Showing posts with label Lists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lists. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Top Ten Cooking Tips


During the month of October, I will be participating in the Write 31 Days hosted by Crystal Stine. My category is Food, Health & Wellness and my theme is "Into The Kitchen". 




Cooking is neither brain science or rocket surgery, you just get into the kitchen and do it, right? Well, sort of. It does help to have a few tips from someone who has been there and done that. Following up with kitchen tips from yesterday, here are my top ten cooking tips.
  1. Making the perfect boiled egg is simple and everyone has their own tried and true method. My mom taught me to do it this way. Place eggs in cold water in a covered pot. Heat on high until the water begins to boil. Leaving the pot on the burner, turn the heat off and time for 15 minutes. See "A Good Egg" for more information.

  2. Peeling boiled eggs can be a painful process. Try this method and be on your way to easy peeling. After your eggs are cooked. Drain and rinse with cold water and let them sit a few minutes. Then, holding the lid on, shake vigorously for a few seconds. The shells will now come off easily. Be sure to rinse the peeled eggs to remove any remaining shell particles.

  3. Want to keep those pesky bugs from hatching out in your flour? Pop it in the freezer for a week to kill all the eggs and no more bugs.

  4. Partner with Parchment. Using parchment paper to line baking sheets eliminates the need to grease or spray your pan and makes clean up a breeze. I also use it when making pizza to make transfer to the stone easier.


  5. For better results when sautéing foods with a high water content such as onions and mushrooms, do not add salt until they have softened and started developing color. Otherwise the salt will draw out the liquid and they will just stew in their own juices.

  6. When a recipe calls for crumbled bacon, dice your bacon before cooking to get small, consistently-sized pieces.

  7. For better mashed potatoes, after draining potatoes, place them back into the hot pot on the burner for a few moments to evaporate any remaining liquid. Drying the potatoes results in better texture and the potato is more easily able to absorb the butter and cream.

  8. When slicing  and dicing green peppers, turn the pepper flesh side up. It is much easier than slicing through the tough skin.

  9. For tastier appetizers, you should allow time for foods such as cheese, olives, dips and other spreads to come up to room temperature. Take them out of the refrigerator 15-30 minutes before serving.

  10. When using dried herbs, rubbing them between your fingers will break them into smaller pieces and release their essential oils, making them more aromatic and flavorful.  

Please share some of your favorite tips in the comments.


If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

8 Ways to Improve Your Memory

Do you keep misplacing your keys? Do you go upstairs to get or do something and can't remember what? Did you forget the name of the person you just met?  

Even if you think your memory is too bad or it's too late to change, know this, the brain has an enormous capacity to adapt and change - even into your senior years.  Your brain is part of your body so it stands to reason that what keeps your body happy and healthy would do the same for your brain.  Here are some tips to keep your faculties at their best.



Sleep. Get plenty of sleep.  Sleep deprivation compromises all mental function, including key memory enhancing activity.

Physical Exercise.  Exercise increases oxygen to the brain, reducing the risk of diseases that can lead to memory loss and enhancing the effect of helpful brain chemicals like serotonin, noradrenalin, and dopamine.  Each of these chemicals is vital to a physically, emotionally and mentally healthy body.

Focus.  Pay attention and be patient.  It takes about 8 seconds to process a piece of information into memory.  It helps to make a connection between new information and previously stored information. I think this one could make the most difference because in our fast-paced lives we are just moving from one thing to another so quickly we are not absorbing the information.

Mental exercise is also essential for a healthy brain.  Like our bodies, our brain becomes used to the same exercises, so keep your mental exercises new, challenging and fun. Try working the Sunday crossword puzzle or play memory games, such as Lumosity, on the computer.

Nutrition.  We all know that eating a healthy, balanced diet with less fat, carbs and fewer processed foods, is supposed to keep our bodies healthy. The same applies to our brain health as well.  Try adding more whole foods to your diet including fatty fish (omega 3), colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and wine (in moderation, of course).

De-Stress.  Stress plays a large part in short-term memory loss. For improved mental function, try some form of meditation.  Meditation means awareness, so anything done with a single focus, blocking out all other distractions, is effective meditation. Notice that there is only a one-letter difference between meditation and medication.

Friend Therapy. Humans, being highly social animals, do not thrive in isolation. We need meaningful relationships for both emotional and mental health. Research has shown that the more active your social life, the slower your memory decline.  To stay socially active consider volunteering, join a club or church, get together with friends more often, and don't overlook the value of having a pet - animals are very therapeutic. 

Laughter. Laughter is the best medicine for brain and body alike.  It engages multiple areas across the whole brain. Focus on finding the funny in everyday life, hang out with fun, happy people, and surround yourself with things that evoke good memories and make you smile.

Keep in mind that there is a boatload of information and tips for healthy brain function and better memory. These are just few ideas to get you thinking, reading and becoming invested in yourself. 


Sources:
How to Improve Your Memory
Brain Chemical Messengers
Memory Loss

Disclaimer:  For information purposes only and not to be taken as medical advice.




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Friday, February 13, 2015

14 Budget-Friendly Valentine's Ideas


Rooted in days of St. Valentine, the practice of writing romantic notes on Valentine's day began in the 1700s, and by the mid 1800s, real Valentine's cards were being manufactured in the U.S. By 1856, Valentine cards had become a topic of controversy. An editorial in the New York Times stated that many were cheap and indecent and only pleased the silly.  Some relegate Valentine's to a holiday created by Hallmark, which wasn't even founded until 1910.

History or Hallmark, it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to tell that special person just how happy you are to have them in your life.  Here are a few tips for a great Valentine's Day that won't break the bank.
  1. Free Time.  In our hectic lives we never have enough time for ourselves.  Give your special Valentine, a free day to pamper themselves.

  2. Make it Personal. Tap into your creativity with colored card stock, scissors, glue, glitter and some colored markers to create a personalized Valentine card.

  3. Dine Out.  Save a few dining dollars by eating in and then going out for drinks or dessert, or choose several items from the appetizer menu and share.

  4. Movie Night.  Instead of dropping big bucks for a movie and the popcorn, candy and sodas which will likely run you more than the tickets, stay in and treat yourselves to delivery and rent a favorite movie.

  5. Flowers.  Nix the expensive roses in favor of a beautiful mixed bouquet from the farmers market, or visit the grocery store's floral department.

  6. Goody Baskets. Pick up an inexpensive basket and fill it with such things as her favorite candy, lip balm, hand lotion, or scented candles. For him, a bottle of his favorite beer (not Bud), a decorative bottle opener, a pocket flash light, key chain, and yes, lip balm.  This is Valentine's, you know.

  7. Cook.  Even if you're not great in the kitchen, you can still serve a romantic meal. Get some Artisan bread, good olive oil, a nice cheese, olives and/or deli meat such as salami or prosciutto.

  8. Quality time.  Spend time together strolling through a museum, take in an art show or a local concert. Check your newspaper for a listing of free events in your area.

  9. IOU.  Present him or her with an IOU for two hours of your time and undivided attention.

  10. Do Chores.  Wash and vacuum her car, do the vacuuming, take and pick up the dry cleaning, do the grocery shopping or the laundry.

  11. Togetherness.  Take a walk or go for a drive and stop for ice cream or coffee/hot chocolate.

  12. Raise a Glass. Not all sparkling wines are expensive. Try a Spanish Cava or a Prosecco from Italy.  There are ones are available for $10-15. Goes well with #7.

  13. Sweets. Yes, you can give candy. Pick up his favorite dark chocolate bar or choose some hand-selected truffles from a boutique or wine shop for her.

  14. Those three little words. I Love You! That is something that can't be said too often and is always appreciated no matter what day it is.
However you celebrate, remember it's all about the person, not the gifts, dinner, candy, etc.





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Friday, January 23, 2015

Seven Shades of Frosty

This is day 15 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Frosty.


Image Source: rocor
Most words have more than one meaning or definition.  The record of 464 definitions is held by the little 3-letter word, set.  Usually when we see a word, one meaning comes to mind first. For example, when I first saw today's prompt, I thought of Frosty the Snowman.  Below are the ones that popped up most frequently, although the first three aren't technically definitions.
  1. Frosty the Snowman, the song, written and recorded in 1950.
  2. Frosty the Snowman, the TV show, first aired on December 7, 1969.
  3. Wendy's Frosty was introduced in 1969 when the first Wendy's was opened.
  4. Weather related.  Very cold with frost forming on surfaces.
  5. Demeanor.  Cold, unfriendly manner; giving someone a frosty look.
  6. Color.  Silvery-white, as in frosty hair.
  7. Military term.  To be on edge or to be ready.

What do you think of when you see Frosty?




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    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Ten Tips for Surviving Clutter

    This is day 13 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Organizing.

    Are you an "a place for everything and everything in it's place" kind of person, or do things just fall where they may and you walk around stuff for days (or weeks) and then realizing that what takes hours to sort through would have only take minutes a day to put away?


    Do you say, "but I don't have enough storage"?  Do you find that getting organized is easy but staying that way is harder?

    Here are a few tips to get you organized and help you stay that way.
    1. As suggested above, the first step in organization is finding a place for everything.  For example if your shoes are scattered from the back door to the bedroom, try getting some plastic shoe boxes with lids and storing them on a shelf in your closet. If you still have the original boxes just use those.

    2. Trying to find a receipt for the appliance you bought six months ago can be challenging.  Get a file box or accordion file folder and staple the receipt to the instruction manual and file it under the appropriate letter such as C for camera, instead of N for Nikon.

    3. Does tax time role around and have you scrambling to gather all the pertinent information you have saved throughout the year?  At the beginning of each year, make up a folder labeled 2015 Tax Information.  When you get receipts, pay taxes, make donations, etc., place the documents in the folder and you're good to at tax time.

    4. Don't be a collector unless you are into Art.  Freebies are fine, but a dozen coffee mugs or T-shirts that you don't use or wear just take up valuable space and add to the clutter.  A good rule of thumb is when something comes in - something else goes out.

    5. Eliminating duplicates is another way of decluttering.  If you have already collected those 12 coffee mug or T-shirts, try winnowing it down to your two favorites and donate the rest.

    6. If lack of space is an issue, try and find interesting and decorative ways of adding more storage. Invest in a closet organizer, or put up shelves in the bathroom to hold towels and other toiletries. If you have room consider adding a baker's rack in the kitchen.

    7. Is your closet bulging with clothes that no longer fit or that you haven't worn since Reagan was in office? On the whole, we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time and the rest just hang there collecting dust, so cull out the overlooked, unloved clothes from decades past and donate them. They are now called vintage clothing and there is a market for them.

    8. Are you constantly misplacing things or making laps around the house to find your keys?  Try installing a hook by the door for your keys. Add a shelf for your sunglasses or other miscellaneous items you grab on the way out the door.

    9. Do you find your spend more time searching for supplies for a task than it takes to complete the task itself?  Plastic school boxes or shoe boxes will help organize such things as your manicure tools, kid's crafts or school projects, art supplies, or letter writing (pens, note paper, stamps).

    10. Don't wait until clutter overtakes you.  Remember it takes longer to dig your way out than to deal with it on an ongoing basis. You may want to tackle your kitchen weekly, and your closet twice a year, perhaps Spring and Fall.

    What are some of your organizing tips or solutions?



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    Friday, May 23, 2014

    7 Ways to Brighten Someone's Day

    Image source: deviantart
    Today's post was inspired by this week's quote "The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention" and the concept of *Random Acts of KindnessBeing kind to one another is so important that they even set aside a week in February specifically for engaging in random acts of kindness, which is commendable. While this puts kindness in the spotlight, it is something we should practice every day.

    It is said that charity begins at home, and charity, in this instance, means showing love and kindness. Here are a few budget-friendly ways to show charity to your friends and family.
    1. Call or e-mail a friend. It's always nice to answer the phone or check your inbox and reconnect with a friend, perhaps someone with whom you have lost touch lately.

    2. Treat a friend to lunch. We will often treat people for birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions, but why wait? Surprises are the best special occasions.

    3. Send a card. With today's technology it's easy to overlook the simple things.  Send a fun card to someone to let them you you're thinking of them. It is a small act that can have big benefits. Choose a happy, uplifting card and write a short note. This is sure to bring a smile to the recipient's face.

    4. Make a gift basket. Small, thoughtful gifts don't have to break your budget. You can find small baskets, candles and holders, soaps, silk flowers, ribbon and other small items for a few dollars.  For a work-at-home friend a gift for the home office can fill the bill. Put together some small note pads, pens, and paper clips in an inexpensive desk caddy. Hint: Visit the dollar stores, but keep it tasteful, not tacky, and customize it for the individual's personality.

    5. A gift from the heart. Nothing says love like a homemade gift, especially if you bake or garden. So, instead of shopping, use your talents instead. Bake muffins or cookies, make a soup mix with dried beans and seasonings, or harvest a basket of fresh tomatoes or squash from your garden. This is a chance to let your inner light shine.

    6. Make a charitable donation. Choose a charity close to their heart (or yours) and make a small donation in their name, or in honor or memory of someone in their family.

    7. Brighten a stranger's day. It is easy to do things for our friends, but not always so easy when it comes to strangers. How to approach them, what is appropriate and how will a random kindness be received? Here are some thoughts. Smile at someone first, pay them a compliment, buy a coffee or share a cab and pay the fare or pay their bus fare.

      Don't do something just to get something in return...you will see the rewards in your own life.
    Please share your ideas or experiences in the comment section.

    *The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is an internationally recognized non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief in kindness and dedicated to providing resources and tools that encourage acts of kindness.

    Monday, January 6, 2014

    Getting Started in the New Year

    With the new day comes new strength 
    and new beginnings. - Eleanor Roosevelt

    Welcome to 2014.  A new year, new adventures, new beginnings and new memories.  Do you make resolutions?  Do you start hitting the gym, begin diets, make a bucket list?  Do you suffer the disappointment of not keeping your resolutions, your diet stalls and you end up as a couch potato by the time the Super Bowl rolls around?


    The new year is a good time to begin afresh, but the best of intentions fail when you try to implement too much change at once, at least this has been my experience.  


    So I don't make resolutions for the new year.  Instead I set goals and continually strive to eat better, exercise more, stay positive, be nicer, be more organized (stay organized) and a whole host of other things.


    Every time I fall off the wagon, I pick myself up, brush the dust off and remind myself that I can do this.


    Here are some tips on how to start small and accomplish your goals (not resolutions).



    • Pick one or two things that you think you can do regularly. If you don't exercise, try walking for 15 minutes every day.  If you do work out, add a class, increase a weight, time or distance.  
    • Instead of a full blown diet, choose a healthy snack such as yogurt or nuts over candy and chips or water over sugared beverages.
    • Skip the numbers.  Forget the holiday statistics.  Don't focus on your weight in pounds.  Let your body be your guide.  You will know when things are working for you.  
    • Get organized one project at a time.  Change is overwhelming so don't decide to do a major overhaul in January and find yourself afloat in chaos come Spring.  Make a list. Compartmentalize each project so that you start and finish one before moving on to another.  This will keep your house in order and your sanity intact.
    • Try something new.  This can be anything from creative arts to taking a cooking class, learning a foreign language, travel or volunteering.  Find your passion and embrace it.
    • Relax.  This is something many of us need to work on.  We think if we are relaxing, i.e. "doing nothing" that we are wasting time, not being productive or just lazy.  Not true. Relaxation allows you to restore your balance, reduce stress and increase focus when you return to your activities.
    Remember, starting small doesn't mean thinking small.  Whatever you dream, you can do.

    Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Giving Thanks


    Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for everything that makes our lives special.

    Here are some of the things I am thankful for:

    My husband
    My friends
    My cats
    Good food
    Wine 
    Diet beverages
    Being safe and warm in my house
    Being able to buy groceries
    Dining out
    Summer days
    Going to the beach
    My sense of smell
    My health
    Exercise
    My leaf blower
    Electricity
    Being loved
    Clouds
    Sunlight
    Evening strolls
    The freedom to be myself

    Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    Meeting the Challenge

    Philadelphia Street Art
    Today's post is the product of a challenge issued by my friend Nicky at We Work for Cheese.  She is funny, talented, and loves cheese!  So when I read her latest post, "The I’m Hungover And Have To Go To My In-Laws Post" wherein this challenge lies and saw that she had opened it up to whomever wished to participate, I jumped right in.  The challenge is to link to seven posts in the following categories.  I mulled over nearly two years of posts and came up with these to meet the challenge requirements.
    1. Most Beautiful Post:  This one is, for obvious reasons, a tie between two posts.  Happy Birthday Mom and Daddy and Me.  My parents have been gone from my life for some years now but I remember and think about them every day.
    2. Most Popular Post:  The Peace quote.  This is one from my Quote of the Week series.  A blogger friend had a picture on her blog that included the quote in a photograph she'd taken.  With her permission, I used her picture for my quote and interpretation.  This post was stumbled and I still get traffic from it.
    3. Most Controversial Post: Charlie Sheen: Don't Feed the FrenzyTribal Blogs hosted a blog carnival and the hot topic of the day was Charlie Sheen and his impending meltdown.  I chose my angle to express my distaste at how the media exploits and distorts the personal lives of celebrities.
    4. Most Helpful Post: Ten Things I Have Learned From Blogging: Anniversary Edition.  In celebration of my one-year anniversary in the blogosphere, I shared with my readers some of what I had learned over the year.
    5. Most Surprising Successful Post:  Conversation in the Tomato Patch.  This was written for Magpie Tales based on a picture prompt of...you guessed it...tomatoes.  Some of the other veggies joined in a spirited conversation about their impending harvest.
    6. Post that didn't get the attention it deserved:  Five Things You Should Never Pay Full Price For.  I am a bargain hunter, thoroughly trained in the skills of effective shopping by my Mom.  I use store sales and coupons to maximize my savings, and like to share those strategies with others.  Some things are just way over priced, and I show you how to reduce the impact on your wallet.
    7. Post I am most proud of:  I Sing No More.  This is another of my Magpie Tales creations.  The prompt that week was a sculpture.  A bust of what looked like a girl singing.  This is probably one of my best pieces of poetry.
    Ah, this is the point where I am supposed to nominate a half dozen or so unfortunate lucky bloggers to participate.  I know a lot of people don't like to be singled out, so I'll leave it up to you whether or not you play the game as it makes its way around the blogging world.  My only request is to please include a link back to this post.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Ten Things I Have Learned From Blogging: Anniversary Edition

    Photo Credit:  nImA Destiny
    In celebration of  Roses to Rainbows' first year in the blogosphere, I would like to share with you some of the things I have learned and people I've met.

    1.  Getting comments.  After six months of the occasional visitor and no comments, I decided to look for help.  An internet search landed me on Barbara Swafford's Blogging Without a Blog.  She taught me the importance of reading and commenting on fellow bloggers' posts.  This is one of the most valuable lessons I learned, and led me to eventually write on the value of comments.

    2.  A new type of pen pal.  In years past, a pen pal was someone with whom you exchanged written letters, but probably had never met.  Nowadays, with the popularity of the internet, the pen pal has changed.  The computer screen has replaced stationery, and the keyboard has replaced the pen.  We frequently exchange thoughts with people we haven't met; does this make us pen pals?

    3.  People will give you things.  I got a lovely purple pen from my friend Margaret at Nanny Goats in Panties, that I use to rough out some of my posts.  She mentioned it in one of her posts, and I asked if she was selling them.  "No, but I'll send you one."  Thanks Margaret.

    4.  Writing can be fun.  I discovered Magpie Tales, a blog dedicated to creative writing.  Willow, from Life at Willow Manor, posts a picture prompt every week, and writers from all around the world participate with original short stories and poetry.

