Mary McNamara: I thought I'd be happy to finish motherhood's many chores. Then I choked up over laundry

Health / Lifestyles /

This column is the latest in a series on parenting children in the final years of high school, "Emptying the Nest."


As I did what felt like my 18th load of laundry last weekend, most of it belonging to my 17-year-old daughter, I felt a strange catch in my throat.

In a little over a year, my three-decade indenture as a full-time ...Read more

Chris Brown Photography/Norman Winter/TNS

On Gardening: Luscious Basket Tangeglow is a perfect container companion

Health / Lifestyles /

After seeing the flowers at the Young’s Plant Farm annual garden tour in Auburn, Alabama, I felt a sense of desperation to get my hands on the Luscious Basket Tangeglow lantana. I don’t always think about lantana being a component plant in mixed-container designs, but they had several that were simply dazzling.

Luscious Basket Tangeglow is ...Read more


Heidi Stevens: Barrier-breaking pageant wins are cause for celebration, not manufactured panic

Health / Lifestyles /

Bailey Anne Kennedy and Sara Milliken both have much to celebrate this month, having been crowned winners of the respective pageants they prepped and primed and yearned for.

But first they have to defend their victories against a nascent crowd of gatekeepers who are suddenly very invested in preserving the integrity of beauty pageants.

And by ...Read more

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images North America/TNS

Town's move to ban gas leaf blowers gets blowback -- and support

Health / Lifestyles /

PHILADELPHIA — Swarthmore was on track to become the first Pennsylvania municipality to ban two-stroke, gas-powered lawn equipment such as leaf blowers and string trimmers as part of a fight against climate change.

But an ordinance to do just that has been derailed for at least a month as the borough council faces pushback by both residents ...Read more


Erika Ettin: Going on a date isn't a waste of time

Health / Lifestyles /

As a dating coach, I browse hundreds (thousands?) of dating profiles every week on every app imaginable, and a few phrases tend to repeat themselves:

“I like to travel and go on adventures.” Great, but who doesn’t? Also, what does “adventure” mean to you?

“I look younger than my age.” You don’t. Sorry.

“I can’t believe I�...Read more

Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

This Philadelphia facility is one of the nation's lowest-barrier shelters for drug users. Some say it offers tough lessons for a city in crisis

Health / Lifestyles /

PHILADELPHIA -- It was a few days after Christmas last year when Tarence got news that changed his fortunes. After three years of battling opioid addiction, sleeping in train stations or under the El tracks in the Kensington neighborhood, a bed was ready for him at Beacon House.

“It put the smile back on my face,” he said, grabbing a ...Read more

Alexander Demyanenko/Dreamstime/TNS

Ask Anna: Ready to come out? Tips for a smooth and empowering experience

Health / Lifestyles /

Dear Anna,

I’m a 20-year-old college student. I'm majoring in computer science and have a small but pretty great group of friends, and a campus job that keeps me busy. I’m also part of the university’s LGBTQ+ club, but hardly anyone in my life outside the club knows that I’m gay.

Here’s the thing: I’m ready to come out. I’ve ...Read more


Debra-Lynn B. Hook: The 'kinkeeper' is the person in the family who gets away with minding everybody's business

Health / Lifestyles /

I have recently discovered the title that most authentically describes my current role in the family.

“Mature matriarch” notwithstanding, the label that most directly applies to what I do these days is “kinkeeper.”

It is nomenclature I discovered in a recent New York Times parenting article, defining the person who keeps up with the ...Read more


Ex-etiquette: When you can't stand your ex

Health / Lifestyles /

Q. Reading your column, it is obvious that you are an advocate of both parents spending time together with the children after a breakup. I have no desire to spend time with my ex. We bring out the worst in each other and I don’t want the kids to see that. So, if you can’t or don’t want to, what is good ex-etiquette?

A. I’m an advocate ...Read more

Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Why these Philly parents chose to send their kid to private school

Health / Lifestyles /

PHILADELPHIA -- Lawmakers in Harrisburg all seem to have an opinion about what Philadelphia parents and students want.

