Saturday, May 7, 2022

My Go-To to Glow - Me Time Botanicals



I've always been a beauty product junkie (I tell myself that's OK because I only have 3 pairs of shoes) and my husband is probably the only engineer that carries little bits of gadgets to a job site in small, black Chanel cosmetic bags.  Having the world's most sensitive skin with the added joy of occasional eczema on my neck (if I was a dog I would have been wearing a cone a LOT) means I tried a lot of products and threw OUT a lot of products. 


Over time it got worse to where I couldn't use my favorite cleanser as it had coconut oil in it (a trigger for me)  and most essential oils used for the benefit and/or fragrance in many products and especially serums left small painful bumps as eczema flared and I'd just itch all over.  So I was on the hunt for something new.

I found what works for me, with all my skin issues - it's natural, eco-friendly, no pet testing, and ingredients you can pronounce (many of which you could eat, but please don't).  It not only cleared up the last of my rosacea but all those breakouts and left me with a glow you can't pay money for at a cosmetic counter.

Founded and operated by Kara R. - she took her own skin issues and enrolled in an award-winning Organic Cosmetic Science School to broaden her formulation knowledge and dive deeper into plant and skin science and set up her studio in Charleston, SC.  She makes all of the products herself so what you receive is fresh and carefully crafted. The Clean Slate can be used as a cleanser, moisturizer, and mask ingredient (mixed with the Berry Bright honey enzyme mask which is a little bit of heaven on the face). The Phyto Tonic has probiotics and vitamin C, and my favorite, the Glow Getter Serum, cleared up my adult acne AND left my dry skin positively glowing (with moth bean - a gentler plant-based alternative to retinol).


To give you an idea of the kind of skin-friendly ingredients here is what is in the Clean Slate multi-tasker: *Grapeseed Oil, *Mango Butter, *Rosehip Seed Oil, *Pomegranate Seed Oil, Watermelon Seed Oil, Blueberry Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol (a fatty alcohol that's an emollient), *Beeswax, Elderberry Extract, *Lecithin (from sunflower), Pineapple Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus/White Willow Bark, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Rose Clay, Vitamin E (from sunflower), *Organic ingredients

The only "fragrance" type essential oils (which are really good for the skin) is the Tea Tree and Geranium in the Glow Getter but they are the last two ingredients, just enough to work, not so much it's irritating even for my skin.


This three-step program (which will last you about 3 months) takes just a couple of minutes a day but you will see results right away. Even adding a couple of additional items  I'm spending in one month what I used to pay for a single product in other lines.

I love using the Clay Play cleansing grains as a second cleanse after the cream cleaner on days I wear extra makeup and/or sunscreen and as a quick detoxifying mask on its own, mixed in its little blending bowl with a little Phyto Tonic. The Berry Bright is a must-have with locally sourced raw honey as well as a whole organic berry blend of cranberry, blueberry, and aronia berry and organic herb of horsetail and hibiscus flower all of which exfoliate and firm the skin while helping boost skin elasticity and collagen production.

The revitalizing eyelash/brow tonic has made my eyelashes longer without any irritation or chemical ingredients.  There are also bath goodies (the Java "In the Buff" body scrub was a favorite gift given out this year to friends and sells out quickly whenever she makes a fresh batch). The Wander perfume as well has become my signature scent. The best selling point I can make to share this wonderful product line (from one of the nicest women I've met in the industry) is simply this - a selfie - no smartphone so NO filters, no touch-ups, and no makeup.  This is my glow at age 64. So go get your own Glow On!



Saturday, April 30, 2022

Can You See Me Now - Beagle Mom Bandanas


Living in a big city with lots of traffic we're pretty vigilant about cars when walking our pets.  One thing that made me more comfortable with walks after dark was the reflective jackets we got for Abby, and later Lorelei which really lit up in a car's headlights hit them.  Just some extra security as we cross streets, even in a quiet neighborhood. 

But Lorelei, being a very large and extra fuzzy dog did NOT like to wear her vest when it started getting warm out (we had one day in the 80s here before it plunged back down into the 30s).  We'll get a reflective bandana we thought.

Easy to find at the pet stores online if you have a purse-sized dog, but what was available in a totally reflective fabric only went up to Large and at over a hundred pounds Lorelei wouldn't be "large", even on a diet. So I turned to Etsy.  There were some great bandana makers out there but all I was seeing were ones with brightly colored (but not reflective) fabric with just reflective tape strips.  That's just not enough visibility for my comfort, I wanted the whole bandana to reflect.


