This is why you can’t buy garlic right now

If you’ve been in the mood for marinara lately, or a nice homemade pizza sauce, you may have been in for a disappointment when you went to the grocery store to pick up ingredients. Chances are, you may have been unable to find any fresh garlic. By now we’re all used to shortages of one thing and another due to the COVID-19 pandemic followed by a few months of self-quarantining. First it was hand sanitizer and toilet paper in short supply, then yeast, carbonated beverages, frozen pizza, and finally even Wendy’s was left saying “Where’s the beef?” due to some serious hitches in the nation’s meat supply.

Now it looks like shortages are beginning to hit the fresh produce section as well — mushroom growers had to scale back their production when orders fell due to restaurant closures, and now they’re once again scrambling to fill demand. With garlic, however, there are several different reasons behind its current scarcity.

Why is garlic so hard to come by?

While garlic experienced the same decline in orders due to restaurant closures, this was more than compensated for by the huge surge in demand by home cooks, which was just about everybody in the U.S. after their first few GrubHub orders were made and the thrill of paying ridiculous delivery fees wore off. Garlic is such a kitchen staple, many of us can’t imagine having to cook without it. And yet, we’re having to do just that now. Ken Christopher, executive vice president of Gilroy, California garlic producer Christopher Ranch, spoke about the sudden surge in demand for his product — even without the restaurant orders, they went from selling 500,000 pounds a week to over 800,000. He told The Mercury News, “There was a huge run on grocery stores all over the nation. Demand for California garlic, really for all garlic, is still surging.”

It seems the stinking rose was already in short supply even before the buying boom, though, with last year’s heavy rains having left many bulbs in poor condition. What’s more, as The Wall Street Journal points out (via SFGate), China produces about 80 percent of the world’s garlic, and needless to say, the outbreak of COVID-19 there had a significant impact on the supply chain. As of February, the shortage in Chinese-grown garlic had already driven prices up by 29 percent, and one U.S.-based garlic grower told the WSJ that he expected prices to keep rising over the summer.

Garlic is also in demand due to its health benefits

One more reason why garlic sales have been booming is because of it being perceived as an extremely healthy food. Google searches for “health benefits of garlic” started spiking as soon as shelter-at-home orders went into place, and NewsHub indicates that this may be a trend worldwide, as New Zealanders also started stocking up on garlic and other healthy foods once the pandemic hit their shores.

What’s more, there’s also been a pervasive myth that consuming a great deal of garlic will help your body to ward off coronavirus — sadly, that’s only true of vampires, not COVID-19. Although garlic is very nutritious, offering high levels of fiber, magnesium, and Vitamins B6 and C and having certain immune-boosting properties, it’s no pandemic panacea. As UC Berkeley epidemiologist Arthur Reingold told The Mercury News, “I eat a lot of garlic myself, but I don’t expect it to protect me from infectious disease.”

So what can we do about the garlic shortage?

So, pretty much same old, same old, huh? Another staple product that’s hard to get, and costs way more than it used to. Do we just learn to do without, or suck it up and hunt it down and pay whatever it costs? Or perhaps we can all use this shortage (as with all of the other shortages) as the opportunity to get creative and see what workarounds we can come up with. When it comes to substitutes for fresh garlic, the typical ones are garlic powder or granulated garlic, although each of these will require some recipe tweaking in regard to amounts since they tend to have a more concentrated flavor. Shallots are a slightly more out of the box substitute, although they’re in the same general family as garlic. Onions could even be used for a different, yet equally pungent, taste –- if you’ve been missing garlic bread, why not try onion bread instead? Yes, the garlic shortage is a pain in the neck (as was Dracula, who’d surely have been thrilled by its current scarcity), but look at it as a challenge you can overcome by enlisting a little help from the rest of your spice cabinet.

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Why You Want Plants So Badly Right Now, According To Experts

Over the last few years, plants have held court as one of the most prized props for Instagram pictures, but as of this spring, plants are no longer accessories — they’re friends, they’re hobbies, and they’re sustenance. Now, people are less satisfied with low-maintenance snake plants and succulents, and they are taking on more vulnerable plants and herbs to care for, because that’s the point.

According to Annie, 28, a new plant mom who is also now experimenting with a greenish thumb, planting is popular during quarantine because it’s purposeful. "One of the most exciting parts of my day is going downstairs in the morning to water and check on my plants," Annie tells Bustle. "I love to observe how they become more full, how how they flower, how they grow new leaves, and how they change over time — I’m invested in their journey," she adds.

