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Easy Times, May 2024

White and pale pink lilacs with text reading Hello, May.

Happy May, friend!

In my home state of Colorado, this time of year is always full of surprises.

One day the sun is shining, the tulips are blooming, and life is glorious.

The next day it’s snowing sideways, temperatures plummet, and the tulips are covered in snow.

Colorful tulips covered in snow.

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The next day, the sun returns and the tulips miraculously bounce back. I’ve been thinking about resilience a lot lately, because the past couple of months have been challenging for many bloggers.

A.I. (artificial intelligence) generated content is flooding all of the major platforms. Creators’ original articles, photos and recipes are being scraped and copied by the major search engines and used to train their A.I. systems.

In the food realm, perhaps you’ve seen some odd recipes or images that don’t quite make sense.

At first glance the image looks like two grilled hot dogs, but then you notice the weird buns, strange lettuce garnish, and loopy condiment topping. (Photo credit: Instacart)

Facebook is suddenly flooded with A.I.-generated food photos and fake recipes, some of which get hundreds of thousands of likes and shares. The traffic to many legitimate creators’ social media pages decreased in April.

AI is everywhere on Google, too. Have you noticed more machine-generated answers at the top of the search page?

You’ll likely see more results from the same sites like Reddit and Forbes, and you’ll have to scroll way down to find original content.

Soon we may all feel like we’re being fed a diet of homogenized content created by Big Tech.

It’s hard to know where this will go, but here’s how I’m responding right now:

More than ever, I will support creators of original content, whether it’s an artist, a musician, a designer, a writer, or a blogger.

Online, I’ll look for a real human creator who makes and tests their recipes in a real kitchen, a DIYer who completes and photographs their projects, a travel writer who actually visits the locations, or a product reviewer who personally evaluates things.

I can’t control what the social media algorithms feed me, but I can seek out the good stuff. I’ll subscribe to e-mail newsletters of creators I like, visit their websites, and share their content.

I will actively seek out and reward the “real thing.” I’ll do all I can to support and promote human creators.

In this rapidly-changing digital landscape, I’m so very grateful to you for reading and visiting Happy Simple Living. Connecting with readers like you is always a joy!

If you, too, are trying to stay positive and resilient this month, maybe it’s time to plan a Staycation – a day off dedicated to recharging and taking care of YOU.

I think I’ll “X” out a day on the calendar soon and do the same.

In the mean time, we’ve got rhubarb recipes, Mother’s Day gift ideas, home decluttering strategies and much more below.

Until next month,

Eliza

P.S. I’m always on the lookout for ideas and article to help make life easier. If you come across great tips or sources, please send them my way! I love hearing from you.


Readers’ Top 3 Favorite Articles

A sloth hugging a fence post.

It’s always fun to check our website reports to see what you’re reading. These are the articles you clicked and read most during the past 30 days:

Post #1

Post #2

Post #3


May Food Holidays

A bowl of homemade Mediterranean hummus.

Did you know that May 13th is International Hummus Day? Celebrate with this extra-creamy, delicious Mediterranean Hummus and some pita chips and veggies.

May is also National Asparagus Month, and I love this easy recipe for Oven Roasted Asparagus with Bacon, Breadcrumbs and Parmesan Cheese from our sister site.

For the tastiest Cinco de Mayo food, I always find the best, most authentic Mexican recipes from Ana Frias at Muy Delish.

And for all of the free spirits who don’t pay much attention to food holidays, May 11th is World Eat What You Want Day!


From the Garden: Growing, Harvesting, and Enjoying Rhubarb

Dark red and bright green rhubarb stalks.

Whether you want to plant or harvest rhubarb, we’ve got you covered with our Organic Rhubarb Growing Guide.

Rhubarb takes a few years to get established, but then it’s a reliable perennial that comes back bigger and better each year.

Some of our favorite rhubarb recipes include:

Here’s how to freeze rhubarb so you can preserve its flavor well into the year.


Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

A hummingbird at a feeder drinking nectar.

Because Mother’s Day falls during spring planting season, we often get a garden-related gift for our mom. Here are some ideas:

Give Mom a pretty hummingbird feeder and the recipe for our Audubon-approved hummingbird nectar.

Create a container garden that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. (Be sure to check out Nourish and Nestle’s tips about fillers for large pots.)

How about a collection of easy-to-grow vegetable seeds that can be sown directly in the soil?


House & Home: Does Less Stuff Equal More Joy?

A collection of colorful hand blown art glass.

Everyone I know seems to be decluttering, reducing possessions, and simplifying at home. (For me, it’s an ongoing project!)

We’re realizing that less stuff at home frees up valuable time that might otherwise be spent organizing, maintaining and cleaning.

With that in mind, here are 5 Ways to Enjoy Things Without Owning Them.

Also, have you tried Apartment Therapy’s $9 Rule?


More Simple Living Ideas on Pinterest

I’d love to connect with you over at Pinterest, where we have dozens of boards with thousands of easy recipes and simple ideas to make your life easier!

Strawberry pie, daffodils, ginger crinkle cookies, a flowering branch, Greek yogurt, and a china teacup.

Your Exclusive Invitation: Join the Simple Life, Happy Home Group

pansies, a front porch, and yogurt with berries.

This special private Facebook group “Simple Life, Happy Home” is for members to share favorite recipes, gardening tips, simple living ideas, money saving strategies, pretty photos, pets, and more.

Request your membership and I’ll make sure you’re approved quickly.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

6 thoughts on “Easy Times, May 2024”

  1. Hi Eliza,

    What a wonderfully refreshing newsletter and thanks for the insight on AI and Google! It surely is a new world and knowledge is power!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Lynn! I have no doubt that we’ll continue to find good opportunities to stay connected and reward authenticity in this ever-changing digital world. ~Eliza

      Reply
  2. I love how well you covered the crazy that is AI—such great tips for awareness! I love the rhubarb recipes. I should be able to harvest my first in the next week or two (I received a transplant from a neighbor last year), and I will be making the hummingbird nectar. I just got out our feeder to prep, as I saw a “hummer” on my walk the other day.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Kathleen! I appreciate your kind words so much. That’s exciting that you’re almost ready to harvest rhubarb, and thrilling that the first hummers are here! ~Eliza

      Reply
  3. Happy May, my friend. Your newsletter is a breath of fresh air in this weird world of wonky hot dogs. Thank you for shining a light on the issues bloggers are up against and advocating for searching for and supporting authentic content. Now I must read your decluttering tips!

    Reply
    • Cara, your expression “weird world of wonky hot dogs” cracked me up and I so appreciate your kind words! Here’s to perseverance, resilience, and the pursuit of good, authentic work. So grateful for you. ~Eliza

      Reply

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