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Adventure 101: Canoeing the Allagash

3 min read

ake a page out of Henry David Thoreau’s book, and paddle on northern Maine’s remote Allagash River. “Here was traveling of the old heroic kind over the unaltered face of nature,” he wrote in The Maine Woods, his account of a series of mid-19th-century canoeing and hiking trips he took through the New England state’s largely uncharted woods.

Today, days still rise and fall with the sparrow’s whistle, water lapping against canoe, and the cry of the loon. Canoeing down the 92-mile national “wild and scenic” river to Canada yields wide lakes, waterfalls, Class 1 and 2 rapids, trout-filled streams, and relics from this onetime logging highway, now wilderness waterway.
> Getting Started:

The classic Allagash canoe trip takes seven days, from Chamberlain Lake north to Allagash Village, with 80 rustic campsites along the way. Start those push-ups now to power hours of paddling, often through choppy waters, and a couple of short portages.

“The first few days are a huge adjustment for most people, but then the transformation is remarkable,” says Lani Cochrane, who runs Greenville-based Allagash Canoe Trips with her husband, a third-generation family outfitter offering guided custom trips.
> Trip Out:

Those who want to focus their energy on paddling—not planning—can hire a guide. Outfitters such as Allagash Canoe Trips and Canoe the Wild lead trips that range from four to nine days. Experienced canoeists who want to go solo can rent gear, park at their chosen end point, and catch a ride to one of several put-in spots.

“The river is mapped out well and flows north,” says Pam Farquhar of Katahdin Outfitters, which provides shuttles and rentals from Millinocket. Before going solo, learn how to keep gear dry, brush up on map-reading skills, and pick up camping permits at an entrance station. “Once you launch, there are no provisions along the way, so plan accordingly,” advises Dave Conley, a certified master Maine guide.
> Shortcuts:

Favorite four-day routes include Allagash Lake to Chamberlain Bridge—the waterway’s wildest segment, complete with ice caves, a fire tower, and an historic tramway to explore—and Churchill Dam to Allagash Village, with Class 2 rapids.

Those without white-water experience can pay a ranger a small fee ($10) to shuttle their gear around the rapids.

This piece, written by National Geographic Traveler contributing editor Katie Knorovsky (on Twitter @TravKatieK), first appeared in the magaz

ne’s June/July 2015 issue.

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Portraits of Katrina: Seven Photos of Destruction and Resurrection

1 min read

n August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the United States Gulf Coast and became one of the most devastating storms in the country’s history. Failed levees in New Orleans, along with poor preparation and a slow governmental response, would have repercussions for years to come. The city became a focus of human tragedy and triumph that riveted the world.

As part of our ongoing coverage of Katrina’s ten-year anniversary, we selected photographs that tell a story of resilience—from views of destruction made soon after the storm to present-day portraits showing the vitality of the Mardi Gras Indian and second-line parades. The photographers who made these images show us loss, renewal, and survival. They remind us that New Orleans, iconic as ever, is still thriving in a precarious landscape. 

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Is Your State Consuming More Than Nature Can Provide?

20 min read


By Jane J. Lee, National Geographic
Graphics by Chiqui Esteban, National Geographic

PUBLISHED July 14, 2015
2

    Data Points is a new series where we explore the world of data visualization, information graphics, and cartography.

Get too far into financial debt and creditors come calling. Fall into debt with nature and the consequences can be even more distressing: Hotter temperatures, shrinking farmland, and dried up reservoirs are only a few of the problems we're grappling with as a result of overtaxing the environment.

