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A few of my favorite tastemakers

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Some of my favorite bloggers, and the ones I most emulate, are what I think of as "tastemakers." Sometimes, they're fashion bloggers, some times home decor, and sometimes life bloggers with exceptionally good taste. Since I started reading blogs, these bloggers have stood out to me, become my favorites, and influenced me greatly. As I try to position myself among them (knowing, of course, that I'm a pretty small fish in this pond), I thought it might be fun to call out a few of my favorites.

Mighty Girl
Mighty Girl Maggie Mason is the first blogger I identified in my mind as a "tastemaker." Back in the day, before she sold them, Maggie ran Mighty Goods, Mighty Junior, and Mighty Haus. These "shopping blogs" highlight specific items, for self, kids, and home, respectively, that Maggie found cool. And she's got great taste. The minute I started reading these blogs I knew I wanted to do something like them, though it is now many years later and I still haven't really done it. I can't remember offhand anything I've purchased on Maggie's recommendation, but I know there have to have been a few things.

My other early tastemaker idol was Heather Armstrong at Dooce. For several years, Dooce has had a "Daily Style" section, and some of the things she has highlighted there have been phenomenal. The one I remember most clearly, which immediately went on to my wish list, was Charley Harper's An Illustrated Life book. Heather posted about it in July 2008, and I still want it.

Already Pretty
Already Pretty's Sally McGraw is well-dressed. She's also got a talent for explaining why the things that work do, and how she puts things together to flatter her figure and her fashion priorities. We actually don't dress all that much alike, but I can't even count the number of times she's worn something and I've had to have it. Recently, Sally inspired me to buy my first "nice" bag--a Foley & Corina.

Wardrobe Oxygen
Alli at Wardrobe Oxygen has probably sold me more stuff than any major advertising campaign, ever. She's perfectly put together, in a way I strive towards and only very rarely get to. I can't begin to tell you the number of things I've bought on Allie's recommendation or by her example, but I know they include NARS Orgasm blush and thread bangles. Plus, she turned me on to Ebates!

Young House Love
I'm a fairly new reader to John and Sherry Petersilk's home renovation and decoration blog, Young House Love. I may actually have been the last person in the free world to know about it. Since I've started reading, though, I've added a ton of John and (especially) Sherry inspired home decor items to my wish list. Pretty much every time John and Sherry post about Home Goods, I end up there. I love the mix of old and new, mass-produced and DIY, of John and Sherry's style.

Girl's Gone Child
Rebecca Woolf at Girl's Gone Child is my maternity wardrobe hero. (No, before you ask, I am not pregnant.) She maxi-dress based looks she wore and posted about while pregnant with her twins were absolutely amazing, and they are only the tip of the iceberg in her "Gone Style" section. I really, really want the newspaper animal heads she used to decorate her twins' room. For my living room.

As I look over my favorite tastemakers, I see a strong common thread. These bloggers all have unique style--they aren't afraid to pick things just because they like them, or to mix upscale and bargain, new and old, etc. None of them is *trying* to sell me things when they post--they are simply sharing things they love. Marketing doesn't get better than that, and, for my money, neither does blogging. I'm inspired.


Aw thank you so much! And to be mentioned with so many other AMAZING blogs and people, I am terribly honored!

If you haven't already found out, don't get your thread bracelets wet - they will completely unravel. With Emerson in my life, most have fallen apart on me (though I think it will be a fun project to recreate them!).

Again, thank you. :)

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Why my favorite blog is a podcast


I read quite a few blogs. There are a couple of hundred in my feed reader (and let me give a recommendation to Feedly here--kicks Google Reader's butt up and down the block) at any given time, though some aren't updated regularly and some I rarely read beyond the headline. And I've been reading blogs regularly for a long time. I can't tell you when, exactly, I started, but it's been years.

I was from the beginning, and still am, interested in blogs mainly for the stories. I read fashion blogs and few other photo-heavy text-light sites, but mostly, when I am reading a blog, it's because I want someone to tell me a story. For me, that's where the love started. And it's more and more rare, these days, at least in the blogs I find. There are a few really good storytellers still telling their stories on their blogs, but a lot of the best ones have moved on other things.

Which is why, these days, my favorite blog isn't a blog at all.

Around the same time I started reading blogs, or maybe a bit later, I started listening to podcasts. One by one, they began to bore me. Some took only an episode or two, some took months, but my interest in each of them dwindled. Except one: Croncast. Started in 2004, Croncast is a conversation between Kris and Betsy Smith, a married mid-30s couple with two kids who resided in the Chicago suburbs for years and have more recently relocated to NYC. They just tell stories. They talk about their lives. And they are really, really good at it. Amazingly so. They're touching, they're interesting, they're entertaining, and they are really, really, really funny. Their podcast has always reminded me of the best story-telling blogs, and unlike most of the bloggers that initially turned me on to the genre, they're still going strong, and are even better than ever.

I've been meaning to give Kris and Betsy's show a plug on the blog for ages, but was reminded about it this past weekend, when I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Betsy at BlogHer. She's the same person in real life that she is on the show, which is to say entertaining, genuine, a ton of fun, and hilarious. The only thing that struck me as inconsistent between her portrayal on Croncast and meeting her in person was that the show never gives much indication that she's gorgeous. She's seriously great, and having met her, I feel even more strongly that Croncast ought to have a way bigger audience than it does.

Though it was free for years, and you can still listen to a ton of free episodes, Croncast is at this point a subscription show. It's not expensive, though, and they offer several options. Individual episodes are $.99 each, monthly subscriptions are $4.49, quarterly subscriptions are $12.49, annual subscriptions are $48.49, and $199 gets you a lifetime pass. Way more than worth it. In general, Betsy and Kris release three 25-30 minute shows a week, though, like any of us, their lives sometimes intervene and they miss a little bit of time. It's worth waiting for them to get back to it.

One of the things I thought about a lot while I was at BlogHer was that I want to do a better job calling attention to and praising other blogs that I love and read regularly. Though it's not a blog, Croncast is the first example of that. I cannot stress how much of a fangirl I truly am. Please, go check them out.

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Happy Birthday, Suebob! (with a contest!)


Today is my friend Suebob's 50th birthday! Suebob is an amazing lady. I'm not just saying that--I can prove it. In celebration of her birthday, she's spent the last 50 (well, 49) days highlighting great charities. These are all places she'd rather your money go than to buy her a birthday present. Pretty exceptional, no? In the spirit of her birthday, I thought I'd share her recommendations with all of you. If you're so inclined, throw some money to one of these great organizations in honor of Suebob today!

(Psst--read all the way to the end, there's a contest!)

International Princess Project
International Princess Project advocates for women enslaved in prostitution, helping them restore their lives and empowering them to live free.

National Parks Foundation
Official charity of America's national parks.

Paradigm Project
Leveraging carbon offsets on behalf of the poor.

ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures

Lupus Foundation of America
The foremost national nonprofit health organization dedicated to finding the causes of
and cure for lupus and providing support, services and hope to all people affected by lupus.

Scholarship America
Scholarship America mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college.

Media Matters for America
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Boys and Girls Club
Boys & Girls Clubs are a safe place to learn and grow - all while having fun. It is the place where great futures are started each and every day.

Your Local Food Bank

Girls for a Change
Girls For A Change (GFC) is a national organization that empowers girls to create social change. We invite young women to design, lead, fund and implement social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Operation Smile
At Operation Smile, our medical volunteers provide safe, effective and free cleft lip and cleft palate repair surgery for children born all over the world.

Wheels for Humanity
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in North Hollywood, California. We refurbish donated wheelchairs and hand fit them to children and adults with disabilities in developing nations.

National Security Archive
An independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University, the Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Books for Africa
Books For Africa. A simple name for an organization with a simple mission. We collect, sort, ship, and distribute books to children in Africa. Our goal: to end the book famine in Africa.

Seed Savers Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds.

MAP International
MAP is partnering with Ethicon, a world leader in surgical technology, to provide sutures to physicians who volunteer their time to overseas medical missions.

The Fresh Air Fund
Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences in the country to more than 1.7 million New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada through the Friendly Town Program or attend Fresh Air Fund camps.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense.

ARGHAND, the only all-natural, sustainable skincare line from Afghanistan, was founded by Sarah Chayes, a former correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) who covered the fall of the Taliban, then stayed behind to help rebuild the war-torn country.

Impact Personal Safety
The mission of IMPACT Personal Safety is to end the cycle of violence in society by empowering women, children, and men with the self-esteem and the tools necessary to take control of their lives through self-defense, boundary setting and the understanding that your life is worth fighting for.

Kristin Brooks Hope Center
The National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE

Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit set up to provide immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Light Up the World Foundation
Community development through the design and implementation of renewable energy systems

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate.

Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization working in nearly 70 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe.

Heifer International
Heifer's mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

Team Rubicon
Team Rubicon bridges the critical time gap between large humanitarian disasters and conventional aid response.

We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

The Carter Center
The Carter Center, in partnership with Emory University, is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.

Bikes Not Bombs
Lasting peace and social justice require equitable and sustainable use of resources. BNB provides community-based education and assists development projects with recycled bicycles, related technologies and technical assistance, as concrete alternatives to the militarism, over-consumption & inequality that breed war and environmental destruction.

Friends of Maddie
Friends of Maddie support the families of critically ill babies by easing the transition into NICU life and providing an ally until the end of their child's hospital stay.

ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

Surfrider Foundation
Our mission is the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

We provide support to guide people through the cancer experience, bring them together to fight cancer--and work for a world in which our fight is no longer necessary.

United Through Reading
Our mission is to unite families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together.

Operation Shower
Operation Shower is about celebrating and honoring military families. Operation Shower is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides joyful baby showers for military families to ease the burden of deployment.

The Liz Logelin Foundation
The Liz Logelin Foundation was established to assist widows and widowers with young families who find themselves in the heartbreaking, catastrophic situation of having lost a spouse, life-partner, and parent.

Our mission is to create change - so forgotten orphanage and foster kids grow up in families and connected to caring adults.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Our mission, as stated by our founder, Henry Bergh, in 1866, is "to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States."

Kids Vs Global Warming
Kids Vs. Global Warming is a non-profit organization founded and led by Alec Loorz, who is now 15 years old. We are committed to creating opportunities for youth to learn about the science and solutions of climate change, and then take action that will reduce dependence on fossil fuels and influence the Ruling Generation to make good decisions NOW that impact our future.

Help a Mother Out
Help A Mother Out (HAMO) is dedicated to increasing access to diapers for families in need.

Direct Relief International
Direct Relief International provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and throughout the world.

WriteGirl is a nonprofit organization for high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression.

Accelerated Cure for Multiple Sclerosis
The Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the cure of multiple sclerosis (MS) by facilitating research that determines the causes and mechanisms of MS.

Women for Women
Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. We're changing the world one woman at a time.

Epic Change
Epic Change amplifies the voices and impact of grassroots changemakers and social entrepreneurs.

Amnesty International
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.

I am in no way being hyperbolic when I say that this list Suebob has put together is the best list of charities I've ever seen. There isn't a single organization listed I don't think deserves my support (and yours).

So, a birthday for Suebob contest! This contest runs TODAY ONLY, so don't wait to comment!

One entry for each of the following:
1. Leave a birthday wish for Suebob in my comments.
2. Leave me a comment telling me you've donated to one of the organization's Suebob has highlighted.
3. Leave me a comment telling me you've Tweeted for Facebooked this contest.

So, THREE ways to enter. And the winners, of which there will be THREE, will decide which of the organizations in this list gets a $50 donation, in honor of Suebob!

Happy birthday again, Suebob!


Happy Birthday Suebob!

Happy, Happy Birthday Suebob!!!

Happy Birthday Suebob! What a great birthday idea!

Happy birthday, Suebob!

Happy birthday Suebob! 50 is the new 30, for real!


Happy Birthday to yooooouuuuuuuuuu!!!

Happy Birthday Suebob!!

Hooray - what a wonderful contest! And a SUPER HAPPY Birthday to Suebob!

Happy birthday, Suebob!

Happy Birthday, Suebob!!!

Happy Birthday Suebob! I think this is a wonderful thing you are doing!

I think what you are doing is amazing! Many happy returns of the day SueBob!

Happy Birthday Suebob! Have a fantastic day and year.

tweeted and fbooked. :)

Happy birthday Suebob! :D

Happy birthday, Suebob! I hope you have a fabulous day!


Happy birthday SueBob!

Tweeted (@angie303)

Thank you for reposting all the links AND for the wonderful contest. You're awesome. And you look nice in that outfit. No, really.

My birthday was incredibly special. Thanks for making it so much fun.

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How bloggers make me better


I was asked, recently, for the first time in quite a while, why I read blogs. Not why I write one--my desire to hear myself talk is apparently self-explanatory--but why I read them. In particular, my questioner was curious as to why I read personal blogs, since those are my favorites. I don't read political blogs, and the single-topic blogs I read (mostly fashion blogs) are far outweighed by personal ones. Why? Isn't it just voyeurism, a legitimized way to peek in on other people's lives?

Sometimes, it is. I own that. I love posts that show the contents of someone else's handbag or closet or fridge. There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing the mundane details of other people's realities. But there's something beyond that, too. And one part of it is that I am inspired by the bloggers I read. When other people blog about their own paths, their struggles, the ways in which they are trying to better themselves and live their best lives, it inspires me to do the same thing.

In the hopes that I can share a little piece of that with all of you, as well as thanking some of my favorite bloggers for what they are teaching me, I thought I'd give some examples:

Walk Slowly, Live Wildly: Walk Slowly, Live Wildly is written by Sara, a dread-headed, unschooling, Jesus-loving mama to two little girls who spent a large part of the last few years traveling the country with her family in a veggie-oil powered RV. Sara and I are very, very different. I rarely come away from reading her blog, however, without feeling better about life. Sara creates beauty wherever she is, both externally (her photos of her living spaces blow me away) and from within. Sara inspires me to cultivate beauty in my life.

Chookooloonks: I've told you before how much I love Karen, the blogger behind Chookooloonks. Probably more than any other single blogger, Karen inspires me to be better. She writes so honestly about her own journey that I can't help but try harder in my own life. I am struck by Karen's constant state of grace, both in person and in her writing and photography. There is a peace and serenity about her, an inherent kindness, towards which I am absolutely inspired to strive. I pretty much want to be Karen when I grow up.

Surrender, Dorothy: I saw Surrender, Dorothy's Rita speak at BlogHer last year, and I was immediately a fan girl. There is something so completely endearing about her, and it comes through in her blog as well as in her speaking. Rita is honest about the ways in which her life is hard, about the ways in which she is unsure, and about the things with which she has trouble. Her courage in facing these things, which may seem incidental but are so not, on a public forum like a blog inspires me every time I read one of her posts.

Suburban Bliss: I've been reading Melissa's blog, Suburban Bliss, for a long time. It is one of the few of the original "mommy blogs" I started reading that is still in my reader. Why? Because Melissa moves me. She approaches her life, including its trials, with levity. Even when things are hard, they are still absurd, still funny. Her posts make me laugh, and also inspire me to focus on finding the humor in my own trying situations.

The Adventures of Leelo and His Potty-Mouthed Mom: Shannon's is another blog I've been reading for years, and it's probably my #1 most recommended blog to other people. Shannon is absolutely a force of nature, with energy and intelligence and compassion that we could all use just a fraction of. She's one of my very biggest inspirations when I think about what it means to be a good mother. I strive to engage the world with even a part of her ferocity.

So there it is--my answer, for now, for why I spend a good chunk of every day reading other people's self-published words. Because it makes me better.


Amen and woot to this. It sort of is funny that people would ask why you read personal blogs. Does anyone question reading personal essays when published by mainstream media? I can only imagine how that would affect David Sedaris's career if people felt that way. :)

Aw. Love back to you too, my dear. Can't believe how long it's been! Are you going to BlogHer this summer? I didn't get to see enough of you in NYC.

I am so honored and touched that I can't find words right now.

Aw, thanks so much, friend. You're pretty spectacular yourself.

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Bloggie Blogs: Who made the cut?


Last week, I told you about how I was adding all the Bloggie nominees to my blog roll, to evaluate and see who should be added long-term. The influx of new posts in my reader has been substantial, and a few of the blogs didn't last a day, but I've narrowed it down now, so I thought I'd share the permanent additions. There are quite a number of them--more than I'd expected. For organizational purposes (and in case you want to go vote), I'm going to list them by Bloggie category. If I didn't keep a blog, that doesn't mean it's bad--there are just some types of blogs I'm not interested in reading very often, or whose writing doesn't resonate with me. I'm also not including the nominees who were already in my feed reader, of which they were several.

Best African Blog:
My Marrakesh: I can't resist the photographs on this blog.
3limes: I'm intrigued by the stories of a family's adaptation to many new homes.

Best European Blog:
Lost in Cheeseland: How could I say no to a look at daily life in Paris?

Best Canadian Blog:
Attack of the Redneck Mommy: I used to read this, and it fell off my reader for some reason/at some point. Back on now!
Her Bad Mother: Funny!

Best LGBT Blog:
Lesbian Dad: A very pleasant parenting blog.

Best Sports Blog:
Kickette: One of my favorite new additions--funny posts about hot footballers.

Best Art, Craft, or Design Blog:
Young House Love: Very much enjoying well written posts about home decor and remodeling.
How About Orange: Yet another inspirational craft blog!

Best Food Blog:
Bakerella: This is another one that used to be in my reader and then wasn't and now is again.

Best Parenting Blog:
Snarky Mom: Again with the funny.
Pistols & Popcorn: I like the realism here.

Best Fashion or Beauty Blog:
Ain't No Mom Jeans: Really enjoying this new addition to my ever-growing fashion blog list.

Best Designed Blog:
Life as Rose: Design doesn't make a huge difference through a reader, but I like the writing on this person blog as well!

Most Humorous Blog:
Mommy Wants Vodka: Yep, funny!

Best Writing of a Blog:
The Fabulous Geezersisters: God, I love a well-written blog!

Best Group or Community Blog:
Curvy Girl Guide: This is another new favorite--great fashion blogging and body image stuff.

Best New Blog:
A Year of Blogging Dangerously: Funny, well-written, not always office-appropriate.
The World According to Curly Girl: Mmm...pretty stuff.
Curvy Girl Guide: see above

Lifetime Achievement:
Girls Gone Child: Really well done posts on a variety of topics.

Blog of the Year:
The Year of Blogging Dangerously: see above

That's 20 new blogs for my reader! Yay!

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Fashion blogs I live for

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I am having the best time seeing your recommendations for post topics! I fully plan to get to each and every one of them. I noticed a couple of folks asking for more posts on clothes and accessories, and a few more asking for more info on my favorite blogs, so I thought I'd combine the two! I read quite a few fashion and style blogs, but these are my long-term favorites. For me, they do a great job straddling the line between too conservative (and boring) and too outrageous (and not wearable). I've learned a lot from all of these women and been inspired by each of these blogs more than once.

Already Pretty: I think Already Pretty's Sal is probably the most consistently fantastic fashion blogger around right now. She wears real clothes, which can be purchased by real people, and she wears them in a realistic way (i.e. when it's freezing in her native Minnesota, you can tell by what she's wearing). Sal does an absolutely spectacular job with her blog, too--regular updates, good photographs, nice layout, and wonderful incorporation of guest posters and links to other bloggers. I seriously can't say enough good things about her.

Wardrobe Oxygen: Allie from Wardrobe Oxygen (and formerly of My Wardrobe Today, which has been combined with Wardrobe Oxygen) is my other all-time favorite fashion blogger. Like Sal, Allie's been at it for quite a while and she does a great, consistent job. Allie's outlook on fashion is quite a bit different--she has a much smaller wardrobe, dresses more conservatively, and clearly works in a more professional-dress oriented environment. She's taught me a lot about the importance of classic pieces and how far a few nice things can get you. She also talks a lot about dressing for your body, in a very realistic and do-able way.

Academichic: Academichic is the work of four feminist academics, A., E., L., and S. Three of them are graduate students teaching and dissertating, one is teaching English at a private school. They each have a slightly different take on professional academic clothing, and they all have fantastic style. Along with daily outfit posts, the ladies at Academichic often do theme weeks/months or challenges of various kinds, and they are extremely instructive. Recently, I've also been enjoying S.'s posts about how to dress her increasingly pregnant shape.

The New Professional: Angeline at The New Professional is a recent addition to my blogroll, and I am really enjoying her posts. She focuses on fashion as it relates to a young woman newly in an office environment, and she does an absolutely bang-up job of it. I'm quite a bit older than Angeline, and have been at this whole work world gig a lot longer, but she still teaches me a lot. Even though a lot of the clothes she wears won't work for my body, which is about as opposite hers as possible, I get lots of ideas from her and really enjoy seeing the professional, yet cute and interesting, looks she puts together.

Work With What You've Got: Finally, I have to plug Work With What You've Got. Erin and I have pretty different styles and jobs, so most of her outfits don't translate into something that is going to work for me. However, her styles almost always make me happy to see, and she wears her clothes exceptionally, inspirationally well. She also focuses on clothes that can be had on a budget, a real one, not a pie-in-the-sky one, which I really appreciate (I don't think there is enough of that done well in the fashion blogging world).

So hit me--do you read any great fashion blogs I should check out?


Wow, thanks for the shout-out! And what a great list to be included on. You're right, Sal is fantastic!

It looks like you're rockin' the 30 for 30! :)


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Lovin' on the very useful Bloggies

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I've mentioned a time or three of late that I'm on the lookout for new blogs to add to my reader--I'm just really really loving blogs these days. I find myself wanting to step back from the more real-speed forms of social media (of which there are so many) and re-focus on the blogging world. Given this quest, the finalists for the 11th Annual Weblog Awards couldn't have been released at a more opportune time.

I've voted in the Bloggies before--there is always a plea for votes from at least one of the blogs I read. This year, I headed over to throw my support behind Chookooloonks, nominated in the photography blog category. While I was there, browsing, I came up with a plan.

I added every single finalist in any category to my feed reader (except for those who who were already there), in a special "Bloggie Nominees" folder. For the next week or so, I'll check those blogs out. If they don't speak to me, I'll kill the feed subscription. If they do, they'll become part of my regular reader rotation. How cool is that? Tons of new blogs to try out.

If you aren't a crazy person who feels the need to have a complete set of every thing, you could do the same thing in only selected categories. Were I making recommendations, I'd tell you to focus on the non-US geographic categories (lots of great stuff you may have otherwise missed there), the writing category, and the best kept secret and new blog categories.

Remind me in a week or two and I'll come back and tell you which finalists I added to my reader permanently!


I guess I'd better try to be entertaining then, shouldn't I! :P

A lot of really great blogs have been nominated for the bloggies in the past, so I think it's mostly pretty high quality. Mostly.

There are a few blogs on there that are famous, but from my point of view, aren't as great as everyone makes them out to be. BUT, they clearly have a following, so I guess a lot of it is personal taste.

I have a hard time following new blogs. There are a few I follow religiously like a creepy stalker-fan, and then the rest I half-assed follow because I am lazy.

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Blogs I'm Loving


I am reading a ton of blogs lately, and it's been a while since I've shared titles I am excited about, so I thought it was about time for a round-up.

First, about Feedly. Remember when I told you I'd be trying it? Well, I've been using it since then and it' FANTASTIC. Blows Google Reader out of the water. Try it.

Now, some of my new favorite additions to my reader:

Wry and Ginger: Wry and Ginger is a terribly funny personal blog written by terribly funny lady. She also makes and sells funny cards. I am a particular fan of this recent post about what I consider a very reasonable love of boots.

The Thrifty Chicks: I am reading more and more blogs dedicated to thrifting, and The Thrifty Chicks is one of the best. It's a collaborative project, with four bloggers writing, and I've enjoyed each of their posts (made all the better by how they are each in a different city). My current favorite thing is Ms. Golightly's pledge to thrift all her 2011 Christmas gifts, for less than a dollar a day, this year. The latest installment is here.

Whatcha Find?: Whatcha Find? isn't the type of blog I normally read--it's basically a daily digest of thrifted finds, mostly high-end pieces, from a mother and daughter team. I am a bit obsessed with it, though, as these ladies are finding things I've never seen in thrift stores. It's also very low-text, which can be good for my fractured attention span.

Bounty Huntress: Bounty Huntress Angela thrifts on my old turf of Austin, Texas and I love reading her blog for that reason. She writes somewhat regularly about my much-beloved and very missed Bins. So yeah, I'm living a bit vicariously through her blog. So?

Budgets are Sexy: I have a love-hate relationship with frugality blogs, but I'm currently digging them, and I am particularly amused by J. Money's Budgets are Sexy. It takes itself seriously, but is humorous enough to keep me from rolling my eyes out of my head. It's also really well done--more a professional blog than a personal one. This recent piece about what your date's credit card says about him is pretty darn funny.

The Everyday Minimalist: The Everyday Minimalist is very new to my feed reader, so I'm not 100% sure I love it as yet, but it is definitely growing on me. It's very well-done, and several of the posts I've read have left me thinking or even beginning to write responses, which is always a good thing. If nothing else, check out the Why Minimalism? post, it's food for thought.

What blogs are you excited about right now? And confess--how many are in your reader? I'm at 168 in mine right now, which seems very reasonable to me.


Hi Grace! If it wasn't for Google Alerts (that I posted about last night), I probably wouldn't have seen this. Yay, Google!

Thanks for the mention. It's always nice to know someone's really out there. :) I'm not sure if I have mentioned yet that the Bins closed last month. (Gasp!) They opened another much further from my house so I haven't been there yet. It's over on Burleson Rd. Where did you live now? Looking forward to reading more of your posts to get to know you better.

So glad to hear you're a bit obsessed with reading our blog. :)
Thanks for the mention! Will add you to the list of blogs I follow!

Angela @Whatcha Find?

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Living out Loud 22: Name your vice


This month, Genie is asking us to admit our vices. She writes:

Tell us what your vice is. What's your bad habit? Or if applicable, who is your bad habit? (I always think of my friend who said that a guy was Her Favorite Mistake like the Sheryl Crow song.)

You don't need to get all biblical on us, picking one of big seven deadly ones. I knew a guy once who was vegan but every October would sneak off to eat Tootsie Rolls where his vegan girlfriend couldn't find them.
Since wikipedia reminded me that vice is the opposite of virtue, maybe your vice is that you don't return the shopping carts to their corrals in the parking lot or you don't recycle.

This may be my favorite Living Out Loud yet. My friends, I am a person of vices. Lots of 'em. Some of which I am apologetic about, most of which I am not. In fact, I am so full of vices, I had a really hard time coming up with just one or two to tell you about.

So I decided to kick it old school. Even though Genie said it wasn't necessary, I'm gonna get biblical.

Did you know the Seven Deadly Sins are also known as the Capital Vices? And I have ALL of them.

Lust: Probably best not to go into too much detail on this one. Let's just leave it at this: I am unmarried. I am not a virgin.

Gluttony: This is where I really shine. You know those big soft frosted sugar cookies they sell in ten-packs in grocery store bakeries? What my friend Nonny calls "shortening cookies"? I can put down a full ten of those in a sitting. Other examples include whole pizzas, full packages of Oreos, and the fact that I'm not allowed to buy orange Tic Tacs, because I'll eat them all on the first day they are in my purse.

Greed: I have a hard time being honest on this one. I really don't WANT to be a greedy person. That said, my recent job search has made it clear to me that there is greed in my heart. Knowing I can get more money makes me unwilling to take less, even though I don't necessarily need it. Pretty sure that's greed.

Sloth: Another of my gold star categories. Our couch is less than a year old, and there is already a very clear and permanent indentation of my ass on the cushion on which I sit. Working from home, and then unemployment, has made the situation much worse--I regularly sleep 11 or 12 hours a night, and feel virtuous if I get out of bed before 10. I'm not sick, or gestating, I'm just lazy.

Wrath: I am an angry person. That's just the long and short of it. I yell. I throw things. I have even been known to throw an occasional punch. I'm not proud of it, and I've done a pretty good job of curbing it in recent years, but it's always going to be there.

Envy: Oh Lord. Envy, I has it. Most recently, it's been the green, bile-in-the-throat kind I feel every time another friend of mine announces a pregnancy. But it isn't limited to that--I am envious of the skinny, the clear-skinned, the rich, and those who live in areas like actually like. I desire my neighbor's everything.

Pride: I probably think I'm smarter than you. I may also think I'm more interesting, better dressed, or have prettier pets. And no matter how many falls I have, pride still cometh before them.

So that's me and my vices. At least, the ones that are likely to send me south. Don't you just want to be best friends now?


We're Vice Twins. Except that I'm married, now. I still lust after Jon Hamm, though.

Right there with you on most counts! I'm not an angry person but I am a damned irritable one.

I can't admit to lust (unless celebrity "boyfriends" count) or envy or pride, but the rest...oh yeah. Especially sloth-filled weekends.

Yes! Let's be BFF! ... Great voice. Thanks.

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The Beauty of Different


beauty of different cover.jpgI've told you, a time or two, how much I admire Karen Walrond. Well, Karen's gone and written/photographed a book (which I am told my photo is in, so bully for that!). And you can buy it over at Amazon or at the publisher's site, Bright Sky Press. My copy hasn't arrived yet, so I can't tell you much about it, but I can say that I haven't ever seen anything Karen has done that wasn't just gorgeous and totally worth your time, so I have no problem recommending this one sight unseen. And watch this space--I'm thinking buying an extra copy to give away here wouldn't be a bad plan.

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The Sketchbook Project


The Sketchbook Project: 2011
Thanks to Mary at Unmitigated, I now know about this. The Sketchbook Project. My friends, it's a little piece of brilliance.

The deal is:

Each artist is sent the same blank Moleskine sketchbook. We've only got two rules: first, the book must be used in some way - no sending us back an empty book or a completely different book! Second, the sketchbook must stay within its original dimensions (because we don't want to have to provide an extra suitcase just for your book while we're touring the country).

Each book will be given a barcode so we can easily catalog it into The Brooklyn Art Library system. Once we catalog it, artists will be able to track where on the tour their book is viewed and how many times someone pulled it from the shelf - we want to make sure you can stay connected with your sketchbook!

You pay $25, they send you a Moleskin. You use it for any creative thing you want and send it back. Then, the whole collection does a US tour, then is housed permanently at the Booklyn Art Library.

Tell me that isn't the coolest thing ever? Public art journaling! I'm so in, and I think you should be, too.

Get on it, if you're interested. There are limited books available, and registration is only open until 10/31.


That's so cool. Keep us updated. I want to hear more about yours.

Awesome sauce. Are you choosing a theme or letting them pick a random one for you?

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Living Out Loud 21: The me I used to be


This month, Genie's Living Out Loud question has a back to school theme. Specifically, she asks:

Tell us about your high school self. In the Breakfast Club version of your school were you the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess or the criminal? Are there people you would love to find from high school? Others you'd love to forget? How do you compare to what you were then? Would your English teacher recognize you? Would he or she be proud of you?

I was a lot of things in high school. A lot of them conflicted. That's still true, but not nearly so much as it was then. I wasn't sure who I was yet, then, and I was trying things on.

Photograph evidence might help, right?


This picture was taken the summer before my freshman year in high school, so I'm 14. I wasn't a very good softball player. I believe I played second base, maybe? I know I was a much better hitter than fielder. And I only played for a couple of years. My real sport, to the extent I had one, was volleyball, which I played the whole way through. This picture, however, remains my favorite one ever of Jock Grace. I think it's the braids.

In the tiny town in which I grew up, you weren't a shit if you didn't play sports. Seriously. And being my height predicated years of "you're gonna be a great basketball player!" Which I am so, so not, and never was going to be. Volleyball (and a couple of years of softball and throwing javelin and shot) was my compromise position. I didn't love it. I didn't even like it much. But it was part of who I was supposed to be, so I gave it a shot.

This me is one I recognize a little bit better, though I know she's a poseur, too. Dead t-shirt? Really? I have never, ever, listened to the Grateful Dead. The picture was taken at right around the same time as the jock picture, but it's of a different girl. Unlike the jock, though, Grace the Hippy was a girl I wanted to be. I never really was, but I wanted to be.


And here, a year or so later, we see Grunge Grace. I loved Grunge Grace. Grunge Grace tried really, really hard to like Alice In Chains. She dyed her hair with henna because her mom wouldn't let her use real dye. She watched Singles about sixteen times. She stayed home from school in tears when Kurt Cobain died. And that thrift store flannel she's wearing? She embroidered "Blind Melon" on the back. Hell yeah.


Theater Grace might be my favorite Grace. In this picture, she's playing Elizabeth Procter in the The Crucible. Theater Grace loved plays. Theater Grace had a great time in plays, and wished so hard that she lived somewhere where she could be in more than one a year, and where rehearsals didn't have to be at 6:30 in the morning as not to conflict with sports practices. Adult Grace wishes she had a little bit of Theater Grace's nerve back.


It's probably not obvious at a glance what this picture shows, but when I look at it, I see a figure that is called, in my mind, The Grace Next Door (TGND). TGND tried really, really hard to be normal, to like normal things, to be excited about Homecoming and high school boys and whatever the hell else she was supposed to be excited about. She succeeded, sometimes, in convincing everyone around her and even herself. I knew her pretty well, and even I can't tell you, based on this picture, if that smile is real or faked. What I can say is that The Grace Next Door died a quick and painless death my first year in college, and I never missed her.


Braininess isn't the easiest attribute to photograph, so I decided this picture from my high school graduation will have to suffice to illustrate Grace the Brain. This wasn't so much the end of her braininess as the beginning, in real terms, but it was the last time I remember having a reputation for being smart. Three months after this picture, I was a Reed, a mediocre intelligence in a genius pond. And I was absolutely the better for it, but it was quite the shock.

pre college.jpg

This picture was actually taken a few months after my HS graduation--right before I left for college. I'm including it, though, because it's Grace in Transition. I'm beginning to have a clue, here, that I am going to go somewhere and start completely over, with no from-childhood reputation, no passel of family to proceed and follow me, no preconceptions. When I look at this picture, I see a blank slate. And, for the first time in any of these pictures, I see a little bit--just the slightest hint--of who I became.


I had the shirt that the Grace Next Door is wearing. Interestingly enough, it was Sex Kitten Rachel's favorite shirt. (Sex Kitten Rachel and Grace the Hippy would have pretended to have a blast together.)

I love how you're able to show all the personalities you tried on during high school through the pictures. We all did that, didn't we? Isn't that part of what high school was about? Fun post.

What fantastic pictures - I love how they really tell the story. We really do "try on" so many versions of ourselves in h.s. don't we?

I find this intriguing. I have a daughter who is a senior in high school, so in addition to my own high school experience where I was indeed "trying things on" I'm watching all those kids experiment with who they might be. It will be thrilling to see the future unfold.

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What's in the bag?

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Yesterday, Hillary asked for a picture of the contents of her readers' bags. It is her early birthday wish! Who am I to deny a woman a birthday wish?

This is the contents of my bag. It's pretty typical, except that my keys and cell phone are not pictured (because they only go in the bag when I'm headed out).

The bag itself is from Rose City Totes and was purchased at the Saturday Market in Portland. My friend Skye had one at BlogHer and I loved it so much I ran right out to get my own on my next Portland trip. It's the perfect size and shape and zips closed. I'd love a few more, especially since the print I picked, though really cute, isn't terrible in keeping with a lot of my clothes.

The little bag with the stenciled owl on it was a gift from an online friend, and it houses my traveling pharmacy--Epi pen, inhaler, migraine pills, allergy pills, Tylenol, etc.

The pink pouch with the hedgehogs on it is from The Dainty Squid, and I can't recommend it highly enough. So cute, great prices, has held up great (I've been using mine for over two years). It serves as my wallet and currently contains no cash and the following plastic: two debit cards (personal account and joint account); bank-issued Visa; Discover card; $100 Visa gift card I was given as a birthday gift; library card; driver's license complete with terrible picture; Sephora Beauty Insider card; Costco card; very old gift card from Best Buy; insurance card; coupon for a pair of free jeans in-store only at the Gap (who do not carry my size in store); and Unique (my thrift store) frequent shopper card (25% off on Thursdays!).

The tampons are self-explanatory.

The purple and white case houses a pair of oversized tortoiseshell sunglasses from Zenni Optical, where I buy glasses like candy. The case itself is old and I think from Target.

The black square with the rubbed off logo is the compact Sephora gives you when you buy a gift card. I bought a GC as a gift for someone and kept the mirror. I'm a selfish ass like that.

The square with the water aviator girl on it is my business card case, from Uncommon Goods. It was a birthday gift from Mark last year. It holds my professional grant writer business cards and some cards I collected from clients on my last business trip. They don't seem to have this design anymore, but they do still have the other card case I have, this one (which I use for personal cards).

The package of baby wipes are a thrifter's staple--I always have something similar in my bag, since hand washing facilities are not always available. I used to use hand sanitizer, but I really hate the way it smells and feels--baby wipes are gentler, and at least they get the visible scum off my digits. My very favorite things to carry, though, which I have but don't seem to have in my bag right now, are these individually packages wipes from Giovanni. They are expensive as heck when I see them at Target, but I've seen them in T.J. Maxx/Marshall's quite a bit recently and have been stockpiling them.

Next to the baby wipes are the inevitable pile of receipts and coupons that find their way to the bottom of my bag. In this collection I believe there is a Caribou Coffee receipt/coupon, a McDonald's receipt, and a receipt from a Turkish restaurant in Fredericksburg. Above that is the stack of change that meanders to the same place, right now just three quarters.

At the very top is a small black moleksin that contains my thrifting list, a pen, and a tube of Stila Pearl Shimmer Gloss.

Whew! I didn't think I carried much until I started typing it out! And Hillary is right, this is fascinating. I'm definitely going to be peeking in on her other birthday wish granters!


thank you so much for posting. I love the little hedgehog.

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Some blogs I really really love

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I haven't done this in a while. Here are the blogs I am really grooving on right now. Please leave me a comment with some suggestions for additions to my list!

The Sew Weekly: I already mentioned this blog here, but it's my favorite, so I'm gonna tell you again. Mena has a project. By the end of 2010, she wants her closet to be comprised only of clothes she herself has made. Every week, she sews something and posts about it on her blog. Mostly, it's vintage dresses, often made with thrift sale or antique market fabric and notions. Her style is amazing, her posts are great and informative (she includes how much time it took her to make each outfit and what it cost) and her blog is one of the first I read whenever there is a new post.

No More Sweatpants: Lori declared 2010 the year of no sweatpants, making a resolution to get up and get dressed in real clothes every day (and as a mom of multiple little ones, that's a feat!). She chronicles this effort in her blog. I love her style, which is realistic (she wears the same things more than once!), casual, and cute as hell.

Ruffly Speaking: I've recommended Joanna before as well, but it's been a while. This is the best dog blog I've seen, and one of my favorite blogs to read, period. Plus there are occasional bonus pictures and stories of Joanna's daughters, who are straight out of Little Women, in the best possible way.

Badgermama: HOW HAVE I NOT BEEN READING THIS? I've met Liz Henry, a couple of times actually, at BlogHer. She's one of those people who is so fucking cool you just fall in love with her the first time she opens her mouth. I read her posts on BlogHer. And yet, I only just recently started reading her parenting (and other stuff) blog, Badgermama. And I seriously want to hit my little thumbs up StumbleUpon button after I finish every single post. Go. Read.

Better Than Bullets: This is the newly minted clearinghouse site for writer/mom/action hero Angelina, who I was also blessed to meet at BlogHer this year. The girl is serious about her writing, which I love, and writes about writing in a way isn't so pretentious it makes me choke, which is rare.

There. I've done my bit. Now do yours--what are you reading?


How have I never read sew Weekly before?! (I am in serious awe of what she's made for herself.) I need to use this as inspiration for myself.

And I have also never read Liz's blog so I'll go read now!

thank you for including me on your list! I hate it when writers write about writing pretentiously myself so I hope I don't ever cross that line.

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Living out Loud 20: You won't read this anywhere...


This month, Genie's Living Out Loud challenge was just too tempting to pass up.

Tell us some of your rules. Maybe it's how the toilet paper goes on the roll. Maybe it's something about finding the perfect mate. Maybe it's some lesson that involves hiring J. Walter Weatherman to teach your children a lesson about leaving notes. It could be one really important rule or a list of guidelines for living. But the best part is they're your rules.

Rules, y'all. I have a few. However, the real rule master at my house is Mark. Mark has tons of rules. In particular, Mark has Food Rules. Important Food Rules. Food Rules that he frowns deeply upon being broken. And, as they are a lot more amusing, and a lot easier for me to poke fun at, that my own rules, I'm going to share those with you instead.

Mark's Food Rules

  1. Cheese and seafood shall never, ever, ever mix. No exceptions.

  2. It doesn't matter how similar pie and cake are to pastry, the former two are desserts and the last is breakfast food.

  3. Bacon may be eaten at any time of the day or night.

  4. Tea and coffee are to be consumed altered to tooth-aching sweetness.

  5. If it costs less than $1, it is not food.

  6. There are cookies and there are biscuits. Biscuits are for tea-time, with tea, cookies are for before bed, with milk.

  7. Convenience foods Mark enjoys (Chips Ahoy, pretzels, Snickers bars) are fine. Convenience foods that Grace enjoys (snack cakes of all kinds, Doritos, McDonalds) are disgusting.

  8. Never eat anywhere with a drive thru.

  9. Unaltered fruit is suspect. To alleviate suspicion, it must be macerated, poached, or at least sauced in some way.

  10. Never eat anything that has been touched by a pickle. Pickles are from Satan.

  11. There is a difference between a pickle and a cornichon.

  12. There is absolutely no reason to make a simple version of anything if you have access to za'tar.



1 was also a rule espoused by my dad but i love mixing cheese & seafood.

I assume 5 does not count in a foreign economy? or for snickers bars? :)

number 2 is abhorrently incorrect. generations of moffetts have been eating pie at every meal, starting with breakfast.

in fact, if my memory is correct, they served mark (and jenny) blackberry pie for breakfast during the epic cross country drive.

Howell is correct. i support anything the moffetts want if it involves pie.

however, the moffetts DO break my culinary rule: spaghetti sauce should never involve vinegar.

I agree completely with the drive-thru rule and the pickle rule. The fruit rule is funny. I had a friend in high school who refused to eat fresh fruit or veggies because it didn't taste exactly the same every time. "You always know what you're getting with a Twinkie," he would say.

I'm still laughing at the pickles are from Satan one. That is too funny. I especially laugh because I personally don't really "love" pickles but all 3 of my girls order EXTRA pickles whenever we eat anywhere that has them!

I am with him on no cheese and seafood. Dairy and ocean things are WRONG, even though I don't eat ocean things.

Coffee is not to be served with sugar. It is serious adult food.

I'm with him on the za'atar. I put so much on my hummous that it turns green.

I agree with #2, #3, and #5. Some drive-thru food is not suspect, as are some seafood and cheese items. (But only with parmesan. ONLY with parmesan.)

ROFL. His food rules crack me up, mostly because they seem so random.

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My best to those who built this house

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So I'm sitting here at BlogHer '10, and I am in serious awe.

This is not sarcasm. I'm not starting a post in which I am going to go on to complain about sexist t-shirts or mommy hegemony bad wi-fi or anything else. I'm honest-to-God floored.

This is my third BlogHer conference. Th first one, in 2007, had, I think, a few hundred attendees. The second one, last year, had more, but I'm not sure how many more. This year, there are 2,400 people, 95% of whom have to be women. 2,400 women, who write and take photos and talk and advertise and who are heard, all here together. As I sat at breakfast this morning and listened to BlogHer founders Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page, and Jory Des Jardins speak about the state of the blogosphere, it hit me. These three women built this. Starting from what I understand was very, very little in 2005, they made this. And no matter how uncomfortable I am around this many people, no matter how much I prefer small groups and all of that crap, I am in so impressed with them, so in awe of them, and so fucking grateful to them for doing it.

I can't promise I won't log some complaints later, but really, there is nothing that could happen here to lessen how impressed I am. I've met all three of the BlogHer founders, though none of them for more than a second, and I've never had the chance to tell any of them how much I appreciate the impact they've made. This will have to do. Lisa, Elisa, and Jory--thanks.


Wow, Grace, thank you! Really appreciate you taking the time to say just this.

Hope you had a great time at BlogHer...see you in San Diego :)

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Thrift Share Monday


button2.jpgI've been meaning to post about this, to tell you all about it, and to remind myself. One of my favorite bloggers, Apron Thrift Girl, has been hosting a ring called "Thrift Share Monday" for several months now. She and other thrifting bloggers share their weekend finds every Monday. It's totally worth checking out, and, if you are a thrifting blogger, participating in. I am going to try to start this Monday (assuming I thrift something this weekend). I'll put the button over on my sidebar to remind all of us!

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Spring Wardrobe Therapy Opening Questionaire

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I got this from Unmitigated, who got it from Spring Wardrobe Therapy at The Sky is Bigger There. I'm enthused about the project. The ground rules are here. Given my inability to stick with anything lately, I have no idea if I'm in for the long run, but I thought I'd at least give the opening questions a try.

joan.jpgThinking primarily (but not necessarily exclusively) about looks, who's your favorite performer of your own gender and species? Why?

I don't tend to pay a whole lot of attention to celebrity fashion or anything like that, so when I think "performer," what really comes to mind is character. So I'm going to go with that and say Joan, Christina Hendricks' character on Mad Men. She is so pulled together, and her body is her biggest and best accessory. She oozes confidence. I love her look.

40s clothes.jpgIf you could live in any historic era with a really good clothing budget (as well as soap, toothpaste, and delicing as needed), when would you choose?

Definitely the 40s and early 50s. I love the structured look of the dresses, the curvy shapes, and the attention to small details.

What's your favorite painting or other form of visual art? Why?

There is no way I can pick just one. I love collage and multi-media art. I love graphic abstract painting. I love Surrealists. I love Frida Kahlo.

What is your first memory in which clothes are important?

I don't remember a time in which clothes weren't important, but my first memory of being really concerned about clothes is as a small kid, maybe 4(?). I insisted on dresses and sunbonnets because I wanted to look like I would be at home on Little House on the Prairie.

What is your favorite garment ever? Why?

Once upon a time, I had perfect jeans. I don't even remember details about then, I just remember thinking they were perfect, and wearing them to shreds.

158409TMO1R.jpgWhat is your favorite garment in your wardrobe right now?

I recently got brown Franco Sarto Moto boots that I can't stop wearing. Love them.

What is the worst clothing purchase you can remember making?

I made bad clothing purchases all the time. The worst is when I try to follow trends or styles that just don't work for me, though. Every time I try to dress conservatively it ends up being a pretty huge disaster.

What's your most embarrassing clothing-related memory other than a bad purchase?

I walked at least a mile through a city one day with the back of my dress tucked into my underwear.

What body part (no more than three!) are you proud of and expect compliments on?

I don't know that I expect compliments, but I have a nice back, a nice collarbone/upper chest area, and long legs.

What body part (again, no more than three!) seems to require management, if not coaxing, cajoling, and sometimes outright begging if it's to please you?

My big feet, large arms, and height.

If you could dress however you wanted all the time, what might you include?

Lots more dresses and tights or leggings. Jeans that fit just right. Boots, boots, boots.

If you could shop at any store (or from any designer), which would you choose?

I'd shop 100% vintage and handmade stuff, if time/money/size allowed.

Where do you ordinarily shop now?

I mostly thrift, but I end up with a lot of Ann Taylor.

What clothing, accessory, or prettifying need (if any) do you enjoy shopping for?

Pretty much all of it.

Which one do you most loathe shopping for?

Bra shopping bugs me. Shoe shopping, if I can't do it online, is frustrating.

Do you consider yourself low-, medium-, or high-maintenance?


What are the two most frequent occasions that you dress for and how would you describe them?

If I don't include being at home, which I don't really dress for, I mostly dress to go out casually (movies, dinner, etc.) and to do errands.

Wonder Woman 2What was your favorite Hallowe'en costume ever?

Wonder Woman.

What do you see as the current problem(s) with your wardrobe and/or look?

Boredom. Having clothes that I have no reason to wear.

At the end of WT, what lovely compliments do you want onlookers to give you?

I'd basically just like to be comfortable in my wardrobe, and feel like it's original and well-executed.


If I were there, or you were here, we'd be thrifting buddies. I even like to stop for coffees.

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Fashion blogs I love

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I realized, while cleaning out my always overly full Google reader, that I've started to read a lot of fashion blogs. Those who know me may find that odd. I've always been interested in style, in how people express themselves through their looks, but fashion, with rules and money and stuck-up skinny people telling you what to wear, hasn't ever really been my bag.

It started with reading My Wardrobe Today. I'm not sure who turned me on to it, but I liked Allie's blog from the beginning. There is something fun, for some reason, in seeing what someone else chooses to wear each day. Allie's style was (and remains, though she doesn't post as often as she used to) more conservative than my ideal, but still very nice. She hasn't ever worn anything I don't like, I don't think. And Allie is insistently positive about her body, other women's bodies, and how to best dress what you have. (Allie's other blog, Wardrobe Oxygen, focuses more on fashion in general and product reviews than on her own wardrobe, and it's also a good read.)

As much as I like Allie's blog, I've never found her outfits particularly inspiring. She always looks very nice, and her basic advice is spot-on, but she's conservative. Looking for something a bit less conservative, one day I found What I Wore Today. Kasmira is far more adventurous in her clothing. Like Allie, she posts her outfit every day, along with information about where each piece came from. She also talks about stylistic influences, including other bloggers and fashion magazines. Honestly, about half of what Kasmira wears I can't stand. She's much more in love with color and with mixing colors than I am. She wears a lot of clothes from Forever 21 and similar stores, which I couldn't fit into even if I wanted to wear them. That being said, the other half of what Kasmira wears is genius. She is inspiring. I look at things she wears and realize that there are things I could be putting together I never would have thought of. She encourages me to take risks.

