Photo: ThinkstockBy Dan Buettner
To write his book, Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, Dan Buettner teamed with psychologists and scientists to seek out the world's happiest people. We asked him to apply the lessons he's learned to the search for workaday bliss-whether you've already found your dream job or you're still dreaming:
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1. Get away from the grind: Studies show that leisure time can mitigate job-related stress, reduce the risk of depression, and improve self-esteem. No wonder, then, that Denmark, where employers are required to give five to six weeks of paid time off each year, is one of the happiest places on Earth. Contrast that with the United States, where the average American worker receives only about 16 paid vacation days each year-and more than a third of us don't even take them all. The first rule: Never leave vacation days on the table. Even if you don't have the money to splurge on an exotic trip, a "staycation"
Blog Posts by Oprah.com
Photo: ThinkstockBy Dan BuettnerRead More »from How to Make Any Job Better
Photo: ThinkstockBy Lynn AndrianiRead More »from The Retro Drink Everyone Loves
Punch might just be the ideal holiday party drink: It's easy to prepare in advance, serves a crowd so you can avoid stocking a full bar, and is retro chic. Dig out your mother or grandmother's bowl and cup set, follow these four simple rules from Dan Searing, author of The Punch Bowl and co-owner of the bar Room 11 in Washington, D.C.; and then try making Searing's Cold Claret Punch or Jamaican Punch.
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1. Keep It Seasonal
An iced tea-lemonade punch is terrific in July, but December calls for ingredients such as citrus, apple brandy and warm baking spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. And now's the time to serve heartier punches (think ones that include egg nog).
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2. Watch the Booze
One of the most common mistakes Searing sees is too-strong punch (even if part of the drink's appeal is its potency). Either follow a recipe to make sure you don't over-spike, or
Photo: Courtesy of DigifitBy Catherine Price
The Digifit Connect 2, a transceiver you stick into your Apple device, collects data from a suite of wireless sensors-including ones for your bike and sneakers-so you can adjust your exertion level to reach your fitness goal.
$50 for the device, $10 for the app; DigiFit.com
RELATED: Jingle Bells, Jangled Nerves
Photo: Robert GauthierCalorie-Burning Power
The Gruve uses your body's vibrations to measure how many calories you're burning during everyday physical activities (like wrestling with laundry). Bonus: If you sit still for too long, it vibrates to remind you to get moving.
$179 (includes a one-year subscription); Gruve.com
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Photo: WithingsBlood Pressure
With Withings' Smart Blood Pressure Monitor, you can upload your readings to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and graph trends over the course of a day or a month or a year. The device makes it simple to share your data with your doctor via e-mail.Read More »from 4 Gadgets that Can Improve Your Health
Photo: Courtesy of Wag.comBy Amber KallorRead More »from 10 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Buy in a Drugstore
Cloud Star Holiday Buddy Biscuits
For: The Furry Sidekick
Whether you're spoiling your own or a friend's pooch, these gingerbread-flavored, all-natural Cloud Star Holiday Buddy Biscuits will make Spot sit, stay and roll over in delight.
$6.50 | Wag.com
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Photo: Courtesy of Drugstore.comBurt's Bees Healthy Hands Hand Repair Kit
For: The Neighbor with a Green Thumb
Show her that you noticed the yard work and gardening she did all year by leaving this Burt's Bees Healthy Hands Hand Repair Kit on her doorstep. Shea and beeswax hand lotions, lemon butter cuticle cream and a pair of bee-printed cotton gloves ensure that she'll have soft hands come spring.
$13 | Drugstore.com
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Photo: Courtesy of Figi'sFigi's Gourmet Gummi Bear Tin For: The Hostess with the Mostess Instead of the standard bottle of champagne (or the dreaded fruitcake), bring this festive tin filled with gourmet gummy bears to your next holiday party. You can be sure this sweet
By Suze Orman Read More »from The 6-Step Financial Reality Check for Newlyweds
Married last June, Maria and Victor Martin* are bubbling with plans. Within the next five years, they want to have two kids and upgrade from their recently purchased two-bedroom condo in Chicago. And Maria, 33, an assistant psychology professor, and Victor, 37, who is finishing his doctorate in clinical psychology, are eager to add to the $60,000 they already have in retirement savings. "Marriage, babies, new home, new job-we're on the brink of a lot of beginnings," Maria told me. "I want to make sure we're prioritizing the way we should be."
