I realized I had turned a corner in my life when two things happened. The first- I could no longer wear four inch heels for a ten hour day. The second- I found myself getting excited about cleaning products. I think it's safe to say that my chandelier swinging days might soon be over as my most worn shoes are a pair of comfortable flats and I'm seriously considering signing up for a subscription service for my favorite household cleaning brand. *
That favorite would be Caldrea. I'm pretty sure I discovered Caldrea on one of these types of trips to Marshalls. I think I was just starting my Clean All The Things phase and the products I found in Marshalls seemed interesting and smelled amazing. I picked up some dish washing liquid and a counter spray. I came home and googled the brand and the rest as they say is history. Of course the scent I got from Marshalls was discontinued. Oh Marshalls you giveth and you taketh away. But never mind the website had tons of options to choose from. Some of my favorites are pictured above. The scents I've tried have been very light and clean. I really like the french sponges that expand when wet and are sold ten to a pack. I also like that their products are reportedly not tested on animals or made with artificial colorants. Per their website:
Yes I get that a bottle of Fabuloso works fine for most. But humor me. I write a blog dedicated to sharing things I find beautiful so it should come as no surprise that I would love a company that offers what is essentially a fragrance wardrobe for your home. Caldrea offers most of their products with the option of receiving them monthly to every 5 months. I haven't signed up for any reoccurring purchases yet because a little goes a long way. In the six months since I was turned on to them I've ordered from them twice. I got my second order just before the new year started. So while just about everyone seemed to be planning their outfit for the big count down yours truly was looking for my ladder to clean the ceiling fan in my kitchen. I woke up to a new year and a clean house just the way I like it.
Thanks for reading. Sending you all lots of 🔆💖😂🌺 for 2017!
*Chandelier swingers with cleaning product subscriptions I mean you no offense.
The weather outside for some of us is frightful. When it is cold out my food needs to be hot and savory. Enter my mother's everything but the kitchen sink soup.
Bear with me on the steps because my mother is what I would call a, "I used whatever I had in the house and made it work type of cook." You know the best kind.
Step one is to gather any and all ground provisions in the vicinity, then add to them some pumpkin, onion, garlic and thyme. If you are like me and like your food a little on the spicy side you already have some type of jerk/hot sauce/sriracha in the fridge. Bring that out as well.
I usually add some type of bean, lentil or pea to my soup. This time I had some chickpeas in my cupboard, so chickpeas it was. The chickpeas were in a can. I opened the can drained and rinsed the peas and then put them aside. You can skip this part if you like.
Step two is to peel the vegetables and chop up the garlic and onions. How much garlic, how many onions and what about the thyme? Personally I think when it comes to cooking exact measurements are for
pansies professionals, but for the sake of tradition I would say 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion, 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of jerk seasoning and 1 tablespoon of thyme. However, I won't feel any kind of way if you decide to add more or less depending on your taste.
Step 3 is to pick a pot that is going to be big enough to hold the veggies you were able to find. I used a dish that was five quarts which left me plenty of space. Lightly coat the bottom of the chosen pot with olive oil then add the chopped up veggies and the spices and stir over a low heat for about 3 minutes. The goal is to thoroughly mix everything together. While you are stirring put the kettle on with enough water to completely cover what you have in the pot so far.
Step 4 is to add the boiled water to the pot. You want to add enough water to give your veggies time to soften. Cover the pot, turn the stove to medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can monitor the progress by poking the veggies with a fork. They should feel soft but firm.
If my peas/beans are in a can I will add them at this point and turn the stove down to low for another 10 minutes for step 5.
And finally, the finished product above. 🍲 What do you like to eat when the temperature drops?
|Auckland Domain Wintergardens|
|Auckland Domain Wintergardens|
|West Haven Marina|
|View of Auckland from Mt. Victoria Reserve|
|The Spirit of New Zealand Yacht|
|Narrow Neck Beach|
|Narrow Neck Beach|
Do you see this tree giving you Sleepy Hollow realness?
Everyone I spoke to before going to Australia suggested that I try to make it to New Zealand as well. So I did. After spending some time in Sydney I took the three hour flight to Auckland, New Zealand for the second leg of my trip.
New Zealand is two hours ahead of Sydney so if you are planning to fly between the two countries you will need to factor in the time difference when planning your trip. I did not need a visa to travel to New Zealand. You can check for your visa requirements here. The New Zealand seasons are are also opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere so the weather was similar to what I had experienced in Sydney. I also found the prices of things in New Zealand to be comparable to Australia.
Auckland is nicknamed the City of Sails due to the amount of marinas and sail boats you can find in the city. I didn't do any research about the people of New Zealand so I was pleasantly surprised by how diverse it seemed to be. I observed quite the melting pot of ethnicities while there. Everyone I met was very welcoming and friendly.
