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  • A Beautiful Etsy Shop Gets Fresh Ideas for Growth

    Periodically, people who’ve seen me in Etsy’s forums ask for help. I’ve decided (with permission) to start sharing some of their stories here. So the other day, I heard from the charming Helene at HandmadeByLN. She makes handmade yoga bags and other products for a market she calls “Hippie Chic” and “Bohemian”. I received the following email: I see that you are super active…

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  • 10 Incredible Etsy Shops With Fewer Than 100 Sales

    I really don’t get it sometimes. Artists with incredible products not killing it on Etsy. These shops below represent what I’m talking about. Interesting niche items in all price ranges in shops with fewer than 100 sales. And only a few of them opened this year. Some of them have been saved in my favorites for a long time, others…

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  • How to Redesign a Mudroom for Fun, Function, and Lightness

    Moving into this house was 10% more exciting because of the presence of a mudroom. I don’t where you live, but here in Colorado having a mudroom can mean the difference between life and death. Of those not responsible for cleaning the house. Of course in this house, due to the NNI Phenomenon, there’s always the risk of me snapping and losing…

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  • 6 Surprising Ways to Beat Buttholes, Bullies, and Victimization

    Over this last few weeks, Etsy made a lot of changes. Every time Etsy makes big changes, the forums devolve into panicking, complaining, advice, complaining about complaining, accusations of “meanness”, unicorn-bearing mood lighteners, and complainers who complain about the people complaining about all the complaining. It’s a jolly good time. You’ve probably seen this kind of thing happen on social media,…

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  • 11 Creative Ways to Find Your Target Market for Etsy and Small Business

    Your target market includes anyone who buys your products. While most of us have a sense of the broad groups (women, ages 20-60, who like our products), market segmentation (what I’m really talking about here) can help us narrow the field into manageable groups for whom we can: Develop Products Develop Promotional Campaigns Drive Social Media Campaigns Focus Your Brand…

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  • How Even An Idiot Can Make 2-Ingredient Paleo Banana Egg Pancakes

    Part of me wants to punch the people who post this recipe on their perfect food perfect person blogs. Though I’m not Paleo, I do try to eat real food 90% of the time. And I remembered reading about these Paleo egg and banana pancakes and seeing all the pretty pictures and thinking how easy it would be to make them. Bullshit. It’s…

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  • Yummy & Easy Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna Boats

    Sometime in the last few years, J and I became slobs. Truly proper slobs, really. Sweatpants or leggings. T-shirts. Uggs. Scary food like Taco Bell. Fifteen years ago I hardly ever ate processed food, sugar or any manner of other bodily poisons. After coming off a huge weight gain in my 20s, I became a kind of health nazi that left me aggressively avoiding red…

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  • 10 Things Solopreneurs & Etsy Shops Can Do When Business Is Slow

    A lot of shops and freelancers experience a significant reduction in business for certain periods. Some slow down in January, others in April. Some could just about close up shop all summer long. People often attribute these declines things like: The realities are probably more complex and include things like increased competition, diminished demand, seasonal shifts, and plenty more. The…

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  • One Secret Ingredient To Stop Complaining, Victimization, and Self-Pity

    I write a lot about bullies, targets, victimization, and the like.  I expect many people skip over those posts because they think it doesn’t apply to them.  I’m not a victim!  I’m super confident and easy going!  Think again. Most of us feel victimized by something at one time or another. So if you’ve ever done (or ever do) any of…

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  • Why Etsy Rank & Alexa Don’t Matter for Etsy Shops

    Periodically, someone posts on the Etsy forums about Alexa or any number of website traffic ranking sites that exist.  There seems to be a lot of concern and confusion about what these ranking sites are really about, so I wanted to try and clear some of that up.  I spent the weekend researching the issue after yet another one of those posts…

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  • What Is A Brand? It’s Not A Stinking Logo, That’s For Sure.

    Once upon a time, your brand was simply your logo. Historically, as with homogeneous cattle, a brand a uniquely identifying mark that said “this is mine” in a prairie of brown bovines. A graphical representation of a company name in a sea of similar companies. For many, the brand is still the logo. Many graphic designers could give a five…

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  • Personal Values: So What If They Hate You?

    I have this friend who keeps asking me what I think of him.  Do you think I’m egotistical?  I really don’t want you to see me that way. Does it seem like I’m a bully?  I don’t want people to think I’m a bully. I can be this way, too.  Concerned, moment by moment, with what someone else thinks of…

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  • 6 Simple Strategies to Improve Your Customer Service on Etsy and Beyond

    A lot of Etsy and micro business sellers struggle with customer issues.  They fear bad feedback, confusion, and getting screwed.  I’ve never really had these concerns (much), so I wanted to offer up a few quick tips on how to improve your level of service.  I brought to mind some techniques I learned from managing call centers, shopping at service-oriented…

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  • Beware the Ego (Including Your Own)

    Last night I got an email from a Flytrap customer. She ordered sex coupons for Valentine’s Day about a week ago and was upset they hadn’t yet arrived. She also complained about my shipping rates and signed her email with her title (Esq.) after her name. Now for just a moment, I was all kinds of fired up.  All “Who does she…

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  • The Problem With Positive Thinking

    People talk a lot of hope and positive thinking.  “Think positive!” “I don’t like all this negativity!” As if hope and happy thoughts deliver results.  But positive thinking in a vacuum is never enough to achieve any goal, to drive any business forward, or to become the person you want to be.  Positive thinking must be accompanied by action in…

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  • A New Way To Recognize Adult Bullies: 7 Key Traits

    If you haven’t already done so, please see the first installment in this series on a fresh way to manage bullies. The basic premise is this: Bullies aren’t bad guys. Bullies and targets simply relate to each other in unhealthy, sometimes destructive ways. I believe the bully dynamic is created when targets fail to fend off bully aggression, which permits…

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  • A Black Bean Brownies Experiment via Dr. Fuhrman

    When J said, “That sounds absolutely disgusting.”  I knew I had to make these black bean brownies.  I remember hearing about black bean brownies over a decade ago and being curious.  Then some company or other I follow on Facebook posted about them a few weeks back.  They made it to the “to try” list since I already had all the…

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  • Etsy: Wholesale and the Subscription Box Conundrum

    I’ve had a ton of wholesale orders for subscription boxes last year (and at least one this year). I posted a while ago about why it makes me uncomfortable and most responses said, “Hey, money in the pocket! Exposure! It’s all good!” I decided these were valid points and rolled with it. In one such box last year, I did…

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  • Spinach Pasta Recipe from Unused, Leftover Spinach Dip

    Periodically, J and I host an open house on New Year’s Day.  You know, a daytime party with food and drink and chatter with people you may not have seen in a while.  Few of our friends do the hard partying New Year’s Eve anymore. Even J and I are usually in bed by ten until the peckerheads in our…

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  • Replacing A Fireplace and A Wall: A DIY Project

    This house came with turn of the century cubbyholes.  Holes that said, “Hey, you wanna put that giant television somewhere?  We’ve got your spot right here is this enormous finished cutout.  And tell you what.  If you’ve got some crap ‘art’ you want to put here, we made a space for that, too.”  The cubbyhole decision was a popular one…

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  • Chicken Cordon Bleu Balls: A Delightful, Easy Appetizer

    We were in line to host game night, a quarterly get together with some old friends who are rude, crude, and socially unacceptable enough to regularly play “Cards Against Humanity“. If you don’t know this game and you fancy yourself wonderfully snarktastic, you’re probably not living up to your full potential.  In fact, we’ve found that the seemingly most innocent…

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  • A Fresh Way To Handle Adult Bullies: The Old Way Is Wrong

    Bully Media has it all wrong – especially when it comes to adult bullies. The causes and solutions most Bully Media proposes feel detrimental to those trapped in such relationships. Bullies are demonized, targets are coddled, and most recommend application of a dysfunctional social system – the kind of system that enabled such a dynamic in the first place –…

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  • Etsy Help: Slow Sales, Low Views? Get Some Creative Solutions

    We’ve all seen them. Etsy forum threads complaining about slow. Low views, no sales. I know how frustrating it can be. I’ve been there. People often chime in with thoughts of Etsy changing, election years, elephants stampeding across the continent, and all manner of things beyond your control. If you want to cry, have at it. But if you want…

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  • 7 Reasons You’re Not Selling on Etsy

    Almost every day a seller checks on the forums to see if anyone else’s sales are down. While this can be helpful if it leads to solutions, it can also mire you in “things suck for everyone, I’ll just bury my head in the sand and wait it out”. Which simply doesn’t aid growth. While outside forces can impact any…

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  • Pinterest Vs. Reality: Zucchini Sandwich From Honestly Yum

    When you manage to grow zucchini the size of a small man’s arm, it helps to find a few recipes that use a lot of squash, are tasty, easy, and interesting.  When I saw this one with “spicy sun dried tomato and herbed ricotta” on Pinterest, I thought, “Sandwich? Good. Cheese? Good. Sun dried tomatoes? Good.” I put it on the menu.…

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  • Owning A Business Is Work, Yo

    So I’ve been neglecting this site to work on Flytrap, my other creative child.  I typically take the summers off, but with a new product line launch and ideas about expanding into wholesale again, my summer days haven’t been spent reading and walking the dogs (though I do manage to squeeze that in, too).  Instead, it’s all branding and collateral…

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  • Fast, Easy, Healthy Chicken Mole Recipe

    Have you ever tried the gloriousness that is mole?  No, you freak. I don’t mean the rodent.  I mean pork or chicken mole, a Mexican dish.  Peppers, cocoa powder and spices merge into a gloriously unexpected wonderfuless you can put over shredded chicken, pork, or beef for the perfect, healthy Mexican feast. Now the uninitiated may be thinking, “Chocolate with…

