Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
One thing about being a teacher that you may not realize: I have to cram a year’s worth of projects into six weeks (minus the vacation time). So I am (in the vernacular of DL) busting my hump.
One of the things I wanted to do this summer was to clean out the loft room. It’s a room that’s just been used to store stuff, because there’s no heat or cooling in there. I had to move my sewing machine out of there and into the sunroom because of the lack of climate control. I have a long-term goal for it to become a craft room and office, but for right now I just want it relatively useable. (Translation: get the junk OUTTA THERE!)
The first thing to do was get the big honkin’ desk out. It was serving absolutely no purpose in there, now that the sewing machine was somewhere else. That left the window uncovered. (Uh oh! The window’s naked!)
My quest was to cover the window for exactly zero dollars. I wasn’t going to pay for a curtain rod, let alone curtains. What’s a woman to do?
I decided that raiding the junk drawer was in order.
Two eye screws and some covered wire later….I had something to hang curtains on. Curtains?
Vintage embroidered dishtowels. Hung with clothespins.
I always have clothespins hanging around, as they are so incredibly useful. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use them au naturel or to paint them green (green because I had some left over from another project—remember, I am working with a budget of $0), so I decided to try both and let DL decide (maybe).
Painting clothespins is something I do every once in awhile, and this is how I like to do it:
*Get a clean Chobani cup. (It doesn’t have to be Chobani, but it would be nice if it was, because DL has the contract for Chobani for the next couple of years and every little bit helps.)
*Clip all your clothespins to the rim.
*Pour a little bit of paint into the bottom of the cup.
*Now you can paint all the way around the clip and not have to worry about getting your fingers all painty.
*Let ‘em dry, take ‘em off, and throw away the cup. It’s that simple!
Do you like them au naturel??
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Just a few posts ago, I wrote about the trip DL and I took to Chicago (where I hung out with Marianne and he went to the Museum of Science and Industry). I mentioned that I found this AWESOME drink, like a sangria, and I couldn’t wait to get home to play around with the ingredients, which are as follows:
*fresh fruit (I used lime, blueberries and blackberries.)
*Sweet white wine
(Let me note that St. Germain is INCREDIBLY expensive. The bottle is gorgeous, but it only comes in one size, and that size is expensive. If you have a friend, maybe she’ll let you use some of hers. I bought “real” ginger ale, but one of the restaurants used ginger beer. I liked it with ginger ale.)
First of all, I got out a little pitcher. (You can use whatever size you like—in this case, size doesn’t matter!) I used the small one because I was only going to make two servings.
I placed a handful of blackberries and a handful of blueberries in the bottom of the pitcher. (When you measure these, don’t hold them too tightly. A loose handful is fine. Plus, you don't want to get berry juice all over yourself.)
I added some mint leaves and two slices of lime.
Two tablespoons of the very expensive French stuff (this liqueur is made from elderflowers, which is probably why it costs so much. It’s also popular with hipsters in Brooklyn, and they’re driving up the price), and two tablespoons of Limoncello.
You can see that we use this for stuff. Mostly because my husband likes to use it in jello shots. (Did I say that out loud?)
Then I added two cups of sweet white wine. I used Barefoot—it’s inexpensive, so that kinda makes up for the snooty hipster liqueur.
I added half the bottle of ginger ale on top (I used Reed’s).
DL put some ice in two glasses, and after one good stir, we were ready for some relaxation!
What did you find appealing?
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Note: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer network campaign for Cerafill powered by Redken. I am receiving a fee for posting; however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with Redken and do not earn a commission or percent of sales.
As one gets older, stuff happens for which you weren’t prepared. (My baby doc and I have this conversation regularly—my joints/bones/innards were not designed to last this long, because -- anthropologically--I should be dead by now! But I digress.)
One thing that didn’t surprise me, though, was the fact that my hair would (again!) betray me.
I know the mantra—that all women hate their own hair and want the opposite kind. I am a little more realistic; I think there are trade-offs. My hair has always been naturally blonde—platinum until I was about 25, then just a little less blonde. Once I turned 40, it got progressively darker, so now it’s a dark blonde. (Notice I did not say gray. No gray. I am 54 and still not gray! I do not have to color my hair!) But the trade-off for having great color is that I have the wimpiest hair on the planet. It is fine, thin, and limp.
And now it is receding.
Yup. You read that right. Like a man.
I first heard that when I went to get my hair cut somewhere other than my normal stylist. (Actually, it was when I was trying out new stylists, before I found Hunter, who is my guy FOR EVAH!) The gal cutting my hair asked another stylist what she should do about ‘the recession.’ I thought to myself, “save as much money as you can,” but then I realized she was talking about my forehead (which has always been about a five-and-a-half). So when Redken gave me the opportunity to try their Cerafill system, I jumped on it.
The Defy Cerafill system (for normal to thin hair) is a four-step process that includes Defy Shampoo, Defy Conditioner, Dense Fx Thickening Treatment, and Texture Effect Hair and Scalp Refresher. I used them for two weeks in various combinations and under various circumstances (because I am totally scientific that way). Here’s what I found:
*The booklet that came with the product gave some great tips for fuller-looking hair, like using a round brush or Velcro rollers. I occasionally use a round brush, which only makes my cowlicks that much more apparent. (I have extremely short hair. I keep it that way because then it doesn’t look as bad.)
