How to Decorate Your House Mooch Style


As many of you know, my husband and I bought a house a few months ago. The best thing about having your own place is that you can decorate it however you want. You could paint all the walls black if you wanted and wouldn’t have to worry about the landlord getting mad.

As you can tell from everything I do, I’m the epitome of style and taste. That’s why I’m sure you’ll love these interior design tips I’m about to share with you. My style and a sense of design come naturally, but with practice you could be equally as stylish.

Choosing a wall color …

The color of your walls is important because you will have to look at them all the time. That’s why it’s best that you not choose a color that will burn out your retina. When shopping for a wall color, I suggest going to your local home improvement store–I like Home Depot–and roaming around the paint section. Look at the sample chips. Choose a color that won’t make you barf every time you see it. Take a sample home to test out on your walls, and then do nothing. Hopefully, your walls will paint themselves one day.

Choosing an area rug …

When you have hardwood or tile floors it’s nice to have an area rug to help tie the room together. Use the colors in the rug to bring out key elements in your design. I haven’t found a rug I like yet. That’s my my rooms keep falling apart.

Arranging furniture …

Furniture is an important aspect of design. After all a room without furniture is just a …. room. Choose furniture that fits your style. My style is thank-you-so-much-for-giving-me-that-chair-you-were-going-to-throw-away.

Once you have the furniture you want, it’s time to start arranging it. I find the best arrangement is shoved up against the wall. That way you have space in the center of the room to do important things like breakdance.

Hanging art …

Consider hanging art on the walls, then don’t. It’s not worth the effort of getting out a hammer and nails.

Follow these tips and your house might be featured in Home and Garden Magazine one day.

How to be the Life of the Party Every Time

partyI have a pretty big announcement for you. I went to a party yesterday. I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but I’m patting myself on the back. Wait there’s more … I went to a party, and I smiled, and I may have even talked to two people I didn’t really know. Amazing, isn’t it?

Now that I have all this partying and socializing stuff down, I thought it would be good to help some of you out by giving you some handy dandy advice you can use at the next social gathering you attend.

1. Arrive late. Nothing says cool like showing up at least an hour late. Being late lets people know that you really aren’t that eager to please. You have other things to do and haven’t spent the whole day sitting around worrying about having to attend this party. If you want to look even cooler show up with your parents in tow and mascara smeared under your eyes.

2. Sit away from the crowd. This makes you stand out drawing people over to speak to you. Sitting a few yards from the other people at the party is good. It’s even better if you sit by the fire pit alone right in the path of all the smoke. People will think, “Who is that fascinating person sitting by the fire pit shrouded in mystery? I must get to know her.”

3. Eat and drink as much as you can. If you have food in your mouth or a cup at your lips no one really expects you to say anything. Taking a sip of your drink during awkward silences does a lot to ease tension. Even better, eat something red and spill it on your favorite white shirt. This will give you an excuse to hide in the bathroom for a few minutes under the guise of removing a stain.

4. Nod and smile. Conversations will most probably happen around you. At parties this is hard to avoid. If someone starts speaking in your general direction nod and smile while avoiding eye contact. It doesn’t matter what they say. Just nod and smile. It works in every situation.

“Hi. I’m Laura. I don’t think we’ve met. What’s your name?”

Nod and smile while sticking a large forkful of beet salad into your mouth. Be sure to let some beet juice dribble down your chin onto your shirt. Now you have the perfect reason to excuse yourself.

5. Leave early without saying goodbye. Face it. Nobody really wants to say goodbye to you. You smell of smoke and have beet juice splattered on your shirt. Besides, they’re all deeply engrossed in conversation. It’s best if you just slip out the door without a word. If someone notices you leaving avoid eye contact and move a bit faster. They probably won’t be able to catch you before you make it to your car.

Now that you know how it’s done you too can be the life of any party. Keep these tips a secret. Not everyone can be as popular and charming as we are.

Picture by Kiwi Morado.

Accomplish Your Goals in Ten Easy Steps

beyonceGoals are important, right? I mean, how else would you ever have any hope of winning a Nobel Peace Prize if you didn’t set and accomplish your goals. I’m not sure what categories they give Nobel Peace Prizes for, but I know they still haven’t accepted my Sitting on Your Butt Whilst Looking at Pictures of Kittens Online idea for an award yet. I know the competition would be fierce, but I’m pretty sure that if I were nominated for that one I would win. I put a ton of effort in. You can tell because my backside has flattened into the shape of a well worn pillow–not that I’m asking your to look at my backside or anything. Actually, ignore all that stuff about my backside.