And the debate over education is heightened this year, as legislators again fight over a potential school voucher program to send students to private schools using taxpayer dollars and attempt to design a new school funding ...Read more

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

She may have a full ride to Harvard, but as an undocumented immigrant without a job permit, her future is uncertain

Health / Lifestyles /

CHICAGO — Simone Peña found out she had been accepted to Harvard with a full scholarship after school one day while she was getting ready to go clean houses with her parents, as she did most evenings and weekends. She recalled staring at the computer screen for a few minutes, unable to move or speak until her mother went to hug her.

“I ...Read more


Lori Borgman: No writer is purrfect all the thyme

Health / Lifestyles /

You may not remember William Safire, but I lived in fear of him. He was a nationally syndicated columnist who wrote about other writers' writing gaffes.

Every Sunday, I would rip open the paper, read his column and exhale to find I had lived to see another misplaced modifier -- as if Safire ever read family humor.

That was the effect the man ...Read more


The Kid Whisperer: How to prepare your teen to save money for college

Health / Lifestyles /

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My daughter is 16. She says that she wants to go to college, and we have told her that we will give her four dollars for every dollar she puts toward her education. This is what my parents did with me. The difference is that I saved my allowance and was excited to get a job to start saving more. My daughter still spends all ...Read more

Michael Blackshire/Los Angeles Times/TNS

James Lawson's booming voice and loving spirit left a lasting mark on this UCLA professor

Health / Lifestyles /

LOS ANGELES — UCLA historian Vinay Lal remembers speaking alongside the Rev. James Lawson during a panel discussion in Pasadena in 2008 and feeling awestruck by the "majestic" manner in which the veteran civil rights leader spoke about the power of nonviolence and its ability to change the course of history.

"He had a booming voice, very ...Read more

Jerry Zezima/Jerry Zezima/TNS

Jerry Zezima: Veggies to diet for

Health / Lifestyles /

Since my cardiologist put me on a Mediterranean diet, I have been looking forward to a daily meal of spaghetti and meatballs or a few slices of pepperoni pizza.

Instead, I get the uneasy feeling I will be eating prodigious quantities of another Italian-sounding food: zucchini.

To put it mildly, I am not a fan of zucchini. Or squash of any kind...Read more

Scott Olson/Getty Images North America/TNS

Heidi Stevens: A reminder to give our kids the space to dream big about their one precious life -- including who they'll love

Health / Lifestyles /

When I was 20 years old, the summer after my junior year of college, I interned in Washington, D.C., at The Student Press Law Center, a nonprofit that works to protect press freedom for high school and college journalists.

I learned a lot about First Amendment law. I learned a lot about public transportation. I learned that people who aren’t ...Read more

D.A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS

Florida has a beach sand shortage. Could your beer bottles be part of the solution?

Health / Lifestyles /

MIAMI — Florida’s coastal counties spend millions trucking in sand to preserve the eroding beachfront. But what if a cheaper possible solution could be found in the garbage and recycling bins of Miami bars or even in that six-pack of Miller Light you brought home the other night?

Glass is made from sand so what about doing the reverse?

...Read more

Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/TNS

California beach is nation's most polluted, study says. People are 'getting sick left and right'

Health / Lifestyles /

California is home to one of the most polluted beaches in the country, according to a new study — a stretch of surf so toxic officials have made repeated calls for a state of emergency.

Last year, the Surfrider Foundation tested thousands of water samples across the nation, as well as in Puerto Rico, Vancouver and Costa Rica, and found that ...Read more

Handout/Art & Sol Collection/TNS

On Gardening: Welcome the Mangave to your garden

Health / Lifestyles /

During The Garden Guy’s stint as executive director of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, I was completely taken by a native plant named the Manfreda maculosa. The common names associated with this plant are false aloe, spice lily and Texas tuberose and it was comfortably residing in the Agavaceae or Agave family. I’ll chase ...Read more

Alejandro A. Alvarez/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Weeks after Philly's Italian Market Festival, no one has taken down the cheese and meat from the greased pole

Health / Lifestyles /

PHILADELPHIA -- The melting cheese and rotting meat dangle like a dare from the greased pole high above the Italian Market.

It’s been nearly four weeks since the market’s storied festival, where people from all over the city compete in one of Philly’s most-treasured traditions: climbing a lard-covered pole to claim plump provolone balls ...Read more