Thursday, October 28, 2010

BESTeam Feature: Nevita

If you are in the need of something warm and snuggly I have a great Etsy find for you.  Nevita, From My Hands to Yours.

Nevita is in Bulgaria but her wonderful knitted accessories are as close as your keyboard.  Most items free or for the low price of $5.

Here is just a sampling of what is offered here:

Fingerless Gloves, $24

I love fingerless gloves.  They are perfect for wearing when you are typing or crafting and get those freezy cold fingers.

Cable Shrug, $69

This is just adorable. She lists that the knitting time is up to 7 days so I am guessing this will be custom made for you.  With this in mind you could request different color choices.  Convo her!

Gobelin Needlepoint, $699

This tapestry is absolutely stunning.  I can't even imagine the time that went into making this.  There are several tapestries available on the site but this was my favorite. Nevita even tells you about the symbolism of the butterfly.
Hat and Glove set, $49

Doesn't this make you feel warm and cozy just by looking at it!  Imagine how you would feel wearing it.

Chunky Scarf, $32

I thought this black and white fuzzy scarf was cute and funky.  It would look great with just about any item you paired it with.

As you can see there is a lot to choose from at Nevita, From My Hands to Yours so swing on over and give her some Etsy love.
 You can also visit Nevita at her blog Boutiqueaholic.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How much does YOUR dentist charge?

Article first published as Editor Skips Out on $45,000 Dental Bill , by Linda Voss, on Technorati.

When I think of going to the dentist I plan on a bill that is maybe $100 - $200. My braces cost me a bit over $3000. If I were hit with a $45,000 (you read that right, 45 thousand) dental bill I don’t know what I would do. Those would have to be some pretty amazing teeth for a bill like that. I would be expecting a little “bling” for that price.

Lyss Stern
This is the bill that the editor of the New York Observer’s Playground magazine, Lyss Stern, received and didn’t pay. In lieu of paying the bill she offered to publish a positive review, in a three to four page article, about her dentist and his being at the forefront of cosmetic dentistry.

Why do we know about this? Lyss didn’t publish the article as promised and the Manhattan dentist, Lowenberg & Lituchy DDS, filed suit against Stern.

Why do we care about this? People are questioning her journalistic integrity and posing questions about a similar trade-off involved in another issue. What? We can’t trust what we read? If it’s in print it must be true. It may be true but it may be biased. Marketing rules the world and may be running into journalism.

The question I ask is what kind of work was she having done for $45,000. That is more than a good majority of American’s earn in a year. I can’t imagine why, given the opportunity to write an article in exchange for paying that bill, she didn’t just write the article. I bet if you went up to any person on the street and told them you would waive $45,000 of their debt, in exchange for writing a glowing recommendation piece for publication, they would do it in a heartbeat. Granted, we would have some really crummy articles out there, but they would jump at the chance!

Something I find even more puzzling is that after the story ran on Monday the lawyer for the dentist, Michael Laufer, said they would no longer be suing Stern. No reason was given for the suit being withdrawn. I wonder if we will be seeing a glowing recommendation after all.

All I can say is I am glad I don’t go to her dentist.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gordon Ramsey Won't Eat at My House

Article first published as Gordon Ramsey Won't Eat at My House, by Linda Voss, on Technorati.

I’ve decided that Gordon Ramsay wouldn’t like to eat dinner at my house. If you have ever watched him on Hell’s Kitchen or Master Chef, you know he is extremely picky about what food not only tastes like but looks like. I think he would be mortified by the fact that I make casseroles. I happen to like casseroles. They taste good. My family thinks they taste good. What more could you ask for.

I think my meals, presented on his shows, would end up in the trash can followed by a “donkey” and several expletives then I would probably get thrown out of the kitchen. This is why I don’t try out for his shows. Well that and the fact that I don’t want to be a chef. I don’t enjoy cooking that much and wouldn’t want to work under that pressure.

I am all about fast and easy when it comes to cooking. I figure if I am able to open a can of Cream of Mushroom soup to put in something, why would I spend the time and effort to make my own cream of something sauce to add. It’s me and Betty Crocker all the way baby! I don’t think a caper has ever found its way into my house. What is a caper anyway?

I understand that what I serve for dinner doesn’t come anywhere close to what Chef Ramsay would serve in his restaurants but who needs high priced fancy schmancy food all the time. There is something to be said for good home cooking and comfort foods. I think casseroles fit into the comfort food role.

