Do You Have to Buy a House to Love Where You Live?

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I almost bought a house this weekend.

My husband, Quinn, and I have been zealously monitoring the Blacksburg real estate market for months. We’ve toured a lot of crappy houses (the ones that fit into our budget) in that time, and this particular house was no different. The main attraction: it was priced low enough that we could afford to do some reno. Cue the Pinterest kitchen vision board with quartz countertops and whisper-close cabinet drawers.

In the end we chickened out, afraid that even our reno budget couldn’t make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. As of right now, we’re still looking. But sometimes I wonder why we’re looking at all. In 17 years of marriage, we’ve owned three houses for two years a pop each, and we’ve rented the rest of the time. I can confidently say that our 11 cumulative years as renters have been the happier ones, marked as they were by helpful landlords and the absence of crushing debt.

Yet something still drives me to consider buying a house the final sign of settledness. It’s as if I can never be truly place attached until I have a mortgage. Lately, in fact, I cite my house-hunting as a sign of my success in fostering place attachment. “We really love it here,” I’ll say. “We’re looking to buy a house right now!”

In the scientific literature, homeowners and renters are often pitted against each other in feats of civic virtue. Homeownership is associated with stable neighborhoods, better schools, decliining crime rates and civic-minded neighborhoods. Rentals, it is assume, must be linked with the opposite. In one 2013 study, Brian J. McCabe, an assistant professor of sociology at Georgetown University, found that homeowners were more likely than renters to participate in local elections and join civic or neighborhood groups. Two reasons explain why:

  1. Homeowners have cash on the line. Because they’re inclined to preserve their financial investment of many tens of thousands of dollars, they’re well motivated to monitor their community’s development and get involved to preserve their property values.
  2. Homeowners tend to be more geographically stable, which allows them to develop the long-term social networks that lead to community participation.

Those differences in investment, stability, and local engagement have created something of a “second class citizen” status for renters. If you’re any kind of responsible human, you shouldn’t rent, people assume. They’ll do their level best to get you into a home of your own. 

I don’t see it like that. I’ve spent several years now increasing my commitment to my town despite my housing situation. Am I too naïve to expect that other renters too will want to contribute to their community, regardless of their homeownership status? That altriusm might trump financial investment some of the time?

It’s not property values that motivate my behavior. It’s my current happiness and my desire to make Blacksburg a better place. As I point out in my book This Is Where You Belong, when we invest in our communities, we feel invested. But that investment can be non-monetary. Putting time and energy into your town is worth just as much emotionally.

Eventually, I imagine that my family will snare our own 70s-era kitchen in Blacksburg. But I don’t think it will make us any more committed to our town than we already are.


Brian J. McCabe, Are Homeowners Better Citizens? Homeownership and Community Participation in the United States,” Social Forces 91, no. 3 (March 2013): 929–54.

Overcoming The Breakup Blindside

The pain of rejection in a romantic relationship is never as painful as when it comes as a surprise. One minute you believe everything is fine, in the next you are blindsided.

As Mari put it: “I was excited to go out to dinner with my boyfriend, I chose a nice outfit and looked forward to a romantic evening. Over dessert he told me the relationship is not working and he is breaking up with me. I was like really? What is this, my last supper before the end? I felt physically ill.”

If you have been blindsided by your partner, you know the feelings all too well. Heart leaps from your chest, brain freezes, skin sweats;  you have no idea how to respond or how to take in this new reality. And the worse part is ahead—when you beat yourself up, wondering how it is you could not have known that your partner was so unhappy.  How could you miss that the one you loved most was spending time calculating how to break it off?

But keep in mind, the blindsider sets the stage for you to think everything is fine and then, pushes you off a cliff. As Mike put it: “I was working on fixing my girlfriend’s front porch. I had just placed the last piece of wood and painted it and then she told me that we were through. Like could you have told me before the porch?”

The partner who is blindsided is left feeling used, confused and betrayed. Most breakups come after a series of conversations. With the blindside, one stunned person is left suddenly alone in trying to figure out what happened. As I discuss in my workbook Breaking Up and Divorce 5 Steps, making your own sort of closure after a divorce or breakup accelerates the letting go and getting better process. Consider these four points as you come to terms with your breakup blindside:

1. Did your partner ever talk about the negative aspects of your relationship? Healthy relationships have ups and downs. It’s important every now and again to be able to openly discuss the pitfalls in your relationship. It’s equally important to recognize there will always be some frustration and disillusionment. Working through these conflicts builds up intimacy in the relationship and also helps you to know exactly where you stand with your partner. Blindsiders tend to avoid negative emotion. If they feel you getting upset, they work to remove the upset immediately with little to no verbal problem solving or communication. In addition, maybe you get a hint every now again if they are displeased with you, but rarely do they ever directly communicate such displeasure. As a result you may carry a lingering sense of insecurity in the relationship and sometimes wonder if everything is okay. You don’t bring this topic up with your partner because you know it won’t go anywhere.

