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June 2012 (119 posts)
Espresso BellaVitano from BellaVitano in Wisconsin
The rub: Ground espresso beans
The taste: Nutty, coffee-like
Eat it with: Sweet pastries, bagels, chocolate, nuts, dried apricots
Barely Buzzed from Beehive Cheese Co. in Utah
The rub: A blend of South American, Central American and Indonesian beans, plus French lavender buds
The taste: Slightly sweet, with a faint butterscotch flavor
Eat it with: Espresso, honey, stout beer or Sangiovese wine
Cocoa Cardona from Carr Valley Cheese Co. in Wisconsin
The rub: Cocoa powder
The taste: Milky and sweet (though not overly chocolate-y)
Eat it with: A dab of hot fudge sauce, Shiraz wine, cherries
Why you should try pairing rum and cheese
9 recipes for crispy, amazing, gooey grilled cheese
11 ways to make mac 'n' cheese
Girls and women in the United States have a lot of problems to deal with: being underestimated, being underpaid. Sometimes my mechanic talks down to me. But none of this seems anything like a problem when you consider what women and girls in Liberia have gone through, especially throughout that country's long, violent civil war. According to Charitable Influence, "Most of the people in Liberia under the age of twenty one has seen a loved one die, usually through violent means. Many of them were forced to not only witness but often be a part of the vicious war that lasted for 14 years in the country."
A nurse named Rosana Schaak wanted to help the girls of Liberia, so in 2003 she founded the nonprofit Touching Humanity in Need of Kindness (THINK), which provides shelter and services to survivors of gender based violence. Schaak recently won an award for her efforts at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, a lovely recognition of someone who has devoted herself to a noble cause. And I'd also add that THINK's new website is a heart-wrenching-and-then-expanding place to visit. "O Women, don't just sit there, do something positive," it declares. And then it proceeds to show us how.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee on Anger
The "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" meme started with a post on Make Under My Life. Jess Constable writes, "Though I like to think I’m pretty much an open book online, there are things about me that I hide for fear of rejection or judgment. But my emotional, fearful mind freaks when I think about sharing some things in my life." And thus, she launches into a list of the things she's afraid to reveal. Number one: "Yesterday after a tense customer service call, I cried in front of my assistant and new intern. (Not the “ugly cry,” but pretty close.)"
Within a few days, her friend Ez posted her own "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" to the Creature Comforts blog, about how the idea had gone viral, and shared, despite her professed nerves, her own list. She admits that, despite writing a blog devoted to perfect and pretty things, "The nitty-gritty is that some months have been so tight that I've worried about making my rent payment or even buying groceries...a handful of times it's gotten scary enough that I've had panic attacks daily just trying to think of how I'll make it through."
Since these first posts, the movement has spread to hundreds of blogs. It's really worth the time to peruse some of these posts, if for no other reason than to see how mundane some of these confessions are. We are all so afraid of revealing any imperfections at all, as if the ability to curate the image of a perfect life has created its very own brand of insecurity, a whole new cyber-neurosis. Why should we be afraid to reveal that we are uncrafty? That we care what people think of us? That we love sitcoms?
As Ez puts it, "we are all just a little bit sick of all this perfection." And many of these bloggers add in their TIATTY posts that this dose of honesty has changed the way they want to write -- real names appear for the first time, and pledges to share "real selves" in addition to images of aspirational lives. So if you're beating yourself up over a speck of imperfection, it may help to write your own "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You." Even if (especially if) your "You" is yourself.
Why You Need to Embrace Imperfection
Face Your Inner Perfectionist
Just what was going on here? Wasn't my boss supposed to be a Queen Bee? Competitive and gloriously mean, like the pant-suited bosses in movies always are? Didn't we all want to claw each other to the top? Um, no? The worst you could say about this work environment was that an endemic dread of conflict led to indirect email threads of too-niceness. And yet, strangely enough, almost all of my former coworkers have moved up and up, including that wonderful, supportive boss.
Well, according to the Huffington Post, researchers have found that female bosses who mentor other women in the workplace help not only their protégés but themselves, too. Christine Silva, the lead researcher on the study, told The Huffington Post that mentoring talent was "really a win-win. It creates a culture of talent development where everyone recognizes their role in developing a good pipeline of leaders." She also revealed that "women who developed protégés received an average of $25,075 more between 2008 and 2010 than those individuals who did not." The article suggests that the idea of the "Queen Bee" boss, who doesn't want anyone but herself to succeed, is largely proliferated by the media. (And let's admit it, the Queen Bee makes for some good entertainment.) In other words, in the workplace, paying-it-forward and creating a supportive environment are good for everyone. Huh. Just like in the rest of world. Imagine that.
