Friday, December 31, 2010

Kathy Griffin on New Year's Eve

Contribution by Stevie Kirby

Kathy Griffin is the best New Years Eve host to come along in many years. I look forward to watching CNN this year and seeing her drop the ball with Anderson Cooper. Nothing is as funny as watching her give Anderson Cooper a run for his money. I love seeing him turn red at her jokes and innuendos. The other New Year's Eve shows are boring and hosted by people that are not as funny. I would rather spend my time watching a quality comedian and one that is not afraid to push the issues. Comedians have been too afraid lately to say what is on their mind. I love people that stand up for their right to be funny without being politically correct.

This year I will be watching Kathy Griffin on TVByDirect and enjoying my signal without interruptions. Nothing beats having fun entertainment and being able to enjoy a quiet New Years Eve. As you count down to 2011, please be safe and have a great New Year. Lets hope this next year brings everyone peace and joy and financial stability.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Magazines as holiday gift wrap

Guest post written by Beth Fitzwilliam

I love to read magazines. I read and subscribe to so many of them though that it seems like I'm constantly tossing them out in the recycling because I get so many of them. But I thought that this year for Christmas, I would use some of the especially neat looking magazine pages to wrap up some of my gifts in and even use as tissue paper in gift bags. I thought that would be especially good for my fashion magazines too.

But I wasn't smart or creative enough to think up of that one on my own. I had been online with my Clear internet a few weeks ago and I had been looking for new ways to wrap my gifts with things I already had around the house when I came across the magazine idea.

But the only problem with magazine gift wrap is that magazine pages are so small and they don't really do well for bigger gifts. But a lot of my gifts this year are actually gift cards and smaller things, so magazine pages are just about the right size for it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Grown up Christmas decorations

Guest post written by Melanie Watson

Now that I'm out on my own, it's weird that I have a place to call my own that I can decorate at my own will. But just because it's weird doesn't mean that it's a bad thing though.

I had so much fun looking up some decorations that I could order and make online with my Clearwire. I've always thought that you could celebrate Christmas with colors besides red and green, so I'm going to decorate with the colors green and purple.

I think it will look really funky, although once I started all of my holiday decorating it reminded me a little bit of Mardi Gras. Besides, Mardi Gras is pretty festive too! I also incorporated some really great gold decorations too, especially with these gold beaded garland on my tree that kind or reminds me of those beaded necklaces from Mardi Gras. I didn't really make that connection until I started trimming the tree, but I do like the overall effect and I decided to just go with it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

iPad Planning

I've been saving up to maybe get myself an iPad. It's probably going to have to wait until after the holidays because gift buying for other people comes first. (I also wouldn't mind waiting until the iPad comes to Verizon, because that would just be more convenient.)

So it occurred to me that when I do get one, I'm going to have to project of loading all of the videos and stuff that I have onto it, including all of the ones that probably aren't in the right format for the iPad. I figured that I can't be only person to have this problem, so I searched around a little for some video converter options. I remembered finding a program to help with transferring some songs off of an old iPod that I had, so I knew there had to be something similar for videos.

Sure enough, I found a site that has a bunch of different converters for all of the video formats out there. They've got an iPad Video Converter, so I'll be all set when the time comes. It can also extract audio from videos and convert audio into a format that's compatible with the iPad. I'm not totally tech challenged but I'm not a real expert either, so I know this will make my life easier.

I also noticed that that have a video converter for Mac, which will be helpful when I want to share videos with those friends of mine who are hardcore Mac devotees. I would make a joke at their expense right now normally...but once I get my iPad I think I just might be joining them.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Skiing at Timberline

Author: Dorsey Velasquez

This year, for the first time in recorded history of the Timberline Lodge in Oregon, they were able to open the slopes before the middle of November. My family and I rented a cabin for the Thanksgiving holiday and chose to go skiing instead of having a turkey. We set the Home security systems, asked the neighbor to watch the dog and went to the mountain. It was beautiful up there! There was more than three feet of fresh, powdery snow on the slopes. It was the perfect getaway in the middle of shopping and everyone making a big fuss over the holiday.

