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  • Author-Rapper Common on Learning From Your Break-up

    Photo: Getty ImagesPhoto: Getty ImagesIn 2003, my girlfriend and I broke up. We'd been together for two years-we were practically engaged-and had been friends for years before that. After we parted ways, I entered a long period of heartbreak. Like any person who's been rejected, I thought, Man, what's wrong with me? I tried to figure out which of my own flaws had kept us from having a successful relationship. But in my gut, I knew my mistakes. My ex had a lot of power and presence, and that had made me less assertive about my own needs. I had sacrificed parts of who I am to avoid conflict. When you're not sticking up for yourself, things start building up.

    RELATED: Jenny McCarthy's Girlfriend's Guide to Dating

    About three months after the breakup, I was really feeling the loss when something dawned on me: It wasn't just in my relationship that I'd let myself be overshadowed. Even with my managers, my mentality was, It's all about your needs. When they wanted me to try out for a TV show that paid good money, I

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  • 6 Ways to Strengthen Your Brain

    By Paige Greenfield

    1. Volunteer
    Stimulates: The prefrontal cortex, which analyzes, plans, and problem-solves
    Why: A Johns Hopkins study found that older women who tutored kids for six months developed sharper cognitive skills. The social and mental activity required for teaching sends blood rushing to this part of the brain.

    RELATED: What Kind of Volunteer Are You?

    2. Work out
    Stimulates: The hippocampus, which forms memories
    Why: Arthur Kramer, PhD, a researcher at the University of Illinois, used MRIs to show that exercise actually makes your hippocampus bigger. Physical activity may increase the number of capillaries in the region, which in turn helps new cells grow. Kramer prescribes one-hour sweat sessions three times a week.

    RELATED: How Much to Exercise

    3. Learn a skill
    Stimulates: The intraparietal sulcus, which directs hand-eye coordination
    Why: At Oxford University, researchers taught 24 people to juggle and found that after six weeks this region had a higher density of

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  • Finally! A Gentle Line of Products for African-American Hair

    Photo: Courtesy of Israel SegalPhoto: Courtesy of Israel SegalWhen former fashion stylist Israel Segal and his partner adopted newborn twins eight years ago, in addition to figuring out the basics of childcare (times two), there was another challenge: "Our children are African-American-we are not-and I quickly realized that their hair needs are different from ours." He started looking for gentle, moisturizing products, and you probably know where this is going: Unhappy with the available options, Segal set about creating his own. This year he launched Free Your Mane, a line of six superhydrating hair products.

    RELATED: 5 Fast Styles for No-Shampoo Days

    There are a bajillion-give or take a few-hair products out there. You really couldn't find anything that worked?

    My aha moment came at Target. I stood in front of shelves and shelves of hair products, with a tiny "ethnic" section that had the same stuff I remembered seeing when I was a kid. Next thing I knew, I was calling a cosmetic chemist to ask him if he could make hair products that offered

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  • 4 Ways to Exercise While Sitting at Your Desk

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul

    After reading new research about the health hazards of sitting, we came up with four ways to stay fit at the office.

    RELATED: Finding the Time to Diet and Exercise

    Squat Before You Sit

    We all know sitting for hours leads to weight gain (one study found that obese people sit 2.5 hours more per day than lean folks), but it can also put us at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and bowel cancer. We asked a few experts to help us make the most of our time at our desks. Shirley Archer, a personal trainer and fitness expert, developed this easy move for her book Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises for the Working Week. Stand about one inch in front of your chair, holding in your abdominals. Squat as if you're going to sit, but just as your backside touches the chair, stand back up and squeeze the glutes. Archer says that doing this for one minute each day will burn approximately 50 calories over the course of a workweek.

    RELATED: Jane Fonda Demonstrates Exercises

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  • Chefs’ Secrets, Revealed: How They Get Their Food to Look So Good

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Lynn Andriani

    Pros share their tricks for beautiful lattes, straight-edged brownies, perfect hors d'oeuvres and other drop-dead gorgeous dishes.

    Chicken That Glistens

    You could finish off a whole roasted bird with a drizzle of its own juices...or you could make a beurre monté by whisking cold butter into the liquid, giving the dish extra richness and gloss. In her new book, Basic to Brilliant, Y'all, Virginia Willis explains how to dress up classic Southern dishes by doing just that. First, remove the chicken to a warmed serving platter and tent it with aluminum foil. Heat the sauce (or juices; there should be about 1/2 cup) over medium-high and boil until it's reduced by half. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a whisk, swirl in 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter. Taste and adjust for seasoning with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper; then pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

    RELATED: Chef Tal Ronnen Prepares"Chicken" Scaloppini

    Photo: Magnolia BakeryPhoto: Magnolia BakeryCupcakes with Mile-High

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  • 5 Multi-Tasking Beauty Products

    Photo: Courtesy of John FriedaPhoto: Courtesy of John FriedaBy Amber Kallor

    Why shouldn't your products work as hard as you do? These do it all so you can save time, space and money.

    John Frieda Full Repair Protecting Root Lift Foam

    This mousse doesn't just add volume-Inca Inchi oil protects hair from heat damage while you blow-dry, flatiron or curl.


