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How to keep your guacamole from turning brown, and why tapping a watermelon won't help determine its ripeness
Reason No. 659 Why to Love Perfect Strangers: Listening to Mom and Changing the World of a Young Girl
The New York Times today reported on a story that makes you want to go up and down the sidewalks, shaking people's hands saying "Thank you. Thank you very much for being human." (One day, I am going to try this and see how it turns out.) Because no matter what we think about ourselves, there are people out there who change the entire futures of others.
Mariah Stackhouse, the only African-American qualifier in this week's U.S. Women's Open, started out her career as a middle-class youngster in Atlanta—which meant that she couldn't practice on the kind of expert, varied terrain that she needed to experience in order to improve. Enter 72-year-old Ralph Boston. Boston was a three-time Olympian in the long jump back in the '60s—when country club membership required not just money but also white skin.
"When I met Mariah, there was a lady running through my mind—my mother, Eulalia," says Boston. "She'd always tell me, 'Whenever you can open a door, you do it.' So basically I had to help Mariah, because people helped me."
So he enrolled Stackhouse as his "granddaughter" at the Canongate chain of private courses. From there, Stackhouse made a name for herself, earning her own club membership and entrance into Stanford University.
Which just goes to show you: Your mom may still nag you about wearing slippers in the winter. Your mom may fill up your voice mail, worried about buying Christmas pageant tickets in the merry month of April. But when it comes to the big stuff—changing the world, giving not just when it's convenient but when it costs you—moms are the world champions.
Making your own jewelry can be a chance to express your creativity and personal style. But for those of us who don't have the dexterous hands of a jeweler, securing a clasp or tying a microscopic knot on a homemade bracelet or necklace can be more frustrating than stress-relieving. If you fall into the latter category, Sheyna.com, a design-it-yourself jewelry site, might be the perfect solution. With over 5,000 chains, charms, beads and stones to choose from, ranging in price from $5 to $5000, you can get your arts and crafts vibe going at any price. The best part: Clicking and moving your mouse are the only skills needed to design your dream jewelry. Just select individual pieces from the gallery (or a ready-made design from the shop that you'd like to alter) and pull them onto the drag-and-drop digital sketchpad. This tool even builds your jewelry on a budget—pricing out your bracelet, necklace or earrings as you make each addition. Blossoming jewelry designer? After you've finished your sparkly masterpiece, you have the option to publish it and share with other shoppers, or keep this one-of-a-kind creation for yourself. Sheyna's pieces are handmade by artisans from around the world and arrive on your doorstep ready to wear. It's official: DIY has never been easier.
Other DYO (design your own) jewelry sites we like:
This week, Leigh Newman opens up about the war going on in her refrigerator. On one side: her husband and the healthy, affordable ball of mozzarella. On the other side: her, the kids and a bag of processed, overpriced yet inexplicably delectable cheese sticks, which "may or may not be made of actual cheese (depending on the brand), and this last point is moot because they do not taste like cheese. They taste like dairy Styrofoam."
What, you might ask, does all this have to do with making new friends? (And by friends we do not mean the ladies in your book group or the mothers of your children's friends or your neighbors or co-workers of your spouse. We mean grown-up, intelligent, just-for-you women who might just chat with you "about books and art and really mature things like slow cookers.")
Find out where the intersection of cheap snacks and new intimates lies (including a perplexing confession of adultery)
A small yet interesting study of 34 middle-aged women (some with rheumatoid arthritis, some with breast cancer), published in the May issue of Health Psychology, found that the women who frequently swore in the company of others turned out to be women who were less likely to feel that people sympathized with them and felt their pain (and this had the power to make them feel even more depressed). "Would middle-aged men—or, for that matter, women of a younger, more swearing-prone generation—feel the same way?" asks Boing Boing. "There's a possibility that this study could have more to say about what middle-aged women expect from themselves, or who other people expect them to be."
You know who doesn't care who other people expect her to be? Helen Mirren, who is one of the classiest cursers we've ever seen (watch her drop the f-bomb with aplomb). Dame Helen is a great example for those who are hesitant to harness the power of swear words when they need it most. Maybe if we were more accustomed to seeing and hearing women express themselves (uncensored!), we'd be less worried about what we shouted when we put our own hands in ice water...or on a molten steering wheel, or in the hinge of a door, or on a hot pan handle. In other words, if we got caught trying to ameliorate the ordinary pains of domestic life.
The hidden benefits of anger, cursing and negativity
Art from Vintage Printable. The site offers free (!), downloadable art you can print at home (the rhinos are but one example, at left).
Fila Toning Resistance Collection, $35-$55. Compression panels in these gym clothes smooth and streamline your body before you even break a sweat.
Bloom Black Ties, $34 for two. These hair ties look like pretty bracelets when they're worn on the wrist.
Azure Ikat Towels, $8-$58. Jaunty tassels and looped floral jacquard trim make these towels a much fancier way to dry off.
Fotopedia Paris App for iPad and iPhone. Wander around Paris without leaving your lounge chair (or stripping down for airport security). The best part: It's absolutely free.
Jasper + Black Notebooks, $11-$26. Tongue-in-cheek notepads have covers that say things like "Bosses I Had and Liked" and "Faux Pas I Made and Liked." Sure, you might be only jotting down a grocery list...but these mischievous notebooks suggest otherwise.
By the way, Cristina just launched her new website, which has tons of delicious recipes.
The great, dreaded re-entry into life after beach: The freckles on your shoulders, the sand in your hair (and down your ears), the blissed-out feeling that lasts right up to the moment you reach your desk, only to—ugh—sludge down on your chair and try to accomplish something without sliding into a weird office/resort daydream in which you're laying out on the scanner, browning your backside while drinking a margarita from the water cooler, now filled with frozen strawberry drinks.
The first day back to work is never fun—even if your work is staying at home. But brain researchers now claim that this unique time period may be the key to some mental breakthroughs. Dr. David Rock's classic piece in Psychology Today, describes how coming back can inspire fresh answers to old, unsolved problems you left behind. He writes:
"It turns out that the ability to stop oneself from thinking something is central to creativity. For example, if you are trying to solve the six-letter anagram 'Bmusic' you would have to stop thinking about the word 'music' to get the correct word (which is 'cubism').
After a vacation, this happens all by itself as your circuits for solving a problem one way have become less dominant. This idea also explains why I like playing pieces I have written on the piano after a long break. I tend to naturally do things differently because the circuits are not held as tightly, and I stumble upon happy musical accidents along the way.
What this means at work is that new answers to tough problems are more likely to emerge from your mind when you haven't thought about a problem for a while. So use this resource, use your fresh mind to tackle big challenges."
Hmm...I wonder if this idea will help me with my number one work problem: eating too many gummy bears after 3 p.m. and giving myself a crippling sugar hangover. I don't want the hangover. But I do want the gummy bears. I fear my breakthrough may involve a fresh, new idea called willpower.