As the time for New Year resolutions has arrived yet again, factoring prominently on many lists is “spend less time on Facebook.” According to new research out of Denmark, this may well turn out to be a good idea.
A study by the University of Copenhagen suggests that taking a break from the popular social network can boost emotional wellbeing, with the effects especially pronounced among passive users who “lurk” on Facebook without actively engaging with others.
The research showed that the effects of quitting for a week were also notable among heavy users and those who envied their Facebook “friends,” which suggested that people who dwell enviously over other users’ posts may benefit the most from time offline.
Morten Tromholt, from the Danish university’s sociology department, and the author of the report, said the findings suggested that changes in behaviour – for example “lurkers” actively engaging, or heavy users reducing their time spent on Facebook– could yield positive results.
Tromholt nevertheless indicated that changing behaviour could be difficult, with 13 percent of the study’s participants who were supposed to be taking time out admitting to continuing use of the social network. In such cases it was thought that quitting may be necessary.
The study, which was published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, involved 1,095 participants, 86 percent of whom were women.
They were randomly assigned to two groups: one that stopped using the social network for a week, and one that continued using Facebook as usual.
On average, the participants had 350 Facebook friends, were aged 34, and spent just over an hour each day on the social network.
Questionnaires conducted at the beginning and end of the week indicated that taking a break from the site increased positive emotions and life satisfaction.
The effects of quitting were found to be greater among heavy users, passive users and those who envied others on the social network.
According to Brenda Wiederhold, editor-in-chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking: “This study found that ‘lurking’ on Facebook may cause negative emotions. However, on the bright side … previous studies have shown actively connecting with close friends, whether in real life or on Facebook, may actually increase one’s sense of wellbeing.”
Tromholt suggested that future studies should investigate the effect of quitting Facebook for a greater length of time and look at other social networks.
Gender means nothing for H&M’s latest unisex denim collection. The clothing brand hopes to break down gender barriers with its Denim United collection.
The international fashion retailer goal through this collection is to create a sustainable and modern clothing line that everyone can wear. In doing so, the company will be blurring the borders that once categorized fashion into men’s fashion or women’s fashion by creating clothing that borrows fabrics and silhouettes from both genders.
A spokesperson for the clothing brand, Marybeth Schmitt, stated in a press release that it was only natural that the company create a unisex collection since fashion is always “evolving and intersecting”. She goes on to say that in fashion, there is no boundaries and should be inclusive.
What kind of looks can you expect to see from the collection? From what we have seen so far, the unisex collection will include some oversized pieces, as well as some casual mix-and-match items like jackets, overalls and shorts. All items will be available to consumers in a variety of washes.
Another reason why you should buy clothing from this collection is that the clothing is also environmentally friendly! The materials are made out of organic and recycled cotton. Talk about innovation.
The collection will be made available March 23 with its launched, though for now the items can only be found online at the store’s shop.
More and more, superheroes are encroaching on the world of TV (though not as much as film). But there’s plenty else to look forward to on the small screen in 2017: debuts of promising original shows, new seasons of critical favorites like The Leftovers and Fargo, and the long-awaited return of Star Trek, one of television’s most famous franchises, to its original medium. Below, a list of the 20 most exciting shows in the coming year.
In the last 10 years, audiences have gotten Wicked, Oz the Great and Powerful, and a revamped The Wiz, but NBC in its infinite wisdom thinks the world needs a fresh take on The Wizard of Oz, so here’s a “dark and edgy” reboot. Directed by the visually adventurous Tarsem Singh (who made The Fall and the Snow White update Mirror, Mirror), Emerald City features Vincent D’Onofrio as the Wizard, steampunk helicopters, and a German Shepherd Toto. Your best guess as to the point of all this is as good as mine.
Though Netflix has experimented with the TV format over the years, it’s beginning to embrace the old-school multi-camera comedy as well, here revamping Norman Lear’s classic family sitcom for 2017 audiences. One Day at a Time is still a laugh-track sitcom about a single mother—Penelope (Justina Machado), a Cuban-American military veteran with a teenage daughter and “socially adept tween” son. Rita Moreno co-stars as Penelope’s grandmother, and early reviews are strong.
This miniseries comes from co-creators Steven Knight (who wrote Dirty Pretty Things, Locke, and Allied among others), Tom Hardy, and his father, credited as “Chips” Hardy. Unfortunately, Taboo is not about how Chips got his nickname—it’s an eight-episode story about a mysterious man (played by Tom Hardy) who returns to London in 1814 after years in Africa, seeking revenge on the East India Company for his father’s death.
