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May 2012 (135 posts)
I see her IRL sometimes and she's always wearing something adorable and carrying an armful of peonies and demurring, "Oh no, you're just seeing my online persona." Then she offers a twinkling smile and excuses herself because she's always on her way to a Special Yoga Class in the Park for Perfect Ladies or something like that. Total girl crush.
The girl crush, despite what its name suggests, is no small matter. As Thessaly la Force writes in W Magazine, "The 'girl crush' may sound silly, but sometimes it takes something unserious to get us talking about a serious subject: the ambitions of young creative women and the need for worthy role models." The girl crush is that woman who seems to have the perfect life. She's someone you want to befriend, if possible, but even more than that, she's someone you want to study, the way all little girls intensely study slightly older girls. La Force writes about her own girl crush, an illustrator and author of whom she writes, "I adored her from afar, and I suppose a part of me wanted to be her."
In the W Magazine piece, la Force enumerates her nominees for inaugural members of the Girl Crush Hall of Fame: "Zadie Smith, with her daring, brilliance, and wild success; Joan Didion, with her cool, spare prose; Patti Smith, with her soul and wisdom; Sofia Coppola, with her chic grace and unmistakable taste; and Tina Fey, with her goofy smile and razor wit. Each of them has accomplished something the rest of us dream of doing. And because they’ve done it, we feel we can too." That's what makes the girl crush more than just a regular old friend crush. The girl crush is the mentor (whether she knows it or not), the role model. She's the template for how to do the things you want to do; she's proof that it can be done.
For more girl-crush fun, check out Thessaly La Force's effervescent blog-zine, Girl Crush.
It's brown butter, which is simply butter that you've cooked slightly past its melting point, so the milk solids turn brown and produce an amazing nutty taste (and smell). It adds a richness beyond what you get from the plain stuff, and is a breeze to make. Just whisk slices of butter in a skillet over medium heat; after it melts, foams, stops foaming and starts forming tiny brown specks on the bottom of the pan, you've got browned butter. (Don't let it go too far, though, or you'll have burnt butter.)
Now, the fun part: where to use this savory creation. Cupcake Project blogger Stefani Pollack makes Brown Butter Cupcakes; Paula Deen incorporates it into the frosting for her Loaded Oatmeal Cookies; Cristina Ferrare stirs lemon zest into it and uses it as a popcorn topping; and this gorgeous O magazine recipe turns it into the basis for Sugar-Crusted Pecan Shortcakes (which go perfectly with peaches, raspberries and whipped cream). Let's see bacon do that.
Okay, maybe it's not actually true that the right tools can make a person more creative, but I know I'm not the only one who suspects that the perfect combination of things will make any project easier, and maybe even make working a bit more fun. Which is what makes this site The Set Up so very appealing. Creative types from all different fields share the tools of their trades: SNL writer Paula Pell swears by Apple products, sharp No. 2 pencils, and Hersheys bars with almonds; music producer Chris Zane favors high-tech gadgets with mystical sounding names like "The Nocturne;" illustrator Amy Jean Porter is addicted to gouache; vegan cook Isa Chandra Moskowitz loves Canon cameras, her Nintendo DS, and Le Creuset cookware. It is fascinating to scroll through the diverse list of interviews, and everyone from the techie to the luddite can find some inspiration here. What do you use to do your work? How could your own set up be working better? How could YOU be working better?
Apes Love iPads Too
Your Internet Passwords, Daily Affirmations?
Now HERE is the way to do your daily affirmation.
Proof that art is everywhere: beautiful mid-century doors.
How telling yourself "I'm great" can keep you from losing your temper—plus four other rage-derailers.
Where does your city rank? And what's in the water in Virginia? The 20 most well-read cities in America.
The Life-Lifter: "That's a beautiful American story." Rescued by the coast guard when he was six, this Haitian refugee thrived despite becoming an orphan in a strange land. And now, he's becoming a coast guard himself.
When it's 95 degrees in the shade, it's easy to feel like everything in your closet is either too casual or work-appropriate but likely to suffocate you somewhere between your house and the office. Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa is here to help. Costa has created a sleek capsule collection for Macy's. And Adam Glassman, O's Creative Director, says, "It looks fab!" The line, inspired by the designer's native Brazil, features sculptural dresses in light crepe and jersey. Best of all, the prices start at $135, so the pieces are as affordable as they are comfortable.
During the month of May—Military Appreciation Month— the Hashtags4Heroes application uses your unused Twitter characters to help spread awareness about the Wounded Warriors Project. The Wounded Warriors Project has a lovely and very reasonable sounding mission statement: "To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation's history." The organization provides programs to help service members find aid and support for themselves and each other, and their website is stocked with wrenching stories from soldiers about surviving injuries both physical and emotional. “I want to be always serving," says one soldier who lost his leg as result of a suicide bombing in Iraq and suffers from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. " I try to make that my life goal – 24/7."
Giving up some unused virtual imaginary space to help people who have given a whole lot more than that? Seems like a pretty painless way to do a little bit of good today.
A Restless Heart Leads to Afghanistan
The Bravest Families in America
Why Are So Many Female Veterans Homeless?
Today's Thank You Game challenge is to thank someone at work or school.
Thank you Harpo and OWN team. We're in the climb, taking the hill!
My friend could never have known it at the time, but her advice to follow a purpose-focused life--a message that will be echoed by countless speakers at graduations across the country this month--would turn out to be a scientifically-backed way to protect our brains against the almost-inevitable deterioration and damage of age. In one of the most inspiring things I've read this year, a paper in the Archives of General Psychiatry discusses how a sense of meaning can mitigate the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
As an article in the Atlantic explains, a group of researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have been following more than 1,400 senior citizens since 1997. Study participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their purpose in life, and then, after they died (from whatever cause, at whatever time), their brains were analyzed as part of an autopsy. Those who rated high on the "purpose" scale didn't necessarily have healthier brains--many had the same amounts of harmful plaques and "tangles" associated with Alzheimer's and dementia as others at different points on the scale. However, while alive, the living-for-a-reason people showed a 30 percent lower rate of cognitive decline. In other words, they didn't show as many outward signs of the disease. One of the researchers told the Atlantic that she and her team "were surprised at just how 'robustly protective' a strong sense of purpose in life really was." [Read more about the study, and the power of purpose, at Atlantic.com]
As I get older and start to think more about putting one foot in front of the other instead of where I want those footsteps to take me, this research was a reminder of my friend's youthful advice—and it gave me a reason to resume the search for that elusive weasel frolicking in the surf.