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Marie Kondo’s life is messier now—and she’s fine with it

January 30, 2023

In the chill of January, we often examine how we are living. And right now, many of us are revisiting the tidying principles of Japanese lifestyle queen Marie Kondo.

But the ever-organized Kondo, it seems, is a bit frazzled since giving birth to her third child in 2021. Like most of us, she’s having trouble keeping up with all of it, reports The Washington Post.

Never fear, though: She is still sparking joy. It’s just that, these days, that doesn’t hinge on having a tidy house. Her new rituals turn inward, to more thoughtful things than a drawer full of perfectly folded T-shirts or an Instagram-worthy spice cabinet.

In her latest book, “Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life,” Kondo expands on the Japanese concept of kurashi, or “way of life.” She elaborates on simple ways to bring calmness and happiness to everyday things. Yes, that can mean cleaning out your purse every night, but it can also mean playing classical piano music during breakfast. Or making your mom’s recipe for black vinegar chicken wing stew. (The recipe is included in the book.)

This book is a bit of a reality check. Kondo, 38, has caught up with the rest of us—trying to corral the piles on our kitchen counters while on hold with the plumber and trying not to burn dinner. The multitasker seems somewhat humbled by her growing family and her business success; maybe realizing that you can find peace in some matcha, even if you drink it in a favorite cracked mug rather than a porcelain cup.

“Tidying up means dealing with all the ‘things’ in your life,” Kondo writes in the book. “So, what do you really want to put in order?”

Kondo says her life underwent a huge change after she had her third child, and external tidying has taken a back seat to the business of life. “My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life,” she said through an interpreter at a recent media webinar and virtual tea ceremony.

She encourages everyone to create their own rhythm, their own routines, based on what makes them happy, and she offers more than 125 serene photographic examples to inspire. (Most are not, however, from her own house.) Her assignment for readers: Come up with a doable joy routine and stick with it for ten days. Then see whether the daily habit changes are making you feel better.

Kondo says that, for many, the perfectly organized space is not realistic. “Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times,” she said at the event. “I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.”

Although her two Netflix series showed her helping people overwhelmed with emotion about their stuff, Kondo now drills down to a more tightly focused approach, helping people identify little activities to bring peace and joy on a deeper level.

Among Kondo’s personal joys: buying 100% silk or organic cotton pajamas, because they feel good and help her sleep; perusing her tea-leaf drawer and drinking tea three times a day to bring a sense of calm; and opening her childhood sewing box, which brings back warm memories.

Previously, the decluttering diva has seemed to be a bit of a tough cookie when it comes to sharing details of her inner thoughts or how she finds time to relax. But now Kondo writes in her book that, although she loves her work, “sometimes I pack my schedule so tightly I feel frazzled or am overcome with anxiety.” As a tidying professional, she says, she puts pressure on herself to always keep her house in order.

She and her husband, Takumi Kawahara, president of KonMari Media, the company she founded, carefully plan their days to spend time with their children while still getting other tasks done. (Kawahara, by the way, goes to bed at the same time as the kids and gets up at 4 a.m.) She gets through the day by flinging open her windows for some fresh morning air, lighting incense and wiping the soles of her shoes. And, yes, she does thank her shoes for supporting her when she is cleaning them after a day of service.

Kondo says people have been asking her about her own lifestyle and personal rituals since her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” published in the United States in 2014. “Tidying our homes, tidying our environment is also a way of tidying our minds,” she says. By organizing our hearts and minds, it becomes clear what we really want, Kondo says, adding that these are the things she is struggling with right now.

Kondo says she realizes that, as her children grow up, her way of life will change again. “I will keep looking inward to make sure I am leading my own kurashi,” she says. Good luck with that, Marie.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Heinz puts Super Bowl’s use of Roman numerals on trial

January 30, 2023

International food producer Heinz is having some fun around the number 57 that appears on its tomato ketchup bottles—tying it in with this year’s 57th annual Super Bowl (or LVII, as it’s branded), reports Adweek.

