Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Musings - July 2019

This was a slow month, but it goes by quickly and with it the summer brushes up into fall - just a hop, skip, and jump from the end of the year.

And, the garden is in! I've got segregated the eds a bit - an herb bed (image), a strawberry patch (image), several tomatoes and a crazy amount of hot peppers. Three beds in total. I did not even try cucumbers or squash due to the late start. I officially bought plants July 1st and put it in July 2nd. By July 3rd it had tiny thumbsized hop-toads bopping around the plants. 

In contrast, we put in Isy's garden over a month ago. She and I already did our first weeding and a garden adjustment session on July 4th. She's already eating strawberries from her garden, and we've planted her blackberries for next year. She also found raspberries on her new property and those are producing as well!  

I did manage to do a tiny harvest from our wild blackberries and the strawberry patch (image). The tomatoes have been slow but we're harvesting herbs already - and one jalapeno.

Books: I've officially finished out all the currently available Lainwich Witch books - a 21 book series from the improbably named Raven Snow. (These are the book equivalent to Schitts Creek - light, entertaining, and not like your life. Bless her for writing them. ) Kindle Unlimited is the bomb. Boom.

Also on Kindle Unlimited I started a new series by Ashley Beasley. Excellent world building. Bramble and Blood. Birdsong and Bone.

Next up, via the Kindle Unlimited, Olivia Swift did a series of cozy mysteries - 6 total - called Blooms, Stones & Bones. Easy reads. I made it through the first 2 one weekend. Enjoyable. Although I do wish the author - who is British and lives in France - wouldn't set them in the US. Her English is very English and sounds quite off in a number of places to an American reader. Her geography is also a little wonky.

Create Your Own Luck by Susan Hyatt was my inspiring read of the month. I love Susan's podcast so this was fun to read. My beach read was from the Little Free Library, Priam's Lens by Jack L. Chalker (pictured top with the other beach read I didn't finish) which was not his best work. 

Gratitude: Cold showers on hot days. Catalpa trees blooming still in July (such a slow summer!). Cardio drumming. Fireflies and night skies. Beach passes. Mohawks on puppies (image). The Henry Ford Museum - which rocks.

Listening: Dave Ramsey. Don't Quit Your Day Job podcast. Rich Coach Club podcast. And all the cardio drumming songs which have invaded my head in an endless loop!

Perfume: Most days were still Ofresia by Diptyque - until I killed it off mid-month. And I've been working in a little of the Willow and Water from the Library of Flowers - both creme and spray. I need something new - and at a friendly pricepoint - soon.

Random: Guilt trips only work when you let the travel agent book them. Decline the trip.

Recipes: I've made that chocolate chess pie at least once a week. And triple fruit cobbler 3x a month. But nothing new.

Self-Care: I swear the last week of June, the switch just flipped and now it is full on SUMMER. Hot. Humid. This has meant some changes in skin care routine.

Day - I started using the Boxwalla box from 5Yina - the Lucent Beauty Duo I got last month for days. And I love it. It's completely perfect for the hot sticky summer months. I'm adding Farizad's Veil from Earthwise Beauty to the oil as my first line of sun protection. Some people may not like a mix-in, I adore that I don't have to layer on another product or skip something I like so I don't over-layer products. 

Night  - That has been a toss-up. It really depends on how much I've been sweating (did I work in the garden, did I go to the beach, did I do cardio drumming) that day. After a cleanse with either my Miscellar Water or a coconut cleansing balm + face wash....
- For sweaty days, I've been using the Siam Seas' Sai Clear Skin Serum  (all over) I got a few Box Walla boxes ago with the April box's FlowerSpice Soothe and Repair Daily Moisturizer around the eyes and on the neck. I love the whipped texture of the Flowerspice product and how it sinks in. (And Flowerspice's Midnight Beauty oil is now on my wish list!) The Siam Seas is a little gritty and as the amount in the bottle lowers, it's gottten harder to pump out - but it's light and does a nice job keeping the skin clear.
- For beach and regular days, I've been using the African Botanical's Cell Recovery Serum  all over plus Fleur d'Afrique Oil (same brand) around the eyes and at the neck.

And we wait for someone to mistake my age -  by a lot.....

Stress: Relationships are still hard. (And here's the thing with that - sometimes the problem is in your mirror with all those expectations. Beans, I hate that!)

