Archive for June, 2012
The forecast for my neck of the woods is bleak for this 2nd week of summer. Temperatures in the 100′s, humid, and dry. These are the days I dread the most. Not only is it hot outside, but it’s also pretty miserable inside — even with the a/c on full blast. So, in honor of this heat wave that’s about to strike half the country, I felt I should dole out some advice for the hot days to come because this kind of heat isn’t just annoying, it can be dangerous.
- If possible, stay indoors in an air-conditioned environment on hot, humid days, especially if an air-pollution alert is in effect.
- If you don’t have air conditioning or access to an air-conditioned environment, take cool showers or baths and keep shades or curtains drawn during the day. Use table or ceiling fans to circulate air.
- Avoid exercising outdoors.
- Dress in light colors and breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen. Synthetic materials like polyester can trap heat.
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- If you venture into the hot sun, wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to provid
- Never leave children in cars. Your car is like an oven, even with the windows cracked. On a 78 degree day, your car can heat up to over 90 degrees when parked in the shade, imagine how hot it can get when parked in the sun!
- Get immediate medical help if you or someone you’re with develops symptoms of any heat-related illness including confusion, lethargy, agitation, intense muscle aches, fever, nausea, or convulsions.
For those of use with pets, it’s also important to know how to keep your animals cool on hot days.
- Just like the advice above, never leave your pet in the car.
- Provide plenty of shade.
- And water. Throw in a few ice cubes in the water to keep it cooler longer.
- Shave off that winter coat.
- Avoid hot asphalt. Walk dogs only in the morning, or after the sun has gone down.
- Know what to look for in an overheated pet. Symptoms of an overheated pet include difficulty breathing, excessive panting, drooling, increased heart rate, weakness and even collapse.
Follow the above advice, and stay cool out there!
I could sit here and give you my own list of what to read this summer on vacation (or just sitting on the back porch with a tall glass of lemonade), but in order to give lots of options, I’ve decided to list a few list for the best summer reads of the year. I’ve looked all over the internet for some of the most comprehensive lists for the best books to read this summer.
=”http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2012/05/30/best-summer-reads-2012-photos.html#slide1″ target=”_blank”>The Daily Beast Best Summer Reads 2012
Clearly, there are too many books for just one summer. Sifting through these lists, I’ve found a few books to add to my own reading list. And although many of them may seep into fall, I’m always excited to read new books. And what better way to spend the day than reading a good book? Even if you can’t get away for a vacation, you can still get lost in a good book for a few hours.
Before you decide to sell your used books to BookJingle (especially textbooks), it’s important to know a few things about the condition the books must be in to sell them. Since many people write in textbooks, highlight, and underline – these types of markings are of utmost concern to customers attempting to sell textbooks.
First of all, BookJingle does accept books with writing, highlighting, and underlining without any reduction to the o
riginal offer price if less than 25% of the pages are affected. Although, if the books contain such markings on more than 25% of the pages, that book may be rejected or you may receive a reduction to the original offer price.
Secondly, any workbooks or manuals must not have any answers written in the blanks. Also, BookJingle can not purchase teacher’s editions or international editions of textbooks.
So, before you sell your textbooks, be sure they are in proper condition in order to get your entire offer!
Summer is here! Not only does that mean sweltering heat, swimming pools, sunburns, and cook outs — it also means yard sales! Around here, yard sale season is pretty much year round (it isn’t uncommon to have 70 degree days in the winter immediately followed by 4 inches of snow — silly weather), but summer means even more of those homemade signs on the corners saying Yard Sale, 9 am – ?. I love going to yard sales, antique stores, flea markets, and thrift stores. I like to see things others have deemed unnecessary, and figure out ways to incorporate those unnecessities into my life.
I would love to be one of those people who can make anything look good. The sort of shabby chic decorator that can take an old lamp shade and somehow turn it into a piece of art. I can be crafty, but I’m not always good at seeing the potential in an ordinary object. This kind of upcycling — taking something disposable and turning it into something of greater use and value instead of throwing it out — has become very popular. And it’s a great way to keep odds and ends from ending up in a land fill. Plus, it can be much cheaper and more economical than buying something new. So, today, I am going to share some ways I have stumbled upon that can help turn that trash to treasure!
1. Paint is Your Friend
It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do! I’ve already shared by cheese grater jewelry holders on this blog, and it is truly a transformation. Rusted old cheese graters become cute, workable jewelry hangers. But paint can also give new life to old furniture, picture frames, even ceramic figurines that look like your great-grandmother may have owned them.
2. Look Beyond Something’s Intended Purpose
Some of the best and most creative design projects come when you transform something with one intended purpose into something with an entirely different purpose. For example, the headboard I created from an old shutter. It’s cute, it’s stable, and it was less than $20. I was at a local flea market, searching for something to use as a headboard after getting rid of the hideous black and chrome headboard I married into, and when I saw the shutter — inspiration struck. All it needed was (you guessed it!) a little bit of paint. I also found an old soda crate that is now being used as a cookbook shelf in the kitchen. Here are the two final products:
3. Know Your Way Around a Needle and Thread
Many more possibilities are open to you if you can sew. Old fabrics can become curtains, clothing, pillow covers, dish towels, and more if you can sew. Chairs can be given new life with new upholstery. I have always liked the quilts that are made from old t-shirts. The bottom line: knowing how to sew can be quite helpful in this process of giving old things new life. Just be sure to wash the fabrics first!
4. Get to Know Your Local Craft Store
Just knowing what’s out there to help you along in your endeavors can be extremely helpful. Craft stores are not only full on inspiration, they are full of great products you might not even be aware of. Chalk paint is of course all the rage, and can turn any ordinary surface into a chalk board. Do it yourself glass etching kits can turn an ordinary piece of glass into a personalized piece of glass! Decals, paints, and other design accents are great tools when trying to put your own touch on a found object. You might be surprised at all of the fun things you can find!
5. Don’t Put Too Much on Your Plate
Finding cool, old objects to turn your home into an upcycled haven has its upsides — the whole process is the ultimate form of recycling. Buying used not only keeps these things from being thrown away, it also keeps new items from being bought. And when you buy a new item, that item usually has a ton of packaging you have to throw away along with it. I bought a new recliner at the furniture store a few weeks ago. I was not expecting said recliner to show up in a huge box with tons of paper, plastic, and styrofoam filling up any extra space in the box. But, that’s what happened. When you buy something at an antique mall or yard sale — what you see is what you get. No extra boxes, filling, plastic, or paper. Plus, the act of turning it into something new is fun.
But with that said — know your limits. Don’t buy 30 old doorknobs with no real idea what you want to do with them. Filling up your house/shed/garage with yard sale findings you plan to get around to one day isn’t much better. You’ll find yourself annoyed with all of the space your little treasures take up, and you’ll probably end up throwing it all out in a fit of rage. Start small. And only purchase items you have a specific use for. And, most important, have fun!
Since last week’s post about my current standings in the Goodreads challenge, I have read three more books. That puts me at 20 books completed, and only 3 books behind! And it’s all thanks to Jennifer McMahon.
One of my favorite things to do is go to a bookstore, and just take in all of the books (don’t judge me and my nerdiness). I like to read the summaries on the back, or just look at the covers. I know the old saying “Don’ judge a book by it’s cover,” but many times covers can be intriguing. So, I can spend some time just perusing paperbacks, hardbacks, and magazines. A few days ago, I was on one of these book expeditions, and I noticed a book called Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon. The cover was the face of a little girl, and that image just struck me. It was a different sort of cover than I remember seeing. And so I decided to read the book.
Not only did the book involve fairies and fairy tales, it was also a mystery/thriller in which secrets are only revealed in the final few chapter
s. I love books where I get to guess the ending, and love them even more when I am surprised. Don’t Breathe a Word is the story of a young girl who disappears, who claims she is going to the fairy world, and the truth behind the disappearance. It is broken up into sections, one part being the present and the other part the past. And, as the story unfolds and reveals itself, you find yourself wondering if this fairy world is real.
After finishing that book, I went on to read Promise Not to Tell, and Dismantled (both also by McMahon). Her style is very easy to recognize, usually a story full of secrets and lies that only becomes clear in the last few pages. The books often utilizing the past/present dichotomies to tell the entire story. I am now beginning a fourth book by the author: Island of Lost Girls. Then I will probably just round out my reading with her entire bibliography by reading My Tiki Girl.
It isn’t often that one author can continue to offer something new and different that I want to continue reading. Although elements of the story are often similar, and her writing style shines through, I haven’t gotten bored with her books. If you like mystery/thrillers, and aren’t afraid of a little bit of paranormal/magic in your reading, you should give her books a shot!
Textbooks are BookJingle’s specialty. Now, that doesn’t mean they won’t purchase your other used books. But it does mean that they are particularly interested in buying your used textbooks. So, if you are interested in selling your used textbooks — listen up! You know what a pain it is to lug your bag of textbooks to the campus bookstore where you bought them (for approximately $70 a book), and get a lousy amount when they buy them back? If you’re at all internet savvy, you’ve probably begun to purchase your textbooks online for a fraction of the cost. But, selling your textbooks online is also the way to go! And BookJingle.com is the best place online to sell those used textbooks.