Data from a new report by the Global Footprint Network looks at which American states are running into the red with Mother Nature through such activities as burning fossil fuels, overfishing, and chopping down forests.
Ecological Creditors
Biocapacity exceeds Ecological Footprint by
0
50
100
200
500
>500%
Ecological Debtors
Ecological Footprint exceeds Biocapacity by
0
50
100
200
500
>500%
250 mi
250 km
MA
RI
CT
NJ
DE
MD
DC
WA
OR
CA
AK
HI
MT
ID
NV
AZ
NM
UT
WY
AK
HI
MT
ID
NV
AZ
ND
SD
TX
LA
MO
KS
OK
NE
IL
IN
AR
MN
WI
MI
OH
KY
TN
AL
MS
FL
SC
NC
VA
NY
ME
WV
VT
NH
GA
PA
CO
IA

                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                           
                               
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                           
                               
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                           
                               
                       
                       
                           
                           
                               
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                               
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                           
                               
                       
                       
                           
                           
                               
                       
                       
                           
                               
                                   
                               
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                       
                       
                           
                               
                           
                       
                   
                   
                        250 mi
                        250 km
                       
                           
                               
                           
                               
                   
               
Biocapacity
Global acres per capita
0
5
10
20
50
100
>100
Ecological Footprint
Global acres per capita
14
16
18
20
22
24
26
NG STAFF
SOURCE: Global Footprint Network

Our analysis looks at each state's ecological capacity—the ability of its environment to provide the resources that the state's residents use everyday, per capita. The numbers take into account how many acres of forest, pasture, cropland, and ocean each state controls. This is what's known as biocapacity. We then compare that to each state's demand for those resources—its ecological footprint.

Ecological creditors are states that use less than their environment can provide. They're staying within nature's budget. Ecological debtors demand more than nature can provide.
Biggest Ecological Debtors
Biocapacity deficit in global acres per person
Maryland
21.8
Delaware
20
Connecticut
19.5
New Jersey
17.4
Virginia
17.2
Does not include District of Columbia
NG STAFF
SOURCE: Global Footprint Netwok

These five states have racked up the most ecological "debt" per person, with Maryland topping the list. Each person in this coastal state would need, on average, 21.8 more acres of land and water to meet their consumption needs. The report goes on to say that Maryland is trying to pay down its debt by conserving wetlands and reducing energy consumption.
Biggest Ecological Creditors
Biocapacity surplus in global acres per person
Alaska
491.7
South Dakota
55
Montana
38.2
Wyoming
19.4
Nebraska
17.8
NG STAFF
SOURCE: Global Footprint Network

Alaska, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska are in the black with Mother Nature. Alaska far outstrips any state in the U.S. when it comes to surplus ecological capacity, with residents leaving 490 available resource acres on the table.

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Your Top 10 Questions About the Pluto Flyby Answered

5 min read



NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will fly within 8,000 miles of Pluto on Tuesday and reveal the last world in the solar system—or at least the last of the planets that most of us learned about in school. Until now, Pluto’s face has remained hidden because it's so far away. To really see it as more than a blurry blob, we needed to go there. (Learn more about the historic mission to Pluto on the National Geographic Channel.)
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But getting to the icy world is no easy feat. By the time New Horizons reaches Pluto at 7:50 a.m. EDT Tuesday, it will have traveled roughly 3 billion miles for a single, fleeting chance to fly past the dwarf planet.

Launched in 2006, New Horizons is the fastest spacecraft to ever leave Earth. It crossed the orbit of Jupiter the next year and has been traveling nearly a million miles a day—but it still took 9.5 years for the spacecraft to reach Pluto and its moons.
Picture of Pluto taken on July 11, 2015

On Saturday, New Horizons got one of its last looks at this side of Pluto, which faces its moon Charon. Captured from a distance of 2.5 million miles from Pluto, the photo shows mysterious geometric features above the equator, along with sinewy dark splotches.
Photograph by NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

In fact, New Horizons is going so fast—more than 30,000 miles per hour—that the spacecraft will pass by Pluto in just three minutes.

The entire close encounter lasts for hours, though, with New Horizons making hundreds of observations of Pluto and its five bizarre moons. The first of the highest-resolution images will be released Wednesday afternoon, and the rest of the data will trickle in over the next 16 months.

While waiting for the flyby at New Horizons mission headquarters, space writer Nadia Drake answers some of the biggest questions about Tuesday's event.

