Sunday, October 29, 2017

Musings - October 2017

Has anyone else just felt drained by the stress and drama of the last few months? The politicization of natural disasters. The overwhelming wish to do meaningful good in the face of so much need. Add in a few work trips + a sick puppy, and, well, blogging just took a back seat. The world still turned. Things still happened. And I still mused - but only in my head... Here are a few of the things that were muse-worthy in September/October.

Books: Travel is always good for reading! The Child Finder made a two and a half hour plane ride far more interesting with deceptively simple language on a multi-level narrative. (And the author seems as fascinating as the book!) Since I loved the Hallows, I thought I'd try Kim Harrison's next series. I loved it less - probably because I adore the Hallows. On its own, The Drafter is likely a fine book. I may have needed more space from the world of the Hallows. For 3 or 4 years, Interpretation of Murder (a historical mystery that included Freud) had been sitting on my shelf. (And now, it's at my local Tiny Library, as I deemed it "okay but not a keeper".) The Immortals was a pleasant interlude of fantasy fiction for a week or so.

Gratitude: Birthdays. Rainy days spent exploring the countryside. Amazing stores that go on forever + tiny stores with adorable canine mascots. Books. The hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. The serene beauty of a butterfly garden in Tucson. Dishwashers.

Listening: I've completely binged out on the Bombshell Business podcast. And P!NK, forever.

Perfume: I've been wearing a lot of my favorite Strange Invisible Perfume - Magazine Street. I love NOLA in the fall, and this is the closest I'm getting this fall.
- You can read here about my last NOLA adventure

Recipe of the Month: The children have told me I need to re-organize the In the Kitchen section by food type rather than chronological - another project for a winter day! 

Meanwhile, we made both pumpkin and apple pies - several times, in varying levels of fancy as the image shows - and have now perfected....
Jericho's Apple Pie:

- 6 cups of apples cut fine (mix of Granny Smith + Gala, about 3 apples of each) - squeeze a bit of lemon over the cut pieces to keep fresh as you go
- 1 cup sugar (preferably brown)
- 1/4 cup tapioca 
- 1 generous tablespoon of vanilla
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 scant tablespoon of nutmeg
- 1/4 tablespoon of ground cloves

We use home-made pie crust but you can use store bought. Bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees. 

Notes: A mix of sour and sweet apples makes the best pie. I do the apples up first with spices/sugar/tapioca and refrigerate while I make the dough (1 cup of flour, between 1/2 - 2/3 cup of Crisco, scant 1/4 cup of sugar, a touch or salt, and a bit of cold water - use a pastry cutter to mix. Roll out between floured wax paper. That amount will make a pie bottom. Double to have a pie top.) 

Self-Care: This was a month of clean up. I like a quick clean option. My go-to is Alba Hawaiian 3-in-1 face wipes. I've tried Micellar Water before with limited success (too drying on me for anything but occasional use) but decided to see if perhaps I might like another brand of Micellar Water better for more frequent use. (Click here to read more about my obsession with cleansers.

  • Pacifica's Micellar Coconut Water is a touch too drying for my skin and not friendly for eye make-up removal. (I experienced a slight amount of burning around the eye when I tried to use it for eye make-up removal.) By the second day, my skin was dry and flaky.
  • Yes to Cucumber's Micellar Water is good for a quick clean-up. No issues with use around the eyes, but water-proof mascara gave it a little trouble. Again, my skin dries out if I use it for more than 4 days running, but overall I like it for the quickness and how completely it cleans.
Word to the wise - do be generous with your use of cotton squares/rounds when using Micellar Water to ensure you get all the make-up off.

Masks do a world of good for skin. I love them! My mom used to wear them about once a month when I was a kid, and she taught me several natural options. (Different skin need than mine - she has oily skin. I've always had dry, sensitive skin.) Yogurt and honey or honey and strawberry were favorites as a teen.  My grown-up favorite masks tend to be mix-ins - dry clays into which you can mix honey, yogurt or even maple syrup (the real kind - always organic - which is full of anti-oxidants). This month I found an on-sale, ready-mixed, season-appropriate new mask to love - Andalou Natural's Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask - which does a beautiful job of leaving my skin amazingly bright and soft.

I also got the opportunity to try (at a significant discount - because y'all know I'm not spending that!) a fancy French eye cream, Predire. It doesn't flake or dry out on the skin - as some "uplifting" eye creams do. It does seem to make the eye area gently taunt. The first time I used it was a sample after a long flight, and it made a world of difference to my tired, dehydrated, creased skin. (Flying just parches my skin.) We will see - they told me it was a year's supply (which made the math work), so we'll check back.

I've also been doing some working out - hence the need for quick clean skin care. Cardio drumming. Which hits my fun quotient. And yoga. Which I've discovered only looks easy. (I apparently live in the land of yoga. I've tried pilates yoga, yin yoga, and vinyasa yoga. I'm not actually good at any of them but I enjoy the challenge of trying.)

Take-away - It's good to stretch your boundaries with new experiences. And you can, even on a small budget. 

Pictures by moi!

Original musings posts you may enjoy:

PS - Puppy is fine. It was a tummy issue. (Rx = rice, chicken, yogurt, and pumpkin.) He's never had one before, so I may have over-reacted. For a week. This is him with "I don't feel good" body language the day he was most sick. (He crated himself. Door was open all day.) Even his Mohawk looked sad and flat.

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