Thursday, March 13, 2014

Weird but Wonderful!

It might look like a medieval torture device, or a the latest kitchen gadget, but this weird but wonderful thing is possibly the world's best scalp massager.  I received mine as part of a Favorite Things Christmas exchange, and it has quickly become one of my Favorite Things, too!  Just raise and lower the massager over your head and the wire fingers glide easily over your scalp, giving you a nice tingling sensation and reducing stress.  I like to keep mine in my office close to my computer for a quick pick-me-up.  Weird? Maybe.  But, oh so wonderful!

Friday, March 7, 2014


Chimichurri!  I was originally introduced to this flavorful condiment while visiting Argentina several years ago.  Recently, over the last year or so, I have seen it popping up on American menus and in the market.  It is a sauce for grilled meat made from finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and red wine vinegar, often with a touch of red pepper, basil or paprika.  While delicious on grilled steak, we also like it for a dipping sauce for crusty bread or crispy fries or oven baked potato wedges.  You can make you own, or look for bottled Chimichurri sauce or packets of dehydrated mix that you add to oil and vinegar.  Delicioso!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Worth the Hunt

More than once I've stood in the Walgreen aisle, reading the small print on little tubes of lip balm looking for one with a SPF higher than 8 or even 15.  When I see this one, I like to snatch up a couple of them... one for each coat pocket, one for the tennis bag, one for my purse, one for my desk.  The Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm has a very high SPF of 50 and is very water and sweat resistant.  It goes on clear, is very moisturizing, and has a pleasant flavor (flavor?  maybe I should say scent?).  If you can't find it by the lip balms, check the sunscreen section - it's worth the hunt!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Smart Skin Care

Having had a few issues with my skin, I am trying to be more diligent with daily sunscreen use.  This is my go-to favorite right now ~ Aveeno Smart Essential Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30.  I like the consistency, not to light, not to thick and I love the SPF 30.  The product claims to "harness the power of antioxidant Southernwood extract".  I'm guessing the way they brag about it that it's a good thing... all I know is that I like the way it feels, I like the way it smells, I like the SPF 30, and I like the price. Bam!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Convenience in a Cube

Have you tried this yet?  Small frozen cubes of ready to use herbs and seasonings!  What a great way to keep ginger, garlic and fresh herbs on hand to use in your favorite recipes.  While I usually have garlic cloves on hand, this saves time and mess by having it already crushed. Ginger, however,  can be a problem as I don't always use it all up before it goes bad and then have to pitch it, and fresh herbs are, of course, expensive in the winter.  Solve the problem by keeping a package of these in your freezer and pop out a square when you need it.  For the garlic, 1 cube is equal to 1 clove, for the ginger and herbs, 1 cube is equal to 1 teaspoon.  I've used both brands, Dorat and Pop & Cook, both bought locally at either WalMart, Target or Kroger (sorry I can't remember which brand came from which store).  You can find them in the freezer section, but you have to search a little, usually near the frozen vegetables.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


This little package unfolds to...

this colorful and sturdy bag...

and is available in tons of bright colors and patterns.

This little pearl has been in my suitcase for years, but I had forgotten what a special pearl it was until Vicki gifted all of us in the tennis group with one at Christmas!  It's the Omnisax by Envirosax.  This strong but lightweight bag rolls up into itself and snaps tight to take up very little space and add very little weight to your purse or suitcase.  Then when you need it, at the beach, the Farmer's Market, or the grocery store, just unsnap it, shake it out, and you are good to go.  So while I still keep my original in my suitcase for using at the beach or treasure hunting on vacation, I am thrilled to have another to stash in my car for impromptu market stops.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Seeking some Summer….

It has been a LONG winter… and it's only January!  So last week I was prowling the produce section of the grocery store, seeking out some tastes of summer.  Craving a fresh tomato, and especially fresh salsa, I picked up a tub of Garden Fresh Gourmet salsa in Jack's Special (mild).  Perfect!  The Mild flavor allowed the pure taste of the tomatoes to shine.  Just a touch of lime juice tops off the mix of finely chopped tomatoes, onions, green pepper, cilantro and just a touch of jalapeƱo.  Look for this in the produce section of your local market.

Friday, January 24, 2014

10,000 Villages ~ 1000's of great items!

This is one of my favorite things, but even better, it is one of my daughter's favorite things and there is one not far from where she lives and she does a lot of gift shopping there!  Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer, originally part of the Mennonite Central Committee, but since 2000 has been incorporated as an in depended nonprofit, charitable organization.  Today a global network of social entrepreneurs works to empower artisans in developing countries.  Ten Thousand Villages works with designers to create items that are beautiful, useful, and stylish.  You will find unique, hand-crafted items for your home, your self, and lots of great gifts, such as jewelry, pillows, scarves, table wear, mirrors and vases, and many more items.  Below are just a few of the items that I have been luck to receive!  It's a neat place because you are doing good and finding something special, and buying it because you want to, not just because you think you should to be charitable.  

Energy Chain ~ The Congo
Loops of coiled electrical wire… but it doesn't look like it!

Raindrop Necklace ~ Kenya
Copper, Brass & Silver Plate

Sterling Silver Hammered Hoops ~ Peru

Cheerio Necklace ~ India 
Made with transparent glass rings

Sterling Lariat ~ India

Monday, January 20, 2014

Keepin' it Colorful!

On those dark, cold, dreary mornings when I drag myself out of bed, scarf down a grapefruit and some Corn Chex, or Lucky Charms (one of my guilty pleasures), then get dressed to head to the gym, nothing lifts my mood like these colorful shoes.  They are the ASICS Gel-Noosa Tri 8 and they are a absolute riot of color and pattern.  One look and you can't help but smile.  As an added bonus, they go with everything!  Purple, yellow, pink, blue, orange, these shoes have them all.  And because they are ASICS, they have good stability and support, perfect for all those lunges, squats, curls, and crunches.  I can't really justify another pair, but they also come in several other color combinations and I am lusting after the lime/blue/confetti pair!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hello, Hello?

Whew!  It has been an unbelievable fall into winter.  It started with a move to a new Host Church for our BSF class (I'm the Class Administrator, so this is kind of a big deal).  Just as we got settled, severe winds and tornadoes came thru our area, severely damaging two locals schools.  Our host church invited the public schools to use their building, thus displacing our BSF class.  We searched desperately for a new host church to hold our class of 530+ women and 170 children.  Two weeks later, we started up our class again in a new host church, which is an answer to prayer, but also a bunch of work.  To top that, we had a long term class member dealing with serious mental health issues and threatening her group leader, my staff was all on guard, and on edge.  I was so ready to go on Christmas break!  But things did not slow down…  The Monday before Christmas, we learned that our youngest son was invited to Tampa to the Kohl's Kicking Underclassmen Challenge, so we quickly scheduled a last minute trip to Florida.  It would have been a nice little vacation, if I hadn't woken up the day we arrived with one of the worst colds of my life, and then lost my voice for four days.  Our return was complicated by the Polar Vortex storm, which canceled our return flight, and after several reschedules, we ended up driving home instead.  Anyway, all of this is to say, that's my excuse for slacking the last few weeks, but I'm back and I hope you will keep checking back to read about my latest pearl.