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Pop Culture

Female Lebanese dance troupe returns to 'America's Got Talent' with an even more jaw-dropping performance

Howie Mandel called it the 'best moment in AGT history.'

mayyas agt, mayas dance, agt dance

Vegas, here they come!

All-female Lebanese dance troupe the Mayyas returned to the “America’s Got Talent” stage on Sept. 7 with yet another spectacular performance.

If you haven’t seen their first appearance on "AGT," do yourself a favor and watch it. The group, whose name means “walk of the Lioness,” earned themselves a nearly instant Golden Buzzer back in June after promising to “hypnotize” the audience and totally delivering on that promise.

Blending both Chinese and Lebanese folklore, the decadently clad women created mesmerizing illusions on the dance floor all in precise synchronization. Judge Sofía Vergara called it “the most beautiful creative dancing I’ve ever seen.”

The Mayyas certainly perfected their act for the competition’s semifinal, offering a kaleidoscopic display that was nothing short of jaw-dropping.


The group’s presence always has a delightful eeriness, but this time it was downright goosebump inducing—particularly when one dancer transformed her hands into a snake’s head and puppeted a message in Arabic that, according to The National News, translates to: "His soul and my soul, my soul and his soul, saw two souls existing in one body.”

Earlier in the show’s season, the troupe shared that for women in Arab culture, building a dance career was not generally supported. Winning would mean getting a chance to “prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

It seems that breaking barriers is exactly what the Mayyas came to do, and they are undoubtedly succeeding. As soon as their beautiful and chilling act finished, Vergara ran up to the stage to give the dancers a hug. Howie Mandel called the Mayyas the “best moment in AGT history,” saying they “need to be the poster people for female empowerment.

Even Simon Cowell declared that this is a performance that “changes the world.

Countless singers, dancers and variety acts come to “AGT” in hopes to win the ultimate prize (other than the million bucks, of course)—becoming a headline Vegas act.

The Mayyas are well on their way to that coveted destination. But even if they don’t make it to the very end, they have already won in other ways.

Representative image from Canva

Because who can keep up with which laundry settings is for which item, anyway?

Once upon a time, our only option for getting clothes clean was to get out a bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing. Nowadays, we use fancy machines that not only do the labor for us, but give us free reign to choose between endless water temperature, wash duration, and spin speed combinations.

Of course, here’s where the paradox of choice comes in. Suddenly you’re second guessing whether that lace item needs to use the “delicates” cycle, or the “hand wash” one, or what exactly merits a “permanent press” cycle. And now, you’re wishing for that bygone bucket just to take away the mental rigamarole.

Well, you’re in luck. Turns out there’s only one setting you actually need. At least according to one laundry expert.
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Pop Culture

Artist paints characters as described in books, then shares side-by-side with film versions

He doesn't know who he's painting, and it's fascinating to see who is close and who is way off.

Jazza tries to guess who he's painting based only on written descriptions.

Anyone who's watched a film based on a book has experienced the disappointment of a movie character not matching their imagined version of what a character looks like. Book authors offer descriptions of characters with varying levels of detail, usually just enough to help us form a mental picture or give us necessary information about them, so we may not all imagine them the same way.

Some characters' physical features are crucial to their story, such as Harry Potter's lightning-shaped forehead scar, but some are just an author's attempt to share whatever they themselves imagine a character to look like. There's often a lot that's open to interpretation, though, so it's a bit of a crapshoot whether a film depiction of a book character will match a writer's description of them—or a reader's vision based on that description.

One artist is exploring this phenomenon with a video series in which he paints characters based solely on their written descriptions. Jazza, who has made a name for himself on social media with his creative art videos, is given the features of a character as described by a writer without being told who the character is or where they're from. Then we see how his depiction compares to the character as shown on screen.

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Kampus Production/Canva

How often do you change your sheets?

If you were to ask a random group of people, "How often do you wash your sheets?" you'd likely get drastically different answers. There are the "Every single Sunday without fail" folks, the "Who on Earth washes their sheets weekly?!?" people and everyone in between.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Mattress Advisor, the average time between sheet changings or washings in the U.S. is 24 days—or every 3 1/2 weeks, approximately. The same survey revealed that 35 days is the average interval at which unwashed sheets are "gross."

Some of you are cringing at those stats while others are thinking, "That sounds about right." But how often should you wash your sheets, according to experts?

Hint: It's a lot more frequent than 24 days.

While there is no definitive number of days or weeks, most experts recommend swapping out used sheets for clean ones every week or two.

Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD told Cleveland Clinic that people should wash their sheets at least every two weeks, but probably more often if you have pets, live in a hot climate, sweat a lot, are recovering from illness, have allergies or asthma or if you sleep naked.

We shed dead skin all the time, and friction helps those dead skin cells slough off, so imagine what's happening every time you roll over and your skin rubs on the sheets. It's normal to sweat in your sleep, too, so that's also getting on your sheets. And then there's dander and dust mites and dirt that we carry around on us just from living in the world, all combining to make for pretty dirty sheets in a fairly short period of time, even if they look "clean."