Things 12 said: Not 12, but 19. I asked her what she wanted for dinner - she said, "The blood of my enemies." I could NOT stop laughing because she's always the peacemaker.

Watching: Binged with 19 on Umbrella Academy. And finished Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. The new Charmed - killed of Season 1 -  less engaging than the original and the writing seems scattered. The Good Witch - all the seasons which are less "witch-y" than I'd expected. (And I've never seen the movies - so I'm a little out of sync.) Basically, it's Stars Hallow with coincidences. 

Take- away - Time goes faster than you think. Make sure you are spendign yours in a way that you'll enjoy remembering. 

Original musings posts you may enjoy:

All photos by moi! And you can tell...

*Juice Beauty is a staple in my beauty cabinet. I stray, I try other things - but it's my favorite "foundation" (I used the CC Cream) and great skin care. If you like Juice Beauty too, here is a link. I do get a small commission (at no cost to you) when you use these links which helps support this blog.

Skin Care by Juice Beauty

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Saturday, June 29, 2019

Musings - June 2019

June is the season of cottonwood blossoms floating in the air. And the year the library's catalpa tree decided not to bloom! (I had to hunt down other catalpa trees to admire. Fortunately, in lower Michigan there are a good number of them.) It rained a lot. Many things grew and blossomed. None of which was my garden which I did not get put in yet!

Books: This month was a slower reading month. I had a lot to process on the family and personal life front. I did get 3 books done. Another few of the Lainwich Witch books (Murder Comes Calling and Murder Before Marriage, both digital)  - Book and A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams. The Witch Cozies were obviously lighter reading but A Certain Age was more interesting. (I will be setting it free to the Little Free Library - the new one mentioned below.) 

And those push me over 40 books for the year. I think the goal of 52 is within striking distance.

Gratitude: Purry, sweet kittens. Art brunch with a new and talented artist friend plus the oldest two #NotMyDaughters . (Yes, that's my piece at the top. Guy's comment "You are getting better.") Beach days. Peonies, graceful in all their re-cut glory. Yard bunny. Lawn toads (on the steps). Modern medicine for evil weed itch. Mermaid festival. Escape rooms for birthdays.

Listening: Dave Ramsey. So Obsessed podcast - all of season 1. Side Hustle School. But not really music. I've kind of enjoyed silence and learning in equal quantities without other distractions. It was a strange month. I usually crave more music.

Perfume: Daily, it's been Ofresia by Diptyque. On the weekends I've been rocking Willow and Water from the Library of Flowers. (Reminder - I apparently adore Margot Elena as most of the lines I like - Love + Toast, Library of Flowers, TokyoMilk - are actually hers and recently housed in one website.) I still would like to order Fog (from Michelle Pfeiffer's Henry Rose line). Perhaps soon. Meanwhile Jericho has been rocking my sample of Torn this month. And we discovered at a family event that maybe we should coordinate who wears the Henry Rose... (sillage overflow).

Random: Several random thoughts this month.

1) I found the saddest Little Free Library in the next city over. It's my new mission to improve it. I left 2 books  - the two paperbacks from April - to help early in the month. (Sadder even than the one in town was a few years ago.) 

2) I found out Erno Laszlo made a cream for Marilyn Monroe. It's luscious - and expensive. It's my new covet. (At $275 a bottle - it may remain so for a while. But it's got great ingredients in it.) Also - apparently Jackie and Marilyn used the same face cream? That's borderline creepy.

3) The only bat I want in my house is the one on the Bacardi bottle. That was not the case earlier this month.

4) Did you know, you can grow peonies from SEED? Yep. I'll be doing that!

Recipe: I cooked little but ate well! I had a meal catered by a local chef for an event - and OMG. Everyone should do that once. Or once a month. Whichever. 

I also made pies. It was 13's 14th birthday and he likes cherry pie. No one else does (except me), so two pies.

The other is Quick Triple Berry. (Make a decent crust, mix triple berry frozen fruit with a bit of sugar and tapioca.)

Also, I made my first Chocolate Chess Pie. It seems to have been well received. (Photo documentation 3 hours after making the second one. I had not yet have any, either!)  I started with the basic All Recipes version.  And then for the second, I made amendments. Here's my version.

- 2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons good baking cocoa
- 1/2 tablespoon coffee
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 eggs (beat each one)
- 1/2 can evaporated milk

Mix well. (I blended the sugar and coffee and cocoa in the blender to superfine them.) Put in a pre-made pie crust or make your own. (I use a flour, butter, vodka version). Then bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow it to cool thoroughly.

