Took me a long time to learn this one. Actually, I’m still learning this one.
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Took me a long time to learn this one. Actually, I’m still learning this one.
Support Kimchi + get original artwork!
She parted her full lips and smiled. "My name is Shahliha." The mysterious, shapely maiden in the pearl-gray cloak who had shadowed his steps ever since he had alighted from Corsair's Breakwater had been his sister all along, then! The lass he had not seen in eighteen years, since the night of the red doors – kin to him, and his last link to a family he thought lost forever.
"Thank goodness none of our previous interactions were tinged with eroticism," Danveniel thought to himself as he helped her from her horse. They'd never touched one another, sexually.
Sobering but important.
Who will care for your animals after your death? If you are fortunate, family or friends will do so. The specifics should be part of your estate planning; you should not take anything for granted. People may not be able or willing to take on the responsibility for your pets.
After the death of an owner, beloved pets may be dumped at a shelter or tossed out of the house or even euthanized. Old cats that have only known one home and one owner, end up sitting in a cage, bewildered and depressed. When someone comes to the shelter looking for a pet, they are going to adopt the young, outgoing cat, not the depressed animal sitting in the back of her cage. If it is not a no-kill shelter, the feline survivor will soon be euthanized.
To avoid this, you need to plan. If you are lucky, you’ll just need to discuss your animals’ care with your family and friends. You probably should include a provision in your will. If you don’t have people that you can depend on to take care of your animals, you may need to set up a trust or make other complicated arrangements. Most states have specific statues for establishing a Pet Trust.
You cannot just leave money (or anything else) to your pets. Animals are not ‘persons’ legally. Only humans or corporations can inherit directly. And no matter how much money your cats have, they’ll need people to spend it for them.
If you leave money to a dog, you will be considered crazy (or eccentric, if you were rich enough). Anyone who challenges your wishes in court will succeed. On the other hand, if you leave a reasonable amount of money to a person or to a trust to care for your animals, you will be considered a responsible individual and your wishes will most likely be upheld.
This book is somewhat pricey for a paperback, but cheap for legal advice. The first part reviews the options open to pet owners. The appendices are the most useful part of the book, once you have figured out what to do. References to the appropriate state statutes, checklists for planning, and pet information sheet guidelines are included. There are no sample forms: the law varies from state to state and the complexity of tax and other considerations will probably require a local attorney to set up a trust.
The importance of making arrangements for the care of your pets if you are temporarily incapacitated are also discussed. Who takes care of your animals if you are in an accident and don’t make it home tonight? The authors suggest a Durable Power of Attorney and also provide a wallet card so people know you have pets and who to call.
Besides your companion animals, don’t forget other animals that depend on you: livestock and any other farm or domestic animals. If you have stray cats that you feed, try to find someone to help you who will continue when you are gone. The same goes for birds who need your feeders to get through the winter.
Your death should not cause unnecessary suffering to animals that depend on you. A little planning can probably prevent that from happening.
-- Walter Noiseux
Who Will Care When You’re Not There?: Estate Planning for Pet Owners.
By Robert E. Kass and Elizabeth A. Carrie
2011, 130 pages
If you are inundated with credit card offers, OptOutPrescreen.com is the best way to stop them. It’s like the “Do Not Call” list for credit card offers.
About a year after I started college, I began getting credit card offers. On a bad day I’d receive up to four offers from various credit card companies. Having to deal with that much junk mail was a real annoyance, and I tended to throw the envelopes into a box and either shred them or burn them all at one time. One day, a year or so after I finished college, I was sitting in the lobby of my mechanic shop and reading the newspaper. That’s when I read a column extolling the virtues of OptOutPrescreen.com, a service that claimed to get that pesky first-year-no-interest monkey off my back.
So that afternoon I went to the website and filled out the required info (name, address, SSN, and date of birth.) For roughly two weeks I still received the same volume of CC offers as before signing up. After a month, however, the flow of credit card offers had dramatically slowed. Within two months, I was getting NO offers. Fantastic!
My experience matched with OptOutPrescreen.com’s confirmation page, which states “Your request will be completed within 5 business days. Although your request becomes effective with Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion within five business days of your request, you may not see an immediate reduction in the amount of offers you receive. This is because your name may have already been provided to some companies that have not yet mailed their offers to you. You may continue to receive certain firm offers for several months.”
Here’s how it works: Once you sign up for the service, they will then send your information to the companies that provide consumer credit reporting services (Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion.) These companies will then take you off the mailing lists they distribute to credit card companies and you will stop receiving offers from those credit card companies. Simple as that.
The website states your request to opt-out of CC offers is good for five years, however this can change if you sign up for a service that sells your name and address to CC companies, or apply for a credit card. I noticed recently after purchasing a website domain and space to set up a friends’ commercial website, the credit card offers started pouring in again. I went back to OptOutPrescreen.com and re-applied. I thought now would be an apropos moment to write a review of this great resource.
Finally, they do warn you that “while your name will be removed from the lists that Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion provide to businesses for the purpose of making you a firm offer of credit or insurance, you may continue to receive offers from sources that do not use Consumer Credit Reporting Companies to compile their lists.”
Great service, highly recommended.
-- Owen Kelly
This is my song for you today:
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and it’s truly wonderful to have voices speak out about something so many of us struggle with. It’s not an easy subject or even one that people understand. Even the people most vulnerable to suicide have a hard time understanding it.
