There are certain things I will truly miss about New Jersey when I am back in my alternately scorching and sweltering home state. Cool, hidden pockets of summer greenery in this neck of the woods, for one. Leaves so thick on the branches that the light does not pass through. Ivy coiled loosely around a neighbor’s lamplight. Vines knotted and tangled and trailing down a rotted wooden fence. Grass cuttings strewn across the sidewalk on a Saturday morning after everyone has gotten up early to mow their lawns. There is so much green it makes my heart hurt a little and my eyes burn a bit, in the very best sort of way.
And the flowers, oh the flowers. They are beautiful blooming breakers of hearts as well.
Coffret de médecine sounds much more romantic, less utilitarian than plain old “medicine cabinet”, don’t you think? I was inspired to clean out all the glunky and gross products that had been sitting around for much too long when I read verhext’s “coming up roses” post a few months back. Well. While I was inspired in March, it’s taken me until July to do anything about it! Better late than never, I always say.
I myself have not yet reached the point where I am ready to switch to all-natural products, though there are quite a few I have been using for a while now: the arnica gel & aloe vera for bruises, soreness, aches and burns; melatonin and Bach remedies for sleep and anxiety, and tea tree, rosehip seed and jojoba oils for a skin regimen. I suppose I should look into replacing the other items but for now they work and I’ve always belonged to the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” camp. One thing I am particularly keen to find is a nice tinted moisturizer that’s not full of awful things. I had been using a version from Laura Mercier that worked nicely , but $42 for such a small tube didn’t seem like the wisest investment. I then stumbled across the Sonia Kashuk version that I liked even more and it’s a third of the price. It’s really quite perfect (except for the ingredients), but I am certainly open to suggestions – so if you’ve got any, please send them my way!
Next I need to find a better organizational system for the rest of my cosmetics and face paint. Coffee mugs and sake cups perched precariously on the back of the commode are not an ideal system!
After that I will move on to tackling the smelly portion of things. I don’t even know where to begin with this! I’ve got perfume samples scattered willy-nilly all over the place; hidden in nooks and crannies and underfoot and sometimes they even turn up in pockets or marking pages in books! This will not do, of course.
Unfortunately, organization is not something that interests me in the least. I am not someone who gets excited about lists, or calendars or even watches. I am pretty sure I would literally die of boredom in The Container Store. This is going to be A Long, Drawn Out Production, I am sure of it.
I obviously need some painless organizational tips and tricks. What have you got? Feel free to show me your own cabinets and cupboards – trust me, there is no one nosier than me…I am always intensely interested in other people’s stuff!
I am neither a huge fan or coconut, nor ice cream. Apparently it’s pretty weird not to be a an ice cream fanatic, but such is my lot in life, I suppose.
On a 100°+ day in July, however when the AC is scarcely cooling a small darkened corner of the house, something well-iced and creamy and perhaps eaten standing right in front of the opened freezer door does not sound like such a bad idea.
I picked up a small Krups ice cream maker on a whim a few years back when I had made it a daily habit to read food blogs. During that point in time quite a few frivolous kitchen gadgets found their way into my cupboards and though some of them might have been rather esoteric and rarely see the light of day, I will staunchly defend herr Krups, as I have gotten some excellent use out of the little fellow.
That first year we had several lemon sorbets and a dark chocolate chip and fresh mint ice cream; the next year even more lemon ices and vanilla custard ice cream and a wonderful dulce de leche ice cream. I don’t think I used it at all, last year, but this afternoon seemed like a good time to dust it off, survey the ingredients at hand, and give it another whirl.
This is a very loose recipe, the measurements were mostly eye-balled. This is also dairy-free, but I suppose one could use heavy cream if one were feeling particularly decadent. I myself was feeling frugal, and almond milk was what I had on hand.
1 can of coconut milk,
4 limes, juiced and zested
1/2 -3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (any sweetener will, even agave or similar)
pinch cardamom (I should have used more)
Heat the almond milk and sugar in a saucepan until sugar is melted. Cool. In a blender, whiz together coconut milk, lime juice, almond milk-sugar mixture, most of lime zest (reserve some for garnish) and cardamon.
Once blended, cover and place in a refrigerator for an hour or so, until thoroughly chilled. Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve softly frozen, or transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 week.
I don’t find this to be very coconut-y, which is just as well for my tastes, but certainly shredded coconut or coconut powder could be added for more coconut flavor. Were I to make this again, I would definitely add more cardamom and maybe steep a piece of fresh ginger in the sugar mixture but discard it before blending.
A gift of an esoteric, secret lady language from Miss Lau… Did you know that twirling your fan in the left hand indicates “I wish to be rid of you”? No? Well, this is useful information to have on hand! Thanks for the package, Miss Lau…I love everything!
People say that long ago the dead held a service on the night before Christmas. Once a woman arrived too early for Christmas service. When she entered the church she found it lit up and full of dead people, singing:
Here we sing, our bones all bleached,
Here we sing with beautiful voice,
When shall the day of judgment come,
What yet have you to say?
The story continues on as the woman recognizes her dead sister among the congregation. Warned by her sister that she must flee, for the dead will take her life, the woman escapes, dropping her shawl behind her to confuse her cadaverous pursuers. When the churchwarden arrives on Christmas morning and puts the lights on, he spies the shawl in the empty chapel, torn almost beyond recognition.
This tale is widely spread in Europe and is extremely old, having been set in Autun, Burgandy, by Gregory of Tours in his De Gloria Confessorum. See below for an illustrated version of the best-known Scandinavian variant of this migratory legend, “The Midnight Mass of the Dead” from Asbørnsen’s “En gammelgags juleaften” (“An Old Fashioned Christmas Eve”). These wonderfully evocative images, full of dim shades, grim shadows and midwinter’s eerie light, were created by brilliant artist Chris Van Allsburg (Jumangi, The Polar Express) and can be found in “Ghosts” volume from the Time Life Enchanted Worldseries. These scans are from my personal collection; higher-resolution, more detailed versions can be found here.
Wishing you peace and light in this dark, dying time of the year, and may you not be without your shawl or other talisman this winter holiday when the dead are afoot and hungry for your company.