Blog Posts by The_Stir

  • People who abandon pets are not to blame

    Want to hear something seriously sad? It's this: Animal shelters are full to bursting right now, and not because of irresponsible pet owners who won't spay and neuter or return animals like they are a sweater that's the wrong size. No, it's because the economy is making it difficult for people to keep their pets.

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    Sometimes they can't afford to feed them and provide vet care, or they have to move in with relatives or into a place that doesn't allow pets because of a foreclosure.

    But it doesn't have to be that way: there are ways to trim pet expenses that can make the difference between giving up your furry friend or keeping him with the family if hard times strike.

    First, the big duh! tip: Skip all the dumb, expensive extras. Your pet does not need Halloween costumes or Christmas presents. They don't even need treats; many dogs will respond to a bit of their regular food as a reward. Dogs love

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  • Finally! Organic milk deemed healthier than regular

    milk organicmilk organicJust revealed: What many of us knew all along -- organic milk really is more nutritious than conventional milk! This news had people like me forwarding the recent study (funded by the EU) to friends, family, and colleagues under the subject line "See, I f***ing told you!!!"

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    Organic advocates rejoice, we have more proof for our camp. In addition to stating the obvious -- that we're better off without pesticide residues and trace amounts of antibiotics and artificial hormones -- we can now tout superior nutritional quality as another reason why organic milk is worth it.

    What do the researchers mean by more nutritious? Organic milk was found to be lower in saturated fat and higher in more healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Some experts suggest this may actually be more due to the amount of time cows spend on pasture. Organic cows in the UK eat more grass and less grain, which may account for the increased omega-3s.

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  • My sexy photo shoot: How I made It extra hot

    As a mom, there are very few opportunities to look hot. We have the occasional date night or the night out with the girls. But even those are usually rushed and we're rarely able to channel our old foxy selves.

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    A few months ago, I was offered an opportunity to shake off the "mom" role and try something new. Since I'm always up for a challenge and thought it sounded like fun, I agreed to try a "boudoir photo shoot" courtesy of Focal Impulse Studio in Boston.

    The end result is in the photos below (and on their blog), but the experience was unique and I would say for anyone feeling a little unsexy, this is a great way to remedy that. The photos also make a romantic and sexy Valentine's or birthday gift.

    Here are a few things I wished I had known going in:

    Wine: You will be nervous. I am typically a very confident person, but I was nearly shaking when I went into the shoot. Wine helps calm the

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  • The more women put out, the less we're worth

    depressed womandepressed womanIf you're a single woman like me with a B.A. and a job, then you're in some trouble, missy. Did you hear? The cost of sex is down! And that is not good for us; not good at all. Let me explain.+

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    Researchers Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, authors of a study called "Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate and Think About Marrying," used information from four national surveys to conclude that it doesn't take long for a man to get laid in his relationship. As in, 35 percent have sex within the first two weeks, 48 percent within the first month.

    If we're giving it up so easily, then the value has decreased. Conversely, sex would be at its highest price, or value, if women decided to withhold sex until married.

    So what does it all mean for all the single ladies?

    It means, according to the research, that we're less likely to find men who are equally educated and equally employed. It means the

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  • Just great! Bedbugs immune to pesticides now

    bedbugsbedbugsI would like to give a shout-out to Ohio State University and UMass Amherst for ruining my day with the most disturbing news I've heard since my co-worker told me that you poop when giving birth.

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    Entomologists at the two universities have discovered that your best friend and mine, Mr. Bedbug, has evolved to defeat insecticides. Oh. My. Gah.

    These little buggers have started producing poison-cleansing enzymes, which basically means all our sprays, powders, and gels are becoming less and less effective in getting rid of our nightmare.

    It's at this point where I'd like to remind you all out there that we were warned about this in a little-known movie called Jurassic Park. Remember Dr. Ian Malcolm? "I'm simply saying that life, uh ... finds a way."

    Next thing you know, bedbugs will attack us when we're enjoying a spoonful of Jello and we'll be forced to take shelter in our stainless steel chef's kitchen

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  • 5 crazy ways to keep ghosts out of your house

    ghost

    Living in a haunted house is a strange and terrifying experience, even if the spirits involved aren't malicious. Houses are built to withstand things like settling terrain, flooding, drainage. Your architect very carefully designs the structure for maximum safety and protection. Your roof allows rain and snow to slip off. Your staircase has a handrail. But does it have the elements necessary to keep you safe from ghosts?

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    In many parts of the world, including our own, buildings have little design quirks intended to keep out bad luck and bad spirits. If only some of these things had been taken into account in my haunted house!


    haunted house

    Curved Roofs

    The familiar slope of Chinese roofs isn't just for aesthetics. Tradition says that evil spirits can only travel in straight lines, and the curve of the roof prevents them from entering the home.


    Haunted House

    Haint Paint

    Paint your shutters and door trim blue to

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  • Extravagance: where do you draw the line?

    Gloria SwansonGloria SwansonWhen I wrote a post about a $7,000 facial yesterday, it really struck a nerve with some of you (including the man who offers the facial!).

    Check out the comments if you want, but be warned -- some of them get pretty nasty.

    This is the kind of subject I can't bring myself to get personally worked up over -- I just personally find a $7,000 facial to be extreme and I wrote about it. It goes beyond my personal limit of acceptable pricing PLUS I don't believe that Mila Kunis's face at the Golden Globes looked any better after the facial than any other actress's face that night, and I thought it would make for an interesting discussion.

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    But the rancor I stirred up among some of you made me realize that we could have quite an interesting discussion today about where you draw the line when it comes to extravagance.

    So let's talk about it.

    When I began writing for The Stir, I quickly realized that the

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  • Folks who cheap out at good restaurants give me agita

    Everyone likes to go out to eat, right? Especially parents, whose dinners at home generally involve cutting other people's meat, refereeing sibling squabbles, deflecting requests for candy, and the inability to finish a sentence or eat your food while it's hot.

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    It's just so pleasant to be seated at a nice quiet restaurant table with good lighting, talking to your spouse or your friends while someone else takes your order, makes your food and brings it right to you ... and then takes the dishes away and washes them (one would assume).

    That kind of break is worth the outlay of some cash, yes? I think so. Which is why I took issue with this post on Get Rich Slowly about how to cut corners at swanky restaurants.

    The writer, JD, suggests splitting an entree or taking some of it home, sticking to one drink or no drinks, and ordering an appetizer instead of a meal. All good advice, and better for your health as

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  • Did Portia De Rossi's divorce drive her to lesbianism?

    Did Portia De Rossi's heartbreaking divorce drive her to switch teams? No! Of course it didn't! But if you could make someone into a lesbian by dumping her in the worst way possible, this would be the test-case.

    De Rossi tells the story in her recent memoir, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain. Though mostly a story of her struggles with anorexia, the book can't help but detail De Rossi's life and relationships before she married Ellen DeGeneres. Turns out she was married to a dude. And the end of that marriage makes your worst breakup story sound like an episode of Glee.

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    De Rossi was married to a filmmaker, Mel Metcalfe, from 1996 to 1999. Primarily known for making a supremely creepy documentary about a dollmaker, the guy doesn't have much of a professional resume (it must bug him that there's a way more successful Mel Metcalfe who's an Oscar-nommed sound mixer). But in matters of the heart, he's got quite

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  • Real men start with play kitchens

    As gender roles change in our larger society, they are also changing on the playground. It isn't atypical to see a boy caring for a doll or a girl pushing a truck around in the sandbox. And at our park, all the kids gather near the three play kitchens and make meals.

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    My daughter has made spaghetti and hamburgers and everything under the sun while my son usually keeps breakfast foods covered -- pancakes, bacon, and sausage. The food is always delicious, of course, and never once has it occurred to me that my son, as a boy, shouldn't be in the kitchen.

    Writer Judy Ketteler says, in an essay for AOL, that she has experienced otherwise with her 2-year-old son:

    About a month ago, I started searching for play kitchens. What I discovered is that the majority of them were clearly geared toward little girls. If they weren't pink and purple, then they showed girls playing at them. Not only that, we've

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