Thursday, October 31, 2013

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ


Introducing The New Recipe Module & Recipe Lens Format

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 08:50 AM PDT

We’ve got two exciting new releases for you today.

First up is an exciting upgrade to the Recipe Module.

The new recipe module can be found in your content tray on a lens in edit mode. Once you add the module you’ll have the ability to add a Description, Image, Ingredients and Instructions all from one module. You can also enter the Recipe Stats underneath the edit  box. You can set your image for left, right or big picture and link and title the URL to your photo. Existing recipes will have this update too.

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 6.09.31 PM

 

Next up is the new Recipe Lens Format.

This lens format is exclusively for recipes and will be available to the RocketSquids and the Giant Squids soon. The new recipe format will allow users to share one recipe on a beautifully laid out template that includes the ability to upload a background photo. You’ll be able to add 3 Amazon products that compliment the recipe. We recommend using a complementary  cookbook or utensils that you need to create your recipe. These lenses will also receive tier payouts.

You can see a screen shot of the new recipe lens format below and check out my live Banana Bread lens right here.

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 6.05.43 PM

 

 

Creating Great Content: Connecting with Readers

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 06:30 AM PDT

5548053540_c5629f418eSomething all great lenses have in common is great content that readers connect with.

That means the reader understands the author’s words, intentions and easily absorbs the information that’s offered.  If you’re wondering how you can improve the content you’ve already created or create better content in the future, I have some advice and tips for you. It’s not hard to create great content that readers connect with if you’re prepared and purposeful when you write. Let’s get started!

Let your readers be your leaders

Maybe you already have a lens that’s doing alright, but you know it could do better. Here’s your chance to be proactive – Make sure your lens has at least one or two social modules where your readers can interact with you and each other.  Always try to read the comments on your lenses and your profile page too. You should also check out other lenses around Squidoo, outside blogs, Amazon reviews, or anywhere else you think your target audience might be visiting. Are they asking questions? Talking about the content they want to see or what they enjoy? See a question you can address or a problem you can solve? Use it as a starting point to add onto an existing lens or start a new one.

Your lens traffic stats on your Dashboard are another invaluable tool for targeting your content better. If a particular word or phrase is leading people to your lens on a consistent basis, make a note of it and consider expanding your lens to address that particular audience better. Identifying your audience is less about demographics and more about finding people who share a common desire, whether it’s for information, a place to shop or a place to meet and  talk with other like-minded folks.  

Many times people wind up on Squidoo looking for something specific – an answer to a question, a product recommendation or just another real person’s advice. Creating targeted content is a way to reach those people and give them what they’re looking for.

Build on past success

Check out a lens that you’re proud of for ideas. Try to follow the same process you used – Did you do a lot of research and take notes? Maybe you added content as you found it until you had something you felt good about. Whatever you did, do it again! Don’t worry if there are things that you can’t find  - maybe your first lens has video but your new one doesn’t. Never make cookie cutter lenses, they don’t do anything for your reputation and can make your readers feel like you don’t have any authority.

When I say replicate your success, I want you to try to get into the same mindset you were in when you created your top lens, but don’t worry if they grow in different directions. Every lens should be unique and the important thing here is feeling creative and being uniquely you.

When you’re finished, give your lens a thorough edit – learn more here.

There you have it  - simple ways to improve your lenses, old and new. Now it’s your turn to share: How do you connect with your readers? What’s your strategy for improving existing content? We’d love to hear from you, so sound off in the comments below!
Photo Credit: familymwr via Compfight cc

Happy Halloween

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 06:29 AM PDT

Happy Halloween Squidoo!

Image Credit

Three Halloween Costumes My Daughter Still Blames Me For

1. Three Halloween Costumes My Daughter Still Blames Me For

The other day, during a marathon cleaning/rearranging session, I unearthed our old Clue game and couldn’t resist taking a peek. All I found was the board, a pad of worksheets, and a couple of pens rattling around in the bottom of the box. No cards, no…

Witch, Witch Come To My Party

2. Witch, Witch Come To My Party

WITCH, WITCH COME TO MY PARTY Since the time when our boys were young, we have been impressed by the quality of the stories published by Child’s Play books. My boys were big fans of books like The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hung…

Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas as a Halloween Tradition

3. Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas as a Halloween Tradition

Every year for the past four years now, my daughters have come up with creative ideas for decorating pumpkins for the annual local event the Illumination of the Jack O’Lanterns. They have received the award for the ‘Most Creative’ pumpkin th…

Halloween at Disney Sea

4. Halloween at Disney Sea

It’s just a few more days until Halloween arrives and it’ll most likely pass most people by here in Japan. Halloween is not celebrated in Japan like in other countries and although stores and restaurants get into the Halloween mood by offering pu…

