Archive for the ‘Tips for Tuesday’ Category

Hello folks!  Today my tip is short and sweet and I can’t believe I haven’t posted about it before.  This tip is a cooking aid.  Have you ever had a bunch of random ingredients in your house but no plan for what to cook?  Well, Supercook is the answer!  This wonderful website allows you to input the ingredients you have in the house and it will tell you what types of appetizers, entrees, and desserts you can make with the ingredients you have (complete with recipes!).  It will also show you recipes that you could make if you added just one or two more ingredients.  I have had some great success with recipes from Supercook out of basically no ingredients (just because I didn’t want to go to the store).  I have had one maybe two not-so-successful attempts with recipes from Supercook…but that was probably just a taste thing and not the actual recipes or site.  And who cares anyway because I used ingredients I had laying around my kitchen AND I tried something new.

Supercook searches several recipe/cooking websites and matches your ingredients to recipes it finds.

So what should I make for dinner tonight?  I really don’t feel like going to the store on this rainy day. Guess I’ll SUPERCOOK it!


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This is the Tuesday of all Tips! I found this awesome thing that I felt NEEDED to be reposed as a tip for Tuesday. Thanks, Do It and How!

Do It And How

from 9gag.com

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Tips for Tuesday: Repurposing chalk!


Here’s a little tip I picked up at Real Simple.

1.  Cut out a square of cheese cloth.

2.  Place some pieces of chalk in the cheesecloth

3.  bundle up and tie the cheesecloth closed with the chalk inside

4.  Store with your good silver– this will help absorb moisture and slow any tarnishing that may occur.




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Well, I’m sure the hot topic these past few days has been New Year’s Resolutions. How many of us have tried to make resolutions like lose a million lbs and wake up 2 hours early and blah blah blah.  Well, I was going to write this post about the statistics around New Year’s Resolutions and tips for making positive changes in the new year, but instead, I am going to post about one thing I want to emphasize in my life this year:

Taking more time to do what I want to do 

Taking more time to do what you want to do is really important.  My cousin, Gerard (photo below), and I had a big discussion about that this past week.  He firmly believes in allowing yourself a minimum of 1 hour per day to take time for YOU.  During that hour, you can do whatever you want to do as long as it is something that you truly want to do. Well, in this discussion, I realized that I don’t even come close to 7 hours a week just doing what I want to do.  Then it’s always cramming stuff in that I want to do when I can squeeze out some time in my life.  And, because I try to cram everything in during a short window of time, I wind up getting more stressed or exhausted.

As a freelancer, it’s really hard to find time to do things for me.  I can’t say “no” to gigs because I worry that I won’t make enough money or I won’t make the connection that I need for a breakthrough.  But really, after three years in the same city, I know deep down, what gigs I can pass up.   Now I just need to gain the courage to say NO to allow me time to do the things I value most.

The tip: Take time for yourself!  Aim for at least one hour per day!

Things I am hoping to make more time for: Crafting, photography, attending choir practice, cooking, relaxing, exercising, reading, spending time with family, spending time with friends, coursework.

This is going to be a good year.

BELOW: Photos of my cousins ringing in the new year with me!

Cousins on NEw YEars

My Cousins and Boyfriend celebrating New Year's Day. From left to right: Gerard (check out his band here), Katie, Erin, Christine, Jenny, and Dave

"The Train will be delayed due to ongoing signal work" That is what we heard as we sat on the Subway on New Year's Day 2012, waiting for it to take us to the Mummer's Parade! From left to right: Katie, Gerard, Erin, Jenny.

Gerard and Erin riding the Subway New Year's Day 2012

Gerard and Erin riding another subway on the way to the Mummer's Parade. Don't they look like they should be famous!?

Jenny blowing her horn on new Year's 2011-2012

Jenny blowing her horn on new Year's 2011-2012. Jenny is super creative and made the hat she is wearing. Notice the crazy neighbors on my block setting off GIGANTIC fireworks!? A few of them almost hit us.

Photo of the cousins on New Year's Eve 2011-2012

The photo we took in a mirror at my house. The goal was to send the parents a pic of all of us. From left to right: Jenny, Dave, Christine, Me, Gerard, Katie, Erin. Happy New Year!

I wish each of you a Happy New Year complete with time for YOU!

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As my tip for Tuesday this week, I thought I would share a blogpost from PositivelyPositive.com with you.  I do not claim any credit for this post and I have not been diagnosed with Dystonia.  But I did find this post thought-provoking and wanted to share it.  I found this tip in a post that I found on someone’s Facebook page.  I thought it carried some nice words and helped to put things into perspective.  It carries the great tip of really focusing on the positive in life– because when you focus on the negative you wind up in a horrible downward spiral.  Please check out PositivelyPositive’s website when you have a chance!  It’s inspiring 🙂

The following is reposted from http://www.positivelypositive.com/2011/12/17/positive-side-effects-blog/

remember a different me.

