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September 2011 (131 posts)
Luckily, dessert master Lisa Yockelson has found a way to celebrate the less-than-ideal, if not the beauty of the jumbled and broken. Her Break Apart Cookies are all sharp edges and un-uniformly sized triangles, trapezoids and parallelograms—the cookie version of peanut brittle. They're also delicious: tender, sandy and crunchy, thanks to a cookie dough that's akin to shortbread, only softer. The combination of that smooth dough, which practically radiates butter, and those unexpectedly jagged edges creates a textural mash up that's wholly original. Yockelson—whose new book, Baking Style, features desserts so pristine-looking that even a "rustic" fig tart doesn't have a fruit out of line—has to admit the delightful relief of her purposefully flaw-filled cookies, "I find them irresistible, really."
It's Friday again! The week breezed by with just a hint of autumn in the air. It also brought us plenty to be thankful for.
Mmm...a 12,000 pound chocolate bar. It still may not be enough for a night with our book club, but it did set a world record.
How to write a moving thank you note, courtesy of Ray Bradbury.
Simple joys still make a big splash: After more than 25 years of restorations, a 1922 carousel reopens today.
Smitten Kitchen’s genius idea for how to transform red wine (and one other unexpected ingredient) into a cake.
You’re so vain: A British school cracks down on mirrors and students say they feel more confident.
It’s a gorilla taking a bath. But we love it.
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. #28: 3 golden rules every couple needs to manage their money—and their money issues.
1. Keep it private.
Making cutting financial remarks in front of friends helps no one. Ditto, ambushing each other in public about big purchases or financial decisions you've made. You'll only alienate your spouse and make everyone else uncomfortable.
2. Remember—yours, mine, and ours.
All family spending and saving should come out of a joint account. Then divvy up anything that's left over into separate accounts that you each manage without input or judgment from the other.
3. Update, update, update.
You handle the monthly bills, your spouse takes care of the retirement accounts. That's fine. But what I will not tolerate is either of you staying in the dark. Sit down and brief each other once a month on the stuff you handle.
30 days of makeovers
9 financial moves all couples should make
Suze answers your top money questions
Everyone has at least one body part that doesn't exactly thrill them. Mine is my calves. I have wide, chunky calves—hunks of muscle the width of some women's thighs, made for running marathons or surging up mountains (neither of which I use them for). Each fall, as I attempt to buy boots—not the galoshes type, the flattering, elegant, go-to-work or go-to-dinner models—I have to endure the raised eyebrow of more than one skinny-legged saleswoman as she struggles and fails to zip them over my below-the-knee bulge. I know I'm supposed to laugh about my calves and accept them as my inheritance from my dad and grandmother, who handed them down, but I can't. They remind me of big canned hams strapped to the back of my shins.
Now along comes Masha Turchinsky a creative producer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art who professes her love for hawkish noses and charts their present throughout history using different pieces of art from the museum's collection. Rather then hide her family's less-than-perfect facial trait, she celebrates it for reasons you'll understand from her video:
Her analysis of J.P. Morgan's approach to his nose ("He chose to emphasis it. This is a powerful man who makes sure we look at his face") led me to briefly muse to how to deal with my calves in a more original and up front way: Paint them red? wear short shorts? Give them sassy, lovable nicknames like Lois and Sherri?
What really gives me pause for thought, however, is Turchinsky's comment about Mary Cassatt's Lady at the Tea Table. "It's interesting" she says, "That you could like everything else except for a nose—and that could render it [the painting] unacceptable." I can't go so far as to say that my dislike of my calves make me want to stick my whole body away in a closet, the way that happened to Cassatt's painting, but I do suspect that fixating on any one part of anything—be it anatomical or artistic—can and does miscolor your perspective of the whole.
For example, the one thing I noticed about the lady in Lady at the Tea Table was her clear, alive blue eyes, and how the light in them highlights the color of the wall behind her. Her nose, to me, was a blob. Her nose was just a piece of her face. Perhaps the key to self-acceptance is treating our legs—and the rest of us—with the same courtesy as we'd give a painting at the Met—by looking for the detail that's beautiful instead of the one that's not, a detail that, in the final analysis, has the exact same power as one that's not, because it can overwhelm and illuminate the entire picture.
Learning to love the gap in your teeth (and other supposed flaws)
Living a mirror-free life
Off the coast of Miami, marine biologists lift a hammerhead shark into their boat and affix a GPS-enabled satellite tag to its dorsal fin. When the 14-footer re-enters the water, Christine Shepard, 22, swims up to it with her video camera—filming alongside a shark more than double her size.
"Once I swam with sharks up close," says the California-born conservationist, "I just fell in love." As the multimedia specialist for the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program (RJD) at the University of Miami, Shepard shoots footage for documentary videos and interactive Web applications—resources RJD hopes will raise awareness about the perils these creatures currently face.
Every week or so, we'll be asking one of the Best Life experts for advice on diet and exercise, ways to get better rest and strategies to live a little younger.
If you have a question, send it to us!
Q: Ask Bob Greene's Team: I only have 30 minutes to work out. How should I use them?
We asked Michelle Kennedy, MS, Best Life fitness expert, to give us four examples of 30-minute workouts:
*A CrossFit-type workout: This routine on the Best Life blog, modeled after CrossFit, involves doing a series of intense exercises, like mountain climbers and squats, as fast as you can in a fixed amount of time.
*Half-and-half: 15 minutes of steady-state cardio like running or bicycling, and 15 minutes of strength training exercises that include Bob Greene's Basic Eight moves.
*High-intensity intervals: In short cardio workouts like these, you alternate sprints and recovery for short periods of time.
*Long sprints: Warm up for five minutes, then run, bike, swim or Rollerblade at top speed for 20 minutes, and cool down for another five.
Can you guess what Kennedy recommends as the best workout for those who are pressed for time?
"If anything happens, we're all going to stay right here with you." Jackie Kennedy's newly released recordings reveal the depths of her devotion to her family on the brink of nuclear war (and moments of unexpected humor too!)
Every week, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. On sale today, the quiet, piercing novel...
By Leah Hager Cohen
The premise: Successful, smart, golden mom Ricky Ryrie gives birth to a baby who, due to a neurological condition, lives for only 57 hours.
What kept us reading, even though we were crying: The author has a wise and thorough understanding of how families grieve—both individually and as a group. As Ricky later describes on a drive home, having witnessed a two-car wreck, "It wasn't as if accidents frightened her more now. It was that they made her feel more tired, as if by possessing a fuller understanding of the complexities of loss, she could not help experiencing more particularly the losses of others."
The side character you'll long to pick up off the page and hug: Biscuit, the young daughter of Ricky, whose confused, numinous imagination tries to make sense of what is happening to her family. A window into her mind, as she looks at the fire in the fireplace on the night the baby is born: "The false embers glowed like a tiny city half-hidden in the grate. In that city was a building, in that building was a room, there her mother lay in a bed with nurses bustling softly around it."
The one chapter you absolutely must read, even if you don't buy the book and only go to the bookstore and flip through it: The prologue, pages one through four.
The message behind the novel, as written by the author in a nonfiction essay about her real-life miscarriage: "Isn't it a funny and fine thing to realize: that being whole nearly always requires not just the tending of ourselves but the tending of our bonds with others?"
18 new books to read this month
The short story collection for every woman who was once a girl
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* Want to know what he’s really thinking? This self-portrait of a single guy is simultaneously heartbreaking and heartening, not to mention funny. (The Awl)
* Swiss artist and comedian Ursus Wehrli calls his work—which involves alphabetizing the pasta in alphabet soup and disassembling pine branches and laying each needle out individually—"advanced tidying up." We call it awesome. (Krulwich Wonders)
* “I had what I think we literary types call an epiphany. My father was a fan.”—Novelist John Warner's moving essay about his father is worth reading if you have ever lost a parent or had a hard time grieving. (The Millions)