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Good Things: 20 Perfect Quotes About Life From Martha Stewart

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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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15 Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Julie Andrews Quotes
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With her saccharine movies and sugary voice, it would be easy for Julie Andrews to cross the line from sweet to cloying. Yet for more than 60 years, the Oscar-winning actress/singer/author has managed to enchant audiences of all ages with her iconic roles in everything from Mary Poppins to The Sound of Music to The Princess Diaries.

Yet just because she sings about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens doesn’t mean that Andrews doesn’t have an edge. “I hate the word wholesome,” she once declared. In celebration of the beloved movie star’s 82nd birthday, we’ve assembled some of Andrews’s most memorable quotes on everything from being typecast to Mary Poppins's personal habits.

1. ON MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM STAGE TO SCREEN

Mary Poppins was the first movie I made and The Sound of Music was the third. I was as raw as I could be. God knows I did not have the right or the ability in those days to say anything like a mentor. The only thing I did feel was that I could contribute to helping the kids feel natural, making them laugh off the set so that they were easy with me on the set. We had some good times." — From a 2015 interview with HitFix

2. ON THE FRIGHTFUL NATURE OF SUCCESS

“Success is terrifying. Like happiness, it is often appreciated in retrospect. It’s only later that you place it in perspective. Years from now, I’ll look back and say, ‘God, wasn’t it wonderful?” — From a 1966 interview with This Week

3. ON SMILING THROUGH CHALLENGING TIMES

“I was raised never to carp about things and never to moan, because in vaudeville, which is my background, you just got on with it through all kinds of adversities.” — From a 2010 interview with The Telegraph

4. ON AVOIDING TYPECASTING

“I think the hardest thing in a career even as lovely as I’ve had is not to go on being typecast, to keep trying new things. As much as possible, I do try to do that.” — From a 2015 interview with HitFix

5. ON BEING A BADASS

“I’ve got a good right hook.” — From Julie Andrews: An Intimate Biography, by Richard Stirling

6. ON BEING GRATEFUL

“A lot of my life happened in great, wonderful bursts of good fortune, and then I would race to be worthy of it.” — From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

7. ON THE CHANGING DEFINITION OF “SUCCESS”

“You never set out to make a bad movie. You always hope that you’re making a good one. We’re sad about them, inasmuch as they damage the career. In those days it was important, but not as important as it is today, to keep making success after success after success. It’s terrifying today. You can maybe have one so-so movie but you’ve got to come back with another that’s huge, if possible, and that must be very, very difficult for young talent.” — From a 2004 interview with the Academy of Achievement

8. ON THE COLLABORATIVE NATURE OF FILMMAKING

“It is a collaborative medium. If you’re lucky, everyone wants to do just that. You never set out to make a failure; you want a success. In the case of The Sound of Music, everyone was willing to bond and make it work. That is the best kind of working conditions. You don’t want to go in feeling that something’s wrong or that you’re not connecting. Thus far I’ve been really blessed.” — From a 2015 interview with HitFix

9. ON HOW THE PROS DO IT

“Remember: the amateur works until he can get it right. The professional works until he cannot go wrong.” — From Julie Andrews’s autobiography, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years

10. ON BELIEVING IN MIRACLES

“I do think that’s true [that miracles are happening every day]. If you can take the time to look. It took me a while to learn that, though some children know it instinctively and they do have wonder when they are kids. But the trouble is, as we grow older, we lose it.” — Interview with American Libraries Magazine

11. ON LOSING CONTROL

“I can’t drink too much without getting absolutely silly. And drugs have, mercifully, never worked, so I think I’m far more frightened of being out of control.” — From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

12. ON FINDING INSPIRATION

"It comes from anyplace. Truthfully, once the antennae are kind of up I’m always thinking or looking or feeling." — From an interview with American Libraries Magazine

13. ON THE REALITY OF “HAPPILY EVERY AFTER”

"As you become older, you become less judgmental and take offense less. But marriage is hard work; the illusion that you get married and live happily ever after is absolute rubbish." — From a 1982 interview with The New York Times

14. ON LUCK AND LONGEVITY

“When careers last as long as mine—and it’s been a lot of years now—I’m very fortunate that I’m still around. All careers go up and down like friendships, like marriages, like anything else, and you can’t bat a thousand all the time. So I think I’ve been very, very lucky.” — From a 2010 interview with The Telegraph

15. ON HOW MARY POPPINS IS JUST LIKE US

“Does Mary Poppins have an orgasm? Does she go to the bathroom? I assure you, she does." — From a 1982 interview with The New York Times

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6 Memorable Letters From Neil Armstrong
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Neil Armstrong, who would have turned 87 years old today, is remembered as both a "reluctant American hero" and "the spiritual repository of spacefaring dreams and ambitions." He was a man of few words, but those he chose to share were significant and, occasionally, tongue-in-cheek. Here are some notable letters and notes written by the first man on the moon.