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  • How To Respond To Bad or Negative Feedback or Reviews on Etsy

    It always sucks to get a bad review. Especially as nano businesses on Etsy (my shop is Flytrap), we craft our products from ourselves, making them part of our very identity. So when someone leaves us a review we don’t like, it might feel like they’ve shoved that dagger into our hearts and told us our work sucks, we suck,…

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  • Easy, Healthy Lunch Idea: Avocado Feta Lettuce Wraps

    As someone who works from home running my own tiny little business, I have the luxury of making lunches just as complicated as I dare.  I’ve been known to make quesadillas with sauteed vegetables, roast chicken, and other concoctions those working in typical office environments just can’t do.  And while I enjoy that indulgence during slow periods, lethargic periods, and…

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  • Selling On Etsy: Slow Sales or Sales Decline

    It can be frustrating when your sales or views drop off and you’re not sure why.  It’s awfully tempting to look at Etsy and wonder what they’re doing to screw with your business.  And while there may be a little validity to such curiosity, it doesn’t help you solve the problem. Nobody’s business ever grew because they scapegoated Etsy and…

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  • Personal Responsibility: A Tool For Victims

    A few years ago, I got into a discussion with some people about personal responsibility. I argued that each person is responsible for how he feels (and responds) regardless of how he’s treated by someone else.  My companions suggested that attitude gives people license to treat others poorly. The conversation got a little heated.  I explained in my cautious way,…

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  • Mad Quest: Quirky Modern Coffee Mugs

    It started innocently enough.  A cup of coffee in Florence, Italy.  A sip. Delicious.  But no addiction.  No quaking at the prospect, the very notion, of not having coffee every day.  Enter Paris.  A trip last fall that wasn’t accompanied with my usual tea travel mug. Coffee, truly remarkable unamerican coffee every day.  Rich and full of life.  Then a…

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  • Creative Way To Hang A Marionette / Puppet Display

    Last fall, J and I took a trip to Paris and Prague.  A kind of whirlwind week of exploration.  In our holiday letter, I wrote: We explored Paris on foot for 15 miles before Jen’s unsensible shoes ruined her feet.  After finding an athletic shoe store on the Champs Elysses, she traded style for comfort and spent the rest of…

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  • 5 Simple Steps to Stylish Dinner Party Decor – Every Time

    Loving to entertain and being cheap, minimalist, and style obsessed at the same time can be a little tricky.  I want a pretty table setting, but I don’t want to store a bunch of crap to achieve it. I also don’t want to piss money away just to prevent myself from puking at the ugliness of the table. And while…

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  • Healthy, Easy, Fast Dinner – Sausage with Cabbage “Pasta”

    I don’t know about you, but I really hate throwing out food.  When fruit starts to look scary, I put it in a smoothie.  When there’s leftover meat, I throw it in an omelette.  If eggs are getting on toward, I make a quiche and freeze it. So when I had some cabbage lying around that was getting a little…

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  • Light & Healthy Lobster Rolls With Greek Yogurt

    Who doesn’t love a good lobster roll?  But it’s the kind of thing you may want, without all the fatty McFatterson mayonnaise but still want to serve something yummy.  Enter the cure all Greek yogurt. The thing about Greek yogurt is that it’s a substitute for so many things.  Sour cream. Mayonnaise. Heavy Cream.  It’s versatile and as long as…

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  • Mackage: A Bag For Stylish, Unconventional Women

    First, Coach was all the rage.  In high school and college, that was the bag to have among my friends and me.  And Coach did the trick for decades, until they started slathering their bloody logo all over everything like Louis Vuitton does.  So, not wanting to pay more to advertise their product, I tired of Coach and discovered Kate…

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  • A French Dinner Party for Two London Friends

    A few years ago, I discovered rabbit in one of my favorite Denver grocer’s, Tony’s Market.  The first (and only) time I ‘d had rabbit was in this great old French restaurant in my hometown.  The restaurant gone, but with the help of the internets, I knew I could find a proper French recipe. I bought the bunny and later…

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  • How to Store Product for Etsy, Amazon, eBay and Other Home Based Businesses

    This was my office closet a month ago.  Shit everywhere. Random cellophane sleeves that matched no product. Inflexible shelving at inappropriate heights.  One broken printer, one hated printer.  Nowhere to put overflow product. No ability to find anything. Ever. Is this you at all? For those of us who run a home based product business (as opposed to service businesses,…

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  • Food Finds: Unusual Chocolate Experimentation

    There are three places I go that I’m always finding interesting chocolates.  Whole Foods, World Market and Tony’s, a local market/butchery.  And my philosophy is this: If I haven’t seen it before and it’s strange, I put it in my mouth.  So here’s the latest roundup of unusual chocolate. Exhibit A | Moonstruck Beer Berries Tumbled in Dark Chocolate I’m…