Heinz 57 is an iconic piece of advertising—referring to the number of different varieties offered by the food company. It was first introduced to promote the number of different pickles that Heinz sold in 1896. However, according to the Smithsonian Magazinethe number actually doesn’t refer to anything.

Ahead of the Super Bowl in February, Heinz is choosing to educate fans on reading Roman numerals, explaining that “LVII Meanz 57” and calling on the National Football League to adopt standard numbers instead.

It claims that last year, hundreds of social media users complained about their confusion over using Roman numerals. So, to help, it has launched a dedicated campaign website to allow fans to vote for whether the organizers should retire their use.

A hashtag, #LVIIMeanz57, has also been created to amplify the messaging across social media as well.

Alyssa Cicero, brand manager for Heinz, says: “The annual return of these impractical Roman numerals consistently leave fans vexed and perplexed.

“For over 100 years, Heinz has been synonymous with the number 57, and this year, Big Game LVII is too,” she added. “What better time for Heinz to use its iconic and trademarked 57 to modernize this practice and clarify that ‘LVII Meanz 57?’ We know viewers across North America are invested in this, and we want to use our platform to elevate their frustrations.”

To commemorate the crossover in numbers, special limited edition ketchup bottles featuring “LVII Meanz 57” in place of where the number “57” usually sits have been released. Those who vote in the poll will be given the chance to win one of the bottles to incentivize their involvement.

The vote will be open until the day of the Super Bowl February 12 and will be amplified using OOH and across Heinz’s social media channels.

Research contact: @Adweek

Rep. Adam Schiff to run for Senate in California

January 30, 2023

Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who emerged as one of former President Donald Trump’s chief congressional tormentors from his perch atop the House Intelligence Committee, announced on Thursday, January 26, that he would seek the Senate seat long held by Dianne Feinstein, reports The New York Times.

“I wish I could say the threat of MAGA extremists is over,” he said in a video on Twitter. “It is not. Today’s Republican Party is gutting the middle class, threatening our democracy. They aren’t going to stop. We have to stop them.”

Schiff, 62, is the second member of California’s Democratic congressional delegation to join the 2024 race, after Representative Katie Porter.

He enters the campaign with the largest national profile, according to the Times—built from his position as the manager of Trump’s first impeachment trial. He later served on the House committee responsible for investigating the origins of the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

On Tuesday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, exiled Schiff and Representative Eric Swalwell, another California Democrat, from the House Intelligence Committee in retribution for their actions toward Republicans when Democrats held the majority.

Feinstein, 89, has not said whether she will run again in 2024; but is widely expected not to do so as she faces Democratic worries about her age and ability to serve. Last year, she declined to serve as president pro tem of the Senate, and in 2020 she ceded her post as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee after coming under pressure from her party during the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

In an interview with the Times on Thursday, Schiff said he had first apprised Senator Feinstein of his plans several weeks ago, in person, on Capitol Hill and again by phone on Wednesday.

“She was very gracious,” he said. “I let her know that I wanted to make my announcement, and she could not have been nicer about it.”

Schiff said that he did not want to speculate about whether Feinstein might retire, and that she deserved to set her own schedule for making an announcement about her political future.

“Once more, I have a genuine admiration and affection for her, and wanted to do everything I can to respect that,” he said.

A former federal prosecutor, Schiff served in California’s State Senate before being elected to a Los Angeles-area House seat in 2000.

In Congress, he became a close ally of (former) Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who tapped him to play a leading role in Trump’s impeachment trial and then on the January 6 committee. Last fall, Schiff passed on a chance for a slot on the post-Pelosi House leadership team in order to focus on a planned run for the Senate.

During and after the Trump years, Schiff became one of the most prodigious fund-raisers in Congress. During the 2018 election cycle, he raised $6.3 million, and then his fund-raising surged to $19.6 million in 2020 and $24.5 million in 2022 — without a competitive election of his own to wage. He has not faced a serious challenge since arriving in Congress, winning each of his general elections by at least 29 percentage points.

