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April 2012 (116 posts)
Get a letter in the mail from a famous writer.
It's like Twilight for aspiring scientists! A pro-math, pro-science, pro-girl book series that everyone can get behind.
"She didn't seem like a wackadoo..." Guardian angels in every day life.
The secret of so-called overnight successes. (Hint: It has to do with crushing defeat.)
Dogs in bunny ears...Cats in bunny ears...Bunnies in...oh wait. The cutest Easter celebrations you've ever seen.
The Life-Lifter: A 108-year-old Holocaust survivor on how to deal with anything: "I look where it is good."
Breyers Blasts! Mrs. Fields Mint Fudge Brownie
Packed full of chewy baked bits of chocolate goodness. ($5; grocery stores)
Salt & Straw Arbequina Olive Oil
A sophisticated marriage of milky ice cream and the subtly peppery oil of the Arbequina olive. ($65 for five pints; saltandstraw.com)
Häagen-Dazs Salted Caramel Truffle
A sweet cream base with caramel-filled chocolates and swirls of sticky sugar. ($5; grocery stores)
Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Nougat Crunch
Studded with crisp, fudge-covered wafers. ($4.50; grocery stores)
Adonia Raspberry Greek Frozen Yogurt by Ciao Bella
Tart berries meet the natural tang—and irresistible thick creaminess—of Greek yogurt. ($5; ciaobellagelato.com)
Sunny lemon cake recipe
Peppermint ice cream
Mini ice cream cookie cups
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 obsessed with the gripping, beautiful novel:
The Land of Decoration
by Grace McCleen
"I know about faith," says 10-year-old Judith McPherson. "The world in my room is made out of it. Out of faith I stitched the clouds. Out of faith I cut the moon and stars." The world she speaks of is a diorama of the universe (including miniature planets, oceans, factories, rabbits and dragons) that she's built in her room out of orange peels, soda caps, twigs, pipe cleaners and other odds and bits. She calls this world the Land of Decoration after a passage in Ezekiel, and it's there that she plays the imaginary games that all children play: making snow fall, sailing hot-air balloons over the rooftops. But Judith isn't like other children. Her mother is dead, and she and her father belong to a strict religious sect that believes the Armageddon is just around the corner. School, naturally, is an endless loop of teasing, spitballs and other emotional torments until one particularly committed bully focuses on her—turning this book into a much larger, very adult story about violence and fear. In many ways, it's suspense—is Judith going to get hurt?—that keeps you tearing though the pages (be prepared for the complete and total devastation of your social life; once you pick up this novel, you will not be able to do anything until you finish). However, even if you were not afraid for her, you would want to spend the rest of your life listening to her speak. The differences that make her a pariah at school are the differences that make her a delight on the page. This isn't a child like the other children in books—say, the unbelievably smart ones who can lecture on astronomy and rare stamps. This is a regular old child—a loving, confused, tenderhearted little person, who is trying, like all of us, to make some sense of out of this life. Her mistakes along the way will sometimes make you laugh or wince—for example, when she believes God is talking to her—but they will also makes you gasp with delight because, as she says, "Faith is like imagination. It sees something where there is nothing, it takes a leap, and suddenly you are flying."
The one experience every reader needs to have
The star of The Hunger Games talks books
1. Turn them into a mimosa. No, I'm not talking about topping off your Champagne- and orange juice-filled flute with bits of yolk. Making this kind of mimosa involves pressing the hard-boiled egg through a sieve; then, you can use the tiny pieces to garnish vegetables or a salad.
2. Put them on BLTs. Cut across the egg, so you wind up with about 6 slices. (The rounds also wouldn't be bad on Oprah's Love Sandwich.)
3. Make a superfood sandwich. Nearly every ingredient in this whole grain delight is on O magazine's list of the best foods you can eat.
4. Pickle them. Try submerging the eggs in beet juice, which turns them pink--thus letting the coloring come full circle.
You know how it goes: the book club meeting gets raucous, or you realize you and your out-of-town friend have a lot to catch up on, or your partner decides to celebrate the unseasonably nice weather by throwing an impromptu party on the front porch (guest list: him, you, Monsieur Muscadet). Regardless of how it happened, you wake up with a pounding head, a dry mouth and a stomach that feels like it just came out of the laundry spin-cycle. Yoga instructor Tara Stiles says she has just the cure, and swears that yoga can clear your head. Stiles, who is known for her laid-back, asanas-for-the-masses approach, says that her Saturday mid-morning classes in NYC are usually packed with bleary-eyed people who overdid it the night before, and they leave her studio looking a lot happier and healthier than they did when they walked in. She shares three of her favorite morning-after poses with us, below. These are adapated from Stiles' new book, Yoga Cures, which includes her favorite yoga "remedies" for everything from office body to traveler's anxiety.
