Monday, July 25, 2011

Blog Summer Event July 25th~!


I am officially over a bad summer cold and I am relieved it's over.  I passed the torch to to whom ever is now getting sick and will need to recoup' my boyfriend seems to be sneezing a lot.  To get rid of the cold I took extra vitamin C, drank lots of hot tea and lemon drinks with unpasteurized honey, and added extra lemon to everything, ate some garlic and stayed warm.  Guess what? I pulled through~!

It's always good to take care of ourselves.  So let's get started to our summer events, as I know you have been waiting all week.

D.I.Y. Beauty

This week is all about skin wounds and psoriasis!  I have some good information for sufferers, or those who have the occasional flare-ups of various skin ailments.  Let's start with a personal experience of mine.

Recently, I had to hit the deck on my balcony to avoid possible lightning that was streaking across the sky in my direction.  I not only felt my hair rise at the back of my neck, I also felt a strange electric feeling all around me in the air and it was a warning to me.   So needless to say, I flew down fast as I could when hitting the deck. You know those moments when you know you have to move insanely quickly- kind of a little bit like an action movie in your real life.  All while trying to capture the most perfect lightening strike picture on camera.

It really wasn't smart. I did end up with a wound from wiping out on the balcony carpet (luckily there is a 70's brown striped outdoor rug covering the entire concrete pad that is the balcony.  Otherwise I would have been biting concrete.  So it was really a bad rug burn style of wound with a bad gouge on the side of my hand. A total OUCH!

Here's what I did to help it heal up.  I cleaned it and it looked really bad as it healed, so I kept it clean and used polysporin to heal it and it worked.  Usually I might not use polysporin but I did try to prevent a huge scar, so I felt it needed it and after it started to look bad I put a small amount on.  It did heal it nicely compared to what I thought the end results would be, since it looked so nasty along the way.  I always use my organic grown Aloe Vera gel I froze in my deep freeze.  I harvested it from my dying Aloe plant because my cat dumped over the pot, then the plant's health turned for the worst afterwards.

Anyways, Shea Butter products and some other powerful healing lotions to help speed up the process.  One was actually from the Amber Romance Line from Victoria's Secret and despite a bit of a perfume smell it has, the Ultra-Softening ingredients in it like Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Shea and Olive oils helped a lot.  Buttery body butters or lotions do seem to moisturize, soothe, condition and protect the skin.  It is totally probably bad for the skin though all while smelling awesome!  I did love this smell so I used it up fairly fast.

Just below that wound there was a flare up of psoriasis that had started before I wounded myself.  I was finding it hard to penetrate the psoriasis patch with any type of lotion,and it was itching
and flaring.   I have not had psoriasis before so I did not buy psoriasis cream. I recently seen Kim Kardashian has psoriasis which she inherited genetically from her mother.  Kim did not have psoriasis before either, and it can appear in later years or get worse as you get older.

I resorted  back to more Shea Butter formulas and it took away the itch to this psoriasis patch as well as the rough scaly look to it.  I also have SPA Resources Hawaiian Ginger Line Body Butter and I use the lotion in the pump bottle too.  That one mentions no Shea Butter, but in the Body Butter it does contain Shea Butter, Aloe, Jojoba Oil, Horsetail Extract, Seaweed, White Tea Leaf & Grape seed.  I had to use this when I thought my patch problem was coming back. Out of those ingredients in the formulation it's not clear which one worked the most effectively.

It's also not good to scratch your psoriasis which only makes it worse.  If you see dry skin peeling and flaking or it's itchy don't do it.   I have been simply exfoliating gently on my patch with Eshe's Body Exfoliant in order to deflake the area.  It is a refined formulation meaning it has small scrubbers in it with Green Tea and Chamomile to soothe and bring soft skin to the surface.  It's also infused with
Vitamin C and Aloe Vera and is hypoallergenic and irritant free.  I recommend this scrub and it's hard to find out if they have a website but you can pick up Eshe products at Fabutan Tanning locations.  I would recommend making your own natural exfoliant in any case.

Here's a great link (it does load slow, at least on my computer) to all kinds of help with psoriasis,
and who knew Epsom salts baths are listed as a really big help and I do this quite often for sore muscles and in general a relaxing bath.  So be sure to check this out if you need some help with this condition:
Home Remedies for Psoriasis

It's best to find out why the psoriasis is happening if it doesn't run in your family.  It could be due to stress or an environmental factor, while it's not a curable condition but apparently it can be controlled to a degree.

Write down  or pay attention to what you are doing differently and or if there is are any aggravating chemicals or things around.   If you have sensitive skin it could be just that it's changing.  We can adapt by changing everything from laundry or hand soaps we are using to changing the type of fibres our clothes are made up of.  I also like to have baths and skip any perfume bubble baths, but instead add baking soda or epsom salts which soothes the skin.

100% cotton or breathable clothes are good and organic cotton products even better.  Perhaps, a soft organic hemp clothing line would work to help to keep from being itchy.  And finally, the psoriasis creams that you buy in the store are made from synthetic ingredients quite often and can actually aggravate some peoples skin.  Here's a D.I.Y. recipe to make your own NATURAL psoriasis cream, that I will also be making:
How to Make Homemade Psoriasis Cream

Hope this helps~!

