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12 Sep 15:53

Ask Lilly: Can I Put My Sex Toy in the Dishwasher?

by Lilly

DishwasherFor people with a lot of dildos and butt plugs, there’s a really fast way to sanitize your sex toys: The dishwasher. But this cleaning method isn’t as straightforward as it seems! There are some rules and tips that must be followed, but first I want to talk about something important: sanitizing versus sterilizing and how your dishwasher fits into it. Sterilizing means that you are killing ALL living organisms, whereas sanitizing is killing “most” – enough to make things safe for public consumption. When we are talking about cleaning, there’s cleaning (removing dirt and fluids and cat hair), then sanitizing, then disinfecting, then sterilizing. To understand more about this, read this article on sanitizing and disinfecting, and this article on disinfecting vs sterilizing.

Not All Materials Can Handle It

You want to stick with sex toy materials that can handle the heat – silicone, metal, and borosillicate glass (not soda lime!!). You shouldn’t put the more delicate (porous) materials like softened PVC, TPR, “jelly”, rubber, or other similar  materials into the dishwasher, as they wouldn’t be able to withstand the heat from the sanitize cycle (not that I believe it would work, anyways, because I don’t believe those materials can ever be sanitized). Which brings us to the next important point…

It’s Not About Cleaning, It’s About Sanitizing – Which isn’t Sterilizing or Disinfecting

If your toys are covered in dried lube, bodily fluids, etc then give them a quick wash with mild soap and water, first. Next, load your sex toys into the top rack. Finally, make sure you choose the “sanitize” setting on the dishwasher. Don’t have a sanitize cycle? Then don’t bother using the dishwasher. If your dishwasher has a sanitizing setting then it uses an extended hot-water rinse to kill bacteria only – it will not kill viruses or fungi. The National Sanitation Foundation has a standard named NSF/ANSI Standard 184; this means that dishwashers with this certification kill 99.99% of bacteria on this “sanitize” setting. This certification states that the dishwasher’s “sanitize” setting also must reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit during that final rinse. I expected it to be higher, so this means that boiling can potentially kill more things. Even if your dishwasher has a “sanitize” setting, if it isn’t certified then it probably doesn’t reach 150 degrees. Using the dishwasher is primarily to sanitize in larger quantities, rather than just cleaning. If you’re using the toys solo and aren’t currently battling an outbreak, a mild soap and water wash in your kitchen sink or bathtub will do the job just fine in my opinion. Let’s also consider this point: using the “sanitize” setting on the dishwasher uses a lot more energy than a normal dishwasher cycle.

Never Use Detergent

Dishwasher detergent is abrasive and you really don’t want it mingling with your sex toys. This means that the sex toys don’t get tossed in with your dirty dishes, either. One reader asked me about adding a bit of bleach to the cycle, instead: I don’t recommend this. It’s not needed plus many dishwashers advise against it – heated bleach, even if it’s not heated to boiling, is pretty caustic. 

Vibrators Stand Alone

Sorry vibes, you can’t join this party. The heat of the sanitize cycle will probably damage the electronics, even if the vibrator is sealed in silicone and is labeled “waterproof”. It’s just not a risk I’m comfortable telling you to take.



Copyright 2008-2014 Dangerous Lilly - If you see this content anywhere other than valid feed readers, it's been scraped illegally and without my consent. If you see this on someone else's blog, it was scraped illegally. RSS feeds are still my property - scraping them is still illegal and a violation. Copyright violators will be hunted down and beaten with a spiked metal ball. But since they're stupid and will include even this portion, I might as well invite you to my real sex blog where you can read about sex toys and get to know me.


The post Ask Lilly: Can I Put My Sex Toy in the Dishwasher? appeared first on Dangerous Lilly.

01 Aug 18:55

How my silicone wedding ring represents marriage as a whole

by Tara
Silicone wedding ring by Thunderfit
Silicone wedding ring by Thunderfit

Marriage is hard guys. No one who's been in it for more than a couple of months is going to tell you differently.

Now don't get me wrong, I love being married. I married young, and haven't (really) regretted it once. But the marriage and the life that I have today is very different from the one I would have envisioned when we walked down the aisle and exchanged rings of gold almost five years ago. Especially considering the events of the last six months…

I had a breakdown in April. After months of mood swings and panic attacks, depressions so deep and dark that suicide seemed like the inevitable light at the end of the tunnel, and days spent hiding out in the bathroom at work to cry, or vomit, as needed, I finally accepted that something had to change. I quit my high-stress, well-paying job. My family doctor recognized how seriously ill I was, and referred me to a psychiatrist.

I was unemployed and broken. My self-esteem was shot. And soon I had a name for the monster inside of my head: Bipolar Disorder.

I felt like a burden of a wife. I felt like I had pulled a terrible con on the man I loved; I thought that had he known how defective I was from the start, he would never have married me. I felt like a monster. Suddenly instead of plucky Jane Eyre, I was the terrifying wife in the attic that eventually burns the house down.

But my husband did something amazing. He loved me. He accepted me. He held my hand when it all felt like too much. And, on my good days, he helped me live life to the fullest. He never judged me when I was too depressed to move for days at a time, or when mania took hold and suddenly all of the furniture in the house was rearranged by the time he returned from work.

He did admit that things had changed. He did admit that he too had pictured something different for this stage of our life. But he also did everything he could to make me understand that I was not alone. That whatever my life was going to be, he was going to live his right alongside me.

With medications and therapy I'm starting to do a lot better now. But it is an uphill battle, and one that I am likely to be fighting to some degree for the rest of my life.

We went for a drive the other night, up a mountain road to a beautiful look-out. I looked my husband in the eyes and told him I loved him. I thanked him for all he had done over the last several months, and I gave him a new wedding ring.

This one is silicone, and I have one to match. They are flexible, as we now know that we have to be every day in a marriage. The are comfortable, as marriage should be. And most importantly, they never have to leave our fingers; whether we are at work or at play, they can survive it all.

I still have my original gold wedding band, but my silicone ring now seems so much more of a real representation of marriage to me.

Recent Comments

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  • Alex: Fit Ring™ Silicone Wedding Rings have a unique pi logo (part of the formula for a circle like a ring)… [Link]
  • Tara: Thank-you for sharing your story. As terrible as it is for the person in the midst of a mental health… [Link]
  • Dreamdeer: I have a bipolar husband to whom I have been married for 31 years. I have my own struggles… [Link]
  • Rinnie: oh man did this hit home for me today. But coming from the other end--we recently found out my husband… [Link]

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01 Aug 14:29

How to Shop for Solar Power: Solar Panels, Inverters, and More

by Mark Smirniotis



With solar power, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every installation needs to take into account electricity consumption, geographic location, roof orientation, local permits, and a host of other issues. This guide walks you through those concerns and how to decide whether to DIY or to hire a contractor to install and manage your system. Once you have a rough idea of how much power you’ll need, in most cases the first option you should consider is a grid-tied system made up of Suniva Optimus 335W monocrystalline solar panels paired with SolarEdge P400 power optimizers, plus a SolarEdge inverter at the heart of it all.

29 Jul 15:18

Vegetable Keep Sack

by mark

Being an avid home cook in New York City, having space to work is more important than any tool (except maybe a good chef’s knife). Finding these hanging vegetable keep sacks from design-savvy cookware company Mastrad was a revelation and meant I had at least one drawer freed up.

I’ve had mine hanging under the cabinet for two years, and they keep potatoes, onions, and other root vegetables dry, dark, and out of the way. The design is simple: a canvas tube, lined with cotton, with a filling drawstring at the top and a dispensing drawstring at the bottom, slightly angled to keep the tubers from dumping all over the floor.

I belong to a CSA, so for a few weeks in the fall, I am absolutely swimming in potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and shallots. If I had the space I’d create a root cellar, but one (or a few) of these sacks keeps my roots from sprouting or getting moldy for weeks. The internet is swarming with cutesy containers to keep potatoes, but loose baskets, modular plastic, and bulky burlap don’t keep potatoes in the darkness they need. There are bins you can build into the sides of cabinets, but as a renter, it’s key that I can screw in an anchor, hang the colorful bag for all to see, then easily take it down to refill it or when I move.

They’re cheap, washable, and come in three sizes (with illustrations of potatoes, onions, and garlic, respectively, but free to be you and me) As a cook in a small kitchen, I lust after big mixers and expensive gadgets, but I am grateful for my potato sacks.

-- Sam Roth

Vegetable Keep Sack ($11)

International Amazon link

Available from Amazon

28 Jul 20:12

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

by Offbeat Editors
Fur baby mug by Etsy seller PURELeecreations
Fur baby mug by Etsy seller PURELeecreations
With a heavy heart I waited for the mobile vet to come and put my fur baby to sleep.

She had been by my side for thirteen years — my rock, my best friend, my baby. She has been the best dog, the biggest comfort, most loyal friend and such a gentle soul. She has been with me through four breakups, the start of a marriage, and several job changes and mini life crisis.

I chose not to have human children and instead to have the four legged furry kind. A lot of people have a hard time understanding for me she is not just a pet she is FAMILY.

