Lapsang Souchong and Weight Loss: A Miracle Weight Loss Tea?

A few months ago I found the amazing Lapsang Souchong tea from Pekoe, in Boulder. Now, I love me some smokey tea, so I picked some up and brought it home, and it became my morning cuppa (well, 3 cuppas). Previously I had been drinking regular black tea. Well, since I started drinking the Lapsang Souchong regularly, I noticed I’d started losing weight. So much so, in fact, that I was starting to get concerned (not at the level – I’m now at my ideal weight, which I love!), but that there was no obvious explanation. Then a friend to whom I had given some of the Lapsang Souchong asked me, out of the blue, “Have you noticed losing weight since drinking the Lapsang Souchong?” She had the same experience – we had both lost weight even though not actively looking to lose weight!

Wikipedia says, of Lapsang Souchong, that it originally comes from the Wuyi region of the Chinese province of Fujian. “Lapsang is distinct from all other types of tea because lapsang leaves are traditionally smoke-dried over pinewood fires, taking on a distinctive smoky flavour. Lapsang souchong is the first black tea in history, even earlier than the famous Keemun tea. After the lapsang souchong tea was used for producing black tea called Min Hong (meaning “Black tea produced in Fujian”), people started to move the tea bush to different places like Keemun, India and Ceylon. The name means “sub-variety”. Lapsang souchong is a member of the Bohea family of teas… The story goes that the tea was created during the Qing era when the passage of armies delayed the annual drying of the tea leaves in the Wuyi Mountain. Eager to satisfy demand, the tea producers sped up the drying process by having their workers dry the tea leaves over fires made from local pines.”

Interestingly, in all the research I have done, I have been unable to find anything – even anecdotal – connecting Lapsang Souchong to spontaneous weight loss. So I asked on Facebook, and sure enough, another woman said she’d noticed the same thing when drinking Lapsang Souchong!

Of course, this is only 3 data points, so, I ask you, my readers: have any of you had this experience? Please let us know!

File It! A Cheap Way to Keep All Those Over-the-Counter Medications Organized

Is your medicine cabinet or bathroom cabinet a jumble of boxes of pills in blister packs that defy organizing? Over-stuffed with rows of boxes containing the blister-packed products? I know that mine was, between homeopathic products such as Sabadil (allergy), Sinusalia (self explanatory) and Coldcalm (ditto), and the more standard products that we use when necessary (Benadryl, Sudafed, etc.). Nowadays it seems that every OTC (over-the-counter) medication and health product that comes in tablet or capsule form comes in a blister pack (those little pockets that have a foil seal that you peel off or push the pill through) which is packed in a box (often a box that takes up much more room than the product inside). Wish that you could somehow organize them to take up less space, and be easy to find?

Well, do what I did! Do this:


The box is a cheap index card file from the local office supply store, which includes the tabbed deviders. I usually cut the directions from the box of each pill and file it with the product.

Now, this assumes that either a) you have no children in the house who would be at risk from non-child-proofed meds, or b) that you can put this up high enough to keep it out of their reach or, ideally, c) both.

But I have to tell you, this has dispensed with frustration on so many fronts! I can see everything that we have at a glance, and, more importantly, find everything that we have at a glance. And I can easily see when we are running low on something.

And my bathroom cabinet has lots of free space again.

What’s Your Sign? What Did it Used to Be? New Zodiac Dates Required, says Planetarium Society

First Pluto is excommunicated as a planet, now the signs of the zodiac are given new dates, meaning, say some, that the sign of the zodiac under which you have believed all along you were born is the wrong zodiac sign. Can we rely on nothing celestial?

It seems that due to the moon’s influence on earth, says the Minnesota Planetarium Society, the signs of the zodiac, assigned millenia ago, are no longer accurate. So do you need to change your sign based on the new zodiac dates? Or are the new signs of the zodiac dates just an interesting thought experiment?

The zodiac as we know it was developed by ancient Babylonians as long ago as 600 years or more before the birth of Christ. In the past 2500+ years, the moon’s effect on the earth, which creates a bit of a wobble (or, in astronomical terms, “precession”) has caused our points of reference to have shifted some. And so, says Professor Parke Kunkle, on the board of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, “When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces.”

And the reason you should care, if you want to care, is that the astrological sign under which you were born is determined by in what sign the sun is on the day of your birth.

Prof. Kunkle expounds:

“In science we deal with a long tradition of fact based investigation. We are not in the business of interpreting the purported relation between the positions of planets and human affairs.

