When the growing pile of Amazon boxes stops being relatable and starts indicating a problem.

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The brown tower of Amazon boxes in the garage grew taller than me. As the stack seemed to enlarge on its own, I proceeded to lose track of what the boxes contained. Surely, one of the cardboard rectangles held a Christmas gift for my brother. Another contained a new hair product for my curly-haired daughter. And somewhere in the pile, my automatic subscription for concealer awaited an unboxing.

We live in an era of online shopping. Each hour, Amazon averages roughly $17 million in sales. Digital shopping is a ubiquitous part of our culture that has changed the way we…

Finally, research has discovered the healthy side of being sedentary.

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When I am hard at work writing or editing, my body sits idle. When it’s time to rest my weary mind, I zone out on the couch and scroll through my phone, still as ever. And when I must tend to the household chores like grocery shopping, I don’t move an inch and order our weekly food for delivery.

COVID-19 and its resulting quarantine have dramatically stalled our previous routine activities. The full impact of this global increase in sedentary behavior is yet to be thoroughly studied because the total impact of COVID-19 is also yet to be known. But…

Set realistic financial expectations to have a long, successful blogging career.

Image from Adobe Stock, licensed for use by the author.

You love words. You have a knack for putting them in a certain special order to express ideas and build strong narratives. You can harness this superpower to make millions. From the beach, from the bar, you can earn passive income even if you end up spending a weekend in a holding cell. You could be a successful blogger, just commit to it.

I can’t even make it through half a scroll without coming across these fantastical, inspirational articles about making millions from blogging. They are everywhere, selling the dream of liberation from a capitalist society through the typed word…

Left unnegotiated, kill fees can dig a freelancer’s grave

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My first kill fee was pretty fatal. It happened after I wrote a story for a major national print magazine. When I say major, I mean this would be my biggest byline (at the time) ever.

I spent months interviewing, researching, and building trust with my sources. When I filed the story, the response email did not come from the enthusiastic editor who assigned me the story. A stranger, a new editor with new ideas on the direction of this section of the magazine, wrote me back with fatal news for my piece.

She wrote that my topic was important…

MTV’s marketing campaign would say … yes.

pregnant woman
pregnant woman
Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

Teens are becoming pregnant at half the rate they were in 2009, thanks to the reality TV franchise 16 and Pregnant. At least, that’s what MTV and the media conglomerate Viacom claim.

I was 16 years old when the MTV show 16 and Pregnant aired. Initially, the show was a glimpse into an alternate reality for me: What could possibly happen if I became pregnant as a teen? What started as a hypothetical fascination evolved into a voyeuristic, one-sided friendship with a group of women who stayed with the network on Teen Mom for more than ten years.

Not to…

Photo by Gérôme Bruneau on Unsplash

Sunflowers aren’t just for brightening up your Instagram. This radiant flower has long been used worldwide for its varied healing benefits.

Note: These are general wellness tips and should not be used to replace a consultation with your doctor.

The common sunflower (Helianthos annus) is so beautiful, it’s no wonder we named it after our celestial life force the sun. From skin treatments to heart health, there’s so much to benefit from beneath those pretty yellow petals.

1. Cooking with Sunflower Oil for Heart Health

A look at how vampires have sunk their fangs into the vein of human sensuality since before written record.

Seductive and fatal, vampires have long enchanted their way into popular culture and our collective psyche. Take Edward Cullen from the Twilight saga, a pallid, forlorn teenager who not only falls for the new girl in school but has an irresistible blood lust for her. Twilight fans ravenously consumed the vampire media, and New Moon broke box office midnight opening records with $26.3 million. Fans broke that record again when Eclipse was released and earned $30 million the first night. Even from behind the theater screen, it appears that vampires have the power to compel our behavior.

The popularity of…

For two weeks out of the year, lightning bugs in the Smoky Mountains transform from random twinkling lights to a single, pulsing illumination. The collective lighting from the tiny bugs shines on the mountainside forest in an enchanting bioluminescence.

These fireflies that synchronize their lights have become a natural phenomenon attraction, and people drive from all over to visit the park and witness the coordinated flashing. …

Robert Mueller requests the aid of the stout, mustached Belgian detective (just in case he gets fired/jailed/murdered, etc.)

look at this dynamic duo!!

MUELLER: Hercule, I want to thank you for investigating this election collusion. I fear I’m in danger of losing my position, if not something more fatal.

The little Belgian detective gently combs his enormous mustaches.

POIROT: Monsieur Mueller, it is my pleasure. I haven’t come across any spectacular murders in some time. Ah! I miss the days of ingenuity when people were killed according to calculation. Trapped on an island, murdered in order according to a racist children’s rhyme. You don’t find those anymore.

MUELLER: Yes, well… I just want to be su… You do know this is not a…

Madelyn Brown

Late college grad, Air Force vet, unhealthy amount of skepticism

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