There are many things I could say here but there’s one thing that I hope you hear completely if you are one of us…one of the strange people who feels things too strongly…one of the people who battle with a brain that tries to kill you…one of the people who has to remind yourself that depression lies. It does. But I’ve said that before. This, however, is new:
One of the things that always saves me when I feel the deep isolation that comes with depression is the thought that I’m not alone – that so many amazing people are in this same dark place. And they feel alone but they aren’t. I’m with them. Sometimes you’re with us too. You might not be able to feel us here because your brain has robbed you of the ability to feel (or to not feel) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You are here. You are needed.
You are home.
I mean that in two ways. You are home with us, the strange ones feeling the same doubt and pain, who understand and who would be the first to tell you that you are needed and necessary and that if we are going to keep fighting you have to as well. That’s just basic fairness. We rely on each other because no one else understands totally this terrible halfway-gone waiting place we have to survive until life comes back to us.
And I mean it in another way. You are home. You are home for the wonderful things that you still have to offer the world. You are home to unique thoughts that will help and inspire others. You are home to people who love you. And you are home to people who will one day meet you and tuck themselves into your heart for shelter.
You are home. You are real. You are needed. You are loved. You. Even if we’ve never met, know that I mean you. The you doubting yourself. The you who doesn’t let on how tough it is. The you who doesn’t know if you’ll make it through. You will. You’re gonna get through this. Even if you don’t feel it yet, trust me, you are already home.
PS. I know a lot of people who don’t touch this subject because it’s complicated, or maybe isn’t something they feel they understand enough to write about and I completely get that. There are all sorts of ways to help, from sharing suicide hotline numbers, or asking someone who seems down if they’re okay, or leaving an encouraging post-it note on a bathroom mirror, or just reaching out to say something kind to a friend. The small act of telling someone how important they are to you can be a limb to cling to when everything else in the world seems to be telling you otherwise. Spread kindness. Pick a few people and tell them the world is better with them in it. You make such a difference. Every single one of you. Thank you for answering the door when we ask for help. Thank you for being home.
Did not know about the anonymous service! Excellent option in a situation like this.
Dear Captain & Army,
About a month ago, I finally broke things off with a long-term Darth Vader ex I’ll call Joe. We officially broke up last year, but spent this summer falling in love all over again, though we kept it completely secret. However, when Joe finally admitted to cheating on me with a very close friend while we were still together – something I had long suspected but never had confirmed, and which he had directly lied to me about many times – I knew it had to be over, once and for all. So, despite Joe’s protestations and pleas, I told him not to contact me ever again, and after a few days of mourning (and not reaching out, despite wanting to very badly) found the courage to block him in every way possible. Only in the last week was I finally starting to feel something more than the emotional mess that is equal parts angry, sad and nostalgic.
But then, just yesterday, I got a call from another ex, someone I briefly dated just a few months before Joe and I resumed our relationship. The ex told me they were recently tested for STIs, and came up positive for a common one. I immediately made an appointment for myself, and am now waiting for results to come back.
Of course, I know that if the test comes back positive that I will have to tell Joe. But I’m already worrying about having any contact with this person again, who I have finally removed completely from my life and who was a 100% toxic influence. I feel that news like this merits a phone call, but the thought of even hearing Joe’s voice again fills me with sadness, dread and, if I’m totally honest, excitement. I worry that I won’t be able to keep the conversation to simply the facts of the situation, and that if I open that doorway right now, I won’t be emotionally able to shut it again. My only friend who knows about our summer fling suggested writing an e-mail, and then keeping Joe’s blocked so he can’t respond. But I feel like that is somehow wrong, considering this is an issue of sexual health and safety.
What do you think, Captain? Should I call, or will an e-mail suffice? And either way, how do I make sure to stay to the script? Is there a good script for this?
Dear Possibly Positive:
Would you believe that there are greeting cards for just this occasion? And that there are services where you can send this info anonymously (recommended!)? And that there’s a very sweet show on Netflix called “Scrotal Recall” about just this problem if you’d like to feel less alone about the whole thing?
You do not have to have a talk with “Joe” about this, LW, and you don’t owe him and the “close friend” he was sleeping with anything but the basic information to protect their health. If you choose not to use InSPOT, an email (DEFINITELY EMAIL OR POSTAL MAIL, NO PHONE OR MEETING UP) script might go like this:
“Dear Joe/Dear Friend:
One of my former sex partners tested positive for _______ STI, and given the timing you may have been exposed, too. Please get tested and inform your partners.”
“I recently tested positive for _______ STI, and I recommend that you get tested and inform recent sex partners as well.”
Informing them takes care of your ethical responsibilities here. I do think you should reach out to the friend as well (Do you honestly trust Joe to take care of someone else’s health in an ethical way?) Once you convey the info, you don’t need to have one iota more discussion or provide any more details.You can safely ignore/block any replies. You do not have to listen to Joe’s reactions or care about his feelings right now. Pesky microbes are not a referendum on you or on your past relationships, and reaching out with key health information is one good exception for violating a “no contact” policy.
I hope you get answers soon and that they alleviate your anxiety. When you climb back on the dating horse, this might help.
P.S. There’s always singing telegrams!
I have been following the recent stories on polyamorous relationships, both on Offbeat Home and elsewhere, and saying a silent "hallelujah." I've been in a polyfidelitous triad (like a marriage but with three people) for thirteen years, but I've never found the strength or the venue to start a larger conversation about long-term polyamorist relationships.
But given how long the three of us have been together, I feel like I can offer some useful tidbits of advice and some observations on living a life that exists on the fringes but still in the mainstream.
In spite of our happiness and optimism, our larger relationships suffered in the first few years. We endured periods of estrangement and strained relationships with some family members in the beginning.
Once people saw that we were serious and were not barreling down the road to Relationship Armageddon, their views changed. It was slow and painful at times, but at this point we have full support, inclusion, and love from our families. We have found schools, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals who welcome us and are supportive. We have an excellent group of friends who accept us for who we are.
In an effort to meet other families like ours, we spent a brief time meeting with a polyamory group in our city. We found many different relationship configurations but nothing that looked like what we had. There were people looking for recreational sex partners, trying to figure out how to make an affair into something livable, or trying to cope with a spouse's desire for "fun" outside the relationship. We didn't meet anyone who seemed like us.
In the end, we decided that we had our friends, and that even if none of them had a family like ours, we were okay with that. Families are different, and we had things in common with our current friends that were much more important than the genders or number of partners in their relationships.
We've had good times and bad times in our relationship, just like people in any relationship do. We disagree sometimes, we feel jealous or hurt sometimes, we have money problems sometimes. Our ups and downs aren't any greater in number or severity than anyone else's.
We have three kids. Do I need to say any more about how un-porn-like our relationship is? In all seriousness, I would guess that we have a sex life that is very parallel to most married couples. We don't get as much as we'd like, but we get by. My female partner has chronic pain issues, and that has definitely been a challenge, but we work with what we have. I can safely say that nobody will be knocking down our door looking for an adult film contract any time soon.
Of course, it also means one more parent to go ask when they don't like the answer they are given by the others, and they are subjected to 150 percent of the supervision that their friends are. We believe that to be a good thing. Our kids are smart, friendly, personable, and confident.
When I was pregnant with kid No. 2, we went to a lawyer to try to set things up so that we could all have some legal tie to each of the kids. After many interesting conversations, it was decided that three people cannot legally parent one child. We were able to work things out to a point where we felt reasonably secure, but it took a while. The moral of the story is that you should find a good lawyer, develop a relationship with that person, and put things in writing. It's not perfect, but writing things down in an official sense is important.
We own our home. To be exact, I have the mortgage (this time around) and all of our names are on the title. We have moved and refinanced, so we've gone through the home-buying process several times.
Often, I feel like we should make a pamphlet. It could say things like "Yes, his wife knows about me" and "No, they are not getting divorced" or "He's not my husband, he's her husband, but we really want a loan together." Everyone, from the realtor to the closing agent will need a quick explanation. Don't take offense, just roll with it.
A long-time friend of ours once said, "You know, you meet so many people who look normal from the outside, and then you find out they're screwed up. With you guys, it's the opposite — you look weird from the outside, but once I got to know you, I realized you're just pretty boring." Thanks, I think…
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Might need to pick up that Revlon soon...
The best eyeliner stays on as long as possible while looking great, with deep pigmentation and perfect, uniform coverage, and comes off without a huge hassle. After more than 100 collective hours researching eyeliners; considering more than 100 gels, pencils, and liquids; and testing more than 50, we’ve found the three best eyeliners in pencil, liquid, and gel: Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner pencil ($20), Revlon Colorstay Skinny Liquid Liner ($8), and the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($25).
Dear captain awkward and army,
A handful of my friends have become parents this year. Consequently, and as expected, I don’t see them very often any more, and when I do, it’s for brief 30-minute “passing by” visits just to see how they and their rapidly developing Von Neumann machines are doing.
I’d like to invite them to larger gatherings and events, and shape these gatherings so that new parents feel like
a) they can take their kid without feeling like it would be a distraction or burden b) they could genuinely enjoy themselves c) the setting won’t be too chaotic even with multiple adults and kids d) the kids themselves would be comfortable, happy, and safe e) travel wouldn’t be inconvenient.
I live in a major metropolis where apartment space is coveted, so the home setting is limited.
But I’d just like to give my parent friends opportunities to socialize and do really fun things without making any implicit unreasonable demands to inconvenience themselves. Not having kids myself, I’m looking for best practices to provide that.
And to parents in the awkward army, what would something like this look like to you?
-Friend to new families
Here are a few coping strategies for Friends of Parents of SMALL Children to keep in mind, (*) will be included for those strategies that only work for couples. Single parents, you are impressive beyond my ability to express. Amazing.
4 – Try a standing-invitation event. (A variation on the Open House) This is kind of 400-level social maven advice, and heavily dependent on one person birddogging it, but it has really worked for me: Have a once-weekly Thing to which people are invited. It must be flexible enough to accommodate ALL the invitees or only one showing up. Maybe it’s a weekly potluck. Maybe it’s game night. Maybe it’s weekly rifftrax. The goal is to have something that is attractive to your friends, reliable on their calendars, and easy to say “shoot, I can’t make this one but I hope I see everyone next time.”
Lots of things get "reclaimed" — body shapes, offensive words, etc. Today I'm doing something bizarre: I am reclaiming disease.
September is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Month.
I'm going to present you with a narrative that is NOT popular with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: I am proud of and happy with me having PCOS. Because what it gave me is a beautiful, soft, warm, luxurious face and body full of curly, beautiful fur. Like a tree, I am decorated in moss from my face, neck, chest, and nipples down to my belly, cunt, back, asshole, and legs.
It is my crowning and all-enrobed glory. It is my pelt. It is my fecund, abundant femininity sprouting forth in pheromone-laden, primal, earthy joy.
