Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to get someone's attention

I know some of you read a lot of blogs. I do too. The ones that don't have GFC are harder to keep up with because I hate getting posts emailed to me, but I have a long favorites list on my browser so I can keep up with these uncooperative blogs (that's not completely fair. It's actually totally unfair for me to say they're uncooperative.  But it's said and I cannot erase it).  I just have my ways of following people and that's that.  

Anyway, there's a blog I go to that is pretty darn famous. The design there is pretty vanilla, but there's enough personality in the writing that I can't stop visiting.

And you know what? They don't like me there.  I haven't figured out why, but after a year of commenting, I think it's clear the blogger'd be happy if I never visited again.  In fact, I bet in their home, there's a list of doofus bloggers they'd like to punch in the gut, and I'm at the top of it.

How do I know this so definitively?  Because they never ever reply to my comments.  Even if 99% of comments have a witty reply, even if I'm the first to do it for the day (quite a feat considering how many they get), even if I'm on my best online behavior (don't be a tool, Starr, don't be a tool!), I don't even get a winky-face in response.  I get...silence.

You know, Starr, they get a zillion hits a month.  They're probably just busy.

Oh, it's you--how've you been?  How'd that liposuction/butt lift go last month? Anyway, how could they be busy *every time* I comment?

Do you need an ice cream? I think you're a little too upset about something silly.

I'm not upset, I'm just hungry for pie!
Well, I'm not upset.  I just think it's funny.  Funny in a "why did I eat beans the night before the big job interview" kind of way.  I mean, any blogger is in it for the glory, even if it's just 1% of the motivation behind public writing.  It's a big exercise in "LOOK AT ME BE AWESOME!", so of course I'd rather not feel anonymous in Bloglandia.

So I've been practicing some new comments to leave to see if I'll get acknowledgement.  I love really personalized comments around here, and the ol' cut and paste is a cop-out.  Here are some I've come up with:

1) OMG UR stuff is GORGEOUS!  I don't want to sound desperate, but can we be best friends? I'll be waiting to meet you at the Long John Silver's on Veterans on Friday night at 7pm.  Write back soon!

2) Yeah, your house is just okay.  I mean, I saw something just like it in the Pottery Barn Catalog.

3) I totes luv the fact you posted 100 photos on how to huff spray paint--oddly refreshing you can live out your addiction online. Wait, that was an art project? My bad.


I think all four of these are winners.  Any more ideas you have?  The nuttier the better. They're more likely to get *something* in response, even if it's a cease&desist order.

Because a photo of sausage is always appropriate.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Easy Tomato Preservation

First, a game. Which one of these is not like the others?

Wait, you say they all seem different?  Let me give you a hint.

It's our pink tomato!

We planted six varieties of heirloom tomatoes. I even had a handy dandy chart, but things got mixed up, some died, and we were left with a mystery tomato vine.  It took forever for this vine to fruit, and we experienced lots of blossom rot, but this one sure is gorgeous and is of the Brandywine variety.  Can't wait to taste it.

Anyway, let's move on from the tomato talk to...more tomato talk. Whaddya do with the harvest bounty?  We've had four big batches of tomatoes come through with some more on the way (although I read in the paper that the high heat might have prematurely cut the season short this year--boo!).  We don't want to eat nothing but 'maters, and don't we want to get a taste of summer when it's freezing outside?

Yes, we do.  So we decided to preserve tomatoes with a relatively simple process, ending in a swift plop into the freezer.

First, put a pot of water on the stovetop to boil.

In the meantime, slice an X on the tomatoes.

Perfectionists, the X need not be perfect. 
 Once the water is boiling, drop the tomatoes, a few at a time, into the pot.  If you put too many, the water will stop boiling and it'll be too hard to keep up anyway.  Set the timer for a minute.

Take the tomato out of the water and dunk into ice water.  Leave for a few moments (my photo of this wasn't that good. Sorry.).

Pick up the 'mater and peel it.  It should come right off.

At this stage, you can slice out the core and painstakingly remove all seeds.  Or you could rip the middle out with your hands and squeeze the hell out of the fruit.  You might miss seeds, but really, does it matter? Not to me.

Throw the peeled and cored tomato into the crockpot. If you have any cherry tomatoes, you can throw those in whole if you wish.

Slice basil or other seasonings over the pot.

Admire the beauty of red and green together. Those Christmas people who decided on the color combination sure were smart.

