All posts by Holly VanWert

Holly is an intersectional feminist, cat enthusiast, gamer, and stress baker living in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She is a longtime blogger, sporadic poet, and the founder and editor of Woman Tribune.

The Holy Grail of Coffee Machines: Senseo Single-Cup Coffee Maker Review

Senseo If there is one thing that I am absolutely crazy about, it’s coffee. This love of mine started at a very young age and has fueled two prior full-time jobs of mine in cafes as a barista and the greatest caffeine tolerance I’ve come to know. I love coffee in all of it’s precious forms, flavors, consistencies and blends and am always interested in new flavors and concoctions that can be made from the comfort of my own kitchen. When a friend of mine hooked me up with Senseo, I was ecstatic, to say the very least.

Senseo is a sub-company of Sara Lee and makes an excellent coffee pod system that literally transformed the way I have my coffee every day.

The Senseo system makes absolutely delicious (and delightfully strong) single serving amounts of coffee with their innovative system that is so easy to use that once I took it out of its box, I was using it within minutes. While brewing my first cup of coffee, I realized that the Senseo actually made foam each and every single time automatically, which makes the coffee that you are brewing at home stand out even more so than a regular cup of coffee you would purchase at any coffee shop.

The coffee that the Senseo produces is also quite different than your average cup of regular coffee. The Senseo cup seemed to go down a lot of smoother than normal coffee does, even my boyfriend, who usually can’t stand coffee and its gritty behavior going down, will drink it if it is made with this machine!

One of the best things about the Senseo that I was also surprised to find is that the entire thing is set up so that it is an absolute dream to clean. There are no small crevices that you simply can’t get your hands into to clean, the back of the system comes right off so you can fill it up with water and sits right back onto the machine with ease. Best of all, the system uses individual coffee pods that the water goes through so they have completely eliminated the horror of coffee grounds winding up in your mug and also the grounds that tend to go everywhere during the cleaning process. Within just a short amount of time using the Senseo, I gave my fully-functional, almost brand new typical coffee pot to a friend of mine because I hadn’t used it once since using this this machine.

There are a variety of different coffees and even teas that are made specifically for the Senseo coffee pod system, so each and every coffee and/or tea drinker out there will benefit from this machine. You can order the Senseo coffee pod system as well as coffee and tea pods at their official online store, Target, Walmart, or even Amazon.

Special Promotional Offer

There is a special promotional offer going on with the Senseo machine right now. At Share Senseo, they are giving people the chance to receive a free Senseo single serve coffee pod system just by filling out a questionnaire; the only sum of money you will be responsible for, for this machine that is regularly over $70, is the shipping and handling of just $15.

What are you waiting for? Share a Senseo today.

*This is a limited time offer and is open to US residents only. Promotion ends June 30, 2008 or while supplies last.

Blogging Basics: Do You Have What it Takes?

woman on computer This past year has easily been marked the year of the blog. Not only does virtually everyone keep a blog, whether it be on their own domain, their MySpace page or LiveJournal, but it is also the time where more and more people are realizing the amount of money that can be made by blogging. But here’s a tip for anyone looking to create their household income by blogging: It isn’t as easy as it looks.

There are many bloggers out there that are pulling in annual six-figure incomes. Some aren’t making as much, but quite a few are able to live a decent lifestyle by what they make through their websites. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger is one of the top people in the blogging world right now; just look at the domain name! His website is dedicated to blogging for profit and teaching others how to benefit from blogging. Amanda Harris of Pajama Mommy is another person who not only makes a significant amount of money from her website, but her business posts go into more detail on how to do so. Another one of my personal favorites is Courtney Tuttle, who is the blogging bible as far as internet marketing goes. So how are they doing it?

Each and every successful website has a webmaster behind the scenes who has spent hours upon hours (I cannot stress the amount of time enough) marketing their websites. When thinking of your new website, think of it as practically raising something. Your website needs a lot of love and attention and if you let it go for even a few days, you have potentially lost a great deal of readers.

It takes months to build up an audience for a website and when you succeed in doing that, you cannot stop. One of the drawbacks of the internet and the society we live in today is that we 1: want instant gratification and 2: have the attention span of a gnat. Your website must bring a lot to the table that appeals to a wide variety or a large group of people and always keep in mind that there are trillions of websites on the internet today–Why do these people want to read your website? What do they get from reading your work?