According to the latest Federal Election Commission reports, Schiff had $20.6 million in campaign money at the end of November; compared with $7.7 million for Porter and $54,940 for Representative Barbara Lee, who has told donors of her plans to run.

While Schiff and Lee’s House seats are safely Democratic, Porter’s is far more contested; she won re-election in November by three percentage points.

California—the nation’s most populous state with nearly 40 million residents—has not hosted a highly competitive contest for an open Senate seat since 1992, when Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, a fellow Democrat, were both elected for the first time.

Feinstein, who is in her sixth term, has been trailed by questions about her fitness to serve. Problems with her short-term memory have become an open secret on Capitol Hill, although few Democrats have been willing to discuss the subject publicly.

She has made no moves to suggest she will seek re-election in 2024. She has not hired a campaign staff and, in the latest campaign finance report for the period ending in September, had less than $10,000 in cash on hand—a paltry sum for a sitting senator.

Not since the early 1990s have both sitting senators from California been men. When asked whether electing a woman might be a priority for some voters after the Supreme Court’s repeal last year of Roe v. Wade, Schiff played down the potential role of gender in the race.

“I’m very proud of my fierce efforts to protect women’s reproductive freedom and my pro-choice record is a stellar one,” he said.

Schiff had earlier suggested that his election to the Senate could be symbolic in another way: “I think a lot of Californians will relish the idea of making Adam Schiff Kevin McCarthy’s home-state senator,” he said.

Research contact: @nytimes

Michigan police department releases mugshot of K-9 accused of ‘stealing’ coworker’s lunch

January 27, 2023

Michigan police department has jokingly released a mugshot of a K-9 officer who allegedly stole another officer’s lunch, reports Fox News.

The Wyandotte Police Department in southeastern Michigan posted a photo of alleged lunch thief Ice, who reportedly nabbed the half-eaten lunch of Officer Barwig in the break room when Barwig was called to assist at the jail, according to a January 12 Facebook post. The post had received nearly 20,000 interactions as of Wednesday, January 25.

“Stealing is not only a crime but it is morally wrong too. Some jobs, like that of being a police officer, require you to take an oath prior to starting. Within the officer’s sworn oath is the promise to protect person’s property,” the department wrote.

“That being said, it saddens me to report that a current officer of the Wyandotte Police Department is under investigation for stealing!”

Police said when Barwig returned to the break room, he found his lunch had disappeared and that Ice was seen “leisurely strolling out of the room licking his chops.”

The police added that Ice had invoked his Fifth Amendment right to silence and “quite frankly is not cooperating with the investigation.”

Police also noted Ice “has a history of rummaging through trash cans that are within his reach” and that he has faced previous allegations of taking coworkers’ food from their hands.

The department appealed to its Facebook followers regarding how best to proceed with its investigation, prompting some users to offer pro bono legal representation for the K-9.

“I’ll be this officer’s attorney pro bono if need be,” one user wrote. “If the teeth don’t fit,you must acquit,” the user said in a parody of the famous line in the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Snapchat’s trippy new brand campaign aims to answer the question, what is Snapchat for?

January 27, 2023

When former Wieden+Kennedy executive Colleen DeCourcy joined Snap last year as the company’s chief creative officer, she said it was “the best known, least understood” social platform, reports Fast Company.

A new brand campaign, called “Wait’ll You See This,” is aimed at remedying that problem.

Whether it’s Apple pulling heartstrings or Amazon getting a bit celebrity silly with Alexa for the Super Bowl, we’re now accustomed to seeing tech brand advertising that includes very elaborate product demonstrations. Snap’s new ad is no exception—except that it feels more like a product demo inside a fever dream.

People with horse heads, dogs with three butts, the dead-eyed goofy gaze of fellow commuters on the subway: It’s all in there. For some, it will be the stuff of social media dystopian nightmares—for others, a peek into the funhouse of creative possibility. The brand is aiming for the latter.