Cook the mixture.  If you wish, mash the tomatoes with a potato masher while it cooks.  I've cooked as few as 7 hours on low or as much as 14 hours (perhaps they were a little caramelized by then, but the spaghetti we enjoyed from that batch was spectacular).

Let it all cool.  I then put the sauce into freeze-safe containers, let them hang out in the fridge to cool more, and then plop 'em in the freezer.**

As you can tell, I didn't season this mixture except with herbs.  I figured I'd do that later.  I have added others things, like sauteed onion and garlic, but that's not necessary. You could also add meat.

Some folks don't peel the tomatoes and put the mixture through a ricer later on, but I do not own such a device.  Ryan helped with the peeling, making the job go very fast.  I highly recommend asking for (demanding) assistance.

I hope you've enjoyed summer fresh produce this year.  It is soooo good.

**Note: This method isn't for shelf-stable canning/preservation.  The tomato sauce should be kept cold and eaten within a few days or frozen.  Maybe I'll try canning next year.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Posts in Queue

I love the word Queue.

I also love rain these days because we've had so little of it.  So imagine my delight when I woke up this morning to see this on the bush outside:

Not dew, but rain!
 And now I know how to bring it on.  Yesterday it was so hot that our AC started freezing up, blowing not-as-cold air, getting weaker and weaker.  So to cool off, I sat down at the pian-er to play and sing a few tunes.  Within minutes, it started to rain.

So yes, it's now finally proven that I am in control of the universe.  And I'd better start taking care of my vocal chords because it's going to take some serious singing to bring on some serious rain.

Anyway, since we've established something I've known all along, I can tell you the excessive heat has put a damper on the blog posting. I know, weird, huh?  But I've had some things ready to talk about for awhile now, so I'll show you some of them.

Awesome hamper I got for next to nothing at a used furniture market.

New paint color in the dining room.  This is the only corner that isn't covered in stuff, so more pics will have to wait.

Easy tomato preservation--I promise to get the post up soon so you can start dealing with your harvest.  You want to save some of it for the dead of winter, right?

Other things in the pipeline:

I got a fabulous new hair color and went really funky last weekend. My only problem is that by the time Ryan's home to take my photo, I'm wilted on the floor moaning for more ice to be poured down my shirt.

I have a few shoutouts for some prizes I've won recently in Bloglandia.  Hopefully this week I can finally show some gratitude rather than merely being gratuitous...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What's left to do in the heat?

When it's 101 outside, 

play the piano,

admire your tomatoes,

splash in the baby pool,

try to will the sunflowers to bloom faster,

enjoy the corn from your own garden,

mourn the pumpkin that's grown into the neighbor's yard,

or Swing, Swing, Swing.

We've had one set of grandparents visiting this week, and beating the heat has been our main activity.  Please send rain.

Linking up to Shine Your Light.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I need advice

The past week has put me in a funk.  The kids, our finances, the damn drought...they've all conspired to make me a grouch.  So Monday night, I headed to the movies all by myself, Peggy Olson style (although I was doing it more than a decade ago before Mad Men was around to inspire me).  I used to go solo all the time to the movies--it's relaxing to be quiet for awhile, soaking in a story.  Sunday mornings are best, but Monday night was pretty tame, too.  I saw The Avengers and learned a few things:

1) Chris Hemsworth is perfectly cast as a god.  Loved him in Thor, and again in this flick.  Per usual, I'm asking myself why I can't be Natalie Portman, but I think we all know I'd be the chunky sidekick anyway.

2) I am really glad I don't live in NYC or any other big target for aliens.  Kansas City wouldn't be on most aliens' radar, except for maybe the most savvy who'd realize that the bbq really is that good. Of course, perhaps I'd rather my city be destroyed by a giant fishy monster thingie than survive and be enslaved and forced to mine dilithium crystals.

3) I don't actually hate Samuel L. Jackson as much as I thought.  I almost liked him in this movie!

Random squash photo.  Pretty, isn't it?

But all of this is a completely unrelated introduction to my post for today (it's my blog, so I can do it any which way I want, right?  Preferably with orangutans named Clyde, but that's not always possible).

I would like your advice.

I know, weird coming from someone who dishes it out so easily.

I have written a non-fiction e-book.  And I have no idea how to price it.  E-books are priced so inconsistently that this is not an easy task.  I recently bought one for 99 cents to see what I'd get at that price and not only did it consist of regurgitated blog posts, but it was also not very much substance.  I've spent five times that amount for disappointing content, and I've bought $2 books that were awesome.  One e-book I read a few months ago wasn't even that great or ground-breaking, but the writer has sold a few thousand copies at almost $10 a piece!

