Monthly Archives: September 2013

How to Visit Someones House in Japan: The Manners (2 of 2)

How to Visit Someone's House in Japan: The Manners (2 of 2)


This is a continuation of my previous hub on Japanese house visit manners found here.  Just a quick disclaimer, the translations you’ll see here might come off as a little funny, but that’s only because there’s no way to get a pure translation from certain Japanese phrases to English.  This is especially true in formal Japanese, but go ahead and have a laugh as you read my feeble attempts to make them sound not ridiculous. 

Step 4 Once you’ve been guided to the room

Nowadays, you’re more likely to be guided to a table and a chair, as every Japanese house I’ve visited in the past 3 years has done away with the Zabuton (floor cushion) system.  Of course lots of houses still have zabutons (mine included), but chances are you won’t have to worry about sitting seiza (with your calves folded under you).  If you aren’t told where to sit, choose the seat that’s closest to the door.  After sitting, you’ll want to say your thanks for having been invited by saying ” Honjitsu wa Omaneki itadaki arigatou gozaimasu” (Thank you for inviting me today).  At this point, you can move on to what some consider the most difficult part of visiting a house: gift giving.

Step 5 Giving the gift

Seeing as how this is a tedious process, I’m going to break it down into its various components and list them.

1. Take out your gift from whatever you used to carry it and place it on the table.

2. Have the gift with its front facing you on the table, and then spin it clockwise towards your hosts, ending with the front facing them.

3. Push it towards them while saying either “Tsumaranai mono desu ga, douzo” (This isn’t anything special, but please…) OR, if you want to be even more polite “Kokoro bakari no mono desuga, douzo omeshiagari kudasai” (This is nothing special, but please enjoy this).

4. That’s it!

Step 6 Getting fed (the best part)

Chances are if you’ve been invited to someone’s house, they have the intention of feeding you.  If it isn’t a delicious meal, then it will at least be great tea and tasty treats.  There are rules, however, that guide the best part of the visiting process, and certain phrases that will help you along the way.  

1. When the food first comes out and you’re prompted to eat, you must say “Arigatou gozaimasu, itadakimasu” (Thank you, I will eat it).  Itadakimasu is a funny word, and it’s considered standard protocol to say it at the beginning of every meal, and a darn near necessity if that meal is prepared by someone else for your sake.  

2.  Now here’s the tricky part.  If you eat the entirety of your portion, you may come off as being underfed, but if you leave too much, it may seem as if you didn’t enjoy your meal.  However, if you have to choose a path to take, I’d recommend finishing your portion, and then when asked if you want more, say “Mou jyuubun itadakimashita.  Oishikatta desu” (I’ve had quite enough.  It was very tasty).  Finish that off with a “gochisousama deshita” (Kind of means “I’ve feasted!”) and you’re home free.  

Manners and Mischief: Gender, Power, and Etiquette in Japan
Amazon Price: $19.89
List Price: $24.95
Barney – Best Manners (Invitation To Fun)
Amazon Price: $1.65
List Price: $7.97

Step 7 Going home

The general rule of thumb for leaving is to make sure you keep track of the time, and start to consider packing up around the 1 hour mark. If you’re being fed, however, the hour mark is no longer valid, and just use your best judgment on when to leave after the meal is over. You’d probably be safe leaving about 1 hour after the meal.

After you’ve decided what time you need to take your leave, there are certain rules and phrases you must abide by and say before you head out. Here’s the order of operations:

1. Take a look at the clock during a lull in the conversation and say “Soro soro oitomasasete itadakimasu”, meaning, “It’s about time I should be heading out”. This is a very polite phrase though, and if you’re visiting a closer friends house you can simply say “Soredewa, sorosoro shiturei shimasu” (Well then, It’s about time I went home). Start getting your stuff together and head to the genkan.

2. After getting on your shoes, you’ll be guided outside the genkan (the genkan saki) and here is where you’ll say your goodbyes. First, you’ll thank your hosts by saying “Honjitsu wa gochisou ni narimashita, arigatou gozaimashita”, meaning, “today I was feasted, thank you”. Even if you only had one biscuit and a single cup of coffee, it’s polite to say “gochisou ni narimashita”. Now, as you bow (explanation here), say “Kongo mo douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu” (I hope we can continue to have a good acquaintance from here on out). After this, you’re free to walk away, and consider yourself a champion at visiting houses politely and enjoyably. Expect many re-invites when using this guide, and consider looking at some of my other hubs as a thanks for your new source of delicious food.

Natural And Organic Stores In Bend Oregon

Natural And Organic Stores In Bend Oregon

Best Natural and Organic Grocery Stores in Central Oregon (Bend)

The best natural and organic grocery stores in Central Oregon are all located in Bend, which is the heart of Central Oregon. This being said, it is not that far for most of us to make the trek a half hour to an hour into Bend to shop because we have become accustomed to these grocery stores delivering consistently high quality natural and organic food.

It may be a tad inconvenient sometimes, (like when the snow flies) but most of us would rather shop at these stores steeped in nutrition rather than shop at some of the other retail stores available closer. At least in my case, I buy a lot of my foods at these grocery stores and buy staple and fill-in items at our regular markets.

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Public domain photos

What is Natural and Organic Food?

There are many all encompassing phrases that come to mind when discussing natural and organic products – such as hormone-free, antibiotic-free; no artificial flavoring or coloring, grain-fed, range-free; no preservatives and no genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In my book, the above paragraph says it all in terms of what I do not want in my food so the weekly or several time a month commute to Bend to buy groceries at these stores is well worth the effort. It just teaches you to plan ahead!

Come with me for a bit of a tour of Central Oregon’s best natural and organic grocery stores!

See all 5 photos
Photo by Audrey Kirchner
53 Varieties Survival Seed Emergency Bank Organic Food Non GMO Heirloom Garden
Current Bid: $24.99
Current Bid: $55.99
Assorted LOT of 6 NEW Sealed Earth’s Best 8oz Organic Baby Cereal 48oz Total
Current Bid: $5.00
Current Bid: $21.90
Organic Green Power Spirulina Wheatgrass Barley Kelp alfalfa Super Food Blend
Current Bid: $27.95
Cauliflower Seed ? 20 Purple Vegetables Delicious Natural Organic Green Food
Current Bid: $.99

Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods as most of us know is the largest chain of
grocery stores specializing in natural and organic foods – and we were fortunate enough to get one in Central Oregon a few years ago.

Our Whole Foods Market was actually Wild Oats Market before and
that store was a wonderful place to go for the freshest organic produce
and butcher shop style meats such as grain-fed beef or free range chicken. However, since converting to Whole Foods Market, our neat
little organic market in Bend has only gotten better. To the shopper such as myself, things didn’t appear to have changed all that
much except that the products that I had been used to seeing in the Seattle
area or Portland area at other Whole Foods Markets started to show up here as
well. That is a great thing!

Not only will you find aisles and aisles of wonderful
natural and organic products but you will also find an in-store cafeteria/deli along
with a coffee section where you can also order up your favorite organic coffee lattes and a
dessert if you’d like, then grab yourself a
newspaper or your book and go have a seat in the inviting little dining area
and enjoy! There are slices of pizza to
enjoy (freshly made), salads, soups, a myriad of sandwiches, already made or
made to order, quiches, and even sushi ready and waiting for you! The dining part of Whole Foods here in Bend is on a much smaller scale than say Seattle or Portland as is the whole store – but we’ll take it hands down! (Check out the video for a look at a ‘regular sized’ Whole Foods Market – wow!)

