Octopi Are Weird Creatures – 3 Digit Reading Project

I recently went to the library and got a bunch of random books on a variety of different topics as part of my “3 digit reading project“. The idea is to learn about different things and see what inspires me. One of the books that I got was on octopi, squid, cuttelfish and other cephalopods. Although I’ve seen these creatures in aquariums, I really didn’t know anything about them. What I learned from this book is that they have a lot of weird traits!

Some of those traits include:

  • Ink shooting properties
  • Color changing abilities
  • Jet propulsion features
  • Strange sizes, shapes and proportions
I’ve done a roundup of all of the details of these features in a HubPages article called 10 Weird, Fun Facts about Cephalopods.

H is for Handful

I thought of a handful of different topics for the “H” letter of the A-Z Blogging Challenge and then I thought well then H is for Handful!

H is for Happiness

Happiness is important to me. Not everyone sees happiness as a goal … some people see it as a byproduct … but it is a goal for me. I would rather be happy than successful. I would rather be happy than rich. Not that these things are mutually exclusive but for me happiness is the ultimate goal. To that end I am always exploring ideas of what makes me happy, how to change my thinking to increase happiness and how to manage unhappiness to minimize it as much as possible.

Do you see happiness as a goal or the pleasant byproduct of other goals?

H is for Health

Because not much matters if you don’t have decent health! And it sure is hard to be happy without it.

H is for HubPages

I have to throw in a mention for HubPages because I really like writing for the site. I have written there for four years and recently reached a milestone of having written more than 1000 articles on the site. I earn passive income on the work I’ve done there through Adsense and some affiliate programs. I write about the topics that interest me most at any given time.

Right now HubPages is running a contest where you can earn money for writing about long tail topics. Check it out!

H is for How To

The first “H” that came to mind was “how to”. I write a lot of “how to” articles for a lot of different sites. And when I don’t know how to do something the first thing I’m likely to do to remedy that is to look up a “how to” in Google. I noticed that a lot of other people chose this phrase for the H of their A-Z blogging challenge too!


HubPages Review for August

One of the sites that I particularly enjoy writing for is HubPages. I get to write about a lot of different topics here and to interact with a great community of writers through the site.

I like to see which articles do well through the site and which ones don’t. I think it provides a good overview of what people are reading on the web at any given time. If that’s something that interests you then maybe you’d like to know how my Hub articles did in August.

The ten articles that got the most traffic in August were:

  1. Short Layered Haircuts and Styles
  2. Calorie-Burners: Swimming vs. Running
  3. How to Delete a Browser Cookie
  4. Indoor Activities that Bring Couples Together
  5. 25 Fun Things to Do at the Beach
  6. Teacher’s Checklist for the First Week of School
  7. How to Build a Treehouse
  8. Can’t Find a Job: Make Sure You’ve Done These Things
  9. How Do You Know when Mushrooms Go Bad?
  10. Simple Trail Mix Recipes

What a range of topics people were reading? I’m not surprised to see that the articles on summer stuff and back-to-school stuff are popular right now. But what about the article on deleting browser cookies – isn’t that a strange one to be so popular? I guess it’s information that a lot of people need so I’m glad it’s been useful.

The ten hubs that got the least traffic in August were: Continue reading


Really Cool Cooker Hoods: A Follow Up

I recently wrote a post on this site about some really cool cooker hoods for kitchen stoves. Although I included links to where you could see those cooker hoods, I didn’t include many pictures. Several people told me that they wanted to see what really cool cooker hoods look like. So I wrote another article featuring 10 awesome cooker hoods. That article is photo-heavy so if you’re a SmartChick (or SmartGuy) who wants to see some pics of what cooker hoods can look like then you may want to check out that article.

And now I’d like to put a question out there: what other kitchen appliances (or home furniture) in general would you like to see more articles about? There aren’t too many articles on the topic of cooker hoods and I like to pride myself on topics like this that aren’t widely covered. Your suggestions are welcome!


What Is The Shape of your Face?

I remember when I was about nine or ten that I got a series of books in the mail. These were books that were supposed to teach me about style and beauty. One was all about learning my color palette (a topic that was popular back then but which didn’t actually make sense to me since I was in a late 1980’s hot pink kind of phase). Another was about the shape of my face and body and how knowing that shape could make me more skilled at choosing makeup and clothing that would flatter me.

I read the books and implemented their tips for a day or two. Then I went on about the business of being a kid. However, I actually think that a little bit of the information that I read at the time stuck with me. I eventually came to see that understanding the lines of your face and body and the color of your skin tone could go a long way towards making it easier to choose clothing.

It also makes it easier to choose hairstyles. I remembered this recently when writing an article on how to wear long layers in a haircut. This popular haircut is great because it works for almost everyone. However, how well it works for you typically depends on how you style it. And how you style it should relate to the shape of your face. If you never learned the shape of your face or body then it might be worth it to learn how to do that. It can’t hurt anyway, at least, that’s what this SmartChick thinks.

What do you think – does this stuff matter to you in terms of defining your personal style?


Find a Way to Make Your Job Unique

I think that one of the most important things that you can do as an employee or business owner is to find a way to make your job unique. You should focus on developing a specific niche, habit or approach that sets you apart from the competition. This may seem impossible in some jobs but if you get creative then you’ll find that you can be unique even if the job that you have is a common one held by many other people.

For example, there are some really cool underwater jobs that would fall into this category. Underwater modeling, underwater photography and underwater welding are all examples of this. After all, there are thousands of people who do modeling, take photos or work as welders. The number of people who do those same jobs underwater is just a fraction of that. Simply by looking at a new location for their work, these employees set themselves apart from the crowd.

Another example might be the person who works as a server in a restaurant. That’s a common job so how would you be unique about it? It might be in the way that you approach your customers – for example, you could have a little song that you sing each time that you approach the table. Or it could be in developing a special talent – you might become known as the person who can juggle full water glasses. Whatever it is, it needs to make you stand out as someone who does the job in a unique and interesting way.

Of course, it’s important that you do your job well. That’s probably more important than being unique about it. But once you’ve mastered the skills of your job position, you should make sure that you go further and create a niche for yourself. This will make you more marketable and more valuable as an employee. And it will probably make your work a lot more interesting to do!

How could you set yourself apart from the crowd? In the comments here, feel free to let us all know what you do and how you could do it in a more special way!


Really Cool Cooker Hoods

I’m not someone who pays a lot of attention to fancy gadgets. Since I barely even cook at all, I certainly don’t pay much attention to fancy gadgets for my kitchen. Nevertheless, if I do come across them then they often interest me. There are some really cool designs and functions for things that I probably don’t need but can be impressed by anyway.

For example, I recently wrote an article about how to buy a cooker hood for your kitchen stove. When researching the article, I discovered that there are all kinds of really cool cooker hoods that I didn’t know existed.

A great example of some of the coolest ones can be seen by checking out the website for Elica Cooker Hoods. They have cooker hoods designed to look like lamps or chandeliers (as seen above). They also have cooker hoods with a more standard design but that have been modernized in some way. Really cool designs for a product that most people think of as being all about function.


5 Great Homemade Congratulations Presents

I recently wrote an article featuring 20 ways to say congratulations to someone who is celebrating a special occasion. There are lots of things that you can do to congratule someone ranging from simply saying that you’re proud of them to buying a pricey gift for them.

What I discovered when writing that article is that the methods of saying congrats that interest me most are the ones that have a personal touch. Here’s the Top 5 homemade personal congratulations gifts that I’d like to receive if I was celebrating an accomplishment:

  1. Scrapbooks. I love making scrapbooks and I’d really love to receive one from someone as well. A scrapbook of the events leading up to the celebrating would be ideal for me!
  2. Home video or photo slideshow. Even better than a scrapbook is an active visual presentation put together to celebrate the event!
  3. A letter. There are some accomplishments that are best celebrated with a letter. The letter might describe why someone is proud of you or offer you advice for the new stage of life that you’re entering. I’d love to get this one from my parents or other older people in my life.
  4. A song. Even better than a letter would be a song or poem!
  5. Cookies! Someone who didn’t know me very well but who wanted to congratulate me would not go wrong with a home-baked gift!

What would you want someone to make for you to say congratulations?


Keeping My Computer Clean

My desktop computer recently decided to act crazy. It got really slow. It stopped being able to find my printer. It had strange pop-ups coming up that I’d never seen before. I called the guy who always fixes my computer for me and he came to have a look at it. It didn’t take more than a minute or two for him to tell me that the problem was that I had a million temporary files on my computer. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but not much.

I felt ridiculous.

I used to be really good about keeping my computer cleaned up. Once a week or so, I would delete all of my temporary files. I would use the disk cleanup and defrag functions on the computer to make sure that it was going to run as good as it possibly could. And every month or so I’d run not one but two free spyware blocker programs (Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy were my picks).

So what happened? Well, I stopped using my desktop computer so much when I got a laptop. Now I focus on keeping my laptop clean and kind of ignore my desktop computer.

But the bigger reason is that I found my computer guy. He fixes things a million times faster and better than I ever could so I’ve gotten lazy. I let problems on my computer build up and then i give him a call to take care of it for me. When I realized that every single thing he’d done to repair my computer was something I knew how to do myself, I realized that this situation had gotten out of control. My new commitment is to keep my computer cleaned up and to deal with what I can myself before asking him to help me out!


What Birds Want

I recently had the opportunity to do some research into birds. Specifically, I was learning about how to attract birds to your garden. What I learned was that there are a lot of little things that you can do to make your garden more appealing to the birds in your area but that there are only three major things that birds want.

The three things all birds want (or need) are:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Shelter

If you provide these three things then birds are going to want to come spend time in your garden. They’ll be fed, clean and safe from harm. That’s basically what all creatures want and birds are no exception.

What I find interesting is that the garden serves the same purpose for the bird as it does for the person. The person who has planted a garden with edible plants is using it as a food source. And even the person who has planted flowers is probably using the garden to sustain himself or herself in a more emotional way. We go to our gardens to find safety and peace. If we make it safe and peaceful for the birds, too, then they’ll come.