Category Archives: Things I Love

Dog Days of Summer

I am feeling more like myself today.  It was a bad week overall, and that’s just going to happen from time to time. But the weekend is here, and Monday is Labor Day.  Which means we’re into the Dog Days of Summer.  The dogs think that means something totally different here at our house:

 

 

 

 

Emmie

 

This was what I awoke to this morning, taking the place of my husband.  Craig went to work early this morning and when I came to, Emmie was in bed with her backside practically smooshed in my face.  When she heard me stir she turned her head all the way back and gave me this look – and yes, she’s resting her head quite comfortably on Craig’s pillow, thankyouverymuch.   That face gets me everytime.  Damn her cuteness!!

Old Man Bru hasn’t been digging our walks this week.  It’s been hot and humid and just plain miserable.  We cut our walk short the other day because it just wasn’t worth the effort.  Even though I had the AC on full-blast, he decided that he was too far away and practically strained his neck trying to get to the air from the backseat:

Brulee

The best part of Dog Days?  This is the time of year when my hydrangeas come into full bloom.  I don’t know how I got so lucky but these bushes and I have an agreement.  I leave them completely alone, and in return they provide me with football-sized blooms.  This year they stand well over seven feet high:

hydrangeas

Finally, this week was productive; I started and completed a painting.  I’ve been experimenting with color and different subjects for the last couple of weeks just because I think overall it makes me a better painter.  This week’s finished piece:

 

Infinite Love

Tomorrow I take some new things to Lilly’s Soap Kitchen.  Sara the owner, has graciously agreed to meet me half way which will be nice.  Plus, she’s bringing me some of the shop’s new bath bombs which I love.  The rest of the weekend will be working on unfinished projects around the house (if the weather cooperates, that is.)  Oh, and the peanut butter issue?  No longer a problem.  I will make this declaration, though:  never, EVER will I have that jar anywhere near my house again.  It’s something I am choosing to stay away from from now on.

Anyone else have big plans for the weekend?

Do You Hoo? Hoo-rag Review and Giveaway!

I’m excited about today’s post not only because it’s Valentine’s Day, but because on Sunday I will be a bewitching forty three years old – and what better way to celebrate my birthday than by holding a giveaway, courtesy of Hoo-rag Smile 

Whenever I receive an offer to review products from companies, I always try to barter with them by asking for two of whatever it is they want me to try – one for me and one to use in a giveaway for a reader of my blog.  Sometimes I hear back with an answer and sometimes not. 

When Hoo-rag sent an email asking me to try their product I was surprised to hear back from them so quickly stating that they were happy to send along one for me and one to give away.  They even allowed me to choose the colors they’d send!  How cool was that?

I’ve been using my Hoo-rag in numerous ways since December.  When it first came in the mail I thought, what exactly am I supposed to do with this thing?  Here’s what they look like:  

They must have anticipated my question because they enclosed an insert with all the ways you can use Hoo-rags.  And surprisingly, there are plenty:

 

Now, I could have just taken pictures of myself using my new Hoo like the stylish illustrated models above, but what fun would that be?  Instead, I thought I’d come up with other ways in which a Hoo-rag might come in handy. 

**Note:  I have been a filter addict lately, using them for nearly all of my photos so, enjoy (or forgive) the several I’ve used for this review Winking smile

BEAUTY AID:

Headbands generally work okay for this beauty treatment, but whenever I bend over I still end up with hair stuck to my face mask.  Hoo-rags have plenty of fabric to keep that hair back and out of the way.

 

Ear Warmer/Hair-style Protector

During these winter months I’ve grabbed my Hoo-rag and used it to help keep my ears warm while looking pretty stylish at the same time.  It also does a good job of keeping my hair in place when it’s windy outside. 

Curly Hair Volumizer Aid? 

Don’t I kind of look like Rosie the Riveter? lol

In the wintertime my curly hair gets frizzier than Frankenstein’s Monster despite tips and tricks like letting it air dry or using a diffuser.  Anyone with curls will tell you the more you mess with your curly hair the frizzier it will get.  A typical hair dilemma for me is having so-so curls with no body, or plenty of body but frizzy hair.

I wondered what would happen if I pulled my rag over my freshly washed and conditioned hair like a stocking to hold the curls up and in place until my hair was fairly dry.  Wicking away the moisture while keeping my curls tight and suspended, I had this vision of pulling the rag off my head allowing bouncy ringlets to fall in perfect form around my face.  Did it work?

Well, as you can see below, no ringlets.  That was a long shot anyway because my hair is too short for a style that perfect, but I did get plenty of volume and NO frizz which lasted well into the next day.  I may actually be on to something here; I think I just need to play around with this idea a bit more. 

My favorite outdoor use for the Hoo-rag is keeping my face warm.  Then, when I venture inside to a store I just pull it down and it serves as a stylish scarf around my neck. 

 

My favorite indoor use is for when I’m doing yoga. I never have to worry about breaking a pose in order to push my hair out of my face.

If you’re interested in one of these multi-purpose rags, you can go to their website and order one here.  Or, you can win one in my giveaway by simply by commenting below that you’d like to be entered.   

By the way, here is the color I picked out for the winner:

This giveaway will run until Midnight, EST on Sunday, February 17th.  Anyone can enter and I’ll announce a winner by random drawing on Monday morning.

Disclaimer:  Other than the samples above, this blog received no payment or other compensation for this post.  My words are my own and I strive to provide 100% honest feedback in my reviews.

Things I’m Loving Right Now

Since it’s been almost six weeks since my surgery I have had plenty of time to get cozy with a few items, some of which have become favorites of mine.  For your enjoyment (and amusement) I decided to give you not one, but two Favorite Things lists.

