Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Eau de Cologne 4711

There's only one perfume I associate with my mother ... and it's not actually perfume, but Eau de Cologne 4711. It's the only fragrance she ever buys ... and likely can name. A bottle of it is always on her dresser.

Perfumes and fragrances aren't really my thing. I prefer clean botanical scents, and it's perhaps why I, too, like her cologne. As it turns out, the eau de toilette is German and very old! How old you may ask?

Eau de Cologne was first mixed in 1709 by an Italian perfume maker, Giovanni Maria Farina, who was living in Cologne Germany. Its citrus notes reminded him of "daffodils and orange blossoms in the mountains of Italy on a spring morning after a rain." His recipe was real perfume and, reportedly, became popular throughout the royal houses of Europe. Royalty could afford to buy it. 

Due to legal troubles {Was selling and thus buying the formula valid?}, the Farina name was dropped in the 18th century, and the "perfume" or more accurately the scented toilet water was renamed Eau de Cologne 4711, after the Cologne factory street address at Glockengasse N. 4711 which still produces both versions of the fragrances today and also has turned into a museum. In fact, the original Farina formula was tweaked by Wilhem Mülhens, a later 18th-century Cologne perfumer, and it is he who was responsible for exporting Eau de Cologne 4711 to Paris, France, and Stralsund, Germany eventually creating its worldwide and centuries of commercial success. By this time, non-royals could buy some!
Some of the ways you can wear 4711.

So why do my mother, I, and countless others like it? A splash is clean, refreshing, and invigorating. My Oma (grandma) rubbed it on her temples to ease her headaches. 

Eau de Cologne 4711 is more than 5% pure essential oils. It has top notes of orange oil, peach, basil, bergamot, melon, lemon, and lime. Middle notes include cyclamen, lily, Jasmin, and Bulgarian rose. There's also patchouli, Tahitian vetiver, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, and cedar in the mix. 

More like a skin fresher, the cologne is distinctive, pleasant, and strong but never, ever overpowering. Also, the scent plays nice after mixing with your own body chemistry, unlike many other famous perfumes. By the way, it is unisex -- worn by both men and women.
Wow, both blends of the fragrance, the earlier Farina and later 4711 -- endured for 300 years! Touring the world's oldest still-operating cologne factory is the touristy thing to do if ever you are in Cologne, Germany. Here's a blog about the experience.


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Friday, July 1, 2022

Discover The Joy Of A Pareo: A What?

Photo: Facebook via Pinterest

The following blog on style is a quick and dirty blog meaning one I decided to write on the spot. 

Next week I'll publish the blog already written on a sentimental unisex (containing 5% essential oils) cologne. Try to guess its name?😀

Meanwhile back to today's fashion topic: Until I saw it advertised, I didn't know its proper name, a pareo also spelled pāreu -- a wraparound skirt, worn on Tahiti or other Pacific islands. At one time the term only applied to women's clothing, but today it extends to any cloth worn wrapped around the body by either men or women. (Ohh, I learn constantly as a writer!)

Style is very subjective depending on personal tastes and body types. With fashion nowadays, there are fewer rights and wrongs and thankfully less conformity with more flexibility, as well as, individuality. Your personal style is whatever elevates you, making you feel like a million bucks while wearing it.

I'll confess to never wearing pareos. The only way I'd feel comfortable in a pareo is by styling one as a full dress (the last of the trio of images above👆, and this was true of the 18-year-old -- slender with no belly fat -- me.)

Moreover, as I've mentioned before in blogs ... with few exceptions, (personally) I'm not a big fan of asymmetrical or unbalanced attire. If the temperature is boiling (or cool) wouldn't my legs be as hot (or cool) as my midriff? Why would my legs be covered to the ankles while my top half only has on a bikini top? 
Universally, wouldn't I want to be covered or uncovered to fit the heat or cold? Stylewise, the look -- skimpy on top while completely covered belowAnyway I consider it ... visually, comfort-wise, sunburn-prevention-wise, a pareo just isn't me. 