Self-Care: It was NEW SOAP DAY! I'm trying a South Bend, Indiana-based soap line. It's "nice" but not awesome like the Villianess soaps or even Zum. 

But... attention all soap makers. Watch your color choice and saturation. Yes it looks beautiful. But it makes a mess in my shower that I have to clean - long after the memory of my enjoyment of your soap fades.

This was a Boxwalla month (see picture) and I simply adore the pricepoint that allows me to try luxury products at such a value. This month's set has a summer theme from 5Yina (Lucent Beauty Duo) and I expect I'll be raving about it next month as summer heats up. And again, only the $49 subscription price makes enjoying these luxuries possible because the items in the box are worth more.

The Daily Basics

- Day - During travel, I've been using the Earthwise Resiliency Face Serum for day. (After I finished up that sample of Nap in the Meadow). During weeks at home, I'm using the Juice Beauty line for brightening emulsion, s
erum, eye cream, CC cream. (So, on the Earthwise days, I tried the H2O Serum around the eye area. Not for me. Causes stinging and tightening in that area for me. But my forehead likes it at night!) I've also added Farizad's Veil from the Earthwise Beauty line. I absolultely adore that I can just add it to an oil I already am using for sun coverage.

Night -  All over moisturizer, most nights, is H2O Infinity Renewing Youth Serum (which I got on mega-clearance of $28) and which seems to be running out quickly - which may be good given the season as my skin doesn't love it when sun-stressed. (Makes me red. Fades quickly.) During travel weeks, I've been using the Earthwise Beauty Yasuni Balm plus eye cream samples from DHC Beauty. I've also been using DCH's eye masks - I forgot how much I love those.

Stress: Relationships all take effort. 

Things 12 said: Next year we will be better mermaids.

Watching: The Gifted - both seasons. (Okay, it's fascinating the unsung Season 1 super power of the female mutants seems to be looking fabulous, including make-up, in refuge conditions. Also, dating Thunderbird is bad for your health.) Finished out Pretty Little Liars, Season 7. And whoa. Strange Angel is a little risque for CBS. 

Take-away - Don't forget that you have choices. Good choices. Bad choices. But they are yours to make. Make them with deliberation because they have consequences.

Original musings posts you may enjoy:

All photos by moi! And you can tell...

*Juice Beauty is a staple in my beauty cabinet. I stray, I try other things - but it's my favorite "foundation" (I used the CC Cream) and great skin care. If you like Juice Beauty too, here is a link. I do get a small commission (at no cost to you) when you use these links which helps support this blog.

Skin Care by Juice Beauty

Follow my blog with Bloglovin  - A new way to follow!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

La Familia

There was a maternal family event in May, and it was just as soul-crushingly alienating as I feared. It was supposed to be a joyous event for the child I spent her first year living with, who spent every weekend with me when her mother couldn't handle 2 kids so divergent in ages, whom I sat with and spoke to her admission counselor to get her into the higher education program she ended up graduating from, who I talked the same program into taking back on a special schedule after a serious illness. This child who is not my daughter or my niece but something of both.

And it was a family event - except I'm not family anymore - that's blindingly apparent they treat me.

From being told about the event with bare weeks to spare (and having to move business travel plans because of it) when family was told at the holidays months before - to being completely left out of the day-before activities - to being left out of the post-event activities. Which would've hurt less, except - my family sat around the reception table talking about the night before (to which I hadn't been invited) and plans for the next day (to which I also wasn't invited). It was all emotionally isolating. I tried to be positive and not start trouble - but I'm sure I failed at the first part.

Side note: And then there was the actual event time when my mother's odious guest was astonishingly rude - throughout the whole reception. (It's lovely to be grilled on your marital status and called fat.)

This experience was not different than not being invited to other family events since La Gram Russe passed - notably, Thanksgiving 2018, Christmas 2018 and New Years or a certain girl's open house in the past 6 months. I'd been asked to 1 family event in the prior 15 months - Easter 2019 by a sweet cousin. But I had plans as the invitation planning was late. (Family - wonder why I'm not there? Perhaps ask if I was invited.) In the 12 month prior to that, I had to beg to be included in Thanksgiving 2017 that was being hosted in my mother's home. She has chosen time and again her sisters over me - perhaps because I told her until she addressed how they treat me in a meaningful way, I would not attend. Perhaps because telling everyone I'm busy alienates me from them further while preserving her place. Likely. She does worry overmuch about how people think of her.