Whole Foods is a top quality grocery store and has an extensive array of wines to suit anyone’s tastes – from inexpensive new wines to high end. The same holds true for beers. They have a great selection of most products
in fact – my husband dreads me going in because it usually takes me forever to shop as I’m so busy looking at

Whole Foods Market also sells an extensive line of household products, pet
products, and at least one aisle is devoted to books on nutrition, another to health
products such as vitamins, aroma therapy oils, organic soaps and skin products, etc. You can find anything you want in this store nutritionally wise – and for all ages.

There is even a kitchen section for great little gadgets for the cooking
minded person such as myself – like Asian vegetable steamers, teapots, and kitchen gadgets – and more handy books on healthy cooking techniques.

The produce department is a cook’s paradise. As we are located in Central Oregon, it’s sometimes
difficult to find something you really, really need for a recipe such as fresh
basil or saffron let’s say – in the dead of winter. However, I
can almost bet that if I’ve exhausted every other source, I can find it at
Whole Foods. From such unique offerings as yellow beets to yellow asparagus – everything
in their produce department is like it just came out of the garden. I have never made a bad purchase at Whole
Foods. All their produce has been of topnotch quality and superior in flavor and freshness.

Even though Whole Foods Market is a large chain (having almost 300 stores in North America and also the United Kingdom), they seem to truly care about the tenets of healthy eating, preserving the planet, and encouraging the principles that foster natural and organic methods of farming and food preparation – going back to the way it was.

The first Whole Foods Market opened in 1980 in Austin, Texas and they have been going ever since. They claim to care about great tasting food and like to
share it with the world – I believe that is 100% true!

Just some of the ideals that I admire about Whole Foods Market:

They evaluate every product they sell
Foods are free of artificial coloring, artificial flavors
and artificial sweeteners
Their foods are also free of preservatives and hydrogenated fats
Foods believes in offering customers food that is fresh and food that is safe in every
way possible
grown foods are their passion and their products are nutritionally sound
They advocate eating less refined products and nutrient-high foods and encourage increased consumption of fruits and vegetables
Whole Foods sponsors salad bars in schools and thus far has sponsored 350!

Check out
their organic baby products such as chlorine-free diapers and organic baby
foods or browse their pet aisle for great products. Their household cleaning products are also environmentally kind.

Don’t miss their coupons on-line!

On-line you can check on search for items or information under Health and Nutrition, make grocery lists, check out their recipes for healthy eating and find out about culinary education classes such as Eat Right America and The Engine 2 Diet (both 28-day programs).

Foods in Bend is located on the east side of Bend on Highway 20 in the same
shopping area as Costco.

Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 7 days per week.

Phone: 541-389-0151

See all 5 photos
Photo by Audrey Kirchner

Newport Avenue Market

Newport Avenue Market has been a part of Bend for almost 20 years. Located on the west side of town, Newport
Market has always been a favorite spot of mine to shop.

I first
discovered it on vacation more than 10 years ago and this was my ‘go to’ store
for quality meats, produce, wine and anything else I could think of to throw
into my cart – before we had Whole Foods or I discovered Wild Oats.

at Newport Market is like shopping in a gourmet supermarket because everything
looks wonderful, is of the highest quality in terms of freshness and it just
has that ‘gourmet’ feel to it.

when I couldn’t find veal shanks for osso buco, I stopped in at Newport Market
and sure enough, they were there in the freezer case.  They must have known I was coming!

They have an extensive selection of wine and
beer also. There is a video on youtube showing someone videotaping it and going on and on about how many beers.  (Of course, there are a lot of beers here in Bend).  They often have wine tasting in the store so be sure and check the website for times.

Along with their wonderful selection of wine and beer, they also have an extensive offering of different cheeses. Newport Avenue Market is said to be one of the best grocery stores in all of Oregon for their selection of cheeses – to include several from local well known organic producers such as Tumalo Farms and Juniper Grove Farm.

They also have a terrific bakery and deli section where you can buy just about any kind of artisan bread or roll and a myriad of freshly made desserts. You can also indulge in their service called On-The-Go-Gourmet and they will make up anything from dinners to boxed lunches for you  – all of the healthiest, freshest ingredients and saving you time when you most need it.

The produce section of Newport Avenue Market is also a wonderful place to pick up the freshest ingredients and herbs – some locally grown but all organic and as natural as humanly possible.

The meat and fish department boasts such wonderful things as organic chicken, grain-fed beef, New Zealand lamb and fresh wild caught fish – don’t miss out when it’s Copper River Salmon time!

If you are in the mood for flowers, check out their wonderful floral department where you can pick up anything from bouquets to flower baskets.

Ah, but they do not stop at mere food!
This is the part where my husband shakes his head and rolls his eyes.  They also have a huge selection of Le Creuset, All-Clad and Emille Henry pans and accessories. The gourmet portion of their store can trip you up for an hour! It is a great place to pick up gifts – for
yourself or someone else. It is also a
great place to browse for cookbooks and think about what you want to cook up

All in
all, Newport Market is a spectacular place to shop if you are visiting or if
you live here – again those hard-to-find items you are looking for will most
likely be right there on the shelf or in the case waiting for you.

Check out the Foodie Feed RSS on line and don’t miss out on the Foode Flash Card – earn rewards for shopping at Newport Avenue Market.

They also have the Barket Report on line for store specials and offer recipes and nutrition sources on-line.

You can even get a flu shot at Newport Avenue Market!

Newport Avenue Market is open for your shopping convenience 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

Phone: 541.382.3940

See all 5 photos
Photo by Audrey Kirchner

Nature’s General Store

General Store is located in a strip mall in the northern end of town in Bend and has been
there forever it seems. They are easily
forgotten simply because I think their location keeps them out of your line of
vision. However, again, when I’ve gone
into Nature’s, I’ve always found things to be tiptop in terms of quality of food, availability of products and they seem to be very reasonably

Nature’s is a family owned store that has been a hallmark of Bend and Central Oregon since 1983. They have received the Best Health Food Store award (voting via the Source) in Bend for the 7th year in a row!

They have
a great selection of frozen meats and fish which are all natural and they also
have fresh baked breads from the Village Baker – one of my favorite bakeries in
town. For a small store, they have an
amazing array of products that are all natural and organic.

Check out the extensive selection of health and beauty products. They have a soap called Cowboy Soap that we can’t find anywhere else in Central Oregon and we keep coming back for more!

Nature’s has an on-line program called BuyClub – you go on line, order your products,
and then have them delivered to the Nature’s store for you to pick up. Orders must be in by 7:00 p.m. on Sundays and orders will be waiting for pick-up by 3:00 p.m. Tuesday. Minimum order is $50.

Specializing in organic products, Nature’s also tries to offer as many local products as possible. You can check them out on-line and you can also check out the monthly specials there. The website will alert you to new products that have arrived and you can find recipes for delicious things like Asian Salad or Homemade Granola Bars.

Nature’s believes in the principles of natural and organic products and offers customers 100% cotton produce and vegetable bags for $1. They also donate 10 cents from every bag to the Environmental Center and the Humane Society of Central Oregon. The owner also matches every dime in donations.

You can find all kinds of useful nutrition information – don’t forget to check out the vitamins and supplements.

If you’re looking for quality products and a friendly place to shop, check out Nature’s General Store.

Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Phone: 541-382-6732

See all 5 photos
Photo by Audrey Kirchner

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s finally made it to Bend a year or so ago and everyone I know couldn’t be happier! I was used to Trader Joe’s from living in the Seattle environs for many years and was ecstatic when they finally opened a store here. Joe’s has 344 stores nationwide and is one of the best stores to shop for natural and organic foods. As a little bonus, you can’t beat their prices!

I confess that since its arrival, Trader Joe’s has fast become my favorite hang-out.
They have such a variety of things all the time that I end up spending
more time than I normally would in a grocery store just because I owe it to
myself to know what’s new, right?