It was so refreshing to have a break from the usual holiday that my family has. Uncle George wasn't drunk on the couch, Grandma didn't burn the turkey and the kids didn't argue and fight over being upgraded to the adult table. It was a pleasant change. Not to mention, skiing is the one thing that brings the family together. We can all share in the joy of trying newer and bigger slopes and it's so nice to relax in the lodge with a cup of hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire playing Scrabble or just enjoying a good book. Skiing at Timberline was the best Thanksgiving my family could have had. Hopefully we can do it for Christmas too!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Music Monday: Burlesque

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday With My Mother

Written by Daron Curtis

My mother is the person I love shopping with the most on Black Friday. She lives two hours a way in a small town, so she comes the night before and spends the night. We usually get up early in the morning and plan our day over some coffee and catch up a little. When we leave the house to go shopping I set my besthomesecurity home security alarm while we decide which truck to take.

We are a great pair when we go shopping because she tells me what my relatives want and I tell her what my children want for Christmas. Almost all of our shopping is for Christmas presents. We are known to visit the grocery store for occasional Black Friday deals on meat as well. Our plan is to have all of our Christmas and New Years shopping done in one day but this rarely happens. We usually get too tired to shop past mid after-noon.

Once the major purchases are made we retire at the local tea house for some relief. A few years ago, on Black Friday we went to the spa afterward and it was a wonderful treat. Spending time with my mother is one of the best parts of the busiest day of shopping.

Holiday Shopping: Shoes!

It's officially holiday shopping season, and I've been having fun checking out all of the great deals that are out there. Of course, the priority is getting all of the gifts that I want to give to my family and friends, but sometimes I can't resist doing a little shopping for myself too. It's just too easy to justify with so many sales and specials going on.

One of my favorite things to shop for is shoes, and one of my favorite sites for that is They've got a great selection, good customer service, and free shipping. (Always a plus.) So I'm easily distracted from my holiday shopping and I'm currently looking at shoes for myself.

Love these Cole Haan boots:

Boots are definitely my weakness, but I like Cole Haan shoes in general because they're good quality. Some of them can be a little on the expensive side for me, but I think sometimes they're worth the investment because they're classic styles that go with everything and they'll last me a long time. Of course, if I can get a pair on sale and get free shipping too, I'm totally okay with that.

And I may be able to work in some holiday shopping after all, because there's also a Cole Haan Kids line of shoes. Look at these adorable little things:

And if I'm going to order some shoes as a gift, then it's okay to get something for myself, right? I mean, it's not like I'm going to have to pay more for shipping, thanks to the awesomeness of Zappos. I love holiday shopping.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hosting Time

Awhile back I wrote about eventually "going legit" with this blog and making some improvements to it. Since then...well, okay, I haven't really done too much. What can I say? I've been busy! But I am looking into it again, and one of my first topics to research is my web hosting options. Eventually I plan to move this site to its own domain and find a hosting site that works for me.

I found a really helpful site that has reviews and ratings for lots of hosting sites, plus a hosting guide to walk you through the process, and current news related to web hosting. One of the things that I like most is that they have customer reviews for all of the different sites out there. There are so many opinions about which site is the best, and sometimes when you read a review on some random website you don't really know if you can trust it, so it's nice to be able to read a variety of reviews from actual customers so you get an idea of what to expect from each site.

Another helpful thing on this site is their best web hosting awards. They have awards for different categories, like Best Blog Hosting and Best Budget Hosting, which are both very relevant to my interests. This is really helpful because sometimes even if you've heard a lot of recommendations for a particular hosting company, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the right one for what you need.

So now that I think I have a better idea of what I need in a web host, I'm going to start to work on the site right away. Well, maybe not right away, it is the holiday season after all. Let's call it a New Year's resolution.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Holiday shopping season is about to start, which means a lot of people out there spending a lot of money. I like to go overboard when it comes to buying gifts and decorations and all of that fun stuff, but I also always try to have a plan for how I'm going to pay for everything and not go too credit card crazy. And when the time comes for New Year's resolutions, I try to think a little bit about my financial plan for the next year.

Luckily for me, I've never had any majorly serious financial problems. But I did learn some good lessons from a friend of mine who did run into trouble and and eventually needed some help with debt relief. She was a bit of a shopaholic who did go overboard with her credit cards. She also had some student loans from school (don't we all?) and not a lot of savings, so when she got laid off last year and had trouble finding a new job she ended up in serious trouble.

