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Wine Run in Moldova – I Ran Through the World’s Largest Wine Cellar

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At the starting line, I stamped my feet in the snow and repeated this mantra: ‘There’ll be hot wine at the end.’ The promise of plentiful wine, local color, and a unique experience had drawn me to travel on a bitingly cold, gray January weekend to Moldova, one of the least-visited countries in Europe. I was running the Mileștii Mici Wine Run, a 10k race through the world’s largest wine cellar. With a total 125 miles of underground passages, there’s plenty of room to stage an ultra here; the 10K Wine Run explores a mere fraction of the tunnels.

Conditions during the race can swing from an icy sub-zero to a balmy 57 degrees, so that morning I dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, arm warmers, a balaclava, and gloves before boarding the race bus in front of the State Circus, a hulking Soviet modernist landmark on the dreary industrial outskirts of the capital city of Chişinău. During the 10-mile drive to the Mileștii Mici winery, the aging bus slid around on the icy roads, its fogged-up windows obscuring the landscape into vague, white-covered shapes.

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019.

Runners board busses bound for the winery.

Monique Jaques

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019.

Wine Run volunteers wear traditional costumes and dance with runners to keep them warm.

Monique Jaques

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019.

Before and after the race, wine is served.

Monique Jaques

Outside the castle-like walls of the winery, men chopped wood and lit fires, while young locals in traditional dress spun arm-in-arm to energetic Eastern European pop music to keep the runners entertained (and themselves warm). I jogged a few lengths up and down a snowy road before lining up with the 350 other participants, eager to start moving. Just after the starting gun fired, I felt something cold and wet hit me. I thought the spectators had tossed snow at us, until the scent of wine reached my nose. Moments after that celebratory spray, we entered the tunnels. Asphalt gave way to muddy cobblestones, mounds of dust, and uneven dirt track—much of it dimly lit.

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019.

A man dressed as King Stephan, a national hero and historical figure, poses for photos in front of a map of the race course.

Monique Jaques

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019.

In addition to the underground cellar, the race has two outdoor segments .

Monique Jaques

The squiggly-lined map we were given in our race packs hardly did justice to the convoluted, labyrinthine route, which twisted, turned, and doubled back on itself over and over. I quickly lost all sense of whether I’d been down a particular corridor before or not, or if the people running towards me on the opposite side of the tape divider were ahead of or behind me in the race.

With its varied terrain, 85 to 95 percent humidity in the cellars (it keeps the wine corks from drying out) and undulating course—the tunnels go as deep as 280 feet and there are two outside segments, including a snowy climb to a water stop at the top of a hill—the Wine Run isn’t a PR machine. It is, however, ideal for letting go of pace and running by feel. GPS is useless underground, and there aren’t any mile markers along the route, adding to the delirious disorientation.

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019.

Wooden barrels hold locally produced wine as it ages.

Monique Jaques

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019.

Volunteers in traditional dress sing and dance, cheering on runners.

Moniques Jaques

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019. 

All runners are required to have a headlamp to participate in the race.

Moniques Jaques

Music and cheering echoed through the tunnels as I ran past some of the 1.5 million bottles of wine stored in the cellars, plus huge oak wine barrels and metal tanks, some so rusted they looked like barnacle-encrusted relics retrieved from the bottom of the sea. Around one corner, a troupe of babushkas—older women in headscarves—clapped and sang to traditional fiddle and accordion music. At another, young women in embroidered vests and long layered skirts waved flowers and doled out high fives. In front of a lit-up subterranean waterfall, dancers twirled in flamenco-style dresses.

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019.

Participants pose with “King Stephan” and receive medals and wine.

Monique Jaques

Participants at the Mileștii Mici 10k wine Run in Mileștii Mici, Moldova on January 20th, 2019.

After finishing, participants eat snacks and receive a celebratory glass of wine.

Monique Jaques

Upon reentering the tunnels after the second outdoor segment, I started to run harder. As my legs began to burn, I wondered if I’d kicked it in too soon—I estimated there was about 4km left, but there was no way to know for sure, and the out-and-backs in the dark cellars seemed to go on endlessly. Suddenly, I rounded a corner and was met with a sea of glimmering gold. The finish line was in sight, and beyond it, a banquet table surrounded by wine-drinking runners cloaked in gold foil blankets, still crowned with their head torches, descending on the pastry-laden buffet like ravenous medieval kings.

The 2020 Mileștii Mici Wine Run will take place on February 9.