The Earth spins and, like a toy top, the spin axis moves around, pointing in different directions. Today, Earth’s spin axis points toward the pole star, Polaris. Around 3000 BC Earth’s spin axis pointed toward Thuban. Wait 26,000 years and the north star will again be Thuban. Astronomers call this motion of the spin axis precession. About 130 BC, Hipparchus noticed that the Earth’s spin axis had changed directions, so astronomers and astrologers have known about the Earth’s precession for over 2000 years.

But this means that if the sun was “in” a certain constellation on a particular date, it is in a different constellation on that date today. For example, the sun was in Pisces on March 1, 2000 BC but it is in Aquarius on March 1, 2011 AD.”

However, not everybody agrees with the good professor. In fact, says one commentator, pointing out that the very Babylonians who created the zodiac also were very aware of precession, “The stars are markers that drift, but our main points of reference are not directly the stars. They are the equinoxes (both spring and vernal) and the solstices which altogether make the four cardinal points of the zodiac which in turn determine the signs. The stars help us locate those points which define the SIGNS of the Zodiac which remain constant in relation to the equinox point. The CONSTELLATIONS do move about and we take that into consideration when locating planets.”

That said, in case you care, here is the new set of dates for the signs of the zodiac, as propounded by the Minnesota Planetarium Society:

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11
Pisces: March 11-April 18
Aries: April 18-May 13
Taurus: May 13-June 21
Gemini: June 21-July 20
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23-Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20

And here is the traditional set of zodiac dates:

Capricorn Dec. 22-Jan. 19
Aquarius Jan. 20-Feb 18
Pisces Feb. 19-March 20
Aries March 21-April 19
Taurus April 20-May 20
Gemini May 21-June 20
Cancer June 21-July 22
Leo July 23- Aug. 22
Virgo Aug. 23-Sept. 22
Libra Sept. 23- Oct. 22
Scorpio Oct. 23- Nov. 21
Sagittarius Nov. 22-Dec. 21

What Exactly is a ‘Bra Fitting Destination’?

If you’ve seen the billboard ads along the highway – “Your bra fitting destination” – you may be wondering just what exactly a bra fitting destination is. I certainly was. It turns out that the ads are for Sol Lingerie. Sol Lingerie specializes in bra fitting. Now, you guys can stop reading right here (save for your prurient interest), but us gals can attest that one of the most vexing parts of life as someone with two X chromosomes is finding a bra that fits well.

SOL is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, so, apparently, Denver, Colorado is your bra fitting destination. If you’re in the Denver area, you can head over to SOL to get a bra fitting with a trained bra fitting professional (according to SOL, their bra fitting professionals go through a six-week training before they are allowed to fit customers).

However, even if you’re not in the Denver area, you’re still not S.O.L. as far as SOL goes. SOL offers some of their bras for sale online, and they have an “Ask the Expert” area on their website. You can also call them.

Says SOL, “At SOL we believe receiving a professional bra fitting is the best way to ensure finding a perfect fitting bra. As a result we recommend coming into SOL to find out which size and styles fit you best. But we also know how busy life can be so as a result we’ve made a few of our most popular bras available for purchase online. If you have any questions about a bra you see here or would like us to look up your size, please don’t hesitate to call us.”

SOL is located at:

248 Detroit St. (in cherry creek north)
Denver, CO 80206

And you can look up your bra fitting destination online here.

Slashdot and the Baltimore Sun “Discover” Unschooling

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when mainstream media gets something so spectactularly wrong, but I expect better from the brainiacs at Slashdot.

So imagine my surprise to read the headline “Schooling, Homeschooling, and Now, “Unschooling” ” on Slashdot today, and to learn that unschooling, a method of homeschooling that I and many of my homeschooling friends have personally known about for at least a decade – and which has been around since at least the 70s when John Holt wrote about it – is something new and now.

At least Slashdot only acted as if it were something new – the Baltimore Sun was much more insulting, calling unschooling, and I quote, “a byproduct of home schooling.”


You can read the Slashdot piece here, and read the Baltimore Sun article here.

Odor Eaters for Your Pants

Would I make this up? A company called The Pond is marketing a product that can only be described as odor eaters for your pants.

Actually, I guess it can also be decribed as “Subtle Butt” filter pads, as that’s what the company is calling it. (For the record, I detest the word “butt” – and I also detest the word for the emission at which this product is aimed – or, er, I guess, vice versa, the emission is aimed at the product.)

