|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
September 2011 (131 posts)
1. Brighten up your go-to jacket with new buttons. Replace boring plastic ones with military-inspired metal versions or colorful, statement-making enamel styles. Hit your local craft store or check out the different shapes and sizes available at any price point on MJTrim.com.
2. Make that short cocktail dress office-friendly. Layer a longer skirt over top and instantly gain a new blouse. Add a waist-cinching belt to complete the look and create the illusion of a tinier waist.
3. Invest in shoe clips instead of splurging on new a pair of heels or flats. We like the vintage styles available on AbsolutelyAudrey.com. They'll make your favorite shoes feel fresh in a snap.
Would you try these ideas? Have any wardrobe refreshing advice of your own?
6 more ideas for amping up your fall wardrobe
Adam's easy update for your basic sweater
5 fast ways to extend your summer wardrobe
Bats Mobile, $25. Danish modernism meets Goth in this take on the classic nursery item.
NASA Sounds, free. Set your ringtone to feature the roar of a space shuttle launch or Neil Armstrong's iconic "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"--or program your computer to broadcast, "Houston, we've had a problem," every time you make an error on your computer.
Cake Knife, $22. With their vibrant, saturated hues and curvy shapes, these utensils would fit right in at the Mad Hatter's tea party.
Tie Dye Hair Ties, $10.50 for 6. Soft, stretchy retro-cool hair ties look as cute around your ponytail as they do on your wrist.
E-Books and Audiobooks, free. If you somehow missed reading 1984, Frankenstein, The Call of the Wild or one of 17 other required-reading titles in high school, this site tells you how to download versions for free, mostly as audiobooks and e-books, and sometimes as movies and radio dramas.
It's happened to most of us. We sit down on a plane or at bus stop or a coffee shop, starting chit-chatting with the fellow passenger or grandma-looking wait
Now there's a site for that, Emotional Baggage Check where you're given a little suitcase into which you can deposit your troubles—and dump them anonymously and without guilt on somebody else. There's also a baggage carousel where other people will pick up your suitcases, read them, and then send you a song to cheer you up (the most popular as of this morning being Keep Your Head Up By Andy Grammer.) Interestingly enough, the first time, I tried the carousel—thinking, hey, lay some problems on me, I can take it today and give back some positive energy—I received a little note saying there weren't enough full suitcases. It occurred to me: Isn't this how it always happens? When you're ready for the tough stuff, it so rarely comes to pass.
Maybe this is why I'm so obsessed with Teenage Bedroom. The tagline: "This blog is my homage to all of us when we were still young and exciting, before we got old and boring." Exactly. Now when I think about decorating my home I lust over Design Within Reach catalogs, not photos of Jordan Catalano. Boooring!
The addictive blog is a mix of current teenagers' sanctuaries and current adult's aging photos of their own rooms as teenagers. One recent post reads: " I have great memories of my friend Steph and I painting an underwater scene on one wall, writing foolish things on my 'graffiti wall' and a giant Barney the dinosaur poster on one of my collage walls. It was a ridiculous bedroom but I loved being allowed the freedom to express myself in whatever way I wanted." Funny how as kids our rooms were our autobiographies, rather than an effort to be tasteful or stylish. Scrolling through the images evokes a shiver of nostalgia. And, I must admit, a dull grownup urge to tell everyone to clean up their rooms.
Read more about decorating:
A teenage bedroom makeover.
Redecorate a bedroom in one day.
Last week, the world went crazy when scientists at UC Berkley discovered a way to use MRI machines and computational models to create images that the brain "sees"—in effect giving us a window on what goes on inside our heads. The video that the research team created, comparing the "pictures" shown to people on a TV screen and the "pictures" inside their minds showed the two to be shockingly—but not completely similar, as you can see below.
Much of the discussion, including this smart, thoughtful write up on Mashable, focused on using this technology to record our dreams and watch them. I'd like to do that too, if only to figure out why I'm always falling off cliffs. But I also wonder what other things would look like, things other than the pop culture and artsy images that the researchers chose. For example, what if we could see an image of how our romantic partners see us inside their brains. Would emotions color those images—blue for "love," say, and green for just plain "like?"
