Have a burning beauty question? Odds are, an unexpectedly entertaining cohort of cosmetic scientists has already answered it in Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm? Compiled by the anonymous creators of TheBeautyBrains.com, a popular beauty blog, the book deftly fields hundreds of consumer questions and concerns—from common to quirky—about beauty product claims and safety. They tease fact from fiction (and advertising hype) so we don’t have to. Broad categories (hair, skin, makeup and cosmetic industry) organize specific queries such as: Why does gray hair look and feel different? Why does shampoo stop working? Can saliva cure acne? Is there a difference between hand and face moisturizer? The book even tackles such oddities as “why armpit hair doesn’t grow down to your knees” and “should you worry about urine in your makeup?” As for the titular question about the allegedly addictive qualities of lip gloss, you’ll find the answer in chapter six. Shop smarter and look and feel better armed with consumer confidence borne of hard science and sharp wit.

MAKE YOUR OWN FUN
Making toys out of paper is officially a craze. Not origami papertoys, which have been popular for hundreds of years, but a new genre that combines influences like origami, kirigami, paper dolls, Uglydolls and Pok√©mon, all with an exuberant sense of creepiness. In Papertoy Monsters: 50 Cool Papertoys You Can Make Yourself, papertoy pioneer Brian Castleforte and 24 top designers make it easy for anyone to create fabulous fiends. Each colorful, creative design is perforated and ready to pop out, fold and glue: no cutting needed. Although the collection is aimed at kids nine and older, many adults who fortunately never grew up will find these creatures appealing, especially “crafters, toy collectors, techies and gamers.” Each character is introduced with a backstory or bio, giving it a unique place in an imaginative alternate universe. The coolest feature is the section of blank templates ready for users to decorate and name. Readers are encouraged to share pictures of finished DIY models with the quickly growing community of papertoy enthusiasts at nicepapertoys.com, the first papertoy social network.

TOP PICK
Now you can have your yard and eat it, too. Garden designer and self-described “plant fiend” Ivette Soler cultivates a compelling case for a garden that’s both decorative and delicious in The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden. Soler argues that the carpet-like turf lawn beloved by most of America is simply not a sustainable model. It hogs labor, fuel and water (and too often, toxic fertilizer and herbicide), and it is boring. Instead, use that front yard sun to grow food, beautifully. Herbs, fruit and vegetables can add texture, color, form and variety to your yard as well as to your dinner. Even corn can have curb appeal! Learn how to assess your site, convert all or just a bit of the lawn, build the bones (hardscape, privacy and irrigation), integrate existing material and select the ornamental edibles that will yield the best design and harvest. The result is a revolutionary “front yard that is sustainable, beautifully designed, and edible: a modern day victory garden.” 

 

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