And, while you are buying pant filters, you can also buy underarm filters, and other items sold to help you deal with the pesky problems of when your bodily oopsies meet your fashionware.

You can buy all of these nifty, must-have products from

Germany to Circumcise Constitutional Freedoms

You read that right. According to the website, in reporting on the upcoming change to German law which would censor certain websites:

I imagine that they meant “circumscribe”, but, you never can be too sure!

As English is probably not the author’s first language, it’s a rather darling translation error. Still, at least two comments to the article point out the error, and yet the error has still not

You can read the full article here.

Anguished Fans Beg Tennis Star Simona Halep Not to Have Breast Reduction Surgery

Teen tennis phenom Simona Halep has two things going for her – her incredible tennis chops and her youth – and two things going against her: her breasts.

The 17-year old tennis star, originally from Romania, is slated for a breast reduction surgery in the fall, to reduce her greatest handicap – a pair of 34DD breasts, the weight of which, she says, are hampering her game.

While perhaps worthy of a news story or two, the situation has achieved international incident status as howls of anguish and outrage from her – or rather their – fans, are being heard around the world. There is even talk of an online petition, begging her to spare the most beloved set in tennis since Andre and Steffi.

Those who are keeping abreast of the situation through online comments are already making their voices heard, and the score seems to be 2 Love.

“Noooo…. there are so many professions where huge breasts are badly needed…. Please, Simona, do not do it!” begged one fan of the pair.

“There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours,” exhorted another.

Added a third “And there goes the only two reasons to watch tennis.”

Wow, apparently we haven’t come a long way, baby.

“Halt or I’ll Make You Spew” – Defense Firm Develops Barf Ray Gun

First, please note that it is not April 1st. Now, U.S. company Laser Energetics, Inc., has announced the “Dazer Laser”, a non-lethal weapon that incapacitates the subject by causing them to puke their guts out. Seriously.

According to Robert Battis, CEO of Laser Energetics, “This life saving non-lethal weapon will help all branches of the military, law enforcement, correctional facilities, security, border patrol, piracy control, homeland security, airport security and much more, adding that “This weapon is humanitarian and will save the lives of both the enforcer and the threat at longer ranges. No longer will the enforcer have to risk their lives to bring the threat in closer to them in order to engage them, which puts the enforcers life at risk.”

The Dazer Laser emits a continuous laser beam that creates an approximately 1 foot by 8 foot “Dazer zone”, and, when aimed at the subject (or “threat”, as Laser Energetics calls them), “the threats vision is temporarily impaired, their balance is effected, and they become affected by nausea.” And, says the company, because it emits a continuous beam, “if the enforcer misses they can continue to aim the beam at the threats face until they hit the target, unlike other non-lethal weapons that have to be reloaded and only work at close range endangering the enforcer.”

Interesting, the Dazer Laser press release announced that they had “begun rolling out the all new Dazer Laserâ„¢ Light Fighting Technologies – Non – Lethal Laser Weapon at the largest and longest running Memorial Day Parade in the United States.

How, exactly, it was “rolled out” is unknown, but Battis observed that “This was the most appropriate place to begin our role out of the ‘Ultimate Non-Lethal Weapon’.”

Baking Soda 101 – Uses for Baking Soda You Might Not Have Known About

Welcome to baking soda 101: uses for baking soda you may never have heard of. Read on and you’ll understand why I order baking soda 12 pounds at a time – because there are so many cool baking soda uses!

This all started because of this post: What Do You Get When You Mix 12 Pounds of Baking Soda with 2 Gallons of Vinegar?

Enquiring minds wanted to know why I needed to order baking soda in 12-pound packages. The answer is below, along with lots of other uses for baking soda.

While I will be posting various useful and nifty baking soda uses, I hope that you will add to the list!

To start with, and to answer everybody’s question – why do I need twelve pounds of baking soda…

1. Goats need it in their diet. And they love it. Seriously, they eat it straight. It’s at once both adorable and disgusting.

2. For that same reason, baking soda is a great scouring powder for the cement patio where your goats hang out. It’s a non-toxic and goat-yummy alternative to Ajax or Comet.

3. Mix a little in with your shampoo once or twice a week to remove all of that waxy build-up.

4. Mix a little in with your toothpaste once or twice a week, or even daily, to boost the power of your toothpaste, and for kissing-sweet breath.

5. Use as a gentle exfolient on your face.

6. Use to dowse electrical or chemical fires.

7. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup to your laundry.

8. Use to wash produce.

9.   (Your tip here)