Drink Your Pea: Talking With The Co-Founder Of Botan Plant-Based Protein Drink

For people who want to watch their waistline while leaving a smaller carbon footprint, plant-based protein is all the rage right now. And leaping into the fray is Botan, a GMO-free protein drink made from peas. Launched in early 2014, it was initially only available in a few stores in Santa Monica. But it soon made the leap from niche product to major player when GNC decided to stock it in more than 2,000 of its stores nationwide.

A bottle of Botan contains 12 grams of protein — 25% of the recommended daily allowance — as well as healthy doses of vitamins C, B6 and B12, while containing a mere 110 calories. It tastes odd, no doubt about it (think fruit juice mixed with peas), but it’s better than most of those nasty protein shakes and bars. No wonder early adopters include everyone from Jessica Alba to Mark Cuban.

I sat down with Botan co-founder and CEO Edward Cannan, who took some time out from frantically ramping up the operation to talk to me about how it came to be and where the brand is going from here. So sit back, relax, have a glass of plant protein, and enjoy….

TONY SACHS: What differentiates peas from other plant-based protein?

EDWARD CANNAN: Peas are completely allergen-free, unlike other forms of protein which can be harder to digest because you have allergies — often an allergy that you don’t even know you have. But what peas really have that others don’t have is a great balance of essential amino acids. If you have a good balance of those ones, then you are going to have a good source of protein. Rice has some protein, but a very low amount, because it doesn’t have a good balance of those amino acids. Peas, on the contrary, have a great balance. So it’s really way better and way easier to absorb that type of protein.

The second part is, you could think of soy, for example, as a pretty good source of protein. But the amount of estrogen in soy is really high — there’s a lot of controversy about it. And I’m not talking about the non-GMO/GMO thing when it comes to soy, because that’s even worse. Like, 98% of the soy in the US is genetically modified. That’s not the case with peas. So green peas, in that sense, seemed like the most perfect match, as a plant-based protein. And also, what we found out later, green peas make you feel fuller for a longer time than any other plant protein. So when you drink half a bottle of this, you’re not hungry after. The goal is to help people balance the diet. So we want them to eat less bad food and more good food, but it’s not a transition that is always easy to do. When you have [Botan], it’s much easier, because any time you have a craving for something that you’re not supposed to eat, then you can have that. It’s very clean and easy to digest, and it’s convenient. So we’re helping people to transition to that type of diet.


Botan co-founder/CEO Edward Cannan, drinking his pea. Yes, I have a 12-year-old’s sense of humor.

TS: So tell me about the accident that led to your starting Botan.

EC: I used to work for a company you know pretty well, LVMH Moet Hennessy. I was having a blast, it was just great. I love champagne, I love spirits, I love wine, I collect them. And I have always been very sporty, so I always need to do some sports. I was playing soccer after a rough night, and I injured myself, stupidly and really badly. At the goal, a guy came by my left and I pretended I was going right, but actually went left. My body shifted, but not my knee. So it exploded and I fell. So anyway, I went back to the hospital, and they said… everything is destroyed. They told me, you won’t be able to walk for the next four months, and we don’t know if we can actually intervene right now, since you’ve got so much fluid in your knee.

I had lost over 12 kilos — over 20 pounds. I don’t gain weight from eating, I can eat as much as I want, I am lucky. But I lose a lot of muscle, and muscle is heavier than fat. So my overall weight was dramatically lower. My right leg was a stick. They told me, you have to eat a lot of protein. I don’t know anything about food, if it’s good that’s all I care about. So they gave me the green light to eat as much meat as I want, so I was having a lot of it. I don’t think I was having that much more than I usually have, I was just having it. And I kept getting sick, so I saw a doctor, and I said I keep getting sick, there’s something wrong with me.

They did a blood test, and it came back and he said, your immune system is destroyed. It was a five day stay in the hospital [when I hurt my leg], so I was on morphine for five days. Basically, that took a lot of my immune system down. I said, great news, it’ll go back to normal. He said yes, but we noticed something else. You know what gout is? I said, yeah, I know what gout is. The king of France used to get it, it’s a virus, and it’s gone. He said, “Ummm, it’s not a virus, it’s not gone, and you’re about to have it. Remind me how old you are?” I was 26. He said he’d never seen such a high uric acid [an indicator of gout], and you need to change your diet. I was like, well, they told me I had to eat protein. He said, do you drink any wine or champagne? I said, yeah, I drink champagne… a little. Spirits? A little. Red meat? Yeah, some. So it was a game changer. I realized, OK, I don’t see it on my body because I don’t gain weight, but I’m still killing it on the inside. My body was just pure acid.

And so he told me I had to switch. I said, well, where am I getting my protein from? And he said, beans, quinoa, peas…. And then I realized, wow, there’s so many options. But at the time I was forced to eat whey protein shakes, and whey bars, to get this protein. After my swimming, I had to drink all these shakes. And whey is really acidic. It’s not really… natural. Our bodies are not meant to process lactose after a certain age, and some babies can’t even digest it on their own. It’s demanding a lot from your body to digest, especially from your kidneys, so it’s kind of tricky.

