Best Places to See the Solar Eclipse!

On August 21st, there will be a total solar eclipse that will travel coast to coast across America.  The path is about 68 miles wide and if you’re on the path, you’ll see the total eclipse for about 2 minutes and 40 seconds.  The light show, however, will last for hours.

The 19 best places to catch the eclipse, according to Men’s Journal, are as follows:

Nashville, TN (1:27 pm)

Columbia, MO (1:12 pm)

Nantahala National Forest, NC

Stanley, ID (11:28 am)

Salem, OR (10:17 am)

Greenville, SC (2:38 pm)

Carbondale, IL (1:20 pm)

Jackson, WY (11:34 am)

Grand Island, NE (12:58 pm)

Blairsville, GE (2:34 pm)

Greenwood, SC (2:39 pm)

Charleston, SC (2:46 pm)

Wind River, WY (11:39 am)

Lincoln City, OR (10:16 am)

Jackson County, NC (2:36 pm)

Cascade, ID (11:27 am)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

Alliance, NE (11:49 am)

Casper, WY (11: 42 am)

If you miss this solar eclipse, there’s another one in 2024!


Puppies Are 10 Months Old, But Have the Strength of a Small Army!

Taking our "puppies" for a walk is an upper-body workout – literally.  On Mother’s Day, Jaclyn, Alex, and I took Beckett, Jersey, and Radar to Pleasure Point for what we thought would be a casual stroll on beach.  Instead, we had to separate the pups because of their power play – and our exhaustion as we tried to get them t

Periodic Table Song

Yesterday I blogged about the new Periodic Table that has pictures and words to help you make sense of the elements and how we use them. 

Today, I have a song that’ll help you memorize the Periodic Table – if you need to for school.  Check it out:

Remember memorizing the 50 states by singing a song?  Same concept and it’s very cool.

And if you want to see a 7-year-old boy sing it, check this out:  Get ready to sing the entire Periodic Table!

So You Think You're Not Photogenic?

I dread having photos taken of me.  I know that might sound crazy since I take about a thousand photos per month – of everyone else!  I usually freeze with a strained smile, and then my lips do weird things.  Then I become super self conscious about my lips, and then people ask what’s wrong with my lips! So then my face gets distorted as I try to make my lips look normal.  Oh the vicious cycle.

That’s why I was so intrigued when I read this article “10 Easy Steps to Looking More Photogenic.”  I like tips that I can consciously do so I don’t fret about things I can’t control (like my face!).  I like Tip #7 the best: Close your eyes, take a deep breath, open your eyes, and smile! 

So if you don’t think you can take a good photo, try reading these 10 tips!

After 10 years, I finally replaced my last profile photo that I’ve used for business and social media.  Maybe I won’t wait another 10 years to post a new photo!

Eating Plastic

I remember during the Vietnam War that autopsies performed on our thousands of young soldiers showed that there was Styrofoam in their bodies.  After eating and drinking out of Styrofoam containers, the polystyrene leached into their bodies and stayed there for life. I thought those days were gone because we banned Styrofoam, and later BPA (Bisphenol A) in water bottles. But a recent study now shows that children have harmful plastics (phthalates) in their bodies.

Our food production techniques have become “mass production” due to overpopulation and corporate greed. Meat for burgers is extruded through PVC tubing, bulk supplies of grain are stored in plastic containers, and virtually all food is wrapped in plastic.  The fast food industry is the culprit because food servers wear PVC gloves, food is wrapped or stored in plastic containers, and fast food is often reheated or assembled on plastic surfaces.

Studies show that people who eat fast food have more phthalates in their bodies than their counterparts who eat organic and fresh foods.  Children who eat school meals have 100% more phthalates in their bodies according to an Italian study.  In a food monitoring and duplicate diet study conducted in Japan, they found that people who ate fast food prepared by servers who wore PVC gloves during the preparation and packaging of the meals had a demonstrated increase in phthalates in their bodies. And because grains typically hold meals together like they do in burritos and sandwiches, they have more contact with plastic packaging materials. 

The industrialization of our food production, processing, and handling is causing us to develop health problems.  Sadly, it’s the poor and minorities who eat fast food and school lunches because it’s less expensive.  My recommendation is to grow your own veggies, stay away from fast food, and store/reheat your food in glass containers.  We need to consciously make decisions about our food intake in order to stay healthy.


(Tsumura et al. 2001a2001b).

(Tsumura et al. 2003).

(Schlosser 2012).

(Cirillo et al. 2011)

(Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives 2014U.S. EPA 2012). 