Most of the time I can choose to ignore the people who say "it's just a dog." But, after losing my fur baby, I cannot ignore them anymore. How do I accept their caring when they don't get it? How do I help them get it? Or should I even bother to try? -Ducky

Recent Comments

  • Cat: I know what you mean, but as you say, hear the spirit of what they're saying even if it's clumsily… [Link]
  • Jill: This so much. There will always be someone who minimizes your grief, no matter what the source.… [Link]
  • Brink: It's like George Carlin said "When you buy a pet, you're buying a small tragedy." It SUCKS when a… [Link]
  • dee: I think a lot of folks (including myself) never thought a fish could be operated on. [Link]
  • Cat: A life is a life. I don't get why some people decide one life has more value than another just… [Link]

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27 Jul 17:15

Erin Gilbert, Abby Yates, and Ghostbusters as a Love Letter to Female Friendship - "We're all the ghost girls now."

by Grace Duffy

Ghostbusters Kristen Wiig

One quote immediately came to mind after I saw Ghostbusters for the first time: “friendships between women are often the deepest and most profound love stories.” I thought of it again after reading a Hadley Freeman piece on the film, in which she wrote that for her, “there is little sense of connection between the women here.” This comment took me by surprise. For all that I expected widespread differences of opinion on this film, this take seemed so far removed from my own thoughts that I was a little stunned. Of course, no film can please everyone, but regardless of one’s take on Ghostbusters as a whole I would have thought there was one thing we could mostly agree on: this film is a love letter to female friendship. In a film which has no romantic subplot, the friendship and connection between Abby Yates and Erin Gilbert is given the kind of significance most stories reserve for two people falling in love. Their bond is central to the way the film unfolds, and it provides a beating heart of emotion which captivated me completely. Spoilers follow.

Not unusually for an onscreen relationship, this one starts off in noticeably frosty place. Erin (Kristen Wiig), on the cusp of tenure at Columbia University, is angry to discover Abby (Melissa McCarthy) has been selling a book they authored together without her permission. She goes to confront her immediately, and there is the unpleasant sensation that this might become a rivalry or ongoing rift. In a lesser film, it might have. But Ghostbusters turns this expectation on its head straight away. Abby is frosty when she sees Erin, but her resentment isn’t born of Erin’s success or accomplishments. Rather, she’s resentful of the fact Erin turned her back on her to get to where she is. As we later learn, this is someone Abby loved and supported for years; for Abby, this betrayal was personal. From her perspective, Erin abandoned her and their work–not to mention the book she describes as their “baby”–and after what may well be years with no contact, she now finds her former friend marching in with an attitude not unlike that displayed by their detractors.

It’s interesting to note that Abby, when she first introduces Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to Erin, immediately describes the eccentric engineer as “very loyal.” The two share in-jokes and an adorable clapping ritual before setting off on their latest hunt. Holtzmann is flamboyant and charming, and she and Abby have an obvious bond. Next to this united front, Erin cuts a lonely figure, all awkward uncertainty and hesitation. She’s alone and unsure of herself while her former best friend suits up with a new partner. It may be fitting, then, that of all the lead characters, it is the nervous, halting Erin who gets the most prominent arc– and that arc only truly begins when she and Abby mend their broken friendship, starting with an embrace outside the Aldridge Mansion.


Their embrace, midway through a jointly euphoric response at seeing Gertrude Aldridge’s ghost and capturing her on film, is more than a celebratory gesture. It’s validation of something they’ve been fighting to convince others of for years. The moment is emotional for Erin, as her gushing reaction into the camera makes clear, but Abby’s not immune either. This is a cathartic moment for her, as she sees Erin begin to shuffle off the sense of shame surrounding their work and emerge newly invigorated. As a character, Abby has a gorgeously protective instinct and it’s one which resurfaces after this moment. Erin’s frenzied reaction costs her the job she’s longed for, but now she has somewhere to go. She comes back to Abby and Holtzmann in the same lab she entered with a sense of trepidation the day before, and finds a sanctuary. Abby shares condolences at the loss of her job but instantly asks Erin to join them in their work. She offers her a safe place, sympathetic ear, and an opportunity to work on something she knows Erin is passionate about. It’s a symbolic reestablishment of the haven she once brought to Erin in school.

This dynamic infiltrates the group as a whole, and watching it evolve is heartwarming. After Patty (Leslie Jones) joins the group and Erin opens up about her childhood, you can feel the bonds solidify. Erin speaks quietly and sadly of how she was haunted by a ghost as a child, revealing that her parents didn’t believe her and her classmates made fun of her. She was sent to therapy and forced to deny what she saw. The real-world parallels here are almost unbearable–women are so often conditioned to deny the truth and validity of their own experiences that they end up questioning their minds, voices, and sometimes sanity. Erin’s hesitation in telling this story is palpable. She’s been burned before and even after everything the group has been through in the preceding few days, it’s still a difficult and emotional subject for her.

When the others accept her story, instantly and without question, it’s poignant. Patty immediately tells her she believes her. Holtzmann lightens the mood with THAT infernal wink, .gifs of which should really be banned for inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on all who see them. Wonderfully, Abby’s protective instincts kick in too –  when Erin says they were never invited to parties in school, Abby quickly retorts that it was because all the other kids were terrified of them. The atmosphere is warm, joyful, and welcoming. Even at this early stage in their work together, the women’s firm belief in each other is tangible. Holtzmann takes them outside for a delighted demonstration of her latest inventions. Patty provides a car, uniforms, and offers valuable historical context for the buildings they’re investigating. (Seriously, I would listen to two hours of Patty telling us the creepy histories of old NYC landmarks. Please take note for the sequel, Paul Feig.) All our heroines begin to blossom in this jubilant atmosphere, and Erin in particular finally finds the strength and confidence to overcome the last lingering shadows of her past.


I love that the climactic moment of this film involves a woman rescuing her best friend. Erin and Abby disagree at various points even after mending their friendship, most notably when they get a visit from paranormal debunker Martin Heiss (Bill Murray). Erin is still extremely sensitive to anyone questioning their work, so much so that she unleashes the ghost they’ve just trapped against all of Abby’s fervent protestations. When they’re carted off to the mayor’s office, she and Abby argue over whether to “put the cat back in the bag.” None of her colleagues attack her for this. There’s a sense of understanding even when they disagree, fueled by an appreciation of what they’ve all been through. But Abby, perhaps more so than anyone in the group, is trying to be pragmatic. She’s the one who sets up the website, makes fliers, and looks to provide a service to other people. She’s the de facto leader, reminding everyone what they can do, and in the final battle shoves Patty out of harm’s way only to be dragged into a vortex herself. When Erin instantly throws herself in after her, it’s a symbol of how much Abby means to the others. She’s spent the entire film propping up those around her, and now, finally, it is her oldest friend who comes to save her. When Erin looks her in the eye and says “I wasn’t going to leave you twice,” it’s an emotional and candid admission of how important Abby is to her. It banishes any remaining doubts over their friendship in a moment that’s reserved for the two of them alone. When Patty and Holtzmann pull them out and eagerly embrace them, it’s just the icing on the cake.

Abby and Erin’s friendship may be the central element which anchors the movie, but the bond it celebrates isn’t confined to them alone. The film evokes the uniquely familial bond which forms between many female friends, and the gratification that comes in finding a home away from home. Patty leaves an isolating and largely thankless job to join the Ghostbusters. In her first scene, we see her attempting earnestly to be friendly and helpful, and being mostly ignored for her efforts. She is, quite literally, shut off behind a glass barrier. In the Ghostbusters, she finds a haven of like-minded souls. She doesn’t have a scientific background, but her intelligence and insight is made clear from her first observation about their office building. Her word and input is never questioned, and she is ultimately the one who figures out how to close the vortex and save New York, to Abby’s vocal delight.

leslie jones ghostbusters

And if, somehow, all of this went over the audience’s heads, Holtzmann’s toast at the end makes all of these feelings abundantly clear. Holtzmann  is exactly the type of adorably kooky oddball who shines onscreen but might struggle to find her people in real life. Her little speech is moving in its tenderness and sincerity. You get the impression sentiment doesn’t come naturally to her, but in that moment, as they all look around and take stock of what’s happened, she needs to express something. Something about that intangible feeling of connection that comes from being with your people, a connection you can’t predict, manufacture, or explain; it’s just something that happens when you’re not looking or expecting it. Sometimes, you meet certain people and things just click into place. Such, as Holtzy notes, are the unknowable physics of the universe: what it means to love, and the indescribable and incomprehensible magic which fuses us so irrevocably to other people.

This magic is what lends Ghostbusters its power. For a film so derided from its very inception, Paul Feig and Katie Dippold’s decision to frame it around female friendship was a stroke of genius. In doing so, their story elucidates the importance of solidarity for women everywhere. In acceptance there is comfort, and in support there is strength. The Ghostbusters’ story is a powerful symbolic statement to their many detractors and disbelievers, both onscreen and off. There are many aspects of the film with which one may take issue–this thoughtful piece, for example, outlines a young woman of color’s mixed feelings over Patty’s role. The women being asked to continue their work in secret while authorities publicly deride them as frauds is chillingly reminiscent of real-world politics and shaming. But its most vocal message is a powerful one: believe in yourself and each other, and defend and support one another. As Dippold herself commented, “the big message was believing in yourself, and having a passion and sticking to it… Just follow your passion and find like-minded, strange people.”

I think the Ghostbusters are my kinda people.

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Grace Duffy is a pop culture devotée and sometime film critic currently catching up on her classic sci-fi. You can read more on her Tumblr or catch her frequent TV liveblogs on Twitter.

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26 Jul 15:24

How a colorful wedding cake inspired this colorful nursery design

by kristacarolyng

Baby or no baby, this room makes me happy too!

Photos by Nicole Igloliorte of Crockwell Photography.

If you've seen our wedding on Offbeat Bride you might remember the colourful polka dot cake that I made. I seriously feel happy every time I look at that matrix of colour!

When I started following @ohhappyday on Instagram, I discovered they had a dot wall which reminded me of our wedding cake…

Photo by Photography
Photo by Photography

I even noticed that they had a tutorial on how they did it. I knew I needed a dot wall in our home. And what better spot than our baby's nursery?