I'm sure any maternal family reading this would say "It was K's day and NOT about you!" - yes, it absolutely was. And so I kept my peace. 

Here's the thing, I came for K but I'm D-O-N-E being treated like an after-thought and then being punished and reprimanded for feeling hurt by that lack of consideration you extend to each other. I honestly don't think it's a concerted effort - more the death by a thousand careless cuts. The reason being - none of you care. Each cut highlights a lack of connection. It started with one aunt, who seemed to need to continually demean me to elevate her own family, but there are others. The aunt who sent my birthday card with my cousins' - which meant for more than 8 years I received my card 5 months late like the afterthought it was - and in person belittled anything I felt sacred. The mean comments on my appearance by another aunt from the time I hit my teens on as well as her dogged insistence that I am wrong about everything up to and including the color of the sky! And then there is the aunt who claims to be Switzerland and does not ever defend me and or stop them. Her excuse is always -  "That's just the way they are" - no, that's the way we, as a family, have allowed them to become. The finishing touch is my mother's silent acceptance of her family's treatment of me. The same way she accepted her husband's mistreatment of me. Always her reputation among others before me. 

Her acceptance of what they did - always a ready excuse and a reason I needed to understand/accept their poor behavior. For years my mother's silence equaled acceptance and allowed the treatment to become normalized...and then escalate. She never noticed. We have reached a plateau where friends I bring to family events - with zero prompting or preparation from me - comment on how badly they treat me. At this point, there are too many cuts. There's no way back because none of you see what you do. It's somehow always me.

Family - La Gram Russe never taught you what family is. She taught us to survive. So here it is, the definition of "Family" is caring and support. You have not done either for me for more than 40 years. You follow each other on social media - but not me. You buy each others' business products - but not mine. (Mother - you figured out online dating and how to stalking your sister's ex on Facebook - but can't figure out how to order the book I wrote? I sent you a free copy. I can see it's been 3 years and you still haven't downloaded it. It and my others are also on this blog, so don't tell me you lost the email. Great job at supporting on the support, mom!) When you see me, if you ask me anything about my life at all you ask closed-ended questions based on assumptions. I know I'm the one who communicates for a living, but basic adulting skills would teach you how to intereact with people better than that. 

As a family, your interest piques when you see me or when you need something from me. I'm the call you make when you need a plan or to get someone out of a sticky situation or clean up a legal mess. And have been for more than 20 years. La Gram Russe called me the family sheriff. Did you know that? She saw my role.

There's a Hawaiian forgiveness act I've been reading about. I think I'm a bit spiteful in the application of it,but this is what I've got for Ho'oponopono:
- I'm sorry  - I was never enough for you to see me as a person in my own right and value that person
- Please forgive me - for needing you to be to me what you were to each other
- Thank you - for teaching me what family shouldn't be
- I love you  - enough to set you free from the apparent burden of being my family

Next situation or mess, find a new number to call. 

Other posts on my attempts to deal with the family situation:
- Gifts and Expectations
Message in a Bottle (aka the impossible aunt)

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Musings - May 2019

May is one of my favorite months of the year - that change to spring. I didn't even mind - much - all the rain. It delayed the need to put in the garden.  

Books: I may have gone a bit overboard with the "read 2 books per month to break even" on Kindle Unlimited thing. I will say reading reduces stress, by far. There is solace in a good book - or any world other than your own.

How does overboard look? Well....I've been binging Raven Snow's Lainswich Witches, books Number 5 through Number 17 so far. I flew through Shannon Mayer's Celtic Legacy trilogy (enjoyable but not up to her usual standards). Plus,  Little Boy Lost by JD Trafford  - which reads a bit false like the author wasn't the narrator. Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs was a mid-month excitement. Plus The Orphan Daughter by Cari Noga, which is set in mid-Michigan and on a farm.

In proper books, I read Lysa TerKeurst's Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. I first spotted this book in late 2017 when I was forwarded a note explaining everyone in the family's job for Christmas from an unknown number. (I didn't take it as an invitation to join them. My mother lied to her family and said I wasn't there because I was busy.) I wanted it then but thought it too Christian for my taste. But after a stressful family event this month, I saw one lone copy in an airport bookstore. It was meant for me.

