A SHORT TOUR OF THE BLOGOSPHERE
Grab Bag Girl Crushes:
I want to introduce you to two very cool chicks I have never met. Karen lives in Ontario, Canada and Kate lives in the wine country of Northern California. They don’t know you, they don’t know each other, and they sure as heck don’t know me.
Why do I have crushes on these girls? ‘Cuz they’re awesome. And they write amazing blogs. And they do very cool stuff that makes me think I can do very cool stuff, too.
Take Karen, for instance:
My name is Karen and I’m a television host. In Canada. Which means in terms of notoriety and wealth, I’m somewhere on par with the manager of a Sunset Tan in Wisconsin.
In my spare time I figure things out: how to install drywall, how to fix my computer, what’s the best way to cook a pizza. I’ve always been this way and I imagine I always will be. I suspect it’s a mild case of obsessive compulsive disorder I suffer from, but I actually find it quite useful. In addition to the self-diagnosed lunacy, I’m also wildly curious, cheap and a bit of a control freak. Kind of like a frugal alpha monkey. (Read the rest of her story here… she’s hilarious.)
I fell in love with Karen when I stumbled upon her blog called The Art of Doing Stuff, and was wowed by the chicken coop she built and the story that accompanied it.
I’ve got some coop envy, I’m not gonna lie – and I don’t even have chickens. With a coop like that, one would think the chickens would be amazingly happy and productive. Karen is also hilariously honest: “I’ve owned backyard chickens for 5 months now. Last week I finally got an egg. ”An” being the operative word. Eggs aren’t exactly flying out of their asses at this point.”
I encourage you to poke around Karen’s blog and enjoy her ingenuity and humor. Inspiring.
Then there’s Kate, the Centsational Girl…
Here’s her back story:
Once upon a time I was a successful prosecutor with a heavy caseload and an immense knowledge of the Laws of Evidence. In my leisure time, between preliminary hearings and closing arguments, I devoured shelter magazines and dabbled in remodeling on the side because deep down inside, I loved interior design. Then I got pregnant, and left my job at the District Attorney’s office. Then I had two babies. Then I opened a law practice. Then I started a blog ~ a blog about what I love. Then I closed my law practice and took a leap of faith.
I did something brave, something dangerous, something very risky. I changed course, and I changed careers. I realized that I truly do love home improvement, great design, interior decorating, and DIY projects. It’s those subjects that keep me awake at night, not memorizing the exceptions to the hearsay rule.
Here’s some of the things she’s been up to:
Kate inspires thoughts of actually doing the things you think of. Besides furniture makeovers, Kate chronicles craft projects, sewing, recipes, home improvement…. she’s a busy chica.
Kate has gained lots of notoriety and has been featured on the Nate Berkus Show, HGTV, Apartment Therapy, and a host of other design-inspiring sites.
Have fun on her blog:
Grab Bag Animazing Photos:
Grab Bag Skin Snacks:
I want to share another great blog with you, Cincovidas.com. Started by a woman who sought healthier choices in personal care as a cancer survivor, it offers great information for ANYONE wanting healthier skin, as well as those dealing with a cancer diagnosis. I share below some great advice there on how your diet can help to improve some common skin problems:
Dryness. The obvious one here is water. If your skin is dry, make sure you’re getting enough water every day. Skin also stays hydrated through it’s own natural oils, however, which are supported by good fats like those that come from fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, and trout); nuts (walnuts and almonds); avocado; olives and olive oil; and sunflower seeds. A regular omega-3 supplement may also be helpful.
Easy bruising. There are many things that can cause your skin to bruise more easily. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy definitely can. If you’re not going through treatments, however, and you have skin that bruises easily or gums that bleed, you may be a little short on vitamin C. Add more citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and dark green vegetables to your diet, and choose a supplement that comes with bioflavnoids. Another benefit of vitamin C—it helps protect against damage from sun exposure.
Flaking and psoriasis. A more serious symptom of dry skin, flaky skin can signal a low level of vitamin A. This fat-soluble vitamin is key in maintaining and repairing skin tissue, so if you don’t have enough, skin will more easily lose moisture as the structure breaks down. Some studies have also connected foods high in beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) with a reduced risk of psoriasis.1 Consume more sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, butternut squash, lettuce, dried apricots, and cantaloupe. It’s best to get this vitamin from food, as excessive vitamin A (which you may get from supplements) has been linked with increased risk of fracture.
Dermatitis. Find yourself itching and scratching? You may need more vitamin B—specifically, biotin. Even a mild deficiency of this vitamin can cause symptoms, as biotin helps form the basis for skin, hair, and nail cells. Most people get enough biotin in their diets, but if you’re taking medications that deprive you of B vitamins (like birth control, diabetic drugs, or antibiotics), you may be experiencing a deficit. Eat more bananas, eggs, oatmeal, and rice.
Acne and eczema. Repeatedly fighting acne? Plagued by eczema? You may be coming up short on zinc. Sometimes either of these conditions can actually be a direct result of a zinc deficiency. This useful mineral is involved in inflammation control and tissue regeneration. It also helps tame oil production, so particularly if you have oily skin, or if you’re on medications that rob your body of zinc (like antacids, antiobiotics, birth control, hormone replacement drugs, or acid-blocking drugs like Nexium), or if you have diabetes (which affects zinc metabolism), you may want to increase your intake of zinc. Try more oysters, wheat germ, low fat roast beef, sesame seeds, veal liver, dark chocolate, lamb, and peanuts.
Grab Bag Tips and Tricks:
To remove hard water gunk from your shower head, put half a cup (or so) of white vinegar in a large baggie and tie tightly around the neck of the shower head so that all the openings in the head are immersed in the vinegar. Leave over night, remove in the morning and run the water to rinse.
To remove grease and gunk form the burners on your stove (note: this is NOT for the heating elements for electric stoves… just the metal drip pans underneath them or the metal racks and drip pans for gas cooktops): Remove the metal burner racks/drip pans and place them individually in heavy duty zip lock bags with about ¼ cup of ammonia. Leave outside (in case the bags leak) overnight. Remove and wipe clean with a sponge in the morning.
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Speedy Bingo. Read the item at the bottom of the screen and click on the item as quickly as you can if you find it on your bingo card.
Grab Bag Funny Stuff:
INCREDIBLY AWKWARD PREGNANCY PHOTOS