Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.

Want to stay up to date? Check out my new website www.constellationacu.com.

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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"The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking" Book Review and Giveaway

I have a confession: I obsessively cyberstalk The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking author Kate Payne. 

It all started last summer, when I stumbled upon her blog. I instantly fell in love with her smart suggestions, her multitude of jam recipes, and her conversational writing style. She was writing a book about homemaking, biked around Brooklyn, grew strawberries in buckets, and doled out hints for cleaning with baking soda and dumpster diving for furniture. Oh, a kindred spirit! Truly, we were cut from the same vintage dishcloth. I left comment upon comment on her blog and her blog's Facebook fan page. Shortly thereafter, I stepped it up a notch; I found her personal Facebook profile and messaged her. She responded and we became Facebook friends. For months I picked her brain about food swapping, and she encouraged me to start the MPLS Swappers. All this time I have hoped that we would meet someday and geek out together about canning and collecting vintage aprons. 

Well, my dearies, cyberstalker dreams do come true. This Saturday, I'm picking Kate up from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, taking her to brunch, and she is attending to the second gathering of the MPLS Swappers. The next day she'll be having a book signing event at the Barnes & Noble in Roseville, Minnesota. The virtual and physical worlds meet in a homemaking extravaganza fit for a domestic goddess!  Hooray!

When Kate asked me to review a copy her new book The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on my blog, I was absolutely thrilled. I truly admire Kate's enthusiasm for community, drive to learn, and ability to teach, and couldn't wait to support her effort - and of course, share a copy of the book with a lucky reader. 

look at that darling calligraphy and illustration!

The Review

I consider myself to be a fairly accomplished homemaker with a broad knowledge base. Some beginner homemaker guides or blogs are little too elementary for me. While The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is definitely written for the beginner, I was delighted at the amount of information that I learned from start to finish.  Kate covers the gamut from making your own tomato cages to building shelving. She teaches the reader how to sew on a button and remove stains. There are tips for planning parties and buying groceries on a budget. I found answers to many of my lingering homemaking-related questions and learned things I didn't realize I didn't know.  And I got a great refresher in basic things like how to do the dishes without wasting water and the best way to fold a fitted sheet.

As I discovered new tricks and tips, I tried them in my home to great delight. I made mental note about things to try in the future and the information to share with friends and family. The more I read, the more motivated I became make my home a home. Now I'm in the midst of an obsessive top-to-bottom organization/purging/home improvement/redecorating project, and I love it.

In addition to being jam-packed with information (and jam-making tips!), The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is fun to read. The writing style is casual and conversational, filled with funny turns of phrase ("botulism blues") and the occasional snippet of colorful language. I felt like Kate and I were sitting together chatting about domestic affairs over tea.

 This is a real person's book, a keep-close-at-hand resource for everyday life. There's no judgement, no "perfect", and no pretense, and the information is realistic, approachable and accessible. From practical, time-tested wisdom to uniquely modern-day solutions, this book shares sustainable, creative, and affordable ways to improve every aspect of your domestic life. Kate thoughtfully dispenses loads of advice on how to live richly without spending a lot of money. If dumpstered chairs, makeshift curtains, and DIY cinder block & wood board book shelves are the best you can do, she shows you how to do it with panache. And the money you save on furniture just might allow you to buy some nice organic sheets from one of the suggested retailers listed in the "Sources" section.

To top it off, the visual impact of this book is fantastic.  The page layout is simple and clean, creating a creative and breezy feel that I want to achieve in my home. An easy-to-read read typeface is used throughout the book, interspersed with handwritten calligraphy and helpful hand-drawn illustrations. It feels both modern and homespun, a perfect combination of how I perceive Kate's approach. And even the paper feels nice. 

helpful illustrations are scattered through the book

In short? I highly recommend The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking for anyone (regardless of gender identity) looking to beef up their domestic skills and become more handy and self-sufficient. Kate empowers the reader to learn, to experiment, and to make their home their own. You'll be amused and inspired, and walk away with actionable ideas that won't eat up too much time or too much money. And with graduation, wedding, and home buying season just around the corner, may I suggest that this book would be a great gift for a college graduate, newlyweds, or a new homeowner.  