Summer Recipe of the Week

I am making sure I am eating right and lots of good food with nutritious values to recoup from a summer's cold.  Vegetables come to mind and are always easy to eat in the summer with all the abundant and fresh product.  In fact, it's best to eat or drink as much as possible.

I recommend this delicious medley of summer grilled veggies!

Avocado & Corn Salad

Per Serving (1/8 of the Recipe): 180 calories, 3 grams protein,
9 grams of total fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 0 milligrams
of cholesterol, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams fibre, 5 grams
of sugars, 330 milligrams of sodium

Shopping List:

6 cobs of corn, husked
1 1/4 cups (310 ml) finely diced red onion
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 small red or green chili, finely diced (approx. 1 tablespoon/ 15 ml)
3 large avocados, medium diced
1/4 cup (60 ml) Salsa Verde
1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped fresh cilantro

Really Easy,  heat the barbecue to high.  Grill the corn until lightly charred, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Cool, then slice the kernels from the cob and into a bowl.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.

There are many variation to this recipe, and I actually make a version with more tomatoes and colorful peppers too, all chopped and tasty, so use your imagination but you will get better eating this
salad and it's great for your waistline!

Better Body Time

How do you excercise when you are sick? I cannot do it very well without energy and if you don't sweat out a cold a bit you won't find energy.  My secret is I dance, dance, dance. Put on a turtleneck and groove to your favorite beats.  The very fact you are moving even in small ways will get you sweating out all the toxins from being ill.

While you may have laughed this is literally what I did very carefully and slowly, if you are me.
Almost anyone can do this, of any fitness level.  You can start at the right level for your body type and sway or move your legs.

Even holding your arms up over your chest for over 5 minutes can be difficult, so don't do that if you are not up to it.  Try doing some dances where your arms must come up. And if you keep your figure tightened up as you move will also help to feel more of a work out.

I make sure I have a fan near by and water of course.  In case you are coughing from the cold and a bit out of air, use both.  I also recommend having a sweat towel perhaps something you will be using a lot, if you are going to sweat to the oldies.  Keep cool while you work out and NEVER over do it.

There are dance steps called Zumba shown on You Tube, you could implement these steps into your routine if you feel comfortable with them.    Here's a look at how easy it really is:

If the last one isn't for you, and it still looks a bit too physical them moving from side to side works too.  I suggest throwing some arm exercises in there and lift your knees up a bit here and there.  You can put on light ankle weights or hand weights such as the velcro ones that wrap around or fit like a glove.  Only do this if you have no previous injuries and always consult your doctor first.  Do this as long as you can. I do it for 15- 20 minutes and then do some cool down dancing.

Don't forget to stretch lightly at then end.  Alternatively, some beginner's yoga poses might also help.  You will feel like you at least did something...... just move a bit from the couch potato position.
Let me know if this helps anyone to feel better about themselves or give any added motivation!

Fresh Summer Drinks

Finally, the best part of this week's post.  A nice drink which may not be a part of getting better but it makes us feel better.  I feel like rum does the trick at times but this drink may taste more of summertime!

Cava Sangria

Shopping List:

1/2 ounce amaretto
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce apricot brandy or another fruit brandy
Cava (a sparkling wine made in Spain)
Fresh Fruit like apples or oranges

Combine amaretto, Cointreau, and brandy in a glass, then fill with Cava.  Add two or three slices of fresh fruit like oranges or apples.  Sip in summer!
-created by Azafran in NYC.

Bonus Topic: Garden Update

I have done a good job on keeping those little aphids at bay previously, but they are on a revenge mission now.  I finally had eradicated them with the insecticide treatment called Schultz Houseplant & Indoor Garden Insecticide  that is a ready-to-use solution derived from pyrethrin daisy and can be used up to one day before harvesting.

I know it's for the "indoor" garden, however, I am trying not to use this product at all if it's not necessary.  So, it's not like I haven't had this same aphid infestation or these aphids trying to take over all my houseplants and all the vegetable plants.  My question is why are they so bad the last little while?

Does anyone know fro this year, because I did not have this gardening problem last year or the year before? That I remember, and I had separate garden problems but not this one, such as some mold or fungus on my tomato plants.

I had tried organic gardening recommendations, but with little results and if I had let these bugs take over, I would have wasted my initial investment into the garden. You know things like seeds, pots, soils, plants, etc. etc.  These things all cost money and it can become a factor to your gardening hobby fund, if there are not any results yielded.  Then I have to buy my vegetables more than harvest my own.

Well, that's my rant and if anyone knows about these super breeds of aphids, I would love another organic tip on how to deal with them.  I will try to update you on this, perhaps in a couple years so I can write about more experiences along the way with gardening.

Bonus Topic: Book Review

I actually have been partially finishing my summer book reads, and ended up renewing all my books due to the lack of time to read them all.  The one I am really working on reading now is;
the 2nd Edition of Entrepreneur Magazine's Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, which describes AdWords and what they are, how to use them.  Bascially the cover says, "How to Access 100 Million People in 10 Minutes" by Perry Marshall and Bryan Todd.
 Does that seem like a long title?

