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October 2011 (174 posts)
I was suffering from a bit of the mid-morning-Internet-stupor blahs when I came across this astounding aerial photo from NASA. Here is India, celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights. According to Wikipedia, Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. (So, it's Hanukkah with a different lighting technique and curry instead of latkes? Sign me up.)
But to me this photograph is also a lesson in how a small gesture can make a big impact when seen from afar. A person lights a lamp, shares a sweet. Helping a neighbor with her groceries, paying a stranger's parking meter, sharing kind words on the street or across the Internet. These little things we do, small kindness we can choose to create (or, alternately, tiny seeds of bad feeling we can spew when we snap at a waiter, scowl at a coworker)-- they seem to be such insignificant moments. It's when we take step back that we see the cumulative effects. Look around you--everyone is a little light. Imagine how beautiful we are from the sky.
Tiny tweaks that can change your life
Adventures in Kindness: Be Excellent to Each Other
What Oprah knows about small gestures with big impacts
The NBA meets Billy Elliot: This tough guy's new pound-dropping, muscle-limbering workout regime is...ballet.
"Like every romance, and every reading list, it felt like our own." When books double as love letters.
Shop for the life you have, not the one you imagine. 3 smart ways to streamline your wardrobe (and cut down closet clutter).
Tutus, hip-hop, and pure joy: Two the most confident little girls we've ever seen upstage Ellen DeGeneres.
The Life-Lifter: After going missing at JFK airport over 2 months ago, Jack the Cat has been found!
Join the fight against breast cancer while treating yourself (or your mother, aunt, or a friend) to something special.
Diptyque’s Mini Pink Rose Candle smells just like a real bouquet but lasts a lot longer (it burns up to 60 hours). And it will fill any flower-loving friend's bedroom or bathroom with a romantic fragrance that isn't powdery or overly sweet.
Or try Sarah Swanson's Sealed with a Kiss 3-in-1 Soy Candle. Not only will the blend of botanical oils (including lemongrass, lime, blackcurrant, patchouli, and sugarcane) soothe your senses, but the warm wax can be used as an at-home paraffin treatment. After the flame is extinguished, dip your fingers into the wax to moisturize dry cuticles, or massage it onto dry heels and elbows.
$32, DiptyqueParis.com; 20 percent of proceeds goes to the Pink Agenda or $32, SarahSwanson.com; 20 percent of proceeds goes to Women At Risk Breast Cancer Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
19 pink buys that give back
5 new breast cancer breakthroughs
The Fall Peanut Butter
You could easily mistake the menu from Chef Stella's in Summerville, S.C., for an ice cream parlor. It makes peanut butters flavored with fruits like blackberry, black currant, kiwi and strawberry; as well as spreads that draw inspiration from frozen dessert classics such as praline, coconut and coffee (actually, Chef Stella uses espresso in its peanut butter for an even bigger punch). But it's the subtly-flavored Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter we're loving right now, perfect on top of pancakes or waffles.
The Sweet Tooth's Peanut Butter
There are a number of white chocolate peanut butters on the market, but we've fallen hardest for Nutty's Old Fashioned White Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter. (And we're apparently not alone: The company makes more than 12 flavors, from date walnut to mint chocolate chip, but white chocolate is its bestseller.) Nutty's, located outside Dallas, melts white chocolate into freshly milled peanut butter while it's still warm, lets it cool, then adds more white chocolate chips. The result is sweet, smooth and delicious.
The Maximalist Peanut Butter
Saratoga Peanut Butter Company's Adirondack Jack is like trail mix in a jar. A 50/50 blend of almonds and peanuts gets amped up with sweetened cranberries, sunflower seeds, honey, flax seeds and cinnamon. Surprisingly, though, it isn't overly cloying. And if you're going to eat any peanut butter straight out of the jar, this is it. No pretzels, bread or crackers necessary.
