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Thursday, May 22nd, 2008
Camels: the Ship of the Desert

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about CAMELS

I admit to a fascination with camels and have come across them in many places through Asia and Africa and also Australia.

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1. Camels are even-toed ungulates within the genus Camelus. The dromedary, one-humped or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the Bactrian camel has two humps. They are native to the dry desert areas of western Asia, and central and east Asia, respectively.

2. Camels have the reputation of being bad-tempered and obstinate creatures who spit and kick. In reality, they tend to be good-tempered, patient and intelligent. The moaning and bawling sound they make when they’re loaded up and have to rise to their feet is like the grunting and heavy breathing of a weight-lifter in action, not a sign of displeasure at having to do some work. Note – some do have bad breath!

3. Camels come in every shade of brown, from cream to almost black.

4. A camel’s ears are small. It has acute hearing. A camel’s ears are lined with fur to filter out sand and dust blowing into the ear canal.

5. Contrary to popular belief, a camel does not store water in its hump. It is in fact a mound of fatty tissue from which the animal draws energy when food is hard to find. When a camel uses its hump fat for sustenance, the mound becomes flabby and shrinks. If a camel draws too much fat, the small remaining lump will flop from it’s upright position and hang down the camel’s side. Food and a few days’ rest will return the hump to its normal firm condition.

6. Camels have broad, flat, leathery pads with two toes on each foot. When the camel places its foot on the ground the pads spread, preventing the foot from sinking into the sand. When walking, the camel moves both feet on one side of its body, then both feet on the other. This gait suggests the rolling motion of a boat, explaining the camel’s ‘ship of the desert’ nickname.

7. A camel’s eyes are large, with a soft, doe-like expression. They are protected by a double row of long curly eyelashes that also help keep out sand and dust, while thick bushy eyebrows shield the eyes from the desert sun. Their eyelashes are very long and quite sexy actually! See the photo below – I got quite close and had a bird’s eye view.

8. After a gestation periods of 13 months, a camel cow usually bears a single calf. The calves walk within hours of birth, and remain close to their mothers until they reach maturity at five years of age. The normal life span of a camel is 40 years, although a working camel retires from active duty at 25.

9. Wild dromedaries are long extinct. Wild Bactrian camels still survive in the Gobi desert (between China and Mongolia), but they are endangered, the population being under 1,000. This wild Bactrian camels are not the race from which the domestic form comes. That type is believed to be extinct now in the wild. There are also wild camels in central and western Australia. They were released into the wild when they were no longer required as beasts of burden and have successfully bred. The camels I rode in Queensland were captured wild from central Australia and broken to saddle.

10. The camel’s mouth, stomach, and teeth have all developed to allow it to eat plants that are not palatable to other desert animals. The camel’s mouth is tough and rubbery so that thorns and branches won’t damage it. The thirty-four sharp teeth allow it to bite off tough bites of almost anything, and when forage is short a camel can subsist on meats, skin and bones. Camels are ruminants, similar to cows, with three stomachs. They don’t chew their food. They eat by swallowing their food whole and allowing it to be partially digested by the stomachs before being chewed as a cud later.

11. Throughout recorded history, the camel has been a helper to the desert dwellers. The camel assisted in providing transportation, shelter, fuel and food. The camel is able to carry loads as heavy as 900 pounds, although normally a camel will only carry a third of that. Camels were used on the Silk Road.

12. Fossil evidence indicates that the ancestors of modern camels evolved in North America during the Palaeogene period, and later spread to Asia. Humans first domesticated camels between 3,500–3,000 years ago.

13. This photo was taken in the Western Desert of Egypt.

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This photo was taken near the St Simeon Monastery, Aswan, Egypt.

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And this final photo of a pretty white camel was taken in Algeria – the Sahara Desert.

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I’ve used some of my camel riding experiences in Wanderlust. Anna and her passengers go for a camel ride from the desert town of Jaiselmer in India. This ride was from personal experience and I remember having a sore ass afterwards and well into the next day. I wasn’t the only one who was walking like a duck either!
The camel I rode this particular time was called Michael Jackson and had a small plastic horn tied onto its saddle. This seems to be a very common name since the donkey I rode up to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt was also called Michael Jackson.

Have you ridden a camel? If so, whereabouts? Would you like to ride a camel?

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Wednesday, May 21st, 2008
Life and Transport in Cairo, Egypt

All The Way Home by Jenyfer MatthewsMy guest today is Jenyfer Matthews who writes for Cerridwen Press. Her recent release, All The Way Home recently received a Golden Blush recommended read from Literary Nymph Reviews. The reviewer said, “In my opinion, a book as beautifully written, heartfelt and sweet as All the Way Home truly deserves the Golden Blush Recommended Read award. It just makes you hope that Ms. Matthews keeps writing with the tenderness, understanding, and compassion that she showed here. Brilliant!”