"What Does the Fox Say?" Fox Costumes and Other Animal Costume Ideas

5. “What Does the Fox Say?” Fox Costumes and Other Animal Costume Ideas

The end- of- the- summer break out hit from brothers, Vegard and Bard Ylvisaker, has not only gone viral within days of being uploaded on Youtube on September 3, 2013, but all of the crazy animal costumes are sure to inspire costume ideas for office partie…

Amy Farrah Fowler Costume

6. Amy Farrah Fowler Costume

I have always been a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory. A television program for adults due to it’s content, it is one that I cannot watch while my children are home when it airs at 8:00 in the evening. So every Friday afternoon, before my kids are home…

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Stencils

7. Halloween Pumpkin Carving Stencils

It’s easy to to create a fantastic Halloween pumpkin Jack O’Lantern with a pumpkin stencil design or free pumpkin face pattern and special pumpkin carving tools. You can sculpt or carve a real pumpkin – either orange or white (or even some other…

DIY Jon Snow Costume from Game of Thrones

8. DIY Jon Snow Costume from Game of Thrones

The HBO ‘Game of Thrones’ television series is a huge hit with viewers. Based on the fantasy novel series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ by George R. R. Martin, the live- action interpretation is a bold, colorful production. The costumes are…

Audrey Hepburn Costume

9. Audrey Hepburn Costume

If you want to know how to dress up as Audrey Hepburn, then look no further than this complete guide to creating an Audrey Hepburn Costume! Find everything you need to dress up as Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, from costume and accessori…

Pumpkin Carving

10. Pumpkin Carving

I started carving pumpkins by myself when I was in middle school. I remember taking my time to get it just right and being so proud of my work. In 8th grade I entered a Jack- o- lantern contest at school and won! One of my teachers liked it so much he aske…

Lens of the Day: Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas as a Halloween Tradition

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 05:28 AM PDT

Meet Kylyssa, she’s a Giant Squid!

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 04:25 PM PDT

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 7.20.54 PM
What is the single best piece of advice you’d give to everyone?

Live in the moment and revel in joy and wonder wherever you find them.

When did you make the biggest difference?

I don’t think I’m qualified to answer this question. Only people who feel I’ve made a difference could answer it and they might not agree with each other.

Who had the most influence on your life?

My momma had the biggest impact on my life. Even though her life was hard and often strange and frightening she loved people with greater intensity than anyone else I’ve ever known. It was from her that I learned that love is not something sappy and weak; it is strong and fierce and often painful but if you want to burn bright and make a difference you need to embrace it, thorns and all.

What was your greatest moment?

Again, this is something for other people to decide. I hope my greatest moment is still ahead and that it involves helping people be more kind to one another.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a published science fiction author.

What did you admire most about your mother/father/parents?

I most admire about my mom that she loved with the heart of a lion, unflinchingly and with no reserve.

That is why my favorite lens of my own is one I wrote about my momma.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Forget about trying to fit in. You’ll never be able to do it and you’ll waste a lot of effort and stress trying to. Figure out what your positives are and try to make something helpful to others out of them instead.

Share something you learned at your day job that applies to life in general.

It’s more satisfying to accomplish something as a team than all alone.

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

I’d be as old as I am and that changes by the moment. If I woke up with amnesia, I might think I were a young person who had had a rough time of things lately until I saw a mirror and then I might guess I were somewhere between forty-five and fifty.

What is the one thing you'd most like to change about the world?

If I could wave a wand and change one thing for the entire world, I’d take away all unnecessary fear. I think people could get down to living kindly together if they stopped being afraid and lashing out in fear.

Favorite Lens

The Ashes of a Lion’s Heart: A Story about Momma

-KylyssaGiant Squid on Squidoo

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ


Lens of the Day: The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker is a Book for Halloween

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 05:17 AM PDT

Meet DebMartin, she’s a Giant Squid!

Posted: 29 Oct 2013 10:12 AM PDT

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What is the single best piece of advice you’d give to everyone?

Expect the seemingly impossible.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Surprised!

What did you admire most about your mother/father/parents?

My father introduced me to nature and the wilds. I truly admired his outdoor skills and the time he took to share with me. My mother was one of the most intuitive and insightful women I’ve ever known. She taught me to appreciate.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Your sensitivity will turn out to be a great thing.

Share something you learned at your day job that applies to life in general.

I am a Life Transition Coach. I’ve learned that when a new client presents me with a challenge or dilemma, it is often something I too need to work through. We are often presented with that which we most need to learn.

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

36

What is the one thing you'd most like to change about the world?

I’m so frustrated with the fear that we seem to inflict on each other every day, especially through news and politics.

