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Where were you at 22? Crashing in Mom and Dad's basement, hiding from an ego-piercing job market? Slinging lattes at the local espresso shop--an activity complicated by various piercings and projectile hair "experiments?" Racing off to work as an administrative assistant, hoping that somebody would notice your stellar labeling skills in the file cabinet and promote you to "MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THIS MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION?" (Okay, that one was me...and by the way, neither the job title, nor the accompanying gold sticker I so feverishly imagined, panned out.)
This weekend on NPR, I heard this story about Katie Davis and felt compelled to go hug my own kids--over and over--until they made me stop. Davis, at age 22, gave up her own dreams of being a nurse in order to remain in Africa, where she had been volunteering, and raise 13 orphaned or otherwise needy girls. Her plan is to one day adopt them.
"I think that's definitely something that I was made for," said Davis. "God just designed me that way because he already knew that this is what the plan was for my life--even though I didn't."
Her first child was an HIV positive 9-year-old who was injured when a mud hut collapsed. She asked if she could live with Davis--and Davis, then age 19, said yes. Thus began her new life, as a mother and full-time resident of Uganda where she and the girls live, complete with an oversized minivan.
In her spare time, Davis also runs a nonprofit called Amazima Ministries, a job supports the family of 14. There she oversees educating 400 other children, setting up community health programs and feeding more than a thousand children five days a week.
My first task tomorrow is to promote her to "MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING" and send her a gold-star sticker--and a donation--that officially affirms the title.
Note: This article has been changed as of July 12, 2011.
Every Monday, we're rounding up things--small and big--that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by a Yankees fan who shows true sportsmanship, an author who found a way to learn from one rejection (and the 59 that followed it), and more...
Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, telling Katie Couric about the 60 rejections she received from agents (via Glamour):
Every time I got a rejection letter, it made me go back to the story and try to figure out what was not working. I think there are a lot of bad books out there that got published on the first try. And you've got to take a story, write it, put it in the drawer, soak out the stains, go back, and rewrite it over and over again.
Yankees fan Christian Lopez, who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th-hit baseball, volunteering to return the home-run memento to Jeter for little more than a photo op (instead of trying to sell it for, like, a bajillion dollars):
It wasn't about the money, it's about a milestone, and I'm not going to take that away from him.
WSJ writer Katherine Rosman on how friends strengthen a marriage:
When a friend says to me, "I saw Joe and your daughter at the park and she has him wrapped around her finger," my focus is drawn past dirty socks left on the floor and onto the fact that I married a terrific guy who is loved by many.
Former First Lady Betty Ford, who died last week at the age of 93, on giving her name to the now-famous drug and alcohol treatment center in California:
It was very helpful for women, too, because women had in many ways been underserved. And if my name was one there it was a safe place for women to come and be treated.
Life's a beach (as they say), but if you didn't have time to get away this weekend at least you can fake that post-sun glow with this slim, purse-sized palette from Stila. It comes filled with a blush, bronzer, and four shadows inspired by the Hamptons--the ultra-chic beach retreat New Yorkers flock to for R&R. Plus, a step-by-step guide for getting an easy, warm-weather look comes screen-printed inside the compact (which means you'll never be at a loss for where to put that bold azure shade). With colors reminiscent of blue skies, sandy beaches, and golden sunsets, this is the only makeup you'll need to pack for your next summer escape.
Stila Haute in the Hamptons Palette, $14
For more info on the Hamptons this season, check out Stila's website for the best shopping destinations, restaurants, and summer sites they discovered while doing "research" for this palette.
For more summer makeup ideas keep reading:
Check out July's best beauty buys
10 ways to summerize your beauty routine
If it's Friday, we must be grateful. Here are a few things we're saying thank you for this week:
1. The astronauts (including Elmo)
3. He makes clouds! Of bubbles! They float!
4. There really was a Charlotte (yes, the spider), and that, to us, is kind of beautiful
5. Turntable.fm: Because at least one of us will be going to a club to hear music, like it's 1994, this weekend—without hiring a babysitter or leaving the couch
6. Joan Didion @JoanDidion, for reminding us that it doesn't hurt to set attainable goals
(We really wanted to believe it was you.)
Here's to a productive and happy weekend!
I kept hearing that the gourmet offerings at many of the country's newer stadiums threaten to steal the show, so I asked around and found six foods baseball fans can't get enough of. Even if your interest in America's pastime is limited to the endearing if ragtag group of dogs named for the Yankee shortstop, you'll want to try these recipes and make a playoff-worthy version of them at home.
Ballpark: AT&T Park
Team: San Francisco Giants
Must-try concession: Crazy Crab'z, center field
What to order: Dungeness crab sandwich with mayonnaise and tomato, served in a grilled garlic butter sourdough baguette.
Make it at home: Curtis Stone's Surf Sandwich
Ballpark: Citi Field
Team: New York Mets
Must-try concession: Danny Meyer's El Verano Taqueria, outfield concourse
What to order: Chile-Marinated Skirt Steak, served inside two soft corn tortillas.
Make it at home: Grilled Skirt Steak with Two Chimichurris
[After the jump, a delectable fried fish sandwich and onion rings as far as the eye can see]
Last week, the hilarious comedy troupe Improv Everywhere hijacked a carousel. I am a devoted fan of Improv Everywhere, who have pulled off such stunts as a public figure-skating display during which one man slips and falls all over the ice while romantic music plays, and the invasion of a subway car by Darth Vader and assorted characters from Star Wars.
"We try to keep the focus on doing something positive rather than something negative," says founder Charlie Todd. "We want to create scenes of chaos and joy."
The carousel, however, has a magical, feel-good quality that seems exceeds all others. Why is that? Is it simply by virtue of the fact that a giant bunny wins a horse race? Is it the dramatic slow-mo finish? In the other videos, I noticed there's a period of adjustment during which the crowd of adult spectators need to observe, digest, and understand that what is happening is a public prank. Then and only then do they react with laughter. But in the carousel scene, the adults plunge into the spirit of the enterprise almost immediately even more so than the kids, who seem perplexed, but willing to go along, slapping their animals into "galloping."
There is something so wonderful in watching grown-up people play as if still in preschool, where all of us were allowed to be firemen or doctors everyday. I plan on spending the rest of the afternoon at my desk with a thick layer of sunscreen on my nose and my sunglasses down over my eyes, playing lifeguard-at-the-beach.
Read More: Laugh Until You Laugh... What's Your Emotional Age?
Lernert and Sander--set out to answer that question by directing a short film entitled, "Natural Beauty," starring Belgian supermodel Hannelore Knuts. They applied 365 layers of Ellis Faas makeup in one day. It took seven bottles of foundation, two bottles of cream shadow, three lip glosses, and two bottles of liquid blush, and NINE HOURS of non-stop work to get the job done. (Knuts--with her head fixed between two panels--drank her yogurt lunch through a straw all in the name of beauty and art).
As I watched the layers of foundation melting off her face I wondered--do I really use this much makeup over the course of the year? How much do I actually pile on every morning in an attempt to look like I'm not wearing any at all? If only I had kept a tally of how many bottles of tinted moisturizer I'd gone through in 2010. (I'm just about at the bottom of my first bottle for 2011). What are we really trying to cover up? Why do we feel the need to mask our natural beauty on a daily basis?
What about you? Where do you stand after watching this? And what makes you feel beautiful?
11 Ways to Feel Beautiful (And not one involves more makeup)