How Eleanor of Aquitaine Worked

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! How Historical Fiction Gets Made
Mary Alice Nelson

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, aka Molly Spotted Elk
Live at the DMA: Pierre de Coubertin and the Modern Olympics
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Boot Guide

Each season brings something special. Winter has the first pure, white snow; spring offers rebirth; summer, sunshine; and autumn brings boots. Fabulous

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, to-die-for boots. It’s worth saving up all summer for a new pair. Maybe two.
But which of the hundreds on hundreds of styles to choose from? There are the old standbys, of course, which never really get old

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. The refined, black leather, high-heel knee boot, or a flat one in brown suede. And the streamlined, neutral ankle boot with a sharp, pointy toe. They’ll never go out of style, and a great-quality boot can last forever.
Other styles, though, are a bit more timely. What’s in for fall 2010 may be out in 2011 (and back in again in 2013). But who cares? They’re boots. We love them. And this season’s styles are knock-outs.
Our look at fall boots begins with the leg-lengthening, mini-skirt-grazing phenom that is the OTK.
?

Bridal Beauty Budgeting 101

No newly-married couple wants to start their life together drowning in debt, but with the average wedding priced at $30,000 or more, far too many newlyweds find themselves facing stacks of bills and scary credit card statements. If a five-figure wedding budget seems slightly out of reach, or you’d prefer to spend your savings embarking on your new life together, take heart; there are plenty of easy ways to pare down your wedding expenses

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, especially when it comes to your bridal beauty budget. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars for salon updos and professional makeup application, consider handling these tasks yourself or enlisting the help of fashion-savvy friends and family members.
If Kate Middleton can handle her own wedding makeup, knowing that more than a billion people around the world would be watching, there’s no reason that you can’t do the same. Break out your everyday beauty products, and splurge on just one key item for the big day, like a gorgeous new shade of lipstick or blush. Want to create a special look for the big day? Head to the mall and hit up the makeup counter to pick up a few tips and learn what’s new this season. The highly trained staff in the makeup department is often willing to let you try new products and even hand out free samples.
When it comes to styling your wedding-day ‘do, seek out your most stylish acquaintance¡ªthe one who always looks polished and pulled together no matter what the occasion¡ªand ask her for help with your hairstyle. Tell her you’ll consider her styling service as the ultimate wedding gift. After all, you’ll almost certainly remember the friend who created your gorgeous updo more than you would remember who gave you another toaster or coffee maker. If you’re not sure how you want to wear your hair for the big day, schedule a consulting visit at the salon and bring your friend along to observe.
Of course, the bride isn’t alone when it comes to blowing the budget to pay for the big day; after your bridesmaids have had to pull out their credit cards to pay for dresses, shoes, and showers, the last thing you want to do is ask them to shell out even more for hair and makeup. If you’re looking forward to a group trip to the salon, or you expect your bridesmaids to hit up a certain stylist, try to arrange a group rate to save money. If you know many of your friends are on a budget, skip the traditional bridesmaids gifts and gift them a day of pre-wedding beauty treatments instead.
Planning a low-key wedding

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? Transform your bacherlorette party or bridal shower into a DIY beauty session where you test out different hair and makeup styles as a group. By pooling your skills and sharing makeup or styling tools, you can dramatically cut your beauty budget. Even better, you and your friends will be able to pocket the money you would have spent on limos and drinks for a traditional bacherlorette party.
While everyone enjoys saving money, there are times when it’s well worth it to pay a professional, particularly when it comes to your wedding. A good haircut is almost always worth the price, and virtually impossible to do by yourself. While you’re at the salon, invest in eyebrow shaping. It may seem extravagant, but the cost is relatively low for something that can change the whole shape and structure of your face. Finally, go ahead and get that French manicure. On your wedding day, everyone is going to want a look at your ring, and the last thing you want to do is show off ragged nails alongside your brand new bling.

What is chick lit?

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How to Avoid Blisters from High Heels

There’s probably no better example of suffering for style than high heels. These women’s shoes (although men have worn them at various points in history, too) are more popular than ever. However

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, the practice of teetering around in sky-high stilettos and towering platforms has left many women with a number of foot problems