Luckily for her, she found a good Debt Settlement company to help her out with her situation. She was the type of person who never bothered to learn much about managing money. Of course, that changed once she ran into trouble, but she was still overwhelmed and intimidated when faced with the prospect of debt negotiation, so she was really glad to find a company that gave her the support she needed.

She definitely learned her lesson from the experience, and now she's the first to counsel any friends of hers that she sees heading down the wrong financial path. I've gotten some good tips from her, and I think we'll all manage to stay debt free this holiday season.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Shopping: Baby Clothes Are Too Cute

So I've started to work on my holiday shopping. Well, okay, I haven't actually bought anything yet, but I'm figuring out who I need to shop for and what to get for everyone. I have a couple of friends and relatives who have babies or toddlers to shop for, and that presents a bit of a problem for me. Why, you ask? Because baby clothes are just too cute.

Yes, it's true. The cuteness of most baby clothes represents a challenge for me. First, I have a hard time deciding what to get, and then I overbuy. It's all just so darn cute.

Cute little dresses:

Cute little onesies:

Cute little shoes:

It's just too much adorability for me to resist. And this is just the clothes! I haven't even started on toys or stuffed animals or little children's books or...well, you get the idea. At least this part of my shopping list is really easy and fun to do. And I know that when I have my own kids someday, I'm going to be totally broke. But at least my kids will look super cute!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Foodie Friday: Peanut Brittle

The holidays are coming, which means lots of parties and events and, of course, lots of gift-giving. I'm usually a last minute shopper but I'm trying to be a little bit more organized this year and at least figure out what I need to get ahead of time.

I'm starting with some of the smaller stuff. You know the type - hostess gifts, teacher gifts, gifts for the receptionist at your office, that sort of thing. I'm a foodie so I like to do food gifts, assuming that I at least know the person well enough to know that they're not going to be horribly allergic to whatever I give them. Homemade food gifts can be great sometimes, but I don't always have the time to make them. (Sorry, Martha Stewart!)

But even if I'm not going to make my own gifts, I like to try to do something a little different from your standard box of candy or cookies. This year I'm ordering some peanut brittle from See's Candies. It's different without being too out there, it's made from quality ingredients, and it's affordable. I plan on being pretty popular this holiday season.

My new favorite author

Guest post written by Molly Wright

No matter what I watch or read, it just has to include some humor. So when my cousin who has the same taste in books as me suggested that I give reading some Christopher Moore books a try, I trusted him.

I went online with my ClearTVBundle to buy one of his books and it took me a while to pick out which book I was going to buy because he has so many that have so many great reviews. But I finally picked a few and ordered them.

The first Christopher Moore book that I read was The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, which is about when a town psychiatrist puts everyone on placebos instead of antidepressants and a sea monster terrorizes the same town after a blues singer wakes him up. To say the least, it's hilarious. I think that I'm going to be reading just books by him for a while, because I can't get enough with just this one book. But they're so easy to read that I don't think it will take all that long.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Pumpkins

Candle and miniature pumpkins

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Green Gamblers

We had our first experience in a casino recently, and we've learned a couple of things. First, that gambling is fun. (More fun if you're responsible about it and don't lose a ton of money, obviously.) And second, that we're really not very good at it.

We'd like to improve our skills a little bit before our next casino adventure. So, we're considering checking out some online gambling sites. But we know that there are some sketchy sites out there, so we're definitely doing our research before we decide to go for it. We're starting with this site that's a guide to online casino sites. It's got a directory, reviews, and information about the casino regulations that cover online gambling sites to help us find some that are reputable.

We mostly stuck to the slots when we were at the casino, but next time we go we'll probably want to branch out, so we're looking at reviews and ratings to find the best sites for online blackjack and stuff like that too. Of course, we my chicken out entirely, but if we do decide to give this a try, at least we'll be well prepared.

Has anyone had any experience with online casinos? Good or bad idea? What do you think?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Losing weight together

Guest post written by Miriam Sloop

Every once in a while I'll get really into a workout routine and be really enthusiastic about it. But then if something happens that won't let me continue to do it and if I even miss a few days for some reason like a project at work or getting a cold for a few days, then I'll get out of the routine of the work out and stop doing it. I don't want that to happen that again.

So this time I'm getting my teenage daughter on board because she's been talking abotu how she wants to start some good exercise habits before she goes off to college. I got to looking online with our clear tv bundle about some easy exercise things that we could do together.

I found this one really great web site that has all kinds of workout instructions and routines on free videos that you can stream right on it. Me and my daughter have tried it out with yoga and pilates which are more of my speed and kickboxing, which I think is her preferred method of exercise.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Practicing for the Halloween party

Guest post written by Kaylie Turner

When it comes ot most things in life, I tend to do stuff at teh last minute. And that honestly works for me, but if it's something that I'm really excited about, I'll actually plan for it ahead of time. That's the case with Halloween.

We always host a Halloween party every year and that's one of the things that I take a lot of care planning. I was online with my wireless internet service a few days ago trying to come up with some recipes for us to fix for it and am really excited because I found some that I think will be really different.

Now we don't have kids and a lot of our friends don't either, so we're going to be serving alcohol at our party and i found some good drink recipes. Some of those are shooter recipes that have all kinds of crazy Halloween themed names, like The Devil's Tequila Furnace, which frankly just sounds a little crazy. I think we're going to have a really good time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday:Candles

Candles lit

Headed to Lion Country!

Author: Theresa Guerrero

Nothing is better than heading to State College, Pennsylvania to spend the day at the Nittany Lion's football field! We look forward to going to these games every year. That is why we buy season tickets. If for some reason we are unable to go, due to an illness or other obligations, we rely on DirecTV to watch the game.

Because we live further away from the University, we usually make it an overnight stay. Sometimes it turns into an entire weekend getaway if the games are held later in the day. Traffic can be pretty congested during these weekends so we want to give ourselves plenty of time to get to the game and staying overnight seems to take some of the stress off.

We enjoy seeing the coach, Joe Paterno; the team players, old and new; and of course, the Nittany Lion mascot! And what more can be said about the Penn State students, they add an amazing amount of energy to the stadium! Whether one is decked out in blue and white or attempting a complete 'white out', it is great fun for our family and the friends that go with us!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Apples

Basket of apples

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cooking with Spice

I love to cook. I'm all about experimenting with recipes and trying out new styles of cooking. I'm also really into spicy food. So my collection of herbs and spices is always growing, because I like to have whatever I need for anything that I might feel like making.

Of course, this means that I need to have a way of keeping it all organized so that I can find the cumin or pumpkin pie spice or whatever the spice of the day is quickly and easily. Enter kitchen spice racks. There are a couple of different types that I like. For some of the stuff that I don't use as often, and the backup jars of stuff that I use all the time, I like the spice racks that can be hidden away in drawers or cabinets.

For the stuff that I use more often, I like a smaller spice rack that can go on the counter. This one has a really cool mad scientist sort of vibe to it, and it's also really easy to see and grab exactly what you're looking for.

And for functional and decorative purposes, I also like a nice wall spice rack. They add a colorful touch to a kitchen, and they're easy to organize. I like to alphabetize my spices, because it makes it easy to find things...and because I'm a foodie dork.

What are your favorite spices to cook with? How do you organize them?

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm Ready for Fall TV

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TiVo. All opinions are 100% mine.

I admit it. I'm a TV junkie. I watch so much different stuff - from sports to cheesy reality shows to dramas to documentaries. From Mad Men to Gossip Girl and everything in between. People who say that they don't own TVs or don't watch them are like aliens to me.

So obviously a good DVR is a must for someone like me, especially at the start of the Fall TV season when there are so many new shows to check out. That's why I was excited to hear about the new TiVo Premiere and TiVo Slide remote. It's got a lot of cool features that can help you make sure you'll never miss anything that you might want to see.

The one feature that's most exciting to me is TiVo Collections.  When you use that feature along with TiVo search, it can help you find full past seasons of shows from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand or Blockbuster On Demand, as well as any upcoming episodes.  (You can also use TiVo Search to search for any current shows, movies, or even web videos.) I love this because I'm the type of person who will just decide to start watching a show and get caught up on multiple seasons all at once, marathon style.  I did that with season one of True Blood and seasons one and two of Mad Men, and now I'm hooked on both shows.  I'm considering starting on Sons of Anarchy now because I've heard so many good things about it, so if you watch it feel free to leave a comment and help convince me to go for it.