2. Is your blindsider a people pleaser in general? Blindsiders typically are compulsive people pleasers. They don’t want anyone to be upset with them or critical of them. If they are upset, they internalize their feelings and avoid you. They never bring conflict to the table and work hard to get along and be pleasant. The negative side of this is blindsiders never know how they really feel about stuff and suppress their true emotions. Eventually, like a pressure cooker, their upset piles up and becomes overwhelming. By the time they realize they are unhappy, they leave. They don’t give you a chance to work on things or to respond to their upset, because they have no experience of successfully working through conflict. Take an objective look at how your partner deals with conflict in his/her life. Do they ever argue with their mother, father, brother, sister, friend(s)? Can they directly disagree with people or say “no” when they don’t want to do something? Or, do they tend to avoid conflict at all costs?

3. Do you avoid your emotions? Were you taking your own feelings seriously and letting yourself say whatever needed to be said or did you also repress and push away upset? The one who is left blindsided often has difficulty cueing into the important data in a relationship. Start working on becoming more in touch with your emotions—how do you feel in the presence of certain people, what types of personalities light you up and what types bring you down? Start making a special effort to directly communicate your emotions to people. Feelings are data; they measure the temperature of life and our relationships. If you consistently turn down the heat on your feelings, then you won’t really know what is going on in your relationships. The more self-aware you are, the easier it will be to understand the motives of others.

4. Were there problems that you blinked away? Once and for all take a cold look at the facts of the relationship. There is no way it was all peaches and cream if you are being left in this moment of blindsided surprise. Take your partner off of the pedestal and also take yourself off. Write down what was happening between the two of you that no one dared to speak of. Were you upset more times than you care to remember, was your partner demonstrating upset non-verbally? Were there conflicts that you both ignored or ruts of behavior and routine that you just couldn’t escape? Every break up and divorce has a story and as you force yourself to look at a more complete version of yours, the ground is laid for a better experience the next time you grow close to someone.   

Jill Weber, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Washington, DC and author of Building Self-Esteem 5 Steps: How to Feel “Good Enough” and Breaking Up and Divorce 5 Steps: How to Heal and be Comfortable Alone. For more, follow me on twitter @DrJillWeber, follow me on Facebook, or check out

Are ghosts haunting your marriage?

     When a couple comes to therapy for marital issues, there are often more than the three of us sitting in my office. The invisible presences of the couple’s first families, sometimes called “families of origin,” inevitably hover about the session. When the couple’s first families had differing attitudes toward money, balance of household responsibilities, social roles, parenting, housecleaning, food, and a host of other issues, the couple may experience unexpected conflict.

     Of course, the more awareness a couple has about the differing attitudes of their first families, the more they can talk openly and honestly about these kinds of issues. With conscious effort and honest discussion, the family ghosts can lose their invisibility (and their power to create conflict) and may be laid to rest.

     How do family of origin issues affect a couple’s present relationship and potentially create conflict between them? Take a simple example: visits by family members. This issue emerged in the therapy of a newly married young couple Ann and Greg. Greg grew up in a large family and his family had a laid-back casual attitude toward visits by family members, whereas Ann was an only child. In Greg’s family, it was assumed that the welcome mat would always be out for family members to stay at each others house under normal circumstances. If Greg’s brother happened to be in town on business, Greg expected he’d be welcome to stay at their house for a night or two.

     Ann, however, felt differently. Now that she worked full time she didn’t have much time for housecleaning and their home wasn’t always in tip top shape. She didn’t feel comfortable with having her brother-in-law stay with them when the house was a mess. She was concerned that word might get back to her mother-in-law that she wasn’t a good homemaker. Greg said it wouldn’t matter to his brother or to his mother if their house was messy. He doubted his brother would even notice.

     But to Ann, whose parents were more formal and judgmental than Greg’s, it mattered a lot. Greg felt hurt that the welcome mat wasn’t out at all times to his brother. Ann felt hurt that Greg didn’t understand her need for privacy and her concern about his family’s opinion of her. Talking through their feelings openly and understanding how they were influenced by the attitudes of their own families helped them have empathy for each others point of view. They were then able to work out a compromise about family visits.

     Ann and Greg, who had been married for six years, were still exceptionally tied to their first families. Money played a big part in these ties. Ann’s parents had given them the down payment for their house. They also gave them expensive gifts. Greg’s parents had supported him through business school so that he wouldn’t have to take loans.

      Prolonged financial dependence on one’s parents often makes separating from them and becoming an independent adult more difficult. And some parents feel that financial support of their grown kids gives them some measure of control over them.