Right around the time I started reading Kasmira's blog, I also started reading Work With What You've Got. Erin, too, takes pictures of her daily apparel. Her style is more in line with Kasmira's than with Allie's, but her angle is that she's attempting to remain stylish on what she calls a "blue collar budget." There are things I wouldn't have believed could be so cute that Erin pulls off beautifully--jeggings (jean leggings), thigh high socks over tights or leggings, moto jackets...the list goes on. Most of what she wears I can't actually imagine working for me, but I love seeing what she comes up with.

Recently, I've added two new favorites to the style blog section of my reader. The first is Already Pretty. I think Sal is a great mix of Allie's grown-up, professional style and Kasmira and Erin's more eclectic mix. Plus, she thrifts a huge number of her clothes, which makes it more interesting to me. She's part daily outfit blogger and part fashion advice blogger, too, which is great. (I'm hoping her tips will help me figure out how to wear a belt.)

Finally, I have to give a shout to my friend Bellisimama at Bonfire of My Vanity. Like the others, she posts her outfits daily, but what I really love is that she also posts pictures of the inspiration for a given day's outfit. And her style inspirations are very wide-ranging, from mimes to the 1970s to a certain set of Marilyn Monroe photographs. From her blog, I can see how outfits can be inspired by things without just copying them, which is great.

One final blog I have to mention, though it's not quite the same project as the previous five, is The Sew Weekly. On The Sew Weekly, Mena documents her project of each week sewing a dress from a vintage pattern (using a lot of vintage notions and fabrics, and even more thrifted supplies) and wearing it. Her eventual goal is to have all self-made clothes, which I think is amazing. I know myself well enough to know I'm never going to learn to sew well enough to create clothing, but it's still fun to read.

So, do you read style blogs? Which ones do you like? Feed my reader!


forever 21 fits me sometimes. give it a try! and faith21 has plus size!

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Blog I Love: Obsessive Consumption


Everybody else on Earth probably already knows about Kate Bingaman-Burt, and her blog, Obsessive Consumption. Just in case you don't, though, I have to tell you.

It's so simple and so genius. Kate draws the things she buys, and posts the drawings on her blog. It's only one of her projects--she's go a book coming out in March, she gives talks, etc. But the blog is what really works for me. Her little quirky drawings and the way they make you think about the tiny things you buy every day...there's just something about it that gets to me.

So, if you don't already read Kate, go forth and do so. You'll thank me.

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Stuff that irrationally pisses me off

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  1. Matthew McConaughey
  2. Cat puke
  3. The constant lawnmower sound in my neighborhood

Hrm. I thought that was a longer list. Maybe I'm just not sufficiently irritable this morning. Matthew McConaughey does drive me batty, though.

I'm not doing a lot of blogging right now because I've been bitten with a fiction bug and I'm seeing where that takes me. I doubt it will take me anywhere--I've always kind of hated writing fiction, and I'm sure I'll hate it again in no time. Until then, I suggest reading Suebob. Her rant against the Susan G. Komen foundation is priceless. Exactly the kind of thing I'd like to be writing, were I not to have been distracted by fiction.


I am irrationally pissed off at the guy across the street and his damned music - I can just hear the bass beat in the house and it is like being POKED over and over and over. Argh.

And I am so flattered that you linked to me! Thank you.

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Festival of Frugality


How's this for a laugh? I have a post featured on this week's Festival of Frugality, hosted at It's Frugal Being Green. Pop over and check it out, and also check out the other helpful posts. My favorite tip is Don't Forget the Toiletries, But if You Alison at This Wasn't in the Plan. Simple, but a great idea.


Kudos, Scribe!

Thanks for the mention! Now I'm off to go read your entry.

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BlogHer sharing FAIL


I was supposed to share with you all the great blogs I got turned on to at BlogHer! And I totally failed to do it. Sorry about that. Scattered brain.

These are the folks whose business cards I grabbed or whose names I scribbled down. The list is my no means inclusive--there were 1,400 people representing at least a jillion blogs there, y'all. But these are the ones I made it home with.

Academomia: I sat next to Becca on the flight to Chicago, with both of us wondering if the other was headed to BlogHer and neither of us having the nerve to ask. She has a really funny story about that flight and some Vagisil. You should read it.

Brimful Curiosities: Brimful Curiosities is a combo personal/children's books blog. The owner, whose name has totally eluded me and doesn't seem to be on the site, threw me a bone and came up and started talking to me when I was standing alone and awkward waiting for the doors to the People's Party to open. She is a lovely woman.

Citystreams: Cindy, the writer/photographer behind Citystreams, gave me her card when we chatted in the lobby on the first morning of BlogHer, mostly about swag and sessions and being overwhelmed, if I remember correctly. Check out her Photo Walk Through Chicago post for some cool photos--I especially like the one of the people doing aerobics. Gwen Bell kinda has the famous, so you probably already know her/her blog. I met her briefly at lunch the first day of the conference and she was super sweet and gave me a really cute sticker.

Jen Lee: I had the pleasure of chatting with Jen Lee for quite a while at the Shutter Sisters' party on Saturday night, and she is fantastic. She takes cool photographs using a great old-fashioned style turquoise camera (actually a replica of the original, she told me) and writes in a variety of places. She also gives really great journaling advice, which I'm trying to follow.

Karen Sugarpants: Karen Sugarpants writes a funny blog. I believe I was introduced to her by Suebob. My memory is hazy.

Kitchen Gadget Girl: Gudrun, the Kitchen Gadget Girl, is another lovely woman I met while outside the session rooms, searching for a outlet to charge my dead laptop. She writes a cooking/food blog and is an urban beekeeper, which is just so freakin cool.

MamaPop: Yeah, I know, everybody else was already reading MamaPop. I wasn't. My bad. Am now.

Miss Priss: Miss Priss Becky was my BlogHer roommate. She was a perfect roommate, even though I know she missed her kid like crazy. Thanks, Becky!

No Appropriate Behavior: Laura, who writes No Appropriate Behavior, was my friend Skye's roommate at BlogHer and part of the foursome with which I hung out much of the time. I am thrilled to have met her and digging the hell out of her funny blog. Due to some incompetence on the part of a restuarant I willl not name, she didn't have the best time at BlogHer.

Perks of Being Me: The woman who writes Perks of Being Me looks remarkably like Luna Lovegood. Also, she got a fantastic Little Prince tat while in Chicago. I had lunch with her on Saturday and very much enjoyed meeting her.

Prosaic Paradise: I met Kim at one of the two sessions I went to on Friday, but I can't remember which one. She was wearing a t-shirt that said "Ask Me About Girls Rock Camp," so I, of course, asked. Turns out it is just as cool as it sounds.

Jessica Gottlieb: I met Jessica when she gave me a bag of goodies from Sephora. If that doesn't make me want to be your best friend forever, nothing will. Turns out she also writes a really interesting mostly-mommy blog.

Somebody Heal Me: I exchanged cards with Diana Lee at another one of the sessions (again, no idea which). Her blog is largely about her suffering with migraines, something I don't blog about, but can relate to. I've not really read any "patient blogs" in the past, so I am very interested in what she does there.

State of Grace: Grace Davis is a force. She brought the house down with her Community Keynote reading, and I had the pleasure of having lunch with her and chatting her up on Saturday. We talked about speculums and Reed and terriers. It was all-around excellent.

Sweet n Sassy Girls: I admit it, I have no idea where this card came from. Maybe it was in one of the bags I picked up? It's a review and giveaway blog with corporate sponsorship. You can win free stuff. I like free stuff.

The Glamorous Life Association: I saw Marcy several times throughout the weekend, and remember her well from the Shutter Sisters party, where she wore cute T.J. Maxx jammies and communed with the ceiling. However, I don't actually remember getting her card. Maybe I picked it up off a table somewhere? Anyway, glad I did, because her blog is good stuff.

Unmitigated: I sat at a table with Unmitigated's author. She's a mother, but she's not a mommy blogger. She's also a member of MidLifeBloggers, which is totally worth reading as well.

What are you lookin' at? Frema is a newish mommy blogger and an old school "yada yadaist" who writes a quality personal blog.

What's That Smell? Kim and Lori are "accidental mommies," writing a mommy blog from the perspective of women who didn't really think they were motherhood material. I like it. I wish I could remember meeting one of them, though.

Writing Travel: I am pretty sure I met Lanora in the Shutter Sisters suite. She blogs about travel and posts new photos and descriptions every Wednesday.

Deb on the Rocks: Laurie White introduced me to Deb on the first night of the conference. Deb's recap post is the funniest one I've read. Also, her blog header is a work of genius.

Inverse Candlelight: I met Miss Banshee in the van on the way to the conference from the airport. It took a long time, so everybody got to know one another. I insulted her shoes, unwittingly (I couldn't SEE that she had Crocs on!). She's a good writer and a funny woman. I hope she forgives me. PooBou was another member of our long-ass airport-to-Hotel van ride. She's got a fantastic smile. She told a funny story about teaching her kid right and left using Dora Croc charms. When I got Dora Croc charms in my swag bag, I wanted to find her and give them to her. But that would have been dorky.

The Redheaded Lefty: Ashley was introduced to me a couple of times by Skye and Laura and Becky. She smiles just as manically as I do in photos. We're both homesick for our moms, and we're both socially phobic and spent a lot of the conference talking ourselves out of holing up in our rooms. So we've got a lot in common.

Whiskey in my Sippy Cup: Mr. Lady was, I think, the last person I met at BlogHer. It was Saturday night at the party sponsored by Baskin Robbins. I listened to her talk to Skye and Becky for like 20 minutes before anybody introduced me, but that was OK, because she's entertaining to listen to. And to read.

I Am Bossy: Bossy is funneh. Bossy is hot. Bossy takes great pictures. How is it that Grace just now found out about Bossy?

Mrs. Flinger: I didn't meet her, but I heard about her via Pioneer Woman (like, I suspect, a lot of people did). I'm staying however. The Costco-hate post has me hooked.

So there you have it. The new blogs I've added to my reader post-BlogHer. Hopefully one of them will strike your fancy as well.


And this is how I lose 3 hours on a Sunday morning! Thanks for all the links.

And you are added to mine. Although I don't know that I found the shirts at blogher offensive as much as just lame attempts at humor. I enjoy your writing!

Dude. I am SO SORRY we didn't introduce you right away to Mr. Lady. I think you were at first talking to Suebob and then I just totally forgot my manners. Roomie fail!

I was really afraid that I stayed up to late and was generally annoying. I totally appreciate you & Skye listening to me babble on Sat. nite. I know Skye was super tired, I was a little tipsy and DAMN I guess I needed to talk. A LOT. That's what happens when you are at home a lot and not around enough kickass girlfriends.

PS) You were a terrific roommate as well. Thank you.

Thank you so much! I still haven't completely processed my notes and business cards from the weekend! Very sad. I can't wait to check out the other folks you met that I may not have!

Did we meet in the Lifeblogging panel, or the Leadership panel? Well, I am sure it is somewhere in my notes!

great roundup! And you certainly got around :-)

Pleasure meeting you, wish we could have chatted longer. I was also up in the Shutter Sisters lounge, we could have traded stories!


Woot woot! to social phobia. And, yes, maniacal smiles are the key to managing strange new situations. Thanks for the shout out ;-).

I just noticed this incoming link to my site & saw this. So, hi! That wouldn't have been dorky at all if you gave me your Croc charms - seriously, I was like Queen of the Awkward Interactions at BlogHer, so no worries there. But in my swag bag, I got some boy-oriented Croc charms with dump trucks on them, so I totally would've taken yours. :-) (I gave mine to my 5 year-old boy neighbor. He was very excited.)

Great list. I'm glad for it - I was even more disorganized than usual this year. Glad to have spent so much time with you this time out.

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As I mentioned, one of the best things to happen to me at BlogHer was to meet, chat with, and have my picture taken by Karen Walrond. I can tell you, now, why Karen is such a great portrait photographer. She makes you feel beautiful while she's doing it. Having my picture taken makes me all kinds of nervous, and yet when Karen had her camera all up in my face, even though it was in a room full of people and exactly the type of situation guaranteed to send me running for a benzo, I felt calm. I felt safe, like she wasn't going to laugh at whatever came out of the camera. She's just got that kind of presence.

I didn't automatically like all the pictures she sent me. When I first looked at them, I wanted to criticize myself--bad skin, frizzy hair, all that. I looked and thought, "why did I, on that day of all days, not bother with makeup?" But there is something else, too. I see Karen, pointing out to me on the little screen on her camera what she sees in this shot or that one. Pointing out my pretty. (As it turns out, I can share that with you, too--while Karen was taking my picture, Bossy was taking Karen's.) And it really, really helps. I know that I am not and likely never will be the type of person who just takes good pictures naturally. I'm all angles and planes and I make funny faces and I show way too many teeth and I usually look gawky and geeky and awkward, because that's pretty much how I feel. Like them or not, though, none of the pictures Karen sent me are gawky, geeky, or awkward. Even the ones I didn't automatically love I could see myself in, and not be embarrassed.

And then there is that one shot: the one I was hoping for. The one that I can look at and see exactly what I look like, to myself, inside. What I hope I look like to everyone who sees me. The one that shows who I am.

Thank you, Karen.



How lovely to have found the one you think suits you best. It's a lovely photo.

Just beautiful, Grace. Just absolutely beautiful.

Yep, she got you. Gorgeous.

Gorgeous shot! ::sigh:: Now I'm even more bummed that I had to sell my ticket for Blogher.

Awesome. I know what you mean about geeky & awkward (& gawky), but I think you're beautiful. Truly.

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BlogHer 09: What am I gonna wear?


So back to pre-BlogHer posting.

I have a confession to make: the idea of packing for BlogHer fills me with fear. Much as I'd like to be, I am not the world's most fashionable person, and some of the attendees really, really are. Yesterday, Suebob tweeted a link to her red stapler pictures from the Chicago conference in 2007, for a glimpse at what people were wearing. Looking back at them, I remembered how put together and stylish I thought the women at BlogHer looked (particular nods Pioneer Woman Ree and BlogHer's own Lisa Stone). My Heroine Content co-blogger and general blog-guru Skye showed me up too, rocking cute skirts and cardigans while I schlepped in jeans and a layer of sweat.

I doubt I am the only one with these apprehensions. But there is advice out there!No Pasa Nada's HeatherB posted on BlogHer a couple of weeks ago about what she's packing (dresses, cardigans, and sandals, BTW). Miss Disgrace Grace is also planning on (really cute) dresses. Mobile Mommy Laurie is packing from her super organized list, and bought a new bag for the occasion. So that's a place to start.

HeatherB's main piece of advice is to wear what you would normally wear--i.e. be yourself. Good advice in most situations. I think, though, that for those of us who so rarely get to do anything like BlogHer (meetings and parties and lots of new people), there is a definite need to be ourselves only better. I don't just want to wear the clothes I wear to work every week, or the ones I wear around my house on the weekends. I want to do more than that. And so I've been doing a little shopping, both retail and in my own closet, and have come up with a few "me only better" things to pack. New jeans. Fun shirts that aren't work appropriate. And, like Laurie, a specially purchased Etsy bag. I want to be comfortable, and no, I am not there to be a fashionplate, but it's nerve wracking to know you're going to be meeting hundreds of women whose only real life impression of you will be formed over these few days. Everybody wants to put her best foot forward.

Now, if I can only find time to fit in a pedicure...


if it's any help, the high will be 80, if that. it's been awesomely cool all summer.

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People I want to meet at BlogHer: Day 2

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Today's blogger I want to meet is Grace from Miss Grace's Disgrace. First, we share a name, which is always cool. Second, she's got a new tat, and it's amazing. Finally, her blog is the funny, not-too-sappy kind of blog I like. And I love that she features her life list on the sidebar.

Also, she's got a shopping blog, Disgraced Shopping. I love shopping blogs. I kinda want one. Scrolling through it I see it features Anthropologie clothes and organic lube. Love.

So what do you say, Grace? Wanna have a drink at one of the fabulous parties? You seem like the type who is going to have a really, really good time at BlogHer. I could learn something from you.


I'm terribly flattered. Let's do it.

I get in tomorrow night.

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People I want to meet at BlogHer: Day 1


As I mentioned last week, I want to do a special series of posts leading up to leaving for the BlogHer conference next Thursday. I thought a bit about what to do, and I decided that, in keeping with my resolution to meet more people this year, I should feature some blogs and bloggers! So, every day between now and next Thursday (7/23), watch this space for a tidbit about the blog of someone who is planning to attend this year that I'd like to meet. That way, even if you can't go, you have the opportunity to find a few new blogs too!

StandTall is a Nigerian feminist and gender activist. Her personal blog is The Activist. I've only read through a month or so of her entries, but I'm hooked. StandTall writes about her daily life as well as a lot of gender-related issues, and her perspective is very different than that I read so often on American and Canadian blogs.

An entry from last week, "I Am Aunty Mary," discusses the use and misuse of respect-related prefixed being added to names. I've thought about this before in my own context (for example, I'm very uncomfortable being addressed as Aunt Grace, by friends' kids or by my own literal nieces), but StandTall's context is completely different. Her discussion is personal, but also well-informed and well thought-out. It's a great post.

So, StandTall, I hope to get a chance to meet you at BlogHer. And, if not, you'll be on my blogroll.

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T minus two weeks until BlogHer

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I'll Be Geeking OutI cannot tell you how excited I am about the BlogHer Conference. It's coming up in only two weeks, and I have pretty much started counting down the days.

I went to BlogHer in 2007, and I enjoyed it, but I was in a funk at the time and wasn't as extroverted as one needs to be in that type of situation and didn't have half as good time or get half as much out of it as I know I could have. This year, I am going to remedy that. To begin, I am rooming with a stranger (or an e-friend of a friend, really). That ought to force me out of my shell some. I've also RSVP'd for no less than a half a dozen of the fantastic parties that are scheduled, which ought to help (Grace is much friendlier with a few cocktails under her belt). I didn't make it on to the list for the Blogalicious Lush party, though, so if anybody wants to take pity on me and sneak me in there, I've be forever grateful. Seriously. Please?

I'm also checking out the attendees list over on the BlogHer site and reading up on some new blogs, in hopes I will be able to match faces and writers at the conference (easier said than done). For my own part, I'm planning a pre-BlogHer post series to begin on Monday, and at least one review over at Heroine Content before I leave for Chicago.

Also, I wised up this year and had some business cards made with all of my online information on them. One of the best things I did get out of the conference in 2007 was the stack of cards for new blogs I came home with, so I'm hoping to be a part of that process this year.

What else? Are any of you going? Can we meet up there? Any suggestions about how to make the most of the great opportunity to be there?


I'm no stranger than most, I promise! :)

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Yo! Spend local!

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First, a question: how far back to you have to trace something for the sake of blog etiquette? For example, the thing I am about to post was made known to me when it was Google Reader shared by my friend Jenny, who shared this post from ennui will rock you (best blog name ever!), who in turn picked it up from this post on Humble Cuisine. I can't tell where they got it, because their site isn't working correctly on my browser. Now, did I need to tell you all that? If not, should I have stopped with Jenny? With ennui will rock you?

Getting on to the subject at hand:

You in? I'm going to give this a try this weekend. I'm shooting for stores that aren't just in my city, but in my neighborhood. I'll report back.


As persnickety as I should be about attribution considering my career, I would say this is the sort of thing that's less about who did it and more about getting the word out.

However, I just googled 3/50 and got this:

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Prioritizing with The Prioritizer


I was reading one of my favorite debt-reduction blogs, I've Paid For This Twice Already... today, and paidtwice mentioned The Prioritizer. The Prioritizer is a tool created by CNN Money to help folks focus on their financial goals.

It works very simply--you enter up to 15 goals in the boxes (long-term or short-term), and the Prioritizer pits them against each other in various ways, with you having to choose not between all of them, but just between two of them at a time. Once you've made all your choices, it spits out a ranking of which goals you have indicated are most important to you.

Seems like something we shouldn't need a tool to help us with, right? For me at least, not really. It's very difficult to look at a list of things, all of which I want, and rank them. Much easier to pick between two things. So I decided to try it.

First, I listed some goals. I went back to my 43 Things list to remember some of them.

The 12 goals I came up with were:

  • travel

  • get a Ph.D.

  • get Lasik surgery

  • see Gustav Klimt's paintings in person

  • donate more to charity

  • pay off my student loans

  • work for myself full-time

  • publish writing

  • have my photo taken by Karen Walrond

  • start my own dog rescue

  • move back to Oregon

  • build a retirement fund

After going through the exercise, the tool told me my priorities lined up like this:

  1. move back to Oregon (100)

  2. travel (90.9)

  3. pay off my student loans (81.8)

  4. work for myself full-time (72.7)

  5. see Gustav Klimt's art in person (63.6)

  6. get Lasik surgery (45.5)

  7. build a retirement fund (37.9)

  8. donate more to charity (34.8)

  9. start a dog rescue (28.8)

  10. have my photo taken by Karen Walrond (25.8)

  11. get a Ph.D. (18.2)

  12. publish my writing (0)

There are definitely some surprises here. The first two are what I expected, with moving back to Oregon being my #1 long-term priority and traveling in general being the most important way to spend money I can think of right now (though my actions don't necessarily line up with those priorities). The rest, though, is interesting. I had no idea that getting a Ph.D. would rank so low, or that build a retirement fund is more important to me right now than donating more to charity or starting a dog rescue. And publishing writing might as well just drop from the list completely, since I rank it behind everything else.

I don't know how much this list will change the way I spend money, but it certainly gives me a new way to thinking about some things. So what about you? Try it and see if you are as surprised as I am.


I love that tool! It definitely offers some surprises on bigger lists - two items you thought were relatively parallel turn out not to be at all!

However, I wish it was not always head to head, which can be hard to call. 2:3 choices might be easier/more-accurate to make.

the art institute here has Klimt drawings, but MOMA in NYC has a lot of his paintings. And that's only a few hrs from VA!

That was cool.

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Traveling by book

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Laurie has a great post over at BlogHer today about books and the places they can take you--both metaphorically and physically. Her piece, in turn, was inspired by Sandra Foyt's How to Plan A Read Across America Road Trip. Basically, both entries are about the places reading books inspires one to go, or at least to dream about visiting.

Laurie writes:

Since I discovered this idea I've been thinking of cities and regions I love that have amazing literary history, that have inspired me to seek out the voices writing about them - New Orleans, San Francisco, New York, London (I'm an Austen fan - I could go for a country tour, no problem.) Hemingway made me see and taste Europe almost like I was there, and when I go back, I should probably bring A Moveable Feast for a re-read.

Like Laurie, I'm enamored with the idea. Maybe a trip to Ireland would be just the thing to finally get me to read James Joyce? Again like Laurie, nothing has made me want to see Spain like Hemingway (in my case, The Sun Also Rises). I'd even be willing to re-read Anna Karenina (well, maybe), if I could do it in Russia.

Imagine re-creating Humbert and Lo's American adventure while reading along with Lolita! Or taking a slow drive from Oklahoma to California with The Grapes of Wrath? Anne Rice put New Orleans in my imagination forever, but I'd also love to see Faulkner's Mississippi and Zora Neale Hurston's Alabama.

The hallmark of a good book, for me, has always had to do with how I react to the characters. Weak plot points are not an issue if the characters can make me love them (or hate them, or pity them, or lust after them). But in the best books (and not just books, but songs, movies, etc.) location serves as a character or characters all its own. Would To Kill a Mockingbird have worked set on the Midwest? What about a Southern Sometimes a Great Notion? Could a tree have grown in Detriot instead of Brooklyn? I think not. The places in which these books are set are not just backdrops--they are essentials. The stories don't work without them.

One of the truly great things about reading books in which the location is as compelling as the characters is the way it makes you consider places you otherwise wouldn't--not always positively. I hadn't given a whole lot of thought to Newfoundland before I read The Shipping News, and Ami McKay's The Birth House made me think about Nova Scotia in a way I certainly hadn't before. While driving through Kansas a couple of years ago, my mind often returned to In Cold Blood. Europe has long been at the top of my must-see list, but The Poisonwood Bible absolutely made me want to go to Africa.

Books also help me return to the places I do know. I picked up Marion Winik's Above Us Only Sky for the first time not because it looked particularly interesting (though it turned out to be fabulous), but because the essays are set in Austin. Some of my favorite books are set in Oregon: Katherine Dunn's Geek Love; Ken Kesey's books; and of course Beverly Cleary!

Given that I'm about to move across the country, again, to a place about which I know very little, I guess now would be a good time to find some books to guide me. Anybody have a favorite set in Northern Virginia?

And what about you? What books take you places? Where would you like to make a fiction-inspired visit?


I love the idea of planning the trip after the book. I do it the opposite way generally.

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The popular kids


Because it had gotten completely out of hand, I spent a bit of time today weeding my blog reader. I got rid of anything that isn't being updated anymore, or anything I just don't read. I also had the brilliant plan to add a "favorites" folder, so I'd have all of the blogs that I absolutely want to read whenever they are updated in one place. Having done that, I thought maybe I'd share it will you all. Shout outs are nice, right? And I think a lot of these blogs are written by people who also read here, so I want to make sure you all know how much I love what you're writing.

The contents of my favorites folder (in no particular order):
Chookooloonks: I love Karen's writing and her photography, and I read absolutely every post and look at every picture.
Ruffly Speaking: Joanna's is the best dog blog I've seen, and she is also freaking hysterical. And so smart. And occasionally posts pictures of her gorgeous tribe of daughters.
Apron Thrift Girl: My favorite thrifting blog--such a style and thrift scoring inspiration.
Walk Slowly, Live Wildly: Though we are diametrically opposed in many ways, I love reading Sara's accounts of her family's life, as well as looking at her wonderful photographs.
10Notes: Christine's is one of the blog's I relate to most, even though we have very different lives (she has kids and lives in Europe, to start). There is just something about what she writes about and how she writes that makes me feel like I know her.
dooce: A lot of my long-time blogger friends are "over" dooce and don't read it anymore. I'm not over it. I am particularly in love with her style section. Heather's got some great taste.
frogblog: One of my very best online friends ever, I've known frog for a long bunch of years, and I read every single thing she posts.
Peter's Cross Station: Shannon has been one of my favorite bloggers since the days of Waiting for Nat, and that's not going to change anytime soon. She writes with humor and intelligence and I absolutely love being able to watch her and Cole's kids grow up through her blog.
the adventures of leelo and his potty-mouthed mom: This is another old favorite. Squid writes so well that I feel like I know her children, and I absolutely cheer for all of the daily accomplishments made by Iz and Mali and (especially) Leelo.
Bomboniera: Rachel is an old e-friend of mine and I love reading her updates and especially seeing pictures and videos of her life in D.C. and her amazing little man Joe.
Flooded Lizard Kingdom: The Princess is a very good real-life friend of mine and my blogging guru. Her blog, regardless of how often it is updated, will always be a must-read for me.
Fjordward: Blogs are a great way to keep up on the lives of friends who are far away, and that's what Fjordward does for me, giving me a link to some very good friends who are half a world away.
Crunchy Turtle: Crunch Turtle does double duty, as it's both a blog written by a friend, so I read it for that reason, and one that inspires me often. I would read it even if I didn't know Rachel, but read it all the more closely and am all the more interested in it because I do.
My Wardrobe Today: Though new mama Allie is on a bit of a hiatus right now, but she'll be back to posting her daily outfits soon. I've been through a lot of fashion blogs, but Allie's was the first and I think it's one of the best. Certainly one of my two favorites.
What I Wore Today: This is my other favorite! Like Allie, Kasmira posts daily photos of her outfits and descriptions of the pieces. While Allie dresses more conservatively than I do, Kasmira dresses much more exotically, and it's great, as someone who falls in between, to have them look to look at every day.
Posie Gets Cozy: Alicia's was the first craft blog I got interested in and I've been a fan ever since. It doesn't hurt that she occasionally features shots of her gorgeous corgi, and of Portland!
tiny happy: One of the most inspiring craft blogs I've come across, I blame tiny happy for my obsession with learning to embroider. It's also great fun to catch glimpses of the Norwegian world of the blogger and her family.

There you have it, my favorites list! If you have a list of blog favorites, link in the comments--I'd love to see the blogs you can't miss.


Awe, thanks for the shout out, G! And LOL @ "the popular kids" title. Love it.

Hey, every time you mention my blog in a list like this you make some comment about how often I update. What is your preferred updating schedule, exactly, that I'm never in compliance??

Aw, thanks for the shout out!

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How you know when you read too many blogs


I had a very involved dream last night about accidentally being at a party intended for A-list mommy bloggers. Dooce was there, and she was very stylish. Alice, from Finslippy, was very kind, as was Suburban Bliss' Melissa. I was super intimidated by Mighty Girl Maggie Mason. And I was really bummed that Eden from Fussy wasn't there, because at least she and I have dogs in common. Then they found out I don't have kids and kicked me out.

What do you make of that?


Your intimated by mothers and you don't think they'll except you in their world because you don't have children? You feel like an outsider looking in, a fake, an impostor.

Maybe you feel like you are not as worthy or special because you don't have children. Do you see being a mother as your ultimate in fulfillment?

Just some thoughts from someone in kind of the same place.

Also what do YOU think it means?

Strange dream. Hard to say what it might mean, perhaps you believe in your unconscience you can't hang out with women who are mothers because you aren't one?
I always get strange looks when I say this, but we had dogs before we had kids, and I find lots of similarities between raising toddlers and a spirited greyhound, lol. So there's enough you can say on a "parenting" subject, because a dog is on -about- the same level as a 2 yr old human. :-)


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Making things


For those who have been interested in my Making Things Mondays, you should really check out this round-up at One Pretty Thing. There are all sorts of links to recipes and tutorials to make your own bath stuff, most of them much better done than mine. Enjoy!

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Other people's blogs


I've gotten behind on blog reading again, and as I'm catching up, I am stunned and amazed and shamed and inspired by the posts other people make. Here are a couple you should read:

This post, about depression, at Breed 'Em and Weep, resonates with me in its every word.

Take a minute to think about someone confounding in your life, a friend who does not answer the phone when you call, a friend who does not respond. Chances are good it's nothing about you--it's simply about physics. There is a finite amount of energy, and your friend may be hoarding it, so she can offer what she can to the people who need her the most: her children.

Tanis at Attack of the Redneck Mommy writes about her encounter with a truly horrible woman at a store, and by the end I am audibly cheering for her.

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Pay It Forward Friday


pay it forward friday button.jpgDudes! Fun new weekly carnival. Iowa Mom is hosting "Pay It Forward Friday." Basically, it's a way to find new blogs by following the path of a blog you already read. Excellent! I'll give it a try this week and hopefully work it into my weekly rotation.

OK, I'm going to start with my friend Laurie and her blog LaurieWrites. If you don't read it, you should--Laurie writes very, very well. The post I commented on there today was one about Laurie's tattoo, which is super cute. Turns out Laurie feels the same way as I do about her tat(s).

From Laurie's blogroll, I headed over to Oodleday, where I commented on a post about Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, a film both I an Oodleday's Lauren love.

Then, from Oodleday, I went to Dooce. I know that's probably a cop-out, but that's where I ended up. I didn't leave a comment there, since her comments aren't generally open, but I did read her Month 57 Newsletter to Leta, and it made me teary.

Where'd you go today?

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Bloggy Giveaways Carnival!



bloggy giveaways button

My Lord! Did you all know about the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival? All over the net, bloggers are giving things away! Hundreds of us! It's not only a great way to enter contests for tons of cool stuff, it's also a great way to find new blogs. So, of course, I'm in.

Here's what I am giving away: an Introduction to Crushworthy Grab Bag, from my Etsy store, Crushworthy. The handmade fabric bag will include a sampling of my handmade all-natural bath products. Could be any combination of bath melts, bath bombs, bubble bath bars, oil perfume, oatmeal bath, sugar name it!

To enter, just leave me a comment on this post, telling me what scent(s) you'd like if you were to be the winner. I'll used Random Number Generation to pick a winner sometime next week, and the winner will be posted both here and at the Carnival's home site. Please be sure to leave a way for me to get in touch with you in your comment--if you win, you want to make sure I can let you know!

And then, when you're done here, go over and check out some other blogs and enter their contests! That's where I'm headed!

I am sorry I need to do this, but I do have to limit this contest to US-only shipping addresses.


grapefruit is my fav bath scent! pick me please- i need some pampering!

Eucalyptus has always been one of my favorite scents!!! I also love peppermint and lavender too!

Vanilla would be my choice!

Anything with Lavender.

Oh I would love cedarwood or sandalwood. Sounds wonderful!

The scent of Lime! I love that! Thanks for the giveaway!

Lavender is my fav scent, but the sweet orange sound good too!

Ooh, so hard to choose! I would go with Sweet Orange.

Grapefruit and ginger! Sound weird, but if you've ever used that handsoap (it might be avalon organics? I'm not sure) you know, its smells like heaven.

I like florals like rose and lavender!

ohhhh, anything Lavender!

I would love to try the oatmeal bath for my husband & daughter with sensitive skin. Thanks, everything looks great!

Sweet Orange! That sounds absolutely perfect...

I would love to try Cinnamon, Sweet Orange, and Vanilla.

over here, over here

pick me, pick me, LOL!!

i would love to win your grab bag!

Cinnamon sounds wonderful -- especially at this time of year. :)

I was just thinking how much I would like to get a sugar scrub for my boyfriend. Since it is for him, I'd want something subtle and masculine: tea tree or spruce maybe?

Cool! I'd pick Jasmine and Vanilla! Thanks for the super giveaway!
katiellloyd at yahoo(dot)com

I have no idea how to even begin to choose with those divine smells...but I would have to say either lime or sweet orange.

Peppermint would be fabulous with the holidays coming up! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

Patchouli, rosemary, vetiver - your products look great.
wrongshoes at gmail dot com


Lavender sounds wonderful! Or the sweet organge.

Your giveaway is great! Thank you!

Cinnamon! YUM!

ylang ylang, anise, cinnamon, fennell...I love them all!

Scents I would love to have: Cinnamon, Jasmine, Lavender, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, Rose, Sandalwood, Tea Tree, and Vanilla. I wouldn't object to any of the other scents either. Thanks for the opportunity.

this looks fun...hmmm..cinnamon and clove bud sound great!!

Great giveaway! I love bath products and you have such a nice selection of scents! I'd really like to try rose, vanilla, or grapefruit.

I like spicy, not floral! Sounds fab!

So many lovely scents, it's hard to choose! But I think I'm going to have to go with sandalwood and patchouli, because I am a hippy at heart. Cheers!

I just love the smell of's so relaxing!

I love grapefruit! Or the satsuma scent at The Body Shoppe. Yum.


Oh, was I supposed to just pick one?

I love lavender! Wonderful prize!

I like the citrus scents ... grapefruit, sweet orange, and tangerine. Thanks for the chance to win.

Ginger, for sure. I do also like coconut.

lydia.bower @

Mint Chocolate chip!

How generous of you! I love cinnamon or either would really make me happy! Thank you so much for the chance!

I would love the lime scent.

What a nice assortment! I would probably prefer grapefruit, sweet orange or sandalwood! So many great scents, I couldn't narrow it down. thanks!

Hard to choose. I have been loving Rose a lot lately. Thanks for the giveaway~

I would love the bay.

I would pick lavender for sure!

I would choose peppermint! Thanks for the chance!
give_me_a_latte at yahoo

Vanilla and Lime would be my favorite scents!

Oooh Patchouli!

I love Vanilla, Lavendar and Peppermint! Those are my favorite scents.

Thank you for an awesome giveaway!!!!

I would like orange or lavender- do you have almond?

sweet orange and peppermint

I'd like vanilla or cucumber melon.

lavender, and vanilla sounds amazing. I would love a chance to win. Thanks for the giveaway!


Jasmine for me, please!

Something sweet, or citrus - suprise me!

I love Ylang Ylang. that is hands down my favorite scent ever! thanks so much!

great giveaway!

Oh my goodness! You have Ylang Ylang.I love that scent and it's rather hard to find.
One of my other favorites scents are Coconut; will you be having that?

I really love the Lavender, Jasmine, Chamomile, and Patchouli scents. They each have a calming effect- and that's just perfect for me!


Sweet Orange

Thank you for the great giveaway!

kerin0874 (at) yahoo (dot) com

I would love some lavender scented or peppermint scented lotions and bath stuff!

I love vanilla!

vanilla or maybe cinnamon

Thanks for the giveaway! >^..^

I love Patchouli! Thanks for the chance to win your great giveaway!

I love Vanilla and Cinnamon or anything is fine. Thanks for the great giveaway.

I adore the smell of Eucalyptus, that would be my choice

I would pick lavender vanilla. It is such a relaxing scent!

Pumpkin and apple & cinnamon.

I would love to try the Clove Bud scent if I win - thank you for this giveaway! :)

I may be boring, but I like the basics, Vanilla, lavender, and cinnamon.

So many choices, I love vanilla, cinnamon, pachouli, ylang ylang. so many

thanks for sharing

ceashark at aol dot com

I'm good with mostly whatever (although I am currently favoring cedarwood, grapefruit, and sandalwood). Also, what does Vetiver smell like? Really, any of the above. Except for Eucalyptus.


Hard to choose - I think peppermint would be wonderfully refreshing!

Take care,

I think I would choose the vanilla or the sweet orange.

Some of my favorite scents are Patchouli, Sandalwood, and Ylang Ylang.

I would love either vanilla or depends on what kind of mood I am in!
Count me in!

Sweet orange for me. I like fruity scents.

i think i'd like cinnamon, clove bud, and sweet orange.

there's nothing like relaxing in a hot bath after a hard day. i would love to win! i love sweet or citrus scents.

I'd definately pick the sweet orange or the lime scents!! Great stuff in your shop!! Come check out my giveaways!!

Ginger, Grapefruit, Lime...The list could go on! Yummy!

i would love the grapefruit!

ginger or vanilla. hard to choose!!

oooh, cinnamon!

I live in the bathtub so anything with Jasmine or
Lavender would be awesome. Thanks for sharing. Stacy

I love pampering products! My favorite scents would be cinnamon,Tangerine,and Peppermint. Thanks for a chance to win.

Lavender Lavender , anything with lavender!

I think tangerine would be great!


I love lavender, lime and rose! Thank you for the giveaway!

Hmm, so hard to choose but I think I would go with Jasmine. Thanks for the giveaway.

I would love Lavender if I win.

Vanilla sounds fantastic. Thanks for the contest!

Peppermint sounds GREAT!

Sweet Orange would be my choice. Thanks for the giveaway. semtaylor(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lavender, Jasmine and Ginger for me!

Thank you!

My choices would be clove bud, sweet orange, and lavender.

Thanks for the giveaway!

I would love the Ylang Ylang scent. How fantastic! Thank you for this giveaway; I hope I win :)
eyeslikesugar (at) gmail (dot) com

vanilla is always good

My favorite bath scent is Lavender Vanilla. It's great for relaxing in the evening!

mmmm oatmeal bath an djsmin! Awesome giveaway! Thank you for the chance to win!

I love lavender..thanks!

lavender, thanks!
vanillacreme at gmail dot com

Sweet orange sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway.
poncey76 at hotmail dot com

Sweet Orange

Vanilla - definitely vanilla!


Vanilla and peppermint both sound great, thanks!

May favorite scents are lavender and patchouli

Lavender and Vanilla are my favorite scents. The Grab Bag sounds great!

I think if I was to win...I would like a surprise...the scents all sound I would like a surprise you pick...thank you for being so

I'd like eucalyptus and peppermint because they're soothing and relaxing. That's just what I need for the holidays!

Howdy, neighbor! (Well, fellow Texan, anyway!) I added your Etsy shop to my faves so I can find it again, and if I were to win this giveaway, I'd love a eucalyptus/peppermint combo. Thanks for the giveaway, and stop by and check mine out!

I love Jasmine, and also Bay.

Oooh, wonderful! I like peppermint and vanilla! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

I would definitely love vanilla! Lovely giveaway - thanks so much!

Tangerine and pblack pepper would be my choices. Your stuff looks divine!Thanks for a great giveaway!
jjdragonfly [at] gmail [dot] com

What a great store! I would use any of the stuff except for maybe the oil.
These are the scents I like:

Sweet Orange sound nice

lavender or cinnamon would be wonderful!!

I love all bath products, I like pampering myself!
I like the scents:
Sweet Orange
Tea Tree

Thanks for the giveaway!

If I won I'd want the Sweet Orange scent

Well, my favorite scents are peppermint (reminds me of Christmas) and chamomile (reminds me f my grandmother). Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

Anything that has the hint of coconut. I love the way it smells.

Thanks so much for the great giveaway!

I'm glad you have vanilla on the list. It's my favorite scent!

I'd love to try the Sweet Orange

I would love the Jasmine scent. Thanks for the giveaway!


I love the smell of lavendar...hope to win.

Thanks for a giveaway, this is so much fun, isn't it?

I love anything fruity/fresh smelling - grapefruit, sweet orange, tangerine...those all fit the bill! :)

I would love Lavender! Wonderful giveaway and good luck with your store

Lime, Please!!

Thanks for having the giveaway!

Anise would be my choice.

Tangerine, vanilla, rose, jasmine, Peppermint, Grapefruit
and Lavender

I like these:
sweet orange


What a great giveaway! Rose is my favorite scent.
lisalmg (at) ktis (dot) net

'Orange you nice?!!

I love the sweet orange scent because it's so personal to me, from the mock orange blossoms in my parents' yard, to the orange groves of sunny Florida (college days), to now, orange juice and orange flavored crepes for family brunch...

I'd love peppermint or lime.Those scents always seem to give me energy .Thanks for the opportunity to win such a great giveaway !

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Go read Wild Surmise

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I just read Jenn's post from yesterday, Wild Surmise, over at Breed 'Em And Weep. Good, good stuff. Go read it.

Yes. Yes.


That was a great post. Thanks for linking to it!

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In which I become a debt reduction blogger


I'm actually not really going to become a debt reduction blogger, any more than I am going to become a dog blogger or a thrift blogger or a craft blogger. I don't want multiple blogs (aside from Heroine Content, obviously), so this blog just has to be all things to all people. Or all things to me, anyway. I actually have a couple of long term projects I am thinking through rolling out here in the future, though, so you may be seeing a bit more method to my madness.

In the meantime, though, I am focusing, personally, on debt reduction. So you're going to hear about that. It's amazing, once you start looking, how many great frugality and simplicity and debt reduction blogs you can find. The ones that have made to my Google reader so far are:

  • We Don't Buy It: A blog about a family's attempt to spend a year without purchasing anything new.

  • 10 Notes: The blog of a SAHM chronicling her day-to-day attempts at frugality and natural living.

  • Walk Slowly, Live Wildly: Sara's personal blog. Sara and her family have spent the last year living in a vegetable oil fueled RV, traveling around the country talking about sustainability and natural living, and she's an inspiration. You can also read about her and her family's adventures at The Live Lightly Tour.

  • beauty that moves: One of my favorite blogs, beauty that moves features crafts, recipes, simple living ideas, and gorgeous photographs.

  • Almost Frugal: Kelly tags her blog, Almost Frugal, as "frugality for the rest of us," and I love this ethos. Reading Kelly, I feel like we're on the same journey.

  • Debt Diet: Debt Diet is the chronicles of a couple trying to pay down their consumer debt. They started over a year ago with over $50,000 in debt, and they update their progress in paying it down, as well as their struggles, on their blog. I think it's an incredibly brave thing to do and I salute them.

  • Frugal Veggie Mama: Her title doesn't lie! Frugal Veggie Mama is a blog about being an eco-conscious, frugal, vegetarian mother.

  • Gail's Blog: One of the few "financial expert" type blogs I read, I find Gail's Blog to do an excellent job walking the "tough but not preachy" line.

  • Living Without Money: On her blog, Ms. A leads us through her day-to-day life, trying to live well inexpensively. Though I disagree with many of the choices she makes, she's an entertaining writer and has some great ideas.

  • Notes from the Frugal Trenches: A Downshifting Journey: This is another blog to which I can relate--it's the story of a British woman in her late 20s who decides to get out of debt and change the way she's living, and her teaching herself to focus on what is really important, stop shopping mindlessly, and spend less.

  • Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op: This is a new cooperative blog, featuring the work of some of the other bloggers on my list (Notes from the Frugal Trenches and beauty that moves in particular). It focuses on how to downshift and be more frugal in increasingly precarious financial times.

  • SouleMama: SouleMama is another really inspirational blog, full of beautiful photographs and the words of someone for who simple, frugal, crafty living is obviously really working.

  • The Lean Green Family: I actually read about this blog in a magazine article in Business Week or some similarly unlikely publication. It's the story of an upper-middle class family who decides to stop their typical debt-ridden ways and get frugal.

Honestly, that's just a very small sampling of what is out there. The blogrolls of nearly any of those blogs will lead you to several more good ones--and I'm going to be filling out my reading list that way over the next few weeks.

Now, I actually have my first frugality tip! Coming from me, frugality tips are bound to be very elementary. I am an elementary frugalist. But we all have to start somewhere, right? So here's one of the things I've started with lately:

Use what you have. Seem simple, right? But I think a lot of us have a category of products we just really like to buy, and we tend to "stock up" on those. For me, it's bath stuff. I don't wear makeup or expensive perfume or hair care products, but I love handmade and natural soaps, lotions, etc. And over the years, I've bought a lot of them. I'd say currently there are no fewer than 15 bars of artisan soap at my house, and at least a half dozen tubs or bottles of lotion. And that's just the full-sized stuff, I also have tons of samples. So my pledge now is to use up all of what I have before I buy any more of these things. Not much, but it's a start, right?


I highly second your tip. Even if it does mean I'll spend about 3 more months hating my toothpaste! However, it's funny how that sort of stuff can slowly pile up - I've only been in the same country for 14 months and I've built up quite a supply already!

I'm also new to personal finance blogging. I look forward to reading your blog and thanks for the list. There are a few on here that I haven't seen before.

Wow, those are awesome. I've added about 4 to my reader also! Thanks for the links, Grace.

Dear Grace,
Thanks for the mention! I'm glad you enjoy reading my work. Sometimes I feel like I'm really not very good at being frugal... I'm glad I'm not alone. Thanks as well for the links to the other blogs- I knew about very few of these, so I'm looking forward to exploring them.

Thanks so much for the link!

One small thing, it's just me, I'm not a couple, just a single 39 year old gal doing it on her own!

Thanks for the kind mention! Your tip is one of the best out there :)

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Bloggers make the strangest bedfellows


After blogging here at WINOW for several years, I am finally cautiously trying to increase my traffic. Or not even my traffic, but my readership. For a long time, I've blogged either just for my own amusement or as a means of keeping in touch with a handful of friends. Lately, though, I've realized that there are huge blog communities out there I'd really like to be a part of. So I've done a few things--started an account with Google Analytics to see how many readers I actually have (usually around 200 a day) and how they are getting here (mostly from other sites); set up Feedburner (you can subscribe to my feed here); started participating in some carnivals, etc. The biggest thing I've done, though, and this isn't just to increase my own readership, but also to participate in conversations on other blogs like the ones I'd like to have here, is to concentrate on commenting. I read a lot of blogs (current blog roll count is 141 and it increases nearly every day), but in the past I've mostly not commented on blogs of folks I didn't know. I'm trying to change that. And so, I've started paying a bit more attention to who the people behind the blogs I'm reading are.

What I have found has been a bit surprising. A lot of the bloggers I follow, especially those in the areas of frugality and simplicity, debt reduction, thrifting and vintage, and crafting, all of which I have been particularly interested in lately, are very different than I. A lot of them are Christians. And conservatives. At least one has a McCain/Palin badge on her blog. It hadn't really occurred to me, when I was only personal blogs of people I already knew, that the blogging world was so wide, and that I could get so much enjoyment and information from the work of people with whom I share some interests, who are in other ways my complete opposites.

My attempts at branching out of my political and personal comfort zone, and at actually letting these bloggers know I am reading their work, have so far been very fruitful. The fastest growing sections of my blog roll (previously thrifting and crafting and more recently frugality and simplicity and debt reduction) are full of places I can go for inspiration. Once again, the Internet has shown me communities of which I can be a part that I never would have found in my "real life." And I am grateful.


Isn't the internet wonderful? It really can bring people together. I've been a blogger for a long time, but only recently a craft-blogger. At first I felt a bit alienated because I couldn't relate to a lot of my crafting colleagues on a religious or political level. But the blogosphere has provided a safe haven for interaction and community and I'm very grateful for that as I've met some wonderful human beings. Incidentally, I love Google Analytics (which I don't have installed because it is complicated with WordPress--which has its own analytics). And, I love your blog!

Well, I just wandered in from the NaBloPoMo (did I get all of those in the right order?!) blogroll and I'm subscribing to your feed! I enjoy your blog.

Hi Grace, I noticed people coming from your blog to mine so I popped over to check you out! :-)
Really like your blog! I like this post in particular, because you are so right. I never paid a whole lot of attention to the policital or religious ideas of other bloggers I read because -frankly- I don't like to know that about them, but it is interesting now that I think about it. I don't really feel like I'm in a community though, I would like to but I don't (but perhaps that's just silly ole me).
Thanks for linking to my blog, btw.


I agree wholeheartedly. While I usually end up surrounding myself with likeminded folk in real life, I find that on the blog the diversity of people I read is quite amazing.

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Need recommendations!


I am trying to fill out the "Frugality and simplicity" section of my blog roll. So far I only have four blogs. I know there are tons more out there. Suggestions?



Wouldn't simplicity say you only need one?

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Thrift Blog Round Up


I have slowly been accumulating a list of blogs featuring thrifted finds and thrifing information and stories, but I've yet to find a real comprehensive list of these blogs anywhere, or a circle of them or anything, so I thought maybe I'd do anybody who was doing the same search I was a favor and put up a list of what I've found. This is by no means comprehensive, so if you have or read a blog I haven't listed here, please leave a comment and I'll add it!