If you’re thinking about blogging for profit ask yourself these few questions:

  • How much time can you wholeheartedly dedicate to your website?
  • Does your website appeal to a large group or wide variety of people?
  • What makes your website different than the trillions already on the internet?
  • If this wasn’t your website and you happened to stumble upon it, would you visit again?

This is just the very tip of the iceberg but I plan to dissect blogging for profit in several steps so check back frequently!

Hair Accessories: How Much is Too Much?

Jennifer Ouellette satin and feather headband When it comes to women and fashion, there are simply no words to describe a feeling a woman gets when her eyes fixate on the perfect item that she knows will compliment her style and wardrobe to a T. There is definite swooning involved and even some cases of putting a store’s number on the speed dial to check on the price of the item weekly–I’m pretty much the same way when it comes to bath and body products.

The world of high fashion, as seen through the eyes of top fashion magazines, sometimes baffle me. I can’t necessarily get into the big feathers, the high and sometimes obnoxious collars, the crazy skirts and the list can really go on for a while here. And in the eyes of high fashion, Barneys New York has put together some items that make me look at that item then at the price and wonder to myself “Why?” or “For what?”

And that is exactly what happened when I stumbled across the Jennifer Ouellette Satin & Feather Knot Headband.

This $85 hair accessory would compliment what, exactly? The matching white feathered boa and matching skirt you have tucked away in the back of your closet waiting for that one, special occasion? This headband comes in the black and white shown here and also dark green and black.

What do you think of the satin and feather headband, and maybe more importantly, the price?

Photo via Barneys

Anti-Aging Miracle: No More Needles or Doctors

facial yoga For many people who are worried about aging, wrinkles or laugh lines, Botox and plastic surgery have been quick and easy fixes for most on the path to looking their best. But now, for those who are petrified of needles (such as myself–it’s a phobia,) don’t like doctors or don’t like the idea of plastic surgery, yoga enthusiasts are now swearing by a new way to not only look younger, but to fee younger and better about your appearance.

Facial yoga has been deemed the “natural Botox” and is being used by many yoga enthusiasts as a daily exercise. By making theatrical expressions and stretching and training your face in your daily exercise routine, in your spare time or while doing household tasks, within as little as a few session you can start to see not only the lines on your forehead and under your eyes fading, but you can also see the stress that most people carry in their faces cease.

Annelise Hagen, author of The Yoga Face: Eliminate Wrinkles with the Ultimate Natural Facelift, conducts weekly facial yoga classes and developed her own facial yoga techniques that she teaches to her clients.

Hagen’s facial exercises include the Smiling Fish (purse your lips and smile slightly), the Marilyn (blow kisses while keeping your forehead smooth) and the Satchmo (puff out your face and transfer air from cheek to cheek).

Not only can yoga make you look and feel better about yourself and your appearance, it has also been used to train injured faces to move again after an injury or stroke and is also said to help sharpen your mind. Above all, it can help bring out that inner child in you that doesn’t get to come out and play very often. Making theatrical and hilarious faces in the mirror can do wonders for your spirit.

Do You Know What’s in Your Cosmetics?

L'Oreal cosmetic display Very few people read the list of ingredients on the back of a cosmetics box. If you’re animal-friendly, you may check to see if there is a line that reads “not tested on animals,” which is most of the time at the bottom of the box, but not too many people read through the list of ingredients printed on their beauty products. In the same respect, what do all those grossly large and confusing words mean anyway?

If the word squalene seems familiar to you, it probably is. Squalene is a very common emollient used in beauty products such as lotions, creams and glosses and is used by big name companies such as L’Oréal Paris. However, squalene is being phased out of cosmetic products as of late due to the vast decline in numbers of deep-sea sharks.

Squalene, which has been an in demand ingredient for beauty products is found in large quantities in the livers of deep-sea sharks and due to the sharks being caught and killed purely for this ingredient, cosmetic companies are seeking the aid of olive extracts to replace the deep-sea shark liver oil. However, if all companies switch to olive extracts, simple supply and demand may be in trouble, as there are only so many olives to go around to big companies.

In 2006, L’Oréal eliminated squalene from their skin care products replacing it with a plant-based substitute and plan to eliminate the ingredient from 12 other lipsticks that they produce. Asian-based cosmetic companies may not be going the same route, though, as shark squalene still remains in very high demand.

So the next time you’re picking up your favorite skin care item, lipstick or gloss and you see squalene listed in the ingredients you can now say you not only know what it means, but know that the company has decided to continue to use deep-sea shark oil in their product and have not opted for either olive extracts or plant-based substitutes. Help eliminate the cause for concern over the dwindling numbers of deep-sea sharks.

Photo by CrowChick

Changing Table to Drink Cart Baby Furniture Makeover

baby changing table For those of you who have old baby furniture stowed away in storage that you swore you would give away to charity, GoodWill, or to expecting parents but never got around to it, fear no more! There is now a way to not only keep furniture you spent good money on maybe years earlier, but actually reuse it and get a lot of use out of it now.

If you have an old baby changing table, Better Homes and Gardens has a wonderful idea to work it back into your everyday life without even hinting towards what it’s purpose used to be.

drink cart Take your ordinary baby changing table, get a little creative with it and apply your own personal taste. The table’s waist-high and size and shelves makes it the perfect object to make over into a drink cart. The exterior can be polished, painted, and decorated and it’s shelves give perfect space for bottles, glasses, and snacks. Attach some wheels to the bottom and you’re good to go for your next entertaining event or relaxing night at home.

If you’re not the type to have a drinking cart or don’t have a need for one, your changing table can also be remade into a decoration piece or microwave stand for your kitchen. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Have fun!

Photos via Better Homes and Gardens

‘Sex and the City’ in Theatres May 30

Sex and the City movie I stumbled upon this a few days ago and I immediately got all sorts of excited.

I was a late bloomer when it came to jumping on the Sex and the City bandwagon. I began watching reruns after the show was over and was in syndication and since, watched every episode I could find online. Since then, I have repeatedly reveled in girly goodness while watching episodes and I cannot wait until the movie comes out.

It’s probably old news to the hardcore Sex and the City fans, but it definitely deserves an announcement of some kind and perhaps I’ll reach those who didn’t already see it. And so I present to you, the the very first trailer that came out! (Although there are others, this is the best and virtually spoiler-free)

Embrace your crazy, unapologetic, over the top girly side!

Photo by furyofthefilmfan

Colorado and Missouri Wage War on Women’s Rights

someecards_idiots Television, radio, and newspapers; wherever you get your news information from, all people seem to be able to talk about are the 2008 election. This upcoming election is very important, especially considering the war on women’s rights that is only getting more heated and more severe as the election looms closer; especially with the panel of Republicans that have been assembled.

According to US News and World Report, 11 different abortion bans have been introduced to states legislatures just in the past year. With that and with the upcoming election, anti-abortion activists are introducing a variety of ballot initiatives in hopes of abolishing a woman’s right to have control over her own body and reproductive rights.

In the state of Missouri, The Elliot Group, an anti-abortion group which is based out of Illinois, is attempting to introduce a ballot entitled Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortion Act; nice name, huh? Because women are not able to make informed decisions about their bodies and uterus without being coerced.

If The Elliot Group is successful in receiving their mandatory 90,000 signatures on a petition to instate this initiative, it will appear on the 2008 voter’s ballot and the state of Missouri will face an initiative which would require doctors to review abortion-related “medical literature” which will undoubtedly consist of myths made up and enforced by anti-choice activists and literature that is commonly used in crisis pregnancy centers to scare or enforce the so-called immorality of the act of abortion. The doctor will also be required to investigate the background and lifestyle of women seeking abortions as well as prove that it was medically necessary to perform the abortion to save the woman from death or disability that would have occurred if the abortion had not been performed. Furthermore, they take the extra step to insult women across the country by saying that abortion causes long-term physical, psychological and emotional problems; none of which can be scientifically proven. This legislature would also provide absolutely no exception whatsoever for rape and incest victims.

Colorado for Equal Rights, whose name itself is laughable, is working towards adding a ballot initiative to the November 2008 ballot that will amend the state constitution to define a fertilized egg as a person.

Ah yes, fertilized egg–person; omelet–living, breathing, talking, functioning, college-bound human being! Yes, I can definitely see how they go hand-in-hand.

If this initiative is passed, it will then threaten the use of emergency contraceptives used by literally millions of women across the country. Voters in Colorado will have that to think about if Colorado for Equal Rights gains their needed 76,000 signatures in order to place this initiative on the 2008 ballot.

So think hard women voters of Missouri and Colorado. Even if you do not live in those two states, there are a number of different bans on abortion in a total of 15 different states.

Photo by someecards