I am not beautiful despite it. It is part of my beauty.
So, yes. I have trouble losing weight around the middle, and my periods are torture, and I can't make babies. (I'd rather adopt anyway!) I look at it as a small sacrifice for not just my fur but for what I have been able to do with it — I raise visibility.
I offer an alternative route to self-loathing (not that shaving is self-loathing. But thinking you are a "mistake" is). I tell women they don't have to "be grateful for whatever they can get," and settle for concern trolls, fetishists, and white knights. I show that a woman can — if she wants — be hairy AND happy.
That said, I do not want to trivialize the trials of those people with PCOS. I do understand and recognize that it causes pain — emotional and physical — for many people. I honor that, I respect that, and my heart breaks for them.But with so much of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome rhetoric revolving around phrases like "overcoming" and "battling with" and "suffering from," I want to expose a different viewpoint. I want to — without policing or shaming — show that one can, if one wants, embrace their endocrine variance as part of what makes them special and beautiful.
I'm proud of my beard. I'm proud of my hair. I'm proud of my high testosterone. I'm proud of my ovaries for being the ovaries they are.
And if all this does is show others with PCOS that it doesn't have to be a sentence? Then that's good enough.
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Dear Baba Yaga,
I’ve always been able to make friends and have people love me platonically, but I’ve never had anyone really fall in love with me romantically. I’m easily thought of as cool and a great and supportive friend, but this doesn’t translate into the dating world. Can I remedy this?
There is , in some forgotten creek in yr woods a small tortoise shell loaded with jewels–covering the wellspring of that dried aquifer. In this shell you ; have hoarded all yr pretty qualities, you have carefully placed the shiny heavy stones you think will make others ) love you. But in gathering them so you have hidden them; lift the shell–let the waters rise back up & flood the stream; let the water blast the shell open & carry yr precious gems far & wide. It is in this wild rushing & abandon of what you believe makes you lovable that others will see you as a raw creature to be chased & peered at.
Previously: How Can I Forgive My Narcissistic Mother?
Taisia Kitaiskaia is a poet and writer living in Austin. She’s taking questions on behalf of Baba Yaga at askbabayaga [at] gmail.com.
Illustration of Baba Yaga’s hut by Katy Horan.
A mother in Bellevue, Nebraska found these notes in her “drawer of fun.” (Looks like somebody wants a new little brother or sister!)
Finding self-confidence and a style identity as a fat babe in a world that's constantly labeling us as "Before" pictures can seem like a near-impossible task. We live in a society that generally glorifies thin body types as perfection, while labeling plus-sizers as people who need to be "fixed."
You might recognize this bride from her vow renewal featured on Offbeat Bride…
I don't have a thigh gap; in fact, mine are full of cellulite. My hips are wide, my booty is enormous, I have a belly, my arms are big, and I weigh a solid 300lbs — yet people stop me on the street constantly to compliment me on my style. This is how I found the courage to come out from underneath baggy, shapeless clothes and embrace my curves, "flaws" and all.
I'd often catch myself looking at my body and thinking that it was ugly, or gross, or too big/too cellulite-y/too stretch marked. I realized that I was constantly bashing my body; that I was bullying it and making myself feel worse.
To remedy this, I decided to stop allowing myself to use negative words when thinking about my body. Whenever I did slip up and have those thoughts, I'd make myself go back and compliment myself instead. My inner dialogue went something like, "Ugh, nothing fits me right, I feel so ugly… but my butt looks really good in these jeans, and I have such a nice smile."
It felt silly at first, but when I kept it up I saw that it was really starting to improve my outlook not only on my body but on life in general.
It's so easy to get caught up on body image. Our society teaches us that it's tightly connected to our self-worth, which just isn't true. Part of gaining the self-confidence to rock the edgy fashion trends I want to (sheer! crop tops! short shorts!) was realizing that I have so much more to offer the world than my appearance. I wrote a list of all the things at which I'm excellent and kept it taped to my mirror, so that every morning, I'd be reminded that I have value as a person and an identity beyond the word "fat."
All my life, people have hurled weight-related insults at me. I've been called a whale, a pig, tubby, a chubbers, fat; every time someone called me one of those, it stung me deeply and left me feeling insecure for days.Realizing that "fat" isn't synonymous with "ugly" was a big game-changer for me. I AM fat. So what? "Fat" and "beautiful" aren't mutually exclusive adjectives. I can be both. When I feel down, I scroll through body-positive hashtags on Tumblr and Instagram. Seeing all those photos and posts of fat babes absolutely killing it always reminds me that being fat doesn't automatically equate to being unattractive.
I unapologetically rock crop tops and sheer blouses with nothing but a bra underneath. I go sleeveless, I wear short shorts. I participate in whatever fashion trends I feel like participating in, because no one owes anyone "flattering." Being yourself is enough, without body shapers, without long-sleeves and pants, without covering up and hiding your body to make other people more comfortable. YOU have to be happy with YOURSELF and not live for other people.
I used to wear baggy sweaters in 90-degree weather because I didn't want people to see my fat arms, my rolls, my chub. Now my comfort and happiness are my number one priority. I no longer care what people think about my cellulite, fat, etc., and that's such a powerful, liberating feeling.
My mantra is: If people don't like the way I look, they don't have to look at me. Some people won't like the way you look. You're going to have haters. That's just part of life. Universal popularity is unattainable, so instead of trying for it, you'd might as well make yourself happy.
