Halloween Décor for the Domestically Disabled

It’s officially fall now, which means women ages 21-45 have become pumpkin zealots and that Halloween is just around the corner.

So to help you prepare for the holiday season and prove you don’t have to spend a fortune to be festive, I’m sharing my absolutely finite wisdom.


First of all, we’ll start inside. Stop dusting your house right now.* By avoiding the removal of dust, you will accumulate a layer of spookiness and cobwebs that people pay good money to artificially replicate.

*This does not apply to me, of course, as I have to dust everything every weekend—OCD trumps festiveness.

Once you’ve set the mood, there are simple household objects that can make cheap and easy decorations with minimal effort.

For example, if you put a tiny cape on a staple remover—and possibly some googly eyes if you’re really feeling ambitious— you have a quick and easy vampire decoration.

And what Halloween scene would be complete without a ghost or two? Considering my penchant for delightful smells, I suggest you pull double duty and simply drape a gel air freshener with a napkin, add a couple of eyes and voila! A spooky scented spirit to delight the masses. If you’re lucky, the “trick or treat” aroma will mask the slight odor of broken dreams and steamed broccoli that’s wafting through your kitchen.

If you’re only concerned with the external appearance of your home, cease all yard work two weeks ago and move to the next point below.

There have been orange construction cones just down my street for the past month or so (evidently they’re not in a hurry to finish whatever they’re doing.) And while most people simply see an annoyance, I see cheap Halloween candy corn decorations for my lawn.

Now I am in no way suggesting you (allegedly) take something that doesn’t belong to you, but if a strong wind happens to blow a couple cones your way—along with the leaves from your yard into the neighbor’s—that’s simply nature’s way of getting into the holiday spirit.

True, suggesting that you paint them to be exact replicas of the waxy candy might make things look suspicious, but most people will be too impressed with your creative prowess to be upset at the borrowing of said cone —allegedly.

In fact, they will probably stand in your yard clapping so hard it will set off the lame motion-sensored Halloween witch the other neighbors PAID for and put out.


Once your house and yard are set, it’s time to prepare to pass out the treats. Candy can be expensive, and given the fact that everyone else passes out candy—not very creative, now are we?—I have a much more economical and creative solution.

Sometimes you even get jelly and jams.

Set yourself apart from the crowd by passing out more practical samples treats you’ve accumulated throughout the year. Traveling? Make sure to stock up on things like shampoos, hand wipes, coffee packets and jelly from the hotel room.

Stuck waiting in the doctor’s office? Cotton balls, tongue depressors and plastic gloves (do not give to children under age 3) make for hours of creative artistic play.

This step also requires a bit of planning, but if you start now you can be set for next Halloween. And while the kids might not initially realize the benefit of these alternative treats, when their hands are sticky from egging your house, they’ll certainly appreciate the hand wipes.

Happy Haunting.

Like the blog? Buy the books and click below!

P.S. If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to subscribe here on the blog and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Nicole from “Moms Who Drink and Swear” Has Issues & a Giveaway

Today you’re in for a real treat, as this week’s blogger has more than 1 million Facebook fans—yes, I said 1 million in a Dr. Evil voice—but is still completely down to earth despite the picture she sent me below.

In her own words, she is “gently and consistently offensive, but tenderhearted! I mean no harm, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be harmed by something I write. However, since I’m only responsible for what I write, not what you understand or how you interpret what I write, harm is a subjective term, so you could feel harmed, even though I told you that I mean no harm.”

Amen, sister. Amen.

But more than a blogger, best-selling author and Facebook freak, she’s also a mental health professional with two advanced degrees – one in psychology, the other in gerontology—and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor working part-time in private practice.

Given my own issues with mental health, this make me love her even more in a “non-creepy-but-I-will-stalk-from-a-distance” kind of way. I’m certain that once you read below, enter a giveaway for a FREE copy of her book that I’m jealous someone will win and then go check her out, you will become a stalker as well.

Restraining orders, be damned.


Name: Nicole Knepper, but I like to be called Sugar Tits

(Editor’s note: Who doesn’t?)

Blog: Moms Who Drink And Swear

Where, what and why do you write?