Well, it's not a long book, but it does detail the AdWord world so it has been taking me a while to read it, in between other obligations of course.  I find myself halfway through with less than a week to return it. to the library.

So, I can review what I have read, and this book it really interesting to me for the tips and tricks to marketing in general that I learned.  The scheme of how to arrange your AdWords, advertisements and how to save money is really covered in this book.

This is key to saving yourself from common mistakes that even the largest companies accidentally make in this type of advertising.  It costs them a lot of money so saving myself from making these mistakes is my mission.

Really, this is the 2nd Edition so it is just more in depth than the first edition.  I recommend this book, to those who are looking to find out about AdWords or even if you think you are a pro at Adwords. If you want to learn how to drive traffic (people clicking on your ad and buying from your store or site) then this is definitely for you.

I have yet to use what I have read from theory to action, but the authors do recommend not wasting time as you read this book, to take the steps right away and see results in 24 hours.  Google sends $100 credits in the mail at different times in the year, and it can be used toward your own AdWord campaigns.  There are additional savings listed in the book, just for reading this book, so it pays to read it if you are already interested in this topic.

It's already Monday tomorrow and then the long weekend is coming up so I will be away camping. For the next blog post,  it may be delayed and all the summer events posts are just about finished.
There maybe an Internet connection where I am camping at which is Ol' McDonald's Campground, but I would rather just get into nature and take pictures and post for you later.  Have a good week!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blog Summer Event July 18th~!

I am feeling a bit lousy tonight but here are the last couple posts of "Summer Events" anyways. It is the last day of the 2011 Stampede, "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth"- actually I  don't have the pictures I needed that my friend had from Stampede to add anymore to my blog, so I guess I can post it when I get it.

D.I.Y. Beauty

Summer Detox

Since, I caught a cold, and I have been feeling pretty lazy and achy from it, I thought a summer do-it-yourself detox drink would be beneficial.  Detoxing our bodies helps to get rid of toxins and unwanted waste.  After this you may feel more healthy and it can help your skin not to look as dull.  Here it is:  Honey & Lemon Detox

I had actually done a green tea facial mask too, so it felt like a mini spa day of detox. It all helped me to feel better when sick.  Anyways, you can use a store bought green tea mask- but why- when there are a lot of "other" ingredients in those and when you probably have the ingredients on hand to make it yourself!

Michelle Phan  shows you how to make a refreshing green tea & avocado facial mask recipe!  Come back after :)

Summer Recipe of the Week 

Salad Season is packed with Protein and No Cholesterol!  I found it in Sobey's calendar cookbook:
Grilled Orange with Quinoa & Almond Salad

Grilled Oranges with Quinoa & Almond Salad

Preparation Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes, Serves: 4 Per Serving (1/4 of the recipe): 180 calories,7 grams of protein, 4.5 grams total fat (0.4 gram saturated fat), 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 28 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fibre, 6 grams sugars, 170 milligram sodium

Shopping List:

1 cup(250 ml) quinoa
1 cup (250 ml) of water
1 cup (250 ml) of Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 navel oranges, preferably organic
1 tbsp. (15 ml) chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cumin
1/4 cup (60 ml) sliced Natural Almonds, lightly toasted
and chopped
8 finely chopped Organic Mint Leaves

Heat Barbecue to high.  Rinse 1 cup (250 ml) quinoa and cook according to package directions using 1 cup (250 ml) water and chicken broth, preferably low sodium chicken broth.

Peel 1 navel orange, then slice it crosswise into 1/2 inch (1 cm.)  rounds.  Cut another unpeeled navel orange in half crosswise.  Grill all oranges just until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side.  In a large bowl, combine quinoa, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) finely chopped red onion, 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cumin and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of sliced natural almonds, that you lightly toast and coarsely chop.

Squeeze juice from the orange halves over the salad and add 8 finely chopped fresh
organic mint leaves.   Mix well.  Place grilled orange rounds on top of salad.

Serve warm or at room temperature and Bon appetite!

Better Body Time

Walk Your Way There~!

A good thing to do to get better body results is go for walks.  I often start doing more of this in the spring and summer, and it helps me to maintain energy and feel better.  I can do more vigorous walks or jogs once I have went for a couple opening walks of the season.  The many benefits of walking are things like reducing cancers and all diseases.  Then the dramatic physical and health benefits in as little as 6 weeks is awesome too! Start walking boots. :)

The benefits of walking are discussed here on and there is lots of information out there.  I really wanted to recommend this as part of your exercise routine, as it's enjoyable and fun too!Check it out:

Health Benefits of Walking

Fresh Summer Drinks

Neo Citron is making me feel better too but this drink might be refreshing right about now.  I hope this one hits the spot for me later this summer when I can enjoy it!

Cherry Punch

Shopping List:

1 ounce cherry vodka
1 ounce triple sec
Splash of Rose's
Splash of Cranberry Juice
Garnish; A fresh cherry

Shake together all the ingredients but cranberry juice with ice.  Pour into glass and top with cranberry
juice.  Garnish with cherry.
-Created by: Brooke Isaacson, Club ONE, Baltimore.

