Tag: blogging (page 1 of 7)

Computerless in Ottawa

Dear Wendy,

Well, this is a new one on me. As you know, Adrian and I drove to Toronto over the weekend to meet up with you and the rest of the family for little Scott’s baptism. Continue reading

The Great Blog Crash of 2014

Dear Wendy,

I know you’re still off in Italy, but I have to tell you, you’ve been missing some fun goings-on around here. In fact, this week has been so full of chills, spills, and thrills, I’ve decided to dub it the Great Blog Crash of 2014. Continue reading

A bump in the blogging road

Dear Readers,


A bump in the blogging roadIf you’ve tried to catch up with us lately, you’ll probably have noticed that our site has been very unpredictable—sometimes taking forever to load, sometimes giving error messages, sometimes just not coming up at all.

Unfortunately, we’ve hit a major technical snag with our blog’s host provider, Bluehost.

We’re currently working with them to find a solution, but until we can be sure that you’ll actually be seeing what we post here, we’ve decided to suspend publication of After the Kids Leave. We hope we’ll be back on the air within the next couple of days.

Thanks for continuing to check in, and keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ feeds for updates.

See you soon!

Karen and Wendy


No BlogHer for us…again!

Dear Readers,

Well, another year has come and gone, and it’s time for us not to go to BlogHer again.

You might recall (if you’ve been paying attention) that we managed to not go last year. Instead, we created our own home-made Big Bloggy Extravaganza. Here are some highlights:

Opening night at not-BlogHer

Upon arrival in our sumptuous suites (Wendy’s upstairs study, Karen’s office/wool storage room) we sat around drinking margaritas, painting our own toenails, and toasting one another while chatting on Facebook.

In fact, we noticed that the halls of one of our favourite Facebook groups were almost empty, so we went over there and held a rather long and somewhat incoherent conversation, just the two of us. It did get a little echo-y, and at one point we swear we heard crickets chirping, but we persevered.

This might have had something to do with the margaritas.

This year we’re thinking of changing it up: instead of hanging out on Facebook groups and watching the tumbleweeds roll past, we’re thinking of hitting the Twitter. You’ll find us there under the hashtag #NotBlogHer14…and it’ll be totally BYO Jello shots and toenail polish.

Friday morning freebies!

On Friday, we decided to hit the virtual Exhibits Hall, where we encountered our first swag of the conference.

“Swag!!1!” We squee!-d in unison.

Wendy generously put together a Selfridges bag loaded with a lint brush (genuine lint still attached), a half-used mustard bottle, a cat satellite collar, paper towel and some paper flowers made by Wendy’s daughter 18 years ago, as a winnable giveaway.

She photographed the whole thing on Instagram, and said it would go to the first attendee to claim it. By sheer coincidence, this happened to be Karen, who was thrilled to bits.

Freebies this year? We had to wrack our brains, but here’s what we decided: we’ll have a draw, and the lucky winner will get a smooch on the lips from our intrepid and much-maligned mascot, Buckminster K. Beaver. Bucky is totally up for this…he loves smooches.


If he’s good enough for the courtiers at Kensington Palace, he’s good enough for you!

And just because Karen’s daughter Rachel calls him “creepy” is no reason to turn your nose up. He’s really very sweet, once you get to know him. Come on, give a beaver a break!

Friday afternoon seminar

Last year….

Karen decided to present her award-winning seminar, “Laughing Our Guts Out: Fame and Fortune via Insane Childhood Reminiscences.” It was a huge hit, even though attendance was a bit sparse. To fill the seats, we rounded up our faithful animal companions—Maydeleh the loyal sheltie, Lyra and Blue the adorable ragdoll cats, Ralph the Siamese, and Stella the tabby.

The audience barked and/or meowed enthusiastically throughout her presentation, though, so Karen felt very appreciated.


“Yeah, yeah, whatever. We were promised cookies. Where are the cookies?”

We Instagrammed them, and now they have 492 followers—approximately 300 more than we have.

After the seminar, we decided to hit the trade show floor. Since we couldn’t make it to McCormick Place, we decided to do the next best thing: cruise the aisles of the largest grocery stores in our respective cities, waving our martini glasses in the air and yelling, “Fill ‘er up, Joe, we need another drinkie!”

To simulate the experience even more fully, we randomly sampled delicacies from the stores’ shelves…that is, until the managers apprehended us and threatened to ban us from their establishments for life.



“I know this is the fruit department, make me another daquiri, stat!”

How could we top this?

Oooh, tricky. We had to think hard, but we decided it was Wendy’s turn to give the Saturday keynote, and Karen’s turn to applaud.

And that’s why Wendy will be giving a talk titled, “Drunk on Aisle 3: The Hidden Perils of Getting Sloshed in the Grocery Store.

We know many bloggers will be riveted by her story of personal sacrifice and the extraordinary ends to which she was willing to go, just to get fodder for our blog readers. She really is a trouper, if she does say so.

We tried to get the arresting officer to contribute, but he hung up when he heard who was calling. We can’t think why—we offered him a byline, and everything. People are strange.

The private party!

We’d heard that all the really cool bloggers were hosting private parties in their hotel suites, so we both took a bottle of our favourite cough syrup and locked ourselves in our own bathrooms. We donned party hats, toasted one another via webcam, and threw shredded toilet paper round the room. In lieu of confetti, you know.

To liven things up, we decided to hire a male stripper. Okay, actually this was just Ralph, and he didn’t strip so much as lie on the floor and beg for tummy rubs. But he was male.

Okay, he was formerly male.


Hang onto your garters, ladies–we have a special act coming up! Yes, it’s the one, the only Raphonzo the Magnificent!

For this year’s private party, we’re thinking of making it extra private: it’ll likely involve Skype, funny hats, and cough syrup. We can say no more, because then we’d have to invite everyone. You really can’t be too exclusive when it comes to this kind of thing. Sorry, but we must maintain standards.

All wonderful things must come to an end

Did we mention that before we left on our Virtual Bloggy Extravaganza, we scoured our wardrobes for just the right outfits to bring along?

As everyone knows, these Big Bloggy Blasts are all about the wardrobe…and the manicures, pedicures, haircuts, chin lifts, brow tweezings, and Spanx. Don’t forget the Spanx.

We wanted to really capture the spirit of the thing, so every hour on the hour we’d drop whatever we were doing and run back to our rooms to change outfits. Yes, it was stressful at first, but really, what price beauty? And of course, we had to Instagram each wardrobe change, because…well, just because. It’s what you do.


This meant that by the time the Saturday night gala rolled around, we were well nigh exhausted. But we’re troupers, so we retired to our rooms for a quick blink of shut-eye, a relaxing bath, and then one final change of outfits.

That’s when tragedy struck.

We opened our suitcases and realized, to our everlasting horror, that we had run out of clothes. What to do, what to do? We fired up our webcams and put our heads together to come up with a plan. And here’s what we decided: the only outfits we hadn’t already worn on the conference floor were our dressing gowns…so we decided to unilaterally declare that the gala would be a pyjama party.


Clad in dressing gowns, fuzzy slippers, and clutching our cocktail glasses firmly in our right hands, we sallied forth, heads held high.

Of course, we’ve learned from last year’s experience.

As much fun as that impromptu gala PJ party was, Karen got a little carried away with the cough syrup, and Wendy kept losing the tie on her robe…things got a little strange by the end, and we’re thinking it’s a good thing the memories have blurred with time.

This time, we think we’ll just unilaterally declare that the entire Great Bloggy Non-BlogHer Extravaganza should have a firm dress code: pyjamas only, from start to finish. Yoga pants may be worn, but that’s as formal as we’re willing to get.

Now, who’s with us? Come on, don’t be shy! You know you want to….


Karen and Wendy (and Bucky)


Great little food blogs you never heard of

Dear Wendy,

One of the great things about belonging to the blogging community is that we get to meet so many fascinating people, and discover the passions that drive them. One strand that fascinates me are the food blogs: it’s like being invited into a friend’s kitchen, learning tips and tricks that you might not pick up in a standard cookbook, and finding out what food means to them.

For this week’s Saturday list, then, I’ve put together a collection of some of the cooking and food blogs I’ve been reading lately. They’re a diverse group, ranging from the über-healthy to the ultra-decadent, with a few stops in between. From an “urban forager” who finds foodstuffs in the most unlikely places, to a pastry chef who’s earned her living creating yummy treats, to a “recipe renovator” who adapts recipes to meet special dietary needs…they’re all here, and each one is worth a read.

I hope you’ll take the time to poke around a little, check them out, and maybe even try a recipe or two.

As with every Saturday list, you can vote entries up or down the list, add your own comments, and even add your own suggestions—in fact, I’d love to hear which food and cooking blogs turn our readers’ cranks!

The best food blogs you never heard of
KarenWendy Irving

The best food blogs you never heard of

We all know the "big" food sites, but there are so many little gems waiting to be explored...

  Follow List
  Embed List
  1. 1  Baking in a Tornado

    Baking in a Tornado

    At Baking in a Tornado, Karen combines observations and musings about daily life with her recipes--the food tends toward the rich and delicious, but everyone needs a special treat now and then, right?

    It's an interesting thing about words that they don't just have meanings but connotations. We have dictionaries for definitions but many words, when heard and when used, are interpreted more in the context of what they mean to us personally. I've had this conversations recently with my older son in terms of words that segments of our society consider derogatory.

  2. 2  Skinny Kitchen | Healthy Recipes Blog, Low Fat Recipes, Weight Watchers Recipes

    Skinny Kitchen | Healthy Recipes Blog, Low Fat Recipes, Weight Watchers Recipes

    Nancy Fox runs Skinny Kitchen--as you'd guess from the name, this site is all about cutting the calories...but not the taste. Each recipe includes Weight Watchers points, for those of us who keep track of our eating that way.

    All breakfast foods in one hearty, super delicious dish. I can't wait for you to taste this luxuriously rich casserole! Perfect for the holiday weekend. It's so easy to make since using shredded frozen hash browns. I'm also adding bacon cooked on paper towels in the microwave to remove most [...]

  3. 3  Eating Wildly

    Eating Wildly

    Ava Chin is an urban forager: she knows where to find incredible edibles...right under your nose! Her website is fascinating, diverse, and entertaining.

    In celebration of #NationalEatYourVegetablesDay, this summer, I'm going to showcase some of the most sustainable wild vegetables that are available and growing all around us, most likely in your backyard, garden, or local park. Wild edibles are higher in phytonutrients-that's antioxidants, and good, old-fashioned nutrients that are inherent to the flora-than most vegetables found in [...]

  4. 4  K Cocina

    K Cocina

    K Cochina brings together the tastes of Latina cuisine, traditional Brazilian recipes, and more standard fare. Gorgeous photos!

    K Cocina: Bringing Sabor Into Your Life

  5. 5  Urban Naturale

    Urban Naturale

    Deborah Smikle-Davis' Urban Naturale covers more than just cooking, but her approach is fresh and healthy, and her Meatless Monday suggestions offer great meat-free meals for those of us who are trying to create healthier lives.

    Like many of us, I used to drink a lot of coffee but now I prefer green tea. In fact, I love green tea so that I have become a big green tea drinker. On most days I have at least 3 cups of green tea in the morning and sometimes I will have a cup in [...]

  6. 6  Relocation: The Blog

    Relocation: The Blog

    Mindy Klapper Trotta is a baker par excellence--she calls herself a "potato chip loving pastry chef," but we've seen nary a trace of chips in her delectable recipes. Granted, the blog is about more than cooking, but Mindy's recipes really are to die for!

    Browned Butter puts its pale yellow, insipid cousin to shame. It is butter that's gone on a vacation...to the tropics...and it's come home all tawny and burnished, and smelling goood. It's a little wild, a little flirty and sputtery, so it needs to be watched carefully as you melt it down.

  7. 7  Recipe Renovator - Building a healthy life

    Recipe Renovator - Building a healthy life

    Stephanie Weaver's blog is all about taking recipes and adapting them for those with special dietary needs--vegan, diabetic, migraine-friendly, paleo, and so on. It's a neat approach, and the results look pretty awesome, melding healthy with delicious.

    Is it hot where you are? This giveaway is hot! Our June giveaway features the four cookbooks I reviewed this month, a chile prize package, frozen Hatch chiles from New Mexico, a beautiful recycled cutting board from Epicurean, and bonus gifts of delicious dried raspberries from Stoneridge Orchards and a copy of The Unforgettable Photograph [...]

  8. 8  Healthy Nibbles & Bits

    Healthy Nibbles & Bits

    For cooking with a healthy twist, look no further than Lisa Lin's Healthy Nibbles & bits. Her Vegan Asian Cabbage Wraps caught our eye, and we'll be trying them ASAP!

    A medley of fresh corn kernels, zucchini, carrots, and tofu wrapped in fresh savoy cabbage. These delicious wraps double up as the perfect side or main dish! Yesterday, I woke up at 6:50 a.m. for a morning jog. Bleh! I work out in the morning a few times a week, but my morning sessions begin at 9:00 a.m.

  9. 9  Adriana's Best Recipes

    Adriana's Best Recipes

    Adriana's site is a visual and gustatory delight--with a Latin flair.

    Top source for cooking recipes.

View more lists from KarenWendy Irving

Have a great weekend, and happy browsing!



Older posts
%d bloggers like this: