Do you know what a hack is?  It’s a nickname for cab driver, it’s chopping away at something as in hacking. I believe there are few more definitions BUT the explanation for today’s blog goes something like this: A Hack is an appropriate application of ingenuity.

Look at these 9 ingenious ways you can save space or in other words add space to your home.  Apparently I’m 1 short of Thursday’s Top Ten lol.  These ingenious ideas have been excerpted from the PURE WOW web site.

1. Let Your Makeup Stand Up

Pretty Ingenious

Pretty Ingenious

Leave it to the inventive folks at Quirky to come up with a silicon grid that grips any and all tubular products. The vertical orientation not only saves space but also keeps your brushes clean.
Zen Cosmetics ($15)

2.Use Magnetic Knife Racks for Grooming Tools
Another brilliant idea from our good friends the Swedes: a big ole magnet. Load it up with metal bobby pins, tweezers, clippers and such. But mount it somewhere secluded (inside a drawer or cabinet), so your cuticle pusher isn’t in your face on a daily basis.
Ikea ($13)

3. Make a Place for Your Towels 

Got Hang Ups?

Got Hang Ups?

Don’t waste precious wall space when your towels can nestle right outside the shower curtain with a double rod. (Important to note: You’ll need a masonry drill bit if you’re installing in tile.)Bed Bath & Beyond ($40)

4. Hang Your Hair Dryer
Don’t be an idiot and waste a whole drawer on something that’s literally built to be hung. Adhere a hotel-style fixture next to the mirror for easy access. (And maybe consider a dryer upgrade if you’re still slinging a purple Conair from ’99.)

5. Extend Your Countertop  

Up, up and away

Up, up and away

Useful little risers like this are especially handy if you share a sink with a significant other.
Kmart ($15)

6. Lift Up Your Spray Bottles 

Don't Get Hung Up

Don’t Get Hung Up

When it comes to teeny bathrooms, levels are your best friends. Create one for your cleaners by hanging them from a small shower rod. Just make sure the rod can withstand the weight. (Screw mounts are best, and the hardware store can trim the rod to fit.)
Home Depot ($6)

7. Re-purpose Spice Racks for Beauty Products
In more “you should be hanging that” news, free up space in an overflowing medicine cabinet by shelving your more infrequently used items. Just be careful to maintain a clean and streamlined look–and don’t clutter up your walls with erratic colors.
Ikea ($4)

8.  Swap a Vanity Tray for a Cake Stand
L’Occitane hand cream deserves a sweet display. But that tiny single tray you’re using isn’t doing you any favors. Double the amount you can store simply by switching it for tiered server plates. (Pro tip: Go vintage to preserve the dainty vibe.)
Etsy ($45)

9.  Take Advantage of Higher Elevations 

Look UP!

Look UP!

That extra foot between your door frame and the ceiling? Use it or lose it. Install a shelf to store extra necessities (like spare T.P. and guest towels).
Ikea ($23)


The Lunatics Are Running The Asylum!

The Lunatics Are Running The Asylum!

And that my friends pretty much sums up the rather thin interpretation of Edgar Allen Poe’s THE SYSTEM OF DOCTOR TARR AND MR. FETHER as transformed into a screenplay and made into the movie, STONEHEARST ASYLUM.

We’re talking killer cast here;  Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, and Sophie Kennedy Clark.  The real crime here is the script.  The film is loosely based on Poe’s short story but fails to instill the thriller aspects Poe so aptly imbedded in his tales.  Here we have a very over-the-top set design, seriously could you get any more shrouded-in-fog Gothic than the monstrous castle known as Stonehearst Asylum.  This particular asylum was the closet and shelf where famous and wealthy families hid away their unstable family members; meaning there were your garden variety of hysterics, depressives, incurable homosexuals and homicidal murderers. 

Dr. Edward Newgate, a recent Oxford graduate arrives at the gates of Stonehearst only to be greeted by three gun-toting, unshaven, unwashed, gap toothed crazies.  Any normal person would have turned and fled but our sincere Dr. Newgate ventures forth, eager to gain some clinical experience so he might complete his training as an Alienist.  I would say within the first 10 minutes of the film the audience is quite aware that indeed the lunatics are running the asylum”. 

As with every thriller, one can expect twists and turns, unfortunately, the film is very predictable and the characters although bravely embraced by the likes of Kingsley and Caine, are merely clones we’ve seen before.  Without making this into a real spoiler, let me point out that the lack of dimension and character development is best exemplified by the scenes between Sturgess and Beckinsale are repeats of the first scene.  He wants to take her away, he wants to take her away, he wants to take her away.

It’s saddening to think such stellar performers as Kingsley and Caine are reduced to acting in a film clearly destined to achieve DVD status before the year runs out.  I’m not  holding out much hope for Michael Caine  in the upcoming movie Interstellar because he is billed below Matthew McConaughy and Ann Hathaway and in fact, there isn’t even a character noted next to his name.  Maybe he’s a narrator;  That would be fine, I love his voice.

