Kathie Lee Gifford

Hoda Kotb: War, Cancer and Kathie Lee?

October 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm , by

Hoda photo credit julie dennisAre you a fan of Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb and their freewheeling fourth hour of the Today Show? I am. I became a Kathie Lee fan years ago, when she sat next to Regis and wasn’t afraid or embarrassed to talk about anything. My dad loved her, and when I moved in with my parents for a while in the ’90s to help take care of him while he was ill, the show became a cheerful morning ritual for Dad and me.

So I was happy when I heard in 2008 that this old friend was joining Today. But who was Hoda Kotb (right)? I didn’t know then. But I feel I know her now, thanks to her new book, Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee.

The book is a fun read, with gripping tales of her travels around the world to cover stories for Dateline, from war-torn Baghdad to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And there’s plenty of entertaining inside scoop about getting to know Kathie Lee and finding their groove together for the show.

But the part that really got me was the raw, emotional recounting of what she calls “the bad year.” It was 2007, “the year my body and my heart broke at the same time,” as she describes it. She was 42, happily married, fit and healthy—or so she thought. “I had finally balanced my personal life and career, a real challenge for me up to that point.” She had always wanted kids. But in January of that year, she learned that her husband had been deceiving her—and that she had breast cancer. Read more


Let Go of Your Anger!

April 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm , by

Todayshow2One of our favorite writers, Holly Robinson, and I appeared together on the Today Show this morning to talk about being polite when you really feel mad. (That’s us, right, pretending to fight in the Green Room at 30 Rock.) You can see our conversation with Hoda and Kathie Lee here.

Have you been in a situation recently where you felt your anger going out of control? It might have been in a slow line at the grocery store, or in a restaurant, or even behind the wheel after someone cut you off—you know that feeling of blind, roaring rage?

After a series of stressful encounters with rude, impatient people one day, Robinson snapped at a slow waitress. But then she felt terrible when she saw and heard the waitress stomp back into the kitchen and take out her anger on the cook. That made Robinson stop and remember her British grandmother, who always reminded her that “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

So she decided to try an experiment for the next week: No matter what happened, she would be polite and disarm with charm instead of blowing her top. The result was a revelation: People weren’t just more polite in return, but Robinson felt better—and much less stressed. For her, the key was acknowledging and appreciating the people around her, and understanding that the people she encountered had stresses of their own and were doing the best they could. (Read about the health dangers of too much anger after the jump.) Read more