Interesting Stuff: Who Knew?

What You Absolutely, Positively Need to Know About White Tattoos

Dear Kid,

It has recently come to my attention that there is such a thing as white tattoos.

The person informing me of this hot, hot trend explained that they are very cool, very subtle, and an excellent idea.

I turned to My Friend the Internet for enlightenment.

To be clear, most of what I learned came from tattoo sites—websites that hawk the virtues and varieties of tattoos, body scarring, and other forms of body art. Almost all these sites show photos. So does Pinterest.

I researched. I looked at pictures. I have come to conclusions: White tats are not for everyone. OK, that’s one conclusion, but it’s a good one.

First, the general stuff that applies to all tattoos:

They are permanent. As in forever. As in the trendy tat in your mind’s eye might not be quite so trendy and fab in 10 years. (Have you seen the commercial [I think it’s for one of the cell phone companies] where they point out that some bad ideas can’t be easily undone and then show the matching Spring Break ’99 tattoos on their backs?)

Quality can vary. Tattoo results depend on your skin, the design, the quality of the ink, the skill of the artist, and whether the planets are aligned. If the commercials are to be believed, it also depends on whether the tattoo artists is eating a Milky Way bar.

Risk of infection. Tattoo needles puncture your skin. Even if your tattoo artist uses the cleanest of needles, it’s possible to get an infection after a tattoo.

Professionalism. Not all employers are accepting of visible tattoos. ‘Nuff said.

Be very sure you do your research before getting a white tattoo DearKidLoveMom.comOn to the issues with white tattoos.

White is an unpredictable color. You wouldn’t think that, since it’s white. How hard can white be? But it is. Read on.

White tattoos look like raised scars. Which is great if you’re going for a raised scar look. Not so much if you want a flat tattoo.

White ink fades faster than dark ink. When the ink fades, the skin generally looks somewhat discolored and bruised. Which is kind of the opposite of permanent. And it is almost impossible (at this point anyway) to refresh a white tattoo.

White ink can change color. Sometimes they just turn yellow-ish especially when exposed to a lot of sunlight or if the tattoo-ee’s skin isn’t healthy enough (or just because). They can also turn yellow if the ink starts breaking down. Sometimes dark ink inadvertently gets in the white tattoo and you’re left with a stained tattoo. Or just the stain if the white fades.

White tattoos often end up looking like mosquito bites or a skin rash. Probably not the original intention, but what do I know.

The ink used in white tattoos is made of a liquid carrier and pigment which probably contains “lead carbonate, rutile, and titanium dioxide”. And you’re putting this in your body? To be fair, black tattoo ink has heavy metal in it too. That doesn’t make it better.

Only a very skilled and experienced tattoo artist can deliver a really well done white ink tat.

Think before you ink.

Love, Mom

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All That Glitters

All That Glitters

Dear Kid,

You may recall that in researching donuts I came across the concept of edible diamonds. I had never heard of edible diamonds. So I (of course) turned to My Friend the Internet.

Who has never heard of them either. Or at least is not telling.

So if anyone knows anything about edible diamonds, I’m listening.

While I was searching, I found out a lot about edible gold. Being the kind of Mom I am, I decided to share.

The more pure the gold, the better for you, mostly because the less pure the more likely you are to have ick mixed in. So go for 22K to 24K gold. And choose high quality alloys (like silver which it turns out is also edible) rather than copper (which is not good for your insides).

Gold leaf (but not the edible kind). DearKidLoveMom.comThe thing about eating gold (or silver) is that “edible” in this case means “won’t poison you.” Like kale. Unlike kale, gold and silver will pass right through your system without bothering to leave anything (healthful or otherwise) behind. Also unlike kale, you won’t gag on the taste.

People have long been fascinated by gold, so there are many stories about it. Like Midas and Goldilocks.

In the 15th century, gold was used medicinally. This was pointless to everyone except the people who made a profit selling and dispensing the gold.

In the 16th century, extremely rich Italians (generally those with “Duke”, “Earl”, or other forms of Your Exaltedness in front of their names) had their risotto decorated with edible goal. No clue why as it seems to me the gold would just blend in and risotto is a rich enough dish as is.

The Elizabethans added gold dust to fruits (grapes, pomegranates, oranges, dates, figs, etc.) to make their tables more elegant and opulent. Clearly, they couldn’t taste much because dates and figs are perfect plain.

The Japanese have a long history of adding gold to food and sake. The Japanese have a long history of treating food like art. But at least they didn’t bother putting gold on dates and figs.

So what have we learned? Gold is pretty. Small amounts are often used in food, candy, and beverages to bling those babies up a bit. Since gold (and silver) are, um, just passing through, there is no dietary benefit. Nor is there any harm as long as the metal is high quality. And there is no point trying to recover the gold you just ate, as the amount is far too small to make it worth the salvage process.

Love, Mom

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National Donut Day! | Happy June 2

National Donut Day! | Happy June 2

Dear Kid,

Yes, that magical day has once again rolled around. It is National Donut Day.

Turns out you can choose your spelling: donut or doughnut. It’s up to you. The powers that be (and by “powers that be” I mean spellcheck) approve both versions.

“As you ramble on through life, Brother, Whatever be your goal, Keep your eye upon the doughnut, And not upon the hole.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin. DearKidLoveMom.comWhence came Donut Day you ask?

Donut Day (or National Doughnut Day if you prefer) was created to celebrate the Salvation Army Lassies who served doughnuts to soldiers during WWI. These fearless women went to the front lines in Europe, providing “home” cooked meals for the boys. Why they believed this would be safe activity is beyond me. Why the US military is still fussing about women on the front lines is an even bigger mystery.

