I like cleaning my house: WTF?! When did this happen?

By on Apr 17th

Adorable glovables!

Adorable glovables!

Somehow, I've gone from a person who found herself filled with resentment and rage while cleaning to someone who actually (get this) enjoys doing my chores. Somehow, I now understand the concept of "domestic bliss." I genuinely don't know when this happened. I still have a friend of a friend come and help with the dirt once or twice a month, but somehow I have become someone who gets a sick, undeniable sense of pleasure out of picking up the living room. Somehow, I'm that asshole who shouts "LAUNDRY ZERO!!" with a sense of genuine accomplishment once all hampers are empty and all clothes are folded.

I don't know how or why this happened, but in the interest of bottling it and sharing it, here are a few of my theories:

Continue reading »

How to write a grad school CV that shows off the goods

By on Apr 17th
How to write a CV for grad schoolI need a CV to complete my application for a graduate program in divinity — and I have no idea where to start! I did some Googling to try and find a good template, style guide, or even sample and immediately got stuck in a black hole of garbage career advice websites. Could anyone recommend a website or app I can use to generate a quality CV, or at least a style guide?

I'd also like some advice on the content — I am a professional community organizer with some certifications, some degrees, some awards, and some panel seats. The advice I got from the admissions office was to "put everything that could possibly be related" on the document.

Thanks for any help anyone can give. I've been at this for hours and I'm about to huck my nerdbox out the kitchen window. -elizadactyl

Time for a little work experience peacocking, eh? I have my Master's in American Studies and in September I'll be starting my PhD in English. I've known the importance of having a good, up-to-date CV since my last couple years of undergrad. And I also know the mire of terrible and click-baity career websites that spring up when you search for help on this topic.

The best and easiest way to write a good CV is to look at someone else's CV. Whose, you ask? Why, your favourite professor's. Go to their university website. They will most likely have a link directly on their contact page with their CV. This is the best way to look at what is necessary, what the format should be, and what to emphasize.

But just as an overview or guide to reading your professor's CV, let's run down what's important to know — in excruciating detail.

Continue reading »

How a year on the road saved my life and helped me grieve

Guestpost by MaryCake on Apr 16th

Original drawing by MaryCake

Original drawing by MaryCake

I've known my fiancé since we were kids in our very small town. I was the quiet art weirdo, and he was the smart funny guy who made socializing seem effortless. He has always loved travel, and was saving up for a year-long road trip cross-country, to take with his brother after he finished grad school, and his brother got out of the army.

When his brother passed away in Afghanistan in 2010, our lives were shattered pretty completely. He was one of those guys who knew everyone, who everyone was friends with. His death impacted everything, and left us in the center of this desolate vortex of grief.

Not knowing how else to proceed, we kept moving and decided to still take the trip together. We saved up money for a year and pretty much sleepwalked our way to the departure date. Looking back now, to some degree, I was a little scared of this great unknown — but nothing could be worse than the stagnant sadness we felt at home.

So on a hot sweltering day in July, we packed the Volvo and drove off.

Continue reading »

19 of the coolest area rugs you've ever seen

By on Apr 16th

coolest rugs everThose cool colorful pieces of art pictured up there? Yeah, those are rugs. Awesome, right!?

I'm currently looking to replace my worn-out-but-still-awesome-but-also-kinda-stinky living room rug, and while searching for an area rug replacement, I've stumbled upon some of the coolest rugs I've ever seen.

I've found goth rugs, rugs made from rags, rugs for nerds, punk rock rugs, a rug with a time travel theme, and even something called a Pop Art Jazz Rug. Pull up a chair, take off your shoes, and get a feel for these rugs…

Continue reading »

My accidental social media experiment: How Facebook changed the way we define friendships

Guestpost by Dawn on Apr 15th

How does Facebook affect your friendships? (Photo by: birgerkingCC BY 2.0)

I am a social media user. I say that without shame! While I am not one of those people who updates my status every five minutes, or sends a tweet every two minutes, I do interactively use social media to stay in touch, talk about world events, to post pictures of various things of importance to me in my life. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn… Yep, I have them all and I use them all almost daily.

I should back up just a bit and come clean (because I do think this all might be somewhat linked to my recent accidental discovery)… I am in my early 40s. I did not grow up with cell phones, home computers, iPods, iPads, etc. I was actually very late to the electronic device game. I did not own my first computer until 2000. My first cell phone came in 2003, and I carried it a full year without really ever turning it on. I was well into my late twenties when these things became a part of my daily life. And I didn't own my first smart phone until two years ago. Still a newbie in many eyes!

So I certainly remember a time, a glorious time I think some days, where I was not connected at all.

In 2006 I discovered my first on-line community and I really started getting involved in the internet. It can be a wonderfully intoxicating event to connect to people all over the world.