BTW: I can't pull the pareo-look off like those gorgeous, skinny, tanned Polynesians. Perhaps with a perfect body on a picturesque island  ... you just have to show yourself off.😎

Since not everybody is me, here are some fun, colorful pareos to pursue from Echo. Hey, I might return, too, if ever I look in the mirror to see a body worth showing off. :)


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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Swedish Cardamon Cake With Caramelized Topping

Photo of carmelized almond topping courtesy of David Lebovitz

A Swedish cardamon cake is a simple coffee cake, which we're going to bump up a notch by making a caramelized topping, one we can do the easy way by carmelizing it inside the same springform pan as the cake, itself, is baking. Did you expect anything other than a shortcut from THE SAVVY SHOPPER, queen of one-pot or pan dishes? I bet you dislike scrubbing a sink load of pots and pans as much as I do! Nonetheless, the results of this simple dessert will be so scrumptious and fancy that you can use it as a birthday or holiday cake, or bring it as a contribution to summer cookouts! 
So let's get started, shall we?

Cardamon cake

Ingredients:

For the caramelized topping -- Use a 9-inch springform pan, so you can simply remove the sides of the pan, leaving the cake intact. 

1/4 cup butter - Smear a generous amount of butter on the bottom of the springform pan to start. Thick, not thin.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup sliced almonds (or almonds brokered into pieces)

For the cake batter:

2 sticks of unsalted butter (= 16 tablespoons)
1 cup sugar (Cut the sugar by 1/4 cup to reduce the sweetness if you wish.)
3 large eggs  
3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch of salt
3/4 - 1 cup buttermilk (Eyeball the consistency. Start with less and stop if you can easily stir it.)
1 tablespoon of dried cardamom (or you may use cardamon seeds)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice 

Directions for the topping:

1) Generously butter the bottom of a springform pan and distribute the sugar covering the buttered bottom. Next toss in the almonds.  During the baking of the cake, its topping will caramelize. When the cake is baked, you'll flip the bottom over to become the top of the cake.

Directions for the batter:

2) To make the batter, beat the softened sticks of butter and sugar together. Next mix in the eggs one at a time.

3) Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Go here for 6 best Swedish bakeries.

4) Pour in the buttermilk, then the cardamon, and lemon juice.

5) Pour over the topping that is already in the springform pan. 

5) Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 50 - 60 minutes.

6) Remove from the oven and let cool. Warm is ok for removing the sides. and transferring it to the serving dish. The bottom of the cake becomes the top.

An easy-to-make cake that looks and tastes like a fancy cake! It's how we roll here on THE SAVVY SHOPPERSmaklig Måltid!🎂🍦


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Monday, June 27, 2022

Collonil Leather Gel


Note to self: Order Collonil Leather Gel to repair scratches and protect fine leather goods such as shoes, purses, and apparel, as well as, my mother's leather couches that get scuffed. It conditions and won't harm or remove the color while removing the scratches and scuff marks. Also provides waterproof protection and is suitable for all suede and smooth leathers. Sold!

Renapur is another brand loved by Amazon customers to keep on my radar. Ok ... I can return here again to find both ... and so can you, my readers!


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Friday, June 24, 2022

Pond's Anti-Aging Skincare

Everybody knows it's been around forever because your grandma loved using it. In addition to cold cream Pond's was once called vanishing cream and Pond's extract. It was invented and patented in the United States by pharmacist Theron T. Pond in 1846 after he discovered a healing tea extracted from witch hazel could heal skin abrasions. 

Today Unilever owns Pond's, and what's new about the skincare line is its anti-aging ingredients -- namely vitamin B3 and Retinol complex (Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Collegian) that are added to the formula to visibly reduce the signs of aging and wrinkles. This is good news for consumers because Pond's continues to be inexpensive and readily available at the local drugstore, as well as, at Walmart and Target.