1. Why a flyby? Why not slow down or orbit Pluto?

Simply put, slowing down and orbiting Pluto is nearly impossible if you want to get there in a reasonable amount of time. The planet’s gravity is so weak that a spacecraft pulling into orbit would need to be going really slowly. For New Horizons to slow down enough, it would have to carry enough fuel to fire its brakes and reverse all its forward momentum—that’s about as much fuel as was used to launch the spacecraft and get it zooming along in the first place. Launching all that propellent, plus the spacecraft, is pretty much impossible. (Read about chasing Pluto's shadow).
WATCH:

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will fly by Pluto on July 14, after traveling three billion miles from Earth in roughly 9.5 years. Video by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

2. We see amazing shots of faraway galaxies, so why haven't we ever gotten a good picture of Pluto?

Though they’re far away, those distant, glittering galaxies are really big and bright, which is why telescopes like Hubble can see them. But Pluto is too small and dim for even our sharpest Earth-based eyes to get a good look at: It's only about two-thirds as wide as Earth’s moon. Even dwarf planet Ceres, which lives much closer to Earth, is too small to be anything but a blurry blob in Hubble pictures. (Learn more about Pluto's first close-up).

3. What's the biggest thing that could go wrong?

It could be disastrous for the spacecraft to run into a dust particle as it flies through the Pluto system. Because the spacecraft is going so fast, colliding with something the size of a rice pellet could be catastrophic. So, the team has spent the last few weeks intensively surveying the system for anything that might be shedding dust and debris in the spacecraft’s path, and so far have found nothing to be concerned about. (Learn what happened when the spacecraft went silent).

Related Content

    One-Hour Special Mission Pluto hosted by Jason Silva premieres Tuesday, July 14 at 9/8c on National Geographic Channel.

4. What will the pictures of Pluto look like?

The images coming back from New Horizons are already by far the best ever taken of the dwarf planet, even though the latest image, on July 12, was taken from about a million miles away. Tuesday’s encounter will produce close-up, detailed images of Pluto and Charon, plus some images of the smaller moons. (Also see "Three Possible Plutos").

On the side of Pluto that the spacecraft will be able to see, features as small as the lakes in New York City’s Central Park will be visible. But that’s not all: After New Horizons zooms by Pluto, it will swivel around and take a look at the planet’s south pole, which we haven’t seen yet. (Check out the weirdest feature I'd like to see on Pluto). Facing away from the sun, that pole is in the dark, except for the soft glow of sunlight reflected off Charon. In other words, New Horizons will give us a glimpse of Pluto’s wintry pole, in Charon's moonlight. (Also see: "Proposed Names for Pluto System's Features Include Kirk and Spock").

5. How long does it take to send a photo of Pluto to Earth?

Radio signals traveling at the speed of light take 4.5 hours to travel between Pluto and Earth. So, data received from New Horizons will have been on the road for about as long as it takes to drive between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Because of that, it will take about 16 months for all of New Horizons’ flyby data to make it to Earth—meaning that new discoveries will be trickling in through the end of 2016. (See the first color image of Pluto from New Horizons)

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Spacecraft Sails By Pluto, Phones Home

7 min read



Laurel, Md.—It was just a trickle of 1s and 0s, but the string of numbers had sped across the solar system at the speed of light for 4.5 hours. Then, at 8:52 p.m. EDT, that signal collided an antenna with Earth.

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In the control center, New Horizons mission operation manager Alice Bowman ran through a series of checks. Every system on board the spacecraft reported back healthy. The expected amount of data had been collected. No safe mode events had occurred. Then, Bowman recited the words everyone had been waiting to hear: “We have a healthy spacecraft, we’ve recorded data from the Pluto system, and we’re outbound from Pluto.”

The place erupted.

New Horizons had survived its trip through the Pluto system—a journey that could have ended catastrophically had New Horizons slammed into a single grain of dust.

Now, those fears can be laid to rest.

New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern had a simple, three-word message to his team: "We did it."

And they definitely had.

“This is absolutely as good as it could have gone. Every system reported healthy and as expected,” says team member Alex Parker of the Southwest Research Institute. “That was really amazing.”