The Salvation Army Lassies also made donuts (often by cooking dough in oil inside the soldiers’ helmets). This led to happy tummies and a return of the “wet look” slicked back hair style.

Back then, donuts were basic dough cooked in oil. Today there are well over 17 b’zillion types of donut (I counted). Back then, soldiers needed additional calories. Today, ‘Murica. But oh, so yummy.

Happy National Donut Day!

Love, Mom

More info on donuts tomorrow. You don’t want to miss it!

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Vanilla Isn’t Boring (and I Can Prove It)

Vanilla Isn’t Boring (and I Can Prove It)

Dear Kid,

Did you know that vanilla is the most popular flavor of cake and ice cream in the US? ‘Tis true.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

And to celebrate, we’re talking about vanilla. (I’m talking. You’re reading.)

Vanilla is the only fruit-bearing member of the orchid family. You read that correctly—the vanilla bean is a fruit and an orchid. So you could give vanilla as a corsage.

But only if you’re very clever, because the flower that produces the vanilla bean only last one day. One. Not only does the flower zip through life, it’s finicky about the insects it hangs out with. Only the melipona bee can pollinate vanilla (which seems a little standoffish to me, but then I’m not a flower).

Vanilla vines grow grow 30 – 50 feet tall (which is taller than most humans—harvesting is a job for flying monkeys) and since they’re vines, they hug trees or posts for support.

There are over 150 varieties of vanilla plants.

Soil and water have a huge impact on the taste of the vanilla, meaning the same vine grown in different places will produce beans that taste different.

Drying vanilla beans takes 4 to 6 months. All of which means that vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world. Extra points if you know what’s number 1.

Speaking of second, vanilla is the second most labor intensive agricultural crop. The only thing I can thank of that is more labor intensive is Dad’s tomato crop.

Pure vanilla extract contains (wait for it) 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon. (You should take notes. This will be on the test.)

A few drops of vanilla will cut the acidity of tomato-based foods. (How cool is that?)

Spiders don’t like vanilla (which only reinforces my opinion of arachnids). Whole vanilla beans will drive them away.

Humans find the scent of vanilla relaxing. Unless there is cake and ice cream, in which case it is the opposite of relaxing.

Sometimes vanilla bean farmers “tattoo” their beans with small markings (made with toothpick-sized instruments) to prevent theft. No word on whether the beans get any say about what their tats are.

There is currently a vanilla bean crisis (yes, crisis I tell you) which has led to a severe shortage of vanilla. Many products use synthetic vanilla which, um, synthetic.

Happy vanilla.

Love, Mom

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.

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7 Reasons Not to Hate Rain (The Proverbial Silver Lining)

Dear Kid,

What is with all the rain? Seriously.

Noah called, he wants people to stop stealing his gig.

Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then precipitated—that is, become heavy enough to fall under gravity.

That dang gravity.

I love my rainboots. DearKidLoveMom.comMore importantly, rain is bad for shoes. It’s fine for rain boots, but it’s May already. I had fun wearing my rain boots in April.

April, the traditional month for rain and rain boots; May, the traditional month for wearing cute spring shoes.

On average, we get 256 inches of rain in North America every year. I’m pretty sure we’ve gotten 200 of those inches in the last week and a half. I have webbing growing in between my toes. And I’m over it.

But I decided to go looking for the proverbial silver lining.

On Venus, rain is made out of sulfuric acid. That would be worse than our endless rain made out of water.

It could be snow. That would be worse. Unless we had snow days. (Silver lining! Look for the silver lining! Right. Snow would be worse.)

When it rains cats and dogs, it doesn’t literally rain cats and dogs. That would be worse.

The maximum speed of a falling rain drop ranges from 18 to 22 miles per hour. If they weren’t shaped like raindrops, they might have less friction, fall faster, and impale people. That would be worse.

Rain lands in droplets. An inch of rain on an acre of land weighs approximately 226,000 pounds. That would hurt if it feel all at once.

Rain isn’t purple. That would be bad for shoes, and clothes, and hair. But it would be pretty.

We have umbrellas and rain boots. And we don’t melt.

I can live with the rain.

Love, Mom

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Yoda and the Worm | May 21

Dear Kid,

I almost hate to mention it (in case you might be moved to celebrate). Today is National Speak Like Yoda Day.

Like it, I do.

“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.” – YodaBut like it all day, I do not.

Meanwhile, in 2012, researchers discovered a new type of acorn worm (in case you weren’t sure, acorn worms live in the ocean, about a mile and a half deep).

And I quote: Yoda purpurata or “purple Yoda.” The reddish-purple acorn worm … has large lips on either side of its head region that reminded researchers of the floppy-eared Stars Wars character Yoda.

Who knew that worms had “head regions”?

And who woulda thunk scientists would be dumb enough to call Yoda “floppy-eared”?

Until 2012, the Yoda worm had been hiding and leaving crop-circle shaped poop on the ocean floor to puzzle scientists. (It’s important to keep scientists busy.) Now they’re leaving poop openly.

But back to the real Yoda.

At one point, Yoda was going to be blue. Since that would be wrong, they changed it. Even though it’s not easy being green.

Yoda lived to be exactly 900 years old. That is older than you.

There is a lot of mystery around Yoda. No one knows what planet he’s from, what his favorite color is, or whether he had a sense of humor when he was younger.

Enjoy the day, I hope you do.

Love, Mom

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