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This one is so easy-peezy there are only a few steps!
Here's what you need-
-white distilled vinegar
-spray bottle, preferably re-used
Here's what you do-
1) Eat lots of oranges- save the peels!
2) Store the peels in a mason jar until the jar is full
3) Pour vinegar over the citrus peels
4) Let sit for a few days to a week to let the citrus peels infuse the vinegar
5) After the wait period, open the jar, strain the peels from the vinegar, and pour the citrus infused vinegar into your spray bottle.
6) Use to clean your bathroom, your kitchen, or anything else you would use a vinegar solution to clean. Hooray!
Thanks for reading!
Today, J- and I made dog food from scratch.
Yes, our dogs are spoiled.
But also, our poodle, Tobi, is getting older and has been unable to digest hard food, and our springer-lab mix Lily has been suffering from skin rashes! We have been buying refrigerated dog food (affectionately called "chicken log," or "dog bologna") but find that it is just way TOO expensive to feed both dogs- especially Lily, our mixed breed pup who needs over a pound of food a day.
Well, this doesn't save us way too much money, but we think it is the desirable alternative to dry kibble and chicken log.
Here's the breakdown-
1) Dog food needs to be 50% LEAN protein. Chicken, Turkey, Beef, and Pork. Dogs cannot digest too much fat and it will give them diarrhea. Also, giving dogs organ meat is extremely healthy. For this weeks batch we bought lean ground beef.
2) 25% needs to be a starch. Whole oats, brown rice, or mashed potatoes. We used brown rice. You need to overcook the starch just a little bit so that it is easier for your pet to digest. (Added bonus- I made double the brown rice we would need and fired up some fried rice with veggies for me and my honey's dinner.)
3) The other 25% needs to be fruits and veggies. There are lots of fruits and veggies that dogs cannot eat! It is important that you do the research before you feed anything to your dog. (This recipe included! I did a lot of research before I started making them food!) Tonight we used carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach. To prepare the vegetables, you need to boil them until soft and then puree in a blender. Dogs can't digest veggies as well as meat, so it's important to go ahead and break it down.
4) A complete doggy multi-vitamin! Make sure it has calcium! Several sources suggested adding bonemeal- J and I just decided to buy a multivitamin with calcium. This way you can be sure your doggies are getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need. Most commercially produced dog food does include vitamin supplements.
Josh and I feel really good that we can eat what our doggies are eating. And they loved it! J tried it and said it was bland- but that's okay. Most spices will upset your dogs stomach, and dogs have a different palate than us humans... so it doesn't taste bad to them!
Remember, please do your own research before making your own dog food. I am just sharing my own thoughts and recipes here.
Thanks for reading, and good luck!
There's kind of a funny story behind this Christmas gift from my mom. When I was a small child, my uncle gave me a really cool counter-top sprout grower- like the one pictured above- and my mom and I would grow our own sprouts to put on salads and sandwiches. Cool, right? Well, when I got my first place, I inquired to my mother about said sprout grower, which my mom said she was currently using. Oh NO! How would I grow my own sprouts? Well, for a couple of years my mom and I joked and joked about when I was going to get my sprout grower back (never) and that maybe I would just burglarize the sprouting trays.
On Christmas day, I opened a big box from my mom with a brand-spankin-new Biosta Sprouting Kit! So excited! I just put my first batch in the trays and I can already see little sprouts a-growin!
About 5 days later and Hooray! These sprouts are ready for eatin'!
Salads and sandwiches watch out!
Thanks for reading!
Most of the beautiful, smart, and intelligent women I know suffer from anxiety and perfectionism.
Don't get me wrong, striving for the best in life and work is not a bad thing. It only becomes bad when it affects your ability to enjoy the fruits of your labor. When you are always nagging yourself or holding yourself back because you can't meet your own standards.
I had to take the time to learn to take it easy on myself, and it took totally re-wiring my brain and the way I thought.