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, including bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoe and, most commonly, blisters.
High heels are likely to lead to blistering because they not only constrict feet and toes; they also cause the body to deposit increased weight on that constricted area. When blisters do surface, they’re likely to be exacerbated by the continued rubbing and pressure of the shoe. Soon, you’re hobbling around with your band aid-adorned feet peeking out from your formerly chic shoes. Suddenly, those fashionable heels don’t look so stylish. As for your feet, those painful blisters — if not given the chance to heal properly — can become infected.
So what are you to do? Should you sacrifice style for comfort and safety? Or should you suffer through the pain and let your feet devolve into a hot mess?
Medical experts, of course, would recommend the former. They would advise you to cut back on wearing high heels — or stop wearing them altogether. However, if you’re a slave to fashion, you might not see this as an option. Recent surveys have found that while 73 percent of women experience foot problems related to wearing high heels, 42 percent would continue wearing their favorite shoe despite the discomfort.
Fortunately for you, there is a middle ground. While wearing heels less frequently is still ideal, it is possible to keep up with this shoe trend while also reducing the pain, discomfort and potential dangers of blisters. On the coming pages, we’ll show you steps you can take to prevent blistering from high heels, as well as the best ways to treat blisters when they occur. So keep reading for advice that will have you strutting around in your stilettos pain-free.

Causes of Pain in the Toes

In addition to the irritation and discomfort that it causes, toe pain can make it difficult to walk and move around. Because of this, chronic toe pain may interfere with daily life. Most minor pain in the toes is a result of standing too long, poor-fitting shoes or injuries, but occasionally toe pain can occur as a result of abnormalities in the structure of the toe or due to autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis.
When the big toe points inward toward the second toe, it is referred to as a bunion. Bunions can form as a result of abnormal bones in the foot that are present at birth or the frequent use of tight or high-heeled shoes. Symptoms of a bunion include red, calloused skin on the inside of the toe and a bump that forms due to extra pain. Pain also occurs in the toes and at the joint and is aggravated by wearing shoes. In the case of a mild bunion, a patient usually can treat the condition by wearing wide shoes, foam inserts and spacers that separate the big toe from the second toe. If the bunion has progressed significantly and causes severe pain or a deformity

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, surgery may correct the condition. MedlinePlus explains that the surgery consists of removing the bony bump and realigning the toe.
Uric acid forms when the body breaks down purines, which are substances found naturally in the body as well as in certain foods, such as organ meats, anchovies and mushrooms, according to the Mayo Clinic. In a healthy person, uric acid dissolves in the blood and leaves the body in the urine. In those with gout, uric acid does not dissolve; as a result, substances called urate crystals accumulate in the joints. Gout usually affects the joint of the big toe, but also can occur in the feet, ankles, wrists and knees. Symptoms of gout include intense pain, especially in the big toe, tenderness, redness and discomfort. Treatment for gout consists of anti-inflammatory medications, medications that block the production of uric acid and pain relievers.
Morton¡¯s neuroma is a condition characterized by the thickening of the skin that surrounds the nerve that travels into the toes. The thickening usually occurs between the third and fourth toes as a result of excess pressure, injury or chronic irritation, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons notes. The main symptom of Morton¡¯s neuroma is a burning pain that originates in the ball of the foot and spreads to the toes. Numbness or an unpleasant feeling in the toes also may accompany radiating pain. Treatment for Morton¡¯s neuroma consists of a combination of wearing loose shoes, shoe inserts and pads and injections of anti-inflammatory medications directly into the foot and toes.

What????????s new in school backpacks?

This year’s backpack styles are all about effortless functionality, rugged durability and enough cunning cubbies to suit the most organized back-to-schooler. Style is a big factor, too. Backpacks can be fashion statements with more visibility than your average pair of high-priced shoes. With this year’s styles, turn down the lights and you’re looking at the familiar slouchy outline of a standard backpack. Turn them back up again, and you’ve got braided leather, a profusion of flowers or large-scale plaids in bold colors that mirror this year’s big clothing trends. If you love 1970s retro, polka dots or animal prints, you definitely need a new backpack this season.
A trusty backpack takes a beating, and this is one purchase where quality counts. Look for a bag that can carry a big load and weather a few indignities, like being dragged down the sidewalk or thumped up a flight of stairs. Because a backpack can be an investment, you should also consider a classic style that will be a keeper for a couple of seasons.
Your best indicator of quality is a name brand you recognize and trust. Inexpensive, mass market backpacks may look great on the shelf, but they’re likely to show wear fast: Fraying seams, cracking decals and sticking or broken zippers could have you buying more than one backpack in a season — which is a bad bargain no matter how you look at it.
Where features are concerned, if you have the time to check out the offerings, you’re likely to find the perfect fit for your unique style. From ergonomically constructed bags designed to distribute the weight of books and other heavy objects minimizing back and neck strain, to specialty backpacks with onboard speakers for your MP3 player, there’s a lot to choose from.
The best way to make a start is to assess your needs. If you’ll be carrying lots of books, you may need an expandable backpack or even a rolling backpack if your school (and style) allows it. The more tailored the pack is, the more convenient it will be to use. Models with a padded notebook computer sleeve and a water bottle pocket are pretty common this year. Cell phone and MP3 player pockets, insulated lunch bag storage and interior divider panels for notebooks and folders are all features you’ll find pretty readily, too, but maybe not all in the same backpack. That’s why it’s important to have your wish list ready before you shop. You can go with a relatively streamlined exterior or one that looks like a pile of pouches, but whatever profile you prefer, evaluate a backpack’s onboard cubbies relative to the items you’ll be carrying with you most of the time.
For easy access, a backpack should have a convenient grab handle. It’ll help avoid premature wear on the pack’s shoulder straps. Wide, comfortable straps and reinforced bottoms are also important. If you’re shopping for a younger child, a petite backpack may seem like a great, lightweight solution, but make sure the design you choose is large enough to carry notebooks and art projects without creasing or crushing them.
Beyond fashion and functionality is fit

