|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
February 2012 (120 posts)
Part of the reason is, actually, ironically, the deep satisfaction of crossing off finish tasks. As the article puts it, "It’s too easy to get that smaller thing crossed off first... When smaller things are too easy to get done, smaller, less important things are all you will get done." And then, horror of horrors, you're not controlling the list—the list is controlling you. That's a definite to-don't.
It makes sense when you think about it: When you're in the midst of a longer, more complicated project, it's easy to get lost and lose perspective, but a done list helps you to stay focused on the long view, and to celebrate your accomplishments as you go. Personally, I will still always need a to-do list just so I don't forgot what the heck I'm supposed to do next, but I love the idea of adding a done list to, and will be sure to add "make a done list" to my to do list. Read the article to find out more about how Done lists can help you to be more productive.
Getting Rid of Your Mental Lint
The Magic List That Gets You What You Want
Selling Girl Scout Cookies is no joke: As the St Paul Pioneer Press reports, the top cookie sellers are going out door to door every night of cookie-selling season, determined to sell as many Do-Si-Dos as they can. Selling the most cookies earns a Girl Scout a special "Cookie Diva" badge and rewards like an iPad or even a trip to Ireland, but for Kyla Gronau, the #1 seller of The Girl Scouts of the Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys council (she's sold over 12,000 boxes of cookies in her day), it's about much more.
Kyla has cerebral palsy, which has always affected the way people see her. As she told the Pioneer Press, "I want to be looked up to. All my life, I've been down here. All my life, I've wanted to be up here (pointing up). I feel people have looked down on me because of who I am. Now, girls want their pictures taken with me." Here's a girl with some grit--and if there's not a badge for determination and stick-to-it-iveness, well, maybe there should be. (via MSNBC Photoblog)
A New Girl Scouts Badge Celebrates Happiness
The World's Oldest Brownie Earns a Badge
Girl Scout Cookie Lip Balm. Mmmm.
Ore Ida Sweet Potato Crinkle Fries
140 calories, 7 grams of fat per serving
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees
These zig-zag-cut, French fried sweets crisp up nicely. They're thin enough that there's still a high crunch-to-potato ratio, and stand up well to dipping in ketchup, sour cream or an aioli dipping sauce (this garlic aioli is perfect).
Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries
130 calories, 4 grams of fat per serving
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 400 degrees
With a good punch from the chipotle pepper seasoning, these julienned spuds are almost shoelace-thin, and many have tapered ends (which means if you like those little burnt crunchy bits , these are your fries). They're especially good with a cooling sauce like this yogurt-cilantro lime one.
Cristina Ferrare's Sweet Potato Pancakes recipe
Sweet potatoes make a good taco filling
A mashed sweets recipe from Rachael Ray
Let me explain. I was reading this interesting article about how researchers figured out that squid sometimes fly. That's right, according to Nature.com, "squid of many species have been seen to 'fly' using the same jet-propulsion mechanisms that they use to swim: squirting water out of their mantles so that they rocket out of the sea and glide through the air." Until recently, scientists thought squid did this gliding thing to avoid predators. But the squid were doing it even in captivity, when no predators were present. And migrating squid were moving much faster than they should have been, considering how fast they swim.
“It makes perfect sense that these species are using flight as a way of saving energy,” says Ronald O’Dor, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, who has calculated that propelling themselves through the air could be how squid travel long distances. That's all well and good for squid and the scientists who love them, but to me it all began to sound like a metaphor.
After all, here I am, slogging through the water like any ordinary squid, stopping now and then for another shot of caffeine which I know will just slow me down in the end. Maybe I need to rethink my whole concept and, so to speak, fly a little. Try something unexpected. Try something physical. Move more. Move differently. Take a deep breath. It can be as simple as reading a newspaper or Twitter feed from a source I don't usually check, or walking a different route to a much-visited place, or talking to someone I don't usually talk to. There are so many ways to rethink the day! And it just might be that instead of tiring me out further, trying something unexpected may even save my energy.
