Monday, August 6, 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Rosewater D.I.Y.

FTC Affiliate Disclosure
So, I've already shared with you my Rosy Cheeks Toner recipe, but I kind of glossed over the steps to make your own rosewater at home.  Allow me to break down my process:
In this batch: Leaping Salmon & Pink Peace
First things first, I use the simmering technique, because it's faster, easier, and requires fewer supplies and less set-up time.  Also, because I use up my rosewater so quickly, I'm not worried about extending the shelf life the way the distillation method can.  For more information on the distillation process, check out Sheerin's video for Eve's Cafe, here.
To Simmer
Here's what you need:
  • Rose petals,
  • Filtered or previously distilled water,
  • Small pot or saucepan with lid,
  • Mortar and pestle,
  • Mesh strainer,
  • 4-cup glass measuring cup,
  • Glass bottle, or container for storage

Here's what you do:
Gather a small selection of organically grown, pesticide-free rose petals.  Since I'm growing my own, I'm only going to need 2-3 roses with blooms that measure about 4" across.  If you're using miniature varieties, you'll obviously need more flowers than this ... This is definitely a "your mileage may vary" kind of project, but as long as you've got a nice little heap of petals, you're good to go!

In a colander (or large mesh strainer) generously rinse rose petals with clean, room-temperature water to remove any dust, film, debris, or little friends that made their way indoors from the garden.  Give it a good little jostle to make sure both sides are getting rinsed.

Next, bruise your petals.  This can be done any number of ways, I gather them up, and gently mash them with my mortar and pestle.  Gently tearing, collecting in a storage bag and pulverizing with a rolling pin, or even meat tenderizing mallet will work just fine.  You don't want to bash them beyond recognition, just give them a good massage to encourage them to release their natural oils, and fragrance.
Place bruised petals in a small pot or saucepan, and fill with just enough pure water to submerge the petals, and cover with lid.

Over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, and let your petals luxuriate in their warm bath for 30 minutes, until they have lost their color.  Remove from heat, and let cool.

Once cool, using your mesh strainer and glass measuring cup, pour the contents of your pot into the strainer catching the rosewater in the measuring cup below.  Be sure to use your pestle, large spoon, or other implement to gently press the wilted petals against the mesh of the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible.  You may need to strain a couple of times in case any particles slip through your mesh.  When you're finished, store your rosewater in a glass jar or container until you decide what you're going to do with it.

I go straight into making my Rosy Cheeks Toner by combining the following in a Ball® 4 oz. Miniature Storage Jar (simply freezing any leftover rosewater in a tray until I need it for another recipe):

2 oz rose water
10 drops palmarosa essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil

Witch Hazel's acne-fighting, inflammation, and oil reducing properties coupled with its ability to eliminate bacteria on the skin, and hasten the healing process of skin wounds, and infections partners perfectly with Rosewater's pore tightening, pH balancing, and soothing (to the point of clearing up certain rashes completely) aspects.  Adding to that, Palmarosa's skin restorative, regenerative, and rumored anti-wrinkle properties, along with calming Lavender's balancing, and cellular reproduction enhancing effects this concoction creates the perfect team in this cooling astringent.  I know people who carry it in little misting bottles for a pick-me-up throughout the day.  I store my jar of toner in the refrigerator, and with a little shake to make sure the ingredients are well mixed, and the dip of a cotton ball, my skin gets an extra refreshing Summer treat! 

Also!  For the gentlemen in your life, Witch Hazel & Rosewater make strong contenders for aftershave ingredients.  You may need to butch up the scent a bit by using essential oils other than Palmarosa, and Lavender depending on your guy's taste, but the two to one ratio of the main liquids gives you a great foundation to build from.  If you're interested in making products for men at home, and need a little guidance, a couple of good resources to check out are: The Directory of Essential Oils, and Body Care Just for Men.

xoxo

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Burn, Baby Burn

Twin flames definitely exist. So do liars, and manipulators who shape situations to appear to be random, or fated-to-happen because of some cosmic guiding force. Being re-located for work, and running into a long lost lover, or childhood sweetheart is a lot different, to me at least, than stalking social media, and learning a person's patterns in order to place yourself on their path to have a seemingly uncalculated meet-cute, just to say "Look, proof! Twin flames! I knew it all along!" 

Don't do that.  It's creepy.

On top of that there's the crowd who over-exaggerate their love-lives to make it all sound so much more fantastical, and exciting than it really is in order to feed a severe hunger for attention, adoration, and admiration from their peers. So it's little wonder that it's a bit of a minefield out there. And it's also why I'm not quick to believe every gum smacking girl who, like, totally has a tubular twin flame, and somejunk.

