Holiday Shopping Guide: Indoor Herb Gardens

I’m sure if you have read my posts for any length of time you will have realized that I love to garden. And while I simply do love to garden, I also find that it helps me with my weight loss. I know the activity part is helpful, but once the summer fades and the garden is munched over for the winter, the physical activity is minimal.

Where gardening mostly helps me, is in the kitchen. If you have ever watched a lot of cooking shows then you have probably heard the phrase fat is flavor. Sadly this is true, however you know what else has flavor? Herbs and spices.

For me fresh herbs especially make something potentially very bland feel somewhat decadent, especially in the cold winter months. Think about rice, Plain old boiled white rice. On it’s own not so flavor packed. It is a blank canvas, usually to spoon something dripping with sauce on to. However, a little bit of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon mixed in and it becomes a little less boring.

When you are trying to loose weight food can feel dull and flavorless. Everything it seems is taken out in the name of calorie reduction. Fat is removed, salt is removed, sugar is banned and sauces are kept to a minimum. For me fresh herbs are just a fantastic way to bring back some of that flavor. And in the winter I rely on indoor gardening. The herb bundles of fresh herbs you can get in our grocery over the winter are usually very pricy for what you get and the herbs are not always the best quality. They look like they sat in their little plastic boxes for far too long. which they probably have.

So I like to keep a few potted plants around to not only cut costs but because having plants around makes me happy. In addition if they are there I feel obligated to use them which in turn makes my dishes taste better without adding a lot of calories. The calories you add from fresh herbs is minimal. It is surprising how much fresh basil you can get on the plate for only three calories.

If you are looking to start an indoor garden this winter, or have a gardener on your gift buying list, Botanical Interest is a place you might want to check out. You can order their seed catalogs for free from the site, or just order directly from the site. They have all sorts of articles and tips if you are starting your own indoor garden. I found this one particularly interesting.

And for easy shopping they now have gift bundles available. They have the chef’s herb garden for a general array of the more classics cooking herbs. There is a bundle for those who want to grow vegetables in containers. There is even a bundle for those simply obsessed with chilie peppers.

these bundles are well thought out collections and a great way to start your own indoor garden, help someone else on their way to gardening or surprise your gardener in the family with something unexpected in their Christmas stocking. I really like these bundles and actually ordered the Butterfly Banquet Bundle for my mother this year. She has this one space in her yard that the plants included in the bundle will fill out nicely and with luck attract butterflies in the spring. which I know will make her happy to see well after the holiday decorations are put away and hopefully for several years to come. And that Makes Botanical Interests a great place to visit when filling out your holiday gift list.

Herbs: DIY Indoor Garden

The Daily: October 25th, 2022

Today has been a day that started with a phone call while I still had my first cup of coffee in front of me. It hasn’t actually slowed down. It feels like I have been jumping form one small crisis to another.

However at least they are work related crises. those don’t bother me so much, not after this past year. It is just time and untangling knots. No one dies in copywriting as a general rule. editing is rarely fatal.

Its actually a relief to have problems come at me that i can actually solve. I know that sounds bizarre to say, but there is an odd sort of relief in knowing that you can absolutely take care of the panic and sort the problem.

I can’t do anything against cancer or death, but by god I can take down an emergency re-write.

There is a strange sort of joy in that.

even if it did scupper my day’s plans.

the one and only carrot to survive this year

I do have a small amusement to show you. Last night i noticed I had one small carrot that survived everything. They mostly did not grow at all this year. i decided to pull it and see what I had. After clipping the top green and scrubbing it up I was left with this tiny little wonder. And yes I ate it in one bite. It was sweet and intensely carroty. It was tiny but delicious and I thought I would share the one carrot that managed to survive until harvest. I hope you enjoy it. I am strangely proud of my petite beauty.

The Daily: October 17th, 2022

Good afternoon my darlings. I have to say it is kind of a relief to be back to work this Monday. Because of everything going on, the house chores were sort of postponed. This weekend they all came crashing down. The last of the gardening for the fall was done and the last of the green tomatoes collected. That sounds very strange to actually say. But our first frost is coming either tonight or tomorrow night and so we stripped the remaining fruit from the plants. we also brought in the last of the paprika peppers. More than anything else we had a bumper crop of these this year. And somehow because of the heat and periods of drought even our sweet paprika has a bit more of a kick than usual.

And it is really very different than the store bought stuff. there is almost a fruity vegetal hint underneath the earthy spice. After growing it, I don’t think I could go back to the slightly spiced red dust that comes in the jar. And this year I certainly won’t have to.

But in addition to getting all of the remaining produce in from the garden I repotted a bunch of indoor plants that needed repotting and I hauled all of the pots outside and gave them all of the plants a good healthy watering before bringing them back indoors for the winter. we have a bay laurel that migrates with the seasons. Out doors in summer indoor in winter. This year the succulents stayed outside for much of the summer as well. They only really had to come in when we had that brief rainy spell mid summer.