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12 Best Soaps for Men 2020

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You may not have thought about bar soap in a while, except when you’re suddenly confronted with it in a hotel room shower or a guest bathroom. It seems retro, like something you used when you were taking baths as a kid, but we say it’s time to re-examine the power of the bar.

Body washes may be exceedingly popular among men, especially those who struggle with dry skin, but the kind of clean you get from a bar soap is second to none. While they are not self-cleaning as Joey Tribbiani once claimed, they get the job done with less mess and can last longer than a bottle of wash.

Plus, in our current age of sustainability and eco-friendliness, bar soaps come with less waste. Think about it: they’re smaller, you can use them till they’re completely gone, and there is no plastic bottle to throw into the recycling bin when you’re done. Many soap companies are even changing their packaging to make bar soap an even greener option. In short: there is no way Greta Thunberg uses body wash.

Bar soaps are versatile and can be great for you no matter what your skin type. You can find a soap for oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, and everything in between. Check out the 12 best bar soaps and we promise, you won’t go back to the bottle.

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Baxter of California Vitamin Cleansing Bar

baxterofcalifornia.com

$18.00

One of the biggest complaints about bar soap is that they can make your skin feel too dry; not this one. It contains sunflower oil and glycerin to keep your skin hydrated and smooth all over. Plus, the citrus and musk fragrance is one of our favorite men’s scented soaps.

Method Men Sea + Surf Exfoliating Bar Soap

Exfoliating bar soaps have a little grit in them to help smooth away dry, dead skin cells and leave your body feeling clean and fresh. This one contains minerals, instead of microbeads (better for the environment) and the scent is fresh without being overpowering. 

Dove White Beauty Bar

This dermatologist-endorsed bar is one of the best for your face, but here’s a secret: you can use it all over your body, too, especially if you have sensitive skin. It’s contains gentle moisturizing ingredients that hydrate and clean skin without overstripping it.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Gentle Cleansing Bar

Another soap bar that can be used on your face as well as your body, this one includes colloidal oatmeal, which is known for its skin-soothing properties. It’s ideal if you struggle with sensitive or dry skin and other skin issues like eczema.

Beekman 1802 Goats Milk Bar Soap

Beekman soaps are hand made from natural ingredients. The brand says goat milk is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, which means it may help calm irritated skin while cleansing. All we know is that it smells damn good and leaves you feeling clean AF.

The Rich and Clean No 09 Bar Soap

therichandclean.com

$12.00

For guys with oily skin or who sweat a lot, the charcoal in this soap helps soak up excess oil and leave you fresh without that telltale tight feeling. The Japanese peppermint is said to help curb oil production, but also gives this soap a bite of fresh, but not overpowering, fragrance.

Caswell-Massey Cold Cream Luxury Bath Soap Set

Triple milled soap is known for its silky-smooth texture and it cleans effectively with less lather (which can strip away your skin barrier). The natural vegetable base of this soap is gentle enough for all skin types and the subtle almond fragrance smells fresh, without being in your face.

Ursa Major Morning Mojo Bar Soap

It’s called Morning Mojo, because the peppermint and eucalyptus fragrance in this soap gives you a jolt of clarity in the morning, even before you have your first cup of coffee. It has grit to it, but doesn’t feel rough on your skin, thanks to moisturizing honey and coconut.

PLANT Apothecary BE GENTLE Organic Bar Soap

This soap is heavy on the shea butter, which is great news if you have dry or sensitive skin. The ingredients are naturally-derived and sulfate-free, but still gives enough lather to adequately clean your whole body.

Oars + Alps Natural Moisturizing Alps Bar Soap

Want to smell like you just got back from a hike through the Rockies? This soap delivers a woody, outdoorsy scent that says “I’d rather be exploring.” It also contains shea butter, so it’s gentle on even dry skin.

Ethique Pumice, Tea Tree, & Spearmint Bar Soap

Ethique has every kind of bar you could imagine (even shampoo and conditioning bars), but we like this exfoliating and clarifying bar because it helps get rid of dead skin cells and excess oil at the same time. It’s ideal to keep in your gym bag for a refreshing post-workout shower.

Lush Karma Bar Soap

This handmade soap sounds like it would be overpowering, but it also has citrus which helps temper what could otherwise be a heavy fragrance. Bars are made fresh with natural ingredients and last for months.

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‘The Goop Lab’ Review – Inside Gwyneth Paltrow’s Netflix Series

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A few weeks ago, I passed along to a friend some CBD lip balm that had come across my desk. “Sure, I’ll take it,” the friend said. “And remind me—why would I want CBD in my lip balm?”

The best I could come up with was a shrug, because the mountain of evidence that backs up what it could do in a lip balm is pretty much flat ground right now. But people buy it. It’s trendy. They’re curious. They want to feel better, look better, be better.

Which is probably one of the reasons people are also tuning in to The Goop Lab, a 6-episode Netflix show that launches today, billed as a series “guiding the deeply inquisitive viewer in an exploration of boundary-pushing wellness topics.” It’s by Gwyneth Paltrow’s “lifestyle brand” Goop, of course, and the 30-ish minute episodes feature its staffers trying trends like psychedelics, cold therapy, energy healing, anti-aging, and psychics. It also explores female pleasure (hopefully not just a trend).

There are plenty of jabs you can take at the series, especially given Goop’s history of being slapped with penalties for making false claims about the products it sells (the essential oil that claimed to help prevent depression and the infamous Jade Egg). But passing on egregiously bad “facts” isn’t really one of them. In what’s probably a smart move for the company but a less helpful one for viewers, there aren’t a lot of them. In the first episode, staffers fly to Jamaica to take psilocybin—magic mushrooms—after a brief interview with the executive director of MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) Canada, who outlines some legit findings about psychedelics (sure, it could go deeper, but it’s not claiming to be an investigative show). Their experience is interspersed with testimonials (positive! Whaddya know!) by other people whose lives have been transformed by psychedelics.

The trouble is that when the Goop starts—with the cast in the mushrooms episode imbibing and then crying, hugging, wow-ing over the clouds—you just don’t care. All you see is a bunch of willowy superpeople trying this trend as if it were another hoodie from Supreme. The crying, the writhing, the exaggerated comforting hugs feel like an endless scroll through the narcissistic Instagram feeds that make you say, “Oh, congrats! You took another picture of yourself!”

Which can turn the very real quest for feeling better and doing better into a potentially exhausting try-the-trend circuit—or a potentially expensive buy-the-trend circuit, conveniently available on Goop.com. Which may be why, no matter how many times her elegant wrists get slapped, people keep coming back for more Gwyneth, more Goop, more stuff.

Maybe so many people love/hate The Goop Lab and Gwyneth because it’s the symbol of the thing we want to deliver but never quite does. It’s the thing that left us with an empty wallet and an empty spirit but a smoldering desire to have abundance in both. There it is, the empty tube of CBD lip balm (or roll of CBD toilet paper, or CBD hair products) that’s still making you scratch your head about what it does. Meanwhile, you’re suffering under your workload, your mom has dementia, that pain in your back keeps getting worse, and you can’t afford PT.

For a moment, The Goop Lab might take your mind off all that, if you can stand the Goopy patina of perfection, the peek into “real” experiences that feel as authentic as reality TV does. But at the end of the day, or the end of the episode, you’re still left wondering, “now, why do I need this?”

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James Corden Doesn’t Always Drive During Carpool Karaoke

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  • A behind-the-scenes video revealed that James Corden doesn’t actually drive during his Carpool Karaoke segments.
  • The fans are betrayed. The fans are angry. The fans feel lied to.
  • This is their story.

    Update: January 23, 4:28 pm

    The Late Late Show has released a statement about Corden’s Carpool Karaoke segment: “James always drives during Carpool Karaoke. However, on the rare occasion when there is a stunt component and the producers feel it is unsafe to drive, we will use a rig (tow).”


    January 22nd was a pretty nice day, full of promise and hope—until Twitter user @zolihonig revealed that James Corden is NOT actually driving during the ever-popular and Emmy-winning TV segment Carpool Karaoke, and he actually just pretends to drive while his shiny black Range Rover is actually pulled around on the road by a truck in front of it.

    But how could this be? We’ve seen Corden turn the wheel. We’ve seen him put his foot on the brake. We’ve even seen him, like, swerve out of the way of some unseen obstacle. Well, my dear reader, it turns out that Carpool Karaoke is Corden’s finest acting job since his role as Bustopher Jones in Cats.

    Fans were shocked at the news, and they made sure that betrayal was heard online:

    But even in the midst of all of this outrage, there were a number of people that were like “dude, why would you ever think he was actually driving?”

    While they are actually 100% right, and safety should always comes first, it still stings to know that Mariah Carey wasn’t really driven around by Corden, or that Michelle Obama had to smile and laugh through a fake car ride. And poor, poor Paul McCartney. Doesn’t Sir Paul deserve to be actually chauffeured around?

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