Cool Stuff · Images · Personal · Photography · Road Trips

Mt. Bonnell and Mayfield Nature Preserve in ATX

Some pictures I took last weekend in Austin!  Enjoy!

Cool Stuff

How to Attend MIT…..for FREE!

Photo credit: See-ming Lee, Creative Commons

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is unarguably one of the world’s premier establishments of higher learning.  Leaders from all over the world have graduated from MIT, including Benjamin Netanyahu, Ford Motor Company’s Executive Chairman William Clay Ford, Jr., and the founder of E*Trade, William (Bill) Porter.  It’s also home to some of the world’s brightest young stars in the areas of energy management, poverty relief, and cognizant studies.

Being one of the world’s best universities bestows on MIT an obligation to make the world a better place, not only by providing the kind of education that shapes leaders and molds think tanks, but by making that education accessible to everyone who has access to the internet.  Sure, you’re not going to get any credit or earn a degree from MIT, but you CAN “attend” the university and have access to its course materials, syllabi, videos of lectures, exams and more.  Why?  Stated simply by Dick K. P. Yue, a professor in MIT’s School of Engineering, “The idea is simple: to publish all of our course materials online and make them widely available to everyone.”  How beautiful is that?!

I have always wanted to major in Political Science, but the years that I was able to attend college have passed me by.  I don’t have the time, nor the funds, nor the energy to do so now.  I DO have a burning desire for learning, an internet connection, and access to MIT’s course materials in Political Science.  Nirvana!!  Other disciplines offered include biological engineering, physics, and music and theater arts, something for almost everyone!

Try it, there’s always something new to learn!



Cool Stuff

Himalayan pink salt

I have about a pound of this stuff at home, I use it when I make bath salts. It’s FANTASTIC. GET some!


Himalayan pink salt is a natural rock salt which is unprocessed and unrefined and  is extracted at the foot of the Himalayas. And is considered the most valuable one of all salts . Its unique pink color is derived by the high concentration of minerals and trace elements such as iron and copper.  Properties and benefits of this salt rosaProprio have a particular origin , the pink salt has acquired some beneficial properties that differentiate it from the common salt . The normal table salt, in fact , reflects the current pollution of the seas. The Himalayan salt , however, is the purest salt because it is simply removed and washed without being subjected to any refining treatment . It is the only one that contains the right proportions of the minerals and the trace elements we need . Thanks to these features , the pink salt has some special…

View original post 213 more words

Cool Stuff · Food for Thought · Images · Life in General

Colloquialisms……AKA, it’s pe-KAHN! :)

For whatever reason, it's a "boo-wie" knife in Texas and D.C.*

I read this article a few months ago and then forgot about it, but I’m constantly fascinated by the origin of names and words, and pronunciation of common terms in different regions, so I revisited it today.

This study from North Carolina State (I’m a Tar Heel fan….still interesting, LOL) depicts those very differences in the phrases, pronunciation and even the terminology used by different regions.  A “crawdad” for example (which is what I call them, incidentally) is a “crayfish” in the Northeast.  Some southerners say “pe-KAHN” while others say “pee-CAN.”  My husband, a North Carolina native, is illustrative of this……he says “pee-CAN” while I’m constantly trying to correct him, “it’s PE-KAHN!”

Check out this link for 22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other.  I hope you find it as interesting as I have!

Blogging · Blogs · Cool Stuff · Food for Thought · Good Advice · Images · Life in General · Personal · Shit that Bugs Me! · Tales from the Dark Side · Work

Don’t Feed the Trolls!

You know what?  I’m VERY newly in the blogging game, but haters lurk everywhere, out here in the “real” world, on social networks, on blogs, at Walmart, everywhere.  I’m printing this excellent reminder and taping it up on my wall where I can see it every day.  Carry on!  (MUCH thanks to Karen Gunter of build a little biz, who got it from Inspiring Mums.  There’s also a version with blank bubbles so you can fill in your own words!)


I also read Chris McCombs’ blog post and wow….what a timely message for me, especially after this week.  “How to Get More Haters” put a new spin on the scourge of the interwebs and gave me a little perspective in my non-cyber life, too.

Have a GREAT, AWESOME, LOVELY weekend, y’all!  (And how do you like my new “signature” graphic?)

brigitte pink with black border

Blogging · Blogs · Cool Stuff · Personal · Recipes · Shop Handmade

A Few of My Favorite…..Websites!

I’m on the internet a LOT and I’ve found some pretty cool sites along the way.  Here’s a list of a few that I think are neat-o (in no particular order, other than this was the order I thought of them in, LOL!)  Have fun!

1.  The Secret Door – takes you to random Google Street View places when you click on it.  Fascinating!

2.  Pinterest – I can spend HOURS here, no joke.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on a DIY kick right now, and Pinterest is DIY heaven.  Also a GREAT place to find cool design, gorgeous photography, beautiful art, and style galore!  Lately, I’ve been kind of aggravated about it being taken over by supposed “blogs” (which are really just link repositories masquerading as blogs) pinning and repinning the same things.  It’s getting harder to find genuine, original things to repin, so I’m making a concentrated effort to pin cool things from the blogs and websites I visit, instead of just repinning content that’s already on Pinterest.  It takes a little more effort, but I think it adds WAY more value to the community.

