Friday, May 1, 2020

April Musings - 2020

The world is a different place for many of us now than it was in early March. And we are doing the best we can. Be kind to each other. Help if you can. Find the simple joys.

For me, this is also my birthday month! This was my favorite card.

Reading (Books): I did a bit of stress reading which meant I made out like a bloody bandit on Kindle Unlimited! (And I'm up to 39 books for the year)
- Blue Goldfish: Using Technology, Data and Analytics to Drive both Profits and Prophets by Stan Phelps and Evan Carroll (hard copy)
- Secrets and Alchemy by Linsey Hall
- Whisper of the Moon Moth by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
- Midlife Fairy Hunter by Shannon Mayer
- Talk Triggers by Jay Baer (hard copy)
- The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (hard copy)
- Reset Your Mindset by Nicole Eckdahl
- Number 4 in Rosie O'Grady's Paranormal Bar and Grill, Well of Magic by B.R. Kingsolver
- The last two of CN Crawford's Court of the Sea Fae Trilogy, Fallen King  and Rising Queen 
- The last two of an Amy Boyles Southern Belles and Spells Matchmaker Mysteries, Magical Dames and Dating Games + Some Pig and A Mummy Dig 
- All 3 of the Newborn Pixie Cozy Mystery Books by Willow Mason

Cooking: I've made all the things. I have made things I haven't even made in a million years - chicken salad, tuna fish casserole, chicken with roasted garlic and tomatoes, pasta with asparagus and mushrooms, cornbread-topped chicken pot pie, Greek chickpea and rice salad. Chocolate Chess pie. Something about this lock-down situation has made me crave comfort food. (Reminder - I was a hard-core vegetarian for nearly 30 years. I still only rarely eat meat.)

Actually, I'm realizing I haven't shared the Greek chickpea and rice salad recipe. It's super easy and very delicious. 
- 1 can of chickpeas (15 oz) rinsed and drained
- 1 red or yellow pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion or an handful of spring onions
- Make a rice according to package (I like brown rice - 1 cup dried rice/2.25 cups of water)
- Good quality Greek (not Italian) dressing
- Red wine vinegar
- Oregano, salt and pepper

Cook rice. Dice onions and splash with red wine vinegar. Add diced pepper and the chickpeas. Add warm cooked rice and 1/2 bottle of Greek dressing to start. 1 - 2 tablespoons of oregano, a dash or salt and pepper. Mix. You may choose to add more of the dressing - just do it slowly so it doesn't get get sloppy wet. The rice will hold a good bit of dressing but there are limits.

This salad can be served warm or cold. On its own. Over a bed of lettuce or beside a bed of chicken. It will deepen in flavor over the first few hours. I like to make it in the morning for an afternoon event. It's a great summer salad because it is heat resistant and keeps for several days in the fridge.

Gratitude: Old red barns with giant yellow forsythia bushes in the corner as blue jays swoop across the sky - like all the primary crayons brought to life on a country road. To do lists to keep things simple. Good dogs. Cats who think they are dogs. Lawn bunnies - even when they eat my freaking broccoli plants! Garden centers. Flowering spring trees.

Listening: Classical channel on Apple music. Cocktails and Crooners channel on Apple Music. Nikki Rausch the Sales Maven podcast. NPR How I Built This.

Watching: Quantico seasons 2 & 3. Killed it and man, season 3 sucked. There is a reason it was short. I swear they hired all new writers who didn't know the backstory. The only good take-away is how Shelby can do damn near anything. Good role modeling. Designated Survivor Season 3.

Wearing (Perfume & Skin Care):


Let's break it down between Sucreabeille and Imaginary Authors. (And people, I have so much perfume that I now have sleep perfume.)

