The Ultimate Beauty Food: Avocados

Avocados aren’t just for eating anymore.

avocado

Native to Mexico, Guam and Central America, avocados contain vitamins, antioxidants and a number of essential nutrients that leave skin and hair healthy and moisturized. They contain over 25 vital nutrients including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K as well as minerals such as copper, potassium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Clearly, avocados are a natural way to to nourish and better your physical appearance without the harsh chemicals of beauty products.

Check out some of our favorite avocado beauty secrets below!


 

Avocado Hair Mask

1) Mix one ripe avocado, one egg, and one tablespoon of lemon juice.

2) Apply to damp hair and secure hair into a bun.

3) Leave in hair for 30 minutes, then rinse with shampoo.

hair mask

 


 

Avocado Face Mask

1) Mix two ripe avocados, natural honey, and natural yogurt in a bowl.

2) Apply paste to face, and let sit for 15 minutes.

3) Rinse with warm water.

face mask

 


Avocado Eye Mask

1) Mix a ripe avocado and aloe vera gel in a bowl.

2) Spread evenly under your eyes, and let sit for 10 minuntes.

3) Wipe gently and splash face with warm water.

eye mask

 

Don’t Distress: De-Stress

Story by Anna M. Park. 

Nagging headache? Can’t sleep? Not very productive at work? It could be stress. Left unchecked, chronic stress may play a part in up to 80 percent of diseases and illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — everything from insomnia to hypertension to premature aging to even death.

And boy, are we feeling it. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey for 2013, 43 percent of women say their stress levels have increased in the last five years. In fact, the APA report showed that Millennials and Gen Xers experience the most stress and the least relief — they have higher stress levels than older generations and they are not managing it well. This is supported by a recent study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, which found that not only were women more stressed than men but 20-year-olds were more stressed than 30-somethings.

If that doesn’t scare you into de-stressing, how about these unsavory tidbits: Chronic stress leads to obesity, acne and infertility, and a recent study found that men found women with a high level of the stress hormone cortisol less attractive.

Stressing about de-stressing yet? Relaaaaaax. We’ve done the research for you and found a variety of experts to provide easy tips on how to take it down a notch in our everyday lives.

 


MEDITATE
According to Marilyn Tam, the author of the best-selling book The Happiness Choice, meditation is natural. If you’ve ever “been in the zone,” where “there is no other thought; you are fully present and immersed in whatever it is you are doing” — that, she says, is a key aspect of meditation.” Here, Tam’s step-by-step guide to meditating.

1. Find a quiet space where you will be undisturbed. Turn off all electronic devices.

2. Give yourself a window of open time; to start with, it can be as short as 15 or 20 minutes. You may want to set a timer so that you don’t have to keep checking on the time.

3. Relax your body, stretch, move your arms and legs and gently roll your head from side to side and front to back. Sigh. Move your face muscles. Loosen the tightness in your body and mind so that you are able to be fully present.

4. Sit comfortably with your back straight in a chair or on a cushion. Let your hands lay comfortably on your knees or rest your hands on your lap, right hand on top of left, with your thumbs touching each other — this is the Samadhi mudra, the hand gesture that promotes calmness. Close your eyes or keep them half open, focusing on an object like a lit candle. Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly and gently. Repeat without using force in your inhale and exhale. Observe your breath as you breathe in and out. When thoughts come, mentally push them aside without judging them. Return to your breathing. Continue on this cycle of breathing, clearing away thoughts, breathing.

5. At the end of the meditation time, slowly bring your consciousness back to your surroundings; make note of any insights you may have glimpsed in your quiet time.

A former corporate executive, Marilyn Tam, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, consultant and certified coach. Her radio show, The Happiness Choice, on FMG Network is broadcast globally to more than 30 million listeners. Find out more at marilyntam.com. 


SCENT
With rampant stress, “our bodies have lost the balance between our sympathetic (fight or flight response) and parasympathetic (repair and restore response) nervous systems ,” says Marc Zollicoffer, director of Aveda Spa Education. “We are in a constant state of flight or fight and not spending enough time resting and regenerating.” Based on studies that show that aroma has an effect on the brain’s hypothalamus, which controls the stress cycle in the body, clinical aromaologist Pierre Franchomme and Aveda created the Stress Fix aroma. Clinical testing showed that the aroma, a combination of certified organic French lavender, clary sage and lavindin (a hybrid of true and spike lavender) essences, relieves feelings of stress, significantly increasing positive moods and feelings of relaxation.
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MASSAGE
Perhaps nothing is as stress relieving as a massage. At OleHenriksen Face/Body Spa, the Hot Stone massage uses volcanic basalt river rocks for their heat retention properties, combining thermotherapy with massage techniques. The treatment revs up the parasympathetic system, but it also has a metaphysical “earth energy component” for energy balancing — the masseuse literally bathes the stones in full moonlight every other month. You lay on a sheet, your spinal column nestled between two rows of river rocks, while the masseuse kneads your arms, feet and legs, placing warm stones on your chakras (along your torso, under the knees, even between the toes). According to the masseuse, the heat from the stones relaxes muscle groups and increases circulation and lymphatic drainage, allowing for deeper massage work due to increased blood flow. It’s like being kneaded with rounded, solidified silk, and afterwards the kink in our shoulder was almost gone and we drove home stress-free. Details Olehenriksen.com.

DIY MASSAGE
Can’t get to a spa? Treat yourself to a mini-facial massage at home to knead out tension, especially in the jaw and forehead. A luxurious massage milk with micro-collagens to plump skin. Massage on and go straight to bed — no rinsing necessary. Koh Gen Do Royal Massage Milk.

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SLEEP
According to the APA’s 2013 Stress in America survey, stress keeps 46 percent of women (and more than 52 percent of Millennials and 48 percent of Gen Xers) lying awake at night. And yet it’s sleep that we need to lower cortisol levels. Take steps to ensure you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Cut back on caffeine, stop screen time (TV, iPad, smartphone) at least one hour before bedtime and go to sleep at the same time each night to set circadian rhythms. Spray your sheets with calming lavender and get a cooling orthotic pillow (like Proper Pillow, proper- pillow.com) specially made to properly align your neck and spine for a truly restorative sleep.

 


 

YOGA
Yoga instructor Sunina Young shows us how these poses can help de-stress, even if you’ve never done a downward dog in your life.

Yoga helps you retrain your stress response by encouraging you to fully focus on your breath through poses. You can use this practical breathing technique in any life situation as well. As you go through each pose below, breathe and simply let it go. If a stressful thought sneaks into your mind, mentally say a calming affirmation like,“I now release all feelings of stress.”

Breathing Technique for Poses:
Inhale through your nose for seven counts, exhale through your nose for eight counts. Let whatever you are feeling pass naturally. Repeat this breathing pattern throughout your poses.

Calming Pose 1 (Moderate)
Hero pose (shown below, left) is great for improved digestion, better posture and knee, calf, ankle relief (calling all ladies in heels!). Start by standing on your knees so they are aligned with your hips. Press the tops of your feet down and into the ground. Open your calves out to the sides and sit your hips down to the ground, your behind between your heels. (If your butt doesn’t touch the ground, sit on a yoga block or a rolled up yoga mat.) Sit up tall, twist to the right, right hand placed behind you, left hand resting on top of the right thigh. Stay for seven to 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Affirmation: “All the tension in my muscles release freely.”