Fans largely derided the 2004 film adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s series of dark children’s novels. But an eight-episode Netflix series might prove a better medium for translating the 13-book series, with author Daniel Handler (who penned the books under the Snicket pseudonym) scripting. Neil Patrick Harris stars as the villainous Count Olaf, with Joan Cusack, Patrick Warburton, and Alfre Woodard among the supporting cast.
Here’s the pitch: Lenny Belardo (Jude Law) is the new pope (the first American in history to hold the position), and boy, is he young. Created by the operatic Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (behind such films as The Great Beauty and Youth), The Young Pope isn’t going for subtlety, but it has already aired in Italy and the UK to critical acclaim. HBO is positioning the show as its big winter prestige drama, and if nothing else, it looks like opulent fun. Diane Keaton co-stars as Lenny’s mentor and personal secretary.
A millennial revamping of the Archie Comics universe, which features a surprisingly buff Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa), a “philosophically bent” Jughead (whatever that may mean), a mysterious past for Cheryl Blossom, and Luke Perry as Archie’s grizzled dad. Betty and Veronica are on board too, of course. As silly as some of the details might sound, early word on the show is strong, perhaps because it was developed by the veteran comic-book and TV writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
Thursday on NBC
Premieres February 2
Unlike Marvel’s attempts at television tie-ins to its superhero movies, Powerless (which is connected to the DC comics universe) is a show about ordinary folks trying to live their lives around the chaos of Superman, Batman, and their ilk saving lives. Vanessa Hudgens and Danny Pudi star as office drones working in the bowels of Bruce Wayne’s company, with Alan Tudyk as their tyrannical boss. Essentially, it’s a workplace sitcom, just with superheroes whizzing around in the background.
Santa Clarita Diet
Friday on Netflix
Premieres February 3
Sprung from the truly underrated comic mind of Victor Fresco (Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Better Off Ted), Santa Clarita Diet might be his first series to not suffer an untimely cancellation despite critical acclaim, thanks to the less ratings-crazed honchos at Netflix. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star as real-estate agents getting divorced, whose lives then take an unspecified “dark turn.”
After eight seasons, a revival, and a TV movie, Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer is officially retired, but Fox is reviving the real-time action of 24 yet again, focusing on a new agent at the fictional Counter-Terrorism Unit. Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins), an ex-Army Ranger, is sure to get sucked into many a deadly conspiracy, with Miranda Otto and Jimmy Smits among the ensemble he has to protect. Will the show work without Kiefer screaming into his cellphone?
Viewers are getting another superhero spin-off show, but this one’s adjacent to the X-Men universe and based on the character Legion, a schizophrenic who realizes there may be more to his diagnosis. Legion is a tricky character to get right, but the show is from the talented Noah Hawley (Fargo) and has a terrific cast, including Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), and Fargo alumnus Jean Smart.
Much ink has been spilled about Girls since its debut in 2012, but this is everyone’s last shot to weigh in on Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) and company’s antics—season six will be the last. These final 10 episodes will surely air free of controversy and nary a hot take will be written about them, especially ones about what the show has meant for millennial culture.
One potential successor for Girls is another HBO quasi-sitcom shepherded to screen by comedy vet Judd Apatow. Pete Holmes, a brilliant stand-up who has long been in search of the right TV project (his TBS late-night talk show was canceled too soon), created Crashing and based it on his own life in the stand-up world. It follows Pete (Holmes, playing himself), who’s trying to cobble together a living as a comedian while dealing with the collapse of his marriage.
A spinoff of long-running legal drama The Good Wife, this show is being used to launch CBS’s new streaming service CBS All Access, premiering on the TV network before bouncing over to the online subscriber-only network. Set a year after The Good Wife’s finale, The Good Fight follows Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) as she moves to a new Chicago law firm with her former colleague Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) and her goddaughter Maia (Rose Leslie of Game of Thrones). Delroy Lindo co-stars as a rival attorney.
The Netflix Marvel universe continues to build out with its most problematic superhero—Danny Rand (played by Finn Jones of Game of Thrones), a billionaire industrialist who has been missing for 15 years and returns to New York proficient in kung fu. Though Rand (created in the ’70s during the first pop-culture boom for martial-arts movies in the U.S.) has always been written as white, he may be an uncomfortable sight for Marvel in 2017, especially after the whitewashing controversy over its film Doctor Strange.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Wednesday on Hulu
Premieres April 26
Margaret Atwood’s 1985 masterpiece of speculative fiction, set in a totalitarian theocracy where women’s rights have been erased by a religious movement that seized power in the United States, seems quite relevant to the contemporary political mood, and has never gotten a proper adaptation. Hulu is positioning this 10-episode series as its prestige drama of the spring, with Elisabeth Moss starring as Offred; Joseph Fiennes, Samira Wiley, and Yvonne Strahovski co-star.