Gratitude: Sweet kittens. Good friends who make you vegan tacos for a lovely dinner at thier home. Surprise lunch with friends. Music and wine. Adult coloring at the winery. Garden shopping with #NotMyDaughter. 

Listening: Dave Ramsey. Inner Shift podcast. P!nk.

Perfume: Finishing out that  Les Perfumes de Rosine Majalis. It seems a bit less fragrant and seems not to be staying as well (less sillage). I'm wondering if it's because I stopped keeping it in the fridge or maybe Henry Rose spoiled me. Re-starting Ofresia by Diptyque. 

Random: There was a bunny in the yard. He's my new bestie. 

Recipe: Nope. Travelled too much to cook this month.

Self-Care: I've been trying out the Earthwise products I got as part of my Boxwalla's a few months ago. The Boxwalla monthly beauty box is a fantastic value and lets you try different things at a reduced price.

The Daily Basics

- Day - During travel, I've been using the Earthwise Resiliency Face Serum for day. During weeks at home, I'm using the Juice Beauty line for brightening emulsion, s
erum, eye cream, CC cream. (So, on the Earthwise days, I tried the H2O Serum around the eye area. Not for me. Causes stinging and tightening in that area for me. But my forehead likes it at night!)

Night - Hurrah! I finally finished out that   Predire Eye Care Anti-Aging Night Serum. (And reminder, I did not pay retail for it). I have to say, for the price (even the sale price) if didn't work as well as I'd think. Things with Co10 Enzyme work better for keeping the wrinkles at bay for me. All over moisturizer, most nights, is H2O Infinity Renewing Youth Serum (which I got on mega-clearance of $28) and which seems to be running out quickly - also, my skin doesn't love it when sun-stressed. During travel weeks, I've been using the Earthwise Beauty Yasuni Balm.  I'm still using Little Barn Apothecary oil to touch the eyes and forehead at night.

I ordered some Earthwise products after liking the BoxWalla trials. For samples, Earthwise included "Nap in a Meadow" which is the tiny green jar above and to the side here - along with the whole order. Loving it for post-garden days! I've also been doing pale blue nails of various types. No idea why. 

Stress: There was a maternal family event, and it was just as soul-crushingly alienating as I feared. It was supposed to be a joyous event. It was just weirdly alienating.

In other news, I changed the internet password after 2 years of the teen kidlets not picking up after themselves and sassed me. They have retaliated by pretending I don't exist. It's kind of peaceful. (I randomly hug them to prove I do exist.)

Things 12 said: Nothing interesting. I swear she's moved to monosyllables as she approaches 13...

Watching: Grimm (finished it). Finding Carter. Season 2 of Claws.

Take-away - Boundaries and reactions. Put your boundaries in place and keep your reaction in line with how much energy the offender deserves of your precious life force. 

Original musings posts you may enjoy:

All photos by moi! And you can tell...

*Juice Beauty is a staple in my beauty cabinet. I stray, I try other things - but it's my favorite "foundation" (I used the CC Cream) and great skin care. If you like Juice Beauty too, here is a link. I do get a small commission (at no cost to you) when you use these links which helps support this blog.

Skin Care by Juice Beauty

Follow my blog with Bloglovin  - A new way to follow!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

To My Girls - Part 2

Some of my beautiful girls are starting households. Moving out on their own. Getting married. All happening regardless of whether I think they are ready!

I won't always be available to answer texts on how to get stains out of tea cups (baking soda or salt with a touch of dishsoap + elbow grease) or what to change in a recipe. So, this series of posts is dedicated to passing on practical knowledge about the business of running a life. And this particular post is about the art of keeping your home a (semi)clean sanctuary.

Keeping a house is about taking care of you and the people you love (and you are one of the people you love). Done well, it also makes your money stretch!

That said, I'm busy and always looking at ways to streamline household care - outside of hiring help. (That's always on the table and there are times when it makes sense to do that.) So these are my very best tips and tricks.

Keep it clean - Everyday Tips
Tip 1 - Do it when you think of it, if it is something that will take less than 5 minutes.  (Easier to hang up the one jacket now than pick up a pile of close off the floor later. Easier to put the dishes in the dishwasher than get confronted with a pile of dishes to deal with.)

Tip 2 - When you move, you need to clean the bathroom and kitchen in the new space before you move. (BTW - clean the cabinets and doors the first week you are there.)

Tip 3 - Use an apron when you cook. You splatter much more than you think and food stains.

