Read More »from What's so wrong with just being ourselves?
The celebration of Bastille Day last week inspired the usual rash of articles on how to be more like a French woman with even the New York Times chiming in with advice on how to age like the Frenchies. This came on the heels of my reading a passage in The Happiness Project about the sadness of being one's self. The whole thing got me thinking: what's so wrong with just being you?
The French, as we've been told repeatedly, know how to dress, eat, and age better than we do. The Italians know how to seduce, the Danes know how to be happy. And it's not just cultural emulation. We want Jennifer Aniston's legs, and Cher's house. We want to know what Gwyneth Paltrow eats and how Christina Hendricks stays so freakin' gorgeous. Why don't we just want to be ourselves?
Author Gretchen Rubin argues that there is a certain sadness to being ourselves. In just being us, we resign to live only one life and work within our own limitations. Being ourselves means admitting we will never be an acrobat,
Blog Posts by Sarah McColl, Shine staff
Read More »from What's so wrong with just being ourselves?
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Work + Money – Fri, Jul 16, 2010 5:24 PM EDT
Two important things happen during the summer months to affect our usual dinner routine. First, we're loathe to undo the hard work of our air-conditioner by turning on the oven. Second, and equally important, who wants to get out of the hammock, return from the beach, or stop playing croquet just cause our stomach's grumbling? But, ah, the grocery store roast chicken is a lazy girl's BFF and just the thing for a summer dinner makeover. Swoop in, pick up a chicken for less than $6, and with a few pantry staples you've got dinner for four in a flash. Easy as pie. Mmm...chicken pot pie. (We'll save that for the colder months).Read More »from 1 rotisserie chicken, 7 super simple summer recipes
The Classic: Carve up chicken in six or eight pieces. Serve with a simple green salad, whole wheat couscous, and sliced peaches and nectarines.
Down-home Style: Shred chicken meat, and toss with your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve on split, toasted buns. Dish up cole slaw or baked potato chips alongside.
Fiesta Ready: Shred chicken and stuff inside taco shells with
Isn't it amazing how we go out of town and really take a place by storm? We visit museums, dance all night, and snag a resy at the local hot spot. Yet when we're at home, we stick to our usual routines, hitting-up our old standbys or staying on the couch. It's time to make the most of where you live. In honor of the always popular summer staycation, we've got a dozen ideas to turn you into a tourist in your own town.Read More »from How to be a tourist in your own town
1. List your favorite vacation activities
Do you like to see a local sports team? Go shopping? Sit and people watch at a sidewalk cafe? Let what you love to do on vacation inform how you're going to explore your own home turf. Bonus points: maybe what you love to do on vacation should find its way into your life more often, just for the fun of it.
2. Check out a local guide book
You've got the inside scoop, no doubt, but a travel guide focusing on your town might offer up suggestions you've overlooked, forgotten, or didn't even know about.
3. Get off your personal beaten
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Tue, Jul 13, 2010 5:04 PM EDT
A study published in Psychological Science reveals that Jack Handey might have discovered a key to happiness with his "Deep Thoughts." Researchers at the University of Arizona recorded participants' conversations for four days and found the happiest subjects had twice as many substantive conversations (ones that get beyond the weather to touch on religion, current affairs, or the meaning of life) and one third as much small talk as the unhappiest participants. So should we be spending less time comparing exercise routines and more time talking about foreign policy?Read More »from Small talk won't make you happy but deep conversations could
These findings struck me as particularly interesting given a conversation I'd had with a friend that stuck with me. He works in an industrial park straight out of Office Space, and despite majoring in philosophy in college and being a pretty deep thinker, he prides himself on having chatty relationships with everyone at work from the receptionist to the cashiers in the cafeteria. These are conversations that skim the
Yesterday I attended a Quaker meeting in deep-shaded woods. After a stressful week of work and the usual personal woes, it was there on a wooden bench surrounded by the cacophony of forest sounds that the truly important things hit me like a ton of bricks. The knowledge of what really matters is inside all of us all the time, of course, but sometimes the buzzing of daily life drowns these truisms out. It's a luxury to step out of your routine long enough to get some perspective on it, but you don't have to take a trip out of town. Changing your perspective is often a matter of just looking at your life from a different angle. Here are five ideas how to do it:Read More »from 5 ways to change your perspective
1. Go outside. There's a community garden a block away from my house. I'm usually rushing by it on my way hither and yon, but when I take even 10 minutes to step inside and sit in the shade of the gazebo, I can feel my lungs fill with green air and my shoulders unfurl. A hike in the woods is great, but for the everyday, how about
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Author Blog Posts – Fri, Jul 9, 2010 4:28 PM EDT
The best summer reads are all about being swept up out of your life and into another world, be it one populated by pill-popping '60s bombshells, vampires, or cowboys. We've put together a list of top contenders for space in your beach bag. Some are classics, some have made a deserved splash in the past several years, and one or two are, we hope, new discoveries.
