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Melissa Hebert
Bayonne, NJ
Writer, editor, wife, petmom, aspiring domestic goddess.
Interests: travel, food, design, home improvement, cooking, reading, writing, baking, decorating, dining, sports.
Recent Activity
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Mark and Brian Sutcliffe of Westlake, OH, started a donation drive to get soccer equipment to players in Liberia. Got clutter? If so, you probably want to get rid of it. But you may not want it all to go in the garbage and take up space in a landfill. A way you can avoid that, and do good while you're decluttering, is to donate things people and organizations can use. Charities that offer pick-up at your home make donating easy. You arrange a pick-up time, leave the stuff out, and they take it away. You could even get a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at Domestic Putterings
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My work here is done ... for now. Need and opportunity came together this week to create a busy few days for me. John is visiting his dad in Ohio, so I took advantage of having alone time to tackle the den, which had gotten cluttered again after last year's first attempt at organizing it. My primary goal this time around was to do a major purge. After a year and a half of apartment living, I have a better grasp on what we need and what doesn't fit our lives anymore. Throwing stuff out can feel really liberating. Sometimes,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2014 at Domestic Putterings
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The best things in life are sometimes the simplest: sun, sand, and water. Moving back east has allowed me to reconnect with one of my first loves: the beach. While I lived less than a half-mile from the shores of Lake Erie for 13 years, I didn't go to the beaches there much. They made me homesick. They weren't what I needed in a beach. I needed the ocean breeze wafting the perfume of salt water, warm sand, and suntan lotion around me. All the better if there's a beachside snack shack nearby adding the scent of burgers, hot dogs,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at Domestic Putterings
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The beginnings of a delicious white bean soup in the slow cooker. Yes, I Instagram my food. My husband bought me a slow cooker for Christmas. He knows me so well. I'd missed having a slow cooker. Our old one -- a Christmas present from John the first year we were dating -- had become unreliable. It would cook at too high a temperature, or switch down to warm just an hour into cooking. It was one of the many things that hit the treelawn ahead of our move from Ohio to New Jersey. This new toy is a Ninja... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2014 at Domestic Putterings
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My sister Deb and I after a Connecticut snowstorm a long, long time ago. Once upon a time, second only to Christmas Eve in terms of delicious anticipation was listening to the radio on a snowy morning as the newscaster droned through the school cancellations for the day. It was no surprise when Waterbury schools led the list. They cancelled at the sight of a snowflake. Then the list went on until ... "Region 15, closed." Woo-hoooooooooooo! My mother sighed as she knew she would only get half of what she had planned to do done with three kids underfoot.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2014 at Domestic Putterings
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My home-related pins include color schemes, cool houses (like this one designed by my sister at Paradise Hill Design) and projects like the wine cork wreath. Do you pin? If so, you're not alone. A 2013 report estimated that 70 million people are on Pinterest. You're also probably female. About 80% of Pinterest users are. But men use it, too. My friend, Jared Paventi of the Al Dente eating/cooking blog, uses it to organize recipes he's tried, and recipes he wants to try, as well as to promote Al Dente. I got into Pinterest during my days at Patch, where... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2014 at Domestic Putterings
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While this isn't going to be a monster storm, I did see plenty of the bread-milk-eggs-toilet paper crowd at Stop & Shop this morning. I'm feeling a bit contrary. I believe I'll make something a bit more summery for dinner instead of hearty winter fare. Perhaps it's a reaction to the holiday feasting of the past few weeks, but I'm craving something light. I'm thinking lemon-herb chicken breasts. They're pretty simple: marinate the boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 30 minutes to two hours in lemon juice, olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a teaspoon of salt (smoked salt... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2014 at Domestic Putterings
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Well, this year was ... interesting. I had no idea what the end of 2013 would look like when it began. All I knew was that, by the end of January, I would leave my job with Patch and move to New Jersey. The year has not brought everything I wanted. Our house in Ohio remains rented, and will be going back on the market this spring. After some contract and freelance work, I am still looking for full-time work. But there's also been a lot of good in our lives, something I focused on during my Month of Gratitude... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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My biggest challenge in holiday baking -- this year, it's four kinds of cookies, two kinds of chocolate bark, and a cake -- is not getting it all done. It's not eating all the peanut butter/Kiss cookies while the Kisses are still melty. WANT Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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I'm one of the teeny faces in this Pomperaug High School yearbook photo from a Christmas concert. One of the things I love most about the holiday season is the music. Probably a result of being in the school choir from fourth grade all the way through high school and into college. From the religious classics like O Holy Night to more recent pieces like Christmas Rapping, I turn on the holiday music whenever I can. When I was growing up, New York television station WPIX shut down programming on Christmas Eve to broadcast The Yule Log, three hours of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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There are a lot of holidays in the latter part of the year. If you are still scared over some imagined War on Christmas, and are ready to be offended if someone does not give you the greeting you think they should but aren't sure how to handle it, here's a visual aid to help you through. Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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My wishes back then involved Barbie dolls. Today, my wish would be to have my Grandma and Grandpa Urban back. Growing up, the start of the Christmas season wasn't when decorations appeared in the stores before Halloween (because they didn't). The Christmas season started for us kids with the thunk of the Sears Wishbook catalog hitting the kitchen counter after someone brought in the mail. The Wishbook catalog wasn't as big as the massive seasonal catalog, but it was around 600 pages cram-jammed with what mattered most to children. TOYS. Wishbook catalogs -- whether they were Sears or JCPenney or... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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Nobody lives up to the Norman Rockwell ideal. But there's still a lot to be thankful for. I can easily ignore most social media trends. Anything involving emotional blackmail, aka “Like and Share this or else you hate babies/our troops/God!” is very easy to scroll past. Ditto for sharing recipes which use food that is filled with more artificial ingredients than an aging actress’ face. There was one trend that popped up in late in October that caught my eye. Friends were posting on how, during at least part of November, they were going to write a post on Facebook... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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Thanksgiving: The one day of the year where you can give your family the bird without getting in trouble. We’re heading into the heart of the holiday season as it’s Thanksgiving Week. I’ve always liked Thanksgiving. No gifts to buy, no decorating beyond a pretty tablecloth and, if you have it, good china. It’s a simple day of food and drink, loved ones and football. It’s about finding the good in what you have, and enjoying the present. Past Thanksgivings have been with my family, my in-laws, at work, and with friends at a classic "Orphans' Thanksgiving." This year is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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Local shops like duoHOME in Cleveland Heights are a pleasant alternative to huge big-box stores and malls. Ah, the holidays. The cookies. The decorations. The fun times with family and friends. Going shopping at the big-box stores and malls on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is becoming a new holiday tradition. It’s estimated that 140 million people will go out shopping on Black Friday, with 33 million actually shopping on Thanksgiving. Now, “We Gather Together” just long enough to wolf down some turkey before getting started on what Christmas is really all about … stuff and more stuff. People are not... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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Why spend Thanksgiving or Black Friday among the hordes of Christmas shoppers? A few years back, I wrote of my annoyance with the whole “War on Christmas” complaint that makes the rounds in certain circles every year. But what the Christmas warriors cannot or will not see is that, if there is a War on Christmas, it’s not being waged by people saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Often, it’s their friends, neighbors, families and even themselves doing the most damage to the meaning of Christmas. This year, more than 33 million people plan to go shopping on Thanksgiving.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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Wow, we can walk in here without tripping! Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was the clutterbomb that has been our den. John moved his computer in here after I came out to New Jersey in January. Even before that, the den was a dumping ground for things we didn’t know what to do with and said we’d deal with “later.” “Later” arrived this past weekend. The den had become barely functional. The cedar chest blocked access to the closet. There was only a narrow path to the back of the room where the computer is. That’s also where... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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Miss me? I took a little break these past few months to focus on some contract work. I got to try new things, stretch my skills, and met some good people. And I'm back here with a post I wrote for my friend Lori Evans Ermi, founder of The Ermi Group, LLC, a human capital solutions and leadership coaching firm. It's about Halloween. Here's the link: Hallow-hum-bug What does Halloween have to do with leadership? You'd be surprised. In the past 20 years or so, Halloween has gone from being a low-key day for kids to dress up and get... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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You say, "tomato." I say, "NOM NOM NOM." The last thing I'd normally want to do on a day where the temperature is soaring over 90 degrees is schlep into Manhattan. But today made the sweat and discomfort worth it. Union Square Greenmarket is one of the wonderful things about living here. I loved living near farmstands in Ohio. Pickering Hill Farms, Fitch's, and assorted roadside stands were within 10 minutes of my home. And there was a North Union Farmer's Market at Crocker Park on Saturdays. Fresh, seasonal, local produce was easy and accessible. While I can't just get... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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John is on clean-up duty tonight. Buckwheat went on a small rampage in his cage. "Tokyo has been destroyed. Bring on Rodan." Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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Everything in one closet! Since I finished college, I have moved nine times over four states. This ninth move, from Ohio to New Jersey, was the hardest by far. It was the first move I've done with another person. Now I had John's stuff -- and our pets -- to deal with. I was also moving from a house where I had lived for more than seven years, the longest I'd ever lived in one place as an adult. Seven years can lead to a lot of stuff accumulating, even with regular de-cluttering efforts. That was evident in my closet.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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We were surrounded by boxes for a while after the move. "Wow! So much room for my stuff!" That's what I thought when I bought my house in 2005. At the time, it was just me. But John and I knew deep down that he -- and the pets -- would be there eventually. Three bedrooms. Two baths. One thousand, two-hundred and fifty-seven square feet. The space felt positively luxurious. Seven years later, I was marveling again. This time, at all the stuff that had accumulated during that time. Closets and drawers that had once been empty were now cram-jammed.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
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Almost three years since my last blog post! Wow, I've got some dusting to do in here. And some updating. Life's been busy, and full of changes. So much for sliding towards a sedate middle age. Here are some of the highlights: In 2010, I took a job as a local editor at Patch, AOL's hyperlocal news venture. I left in January 2013 because ... John got a job in Jersey City, NJ, right outside of New York City. After renting out our home in Ohio, we are now living in an apartment in Bayonne. Yesterday, John and I celebrated... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2013 at Domestic Putterings
Crystal, the closest big city is Pittsburgh, which is about an hour away. Steubenville, Ohio, is about 40 minutes away. Mountaineer Casino/Resort in Chester, W. Va., is another option. I don't remember seeing a whole lot close to the Homer Laughlin factory in terms of hotels. You may have better luck with a B&B. If you're into ceramics, East Liverpool, just across the river, has a museum: http://www.themuseumofceramics.org/.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2010 on Falling for Fiestaware at Domestic Putterings
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