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, so we’ve saved it for last. The weight of a backpack should always rest on the lower back and not the shoulders. It should also be designed to hold items snugly enough that they won’t shift unexpectedly. Having a core, center section especially for books is great for this. An oversized backpack may seem like a good solution because you’ll have the extra space if you need it, right

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? The problem is that all the extra weight could cause back problems later, and if the space is there, you may just keep adding stuff, whether you’re using it regularly or not.
If you’re shopping for a child, review the informational materials on the products you’re interested in. Some have sizing guidelines to help you. Choose padded backpacks with two straps. A good general rule is that a backpack should be no larger than the width of a child’s back measurement. Take their schedules into consideration, too. If they’ll be walking to the bus stop in the early morning or coming home late from an extracurricular practice, look for safety features like reflective lights or panels. You might also want to do some online product research. Comments from students (or parents) who’ve actually used some of the backpacks you’re considering can give you insights into whether or not they’re as convenient and comfortable to use as they are attractive to look at.

High Arches in Children

High arches can cause pain and make walking difficult for your child. The condition, known as cavus foot, rarely is present at birth and usually develops over the first 10 years of a child¡¯s life, reports the Seattle Children¡¯s Hospital

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. Treatment for cavus foot depends on the cause of the condition.
If your child has cavus foot, you will notice that her arch, the curved area on the underside of her foot, is higher than normal. Because walking is harder with a high arch, your child might also experience some related symptoms, such as bent or clawed toes or calluses on the feet. The high position of the arch puts too much pressure on the foot, which can cause pain when your child walks or stands. The high arch also makes the foot unstable. Frequent ankle sprains might occur due to this instability. Finding comfortable shoes can be a challenge. Wearing uncomfortable shoes can contribute to the formation of calluses and blisters if the foot rubs against the shoes. Cavus foot may be limited to one foot or affect both feet.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons reports that cavus foot often is caused by a neurologic disorder or medical condition, such as spina bifida, nerve injuries, muscular dystrophy, polio, stroke, cerebral palsy or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. In some cases, cavus foot results if your child inherits a genetic tendency to develop a high arch. Nerve or muscle diseases can affect muscle strength, resulting in unbalanced muscles that don¡¯t work efficiently. If unbalanced muscles are a problem, your child may experience foot drop, a condition in which the affected foot drags when your child walks.
Treating underlying diseases may help improve the problem in some cases. If the disease cannot be treated or the condition is not caused by a disease

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, your doctor may recommend other options, such as braces or placing orthotic devices in the shoes to stabilize the foot. Your child also might benefit from wearing special shoes that provide ankle support. Wider heels on the shoes help stabilize the foot and prevent it from turning inward. If nonsurgical treatment isn¡¯t helpful or the condition worsens, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Surgery to correct cavus foot is done in two parts. Your child¡¯s surgeon carefully cuts and frees tight arch tissue during the first surgery. When the tightest tissue is released, other tissue in the arch loosens. The second operation, performed approximately two weeks later, involves reshaping bone and repositioning tendons. After the second surgery, your child might experience more stability and fewer problems maintaining her balance.

Could sustainable fashion let you wear the same dress for a year?

Do you often look in your closet and think: I have nothing to wear? What if you looked in your closet and had only one thing to wear¡ªevery day? Sheena Matheiken of The Uniform Project is doing just that for an entire year. She has vowed to wear the same dress (although she does have seven of them) for 365 days, changing it up (sometimes dramatically) with accessories, accoutrements and shoes only. Check out the website for daily photos of her creations.
Why would she do such a thing? Matheiken¡¯s goal is to bring awareness to sustainable fashion (by reducing, reusing and recycling) and to raise money for the The Akanksha Foundation, an educational organization based in Mumbai dedicated to opening schools in the slums of India. Here¡¯s how she describes this project:
¡°Every day I will reinvent the dress with layers, accessories and all kinds of accoutrements, the majority of which will be vintage, hand-made, or hand-me-down goodies. Think of it as wearing a daily uniform with enough creative license to make it look like I just crawled out of the Marquis de Sade’s boudoir.¡±
She personally donates a dollar a day, and encourages others to make donations as well. So far, 90 days into the project she¡¯s raised $7,062.
The inspiration for the project came from her Catholic School days in India where she was forced to wear a uniform. ¡°Despite the imposed conformity, kids always found a way to bend the rules and flaunt a little personality.¡± She and her designer friend Eliza Starkbuck worked to make the dress as versatile as possible: ¡°The dress is designed so it can be worn both ways, front and back, and also as an open tunic. It¡¯s made from a durable, breathable cotton

