10 Signs You’ve Outgrown the Need for a Nanny

olderkidsAfter going through the hassle of finding and securing the perfect in-home childcare provider, navigating through the adjustment phase and watching your children learn to love and trust their nanny, the last thing you want to do is let her go. The old adage holds that all good things must come to an end, though, and your working relationship with an incredible nanny is no exception. Children grow up, family dynamics evolve and the need for a nanny becomes less urgent. While you may not want to face the inevitable, these are 10 signs that you’ve outgrown your nanny.

  • All of Your Kids are Attending Full Day School – When you have one child that’s still staying at home all day and older ones that are in school, you can still justify the expense of keeping a full-time nanny on the payroll. If you’re home from work before school lets out and your youngest is starting full-time classes, it may be a sign that you’ve outgrown the need for a full-time childcare provider. You may still need her on a part-time or seasonal basis, but that’s likely not enough to justify her current salary or maintain her financial needs. However, for families who need consistent back-up care when school is closed and regular household help, keeping a nanny on can be a good solution.
  • Her Hours Have Steadily Dwindled – As kids get older and become more active outside the home, nannies’ schedules begin to become less hectic. If your nanny’s hours have dwindled to the point that working for you is no longer financially feasible, it’s a good indicator that your family is outgrowing her.
  • She’s a Newborn Care Specialist, and Your Child is a Preschooler – Some nannies are adept at working with kids of any age, while others specialize in infants and toddlers. If you know that you hired a newborn care specialist and your child is getting ready to start preschool, your child has outgrown the area of your nanny’s specialization.
  • The Eldest Sibling is Capable of Babysitting – While it’s never a good idea to leave kids under the care of a sitter that’s too young and inexperienced to handle the responsibility, it’s more reasonable from a financial standpoint to let your nanny go when your eldest child is a teenager who’s capable of watching a younger sibling for an hour or so during the gap when school ends and you get home. Just be sure that your teen is mature enough and willing to accept the responsibility, as your younger kids may be neglected by an older sibling who resents having to look after them.
  • Your Youngest is Old Enough to Look After Himself – Watching kids grow up and steadily become more independent is bittersweet. On one hand, it’s proof that you and your nanny have made a successful team, and that your child is growing into a capable and mature little person. On the other, it’s also proof that your little one is growing up, a fact that’s never easy to accept. When your youngest child has officially reached an age and maturity in which it’s acceptable for him to be left alone, he may not be too keen on the idea of still being cared for by a nanny.
  • Activities and Classes Keep Kids Away from Home – Today’s kids have schedules that are almost as full as their parents. If your youngsters are out of the home until you return and your nanny’s spending most of her day ferrying them back and forth to their various programs, it may be better to look into carpool collectives than to continue keeping your nanny on staff as a chauffeur.
  • She’s On Empty at the End of the Day – Older kids can drain childcare providers in a way that infants and toddlers don’t, and can be too much of a challenge for some nannies. It’s normal to be worn out at the end of the day, but if you feel that your nanny simply isn’t up to the challenge of keeping up with your active tots, it may be time to part ways so that you can find one more suited to the age group of your brood.
  • You’re Struggling to Keep Her Occupied – When kids spend most of their time at school or activities, your nanny’s schedule is wide open. It’s tempting to pile on the household chores, but remember that your nanny is a childcare provider, not a housekeeper. She’s probably not satisfied with cleaning your empty house all day, and moving on to another post with kids of a more appropriate age may be the best answer for her.
  • Your Family Dynamic Has Changed – Outgrowing your nanny doesn’t have to mean that your kids are too old for her. It can mean that your family has changed and grown in a way that doesn’t leave much demand for her services. If you or your partner has transitioned to working from home or you’re no longer working outside of the home, it may be time to consider letting her move on to a family who needs her.
  • Your Own Schedule Has Changed – Professional demands can change, and those changes can leave your need for a nanny significantly diminished. Coming to terms with the fact that you’ve outgrown your nanny may be difficult or even painful, especially if you’ve established a close relationship. Still, it’s best for everyone involved if you part ways so that she can move on to a more fulfilling position and you can save a bundle on her salary.

Just because your family has outgrown a nanny doesn’t mean that she’s outgrown her need for a salary, so be sure that you provide her with ample notice to find a new position and consider a generous severance package for her time of service to your family.