Laundry - Making your clothes dollars stretch
Keep a small container  each of Dawn (specific brand) dishsoap, rubbing alcohol and peroxide in the laundry room.
- Dawn is for food grease/oil stains. Treat the stain before washing. (Cover the stain in Dawn. Let sit for 5 minutes and wash as usual.) You can wash and treat multiple times to good effect - as long as you don't dry the item. (The heat of the dryer sets the grease/oil stain.) 
- Peroxide is good for lifting blood off light-colored items. Same rules apply. (Heat will set it. Multiple treatments may be needed.) In this case, as long as there is protein (blood) to remove, the peroxide will bubble when applied. Wash immediately after treatment.
- Rubbing alcohol is for ink. Treat cotton or mixed cotton fabric with rubbing alcohol. Let sit 3 minutes before washing.

If you are confronted with caked-on mud, let it dry! Beat it out of the clothes out as much as possible. (I mean - hang it over a railing and whale on it. You are literally breaking the mud off the clothes.) Consider soaking to loosen mud before washing. Otherwise wash twice before drying. Use heavy duty soap.

Sort your laundry correctly and use the appropriate soap. (One soap - sorry Tide - is not good for all. You should have a heavy duty cleaner and a delicate wash at the very least. You should also have a peroxide-based whitener. Remember - you wear your clothese against your skin, your largest organ and it absorbes scent aka chemicals. The fragrance in some detergents are filled with hormone disrupters. Use natural cleaners wherever possible to help reduce the amount of toxins you+your family are exposed to. Also, I believe Tide is horrible. My skin has always hated it.) Taking care of your clothese will make them last much longer - some of you girls know that as you "inherited" a few of the clothes from my youth! Sort clothes by this order:
- Weight. Ex: Nylon jogging shorts dry much faster than a cotton sweatshirt (and might melt) as well as requiring a more delicate wash cycle to not tear. Towels, wash clothes and handtowels are a complete load. Sheets are a complete load. Do not mix - they have different dry times and your sheets will end up fuzzy.
- Color. Group like with like. Do not put blue (will make grey) or yellow (will yellow) with white. White is a stand-alone color.  Beyond that work the color sort as your clothes allow = blue + green, purple + pink + red, purple + blue, green + yellow, yellow + orange, browns + blacks, greys + blacks, etc.

You may need to do smaller loads of wash; you can dry bigger groups (like towels and sweatshirts). This will also help your washer last longer by not over-burdening the drum - some of you shove waaaaayyyy too much in the machine.

Wash dark clothes inside out. It will help them retain color longer. (Doubt me? Take 2 dark socks - same pair. Wash one always inside out [red thread on the top to help you know it] and the other one how ever. In 15 washes you will see a difference - and BTW, 15 washes is less than a season of wear.)

To really make your clothes last - dry less. Hang dry and/or underdry. Never over-dry or throw in with heat to "knock the wrinkles out". (That's what steamers are for.) Do not dry your bras (kills the elastic), hosiery or silk or chiffon.

And learn to sew on a button!

In the kitchen

Let's start with food prep. Cutting boards. You should have 2:
- Plastic. Only cut only meat on this. Put it in the dishwasher after every use. (Plastic dulls knives so be careful.)
- Wood. This is for veggies. Rinse with a vinegar wash after each use. Run it through a hand wash occasionally but do not let it sit in water or put it in the dishwasher - it will seperate.
Two cutting boards is not negotiable. You can easily make yourself and others quite ill with preparation contamination and the cutting board is a most frequent cuplrit. Specifically using a wood one - absorbs blood - for meat and veggies.

Never use a sponge. Totally disgusting germ-filled things. And they just spread germs everywhere you wipe. They now make lovely natural scrubbers (allow to dry between uses), and you should have dishclothes (washable). 

Wipe your counters BEFORE you start to cook. Many of you have animals. And paws may have tracked who knows what on the counter. (Pretty sure none of you every noticed me doing that - but I do it every time.)

Wipe your stovetop clean at least every other evening. It attracts bugs, plus grease on the stove grids actually makes your pans less efficient.

Baking soda and vinegar are MIRACLE cleansers. (Clean clogges drains with the combo; lift baked on food with a baking soda scrub; vinegar sterilizes, etc.) Use them in the kitchen or in the bathroom. Works both places as well as pre-made, commercial cleansers. Keep your cleansers as non-toxic as possible. Your home is the one place you can cutdown your exposure.