3.  Facebook – I know, I know.  But I love it so!  (Heh!)

4.  Amazon – I’m a bargain shopper, and you can’t beat the GREAT deals at Amazon.  I love to comparison shop, and probably 7 times out of 10, Amazon has the best price, PLUS it gets shipped straight to my door, yayyyy, no gas money!

5.  HGTV – LOVE the cool home decorating and design tips.  I’m addicted to watching that channel, too!

6.  AllRecipes – I have this app on my phone, too, and it’s a godsend!  I’ve never had a problem finding a cool recipe to try and while I haven’t LOVED every single thing, at least they were something different and fun!

7.  Swagbucks Coupons – I use Swagbucks a lot to search and win points for free gift cards from Amazon, Starbucks and more.  One of my absolute FAVORITE ways to earn points is to print coupons from the Swagbucks site!  Not only do a get to save a few cents, but I get points for it, too!

8.  PostSecret – just fun.

9.  Kevin and Amanda – SO CUTE.  Always just……cute!  I love it.

10.  The Graphics Fairy – Karen posts an amazing variety of FREE graphics, mostly vintage stuff she finds in old books.  She also posts reader submissions of projects using graphics from the site and I’m continually amazed at the creativity!

11.  Journey Photographic – GORGEOUS travel photography.

12.  Re Create Design Co – Michael is an expat living in Sweden.  She used to blog at the wonderful Blue Velvet Chair which was a DIY, home decor, repurposed design blog.  She’s moved on to Re Create Design for more of the same.  ALWAYS fascinating!  Follow Michael on Facebook, too!

And there you have a small sampling of my favorite blogs and websites.  I could go on and on, but I have to stop somewhere.  Twelve seems like a nice number, doesn’t it?  More than ten, but just short of the dreaded 13.  😉

Cool Stuff · Good Advice · Personal · Recipes

Hippy Time…

Lately I’ve been on a DIY kick; home improvement, making my own cleaning stuff, and making my own cosmetics/personal care items. I’ve made lotion bars, sugar scrubs, and melt and pour soaps for a while now, but I just recently started trying things like deoderant, laundry soap, cleaners, etc. It’s pretty cool and I plan to add more to my repertoire as I go along.

Today I’m going to share my recipe for homemade deoderant and let me tell you….this stuff is AMAZING! I’ve researched what goes in to store-bought deoderant/antiperspirant, and it’s REALLY not pretty. Some of these ingredients have been linked with cancer and Alzheimer’s and given that my family has a history of Alzheimer’s, what more encouragement do I need to find a natural alternative? Please do the research for yourself and see what I mean!

I used this recipe as the basis for my efforts, but then had to tweak a little because the baking soda was irritating me. I will post below what I eventually came up with.

Homemade Amazing Deodorant:
Adapted from Passionate Homemaking

The original recipe calls for either corn starch or arrowroot powder, but since I had both, I used both. Some folks complained about irritation in the comments due to the amount of baking soda- and found that using less helped. I have had no problem with the amount of baking soda so I will continue with these proportions. Also the coconut oil can go from solid to liquid depending on the storage temperature. Mine stays at a perfect semi-solid in my bathroom, and melts to an oil when I rub between my fingers.

5-6 tablespoons coconut oil
1/8 cup arrowroot powder
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
Several drops of bergamot oil [optional]

Mix the powders together in a jar and slowly add the coconut oil until you have a “pomade” consistency and powders are mostly dissolved. Add a few drops of oil until it has a lovely hint of scent.

To use, scoop out a pea sized amount and rub between your fingers to melt and create a smooth texture. Apply under your arms and rub any left into your hands as a moisturizer.

Since the coconut oil changes rapidly from a solid to a liquid I would not recommend trying to use a traditional deodorant “stick” but rather to scoop from the jar.

If you are at all hesitant about making your own, this is the recipe that will win you over! Non toxic, plastic free, sustainable, and extremely effective. Total win-win.

I didn’t have any bergamot oil or arrowroot powder, so I replaced the bergamot with tea tree oil, and just used cornstarch instead of cornstarch AND arrowroot.  I do plan to get some arrowroot powder so I can try it….one more thing on the list of things to do!

So, since I had to tweak it by taking out the baking soda, using all cornstarch, and using tea tree oil instead of bergamot oil (which I would have loved, bergamot oil smells nice!), this is the recipe I’m using and LOVE so far!

5-6 tablespoons coconut oil (I ended up only using 4, I guess the substitution of cornstarch for the baking soda changed the consistency of the paste)
1/2 cup cornstarch
Several drops of tea tree oil (I used 5)
Several drops of skin-safe fragrance oil (this is probably not totally “green,” but I wanted to scent it with something besides tea tree oil, not that I mind the scent of it, I don’t. I used 6 drops of FO, Grapefruit Mangosteen. Smells like HEAVEN, I tells ya!)

I’m so sorry I didn’t take any pictures of the process, but it’s pretty straightforward and if you follow the steps above, it won’t be a problem at all. It’s simply mix all the ingredients to make a paste, put it in a jar, done! How easy is that? The link for the original recipe has some very good pictures if you need to see the deoderant being made.  It will be the consistency of homemade frosting once everything is mixed.

I’ve been using this deoderant for a couple of weeks now, and it works GREAT! Lasts all day and has not marked my clothes at all. Give it a shot, what have you got to lose? If it doesn’t work out, you’re only out a few cents for the ingredients, and they can be used for other things, anyway. I hope you enjoy!