One of my
favorite things to buy up every year are the fresh basil plants. For a mere $2.99, throughout the late spring
and summer, I buy huge fresh potted basil plants and then use the basil for all my dishes –
finally drying any that I can’t use in cooking before I buy a new
one and start over.  What a great addition to my kitchen. In fact, this summer we had 2 fresh basil plants growing in the window.  I
used it to make all my sauces and salads – not to mention using it on pizza!  The cost of one plant compared to buying a packet of fresh basil with a couple of wilted pieces at $5.99 – priceless!

products at Trader Joe’s are also outstanding in terms of being natural and organic – and in my mind, so economical that it
just makes sense to shop there. Their
products such as organic broth or organic beans for instance are far cheaper
than at the regular chain store.  Most grocery stores mark up anything that is organic or ‘natural’ – at Trader Joe’s I feel that it is being treated as the way things should be in the first place.

I buy ham slices there that have no
artificial ingredients and no nitrites or nitrates – same with any bacon we
might use.  Their meats and poultry are
absolutely wonderful and again, at a reasonable price – with no hormones, no artificial color.

Trader Joe’s dairy products are some of my favorites as are their cereals. Many of their
cereals are lower in sodium than any other brands and no artificial ingredients. We also stock up on nuts and trail mixes at Joe’s at a
super low price!  If you’re looking for real maple syrup, check out their price!

I buy some
of my produce at Joe’s. I probably would buy more but some of their produce is
pre-packaged and there is just simply too much for a family of 2. If I can use it, I buy it.  Luckily, some of their produce is sold separately  – we’ve had wonderful organic
peaches, pears and plums all summer long as well as melons and apples.

Another of my favorite products at Joe’s is the frozen seafood. I buy wild caught salmon and whole albacore tuna in the frozen section of the store. It’s extremely reasonably priced and if we want tuna sandwiches, I grill the tuna and flake it, then use as regular tuna.

They also have a tremendous
selection of cheeses, crackers, all different kinds of chips made from vegetables or organic corn, cleaning products
and beauty products as well as some of the best (so they tell me) dog biscuits
my dogs have ever had!

Don’t miss their wine and beer section either! They have all kinds of great bargains from 3
Buck Chuck to wines from Chile or Spain along with distinctive brews for the beer minded such as Newcastle,
which is one of my husband’s favorite beers.

You can find Joe’s helpful nutrition facts on-line and can find fantastic recipes like Breakfast Casserole or Rumble Cakes there too. They have the Fearless Flyer to let you know about new products and if you go directly to your local store’s spot on-line, you can find what new products are there just for your area.

You will also find a wine guide on-line to help you decide what wine goes with what dish. You will also find tips on fish preparation for example, coffee questions, olive oil differences and any products of concern – such as the egg crisis right now.

Joe’s products have no artificial color, no preservatives, and no added flavorings. They also are not genetically modified.

Why are Joe’s prices so low? They buy private label brands and accent the value of the food. They also buy direct from the growers and thus are able to sell to us at a reasonable price.

Trader Joe’s started in 1958 and the markets were called the Pronto Markets. In 1967, the Pasadena store became the first Trader Joe’s and it has been history since. Trader Joe’s also believes in each store supporting their own community and you can find their donations and contributions on-line in your particular area.

All in
all, again not sure what we did without Trader Joe’s before it arrived! Make sure you pop in and
check out their seasonal stuff as well because they pull out all the stops around the holidays or any major event or time of year. Every trip is a new adventure browsing the store for me.

Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Phone: 541.312.4198

show route and directionshide route and directions

Show driving directionswalking directionsbicycling directions with distances in mileskilometers

Newport Avenue Market –
1121 NW Newport Ave, Bend, OR 97701, USA
[get directions]

Whole Foods Market –
2610 NE Hwy 20, Bend, OR 97701, USA
[get directions]

Trader Joe’s –
63455 N Hwy 97, Bend, OR 97701, USA
[get directions]

Nature’s General Store –
1900 NE 3rd St #104, Bend, OR 97701, USA
[get directions]

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Natural and Organic Grocery Stores

Here in Central Oregon, we do have stores such as Safeway, Fred Meyer’s, Ray’s, Albertson’s and Erickson’s – in Prineville, we have only Erickson’s and Ray’s and have to drive at least a half hour to shop at any of the other stores. 

While their produce and food in general do hit the mark in some categories and we try and shop local as much as possible, we are sold on the above stores and usually weekly make a trip into Bend with our cooler and shop at these stores.  Why?  Because it is important to us to eat as healthy as possible and we do see a difference in the food that we buy at some of these chain stores as opposed to these natural and organic grocery stores.  Even though 2 of them are chain stores, there is a definite difference to our eye between organic produce at Safeway versus the produce at these stores.

We are fortunate to have quality stores that we are able to get to – and I daresay that we support all our stores quite admirably in one fashion or the other looking for the best bargains and the best quality of any product.  However, when it comes to nutritious food and quality food, I give these 4 stores 2 thumbs up and think you will too!

Look What You Can Find at Newport Market

Tour of a Larger Whole Foods Market

The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook: Over 100 “Tail Wagging” Recipes
Amazon Price: $99.60
List Price: $14.95
Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
Amazon Price: $10.29
List Price: $23.00
Vogue Cuisine Vegetable Soup & Seasoning Base 12oz (Vegebase, Vege Base) – Low Sodium, Gluten Free, All Natural Ingredients
Amazon Price: $13.49
List Price: $15.99
The Working Class Foodies Cookbook: 100 Delicious Seasonal and Organic Recipes for Under $8 per Person
Amazon Price: $10.11
List Price: $20.00
If You Care Unbleached All Natural Waxed Paper, 75-Foot Roll (Pack of 12)
Amazon Price: $59.88
List Price: $61.42
Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal, and Local Ingredients
Amazon Price: $6.99
List Price: $24.95
Organic Baby & Toddler Cookbook (DK Organic)
Amazon Price: $0.01
List Price: $15.00
Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food Kit
Amazon Price: $20.99
List Price: $37.95
Newman’s Own Organics Adult Dog Food Formula, 12.5-Pound Bag
Amazon Price: $26.50
List Price: $30.02
Pacific Natural Foods Organic Unsweetened Almond Beverage, Original, 32 Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)
Amazon Price: $35.46
List Price: $37.28
Wellness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food for Adult Dogs, CORE Original, 26-Pound Bag
Amazon Price: $49.95
List Price: $62.99
Happy Tot Organic Baby Food, Stage 4, Spinach, Mango and Pear, 4.0-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 16)
Amazon Price: $8.99
List Price: $27.74
NOW Foods Sweet Almond Oil, Moisturizing Oil, 16 ounce
Amazon Price: $6.68
List Price: $10.99
Jobe’s 09026 Organic Vegetable & Tomato Granular Fertilizer 4-Pound Bag
Amazon Price: $6.55
List Price: $15.99
The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet: Know What Goes Into Every Bite with More Than 200 of the Most Deliciously Nutritious Homemade Baby Food … More Than 60 Purees Your Baby Will Love
Amazon Price: $11.36
List Price: $19.99
Natural Balance Organic Formula Dry Dog Food, 25-Pound Bag
Amazon Price: $47.19
List Price: $48.99

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Buffalo State Ends Season Without an ECAC Bowl Game

Buffalo State Ends Season Without an ECAC Bowl Game
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The Buffalo State football team didn’t receive an ECAC Bowl Bid, but they did finish with their first winning season since 2000
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The Bengals had the seventh hardest strength of schedule in the nation. Their opponents had a combined 59-39 record and a .602 winning percentage.

Following the Buffalo State football team’s season-closing victory over St. John Fisher on Nov. 3, the Bengals had an outside shot at an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) bowl bid.

