Author Archives: Kara Gause

Kara Gause

About Kara Gause

Kara Gause is a junkie for TV, film, pop culture, and health food--in that order. A Yankee girl happily transplanted in Nashville, she spends her days as a freelance writer juggling the needs of her twin toddlers, two Bassett hounds, and one fantastic husband--in that order. Read more of her day-to-day shenanigans on her blog, MasterofWhat.com.

Self magazine April 2012 cover

Carrie Underwood’s Spills Her Secrets on Getting Red Carpet Ready

Self magazine April 2012We’ve all admired those tanned, toned legs from afar. Now, Carrie Underwood is giving away some of the secrets to her fitness success.

How do Carrie Underwood and husband Mike Fisher keep things hot and heavy on the red carpet? By texting, of course. Covering the April issue of Self magazine, the country superstar tells the magazine, “I get texts from Mike when I’m on a red carpet that read, ‘You’re so hot!’ I like that. Words of affirmation mean a lot to me.”

Whatever Underwood’s doing these days, it’s certainly working. Seven years after winning “American Idol,” the songstress is covering the fitness magazine for the fourth time. Thankfully, this time she’s sharing her tips for looking red carpet ready with the rest of us. Here are the top seven:

1. Know where your food comes from: ”My veganism is based on a concern about where my food is coming from.”

2. Vegan all the way: ”I’ll never eat meat again, because I look and feel better without it.”

3. Eat at home to cut calories: “[Mike] would rather go out to restaurants than eat at home. It makes me mad! I really enjoy cooking and eating together at home.”

4. Keep a food journal: ”I’m a very regimented eater. I’ve kept food journals for years.”

5. Make workouts fun: Underwood works out with a deck of cards. “I have a game I love for when I’m working out on my own, without a trainer … Half and write down exercises for each suit, a different one for each half … Having different exercises for each half of the deck keeps me from getting bored.”

6. Be comfortable in your own skin: ”Now, I’m a lot better with saying, I feel good about myself and that’s enough.”

7. Keep it simple: Instead of facials or peels, Underwood sticks with the basics. “Get plenty of water and sleep. That’s it!”

Look for Underwood’s fourth studio album, “Blown Away,” which hits stores May 1.

Redbook magazine March 2012

The Secret to Chelsea Handler’s Success

Redbook magazine March 2012“This Means War” funny lady and March Redbook cover girl Chelsea Handler is taking over the world–one audience at a time. 

Perhaps you’ve been a fan of Chelsea Handler’s E! network chat fest “Chelsea Lately” since its 2007 debut. Maybe she got you laughing with one of her pseudo-autobiographical sitcoms “After Lately” or “Are You There, Chelsea?” that have followed. Or, perhaps you discovered one of her four bestselling comedy memoirs.

However you came to know Handler, though, you’re not alone if you find her very dry humor sometimes shocking and always hilarious. One ingredient to her style of wit is brutal honesty with a twist of unapologetic truth: Girlfriend tells it like it is or, at very least, like she sees it.

Where did Handler’s perspective originate? New Jersey, it turns out. In the March issue of Redbook, the actress lays out the genesis of her comedic foundation, and like most artists, her refining journey involved more than a little pain.

“I was tortured [in high school], and probably half of it was deserved, but I was bullied–so much so that there were days when I was like, ‘I can’t go to school today.’ I was too scared,” Handler tells the magazine. Her source of fear came from the unwavering ridicule of a band of mean girls. “They’d call me a dog, and bark at me and say, ‘You’re fat. You’re ugly.’”

But the girl who’s turned out to be quite the bombshell hardly has any bad feelings over the matter. When her “ringleader” bully showed up backstage at one of her comedy shows, Handler got the apology she was no longer looking for. She tells the magazine of the face-to-face apology, “And I said, ‘I’m so over it. Actually, thank you, because you gave me the impetus to be successful.’”

These days, Handler counts some of Hollywood’s elite among her inner circle. Her “This Means War” costar Reese Witherspoon has become a close confidante. Jennifer Aniston is practically family, as she and boyfriend Justin Theroux came to Handler’s house for Thanksgiving with 18 of Handler’s staff members.” She credits both superstars with being “regular” girls with whom her friendships are “based on realness.” Not that the comedian has forgotten her days as an outcast. She tells the magazine she likes “misfits and underdog,” adding, “I love underdogs … I was an underdog.”