I was forced to drink those things, and I didn’t want to. And I started cutting down and started balancing my diet, and then it really worked wonders on me and I realized, look, India is almost all vegan most of the time, and in China, their diet is mostly rice-based. There’s a lot of people who can thrive and be really happy with a low amount of animal protein. And that’s when I realized, there’s no drink out there that offers that. That’s exactly what I needed. Because I didn’t want to force myself to drink protein shakes. You know, I need 50 grams [protein] a day, how can I get that? I have a busy lifestyle. It was a challenge, and I think it’s a challenge for a lot of people.

TS: Did you realize at the time you were developing and launching Botan that you were latching on to a growing trend with plant-based protein?

EC: When I launched Botan, prior to that I would interview people who were buying kombucha. So I’d be at Whole Foods and I’d say, “Hey, I’m working on my MBA right now, and we’re working on a segment of nutritional beverages, may I ask you a couple of questions? Why do you buy this drink?” “Uh, it’s good for me.” “What is kombucha?” “Kombucha is, uhhh….” So they start reading. “Kombucha is, uh, fermented tea.” “Yeah, OK, what does it do to you?” “Oh, um, it’s good for me.” “Why is it good for you?” And they’d be like, “Full of… antioxidants!” “What are antioxidants?” “I don’t know, but…” And they realize, I know nothing about what I’m buying.

The difference with us is that, it might be a trend, but it’s also necessary. You need your protein somehow. Our bodies are 25% protein. It might be a trend, but it will stay, because it’s something you need. It’s not something like, oh, today I can do without it. You spend too much time without protein, your body shuts down. And it’s actually becoming now, the consumers that we have, they buy a bottle a day, 36 bottles a month, and we actually have such demand that online we’re now just implementing a monthly subscription, so every month, you get a case.

TS: Did you have a problem getting the source ingredients? The peas, for instance?

EC: The peas was the hard part. There’s a lot of demand for green peas — it’s a trend that keeps on growing and growing. We were small and we were getting bigger, so in the business world we were not known at all. It was like, who are those kids just showing up? But we never wanted to compromise on the quality, so we always went non-GMO, which is not necessarily that easy to find. But we managed to find it, and we were able to apply our technology to doing what we’re doing, so it still works. It’s secure for at least a year and a half, two years — we know that we have enough to do what we have to do.

TS: How do you extract the protein from the peas?

We have technology that allows us to extract it and have it soluble. That’s why it’s not chalky and it’s not hazy or hard to digest. A lot of people have been asking, especially big companies, Coca-Cola, Pepsi — how do we do it? From a purely scientific aspect, you can actually nourish people with that stuff, almost, because you have soluble protein. We’re talking people who have digesting issues. So let’s say you have cancer, prostate cancer, or your colon has been removed, or you have liver issues. How do you nourish people like that? So, the future is finding out how to nourish those people in a way where, you know, if they have this part of their body missing, well, there’s other alternatives. That’s not the goal of Botan at all, but they think in a long-term health, science, pharmaceutical way of thinking sometimes, and they want it.

TS: What was your capacity to produce in the beginning?

EC: We were begging to produce only 5,000 bottles and no one will do that — the [bottlers] don’t want to stop the machines to do that, they just want to run for two days in a row. Then we went to 10,000, and then we were in the 20,000 range. But the first order from GNC is over 100,000 bottles. So we had to say, ‘Guys, we don’t need a couple of hours, we need a couple of days.” But having the right partners helped us. So we got lucky.

TS: Have you had any problems meeting demand?

EC: Scaling up? Yeah. When we first asked GNC to carry us, they said “We want you in 200 stores.” Then they said, “Actually, after trying the product, we want you in 2,000 stores.” I can’t complain about it, because it’s a good problem to have, right? But yeah, a lot of challenges. Like in any form of production, you know how to make a small quantity of something, but then you want to scale up, it’s not multiplying by 6, it’s not proportional. It’s like, all the complications, from PH to preservative ingredients you need to add, so… it’s challenging.

TS: How did you choose the flavors [Pineapple-Coconut, Cherry Tomato and Strawberry-Cucumber]?

EC: It’s really tough to choose the flavors. The ultimate goal is to not compromise the quality of the product. So, we can add cane sugar — it would taste a lot better. We can cheat and use unnatural flavors. But we don’t want to do that. So basically, you have a base, which is pea protein, and you need to find flavors that will offset that type of flavor. We tried hundreds of different organic natural flavors

TS: What was the most disgusting one?

EC: Once we tried, um… there’s been many! Once we tried celery, and that was just not possible.

TS: Yeah, celery and peas….

EC: Too bitter. So that was bad. But also, what we did, we had samples, so we sent samples to, like, Whole Foods, and we’d say, hey guys, what do you think about this one? So it’s searching, feedback, from the experts from the industry as well as just normal consumers. Sometimes you produce 100 bottles and you say, hey guys, what do you think about this one?

We also go by colors. You have to think about how it’s going to look on the shelf. If we do six different flavors and they’re all red, that’s not going to help the image.

TS: What’s getting your customers to drink Botan?

EC: Number one is to balance the diet. They know processed food is not good. To what extent they don’t know. But they know they should try to eat healthier. So they incorporate a healthy alternative into their life — instead of eating a heavy salad, they have a light salad and a Botan. So it’s combining both that in the end makes it a super-healthy meal, where you get your protein. For other people, we have professional athletes and supermodels who actually drink it while they’re working out and after working out, because it will replenish their muscle mass very quickly. It has a low amount of calories and a low amount of sugar, so for women in particular, it’s very appealing. But anyone, starting with me, will drink it to balance their diet. It’s not easy.