According to experts, collecting and caring for plants is beneficial for mental health. Gardening can improve mental wellbeing by reducing anxiety and alleviating some effects of depression. Annie attests to this idea, saying that she’s been known to squeal with delight at the sight of new growth or a happy looking plant after a brush with death. "It feels good to take care of something, and see that it’s doing well, it’s like ‘I did that!’ and it makes me feel good about myself, and calm," she says.

For Reagan Kastner, owner of online plant shop and plant design firm STYLUSH, the increased interest in plants comes from a desire to go back to basics. "We live in a world where we have been disconnected with nature and are not working with our hands. I believe that having houseplants in our home feeds the part of our soul that is missing that," she says. And while self-care might be having its moment, it’s hard to measure just how well you’re taking care of yourself. If you’ve blown through a mega pack of face masks and done a lot of virtual yoga, is your care tank full? To Kastner, plant care is a more measurable performance of self-care. "In a way, it’s a reflection of the care you are putting into yourself."

But to herbalist Eva Giorgi, who grows her own food and teaches others how to create tinctures, teas and supplements, the appeal of caring for plants and gardening is the secret dynamic. "It fulfills the human desire for both liberation and control," she says. With creation, there is liberation, and with care, there is control. When it comes to growing edible plants, Giorgi says that "building, designing and maintaining the conditions needed to grow your own food is purposeful work."

Taylor, 25, is a long-time plant mom and a new vegetable gardening enthusiast who has put her energy towards botanical matters during quarantine. "I did not like feeling out of control, and like I had no purpose when I was furloughed. Gardening and adding more plants to my indoor collection not only gave me something to do, but something to be proud of," she says, adding that watching her plants grow over the last few weeks has made her feel productive, and also surprisingly independent. "It was also a reminder that I can be self-sufficient and community-oriented," Taylor adds, noting that this became important to her for the first time during the pandemic.

Whether you’re caring for a fiddle-leaf fig in your living room or a fully loaded vegetable garden in your backyard, Giorgi says that part of the pleasure in caring for any living plant is that it reminds us that we are part of a bigger picture. "Even to grow indoor herbs, mint on the windowsill, is gentle nod to the sentiment that the earth takes care of its inhabitants, as long as we take care of it," she says. For Girorgi, touching, smelling, and caring for the the plants that grow the food that she eats and the flowers that she steeps for tea and decorates her home with, is a way to "live immediately during uncertainty."

Sources:

Reagan Kastner, owner of STYLUSH

Eva Giorgi, herbalist practicing with Katonah Yoga in New York

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Why The Olsen Twins Shun Media Interviews, According to Sister Elizabeth

Mary-Kateand Ashley Olsen may have built a mega-empire after leaving Full House behind, butone thing they’ve been conscientious about is holding tight to their privacy. Mary-Kateis in the spotlight because of her splitwith Olivier Sarkozy, but the twins typically stay under the radar.

On the rare occasions they speak with the media, it’s usuallyabout their fashion lines, Elizabeth and James and The Row. But according to babysister Elizabeth Olsen, there is a reason they shy away from interviews.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen advised Elizabeth about the press

They may have left the acting world, but the Olsen twinsnever strayed from their big sister duties. Their younger sibling, ElizabethOlsen, is one of Marvel’s most popular stars, and her sisters played a huge rolein guiding her through the good and bad of show business.  

During an interview with Philadelphia Style in 2017, Olsen said Mary-Kate and Ashley warned her about choosing her words carefully when dealing with the press.

“They’re very tight-lipped—notoriously so—and I was not caring what I was saying [in interviews] because I’d assumed no one would read it,” said Olsen.

“That’s when we’d have conversations. They’d say, ‘You know, even if you don’t think anyone’s going to read this article, someone might pull the quote later for [something else].’ It’s all part of how you hope someone interprets you, and how they frame who you are and the work you do.”

Her sisters’ cautiousness rubbed off on her. Olsen took theadvice to heart and continues to apply it to work and her romantic life with fiancéRobbie Arnett.

RELATED: ScarletWitch: Is Elizabeth Olsen a Better Actress Than Her Twin Sisters?

The twins focus more on their businesses

When they spoke with Net-A-Porter, Mary-Kate and Ashley once admitted they don’t use social media . While chatting with the fashion brand, Ashley said, “We don’t dive into that world [of social media]; we don’t have Instagram or Facebook. So we’ve never been connected to our customers or our fans in that way. We’ve stayed quite sheltered.”

The pair own two luxury labels and this past March, they dropped a new Elizabeth and James collection at Kohl’s, the product of a new partnership. That was a major event, but you’ll note that neither sister is pictured on the social media accounts for their brands.

Elizabeth Olsen became serious about acting in college  

The youngest Olsen sibling almost steered clear of acting after trying it out as a child, finding it too demanding. But she worked hard on her own merits and refused to use her sisters’ clout to make a name for herself.