DeCourcy says one of the primary goals is to start a conversation between people who use Snapchat and those who don’t. “As a non-broadcast platform, which is the beauty of it, if you’re not there, you don’t know. So, we’re trying to get people there,” DeCourcy says. “We’re trying to punch a little hole in the Snapchat box and let it leak out into the world so that people can see what it does.”

This is not just a one-off campaign, but the start of what DeCourcy says will be an ongoing brand platform. It was created in-house, under Snap Executive Creative Director Eric Baldwin, who joined the company last August, and previously worked with DeCourcy as ECD at Wieden+Kennedy.

New brand work already has started to trickle out, with a New Year’s Eve billboard in Times Square and a float in the Rose Bowl parade. This work will get its national TV debut during the NFL’s AFC Championship game on Sunday, January 29. “It’ll hopefully be this moment, with people watching a game together, where those who know will get excited and show the others in the room what it’s all about,” Baldwin says.

Snap reports that more than 250 million people engage with augmented reality (AR) on Snapchat every day, with more than 6 billion daily AR plays. The platform has 300,000 AR creators and developers who’ve built more than 3 million AR Lenses for the platform.

“There is this Super Bowl-sized audience on the platform every day,” says DeCourcy. “In a very cynical world, though, people have to experience it to get it. I don’t want to make things about the platform; I want to make things with the platform.”

That’s where this new work gets most interesting. Baldwin and DeCourcy’s creative team worked with Snapchat’s Arcadia Creative Studio to make the spot fully integrated with the app’s AR lenses. Every single frame of the spot, whether you view it online, as a screen shot, or during an NFL game, is scannable and will take you to a new suite of lenses, with a few surprises like a limited edition merch drop mixed in.

Arcadia Creative Studio’s Global Director Resh Sidhu, says Snap’s AR technology is world-class, and the spot itself is the perfect platform to show off how it all works. “We wanted AR to be at the heart of this campaign, and this was the perfect way to do that,” Sidhu says. “What excites our AR team is how this creates a platform for us to continue to share our work with the world. It’s all about getting it in the hands of people and allowing them to experience it.”

Research contact: @FastCompany

George Santos now indicates $625K of loans to his campaign might not be ‘personal’

January 27, 2023

New campaign disclosures from embattled Representative George Santos (R-New York) suggest that at least $625,000 in campaign loans he had previously reported as self-funded might not be sourced from his “personal funds,” reports ABCNews.

Campaign finance experts say Santos may be violating campaign finance laws by not properly disclosing the original sources of those loans.

In a series of amendments filed on Tuesday, January 24, Santos marked two loans that he had previously reported as loans from himself— $500,000 from March 2022 and $125,000 from October 2022—as not from “personal funds from the candidate.”

In a previous version of his campaign disclosure, the $500,000 was reported as a loan from George Anthony Devolder-Santos, with a checked box indicating it was from “personal funds of the candidate.” But in an amendment to that report filed on Tuesday, that box was left unchecked.

Similarly, in another amendment filed on Tuesday, the $125,000 loan was reported as a self-loan from Santos but it had an unmarked box now indicating that it’s not from his personal funds. That loan was previously reported under the contributions section, with a memo that it was a self-loan from Santos.

Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance expert and the deputy executive director of Documented, said a campaign loan reported under a candidate, but not marked as “personal funds of the candidate,” usually means that the loan is secured through a bank or another person.

Under campaign finance laws, disclosures of such loans are required to be accompanied by the original source of the loans as well as the due date and the interest rate, Fischer said. But Santos’ amended filings did not disclose any of that information.

Santos declined to comment on the changes when asked by reporters outside his office on Wednesday: “I have no comment for you on that … I have no clue on what you are talking about,” he said.

Fischer said Santos’ new amendments “make no sense” and added that “unchecking the box is not going to absolve Santos from any legal liabilities.”

Adav Noti, former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission and now senior vice president and legal director of Campaign Legal Center, said the possibility of the changes being unintentional clerical errors, which the Santos campaign has a history of, should not be discounted at this point.

“I don’t think the amendments shed light either way on anything that happened,” Noti said. “There’s one checkbox on one form that was changed. There’s no indication that that was intentional, and there’s all sorts of indication that it might have just been sloppiness.”

Regardless of the intention of the changes, campaign finance lawyer and Deputy Executive Director of the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation Paul Seamus Ryan emphasized the importance of proper disclosures of campaign funds.

“Disclosure of the source and terms of such a loan is important because federal law requires that loans obtained by a candidate for use in the candidate’s campaign must be on the usual and customary terms that would be offered to any similarly situated borrower,” Ryan said.

“I’m not sure what Santos’ motivation was for the loan-related amendments, but he hasn’t cleared up potential violations of federal law,” Ryan added.

Santos, who was elected in November to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District, has been under mounting scrutiny over his finances—with 2022 disclosures indicating millions in assets after previously disclosing less than $60,000 in income in 2020—as well as a string of falsehoods and embellishments he told about his background.

Democrats also have filed a complaint against him with the House Ethics Committee.

Santos has insisted he is not a criminal and has vowed to serve his term for his constituents—suggesting it’s up to them to reelect him or vote him out of office. He was recently given assignments on two lower-level congressional committees: the panels for small business and science, space and technology.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday that “I will hold  him [Santos] to the same standard I hold anyone else elected.”

If Santos is found to have broken the law, then “we will remove him,” McCarthy said, though it was unclear what punishment McCarthy was promising.

Research contact: @abcnews

Losing face: Weight loss drugs may cause facial aging

January 26, 2023

How many injections are you willing to endure to preserve the structural integrity of your face and derrière? For a certain segment of the 1%, there’s no such thing as too many pricks, reports The New York Times.

After giving birth to her first child at 41, Jennifer Berger struggled to lose the last 20 pounds of the 50 she gained during her high-risk pregnancy. “I was doing a mix of cardio and weights three to five times a week—tracking everything I ate—and I still couldn’t lose that last bit of baby weight,” said Berger, a fashion merchandiser in New York City.

At her wits’ end, Berger visited a doctor who suggested she try tirzepatide, marketed under the brand name Mounjaro, a buzzy new diabetes drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May 2022. Mounjaro regulates blood sugar, suppresses appetite, and—if one is to believe the hushed accounts recently exchanged at an Upper East Side hair salon—makes excess pounds disappear into thin air.

“Everybody is either on it or asking how to get on it,” said Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York. “We haven’t seen a prescription drug with this much cocktail and dinner chatter since Viagra came to the market.”

The once-a-week injection works in a similar way to semaglutide treatments like Wegovy and Ozempic—the drug rumored, without evidence, to have helped Kim Kardashian fit into the tiny Marilyn Monroe gown she wore to the Met Gala; Kardashian has denied those rumors. In recent months, these drugs have been prescribed so frequently off-label that shortages prevented some diabetics and obese people from getting their medication.

Many doctors worry that the drugs’ current popularity, fueled in part by social media, has resulted in people taking them without sufficient medical supervision — a risky move considering the possibility of rare but serious side effects like thyroid cancer, pancreatitis, and kidney failure. And drugs like Ozempic can also cause less serious but still debilitating symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and racing heartbeat, as many videos on TikTok attest (see: #ozempic).

Some of the side effects are “extremely rare if the medication is being prescribed at the right dose and with careful medical supervision,” said Dr. Rocio Salas-Whalen, an endocrinologist in New York, who said she has prescribed this family of medication and its predecessors to more than 8,000 patients since 2005.

“Mounjaro is like the Apple 14 of these drugs,” Dr. Salas-Whalen, who did not treat Berger, recently told the Times. Dr. Salas-Whalen said it has the same ability to control blood sugar as Wegovy and Ozempic, but that in her practice, she had seen “almost double the weight loss and close to none of the side effects.”