For the first time, New Horizons is on the other side of Pluto, and it’s hurtling into the unknown, laden with an enormous pile of data. Because the spacecraft is so far away, the complete data set will take 16 months to arrive at Earth. And like the signal received tonight, those data will travel across the solar system to rendezvous with Earth, passing the orbits of Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars on the way.  (Learn more about the historic mission to Pluto on the National Geographic Channel.)

“The enormity of the effort to get here feels a little surreal, unusual, bizarre,” says team member Ivan Linscott of Stanford University.

Now that champagne-colored Pluto and its five known moons are shimmering in the spacecraft’s rear view mirror, the team is ready to start digging into the pile of data gathered during the Pluto encounter. Those observations include incredibly close-up images of Pluto’s and Charon’s surfaces, as well as images of the four smaller moons: Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, and Styx.

Instruments on board the spacecraft also studied the composition of those faraway worlds and the charged particles that surrounded them. What's more, New Horizons looked back after passing Pluto to make two special observations of the planet’s atmosphere, collecting the sunlight filtered through the planet’s atmosphere as well as a barrage of radio waves fired from Earth early this morning.

Last, New Horizons swiveled to look at the south pole of Pluto, a hemisphere deep in the throes of winter. Normally shrouded in darkness, it was lit by a glimmer of sunlight reflected off Charon, Pluto’s mega-moon.

In other words, as New Horizons left Pluto behind, it turned to see the planet, illuminated in the underworldly glow of Charonshine.

See Pluto Pictures Through Time
1 / 14
Hubble's First Look

In 1994, this was the best view of Pluto and its moon Charon (right) that the world had ever seen. Taken by the Hubble Space Telescope's Faint Object Camera, the image showed both objects clearly, but little else.
Photograph by Dr. R. Albrecht, ESA/ESO Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility; NASA
Blurry Blob

In 1996, the world got its first look at the surface of Pluto through the Hubble Space Telescope. Taken with the European Space Agency's Faint Object Camera, the image was 100 pixels across and showed intriguing hints of lighter and darker areas.
Photograph by Alan Stern (Southwest Research Institute), Marc Buie (Lowell Observatory), NASA and ESA
New Moons

In 2006, Hubble added two small moons to Pluto's lineup: Nix and Hydra (far right). Pluto now has five known moons, including its large companion Charon (right of Pluto), and New Horizons has been looking for more.
Photograph by NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team
Best Pre-Flyby View

In 2010, an analysis of Hubble images revealed a mottled world of orange, white, and black. The center held a mysterious bright spot, prompting NASA to time the New Horizons mission for a better view of the area, now seen as a heart shape.
Photograph by NASA, ESA, and M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)
New Horizons' Peek

On April 9, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft took this photograph of Pluto and Charon from a distance of about 71 million miles (115 million kilometers). It was the first color photo of the Pluto system made by an approaching spacecraft.
Photograph by NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Perfect Pair

In this series of photos from April 12 to 18, 2015, Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, whirl around one another. The pair are gravitationally bound to one another, and might even swap atmospheric gases.
Photographs by NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
I Heart Pluto

This image taken July 7, 2015, was an Internet sensation thanks to its clear view of a heart-shaped plain 1,200 miles across (2,000 kilometers). It was the first photograph New Horizons sent home after briefly losing communication on July 4.
Photograph by NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI
Closer Pairing

Snapped July 8, 2015, this portrait shows the contrasting colors of Pluto (right) and its moon Charon. Pluto is a coppery, while Charon is a dull gray—just one reason scientists are surprised by how very different these two little worlds are.
Photograph by NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI
Whale Tail

Taken July 9, 2015, this black-and-white view of Pluto shows the "tail" of an immense black whale shape near the equator. Some scientists initially, and informally, dubbed the whale Cthulhu, after H.P. Lovecraft's character: part man, part dragon, part octopus.
Photograph by NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI
Sharper Focus

On its final approach, New Horizons sent home this image on July 11, 2015. Surface features on Pluto are becoming more obvious at this point, with signs of craters and polygon-shaped regions that invite speculation. What do you see?
Photograph by NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI
One Last Look

