Top Ten Nerdy Valentine’s Day Gifts 2014

It’s another gifting holiday. This one’s a biggie. Valentine’s Day is about love. If you’re giving a gift on Valentine’s Day, it’s to someone you love. So you’ve got to be thinking,

“What does the nerd I love want more than anything else?”

The Nerdy Chicks are here to help!

Here are some suggestions to help you find a gift to maximize your love quotient…

1. The past, the present, and the future… Journal

past present future tense journal

How do I love thee? Let me write down the ways…If your nerdy Valentine is one to write to Dear Diary, this journal should make her day. (And grammar jokes! Who can resist a grammar joke?)

2. Chocolate Pie Chart

chocolate pie chart

Bonus points if you label each slice of the pie chart with something personal to your Valentine.

3. I ❤ U T Shirt

i heart u t shirt

The math on this is correct. I double checked.

4. Love Nerd Art 

if then else print

This one is classy enough to make you look…well, classy. Written in perfect BASIC+ syntax (it takes the right type of nerd to get that).

5. Rose Flowerpot 4-Port USB Hub

rose flowerpot usb hub

Anybody can send flowers. But flowers that can charge your iPod? Or transfer your photos? That’s real love.

6. We Go Together Like Teen Girls and Vampires Letterpress Card

we go together teen girls vampires

Whether your Valentine started on Team Jacob or Team Edward, once he reads this eloquent card, he’ll have to be Team You.

7. Tech Love Circuit Board Jewelry

circuit board jewelry heart

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like jewelry. Nothing says nerdy like circuit boards. The best of both worlds.

8. Chemical Structure of Love Mug

checmical structure of love mug

Warm up her morning coffee with the heat of your (nerdy) love.

9. Heart Audio Splitter

heart audio splitter

Listening to music can be romantic. Listening to music together can be very romantic. Listening to music together and not having to speak because she can’t hear you with those earbuds in — priceless.

10. Never Ending Pi Love Canvas Print

never ending pi love

Lucky for you, this is also available on cards, T-Shirts, hoodies, kids clothes, or stickers. Basically anyone you need to shop for.

How the Vegetable Co-op Changed My Life

Bins awaiting pick-up by co-op members.

Bins awaiting pick-up by co-op members.

I’m not what you’d call a Tree-hugger, a Granola, or even a Free Spirit. Those titles require a lot more time and energy to earn than I have to give. Sadly. (Because I particularly admire tree-huggers.) Anyway,  in the spirit of adventure, this wanna-be tree-hugger tried something new and joined a vegetable co-op. My goal was to force myself to eat healthier, and I guessed that if the vegetables were already selected and provided for me weekly, instead of sitting in stores waiting for me to go pick them out, I would.

Did I meet this goal? Yes! Did our compost pile grow substantially due to an abundance of uneaten vegetables? Yes!

Okay, so my experiment could have been more successful had we eaten more and composted less. BUT here are some things I discovered about myself during the process.

  1. I definitely eat healthier when my refrigerator is stocked with vegetables.
  2. I lost weight without dieting because an abundance of vegetables was on hand.
  3. I was forced to try foods I hadn’t tried before.
  4. I became an adventurous cook, googling recipes, and altering those I found to keep them low fat.

Every Friday, I went to the Omni Gym to pick up my box of locally grown vegetables delivered by Pinckney’s Produce. The combination of vegetables in my box IMG_20131213_124052_681was never the same, but it usually contained some vegetables you could eat without cooking, like lettuce, and some I already knew how to cook, like broccoli, and a few others I had never tried. It was fun to experiment with these and try some new dishes. I even attempted new recipes for familiar vegetables.

Curious about some of the recipes I tried?

Stir-fried bok-choy. Kolrabi chips. Fried cabbage. Tomato pie.  Stir-fried eggplant. Collard greens. (Don’t let the word fried, fool you here. None of these were fried in the usual sense.)

My favorite source of vegetable recipes became Martha Stewart’s website. There, you click on the vegetable and scroll through all available recipes for it. Most are straight forward (and low fat), so I loved this.

My doctor tells me that all women need to eat a lot of vegetables in the cabbage family, like broccoli, ….. but I wasn’t sure what to do when I ended up with three heads of cabbage in my vegetable drawer. The only way I knew how to cook it was boiled, and I didn’t particularly like it that way. I was surprised to find a recipe for “fried” cabbage. Apparently, it is a common southern dish that this southerner had never heard of. I made a low fat version of it, and my husband and daughter were asking for more.

Here is how I made it:

Chop one onion and sauté in two tablespoons olive oil. Chop cabbage in to small pieces, add to onion. Add a touch more olive oil, if needed. continue to sauté. Sprinkle with one teaspoon sugar. Yes, sugar. Sprinkle mixture with garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Stir until cabbage is fairly soft.