Not every love is going to be a "twin flame" type of love, and nothing's wrong with that. All this fad-language has taught me is that it's got everyone all hyped up over something many may never even experience in this life (and feeling bad about themselves and their situation if they don't). Right now it's twin flames, and before that everyone was on a wild goose chase for a soul mate. I can't wait for the next New Age "thought leader" to coin a term for the thing that will be even GREATER than twin flames, so everyone can ditch this ideology, and flock to the new shiny word, and then start feeling bad about themselves and circumstances because they don't have a "Dinglehopper Dick" yet, or whatever it'll be called. I mean, it's starting to look like a page out of the Star-belly Sneetches' Playbook at this point with people frantically searching for one thing, while getting bored, and cashing in something perfectly good in the meantime. When did just falling / being in, and experiencing plain old love become not good enough?  When did love become so ordinary we decided we needed to create a new term?  

Love, real love, is absolutely radical.

With nearly every single love-experience being labeled "twin flame" it makes me doubt just how many people have ever actually experienced love at all. To me, it's not something that has to be dressed up, upgraded, or made to look any better than it already is. Love is perfection as is (that's not to say perfect love = perfect relationship), and anything less is infatuation, or lust. Not that I think the twin flame journey is just a dressed up version of love, it's that I think a lot of girls who talk about it describe it that way, as if it's actual love, but it's a little more like love holding a Balenciaga bag.

It's not that I don't believe. I do. I also believe in love at first sight, and all the other ooey-gooey good stuff. I just think I need taller boots sometimes to wade through all of the manure, especially within the self-help community, and soul vibe-y online magazines.  I also don't fully understand why anyone would want to pretend or convince themselves that they're having a Twin Flame experience anyway?  If you have one, or you've read enough about it you know it's a lot of hard work, a lot of forced introspection, and oftentimes (especially if you're fighting the growth) a lot of frustration.  Maybe people cling to the hope that the label offers in order to explain their own hardships, pain, or confusion that are sometimes present in adult relationships.  Perhaps it hurts less, or is somehow comforting to believe the dysfunction is connected to a higher purpose, or greater plan.  All I have to say to that is: Love doesn't hurt.  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Blame it on the Boogie

Windows down, sound up
Morning commute block party
Dancing back to life

Monday, July 16, 2018

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

What is it that keeps you from moving forward, moving out, moving on, or moving up?  What is stopping you from moving into the person you're meant to be?  Moving to another country?  Moving away from toxic employment?  Moving toward your dreams?  Moving in synchronicity with the beating of your heart?  Move-ing (full stop)?

I suppose, for most of us it must come down to one of two reasons.
1. Fear
2. Physical impairment
(and possibly some mixture of the two).
As human beings go, I know we're pretty talented at cooking up any number of obstacles to any number of advancements we want, or need to make.  Once we strip away all of the stories we tell ourselves about what stands in our way, however, I think we really are only left with the two above choices.  And once that has been revealed we are exponentially closer to doing something about it ... I think this is when that whole, "...grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference," thing comes into play.

For me, personally, it's never been a matter of courage.  I don't like change simply because I don't like to be inconvenienced, but it's never been rooted in the nastiest of all four-letter-words:

FEA 

I've never been one to have the sort of debilitating fear that can keep people from new experiences (not that these people lack courage, many courageous people have been crippled by fear before).  I've known anxiety from my body not working properly, and all of the insecurity  and feelings of instability that generates, I've had stage-fright, and the Monday morning blues when you have to go to school and confront your bully face-to-face.  But at my core throughout my life, I've never really cared what other people think of me, I've never experienced a single twinge of homesickness, and I'm not afraid of traveling alone because I'm a pretty resourceful girl, and always seem to land on my feet.  I've also found through gratitude (whether it's the practice of counting one's blessings, thanking lucky stars, etc.) it's actually difficult to have fear or live a fearful existence.

So, for the longest time, I thought I could never relate ... Yet, a caged animal is still a caged animal no matter the cage, right?  I can't help but think that the sense of entrapment has to be pretty universal.  Nonetheless, I always believe that ultimately everything is going to be okay, because it always is.  No, I haven't lived a charmed, spoiled, and protected life - it's just that even when my external circumstances were horrible it was always temporary, it never lasted, and it always got better (not without hard work, planning, and a little faith on my end) but even when I felt totally tapped out, something (I don't know if it was divine intervention, or what) always turned it around for the better.  Even when it's the death of a loved one, as hard as it is to let go, it's all part of the natural order of things, and I'd much rather miss someone everyday, than have them suffer another minute.  With time, and acceptance even the worst heartache can subside, at least a little, and I've always found that to be a small comfort.

For the things we actually can change ... Why don't we?  And, is there a common recipe for file-cakes?  