The FDA has reported that in its clinical trials—which were done on diabetics—patients taking Mounjaro lost, on average, 12 pounds more than those taking drugs like Ozempic. Dr. Salas-Whalen, who has done work for Novo Nordisk, the maker of Wegovy and Ozempic, said she has seen similar results in non-diabetic patients.

While Mounjaro may sound like the closest thing to a weight loss magic bullet since gastric bypass surgery was first performed in 1954, it is not without risk. The Mounjaro packaging contains a black box warning about thyroid C-cell tumors. Like the first generation of these drugs, Mounjaro increased the risk of a rare type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma when it was tested on rodents.

None of these drugs come cheap: Unless a patient is obese and has at least one other “weight-related condition” (such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes), insurance usually won’t cover the medications, which can cost upward of $1,000 for a month’s supply. (Mounjaro is $975 per month; Ozempic, $892; Wegovy, $1,350.)

The rise of the ‘Ozempic face’

Berger, who had undergone fertility treatments to get pregnant, said she didn’t think twice about sticking a needle in her abdomen once a week—or shelling out nearly $1,000 a month for the drug. And Mounjaro lived up to its expectations. Within three months, she had lost those last stubborn 20 pounds.

“It was like flipping a switch,” she said. “I would look at food and it wasn’t even appealing, and I am someone who loves food! I almost had to remind myself to eat. It just took away all the cravings.”

Berger was thrilled with her new body. There was, however, a major downside to losing the weight so quickly. Her face suddenly looked gaunt.

“I remember looking in the mirror, and it was almost like I didn’t even recognize myself,” she said. “My body looked great, but my face looked exhausted and old.”

Dr. Oren Tepper, a plastic surgeon in New York, said that it’s common for weight loss to deflate key areas of the face, leading to a more aged appearance. “When it comes to facial aging, fat is typically more friend than foe,” he said. “Weight loss may turn back your biological age, but it tends to turn your facial clock forward.”

Indeed, as Catherine Deneuve is purported to have said: “At a certain age, you have to choose between your face and your ass.” But these days, in certain moneyed circles, that adage no longer seems to apply, with the now common combination of weight-loss drugs and volume-restoring filler.

“I see it every day in my office,” said Dr. Frank, who said he coined the term “Ozempic face” to describe the condition. “A 50-year-old patient will come in, and suddenly, she’s super-skinny and needs filler, which she never needed before. I look at of the time. It’s the drug of choice these days for the 1 percent.”

Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York whose famous patients include Martha Stewart, has observed the same trend in his office. “We are seeing more and more patients on the medications coming in,” he said. “Generally, it’s people in their 40s and 50s who are losing significant amounts of weight and are concerned about facial aging and sagging that occurs as a result.”

While noninvasive procedures like Fraxel can improve skin texture and wrinkles, Dr. Frank said that fillers are the only noninvasive way to restore volume (cost: $5,000 to $10,000). To bring back a youthful fullness to Berger’s face, Dr. Frank injected Radiesse and hyaluronic acid-based fillers in strategic places all over her face — around the temples, under the eyes, in the buccal hollows and around the jawline, the mouth and lips.

To restore volume, Dr. Bhanusali uses Radiesse in combination with Sculptra, an injectable that stimulates collagen production and can last for up to 24 months. (Dr. Bhanusali has been a consultant to Galderma, the maker of Sculptra.) “The idea is to balance the face to offset the hollowing and downward projections at the cheeks, jowls and other areas,” he said.

‘A high-end luxury drug’

Some people suffering from facial wasting caused by rapid weight loss—40 to 50 pounds, say—may require a more radical approach. “When there is this much weight loss, plastic surgery is sometimes the only way to restore the volume loss,” Dr. Tepper said, noting that more than half of the patients he sees for weight-loss-related surgery are taking these drugs.