Cleaning the house

Go top to bottom. (Dirt falls.) I know some of your mothers taught the opposite - and they were wrong. Think of it this way, if you wiped the floor (where dirt, pets, etc) with a cloth, would you then wipe your food prep counters with the same cloth?   

I hate dusting. You all know this. But dust is 90% human skin. So, exfoliate more and dust less. If you have kids, Grandma Short aka Southern Gram says they make the best dusting helpers. (Fact: She also hates dusting.)

You will never notice the window frames and door frames are dusty. Just plan on dusting those once per season.  

Window blinds and high places require special tools to clean. (Or paid help) Get them. 

Hardwood floors harbor less dust/allergens than rugs or carpet. Get a broom and sweep regularly. (Manual labor is good for you and requires no fossil fuels.) Better to swiffer (dry or wet) than not to sweep or mop. This is the epitome of find a way to modify or make an easier version.

Try to buy washable rugs if you can. If that's not feasible - at least once a month, shake them out well.

Wash your walls every few years - especially if textured - or before you paint (do you want to paint the dust in permanently?). Dust the walls 1 time per year at minumum. Put an old T-shirt on a broom head - use rubber bands to hold in place by moving them up the broom handle - use that to dust the walls.  (The old T-shirt can then be washed with the rags.)

Wash your curtains quarterly. One time per month, wipe down your blinds.

Vacuum furniture 1x a week. Slip covers (like duvet covers on beds) are your friends. Especially if you have pets! Launder 1x per month. 

On that note, duvet covers always over comforters. Washing a whole comforter is hard on your machine and takes a while. A duvet cover is easy to wash - and changeable by season. Just remember to take the duvets in to the cleaners in summer. (Or get washable ones - they make those now.)

Remember to wash your sheets every week at least. (Nice to have a couple of sets so you can switch) And your towels every 2-3 uses. Wash any bathroom ruggs every 6 weeks or so - they can be shaken out in between - barring any mud + pet disasters.

Please note - anything I said "shake out" - that means outside. Do not shake things out in your own house. That doesn't move any dirt or dust out of your house - it just spreads it.

Consider setting up a cleaning calendar or digital reminders of infrequent tasks. 

Please remember 3 things, my darlings: I believe in you. I love you. And, I am proud of you. Always. (Even on days your home isn't perfectly clean - because a loving home is priceless.)

Pictures are my own + Gingertown photography

Other posts you might enjoy:

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Musings - April 2019

April kicks off a month of changes. Personal and professional. 

Books: I actually finished a few this month! (12 peeps - count 'em!) The Moreau Factor by Jack L Chalker (who seems to have a thing for transformation as I recall from The Change Winds series) - a Little Free Library find. The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund. Still valid but a few years old - I felt like I need to read it since Amber was awesome about speaking at a conference for me. I totally wanted to validate her generosity with her time and brilliance. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. And the Little Free Library had a 1973 "classic" sci-fi from Piers Anthony, Race Against Time. (It was kind of awful. It didn't age well but was easy to read.) Also, Connections in Death by JD Robb - which, like all Eve Dallas books ROCKS. Plus, I've kind of lapsed on that "getting my money's worth from Kindle Unlimited" - so... a binge happened -  Hexes and Exes by Raven Snow. (Think cozy mystery. Yes. Nice quick read.) And well, I really needed a break after a stressful month - so I ripped through the Kindle editions of all 4 of Shannon Mayer's Questing Witch series. Plus her The Venom Trilogy series. 

Also.... I got a compliment on one of my books! (Yes, I occassionally write books. Check them out here.

Gratitude: Nearby Chinese food. Kitten cuddles. New vaccuum. Perfume samples. Stretching boundaries of "I'm not good enough." New friend.

Listening: So much Halsey + Dave Ramsey podcasts. Florence + The Machine in the car with 12 (it's her jam). Live Awake podcast for lunch-time quick meditation.

Perfume: I've rocked Les Perfumes de Rosine Majalis every weekday for the majority of the month because it's time to finish it out and start fresh for spring.