Maybe if you shower before bed and always wear clean pajamas you could get by with a two-week sheet swap cycle, but weekly sheet cleaning seems to be the general consensus among the experts. The New York Times consulted five books about laundry and cleaning habits, and once a week was what they all recommend.

Sorry, once-a-monthers. You may want to step up your sheet game a bit.

What about the rest of your bedding? Blankets and comforters and whatnot?

Sleep.com recommends washing your duvet cover once a week, but this depends on whether you use a top sheet. Somewhere between the Gen X and Millennial eras, young folks stopped being about the top sheet life, just using their duvet with no top sheet. If that's you, wash that baby once a week. If you do use a top sheet, you can go a couple weeks longer on the duvet cover.

For blankets and comforters and duvet inserts, Sleep.com says every 3 months. And for decorative blankets and quilts that you don't really use, once a year washing will suffice.

What about pillows? Pillowcases should go in with the weekly sheet washing, but pillows themselves should be washed every 3 to 6 months. Washing pillows can be a pain, and if you don't do it right, you can end up with a lumpy pillow, but it's a good idea because between your sweat, saliva and skin cells, pillows can start harboring bacteria.

Finally, how about the mattress itself? Home influencers on TikTok can often be seen stripping their beds, sprinkling their mattress with baking soda, brushing it into the mattress fibers and then vacuuming it all out. Architectural Digest says the longer you leave baking soda on the mattress, the better—at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda for some extra yummy smell.

If that all sounds like way too much work, maybe just start with the sheets. Pick a day of the week and make it your sheet washing day. You might find that climbing into a clean, fresh set of sheets more often is a nice way to feel pampered without a whole lot of effort.

CeraVe Skincare/Youtube

"let my cream hydrate you"

Okay, so it’s pretty common for beauty and skincare companies to have celebrities endorse their products. And when it’s not in the form of a social media post, you can bet it’s a highly stylized commercial, where said celebrity—dressed to the nines, hair impossibly shiny, skin flawless—puts on that dreamy voice to tell you all the ways in which this product is the fountain of youth, as they are caressed ever so gently by billowing fabrics draping around them. Maybe, just maybe if you use this product held preciously in their freshly manicured hands, you can get a fraction of their greatness. It’s the epitome of aspirational.

And then there's the Michael Cera CeraVe ad that premiered during the Super Bowl this Sunday.
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Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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Parents are debating over whether to give children "adult" or "baby" names.

The names we choose to give our children can significantly impact their lives. Multiple studies from across the globe have found that a person’s name can influence their employment, social and economic outcomes.

Unfortunately, humans make snap judgments about one another, and having an unusual name can lead people to make unflattering assumptions. “We’re hardwired to try to figure out in a heartbeat whether or not we want to trust somebody, whether we want to run from somebody,” Northwestern University researcher David Figlio said, according to Live Science.

However, an increasing number of parents are giving their children non-traditional names to help them stand out. “Parents are trying to be original, almost branding their kids in an era where names are viewed on the same level as Twitter handles or a website URL,” writer Sabrina Rogers-Anderson said.

Ruby, a mother on TikTok, took a hard stance on parents giving their children names that sound childish in a post that’s received over 11 million views. Ruby says she named her kids as “adults, not babies” hoping they would never “outgrow” their names.

@rubyyvillarreal

TikTok · R U B Y V I L L A R R E A L

“The whole concept when I was trying to look for a name and choose a name for her is I did not want her to outgrow her name,” she said in the viral video. “I wanted the name to fit her as a baby, as a toddler, as a child, and into adulthood. So, it's like I really am happy with what I ended up with naming her and it just fits her so well.”

She captioned the video, “love having nicknames as they are younger and it doesn’t mean they will prefer it over their name as they get older. Just gives them options.”

People in the comments responded with modern names they think that kids will outgrow.

"My name is Koazy and I’m here for a job interview," Stalker joked. "Hello sir, I am Bluey Mason Garrison! I was called in for a job interview last Tuesday," Pastel Purr added.

"I can’t imagine knowing [a] 30-year-old named Emma or Posie," Mikey wrote.

However, a lot of people commented that names that seem like they’ll be outgrown will sound fine in the future when those names are popular with the new generation. “Kids grow up with their generation having their own names on trend. They will be normal adult names when they are grown,” Kerry wrote.

“Names grow with the generation,” Lauren added. “The name Dennis sounded like a baby name once too. Names grow up just like generations.”

@rubyyvillarreal

Replying to @19eighty_5 my kids name and the process 😬 #babynames #nicknames #babytok #adultnames #momsoftiktok #momlife #momtok #pregnancytiktok #toddlersoftiktok #babyname #babyfever

In a follow-up video, Ruby shared the names she gave her children. Her girl is named Karla Esmerelda and her boy is called Deluca.

“I just really liked how simple, how bold, and strong that the name by itself just really kind of is. Doing some research names with the letter K tend to be like very bold and powerful names, so I really wanted it with a K and not with a C,” she said.

She named her son Deluca, after a doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She said she chose the name because there was nothing to connect it to, and it sounded “nice.”


This article originally appeared on 4.26.23