When Good Woman Make Bad Bosses
Why We Need More Female Leaders
Each week, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, we're in love with the novel:
By Alix Ohlin
Can any of us really save another person? Or is each of us solely responsible for his or her own life? That's the question lurking behind Alix Ohlin's astute novel, which follows three separate characters: Grace, a therapist who's consulting with a disturbed teenage girl; Mitch, also a therapist, who moves all the way to the Arctic trying to rescue a young Inuit who's lost his whole family; and Anne, a struggling actress, who lets a pregnant runaway move into her apartment—and take over. Ohlin is a master short-story writer (see Signs and Wonders), and the early chapters of the book may feel like discrete tales. Very soon, though, you'll see how they're all intertwined, not just in terms of the characters' shared pasts in Montreal but also in the struggle with self-isolation. "There is a difference between the facts of the person and the truth of him," Grace says, trying to connect with her lover, a depressed aid worker who's just attempted suicide. Like Mitch and Anne, she can't quite reveal herself to others, presenting one version of herself at home and another during counseling sessions. At times, she even declares, "People do whatever they want, no matter what we say." A surprise car accident, however, forces her to do what she most fears—let someone else save her.
Join Oprah's Book Club 2.0
Ask Oprah or Cheryl Strayed a question about Wild
I fly into this frenzy at least once a week. But thanks to this helpful post on PBS's new wellness web site, Next Avenue, I now know a better way to get myself out of it. In the post, a life coach and a Harvard psychiatry professor share some advice for bringing sanity to our daily lives from their new book, Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life. When we find we can't find our indispensable item, they tell us to apply the brakes:
"In other words, exercise "inhibitory control." By inhibiting, we mean the ability to restrain or control your attention. Your ability to apply the cognitive brakes — to thoughtfully "inhibit" an action, or, more to the point, a distraction, that may lead you away from the task at hand — is a hallmark of an organized mind. It's akin to the importance of a good set of brakes on a car. Inhibition allows us to stay organized and on top of our game in the face of an ever-changing environment."
Instead of letting our emotional selves hurtle down a hill without the power to stop, the authors suggest slowing down by doing a quick set of stretches, some deep breathing, or repeating a favorite meditation (for example, "This isn't a big deal. Everything will be fine."). That should help us think more clearly so that we can remember where we last had the item, and what we may have done with it.
They also have strategies for helping us avoid losing things in the first place. (If you're as busy as frazzled as I am, I suggest bookmarking this page so you won't forget where you saw it.)
There are maybe three things in the world cuter than watching three-year-old ballerinas twirl around. I mean, I can't think of them at the moment but I'm sure there are some. But like any 21st Century, Non-Toddlers-and-Tiaras mother, I've found myself wondering whether my kid's super-low-key toddler ballet classes at the Y are encouraging something secretly nefarious, baby "Black Swan"-style. The idea was just to do something physical and imaginative and dreamy and fun. (And, from the daughter's perspective, something involving tutus.)
Then this great video for the song "Man on Fire," by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, comes along: a celebration of creative movement of all stripes. Inner city double-dutch champions? Check. Suburban cheerleaders? Check. Um, the New York City ballet? Check. This video feels less like a performance and more like peeking in on a dance class. And in this world, dance is about bodies moving, about feeling music, about having fun. In this world, dancing is for everyone. And even the ballerinas look like they're having fun. Phew.
A 12-Day Flamenco-Dancing Vacation from Life
Goldie Hawn Dances to Her Own Beat
A musician and teacher, Bert Dince was an ordinary man, like most of our fathers, and like most of our fathers, also the most important person in the world. After his death, his son found himself calling all of his father's students to tell them the news, and "throughout each call, I heard stories about how my dad had influenced so many lives. About how he helped his students uncover their natural musical abilities. I learned that my dad was not only a teacher to his students, but also a mentor, a father figure, and an extraordinary example of unconditional love. I know there’s an old adage that says, 'You can’t be all things to all people,' but Bert Dince was." (Read the rest of the blog post for the moving story of what happened at the memorial service.)
"Each man's life touches so many other lives." So said everyone's favorite angel, Clarence Oddbody. (You know, from the Frank Capra movie "It's a Wonderful Life." ) He was talking about George Bailey, but he was also talking about Bert Dince, and he was talking about my dad, and yours, and everyone's.
Remembering a Crazy-in-a-Good-Way Father
A Digital Fatherhood