     The sooner young adults are on their own financially and create healthier, less dependent selves, the less conflict they will have from family of origin issues. This does not mean that to be psychologically healthy young adults have to limit their contact with their parents. It does mean that they need to develop new adult-to-adult relationships with them.

     Forming a new relationship with one’s parents is, however, a two-way street. It means that parents have to accept a new relationship with their grown children. They have to accept their grown children as adults and as having their own nuclear families when they marry. For parents to feel grief during this process is normal, especially in close families. Young adults often feel grief as well as they move out of their first families and start families of their own.

    Family of origin ghosts bring a wide variety of issues into a marriage, especially when a couple marries at a young age. It takes conscious effort to exorcise them even after they are made visible.

Copyright © Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D.

Marilyn Wedge is a family therapist with 27 years of experience helping children and families. She is the author of A Disease called Childhood: Why ADHD became an American Epidemic as well as the popular Psychology Today post “Why French Kids don’t have ADHD”  which has more than 16 million views.

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Men Can Now Take Birth Control, Too

By Katherine Schreiber

A study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has confirmed the efficacy of an injectable birth control method that reduces men’s sperm counts and, as a result, helps prevent pregnancy in heterosexual couples.

320 men between the ages of 18 and 45 volunteered for the study. All of them were deemed healthy and fertile at the study’s start and each had a female partner whose age ranged from 18 to 38.

To suppress their sperm counts, participants received two injections every eight weeks for 26 weeks. One injection contained a chemical compound called “norethisterone enanthate” (aka “NET-EN”); the other contained a chemical compound called “testosterone undecanoate” (aka “TU”). Semen samples were acquired after the eight and 12 week marks of the study (the “suppression phase”), after which samples were provided every two weeks.

When a man’s sperm count clocked in at under one million sperm per milliliter (<1mm/ml), the researchers gave the study participants a green light to abandon whatever previous birth control mechanisms they’d been using with their partners in favor of relying solely upon the injections. This grace period (“the efficacy phase” of the study) lasted 30 more weeks, up until week 56 of the study. After this time, participants stopped receiving injections so that the researchers could monitor how quickly their sperm counts bounced back to a normal level.

274 of the men in the study experienced a drop in sperm count adequate enough to enable them to have unprotected sex with their female partners. Among these men only four ended up impregnating their partners, granting the injections a 96% efficacy rate.

This is slightly less effective in pregnancy-prevention than male condoms (which, when used correctly, are 98% effective). But it’s surprisingly higher than the 91% effectiveness of female oral contraceptive pills, hormonal patches, and vaginal rings reported by the Guttmacher Institute

Unfortunately, while the majority of men in the study were able to successfully offset pregnancies thanks to the male-only treatments, many of them reported a high rate of negative side effects, ranging from depression and mood issues to muscle pain, acne, and unusually high libido. Of sobering note — though, according to the researchers, unrelated to the use of the male contraception — one participant died by suicide during the study. Another intentionally overdosed on acetaminophen (in his case, the researchers did link this behavioral outcome the injections). And yet another man reported experiencing an irregular heartbeat following cessation of the injections — a side effect reminiscent of withdrawal.

“More research is needed to advance this concept to the point that it can be made widely available to men as a method of contraception,” Mario Philip R. Festin, one of the researchers, said in a press release. “Although the injections were effective in reducing the rate of pregnancy, the combination of hormones needs to be studied more to consider a good balance between efficacy and safety.”

The new findings are intriguing, but they’re only a start. For all of us laypeople looking to remain pregnancy free, it looks like we’ll be sticking with female hormonal contraception for the near future — in addition to condoms, which are still the only known way to prevent sexually transmitted infections.

Follow Katherine on Twitter.

4 Monochrome, Minimalist Spaces Creating Black and White Magic

Monochrome is a trend that is here to stay. Equal parts classic and classy, its edgy tones have won fans across all spaces of interior design. Similarly, minimalist interiors have enjoyed fervent favour over the last ten years. What do you get when you combine the two? Minimalist, monochromatic living spaces. These four homes put the magic into homes that offer very little colour. Whether dramatic and full of impact, or more muted and everyday, these spaces proffer fresh thinking in familiar territories. Are you thinking of designing your interior in black and white? Take a gander to inspire your home decor.

Visualizer: Inuti  

Our first space is a dash of boldness in large-format, large-impact monochromes. Based in Łódź, Poland, clean lines and colour blocking make for a dramatic entrance. In the living room, a black wall stands proudly, as a low grey couch and painted canvas foreground. A black polished table mirrors the wall, a grey rug the couch. Vase-bound palm leaves add a touch of green.

White lounge walls follow through to an all-white kitchen, speckled with black. Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry stands tall in thin, sleek lines, following the minimalist route. Thin hanging lights dangle above the kitchen bench, culminating in a three-pronged design. A black stove, stools, and fixtures add pops of black. Grey paves the road between.

Visualizer: Inuti  

Our second space, also in Łódź, measures a mere 50sqm. Created to fulfil a minimalist and Italian design brief, its greyscale and concrete refer to the post-industrial character of the area. Doubling as one space, the kitchen and living room bounce with a shocking black wall, framed by a white ceiling and walls. On closer inspection, the black wall’s steel hides a kitchen in lacquered black. An abstract monochromatic piece deters the eye.

Towards the lounge, charcoal futon couches surround a low black table, offering apples. A black-and-white cameraman light sees window panels revert from white, to black, to white again. A TV hangs on an opposing wall in an oblong.

Carrying the theme, the bedroom creates a tunnel effect with a black gloss feature wall, with abstract monochrome peeping. Another cameraman light simultaneously blends in and stands out from the black and white walls. A grey futon-style bed creates harmony between the two.

An almost all-white bathroom with shocking stripes of black keeps the minimalist theme. A black cabinet and shelf stretch across lightly-marbled walls. Wide, open-paned windows show a lighter version of white.

Visualizer: Inuti  

Our next space in Stockholm, Sweden, is a little larger at 59sqm. Using one large room to house a kitchen, dining and lounge area, its monochromes create a relaxed feel with shades of grey. In the lounge, white curtains open to reveal white walls and a wooden floor, the perfect minimalist backdrop. Making their mark, black stencil lighting, wall lights, a TV and feature art piece add life to the space. Supporting elements in grey throws, side tables and couches add softness, while black accessories tie in the theme.

Towards the kitchen, a long bench alternating white, grey, white bends around a corner. Lit by a drop stencil light, black chairs reinforce drama. Minimalist white cabinetry and entranceway contours see the bench blend into the walls, making the chairs more striking.

Designer: U Design  
Visualizer: Julia Sultanova  

Our final space adds more complexity to monochromes, with dashes of colour added. Spanning several rooms, its hues are helped by light grey and charcoal shading, especially in big bursts of colour. The lounge welcomes in light grey panels, flowing through to a matching couch, charcoal cushions and a rug. Light chiffon and grey curtains complement a multitude of lights, which criss-cross and dart one another. Large black cabinetry and white lacquered walls highlight colour contrasts on a light wooden floor.

Block monochromes mark out spaces. The dining room is black, with a round table and pod chairs creating its zone. A bookcase notes to the side, while white tulips add nature.

The kitchen shows a lighter, brighter side. Clad in lacquered white cabinetry and a grey-hued bench, white rod lighting dangles above heads in the main area. Appliances match and blend in with the walls, as LED lighting highlights a black inlet.

Stepping away from the room, a multi-coloured face appears. A white ruffle lamp sits beside, wedged between a mirror and black lacquered wall.

The bedroom adds green as its signature, as black and white symphonies tie them together. A black corrugated feature wall sits amidst mirrored panels, elongating the space. A twin corrugated partition in white shows light through a wide-paned window, while green stretches over covers and a rug. Black cylindrical lights add a finishing touch.

The kid’s bedroom becomes more playful. White lacquered cupboards oppose white ladders, a place for kids to climb inside. A kaleidoscopic owl painting, multi-coloured hexagonal rug, and turquoise toy box make it fun. Around the corner, dreamtime is held in another bright turquoise space, complete with white skyline decal. White walls and wooden floors retain the minimal.

Greys, whites and blacks shine again in wide marble tiles with aspects of each. Mirrors form the space between, reflecting and enlarging the space. White lacquered cabinets hang beside porcelain and a white towel rail. Sprigs of life in round white vases add colour.

Grey panelled shower doors act as another mirror, reflecting light and keeping contents mysterious. A bath invites, swathed in charcoal tiling, a perfect space to relax and recline.

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101 Ways to Feed a Crowd

I love this time of year! The holidays always bring family and friends to town for celebrations and parties galore!!! And you know what that means – FOOD!!! If food were a love language – it would definitely be mine. One of my favorite things to do is plan delicious meals that everyone will enjoy! But sometimes it’s tricky planning enough meals to feed everyone. And I am always looking for easy recipes with little prep time so I can enjoy quality time with my guests. Nobody likes being stuck in a kitchen all day! Enter…

101 Easy Recipes for a Crowd!!

Ways to Feed a Crowd

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. To learn more about ’em, click here.

We have inspiration for days right here! Literally… you could plan a month’s menu straight from this post. How sweet is that!?

Keeping organized is key when planning meals, so we thought we would keep this post organized for ya, too!

  • 16 Ideas for Breakfast for a Crowd
  • 16 Appetizers for a Crowd
  • 15 Slow Cooker Recipes for a Crowd
  • 21 of the Best Food Bars for a Crowd
  • 18 Potluck Dishes for a Crowd
  • 15 Desserts for a Crowd

Ooh, I am getting hungry just thinking about all these scrumptious dishes! So let’s get started!

16 Ideas for Breakfast for a Crowd

Start the morning out right with some filling breakfast ideas to feed the whole family…. Including aunts, uncles, cousins and the kids next door!

Ways to Feed a Crowd Breakfast

Breakfast for a Crowd

1. Spicy Pigs in a Blanket {Betty Crocker}These look so amazing! I’m sure this little twist on Pigs in a Blanket would be appreciated by all your guests!

2. Cinnamon Bacon Bombs {Messes to Memories}Super sweet and easy to make with frozen cinnamon rolls. Just slice and toss into a muffin tin!

3. Cheesy Tater Tot Breakfast {Chew Out Loud}Tater tots for breakfast? Hey, why not?! They’re just pre-packaged potatoes, which means EASY breakfast casserole and fast, too!!

4. Cheesy Bacon and Spinach Quiche {The Kurtz Corner}Protein-packed breakfast to feed an active crowd!

5. Cinnamon Quick Bread {Messes to Memories}Making a batch of this sweet quick bread is a super casual way to keep everyone fed! Don’t underestimate the power of fresh baked bread… this stuff make the whole house smell like heaven!

6. Breakfast Burrito Bites {Ella Claire Inspired}Everything is better in mini! Just slice your tortillas and stuff them in a muffin tin instead of trying to wrap a bunch of burritos! This looks like a winner!

7. Breakfast Enchilada Bake {Lovely Little Kitchen}Enchiladas are always a hit! These enchiladas are stuffed with family favorites including eggs, sausage and mountains of cheese!

8. Easy Breakfast Pizza {Yellow Bliss Road}This delicious pizza looks like a fun and unique spin on a traditional pizza! And we all know that everyone loves pizza!

Ideas to Feed a Crowd for Breakfast

9. Banana Nut Muffins {Messes to Memories}Super easy. Quick. Scrumptious. Muffins are another casual idea to feed a lot of people.

10. Cinnamon Rolls {Jo Cooks}Cinnamon Rolls always warm my heart and my tummy! These are definitely a special breakfast in our home and I love making them for company!

11. Easy Breakfast Casserole {Gimme Some Oven}Prep this easy, cheesy breakfast casserole the night before!! It is overflowing with sausage, eggs and hashbrowns. Mmmm!

12. Biscuits and Gravy {Lemon-Sugar}A southern favorite! This is such an easy way to pull off biscuits and gravy for a lot of people.

13. Blueberry Cheesecake French Toast Bake {Messes to Memories}Overnight french toast is always a hit when we have company. It’s such an easy and fun way to make a classic breakfast dish, but without all the morning mess and prep!

14. Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole {Taste and Tell Blog}A hot breakfast that is easily prepped the night before!

15. Slow Cooker Cheesy Potatoes {Damn Delicious}Um. Yum! Potatoes are a filling breakfast item and these look so creamy and delicious. The best part? You do all the prep work the night before and then you wake up to this goodness! Perfect!

16. Ham Egg and Cheese Breakfast Braid {Fab Fatale}This is a beautiful dish that will feed a lot of people. Mmm. I’m getting so hungry!

16 Appetizers for a Crowd

Around the holidays we LOVE indulging in fun and delicious appetizers! Hooray for finger food! These will be sure to keep the party going…

Appetizers for a Crowd

Appetizers for a Crowd

17. Spinach Artichoke Dip Ring {Messes to Memories}Yummy rolls baked right around a hot spinach artichoke dip! Sold!

18. Cowboy Salsa {Culinary Hill}I’m going to tell you a little secret! Chips and salsa are the way to my heart… Cowboy salsa is fun and unique because you can switch it up with the different fruits and veggies you decide to add!

19. Shrimp Taco Bites {I Wash You Dry}These little bites scream holiday fun! Yum!!

20. Pizza Fondue {They Smell}Delicious and super easy to make – what’s not to like?

21. Cheese Platter {Iowa Girl Eats}My favorite appetizer at any get together is a cheese platter and they are so simple to put together!

22. Avocado Egg Rolls {Damn Delicious}Now this is what an appetizer should be! If you haven’t tried these, you should get right on that!

23. Cheeseball {Messes to Memories}This fool-proof cheeseball is from my mother-in-law. She really knows how to pull off a party!!

24. Caprese on a Stick {Personally Andrea}Talk about a sophisticated appetizer. These will be gorgeous at your party!

Yummy Appetizers for Parties

25. Bruschetta {Messes to Memories}MMmm. This stuff makes my tummy dance for joy! Seriously, the balsamic glaze is outta this world!

26. Slow Cooker Smokies {Foodie Crush}This is a must have at any party during the holiday season! Everyone loves these things!!

27. Peanut Butter Cheesecake Fruit Dip {Messes to Memories}I made this for a girl’s night once and it was devoured! Everyone wanted the recipe. You have got to try this sweet dip!

28. Olive Oil and Bread Bar {Elizabeth Anne Designs}We love this idea because it’s SO easy but SO elegant. Set up an appetizer bar with a variety of breads, olive oils, and herbs.

29. Taco Cups {Kevin & Amanda}No fuss with these, they are easy and delicious!

30. Firecracker Chicken Meatballs {Little Spice Jar}Another delicious and classic dish with a unique twist! I can’t wait to try these.

31. Cranberry Salsa {Messes to Memories}Looking for something to stand out on that food table? This salsa will catch everyone’s eyes and will have everyone double dipping!

32. 7 Layer Dip {Yummy Healthy Easy}This dip is a crowd favorite! Let’s be real here… who doesn’t love a good 7 layer dip?

15 Crockpot Recipes for a Crowd

When family comes to town, it’s nice to be able to take a couple minutes to throw everything into a crockpot so you can enjoy the festivities, but still have a warm, comforting meal waiting for you at the end of the day.

Slow Cooker Recipes for a Crowd

Slow Cooker Recipes for a Crowd

33. Chicken Fajitas {Life in the Lofthouse}Make the filling in the crockpot and have everything else ready for the meal!

34. Crockpot Chili {Pip and Ebby}Chili is always a winner! Here is a classic recipe to try!

35. Crockpot Italian Chicken {Messes to Memories}I’ve made this recipe so many times, it’s easy and it makes A LOT!

36. Slow Cooker Lasagna {Gimme Some Oven}Easy to layer all your favorite ingredients in the crockpot and then just wait for this classic dish to be done.

37. Barbecue Ribs {Carlsbad Cravings}Fall-off-the-Bone Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs that everyone will go crazy for! Super easy – only 15 minutes prep time.

38. White Chicken Chili {Messes to Memories}Creamy White Bean Chili is perfectly creamy and delicious with just a little kick to keep it kid friendly. This could even be eaten as a dip if you wanted!

39. Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies {Damn Delicious}Slow cooker for the win! This is seriously a one-pot dish with everything you need for a super comforting meal!

40. French Dips {Celebrating Sweets}Tender meat, prepped in a slow cooker, crusty bread, sweet onions, melty cheese, and a bowl of au jus for dipping. I’m in!

Crockpot Recipes for a Crowd

41. Taco Soup {Messes to Memories}One of our all-time, family favorites!

42. Chicken Alfredo Tortellini {The Gunny Sack}Just yum! Warm, creamy, delicious… Yum!

43. Honey Buffalo Meatballs {Carlsbad Cravings}Meatballs are always fun! I love that you can make these in the crockpot!

44. Pulled Pork {Lauren Greutman}Whenever I make pulled pork it is an absolute hit! There are so many ways you can use it – salad, tacos, rice bowls, sandwiches. The options are endless!

45. Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken {Chef in Training}WARNING: flavor overload ahead!!! This creamy chicken looks so delicious!

46. Italian Sloppy Joes {Skinny Taste}Now this is just genius! Make your sloppy joe filling in the crockpot and then, bam! Dinner arrives and everyone assembles their own sloppy joe!

47. Hot Dogs for a Crowd {365-ish Pins}Not the prettiest sight! BUT… super effective way to get all those hot dogs cooked for a crowd!

21 of the Best Food Bars for a Crowd

Food bars are one of my favorite ways to feed a big crowd! Check out some of these fun ideas for a variety of food bars like grilled cheese!! Who knew a sandwich could be so exciting!?

The Best Food Bars

Food Bars for Parties

48. Taco Bar {Barefeet Kitchen}Crowd pleaser! At least in our home, tacos are requested almost every day! Make it fun by putting together a taco bar.

49. Pork Salad Bar {My Natural Family}This is one of my favorite go-to ideas for feeding family and friends! We love loading up a pork salad with guacamole and salsa.

50. French Fry Bar {Southern Revivals}THIS is just amazing. You could include dipping sauces, spice blends, cheeses, and salsa. Add in some proteins like grilled chicken or ground meat and make it a whole meal of loaded fries!

51. Sandwich Bar {What’s Gaby Cooking}Lay out a variety of breads, lunch meats, cheeses, salad dressings, and condiments for a fun and easy sandwich bar.

52. Pizza Bar {By Stephanie Lynn}Personalized pizzas? This looks like a fabulous bar that everyone will be down with!

53. Macaroni and Cheese Bar {Sunny Sweet Days}Serve a big batch of your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe then offer a variety of toppings such as: bacon, ham, green onions, tomatoes, ground beef, sausage, seasoned bread crumbs, salsa, and jalapeños.