Grandma knew the value of time-honored great skincare and now her granddaughters can also save a few bucks by giving the 21st century Pond's elixir with its anti-aging properties in the forms of serum and cream a try. Pond's Rejuveness Serum, Face Cream, and Eye Cream (sells as a trio) for under $25, which is a real steal for potions with anti-aging ingredients. Separately, you'll find the beauty items priced as low as $7.50 depending on which one you buy. 

A good tried-and-true moisturizer just got a little better without breaking the bank!


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Saturday, June 18, 2022

Reporters Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein Discuss the 50th Anniversary of Watergate 6/17


Years ago as a Congressional Intern (on the Senate side) I spent months in Washington, D.C., where one day I took a memorable (touristy) tour of the Washington Post

I love watching documentaries and interviews on YouTube. What a fortunate time to be alive in 2022 to have access to interesting events and discussions occurring in other cities and not miss them just because we cannot go in person (or are a nickel short and a day late in knowing they are even taking place.😁). These kinds of interviews will suck you in!
I think the topic of the importance and methodology of good journalism as practiced by the two diligent reporters who broke the Watergate story 50 years ago ... news that eventually led to the resignation of a corrupt President is not one single day outdated. The entire discussion is insightful and relevant 50 years later. Like anything good, it's endlessly fascinating.
 
As I wrote in the comment section on YouTube, I also enjoy seeing how Woodward and Bernstein have a lovely sense of humor and enduring respect for one another. Although not mandatory, I like knowing they are close and in touch with each other and have 50 years of friendship.

Allow me to quote their late ace editor, Ben Bradly of the Washington Post, "Good reporting is the best obtainable version of the truth."

Moreover, solid, objective (i.e., do the digging, get the facts), investigative journalism is vital to maintaining a strong democracy. People should want to know the truth ... and be willing to listen, process and accept the evidence ... good, bad, or ugly. Country over political party.

Considering how we're once again examining the actions of (a latter-day) President, and Congress is airing the committee hearings, I hope you enjoy this uploaded timely and compelling discussion.📰🗞


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Friday, June 17, 2022

HIP CHIC Grape Vinegar Rinse

I received a free sample of HIP CHIC Grape Vinegar Rinse for scalp and hair care. Silicone-free, it's created to use after shampooing to rinse your hair of product buildup and impurities to soften, smooth, and add shine to your hair.

As a teenager, I remember being told that cider vinegar is a good hair rinse and vinegar is indeed a traditional hair and scalp treatment.

I will say this rinse has a mild, not unpleasant earthy smell sans the scent of vinegar. It contains vinegar, grape, and raspberry fruit extracts.

The slender bottle and narrow spout make it easy to apply the solution to the scalp. (In fact, the empty bottle is worth the purchase price to keep and refill.) You are supposed to rub the solution into the scape and through your hair, let it soak in for 2 minutes, and then rinse it out with water. Easy enough!

The formula has a light conditioning effect. So if you're looking for ingredients your grandmother likely used such as vinegar (with a few extra ingredients) as a scalp and hair treatment without having to mix it yourself ... this is it. I have a ton of fine hair and was not able to use it as a stand-alone conditioner, but it's not advertised as one. To put a comb through the tangles of my hair, I had to apply a regular conditioner. For everyday care, I'll stay with 2 steps of effort -- shampoo and condition and add this 3rd treatment occasionally.

 The HIP Chic brand is distributed by Clean Story and sells at Walmart for half the price of competitor vinegar rinses.



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Thursday, June 16, 2022

America's Test Kitchen's Spanish Meatballs In Almond Sauce

All dish images: American Test Kitchen - the video is linked.

As long-time Savvy Shoppers know I like to post recipes so I, myself, can return to the blog to make them. Since watching America's Test Kitchen make Spanish Meatballs in Almond Sauce on PBS television, I can't get the delicious and simple dish out of my mind! However dear readers, although I make many meals from scratch, I've never made meatballs in my life. 

I always made meat sauce instead of meatballs because the repetitiveness of rolling 24 meatballs would try my patience. Also, I prefer ground beef to ground pork. So I won't lie! I'll buy frozen meatballs and simply make the sauce. Never as good as using your own ingredients, yet faster, convenient, and good enough. 