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  • Food Find: Epic Bacon Lust Trail Mix Review

    If you’ve been keeping up, you know I’m a bit of a whore for unusual food.  So when I saw Epic’s Bacon Lust Trail Mix, I bought it even though I balked at the $6.99 price tag (and, inexplicably, $40 on their website – which is probably for more than one pack but the site doesn’t make that clear).  Seriously,…

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  • Guide to Better Gifting: Less Stuff, More Self

    Sometime in my early 20s, holidays and gift giving started to shift for me.  Mom, an historically generous gifter, would always ask for wish lists and I’d struggle to come up with things that felt neither too greedy (get that “plane ticket to anywhere off of there”) nor so small I could just get it for myself (no underwear or…

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  • 10 Creative Ways To Deal With An Arrogant, Whiny, Difficult Person

    A few years ago I was having some trouble with what I called a “difficult person”. I began studying narcissism.  Real narcissistic personality disorder, not just occasional narcissistic behavior.  I came upon many sites, blogs, and resources for people who’ve been “victims” of narcissists.  I even touched on some of my reactions in this article about bullying.  And I’ve since…

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  • Office Design for Stylish and Uncluttered Product Storage

    One of the endless struggles of having a product-based business is figuring out how to achieve uncluttered product storage.  It was easier in the early days when I printed on demand.  No bullshit inventory taxes.  No product storage issues.  Now, I not only store product (greeting cards, small boxes, and sticky notes), but I also have to store all the…

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  • Letting “Feeling” Before Function Guide a Room’s Design

    Picture a bedroom with baby-diarrhea-brown walls accented with metallic gold stripes paired with a brass ceiling.  This was the state of the master bedroom in the house we bought.  Frantic to destroy the offensive paint job, we covered it with the first color that popped into our minds.  Blue.  J’s favorite color.  A peaceful color for a bedroom. Because I…

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  • Most Excellent New Year’s Cards – 2016

    Every once in a while, friends send out Happy New Year cards instead of holiday cards. They arrive after all the food has been eaten, drink has been drunken, and trees have turned sad.  When you’re finally ready to tell the holidays to shove it, here comes another holiday card.  This seems like it is a situation primed for Flytrap…

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  • Screw Resolutions, Make Some Life-Changing Goals Instead

    There’s this thing I’ve been doing every year since I was about thirty. At the time, I was making trying to transform my life.  I had moved to a middle of nowhere frozen tundra that dramatically interfered with my aspirations for sunshine, fashion, and eating things that weren’t fried.  I was in a satisfying, highly sexual relationship with a tenuous…

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  • Cornish Hens with Cornbread Jalapple Cheddar Stuffing

    I’ve never planned a big New Year’s Day meal.  J’s industry shuts down between Christmas and New Year’s so he’s always around and we like to cover all manner of seven deadly sins (sloth, gluttony, etc.) while watching movies or, this year, catching up on Downton Abbey in preparation of the final season. Usually it’s convenience food like pizza, popcorn,…

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  • Creatively Anal Packaging for Bread & Flavored Butter Gift

    During Flytrap’s slow season, I’m lousy with free time.  I take on ridiculous projects like labeling the pantry and tidying up the spice cabinet.  Things perfectly normal people would never dream of doing.  People with busier lives and kids and proper jobs.  People who leave the house occasionally and can’t imagine hunkering down for days without getting in a car.…

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  • A Housewife’s Dilemma: Near Not In

    I should preface this by saying I married a really wonderful man.  Now, I get that most happily and some unhappily married women say this.  And while we’re not all giddy with 20something love or having sex three times every day, there would be few people in the world who would dispute the goodness of this man.  He’s kind and…

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  • Is It Worth It To Make Almond Butter Like PB2?

    If you’re not already familiar with PB2, I strongly recommend adding it to your clean & healthy eating arsenal.  PB2 is a peanut butter …concept.  It’s a bit weird, but if you add water to peanut powder (and nothing else – no oil, no sweetener), you’ll get something like peanut butter but is much lower in calories and fat.  Meanwhile,…

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  • Come To Me, My Little Dutch Baby (Pancakes)

    Ever create a food so beautiful, you’re not entirely convinced you actually created it?  It looks good. It tastes good.  The color is just right.  You might even have had a tiny little orgasm when it touched your tongue.  And its glory could not possibly have come at your hands. This is what happened when I made this Dutch Baby. …

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  • Easy, Fast Make-Ahead Breakfast: Healthy Chicken Sausage Souffle

    Every Christmas, mom makes this thing she calls Sausage Souffle (recipe here).  It’s the kind of stick-to-your-insides deliciousness that shuts down your system and makes you wonder how you survived past the age of 24.  Seriously?  We were eating sausage and eggs and cheese and – ZOMG, the horrors, WHITE BREAD! – all the time and somehow managed to survive without…

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  • Flytrap Packaging Gets a Sexy Makeover

