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Who doesn’t love Oprah? To me, she represents the intriguing power one person can have over an entire nation, forcing this nation to buy so many orders of William Sonoma croissants that they have to go on a waiting list. The President of the U.S. of A. doesn’t even have that clout.

Unfortunately for myself and the rest of my poor friends, we work until 5pm every day. This means that at 4pm (Oprah’s time slot in my neck of the woods) I am still at work. But I manage to make the time to check Oprah.com every day. Oprah and her Harpo staff have come up with great ideas and concepts for fine living. She promotes fabulous luxury items and regular every-day products as well – many a superior gift idea has come from her shows and magazine. I loved her episode on clutter (Superior people do NOT have clutter; we like to stare at the freaks who hoard items). Of course there are times (at least once a week) when I look at Oprah’s ideas and think to myself, “Not so much, O.W.”

Today’s show/challenge struck a cord on my practical side. Superior living, may I reiterate, is about living well during inhospitable times. Inhospitable refers to a plethora of situations and scenarios from global warming, rising gas prices, etiquette faux pas – just life in general. But when you really think about it, it is MOST inhospitable to the environment (thus, everyone) and your wallet (most precious) when you are wasteful and over-indulgent (even when we really don’t mean to be).

It’s hard to be good all the time. I can be very lazy. Like last night when I thought it was too much work to rinse out that recyclable container and I tossed it in the trash. And I really like paper towels. A Lot. So, unbeknownst to my sig-ot (significant other) we will be following Oprah’s challenge, starting today. Obviously, we have to follow all the rules every day, but I will write about each rule individually and how it effects our definition of Superior Living.

The rules from Oprah are defined below (stolen from her website):

1.    This week, you will be eating at home every meal. No more eating out, no more takeout. And you have to eat your leftovers. If you throw food in the trash, you’ve got to ‘fess up. This is creepy – because this is so us! And we are only cooking for two people – so there is pretty much always leftovers.

2.    For one week, you’re going to give up the bottled water habit. Get a water filter—time to get to know your tap. Just FYI – we already do this with our Britta. But we do have a soda bottle issue that I will address and it’s going to be a fight, just so you are aware.

3.    No more disposable plates, cups, napkins or paper towels. Try cloth—you might like it! No disposable plates of cups here – but napkins and paper towels. I adore paper towels. This one, I assure you, is going to hurt.

4.    For entertainment, you’ll have to rely on each other. For one week, I’m asking you to give up your iPods and video games, and your computers only get turned on for homework. TV is limited to one hour per night—one TV only. This one wouldn’t be an issue if BRAVO would be taken off the air. And I love me some Bravo Marathons – Top Chef anyone? But we really only have one TV (Superior people don’t have a TV in the bedroom. Single people have a TV in the bedroom – you know what I am saying? Wink, nudge).

5.    That thermostat is going way down…to 69 degrees. If you get cold, put on a sweater. We turned our heat off April 1, New England weather be damned. I can’t afford it.

6.    Give your washing machine a break—try to wash only clothes that are TRULY dirty. We do have lots of clothes – this should be okay.

7.    When you leave a room, lights out. Ditto for fans. When you’re done using an appliance, unplug it. Don’t forget your computer and cell phone chargers too. Not to brag, but I am already doing this. It’s my sig-ot who is going to have to change and I can’t wait to enforce the new laws.

8.    Showers are going to be shorter—eight minutes max. Use a kitchen timer to help you keep track. It’s like Oprah is speaking DIRECTLY to the sig-ot. Siggy-poo this means you!

9.    Want to go shopping? Head to your closets. That’s your wardrobe for the week. The mall is off-limits. My soul is actually aching right now. But I have already been banned from Target for the month (I will post about that another time), so I’ll deal.

10.  You final challenge—no buying anything other than food for seven days. Ummm…iced coffee is food, yeah?

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