But basically the entire weekend was spent moving. In addition to the garden chores there was the resetting of the house for winter. the changing of the blankets and airing out of the ones taken from summer storage. I don’t think I slowed down all weekend. It was necessary but far from restful. On Sunday I relaxed by trying to reorganize my foundation and primer drawer. The problem is the drawer is deep so when I open it, i only see the tops and so just grab the same products. I shifted them to a more shallow drawer and was surprised by how many products there were. Some are close to being empty and others are never been tried. I need to have a good think about what I am using and a possible declutter to follow. But it did lead me to my foundation today. I’ll get into that below. You may notice that this is a brand heavy makeup look today. I couldn’t resist using the Tarte products from the boxycharm today. But we’ll get into that below.

Today’s Look:

Primer: Tatcha The Silk Canvas Primer

Foundation: Yensa Super Serum Silk Foundation

Bronzer: Tarte’s Park Avenue Princess Chisel Palette

Blush: Tarte Breezy Cream Blush in Pink Sky

Highlight: OFRA Highlighter in Blissful

Setting Powder: Anastasia Beverly Hills Loose setting powder

Eyeshadow: Tarte Sunrise Eyeshadow Palette

Eyeliner/brightener: Tarte Double Take Awake

Mascara: Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara

Hair Pins: Dragonflies from the Coraline Collection by Revolution Beauty

I do love this primer. It may be my all time favorite to be honest. There are others I like a lot, but this Tatcha Balm style Primer always tops my best of list. At this point I know how it works as well so it was perfect to use with the foundation today as well.

Today i chose the Yensa Silk Foundation. I’ll be honest, I thought I didn’t like it. To be honest I don’t think I gave it much of a chance. I think I used it once or twice and decided it wasn’t as fabulous as the BC foundation and set it aside. Today I really liked it. I think part of it may be the weather. I think this is just not a hot weather foundation. Most actual foundations don’t seem to be hot weather foundations, at least where i am concerned. Now that the weather has cooled, I am finding I really like this. I went in light with the foundation which seems to be the trick. It now feels weightless. I did notice that with the brush there were some streaks left in the product so I just went back in with a makeup sponge and it blended out beautifully. I think I may have to play around more with this foundation.

The Tarte Park Ave Princess Palette is discontinued sadly. It is a lovely palette though and I will use it until it is all used up. the bronzer is still available so I’ve linked that above. I haven’t reached for this in a while because quite honesty Tarte slipped from my mind. But I do love this palette. It always makes me feel special to use it and the products work well for me.

This was my first use of the Tarte cream blush. It does give more of a natural finish than expected. I thought it would be more pigmented. That is not a complaint actually. It is buildable and I didn’t notice it peeling up any of my foundation when i applied it. I think the trick with cream blushes is to first apply them before setting your foundation with powder and second to dab instead of rub. I applied with my finger and then blended worth a makeup sponge. I think a brush would have damaged the foundation and not done the blush justice. as it is I like it. It isn’t my favorite cream blush, at least at the moment, but i think it is something I can work with and wouldn’t mind reaching for again.

I actually remembered a highlighter today. I went with OFRA and forgot how blinging it can be. I need to remember to go in lighter next time. It is a great highlight though and the pan is huge so it will last forever.

Today I went with the ABH Setting powder. It was in the back of the drawer and I brought it to light. I like applying this with a makeup sponge and then just brushing away the extra. The translucent is a bit white so I can’t use it with lighter foundations as it lightens them just a bit. It works well with slightly darker foundations again because it seems to lighten it up just a touch. I really liked using it today. it is finely milled and didn’t look cakey.

This tarte palette was created for Boxycharm so I just linked to the tarte eyeshadow page for those interested. The formula on this was okay. It isn’t a terribly exciting palette. It is a very basic neutrals palette actually. The dark brown isn’t as pigmented as I like but I love the bronze shimmer. I know surprise. What bronze shimmer don’t i like. It is a good little everyday palette. I just have several very much like it in my collection so it is hard to get excited.

Today I actually used eyeliner. To be honest I was more interested in the brightener. I think I will probably reach for it more often. the eyeliner is nice and worked well. I just don’t wear a lot of eyeliner these days. The brightener is really goo. Creamy and goes in the waterline well. It is the reason I will be keeping this product.

For Lengthening this is actually one of my favorite mascaras. It does nothing for volume so usually I pair it with something that is more volumizing than lengthening, but for lengthening this is a fantastic mascara.

And finally I have the dragonfly bobby pins from the Coraline Collection from Revolution. I am really surprised by how high quality they feel. I couldn’t help but put them in my hair today. Personally I love the way they look. And the set was only $8. Not sure if they are still available but they are quite fabulous. I also got the palette from the collection and I am excited about trying that out soon. But I couldn’t resist the hair pins today.

The Daily: September 12th, 2022

Good Monday afternoon my darlings. I hope yours is going well. Mine has mostly been working through a long to do list. All the calls came in last week and all the work gets done this week. Well this week and next actually as I leave on the 23rd. I actually feel like I am in a really good place.

I have actual dates and times for everything. I am able to clear most of it off before I leave so that the only thing I really have to worry about is my mom when I am gone. Over all it is a good place to be.

