I'm chatting with my Republican friend Paul E. Martin about the inauguration speech, Trump's narcissism, the March, and more ....

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That's What SHE Said: How washing machines boosted attendance in a St. Louis school by 90%, a touching letter from the Bush sisters to the Obama sisters, food photo trickery and so much more....

Here are some things I read this week that made me think.  (These are just snippets - click on the title to read the whole thing.)

One Answer to School Attendance: Washing Machines by Mimi with Citylab

“After just one month, we saw an impact,” Gunn tells CityLab. The more long-term results of the program have actually been remarkable. The first year saw over 90 percent of tracked students increase their attendance, with those most in need of the service averaging an increase of almost 2 weeks. Teachers surveyed reported that 95 percent of participants showed more motivation in class and were more apt to participate in extra-curricular activities. The results support research demonstrating that chronic absenteeism isn’t because of kids’ lack of smarts or motivation, but is largely due to coming from a low-income household."

The Bush Sisters Wrote Malia And Sasha Obama The Sweetest Letter from Sarah at Scary Mommy

“You have lived through the unbelievable pressure of the White House. You have listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who had never even met them. You stood by as your precious parents were reduced to headlines. Your parents, who put you first and who not only showed you but gave you the world. As always, they will be rooting for you as you begin your next chapter. And so will we.”

"When Torry Hansen of Shelbyville, Tennessee, sent her seven-year-old adopted son by himself on a plane back to his home country of Russia with nothing more than a note explaining she didn't want to parent him, she became one of the most reviled women in America. Russian officials were so incensed that they temporarily halted all adoption to the United States. We sometimes expect fathers to shirk their responsibility; but when mothers do it, it shakes the core of what we've been taught to believe about women and maternal instinct.

Anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy argued in a 2001 Utah lecture, for example, that being female is seen as synonymous with having and nurturing as many children as possible. So when mothers abandon their children, it's seen as unnatural. This simplistic, emotional response to parents -- mothers, in particular -- who give up their kids is part of the reason Americans have such a difficult time dealing with the issue. As Hrdy says, "No amount of legislation can ensure that mothers will love their babies."

Bestie Row: 4 Couples Built These Tiny Houses So They Could Live Right Next to Each Other by Nancy at Apartment Therapy

Four couples in Texas have made that dream into a reality with 'Bestie Row', a grouping of four tiny wilderness cabins where they can reconnect with nature, and each other.

"Think you got some savvy about the presidential inauguration? At whose ceremony did a fire break out? Who got sworn in wearing a dead man's hair? Test your knowledge and take this quiz."

Then, take a peek at CNN's newest mini-documentary, "The Oath: 35 words that make a President."

Say Cheese!  18 Fascinating Food Photography Tricks Revealed by FashionBeans

We can never look at photos of food the same way again.

"Among the grossest tricks on our lovely little list is a use you probably never thought Elmer's Glue had."

Who Will Care for the Caregivers? from Dhruv with The New York Times

"A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine suggests that society’s reliance on this “work force” — largely taken for granted — is unsustainable. While the demand for caregivers is growing because of longer life expectancies and more complex medical care, the supply is shrinking, a result of declining marriage rates, smaller family sizes and greater geographic separation. In 2015, there were seven potential family caregivers for every person over 80. By 2030, this ratio is expected to be four-to-one, and by 2050, there will be fewer than three potential caregivers for every older American."

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Friday Finds: 2017 Planners

1.  2017 Luxe Page-A-Day Planner | Paper Source 
2. LiveWELL Flex | Modern Mosaic Planner 
3. Medium Black Stripe 17 Month Agenda | Kate Spade 
4. Sugar Paper® Kraft Weekly Planner, 2017 - White Lettering | Target
5. Feathers Dance Notebooks /Planners by iamtanya | Minted
6. Personalized 2017 Planner by MelvedyDesigns | Etsy 
7. Rifle Paper Co. |  2017 Scarlett Birch Planner 
8. 2017 Wire bound Academic Agenda - Romance | Barnes & Noble 
9. 2017 Printable Monthly Planner by EllagantInk | Etsy 

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Instagram Roundup

Circling back to the special moments shared on the Instagram page this week....

Ready for the MLK Parade!

A video posted by Kristen Howerton (@kristenhowerton) on

Mold art

If you are local come on by for a hand massage, complete with peppermint sugar scrub.  Best deal in town!  Lemonade stands are so 2015.

"Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering that outright rejection."  True then, true today.
#mlkday #blacklivesmatter #whitesilenceisviolence #staywoke #saynotonormalization

On the blog today: If you need a last-minute way to commemorate MLK Day, here's a list of movies you can stream based on ages, from little kids up to adults.  Link in profile.

A video posted by Kristen Howerton (@kristenhowerton) on

India insisted on arranging the platter for my friends' Bachelor viewing tonight.  The carved B's in the cheese are a nice touch.

Shopping for shirts for Jafta on @hm. You guys.  I'm really worried about their male models.  Why do they look so sad?  Is it the knowledge that these shirts will shrink after the wash?  Are they thinking about the election results?  Was the photographer playing The Smiths during the photo shoot?  Do they need a sandwich?  I'm concerned....

A video posted by Kristen Howerton (@kristenhowerton) on

This outfit tho.
#whenchildrendressthemselves #stripesfordays

Our mutual happy place. @segerstromarts

so little wahhhh

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I'm concerned about the male models at H&M

This morning I was shopping for shirts for my tween son on H&M's website. As I scrolled through various options of gray t-shirts, I was struck by the forlorn expressions on all of the model's faces.

You guys. I'm really worried about their male models. Why do they look so sad? Is it the knowledge of that these shirts will shrink after the wash? Are they thinking about the election results? Was the photographer playing The Smiths during the photo shoot? Are they unable to connect to wifi?

Do they need a sandwich? A hug?

I'm concerned.

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