Sunday, March 30, 2014

Goodbye Big Sis / Five Lessons

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this throwback photo of Big Sis (D.L.)  from the 1980's should say volumes about her personality.

Usually I don't post anything super personal on this blog, or social media in general, but  I have been a bit stuck since hearing the news. Her funeral was just held a few days ago, and so I'm having trouble feeling creative lately. And this is why.

For some reason, I had an eerie feeling her long battle would be over soon. It's been hard in the whole family, and now the healing begins. For now the details aren't important. So to make it short and sweet, like her, this is all I have...

Five Lessons:

If it's anything I know, I could always count on my big sister to provide life lessons. Whether she realized it or not, she was a great teacher. Though was was always off "doing her own thing" I still picked up a little from her. Here are just a few examples:

Make new and interesting friends anywhere. 
It didn't matter where she found herself, D.L. quickly had a circle of friends around. Some of them may have been a bit questionable, but they weren't boring. Not all your friends are going to be best friends with each other. But, enjoy them for their own uniqueness, whenever you can.

Excel in all you do. 
So I could never get into running, or most sports. I never pick up the latest dance moves. I won't ever have a flair for the dramatic. I do my best in the kitchen. I still peck when I type, and end up with a lot of errors anyway. My hair styling and makeup skills could use some remedial work.  But I'm not D.L. Those where her things. And she did them well. Find your things, and do them well.

Celebrate everything. Any time.
Who didn't want to be around D.L.? Any day was a good day to celebrate. As I got older and moved away, I always did  try to keep in touch with her. And if I could visit home, a trip was not complete without seeing what she was up to. You never know when an impromptu meet-up would lead to a full scale Bar B Que. Did I mention her legendary grilled shrimp skewers?

Surround yourself in style.
Whatever your style may be, it's yours so own it. Don't be afraid of what anyone will say, because she sure didn't. Wild floral arrangements, sequins and feathers, the color red, a ton of animal prints, that was D.L. All at once. Hey, at least I knew what to shop for when buying her a gift.

Travel when you can.
Did you know D.L. once lived in Hawaii? Yes indeed. Many of us may have never even visited there. Yes, it's part of the United States, but still. It's Hawaii. We need to take the opportunity when possible, and try something different than our own reality.

So there you have it, some seemingly random, but totally appropriate life lessons from the experience known as D.L. There are many more of course. Like I said, she was a great teacher.          


That's all for now. Back to the blog, well, when I get back to the blog.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Schick Hydro Silk Sensitive Care Razor

Well, now that is is Spring in some parts of the country, it will soon be time to dress in fewer layers. Tee shirts, dresses, maybe even shorts. That's why I was happy to try out another body hair removal method while the weather still goes back and forth. Enter Bzzagent and Schick. They were kind enough to send the Schick Hydro Silk Sensitive Care Razor (with case), refill blades, and a coupon for a free shaving cream. That's what we commonly refer to as The Hook Up.

"While it shaves your sensitive skin with ease, for the ultimate shave experience pair the razor with Skintimate® Shave Gel to provide unbeatable razor protection, leaving your skin silky smooth. With these two by your side, you’ll be sure to protect your sensitive skin!" (Direct quote from Bzzagent.)

Ingredients / Made From
You will need to check the label for the shaving cream info, as I am too lazy to list it all here. But I will say, it's much more soothing that the creams of a few years ago. The razor, on the other hand, is made from a super grippable plastic and rubber. This is great if you are accident prone, and easily drop tiny objects, not that I would know anything about that.

Cost and Size
I priced the Skintimate shaving cream just under $7.00, for a full size can, at CVS where I redeemed my free coupon. Pricey, but worth it, especially if you find it on sale. The razor was easily double that amount, depending on where you shop. 

Does it Work
Well, I was prepared to have a bad experience, including razor burn, tiny knicks, and even a rash, none of that happened. Instead, I got a really close and smooth shave. And I didn't drop the razor (like I may have done) with the other tiny ones from the past.

But remember I swore off razors years ago, when they were all made awkward and not very aerodynamic. I actually have an older blog post up here about only using electro razors and Nair. So I'm am really amazed and excited that I was wrong. So I will be adding the Schick back to my shaving ritual when I care about looking good. 

Buy it Here
They are available at many drug stores, like CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, and Target. 

Crazy Canine and I pick up another wonderful box from Bzzagent.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weavings: Everything Old is New Again

Do you remember when I posted a little bit about hanging these? On a whim, (cleaning day) I felt the need to dig out some favorites from college and display them. To remind me of the days when I actually made good art. With limited supplies and money. Today I was inspired to post how they are displayed at home. Crazy Canine liked them, so why wouldn't you?

According to the UO blog,  it seems that weavings are back on trend again. I almost want to find an old art frame and start a series of weavings again. Almost. For now, let's just enjoy good art. 

Back to the gym. Hope you like.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: Fiber One Protein

In the better part of the year, I have really been focusing on personal fitness more than most things. And Bzzagent took notice. They sent a little something new for me to try during breakfast...

I received two 15.8 oz boxes plus some dollar off coupons. What a wonderful surprise, and just in time. I was running a bit low in cereal!

One great tasting bowl of cereal.

Fiber One Protein

10 grams of protein, with milk. And 20% daily value of fiber.

