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November 2011 (130 posts)
I like to give the objects in my life names. My station wagon is named Louise (as in: "Please start, Louise"). My rocking chair from childhood is named Baby (as in: "Why is it when Mommy sits down in Baby and relaxes with a nice quiet book, everybody suddenly wants a glass of milk in a Cars 2 cup with a straw?"). My slow cooker is named Sanchez. This is because the first authentically delicious dinner I ever made in it was an adobe-covered pork shoulder that I shredded with a fork and served on warm corn tortillas with a homemade mango salsa. This is also because I need to thank my slow cooker for nourishing my kids and saving my dinners on a daily basis. "Thank you, Sanchez!" sounds a lot better than "Thank you West Bend 5-Quart Oblong-Shaped Slow Cooker."
There was another time, however, when Sanchez and I did not connect. For one long painful year, I made about 52 dishes (one per week) in it, all of which tasted the same. There was tender bland saddle with gravy, tender bland saddle with white wine, bits of tender bland saddle with garlic and mushrooms, and whole tender bland saddle with egg noodles. Some weekends, I would even invite guests over and brag about how easy using a slow cooker was—"Guys, you can sit around drinking wine and cracking jokes with your friends, and when it's time to eat, you just open up the cooker and slop it onto your plates!" But there was always that illuminating moment when we all had sat down, bit into our first forkful of so-called meat and chewed and chewed and chewed, trying to discover any taste in the food at all or any polite adjective that we could use besides "bleck!." Occasionally, I would ask brightly, "Who want seconds?" just to watch the whole table gasp in horror and look guilty down at their still full plates.
It wasn't as though I was in denial about my slow cooker fiascos. I simply had no solution. My life is too insane to spend long hours at the stove, where things catch of fire if you don't pay attention. So I approached the problem the way I do when I have to fix the DVD player—I plugged in a bunch of stuff. I tried ingredients after ingredient into the slow cooker, as well as called in some experts, trying to figure out what kind of foods not just bring out the flavor of dish, but also amp it up to downright delectable. The 7 magical answers (here) will surprise you.
The Secret Ingredients to Transform Your Slow Cooker
Rediscovering the Crock Pot
Anchovies in a stew?
Ha! Boy, am I kidding. Unless pasty flesh, chronically unbrushed hair, and 2-kids-no-sleep-eye-bags have suddenly come into fashion, being just too beautiful is a problem I can only imagine. And let's be honest, it's a problem I'd be willing to deal with.
So why this topic for a photo essay, and why is it so fascinating? For one thing, hello, these images are just fun to look at. And as the site explains, one of reasons why they share these stories in the first place is "to help people understand what it’s like to be someone else. Day-to-day, the reality, not the fantasy. When you’re good-looking, any stranger can tell that you’ve been fortunate. What rarely comes up — for reasons of intimidation, jealousy, or just the fact that it’s not easy for people to talk about being beautiful — are the complications of that good fortune."
No surprise that many of the beautiful people interviewed admit that their looks have opened doors for them. But what I found most affecting were the many young women who said that people assumed they were stupid or unfriendly because of their looks. I mean, I assumed they were stupid and unfriendly even as their quotes were urging me not to. And here's the line that really got me: "So much of my personal value has been placed on what I look like. It’s sad. Looks don’t last. So as I age, will I lose my value?”
It would be strange, actually, now that I think of it, to be a young person just finding her way in the world, and to not have to figure out her place the way the rest of us do. Not only is she beautiful but she's a model, so her beauty is her profession, and not one likely to thrive as she ages. If she's not careful, she may well find herself at 50 or so with few marketable skills, her main "talent," in the eyes of many, faded away. Put that way, it does seem a bit dismal. Thank goodness for my baby weight and mismanaged eyebrows! Perhaps they played a more important part than I thought in helping me to find my way in the world.
Oprah and Cybill Sheperd talk honestly about beauty and aging.
How different cultures define beauty.
Welcome back, Friday. We're so glad to see you, we thought we'd make a list of all the wonderful things we're grateful for this week.
Guaranteed calm: Spending a minute in the quiet place.