5 Ways Movie Reviews Are Helpful to Parents

familymoviesSummer may be the season for big-budget blockbusters, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t attractive and exciting features being released throughout the season that are sure to capture kids’ attention. Whether it’s part of a regular weekly tradition or something that’s an occasional treat, there’s something about a trip to the movies that kids of all ages can’t get enough of. Before you order those tickets and pile into the car to make a journey to the nearest multiplex, however, you might want to take a moment to read a few movie reviews. Once the darling of entertainment buffs, the number of film reviews from actual viewers rather than seasoned critics has increased dramatically since the advent of the Internet. These days, parents aren’t catching the latest big name critic’s review to plan their own night at the movies; they’re reading them before heading out to see family films with the kids. These are five of the reasons why you might want to join those ranks.

  • Ratings Can Be Misleading – In a perfect world, a movie with a G rating would be free of problematic content and a PG rating would indicate content that’s more complex, not more violent or risqué. Unfortunately, the Motion Picture Association of America keeps a tight lid on the criteria they use to determine ratings, so it’s not always easy to know why a certain film carries a specific rating. What you may consider wildly inappropriate for kids could get a rating of PG, while a relatively mild feature is saddled with a questionable PG-13 rating. By scanning a few reviews, you’ll be able to see what real parents have to say about the film they’ve already watched, allowing you to make your own determinations about whether the content is appropriate for your family or not.
  • Appropriateness for Kids is Subjective – Just as the MPAA has a mysterious rating system that isn’t always reliable for some families, not all films marketed as family-friendly are what they seem to some parents. If you have particularly strict religious views, for instance, a fantasy film with references to another spiritual system can be problematic for young children who aren’t able to separate fact from fiction. There are faith-based film review sites on the Internet that can make quick work of sussing out films that are acceptable for your family and those that aren’t. After reading them, you can then decide not to see a film with references that would be difficult for your child to understand or specific plot lines or scenes that may trigger feelings of anxiety or fear in your child.
  • Quality Determination – By the time you purchase tickets for the entire family, spring for the tub of popcorn and purchase everyone’s individual boxes of candy or drinks, you’re looking at a fairly hefty night out on the town. While most parents planning a night at the movies understand the costs and consider the investment a worthwhile one, those feelings are almost always contingent upon the movie in question being a decent one. In a sea of reboots, remakes, re-tellings and re-imaginings, however, you’re not always guaranteed to see an original concept, or even a very good film. Before you shell out big bucks to see a movie that leaves everyone feeling underwhelmed, take the time to read a few reviews or look at the viewer ratings. That way, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you’re taking a risk with your entertainment budget.
  • Ensuring a High-Value Experience – A perfect evening at the movies leaves everyone feeling excited or moved by the film they just spent the better part of two hours watching. Unfortunately, finding the perfect film experience is dependent largely upon your ability to find the perfect film. When busy release weekends flood the screens with several films claiming to be the next big family hit, sometimes the only way to make the wise choice and ensure your family’s enjoyment is to read the reviews first.
  • To Find Talking Points – If you haven’t read the books that a film franchise is based upon or aren’t familiar with promotional tie-ins, you may not know much about the movie your child is begging to see. That leaves you to come up with discussion points on the fly as you’re driving home, which can have mixed results. Reading a few spoiler-laden reviews might take some of the fun out of the movie for you, but they will give you an idea of what to expect and what topics will make for good family discussion after the film.

30 Blogs with the Best Info on Holistic Approaches to Dealing with Infertility

Millions of women in the United States suffer from problems either getting pregnant or staying pregnant. It is often the case, too, that traditional treatments, such as IVF, do not lead to a successful pregnancy for all patients. In an effort to improve their chances of conceiving a child, many couples are looking for a more holistic approach to increasing fertility. These 30 blogs cover a wide range of treatments, practices and theories on improving fertility in more natural ways.

Cleansing the Body and Energy Field

Sometimes you just need to listen to your body and mind in order to get a complete picture of your physical and mental wellbeing. There are signs that you can pick up on, if you know how to recognize them, that can lead you to the reason that you have been unable to conceive. Both your emotional state and attitude can have an effect on fertility – so make sure it is a positive one. You will find tips and advice in these five blogs that can help you understand your body and how to improve your overall health.

Holistic Infertility Treatments & Advice

There are a number of tried and tested treatments that have proven to work well for couples who cannot conceive. If you have tried every kind of conventional treatment but still are unable to conceive, these ancient alternatives may work better for you. These five blogs explore alternative treatments that have been used to improve fertility for thousands of years.

Male Infertility Help

Infertility is a problem that affects both men and women, so a dual approach is needed in order to have the best chance of conceiving a child. There is a lot of crossover in infertility treatments, however, some treatments will definitely do more to boost sperm count and combat other male related problems. If you are concerned about male infertility, follow the tips and advice in these five blogs.

Female Infertility Help

As with men, there are a number of possible causes for female infertility. While a lot of women will eventually conceive through medical treatment alone, some will not. A holistic approach to treatment greatly expands the number of options that a woman has, which in turn increases the chances of conceiving. These five blogs deal with the holistic treatments available to women, and what they can do to maximize fertility.

Food and Drink for Fertility

A healthy diet is absolutely essential to a couple’s chances of conceiving a child. When your body is healthy and toxin free, your fertility is greatly increased. Along with an overall healthy diet, there are particular foods that actively promote fertility. These foods are good for your health all around, but especially so for improving fertility. The foods and supplements in these five blogs will help your detoxify your body, and greatly increase your chances of conceiving.

Infertility and Stress

There is no evidence to suggest that stress causes infertility, however, infertility certainly can cause stress. A stressed couple will find it difficult to conceive for a number of reasons, including added tension in the relationship and anxiety in the bedroom. Basically, keeping stress out of the equation is always a good thing. What you don’t want to do is begin relying on drugs, though, so alternative stress release is needed. These five blogs deal with both general and infertility related stress-relief methods, which will help you deal with the difficulties you are facing.

20 Blogs Reviewing the New Fall 2013 TV Line Ups

Amazingly most networks have released their lineups earlier than thought.  CBS is the final hold out so for now there can only be guesses on what the fall schedule will look like.  Fox only fills two hours a night with programming because of early news so they won’t have as many new shows as NBC and ABC.  Take a look at these 20 blog posts to see what will be airing this fall on the major networks.

NBC

With about ten new shows coming this fall and more that may come in during the mid-season release NBC has quite a few new shows to check out.  This lineup should serve them well as the new shows will be in and around The Voice which has been ratings gold for NBC.  Take a look at the actual lineup on these five blog entries.

CBS

The executives at CBS are holding out until next week to release their fall lineup.  One reason the network hasn’t released the lineup early is because there won’t be many changes in the schedule from last year.  Only a couple of new shows have been noted as being added to the fall lineup and that’s a show called Reckless and one called Friends with Better Lives.  Take a look at the predictions made by industry experts in these five blog articles.

ABC

If you are in search of a new show this fall check out ABC’s lineup as they have brought on more than 20 new shows and they aren’t keeping many of the old ones.  One highly anticipated show is Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Take a look at these five blog entries to see the full lineup.

FOX

Fox is adding quite a few new shows considering that it only airs two hours of programming every night.  Fox fills in their schedule with new shows at various times throughout the year so some of the shows may not start in the fall.  In the next five blog postings you will get to read about the new shows coming to FOX.

30 Blogs with the Best Pickup Lines for Middle Aged Men

Pickup lines are hard to pull off, no matter what age you are. The wrong pickup line will have women running in the opposite direction, leaving you feeling awkward and embarrassed. You will probably only have one chance to get it right, so make the most of it by effectively employing the pickup lines in these 30 blogs.

Cheesiest Pickup Lines

Effective pickup lines are an art form, and require perfect composition and delivery. Sometimes a cheesy pickup line will get a strong reaction, albeit, for all the wrong reasons. Making a woman laugh is one thing, but making her laugh as she’s walking away is quite another. Cheesy pickup lines are a risk, however, they can work in the right circumstances. These five blogs explore some of the most cringe-worthy pickup lines ever delivered.

Romance is the Word

If you are looking for romance, cut to the chase with a line like Cupid’s arrow, straight to the heart. The great thing about romantic pickup lines is that if she’s also in the market for something long term, the right line will strike a chord with her and help ignite that initial spark between you. There is a fine line between romantic and cheesy here, so tread carefully and don’t go over the top. Love doesn’t have to be a battlefield; the sweeter side is perfectly expressed in these five blogs with a collection of cute and romantic pickup lines.