For those of you in the Twin Cities area, Kate will be in town this coming weekend. On May 14 from 2-4 pm, she will be attending the MPLS Swappers food swap. Tickets are currently sold out, but you could add your name to the waitlist and hope someone cancels. On Sunday May 15 at 2 pm, she will be at Barnes & Noble in Roseville, Minnesota for a book signing event. The event is open to the public and dopies of her book will be available for purchase. Be there, or be square!

And now, I am happy to bestow a beautiful new copy of the book upon one lucky reader.

helpful tips and tricks are included from beginning to end

Enter the Book Giveaway

Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is generously offering one copy of The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne to a lucky reader.  


To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post following the instructions below. Entry deadline is Sunday 5/22/11 11:59 pm CST. I will randomly select a winner from the comments, and the winner will be announced Monday 5/23/11 in a followup on this blog post. I will contact you if you win to get your shipping information, and Harper Collins will mail you a copy of the book.

To enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post (on the blog, NOT on Facebook), and share what you would like to learn to do around your home. Make sure to leave an email address when you comment so I can contact you if you win.

Optional additional entries (complete as many as you'd like):


Buy the Book and Connect with Kate

If you'd rather not take your chances and would like to purchase a copy of the book,The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is available at bookstores nationwide as well as on online retailers.  

Order The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking online:


Ways to connect with Kate:


Good luck, and happy homemaking!


DISCLAIMER: Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, provided me with a free copy of this book to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

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Reader Comments (75)

I would love to learn her tips on Jam making as we have strawberry plants started and more of how to do things around the house without purchasing so much!
Thank you for this opportunity!

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelli Christensen

I am a Lymie (diagnosed with Lyme Disease) and my entire life has been turned upside down since being diagnosed. My diet and my life have been streamlined and simplified - or rather I am still in the process of adapting to the change. I enjoy many of the recipes on your site and since I am homebound at this time ( during my IV treatments) I am enjoying reading as much as I can about better ways of living.

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaula J

I loved it on FB! What a great resource!

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim

This is my first year growing a vegtable garden & attempting a compost pile. So that would be my area that I would love to improve as a homemaker. Ive been a housewife for 7 years & am always hoping to learn anything new.

I follow Affairs of Living on FB.

May 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrista Momma

I also Like The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on Facebook

Forgot to add: Id love to learn any useful ways to organize a childs room that actually work.

May 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrista Momma

Oh if I could just keep after the dust or keep my bathroom cleaner longer.

May 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I'm pretty new to homemaking, so there's still so much I want to learn! How to preserve my own jams, pickles, tomatoes and other veggies, how to make my own glass cleaner and laundry soap, how to start my own garden, better DIY organization strategies. The list goes on and on!

May 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohanna

I like Hip Girl's Guide on fb too!

May 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber S.

I want to learn to can. I have done freezer strawberry jam, but I really want to do tomatoes!

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkayduh

Hey Kim!
I've already got my own copy of the book, so no need to include me in the giveaway. I just wanted to tell you again how much I enjoyed getting to participate in the swap this weekend, and how nice it was to meet you (and Kate!).
You really have a talent for writing - your review of Kate's book is excellent and spot-on. When I want to tell people what it's about, I will just send them to this blog post. :)
x Katherine

I would love to win this!! I love everything homemaking!!! Seriously, all of it. I would like to learn more about clotheslines, food preserving, household repairs, etc!!!!!!

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

I like affairs of living on FB!

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

I like the hip girls guide on facebook!!!

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

Following you on Twitter.

Following Kate on Twitter now as well. :-)

I would like to learn how to live well and happily - but on a budget. I have to eat a certain way - that can be expensive - so I would like tips and trips on cutting those costs and learning how to live beautifull and comfortably ... maybe even grow my own food!

Thank you!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersophie

I am just getting in to growing my own food, so that is my focus! :)

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I need advice on organization...it's my downfall. I start a million projects, without finishing them!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersaretta

I tweeted this giveaway: http://twitter.com/#!/sarettagd/status/71272228444049408

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersaretta

As a person who has a gluten sensitivity, I am always interested in seeking new recipes and food to assist me with my eating so I would not have to compromise on good health.

I am really interested in the ideas and information has to share in her book. I hope I get one...

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha Bernardez

With 4 small kids , a business (oh make that 2) and being a wife... tips on running a household are always greatly appreciated and needed :)

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRozelyn

I now like your FB page! I didn't know you had one :)

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarlo

I like Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on FB now too!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarlo

I liked AofLiving on FB :-)

I liked "The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking" on FB. :-)

Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo