Labels

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I have a new toy. It is the Word on my Mac computer. I can print mailing labels using whatever font, size and color I choose. It looks so professional.

I have an HP Photosmart printer, scanner, copier and other than ink, it was a real bargain.

You can use any font style. I like Marker Felt as it is easy to read and yet has a little style. I have also used Lucida Handwriting and my favorite font is Comic Sans. There are so many, it is fun to experiment.

I like to use a size 14 font size for my return address and a 24 font size for the actual address. Then if what I am putting the label on is in color, I try to compliment it.

For example, I just mailed a purple envelope and I made the type in purple. Very neat.

For boxes and large envelopes I use an even larger font size and usually black.

Best way to attach these labels is with rubber cement, and secured by strips of scotch tape or clear mailing tape over the entire label to make it ‘waterproof’.

Yes, this takes a couple of extra minutes, but just think how pleased YOU would be if you got a letter or a package in the mail and it looked like the sender had really taken some extra pains to make it special.

And so what, if you spend five minutes out of your day doing something like this. In the long run (or even the short run) that is nothing.

Think of all the five minute increments you waste each day doing something like waiting for an elevator or standing in line at the market. And that doesn’t brighten anyone’s life.

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Yummy New Product! Plus Almonds and Strawberry Pie

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I found a great new product I want to share with you. It is called Mrs. Mays Fruit and Nut Toppers. I found this at Costco today and I give it five stars.

This is a blend of blueberry, almond and cranberries. Bite size morsels of roasted almond and chewy cranberry. Very good sprinkled on dry cereal or granola. Also a good topping for yogurt or ice cream.

The bag is 16 oz. and resealable. Look for a green metallic zip lock bag at Costco. It is near the nuts. Nowadays when a three pound bag of walnuts costs $16.99, and a three pound bag of almonds is $9.99, this goodie is around $6. I don’t think you need much product to give a nice crunch to your yogurt.

By the way, almonds are a good buy and very good for you. The almonds at Costco are plain and not roasted or salted. I found a way to greatly improve on their flavor and texture.

Put a slicing disc on your Cuisinart food processor and pour some of the almonds into the intake tube.. Now, toss with a little olive oil, a grind of sea salt and spread in a roasting pan. Bake at 250 for about three or four fifteen minute sessions. Stir in between. You will have a nice big supply of sliced almonds.

Keep a zip lock bag of these to toss on salads, on veggies or add to cereal.

Now for a different taste and texture. Simply pour some of these almonds into the bowl of your Cuisinart or food processor and with the blade, pulse a few times. You will have chopped almonds. Do the olive oil, baking thing and you will have a nice supply of chopped almonds.

One little bag of sliced almonds costs about $2 and usually you get about four ounces.  You can easily make two one pound bags of sliced and chopped almonds and still have a pound left over.

If you like your almonds skinless, you can boil some water and throw in some almonds. The skin will slide off. Then you can chop them up to use sprinkled on vegetables. Roast in the oven with a little oil so they get dry.

Now if all of this sounds like too much trouble, there is a very good product called Almond Accents. These are in the produce section of most markets. I like the original plain roasted sliced almonds, but there are lots of variations.

These are very handy to have on hand. And for you readers who are thinking, ‘Who would go to all that trouble’?, here you are.

Amazing what you can do with some finely chopped almonds. Today I made a strawberry pie. This involved baking a pie crust first. I put the following into my Cuisinart. One stick of butter, one cup of flour and three ounces of cream cheese. Pulse till this forms a ball. Roll in almond crumbs, pat into a ball and put in refrigerator for an hour or more.

Now spray a pie pan with non stick and just press the dough into the pan and up the sides. No rolling necessary. Prick all over with a fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for fifteen to twenty minutes. It should be pale golden. (the finely chopped almonds give it a nice flavor and slight crunch)

This is a really good crust. It would be perfect for lemon meringue or a chocolate pie. Coconut cream or banana cream. Or, as I did, a fresh strawberry pie.

If you haven’t made one of these it is pretty easy and looks great. First you will need two cartons of strawberries. Rinse and cut ends off. Save the biggest most beautiful ones to arrange all over the crust. After rinsing the berries, stand them on a paper towel to dry. Use one carton of berries for the strawberry topping.