Bonus Topic: Pet Corner Talk

Does your pet have bad breath and find it's worse in the summer when it's hot.  Well here's a little summer refreshing product to help them with that!  Minty mouths for all our pets!

First, I make my cat organic pet toothpaste although it's hard to get him to like brushing teeth time.  I steep organic mint leaves with hot boiled water in a tea pot.  Then I did literally eyeball all of the amounts quite honestly, but it turns out after a couple tweaks to the mix.  Sometimes, it may be too minty but it's all natural and organic, and I feel the minty leaves can do no harm and if nothing else is providing the cat with nutrients and greens to eat.

After it's cooled down, I put the leaves and the green mint water juice in a airtight container and I put
this in the fridge to keep or even freeze in smaller individual portions.  Then you can thaw, as you require.   I use this to brush the front and back of Kiki's teeth with a sterile toothbrush, and it doesn't matter if he gets some greens in his mouth too.  I didn't ever add baking soda yet.  This might scare him with the taste but I am not sure.

Here's another version with baking soda:
Natural Homemade Cat Toothpaste

The product that helps out for my cat is the oral hygiene solution called "Slurp 'N' Fresh".  It came in a 250 ml ( 8 fl.ounce) plastic bottle at Wal-Mart for around $7 or $8 dollars, not over $10.  Anyways, it helps eliminate bad breath and reduces plaque and tartar build-up in a pets mouth.  I just follow the instructions of adding it to fresh water in my cat's bowl.  1 Capful to every 700 ml (24 fl. oz.) is recommended.  Kiki did have some bad teeth anyways due to he was old and I never let me brush his teeth well. If I did try to get in his mouth with the toothbrush he would either claw me or scramble to get away if he seen it, or his teeth bled a couple times just from starting to brush.  It had me worried and after he had a bout of diabetes which we sent into remission, he now has to eat wet food

"Slurp'N'Fresh" is formulated to also protect your pet's natural oral environment and is part of a regular oral care regime for your pets. It is prescribed by veterinarians.  Also, I use  pet teeth wipes on Kiki, which were at Wal-Mart.

Last are the "Dentabites" complete oral care treats that I feed  him.  These are made by Whiskas brand and they help remove plaque and tartar build up as well.  They also contain Chlorophyll.  He loves those but I cannot give him too many, and he always wants more of them.  A pack of the Tasty Chicken Flavour Dentabites for about $1.50 when they go on sale is a good price.

In combination, all these products improve Kiki's oral health and he always loved his catnip as well.
I suggest if you cannot manage to keep up on your cat's teeth brushing and his oral health is poor, then there are also supplements out there such as "Slurp'N'Fresh" or other supplements and gels you  can look up.  A lot can be purchased at your local pet supply stores.

Bonus Topic: Movie Review

I recently watched the movie "Unstoppable".  It starred Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson and more great cast.  I thought it was suspenseful as Denzel and his partner have to try to stop a rogue train that got away.  It is carrying dangerous and hazardous chemical tankersIt had a lot of action and great character sketches.  I like it and thought it was very touching, I liked it a lot actually.  I give this movie a 8 or 9 out of 10! Great movie to watch on a long summer's night.

Well folks, I hate to say but there are no extra, extra bonus topics as I need some rest.  If anyone else is sick with a cold right now, get well soon! Have a great week!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Calgary Stampede Friday Update~!


I went to the Stampede for basically free yesterday and got to enjoy the Midway rides with an All-Day pass.  Exhibits down at the grounds were also good. I ate lunch for free too courtesy of  my friends and we actually went off the grounds and went to Wendy's to fill up.

Then I figured we could sample the Stampede treats as a snack later on.  We actually didn't get too
much just some candy in the evening and a couple other deep fried foods.  I was really feeling not well from the rides as we went on. Maybe it was the free ice cream I got someplace.

So, I must say though I don't love the rides anymore and seemed I am finding them too scary and they make me nauseated.  This year, I literally had anxiety and fear, perhaps partial whip lash from some of the rides.  I even almost got sick after riding the "The Skyscraper". 

I had the shakes from the "The Mega Drop" and I will never ever ride "The Fireball" again! I am just grateful when the rides are over but my friends persisted and wanted me to go with them on more and more rides, until I suggested we go on the scariest ride to get it out of the way.  I knew it would be coming, so down with the"Mega Drop". 10 seconds of me screaming.  It goes so fast but is the scariest that I ever have been on.  I still like the Ferris wheel which I suggested to go on.  It is more my style and is nice to take in the night's fireworks.  It was perfect timing! 

I will try to post a video sometime but that is the last time I take any rides with my friends at the Stampede.  So, I also got a chance to look at this years vendor and merchant booths at the Round-Up Centre.  There were many, many interesting booths and things to buy.  I didn't spend anything as I just didn't see anything that caught my eye.  Plus everything was twice as expensive than if in a regular store so I just peeped my eyes on ideas and neat innovations.