A lot of people have experimented with it in different ways, whether to do a cleanse, or they need to lose some weight because they have an event they need to look good for. They want to be fit and ready and feel confident about themselves. So for two days or three days they’ll just stick to that and super-light food, purely salad and things like that.

TS: Do you recommend Botan for a cleanse?

EC: Oh yeah. Most other cleanses out there don’t offer protein. So when you deprive your body from something that’s 25% of your body mass, you overreact — it’s not happy. And when you cleanse, it’s kind of tough on your body. You’re tired, upset, you can have headaches, your mood is going to shift. So cleansing is about removing the bad stuff, but it doesn’t mean you’re not able to incorporate the good stuff. When I come back from Christmas, from France, I’ll probably go on a cleanse for two days (laughs). Because when I’m in France, I tend to indulge.

TS: What have you got in the pipeline after launching at GNC?

EC: GNC picked up two more flavors starting in January, mango-peach and guava. They tried it and they said, “We want it.” And they said, we want it to be ready for January, because there’s so much demand [then]. People are like, OK, I’ve abused, now it’s time to reset.

You enjoy the good news for, like, 10 seconds. Then you think, what are the consequences of being so exposed? I have such an amazing customer. What do we need to do now? There are a lot of things we need to do. We need to make sure everything is perfect. Because they don’t screw around. To them, you’re tiny. But that’s the way you start a relationship with them, so we want everything to be perfect. You told them you can deliver, all that stuff needs to be well done. Managing growth is harder, and not as fun, as I expected. But many brands, beverage industry-wise, struggle and don’t make the cut and don’t gain distribution. We don’t have that problem, we lucked out. We have something that is new and different, helping people, people see the benefits. But the work has to continue.

How to Rebuild Your Life After a Mental Illness Hospital Stay

You’ve just had your first or fifth hospitalization for mental illness. How do you begin to rebuild your life? Where do you start?

The most important first step is to secure providers. You’ll need both a therapist and a psychiatrist. The therapist will handle your talk therapy. They will help you work on coping skills and managing your day-to-day stressors. The psychiatrist will handle your medicine. Most providers agree that the best treatment plan combines medicine and talk therapy; one without the other is incomplete. Now, not everybody will be willing to take medicine. The side effects can be very bothersome. Believe me, I know. I’ve had cystic acne flare-ups that caused me to look like the elephant man and had to have painful cortisone injections into my face to shrink the cysts. I also gained 52 pounds in four months. I know side effects. But the alternative is no walk in the park either. I, personally, could not function without medicine. Well, I could. But it wouldn’t be ideal. With the right psychiatrist, you can find the right medicine that works for you with the least amount of side effects. You will have to be patient. It takes time. In seven years I’ve tried 11 different medicines.

After you have a therapist and a psychiatrist you need to start to build a life that will keep you sane and healthy.

  1. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of sleep. I have bipolar disorder. If I don’t sleep, I can trigger a manic or depressed episode.
  2. Make sure you are eating healthy foods.
  3. Exercise three days per week for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Minimize your stressors. If you need to cut toxic people out of your life, do so. If you need to find a new job, begin looking. If you have to get out of debt, start small. Start saving a few dollars per month.
  5. Seek out support groups. Many people with mental illnesses also self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Go to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA); there are local meetings in a town near you. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) or National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also hold local support group meetings. There are also a number of other support organizations as well; a simple Internet search will point you in their direction. The more support you can get from friends and family the better. But it is even nicer to have the listening ear of someone who truly understands because they have the same diagnosis.
  6. You also need to make time for leisure. Plan events and activities you love. Spend time with people you love. You can also take a bubble bath, listen to music, go out to eat, go for a walk. The options are endless.
  7. My last suggestion is to supplement psychiatric drugs with more holistic practices such as acupuncture, deep breathing and yoga. Acupuncturist Henaz Bhatt says:

    Acupuncture, yoga, Ayurveda and other forms of Eastern traditional medicine take into account the whole body and the interconnected systems within it. The focus is on bringing balance to our whole being — the body, mind and spirit — from within. Therefore, these modalities treat the symptoms while simultaneously treating the root imbalance in order to affect long-lasting change.

    For the past year I’ve been receiving acupuncture treatments. They are a lot more effective than the psychiatric medicines I take. But the catch is that the results don’t last as long. Therefore, the acupuncture supplements, not supplants, my psychiatric medicines.

I realize keeping atop of your health needs can be expensive. If you do not have health insurance, find charity care. Some pharmaceutical companies will even provide you with your medicine at discount rates or for free. There are income requirements. So check out the website of the individual pharmaceutical company. You can also probably get free samples from your psychiatrist. Please do not let cost prohibit you from seeking help.

It may seem like your life is turned upside down. But trust me: it’s not. In seven years I’ve been hospitalized three times for a total of 32 days. Each hospitalization has taught me more about myself. And luckily, each hospital stay has gotten shorter. Meaning, I’m recovering at faster rates. But to be honest, recovery is no cakewalk. Each episode has dealt me some tough blows (namely, thousands of dollars in credit card debt; when I’m manic I spend uncontrollably) that I’ve had to come back from, but with time I’ve recovered.

There is no better day than today to start living the life you want. Don’t let your illness derail your plans.

Have a story about depression or other mental illness that you’d like to share? Email strongertogether@huffingtonpost.com, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

10 Fees You Should Think Twice About Paying Again

There’s nothing worse than receiving a bill and noticing that someone has slipped in a bunch of arbitrary fees. Whether we’re faced with processing fees, maintenance fees, convenience, mandatory express shipping fees, or “just because we felt like it” fees, we never fail to feel a little ripped off.

Sometimes, there is nothing you can do except grin and bear it; however, in many instances, simple decisions on your part can make a huge difference. In this spirit, we’ve partnered with Capital One 360 to help you identify the fees you can instantly cut out of your life. We promise you that each choice, no matter how small it may seem, will add up to more money in your pocket down the road.

Concert Tickets
Going to see your favorite artist often seems like it costs an arm and a leg, but it doesn’t always have to. A good way to save a little money is by visiting the box office and purchasing your tickets in person. This may not always be possible for shows at big, out-of-the-way stadium shows, but for more intimate settings, this is definitely the way to go.

Paying for wireless Internet at your home is one thing, but paying for it when you’re in a public place is often unnecessary. Explore your city and find the local spots that offer patrons free Internet access, from bookstores to public parks to the laundromat. If you’re somewhere unfamiliar, try consulting a hotspot database like WeFi. Overall, we find that coffee shops are the best (and tastiest!) bet.

Rental Car Add-Ons
We know it’s nice to have a GPS and toll pass when traveling, but is it truly worth the extra cost? Instead, use your smartphone as a navigator and have cash handy to pay the tolls. You’ll see that these savings add up quickly!

Air Travel
If you’ve flown recently, you know that airlines tend to charge additional fees wherever possible. Whether you’re simply bringing a bag on board or requesting a pillow, it seems that you’re never simply paying for airfare. Keep in mind that economy airlines may post low airfares so you think you’re flying on the cheap but hit you with extra fees down the line. To keep your travel as cheap as possible, be conscious of how much you’re packing and consolidate your bags. Also, many airlines will tack on a fee for booking over the phone, so stick to reserving your ticket online.

Installment Fees
signing papers
Many of your monthly bills, such as renter’s insurance, may include an additional fee for opting to pay per month rather than a lump sum upfront. If your budget allows, pay your bills upfront to avoid incurring this unnecessary fee.

cutting a cake
This may sound like a silly one, but many restaurants actually charge you for cutting a cake that you bring in. Always call ahead to inquire about whether you can bring in a cake and if there’s a fee. If it seems extravagant, you might want to save the cake for the afterparty. (The same rules of etiquette apply to your precious bottle of Cabernet!)

Valet Parking
valet parking
You may not always be able to avoid paying for valet parking, but it’s worth a shot! Ask a valet attendant, concierge or other staff member about local establishments that can validate your ticket. If you’re traveling and unsure about where to find street parking, try an app like ParkMe (or your local equivalent) to help you navigate uncharted territory.

ATM Charges
atm cash
Instead of paying a few extra dollars because you can’t find your own bank’s ATM, locate a store that offers cash back with a purchase — supermarkets and drugstores are often a good bet. Even better? Use a store locator to find an appropriate ATM and avoid this altogether.

gym clipboard
Whether it’s cancelling your gym membership or choosing a new phone carrier, you’ll be hit with an unfortunately hefty cancellation fee. Make sure you understand the terms of your contract before signing up, and keep these conditions in mind when considering a cancellation. It may just be worth it to hold out until your contract expires.

Shipping and Deliveries
food delivery
Getting food delivered can be a real treat, but it often comes with extra fees that may have you thinking twice before you purchase. Find restaurants that offer free delivery via a simple Yelp or MenuPages search, and both your stomach and wallet will be satisfied. There’s frequently a way around many shipping costs, as well. Google around for promo codes and get free or reduced shipping in a snap.

The Number One Beauty Secret For The Holidays

This time of year, I’m often asked about my beauty secrets for the holidays. My advice is is simply this: giving is beautiful. And the first two days of December are a perfect time to start.

World AIDS Day — on December 1 –- commemorates the 35 million people we’ve lost to the disease, and serves as a call for continued action toward an AIDS-free generation. It is day to recognize the millions of researchers, caregivers and champions devoted to ending this epidemic.

December 2nd is Giving Tuesday, which I think has a lovely symmetry to World AIDS Day. It is a time to celebrate and encourage acts of giving and volunteering that make the world a better place. This year, over 18,000 non-profit organizations across the spectrum of social causes, including thousands dedicated to HIV and women and children’s health services, will be leading campaigns and events to engage supporters during the holiday season and beyond.

Earlier this year I joined one such initiative. The Born Free campaign directs the proceeds from specially designed fashions by top female designers to accelerate and expand HIV testing and treatment for mothers in the countries in Africa most affected by AIDS.

Supported by Johnson & Johnson, Chevron and other major private sector donors, this initiative is investing in local African talent to drive changes in their health systems in order to eliminate mother to child HIV transmission by the end of 2015.

As part of this campaign, I had the opportunity to meet five young HIV+ mothers in South Africa. Against the most difficult odds, these women took every chance they had to learn about the best care for themselves and their babies. Together they created a peer group that supports and encourages other women in their community. Their incredible spirit of giving is helping connect more mothers to HIV testing, counseling and care.

Integrated health services that emphasize skilled care during the prenatal, childbirth and postpartum periods, including HIV screening and treatment, are vital to saving more mothers and newborns. At my foundation, the Liya Kebede Foundation, we are committed to minimizing the barriers pregnant women in developing countries face to obtain this integrated care.

In Ethiopia, we partner with doctors to equip and train medical teams at a maternity center south of the capital, where more then 3,000 pregnant women have consented to HIV screening over the past two years. An increasing number of women are getting the information and support they need, and the numbers testing positive for HIV are declining significantly.

We have the knowledge and the tools to reach every mother so that she and the next generation can be safe, healthy and HIV-free. It is possible when we take action together.

So as the holidays approach and you’re thinking about how to celebrate with style, try to put giving first and see just how beautiful it can be.

Be part of the #givingtuesday movement on December 2nd and learn more about The Liya Kebede Foundation’s campaign at www.lkfound.org and www.lemlem.com.

12 Words That Have Taken On Completely Different Meanings Thanks To The Internet

Technology and social media are adding new words and acronyms to the English language faster than you can type “OMG” and certainly faster than dictionaries can keep up. In fact, just last month, to the delight of Scrabblers everywhere, a whopping 5,000 words were added to “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.” Many were tech-inspired words such as “selfie,” “hashtag” and “texter” — words you can now officially use to stump fellow spellers when they whip out the word “QUIXOTRY” on a coveted “triple word score” space. WTF?!

And it’s not just new words, the Internet is completely changing the definition of old words, too. Twenty years ago mentioning you “wrote on someone’s wall” might have gotten you in trouble for vandalism. Similarly, admitting you just Googled yourself might have resulted in some funny looks.

The same way the Internet is changing the meaning of words, Capital One 360® is changing what it means to be a bank — from putting people first to opening the very first banking cafés.

In that spirit, we’ve partnered with Capital One to create the ultimate glossary of familiar words with updated meanings.

1. “Poke”


What it used to mean: An irritating gesture children use on parents to motion in the grocery store for treats they want; the go-to move when waking up a sleeping person; a painful experience in your eye.

In a sentence: Ouch, I just poked myself in the eye!

What it means now: A Facebook feature used to send virtual pushes, prods, or jabs to someone in your social circle— often reserved for significant others, best friends, and true weirdos. Best practices include unfriending if this happens to you and it’s not meant as a joke.

In a sentence: This rando just poked me on Facebook, I’m definitely not poking him back.

2. “Stumble”


What it used to mean: To trip, slip, blunder, or to walk unsteadily, often in the dark. Usually results in embarrassing stories.

In a sentence: In the middle of the night, I stumbled to grab a glass of water.

What it means now: The act of having webpages tailored to your interests sent to you to in a seemingly random, and often fortuitous, way via the StumbleUpon bookmarklet, so you can pretend to be surprised when you see things you enjoy.

In a sentence: Stumble to next site about marine biology?

3. “Feed”


What it used to mean: To give someone food, or the food that you give another person or animal. Can also be used when referencing putting money into a machine or meter.

In a sentence: Tweety is hungry, he needs some bird feed.

What it means now: A place where everyone you’ve ever met posts pictures of their lunches, their babies, and their engagement rings.

In a sentence: I have to block everyone on my feed that’s into taking gym selfies.

4. “Friend”


What it used to mean: A buddy, pal, or confidant that exists in the real, three-dimensional world of your life. One who you often meet up with, call, and share secrets with.

In a sentence: I’ve known my best friend since kindergarten; we do everything together.

What it means now: The act of adding someone you met at a bar or went to high school with to your online social circle so they can see pictures of your lunch, babies and engagement ring. (See: Feed.)

In a sentence: John was flirting with me at the reunion, should I friend him?

5. “Tweet”


What it used to mean: The sound a bird makes. The origin of the name of the beloved Warner Bros.’ character Tweety Bird.

In a sentence: “Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet,” – a bird

What it means now: Posting brief, 140-character “updates” or “opinions” to Twitter, all carefully written to fit into your perfectly crafted social media personality. Often include abbrevs, links and all-caps.

In a sentence: Oh my gosh, I tweeted about “Guardians of the Galaxy” and Chris Pratt just tweeted back at me!

6. “Tag”


What it used to mean: The game you would play through your neighborhood or during elementary school recess when you were a kid; something you put on a gift to show who it is going to.

In a sentence: Tag, you’re it!

What it means now: Naming names, when it comes to who’s who in a photograph of an event posted online to Facebook, so that person becomes attached to that visual identity forever and ever.

In a sentence: Please don’t tag me in any pictures from my birthday party.

7. Status


What it used to mean: A social standing in society, can be high or low; often accompanied by symbols relaying the status to those around them.

In a sentence: My new Mercedes Benz and Jimmy Choos are total status symbols.

What it means now: A way people can alert everyone they know via Facebook of what they’re having for lunch—with accompanying picture—the amount of homework they have (generally followed by “home never”), or what kinds of faces their baby/dog is making.

In a sentence: I need to update my status to let people know I’m eating a homemade handpie.

8. “Viral”


What it used to mean: A negative condition when an infectious disease can travel from one host to another. Often the cause of outbreaks and/or death.

In a sentence: Sir, your flu is a viral infection, so don’t cough on anyone.

What it means now: A positive condition when a video, story, meme, or gif travels from one person on a computer to another. Often the cause of the writer’s pay raise and those featured appearing on daytime talk shows.

In a sentence: My video of my kids singing along to “Frozen” is totally going viral and I’m going to be on “Ellen.”

9. “Troll”


What it used to mean: An (allegedly) imaginary creature that generally lived under bridges or subterranean dwellings; a popular 1980s toy with bright-colored hair.

In a sentence: If you want to cross this bridge, you have to pay the troll toll.

What it means now: A form of online harassment meant to purposefully undermine, inflame, or provoke response on a website, most often found in every comment section ever. Or, someone who lures another into a pointless, yet purposeful, argument online. Other forms include “concern troll,” the most devious of the species.

In a sentence: Pay no attention to the man who says Beyoncé has no talent, because he’s just a troll.

10. “Check in”


What it used to mean: Arrive at a hotel; request the status of someone via telephone, generally a parent to a teenager; to look in on someone to ensure their wellbeing.

In a sentence: I have to check in on my daughter to make sure she’s doing her homework.

What it means now: Let everyone in your social media circle know where you are, who you’re with, and what exactly you’re doing there, most often to evoke jealousy or FOMO from those reading your updates.

In a sentence: Ooh I have to check in to this beach bar and add pictures of my frozen cocktails while everyone else is stuck in a blizzard.

11. “Pirate”


What it used to mean: A man or woman who pillages and plunders at sea, generally dressed in puffy shirts, needing a peg leg, and carrying a parrot on his/her shoulder; the act of being a pirate.

In a sentence: Captain Jack Sparrow is a pirate who’s trying to recover his lost ship.

What it means now: To obtain illegally, generally in the form of streaming online or downloading, media, including the latest Game of Thrones episode, the new Beyoncé album, and whatever superhero movie is now in theatres.

In a sentence: Ugh, I missed “Project Runway” and now I have to pirate it so I don’t get spoilers on who wins.

12. “Pin”


What it used to mean: A small, sharp instrument used in sewing to fasten or attach of fabric together; a decorative piece of jewelry that uses a small, sharp instrument to attach itself to clothing, handbags, or other fashion items.

In a sentence: Careful, that skirt still has pins in it.

What it means now: An image associated with a webpage within the application Pinterest, generally tailored in one of three categories: recipes using pumpkin, dream wedding ideas involving mason jars, and/or do-it-yourself home décor projects that will inevitably never look like the outcome in the picture; the act of showcasing these pins.

In a sentence: I have to pin all of these Halloween costumes in August so I don’t forget them in October.

So now, when someone says they’re going to tweet and pin a video about cats dancing and tag all their friends, you can confidently say, “Well, I bet that will go viral.”

How To Wear Trousers Without Looking Like Your Grandpa

Ever since we saw Diane Keaton sporting them in Annie Hall, we’ve been intrigued by menswear-inspired trousers. Now, they’ve made a comeback in a big way, and while we’ve been eyeing them on the racks, we can’t seem to let go of the slim-cut silhouette that we know and love.

In an effort to help you make the leap and ensure that your style IQ is in tip-top shape, we’ve partnered with Suave to bring you nine different ways to wear this fashion item of the moment. With inspiration like this, there’s no need to worry about what you’ll wear with your great new pair of pants.

Who said suspenders were just for men? We love that this trendy look has a little yin and yang: a feminine top and strappy heels balanced with menswear-inspired trousers and suspenders.

One of the safest ways to try out this silhouette is with a monochromatic color scheme. Add extra oomph to your outfit with a hat (if you’re feeling daring) and break up the head-to-toe black with a long, printed scarf.

Structured leather pieces can add an edge to any outfit, and they’re a surprising companion to classic trousers. Balance flowing, feminine trousers with a leather top (or jacket, if you prefer).

A photo posted by @konsanszky on Nov 11, 2014 at 8:18am PST

For a more classic, preppy look, try a fitted blazer with trousers. The roomy fit adds visual interest but keeps this outfit business casual.

For a simple, yet sophisticated outfit, pair your trousers with a sweater. To elongate the look of your legs, throw on a pair of pointed shoes to tie everything together.

A photo posted by Eva (@evendenlittle) on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:12am PST

For a hippie-inspired look, get a hold of patterned trousers (the more colorful, the better!) and pair it with a unique top, like the below with fringe. You’ll be nothing short of a confident fashionista in this outfit.

We love this ’40s-inspired look. Emphasize the classic feel of trousers with a well-tailored shirt, high waistline and a cheeky newsboy cap.

A photo posted by misschrisg (@misschrisg) on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:01pm PST

Checkered trousers are an especially eye-catching look for the fall. Pair with a plain shirt and loafer-style shoes to be comfortable and casual.

To continue with the casual trend, throw on a sweater and denim jacket to complement patterned trousers. A statement necklace will add extra flair and bring the whole look together.

11 Secrets Of Holiday Super Shoppers

We’ll admit that our holiday shopping habits are somewhat … haphazard. So when we see someone calmly dashing through the mall like they’re on their very own version of Shop ‘til You Drop, we can hardly suppress the urge to pull them aside and ask: “What are your secrets? TELL US YOUR SECRETS!” In lieu of interrupting pro shoppers while they’re hard at work, we’ve partnered with Sears to ask super-savvy bloggers how they do holiday shopping the right way.

Here’s what we found.

1. They know that it’s all about The List.


Nearly all of the shoppers we interviewed spoke to the importance of The List. “The worst thing to do is to walk into a store without any sort of shopping game plan because then you may be tempted by all of the deals and door-busters,” says Lisa Koivu, founder of budget fashion and shopping blog Shop Girl Daily. “While the prices may be tempting, [they] may cause you to spend much more than you’d originally intended!” Bottom line? If you want to be inducted into the Super-Shopper Hall of Fame*, you’ll need to invest some quality time in planning. Sears has a handy Shop Your Way app, and there are tons more that can help you plan your trip the techie way.

*not a real place

2. They time it right.


“Go first thing in the morning on a weekday, and start your shopping ASAP,” says Anna Newell Jones, creator of And Then We Saved. “If you procrastinate, you’ll end up spending far more money because you won’t have the time to comparison shop.”

3. They put their smartphones to work.

Koivu notes that many stores offer deals through their app that aren’t available anywhere else. Oftentimes, these coupons can be applied on top of other sales or discounts.

4. They know how to locate the ‘fast’ line.

“Look for departmental service counters, which will often sport shorter check-out lines than the front of the store and have the same capabilities,” says the writer of the Pittsburgh-based Femme Frugality.

5. They avoid that ‘wait, let me pull that up on my phone’ moment.


Many stores post their circulars online, so a smart shopper will research and print coupons ahead of time. If you plan on retrieving a coupon online, either take a screenshot of the coupon or open it on your device before you even enter the store. “Losing service is both common and frustrating,” says our friend at Femme Frugality.

6. They price-match and price-adjust every chance they get.


Many stores will match the prices of their competitors. “That can save you time by not making you run from store to store and wait in line after line,” says Lana Boote of Bargain Hunting Moms. And a super-shopper’s work isn’t done after they’re purchased an item, no siree.

“Continue to check the ads for a week or two after purchasing your item, as many stores will offer a price adjustment if the price goes down within a certain amount of time after buying something,” says Koivu of Shop Girl Daily.

7. They avoid shipping costs at all costs.

“Many people worry about paying shipping, but there are ways around that,” says Boote. She notes that many stores allow you to order goods online and pick it up at the store for no charge at all. “You skip the checkout line and the crowds,” she says.

8. They don’t buy something just because it’s “cheap.’


This is another great reminder from Boote: “If you’re trying to stay on a budget, don’t buy something just because it’s cheap,” she says. “Try to have someone in mind for everything you buy because even if it’s a great deal, if you don’t have a need for it, you’re wasting money.”

9. They make sure that their ‘deals’ are actually real.

Sure, sales are super-tempting, but you’re better off doing your homework frist. “Check online and do some comparison shopping before you get all excited about the hype of a sale,” says Boote. “You never know: the sale price in the store might be the regular price you find online, or vice-versa.”

10. …and they don’t wait around for deals to happen.

“These are some of the best deals of the season, but don’t think you have to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to get the absolute lowest prices,” says Grechen Reiter of Grechen’s Closet and Grechen’s Codes. “Online stores will do markdowns and coupons before Thanksgiving, and then again before Christmas, and you’ll be surprised how much lower prices will go.”

11. They remember what the spirit of giving is all about.

“This year, I’m focusing on buying fewer, more meaningful things,” says Reiter. “I think we should always aim for quality, not quantity — especially for the holidays.” Kristen of The Frugal Girl echoes the sentiment: “Instead of buying things willy-nilly,” she says, “study your recipient so you can choose a thoughtful, heartfelt gift — the sort of gift will mean a lot to the recipient, regardless of how much you spend.”

Sears, home of America’s most trusted brands, Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, is making holiday shopping more merry with exceptional offerings for Shop Your Way members. In addition to conveniences such as free store pick up, Member Assist and Reserve It, members receive an additional 10 percent back in points on the first $500 of each qualifying purchase with a Sears credit card all season long.

The Most Influential People in the Fight Against AIDS

There are some amazing people that dedicate their entire lives to preventing AIDS and HIV. But, on December 1st, World AIDS Day, everyone has an opportunity to unite in the fight against the disease, raise awareness and remember those who have lost their lives.

To celebrate this global health day, we’ve partnered with Elizabeth Arden to showcase some of the most influential people and unsung heroes devoted to stopping AIDS in its tracks.

Dr. C. Robert Gallo, Dr. Luc Montagnier & Dr. Jay Levy
gallo montagnier
In the early 1980s, the world’s medical community raced to discover the cause of the disease now known as AIDS. The debate over who first identified it lives on: three separate research groups separately identified and named the retrovirus. Dr. Robert Gallo and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute dubbed it HTLV-III, Dr. Luc Montagnier and his French researchers reserved the acronym LAV, and Dr. Jay Levy (not pictured) at the University of California called it ARV. Only later would it be known as human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV.

In 2008, Montagnier won Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery, yet Gallo — who also pioneered the development of the HIV blood detection test — and Levy went unrecognized.

Rock Hudson
rock hudson actor
As the first major public figure to succumb to an AIDS-related illness in 1985, Rock Hudson turned AIDS into a global conversation in an unprecedented way. Although the beloved movie star’s publicity team covered up his illness at first, Hudson disclosed he had HIV just before his death, sparking debate and discussion throughout the mass media and the public about homosexuality and HIV.

Geoffrey Bowers
geoffrey bowers
Geoffrey F. Bowers, a gay New York attorney, was the plaintiff in one of the first AIDS discrimination cases to go to public hearing. After being fired from his position with Chicago-based Baker & McKenzie, which he alleged was due to his diagnosis with Kaposi’s sarcoma and AIDS, Bowers filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights. Bowers died just two months after the hearings began in 1987. Yet the court ultimately ruled in his favor, bringing AIDS discrimination to the public eye and establishing a favorable legal precedent. The trial is believed to be the inspiration behind the Tom Hanks’ movie “Philadelphia.”