However, Buffalo State (6-4, 4-3 Empire 8) was denied the opportunity to continue its season on Monday. The team’s first winning season since 2000 wasn’t enough to earn a bid from the ECAC selection committee.

The committee chose Endicott (8-2, 6-1), St. John Fisher (7-3, 4-3), Castleton (7-3, 6-1), Springfield (7-3, 5-2), Norwich (7-2, 4-2) and Alfred (6-3, 5-2) to play in the North Division’s three Bowl games.

The Bengals ended their season with the seventh-hardest strength of schedule in the nation. Their opponents finished with a combined 59-39 record and a .602 winning percentage, including a 21-8 record and a .734 winning percentage by non- conference opponents..

“It’s another step,” head coach Jerry Boyes said. “In some regards I think that the guys are probably disappointed. Personally, I looked at this team to get at least seven wins because my unwritten goal this year was to make the playoffs and whether that was a NCAA or an ECAC, it would’ve shown the real growth of where we are.”

The Bengals’ season-opening 49-31 victory over Cortland brought along high expectations for the rest of the season. They racked up a school-record 706 offensive yards. Quarterback Casey Kacz threw for a school-record 579 passing yards and tied a school-record with five touchdown passes.

Two weeks later, in what was perhaps the program’s biggest victory, the Bengals defeated three-time reigning national champion UW-Whitewater 7-6, snapping the Warhawks’ 46-game winning streak in the process.

“The Wisconsin-Whitewater game stands out to me,” Kacz said. “It’s the most exciting victory I’ve been a part of and it was the most exciting atmosphere I’ve played in. It’s one of those memories that you’ll remember for years to come.”

With the win, the Bengals earned some time in the Division III football national spotlight. They answered that publicity by dropping three straight games, all at home, to conference foes in the following weeks.

Backed by a stout defensive game, the Bengals bounced back the rest of the season and won their last four games, allowing an average of just 13.5 points per game.

Buffalo State began its four-game winning streak with a 21-14 victory at Ithaca, in which its allowed just 253 yards of total offense and forcing three turnovers. The Bengals’ defense followed up with another strong performance at Frostburg in a 22- 7 victory in which they allowed just 97 passing yards.

During Buffalo State’s Homecoming Weekend and Senior Day, Hartwick led 24-13 in the fourth quarter, but the Bengals scored two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to secure a 27-24 victory.

In its final game of the season, Buffalo State fell behind 9-0 at St. John Fisher early in the second quarter, but the Bengals defense pitched a shutout in the second half en route to a 17-9 victory.

“The game that stands out to me is probably beating St. John Fisher because they beat us 55-7 my freshman year,” senior linebacker Jordan Boser said. “It felt good to beat them at their place.

“It was a little disappointing, but being 6-4 is still a lot to take home. We’ve come a long way from being 2-8 my freshman year. It feels good.”

Kacz finished the season 148 of 265 for 2,168 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Rich Pete led the ground game with 703 yards on 129 carries. Ryan Carney led receivers with 47 receptions for 786 yards and four touchdowns.

Linebacker Pasquale Vacchio had a team-high 118 tackles and two forced fumbles. Cornerback Chris Hall recorded six interceptions to lead the Bengals. Defensive linemen Dez Howard and Brian Greene tied for the team lead with three sacks.

Heading into next season, the Bengals will lose 11 senior starters. Vacchio, Boser, Brandon Hodgins, Matt Wesolowski, Sean Littlejohn, Shiem Graham, John Jesonowski, Brendan Barthel, Zachary Best, Ryan Lehotsky and John Beers will be graduating.

“It’s kind of disappointing because as far as the team went, we all had hopes to make the playoffs,” Carney said. “We went on a four-game winning streak at the end of the season and we lost a couple of games that we shouldn’t have.

“It’s kind of disappointing, but it’s still a great feeling. At the end of the day we didn’t accomplish the goal that we set out for.”

Kacz noted that the team needs to build on its season-closing four-game winning streak.

“We just have continue to do what we did these last four games, which was continue to play good defense, not turnover the ball a lot and just keep the team chemistry that we have,” Kacz said.

How to Change Your Google Logo

How to Change Your Google Logo

Turn the Google logo into your name!

Source: Googlemyway

Just about anybody who owns a computer and  regularly surfs the internet  is familiar with Google’s logo. This logo is a perfect example of astute marketing strategies crafted by corporations so to help customers identify a business. Google’s current logo introduced in May of 2010, was designed by Ruth Kedar, however, every once in a while, users may notice modifications in honor of special events, holidays, or  to mark the birthdays of famous people across the glob. Such modifications are affectionately called ”Goggle Doodles”.

One of the most popular and enjoyed logos was the one created for the 30th anniversary of the Pac-Man. This was an interactive logo that actually allowed you to play the video game by clicking on the ”insert coin” button. If this was clicked once again it also allowed two players to play at once. Those nostalgic of this favorite logo can simply see it again by visiting this ”link”.

How to change the Google logo to your favorite Google Doodle

There are over 900 Google Doodles at this time. If you happen to find one you are particularly fond of, you can turn it into your default logo by following some easy to follow instructions. This way, you can see your favorite logo every time you connect and are ready to search. Following are step-by-step instructions on how to get your favorite Doodle.

For Google Chrome Users

1) If you use Google Chrome, you must first visit the Google Chrome Extensions page at this ”link”. 

2) Download the ” Favorite Doodle ”  feature by clicking on ”install”. 

3) Once Installed, go to

4) Click on the Google logo 

5) You should see now a gallery of Doodles.

6) Select one to set  as your favorite and click on ”Make this my favorite Doodle”.

For Firefox Users

1) Follow this link to install Greasemonkey, a popular Firefox add on that uses JavaScript.

2) Click on ” Add to Firefox”.

3) Follow the installation instructions and restart Firefox.

4) Go to this ”link”. This should take you to a ”gmsearch scripts page.”

5) You should see a note like this ”Howdy, this is a greasemonkey user script” click install.

6) Once installed, go to You should see a Doodle.

7) Click on the Doodle and you should be directed to the Doodle Gallery.

8) Choose your favorite Doodle and make it your favorite one!

You are now done. Consider that some Google Doodles my be missing from the gallery due to licensing restrictions. While you enjoy your new Doodle, the best part is that you will still be able to occasionally see the new doodles on special occasions.

How to Change Google into Your Name

You can also play around with the Google Logo by putting your name instead. Visit Google My Way and simply enter your name and then hit ”Make it”. The URL will then be generated. The website also offers an e-mail form to send friends which lets them know that you have become so popular, Google has decided to make your own personalized page! Have fun with it!

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How Buying Slippers Can Turn Into A Fiasco

How Buying Slippers Can Turn Into A Fiasco

All I Wanted Was To Buy A Pair Of Slippers!

We regularly go into the ‘big city’ to shop on weekends because where we live, our largest store is Rite-Aid. On one particular visit to our nearby JC Penney, I found out that needing a pair of slippers could prove hazardous to my health!

Sometimes by the time I have worked all week, I admit I get a little dazed for lack of a better word. When you have to routinely cram all your shopping into one visit and make it count so to speak, that makes it even more brain draining. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with!

We were into our second or third hour of store hopping and Bob was
starting to suffer his typical PTSD symptoms….post-traumatic shopping
disorder for those of you who don’t know that it has another meaning and
there are treatment programs for it (I so wish).

He kindly informed me that he would be waiting for me to finish up –
in the car! Well….at least it would give me more time to think and not
be ‘rushed’. I needed a pair of slippers and I figured he would just be
hurrying me along so no problem. I told him I’d see him in a bit and to
go have his detox time in the car.