    You may have noticed Flytrap’s updated logo. But the fun doesn’t stop there.  Truth is, every few years I just get straight up sick of everything Flytrap and revamp it all again.  Some branding experts would probably speak of the error in my ways while wearing charcoal suits and paisley ties.  But I’m pretty sure Flytrap customers don’t care —…

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  • How To Print Flytrap Sticky Notes at VistaPrint

    When VistaPrint got its start, small business owners seemed to flock to them for promotional goods.  In the early days, the quality was pretty questionable.  But when I started printing sticky notes with them in 2010, I never had a problem.  Since, their customer service is exceptional and the print quality just fine for these types of products and/or gifts. …

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  • Miracle: How To Make Half-Popped Popcorn

    Are you one of those people who’s always a little bit disappointed when you get to the bottom of a bowl of home-popped popcorn and find hardly any half popped popcorn?  You’re all dazed out watching Modern Family reruns and before you know it, you’ve got a bowl of salt and hard kernels. I’ve made some headway in this conundrum. …

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  • Mad Quest: Whimsical, Fun Appetizer / Dessert Plates

    In our house, all the dinnerware is white or black.  White plates, white serving dishes, simple silverware.  It seems pretty boring when you look at those families who have Christmas plates and Easter plates and Thanksgiving serving ware and special stuff for smaller parties and. While I love being invited to those homes, the thought of possessing so much stuff…

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  • 2015 Icicle Photo Shoot

    A little icicle photo tour around my house.  They are plentiful this year and turn out some interesting abstract photos.  Which is about the only positive outcome from snow.  Except green springs.  Oh, and water. The cold hand of death.   Do you see the witch?   Reminds me of molten metal.  

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  • Reviving A Pissed Off Meyer Lemon Tree

    Last year around this time, I picked up a Meyer Lemon tree.  It’s a small tree, maybe 2 feet in height.  It arrived in fine condition and began to bud almost immediately. Until I pissed it off.  I moved it from a reasonably sunny window to a marginally sunny place, over watered (or under watered, I’m still not sure) it,…

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  • A Funny Christmas Card Idea to Steal

    Every year, our holiday cards are deliberated over in great, bizarre detail.  Written over months.  Designed in pricey software.  Printed professionally.  Packaged and shipped with a great deal of thought.  As a compulsive writer and former brand consultant, I can’t help myself. I’m not sure what our recipients think of all this nonsense, but unless someone bitchslaps me and says,…

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  • How I Get Over A Cold Fast, Cutting Time In Half

    Dad used to say, “A cold lasts ten days.  Three days coming, three days of it, three days going, and one to spare.”  And, as a child and young adult who pretty much thought dad was the keeper of all intelligence to be had in the universe, I believed it.  Indeed, general consensus on Google search reveals the 10-14 day…

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  • Eightastic Black Bean Quesadillas

    A few weeks ago, I cooked up some Mexican concoction.  Something about black bean burritos.  And because I’m all health conscious, organic weirdo about everything, I shoot for healthy stuff.  Beans.  Very little cheese, if any.  Tons of vegetables. Not much oil.  You know, so my Mexican is really nice and flavorless. The kind of stuff people who love Mexican…

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  • The Taxman Cometh And Bringeth A Sickle

    Nothing turns me into a crazy person quite like tax season.  J will start asking me about mileage and why Cost of Goods Sold falls into Income and my head starts spinning in Exorcistian circles while I vomit green bile, filth, and hatred at the man with whom I’ve chosen to share my life.  If I am ever going to…

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  • I Ate Pickled Pigs Feet And Didn’t Puke or Die

    I was eight or ten when I saw pig’s feet at the local Winn Dixie or Piggly Wiggly (I did grow up in the South after all).  There they were, lying shamelessly beside the hams and the other piggled parts, waiting for some redneck wearing plaid and sporting a frosted mullet to grab them.  Little dirty blond haired and glasses-ed…

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  • ShrimPea Farro Risotto With Sun Dried Tomatoes

    Are you like this?  You go on these binges where you cook all kinds of fun things, then you just turn it off and serve nothing but (literally) ramen noodles for a few weeks.  Or say things like, “I’m not cooking, fend for yourself.”  And behind it, there’s a little “and fuck off while you’re at it”. It’s crap.  I…

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  • Friday Five: Scary Food I Put In My Mouth This Week

    “Tis the season to eat junk food, fa la la bleh bleh bleh puke puke puke.” I’m not a huge junk food eater.  I’m not even a tiny junk food eater.  Not because, although health oriented, I’m a tree-hugging nutrition weirdo.  But because packaged food almost always has soy.  But it’s good for women, they say! Ah, not for this…

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  • Easy Trick To Print Your Own Sticky Notes, 3″ x 3″

    Over at Flytrap, customers keep asking about expired designs I no longer produce.  So  I’m experimenting with printable designs and want to make sure it’s as easy as possible for customers to purchase and print those items themselves.  Not only is it more affordable for them, but it’s easier for me to manage the distribution of products no longer offered…