The TiVo Premiere also has a Fall TV Guru Guide, which sounds like it would be really helpful for keeping track of all of the new shows that are starting now.  I always have a hard time deciding which shows are going to be worth checking out, and which ones are going to end up getting the axe after two episodes.  I like the sound of some of the new "girl power" type shows for this fall, like the CW's Nikita and NBC's Chase, so a guide like this would probably help me figure out which one is worth a spot on my viewing schedule.     

One more cool thing is that there's a feature that's similar to IMDB that helps you search for everything that a particular actor has done.  My friends and I are always catching different actors in random guest-starring roles - guess that's what happens when you watch so much TV - or having those moments where you say "hey it's that guy from...wait, where is he from?"  So it would be great to have the ability to search that right at your fingertips.

Clearly this is something that I need in my life.  So I became a Facebook Fan of TiVo (a sure sign of your devotion to all forms of media) and I entered the "30 Slides in 30 Days" Sweepstakes.  They're giving away a TiVo Slide remote every day for 30 days.  The deadline to enter is 9/22 so you should definitely Enter to Win now!  You should also leave a comment and tell me what you're watching this season.  I'm always looking for new shows.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rain Chains

I was visiting my aunt the other day when that big rain storm came through. Luckily it wasn't too bad where she lives. I love being at her house when it rains because she has rain chains and I think they're so cool. If you're not familiar with rain chains, they're basically decorative chains or metal cups that hang and can take the place of a gutter spout. They look really pretty and when it rains many of them also sound nice too. Kinda like a wind chime sort of thing.

It's not really practical for me to do the rain chain thing where I live right now, but I'm definitely planning on it in the future. I think it's an unexpected nice touch to a garden, and I like that it lets you take something that's usually pretty unattractive like a gutter and turn it into something much more beautiful.

Usually people put some sort of catch basin at the bottom of their rain chain. It looks nice, it protects the ground below from getting too waterlogged, and it allows you to collect the rain water which can be used for a bird bath or to water plants and things like that. This copper rain chain and catch basin is really pretty:

Nice, right? I'm looking forward to the next time it rains.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Multiple Sclerosis

A family member died of Multiple Sclerosis a few years ago, so every year I donate money to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This upcoming year I'm planning on doing the MS Walk as well.

For those of you who don't know MS is affects the central nervous system (i.e., the brain and spinal cord). It causes nerve degernation and affects one's ability to perform certain movements.

He had technically had multiple sclerosis for over 20 years, as he was diagnosed early on but he really suffered from the heavy Ms Symptoms until later years. These included depression, spasms and tremors, weakness and fatigue, loss of eyesight, and lots and lots of pain.

One thing that always confused me about him, was the fact that he didn't really seem to care about taking care of himself. He drank a lot, he smoked, he didn't eat well at all. This didn't really make sense to me. I know if I had a disease like multiple sclerosis I would want to prolong my life (and my quality of life) as long as possible. That includes abstaining from stuff that would hurt my body further (like alcohol!) and eating a healthy, low-fat, low-sugar, and low-sodium Ms Diet.

I don't know what really stopped him from taking care of himself... Maybe he felt like it was pointless to try to be healthy when he believed he was ill? Maybe he was depressed and didn't care anymore? Maybe he just wasn't disciplined enough to kick his bad habits and start new ones? Maybe he was in denial or just too stubborn to change his lifestyle any more than he had to? I don't know and I probably never will.

What I do know, is that he could have possibly prolonged the length of his life and improved the quality of his life, but he didn't. So I know that if I am ever put in a similar situation I will do whatever I have to do. In the meantime, I will continue donating to the National MS Society and spreading the word.

*Photos (and some facts) courtesy of

Monday, September 13, 2010

Music Monday: Florence and the Machine at the VMAs

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Going Victorian

I'm still having fun doing some fantasy decorating on the "stately manor" house that I'm sure to own someday very soon. Before I got onto this stately manor kick, I wrote about a cool mailbox that I saw and really liked. The only problem is that that mailbox was very modern and curvy and sleek. But I feel like if we're going in the manor house direction, then I should switch it up and look at some more Victorian mailboxes.

Luckily, when it comes to decorating I have really eccentric tastes, so I can switch gears easily. Of course, this is a blessing and a curse, because I love almost everything, so as a result I want to buy everything and have to be careful that my rooms stay on the eccentric side and don't cross the line into "potential hoarder" or "hot mess".

Anyway, mailboxes. Some of these Victorian wall mailbox options are really pretty.

This indoor letter holder is really intricate and unique. I do think there's something vaguely The Haunting-esque about it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing depending on the look that you're going for.

Then there are the Victorian pedestal mailboxes. Not only do these look really nice, but somehow I feel like it makes your mail seem more important. Maybe that's because the style of these mailboxes comes from a time when people still regularly wrote actual letters to each other. Some of them also have a slightly mysterious feel to me, as if they're going to contain secret spy messages or letters from a famous detective or something like that.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Foodie Friday: Sassy Stemware

So I have to confess something. I'm not a big wine lover. I know that most foodies are also into wine, but I've never really gotten there. I'm more of a cocktail person. I think that's partially because I've never taken the time to really learn much about wine, and I'm going to work on that.

Of course, not really loving wine hasn't stopped me from loving nice stemware and stemware racks. I think they just look cool and sophisticated.

I especially like this hanging wine glass rack. It has a restaurant feel and an industrial sort of look, and it's also a good way to maximize your space. And I've already written about my love for steel appliances and accessories in the kitchen.
Of course, even though most of these are meant for wine and wine bottles, I can still use them as bar glass racks for my barware, liquor bottles, and cocktail shakers and other accessories.

So, who wants to teach me about wine? I'll pay you in homemade mojitos and caipirinhas.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The NFL Season is Coming

Silhouette of football on tee

Gardening One Box at a Time

The other day I talked about how I'm experimenting with easy ways to get into gardening, because I'd like to be better at it but I want to start small so that I don't get overwhelmed with a whole garden full of plants that I don't know how to care for. One way to do that is with planters, because you can try out different plants and flowers but do it in a small and manageable space.

I've shopped for some regular planters but I've also been looking at window boxes. I think they make a nice addition to any garden, and they're also great if you don't have a lot of space to work with.

I've always liked the look of window flower boxes, because you can really make some cool visual statements by mixing colors (or going with just one bold color) or switching up different heights and styles of plants.

Another thing a window box can be great for is growing herbs. That's one thing that I do know a little bit about since I love to cook. Planters are really good for certain herbs, like mint, that have a tendency to grow like crazy and overwhelm a garden. But really you can grow just about any herb in a planter and it's really cool to be able to have a lot of different fresh herbs on hand for cooking.

It's also not a bad time to start with this project now. Since the seasons are changing, I can get a fresh start with seasonally appropriate plants. As soon as I figure out what those are. I have a little bit of research to do.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Music Monday: Jace Everett's "Bad Things" (The True Blood Theme)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

SWF seeking...?

I was thinking of moving to the city, but it's just really expensive to live there. (I mean, it's worth the money, but it's still a lot of money.) So I went on one of those roommate finder websites to see if I could find some cool people to live with - and more importantly split rent with!

I had never done an online roommate search so I wasn't exactly prepared for all the questions they were going to ask me about myself and my potential roommates. I expected the basics like smoker or non-smoker, but you can actually search by age, gender, sexual orientation, profession (choices include student, professional, retired or 'others'), and whether you have a pet or a child.*

That surprised me, because I thought you weren't allowed to ask questions like that (something about the Fair Housing Act not letting you discriminate). It's not a DATING site! Although there is the option to choose 'not disclosed' (for yourself) or 'doesn't matter' (for your potential roommates) on certain questions, some of it still seemed a little weird to me. but I guess because it's optional and since the goal of the sites are to bring togethe potential roommates and not necessarily tenants/landlords, then it might be a grey area.

I know that the federal law does not include sexual orientation, but many states - including New York - do protect against this kind of discrimination...  so I'm not completely sure what makes it okay to ask for this information on a website for roommates. Maybe because it's optional? Maybe because websites are protected as Internet 'forums'? I don't know.