  • Ann's Treasure Box: this blog features Ann-Marie's thrifted finds and homemade creations. She also sells her finds on the site.
  • Apron Thrift Girl: This blog is a great combo of thrifting, swapping, frugality thought and tips, crafty stuffy (l love her menu planning pages), and great design. Apron Thrift Girl is also the mastermind behind the $99 Thrift Challenge, which I think is pretty much the sweetest thing ever.
  • Confessions of an Apron Queen: You may already know this blog as the host of my favorite weekly blog event "Vintage Thingies Thursday." Aside from VTT, though, it also features a great pin-up girl inspired blog design, an excellent recipe section, and an occasional drool-worthy antiquing photo journal. PLUS she gives away vintage aprons every week. For real.
  • freshvintage: Colleen's blog features the great stuff she finds, mostly at garage and estate sales, outside Philadelphia. She clearly has both a good eye and the requisite good luck.
  • lala-on-the-gogo is the personal blog of thrift webside goddess Lala (Thriftland: One Girl's Adventures in Secondhand Shopping). You should check out both of them.
  • My Thrifting Finds is a newish blog featuring photographs of my online pal Tilia's thrifted finds.
  • Thrift Candy: this blog features both blog owner Missa's original thrifts and her favorite picks from Flickr's 100% Thrifted and Nifty Thrift pools. She describes herself as a "kid in a candy store" and it comes through in her positive and fun (though stylistically very plain) blog.
  • The Thrift Shopper isn't so much a blog as a thifting information page, review site, and community.
  • Thrifting in Oblivion is a how-to blog about thrifting in the Southwest US (particularly the New Orleans area). It features photographed trips to thrift stores and salvage yards, thrifting tips, etc.
  • Thrifty Goodness: a combo craft and thrifting blog.
  • Queen of Fifty Cents uses her blog mainly to chronicle her Saturday morning garage sale and estate sale adventures. They're worth reading.


Thanks for the list!
I've been wondering where all the thrifters were.
Maybe I'll be motivated to post more myself.

I love reading about all of your thrifting! I am so lost about how to do it myself, though. It's such a pain to go to a normal store with my girls, where I can walk in, grab what I want, and walk out. How could I possibly dig through anything with them in tow? Sigh. Maybe some day! Anyways, I will live vicariously through you :)

p.s. my friend Stephanie is in to thrifting, and though she doesn't have a devoted thrifting blog, she does talk about it quite a bit. You can find her at

I just started my "Thrift" blog today, I would like to be added to your list please.

Here's some more: is my blog with thrift and estate sale finds as well as crafting, repairing and sustainable living topics
has good style ideas as well as vintage finds
aka Monkeybox. garage sale finds and various adventures.
cool finds, recipes and sustainable living topics such as raising chickens

Please add these to the list!

Great list! I hadn't run across some of these, so thanks a bunch.

My friend Brian has an amazing blog called Manic Thrift Store Shopper.

Also, I'm one of the bloggers behind Thrifted Sisters.

Thanks for the links. I also love thrifting and hearing about other thrifting finds.

I love thrift blogging and reading other people's blogs about thrift shopping. I wish there was more of a community atmosphere around it. I own and would love to be included in the list!

here is my thrifting blog!

Would love for you to check out my thrift-fashion/thrifting trends/thrifting runway blog.

THANKS! This list was GREAT.


Hi my name is Lindsey and I write a blog called Thrift and Shout. It is a blog about fashion and home decor found at thrift stores. I would love for you to come check out my blog and see if it would be a valuable addition to your list! Thanks so much!

I love to thrift and I'm not new to blogging, but have recently started a new blog for the topic as well. Would love to be added to list though I realize I'm a newbie!

Thanks! I've started a thrift blog (fairly recently) and have been trying to connect with some of the wonderful people that blog the same stuff. There are a few on your list that I haven't come across yet! Will check them out. :)

Angela @Whatcha Find?

Thanks so much for listing some thrifting blogs that I haven't visited! I started a blog a couple of months ago about my LOVE for thrifted items! Check it out..

Thanks for bringing thrifter blogs on one page...please add mine as well.

Please add my link, if you think it's a decent blog " "

This is great! I just started a blog on my thrift finds

Love to be a part of the thrifting community! Please add my page to your collection!

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What I'm reading


Once again, I am compelled to share some of the blogs I'm reading. There are really a lot of great blogs out there. Go us!

I'm always amused by the garage sale sagas of The Queen of Fifty Cents, but this week's story, which includes both a duck and a Basset hound, was exceptional.

I am recently loving Apron Queen for her Vintage Thingie Thursdays (watch for a new one from me tomorrow!), but the rest of her site is smashing as well. On Monday, she took us on a journey through her local antique mall. I'm jealous!

The Pioneer Woman has posted a new installment of Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story. Always worth reading.

Sarahlynn at Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips has written a great three-part series comparing the presidential candidates on disability issues. The first segment is here, the second here, the third here. You should read them all. A fourth segment, focusing on Sarah Palin, should be forthcoming. I'm interested as to what Sarahlynn will have to say about her.

I love craft blogs. You knew this. One I am particularly loving right now is Whip Up, which features amazing tutorials from various crafties. Yesterday, Whip Up provided a link to this tutorial on how to make a "Ruby Doll," from One Red Robin. It looks doable by hand, so I am thinking of trying it. Another tutorial I found at Whip Up that I can't imagine won't come in handy is this one from Capture the Moment. Christmas wrapping, perhaps?

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Sarah Palin

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I watched a bit of her speech, and had been thinking of posting about it. But Mocha Momma said everything I needed to say on the subject, so just go read her post instead.


Thanks for introducing me to Mocha Mama - I agreed with everything but the hockey statement. Plenty of poor Canadians play hockey, just not with all that gear. A pair of hand-me-down skates, a hose, and a decent sized area is all you need to play hockey.

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What I'm reading today


I have been pretty busy for the past few days and haven't spent my usual couple of hours a day reading blogs. Because of this, I have a backlog of over 1,000 posts in my blog reader. As I start to read them, I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorites with you. This, then, is a snapshot of my personal blog reading world:

On August 25, artsy-crafty babe showed off the scrap quilt she put together in just a few days. I shivered with jealousy. I so want to be able to quilt.

tiny happy always makes amazing stuff, which she sells on Etsy and showcases on her blog. Being an elephant freak, though, I am particularly gaga over the elephants she posted today (well, tomorrow, to me, but today in her time zone). I am keeping her Etsy shop bookmarked for the next birthday of my small friend living in Norway.

In another recent post, C10 over at 10 Cents wrote a Wednesday how-to on stopping unnecessary spending. Lots of a-ha for me there.

Bad Personal Ads is my new favorite blog. I laugh every day. My favorite so far? If You Date This Guy, Wear a Raincoat from August 29.

Big Fat Deal is a new addition to my blogroll, and I am loving it. Today mo pie introduces us to the "how not to shoot fat chicks" photography rules and why they are ridiculous, complete with Flickr pool. That's my kinda girl right there and I am totally going to add to that pool.

I love that Heather Anne has a beagle and talks about her at length. This post, though, from August 19, had me on the floor.

the park bench is another new addition to the blogs I read regularly. Even if I hated their content, I'd still read them on account of the tagline "a gathering place for nerdy women." On August 28, Liz wrote a great piece there about black holes, including this gem:

Of course, if some gigantic rift opens in the space-time continuum and scary dragons emerge, I'm pretty sure all we have to do is throw Sarah Michelle Gellar at it and things will be fine

Nothing gets me going like a Buffy reference...

I've told you before how much I love Pioneer Woman. The best thing about her blog, I think, is the amazing photos she takes and turns into photo-essay posts. More than once she has captured something that has viscerally made me miss the way I grew up. Her August 27 post about her suckling calf is the most recent example of the posts that induce my nostalgia.

It's no secret that Dooce is a good photographer. The picture she posted on August 19 of her dog Coco herding sheep, though, just killed me.

That's about it for my roundup. There are, of course, many many more posts I could include...but trying to read through 1,000+ entries has taught me a lesson for today about managability.

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Here's to mommy blogs


In the world of interpersonal blog relations (heh), there have now been years of discussions and arguments about "mommy blogs." Mommy blogs, if you've been under a rock, are blogs written by moms. Some of them are all about children, others broach into other subjects as well. Mommy blogs have increased in popularity for several years, on both a small and a large scale (some people have thousands of readers, others blog mostly for the benefit of keeping in touch with friends and family), and have been a presence a BlogHer for the last several summers. This year at BlogHer, my pal Suebob spoke about "childless blogging," in part a response to the mommy bloggers and in particular their appeal to advertisers. Bottom line: mommy bloggers, the attention they have received, etc. has been a hot topic for several years now.

So, since it has already been beaten into the ground, I thought I'd join in with my $0.02.

I don't have children. I don't plan to have children. I don't particularly plan not to have them either, but it's not something on my near future radar screen, for sure. This puts me in the minority in my current age cohort--both in "real life" and online, the majority of my friends have kids. I'd be lying if I said this never annoys me. I like kids, and I like being around them, but reaching the point in your life when your friends start having kids and having their lives change drastically while yours does not can indeed cramp your style and change your social scene. However, I've come to recognize that just as it is my responsibility to accept a friend's partner into my life because she loves that person, it is my responsibility to accept children into my life because my friends have chosen to have them. Once a friend has kids, those kids are part of that package. Yes, it changes things, but maybe it was time for things to change anyway. We're not as young as we used to be. And so life drifts towards more afternoon barbeques and midday brunches, we begin to work around naptimes, and I start keeping toys and games at my house to entertain the littles while their parents hang out. So be it.

Online, though, I am not in any way obligated to interact with parents if I don't choose to do so. Once in awhile, someone I know online, or someone whose blog I like, starts out with no kids and then has a kid (the most recent example I can think of is Allie's pregnancy at My Wardrobe Today; though my friends The Princess and Bomboniera have also had kids in the past year). Mostly, though, the "mommy bloggers" I read have been mommies the entire time I've been reading them. And you know what? They are among the best bloggers out there.

I read a lot of blogs. Craft blogs, thrifting blogs, persona blogs of all stripes. But there are a few mommy blogs that are the consistently highest quality of any of those I read, both when they are talking about their kids and when they aren't. And I think these women deserve any credit they get for their writing. Their kids may give them a built-in source of fodder for their posts, but it is what they do with that material that matters, and what they do makes me laugh, makes me cry, and inspires me to be a better blogger.

Flea of One Good Thing was the first really high quality blogger I ever read. She's written a ton of funny stories about her childhood, her crazy young adulthood, and her adventures as the proprieter of a sex shop. However, her best posts have always been about her children. When her son Alex put his soiled underwear in the coffee pot, her telling of the story solidified for me just how good blogging can be.

There are always naysayers who claim that Dooce doesn't deserve her position as a "celebrity blogger." I've always felt she does, if only for her honest writings about dealing with her depression and her amazing photographs (I love the recent ones of quilts). However, it's her open monthly letters to her daughter Leta that have most consistently amazed me. It's not just the love that comes through in those letters, but the honesty of that love, the admittance of just how hard it can be to be someone's mom, and how little that difficulty matters when it comes to how you feel about your child, that impresses me. I don't know if I would choose to do it quite so publicly as Dooce does, but I do know that if I ever have a child, I will definitely adopt her monthly letter-writing method of record keeping. I can't imagine how those letters wouldn't be priceless to Leta someday.

I've been following Squid's blog, The Adventures of Leelo and His Potty-Mouthed Mom, for years. I've cried while reading her entries more times than I can count. Her post "Music and Violence" earlier this week, though, left me weepy for half an hour. Squid's honesty about Leelo, and willingness to share both his triumphs and his hurdles, takes my breath away. It speaks to her strength as both a writer and a mom that when I read her posts I feel like I know her children.

There are too many other great mommy blogs to name. I love the sardonic humor dished out by Tanis at Attack of the Redneck Mommy, Eden at Fussy, and Mir at Woulda Coulda Shoulda. I am stunned by the thought and style put into posts by Ree at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman at LilySea at Peter's Cross Station. I don't read these blogs because kids are my #1 favorite subject--they aren't--I read them because they're the best blogs I've found.

All of this is to say that I think those of us who are non-mommy bloggers should get off mommy bloggers' backs. The community they have created for themselves is something that can and should be replicated, it's not something our jealousy should make us bitter about. And the work they are doing, both in raising their great kids and in writing about with humor, patience, love, and honesty, is worth commending.


I think there's a significant difference between people who talk about their kids once in a while, and people whose main focus is being a mommy/daddy and the majority of their blog posts are about that. I used to love Neil Pollack. But now he mainly talks about his kids. He's a daddy blogger. I don't care about children issues. I tuned out.

If you are my personal friend and have kids, I inherently care about your kids, so I enjoy it. But if I do not know you, and I read your themed blog for some other reason (i.e. WantNot--for bargains), I HATE when people talk about their kids. I couldn't think of anything less inherently interesting. I guess there's a fine line between "just about your kids" and "actually interesting thing about your kids" and parents don't know where that line is most of the time. Actually interesting things about your kids, like anything actually interesting, are awesome.

Very few of my friends have children. I see childlessness as the norm. Those who do generally still hang out in the same way they always have. While I agree kids are part of the friend package (just as SOs are) people whose life only includes or revolves around their SO or child aren't going to work out for me.

Most blogs, of any topic, are crappy. I can handle some crappiness if they are about something I am interested in. But mommy blogs, like teenage LJ diaries, IMO, have a higher percentage of crappiness. Because both share extreme navelgazing about a topic I find completely uninteresting. Navelgazing about study hall holds no interest to me; Navelgazing about your progeny, similarly uninteresting. This is not to say that kidless people don't navelgaze, just that there's an infinitely higher chance I might care.

I would argue that the reason that most of the mommyblogs you read are so on point are because you wouldn't be interested in one of the crappy ones enough to sustain reading about kids.

Note to self: Don't tell Jenny stories about my kids. Got it. ;)

I read fellow parent bloggers. I read a bunch of childless bloggers. I read a lot of food bloggers. I read all sorts of things; as you say, Grace, it's in the writing, and one doesn't need to be able to identify 100% with a writer who just plain knows how to tell an interesting story.

Nono, Mir, don't tell me UNINTERESTING stories about your kids. Just b

Thanks for saying that Grace, I completely agree with you. Interesting writing shouldn't preclude any particular topic and for people to write off all 'mommy bloggers' as insipid, droning bores is really narrow-minded. Thanks for keeping an open mind.

I hate to say that my first reaction is that you're so fair and balanced. When did I get jaded? But you are. And so eloquent. Regardless, thanks for pointing out that the pond *is* big enough for everyone.

At BlogHer I liked that Maggie Mason said to stop answering that you're "just a (fill in the blank)" blogger. No one is *just*. And everyone's niche, or lack thereof, is worthy.

Wow, thanks! You are too kind.

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More on blogs I love


The other day, I posted a list of blogs I read. Sadly, nobody left me any other blogs I should read in the comments. That got me thinking about comments in general, and how I rarely leave them. So I'm trying to comment more. At least three comments a day is my goal.

But I also wanted to to highlight some blogs I particularly love here, from the list.

betz white: Betz White is a designer and crafter who also happens to blog on my current favorite craft blog. I love this post, showing a simple and genius use for old t-shirts.

Posie Gets Cozy: This is the blog that got me started on craft blogs. Alicia makes great stuff, and the quality of her non-craft related blogging is fantastic. Also, she lives in Portland, and writes Portland-related posts, which I adore. She has a piece up today about an easy way to line envelopes which I never would have thought of, and it's a great idea.

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman: Ree writes such an insanely good blog. Her photographs are wonderful, her stories are wonderful, she's funny, she makes you think on occasion...just all-around good stuff. Also, recipes! I want Cowboy Nachos.

Trying again: What about YOU? What blogs do you love?


You should read:
it is hilarious.

and graph jam

which has made me like graphs.

I have also recently started reading:
which I think you would like.

Okay, I'll come out of my safe RSS feeder and comment. Here are a few of my faves:

Sorry, I didn't feel like I needed to comment since I post so many links on my blog!

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My friends Kris and Betsy

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I have written before about Croncast, but I don't think I've properly conveyed my love for the show.

I've tried out a lot of podcasts, both personal ones (Dawn & Drew, How Much Do We Love..., More Hip Than Hippy) and professional ones (Russell Brand, Definitely Not The Opera, a passel of NPR ones), but none of them have me ensnared like Croncast does. See that "What I'm Listening To" widget on the sidebar? All it says, all it has said for days (weeks?), is Croncast. That is because I am listening to all of the archives, starting all the way back when the show started in 2004.

Why am I listening to three or four year old podcasts? Because I miss Kris and Betsy.

See, Croncast is over. After putting up 500 shows, Kris and Betsy put it to bed a couple of weeks ago. And since then, air silence. They are actually putting out a new show, Life in the Can, starting any day now. In the meantime, though, I'm going back to the archives to get my fix.

And I am realizing, as I'm getting this fix, learning about how Kris and Betsy got to the point they were when I started listening to the show last year, that I feel like Kris and Betsy are my friends.

I do this. I get involved with people I don't know and who don't know me. Usually, those people are fictional and exist in novels or on television shows, but in this case, they're real, they're just not a part of my real life. Why? Because it's the easiest relationship in the world to have. They talk, they entertain me, give me stuff to think about, make me laugh, and ask for nothing in return. I don't have to give advice, I don't have to provide anecdotes to match their's, I don't even have to smile or make eye contact. Any time they irritate me or I am tired of listening to them, I can turn them off. It's a no-stress relationship.

Before you start thinking that admitting I enjoy a non-reciprocal relationship with people I don't know, consider: isn't that part of what all this internet communication (blogs, message boards, podcasts) is about? Being able to interact with people on your own terms--when you choose to log in, when you choose to read. Isn't being entertained and elucidated without having to reciprocate part of why we all read blogs and listen to podcasts--and for that matter, why we read novels and watch television?

The real question, though, is why do people (for whom it is not a profession) put themselves out to be consumed? Why do we blog? Why have Kris and Betsy spent four years of their lives putting our shows three times a week? What is in it for them?

I have some ideas, but honestly, not any very good ones. So I guess all I can say is this: Kris and Betsy, thank you so much. No matter why you do it, I'm glad you have, and I hope you'll be putting out new shows again really really soon. And the rest of you--if you haven't checked out Croncast, go download some shows and give them a listen. You'll get hooked.


The feeling you describe is, in research, why women tend to enjoy chick lit and romance novels, actually.

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Blogs to watch out for

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For reasons too boring to go into, I no longer have a blog roll on my blog sidebar. I do, however, love to read other people's blogs. I use a feed reader (Google) to keep up with them, and try to read new entries every day. I'm also working on making more comments, so the folks I'm reading will know that they have me as a follower.

Periodically, I'd like to share the blogs I am reading with you all, since I don't have them up full time. The point here is two-fold: first, maybe I can introduce you to a blog you haven't been reading and will enjoy; second, maybe you can suggest some things to me in the comments that are missing from my list?

Here are the blogs in my feed reader:

Craft blogs

Thrifting blogs

Shopping blogs

"Mommy" blogs

Misc blogs

Friends' blogs


A) Do those reasons involve Movable Type being a punk-ass?

b) Please for the love of all that's holy make this an actual list instead of just using line breaks. People with screen readers will thank you for it.

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Em gets me thinking


I just read this post by Em, and it got me thinking in a new direction for the day.

I can relate to a lot of what Emilin writes. Though I don't share her job-fulfillment or her mommyhood, I do get what she's saying about how your politics and how you wear them can change as you age. I'm no less "liberal" than I was at 22. My core personal and political values have remained very steady, and if anything, moving in a more privledged social/economic class has made me more aware of how completely fucked up our class system is. Ben Franklin would likely not be impressed by my brain, because I don't see much chance of my getting conservative before I hit 30.

That being said, I certainly wear it differently now.

Em describes her 22 year-old self as going to protests in steel-toed boots. I wasn't a whole lot different. My hair wasn't naturally colored and was never so long. I wouldn't have been caught dead in the clothes I wear now. I hadn't yet accepted that straight was going to be the identity I got, regardless of how well I did or did not believe it fit me. The thing that Emilin wrote that really resonated with me, though, is "I'm no longer trying to impress people with my anger." That's it exactly. I'm still pissed. Extraordinarily pissed, sometimes. But I no longer define myself by it, or feel the need to share it in quite the same overt manner. And I no longer consider being angry an accomplishment. It may well be my birthright, but it isn't my destiny.

I never would have expected to be where I am now. The office job, the mortgage, the gaggle of pets, the (gasp) SUV. The friends all around me getting married and having babies. It wasn't at all what I envisioned for myself. I expected to be writing professionally, to be in a major city, to finally have achieved hip. And while I'd still love to be writing professionally, those other things are not only not my reality, they are no longer even appealing. I've been to enough major cities now that I know I am not keen on living in one, and hip ceased to be a goal sometime around when I gave up trying to keep the dog hair off me.

I'm not as fulfilled as Em seems to be in her post, mostly due to my job situation (which isn't bad but isn't as great as hers), but also because Em has already made decisions (marriage, baby, where in the country to live permanently) that I haven't made yet. Marriage is pretty well out, but kids are still a maybe, and my feet definitely aren't growing any roots yet. While I am not in a hurry to make those decisions (time still doesn't seem to be moving overly fast to me), I don't think I'll ever have the sense of contentment in Emilin's post until I do. And that's fine. I've been in transition, more or less, for 28 years now, I can transition for a few more.

On one hand, I am amused at how normal I've become with my job and my clothes and my house and my life. And yeah, I'm a little bit disappointed, too. I definitely see people living differently and feel jealous. But I also know something now I didn't use to--that you can have these trappings, live in this class, and still have a spirit and a soul and creativity inside you. I may look like an automaton, but I'm still the same person I have always been in my head. If anything, I am confident enough in that person now that I don't feel like the need to shove her down everybody's throat every five minutes. And I think that might be progress?


Whenever I meet old friends, I always get the feeling that I'm one of those "living differently" folks to the majority of people. And it's true enough, but as I told my newest coworker the other day, I've gotten to the point where living in Asia is mostly just boring. In that, I still have to pay my bills and run my errands and all that. There are some moments that really shine, but I suspect not any more than would in any other life I could have been living right now.

this is a really excellent, thought-provoking piece of writing.

i wish i could respond in kind, but i find myself a bit tapped at the moment.

i wanted to express my admiration, however.

i fall somewhere in between where you are and where the writer you are referring to is, but i can certainly relate.


It's amazing the things you find on the net by following one thread to another and the various searches. This was a magical find for me!!!

It's about the body thing... It really moves me, for many reasons. There's the usual stuff, blah blah blah... Mark loves you and thinks you're beautiful, so what else matters, and it's what's inside that's important.

Like you, I'm tall. 6'3", 330# now that I'm 48. Part of the weight is from my psychotropic drugs (very bi-polar), which keep me mostly sane. All my weight is around my gut and neck. So I guess I carry it well, so to speak.

But the point is, I hear your words when you speak. I don't see them, I don't understand them, I *feel* them.

Then I see photos of you and hear your self descriptions... I wish you could only see in you for 15 minutes what I see in you tonight as I share your blog.

My wife has issues with her self image. To me she's still 5'll and 140, just like the day we met. Sort of like when your grandma thinks of you as the same small child she held all those years ago. I keep trying to tell her to relax, and she does, then she starts all over again.

I know that nothing I tell you here tonight will be much inspiration for you or change how you feel about yourself in the long run, but I felt I had to put in some input. You're incredibly beautiful regardless of what you think! And I'm never wrong... Or at least not about this.

Sorry for posting this outright, but I didn't find an email link. And I also wanted to let everybody else see what I see.

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Worth a listen


I like to listen to podcasts. I listen to lots of podcasts. My very favorite podcast is Kris and Betsy Smith's Croncast. Kris and Betsy are a married couple in suburban Illinois. He's a computer geek of some sort who had a childhood I very much recognize and she's a stay-at-home mom/professional thrift and resale queen/comedian. They basically just tell amusing stories about what is going on in their lives. Their motto is "life is show prep." They're very very funny, occasionally moving, and always worth listening to.

Right now, Croncast is in its last season. Once this season ends, Kris and Betsy are going to change the name of the show and go to a once-a-week format. This makes me sad sad sad, because I love to listen to them and want more, not less. On today's show, Kris announced that if enough of their loyal listeners get out and drum up more support for them, they'll increase the once-a-week plan for their new show to two or three times a week. I don't know what the rationale behind this is--maybe they just want to make sure there are enough listeners to make it worth their time? Anyway, I'm trying to do my part of help increase their listenership. So go, download, listen. Way way way funnier than Dawn and Drew.

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Hear ye hear ye!

The 21st installment of the Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans will be hosted by my other blog baby, Heroine Content. Co-parent Skye and I are super anxious to see what you've all got to add to the carnival, so please send in submissions ASAP. This carnival's specific topic suggestion is "Who Do You Love?" but anything blogged between February 7 and April 28 is game, as long as it is a feminist perspective on fantasy and/or science fiction.

Submissions should be sent to me or Skye before April 28. The carnival will be posted May 1.

For more general info on the Carnival, please go here.