1.Chop 1 onion. Sauté in 2 tablespoons olive oil.
2. Chop 1 head of cabbage into small pieces, add to onion. Add a touch more olive oil, if needed. Continue to sauté.
3. Sprinkle with one teaspoon sugar. Yes, sugar.
4. Sprinkle with garlic salt, salt, and pepper.
5.Stir until cabbage is fairly soft.

You’ll be surprised by how good this is!

The lifestyle changes I made as a result of  joining the vegetable co-op are subtle, but I am happy to discover an easy way to eat healthier and try new recipes. This past Friday marked the end of the fall co-op season. We’ll be signing up for the co-op again this spring with the goal of cooking more and composting less! The new year is right around the corner… does anyone’s resolution involve trying something new?












Top Ten Nerdy Gifts 2013

It’s the holiday season, time for gift-giving and gift-receiving. You might be wondering,

“What does the nerd in my life want more than anything else?”

Tough question. You can’t just get ANYTHING. You have to take this question as seriously as, well, as your nerdy loved one would.

Here are some suggestions to help you find the optimal solution…

1. Silently Correcting your Grammar T-Shirt


This one basically screams NERDY! In a good way! (Just so you know, CafePress has an entire assortment of Silently Correcting Your Grammar merchandise!)

2. Hardcover Silhouette Earrings

book earrings

Beautiful. Nerdy. Perfect.

3. My Life in Graphs

life in graphs

This one allows the nerd in your life to collect data and carefully quantify her entire life. Who doesn’t want to do that?

4. Talk Nerdy To Me Tote

nerdy tote

This one needs no explanation.

5. Goggles Umbrella


Smart and functional. Love.

6. Style is Elemental Shower Curtain

shower curtain

Why waste a minute when you can be learning about the universe?

7. The Hungry Scientist Handbook by Patrick Buckley

hungry scientist

The cover says “Edible Origami” and “Light Up Lollipops.” Need I say more?

8. Engineer’s Motto Shirts

engineer t shirt

If this feels completely true to you, you are definitely a nerd. If this sounds completely familiar to you, you definitely love a nerd.

9. Organic Microscope Swaddling Blanket

microscope blanket

For the newest nerd in your life, get her off to a great start by emphasizing the right things.

10. Ice Speed Chess Set

chess ice

Is there anything nerdier than chess? A great game for all ages to hone critical thinking skills, competitiveness, and strategy. And the ice angle guarantees speedy play!

Happy shopping, everybody!

First Ever Pick of the Chick! Who Doesn’t Love a Hula Hoop?

I was reluctant to post my first Pick of the Chick feature because I wanted everyone to have a chance to read the last post in which I interviewed the fabulous Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. If you didn’t catch that one, check it out HERE.

So…. so many cool activities, so little time. What to talk about first? I picked the Hula Hoop! We know these plastic circles as Hula Hoops because that’s what the toy manufacturer Wham-O called them, but apparently the hoops, once made of vines or wood, had been around for hundreds or thousands of years. They became insanely popular when Wham-o began manufacturing them in smooth plastic, selling 100 million in two years between 1057 and 1959! And while the Hula Hoops kids use are great, they are really sized for small children. Did you know there is a simple way to make an adult and teen sized Hula Hoops? There is! And it is far easier to keep it moving when you use a hoop that is the right size. So our first Pick of the Chick feature is how to make your own Hula Hoop!

I was at a workshop where a group of adults were taught to make these and they had so much fun making them and decorating them with duct tape that I had to try it. I’ve had my art students create these hoops and I’ve hosted a Hula Hoop making party for my daughter, where every girl brought a roll of fancy duct tape to pitch in and I supplied the rest of the materials.

Here are the best instructions I have found for Hula Hoop making. And rather than copy them here, I am going to send you over to Jason’s Unbound!

But let me give a few tips that Jason doesn’t tell you!

We found the tubing for these in the plumbing section of Lowes.

Because the tubing is purchased in rolls, you will want to find some friends to do this with. It’s more fun that way, anyway!

If you are doing this with children, you can use a very small amount of hot water to expand the tubes. A coffee cup full works great. I usually take a thermos of hot water in and refill the cup as needed. (Adult supervision for cutting the tube is required. I do all of the cutting.) Also, we use colorful duct tape, but you can order fancy hoop tape like that used on the hoops above. Some of the hoops we made are pictured below.

Everyone who has made one of these hoops with me has walked away with a hoop in the hand and a smile on the face. Next time you’re bored, give this chicktivity a try!