For my more ambitious readers, what follows is Test Kitchen's full recipe for ...

Meatballs in Almond Sauce

Picada (the tasty sauce that makes the dish!)

Ingredients:
 
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions for the Picada: 

1) Process about 20 almonds in a food processor until finely ground.

2) Add the bread and process for 
about 15 seconds until the bread is finely ground. 

3) Transfer the almond and bread mixture to a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add olive oil and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture is golden brown. 

4) Transfer to a bowl. Stir in parsley and garlic and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels.

Meatballs

Ingredients: 

1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ teaspoon paprika
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (Substitute with the vinegar you have.)

Directions for the meatballs:

1) Process the bread in the now-empty processor until finely ground, about 15 pauses.

2) Add an egg, water, 1 tablespoon parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper, and process for about 20 seconds until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. 

3) Add pork and pulse until combined, about 5 pulses. Remove from the processor [As stated in my house, this would always be either ground beef or frozen meatballs.]

4) Using your moistened hands, form 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture into 1-inch round meatballs and transfer to a plate; repeat with the remaining pork mixture to form about 24 meatballs. [If you roll 24 meatballs and then turn each meatball over on all its sides to brown it in a pan more power to you! This is me doing it. -->😵‍💫]

5) Heat the oil in a now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add paprika and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

6) Add broth and wine and bring to simmer. Stir in saffron. Add the meatballs and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until meatballs register 160 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping meatballs once. [Golly, will you be joining me in using frozen meatballs? Just reading the how-to steps is exhausting, admit it.😵‍💫]

7) Stir in the Picasa and continue to cook for 1 - 2 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened.


8) Turn off the heat and stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a platter, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

Eat as an appetizer (mm, mm good ... tapas!) or serve along with vegetables and potatoes or rice as a complete meal. What a lovely weekend or party dish. You're welcome!😋

Monday, June 13, 2022

Did You Know Red Emeralds Exist?

Photo: gemstones.com

Although an accurate and characteristically fitting name to describe red beryl, there's a bit of controversy in calling it a red emerald. Emeralds are so associated with the color green that some geological associations are afraid consumers will feel deceived by the term red emerald. Personally, I disagree. The adjective "red" lets you know the beryl is not green.

Photo: Equatoial Imports

Red beryl was discovered in 1904 in the Wah, Wah mountains of Utah by Maynard Bixby, an American mineralogist. The gemstone is very rare and thus far has only been found in Utah and New Mexico. 

Just like it sibling beryl, green emerald, red beryl is a class 3 gemstone, meaning it's very brittle and highly included. Also like green emeralds, oil treatments are acceptable to improve the appearance of a red emerald's inclusions. Oil treatments don't change or damage the gemstone. 


Photos (including the next one on the right) courtesy of Christian Library

All beryls are distinguished by hexagonal crystal systems. In nature, pure beryl is colorless but acquires its color from trace amounts (that is to say, impurities) of additional elements. While chromium and vanadium give emerald its green color, and iron makes aquamarine blue, when manganese produces a deep red color, it's called red beryl or red emeraldOf course, beryls also come in pink, and yellow, but for now, let's discuss red.

Registering 7.5 - 8 on Moh' Hardness Scale, red emeralds come in red-red, purplish-red, or orangy-red. Big stones are especially rare finds. According to the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, a 2-carat red beryl is as rare as a 40-carat diamond. The gem association says, "only one red beryl is mined for every 150,000 diamonds.'' And consider this, the scarlet gem is scarcer on earth than gold.

What I think is super cool ... May babies have another color of birthstone!