My book: 98% of the content is completely original, never seen before by my readers, so I'm not recycling anything from the blog except for maybe a couple of anecdotes.  I had briefly considered working in some essays and testimonials from others, but decided to stick with my own writing.  The subject matter?  Generally speaking, it's about motherhood and being home with the kids, so kind of a niche market. It falls under self-help (as much as it pains me to use that phrase, it works).

It's looking to be between 125 and 150 pages, perhaps more (haven't converted it yet).  I'll offer it in as many formats as I can.  The book is still in the editing stage, but I'm hoping to wrap things up soon.  

So any advice? I've thought about offering it for free as a gift to the universe or as high as $1Million since it took a long time to write this thing. Neither of those seem appropriate, so I'm open to ideas.  Feel free to comment here or send me a private message at starr@thekiefercottage.com

PS I have not gotten any good spam or rants recently.  You guys, those brighten my day!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Water Water Nowhere

Friends, I have a problem.

I am blessed that it doesn't affect my life so much that I'll starve, but it's a problem nonetheless.

Friends, meet Drought.  Drought, meet my friends.

My plants are wilted. Some have died. Others call me in the middle of the day, "Girl, I am thirsty.  You see these pathetic leaves?  How can you watch me wither away to nothing? Also, when are we going out for pedicures?"

Pumpkins need lots of water. This one is no exception.

I'm not sure how they got my cell number, but their pleas tug at my heart strings.

You see, I like to think I'm an environmentalist, although my commitment isn't 100%. I love my air conditioning. In fact, without it, I turn into a walking heat rash and even the Derm told me to keep things cool (perhaps I should move to the arctic, which sounds nice with these outrageously hot temps).

But we try around here to eliminate waste, compost, recycle, not buy in the first place.  Our real estate agent came by the other day to see what we'd done to the house, and she asked if we had taken care of the old compost pile in the back...I told her we had made it bigger and better.  Apparently, that is not what one does to improve a home's value.

The shaded marigold on the left is much happier than the ones on the right, which get full sun all day.

Anyway, I'm getting off point.  Ryan and I don't want to be mindless consumers of resources, and yet with a drought and a garden hose so easily accessible, I can just turn the water on to stop the pumpkin vine from whining so much.  However, I'm reminded of someone I knew years ago who told me to just go to the ATM for money, without realizing that it's not really a magical machine that prints dollars on demand.  It's gotta come from somewhere, just like that water.

The sunflowers are happy, though.
Here in eastern Kansas, we don't have the water crisis of the western plains partly because we have two rivers running through.  But to think of this life elixir as unlimited is unfathomable, and it's expensive, too, so we're cutting way back on the garden watering, even if it means everything dies.

I know, not pretty. But it does the job.

But wait, there is an interesting solution!  Did you know that when you run your AC you get all this condensation?  We have a tube that runs to the drain in the basement floor, so now we're collecting the water rather than putting it into the storm drains. We get at least 12 gallons/day, and my own personal Hulk (Ryan) can carry large containers of freezing cold water from the basement into the garden.

Another idea?  Get used to brown grass. Our lovely lush grass, which stayed green all winter, has gone dormant and isn't too pretty right now.  It's funny, people whose yards are green right now are really just enjoying hardy weeds, but ours, the lawn that outshone everyone else's in the spring, looks like someone's dog puked all over it.  

Other ways to save water: put a bucket under the faucet while you're waiting for the water to get hot.  Use mulch to hold the existing moisture in the soil (see the sun drenched marigolds photo above). Set up a rain barrel (obviously not for drought conditions--and also, it's illegal in some areas, so check first).  Don't flush so often. Of course, that doesn't necessarily give you water for the garden, but it does keep your consumption down.

Any other ways to save water you can think of?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Our Latest Free Find

We've been wanting one for nearly a year, and been talking seriously for a couple months, but we finally decided to pull the trigger and hunt one down.

Any guesses?

Maybe I'll show you a photo...

If you keep scrolling. I'm going to make you work for this one.

It's a new kitty!

In the natural cat state -- asleep.
Ringo Fringo Stephen Hawking the Black (I'll bet you can guess who came up with which parts of his name) is a boy, about 10 weeks, and pretty much as black as they come. He doesn't have a single white or gray spot on him, until you look very closely and spy about a dozen white furs on his chest.

He and Rufus... well they were fast... we just know that they're going to be best... most inseperable...