Clever Ice Breakers

If you want success in your love life, you’re going to have to rely on more than your heart and wit. One of the most important aspects of a successful pickup line is its ability to break down barriers. The collections of pickup lines in these five blogs are innovative, clever and designed to act as perfect icebreakers. Approaching the world of dating in middle age can be daunting, but these snappy lines might actually work to your advantage.

Online Dating, Dos and Don’ts

Online dating sites present a bit of problem when using pickup lines as a way of getting over the initial dating hurdle. There is no face to face interaction, which means that you lose the option of expressing yourself through body language and tone of voice. All you are left with is your words, so a lot of pickup lines just won’t work properly. Luckily, the expert advice in these five blogs will guide you safely through the dos and don’ts of online pickup lines.

Worst Pickup Lines Ever

Some pickup lines are just plain wrong. The composition is sloppy or offensive, or the delivery makes everyone involved feel awkward. This is a situation that you will want to avoid at all costs. Remember, you only have a small window of opportunity to make an impression. Before you put yourself out there, read these five blogs for some of the worst pickup lines ever conceived and a basic idea of what not to say.

Boys and Their Toys and Hobbies

Sometimes it’s easier to deliver a pickup line if you are already playing on your strengths. By focusing on what you know, you will come across much more confidently. Some of these pickup lines are cheesy, while others are creative or romantic. The pickup lines in these five blogs all follow a theme, which – in the right situation – could make for a killer line.

 

28 Blogs Featuring Original Short Stories You Can Read for Free

Do you love reading, but lack the time to do it?  Instead of trying to tackle a lengthy novel, why not try reading some short stories instead? You can find tons of free short stories online in every genre, ranging from romance to fantasy to sci-fi. Many of these blogs upload different free stories on a regular basis, so you can bookmark them and check back from time to time as they post new stories.  If you are looking for stories to read to your kids, you can also find free kid’s stories online for every age group.  Often, new authors who are trying to build a following will do so by publishing free short stories, making it easy to find some really interesting new stories online.  These 28 blog posts include free selections to get you started.

Romance

If you are looking for something quick to read before bed or on your coffee break, these stories might fit the bill. These short romances range in spiciness, so find ones that are to your liking by checking out several different authors and blogs.  The following seven blog entries are full of heated romance and cover a variety of topics that you may enjoy.

Fantasy

Fantasy stories usually deal with imaginary worlds full of magic and people blessed with other worldly gifts and powers. You may get some genre bending in some of these stories, combining fantasy and sci-fi or fantasy and romance. Some of these stories have to be downloaded to your computer and others you can read on the screen. You can even print some of them out and take them with you to read later.  See if you can find any new authors to read on these seven blog articles.

Sci-Fi

If the murky world of aliens and outer space has always interested you, then sci-fi short stories will be right up your alley. Futuristic weapons, time travel and extraterrestrial beings are hallmarks of sci-fi, but they aren’t the only components that make up this genre. For more sci-fi reading, check out these seven blog entries.

Kids

Whether you are looking for stories to read to your kids at bedtime or stories that your kids might want to read on their own, you can find them on these seven blog posts.  Many children’s authors make their debut online, publishing short stories for the enjoyment of creating fun stuff for kids to read. Pulling different short stories from online may help your child figure out what kind of stories he really likes.  Take a look and find one to read tonight.

10 Store-Bought Foods Moms Should Never Buy Again

In this day and age, time is more valuable than ever. Even so, it’s still important to make sure that your family is eating good, healthy foods that won’t break the bank. Here are ten food items you probably buy on a weekly basis that you easily can make at home. The homemade version will not include the same chemical additives and questionable preservatives that processed foods do, and they’re far tastier! What’s even better is that you can make them unique to the tastes of you and your family, skipping ingredients you don’t like and bumping up the ratios of those that you prefer.

  1. Spaghetti Sauce – Spaghetti sauce in a jar can come in handy as a quick fix, but it costs more than the ingredients used and almost never has the same quality of flavor as homemade. Instead, pick up some fresh or canned tomatoes and create your own. Just add a few of your favorite Italian spices and voila! Now you have delicious homemade spaghetti sauce. The leftovers usually stretch a little farther with a batch of homemade sauce, too.
  2. Salsa – Along the same lines as spaghetti sauce, salsa is a no brainer. Mild is too mild, medium is either still too hot or more mild than you’d want and hot is too much to handle. So, solve the problem by creating your own homemade salsa. It only requires a handful of ingredients, and doesn’t take much time at all. You can add or subtract from any ingredients of the recipe you have on hand until you have restaurant-quality salsa at your fingertips.
  3. Frosting – The frosting for your child’s birthday cake may be easy to get from a can, but it will taste better if made by hand. Just a few ingredients create almost the same taste, or better! It’s also a fun activity to do with your child. It gives them that much more to appreciate about their birthday, and allows you to control the ingredients so that chemicals and preservatives aren’t invited to the party.
  4. Gravy – Store-bought gravy is a waste of money. If you are cooking the meat in a slow cooker, a saucepan or the oven, the gravy will practically create itself. Use the juices from the meat and mix either cornstarch or flour until it gets to the consistency you like. There you go, homemade gravy that isn’t loaded down with salt like the store-bought jars tend to be.
  5. Bottled Iced Tea – Bottled drinks are hard to get behind in general, but iced tea tops the list. Most teas can be brewed to create your favorite iced tea flavors in practically no time. There are even some brands that carry cold-brew iced tea, so you don’t even have to take the time to boil water beforehand. If you live in a warmer climate, or if it’s summer, you can also brew your tea with the power of the sun. Simply fill a container with water, add the number of tea bags you’d like to use and let it sit in a patch of sunshine for a few hours. Be sure to check on it regularly until it reaches the desired strength.
  6. Flavored Milk – It’s a given that kids love chocolate and strawberry milk, but there’s no reason to buy it that way. Instead, get chocolate sauce or strawberry syrup so your kids can create their own. It’s a fun game for them and it won’t waste milk. Your child may promise to drink an entire gallon of flavored milk, but why would you want him to? Chances are you’ll be sending half of that milk down the drain, and if he finishes the gallon he’s unnecessarily loading himself with sweeteners and additives. Purchasing regular milk means that your child can create his own flavored version instead of keeping three separate gallons in the fridge.
  7. Bread Crumbs – It may seem more convenient at first blush, but you can create your own breadcrumbs instead of spending $5 on a can of them with very little fuss. They will taste better when they’re fresh, and you can season them yourself if you’d like to add some flavor.
  8. French Fries – Frozen French fries are hit or miss. They are usually packed with preservatives and additives that you and your family probably shouldn’t be eating on a regular basis. So, create your own! Just pick up a few potatoes, julienne them to the desired size and fry or bake them. This will also ensure that you only make as much as you need at the moment.
  9. Salad Kits – It’s tempting to pick up those premade salad kits at the grocery store, but before you do, think about how much you’re spending on half a portion of salad. Instead, go back down the produce aisle and pick out a head of lettuce and whatever other veggies you’d like to add. Keeping things separate will allow everyone in the family to put what they want on their own salads instead of picking through a premade version, and you’ll save a bundle in the process.
  10. Trail Mix – Again, the preservatives used to keep these ingredients “fresh” are enough to make even laid-back moms gasp. Instead, get creative and craft your own version of the tasty snack with a food dehydrator and some imagination.

Some foods are necessary to buy at a store, but these are simple ones you can make on your own that can be customized to fit your tastes. Leave the jars and bottles behind, and pave your own way to healthier, more delicious foods.

10 Local Coffee Chains Worth Checking Out

In a sea of mega-chain coffee shops with an identical footprint taking over the landscape, it’s easy to miss some of the impressive local, independent chains around the country. These are 10 of the most celebrated local chains in the United States, each of which is worth trying out if you find yourself in the area.

