People — women in particular — have been making themselves up for centuries, often despite fear of public derision and threats to personal health. Makeup has been used as art and artifice, for subjugation and empowerment. Read about how it has changed through the years and how it looks today, as seen in the mirror of The Good Wife. (Open Letters Monthly, The Smart Set)

Blood may be thicker than water, but alcohol is stronger than both. Read about the truth and cliché of vodka in Russia and the hangover left by Prohibition in the United States. (Gastronomica, The Smart Set)

What do you do when you know you’re losing your mind? Read about a journalist who knows Alzheimer’s inside and out and a young, forgetful woman trying to ward it off. (Nautilus, The Smart Set) •

Maren Larsen is the associate editor of The Smart Set. She is a digital journalism student, college radio DJ, and outdoor enthusiast.


I have a poor memory for details. Just about everyone who knows me will say this is true. My husband loves to make me uncomfortable by quizzing me to name the band when a familiar song comes on the radio. He knows I almost never can recall it, even when the answer is ridiculously obvious. My family jokes that they don’t want to be on my team in Trivial Pursuit games. I often struggle to remember the names of books I’ve read, and their endings. The same goes for movies that I’ve watched, and the actors in them. I need a recipe just to make chocolate chip cookies I’ve made 100 times before. I have that constant tip-of-the-tongue problem remembering words.

It’s not that I don’t know anything or that I can’t learn — I know and learn lots, of course. I was a good student during my school days,… More…