Perfectly Beautiful Saturday

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With the first of our three day Fourth of July weekend, the weather here in Michigan couldn’t be any more perfect.  In fact ever since Wednesday this week it has been gorgeous including cooler nights and even a pretty solid and much needed rainfall in the wee hours Friday.

Spence and I choose to stay home on holiday weekends as the majority of the state heads “up north”.  The Great Lakes State, Michigan has much to offer the farther north you travel and it’s stunning.  However, there’s also traffic, construction and people pulling boats, jetskis and various other toys.  We’re retired and can travel anytime plus when everybody else leaves town, it’s quiet and laid back.

With a soft breeze, brilliant blue sky and fluffy white clouds drfting above us we’re enjoying the garden.  I picked the first 5 raspberries earlier, eating them right off the bush, like a bite of warm raspberry pie. In a bit, Spence will fire up the grill and I’ll open a bottle of wine and we’ll be chillin’.

Indeed, it’s a perfectly beautiful Saturday.

 

 

Travels in Aruba 2016 – part fifteen

On our October 2015 trip to Aruba, the spa at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts was undergoing renovation.  As we prepared for our trip in May, I perused the menu of services offered by their new Purun Spa.

At check-in, we were given a welcome packet including a discount on spa service. I reached out to Nicole in Guest Services/Concierge and set an appointment for a Purun Happy Island Massage.

Purun Happy Island Massage (Swedish w/ Hot stone):

A gentle stream of warm oil escapes the marble of Purun and reaches the center of energy of the body, followed by a hand and feet massage ending up in neck and face. This truly unique experience calms the nervous system by uniting mind and body.

 

I was ready for some pampering after a long day dragging around our carry-on luggage and being crammed into always-too-small seats on the plane.

After my arrival and check-in I was offered fruit-infused water or ginger tea; I opted for ginger tea – my personal favorite.

My massage therapist was Margarita who was just lovely and her Purun Happy Island Massage left me completely relaxed.

As I was checking out, I was given another discount on services if used before the end of our trip.  Not that I needed any incentive but I booked a facial for the following week on my birthday!

 

Purun Sensation Facial:

Experience a pleasant feeling with our facial of essences that will give you a fresh face that is smooth and toxin-free. This treatment helps to protect the skin from the elements of the environment such as stress and dehydration giving you purification, softness, and anti-aging hydration.

Once again, I had Margarita who gave me a relaxing and amazing facial.  My skin was so soft and hydrated that I think I left looking a few years younger than when I went in.

Needless to say, I would highly recommend the services at Purun Spa and plan to go back on our next trip (God willing) to Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort.

 

Sunday’s Blooms – May 29, 2016

 

In Michigan, we’ve had summer like temps but little to no rain. As a result, the garden is growing quickly, everyday yielding new blooms. This morning I was thrilled to see even more blooms in the garden, including my Dwarf Korean Lilac.

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Much to my surprise, under the lilac bush, I found two of the feral kittens born about seven weeks ago on our porch.  I imagine that the fragrance of the lilacs is relaxing for them.

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Clematis, one of three varieties I have around the garden
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This first of many Clematis blossoms to come
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The first of my poppies!

Lots of shades of purple and yellow abound.

As I strolled around this morning, I found several “volunteers” that I didn’t plant but am happy to see all the same.  My rule is, if it’s growing in a crack but it’s a flower, vegetable or herb – leave it be!

59 Candles, 59 Things – part fifty & end of this series

As I finish up the final two entries in this series, I’d like to thank those of you who’ve followed along. Your interest and comments on 59 Candles, 59 Things has been so appreciated and it’s made me happy to share it with you.  It’s reminded me that there are many things to be grateful for every day and that life provides moments large and small that offer happiness.  

Fifty eighth thing: The next thing that makes me happy will come as no surprise – retirement!  A few months ago, I passed the two year mark of my retirement and it has gone fast.  I knew I’d enjoy it but never would have expected to have accomplished so many things that I’d wanted to do nor would I have guessed how busy I would be.  The biggest bonus is getting to hang out with Spence every day.  That time together is a gift and something I longed for when I was working full-time. I’ve picked up new hobbies, traveled, read tons of books, tended my garden and cooked my way through these last two years. There is still much more to come (God willing) and I look forward to embracing every moment and smelling all the roses!

