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January 2012 (141 posts)
Maybe I read too many haunted house books as a kid, but there's always something about an abandoned building that makes me shiver. It's so sad to see a storefront, once some entrepreneur's hard-won dream, empty and shuttered; depressing to visit a city neighborhood and realize there's nowhere to buy an apple. So I love this photography project envisioned by Emily Schiffer, called See Potential.
A public arts initiative, See Potential seeks to take vacant lots and abandoned buildings and transform them with large-scale photographs portraying healthy food shops or community gardens. According to the website, "In the South Side of Chicago, a lack of access to affordable, healthy foods is holding a community captive to circumstance."I love the idea that these large photo installations not only create striking images, transforming dilapidated buildings into art galleries, but also encourage the community to appreciate the potential of where they live (and get involved themselves by contributing photographs and ideas). Here is art that not only comments on a problem but seeks to transform it. It's gutsy, it's exciting, and it's a call to action to see the potential in even the most depressed of places.
Higher in protein than most grains, quinoa has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture. Rinse a cup of quinoa in a strainer first, then add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes, and fluff with a fork. O mag assistant editor Rachel Mount likes to stir frozen blueberries and coconut butter into the warm grain; the fruit melts and turns the dish deep purple.
Joy in 112 seconds: What your books do when you go to sleep.
"Eventually, most of us learn valuable lessons about how to conduct a successful and satisfying life." Before it's too late—what are your life lessons?
We've all been there..."I like you better on Facebook."
The Life-Lifter: “I don’t know how to thank each one of you, properly, for so much love during this difficult incident in my life." The model who lost her hand and eye in an accident last month reaches out to the people who have helped her.
There are many aspects of winter that I find uninspiring—the dark evenings, the hours spent wrestling kids into coats—but the phenomena of Ice Palaces is simply not one of them. How often, in our daily lives, do we get to visit such magical places, twinkling and sense-defying and straight out of fairy tales? As a graduate student in tooth-crackingly-cold Minnesota I used to visit the St Paul Winter Festival's Ice Palace and marvel at all the work that had been put into a structure that would exist for just a few weeks, like those ambitious World's Fair Exhibitions they used to make back when people had attention spans.
Of all the gorgeous pictures on the internet of incredible structures made of ice (and to be sure there are many!), I'm most moved by Brent Christensen's Silverthorne Ice Castle, a cavernous, surreal-looking place that looks as if it were constructed by an army of icy elves, or else appeared on its own in an enchanted forest. Apparently neither of these is true, and it was instead put together by Christensen, using, amazingly, only ice and water. Just look at these photos, and then think for a minute about how painstakingly this beautiful thing has been put together, how much work Christensen has put into it, all so that people can visit, feel enchanted, and then the whole thing can melt away like a mandala.
Every Monday, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, the unique short story collection:
In this collection of eight vivid stories, Melissa Pritchard introduces you to the most fascinating people you've never heard of, placed in situations that seem stolen from fairy tale...except that they really happened. For example, meet Norbert Pearlroth, the researcher for Robert LeRoy Ripley (as in: Ripley's Believe it or Not) who spent a lifetime in the New York Public Library, leafing through 364,000 books into order to come up with earthy splendors like a timetelling horse and a world champion chicken picker. Or Pelagia Ivanovna Surin Serebrenikova, a 19th century holy "fool" of a girl who spun around Russia, raising her skirts to every man in town (only to become, later, a local saint). The star of the book, however. is ho-hum Captain Brown who is put in charge of the Royal Victoria Hospital during the invasion of Normandy in World World II—a mammoth dinosaur of a building with therapeutic swimming pools and a museum-quality taxidermy collection, but no heat or medication. Brown's efforts to save not just the American and English wounded, but also the life of a female French Resistance Fighter—end up presenting him with the hardest kind choices: to love or not to love, to be courageous or sit by. Though all the stories in the collection display the whimsy and intelligence of a writer at the height of her powers, there is novel in the short tale of Captain Brown, one that illustrates how even the most ordinary feelings are sufficiently fantastical to transform a life.
January's best reads
Novels to inspire a new you in 2012
"Won't you sing a quirky ballad just for me?" If you're going to ask out a celebrity, this is the way to do it.
This company has discovered an ingenious (and beautiful) way to increase productivity.
Here's one way to get kids excited about school: awesome teacher flash mobs!
Everyone's favorite YA heroine Matilda would totally use snail mail, and she would totally use the new set of postage stamps celebrating Roald Dahls' best-loved novels.
Why the foundation of a fresh financial start has nothing to do with money.
Life Lifter: "“We’ve seen how great people can be." One community's "Pay It Forward" game raises thousands of dollars for a 7-year-old girl with a brain tumor.
First, cut off both the little nub that sticks out and the opposite, flat end of the fruit. The pomegranate can now stand on either end, since there are even surfaces on both sides, and you'll be able to see 4 to 6 sections, divided by white membrane. Score the peel along each membrane, going from one end to the other, not cutting deeply--just an eighth of an inch or so.