First off, our stores here in Central Oregon must be about a ‘C’ or
maybe a ‘D’ – that is to say that they are not very big. They have very
few things to choose from just because of the limited size of the
stores, but hey – I usually can make do just fine. However, for some odd
reason, when I stepped into the slipper section of JC Penney, it was
PACKED with slippers.

There were slippers in piles on the display tables. There were
slippers hanging on hooks and shelves and shelves of them in all colors
and styles. Good grief – it was a slipper sensory overload! In my
already partially dazed state, I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. Too
many choices I thought to myself! Stop the madness!

Well, I finally got hold of myself and decided to just approach the
dilemma methodically – what did I want in a slipper? Did I want a slide
or did I want a complete over-the-foot keep-the-whole-foot-warm deal?
Did I want traction on the bottoms, or did I want to live dangerously
and get the skidding type? I was SO glad Bob had left me alone as I
could just hear his eyes rolling about now. ‘Good God, Audrey – how long
does it take to pick out a pair of SLIPPERS?’

We won’t even GO to color. Which robe should I get them to match
with? Should I get brown or should I get white or maybe something that
would go with ‘everything’ and anything? Ones that would not show the
dirt or if I sloshed my coffee and got a spot on them? What made me
think of red slippers I have no clue but I was narrowing it down. I kept
circling the displays and picturing the styles and all the colors with
my wardrobe – oh, decisions, decisions.

This entire event was an aberration – I can honestly swear to it. I
NEVER spend this much time choosing a piece of clothing, much less
footwear! That’s why I know that I was just not myself this particular
day and that is why this happened!

Bob always smirks at me as I go through the store and rub materials
to see what the fabric is, and I have been known to try on something
maybe twice – okay once it was 3 times – but for the most part, I’m a
very decisive kind of girl! If I see something, it is on sale most of
all, it is a good buy for the money and seems like it’ll go the distance
– I’m done. Pay for it, walk out the door. Should have probably
remembered this philosophy at the time of the slipper incident!

I’m Almost Ready To Make The Purchase

Okay – so now I’ve finally narrowed it down and I want red slippers – why I have not a clue. I don’t own a red robe – I own a beautiful dark GREEN robe and unless I’m wearing them to look like a Christmas tree – why red? 

In my stupor though and after weighing so many pros and cons of this style versus that style, this bottom versus that bottom – whew – the possibilities just kept on coming – I finally have made up my mind.  The red ones it is!  Yahoo – almost done.

I slipped the pair of slippers off the table – you know the kind – where they are stapled or tied onto the cardboard display card and they are conveniently joined together so that no man can put asunder?  I laid the little cardboard display on the floor, slipped off one of my shoes and slid my socked foot into the slipper.  Hmmm – I guess it’s not exactly brain surgery – yep – it fit – there was a red slipper on my foot alright.  Had to go look at it in the mirror though – WHY?  I have no clue!  I am not this person and I do not know how she has taken over my persona.

Ah well – I decide yeah – they’ll do in a pinch.  I am thinking to myself though ‘why red?’ and I still don’t have an answer but decide I’d best giddy up and get out of there before Bob starts to wonder what has happened to me.  As I start towards the counter though, something just started to niggle at me and I heard this little voice sitting on my shoulder saying ‘don’t you think you should try both feet on?  What if one foot fits and the other one is screwed up somehow and you get them all the way home and find out they don’t fit right? Better to be safe than sorry!’

Brother – who needs the little voice?  Again, I have never had this unfounded fear in my life – that I would actually end up with GASP 2 slippers that did not fit both my feet.  What did I eat for breakfast that day?  Seriously – I didn’t have any little nips out of the flask either!  So I step back into the sensory-overloaded slipper AREA (too small to qualify as a department after all) and I slip both my shoes off and set my things down.  Then I laid the display card with the pretty red slippers on the floor and proceeded to try on one foot (yep – it still fit) – and then tried on the other foot (by golly – it fit, too!). 

I could have walked away here – picked up the idiotic slippers and just gone and paid and been done with it – but NOOOO – I had to think about it.  I thought to myself ‘self – I wonder how they look on your feet though – you only looked at the one in the mirror.  So maybe put on BOTH and look in the mirror.’  Sounded like a good idea in my head!  So I slipped both feet into the slippers but when I turned to look in the mirror, I could not see because all the displays were blocking my view.  Hmmm – well, I should have stopped right there – but of course I didn’t.

I proceeded to take a couple of steps IN the cardboard display IN the slippers – which I quickly found out was not a good idea!  They tie those suckers together for a reason I guess – so that stupid people can’t walk out of the store in them – OBVIOUSLY!  I do remember thinking a few swear words because I kind of knew where this was going. The next few moments went by really, really fast though!

All I remember is taking the couple of steps and then my arms starting to flail as if I was a windmill – I was trying to stay upright but of course it was not working….that tap dance move called the ‘wing’ – yep – I was doing it (see the video for a pretty good likeness of the moves I was making).  I of course am sucking in air faster than a Hoover vacuum and I’m trying so dang hard to just NOT fall down – especially backwards….oh my. 


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I Think I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up!

Well, we all know what happened. I was up – at least for a bit – and I was flailing like I was gonna tap myself to death but to no avail. I crashed backward, and lucky for me, it just so happened that the display table was right where I left it – behind me! I bounced off the table and then tried to right myself only to pitch myself forward, lose my balance AGAIN and fall backwards again but this time into the shelves and shelves of slippers hanging on cardboard display cards on the wall!

I of course knocked off at least 50 or so pairs of slippers that were on the blasted display table – I knocked a bunch of shelves off the wall with all the slippers attached – and I NARROWLY missed driving one of the shelf brackets through my back! OMG!!! And now I’m laying slumped on the floor – and the damned slippers are still on my feet! They were attached like glue!

Clean up on aisle 7!! Too bad I have this thing about being embarrassed – I would rather die than be embarrassed and the last thing I wanted was for someone to SEE what I had just done although I couldnt’ believe no one saw it! It was like a classic ‘you’re on Candid Camera’ moment! I quickly divested myself of the cursed slippers and began cleaning up like I was in a race to beat the clock. I had the table set to rights and although I couldn’t quite figure out how to get the stupid SHELVES back on the wall – at least I had made some efforts at tidying the place up! Whew!

Of course my back was killing me because of all my lurching, not to mention my shoulders – I was sweating like a pig by now and I’m sure red as a beet to boot! I literally slammed the stupid red slippers back on the display table – ‘take THAT you blasted slippers! Stay away from me!’ I was busy looking left and right and behind me because I was so worried someone had seen my antics in the slipper area! But it looked like the coast was clear. I certainly didn’t have anyone running over to help me back up (they were probably laying on the floor doubled over in laughter) so I figured I was safe.

I picked out a WHITE pair of slippers – I never had any trouble at all with white slippers – what was I thinking?? Off I went to casually pay for them and get the heck out of there! The gal at the counter had the NERVE to ask me if I found everything okay and I countered with ‘what does THAT mean?’ – slick, Audrey, slick! No one would know you just knocked over the display table and messed up the shelves! I told her it looked like a shelf (or 2) might have fallen down though – might want to get on that before someone gets hurt!

I got out to the car a little worse for the wear that’s for sure and Bob takes one look at me and says ‘what happened to you?’ I guess my hair was a little mussed (oh, DUH) and I was still a little flushed….I cannot tell a lie so of course I confessed to what I had done and he bursts out laughing! He was SO upset that he missed it – another classic Audrey-doing-Lucille-Ball moment! I get no respect!

Further, when I relayed my story to my daughter and said how relieved I was that no one saw me, she just burst out laughing as well. She really made my day by saying ‘oh my god, mom – don’t you think they were like passing around the security tape to everyone after they saw it?’ Nice touch….