Okay, they have done nothing but growl and hiss at each other. Only after we picked up Ringo did we bother to read about how to introduce a kitten to an existing cat who has been an only child for most of his life. Oh well -- they'll learn. Ringo is just too sweet to even think of getting rid of him, so he and Rufus will just have to learn to share the house.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Age of Miracles and Giveaway Winner!

Let me introduce you to a wonderful little novel I read yesterday.

This young-adult sci-fi tale was all over the papers and radio a few weeks ago, so I ordered it to arrive on my doorstep the day of release.  I rarely do such a thing, buying a hardback copy of a new book (although I'm anxiously awaiting the delivery of Shadow of Night. It's Twilight for adults.  Read it, y'all).  But I've always been a science fiction fan, and the title was calling my name.  Starr, Starr, read me! Plus I needed a break from the Stephanie Plum series I'd been plowing through (just finished #12 on Monday).

The Age of Miracles is a story about the Earth's rotation gradually slowing, told from the perspective of preteen Julia.  I don't like when book reviews have too many details, so I'll just say that there is some interesting speculation on what would happen to humans and wildlife if such a "slowing" were to occur.  One reason I enjoy sci-fi is that it allows me to imagine a world far different from my own, and this book definitely delivered.

But it was an emotional gut-punch as well.  Tough memories of the misery of middle school came bubbling up for me along with the painful insecurity of friendship all those years ago.  Some reviewers called these details unnecessary fluff, but their addition was vital to making this story not just a well-played tale about global catastrophe.  In a nutshell, character development is a good thing here.

The Age of Miracles is not the feel-good story of the summer.  However, it's a worthwhile read.  It only took me a few hours to finish, and I might even read it again.

On that chipper note, let's pick a giveaway winner for a subscription to House Beautiful!

The random number generator picked comment #3!  Congrats to our winner,

Ashley from First Home Dreams

 Please email me your mailing address so I can get the subscription going. It'll probably be 4-6 weeks before you get your first issue, but I hope it's sooner!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My last day at 31

Yeah, turning 32 doesn't feel like a huge milestone, so I won't spend one more minute on it.

Some heirloom, some hybrid.

But look at those tomatoes!  They're kind of cool.  I picked five more this morning after I pulled out all the squash vines (boohoo).  I love the lumpy ones.  They taste the best.

Anyway, it's the last day to enter the House Beautiful Giveaway!  Enter HERE.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Garage (Sale) Finds

The garage never seems to stay as neat as I'd like.  We move out one thing just to add add another.

But this weekend, Ryan did a great job making things disappear more permanently.  And no, he didn't blow them up with fireworks or throw them in the Missouri River like I asked him to during one particularly crazy fit of rage.

He hung them on the ceiling! We had two bike rack thingies my dad gave me four years ago (I know, I know--I never keep stuff that long without using it or giving it away, but I knew we'd put that bike up eventually).  The bike and ladder are so much more conveniently placed now, especially the ladder, which is huge (and an estate sale find--got it for $30 and retails for upwards of $200 or more).

Brass beds are cool!  

We also finally put the side-of-the-road dresser in place for tool storage.  It is a super el cheapo piece not even worthy of paint, but it'll do the job.

And of course, there's the brass headboard I scored for almost nothing at a garage sale a few weeks ago.  Why did I purchase it?  Well, our IKEA bed, which had survived four moves, decided to die.  And I'm sad to say we weren't even doing anything fun on it when it collapsed (and we managed to sell the bed even in damaged condition. The one benefit of living in an IKEA-free town is that people will pay for the broken stuff!).

I don't have many photos of the old bed.  Well, I do, but it's dated back to our move, so the room is quite frightening and the bed wasn't fully set up.

Hilariously enough, we are now back to the bed on the floor (not pictured due to serious disaster area upstairs), with only the IKEA wood slats (an alternative box spring) keeping the mattress off the carpet.

I bought the headboard knowing I'd paint it to make it less builder-grade-awesome (awful).  It takes up no space, which is important since we'll be eventually moving our room downstairs to the girls' 120 sqft room, giving them the 500 sqft loft space on the second floor.  The IKEA platform was too large--perhaps it knew I was making these plans and disintegrated from heart break?  I guess even cheaply made furniture has feelings.

For now, we're living like college kids because I have to now purchase a box spring and a bed frame.  Funds are low 'round here, so that'll have to wait.

Anyway, the point of this post was to encourage you to hang stuff from the ceiling in your garage, re-use other people's trash if you can, and be careful with IKEA furniture. No, wait, I mean, go to yard sales to buy things you need.  I bet your IQ has just gone up at least 1.5 points from visiting today.  If you say I've never given you anything, you'd be wrong.