Sucreabeille was a lot like last month but I killed off the first 3 on this list.
Here's the thing, F*ck Everyone! - Scent notes: Bourbon, Rich chocolate, Dark amber, touch of dirt - This one opens on the bourbon and the chocolate is lighter than some of the others in the line. Sillage is good. It will last all day.
Irish Cream - Scent notes: Irish cream, salted caramel, espresso. Decided last month that this is more of a beer perfume than red wine. The sillage is decent, 8-10 hours.
 Rictus - Scent notes: Funeral wreath of white lilies and black orchids sprinkled with a dusting of graveyard dirt. A somber wake feast of dark chocolate drenched raspberries and a shot of dark rum. - I get straight up rum and chocolate off this. After about 8 hours, I get a touch of lily. This lasts forever - like 16 hours or more on me.
- Out West - Scent notes: Gourmand swirl of honeyed chocolate with a smokey undertone of palo santo. Sandalwood, black musk, coumarin and a drop of camphor create a mysterious, dark undercurrent. It used to be the camphor hits first and I'd have a "WHAT" moment because it's got a medicinal scent. But it fades to warmth of the honeyed chocolate and sandalwood as the lingering dusky scent. (January description). Now, either the scent has shifted or my perception has. I get the honeyed chocolate and black musk right off with a later bloom of sandalwood and light touch of the musk.
We Ride at Dawn. Scent notes: Hot black tea with honey and coffee absolute to rise early, cardamom vanilla for comfort, bitter almonds for the lost, a shot of whiskey for strength. I got bitter almond with a whisper of whiskey off this right off the bat. About 5 hours in the cardamon settled in with the whiskey and almond for the ride. 8 hours sillage, easy.
- The Mountain. Scent notes: amber, a pint of oatmeal stout, pure golden honey. The biggest feeling I got off this was warmth - like a morning hearth. And then oatmeal. So much oatmeal. I ended up mixing this with a OutWest for a more rounded profile.
Toxic Masculinity Ruins the Party Again - Scent notes: A delightfully feminine blend of lavender, vanilla, honey nectar, and a light floral aldehyde. This is a very powdery, floral that dries down even more powdery. Nice sillage.
- I Come From a Long Line of Terrifying Women - Scent notes: rosewood, whiskey, and amber, gunpowder, guiacwood, and tobacco absolute. Which just smells tobacco on me with some amber. I like it. Okay sillage. 3-5 hours. 

Imaginary Authors
Memoirs of a Trespasser - Scent notes: Madagascar Vanilla, Guaiacwood, Myrrh, Benzoin Resin, Ambrette Seeds, Oak Barrels. The benzoin in this line is the first thing that always hits me. After that, it was the myrrh and the amberette seeds. It settled down to a vanilla with guaiacwood.  I got about 3 hours of sillage off it with a lingering hint at 5 hours. 


Day time - Oh, time to finish things out! The Mad Hippie's Vitamin C Serum. (Definite re-purchase). I won't be buying the FlowerSpice Soothe and Repair Daily Moisturizer again. It was fine but I noticed my skin doesn't glow with it. My skin does glow with the Lepaar Luminous Beauty Balm/ Moisture Lock + Stress Recovery (December 2019 Boxwalla Box). All my favorite products make my skin glow! Still trying to keep the eye creases at bay with the 100% Pure's Super Fruit Oil Nourishing Eye Cream. 

Night time - Nearly the same as last month, after cleansing with my favorite 100% Pure Blood Orange Cleansing Balm and DHC Face Wash, and then gently daubing on 100% Pure night eye cream, The change is in what comes next. I've been alternating between 1) the African Botanics Le Masque Hydralift Intense (October 2019 Boxwalla box) all over plus African Botanics's Fleur d'Afrique Oil or 2) the Lepaar Balm. (I did stray 2 nights and try Votary Super Seed Nutrient Cream (February 2020 Boxwalla box). The Super Seed cream is very emollient and just sinks into the skin. Can't wait to use it more often!)

Things 13 Says: I was describing something difficult for most people, drawing hands. Her answer was "They weren't that hard for me. I just looked at my hands and was like 'I'mma draw this'." And that, my friends, is why she will end up a life coach. Because how often do we let the drama in our heads and all the self-imposed restrictions stop or limit us? We should just DO things!

Random: Dyeing my own hair is not one of my strong suits, and I really miss pedicures. I also had to bathe the dog myself and I'm out of practice. Also it was very weird for the kidlets to be gone for a whole month.

Who else has a list of things they have bought due to Shark Tank? Brazi balls. The Fit Board. Neuro gum.  It's a whole new level of "As Seen on TV"!

Take-away: It may be true that everyone you meet is fighting a war you can not see and you don't know what their struggles are. But no one says you have to be their target practice!

PS - Need a creative spark revived? Going crazy during Covid and wanting to journal?  This FREE ebook is for you. 2 journal prompts a day. 1 great quote per day + 1  gorgeous image. 

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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