I am still a little stressed about her if I am honest. She sounds okay on the phone. I think a lot of her stress went away once all of her decisions were finalized and she could begin getting ready for surgery. I think my stress will fade once I am down there in person and she is actually out of surgery safe and sound. It is one of the hardest parts about living in a different place. Sometimes relief only comes when you can see things in person.

But now that she sounds more at ease I am not a stress level red any more. I’m more of a yellow with an orange tinge. I was deep in the red for a while so it feels a lot better to have that eased off.

This past weekend I made a big batch of sauce as our tomatoes are finally starting to come in. They grew all summer and they looked like they wanted to blossom, they just didn’t. Now that September is well underway they are starting to throw out handfuls of ripened fruit every day. I’ll probably make sauce one or two more times again before I leave. It freezes really well and since I make only the base roasted tomato sauce at this point it will freeze really well and be able to be used for anything. I like to season it more for the dish I am making when I actually use the sauce. But it is a good general stable to have on hand.

And this weekend I got my first and only melon from the vine. There won’t be any more, but this year i was astounded I got even one. It is a petit melon, only the size of a softball but we had it with prosciutto this weekend as a treat and it was fantastic. It was extra sweet so it went well with the salty meat. I’m glad that if I only got one melon this year at least it was a good one. There is an odd sort of consolation in that.

testing a blow out spray that left my hair looking a bit greasy

Today’s look:

Primer: Elf Poreless Putty Primer

Foundation: One Size Turn up the Base Powder Foundation

Blush: NARS Blush in Angelika

Bronzer: Ciate London Bamboo Bronzer

Eyeshadow: Lawless Beauty The Baby One Eyeshadow Palette

Brows: iMethod Beauty Eyebrow Stamp Kit

Mascara: Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag Mascara

Lipstick: Guerlain Velvet Matte Refillable Lipstick in #910 Black Red

Setting Spray: Huda Beauty Glow Coco Hydrating Mist

Okay first of all I want to apologize for my hair. I am testing out a blow out spray and it just made my hair look super greasy. I’m hoping I just applied too much, but I am still trying to work that out. It doesn’t help that my bangs need a bit more of a trim. I’m hoping to take care of that this weekend. Don’t worry, I will let a pro handle it. I have backed away from the scissors.

I always love my Elf poreless Primer. And as I tried this foundation with out a primer when it first arrived, I knew it needed a primer underneath. the foundation powder on it’s own did emphasize some of my larger pores. With the primer underneath, this foundation worked beautifully. I really like this actually. It is a buildable formula, so i can go as light and natrual as I want or I could go in for a more full look. well, not quite full. It seems to shift between light and medium. I don’t think it gets to full coverage, but as I rarely wear full coverage I am okay with that. It gets as full as I plan to wear it. Thus far it feels like a nice foundation. It doesn’t feel powdery. Although I didn’t put a powder over it when I applied it, because I generally don’t put powder over powder foundations. It did need a but of a pat with a pressed powder by midday as there were some oily spot showing through. I am actually looking forward to playing around with this over this week and next. Thus far, I’m pretty happy with it. But it does need a primer underneath if you have larger pores.

I went with the Ciate Bronzer today as it is a very adaptable tone. I can go very light with it or I can deepen it depending on what the foundation and my look for the day calls for. It is one that I usually use with new foundations. I’m actually quite fond of it in general actually. Ciate can be hit or miss on some products, but for me this bronzer is a definite hit.

This Nars Blush is also a hit. Which shouldn’t be surprising, Nars blushes are always good. I tend to no reach for this one as much because in the pan it looks very pink and sparkly. When swatched with a finger, the sparkles don’t show but it still looks very pink. It applies much less pink and there aren’t any sparkles on the cheeks. It’s one of those products I just need to remember I like so I reach for it, instead of opening it, thinking, ‘I don’t want sparkles’ and putting it back. Today I realized I have accumulated a lot of blushes and need to go through them to see if all of them are staying. I don’t think I have sorted them in a while. I actually took this out thinking, I’ll use it see the pink and sparkles and know it needs to go. Instead I took it out and realized how much I like it. So plus for the Nars, negative on the declutter.

I was thrilled with the way the Lawless Beauty Palette performed. It was pigmented but not over the top. I sometimes get a bit out of control if the shadows are intensely pigmented. This had a pigment I could build up. It also blended well. I used two of the mattes (Cherub and Sweet Dreams) and they blended well together. I added the silvery shimmer Little doll on the inner corner of my eye. I meant to just put a little but it proved more shadow than I planned. I had to tap the brush before applying but there was no fall out.

Today I used the most expensive lipstick I have in my collection. I keep a list of luxury products that I want to try. Sometimes I use them as presents to myself, usually for my birthday, other times as rewards for reaching significant weight loss goals. Because I have been so stressed lately my babydoll ordered this Guerlain lipstick for me as a treat. It feels so luxe in the hand. It just feels like quality packaging. And I have to say the product feels nice as well. The color is fantastically saturated. The lipstick feels soft and lot waxy at all. It glides on smoothly, like the velvet it is named for and it feels feather light to wear. It is my first use of this lipstick but I will be reaching for it often. I really like this first use.

I don’t always reach for a setting spray, And truthfully when i reach for a setting spray I generally only reach for my Benefit Porefessional Setting Spray. The mist is very fine and I like the way it performs. It is my go to. However I do have several setting sprays I have gotten through various subscriptions that I haven’t used. They are lined up on a shelf and I tell myself that i am going to test it out and then forget. So I have taken out the Huda Beauty one and will be testing it. It is sweet coconut smelling but not over the top. The mist is a fine one although there were a few splotches of wet on my face. I did tap it in with a makeup sponge. It was fine to use and I will keep using it for a while. Hopefully there won’t be a lot of splotches as it gets more use. we shall see.

And so that was my look for the day. I plan to roll through blushes for a while to see if all of the ones in the drawer are staying. and I will see how this foundation performs over time. Over all I am fairly pleased with everything today. I am a bit annoyed by the blow out spray, and will probably go for the dry shampoo in a bit. I am just testing to see if it gets worse throughout the day or if it stays this level. Either way for now, it is back to work for me. Have a great rest of Monday.

e.l.f. cosmetics

The Daily: May 18th, 2022

Welcome to Wednesday my darlings. Truthfully my week is a little messed up and I feel that it is only Tuesday, regardless of what the calendar says. It is the danger of taking parts of Monday off. I’m just going to accept that I will be a little off for the rest of the week and then reset over the weekend.

Today however there is no makeup. As you can clearly see from the photo, it was an all natural day, just me and several layers of sunscreen. There was a follow up with the Avene Thermal Water when I came back in the house, but no makeup was going to survive today.

This morning I thought I would get some early gardening in since there was nothing done over the weekend. I pulled the weeds and most importantly the little treelets that were sprouting from the seeds thrown into the garden beds by the surrounding trees. If you don’t get them early they can be a real pain to uproot. They were still at the relatively easy to uproot stage, but there were a lot of them.

After they were gone I noticed a vine growing up and around some other plants. I don’t know what it was but I didn’t plant it and I wasn’t about to let it take over. So I went to pull it. It didn’t want to pull. So I went to the shed to find some trimmers. There were no trimmers. So I picked up the machete. I figured with a careful cut I could slice off the offending vine and be good. Then I got going, found the vines everywhere and just went a little crazy on the offending vines.

barefaced and soon to hit the shower

I can’t lie, it felt good.

I have no illusions about getting all of the weeds but I feel somewhat victorious, even if it is a temporary victory.

Unfortunately by the time I was done I was a sweaty mess. I figured since i was already sweaty I would go on a walk. It was kind of a mega sweat event. When I got back I washed my face and cooled down. In a little while there ill be a shower. (it would have been an earlier shower but there were several phone calls i was pulled into while I was cooling off.

After that i simply didn’t feel like wearing any makeup.

I did however revel in the use of my cleanser. I am currently using the new Clove and Hallow Cloud Powder and after cleansing I just liked my skin.

So bare faced today, but at least i can say that between the lengthier spate of gardening than I intended and my walk, I have certainly hit my calorie count. So I can’t really complain. But now it is off to the shower to get fully clean and into fresh clothes and then I will finish out the paperwork for the day. I took more time than expected but really, I can’t complain. It needed to be done, and it felt good over all to do it.

The Daily: May 2nd, 2022

Good afternoon my darlings and welcome to May. With as much trouble as the April showers caused, the May flowers are beautiful. And of course more showers are on the way. we had on and off rain here this weekend so I did the last of my spring garden planting between rain storms. The bonus was that I didn’t have to water. We have a garden bed I am keeping my fingers cross for this year actually. It has been a battle to reclaim it from the weeds since we moved in. Last fall we stripped it out completely digging down about a foot to get rid of all the little weed rootlets. we then laid down a garden fabric to suppress weed growth and layered card board over that (a fantastic use of old subscription box packaging in case you were wondering) and then buried the lot of it in rich dirt, fertilizer and mulch. It sat all winter and this weekend I went and scattered bread seed poppy seeds. They are the poppy seeds you see in lemon poppy seed bread in case you are wondering. When the flowers are ready to seed they throw the seeds out in heaps and self seed themselves once they get started so I am hoping that the seeds will not only take, but take over. I would much prefer a bed of purple-y blue poppies to snarled masses of bindweed.

That has been one of the major house projects for a while so reaching the stage where i could just scatter seed was a major accomplishment. And now all I can do is wait and hope nature gets on board.

But with May also comes the need for the changing out of the bed linens. once we get a stretch of good weather all of the winter blankets will get washed one last time for the season, strung up in the sunshine to dry and then packed away while the spring/summer covers come out of storage. I don’t know if you have issues with blanket storage but as both my babydoll and I come from families who believe you can never have too many blankets, storage is always an issue. Until we picked up these vacuum storage bags. I picked mine up from Amazon (it is a general link, no affiliation) and they have been a life saver. Not only do they save space by compressing the blankets but my babydoll has major allergies and soring out blankets in the vacuum sealed bags has really helped. The UV of the sun kills any potential dust mites and then the vacuum seal protects them when not in use.

The park is once again flooded so I am back to Yoga today instead. May tends to be an indoor work out and then things dry out a little and I end up on the summer schedule, walking as soon as I wake up so i don’t give myself heat stroke. Even so with my muscles sore from the garden work, I feel okay with the stretching of yoga. I also feel rather virtuous for completing so many of my spring chores this weekend. Now if only my afternoon paperwork goes as smoothly, I will be all smiles at dinnertime.

Today’s look:

Pre Makeup Base: Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre

Primer: Tatcha Silk Canvas Primer

Foundation: Yensa Super Serum Silk Foundation

Bronzer: Buxom Staycation Vibes in Rooftop Tan

Blush: bareMinerals Bounce and Blur Blush

Highlighter: Iconic Illuminator in Original

Powder: Kim Chi Beauty Puff Puff Pass Set and Bake Powder

Eyeshadow: The Balm and the Beautiful from The Balm Cosmetics

Mascara: Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara

Lips: Persona Cosmetics lip liner in 90210

Today was interesting as far as testing and favorites go. As for favorites I went for the tatcha silk canvas. I have the balm formula. I haven’t tried the liquid version and I am curious to see how it performs but I absolutely adore the creme formula of this one. It is pore filling and helps lock makeup into place. It also has that lovely Tatcha skincare scent to it. I generally find my skin reacts well to this primer as well. I did want a matte primer today because of the highligher, but I’ll get to that in a moment. The long and short of it is that I adore this primer.

One of my other favorites is the Bare Minerals blush. I am always happy to reach for this one. It can be a little too intense in color in the winter (I have the shade Mauve Sunrise) but as my skin gets summer tan it just looks better and better so I will be using this a lot in the coming months. Which is no hardship. I do need to look into a lighter winter shade though, but I have a little bit of time now before that is needed.

The Buxom Bronzer is also more of a spring summer product. It is of a tone that takes me into spring and early summer but generally isn’t worn after July when I am full on summer tanned. Or at least that was last year’s scale. I ended up spending more time outside last summer than I planned. I also wanted to try a powder product today with the Kim Chi powder. On my first use of the powder I overdid it and everything looked powdery. I was just so enthused but the actually useful powderpuff in the container that I couldn’t hep myself. And over use made things look powdery.

Then I tried a lot of cream face products and it worked fantastically well with them. So I wanted to see if it was me over doing it or if it was just layering with other powder products that caused the issue. I think it might be a bit of both. With one powder product and the rest cream the setting powder didn’t look powdery when used with a light touch. I think however it is the sort of powder I will prefer with cream face products. I also think I am going to use that puff with several other powders. I do like this powder though, it just needs to be used sparingly to avoid a powdery look.

I have been trying out the Saint Luxe liquid highlight and wanted to try it against another liquid highlighter. So today I picked out the Iconic Original Illuminator which is an old stand by. It was far more glowy a product than the Saint Luxe. The Saint Luxe is far more subtle of a glow. Which I don’t mind actually. I know that using the Iconic with Natural look makeup (which is sort of my go to in the summer) is too heavy a highlighter. I don’t think the Saint Luxe will be. While I am finishing up my Yensa trial this week, I think that after the trial is complete I will be trying out the highlighter with a tinted moisturizer instead of a regular foundation to see how it performs. I have high hopes. The Iconic was nice today and I like being able to make the comparison.

The stila mascara I love. It needs one coat and I am done. The fact that I reach for it a lot means the tube is almost empty and will soon need to be replaced. But it is now one of my favorite mascaras.

The persona lip liner worked well all over my lips. It is a creamy formula that can be used as a lipstick. After a few hours though my lips do start to feel a bit dry so I add a lip balm over them. That is enough to keep the lips moist. So I am good with this lip liner.

Today was the first use of the Balm’s The Balm and The Beautiful Palette. As a first use I did the one matte all over the lids with a lighter matt in the corners look. I love the Balm formula. The brush didn’t need tapping off and the matte blended beautifully without a powdery mess. I am looking forward to playing around with this palette.

And that my darlings was today’s look. I feel like I went a little long today but I have several products I am testing out. Hopefully you found it interesting. But now my beauty break is over and I must leave you and heed the call of my inbox. It is the first of the month and and it seems everyone has a new project to start. So off we go. Have a great rest of Monday.

Mother’s Day Gifts: Botanical Interests Gifts for the Garden

As this is the season where gardening sort of takes over my life for a while, I know you have heard me mentioning my planting. Gardening is a family passion shared by generations of my family. Growing up we moved around a lot. Some of the places we lived were houses and had spaces for gardens and others were apartments. All of the apartments had window boxes and hanging plants in any window that could catch the sun. My grandparents sacrificed part of their back porch to build on a green house. So in my family plants and gardening supplies are always good gift ideas and this year Botanical Interests has several that are well worth taking a look at.

The first that caught my eye is the Microgreens collection. Priced at only $18.50 this collection includes: Microgreens Ciao Bella Basil Blend Organic, Microgreens Jazzy Mix, Microgreens Mellow Blend Organic, Microgreens Sunflower Organic, Microgreens Upland Cress. Whether you grow plants just to have something green and growing in your space or if you use them for cooking, this is a very good collection to have on hand and a great gift. As I often find it difficult to find cress at my local grocery store, this is one that I would defiantly look at picking up. At the moment the Ciao Bella Basil is actually planted out in my garden. It is a good grower in both the garden and in containers.

Speaking of containers…

Botanical interests has a gift set specifically for container gardening. It is unsurprisingly called the Container Vegetable collection (retail $21). It includes: Bean Bush Contender Organic, Carrot Tonda di Parigi, Cucumber Spacemaster 80, Kale Dwarf Blue Curled, Lettuce Romaine Little Gem Organic, Onion Bunching/Scallion Tokyo Long White, Pepper Sweet California Wonder, Spinach Lavewa, Squash Summer Emerald Delight, Tomato Cherry Falls. Last year we grew the little Gem Romain and I have to say I felt very fancy when making my salads. It is small enough that each head is a single serving so you can make some restaurant-y looking plated really easily. Which I know sounds a little bit extra but I sometimes find that when trying to stick to my diet, if i make the plates look a little prettier then i feel like I am getting something extra special which keeps me from adding on calories later to ‘make up’ for the salad heavy dinner. the bunching scallions we grew the summer before last (I forgot to re order last year) and they were very drought tolerant as well as delicious. Both are in the garden this year again.

And for those who have mothers who just aren’t interested in herbs or vegetables, they have several gift sets for you as well. One of my favorites is the Florist Cutting Flowers collection. (retail $22). After all why simply buy one bouquet when you can make up your own all summer long (and often for years to come). This collection includes: (A) Amaranth Love-Lies-Bleeding Coral Fountain, (A) Ammi Dara, (A) Aster, China Aster Blend, (P) Celosia Pampas Plume Blend, (P) Craspedia Drumstick Flower, (P) Dahlia Decorative Double Blend, (A) Orlaya White Lace, (A) Sunflower Goldy Honey Bear, and (A) Zinnia Cut and Come Again (A=Annual P=Perennial Pt=Tender Perennial). where I live the Love-lies-bleeding in various shades seems to be really popular. Once it gets going you can walk through the neighborhood and see it decorating a number of back fences and garden gates. It is absolutely gorgeous in the garden and would look spectacular in a vase, especially in a mix with other cut flowers.

Botanical interests is a seed/garden company I have always had really good luck with. Their seeds have always reliably sprouted and I usually like what becomes of the plants. Many of the seeds I repurchase annually. While these are three of my favorites, they have many more collections for mothers day including container and garden plants, herb and vegetable collections and a host of butterfly and bee encouraging collections. If like my mother, yours enjoys gardening, this is definitely a list to check into. The link below will take you to their full mother’s day collection. Happy shopping.

Mothers Day Gift Collection from Botanical Interests.

The Daily: April 19th, 2022

Good afternoon my darlings and welcome to a chilly Tuesday. Tonight is supposed to actually drop low enough to freeze so the plant covers are out, ready and waiting to cover all the delicate spring growth. already in the garden. Surprisingly after this last snap of winter, tomorrow is supposed to get up into the seventies. Such rapid changes always mean a headache for me so I have checked the stocks of ibuprofen.

However today is glorious. Cold, but glorious. The ran stopped and even though the park is still flooded and curtailing my walking, the sun has blasted back the mold from the air. So no watery itchy eyes and sneezing fits today.

Oh yes, there will be mascara.

And if the weather holds then the grand spring plant out can begin this weekend. i have plants that I started early in the green house that really need to see more of the outside world. I started hardening them and they were able to spend the night outside up until Easter Sunday, but then I had to bring them back inside. Hopefully they can stay outside the rest of the week and be planted this weekend.

Tis the season where the garden dominates my thoughts. And much of my time. It also starts to take it’s toll on my nails. I think tonight I may paint them so I can have them looking pretty for the rest of the week. They’ll be wrecked by next Monday, but then I will remove the polish and start the spring strengthening treatments so they should remain healthy for the duration of the planting season and come out looking strong and healthy by the time I can paint them again and reasonably expect a manicure to last more than a day.

The nail strengthening treatments are on my list of spring and summer orders. It happens after every Easter. The summer gathering. I make sure I have extra sunblock on standby (this year I’m also going with a hat to wear gardening), I start positioning bottles of Avene Thermal Water and an extra spray sunblock by the garden door, one to use when going out and the second to use when coming in. I will check to see that my Aloe plant is healthy in case of sunburns and I will have the Missha Artesmisia Essence on hand for skin soothing purposes. There are more items needed to prepare for the spring and summer, but those are the highlights I am hitting this week. Soon the orders will go out and the stocking will begin.

I am also starting my sunless tan for my legs this evening, so I will keep you posted on how that proceeds. I have two different products I am trying out this year. even though my Easter dress from Ever Pretty (reminder: their major bridal sale ends on the 20th) was long enough to cover my legs, it was the first skirt of the season and reminded me of how white my legs are. I don’t need to be bronzed all over, but I would like my arms and legs to look like they are attached to the same body. And my arms are already showing a tan line around the wrist. So self-tanning we shall go. But first, today’s makeup.

Today’s Look:

Pre makeup base: Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre

Primer: Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch

Foundation: Yensa BC full Coverage Foundation

Bronzer: Trestique Bronzing Stick

Blush/highlight: Natasha Denona Cupid Cheek Duo

Powder: Elf Perfect Finish HD Powder

Eyeshadow: Revolution Maple Glazed Doughnut Palette

Mascara: Big Poppa Wet ‘n Wild Mascara

Lips: Wet ‘n Wild Mega Last Lipstick

After a day of sneezing and watery eyes it always feels good to be able to apply makeup again. I think its the fact that I know it might actually last more than ten minutes and not be decorating Kleenexes a few moments after I’ve applied it.

The Embryolisse as a make up base was actually very appreciated today. I think that the tissues I used pulled out all the moisture in my skin so adding a bit more out to smooth and soothe my skin before putting on today’s makeup was very much a good idea.

This is the second week I’ve been testing the Yensa Skin on Skin BC foundation and I am really liking it. It does have a bit more of a glowy look to it than I usually prefer in my foundations, but as long as I pair it with a matte primer. In looking through my primers I found I really only have three matte primers in my collection at the moment. They are the ones I tend to buy and use the most where the dewy ones come in subscription boxes. Actually I have several I have yet to test out. But that will require a matte foundation, so even though i now feel I know how this foundation performs, I’ll leave that for later.

I did go for one of my favorite cream bronzers and it was the Trestique. I know, no surprise. However i chose it not just because I love it but because cream products tend to work better with other cream products. And I wanted to test out the Natasha Denona Cupid Duo. It has a cream blush and a powdered highlight. I was worried about the cream blush. I do have another cream blush from the brand that I adore, but when I swirled my finger in the cream it didn’t seem to impart much color. then I tried it on my cheeks and I loved it. the color was there and it was very blendable and long lasting. It is something I will reach for. I will need to play around with the highlighter before I make a determination though. When applied with a finger it disappeared. I went over it a little with a clean brush I had on hand, and it did a little better, but I may need to work with it a bit more to figure out how it likes to be applied. It might take more work.

In keeping things simple I went for my Maple Glazed Doughnut palette from Revolution. I know I say this every time I use it, but I really need to pick up more of the doughnuts. They are easy to travel with and apply fantastically well and easily. they are easy to grab first thing in the morning and don’t require a lot of thought. the only reason that I haven’t picked them up is that I haven’t been into ULTA for a while. I looked at them on line and they are often sold out, but I know ULTA still carries them so next time I am in the store I may pick one up. It is just a great go to palette.

Wet n’ wild was the source of both my Mascara and lipstick today and I regret neither. They are both great formulas and I will use them repeatedly. The Big Poppa Mascara I will need to rotate in often. everyone knws that time starts ticking once you open a mascara, but with the Big Poppa you have almost exactly six months no matter how often you reach for it. which is fine as I don’t like to keep mascara longer than six months, but once you open this one it works fine for five months but that sixth lets you know it is nearing the end of it’s life. Sixth months in and it will start to thicken and clump. It is fantastic until then. You just have to commit to using it once you open it. I’m actually okay with that as I love using this mascara and sometimes I forget how long I’ve had products open. Having a very obvious indicator is not a bad thing for me.

But that was my look for the day. It applied quick and easy and is lasting throughout the day. It is comfortable enough that I don’t have to think about it and suitable for any possible meetings later this afternoon. There is a rumor of one circulating about one later today that I might or might not need to be a part of (digitally) So I have my Elf compact on hand incase a little shine needs to be powdered off and I am good to go. Until then, the paperwork calls.

Have a great rest of Tuesday my darlings.

The Daily: January 17th, 2022

Welcome my darlings to MLK Day. I hope you are having a happy one. For us, it is snowy, icy and the county officials have all suggested that everyone stay inside and don’t drive around any more than they have to. Earlier I took a walk down to the walking trail. Sometimes it is nice to walk in snowy weather. this was not one of those days. This is a day for staying inside.

The main reason isn’t actually the snow. Sunday started out wet and just above freezing. Then the temps dropped and the rain turned to snow. The issue is that it is a layer of snow with a layer of ice just beneath. The walking trail is quite hilly and I almost went sliding down the first hill and into the still swollen creek. About that time the snow started up again.

It wasn’t pretty. Its the sort of wet snow that comes down like damp duck feathers and splatters like someone is actually spitting on you. So I decided that outside was not the place I needed to be. The sun is supposed to be out tomorrow. And the temps are supposed to rise just high enough that wen I try to walk my feet will crunch through the ice rather than send me sliding. An extra day without a walk won’t kill me.

Whereas sliding on the ice just might.