Favorite Lens

Moon Shadows

-debmartinGiant Squid on Squidoo

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ


5 Delicious Vegetarian Dishes for the Holidays

Posted: 29 Oct 2013 09:15 AM PDT

Whether you eat vegetarian 24/7, you’re looking for a fun side dish or maybe you just want to cut down on the meat this year, take a look at these 5 GoodVeg recipe lenses to find something fit (and healthy) for your holiday table.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa

1. Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa

This recipe is great for a harvest main dish, or as a side dish. It is vegetarian and yummy. It would be perfect for a Samhain Feast, or for Thanksgiving or Christmas meals. Or I just made it for myself. I am going to give you a recipe for one or two peopl…

A Vegetarian Side Dish For The Holidays or Any Time-Greens and Beans

2. A Vegetarian Side Dish For The Holidays or Any Time-Greens and Beans

My greens and beans recipe is pretty basic. The ingredients include: heads of romaine (or if you prefer you can use kale). I prefer the romaine because I find kale to be a little bit more bitter. I also use minced garlic, chicken broth, cannellini beans an…

Bread and Butter Pudding with Crusts

3. Bread and Butter Pudding with Crusts

One popular dish, ideal for garden and celebratory parties, is the traditional British Bread and butter pudding. A favourite of mine, it’s easy, quick and inexpensive to make; and incredibly, packed with wholesome flavour. This recipe is a variatio…

Ginger Carrots - a special side dish for any holiday meal

4. Ginger Carrots – a special side dish for any holiday meal

I have made this carrot side dish for every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for years. Of course you could add this to any meal because carrots go with just about everything! I love just plain cooked carrots, but adding the ginger and lemon just make it…

Sweet Potato Crusted Holiday Quiche

5. Sweet Potato Crusted Holiday Quiche

This Sweet Potato Crusted Holiday Quiche is great for family gatherings as it’s filling, nutritious and looks really festive, yet it is easy to make and can be mostly prepared in advanced then finished off in the oven before serving. I get sick of nut…

Day 14: $100 Challenge Winners (The Finale)

Posted: 29 Oct 2013 09:11 AM PDT

We’ve got the last 5 winners for the $100 challenge right here! Congratulations to everyone who participated (and won). The lenses that came in over the past 14 days have been phenomenal. We’ve got more fun quests and challenges coming soon…

Linda McCartney's Home Cooking

1. Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking

Semi- Vegetarian When I think about my all- time favorite cookbooks there are a handful that always rise to the top of the list. One such book is the late Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking. I purchased this book many years ago when I was trying the veget…

Potato Cleaning Gloves...Because Nobody Likes Dirt in Their Food

2. Potato Cleaning Gloves…Because Nobody Likes Dirt in Their Food

Cleaning vegetables can be a perplexing task. When are they really clean? What is the best way to clean them? What are the repercussions if they aren’t clean enough? We all hear horror stories of the chemicals and bacteria we could potentially be cons…

Nespresso - Barista Style Coffee in the Comfort of Your Own Home!

3. Nespresso – Barista Style Coffee in the Comfort of Your Own Home!

My Nespresso Maker has changed the way I drink coffee! There’s nothing that can compare to that glorious feeling of having your morning coffee. For years, I would drink drip coffee, fresh from my coffee maker. Then, one day I was round a friend’s…

Brilliant Bilbo Baggins Lego House for Hobbit fans

4. Brilliant Bilbo Baggins Lego House for Hobbit fans

Hobbit homes have been an obsession of mine for many, many years and you’ll see exactly what I mean by that when you check out my photos on this page. My six year old is always drawing pictures of them for me since she knows that mommy would really lo…

Using the Force With Star Wars Monopoly

5. Using the Force With Star Wars Monopoly

Before we dive into this game I think it’s mandatory to set the right mood; 1. Hum the Imperial March, Darth Vader’s Theme Song (or set it as a background music by viewing it on Youtube) 2. Relax. Clear your mind. Now inhale (chooo). Exhale (phaa…

Lens of the Day: My Hippie Costume

Posted: 29 Oct 2013 05:38 AM PDT

3 Halloween List Lenses You’ll Love

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 12:34 PM PDT

The Halloween countdown continues today with 3 lenses that were sent in for our “Make a List” quest.

The first one lists materials need to create a Minion costume within about an hour.  The second one lists costumes one lensmaster’s daughters blames her for, and the third contains a list of kid-approved Halloween treats.  Enjoy!

Mighty Maximus Minion

1. Mighty Maximus Minion

Who are these little yellow men from the Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 movies who do the bidding of Dr. Gru so willingly? Why do they hand over their hard- earned wages to help make the Dr. ‘s latest despicable plan a reality? How can they be part…

Three Halloween Costumes My Daughter Still Blames Me For

2. Three Halloween Costumes My Daughter Still Blames Me For

The other day, during a marathon cleaning/rearranging session, I unearthed our old Clue game and couldn’t resist taking a peek. All I found was the board, a pad of worksheets, and a couple of pens rattling around in the bottom of the box. No cards, no…

Sousababy's Kid Lists the Top 4 Halloween Treats

3. Sousababy’s Kid Lists the Top 4 Halloween Treats

When I was little (a few decades ago), all the kids on the street knew who gave out the best Halloween treats. My father was more ‘in tune’ with what the kids wanted. My mother, on the other hand, only wanted to save money. Nowadays, parents are…

Squidoo Club News: October 28th 2013

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 10:04 AM PDT

clubsHappy Monday!

First things first, I wanted to let everyone know that if you have access to the New Lens Format, you’re more than welcome to ‘Squidoo It’ when completing any of our  club quests.

Not a member of any of our Squidoo Clubs yet?  We’d love to have you!  All lensmasters are happily accepted into any and all of our clubs. Learn more about how you can join by visiting: All About Squidoo Clubs

Winning lenses from our exclusive club quests get the honor and attention of being featured as Lens of the Day.

Now on to Official Squidoo Club Business:

We’ve recently had a few of our quests expire.  Congratulations to all winners and big thank yous to everyone who participated.  Here’s the results.

draft_lens21385905_13825780120-_AA_Squidoo Food Club

Our popular Food Club completed their October challenge and the winning lens was created by 1angelsbestkeptsecrets stop by Best Soft Caramel Corn Recipe to get the recipe today so you’ll have it all ready to go for Halloween night.  This lens appeared as Lens of the Day yesterday, 10/27/2013.

And be sure to stop by the quest lens to find all of the other taste-tempting treats. Squidoo Food Club Quest: October

 

 

draft_lens21371126_1381949053_Squidoo Holiday Club

The Squidoo Holiday Club is busy making new lenses for our Celebrate magazine.  These are weekly quests that end every Tuesday night.  Last week’s quest was about recommending a gift for a reader.  The winning lens, Classic Children’s Books By Leo Lionni was created by and appeared as Lens of the Day on Thursday, 10/24/2013.

You’ll find all of the other enticing entries by visiting, Recommend a Gift… for a Reader Holiday Club Quest

 

 

5fefb73fecfd965701d40d391c02433bSquidoo Happy Halloween Club

The Squidoo Halloween Club is completing their final quest.  All entries are due before midnight Eastern Time tonight.  Remember, the winning lens from this quest will appear as Lens of the Day on October 31st, 2013 so get your entry polished and submitted today.

All of the other Halloween topic lenses that have been and will be featured as Lens of the Day recently and during these last few days leading up to Halloween are the winning lenses from our Exclusive for Halloween New Lens Format Quest.  We hope you’re enjoying them.

 

 

book club logoSquidoo Book Club

This month’s Book Club Quest: Scared Silly  expired at midnight.  Club members will receive a voting quest today and the lens that receives the most votes will be featured as Lens of the Day on Friday, November 1st 2013.

 

 

 

Reminders:

The GoodVeg and Cozy quests are both ending this week.  Get your submissions in so you don’t miss out.

And be sure to check your ‘Quests’ tab for all other upcoming quest deadlines.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Squidoo HQ

Squidoo HQ


IMMINENT! “The Best Book I Ever Read” Highlight Reel

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 07:12 AM PDT

Are you in the mood for a good book? Our Giant Squids shared one of the best books they ever read this week.

Each lensmaster featured here also got an IMMINENT! raffle ticket.

Only Giant Squids get to participate in the IMMINENT! challenges. Not a Giant Squid yet? Don't miss out on the fun…check out the Giant Squid program right here.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay

1. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay

This is not the first time I wrote reviews about the book ‘You Can Heal Your Life’. It is my favorite self- help book and really helps me overcome my health issue. When I recovered, I did promise myself to promote this wonderful book to as much p…

Building Life's Most Essential Relationship

2. Building Life’s Most Essential Relationship

For me individually, a quest requiring the best book I ever read was easily answered. Only one book I have read could fit that description and it would be the Bible, God’s Holy Word. Charles F. Stanley’s Life Principles Bible is a favorite editio…

Marge Tindal's Native American Poetry

3. Marge Tindal’s Native American Poetry

Out of the Whispering Winds Marge Tindal was a great Poet and though we lived ocean wide apart, she was my best friend. Sadly I have to write ‘was’ because she’s no longer with us. Marge passed away rather unexpectedly on January 26, 2009. I…

My favorite Banned Book: The Giver by Lois Lowry

4. My favorite Banned Book: The Giver by Lois Lowry

I remember reading The Giver as a young adult in middle school. It was pretty mature reading for someone that age, but I really enjoyed it. The Giver was one of the few books that I felt didn’t treat you like a child, but instead was right on the leve…