So, overall it was a nice day with perfect weather.  I didn't even use a lot of sunblock and took to the shade if I could to avoid full sunshine all day.  Here's a sneak peek of some pictures!

Have a nice week!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blog Summer Event July 11th~!

How's your summer going so far?  I hope you are having some fun in the sun.
I can say it's been a slow start for fun for me this year.  School is out for the summer, but the rest of us have to work but when can I get some relaxation in while the good weather lasts?
Take some time out for yourself.

D.I.Y. Beauty

Today's D.I.Y. Beauty will be something you can make to treat those pesky mosquito bites during Stampede or camping!!  After all, camping beauty tips and tricks are good too!

It's important to learn how to treat a mosquito bite and then there are steps to reduce itching that is a lifesaver, so be sure to watch this tutorial:


Mix baking soda and vinegar to make a thick paste and then apply the paste to the bite.  The paste will neutralize the acid in the venom, and give you relief from itching!   When the paste dries out, it will make a barrier that protects the skin, over the sting, allowing the bite to heal more quickly.  Wrapping the area in gauze is recommended, because the paste is going to flake off as it dries, but if not at least it shouldn't be itching.  Perhaps, you could try making a paste of water instead of vinegar and baking soda together for paste for people with sensitive skin such as kids.  It might avoid a stinging feeling as well.

I could have really used this at our July 1st (Canada Day) BBQ, as I got bit a lot and it was out of this world as in the amount of mosquitoes was insane.  Well, hopefully there is not a next bite, but if there is you now know what to do all naturally!

Summer Recipe of the Week!: Grill It!

Grilled Scallops with Summer Compote
Preparation Time: 35 minutes and that includes
marinating time Total time: 40 minutes Serves: 8
Per Serving (1/8 of the recipe): 190 calories,
14 grams protein, 11 grams of total fat (1.5 gram
saturated fat), 20 milligrams cholesterol, 10 grams
carbohydrates, 2 grams fibre, 3 grams sugars,  520 milligrams sodium

Shopping List:

2 packages of wild Atlantic or other scallops, (800 grams),
  thawed and patted dry
1/3 cup (75 ml) sun dried tomato pesto
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 cups (1litre) grape tomatoes, quartered
2 cups (500 ml) finely diced, peeled English cucumber
2 cups (500 ml) finely diced anise (fennel) bulb
1/3 cup (75 ml finely diced shallots
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh Organic Tarragon, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

In a bowl, combine the scallops, pesto and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Heat well-oiled barbecue to high.  In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Divide among 8 small plates.

Grill scallops for 2 minutes per side or until lightly charred. (For a wide-set grate, place scallops on top of aluminum foil to grill). Divide scallops among plates.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and serve.

That was easy huh? :) You can also make a nice side of  Garlic Bread if you still have time: a great one from .  Enjoy!

Better Body Time

Facial Workouts:  The Yoga Face

Ok, I know work has to be done everyday on our bodies, well, depending on how difficult it is to you it can be work.  I found out about exercising the face as well.  It's amazing that we can do this, and I think avoid all that crazy  plastic surgery stuff I would rather do this.  Here's a great video that I will be subscribing to on You Tube, and you can actually watch them all~!

It's the Howdini Guru:

Now that you have checked it out, there are also a neck and jaw toner video- amazing!  You will be looking more slim in the face in no time.

Good luck~!

Fresh Summer Drinks

Mango Lassi

Shopping List:

1 big scoop of ice
1 ounce of vanilla flavoured vodka
1 ounce amaretto
2 ounces of mango juice
Garnish: mango slice and maraschino cherry

Chill a stemmed glass.  Combine ice, vodka, amaretto, and mango juice in a mixing glass.  Shake and strain into the chilled glass.  Garnish.  Enjoy~!
-Created by Astral Plane in Philadelphia.

OR check out another non-alcoholic version if you like, from a fellow Blogger - LOOKS yummo!

Bonus Topic:  Mighty Herbs of the Garden

This week, I thought I would talk about strong or hearty growing herbs, bug resistant and disease resistant herbs that almost anyone should be able to grow.  I would like to try to stick to these types in my garden, as I have had my run-ins with growing herbs.  I tried to start an indoor garden and found that dill, oregano, basil and sage are all favorites of mine to grow.  Versatile and easy.  Of course also thyme, rosemary, sweet marjoram, tarragon, parsley, garlic chives, mint and lavender.

Here's a couple pointers if you want to get started on your own little herb garden.  Dill is super easy to grow, and just requires a little space and it can really spread in a garden so beware as it can "take over" and choke out other plantings.  It tastes great and also helps in the digestion of certain foods like cabbage, bread and other rooted veggies.  "I put that stuff on everything."  Truly, I do.

Oregano, is a variety of wild Majoram in the Mediterranean and of the mint family.  It likes it in the sun and the soil should be poor to average fertility, neutral and well drained soil types will allow it to flourish.  It should be the easiest to begin with starter plants or start indoors from seed.  These lovely herb plants are full of aroma and found in Italian cooking recipes.  It adds a lot of flavour to dishes.  They make a pretty border in vegetable or other gardens.