And speaking of gifts, the deadline for entering my House Beautiful giveaway is tomorrow July 10, 2012 at 11:59pm.  Enter HERE!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Y'all, reassure me.

First off, let me say that I'm disappointed so few people want a subscription to House Beautiful Magazine.  I figure it's due to several reasons.  1) You already subscribe (yay!).  2) You think it's uppity (it's not!  it's beautiful, just like the name says!). 3) You can't read formal English that well.  4) You only read car magazines. 5) You don't read magazines at all.  6) The only people who read this blog are related to me.

To address #3, let me translate the giveaway into Text Speak.  I had to outsource this job because I'm not fluent in how young people are communicating these days.

o hai u guize! u shud totes ntr r contst! we r givin awy a sub 2 Hse BuTful!

Now you understand better, no?  So go enter!  

If you truly only read car magazines, I can almost understand that.  I, too, love car magazines, especially Car and Driver because their slogan is "Intelligence. Independence. Irreverence."  Those three words are what I aspire to every day. How could I not like the publication!? Anywho, this is a chance to broaden your horizons FOR FREE.  Reading another type of magazine won't mean C&D will break up with you.

For #5, I'm going to pretend that it just couldn't be that.  I consume all sorts of information from various sources, so it's hard for me to fathom cutting out an entire genre.

And if my family comprises my entire readership, shoo.  What do I do about that???

Seriously y'all, go enter the giveaway. Right now, you've got great odds since only a few friends and my mother-in-law have entered, and since my MIL is disqualified for being related to me, you have a great chance of winning!  I know I like winning, although the one blog contest I entered, they never sent the prize.  I promise I will--I chose something I don't even have to go to the post office to ship, so that'll never be an excuse.

Okay, now that I'm done browbeating you for not entering a contest with better odds than winning $.50 off dollar menu fries from McDonald's Monopoly games, I'll get to my real reason for writing today.

I feel the need to explain why I keep the word "y'all" in my lexicon despite my relocation to the Paris of the Plains.  I was born and raised in the South (Birmingham, Atlanta, and Memphis), so that means y'all and all of its variations are embedded in my DNA.  But I also prefer efficient use of language, and y'all has it all, y'all.  It's quick off the tongue and can be used to create double contractions, which not only sound awesome but also scare the pants off of unsuspecting Yankees.

"We're gonna need all y'all over there to do the funky chicken. And grow out your mullets."

"Did y'all bring y'all's swimsuits?"

or my personal favorite:

"Y'all've gotta try this pimento cheese!"

Y'all sounds better than "Yous" and doesn't reduce women to men like "You guys".  And it isn't offensive like "You people".  So try it on for size.  People might unfairly underestimate your intelligence, but then you'll blow 'em away with your smarts. Being underestimated is a good thing, y'all.  At least that's what I say to myself in the mirror every morning.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Borers, Beetles, and Other Bad Things in the Garden

Dead Zucchini.

Being a rather laissez-faire gardener has consequences. Of course, it also has benefits, considering I'm not using toxic pesticides or weeding all the time.  But it's so sad when something dies.

My zucchini is done for early summer.  The deadly squash vine borer put its eggs into this plant and killed it. So no zucchini.  I also had to pull up the patty pan squash plant in front of the tomatoes for the same reason. You'll know you have it because the vine will die for no reason and it will look all eaten up at the base.  And then you'll find grubs inside with singular pulsing veins (which I did not picture for your own good--they're gross).

Looks so sad there.
The cucumbers aren't doing so well either.  Turns out I have cucumber beetles which disrupt the plant cycle. The vines look beautiful, but we've only gotten one cuke with no more on the way.

And then the cat.  I won't go into detail about what's *he* does in the garden.

But wait, there's hope!

I can plant another round of squashes now, and they'll not get attacked since it's too late for the squash borer to be laying eggs.  Our season is long enough for that, so if your squash is dead, don't necessarily despair.  There might still be time.

We also have gorgeous wild flowers, and a pretty flower always brightens my mood.

Obligatory close-up.

I bought the cheap bag of annual wildflower mix at the Home Depot a couple of months ago.

Drew picking flowers.

I didn't know how tall they'd get.

Pumpkin vine in the left corner.

Of course, I had envisioned this beautifully even garden bed filled with flowers.  But instead, we had a huge storm about thirty seconds after I put the seed down so I have some bald spots.  However, they're still lovely and low-maintenance.