1. ITS TRUE BEAUTY, HOWEVER, WAS THAT IT WORKED.

There was little certainty about what to expect once Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left the relative safety of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. This was not lost on Armstrong, who sent a letter of thanks to the crew who designed his spacesuit.

2. AMERICA MUST DECIDE IF IT WISHES TO REMAIN A LEADER IN SPACE.

It's no secret that NASA's budget has all but disappeared in recent years. Neil, along with James Lovell and Eugene Cernan, had a few things to say about that. The three wrote an open letter to President Obama, urging him not to forfeit the United States' progress in space exploration and technology. It ends with a sobering prediction, and some advice:

For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature. While the President’s plan envisages humans traveling away from Earth and perhaps toward Mars at some time in the future, the lack of developed rockets and spacecraft will assure that ability will not be available for many years.

Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity. America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space. If it does, we should institute a program which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal.

(Here's the letter in full.)

3. ALL OF THIS KNOWLEDGE IS YOURS FOR THE TAKING.

In 1971, the children's librarian of Troy, Michigan's new public library wrote dozens of letters to notable figures across the globe, asking them to address the children of Troy and speak about the importance of libraries, books, and reading. Among the replies was this note from Armstrong:

Through books you will meet poets and novelists whose creations will fire your imagination. You will meet the great thinkers who will share with you their philosophies, their concepts of the world, of humanity and of creation. You will learn about events that have shaped our history, of deeds both noble and ignoble. All of this knowledge is yours for the taking… Your library is a storehouse for mind and spirit. Use it well.

4. I FIND THAT MYSTIFYING.

After NPR's Robert Krulwich wondered aloud on-air why the astronauts stayed so close to the landing site (less than 100 yards from their lander), a helpful Armstrong sent over a lengthy letter of explanation, which ended with a little insight about the importance of space exploration (emphasis added):

Later Apollo flights were able to do more and move further in order to cover larger areas, particularly when the Lunar Rover vehicle became available in 1971. But in KRULWICH WONDERS, you make an important point, which I emphasized to the House Science and Technology Committee. During my testimony in May I said, "Some question why Americans should return to the Moon. "After all," they say "we have already been there." I find that mystifying. It would be as if 16th century monarchs proclaimed that "we need not go to the New World, we have already been there." Or as if President Thomas Jefferson announced in 1803 that Americans "need not go west of the Mississippi, the Lewis and Clark Expedition has already been there." Americans have visited and examined 6 locations on Luna, varying in size from a suburban lot to a small township. That leaves more than 14 million square miles yet to explore.

I have tried to give a small insight into your question “Who knew?”

I hope it is helpful.

(Read the full transcript here.)

5. IT CERTAINLY WAS EXCITING FOR ME.

On the 40th anniversary of the Apollo landing, Armstrong wrote a personal letter of tribute to the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, which provided the communications between Apollo 11 and mission control. In part, it reads:

We were involved in doing what many thought to be impossible, putting humans on Earth’s moon.

Science fiction writers thought it would be possible. H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and other authors found ways to get people to the moon. But none of those writers foresaw any possibility of the lunar explorers being able to communicate with Earth, transmit data, position information, or transmit moving pictures of what they saw back to Earth. The authors foresaw my part of the adventure, but your part was beyond their comprehension.

All the Apollo people were working hard, working long hours, and were dedicated to making certain everything they did, they were doing to the very best of their ability. And I am confident that those of you who were working with us forty years ago, were working at least that hard. It would be impossible to overstate the appreciation that we on the crew feel for your dedication and the quality of your work.

The full text is available on the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station website.

6. NEXT TIME, BUTT OUT OF OUR BUSINESS!

After a surprise appearance in "Mystery On the Moon," issue #98 of The Fantastic Four, wherein our intrepid explorers are saved by four mutants in space, this brief note arrived in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's mailbox. Was it real? Who knows. But the sentiment remains: We don't need your superheroes to get to the moon—we have science

This post originally appeared in 2012.

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