Magpie’s Shiny Things: March 31, 2011

Magpie's Shiny Things

I just realized it’s the last day of the month. Time for another edition of Magpie’s Shiny Things.

The other night I received a friend request on Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen site, and I’ll never be the same. It was from Paula Jones of bell’alimento. Sigh, swoon, gasp. I think we may be kindred spirits. Love of Italy, love of Italian food, love of Nutella. It’s a match made in heaven. I can’t wait to go bleary-eyed reading every single recipe on her site. The food photography is gorgeous, as well.

Let me whet your appetite just a bit. How about Nutella-filled cinnamon rolls drizzled with cherry glaze? Huh? Huh? In this recipe, she announces a new website called Bella Nutella, dedicated to, you guessed it, Nutella recipes. I’m sobbing! I was under the impression that you couldn’t cook with Nutella. A message on the label says not to microwave it. I carried that warning to the extreme. (Kind of like how my Mom has never cut those tags off her pillows because she thinks the Feds are going to show up at her door.) But I digress. Bell’alimento offers a lot more than just desserts. There are mouth-watering pasta, chicken, beef, pork, vegetable, and seafood dishes, too. Check it out, preferably when you’re not too hungry. 😉

Michael of Sharing a Love of Teaching comes through again with another great post on education. This time it’s The Use of Video in Education and it features Salman Khan’s talk at TED. (I love TED talks!) Khan was a hedge fund analyst who made YouTube videos for his cousins to help them with their homework. Other people found them and used them, and now he has over 2,100 videos posted over at the Khan Academy site. I haven’t looked through all of them, obviously, but if you have kids in school (just about any level) or if you have gone back to school yourself, you might want to check them out. Topics include arithmetic, calculus, biology, chemistry, banking, economics, history, finance, and much more. 

And finally, if you’re in the mood for a heart-tugging read and some beautiful photography, check out Rebecca Mullen’s Altared Spaces blog. She is visiting colleges with her daughter and her latest post explores their relationship, using elements of nature to spotlight the contrasts. See if you can read this one without tearing up.

Why Do You Keep Coming Back?

Conversations with your dentist have nothing on conversations with your gynecologist.

I had an appointment today for an annual check-up. My doctor remembered that I had a novel published and asked how that was going. Then we talked about blogging. Several people had told her she should blog, but she didn’t know what to write about. The obvious answer was medical topics, but after a long day at work, she needed a break from that. Doc asked if my blog had a focus. I laughed. Lack of focus is my focus. She laughed and related, I think. And then she asked the $64 million question:

What keeps people reading your blog if there’s no focus?

I thought for a moment about what makes me return to a blog. A particular post draws me in initially, but the personality of the blogger and the relationship we develop keep me coming back for more. It’s no different than the connection I feel in person when I meet a kindred spirit. I guess for me, a blog and its comments are like conversations I might have with my non-cyber friends. Those are not on just one topic, right?

So, what do you think? What keeps you coming back? Enquiring minds and one gynecologist want to know.