I decided that getting up on a stool to paint circles wouldn't work (now that I was pregnant), and it wasn't something that I didn't trust anyone else to do for me. Instead I found vinyl dots from Surface Inspired, a Vancouver based Etsy Shop. They only had listings for single colour decals so I contacted them for a custom order of multiple colours. I sent of the number of each colour that I needed, and they were quick to turnaround a package for me.


So while I was home visiting family one weekend, my husband, Rob, painted a white accent wall for me so that I could start measuring out and applying the dot decals. The rest of the walls were to remain its "happy blue" because the colour makes me happy.

vinyl polka dot progress

I normally would have started out measuring from top to bottom. But, being pregnant, I decided to go from the ground up. After placing the first dot, I measured 2" to the left and 2" up to mark where the next row and column would go. I started out applying the dots in a random pattern but tried to use each colour only once in the row/column. As I neared the top, this was nearly impossible so then I started standing back to see which colour was "needed" in that particular position to balance out the colour arrangement. Because I started from far right of the room and decided to use exactly 2" intervals, it left me with a partial dot at the far left of the room. I broke out the card stock cutter that I had bought to make our wedding invitations and it worked like a charm!


It took about two-and-a-half hours to measure out, and apply, the first two rows of dots. A lot of this was due to arranging and rearranging the dots before applying them to the wall. To speed the process up, later I started arranging the dot sheets on the floor to see the order that I would apply the dots to the wall. I would do this first, take a break or run some errands and then start measuring out and applying the dots again. It made the process feel a whole lot quicker.


The whole process took about one month to complete. I was so happy with the result. Just looking at the wall would fill me with happiness and I hoped that it would do the same for our baby girl that was on the way.


Because the room was small, I wanted to keep everything bright so I went with the Mercer 3-in-1 Convertible Crib — I loved that it had storage on the bottom! Going with white was also a great contrast to the awesome quilt that I had bought from Pippa Quilts on Etsy.


I also ordered the Baby Letto Hudson Changer Dresser, because I loved the combination of drawers and shelves.


Above the change table, I wanted something to distract the baby and found these colourful tetrahedrons that arrived in flat sheets but you punched out, folded and glued together.


Being a huge Nick Park fan, above the crib I wanted to make a mobile with Shaun the Sheep (from the Wallace and Gromit). So I purchased five Shaun the Sheep keychains from Amazon. I picked up two wooden embroidery hoops and clear jewellery string to make the two mobiles.


Although I was advised to not go with a white glider (because it will definitely end up with puke on it), I went with a white glider. So far, so good — the white glider is currently puke free!


It's the Fogo model from Dutailier's Moderno series. Because I have a lot of neck and back issues and my sister had the same model and knew that it would have the support that I needed. It also had a locking mechanism which also comes in handy.


I found a cool coloured flag tote on ModCloth, and thought it would be perfect to hold all of the toys that the baby had been gifted already. The only downfall is that when our seven-year-old Lakeland Terrier, Jax, gets jealous he digs out toys from it to run off with for attention. It's an ongoing battle, but we're slowly making progress.


I had stumbled upon two cloud-shaped book shelves and thought they would be perfect on the two walls where the closet juts out (especially seeing how the wall was already a perfect sky blue)! Being narrow, we could only fit a few books on them.


And because of the angled wall in her room, there was nowhere to place a bookshelf so my Father-In-Law helped me make a narrower version of the bookshelves in this tutorial that I found on Pinterest.


Lastly, the angled wall blocked a fair amount of light so we needed a light to go in that corner. The issue we had was finding a light that didn't come up past the cloud shelves that we had recently installed. While walking through Rona one day picking up some lightbulbs, we happened to stumble across this colourful lamp with adjustable goosenecks and it worked perfectly for Lilliana's colourful room.


I've always said that colour makes me happy. Hopefully it makes my daughter feel the same way too!

Recent Comments

  • kristacarolyng: Thanks Ruth! ☺️ [Link]
  • kristacarolyng: Thanks Gee! The fancy lenses that Nicole used to shoot the room definitely gives it the appearance that it's more… [Link]
  • kristacarolyng: It makes me happy that it makes you happy too! ☺️ [Link]
  • Ruth: This may be the prettiest, cutest nursery I've ever seen! Bravo! [Link]
  • Gee: So amused that this is a small room for you, this is a massive second bedroom where I live and… [Link]

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25 Jul 15:56

Clear Padlock for Lock Pick Practice

by mark

RELEVANT to my rouge interests

I have be trying to pick locks since I was a child. I have many lock picks I have bought or made myself over the years, but never saw what I was doing until I was given a clear plastic padlock a few months ago. Now I can plainly see the pins, driver pins, sheer line and springs etc. (By the way hairpins and paper clips will open padlocks.) This lock comes with a pair of keys to open the lock, so you could actually use it as a padlock. But if you do, beware of everyone wanting to pick it open!

-- Kent Barnes

Clear Padlock for Lock Pick Practice ($9)

International Amazon link

Available from Amazon

25 Jul 14:37

Stranger Things Happened... And Now I'm In Love

by Jen
I'm not sure I've EVER enjoyed a TV series more than Stranger Things, so prepare for a rave, my friends. Only with less glow sticks and more of this awesome fan art action:

The official promo art gives a better idea of the series' overall feel, though:
 Doesn't this look like the cover of every paperback you read in middle school? Love it.

WHO SHOULD WATCH: Anyone who grew up in the 80s, and/or anyone who loves 80s ensemble kid-hero movies like Goonies, E.T., and Explorers.

WHO SHOULD NOT WATCH: Anyone who thinks X-files was too creepy. There are definitely some Supernatural level scares, but thankfully not much Supernatural level gore. If you can make it through the first 2 episodes, you'll be fine; that's about as bad as it gets. (Parents, I'd pre-screen.)


1) Stranger Things is compelling, heartwarming, nostalgic, and scary - in that order. There's a reason everyone seems to be binge-watching it; the story sucks you in almost immediately, and won't let go.

2) The characters are refreshingly REAL in a very Freaks & Geeks way. You can relate to them. You believe them. You believe the reasons they do what they do. And you're going to love more of them than you'd expect.

They're not all Highschool Musical heartthrobs, either, which makes me happy. (Anyone else tired of Hollywood passing off twenty-something cover models as high schoolers, and trying to convince us plastic perfection is the norm during childhood? Then watch this.)

3) Mega Girl Power.  I won't say more because spoilers, but ermergersh YES to more badass females.

4) Perfect pacing and character development. There are no lulls, and some of the characters will surprise you, often in fantastic ways. (I especially love Hop's story arc.)

5) It ends as well as it begins. (Which is really, REALLY well.)

How many shows start strong and then limp to the end with some nonsensical finale? (Lookin' at you, LOST.) Not this one. I CHEERED as the last credits rolled, you guys. CHEERED. Just enough resolution, while still hinting at a next season. Perfection.

Go. Watch.

Oh, but before you do, lemme announce this month's art winners!

The winner of the Mario print is: Kari Selph
The winner of the Maleficent print is: Jessy Southard Strohmeyer
And my wild card winner is: Amy from Williamsburg

Congrats, you three, and please e-mail me your mailing addresses!

22 Jul 12:33

Craftin' Makes Me Feel Good: DIY Holtzmann Necklace From Ghostbusters

by Jen

Screw U.

If you're as smitten with Holtzmann from Ghostbusters as I am, then odds are you've thought about getting your paws on that rockin' necklace of hers:

Quick Confession: I must admit, once I (finally) realized her necklace wasn't a nerdy Uranium reference, but rather a literal "screw U," I was a little sad. I'm not really a fan of insults as fashion statements. Never have been. 


Then the Leslie Jones Twitter thing happened. 

And you guys, I got pretty mad.

And I realized: Holtzmann's necklace is directed at the haters. At every racist troll, at every patronizing fanboy gatekeeper. By wearing this necklace, we're not only supporting badass women, we're standing up for our fandom. Think we're fake geek girls? Think women can't be funny? Think allowing a new generation into the fandom is ruining your childhood? Then, hey, dude: READ THE NECKLACE.

So, yeah, that's when I made this:

It's not screen accurate by any means, but I kind of love the idea of putting your own spin on it. 

In fact, I made a second version that's slightly smaller - and even less screen-accurate - but I like it even better:
And this smaller version is the easier one to make!

So let's make some necklaces.

First, head to the hardware store and pick these up:
» Read More
18 Jul 13:46

The "I Only Hate It Because It's A Reboot" Argument Gets BUSTED

by Jen
I didn't want a reboot, you guys.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say I *hated* the fact that the new Ghostbusters was going to be a reboot. I wanted a continuation, a legacy, a sequel to the original's brilliance, not some modern replacement.

I held out hope, though, because an all-female 'bustin team made me happy to be alive. Good or bad, I told the perpetual naysayers, this movie will show little girls they, too, can be ghostbusters - so that's already a win.

But I was still scared. Please, I thought, Paul Feig, don't prove the patronizing fanboy jerkfaces right.

The first trailer did little to assuage my fears. I was still hopeful, and I put on a brave face, but inside I have to admit a small part of me was squeaking "ohhhh noooooooo."  Gross body humor? Literal gun licking? A possessed 'buster? "Nooooooooo!"

The second trailer was better, though, and I started to actually look forward to opening day. I kinda liked the new theme song, even when it seemed the entire internet haaaaaated it. At conventions I found proton-packing purists - women AND men - who were so excited they were already making the new props and costumes. They helped remind me how FUN this is - how it's supposed to be fun! - and that the haters did not speak for all hardcore fans.

So now... let's talk about the movie.

I just saw it a few hours ago, so this will be fresh and jumbled, but I promise to keep it spoiler-free.

