Michelle Obama Opens Up To Oprah 2018

Michelle Obama Opens Up 2018!

Michelle Obama Gets Candid With Oprah Winfrey About Her Marriage, Trump and More in Intimate Interview

Michelle Obama on the cover of the Dec. 2018 issue of Elle.

The December issue of Elle may feature a beaming Michelle Obama on the cover, but her interview with Oprah Winfrey that accompanies the gorgeous photo is hardly a laughing matter.

In one of her most intimate conversations on the record, the former First Lady is open to talking about the toughest topics, from the couples counseling that she and Barack Obama worked through, to how she really feels about Donald Trump’s birther conspiracies and the damaging consequences that put her and her family at risk. She covers all of this in her new memoir, Becoming, which Winfrey used as the jumping off point for their discussion.

Michelle Obama in the Dec. 2018 issue of Elle.
Miller Mobley for Elle
Michelle Obama in the Dec. 2018 issue of Elle.

“I had to learn to love differently,” Obama tells Winfrey about her marriage and the counseling they pursued to enrich it. “I feel vulnerable all the time, and I had to learn how to express that to my husband, to tap into those parts of me that missed him — and the sadness that came from that — so that he could understand. He didn’t understand distance in the same way. You know, he grew up without his mother in his life for most of his years, and he knew his mother loved him dearly, right? I always thought love was up close. Love is the dinner table, love is consistency, it is presence. So I had to share my vulnerability and also learn to love differently. It was an important part of my journey of becoming. Understanding how to become us…I share this because I know that people look to me and Barack as the ideal relationship. I know there’s #RelationshipGoals out there. But whoa, people, slow down — marriage is hard!”

Michelle Obama’s Book Tour Is Taking Over Arenas Played by Music’s Biggest Stars

As for Trump? She likens questioning of Obama’s nationality and the existence of his birth certificate to “a game,” one that she directly attributes to the extremely real threats she and her family faced on a daily basis — and one that could’ve gotten them killed.

Michelle Obama in the Dec. 2018 issue of Elle.
Miller Mobley for Elle
Michelle Obama in the Dec. 2018 issue of Elle.

“To think that some crazed person might be ginned up to think my husband was a threat to the country’s security; and to know that my children, every day, had to go to a school, and soccer games, parties, and travel; to think that this person would not take into account that this was not a game — that’s something that I want the country to understand,” she explains. “I want the country to take this in, in a way I didn’t say out loud, but I am saying now. It was reckless, it put my family in danger, and it wasn’t true. And he knew it wasn’t true.”

“We had a bullet shot at the Yellow Oval Room during our tenure in the White House,” she continues. “A lunatic came and shot from Constitution Avenue. The bullet hit the upper-left corner of a window. I see it to this day: the window of the Truman Balcony, where my family would sit. That was really the only place we could get outdoor space. Fortunately, nobody was out there at the time. The shooter was caught. But I had to look at that bullet hole, as a reminder of what we were living with every day.”

Obama’s memoir, Becoming, hits store shelves on Tuesday (Nov. 13).

Michelle Obama on the cover of the Dec. 2018 issue of Elle.
Miller Mobley for Elle
Michelle Obama on the cover of the Dec. 2018 issue of Elle.


Veterans Day Holiday 2018

Happy Veterans Day

So as we celebrate Veterans Day, we encourage you to enjoy the parade in downtown Fairfield or any of the other events happening across the county. While you’re there, take a moment to thank a veteran for his or her service. Then, once you’re safely home, sit back and enjoy the features in our Veterans Day section.

Happy Veterans Day to you all. And to those who served, we offer our eternal gratitude.

Applebee’s Makes You Feel Better

Applebee’s Makes You Feel Better

Applebee’s is betting on stress eaters, and it’s paying off

That’s been the brand’s strategy since John Cywinski took over as its president in March of last year. And it’s working: Applebee’s US same-store sales increased 7.7% in the third quarter of this year, setting a 14-year record.
While fast food brands are ditching artificial ingredients and offering healthier alternatives, Applebee’s has embraced comfort food for a banner year.
“Americans are stressed,” Cywinski told CNN Business.
“When stressed, they tend to go to comfort food … and we’re pretty darn good at comfort food,” he said. “That’s the role we play.”
“We look at ourselves as America’s kitchen table,” he said, noting that with about 1,800 locations, most Americans are within driving distance of a restaurant. “We’re that affordable indulgence.”

What went wrong

A few years ago, Applebee’s was struggling. The brand started selling seared and grilled items and serving smaller portions to chase a more health-conscious consumer.
With these initiatives, the brand was targeting just a small segment of their customers, the “up-and-coming guest,” said Brian Vaccaro, a restaurant analyst with Raymond James.
“They tried to pursue a customer who wasn’t going to Applebee’s anyway,” said Stephen Anderson, a senior equity research analyst covering restaurants at Maxim Group. The strategy flopped,and sales declined.

Applebee's wants you to eat good in the neighborhood. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Applebee’s customers have an average household income of $70,000, the company said. About 30% of its customers are Millennials, but it also sells to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. And it serves more families and black and Hispanic customers than its peers.
The brand struggled because it “took its eye off its core guest and lost sight of who Applebee’s is, and what Applebee’s stands for,” Cywinski said.

Cheap drinks and comfort food

To get Applebee’s back on track, Cywinski hired a new leadership team. He convinced franchisees to contribute toward Applebee’s advertising fund. He rolled out drink promotion after drink promotion: Dollaritas, Dollar Zombies and, most recently, $2 Bud Lights.
Alcohol accounts for about 15% of Applebee’s business, Cywinski said. It’s important because stressed out customers may want a drink with dinner. And when people come to drink, they often order food.
When it comes to meals, Applebee’s is focusing on “abundant value,” Cywinski said. That means all-you-can-eat riblets and chicken tenders and creamy pasta dishes.
Applebee’s competitors Chili’s and Olive Garden have also been performing well recently.
Wage growth and higher employment rates have helped the consumer environment overall, Vaccarro said. Those are “all positive for casual dining,” he noted.
But Applebee’s has been “significantly outperforming the industry,” Vaccaro added. That may be because Applebee’s has done such a good job of showing customers that it’s about the value and the experience, he said.

Skirting the health trend

With a bigger advertising budget, Applebee’s poured money into campaigns that highlight the brand’s renewed commitment to indulgent food. The ads are designed to make you laugh and make you hungry, Cywinski said. One video, promoting the new pasta dishes, shows close-up shots of decadent dishes while “At Last” by Etta James plays in the background.
Applebee’s is still offering healthier options, Cywinski said. But the brand is focusing on comfort food. Applebee’s is about “making people hungry [and] satisfying them,” he said. “So that doesn’t mean small portions, it doesn’t mean pursuing niche trends.”
The company has found its sweet spots without leaning on trends.
“They’re not going after the avocado toast Millennials,” said Anderson. “They’re going after middle America.”
But Applebee’s is paying attention to certain trends. Like other chains, Applebee’s is investing inoff-premise dining, technology and delivery.

Coffee Can Stop You From Growing?

Can Coffee Really Stunt Your Growth?

Few foods or drinks have been as well studied as coffee. Research has looked at coffee’s possible connection to cancer, infertility, heart disease and a host of other problems (more on some of these later).

But, did you ever hear that coffee might stunt your growth? Apparently, it’s a common belief.

Separating Truth from Fiction

There is no scientifically valid evidence to suggest that coffee can stunt a person’s growth.

This idea may have come from the misconception that coffee causes osteoporosis (a condition that may be associated with loss of height).

But blaming coffee for height loss due to osteoporosis is faulty reasoning for at least two reasons:

  1. Coffee does not cause osteoporosis.
  2. Osteoporosis does not routinely make you short.

The other problem with the “coffee stunts your growth” theory is that most growth occurs well before most people are drinking coffee regularly. By the time we’re in our teens, most people have almost reached their full height. For girls, this is usually by age 15 to 17; for boys, it’s a bit later. You can’t “undo” bone growth once it’s complete.

Decades ago, studies reported that coffee drinkers might have an increased risk of osteoporosis. It was suggested that:

  • Caffeine can increase the body’s elimination of calcium.
  • Lack of calcium can contribute to osteoporosis.

Naturally, this attracted lots of attention and concern. After all, there are millions of coffee drinkers, so presumably all of them could be at risk. But the effect of caffeine on calcium excretion is small. And the link between coffee consumption and osteoporosis was never confirmed.

In fact, when the studies suggesting a link were analyzed, it turned out that people who drank more coffee drank less milk and other calcium-containing beverages. So it was probably the dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D among coffee drinkers, not the coffee, that increased the risk of osteoporosis.

Causes of Height Loss

Osteoporosis with compression fractures can reduce an adult’s height. But you can also lose height without osteoporosis.

The discs above and below most of the spinal bones (vertebrae) contain water. They lose water with age, so they can degenerate and compress a bit. If enough discs are affected, you can lose a measureable amount of height over time.

Curvature of the spine (scoliosis) or bending of the spine forward (kyphosis) can also lead to height loss. The most common causes of scoliosis and kyphosis include osteoporosis (in adults) and developmental abnormalities (in kids).

For anyone concerned about the effect of coffee consumption on bone health, getting more calcium and vitamin D through diet (or supplements) could readily address this.

And while it’s true that people who have osteoporosis of the spine can lose height (and often have curved spines), it’s the fractures, not the osteoporosis itself, that lead to height loss.

The Risks and Benefits of Coffee

Many studies have failed to identify serious medical risks associated with coffee drinking. Coffee can cause insomnia, a jittery feeling and a slight (and temporary) elevation in blood pressure in some people.

Excessive coffee consumption (six or more cups per day) has been associated with reduced fertility and miscarriage (although definitive studies are not available). In addition, caffeine withdrawal is a common cause of headaches, and can worsen heartburn due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) .

But most coffee drinkers have no bothersome side effects. And many studies have “cleared” coffee as a cause of serious disease, including cancer and heart disease. In fact, research has linked coffee consumption to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Liver disease
  • Certain cancers (especially liver cancer)
  • Gout

Caffeine can also briefly enhance athletic performance and promote weight loss. (By the way, many competitive sports ban excessive caffeine intake by athletes.)

Some of these potential benefits may not just be related to caffeine. For example, maybe coffee drinkers have healthier lifestyles than non-coffee drinkers. If true, those lifestyle differences, not the coffee, could account for the lower risk of certain diseases. Just as the “link” between coffee and osteoporosis turned out to have another explanation, these potential health benefits could turn out to be unrelated to coffee.

The Bottom Line

Whether or not coffee turns out to have significant health benefits, this popular beverage doesn’t stunt your growth. Your height is largely determined by the height of your parents and the quality of your diet and overall health while growing. If you eat a balanced diet and take measures to avoid osteoporosis, you’re likely to achieve the maximum height “allowed” by your genes. And, sorry: Just as drinking coffee won’t make you shorter, avoiding it won’t make you any taller.