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Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Good Things: 20 Perfect Quotes About Life From Martha Stewart

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Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Mother. Grandmother. Writer. Entrepreneur. Media mogul. Domestic goddess. Ex-con. Martha Stewart has played more roles in her lifetime than she probably ever planned for, all of which have contributed to the often sage advice she regularly doles out. In honor of Stewart's 75th birthday, here are 20 gems—straight from Martha’s mouth.       

1. ON FINDING INSPIRATION

“I'm very inspired by nature—you could say Mother Nature. I look at things around me and get all kinds of inspiration daily. I also look at a lot of art. In New York, I get a tremendous amount of ideas by looking at the paintings and the sculptures, adapting artistic endeavors to crafts. There is a lot of inspiration around us that we can see every day and turn into projects.”

From a 2013 interview with Parents

2. ON OFFERING FRIENDLY DECORATING ADVICE

“I learned many years ago never to criticize, only compliment. Even if their home is horrifyingly awful.”

From a 2014 Reddit AMA

3. ON MISCONCEPTIONS

“I have been perceived as arrogant … I have sometimes probably forgotten, and I know I have, forgotten to pat the back of someone, or said, thank you, you know, enough times, or even maybe once sometimes …  I wish I were perfect. I wish I were just, you know, the nicest, nicest, nicest person on Earth. But I'm a businessperson in addition to a creator of domestic arts. And it's an odd combination. No excuse. But if I were a man, you know, no one would say I was arrogant.”

From a 2004 interview with Larry King

4. ON THE PROFITABILITY OF PERFECTION

“I’m a maniacal perfectionist. And if I weren’t, I wouldn’t have this company. I have proven that being a perfectionist can be profitable and admirable.”

From an interview with Oprah Winfrey

5. ON STICKING TO YOUR BELIEFS

“You have to stick up for your own ideas. You have to stick up for your beliefs. It’s like any kind of business. If you have really strong feelings and really strong design sensibilities, you have to persevere in those sensibilities. Otherwise, you will be run over, you know, like some giant trailer truck coming and just flattening you. And eliminating your creativity. And that happens.”

From a 2009 interview with The Henry Ford

6. ON WHY SLEEP IS OVERRATED

“I’m always on the lookout for those good, simple solutions to everyday problems. And it's the energy that enables me to run around and do the things that I like to do. I don't need a lot of sleep. I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing. More important is the discovery. And I'm really trying to discover everyday good things.”

From a 1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

7. ON MARRIAGE

"I was married for 30 years. Isn't that enough? I've had my share of dirty underwear on the floor."

From an interview with US Weekly

8. ON BEING OPEN TO CHANGE

“You have to be open to change. I never stop making sure that what I say is the best of what could be said about a particular thing. It's a constant evolution. If I planted a tree one way yesterday and somebody tells me of a better way to plant a tree, I think, 'You know, they're right, that's better.' Then I change my way to accommodate the new way of planting trees.”

From a 2006 interview with Seventeen

9. ON LOSING HER FREEDOM

“I'm not afraid to go to jail. I'm afraid to be incarcerated. I mean, it's a lack of freedom. My freedom is taken away. Anybody in their right mind would fear incarceration. But the thing of going into a jail doesn't—I mean I'm not so afraid of that.”

From a 2004 interview with Larry King

10. ON PRISON FOOD

“There was nothing remarkable about the food at all.”

From a 2014 Reddit AMA

11. ON LEARNING SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY

“Learn something new every day. If you learn something new every day, you can teach something new every day."

From a 2013 interview with Parents

12. ON SEX

“Always take a bath before and after … and don't forget to brush your teeth.”

From a 2014 Reddit AMA

13. ON SETTING STANDARDS

“I don't do anything unless I think it's going to be good, I'm real picky about that. I have set a standard, and I'm going to stick to the standard.”

From a 1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

14. ON TURNING EVERY DAY INTO AN EXPERIENCE

“Oh, I have an experience a day, at least. And it's not like seeing Jesus Christ in a dream or something like that, it's not a religious kind of experience that I experience daily. It's more involving nature, involving natural resources, involving a special quote said by a special person.”

From1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

15. ON THE ONE INGREDIENT THAT DOESN’T BELONG IN ANYONE’S KITCHEN

“I think truffle oil is one of the few ingredients that doesn't belong in anyone's kitchen. It is ruinous of most recipes.”

From a 2014 Reddit AMA

16. ON HAVING AN OPEN MIND

“Without an open-minded mind, you can never be a great success. The great artists have been open-minded, even though they may seem, like Picasso, to be very directed, you can be directed and open-minded at the same time. I think you have to be really intensely serious about your work, but not so serious that you can't see the lightness that may also involve your life. You have to have that lightness too. You have to not be so heavy-handed and so ostentatious. It's very important not to be.”

From a 1995 interview with the Academy of Achievement

17. ON LIFE SKILLS

“Of course I know how to roll a joint.”

From a 2013 interview with Andy Cohen

18. ON TAKING THE TIME TO FIND YOURSELF

“Broaden yourself. You don't have to focus when you're 20. I think the broader you are, the better it is. Later you can focus on your real interests and ideas. The ultimate goal is to be an interesting, useful, wholesome person. If you're successful on top of that, then you're way ahead of everybody.”

From a 2006 interview with Seventeen

19. ON LIFE GOALS

“I wish I were closer friends with Snoop Dogg.”

From a 2014 Reddit AMA

20. ON THE IDEA OF “MARTHA STEWART FOR PRESIDENT”

“Sounds like a good idea, but I think there will be another strong woman candidate.”

From a 2014 Reddit AMA

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Fox Photos, Getty Images
4 Fascinating Facts About John Wayne
Fox Photos, Getty Images
Fox Photos, Getty Images

Most people know John Wayne, who would have been 111 years old today, for his cowboy persona. But there was much more to the Duke than that famous swagger. Here are a few facts about Duke that might surprise you.

1. A BODY SURFING ACCIDENT CHANGED HIS CAREER. 

John Wayne, surfer? Yep—and if he hadn’t spent a lot of time doing it, he may never have become the legend he did. Like many USC students, Wayne (then known as Marion Morrison) spent a good deal of his extracurricular time in the ocean. After he sustained a serious shoulder injury while bodysurfing, Morrison lost his place on the football team. He also lost the football scholarship that had landed him a spot at USC in the first place. Unable to pay his fraternity for room and board, Morrison quit school and, with the help of his former football coach, found a job as the prop guy at Fox Studios in 1927. It didn’t take long for someone to realize that Morrison belonged in front of a camera; he had his first leading role in The Big Trail in 1930.

2. HE TOOK HIS NICKNAME FROM HIS BELOVED FAMILY POOCH. 

Marion Morrison had never been fond of his feminine-sounding name. He was often given a hard time about it growing up, so to combat that, he gave himself a nickname: Duke. It was his dog’s name. Morrison was so fond of his family’s Airedale Terrier when he was younger that the family took to calling the dog “Big Duke” and Marion “Little Duke,” which he quite liked. But when he was starting his Hollywood career, movie execs decided that “Duke Morrison” sounded like a stuntman, not a leading man. The head of Fox Studios was a fan of Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne, so Morrison’s new surname was quickly settled. After testing out various first names for compatibility, the group decided that “John” had a nice symmetry to it, and so John Wayne was born. Still, the man himself always preferred his original nickname. “The guy you see on the screen isn’t really me,” he once said. “I’m Duke Morrison, and I never was and never will be a film personality like John Wayne.”

3. HE WAS A CHESS FANATIC. 

Anyone who knew John Wayne personally knew what an avid chess player he was. He often brought a miniature board with him so he could play between scenes on set.

When Wayne accompanied his third wife, Pilar Pallete, while she played in amateur tennis tournaments, officials would stock a trailer with booze and a chess set for him. The star would hang a sign outside of the trailer that said, “Do you want to play chess with John Wayne?” and then happily spend the day drinking and trouncing his fans—for Wayne wasn’t just a fan of chess, he was good at chess. It’s said that Jimmy Grant, Wayne’s favorite screenwriter, played chess with the Duke for more than 20 years without ever winning a single match.

Other famous chess partners included Marlene Dietrich, Rock Hudson, and Robert Mitchum. During their match, Mitchum reportedly caught him cheating. Wayne's reply: "I was wondering when you were going to say something. Set 'em up, we'll play again."

4. HE COINED THE TERM "THE BIG C."

If you say you know someone battling “The Big C” these days, everyone immediately knows what you’re referring to. But no one called it that before Wayne came up with the term, evidently trying to make it less scary. Worried that Hollywood would stop hiring him if they knew how sick he was with lung cancer in the early 1960s, Wayne called a press conference in his living room shortly after an operation that removed a rib and half of one lung. “They told me to withhold my cancer operation from the public because it would hurt my image,” he told reporters. “Isn’t there a good image in John Wayne beating cancer? Sure, I licked the Big C.”

Wayne's daughter, Aissa Wayne, later said that the 1964 press conference was the one and only time she heard her father call it “cancer,” even when he developed cancer again, this time in his stomach, 15 years later. Sadly, Wayne lost his second battle with the Big C and died on June 11, 1979 at the age of 72.

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
10 Crazy Facts About Willie Nelson
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Willie Nelson is one of the world’s most accomplished musicians—and not just in the country music world. Nelson’s talents transcend genre, and go far beyond music. Here are 10 things you might not know about the legendary outlaw country singer, who turns 85 years old today.

1. HE WROTE HIS FIRST SONG AT THE AGE OF SEVEN.

While other kids were still struggling to keep inside the lines of their coloring books, Nelson was composing music. He recalled the experience of his songwriting debut to Rolling Stone in 2004: “Back when we used to take music lessons from our grandmother, we'd go through lessons, and if we'd get the lesson right that day she'd take a gold star—a little star, about the size of your finger, with glue on one side—and she'd stick it on the sheet of music, which meant you'd done well. So I wrote this song with the line ‘They took a gold star away from me when you left me for another, long ago.’ I'd never been left by anybody, so it was kind of funny.”

2. HE USED TO BE A BIBLE SALESMAN.

Before he became a full-time musician in the mid-1950s, Nelson worked as a cotton picker (a gig he began as a child, working alongside his grandmother), disc jockey, and a Bible salesman.

3. HE RAN INTO A BURNING HOUSE (TO SAVE HIS POT).

While living in Nashville, Nelson arrived home one evening to discover that his house was burning to the ground. “By the time I got there, it was burning real good,” he told People in 1980. “But I had this pound of Colombian grass inside. I wasn't being brave running in there to get my dope—I was trying to keep the firemen from finding it and turning me over to the police.” One-hundred tapes of yet-to-be-recorded songs weren't as lucky as Nelson's stash; they were lost in the fire.

4. HE RETIRED IN 1972.

In 1972, Nelson paid $14,000 to buy out his contract so that he could retire to Austin, Texas. But his withdrawal from the music business didn’t last long. Especially considering how vibrant the music scene was happening all around him in Austin. Within a year, he was back on the charts with the album Shotgun Willie. By the mid-1970s he scored some of his biggest hits with a trio of albums: Red Headed Stranger, The Sound in Your Mind, and The Troublemaker.

5. HE HAS BEEN PLAYING THE SAME GUITAR FOR NEARLY 50 YEARS.

Nelson has been playing Trigger, his beloved guitar (which he named after Roy Rogers’ horse), since 1969. “I’ve got to take good care of Trigger,” Nelson told Uncut Magazine in 2014. “He’s had a couple of problems. We’ve had to go in and do some work on the inside, build up the woodwork in there a little bit over the years. But Trigger’s holding up pretty good.”

6. HE RECORDED THE IRS TAPES TO PAY OFF HIS TAX DEBT.

In 1990, the IRS raided Nelson’s house and seized his assets (everything except Trigger) for non-payment of taxes. The $32 million bill, one of the largest in IRS history, was eventually negotiated down and settled in a creative way: Nelson would record a new album with the IRS receiving at least 15 cents of every dollar made. The result was the limited-edition The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories, which sold for $19.95 on cassette or CD and was purchased by dialing 1-800-IRS-TAPE.

7. HE WROTE “ON THE ROAD AGAIN” ON A BARF BAG.

Nelson’s 1980 hit, “On The Road Again,” was written aboard an airplane—on a barf bag. “I was on an aeroplane with Sydney Pollack and Jerry Schatzberg, who was the director of the movie Honeysuckle Rose,” Nelson told Uncut in 2014. “They were looking for songs for the movie and they started asking me if I had any ideas. I said, ‘I don’t know, what do you want the song to say?’ I think Sydney said, ‘Can it be something about being on the road?’ It just started to click in my head. I said, ‘You mean like, ‘On the road again, I can’t wait to get on the road again?’ They said, ‘That’s great. What’s the melody?’ I said, ‘I don’t know yet.’”

8. HE PERFORMED "UP AGAINST THE WALL, REDNECK MOTHER” WITH ROSALYNN CARTER.

Former President Jimmy Carter has never made a secret of his admiration of Willie Nelson. And the two have shared a long friendship. On September 13, 1980, Nelson performed for Carter and guests at the White House—which included a duet of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” with then-First Lady Rosalynn Carter. (On various occasions, Nelson has recounted how he later made his way onto the roof of the White House and smoked a joint.) In 2012, the former President got his own chance to share the stage with the legendary musician when the two performed “Amazing Grace” together in Atlanta.

9. HE OWNS A BIODIESEL FIRM.

Nelson is much more than a musician—he’s a noted activist and entrepreneur, too. In 2004 he launched his own biodiesel firm, BioWillie Biodiesel.

10. HE’S A POT-REPRENEUR.

Nelson has hardly made a secret of regular marijuana use, or his support for its legalization. (His rap sheet of pot-related arrests certainly backs up those claims.) As more and more states are legalizing the once-outlawed weed, Nelson has put his expertise on the topic to good use, and launched his very own brand of pot: Willie’s Reserve.

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