Chaise Longue

Not going to lie: this kind of rocked my world!

Here's a common misconception cleared up by Reader's Digest:
You never mean: Chaise lounge
You always mean: Chaise longue
Why: People have been getting this wrong for at least a century. The proper phrase is French and translates as "long chair".

- From "How to Sound Smarter", 2/2010
For anyone who has ever used a chaise longue, you know it's almost impossible to resist the urge to lounge in it. So I can see how the confusion started!

Oh, comfy half chair/half couch, I am not even sure how to pronounce your name anymore!


Happy World Kidney Day!

Here are some facts about kidneys from Grizz and Dotcom, two of our favorite entourage members on NBC's "30 Rock":

Please help them raise awareness of kidney disease! The more you know.


Words That Should Exist In English

Every so often, I'll learn about a word in another language that means something very specific and think, "That would be convenient if we had a word for that in English, too!"

Here is a small sampling:

1. Chon shu (Chinese): to be nauseous from the heat

2. Fedderchei (Dutch): feeling hesitant to write people letters

3a. Tios (Spanish): aunts & uncles
3b. Sobrinos (Spanish): nieces & nephews

That last one really irks me, actually. Most languages have a way to abbreviate "aunts and uncles" and "nieces and nephews" (I just picked Spanish for the example), but English-speakers always have to write it out the long way. We have "siblings", "parents", "children", etc, but that part of the family can't be easily summarized. Why?

In these days of twitter and texting, being concise is important! Maybe I'll start using these words and eventually they'll become English, too. :)


Removing Stripped Screws

People can come up with such smart ideas!

Apartment Therapy recommends this simple way to remove a stripped screw:
Placing a wide rubber band in between the stripped screw and the screw driver can sometimes help give enough grip to remove a slightly stripped screw head.

Check out their site to see other more conventional ways, too!

Brilliant! I can't wait to try it. :)


A Salty History!

This awesome paragraph about salt comes to us straight from February 2010's issue of Reader's Digest:
In the days before the Stop & Shop spice aisle, food was pretty lackluster, and SALT was so prized that people bartered with it. Roman soldiers were even paid their wages in salt -- hence the word salary and the phrase worth one's salt. Salt, of course, makes it easier to swallow food, so that's why suspicious-sounding stories must be taken with a grain of it.
Reader's Digest is great about packing in the facts! Many thanks!


How To Stretch Out Tight Shoes

Our friends over at Lifehacker have shared these tips for getting your shoes to fit better:

1. To stretch out tight shoes, throw on a couple pairs of socks and squeeze your feet into the shoes. Then blast the tight places with the hot air of a hairdryer. It works even better if you stretch out your feet and toes while you do it. Keep wearing the shoes while they cool, then test them without the socks. If they are still tight, you can keep repeating the process until they fit better.

2. To prevent shoes from shrinking, avoid getting them wet (they shrink as they dry, much like clothes). If your shoes do get wet, don't place them in a hot area, like near a heater vent, to dry, or they will shrink faster.

With leather shoes, you can also help them keep their shape when you're not using them by stuffing them with crumpled newspaper.

Yes! A perfect fit!

For those of you who have trouble with sore feet or blisters from wearing new shoes, I have personally found something that works. :) Before wearing them for the first time, I will take some time to twist and bend every part of the shoes and straps. For me, taking a bit of the stiffness out of a new pair of shoes really helps.

Hope all this stuff helps you too!


Dreams of Tattoos

I had another strange dream recently, that I got a large tattoo of a rabbit on my stomach. I figure that of all of those elements, dreams of tattoos are probably the most popular, so I looked up the meaning.

Dreams of getting a tattoo can mean that:
1. you wish to stand out or be unique.
2. you want a current situation in your waking life to have long-term effects or to last forever.
3. you have something urgent to deal with that will take time away from loved ones.
4. you are going through significant life changes.

Also, an important aspect to dream interpretation is your emotional feelings about what's happening. In my case, I was pretty excited about the rabbit tattoo. So I am likely excited about whatever the tattoo represented, too.

Of course, as most professionals will tell you, dreams are best interpreted by the dreamer, so remember that these are just some suggestions. :)

(sources: Dream Moods and DreamForth)


Bring Home The Bacon

This fun fact I learned from the game show Jeopardy! yesterday. :)

Final Jeopardy!
Category: Food Traditions

Answer: Since the 1100's Dunmow, England, has rewarded newlyweds who go a year and a day without arguing by letting them "bring home" this.
Question: What is the bacon?

Hence the origin of the phrase "bring home the bacon". The phrase has seemed to evolve into meaning "bring home the family income", although the origins imply that it was more about getting rewarded for a peaceful household.

Side note: If you're a Jeopardy! fan, click here to go to an amazing archive of the answers and questions!


There'd Be No Need For Tinkers

Have you ever heard the phrase:

"If 'if's and 'and's were pots and pans, there'd be no need for tinkers!" ?

Typically this would be a response to someone making excuses for themselves, as in "Sure, I was late, but IF all the traffic lights were green AND IF mom didn't call right as I was leaving AND...". Or it can be directed at dreamers, who are always wondering "what if" this and "what if" that?

A lot of people these days (myself included) hear this phrase and think, "Well, that doesn't make sense." That is, it doesn't until you learn that a "tinker" is an old-school term (14th century) for a mender of kitchen utensils, including pots and pans. :)

The original proverb goes something like this:

"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If turnips were swords, i'd wear one by my side. If ifs and ands were pots and pans, there'd be no need for tinkers' hands."


Happy Birthday Photoshop!

February 19th marked the 20th anniversary of the amazing photo-editing software Adobe Photoshop. Let me put that another way: a version of Photoshop premiered on 2/19/1989. I didn't think computers in the late-80's were even capable of displaying "photos"!

Appropriately, I used Photoshop to make this picture of the icon revolution. :)

Like a lot of cool inventions, Photoshop was developed at the University of Michigan by brothers named Thomas and John Knoll. Their father, Glenn Knoll, a professor at U of M, taught his sons an appreciation for both photography and computers. In 1987, PhD candidate Thomas began working on a computer program on his Apple Macintosh Plus to display grayscale images (since previously images were only in black and white pixels)... and the rest is history!

For a great description of Photoshop 1.0 and its features (including pictures), click here!