I love that this couple is looking toward the future. And they have a lot going for them in the present: no credit card debt, both cars paid off, and enough income each month to cover their expenses. But when Maria and Victor contacted me to help plot their next steps, I warned them of some potential obstacles that could block their dreams-especially if the newlyweds don't plan carefully. Here's the strategy I laid out for Maria
- Oprah.com | Shine Food – Tue, Dec 20, 2011 5:38 PM EST
Photo: ThinkstockBy Caitlin ShetterlyRead More »from The Christmas Cookies from Hell (and 4 Reasons to Make Them)
The day after Thanksgiving, our bellies full of all the turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce two slices of toasted bread can hold, I turn to my husband, Dan, lying in bed, the newspaper halfheartedly dangling from his hands. "What are we going to do about those %$#*&-ing Christmas cookies?" I ask. Dan groans. If I had any mercy for my husband, I wouldn't let this question linger in the air. But I let it hang there because, as crazy-making as they are to bake, these cookies remind me of six crucial things about the holidays:
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1. Perfection is attainable. Our Penobscot Bay Ginger Cookie recipe was given to us by my surrogate grandmother, Cherie. She lives on an island in Penobscot Bay, off the coast of Downeast Maine. The recipe calls for the usual things: butter, brown sugar, an egg, molasses, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, salt. But then there's a twist: chopped crystallized ginger. The cookies are chewy and gooey,
- Oprah.com | Financially Fit – Mon, Dec 19, 2011 4:58 PM EST
Photo: ThinkstockBy Arianna Davis
Cari Cucksey, professional liquidator and host of HGTV's Cash and Cari, says that, based on her experience, the average family has about $10,000 worth of unused items in their home. But how do you know what's worth something and what's just plain junk? We asked Cucksey and a few other experts to tell us the most often overlooked items-and the best online resources for you to start cashing in.
RELATED: Hands-On Holiday Decorating Guide
Used Clothing and Shoes
A lot of people donate to charity clothing that has been sitting in their closets for years, but, Cucksey says, "There is a really big secondhand market out there of people who will buy styles that look outdated to you." It's often lesser-known designer items that are most surprising: Many of her clients are ready to toss their boxed, funky purses from the '60s and '70s before she lets them know they are by designer Enid Collins and commonly sell for $300 and up. And don't discount the pieces from the '80s you'dRead More »from 7 Things in Your Home that Are More Valuable Than You Think
Photo: Carlos Rodriguez, courtesy of AnagramaBy Abbe Wright
Author of Brilliant: White in Design"This time of year, everyone is thinking about entertaining. A white background makes you appreciate every detail. Bring it to the table by using linen tablecloths and napkins. People do lots of home cooking during this season and white dishes showcase the food you're serving. You can get them very inexpensively. You can mix all periods, shapes and materials of white-earthenware or porcelain, a simple shape from IKEA or an over-the-top piece from Sevres, your grandmother's Wedgwood vase mixed with a Crate and Barrel piece-it works beautifully well."
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Photo: Sabra KrockGrace Bonney
Author of Design*Sponge at HomeRead More »from 4 DIY Holiday Decorating Secrets from the Pros
"I really love doing DIY mercury glass because I feel that shininess, especially on votives and vases, feels very special for the holidays. For a centerpiece: Get inexpensive, clear glass containers from thrift stores or flea markets
- Oprah.com | Beauty on Shine – Thu, Dec 15, 2011 6:37 PM EST
Photo: ThinkstockBy Amber KallorRead More »from 3 Beauty Tricks to Hide the Signs of Holiday Stress
A calendar full of holiday parties, last-minute shopping and a house brimming with guests can leave you looking less than refreshed. Try these makeup tips for an instant pick-me-up.
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Camouflage Dark Circles
You might have noticed that applying concealer that's a few shades too light to cover up the effects of a late night (or two...or three) gives the appearance of reverse raccoon eyes. For a natural-looking solution, try a brightening concealer to reflect light instead, says makeup artist Carmindy. If you're fair, look for a pink shade; if you're medium to dark, opt for an apricot color. (Try Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Fast Fix Concealer, $9.) Instead of using your fingers to apply (which Carmindy says can tug on delicate skin), you'll have more success using a synthetic brush to sweep the brightening concealer under your eyes and up into the inner corners, which are prone to shadows.
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- Oprah.com | Healthy Living – Wed, Dec 14, 2011 8:00 PM EST
By Corrie Pikul
My brother-in-law, an orthopedic surgeon in New Hampshire, tells me that he's expecting some long nights at the hospital and the clinic this month. His appointment book is jam-packed with patients trying squeeze every last benefit from their health insurance plans before the new year starts. That inspired me to call Maura Carley, president and CEO of Healthcare Navigation, an advocacy group that guides people through the Byzantine rules of their health insurance plans. I asked her to help me draw up a quick to-do list for this month. Here's her advice:
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- If your health plan has a January 1 renewal, check the balance in your Flexible Spending Account, and then use the remaining funds to stock up on reimbursable items like eyeglasses, a bite guard for sleeping, orthotics, contact lens solution, and cold medicine, because whatever you don't use, you lose. One thing to note: "You'll need a prescription in order to get