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  • And We Thought We Knew Emily Dickenson

    Photo: Getty ImagesPhoto: Getty ImagesBy Lynn Andriani

    Even the most open-minded of us do it: Size a person up based on the little we know about them. We look at the late 20s/early 30-something man wearing the glasses, polo shirt and khakis and think, "Yes, you are clearly an IT guy." The knockout blonde in the low-cut dress? Right, got it, aspiring reality TV star. And despite how many times we judge books by their covers, we're regularly reminded of how often we're wrong in doing so. It happened to me this week with Emily Dickinson, of all people.

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    Here's what I thought I knew about the poet: She was an eccentric whose largely hermetic life screamed austerity and mystery. And I can't help it: The first words that pop into my head when I hear her name are always, "Because I could not stop for death" and not "hope is the thing with feathers." So when I read in this post on the New York Times' Diner's Journal blog that she was really into baking, I was shocked.


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  • There Will Be Tears: A Mother's Love

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Amy Shearn

    Seriously, grab a hanky. Here is the story of a woman who sacrificed herself so that her child could live. Stacie Crimm, of Ryan, Oklahoma, reportedly " laughed and cried all at once" when she discovered she was going to have a baby at age 41-she'd been told she couldn't become pregnant. A few months later Crimm started complaining to her brother of strange aches and pains. Scans revealed that she had neck and head cancer, but she worried that chemotherapy would damage her unborn child and refused treatment.

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    Soon the tumor reached her brain; Crimm collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where they delivered her tiny, 2-pound, 1-oz baby girl. Although Crimm was in and out of consciousness, and little Dottie May needed intensive care, a sympathetic nurse at the hospital worked to get the baby to her mother, moving her in a capsule-like ICU, so that Crimm could hold her baby in her

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  • 3 Rules for Eating on The Weekend

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Lynn Andriani

    Even if your Saturday or Sunday schedule bears a shocking resemblance to Monday's-the only difference being birthday parties and apple-picking outings take the place of conference calls and meetings-weekend dinners still feel a little more special than Monday-night meals. Maybe you sit down to the table a little later, and linger a half-hour longer. You eat dessert. You let the pots soak in the sink overnight.

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    Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, co-creators of the public radio program The Splendid Table, live by Colette's words, "If you aren't up for a little magic now and then, you shouldn't waste your time cooking." They also live by these rules for eating weekends:

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    1. Enjoy the luxury of having time to make something from scratch, whether it's chicken stock or homemade pasta.

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  • 13 Surprising Statistics About Plastic Surgery

    Adding up the numbers on cosmetic procedures.

    Number of breast implant surgeries performed in 2010

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    Number of those surgeries performed on patients 65 and older

    Number of those surgeries performed on patients 18 and younger

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    Percentage of patients with breast implants who will need them removed within ten years because of rupture, hardening of the tissue around the implant, and other complications (according to a recent FDA report)

    Number of nose jobs performed last year

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    Number of nose jobs performed on patients 18 or younger

    Percentage of potential nose job patients who have moderate to severe symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder (according to a recent study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery)

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    Number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on patients 65

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  • Lipstick: The LBD of Make-up

    By Amber Kallor

    When in doubt or pressed for time in the morning (which, let's face it, is pretty much always) I resort to the one makeup item that takes the least amount of time to apply, but makes the biggest impact: lipstick. Case in point: The photo at left of food editor Lynn Andriani's grandmother-her perfectly made up mouth acts as a badge of confidence and strength. Similar to a little black dress, lipstick is always there when I have no clue what to put on and makes me look instantly pulled together despite the dark under-eye circles and the blemish in the middle of my forehead.

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    And the color I choose is often a barometer of my mood: red when I'm feeling punchy, orange or hot pink when I need a boost, nude when I'm feeling content, and dark burgundy for days I feel like I can take on the world and anything it throws my way. And it seems that others have noticed the power of lipstick and its ability to highlight

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  • Identify Your Strengths in 6 Steps

    By Barbara Sher

    How often have you gotten a compliment on your creativity or your patience or your resilience, only to wave it off, assuming that these strengths must come easily to everyone? In my 30 years as a lifestyle/career coach and author, the mistake I see people make time and again is failing to recognize their talents. An honest inventory may be difficult-even impossible-for you to do yourself. So sit with a friend and try this exercise. It's a new twist on something I call the Self-Correcting Life Scenario, and it's one of my favorites.