Saving Water By Eating More Fruits and Veggies

Imagine India’s population growing to 1.6 BILLION by 2050?  Remember we’re currently at 7.5 billion worldwide, and if we reach 10 billion, we’re not going to have enough food and water for our civilization. Indians need to take drastic measures to reduce their population [HINT: Consider Pascal Costa’s Preventing OverPopulation project!] But if India isn’t ready to endorse a 2-child policy, the Thomson Reuters Foundation suggests that “they could save water and reduce planet-warming emissions if people added more vegetables and fruits like melon, oranges, and papaya to their diet while reducing wheat and poultry.”

Indians must cut their water usage by 33% to ensure that they’ll have enough water for their growing population.  By 2050, irrigation of crops will take more than 70% of the water in India unless they significantly reduce their population or change their diets to more veggies and fruit and less meat.

This is a wake-up call for all of us.  Just because we had a wet winter in Northern California doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet… 

Keep Twitter Out Of Our Private Places

I’m worried about my privacy on a lot of levels.  It seems that every time I accept an “upgrade,” a part of my privacy is handed over to advertisers and others.  They always claim that they’ll provide better services and connect us with stores, brands, and organic content that I care about, but what is really happening is that they’re sharing our shopping, viewing, and browsing habits with retailers.  Twitter just updated their privacy policy on May 18th, and guess what?  You were automatically opted in.  Hmm.

The good news is that you can stop Twitter from sharing your information.  Here’s how:

1. Go to your account page and open “Settings”

2. Click on “Settings and Privacy”> “Privacy and Safety”> “Personalization and Data”

3. At the top of this page, disable “All Personalization and Data Settings”

    a. Twitter website: click “Disable all”

    b. Twitter mobile app: click toggle switch at the top

    c. Make sure to disable on both the website and the app

Another way to make sure you’re protected is to check out the new “Your Data” section to see the demographic, geographic, and other personal information they’re collecting about you.  On the mobile app, scroll down to the bottom of the page on the Personalization and Data page (in Settings), and tap “See your Twitter Data.” You can view and edit Your Profile here. You can also go to the “Your Data” tab to request a list of advertisers that Twitter has shared your personal information with. 

Protect yourself and prevent advertisers from stalking you!

Accelerated Programs for Gifted Girls to Help Break the Glass Ceiling

With over a million gifted girls in the United States, it’s time to rethink holding them back for “socialization” when accelerating their education to innovating their curiosity and ability to learn, setting up and establishing their careers, and having time to raise a family will give them extraordinary advantages for the rest of their lives. Naturally, this is not for every girl.  But for those girls who are truly gifted, it allows them to have the lifestyle that want and deserve, on a timeline that works for them.

When exceptionally gifted girls remain with their peers through high school, they typically underachieve and lose motivation, become anxious, and succumb to low self-esteem. Classes are boring and homework is an exercise in busy work and brain-numbing obedience.  But according to Maureen Neihart, “The Socioaffective Impact of Acceleration and Ability Grouping: Recommendations for Best Practice,” girls who engage in accelerated programs and college classes actually produces social-emotional gains for these gifted and talented students

It would be ideal for gifted girls to move ahead together in small groups so they can support one another’s social and emotional needs in a high school or college setting.  That’s why I opened Merit Academy back in 1994.  My goal was to give both of my daughters that opportunity to develop intellectually, academically, and socio-emotionally in small groups and later in one-on-one classes at Merit.  I found that they engaged with their teachers and learned a wider breadth and depth in each of their subjects – something I’m certain they wouldn’t have received in a regular class setting. 

For gifted girls who might graduate from high school at age 14, graduate from college at 18, and receive their PhD at age 22, they have the opportunity to be fully immersed in their studies and practice their expertise and establish their careers by the time they can settled down to get married and start a family.  Women who have followed this path find that they’re more successful, land professional careers, and have plenty of time to raise a family without the burden of being in medical school while raising a young family. By accelerating gifted girls’ education, we can break the glass ceiling and women might be able to finally join the ranks of the top positions in every field – something that has been missing in every board room in corporate America.


Wanna Turn Heads At Your Prom? Check Out These Gorgeous Braids!

It’s that time of year again!  PROM! 

No matter what your budget is, beautiful braids can add just the right touch – to make you stand out!  And if you have your mom or friend do the braids – it’s free! 

Check out these stunning braids that my daughter Jaclyn and I created when we put together a collection of our best designs in our book Simply Gorgeous Braids.