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Fifty ninth thing: For the final entry in this series, I’m choosing to be happy about getting older – and here’s 10 reasons why:

  1. I’ve recently marked my 60th birthday and 60 is the new 50!
  2. I have everything I need (and more)
  3. I’m pretty darn healthy and am taking steps to be healthier.
  4. I’m happily married.
  5. I can and do travel frequently.
  6. I’m able to garden vigorously.
  7. I still dance – mostly in the kitchen.
  8. I have many interests and hobbies that I’m exploring.
  9. I can snuggle with the cats in my pj’s till noon if I want.
  10. My alarm clock rarely is set.

Okay, I’m sure you were expecting something more profound in that list or for the final post for this series.  But truly, getting older does make me happy.  I’m wiser now but still feel like a kid most days.  Yeah, there are aches and pains, surgical scars and a pacemaker that I’ve picked up along the way but I’m still here.

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Still here, even if I’m a bit crispy.

Thank you for following this series, I’ve had a blast blogging about these things that make me happy! 

 

 

DIY Bath Products – part five – Homemade Shower Disks

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Let me start by saying I’ve never been particularly crafty. My creative outlets have been cooking, gardening and photography.

Retired and with an addiction to Pinterest, I’ve started to look for “recipes” in which I could make things using my essential oils.

For this project, I made these amazing shower disks. These can be placed on the bottom of the tub while showering, releasing the scent of the oils in the steam.

I plan to also drop them into baths. I love a good soak in the tub while reading, meditating or enjoying a glass or wine – or sipping a shot of liqueur.

Homemade Shower Disks – makes 6 

1 cup baking soda

1/3 cup water to start, be prepared to add more

essential oils – I choose eucalyptus, lavender and wintergreen

Mix baking soda and water until it’s thick like a paste.  I used a silicone muffin pan (spritzed with olive oil) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Turn the oven off. Remove and add your essential oils to each disk; I chose 3 drops eucalyptus, 2-3 drops lavender, 1-2 drops wintergreen onto each disk – it absorbs quickly.  Put the pan back in the oven to let them “cure” or dry a bit longer from the residual heat.

Store in a glass jar or in a ziplock bag.

DIY Bath Products – part four – Orange Honey Lotion Bars

The Michigan winter and forced air heat is drying and hard on our skin.  I started using coconut oil on my skin and recently to condition my hair but always wished it smelled a bit better. I’d been given solid lotion bars as gifts before – solid until they melt against your skin.  I’ve always wondered about making my own.

Fast forward to Pinterest where I discovered this “recipe”(courtesy of Thank Your Body).  It’s bitterly cold in Michigan so today’s the day. I’d purchased organic beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil and sweet orange essential oil as well as a silicone mold recently. Today, I dug out my trusty double boiler and am ready to roll – or melt.

Not pictured here, the honey and olive oil.
Not pictured here, the honey and olive oil.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Tablespoons of raw honey
2 ounces organic beeswax
2 ounces organic shea butter
2 ounces organic coconut oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 drops of organic sweet orange essential oil

Directions:
1. In a double boiler, melt together the beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil until they become liquid.

2. Turn the heat off and add the olive oil, honey, and essential oil drops. I warmed my honey first – make sure that it’s fully melted into the mix as it is the thickest component.

3. Pour liquified mixture into the molds.

The mold I purchased on Amazon.
The mold I purchased on Amazon.

4. Allow to set in a cool place for 7 to 8 hours, or pop in the fridge to speed up the process.

The bars are set, simply flip onto a plate - easy to do with silicone mold!
The bars are set, simply flip onto a plate – easy to do with silicone mold!

Not feeling 100% confident as to how these will turn out, I cut the recipe in half except I did use the full amount of essential oil.  It made 4 bars in the mold shown above, though I didn’t fill the molds to the very top.  The orange fragrance is very subtle even though I used the amount for a full – not half recipe.  Want a more scented bar? Simply increase the amount of essential oil.

The finished product!
The finished product!

To store these, keep them in little plastic containers in a cool place.  When you’re ready to use, rub a bar between your palms to soften with body heat then massage into your skin.

Cup of Tea, a poem by Spence’s Girl

Tipper, up close and personal.
Tipper, up close and personal.

Cup of Tea

When did it start, this morning ritual? Rising earlier than necessary to awaken slowly, sipping a cup of tea
Starting another day, snuggling with a purring cat. Comfort. Stillness.
Sleep frequently elusive, restless for years.
Sipping tea, a chance to reflect and be grateful if only for a few minutes each day.