Don’t get me wrong. I like to have a nice meal every once in a while; especially when someone else cooks it for me. If Gordon Ramsey showed up on my doorstep one day just aching to cook dinner for me I wouldn’t turn him away. I’d even go buy the capers.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I told my Young Women's group that I would bring treats to volleyball.  This is today's treat.  They turned out so cute and yummy I thought I'd share.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
4 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Cream butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs, pumpkin and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients.
Drop from teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degree for 8-10 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.
Makes about 80 little  mini cookies.

Some tips:
If you cook these enough they will be a cakey cookie.  If you don't cook it enough they will be gooey and doughy but not in a good way.
I used a cookie scoop.  They pretty much stayed about the same size and shape as the cookie scoop. They are cute little mini cookies.  They don't expand and grow like a chocolate chip cookie will.  You can fit a lot  more on the pan while you are baking.

It's like a little cookie colony.

These are a favorite autumn cookie at our house.  I hope you enjoy them too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How Deep Does Your Beauty Go?

Article first published as How Deep Does Your Beauty Go? , by Linda Voss, on Technorati.

You know the old saying that beauty is skin deep. My dad used to take it one step further and say "beauty is skin deep but ugly goes to the bone". That saying is referring to the inner beauty of a person's character but have you ever wondered how deep your physical beauty goes? Could it be that what is underneath the skin and deeper into the body factors into the beauty we see on the surface?

As women we are bombarded with images of the “perfect” woman. With everyone being professionally made up, lighted, touched up and air-brushed it is understandable why there is such a distorted view of beauty today. Since we don’t all have those services at our fingertips what can we do to give ol' Mother Nature a little help?

There is an article in the The Sun Times, by Janice Norris, quoting two doctors who touch on this very topic.

Dr. Thomas Spies, at an annual meeting of the American Medical Association, said “As tissues become damaged, and they lack the chemicals of good nutrition, they tend to become old. They lack what I call ‘tissue integrity.’ If we can help the tissues repair themselves by correcting nutritional deficiencies, we can make old age wait.”

Dr. Oz says that sugar and hydrogenated fats (basically processed foods) are the two things that age us fastest.

Both quotes give very timely and relevant information. Would you believe, however, that Dr. Spies said this in 1957? If he was concerned about nutritional deficiencies then just imagine what he would be saying 50 years later.

We all know that diet and exercise is the best way to keep our body healthy and fight the signs of aging. Still, I struggle with this. Some days I just don’t feel like getting on the tread mill and, dang it, I want a brownie. That being said there are small changes we can make that will impact our health and therefore our beauty.

Eating at home more frequently and cooking some of our meals. This cuts out many of the processed foods that Dr. Oz talks about. Eat more whole grains. Instead of buying Wonder Bread try heartier whole grain breads, or, learn to make whole wheat bread yourself. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables will also make a big impact in giving you vital nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that processed foods are lacking.

It won’t happen overnight but it can help. Go for a short walk and have an apple. The fresh air will do you good and it’s a start in a positive direction.

BESTeam Feature: LoveElycia

If you love people with a sense of humor, and rainbow colored hair, like I do then you are in for a treat.  This week I get to introduce you to a fun Etsy shop LoveElycia.

  I am going to let the pictures do the talking.

Incognito, custom moustache headband, $9.  Can also be used as a disguise.
Panda headband, made to order,  $11.50 GRRRRRRR
Boo, Word Bubble headband, $12.   So scary!

Not so tasty but oh so cute (and calorie free!), Cupcake Headband, $12

 Elycia has a great selection of fun headbands with some Fall and Halloween specific ones as well.  She also sells vintage dresses.

One fun thing about ordering from Elycia is that she introduces you to the muse of her creation.  You will get a card featuring that personality and her story.  You can also go to her blog link, given on the item description, and read about her.

Here is an example from the cupcake headband.  Meet Carrie:

Carrie is the best baker on the block.  Cupcakes are her specialty and she loves making sweet treats for every occasion.  Carrie helped me whip up the recipe for the Cute as a Cupcake accessories.  Definitely not her tastiest creation but absolutely the cutest.

You can find Elycia here:


Stop on over and get to know her. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wild Kingdom. On a Wall Near You.

When I started college I wanted to be an interior designer. I ended up getting married, going to work, and not continuing my studies. Now my interest is more along the lines of English and art.

That being said I still consider myself to have a good sense of style. It would be an excellent sense of style if I had someone else's unlimited fundage to shop with, but that's another story.