When she was in high school, Elizabeth avoided attention attached to the Olsen name by using an alias. She temporarily took on the last name “Chase.”

She told Philadelphia Style that college changed things forher. Olsen attended NYU and spent a semester abroad in Russia to study drama.

“All these teachers [were] trying toscare us, letting us know that [acting] is hard and you’re going to be rejected99 percent of the time. Every time someone said it to me, it was a challenge,like, ‘I’ll show you.’”

Fans can see Elizabeth Olsen next in Marvel’s WandaVisionon Disney+, where she plays the lead character, Wanda—aka Scarlet Witch.

RELATED: ‘WandaVision’Star Elizabeth Olsen Once Revealed She ‘Never Got Any Job’ Because of HerFamous Sisters — Here’s Why

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Why Mary-Kate Olsen and Olivier Sarkozy’s divorce could get even uglier

Mary-Kate Olsen intended to keep her blockbuster divorce documents a secret, but the coronavirus shattered her privacy. The papers, filed on May 14 were meant to be sealed, as is usual in such sensitive matters, legal sources familiar with the situation told The Post. However, with New York State Supreme Courts closed, they went into an e-filing system — meaning they were not automatically sealed.

For Mary-Kate, who cherishes privacy above everything, having her divorce go public has been “extremely difficult,” according to a fashion source who has worked with her.

But when the child star-turned-fashion designer asked for an emergency divorce petition earlier this month — declaring that she was “petrified” of being forced out of her home by husband, Olivier Sarkozy, amid the pandemic — the news, of course, spread like wildfire.

Mary-Kate, 33, is described as “very strong” by friends, but sources told The Post that she was pushed into filing the papers after Olivier, 50, ended not just their marriage but also the lease on their $29,000-a-month Gramercy Park apartment.

She claimed in court documents that, “My husband expects me to move out of our home on [May 18] in the middle of New York City being on pause due to COVID-19.” But a judge ruled the filing wasn’t an essential matter and would have to wait. She has moved to the Hamptons but may well get the matter settled soon, as courts are opening this coming week.

Emails added to the court documents by Sarkozy reveal that Olivier has requested building management for permission to move his things out, but so far been denied because of the pandemic lockdown. “The apartment is just sitting there,” a source who knows Olivier said.

While the petite millionaire, who found fame as a baby alongside her twin, Ashley, in the ’80s sitcom “Full House,” is out east with her sister and friends, Olivier remains in Manhattan with family.

“Mary-Kate is okay,” said the fashion source. “But it would not have been her decision to end a marriage and move during a pandemic.”


In her emergency divorce petition, which was denied, Olsen asked to have access to her and Sarkozy’s house in the Hamptons (pictured) and apartments on 49th Street and on Gramercy Park.

Their Gramercy Park apartment.

Helayne Seidman


Their home on 49th Street.

Erik Thomas/NY Post

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And, insiders say, it’s not going to get any easier from here.

“[Olivier] seems like a fun guy when you meet him but he is a shark. Very tough,” said another Olivier source based in Paris. “He’s not somebody you want to go up against. His divorce from [his first wife] got very messy for a while and they really went after each other. Don’t underestimate him if it gets messy with Mary-Kate.”

As for what led to the breakdown of the marriage, a New York society source said Olivier had “completely changed” toward Mary-Kate, adding: “Even his view of the marriage had changed, which surprised people who knew them.” According a report in People, Olivier wanted a stay-at-home wife — something Mary-Kate, who has forged a huge fashion empire with her sister, would never be.

It’s a bleak end for the couple, although their romance always struck some as a strange pairing. Olivier is 17 years older, and, at six-foot-three, towers over his five-foot-tall wife. He is the half-brother of former French President Nicholas Sarkozy; she once co-starred in the movie “Passport to Paris.” He comes from the universe of finance — he’s now the Managing Partner/Founder of Further Global Capital Management LP — while Mary-Kate is embroiled in the bohemian fashion world. She and Ashley started their label The Row in 2006, followed by the offshoot Elizabeth and James.

“Olivier is not somebody you want to go up against.”

But the couple were smitten when they started dating in 2012. Mary-Kate sparked engagement rumors two years later when wearing a vintage Cartier ring valued at $81,000. In August 2015, the couple were spotted at billionaire Ron Perelman’s annual Hamptons fundraiser for the Apollo Theater. Perched on Olivier’s knee, Mary-Kate beamed as she whispered into his ear, all while surrounded by some of the richest and most powerful people in the US.

One guest noted: “I thought it was an odd coupling. She’s very, very quiet. He’s outgoing.”

Later that year, the two wed at a home in Manhattan in front of some 50 guests, who were offered what Page Six described as “bowls and bowls filled with cigarettes” — a detail that’s since become legend in gossip circles.

Michael Pagnotta, who was Mary-Kate and Ashley’s publicist for 10 years, told The Post: “I never found their relationship strange. The girls grew up around older, successful men from a very early age because they were so young when they started in [show] business. Both Ashley and Mary-Kate were used to dealing with older, decisive people who became very influential in their lives and careers and who they saw as peers. I can understand why Mary-Kate would be with a guy like him.”

Before getting together with Olivier, Mary-Kate dated David Katzenberg, the son of Dreamworks co-founder David Katzenberg, and Greek playboy Stavros Niarchos. Meanwhile, this will be Sarkozy’s second divorce, after a very public split with Charlotte Bernard, the mother of his two kids, in 2010.

She and Olivier got into a messy fight over their prenup. Afterward, Charlotte, who lives in NYC, penned the book “Men Are Like Melons: A French Woman’s Guide to Surviving Divorce and Finding Love in the Era of the App.” According to the book’s publicity campaign, “There’s an old French saying: Men are like melons. Out of ten, you’ll find one that’s good.”

Charlotte and Olivier share son Julien, currently a student at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Their daughter, Margot, is three years younger.

This past week, reports surfaced that Mary-Kate and Olivier split because of her desire to have children, but the fashion source is skeptical and said, “I’m not so sure about that. All I know is that Mary-Kate loves Olivier’s kids.”

As with his marriage to Charlotte, Olivier also signed a prenup with Mary-Kate. According to the court documents, she has asked for a judge to uphold it and for Sarkozy to pay her medical and dental bills.

But Mary-Kate is hardly hurting for money. “The Olsens have as much money as Sarkozy does, maybe more,” said the fashion source. “Both of the girls have a lot of confidence in themselves and in business. Mary-Kate is very strong, both she and Ashley are. These girls are nothing like you expect them to be. Mary-Kate will survive.”

But, even though Sarkozy hasn’t lived in France for decades and isn’t that close to his half-brother, he is still very much a Frenchman at heart.

“He sees himself as the alpha male,” the Paris source said. “He will get even more French as he fights her. They can turn cold very fast on their wives once the relationship is over.”

— Additional reporting by Dana Kennedy

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Why Did Ahsoka Call Anakin 'Master' in 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars'?

Thanks to Disney+ and the renewed fervor for Star Wars: The Clones Wars and its final season, more and more people are learning about Ahsoka Tano. Despite only really appearing in the animated series, she has such an important spot in Star Wars canon as Anakin’s Padawan. While there isn’t mention of her in the movies (because she wasn’t created yet), Season 7 showed just how intertwined she still is in the prequels. 

With all that said, why does Ahsoka call Anakin “Master” even though he isn’t on the Council and doesn’t have the rank of Master? This is a pretty big deal in Revenge of the Sith, which comes after Ahsoka’s time with Anakin. Let’s break it down. 

RELATED: Why Was Anakin Skywalker Denied the Rank of Master in ‘Star Wars’?

Ahsoka became Anakin’s Padawan not that long after ‘Attack of the Clones’

Anakin Skywalker was just a trigger-happy, overconfident teenage boy in Attack of the Clones. Even though it’s not shown in current canon, Anakin loses his Padawan braid and becomes a Jedi Knight before the 2008 The Clone Wars movie. He still goes on missions and serves with his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, but he’s not a Padawan anymore. 

This is why Yoda is allowed to give Anakin a Padawan of his own. Now, he doesn’t want one. Like, at all. He’s very adamant that a Padawan would just slow him down and knowing Anakin, he’s also not the best at taking care of younger beings. But, Yoda and Obi-Wan can foresee that a Padawan would teach Anakin good skills he’s missing. And George Lucas gave him a Padawan because he wanted someone to help take him from that cocky teen to the established Jedi Knight we see in Revenge of the Sith

But, since Ahsoka comes into the picture not that long after Episode II (it’s the same year), Anakin is still closer to his teen side. So they develop a very teen brother and sister bond and relationship at first. It still follows them throughout their time together, but especially in the beginning, there’s a lot of taunting and competitiveness going on. 

RELATED: Here’s Why George Lucas Wanted To Make ‘The Clone Wars’ In The First Place

Anakin is Ahsoka’s master, but that isn’t the same thing as having the rank of master on the Council

No matter what part of their journey you look at, Ahsoka is Anakin’s Padawan. Because of this, she calls him “Master” or “Master Skywalker.” That is, when she’s not calling him “Skyguy” or just “Anakin.” But why?