Today Jenyfer is talking about life in Cairo, Egypt and in particular transport.
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Thursday, May 15th, 2008
When I’m Feelin’ Blue….

Today’s Thursday Thirteen is brought to you by the color blue. (because it’s my favorite)

Thirteen Things about BLUE

1. Blue is my favorite color. I like it because it’s calming. There’s nothing better than looking at the sky on a day when there are no clouds. The clear color just makes me smile. I also have blue eyes.

2. Pantone has selected the color Blue Iris (PANTONE 18-3943) as the 2008 Color of the Year telling us: “Combining the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple, Blue Iris satisfies the need for reassurance in a complex world, while adding a hint of mystery and excitement.”

3. In Iran, blue is the color of mourning while in the West the something blue bridal tradition represents love.

4. Blue conveys importance and confidence without being somber or sinister, hence the blue power suit of the corporate world and the blue uniforms of police officers. Long considered a corporate color, blue, especially darker blue, is associated with intelligence, stability, unity, and conservatism. From the About.com site.

5. Blue is a favorite color of both men and women of all ages. However, men have a much stronger preference for blue than women. It may be the calming effect of the color blue that makes it a popular color for both men and women or it could be the association of some shades of blue with authority figures, intelligence, and stability. About.com

6. You can feel blue, which isn’t a good thing. My Oxford dictionary says blue in this context means nervous, depressed, melancholy, dismal.

7. In Australia you can have a “blue” which means you argue or row with someone.

8. Once in a blue moon – a saying that means scarce or hardly ever or a rare event.

9. Blue moon can also mean an extra full moon in a year. Generally there are twelve full moons per year, one per month. Every two or three years there is an extra full moon due to the eleven extra days in each year.

10. There’s a song Blue Moon. Here’s the 1961 version by The Marcels.

11. Blue gemstones promote peace and are used to calm ragged emotions. They are used to provide relief to people who have difficulty sleeping or who have nightmares. They offer inspiration and enhance the quality of communication. Check out the meaning of other colored gemstones here.

12. What color are you? A quiz – surprisingly I was yellow :?:

13. Something can happen “out of the blue” meaning the something happened without warning. You can be “between the devil and the deep blue sea” which means you’re in an impossible situation.

Have I missed any common blue sayings or things? Oh, I just thought of something blue – The Blues Brothers. Man, I love that movie.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Monday, May 12th, 2008
Fishing up New Zealand.

I enjoy some of the Maori myths and legends. This one, telling of Maui and the birth of New Zealand, is one of my favorites. As with all legends, there are a few variations.

Maui was a demi-god who possessed magical powers. Not all his family knew of his magical powers, and he used this to his advantage.

One day, he hid in the bottom of his brothers’ boat in order to go out fishing with them. Once out at sea, Maui was discovered by his brothers, however they weren’t able to take him back to shore because Maui made use of his magic powers and made the shoreline seem farther away than it was in reality.

The brothers continued rowing, and once they were far out into the ocean Maui dropped his magic fishhook over the side of the waka (canoe). After a while he felt a strong tug on the line. This seemed to be too strong a tug to be any ordinary fish, and Maui called to his brothers for assistance.

After much straining and physical effort, up surfaced Te Ika a Maui (the fish of Maui), known today as the North Island of New Zealand. Maui told his brothers that the Gods might be angry about this, and he asked them to wait while he went to placate the Gods.

However, once Maui had gone his brothers began to argue about the ownership of this new land. They took out their weapons and started pounding away at the catch. The blows on the land created the many mountains and valleys of the North Island today.

The South Island is known as Te Waka a Maui (the waka of Maui). Stewart Island, which lies at the very bottom of New Zealand, is known as Te Punga a Maui (Maui’s anchor), as it was the anchor holding Maui’s waka as he pulled in the giant fish.

So, there you have it – the story of the origin of New Zealand.

Do you have a favorite myth or legend?

Today it’s my turn to blog at The Danger Zone. Check out my post about my adventures in Rwanda while viewing the mountain gorillas.

