|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
October 2011 (174 posts)
This happens to me a lot.
Apparently I am indistinguishable from the legions of other shortish bespectacled brunettes rocking cardigan sweaters and canvas tote bags. And, apparently, I'm not alone in being unorginal: Dutch artists Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek have made a career of categorizing people's styles. They choose a setting (Italian cafes, for example, or Beijing campuses) and scope out the streets. Once the patterns emerge -- older ladies in furs, geeks in glasses -- they invite people to be photographed (in their own, original outfits) and eventually create these stunning arrangements of groups of shockingly similar strangers. What's so eerie is not necessarily the accidentally coordinated clothes but the similarities in these people's attitudes (helped along by their matching poses).
You have to see it to believe it: Slate's Browbeat blog has an amazing slide show of the photographs.
The results are as visually striking as they are thought-provoking. We say so much about ourselves, about the way we want ourselves to be, by how we present ourselves to the world. And when we think we're being unique -- check out the groups of identical goths in the slide show! -- we might just be joining up with another, more specific group.
Of course, I'm not the same person as the 9 other bookish ladies who had passed the Greenpeace girl that morning. But I'm not upset that they exist. The world can be a lonely place, and I'm choosing to see these Dutch artist's project not so much as an argument against uniqueness as it is a way to see the connections between us.
Read more on uniqueness:
How to develop a personal look
Celebrate your style like the poets do
The female subjects of the study were photographed barefaced and with three different makeup looks (natural, professional, and glamorous). One test group was shown the photos for 250 milliseconds; the other was allowed to study them for an unlimited amount of time. Both groups rated the women wearing makeup higher on the competence and attractiveness scale than those without it. However, the group given more time judged the subjects wearing the heavier, glamorous looks as less trustworthy and less likable. Sarah Vickery, a scientist and another author of the study, told the New York Times that a dark, shiny lipstick makes a powerful impression, but lighter, less glossy lip colors helps others view you as a more level-headed team player.
While these findings don't exactly prove that the years it took to perfect my liquid liner technique or the fact that I tried every pink lipstick on the market until I found the right shade was time and money well spent, it is interesting to discover that spending more time in front of the mirror in the morning—but not too much time—could earn me more respect at the office and in life.
How one overwhelmed, overworked woman learned how to take time for herself and find balance. (Okay, so it's Beyoncé.)
Whether you're 22 or 52, here is your no-fail plan for better skin.
"Death can't stop true love." Everyone's favorite movie is 25 years old? "Inconceivable!"
This gorgeous stop-animation film will change the way you think about creating your own happiness. And doodles.
The Life Lifter: Fall in love with this video all over again. Dog rescues another dog, warming hearts across the world and making couch-potato pups everywhere look bad.
It seems that mobile phones equipped with digital cameras (and stand-alone versions alike) have allowed everyone to become the star of their own reality show, one where every moment—from enjoying a morning cup of coffee to a play-by-play of a tropical vacation—is documented and instantly uploaded to Twitter and Facebook. I've become so accustomed to seeing these candid shots of friends having the time of their lives (whether the really are or just appear that way before the flash goes off, is still up for debate) that flipping through my grandma's dusty family albums or looking at the portrait of my great-great-great-grandparents that hangs on her bedroom wall is slightly disconcerting; the expressionless faces and rigid poses are creepy and almost zombie-like. And while my grandma has some pretty good stories of all the wild shenanigans they all used to get into (with my great uncle making gin in the bathtub during Prohibition), there isn't even the slightest hint of emotion documented in any of the photos.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find this cache of photos from the early 1900s [via HowToBeARetronaut] that features subjects caught in the act of a genuine smile. While they may not have been considered frame-worthy at the time, the happiness exuded in each photograph (like the one above) is contagious. See the rest of the collection and pass the feeling on.
What makes you smile? When are you happiest?
Check out these surprising smile stats
6 Reasons to smile right now
Happiness: Why it's contagious
A friend’s “like” on Facebook recently caught my eye, in part because it was one of over 250,000 tiny thumbs up this particular post had gotten. What could be generating so much attention? I mean, how cute could this kitten video be? But no, the post was an image of a nude, gorgeous, full-figured model (you have to see the actual photograph; it’s just ravishing, and only slightly NSFW), and a personal anecdote.