If you like mild thrillers, not much gore, and seeing a great cast go to waste, then you should go see Stonehearst Asylum but if you’re more inclined to spend that $35.oo  (2 adult tickets in NYC) on something more substantial, then I suggest you wait a while and rent it!

Red, Green and Black Lentils

Red, Green and Black Lentils

BEANS – Yes lentils are beans and they are not only good for you, they taste good too!  This dish can be ready in about 25 minutes.  Goat cheese and lentils make a particularly good pairing; the little earthy-sweet legumes love a salty-unami complement (that’s why you so often see them paired with sausage and other cured pork products), and goat cheese fits the bill.  Here the combination is especially cozy, as the goat cheese melts into the warm lentils, bathing them in a creamy  dressing.  This delightful recipe comes from Martha Rose Shulman of The New York Times.


2 cups/14 ounces green, brown, black lentils, rinsed and picked over

1 small or 1/2 large onion, halved

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf


1/4 cup red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup broth from the lentils

3-4 ounces goat cheese (to taste), crumbled

Black pepper

2 cups wild or baby arugula


In a medium pot, combine lentils, onion, two of the garlic cloves and the bay leaf with 6 cups water.  Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.  Add salt to taste, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 25 minutes, until lentils are cooked through but sill have some texture (they should not be mushy). Taste and adjust salt.’

Using tongs, remove onion and bay leaf. (you may cook lentils up to four days ahead and store in the refrigerator  Bring back to a simmer and proceed with recipe).

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together vinegar, remaining garlic, salt to taste and olive oil.  Set aside.

Place a strainer over a bowl and carefully drain lentils, reserving 1/4 cup of the broth.  Return lentils to the pot.  Whisk reserved broth into the dressing, then stir dressing into lentils.  Add goat cheese and stir until it has melted into the lentils. Season to taste with pepper.  Stir in herbs.

Line a platter, salad plates or bowls with arugula. Top the arugula with lentils.  Serve warm.

I am loving the replies and responses I’m getting from a couple of faithful followers!  This is such a good brain game – although I believe Smith Magazine does not consider this project a game!  Their (Smith Magazine) website is an encyclopedia of Six Word Memoirs.  They have categories, contests, archives and more.  After I publish our reader’s memoirs, I thought I would post a few from their Best Six Word Memoirs of the Week.

Falling Leaves

1. Falling leaves make for slippery roads – Susan

2. Ghost!? Kidding!….Ummm What was thaaat? – Laura

3.  Guests brought pot, hostess couldn’t stir – Me

4. Enough with the campaign adverts already! – Susan

5. I am addicted to my I-Pad – Lynne

6. Trying to empty freezer for cookies – Susan

7. Beginning to look lots like Halloween – Susan

8.  High last night, hung over today – Me


And so from the experts (their contributors) at Smith Magazine, here are some of the memoirs deemed best of the week:

1. Let toddler take you for a walk

2. Give all grudges a proper burial

3. Seeing familiar milestones in changing landscapes

4. Inhaling this moment : My favorite drug!

5. Practice being bored, it builds character

Aren’t those great?  I strongly suggest visiting the web site, people from all over the world sign in and send in Memoirs!  

Our challenge for next week is HALLOWEN HORROR STORIES IN SIX WORDS!  But of course if you’d rather send in a random thought or act or anything else, you know it’s fine with me and will be published the following week!

Oh Horrors!

Oh Horrors!

You scream, we all scream ice cream!  Clearly one of my favorite childhood rhymes and knowing my passion for ice cream, I must be a case of arrested development. 

In case you’re wondering I do know how to spell fatty, however  this particular ice cream treat reminded me of the past few years fad-obsession with bacon and this year’s fad – it’s got to be salted to be good (read sea salted dark chocolate, salted caramel everything including Starbucks!).

So what we have here is:  A waffle cup with sampler trio (whiskey fudge rebellion, drunk and salty caramel, and maple bacon) sprinkled with candied pecans.



Luca & Bosco is an ice cream and dessert company based in NYC. They strive to make people happy through food – my kind of people!   Their ice cream has integrity, and is made from all natural ingredients, organic whenever possible, less sweet and packed with flavor – one taste and you will know the difference. They’re seriously talking about a deliciousness to make your eyes roll back because it tastes so good. 

Run by co-founders Catherine Oddenino and Ruthie Vishlitzky, Luca & Bosco’s mission is to bring deliciousness to people’s lives one scoop at a time.

Catherine is the mom of Luca, a 5 pound, white Maltese. Ruthie is the mom of Bosco, a chocolate Lab. They are the inspiration for the name and the reason we make ice cream cone shaped dog biscuits. We don’t want our canine friends to be left out of the ice cream fun.