Starting another day, snuggling with a purring cat. Comfort. Stillness.
Wish I could stay here all day and feel this perfect peace, away from all the craziness in the world
Sipping tea, a chance to reflect and be grateful if only for a few minutes each day.
So lucky am I, I see it now.

Wish I could stay here all day and feel this perfect peace, away from all the craziness in the world
Lost in thought, wrapped in a little cocoon of warm, soothing elixir, this tea.
So lucky am I, I see it now.
The day begins in a safe place of reflection, reminding me I’m blessed.

Lost in thought, wrapped in a little cocoon of warm, soothing elixir, this tea.
Sleep frequently elusive, restless for years.
The day begins in a safe place of reflection, reminding me I’m blessed.
When did it start, this morning ritual? Rising earlier than necessary to awaken slowly, sipping a cup of tea.

59 Candles, 59 Things -part twenty six

Thirty fourth thing:  In my series, 59 Candles, 59 Things, I’ve chosen to share those things that make me happy, commemorating my 59th year.

I love tea, specifically, hot tea. Never having been able to enjoy coffee (don’t judge), tea has been part of my daily life for at least thirty years.

Starting my day with tea is soothing. Even when I was working, I’d purposely get up an hour earlier than needed to have two cups of tea, Biscotti and Tipper (my cats in case you’re new to my blog) snuggling with me and often, with a few candles lit – especially on cold, dark winter mornings. In retirement, it remains a peaceful start to every morning.

True that!

I even wrote a poem about tea last year in writing class:

Cup of Tea

When did it start, this morning ritual? Rising earlier than necessary to awaken slowly, sipping a cup of tea
Starting another day, snuggling with a purring cat. Comfort. Stillness.
Sleep frequently elusive, restless for years.
Sipping tea, a chance to reflect and be grateful if only for a few minutes each day.

Starting another day, snuggling with a purring cat. Comfort. Stillness.
Wish I could stay here all day and feel this perfect peace, away from all the craziness in the world
Sipping tea, a chance to reflect and be grateful if only for a few minutes each day.
So lucky am I, I see it now.

Wish I could stay here all day and feel this perfect peace, away from all the craziness in the world
Lost in thought, wrapped in a little cocoon of warm, soothing elixir, this tea.
So lucky am I, I see it now.
The day begins in a safe place of reflection, reminding me I’m blessed.

Lost in thought, wrapped in a little cocoon of warm, soothing elixir, this tea.
Sleep frequently elusive, restless for years.
The day begins in a safe place of reflection, reminding me I’m blessed.
When did it start, this morning ritual? Rising earlier than necessary to awaken slowly, sipping a cup of tea.

In a world where there is more than enough stress to go around, tea relaxes me.

I have a shelf in my pantry dedicated to tea, however, this represents only half of the varieties I have in my cupboards.  Variety is good, right?

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Just a few types of tea on display…

There are days when I’m overstimulated by activity, the evening news or simply know that I’m not going to fall asleep easily.  Sleepytime, Tulsi Sleep or chamomile tea can be beneficial, calming me.

Words to live by, for sure.

What things make you happy?

I hope you’ll check out more of my 59 Things series, perhaps while enjoying a cup of tea….

59 Candles, 59 Things – part twenty five

 

Thirty-third thing: Spence builds a great, roaring fire and this, our first of the season makes me so happy. Before leaving for Aruba, we had wood delivered and our chimney swept.  As the temperature has dropped with two nights below freezing, tonight was the night to break it in.

The smell of our fireplace on a cold damp night used to be so welcoming after long days at work. Spence, retired for years, would have the fire set about 30 minutes before I returned home, a glass of wine poured and candles lit. After parking in our unattached garage, coming up the sidewalk and inhaling the aroma of burning wood filled me with anticipation and gratitude for a relaxing evening with my guy and our cats, Tipper and Biscotti.

Since retiring, it isn’t uncommon for us to get up on a wintry day with no need to go out into the bitter cold. Those days, we start a fire late morning and keep it blazing all day as we watch the swirling snow.

So many happy memories spent in our cozy little home enjoying the fireplace. It had to make the list of my 59 Candles, 59 Things.

This series, 59 Candles, 59 Things is my way to commemorate my 59th birthday earlier this year by sharing things that make me happy. I’d love it if you’d check out more of this series, under Categories, click 59 Things.