But, I couldn't resist. Michelle Pfeiffer released 5 substainable, and eco-conscious scents under her new brand, Henry Rose.  Best part? She has a sampler pack!!! All 5, in generous sizes, for $20 plus shipping. (See image at top) And they send you a $20 coupon for your first full-sized purchase. Here's my take:
- Fog. OMG. Described as fresh - light + musk with a perfectly balanced freshness. It's more dense than I expected something described as "fresh" to be. Good sillage and this is a fantastic scent for me. Spring and summer scent.
- Torn. Described as warm, spicy and floral. Vetivier roots with vanilla bean. It opens almost chocolate and just gets more warm/spicy as the day goes. I put it on and thought - this is what Michelle Pfeiffer smells like on date night, I bet. Excellent sillage. (Note: I liked it more the first day I wore it than the second. Not sure why.) This is a November and January scent to me.
- Dark is Night. Described as sensual with woody patchouli with the richness of vanilla bean. I thought it heavy when I first put it on and reminiscent of some well-known late 1980's/early 1990's (unspecified) perfume when I first put it on. Extraordinary sillage. By the end of the day, I loved it. The next morning when it was still faint on my skin - I did wonder if I'd over-sprayed.
- Jake's House - Described as clean which it is with neroli top note and light musky finish. Very little sillage. Nice but there are others in the same scent family that are more "me". (Like my Water + Willow by Library of Flowers.)
- Last Light. Described as smooth - a fresh floral with smooth woody effect. Not on me. Very clean musk. No silllage and it made Lulu cat sniff my arm weirdly. And not for me!

I'd also note that the scent library for Henry Rose seems to be very limited - vetiver wood, patchouli (which I usually hate but this smells less "dirt-like" than others), musk, vanilla bean across a number of them. Most florals are not clearly defined. (Neroli in Jake's House is the only one specified.) So although her product idea is transparency, these feel like too complex of scents for the few scent notes mentioned.

Random: Jericho (19) and I went to a watercolor painting place. I suck. She's fantastic ! But it was fun.



Recipes: Nada. I made Easter breakfast (egg muffins, blueberry cornbread muffins, fruit pizza, etc.) And many other things this month but, no new recipes, sorry! (Pictured are remnants of Easter breakfast)

Self-care: This month is cleansing. April is good for that. And I ran out of my favorite make-up remover (100% Pure Blood Orange Cleansing Balm) and, as Murphy would have it, was out of stock online. Over to Soko Glam I went for an alternative I'd spotted on Instagram a few weeks before. Which came with the CUTEST little scooper! It feels less lux on the skin and a touch synthetic. But it washes out of the facecloth with my mascara better. It's good for now, but I like my usual 100% Pure better. 

The Daily Basics

- Day - Juice Beauty line for brightening emulsion, s
erum, eye cream, CC cream.The brightening emulsion has started to make my skin a littel angry some days. It fades quickly but it goes a hot red when I put it on. And it's not every day - so some other element is at play. A mystery.

Night - Night is basically bargin skincare. Most of what I use I got on sale -  Predire Eye Care Anti-Aging Night Serum. (And reminder, I did not pay retail for it) which I am trying to run out  - and I've decided may be the best value ever since it seems never ending. I've been trying to run it out for 2 months now! All over moisturizer is H2O Infinity Renewing Youth Serum (which I got on mega-clearance of $28) and which seems to be running out quickly. Plus I'm still using Little Barn Apothecary oil .

And YES - good skin care matters. It was my birthday this month and 3 people actually thought I was 12 years younger than I am! (Wear sunscreen)

Things 12 Said:

Me - Let's make blueberry muffins!
13: Hurrah!
12: Can we add chocolate chips?
Me: That's not how blueberrry muffins are made
12: Are you sure?


Me: We are super-awesome and amazing women! (We'd gotten a lot done - pet medications for 4 cats and 1 dog; baked a cake, baked cobbler, and baked muffins; swept the house; and did the dishes.)
12: Yep, but mostly you because you baked cobbler.

She also found a "dragon skull" and was super excited. Until I sent it to the nature center and we discovered it was a hawk's pelvis. (But as you can see, she was fairly justified in that thought - I had her put it next to a dollar bill for size.)

Watching: Santa Clarita Diet. (That is freaking hilareous. And I've hooked Jericho as well.) Impostors, Season 2. I caught up on Empire, too. And we're back to Grimm

Take-away - Change is our only constant. You better learn how to roll with it.

Original musings posts you may enjoy:

All photos by moi! And you can tell...

*Juice Beauty is a staple in my beauty cabinet. I stray, I try other things - but it's my favorite "foundation" (I used the CC Cream) and great skin care. If you like Juice Beauty too, here is a link. I do get a small commission (at no cost to you) when you use these links which helps support this blog.

Skin Care by Juice Beauty

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