I write profanity-laced brain seepage all over the plan, but specifically on my blog and on Chicago Now. I like to write at McD’s and at home snuggled up with my wieners.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?

I want coffee and I wonder if one of the dogs took a shit under the piano bench, and if so, what is the consistency of the shit?

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

Myself. Always myself. I am chasing the fantasy that someday I’ll be able to manage my time.

Three websites you visit every day.

Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Vice

(Editor’s note again: By “Wall Street Journal,” I assume she means my blog. The two are easily confused.)

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

I see auras. I’m not even f#cking kidding. It’s like energy coming off a person. I can just see and feel it and then I can work my own energy to make the interaction work.

Favorite place to be?

By the water. Not the bathtub or shower water or doing dishes or laundry water, but a body of water like the ocean or a lake.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

Oooohh. I think I would have a silent day. If people wanted to communicate, they would have to write down stuff. It would make people think a bit more about what comes out of their brains and why.

(Another editor’s note: sign me up)

What TV show would you want to appear on?

I want to be a corpse on a crime show and I want the backstory to be grisly and puzzling.

(Fun fact: I once went to a Halloween party in Chicago and Gary Sinise (from CSI: NY and Forrest Gump) and his band, the Lt. Dan Band, were the entertainment. I miss CSI: NY. OK. Back to Nicole.)

Best and worst things I could find in your refrigerator right now?

Best – Meyer lemon raspberry jam. Worst – Celery in the beginning stages of rot.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

I wish you had asked me if my mother was a hamster or if my father smelled of elderberries. I would have answered in the affirmative, because of flesh wounds.

(Last note: I had no idea what she was talking about, but apparently it’s a Monty Python reference everyone knows but me. Let’s move on.)

Because she is so tenderhearted, she has offered to give away a copy of her book, “Moms Who Drink and Swear” to a random person who comments on this post answering the question below. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents with a sense of humor and a random winner will be drawn on Tuesday morning and notified via email.

Since there are a few movie references in this post, what’s a movie quote that you use all the time?

Like the blog? Buy the books and click below!


Eight New Fall Movies You Won’t See (but should)

Given the high cost of admission, the fact that most theaters require real pants and an attention span that lasts all of an hour, I haven’t been to an actual movie in years.

Yes, I said years.

However, I am not completely disconnected from what all the cool kids are hitting the cinemas to go and check out (although I just called them “cinemas,” so there’s that.)

What you might not realize is that among the new releases with attractive people doing unrealistic things in situations that are resolved in two hours topping the charts, is that there are some other films being shown this fall that if given a chance, I’m sure would be a great hit.


In this film sure to appeal to women everywhere, a confused young Charlie Brown and his sister Sally—who is adorned in yoga pants and Uggs—sit around and wait for Starbucks to release the elusive Pumpkin Spice Latte. Much to the chagrin of young Sally, Charlie learns that he much prefers actual Halloween candy to overpriced sugary coffee and turns as bitter as her drink.

50 Shades of Seasonal Affective Disorder

In this modern day meteorological mystery, viewers are taken from the sunny warm days of the summer into the dark freezing days of the harsh winter months. Will the residents survive on only eight possible hours of sunlight a day? Scrape inches of ice off their cars? Choose to hibernate and bond with their couch?

Frozen: Pizza

A gripping tale of love and survival, the female protagonist vows that if she burns her mouth on an Amy’s organic vegan pizza one more time, she will continue to eat pizza because it’s delicious and she can’t hold both a grudge and her fork. Although scorned by a lover yet again, she will never “let it go” and bravely moves on through the world.

The Negotiator 2

A young-ish writer is kidnapped in this action comedy, but the criminals are the ones who pay the price as they’re unaware of how often she has to pee and how cranky she gets when she’s hungry. Using her artistic OCD skills to cut out all the letters from magazines for her ransom note—if her name is on it, it has to look good—she hopes the news description of what she was wearing when gone missing doesn’t cause her family to pretend they don’t know who she is.

The Transformers

In this documentary, a film crew follows Internet commenters as they transform seemingly harmless statements read online into personal attacks they feel they simply must justify. This true-to-life account proves that for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite overreaction by someone on the Internet.

The Little Engine That Can’t Even

Tween audiences will love this relatable tale of how a car full of teenage girls drive to the mall, but choosing to spend their money on Starbucks instead of gas, end up stuck on the side of the road. Seriously. The Little Engine literally “could not even.” Find out how they get out of this bind and what hashtags will they choose for their Instagram posts.

Silence of the Birds

In this psychological thriller, Clarice is pulled from her training at the FBI Academy to investigate what’s being dubbed as “Flight Club,” a group of loud ass birds that meets outside bedroom windows to screech in the early hours of every morning. The first rule of Flight Club is that you don’t talk about Flight Club, but that doesn’t deter tired Clarice.

Still Single White Female

She’s 33. She’s independent. She sometimes lights so many scented candles in her house, it would appear that she’s trying to seduce herself. And despite the fact that she wears her “good” T-shirts to Target (sometimes), she’s still single. Follow this lovable loner as she navigates through life—and the path from her couch to the fridge—one day at a time.

Like the blog? Buy the books!

P.S. If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to subscribe here on the blog and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

The Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva Has Issues

It’s Friday! Another blogger is spilling their issues, and seeing as I’m domestically disabled myself, it only makes sense that today’s blogger is here to help show me the way.

As you can see from the picture below, Susan actually puts curlers IN HER HAIR which makes her super fancy considering I’ve been known to leave the house with one still stuck in my head.

It happened once, okay? Let’s move on.

Anyway, I now present Susan—Mom. Blogger. Humorist.


Name: Susan McLean

Blog: The Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva

Where, what and why do you write?

Generally I try to stick to writing humor only and I’m coming to you live from Delaware. I started writing to keep my brain from atrophying when I quit my full time career to stay at home with a four year old, two year old and an infant.  They were really cute, but not much for conversation.

Before staying home, then transitioning into my current social media role, I used to be in corporate training. I created training materials, played system administrator (which was surprisingly a lot like Atari’s Space Invaders), and mostly practiced my stand-up and passed out lots of candy when I would facilitate classes in hopes of winning over the hearts and minds of my captive audience. (Seriously, they were captives. They had to be there).

Mostly you’ll find me writing for myself on my blog because when I actually have something that I think is funny, I like to make sure I’m getting full credit.  I’m also officially a Huffington Post Blogger, and every once in a while you’ll see me popping up someplace reputable like Redbook (seriously, that happened).

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

Plotting how and when I can drink my first cup of coffee.

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

My kids are getting older, smarter and they keep finding my best hiding places.  I’m worried they’ll find my stash of high-fructose, non-organic, GMO snacks soon that I’ll be forced to share.

Three websites you visit every day.

The Facebook, Pinterest and The Weather Channel.

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

I’m double jointed.  It’s not as sexy as it sounds.

Favorite place to be?

I like going to yoga, or as I like to call it, my “book club for one!” You see, when I “go to yoga” instead of doing classical yoga poses, I drive myself to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and a snack then sit in my car for about an hour reading a book. I wish I had listened to people and done this sooner. Yoga is so refreshing.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

If I could take a swipe at the Internet troll population, I’d try to ban as many of them as I could from the Web in one day.

What TV show would you want to appear on?

I love the Walking Dead!  I’d make a great love interest for Daryl or I’d even settle for being a zombie extra. I’d also do unspeakable things to be on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. (Call me, Jimmy!)

Best and worst things I could find in your refrigerator right now?

Lots of fruits and veggies – and lots of cheese.  I special order my cheese from Vermont, not because I’m fancy, but because I’m lactose intolerant. Also, I’m intolerant of my lactose intolerance, so I searched high and low until I found a great naturally aged and lactose free cheese from Cabot.  I order about 15lbs at a time. Don’t judge.

Editor’s Note: I’m a vegan with OCD who will spend more time picking out a head of broccoli than picking out her clothes. I don’t judge.

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

I wish you would have asked me if I always looked like this and the answer would have been “no.”  I used to be fit and sort of fabulous.  Now I’m usually frizzy and frazzled.  I once had legs that were long and lean, but now that more accurately describes my breasts.  Whoever said “kids keep you young” must have never had them.

I’ll assume by “never had them” she means kids and that this isn’t another blogger taking a swipe at the fact that my chest is concave. Perhaps I’m projecting.