How to Change Your Energy
The Woman Who...Rested!
Yes, you should buy those pretty shoes. Really, it's good for your mental health!
Red fingernails have their place, but they don't reveal much about your taste in film now do they? Movie-inspired manicures.
As this baby chick knows, sometimes the best hiding place is the one closest to your enemy. Also, the snuggliest.
Why girls are so obsessed with boy bands, and why it's not that big of a deal (according to a former super-fan).
The Life-Lifter: This quick-thinking hero-mother jumped aboard a runaway school bus full of children after the driver had a seizure.
I don't think it's just the relocation exhaustion that made me get weepy when I read this New York Times story of Chain 124, "the longest chain of kidney transplants ever constructed, linking 30 people who were willing to give up an organ with 30 who might have died without one." The chain began with a Good Samaritan named Rick Ruzzamenti, who decided rather impulsively that he wanted to donate his kidney to someone in need. As the article reports, the donation chain's "momentum was then fueled by a mix of selflessness and self-interest among donors who gave a kidney to a stranger after learning they could not donate to a loved one because of incompatible blood types or antibodies. Their loved ones, in turn, were offered compatible kidneys as part of the exchange."
In other words, a wife who wanted to donate a kidney to her husband but couldn't because they were incompatible for whatever reason, donated a kidney to someone, and in return, her husband eventually would get a compatible kidney from someone else. The organization needed to make this whole thing work makes my head spin, but the Times site has a great interactive feature that helps explain how the swapping worked. And the article is a must-read for the story of the National Kidney Registry, which makes donation chains possible, as well as a detailed description of how the transplants happen.
I love this story for the super-charged Pay-It-Forward mentality, and for the reminder that there are people who will be this generous. But I also love it for the reminder of how interconnected our lives are. Aren't we all links in a chain of sorts? Whether it's donating a kidney or something smaller, like sharing a smile or lending a laundry card, we can all do something today to inspire someone else to be kind, too.
The last link in the chain of the 30 interconnected transplants, organ recipient Donald C. Terry said to his doctor, “'Is it going to continue? I don’t want to be the reason to stop anything.' 'No, no, no,' the doctor reassured him. 'This chain ends, but another one begins.'"
4 Small Acts of Kindness To Try Today
Stories from Oprah's Pay-It-Forward Challenge
"The president indicated he was aware of how difficult it is to perform in Vegas": When Elvis met Nixon.
Happy 45th birthday, Kurt Cobain.
This President's Day, visit a museum without leaving the house: a specially curated collection of presidential artwork.
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books for modern adults.
Pink slip? Thank you! How being rejected can help you find your passion.
The Life-Lifter: It's doesn't get much cuter (or cozier) than this—a live-cam of snow monkeys chilling in a hot tub. Ahh.
Every Monday, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, we're transfixed by the stories of seven women in:
By Katie Ward
The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words gets trotted out pretty regularly, but we so infrequently stop to think what it means. In this luminously vulnerable debut novel, Katie Ward takes seven real images of women reading and imagines a story for each one. From a young girl struggling with an unintended pregnancy in 1333 to a performer photographed by her less flamboyant but much more talented sister in the Victorian era to an adolescent who's fixated on a much older man during World War I, Ward's characters are so utterly relatable that you'll feel you know them after a few sentences. Yet none of them appears for more than a chapter, transforming each tale into a snapshot of a woman’s life. At first, the brevity of interaction is disappointing, because getting to know the characters is such a pleasure. But as you go (and the pages in this book do turn quickly), Ward's reason for creating these short portraits becomes clearer. The sketches she composes are an invitation to the "girl reading" (that's you!) to go further on your own, to imagine the characters' next chapters, or even their whole lives, to enjoy the infinite imaginative possibilities offered by a finite portrait. If you dig into the stories, you'll get far more than a mere thousand words. In fact, you'll discover, as one of Ward's characters says, that "there is a world under” each and every one.