On sites other than BookJingle, sell
ing your books can be kind of a hassle: you have to list the book, wait for it to sell, and (once it sells) pay to ship the book. If you have a problem, it might take days for some of these larger sites to respond. But unlike these other sites, BookJingle will buy your book immediately, no listing and no waiting required. Additionally, you will get a fair price for your books, along with great customer service! And as if those reasons aren’t enough, with BookJingle’s shipping label, shipping is free! Clearly, BookJingle is committed to providing its customers with the best book buyback site on the net. And if you need more proof, try it for yourself. Once you do, you will never choose to sell your textbooks back to the campus bookstore again!
One of the easier ways that my household has been able to be more green has been through our mail. I’ve already posted extensively about how to curb the junk mail that gets delivered, but I have yet to discuss bills.
90% of the bills my husband and I previously received via postal service are now available online through what many companies refer to as “paperless billing” or “paperless statements.” And since everyone already has an email address, it makes it super easy to receive statements, email alerts, and special notices via email.
Not only does that save paper that the companies would print out, it saves on checks, stamps, and envelopes at our house. Plus, many of the companies even offe
r automatic billing so we don’t even have to remember to pay the bill. Of course, they still allow you to view your statement, bill, and everything previously offered. It makes it so much easier to not have to remind ourselves when the house payment is due. It just gets billed automatically. It’s like magic!
Some companies may even give you a perk for getting paperless bills. For example, a store card I have that earns points with every purchase gave me 500 extra points for signing up. So, not only is it convenient and green, there may also be a little bit in it for you as well. I think it’s great that many companies are feeling the pressure to provide these greener options to those of use who wish to take advantage of them. Not every company is on board yet, but I think in the near future 100% of our household bills will be completely online.
It’s been just about three months since I began the 2012 Reading Challenge on Goodreads. I just thought I would give a little update on my progress, and the entire challenge community’s progress.
Currently, I have read 17 books toward my goal of 50. That puts me five books (or 11%) behind at this point. I’m not worried, because my system pretty much relies on a week or two week reading marathon where I get through six or seven books, and then I take a little bit of a break. Right now, I am just lining up what I plan to read next. Those 17 books include six Ku
rt Vonnegut books: Sirens of Titan, Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five, Galalpagos, Breakfast of Champions, and Time Quake. However, the 17 books do not include any of the classics I promised myself I would read — I’m still working on that goal!
As far as the entire community goes, there are now 232, 055 participants with a total of 13,972,967 pages pledged. Each user has an average of 60 books as their goal, and 459 people have already completed their challenge. Clearly, I still have a long way to go. But it’s only June! I still have six months to knock out 33 books. I’m pretty confident it can be done. But I’ll update you again in three months.
Of course ‘S’ is for ‘Sell Used Books!’ What else would ‘S’ stand for? I may have had a little trouble coming up with other letters (and we’ll see what happens when ‘X’ rolls around), but ‘S’ was a given. BookJingle exists in order for you to sell your used books! Using BookJingle to sell your used books is a great way to recycle and reuse said books while making extra cash!
Most people tend to have some books sitting around: books we have alre
ady read, books that we just never got around to reading that are just taking up space, used textbooks, etc. And, let’s face it, we could all use some extra cash. Whether it’s to put away in a savings account for a vacation, or to buy a new bathing suit for summer — extra cash can go a long way.
Plus, BookJingle makes it very easy to sell your books online — a user-friendly website, free shipping, and the best prices on your used books. So, do what the ‘S’ tells you and go to BookJingle.com and sell your used books today!
If you’re trying to spend less at the grocery store, there’s one thing you should know: in season produce is cheaper than out of season produce. When you shop in season, most of that produce hasn’t traveled as far as out of season produce. When tomatoes aren’t in season, they often have to be shipped from other parts of the country (or sometimes, other countries altogether) in order to stock the grocery shelves. In case you’re unsure of what is considered in season in June, the following is a good outline: apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, corn, kiwi, lettuce, mangoes, peaches, strawberries, swiss chard, watermelon, and zucchini.
Even better — why not check out your local farmer’s market for cheap, in season, and fresh fruits and vegetables? Since you are buying straight from the grower, prices are way less. A few weeks ago, I bought a huge container of the best strawberries I have ever eaten for half the cost of strawberries at my nearest grocery store. And you can’t beat that! Plus, they lasted a lot long
er in my refrigerator!
Cities all across the country are embracing the farmer’s market movement. The Local Harvest website is a great resource to find not only farmer’s markets, but also farms, CSAs, Coops. In my area, there are over a dozen farmer’s markets to choose from! Plus, not far from my house is a you-pick farm that allows the public to come in and pick their own produce (ranging from strawberries to blueberries to peaches and grapes!). But if you aren’t a “pick your own” kind of person, they also have a great market featuring all of their farm fresh goods.
Whether you shop at a farmer’s market, a grocery store, or straight from the farm — the point is, in season is always cheaper, higher quality, and more fresh than out of season produce. And you can use this method of buying to try new foods and recipes. Don’t listen to Subway’s advertising, because buying in-season produce is the real way to eat fresh!