Fortunately, I found one on Etsy at


Jenny  has a ton of fun and creative fabrics for bandanas of all sizes and donates a portion of her profits to the Beagle Freedom Project to protect these loving animals from lab testing. In looking through her wonderful collection I spotted this one made of a reflective material (made of 50% microscopic glass beads) that lights up when light is shone on it AND it has the extra safety of reflective tape strips.  It's really well made and slips right over a collar to make it easy to get on and off, And it comes in sizes up to EXTRA-large.

It's visible in the day and even more so at night - paw-fect to protect our four-legged pal.

Note the unconcerned bunny in the background. She barely bothers to hop out of the yard 
when Lorelei comes out knowing Miss L. has ZERO prey drive unless you are a Kleenex.

I do think Lorelei likes it!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

In Dog Beers I've Had Just One - On Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is never fun.  But with my husband being in charge of spiders, dead possums in the yard, and home repairs, grocery shopping is my weekly chore.  I HAVE learned some things, however.

100 carts in the store and I will get the one with the front wheel that pirouettes like a ballerina on crack.

I always make a list.  Sometimes I remember to bring it with me.

Always eat something before shopping.  I once went on an empty stomach and came home as the proud owner of Aisle 5. They say flying is dangerous. No - grocery store parking lots are dangerous. For there are NO rules in the parking lot. Go as fast as you want. Go any direction you want. Those abandoned carts are there for you to circle your KIA around like a barrel racer. Ignore the redhead shrieking and running for the door. 

There's a reason they have a coffee stand right inside the door, caffeinated people are more likely to buy more. (Look gluten-free bacon~!~~) They also only have one barista for everything which helps you build patience for when you are waiting in line at the 2 check stands out of 38 that are open.

 If you're shopping with a grandchild fill your purse with enough snacks and treats to feed a small army for a week. Preferably with sugar -before you send them home to your loved ones that said "Nana LOVES to take you shopping". It IS possible to get road rage behind someone
in a slow cart in Aisle 9.

 
Sorry Mom, that TP was trying to attack.

It's more exciting if you can pretend you're out hunting in the Serengeti. Look, there's the rare extra soft toilet paper, and hiding there trying not to be noticed, that rarest of all things, the Lysol Disinfectant Wipe (wondering if you'll be taken out by the swipe of a paw by Social Distancing Karen if you go for them). No matter how bad the supply chain is - there is ALWAYS Vegan "buttery" (you're out of WD40 aren't you?) spread available.

If someone is standing directly in front of the item I need I will pretend to look for something else before they move.

I  once lost my Step Mom in the store.  I was 53.  They gave me a balloon and paged her.

I do not object to telling the millennial who has 87 items in the Express Aisle "that I know all the lyrics to Frozen and I am NOT afraid to use them".

I have, on more than one occasion of many years, turned the Betty Crocker Upside Down Cake box in the aisle - upside down.

I realize that I get excited that I can now buy the unhealthy cereal my Mom usually didn't let us have.

Someday they will say about me "she died doing what she loved, carrying 87 plastic bags of groceries from the car to the house, rather than make 2 trips.".

That being said - happy to have survived and make it home for a cold one, though for me it's iced green tea with cucumbers and strawberry,

And frozen fish sticks - as I was tired out from all the shopping.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Where are Mine?


 No one can give you the "I have no pancakes" sad eyes like a Labrador Retriever.  A Memory of Barkley.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Musings of the Forensic Anthropologist

On the ground this morning there was a light dusting of snow.  It wasn't enough to fully cover the ground, just enough to entice the dog to roll in it, as from the Spruce trees, the squirrels hovered, waiting for that handful of peanuts I would toss out every morning.  On such mornings, when I first awoke, I can't imagine that it is actually Spring, the landscape having the stillness of an unyielding force pondering a secret motive.

The kitchen still smelled faintly of sweet and spice, my having baked a dozen banana chocolate chip muffins late last evening for my husband to take to work to share with his team. The house itself was quiet, the work computer still, my not having to log in for another hour. The morning chores were tended to, the dog fed and walked, the bird feeders filled, as was the water dish we leave out for the creatures that live among the tall stand of Spruce trees.  Lunch was made and packed, the muffins corralled and wrapped, small daily moments that removed me from reality and let my mind go back to other landscapes, other mornings.

I will miss the mornings where the ground is covered with thick white, the blanket of white hushing the sound of traffic. For others and certainly for me, in such moments, as you step out into the hushed cold, you can almost imagine you are in a place other than a bustling city, your mind taking you back to days on open land where corn rioted and stands of tall trees stood as kings over their subjects of deer and wildlife.  You were yourself a quiet subject, there up high in a tree blind, Winchester in your lap, bewitched and cut off from worry and hurry and fear, those things that seem to belong to another world.
In another tree, far enough away to be out of range, yet close enough you are always aware, is another form, a friend, perhaps a brother, waiting in the same still silence as you are.  In such a place memories of the past come unbidden, there in those moments when you both have nothing but time for the past to creep in.  But it does so as wishful dreams, remembered there in that place of land, water, and silence.