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    1. Ask your friend to name three of your strengths (The words in the image above may provide some inspiration.)

    2. Tell your friend your top passion. Then have your friend tell an imaginary story of your life, based on this passion and your strengths. For instance, "You're organized, creative, and friendly, and your passion is baking. So, you run a bakery where customers can buy cupcakes with little

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  • A Message From "Keep It Real" School of Beauty

    Illustration: ThinkstockIllustration: ThinkstockBy Dominique Browning

    When I hit my 50s, I decided that my Era of Personal Experimentation was over. Five decades of trying to figure out what style of dressing worked with my body, to say nothing of my personality. Five decades of growing, then chopping off, my hair; of looking for the skin cream that would bring out the essential me; of rising on stilettos, lowering into earth shoes, and generally contorting the way I hit the ground. Of fighting my inclination to be natural.

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    As a child reading fairy tales, I understood that the angry stepmother looked ugly because she was mean; if the evil witch looked hideous it was because she was nasty. No amount of disguising could hide the fact that beauty (or the lack thereof) begins on the inside. But then I grew up and forgot the important life lessons of those stories, giving in to the anxious feeling that I would be a better person if only I could lose ten (20) pounds or have a good haircut. That kind of

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  • The Return of The Sponge

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul

    What: Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine freaked out when she heard her beloved Today Sponge was going off the market? She'd be happy to know that it has recently returned. It's still the same product since 1983 but with new blue packaging that looks more sea sponge than dishwashing sponge.

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    Failure rate*: It is 9 to 12 percent for those who have never given birth and 20 to 24 percent for those who have. The drop in effectiveness for mothers isn't completely understood, says David Mayer, founder of Mayer Laboratories (the makers of the Today Sponge), but the theory is that giving birth can stretch the opening between the vaginal canal and the uterus, possibly compromising the fit of the sponge. Mayer adds that a large international clinical study (posted on the product website) showed lower rates of pregnancy for women who have had children-equal to the rate for women with no children.

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  • The 90-Degree-Knee Debate: How Low Should We Go?

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul

    I was flummoxed at the gym the other night when a certified personal trainer gave me some unexpected instructions. He was supervising me while I performed squats with an 18-pound kettlebell. After a few reps, the trainer suggested I sink deeper into the squat. Hold on! Doesn't the Tao of Health Editors say that the depth of a squat shouldn't exceed 90 degrees, especially during weight-bearing exercises?

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    The trainer explained that bending beyond 90 allows us to work the leg muscles through a wider range of motion, and this is helpful because there are many daily activities that require us to bend in this range -- like scooping a baby off the floor or picking up a bag of groceries. Bending lower while still showing excellent form will also help us build stronger quads and glutes. I wish I'd been able to take notes, but I was still holding the kettlebell, so I followed the trainer's orders and decided to look into this later.

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  • The Lazy Woman's Guide to Fabulous Hair

    Photo: Courtesy of GarnierPhoto: Courtesy of GarnierBy Amber Kallor

    We've got five effortless fixes that'll leave you looking polished in no time.

    Fast Fix 1:
    Stop Frizz Before It Starts

    Use a shampoo and conditioner with argan oil, says hairstylist Jeanie Syfu. It lightly coats hair and locks in moisture, preventing flyaways. Try Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner, which contain softening apricot extract and argan oil-for less than $5.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Drugstore.comPhoto: Courtesy of Drugstore.comFast Fix 2: Upgrade Your Towel

    A lot of women vigorously rub their hair with a towel thinking it will speed up drying time, but it only roughs up the texture and causes frizz. Blot with a microfiber towel instead and then wrap it around your head to soak up excess moisture. This one from Aquis Essentials (at left) is made of fabric that absorbs water faster than standard terry cloth.

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    Photo: Courtesy of L'Oreal ParisPhoto: Courtesy of L'Oreal ParisFast Fix 3: Make Wet Hair Work

    By far the most time-consuming part of hairstyling

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