The Best Business Book I've Ever Read About Storytelling

5. The Best Business Book I’ve Ever Read About Storytelling

If you have a business you are telling stories about it. Maybe you have a business that extols the virtues of a product that a lot of other businesses sell as well, like dog treats. If you have a business selling dog treats and your strategy is ‘I…

Books For Cat Lovers

6. Books For Cat Lovers

I have always loved cats as far back as I can remember, so when I saw this book at a local used book store about 5 years ago, I immediately purchased it. I did not know what to expect, but I knew that it was the Chicken Soup Series of books, so I knew I ha…

The Little Prince - Throughout My Life

7. The Little Prince – Throughout My Life

The Little Prince Throughout My Life The Little Prince throughout my life. Growing up there were two encounters with this book that I shall tell you about. The third was after I had grown up. At least physically that is. The first story is when I was at ca…

Red As Blood By Tanith Lee - My Favorite Book Ever

8. Red As Blood By Tanith Lee – My Favorite Book Ever

Tanith Lee specializes in writing fantasy and science fiction and she is my favorite author of all time. Her style is positively captivating and her imagination is boundless, creating elaborate worlds of impossible reality with seemingly effortless eloquen…

Behind the Scenes at the Museum: A real review

9. Behind the Scenes at the Museum: A real review

Behind the Scenes at the Museum. A favorite novel Before this book was available in America, my sister sent it to me from the UK. ‘Jackie’ she said (my name isn’t really BritFlorida! ) ‘ this book is about us’. It isn’t really…

Making Miracles in 40 Days

10. Making Miracles in 40 Days

I can’t remember exactly when it all happened but somehow along the way, I realized that I wasn’t exactly happy. Sure there were days that I felt I couldn’t be happier while other days, I just wanted to crawl under my bed sheets and stay the…

The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty

11. The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty

It is such a rarity to find a nonfiction book that has the page- turning characteristics of a fictional suspense- thriller or juicy romance novel that when you do, you never forget it. That is what The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Win…

Time for Tea by Helen Exley

12. Time for Tea by Helen Exley

As soon as I saw this little book ‘Time for Tea’ I knew it was for me. Yes, I’m a tea drinker, an avid one. I believe that tea makes the world a better place; it certainly does for me. As the quote from George Orwell says, tea makes you…

The Maze Runner is a Thought Provoking Series for Teens (and Adults)

13. The Maze Runner is a Thought Provoking Series for Teens (and Adults)

Despite the fact that I’m well past my teen years, I find myself drawn to young adult literature. The stories being written for this age group are phenomenal and often seem to be more exciting than adult literature. Not only are they addicting, many o…

Kristin Cashore's "Graceling" on Audio Book is a MUST Listen!

14. Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” on Audio Book is a MUST Listen!

I REALLY enjoyed listening to Kristin Cashore’s Graceling. It’s safe to say that this audio book was the BEST I’ve ever listened to. I listen to a lot of audio books because I am in my car for long amounts of time and I tend to get sleepy wh…

"How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids" -Mom's Book Review

15. “How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids” -Mom’s Book Review

After the first day of school, my girls came home talking about buckets. They enthusiastically explained about fillers and dippers and how their buckets were ‘overflowing’. One paused, looked at me and said ‘I love you Mommy. is your bucket…

Very British Problems - Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time

16. Very British Problems – Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time

I love this book! I cannot believe that I only discovered it a short while ago because it has had me in laughing and chuckling along for a good hour this morning. There is something very special about being British! Let me apologise in advance to my Americ…

Dune and the Dune Chronicles: Why You Should Read Them

17. Dune and the Dune Chronicles: Why You Should Read Them

Don’t think of the movie just now. Think of the book Dune and how it helped shape an era (the sixties) and how Frank Herbert’s craft in writing this science fiction series carries you through the ups and downs of vast empires and civilizations. I…

Go for it! - Giftbooks by Helen Exley

18. Go for it! – Giftbooks by Helen Exley

Go for it! by Helen Exley is one of my favorite books ever. Go for it! is a miniature book, full of empowering quotes from famous people like Michelangelo, Eleanor Roosevelt, Walt Disney and so on. The small size of Go for it! does not make it any less pow…

Angelfall: A Whole New Type of Post Apocalyptic Book

19. Angelfall: A Whole New Type of Post Apocalyptic Book

Susan Ee burst onto the indie market with Angelfall, a book that captured my imagination and made me hungry for more. In fact, the first time I read her book, I thought I’d heard wrong about it being an indie book. It was exquisitely edited and so pol…

Veronika Decides To Die, by Paulo Coelho: A Book Review

20. Veronika Decides To Die, by Paulo Coelho: A Book Review

‘Veronika Decides To Die’, is a highly original, moving story that takes each readers on a quest to find meaning in a culture overshadowed by angst, soulless routine and perverse conformity. It tells the story of a girl named Veronika who seems t…

Strunk and White's Elements of Style, best writer's guide

21. Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, best writer’s guide

The single most important writing guide I own Lie or lay? Farther or further? Which or that? Affect or effect? Did I use the word correctly? A quick thumb through Strunk and White, and I’m back on track. Of all the reference books on my shelf, Strunk…

Survive and Thrive in Japan with Point-and-Speak

22. Survive and Thrive in Japan with Point-and-Speak

‘The Original POINT- AND- SPEAK Phrasebook JAPAN’ by Toshiya Enomoto stands out as my favorite and most essential book when braving everyday life in Japan. It’s easy to use and covers every situation you can think of. One day, I made the fir…

Will they be home for "Christmas at the Homeplace?"

