Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Utah had the highest rate of volunteerism in 2008

Utah had the highest rate of volunteeriam in 2008, with more than 43% of the state participating in some kind of giving back activity. Disappointingly, the Garden State was ranked #46 out of the the WHOLE country, with only 21.1% participation.

Come on Jersey! least we beat New York, who came in LAST with only 18.7% of people volunteering. As a matter of fact, none of the Tri-states made it into the top 10. Lets change that. "But How," you ask?

One day at a time - one Disney day.

The Mouse has teamed up with HandsOn Network - the largest volunteer network in the country - to encourage volunteerism in 2010 with the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program. While volunteering is rewarding on its own, Disney Parks has sweetened the deal and is giving away 1 MILLION park tickets to people who give back next year. Just go to to find out more.

You heard the man!

There are more than 250 HandsOn Network affiliates around the country, all with great opportunities to get involved, give back to your community and make this world a better place.

Tri-State area, I officially challenge you to become one of the top 10 volunteering states in 2010. Ready, set, GO!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It is possible to eat half a sheet cake in 11 minutes

It is possible to eat half a sheet cake in 11 minutes, but not in 10, as demonstrated by the one and only Joe Perri...

That was the most amazing eating competition I had seen since I watched Kobayashi...take on a Kodiak bear.

According to my sister, it is almost impossible to eat a pita (just one) in one minute.

I smell a challenge...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Today we're gonna party like it's 5770

Today we're gonna party like it's 5770 - which it is, according to the Jewish calendar. That's right. It's Rosh Hashanah (which literally translates into "head of the year") the Jewish new year and start of the High Holy days.

I know, according to your mcblackberry it's 2009 but the Jewish calendar started a couple thousand years before the CE, so the year count is a little higher. The calendar also has a different start date and subsequently a different new year.

To celebrate the new year, Jews (like myself) get together, go to temple, eat apples and honey (to symbolize a sweet new year) and round challah (round to symbolize a year), say L'Shana Tova (translates to "for a good year") and blow the Shofar.

Blow the what?! The Shofar, a special rams horn which was originally sounded off to let people back in the day (before Outlook reminders) know that it was the new year.

Wow. Talk about lungs.

Rosh Hashanah, like Passover , lasts for two days so that there was time to celebrate even if you weren't first to hear the Shofar.

The purpose of Rosh Hashanah is to celebrate the start of a new year, but its not all fun and games. From now until Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) Jews have to reflect upon their lives, seek forgiveness from those they may have hurt, and forgive those who have wronged them in an effort to start with a clean slate and be a better person in the coming year.

I see myself as more conceptual than religious (I don't go to temple regularly, I don't keep kosher and I have a tattoo), I believe it is the meaning behind the religious practice that is important - not the practice itself.

I try to use Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur as an opportunity to look at my life and my choices and make sure that I am doing everything I can do to be the best person I can be, not only for the people around me, but for myself. Yeah, I make a new year's resolution in January - usually something along the lines of becoming less fat - but this is different, more of a reflection of what you have done than a resolution of what you are going to do.

I challenge anyone reading this, Jewish or not, to think for a few minutes about the last year of your life, the kind of person you have been, and the kind of person you would like to be.

And then go celebrate :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The world's tallest man also holds the record for largest feet and hands

The world's tallest man also holds the record for largest feet and hands. At 8' 1.5", Sultan Kosen was recently crowned the world's tallest living man.

The tallest man of all time was Robert Wadlow. Robert, also known as the Alton Giant (because he was from Alton, IL), reached 8' 11.1" inches and 490 lbs.

Want more? BuzzFeed posted a great list of the 30 tallest people ever. Check it out here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

There are more than 200 places to eat in Walt Disney World

There are more than 200 places to eat in Walt Disney World ranging from Asian-fusion to African to American cuisines. There are also over 150 attractions. With so much to do, and eat, how does one choose what to fit into a four day vacation?

I am currently planning a December Disney weekend getaway for me, my mom and my sister. While guidebooks and Web sites are a help, as an influencer I like to get my advice in first person, and what better place to get park-savvy perspective than from the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. The panel provides thousands of answers to Walt Disney World questions - a great resource for anyone planning a trip to see the Mouse. There are also helpful videos including one on how to enjoy the park as an adult (like enjoying a touch of the bubbly in France).

Moms Panel Search

Do you have some advice for planning the perfect Walt Disney World vacation? Have you been there more times than you have fingers? Guess what! Walt Disney World is now looking for 10 new moms/dads/grandparents to join the panel - to find out more visit

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pusan and Busan are the same city

Pusan and Busan are the same city in South Korea. Back around 2000, the government of South Korea decided to adopt a Romanization system, representing a symbol as written text.

When switching to such a system the English spelling and pronunciation of a word will can change, as is the case with Pusan becoming Busan.

Busan is the largest port in South Korea with a population of more that 3.6 million people. It is also the latest stop on the "Where in the world is Francis James" world tour.

According to the New York Times, South Korea makes the best bootleg purses in ALL of Asia.

I am partial to Coach...just in case anyone in South Korea was wondering ;)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Olive oil can be used for baking

Olive oil can be used for baking instead of butter or shortening. Olive oil is free of cholesterol, and is significantly lower in fat making your favorite baked goods a little bit healthier without losing any delicious taste.

When swapping your butter or shortening for olive oil amounts must be changed - check out the handy conversion chart below:

I know what your thinking...and no, it will not make your crownies taste like olives as long as you use extra light olive oil.

I sampled a brownie made with olive oil from the Bertolli booth at the Feast of San Gennaro in New York City, and it tasted nothing like olives and everything like a delicious chocolaty brownie.

The Feast of San Gennaro is the longest running and largest religious festival in the United States. This year it will take place from September 10 through September 20. I would definitely recommend taking a trip to Little Italy and checking it out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In 9 years, 2 cats (and their babies) can generate more than 11,000,000 kittens

In 9 years, 2 cats (and their babies) can generate more than 11,000,000 kittens, according to the Greenville Humane Society. That's a lot of kitty!

How is that possible, you ask? Well, cats will have approximately 3 litters per year, if not spayed, with about 4 kittens per litter. So that's 12 new cats, which could potentially each create 12 new cats, and each one of them 12 more cats and on and on and on...

Eeek! Make it stop!

Unless you are some kind of cat lady, the thought of 11,000,000 uncontrolled cats roaming the neighborhood is not an attractive one (I have frequently expressed my feelings on cats).

How can you prevent 11,000,000 cats from being generated over 9 years? As Bob Barker always said...

If you have adopted a pet that is not spayed or neutered, contact the shelter you adopted it from to find out about discounts. If you purchased your pet, contact your vet. If you live in the area, try mine.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A cold or the flu is contagious a day or so before symptoms occur

A cold or the flu is contagious a day or so before symptoms occur, however, contagiousness reaches its peak about three days after contracting the virus. Let me take this opportunity to apologize in advance if anyone I have seen Thursday through today gets sick - I'll bring you some sympathy soup.

So, how does one know if they have a cold or the flu?

Being the responsible adult that I am, I took a trip to the local Minute Clinic to find out, and to make sure I didn't have the, dare I say it... dun dun dahhhh... swine flu.

Upon my arrival to the clinic the nurse-lady gave me a handout which clearly explained the difference between cold and the flu:

Had I had this chart ahead of time, I would have probably stayed on my couch... but the trip did give me the chance to pick-up some medicines and the BEST tissues in the world (be careful, they are addictive).

But its always better to be safe than sorry - and since I believe everything I see on TV, you should be really careful this year, wash your hands ALL the time, carry sanitizer and don't talk to ANYBODY (kidding).

For some tips on avoiding sickness this fall, click here.