Here are some items that I’ve come across recently that I think are pretty outstanding.  I have not been paid to promote or have been contacted in any way about endorsing any of these items. I just happen to like them and thought I’d share them with you:

Things I’m Loving Right Now:

Bolthouse Farms Caesar Parmigiano Yogurt salad dressing.  Actually, I’ve been using this brand for some time now, but this flavor is currently my favorite.  I’ve tried their Ranch, Thousand Island and Blue Cheese dressings as well and they are all really yummy.  This one in particular however, is being used from sandwich spread to vegetable dip.  And the calorie count is an amazing 45 calories per serving (2 tablespoons).  How great is that?

Since my surgery, my skin has been crazy-dry.  This is very unusual for me during the summer months.  I had plenty of lotions to slather on my body, but my face (which is pretty sensitive) was not responding to any kind of moisturizer and I was breaking out in acne along my jaw line. Seriously? Adult acne? 

I’d read a while back that Argan Oil helped all kinds of skin conditions so I shopped the internet for a deal and bought Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil.  This stuff is amazing.  Not only does it balance out my uneven skin, but if I feel a breakout coming on I rub a little oil onto it and by the next morning it’s dried up and healing nicely.  Oil drying up acne.  I know – crazy.  This oil is not just for the face, either; it can be used anywhere on the body, including to soften cuticles and it’s great taming dead ends.  The best part is that a little goes a long way. 

You all know how much I LOVE my tea.  I use it as a staple in my household because it has a habit of curbing my sugar cravings, not to mention all of its other health benefits.  I was a Teavana Girl for a while; then I started really enjoying Lupicia teas, but while cruising the internet a few weeks ago I came across a small tea company called The Tea Guys.  They had two flavors I had to try: Chocolate Delight and Coconut Truffle, which is the one you see in the photo above.  Can I just say that this is some of the best tea I’ve ever had?  Look at all of those goodies sitting amidst that black tea!  Steeping a heaping teaspoon to 8 oz of hot water for a couple of minutes and then adding my favorite sweetener and a splash of milk, and I could swear I was drinking a warm, creamy Almond Joy chocolate bar.  Mmm……

 

 

 

When I finally got the okay to begin slowly exercising again, my husband found a free exercise app for my IPhone to help keep me motivated and show me that I am indeed making progress – even when I think otherwise.  I’ve downloaded several of these freebie apps in the past and have been unimpressed, but this one is really useful.  It’s called Allsport GPS LE.  It uses GPS to track your time, distance, change in elevation, calories – the works.  And it allows you to see the actual path you took during your walk, run, hike, bike ride or other activity.  It’s very user friendly and worth downloading if you have an IPhone.  And did I mention that it’s free??

My list of post-surgery must haves:

This list will most likely do you little good to read, unless you’ve recently had surgery.  Or enjoy seeing just how little it takes to excite me these days.  Either way, this is a more humorous but completely legitimate list of my favorite post-hysterectomy items. Seriously, if I were J Lo, these things would be my entourage because they must be within my reach at all times.

1.  Stretchy, drawstring shorts.

 

I tried these on before surgery and they were so big, the crotch came halfway down my thighs.  I thought, ‘Well, that was a waste of money,’ yet I hung onto them because my mother – with her never ending wisdom, reminded me that too big is better than too small.  Right, indeed.  I have worn these during the day and I’ve worn them to bed.  Double-duty lounge shorts!  They may not be pretty, but they stretch with my stomach when I’ve had a rough day of overdoing it.

2.  Ice Pack.

 

Never before have I had a more regimented routine of icing any part of my body.  This ice pack is draped across my tummy all throughout the day.  I don’t know if it helps the swelling go down, but it sure feels good. Courtesy of Walgreens.   

 

3. This chair.

 

This is like the Archie Bunker’s Chair of Chairs.  So comfortable.  Thank goodness the 100+ degree heat has broken because I can now return to my favorite park-it spot.  When sitting becomes too painful I can lean way back in this lounge chair and it takes all kinds of pressure off of my lower back.  Courtesy of Bed, Bath and Beyond (with 20% off coupon, of course)

 

4.  My Succulent Garden.

 

Remember this post when Craig and I bought a bunch of seed packets so that I could have a deck garden since I couldn’t do anything strenuous after surgery?  Yeah well, this is how all of that played out (prepare yourself for a dramatic reading here):

And thus the seeds sprang forth from the fertile soil and rose towards the heavens.  And lo, if you listened closely enough you could hear them announce their purpose for this world – each of them introducing themselves to their neighbors: I am fancy lettuce!  I am a poppy!  I am rosemary! 

…and then they all keeled over and died.  Every one of them.  Bummer of an ending to that riveting story, I know.  (I have no idea what I did wrong, either.)   So, I decided to go a different route and plant a succulent garden.  Here’s how that is going, which in contrast reads more like an infomercial:

Oops!  I forgot to water!   So what.  Who cares? They certainly don’t!  Won’t my lovely plants die in this 100+ degree heat?  No way!  They love it!  Everything else is wilting in the sun!  Not these babies! 

Basically, I couldn’t kill these plants if I tried.  Don’t they look great?  I’m telling you, if you have no skill at keeping things alive, try a succulent garden.  They’re great.

 

Well, I think that’s about enough punishment for you today ;)  I’m about to leave my Fort of Solitude and go out to have breakfast with my friend, Mel.  As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by and read.  Oh, and if you have anything new and exciting that you’ve tried and cannot live without, I’d love to read about it!

Have a great Tuesday!

XO,

 

~Ellen