Due to the gemstone's rarity and the lack of abundant production, good quality red emeralds can fetch up to $10,000 per carat. Still be aware that like its sibling green emeralds, or diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, there are various degrees of gem-quality stones. Not all red beryl is equal, and clarity, color, and size apply to determine its value. According to gemstone wholesaler Equatorial Imports, red beryl tends to price twice the value of emerald.🟩 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Old Navy's Summer Activewear

Sleeveless PowerSoft 2-in-1 Performance Mini Skort Dress for Women

Old Navy is working overtime with another affordable launch of cute summer activewear. You can't beat the quality at this price point for pieces offered as low as $15 on special promotion days! The activewear has 4-way super stretch fabric that is soft and made with go-dry moisture-wicking technology that not only keeps you dry, but comfortable during all your summer activities.

Most of the selections are available in at least 5 colors, and some of the dresses offer the support of a built-in bra. The colors are soothing and I think subdued enough so you can wash and wear the same garments over and over without other people noticing it as the same attire. This launch is sporty compared to Old Navy's other dress-up-or-down summer dresses, yet is ultra-stylish to play tennis, golf, bike, or jog in around the neighborhood. 
Sorry, Ralph Lauren (whom otherwise I adore!), Tommy Hilfiger, and Atheta, but summer-and-activewear clothing is not what I'm going to drop a ton of money on, and thanks to Old Navy (and Uniqlo) I never do!
Uniqlo's Hana Tajima summer dress ($19.90 - a little more than Old Navy) is a soft jersey fabric of mainly cotton with modal, rayon and spandex. Also machine washable for walks.

At $15 bucks, or less for an outfit, I can look polished, as well as, mindlessly machine wash and dry my casual clothing many times over all summer long. What's more, I can add something new to my wardrobe without breaking the bank! Win-win-win!


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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Best Mosquito Repellents

Yes to fans!

Summer is approaching and unofficial summer is already here. Unfortunately so are bugs. The most hated bugs of all are arguably mosquitos. Researching how to keep them away and specifically how to stop mosquitos from biting us leads to good news and bad news.
citronella bracelets
First the bad news. Nearly all the natural mosquito repellents on the market are worthless. When tested in scientific labs they either don't work, or don't work well enough to be considered effective. Natural mosquito repellents come in the form of citronella candles, slow-burning citronella sticks, and citronella bracelets. Research shows people still get bitten despite wearing or burning citronella repellents. Perhaps a mosquito will avoid your wrist where the bracelet is, but you'll still get eaten alive because the blood-sucking pest will move up to your shoulder or down to your leg for a meal.

Likewise, essential oils such as 
lemongrass, rosemary, eucalyptus, and peppermint do not work. Moreover, electronic bug zappers do not work as mosquitos largely ignore the violet light. Ultrasonic mosquito repellent devices do not work either. Studies show they fail to irritate or scare mosquitos away. And lastly, newer portable devices that lure mosquitos away from people with carbon dioxide, then entrap them do not show much evidence of reducing bites to people nearby.
So what does work ... are you ready for the good news?

1) A good old fashion fan. Sitting in the wind of a fan works because mosquitos are not strong fliers. 

2) DEETChemical name, N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (or diethyltoluamide) was developed by the US Army in 1946 and sold on the market beginning in 1957 as an ingredient in lotions and sprays. This potent mosquito, chigger, and other bug repellent has been widely studied over the years. Despite peoples' fears, DEET has an excellent public safety record and lasts for hours.

3) Another effective way to reduce the number of mosquitos in your backyard is to eliminate water sources like puddles, ponds, or birdbaths. Water is where mosquitos like to lay their eggs so don't invite them into your space with basins of standing water.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a mosquito "is the most deadly creature on earth killing hundreds of thousands of people and making millions more sick each year." Therefore, it might be gratifying to consider some of the critters who eat mosquitos or their larvae. Our friends include fish, birds🦜, bats, dragonflies, frogs, spiders, and the red-eared slider turtle (a common pet in the USA).🐢 

As much as we hate to acknowledge it, mosquitos are important to the food chain in our ecosystem, which is not to say, we want to be an important food source for mosquitos. You're not a bad person if your motto is: Stay away or die today! Nothing should bite you with impunity. Squash the living daylights out of it!!👾 


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