Body acceptance/love is a process that takes time and work, but when you're feeling up to it, I dare you to try out new trends that go out of your comfort zone. The first time I went out in public in a sleeveless dress, I was terrified and insecure. The second time wasn't as bad. And now I don't even think twice about it. When you go out of your fashion comfort zone, and the world doesn't end, you'll feel unstoppable!
Self-confidence doesn't always come easily, but cutting out negative self-talk, taking stock of your true value, realizing that "fat" isn't an insult or synonymous with "ugly," and forcing myself to step out of my fatshion comfort zone helped me to be able to love myself for who I am, stretch marks and all. Because we live in a society that glorifies skinny regardless of health, people will always try to make fat people feel badly about themselves, perhaps even more so if they have the "audacity" to be both fat AND happy.
Being confident and secure in yourself makes it easier to let negative comments roll off, as the fabulous Jinkx Monsoon would say, "like water off a duck's back." So, get out there, be large, and become your own brand of fatshionista! There's no better feeling than the self-confidence that comes with unapologetically rocking your curves and knowing you're hot as hell.
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The Tithe To Hell And When To Pay It
Dealing with the Queen of Elphame
Iron safe to touch on FODMAPs diet??
husband refused dance with elf-king's daughter, now front door won't stop knocking?? HELP
[Comments closed for this post] Erlkönig really something to worry about? My MIL said...
YES YES I have Taro powder and boba and haven't yet recreated a good bubble tea!!
Good convention tips for those of us who suffer from anxiety!
Mmmm...Adult lunch boxes. I want these stainless steel containers!
As promised, here’s the first installment of Paleo Lunchboxes 2015, my annual collaboration with our pals at LunchBots—makers of the gleaming stainless steel food containers you see in these posts. Our goal every year is to inspire you and demonstrate that packed lunches can be simple, nourishing, and magically delicious for kids and adults alike.
Ready to tackle packed lunches this year? Yeah…me neither.
Unfortunately, healthy lunches won’t make themselves, but they don’t have to be complicated to be fantastic. In fact, to keep things as easy as possible, today’s packed lunch repurposes leftovers from the night before!
Here’s how to tackle this lunch (and dinner!):
For an easy weeknight dinner, roast a chicken (or two) for and a tray of carrots. Serve the chicken and carrots with a giant green salad and you’re good to go. Before you hit the sack (or, if you’re a procrastinator like me, the following morning), throw together a simple chicken salad, chop some fruit and veggies, swirl up a quick dipping sauce, and add some optional Paleo crackers.
Need more deets?
Chicken salad is super simple and versatile if you’ve got leftover chicken and mayonnaise on hand. You can make your own mayo or buy a jar of Primal Kitchen Mayo (Psst! You can save 15% if you use the code: nomnom).
To make chicken salad, I combine diced cooked chicken with mayonnaise flavored with my favorite spice blend and fresh herbs (e.g. scallions, tarragon, or chervil). If I’m feeling fancy (and not so lazy), I might add some diced celery, cherry tomatoes, or apples. Madras Chicken Salad is one of my favorite chicken salad variations.
Next, stack some cucumber sticks with leftover roasted carrot sticks.
My kids like something crunchy in their lunches, so I sometimes add some Paleo-friendly crackers. If you want to make your own crackers, try Gluten Free on a Shoestring’s recipe for Crunchy Paleo Crackers—it’s easy and tasty.
If baking your own crackers sounds like a chore to you, just stock up on Jilz Gluten Free Crackerz—or leave them out. There’s nothing wrong with going cracker-free!
My kids also like to dunk their veggies in a flavored dip. There are tons of Paleo remoulade and ranch dressing recipes out there (including in my cookbook!), but when I’m in a rush, I’ll simply mix some mayonnaise with fresh herbs and spices.
Need dip ideas?
Tartar Sauce = ½ cup mayo + 2 T finely diced cornichons + 1 T lemon juice + 1 tsp Dijon mustard + 1 tsp minced capers
Cilantro Lime Mayo = ½ cup mayo + 2 T minced cilantro + 1 T lime juice
Curry Mayo = ½ cup mayo + 1 tsp curry powder + 1 T lime juice
Smoky Mayo = ½ cup mayo + 1 tsp smoked paprika + 1 T lemon juice
Add some fresh fruit…
…and you’ve got a hearty lunch on hand!
To keep this meal cold until lunchtime, I chill the packed LunchBot in the fridge overnight. If you prefer to pack meals in the morning, keep your empty LunchBots in the fridge overnight so they’re already chilled—or stick ’em in the freezer for 10 minutes before you start packing your lunches. Because LunchBots are stainless steel, they chill super fast. Once the containers are cold, I transfer them to an insulated lunch bag with frozen reusable ice blocks. Alternatively, you can get a PackIt Freezeable Lunch Bags that have freezable gel permanently built into the liner.
Happy lunching! Stay tuned for the next installment—and in the meantime, check out our lunch ideas from previous years’ series!
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my New York Times- bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).
All of these comics are great, all of them are about women, all of them have the same impish sense of humor and adventure. And perhaps most importantly, all of them are full of cats.
Sharing for the link to the "Perfect illustration of anxiety" A beautiful photography series that explores visually what Anxiety feels like. Many of these photos resonate with me.
Have you been following Rory’s adventures around the world? Because you should be. If you’re lost, go here to catch up. I’ve been sick for the last few weeks but I’ve been traveling vicariously with Rory and it’s been lovely and probably not just because there is a lot of codeine in this cough medicine. In the last week he’s been to Korea, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Mount Rushmore, London, Canada, Australia, and in lots and lots of trouble.
You should check them out here but here are a few of my very favorites which weirdly seem to tell a story:
Maybe it’s just me.
And now, the weekly wrap-up…
This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by…I dunno. Me? Can I bring it to you? Let’s say yes. This is for you from me. You’re welcome.
Just what I needed to read today
The Government: we need children to run the military
Bonzo: welcome to battle school
the only thing you need to know about life up here is that we only have two kinds of swearing
"fart face" and vicious racial slurs
Bonzo: we'll kill you as soon as look at you
but we'll never say "shit"
Peter: now that Ender has gone to space to become a general, we must do our part to change humanity
what should we do
Peter: let's leave comments about political theory on the internet until the government offers us jobs
Non-pro, aspiring pro, makeup journeyman, makeup novice, etc.:
We are starting a new series of posts from Tania of Makeup To Go — a makeup artist for the entertainment industries, and friend of the Empire. These posts are all about makeup: the basics, advice, and products. I, for one, am super excited, because I know NOTHING about makeup. So think of these as "Megan simple makeup" posts for folks like, well, me.
-Megan, Offbeat Home editor
Without. A. Doubt. the number one product I am asked about is mascara. All the folks who ask about it — laypeople and fellow makeup artists alike — seem to be on the eternal quest for the perfect mascara. It’s kind of a setup of a question, however, because I also find that mascara is an intensely personal choice. So what I might look for in a mascara someone else may hate, and my “Holy Grail” mascaras might end up in someone else’s trash bin.
All I can do is offer my advice as someone who — because of my work as a makeup artist — has tried a lot of different mascara on a lot of different eyes.
Actually I don’t personally wear mascara. However, having used a lot of different products on a lot of different faces, I have some pretty concrete ideas about what I’m looking for. My criteria for The Basic Mascara are:
Criteria established, here are some of my top mascara picks, both new and classic. Oh, and another thing: I base my assessment on the formulation, not the brush.
In no particular order, here are my top 10 best mascaras:
This naturally derived, eco-certified brand constantly delivers. If you’ve been disappointed by the performance of natural mascaras before, look no further than RMS. Rose Marie Swift is a makeup artist, and her line performs like a makeup artist's line. The mascara is available in either a Defining or a Volumizing formula. While I like both, I tend to gravitate to the Volumizing whenever it’s time for a restock.
Korres used to be a fully naturally derived brand as well. Unfortunately because of corporate buy-outs, that’s no longer the case. In fact, I hear they may no longer be cruelty-free, which is unfortunate. Back when these things were not an issue, I used their B5 & Rice Bran Mascara regularly. They describe it as lengthening and defining, but I found it gave nice volume as well. I used to describe it as my “natural Great Lash.”
What can be said about Diorshow that hasn’t been said already? Thirty thousand “Loves” and counting on the Sephora website tells the tale. This mascara creates thick, juicy, velvety lashes even when you do not use their legendary wand (just use a fat disposable wand for similar effect).
As the name implies, this mascara is supposed give the illusion that you’re wearing falsies. It doesn’t look like you’re wearing false eyelashes, but it does a very nice job of building up lashes, particularly those on the — shall we say — more puny side.
This formula is lengthening, volumizing, and curling all in one. I have heard, however, people say it caused their lashes to dry out and break off, so they must be using some powerful stuff in the formulation. I’d either save this one for special occasions or use a lash conditioner regularly (vitamin E or jojoba oil works wonders to condition the lash line).
Every now and then I encounter a client who says that any mascara they use just slips off almost immediately. For folks who find this to be the case, I recommend going to a cake mascara.
All mascaras used to come in cake form before mascara tubes. The formulation is drier by nature (to use, you just activate with water) and less prone to slippage. Besame Cosmetics is a relatively new brand with a vintage feel, and I’m digging their cake mascara. The colors (available in black and brown) are rich, the formulation is smooth, you can apply as many layers as you dare to get the depth and fullness you desire, and once applied, it lasted all day. I recently used it on a photo shoot, and it was fabtastic.
I love Tarte cosmetics, so let’s just get this out of the way: I’m totally biased. Over the years they’ve had a number of mascaras, and they’ve all been excellent in my opinion. What’s nice is Tarte has “greened” their line and become a largely naturally derived brand, yet the performance has remained the same. This 4-in-1 mascara lengthens, curls, volumizes, and conditions for lush and dramatic lashes. I prefer this for private clients versus photographic use (I think the conditioning oils make this mascara break down a bit faster under lights). They also make an extra Volumizing formula and a waterproof formula.
Okay, remember when I said I was judging these mascaras based on the formula not the wand? Well, this one really IS about the wand. I know some folks who disdain the ball, but it is the secret to picking up every. single. lash. I mean EVERY lash, even those teeny tiny ones in the inner corner. If you prefer to use a traditional wand, you’ll still be happy with the result. The formula itself is creamy, smooth, and non-flaking and leaves you with well-defined, long, and lush lashes with a nice sheen.
The legend and with good reason. Thick, gloopy, and crazy pliable, with the change of a wand type, I can create any kind of lash I want. For me, Great Lash is the “winner and still champion” of all mascaras. And at $6-$8 a tube, it isn’t painful to throw it out and get a new one when three months are up.
I have a couple of items I think are worth a mention, even though one I do not use often and one is new to me:
Alright, makeup-loving Homies, let's keep the great advice going. What are your favorite mascaras?