Parent & Child magazine March 2012

J.K. Rowling Dishes on Favorite Childhood Books

Parent & Child magazine March 2012 coverTreasured children’s writer J.K. Rowling covers Parent & Child’s 100 Greatest Books for Kids issue, sharing her own childhood favorites with Editor-in-Chief Nick Friedman.

I am forever looking for lists of the best children’s books, even downloading them onto my iPhone while browsing the public library shelves. So, naturally, I was ecstatic–ecstatic!–to see that the Scholastic publication Parent & Child was publishing its own”100 Greatest Books” list in a special March issue. Who better to publish such a list than the folks who brought all those book fairs to our schools?

Another brilliant move by the magazine was its choice to put Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling on the cover. In February, it was announced that Rowling will be publishing her first adult novel with Little Brown. While she’s not currently writing for kids, she is the perfect choice for this cover, as she almost singlehandedly got kids in America reading again.

A 2008 Scholastic survey revealed that three out of four kids said reading the Harry Potter books, or having someone read Harry Potter to them, made them interested in reading other books. As a former middle school English teacher, I can attest to the “magic” of Harry Potter–the kind that converts reluctant readers into the ones who won’t put a book away during the rest of their classes. That’s got to be worth some sort of Nobel Prize in Literature, right?

A working, married mother of three, Rowling fully owns the life of a multitasker. But that doesn’t mean she’s left behind her passion for reading, which blossomed as a child, or has stopped devouring books these days. In an interview with O, The Oprah Magazine, the bestselling author confesses, “I read when I’m drying my hair. I read in the bath. I read when I’m sitting in the bathroom. Pretty much anywhere I can do the job one-handed, I read.”

As one might expect, what Rowling read as a child greatly influenced her own writing. She speaks of “The Little White Horse” by Elizabeth Goudge and “The Story of the Treasure Seekers” by E. Nesbit as having been especially important to her because both centered around a “plain heroine”–something the author identified with as a child.

So where does Potter rank on Scholastic’s list? Up there in the top 10, to be sure. Don’t miss the rest of the list in the March issue!

Harper's Bazaar March 2012

How Gwyneth Paltrow Became a Well-Being Guru

Harper's Bazaar March 2012Do the negative points in our lives truly make us stronger? For Gwyneth Paltrow, the tragic loss of her father has everything to do with who she is today.

Ever wonder how Gwyneth Paltrow got on such a steady health kick–why it’s so important to her to tout all of her favorite foods, recipes, workouts and more on her blog GOOP? For the 39-year-old mother of two, the motivation came from losing her own father. In 2002, at the age of just 58, famed TV producer Bruce Paltrow lost his battle with throat cancer–but not without his only daughter fighting hard to save him.

Paltrow opens up in the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar about how she found solace in trying to help her father beat the disease that ultimately took his life. She says, “It’s obviously ridiculous, but I didn’t want him to die and the doctors said he had to be healthier. So I started to read about how powerful the body can be if you do not poison it with processed food and white sugar.”

It’s her strong opinions on food (she’s a proponent of the macrobiotic diet) and wellness (she’s also an avid convert of the Tracy Anderson Method and yoga) that have sometimes garnered the Oscar winner negative backlash from the press. But none of that seems to matter much to her, as she remains passionate about sharing what she’s learned about well-being.

“All I’ve learned about health and nutrition came from [my father's] cancer,” says the actress. “I’ll probably have a long and healthy life because he didn’t.” Having watched as her father was robbed of a long life has only made his daughter yearn to live her own to the fullest. But she’s not living by traditional Hollywood standards, especially since setting up her family’s primary residence in London. And you’ll notice her career has quieted down a bit as of late, which is, of course, a calculated decision on the blond beauty’s part. It’s not because Hollywood hasn’t come calling.

She says simply, “I have little kids in school. I want to maintain my marriage [to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin] and my family, so I have to be here when he comes home … Gloria Steinem may string me up by my toes, but all I can do is my best, and I can do only what works for me and my family.”

That wisdom has come at a hefty price, which, once again, can be attributed to her father’s passing. Paltrow tells the magazine, “I would do anything to have him back, but half the reason that my life is good, has real, true value, is that he died … As much grief and pain and trauma and heartache are caused, there was an equal amount of positivity that came out of his death.”

How do you approach grief? Do you see it as an opportunity, a catalyst for change?

8 Stress Busters for You and Your Kids

8 Stress Busters for You and Your Kids

Working Mother Magazine Feb/March 2012Your plate is full and spilling over, but have you ever considered how your stress could be causing anxiety in your kids? This month, make your home a stress-free zone.