I hope you're staying cool!  It's hot as hades 'round here and will be for the next week or more.

Speaking of cool, be sure to enter my House Beautiful giveaway.  Just click HERE to enter!

Monday, July 2, 2012

July, the most wonderful time of the year (and Giveaway)

July, the month we all love to hate.  Sure, there are hot dogs and watermelon to be enjoyed for the July 4th holiday, but alongside all the joys come the terrible heat, relentless bugs, and worst of all, my birthday.

I'm turning 32 this year.  I know, you're gasping in surprise because there is no way I could be that old.  How do I maintain my youthful look?  Well, you're in luck because I'm going to go all Shirley Temple on you and give YOU a present for my own birthday: A list of all the secrets you've been dying to know.

  1. Carry a few extra pounds on you.  Fat plumps the face, and all the extra glistening (read: sweating) I do keeps my skin super-hydrated.  So in the name of youthful skin, eat that cookie!
  2. Shun the sun.  Cover every inch of your skin with either cloth or sunblock.  Be like Bernie in Cocoon, wearing the bright white zinc on your nose.  Wilt after five minutes in the heat and go inside, leaving the dirty work for everyone else.  Remember that being tan is a relatively recent trend and might go away again. Don't be a trend-follower. Be a trail blazer back to the "pasty-skin" days of yesteryear.  If your skin is naturally dark, remember you can get wrinkles and skin cancer, too.  (And if you choose #2, take your Vitamin D)
  3. Dress inappropriately.  You know, like a teenager.  You might not be able to squeeze into little booty shorts anymore (see #1), but you still have t-shirts from high school. I bet you have white-washed jeans, too.  Wear them and everyone will think you're young again.
  4. Drink cheap liquor.  Forties and sweet wine coolers will bring you back to your glory days.
  5. Read young adult fiction all the time so you can learn how to talk like a hip teenager.  Fo-Shizzle!
  6. Act like an idiot most of the time.  Idiocy can drop your age by at least a decade.  I used to deliberately try to do dumb things, but now it all comes naturally.
  7. Live in an old house.  How old, you ask?  Much older than you (side note: I laugh when people say things like "I'm buying an old house. It was built in the 90s!" Unless you're talking about the 1890s, it ain't old, sister.).  My house is 72 years old, so I'm practically a toddler in comparison.
  8. Read House Beautiful Magazine.  Kidding, that doesn't keep me young, but that brings me to an important part of this post.

    For my birthday, I'm giving away a one-year subscription to House Beautiful to one lucky reader!*
I love this periodical because it really *is* beautiful. It's not what I would call a DIY magazine. Instead, you read for inspiration on color combinations and furniture styles.  It is not a "safe" design magazine because it's full of color and vast variation.

In my previously attempted giveaway, I had intricate rules, and I've considered adding a few that involve the speed-weeding in the garden and plastic Barbie dolls (don't ask), but I think I'll keep things simple.

You have three ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment.  
  2. Leave a comment telling me about what you do to stay youthful.
  3. Share the contest on Twitter and leave a comment with the link to your Tweet.

Each comment counts as one entry.

You may become a follower if you wish, but maybe you don't ever want to be a follower because you're too good for that. If anything, you're a leader. Or perhaps you hate my blog but want the magazine, so who cares about following the blog.  Or it could be that you are afraid of commitment. If so, I understand.  Remember, though, that I'll be announcing the winner on the blog, so be sure to check back obsessively to see if you've won!  (Note: I am back on The Twitter, so you can always follow me there.  We'll see how long I last on it this go-round.)

If you're related to me by blood or law, please do not enter this giveaway.  Mom or Ryan's Mom, this means you. If you win, you'll tell me to keep the subscription for myself and that would defeat the purpose of having a giveaway. Oh, you wouldn't do that?  If you want the magazine that bad, I'll get it for you for Christmas, 'k?

Also, this drawing is only open to U.S. and Canadian Residents 18 years of age or older.  I have some loyal Canadian readers and wouldn't want to leave them out since they hail from the country of Sarah Richardson, my design inspiration.

I will select the winner on my birthday, July 11th.  Entries close 11:59pm CST (because the world revolves around me and my time zone), Tuesday July 10th.  Winner will be selected using one of those doohickies online that will pick a random number.

*I am not affiliated with House Beautiful and will be providing the subscription out of my own (empty) pocket because I love the magazine, and well, I love you too.  Void where prohibited and other such legalese that basically means you cannot sue me because you didn't win a magazine subscription worth less than a family outing to the Waffle House! 
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