Thursday, September 29, 2011

How not to shop

You've heard the tips before on how to shop, right?

1. Don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry.

2. Make a list before you go and don't buy anything that isn't on the list.

3. Make a monthly budget and stay within it.


I shop when I'm starving, I make lists and leave them at home. I drive by a shop and say, "Ooooh, let's go in there!"

This may explain how it is that I stopped at Walmart today to exchange some socks I had bought for my son, and came home with this:

They were not on my list. But aren't they cute?

They are 8 weeks old, brother and sister from the same litter.

When the kids came home from school, they thought they'd died and gone to heaven.

I tried and tried and tried to take a good picture, but the only time they stopped moving was when they fell asleep here, with a lot of sunlight in the background. 

This guy's definitely a breast man.

They are sitting on me right now, as I blog.

The kids have been asking for a cat forever. I've been telling them for the last year that we would get two kitties after we moved house (which I've thought for the last year was imminent). Because it doesn't make sense to get a pet before making an overseas move, right?

So, take it from me. When it comes to shopping, don't take it from me.

They need names. What should we name them??

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Melbourne! Wheeeee!!

I am beyond excited to share with you that I will be in Melbourne next month for the Problogger conference (and thanks Darren, for letting me know I could use your picture anytime, I promise I won't abuse the privilege). In addition to brushing up on my blogging skills at the training, I will be kicking off the Speak Out campaign.

This will be a short trip for me (guess who's run through all her PTO?), but I'm looking forward to staying at the best accommodations in town, chez Sunny Side Up (oooh, Steve-o, aren't you green with envy? We'll miss you. Again).  I'm hoping I can meet up with some of my bloggy pals who live nearby.

I feel incredibly lucky - two Aussie conferences in one year. Pinch me.

Soooooo.... who's going to be there? Tell me, tell me! x

Friday, September 23, 2011

Why I love Google Plus

I finally got on Google+ because I wanted to know what all the chatter was about. At first I was put off by the whole "you need to be invited" bit (elitist social media?), but now it's open to anyone.

I've seen several people get on Google+ and post something to this affect: "Okay, I'm here. Now what?"

Here's a little bit of 'now what'. Click on the link below to the Brogan post for a really good beginner's walk-through.

What I love about it is that it combines the best aspects of Twitter and Facebook. Like Facebook, it allows you to comment on other's posts and engage in conversation, and that conversation can go on over several days and won't get quickly lost in the feed stream as it does in Twitter. Unlike Twitter, you can also see comments made by people you are not following, so you don't miss chunks of the dialogue.

However, unlike Facebook, you are able to follow anyone you want. You don't need to be 'friends' and they don't need to allow others to 'subscribe'. So if you like someone's comment on a post, you can click through to their profile and wall and learn more about them. If they post content that's interesting to you, you can follow them and their posts will now appear in your stream.

So I can follow Chris Brogan or Scott Beale, even if they don't know me from Adam. And that is how I found links like this:

Start Now on Google Plus - A primer from Brogan on how to get started on Google Plus

And this...

SEO for non-dicks - Thank you, Matt Legend, for making the distinction

If you find interesting videos or photos, you can post those as well:

You can also create different groups to keep track of your connections. If you post something, you can choose whether you want it to be seen just by a particular group, or by everyone.

So if you've been wondering whether you should take the leap, I vote yes. If, like me, you have absolutely no time for yet another social media platform to manage, do it anyway. And look me up under Wanderlust Lust.

Follow Bern Morley, too. Her posts will make you laugh.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blogging's hottest redheads

What do David Wenham, Lynn Kegan and some other third guy whose name I don't know have in common? All of them would be rejected by the world's largest sperm bank in Denmark, which just announced it's not accepting ginger donors. Due to lack of demand, apparently.

Oh no... who will have us?

I'm amused and a bit perplexed by the anti-ginger sentiment I encounter from time to time. I never knew it existed until I started hanging out in Australia and was exposed to all the ranga jokes. Redheads are a hot commodity in America, which is good news for me since my hair suddenly turned red after my marriage ended. I'm guessing the gentlemen above would be amused, too, as I imagine they don't lack for places to deposit their...oh, never mind.

As I was doing my (torturously thorough) research for this blog post, googling "sexy redheads" and whatnot, I kept coming across websites and forums dedicated to just that. This one, for instance, asks the age-old question, "Why are redheads so incredibly sexy?" Why indeed.

Because I've spent the last 20 minutes looking at different lists listing the sexiest redheads, I've decided to create my own. I hereby bring you Blogging's Hottest Redheads (disclaimer: all images blatantly stolen from respective blogs, but they won't mind, right? Because they made a hottest bloggers list? M'kay, good.)

Melissa from Sugar Coat It

Living the sweet ginger life

Toni from Chick Chat

She blogs about vibrators, for reals, unlike
*some* bloggers who are just a big tease

Eden from Edenland

Check out the short hair sexy!

Dorothy from Singular Insanity

Shown here with unknown ranga chick

Who said pink and red don't go together?

Jacqueline from Accidentally Mommy coming to Kansas to do my makeup

Producing miniature-sized kissable gingers

Darren from ProBlogger

Okay, I was afraid to steal a picture from his blog, so
just picture this guy balding and with glasses and great SEO

Seriously, are redheads not just absolutely sizzling? Methinks so. And who have I missed? Let me know if I need to add to the list.

Now, for all you reds living abroad, if your tired of getting dogged for your hair color, come on over here to my neck of the woods where you will be in hot demand. And by you, I of course mean David, Lynn and unknown third guy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What it means to be OK

Today (Sept 15th) is RUOK day in Australia. It's a day set aside to remind us to reach out to people who may be suffering from mental illness and ask, "Are you OK?"

I had planned to put up a post yesterday (to coincide with the 15th in Australia), but in the afternoon I received a phone call letting me know that my aunt in California had passed away. I was crushed.  Her death was not completely unexpected -- she was in her late 80's and her health was poor. And yes, I had lost my grandmother just four weeks earlier. But I was stunned because I found out that she had died on the 8th of September, but the nursing home where she resided had not been able to notify any family until yesterday, the 14th. The only number they had on hand was my brother's and he was out of the country, unreachable by cell.

My aunt lived a fairly isolated life. She had no kids and very few family members at all. My brother and I were probably her closest relatives. When she had to move out of her longtime home in Marin County, she refused to leave the area where she had spent her life, turning down offers to come live with me or my brother. As her health failed, so did her mind and she became increasingly senile and even combative.

This past year, my contact with her was minimal. I didn't know how to tell her about what was going on in my life. I didn't want to burden her. And further, I didn't want to face the questions of how my husband was doing, the kids, etc, and feel like I couldn't tell the truth. I would think to myself, "I need to call her." And then I would feel the discomfort and put it off another day.

Yesterday I sat stunned. The thought that she had died and no one in the family knew for six days. That her health had been failing to such an extent and we didn't know, didn't have a heads up to fly out, or call her at least and offer her comfort over the phone. What a sad and lonely way to die.

I thought about this in the context of RUOK day. She had not been okay, not for a long time. I didn't know how to deal with her stubbornness and occasional anger, symptoms of her mental demise. So I stayed away.

Of course, I was not okay either. I was dealing with the aftermath of abuse, the criminal case and PTSD. I was barely getting through each day. I struggle even now. But still, I will always regret that I didn't reach out when she needed it.

When I spoke with my sister-in-law yesterday, I told her that I wanted to be part of spreading her ashes at sea, a final act which she had requested in her will. For some reason, that was very important to me. I know she is gone and her ashes are simply that, but it's something I need to do. I want to make a trip to California and be a part of that final ceremonial act, a tribute of the love I have for her that I was not able to communicate in her last days.

If you take away anything from my story, take this. Don't wait until it feels right or comfortable to reach out to the people in your life who are suffering. When you lose someone, you don't ever get back the opportunity to do what you wished you had done. Something as simple as communicating your concern can make a difference. You can't always change the path someone walks, and you can't take away their illness, but your love and friendship can ease the pain. And that's a big part of what it means to be okay.

Compassion, comfort, empathy -- these things are priceless. They can save a life or they can ease an inevitable death.

Carol Jean Brumm
1934 - 2011

I will miss you my dear Carol. I always felt loved in your arms.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Announcing Speak Out

I've been sitting on some exciting news for a while now and just busting at the seams to tell you about it. So today I'm spilling the beans.

I'm teaming up with Blogcatalog and Copywrite, Ink to launch an international domestic violence (DV) awareness campaign called Speak Out. The event will engage bloggers and other social networkers to generate awareness about this important issue and encourage victims of domestic violence to seek help. It is also a fundraising campaign that will benefit DV charities.

