Happy Thanksgiving!

Here in the United States, Thanksgiving day is a national annual holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, marked by religious services and a traditional meal including a turkey or ham. Of course each family is different, some may not attend religious services and some may not eat turkey or ham, but that’s not the point. I’ve always felt the main focus is to be together with the people you love and eat a meal together, thankful for all you have.

After all the definition of the word Thanksgiving is the expression of gratitude.

This is a special day where we all express our love and gratitude for the special people, circumstances and objects of our lives. A lot of people, including myself, lose sight of how wonderful aspects of our life really are.

I’ve created a list (in no particular order) of the things I am thankful for in my life right now and I hope that I can remember, on more than just this day, what makes my life special.

I am thankful…

  • That I am alive.
  • That I am in good health.
  • That I have shelter.
  • That I have food and water.
  • That I have a husband who loves me.
  • That I have a family who loves me.
  • That I have two lovable cats.
  • That I have a job.

I am thankful for so much more, but I will stop there. Just remember that there is always something to be thankful for in your life, even if you have to bring it down to the basics.

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Show your Host or Hostess some love

HostorHostessGifts

Does anyone out there ever bring gifts for their host or hostess anymore?

I will admit I have been very neglectful of this when I attend gatherings at friends and families homes, but I think it’s time to turn over a new leaf, bring the classy back, and start showing our gratitude to those who go through the effort of hosting us for the day, evening or longer.

If you are feeling like you would like to get your host(ess) a gift there are a variety of gifts you can try, gifts like:

  • Beverages (Beer, cider, tea, wine, etc.)
  • Candles
  • Card or Board Games
  • Flowers (Cut bouquets or potted plants)
  • Gift Cards
  • Hosting accessories (Decorations (decor), kitchenware etc.)
  • Treats (Savory or Sweet)

Whatever you choose to give, you will be spreading warmth and cheer back to your host/hostess, who in turn will spread warmth and cheer to you and their other guests.

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe (No Oil)

Pumpkin Seeds

I love snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds! So delicious, easy to eat and prepare, and with numerous health benefits, who could say no? Traditionally I make large batches every year after we carve our Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and snack on them for weeks!

I do not use oil in this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salt
  • Seasoned salt (optional)
  • Water

Directions:

As you carve your pumpkins, keep all the seeds in a bowl. I find it easier to separate the seeds and pulp into two separate bowls as I go, rather than sort that mess out later.

Throw the seeds into a colander and rinse under cold water, stirring with your hands to make sure all the seeds are all rinsed thoroughly.

Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt for each half cup of seeds.

Bring the saltwater and seeds to a boil for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Coat a baking sheet with whichever nonstick cooking spray you prefer and spread the drained seeds out in a single layer.

I took this opportunity to sprinkle seasoned salt over the damp seeds. You are welcome to leave them with just the salt that was boiled into them, or add any variety of other toppings depending on your taste.

Cook the seeds until dry and crispy, this could take an hour or more. Remember to stir occasionally so the seeds get baked evenly.

Let them cool for a few minutes…then let the snacking begin!

65 Ways to be Elegant

  1. Accept compliments gracefully.
  2. Always bring a gift to your host and/or hostess.
  3. Apologize sincerely.
  4. Appreciate the arts.
  5. Arrive on time.
  6. Be a lady or a gentleman at work.
  7. Be kind.
  8. Be positive.
  9. Be quietly self confident.
  10. Be respectful of others.
  11. Be well groomed.
  12. Be well read.
  13. Concern yourself with making others feel comfortable.
  14. Do small favors for others without expecting reciprocation.
  15. Don’t boast.
  16. Don’t complain.
  17. Don’t call attention to other’s mistakes, gossip, or speak ill of them.
  18. Don’t curse.
  19. Don’t overindulge.
  20. Dress appropriately for every occasion.
  21. Chew with your mouth closed.
  22. Express empathy.
  23. Express gratitude.
  24. Give thoughtful gifts, rather than expensive ones.
  25. Give others sincere compliments.
  26. Have a fabulous signature meal you serve guests.
  27. Have a signature perfume/cologne.
  28. Have impeccable manners; say please and thank you.
  29. Have integrity.
  30. Host small dinner parties.
  31. Keep a journal.
  32. Keep your home clean and uncluttered.
  33. Keep your nails well manicured.
  34. Know thyself.
  35. Learn another language.
  36. Learn less is more.
  37. Learn proper etiquette for a variety of situations.
  38. Learn to dance.
  39. Learn to politely decline.
  40. Listen without interrupting.
  41. Maintain boundaries.
  42. Maintain a budget.
  43. Maintain good health.
  44. Move with grace.
  45. Open the door for others.
  46. Practice discretion.
  47. Practice good posture.
  48. Practice patience.
  49. Practice quality over quantity.
  50. Remember birthdays.
  51. Savor the moment.
  52. Send holiday and thank you cards and/or notes.
  53. Serve coffee or tea after meals.
  54. Show restraint in expressing anger.
  55. Sip your beverages; never slurp or gulp.
  56. Speak eloquently.
  57. Speak softly, never yell or scream.
  58. Spend time outdoors.
  59. Take responsibility for yourself and your own happiness.
  60. Think before you act or speak.
  61. Turn your mobile off at the table.
  62. Understand your own worth.
  63. Wear dresses and/or suits more often, and on dates.
  64. Wear less makeup.
  65. Write a letter rather than send an email to those you love.

