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Link Roundup: Serengeti Wild Dogs, Disrupting The Wedding Industry, Poor Air Quality In The UK & More

A woman blogging on a gray laptop near a window on a wooden table, A large bag is next to her.

Happy Sunday! I hope you can get outside, even if it’s freezing, just to get some fresh air. My son is with Grandma and I got to bed early last night, so I’m feeling pretty good for someone who got up at 6am with a back ache.

This week was pretty busy as far as work and this blog goes. I uploaded some new craft supplies to Etsy, listed a new Spring-themed ring for sale on this website, and I learned that mind mapping really is the best way to outline blog posts.

With my free time before my son woke up, I looked through my Feedly feeds and found some posts and articles that you all might like to read. So, let’s see what’s going on in the world:

Why did Serengeti’s wild dogs disappear? Study challenges controversial hypothesis

A big tree and blue skies on the African serengeti
African wild dogs disappeared from the Serengeti. Why?

In 1991, the African wild dogs that lived in Serengeti National Park disappeared. The original hypothesis of what happened is that the researchers caused this by handling the wild dogs, fitting them with radio collars and taking blood samples. It was thought that all this handling compromised their immune systems, leaving them susceptible to rabies.

A new study challenges that hypothesis, though. Wild dogs to the east of the park that were exposed to the same stresses didn’t face the same fate.

The study’s authors think that it’s more likely that competition with the growing numbers of lions and hyenas caused the disappearance of the African wild dogs.

Why is the wedding industry so hard to disrupt?

bride and groom in a beautiful field.
Wedding startups fail more often than not. Why?

There have been surprisingly few wedding startups since the dawn of the internet, and even fewer successful ones. Zola and The Knot are two success stories, but what makes the wedding industry so impervious to outsiders?

The wedding industry is known for being rigid, but it has changed to fit in with our online world. Pinterest, for instance, has said that 40 million people use its service to plan a wedding every year.

The whims of Google and SEO have tanked some startups, and the successful ones like The Knot are probably selling your emails to advertisers to stay afloat.

In my mind, there’s just so many parts to a wedding and people prefer them to be integral and working together. Startups that focus on just one aspect of a wedding probably won’t make much money, but going broad will require more money, a larger team, and a better strategy. It’s just a hard industry to break into.

Poor air quality found at over 2,000 sites across the UK

Smoke stacks billowing from an industrial building.
Air quality is only getting worse. How do we fix that?

Pollution is getting worse the world over. There are some efforts to clean up around the UK, but there are still 2,000 areas in the UK with alarming numbers in air quality. It’s a health issue, especially since nitrogen dioxide is one of the main culprits. Nitrogen Dioxide irritates the lungs and creates breathing issues.

How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business

A cell phone sitting on top of a gray laptop on a wooden table
Which social media site is best for your business?

My social media plan right now focuses almost entirely on Pinterest. That’s not to say everyone should do the same, though. This infographic will help you choose the right social media website for your needs.

How Financial Gurus Make Money

A dollar bill on a white to gray background
Are all financial gurus just scammers?

“Show me $1 and I’ll show you 10 “money gurus” who claim they can turn it into $2.”

Financial gurus are ruining the internet, and they might be ruining your wallet, too. Sure, there are some good ones out there, but most are experts in only one thing: making money off of you.

This article is a lesson to not trust every expert that walks your way, even if they really are experts. Experts don’t always have good morals.

How to Outsmart the Most Common Money Scams

A man holding out a jar of colorful money
Scammers are everywhere. How do you keep your money safe?

Speaking of bad morals, you need to learn how to avoid these scams. Anyone can fall prey to a money scam, so it pays to be prepared.

Ship Baby Supplies to Your Vacation Destination

A toddler walking on the beach in only a diaper with blue skies behind him
How do you stock up on baby supplies for your vacation?

Going on vacay with a baby is hard. It’s more like moving than a week away.

A better idea might be use Amazon Prime or some other shipping service to send what you need to your destination. Less to pack, less to worry about!

Stop Recycling Plastic Bottles Without Caps On

A pile of recycling condensed and squished into a brick
Recycling has a lot of rules to get it right

There are a lot of rules about what plastic you can and can’t recycle. Here’s a new rule: recycle your bottles with the cap on.

“So what’s the right way to recycle a plastic water bottle? First, remove the cap and crunch the bottle up from the base until most of the air is removed. Screw the cap back on, then toss the bottle in the recycling bin!”

People with chronic pain are coping with the help of Pinterest, new study reveals

A man hunched over in pain in grayscale or black and white
Medicine isn’t the only way to deal with chronic pain

Self care and pain management tips on Pinterest are actually helping people with chronic pain! It’s a sad fact that medical intervention often falls short with chronic pain, so spreading different techniques of dealing with it through Pinterest is a great thing to do.

Should Google Treat Fossil Fuel Companies Like It Treats Tobacco & Firearm Companies?

An image from NASA of the earth from space with lights flashing
Should fossil fuel companies be treated like an enemy of the people?

Fossil fuel companies are marketing power houses with a ton of money to throw behind propaganda and advertising. Should Google and social media companies hold them accountable for spreading false information that could lead to climate change denial or otherwise further the harm to the environment? Should fossil fuel companies be blacklisted from buying advertising like firearm companies are?

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The BEST Slime Supplies To Have On Hand

A photo of pastel colored sugar cubes made from resin on a burlap cloth with cherry print. The sugar cubes are very cute and colored pastel pink, pastel blue, pastel green, and yellow.
Watermelon fimo charms, kiwi fimo charms, lemon fimo charms, fruit fimo charms for slime on a burlap cloth
Cute fimo fruit slices that look great when added to slime – click to buy on Etsy

Even the best recipe requires the right ingredients! If you want to make slime, no matter what recipe you use, you need to have supplies ready.

You wouldn’t make a chicken pot pie without chicken or pie crusts, would you? No way! So don’t think you can get away with making slime without glue, borax, or other necessary ingredients.

You’ll want to keep your pantry stocked with the supplies I’ve listed below. That way, you’ll be ready for a rainy day when your kids are bored and you want to get them into an educational activity!

Of course, I suggest wearing a smock or apron while making slime, because it can get messy. And to save your floors, line your experiment area with newspaper or plastic.

But wait… What are the benefits of making slime?!

Is it not enough that it’s super fun and satisfying? Alright, alright. Here are the awesome benefits of making slime with your kids:

Tiny ducks, whales and rabbits made from resin. Blue ducks, yellow ducks, white ducks, pink ducks, blue whales, white whales, and white rabbits. They are in cups on a pink floor. Kawaii animals for slime.
These tiny duck charms are perfect for slime!
  • Making and playing with slime is a sensory play activity. That means that you’re engaging and learning about all 5 of your senses. You can smell any scents that you add. You see the pretty colors. You hear the gross farting noise that slime makes when you squish it. You touch the slime and feel its texture, whether it’s creamy like cloud slime or bumpy like crunchy slime. And if you make edible slime, you can taste it, too!
  • Making slime helps to build creativity and allows you to learn through exploration. When you add glitter, dye, and charms, you’re essentially making a unique work of art. And everything you add changes how the slime feels or how it acts when you touch it.
  • Playing with slime encourages the development of fine motor skills and coordination, and making slime does that while you’re mixing and adding ingredients, too!
  • Slime is messy play with easy clean up. Getting messy is great for children, and it really helps them to unleash their creativity.
  • Slime introduces kids to the fun side of science and chemistry. That’s right: all those things you add together to make slime creates a chemical reaction that makes slime so fun to play with!
  • Making slime together is a great way to bond with your kids. You can both laugh and play with the satisfying toy, and mix interesting new themed slimes together.
  • Squishing slime relieves stress! Kids these days are more stressed than ever, and psychologists have even found slime to be helpful for kids dealing with anxiety or depression. Slime just might be a great addition to a time-out corner to help a kid in meltdown mode to center themselves again.
  • Squishing and playing with slime might help picky eaters! Some picky eaters have a hard time processing different textures. Exposure therapy can help, and slime has a funny texture that might gross out your kids at first. But as they warm up to playing with slime, you might find they open up to eating different foods again.
  • Slime helps to teach descriptive language. You can help your kids describe what they see, hear, feel, and smell as they play with their slime. Is it cold? Is the slime shiny? Is it bumpy slime?

So what supplies do you need to make slime?

At its essence, slime only requires a few supplies.

The simplest slime recipe looks like this:

  • 1/2 cup of school glue
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid starch
  • 1/2 cup of water

That’s it!

But the simplest slime isn’t always the most fun. If you want to be able to make awesome slime with different themes, here are the slime supplies you need to stock up on:

A slime recipe

The best slime recipes are the ones that have cool themes! Here are some great slime recipe ideas:

Glue

Any school glue will do, and you can get glue in huge gallon jugs online! You can usually save a lot of money (and plastic waste!) when you buy in bulk like that, plus you’ll always know you have some ready for making slime.

Slime activators

Slime activators are a substance that chemically reacts with the glue to turn it into slime!

Here are the different kinds of slime activators:

A photo of pastel colored sugar cubes made from resin on a burlap cloth with cherry print. The sugar cubes are very cute and colored pastel pink, pastel blue, pastel green, and yellow.
Add these pastel sugar cubes to your slime!
  • Borax. Borax is banned in some countries, but if you have it you can add it to water and mix in a little at a time to create your slime.
  • Liquid laundry detergent. Slowly add it in.
  • Contact lens solution and baking soda. These are both easy to find ingredients to use as an activator!

Slime add ins

This is the fun part! What you mix in with your slime will give it personality! Here are some super fun ideas:

One of my favorite add ins to mix into slime is chocolate slime charms. I sell a few different versions, but chocolate slime charms are very popular with customers and are perfectly cute and sweet!

Slime storage

If you want to keep your slime for longer than just one play session, you’ll want airtight containers. You can use tupperware or ziplock bags, but you will want more decorative slime containers if you plan on selling or gifting your slime. I offer round or heart shaped slime containers on Etsy.

Mixing Supplies

Spoons and bowls will be helpful when you’re mixing your slime!

Water

Available from your tap, water is part of most slime recipes, so be ready to grab some when needed.

Do you have the necessary slime supplies in stock?

With just a few simple supplies, you can turn a boring afternoon indoors into a slime party! Remember, making slime has a ton of benefits from educational to sensory to emotional, so don’t be afraid to dive right in. Start making slime now to reap the benefits!

If you’re out of supplies, I carry slime supplies on my Etsy shop. I also wrote a blog post about must have craft supplies.

Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends so they can start making slime, too!

In the comments: What kind of slime will you make first? Share a recipe or photo of your slime below!

A cute green monster smiling while wearing a graduation cap with text that reads, "How do kids benefit from making slime"
How do kids benefit from making slime? It helps them learn cool science concepts!
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Instagram Is Rolling Out A Pinterest Copycat: A New Collections Feature

Pinterest does a lot of things right that other social media does wrong. Among those things is being able to collect images that other users post and use them to market your own work.

Instagram is trying to crib Pinterest’s style with a new public collections feature. There’s no news on when this feature will be available to the public, but there is some information about what it will be like, and how useful it may be for those of us that run businesses.

One interesting feature is that you’ll be able to add contributors to your collections to help fill them out. Though we should also hope there will be a way to report abusive collections. These can be powerful tools for both good and bad actors online.

This new feature was found by Jane Manchun Wong in some hidden code inside of public collections. Perhaps most interesting about this is that they seem to have started working on this new public collections feature the same day that Pinterest filed an IPO. Instagram has already “defeated” Snapchat. So is Pinterest the next target on their radar?

There currently isn’t any mention of following collections so that they’ll show up on your timeline, but it’s surely just a matter of time.

So, why is Instagram doing this now? They’ve made it clear that shopping is a core part of its strategy to make money. Public collections with multiple contributors can help with this, allowing brands to launch virtual stores and collaborative stores.

Instagram has a much larger user base (1 billion active monthly users as compared to 250 million). The closer they get to all of Pinterest’s best features, the more likely they are to overtake Pinterest as the place to go to find products to buy.

The biggest issue, though, is that Pinterest still beats them as a search engine. I’m not sure Instagram is even interested in doing that, but I’m sure Pinterest execs are eyeing this change to collections and wondering what their next move should be.

Do you already use collections? How do you see yourself using this new feature when it rolls out?

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Guests are on the way! Quick, what should you clean?

In an ideal world, we would all keep our houses clean 24/7. In an ideal world, we would all have a live-in maid, too. This isn’t an ideal world, folks!

Sometimes, we get a phone call and learn that a friend is 15 minutes away and heading to your house, and let’s be honest: we all panic. The house is a mess! Surely if your friend sees how you really live, they’ll call child protective services and then call the loony bin to come pick you up!

It’s time to prioritize and clean only the things that your guests will notice. Here’s your plan of attack:

The Toilet

Get this one done ASAP! No one wants to see crusty hair behind the toilet seat and smell what your husband left behind when he missed the bowl at 4am.

Put on your gloves, grab some wipes or paper towels, and clean your toilet from cleanest to grossest. The tank gets cleaned first, then the flush handle. Follow up with the toilet seat cover, and then the rest can basically go in any order.

Finish up with some bleach or vinegar in the bowl and a swish with the toilet brush. Ah, that’s better! Take a sigh of relief.

The Kitchen Sink

Get the dishes done! No one wants to wash their hands over the food you ate for breakfast and lunch.

Once the dishes are done, clean out the drain trap and then clean the sink itself. The sink can harbor more bacteria than your toilet, so you need to disinfect this baby. Including the faucet!

The Trash Can

This is the one that gets me every time. I always forget to take out the trash before my guests arrive, and it always seems to be overflowing no matter how much I try to be zero waste!

So take out the trash. It’ll get rid of some of the stink that your nose has gotten used to, and will make a huge difference in how your house looks.

General Smells

Now is the time to remove anything that stinks and maybe light up a candle or start some essential oils on a warmer. Don’t assume that just because you don’t smell anything, no one else does. Nose blindness is a thing, and the smells you live in are invisible to you!

Declutter

Last but not least, use the last few minutes before your guests arrive to declutter what you can. Just hide it for now, you can really clean it up after your guests leave.

I like to have a big wicker basket to hold clutter until I’m ready to put it where it belongs. It’s easier to deal with things in a portable basket than to run back and forth between rooms.

Tips

  • Do you still have a few seconds before your guests arrive? Change your hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom. You don’t want to accidentally get your guests sick by neglecting this!
  • Put away the shoes. At our house, shoes accumulate by the front door no matter what kind of solution I use to hide them, so do a sweep to make sure all shoes are put away and hopefully not stinking up the place as your guests arrive.
  • Prioritize what you clean. What that means will be different for everyone. I would be really embarrassed if my guests saw my kitchen with dishes overflowing and the island covered with random crap, so that’s the first thing I tackle.
  • Close doors to rooms that won’t be used. Your guests don’t need to see your bedroom or office, so shut those doors and worry about cleaning those rooms another day!

We live in a world where we are too busy and too tired to clean the whole house every day. That’s why it’s important to prioritize what you’ll be cleaning and how much it will get cleaned before guests arrive!

What do you clean when guests are on their way?