Karen Ballum

Karen Ballum

Hi, I'm Karen Ballum. I'm a Community Moderator on BlogHer.com. You might know me as Sassymonkey ...   see full bio

Karen Ballum

Hi, I'm Karen Ballum. I'm a Community Moderator on BlogHer.com. You might know me as Sassymonkey.

I live in Ottawa, Ontario -- Canada's national capital. Keeping me company are my husband and cat, commonly known on the internet as the Fake Husband and the Fake Cat. Last I checked they were both still very real to most people but according to Denise, it's not real unless she can see it. (She's met the fake husband and has seen pictures of the cat but once fake is always fake in her books.)

Karen Ballum Sassymonkey

I have been blogging about life (and food, I like food) since 2004 on my personal blog, Sassymonkey.ca, and started my book blog, Sassymonkey Reads, in August of 2005. I don't read quite as many books as I used to but I still love hearing about the books you love.

While I spent a LOT of time here on BlogHer.com you can also find on Twitter. If you want to judge for yourself whether or not my cat is fake, she features prominently in my Instagram stream. (But you never know, I could be using a stunt cat.)

I also have a slight addition to the overuse of parentheses. (Oops?)

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It's Fall! Here Are 5 Scarves You Can Make at Home

Every year finds me dragging my feet into autumn. I never like how the temperature drops, but I do find things to love about fall. I love how the tree leaves burst into a brilliant display of color before dropping to crunch beneath my feet. We start piling up logs by the fireplace. I start pulling out my colder-weather clothes. I especially love scarves....more

7 One-Pot Meal Ideas for Busy Nights

"What's for dinner?" It's a question we hear daily. There are days when we throw back an easy answer. There are other days when the question makes us want to throw our spatulas on the floor and wail. Here are seven one-pot meal ideas to get you through those busy weeknight dinners. ...more
I've made that, minus the spinach. It is pretty good!more

Goodbye Glasses! I Had Laser Eye Surgery

One month ago, I did something I thought that I would never, ever do -- I let a doctor shoot lasers into my eyes. Up to and during my laser eye surgery, it was scary and I questioned my sanity. A month out, I can tell you that I believe it was worth it and I don't regret it. Not even a little bit. I've been asked lots of questions by friends and family over the last few months. I thought I'd try to round up those questions into one post. Here it goes. Why did you get laser eye surgery?...more
IndigoOcean.org I have travelled since having the surgery. It's fabulous.more

6 Fabulous Body Scrubs You Can Make at Home

Exfoliating scrubs are one of the easiest beauty products to make at home and only take a few minutes to mix together. Most of these scrubs use coconut oil as a base, so if you don't have any you'll want to grab some from your grocery store. Once you've made your first body scrub you'll wonder why you ever spent all that money buying them. ...more
Great recipes!more

5 Things I Learned Training for a 5K

I spent the last few months training for a 5k run. I've run close to half a dozen of them in recent years but I've never actually trained for one before. I'm not saying that I'd just pop out of bed on race day and go run but calling what I did real training was a bit of a stretch. I'd run once or twice a week but really only if I was in the mood for it and I didn't run very far. This spring I decided I wanted to give this whole training thing a proper shot....more
texasebeth I know. We're such horrible influences. ;-)  Sports bras are TRICKY.more

Will The Mary Sue Become a Mary Sue?

Last month, The Mary Sue, formerly "the guide to girl geek culture," surprised its community by merging with sister site Geekosystem, changing its design, and changing its tagline to "let your geek flag fly." While some pushback on The Mary Sue's changes was to be expected, some of the changes—as well as comments made on social media by senior staff members—have left some readers wondering if The Mary Sue is about to become a ...more

7 Canadian Bloggers to Follow for Canada Day

While my American friends are getting ready to pull out their stars and stripes, up here in Canada I'm gearing up for a festive Canada Day in Ottawa. My July 1 will be filled with friends, food, and fireworks ... but I wanted to leave you with some fabulous Canadian bloggers to follow. Check them out, and please leave links to your favourite Canucks in the comments below. ...more
Wow! Thank you so much - I am truly honoured to be mentioned!more

Happy 4th of July: Celebrate with 9 DIY Projects for Independence Day

Independence Day is just around the corner. Is your house ready for 4th of July festivities? If you are like me, you are probably looking at the calendar and wondering what happened to June. Here are nine projects that don't take much time and look fabulous. ...more

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk and Paint

When I was a kid we had a long dirt driveway, which was a source of serious disappointment for me. My friends with paved driveways used to make epic hopscotch paths and I so wanted to be able to make them. When we bought our house one of the first things I did was buy sidewalk chalk. What I didn't know then, and I do now, is I could have made my own. You can make your own sidewalk paint, too! I have a full container of chalk in my cupboard, but when it runs out I'l be trying some of these recipes. I added some fun activities you can do with chalk in here as well. Have fun! ...more

Father's Day: Five Gifts You Can Make for Dad

Father's Day is upon us and my local stores are telling me all the dads need new power tools and video games. Both are lovely options if that's what the fathers in your life want but sometimes we want something a bit more personal -- something that was made just for them. We've gathered up five DIY gift ideas you can make that special dad in your life. ...more