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July 2012 (97 posts)
Are you reading Wild with us this summer? Oprah and author Cheryl Strayed are answering YOUR questions about this unforgettable memoir.
Do you have a question for Oprah or Cheryl about Wild? Ask away here!
Angelica Dass's ongoing project Humanae offers a thoughtful way of looking at this puzzle of skin color. She photographs a colorful array of humans and then matches their skin tones to the Pantone color system. And it's no exaggeration to say the results will reconfigure anyone's color-vision. Look how pink and peach and rose and beige and mahogany and coffee-colored we are! What's most surprising is the endless variety -- if color is supposed to be divisive, then the sunburned and the very pale must be going to war -- and how beautiful every single shade is.
One Movie Star's Complexion Aha! Moment
Helping an Adopted African Daughter to Love Her Skin
As this Chow.com video demonstrates, making a spiral-cut hot dog is easier than it sounds. First, you thread a skewer straight through the dog (if you mess up, just try again; the tutorial promises hot dogs are forgiving). Then, make a long cut with a knife that winds around and around the stick. Remove the skewer, and you're left with a curlicued tendril of beef, chicken or tofu, ready to cook. The increased surface area results in more caramelization and crunch from the grill. The spiral-cut dog also gives you a row of little crevices where you can tuck extra bits of relish, mustard or ketchup (or not ketchup, depending on where you stand in this debate). And last we checked, no one's ever asked "How'd you do that?" when it came to a grilled burger.
Try these cheese- and jalapeño-stuffed hot dogs
What did they do before hot dog buns?
A no-fail recipe for pigs in a blanket
When you’re trying to beat the summer heat, sometimes there’s nothing better than staying home in the AC, with popcorn and a good movie. We asked Jennifer Westfeldt, the writer, director and actress behind the film Friends with Kids (out on DVD today) for some suggestions. Here are some of her favorites:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: This is unlike anything I’ve ever seen: It’s based on the true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who became paralyzed after suffering a stroke and learns to communicate through blinking his left eye. He’s trapped inside his body, but the cinematography artfully captures his flights of fancy, dreams, and imaginings.
Rushmore: My partner Jon [Hamm] and I love to watch this movie whenever we come across it—we still quote the lines! It’s a 1998 Wes Anderson film that stars Jason Schwartzman as a lovable, eccentric high schooler who’s put on academic probation. It’s moving, heartfelt, and utterly original, and Anderson does an incredible job of mixing comedy and drama. Plus, it’s got one of the best endings I’ve seen in any movie.
Italian: Swap in 1 tsp. of dried oregano for the Old Bay, and use basil as the fresh herb.
Asian: Substitute hot Chinese mustard for Old Bay, and instead of the herbs use fresh ginger (1/2 Tbsp. peeled and minced). Wasabi mayonnaise, available at many grocery stores and Asian markets, is an ideal accompaniment.
Greek: Skip the Old Bay and amp up the herbs: stir in a Tbsp. each of fresh mint and dill. Tzatziki is the perfect dipping sauce.
Latin-Indian: In place of Old Bay, use Sambar or curry powder. For the herbs, use cilantro, and serve the cakes with lime wedges and mango chutney.
This summer's coolest food combinations
More foods to eat this month
Why does beach food taste so delicious?
In the waters off Long Island, cameras captured a woman with flowing hair, a seashell bra—and a fish tail. The mermaid (or rather, the woman in the mermaid costume) was performing in documentary filmmaker Susan Rockefeller's Mission of Mermaids, a short film that combines a sweeping history of mermaid lore (from ancient Greece to the Disney era) with startling facts about the pollution and overfishing that threaten our seas. Rockefeller's decision to lend her project a dash of storytelling pizzazz was a strategic one. "We're inundated with statistics about global issues, and it gets overwhelming," she explains. "So I wanted to combine myth with science." The film—a sneak peek of which showed at Sundance this year—suggests ways to save our seas, from refusing plastic grocery bags to buying sustainable seafood. Recently, Rockefeller also designed a line of mermaid-inspired jewelry, available at susanrockefeller.com; a portion of each sale benefits the marine protection organization Oceana. When people compliment the pieces, Rockefeller leaps at the chance to share her enthusiasm. "You don't win people's hearts by preaching," she says. "They need to see your passion."
If there’s one played-out idea I love anyway, it’s the staycation. Vacations are just so very much WORK, what with all the planning and the packing and the paying of the money. When really, we can get so much of the same lovely eye-ball-refreshing, the same much-needed brain-scrubbing, by just looking at our usual surroundings through a different lens. But it’s surprisingly hard to do: even as you set out for an aimless stroll through a part of town you don’t usually frequent, don’t you find yourself wandering, as if magnetized, toward the places you always go? Toward the park you know you like, or the building you’ve always admired, or even just the path you usually walk the dog?
Well, consider this prolific artist named James Gulliver Hancock, who has made it his mission to draw every building in New York City. His site is fascinating to click through, whether you’re an urbanite or a totally-not-that – the scratchy little lines, the loose sketches that suggest a boozy evening or else a quick stop on a crowded street, the more organized and tightly-constructed portraits that call out details you might have never noticed otherwise.
Here is his drawing of the Hearst Tower (Oprah.com headquarters!):
Hancock's virtual sketchbook makes me think, how might I see the structures around me a little more clearly? What would focus my vision and force me to look around rather than, let's admit it, at my phone?
Here then is an assignment for me, and anyone else interested in taking the world’s easiest staycation, practically guaranteed to make things seem fresh. You don’t even need to leave your neighborhood. All you need is a pen and notepad. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw, that’s not the point. The point is to walk and look, really look. Go somewhere new (but stay safe!), or go somewhere you see all the time but never really SEE. Pick a building. A house. A rec center. A dog house. And draw it. Who knows what we will start to see?
21 Rules for Everyday Senseless Joy
3 Ways to See the World With Fresh Eyes
Each week, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors of O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This Monday, we're gearing up for Oprah and Cheryl Strayed's discussion of Wild this weekend on "Super Soul Sunday" by checking out Strayed's newest book, just published on July 10:
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
By Cheryl Strayed
While writing her best-selling memoir—and the first Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection—Wild, author Cheryl Strayed penned an advice column for the literary website The Rumpus. There, she worked anonymously, using the pen name Sugar, replying to letters from readers suffering everything from loveless marriages to abusive, drug-addicted brothers to disfiguring illnesses. The result: intimate, in-depth essays that not only took the letter writer's life into account but also Strayed's. Collected in a book, they make for riveting, emotionally charged reading (translation: be prepared to bawl) that leaves you significantly wiser for the experience. To a livid woman whose husband cheated on her with her employee, she says, "Acceptance asks only that you embrace what's true." To a woman who suffers a late miscarriage, she says, "Don't listen to those people who suggest you should be over your daughter's death by now. ... They live on Planet Earth. You live on Planet My Baby Died." She then shares, "I know because I've lived on a few planets that aren't Planet Earth myself." Later, she reveals stories about her own struggles with sexual abuse, divorce and marital infidelity (all of which create a much larger backstory for a reading of Wild). One of the most moving anecdotes in the book is a letter that a 22-year-old reader asks Strayed to write to her younger self: "One hot afternoon during the era in which you've gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin, you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are, when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She'll offer you one of the balloons, but you won't take it because you believe you no longer have the right to such tiny beautiful things. You're wrong. You do." And like most of the pronouncements in this collection, the subject of those last few sentences can—and should—be changed to "we." As in, we all have the right to such tiny beautiful things—both the purple balloon and the compassionate book it inspired.
See Cheryl Strayed and Oprah this Sunday on "Super Soul Sunday"
Read the best quotes from Wild
If you have a question, send it to us!
It goes without saying that polishing off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s--even if it’s low- fat--is not a good idea, but we’ve also learned (from repeated experience) that swearing off ice cream forever doesn’t work, either. But the tricky thing about “eating in moderation” is that what we think that means--and what the scale thinks that means--are two different things. So how do you draw the line between what you deserve and what you could do without? Best Life nutritionists, Stephanie Clarke, M.S., R.D. and Willow Jarosh, M.S., R.D., gave us three questions to ask ourselves before giving in to the foods we love.
1. Does it fit into your daily calorie budget?
Clarke and Jarosh tell clients on a typical 1600-calorie-a-day eating plan that they have about 100 or 150 calories a day that they can swap out with whatever their heart desires. The catch is that most of us have no idea how many calories we eat in a day, and it’s very common to experience temporary snack black-outs in the face of temptation ("I’ve hardly eaten anything today, so I surely have enough leftover calories for a few potato chips," we’ll think, forgetting about the handfuls of nuts we ate at our desk or the whole milk we put in our coffee). They’re big fans of food journals to keep us on track. And they get it: tracking what you eat, either with an old-fashioned pen and paper or a new multi-function app, can feel obsessive. But as they tell clients (and as studies keep proving), this technique really helps keep the weight off.