Monday, August 12, 2013

Hippy(ie) Medicine

First of all, let me just say that I have no qualms with hippies. In fact, I admire their complete disregard for all things mainstream and general go-with-the-flow attitude towards life. And I am always happy to try out the beat of a different drummer

And let me just say that the ambiguous spelling of the word hippy(ie), as in flower child and not hips like a truck, truck, truck, is sort of making me a little neurotic this morning. It apparently started out being spelled hippy and then was changed to hippie. But, I'm a curmudgeon stuck in the old ways of things, so I'm using hippy. So, there!

Now that is out of the way. I have just begun a month-long trial of introducing two life-style habits, homeopathic cures, hippy(ie) medicine--I really don't know what to call them--into my routine.


Here's why:

About my Freshman/Sophomore year of high school, I, out of the blue, developed a patch of eczema on the back of my scalp. I had never had eczema before--neither had anyone in my family. My mother (a nurse) would put tea tree oil and various other things on it, before it got so unbearable I went to the dermatologist. He gave me a medicine that would control it, but never cleared it up completely. I would have flare-ups. But then I would also have days and weeks where it would clear up before returning with a vengeance. Things went like this until about three years ago, when in addition to the patch on my scalp, I developed a patch in my ear. Yes, in my ear canal. Talk about misery?? I still had a stock of medicine left from my days as a dependent on my parents' health insurance, and I have hoarded that stuff since, using it only in extreme cases. About a year ago, the patch on my scalp cleared up completely and never returned until this summer. But this time, it came back on the other side of my scalp. My other ear is also showing signs of beginning to break out.

I am in full-on attack mode. The dermatologist is a last resort, as I plan to wait until next summer when W will be working and we will finally have decent health insurance. Isn't it ironic that the med student and his wife can't afford healthcare!?

So, back to my hippy(ie) medicine.

I am an avid internet-er. I follow multiple news outlets on various social medias and just love to click links and read articles on various and sundry. Algae taking over the planet? Fascinating. Burial ground in Bedlam unearthed? Can't get enough. What does Rachel Antonoff's top shelf in her bathroom contain? Gotta know!


It was during one of these clickfests that I stumbled upon a website/blog--I can't even remember at this point--where some algae-eating hippy(ie) was talking about how she gargled coconut oil every morning and it cleared up every single skin ailment she had ever had and hasn't had any since.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I don't know that she eats algae--I don't even know if that's possible or safe. But, wouldn't it be convenient to help with the algae-taking-over-the-world problem referenced above? I also don't know that she was a hippy(ie).

So, anyways, she religiously swished coconut oil for about 20 minutes every morning and ITS MAGIC, PEOPLE. Or, apparently, it is. I figured, why the heck not?

Last week, I bought the expensive, all natural, all organic, all toxin free, pressed-straight-from-the-coconut-pulp oil and stared at it for about 5 days before I finally worked up the nerve to gargle with it. I'm a texture person, as in, I can't stand the texture of slimy things like yogurt, oatmeal and certain fruits. Plus, I really don't like the smell of coconut and this stuff REEKED. I wasn't really sure how much to use, so I decided to start with a teaspoon full. Of course, coconut oil is solid, so you have to melt it in your mouth first before you swish. I barely got half of the teaspoon in, so I used the remaining oil as moisturizer on my legs and arms and now I can't escape the coconut smell. That was a big mistake that I will not be making again. The swishing really wasn't that bad. Once it melts, it feels like olive oil. And I could drink certain olive oils--like guzzle. Especially, this one. So, I swished and swished--but not for 20 minutes. When you spit it out, you are supposed to scrape your tongue or else you will just keep swallowing the remaining oil. Easy peasy.

(By the way, I also have tried the coconut oil topically on my ear and scalp. It sort of helped, but it kept coming back.)

Then, came the other hippy(ie) medicine: apple cider vinegar. You read everywhere--or at least, I do--about people drinking apple cider vinegar each morning. Just like the hot water with lemon, it is supposed to really jump start your body/health/metabolism/day. Apple cider vinegar is an alkaline that is supposed to get your body's pH to the right level. This is of course supposed TO BE MAGIC, TOO. The one thing that people always say about drinking apple cider vinegar is the wonderful effects it has on the skin. I figured it was worth a try. I am trying to work my way up to a full tablespoon. Right now, I'm at a teaspoon. I also have read to swish the vinegar before swallowing as it apparently whitens your teeth. I will be trying that out as well.

