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. There's big changes coming to the site - it will soon be the home of my new health coaching practice! Stay tuned. 

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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 dearly need some inspiration to start the purge/clean/decorate season of my life. This book sounds like it would do it for me!

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLizanne Eastwood

I haven't heard of this author before, but that's what I love about following blogs. They lead from one amazing person to the next. I've enjoyed trying out a few of your homemaking tips including your lavender body scrub and it's inspired me to do more stuff from scratch and in a more back to basics way. I would love to learn more tips and tricks from this book :)

First of all, what an AWESOME giveaway!!! Such a cool idea, such a COOOL book I love the whole idea of it. This will be my first year planting a garden, so wish me luck! We are newly(ish)-weds and first-time home-buyers, any tips are very welcomed!

I'd like to learn what I can do to reduce the amount of dust inside my home. I know about air filters - but is there a way to reduce the generation of dust?

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosemary Evergreen

How the heck does one clean baseboards without making a mess of the carpet?
Also, I need inspiration on how to put together a rockin' craft room on a dime!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIrishJenn

I already follow HGGH on facebook!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIrishJenn

I would love to learn everything in this book haha. We're good at cooking in my house but everything else is a mess mess mess.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

This book looks fabulous! I would like some gardening inspiration...what to plant and how to keep things tidy looking. Thanks!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I need some help from the Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking for ways to be a great hostess and create fun parties!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I just bought my first home last week, and though still waking from dreams of punk houses of yore, I am happily trotting into this new adventure - sharing a home with my partner and dog. I inherited a wonderful yard and koi pond with the house and am anxious to get started on my garden, though I've always lived with these green-thumbed folks who did most of the planning and digging, leaving me to the watering and eating. I could use advice all over my home, but particularly outside. We even have a rain barrel set up and ready to go!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

I follow you on Twitter!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

i want to try to tackle jams! which always intimidate me. and i want to figure out how to grow a little bit of food and/or just eat the veggies i buy from the co-op before they go bad--it's the perpetual problem of the single girl. i love kate and am so excited about her book!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura.

I would like to learn how to fix stuff and use tools!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

I follow the Hip Girl on FB

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

pick me! Looks like a great book.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaryCay

i follow @eatingfreely on twitter!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaryCay

Awesome giveaway! I would like to learn more about creating a small backyard garden, so that my furry friends do not devour all of my veggies and herbs. I also would like to learn how to revamp the decor in my home, and do some freshening up projects.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa B.

I would love to learn more about how to make a really nice looking special occassion table for dinner.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

I would love to know more about gardening & canning for practical reasons--- but I love all kinds of crafty projects and generally neat or useful tips!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber S.

I follow you on twitter.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber S.

I definitely want to try some canning this year! I've helped my grandma make jam in the past, but other than that I have no clue. Sounds like an awesome book, thanks for the giveaway!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui

This book sounds so cool and I'd love to check out the jam-making and gardening help. Also sounds like a great time this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCherie

I would love to learn how to be more creative with decorating. I also need ideas and some confidence for entertaining!! I would love to win this book! I am newly engaged (wedding next summer) and think this would be a perfect book to read as I start my life with my future husband!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

There are SO many things I want to learn! But here are a couple::

1) Making my own yogurt. I have attempted a few times and failed every time.

2) Home-made cleaning products to keep my antique/vintage furniture looking fresh.

Great review!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMandyE

I would like to learn how to do more natural home cleaning. Gardening and canning tips would also be great. Thanks for the chance to win her book-looks great.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Minimizing and decorating with a simple style are always on my to-do list! I also would like to maximize my garden space and get more herbs going!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah P

I would really benefit from learning ways to increase storage, or finding ways to conceal all my crap. I'd imagine there are some pretty good tips on that!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterA-K

organization! closets, office, KITCHEN, and while we're in the kitchen, some menu-planning/grocery shopping tips, and gardening. . . thanks.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather B.

liked it on FB!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather B.

I have lived in a newly built house for nearly two years and it is still just that--a house. I want to learn how to make it a home; one that is warm and welcoming to all who enter. I could also use some help with organizational skills and cleaning tips!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

I tweeted about the giveaway!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

I follow you on Twitter


May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

I would like to learn how to hang things (such as shelves, pictures, etc.) properly. I have bought " hanging kits" but never know which pieces to use for what. I also don't know what pieces are appropriate for which type of wall/ceiling. I'd also like to learn to build things, such as shelving.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternicole

I "liked" both Affairs of Living and The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on Facebook.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternicole

I need to learn how to do more DIY projects around the house. That is definitely something I am interested in learning. Also I follow both of you guys on Twitter and FB.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterATXglutenfree

I follow @hipgirls on twitter.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber S.

I liked Affairs of Living on Facebook.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber S.

I follow the Hip Girl's Guide on FB!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel F

I would love to learn more about home/container gardening and organizing for small spaces.

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie Wahjudi

I Like Affairs of Living on Facebook!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie Wahjudi

I follow Kate on Twitter!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

I "like" Affairs of Living on Facebook

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

I "like" the Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on Facebook!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

Organizing tips are always welcome (not sure if my 1st comment made it through).

I tweeted about the contest!

I love learning new things about gardening. I have a very limited space for my green babes, so I need to be as efficient as possible.

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary

The book looks amazing! I can always use any help I can get for running my unorganized home!

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaija

This just made my day! I just moved into my own little apartment and as I cleaned it up for the first time yesterday, I found myself wondering "what's the best way to clean the burners on your stove?", "can you use vinegar on hardwood floors?", "Is there an eco-friendly way to keep your sink sparkly and white?". I'm pretty sure this book can answer all of my questions...and more!

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCandice

Long time twitter follower and fan! @MsChronicBadass

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCandice

I am now a follower of HipGirls on Twitter! @MsChronicbadass

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCandice
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