What I Love: Moms

My mom, specifically.  Moms are the best, aren’t they?  I know that yesterday was Mothers’ Day, but I was busy cooking and celebrating the moms in my life and didn’t have a chance to write.  Plus, telling your mom how wonderful she is doesn’t have to wait until Mother’s Day, right?

Oh, and in case you’ve been on the edge of your seat wondering:

I made the strawberry cupcakes.  And they were delicious.  Very sponge-cakey and pleasantly not-too sweet.  Yum.  Just right for a post-breakfast treat.

So anyhow, back to the moms.  In addition to my favorite mom – mine – I realized that I’m surrounded by and acquainted with so many wonderful moms.  My awesome sister, for example.

Now if my mom or my sister had blogs, I’d refer you to their sites, but since they’re two of the last four people in the world without blogs, I’ll refer you to some of my other favorite moms on the Internet.  Some of them I know, some I wish I knew, some I feel like I’ve known for years.  Enjoy, and happy day-after-Mothers’ Day to all!

Amanda of Me, My Dogs, My Life : funny lady extraordinaire and rockin’ mom to Jane

Karen of Simply June : crafty, creative, and mom to Kolya

Heather of Beauty that Moves : you remember Heather – kind, creative soul and mom to Emily

Anna Maria Horner : gorgeous, creative mom to five kids with one on the way any minute now

Amy of Amalah : hilarious, smart and funny mom to Noah and Ezra

Beautiful Stephanie of Nie Nie Dialogues : mom of four, healing and recovering after a tragic plane crash last fall

Here equally lovely sister Courtney of CJane Enjoy It : mom to “The Chief” and all-around fun, insightful lady

Amanda of SouleMama : crafty, sweet mom of four from Portland, Maine

Amy of Angry Chicken : creative, crazy mom of three who shares my insane need to make odd things like her own underwear and homemade butter (although not at the same time)

And of course you can’t forget the mom-queens of the Internet, Heather of Dooce and Ree of The Pioneer Woman

Now it’s your turn.  Tell me about your favorite moms – actual and virtual.  Who did I forget?

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What I Love: Brett Dennen

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If ever there was a perfect example of the look of someone not meshing with the sound of their voice, Brett Dennen would be it.  King of It.  My awesome music-loving friend Megan introduced me to Brett Dennen with one of her famous mix CDs (and then moved far, far away to Philadelphia, leaving me new music-less.  But that’s a different story for a different time…) and I was immediately drawn in to this strange, sweet, soulful voice that almost sort of reminded me of Ella Fitzgerald.  Here, listen to this and tell me you don’t feel the same.

After listening to and loving the few songs that Megan had given me, I found more on iTunes and downloaded everything.  I now have a playlist called “Brett” with nothing but his music because it just makes me happy.  After having a lousy day last week, I was driving in my car, listening to Brett sing San Francisco and I was singing along at the top of my lungs.  The lyrics go “…I’m gonna plant a little garden / paint my bathroom blue…” and for some reason, at that point I laughed out loud.  I laughed at myself, at me feeling sorry for myself, at painting my bathroom blue, I just laughed.  Now whenever I hear that lyric, it makes me smile.

I found, through Brett’s website brettdennen.net, that he was on Twitter, so now I follow him and now I know where he’s playing, what he’s up to, and what he’s cooking.  I know this sounds strange, but it’s so charming to get a recipe for butternut squash soup from a musician via Twitter.

I also found that Brett is playing at a free Life Is Good Festival in Boston (along with the Blind Boys of Alabama!!) on June 20.  I’m afraid of crowds. And cities. And going to crowded cities, so I won’t be going, but I totally think that my friend Karen should go and report back to me on how cool it was.

But anyhow, Brett Dennen: awesome music, infectious beats, spine-tingly voice, dog-lover, great all-around human being.  Go now and buy his music, paint your bathroom blue, and make yourself happy, too.

(Thank you to AmieSt for the use of the photo.)

What I Love: Salonpas

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I’ve called these my “Magic Patches” and they really are.  I’m not one to believe in topical remedies or quick-fix gimmicks – as my mom once told me, you wouldn’t pour a soda on your neck if you were thirsty – but no matter what my common sense or my doctor tells me, these patches work for me.