Being a kid today is tough. Pressures at school can create a climate of “professional childhood,” one that robs our kids of the traditional idyllic kind of childhood we got to experience. And parents, brace yourselves, because new research shows that we’re playing a bigger role here than we’d like to admit.

According to the February/March issue of Working Mother magazine, “Most parents say their own stress levels aren’t healthy.” Still, a whopping 69 percent of those surveyed believed their stress wasn’t affecting their kids. Think again, folks, because the magazine claims that an astonishing “91 percent of kids say they know when their parents are stressed because they yell, argue or complain more.” What’s more, as kids get older, the magazine suggests that between a third and half of them say Mom and Dad’s stress makes them feel worried and sad.

It’s hard to read those numbers, but do we parents really need the statistics in order to admit that what they’re saying is true? The more we work, the more worked up Junior gets. It’s a vicious cycle the magazine believes we can put the kibosh on–and stat. To prove it, here are eight stress busters for you and your kiddos to try out:

1. Focus on “pressure points.” If your family runs amuck in the morning, give yourself more time to handle it all by getting up just 15 minutes earlier. If you’re too exhausted to cook up a good meal when you get home, don’t do take out! Get dinner going first thing in the morning with the crockpot.

2. “Show, don’t tell.” Wonder where Junior learned about anxiety? Take a good look in the mirror. If he sees you coping well, he stands a better chance of doing the same.

3. Model a good argument. You’re bound to argue with your spouse and even your kids. Model the mature, fair way of handling disagreements so your kids won’t fear them in the future.

4. Don’t freak out! Just listen. The older kids get, the more they avoid having real conversations with their parents. Why? Because we get so concerned! Relax a bit, save your judgment and give your kids a chance to vent.

5. Time Out. Sometimes we just need a change of scenery to snap out of a funk. Consider a “mini vacation,” taking your kids outside or on a drive to get their minds off things for a while.

6. Help them find a fresh perspective. Junior’s bound to meet with failure. Share your own experiences of facing disappointment, focusing on new opportunities that came about as a result.

7. One bite at a time. My dad always helped me manage large projects by breaking them down into smaller tasks.

8. “Hone Health Habits” for your kids and for yourself! Kids who sleep and eat well and remain active learn better and are more likely to shed daily stress. Go figure.

Do you think you model stress for your kids? Do you cope well with pressure? If so, tell us how you’re doing it!

Working Mother magazine February/March 2012

Calling All Working Moms: How to Battle the Midday Slump

Working Mother magazine February/March 2012

Working Mother Feb/March 2012

What working mom doesn’t crave more balance? This month, Working Mother magazine speaks to that issue with tips for staying awake and engaged at work.

Mommy guilt is no stranger to the working mom, mainly because we lack the golden ticket to a guilt-free land: balance. We crave that perfect balance between the family we’ve built and love and the career we’ve cultivated. The main problem? There just aren’t enough hours in the day, and even if there were, we don’t have the energy to make them work for us.

There are no easy answers to this conundrum, as the February/March issue of Working Mother magazine pointed out to one reader who asked if working from home could realistically “alleviate the typical challenges of at-home and working moms.” This stay-at-home working mama will simply echo the magazine with a resounding “No!” and look for ways to creatively carve out balance and reenergize with the rest of you.

In every issue, the parenting magazine offers insight into making the most of our time with family at home, and they always include one section titled “How to Have a Better Workday.” This issue offered up some oh-so-simple tips for everything from fighting the yawns to staying engaged on the job and conquering the workplace.

1. “Lighten your lunch.” Stress may lead us to reach for pasta and other comforting carb-filled foods, but these will only weigh us down in energy (and on the scale). The answer: small, high-protein, low-carb meals and afternoon snacks will help with the waistline and keep you alert right through that mid-afternoon slump.

2. Step into the sunshine. Having trouble sleeping at night but can’t stay awake during the day? Perhaps your internal clock is off. The answer: Get some natural light each day. It’s an easy and “instant pick-me-up,” according to the magazine, and it also helps regulate your sleep cycle.

3. “Jiggle the thermostat.” If your office is too cold, people become restless; too warm, and well, you’re all half asleep. The magazine suggests keeping the thermostat temperature between 69 and 73 degrees. (Take this article into the office as proof to stubborn coworkers!)

What are some of your secrets for staying alert and getting the job done?