And just so you know, Mrs. Bonnie, who was married to Mr. Bobbie, and who both drove the van at the daycare that I went to for the first 8 years of my life, drank apple cider vinegar every morning. And, I'm not talking a teaspoon or tablespoon of the stuff. We are talking half a mason jar full that I watched in amazement as she sipped it like sweet tea every morning. Mrs. Bonnie was way ahead of the times and trends. OR, she was just a hippy(ie). 


Today marks the first day of my hippy(ie) medicine trial. I am going to try it out for a month and see if I notice any benefits at all. I will let you know!

At the end of the month, if the eczema continues with little sign of improvement, I am going to try something drastic and heartbreaking. I am going to remove dairy completely from my diet for an entire month. When I went gluten-free back in March, I was hoping/praying/wishing that not only would my stomach problems clear up but that my eczema would as well. No luck. I have read lots of places that dairy can be the culprit. I really hope that isn't the case, because I would totally marry cheese and run away with it to some faraway land to raise little cheese babies. Fo-real.

DISCLAIMER: I do not in any way endorse/suggest/recommend that anyone else attempt these hippy(ie) medicines. Please contact your medical doctor before attempting either of the above. And, don't tell him/her that I told you to do it!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Saying Yes and Recipes

Dear readers, I have been so good at saying yes this week! (Disclaimer: I've only technically said it twice and one of these was more of me just doing my duty rather than saying yes, but I'm getting there!)

Although it has been another hell-week for me at work, I have tried my darndest to not let that interfere with life after 5. I probably royally sucked that up on Monday and Tuesday. In fact, I KNOW I did. I was pouty and miserable Monday--not to mention hungry. I mean, for real, do not mess with me when I'm hungry. Monday was yet another day when The Universe decided to work against me. I got an email about professional life stuff that was more than disappointing--it was kind of heartbreaking. The printer delivered 700 invitations ($1,100 worth!)--700 INCORRECT invitations. I needed these invitations the next day so that the 10 volunteers I had scheduled to show up would have something to stuff in the 700 envelopes that were correct. (It all worked out in the end.) And something else happened, but I think I erased it permanently from memory, so you are spared that grief. I got home ready to commiserate but W had had a pretty rough day, too. And after a solid 10 days of him waking up at 4am, I decided to cut him some slack, plastered on a happy face and made him some southern delicacies.

We're talking white rice, cayenne pepper fried porkchops (I use brown rice flour #GFbaby), stewed zucchini and onions and corn on the cob. He was a happy man.

Fuzzy, but cuuuuuute!

Tuesday royally sucked. There's nothing like having to deal with crappy neighbors whose trees keep falling on your property. These neighbors also happen to be the (boy scouts), so you think trees and nature and destroying things would be right up there alley. Apparently not. Then, I had to spend all day with a bunch of women, who are great, really, but sometimes a bit much. My brain was mush and I'd been treated like a dumb intern all day rather than the ED that they pay me to be. So, I was little on edge and very cranky. Also: HUNGRY.

W and I decided our favorite Mexican would be a nice cure. He was sort of right. It was good and filling, but I sort of kept up the pouting for the rest of the night.

Wednesday was pretty much a repeat of Tuesday, except when W got home at 5:30, he said: We are going on a boat ride. Let's go.

And I saluted, "Aye, aye!" And went to change. The boat ride was lovely. It was overcast and moody. Sometimes, there's just nothing better than moody mountains. I fit right in! Y'all, I probably would have foregone the boat ride. I wasn't feeling very fit for human interaction, but I faked it like a champ. Windblown hair and windburned cheeks made me happy that its still summer even though all anyone can talk about is fall. And, I'm like, people!?! We just got here!! Don't you remember the winter that lasted through the first week of April? Let's leave summer alone. We've still got a month and a half left!

I've been darkening my brows since they are non-existent. I haven't plucked my brows since high school.

So, my next example isn't really a great one, because it wasn't so much about saying yes as it was about fulfilling my expected Junior League duties. I met with the communication committee last night and it was fun and exciting! I am one of the two newsletter editors, which I love. I am looking forward to my pseudo-leadership role in the league. This is why I joined. Its all about the small groups and committees--that is where you meet people and really connect. Also, I had the brilliant--if I do say so myself--idea to create a grandma meme to attract a younger generation. Who doesn't love memes featuring grandmas?? Tell me, who!?

Now, I will leave you with some of my favorite recipes. I get asked all the time for recipes, and I've barely talked my lazy ass into sharing them, but I'm feeling motivated right, this, moment. Momentum forward!

French Lentils
I made this up but it is based on an actual recipe that I tweeked a bit. These are delish!
Dice up (small--not fine) one small onion, 1-2 carrots and one celery stalk. (Celery isn't my favorite, so I only do one. You could do as much or little of both of these as you want.)
Mince one clove of garlic.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven.
Sautee without browning the onion, carrots and celery until soft. 5-10 minutes depending on how you like your veg/how high your burner is.
Add the garlic for the last minute of sauteeing the veg.
While the veg is sauteeing, rinse 1.5 cups of lentils (I used green but you can use whatever) in very hot water. You can even bring water to a boil, take it from the heat and throw in the lentils for a few minutes. I'm not sure what this does, but I find the lentils done this way don't hurt my stomach as much.
Once the lentils have been rinsed/soaked and your veg have sauteed, throw the lentils in with the veg and sautee for a minute.
Add 1/3 cup red wine. (DO THIS. ITS THE BEST PART. NO QUESTION.)
Stir around.
Add 4-6 cups of chicken broth, a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Simmer 15-20 minutes until desired tenderness.
Holy Moly. I eat it like a soup. YUM. Enjoy!

I ate mine with some fresh spinach and shaved parm. Perfect.

Quick Marinara
I think I got this from Gwyneth. Yeah, Paltrow, because we are tight. Not really. I saw it on goop, but I don't think I make it exactly like her's.
You need as many tomatoes as sauce you want to make.
For a single serving (which I made quickly for lunch one day), I used a large orange/yellow heirloom tomato that I chopped roughly.
I diced up 1/4 of a medium onion and minced a small clove of garlic.
I heated up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauteed the garlic and onion for a few minutes. Don't brown them.
Then, I threw in some crushed red pepper flakes, a dash or two of dried oregano and then the chopped tomato.
I let it all sautee about 5-8 minutes until the tomatoes started to break down.
Then, I tossed in my al-dente (GF) pasta and let it soak up the yummy goodness for a minute or 2.
Then I tossed in some chopped basil, salt and pepper.
I garnished it with a few slices of yummy mozzarella and some parmesan cheese. (Garnish with cheese off the heat so it doesn't separate.)

Target has the best GF noodles--their Archer Farms brand.
Stewed Tomatoes 
Roughly chop 4-5 (or however much you want to make) large red (or heirloom) tomatoes. Place the tomatoes and 3-4 tablespoons of butter in a pan. Stew on medium heat (so they are bubbling) for 45-60 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a dash or two of sugar. ENJOY. With rice. On top of butter beans. On toast. On bread. On eggs. On grits. ON EVERYTHING.

The beginnings of the best stewed tomatoes ever.

You need to make these IMMEDIATELY. They are called Cowboy Candy. They are jalapenos that you pickle in sugar. They are firey hot but sweet at the same time. Incredible. We like to eat them on crackers with cream cheese.

Cowboy Candy above (my mom made them with yellow jalapenos) and cukes with cream cheese, red onion, smoked salmon, dill and lemon below. Hors'devours we had when my parents visited this weekend.

I also made these curried chick peas. Yum.

And, finally, I leave you with the piece de resistance. Scott Peacock's Fried Okra Pancakes. We made this last weekend when my parents were here. W doesn't approve of okra--I know, I swear he isn't southern either--so we made them with grated zucchini. OMG. There is no picture because they didn't last long enough. BUT MAKE THEM. IMMEDIATELY. And serve them with some Japanese mayo (mayo mixed with sriracha).

Have a great weekend! I look forward to saying lots of YESES!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer Projects

 First thing's first...

Girl's Night Out was a huge success!  We danced to JT, ate good food, and believe it or not... we actually ran into a few familiar faces.  Oh, and if I may say so myself, our dresses made a pretty cute duo.