Salonpas are tingly mentholated patches used for muscle pain relief, similar to Tiger Balm or Icy Hot rub, but with the added convenience of stick-it-on-and-go.  They come in small 1.5 x 3-inch self-adhesive patches that you stick directly on the site of your pain.

I was first introduced to Salonpas at my old job by my Secret Santa.  That year’s Secret Santa and I both had chronic low back pain and she gave the patches to me as a gift. I was skeptical, but in a moment of desperation I tried them out and have been a fan ever since. They were the best gift ever. I swear.

Saturday night, the suspected dislocated rib I mentioned earlier was hurting so badly that I couldn’t sleep.  There was pain in my shoulder, in my chest, and thanks to the raking I did in the yard on Saturday, in my forearm and wrist.  Frustrated and sore,  I got out of bed and, in the dark, stuck Salonpas patches everywhere it hurt.  I climbed back in bed covered with six patches, reeking of minty menthol, but happy.  The tingly heat soothed my aches and I was finally able to sleep.  I woke up in the morning, looked in the mirror and thought, “this is gonna hurt”.  Just a warning – they stick well.  Be prepared for a slight waxing if you happen to be hairy where you put the patch – like, say, your forearm.  They tear off like a big band aid and the relief they offer is worth any hair-yanking when they come off.

So anyhow, 300 words to tell you how much I love menthol patches. That’s almost as bad as my love letter to the OMOP.  Don’t you wish you could hang out with me?  My life is so wild and exciting.

Salonpas can be found at most drug stores and only cost about $4 for a box of 40.  A serious deal, if you ask me.  Oh, one more tip – they dry out so keep the unused patches sealed in a plastic bag. Now go, get minty, and feel the releif.

What I Love: Method OMOP

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photo courtesy of Lil Moxey on Flickr (because I’m too lazy to take one)

I happened to be looking for something entirely unrelated to floor cleaning at the grocery store the other day when a big CLEARANCE!! sign caught my eye and twisted my arm and forced me to leave the store with my new favorite household helper: The Method OMOP.

Our entire house is covered in wood laminate flooring.  1,400 square feet of smooth unforgiving floor, no rugs in sight, and I don’t own a vacuum.  Luckily Molly doesn’t shed, but our house is surrounded by mud and wood chips and between Luke’s boots and the shaggy pup, the floor is always covered with some sort of grit.  I’ve tried almost every mop device out there trying to find the perfect one.

I have a Swiffer… meh.  It’s OK, but the wet cloths are useless and I have to use an entire box of dry cloths to clean the whole house.  I use it occasionally to dust under the couch and the places that the broom won’t reach, but I prefer using the dry cloths alone to dust the furniture, rather than using them on the floor. My biggest complaint is that after going over the floor with the Swiffer, I still need the dust pan to pick up all the dirt I’ve been pushing around.

I have an Orange Glo Micro Fiber Mop with the removable, washable pads that I like a lot, but I’ve gone through two and am currently using one with a broken handle.  Perhaps I’m an aggressive mopper, I don’t know, but I seem to bend and break the handles.

I borrowed the Shark Steam Mop from my sister and tried it on my filthy floors.  It was OK.  It was good for tough stains, like the worn in grease around the stove, but the cord was annoying and the floor was clean, but streaky afterwards.  My biceps were screaming after cleaning the house, it’s not the easiest to push around, and I’m not sure it’s worth the $80 price tag.

Enter the OMOP:  I love it.  First off, as with all Method products, the packaging!  I love the packaging.  The OMOP came in recycleable bamboo packaging and featured corn-based dry duster clohs that you can toss in your compost pile.  I don’t have a compost pile yet, and even if I did it would be covered in 9-inches of snow at the moment, but I love the idea that they’re completely biodegradable.  The handle is curved and snaps together snugly, the head pivots easily and all in all it’s easy to use well-designed, and pretty, as far as mops go.

So now for the real test… I dry mopped the whole house – did I mention that the dry dusting coths are ginormous?  They’re much bigger than Swiffer cloths, which means that one goes a loong way.  I was pleasantly surprised that the dry cloth picked up most, if not all of the grit on the floor.  I did need the dust pan for some of the big chunks of stuff, but I really don’t expect any dry cloth to pick up the pebbles and sticks that come in with Molly and Luke.  It fit everywhere and swiveled much easier than the Swiffer and was a million times more user-friendly than the Orange Glo mop.

Tonight I tried wet mopping and that sealed the deal.  I’m tossing my broken Orange Glo mop and giving away my Swiffer.  The wet-mopping was perfect – clean floor, no streaks, dried quickly, no complaints.  Having one mop for the dry dust-mopping and the wet-mopping greatly pleases the storage freak that I am who hates hates hates to have multiple tools cluttering up the closet.  Now in the closet I have only one broom and one mop, and best of all, the washable cloths from the Orange Glo mop fit on the OMOP – bonus!

So there you are 640 words dedicated to my love of a mop, but seriously, it’s a great mop.  And get up and go now to Waldbaum’s Super Foodmart to get one at 50% off while they last.  The wood floor kit and one box of dry dusters both rang up for less than $20.  A serious deal.

What I Love: Feeling Better

I’m not entirely there yet, but I’m making progress.  And what’s helping is these little packets of Emergen-C.  Have you tried Emergen-C?  I used to add drops of an echinacea tincture to orange juice and suck on vitamin C drops whenever I started to feel sick, but that reqired a lot of effort, and various bottles and products.  I tried Airborne, I thought it worked well, but I would hesitate taking it because I didn’t like that salty taste it left in my mouth.  I found Emergen-C at the local health food store and was intrigued.  Little packets of magic vitamin dust that you dissolve in a bit of water and take several times a day to fight off colds.  It was worth a try, and I really love it.  It comes in several flavors, this one is tangerine, but pink grapefruit is my favorite.  Our local health food store carries the entire line, but Stop & Shop recently started to carry it for $5 less a box, but only in tangerine and cherry.  I’m willing to pass up pink grapefruit in favor of saving $5.  So before you catch another strain of whatever this bug is that’s going around, go out and get yourself a box of Emergen-C and stay healthy!

What I Love: Weddings

Sorry, but between worrying about taking pictures for the wedding, then taking pictures all day at the wedding, then spending the next two days sifting through the photos of the wedding, all I have in my brain these days is wedding.  Beautiful wedding.  Which reminds me how much I love weddings.

I really think it’s a crime that I was 24 and broke and without the Internet when I got married.  Do you realize how much more AWESOME my wedding could have been if I was planning it now?  I would blow your mind with my wedding-creativity, that’s all I can say.  On a similar note, it is equally as criminal that I was 24 and broke and without Internet when I was Matron of Honor at my sister’s wedding.  I was too young and my sans-Internet world was too narrow.  I was a sucky MOH.  I’d like to do it all over again.  Maybe I’ll re-bachellorate my sister and myself and we’ll both get married again.  I think I like the sound of that.

If you like weddings, too, please feel free to peruse the photos from Dave and Sharon’s Gorgeous Valentine’s Day Wedding Full of Beautiful People.  I still have about 100 more photos to upload so check back for more pictures soon.

What I Love : Terra Tints

Come on now, who doesn’t love a theme?  Especially lately, when I’m grumpy and in need of sunshine and something to write about; a new theme is just what I need.  Today I’m launching “What I Love” a place to show off some things I enjoy and a good way to post something positive on days like today when… well you really don’t want to hear it.

So, what do I love?  I love Terra Tints.

I have a little love/hate relationship with lipstick.  I am constantly buying new lipsticks, lip glosses, lip potions and whatever else is sold for the lips and I am almost never happy.  My lipstick needs are simple: 1.) it needs to be lightly tinted, but not too lightly tinted.  I want it to make a subtle difference, but not scream HI HERE ARE MY LIPS. 2.) I need to be able to apply it without looking, for instance, while driving, without worrying that I’ll look like I’m on a crazy manic spree with lipstick everywhere but where it should be. 3.) it needs to not dry out my lips. 4.) it needs to not cost more than a tank of gas in my car.  Because I will lose it at some point, or put it in the wash by accident and I don’t want to be devastated by losing a $30 tube of lipstick.

Enter, Terra Tints by Alba.  Less than $6, sold at most grocery stores, easy to apply, gives off a lovely minty moisturizing tingle, and lightly tinted in six shades of pretty.  I have Blaze, Bloom, and Sienna and I alternate daily, trying to decide which I like best.  I like them all the best.  Yay Terra Tints.