Wednesday, April 20

strawberries for daze

It was a beautiful mid-April morning, the strawberry fields were open and we set out to the fields which are only a few miles from our house.  It was a glorious morning for picking and much better than last year when I went early in the season and alone... this time I brought my handsome trusty helper.

Each having a bucket in hand we picked ~8.3 pounds of strawberries and made over 20+ jars of strawberry jam (to share of course).  The left over berries were saved to eat on for the week and the rest were placed in the freezer for a later date.

oh berry season how I love thee...

Wednesday, April 13

going natural

Nikon 85mm 1.8 shot at ISO 800 - f/2.8 - 1/160sec

For over 6 years we have been making our own cleaning products (recipes found here: Clean House Clean Planet) and 2 years ago we I decided to go the more natural route on personal care and cosmetics.  Did you know that the average US woman uses 12 personal care products and/or cosmetics a day, containing 168 different chemicals  (chemicals of concern), according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  it's astounding, really.

After much research and looking up our many soaps, shampoos and conditioners, face lotions, body lotions, deodorant, toothpaste, loads of makeup I felt like we were overloading ourselves with horrible toxic chemicals.  Many of the items were either given away to friends who wanted it, returned unopened products or were tossed.  This process included getting rid of dermatology prescriptions for both of us and then figuring out how to manage our 'problem' more naturally.  Goodbye benzyl peroxide for me...  It was reassuring that we were putting less chemicals on our bodies, but became very frustrating for me when breakouts began started again.  Poor Joe had to deal with many tears of mine...  Of course for Joe his skin improved with changing to more natural products - others even commented on how good his skin looked (best ever!?).  For my breakout issues, it took almost one year to figure out what was causing it and thank you Lord that it has now been almost a year of minimal breakouts and skin healing.  Even though I still have residual hyper-pigmentation it is starting to finally fade and I feel okay wearing minimal or no makeup in public.  There were times I felt like I wanted to hide my face walking into a store.  I felt embarrassed being 33 and breaking out like a 15 year old.  I didn't even breakout at 15 or 18 for that matter.  Not until I was in my 20's...

OH and memory foam pillows are horrible for acne prone skin!  Last year I found a breathable pillow which is organic shredded latex.  It's amazing!  It keeps it's fluff way better than my memory foam did as well and breakouts seemed to stop with also changing my pillowcase nightly and wrapping my hair in a scarf.  Good protection for hair breakage too.

So what do we use you ask?  So take from this what you will.  Here are the main products we've liked:

  • Alima Pure: primer, concealer, powder, eye shadows and lip
  • Dr. Hauschka: mascara
  • RMS Beauty: highlighter and concealer
  • Jane Iredale: blush
  • Mineral Fusion: bronzer
  • Acure Organics: lip balm
Deodorant (homemade) - works better than over-the-counter!
  • Use a small wide mouth container with lid
  • 3 TBS raw unrefined organic coconut oil
    • FYI - melts at 78 degrees
  • 2 TBS baking soda
  • 2 TBS cornstarch
  • 10 drops of tea tree oil (optional)
  • Note: You can add 1 TBS of 100% grated beeswax for the hotter months if you want to use a deodorant stick.  A stick only works well if it's warmer than 78 degrees, in the winter months the stick gets too hard to use and won't work.  
  • Nature's Gate
Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Acure Organics
  • 7th Generation: hand soap
  • Nubian Soap: bar soap
I still use LUSH bath, shower and body lotion products.  Sometimes there are things I just love and don't want to give up.  I figure you can't hide from it all and live in moderation, right?