In other news, I've been working on a few projects around the new place, and I thought I would share one.  J recently turned an old glider into a tree swing... which made outside time (our favorite) increase drastically.  However, with the added outside time being under a tree near a high traffic walking path, it didn't necessarily create the private lawn seating we'd hoped.  We still love it, but I decided to make a new seating area closer to the door so we can escape from Code Red and other crazies quicker than two shakes of a lamb's tail.

(There's a hint to my favorite movie hidden in that last sentence.)  :)

We have two concrete benches on our front stoop that I thought would serve well as a little reading nook.  It's also covered... so we could even sit out there during a peaceful drizzle (my favorite reading backdrop).  I just needed it to be comfy and cozy, and I had a long way to go!

Here's the before:

I decided to make two cushions for the benches.  You may not know this, but memory foam sold in craft stores might as well be gold.  It is CRAZY expensive.  Luckily, J and I had an old queen size mattress topper we were going to donate to the dumpster (due to the inevitable sink hole it created when two people attempted sleep at the same time).  I convinced J to help me measure the benches and cut the foam to fit Saturday.  By Saturday evening, I had a new seating area.

Tools needed:
- an old mattress topper or egg crate
- outdoor fabric
-razor blade
-measuring tape
-sewing gear

I'm a bit of a spastic seamstress, so I don't do well with patterns.  I just laid the foam on top of the fabric and cut about two inches from the outline.  (I needed enough to cover the thickness of the padding, but I still wanted the fabric to be relatively taught.)  Once the fabric was cut, I turned it inside out, pinned down the edges, and started sewing.  See, spastic.  I don't measure with these types of things...  I just go for it.  As long as I'm only working with basic pillows and such... it normally turns out.  Normally.  I had both the cushions finished before dinner, and in plenty of time for a little evening enjoyment.  By far the quickest, most satisfying project I've ever done.

I was lucky enough to find this fabric 1/2 off at a local fabric shop in Charleston.  I purchased 5 yards for both cushions and two pillows, and I still have left over!  The cost for these pretty little things came to a grand total of $33!  I'm a happy girl.  The benches measured 5ft long and 15 inches deep.  This mattress top allowed plenty of foam for both benches, and I even have left over to make the pup a new bed.  Score.

Puppy helped out a little, too!

The Afters:

I added a new door mat, succulents, and even made a few pillows to match.
The yellow fabric is from an old embroider skirt I had!  Talk about repurposed goods.

Isn't it cozy out there!  Now, I just need to convince the landlord to pressure wash the front of the house.  I'm also working on sewing a flag for the front post... I'll keep you updated on that project as it progresses.  :)

Late night reading with a fresh pitcher of Sangria
I've been spending MAJOR time on my stoop these past few days.  It's been in the low 70's/ high 60's in the evenings, and I cannot seem to get enough of the outdoor time.

Here's a recipe of Sangria that pairs well with the cool summer nights...


- 1 bottle of red wine (Whatever you have on hand.  I used Pino and mixed in a glass of Malbec)
- 1/2 cup Triple Sec
- 1 peach, diced
- 1 orange, sliced in wedges
- 1 apple, diced
- 1 nectarine, diced

Let chill for at least an hour, and enjoy!

Are you working on any summer projects?


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Come Fly With Me

You may recall from our very first post that Bri and I attended a Girl's Night Out party last year.  Well, dear readers, the time has come again for yet another Girl's Night Out.  Girl's Night is a pretty sweet party that benefits the YWCA, an empowering woman's program here in Charleston.  They fight for everything from domestic violence awareness to racial justice and even equal pay! The event was a blast last year, but this year... I'm even more excited to attend.  

The theme is "Come Fly With Me"... 1940's, 50's, and 60's.  (yay!)

Here's a little peek at what I'll be wearing:

This emerald green hat dug up from a dusty shelf at the Antique Mall in South Charleston

What's the 50's without clip on's, right??  These were a mere $4 at Bri's favorite shop, Stray Dog Antiques.  (I'm still deciding if I want to wear the pin)
Believe it or not, I bought this dress 2 years ago at a thrift store.  I had no idea where I would wear it, but it was love at first sight.

I'm in the process of styling my hair now... Let's hope this roller set makes me look like Betty Draper. 

Here's to fun nights in strange cities!  :)