At any rate, do yourself a favor and go check her out after answering the following question:

What’s one snack that you hate to share and would hide from anyone else if you could? (We’ll pretend that you always share.)

Like the blog? Buy the books!

P.S. If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to subscribe here on the blog and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Thoughts Everyone Has While Driving

Most adults have some experience with driving a motorized vehicle, and whether you’re a road rager or a calm commuter, you’ve probably had a few of the same thoughts while navigating the roads.

I don’t care if my mirrors are perfectly adjusted, I’m still going to turn around and look while I back out of the driveway.

Sigh…more like, “Warning: Objects in the mirror may appear older and more haggard than you would like them to appear.”

Where is the street that I have to drive down? Maybe turning down the radio will help.

What?! I just got gas five days ago!

Crap. What side of the car is the gas tank on?

(Singing to radio) I should be a singer.

(Dancing while signing to the radio) I should also be a dancer.


The number of red lights I hit is directly proportional to how bad I have to pee.

Oh, good lord people. It’s a four-way stop. Not a Rubik’s cube.

Ha, ha. That sign said “Speed hump.”

Since I have all this extra time, I should probably rehearse arguments in my head, just in case they should ever come up.

That car a few miles back let me in, so I’ll be nice and let you in, too. HEY! WHERE’S MY FREAKING WAVE?! That’s it. I’m done being nice.

OHMYGODISTHAT…ugh. Commercials and songs should NOT be able to include a siren while I’m driving.

Do I have to turn on my wipers or can I see through these drops for another couple miles?

Ugh. Old people.

Ugh. Young people.

If you beep your horn .03 seconds after the light changes green, I can promise I will shut off my car, lie on the hood and feed birds for an hour.

What are you doing in the fast lane? Seriously?

A car is not an invisibility force field that shields you from the general conventions of society. We can see you picking your nose.

Crap. Now I have to pick my nose. Is anyone looking?

Get off your phone you idiot.

I hope my car appreciates the fact that wince when I hit a pothole.

There is no need to stop completely when making a 90-degree turn where there’s no stop sign, stop lights or opposite-direction traffic.

Do I honk? Do I not honk? Has the window of “honking” passed?

The back windshield full of Beanie Babies kind of contradicts the “Thug Life” bumper sticker on your minivan, dude.

Seriously semis? Do not race the semi truck in the lane right next to you, forcing all of us to watch this sad little drama play out. Nobody wins, especially the lines of cars stuck behind you.

Nothing says “midlife crisis” like a yellow sports car.

People who don’t understand how to use a blinker should probably just stay home.

Was that a cop? I should get extra credit for going the speed limit while driving through that unexpected speed trap.

(Gives a little wave to the pedestrian.) OK. Walk along…a little quicker. No, really. Stop in the middle of the road and contemplate life while I wait to make a left turn.

Are you taking a photo? Of yourself? You’re in a car. That makes no sense.

I need one of those stick person window decals of a distressed woman on the couch with the fridge decal stuck way on the other side of the window.

Okay. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks that last one, but you know, it’s a “Thug Life.”

Like the blog? Buy the books!

P.S. If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to subscribe here on the blog and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Kate from “Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine” Has Issues

By now you know the deal. It’s Friday, which means I’m renting out this space to other writers who you should stalk so that I don’t look creepy doing it alone. Today we have someone I consider to be “Twitter Elite.”

What do I mean?

I mean she has more than 11,000 followers on Twitter. Yes, 11,000. I don’t have 11,000 of anything, other than possibly blog post drafts I’ve deleted or brilliant ideas that go down the shower drain the second I turn off the water.

Anyway, that number is impressive and well-deserved. Here’s Kate!


Name: Kate Hall

Blog: Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?

Where, what and why do you write?

I write (mostly) humor in the form of blog posts, tweets and memes. I guess I write to make people laugh and to keep myself sane. It’s probably healthier to say, “I’m going to blog or tweet about this,” than to get mad about. Although typically I still get mad, but it still makes for a good post/tweet. I try to write posts that are honest and funny that people can connect with. I just ended that sentence with a preposition, but I don’t know how to fix it.