Given that I sat down expecting the quality of that first trailer, I will tell you I was BLOWN AWAY by the first 30-40 minutes. As in, I spent that entire time with my jaw either hanging open or in the biggest, goofiest grin. It was just SO GOOD, you guys. The opening sequence is genuinely scary, beautifully shot, and could not be a more perfect prologue.

The character intros are equally pitch-perfect, as we get just the right amount of back story before being thrown back into the ghostly action.

But best of all, it feels completely new. This is not a re-hashing of the original, regurgitated scene-for-scene like I dreaded. This is not an attempt at a replacement. This is a new direction, with a different approach. Almost nothing feels familiar, and that's a good thing. It lets you get lost in the story, and when the rare homage pops up - like the original logo, or a snippet of piano - it's actually a bit startling!

I don't think it will surprise you that, of the four leads, Kate McKinnon is the standout. Quirky, brilliant, and with a "let-it-all-burn" gleam in her eye that keeps you guessing, her Holtzman is definitely going to be the fan favorite.

Prepare to love this woman.

What may surprise you is that Kristin Wiig and Leslie Jones absolutely kill it, too, with Leslie edging out Kate with some phenomenal one-liners I wish I could share, but won't, because spoilers.

I consider myself a Melissa McCarthy fan, so it pains me to say my namesake character, Abby Yates, was kinda "meh." I found myself wishing Holtzman had more screen time/lines, and Yates, less. McCarthy's lines just weren't as funny, and since she seems to be scolding or complaining much of the time, she comes off less likeable than the other three.

Which reminds me: all those things most of us didn't like in the first trailer? Leslie's histrionics, Kristin's slime jokes, Kate's gun-licking? Those things go by in the blink of an eye in the actual film, and in context, totally work. They're also one-offs, and are not at all what the whole movie is like. It's weird to me that those were the moments the studio chose to highlight, when there are so many better ones! (Oh, and the hated theme song? Plays for about 10 seconds during a "rah rah go get 'em" kind of scene. Which rocks.)

Getting back to the film's flow, I've heard a lot of raving about the Ghostbuster's "third act," but it does take a while after the draggy midsections to recapture the film's spirit - pun totally intended. That said, there's at least one dramatic slo-mo action sequence in there that had me this close to standing up and cheering, so it definitely comes back around.

The Big Bad at the end doesn't compare to Staypuft for me, but to be fair, I'm not sure anything could. I will say the effects are great; just the right mix of silly and scary, and again, they didn't even try to mirror the original's finale, which I appreciate. (We saw it in 3D, btw, which was cool for the finale especially, but overall I don't think it's necessary.)

More pluses:

- The explanation for WHY ghosts are suddenly popping up all over NYC is better than the original film. That's right, BETTER. (And if memory serves, even ties in a little from the video game.)

- The original cast cameos are mercifully brief and lovingly done. (Stay 'til the very, VERY end of the credits.) In fact, keep your eyes peeled during the first 10 minutes for a sweet Harold Ramis tribute.

- A little side-tracky, but Holtzman's necklace -which I couldn't stop staring at the whole movie, but didn't "get" until an hour later in the car ride home - was a definite highlight for me. Let's see if you can tell what it is from this photo:


(OK, because John's insisting - probably because this made him laugh really, really hard - here's the actual dialogue the moment I "got" her necklace: 

"Yeah, I loved it, but I still don't understand the U. At first I thought it was a science thing, like for Uranium? 'Cuz her name doesn't have a U in it. Plus there was a screw behind it, which seems really...OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH SCREW YOU IT MEANS 'SCREW YOU' I'M AN IDIOT.")

As for negatives: Ghostbusters feels a little too long, some (though not as much as you'd expect) of the humor falls flat, and the finale, while good, doesn't have that epic, toe-tapping, feel-good vibe of the original. You could chalk that up to waiting through 10 minutes of credits for all the extra scenes, though. (Which you should still do.)

So, TL; DR?

It's less a reboot and more a completely new story with a few original GB homages thrown in. It won't ruin your childhood, I promise. 


15 Jul 12:46

Blue Shift: Green Cleaning—Lies, Damn Lies, and Advertising

by Leigh Krietsch Boerner


Clean everything with vinegar and water.

“Green” cleaning—it’s hip, but is it helpful? There’s zero question that our presence on earth is changing our environment, but is using green cleaners going to make a difference? In this three-part series, we’ll examine if green products are really better for you, your house, your planet, and your wallet.

Curious to know what’s coming up next week?

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Personally, I hate grocery shopping. The lights are too bright, and there are too many products with too many claims assaulting your eyes, brain, and wallet from the shelves. “Ultra Power Plus,” shouts one dish detergent. “With Active Suds” boasts another. “Safer Ingredients for Baby,” says a third.

Wait, what was that last one? Does that mean the other ones are harmful to my baby? Am I making my kid sick without knowing it? Crap, I’d better get that baby-safe one!

Aaaaaand they got you.

All products exist to be sold, of course, and their advertising exists to manipulate you into buying whatever they’re selling. “Green” companies, ones that claim their products are better for you and/or the environment, are no different. However, some of these companies are polluting the waters of truth in a different way to get you to buy their products. By calling themselves “safe” or “honest,” they imply their competitors are not, and they exploit misplaced beliefs about certain ingredients by using meaningless buzzwords.

One great example that’s become almost an urban legend at this point: sodium lauryl sulfate, aka SLS. This surfactant (short for “surface active agent”) is basically used as a detergent in cleaning products and is pretty common in all types of products, from toothpaste to shampoos to dish detergents. But you’ll also find a lot of products that loudly proclaim themselves “SLS-free.” Some people buy these because of a vague notion, likely spurred by advertising, that SLS is bad. This misinformation is from a rumor many years ago that SLS causes cancer. It does not. Some people also may be mixing SLS up with sodium laureth sulfate, or SLES—these are very similar molecules, but only one contains a carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane. This byproduct can be created when SLS is made into SLES. There’s much more info here, but even with a 1,4-dioxane contaminated product, you’d have to do 2,000 sinkfuls of dishes a day to get to a level that would harm you. A difficult task, even for Cinderella.

Regardless, some companies put a lot of emphasis on their SLS-free-ness. The Honest Company, a popular brand, recently got in trouble for advertising its laundry detergent as SLS-free, when independent tests showed that it actually contained the surfactant.1 (Maybe it wasn’t a great business move for the company to label itself “honest.”) Trying to set themselves apart from competitors by proclaiming a lack of a vilified ingredient is a tactic that other green companies tend to use, too.

Dapple, a company that makes a bunch of baby-specific stuff, really does put a label on its dish detergent that says “The baby safe choice.”2 And yes, it is! But so is every other dish detergent on the market. It’s not safe to drink, as Dapple points out on the back of the bottle, and this would be a problem with other dish detergents too. But are those other detergents safe to use on baby’s dishes? Despite what Dapple seems to imply, yes, they are.

Seventh Generation uses a similar tactic on its website, labeling laundry detergent “0% toxic*.” I could not find what that asterisk meant on the website, and had to email the PR department to find out. The relevant info: “Our formulas are not toxic to you and are biodegradable. Always use as directed.” The detergent’s directions call for drinking a glass of water if you ingest it.3 But they don’t mention calling poison control or seeing a doctor—does that seem weird to anybody else? The material data safety sheet for SLS says to get medical attention if you happen to drink it.

And the word “toxic” is a slippery slope, because almost everything is toxic if you take enough of it. The term “nontoxic” also means approximately diddly-squat. Same for “chemical-free.” Ditto for “natural,” which the FDA has tried to point out is a meaningless word in this context. Any company can put pictures of green leaves on its bottle or pictures of spring meadows in its ads.

What this all adds up to is that there are many companies that use these tactics to scare you into buying their stuff. A lot of this advertising is aimed at parents who just want to protect their kids, which makes it even more despicable. I mean really, (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻.

So ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) okay. One good and mostly true sweeping generalization about green companies is that they tend not to test on animals. And if you’re worried about the safety of household cleaning products, there’s always the EPA’s Safer Choice program. Formerly known as Design for the Environment, Safer Choice lists compounds and products that meet the program’s environmental and safety standards. The EPA gets these standards by analyzing classes of chemicals—surfactants, for example—and chooses the ones with the lowest hazards within their class. (Here is a more-detailed explanation of the standard.) And, by the way, SLS is on the EPA’s “safe” list.

To be clear: I’m not suggesting that you should avoid green companies. I’m saying that you need to take their advertising claims with a grain of salt—as you should take all advertising claims. Fear is a great motivator, but it’s also the mind killer. Let it pass over and through you, and try to ignore those labels that attempt to use fear to separate you from your money.

In parts two and three, we’ll explore whether “green” companies’ products are really better for the environment, and what DIY or homemade alternatives you might have.

When a source of light moves toward you, its waves are compressed and pushed to a higher energy. We can’t always see this blue shift, but it’s there.

In the space of Internet science, there’s a lot of bad information floating around. In this biweekly column, Leigh Krietsch Boerner, chemistry PhD and science editor of The Sweethome, will tell you what you need to know on the science of home products, and what’s all around you.

(Photo by Michael Hession.)


1. The gods of irony are well-pleased. Jump back.

2. It also used to say “0 percent toxins.” A toxin is a biologically produced poison—think snake venom or the compound that causes botulism—not a toxic compound. When I pointed this out to Dapple’s PR person, she sent me this official response: “The claim ‘no toxins’ is completely true and forthright—not a single ingredient in our products is a toxin, and we disclose all ingredients to make sure everyone knows exactly what’s in there.” So, no botulism juice. Got it. (Dang, what am I going to wash my Bag O’ Glass with?) Fortunately, the company removed this ludicrous label, and it no longer appears on its dish detergent. Jump back.