That's according to the classically trained, professional musician Adrian Anantawan, who happens to lack a right hand, when he and his parents decided that he should learn the violin it worked because “we came from the premise of ‘why not?’” And Anantawan thinks this is precisely what gave him the confidence to go on to become a skilled violinist who studied at Yale and has performed at the White House, the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and Carnegie Hall.
Playing violin this well is an accomplishment for anyone, but in this case it's particularly amazing. Because Anantawan was born without his right hand, he plays the instrument with a special device designed just for him that he calls a "spatula." (You must see this video of Anantawan in action to see how this amazing device works -- and how effortless the music sounds.) The talented fellow told the Harvard Gazette that growing up different from those around him, finding the violin “was one of the first times I was accepted within a peer group, mainly because it’s how you sound; it’s not how you look. It’s how you express and communicate.” And so Anantawan has decided to pay it forward, using his talents to teach music to kids with disabilities.
I don't know what's most inspirational about this. The working with disabled kids? The persevering despite a profound disability? The cheery attitude Anantawan exudes? Or is it simply the idea that by forging ahead, powered by optimistic ignorance, anything is possible?
Legally Blind Kid Pitches a No-Hitter
The 60-Person Kidney Donation Chain
A Love Letter to the World
We all have a lot of things to balance. I recently had a conversation with a friend who is single and doesn't have kids and claims that she has a ton of stuff going on. After telling me about how exhausted she was, trying to balance her career, her extra-curricular passions, managing her love life and relationships with friends, dealing with her health problems, trying to eat right, keeping her home clean, caring for her ailing parents, and finding time to exercise, she asked how I achieved balance. I shared my motherly wisdom with her. I laughed, tried not to snort my beverage out of my nose and said, "Oh yeah, I just ignore all of those things you just mentioned." Looks like I haven't been balancing so much as avoiding.
Which is why I love this video. Ignore the fact that it's an ad for the Seoul Tourism Board (or don't!), and please observe this man's amazing skill at balancing anything and everything:
Look even he, the balancing expert, has to work to achieve equilibrium. And check out that triumphant snap after every feat of gravity-defying. My favorite part is when he carefully balances his smartphone, only to have a call come in and vibrate the phone, causing it to topple. The look on his face describes how I think many of us feel a good deal of the time. Just as we've managed to achieve a moment of harmony, in comes a phone call or a text or an email or a screaming coworker, and the whole thing collapses. So we pick ourselves up, watch this video again, take a deep breath, and start the balancing act all over again.
More Videos We Love:
Keeping All The Balls in the Air
Joyful Multitasking (and Music-Making!)
This is probably a good personality litmus test: How does it make you feel to read the words "Every Second Counts"? Uplifted and energized and ready to get out there and squeeze every inch of zest out of the lemon peel of life? Or, uh, a little stressed-out? I admit to being half-and-half. I want every second to count, and I want every second to be beautiful. I really do. And sometimes it isn't. Sometimes a second is the appliance repairman saying, "Oh, I wouldn't even fix it. It's just done." Sometimes a second is a fender bender, a tantrum, the spilling of the perfect smoothie. But it's also true that a second can contain such beauty it makes you feel like your heart might burst. Sometimes these beautiful seconds can smooth out all those ugly hours, reminding us how good things actually are. And in that vein, please take a few seconds to enjoy these instants users sent in to the Mont Blanc Beauty of a Second short film contest:
May all the remaining seconds of your day be beautiful. Or at least one or two. via Smithsonian.
Connect to the Present
How to Have a Quiet Moment
Happy Friday, everyone! Time for us to write in our gratitude journal. This week we're appreciating...
At last: A very good use for marshmallow bunnies
An unbelievable graphic that puts a face—no, hundreds of faces—on the power of Title IX
We thought awkward photos came into vogue in the digital age. We were wrong. And boy are we glad.
Slow food, slow money and now, the slow books movement
Leonardo Da Vinci's to-do list proves he was just as scatterbrained as the rest of us (and look how well it worked for him!)