Calming Pose 2 (Dynamic)
Camel pose is a back-bending pose that creates space in your chest and lungs for better breathing. Be sure your body is warmed up before you get into this pose. Start with your knees hip width apart and hands at your lower back, spine lengthened and tall, crown of the head neutral, shoulders rolled back. With a deep breath in, lean back slowly with your chin tucked in. Thighs are spiraling inwards to maintain a strong foundation as you lean back further. Lift your chest as you lean further back. Only lean back where your body threshold permits. Reach your hands back to your heels and extend your head back slowly. Stay for seven to 10 breaths. Affirmation: “I am cool, calm and collected.”

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Sunina Young is a yoga instructor and blogger in New York City. Check out her blog at sunina.com.


If all else fails, just laugh. “The very act of moving your facial muscles to form a smile is already prompting your body to release endorphins,” says Tam. “Endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain and to increase feelings of euphoria, so we feel fewer negative effects of stress.” At the very least, we’ll look more attractive to the opposite sex.

 

This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here.

Do You Love or Hate Her? Maria Kang Puts Up Yet Another Controversial Photo

Maria Kang, otherwise known as “fit mom,” is no stranger to controversy. The 32-year-old mother of three caused a social media uproar when she posted a photo of herself in a sports bra and short shorts, surrounded by her three young sons. A caption reading “Whats your excuse?” sparked a fire of online debates questioning whether or not the image was insulting to other women.

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Many of those who commented on her picture considered her an inspiration and applauded her for being proud of what she worked hard to achieve. Others felt like the caption rudely pointed a finger at overweight mothers by saying they make excuses even if there may be various reasons for their weight gain.

Of course, that was not the end of it. She decided to re-post the picture with an “apology,” but admits that it’s actually a “non-apology.”

I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way,” she wrote. “I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer,” she wrote, in part. “What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.

 

Kang then made an appearance on the Today show to voice her opinion that she shouldn’t apologize if people misunderstood her picture. As you can can expect, her actions were met with both praise and criticism. Simply put, people either loved Maria Kang or hated Maria Kang.

More recently, Kang was in the hotseat for publicizing her thoughts when she came across an online article which featured plus sized women posing in lingerie. She wrote:

The popular and unrelenting support received to those who are borderline obese (not just 30-40lbs overweight) frustrates me as a fitness advocate who intimately understands how poor health negatively effects a family, a community and a nation. While I think it’s important to love and accept your body, I was a little peeved because I think that we’re normalizing obesity in our society.

 

Half the people said her words were a “hate speech” while the other half defended her and said everyone is entitled to their own opinion.Kang does not appear to be phased by all the comments. Yesterday she posted the following picture.

mknew

Already, the photo been shared nearly 1,500 times and has gathered nearly 15,000 likes. Once again, her photo was flooded with love and hate. Is she a show-off or is she inspiring? Is she a bully or is she simply trying to show the importance of exercise? Kang seems to have heard it all. She has even set up a page which answers most of the questions thrown at her. She has also started the No Excuse Mom Group which encourages mothers to prioritize their health first.

So tell us what you think. Do you love or hate Maria Kang?

How to “Cut The CRAP” Out of Your Life in 2014

Story by Anna M. Park.

You’ve partied all season, and now you’re bloated, breaking out and just plain blah. Is a detox in order? Is it just a fad? Does it even work? We ask Nona Lim, creator of Nona Lim Delicious Detox, because a detox sounds really good right about now. Start the year right and cut the CRAP (Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol, Processed food).

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Audrey Magazine: Why is it important to detox? How often should we do it?
Nona Lim: Detoxification is a natural process where the body neutralizes and eliminates toxins that have accumulated from stress, food allergens, preservatives, water we drink, medication, skin products and pollution in the environment. When the overall toxic load is more than our liver and kidneys can handle, the accumulation can lead to inflammation and manifest into a variety of health problems. The good news is the body will detox itself if given a break and a helping hand, something Delicious Detox is designed to do.

How often we cleanse would depend on how exposed we are — for example, if you are highly stressed and do not have a clean diet, you may want to detox more often than someone who is already eating an organic diet and does not have a lot of stress in her life. At the minimum, it would be good to detox at least three to four times a year to help reset your body. I use my Delicious Detox and abstain from alcohol once every season to reset my system and to gain that clarity, energy and focus.

AM: Why is going gluten-free during a detox important if I’m not allergic to gluten?
NL: Foods containing gluten tend to be full of refined carbohydrates or processed foods, which we steer clear of during a detox. Secondly, we want to eliminate all common allergens during a detox, as any mild sensitivity or intolerance can also cause inflammation in your body. So going gluten-free gives your body a chance to reset, and you can then introduce gluten after to see how you feel.

AM: After the holidays, is a one-week detox sufficient?
NL
: If you indulged during the holidays with all that good food and wine, one week isn’t enough to go through a complete reset. We would recommend three weeks to reset your body and also to get back into the habit of good eating. Our one-week Delicious Detox program is great for someone who is already on a pretty clean diet and wants to go on a cleanse as a routine tune-up. It’s also a great way to jump-start a practice of eating healthier and more mindfully for those who don’t have time to commit to a full three weeks.

AM: If someone is on a budget but interested in detoxing, what would you recommend?
NL
: If you have a lot of time, but not the money, I would recommend getting Dr. Mark Hyman’s ultrametabolism cookbook. You would still need to invest in good quality ingredients like organic produce and meat.

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IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT EATING BETTER. NONA LIM’S TIPS TO DETOXING RIGHT.

1. Cut the CRAP (Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol, Processed food) by weaning yourself off of caffeine, soft drinks (even diet), alcohol and other processed foods a week before you start your detox. This will help you make an easier transition and minimize any unpleasant side effects.

2. Take it easy the first few days to allow your body to adjust. Your liver and other organs will be working pretty hard the first week, so don’t forget to pamper yourself. You’ll be feeling more vibrant and energetic by the second week.

3. Stay hydrated throughout the detoxification process (add lemon, fresh fruit or veggies like cucumber or mint to your water for added flavor). Sweating helps with the elimination of toxins, so exercise or go to a sauna. Get plenty of rest to help the body repair itself.

4. After your detox, introduce “challenge foods” (gluten, dairy, etc.) slowly back into your diet to monitor any reactions and possible food sensitivities.


 

Nona Lim
Nona Lim knows good food. Born in Singapore, she grew up with the famous hawker centers where amazing food is served up from modest food stalls. But after moving to the Bay Area, Lim gave up a career in tech to start her own food delivery program. She started out renting space in a communal kitchen, hand-preparing and delivering detox meals to friends. As her clientele grew, she partnered with top-notch health advisors and nutritionists, refining her meals to what has now become her signature Delicious Detox program (trust me — it’s yummy!). She also has a line of fresh soups available throughout the West Coast. Details Nonalim.com.

 

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

Controversial Fitness Mom Opens Up About Her Struggle With Bulimia

Most readers have made it loud and clear that they are tired of hearing about Maria Kang, the 32-year-old mother of three who caused a social media uproar when she posted a photo of her toned body on to Facebook captioned “What’s your excuse?”

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Half the readers are tired about Kang’s inability to “get over herself.” The other half  seem tired hearing about how upset everyone is over her “inspirational success.” Whether you support her or not, Kang has made it clear that she is not ready to leave the spotlight and yearns to tell both her controversial success story and her story of struggle.

Recently Kang opened up to MailOnline about the other side of her story: her struggle with bulimia. Kang has been called a bully for being insensitive about the struggles that other women have to endure, but Kang argues that her weight-loss journey was a battle as well.

Kang claims that she was always considered “chunky” and often compared herself to her leaner sisters and supermodels in magazines. In her early 20′s, the self-conscious Kang suffered from Bulimia. Her weight fluctuated dramatically and at one point, her 5ft 4in frame weighed 152lbs. Kang admits to binging and purging on sweets two to three times almost every day of the week.
“I used disordered eating to fill an empty void,” Kang explains. “It was worse when I was feeling anxious. People often call bulimia the “good girl drug” because we don’t do drugs or drink alcohol we just abuse food.”