The sound of a siren from the first accident or serious illness of the day, takes me from my musings, reminding me that indeed I am in the city, and it's waking up quickly around me. The siren sound is one that haunts my dreams sometimes even though normally when I am in the company of such a vehicle it is moving away in stony silence, the only sound that of tires reverberating in holly claps as they kick up gravel from a place where lay only the memories of those too late to be saved, their only voice a cluster of little yellow flags upon the ground.
I have fought with death and found that it's not always so much a battle, of victor and vanquished, with cries and shouts.  Often, it is a quietly grey surprise where are no more sure of your right than you are of your foe and if you stand too still you may be gone before you even feel the ground give way and the air collapse onto itself.  I  often wonder what the end will really be like. Is there that moment when you see your fate, when every detail of desire, temptation, surrender, and redemption fill your vision or is the moment gone with the cessation of light, there in that moment you don't have time to even comprehend?

So far, as I have walked such places, the dead have not revealed their secret, something for which I should probably be grateful.

As the siren fades away, I briefly look at the news, seeing it as not mere words today, but rather the sound of drums, of peace, or war, or of prayer, I don't know.  Such are the days, I'd just as soon write, having no desire to further scan the computer for news, or social media of strangers, growing tired of how unkindly the world is of things it fails to understand.  As a scientist, I'd like to live in a world of straightforward facts, but the feeling is short-lived as soon as I look at the media. No, I drop a few notes to friends, then a look at the weather, as I settle in to write as the sun comes up.
I relish these early hours, when the neighborhood slumbers, and fires burned low.  My husband has left for a meeting, wrangling coffee thermos, lunch bag, and muffins in the high wind like a Sherpa headed aloft. For now, my only company is the shadows, lying broken along the neighbor's flowerbeds that I can see from my window.  From the outside, the bracing sound of a wind chime, the snap of a twig, as from inside, words, slowly flow, words that gather in channels in my head, pooling in still pools, rushing as a fresh flow, taking me further and further downstream of the reality outside that is traffic, deadlines, or simply the dead.

I have no story today, merely words of observance, of the surface truths in the world outside my window.
There underneath that light mantle of snow came forth a yellow flower, a small ray of light there in the cold, a lower apostle giving me hope that warmth would soon blanket this landscape, even as the cold wind gives a lie to its prophecy.

Although I honestly love the Fall and Winter over the heat of summer, there is something transfixing about watching the earth bloom each Spring. It's nothing like the mornings of winter, the sky brooding over the earth, becoming more somber by the minute, as if irritated by your attempt to stay warm.  Spring is more like a lover, coaxing from the ground new life, as it touches everything with shy wonder, that is as new now as it was this time last year. Even as there is snow on the ground, the sun peaks out behind a cloud with exquisite brilliance.
As the sun illuminates the landscape I see further signs of Spring -  a child's bike left out in the yard from an afternoon where temperatures hovered around 60; some potting soil and pots, laying against another neighbor's garage, awaiting that time when new flowers will be  planted. The birdfeeders that are normally an active trough in the morning are mostly deserted as the bird's natural food sources begin their yearly cycle again.

The sun glints of the newness as the last bit of snow melts away. I know too well, that even light can lie, yet this Spring beam had no manipulation of light or pose, it simply gazed on everything with equal warmth and equal depth, lending its truth to a new beginning.
Another year, another season, as small buds burst from the soil and hands that have held both tears and blood click away on a keyboard.  A torn curtain of lace from an upper window nearby, a weathered face looking out, wondering how another year has passed, as I give a friendly wave she cannot see, understanding just as well, how precious are these days.  As I let the dog out one last time before closing up my laptop and starting my work day, I brush the snow gently off of the bloom so that it does not dissolve in my hand like tears.  The silent immutability of the flowerbeds is a source of hope, here in a place that is too often cold and ice. Darkness was just here, and this small bloom is merely a flicker, one that signals the warmth to come.

The earth begins another season for those of us that remain, as those that have gone before can only watch from the heavens.  The earth is simply a standing place, one that we dwell in with that modest, clear flame that is our hope and our faith, even as we understand too well, how easy it is for that flame to be extinguished.