    5.  Writing can be frustrating.  There are also hours...days even...that you sit and stare at a blank screen or sheet of paper waiting for the right words to come along and bail your bloggy butt out of writing purgatory.  Here are my tips for beating writer's block.

    6.  Bloggers form support groups.
      Tribal Blogs is a network for serious bloggers, started by Jen of Redhead Ranting.  It is filled with friendly, supportive people willing to share information, and give advice (when asked, of course).

    7.  Blogs can take on a life of their own.
      I had different ideas about what my blog would become.  I wanted to create a source of local information to help people find good bargains and special events around town.  Problem - no local readers.  After finding #4, I began to realize that writing was more interesting to me and more appealing to others, thus changing the focus of my blog.

    8.  "Build it and they will come" does not apply to blogging.
      When I first started out, I thought I could just create a blog, publish posts and wait for people to show up.  Well, I guess that is true in part...the waiting part.  See Item #1.

    9.  What widgets and gadgets really are.  I thought widgets and gadets were things usually found in one's junk drawer.  They are actually those little blocks found on your sidebar, containing code that put text and/or graphics on your blog.  Speaking of the Junk Drawer, "Hi Kathy".

    10.  I have a lot more to learn.  I guess this is the most important thing I have learned thus far.  I am learning every day, by reading, experimenting; what works, and what doesn't.  It is all part of the process of blogging, and I am happily looking forward my next year in the blogosphere.

    I have met so many helpful and encouraging people that I couldn't begin list them all here, but you know who you are.  I do want to send out a special thank you to my friend Sara from A Sharing Connection.  She has been right there encouraging me ever since the first comment I left on her one of her photo story posts. This was my initial venture into creative writing.

    The Quote of the Week will return next week.

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Blogging Blockage - More Ways to Get Inspired

    List posts are an important part of the blogging culture.  Recently several excellent bloggers have put together list posts filled with tips for minimizing the effects of the seasonal decline in readership, and keeping the creative juices flowing during a drought.  So now I'm sharing my list of inspirational tactics.

    1. Take a shower.  The shower is a peaceful place, and the solitude of the running water can totally block out all distractions and let you think, uninterrupted for a good 15 minutes, or right up until you accidentally slice the crap out of your leg with an errant swipe of a sharp implement.  Any coherent thought then goes right out the window, to be replaced by silent cursing of said sharp implement.
    2.  
    3. Mow the yard.  Much the same principle as #1.  To provide thinking time where all other sounds are blocked out.  Just make sure to wear a headset if you tend to think out loud so the neighbors won't think you're talking to yourself.
    4.  
    5. Pictures.  We all have tons of pictures on our computers now that cameras have gone digital and gigabytes are a dime a dozen.  Look through your pictures folder until something screams "I'm a post" to you.
    6.  
    7. Take a nap.  No not literally, just lie down and let your mind wander over anything or nothing in particular.  Random thoughts will form and sometimes a post will emerge.  You might think of places you've been, experiences from your childhood, your courtship, or something funny that happened at the market last week.
    8.  
    9. Cook.  If you like to cook, get into the kitchen and create a new dish.  Just start putting stuff together and see what you get.  Don't forget to document with pictures.  Remember, regardless of whether it's great or gross you can get a story out of it.
    10.  
    11. Day trip.  Write about your last outing to the lake, a winery (these are some I've used), a trip to the zoo, or a week at the beach.  That way those of us who don't go anywhere can live vicariously through your post.  These also make great picture posts which means you don't have to do as much actual writing.
    12.  
    13. Your pets.  Cats, dogs, birds and, of course, goats all make for good material.  This is where the video function on your camera comes in handy.  Show us Fluffy or Fido's latest antics.
    14.  
    15. Go fictional.  Just make something up.  Write short stories, poetry, fantasy, a sci-fi thriller, a mystery, or whatever from your favorite genre.  Just don't write a novel - save that for the publisher.
    16.  
    17. Document a DIY project or write a "how-to" article.  You know how to do something that others would find helpful.  Find that something, and let us know how it's done.
    18.  
    19. List post.  If none of the above jump starts your blogging engine, by all means write your own list post.  


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