On July 11, 2015, New Horizons got its last look before the flyby at the side of Pluto that faces Charon. Taken from 2.5 million miles (4 million kilometers) from Pluto, the photo gives a better look at those polygons.
Photograph by NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI
Turn My Heart

Pluto's bright heart-shaped plain is rotating into view on the left in this view from New Horizons on July 12, 2015. The "bull's-eye" feature, which may be a large crater, is rotating out of view and will not be visible in images from the closest encounter with Pluto on July 14.
Photograph by NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI
Color Stunner

Taken July 13, 2015, this is the last image New Horizons sent before its July 14 flyby, when it focuses on science in lieu of sending data. The "heart" reveals a smooth face, suggesting that ongoing geologic processes may keep it wiped clean.
Photograph by NASA/APL/SwRI
Unreal Color

A false-color image of Pluto and Charon exaggerates differences to make features easier to see. Filters on a New Horizons instrument named Ralph reveal areas within the heart-shaped region that vary in color.
Photograph by NASA/APL/SwRI

Follow Nadia Drake on Twitter and on her blog at National Geographic's Phenomena.

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Justin Vernon Knows You Make Fun of Him, Doesn't Care

2 min read

First-time festival organizer Justin Vernon is feeling the heat: "Are there enough toilets? Is there enough food? Is there a comfortable place to be out of the sun?" he wonders worriedly from his cell phone in Portugal, where he's attempting to vacation. He continues down his punch list: "Are there a billion things happening at once and your brain is going to fry by 4 P.M.?" All are valid concerns for the singer-songwriter best known for being frontman of Grammy-winning folk ensemble Bon Iver. And, come Friday, hordes of his devotees will touch down in Vernon's hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to attend the first-ever Eaux Claires music festival, an event that will include sets from acts such as Poliça, Sufjan Stevens, and the Indigo Girls, who will perform their 1994 Swamp Ophelia album in full.

According to its official website, Eaux Claires was conceptualized as a no-frills arena for performers and music enthusiasts to coexist. "Our festival would encourage music genre walls to melt away," he wrote back in February. "The barriers between the stage and the audience altered, and expression and experience put above all." And like anyone who's battled their way through the heat, flower crowns, and selfie-taking throngs at other large-scale music events, 34-year-old Vernon wants to downscale the ego. "It's horrible," he says with a laugh. "Coachella backstage is like a microcosm of the weirdest shit in the world."

Friend Link:href="http://www.newdrdrestudio.com/">Beats By Dre Headphones Sale

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Exclusive: Watch Jennifer Lopez Try to Convince Viola Davis to Commit Murder

1 min read

ennifer Lopez and Viola Davis: fierce alone, fiercer together. The two play grief-stricken mothers on the hunt to find the killer of Davis' son in the new film Lila & Eve. And, well, things get messy. ELLE.com has an exclusive clip of Lopez convincing Davis to continue with the plan, no matter how bloody it gets:

Lila & Eve comes out Friday, July 17. See the full trailer below:

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Will Letting a Stranger Pick Out Your Clothes Cure Your Outfit Anxiety?

6 min read

Every morning when I leave my house, my room looks like it's been ransacked—as if some intruder had gone through my closet to steal the good stuff. Which, of course, isn't actually possible. Because there isn't any good stuff. Actually, there isn't anything. I don't own any clothes. None. Zero. Zilch. At least that's how I feel every single morning when I tear through my wardrobe, searching for something, anything to wear to work.

I needed an intervention—or a stylist, or a mom, to come choose something for me to leave the house in that I'd feel comfortable and, you know, good wearing. Enter MM. LaFleur. The Birchbox-like service is all about making getting dressed for the office easier (the company's ethos is "to make the purposeful woman look and feel beautiful, without having to work too hard at it") by providing clients with workwear—dresses, tops, skirts, and even accessories—that not only fits, but also flatters. Which is key, because anyone who's ever felt like she "doesn't own any clothes" knows that just because you have stuff hanging in your closet doesn't mean you want to (or should) wear it.