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  • Friday Five: Quirky, Whimsical Etsy Gifts for Women

    I’ve been selling on Etsy for (holy cow) six years now. And it’s hard to use the site to sell goods without getting carried away with everything other hand-makers make.  I was cleaning up my favorites yesterday and realized I should share a few of them on here.  These products are quicky, fun, and highly giftable.  They make outstanding, whimsical…

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  • Cocoa Dusted Roasted Almonds Recipe With Coffee

    So last year, I made some version of cocoa dusted almonds.  I posted the recipe to an old site, mostly to get a post up that day.  And, in retrospect, it sucked.  I didn’t appreciate the importance of using a roasted almond (raw almonds tend to be chewy when dusted).  I didn’t put much thought into the recipe other than…

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  • Healthy + Light Thanksgiving Dinner

    Many people look forward to Thanksgiving’s excess as though it’s a serious vacation from reality, which I guess in some ways it is.  If you go to someone’s house, they’ll serve up turkey stuffed with various fattentudes like bacon, bread, salt, and celery (one of the most nutritionally useless vegetables around).  Someone will destroy healthy sweet potatoes with brown sugar…

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  • Friday Five: Uncluttered Consumable Gifts for Men

    The art of gifting is, to me, all about paying attention.  If you listen to people, understand their big dreams, and stop tapping your impatient foot while you wait for your turn to talk, a world of gift ideas will open up.  Oh, Aunt Susie likes to cook?  Maybe she would enjoy a cookbook.  Jason is really into weapons?  What…

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  • Unusual End Table Ideas: DIY + Purchased

    So, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that I’ve been working on the interior decorating and design of my house. I’m currently working on the family room and living room. In the family room, we’re revamping the fireplace area, installing built-ins, and will eventually need to replace most of the furniture.  In the living room, a huge 13′ x…

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  • How To Manage Someone’s Grudge Against You

    I’ve been on both sides of the grudge coin. Once, I “broke up” with a friend saying she brought out the worst in me. While I didn’t exactly hold a grudge, it took me years to discover I shouldered most of the issues I had in the relationship.  Once I saw the light, I realized I missed my friend’s sense…

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  • Friday Five: Kitchen Tool Game Changers

    If you’ve been keeping up, you know how much I enjoy cooking.  And not just cooking, but inventing recipes.  I’ll look in the fridge and pantry, grab stuff that might go together, and concoct a meal from it.  Pastas, sandwiches, and eggs are easy specialties.  Doing this requires tools.  And these five tools have immeasurably changed the game for me. …

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  • Four Holiday Letter Writing Tips From A Marketing/Brand Strategist

    Do you send holiday cards?  These days, it’s so much easier than it used to be.  You’ve got TinyPrints.com if you just want to send a pic of your kids (friends, please include yourselves this year).  You can choose from endless stationery if you write a long letter filled with details from the past year, bragging about your kids, or…

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  • Fun & Functional Friday Five: Letter Openers

    If you’ve never used a letter opener, you’re missing out on a really good time.  Okay, not sex with model good.  Or buffet at a high end resort good.  But there’s something about the clean, crisply opened envelope that leaves me feeling so much more peaceful and at ease than the standard crumbled and torn envelope opening I can achieve…

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  • Fun & Functional Friday Five: Creative Advent Calendars

    In honor of yesterday’s Creative Advent Calendar Idea post, I thought for this Friday Fun & Functional Five, I’d round up some of the brilliant advent calendar ideas I found when trying to create my own. If  you’re not in the know, advent calendars help build up excitement for the holidays (Christmas, mostly).  Open a mini gift every day and…

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  • The Possibilitree and A Creative Advent Calendar Idea

    There are three things that suck balls about traditional Christmas or holiday trees. The Terrible Mess.  If you’ve ever purchased a tree from one of those guys on the side of the road with the cardboard sign that says “Trees” and a bunch of people standing around wearing plaid, you know what I’m talking about.  Pine needles, everywhere.  You load…

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  • Mastering The Uncluttered Craft Room

    Some people don’t mind clutter. Their homes are full of knickknacks, their design eclectic, their color schemes varied. These homes can be so comfortable and welcoming, I always want to curl up in the puffy furniture and snuggle down with a fuzzy blanket. Then, a few hours later, the clutter starts to feel like a The Fog, seeping in through…

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  • Spaghetti Squash Carbonara Recipe With Mushrooms, Peas

    I’m ashamed to say the first time I had spaghetti carbonara was in a Lean Cuisine meal.  Sad, right?  If you’ve ever had carbonara, you know the tragedy of your first experience being a processed, frozen, light box of psuedo food.  That was over a decade ago, before I knew anything about food.  Or anything, really.  I still don’t know…

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  • Food Finds: A Snacking Mismatch

    Another trek through Whole Foods netted some unusual “What The Hell Is This” food finds for your entertainment. 1. Krave Turkey Jerky – Chardonnay Thyme | www.kravejerky.com Jerky is a functional food.  An “oh shit, I’m stuck on a mountain / in a cave / on an island and I need some protein” food.  It’s not something you’ll find in…

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  • Ugly Dresser Makeover: Transforming An Old Lady Into A Hip Young Thang

    “Hey.  There’s an ugly dresser at Goodwill we have to go pick up.  It was $30!  I want to give it a makeover for the guest bedroom.” Grudgingly.  “Okay…” Eye roll. We go to pick it up.  J. looks at it and throws up in his mouth a little bit. “It’s awful.” He’s groaning now.  Doubtless outrageously perturbed that this…

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  • Fun and Functional Friday Five: Cute, Awesome Tape Measures

    As I finished the “Inspiration Room” or art room in the house, it became critically important to trick it out with the latest, cutest gadgets.  J. ogled the all-blue magnetic level I picked up (never mind that he already has his own). Then I realized I needed a very cute tape measure.  Because I do some sewing.  No, seriously.  I…

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  • What Bully Advice Gets Wrong (And How Victims Can Fix It)

    Most bully advice these days misses the point. Victims are often told to seek a higher power to manage the bully. Both decide the victim is weak and the bully is strong, the beliefs that created the situation in the first place. It took me a lifetime to understand the recklessness of this advice. My Bully Experience One of the…

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  • What To Do With So Many Tomatoes?

    Dudes, seriously. Last time we had a proper garden (in the old house), the tomatoes cooked on the unprotected southwest side of the lawn.  Cherries were having a jubilee while any other tomato species wilted into sad little lumps of depressing orangeness. Didn’t work that way in this house.  I planted two cherry varieties and two larger ones.  Within weeks,…

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  • Food Find: Epic Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar

    So, I don’t know what in hell this thing is.  Which is why I had to get it.  Christ knows, if I see new consumable item that sounds odd, it finds its way into my body.  That’s why my food finds are all about.  See something strange that you’re afraid to try?  Tell me about it.  I’ll eat the hell…

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  • A Lesson In Getting Over Myself

    It seemed unreasonably important to have The Best Coffee Maker Ever Made. I researched them on Consumer Reports, looked over Amazon.com reviews, and touched them longingly in stores. My eyes would glaze over at the beautiful ones as I admired the elite design. I imagined the perfect cup of joe emerging from these beautiful beasts and I was convinced spending…

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  • The Benefits of Killing Your Family

    Oh calm down. I’m not talking about ending lives. Even if your family is really annoying and overbearing. Even if you have that one relative who, no matter what, always looks, says, and does everything better than you. Even if someone in your circle is a total nut job. Killing Your Family is a metaphorical exercise, people. So you can…

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  • A Healthy Sloppy Joe’s Recipe I Call “Sloppy Jen’s”

    I’ve been trying to concoct a good Sloppy Joe’s recipe for a few years, making it healthier and more flavorful.  I don’t even want to use ketchup because it feels too much like kid’s food.  A health nut wannabe,  I think I got it right last night with the following recipe when my husband used the adjective “fucking” to describe…

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  • A Homemade Anniversary Gift That’s Not Steak and A BJ

    You know… I could have gotten my husband a steak and a blow job for our anniversary.  Maybe grabbed one of my naughty notepads from Flytrap and started leaving notes around the house (I should probably do that anyhow).  But the idea of such simple gifting makes is so lame.  Instead, I wrote a book for him. Oh, come on…

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  • Healthy Breakfast: Chia Banana Pudding with Almonds

    These days, you can’t swing a dead vegan around without running into someone or something who/that will tell you all about the merits of chia seeds.  Tons of fiber, omega-3s, vitamins, minerals and calcium.  Toss them into salads, yogurt, cereal, granola or anything else where you want to add a jolt of “I’m so healthy, see?”  Also suggest ice cream…

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  • What To Do With Spaghetti Squash: Just Add Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

    A friend of mine is struggling with nightly dinners.  Combining a would-be Paleo husband and a would-be vegetarian daughter seems to make her want to cry at the prospect of cooking.  Especially after working all day.  Last week on Facebook she e-shrieked, “I’m so tired of trying to figure dinner out!” or something to that effect.  And while there are…

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    Doing Aspen On The Cheap

    I wasn’t prepared for Aspen.  I imagined a nice, relaxing vacation of wine-sipping and tapas-nibbling.  A bit of browsing in high fashion.  Some pool time.  A little nookie. And while it was a relaxing vacation with my thankfully non-jort-wearing husband, the truly appalling amount of money Aspen expects you to spend on her highness for a short, mid-week mini-break guarantees…

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  • Awesome Breakfast Recipes: Battered French Toast and Mini Crustless Quiches

    When our friends from London announced their impending visit, my mind went into “Let’s pretend we already have that B&B” mode.  Travelers who actively seek the local-style B&B experience over fancy resort, chain hotel, or economy motel lodging, we even worked our future B&B plans into our wedding vows.  As our second overnight guests in this house, I wanted to…