54. Omlette Bar {Pizzazzerie}Your guests can choose their own mix-ins and it makes for an easy and cute set-up! Set out toppings like salsa, ham, mushrooms, onion, and spinach! Yummy!

The Best Food Bars

55. Nacho Bar {Fantabulosity}Love this idea! Super simple and easy to throw a nacho bar together with all the toppings!

56. Grilled Cheese Bar {A Beautiful Mess}Who says grilled cheese needs to be served plain? Offer a variety of fun toppings to make them fancy and party-worthy.

57. Mashed Potato Bar {Betty Crocker}Serve mashed potatoes in fun glasses or bowls to make it extra special!

58. Popcorn Bar {Pen & Paper Flowers}If you want to offer some food to your guests but not a complete meal, consider setting up a fun popcorn bar with all the fixings.

59. Potato Bar {Alexan Events}A potato bar is a super easy and inexpensive way to feed a large number of people and the topping combinations can get really fun!

60. Modern Salad Bar {The Party Dress}Fun ideas for creating your own modern salad bar for a fun get together or party.

61. Extra Special Grilled Cheese Bar {Oh Happy Day}Have you ever seen grilled cheese like this before? This looks so yummy and the options are endless!

Unique Food Bars for Parties

62. Yogurt Bar (One Brass Fox}This is perfect for a crowd at breakfast! It’s such a cute bar, too!

63. Pancake Bar {For Rent}If you’re looking for a breakfast or brunch bar – a pancake bar is the way to go. Perfect for morning gatherings and parties.

64. Biscuit Bar {Kojo Designs}The southerner in me just loves the idea of buttery biscuits! This could be a great brunch idea!!

65. Bruschetta Bar {Olivia’s Cuisine}Bruschetta makes for the perfect app AND the crowd can have it exactly how they want it!

66. Hot Dog Bar {I Heart Naptime}A gourmet hot dog bar is tons of fun, and there are even printable recipes that you can hang on a clothespin for guests to follow, plus these condiment bottles make decorating fun!

67. Waffle Bar {Mom Loves Baking}Pull out your waffle maker and bring on the party with a fun waffle bar! This recipe actually uses cake mix to make it even easier and dare I say – more delicious!

68. Burger Bar {Cardstore}Let your guests make their own gourmet burger by choosing from a variety of bun options and traditional, as well as creative, burger toppings.

18 Potluck Dishes for a Crowd

Party season is fast approaching and I’m always looking for some unique potluck dishes to take to share with friends and family.

Potluck Dishes for a Crowd

Potluck and Side Dishes

69. Party Burgers {Kevin & Amanda}I’m drooling. These look so good. The sauce just makes them incredibly tasty!!

70. Frogeye Salad {Six Sisters}This makes a TON! and you can double it to make even more!

71. Buffalo Chicken Salad {Carlsbad Cravings}Now don’t these just make you happy!? An easy slider idea to feed a BUNCH of people.

72. Chicken Tender Sliders {Home Made Interest}Make up a big batch of sliders all at the same time and save a ton of time!

73. Mini Pizza Pretzels {Messes to Memories}For a party with lots of kids, or even kids at heart, these are perfect. And easy too. Thaw the dough in advance and have everyone make their own! Then slide them on a tray to bake!

74. Potato Salad {Chew Out Loud}If there isn’t potato salad, is it even a potluck?

Potluck Party Dishes

75. Sheet Pan Fajitas {The Wanderlust Kitchen}This is so smart! Fajitas are delicious, now make them on a sheet pan to share with everyone.

76. Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad {Julia’s Album}MMMMMmm. Combining 2 of my favorite things – bacon and pasta! Oh man! So yummy!

77. Bacon Wrapped Green Beans {Kayotic Kitchen}Such easy prep, then just pop them in the oven and you’ve got the perfect side!

78. Italian Sandwiches {Baker by Nature}The perfect, easy recipe when you need to feed a crowd! Layers of pepperoni, salami, ham, giardiniera and mozzarella tucked into a sandwich roll that has been baked to melty perfection.

79. Sweet Potato Casserole {Add a Pinch}This southern dish will be one that the crowd can’t stop eating!

80. Cheesy Potato Casserole {Love Bakes Good Cakes}My family is convinced that this yummy side dish could go with ANY meal, which makes it perfect for potlucks.

Side Dishes for a Crowd

81. Baked Macaroni and Cheese {Spend with Pennies}What is better than cheesy, comfort food? {Did I mention it has FOUR kinds of cheese?}

82. Caesar Green Bean Salad {Messes To Memories}Our absolute favorite green bean side dish! The kids even eat this one up because the flavor is on point!

83. Walking Tacos {The Dating Divas}What a fun and easy meal. Make your taco meat and toppings and then grab a bag of chips! Fill up your snack size bags and enjoy your walking tacos straight out of the bag of chips!

84. 7 Layer Salad {The Pioneer Woman}This recipe is simple but beautiful and a staple of ours at potlucks and luncheons.

85. Pizza Casserole {Tastes Better From Scratch}It’s pizza… in casserole form. Who’s game??

86. Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad {Cooking Classy}There are always so many rich options at a potluck, I love to bring something that is somewhat healthy! This is the perfect salad to balance everything out.

15 Desserts for a Crowd

We saved the best for last! Desserts are the most important, right? Here are some tantalizing desserts that will make your crown swoon with delight!

Desserts for a Crowd

Desserts for a Crowd

87. Oreo Truffles {Cooking Classy}Set out some delicious Oreo truffles and you’ll be a crowd favorite for sure!

88. Brownie Pudding {Crazy for Crust}This is for the chocolate lovers!

89. Brownie Batter Cheeseball {Chelsea’s Messy Apron}If you are a fan of cheeseballs, you might want to try out this decadent brownie batter cheesecake. It looks divine. I am dying to try it!!!

90. Ice Cream Sundae Bar {Hello Little Home}Let each guest make their own ice cream sundae! The delicious toppings and combinations really are endless, just make sure to include a variety of candies and syrups.

91. Ice Cream Sandwich Bar {Tomkat Studios}This is gorgeous and full of tips for pulling off your own ice cream sandwich bar.

92. Frozen Mint Brownie Bars {Glorious Treats}Say what!? The layers here are genius. I would definitely eat this… ALL of it!

93. Chocolate Fruit Dip {Cooking Classy} – You only need 5 ingredients to make this deliciously chocolately dip and it’s always a crowd favorite.

94. Oatmeal Cookie Bar {Messes to Memories}This COULD feed a crowd, if you have enough self control to not eat the whole pan yourself!

Desserts to Feed a Crowd

95. White Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Corn {Messes to Memories}Caramel popcorn is the perfect treat for a party!

96. Dump Cake {Natasha’s Kitchen}This cake is easy and such a hit with a crowd!

97. Pumpkin Slab Pie {The Kitchen is my Playground} – Easily feed a crowd with this slab pie. It has all the deliciousness of traditionally-made pie, with more servings per pan!

98. Banana Pudding Poke Cake {Beyond Frosting}A little twist on a tradition banana pudding that everyone will love!!

99. Mango Coconut Icebox Cake {The Kitchn}This is SUCH an easy recipe, you can whip up a couple in just a few minutes.

100. Build Your Own Fruit Pizza {HWTM} – Let guests build their own mini fruit pizza using sugar cookies!

101. Caramel Apple Bar {Craftberry Bush}Simply slice apples and place them on a stick, then arrange a variety of toppings in muffin tins for easy dipping.

Still need more ideas?? Don’t worry… We have some more delicious inspiration, check out:

100 of the Best Christmas Cookie Recipes

50 Warm Fall Drinks

101 of the Best Pumpkin Recipes

“Happy Friday!”

Source: Minnesota Historical Society, CC 2.0

How would you feel about a person who chirped, “Happy Friday!” Many people would think a bit less of him or her.

Indeed, many sayings risk lowering your credibility. Think twice before saying that or any of these:

“S/he who dies with the most toys wins.” What a shallow definition of the life well-led.

“Everything happens for a reason” That implies that a higher power controls everything. Even intelligent religious people believe we have some control over what happens.

“It’s hump day.” That implies that by Wednesday, you’re already so unhappy or unsuccessful at work that you’re ready for the weekend.

“We’ll be BFFs” (best friends forever.) Forever is an awfully long time. “We’ll be BFFs” ignores that things change over a lifetime/ For example, you may meet someone who becomes an even closer friend. Or like millions of “BFFs,” you have a fight which permanently diminishes or even ends the relationship. I know of two people who considered each other BFFs but one day, one called the other a racist. They’re still friends but that distanced the relationship.

“I’m open to anything.” That implies the person is more open to wild risk-taking than to discernment of what’s wise.

“I believe in unconditional love.” That could imply that you’ve done or could do something so reprehensible that most people would pull back from you. Also, like, “We’ll be BFFs.”  “I believe in unconditional love” is a black-and-white statement that doesn’t allow for gray areas. Acknowledging the gray is a sine-qua-non of intelligent thinking.

“That’s just your opinion.” That is usually said by people who disagree but can’t figure out why or who can’t articulate why.

“I’m a team player.”  While teamwork is often important, saying “I’m a team player” not only is boastful, it can imply you’re expecting others to pick up your slack.

“The golden years.” Alas, for many if not most old people, their final years are far less golden than their younger ones. Referring to old age as “the golden years” comes off as unaware or attempting to avoid dealing with what’s real.

“Everything works out in the end.” If only it were true.

Marty Nemko’s bio is in Wikipedia. His newest book, his 8th, is The Best of Marty Nemko.