3. The detergent’s label also says it’s gluten-free, which is great news for people with Celiac disease who wish to drink it. Jump back.

14 Jul 12:32

Low Profile Washer Head Cabinet Screw

by mark

I used these screws recently to reorganize the shelves, cabinets, tracks, and hooks in my garage. Previously, I had used cheaper standard framing wood screws, supplemented with washers in some cases. With fatter standard wood screws, I needed to drill the hole first. These thinner, self-drilling cabinet screws require no drilling and can be applied to a standard wall stud, through drywall, with a low-torque device, rather than an impact driver. When no pre-drilling is necessary, the job moves more than twice as fast because I have no mess to clean up. Yes they are more expensive but these screws easily paid for themselves in the time I saved. Love ‘em.

-- Benjamin W. Friedman

Low Profile Washer Head Cabinet Screw (100 screws for $30)

International Amazon link

Available from Amazon

11 Jul 15:32

What Kitchen Tools Do You Bring on Vacation? — Reader Intelligence Request

by Geraldine Campbell

Relevant! My cabin-box for the state park cabins/airBNBs always includes a colander and mixing bowl, measuring spoons and cups, a bottle of PAM, chopping boards and various spatulas etc, spices etc.

(Image credit: Cambria Bold)

This summer I'm hoping to escape the city and take up residence in a little cottage by the sea for a week or two. Top of mind as I plot my getaway is my packing list. I'm not talking about my summer wardrobe — I'm talking about my kitchen tools.

My chef's knife is a given, but do I need my cast iron? What about my coffee grinder? Will the rental have a corkscrew? Or measuring cups and spoons? Help me out: Which tools are essential, and which should be left behind?


29 Jun 17:31

How to stay happily married while renovating

by Raf Howery

These are excellent tips!

Photo by @nathan_son_of_bruce
Photo by @nathan_son_of_bruce

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

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

Decided who the ultimate decision-maker will be

Before we began any renovation process, we decided who the ultimate decision-maker will be whenever there is a deadlock. You could separate the decision authority based on the different competences you each have… If you are good at budgeting, then by all means control the finances, and have the last say — but agree on that with your significant other first. In other words, decide who is the boss is in which areas before you even start the process.

You should also think about what kind of conflicts you may encounter and what the rule of thumb should be when they happen. Write them down and keep the list in front of you. These will be your temporary marital vows during your renovation.

Price your shopping wish list before you begin

Budget has a lot to do with your product wish list — from the marble, to your fixtures and appliances — and is often the main controversial and quarrel-initiating factor. Be in the know before you begin to alleviate any potential conflicts regarding spend. Figure out where your tastes lie, and price it out ahead of time. Get the material budget defined very clearly, and make sure that when you hire the contractor, the allowance for those projects match your budget. (An allowance is the part of the bid that the contractor gives you to buy the materials you want for things like kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and roofing.)

One of you should be doing all the communication with the contractor

This may seem extreme to some, but, trust me, you can avoid conflicts by streamlining all communications. Choose one of you to communicate and that same person should preferably own the budget, too. If one of you is playing bad cop with the contractor, make sure he or she is not the main communicator.

Take vacations during the dusty period

Dust and dirt makes it hard to be happy. Whenever possible, pack your bags and go somewhere else. There are many ways you can keep track of your renovation if you're not on site. You can go back once the dust settles.

Be understanding of the other's signs of fatigue and frustration

Being frustrated at your spouse's frustration is going to get you nowhere. One of you needs to be up when the other is down. Resist the urge to be influenced by your partner's mood. Step up and be strong until he or she is up again. Discussing this beforehand will go a long way when these feelings arise in either of you during the renovation.

Manage, manage and manage proactively

Managing a renovation can be tough. It requires great project management skills, and understanding of construction tasks and their interdependencies. Once you spend the time talking to your contractor to understand your renovation project plan — task by task, and the flow of the renovation — draw up a timeline with your significant other so you are both on the same page.

You probably already know which one of you is more organized, so you can now go ahead and put the timeline on that spouse's smartphone calendar, and set up alerts for him or her to check on the progress of every task. Do the same with the materials you need to purchase.

And give yourselves enough lead time for every product so that you don't face any unpleasant surprises down the line.

Turn shopping trips into shopping dates

If you are both into the project, you should try to transform your shopping days into actual dates. This is the most enjoyable part of the entire journey, so have some fun while selecting the things that will be part of your home. Take the time to enjoy browsing, dreaming, spending and romancing. It will strengthen your relationship and understanding of each other as you both build your cocoon.

Any renovation can be tough, but by being informed and organized, clearly delineating responsibilities and making a romantic journey of improving your nest, everyone wins.

What tips do you guys have for renovating your home, but not ruining your relationship?

Recent Comments

  • Jennifer Long: THIS! I actually have a draft of a guest post written about how our marriage survived our DIY bathroom remodel… [Link]
  • VaseyDaisy: Yes to shopping dates! My husband and I did two renovations so far; our tiny kitchen, and our only bathroom… [Link]
  • k: The last item on this list made me smile - my parents have done a ton of renovating to their… [Link]
  • SonyaG: I agree with all this. Additional tips if you are living in your reno and doing it yourself:… [Link]
  • Colleen: For us, that hasn't been a problem for two reasons: - Each home we've bought has a different architectural… [Link]

+ 3 more! Join the discussion

24 Jun 15:54

Learning That Depression Lies: My Mental Health Management Strategy

by Katie Klabusich

Those of us with the types of depression that ebb and flow, insidiously creeping up when we least expect it, might not have our shields up and ready when the tide comes in. But a few months ago I happened to feel another bout of depression looming before it knocked me off my feet and accidentally discovered a strategy for fighting it.

Read more Learning That Depression Lies: My Mental Health Management Strategy at The Toast.

16 Jun 18:20

On Not Being a Mom or a Dad

by B.A. Beasley

Powerful read.

My kid and I, we’re fine. She knows who I am, and for right now, she sees me more clearly than anyone I’ve ever known, because she doesn’t know yet what it’s supposed to mean to be a man or a woman, or a mom or a dad. She just knows me.

Read more On Not Being a Mom or a Dad at The Toast.

01 Jun 18:12

Straddler Nation: Building Safe(r) Spaces for Queers IRL

by Carmen
Indystraddlers doin' their thing.

How do real-life communities based off of online ones maintain safe and inclusive spaces? Let's talk about it!

The post Straddler Nation: Building Safe(r) Spaces for Queers IRL appeared first on Autostraddle.

26 May 13:14

Blue Shift: DEET Is Actually Quite Safe—Really

by Leigh Krietsch Boerner

blue shift deet feature

If you’re worried about the Zika virus (and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you have reason to be), you should stop worrying about DEET. Even on infants older than 2 months. And especially if you’re pregnant. In fact, even though DEET hasn’t been tested on pregnant women in their first trimester, experts are now saying that it’s okay for all pregnant women to use insect repellents that contain DEET, since the danger of Zika to an unborn baby is higher than any potential danger from DEET.

Poor DEET—nobody wants to invite it to their birthday party. And that’s very sad, because DEET is the most tested insect repellent available on the market. “Concerns over the safety of DEET first emerged during the 1980s after reports of encephalopathy following DEET exposure, particularly in children. However, the role of DEET in either the illness or deaths was and remains purely speculative,” says this recent meta-study on the safety of DEET.

That sentiment is echoed in this 2015 paper (subscription required) on insect repellent: “During the 1980s and 1990s there were several reports of encephalopathy following DEET exposure in children. However, risk assessments by both the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and independent publications, as well as a clinical trial, found no association between encephalopathy and DEET use, and no toxological risk or severe effects except after inappropriate use (ingestion, direct inhalation, or eye exposure).”

The Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences looked into the health effects of DEET, as well, and found that over 40 years of use, from 1961 to 2002, eight DEET-related deaths occurred. Three were of people intentionally drinking it, two were of adults wearing it, and three were of girls under 6 who underwent “heavy” use. One of those girls had a health condition that may have contributed to her death.

Repellent Use Safe for babies (2 months to 3 years)1 Safe for kids (3 years and up) Safe for pregnant people
Oil of lemon eucalyptus Skin and clothes No Yes, animal tested Yes, animal tested
Picaridin Skin and clothes No Yes, animal tested Yes, animal tested
IR-3535 Skin and clothes Yes, adult tested Yes, adult tested Yes, adult tested
DEET Skin and clothes Yes, infant tested2 Yes, kid tested2 Yes, tested with pregnant people2

That being said, DEET is the safest bug repellent out there, according to both the CDC (PDF) and the EPA. It’s also one of the few okayed for use on babies as young as 2 months, and on pregnant women in their second and third trimesters.

Because people are worried about this type of thing, most bottles of DEET tell you to wash it off after use. This step is to minimize your exposure, said Dr. Mark Fradin, a dermatologist who co-authored one of the seminal papers on the efficacy of mosquito repellents, in an interview. But DEET is “a remarkably safe product when used intelligently.” So follow those rules on the can.

The alternatives aren’t necessarily safer. Picaridin hasn’t been safety-tested nearly as much as DEET, though it may be just as effective. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is most often a synthesized, lab-made compound also known as PMD. According to the CDC, neither type is suitable for use on kids younger than 3, because they are severe eye irritants and kids that little tend to rub their eyes a lot. And PMD is not the same as the “pure” oil of lemon eucalyptus, which is not recommended for use as a repellent as it hasn’t been tested for efficacy.

As for other options, according to the study that Fradin co-authored, so-called “natural” repellents don’t work nearly as well. We wouldn’t trust them to prevent mosquito bites.

For more information on alternative bug repellents, the best DEET concentration, and details about Zika, read our recommendation for the best bug repellent.