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  • The Remote Shock Collar Prevented Me From Eating My Dog

    So we got a rescue dog last summer.  And she’s a Satanic Bitch.  She even has a teeny little bump on her head right where one of her devil horns undoubtedly started to appear. Just look up at her photo and you’ll see it. I’m having fantasies about cooking her up and eating her. My husband and I both brought…

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  • The Neighbors’ Screaming Children Interrupted My Alcoholism

    There we’d be, relaxing on our patio with wine and cheese and fruit.  Talking of adult things like politics and family and what would you do if.  Old dogs lounging nearby.  Then, it would come out of nowhere.  Crashing into our lives, unwelcome and violent.  Intruding on our peace with the insistence of a never-answered ringing phone from a neurotic…

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  • The Hummus For Hummus Haters Recipe

    Hummus is a beautiful thing, even by the spoonful.  You bet your ass I’ve sucked down this wonderful bean dip with my finger, like a toddler eating peanut butter.  I’m not ashamed. My father, on the other hand, recently went into a tirade on the disgusting-ness of hummus.  Chickpeas have no flavor.  Garbanzo beans are only good for texture. I…

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  • Ikea Hack: Cheap Home Office Credenza Using Alex Series

    When I moved in with J. a few years back he had two large 15″ x 15″ x 24″ bins labeled “fasteners”.  All kinds of fasteners.  Nails, deck screws, mollies, cable holders.  You name it, he had it.  But, because it was all tossed chaotically into these two bins, he had a nasty habit of buying stuff he didn’t think…

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  • The Cutest Shoes in the World: John Fluevog

    I didn’t become a shoe monger until my 30s.  Now, I look at my 100+ pairs and realize I’ve developed a bit of a problem.  It wasn’t until last week that I discovered the full magnitude of it. There we were, my husband and I, strolling through Larimer Square in Denver before dinner at the incredible Vendome (one of my…

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  • How To Build a Cheap Oversized Art Canvas

    Our living room has a 20 foot ceiling.  This seems terribly special until you realize that you’ve got to somehow DO something with those high walls.  When I sneak into open houses like a pretend-buyer, I notice that many of my neighbors leave the upper walls blank.  Like they’re some kind of void space.  Or maybe they  just don’t have…

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  • A Gourmet Thanksgiving for Two

    Yesterday was Thanksgiving and my husband and I spent it alone. Our families are over 2,000 miles away, so it’s been a while since we’ve spent Thanksgiving with any of them. Something about not getting together with too many people huddled around a too-small table and eating bad-for-you food, drinking too much, and rolling home is unbearable to some people.…

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  • The Unpardonable Life of My Husband’s Jorts

    Someecards is making fun of jorts.  They suggest jorts wearers should also be driving Camaros, chewing tobaccy, and sporting mullets.  My husband is in his 40s and has several pairs. I should mention that my husband is a aerospace engineer.  For years I called him a rocket scientist to twist and churn him out of shape, along with his colleagues. …

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  • Is This Boruca Mask Authentic?

    A few years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Costa Rica.  Did I say a few years ago?  Holy cow, I think it was last year.  Any rate, it’s a beautiful country rich with wildlife and color.  Not your typical beachy vacation where you can loaf all day on a mound of sand while listening to the…

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  • Tangental Review of Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

    When I started reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, I’d just come fresh off the hells of Sharp Objects by the same author.  Another characteristically creepy novel set in America’s heartland.  I got in line for Dark Places from the library (6th place), but impatient for more Gillian, I bought it on iBooks instead. Something about Gillian Flynn makes me think…

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  • The Sumo Orange: Ugly and Delicious

    Wandering through Whole Foods is one surprise after another, isn’t it?  No matter how often you go, there’s always something new. A few weeks ago, I saw these in the produce bin.  Thinking they looked like enormously fat people with improbably tiny little heads, it now seems the name “Sumo Orange” came from it’s awkward appearance not too unlike that…

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  • Cheap Harvest Party / Thanksgiving Table Decor

    The idea of a harvest party was irresistible.  Pumpkins on the table, butternut squash in the meal, and figs and dates for more merriment.  I invited some friends we see once every year at a holiday open house, hoping we can bring the friendship to a new location.  I decided to serve the following: Blue cheese-filled, prosciutto-wrapped dates (warm) Roasted…

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  • Castelvetrano Olive Tapenade Recipe

    For unexplained reasons, we had a giant Costco-size container of kalamata olives that had been hanging out in the fridge like the last kid picked in gym class with its legs crossed and a slightly pathetic look to itself.  We were getting ready to have some friends to dinner (one of whom is gluten-free) and I decided to turn the…

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I'M JEN

I create content and tools for creative solopreneurs, Etsy sellers, home makers, and self improvers. You'll get fresh perspectives to help you discover and experience a little more yay every day.

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