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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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  • Love My Son. Yours? Not So Much.

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Caitlin Shetterly

    It wasn't that I didn't want children; I just didn't yearn for them the way some people do. I had tried babysitting as a teenager but was more interested in testing the mother's makeup after the kids were asleep than singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Once, a 4-year-old beat me up and left me cowering in the broom closet until his mother saved me. I got a job in a bakery serving bagels with cream cheese to kids who were on the other side of the counter, and from then on, I didn't give children much of a thought.

    RELATED: Parenting as a Teachable Moment

    So when, shortly after I was married, I found myself newly pregnant, I was surprised (as in, "What health class did I miss in high school?"). But I wasn't dismayed, because I believe that babies-like cats, dogs, new friends, love and success-can sometimes come to us in packages we don't expect. I accepted this gift gamely, despite nine months of nausea, and when my son, Master M., arrived, I felt I was born

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  • How to Project Authority Without Saying a Word

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul

    An expert communicator shows how to use body language to close a deal, take charge and generally get your point across.

    We don't mean to make you paranoid, but you should know that people are watching you. When you're talking, they're consciously and unconsciously interpreting your movements and gestures, and making assumptions about your mood, intent and competency. You're probably giving them plenty of juicy material to read, says executive coach Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, who points out that, in 30 minutes, two people can send over 800 nonverbal signals.

    RELATED: Respect: Why Some People Get It, and Some People Don't

    By becoming more aware of your physical presence, says Goman, a former therapist and author of The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help-or Hurt-How You Lead, you can use body language to tell your story the way you want, with a happier and more satisfying ending.

    We asked her to help us adapt her advice for life outside the

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  • 5 Ways You Get Smarter As You Age

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: ThinkstockBy Annie Murphy Paul

    1. Your hemispheres sync up.
    The brain is divided into two hemispheres, with each side specializing in different operations. Brain scans show that while young people often use only one side for a specific task, middle-aged and older adults are more likely to activate both hemispheres at once-a pattern known as bilateralization. By involving both sides, older people bring the full spectrum of the brain's power to bear, allowing them to make more fruitful connections among the disparate parts of a problem or situation.

    RELATED: 7 Ways to Exercise the Brain

    2. Your brain never stops growing.
    Scientists once believed that some of our brain cells died off when we got older. But it's now clear that we not only hang on to our neurons-we grow new ones, too. Throughout a person's lifetime, the brain is continually reshaping itself in response to what it learns. Even something as silly as a clown trick can alter its structure: In a study published in The Journal of

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  • Emily Mortimer on Standing Up to Your Body Image

    Photo: Getty ImagesPhoto: Getty ImagesIn my first few years as an actor, I took one terrible TV job after another. But even as I laughed off my awful roles and made fun of myself to friends, my work made me cringe-I dreaded anyone's seeing it. I was crushed that I wasn't doing anything I was proud of.

    RELATED: Total Well-Being Defined by Deepak Chopra

    Finally, my husband, who's also an actor, asked me, "Do you really want this or not?" I decided to give acting a serious, committed try, and soon after, I read the script for Lovely and Amazing. The story was beautiful and honest, and the characters struggled with the same insecurities many women-including me-face. I didn't think I had a chance in hell of being in the film, but I knew I had to go for it.

    RELATED: Who Am I? A New Earth Video

    Somehow I got the part, and suddenly, for the first time, I was cast in something I believed in. I knew that in one of the film's key scenes, I'd have to stand naked in a bedroom while a sleazy guy, played by Dermot Mulroney, analyzed my

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  • The Simple Blood Test That Could Save Your Life

    Illustration: ShoutIllustration: ShoutBy Nancy Kalish

    You probably know your blood pressure, and whether your cholesterol is high, low, or normal. But what about your CRP? Short for C-reactive protein, CRP is an indicator of inflammation within the body-a condition that can contribute to a host of serious ills.

    RELATED: Dr. Oz on Checkups Without Health Insurance

    "Over time, chronic inflammation can do serious damage to healthy tissues," says Mark Liponis, MD, corporate medical director of Canyon Ranch and author of Ultra-Longevity: The Seven-Step Program for a Younger, Healthier You. "For one, it triggers a cascade of chemicals and processes that can lead to blood clots and accelerate the buildup of plaque in the arteries." According to the American Heart Association, people with high CRP are twice as likely to suffer cardiac arrest as those with low levels. "This makes CRP the most important cardiovascular risk factor we have for men and women over age 50-more indicative than cholesterol, blood pressure, age, family

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  • 3 Fall Make-up Trends to Try This Week

    Photo: Fernando MilaniPhoto: Fernando MilaniBy Jenny Bailly

    The season's fresh makeup offers a kaleidoscope of options.

    The Focus: Smoky, Seductive Eyes

    The Pro's Secrets

    1. Apply an eyeshadow primer that closely matches the color of your lids; a very thin layer is enough to keep the shadow from creasing, fading, or smudging-and won't make the color look cakey.

    2. Use a brush to blend a shimmery lavender eyeshadow from your upper lashline to just above the crease of your lid. With a liner brush, trace the same shade below your bottom lashes. (Although the purple you see here flatters every skin tone, if you're pale-and a little color-shy-you can try a lighter shade.)

    3. Apply two coats of mascara. A volumizing formula will add the length and thickness you need to match the dramatic effect of the colorful shadow.

    Complete the Look
    Blend a raspberry blush on the apples of your cheeks-make sure it's matte (shimmer on your eyes and face is too much of a good thing). A bronze lipstick is a perfect complement to

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  • 4 Signs You've Made it Big

    Illustration: Lara TomlinIllustration: Lara TomlinBy Donna Brazile

    Good Hair
    Growing up, I'd have one of my sisters try to subdue my unruly mane. Now I go to the salon every week, so I don't panic when it's humid and my hair does its best imitation of a giant dandelion.

    RELATED: Transition Hair from Summer to Fall

    The Occasional Splurge
    For years I carried around ratty purses, but this year I sprang for a designer handbag-and let me tell you, there's something to be said for looking the part. With my new bag over my shoulder, I practically strut.

    RELATED: 4 Small Bucket Bags That Make a Big Statement

    Giving Back
    I got through college on scholarships, so when I speak at a university or nonprofit, I like to repay that generosity by donating some of my fee to the organization. It's a much bigger thrill than simply getting a check.

    RELATED: Skip the Beach for a Volunteer Vacation

    Having a Fan Club
    Conservative businessmen don't generally pay a lot of attention to middle-aged black women. But now they stop me on the street to debate

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  • 3 Women Who Turned Their Passion For Food into a Career

    Photo: Sara RemingtonPhoto: Sara RemingtonBy Rachel Mount

    Rachel Saunders, 32

    Oakland, California

    Blue Chair Fruit

    The Goods: A French major makes a career out of jam, creating vibrant flavors with seasonal fruit.

    Her Discovery: When Saunders, a native of upstate New York, moved to California after graduating from Smith College, she became enthralled with the farmers' markets (who'd ever heard of a tayberry?). She made fruit desserts while she pondered her career plan. "One day, instead of baking another pie that would quickly go bad, I experimented with jam," she recalls. "I was instantly hooked. There's something so magical about being able to preserve fruit for another season, or send it to my parents on the East Coast."

    RELATED: How to Make Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcakes

    Her Big Decision: Saunders enrolled in a course at a small-business training center and worked in restaurants for five years before finally striking out on her own. "I wanted to make sure I was ready to commit to it as a life,

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