I felt like I had no control over my  mind and I had such self-defeating thoughts. I felt a variety of emotions, sadness, guilt, emptiness.”

Kang’s life finally took a turn for the better when she made the conscious decision to “start loving herself.” Additionally, the entrance of her husband, David Casler, into her life truly pushed her to take care of her health. When she became pregnant with her first son, she found her new motivation.

“I had to let go of being perfect,” she said. ‘When I became pregnant with my first child I was like “Wow this is what my body is really made for.”

After promising to eat in a more healthy manner, Kang was able to slim down to 125lbs after birth. She was able to get back into shape after two more children. She attributes this to having a toned foundation and advises other women to be fit before pregnancy so that losing weight becomes more manageable.

To maintain her current body, she does 30 to 60 minutes of strength training and cardio a day. Additionally, she likes to eat protein and carbohydrates at each meal.

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(source)
(photo source)

Flashback Friday: Sleep Deprivation Links to Higher Risk of Breast Cancer?

Story by Kanara Ty.

I was always considered the night owl in my family. Ever since college, my sleeping patterns consisted of multiple nights burning the midnight oil (in addition to a couple of all nighters). Simply put, my body was pretty programmed to function better at night because it was the time of the day where I was least distracted and I could be very productive. However, a couple of months ago, I decided that I needed to improve my quality (and quantity) of sleep by adopting a normal sleeping schedule (aka, sleeping earlier and waking up earlier). It’s definitely helped with my mood and skin (well, I think it appears better).

However, I’m sure you all know there’s health benefits to getting more hours of sleep daily, but apparently, according to this NYT article, six or seven hours of sleep is still not enough. The article states that poor sleep does quite a number to your mood, productivity, and physical health (including your metabolism and weight control — this could add up to 10 pounds in a year!), among some factors.

However, one of the more alarming things that I came across in the article for women? A higher risk for breast cancer:

The risk of cancer may also be elevated in people who fail to get enough sleep. A Japanese study of nearly 24,000 women ages 40 to 79 found that those who slept less than six hours a night were more likely to develop breast cancer than women who slept longer. The increased risk may result from diminished secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin. Among participants in the Nurses Health Study, Eva S. Schernhammer of Harvard Medical School found a link between low melatonin levels and an increased risk of breast cancer.

Hear that ladies? Keep the hours of sleep you collect daily in check – and your boobies will love you!

 

This story was re-published in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Click here to find out more about the “Asian Women Don’t Get Breast Cancer” Campaign.

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That Fitness Mom With The Controversial Photo? She’s Still Not Sorry

A few days ago, we showed you Maria Kang. The 32-year-old, half Malaysian Chinese and Filipina mother of three was bombarded with reactions for a picture of herself in a sports bra and short shorts, surrounded by her three young sons. A caption reading “Whats your excuse?” sparked a fire of online debates questioning whether or not the image was insulting. The online debate exploded even more once Kang decided to repost her image with a “non-apology” as seen below:

I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer. What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.”

Just about everyone felt the need to put in their two cents on the matter. In fact, even our own readers had conflicting opinions about the issue.

One reader commented, “I do think that caption is kind of aggressively presumptuous. “Excuse” has a negative connotation. I mean, I don’t feel like anyone deserves an apology for her ad, but I see where people would feel unprecedentedly challenged in the way she presents her achievement.”

Another reader saw no problem in the photo at all. He wrote, “Why are people offended by “What’s Your Excuse?” All of the negative comments revolve around how people don’t always have the same goals, or don’t WANT to look like this, etc. Well then great, why be upset if this doesn’t apply to you? Move on. People are stupid.”

Regardless of the positive or negative comments, Kang was clearly not phased. Kang made an appearance on Today and voiced her opinion that she still has nothing to be sorry about.