Thursday, May 8th, 2008
Classic Romance Plots

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Plus Classic Romance Plots

The secret of writing a great romance is to take a classic plot and twist it to make the story unique. Here is a list of the classic plot tropes used in romances:

1. Secret Baby – a pregnancy results from a romance and the father doesn’t know about it.

2. Cinderella – a rags to riches story.

3. Beauty and the Beast – one of the main characters is physically marred in some way.

4. Good Girl/Bad Boy – opposites attract. This can also be reversed with a bad girl/good boy.

5. Stranded – a couple is stranded together and the enforced intimacy leads to more.

6. Marriage of convenience – an arranged or forced marriage leads to love.

7. Family feud – think Romeo and Juliet.

8. Mistaken Identity – one of a couple isn’t who he or she appears to be on the surface.

9. Lady and the Cowboy – a class difference sets a couple apart.

10. Secret – a secret stands between romance.

11. Twins – lots of possibilities here.

12. Kidnapping – an abduction.

13. Business competitors – two people fighting for the same prize and only one can win.

14. Friends to Lovers – a friendship leads to more.

15. Masquerade – pretending to be someone else.

16. Amnesia – where one of the characters has lost their memory.

Which type of plot is your favorite? The one you most dislike? Have I missed any from my list?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
Potager Garden

So many searches have hit my blog after I posted photos of our potager garden, I decided to ask my husband to write a how-to with photos to show how he prepares the potager garden for planting. I hope you find it helpful. If you have any questions please post them in the comments section, and I’ll round up my husband to answer them for you.

Planting the Potager

A potager garden can be of any size and dimension. A patio container to a formal garden, depending on the space available.

I have found the raised bed method most successful, especially for the size of our section.

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When building the raised bed any type of timber can be used, from old railway sleepers to half round posts, what ever your budget stretches to. You can even use bricks and mortar. There are kit set options you can buy ready to assemble. A good example is www.patchfromscratch.co.nz

Once you have decided what dimensions you require and have built the frame to contain your raised bed, the layering begins. Depending on the size of your garden and budget, this will likely determine the contents of your bed. I have found that a 3 layering system works for me. If your bed is going directly on to grass either spray the area to kill off grass, weeds etc or lay some weed matting or better still layer newspapers.

Recipe:

• Add pea straw. This is good for retaining moisture. Personally, I use shredded paper. It has the same moisture retention, is biodegradable and doesn’t cost a cent.

• Take some good manure e.g.: sheep pellets, chicken manure, or good general purpose fertilizer. Spread out evenly.

• Place a layer of organic garden mix over the manure. www.livingearth.co.nz Depending on the size of your bed this could be bought in bags or more economically in bulk. Soil is okay, but you could have the added problems of unwanted weeds germinating instead of your vegetable seedlings.

• Keep repeating the process until you have reached your desired height or depth of your potager bed.

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The garden will subside and requires rebuilding at each planting. It may need an additional one or two layers. Be sure to turn the original bed before you proceed with layering.

Although rotation of crops is advised, I have found that this is not necessary with this type of potager garden. Self seeded potatoes keep popping up with no ill effects.

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Potatoes dug from this type of garden only require a slight brush before cooking.

Happy gardening.

Thursday, May 1st, 2008
Quips with Mae West

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Quotes from MAE WEST

During the last couple of weeks I’ve tripped across lots of quotes by Mae West. Wow! She was a fascinating lady, and one who has left a legacy of some great quotes that cut straight to the heart of the subject, whatever that may be.

1. Mae West was born Mary Jane West on 17 August 1893 in Woodhaven, New York, US. She died on 22 November 1980 at age 87 in Los Angeles, California, US. West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage in New York before moving to Hollywood to become a comedian, actress and writer in the motion picture industry. Here’s a link to some photos of Mae West. She was famous for her large number of quips, some by herself and others by her characters. Below are some of my favorites from the lady who said, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”

2. His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.

3. Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.

4. A man in the house is worth two in the street.

5. When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.

6. Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can’t figure out what from.

7. I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.

8. I’m no model lady. A model’s just an imitation of the real thing.

9. Look your best – who said love is blind?

10. Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I’m tired.

11. I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I’m a woman… but loose enough to show I’m a lady.

12. Men are my hobby, if I ever got married I’d have to give it up.

13. You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

Have I missed any of your favorites or is your favorite one of the above?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Thursday, April 24th, 2008
A Kiss is Just a Kiss.

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Kisses and Kissing

1. The dictionary defines a kiss as a touch given with lips as a sign of love, affection, greeting or reverence. Kisses come in many forms. There’s a kiss curl (a small curl of hair on the forehead), the kiss of death (apparently friendly act causing ruin), the kiss of life (artificial respiration). Some kisses are loud – the band KISS. Some kisses are delicious – Hersey’s kisses. Some kisses are personal – a kiss between lovers.

2. When you think about it – kissing is pretty yucky. It’s basically swapping spit. Experts say lots of bacteria journey from one mouth to another during the kissing process. You can get diseases from kissing – like meningitis, herpes and mononucleosis.

3. Despite this danger of disease anthropologists report that 90 percent of the people in the world kiss. Most people look forward to their first romantic kiss and remember it for the rest of their lives. Do you remember the awkward bump of noses, the apprehension of your first kiss?

4. Several other animal species have behaviors that resemble kissing. Many mammals lick one another’s faces, birds touch one another’s bills and snails caress one another’s antennae. In some cases, the animals are grooming one another rather than kissing. In others, they’re smelling scent glands that are located on faces or in mouths. Regardless, when animals touch each other in this way, they’re often showing signs of trust and affection or developing social bonds.

5. Your body physically reacts to being kissed. Most people like to be touched, and that’s part of your body’s response to kissing. But kissing also affects everything from your blood to your brain.

6. Kisses have lots of variations. There’s the beginner’s kiss where lips brush or gently press together. There’s a butterfly kiss where lips just graze in a light touch. There’s a French kiss where participants kiss with open mouths and probing tongues. Gently please! No stabbing for tonsils allowed.

7. There’s a virtual kiss – :-*

8. If you’re kissing a lot you want to have fresh breath and kissable lips. Here are some instructions for kisseable lips:

Step 1: Prep

Smooth lips with lip balm. Avoid slick products, such as Vaseline or anything else petroleum-based (they will make the lipstick slide off). Instead, apply a waxy balm, such as Chapstick, and massage into lips with your figertips. Then let it sink in for a few minutes.

Step 2: Pick Your Stick

Grab one that lets lips show through, such as a sheer lipstick or light gloss. Apply…LIPSTICK straight from the tube. Blend into lips and along your lip line with fingertip. Apply LIP GLOSS with the wand or a lip brush. Smooth out with your fingertip.

Step 3: Blot

When you are finished applying color, lightly kiss the back of your hand. This will get rid of excess product without cutting down on the sheen. Then, gently smack your lips together to even out the color one last time. Pucker up!

9. There are kissing games like SPIN THE BOTTLE

You put a soda bottle or a flashlight in the middle of a circle of people. One person spins the bottle (or flashlight in the dark) and when it stops spinning and points to someone of the opposite sex, they have to kiss.

10. We sing about kisses – here’s the great Louis Armstrong singing A Kiss to Build a Dream on.

11. There are kissing quotes:

The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender. -Emil Ludwig (1881-1948)

I have found men who didn’t know how to kiss. I’ve always found time to teach them. -Mae West

A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. -Ingrid Bergman

12. You can kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland.

13. James Belshaw and Sophia Severin locked lips for more than 31 hours to break the world record for the longest kiss.
James Belshaw, 26, and his girlfriend Sophia Severin, 23, from London, shared an unbroken kiss for 31 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds. They began kissing in the Plaza Shopping Centre in Oxford Street at 11:15 BST on Wednesday. The pair broke the previous record, which was set in the US four years ago, by more than half an hour.
Throughout the event they were not allowed to sit, or fall asleep, could only take sustenance through a straw and had to stay kissing even while visiting the toilet.

Do you have any kissing trivia to add? Stories of first kisses? A comment?

Tomorrow I’m having another post about kisses and would like to invite you to post a kiss excerpt (in the comments section). If it’s published post a buy link. Unpublished authors are welcome to leave their kiss excerpts as well. I’m giving out some spot prizes so come along and say hello, even if you don’t post an excerpt.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
Loving the Love Scene

My special guest today is Ashlyn Chase. She writes sparkling comedies and has had an unusual upbringing…she was kidnapped by gypsies as an infant and left on the doorstep of the Massachusetts home in which she grew up. Oh, wait! That’s what her older siblings told her. It seems that story telling runs in the family.

Her most recent release is Death by Delilah, the story of two Navy lovers. Can two Navy lovers, equal in resolve but not in rank, secretly live together off base, without discovery causing one of them to be transferred to the Middle East? Read Death by Delilah to find out!

Today Ashlyn is discussing a very important component of writing a romance – the love scene. Without further ado, here’s Ashlyn…

Erotic romance authors are often asked how they write hot love scenes. It isn’t easy! In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to write well. I happen to write erotic comedy but when it comes to sizzling sex, I’m deadly serious. I don’t write porn. I’ve been in those sleazy bookshops with the blacked out windows and bought a couple of their books to “see what I was missing.” Not much! Just some terribly written plotless stories with absolutely no romance by authors in need of an anatomy class.
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Thursday, March 27th, 2008
I Put My Blue Jeans On….

Thursday Thirteen

Most people own a pair of jeans. Finding the right fit can be an exercise in frustration and after many years of trying on jeans, can I say dark rinse, mid-rise, boot-cut. That’s me, baby. I’ll admit that having found my style I’m now feeling suitably smug. I did, however, take a moment to ponder about jeans and their history. IMO there’s inspiration to be found while checking out men in jeans, although if you repeat this to my hubby, I’m denying all!

So, in honor of jeans and the clever man who invented them:

THIRTEEN THINGS ABOUT JEANS

1. The word jeans comes from a type of material made in Europe. The material, called jean, was named after sailors from Genoa in Italy, because they wore clothes made from it. The word ‘denim’ probably came from the name of a French material, serge de Nimes: serge (a kind of material) from Nimes (a town in France).

2. During the eighteenth century workers wore jean cloth because the material was very strong and it did not wear out easily.

3. In 1853, the California gold rush was in full swing, and everyday items were in short supply. Levi Strauss, a 24-year-old German immigrant, left New York for San Francisco with a small supply of dry goods with the intention of opening a branch of his brother’s New York dry goods business. Shortly after his arrival, a prospector wanted to know what Mr. Strauss was selling. When Strauss told him he had rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, the prospector said, “You should have brought pants!,” saying he couldn’t find a pair of pants strong enough to last.

4. Exhausting his original supply of canvas, as the demand grew for his long-wearing overalls, Levi switched to a sturdy fabric called serge, which was made in Nimes, France. Originally called serge de Nimes, this name was soon shortened to “denim”. And, with the development of an indigo dye, the brown color was soon replaced with the now familiar deep blue, the trademark color of most jeans made today.

5. One of Levi’s many customers was a tailor named Jacob Davis. Originally from Latvia, Jacob lived in Reno, Nevada, and regularly purchased bolts of cloth from the wholesale house of Levi Strauss & Co. Among Jacob’s customers was a difficult man who kept ripping the pockets of the pants that Jacob made for him. Jacob tried to think of a way to strengthen the man’s trousers, and one day hit upon the idea of putting metal rivets at the points of strain, such as on the pocket corners and at the base of the button fly.

6. These riveted pants were an instant hit with Jacob’s customers and he worried that someone might steal this great idea. He decided he should apply for a patent on the process, but didn’t have the $68 that was required to file the papers. He needed a business partner and he immediately thought of Levi Strauss. In 1872 Jacob wrote a letter to Levi to suggest that the two men hold the patent together. Levi, who was an astute businessman, saw the potential for this new product and agreed to Jacob’s proposal. On May 20, 1873, the two men received patent no.139,121 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That day is now considered to be the official “birthday” of blue jeans.

7. Jeans can be worn very loose in a manner that completely conceals the shape of the wearer’s lower body, or they can be snugly fitting and accentuate the body, specifically the buttocks. Historic photographs indicate that in the decades before they became a staple of fashion, jeans generally fit quite loosely, much like a pair of bib overalls without the bib. Indeed, until 1960, Levi Strauss denominated its flagship product “waist overalls” rather than “jeans”.

8. The orange thread traditionally used to sew Levi Strauss blue jeans was intentionally selected to match the copper rivets that doubled the durability of the jeans.

9. How many pair of jeans do you own? According to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™, each American woman and man own eight pairs of jeans on average.

10. What kind of jeans are you? Take the test.

11. One of the best as well as easiest things you can do to protect your jeans in the laundry is to turn them inside out before washing.

When possible, use cold water to wash your jeans along with a small amount of vinegar added to the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener. The cold cycle is much easier on your blue jeans and helps to prevent fading. The vinegar is an added touch to preserve the color.

Another way to preserve the color of your jeans is to buy a detergent for dark colors such as Woolite Dark Laundry Fabric Wash. This detergent is made especially to help preserve dark colors and works very well for blue jeans.

12. Choose a style that’s right for your body type. A slim figure is well-suited to low-rise skinny, straight or boot-cut jeans. The latter two cuts are more flattering on muscular, athletic shapes. If you are pear-shaped, try low-rise boot-cut or flared jeans for balance. A higher-rise is recommended for curvier girls, as it better conceals love-handles. However, every figure is different and it really is best to try on many different cuts. To make your butt look perkier, choose a jean with low-set back pockets that are closer to the center.

13. I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes. ~Yves Saint Laurent

14. Because I couldn’t resist –

Do you like to wear jeans?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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