Sunday, July 25, 2010

Busty Barbie

An email received from a reader:

So I was at Walmart yesterday and noticed a new set of Barbies that they have. The dolls seemed very elegant and very much inspired by the whole Top Model movement AND they had three different shades of the black dolls. This was my first time seeing a dark skin doll. But  then I noticed that one of the black dolls' breast exposed from her dress. Since when did Barbies start exposing their breast like that?
It looks like I wasn't the only one who felt this way as she is now infamously known as "Busty Barbie".

What kind of message is this sending to black girls?



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Love of Gardening

I have discovered a new love....gardening. When I was younger, my mother effectively made sure I would hate the hobby of gardening, for life. I still remember, being dragged from one nursery to another, buying what seemed like an endless array of "things" that were only going to die at the end of the season. I have now discovered those "things" go by such names as petunias, celosia, impatiens, lily and geranium.

My first attempt at gardening was going to Wal-Mart and buying their end of season perennials (they come back every year). Not knowing what I was buying, I just picked up some plants that looked nice in their picture, some soil and headed home to dig. A few weeks later, I came across some tulip bulbs at a local grocery store and thought I would give them a try. (The pictures of the flowers in this article are my tulips from my garden) These flowers and plants took off and this spring and summer, they have dazzled. I have received many compliments from my neighbours and yes...I am happy to report that my mother was not successful and that I have learned to enjoy gardening.

Here are a few tips to get your love of gardening on:

1) Don't be afraid to try something new. Even though you might not be familiar with the plant, does not mean you should not plant it.

2) Learn basic gardening terms:
annual-only comes once
perennial-grows back every year
bulb vs. seed
types of soils: black earth, potting soil, gardening soil, manures
nursery - place where flowers and plants are grown and sold

3) Ask questions...from your neighbour (if they have a green thumb), friends, employees at the nursery, heck even strangers.

4) Have a budget. It is easy to get carried away buying flowers. Have a limit and stick to it.

5) Start early. Bulbs should be planted in the fall. Determine the planting time for your plant or flower.

6) Figure out what plants and flowers need. Shade, part shade, full sun, heavy, medium or low watering.

My advice is to start with simple flowers that don't require much maintenance and take it from there. Good luck and happy gardening.CB
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