Well, in the Jedi Order, there’s a Jedi Council. They’re the ruling, leading body in charge of the Jedi. They do things like deciding whether a youngling is allowed to start training or how to go about fighting the Sith. Some of the oldest and wisest Jedi are a part of the Council like masters Windu, Obi-Wan, and Yoda. 

It’s one of the highest honors for a Jedi Knight to be a part of the Council, but it’s not the only way you can become a master. When you’re on the Council, you have the high rank of “Master.” But any Jedi Knight can train a Padawan. When you receive a Padwan, then you become a Master to them, but that’s different than the rank of master. 

Even though their numbers aren’t given, there are a lot of Jedi before the purge in Revenge of the Sith. But, if you can recall from The Clone Wars and the movies, the Council has maybe two dozen Jedi involved. So, there are a lot of Jedi that are masters to their padawans, but not that many that rank as master. 

Ahsoka left the Order because of the Council but did think of returning

RELATED: It Was Important That Ahsoka Didn’t Kill Any Clones During Order 66 in ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ According To Dave Filoni

The reason Anakin is so insulted when denied the rank of master is not that he’s annoyed at not receiving the rank. It’s that Palpatine elected him as his representative on the Jedi Council, but they don’t give him said rank. As he tells Obi-Wan, it’s not something that’s ever been done in history. He finds it insulting. 

Regardless, Ahsoka leaves the Order before that whole conversation even transpires. Barriss Offee framed her for bombing the Jedi Temple and the Council banned her nearly right away. They didn’t defend her against the allegations and didn’t investigate whether she actually bombed the temple. Ahsoka left because she couldn’t trust them or herself since everything she ever knew and lived for wasn’t at all what she thought. 

However, Season 7 shows that Ahsoka was closer to rejoining the Jedi Order than previously thought. Coming back and working for a good cause while using her Jedi training made her want to talk to Anakin. It seemed like she was having second thoughts, and Anakin would have been all for having his Padawan back. 

However, everything went wrong, and Anakin turned to the Dark Side. When Ahsoka shows up again in Star Wars Rebels, she’s still not a Jedi. But she is one of the most powerful Force wielders, and that’s all thanks to the lessons Master Skywalker gave her. 

RELATED: The ‘Ahsoka’ Novel Is Necessary To Get The Full Effect of Her ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Journey

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Peter Weber: Here’s Why I Fell In Love With Kelley Flanagan …

It may not have made for the most compelling season of television.

In fact, there’s much to be said for the argument that Peter Weber wasted everybody’s time

But in the end, the show accomplished its stated goal, as Peter found love on The Bachelor.

Of course, he started dating Kelley Flanagan several weeks after the cameras stopped rolling, and only after proposing to someone else.

Not exactly the fairy tale ending producers had in mind. 

But the important thing is, Peter and Kelley eventually found their way back to one another.

Of course, they also met — and probably hooked up — before the season began filming, so they could have saved a lot of time by just entering a relationship right then and giving the Bachelor gig to Mike Johnson or somebody.

But we digress.

Anyway, Peter and Kelley are quarantining together in Chicago these days, and thanks to their endless TikTok posts and Cameo.videos, it’s been pretty easy to keep tabs on the couple.

In his latest Cameo, Weber took what was supposed to be birthday greeting for a teenager and turned it into some word salad nonsense about why he picked Flanagan.

“You guys want some inside scoop here on why I ultimately picked Kelley? All right, here’s what I can do,” he explained in the clip.

“To be completely honest, I think just the nature of the show definitely works and I’ve said that since day one,” Peter added.

“I still believe it works, but I think specifically for the type of relationship between, you know, Kelley and myself just wasn’t the most organic type of situation for us if it was going to actually work. And that’s OK, that’s totally OK because each relationship is different.”

Weber went on to quote his grandmother in Spanish, something he obviously believes creates the illusion of depth.

“No matter what happens, let the waters run. That’s essentially what it says in Spanish,” he said afterward.

“What’s meant for you [and] what’s yours will always be yours, and nothing can ever change that,” he added.

“So obviously we’ll see what the future holds for Kelley and I, but I think it’s a beautiful story, definitely a beautiful love story of what’s yours is yours and it will always come back to you, no matter what.”

At one point in the video, Peter was joined by Kelley, and the two of them sang “Happy Birthday” to the teen, thus proving they didn’t completely forget the point of the clip.

“That’s kind of always been our relationship. We’ve kept coming back in each other’s lives,” Weber said of Flanagan.

“So the way I look at it, [it’s] definitely an unorthodox way [of finding love] but [it] definitely worked in the end.”

Yeah, the more direct route would have spared a lot of people a lot of heartbreak, but we’re happy for these two anyway.

