Busting through dirt like a pro

Photo by jeshoots.com

Ever wanted a sparkling clean home without a ton of effort? I’ve never hired a cleaning service, but I did cleaning work in college. There are several tricks of the trade that can make cleaning easier. It won’t exactly be effortless, but it can save you some time, with some sparkling results.

Everyone I know who has hired a cleaning service said that they would clean items off of surfaces before the cleaners came. This is so the cleaners would save time (and therefore charge less) cleaning.

If you do this, a lot of your cleaning is already done! A…


Looking ahead to less

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

I just saw an article that we can expect life in the U.S. to return to normal in August. Trips to restaurants and movies, and even vacations, are all on deck.

I’m still feeling a little guarded, but can you blame me? I was expecting life to go back to normal last summer. But this is good news for minimalists.

A core idea of minimalism is to seek out experiences, not things. And with the country shut down, experiences have been hard to come by. We’re spending more time at home, so formerly cozy spaces are getting a little cramped…


It’s worth watching, but not for the reasons you might think

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The first season of Emily in Paris came out on Netflix in Sept 2020. The premise: a young woman, Emily Cooper, is offered a job in Paris when her employer buys out a French marketing company, Savoir. Though she doesn’t speak a word of French, and her boyfriend protests, Emily accepts.

The show is entertaining, but Emily (Lily Collins) starts committing faux pas soon after she lands. For example, she tries to open the wrong apartment door because she doesn’t understand how French buildings are set up. She quickly meets her boss and co-workers, who are taken aback that she…


When they don’t write.

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In 2020, I went from someone who wrote on Medium several times a week or month, to maybe once a month. The reasons were both personal and pandemical. OK, “pandemical” not a word, but maybe it should be.

My life was upended, and all my priorities for writing changed. Boston was one of the first cities to get hit hard. I was astonished when people asked, “Does anyone know someone who died of Covid-19?” By May, I could name a dozen.

Writing fell to the wayside. Even if I earned extra money, what was I going to do with it…


Accessible on your phone and computer

Photo by Deva Williamson via Unspash

For the longest time, I have been trying to compile a resource of all the recipes I use. I kept a few on my computer and printed them out, but it’s hard to keep up, because I bake a lot. I usually end up flipping through cookbooks or searching through bookmarks of online recipes — not the most efficient process.

Online recipes can be great, except for those 8,000 words and half a dozen photos you have to scroll past before you get to the recipe. And what if the site deletes it? It’s nice to have backups. …


Things your cat (or you) will enjoy

Photo by Yerlin Matu via Unsplash

Whether you recently adopted a new cat or are looking to upgrade your cat’s stuff, here is a guide for stuff that simply works. I love things that are durable, rather than disposable, and that’s easy to get with cat gear.

I have had cats for 6 years now and spent roughly 1 million (or so it seemed) hours with them from working from home this past year, so here’s what works for me. (None of these items are sponsored.)

It’s recommended that you have at least one litter box per cat. I have the kind with a hood made…


And there’s no end in sight

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Seven months. That’s how long it has been since the pandemic was declared, and I felt every minute of it.

Seven months of social distancing, mask-wearing, and Google Duo chats instead of visits to family. I was telling someone today, “I just want to eat in a restaurant — indoors — and then go see a new movie in a theater.” It doesn’t sound like a big ask, but I can’t. I’m stuck in my home.

I feel like a kid in the backseat, yelling, “Are we there yet?”

We are not there yet.

In the U.S., we are still…


Uncovering the benefits of remote learning

Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash

With Covid-19 a persistent threat in the U.S., online learning is here to stay for the foreseeable future. But what was once envisioned as a last resort — sending kids home with a laptop and hoping for the best—has shown some surprising benefits.

Remote learning offers not only flexibility for kids, but convenience and comfort. I recently saw a Twitter thread about a teacher telling a child he could not eat a snack while distance learning in his own home. His mother insisted that the hungry child be allowed to eat.

In elementary school, I was given 15 minutes to…


What’s the big deal?

Photo by Eric Han via Unsplash

There are plenty of traditions when it comes to a wedding. White dress? Check. Cake? Of course. Changing my last name? Not so fast.

When I was a kid, I always assumed I’d change my last name to my husband’s. It was expected, after all. Teachers would marry and go from “Miss Smith” to “Mrs. Jones” over the summer. Every woman in my family changed her last name when she married.

But a few years into my career, I realized I liked my name the way it was. I didn’t see the appeal of erasing my old identity.

A friend…


Acronyms optional

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Until now, I have spent my entire adult life trying not to get pregnant, so it is a complete 180 to say I went off birth control.

How did this happen? The stars aligned: Our debt finally went down, not up. And more importantly, I finally felt ready.

Other factors are at play: my ob-gyn pointing out that my age is getting close to 35. My parents and in-laws aren’t getting any younger, either, and I want my kid to know all of his or her grandparents — something I didn’t get to experience.

I also made it no secret…

Ellie Daforge

Article writer, aspiring YA novelist & health scientist.

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