Donald P. Francis
donald francis aids
As the head of the AIDS laboratory at the Center of Disease Control (CDC) in the early 1980s, Donald P. Francis spoke outwardly and candidly about what he believed were roadblocks to prevention. He criticized the Reagan administration for ignoring the disease, challenged the CDC for mishandling the crisis and called out other politicians for slowing funding for AIDS research and prevention. These early efforts were chronicled in Randy Shilts’ investigative book, “And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic.”

Elizabeth Taylor
elizabeth taylor
A child star turned Academy Award-winning actress, Elizabeth Taylor took initiative as an activist, organizing the first major HIV/AIDS fundraiser in Hollywood in September of 1985. She lost her friend, Rock Hudson, to the disease just one month later. Continuing her fight for a cure, Taylor testified before Congress on the need for clinical research in the community setting, faster research on new treatments and access to experimental drugs. Taylor cofounded the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) and later established The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF). In 1987, Taylor received the French Legion of Honor Award for her work to raise funds and awareness to fight AIDS, and was later honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Clinton. Taylor’s legacy lives on through her White Diamonds perfume. A portion of Taylor’s name and likeness royalties go to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, therefore, every purchase of the best selling fragrance benefits those living with the disease.

Pedro Zamora
pedro zamora mtv
As one of the first openly gay men with AIDS to be portrayed on popular media, Pedro Zamora heightened international awareness of HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues at a time when many people knew little about the disease. Zamora learned he was HIV-positive after donating blood, and decided to pursue a career as an AIDS activist. He argued for improved AIDS education programs before Congress in 1993, before joining the popular MTV series, “The Real World: San Francisco” in 1994. Although Zamora was yielded by AIDS just 22 months after the season aired, he was praised by President Bill Clinton for his ability to humanize individuals living with HIV.

U2 singer Bono has used his celebrity status to drive awareness for several important causes, including world poverty and AIDS. In 2002, he helped establish DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), an organization dedicated to ending the disease in Africa (it later became advocacy and campaign organization ONE). In 2006, he launched Product (RED) along with Bobby Shriver, giving the private sector a chance to get involved, selling (RED) products and donating a percentage of profits to the cause.

Hannah Gay, Katherine Luzuriaga and Deborah Persaud
hannah gay
Featured in TIME’s 2013 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, these three women were collectively recognized for their incredible and inspiring breakthrough: ‘functionally’ curing a newborn of HIV. Gay, Luzuriaga and Persaud treated the infant — who had contracted the disease from her mother — using anti-HIV drugs within 30 hours of her birth. While the child lived HIV-free, off medication, for several years, traces of HIV in her system resurfaced this past summer. While ultimately a disappointment, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland insist these “failures” bring the medical world closer to finding a cure.

Everyday Heroes
aids testing
Though they may not have their research published in any medical journals, some of the true unsung heroes in the fight against AIDS are those who get tested, diagnosed and manage it well — keeping themselves healthy and less contagious, thus protecting others. These individuals may go unnoticed, but their daily actions help save lives, too.

Novelist Kent Haruf, Author Of 'Plainsong,' Dead At 71

DENVER (AP) — Writer Kent Haruf, who authored “Plainsong” and several other novels set in small town Colorado, died Sunday at age 71, his publisher said.

Haruf’s editor at Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Gary Fisketjon, confirmed Haruf’s death. Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards said Haruf had been battling cancer. During a 1999 interview with The Associated Press, Haruf said that he was a preacher’s son who grew up in a family of book lovers. He attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, spent two years in the Peace Corps in Turkey and returned to the United States to fine-tune his fiction at the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop.

“The Tie That Binds,” his first novel, was published in 1984, winning a Whiting Writers’ Prize and finishing as a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award for first fiction. His next book, “Where You Once Belonged,” came out six years later.

Many of Haruf’s novels were set in the fictional small town of Holt, Colorado, a composite of the three Colorado towns where the author grew up. Knopf said in a statement Sunday that the town was “one of the truly indelible places in American literature.”

“Plainsong” is based in Holt, and its narrative circulates among a variety of local residents. Haruf was an admirer of Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio,” which has a similar structure.

Haruf would credit the works of Hemingway and Faulkner for changing his life. Hemingway’s style inspired Haruf to write cleanly and directly. From Faulkner, Haruf felt he had been granted license to take his stories out of the city.

Haruf was a resident of a Salida, Colorado. He recently completed his sixth novel, “Our Souls at Night,” which will be published next year, according to Knopf.

6 Yoga Moves for Hackers

As the founder of an office yoga company, I’m constantly spreading the word about ways to bring yoga into your work day. I write about ways to deal with space, desk yoga, and more. Recently, Ben Gleitzmen, a friend and former office yoga student of mine, sent this video recommending yoga moves for hackers.

When I say hackers, I mean software developers. These guys spend way too much time sitting. They can often be found sitting in the most awkward positions on a couch, typing computer code. This can cause a lot of pain in the arms and shoulders. But these moves can be helpful for anyone who spends a significant amount of time on a computer. Watch as Gleitzman takes us through his hacker routine!

Thanks to Ben Gleitzman and gun.io for sharing these moves with us!