It is my great honor to be the campaign's spokesperson, and I will be traveling and speaking in the weeks leading up to the event to promote awareness and participation. The event will culminate on Friday, November 18, 2011, when bloggers will post, tweet, share, and encourage people to “Speak Out” against domestic violence. The event date is strategically set to lead into the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25.

The event will be a part of, an innovative platform created by Blogcatalog that brings together bloggers and other social networkers in support of important social issues. We are thrilled to be working with Copywrite, Ink, a marketing and communications group that has helped create a number of tremendously successful events, including BloggersUnite campaign for Amnesty International, which was featured on CNN and generated 1.2 million blog posts.

One in four women will be victims of DV in their lifetime. Most are silent victims. When I posted about my own assault and the fear and confusion I navigated in the following months, I was shocked and saddened at how many women (and men) came out of the woodwork to share their own experiences. Many of them had never reported.

There is a culture of silence when it comes to DV. People don't like to talk about it. We don't want others to see the destruction at the heart of our partnerships. But by staying silent we are doing ourselves a disservice, because DV relies on and thrives in silence. That is why we are encouraging people to Speak Out. You don't need to do it publicly, like I did -- there are so many resources available that are safe, confidential and ready to help.

In the coming weeks I'll be sharing additional information about the campaign. I'll be hosting regular giveaways to promote sharing and participation. We have already spoken with a number of top bloggers from around the world and gotten their commitment to post on November 18th. We have a dedicated site going live very soon where you, too, can sign up to participate. It doesn't matter if you have 10 readers of 10,000. Your voice matters.

I can not tell you how excited I am about this event. Obviously, this is a cause close to my heart. When I fell, it was the blogging community that circled around me, comforted me, supported me, bolstered me and held my hand as I walked, am still walking, the long, dark road out of hell.

I will never forget that.  Not ever.

Please join me and the rest of the team at Speak Out by adding your voice on November 18th. If you want to do more, here is how you can help:

  • Consider being a Speak Out envoy for your country. Envoys will help spread the word about the event and generate enthusiasm through blog posts, link sharing and if desired, hosted giveaways.
  • Do you have media contacts? Would you be willing to share them with me? We have press releases ready to go out in the next several days.
  • Are you a PR/marketing person representing an Australian, American or UK company? We are opening the event up to multiple sponsors. We have a variety of ways you can support Speak Out and receive tremendous brand exposure through media events, conferences, blog posts and advertising banners on high traffic sites such as Blogcatalog, which has over 3 million page hits a month. Not to mention the goodwill earned by being a responsible corporate citizen. You can choose from three levels of sponsorship and/or donate goods for event giveaways. Interested? Contact me at kb @
  • Most importantly, commit to speaking out about the sometimes 'taboo' yet radically important issues, such as DV, that affect our health, safety and ability to live free of fear and coercion.

I spoke out. It saved me. Now I'm asking you to do the same.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The BEST vibrator ever

I want to tell you a little story. This may not make much sense if you don't read Woogsworld, but then again, that's your fault for having poor taste.

Once upon a time there was a nice woman from Kansas who had the misforture to marry someone who brought a bunch of shit crashing down on her life. She had the good fortune, however, to be hanging out with some lovely and generous virtual friends. Those friends looked upon her with compassion and finagled a way to get her to Australia for a big blogging conference.

She had the most fantastic time. She laughed and partied with her friends and they all confessed their most secret-like secrets to each other. They learned who among them who wore a puffer jacket in the bedroom, who had constructed a lifesize statue of Tony Abbot out of empty Vodka O bottles and who wore only Mickey Mouse underwear (with tassles). It was then that the woman from Kansas leaned in and shared that she hadn't had ANY in ages. The friends gasped. None? they asked. How do

After the conference, one of her friends (who was a bit pissed), took her aside and told her about The BEST Vibrator Ever. In fact, she suggested, you could do a review of it on your blog! One warning though (and here she looked seriously at her friend) it should only be used sparingly. Because, well, you know.

When the woman returned home to Kansas, she was very meloncholy. She missed her friends. After wallowing about in despair for several weeks, she remembered what she had brought back from Australia, that was now tucked in a box, out of sight in the top of her closet. She sat awkwardly on her white furniture and pondered deeply what she should do.

Should I switch to Wordpress?

She was consumed with the thought of this thing and after trying nobly to resist, she finally became overwhelmed with desire and ran to the closet, ripped open the box and set upon her kitchen counter The BEST Vibrator Ever.

(I can't bring myself to put the picture up on my blog. Click here to see it.)

And she spent the....




savoring it's vibrating goodness.

Better. Than. Sex.

The end.

Shut up. It did so happen exactly this way.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another 13 things to do on Vicodin

Do you have some kind of recurring ailment that knocks you flat for a day or two at a time? As most of you know, I have suffered from migraines for several years. Baaaaaad migraines. Trips-to-the-ER migraines. I currently take four different medications, with little to mild effect, to either prevent, abort or dull the pain of my headaches. I love it when people tell me they get migraines too and I ask them what they take and they respond with the name of some over-the-counter painkiller like Tylenol. They don't get migraines. They get mildly bad headaches.

I've tried alternative therapies too, with varying success. Diet change (good, but too strict to hold to in the long run), chiropractic adjustments (helped a bit) and loads of great sex (actually, that's on my ' yet to try' list).

I generally start out by taking a drug that is designed to abort them, but which never works for me. Failing that, I move on to ibuprofen and other OTC meds. Failing that, I reach for the hydrocodone (Vicodin). If I take it soon enough, I can generally get on top of the pain and it leaves me feeling relaxed, spacy and somewhat stupid.

I've spent the last two days lying in bed feeling relaxed, spacy and somewhat stupid.  This is what I've accomplished:

1. Dreamed up plans for a rockin' new website.

2. Experimented with photo applications on the web.

3. Managed one semi-coherent business call in which I proposed overseas travel for myself.

4. Sent an illicit email.

5. Ate cereal for every meal.

6. Planned a vacation here:

Banff, Canadian Rockies

7. Received an illicit email.

8. Fell asleep and dreamed I took a photo of my right boob.

9. Woke up and considered actually doing it.

10. Put the following ad on Facebook. For sale: Cute but slightly deficient head, prone to migraines, occassionally forgetful, nice hair. Wanted: migraine-free head. Pics only please.

11. No takers yet.

12. Stumbled downstairs to find my son had taken it upon himself to eat five popsicles.

13. Swore when I ran out of painkillers.

I'm holding out hope that there is a better way to do this, that the miracle cure is just around the corner. I'm certain that if I spend enough time in a semi-delirious haze I'll come up with it myself.

Do you know a miracle cure for migraines? What do you do when you're inhibitions are compromised?  Do tell.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Addictions with friends

I've written before about my various addictions, including drinking good coffee, buying bras, traveling repeatedly to Australia, and working crossword puzzles. To name just a few. What I really love is when technology meets my social circle in such a way that others are inspired to feed my addictions. Win win.

That's just what happened when a friend texted me and told me to install Words with Friends, an app that let's you play Scrabble with friends near and far. This weekend I had four games going at once. It wasn't nearly enough. It only whet my appetite for more.

More. More. MORE.

I now live for the little "ping" sound notifying me that it's my move. It has been known to rouse me from a deep sleep. A sleep in which I had been dreaming of covering a triple-word tile with the word 'oxyphenbutazone'.

So I'm hearby issuing a call to anyone with this app to search for the username 'kbxmas' and initiate a game. Friendship makes all things better, including addictions.

Come on. Ping me, baby.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

For you Aussies

We've had the world's longest, sweatiest, most obnoxious heat-wave in over 30 years here in the Midwest. But yesterday a storm rolled in and brought a cold front with it, and today it was in the 70's.

Pure. Bliss.

Everyone was outside. The kids were playing in the street, neighbors were working in the yard. It was heaven. I officially have fall fever.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to tell you that two of the most intelligent, gorgeous and downright awesome women I know are raising money for women's menal health charities in Australia. You can sponsor either Madam Bipolar or Nikki from Styling You by going to their websites and clicking on the links. Alas, this one seems to be for Aussies only, as I tried to donate but it wanted me to give an Australian billing address from my credit card. I suppose I'll just have to move to Australia so I can donate next year (giver that I am).

Septermber 15th is RUOK? day, a mental health event which aims to prevent suicide by reminding all of us to check in with our friends and loved ones when they don't seem themselves, and ask "Are you ok?" Help stop little problems from becoming bigger by encouraging others to open up and share their struggles.

So put your giving hat on and click on over to support one of these beautiful women. And while you're at it, buy some Burt's Bees lipbalm for Liptember and proceeds will go to the same charities.

No, really, go on. We're watching you...


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