When a source of light moves toward you, its waves are compressed and pushed to a higher energy. We can’t always see this blue shift, but it’s there.

In the space of Internet science, there’s a lot of bad information floating around. In this biweekly column, Leigh Krietsch Boerner, chemistry PhD and science editor of The Sweethome, will tell you what you need to know on the science of home products, and what’s all around you.

(Top photo by Michael Hession, with illustration by Elizabeth Brown.)


1. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises not putting repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Jump back.

2. All of these tests were observational studies, meaning the researchers looked back at past use and saw no harm. No one gave babies, children, or expectant mothers large amounts of DEET to see if it hurt them. Jump back.

26 May 13:10

Why Everyone Is Attracted To Baristas (It’s Because Of Late-Stage Capitalism)

by Mallory Ortberg


1. Because you haven't been able to find a stable office job in more than four years and coffee shops are some of the only places you can afford to spend more than half an hour in without having to admit you can no longer keep up with your friends financially

2. Because your parents romanticized blue-collar labor

Read more Why Everyone Is Attracted To Baristas (It’s Because Of Late-Stage Capitalism) at The Toast.

25 May 13:22


by mark

This stuff famously impressed the folks on Shark Tank enough to garner some investments. It’s not different in principle from using fiberglass and resin to patch something, but it’s a lot more convenient and tidier to use.

The package contains a little square of sandpaper to roughen up the surfaces a bit to enhance adhesion (although this is not addressed in the instructions and it’s something fix-it beginners might not know), a nice durable pair of vinyl gloves to keep your hands from getting glued to your garden tools, a sealed foil package containing a roll of the actual product (comes in varying widths and slightly varying lengths, but most readily available in 4″ by 60″ in big home improvement chains, etc.), a strip of vinyl which can be optionally applied to the outside of the fix before it hardens, then removed to leave a smoother surface, and a simple set of instructions.

The fabric doesn’t seem to be fiberglas, it appears to be some sort of polymer. The innovation here is the resin with which the repair tape is impregnated. The developers have managed to find something which is activated by exposure to water, hardens in minutes, is commendably sticky without being annoyingly hard to apply, and cures strong; all while being non-toxic (it says here). Thus, rather than trying to keep a wrap of fiberglass cloth tight with one hand while dabbing on resin with a drippy brush held in the other, you simply rip open the package, submerge the whole roll under water for 15 seconds or so, then wrap it around what you want to fix. It grabs the substrate quite nicely and similarly grabs itself, so that a nice solid repair is easy to make; 15 minutes later, it’s ready to use.

I used it to fix a digging fork which I habitually abuse horribly, whose wooden handle broke off at the end of the metal ferrule. Previous fixes have used a 6″ black iron pipe coupling which happens to be of the correct inside diameter, but that always eventually fails because the slight taper of the ferrule works itself loose from the inside of the pipe, even when epoxied in place.

The FiberFix, however, molds itself to the taper of the ferrule and doesn’t give it any wiggle room, in addition to adhering solidly to both the metal of the ferrule and the wood of the handle. When cured, the repair is now strong enough that I can’t break it with my overly aggressive levering on the fork; I expect it to last at least as long as the pipe coupling repair, and it was a heck of a lot easier and quicker to do. I was so impressed I went out and got a second package and did a similar wrap on my shovel, even though the handle is not yet broken, as a precautionary measure. (They never make the ferrules on these things long enough for me).

The wrap is designed to be used all at once when opened; exposure to the humidity in the air will activate the resin, so you can’t save half of it for next time. The package has a “best if used by” date approximately three years in the future; the package I used was purchased a year ago and has been sitting unopened on my shelf since then without any apparent degradation, so keeping a package around for emergency fixes of tools and returning them to service within half an hour without having to stop what you’re doing to go shopping is feasible.

The manufacturer suggests it can be used to fix leaky pipes as well, but I haven’t tried that yet.

-- Gerald Zuckier

FiberFix 4 Inch Repair Wrap ($8)

International Amazon link

Available from Amazon

23 May 12:27

Tips from a makeup artist: The 5 best lip balms and lip moisturizers

by Tania D. Russell
By: philograpfy
By: philograpfyCC BY 2.0

When you’re in the makeup biz, you really do think about product a lot. Therefore, when I write about makeup, I tend to gravitate to products that I’ve found that work for photographic use, and to the latest greatest of what’s happening in the cosmetics world. I am frequently reminded, however, that “normal people” (aka, non makeup artists/fanatics) do not think about these things at all — they just want some basic products that work so they can look their best and go on about their way. The reality is, when women find out I am a makeup artist, they are MUCH more likely to ask me what is the best mascara or moisturizer than they are to ask about some esoteric micro makeup brand.

So let's talk basics: The best lip balms and lip moisturizers! These are the things that real women ask me about all the time and all the time. Being a pro makeup artist I’ve gone through umpteen brands of each type of product and these are the ones that make my cut.

A word about what I look for in a lip balm:

First and foremost anything Petroleum based is out. Some folks love Petroleum based lip-balms, and if that’s you and it is working for you then great. Keep doing you. I do not like Petroleum based lip-balms at all. They do not actually moisturize, in my opinion, nor do I like the way they feel (greasy) and then as a makeup artist I cannot use them under lip color because they make the color “slip.” Therefore there will be no Carmex, Chapstick, Rosebud Salve (although I LOVE Rosebud salve for other things), or even the ever popular Keihl’s Lip Balm #1. I look for balms that are creamy in texture and feel and are derived from natural oils often in some kind of an oil/water emulsion formula. Here then are my picks of fabulous lip moisturizers…

burts beeswax

5. Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

Burt’s is a classic and with good reason: it works. What is particularly nice about the Burt's Bees formula is not only is beeswax a natural wax, but it’s smooth yet dry in texture. Therefore it is very comfortable to wear — even men like it because it doesn’t feel like there is “something” on your lips — and it is usable under lip color. It is also naturally matte which makes it great for men’s grooming, or anytime a glossy look is undesirable. There are a zillion different versions of the Balm now some of which are oiler/glossier/more fancy-pants than others… For my money the road keeps leading back to the original formula. (Note: I have the tin pictured because that’s what I personally use, but Burt’s Bees Lip Balm is available in tubes as well)

Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment

4. Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment

I know what you’re thinking: Did I not just say that I do not like Petroleum based products? Well, that is correct. Let’s be clear: I am only talking about the lip OINTMENT, not any of the stick balms. The Blistex Ointment is not petroleum based. It has a little bit of petroleum in it, but petroleum is well down the list of ingredients. It's is pretty much unbeatable when you are dealing with dry, cracking, sunburned or any form of distressed lip, that is past the point of using a scrub. The main active ingredient is Dimethicone which acts as a barrier to protect the lips, and the next three active ingredients are Camphor, Menthol and Phenol all of which are healing ointments. These ingredients are set in a creamy, not waxy, base that really stays on the lips and heals them right up. When lips are crying for mercy, Blistex Ointment is there to answer the call.

Vegan Hemp Lip Balm

3. The Merry Hempsters Vegan Hemp Lip Balm

Too many people hear the word “hemp” and their minds go to one wrong place. Hemp seed is very high in vitamins and omega-3 acids making it very healing (it is particularly beneficial for those suffering from eczema). The Merry Hempsters Vegan Hemp Lip Balm is just a good, basic no-frills balm. What’s unique about it, of course, is that it is vegan friendly, using plant-based candelilla wax instead of beeswax. This balm is smooth, creamy, long lasting, and everything I look for in a balm. Like Burt’s Bees it is dry enough for use under lip color.


2. Anita Grant Lippy Pucker Lip Balm

Anita Grant is a UK based personal care brand. I was first reeled into the brand by her haircare products for coily/curly hair, and I have been a devoted user ever since. One of the times I ordered her amazing Rhassoul Deep Hair Conditioner she slipped in a tube of her Lippy Pucker lip balm and I have been a fiend ever since. The Lippy Pucker is a blend of all-natural, largely organic vegetable oils blended with a couple of natural humectants (honey and castor oil) to make the smoothest, creamiest, most fantastic lipbalm I have ever used. It comes in a scrumptious array of natural flavors such as Tangy Lemon and Dark Chocolate, but I tend to stick to the un-flavored Original formula. Lippy Pucker is one of those rare lip moisturizers where not only do you not have to reapply constantly, but you can skip a day and your lips will still be soft. Oh yeah. It’s like that. I use it underneath lipgloss all the time without any problems. It might need to be blotted down a bit to but used underneath lipstick. While I wish I could just go to my local natural foods store and buy a tube, it is completely worth it to buy online, in my opinion.

So if Anita Grant is so amazing, what brand is #1 you say? Well, Anita Grant is what I use on myself on a day to day basis, but in my kit I use the one and only…

Malin and Goetz Lip Moisturizer

1. Malin and Goetz Lip Moisturizer

When I say you have never experienced anything like this product, I mean you have NEVER experienced anything like this product. Malin and Goetz exists in the realm where nature meets science. Unlike any of the other natural brands mentioned which just melt down a recipe of oils/butters/waxes, Malin and Goetz synthesizes the best properties of its naturally derived ingredients to create something altogether different. The result is a glossy lip moisturizing gel. It feels both hydrating and velvety at the same time. It is shiny like a gloss (so you minimal gals can wear it alone and be good to go) but it is not at all greasy or slippery so it works a dream underneath lip color. Like Lippy Pucker it is long lasting to the point where you can skip a day and your lips will still feel soft. It has barrier properties to protect dry lips from the elements, yet it penetrates into the lips and heals as opposed to just laying on the surface as most balms do. It’s just amazing, frankly. But since it is so potent you do not need much.

What are YOUR favorite lip balms and moisturizers?