Kang says that she knew it would be a powerful image despite its criticism. Kang claims that the amount of people who disagree with the image is a small 20% while the rest are inspired. When asked if she would change the caption if she could go back in time, Kang replied that even another caption would spark that same debate. “It’s really, again, that dialogue that’s happening in that persons head.” she explains. While she says she’s aware of why some people were insulted by the picture, she confidently says, “I think the majority of people saw it as inspiring.”

Watch the interview below:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

 

Not For Weak Stomachs: Removal of a 25-Year-Old Blackhead

In September we showed you the results of sleeping with makeup on for an entire month and called it a horror story. Now we take that back. We take it all back. Apparently, that wasn’t a skincare horror story at all. This is.

We’re provided with scant details, we know the patient is the aunt of the person taking the video and we know that they are Chinese American or Canadian. However, one thing is certain: this is a blackhead pimple that has been clogged for 25 years.

You may have a lot of questions at this point. How on earth did this person not handle this thing before? How are those tweezers going so deeply into the skin? Why can’t we stop watching this video until the end? And when the grotesquely thing finally comes out, why does it look like that?

Don’t say we didn’t warn you. These six minutes may very well ruin lunch for you. But just like a car crash, people can’t seem to turn away.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4pWOfjETeg

Why Asians NEED To Care About Breast Cancer

Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we decided to look into how Asian Americans handle breast cancer. We were shocked by what we discovered.

For years now, Asians have been comforted by the fact that we have the lowest rate of breast cancer in the United States. Unfortunately, this assurance may be the very thing that hinders us from taking the necessary precautions.

Studies from both the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and Komen have confirmed that Asian/Pacific Islanders have the lowest breast cancer rates:

cdc 1 cdc 2

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Although this is true, a number of things are not taken into consideration:

There are various types of Asians.
It is not a good idea to assume you’re safe from breast cancer simply because you’re Asian. In fact, the statistics greatly differ once we take a step closer. According to womenshealth.gov, Japanese American women have the highest rate of breast cancer among Asian Americans. Furthermore, breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Filipino women. Clearly, there are technicalities within the broad term “Asian” which should be paid attention to.

Our numbers are increasing.
Sure, we have the lowest rate of breast cancer and breast cancer deaths now, but that may be changing. Our rates are increasing faster than any other ethnic group. From 1988-2005, we’ve increased approximately 1.2% every year.

Some of us are not as safe as our parents and grandparents. 
According to sampan.org, “Immigrant Asian women who have been living in the United States for 10 years have an 80 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than their newly arrived A&PI immigrant counterparts.”

We develop breast cancer at a younger age.
Compared to the other ethnic groups, we develop cancer at an earlier age, but we don’t know to address it earlier. In fact, many of us don’t address it at all.

Asian Americans are the least likely to ever get a mammogram.
Although Asian Americans need to take just as much precaution, we have the lowest rate of screenings. Is it because it’s taboo in our culture to discuss this issue? Is it because of the misconception that we’re relatively safe from breast cancer? Either way, there is clearly a lack of breast health/breast cancer education, screening and treatment among Asian American women.

 

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Skincare Horror Story: Results of Sleeping With Makeup On

Does sleeping with makeup on really have bad effects on your skin?

The answer to that question is yes, yes it does. We’ve all had those long, hectic days where we’ve ended up falling asleep with our makeup on, but what consequence does that have on our skin?

In an episode of The Doctors, one brave woman volunteered to not wash her makeup off for a month and the end result came out quite shocking.

Take a look for yourself below while dermatologist Dr. Annie Chiu explains the relation between wearing makeup constantly and premature aging of the skin.

The moral of the story? Take your makeup off. You may be tired, but spending a few minutes to take care of your skin will help you avoid long-term effects. Washing your face before getting some shut eye can only benefit you. After all, you can replace the makeup, but you can’t replace your face.

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