*Both the shampoo and conditioner have a menthol scent, which I love! It makes my nose happy! I was excited to use this product because that menthol was like a fun blast of happiness every morning.
*After the shampoo and conditioner, the additional products are to be used. This is where I did some experimentation.
The Dense Fx Thickening Treatment is to be used on damp hair. As with so many products, it is applied to the roots and combed through. Then, you style your hair as you would normally. This is the product that increases the hair’s diameter by 9%. I used it in both the ways I usually style my hair (sometimes I blow dry, sometimes I don’t), and here’s the skinny: this treatment is a little sticky. If you just let your hair air dry, it will be a little crunchy. I was not crazy about that fact, but if I blow dry my hair (as most women do), it’s not a problem. Do I think my hair appears thicker when I use it? Only if I blow dry, not if I let it dry naturally. So my hair is not REALLY thicker, it just looks that way if I blow dry it. (Which I guess is the point!)
The Texture Effect Hair and Scalp Refresher was a little different. It is supposed to be used on dry hair, when your hair needs a lift. All I could think of was that it was like a blow out, only instead of paying $25 for it, you can do it yourself! (I’ll admit, this was a little weird. I wasn’t quite sure how to use this. But then I read the directions, and it made sense.) This stuff was really cool! Your supposed to use it when your hair feels a little flat, and it gives it a boost. I tried it a couple of different times, and like the way it worked. I have very short, fine, straight hair and it gave me a little freshness and lift…not sure how it would work with longer hair.
All in all, I was happy to try the Defy Cerafill System for Redken. The menthol shampoo and conditioner were great, and I noticed my hair looking a little fuller! Want to learn more? Click here!
Sunday, July 13, 2014
For the past few years, I have been collecting some vintage artwork. This isn’t an expensive collection, because I don’t generally spend more than $15 on any one piece. In fact, some have been just a buck!
I don’t really care what kind of frames they have, as I am going for a specific look – Miss Marple’s house in St. Mary Mead. Collected over decades, when it’s actually only been 8 years.
As you can see, I tend to favor landscapes.
(DL and I have a deal that we will never pass up a painting with a windmill on it. We love Holland.)
This little horse is an anomaly, but it reminded me of the illustrations Wesley Dennis produced for Marguerite Henry’s books. What do you think?
What vintage items do you find appealing?
Friday, July 11, 2014
(For those of you who are unsure, yes…this is Jane. Jane believed that women should be given the opportunity to be independent, self-reliant, and own their own property. Unfortunately, she had to be satisfied with promoting the ability to choose their own husbands, instead of marrying the person who could best help the family.)
For the record: I chose my own husband. The rest is debatable.
Lately, there has been a lot of talk in the news regarding the role of women. Fox News has the “Princeton Mom” espousing the idea that women should spend 75% of their time in college finding a suitable mate, because if you’re single in your mid-thirties, your time is up. She also wants us to quit being entitled princesses, and start being nicer to our husbands. She believes that feminism has gone too far.
In a related event, some guy at Fox named Steve says that we should talk softly (but not too much) and wear well-cut jeans and a colorful top in order to please our husbands. (As opposed to…? Making him cookies?)
Meanwhile, over at PepsiCo, the female CEO, Indra Nooyi, has made it a point that she doesn’t believe women can have it all.
So, after digesting all this, I have reached the conclusion that NONE of this matters to me. I found a husband after college, but not long after---I was still cute, and therefore I had a little bit of power. I am fortunate that he is a nice guy and relatively easy to get along with. We rarely (and I mean that TRULY—maybe two or three times a year) raise our voices, and a lot of our ‘nagging’ (if you can call it that) is silly and full of humor. I don’t feel at all entitled, and if I feel like splurging on myself, I use MY money. (Last year I bought the first new car I have ever owned…with MY money.) Could I be a better wife? Sure…I can think of things that I could improve, but I’m afraid that perfection would intimidate my sweet DL. So I’m actually doing him a favor by not being perfect. I will never be a CEO, so I don’t have to worry about having it all, and I wear jeans and shirts when it’s appropriate. I also wear dress slacks and cardigans and skirts (occasionally) and I own one dress that currently fits.
None of this matters to me.
But this stuff DOES matter to my daughter.
Does she need to hear that she has lost the opportunity to find a husband because she didn’t find him in college? If she continues on her career path, will she be giving something up? Does she have to decide now? She’s 24, and these things matter.
What message are we sending young women? ‘Don’t speak your mind, or guys will resent you?’ ‘If you choose a demanding career, be prepared to pay the price?’ ‘Your jeans better fit and your top better be colorful or you’re a loser?’ ‘If you’re not married by 30, you will be a crazy cat lady?’
I can’t believe it’s 2014 and we’re still talking about this. Every young woman has the right to do what is best for HER…whether it’s marrying at 22 or 42, wearing corduroys or a ball gown, focusing on career or family…can’t we just present all the options and let these young women choose for themselves without making them feel insecure in their choices?
The world is your oyster, young lady. Don’t listen to the naysayers.