Photo: Courtesy of Gayle King
1. "Just Show Up and Be Interested"
Now that's good advice! It came from Nina Smiley, PhD, the director of mindfulness programs at Mohonk Mountain House
in New York's gorgeous Hudson Valley. I went there for a little bit of hiking and a whole lot of sleeping last summer, and though I'm back to my ol' sleep-deprived self, the idea of showing up and being interested is a lesson that I believe could benefit all of us.
Photo: Larsen & Talbert/Push/Foodpix/Getty Images
2. I've Never Cooked Thanksgiving Dinner...
but I sure enjoy eating it. I like all the traditional sides, from sweet potatoes with crushed pineapple and melted marshmallows on top to macaroni & cheese, but my favorite dish is a cranberry mold that my mother used to make. My sister, Sharon, who has taken over the Jell-O job, swears it's simple—just add laughter, gratitude and the people you love!
1 (6-ounce) box strawberry gelatin
1 (14-ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
1 (16-ounce) container frozen strawberries in sugar, defrosted
1-2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch cubes
In a large bowl, add 2 cups of boiling water to gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add cranberry sauce, whisking to combine. Fold in strawberries, including syrup, and apples. Pour into a 1-quart mold or bundt pan and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or overnight. Just before serving, place platter on top of mold and flip over. Remove mold and serve.
Photo: Courtesy of Restoration Hardware
3. Qat Is a Word
I know this because I've been a serious Scrabble lover since college. This is the biggest board I've ever seen, at 26 1/2 inches square and 17 pounds, and it actually swivels. I know $279 is pricey, but you'll have it forever, and believe me, when everybody's all turkeyed out and snowed in, it's a perfect way to pass a winter evening. (RestorationHardware.com
Photo: Alix Malka, Copyright Feeling Productions, Inc.
4. More Than 220 Million Album Sales...
under her belt, Celine Dion is the number one female recording artist in the world. Her first English-language album since 2007, Loved Me Back to Life
, comes out November 5, and it's a different Dion. Her silky smooth voice is as extraordinary as I've ever heard it (and I've heard it live in concert five times), but now it's got a definite edge. In "Incredible," her duet with Ne-Yo, she sings "Let's make them remember that we were incredible." Celine, I've never forgotten.
Photo: Copyright 2013 The Weinstein Company
5. It's Hard to Play an Icon...
and I couldn't imagine Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela. Then I saw Long Walk to Freedom,
the film based on Mandela's autobiography, and now I'm a believer. His accent is perfection, his body language is spot-on and his message still resonates: "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin.... People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart." This movie shows the beauty of Africa, the brutality of apartheid, and the rise and fall of Nelson and Winnie Mandela's marriage—a partnership that forever changed a country.
Next: 5 things we can't stop smiling about