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August 2011 (146 posts)
I have a not-so secret confession. I am not a good driver. In my youth, I did some remarkable things with a car including: hitting a gasoline station bollard (but not the gasoline tank!), backing up and up and up and into my parents's house, and—the after-dinner family folklore favorite—turning around a corner too quickly, car flying through the air, landing in a fountain but not taking my foot off the gas, and flying back out of the fountain and...into a large hedge.
None of these accidents resulted in a wrecked car or trauma. They were fender benders. And at my ripe age of 39, I am now a fender bender connoisseur. I drive so slowly that it is impossible for me to do any kind of real damage, yet I still reverse into trees or the headlights/tail lights/bumpers of other cars.
"I'm not a good driver," I mouth into the rearview mirror at the irate parade of other drivers who follow me, their plans thwarted by my 18 miles-per-hour (neighborhood) or 50 miles-per-hour (highway) speeds. "I'm not a good driver," I tell my kids as I triple strap them into car seats that resemble the bulletproof, oxygen-poor, watertight titanium capsules used by Navy Seals to sneak into hostile international waters. "I'm not a good driver," I say as I hand over the keys to my husband, who sighs, rolls up his precious never-to-be-read newspaper and takes over the wheel for 12-hour stretches.
Then, last year, along came Joshua Foer, author of MoonWalking with Einstein, a book that everyone should read if only to understand that, hey, you already are a good driver or typist or figure skater; you simply need to get your brain off the "OK plateau" on which its rests, stymied by its unconscious acceptance of your minor competence. Foer's struggle was with memory. He wanted to remember better in order to compete in a memory competition.
Clearly I could never be a contender in such a competition, as I realized when I stumbled on this revelatory talk of his, about his book that I'd already read. His points made so much sense! And yet, I'd forgotten all of them ! So for all us who need a leg up on basic skills which we want to master, from remembering to driving to knitting, pizza making, and basic knots, here' s a recap courtesy of Behance:
The world is full of loyalists: Mac users versus PC users, hybrid drivers versus SUV drivers, fliers who check luggage versus fliers who carry on. To this venerable list of life debates, I'd like to add: lipstick wearers versus lip gloss wearers. Lipstick, the lip glossers claim, is too dry to go on smoothly and looks too loud and bright. My all-time favorite complaint, uttered by an old college friend: "It feels like nail polish on my mouth."
Which is why I put this lipstick to the test, handing out tubes to a few colleagues at O—all of whom were die-hard gloss fans or didn't wear lip color at all. After one day, they were hooked. The reason? The sheer formula went on like a moisturizing balm, while the micro-mirror pigments added some shine, but it didn't make anyone feel gaudy or overdressed. At last, some middle ground....when it comes to lips, at least.
See our 6 must-haves from the collection
Check out a bowl that mixes Missoni mystique with a Target price
Extend your summer tan (which you still managed to get even though we know you applied your sunscreen religiously) with this heart-stamped, shimmery bronzer. Swirl the different tones together with the brush that comes conveniently stored beneath the powder, and sweep it under your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose and across your forehead for a streak-free, sun-kissed look. For a rosier effect, dab your the bristles into the bright pink and pop this color on the apples of your cheeks. Bonus: this bronzer is scented with violet floral notes to invigorate your senses and lift your spirits (even on a manic Monday).
Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Bronzer, $14.
Soothe dry skin for a cause
Get 30 wearable colors for under $30
We love these brushes created by makeup artist Samantha Chapman (best known for her YouTube channel, Pixiwoo) not only because they're cruelty-free and ultra-soft, but you can score the entire set for under $20. All the tools you need for a weekend away come in a sleek case (so the bristles don't get twisted or crushed in your suitcase) and serve multiple-purposes (use the brush with the orange handle for foundation and concealer, the purple for shadow or under-eye concealer, and the pink for bronzer, powder, and blush). Plus, the synthetic bristles work with powders or creams and don't absorb as much product as natural ones, meaning that less of the color gets stuck on your brush, and more ends up where it belongs—on you.
Real Techniques Travel Essentials, $18
Watch Chapman create a day-to-night tutorial with this brush set by clicking here.