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, good for New York summers and good for layering in cooler seasons.¡±
She, joyfully, scours Etsy, eBay and vintage stores for accessories but also accepts donations of used ones as well as offers from designers to create original pieces for her.
Sounds like a crazy concept but one that is strangely appealing to me.?Imagine?being free?of your morning struggle with what to wear every day (and night)? And then imagine if you didn¡¯t wear the same dress everyday (which is pretty extreme) but instead just cut your wardrobe by half?? Think of all the money and closet room you¡¯d save!
Apparently Matheiken is not the first one to try such a zany experiment. In 2005/06 Alex Martin wore a brown dress every day for an entire year.? She made the dress herself and called it ¡°The Brown Dress Project.¡± Here¡¯s why she did it:
¡°In this performance, I challenged myself to reject the economic system that pushes over-consumption, and the bill of goods that has been sold

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, especially to women, about what makes a person good, attractive and interesting.? Clothes are a big part of this image, and the expectation in time, effort, and financial investment is immense.¡±
Could you wear the same thing for even a few days in a row? Do you think women spend too much time and money on their wardrobe? What if you stopped buying any new clothing items today? How long do you think you could hold out? What do you think of these two projects?

How to Build Muscle On the Thighs & Legs

Building and toning muscles on your legs — including your thighs and calves — requires regular strength and power conditioning with enough rest between training sessions to recover and heal. Choose exercises that work multiple leg muscles together rather than in isolation because multi-joint exercises can boost size, strength and function together. They can also help you burn more calories in less time so your leg muscles appear more defined and cut.
Warm up your body by doing five to 10 minutes of skipping rope and doing dynamic stretches

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, such as leg swings, standing torso twists and arm swings.
Hold a dumbbell over and near your shoulders in each hand, and stand with your feet about shoulder-distance apart. Your feet should be pointing forward, and your knuckles should be facing out to your sides. Inhale as you squat down as low as you can until your buttocks are below the level of your knees. Keep your back straight and your heels on the floor. Do not round your spine or shoulders. Exhale as you stand straight up without leaning forward. Perform eight to 12 reps

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.
Put the weights down on the floor or the rack, and stand in the same position as the squat to prepare for the vertical jump. Bend your legs and swing your arms behind you; do not round your spine. Exhale as you jump straight up and swing your hands over your head, extending your torso and hips slightly. Land gently on your toes and the ball of your feet in the squat position. Perform six to eight jumps.
Stack a set of aerobic steps as high as your knees, or use a plyometric box that is similar in height. Put your right foot on top of the step while holding a dumbbell in each hand by your sides. Exhale as you shift your weight toward your right foot and push yourself off the floor with your left foot, bringing your body on top of the step. Bring your left knee toward your abs, and balance on your right leg for one second. Inhale as you return to the starting position. Perform eight to 10 reps per leg.
Put the weights away, and assume the same starting position as in Step 1 to prepare for power step-ups. Bend your left leg slightly, and swing your arms slightly behind you to initiate the jump.
Swing your arms forward and jump straight up as high as you can. Switch your leg position in midair, and land gently on the step with your left foot and the floor with your right foot. Always land on your toes and the ball of your feet first. Keep your back straight. Repeat the exercise as fast as you can for 10 to 20 reps. Rest for one to three minutes before repeating the superset one or two more times.
Stand with your feet together, and hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides. Step forward with your right foot about 2 feet in front of you. Inhale as you bend both legs to lower your body until your left knee almost touches the floor. Exhale as you straighten your legs and push yourself back to the starting position. Do not hunch your back or shoulders throughout the exercise. Perform eight to 10 reps per leg.
Put the weights away and stand with your right foot about 2 feet in front of you. Bend both legs into a lunge position, and swing both arms behind you. Exhale as you jump straight up, and swing your arms over your head while switching your feet position in midair.
Land gently on your toes and the balls of your feet, and immediately assume the lunge position. Repeat the exercise as fast as you can for 10 to 20 reps. Rest for one to three minutes before repeating the superset one or two more times.