Earlier this week, a perfect stranger sized me up and, out of nowhere, suggested I do the thing I've always wanted to do--let's say it was roller skating across the country. That moment was at once terrifying and a wonderful boost of self-esteem; if this person thinks I can do it, why don't I? Well, thanks to a career quiz in O magazine, I know exactly why. I tied evenly between fear of failure and fear of success, and burst out laughing right in the bathtub.
Lots of us keep lists squirreled away of what we want to do with our lives. They are lists that often detail dreams that can seem too lofty or woefully mundane: we want to buy a house with a pantry, live in Paris, drive across the country, have kids, start a bakery. But we don't dare do more than write it down because if we were to voice the thing we want to do than it would be out there, acknowledged and unfulfilled. Somehow, that stings more than just keeping it to ourselves.
When it comes to setting goals and meeting them, we
Blog Posts by Sarah McColl, Shine staff
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Fri, Oct 29, 2010 5:05 PM EDT
Earlier this week, a perfect stranger sized me up and, out of nowhere, suggested I do the thing I've always wanted to do--let's say it was roller skating across the country. That moment was at once terrifying and a wonderful boost of self-esteem; if this person thinks I can do it, why don't I? Well, thanks to a career quiz in O magazine, I know exactly why. I tied evenly between fear of failure and fear of success, and burst out laughing right in the bathtub.Read More »from Poll: What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
The upshot to the changing office rules? You can compose a memo while standing in line at the grocery store. The downside? You can still be composing that memo at 11pm after the dinner dishes have been washed. Being able to work any and everywhere has freed many of us up to work billable hours in our pajamas and dictate letters from the drive-thru, but how and where do you draw the line to keep work from overrunning the rest of your life?Read More »from Keeping work and life in balance and in check
Size up the landscape
Look at your life right now and the roles that work, family, me-time, and recreation are all playing. What needs to change in order for you to feel more balanced? You might be craving more time with your better half or more time for yoga. Take a step back and think about whether you can meet your priorities by cutting out evening email or getting more help from your spouse at home. You might also consider whether a bigger change is in order, like a career with more flexibility. It never hurts to take a timeout in life to think
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Wed, Oct 27, 2010 3:55 PM EDT
I've been in a hurried, harried flurry of stress these past few days, rushing from meetings to appointments to evening work events. I've already drafted one email to a friend apologizing for being abnormally MIA, and don't even ask what happened to the gym. As a fierce protector of my days--which have to include stuff like eating dinner with my husband while watching The West Wing reruns and attending my favorite step class--I do not like this state of things one bit. If you, too, feel like your life has turned into a whirling dervish of obligations with no time leftover for the important stuff, you've come to the right place.Read More »from 10 ways to find time in your day for what really matters
1. Identify your non-negotiables
What's been getting short-shrift that is absolutely essential to you for a meaningful life? It could be pushing aside the furniture for living room yoga once a week, talking to your best friend on the phone, or time alone with your sweetie, but be specific about what in your life are absolute, no-excuses top priority. Aim for 5
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Healthy Living – Mon, Oct 25, 2010 11:56 PM EDT
Hilary Duff is the latest star to admit she was, at one point, too skinny. She tells Health: "I got pretty skinny when I was between 17 and 19. I regret it because I don't think I was happy then." It's great that Duff has realized this (even if it does seem like the domain of Captain Obvious) but there are a few things we're still hung up on.
Duff credits husband, Mike Comrie, for helping her love her bod. "It really helps to have a partner that loves everything about you and makes you feel really beautiful." In our ideal feminist utopia, of course, we'd love every woman to have a hard diamond of sparkling self-esteem, regardless of what the paramours in her life say. But we'll take what we can get.
And not to parse this quote too closely, but is Duff saying she wouldn't have regretted being "pretty skinny" if she had been happy?
Which brings us to this: Even when stars start coming down to earth and admitting to the rest of us how freakishly thin they look, the conversation isRead More »from Stars regret being too skinny. We regret that we're even talking about this.
Good news for the thrifty, penny-pinched, and underpaid among us: A study from Belgium's University of Liege found that money diminishes our appreciation for life's mundane pleasures. The reasoning? Regularly enjoying extravagances that money can buy--like going out to spendy restaurants and buying all the Chanel we ever wanted--makes it harder to savor the beauty in life's little joys, like sunny days and cold beers. Here, three ways to cultivate a life with more happiness, no money necessary.Read More »from 3 science-proven ways money can't buy happiness
LOOK OUTSIDE YOUR JOB
While more content people generally report higher job satisfaction, a study from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, finds that loving your job won't necessarily increase your overall level of happiness. The study suggests that the secret to being happy at work is to be happy with other areas of your life, like family and friendships. Instead of working late again, how about punching out to meet your bestie for a yoga class?
Read more: How to love the job you have
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Thu, Oct 21, 2010 4:13 PM EDT
In the "Whoa, we live in the future!" moment of the week, researchers at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City report they have identified a gene responsible for depression. Could replacing the gene cure depression?Read More »from Scary or awesome? Researchers report gene therapy could cure depression
Neuroscience Michael Kaplitt and co-author of the paper in the journal Science Translational Medicine said in a statement, "We potentially have a novel therapy to target what we now believe is one root cause of human depression."
Kaplitt's team looked at the activity of a gene called p11 in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, an area responsible for feelings of reward, pleasure, and laughter. When doctors are determining whether to give a diagnosis of depression, one of the key symptoms they look for is anhedonia, or the inability to derive pleasure or satisfaction from previously-enjoyed activities.
Kaplitt's team conducted studies on depressed mice who lacked motivation to squirm away when held by their tales or pass swimming tests. When
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Wed, Oct 20, 2010 4:30 PM EDT
There are some questions I ask over and over of people. "What's your go-to weeknight dinner?" is a biggie. But as someone who is now and then beset with bad moods, here's another choice query: How do you fix a bad mood? Self-soothing tactics aren't just some namby-pamby way to coddle yourself. The way I see it is like this: if we don't take responsibility for our own happiness, who will?Read More »from What's your tried-and-true way to banish a bad mood?
By the time we hit adulthood, most of us don't have a mommy who will wipe away our tears with the same regularity as when we were toddlers. It's vital to know how to do this for ourselves. Not because bad moods don't have a place in our lives--they're a part of the normal emotional life cycle, for sure. In fact, research has shown that not only are bad moods natural, but that they can help you make clear-headed decisions and boost memory.
But whatever. None of that means anything when life has just come at you hard: a project lands on your desk at the eleventh hour, you get stuck in traffic, and a
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Work + Money – Mon, Oct 18, 2010 4:33 PM EDT
You know in Clueless when Cher challenge Tai to use one big word a day? Or when Diane Court makes a dot in the dictionary next to every word she looks up in Say Anything? These are the images that came to mind when I realized Saturday was Dictionary Day. If you're tired of using the same old words (me!), here are some easy ways to get all SAT prep on yourself and upgrade that vocab.Read More »from 5 ways to upgrade your vocabulary without sounding like a know-it-all
Make it a daily habit.
Sign up for Dictionary.com's Word of the Day. They don't just give dry definitions, they give context (which your brain needs to retain the new information), like usage from literature and current events, as well as the word's origin.
There's nothing embarrassing about not knowing something. If we couldn't admit the limits of our knowledge, we'd never learn anything! So look up the words you don't know and ask your friends what a word they used means. And you might have to ask again and again. For instance, on a particularly pleasant girl's weekend recently, apoplectic
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Fri, Oct 15, 2010 3:31 PM EDT
Perhaps it's the Yankee in me--relatives who will remain unnamed have been known to pick up nickels off restaurant floors--but I was born a thrifty girl. So when the economy tanked and belts were tightened, I was already in the habit of living close to the bone. Only now I had to find new ways to cut costs that still jived with my desire to lead a life filled with daily pleasures. But cutting back at the grocery store doesn't have to mean giving up your bon vivant mantle, just a little reimagining of the way we spend, shop, and eat. Here, bloggers and smart ladies like you share some ideas.
- I've found that getting handy with baking has been a huge money-saver in our household. Homemade bread for roughly 50 cents a loaf is awesome. So are fresh batches of zucchini bread, applesauce muffins, and bar cookies. --Kristina
- [One of my biggest tricks is] Planning my menus for the entire week. When I plan ahead I can take into consideration what I have in my pantry - or what few
In my neck of the woods, we're experiencing the kind of weather that inspired Norman Rockwell's entire canon. Yesterday, I saw cute little girls in plaid coats, dogs trotting through dry leaves, and the light coming down on my dirty neighborhood sidewalk, sunny but diffuse in that quintessentially October way. Fall seems to stir up our creativity (call it a vestigial habit from our school days), and the trick of making it a part of our lives is just listening--hearing our inner creative voice (everyone has one) and letting it out. Here's how.Read More »from Stoke a creative spark in your daily life
Try a daily photo challenge. We take photos at weddings, graduations, and birthdays, but a daily photo challenge calls you to look for the beauty in your ordinary, everyday life. Looking around for just the right frame becomes not only an exercise in seeing the art of the everyday, but a simple exercise in awareness. Choose a method that works for you: digital photos, snapshots on your cell phone, polaroids, whatever. And then, if you feel really