Basil is my personal favorite, as I add it fresh on top of pizza or chopped up into various recipes.  I like it in my salads as well.  It grows best in a warm, sheltered location in full sun.  I have success with green types of basil but my purple types of basil I have generally over watered. I grow basil in in pots on the balcony but it would be beautiful in a garden box or anywhere!

You can pick up books at your local library or research about the other herbs and get started with a couple for your everyday recipes you use in your kitchen.  For example my parsley has turned out splendid and plentiful, however, oregano and rosemary have not been winners for me.  So then I started off growing a couple of the herb plants I have had success with such as dill, parsley and mint.

I certainly plan to opt for clay pots instead of plastic ones. They is because clay is porous so the soil is easier to keep damp if required for the particular type of herb.  So for next time when I try some more gardening in pots I will be switching over.

 Put the pots near a window sill that gets about 4-6 hours of direct sunlight everyday.  Herbs don't require fertilizer and grow best in low or medium soil conditions. If you transplant small herb plants into a larger pot or area, be sure to check if you need any special instructions to do so.
So, I hope this helps to your success in cultivating an indoor or outdoor herb garden!
*Remember: types vary according to zone you live in.

Bonus Topic: Stampede 2011 Review

So far, I have watched the parade on television this year due to the mass number of crowds due to the Royal couple attending the Calgary Stampede.  Also not feeling well and it's usually fairly hot day downtown on the concrete sidewalks.  I decided to stay home and get a great view of the parade on tv.  I recommend this at times, if you have a little one at home then perhaps taking them to a severely hot place is sort of silly to me.   I would recommend staying in where it's cool to avoid heatstroke which is detrimental to babies.

We are a couple days into Stampede and the rodeos here, as it all kicked off July 8th and runs until the 17th.  If you don't know where to catch the highlights, then basically re-caps of the chuck wagons and rodeo's of the day are on channel 10 or on CBC.

There is a Calgary Stampede Guide that is mailed to occupants a week or so prior to the Stampede.
There is a lot to do at the Stampede grounds and if you can afford the admission and money for the expensive food.  You can get in and eat all kinds of greasy and delicious treats.

Some burgers and BBQ'd beef can be found at Bronco's Beef Barn or Bull's Eye Cook shack, I am sure both are delicious even though I try to eat less red meat.  There is much more too as there is new food every year.

Many free great concerts (included in park admission) happen on the  Coca-Cola Stage, notably I would like to go to Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on July 16th.  Even Kevin Costner's band Kevin Costner & Modern West is playing on the Coca-Cola stage on July 14th.

I really suggest finding a Stampede guide for yourselves if you plan on going, as there are valuable savings and tips where to get free things.  There are simply too many events to list all here.
I saved money to go camping this year but you never know if I attend Stamped as well, so stay tuned!

Next year, is the 100th year of Stampede so it should be well celebrated. Yeehaw!

Super Bonus Garden Update!

This update is coming out in regards to one of my prize winning tomato plants had snapped in a windstorm.  I attempted to repair and heal the break in the plant, but unfortunately it didn't manage to grow back together and the branch fell off. 

Well, the tomato plant actually benefited from it, as the branch was not the main stem of the plant,
and it did take some weight off the plant.   So thanks to the wind for that.

Then I decided after tending and weeding my plants, to re-arrange the whole scheme, so here's the picture if you wanted to check it out~!  It looks better, it certainly makes more room on the altogether cramped balcony garden, and the plants have more light!

Next, I will be running outside tonight, if this thunder storm and rain keeps up.  I catch some rain in pails for these thirsty plants.  It saves on water consumption and the plants like it better, because it is softer water than tap water.

If you like to talk about gardening, leave me a note! :)  I'd love to hear from you.

So, that concludes Blog topics for July 11th~!  The summer is going by fast and have a great week.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Blog Summer Event July 4th~!!!

Happy 4th of July to my American Subscribers!  And here in Canada, we just celebrated our 144th Birthday last Friday, so Happy belated Canada Day!

After the celebration you might want to relax and there are many ways on how to do that.  Getting to it and on a roll here are this week's summer event topic:

D.I.Y Beauty segment:

For today, I am going to share a wonderful summer time face spray one can make.  I made it and it is wonderful for the skin and so refreshing.  I use it as a quick wake up skin routine.

I simply will wash my face in the morning if it is needed, using my favorite face cleanser and then after rinsing, I have been spritzing this formula on it.  Sometimes I only splash my face over and over with warm water to remove and oil buildup, usually on Saturday as I go to work cleaning and such and then shower a bit later.  So it seems unnecessary to wash my face with a cleanser just to do it again later on in the shower.  Otherwise, I will spritz on the Herb Toner Face Spray throughout the day on a clean face that is free of makeup.

Now,, let's discuss that I made this formula from herbs that I have grown, and for this organically is the only way to do it.  Then I saved them from the aphids that were attacking the herb plants.  I told you about in previous post topics, you can do that or you can purchase them at the organic produce section or store which can range in prices.  I had lemon thyme, sage, and rosemary and the combination is truly nice on the skin and is a light nice smell, when you make this spray. 