Recent Comments

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  • Kaaate: I definitely wouldn't say that people should use Carmex or anything like that for everyday stuff, but it is a… [Link]
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19 May 14:16

How do you tell your parents things they don't want to hear?

by Megan Finley


my parents
By: dalobeeeCC BY 2.0
I have a question for the Homies: How do you, as an adult in your agency, tell your parents things they don't want to hear?

For many reasons, including my religious and ethical beliefs, I feel I need to tell my parents that I am in a polyamorous relationship. I've previously come out to them as queer and trans, which feels different from this conversation.

Coming out feels like I'm sharing some information about myself so they can change their behavior; telling them that I'm dating more than one person feels like I'm selfishly telling them something they don't want to hear, so that I can live more honestly. How do I do this? -Colleen

Queer or straight. Poly or mono. Whatever. We ALL have had to tell things our parents didn't want to hear. How do YOU have tough talks with your parents?

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  • SamanthaPink: I've never "come out" to my parents. This is not the same as being "in the closet." I simply rejected… [Link]
  • SamanthaPink: 1. Polyamory is a relationship dynamic, not a sexual orientation. 2. Asexual people both exist and have relationships, including… [Link]
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19 May 14:15

Blue Shift: Why Dishwasher Rinse Aid Makes Dishes Cleaner and Drier

by Leigh Krietsch Boerner

Fascinating! Science!


Take a look in your dishwasher. You should see a little compartment for the detergent—and next to that, another little compartment. The second one is for the rinse aid, liquid stuff made up of surfactants and salts and acids. It’s designed to help your dishwasher work better, to give you cleaner and drier dishes that are all sparkly and pretty. Common concerns about rinse aid include whether it coats your dishes in gunk and hurts the environment, or whether it’s totally unnecessary. But a closer look reveals that it isn’t dangerous and is actually very helpful—your dishes will never get as clean without it.

Rinse aid really works

As much as we might like to believe the claim, rinse aid isn’t just a money grab for detergent companies.

You need rinse aid because dishwasher detergents don’t work the same as they used to. If you’ve read our guide to the best dishwashers, you know that in 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulators made detergent companies stop using phosphates, a great cleaning agent, because they can lead to algal bloom.

Says Liam McCabe in our dishwasher guide:

Every new dishwasher has a rinse-aid dispenser because rinse aid is essentially mandatory if you want your dishwasher to work well these days, according to every industry person we talked to. Rinse aid offsets the limitations resulting from gentler detergents and stricter efficiency standards—it’s just part of the deal now.

What’s in this stuff? And what does it do?

We’re going to use Finish Jet-Dry as our standard rinse aid, since that seems to be the dominant brand. (Disclaimer: Don’t take this as a recommendation! We haven’t tested any rinse aids, and we haven’t put this one through our normal Sweethome wringer.)

Finish Jet-Dry rinse aid has a bunch of stuff in it, but it isn’t complicated, really. Here’s a rundown of the contents:

  • Water is necessary to dissolve all the other stuff.
  • Alcohol ethoxylate is a nonionic (uncharged) surfactant that helps the water slide off your dishes better and thus helps them dry faster. This ingredient is probably the most important bit in rinse aids; more on how it works in a minute.
  • Sodium polycarboxylate is an anti-redeposition polymer that wraps itself around the crud that the dishwasher just washed off so that the bits don’t get stuck again on your dishes.
  • Citric acid, which RB (the company that makes Jet-Dry) calls a complexing/sequestering agent, is really good at grabbing calcium ions out of hard water. Calcium can bind with surfactants and keep them from cleaning and rinsing dishes, so citric acid acts as kind of a sacrificial lamb to keep calcium from interfering.
  • Sodium cumene sulfonate is another surfactant but with an electric charge, so it’s a bit better at breaking water’s surface tension on your dishes than alcohol ethoxylate, but it’s also more foamy (PDF). Foam is bad in a rinse aid, so that’s why such products use both kinds of surfactant.
  • Tetrasodium EDTA is a chelating agent. EDTA is short for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. It’s this funky-looking molecule that wraps its four arms around dissolved minerals in the water (such as calcium). The word chelate comes from the Greek word for “claw,” so you can imagine this molecule sinking its claws into minerals and whisking them away, similar to what citric acid does.
  • Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone (aka MI and MCI) are both preservatives, meaning they keep bacteria from growing in your bottle of rinse aid. Both are capable of causing skin allergies and are sensitizers, meaning that if you’re exposed to them over and over again, you can develop an allergy. But since rinse aid doesn’t sit on your skin and washes away completely from your dishes, I wouldn’t worry about it here.
  • CI Acid Blue 9 is dye. It makes the rinse aid blue. Why does it need to be blue? I have no idea, although colored solutions are easier to see in that little rinse-aid compartment.

As I mentioned above, the surfactants (short for “surface active agent”) are probably the most important part of rinse aid. Water is an oddly codependent molecule: It likes to hang on to its neighbors as much as possible. Water molecules on the surface freak out a bit because they don’t have any water molecules to hold onto above them, so they hang on doubly hard to their friends next door. This behavior is known as “high surface tension,” and it’s why water beads up on glasses and plates—the water would rather stick to itself than spread out on the plate.

Surfactants can break this high tension because they give those surface water molecules something they’d like to hang on to instead of their neighbors. So the water that used to bead up on your glass then spreads out in a thin layer. Water in a thin layer evaporates much more easily than beaded-up water, so your dishes come out dry at the end of the cycle.

Another major thing rinse aids do is prevent water spots on glasses. Remember the sequestering and chelating agents in there, citric acid and tetrasodium EDTA? These components grab the stuff that makes water spots—dissolved minerals such as calcium—and whisks them away. If they’re rinsed away, they don’t stay behind in the water, so no spots. Magic.

The last really important bit is that anti-redeposition agent, sodium polycarboxylate. It keeps food bits in the wash water from ending up back on your dishes.

Why do you need more surfactants? Isn’t detergent made of surfactants?

Yes, dishwashing detergent contains surfactants. But it also has hella complexing agents and enzymes. Different surfactants are better at different things: Some are better at cleaning, and some are better at breaking up water’s self-bonding party. The latter are the kind that tend to be in rinse aids. If you’re thinking you’ll be smart and just use extra detergent, womp womp. If you put in extra detergent, not all of it will rinse away cleanly, leaving you with a film of detergent on your dishes. Too much detergent can even etch glasses. Don’t do it.

What if you don’t want this crap on your dishes?

According to the customer service rep I talked to at Finish, if you use rinse aid properly—that is, put your dishwasher on the hottest, longest cycle—no residue will remain on your dishes. That’s the ideal situation. But what about less-than-ideal situations? According to the 16-ounce bottle of Finish Jet-Dry rinse aid, it has 150 washes of stuff in there, or 0.1 ounce per wash.1

Assuming that no rinse aid gets rinsed off during the wash cycle, the concentration of rinse aid in the dishwasher water is about 0.0005 ounce per rinse. Divide that among all of the dishes in your dishwasher, and you get … a really tiny amount. And at least some of it, maybe all of it, will get rinsed off.

What if you don’t want this crap in the environment?

As we say in our dish soap guide, water-treatment plants do a good job of cleaning surfactants out of the water. Two of rinse aid’s ingredients, alcohol ethoxylate and sodium cumene sulfonate, are considered low risks (PDF) to aquatic life. Another ingredient, tetrasodium EDTA, has a toxicity that’s a bit complicated because it almost always has some kind of ion (such as calcium) attached to it in water, which changes its chemistry. However, it isn’t a big risk with normal home use (PDF). Everything else checked out as having low toxicity to aquatic life. So unless your dishwasher drains directly to a stream (who are you?), rinse aids seem to pose little environmental risk.

What about vinegar in a cup? Is that cheaper, and does it work the same as rinse aid?

Yes and no. People all over Internet-land suggest using vinegar instead of commercial rinse aid, but this approach has two problems. First, you should not put vinegar in the rinse-aid dispenser in your dishwasher. Vinegar is a strong enough acid to melt the rubber gaskets in the rinse-aid dispenser. Bad. Some people suggest running a rinse cycle with the vinegar in a cup on the top rack, and this tactic can work. It is a bit of a pain, since you need to stop your dishwasher and put the cup in just before the rinse cycle. It also doesn’t work as well as rinse aid. Vinegar can be a chelator, but it’s not as good as EDTA. It can also mess with the surface tension of water, but not as well as alcohol ethoxylate and sodium cumene sulfonate. So it’s cheap (cheap-ish, actually—working in such small amounts, it’s hard to say), but in this case you get what you pay for.

So do you really need rinse aid?

Well, no, not really. They’re your dishes, do whatever the hell you want. But if your dishes are coming out of the dishwasher wet, or with food bits still stuck to them, give rinse aid a whirl. Or try the vinegar-in-a-cup thing. Life is an experiment—play with it and find what works best for you.

When a source of light moves toward you, its waves are compressed and pushed to a higher energy. We can’t always see this blue shift, but it’s there.

In the space of Internet science, there’s a lot of bad information floating around. In this biweekly column, Leigh Krietsch Boerner, chemistry PhD and science editor of The Sweethome, will tell you what you need to know on the science of home products, and what’s all around you.

(Top photo by Michael Hession, with illustration by Elizabeth Brown.)


1. Bosch, the company that makes our dishwasher pick, told Liam McCabe that 3.5 drops of rinse aid is used per dishwasher cycle. One drop is technically 0.05 milliliters, so that’s about 0.175 mL of rinse aid per each cycle. Since 0.1 ounce, the amount I used in the above calculations, is about 3 mL, somebody’s off here. I used the higher number because a too-high estimate is better than a too-low estimate in this case. We’re not exactly sure how much water your dishwasher uses in the rinse cycle, but we did find an older GE manual that says just running a rinse cycle uses 1 gallon of water. Dishwashers are different, so we’re guesstimating that the rinse cycle on most dishwashers uses about 1.5 gallons of water. One gallon is about 128 ounces, so 1.5 gallons is 192 ounces. Jump back.

