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Monday is too stressful. Wednesday is already hump day. But Tuesday is "you" day: a day when you have the energy to do—or plan—something fresh and unexpected that might just turn your whole week around.
Squeeze the juice—and antioxidants—out of the last few days of July, also known as National Blueberry Month. Whip up a fresh, cool brain-boosting blueberry smoothie.
When the heat goes on and on and up and up: Here's how to cool off without air conditioning or how to boost the cooling power of your air conditioning—without tools or big investments of time and money.
Get ready to make some unexpected friends in public places. How to make conversation with strangers this Friday, National Talk-in-the-Elevator Day.
Walking along the wet sand, collecting seashells, is one of summer's most unforgettable pleasures. Learn how to identify their real names—from Scotch Bonnet to the Paper Fig.
Out of vacation days? Take yourself on fantasy trip to the beach...or Paris.
If you have a question, send it to us!
Q: What's the best time of day to work out?
A: We asked Michelle Kennedy, M.S., Best Life fitness expert, to answer this question. "It depends on your moods, energy level, work schedule, and family and personal obligations." Read Kennedy's advice to find out what time works best for you:
If crazily-colored shadows aren't your bag, you're going to love this palette that comes with 20 eyeshadows and 10 lipsticks all in neutral, foolproof shades. (And the fact that you get all of them for $25 doesn't hurt either). Neutral, however, definitely doesn't mean boring--there are enough eyeshadow options here that you can create a smoky eye for night or a barely-there look for day. Plus, the lipsticks (which include a bright red and coral) are so sheer you can pull off the most vibrant shades at the office. The bottom line: Getting gorgeous on a budget has never been easier.
NYX Cosmetics Nude on Nude Set, $25
So many of adults agonize over birthdays--what to give, how much to spend, what to ask for (and is it impolite to make a list when you're long, long past the age of childhood?). But nine-year old Rachel Beckwith knew exactly what to do about hers. She asked her family and friends to raise $300 for a charity that helps provide clean water in developing countries.
This past Saturday, as CNN reported, Rachel passed away after a horrific 14-car accident near Bellevue Washington.
Out of respect, her community rallied around her birthday wish, sending out appeals on Facebook and Twitter, and this Monday, more than 2,366 donors had visited her website, raising $126,509.
"On June 12th 2011, I'm turning 9," Rachel's website says. "I found out that millions of people don't live to see their 5th birthday. And why? Because they didn't have access to clean, safe water so I'm celebrating my birthday like never before. I'm asking from everyone I know to donate to my campaign."
Note her logic. In Rachel's mind, to celebrate meant to give. And that lives on.
Everybody has a dream. I would like to be a jazz singer or just finish a book (I am on year 11, regarding the latter). Diana Nyad wants to swim from Key West, Florida, to Cuba—a trip that will take 60 hours in the open ocean. Along the way, The New York Times reported, she will "most likely hallucinate and endure the stings of countless jellyfish," and "sea salt will swell her tongue to cartoonish proportions and rub her skin raw."
But what we love is that Nyad has tried this trip before—and failed at age 28. Back in 1978, due to stormy weather, she had to give up the dream after 50 miles. She also used a shark cage for protection. Thirty-three years later, she's not only upping the ante by losing the cage, she also told The Times, "Physically, I am much stronger than I was before. I feel strong, powerful, and endurance-wise, I'm fit."
Then there are the money issues. She has $350,000. She needs a half million. She says, "If I wind up $150,000 in debt, I won't lose sleep over it."
Add to these issues the mental challenges. Swimming for long times, totally alone, in the sea, can get, well, depressing, boring, painful and exhausting. Nyad's response? She sings a song with a beat that matches her stroke. Her favorite is "Ticket to Ride."
If you, like me, are wondering at this point what makes this woman so unwavering, driven and optimistic, if you are thinking, "Hey, why am I not like this? Do you have to be born like this?" do not fear or beat yourself up. There's a more nuanced reason for Nyad's belief in her dream. She took on this swim of a lifetime because she was upset about turning 60—and she needed to turn those feelings around.
"This is what I need to remedy my malaise," Nyad says. "There is no thinking about regrets or what will I do with the rest of my life. I'm immersed in the everyday, full tilt. It's so energizing."
Just a quick reminder to ourselves: Real triumph doesn't come from victory or defeat. It comes from what you do after you've experienced both.
It's Summer Reading Week at Oprah.com! This week we're profiling the writers and books that you love, as well as some unexpected tidbits about all things literary. Today's homage: Laura Ingalls Wilder (plus a few thoughts on Edgar Allan Poe and Flannery O'Connor)
As a girl, I was so in love with Laura Ingalls Wilder that I read all 10 of her Little House books. Then reread them. Then reread them again. Then, I bought her cookbook and diaries and letters and read those too, not just because I wanted to learn more about her via primary materials, but also because I just couldn't bear for our whole intimate relationship to end. (Apparently, I'm not alone—a new book called The Wilder Life explores just this syndrome.)
Should you find yourself in the same spot—yearning for more of an author, while running out of books to read—there is now a website that can help. Writers' Houses pays tribute to various author abodes all over the world. There is even a house finder that lets you search by author name or geographic location, which lead to me to this pastoral pic of Wilder's home in Mansfield, Missouri.
"We feature over 100 homes," says A.N. Devers, founder of the site. Her obsession with literary real estate began while studying at the University of Virginia, where the dorm room of Edgar Allan Poe is kept open to the students 24 hours a day, visible through a door covered in Plexiglas.
After the jump, find out more about the homes of Edgar Allan Poe, Flannery O'Connor and other famous writerly houses
Every Monday, we're rounding up things--small and big--that made us stop and think. Today, we were moved and inspired by two survivors of violence, a writer reporting from the domestic front, a woman who stopped waiting to be chosen and more...
Writer Ruth Davis Konigsberg on the "chore wars" being waged in American homes:
Actress Brit Marling on co-writing scripts with roles for herself:
"How terrifying to surrender your life to being chosen all the time. Writing so that I can act became a way of having not more control over my future but not having to wait for permission."
Tom Ford on the universality of the mid-life crisis:
"It comes to everybody, maybe in your thirties, maybe in your forties, maybe in your sixties or seventies, who knows. You get to the moment where you feel the clock is ticking and you are wondering if you are really getting the most out of your life."
Kara Curtis, a morbidly obese woman in upstate New York, speaking to NPR about her struggle with weight and shame:
"There were periods of time when I used to hang skinny pictures of myself up on my fridge. But that was brutal and mean. And I don't want to be brutal and mean to myself."
Photo: Rich Barker (left), Karmeta Foster (right)
On Saturday, May 28 (the weekend following the Oprah show finale), some of Oprah's "ultimate viewers"—the lucky 302 fans who joined her in Australia last December—got together to express their gratitude.
"Oprah had asked us to spread the love once we got home," says Julie Lemerond of Scottsdale, Arizona. So she and dozens of her fellow travelers collaborated through Facebook to plan a nationwide volunteer effort in their respective cities--what they called the "Ultimate Day 'O' Service."
In Chicago some helped out at the no-kill humane organization PAWS. In Atlanta they played bingo with residents at a senior home. In Los Angeles volunteers boxed up fruits and vegetables at a food bank. Outside Detroit they held a raffle to raise money for the city's needy.
Lemerond feels deeply rewarded by the experience, and already has more days like it in the works. "It was great to get in the spirit of service," she says, "and to be able to thank Oprah in the right way."
How has Oprah encouraged you to spread the love?