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Got this for xmas - might have to try it out now
I came across a good low-cost solution for cutting the cord from your cable company in favor of over-the-air (OTA) digital HD (ATSC) broadcast signals: the Mediasonic HW-150PVR.
While almost anyone can plug a simple antenna into their TV and get programming (and you should confirm you receive strong signal before buying this box), this $37 box adds DVR and program guide functionality for your broadcast signals – two things people might be less willing to give up when leaving cable. Guide data is received over the air, so results may vary.
Definitely a Tivo is a superior device – one key thing lacking in this device is the ability to set a “season pass” (record every episode of a show by name). But for a fraction of the price and avoiding Tivo’s monthly guide data fee, this device might be adequate for your needs (recordings can still be scheduled by time).
It requires an external USB drive for recording, which means you actually have to spend more than $37, but also means you can have lots of storage and can easily move the recordings to a PC (where you could also convert them into a suitable format for a tablet).
Including rabbit ears and a decent size USB drive, you could easily be up and running for $100 all-in.
Check out the user manual here.
-- Adam Berson
[Read the Amazon reviews to learn about some of the frustrating things about this converter. The reason we are including it is because it is a very low-cost alternative to TiVo and other subscription based DVR services. -- Mark Frauenfelder]
Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorx ATSC Digital TV Converter Box with Media Player and Recording PVR Function/HDMI Out
Available from Amazon
The greatest possible good in life is never to be yelled at. There is no higher goal, no purer aim. There is no achievement sweeter, no more towering legacy, than to make it from birth to death without ever having once being yelled at. Better never to go anywhere, never to do anything, if the end result is to go through life without someone having yelled at you. Sweeter than immortality, more precious than fame, the greatest reward of all is nobody yelling at you.
I myself have spent the better part of my young life looking for ratholes and empty train cars to dive into rather than face being yelled at.
Want to share this harder than I can.
THIS: "Stop commenting on the amount of something someone is eating. “You sure were hungry!” “You eat like a bird!”
I had a coworker do this for MONTHS and it was appalling. I have a chronic digestive disorder but would prefer not to discuss that it's the reason why I eat smaller portions AT EVERY MEAL K THANX
Dear Captain Awkward,
I am part-time vegetarian. I feel like I get a lot of flak: ”well are you
are a vegetarian or not?” and ”we saw you eat meat; so why should you get
the special vegetarian food?” But I’m not waffling or being weak in my
convictions. I have good reasons to eat meat sometimes and require
vegetarian food at other times.
1) For various health reasons, I limit my consumption of meat to way less
than the typical North American diet. Which means that if you saw me eat
meat at lunch, then it doesn’t mean I’m eating meat now; in means I HAD
MEAT ALREADY and NEED TO NOT EAT MEAT NOW for a day. Or two.
2) I’m concerned about the environmental impact of meat production. The
solution to this, I believe, is to eat less meat. A lot less meat, but not
no meat whatsoever. Eating meat once a day rather than 3 times a day is
like driving a Prius instead of a Humvee. We don’t question the
environmental ethics of the Prius driver for consuming some gasoline.
3) My daughter, age 10, is aware of factory farming, and horrified. But
she loves meat. I don’t want to squash her empathy and compassion just
because it’s inconvenient. So, we talked this over, and decided that what
we can try to do is only eat humanely raised meat; which, in effect, means
that we limit meat to when I get to the froofy grocery store that has the
grass-fed beef and the cage-free chickens. I think this means we will have
to present as vegetarians when we go out. Otherwise we will come across as
total snobs: “yes we eat meat… but your meat isn’t good enough.”
4) I just plain like vegetarian food and vegetables and get bored with
meat, and disgusted by sausage in my food.
It would be simpler if I could just be a vegetarian, but I like some meat,
and my daughter would rebel; and, (due to reactive hypoglycemia)
occasionally I desperately need a high-protein meal, and in many
situations meat is the only option.
So… I am very interested in vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly
restaurants, what my vegetarian friends are cooking, and the vegetarian
options in the cafeteria. I eagerly discuss these topics with the
vegetarians, but then they act betrayed when they see me eating meat
later. The omnivores are just confused.
Is this all that confusing? Am I allowed some middle ground between
standard American “all meat all the time” and “don’t let any meat touch my
food”? How do I explain my food preferences so that I get the food I want
but not the flak?
— vegetable eater
Dear Vegetable Eater,
I’m a big fan of eating whatever you want and however you want when you want without a lot of friction from others, so your letter gives me an opportunity for a general manners review for adults breaking bread with other adults. These are very general and I’m sure people can think of a jillion exceptions depending on the closeness of a relationship or the nature of the food or the nature of the restriction, but I know a lot of people with wildly different food needs and preferences (including many of your fellow vegetarians-except-for-that-one-circumstance) who eat together regularly without friction, and my experience says that these principles work pretty well as a starting point.
Readers, what are we missing?
Vegetable Eater, my read on your letter is that you try to be very thoughtful and deliberate about your consumption, that you identify with vegetarianism culinarily and ethically (especially in contrast to the “standard American diet,”) that you want to be or wish you could be a vegetarian all the time, but for now you are an omnivore who eats meat only when it can be sourced as ethically as possible and/or only when you really need the protein and/or only once/day or every couple of days.
I also think you and the people you eat with regularly are blurring lots of lines in how you talk about food. No one should be commenting on your food choices as much as you describe them doing. However, if you are commenting on their food choices, and/or spending a lot of time discussing yours, people will feel more comfortable offering you commentary.