My husband recently met a couple at an event
and complained, “They had this cool last name”—we’ll say "Darling," although it’s
actually even cuter than that –“but it turned out they’d made it up.” This,
we agreed, was cheating. As people with awkward and difficult-to-spell last
names, we have a certain chip on our shoulders. Why should a couple
get to breeze through life saying, “Darling!”, just because they feel like it?
“After all,” I said, “a family name is about your family, not about sounding cool.” My husband proceeded to clear his throat for the next half hour or so. As he didn’t need to point out, I hadn’t taken his name. I had very good, semiotically sound reasons for this that had to do with identity and feminism...and not wanting to fill out name-change forms.
In Anne Peterson's great essay on the Huffington Post, she muses over how much she's always loved “the distinguished tradition of a name like Peterson: a moniker for mustachioed Vikings and meatball connoisseurs with blonde braids.” She never thought she would change her name when she married—the very idea seemed retrograde. And significantly, she was not exactly in love with the sound of her fiance’s last name. “Saying it is like eating a handful of sand. It gets caught in your throat like a partially chewed piece of flank steak.”
Is it wrong to pick and choose a married name based on whether you like it or not? So maybe your husband’s name seems a little awkward, or doesn’t really go with your first name. How do you think Lauren Bush Lauren feels? Should the unity of your family be held above paltry matters like aesthetics? I admit that the idea of creating a new name altogether appeals in a way, eschewing issues of identity and awkwardness and starting fresh, the way our ancestors did at Ellis Island, only on purpose.
Anne Peterson decided to change name after all, though she notes, “A piece of my identity is gone.” For the record, this is why I haven’t changed my name, even though it doesn’t match the family’s and causes the doctor’s office to think I’m the babysitter and makes addressing mail to us baffling. It’s an identity thing. Even if my darling were a Darling, I swear my choice would have been the same. I think. Probably.
Happy Birthday Box, $9. This is the under-$10 birthday gift that works for everyone--provided they’re under the age of 100. The top of the box has “99” written in what look like digital clock numbers, so you can mark out the necessary parts with a black Sharpie to personalize the recipient’s age.
Dogbrella, $30. Yes, other dogs will think your pup’s a diva when they see her strutting down the street with her own personal umbrella (it’s built into the leash). But just think: No messy shake-off once Fido gets back in the house.
Pumpkin Gutter, $10. This weekend, when you’re staring down a thick-skinned pumpkin you want to turn into a jack-o-lantern, bring in the big guns, aka this tool. It fits into any standard drill and quickly cleans out the squash. Plus, it keeps your hands out of the slime, so you don’t mess up that candy-corn manicure.
Gummylamp, $28. All of the cuteness, none of the stomachache. Squeeze this giant Gummybear’s belly and a high-powered LED light switches on, illuminating the immediate space around you.
Glass-Cleaning Brush, $8.50. Hard-to-remove lipstick marks lift right off of wine glasses with this dual foam brush, which hugs the glass’s rim to remove smudges, yet is gentle enough for your thinnest Champagne flute.
As it turns out, siblings may have a larger effect on our personalities and lives than any of us suspected. Jeffrey Kluger, author of the new book The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, recently told NPR, "siblings are the longest relationships we'll ever have in our lives. Our parents leave us too soon, our spouses and our kids come along too late." Assuming everyone lives long enough, our siblings are the only people who know us our entire lives.
So what if you never knew your siblings, only meeting them as adults? Do they have the same effect on you as if you'd grown up together bonding over great games such as "Why are you hitting yourself?"
You don't have to be a Nobel Prize winner to be great: Do small things with great love.
Pea green! Poppy red! What happened to awesome car colors? The answer might surprise you...
Be creative today: the 40 Sentences Challenge inspires and connects aspiring writers.
A free wardrobe update that happens to also be really fun.
The Life Lifter: This blind high school student runs races and challenges assumptions, with the help of a (very adorable) canine companion.