When it came to little kids, we might be huge and towering in their minds. Or to our spouses, we might be revised (hopefully) with bigger smiles or long sexy hair down to our waist. Not to overlook our own cerebral cortex. I'd like to see what my husband and kids look like in my brain. And, while I'm at it, I'd like see what I look like to myself. The plain old mirror, I'm quite certain, will never give me the real big—or inner—picture.
How to listen to your body
What you're really seeing about yourself when you watch TV
For when you need a reminder that the world is a work of art: seeing Rothkos everywhere.
"But for each of us, isn't life about determining our own finish line? This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues." Endurance swimmer (and Life Lift hero) Diana Nyad gives us a new way to think about so-called failure.
The novelist next door: An innovator of Arabic fiction lives in quiet obscurity in Chicago's subsidized housing.
Step away from the magnifying mirror! And 4 other things to avoid if you want to feel beautiful.
The Life-Lifter: "Kids lead a very private life. And I was a typical child (I think). I was a liar. I was out to protect my parents from hard truths." Whether you're a parent or not, you must read this illuminating interview with children's book author Maurice Sendak.
If cupcake icing were an Olympic sport, this is the woman who would win the gold medal. Her name is Leona, and she's the star icer at Magnolia Bakery's Upper West Side shop in New York City. Leona may have been born with the talent, but you can learn to imitate her technique by watching her in action:
A couple of guidelines from Leona:
1. Monitor the icing's texture constantly. You want it just firm enough to shape into swirls, but not too hard. You'll know the icing is too soft when you're making it if it immediately slaps to the side of the bowl (remedy: put the entire bowl in the fridge for five or 10 minutes and try again). If, while you're working, the icing begins to look shiny, the butter is starting to separate and melt. Put it back in the fridge.
2. Store icing in plastic buckets, which are easier to work from than glass bowls are, thanks to their straight sides. You need a clean icing wand to frost the perfect cupcake; a good way to get it icing-free is to wipe it dry along the edge of the bucket after every swipe.
3. To get the air bubbles out, smooth the frosting by sticking your icing wand straight down into the bucket and stirring like mad.
Here's even more advice on frosting cupcakes, plus secrets to making other foods--like cookies, bacon and cappuccino--look as good as chefs' versions.
Cupcakes for every personality
20 favorite childhood desserts (with an adult twist)
A sophisticated take on milk and cookies
Eventually she did have a child of her own who at least had the good manners to be a boy (and not hog the fancy dresses). Still, it was my Aunt Mariana that I thought of when I read Kate Bolick's eloquent piece in the New York Times about aunthood. Bolick suggests that as more woman choose to stay childless, the devoted aunt is becoming an integral element of the modern family. And good thing for kids, since, as she writes, "The aunt exists outside the immediate family unit, ambassador to a universe of other options, as well as — crucially — a grown-up who isn’t an authority figure or disciplinarian." After all, how cool can your own parents be? Realistically, not very.
Today's aunt is less Auntie Em and more, as Bolick puts it, "the glamorously madcap Auntie Mame...Holly Golightly with crow’s feet." There's even an online community for PANKs, or Professional Aunts, No Kids, presumably a far more chic and fun personage than the Professional Mom. Still, Bolick argues that this familial role is underappreciated, and the essay diverts into a terrific rundown of aunthood (or lack therof) in mythology and around the world. But to me it also articulates something about what children (and maybe adults, too) crave in their lives: a relationship defined by "not only passionate love but blessed freedom;" a person who actually has attention for them and them alone.
How to be a super-Aunt: One woman's no-fail advice
Monday is too stressful. Wednesday is already hump day. But Tuesday is "you" day: a day when you have the energy to do—or plan—something fresh and unexpected that might just turn your whole week around.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century, are now online. How to read and interact
with these ancient Hebrew texts—in English.
Wake and smell the joe after work this Thursday, National Coffee Day. How to spike up your night with a killer coffee-vodka cocktail.
Arch West, inventor of the Dorito passed away last week at age 97. How he created the American "Age of the Snack" and how to pay homage with a homemade, healthy version of the nacho-cheese chip.
If you haven't already, try to honor Self-Esteem Month before it ends in three days. How to up your sense of self with a handy, how-to kit.