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January 2012 (141 posts)
Every Monday, we're rounding up the things, small and big, that make us stop and think. Today, we're inspired by...“Although I cannot move, and have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free.”
-Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who has lived with Lou Gehrig's Disease for 49 years.
"I was just saying, 'Man trust your speed. Trust your speed. Don't cut back. Don't cut back.'"
-Pittsburgh Steeler Willis McGahee, watching his teammate Demaryius Thomas run to the end zone in the longest overtime touchdown in football playoff history.
"I had the height of a supermodel, breasts that were naturally big and real, and a God-given shape. Why would I feel insecure about that?"
-Jennifer Hudson, on being a "big girl" in Hollywood.
"I thought yoga was fruity... I underestimated it. That yoga stuff is the bomb."
-A patient at the Santa Fe Recovery Center, where a holistic approach to addiction recovery includes yoga.
"You thought I didn't really notice. But I did. I wanted to high-five you."
-Store manager Kristen Wolfe, writing to a teenager who stuck up for his little brother in her store.
It's the first Friday of the new year, and we're grateful for a new start, plus...
One man and 6,000 hours of labor turn a simple map into a work of art.
25 things writers (and probably everyone else) should stop doing
What a fake wedding can teach you about...real weddings.
Hope for ALS patients: Stephen Hawking turns 70 on Sunday.
We've all got stuff that needs to be gotten rid of (ahem, those candles in the pretty color that you won't throw away even though they're really done, or that skirt that it would be so nice to fit into), but some people are a little bit more, shall we say, intense about keeping stuff than the rest of us.
Enter Peter Walsh and the second season of his show, Extreme Clutter, in which he takes on
the truly tough cases, from people who keep so much in their homes that they're
"ashamed to open the front door" to those who insist that they don't
have hoarding problems (even though they really do). In the first episode (clip below), Peter charges head on into one woman's
overstuffed home. She’s paralyzed—unable to let go sentimental items—and she’s
one of Peter’s toughest challenges. Find out the key lesson he taught that
helped her find the way out of the mess.
Do yoga! Meditate every day! Don't get so worked up! Despite my resolve to chill out this year, my goals are full of stress-inducing action verbs. That's why I've become hooked on this calm-inducing video from Equinox gyms in New York. When it first arrived in my in-box, I was annoyed. Who has time to watch some other woman do yoga, never mind for a full 3 minutes and 28 seconds (she's a pro--can't she whip out poses out in less than a minute)? Won't this make me feel guilty for not having done anything yoga-related since mid-2011? But then I got drawn in by the soothing music, the soft lighting and yoga instructor Briohny Smyth's smooth, flowing movements. She's clearly not phoning in this workout. I'm inspired by the way she keeps her upper body completely still and solid while folding her legs down to the ground (I'm usually flopping all over the place). Even her downward dog poses look strong and active, just the way my instructor is always telling me to get mine (not sure what a downward dog is? Here's how to do them--and why they're so important for full-body fitness). At the end of the video, I'm feeling almost as relaxed as Smyth is--and motivated to sign up for a class after work.
(If you don't have time this week for a full 90-minute yoga session, you can still get stronger and more flexible with a quick morning stretch routine, like this one from Dr. Oz)
Or guerrilla fruit grafting. As the Huffington Post reports, "For the past year, the renegade group has been secretly splicing San Francisco's strictly decorative apple and pear trees with fruit-bearing grafts, causing the city's previously barren trees to become heavy with fresh apples and pears. The group aims to use the city's preexisting trees to provide 'delicious, nutritious fruit for urban residents,' and basically feed anyone who is hungry in the process." The group's open source code site offers advice on finding graftable trees and tracks how the grafts are going. Okay, so some San Francisco city officials may be symbolically throwing their wet rags to the ground ("The City considers vandalism a serious offense," Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru told the Examiner). But really, how upset can anyone be over beautiful, delicious fruit?
Art is Everywhere:
Lunch Bag Art
Rainbow Trout Cupcakes
This month, Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, the color-obsessed food stylists whose previous books include Hello, Cupcake! and What's New, Cupcake?, return with a third guide to turning ingredients like JELL-O and Fruit Roll-Ups into amazing cupcake decorations. Cupcakes, Cookies, and Pie, Oh My! includes instructions for making these cupcakes, which are decorated with M&Ms and spice drops.
Chinese Scallion Pancakes
Celebrate the Year of the Dragon when Chinese New Year begins on January 23 with these savory pancakes. They're crisp, golden and filled with scallions and sesame seeds. Fold them into wedges and dip into a ginger-chili sauce.
If you're stuck in an apples-and-cinnamon rut, break out with new mix-ins. To make Blackberry Pie Oatmeal, stir in 1/3 cup blackberries near the end of cooking, then top with chopped walnuts, a few more blackberries, and a crushed graham cracker. Or try Pumpkin–Cottage Cheese Oatmeal by adding 1/4 cup canned pumpkin and 1/4 cup cottage cheese when the oatmeal's almost cooked. Sprinkle toasted sliced almonds and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Here are even more ideas for jazzing up your oatmeal.
While Florida and Texas have been shipping these classic winter treats since October, two other big growing states--Arizona and California--have just started to hit their stride this month, so you shouldn't have trouble tracking the citrus fruit down. Look for ones with brightly-colored skin and no bruises. They should be be firm and springy to touch. And the heavier the grapefruit, the more juice it'll have. Not just for breakfast, grapefruits are excellent in salads, too, such as this fennel and arugula mix.
3 meatless meals to make this week
A citrus salad for dessert
An entire meal celebrating oranges
We found pieces to disguise your biggest body concerns without doing crunches...
This pair of denim trousers will help conceal any post-holiday weight around your middle without sucking you in like sausage casing. The waistband sits higher on the hips and has just the right amount of stretch—meaning it's snug enough that your unmentionables won't be revealed to your co-workers next time you're putting away papers in those low file cabinet drawers, but not so tight that it squeezes your waistline creating a spare tire. And as for your tush, the no-sag fabric promises to do it justice.
Keep reading to find out which pants Adam Glassman says are "magical."
Your biggest dressing dilemmas—solved
Gym gear that slims and flatters
On the last day of last year, researcher Brene Brown tweeted, "What is vulnerability? It sounds like courage and feels like truth."
I've been reading Brown's tweet over and over, wanting to soak in all its meanings. (You know, typical reaction to a tweet!) What does it take to be happy? A perfect life? My friend had a perfect life—great job, sweet husband, a plan for children—but she was never happier than when she became terrifyingly vulnerable. According to Brown, who researches vulnerability, this strange, under-appreciated characteristic seems to link people who have, as she puts it, "a strong sense of worthiness and love and belonging, vs the people who really struggle for it."
Brown's tweet seems an important message to carry into the new year, particularly when coupled with Brown's great talk from TEDxHouston, in which she reveals the importance of vulnerability and talks about how she reluctantly pinpointed that the happiest, fullest, most contented people she'd interviewed all embraced vulnerability.
"Courage," Brown said in the TEDx talk, "the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language -- it's from the Latin word cor, meaning heart -- and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect... And the last was they had connection, and -- this was the hard part -- as a result of authenticity, they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do that for connection." Brown goes on to say, "The other thing that they had in common was this: They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful."
If vulnerability is the courage to seek the truth of a person or a situation or oneself, is what allows us to know ourselves, to fully connect with others, then maybe what we could all use in the new year is a healthy dose of (frightening, unsettling, risky) vulnerability.
Be sure to listen to (or read the transcript of) Brown's entire talk from TEDxHouston.
How to Really Connect
Living Without Fear