But tell us in the comments: what are you reading this summer?Read More »from What are you reading this summer? We've got 10 suggestions for your beach bag
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Thu, Jul 8, 2010 3:39 PM EDT
Recently, one of my friends who is pretty much in the dictionary under "goal oriented," told me she's going to ease up a little on her life to do list. For someone who is ambitiously over-scheduled, it seemed like the most brilliant thing I'd ever heard. Duh: if you've spent years trying to completely overhaul your love life, body, and career, at some point, you will hit a wall. You will need to lie in the dark and watch hours of reality television and eat barbecue spareribs. You will be burned out.Read More »from Mono-tasking your makeover: What one thing do you want most from life?
We're a country of multi-taskers, but if there were ever a time to make things simple, it's during the summer. My brain barely works during crazy heat and humidity. It's like nature itself is pleading with us to take stock of the craziness that is daily life and see if it's really working. Was there ever a better time to focus on the one thing you really want?
I've been thinking lately about the conceit of making over our lives. It's so tempting to do it all at once, to go full throttle
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Work + Money – Wed, Jul 7, 2010 3:58 PM EDT
image via etsy.comRemember when you were a tyke and summer felt like the longest possible stretch of time imaginable? Well, sometimes it still feels that way when you're a mom. That's why we culled the internets for items to help keep the kids in line and on task. Think reward systems, charts, and fake money. And while some of these are purchasable finds, you could easily pull out the art supplies and make this a DIY project you do together. Suddenly, summer looks a lot less scary.Read More »from 5 cute, clever tools to keep your kids productive (and out of your hair) all summer long
1. Summer Planner with Tickets
This planner is the pretty much the epitome of keeping kids on task. Download a completely customizable (and free!) summer calendar of chores and rewards. When kids read for half an hour or cheerfully complete chores, they're rewarded with tickets that can be redeemed for a trip to the zoo or a slumber party. View the sample here.
2. Time is Money
If your kid is turning into a couch potato, wearing down a path from television to refrigerator, it might be time to limit screen time. Mario
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Work + Money – Tue, Jul 6, 2010 4:19 PM EDT
Jen Larsen is one of those rare writers who writes about things that happen to her in a way that makes everyone else go, "OMG, that's exactly how I feel" and "How did you get in my brain?" She is also a woman who decided to get weight-loss surgery and write every day about what it felt like to be transforming, how becoming the person you always thought you wanted to be isn't, it turns out, all carousels and sno-cones. Here, she answers some of our questions about what she's learned along the way.Read More »from Real-life expert: Weight-loss surgery didnâ€™t fix me
You decided to have weight-loss surgery. Why?
I was fat my whole life, and for my whole life I thought it was something I had to fix, but I didn't know how. Diets didn't work. Diets, frankly, suck. I was angry that I couldn't eat the way everyone else seemed to be able to eat, whatever they wanted in whatever quantities they wanted. I was naturally unathletic, and angry that I had to actively work at being someone different, that it wasn't easy, and I wasn't smart enough or disciplined
"Live each season as it passes, breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influences of each." --Henry David Thoreau The cult of busyness comes up against its hardest opposition in July. For the first (and maybe only) time of the year, there is an expectation that we won't be running around like headless chickens and that maybe, just maybe, we'll be swinging in a hammock.Read More »from 10 ways to slow down and savor the summer
The habit of seeing ourselves as Busy and Important can be a hard one to break. Without multitasking, we're more likely to actually pay attention to our lives and the details of our days. And as uncomfortable and foreign as that might feel at first, it's definitely a good thing that can lead to less daily stress and anxiety. Read on for ten ways to downshift and savor the summer.
1. Eat a peach over the kitchen sink. Is there anything more quintessentially summer than a ripe, messy peach? Eat it over the sink or with a napkin and savor each juicy bite.
2. Take a nap in a