Cost and Size:
A 15.8 oz box costs just under $4.00

Where to Buy:
I redeemed my coupon at Target, but they are popping up on grocery shelves everywhere. (We were expecting the first winter storm of the season, so I opted for a quick one stop shopping trip. After going through the free boxes, I needed to pick up another.)

My Thoughts:
This is seriously some good cereal. The texture was full of grains and "stuff" which is how I prefer it. Not boring. Plus it has added fiber and protein. 

I like the Cranberry Almond better than the Maple Brown Sugar. Because it has more "stuff" in it, but both flavors are good. Not to mention, I experimented and later add raisins and chopped walnuts. You can do that with this cereal for variety.

Without sounding like a commercial, Fiber One Protein helped get me through some tough workouts. I had expected to be hungry halfway through, and grab a protein bar from my gym bag. Never happened. I made it through the workouts, without snacking, and waited for the post-workout smoothie.

When I don't want oatmeal or cream of wheat, it's a perfect stand in. Yes, it's a cold cereal, but substantial. 

So I will be redeeming the rest of my $1.00 off coupons for more boxes, and when I run out, look for it on sale. (As soon as the snowy icy mess clears, and I can get back to the grocery.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Foliage Situation: Part 2

Remember back in September when I imagined I had a green thumb, and tried to grow cooking herbs from seeds? We will get back to that little incident later. For now, let's look at my accomplishments. Aloe Vera, The Triplets, and Miss Dracaena. That's five live plants, here. All at the same time. 

At least Aloe Vera grew enough that I moved her from the urn to a slighly bigger pot. And Added another saucer with pebbles, because this one was chipped on the bottom.

Back to the cooking herbs. So this is what my poor babies herbs looked like, after the second try. The first time I only had the three terra cotta pots and used the janky soil that came with the seed packets. Trust me they did not grow. So the next time, I found an extra pot, (the white one) more seeds, and used Miracle Grow. Still not a good result. Maybe I will just buy live herbs next time, and try not to kill them.

But the good news is, I filled a big planter. Walmart had "Miss" Dracaena on clearance. She's in the kitchen near the stove to absorb cooking odors. (At least she's more useful than Crazy Canine, who only visits the kitchen to beg for food, like it's her job or something.)

Anyway, the other pot's twin is in the landing strip upstairs, hanging out with The Tribe, (my wire sculptures from college) and waiting me to find something bigger and fuller for it.  And maybe I will make the space into a "staging area", with a small table, an area rug, and mini gallery wall.

But first, I need to score an even more awesome-leafy-tree-like plant to keep alive. Baby steps, folks.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Crockpot Tomato Veggie Soup

Start the soup...

Add the magic ingredient ...

Now it just needs a side of grilled cheese sammich ...

Let's talk about the crockpot, shall we? It is featured in quite a few Instagram posts. By far this is my favorite kitchen appliance. Not because it's my favorite color, or because it's small and minimal, or because it helps me cook healthy meals without much effort. It's my favorite because of what it represents. 

It reminds me of the kindness of strangers... This crockpot came to me from a charity organization. After our apartment fire, years ago, we had almost nothing. And we learned a valuable lesson on trust. And starting over.

The weekend before our upstairs neighbor decided to torch her boyfriend's belongings on her (illegal) balcony grill, I had just went grocery shopping. The cabinets were full. The fridge was full. Then suddenly that happened. In just a few short minutes, she managed to displace herslef, and everyone in the unit. Including a college student far from her hometown, and a family of five.

I wrote a short story about that experience. It might be part of a small collection for future book. I may take a break from writing on organizing and minimizing, to focus on other subjects. Once the current one is complete of course. We will see.

I'm about to grill that sandwhich right now...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

First Uncluttering of the New Year

Remember in May of last year when I started clearing out my old memories? I had containers of craft project supplies, photo albums, and art related albums. This is what I started with. Yeah, a lot, I know. Though it was "organized", these containers had moved with me several times and had yet to be dealt with. Nothing was being used, or displayed, so it was a waste of space.

Then in June I went through them again. I had managed to clear about half the clutter. But it still was too much stuff. I didn't display the items I really liked, because I felt guilty about having too many items  I no longer cared for. So right before Christmas I did a mini purge. Two albums got sorted and trashed, I saved a handful of photos. I vowed that the next purge would get it down to one box. I would treat myself to finding and displaying something special. Right after New Years I found myself with a little time home alone. So I brought the two containers in the house and spread everything out on the floor.

And I grabbed a trash bag. I sorted quickly. What went out? Bad quality photos, ticket stubs, event flyers, more sketches, and things I couldn't remember why I still had them. Only one box to deal with in the future. Yes, its crammed, but it closes, and I'm perfectly fine with that. For now.

Eventually I will decide on the right company to scan and digitally save the photos I want. I think I want them on thumb drives. That way I can pop them into a digital frame, and rotate my pics as I choose. And actually enjoy them. (Instead of keeping them tucked away.) The plan is to have the box loosely packed. I would like to be able to also rotate out my keepsakes for display.

It took less than an hour to complete. As promised, with the help of my lovely assistant, I hung some art. I selected my favorite weaving projects from college. And don't ask me how long ago that was.

So when will you do your next purge? What is next on the list? How will you reward yourself?

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