|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
November 2011 (130 posts)
The cutest way to inspire yourself: a kitten every 100 words.
Treat everyone on Earth like you're staying in their home. Especially if you're actually staying in someone's home.
Might as well admit it, the holidays are upon us. Celebrate with a sweet version of a classic song.
The Life-Lifter: Cookies, balloons, and butterflies: How one family memorializes their mother by sharing small, kind gestures with the world.
Catherine Edouard Charlot's Brooklyn studio contains a lot of the things you'd expect to see in a designer's workspace: bright spools of thread, stacked copies of Women's Wear Daily, a collage of magazine photos tacked to a bulletin board. Then there are the 691 umbrellas. Stuffed in bins and strewn in piles on every surface, they range from black nylon throwaways to delicate floral parasols. Many are half-dissected, their fabric snipped from its wire skeleton, awaiting transformation into one-of-a-kind raincoats, totes, and Audrey Hepburn–inspired sheath dresses for Charlot's unconventional fashion line.
Charlot, 46, calls her designs "upcycled" (a term popularized by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their seminal 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle), which means they're not just recycled but made more valuable in the process. In addition to discarded umbrellas (Wall Street is a rich hunting ground), she uses old upholstery, canvas, even yoga mats.
The idea struck her during a rain-soaked commute in 2002. She'd moved to New York in 1994 from her native Haiti, and worked administrative jobs while taking a class at the Fashion Institute of Technology (she'd learned to sew at age 13 in Port-au-Prince). When she couldn't find a waterproof bag, Charlot made one out of an old umbrella. The gray plaid tote was so eye-catching, it inspired her to launch her business, Himane, in 2004 (naming it for her mother back in Haiti).
These days Charlot sells leather clutches and canvas bags at boutiques around New York—but still carries that original plaid tote, frayed seams and all. "I hate to throw things away," she says. "I can't."
Fortunately, though, some types of nuts seem to come with their own alarm that sends you a signal that you've had enough. In a study published in the September issue of the journal Appetite, students who were constantly offered pistachios in the shell consumed 22 percent fewer nuts when the researchers left the bowls of discarded shells on their desks than when they took them away. The researchers think the shells acted as "visual cues" that reminded the students how many nuts they'd already eaten.
This study made us think of boxes of Japanese snacks that contain individually-wrapped serving sizes. It's pretty hard to finish an entire box of soy sauce-flavored crackers when the tiny envelopes keep piling up around you. For almonds and other snacks that don't leave a trace, your best bet is to put a handful in a bag, plate or cup and then hold on to that for a while. Better yet, stick to red pistachios, which not only leave a trail of shells but also stain your fingers a shade we'll call "snack-aholic scarlet."
Why you should eat nuts (the list keeps growing!)
Say what you will about those brighter mornings, come 4:30 P.M, daylight savings time can be a real downer. Those long, dark afternoons and evenings have a way of draining energy and welcoming gloominess. Especially if you're in an office all day, emerging into a chilly pitch-black world can make you feel like, well, not emerging at all.
So while you could fight whatever degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder you suffer with special light bulbs, I'm kind of into just watching this video over and over again. Those bright, shifting vistas! The otherworldly colors! It's like a session of sky therapy, and you can participate before you even leave your desk.
Every Monday, we're rounding up the things, small and big, that make us stop and think. Today, we're inspired by...
Every Monday, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, just in time for Thanksgiving, the subtle, insightful novel:
Love And Shame And Love
by Peter Orner
The multi-generational novel is an American classic (think: Jeffery Eugenides's Middlesex or Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections), and yet, Peter Orner's 439-page ode to one Jewish family in Chicago makes the idea his own. The central story follows the life of dreamy, disconnected Alex Popper, most crucially during his post college affair with practical minded Kit. Along the way, however, we move back in time, exploring the loves and lives of his parents and grandparents, as well as political and social climates of every decade from World War II to present day (the cameo of Walter Mondale eating mini-pizza's in Popper's childhood living room is worth the read alone). Each couple emblemizes the topical relationship of their day—the grandparents who didn't love each other but stayed together, the parents who split in the 1970s, and the young divorce-scarred Popper who doesn't marry but lives with Kit—but with such quirky specificity, their pain is your pain. It's the details, in fact, where Orner seduces—that quiet parade of absolutely wacky and wonderful stuff that's so odd, it must be real even if it's fiction. Poor young, plump Popper is forced to take recorder (not violin) lessons and visit a therapist who stuffs him with potato chips every time he tries to talk about his problems. He waxes poetic about the disinfectant polices at the local pool and Mr. Carl who hands out towels in the high school locker room, shouting out updates about Luke and Laura on General Hospital. At times, the minutiae of the grandparents and parents—old love letters, gangster stories—can make the book drag, but hang in there. Love and Shame and Love is a slow burn with a firecracker at the end—the best kind of firecracker, where you, not the characters, gasp in realization about what we really inherit from the past.
Which Twilight's star has a passion for reading
33 fresh fall reads
She gave us four types of affordable, food-friendly American wines that will enhance any spread, formal or casual. “But if you buy only one bottle, make it pinot noir,” Wines says. “It’s the ultimate Thanksgiving crowd-pleaser.”
“Sparkling wine is necessary for celebratory toasts—and it just happens to be delicious with all types of pre-feast appetizers,” Wines says. Gruet Winery in New Mexico makes a variety of excellent bubblies under $15, and for more of a splurge in the $20 to $30 range, consider Shrumsberg Winery in California. “For a long time it was served in the White House during state dinners, so it’s fun to tell that to your own guests.”
As noted, Wines’s top choice is pinot noir. “An autumnal Oregon varietal pairs so well with dishes like turkey and cranberry sauce, which are hearty but not too rich.” One she likes: Argyle Pinot Noir, which consistently wins awards and accolades but is still priced at around $25.
Happy Friday! We're looking forward to the gratitude event of the year (also, the turkey event of the year), and looking back on a few things we're thankful for.
An easier way to give: Salvation Army kettles now accept credit cards.
Fragrances you always dreamed about, now possible: A perfume that smells like old, dusty books and more.
Now that's a good boyfriend: When his girlfriend broke her ankle, he found a way to give her one puppy an hour.
Feeling burned out, beaten down, or all-around blah? 33 ways to stay creative. (We like number 21.)
How many do you remember? 11 sounds kids today may never hear (except on YouTube).
According to naturalist Mark Derr, there's no real consensus on how exactly dogs evolved from wolves. As he told NPR, Derr himself believes that humans and wolves developed a close relationship after recognizing themselves in each other while hunting on the trail of big game. "[That's when] they started traveling together, and they've been at it ever since," he says. "The dog is a creation of wolves and humans—of two equal beings that came together at a certain point in history and have been together ever since." Of the special love between humans and dogs, Derr said, "I call it a 'deep empathy' between these two species that resonates with each other in a way that makes them comprehensible to each other, even though they don't speak the same language." (Read or listen to the whole piece for Derr's insights on small dogs, special breeds, and the cultural evolution of dogs.)
Two equal beings—that's pretty much what my dog thinks, too. As for the deep empathy, I admit I don't always feel that as I'm tugging her leash away from delicious trash-piles in the park. But if I thought about how close she is to being a wild wolf, I might better appreciate our strange, wonderful, cross-species relationship.
More on dogs:
The story of Rin Tin Tin
Training a dog with love
What dogs can teach us