Get Adam's travel checklist
Watch another YouTube sensation, Lauren Luke, apply false lashes
7 things never to wear to the airport
By now, most of us have heard of Outsider artists—artists who create works without any formal art instruction or ties to museums or galleries. Recently we discovered Jerry Gretzinger, who maybe an Outsider, but who can articulate his vision so that anybody can see—feel—the importance of his work. In his Vimeo clip, Jerry describes the map he has been making in his basement since childhood, a map of an imaginary world filled with cities, farms, roads, woodlands, and just about every feature the regular word possesses.
True, not everybody can spend their days working on painting, and if we did, we might create something whose progress is not solely dependent on the shuffle of a deck of cards. Still, there's so much to be inspired by Jerry's dedication (note: the map now has 2,000 panels) and ideas. What struck us most, however, was the void, the mysterious white splotch that threatens to block out his map.
"There is one defense against the creep of void," Jerry says. "There is a...wall, and part of it has been built around...the biggest city on the map." This is complicated. If we think of the void as a threat to the world of Jerry imagination, something that will wipe his map out, then drawing a big stone wall may be an excellent idea in order to protect his creation and his creativity. But what if the void is something else? Inside the white void, Jerry also says, "is a bud of gray...it's a whole new world for me." So perhaps by building a wall, he's limiting his own progress, by denying the end of his old map and the start of a new one.
Our takeaway: We all have a void of some kind or another—a problem, a fear, a worst-case scenario, something that seems to threaten what we've spent so long creating. Maybe the first step to being less afraid of it is understanding that, in certain cases, destruction may be just want we need to move on.
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we’ve got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #21: Giving back has never been easier.
30 days of makeovers
Skip the beach for a volunteer vacation
5 ways to use your professional skills to give back
Ways for children to volunteer
The weekend is within reach...let these little splurges make getting there more fun.
Encore Prints, $10. Get a motto for our modern times printed on a page from a vintage book or an antique dictionary.
Mimi Miniature Pyramid Stud Earrings, $16.10. These posts—embedded with a dainty faux diamond—are equal parts rocker and sophisticated.
Totes Bubble Umbrella, $17. Sometimes you need personal space—especially during a downpour on a crowded sidewalk.
Fila by Pierluigi Rolando Athletic Gear, $58-70. Get in the swing of things with this 70s-inspired workout wear splashed with prints by famed designer Pierluigi Rolando.
Get more of Adam's great advice:
Try shoes that feel like you're barefoot
Flatter your athletic figure with 4 small alterations
How to dress 10 pounds lighter
I often like to think that I'm different kind of learner. I didn't do particularly well on the SATs before college or the GREs afterward, or even my driver's license test. My children, too, I found, suffered from the same plight. They didn't score well on our city's Gifted and Talented exams, despite my flashcards and enforced workbook sessions. Could it be, I wondered—loudly, repeatedly, insistently, to anyone that would listen—that none of us were wired for important, multiple choice questions? Was it all about how and not what we learned?
Imagine my chagrin at the findings presented recently on NPR's Morning Edition, which suggested that none of us learn particularly differently and that teachers shouldn't alter their teaching styles. Talking to Doug Roher, a psychologist at the University of South Florida, the radio show reported that when it came to learning styles, Roher found no scientific evidence about different kinds of students. "We have not found evidence from a randomized control trial supporting any of these," he said, "and until such evidence exists, we don't recommend that they be used" in the classroom.
But what impressed me most was the opposite idea, presented by Dan Willingham of the University of Virginia who suggested it might be more useful to figure out similarities in how our brains learn, rather than differences. For example, "Mixing things up is something we know is scientifically supported as something that boosts attention," he told NPR.
For me this opened a whole new window of opportunity. My kids and I will now spend 15 minutes learning to advance ourselves in terms of math (them) or bill-paying on line (me), then 15 minutes learning hand-eye-coordination sling-shotting parrots into cargo boxes for points on Angry Birds, then spend 15 minutes picking up Legos (okay, that's not learning, but I like not slipping on a lethally slippery plastic cubes on the way to the bathroom) until, by god, we are all geniuses—or maybe just normal people, trying to pick up what they can, as best they can.