As I turn back into the house, I turn one last time to the trees, to a sound I can't hear, to a thing I can't see, to a memory of another tree, another morning, from a year that I can't get back, but one that will be with me always. - Brigid

Friday, April 15, 2022

I am NOT Fat


The Vet says Lorelei should lose about 5 pounds (she's 100 pounds when svelte) to ease the pain in her arthritic hips.  She is NOT happy about the reduction in treats.  

Friday, April 8, 2022

Gifts for your Two and Four Legged Friends - Denali Dreams

 

I got my husband this awesome handmade shaving mug and soap fromin Anchorage (made by Alaska Potter Jenny Ditto) for his birthday and he just loves it (I'm a huge fan of their lemongrass bar shampoo).


Of course, I had to get some "Manly Man" soap for the shower just to see him smile but it's a great soap and helps him get cleaned up after whatever it is that engineers do when they disappear into the basement for a few hours.

Denali Creams has also got items for pets now including a dog bath soap that's perfect for a dog's dry, itchy coat (with the natural essential oils keep bugs away) as well as a salve for paws (a must for Chicago winters and also soothing when paws are dry and sore from the heat of the summer).


www.denalidreams.com

Seriously, get the "lift" tray for the soap (you can buy them separately in assorted designs and colors). I got one for my shower soap and it's great for keeping the soap drained and dry, super easy to clean, and it won't break if it hits the tub 


I like smelling good Mom, you let me up on my couch!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Somethings in the Air

 


Lorelei Lab:  "I know you love diffusing your essential  oils Mom, but I REALLY love your new Chicken Diffuser!"

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Griddle Me This Batman

It's been a long week dealing with Commissioner Gordon and some Joker and I am exhausted. So all I will offer you today is a recipe, which will be my breakfast tomorrow.  Yes, I know, it's pancakes again.

I was thinking while finishing this year's tax return that I could list my occupation as "professional pancake stylist" because there ARE a lot of pancakes on here.  But it's my favorite weekend breakfast and I'm always experimenting with new recipes

Griddle Cakes are another term for American and Canadian Pancakes.  In Scotland, there are also griddle cakes, but the ones I had there were a bit thicker, sometimes studded with currents and served with tea  (yummy!)

This weekend's pancake:  A tweak to my all-time favorite World's Fluffiest pancake (which you can find using the search function of blogger as I've posted it before) with the addition of honey and spice (and a slight bit more of leavening as the honey adds moisture and weight to the batter). And I doubled it.  Because I can
Buttermilk Honey Griddle Cakes. With a lighter, sweet taste, they don't need a ton of syrup (but you're going to use it anyway). They were worth the 30 minutes wait time (or you can make the batter tonight, and tuck in the fridge, just give it time to warm to room temp before cooking or you will have FLATjacks)

2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup honey (warmed so it blends easier, I microwaved 15 seconds)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/2 cups "buttermilk" (add 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice to  the 1 1/2 cups milk and let sit 10 minutes)
2  eggs
1/2 of a stick of unsalted butter, melted (don't even think of using cheap "spread")

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Whisk milk, vanilla, and honey in a dish, whisk in eggs and then add to dry ingredients all at once, stirring only until mixed (will be lumpy) Cover with plastic wrap and let mixture stand for 30 minutes. Stir in melted butter.

Cook on a buttered or oiled pan on medium heat until golden brown on each side (I love my cast iron, but use your favorite). Makes 20 nice sized griddle cakes (cool the leftovers and freeze for a quick breakfast on a busy day, better and so much cheaper than the frozen pancakes at the store)

Are they done yet Mom?

5. Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat.
6. Add some of the butter and then 1/3 cup batter.
7. Turn heat down to medium-low.
8. Cook until the top of the pancake bubbles and flip, cooking until the other side is lightly golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
9. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter.
10. Serve with maple syrup.

Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/buttermilk-griddle-cakes/3083/#eR8clKmKdpJvfhOE.99

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Barkley Memories - That LOOK


 I don't care if Top Gear is on - I can't steal your sock if you don't take your shoes off.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

The Joys of Getting Older


That moment when you wake up and realize that sleeping face down made your face all wrinkly.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Thursday Dog Haiku


 Spineless stuffed cactus

you still contain a squeaker

I wake and eat you

Monday, February 14, 2022

A Chewy Valentine

Look Lorelei - the CHEWY box is here for Valentine's Day!

It's a squeaky Valentine's Cactus and his friends.
Mine!  Mine!  Mine!

Mom - I'm not sure about this.  Isn't Cactus a Vegetable?  I prefer blueberries.
We discerning canines can't be too picky.
Nom!  Nom!  Nom!
Wait!  There's more?
Bacon Apple Fuitables?
I've had enough fun for one day.  Thanks Mom!