TODAY's Takeaway

TODAY's Takeaway: Wendy Davis talks past struggles, Maria Shriver hosts Help-A-Thon

Jan. 15, 2014 at 5:42 PM ET

Wendy Davis says she's not an overnight sensation, Maria Shriver hosts a Help-a-thon and Al taste tests chocolate.
Wendy Davis says she's not an overnight sensation, Maria Shriver hosts a Help-A-Thon and Al taste tests chocolate.

1. Maria Shriver launched a Help-A-Thon as part of this week’s #DoingItAll series, and more than a dozen experts offered advice about everything from nutrition to careers.  

See what viewers asked — and what TODAY’s experts answered in response.

Video: In conjunction with #Doingitall, a special series highlighting the challenges women face, a panel of experts assembles on TODAY to answer viewer-submitted questions about everything from nutrition to careers.

2. Do you know the difference between drugstore and gourmet chocolates? Jeff Rossen led a blind taste test using New Jersey shoppers as volunteers and the results were split: nearly half said they liked the cheaper sweets better.

Our anchors, on the other hand, couldn’t be fooled:

Video: Could you tell the difference between expensive chocolate and the cheap stuff? NBC national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen conducts a blind taste test using New Jersey shoppers as volunteers, and then lets the TODAY anchors try. Check out the surprising results.

3. Wendy Davis, the senator who made national news last year by filibustering an abortion bill in Texas (remember? the pink sneakers?), said that kind of perseverance has fueled her in life.

"I'm not an overnight sensation. I'm a Texan. And I'm a Texas success story,” she told Maria Shriver. “I am the epitome of hard work and optimism."

Video: NBC’s Maria Shriver talks to outspoken Wendy Davis, a member of the Texas Senate, about the struggles she overcame as a poor, single mom and her ambition to be the next governor of the Lone Star State.

4. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, of “Seinfeld” and “Veep” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine” fame (you see, she’s a stellar comedian), surprised herself when she took a dramatic turn in “Enough Said.”

"These are the jobs I got," she told Savannah. "And don't get me wrong, I love making people laugh. But now it turns out, I really like making people cry."

Video: The former “Seinfeld” star, who has gone on to win two Emmys in the lead role of the HBO comedy “Veep,” jokes to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie that she is fortunate for her success in acting because she has no other skills (besides knitting).

5. Joy Bauer’s on a mission to help you get a six-pack in six months. Today she dished up recipes — featuring delicious breakfast options and chia seeds — to help you get there.

Video: TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer and fitness trainer Jeff Halevy cover everything from meal plans to workout routines as they reveal how to attain and maintain abs of steel.

And that’s TODAY’s Takeaway!