The other day, I was thinking about all the cool things that I know how to do that I don't ever sit down and do, because I make excuses for why I am unable to do them. I can't sit down and make jewelry because I don't have the right kind of wire. I can't sit down and draw because my drawing board is broken... etc. When really I can make do with the wire I have, and I don't really need a drawing board to draw in a smaller sketchbook. This kind of thinking can really hold a girl back!
At the same time, I like to do things properly, I like a polished finished product. Learning to balance! Being able to change my thought process to a more positive one has really helped with my anxiety and general worrying.
BE POSITIVE! It's hard now to listen to negativity, especially when I recognize my old way of thinking.... it's like putting on an old pair of jeans you used to wear when you were in high school before you got your hips. Uncomfortable. Naggy and tight. Who needs that?
Here's how I did it-
1) Whenever a negative thought came up- I purposefully came up with the opposite thought. I will never be able to lose weight? I should just stop trying? Instead I would tell myself that I am becoming healthier with my choices, and my weight is less important. Boyfriend must not love me because he stayed out later than he originally said? That is just silly! Boys are independent and allowed to have friends... the less I nag about spending time with friends, the more comfortable he feels with me and the more time he will want to spend with me. (Yes, these are actual thought conversations I would have with myself.)
2) I surround myself with positive people. Negativity is like fleas! One of my best friends is a girl who helped me through some really hard times by thinking positively for me. She would remind me that I am very lucky and ultimately was one of the major reasons I have been able to stop thinking so negatively. It's almost like she trained my brain! (Tnanks KK!)
3) Seriously. Find a hobby. Generations of wise old folks aren't wrong! It's so important to have something you enjoy doing that can help you escape and FIND BALANCE. For me, that's gardening. For a friend, it might be reading science-fiction. For my boyfriend, it might be playing video games.
4) Another Seriously. Practice what you preach. When you walk the walk, it doesn't have to be on the path that everyone else thinks it should be. But if you dislike the treatment of industrially raised animals for meat consumption- I bet you would feel 100X better about yourself if you just abstained from eating meat. And stuck to it! It is an accomplishment you should feel proud of.
I still wonder what people think about me, agonize over every word in a paper, and I still restrain from doing some of the things I would like, but it has been so important for me to tone it down a little bit and just enjoy myself!
Thanks for reading!
It's no secret that I love to garden. Lavender is one of my favorites, but the first time I was given a lavender plant I accidentally killed it. I was a gardening newb- I made the mistake of leaving it in the pot it came in, which had poor drainage, and the plant became root-bound and also slowly drowned. Oops. I like to think I've learned from my mistakes.
So when I saw this beautiful, full, blooming lavender plant for sale I bought it, took it home, and re-potted it right away.
I put it on the bedside table between the bed and the window. My boyfriend is now having to deal with me sticking my face into a plant every night before bed- sorry babe.
I can't help it! It smells so good. I can't wait to harvest the blooms and dry them for potpurri or tea... or cupcakes.
Thanks for reading!
2013 was a big year for me, a year which I learned and grew to find confidence and self esteem. I began the year completely doubting myself and full of anxiety and ended it 18 lbs lighter with a 4.0 my first semester of graduate school.
So what happened?
For starters, I began to set small, SPECIFIC goals for myself, and I tried to not be such a perfectionist. I learned how to be gentle with myself. I also began trying to spend more time holding myself accountable to MYSELF. Keeping promises to myself, instead of keeping my promises to everyone else. Easier said than done, it's true. I made the resolutions, the promises to myself, to move away from processed foods and try to eat whole, unprocessed foods, to not give up applying for graduate school, to begin moving towards all-natural beauty and cleaning products, and to choose to have a good attitude (The latter two I will talk about in future posts.)
I kept my promises to myself to stop buying processed "healthy" (and not-so-healthy) snack foods like granola bars, chips, pretzels, and crackers, and rice cakes, and kept fresh fruit available at all times. Grabbing an apple or an orange instead of a granola bar is not only less calories... but so much less junk (ie- flours, additives, preservatives, sugars, etc.) floating around your digestive system. Along the same note I tried to incorporate more vegetables into my daily meals.
