your way to a peachy protein paradise.

NUTRITIONAL INFO

GRILLED PEACHES

Yields: 4 Servings |  Serving Size: 1 serving cup

Calories: 280 | Protein: 18g  | Fat: 15g | Net Carbs: 13g 

Total Carb: 23g 

Prep Time: 15 mins  | Cook Time:  4 minutes  | Total Time: 19 minutes 

Ingredients

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the bar into pieces and bake for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Remove and let cool.
  4. Once cooled, place the p[ices into a food processor or blender on high until fine crumbles form.
  5. Distribute the mixture between 4 serving glasses (set aside a couple tablespoons for topping)
  6. Prepare a cast iron grill skillet with non-stick spray and turn on medium-low heat.
  7. Cook peaches for 2-4 minutes on each side until tender.
  8. Remove and let cool.
  9. In a bowl, use a handheld mixer to whip the heavy cream until light and fluffy.
  10. Add in the protein powder and mix until incorporated.
  11. Distribute the mixture into each serving glass over the crumbles.
  12. Top with grilled peaches and remaining crumbles and serve immediately.


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19 Jun

Recently unemployed people with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea have a higher risk of having lost a job multiple times, according to preliminary results from a new study presented at SLEEP 2019.

Results show that individuals with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea were more likely to have experienced multiple involuntary job losses. Compared to participants who did not have sleep apnea, those with moderate-to-severe sleep apnea were more than twice as likely to have a history of multiple job layoffs or firings.

“These results suggest that undetected obstructive sleep apnea could have long-term, negative effects on vocational functioning,” says principal investigator Patricia Haynes, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion Sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson, in a release.

This analysis of data from the ongoing, prospective Assessing Daily Activity Patterns through occupational Transitions (ADAPT) study involved 261 participants with an average age of 41 years; 58% were women. Seventy-three percent received hourly wages rather than a salary, and about 45% of participants had a history of multiple job losses. Breathing during sleep was evaluated with a home sleep apnea test, which revealed that 42% percent had at least mild sleep apnea.

After a propensity score analysis, 39 matched pairs (78 participants) remained for the logistic regression model. Results were controlled for potential confounders such as age, sex, race, and job payment type.

The authors noted that one limitation of the study was the inability to include body mass index in the analysis.

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