MM. LaFleur's whole thing is the Bento Box: After you fill out a Buzzfeed-type quiz (Do you identify more with Beyoncé or Tina Fey? Are you a fitted on the bottom, looser on top kind of person or vice-versa?), the stylists at MM. will put together a box that includes four to six pieces for you to try on. You have four days to decide what you want to keep and you pay only for those items—the Bento Box itself doesn't actually cost anything, you're just paying for what you want to buy, with most items falling in the $150 to $300 range. Everything else can be mailed back, easy peasy.

MM. LaFleur's founders.
MM. LaFleur

Being the super enthusiastic, semi-indecisive human that I am (But really, am I a Tina Fey or a Beyoncé?!?!), I visited the MM. headquarters to meet the women behind the designs IRL. Founder and CEO Sarah LaFleur, creative director and co-founder Miyako Nakamura, and COO and co-founder Narie Foster are all women like, well, me—except cooler. And more patient. Sarah has a corporate background, which is what inspired MM. LaFleur—after navigating many different, strict dress codes and seeing friends and colleagues do the same, she realized women needed hands-on help when it comes to office dressing. Miyako Nakamura, meanwhile, comes from a capital-F Fashion background: Before coming to MM., she was the head designer at Zac Posen, and also held design jobs at Phillip Lim and Theory. And one look at her tells you she knows what she's doing—on the day we met she was wearing ruffled shirt cuffs...but no sleeves. They weren't attached to anything. It made no sense. And yet, she was pulling. Them. Off.

One of MM. LaFleur's stylists took me through the questionnaire to figure out my size—one genius thing they do is ask what your size is in specific brands like J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Theory to take the "Errrr, I'm usually a 6? I think?"-type guesswork out of it—and style (again, here they use specific pictures to ask which outfits you'd be most likely to wear, in addition to questions about what silhouettes you like and what your color palette comfort zone is). The stylist then disappeared into the storeroom to put together a Bento for me, just as if I'd placed the order online. I had no say in what clothes she'd be choosing for me, and that, Sarah explained, is why they're successful. They noticed that once they launched the Bento Boxes in place of the traditional online shopping model, their number of clients tripled. "You think people want choice, but in fact, thinking about work clothes is one of the most paralyzing experiences," said Sarah. "This takes the thinking out of it."

Tyler Joe

I decided to try on my chosen items right then and there in the non-privacy of the MM. LaFleur offices. In addition to dresses ("the adult onesie," as Sarah put it), they never send just a shirt or a skirt—it's always a full outfit, though you could also think outside the (Bento!) box and mix and match the pieces with your existing wardrobe. After I tried on everything and got some satisfying oohs and ahhs and you look greats of support, I went with a black midi skirt (similar, $210), loose-fitting black top ($110), tight navy shift ($195), and—wait for it—floral shift in the same uber-flattering silhouette ($255). Because, hey, it's always good to get out of your comfort zone, right? Plus, they all told me I looked bangin'.

"I love the challenge of satisfying our clients' needs, but at the same time making them stylish," floating-cuff wearer Miyako explained. "I want people to be like, 'Oh, that's a beautiful look,' rather than, 'Oh, that's trendy.' I think what we're trying to sell here is the timeless elegance that's always relevant—so it's not really trend-driven, but it's a refined style." And it's true—while ELLE.com's offices hardly have the same dress code as a more buttoned-up corporate spot, these dresses looked good enough that I could wear them to work...and I did.

Tyler Joe

"Ohhh, what is that skirt?" one colleague asked when I came into the office wearing the calf-skimming black number. "Wow, you look good," another said the day I wore the navy dress. The out-of-character floral guy? Total bridal shower crowd-pleaser. And while these aren't the clothes I would normally wear to the office, I was able to mix and match with my own wardrobe (I paired the black skirt with my own white tee and the black top with leather leggings, a.k.a. the one gem in my closet) to make them feel more me. And the fact that for an entire week I didn't have to think about what I was going to put on—that I could just reach into my closet and take something I knew fit right and looked right—felt really, really good.

