Merry Christmas everyone!
We had a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner (a tradition we hope to continue every year) of Cornish Hen, roasted veggies, cornbread, and a freshly baked cranberry cobbler. Ryan is an amazing cook, when I get around to posting recipes they are usually his. To top off this amazing holiday, Ryan gave me the greatest gift! He proposed! It was something we had talked about, but I never was sure it was coming to fruition, so I was so surprised and excited. The ring is amazing, and I only gave him about 100 suggestions so the fact he got it spot on is outstanding. It's an antique platinum and diamond engagement ring from the early 1900s (most likely '10-20's). The metal work is intricate and delicate. It's very unique, so it's totally me! He gets me the best out of anyone I have ever met, which is the reason I said YES! So I'm sure there will be many future posts about wedding planning and all that silliness.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Tonight we're celebrating Ryan's birthday. I think he's pretty deserving off all the fanfare of a birthday, but he likes things simple. I love that about him. A viewing of the Hobbit and some snuggling is in order, and he would think that's just as fun as a party with cake (I'm still sad there's no cake).
As exciting as the holidays are, I'm excited that they are almost over. I'm no Scrooge, just ready to settle down into things. Lately I've been feeling down (I blame ads and marketing) about not being able to "keep up with the Joneses", the Joneses being people beaucoup money and not a visible care in the world. I am very frugal, when I have money to spend, it's gotta be wrenched from my little fingers. Sometimes, though, I get to thinking my blog isn't as recognized as it could be because I don't have a $200 dress in my closet or a $500 pair of shoes on my feet. Silly thoughts, I know, but they flitter in my mind until I remind myself of quotes like the one above. Even if I got those things, I really wouldn't be that much happier. And in reality I am happy and lucky with everything I have, and that sense of ground is what I am most thankful for.
Ann, with her beauty secrets, is back! Here's another guest blog post about Natural Skincare!
You wouldn't believe it, but right now in your kitchen you can find some amazing beauty products. I've tried many different brands from drugstore to high end, but some of my staples all come from the grocery section. There are so many chemicals in makeup, hair care, and skincare, sometimes it's nice to take a step back and use what mother nature has given us.
Oil Cleansing Method
This method took me a few years to attempt due to always having extremely oily skin. Previously, I stuck to oil-free and mattifying products, and never wanted to stray far from what was on the market. But after a few weeks of bad breakouts, I decided to give it a go. The results were phenomenal. My complexion evened out, the breakouts disappeared, and my skin became less oily.
The way the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) works is simple, our skin needs to be cleansed and well moisturized. When you use products that strip away your natural oils your skin can go into an overproduction of oil to compensate. A lot of skincare products also contain fragrance which can irritate the skin and can cause a lot of redness. By using the OCM the oil dissolves makeup and dirt while moisturizing. Using the OCM for a couple of weeks will 'reset' your skin and balance the natural production of oil.
There are different ratios of what oil blends to use depending on what type of skin you have. Castor Oil is the most important oil as it's the one that does the bulk of the cleansing, but a little can go a long way and can actually be drying if you use to much. The second oil you use can be any vegetable oil of your choice, but I like using Olive Oil as it's great for many skin types.
Some suggestions in creating your blend of deep cleansing oil:
Oily Skin: 30% Castor Oil to 70% Olive Oil.
Balanced Skin: 20% Castor Oil to 80% Olive Oil.
Dry Skin: 10% Castor Oil to 90% Olive Oil.
When you are ready to cleanse your skin you will need a washcloth and hot water. Take a quarter size amount of your oil blend and massage it onto your skin. Take your hot (not scalding) washcloth and let it sit over your face to steam and open your pores. Once the heat leaves the washcloth, wet it again with the hot water and gently wipe the rest of the oil away.
A moisturizer isn't typically needed with the OCM, but in the winter I like to use coconut oil when the dry air makes my skin itchy and red.
The OCM is a bit daunting at first, but one of my favorite skincare 'secrets'.
Although spiders don't bring to mind warm and cuddly thoughts, when I see my son sit down and draws spiders all over his table, telling me about them, I can't help but feel that way. I'm an artist, and I've always felt like art is an excellent way to tell a story and express yourself. I'm so happy that Julian is finding this out for himself. Usually he makes me do all the drawing, but last night it was all about him and his spiders.
Second in my Locally Grown series is an Etsy shop, the Revival Supply Co., run by a Baton Rouge native, Jacob Triche. His store showcases the rawness and beauty that reclaimed wood furniture can be, as Triche explains, "Reclaimed wood has so much character and uniqueness about it. That's why I enjoy working with it. Every piece of furniture comes out unique."
From his 12 years work experience in building, Triche has learned the best way to salvage wood, as well as how to guarantee its integrity, "I find my lumber from mainly two lumber yards in north Baton Rouge that get shipments of old reclaimed cypress from old barns and houses around the area... Many times [the wood] will have some deterioration from water and small bugs or bees and sometimes fire. I just have to cut those pieces off."
Triche's passion all started a few years ago when a friend approached him about building a headboard made out of old cypress wood. After completing the project, he went on to photograph it, which garnered more attention, "When people saw the pictures, they loved what they saw and I slowly started getting requests for more reclaimed headboards."
Due to his methodical planning of his pieces, he's been able to complete some extremely detailed projects, such as the chevron table and (my favorite) the flat pack mini house. The flat pack mini house is quite a woodworking achievement. "There is nothing else on the market that accomplishes what it accomplishes. I had to create the entire project in my mind with limited influence from similar products." Triche goes on to highlight the workmanship, "There are many pieces and connections that had to all fit together tightly." It's truly a piece that is inspiring as well as unique.
Etsy has given Triche the opportunity to sell his projects from California to New York without leaving home. Jacob beams about his success adding, "I plan on opening a shop/studio in San Deigo in a few months and then possibly Denver, CO."
I had a pleasure talking to, and getting to know what makes an Etsy shop like this one tick. It takes passion and a lot of planning! When you buy reclaimed wood furniture, you're buying a little bit of local history, solid wood construction, and most importantly, supporting a local artist.
You can also view more of his work at his website www.RevivalSupply.co
So, I kind of went off the deep end and bought a 12' tree. I have very high vaulted ceilings, so it would be criminal to pass up showcasing that. The whole lot of sparkling silver and turquoise-y blue ornaments are from my parents who've collected them over the years, so I was very fortunate to decorate my tree at no cost.
I've never been so thrilled about having a tree. It seems kind of silly, I know, but this is my first really excited Christmas since my divorce two years ago. When I had to start my life over again, I kind of had to put the holidays on the back burner. I put out a little Charlie Brown type tree, maybe some pine scented candles, but that was it. Luckily, Julian was very young and probably won't remember these half-hearted Christmases. Now maybe a 12' tree is a little bit of over compensation for those years - but it's a beautiful and magnificent over compensation!
Enjoying something like the holidays after your life is flipped takes some time, but I'm happy to know I can enjoy them again. And just in time, Julian is totally soaking this all up!