But it all makes me wonder...

If you're going to live with someone, I guess there are some reasons why you'd want to know personal kinds of information about a potential roommate... If you have a young child, you might not want to live with a college student who parties all night long. (Or, if you're someone who parties all night long, you might not want to live with someone who has a young child.) Or if you're in a long distance relationship, your signficant other might get jealous if you were living with someone you could possibly be romantically become entangled with... so in that case the gender and sexual orientation of your potential roommates might actually matter.

I also know that certain religions don't allow living with members of the opposite sex (even if it's platonic) so it wouldn't necessarily be discrimination based on gender if you didn't want to share a bedroom or bathroom with someone who isn't your gender.

While technically it would be discrimination if someone specified "I want a straight, white roommate", it's not exactly the same as discriminating against a potential employee. It's more like "I'm a racist homophobic bigot and you don't want to live with me anyway." (And that wouldn't just apply to gay people either; I'm straight and white, but I wouldn't want to live with a racist homophobic bigot either!)

And theoretically, if you're welcoming a roommate into your home... you should have a right to be somewhat discerning about who you live with. It's not a public space.  Who you live with is a personal choice. It seems shitty to say it, but I don't want to live with someone if I disagree with their 'morals' (or really, if they would disagree with mine... or my lack thereof). But then... there's so much that goes into sharing a living space with someone. I wouldn't want to live with someone who eats lots of tuna fish or does drugs or never bathes or snores or breeds cats or listens to Celine Dion all day. I wish there was a website that would help me find a roommate using search criteria like that!

But when it comes to sexual orientation, I don't care who they're sleeping with as long as they do it in their room and not on the kitchen table where I eat breakfast!

*Information on search criteria came from and which are the only two sites I checked out. I can't speak for any other sites.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Foodie Friday: Cooking with Stainless Steel

I know this is a little late and it's technically Foodie Saturday now. Sorry!

I love stainless steel kitchen stuff. I just think it looks modern and cool. My fantasy kitchen would be full of stainless steel appliances, but in the meantime, there are a lot of smaller kitchen items that I can shop for to get the look. Right now I'm really liking Blomus stainless steel kitchen accessories.

I love this cheese slicer. This would get a lot of use in my kitchen because I'm one of those people who believe that cheese, like Nutella, improves almost every dish. (Okay, well, they probably wouldn't work together. Choose one or the other to be safe.)

I also really like this towel clip. I'd probably need more than one because I always make a huge mess when I'm cooking or baking.

And of course, you've also got to have a stainless steel egg lifter. I didn't realize until this moment that I do, in fact, need an egg lifter, but now I'm totally convinced that I do.

I'm also a really big tea lover, so I basically want all of the Blomus stainless steel tea accessories.

Stainless steel tea glasses are a fun alternative to regular mugs:

This teapot is adorable:

And I love these tea sticks:

And finally some Blomus stainless steel salad bowls - practical and good for counter top decorative purposes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Stately Manor Needs a Garden

I was having a little bit of fun the other day writing about what I would do if I had one of those huge stately manor type mansions that every family on every soap opera seems to have. I've talked mailboxes and fancy address plaques, but one thing I didn't really cover was the garden. What's a stately manor without some well-manicured gardens, right?

So I've been doing a little fantasy shopping for some decorative items for my many lovely gardens. Like this sun and moon sundial:

And this Whitehall patio furniture:

And what fancy estate would be complete without an old-school door knocker? Makes it much easier to imagine a butler answering the door:

And to round out the garden decor, I really like these nature hooks. You can use them to hang plants, lanterns, bird feeders, hanging bird baths, wind chimes, or whatever else you can think of. Of course when I say "you", I mean my fantasy gardener, because I'm definitely going to need one to keep all of these stately gardens looking nice.

I think someone should just go ahead and give me a stately manor now that I've got all of these amazing decorating plans all laid out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Fall is Coming

Gramercy Park in Autumn

Scrub a dub dub....

This may be a little known fact here in the blogosphere, but I wasn't always the talented and popular (and humble) blogger I am today. I worked a series of lousy jobs over the years... many of them in the medical field (which is odd, considering that I'm totally squeamish). Now, that's not to say that I did anything medical... I typically worked the office: reception, billing, filing, whatever... but there was always the possibility that I would cross-paths with something... 'medical-ish'.