23. Will they be home for “Christmas at the Homeplace?”

In this latest novel in ‘The Homeplace Saga’ of historical fiction family saga stories, author Smith has continued the feel- good to story- telling at a singular fictional location in the southern Missouri Ozarks. This, the fourth novel in the se…

Healing Spirit Stories of Women Who Run With the Wolves as Told by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

24. Healing Spirit Stories of Women Who Run With the Wolves as Told by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Voices of the Spirits of the Women Who Run With the Wolves Back in 2003 the voices of the spirits of the Women Who Run With the Wolves called out to me from a book shelf in a quiet corner of the local used bookstore where I worked part time. I heard the ho…

Love, Loss, Injustice, and Misery

25. Love, Loss, Injustice, and Misery

There is a reason this book has been made into several movies and an epic musical, not to mention the theme being stolen for such TV series and The Fugitive and others. It is because it is a story with everything. There is mystery, heartbreak, romance, dis…

The Noticer by Andy Andrews

26. The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Change Your Life by Changing Your Perspective Sometimes, all we really need in life is a little perspective. When Andy Andrews found himself lost and homeless at the age of 19, it took a man named Jones, The Noticer, to help him find the perspective to get…

Abraham Lincoln Biography for Kids (and adults)

27. Abraham Lincoln Biography for Kids (and adults)

During our study time, I read along with the kids from the Heroes of History series, enjoying the glimpses into lives of well- known public figures on a level that kids can really enjoy. We just finished with the Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom sel…

London Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid

28. London Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid

BOOK REVIEW London Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid went on general release in 2012. It is a collection of short accounts by heroic people who played a vital role in the South African liberation movement. It is an amazing story of young men and w…

Clark Gable in Pictures

29. Clark Gable in Pictures

A Lifelong Crush Discovered in ‘Strange Cargo’ I have had a lifelong infatuation with the King of Hollywood despite the fact he wasn’t even alive the first time I watched one of his movies. I was a teenager, around 15, when I came across Cla…

Zen Driving: How to Relax Behind the Wheel

30. Zen Driving: How to Relax Behind the Wheel

Zen Driving by K. T. Berger is a remarkable book that can change your driving habits, your attitude toward other drivers on the road and, maybe even, your life. The authors are two brothers Kevin, a freelance journalist and Todd, a California psychotherapi…

Stay Healthy With Juice Therapy

31. Stay Healthy With Juice Therapy

On Valentine’s Day I got the best gift ever from my husband. Do you know what it was? Well, it was a Professional Juicer. In fact, I’m interested in receiving gifts which are beneficial for the whole family. Now this Juicer was in my kitchen but…

The Littlest Angel - A Christmas Book for Everyone

32. The Littlest Angel – A Christmas Book for Everyone

This is the story of how the littlest of things can be the greatest of gifts to Heaven – the little and mostly charming tale of the Littlest Angel. Written by Charles Tazewell and illustrated by Paul Michich, the Littlest Angel book comes down from the hea…

How to Be Alone (but never lonely!)

33. How to Be Alone (but never lonely!)

If you are like me and roughly 6 million other people around the world, you watched in awe as Tanya Davis read her poem: ‘How To Be Alone’ on her viral youtube video (see below). Tanya Davis, Canadian poet, singer/songwriter and musician put hers…

Stephen King's The Stand, the best book I ever read

34. Stephen King’s The Stand, the best book I ever read

The Stand is a post- apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. This is actually the first large hard covered book I read. You see, I really wasn’t much of a reader when I was younger and in fact, I rarely even read a newspaper….

No Need to Wait Till You Have Relationship Problems Before Reading the Seven Principles

35. No Need to Wait Till You Have Relationship Problems Before Reading the Seven Principles

A Fun, Helpful, and Eye- Opening Book for All Couples, Married or Not My fiancee came home one day and said he’d downloaded a copy of a book on marital ‘issues’ someone had recommended to him. That caught me off guard, especially because I t…

All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers

36. All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers

Fiction writers and poets will understand what this title means, of if not instantly, soon after reading the remarkable story of Danny Deck as he comes to terms with his gift and its not always welcome side effects. When I was more or less lost in San Fran…

Day 13: $100 Challenge Winners

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 05:28 AM PDT

Lucky Day 13! We’ve got 5 more $100 winners. Go Squids!

Pumpkin Carving Alternatives

1. Pumpkin Carving Alternatives

Fun for the Entire Family! Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year! The air grows a little cooler (for most of us in the northern hemisphere anyway), it’s the start of the crazy rush of holidays and the push towards the end of the year. It m…

Dispenser Serves a Zippy Vegetarian Jewel of a Drink for Your Festive Affairs

2. Dispenser Serves a Zippy Vegetarian Jewel of a Drink for Your Festive Affairs

Come on over for a glass of my ruby red fizzy nonalcoholic cocktail while I show you this marvelous beverage server. I love the sparkle of cocktails served in brilliant glass dispensers like this classic one by Stylesetter. For a cool $24. 00 it costs no m…

Bring Me A Sturdy Zester

3. Bring Me A Sturdy Zester

I bought myself a sturdy lemon zester for my birthday. I’m very grateful to myself for making such a good choice. That birthday was over a year ago, but the zester is still sturdy and has seen duty not only on lemons, but on limes and oranges too. Pre…

Lou Reed - A true transformer

4. Lou Reed – A true transformer

I learned, just now, that Lou died today. I never met him or even saw him perform. But in so many small ways he made my life bigger and brighter and sharper and more inspirational. An eleven- year- old me, in a small Yorkshire village miles from Lou’s…

Growing Up with the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

5. Growing Up with the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

In one corner of my kitchen, there’s a stack of cookbooks and recipe books that take up space and collect dust. Some have never been opened and others receive a quick glace once in a blue moon. I love to cook. I’m just not fond of cookbooks. Well…

Lens of the Day: Jumbo Pumpkin Carving Kit

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 05:25 AM PDT

Halloween Fun and Games

Posted: 27 Oct 2013 12:49 PM PDT

If you’re looking for something fun to do on Halloween, take a look at these 3 lenses.

You've Been "BOOed" - The Neighborhood Halloween Game

1. You’ve Been “BOOed” – The Neighborhood Halloween Game

An interesting phenomenon takes place every October, and I’m not talking about Halloween. No, the unusual and ‘ghostly’ activity I’m referring to begins much earlier. It’s like a ghoulishly sweet prelude to All Hollow’s Eve. T…

5 Great Halloween Party Games for Older Kids

2. 5 Great Halloween Party Games for Older Kids

Every year I throw a huge Halloween Party for our two children and their friends. However, I find myself struggling as they approach their tween years to find age appropriate activities and games to keep them entertained. They have outgrown the pumpkin bea…

Boo-opoly Board Game

3. Boo-opoly Board Game

Monopoly Meets Halloween What happens when Halloween and Monopoly merge together? You get ‘Boo- opoly’ (or ‘Boooo- opoly’), the Halloween themed Monopoly game. This ghostly game is a fun and freaky way to play the classic family game ab…

Day 12: $100 Challenge Winners

Posted: 27 Oct 2013 07:41 AM PDT

Good Morning! Here are the Day 12 $100 winners!

Walking San Francisco's 49-mile drive

1. Walking San Francisco’s 49-mile drive

My sweetheart and I are perpetual tourists in our city. We figure if we live here the rest of our lives, we will never discover all the secrets the city holds. That doesn’t stop us from trying. One of our favorite past- times, and one of our favorite…

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

2. Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

The cheering, comfortable aroma of brewing coffee fills the house right before the first of the family gets up. A little warmer under the carafe keeps this batch piping hot for two hours, long enough for everyone to have their morning pick- me- up. We had…

Solutions For Cooking One-Handed: The Kitchen Workstation

3. Solutions For Cooking One-Handed: The Kitchen Workstation

Have you ever tried cooking one- handed? If so you already know that it is pretty difficult preventing things from sliding around on the counters, and often times even downright dangerous, especially if you are trying to cut anything with a knife! Several…

Vapur Element is a Multi-Sport Reusable Water Bottle

4. Vapur Element is a Multi-Sport Reusable Water Bottle

My Favorite Collapsible Water Bottle for Walking, Hiking and Running When I first purchased a Vapur bottle in 2011 I had hoped that the compact folding design would solve the argument between my daughters over who ‘had to’ carry the water bottle…

A Tribute to Mr. Coffee a Star Among Coffeepots

5. A Tribute to Mr. Coffee a Star Among Coffeepots

My Coffee Pot love This isn’t a coffeepot review as much as it is a tribute to the best appliance in the world. I know, it isn’t wise to play favorites with the appliances as a slighted machine will quit running, but I can’t help feel a bit…

Lens of the Day: Best Soft Caramel Corn Recipe

Posted: 27 Oct 2013 04:29 AM PDT

Set The Mood For Halloween With Candles: 6 Lenses You’ll Love

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 08:03 AM PDT

I can’t think of a better Halloween atmosphere builder than candles, can you?
Whether you’re looking to buy them, make them or gift them, here’s 6 candles lenses to help you light the way on All Hallows Eve.

Candles Make the Perfect Halloween Gift

1. Candles Make the Perfect Halloween Gift

Halloween is a time of celebration and fun with trick- or- treating to enjoy and parties to attend. Every year there is always someone I know that’s having a Halloween party and if I have the energy and time, I like to throw a party myself. I love ent…

How to Make Candles on a Budget

2. How to Make Candles on a Budget

Candle making has been on my crafty to- do list for a long, long time. I kept putting it off though, because when I started to do the math, gathering all the supplies needed got to be rather costly. Unlike many other crafts I didn’t have any of the ma…

How To Make Natural Citrus Fruit Candles

3. How To Make Natural Citrus Fruit Candles

I was so delighted when a friend showed me how to make an all natural citrus fruit candle using only a fresh piece of fruit and a little olive oil. They are so simple to make, cost very little, only use natural organic ingredients found in your kitchen and…

How to Decoupage Flameless Candles

4. How to Decoupage Flameless Candles

Instead of using flameless candles plain as they come when you buy them, learn how to decoupage flameless candles to dress them up. These candles make great hostess or teacher gifts or use them in your home to decorate your space. Flameless candles are a g…

Top 10 Scented Candle Brands

5. Top 10 Scented Candle Brands

I am a huge fan of scented candles. In fact I’m a little bit over the top. My family is always finding new candles scattered around the house and my husband knows not to mess with the new Yankee Candle flyer when it comes in the mail. I’m not sur…

Halloween Candles: buy them or make them!

6. Halloween Candles: buy them or make them!

Set the mood for Halloween or Autumn with beautiful candles. You can buy them or you can be creative and make some creepy candles yourself! There is plenty for you to read here. A fun and easy recycled coffee can craft for kids to make is a candle- lit lan…

Meet AlleyCatLane, she’s a Giant Squid!

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 06:32 AM PDT

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 9.26.25 AM

What is the single best piece of advice you’d give to everyone?

Be kind to everyone you meet.

What did you admire most about your mother/father/parents?

My mother was a feisty little lady who was fiercely protective of her family. Sometimes I was embarrassed when I was a child and she was giving someone a piece of her mind, but in later years I learned to appreciate how she stood up for herself and her children.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Believe in your self-worth. Teenagers as well as younger kids can be so cruel. Just remember this time in your life will pass, and you have your whole future ahead of you.

What is the one thing you'd most like to change about the world?

Despite sounding like a Miss America contestant, it would be for everyone to “live and let live,” i think the world would be a much better place if everyone could accept and celebrate the differences in others.

Favorite Lens

Memories of a Key West Childhood

-AlleyCatLaneGiant Squid on Squidoo

Day 11: $100 Challenge Winners

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 06:17 AM PDT

Happy Saturday! We’ve got 5 fabulous product review lenses for you to enjoy today and they each won $100. Congratulations!

Humans of New York: Relatable Reading for Everyone

1. Humans of New York: Relatable Reading for Everyone

It doesn’t seem like that long ago, (and in fact it wasn’t! ), that I was writing to Brandon to thank him and tell him what an amazing thing he was doing. I had been seeing his photos pop up in my Facebook feed daily for months. Then there was on…

My Nuwave Made it Happen

2. My Nuwave Made it Happen

Not being one to jump on the wagon for the newest kitchen gadget put on the market, I am the first one to be surprised that I own a Nuwave Induction Cooktop. I don’t enjoy the info- commercials or the endless reviews one comes across for the newest, m…

Stylus, not Just for Writing

3. Stylus, not Just for Writing

Having a good quality responsive stylus is a must with a drawing app. I’ve had Blackberry phones and PDA’s in the past, and now own an iPad and an iPhone. I’ve never been one to use a stylus that much. I appreciate a good responsive touch sc…

Nirvana-The Rock Icon of the Nineties

4. Nirvana-The Rock Icon of the Nineties

It all started in 1991 with the death of ‘hair metal. ‘ It was a death many were happy to see. I was a small child then but even I remember watching the video for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on MTV. That’s how pivotal Nirvana was to…

My New Kitchen Kettle is Electric!

5. My New Kitchen Kettle is Electric!

I was visiting my daughter in the mainland this past Spring and wanted to make myself some hot chocolate. It was a chilly day in Oregon and cocoa sounded lovely. Her tea kettle wasn’t sitting on or near her stove in the kitchen, so I asked her where t…

Lens of the Day: A Night of Horror with Alfred Hitchcock

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 05:01 AM PDT