I wrote my first blog. I found some of the best friends I have never met in these communities. People I felt closer to than in real life. People who just "got" me. First came online support group, then came Myspace, then came a craft beer community where I really found my online voice. I was one of a handful of ladies in a very male dominated on-line community. Sometimes it went well. Sometimes it didn't. But I felt at home there.

I met my husband on that site. In a chat room no less. Talking about craft beer.

So of course having some kind of online presence has definitely helped define the last 10 years of my life. I mean, I met my husband online. How could the internet NOT define me?

I've had a love/hate relationship with Facebook since the get-go

I hate how boring it is. I hate how it dictates to me what I should like and who I should interact with and who I shouldn't. I hate how it changes all the time and rarely, in my opinion, for the better. I hate how popular it has become. And I hate how much time I spend there.

Yet, most of my online family, as well as former co-workers, classmates, and even long-lost friends and family now connect there. So without Facebook, I can't stay connected. The days of phone calls, or emails from long-lost connections seem to be gone. Everyone just seems to "Facebook" each other. We have turned a thing into a verb.

Then the holidays came this year. A time of numerous social gatherings with friends and family you don't see nearly enough. And a little phrase kept sticking in my brain. The first time I kind of just laughed it off. "Oh yeah, I saw that on Facebook."

But then it kept happening. One by one, I met with friends, family, coworkers over the holidays. And as we were "catching up" on our lives, and I would tell them what I have been up to, things I felt were of great importance to me and would be interesting to them; I heard it more and more. "Oh yeah, I saw that on Facebook" and the topic seemed no longer important enough to discuss. My real life updates were no longer important because I had already updated the world via Facebook.

Could I be divulging too much on social media?

I DO use Facebook frequently. I "check in" to places. I give shout outs to my gym, my favorite stores, my favorite local finds, even my favorite people. Yet, many of my closest REAL life friends and family do NOT. While they maintain pages, they don't actually use them much.

So I started feeling like they had an unfair friendship advantage over me. And I felt sad and more than a little disappointed and yes, disconnected from them and the real world.

Continue reading »

A rainy, Michelin star-chasing, foodie vacation in Cartmel, England

By on Apr 15th
Rainbow over Cartmel Priory

Rainbow over Cartmel Priory

Travelers: Lydia and Johan

Budget: Budget ($500-$1000)

Where did you go? Johan and I had real trouble trying to decide where to go on our honeymoon. I was really leaning towards Prague, while he wanted something a little more sunny (not an easy thing to get in October). Anything we COULD agree on was deemed too expensive.

Photo courtesy of l'Enclume's website.

Photo courtesy of l'Enclume's website.

But then, while watching one of our favourite foodie shows — the BBC's Great British Menu — we noticed a chef whose food we both really liked: Simon Rogan. His food seemed amazing and on a whim, we looked up his restaurant, l'Enclume, online. It turned out to be in Cartmel, a small medieval village just south of the British Lake District. Suddenly, finding a honeymoon we could both get excited about didn't seem like a distant pipe dream anymore.

We booked our entire stay around a dinner at l'Enclume (after of course calling and checking they had a table available during our designated honeymoon week). We flew in through Manchester and stayed in a small B&B in Cartmel. Most of our time was spent in the village, with a few trips to surrounding towns like Ulverston and Windermere. On the day of our flight back, we spent the day in Manchester with a mutual friend who lives there.

What did you do? Lots and lots of sight seeing:

Continue reading »

Are you a mover or a stayer?

Guestpost by Stealmystapler on Apr 14th

See that globe? Do you dream of living all over its surface, or do you dream about using it to decorate your permanent living space? (Thanks to WeeHermione for uploading this to our Flickr pool.)

Some people depend on astrology, and they knowingly smile when you state your star sign. Others focus on personality types or the introvert/extrovert dichotomy when trying to understand themselves and their relationships. In recent years, I've begun to develop my own theory: people are either movers, or stayers.

The terminology is a bit simplistic, but I find that it is evocative.

I've met people who have lived in the same town their whole lives, and never felt the need to leave. Often, their family has lived in that place or region for generations; leaving for a job or anything more than a short vacation seems unthinkable. These are the stereotypical stayers. I've met others who have "itchy feet" and are constantly on the move: six months here, two years there. Sometimes they're world travelers, sometimes they're not; either way, they're movers.

Continue reading »

I want to have an affair with these Mad Men-style time capsule homes

By on Apr 14th

Photo courtesy of Realtor.com

Photo courtesy of Realtor.com

Homie and guest-poster Julie F sent me an email that just said "OH MY GODZZZZZ" with a link to these Mad Men-style time capsule homes. Since Mad Men came back on the air (and it's pretty much the only TV show that I haven't freaked out over publicly) I thought I'd ignore everyone who said they hate real estate posts, and cater to my fellow real estate boner-having Homies.

Actually, you don't need to love real estate to enjoy this post: lovers of the mid-century modern aesthetic will also get turned on just reading this excerpt:

Continue reading »