So I am doing one of my favorite activities at this time of year. Going through seed catalogs and making plans for the spring. while it will be a while before things get planted out, I Start the sees in my indoor green house in the sunroom and once they reach a certain stage get them slowly ready for their garden debut. I try to grow them as sturdy as possible inside, with visits outside to harden, before actually planting them out so they have their best shot of surviving and growing fabulous. Given some of the weather fits and starts the last few springs have had here, I like to hedge my bets so I get the plants as hardy as possible and I grow them in stages so if I put the first sets out and get hammered by a late frost I have a few back ups.

To be honest, this year I have much more of a garden plan than usual. last year so many of my plants just didn’t survive that i thought this year I’d take a little more time to think things through.

And since today is a holiday, I am going to take off a little early and take some time to peruse the catalogs. This year, I think I might try to grow celery. I like to try something new every year.

Today’s Look:

Primer: Lys Secure Skin Gripping Serum Primer

Foundation: No 7 Lift and Luminate Triple Action Serum Foundation

Bronzer/Blush/Highlight: LA Splash Moonlight Glow Face Palette

Powder: bareMinerals Mineral Veil

Eyeshadow: Athr Beauty Sunset palette

Mascara: Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara

Lips Evio Beauty lip pencil

Today I started testing both the LYS primer and the La Splash palette. The Eyeshadow palette, mascara and lip liner are completing their testing actually and I’m fairly certain I know how i feel about all of them. The Stila mascara and Evio lip liner are now in my new favorites category while the eyeshadow palette is a bit more complicated. Truthfully I may have to break it down shadow by shadow. Today I used Desert Sand over most of my lids and tried (with minimum degrees of success) to use the shimmer After Glow with it. Desert Sand was easy to work with but powdery and requiring a bit of clean up. After Glow was a bit of a pain. I think those are the last two shades I had to try in the palette. I’ll still play around with it this week, but my review should be up on Thursday if you want the full break down.

I went with one of my favorite Foundations today since I am testing a new primer. The No 7 Lift and Luminate does not disappoint. Plus I know how it works. And combining it with this primer, I could feel the gripping action of the primer. It didn’t prevent this foundation from applying the way I wanted it, but the gripping was noticeable. This is a serum foundation so that might have helped with application. I will be testing out different formulas with the primer over the test. I was surprised that the gripping was so noticeable during foundation application, so seeing how the different formulas perform with it will be interesting. I do like it with the serum style foundation though.

While bareMinerals always pulls through, the powder was especially helpful today in blending the LA Splash Blush. while the bronzer wasn’t all that pigmented, the blush made up for it in spades. It was clown cheek pink and took a while to blend. The issue is I think it might have blended itself out. Which might be my fault. After the light bronzer I was expecting light blush so I went with the brighter of the two blushes and might have been heavy handed. And then I might have blended too much. There are two blushes. The other is more neutral in tone. I might try that one tomorrow or just go into the bright one with a lighter hand to see what happens. There is a bronzer in the palette, but to be honest i can’t remember if I put it on. Or if it was destroyed with the blush blending. The blush sort of knocked everything else out of my brain. But I will be dipping back into the palette to see how it performs when I am not surprised by it.

And that was my look for the day. It got me through my shortened workday and part holiday and will no doubt last through my seed catalog flipping. once seeds arrive, I’ll probably start posting more regularly about the garden, but don’t worry, I’ll keep it separate and not mix it in with the daily so much. I just always get excited when the seed catalogs arrive.

The Daily: December 29th, 2021

Good afternoon my darlings. The rain has finally arrived. It is bucketing down and I am watching the temperature drop a few degrees at a time. It has been unseasonably warm and now with the rains, it is slowly getting back down to something that feels like normal for this time of year.

Disturbingly I have seen buds teased out on some of the trees in my yard. It concerns be because we are in December. I know we are going to have a least one hard cold in January or February. The trees just don’t seem to have gotten the message. Of course it was seventy degrees on Christmas day, so I don’t think they can be blamed for getting their wires crossed.

I’m actually thinking a lot about plants today because when i splashed my way to the mail box I found the seed catalogs have started to arrive. While it is way too early to start planting out, it is not too early to start dreaming of the garden that will be. I always find this part to be the most exciting. It is the building the garden in my mind phase.

In my head, all of the plats will thrive and not have to suffer through an invasion of caterpillars, the digging of squirrels or the concentrated attack by the local rabbit population. No, in my mind it is perfect and I will have an ocean of fresh veg for the house and kitchen.

Its a lot more work when you have to do it in real life, but it is a lot of fun to dream. Plus i love scouring the seed catalogs to find one thing that I’ve never grown or never even heard of in some cases, just to see if I can grow it and find a use for it. Last year I grew Mexican sour gherkins. They came in my the bucketful and were fantastic in salads. I pickled some in a sweet fridge pickle mix (vinegar, salt, sugar and a little bit of cilantro, I crushed the stems and used them rather than the leaves, it worked beautifully and gave me less kitchen waste). I will very much be planting them again this year. I just haven’t found next year’s surprise trial yet. I can’t wait to start looking. And it is quite a fun thing to do on a cold and rainy day. i can’t wait to see what i find this year.