But maybe going forward, producers should implement a stricter vetting process to make sure no one is in love before filming even begins.

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Why Kristin Might Not Return To Do Another Season Of ‘Very Cavallari’

Despite its history of early renewals, a Very Cavallari Season 4 has not been officially announced yet. Season 3 was renewed days before the Season 2 finale, but so far, news of a 2021 installment has been oddly quiet.

It’s unclear if the network is waiting to make the announcement, or if the Kristin Cavallari-led reality series is coming to an end. The landscape of the show has changed immensely since Season 1, in which Uncommon James employees and new business chaos fueled the show’s dramatic entertainment. Now, the business has grown, giving Kristin the ability to delegate responsibilities and spend less time at the office. As a result, the cameras have moved away from UJ and into Kristin and Jay Cutler’s farmhouse. Their life has admittedly slowed down in the last year, even with her booming business.

Also complicating matters is the fact that Kristin has signed on to appear on Season 2 of The Hills: New Beginnings. She told Entertainment Tonight that she’s "excited" to go back to her roots. "I think it’s going to be fun to go back and see the old gang and, yeah, I’m looking forward to it." She added that she hasn’t yet filmed the cameo. "They just started filming," she said. "I don’t know when I will start filming or what’s happening yet, but I will be." So there’s always that to look forward to.

In the same interview at the Uncommon James Spring-Summer 2020 launch party on March 5, Entertainment Tonight asked Kristin if she’d ever want to quit reality TV for good. "It’s not something that I want to do forever," she said, candidly, adding that she mostly started Very Cavallari to gain exposure for Uncommon James. "I’m having a lot of fun doing it and ultimately I’m very happy that I went back to reality TV," she said. "But no, I don’t want to be doing this in five years."

Instead, she would eventually like to focus solely on her business and family. "I don’t think people realize reality TV is so time consuming," she said. "And if you’re having a bad day or you’re fighting with your husband and then you have to go film, it’s like, ‘God, that sucks.’ It’s hard, so, you know, yeah, I like my life right now, where I take my kids to school in the morning, I go to the office, I’m home for dinner. I like that normalcy. It’s fun, but it took me out of the offices this season. I was barely in the office and that’s hard for me. I just want to be working on UJ."

Whether that means she’s done with Very Cavallari or not remains to be seen. But at least you can shop her brand and look forward to that Hills cameo.

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Why you should avoid overindulging in ice cream right now

Avoid ice cream? Say it ain’t so! Winter or summer, rain or shine, triumph or tragedy, everybody knows a girl’s true best friend isn’t diamonds, it’s Ben and Jerry’s. Not that men don’t enjoy it either, along with Haagen-Dazs, Baskin-Robbins, Dairy Queen… the only bad ice cream is no ice cream at all.

Especially now, when life just hasn’t been the same since… well, we can’t even remember when. Even a few months ago seems like ancient history as we adjust to the fact that the “new normal” seems to mean nothing will ever be normal ever again, and we’re all going to need an extra scoop of sweet, creamy deliciousness to help us hang in there. Forget Taco Tuesday, times like these seem to call for making every day Sundae Funday, and it would be no surprise if even the premium ice cream brands abandoned making cute little pint-sized containers in favor of gallon buckets. And yet, wouldn’t you know, there’s always someone trying to spoil things.

The ice cream-demonizing internet rumor

Throughout the duration of the pandemic thus far (all endless two months and counting), the internet has been rife with rumors regarding how the virus spreads and how it can be avoided. Much of this so-called information ranges from the dubious to the downright dangerous, since there are no circumstances, ever, under which drinking bleach could be considered a healthy thing to do (and the same goes for cocaine).

Lately there’s been a rumor making the rounds that eating ice cream or other frozen foods or even cold drinks (including milkshakes! Nooo, not the Frostys, too!) could increase your chances of catching coronavirus. This rumor, which purports to be advice from Unicef Cambodia (an organization which vehemently denied any involvement), seems to be based on the idea that heat could possibly destroy the virus. By some stretch of logic, the anonymous trolls behind the rumor distorted this to mean that consuming anything cold that might lower your body temperature should be avoided at all costs.

The rumor, debunked

Unicef Cambodia was anything but pleased to be linked to this rumor, tweeting: “Misinformation about pandemics can cause somebody’s life. Please take this issue seriously, stay informed and do not fall prey to fake news.” Charlotte Gornitzka, a woman who is currently working for Unicef to combat coronavirus misinformation, said in a press release for UNICEF that the rumor attributing coronavirus risk to cold food consumption is “of course wholly untrue.” Though we’re not exactly sure at this point just how heat does or does not affect the virus, Professor Sally Bloomfield, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, revealed to BBC that the temperature of foods or liquids you consume won’t affect your body temperature and that once the virus is inside your body (which it won’t do by way of your food), there is nothing you can eat or drink that will help to fight it off.

The Harvard Health Blog published by Harvard Medical School cautioned that the rumor about ice cream causing coronavirus has also been linked to a years-old video about avoiding infection through diet modification, a video that has nothing whatsoever to do with the current virus and one that they describe as “useless.” The final word on the rumor, however, comes from the World Health Organization, clearinghouse for all COVID-19 info throughout the pandemic: “Fact: There is no scientific evidence that eating hygienically made frozen food and ice cream spreads the new coronavirus.”

You don't have to avoid ice cream, just overindulgence

Okay, now for some (semi) bad news, although it’s really not much of a scoop to reveal that your standard deliciously sugar-laden ice cream is not exactly the healthiest food you could be consuming on a daily basis. That’s because, according to Sydney Greene, MS, RD, ice cream’s two main ingredients — dairy and sugar — come together for a combo that causes inflammation in the body. When inflammation is high, “it taxes the immune system leaving us more susceptible to disease and illness,” Greene explained to Eat This, Not That! “Processed foods, with their high sugar levels, omega-6 fatty acids, excess sodium, and junky additives can stoke the fire of inflammation, Greene continued, while Ashley Kitchens MPH, RD, LDN, added, “Dairy products such as cheese and full-fat cow’s milk contain saturated fat, which can increase inflammation. Saturated fat can also raise your bad cholesterol and put you at higher risk for heart disease.” 

But are people heeding this warning? The latest numbers say no. Food Navigator reports consumption of ice cream has been way up over the past few weeks, with Americans downing over 30 percent more of this sweet substance than in pre-quarantine days. Dr. James Richardson, a cultural anthropologist now working as a business analyst, attributes this rise in demand to emotional eating (surprise, surprise), what with millions of people suddenly having lost their jobs among all the other stresses of living through a pandemic.

Bottom line: It’s probably never a great idea to overindulge in ice cream on the daily, but especially during pandemic times when we’re all trying to keep our immune systems super healthy, it might be an even worse idea.

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What is the ‘R’ value and why is number one critical to coronavirus fight? – The Sun

"R VALUE" is a phrase Brits have heard time and time again when scientist and those alike refer to coronavirus figures and scientific statistics.

But what does it actually mean and why do scientist keep using the term.

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During the Downing Street press conference on Thursday, April 16, Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer, said the R value overall is below one – which shows Brits can expect the slowing and the turn of the epidemic.

He said: "Across many regions, the numbers are decreasing…this is consistent with the idea that the R is below one, somewhere between 0.5 and one."

But as this term is thrown around by experts and ministers, what does the R value actually mean and why does it matter?

What is the R value?

R0, or R nought, refers to the average number of people that one infected person can expect to pass the coronavirus on to.

Scientists use it to predict how far and how fast a disease will spread – and the number can also inform policy decisions about how to contain an outbreak.

For example, if a virus has an R0 of three, it means that every sick person will pass the disease on to three other people if no containment measures are introduced.

It's also worth pointing out that the R0 is a measure of how infectious a disease is, but not how deadly.

What does it mean for Covid-19?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated at the start of March that the coronavirus R0 stands somewhere between 2 and 2.5.

In comparison, the seasonal flu is estimated to be roughly 1.3 while measles has a reproductive value of between 12 and 18.

Despite this, these figures are not set in stone because a given pathogen's R value changes with place and time.

Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, told The Telegraph: "R0 is an indication of how much an infectious virus will spread in a population, and various things impact that value.

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"The susceptibility, size and density of the population that the infection is introduced into matters, as well as the infectiousness of the virus itself."

Predictions of the R0 for Covid-19 are currently varied because no one knows exactly how many people have been infected in total.

According to modelling published by Imperial College London, the R value stood somewhere between 3 and 4.6 in Europe before lockdowns came into effect.

What is the R value in the UK?

During one of the Downing Street press conferences, Sir Patrick revealed that it was "highly likely" there is an R value in the community of less than one.

This means that every infected individual passes the disease to less than one other person.

This shows the lockdown has had a positive impact on the coronavirus outbreak as to bring an outbreak under control the R0 value needs to fall below one.

However, when the number remains higher than one, the epidemic will grow.

Sir Patrick admitted that the R0 value could be higher in some care homes and hospitals.

He said: "As I’ve said, it’s not true that the R is necessarily below one in every hospital or in every care home, and that’s the important area that we now need to look at and make sure that the appropriate measures are in place to try and reduce the R there.

