Illustration: Serge Bloch

You No Longer Have to Be Ashamed of Ordering the Chardonnay
The much-maligned wine of work functions and weddings could use a makeover—and it's getting one. "Many vintners are embracing a lighter style with more citrus fruit and some tartness," says master sommelier Gillian Ballance, who recommends choosing bottles marketed as light or crisp. Her top picks:

For Unwinding on a Weeknight
Hess Select Chardonnay
"Not too oaky, with melon flavor and hints of vanilla and spice." ($12)

For a Saturday Dinner with Friends
2012 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles
"Mineral-y with notes of apple and pear, plus a smoky finish." ($27)

For a Truly Special Occasion
2012 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay
"Creamy texture with ripe pineapple and citrus. This bottle always overdelivers!" ($44)

Photo: Piper Ferguson

Indie Rock Suitable for Parents
In September, the two-man band Tweedy—Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and his 18-year-old son, Spencer—released Sukierae, which features masterful riffs, dissonant percussion and the senior Tweedy's gorgeously understated voice. The trancelike "Slow Love" is all crashing cymbals and insistent bass, while "Diamond Light Pt. 1" is a study in the art of the slow build. ($11 on MP3;

Photo: Alex Raths/Thinkstock

The Thx Thx Thx Twitter Feed Always Delights
Advertising creative director and writer Leah Dieterich's offbeat exercise in gratitude (@ttthhhxxx) serves up gems like this: "Dear Flowering Plant in My Neighbor's Front Yard, thx for smelling like Twizzlers when you bloom. This is nothing short of a miracle to me."
Healthy woman

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Evidence You Can Still Turn Your Health Around
Did you spend your 20s crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry's? New research reveals that you haven't doomed your arteries. Making changes as late as your 30s and 40s—eating better, quitting smoking or becoming more active—can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Cranberry sauce

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Cranberry Sauce
Amid an all-star cast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce tends to be a bit player, thrown on the table as background for the real action. Enter Beth's Farm Kitchen cranberry horseradish chutney, a sweet-spicy blend with brown sugar, mustard, orange juice and wasabi powder that not only requires zero preparation, but will also steal the show. ($9;

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

You Can Smell Better for Less
If you like your fragrances rich and heady but don't want to spring for new parfum (usually the most expensive form of fragrance), try perfume oils. They contain little or no alcohol, so they tend to be more concentrated than alcohol-based perfume, says Randy Schueller, cosmetic chemist and cofounder of the Beauty Brains website. What's more, they're often a fraction of the cost. Two of our favorites: C.O. Bigelow Perfume Oil (in ten scents, $15 each; and MCMC Fragrances Perfume Oil (eight scents, $45 each;

Illustration: Serge Bloch

It May Be Possible to Lose Weight While You Sleep
Before you crank up the heat, consider the recent finding that sleeping in colder temperatures (specifically, 66 degrees) can increase brown fat, a so-called good fat that helps you burn calories and boosts your metabolism.
Woman on phone

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"I'm grateful that I've finally learned how to keep telemarketers from calling back. When they start their spiel, I simply say that before they continue, I must explain that 'this call may be recorded for purposes of review by the New York State Bureau of Fraud.' Not sure whether that particular institution actually exists, but it works every time."
—Lisa Kogan, O Writer-at-Large
President Obama and wife Michelle

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Presidential Greetings
The fist bump may be cheesy when attempted by anyone but a sitting president or a 15-year-old boy, but it spreads 90 percent fewer germs than a handshake, according to a recent study. An opinion piece in The Journal of the American Medical Association called for handshakes to be banned in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

You Could Easily Skip Town Right Now
Does holiday family time make you want to flee the state? With the new Flight Tonight app, you can escape in the next 24 hours (when fares can occasionally be had at bargain prices). Choose your airport of departure, and you'll get a list of available flights to both national and international destinations. Book a reservation through your phone and pack your bag. (Free; iTunes)

Photo: Getty Images

A Cheap, Easy Way To Prevent Snacking
Overweight adults who added half an avocado to their lunch decreased their appetite by 40 percent over the next three hours, according to a study recently published in Nutrition Journal. Now, that's a magical fruit! (To repeat their results, try it in a salad, in a smoothie or on a sandwich.)

It's Not Too Late to Learn Shakespeare
The addictive Poems by Heart from Penguin Classics app lets you memorize poetry while playing on your phone. Choose from works by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and other literary greats and challenge yourself to a fill-in-the-blank game that's simple and miraculously effective. When you've aced all five stages, record your recital and send it to a paramour. (Free, including four poems; additional packs of three poems, $1 each; iTunes)

Illustration: Serge Bloch

Anger, Guilt and Anxiety
According to psychologists Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener, authors of the new book The Upside of Your Dark Side, these emotions, while unpleasant, can help make us the best versions of ourselves: Anger fuels creativity, guilt sparks improvement and self-doubt makes us aim higher with our actions.
Night owl

Photo: Piotr Marcinski/Thinkstock

Your Inability to Get to Bed Before Midnight
Night owl tendencies, rather than being symptomatic of acute Homeland addiction, might stem from your high intelligence, according to a study out of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Researchers found that people with high IQs (over 125) went to bed 20 minutes later on weeknights than people with normal IQs.
Drying rack

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

"I am so grateful for my drying rack, which—I am not exaggerating—is one of my favorite things I own. I've had cheaper versions that broke, but this one is sturdy and doesn't rust. It's almost as good as having a yard and a clothesline!" (Laundry Drying Center; $70;
—Adrienne Didik,
O Copy Chief
Soma pitcher

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

A Filtered-Water Pitcher That's Nice Enough to Put on the Table
This Soma Carafe, made from shatter-resistant glass, filters chlorine using biodegradable materials like coconut shells and silk and a plant-based casing—meaning your water will look and taste good. ($59 for carafe and two months of filters;

Photo: Getty Images

This forgotten root vegetable, lately eclipsed by trendier cousins like the beet, should get more love, argues veggie virtuoso Yotam Ottolenghi, author of the new cookbook Plenty More. "Parsnips are high on my list of the most versatile vegetables," he says. "They can be cooked any way and have a rich, earthy flavor and robust sweetness." He suggests three easy recipes:

Parnsip Fries
Peel and slice parsnips into wedges. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, red onion and a few sprigs of rosemary. Roast at 425° until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Mashed Parnsips
Peel and chop parsnips; discard woody centers. Boil 30 minutes until soft. Drain and mash with 1 cup roasted butternut squash and some roasted garlic, plus butter, chives and a pinch of nutmeg.

Parnsip-Carrot Salad
Shred parsnips and carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, 1 tsp. harissa and a pinch of coriander. Top with toasted pistachios.

Photo: Ingram Publishing

Bushy Eyebrows Are In
You may stop waxing, threading and obsessively plucking. Instead, use a pencil a shade similar to or darker than your hair to outline your brow, says Sania Vucetaj, owner of Sania's Brow Bar in New York City (try her Angled Mechanical Brow Pencil, $30; Then use a spoolie brush to blend the pencil throughout the brow—and pluck any stray hairs, to avoid the Groucho effect.

Photo: Ingram Publishing

"I'm grateful for my white Nike Dri-FIT hat, which I wear when I play tennis. A regular hat is too hot on the court, but this one is super-lightweight. And it protects my bald egg head from the sun."
—Dr. Phil
Cake pan

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

A Pan That Lets You Bake Your Cake and Eat It, Too
This ingenious nonstick pan solves an age-old problem: how to taste the cake you've just whipped up without taking a big bite out of it. An attached tasting cup lets you sample your dessert before it's finished baking—strictly for quality-control purposes, of course. (Nibble pan, $13;

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Keeping in Touch Just Got Way Cooler
Keep Fresh Stay Rad is a box of cheeky postcards that render sweet, sincere slogans in stunning typography ($20; Our favorites include the bracingly blocky "Rip It Up & Start Again" and the swooping calligraphic "You Are Young and The World is Wide." (So true.)

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

You Can Put Your Best Foot Forward
Unleash your mad fashion genius with the world's first high-heel "shoe separates." The interchangeable bottoms click firmly into the tops so you can wear the same style with a platform, a stiletto, a wedge or whatever else suits your fancy. Seventeen uppers and 20 heels let you create 340 combinations. (Uppers, $48 to $54 each, and heels, $44 to $55;
Quinoa chocolate bar

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Quinoa Has Never Tasted So Delicious
The O staff is adding more of this protein-rich, ancient seed to our diets thanks to Jcoco's sublime Agave Quinoa Sesame in Milk Chocolate bar, which is studded with crispy puffs of quinoa and sprinkled with sea salt. Even sweeter: With each bar purchased, the chocolatier donates a serving of fresh food to the hungry. ($8;
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

Finally, a Tearjerker On Par with The Notebook
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them hit theaters in September, but is now being released in a longer and even more compelling version. Her/Him is actually two back-to-back films, one told from the perspective of the wife (Jessica Chastain) and the other the husband (James McAvoy). It's for anyone who likes her popcorn with a side of tissues.
Dirty dishes

Illustration: Serge Bloch

Your Sinkful of Dirty Dishes
Household drudgery can be meditative, according to Buddhist writer Dana Velden, who lives by the modern Zen saying "When you wash the dishes, the dishes also wash you." By paying attention to the scent of the soap, the temperature of the water and the subtle sounds of splashing, Velden says, you can wash away not just the grease, but also the petty concerns of your day. Need help focusing? "Use a really nice soap, like White Tea and Bamboo by J.R. Watkins," she suggests. "And turn on some soothing or joyful music, like a Bach cello suite."