    RELATED: Fall's Most Fabulous Nail Polishes

    Photo: Courtesy of StilaPhoto: Courtesy of StilaStila Convertible Color

    With this cream stain for lips, cheeks and lids, you'll only need your fingertips to touch up on the go. Bonus: It's so sheer you'll never overdo it.


    RELATED: 8 Alluring New Fall Fragrances

    Photo: Courtesy of Physicians FormulaPhoto: Courtesy of Physicians FormulaPhysicians Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner Plus Serum

    Forget those goopy eyelash enhancers. Not only does this one's slim, felt tip give you a precise line, but the peptide-infused formula claims to lengthen and thicken lashes without the mess.


    RELATED: Your Makeover Essentials Checklist

    Photo: Courtesy of Upper CanadaPhoto: Courtesy of Upper CanadaUpper Canada Soap Body Butter Balm

    Free of

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  • 5 Tips for Finding Lasting Love

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockAs told to Leigh Newman

    In Robert Olen Butler's quiet, moving novel A Small Hotel, a husband and wife offer their respective reflections on their marriage-on the day they are scheduled to be divorced. Here, he shares his vision of long-term love in his own life.

    RELATED: After the Show: Love in the Time of Cholera

    1. Love and will: My parents met when he was 14 and she was 16. Both of them had lost a parent very early and had not experienced much love growing up. They were determined-and it was an act of wills for both of them-not to pass that on. They were married for 71 years. Never a day went by in our household when the word "love" was not used frequently. I'm deeply grateful to both of them. I feel like I was given the capacity to love from them.

    RELATED: Deepak Chopra - 7 Stages of Love

    2. How I know when I'm in love: I want to read to a woman at night.

    RELATED: Robert Pattinson's Passion for Reading Video

    3. One thing I've learned: The absence of expressed love is often as

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  • 5 New Fragrances for Fall

    Photo: Gregor HalendaPhoto: Gregor HalendaThese new scents will jazz up cooler days and nights.

    From left to right

    Reese Witherspoon
    Live Without Regrets
    A fresh, straightforward bouquet of gardenia, freesia, jasmine, magnolia, and muguet petals.
    $23 for 1.7 ounces,

    RELATED: Fall's Most Fabulous Nail Polishes

    Baiser Volé
    The essence of lily in a full, rich, floral fragrance.
    $100 for 1.6 ounces,

    RELATED: 10 Nature-Inspired Wooden Accessories

    Photo: Gregor HalendaPhoto: Gregor HalendaClockwise from top left

    Zeste de Vigne
    A sharp, citrusy mix of lemon, sweet orange, and mandarin.
    $36 for 50 milliliters;

    RELATED: 5 Easy Ways to Extend Your Summer Wardrobe into Fall

    Jasmin Noir L'Essence
    Pink peppercorn, tangy bergamot, jasmine, almond, and myrrh in a dense, sexy, woody scent.
    $105 for 1.7 ounces;

    RELATED: Jennifer Lopez Spices Up O Readers' Wardrobes for Fall

    Jo Malone
    Wild Bluebell Cologne

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  • What's Holding You Back? 4 Ways to Spark a Breakthrough

    Illustration: Istvan BanyaiIllustration: Istvan BanyaiBy Lindsy Van Gelder

    1. Go Public

    When Grand Plans linger in the daydream stage, there's always a risk that they'll die there. Going on the record is one way to keep them alive. "If you tell everybody you're running a marathon, you don't want to quit," says Laura Skladzinski, who at 24 briefly held the record as the youngest woman ever to have run marathons in all 50 states. Months before she started her record-breaking quest, Skladzinski launched her blog,, to force herself to press onward. "When you put your goals in front of others, there's accountability," she says-and serious motivation in not wanting to lose face or let yourself down.

    RELATED: Teachable Moment on Embracing Change

    2. Join the Club

    Whatever your goal you can draw enthusiasm and ideas from like-minded dreamers. Comeback Moms provides advice to women reentering the job market. The Freelancers Union offers meet-ups, Webinars, and job leads for consultants, graphic designers, writers, and other independent

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  • 5 Twists on Cookie Jar Classics

    Photo: Tara StrianoPhoto: Tara StrianoBy Lynn Andriani

    Try five sweets from a new cookbook that are as straightforward or unusual as you'd like. Peanut butter snickerdoodles, anyone?

    Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    All bakers know one thing, says Stacy Adimando: When their plate of cookies hits the table, they'll be the most popular person in the room. In her new book, The Cookiepedia: Mixing, Baking, and Reinventing the Classics, Adimando tells us how to make the classics-and change them up if the mood strikes. For Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, her advice ranges from achieving the perfect craggy texture (hint: don't skimp on the oatmeal) to trying interesting new ingredients (she likes dark chocolate chunks and dried cherries instead of raisins).

    RELATED: Cristina Ferrare's Chocolate Chip Cookies Video

    Photo: Tara StrianoPhoto: Tara StrianoAnimal Cookies

    By keeping their subtle cinnamon flavor, Adimando stays true to the original animal crackers that come in a little box with a string handle, but hers have frosting and sprinkles. Although some experts will tell

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