Anyway, back to goals. Every good personal development junky knows that there are steps to accomplishing any goal. Since you’re wasting time reading this blog and not a personal development blog I thought you might need a little assistance in figuring out how to accomplish your goals. I’ve done all the reading so you don’t have to.

1. Really, really want it. I really, really want to be Beyonce Knowles. Some might think that goal is a bit lofty, but really it isn’t. I don’t actually want to be Beyonce. That would be impossible, duh. One of the most important things about setting a goal is making sure that you set one that is plausible. I just want to be an international recording sensation who is a great singer and dances around in front of audiences of thousands in a leather leotard. That is totally realistic.

2. See yourself getting it. Some people might think that singing and dancing lessons would be in order for me to accomplish this goal, but I’ve decided that imagining myself being able to sing and dance is good enough. I’ve decided to skip right to the part where I buy a leather leotard. Leather doesn’t really have much give. I don’t understand how cows walk around in like this all day.

3. Plan it out. The leather leotard wasn’t really working out, but that’s okay because I’m flexible–unlike the leotard. I’ve committed myself to a rigorous schedule of practicing poses in the mirror. I need to get ready for all the photo shoots I’ll be doing.

4. Tell everybody. Nothing helps you stick to a goal like the possible humiliation you’ll feel if everyone you know finds out you failed. That’s why I’ve decided to get a few T-shirts made that say, “That’s right suckers. You’re looking at the next pop icon.” I had one made for everyday of the week. I’ll dress them up for formal occasion. I don’t actually have to say anything about my goal. Everyone I meet will read it.

5. Give yourself a timeline. I’m thinking that I can pull this off in about six weeks. A month wouldn’t be nearly enough time. I have to get a record deal, record an album, and complete at least one world tour in front of thousands of adoring fans before I can consider my goal accomplished. I figure six weeks should be plenty of time.

6. Remind yourself daily. When I’m not looking at pictures of kittens online, I look at pictures of Beyonce. The dream is so close.

7. Feel frustrated and have a tantrum. So one week has passed, I still haven’t become internationally known and my leather leotard is chaffing, so I decided to break a lamp in a hotel room. Then I knocked over a guy with a camera. He could’ve been a paparazzi. It was a little bit of a tantrum and a little bit practice. These skills could be useful in the future.

8. Forgive yourself and start again. I still have a few more weeks so I thought I’d revise my plan and start again. The posing in the mirror probably isn’t useful. I’ve decided to take Morris Dancing classes instead because I think I’ll be able to bring it back in vogue.

9. Move your deadline back. I’m starting to think six weeks isn’t enough time. I’ll give myself eight weeks instead. That should be sufficient.

10. Curse out your friends when they ask, “Hey, I thought you were going to be an internationally known recording star by now. What ever happened to that?” They’re just jealous of your leather leotard.

Photo by Luiz Fernando / Sonia Maria.

Cheeseburger Trees and Lychees

SONY DSCNow that we have a house, I’m looking forward to planting some food around it. No, I don’t mean I’m going to bury a cheeseburger in the backyard. A cheeseburger tree would be interesting and I’m sure it would make us the most popular house on the street, but I was thinking more along the lines of fruit and veggies.

We went to the garden festival the other day, where I nabbed a lychee tree. I just love lychees and they are quite expensive. If I can get a tree to produce some fruit that will be mighty exciting. The problem is that I have a bit of a brown thumb. I used to say that I walk into a room and the plants wither and die, but I’ve decided to change my thinking a bit. I mean, you are with you think, and if I think I have a green thumb, I’ll have a green thumb.

When I go to bed at night I imagine that my thumbs are a lovely shamrock shade of green, and that I just look at plants and they start growing, flowering, and producing fruit. My technique seems to be working with the Mona Lavender I have. It’s turning into a regular shrub. I should probably put it in a bigger pot or plant it outside.

All of my visualization and positive thinking has helped, but I think what helped the most is actually reading the instructions. If you look up how to care for a plant and simply follow the instructions, it’s actually quite easy. Who knew? All this time I thought plant people had mystical powers. Apparently, the only power they had was the ability to follow instructions. So I’ve set aside my old ways, the ways that made my kefir making go horribly wrong, and I’ve started following instructions … at least for this week.

I Started Eating the Frog

morningWhen I almost read the book Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy I realized that I had to make some changes in my life in order to achieve my goals. In the book, Tracy says that contrary to popular opinion the legs are not the only delicious part of a frog. In fact, deep-fried frog lips are particularly good when dipped in a lovely honey mustard sauce. Wait … wrong book. In the book Tracy says you should do the most difficult tasks first thing in the morning. That way you can start your day with a good dose of frustration. Once you’ve completed that hard task the rest of your day is easy.

I’ve taken this concept to heart. That’s why after I roll out of bed at nine in the morning, I pretend to do some yoga. Health should be your number one priority, and you know what they say, fake it until you make it. I’m just wondering how many years you have to fake it before you get Angela Bassett’s biceps. I’ve been pretending to do yoga since college and I still have those flabby arm wings. I swear I’ve had grandma arms since I was eight years old.

Once I’ve gotten my exercise out of the way, I’m ready to retire to the indentation on the right side of the couch that 15 hours of daily sitting has left. I’ve read that too much sitting will kill me. According to my calculations, I’m already dead, so I guess a little more sitting won’t hurt anything.

First, I do the Tweeting on the Twitter. Despite having a Twitter account for years, I’m still not quite sure what to do with it. Then there is so much Facebooking to get done. All of these tasks are of course extremely important and stretch my brain capabilities nearly to the limit. How am I expected to continue on with the day without knowing what’s going on in the lives of people I barely know?

After the hard stuff is done, I can move on to easier tasks, like writing this blog post or editing the new Best of Nebulous Mooch collection that will be coming out next month. I’ve been telling everyone (everyone means my husband) that I was going to put together a collection of greatest hits from the Mooch for years now. Well, because I’ve decided to start doing the hard things first every morning, I’m finally getting that done.

I Have Ringworm …


I swear that horse gave me ringworm out of spite. I developed a rash on my forearm soon after my adventures horseback riding. I know the last thing you want to hear about it my rash, but too bad.

It was a patch of itchy skin about the size of a quarter just above my right wrist. I tried ignoring it for a few weeks, but suddenly I started to wonder if it was more serious than just a small rash. After doing some online sleuthing and intense worrying, I decided that I must have ringworm.

Those horses will act like everything is cool. “Hey there Missy, hop on my back and I’ll give you a ride around my stables for an hour. Come on. It’ll be fun,” they say. In reality it’s all just a scheme to give you ringworm. I’m hip to their game and they’ll never get me again, that’s for sure.

Once I knew the ailment I could easily figure out a treatment. Ringworm is a fungal infection on the skin. So I broke out my favorite anti-fungal tasty treat–extra virgin coconut oil. I put it on the rash three times a day. After doing this for only a day I decided to add some tea tree oil, another anti-fungal, to the mix. I’ve been alternating coconut oil and tea tree oil on the rash for the past three days and it’s practically gone away already.

Note: I wonder why they call it ringworm when it doesn’t involve a worm at all. It would be so much more terrible if it were a big earthworm under you skin.

Another Note: There is some controversy amongst my family because they seem to think I just had a rash of some sort and not ringworm, but what do they know? I’m the one that spent an entire day reading about ringworm when I should’ve been working. None of them have shown such commitment to learning about any fungi.

Photo by Ephemeral Scrap

My Writing Process in 10 Easy Steps

novelI’m sure you already know that I’ve written two novels. I’m actually working on a third one right now. I know a lot of people who think they want to write a novel, but find it difficult to get started. Here at the Mooch I like to help you out, so I’m going to give you a window into my writing process.

In order to complete a novel, you must be dedicated and focused. Don’t let my incredible work ethic intimidate you though. One of the major secrets to writing a novel is just getting on with it. Here are my ten step to writing a quality novel.

1. Check your email, Facebook account, and Twitter account.

2. Find some good music to listen to. The music must be perfect and that requires scrolling through your entire music library.

3. Make a cup of tea. Nothing helps you get work done better than a cup of tea.

4. Decide the tea made you too hot and get a glass of water. It’s important that you fill yourself up with plenty of liquids because nothing helps you focus more than a full bladder.

5. Check real estate sites for new houses for sale in your area and fantasize about how much more work you’ll be able to get done when you finally buy a house.

6. Check the SPCA site for pets available for adoption and decide which ones you’ll adopt once you get your new house.

7. Scan real estate sites again and feel really frustrated.

8. Open your word processing program.

9. Check the You Tube channels you subscribe to and watch all of the new videos. Now watch additional funny videos like this one.

10. Open the file you’re working on and write a few paragraphs before starting again from step one.

Photo by mpclemens

The Rules of Speeding

Now that I’m in the States and driving again, I’m reminded that I come from a family with a rare genetic condition called lead foot. While I’ve been trying to keep mine under wraps by only driving when no one else was in the car to notice, the other day my stepson bore witness to my problem.

I know speed limits are a good idea. They keep us safe and all that, but they also tend to generally slow one down. I understand the problem that Sammy Hagar lamented in the song I Can’t Drive 55. I would change the lyrics to I can’t drive 65, especially on a bridge.

In Pinellas County we have a lot of bridges or causeways. I’m not sure what the difference is between a bridge and a causeway, and I’m too lazy to look it up. My guess is that a causeway is a bridge that is so dangerously close to the water’s surface that in bad weather the waves threaten to splash up onto the road.

Anyway, in my estimation you can drive at least 10 miles over the speed limit on a bridge or causeway. Everyone knows that once your car is over water anything goes. Everyone expect the police officers that are always trying to pull people over for speeding on the bridge. Don’t they know that that’s dangerous!

Anyway the increased speed limit on the bridge is well known. People in souped up Honda Civics roar past me all the time on the bridge. It is an unwritten rule of driving. My husband would tell you that it’s so unwritten that I made it up, but he’d be wrong. So let’s say the speed limit is 65 which every one knows really means that you can safely drive between 70 and 75 without expecting to get a ticket from any reasonable police officer. That means that once you’re over water you can drive between 80 and 85 and it’s totally legal. I’d probably have difficulty explaining this to a cop if I get pulled over though.

Photo by dlofink

Five Steps to Make Sure Your Blog Gets No Traffic

Here at the Mooch I like to help you achieve your goals so I decided to write this useful how-to post. Why spend a bunch of time writing a blog when you know that tons of people might read it? Who wants that anyway? That’s why I have carefully developed this fool-proof method to make sure you get the least amount of traffic to your blog as possible. These techniques are tested and proven to work.

Step One:

Spend time everyday researching how to get more traffic on your blog. Write down the steps you’re going to take. Set aside time everyday to complete these steps. Spend the time you’ve set aside watching amazing videos of sleeping puppies on You Tube.

Loose your list of steps.

Step Two:

On an old envelope, write a list of blogs you can write guest posts for to attract more visitors. Throw the envelope away when you’re cleaning your desk.

Step Three:

Accidentally do something that doubles your blog traffic. Notice it when you check your traffic stats and marvel. Never ever do that thing again. When your husband asks you about it tell him to be quiet.

Step Four:

Join a popular blog network. Talk about how much traffic you’ll get from joining the network. Once you’re approved don’t even bother to log into your account. Promptly forget your user name and password for the network. When your husband asks you about it say, “Don’t you have an instrument you should be practicing right now?”

Step Five:

Whenever anyone mentions your blog look the other way and promptly change the subject.

The Lovelyn Method Vision Improvement Program

When I was in fourth grade I got my first pair of glasses. I still remember the first day I wore them to school. I was so shocked by how clear everything looked. All that time I’d thought that everyone else saw the world in blurry shapes just like I did. I remember saying to my mother, “Wow! Trees aren’t just blobs of green. They have individual leaves.”

I wasn’t the kid who desperately wanted to get rid of my glasses so I could be one of the cool girls. I though glasses were cool. I thought I looked great in them. That is until my husband got lasik eye surgery.

I would never get an eye operation. Just mentioning eye operations now is making my eyes tear up, but I don’t want to wear my glasses any more. I’ve decided to deal with this problem by trying Bates Exercises.

The Bates Method is a series of exercises that are supposed to improve your eyesight. The theory is that the muscles around your eyes can change the shape of your eyes to improve your ability to focus. Bates developed a series of eye exercise you could do to train the muscles around your eyes improving your vision.

I decided to start doing these exercises. Well, that’s not exactly the truth. I’ve decided to make up my own exercises because I’m too lazy to look up what the Bates Exercises actually ¬†are. I also really like making things up, like stories, dances and dessert recipes. My made-up cookies are pretty darn good, I think I could accomplish equally good results with made up eye exercises.

When I’m in the car with my husband at night I take off my glasses and concentrate really hard on seeing. I’m not driving when I do this my husband is. It’s a good thing too because as soon as I take off my glasses all I can see is a bunch of streaky lights that look like snow flakes. I’ve put myself on a strict eye exercise routine. My husband says that the exercises just look like I’m making a really serious face, but that’s because he can’t see the tiny movements that are actually going on in my eye muscles. I do this for about 1 minute twice a week.

Is it working? Of course it is. Now when I walk around without glasses, I can see slightly more detailed blobs of color in the distance. Okay, that’s not true either, but I figure that if I pretend it’s working it will work…eventually.