If you live in a part of the country where meat is ubiquitous and vegetarians really have to work to defend and carve out some menu space for themselves, you probably had to really speak up to get any veggie options, and after speaking up so strongly, people don’t understand why today you just really need a little bit of chicken so you don’t pass out at your desk. I also think how much friction you get depends on how much “work” other people feel they’ve had to do to accommodate your food preferences. If I’m the office manager, and you made a big stink about the catering I order for meetings because of the lack of vegetarian options, or if when we eat together we always have to go to your favorite place and never mine, if I see you eat meat I am going to at least wonder what’s up. I wouldn’t necessarily wonder *out loud*, and that wondering doesn’t mean others should police your food choices (and people in charge of figuring out catering should just get veggie options without treating it as weird), but a question along the lines of “Is having a vegetarian option still a priority or is chicken ok?” can be more about checking in about your needs than about judging you.
Going forward, you could try describing your eating habits as “I prefer to eat meatless food about 90% of the time, with rare exceptions when I cook at home or when I know the meat was humanely sourced” without mention of the “typical American diet.” You’re absolutely right to note that this will come across condescendingly, as “you know, that inferior crap that YOU probably eat” or “My meat (and need to eat meat) is good and conscious, but yours is gross”, especially if you live one of the Midwestern Meat Meccas and especially if someone’s hospitality is involved. When hanging with vegetarians, share recipes and talk farm policy with enthusiasm, but maybe lay off any “UGH, OMNIVORES. I KNOW, RIGHT?” talk (since you are one). And, when eating in mixed vegetarian/omnivore company, you could try expressing a preference rather than an identity, i.e. “Can we get Indian or Persian food instead of BBQ? Daughter and I like places with lots of veggie options” vs. “Come on, you know I’m a vegetarian.” See if that buys you a little less friction, and remember that people who harp on your food choices are acting like jerks and that you don’t have to eat or perform in a way that pleases them.
Finally, since you and your daughter are passionate about sustainable agriculture and the environment, I suggest that you look into volunteer and activism opportunities where you can meet like-minded folks who will understand and have your back and work to change policies through collective action.
Perfect. This is perfect. You are "deeply loveable" needs to be on my mirror asap.
made a quick comic about being nice to yourself
Also, I did not know about these apps.
"If the police approach you and ask why you are filming, you can remain silent; that is your right. The ACLU has a great set of apps called Mobile Justice (there are different ones for different states so make sure you download the right one). If you record police encounters using that app, they are automatically uploaded to an ACLU server so that even if the police take your phone, the video is preserved."
Kinky sex has made its way into mainstream culture in places other than poorly-written-erotica-gone-NYT-bestsellers-list. Music videos like Rihanna’s S&M, Christina Aguilera’s Not Myself Tonight, for instance. Our kids are seeing it, hearing it, and some of them are even reading it.
My kids are young, so Rihanna videos and E. L. James’ fiction are not yet on their agenda. But there will come a time when talking to my munchkins about bondage and domination becomes relevant. I anticipate that the majority of learning on the topic will not be from me; they’ll likely see videos and ads or hear things from peers that could use some context. I prefer to be the person who provides that context with overarching messages about consent, trust, and communication.
Those values are not confined to safe and enjoyable kink. When those values are front and centre in a number of contexts and conversations with our kids, we help them see the breadth of their application — the primary importance of these values in positive and healthy human relationships. That, I think, will make that kink conversation a lot easier.
As an example, I had a conversation with my kids about safe words a couple years ago.
Safe words are used in the BDSM community to ensure that, during a sexual scene, people involved can communicate their interest to stop the scene or slow it down. Words like "ow" or "stop" don't usually work as safe words because they may not always be meant to end the sexual activity; in fact, those words may be sought out during a sexual encounter. Now, I’m not going to spend time on the ins and outs of safe and consensual kinky sex, except to say that the cornerstones are, you guessed it, communication and trust. So safe words are vitally important.
No, I didn’t talk to my kids about kinky sex — that will come sometime in the future. See, my kids love and enjoy each other and wrestle and horseplay a lot. While overwhelmingly it’s a mutually-enjoyed activity, not infrequently it ends with one injured or aggrieved party. If either of them hear the safe word while wrestling, the wrestling stops, and a check-in happens. It often gets forgotten or the tears or wails come before someone utters "origami" (the current safe word).
Last week in the car, a vigorous round of rough housing (yes, while strapped down by seat belts and in booster seats) ended because the safe word was spoken. My older son then said it was an inappropriate use of the safe word because his brother wasn’t hurt. We talked about setting rules for when the word is to be used. I made recommendations, they made the decisions, and I reinforced the need to always respect its use. No crying wolf now.
We also talked about what ought to happen after the safe word is used, which is to find out what went down. It shouldn’t just end the activity but rather make way for a straight up conversation to find out why the activity needed to be stopped and whether there were any misunderstood needs or perspectives.
For my kids, and everyone, the value is all about developing communication skills. Whether during a physical romp of sex with a partner or a bout of wrestling with a sibling, communication is key. And that is not part of the message that Rihanna is communicating when she sings “Now the pain is my pleasure. Cause nothing could measure. Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me.”
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On my to-learn list!
SketchUp is free, robust, and really helps to bring your projects to life. I stumbled through the basics for way too long, so here are a few steps to get you modeling… Continue reading on ManMadeDIY.com
UGGGHHHH LOve all the geeky art! Must start collecting prints...