"But it doesn’t change the overall view that I’ve described, that the R overall is below one and therefore we expect to see the slowing and the turn of the epidemic."

What can reduce the R value?

There are lots of infection control measures experts can use to push this number down and reduce the spread.

A study in the Lancet in April, for example, estimated that travel restrictions in Wuhan caused R0 to drop from 2.35 to 1.05 after just one week.

Sir Patrick said that the draconian social distancing measures introduced in the UK have had a substantial impact so far.

This is because as less people come into contact with one another, there is less chance for the virus to spread.

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He said on Thursday, April 16: "The social distancing measures are needed to reduce the levels right down to a low level.

"At that point there may be decisions about which ones to relax and which ones not to relax.

"It’s important to keep the R below one, and this is all about trying to reduce contacts, particularly between households, reduce transmission and keep the levels low across the community."

 

And Sir Patrick added that even small changes in the measures that are in place "could lead to the R going above one."

According to a pre-print study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the average number of people an individual comes into contact with each day has dropped by 73 per cent since the UK’s lockdown began.

“This would be sufficient to reduce R0 from a value from 2.6 before the lockdown to 0.62 during the lockdown, indicating that physical distancing interventions are effective,” the study, which tracked over 1,300 adults and has not yet been peer reviewed, concluded.

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RUTH SUNDERLAND: Why Britain must bail out Richard Branson

RUTH SUNDERLAND: Why Britain MUST bail out Richard Branson – however mad it may sound for the taxpayers to save a billionaire

  • Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline is under serious threat due to COVID-19 
  • Virgin announced they would be cutting 3,150 jobs on Tuesday afternoon
  • Other airlines such as Lufthansa and Air France-KLM are in need of financial aid
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Normally, the idea that taxpayers should bail out a billionaire who lives on his own private Caribbean island would be treated as a bad joke.

But these are not normal times. And if ministers let Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic crash into the ground, we will all be the poorer for it.

Virgin Atlantic, like many airlines around the world, has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic (pictured) airline is under serious threat due to the coronavirus pandemic 

Virgin announced on Tuesday they would be cutting 3,150 jobs in order to avoid going bust during the global health crisis

The situation is now so desperate that even when the global lockdown is relaxed, the economics of air travel will be extremely difficult.

Aware of this, the International Air Transport Association has been beseeching governments for help. Many countries – though not the UK – have obliged with multi-billion pound lifelines.

The French and Dutch governments are bailing out Air France-KLM, their flag carriers which merged in 2004, to the tune of up to £9.5billion.

Germany’s Lufthansa is in talks with its government over a state lifeline, while, biggest of all, President Trump bankrolled a £20billion rescue package for US airlines.

But on these shores? Not a bean, despite the fact that this is by far the worst crisis since mass air travel began. Coronavirus makes the aftermath of 9/11 look like a blip.

German airline Lufthansa (pictured) is in talks with the government over a state lifeline 

Meanwhile Air France-KLM are being bailed out by the French and Dutch governments to the tune of £9.5billion

And not only airlines, but airports, too, face a frightening future. Gatwick is staring into the abyss after Virgin and BA stopped flights there.

Yet despite the threat, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been squeamish about offering help. Perhaps he fears voters would be disgusted at showering largesse on the likes of Branson, whose pleas for a £500million bailout have fallen on deaf ears.

There is no denying that the tycoon, worth almost £3.5billion, is a divisive figure. He has been criticised for failings in his rail franchises, for his opaque corporate structures and for his apparent aversion to paying personal taxes in the UK. 

Yet at the same time, his Virgin brands are popular and his airline brought a dose of competition to BA.

It’s true that he has already reaped plenty from the UK’s coffers. The takeover by Virgin Money of Northern Rock cost taxpayers nearly half a billion.

Many will sympathise with Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary, who said Branson can ‘bail himself out.’ 

But the future of Virgin Atlantic is about significantly more. For ultimately, a healthy airline industry needs to be a competitive one. Yes, BA has said it will not tap taxpayers for cash.

Branson’s airline has brought a popular airline to the forefront of people’s minds and provided solid competition for British Airways

But this is a calculated gamble. If Virgin Atlantic goes to the wall, BA will be left with a near monopoly.

And if Gatwick is out of the game, Heathrow will have no competition either.

That prospect is not good for travellers. Nor is it good for Britain and our hopes of being a great post-Brexit, post-Covid global trading nation.

One solution would be for the Government to take a share stake in airlines as it did with the banks after their collapse, and in return to exert control over pay and bonuses.

But whatever happens, allowing a major airline to collapse is not an option.

It’s time for Mr Sunak to bail out Branson – even if he has to hold his nose while doing it.

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