Instant karma: Man changes nurse's tire, nurse helps save man's life.
Corduroy lovers rejoice: The biggest corduroy event... well, ever.
In Mexico, angels are on the scene to make the most dangerous places safe again.
On this Veterans Day, we're especially grateful for the men and women who have risked everything to serve our country.
Craving Thin Mints? This new lip balm collection from Lip Smackers might satisfy your sweet tooth—minus the calories. With five flavors scented like your favorite Girl Scout cookies—including buttery Trefoils and rich chocolate and peanut butter Tagalongs—keeping lips moisturized has never been so delectable. And at $1.75 each, you can afford to sample every kind.
A lipstick that feels like a gloss
This month's best beauty buys
Recently a group of Swedish researchers performed a comprehensive study on 21,000 commuters, taking into account the mode of commuting (most by car, about a quarter by public transit) and the length of the commute. As reported in The Atlantic, their findings were that, surprise surprise, long commutes corresponded with decreased sleep. Long commutes—particularly in the 30-60 minute range—were also linked with poor health in general, and increased stress levels. Writer Eric Jaffe explains, "People with a lengthy commute show an increased amount of stress, get worse sleep, and experience decreased social interaction. A commute of 45 minutes carries such a cost to well-being that economists have found you have to earn 20 percent more to make the trip worth it."
In other words, those hours in the car or on mass transit may be weighing you down more than you think.
So you could make it official and move into your cubicle (or shop or school or...). Or, you could try walking or biking to work-- happiness expert Dan Buettner says that "the negative stats about commuting apply largely to car-based commutes, plus you'll get your blood pumping and be more alert when you start your day." Or, even easier, listen to your favorite music during your commute, and try really hard not to think about work during that time. In the words of LLuminari CEO Elizabeth Browning, "Feel the freedom of walking away and going to another area of life." You could also look into having those "Pimp My Ride" guys install a mini-spa and waterfall in the backseat of your Corolla. Just a thought.
More on workplace happiness:
How these women switched to their dream careers.
3 steps to finding the right job for you
Everyone has something to be thankful for, even on the most horrible, terrible, no-good, very-bad day. And remembering what we’re thankful for makes us feel a whole lot better.(That's why every week we make a list of things we're grateful for.) But it turns out it can also improve your health—Ocean Robbins’ comprehensive essay on the Huffington Post explores why.
According to Robbins, multiple studies have shown that when people keep gratitude
journals—writing down one thing they are thankful for every day—they
report more satisfaction with their lives, feel more optimism, feel more
connected with others, and are kinder to the people around them. They even
sleep better and feel more refreshed upon waking. One study even suggested that depressed people showed much lower levels of gratitude than non-depressed people. And you must read the whole essay for the
fascinating formula that predicts whether marriages will fail or flourish.
All it takes is a moment to count your blessings, to tell friends and partners what you appreciate about them. Try it. Look in the mirror and think about something you like about yourself, interrupting the mundane mantra of “Man, the mirror needs to be cleaned. Man, do my eyebrows need some attention...” After all, science has proven that this is good for you. And it’s easier than a sit-up, I’ll tell you that much.
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.
* Remembering Smokin' Joe Frazier, who died this week of liver cancer. His most famous fight, the Thrilla in Manilla against Muhammad Ali, is captured stunningly in this 1975 Sports Illustrated story. (NYTimes; Sports Illustrated)
* Tour the U.K. by bike with these dashing Gentlemen Cyclists. (Gentlemen Cyclists)
* Eddie Murphy returns to the spotlight in this revealing interview. Warning: Language NSFW. (Rolling Stone)
* David Rees searches for answers to the questions that haunt us: "At some point I realized that what had begun as idle curiosity (“I wonder how tall Jake Gyllenhaal is?”) and developed into a quest (“I’ve gotta know how tall Jake Gyllenhaal is!”) was now a high-stakes emotional journey (“Dear God, when will I uncover the truth about Jake Gyllenhaal’s height?”). I longed for closure." (Good)
Do you think hairdressers should be trained on skin cancer as well as styling?
Health screenings: What to get from ages 19 to 91
The fake bake high