Thursday, August 28, 2014

Creations By Cara Sue: Memory Quilts and Pillowcases

Cara Sue turned a passion for sewing into a thriving business. She started making memory quilts out of old t-shirts and cherished pieces of clothing for friends and neighbors, who wanted to remember life's special events, or loved ones forever. Before she knew it, word grew.

Many of us have a collection of t-shirts from schools attended, races run, sports teams, or cities visited. Creations by Cara Sue turns them into something quite practical and meaningful, a memory quilt that will last for years to come.

Depending on customer choices and the t-shirts provided, the quilts take on many colors and styles ... from traditional to modern. They make very thoughtful birthday, anniversary and graduation gifts, not to mention, Christmas. Each is a customized keepsake that tells a story.

Cara Sue also makes personalized pillowcases with photographs, or artwork. You can see other examples of her work on her Facebook page here. Very affordable, her quilts and pillowcases look even lovelier in the flesh.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Dr. Frank Lipman's Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

On Sunday night I made a modified version of Dr. Frank Lipman's Blueberry Avocado Smoothie. I often have blueberries and an avocado. When they are on the verge of being too ripe, I can throw them into a blender to make this healthy and delicious drink. 

As Dr. Lipman, the integrative health and medical doctor, says,Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and disease-fighting phytochemicals, ” and “avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids," which are heart healthy. The vitamin B-6 and folic acid in avocados also supports the heart,” according to Dr. Lipman.

Since I like the taste of and don't have a problem digesting milk, I substituted a cup of skim milk in place of the coconut water, which I rarely buy. Likewise, if you ever find greens powder in my cupboard, you have entered the wrong apartment by mistake. I had frozen spinach on hand, so threw about 2 ounces of it into the mix to replace the greens powder I never stock. (Once I sampled prepared greens powder at a neighborhood health food store. Frankly, it had an awful taste like consuming liquefied grass or hay. I think my frozen (or fresh) spinach makes a more delicious smoothie!
Dr. Frank Lipman's Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

1 cup frozen blueberries
¼ avocado
1 cup coconut water (As mentioned I will usually substitute skim milk.)
juice of ½ lime
1 serving vanilla whey protein powder or non-dairy protein powder
1 serving greens powder (optional)
sweeten to taste with raw honey or stevia or xylitol (not xylitol! Many people can't digest that one.) 
4 ice cubes (Because my blueberries and spinach were frozen, I didn't need the ice. Eyeball it.)
My addition: a dash of ginger, cinnamon, fresh nutmeg and black pepper for a kick of favor, if you like. (I liked!)

Throw all ingredients into an electric blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Enjoy.

This is a refreshing smoothie for the dog days of August, when you don't feel like turning on a stove, yet still need nutrition and energy to sustain you. It's a high protein, slurpy drink, with anti-oxidants and fiber to satisfy your hunger. It tastes great ... bottoms up!

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Waste Not Want Not Native American Style
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Friday, August 22, 2014

End Of Summer Skin Care

As much as I try to protect my fair skin from the sun, it gets exposed to plenty of golden rays by virtue of being outdoors. Unless you are in the habit of hiding in the house, it's probably true of your epidermis too. 

So come fall, many of us have more freckles and brown spots, as well as, dryer skin in general.

As much as possible, I try to (1) prevent and (2) undo some of the wear and tear of summer with a few over-the-counter skin products in my arsenal, including:

1. Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum - It moisturizes and has anti-inflammatory properties. When temperatures are boiling outside, the serum calms and soothes the skin. Pricey, yes ... but, worth the splurge. I buy a bottle every year to use, starting in July until the bottle is empty.

2. Herbal Authority Double C (Vitamin C Serum) - I dab a few drops under my sunscreen and makeup each morning. Many skin care experts claim that a good vitamin C serum helps to shield your skin from sun damage, helps your skin produce new collegen, as well as, brightens frickles and brown spots caused by sun exposure. That's all good!

3. Olay Professional PROx Deep Wrinkle Treatment - I use it a few nights per week to encourage "youthful" cell turnover. Hey, can't hurt!

4. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum - On nights I don't use item #3, I alternate with Olay's Rigenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum. It contains concentrated amino-peptities to hydrate and brighten the skin and encourage cell turnover. Ditto, can't hurt!

5. Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15  - Nooo I don't work for Olay, but I do use many of the products in their excellent skin care line. They are budget friendly and readily available at a corner drugstore. So why pay more, when these affordable, good-quality-products work? I use Olay Complete on a clean face every morning before applying makeup. In summers I also use it as a non-sticky body sunscreen. I love one-stop-shopping personal care products! If I can get one multi-tasking product to do several jobs, I'm in!!

Just a final word about sunscreen overall. Skin doctors are mostly in agreement that the benefits of using a sunscreen far outweigh any side effects. So until the scientisfic evidence suggests otherwise, I apply it to exposed skin all year around. I sometimes leave my legs bare for 15-20 minutes a few times per week in order to get the recommended vitamin D doctors now say is vital to good health. Apparently, we are doing such a great job in wearing sunscreen, that many people have become vitamin D deficient. Oh, boy, it's always something!

Also if you read my blog  you already know ... in the best possible world, I adore organic products. I am very mindful of unnecessary chemicals when selecting food and personal care items. Nonetheless, everything in life is a balance: Costs verses science verses known benefits verses possible risks verses practicality. 

Knowledge is always influx. One can never fall asleep at the wheel. Aim to make the best choices within your budget based on the latest scientisfic data we have now. Save your money unless a claim is supported by a credible source. Filter scientific information with what your grandmother did for her skin. That's the best we can do. As Maya Angelou said, when we know better, we will do better. For sure!!

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back To Uniqlo For Fashion And A Steal

I reviewed Uniqlo, the innovative Japanese clothing store for men, women and children several years ago. They are the place to go for inexpensive and ultra practical basics. I love my airism sleeveless tops in many colors. All year around I wear them as camisoles under my dresses, plus pair them with shorts and leggings.

Now Uniqlo has put the same technology into some of their dresses. I am wearing this flared feminine silhouette above for the late summer and early fall. For $29, I received a stylish, easy dress to wear. Called a flared bra dress, it has a built-in bra, is fully-lined and mostly cotton. All I need to add in order to leave the house are comfortable shoes and perhaps a cotton sweater as we move into September.

My only gripe can be applied to many retailers these days. When I walk into a department store lately, I wonder why there are so many racks of black, navy blue and muted colors. Is color passe? I didn't get the memo. It's not that I don't like these colors, but I don't want a closet full of only black dresses. I don't attend that many funerals. Where are the rest of the colors? Why aren't more designers creating collections in beautiful living colors?

Despite following the sans vibrate color trend, I definitely recommend browsing Uniqlo for bargains several times a year. So often, you find a useful steal  ... sold cheaper than you could buy the fabric and tools to make the garment yourself.

Your Fall Wardrobe: Shop For Value
Vince Camuto ... Thank You!
Save On Summer Essentials 
This Belstaff Jacket Is After Me