Herb Toner Face Spray

* 6-7 sprigs with leaves and stem of Lemon Thyme, chopped
* 7 leaves of Sage, chopped or pulsed
* 7-10 leaves of Rosemary, chopped or pulsed
* 2 Cups Purified boiled water
* A Clean Kettle or at least rinsed out
* A Large Heat proof bowl (stainless steel or tempered glass)
* A clean and sterilized plastic or glass bottle with sprayer such as one from a body spray (recycle them is the best and cheapest)

Tip:Choose one that is has a light mist sprayer on it.  Test it by filling it up with water and see if its to your liking.

Put the combination of chopped herbs into the large heat proof or heat resistant bowl, one that will not melt or break if you pour hot boiling water into it. Kids need to ask parents for permission and help.

Boil in the kettle, the 2 cups of purified water.  When the water comes to a boil, and the kettle is finished then turn it off.  Then slowly pour the scalding water over the herbs in the bowl, until you cannot fill any more and just leave a bit of room.

Let sit, for a while to cool off, and then cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit for another 2 hours or so.  Once the steeped herbs are cooled off, separate the herbs out of the bowl, by spooning or straining them off into another small clean bowl you may have on hand.  Then you can use the herb pulp for a quick facial mask on a cleansed face.  This could be done in the evening when you have time to apply and relax.

 Wash face and apply the herb pulp facial mask, let sit for 10 -15 minutes, then remove pulp and rinse your face.** It will clear up your skin and help it feel refreshed.  Then pour the liquid into the clean sprayer and seal.  Jar any remainders that will not fit into the spray bottle, and refrigerate those.  You can use this to refill the sprayer bottle when it is running low.

Now, mist your face with this herbal blend face spray, either after you have washed your face or when you want a nice cooling spray to cool down in the summer (without makeup on preferably).

To make it really cold and refreshing, well you guessed it,  refrigerate the spray bottle with the contents in it and remove it to use from the fridge when you want a quick spritz.  Otherwise this organic face spray will last at least up to a week but do not leave it in direct heat or it will speed up
the fermenting process. I used a smaller spray bottle too with a really perfect mist, so that it is more portable for on the go use this summer!

Summer Recipe of the Week

You might feel like the heat in the kitchen is winning, and you are all exhausted after cooking a meal especially after a hard day.  To help you beat that heat, here is a chillin' summer time recipe.  Even try it at your next summer luncheon!

Devilled Eggs with Chives

Preparation Time: 10 minutes Total time: 35 minutes
Serves:4 Per Serving (2 halves): 110 calories, 7 grams
protein, 8 grams total fat (2 grams of saturated fat),
225 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram
fibre, 0 grams sugars, 210 milligrams sodium

Shopping List:
* 4 Large Organic Eggs
* 1 tablespoon (15 ml) mayonnaise style dressing
* 3 tablespoons (45 ml) finely chopped oil-packed sun dried tomatoes
* 3 tablespoons (45 ml) finely chopped sliced green olives, organic preferably
* 3 tablespoons (45 ml( fresh, finely chopped organic chives for garnish
* 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) cayenne pepper

Place eggs in a large saucepan, add enough cold water to cover the eggs by an inch. Cover the pan and bring to a boil.  Remove pan from heat and let eggs stand, covered for 10 minutes.

Remove eggs to a bowl of cold water and let cool, about 15 minutes.
Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise and remove the yolks to a bowl.  Set aside the whites.
Use a fork to mash the egg yolks with the remaining ingredients.  Put the yolk mixture back into the
groove of the cooked egg whites.  It will be about 1 tablespoon into each half-egg piece.  Sprinkle
with chives and serve! You also can chill these in the fridge on a nice lunch time platter and cover with plastic wrap while you prepare other appetizers for your luncheon

Better Body Time

Baby Got Belly?

No, seriously let's tackle this one, a little at a time and then have a better body this summer!
One of the best exercises to knock the belly off, is the exercise I featured in last week's blog, and that's the squat.

You could track your waist size as you go along, which requires a measuring tape and recording your measurements of your sizes and could be done weekly or bi-weekly.

A cardio work-out will also help and if you jog for the time as recommended by your doctor and it will melt off, although some cardio work-outs can be distressing on your joints.  Chest Presses are recommended, and also jumping rope.

I recommend checking out the proper way to do a chest press first, or perhaps consult your local gym
instructor so he or she can show you the hang of it.  Check out this link as it shows a picture:

Good Luck!

Fresh Summer Drinks

Oh yeah, this is summer time to me: a nice cold one on the balcony, watching the sunset and relaxing.
Try this one at happy hour tomorrow or at your July 4th party!

Berry Mojito

Shopping List:
5 fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
4 lime edges, juiced
2 ounces of Bacardi Razz
1/4 ounce Chambord
1/4 ounce blue curacao
Splash of club soda
Garnish with mint and berries

Crush mint. Add sugar and lime juice; stir.  Add Bacardi, Chambord and blue curacao; mix this.  Top with club soda and garnish.  Enjoy!
-Created by Woo Lae Oak in Los Angeles

Bonus Topic: Aromatherapy


One of my favorite flowers and smells are roses. Of the genus Rosa, the Rose, contains the highest amount of vitamin C of any plant in the world ! That's why they make an excellent plant for DIY beauty recipes, aromatherapy, cooking and so much more!