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List 11: Six words


Have you heard of Six Word Memoirs? The concept is pretty simple--tell your life story in only and exactly six words. Some of my favorites:

1. I slept through most of it.
2. I asked God. He said nothing.
3. Hoping for just one extra day.
4. I'm beginning to think it's me.
5. Dotted i's, crossed t's, now what?
6. Inspired hired fired tired retired expired.
7. Suddenly, something happened... No, false alarm
8. Suggestions wanted for new interesting vices.
9. 78. 45. 33. 8-track. MP3. Next.
11. God Called, you have 1 message.
12. Being a grown-up is more fun.
13. Zoloft daily, beer often, fuck yoga.

I am trying desperately to think of a clever one of my own, but coming up totally blank.

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Pick me ups


Some mornings, you just need a pick me up (or two). Luckily, we have the Internets. My personal pick me up predilection? Dogs adopting other animals.

daschund and piggie
Dachshund Adopts Piglet

boxer and goat
Boxer Adopts Goat


I love these. I saw them this morning on Fark and emailed them to co workers.

dude if you want to go thrifting while i am in town, i am totally pro-that.

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Letter to My Body

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So that post of SJ's I linked to a few days ago? Turns out that is part of a larger project, via BlogHer, started by Suzanne Reisman two weeks ago. It's a hard thing to ask a woman to do, I think, writing a letter to her body. But 89 women have done it so far, according to the blog roll from that post, so I think I can suck it up and give it a try.

Dear Body,

I would really like to write you the kind of letter I see other women writing to their bodies, full of insight and humor, apologies for past abuses and forgiveness. But I am not there yet. Body, I am still angry at you.

I have all of these expectations, and you persistently refuse to fulfill them. I expect to be able to eat what I want, not exercise, and have you stay the same size, but you don't. I expect that you'll allow me to breathe easily through all 12 months of the year, but you don't. I expect to be able to come to work and function properly every day, but as often as not you get sick and I have to pay the price. I'm sick of it. I want you to do what I tell you to do! I'm the boss here, not you!

Most of what you do to me I could forgive you for, or find a way to blame on myself. The weight gain, the worsening skin, even the constant demands for sleep and inability to tolerate red wine appropriately. But what is absolutely your fault and not mine, and unforgivable, is that you are allergic to everything. Every tree, every plant, every mold, every animal, every dust spore. Of all of the ways in which you have let me down, this is the most intolerable. You demand ever increasing pills, sprays, and tricks just to allow me to go on moving through my days. It is expensive, it is inconvenient, and it is completely and totally unfair.

I know you think I should be thanking you for the positive things you do for me--for being able to walk around, to see and smell and hear and touch, but I'm just not in the mood. You're doing a sub-par job and I am sick of it. If I had any other candidates for your position, I would fire you.

Irritatedly yours,



brava! i am in complete agreement.

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NaBloPoMo: March version


So there's good news.

1. Eden has taken NaBloPoMo monthly.
2. There are themes.
3. March's theme is lists.

So the idea, then, is to post a list every day for the entire month of March.

I could not possibly be more in.


What's it like, doing it? I wanted to back in November, but I had a trip planned to North Korea and (rightly) assumed that my internet access wasn't going to work out. I think I might do this, though. It sounds fun and I could really do with a project.

I am TOTALLY suing Eden for stealing the lists idea. ;)

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A Letter to SJ's Body

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I just read this. Coffee spewed forth from my nose in a surprising quantity. She's a funny, funny lady, y'all.


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Theme blogging


I had such a good time (and felt a bit stretched in the mind) doing the OTHER mother's blogging on a theme last week, I'm thinking I'd like to do more theme-blogging. Does anybody else theme-blog regularly? Where do you get your ideas? I still can't find my Maggie Mason book, or I'd go back to that.

Anybody else interested in forming a weekly theme-blog circle or similar, where we take turns coming up with themes? I'd love in the comments if you're interested?


I'd be game! Do you mean a theme for one post or for an entire week?

I was thinking a theme each week, to be posted on at some point during that week.

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Play list: Something blue

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(This is the final installment in the blog carnival hosted by the OTHER mother.)

C'mon, something blue? Of course I'm going to do a play list. It's just too easy. Especially if you happen to actually LIKE classic country.

1. "Blue" by Leanna Rimes
Remember when this came out? She was like 12 and sounded like Patsy Cline? It was amazing.

2. "Blue Suede Shoes" by Elvis Presley
This one is a gimme.

3. "Looking for Blue Eyes" by Jessi Colter
I love this song. I used to listen to it on the Outlaws album. Heh. I thought Jessi Colter must be SO cool, since she was the only girl in that bunch.

4. "Blue Hotel" by Chris Isaak
Chris Isaak has a lot of "blue" songs. Goes with the depressing wish-I-was-Morrissey persona, I guess.

5. "Pale Blue Eyes" by The Velvet Underground
This song gives me the creeps. The way Lou Reed says "make me mad" chills me.

6. "Blue Bayou" by Roy Orbison
Another gimme. This song always reminds me of the movie "Steel Magnolias," even though it wasn't actually this song in that movie.

7. "Tangled Up in Blue" by The Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco
This is, of course, a Bob Dylan song, but like Chris Isaak, Bob Dylan has a lot of "blue" songs, so I decided to use a cover of this one. Always best to use a Dylan cover when you can anyway, I think. Plus I LOVE The Indigo Girls on this song. Can't you just see Amy Ray working for a while on a fishing boat just outside of Delacroix?

8. "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" by Hank Williams, Sr.
Do you like this version better, or Willie Nelson's?

9. "Blue Skies" by Frank Sinatra

10. "Blue Highway" by Billy Idol
Mostly I just like the Frank Sinatra to Billy Idol transition.

11. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Patsy Cline
God I love Patsy Cline. This is not her best work, granted, but wow, I forget how amazing she is.

12. "Almost Blue" By Elvis Costello
An awful lot of my play lists seem to include Elvis Costello.

13. "Devil with a Blue Dress On" by Paul Revere and the Raiders
Remind me sometime to tell you about going to see Paul Revere and the Raiders at the county fair when I was a kid. It's actually one of my first really really clear memories.

14. "Famous Blue Raincoat" by Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen is another artist for whom I'll usually pick a cover, but I really don't like the available covers of this song.

15. "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" by Crystal Gayle
Oddly, this is the first song I thought of for this list. Does Crystal Gayle still have super-long hair?

16. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" by Bob Dylan
This would be the other Dylan song. Don't love it, frankly.

17. "The Grass Is Blue" by Dolly Parton
If you don't have this album, you should get it. Period.

18. "Bullet the Blue Sky" by U2
Apparently this list just wasn't depressingly pretentious enough.

19. "True Blue" by Madonna
OK, there goes the depressing pretention.

20. "Blue" by Joni Mitchell
Nice to bookend both ends with a song that's just "Blue," don't you think?

Clearly there could be 100 more songs on this list. What would you include?


"Judy Blue Eyes" - it reminds me of my mom.

Also "Venus in Blue Jeans".

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Something borrowed


(This is the third installment of my contribution to the OTHER mother's blog carnival.)

Most people, I suspect, don't think of their houses as borrowed. Maybe you do if you rent. But when I face a mortgage statement every month that tells me how much money we still owe on our house, you can bet it feels borrowed to me. So I thought I'd use this "something borrowed" to introduce you all to my house, which is something I wanted to do anyway.

front entrance

What you see here is the front door and entrance hallway, as seen from inside the house (the living room). The unusual tile floor is a product of the previous owners, who did it themselves. It's kind of one of those things you either really like or really don't. Personally I love it, but I think we may re-do it before trying to sell in order to appeal to a broader audience. On the left wall you can barely see a piece of local art, on the right wall is an ugly candle holder I should take down and a collage photo frame of pictures of Mark and I through the years that I gave him for Christmas a couple of years ago. You can also see our second (third?) attempt at keeping a bamboo plant alive. And on the floor you can see Ata's bowl--for some reason, this is one of his spots in the house.

living room 1

If you were to turn around from where the last picture was taken and move slightly to the left, this is what you'd see--the living room, where we spend most of our time. The floor, as I mentioned yesterday, is less-than-attractive uncovered concrete. But it's practical right now. Again you can see local art on the walls, and our ridiculous and space-hogging TV-stereo set up. The old wooden trunk we use as a coffee table is something we inherited when our good friends moved to Europe, and I am so in love with it I can't even tell you. The couch is inherited from the same folks. The chair is remarkably ugly and I'd love to replace it. My favorite thing about the room is the French doors, which you can see at the left. There are actually three sets of them going across the room, and they are so fabulous I can't even tell you.

If you were taking the previous picture, your back would be against this built-in bookshelf.

built in

From the other side of the living room, it looks like this.

living room 2

More local art, new Ikea lighting, cool wine bar.

On one side of the living room is the kitchen, which is the most interesting part of the house, I think, so I'll show you a few views.

kitchen 1

This is the kitchen as taken from one end.

kitchen 2

As taken from the other end.

The details:

kitchen floor

Similar tile floor to the entry hall.

kitchen cabinets

Groovy hand-carved cabinets.

kitchen sink side

Open shelving over windows, poured concrete counter tops, sink side.

kitchen stove side

More open shelving and concrete counters, stove side.

If you go back through the living room, there's a hall, of which there are three bedrooms and a bathroom. At the far left is the master bedroom.

master 1

From the doorway, it looks like this. There is another set of French doors just like the ones in the living room, which is really nice. There is also a bathroom off it, but I don't have a picture of that. It's where the kittens have been living.

master closet

It also has a closet, which looks, embarrassingly enough, like this.

The next room down the hall is the guest bedroom.

guest room 1

This is what it looks like from the doorway. The pineapple light fixtures are also a hold-over from the previous owners, and they really, really need to go.

The guest room also has a much more organized closet (go Elfa!).

guest closet

Across the hall from the guest room is the bathroom. Where you can usually find one or more cats.


Finally, at the end of the hall, there is an office. It is a complete disaster.


One day, it will be clean.

That's it! Thanks for visiting my borrowed house!


Damn. I love the colors, the carved cabinets blow my mind. Those ones above the sink look like they open from the other side, is that right?
Gotta love any house with so much character even if some of that character is a little "crazy".

Actually no, they have windows behind them. Which is kind of an odd design, but actually works out really well.

PLEASE don't rip out the floor! Anyone who loves all the other arty touches would give you way more for the house with the awesome floor! The awesome floor's destruction makes me sad!

I love your house! Great use of color and bold decorating and paint. I don't have the guts for that!

Love love love that kitchen!

That was fun! I love looking at people's houses.

Living in a cold clime, I shivered at the concrete floor and countertop, but can totally see how they work where you live. I love your cabinets.

If your r/e agent says it will be an easier sell with uniform floors, a way to cover, but not damage the funky flooring is to put a floating laminate floor over it. It isn't secured anywhere and if you pull it up, the original floor is still there.

My house seriously lacks art on the walls.

Great place! I love all the colours and stuff on the walls. I am the kind of person who buys a painting or mirror and then lets it sit on the floor waiting to be hung for three years. Sigh.

Oh wow, what a great kitchen! I googled how to put shelving in front of a kitchen window and found your site. I have a tiny guest cottage that I am updating for renters, and the tiny galley kitchen needs some more storage. I am sooo doing this! Love your floors also!

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Something new

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(This is my second post for the OTHER mother's carnival.)

Last night, in a small corner of the world about which not all that many people care, history was made. Something new happened.

A beagle won Westminster.

unoWhat you see here is the 15-inch beagle, Ch K-Run's Park Me In First, or Uno, being crowned the top dog in the nation.

Why do I care? Well, a few reasons. The first is that I love to see a dog from a working breed of any sort win. A dog that functions first as a dog, not as a showpiece. And beagles, who have changed not much at all from their hunting stock, definitely fit that bill. Secondly, I love to see breeds that don't usually win take the big trophy. If you look here, you can see a list of the historical winners of the show over the past 100 years. Lots of terriers. Spaniels. Poodles. Almost no working dogs, and few hounds of any kind (all I see is a couple of Afghans). So a beagle winning is unprecedented, which is great. Third, I loved watching Uno show--he's a perfect show dog. Great movement, beautiful coat, fantastic stack. Loved it.

And finally? Mark and I are, at present, hound rescuers. We see first-hand the surplus of beagles and how badly they need homes. Having one in the news could increase interest, which could increase our possible adopters. That's not a bad thing.


wow. i have a whole new appreciation for beagles. thanks for the news, and even more importantly, thanks for your work as hound rescuers!

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Something Old


(This post is part of a carnival hosted by the OTHER mother.)

stub and hazelThis is probably my favorite photograph ever. It was taken in a photo booth in a train station one night around midnight, in 1945. In a world where the second great war in a generation had just ended and prosperity was beginning, the woman in the picture was 35 and just married. She's my grandmother, and in a few weeks she will be 98.

In my memory, she has always been old, but looking at her now, I can still clearly see the woman in this picture. Both her beauty and her will, her iron spine. I can see, in both the old woman I know and this young woman, how she came to make it almost all the way through college before the measles took her eye sight, how she grew up working the land, how she cooked in logging camps. How she raised three children to be fantastic people. How, a decade or so after this picture was taken, she moved her young family across several states, away from where they lived near a nuclear testing facility, because she didn't think it right to bring up children somewhere nothing would grow.

The man in the picture, her husband, died before I was born, but lives on in legend as a bare-knuckle boxer during the Depression and a teller of world-famous bullshit stories. I think I would have liked to know him.


That photo really is wonderous. Both of them look like stars. I love the story that goes with it too.

I love, love, love this picture and the story with it is amazing.

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Appealing to the voyeur in me

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This is the coolest thing. The photographer, David Ichioka, set up a camera with a timer to take pictures of people sleeping, together or alone, at 20 or 30 minute intervals. I think my favorite set is this one, of a woman sleeping with her dog, but they are all fascinating.


That is super neat, such a cool idea. I'm glad you posted it!

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Allie on budget love


I know I am posting far too much recently about Allie and her blogs Wardrobe Oxygen and My Wardrobe Today, but she's got another great post up that I have to point you towards. At Wardrobe Oxygen, she takes up the question of what the style-conscious should do with their magic economy-stimulating tax rebates, suggesting debt pay-off, charitable contributions, or environmentally friendly upgrades, rather than new purses or shoes. She's a recovered shopaholic, she says, and points out:

It’s amazing what reduced or no debt can do for a woman – her skin is radiant from a good night’s sleep, she has better posture, a beautiful engaging smile for all. She cheerily answers her phone on the first ring instead of checking Caller ID for collectors, and she looks forward to the mail every day because it may bring a favorite periodical or card from a friend, not a Second Notice or Past Due statement.

I love Allie for writing this. God bless her for being someone who writes mostly about clothes and cosmetics but is still both willing and able to practice and advocate fiscal responsibility. Since both climbing out of debt/learning to live within my means and bettering my style are goals for me this year, she is definitely a good influence.

And for what it's worth, my tax rebate is going towards my credit cards.

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Answering Meg's questions


As is often the case, Meg Fowler has some thought-provoking questions over on her blog. I'm gonna answer them:

1. What made you decide to be with the person you’re with?
There wasn't really a decision...we just are, and we have been for a long time. When we got together, it was because we couldn't stay apart. And it has mellowed into something else, but it's something equally inevitable. We just are.

2. What made you decide to do the work you do?
Well, my decision to do the specific work I do now was based on deciding it was a good idea to get into grants management, specifically in science, for future employability. Not a very exciting reason. I also have a long-term goal of self-employment, so I try to choose jobs with working towards that in mind. But it's also just a crap shoot, depending completely on what opportunities I fall on and what is available when I happen to be looking.

3. What type of discussion brings out the most passion in you?
Hmm...I tend to get pretty riled up about (dog) breed bans. And the death penalty. But as I get older, I am less and less inclined to get passionately involved in political discussions in general. It just seems a huge waste of energy, and I may have had that energy to spare at 21, but I don't anymore.

4. If you could change three things about your life instantly by snapping your fingers, what would you wish for before the big snap?
-I'd erase my debt;
-I'd turn myself into someone who eats whatever she wants and doesn't exercise and never gains weight;
-I'd give myself the ability to sing

5. What two qualities do you possess that you would never, ever change?
-willingness to learn/interest in learning

6. When you come across something you want to change in your life, what’s the first step?

Well, I think the very first step is making a plan. But it's more important to take the first step in implementing that plan (which depends totally on what it is you are trying to change). Myself, I am excellent at plan-making, and very bad at putting plans into action (and even worse at continuing with plans...).

7. At what moment in your day are you most at peace?
On days when Mark gets up first, the time in bed between when he gets up and when I get up are pretty great. I stretch out horizontally across his still-warm side and know I have a few precious moments to stay warm and sleepy. Bliss.

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More ripping off other blogs


I'm sure you've noticed that one of the things I'm trying to lately is replicate some of the blogs I love. This isn't to rip off their ideas so much as it is to push myself in new directions and see what new blogging styles might work for me. With that being said, I'm taking a page out of The Windowshoppist book and pointing you, gentle reader, towards a few cute things that are on sale at Sierra Trading Post.

frye bootsDo you happen to wear a size 6 or 6.5? If so, these amazing teal Frye boots are only $79.95 (regular price $190).

ecco shoesI love these Ecco Mary Janes. Unfortunately, my shoe size+white shoes is not a good thing. I like this red/white/orange combo the best, but they also come in white/light blue/dark blue, white/metallic silver, and white/green/olive. They're available in Euro sizes 36 through 42, for $56.95 (regular price $95).

simple sneakersThese are the cutest Simple sneakers ever! And, available in sizes 5.5 through 12, and in three flowered color combos, I could even buy them! Bonus: they are $29.95 (regular price $50).

skirtIsn't this a cute skirt? It's by Royal Robbins, and the original price is $44, but the current price is $17.95. It's available in stone and blue as well as pink, sizes 2-14 (not all sizes in all colors, though).

shirtThis shirt isn't on that great a sale, but I think it's adorable, so I had to share. It's made of 100% merino wool and it's by Icebreaker. Retail price is $54.99, Sierra Trading Post price is $34.95. Sizes XS-XL are currently available. Similar shirts are also available in black, watermelon, brown, and light pink.

dressI LOVE this Teri Jon silk chiffon dress. At $299.95, it's not cheap, but that beats the $627 regular retail price. It's also available in a lighter color, sizes 2-12.

dress2This is another fantastic Teri Jon silk dress. It's 100% silk, available in sizes 2-6, and $219.95 (regular price $418).

If you aren't a regular shopper, or at least check-er, of Sierra Trading Post, I suggest you check them out. Like many discount type stores, lots of crap to sift through, but there are definitely treasures there.

So how did I do?

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The joy of new blogs


A trip to vote for the 8th Annual Weblog Awards yesterday let me to explore a whole world of new blogs. Most of them I'd never heard of before, and a few I had forgotten about. And now I am in new-blog heaven. So I thought I'd share.

Craft blogs are amazing. I am inspired and fascinated and jealous. A couple of good ones are:
angry chicken, where Amy sews, bakes, cuts paper, and has a fantastic sense of design. Her talent leaves me in complete awe.
I already knew, of course, about Apartment Therapy, but I hadn't checked it out in a while. Now I have, and I remember what's so great about it. I am particularly enamored with the art of Damian Aquiles, made of such great stuff as old paint cans and part of cars, featured on the blog yesterday.
I kind of want to move in with Alicia from Posie Get Cozy. Even if I hated her blog, I'd keep it on my reader to check for new pictures of her adorable Corgi. And I don't hate it. It makes me want to learn to crochet. Plus, how cute is her house!?

As is clear by my last few days of posts, I've been trying to cultivate a little sense of style recently. There are definitely some blogs helping with that. They include:
The Budget Fashionista, which provides a blessedly realistic look at how to look good, complete with shopping tips. My only wish is that they'd say more about the beauty of thrifting.
The DC Goodwill Fashion Blog does, however, focus on thrifting.
I've mentioned her already, but I am greatly indebted already to Allie her blogs Wardrobe Oxygen and especially My Wardrobe Today. Her outlook, "every woman is utterly gorgeous, and can feel beautiful and stylish no matter her budget or body," is something I will be trying to learn from every day in the upcoming weeks.
I don't know if I have already talked about this, but I love the style photo section Dooce is doing now. She features things like beautiful tins of lip balm and perfect blue teacups, and it makes me take a moment to notice the great style of objects in my own every day life.

Finally, I am checking out a few new more multi-purpose blogs. The Live Lightly Tour blog if following a family across the country in a veggie oil-powered RV. Recovering Straight Girl is a hi-larious lesbian blogger from my beloved Portland who says she's "leading the doily dyke revolution." Finally, Waiter Rant is a blog that everyone but me apparently already knew about, but I just learned, and I am in lurve. A waiter telling nasty stories about his customers in a fancy restaurant! What could be better?

Y'all, what did we do before blogs?

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Some stuff I like


I am inspired, today, to share.

  • One my career role models, Betsy Smith, has a new podcast focused on her job--thrifting and reselling. It's called Resale Queen, and the first episode just went up this weekend. Check it out.

  • Shutter Sisters is a new blog featuring the photography of some fantastic female blogger/photographers, including the supremely talented Karen (from Chookooloonks) and designer of my favorite ever necklace Andrea (Superhero Journal). Definitely worth a look.

  • The Wire. God help you if you haven't already been watching it, as this is the fifth and last season, and yeah, it's the best thing I've seen on TV. Watch it.

  • Mir at shopping blog Want Not tears it up on a daily basis with finding good deals. She recently found $6 organic PJs at Garnet Hill and king sized flannel sheets on Amazon for less than $10. I read her every day and you should too.

  • Several years ago, I read Charlie Wilson's War for a class. I very much enjoyed the combo of informative and entertaining (especially since most of what I was reading at the time was just informative). Yesterday, Mark and I saw the movie. It was more entertaining, but still fairly close to the book and definitely worth watching.

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Good stuff

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Jenn over at Breed 'Em and Weep has a great post up today. Among other things, she writes:

It’s why I like it out here in blogland, because people are less neutral than they seem to be in person. There’s a certain audacity (or idiocy, some insist) to Putting Your Stuff Out There. Certainly the blog idiocy theory has been argued in full. But I see value here, value that I’d like to coax into my real life.

This puts a finger on something I've been trying to articulate for a long time, and I appreciate it. Y'all should go over there and read the whole post.

In other good stuff, we had this amazing spread for our first course for dinner last night:

amazing antipasta

What you see here is (from top left): Marcona almonds, sesame flat bread, chianti salami, Braeburn apple slices, Serano ham, lightly dress microgreens, shaved fennel, marinated fresh mozzarella, lavender dusted goat cheese, and assorted olives.

It was so good I forgot to take pictures of the rest of dinner. I am a lucky woman.

Long live the three-day weekend.


That is my favorite kind of meal - lots of tasty little things including cheese glorious cheese. I ate serrano ham at the fancy food show last weekend, which is remarkable only given that I have been a vegetarian for 20 years.

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Life is too short

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Once again, Karen at Chookooloonks has prompted me to blog on a day when I was really at a loss as to what to write about. She posted a "life is too short" list today, and I'm going to do the same:

Life is too short drink bad coffee. wear uncomfortable shoes. try to hold in laughter. pray to someone else's god. worry about what you can't change. stay with things just because you started them. wear pantyhose. settle for a substitute. stay because it's easier. try to be someone else. not read voraciously. spend too much time planning.


"to stay because it's easier."


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My gifts


Over at Chookooloonks, Karen has asked a really good and important question:

What are you really good at?

The context of this question was a bit more specific--what gifts do you have that help make the world a better place?

Since I have temporarily misplaced my Maggie Mason book, and since bragging on myself is such a good way tot start the new year, I thought I'd make myself a list of answers to that question here, rather than clogging up Karen's comments.

Things I Am Really Good At

  • Working with animals, particularly dogs.

  • Giving gifts.

  • Baking.

  • Writing something readable quickly.

  • Thrift shopping.

What about you? What are you really good at? What else am I really good at? We should all build these lists and look at them often, I think. Not only to make ourselves feel better, but also to remind ourselves what we we have to share with the world.

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People disappoint me


Twice, now, I've come upon a new blog or podcast and been enjoying the hell out of it when all of a sudden I've come across an entry all about abusing or otherwise mistreating an animal, told as if it's funny. First it was a podcast all about flushing a live mud puppy down the toilet because it grew to be "freaky" and then taking a whole line of dogs to the pound because they acted like dogs, and then today it was a blog entry about allowing a child's dying hamster to suffer all day, then feeding it to a neighborhood cat when it finally expired. Now maybe I'm a touch to sensitive when it comes to pet-related stuff, but y'all, none of that is funny. And two more blogs/podcasts are struck from my list.


I didn't allow the hamster to die. I did everything I knew how, including phoning a vet, to save the poor thing. Perhaps you wouldn't have been so offended if I had squished the poor thing and put it out of it's misery, but I didn't have the stomach do that. I did the best I could do to make it's last hours comfortable.

As for feeding it to a cat, I didn't exactly set it on a silver platter and stroke the kitty while it dined. I tossed the remains into the bush on my acreage. Whether the cat ate it or not, we will never know as I didn't stick around to watch.

I wrote the post to find the humour in what was a sad and absurd situation that my children and I endured. As with many things, humour is in the eye of the beholder.

However, as with all blogs, you are free to pick and choose the ones you read and the ones you don't. That is what is wonderful about the blogosphere.

Have a merry Christmas!

What do you think she should have done?

I'm curious, because reading the entry, yeah, it was presented as humorous...but sometimes people cope that way. I didn't really see anything totally appalling about it. I'm not sure I would have had it in me to kill the little creature, quite frankly.

I dunno...people write humorous entries about a lot of things...death of humans too.

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Vanity fair questions from Karen


I am laying aside my Maggie Mason project until after the holidays, since my Internet connection is going to be spotty at best for a bit. However, I can't resist the list of questions from Vanity Fair magazine that Karen at Chookooloonks, one of my very favorite blogs, posted the other day.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Feeling safe and feeling like all the people I love are safe as well.

2. What is your greatest fear?

Nobody loving me.

3. Which living person do you most admire?
My grandmother.

4. What trait do you most deplore in yourself?


5. What trait do you most deplore in others?

6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Bullheadedness cloaked as perseverance.

7. On what occasion do you lie?
Lots of occasions, actually. When there is a greater cause.

8. What do you dislike most about your appearance?

Depends when you ask me. Lately, my yellow teeth.

9. What is your greatest regret?
Generally not appreciating things when I have them.

10. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

11. Which talent would you most like to have?
I would LOVE to be able to sing.

12. What is your current state of mind?
I've been very stressed the past few days, but I'm mellowing as we get closer to leaving for the holiday.

13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd like to be a more peaceful person.

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The help I've been able to give dogs.

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?
The idea of coming back is so odd to me, it's hard to answer this. I'd like to come back as another kind of animal, I think.

16. What is your most treasured possession?
Probably some of my books? I'm really not sure.

17. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The kind of self-loathing that comes from addiction and the behaviors it can foster.

18. Where would you like to live?
At home, in Oregon.

19. What is your most marked characteristics? height? I'd like to hope it's my generosity.

20. Who are your favourite writers?
Pam Houston, Dorothy Allison

21. Who is your favourite hero of fiction?

The entire Stamper family ("never give an inch")

22. Who are your heroes in real life?
Pali Boucher

23. What is it that you most dislike?

24. What is your motto?
What's the worst that can happen?

25. Favourite journey?
Growing up.

26. What do you most value in your friends?
Humor, tolerance, comfort.

27. Which word or phrase do you most overuse?
"No shit?" "Damn!"

28. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Hmm....what a great question. And I can't come up with a single answer.

29. What is your greatest extravagance?
I have too many. Bath products. Fancy coffee. Eating out. Gifts.

30. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I'd give them more money. Or move them around so they'd be closer to me. But those things would both make them different, which I wouldn't want, so I guess I wouldn't change anything.

31. What is your favourite occupation?
Theoretically? Cultural critic.

32. What is the quality you most like in a woman?


33. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Ability to perceive privilege.

34. How would you like to die?
No preference as long as it happens a long time from now.

35. If you could choose what you want to come back as, what would it be?
Something that could do more to help. Maybe a St. Bernard!

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Living with someone else's demon


Jon, who is married to the lovely Heather (aka Dooce) has written a phenomenal piece on his own blog about living with a depressed partner. I came right over to tell you about it just as soon as I stopped bawling.

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First line meme


Frog did this meme today wherein she reprinted the first line of each month of the year's first entry. I like it. When I like something, I sometimes copy it.

January: Today is the first day of 2007.

February: You probably know that February is Black History Month.

March: I have a new post up today on Heroine Content. Check it out?

April: Due to my being a bit of a scheduling numbskull and double-booking myself for April 14, I am not going to be able to take part in this year's SafePlace Walk.

May: On a (well, slightly, anyway) less self-obsessed note, I have to tell you all about As We Are Magazine.

June: I will attempt a real post-vacation entry tomorrow, when my head is on more straight, but today I'm just doing the financial update thing because I am doing my bills.

July: I know I have mentioned here before that I tend to be a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to pop cultural phenomena.

August: One of the things I decided I wanted to do while I was at BlogHer was write a post when I returned highlighting all of the new blogs I was introduced to (through their people!) while I was there.

September: I am back, finally, after sickness, recuperation, and a fantastic weekend spent with my college chums, about which I will attempt to post later.

October: If you are having that cranky Monday feeling this morning, I suggest taking a trip over to the American Humane website, where they have posted the winners and finalists of their pet photo contest.

November: Today is the first day of NaBloPoMo, and I am mad excited.

December: So, for the first time in quite some time, I'm drunk.

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This meme brought to you by my insomnia


So I'm awake. I wish I weren't, but I am. And I'm having a cup of tea and futzing around on ze Internets. So now is as good a time as any to take Meg's help and make a love list, only a couple of days late.

Things I Love:

Song you love: "The Origin of Love" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Food you love: Doughnuts

Thing you love to look at: amber (with or without bugs in it)

Sound you love: rain

Thing you love to laugh at:
my dogs

Gadget you love: the almighty iPod

Person you love: Mark

Software you love:

Word you love: aluminum

Thing you love on the internet: IMDB

Place you love to go on vacation:
Oregon. home.

Sensation you love: waking up and knowing I don't actually have to get out of bed

Animal you love:

Book you love:
Our Bodies, Ourselves

Emotion you love: anticipation

Occasion you love: my birthday

Quality you love in people:

Thing you most love to shop for: used books

And finally…

What you love about today:
that I finished what I needed to finish without feeling bogged down by it

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Shouting out

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Seems like as good a time as any to show you that I haven't just been writing this month, I've been reading as well. Here are a few of my favorite NaBloPo posts:

Chookooloonks is forever one of my favorite blogs, both for Karen's amazing pictures and her brief and thought-inducing writing. On November 20, she did a particularly good job with both the picture and the provoking of thoughts. I've been thinking about it since.

Dooce has added a new section to her blog, focusing on style in every day objects. I love it. My favorite entry so far is the magnets she featured on November 20 (apparently that was just a good blogging day).

My friend The Princess has been posting lists all month at Flooded Lizard Kingdom. My favorite is a toss-up between her November 24 "10 Things You Can and Should Buy At Thrift Stores Instead of Regular Stores This Holiday Season" and her November 22 "Three Reasons Each That I Am Thankful for Five People In My Life."

On November 26, Eden at Fussy, the mastermind behind NaBloPoMo, wrote a great post about her need for books in her life and living space. Totally something I could have written myself.

Lilysea at Peter's Cross Station can do no wrong in my mind. Still, sometimes she outdoes herself, as in her November 26 post about toxic toys and how just maybe this time it will be enough to change shopping habits to the good.

The Redneck Mommy from Attack of the Redneck Mommy isn't actually participating in NaBloPoMo, but she wrote one of the most moving blog posts I've ever read this month, and I would be remiss not to mention it here.

Finally, I have to shout out to Red Stapler's Suebob, who took an amazing photo in the airport and posted it on November 13. We so have the same sense of humor.


Thanks so much, Grace!

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Damn thee, catalogs!

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Yesterday, Squid over at The Adventures of Leelo and His Potty-Mouthed Mom provided her readers with some tre excellent info. You know all of those catalogs that have been flooding your mailbox for months and have gotten even worse since Halloween (aka "the holiday season")? You can go to Catalog Choice and use their one-stop shop to get taken off those mailing lists. Just set aside those junk-a-logs for a while, then take a few minutes to go through your pile with the website. Viola, no more catalogs! Or at least, no more catalogs in 10 weeks or so.

Why do they still send them, anyway? The days of Sears & Roebuck are over, kids--it's all about the Internet shopping now.


I loooove catalogues. The only one I get is Sears though, and only if I order from it once a year to keep my name on the list.

I like to browse the catalogue, then place my order online

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Sharing my Christmas list

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As I've mentioned, I'm a big, big fan of The Windowshoppist. More than once I have found stuff I really like there, and I've gotten present ideas there as well. So it was the first place I turned when forming my own Christmas list (I know, I know, but my mom asked for one, OK?). I was thinking, though, while making up the list, that I should share it with you, since you all might get ideas from it the same way I do from the great Shoppista. And so, here it is. My apologies to those who already read The Windowshoppist, as some of my Christmas wants definitely came from there!

Libby Dibby skirts (The image is of two skirts, one from the front and one from the back. Both are red and white cotton wrap-arounds.)

1. Libby Dibby Skirt. Why yes, I do already have one of these. I want another one. Badly. Right now, I'm partial to the "Hollywood" and "Original" patterns. Would someone on your Christmas list like one too? They're $69.95 plus S&H, which may sound like a lot, but when you consider how well made they are, and that they're reversible, it's a fair price.

broken plate pendant (The photo is of a smallish pendant made from a piece of broken plate. The plate is white with a light blue and brown floral design.)

2. Broken Plate Pendant. These are so damn cool, if I hadn't sworn off buying myself jewelry I would have bought on a long time ago. The crafts person makes pendants out of broken vintage dishes! I find it impossible to pick out my favorite, but am partially to the ones in browns and blues, generally. Most of these are around $30, too, so they're affordable for the funky-jewelryphile on your list.

sea glass necklaces(The photo shows three necklaces, all silver chains with three small sea glass circles suspended from each one. The sea glass pieces are a mix of greens, blues, gray, and white.)

3. Twigs & Heather sea glass pendant. Again with the gorgeous jewelry, this time made from sea glass. My preference is for the long skinny cobblestone necklaces, but really these are all beautiful. Prices start at $40 for a single piece of glass.

patchwork messenger bag(The photo is of a patchwork messenger bag with a monkey decal in the middle of it. It is very multi-colored, like a crazy quilt, and some of the patches are monkey-themed fabric).

4. Textile Fetish patchwork messenger bag. I'm kind of over messenger bags, to tell the truth, but I can't resist these patchwork ones. How cute and funky are they? I particularly love the one shown, with the sock monkey theme. These are reputably well-made and run about $50 each.

reading is sexy t-shirt(The photo shows a light yellow t-shirt with green cap sleeves. On the front of the shirt is a drawing of a girl looking over her glasses and the words "Reading is Sexy.")

5. Reading is Sexy t-shirt. I've wanted a "Reading is Sexy" t-shirt for ages, but I particularly like this yellow and green cap-sleeved version. I also like that it comes in an XL that would likely actually fit me. It's $14.95.

paper sculpture(The photo is of a multi-layered three-dimensional paper sculpture of an old van with trees and plants around it. It is mostly gray, black, and brown.)

6. San Fran paper sculpture. SanFran's paper sculptures are pretty much my favorite thing on this list. I hope someone bought me one before the ones that were up before were gone, as there is only one left now! The website says more are coming soon, though. They are $55 and I think they're absolutely wonderful art for that price. You can see more examples of work by the artist, Helen Musselwhite, here.

counter compost bin(The photo is of a stainless steel counter composter. It is cylindrical and has a lid with holes in it and a charcoal filtering system.)

7. Counter compost bin. We started composting about a year ago, and while the big Tupperware container we're using to collect scraps inside is perfectly functional, it's not very attractive. I'd prefer a nice stainless steel counter composter like this one, made by RSVP International. I'm not, mind you, suggesting anybody buy it from Amazon, but the price for it there is $37.98.

kitchenaid red tea kettle(The photo is of a bright red Kitchenaid tea kettle.)

8. Kitchenaid tea kettle, red. I have a weak spot that could only be characterized as pathetic for bright red KitchenAid appliances. I have the standing mixer and food processor, as well as some smaller things (spatulas, measuring cups, etc.) and I only want to collect more. However, we also do honestly need a bigger and less worn tea kettle. So, meeting our needs for both function and aesthetics, the red KitchenAid kettle. It's $39.99 at Amazon, but I'm sure could be found for a similar price elsewhere.

kitchenaid coffee grinder(Photo is of a bright red coffee grinder.)

9. Red Kitchenaid coffee grinder. See everything I said above, only replace "tea kettle" with "coffee grinder." $29.99 at Amazon.

kitchenaid coffee maker(Photo shows a bright red coffee maker.)

10. Red Kitchenaid coffee maker. Once again, see above, replacing "coffee grinder" with "coffee maker." And please note that we currently only have a four-cup coffee pot, and y'all, we drink more coffee than that. This model is spendy. It's out of stock on Amazon, but costs $99.98 at I have no idea how much it would be locally.

And thus ends the KitchenAid portion of our list.

11. Small, durable digital camera. I have no specifics here, just a desperate desire for a camera that suck less than the one we have. The one we have is difficult to use and takes bad pictures. I'd like the opposite.

ling glass pendant(The picture shows a rectangular pendant made of red stained glass, with a simple silver outline and design on it.)

12. LingGlass necklace. Again with the fabulous jewelry! These necklaces are made from stained glass and sautered metal, and I think they are amazing. Once again, it's hard to choose just one. I definitely like the simpler, one-color pendants the best, and like the long rectangular ones (like the one shown) and circles ones better than the squares. From there, though...I dunno. These run anywhere from $15-$30, depending on which one you choose, and they don't come with chains, so buy those separately.

13. Small gold hoop earrings. Again, no particulars, I just want something small, gold, and self-fastening.

recycling bags(The photo shows four large square bags, one each in orange, silver, blue, and green, with logos on the front of them indicating if they for paper, glass, etc.)

14. Design within Reach recycling bags. This set of four heavy-duty tarp bags, pre-coded to separate recycling, makes me all kinds of happy. First, they are organizational tools, which I love on principle. Secondly, they are brightly colored, which I also love. Third, they look like they'd hold up and be easily storable when not full, which is great. As a bonus, they'd be a lot easier to clean out than the current plastic buckets we use to collect recyclables. They're also affordable--$22 for the set with free shipping.

15. Lavender & Honey body products. As is known far and wide, I'm a junkie for bath and products. Not makeup or that crap, but things to make my skin feel nice. Currently, I am really digging lavender and honey scents, and one line I'd like to try is Deep Steep.

So there you have it, some stuff I want for Christmas. What do you want? Anything I should know about for the people left on my list? Bring it on!


Ohhh! I pine for all these things too! Particularly the bag, the skirt, and the t-shirt. But I already got what I want for Christmas - two concert organizations sponsoring trips home next year, so hooray....

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Objects of my unexpected significance


Yesterday, Jenny of Triumphantly Jenny posted a brief review of the book Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance, Basically, the book is photographs of objects that artists/literati/etc. give significance to and short essays about why. An interesting idea for a book, I think, and an even better one for blog fodder. So I went around my house last night and looked for significant objects to photograph. In doing so, I learned that there are very few objects that have a lot of significance to me--mostly objects are just objects--and those that are significant are generally representative of larger concepts. But anyway, I'll post a few over the the next few days.

living room bookshelves full of books

The first object I chose is actually objects. It's the built-in bookshelf in my living room. The value of this object is both literal and representative. It's representative of my need to horde books, and my love of organizing things. Literally, it houses some of my favorite books, which are objects I do treasure, as well as some pottery I like a lot, made by the potter in my home town, and some photographs I cherish (photos are definitely among my most valued objects). And, of course, it holds the urn with Chance's ashes.

Plus, if you've never been to my house, isn't it fun to look at the picture and feel like you are looking through my stuff? I did no touching up or reorganizing for this photo, just snapped the bookshelves as they are, in all of their cluttered glory.


You have rainbow books too!

Do you organize books by color on purpose, or did it turn out that way? (It looks cool, BTW.)

It's on purpose--I saw it in a magazine and thought it looked cool. Mark keeps messing up the cookbooks (lefthand side) though.

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Can I get an amen?

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LilySea is TEARING IT UP today over at Peter's Cross Station with a post about her sexuality and her faith and how no, it's really no trouble to reconcile them. You should read it. In fact, I should read it again. Which I'm going to go do.


Yeah, she's outstanding.

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What I'm reading for NaBloPoMo


Yesterday, Sara at Moving Right Along posted a list of blogs she's reading every day during NaBloPoMo. I took several of her recommendations and added them to my Feedreader--I love new blogs, and NaBloPoMo is a wonderful time to start reading, as there are new posts every day pretty much guaranteed. So I thought I'd return the favor, to whomever is out there, and share a few of the blogs I am reading every day.

Flooded Lizard Kingdom: My pal and brand-spanking-new mama The Princess is writing daily lists for NaBloPoMo, and I'm so happy to see her posting at the often-neglected Lizard Kingdom that I am hanging on her every bullet point.

LaurieWrites: Laurie's is a blog I discovered when I met its lovely author at BlogHer this past summer, and I am so happy I did. She's a good writer, has excellent music taste, and has cute doggies, of whom she should post more pictures.

: I don't think Karen is actually participating in NaBloPoMo, but she posts a picture and usually a few words every day, and I just love her blog. She's definitely my very favorite photo blogger, and I always read whatever she writes greedily and wish there were more.

Peter's Cross Station: Shannon has been one of my favorite bloggers for quite some time now, and I am super jazzed she's taking time to write every day this month. She seems to put an unusual for blogging level of thought into her posts, which makes them both educating and fun to read. Plus she makes me aware of things I otherwise wouldn't be and should be.

Red Stapler: Suebob's Red Stapler is another blog I am fairly new to, having met its author at BlogHer. It is both entertaining and edifying without being a brain drain. Plus she's responsible for the super-rad NaBloPoMo rules (which, incidentally, I am breaking in this post).

There are lots of other blogs I'm reading every day, of course, but these are the ones that first sprang to mind, and the ones I thought you might already know about. Go forth and read them. Enjoy!


often neglected?!

Aw, thanks for the love!

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Rules of NaBloPoMo


Over at the Red Stapler, Suebob has some rules for NaBloPoMo. I like them, so I'm going to use them to guide my NaBloPoMo efforts as well:

1st RULE: You do not talk about NaBloPoMo.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about NaBloPoMo. I'm serious. After Nov. 1st, quit writing about it and just do it.
3rd RULE: No whining. If you whine, I will delete you from my Bloglines and Blogroll and crush your bones in my teeth. This isn't brain surgery. It is a blog post a day for a month, fer goodnesssake.
4th RULE: It doesn't have to be brilliant. Write a stupid post already. Literally a stupid post. It wouldn't be the first time somebody ever wrote a crap blog post. If you need reassurance, just read my archives. Do not be afraid. There are no NaBloPoMo referees.
5th RULE: Only one post a day, that's all you need. See Rule #3.
6th RULE: No recycling old posts. No one likes a cheater.
7th RULE: If you miss a day, bow out gracefully. Or keep going and don't mention it.
8th RULE: This was your idea. So just do it already. It's spozed to be FUN! GO!

Well, I'm going to mostly use them. I'm ignoring #5, due to my aforementioned need for verbosity and continuing my history making women series while still producing daily content. And I'm adding a rule of my own:

9th RULE: This is about community, not just you. So don't just write every day, post a comment or two somewhere else every day as well.

Thanks, Suebob!

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Look, I'm over here!


Have you checked out Heroine Content lately? Don't you think maybe you should? I have a new post up today, detailing the exercise in disappointment that was Alien 3.

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New blog plug

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Please take a bit of time out from your regularly scheduled blog reading to go over and visit Can I Sit With You?

The project:

The goal of Can I Sit With You is to share our schoolyard horror stories not only amongst ourselves, but also with the children who are experiencing this special form of social purgatory right now. We want them to know that even though what they're going through sucks, they're not alone.

Great idea, no? And it's panning out just as well as you'd expect. Read, comment, contribute, enjoy.


Thanks for the plug. Hope you're both well now, and feeling briefly autobiographical in the near future.

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3 Questions from Frog


Over at Frogblog, Frog told her readers that we could each ask her three questions, which she would then answer and ask us three in return, to be answered on our own blogs. I participated with glee, and these are the questions Frog had for me (no, that did not rythmn intentionally, but it's silly, so I'll leave it):

If you had to recommend one book, one recording, and one food item to me, what would they be?
Book: Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt
Recording: Comfort of Strangers by Beth Orton
Food: Nice crisp tart apple slices with Nutella

What are your kid plans at this point?
At this point, my kid plans are basically "wait and see." I've come to the point where I'm OK with thinking that I may or may not decide I want to/it is time to have kids at any given point in the future. Though I'm still feeling some baby lust, I really don't want to have any kids right now. And I'm still not sure I want to have biological children at all--I have a lot of concerns about passing on some of my genetics. So basically it's something I've put off thinking about too much for the time being.

What's the most challenging part of blogging your finances?
The only thing that is really challenging about it at all is that I have this back-of-my-mind fear that my mom will find out about my credit card debt and be disappointed in/disgusted with me. I really don't mind doing it in the least, and I am seeing progress (though slower than I'd like).

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A meditation on my body


I've been thinking about my body a lot lately.

This is not exactly news, as far as being a woman in Western society goes. We think about our bodies a lot. In fact, we're more or less obsessed with them, as a rule. I know I am and have been in the past. But lately, I am really trying to think about mine in a different way.

With me, it usually starts with clothes. My body has a tendency to fluctuate quite a bit in size and shape, so the clothes that fit me last fall don't necessarily fit me right now. In fact, I've realized during this past couple of weeks that I have basically no pants that I don't have to hike up every five minutes. Also, my bras are too small around and too big in the cups. So off to Ross I go.

I get sick of doing this. It's wasteful, buying new clothes every season because last year's models don't fit now, and I am large enough that I have a real problem finding thrifted clothes in my sizes. The shopping is also frustrating, as I hover between plus-sized and not, and have a generally hard-to-fit body. For every pair of pants that makes a reasonable approximation of my waist-to-hip ratio, I'll try on at least a dozen that don't. Due to these frustrations, I can get kind of twitchy about the whole subject.

What I am trying to internalize, though, is that clothes not made to fit me is their problem, not mine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my body. The path it travels between a size 14 and a size 18 is not a negative reflection on my character. My breasts are not less attractive at a 38B than they were at a 36C. And I have an absolute right to buy myself new things when the old ones don't fit--nothing makes me feel worse faster than facing getting dressed in the morning when everything in the closet is the wrong size. While it is a hindrance financially to have to buy new clothes every season in order to have things fit properly, doing so not a reflection on my character or even on my physical attractiveness. It is also not a reflection on something bad I'm doing--I don't yo-yo diet. I don't binge eat, at least not recently. My current slightly-smaller physique is due mostly to the bout of food poisoning that left me down nearly 20 lbs in four days a month or so ago, but I've made no particular effort to keep that weight off, or to put it back on. I try to eat a reasonable diet and eat when I am hungry, what I'm hungry for. I'm not physically active enough, but at this point in my life, given other health and lifestyle issues I am working on, I can accept that. I'm doing just fine.

I've been watching with great interest a Flickr project called Pictures of You. In it, women post photographs of themselves at different times in the history of their bodies and write notes on them explaining what was going on, how they felt about their bodies at the time, and how they feel about looking at the photos now. I submitted some pictures of my own, but as yet they haven't been added (the group may be closed, I'm not sure). Going through the photos and thinking about what to say about them was extremely cathartic, though, as was the prospect of sharing my thoughts, so I thought I'd do my own little exhibition here. Step right up for a brief photo history of Grace's body:

beach picture, 1994

This picture was taken in the early summer of 1994. I was 14. If memory serves, I was about 5'10" and weighed about 145 lbs. I wear a size 8 or 10. My breasts and hips hadn't developed yet and looking back at this picture, I had amazing legs. At the time, I had just started being truly concerned about my body, but weight wasn't an issue--I spent all my mortification on how tall I was and how I didn't have any chest to speak of. Looking at the picture, though, I see comfort, confidence, joy.

beach 1997

This picture is also at the beach, almost exactly three years later. I'm 17 and just about to leave home and high school. I've gone up another 1-2 inches and gained 15-20 lbs. I wear a size 12. By this point, I've begun to be concerned about my weight on and off, particularly the inner thighs I am blissfully showing in this shot. Looking back, I think I look fantastic, of course. I still have almost no chest, and it still bothers me.

with Simon, 1997

This picture is at the end of 1997, only about eight months after the previous picture. You can't tell, but I'm actually 10-15 lbs lighter here than I was before, due to a stressful first semester at college (my freshman 15 went the other way). I'm still generally in a size 12. However, I have started to really obsess about my body at this point, in part due to being larger than my new boyfriend (also pictured). Oddly, the first thing I notice about this picture now is how incredibly fat my arm looks. I think it's just a weird angle or something, because I know it wasn't that big, but I can't help but think it looks terrible. Guess I still have a long way to go.

lifeguarding, 1998

This incredibly silly picture, taken in the summer of 1998, represents probably the best shape I've ever been in as an adult. It is at the end of the summer when I got my lifeguard training and certification. I worked at a public pool and swam a lot (which also explains the hair and the tan). I'm at my full height by this point (about 6'1" but I am still calling it 5'11.5") and probably weigh about 160 lbs here, still in a 12. I honestly don't remember if I knew then how great I looked, but I sure know now.

smoking, summer 1999

This picture was taken the following summer, 1999. I'm 19 here. I've just been very very sick and my weight is way down--probably back down to 145 or close to it. I'm swimming in my size 12 clothes and have no money to buy anything else. My hips and breasts have started to actually come out by now, and my body just seems weird to me. Looking back on the picture, all I can think of is how much I love that haircut.

summer 2000 with sunburn

This is the following summer, 2000. I am 20. I am back up to my regular (at that time) weight, probably 165-170. I've moved to a size 14 in most clothes. I've developed a love/hate relationship with what I now think of as my enormous ass, and I wear baggy pants all the time. I still feel pretty good about my body, though, as shown in my typically short shirts and lack of sleeves. Looking back, it is hard for me not to think of this as my best natural body.

with Mark, 2002

This picture was taken in September of 2002. I'd just turned 22. My post-college weight gain has started, so I'm probably about 180 here. My breasts have blessedly grown and with the help of a push up bra I can actually fill out the front of that dress. I remember being concerned about how I was sitting when we took these pictures, as I wanted to be shorter than Mark in them (he's about 5'8"-5'9") and not have my legs squished up so they looked fatter. I guess it's safe to say I now officially have weight concerns. It bothers me that I weigh more than Mark, even though I know I'm much taller and built heavier. I'm wearing a size 14 and periodically try to get back into a 12 through crash dieting.

with Ata, 2005

This photo is, I believe, from the spring of 2005. I'm 25. I'm at around 200 lbs, struggling to stay in 14s and branching out to 16s much of the time, and really, furiously unhappy with my weight. When I saw this picture the first time, I mostly saw fat arms and belly rolls. With more retrospect, though, I don't think I look bad at all, and I remember the day (The Mighty Texas Dog Walk) as being a great time.

halloween as rosie the riveter, 2006

This is last Halloween, almost a year ago. I am probably at about 215 here. I'm wearing men's jeans with a 38 waist, and I've moved into a lot of size 18 clothes. I didn't show many people this picture when it was taken, because I thought it made me look fat (and honestly, it does). However, I have to end with it for the sake of symbolism now. I am a strong, beautiful, competent woman, no matter what I weigh or what size my pants are, and that is what this costume was supposed to be about. Comically, it's also an illustration of how wearing clothes that are actually too big for you does nothing to make you look smaller.

Today, October 3, 2007, I am 28. I am still about 6'1" and I weigh somewhere between 205-215, I think. I have on brand new jeans, which fit me perfectly and make me feel good, and they are a size 16. Whether I remain in this size, or go up, or go down, it's fine. That's not what that is about. This is about realizing that I look good in ALL of these pictures, and that the changes in my body are fine.


You carry your weight so well! You look great in all of those pictures, and even in the last picture, you definitely do not look 215 lbs.

I don't comment in your blog often, but I read it all the time ... and I just had to let you know that I think you look fabulous!!

Aw, thanks. This honestly wasn't me trying to troll for compliments, but I'll definitely take them. :)

Wow...tenacious snail had a post in her LJ the other day about how we think of a 200 or 300 pound woman as being big...but that most people have no idea what a 200 pound woman actually looks like. This confirms that for me. 200 pounds is less than I imagined. (I have a skewed perspective I think, being on the chicken-leg end of the scale).

It also confirms for me what I had begun to suspect...that women who think they are fat are not women who *I* think are fat.

Every size I've seen you at, you look good. Honestly.

Jess, you have to remember that I am extremely tall for a woman and also pretty bone-heavy, so I have always weighed more than it looks like I weigh. Even when I was very thin, I was never near as light as I was expected to be.

That being said, I think it's absolutely true that we generally have very skewed ideas of how numbers (weight, sizes) and bodies correlate, particularly those that are at the other end of the spectrum from our own. To me, everyone under size 8 looks like they must be size 0, you know?

Two thoughts I had during this post:

1. Jesus christ I look like a douche in that photo. I hope, but doubt, that that was halloween.

2. I also look really skeletal in it, which is funny, because I'd gained literally 45 pounds in the two years prior to the photo.

Other than just talking about myself, I'm going to go on a limb and say that I'm not sure only "western society" makes ladies think hard about how their bodies look. Not that I'm a great defender of "the west", just that I feel like it's a more global phenomenon.

Sorry, not a costume--it was a formal, I think. You have a lot of make-up on. I think it's funny.

You are probably right re: non-Western women, I just don't think I can speak to that. And for God's sake, knock off the "ladies." It makes me cringe.

I guess I do forget that you're so tall. But still, its not just you. There's an illustrated height weight chart floating around on the internet, and even looking at the women in my height range, I realize that I mentally clump a lot of people as "near my size" when I see them, but don't necessarily mentally clump those NUMBERS as "near my size" if that makes any sense. Its kind of an interesting phenomenon.

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NaBloPoMo and History Making Women

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Last year, I participated in NaBloPoMo, as envisioned by one of my favorite bloggers, the frighteningly amusing and inventive Eden. My contribution to the 2,000ish dedicated daily bloggers was my series on history making women. Though I was very into the project, I didn't get through the whole list, stopping abruptly at #78, Gloria Steinem sometime in February. This means that there are 27 women left on the poster to be profiled, which is a pretty good number to tackle during this year's NaBloPoMo, in November. So that's what I'm going to do. A lot of advance warning, I know, but I just wanted to let you know to watch this space for that, and invite all of you to participate in NaBloPoMo as well--it's great fun!


Gah. I'd love to do this, but I'll be in North Korea for a weekend. I'm not thinking there will be a lot of internet access.

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10 Things Meg Fowler Wants to Know

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I seem to have a big ole blog crush on Meg Fowler, and she posted this list of questions today, so I'm a gonna answer 'em.

1. Why do you live where you live?
We moved here for graduate school. It was one of a few place where both Mark and I got in, not either of our first choice, but seemed like a livable city and was offering us both full funding, so we came here.

2. Why do you do the job you do?
Well, I got into it with the idea that working with grants would make me very employable wherever we next land, which I think is pretty sound reasoning. It's also a good, steady job in a nice environment that pays me well.

3. Why are you with the person you’re with?
Wow, who can answer that in anything resembling a complete way? Because I love him. Because we have a lot of the same goals in life. Because we are able to live together comfortably and take care of each other. Because my life is better with him in it.

4. If you could change one thing about your life today, what would it be?
I'd move back to Oregon.

5. What is the greatest source of happiness in your life?
Depends on the day. My dogs, a lot of the time. Fiction, either in movies or in books, sometimes. Accomplishment, sometimes. Being with the people I love.

6. What is the greatest source of discontent in your life?
My health, I think. There is nothing serious wrong with me, but the million little things, especially the allergies, can get grating.

7. If you were handed $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
I'd pay off my credit card debt and build myself a savings cushion. And probably buy a few treats.

8. What is your favourite quality in a friend?
Comfort. I am happiest when spending time with the friends with whom I am totally comfortable. Mostly, that comes from history and shared perspective, I think.

9. What is an unforgivable mistake in a friendship?
Hmmm...I can't think of anything off the top of my head that would be unforgivable in every circumstance. Being mean to my dogs, maybe.

10. What is a true relationship dealbreaker for you?
Disrespect, basically. Unwillingness to change.

How about you? Wanna consider this a meme and be tagged? I'd love to see other people's responses--these aren't easy questions.


I want to answer! I love memes.

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And today on People Who Read My Mind...


Over at Pandagon, Amanda has a great post up about college education and class. Amanda and I seem to have many of the same experiences and thoughts on the subject, but she's much more professional sounding in her analysis and doesn't curse. You should read it.

The discussion to which Amanda's post is responding (taking place here and here, mostly) is one I also have thought on. Many thoughts. See, I have one of those useless degrees (mine is in history, which isn't on the list, but trust me, it's similar to those listed), and it's from an expensive private liberal arts college. According to the camp that thinks college should be about obtaining some sort of certification that will guarantee you a big income, and that you should do that at the lowest possible cost to yourself, I did pretty much everything wrong. I went into fat debt to get a degree in something that has no job possibilities, basically.

Except. Except for everything Amanda said about cultural capital. Except that every job I've had since college has required a degree, though none of them have required my exact degree. Except that I am 28 years old and firmly planted in the middle class (with fairly significant upward mobility). Except that that undergraduate degree opened up a whole bunch of graduate possibilities, some of which (law school, an MBA, etc.) may well have led to big money. That I didn't chose any of those paths is on me--I could have, and the undergraduate education I received at my schmancy liberal arts college would have put me in a good place to get into good schools (as it did with the path I did choose for graduate school, public policy programs).

And except that at the end of the day, I'm one of those crazy liberals who really values my education for its own sake. Sure, I complain about my student loan debt, and about the upper-crust ivory tower and how little of the real world it sees, but if I'm forced to be honest, I know that I spent four years getting a first-rate education in a subject that I was and am passionate about, and whatever else I ever do, that was worth my time.

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Worth a read

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Get thee over to The Gimp Parade and read the last few posts by the extraordinarily brilliant Kay. In particular, I love Kay's blogging against the incredibly bigoted Jerry Lewis and his telethon. I read everything new Kay puts up, and I can't recommend her highly enough.

Plus, I strive to provide the type of image description she clearly works so hard on. Yay for accessibility in blogging!


Hey! Thanks! :D

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Women blogging on music


Yesterday, Maria over at BlogHer posted an answer to a question that has been rolling around in my head lately as well: are there any women blogging about music? Turns out there are a good handful, including one I'll definitely be watching, Collected Sounds. Big thanks to Maria for this round-up, and if you are interested in reading women's music writing, definitely check out the post and comments for more places to look.

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Promised swimsuit photo

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Sadly, I can't find the swimsuit photo of myself and Melinda I wanted to post, nor did I manage to get a new photo taken this weekend, so this old one will have to do. I don't look exactly like this anymore, but it's still fairly recognizable as me (check out those big ass feet!). Anyway, heres to The Swimsuit Brigade for Honest Photos!



hmmm...maybe howell has it. i'll check and send it to you if that's the case.

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The Swimsuit Brigade for Honest Photos


Suzanne has a post at BlogHer challenging women to post photos of themselves in their swimsuits, to remind all of us that we're the real women with the real bodies out here, and that's OK--more than OK, actually, fabulous. She posted hers and there are/will be others in the comments. I am 100% for it and wanted to share. Since the most recent one of myself I can find is from 1997, I'll be attempting to do one of me tonight, digital camera battery willing.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the skin we live in, y'all.


It's gonna be great! Don't forget to post a link at BlogHer so that others can tell you how awesome you are as well!

i think you had a pic of you and me in the creek with chance from when howell and i visited a few years ago...if you can find it, it would be great b/c i'd would love to contribute to this project as well.

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A thought on not-so baby Jane


One of the things I am trying to do with the blog these days is highlight good posts I'm reading elsewhere on the blogosphere, and today that means recommending you head over to Hathor Legacy and read Scarlett's post from yesterday about roles for older women in Hollywood. And I'm not just suggesting you read it because Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is one of my favorite movies ever, I swear.

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I've been meaning, for a bit of time, to write about FlexPetz (no link from me, fuck them) and how much I hate the whole concept and how it makes me want to vomit. However, Laurie at BlogHer wrote a post this morning that made all of my major points without extraneous cursing, so go her.

One thing I will add is this: if you want an animal in your life, but don't feel ready to foster in your home, then you should really look into volunteering with an animal shelter or rescue. You can help homeless pets without putting them or yourself in a situation that is destined to fail. Pets should not be consumables, to be bought, or, in the case of FlexPetz, rented. While I can think of nothing in my life that has been as singularly rewarding as working in animal rescue, the rewards it brings to me are absolutely the wrong reason to do it. It has to be for them, first, last, and always.


See I thought this was a good idea for several reasons:
1. for kids. i think this is way preferable to kids thinking they could take care of a pet, getting it, and then giving it away in a few months. i thought this would be perfect when kids think they are responsible enough to have a pet, but aren't really. you could show them by adopting one for a day and showing them how much work it is.

2. people who know little about dogs, but want to try out a few breeds to see which one would be best.

3. people who are allergic to pets, and want to try out if a hypoallergenic pet is REALLY hypoallergenic or if they are allergic to certain breeds.

All of these goals can be achieved by volunteering, fostering, or working with breed-specific rescues to meet dogs of particular breeds - any of those choices makes a positive contribution instead of treating the dog as an object that can be taken out and played with when convenient.

Okay so if I foster a dog and figure out that I am allergic to him within an hour, how is he any better off? Are there a lot of purebreds available for me to foster to check my allergies?

And if the whole point is to bring a pet home for a day to convince your kid that they aren't responsible enough for a pet, fostering a pet doesn't really achieve that.

I just don't think it's evil to all pets to find a good fit between owner and pet, to make sure you're ready for a pet, and to save pets that would otherwise be euthanized. It's a pet one night stand!

Thanks for the shout-out, Grace.

Jenny - the "one night stand" factor is exactly the problem with these services. Sorry for your allergies, but dogs shouldn't have to be shuttled around like this to meet human needs. That's why pet rescues exist - people get in over their heads with animals they can't handle and give them up. I've had dogs for a long time and have known many people with pet allergies. They can usually tell within an hour or so if they're going to be affected. My ex could handle no pet hair or dander. He would start sniffling within a half hour or so of being in my parents' house. And given that allergies change with seasons, I wouldn't bank on it that you'd always have the same reaction.

Fostering is typically done by people who have a love for dogs in general or a particular breed, who care for them while permanent homes are being found. It's often the only alternative to sending them to a kill shelter. This kind of rental service is horrible for dogs, in my opinion. If you foster to see if you're allergic, what if you're allergic immediately and have to remove the dog from the home? A rescue organization wouldn't likely approve you to foster knowing that was a danger.

You can attend breed-specific dog shows or club meetings in your area to hang around with the animals and see if you can handle it. And as for the kids - if you feel they're not ready for a dog, tell them no. It worked for my mom. I didn't have a dog til I was out on my own. If you really want the kids to see the reality, have them hang out with a friend or family member who has a dog.

HOpe you find a dog that meets your needs, if it's the right time and place for you to have one. : )

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Online friends


Laurie wrote a fantastic post over at BlogHer this morning on the topic of online friends. Laurie was specifically talking mostly about blogging friends, as is the relevant post-BlogHer subject, but I think most of what she's got to say is germane to other types of online friends as well.

And it inspires a proclamation:

Hello, my name is Grace, and I have online friends, some of whom I have met in person and some of whom I have not. I am truly blessed to have these friends, just as I am to have the friends I met in more "traditional" ways. Having online friends is not a sign of my "dorkiness" or social antagonism, it's a sign of my willingness (as well as their willingness) to reach across physical distance and bond with people. My online community is, in its way, just as important a part of my community as the people who surround me physically. I communicate with many of them on a near-daily basis, and they provide one of my most persistent and important support networks. I appreciate them more than I could ever say.

I've thought a lot about this, and I don't think it's cowardly to have "online friends." I don't think it's fake, or really, in any essential way, different than having "real life" friends. I'm at a place in my life now where a large number of the friends I have who were originally "real life" friends have become mostly online friends by virtue of our having moved to different parts of the continent, and there is really very little difference between those relationships and the ones that have flourished mostly online from the start.

It's just not in me to think that communication, whether it's in written or verbal form, is bad. Often, when I'm posting here or writing a mammoth email, I think of the days of extensive letter writing, a la Dangerous Liaisons, and I have to wonder how much has really changed. People have been communicating writing for centuries, and whether that writing gets encrypted as 1s and 0s and send over wireless lines or takes the pen and paper approach, it's the same thing. We're able to do it in what amounts to more-or-less real time now, but the driving force behind it, the need to connect and communicate, is the same, and I embrace that.

So I wanted to say thanks to my Internet friends, particularly the ones who do me the great honor of reading my rambles here at WINOW. I really do appreciate you, and I hope I can come somewhere close to doing for you what you've done for me.

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Blogs I Met at BlogHer07


One of the things I decided I wanted to do while I was at BlogHer was write a post when I returned highlighting all of the new blogs I was introduced to (through their people!) while I was there. I want a list of them for my own reference, of course, but I also thought it would be fun to share them with whomever reads here. Please realize, however, that this list is by no means comprehensive--I am working from notes and collected business cards here, and I know I didn't make it home with all of the cards people gave me. So if I met you and your blog isn't on this list, I do apologize, and trust me, the oversight is not intentional.

So, the blogs!

The Astrologer: the name says it all--an astrology blog by KT

Body Impolitic: a blog about body image done by photographer Laurie Toby Edison (with whom I was lucky enough to talk during day one of the conference over lunch) and writer Debbie Notkin

Confessions of a Cardamom Addict: a beautiful food blog by Jasmine, who I met at the un-conference

Don't Gel Too Soon: a writing-focused personal blog by Cynthia, with whom I spoke at the Day 3 BlogHer un-conference (which was, incidentally, my favorite part of the conference)

A Drivel Runs Through It: personal blog by Patia, who I also met talking about writing at the un-conference

Ellinetha: a personal blog by Melina, who I met at the un-conference

I, Asshole: an old favorite blog, by SJ, who I chatted with about feminism on the first day of the conference

The I'mperfect Mom: a mommy blog by Jenn, with whom I shared a session on writing at the un-conference

Jen Lemen: this is another one that I don't actually remember writing down, but it's an absolutely lovely blog with fantastic visual art as well as good writing

Keeping Track of the Insanity: a personal blog by Melissa, with whom I spoke at the un-conference about boundaries and self-censorship in blogging.

Kerflop: I have no idea when I wrote this down, but I just looked it up and it's a great looking personal blog

LaurieWrites: a personal blog by Laurie, with one of my favorite taglines ever, "Talking about my feelings since 1971." I met Laurie at the un-conference as well.

Notes to Self: a personal blog by Kyran, with whom I don't remember speaking, but of whom I have become a fan based solely on her Ivan Albright post.

Red Stapler: this blog belongs to the lovely photo-taking Suebob. It's a personal blog with a bit o this and a bit o that. Suebob was one of the first people I met at BlogHer and her friendliness really helped me feel comfortable there.

Thought by Thought
: a spirituality blog by Tree, whom I met several times over the course of the conference, and who said nice things about my tattoo

ThreeSeven: I don't remember where I met, or if I met, Shannon, but she writes this fun ("wholly disreputable") personal blog

The Word Cellar: a professional writing blog by Jennifer, with whom I chatted about writing at the un-conference

The Write Spot: another professional writing/editing blog, by Anne-Marie

Like I said, this list is by no means comprehensive, but it's at least a place to start. I'll probably be adding to it as I find more cards in the bottom of my many bags. In the meantime, I'm going to be reading!


Can you tell me about this un-conference?

Yeah, I want to write a post about it, I'm just not up for it today. Maybe tomorrow.

Hi Grace--it was rad to meet you. People like you are why I go. I can have intelligent conversations without 4,000 disclaimers. Too bad our lunch table almost got hijack by that Kos nonsense.

It was super meeting you too! I need to do a 'roll-call' post about blogs I met as well. I'm so lazy!

Oh, yeah, no rush. I'm just over here being your demanding public. :)

Hi Grace - Thanks...I used to change my tagline all the time, but I'm kind of stuck on this one now. : )

I loved the unconference too! I want to work on the wiki some more but I haven't had any time since I've been home.

Hi Grace, it was nice to meet you and talk writing at the "unconference." That whole thing was such a great experience.

Thanks for the link! I'm looking forward to checking out your site.

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Picture with the Red Stapler!


I so feel that I've arrived. And hope that my hair doesn't usually look quite that bad.

Red Stapler Picture

Thanks, SueBob!


I see that this person has a lot of red stapler-holding folks in her flickr acct, but I have no idea what any of this means.

I'm not 100% sure myself--I think it's just a thing she does, going around at BlogHer and getting pics of as many folks as possible with her red stapler. Since my incredible shyness kept me from meeting many people at BlogHer, this is likely the only picture of me taken there. So I wanted to post it.

You are welcome.

It started last year when I didn't know anyone in person, and since my blog was Red Stapler, I took the stapler and, to meet people, asked them to pose with it. This year people were DEMANDING to be photographed with it. It is like a magic totem object. Just something fun and silly.

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Other people's stuff


Even though I have a whole category called "Other People's Blogs," I rarely link here to stuff I read elsewhere that moves me. I dunno why, I just don't much do it. This post, by Flea, guest-blogging at Feministe, however, needs to be read.

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Frog wrote something on her blog yesterday that really, really resonated with me. "Easter is about hope and renewal. It’s about believing in what you cannot see or touch but know in your heart to be true." You should go read it. I know I'll be reading it over and over for the next few days. As I've said before, I've never been very good at religiosity, and if it's about anything, Easter is about spring for me. I like that Frog can see both.


Thanks, Grace. :)

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Blogging debt away?

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There's an interesting bit in yesterday's NY Times, "Debtors Search for Discipline via Blogs." It chronicles a few blogs folks have started in order to be (anonymously) accountable to someone for their spending choices while trying to get out of debt. I am fascinated by and personally interested in this idea. Like "dieting," it seems that learning to spend responsibly is one of those things that may be better accomplished in a group setting (which is how things like Weight Watchers are so successful). However, most people just do not feel comfortable chatting up their friends about how much they are making and spending. Therein lies the beauty of the blog--anonymity, to whatever degree, and feeling like you are burdening your audience only if they are interested enough to keep reading.

I'm going to be adding a few of these debt-reducing bloggers to my side-bar and keep up with them for a while. Maybe it's even something I should consider doing myself.


You changed my life!!

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Mimi rockin' the house


Run, don't walk, over to read Mimi Smartypants' entry for yesterday.

Quoth Mimi:

To sum it all up: I am not going to switch doctors. I am not going to lose ten pounds. I am going to go to the gym, run on the treadmill (Dinosaur Jr, Daydream Nation, and some embarrassing downloaded cock-rock songs [shhhh]), lift weights (over-loud Christina Aguilera mixes), come home, and drink Old Style (Wu-Tang, Schubert's Death and the Maiden quartet, my daughter's monologues) just like I always do. I am going to continue to wish I were a brain in a jar, but I am going to try and appreciate my body for its alcohol-processing, fine-cheese-digesting, LT-pleasuring capabilities. And if the topic comes up next year, I am going to politely tell my doctor to eat a bag of dicks. Is there a polite way to do that? I will find one.

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5 Nice Things


Over on her blog, Thistle takes up a challenge, put forth by Echidne, to say five nice things about herself, without any hemming, hawing, or other couching. I think this is an excellent idea and every woman in the blogosphere should do it. So consider yourselves all tagged. As for me...

1. I take good care of the people and creatures I love.
2. I give fantastic presents.
3. I have a cool head in a crisis.
4. I'm self-sufficient.
5. I have an really excellent back.

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A brief rant on my name

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While peering at the Lizard Kingdom, I noticed the link to the Social Security Administration's baby names site. In 1979, when I was born, my name was the 343rd most popular female name in the U.S. I am so OK with that. Go Mom. In 2005, it was number 14. Fucking 14. Slightly less popular than Alexis, slightly more popular than Sarah. The female popularity equivalent of David. So not OK. I liked having a name that only old ladies had. I liked being not only the only Grace in my grade, but the only one in my school. No more.

Number 343 for 2005? Tatum. Maybe I should switch.


But if you change your name to Tatum, I won't be able to call you Gracie from the Block anymore!

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I deserve better


C-List Blogger

Thanks to Bomb for the self-esteem crushing link.


if it makes you feel any better, I'm a D-lister myself :) ... who needs all this external validation anyway?

Hey, but you're a strong C. :) And anyway, I'm amazed I received a letter at all - like I said, I really expected it to say, "I'm sorry, who?"

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Before and after

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As a follow up to the Dove piece I posted a few days ago (and is making its way around the Internet in a million other forums as well), I have to share something Nyarly brought to my attention. If you go here, then click on "portfolio" and "before/after," you can see celebrity photographs pre and post-digital enhancement.

One example, a picture of Mariah Carey, is shown below. Others are similarly revealing.

before pictureafter picture


Ooh! This is a topic I am very interested in!

At some point I just started photoshopping out all zits, unevenness of skin tone and sharpening jaw lines, etc.

I occasionally consider adding tattoos to people's faces, just to see how they'd react. My father was a big fan of the swastika I photoshopped onto his forehead in last year's Passover photographs.

I think I missed the window of opportunity for this post, though.


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Shilling a new blog


It's unusual that I point my (vast, I'm sure) readership towards two new blogs in one week, but that's exactly what I'm doing. Over at Biblelicious, a friend of mine is reading the Bible and blogging about it. She's a liberal, lesbian, Democrat, Baptist-raised, Catholic-educated intellectual tech geek babe, with a lot of fairly interesting ideas about religion, and I'm really enjoying reading her periodic updates on the Bible reading and interpretation. She's still in Genesis, too, so you have time to catch up.


Hey there! I found you on fussy's list of people who are doing the NaBloPoMo.

It's nice to see another openly identified feminist.

Hey, I didn't know you were reading!

Thanks for the shill.

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NaBloPoMo and No One Cares What You Had for Lunch


No One Cares What You Had for Lunch book coverby Margaret Mason
Peachpit Press, August 11, 2006

As November quickly approaches, and with it, National Blog Posting Month, I am becoming a bit trepadatious about my ability to blog something worth reading every single day for 30