It's quite difficult to find natural products that do NOT contain coconut oil or cocoa butter for the face.  Either of those products will wreak havoc on your face if you are acne prone.  However, the LUSH Vanishing Cream does not contain either ingredient and is mostly a clean product, but unfortunately still contains parabens as the last item (smallest quantity).  Sometimes you just have to pick your battles.
  • LUSH Fresh Farmacy Cleanser: Face Soap
  • LUSH Teatree Toner
  • LUSH Vanishing Cream: Face Lotion
  • Acure Organics: Eye Cream
  • Weekly Face Mask: Aztech Secret Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing {amazing stuff}
  • Acure Organics Face Lotion (for Joe only - has cocoa butter which doesn't make him breakout).  Great for his rosacea!
  • Badger  (non-comedogenic!) - general use, this stuff doesn't rub in well so if we are home working in the yard or playing outside it's fine for us...  
  • Honest Company Sunscreen - runs in well coated to Badger.  Joe uses the spray sunscreen for mowing as well.
  • EltaMD - which is not natural at all, but is is what I use for when I'm in public as I can't look like a ghost or vampire during a photoshoot with clients!  embarrassing.
Next we need to work on cleaner and healthier eating. (:

Monday, April 11

is it winter or is it spring?

It was as if Jack Frost had returned for a short while this weekend...  not even close to snow which Joe's parents had. but frigid temperatures and very, very blustery throughout the day.

With all of this crazy wind we've been having the spring pollen has been attacking my body for a week and a half now.  I am at the brink of going crazy as I've been staying inside a lot.  nope not even training with a race in t-minus 5 days.  This year the local honey didn't provide its usual fighting power... so Saturday I took matters into my own hands.  First I changed the air filters, turned the heat on, lit a few 100% beeswax candles (and possibly a sparkling Christmas candle) and mopped the entire house (1st and 2nd floors).  Poof be gone allergies!!  With the combination of turning the heat on and lighting a candle that's only lit around Christmas - well by golly it was like the sweet smell of Christmas!

After what felt like hours of mopping, I figured I may as well go with the theme and take a hot bath using my last LUSH Christmas bubble bar.  seemed appropriate with the current days status.  Nothing says Christmas like the warm sweet scents of almond, sweet orange, cinnamon, cloves and star anise.  I believe the only thing I was missing was holiday decor and a little Christmas music.

Later that evening we decided it was a good idea to order-in sushi, watch the last Hunger Games (finally!) and light a fire.  seemed like the right thing to do and I Norman agreed.

Monday, April 4

when the husband is away, the wife and cats are at play

Some days the bed doesn't get made until the afternoon afternoon. Why?  Because it's occupied.  Thank you Norm.

Governor of Sass-achusetts right there.  Don't mess with my bed!

Norman's beaver... poor thing is missing an ear.  Most days the beaver makes an appearance in our bed, by our bedside, in our bedroom doorway or somewhere in the bedroom.  I guess Norman thinks he is earning his keep by 'killing' the beaver and showing it to us.  He would have been a great barn cat! 

Nope not gonna look at you.

Enter sad cat club.

I think that's my queue...  time to get the camera out of my face-face.

When the husband is away, the wife and cats are at play!  not really...  It does mean I have less mess to clean up work to do when he's out of town since it's just me to cleanup after...  I do enjoy less cleaning up, but I definitely miss him like crazy!!  Especially that empty pillow right next to me.

I've noticed that the cats follow me around a little more than usual when he's away.  Maybe they know that I'm lonely as half of me is missing and that I needed extra company...   Just glad the husband and I have been reunited!  

Sunday, April 3

hello april

It's April and probably one of my favorite months coming in at a close second to October.  The trees are staring to bud, some with flowers bringing new color to the once bare trees.  Dark pinks, light pinks, purples, oranges, yellows and bright green are emerging from the branches and even some of the perennials are making an appearance from the once frozen soil.  The air is still cool and crisp from the winter months and the sun is just warm enough to stand outside and soak it in for a few minutes and feel like you are glowing... sigh...

Spring is a new beginning...  Everything that was once dead is now alive again.  Just like Jesus gave us an opportunity of a new life by Him living a perfect, holy and pure life, sacrificing love (1 John 4:10), dying for you and me and was supernaturally raised from the dead...  just as He said he would.  He gives us all the opportunity of a new beginning...  a new life...  for eternity.  if we choose to believe in Him.

John 14:6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."

Thank you Jesus.