Recent Posts

I'm bad at vacations: Or, how I know what burning pee smells like

I've never been spectacular at relaxing. Most of the time when we go on vacation I spend the whole time trying to make sure we have enough fun to justify the expense and the upheaval of our daily routines. I come by this honestly, because of my early family vacations. So starting to vacation as an adult I was wired to mimic the bad vacations, because that was the only definition of a vacation I had ever known.

Perhaps this is why I have so many bad vacation stories…

Secrets from a makeup artist: The best makeup for mature skin

As a makeup artist, I have worked on nearly every type of face there is, including mature talent from middle age to quite elderly. Working on mature clientele — or working on yourself if your skin is starting to show signs of “maturity” — is just a matter of knowing how products work on the skin, and what products to use, and when.

For successful makeup for mature skin, there are two equally important components: Selection of proper cosmetic products — which we will get to in a minute — and prepping the skin thoroughly with proper skincare…

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Telling my Facebook-obsessed family I don't want photos of my kid online

As I consider having a kid, one thing I feel very strongly about is not blasting photos of them all over social media. Preserving my future child's privacy and right to choose is something I feel strongly about. But, I don't even think something like that crosses my share-everything-on-Facebook family members' minds. Any advice on how, or when, to broach this subject? I don't want to become that mom who bites anyone's head off who posts a photo of my kid on the internet. But I also want people to think before they post.

Recent Home

The best, easiest, 2 ingredient, homemade ice cream ever!

I do have an ice-cream maker, and I'm not afraid to temper egg yolks to coax them into a custard that will become a delicious treat. However, I know that there are plenty of people who don't have the time and/or inclination for this. For these people, I present to you the easiest ice cream ever!

You only need two things…

How do I break up with my church community while maintaining friendships?

I've been debating converting to Judaism for about seven years now, and I've finally decided to go for it. However, I'm pretty heavily involved in a Christian church community. Since it's a liberal denomination, I'm pretty confident I can maintain these friendships even if I tell them I want to be Jewish. But how do I nicely explain that I'm not a Christian and I'm looking to get my spiritual fix elsewhere?

How do you deal with dust?

Much as I love my black furniture, it shows dust at the drop of a hat. Are there any tactics I can use to preemptively minimize dust, so that when I do attack everything with a damp cloth everything will get done at warp speed?

Recent Life

Secrets from a makeup artist: The best makeup for mature skin

As a makeup artist, I have worked on nearly every type of face there is, including mature talent from middle age to quite elderly. Working on mature clientele — or working on yourself if your skin is starting to show signs of “maturity” — is just a matter of knowing how products work on the skin, and what products to use, and when.

For successful makeup for mature skin, there are two equally important components: Selection of proper cosmetic products — which we will get to in a minute — and prepping the skin thoroughly with proper skincare…

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4 ways to make yourself exercise when you hate exercising

I hate exercising. I mean I really, really hate it. I hate sweating, and I hate sore muscles, and I hate feeling out of breath. BUT I know that exercise is good for me.

Here are some things I have discovered that, in the space of six months, have turned me from a non-exerciser into a person who walks 30-40 minutes per day, and goes to the gym a minimum of twice per week…

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A nerd-cation pilgrimage to the homeland of Harry Potter and Doctor Who

We made a nerd-cation pilgrimage to the United Kingdom to visit the homeland of two of our favorite stories: Harry Potter and Doctor Who.

We cast a wide net at first, noting every possible location we could visit within a reasonable budget. Eventually we narrowed our travels to three cities: London, Edinburgh, and Cardiff, as those cities had the biggest draws for our nerdy hearts while still being accessible by public transit.

Finding plus-size maternity clothes: A Canadian struggle, eh?

Once the bump started forming, and my regular clothes started tugging in weird places, it was time to take the journey into finding plus-size maternity clothes in Canada. Oh boy? Hooray? I had a gut feeling that things wouldn’t be all that easy and boy was I right.

Finding plus-size maternity clothing was a nightmare!

Recent Food

Use up all those summer tomatoes with these easy tomato recipes

If you grow your own tomatoes or simply snag them from your local grocer or farmer's market, you know that our love affair is almost over. Soon it will be fall and we'll be rolling around like dogs in pumpkin puree instead. So we need to celebrate the summer fruit veggie fruit(?) that is… the luscious tomato. Here are three of my favorite easy tomato recipes to use up your summer supply.

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Why I can't shut up about my Instant Pot (plus 2 easy recipes!)

I tell everyone to get an Instant Pot. I buy them for friends as housewarming or wedding gifts, and I sing their praises to people who probably are sick of hearing about them (until they get one too and then they can't shut up either). At first glance, it seems like it's just an electric pressure cooker… And it is! Which is great even alone. But [in my Billy Mays voice] that's not all, friends. That's not all…

Salad potluck: the easiest, cheapest, healthiest way to avoid packing lunch

It started with a workplace baby shower with a salad potluck directive: everyone bring something you can put on a salad. As we stood around munching, while cards were opened, we thought, "Hey, this was REALLY easy, and it's healthy, too! We need to do this more often!" It helps us all eat healthier and it makes "packing lunch" as simple as throwing a random fridge vegetable or a bag of dried cranberries or can of black beans in your bag.