17 May 20:19

My New Rabbit Hole: Mori Girl Fashion

by Jen


I'm about as far as you can get from a fashionista; I hate trying on clothes, so my closet is a museum of ancient Ross and thrift store finds, and most of the time I'm just wearing jeans, a geek tee, and matching chucks. BUT. A big chunk of my heart belongs to ruffly skirts, flowy shirts, lots of layers, and, well, this kind of stuff:

I would wear that post-apocalyptic Lolita thing on the right (made by Stilecht) EVERY DANG DAY.

In fact, I've had that outfit Pinned to my woefully bare "Fashion" board for years, so a few months ago I went back to it and checked out Pinterest's "Related Pins."

That's how the obsession began, you guys.

I quickly discovered something called "Mori Girl" - which I now know is Japanese for "Forest Girl" - and fell in love. It's a fashion sub-culture that's checkin' all my boxes: loose frilly skirts, an A-line silhouette, lots of layers, boots, and NO HEELS. (Can I get an "hallelujah?")

One of my favorite examples of Mori style is Mai Magi up there of Shortcut To The Stars (a Tumblr site that's gone now, sadly):

Mai's rockin' a "Dark Mori" variation here, which has a more goth vibe with lots of blacks and gray.

Loooove this silhouette.

Classic Mori Girls wear lots of white linens and lighter colors, though still with an emphasis on natural fibers and muted colors:


 Of course heavy layering is tantamount to heatstroke here in Florida - or most places during Summer - so next I went on a mission for lighter Mori looks.

» Read More
16 May 15:59

My Skincare Routine for Hormonal Cystic Acne, 2016 Edition

by fanserviced


I Bought It Purchased with Referral Credit** Press Samples*** Affiliate Links “Where do you get skin like that–from your parents or does it come in a bottle?” Umm. Reader, I think the earth sort of wobbled under my feet when I heard that. I was wearing expensive, amazing foundation at the time, but I haven’t...

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The post My Skincare Routine for Hormonal Cystic Acne, 2016 Edition appeared first on fanserviced-b.

10 May 14:18

23 No-Mess Snacks For Board Game Night

by Crystal



23 one-hand, no-mess snacks for game night that will have your friends full and your board games clean as a whistle.

The post 23 No-Mess Snacks For Board Game Night appeared first on Autostraddle.

09 May 17:29

No gnomes or buddhas: Garden art for atheist adults

by Megan Finley

That last macrame hanger makes me want to make one!!!

Yes, this is a dinosaur eating gnomes garden statue
Yes, this is a dinosaur eating gnomes garden statue
I'm looking for ideas and sources for garden statuary that do NOT feature religious iconography — like St Francis or the Buddha — but are not kitschy — like gnomes or dinosaurs.

Any ideas for garden art for atheist adults? -Elizabeth

Wow, you're right. It's a bit difficult to find garden statues that don't sway religious or kitschy-as-hell! On my first try, I found that dinosaur-eating-gnomes garden statue, which combined TWO of your no-nos. But really… maybe it is EXACTLY what you're looking for? It might be the perfect garden statue of all time.

Anyway… I worked hard, tried to stay away from all things "zen" and "gnome," and rounded up some garden art that adult atheists might actually like!

Grasslands Road World Garden Good Luck Elephant Statue
Grasslands Road World Garden Good Luck Elephant Statue
Blue Beer bottle ladder garden art idea from Etsy seller ShelleyHolm
Blue Beer bottle ladder garden art idea from Etsy seller ShelleyHolm
Lucky Penny Garden Flowers
Lucky Penny Garden Flowers
Cat and Mouse Garden Sculpture Set
Cat and Mouse Garden Sculpture Set
Balanced Arch Wind Sculpture
Balanced Arch Wind Sculpture
Earth Fairy Aura Garden Statue
Earth Fairy Aura Garden Statue
Decorative Mushroom -- Garden Art Made From Repurposed Glass from Etsy seller CreativityTimesThree
Decorative Mushroom — Garden Art Made From Repurposed Glass from Etsy seller CreativityTimesThree
Guardian Lion Statue Granite
Guardian Lion Statue Granite
Steel Songbird Garden Sculpture
Steel Songbird Garden Sculpture
Mini Stone Overlook Bridge Statue
Mini Stone Overlook Bridge Statue
Vintage Tortoise Stepping Stones
Vintage Tortoise Stepping Stones
Japanese Blue Heron Metal Garden Sculpture Set
Japanese Blue Heron Metal Garden Sculpture Set
Metal Orbs from Etsy seller NevaStarr
Metal Orbs from Etsy seller NevaStarr
Kinetic Spinner Stake
Kinetic Spinner Stake
Macrame wall hanging by Etsy seller MacrameElegance
Macrame wall hanging by Etsy seller MacrameElegance

Any other anti-kitsch, non-religious garden-havers out there? What garden art did you dig up?

Recent Comments

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  • Shlemar: If you're into baseball, a few teams have started handing out player, manager, and mascot lawn "gnomes" as mid-week game… [Link]
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06 May 12:31

Full Circle Fresh Air Countertop Compost Collector

by mark

If we start up composting again, this sounds like a good countertop collector!

I’ve been composting my kitchen scraps for awhile now, using various systems, and this countertop compost bin, which I’ve been using for two years, is the best I’ve used so far.

There were two issues with other bins that I’ve used: 1) rottten vegetable residue on the bottom of the bin that must be cleaned out after it’s emptied and 2) swarming fruit flies.

The Compost Collector solves both those problems. You line the bin with a compostable bag (I use BioBag 3-gallon size), then remove it when it gets full, leaving your compost bin nice and clean. It takes about a week for me to fill the bag, and I’ve seldom had problems with leak-through. If your bag does dissolve a bit (this can happen if your scraps are really soggy or if you let the bag sit way too long), the bin comes apart for easy cleaning.

This bin has good airflow, which slows down the decomposition of the veggie scraps, but the air goes in through tiny holes in the top which fruit flies can’t get though as well as a gap at the bottom where air circulates around the bag. So as long as you remember to keep the top closed, fruit flies aren’t an issue. In addition, it’s not smelly like bins that have no airflow, unless you put something in it that’s smelly to begin with.

The Compost Collector is also sturdy and good-looking, and doesn’t take up too much space on the counter.

-- Abbie Stillie

Full Circle Fresh Air Countertop Compost Collector ($23)

International Amazon link

Available from Amazon

03 May 17:54

7 Favorite Projects to Organize Your Garage

by Ana White


Hi guys!  

It's spring in Alaska, the trees have greened up, the swans are migrating north, the ruffed grouse are drumming, and sometimes you can barely hear yourself over the frogs doing their thing.  

After a long winter working in the garage, I am so ready to do a big spring clean up of our workspace, and get organzied for the summer.  Today I thought I'd share with you some projects that could transform the storage and functionality of your garage.


Easiest Garage Storage Shelves

Designed by Ana White 

First things first, build some storage for all those boxes and totes.  If you have stud walls that you can tie into in your garage, this is the simplest and easiest way to build garage shelving.  We loved this shelving so much have since built it three times!




Fold-Out Pegboard Tool Storage Wall Shelf with Bins

Designed by Rouge Engineer shared on RyobiNation

Not only does this garage wall storage shelving system triple - yes TRIPLE - your pegboard storage, but it keeps all of your storage accessible and within easy reach.  I love hanging tools since tools to keep them off the workbench, but accessible and easy to find.  

The bins under the tool stoarge area are life savers for smaller tools and fasteners.  




Easy Potting Bench with Hook Slats

Designed by Ana White shared on RyobiNation

I made this potting bench at Ryobi a couple of years back, and since there was just no way I could pack it in a suitcase back to Alaska, have been wanting to make it again for my own use.  I loveed how simple this project was to construct, all with simple joinery.  Use cedar if using outdoors.




Spary Paint Wall Organizer Shelf

Designed by My Altered State shared on RyobiNation

Paint is all about making something pretty, so why not make it pretty on display?  I love Pauline's spray paint organizer for keeping your favorite colors close at hand, and keeping you inspired while you work.




Narrow Garage Tools and Paint Storage Shelving

Designed by The Creativity Exchange

I love narrow depth shelving because stuff can't get lost in the back, and everything is easy to reach.  The Creativity Exchange's narrow garage storage wall stores so many supplies and tools, all while keeping things neat and organized.  Lots to be inspired from here!



Mobile Workstation with Tool Storage

Designed by Shanty2Chic shared on RyobiNation

My friends Ashley and Whitney from Shanty2Chic and designed and built this mobile workstation for the furniture maker with limited space.  I love all the dedicated tool storage and simple design!  You gotta have clamps handy!



Roll-Away Cart Workstation with Tablesaw and Mitersaw Built in

Designed by Ana White shared on RyobiNation

This was one of my favorite projects I did in 2015!  Cutting is such a big part of building - not only does it take time, but precision is essential for your project to turn out right.  When I was tasked to do a "cutting edge" workstation, I designed this workbench around the saws.  But there's ample storage in the carts, and we even embedded a Kreg Jig into the top of a workbench (and other bench tools can fit in the slot).  If you have the space in your garage, this roll-away workstation has it all, and tucks away neatly.


And don't forget, this month's RyobiNation challenge is Garage Takeover!  

So that means you could win $500 in tools for your garage if you build and share a project for the garage this month!  Get all the details on how to enter (it's easy) here.

Have a great day!