Put these in a Cuisinart or food processor and mash them up. In a saucepan put one cup of sugar, three tablespoons of cornstarch and dash of salt. Add the crushed berries and stir over a medium heat until the mixture boils and is thickened.

Immediately add one teaspoon of lemon juice and if you like it redder, four drops of red food coloring. Cool for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile arrange the rest of the strawberries on the crust, Best if they are touching each other with the pointy sides up. Now pour the topping all over the berries and Voila.

Chill for at least two hours and serve with whipped cream which has been whipped with a spoonful of powdered sugar, or Cool Whip or Cool Whip Lite, which is what I use.

Or for an alternate choice, you can just mix the whole berries in with the topping sauce, pour the mixture into the crust and when it is cool, spread whipped cream or Cool Whip all over the top. Chill till firm.

Enjoy.

Meditation

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I may have blogged about this before, but I feel it is so important, that I am going to repeat this message once again.

Meditation can take many forms. Basically it is sitting quietly for twenty minutes to an hour once or twice a day. This cleansing of the mind is not a religion and you don’t have to ‘believe’ anything to meditate.

Many people say they don’t have the time for this. Simply get up twenty minutes earlier than you normally would and meditate then. It is said that twenty minutes of meditation gives your body the same amount of rest as two hours of sleep.

I know this to be true. I have been meditating for nearly forty years and have only missed a day or two here or there. On those days, I was reminded by the fact that around four in the afternoon, I was ‘nodding’ off.

There are classes you can take to learn to do this and that is what I did. Some people can pick it up from a book, but I think you would have to be pretty motivated to do that.

The type of meditaion I have done for nearly forty years is called Transcendental Meditation. In this type, you are given a mantra, which is a meaningless two syllable phrase  to help your mind to think of nothing else.

At first it is hard not to think of chores, and what you could be doing, but if you keep repeating the mantra in your head, you will soon find that your mind will dive down to a calmer place and the time will pass very quickly.

It is important not to be interrupted during this private time. Best if the room is dark, save a candle. It is a good idea to silence your phones and find a comfortable place to sit. Also ask other family members not to disturb you and put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door.

At first you may share this new relaxation system with others. Most of them will poo poo this and try to make you feel like an idiot. Some will actually say they would like to learn too.

Don’t bother trying to convert anyone or teach anyone to do this. It they pay for their lessons and take the time to do so, great. Otherwise, skip it. In forty years, I have only one friend who also meditates. And he was doing this way before I ever met him.

You are supposed to sit upright in a chair or on the floor with no back support. I don’t do this. I just sit up in bed and lean against a pile of pillows.

Also it is a good idea to have a clock in sight, so you can glance up and see when your time is up. Some people set their iPhone alarms to a soothing sound to signal the end of their time.

For the past few months I have added the burning of a stick of incense to my routine. I enjoy the fragrance and it is relaxing. I use a type of Tibetan incense, which I ordered on Amazon through Tom’s Incense. It is about $10 for a pack of 19 sticks. I break these in half and they are more than enough for a twenty minute session.

When my children were teenagers I got them into this also. My daughters felt it calmed them and helped clear their minds for their studies.

My seventeen year old son was very reluctant, but agreed to try it. I told him it would help him in his pole vaulting skills. He thought that was a lot of bunk, but after two weeks of meditating, he reached heights he had never before been able to achieve.

Whatever your motivation, it can’t hurt. I think it gives your brain and your nervous system a ‘rest’. Think of the turbulence of the ocean on the surface. Then when you ‘dive’ down, the water is calm and peaceful.

It is like that. Try it. You might like it.

Oh, by the way, results are cumulative.

Skins for Your Devices

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Do you know what skins are? They are self stick decorations for yout iPhone, iPad or Kindle to make it personal and more fun to play with.

I have a Kindle Fire, which I love, but it is plain black and too masculine looking. I have been wishing for something more feminine. Voila!

I found a good site called DecalGirl, that sells skins for all your devices. Just select the item you want to decorate and there are many designs to choose from. You can ‘dress up’ your phone, tablet or whatever.

The choices are quite varied. I chose Raj, by French Bull.  There are lots of flower patterns. Many designs and polka dots.

There are even some very masculine looking ones, like a photo of a coyote amidst some rocks. And lots of other animal designs, perfect for a man or boy.

This is a great gift for that person that has ‘everything’. And all you have to do to attach it is peel and stick. (And it peels off with no residue).

You can attach and reattach it as many times as you like. Or switch around if you like variety.

Kindle Fire Skin Howling Coyotes

Your Price: $19.99


Introducing

Dimitar Neshev

Be sure to check out all 6 pieces in their gallery.


Raj

by French Bull

High Gloss Finish. Our glossy clear finish that rivals the reflection of automotive paint or glass.
Matte/Satin Finish. Our smudge-proof, silky smooth finish that reduces glare & fingerprints.
Your Price: $19.99

The first ships for $2.60, add a second for just $0.90 more!


Sample Skins

Check out how great this artwork looks on different device types!

  • iPhone 4 Skin - Raj
    Mobile Phones
  • Laptop Skin - Raj
    Laptops & Netbooks

     

  • Kindle Fire Skin - Raj

More by French Bull
Be sure to check out all 11 pieces in their gallery.

  • Marble Bright Marble Bright
  • Raj Raj…This is the one I chose. It was a tough decision. I ordered it in matte finish as it said this would not show fingerprints.
  • Multidot Multidot
  • Mosaic Mosaic

The skins come in glossy and matte/satin finish. Your choice. The Kindle one I ordered was $19.99. There is an automatic 10% discount at check out. Shipping was only $2.60, a real bargain for Hawaii shipping. (and second skin ships for only $.90 more.)

So for about $20.59 total, I will have a ‘one of a kind’ Kindle and a real conversation piece. Great on an airplane or waiting around at the airport.

I ordered a flower pattern and I did think of ‘jeweling’ it, but it would probably take about $300 worth of Swaroski crystals, so that thought got shelved.

Plus for $20 each, I could have a little variety of covers when I get bored with the flower one, I ordered. But who knows? I may not. To me a plain black Kindle is boring.

I bet when the new models come out, they will be available in various colors. It certainly couldn’t cost them any more to make this item in red, white or blue. And how about orange or purple?

Mad Men and Bad Men

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The most recent episode of Mad Men prompted a discussion of men/women relationships. In last Sunday’s Mad Men, Don Draper and his wife get into an argument. They are standing outside of a Howard Johnson’s restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

What initiated the fight was Don’s attitude of always being right and shoving his opinions down his wife’s throat. For example, he insisted she eat orange sherbert, when she didn’t like it and wanted to order chocolate ice cream (or pie).

But that wasn’t all. No, he dragged her away from her job, when she was in the middle of an important task. He always overruled her wishes and plans, if they didn’t coincide with his.

Anyway, the fight continued to the parking lot and Don drove off with his wife screaming at him from the curb. When he returned a while later, she was nowhere to be found.

Finally after seven hours, he drove home. There she was and in a total fury after a six and a half hour bus ride home. And no taxi available from the bus station.

After watching this on TV, Peter and I had a discussion about what we would have done. I said I would file for divorce if we were married and never see or speak to him again if we were not.

He thought that was a little harsh and I said I thought Don Draper was a Pig.

Then in this mornings paper was an article about a real life cad, John Edwards. He is on trial for violating campaign fund policy and conspiracy. He could go to jail for 30 years and have a $1.5 Million fine to boot.

In speaking of his mistress who claimed at the time to be expecting his child, his security detail said that Edwards told him she was a ‘crazy slut and that there was only a one in three chance that the baby is mine’.

Of course this all happened while his wife was dying of cancer, and he has since decided to marry this ‘crazy slut’.

Peter asked what I would do if he stated that about me. I said that would warrant life without parole.

Then later, as he was slipping into his Bruno Magli shoes, I mentioned that they were the same type that O.J. had worn when he killed his wife. Peter asked what I thought the penalty for that should be.

I immediately said, “Life without parole”.

“What? That was the same penalty for just calling you a ‘crazy slut’ in front of millions of readers”. I thought about this for a moment and then realized that cutting of my head is more serious than being called names or being called a liar.

So I changed the former penalty to life with the possibility of parole. Never let it be said that I am not fair.

There are lots of silly ‘What ifs’, if you want to play this game. But today in the paper was the most ridiculous of all. There is a local man standing trial for murder. He is accused of stomping on the victims head and face ten times.

His defense: “I wasn’t there at the time of the beating. I don’t know where I was, but I know I wasn’t there.”

I wonder if the jury will ‘buy’ that alibi. Even I can’t think of a clever retort for that statement. Wonder what his lawyer was thinking?

But if you ever do something wrong, just say, “I wasn’t there. I don’t know where I was, but I know I wasn’t there.”

Who knows? It could work. Just the other day a 43 year old man who was accused or raping a girl under fourteen and beating up her brother when he tried to interfere, got five years probation and no jail time.

(He does have to register as a sex offender and if he does anything wrong in the next five years, he can get forty years in jail.)

This plea deal was supposed to spare the victim having to testify in court. Nice call, District Attorney.

Woman’s Work

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They say ‘Woman’s Work is Never Done’. So when I got this email today from a girlfriend, I just had to share it with you Dear Readers.

I think this is perfect. And so true. Many women today have jobs outside the home and then when they come home, they have to fix dinner, get the children ready for bed, straighten up the kitchen etc.

I was first married in 1957. In those days husbands did not help one bit with anything domestic. In the fifteen years I was married to my first husband, he never once washed a dish, folded a towel, helped with the children or in any way pitched in.

My second marriage was to a man in his fifties. He certainly did not do any of these things. Third time’s a charm. Now it was the 80’s. Men were more liberated and it wasn’t considered too feminine to wash dishes or fold laundry. Yeah.

Now, my significant other is a man who has never been married. So it comes as perfectly natural that he would know how to do laundry, wash dishes, vacuum and fix dinner.

This next generation will probably just issue a text command into their iPhone, which will be permanently implanted in their wrist at birth. They will say something like ‘do laundry’ or ‘wash dishes’ and Voila.

I know there are some men out there who pitch in and help, but they are few and far between.

For example, my daughter doesn’t ‘work’ any more, but she is extremely busy all day long with charitable activities and children’s activities. Her husband (my son in law) is the greatest dishwasher filler in the world. He is a lawyer, with a full schedule, and yet he manages to do this.

I wish he would come and load my dishwasher. I have never been great at this chore. And unloading it is probably my least favorite task.

Actually I take that back. My least favorite task is folding laundry. If I get it out of the dryer while it is still warm, it’s not so bad, but if it sits a while, I often run it through the whole wash/dry cycle again so things won’t be wrinkled.

I can’t believe I used to iron everything for husband and three children. When permanent press and wash and wear came on the market, that was a real blessing.

Otherwise I would probably still have a pillowcase of damp sprinkled laundry in my refrigerator. (In Hawaii that was a must, due to the humidity).

Magnetic Fingernail Polish

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Have you ever heard of magnetic fingernail polish? I had heard of it, but never tried it. Today when I went to get my nails done, I thought “What the heck?”

I like to try new things and this was sort of a fun one. The polish comes in several neutral shades. I selected a greenish/gold. The brand I used was China Glaze. There is a separate horseshoe shaped magnet with three design choices.

Mixed into the nail polish are fine metal particles and these shift into various patterns when exposed to a magnet. The polish is put on each nail, and then the manicurist holds a magnet over the nail for about thirty seconds and a pattern appears.

These ‘stripes’ are the shifting stripes of nail polish, once the magnet is placed over the nail.

There are three different choices of designs. I chose a star/burst for my toes and a diagonal stripe for my fingers. There was also a chevron stripe, but I’ll have to try that next time.

This process is shown in the ad as a do it yourself project. I don’t know. I think it would be very hard to do it yourself. The magnet contraption has to be held almost touching the polish, but not quite.

And you have to put a thick layer of polish on each nail first. I can see doing the left hand, but to hold this magnet thingy in my left hand steadily for thirty seconds while not accidently knocking it into the wet polish would be difficult.

There is another brand, which is sold at Sephora, where the magnet is in the cap of the polish. (Maybe this would be easier to work with).

Anyway, it will be fun to see if anyone notices this ‘new’ look. I will say it looks much more fabulous in the sunlight.

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