I'd heard New Zealand described as magnificent, stunning and breathtaking. I can say from first hand experience that all of those descriptions are apt. This is the land where the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Last Samurai were filmed. I walked through enchanted forests, and beautiful black and gold sandy beaches with waves breaking against majestic peaks. I was blown away by how beautiful it was. The last time I got that verklempt while on vacation I was in Paros looking out at the stunning Aegean Sea and making a promise to myself that I would come back to that very spot with my mother one day. And I did. I made the same promise to myself in New Zealand. It's the kind of place you want the people you care about to experience.
So yeah I liked Auckland 😁(<- Heyyy they have emojis now!!!).
Have a great week!
|The fact that I have a blue mani is I assure you a coincidence.|
According to their website Kiehl's has been around since 1851. I like that their products are usually reasonably priced and available in multiple locations. I have combination skin prone to cystic acne that tends to be oily when I'm having a flare up. Whenever I feel a breakout coming on I turn to Kiehl's Blue Herbal Facial Skin Care. If I catch it early enough the wash and the toner help minimize the period of time the breakout lasts.
The wash contains 1.5% salicylic acid which I suspect is what does the trick. The toner lists castor oil, witch hazel and aloe as some of the ingredients. The spot treatment also has 1.5% salicylic acid.
Once my skin has calmed down I usually discontinue using the toner as it can be a bit drying for me with prolonged use. The Blue Herbal line is described as non drying but I think it would be better suited for those with oily or at least combination skin.
If you've tried anything from Kiehl's what are some of your faves?
|Une Nuit Chez Diptyque Scented Candle Trio Gift Set(3 x 2.4oz candles/$100)|
|Act 1- Un Encens Etoilé(Sparkling Incense)|
|Act 2- Épices et Délices Candle(Delicious spices)|
|Act 3- Le Roi Sapin Candle (The festive fir tree)|
I love a good candle, especially during the holidays. This year Diptyqye's holiday collection is based on the tale of Henri. Henri is a seller of this and that who gets snowed in one night and has to stay at the Paris shop where he works. As he waits out the storm he is visited by a candle fairy that introduces him to three special candles. You the viewer experience Henri's magical night as a mini three act play.
The first act is the candle Un Encens Etoilé(Sparkling Incense) described as:
Fairies caroling, sparkling incense and crystalline elegance. A burst of dazzling elemi and spicy cloves mingle with mysterious swirls of incense and sweet vanilla. source
The second act is the candle Épices et Délices Candle(Delicious spices) described as:
An exclusive treat, a unique recipe of delicious spices. Warm gingerbread notes mingle with tasty honey laced in hints of star anise. source
The third act is the candle Le Roi Sapin Candle (The festive fir tree) described as:
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches… The incredible smell of a lush, pine-laden forest steeped in the woody tones of resin, cedar and patchouli. source
All of the candles smell very nice on their own but I love burning all three together. Combined the trio smell divine as the notes of pine, ginger and cloves meld into a warm and soothing scent perfect the holidays.
Since I discovered Diptyque I've been impressed by the care and thought they put into their holiday collections. I found this year's story even more endearing when I learned that Henri is an actual Diptyque employee. According to the Diptyque rep I spoke with Henri started with the original store on 34 Boulevard Saint-German in Paris when they sold fabrics, wall paper and other beautiful things picked up during the founders travels. You know this and thats. And he's still there.
You can check out Henri and the enchanting night that inspired this year's collection here.
Have a great week!
Have a great week!
The first day I went to the Royal Botanical Garden in Sydney I thought I would stroll around a bit and then head back to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which is within walking distance to catch their Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Exhibit. I walked through the garden gates and within minutes I was enveloped by the most amazing fragrance. The rest as they say is history. Hours and I mean hours later after the tired garden employee in the SUV with the streaming led sign announcing the park was closed kept circling me at a very polite distance I finally left. And then I returned the next day.
I blame it all on the Wisteria (second picture above) which I learned from my guided garden tour was what I smelled on that first day. I have never smelled anything so beautifully fragrant in my life and I have no words to describe the scent. I can tell you walking the 100 or so feet where the Wisteria flowers lined a path I felt as if the pleasure sensors in my brain had been triggered flooding me with a sense of deep calm. I felt like I could stand there forever. And I did stand there a long time but then it got weird because other people kept passing by wanting to take their own pictures and I was just in the way so I moved on.
The Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney is 74 acres. The garden has restaurants, free guided tours, lovely walking paths, and many areas where you can sit and relax and enjoy your surroundings. It was one of the highlights of my trip to Sydney and well worth a visit if you are in the area. Just remember the gates close at 8pm. You can find out more about the garden here.
I found this nice article about the most pleasant smelling flowers in the world here and Wisteria made the list. What fragrant flowers do you guys love?