So, what's the moral of the story? I might not be able to wear MM. LaFleur to work every day, but I can follow the company's philosophy when it comes to my closet. So my new goal, inspired by these ladies, is: Create a uniform. It's more about stocking your closet with staple items that fit, flatter, and make you feel good, from any brand, than simply wearing the same thing to work every day. So I will try to think "timeless elegance" when I'm shopping, rather than going for the "trendier" of-the-moment pieces, and I might just be happier when wake up to my wardrobe each morning. Because can you even imagine getting an extra half hour of sleep because you don't have to agonize over

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Watch the Video the ESPYS Showed to Honor Caitlyn Jenner

2 min read

Caitlyn Jenner attended the ESPYS on Wednesday to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
The ESPYS introduced Caitlyn's award with a stunning video, narrated by Mad Men star Jon Hamm.

    The recipient of this year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award, @Caitlyn_Jenner.

    Video: http://t.co/PIZMH3TlPn

    — ESPYS (@ESPYS) July 16, 2015

In the video, Caitlyn discusses her struggle with coming to terms with her identity and how she made the choice to share her transition with the public.
"I was good at living my life for other people," Caitlyn says in the video. "At what point in my life am I going to get sick of all the distraction and have to turn around and actually deal with me as a person and who I am. That was a long, long, long, long road."

The video, screened before Caitlyn took the stage to accept the award, also delves into her history as a world famous Olympic athlete. It also touches on the history of the fight for transgender rights and the groundbreaking moment Caitlyn made her debut on the cover of Vanity Fair.

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Anti-Abortion Group Accuses Planned Parenthood of Selling Fetal Organs

4 min read

A YouTube video purporting to show a high-level Planned Parenthood doctor talking about harvesting tissue from aborted fetuses went viral among anti-abortion groups Tuesday, but the women’s health organization countered that tissue donation is not out of the ordinary, even after abortion procedures.

“In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases," Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. "Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different."
Congresswoman Barbara Lee speaks during the 2015 amfAR Capitol Hill Conference at U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on March 24, 2015 in Washington, DC.

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The video was posted by The Center for Medical Progress, a California-based non-profit which describes itself as "a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances." It was shot by a team led by David Daleiden, formerly the director of research for anti-abortion group Live Action.

"Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization," Daleiden said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood said the video was heavily edited and misrepresented its work, and that all women who donate tissues after terminating a pregnancy have given their consent. The clip that went viral was nearly 9 minutes long, while the expanded version of the video runs for 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Viewers reacted strongly through Twitter on Tuesday using the hashtag . Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), who is running for President, on Tuesday called for the state's Department of Health and Hospitals to investigate Planned Parenthood activities.

The shortened video appears to show Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, at a business lunch, discussing the harvesting and sale of fetal tissue. Though tissue donation is legal, selling or buying it is not.

Nucatola said in the video that the most commonly requested organs are hearts, lungs and livers, as well as lower extremities. "I don't know what they're doing with it," she said. "I guess they want muscle."

In the video she discusses the abortion method of dilation and evacuation, a procedure that involves using a pump to create a vacuum to remove a fetus, and forceps to extract any remaining tissue. This method, she said in the video, crushes certain parts of the fetus but can keep​​​​​​​​ the organs intact.

When pressed on pricing, Nucatola shares that the cost can range from $30 to $100, depending on the facility and what is involved.

The organization countered that the funds Nucatola referred to were used to reimburse patients.

"There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood," Ferrero said. "In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field."

The Center for Medical Progress said in a statement that the doctor admitted to conducting a controversial late-term abortion procedure known as an intact dilation and extraction, also known as a "partial-birth abortion."

In the video, Nucatola does not discuss intact dilation and extraction, which is banned in many states. She discusses performing abortions as late as 17 weeks, which is still legal.

The footage was taken July 25, 2014, without Nucatola's knowledge, by actors who were posing as buyers from a human biologics company. In the longer version of the video, the actors talk in-depth about stem cell research and the importance of getting tissue to researchers quickly.

"Similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades," Ferrero said. "These groups have been widely discredited and their claims fall apart on closer examination, just as they do in this case