  1. Firestorm Cafe And Books, Asheville, North Carolina – Rated one of the 10 Coolest Independent Coffee Shops Across the US by Zagat in 2011, Firestorm Cafe & Books in Asheville, North Carolina is widely regarded as one of the coolest spots in town. A worker-owned and managed business, Firestorm brings something of the counter culture to every cup of coffee.
  2. Joe the Art of Coffee, New York and Philadelphia – There’s something about coffee culture and New York City that go hand in hand, a theory further proven by the minds behind the Joe chain. The winners of a 2013 Good Food Award for their Ethiopian Camp roast and new digs in Philadelphia make the decade-old Joe the Art of Coffee a local chain to watch.
  3. Ritual Coffee Roasters, San Francisco, California – With beans sourced from Central America, South America and Africa, Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco boasts three locations around the region and consistently wins awards for their high-quality brew.
  4. Bongo Java, Nashville, Tennessee – The original Bongo Java location in Nashville, Tennessee is the Music City’s oldest coffee company, established in 1993. Since then, the chain has grown to encompass a Bongo Java Roasting Company, Fido, Cafe East and Grins Vegetarian Cafe.
  5. Mary Lou’s Coffee Shop, Massachusetts – The first Mary Lou’s coffee shop was opened in 1986 in Hanover, Massachusetts. Since then, the chain has expanded to include 31 locations in the region. The baristas at Mary Lou’s are the talk of the South Shore, as employee culture at Mary Lou’s is paramount to the chain’s success.
  6. Sumptown, Portland, Oregon – Sumptown started as a local chain in Portland, Oregon, but has since expanded to the Atlantic coast as well. Currently, there’s a roaster in Red Hook, New York and two locations in Manhattan. Sumptown beans are served in cafes around the country, from big-box chains to mom-and-pop brew shops.
  7. Gimme! Coffee, New York, New York – Gimme! is a New York-based chain that strives to bring high-end, craft coffee products to consumers in the area. Artisanal roasting and a unique “farm to cup” bean program sets Gimme! above the competition in many ways, as do their beloved and knowledgeable baristas.
  8. Octane Coffee, Atlanta, Georgia – With three locations in Atlanta and one Birmingham, Alabama location, Octane is a local coffee chain that serves their own roasts and local bakery treats. The menu has recently expanded to include craft-beer dinners and a unique line of coffee cocktails.
  9. Spyhouse Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota – With both pour-over and Chemex drips and three locations, Spyhouse is a hot chain serving coffee aficionados in the Minneapolis area.
  10. Commonplace Coffee Co. House and Roasters, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Owned by couple Julie and TJ Fairchild, the Pittsburgh-based Commonplace Coffee Roasters chain now boasts locations in Indiana, PA and Pittsburgh. Dedicated to bringing a cup of coffee that’s anything but commonplace to the residents of Pittsburgh, the Fairchilds are true connoisseurs with a genuine love for their employees and customers alike.

If you don’t live in any of these cities, you may still have a stellar local chain in your own area that you’re as yet unaware of. It never hurts to do a bit of digging to find an independent business or two in your neighborhood worth supporting, especially if you normally get your morning fix from a crowded, impersonal national chain.

10 of the Most Bizarre Obsessions

Everyone has their own individual interests, but there are some who take those interests to a bizarre and unsettling level. These are 10 of the most unusual attachments documented, obsessions that their bearers have taken to entirely new and awkward heights.

  1. Mermaids – Mermaids are the stuff of glorious, graceful legend. From the protagonist of animated blockbusters to the dangerous legends said to prey on sailors, there’s something enchanting about the idea of these fish/human hybrids. 22-year-old Crystal River, Florida native Eric Ducharme is so obsessed with mermaids and mermen, however, that he dons homemade tails rendered in exquisite detail to spend as much time as possible in the water.
  2. Music – Music can make you smarter, set the mood and is the centerpiece of many people’s lives. For Swedish metal devotee Roger Tullgren, however, his love of harsh metal is classified by the government as an addiction so severe it’s actually a handicap. He receives supplemental income from the government and a dispensation to listen to loud music while he works as a dishwasher in a restaurant.
  3. Video Games – As technology advances and the way that video games are distributed changes, it’s no surprise that they’re taking over more and more of the average person’s free time. The seedy underbelly of video game addiction entails more than a nagging case of carpal tunnel and a body that’s out of shape due to such sedentary pursuits; children and adults alike have actually been known to kill one another over video games, while others have died of exhaustion. Addiction to video games even led 15-year-old Ionut Silviu Savin to stab his adoptive mother 17 times after she canceled his Internet subscription in a bid to end his affair with online gaming.
  4. Extreme Body Modification – Once the bastion of sailors and convicts, tattoos and other body modification are slowly evolving into a more socially acceptable means of expressing individuality. For a Montreal native known as “Zombie Boy” and others like him, however, tattoos are a very real obsession. Zombie Boy, whose real name is Rick Genest, has embarked upon the lengthy and unsettling project of turning his body into a partially decomposed zombie by way of tattoos and modification.
  5. Plastic Surgery – Nips, tucks, a bit of Botox here or a collagen shot there are becoming the norm for a society obsessed with the preservation of youth and aesthetic perfection. Addicts and obsessive fans of plastic surgery like Jocelyn Wildenstein, however, take elective operations to a more bizarre plane. Wildenstein has spent more than four million dollars on procedures to make her look more like a cat.
  6. Shopping – A bit of retail therapy now and then generally does more good than harm, but that’s not the case for shopping addicts. Compulsive shopping is recognized as an actual medical condition, which experts refer to as oniomania.
  7. Hair Dryers – Of all the things to be obsessed with, few are as strange as Lori Broady’s fixation on her hair dryer. From the age of eight, Broady has been unable to sleep unless the hair dryer was turned on next to her in the bed, even though she has burned herself so severely in the past that she has scars from the encounters.
  8. Animal Hoarding – Hoarding is a compulsion to collect objects that can take over the lives of the sufferers, but few obsessions are as heartbreaking as that of the animal hoarder. The majority of animal hoarders are middle-aged women, who often live in deplorable conditions that keep them from being able to care for their animals properly. Their homes become filled with animal waste and, under extreme conditions, the bodies of animals that have died.
  9. Cars – There are plenty of car enthusiasts out there, but none quite as obsessive as a man named Nathaniel that starred in a 2012 episode of TLC’s series My Strange Addiction. He claims to be in a romantic relationship with his car, which he’s named “Chase.”
  10. Vampirism – Fanatics of a certain sparkling vampire franchise might seem to be unhealthily attached to their sanguinary heroes, but none have as yet been found guzzling a glass of pig’s blood. That’s not the case for Lancaster, California resident Michelle, who is obsessed with drinking blood and appeared on the fourth season finale of My Strange Addiction.

There’s no shame in having a hobby, but these 10 people have moved far beyond the normal, healthy boundaries that most enthusiasts keep in place.

20 of the Best Blogs to Read before Filing for Divorce

Divorce is something that no married couple ever wants to go into without considering all other options first. There are no winners in a divorce, so exploring all your options and seeking reconciliation, if possible, is the preferable course of action. When it becomes apparent, however, that the marriage is over, both parties need to enter proceedings fully prepared. These 20 blogs are for couples who are going through separation and thinking about filing for divorce.

Considering Separation: What You Need to Know

Separation is often the first step that couples take before filing for divorce. Whether the separation is for an agreed-upon trial period, or is a precursor to filing for divorce, married couples need to prepare for what’s ahead. Talk it over with your spouse, and seriously consider what is best for both of you before making definite decisions on your future. These four blogs will help you decide on how you move forward and will help prepare you for life without your spouse.

Reconciliation Attempts

Many married couples will attempt to reconcile their differences in order to save their marriage before divorce becomes a real consideration. This is a very stressful period for both husband and wife, as uncertainty about the future and ghosts from the past put strains on an already fragile relationship. This stage of a break-up determines the future of your marriage, so think carefully before committing to any major decisions. These four blogs are aimed at those married couples who are attempting to save their marriage.

Children and Divorce

When there are children involved, divorce is no longer just about the wants and needs of the husband and wife. Regardless of your feelings for each other, both of you must look after the emotional wellbeing of your children. They will need support from both parents, and reassurance that they are not to blame for your decision to separate. These four blogs will guide you through how to help your children cope with separation and divorce. There are also accounts from the child’s perspective, which is something that all married couples need to consider.

Dividing Possessions and Assets

Divorce does not just deal with the emotional and interpersonal break up of a marriage, but the material aspects, too. Possessions and assets need to be divided, preferably in a way is fair and agreeable to both parties. There are many different factors that come into play when it comes to dividing assets, such as prenuptial agreements, property rights and investments. There is no simple template for how assets are divided; however, it is in your best interest to learn your rights and responsibilities. These four blogs deal with the distribution of property and assets in the case of divorce.

Filing for Divorce: What You Need to Do

If you and your spouse have made all attempts to reconcile without success, then it may be time to file for divorce. A long drawn out divorce does not benefit either party, so knowing how to file for divorce and getting the proceedings over with as quickly as possible is preferable. Remember, until your divorce is finalized you are still husband and wife. There are laws that you must abide by and procedures to follow. These four blogs deal with the actual process of filing for divorce and what you need to do.

Barring a successful reconciliation, an amicable divorce is best all around – especially if there are children involved. It is understandable that one or both parties may feel hurt, betrayed or vulnerable because of the break up, too, so give each other the space that each of you needs.