Roses have a rich past in the culinary arts, crafting, medicine, perfumes, religion and in stories of folklore.  Roses petals are still to this day, what rosary beads are made of hence the similar name, very highly fragrant, and also have a nice flavour.  Perhaps, try using some washed rose petals in a fruity salad.  I will let you know if I try this.

Speaking of rose aroma, this is what we will focus on for a moment.  Dried rose petals and whole flowers can be dried and used in potpourri sachets and in fancy bowls you would display such a mix of flowers.  You can sprinkle rose petals in your bubble bath, put them into a herbal bath mix or use them in making a rose face toner.

It is quite the process to make rose essential oils as they have to be extracted from the plant and it is complicated, so I suggest purchasing it from your local health food store if you wish.  Then you can use rose oil in your baths, or sprinkled into any craft like a potpourri mix where ever you'd like to freshen up.

Use the petals in cooking by preserving in butter, syrup,and vinegar.  Preserve flowers like violets, borage flowers or roses in crystallized sugar, and make lovely cake decorations.

Run a nice warm bath, I like to run it hot, and let the roses soak a bit and then the water cool down
before I get in.  You can add your favorite bath epsom salts as well.  Sprinkle the petals in the water, inhale the scents, as you run the water and feel the water becoming softer as the properties of the roses disperse. 

Then when it's time to get in, and you have lit some candles preferably soy candles (so there is no chemicals burning in the air), then take the time to enjoy the nice aroma of the rose and relax in the tub.  I like to play some nice music in the background to enhance the experience such as perhaps sounds of jazz or classical music.

A wonderful rosewater face toner can be found on the following link;

When it comes to harvesting, petals, they can be picked throughout the blooming season of the plant, and you can either dry them or use them fresh.  Each species differs so experiment with what you like for flavor or smell of the plant.  If it is a wild plant it is not illegal to collect the petals, but you must NOT do so in a local park and you DO NOT uproot the plant what so ever.

You can make a merry-mix-up of rose petals blend if you so fancy.  The very darkest ones are the most flavorful and potent in fragrance.  I am partial to the wild rose variety from Alberta myself,  since they are a lovely pink and have a beautiful fragrance.  I am not sure about picking these from the city or on the roadside as there may be residue of pollutants,  The best time to pick flowers and petals is mid-morning after any dew has evaporated, but before the afternoon when the UV index is it's highest where the petals will wither and almost melt to nothing.

Choose flowers just as they open fully but before they are withered and faded.  The flowers can be cut at the stem, approximately 4 inches to 5 inches from the flower base, then cut away the leaves and greenery from the stem part.  Clean the petals from the flowers, removing any dirt or bugs.

Remove the inside or base often white or green from each petal.  The hips should be picked when they are full in colour, very ripe and largely plump but don't wait until they are overripe.  Just pick off the hips and not any stem of the plant, when harvesting these.

The hips can be used fresh or dried and should be prepared quickly after picking, simply slice and remove the blossom end, then cut in half and remove the seeds and fibrous material with a spoon.
Dry the hips in halves, spread them onto a screen in a shaded and airy room, or at least well ventilated.  Store in an airtight container once they have completely dried.  You can make rose hip teas, or other recipes.

Check out the benefits:

Now, you can smell the roses and know just what to do with them!

Bonus Topic:
Summer Camping Party Favor

I am going to be at Old MacDonald's Farm & Campground this upcoming August Long Weekend.
So, we are going to need a new set of camping cookware, perhaps a better cast iron pan is needed, as the one I bought last year makes all the food stick.  I have treated it but bacon cakes onto it and burns.  We are going to need another camping cooler, perhaps some better new gadgets, camping tablecloth, and it would be nice to find the wipe able ones that can be wiped and re-used.  This as well as cheap cutlery can be purchased at the local dollar store or Wal-mart.

I also like to buy the plastic and reusable plates for our day to day camping use.  I usually like to take large plastic bowls with lids and pre-make some potato or macaroni salads for the first night out camping.  I put the cooked potatoes in the container and then prepare it at the campsite.

I pack them into our cooler with ice along with the other perishable food, and keep it cool with lots of ice and in our case until we park and get the fridge in our motor home cool.  It runs off electricity rather than using all our propane, then I can save the propane for heat and the stove.

Then dinner is simple and with a buffet of salads.  Whatever is leftover and you don't eat can be put into the fridge for a snack later or breakfast or lunch the next day.  I suggest eating it all if you can, or making manageable amounts depending on the size of your family.

If you like steak, take some frozen and then keep them in the little freezer of your fridge.  Take them out to thaw after when you want to take them out and then grill and bon appetite!

Until next week,The Royals: William and Kate, will be in Calgary town and in the Stampede parade, so this will be a big highlight of the summer! Happy Long Weekend Camping Folks!