“The success rates are astonishing,” he said of the drug treatments. “For many patients, it’s like suddenly winning a lottery Mega Millions. But then they realize there’s a tax that comes with it—the loss of fat in the face—so it may not be quite the windfall they imagined.”

Dr. Tepper said he can eliminate any vestige of “Ozempic face” with a deep plane face-lift, which costs $75,000. He typically combines this with a procedure in which fat is transferred from other parts of the body to the face (an additional $8,000 to $12,000).

While the jaw-dropping prices of these treatments are clearly beyond the reach of the average person, for patients like Berger, who stopped taking Mounjaro after she returned to her pre-baby weight, feeling healthy and confident again is worth every penny she spent.

“I can’t tell you how good I feel about myself now,” she said. “I used to hide from my husband when I came out of the shower. I would literally walk backward so he wouldn’t see my backside. Now I don’t care. Because I feel good. I feel like myself again.”

Some doctors say that most patients who are taking these drugs need to stay on them indefinitely to keep the weight off, but Berger maintained the same strict portion control after she stopped taking Mounjaro. It also helped her ease off wine, which some other people taking the drug have noticed as well.

“I learned to find other ways to deal with my stress because I just didn’t have the taste for it,” she said.

Perhaps most important, the drug allowed her to stop obsessing about food and exercise. “Sure, it was expensive,” Berger said. “But you know what? I saved a lot of money on trainers and not buying wine! To be honest, the most expensive thing so far has been buying new clothes.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Richard’s Rainwater turns wet days into paydays

January 26, 2023

For most people, a rainy day means the inconvenience of carrying around an umbrella or the cancellation of an outside event. But for Richard’s Rainwater, the first U.S. company to bottle rain, the liquid is anything but a hassle as a wet day means payday, reports Food Dive.

Richard’s Rainwater collected roughly 4 million gallons of rainwater from two locations in the United States in 2022, before purifying it and then packaging the liquid in bottles and cans. The water, caught before it hits the ground, preventing the need to add chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride or ammonia, is 100 times cleaner than the strictest bottled water standards even before it’s purified, the company says. 

The company—located in Dripping Springs, Texas—announced the opening of the world’s largest potable rainwater collection site in partnership with Faubourg Brewing of New Orleans and its parent company, Made By The Water, on Thursday, January 19. The collaboration creates Louisiana’s first-ever rain capture facility for drinking water and is expected to collect more than 2 million gallons each year, according to the company’s press release.

Richard’s Rainwater CEO Taylor O’Neil said in the release it makes sense to capture rainwater in New Orleans, since it’s one of the three rainiest cities in the United States.

“I’m on a journey of cleaner water that’s harvested responsibility, is significantly better than municipal water with fancy branding, or bottled water … that travels from a single source on the planet all over the rest of the world with carbon footprints,” O’Neil tells Food Dive.

Sales for the water brand, which have soared from about $100,000 in 2017 when O’Neil and other investors purchased the brand, are forecast to top $10 million in 2023. The product is sold at thousands of locations, including Kroger, Albertsons, and Whole Foods.

Research contact: @FoodDive

‘Decisions are imminent’: Georgia prosecutor nears charging decisions in Trump probe

January 26, 2023

The Atlanta-area district attorney investigating Donald Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election indicated on Tuesday, January 24,  that decisions on whether to seek the indictment of the former president or his associates were “imminent,” reports Politico.

“Decisions are imminent,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said during a Tuesday court hearing called by the Georgia trial court judge overseeing the “special purpose grand jury” that Willis has used to gather evidence over the last year.

Willis’ remark came as she urged the superior court judge, Robert McBurney, to oppose calls to publicly release the findings of her yearlong probe, which she conducted alongside the special grand jury to examine Trump and his inner circle.

Willis has spent the last year investigating Trump’s and his allies’ effort to reverse the election results in Georgia, despite losing the state by more than 11,000 votes.

The special grand jury probed Trump’s January 2 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger—asking him to “find” just enough votes to put him ahead of Joe Biden in the state.

And it pursued evidence about Trump’s broader national effort to subvert the election, calling top allies like his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Attorney John Eastman, and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).

The special grand jury concluded its investigation earlier this month, dissolving in early January, and recommended that its findings be released publicly. McBurney then called for a hearing to discuss whether to follow the panel’s recommendation or maintain the secrecy of the report. Willis told the judge that making the report public could jeopardize impending prosecutions.

“In this case, the state understands the media’s inquiry and the world’s interest. But we have to be mindful of protecting future defendants’ rights,” Willis said, emphasizing that multiple people could face charges.

Tuesday’s discussion was the result of Georgia’s unusual grand jury law, which permits prosecutors to impanel a “special purpose grand jury” that has no power to make formal indictments but can help prosecutors gather evidence about a specific topic. If Willis opts to pursue charges against Trump or others, she needs to present her evidence to a traditional grand jury, which could then issue indictments.

Thomas Clyde, an attorney representing several media outlets supporting the release of the report, urged McBurney to side with the grand jurors rather than Willis.

“We believe the report should be released now and in its entirety,” Clyde said.

He noted that findings in criminal investigations are often released publicly even while investigations and grand jury proceedings continue.

McBurney noted that Willis’ probe has been accompanied by an extraordinary release of information and evidence by the House January 6 select committee and from witnesses being called before a federal grand jury probing the same matters, none of which had derailed Willis’ probe. He also noted that there was little to stop individual grand jurors from simply telling others about the findings in their report.

But McBurney said he wanted more time to consider the arguments and said any ruling he made would provide significant advance notice before the potential release of the report.

Research contact: @politico

Ronald the puppy finds his perfect home after 14 failed adoptions

January 25, 2023

North Carolina nurse Kierstin Davis is sharing the story of how she adopted a 63-pound white puppy called Ronald after he’d suffered 14 failed adoptions in just five weeks, reports People.

Speaking with The Washington Post, Davis said she knew she had to act fast after a post looking for Ronald’s 15th home by the SPCA of Wake County went viral.

After submitting an application, Davis, 28, received the happy news that “Ronny” was coming home to her family on January 12.

“Everything’s been really good at the house,” she said. “He really just fits in perfectly.”

As for why the energetic, playful dog kept getting returned, SPCA spokesperson Samantha Ranlet told the Post: “It was all just different versions of that combination of being really playful and kind of clumsy and goofy and still working on his manners, in combination with his large size.”\

The outlet didn’t note how many of the families had children, which also can be a big deciding factor.

Despite his string of failed adoptions, staff at the SPCA had grown to love the “sweet, cute” dog, Ranlet added. It is partly because of this that she took to Facebook for help getting the word out, writing “Help us break Ronald’s unlucky streak! 14 adoptions have fallen through for this lovely guy — mostly due to being too big/strong.”

“It’s true, he’s a big boy! But for his large frame, he only weighs 63 lbs,” added Ranlet. “Ronald knows his commands, takes treats super gently, and is 100% sweet. He truly is a very good boy.

“Now and then, if he gets excited, he might stand up and put his front paws on you or become a little mouthy. But he is a big puppy, after all! As long as you have reasonably sturdy footing, you’ll have no problem with Ronald. Plus, he loves treats and practicing his tricks, so he’ll be a great student for any training.”

Davis was one of the thousands who saw the post.

“I was like, ‘Oh, there’s no way I’m going to get him,'” she told the Post. “Someone, I’m sure, is going to scoop him up so fast. But I applied anyway.”

Her luck was in: Davis, who has two young boys, 4 and 7, along with a black Australian shepherd she rescued a couple of years ago, happened to be first on the list.

Agreeing to a five-week trial, she brought Ronald back home, surprising her kids with their latest family member in the living room.

They “just screamed with excitement,” said Davis of her kids. “Just right off the bat … I was like, ‘Oh, he’s perfect. He’s staying.'”

Research contact: @people