Returns this spring on FX
No official premiere date has been set for the third season of Fargo, but the cast is as stacked as ever, with Ewan McGregor playing dual lead roles, and Carrie Coon (The Leftovers), David Thewlis, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead all involved. Unlike the last season, the show will be set in the near-present day (2010, according to reports), opening up the possibility that characters from its first season could return (though the creator Noah Hawley is keeping quiet about any plot details).
Returns this April on HBO
In its second season, this TV adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s novel The Leftovers built on its promise to become one of the best, most fascinating, confounding shows on television. Perhaps cognizant that his last great show (Lost) lasted a little too long, co-creator Damon Lindelof is ending the show this year, shifting the action to Australia but keeping the entire main cast (minus Ann Dowd’s dearly departed Patti Levin). The show will struggle to top season 2’s episode “International Assassin,” but whatever Lindelof and Perrotta do come up with is sure to be fascinating.
A much-hyped adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel, focusing on Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), an ex-con recruited by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), who is recruiting the world’s forgotten gods (to say more would be spoiling). Adapted by Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Kings), the series, which was initially in production at HBO, promises to be a suitably epic take on Gaiman’s writing. (The first season will cover only the first third of his novel).
Star Trek: Discovery
Premieres this May on CBS All Access
The first Star Trek show since Enterprise concluded in 2005, Discovery has a heavy fan burden to shoulder, but an exciting cast and crew aboard. Set 10 years before the original Star Trek series, Discovery will not take place in the world of the recent rebooted film series, instead charting the journey of the USS Discovery after weathering a much discussed but secret “incident” in Trek lore. Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead) stars as Rainsford, the ship’s second officer (the first non-commanding officer to headline a Trek series). Like The Good Fight, this show will premiere on CBS then move to its All Access streaming network.
Game of Thrones
Returns this summer on HBO
Knocked from its usual April perch by a filming schedule that demanded more time in snowier climes (winter has, after all, come to Westeros), the seventh and penultimate season of Game of Thrones will arrive at some point this summer on HBO for an abridged seven episodes. Will George R. R. Martin finish his next book before then? Will Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen become the best of friends? Will Cersei Lannister’s quest for power finally end in glory? All that, and much more, as HBO tries to squeeze as much life out of its big ticket as possible before the whole shebang wraps in 2018.
When the weather turns cold, my mind wanders to hot comfort food.
This week I craved a steaming bowl of hot chili. (This is my wife’s recipe and she is cooking it as I write.)
At the end of 2016, I was writing recipes that might help the harried cook get meals on the table a little quicker. Although this is a long slow cook recipe, the slow cooker makes it work. You can do all your prep the evening before, refrigerate the whole lot then turn the cooker on in the morning and away you go. Large batches also leave leftovers for another meal.
The origin of chili goes back to the Aztecs; it gained further popularity on the cattle drives of the American West. Today there are many many recipes and numerous chili cook off contests. Winter is the time to hone your skills to win the Main street cook off next summer. This recipe is a basic starting point for your chili challenge.
SLOW COOKER CHILI
•1 lb gr sausage—hot Italian or garlic dinner
•1 lb ground beef
•1 med onion
•1/2 red pepper
•1/2 green pepper
•1 cup beef stock as needed
•1 can tomatoes
•2 cans red kidney beans
•3 Tbsp Chili powder
•2 tsp cumin
•1-2 tbsp crushed Chili peppers
1. Fry meat & onion then pour into slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients—cook 5 hours on high or 10-12 hours on low.
2.Serve with Cornbread or Garlic bread.
Victoria Beckham has went through a massive style evolution since her days as Posh in the Spice Girls.
Along the way she’s made some interesting choices — and she’s the first to admit some of her looks weren’t the best.
The singer-turned-fashion designer has penned a letter to her 18-year-old self for the latest issue of British Vogue. In the honest piece, Beckham talks about body image and marriage and warns her younger self about some of the more outlandish style choices she’ll make over time — the main one being breast enhancements.
“ … I should probably say, don’t mess with your boobs. All those years I denied it — stupid. A sign of insecurity. Just celebrate what you’ve got,” she wrote in the magazine.
Victoria walks the carpet at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles.
Beckham, 42, also comforted her younger self about her insecurities.
“Your complexion will sort itself out (in fact you will launch your own make-up brand); as soon as the eighties are over, your perm will die down, and your weight will settle itself,” she wrote. “At school you eat Super Noodles and boxes of Frosties because they say they are fat free, and you will endure many other silly fad diets (including an addiction to green juices). Instead, learn to embrace your imperfections — that is what I want to tell you.”
Victoria, at the height of Spice Girls fame, arrives in Sydney for a 1997 Spiceworld screening.
The designer continued: “Let your skin breathe; wear less make-up. (And don’t ever let that make-up artist shave your eyebrows! The effects last forever.) You will always be addicted to Elnett hairspray but you will tone it down. Less of the ‘Hello! I just got stuck in a wind tunnel’, please.”
Victoria Beckham at the Spice Girls reunion announcement in London, 2007.
Beckham’s style evolution.
Despite her tongue-in-cheek warnings, Beckham added the dramatic looks during her evolution from pop star to fashion icon add “interest” to her life.
“You are going to have so much fun with your clothes — PVC catsuits; chokers that say absurd things; weird spiky blonde hair. It will never occur to you that you appear ridiculous,” she wrote. “You will turn up at awards ceremonies resembling a drag queen. But I look back at you and smile. It will add interest to your life to go from one extreme to another. I love the fact that you will feel free to express yourself.”
The former Spice Girl arrives at the 2000 Elle Style Awards in London
She told her younger self that even though she would go on to build a respected fashion empire, she should not become “stifled” by it.
“You will learn, as you mature, to swap heels for Stan Smith trainers, minidresses for crisp white shirts. And you will never be one of those people who just roll out of bed,” she wrote. “Wear sunglasses a lot. Even inside. Especially at airports. They turn a nothing-outfit into something quite pulled together and cool.”
A more toned-down Beckham after showing her collection at 2016 New York Fashion Week.
Remembering the time she met her husband David Beckham in the Manchester United players’ lounge, she offered advice on their marriage.
“Have patience. Bite your tongue. Be supportive. And preserve a bit of mystique,” she wrote. “Never let yourself go completely (at least brush your hair, clean your teeth, have a bit of a brow going on because you will always want him to look at you and feel attracted).”
“Wear sunglasses a lot”: Victoria practices what she preaches at LAX in 2016
The youngest player at the MLS Combine may also be one of the MLS draft’s biggest mysteries.
At 17, Canadian forward Adonijah Reid is very much a work in progress. But his raw talent combined with a Generation Adidas Canada contract that does not count against the salary cap should draw interest in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft in Los Angeles.
The five-foot-five talent from Brampton, Ont., who does not turn 18 until mid-September, has honed his talents at the ANB Futbol Academy in suburban Toronto since he was 11.
“He is an attacking-minded player, I don’t like to say forward because he can play behind the striker, as a striker and he can be on the wing,” said ANB Academy director Bassam Naim.
“He is a very lethal finisher,” he added. “He will bury the ball most of the time.”
ANB Futbol Academy wasted little time showcasing his talents to European teams.
“This young man has been very well-travelled … He has been offered many scenarios,” said Naim. “But due to the fact that he doesn’t have European documents — he’s Canadian-born — it was difficult for us to keep him in Europe.”
As a 15-year-old, Reid tied for the scoring lead in League 1 Ontario with the ANB Futbol team. More recently he has been playing for the Academy’s under-20 side.
“He’s definitely able to compete with older players,” said Naim. “That’s an edge he has. He’s motivated to play with older men … I think the future is bright.”
Reid has spent time with Canadian under-15, under-16 and under-18 camps, while drawing plenty of interest from U.S. colleges.
“He’s got undoubted talent,” said Canadian under-20 coach Rob Gale. “It’s really going to be interesting how he develops and grows once he’s in that full-time professional environment. But he’s a dynamic forward. He can probably play in any of four front positions.”
Reid has a knack for getting into goal-scoring positions.
“He’s got a big upside … He’s always been the best player in his current environment,” said Gale. “And now he needs that extra push which I think is going to be very very good for him.”
Quiet off the field, the youngster will likely be a project for an MLS team willing to give him the time needed.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have the highest pick among the Canadian team at No. 7. Montreal picks 19th and Toronto 21st.
Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson plays his cards close to his chest and has a shopping list with various needs. But the franchise has not been shy in the past about young talent, using the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft to take 17-year-old forward Kekuta Manneh.
Reid is joined by 19-year-old FC Edmonton midfielder Shamit Shome in the inaugural Generation Adidas Canada class.
We predict this pineapple upside down cake will make an appearance at more than one occasion!
1½ cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 3 tablespoons (cut into small pieces) for preparing the top
1 cup sugar, plus 2/3 cup for preparing the top
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
7 thin rounds cored pineapple
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. With an electric mixer, cream 6 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the milk in 2, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until combined
3. In a 10-inch cast-iron (or ovenproof nonstick) skillet, add remaining sugar and butter over low heat and while stirring, allow to turn a light caramel color. Then place the pineapple rings and top with the batter.
4. Carefully spoon batter over pineapples in skillet. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
5. Let cake cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, then carefully invert onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
It is never too late to start eating a Mediterranean diet.
Research shows that consuming plenty of fruit and vegetables, olive oil, and even the odd glass of wine could slow shrinking of the brain among people in their 70s.
The study found that for pensioners on the diet, brain shrinkage – which is associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease – was less than half that of others their age.
The benefits are believed to come from the antioxidants in the diet, which is most closely associated with Italy. These are thought to reduce damage in the brain from oxidation, which leads to neural degeneration.
Lead author Dr Michelle Luciano, from the University of Edinburgh, said: “As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells which can affect learning and memory.
“This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health.” The latest study, published in the journal Neurology, looked at the dietary habits of almost 1,000 people in Scotland in their 70s.
A Mediterranean diet was judged as one high in fruit and vegetables, beans and grains, and the mono-unsaturated fats found in olive oil. It even allowed for drinking the equivalent of one large glass of wine a day for women or two for men.
People of this age would be expected to lose around 18ml of their brain volume in the three years between 73 and 76. But those found to have most closely stuck to a Mediterranean diet when questioned about it by researchers experienced less than half of that shrinkage, MRI brain scans showed.
More research is needed on which parts of the brain are protected, but brain shrinkage has been linked with dementia, backing up previous research that this diet, which is also low in meat and dairy products, could protect against Alzheimer’s.
Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard continued her strong start to the year with a 6-2, 6-3 quarter-final win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Wednesday at the Sydney International.
Bouchard had a breakout season in 2014, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open before making the final at Wimbledon. But she has only gone past the fourth round at a major once since then and slipped to No. 46 at the end of last year.
“I feel more and more confident every day,” Bouchard said Wednesday. “I feel like I’m getting back into the rhythm of things a little bit, but it’s a long road …”
The Westmount, Que., native’s semifinal opponent will be Sydney-born Johanna Konta of Britain, who beat Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5. Konta broke Kasatkina’s service in the 11th game, helped by a double-fault to set up break point in that game.
Last year at the Australian Open, Konta became the first British woman to make a Grand Slam semi since 1983 before losing to eventual champion Angelique Kerber.
Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki’s streak of not advancing past the quarterfinals in her past seven Sydney Internationals was extended in stifling heat on Wednesday.
In temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for much of the match, Wozniacki lost 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-4 to Barbora Strycova in a duel that stretched to 3 hours, 19 minutes.
Both players were treated for foot injuries during a grueling second set on Ken Rosewall Arena. Wozniacki came back from 5-2 down in that set, and then 5-0 in the tiebreaker, to win it and force a third set.
“It was brutal out there … but you just try and think like you’re on a beach drinking pina coladas,” Wozniacki said. “That’s basically your train of thought. You know that it’s the same for both players, so I was just trying to mentally just try and keep cool.”
Strycova will meet the winner of the night match between second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska and qualifier Duan Yingying in Friday’s semifinals.
In men’s play at Sydney, two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-4. Second-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay defeated Nicolas Mahut of France 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
At Auckland, New Zealand, American John Isner narrowly avoided the fate of two former champions when he beat Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri in a third-set tiebreaker to advance 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6) to make the quarterfinals of the ASB Classic.
Isner won his last three points with volleys at the net.
“The way I need to finish points is that if I can I have to try and finish them at the net,” Isner said. “I did that three times in a row and I’m very proud of that.”
Four former champions were scheduled to play second-round matches Wednesday but by the time the second-seeded Isner took the court, two had bowed out.
Defending champion and No. 1-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut was forced to withdraw before play began because of a stomach virus, handing New Zealander Ruben Statham a place in the second round as a lucky loser from the qualifying rounds.
The 2015 champion Jiri Vesely was due to play Bautista Agut and thought he had caught a break when the Spaniard withdrew and the 434th-ranked Statham took his place. But Vesely had a tussle on his hands before winning 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-3.
Four-time champion David Ferrer was first up on centre court and lost 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4) to Robin Haase of the Netherlands.
At the WTA’s Hobart International, former French Open finalist Lucie Safarova was beaten 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 by Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki. Ozaki will next meet Romanian Monica Niculescu.
Top-seeded Kiki Bertens advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan.