Lululemon Pulls See-Through Yoga Pants from Stores

Lululemon Pulls See-Through Yoga Pants from Stores - Fans of Lululemon Athletica will be facing a shortage of certain styles for a while, as the yoga-inspired athletic wear company tries to figure out why some of their yoga pants -- which range from $82 to $128 a pair -- are much more revealing than usual. The problem: About 17 percent of the pants that arrived in stores and online in March weren't just "light weight" -- they were see-through.

"At the beginning of March, our stores and ecommerce site received some black Luon women's bottoms that didn't meet our high standards," the Vancouver-based company wrote on its website late Monday. "We want you to Down Dog and Crow with confidence and we felt these pants didn't measure up."

Some of the black yoga pants that hit Lululemon stores in March are being recalled for being too sheer. 

Some customers said that they hadn't realized how revealing their yoga wear was. Mar Smallski, a Lululemon fan from Ontario, Canada, wrote on the company's Facebook page that a pair of cropped pants she purchased in February were quite transparent as well. "I never noticed they're see through, until recently all this talk about it," she wrote. "I found the brightest undies I could find and bent over... Sure enough, all I could see was the coral undies."

Lululemon would not disclose exactly which yoga pants would be in short supply, saying only that "The items affected are certain styles of women's bottoms in our signature black Luon fabric." On Facebook, a representative explained that some of the "body skimming styles" had been taken off the shelves and urged customers to call the Guest Education Center at 877-263-9300 for more information. The company is offering refunds or exchanges on the defective pants -- which cost up to $100 a pair -- and promising that they will be "recycled."

"I wish Lulu would just come out and say the styles that they are recalling," Kristy Barnes posted on Facebook. "I have been complaining about the 'see-through' pants for months!"

Some are blaming Lululemon CEO Christine Dey for the drop in quality. Fan blog Lululemon Addict pointed out that this is the fourth quality-control issue that has surfaced in the past year and added that "long time fans of Lululemon know the slide started when the company went public and Day was brought on board."

"Day has ruined everything special about Lululemon. The bullet proof quality, the fit, the femininity, the Lululemoness of the product," the blogger wrote. "I'll give her minor props for getting a website up and going, but that's it."

Lululemon's stock did a Down Dog of its own this week, falling nearly 6 percent in after-hours trading on Monday and dropping more than 5 percent on Tuesday morning. The incident is expected to shave as much as $20 million off of its first-quarter sales.

Luon fabric -- a nylon and Lyrca spandex blend -- is specially made for Lululemon by Taiwan-based manufacturer Eclat Textile Co.; Lululemon said in a statement that they have used the same manufacturer since 2004 and insisted that "This event is not the result of changing manufacturers or quality of ingredients."

"The ingredients, weight and longevity qualities of the pants remain the same but the coverage does not, resulting in a level of sheerness in some of our women's black Luon bottoms that falls short of our very high standards," the company telling Reuters that the real problems was "a gap between Lululemon's expectations and reaction from the market."

"We checked our orders this morning and indeed, we did follow their instructions to make the product," Eclat spokesman Roger Lo told Reuters. "Lulu has some new ideas every year, such as taking different approaches for fashion-related purposes."

Though this recall only affects black Luon pants, extreme sheerness is an issue the company has faced before.

"You may experience sheerness with some of our bright-colored bottoms because of the lightweight nature of the fabric," Lululemon cautions on some of the products in its online store. "We recommend you do a couple of Down Dogs in your bright-colored bottoms to ensure you're happy with the fit and coverage." ( )

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Scientists say the ozone layer is recovering

Scientists say the ozone layer is recovering - Scientists say ozone layer is recovering, credit phase-out of aerosol chemicals since the '80s - Earth's protective ozone layer is beginning to recover, largely because of the phase-out since the 1980s of certain chemicals used in refrigerants and aerosol cans, a U.N. scientific panel reported Wednesday in a rare piece of good news about the health of the planet.

Scientists said the development demonstrates that when the world comes together, it can counteract a brewing ecological crisis.

For the first time in 35 years, scientists were able to confirm a statistically significant and sustained increase in stratospheric ozone, which shields the planet from solar radiation that causes skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.

From 2000 to 2013, ozone levels climbed 4 percent in the key mid-northern latitudes at about 30 miles up, said NASA scientist Paul A. Newman. He co-chaired the every-four-years ozone assessment by 300 scientists, released at the United Nations.

 This undated image provided by NASA shows the ozone layer over the years, Sept. 17, 1979, top left, Oct. 7, 1989, top right, Oct. 9, 2006, lower left, and Oct. 1, 2010, lower right. Earth protective but fragile ozone layer is finally starting to rebound, says a United Nations panel of scientists. Scientists hail this as rare environmental good news, demonstrating that when the world comes together it can stop a brewing ecological crisis. (AP Photo/NASA)

"It's a victory for diplomacy and for science and for the fact that we were able to work together," said chemist Mario Molina. In 1974, Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland wrote a scientific study forecasting the ozone depletion problem. They won the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work.

The ozone layer had been thinning since the late 1970s. Man-made chlorofluorocarbons, called CFCs, released chlorine and bromine, which destroyed ozone molecules high in the air. After scientists raised the alarm, countries around the world agreed to a treaty in 1987 that phased out CFCs. Levels of those chemicals between 30 and 50 miles up are decreasing.

The United Nations calculated in an earlier report that without the pact, by 2030 there would have been an extra 2 million skin cancer cases a year around the world.

Paradoxically, heat-trapping greenhouse gases — considered the major cause of global warming — are also helping to rebuild the ozone layer, Newman said. The report said rising levels of carbon dioxide and other gases cool the upper stratosphere, and the cooler air increases the amount of ozone.

And in another worrisome trend, the chemicals that replaced CFCs contribute to global warming and are on the rise, said MIT atmospheric scientist Susan Solomon. At the moment, they don't make much of a dent, but they are expected to increase dramatically by 2050 and make "a big contribution" to global warming.

The ozone layer is still far from healed. The long-lasting, ozone-eating chemicals still lingering in the atmosphere create a yearly fall ozone hole above the extreme Southern Hemisphere, and the hole hasn't closed up. Also, the ozone layer is still about 6 percent thinner than in 1980, by Newman's calculations.

Ozone levels are "on the upswing, but it's not there yet," he said.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, said there are encouraging signs that the ozone layer "is on track to recovery by the middle of this century."

Steiner called the effort to get rid of ozone-destroying substances "one of the great success stories of international collective action in addressing a global environmental change phenomenon."

"More than 98 percent of the ozone-depleting substances agreed over time have actually been phased out," he said. If not for such efforts, Steiner said, "we would be seeing a very substantial global ozone depletion today."

Paul Wapner, a professor of global environmental politics at American University, said the findings are "good news in an often dark landscape" and send a message of hope to world leaders meeting later this month in New York for a U.N. climate summit.

"The precedent is truly important because society is facing another serious global environmental problem, namely climate change," said Molina, a professor in San Diego and Mexico City. The 71-year-old scientist said he didn't think he would live to see the day that the ozone layer was rebuilding.

Earlier this week, the United Nations announced that atmospheric levels of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, surged to another record high in 2013. The increase from 2012 was the biggest jump in three decades. ( Associated Press )

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Workers Saving Too Little to Retire

Workers Saving Too Little to Retire - Workers and employers in the U.S. are bracing for a retirement crisis, even as the stock market sits near highs and the economy shows signs of improvement.

New data show that powerful financial and demographic forces are combining to squeeze individuals and companies that are trying to save for the future and make their money last.

Fifty-seven percent of U.S. workers surveyed reported less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments excluding their homes, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Only 49% reported having so little money saved in 2008.

The survey also found that 28% of Americans have no confidence they will have enough money to retire comfortably—the highest level in the study's 23-year history.

Thinkstock -

The same forces are weighing on corporate balance sheets. Based on another recent report, the Society of Actuaries said that rising life expectancies could add as much as $97 billion to corporate pension liabilities in coming years, an increase of up to 5%.

While Americans are living longer, the extended life spans will make it tougher for workers trying to stretch retirement savings and put additional strains on pension plans.

Scott Ghelfi, 49 years old, a small-business owner in Falmouth, Mass., and his wife own two candy stores and a children's clothing shop. He said they didn't make their normal $24,000 contribution to their retirement plan two years ago because they couldn't afford to take the money out of the businesses.

The total amount in the couple's retirement accounts is less than $200,000, which he considers inadequate.

"Sales are fine, but we're not growing rapidly like we were several years back, and everything is more expensive," Mr. Ghelfi said.

He isn't alone. The percentage of workers who have saved for retirement plunged to 66% from 75% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute survey.

Only about half of the 1,003 workers and 251 retirees surveyed said they were sure they could come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need were to arise in the next month.

"Workers are recognizing there is a crisis," said Alicia Munnell, director of the Boston College Center for Retirement Research. She noted that companies continue to do away with traditional pensions.

The survey of workers and retirees was conducted in January, even as the U.S. stock market was heading toward new highs.

Many people are struggling to make sure they don't run out of money in retirement, said Jack VanDerhei, research director at EBRI, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C.

The EBRI survey doesn't count traditional pensions, which are designed to provide retirees for steady income throughout their lives.

But pensions have become a much smaller component of Americans' retirement-savings mix over the years. The portion of private-sector U.S. workers covered only by so-called defined-benefit plans fell to 3% in 2011 from 28% in 1979, according to U.S. Department of Labor data compiled by EBRI.

Companies that still offer pensions might have to kick in more money to account for longer life spans.

The Society of Actuaries in September released the first update since 2000 to its mortality projections for U.S. retirement plans, which project life spans for pensioners.

The report offers assumptions that actuaries use to project mortality rates.

Companies are expected to start using the new assumptions this year.

According to the society, a male who reaches age 65 in 2013 is expected to live an additional 20.5 years, up from 19.5 in the earlier projections. Women turning 65 this year are now expected to live an additional 22.7 years, up from 21.3.

Although the increases might seem small, Bruce Cadenhead, chief retirement actuary with Mercer, a consulting unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos., said they are the largest he has seen in more than 25 years.

"It represents a meaningful jump in liabilities," he said.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. cited the growth in the life expectancy for its plan's beneficiaries as one reason its global pension-funding gap widened to $3.5 billion last year from $3.1 billion in 2011. A Goodyear spokesman said it made the mortality adjustment "because we saw an increase in [the] actual longevity of our participants."

U.S. pension obligations for all publicly traded companies based in the U.S. totaled $1.93 trillion at the end of 2012, up from $1.60 trillion in 2008, according to Mercer.

The effect of longer life spans on pension obligations has been dwarfed by the impact of declining interest rates over recent years. Because of the way pension obligations are calculated, lower interest rates means that future obligations are higher today.

But interest rates are likely to rise at some point, which will lessen pension obligations. That is less likely with longevity assumptions.

"Rates can go up," said Rama Variankaval, an executive director in the corporate finance advisory group of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s investment bank. "Mortality is more of a one-way street."

Individuals face the same problem, Mr. Cadenhead said: "If we're asking them to provide for their own retirement, they're living longer, and it takes more money to provide for their own needs over the course of a lifetime."

Joe LaCascia, a 75-year-old retired insurance broker in Polk City, Fla., said he and his wife thought they would have enough savings outside their life insurance policies to last until age 95.

Now, he estimates he only has enough to last until they're 85.

He said he is more concerned about what the future holds for his children, a 51-year-old art director-turned-roadie and a 49-year-old third-grade teacher.

"They're never going to be able to create wealth, other than what our generation leaves them and what they do with it," he said. "They have more uncertainty than we have." ( The Wall Street Journal )

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Fine Asian Art and Antiques Sale At Kaminski Features Impressive Pieces

Fine Asian Art and Antiques Sale At Kaminski Features Impressive Pieces - High quality Chinese items shone at Kaminski Auction’s recent Fine Asian Art and Antiques sale, held on Saturday, January 26.

High quality Chinese items shone at Kaminski Auction’s recent Fine Asian Art and Antiques sale, held on Saturday, January 26. Over four hundred lots reached the auctioneers podium over the course of the six-hour sale for a day of competitive in person, online, and over the phone bidding. From ceramic s, to jade and ivory, the auction offered a variety of valuable items from Asia. The top lot of the day, however, belonged to none of those familiar categories. The striking top lot, an antique zitan wooden throne, sparked a frenzy of bidding that drove the price far and away above the original estimate of $6,000.00 to $8,000.00. Ultimately sold for $29,000.00, the stunning throne featured elaborate carved designs. A carved dragon encircled with a fire and cloud pattern highlighted the back panel. Dragons decorating the armrests continued the intricate motif.

The other top lots of the sale, although smaller in size, made a similarly large impression upon the bidding audience. A green jadeite bangle from the nineteenth century also sold well above estimate. The elegant, gold embellished piece carried an estimate of $600.00 to $900.00, but initiated quick and competitive online bidding that finally brought the price to $5,500.00.

Many ceramic pieces also sold above estimate. Particularly noteworthy were the few fine examples of famille rose and famille vert ceramics among the top lots of the sale. One such lot was Lot 7087, a famille vert vase in the gu form with four dragons and a floral scrolling pattern. This eye-catching piece captured significant interest and reached $4,750.00, far more than its estimated $800.00 to $1,200.00 value.

A famille rose figure of a reclining happy Buddha also commanded the interest of the audience. The exceptional sculpted and painted detail of this Buddha drove the price above the original high estimate. The popular piece sold for $2,100.00. A famille rose candleholder that carried a Jia Qing mark on the base, scrolling flower designs and auspicious marks, sold for $3,250.00.

An exceptional set of three export rose mandarin Chinese platters from the early nineteenth century, was also among the top selling lots of the auction. The platter set was finely decorated with a wide figural borders running around central cartouches of butterflies and vegetables. It sold for $3,250.00.

Two more unusual lots piqued special interest with the auction’s in-person and online audience. An atypical ivory box from eighteenth century Mughal Empire of India attracted many bidders. The intriguing box was labeled “Spink and Son #11” and was affixed with silver handles that emphasized intricate carvings covering the box. The box sold at its high estimate of $4,000.00.

A remarkable set of ten collectable Chinese one Jiao bank notes rounded out the top ten lots of the sale. The 1960 bank notes were marked with the serial number IV IX 9412164-9412171, and sold for a high $3,250.00.

Other items of interest included a brown agate Dzai bead, which sold for above the $800.00 high estimate for $1,100.00.

The Fine Asian Art and Antiques sale wrapped up a busy month of auction for Kaminski. The successful auction saw the sale of many valuable Asian objects to a substantial phone and in person audience, as well as over 321 Internet bidders, with a total of $165,000.00 in online sales. Please email asian(at)kaminskiauctions(dot)com or contact Bob Yang at 508-873-9595.

Kaminski Auctions, located on the North Shore of Boston, has been serving the New England antiques market for over 25 years as a full service auction house and appraisal service for fine art, antiques and estates.

With two locations in Beverly, Massachusetts, including a new state of the art auction gallery located at 117 Elliott Street, and a historic 1850’s barn and office facility at 564 Cabot Street, Kaminski Auctions hosts 25 auctions a year.

In today’s highly competitive market of fine art and antiques, Kaminski Auctions provides its customers with bicoastal services and marketing with west coast offices in Beverly Hills and San Diego, California.

Kaminski Auctions offers specialty departments in Asian Art and Antiques, Silver, Glass and Lamps, Couture and Vintage Clothing, Photography and Modern Design . We have highly trained and knowledgable appraisers on staff that will help you determine the true value of your antiques, or entire collections. Free Appraisal days are offered every Tuesday from 10:00am-4:30pm at our 564 Cabot Street location in Beverly, Massachusetts & our 5171 Santa Fe Street location in San Diego, California. We welcome emailed photos of your items! ( prweb )

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Rare Chinese bowl, $3 at tag sale, sells for $2.2M

Rare Chinese bowl, $3 at tag sale, sells for $2.2M — A rare Chinese bowl bought at a tag sale for $3 has sold at a New York auction for more than $2.22 million.

The 1,000-year-old bowl was part of the opening session of Sotheby's fine Chinese ceramics and works of art auction Tuesday.

Associated Press/Sotheby’s Auction House - This undated photo provided by Sotheby’s Auction House in New York shows a 1,000-year-old Chinese “Ding” bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty. The bowl, purchased from a tag sale for no more than three dollars, was sold by Sotheby’s for more than $2.22 million during the opening session of Sotheby's fine Chinese ceramics and works of art auction Tuesday, March 19, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Sotheby’s Auction House)

Sotheby's says it was sold to a London dealer for $2.225 million, far above the presale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.

The person who put the bowl up for auction bought it at a tag sale in 2007 and had it displayed in the living room for several years before becoming curious about its origins and having it examined.

The bowl is 5 inches in diameter, white in color and from the Northern Song Dynasty.  ( Associated Press )

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Kind Gesture Toward Girlfriend of Deployed Soldier Becomes Internet Sensation

Kind Gesture Toward Girlfriend of Deployed Soldier Becomes Internet Sensation - “I noticed the sticker on the back of your car,” the note read, referring to a “Half my Heart is in Afghanistan” bumper sticker. “Take your hero out to dinner when he comes home. Thank you both for serving. Him deployed and you for waiting.” It was signed “United States veteran” and “God Bless.”

The woman, Samantha Ford, a mother of two who lives outside of Boston, quickly snapped a photo of the note and the cash, and shared it on the Facebook page “Our Deployment: 101,” a sort of online support community for people affiliated with the military.

The letter everyone's loving (and Ford, inset). Photos: FacebookThe story of a good deed has spread like wildfire online since Sunday, when an anonymous do-gooder left a kind note and $40 on a woman’s windshield in a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot.

“I just thought I would share with you all what happened to me today!” Ford wrote when she posted the photo. “Came out of Dunkin’ Donuts and found this under my windshield wiper. There are no words to describe how I'm feeling right now. Tears in my eyes. I just wish I could thank whoever did this! God bless our troops and all of those who stand behind them.”

By Tuesday morning, the post had a million and a half “likes,” had inspired more than 43,000 comments, and had been shared nearly 200,000 times.

“It was crazy!!” Ford said in an email to, adding that she’d spoken to her boyfriend Sunday night and told him about the gesture. “He was so touched, and he said it’s people like this that make him proud to be an American Soldier. We are forever grateful and we will DEFINITELY be paying it forward! God bless our troops!”

According to, her deployed boyfriend, Albert DeSimone, is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division based in Fort Stewart, Georgia.

Ford also said she hopes the photo will inspire others to appreciate the country’s military.

“They are all heroes,” she said. “I just happen to be in love with one.” ( Healthy Living )

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The Greek Island Where People Live to Be 90 – Is it the Coffee?

The Greek Island Where People Live to Be 90 – Is it the Coffee? - Forget the expression “there must be something in the water.” As it turns out, the secret to longevity could be in a specific brew of coffee.
The Greek island Ikaria first made national news when The New York Times published an article about its inhabitants called “The Place Where People Forget to Die.” One percent of Ikaria’s inhabitants live well into their 90s (as compared to the rest of Europe’s .01 percent), and they tend to stay sharp and healthy until the very end.

The article pointed to a number of reasons why Ikarians live so long: lack of pollution, a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables, moderate consumption of wine, and, interestingly, coffee brewed by a method of boiling.

Greek boiled coffee may benefit your cardiovascular health. (Photo: Getty Images)
Because general coffee consumption has been previously associated with various health benefits including protection against type two diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver disease, researchers led by Dr. Gerasimos Siasos of the University of Athens set out to discover if the Ikarians’ regular consumption of boiled coffee, specifically, could be connected to their longevity.

"This boiled Greek type of coffee, which is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and contains only a moderate amount of caffeine, seems to have more health benefits compared to other coffee beverages," Dr. Siasos told Yahoo! Shine.

From the group of 673 Ikarians over 65 who live on the island, the research team randomly selected 71 men and 71 women and compared their endothelial function with their coffee consumption. The endothelium is the layer of cells that surround blood vessels—over time, due to aging and lifestyle habits, it breaks down, leading to cardiovascular disease.

The results of the study, which was published March 18 in the journal Vascular Medicine, showed that subjects who consumed a moderate amount of boiled Greek coffee had better endothelial function than those who consumed coffee brewed by other methods. “Even in those with high blood pressure, boiled Greek coffee consumption was associated with improved endothelial function, without worrying impacts on blood pressure,” Siasos told Shine.

“The new study provides a new connection between nutritional habits and cardiovascular health. Given the extent of coffee drinking across the world, and the fact that even small health effects of at least one type of coffee could have a large impact on public health, this study provides an interesting starting point,” Siasos said. “However, further studies are needed to document the exact beneficial mechanisms of coffee on cardiovascular health.”

Dr. Rob van Dam, an Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, also recommends that coffee drinkers assess the results of this study with some degree of caution. “We should not make nutrition recommendations based on a single study. Moreover, this was a rather small cross-sectional study. Participants who consumed traditional Greek coffee may well have had other traditional habits such as a healthy diet that may have been responsible for their better endothelial function,” he explained to Yahoo! Shine.

Dr. van Dam also points out that coffee contains cafestol, a stimulator of LDL cholesterol levels, and that those with high cholesterol should avoid boiled coffee. “When you brew coffee with a paper filter, the cafestol gets left behind in the filter. Other methods of coffee preparation, such as the boiled coffee common in Scandinavian countries, French press coffee, or Turkish coffee, are much higher in cafestol. So for people who have high cholesterol levels or who want to prevent having high cholesterol levels, it is better to choose paper filtered coffee or instant coffee, since they have much lower levels of cafestol than boiled or French press coffee.”

Others agree that the results of the study should be taken with a grain of salt, or perhaps, sugar. Matt Milletto, the Vice President of the American Barista ; Coffee School in Portland, Oregon, told Yahoo! Shine that Greek coffee is usually prepared with sugar. “I doubt that three teaspoons full of white sugar do wonders for your health.”

But, if you don’t suffer from high cholesterol, and you’d like to give Greek coffee a try, you’re in luck: it’s easy to make at home. “This is a regional style of coffee preparation, and could easily be replicated by grinding coffee very fine (on a burr grinder) and bringing the water and coffee to a boil,” Milletto told Shine. “This method dates back to Ethiopia, the birth place of coffee. Coffee does not grow in Greece, so roasted coffee from your local coffee roaster could be a good choice.” ( Healthy Living )

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