Welcome back Autumn!

Okami Fall Wallpaper

Welcome back Autumn! Every year I look forward to the Fall and the warmth it generates inside my home and soul. Where I live, September and October are still rather warm on some days, and turn wet and cold as the months progress toward Winter.  I cannot get enough of the rain this time of year. The cold, wet weather begins to take over outside, driving us all inside to be together and warm. There’s nothing like cuddling up with people you love, reading a good book, watching a movie or playing a video game while the weather misbehaves outside.

I intend to fully enjoy myself this season and invite you to join me. I will be doing a lot of cooking, crafting, book reading and game playing; among other things. Follow along and try some of these activities for yourself, this is a time we should all enjoy!

I intend on:

  • Decorating for Halloween.
  • Watching Halloween mood movies.
  • Assembling a Halloween costume.
  • Hosting a Halloween dinner party.
  • Carving pumpkins.
  • Roasting pumpkin seeds.
  • Making candy/caramel apples.
  • Cooking a dish for Thanksgiving.
  • Creating and sending Christmas cards.
  • Creating and hanging Christmas ornaments.
  • Decorating for Christmas.
  • Baking Christmas cookies/cake.
  • Watching Christmas mood movies/specials.
  • Visiting local Christmas festivals.
  • Visiting Christmas Disneyland.
  • Hosting a Christmas dinner party.
  • Baking Christmas Cookies.

There will be other activities I do, but these are the core basics I try to do every year.

Beauty and Hygiene Quick Tips

Beauty:Hygiene

BODY

  • Use an unscented pH balanced bar soap (ie. Dove or Aveeno) to prevent any harsh chemicals from damaging your skin or causing dryness or acne. This is especially important when washing your underarms, pubic region and any other sensitive areas.
  • Liquid body wash can clog pores more than a bar of soap, so if you have body acne, try cleansing with bar soap instead.
  • The best way to get rid of body acne is to use a spray with salicylic acid after drying your skin post-shower. If you have long hair, try to keep it off your back/shoulders, especially when wet and after applying product.
  • If you have Keratosis Pilaris, also known as KP (google for images), the best way to get rid of it is to exfoliate with either a sugar scrub or a gentle exfoliator in the shower, then moisturize immediately after you dry off. It’s generally a result of dry skin, so if you maintain cleanliness and moisturize you could get rid of it.
  • If you shave, buy men’s razors. You get a much closer and smoother shave since they’re made for faces instead of legs. i know they’re not cute or colorful, but you can get more razors as well as more/better blades for less money.
  • Moisturize when you get out of the shower after drying off to retain moisture and soften skin, since water and soap dry it out. It is not recommended to use baby oil or any moisturizer with artificial fragrances or dyes.
  • Please shower after you work out or sweat a lot. This will prevent body acne, bacteria buildup, yeast infections, smelling horrendous, and even staph infection (particularly if you go to the gym). You don’t have to wash your hair every time unless you’re drenched in sweat but please shower.
  • Underarms are sensitive. Try to find deodorant without aluminum or any weird preservatives to prevent rashes.
  • If you have really dry, cracking feet, try putting vaseline or a thick lotion (i use burt’s bees coconut foot creme) on your feet, put on socks, and keep them on overnight. it will feel a little weird and squishy at first, but after a few days you will definitely find it worth it!

Resources & Tutorials:

Check back soon!