There is a fairly recent trend of decor that baffles me: animal heads on your walls. I understand the whole "I am hunter hear me roar! I caught this animal. It is now a trophy on my wall" mentality. I don't like it, I think it is kind of creepy to have a dead animal head looking at you, but I understand it.

What I don't understand is taking it to another level: porcelain animal heads. This is an "I went to the pottery store. I am an urban hunter. I fired you in the kiln. You are now a trophy on my wall" type of mindset. What baffles me even more is the kind of money one has to spend to get said urban trophy on the wall.

I found this in the Ballard Designs catalogue. Priced at $119 and $249.

 There is a different option for the more cost conscious. Sea Grass animal heads. Priced at $49 and $99.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I do need to go back to school to appreciate decor such as this. I don't think so.

Article was first published as "Wild Kingdom.  On a Wall Near You (But Not Me) by Linda Voss on

Friday, October 15, 2010

Foolproof Whole Wheat Bread

I used to be afraid of bread.  Well, not the bread per se but the making of said bread.

You know, get the water too hot you murder the yeast, too cold it won't come to life, let it rise enough but not too much, beat it up and let it rise again.  Mess any of that up and you will bake a rock instead of loaves of nice fluffy yeasty goodness.

Since I am a SAHM again I thought I needed to tackle this fear.  I also had a lot of wheat and a wheat grinder that I wanted to make use of.  So I turned to my lover, yes, the internet.  I Googled "foolproof whole wheat bread".  I figured with my lack of experience, foolproof would be the only way to go.

I looked around on several blogs (some were pretty scary talking about optional things like dough enhancer and things for texture, longevity, rise and crumb) and finally found one that was pretty straight forward.

I also read a really great tip on water temperature.  Make it like a nice warm bath.  I can relate to that.  Not too hot but not too cool.

Here is the recipe:
fresh out of the oven

Foolproof Whole Wheat Bread

5 ½ cups warm water
2 T. dry yeast
2 T. salt
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
12 cups whole wheat flour

  • Combine 5 ½ cups warm water, yeast, salt, oil, and honey in Bosch mixer bowl. Let stand 5 -10 minutes to activate yeast.
  • Add 8 cups of whole-wheat flour to mixing bowl. Blend the ingredients, then mix on low speed until well blended.
  • Add 3 – 4 cups more flour, 1 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. (The amount of flour required will vary according to the moisture and protein content of the wheat. The stickier the dough - the moister the bread.)
  • Knead dough on low speed for 10 minutes.
  • Oil hands and working surface. Remove dough from mixing bowl and divide into 4 equal portions. Mold into loaves and place in oiled pans. (Oil top of the loaves if a soft crust is desired.)
  • Cover with a damp cloth and let rise 1/3 in bulk, or approx. 35 minutes.
  • Bake at 425* for 8 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350* for the balance of the baking period (27 to 32 minutes).
  • Remove from pans when done, cool on baking racks. Brush tops with butter or oil.

The other three loaves.
You know what!  It actually worked and it tasted wonderful.

The family liked it for toast and hot out of the oven but they weren't thrilled about it for sandwiches.  Said it was too heavy.  So this is when I kicked it up a notch.

I added Vital Wheat Gluten.  This is something that also used to sound scary to me.  Basically you add 1/2 a cup of this to the above recipe and it helps make the bread more moist and light. We bought it at our local grocery store but you can get it at health food stores if you frequent those.

Now, we pretty much only eat this bread.  We use it for sandwiches and it is wonderful.  Basically I don't fear the bread.  I make the bread and I eat the bread.  Hopefully you can too.

I have one more recipe for you.  Bakers Grease.  You grease your pans with this stuff and your bread pops out like a charm.

Bakers Grease:
1cup crisco
1cup flour
1cup oil

Mix this together and store in the fridge.  Use this for breads, cakes etc.  You can use a pastry brush or just a paper towel.

Now you know what I'll be doing in the morning!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

My first painting project.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BESTeam Feature: BabaMoon and MoonAngelNay

This week I get to tell you about two Etsy shops run by one very talented lady. Meet Naomi.  She lives just a hop skip and a jump over the pond in the United Kingdom.  Naomi is a photographer and a knitter, hence the reason she has two shops, the two talents are so different.

MoonAngelNay is the photography shop.  I am going to give you a peek at some nice things then focus on the BabaMoon shop because the babies modeling the knitted items are so yummy!