I remember this incredibly active agent, manager, and producer in the film and television business. I remember effortlessly walking my dogs, Lincoln and Wesley, while they sniffed everything imaginable. I remember playing softball and tennis. I remember shopping up a storm.

In April of 2007 I woke up with a crick in my neck. It didn’t seem like a big deal, I was just feeling not quite right. I assigned stress as the culprit and expected it to dissipate after a day or two. It did not. The crick lingered like an unwanted houseguest and began to affect my torso, as well.  Before I knew it I was tilting to the right at a ninety-degree angle.

After months of struggling with difficulty standing up straight and walking, and a lifelong fear of doctors, I finally sought treatment. It was a long road that I could have never foreseen. No one knew what was wrong with me.

Following a litany of indescribable cognitive tests and blood work, I found a specialist who was able to pinpoint my condition. I was diagnosed with Dystonia.

Dystonia is the disorder version of Parkinson’s. I did not view it as a life sentence; I viewed it as a takeaway—an opportunity.  An opportunity to grow and help others.

I learned quickly that millions of people have Dystonia, but were not diagnosed. This came after appearing on Oprah with Michael J. Fox, and then the Today Show with Meredith Vieira, whose husband also has Dystonia. Mike Fox has Dystonia, too, but his platform is Parkinson’s.

It was then that I realized that I had become The Dystonia Girl, the poster-child for something I knew nothing about mere months prior. Fortunately, my sense of humor was still intact, so I thanked God I was not also donning an eye-patch and hook for a hand.

I immediately founded the non-profit organization: BEAT DYSTONIA. Only to discover that some of the non-profit world was often corrupt, vicious, and often for profit. I refused to go that route.

My goals were to support others, refer them to specialists, and raise money for research through the National Institute of Health. I did not want that money going toward trips overseas, or extravagant events that often just offset the costs of what could go to scientists in the labs. I wanted to be on the ground floor of beating Dystonia. This did not go over well with many. But I did not care.

Physically, I fought my way from walker to wheelchair to cane to no cane.

Mentally, I fought my way from the comfortable realm of who I once was, to the terrifying uncertainty of what I was to be. Adding to the three-ring circus that was my life, was the overwhelming press that had ensued following the Oprah and The Today Show appearances—hello, huge new hat collection accompanied by large sunglasses.

In the midst of all of this, my partner ended our relationship abruptly. I was devastated, but picked myself up again.

I had no choice but to view life—literally and figuratively—from a whole new angle. And I aimed to get through a meal in public without people approaching me to inevitably tear up. I was not tearing up. I was eating my sushi and enjoying a glass of Merlot.

In spite of all of this, I managed to remain positive. I knew I could beat this “incurable” brain disorder that afflicts so many worldwide. The outpouring of those who wanted my story, advice, or other attentions was unbelievable. I could not keep up, but somehow I did. From talking people out of suicide to simply listening and relating to others’ pain, helping them to feel heard in a healing, often humorous way.

I began to compile a list of outstanding movement disorder specialists from all over the world. To my amazement, I got many of them on the phone and explained to them what I was doing, and expressed my impression that far more people have Dystonia than is recognized by the US government. I became the go-to gal for referrals and advice about how to forge your own path to wellness. I feel strongly that you should work WITH your doctor making them your teammate. Ask questions. Express your truth. Take notes. Take a friend, friends, or family members.

In my own life, I was still championing the daily battle of wellness. This took commitment. Physical therapy was grueling—beneficial—but grueling. Yoga and meditation also helped physically, as well as helped to maintain an overall positive attitude.

I realized that I had begun to laugh more than I ever have in my life. If I hit my head, I laughed, and the pain dissipated much faster than if I were to take to my quarters and sulk. I left the pain behind. I took my lumps and moved on.

I had to be in touch with reality. I had Dystonia and there is no cure (yet). So, there it was. The way I decided to see it was,

YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH RAINDROPS, so what is the point?

Dystonia was a part of my life, but I would not let it define me. I deeply refused to curl up into a ball and cry about it. And trust me, it is painful, but if I focused on the pain I would be headed down the wrong path. I had witnessed so many people who were headed down that path, and I did all I could to point out the road less traveled. I encouraged people to find the humor in the ridiculous situations that many “Dysto-friends” were experiencing. So, you fell getting off the escalator—let people help you get up, and laugh your ass off while doing it.

At one point, I fell into the bushes outside of my local pharmacy. It was in the dark of night and no one could hear me calling for help. Without hesitation, I started laughing and just lay there in the shrubs. At the time, I did not know I had broken my leg and I walked around on it for two full weeks. My leg looked like something from a monster movie, but my pain threshold was so high that it never occurred to me that I had a major broken bone. Finally, I had my millionth X-ray and was in a boot for months. I didn’t care—I thought it looked rather Star Wars-inspired and, most importantly, it fit with my naughtily large collection of jeans.

Every day has its challenges as I learn to adapt and redefine myself. I continue on my original track and do my very best to help others who need a turnaround in attitude, and it seems to work. I have stayed in touch with everyone, and have met many of the people I have helped, and will continue to help, from around the world. Because the healing goes both ways. When they feel better—I feel better. That is the great side effect of helping others.

Oh, and like everything else in life, my broken leg healed. And ever since, unlike most actual meteorologists, I can tell you when it is actually going to rain.

They should call me.

Rogers Hartmann is a longtime literary manager, and now producer, writer, and activist. She has appeared on OPRAH with Michael J. Fox, THE TODAY SHOW with Meredith Vieira, TED, and countless other network programs. She speaks to kids and adults alike across around the world about her journey to wellness while battling Dystonia.

The original post for this can be found at 


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Let me just say right up front that I really don’t have a lot of time to write a post today.  So, I apologize in advance for the sloppy nature of this post!!! And, in the interest of time, I am going to cut right to the chase. Today’s tip is to do a good deed.  It was inspired by the BBC program I was listening to on NPR this morning that featured London’s Guerilla Gardener.

Aside from just being a good thing to do, there are many health benefits of being altruistic and unfortunately today is so booked solid that I am going to spare you the details and give you some links to read about the benefits yourself. Check out http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/emotional/science-good-deeds-1105  for more info on the scientific benefits of good deeds.

Anyway, the program this morning was covering the riots and looting in London.  They interviewed the Guerilla Gardner,  and the things he said just really made me happy and inspire me to do more good for the world.   As Guerilla Gardener, Richard Reynolds makes it his mission to give London’s sidewalks and empty lots a facelift and goes around planting beautiful plants around town. You can check out his mission at his website http://www.guerrillagardening.org.  He’s also on Twitter @Richard_001.  How does he relate to the London Riots?  Well, he rounded up a bunch of people to go to the site of the riots and help clean up the damage that was done.  He felt that it was close to home and he doesn’t want this negativity to linger.  To hear his first hand account go to BBC World Service and listen to Chapter 8 of today’s News Hour.  It can also be found here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00j8sxb#p00jpws2

In addition to his awesome help restoring London, his Guerilla Gardening program sounds AWESOME.  Does anyone know of any programs like this in Philadelphia?  Heaven knows we could definitely use a Guerilla Gardener sprucing up Philly!

Well, let’s keep the unrest in London in our thoughts and prayers!  Thanks, Richard, for being the type of citizen we all should be!

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Moving can be stressful, exciting, time-consuming, and even fun!  It all depends on how you are able to prepare for the move.  I have moved 16 times in the past 27 months.  Granted, some of those moves were not major moves and then again some of them were 14 hour drive moves.  Regardless of the degree of difficulty of any move, there are some facts that can cause a lot of stress even if you think you are ready for the move.  Some of these stress factors are: the turnaround time, the distance, the help, who is moving with you, and the amount of stuff you have.  That last stressor, the “stuff” stressor, is the one that causes me the most distress and this last move (which took place YESTERDAY) was the worst.  Which brings we to today’s tip.

When moving, get rid of as much stuff as possible starting at least 1 month before the big day!  This will make packing and moving so much more efficient and easier than trucking all that stuff with you to your new place.  And, let’s be serious folks.  Unless you have a definite plan with certain items (such as large furniture you cannot fit in your temporary home but plan on being in a larger place within the next few years) a long-term storage facility is not the best idea.  Think of those storage facilities as traps.  There is a good chance you will forget what’s in there and not miss it at all.  Why pay the money for the storage unit if it really doesn’t make a difference whether or not those superfluous items are in your life?

When you are going through your items, really think about how often you use something and if you are keeping because you think you SHOULD or because you really will need it.  Remember, space is valuable and so is your time unpacking in your new place. The less items you have to unpack the better off you will be, the more time you can spend exploring the new ‘hood instead of slaving away in the house.

Take it from me, I would not wish the cluttery move I had yesterday on anyone.  And, the sad part is, I really thought I was going to conquer this move.  I had boxed up many items to give away (but never got around to actually getting rid of those items).  I had a packing schedule.  I had excellent moving help.  I had a load-in plan.  And then I had a major traffic jam in the house, a horrible rainstorm, and a bad mood. Had I lessened the amount of stuff I brought with me BEFORE the move and not had the attitude of “I’ll get to it at the new house.”  I could’ve ended the move earlier and taken my friends out for ice cream and a fun night in the new neighborhood.

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