I never go into JC Penney anymore unless I’m wearing dark glasses – I mostly just order on line because it is TOTALLY safe and if they are not going to post DANGER signs in the slipper area, I just don’t think it is a good idea for me to shop there. At the very least, they should have a warning label on the display cards, don’t you think? ‘Do NOT attempt to walk in these while they are attached to the display card!! May cause falling, especially if you’re a dumb old fart!’  It gives new meaning to the words ‘watch your step’ is all I can say!

Safe To Buy Here On Line

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I Now Know How To Do This Step

From Now On I Buy Here – On-Line! No Falling

Shop Kids, Womens, and Mens Slippers at Only Slippers
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JCPenney: Women’s Slippers, Ballerina Slippers, Satin Slippers – Slippers Shoes and Sandals Superstore

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Buy Slippers Here – It Is Much Safer!

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Paulina Plunge Mountain Bike Tour Bend

Paulina Plunge Mountain Bike Tour Bend

Central Oregon Travel – Bend Oregon

If you are looking for a great vacation spot, Central Oregon and specifically Bend Oregon and Sunriver Oregon will give you memories you will never forget.

Central Oregon and in particular Bend Oregon and Sunriver Oregon have some of the most pristine travel destinations anywhere in the country but most specifically in the Northwest.

If you are an outdoors type person, Central Oregon and the Bend and Sunriver Oregon areas are the place to travel to spend a vacation as the opportunities for enjoyment are endless. From the lakes to the mountains, to the rivers and the meadows, hiking, camping, river rafting, rock climbing, boating, fishing, kayaking, horseback riding and many other sports abound.

However, one of the most memorable experiences of my many years vacationing in Central Oregon in Sunriver or Bend has been participating in the Paulina Plunge – a downhill waterfall mountain bike tour. It is something you cannot forget.

Public Domain Wikicommons

Bend Oregon/Central Oregon – The Paulina Plunge

Years ago on a summer vacation to Sunriver Oregon here in beautiful Central Oregon where I now reside, we had a family reunion. We spent most of our time in Sunriver but also time in the Bend Oregon region. We also got to know Central Oregon on that trip more than we had ever gotten to know it before.

One of the most enjoyable things we did that summer was to sign up for the Paulina Plunge. This is a recreation company out of Bend Oregon who sets up the day trip. For our group of people, we signed up for a bus leaving out of Sunriver Oregon because that is where we were staying. However, if you were staying in Bend Oregon instead of Sunriver, you could always sign up for a tour from there. 

The Paulina Plunge is a downhill mountain biking tour that covers between 4 and 6 waterfalls depending on the runoff. The company supplies the bus to trek you to the forest (which is part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument), the mountain bikes and helmets you will need, and they even supply a boxed lunch (fried chicken) if you request it for the tour.

You are picked up at the meeting place and then you ride the bus into the forest. This forest is part of the Deschutes National Forest – and part of the forest became a national monument in 1990. It is a geological wonder all by itself. The Newberry Crater actually is a 17 square mile caldera which is at the summit of a 500 square mile volcano (which is incidentally still active). The mountain bike tour takes place within the 50,000+ acres of the Newberry National Monument which is a beautiful combination of lakes, lava flows, forest and wildlife.

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The Mountain Bike Tour Itself

My first time, I was a little skeptical. I was concerned that perhaps the tour could be too strenuous but they advertise the tour as something that anyone from age 4 to 70 can do – if you are in halfway decent shape it should be mentioned!

You start at the highest waterfall and then you bike in roughly four 1-1/2 mile segments to each waterfall. Some of the time you will have a short hike in to the waterfall but others are right there after you finish your mountain biking run. The mountain biking is over rutted trails so it is a true mountain bike tour, but it never got so strenuous that it was in any way taxing. My legally blind son went on the tour as well – although he biffed once when he hit a sandy patch in the trail, he was completely unharmed and totally thrilled by the experience! (The tour – not the fall)

The days that we have gone it has been about 90-100 degrees and sunny. The climate of Central Oregon and Bend Oregon, Sunriver Oregon is termed steppe climate or high mountain desert. It is extremely dry and the summers are absolutely beautiful – no humidity and the bluest sky I have ever seen. By the time though that you have biked a few of the 1-1/2 mile parts of the trails and hiked in a few times, needless to say, you are getting warm.

We stopped by one of the waterfalls and we indulged in our prepared lunches. If you prefer, you can of course bring your own lunch – just remember to bring food if you have not ordered in advance because it is a rather long day. We left at 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning and came back about 4:00 or 4:30 in the afternoon. It was a very full and enchanting day!

There is much to see on the bike tour as you are going through ancient forests of the volcanic monument. The area is lush with vegetation up top but as you come lower in elevation, you experience the devastation of forest fire. Much of the forest and the volcanic moment is obviously made of volcanic rock – added to that the ash from the fire and at times, it felt like you were walking through layers and layers of silt.

Much of the fire damage that we saw was actually caused by a fire jumper in the 1990’s who was out of work and purposefully set the forest on fire trying to ‘stir up’ work. At the time the fire broke out, there was a mountain bike tour on the mountain and they had to be evacuated.

The guides are very knowledgeable and during the day, you learn much about the topography, the Native American heritage of the area, as well as so much fascinating geological information. All the while you are tooling through the forest from one beautiful waterfall to the next!

But….that is not the very best part!

The Waterfall Experience

The most magical thing about the Paulina Plunge Mountain Bike Tour is that you actually get to go into the waterfalls!

Again, I was a bit skeptical and thinking it could possibly be too dangerous. However, these particular falls were magnificent in beauty and tame in their presentation so as it turned out, it was one of the most wonderful experiences I had ever had. I did not come dressed for the day per se. I had on ‘wash and wear’ hiking shorts, a tube top and Teva sandals. I had not known about the swimming in the waterfalls part but on trekking around for hours and working up quite a sweat, I decided I would eventually dry off – and probably very quickly! (I did)

The thrill of actually swimming in a pool of fresh mountain runoff and then actually going UNDER a waterfall is spectacular! I only wish I had had a water camera so I could have taken a picture of it from behind the falls. Bob and I held hands and plunged under the falls only to come up behind the waterfall. I could have stayed there for a long, long time as it was just mesmerizing to be in a kind of cave behind all that force of the waterfall. It almost took your breath away it was so clean and so pure.

On exiting from under the waterfall, we held hands and as we went under the falls, we were caught in a bit of a riptide that shot us out from under the falls and we surfaced a little downstream in another pool. It was totally awesome!

But there’s more….because of the volcanic composition of this particular part of the Newberry Volcanic National Monument, there are 2 perfectly formed ‘natural’ water slides made from the volcanic rock that have been worn smooth by the continued waterfalls. It was hard to drag people away from the sheer delight of climbing up and sliding down the perfectly smooth water slides and to tell the truth, I have never seen adults act more like kids in my life! It was a delightful experience to coast down the natural water slides and plunge into the pool at the bottom.

After everyone was soaking wet and happily so, we finished up the tour and road the last little bit of the trails back to the bus. I don’t think I’ve been on a more enjoyable outdoor tour to be honest. It was just incredibly simple but breathtakingly beautiful. It was an experience that I will always remember and treasure. Our kids have been on it many more times than we have but they still go back as it is that impressive.

Summing It Up

If you’re looking for an adventure that is one-of-a-kind and something you’ll never forget, the Bend Oregon Paulina Plunge is your ticket.  It is a delightful way to spend family time together and enjoy nature, get exercise, and have a waterpark kind of experience! All as a gift from Mother Nature herself.

There is much to do and explore in this region I now call home – Central Oregon – but one of my all-time favorites will always be doing the Paulina Plunge. 

For other natural waterslides, visit this website.

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Short Black Dresses

Short Black Dresses

Short Black Dresses

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Short Black Dresses for Everyone

Short black dresses are surely some of the most elegant and attractive dresses that a lady can ever wear. The great thing with these dresses is that you can wear them on any occasion. Change your look entirely by making slight changes to the accessories and you will find yourself blending with the moods of different occasions. Though these black dresses are beautiful by themselves, it is important that you accessorize them properly to make them even more elegant.

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Jewelry for Short Black Dresses

The most important accessory for short black dresses is obviously jewelry. Well, you will be happy to know that you can wear different types of jewelry to match your black dress. However, before putting anything on, consider the occasion. Certainly, jewelry for a formal party will be different from those used for a casual get together. Remember, this is one of the most important factors that will transform your look in the black outfit so consider this very carefully. If you want to keep it simple and casual, go for simple accessories like silver charm bracelets or some trendy pendants. On the other hand, if the occasion is very formal, put on a pearl necklace and wear a glove to make the appearance elegant. For a semi formal occasion, a vintage scarf can be an ideal accessory.

Elegant Short Black Dress

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Accessories for Short Black Dresses

Your handbag and shoes are very important accessories as well when you are wearing the short black dresses. The good thing here is that you can always experiment with different colors. The silhouette of black accentuates the bold colors of handbags so choose something bold. You can also go for metallic handbags for a different and smart look. Keep in mind that the shoes are equally important. Make sure that they are of good quality and the design of the shoes should be carefully considered as well. Generally, you should wear high heels if you want to add glamor but on the other hand, for casual events, low heel shoes, slides or sandals will be the ideal choice.

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Shiny Short Dresses

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When choosing accessories for short black dresses, make sure you are not buying anything cheap. Of course by that I don’t mean that you have to spend hundreds of dollars on them but you should always check out the quality. The reason why I’m saying this is that accessories are always highlighted against the black dresses and thereby draw attention. These days black dresses are available as cheaply as below $100 so you can really save your money there and invest on some quality accessories. They can work perfect as evening party dresses as well so make sure not to forget that!

Quick Easy How To Make A Cornbread Loaf

Quick Easy How To Make A Cornbread Loaf

How To Make Cornbread as a Loaf

This is a great recipe for making cornbread as a loaf; traditionally, most cornbreads are baked either in cast iron fry pans or in 8 x 8 baking pans, but this recipe is unique in that you bake it in a loaf pan. It is great as a stand-alone or as a side to any soup or stew. Serve warm with a swipe of butter or margarine – or use as the cornbread ingredient for stuffing recipes.



3/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs or 1/2 cup of egg substitute
1-1/4 cup milk (or see variation below)
1/4 cup melted butter or corn oil
Vegetable spray

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Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a loaf pan 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2 with vegetable spray.
Mix all the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder).
In another small bowl, beat the eggs or pour in egg substitute.
Add milk and melted butter or oil.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients mixing until JUST blended.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a rack to cool.
Best served warm with a dab of butter or margarine or
Use this recipe as the cornbread for roasted turkey with cornbread stuffing.

How To Make Cornbread Stuffing

Use This Recipe For Cornbread Stuffing Or Serve With Beef Stew

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Another Idea – Corn Muffins

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Maple Variation For Corn Bread Recipe

If you like a maple cornbread taste, you can substitute 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup for 1/4 cup of the milk in the original recipe.  Just reduce the milk then to 1 cup and add 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup.  Totally different taste but equally delicious.

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How To Promote Your Blog With A Giveaway?

How To Promote Your Blog With A Giveaway?

Promoting your blog with a giveaway.

The number of blogs grow everyday at a record pace and so does the competitors. So people keep thinking of better ways to promote their blog and this article is for them. One of the easiest way to promote your blog is to host give-aways in your blog. Being able to offer free gifts makes your viewers to revisit your blog again and again.

If you are a newbie blogger and have not yet started making money, then you will have to think about spending the money on a give-away. But it will be good investment for your future business. Some people host give-aways in their blog simply to drive traffic to their blog while some use it to promote their service. It is also very important that you choose the appropriate products for give-aways as they can drive many visitors to your blog . Arranging such offers encourages your visitors to revisit to your page again. There are also many sites that promote give-away blogs, so you can increase the number of new readers by simply registering to these sites.

But you’ll need to decide on how you are going to find the winner for your offer; or are you going to manage a contest for the give-aways? Once you decide about all these factors you can run the give-aways or competition. Another important thing is to promote your blog content in all possible ways as you can. This can again increase the number of readers to your blog. There are probably many prizes you can offer as give-aways but it is always better to offer something that is related to your domain names or your service. Or if you are a crafty person you can also offer a personalized gift as the give-aways. This can attract more of your loyal readers. Most people love to win cash prizes to spend at their favourite stores. This will always attract good amount of visitors to your blog.

Writing a press release about your blog contest can also promote your give-aways. Remember, simply hosting a blog contest need not work alone, instead you need to promote it effectively. For a successful contest publicize your contest all over the internet. If no one has read about your giveaways there is no point in hosting one. At the start of a new blog it is very difficult to get traffic. Any business need an initial investment so does your contest but it can really pay you with more number of visitors. Yes, blog give-aways can be a big traffic generator if done properly.

This article is wriiten by Aisha Sherina a freelance writer and blogger. For more queries on blogging check her blog

Funny Story About City Girl And Camping

Funny Story About City Girl And Camping

Camping was not something I grew up on – hanging out in trees or on the roof yes – actually going somewhere and preparing for it and being taught in the ways of camping – no!

When I met Bob, it was in 1975 and he had just finished a round-the-country camping trip that involved going to as many national parks as he could in a 6-week period and camping out. It sounded so romantic – little did I know that he expected me to know anything about it!

I do have to say in my defense that I think I handled it very well – although probably as usual – comedically.  I like to think back on it and remember it as a great learning experience.  It was also a great chance to get to know each other better – and luckily he decided not to ditch me afterwards!


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My First Camping Experience

We had been dating a few months and were pretty much inseparable by this time. He was going to school and working full-time. I was at the ripe old age of 20 but had been on my own since age 17. I was a hard worker and a bit of a bohemian type of girl but admittedly, I knew little about the wilderness and even less about camping 101. We had both been working pretty hard though and when he announced to me that he wanted to show me Yosemite and take me camping, I was more than stoked! It was September but I figured growing up in southern California, I could handle just about anything (har har) – so bring it on.

He had to work until afternoon and I did as well – so we made arrangements for me to get together some food, procure a sleeping bag, and pack my stuff – he would finish up at work and school and swing by to pick me up and off we’d go for a 3-day weekend, starting out by camping on the shores of Lake Tenaya. I did as instructed and was so happy to be going off on my very first camping trip!  

It took pretty much 8 hours of steady driving for us to go from San Diego to Yosemite and by the time we hit the mountains, it was pitch black and nearing 11:00 p.m. We had not been out of the car in hours and I was still in my cut-offs and sweater with my new hiking boots on for good measure. When we finally pulled in at 11:00, both of us dropping from fatigue, I had no warning but stepped out of the car into FRIGID air. Oh duh – we were in the mountains – hello!!!! Too late for that thought – Bob was totally exhausted from the driving and work and wanted nothing but to get the stuff hauled out, the tent up and to drop into the sleeping bags. No problem! 

I proceeded to scurry around to the back of the car (freezing my you-know-what off because it was so damned cold so it behooved me to scurry) and whip out my suitcase. I can still see the stunned look on his face in the flashlight arc. ‘You have GOT to be kidding me – you brought a SUITCASE?’ I was totally befuddled – ‘Well, of course I did, silly – what did you expect me to put my stuff in?’ Eye rolling – that was I think the first day I saw it and it has continued for 35+ years!!! ‘You do not – I repeat DO NOT – bring a suitcase camping’. ‘Well of course you do, silly – because I have one – right here, see?’ (I am so not making points)

He sighs the painstakingly weary sigh of someone who is used to dealing with the retarded – at least I did not have on HIGH HEELS – give me a break! Geez – who knew I was pairing up with Euell Gibbons – Mr. Mountain Man! He just finally grabs the suitcase and says ‘Let’s go – I need to get to bed’…..I’m supposed to be holding the flashlight for him as we trudge across the terrain – which I should mention I cannot see – where are the street lights? Are they insane having people out there trying to trudge through the dark? I’m stepping every other step into a gopher hole or god knows WHAT hole – and even in my hiking boots as opposed to my high heels, I’m not having a good time of it – I’m down more than I am up – and he is totally pissed. ‘What the hell are you doing back there?’ (I think in retrospect, I have heard this phrase from him at least 1 million times over the years and frankly, I just don’t understand it! Can’t he TELL what I’m doing back there?) 

Okay – so he drags my 300 pound suitcase (in my defense, I did not know what I should pack so went with basically everything because I wanted to impress him) – over the hills and dales to wherever he figures we are going to camp – in retrospect I have no CLUE how he found where we were because I was totally lost (in more ways than one). He throws down the suitcase and trudges back for the cooler (which I might add here probably weighed more than my suitcase but hey – who’s counting) – and goes back yet again and again for various and sundry other parts of our camping experience. Whew – who knew that camping could be so much work? I stayed where I was because he told me to – I think he was getting the flavor that I didn’t know what I was doing? 

He finally got the tent up – who knew THAT could take so long – and I was holding the flashlight all that time, too! He is muttering to himself by now and I really don’t know what is up with that either…..I’m not blonde but I think he said something about that or called me some kind of goofy names under his breath – but oh well – we’re there to have fun and we are going to! It’s of course now after midnight and we are going to go ahead and get ready for bed. Suddenly, I realized that I had not seen any signs for bathrooms or showers or anything, so I asked him very politely which way I should go to pee and which way to the showers. He just waved his arms – I said something like ‘What are you waving at?’ He kept waving – then he adds ‘You’re looking at it’ – ‘WHAT? Are you crazy? I don’t pee in the woods – I don’t pee in front of people! What are you saying?’ He very calmly explains to me that we are in the wilderness, on the shores of Tenaya Lake, and that wherever I want to relieve myself, feel free – and if I want to have a shower – go jump in the lake – literally.

Well! No one told me about THIS! I think I will be holding it for quite some time buster – and don’t even THINK I’m dipping into the lake – by now my teeth are chattering by the way and when did he fail to mention that we would be doing arctic camping? Oy vey – this is not going well – if I’m thinking the guy is going to be interested in marrying me, I probably should have thought twice about that prospect! I finally succumbed and had to go pee in the vicinity and hoped to god that something wild did not jump out of the woods and grab me – heaven forbid that my body would be found with my pants down! I quietly snuck back to the tent where Bob was not even waiting for me but already snuggled into his down sleeping bag and trying to go to sleep. He probably was hoping I got carted off by a bear!

Hmmph – well – we were going to have a chat about this tomorrow – this was way more than I signed up for pal! Too bad you didn’t mention to Miss California Girl here that we were going to the North Pole to camp – and how was I to know about the luggage faux pas? I must have missed the memo or the article in Cosmo about what not to do with camping etiquette. And since when is the world our bathroom? Good lord – I was a civilized (albeit clueless) girl! 

Hmmph – all that hmmph’ing and I’m realizing that it is like 80 frigging below zero in my sleeping bag!!! Good god – does it get any better? I had borrowed this stupid piece of crap from my sister who used it to camp at the beach – where it is like 60 degrees at night! She told me that it was a good sleeping bag and all that but AGAIN – Mr. Wilderness failed to mention to me that it might be a good idea to have a sleeping bag that was good for anything below 60 degrees.

Now I’m getting steamed – If you think I’m going to be laying here all night long freezing to death, mister, you have another think coming! I very politely shook him – okay – so he’s not happy – he’s butt ass tired but hey – whose idea was it anyhow to go on this little ‘luxury’ vacation? He is not budging, so I start to really shake him – he finally wakes up with a ‘WHAT NOW?’ I proceed to start crying – I really had no other choice – this is all just too much for a city girl. Between sobs I’m able to croak out ‘I’m freezing to death – you make me pee outside and I don’t even want to think about people seeing me trying to get clean in the lake……you have a DOWN sleeping bag and you have the nerve not to tell me what to bring? You hack on me for the suitcase and now you are sleeping while I’m laying over here turning into a popsicle?’ ‘ I want to go home’ I wail – ‘I just want to go home – or to a motel!!!’ 

Bob, bless his heart is always the noble one – he finally admits that it is his fault – about damned time! (not really) He offers magnanimously to give me his sleeping bag and he will take the ‘good to 60 degrees piece of crap’ sleeping bag and never mind. I suggested putting them together and maybe we’d be good to oh 40 degrees – since it was about 10 degrees outside. We piled everything we had on top of the 2 bags and chivalry not being dead, he did take the colder one and gave me the down bag – I slept like a LOG! 

The next morning found me sitting outside the tent – still in my cut-offs and hiking boots (thank god for the sweater) but I was getting the hang of it – I was sure though that some guy was filming me across the lake trying to use the ‘facilities’ and I longed for a motel room (which I finally talked my way into) – but I learned some important stuff that weekend. First – don’t bring a suitcase camping – it will only cause you grief. Second, always ask what the accommodations are – if you are going to be sleeping in an area and having to use the facilities in the open – you should know so you can dress appropriately. And lastly, know your equipment – meaning if you are going to the mountains, you probably should have something better than a ‘good to 60 degrees’ sleeping bag to sleep in.

Who knew camping could be so complicated? I thought it was just about throwing crap in a car and going somewhere and sleeping like you did at home! The weekend did turn out to be great – if you discount the parts about me whining like a well –  girl – about having to bathe in streams and rivers and freezing my bahooomi’s off every minute. Then there was the night he was putting the tent up again next to a rocky outcropping and I started to see some shadows while I was holding the flashlight. Okay – so I panicked and I might have sucked in my breath and started to scream – I thought it was a bear!  So I scared the living crap out of him – sorry – my mistake! He took it well – he threw the flashlight down but at least it didn’t break. Whew!

Over the years, I of course got better at it (I’m sure from Bob’s perspective there would be another session of eye rolling inserted here) but that is for another day and yet another story to tell.


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Hello – 911 – I Have A Ridiculous Emergency
I never would have believed yesterday that by the end of the day, I would be getting emergency medical help! At the end of a perfect Sunday, we were watching the Yankees beat the Angels and peacefully…
The Day I Was Too Sexy For My Skirt
Ever have one of those days when you just can’t believe how incredibly HOT you must look? Well, I think I could count those days on one hand but when I was younger….. Long days past, in my 30-somethings…
Help! I’m Trapped In My Bustier And I Can’t Get Out!
First off – I never even HEARD of a bustier before we were planning my daughter’s wedding much less ever had one on. I am here to tell you, like so many things that I seem to get myself into, this was again…
Should Painting Be An Olympic Sport?
Okay so Ive already established that Im not the most graceful person on the planet but really painting? Can this truly be that dangerous? Should it be an event in the Olympics because of the…
I Could Have Been a Gymnist In The Olympics
With the Olympics coming up, I’ve waxed nostalgic about my wannabee days as an athlete. If only I had kept up with gymnastics, I have no doubt that I could have been a contender. Sure, Audrey, keep dreaming….