FACE

  • I cannot stress enough how amazing coconut oil is. Use it as a makeup remover (especially wonderful for eye makeup!!), a moisturizer, or even as an acne treatment.
  • If you have one of those god-awful huge, painful blemishes, mix coconut oil with a dash 100% tea tree oil (dilute the tea tree oil like this or you WILL get a rash) and use it as a spot treatment. The coconut oil balances the oil on your skin, while the tea tree oil kills bacteria.
  • Be gentle when dealing with your skin, especially with pulling and tugging around your eyes.
  • Incorporate sun protection into your daily routine. Get a moisturizer with spf in it to protect your skin and use it in the mornings. This will prevent wrinkles and, more importantly, skin cancer.
  • Wash your face first thing in the morning to get rid of all the nasty excess oil you produce in your sleep.
  • Wash your face before you go to bed (after removing makeup) too.
  • After washing your face, apply a toner a treatment containing salicylic acid (if you have acne).
  • Moisturize. When you apply acidic products or wash your face without moisturizing it, your skin gets stripped of natural oils/moisture and then panics by creating an excess of oil, meaning you get greasy skin and acne. Get a moisturizer that works with your skin type.
  • If you wear makeup and want to go for a quick/easy/natural/no-makeup look, just cover up any acne with concealer, put on some blush and mascara, and then leave everything else alone. Blush is magical and will instantly make you look fresh and young and alive and pretty.
  • Don’t touch your acne. The more you touch it, the worse it gets. If you have to pop it, wash your hands first and disinfect/put acne treatment on it directly afterward. STOP trying to do anything if you see blood or if it gets too painful.
  • Clean your phone screen and glasses frames with an alcohol swab every few days to keep your face clean.
  • Please do not put lemon juice or baking soda on your face. It is extremely corrosive.
  • Please do not use sugar scrubs or exfoliators meant for your body on your face as it’s way more delicate than your body’s skin.
  • Wash/change your sheets and pillowcase(s) every two weeks MAXIMUM. Imagine how much nastiness gets on your pillowcase from hair products, oil, dead skin.
  • Drink lots of water every day. your skin needs it.
  • Above all, love your skin. be gentle to it. treat it well. it will love you back if you do.

Resources & Tutorials:

Check back soon!

HAIR

  • Try to keep shampoo to your roots and away from the ends. Shampoo pulls the natural oils and moisture out of your hair and when exposed to your tips, can cause your hair to dry out and look frizzy even after conditioner.
  • Do not condition your scalp. Conditioner on your scalp will create product/oil build up, making your hair greasy and flat. Do use conditioner on your ends; start at the nape of your neck and work toward the tips. Let the conditioner sit for a minute or two after applying, then rinse.
  • Reduce frizz by wrapping your delicate wet hair in t-shirt material instead of your towel.
  • When brushing wet hair, start at the ends and work your way up. If you put product on before you brush it, use a different brush at the scalp to reduce any product buildup/greasiness/flatness.
  • Do not go to bed with wet hair. Not only can you develop mold/bacteria in your hair if it stays wet too long, but wet hair is a lot more prone to breakage (meaning the more you toss and turn, the frizzier your hair will be).
  • Brush your hair out at the end of the day to distribute the natural oils in your scalp. This is good for creating shine, decreasing oiliness in second- or third-day roots, and growing out your hair.
  • Use heat protectants before drying/heat styling your hair!
  • Evenly distribute any products you put in by brushing them through.
  • If you have dandruff, try apple cider vinegar.
  • Do not use scalding hot water when showering, ESPECIALLY if you have colored hair. It strips color from your hair and it’s bad for your hair texture and health. Try to use warm to cool water.
  • If your hair lacks body, especially near the scalp, it could be the result of product buildup. Try using a clarifying shampoo or apple cider vinegar once every week or two depending on your hair’s thickness.
  • if your hair is still flat, try changing your part! it instantly changes your look and can immediately add volume.
  • Try to get your hair trimmed every 6 months, at the least.
  • Sea salt spray creates instant body and texture on most hair types, but is especially great if you have wavy to curly hair or short hair.
  • Coconut oil is a amazing! Use it as a hair mask, an after-shower detangler or a product in place of smoothing creme. Make sure it’s organic or else you’re not helping your hair much.

Resources & Tutorials:

Check back soon!

Happy Independence Day!

IndependenceDay

It’s Independence Day here in the United States of America, and while I’ve never really been a person who is interested in politics, this year has really made me think about what being an American is and what independence means to me.

No worries, I am not going to shovel my deep thoughts on you, let’s keep it light! What I will say that I am thankful I have been given the right to live my life the way I want to live it due to others before me standing for what they believe in. I am also thankful for those who are doing what they can now to ensure that we still have that freedom. I hope you have the freedom celebrate this holiday in your own way.

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