I'm what you might call an all-or-nothing type of girl.  I want exactly what I want, how I want it, or I'm perfectly happy to wait (no pout!), or go without until I can get it.  Apparently, this frustrates the living hell out of other people.  I swear I'm not spoiled, and here's why: I can't bear to settle, because having something close to, but not quite what I want actually makes me feel worse -- a deeper sadness, and sense of regret, and even loss -- than not having the thing at all.  I'm not greedy, and I don't hoard, but the things, and people I do have in my life are dearly loved, enjoyed, and appreciated to the fullest.  For that, I have no problem waiting my turn!

I've spent my life playing the long game, with my eyes on the whole picture, and while that does something for elevating the quality, it doesn't exactly feel conducive to progress in the meantime.  It's that lack of consistent and quantifiable forward motion that makes the animals pace in their cages.  So what's to be done about it?  What happens when your file is too small, or dull for the bars on your cage?  Quit?  What about the cages that have no bars?  Can we still adapt to solve the problem?

I've never been comfortable chalking up the human existence, or our experiences herein as illusory, and maybe that'll be the most crucial obstacle of my life; the ultimate lesson I have to learn.  Or not.  More often than not, I think there are very real things that we must overcome, unless the illusion part is the elaborate stories we tell ourselves that keep us from making moves, of course, then I do think that's a thing.  There is, however, a legitimacy to our material world.  You're either in a wheel chair or you're not.  You're either experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy or you're not.  You're either hearing impaired or you're not, et cetera.  No amount of pretending these things don't exist or affect your life is going to make the reality of it any different.  Calling it all an illusion, to me, erases people's physical actuality, and shortchanges their growth, and the wisdom that comes with it.


What makes the true difference in any of our lives will be all of the moves we make in order to cope with, and thrive in our immediate realities.  

This is why living day-by-day is so important, and if something isn't working for you, shirking the unease of trying something new in the moment is paramount.  Think on your feet (so to speak), and keep growing, and learning in all ways, both big and small.  Putting off necessary changes, and refusing to learn new methods is kind of like trying to use substances to make your problems disappear.  They're still going to be there when you sober up, but if you would've just dealt with them in the first place, now they'd be, well ... If not completely gone, possibly manageable, and definitely less problematic than they were when you first considered avoiding them.  Like my Ma always says, "You can start today, and be that much closer to being done with it, or you can wait six months, and whine about it some more (when you'd most likely already have been done with it).  So, you may as well start right now."

Maybe we were made with this much will for exactly this moment in our lives.  Maybe we had to experience a few things before we could fully grasp the empathy required when interacting with others.  Maybe life is preparing each one of us for a future we can't even fathom at this moment ... I know it's definitely surprised me once or twice before.  Maybe life won't look exactly the way any of us thought it would, but that doesn't mean we can't, or don't have it all.  Stephen Hawking's body could be considered a type of "cage" and yet, he lived a life with his head in the stars for decades.  His life was definitely no less remarkable than an able-bodied person, but the one thing he was constantly doing was moving, and that's not something every-body does.

What is one thing that can be done today in order to get a little closer to a life well-lived?

Do that.  I promise it will be worth it.
xoxo

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Here and Now

This place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.

Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
Against the Earth and sky,
The Beloved has bowed there

Our beloved has bowed there
knowing
You were coming.

-Hafiz

Saturday, July 7, 2018

That's High Priestess, To You

Ten years ago I became an ordained minister ... I think I had grand plans of becoming a Reiki Master or something, but in my state in order to legally put your hands on people in a business setting you have to either be licensed in the field of medicine, massage therapy, cosmetology (aesthetician / esthetician, etc.), or a member of the clergy.  Looking at that list, I think the obvious choice presented itself quite clearly.

A few minutes later, I became High Priestess Stormy of the Holy-Rolling Order of the Whore of Babylon (as I'm sure some would see it).

I never did end up getting my Reiki black belt, or whatever it is you do get upon ascension through all of the levels of training, but I am available for marryin' & buryin' (and I'll give you a great rate if they're both on the same day!) just don't call me for your vow renewal.  If you didn't mean it the first time, don't waste my time on a dog and pony show.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Turn the Beet Around!

After compiling last year's list of the 15 Seeds to Order and Sow Now, I've narrowed down, and decided on the varieties I'll be planting in my beds this year for a fall-winter harvest. 

Arugula
Beets
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Kale
Leeks
Spinach
Swiss Chard

The key is getting your seeds in the ground a full 2 months before the first frost hits in your region, so right now in the PNW is the perfect time to start turning your soil, clearing spent plants you won't be using for seed saving, and adding any composted material to your garden!
xoxo