Anyway, I write wherever I can find a place to sit with a notepad. It’s pretty random – in bed, at Barnes & Noble, at the park, in the car, etc. – occasionally at the computer.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

I wonder if I have any Twitter or Facebook notifications on my phone?

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

Where to eat out for dinner. That was an issue the night I first answered this question, but not anymore. We ate Mexican food and had big margaritas. I forgot about that issue.

Three websites you visit every day.

Twitter, Facebook, my weather app on my phone. Does that count as a website?

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

Blowing bubbles off my tongue and juggling. I’ve vlogged myself doing both.

Favorite place to be?

Outside on a warm beach, sitting under a canopy of palm trees swaying in a soft breeze while I listen to the waves roll off the ocean and sip frozen raspberry margaritas. There, or in bed watching Netflix.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

Everybody should watch Netflix. It’s made my life calmer and more pleasant. I’m a happier person thanks to Netflix. It’s how I escape. Escapism is pretty awesome.

What TV show would you want to appear on?

That Wipeout show where the contestants run through the obstacle courses. That show makes me laugh out loud. I’d love to try it. I’d suck at it, but it would be fun.

Best and worst things I could find in your refrigerator right now?

Best: Strawberry margarita in a bottle.

Worst: Tomatoes that were overripe and were being attacked by fruit flies, so I put them in the fridge while I was gone over the weekend and now they’re even more disgusting and I should have just thrown them in the trash, but they were from my garden and I didn’t want to throw away something I grew because things I grow are like my “precious”…ya know?

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

You could ask: Do you have anything new you’re working on? Why yes, I do, Abby, thank you for asking.

I’m revamping my blogs so that I will have a landing page for everything I write/do. It will link to my three blogs: My humor blog (CanIGetAnotherBottleofWhine.com), my gardening with humor blog (currently at katewhinehall.wordpress.com, soon to be ITrytoGrowStuff.com), and a blog devoted to Twitter (soon to be BottleofTweets.com). All humor blogs, but with different foci. Is foci a word? I’m hoping to have this set up in the next week or so.

Your turn to play along. Since she’s the Twitter queen and Twitter is all about brevity, sum up your week in six words or less.

Like the blog? Buy the books!

P.S. If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to subscribe here on the blog and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

A Major Award

I have to admit that lately I haven’t been feeling that confident. But then one morning I looked at the number of staplers on my desk at work—two—and thought, “Abby, you lucky bastard. You’ve really made something of yourself.”

So with that said, I decided to think of other things that should earn A Major Award. Congrats to you!


Not only remembering to put your reusable grocery bag in your car, but remembering to actually bring it in with you before you’re checking out in the store.

Spelling “definitely,” “vacuum” or “conscientious” right on the first try.

Actually using the OveGlove on your hand instead of grabbing the hot pan with the hand not wearing the OveGlove.

Making a list before going to the store and remembering to take it with you instead of coming home to be reminded about what you forgot to buy.

Realizing you’re out of toilet paper but finding you stocked an extra roll in the cabinet next to the toilet.

Getting less than 15 tissues out on the first pull from a new box of Kleenex.

Perfectly timing use of the automatic soap dispenser instead of putting your hand under there, waiting, pulling hand away and then having soap shoot out onto the counter.

Pumping gas and stopping on the exact dollar amount instead of spending an extra $10 trying to get it to stop on an even dollar amount.

Remembering the names of your neighbors and not just the names of your neighbors’ dogs.

Unpeeling a banana and getting all those stringy things off in the process (bonus points if you can rip a banana off the bunch without feeling like you’re ripping it away from its family, creating an orphan banana, of sorts.)

Dropping a piece of buttered/cheesy/messy toast and for once, not having the buttered/cheesy/messy side hit the carpet.

Not saying what you’re thinking out loud two seconds after your brain says, “Don’t say that out loud.”

Remembering to take out both trash and recycle on the same day.

Catching something as it falls off the table without knocking something else off the table.

Putting away the clean laundry on the same day it was washed.

When someone tells you, “Great question!” actually hearing their answer because you’re not busy congratulating yourself for asking such a great question.

And of course, for commenting below on what you deserve A Major Award for today.

Like the blog? Buy the books!

P.S. If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to subscribe here on the blog and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.