Recent People

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Telling my Facebook-obsessed family I don't want photos of my kid online

As I consider having a kid, one thing I feel very strongly about is not blasting photos of them all over social media. Preserving my future child's privacy and right to choose is something I feel strongly about. But, I don't even think something like that crosses my share-everything-on-Facebook family members' minds. Any advice on how, or when, to broach this subject? I don't want to become that mom who bites anyone's head off who posts a photo of my kid on the internet. But I also want people to think before they post.

1.0k

How do you deal with a parent with severe anxiety?

I love my mother. Which is why her anxiety disorder is so awful for me. She's been like this for years– doing things like suggesting that everything I do will kill or harm my baby. But now her anxiety over everything is giving ME anxiety over everything. Does anyone have tips for dealing with a parent with severe anxiety?

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I'm grieving for the kids that we now can't have. How do I cope?

We've discovered that my mental health isn't anywhere near as stable as I thought it was. And we had to make the difficult decision to stop trying to get pregnant. I know that this is the right choice to make, for my sanity if nothing else. But I feel like I'm grieving for the life we planned, and the kids that won't be a part of it. Any advice?

Finding plus-size maternity clothes: A Canadian struggle, eh?

Once the bump started forming, and my regular clothes started tugging in weird places, it was time to take the journey into finding plus-size maternity clothes in Canada. Oh boy? Hooray? I had a gut feeling that things wouldn’t be all that easy and boy was I right.

Finding plus-size maternity clothing was a nightmare!

Recent Pets

5 ways to get control over that tornado of pet hair

I have two dogs — a small fawn pug named Doug, and a giant yellow lab named Luna. I also had a yellow lab when I was growing up. I seemed to have forgotten the unbelievable amount of hair that Lab coats can shed.

It can be really hard to keep on top of all the pet hair. For the most part, it's just part of life. If I don't clean daily there will suddenly be tumble weeds of hair floating around the house. Every spring Luna's big hairy winter coat decides it's time to shed and next thing you know I am coughing up dog hair. But there are things you can do to help get control over that tornado of pet hair…

Hangin' with my homebees: Our experience with "beekeeping lite"

We just received, what feels like, the most unusual wedding present in the history of matrimony. My new mother-in-law gave us a beehive — complete with ten thousand happily buzzing inhabitants.

So, if anyone is thinking of getting a beehive, here is what I have learned so far…

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How do you explain that your fur baby is more than "just a pet"?

I chose not to have human children and instead to have the four legged furry kind. A lot of people have a hard time understanding for me she is not just a pet she is FAMILY. Most of the time I can choose to ignore the people who say "it's just a dog." But, after losing my fur baby, I cannot ignore them anymore. How do I accept their caring when they don't get it? How do I help them get it? Or should I even bother to try?

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4 myth-busting reality checks about fostering an animal

Fostering an animal means taking a homeless animal from a shelter or rescue and giving it a home with you until it gets adopted. It's such a needed, life-saving process that a lot of people have questions and misconceptions about. I'm here to address them…

3 reasons guinea pigs are the perfect offbeat apartment pets

I've had all kinds of pets over the years — from cats, to goldfish, and everything in between. No matter how many other animals I've loved since then, I've always come back to guinea pigs. They're a little more interesting than your run-of-the-mill hamster (in my humble opinion), and have a hell of a lot of personality. Best of all, they make a great addition to apartments or rental homes where it might not be feasible to adopt non-caged pets like dogs or cats.

Here's why…

Recent Do It Yourself

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How to stay happily married while renovating

Huh? Is this really a serious issue? Unfortunately, it is. And I have been asked about it multiple times, since my wife and I have completed four separate renovations and, even though we went through some tough spells, we're still happily married.

Here's what we learned along the way, and what we did to remain happily married while renovating…

How to make pour-over coffee at home and on a budget

Pour-over coffee is excellent, but the brew methods can be somewhat complicated and require specialized equipment. But, by using some ingenuity and household items, you too can make great pour-over coffee at home! Here's my cheaper, DIY alternative that will allow you to create a great pour-over coffee experience without the extra cost…

How to paint an animal skull

To answer the question of "how to paint an animal skull," I turned to former Offbeat Home editor and, in my mind, the goddess of dead animal bones, Cat Rocketship! Sure enough, she had an answer AND happened to be wearing a "crown of animal bones" as she wrote her advice…

Recent Shopping

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The best combined birthday and holiday/anniversary gifts

The thing about combined birthday gifts is this: They better be fucking awesome and super-symbolic. Because you're not just saying one thing, you're saying a lot of things at once. So here are my favorite symbolic gifts that'll work for combined birthdays and holidays, or anniversaries, or just general gift-inspiration awesomeness!

Water bottles that are also hydration trackers

I often get dehydrated. I had the thought the other day… My FitBit reminds me to get enough steps a day, what if there was a water bottle that did the same! Fortunately, it's already been invented. Hydration trackers are a thing, and I'm debating getting one. But which one…

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