Angels Glow Scrabble Glass Tile Pendant, $10.00

Who would think of going to a photography shop for a piece of jewelry.  Well, think again.  You can get pieces of her artwork as jewelry.  Simply beautiful.

Iced Swan, 8 x 8" square Fine Art Photo, $30.00
You can find art at Moonangelnay to fit any budget.  From this beautiful swan at $30 to being able to pick any piece sized to 32 x 48 for $340.
Choose any print, 32 x 48", $340.

Now on to the yummy babies I told you about at BabaMoon.

BabaMoon Baby Knits is filled with fun squishy items, all original designs of Naomi's, that are beautifully photographed (remember she is a photographer) on fun squishy babies.

Ok, hold on to your seats because you may just experience an over supply of cuteness!

Pumpkin Hat, 6-12 mo, $35

Just in time for Halloween and Autumn.  A Pumpkin hat to put on your little punkin'!

Flopsy Bunny Hat, 3-6 mo, $18.00

OH MY GOSH I just want to kiss those cheeks!!

Big Flower Headband, 6-12 mo, $14.00

I don't remember babies being so stylish when my girls were little.  I know, theirs was a hard and deprived childhood.

Flower Headband in Punk Pink, 0-3 mo, $14.00

Punk Pink, for the little rocker to be.

Cocoon Swaddler Green Pea Pod, Newborn, $42.00

 Wouldn't you just love to carry your little pea around in a pod!

Flower Hat, 3-6 mo, $24.00

How cute is that!

 Naomi will make all of these items in a range of sizes from 0-3 mo to 3T.  You just need to contact her and let her know what size you want.  Hmmmmm, I wonder if she will make the bunny ears in adult size . . . . . .

You can find Naomi at her two Etsy shops listed above and also here:



Whew, cuteness galore.  Did you fall off your seat?  I warned you. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Peaches I bottled yesterday

My nasty "I've been bottling peaches" nails.

Raspberry Jam

Peach Jam

Monday, October 04, 2010

BESTeam Feature: Rae of Light

For this week's feature I am bringing you a Rae of Light.  Photography that is.

Rachel, the Rae in the Light, has always enjoyed looking at the world in different ways "finding beauty . . . most people pass by".

Rae of Light Photography offers prints, puzzles, magnets and more with very affordable pricing.  Here are a few pieces I enjoy:

A Sunny Hello, original fine art print 11 x 14 , $30

Just so cheery, what's not to love!
The Curley Gates, original fine art print, 11.14 $30

This piece brings to mind a scene (I imagine, as I don't read them) in a romance novel.

I can just see a fair maiden lifting the bottom of her full gown and running, long tresses streaming behind her, to open the gates where Fabio is waiting to embrace her, heaving bosoms and all.

Flower Shopping, Two (2) 4x6 prints $10

These two floral prints could be framed or, as Rachel suggests, used for postcards.

Gerber Babies, Original fine art print, 11x14, $30

I love that she calls them babies instead of daisies.

I noticed that I unintentionally picked a very floral theme.  There are many other styles of pictures available.  You can also order her prints in different sizes.  Many are pictured in two different frames to give you a taste of what they will look like once you frame them.

You can find Rachel:
On Etsy   
Her blog
and on Facebook

Give her a little internet love and stop on by.  Tell her the Goddess sent you!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

How I lost 8 lbs in one day, or, The Diet from Hell

On Facebook I mentioned that I was excited for Conference weekend because I love watching church in my jammies.  Little did I know how prophetic a statement that was going to be. 

You  see, I didn't end up with the "yay, I am watching church in my jammies" kind of day.  It was more of a "I wish I were dead because I would feel better" kind of jammie day.

Yes, I was in my jammies but I wasn't watching conference.  I was worshiping at the porcelain throne.  Not only was I worshiping, I was ultra religious.  I didn't just kneel.  I sat at the throne with a bowl on my lap and I was like clock work.  Every 1-2 hours I had a religious moment again.

I caught a few snippets of conference on the radio but mostly I was in an out of my religious zen or on my bed wishing I was dead.  By late evening the only thing I wanted was a cherry Popsicle and some jello. 

Cherry Popsicles remind me of when I was young.  That was something mom would give me when I was sick.  It would help bring down fevers and was easy on your tummy.  Maybe that is why I was craving it.  A little mommy vibe.

Today I am a little more resembling human life form.  I actually had the where with all to get in a tub and lay there like a slug.  So today I am going to try this whole conference thing again.

I am skipping the jammies!