Rachel Wilkerson Miller

How Do I Stop My Smoke Alarms From Going Off When I’m Cooking?

How Do I Stop My Smoke Alarms From Going Off When I’m Cooking?

I can’t say I gave ventilation much thought in the first three decades of my life, but the pandemic changed that. Once it became known that COVID-19 is airborne—and that open windows, a fan, and/or an air purifier could meaningfully lower the risk of getting or spreading the virus—I was all in. Along with masking and rapid testing, air purifiers can serve as an extra layer in the “Swiss cheese” model of risk prevention. But one thing I didn’t expect is how useful an air purifier would be in scenarios that have nothing to do with COVID. For starters, I love to crank it on when I’m cleaning the bathroom; I’m really sensitive to smells, and I’ve found that running the purifier really cuts back on how much the harsh chemicals bother me. Speaking of chores, I also find it’s helpful when I’m dusting or kicking up a lot of dog hair. But one of my favorite ways to use an air purifier is running it while cooking, especially when working with recipes that are likely to set off the smoke detector. We’ve all been there: Maybe you’re cooking with very hot oil that’s popping and splattering a bit, or you’re broiling something that gets a little too charred on the edge, or you simply turn away from whatever is in your cast iron pan for a minute too long. The next thing you know, your smoke alarm is screaming at you, and now you’re not only trying to keep your dinner from burning up—but you’re also trying desperately to fan the air around the detector to make the noise stop. The worst is when you get it to finally, mercifully STFU…only to have it start up again five minutes later. Lest you accuse me of being a terrible cook, I feel compelled to point out that something doesn’t actually have to be burning for this to happen. Smoke detectors that rely on ionization can be especially prone to false alarms, something that is a fairly frequent occurrence in my apartment. These “nuisance alarms” are actually a safety problem—because they can eventually lead people to disable their smoke detectors entirely, which is not good—but in my case, the issue is more that they are really goddamn loud and stressful. Like, Stop *yelling* at me!! This isn’t helping!!!!! I understand that communicating urgency is literally the alarm’s whole job, but does it have to make me feel so judged in the process? I’m not sure exactly how or when I figured out that an air purifier might be effective in preventing nuisance alarms when cooking, but since coming to the realization—and then putting it to the test by making the meals we know always lead to our ceiling unit screaming—I haven’t looked back. My girlfriend and I turn ours on pretty regularly for weeknight cooking, but on big kitchen days like Thanksgiving and Christmas? When our go-to beef tenderloin recipe literally always leads to multiple smoke alarm moments? You can bet that thing is going to be whirring away all day, gobbling up all the bad air and ensuring that the only sounds we’re hearing are the dulcet tones of the Thanksgiving Day parade commentary and our favorite cooking playlist. Again, there are many reasons to embrace an air purifier with a HEPA filter—they can reduce the level of allergens, pet dander, dust, and airborne COVID-infected particles from your space. But if you’d simply like to prepare a nice meal without being harassed every five minutes by an oversensitive smoke detector, consider turning on your air purifier and enjoying the peace and quiet of your well-ventilated space. AmazonCoway Airmega HEPA Air PurifierRelated:

Voting in the 2022 Midterms Is Crucial for Personal and Public Health

Voting in the 2022 Midterms Is Crucial for Personal and Public Health

The US 2022 midterm elections are rapidly approaching, and it’s hard to overstate how much is at stake: We are, once again, voting like our lives depend on it. While I’m trying to be optimistic (in part because the 2018 US midterms had the highest voter turnout in four decades, which is great), turnout is almost always lower during midterm elections than presidential elections, and we simply cannot afford for folks to stay home this year.If you hadn’t really thought much about the midterms thus far, or if you’re feeling cynical about politics in the US, I get it. The double whammy of not feeling fully represented by the two-party system or the electoral college can make it easy to feel like your vote doesn’t really matter, especially if you don’t live in a swing state. And the GOP’s aggressive, unabashed efforts to suppress and discredit voters are incredibly demoralizing.But the idea that your vote doesn’t count is, in large part, rooted in how the US does presidential elections, as well as the pervasive idea that the president alone is responsible for the state of our country. While the president (obviously!) plays a huge role in setting the country’s agenda, signing bills into law, and appointing federal and Supreme Court judges, it’s important to remember that the people in Congress, along with our state legislators and other local officials (like school boards, sheriffs, and judges), have a massive impact on our everyday lives.It’s also worth considering just how many positions we’re set to vote on come November 8. Thirty-four seats in the Senate and every seat in the House of Representatives—along with 36 governors and 6,278 of the country’s 7,383 state legislative seats—are up for grabs, and the people who win these elections will shape the future of gun control, climate change, reproductive health care, and civil rights…issues that are, quite literally, matters of life and death.Over the past few years, many of us, especially in the wellness space, have been in an ongoing conversation about both the importance of self-care and the limitations of it. And if it wasn’t clear before March 2020 that there’s only so much we can do as individuals for our mental and physical health, it certainly is now. In fact, at this point, it’s pretty obvious that our personal health and well-being is dependent on systemic change in the form of state and federal action that create robust systems of support. Things aren’t going to get better if craven, bigoted, anti-science conspiracy theorists hold leadership positions on our school boards, in our state houses, and in the federal government. In fact, if we don’t prioritize looking out for each other and enacting change, things will likely get a lot worse. And that, to me, is why voting—especially in state and local elections—is such a crucial aspect of healthy living. We simply can’t have collective care without collective political action.Here are just a few of the ways that health is on the ballot in the 2022 midterms—and why your vote is actually more powerful than you might realize.Paid sick leaveHaving time off of work to rest and recover from a cold, the flu, or more serious illness is good for both individuals and communities. But despite the fact that paid sick leave is overwhelmingly popular across party lines, it remains elusive in the US. The good news is that this is something that is being directly addressed across the country at the local level. Seventeen states currently have paid sick leave laws on the books, and some cities (like Los Angeles, Oakland, and Berkeley, California) have expanded on what’s mandated at the state level, while others (Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Duluth) require paid leave even when their states do not. If that’s not a potent example of what local elected officials can do for our collective well-being, I don’t know what is.

Here’s a 2000s Workout Playlist to Help You Put Your Thing Down, Flip It, and Reverse It

Here’s a 2000s Workout Playlist to Help You Put Your Thing Down, Flip It, and Reverse It

Like many other millennials, I’m not thrilled about the fact that Y2K style is back; let’s just say that the early 2000s were a very tough time to be a teenager with a body. Mainstream media’s obsession with flat abs—getting them, keeping them, styling them, showing them off—in that decade felt relentless, and frankly all of the media outlets that fueled it should be put before Congress to explain themselves.On the other hand, I started working out in 2003, which means there’s a special place in my heart for the era’s bops. My gym at the time had CD/DVD players on every cardio machine, so I would burn CDs with my favorite workout songs and take one with me every time I went to do the elliptical or treadmill. This meant I only ever got a new workout “mix” once a month or so. Nowadays, most of us aren’t content to listen to one playlist for every single workout for a whole-ass month. But at the time? I simply put on the same songs over and over and over again until they were indelibly burned into my brain. Getting a cheap MP3 player and eventually buying my first-ever iPod—the green Mini, on Black Friday in 2004!—was nothing short of life-changing. But streaming music was still years off, so I had to pay $1 for every new song I added.I think this is a big part of why music, more than anything else, took me from a reluctant exerciser to someone who fully loved working out: It always felt like a treat. It definitely helped that the pop music of the era—unlike the clothes and crunchy hairstyles, sorry!!!—was actually very, very good. Sure, we had to deal with all the extremely weird coverage of teen pop stars’ virginity or lack thereof, but we were also blessed with Rihanna and Lady Gaga, plus some of Britney’s best work.Below, you’ll find many of the songs that I had on my first workout CDs, as well as others that came later in the decade. The beats still get my heart pumping just as much as they did nearly 20 (!!) years ago, and have the added benefit of filling me with the best kind of nostalgia. So pull on your gauchos, let your thong show, and gitchie gitchie ya ya da da.ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.The full playlist:

How to Turn Your Roe Despair Into Meaningful Action

How to Turn Your Roe Despair Into Meaningful Action

Just keep in mind that these groups are trying to do a lot right now, including managing an influx of new volunteers. “One of the biggest issues that is occurring right now is that we are getting a flood of people who are well-meaning, and who we are so excited to have ready to work, who are coming in saying, ‘I want to do this thing’—not knowing whether that thing is actually the best use of resources or is already happening, or could potentially harm people in ways that they were not expecting,” Marty says. For example, you might want to offer your home up to abortion seekers, but organizers will want to vet you first to make sure you aren’t an anti-abortion person secretly trying to get intel, and to be sure you fully understand what you’re committing to.Don’t get discouraged if no one replies to your DM immediately, or if the way they ask you to help is different from the idea you initially had in mind. And to hold yourself accountable even after your initial shock and outrage have worn off, consider putting time on your calendar one month from now, so you remember to check back and see what specifically the group needs at that point. “A month is going to be a completely different landscape,” Marty says.Still, we’ll all need to be patient. “There’s not going to be immediate change, unfortunately,” Marty says. “People need to know that from the start, because otherwise, they are going to get disappointed. They are going to be despondent. They are gonna drop out of this and we need them so badly—but we need them for the long haul.”Get hyper local.Because most mainstream news coverage in the U.S. focuses on what is happening at the federal level, it can be easy to lose sight of just how important local politics are to implementing change. But organizers know that you can have a lot of meaningful influence if you just think smaller. “I think one of the biggest frustrations basically since 2010 is the way that we as a movement incessantly focus on the idea of the House, the Senate, and the White House,” Marty says. Meanwhile, Republicans focused on state legislatures, which is where many of the most aggressive anti-abortion bills in the past decade originated. And by the time progressives were able to regain power at the state level, Republicans had already moved on to cities, Marty says.“I cannot be clear and more clear how impactful working in cities has been for [Republicans] and can be for us, because city zoning boards are how abortion clinics can be opened or closed,” she says. “Austin, Texas did that in the middle of the reddest of red states. New York is doing that.” Now, she says, cities are introducing ways to support people who need to leave the state, or are proposing not investigating people who lose pregnancies. “A city is going to be the most impactful place that people can do work because it’s the easiest place to have the biggest effect as a single person, but also because when we look at where abortion happens —where abortion clinics are and where the organizing is—it’s often in liberal, progressive, pro-choice cities, even when they’re in the middle of the most anti-choice states.” Which is all the more reason to connect with organizers doing work at this level.If you’re able to give money, consider setting up a recurring donation.“A recurring donation is so impactful in a number of ways,” Marty says. “When organizations are trying to decide how they can help people long-term, that is a way that they know exactly what will be coming in, that they can always count on.” For example, the fund might know it can spend a set amount on handing out emergency contraception to people who need it. Doing this also frees up organizers—many of whom are volunteers wearing a lot of different hats—to focus on other important tasks. “It’s not just a financial gain, as in what a budget will look like, but it’s also a gain logistically for the funds,” she says. When they know money is coming in, they don’t have to plan fundraisers, which frees up their time to do different types of work (including direct patient care).Mail nice cards to people working in abortion clinics.The people working to help folks get abortions and other reproductive health care right now are under an intense amount of pressure, and letting them know their work is appreciated has a bigger impact than you might think. “We’re having lots of people send cards, and we love it,” Marty says. “It made us very happy in a very bleak time.” To ensure your good vibes don’t place an additional burden on workers right now, opt for nice notes that can be mailed in an envelope versus larger items like flowers, gifts, or food delivery. “We are worried about people who have access to our clinic and very nervous about packages that we were not expecting,” Marty says. “If you really want to provide us with some sort of support, we love cards. And then if you think that we should have a meal or something like that, a [mailed] gift card is a lovely gesture that we will use. A lot of people are working really long hours. We’ve spent so much money just on feeding our staff because nobody can go home.”Convert your credit card points to gas cards that you can send to abortion funds or practical support groups.Abortions can be expensive on their own, and having to drive across the state to receive care can place a heavy burden on folks who might already be stretched quite thin. For this reason, gas cards can be a very straightforward way to help people directly—and if you have any unused credit card points and the ability to convert those to gas cards, now is the time. (This is high on my list of ways to help right now.) If you are able to obtain gas cards, Marty says to simply mail them directly to the practical support groups, abortion funds, or open abortion clinics of your choice; they’ll make sure they get to the people who need them.Call your senator.“The biggest thing that I am really worried about right now is the fact that there is not enough noise,” Marty says. “We know pro-choice politicians are stepping up right now, and that is good. If you have a senator or a representative that is not pro-choice, they need to hear it even more: They need to note they’re representing people that have just had the right stripped away and that they will be held accountable in the end.”

Here’s a Pride Playlist to Make Your Next Workout Extra Gay

Here’s a Pride Playlist to Make Your Next Workout Extra Gay

The news recently has been tough, particularly for folks who care about bodily autonomy: Trans youth are under attack across the U.S., Pride events and drag shows have been the targets of threats and violence, and the Supreme Court just overturned Roe v. Wade. As a queer woman I feel pretty scared right now. Still, I’ve found the best way to cope in times like these is both to let myself feel my fear and despair and also to look for moments of joy and rest that will give me the energy to keep advocating for a better, healthier, safer world.So heading into Pride weekend, I’m doing my best to center queer joy, community, and freedom of expression. With that in mind I put together a playlist of absolute bangers from queer and trans artists for anyone who could really use a great workout (or just a great solo dance party in the shower) right now. We all deserve to feel free and at-home in our bodies, and movement can be a powerful way to do that. The SELF editors will be creating many more workout playlists for you all in the coming weeks, but this felt like a great one to start with.ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.The full playlist: “Sometimes—From ‘Fire Island’” by Muna“This Hell” by Rina Sawayama“Higher” by Vincint, Alex Newell, Princess Precious“Material Girl” by Saucy Santana“Coconuts” by Kim Petras“Booty-Whop” by Big Freedia“That’s What I Want” by Lil Nas X“Bodies” by The Knocks, Muna“Jenny” by Studio Killers, Kim Petras“Lucid” by Rina Sawayama“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X“Easy” by Troye Sivan, Kacey Musgraves, Mark Ronson“On the Regular” by Shamir“On Hold” by The xx“Girls Girls Girls” by Fletcher“Screwed” by Janelle Monae (feat. Zöe Kravitz)“Cool for the Summer” by Demi Lovato“See You Again” by Miley Cyrus“Sissy That Walk” by RuPaul“Lost” by Frank Ocean“Naked in Manhattan” by Chappell Roan“Kill the Lights” by Alex Newell, Jess Glynne, DJ Cassidy, Nile Rodgers, Audien“Closer” by Tegan and Sara“My My My!” by Troye Sivan“On the Floor” by Perfume GeniusRelated:

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