I've worked for veterinarians, chiropractors, pediatricians, orthopedists and even an acupuncturist. Each job was vastly different, but one thing was always the same: the outfit. Yep, I had to wear scrubs! Even though I wasn't coming even remotely close to touching a patient. And did I mention that they made me buy my own scrubs? They didn't even provide them for me. To make matters worse, they didn't let me re-use the scrubs from my previous jobs. That's right... every time I started a new job, I had to buy a new pair of womens scrubs.

So strangely enough I've become an expert at buying scrubs for women. So for those of you who work in this industry... here are a few tips:

Just because it's your job to take care of others doesn't mean that you should forget about yourself. Get a pair that's comfortable! Make sure you size them properly... most scrub bottoms come with a drawstring waist, but if they're really too big that drawstring won't help you. Nothing is worse than having to constantly pull up your pants while you're trying to look professional and treat patients. Darker colors are always more slimming and flattering. However, if you're very pale (like I am) you'll look totally washed out and sickly in too dark of a pair. You don't want to look sicker than your patients, because then no one will trust you to take care of them. Even though working in the medical industry isn't exactly a glamorous position, that's no reason you can't look good. The better you look, the better you'll feel and the better you will do your job. It's true.

*All scrubs photos courtesy of Blue Sky Scrubs. (If you buy your scrubs from them, they send a free hat to a cancer patient for every purchase of scrubs, as part of their Project Blue Sky.)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's in a name?

I was watching SportsCenter the other day and they mentioned a game that happened at PETCO Park in San Diego. It's kinda depressing sometimes when sports arenas and concert venues have to change to the names of their corporate sponsors. Most visiting teams aren't going to be too intimidated by a name like Qualcomm Stadium.

Here in the New York area, we're still getting used to the transition from Shea Stadium to Citi Field. But we know it could be worse, and at least it doesn't sound too corporate. And on the west coast I'm sure it's similar. It sounds cooler to say that you're going to the Hollywood Bowl or got Great Western Forum tickets than it does to say that you're off to AT&T Park. (And if you do happen to be in the market for some Hollywood Bowl tickets and want to test this theory, Jack Johnson's going to be there next month. Love him.)

For football fans, the mention of, say, Lambeau Field conjures up images and memories of epic clashes on frozen tundra and other NFL Films voiceover phrases like that. (Although, not being a Packers fan myself, I'm curious about whether those Lambeau Field tickets are still selling like they did when Brett Favre was there.) It's not quite the same feeling when your stadium has a name like Sun Life Stadium or FedEx Field.

I guess I'm spoiled as a New York sports fan, because here we still have Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and the Meadowlands. No offense to any of the teams that play at Corporate Park, but I hope our venues keep their names for a long time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Music Monday: Taylor Swift's "Mine"

I have to confess that I love Taylor Swift. I know that not everyone's a fan, but I think she's adorable and talented. (I also love the way she handled breaking up with one of the Jonas Brothers.) Her new video for the song "Mine" is really sweet:

My Stately Manor

Confession time: I watched One Life to Live today. I have SoapNet and sometimes I'm not afraid to use it. I always have to laugh at how every soap has its own set of super powerful families with decades long roots in some small town and huge mansions and "family businesses" that are actually huge corporations that just happen to be set in said little town. On OLTL the big mansions even have names - Llanfair and La Boulet. (Admittedly the La Boulet naming was mostly played for laughs.)

If I ever own a stately manor, it'll have a name like GardenLakeGlenCrest Estates and I'll get a fancy address sign like this:

Nice, right? Or maybe I'll go for the wall-mounted address plaque style instead. Something like this:

I'll probably just get both. Can't be too careful. And of course I'll need one of these, because everyone needs to know how exclusive my fancy estate is:

Or I could go poetic and make people think that I'm some sort of mysterious reclusive writer or artist or something:

Of course, if you're rich enough to afford your own stately manor, you have to switch out your address plaques for all of the major holidays.
Wait, I found it! The perfect plaque for my manor house. It's beautiful. It's unique. It's sophisticated. It's classy.

What do you think? Perfect, isn't it?