For example- I work 5-8 hour shifts at a retail store downtown Charleston. There are restaurants and take out places on every corner! I began to take my lunch to work every shift, and pack a salad as my main course. This is important because instead of clocking out to go spend money I didn't have on cheap and unhealthy take out (the healthier take-out food is way expensive, of course), I will sit up at the front register and eat my salad, soup, etc., and if I continue to be hungry I will also have brought with me 2-3 apples or a bag of carrots to munch on. Especially working retail, its easy to get bored and want to munch- it's the worst. I try to stay prepared. (As a side note- I began to find that people in the shop would make comments about my healthy eating. Either encouraging or disparaging... "Good for you, girl!" or "What, are you a rabbit or something?" If the tone was negative, sometimes I would make a pithy remark about "Kale being nature's broom..." or something. I was definitely surprised about this aspect of healthy eating in public!)
At first I was taking the same salad to work every day and still eating my normal junk at home... Diet sodas, fast food- but It was a start. Now I try to cook vegan and vegetarian meals to keep in the fridge during the week, so when I get off of work/get out of class I have rice and beans, I have soup, I have homemade bread, cheese, vegetables, and fruit, so that way I can MINIMIZE weeknight cooking. I love to cook, don't get me wrong. But ain't nobody got TIME for THAT. Feel me?
I have steadily lost 18 pounds over the course of the year- at 5'10" in Jan. 2013 I weighed in at 158 lbs, and as of this morning I weighed 140.2 lbs! I feel great and am going to start incorporating regular exercise into my routine as part of my 2014 resolution.
Getting into graduate school was also huge milestone for me. I really needed the support of my loving boyfriend J- to push me forward. Once I took the GRE and applied I was convinced that I would never get accepted and that I should go ahead and just start looking for a permanent job. But guess what? I was accepted. Conditionally- but it was a foot in the door! I vowed to myself to have a good attitude, to be disciplined, and to keep ahead of my work. That didn't always happen, but I made the most valiant of efforts!
What was most helpful to me, as far as completing assignments, was setting up a work area in our otherwise unused second room. I set up a modest desk and chair, decorated it with family pictures and my favorite- succulents and orchids- and made it a space I would want to sit. And sit I did! Instead of sleeping in on my days off or on days I worked the night shift, I got up by 8 or 9 AM, made coffee, and sat down to get some reading done! (Anyone considering grad school- READING READING READING. And when you're eyes have turned red, and you think you can read NO more, you will have at least one more chapter.)
I made straight A's, gained full acceptance into the program, and really, TRULY, felt as if I was doing something worthwhile. I felt right. I feel right. And, I feel grateful on a daily basis.
It takes hard work to change old habits! I will be the first one to admit this. I think that the secret is finding realistic, SPECIFIC goals that you can work towards. Specificity is easier to follow through with- it's a lot harder to resolve to eat healthier than it is to resolve to buy fresh fruit at the store instead of crackers. It's a lot harder to say you are going to make straight A's in school than it is to resolve to wake up at 8 every morning and complete at least one assignment.
Here are some pictures to leave you with. Because of my height, I carry my weight better than shorter folks, so I don't have very good before and after pics. I think you can see it in my face, though. Also- top left is a picture I sent my grandmother on my first day of grad school.
Thanks for reading!
I don't know how trite it is to say beginning (and following through with) this blog is somewhat of a new years resolution.
See, I come from the School of Hard Knocks, where I've had to learn everything the hard way. But I think I'm better for it. I have had to learn how to take care of myself, on a budget, while working my way through my undergraduate degree; and now my graduate degree.
But hey! It's not all bad! I'm very grateful for the opportunities that I've been given, as well as the keen wit I used to recognize an opportunity when I see one. (More like a supportive boyfriend who helps me be strong and pushes me towards what I want, instead of the keen wit. Well, a little bit of keen wit. A girl can dream, right?)
What I want out of this is to document what I've learned and what I continue to learn about living beautifully, naturally, and healthfully on a budget and on a major time crunch. I will also share ideas and thoughts I have, here and there.
I am working on a plan.