Wow!! I have to take a trip down to the Lower East Side to stop in for a taste of some of the unusual and distinct ice cream flavors offered at Luca & Bosco.  Although today’s feature is the waffle cup sampler with a trio of fantabulous ice creams, Luca & Bosco have such exotic flavors as:  Carmelized Banana, Chocolate Brownie Chunk, Goat Cheese, Milky Tea, Rosemary Olive Oil, and Earl Grey with Chocolate Freckles.  On second thought maybe I shouldn’t even consider a visit.  I might go into sugar shock!

Luca & Bosco is located at 120 Essex St. New York, NY.


It’s not every day that you get to meet a mysterious silent film star!  I was lucky enough to meet the beautiful and mysterious Belle De l’ombre.  Believe it or not she actually lives here in New York City in some very posh surroundings.  But of course that’s only fitting for such a raven beauty.  Her name is as beautiful as  she is and it translates to Beauty Of The Shadows!  She is a true movie star from the silent film era and as you can see from this photo she carries herself as the star she is.  With a little bit of luck and research I was able to obtain some footage from one of Belle’s many films.  Take a look for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree this little Glamour Puss is as elegant and mysterious as her name implies.


Beauty of the Shadows

Beauty of the Shadows

Good Advice

Good Advice

Be prepared, you won’t be shocked!! Today the movies, cable TV shows and comedians have no holds barred when it comes to using foul language, bathroom humor, swearing a blue streak;  There are no boundaries…  Well it wasn’t always like that and thanks to Pbenjay’s favorite sourcerer, Gail, I received a link to an article about this very subject.

So let’s step back in time…Here’s a little background that I took from the Mental Floss website.

As long ago as 1944, H.L. Mencken, the great observer of American language, sadly noted that cursing had been on the decline since the Civil War, and that while there was still obscenity, “it is all based upon one or two four-letter words and their derivatives, and there is little true profanity in it.”

Taboos against what we would today consider pretty mild exclamations like “damn!” “hell!” and “Jesus Christ!” led the swearers of years past to come up with creative substitutions that gave them some measure of emotional release while keeping within the bounds of propriety. These substitutions are called “minced oaths,” and they’ve left their mark on our vocabulary. Gosh, gee, golly, dagnamit, darn, drat, gadzooks, zounds, heck, and cripes are all minced oaths that are still around to charm us with their innocent old-timey ring. But there are others you may not have heard of. They could come in handy when you get tired of ho-hum obscenity and want something with a little more profane zing.


A substitute for “by Jesus!” that is similar to “bejesus!” but jabbier. An Irish import, along the lines of “faith and begorrah!” Especially good for toe-stubbing.


A substitute for “goddamn.” From an 1854 Dictionary of Northamptonshire words: “Consarn you! If you don’t mind what you’re about I’ll give it to you!” Slow down and hit both syllables equally hard, and it’s like squeezing a stress ball.


Another “goddamn” form. “Well, dad-sizzle it!” was one way to show you meant business. There were a whole range of “dad” forms, from “dadgum” to dad-blast, dad-seize, dad-rat, dad-swamp, and many more. This one sounds surprisingly modern, like something Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion?) might come up with.


A substitute for “damnation,” similar to “tarnation” and “botheration.” WTF is so tired. Try “What in thunderation?” instead.


Something you can swear by, used in a way similar to “by God!” It seems to have come from seafaring slang, and might refer to the Big Dipper. But you don’t need to know the origin to find it useful. Today the strange randomness of the words makes it feel mystically satisfying to shout.


A shortening of “by God’s nails!” This kind of shortening also gave us “zounds!” (God’s wounds), “Gadzooks!” (God’s hooks), “strewth!” (God’s truth), and “ods bodikins!” (God’s little body). If you yell it thinking of actual snails instead, it’s less profane, but more adorable.


This one goes along with the rest of the “gosh all” family: goshamighty, gosh-all-hemlock, gosh all fish-hooks, etc. “Gosh all Potomac” is the earliest one attested in the Dictionary of American English on Historical Principles, and it’s about time we brought it back.


One of the minced oaths that approximate the sounds in “Jesus Christ!” it uses all the strategies found elsewhere: the “gee” sound (Gee! Jeepers! Jeez!), the middle name (Jesus H. Particular Christ!), and the “cr” sound (Crikey! Criminy! Cracky! Christmas!).


There is no St. Boogar. This is a line from Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, considered by scholars to have a homoerotic subtext. Let it fly with pride!


It’s too bad the tradition of productive, long “by the” swears has fallen out of fashion. You could load enough crazy-sounding nonsense on there to really scare your kids into cleaning their rooms.

Some of the “swears” I heard growing up were “Fiddlesticks”, the ususal God damn and I was always especially impressed with my Uncle Henry’s ” Judas Priest”.  I think my kids will have a much more extensive memory including the likes of “Holy Mother of God”, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph”.

If you’ve got any “good” ones you’d like to share, please do.


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