The Facebook user was writing about
a sign posted near the entrance of gym. The sign said: "This summer, do
you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"
80,000+ comments follow, many quite passionate, with untold skirmishes and debates unfolding within the thread. How can it be that in this day and age, it’s shocking to say a woman doesn't need to be thin to be beautiful, to see a model who has some curves? And I’m not being PC in my language here—the model is not overweight, just a regular curvy lady who looks like a sleeker version of the bodies I see in the locker room at my gym (which is not fancy enough to feature any sort of metaphor-laden sign). It seems to me that the more actual women’s bodies we see, the more normal and accepting we feel about our own.
As the original post says, "At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends." Amen to that! And please, count me among the whales.
At long last, the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will take place this Sunday (after being postponed due to August's sudden hurricane). If you can't make it to Washington, D.C., you can tune in to the 9 a.m. tribute on PBS, which will include a dedication address by President Obama as well as words from civil rights leaders. We're taking this opportunity to reflect on one of Oprah's favorite quotes from King: "Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve." This reminds us that as we think about how we'll celebrate the dedication, we could also think about what we'll do for our community for the rest of the day, and the rest of the week, and the rest of the year--how we, too, can serve our way to greatness.
You see them every day, pulling out of the driveway in their cars, mowing the lawn, playing with their kids. At night, you see their shadows passing behind the drawn blinds of their homes. They're your neighbors, and you think you have a pretty good idea of what they're all about.
But as Lisa Ling reminds us in her OWN documentary show, we never know what goes on behind their closed doors. Take the couples in this weekend's episode of Our America (it's the Season 2 premiere). One middle-aged husband, Patrick, wears spectacles and golf shirts, and like many men his age, he enjoys photography. His favorite subject these days is his 50-year old wife, Ciara, who dresses up in sheer wraps and Lucite stripper shoes---and then takes everything off (except for the stilettos, that is). Patrick and Ciara are amateur pornographers, and when they're not relaxing by the pool, they're setting up XXX-rated film shoots on the patio and in the boudoir and charging Internet viewers money to watch them. Check out this clip to learn more about the unconventional business that is attracting thousands of unlikely entrepreneurs, and also to get a peek at Ciara's costume closet (regardless of how you feel about her day job, you'll no doubt envy her dressing space):
In future episodes, Ling will examine other American subcultures, like military families dealing with PTSD, and the sex traffickers-next-door (it's not just a big-city problem). After getting a peek into these people's lives, you'll have a hard time talking to your neighbors without looking for clues about their secret life (what's up with all those Diapers.com deliveries, anyway?).
Season 2 of Our America with Lisa Ling premieres Sunday, October 16, at 10/9c on OWN
And what about those who veer off course? Kate Bolick’s thought-provoking and wide-reaching cover story, "All the Single Ladies" in this month’s Atlantic Monthly explores what happens when you discover the truth about yourself, and the truth is that the marriage plot is not the one that works for you.
Bolick examines the ways in which the institute of marriage is changing, noting that the "Leave it to Beaver" model of the nuclear family was only ever a flash in the pan. People are getting married later than ever; more and more women are having babies later or not at all. In her own life, after a breakup at age 36, she had a dream-fueled epiphany: "now that 35 had come and gone, and with yet another relationship up in flames, all bets were off. It might never happen. Or maybe not until 42. Or 70, for that matter. Was that so bad? If I stopped seeing my present life as provisional, perhaps I’d be a little ... happier. Perhaps I could actually get down to the business of what it means to be a real single woman."
As it turns out, being a single woman is not so bad. Bolick writes eloquently about the joys of living "off-script," and asks, in a
world where a woman can financially support herself, has an emotional support
group of peers, and can theoretically have children (whether biologically
or not) without a mate, who needs marriage? As she puts it, "There are many ways to know love in this world." For this writer, accepting the truth that she is probably not going to be one of those
people who follows the traditional Life Path for a Lady set her free to find her bliss.
And this married woman finds that to be deeply inspirational.
When I heard via TechCrunch.com that Panasonic recently debuted a new and improved version of their hair-washing robot—complete with 24 fingers, wetting, shampooing, conditioning and drying functions—I had only one question: "Where do I sign up?" The robot allows you to store your head shape and preferred washing method so that you can repeat your customized experience the next time (all without the chit-chat or leaving a tip). While this miracle of modern science isn't available to the public yet, I can't wait to meet this beauty-bot, not talk about the state of my love life or own up to the fact that I purposely haven't washed my hair in days, and focus solely on its 24 robotic fingers at work.
Unbelievable beauty innovations
How science helped one man find hope
Life lessons from WALL-E