Practicing the Art of Being Home…

img_4092We’ve been practicing the art of Being Home… and as we say- ‘I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out’ how to stay upbeat on this space, while not minimizing the situations we find ourselves in as we all are trying to stay healthy and well. I’ll admit, I had several posts in the works. Still. I always have a goal to write what I would want to read– especially as it pertains to making life a bit better. So! I decided to come up with a few ways to enjoy being at home, while we are also practicing social distancing. I started brainstorming for a few ideas.. Think of things you enjoy doing at home. What would you be doing at home this time of year? Think of things you’ve been putting off or things you hoped to get done, yet hadn’t had the right kind of time to get done before.

img_4102Practicing this Art of being At Home..  means staying active and while it might not offer all the benefits of working out in a gym- housework definitely burns up calories! And keeping a home, adds to a good mental state, too. I think we’re all trying to stay positive. For me,  the first step has been to accept the situation and it’s helping me embrace  it. And, the best advice is to keep it simple. Is there anything more satisfying than a warm stack of towels or a fresh made bed, with newly laundered sheets.

img_4107If you have fresh flowers or even a bundle of herbs to place bedside- it truly is the epitome of practicing home arts. The little bundle of meaning filled herbs is an easy project.

  • Magnolia and Camellia leaves represent Home here in the South.
  • Lamb’s Ears are a healing herb-  gardeners kept it growing in case of  small wounds or bee stings- wrap a wooly leaf of Stachys Byzantine around a wound, to stop the bleeding and some use lamb’s ear as a dressing to lessen the swelling and pain of bee stings.
  • Sage is a component of this tussie mussie- and we all want to be wise!
  • Oregano is a joyful herb which was thought to foster health and happiness.
  • I added rosemary to this one… ‘Rosemary for Remembrance’ and who doesn’t want a better memory or even sweet dreams?  Please note if you have allergies as I do, just replace or omit any with another one.

Scents in the home are often associated with good feelings… here’s one- Coffee Beans! Coffee beans were used to ‘clear the olfaction’ or the sense of smell after being on overload of fragrances- sellers of perfumes often offer a pouch of coffee beans, so that a buyer can experience new fragrances. I find the aroma of coffee beans to be a mood lifter… just take a whiff of the container and you’ll see! Drinking coffee has health benefits too! img_4095

Citrus scented cleaners, detergents, soaps- oh the list is endless- are popular for a reason! The scent of Lemons, even Oranges are known to be excellent cleaners and! You guessed it- natural mood lifters! Here’s one of my favorite ways to make an air freshener and skin treatment too!

img_4101Save lemon and orange peels, place in a small saucepan, cover with water and simmer for the best natural air freshener you can imagine! Then, cool the mixture, remove the peels and chill the remainder for a wonderful skin tightening treatment. Use regularly and I have found it lightens … ahem, age spots if you’re plagued with them! Wash the face or hands, pat dry. Dip a clean cotton pad in liquid and swipe over the skin. Pat dry again, immediately following with a moisturizer. If you really want extra benefit, instead of a moisturizing product, simply coat the skin with a good Olive Oil. Coconut oil is good too. Please note: high quality vegetable oils are absorbed quickly by the skin and leave no residue! Try this one! I know you’ll love it!

img_4096One thing I would be doing- getting my skin in shape to get a head start on a summer glow. Epsom salts  added to a warm bath, eases tense muscles, and the salts bring moisture up to the surface of the skin, which is always a good thing! Even soaking in that old ancient beauty treatment- a milk bath is easily accomplished by added granular dry milk while the water is running.  Milk is a natural skin softener and simply washes down the drain- The salts or granular milk are both known as safe and healthy additions, they have no harsh chemicals or oils and truly can be mixed for an extra luxurious treatment. img_4089

And here are few things that will actually help keep your immunity levels up a bit higher and also to make life feel a bit more luxurious, using items you may already have!

Make a habit of taking a hot steamy shower. The goal is to…well, perspire. Okay, men you can sweat! Perspiring is one of the best ways to detoxify- ridding the body of toxins is a true immunity booster and improves blood flow, may lower blood pressure and for sure is a mood booster! (In fact, up the temperature in that milk/salts bath and you get the same benefit!) Remember how we sterilized almost everything? Some believe perspiring lowers the risk of infections! Fighting infections through the use of hot water to clean towels, linens, dinnerware and utensils, even clothing at high temperatures is recommended. (be careful with clothing- some fabrics have warnings against high temps for washing and drying! )

Saline nasal mist and clear eye drops are a life saver for me during allergy season- it turns out even with washing your hands- using saline nasal mist or rinse should be on your regimen too. Clearing out the nasal passages, also clears out potential viruses before they become an infection!

img_4093Of course, we need to be drinking lots of water, too! Perspire like that pretty glass and …Apply ice to those weary eyes, tired faces and aching hands. Well known models swear this is one of their major secrets to looking fresh and certainly gets them awake and looking good on camera- Zoom meeting anyone?

And, if you live in the south, float a few gardenias in that bath water…okay camellias, magnolias and rose petals are good too. Our southern mothers floated blossoms on water in cut glass bowls… adding them to a bath was simply a luxurious extension! Ladies everywhere, adding a scented flower to your bath lifts the spirits and believe me, this will make it a bit easier to Stay at Home.

Love y’all, Camellia

 

 

 

Take Care of Yourself…

img_3870I’m gonna talk southern to you a minute before I get carried away here… Southerners will do or say almost anything rather than say ‘goodbye’. Do I hear a sigh of relief? Not so fast there, I’m not going anywhere, I’m just trying to tell you something you might not know. A lot of us, okay, most of us, have a superstitious streak and saying goodbye is just one of those unlucky things we try to avoid. For instance, I always end these missives with ‘Love y’all’ because it seems nicer than saying – ‘That’s all she wrote.‘ Though we do say that when it’s appropriate. Many of us say at the end of conversations- ‘Take care of yourself.’ Isn’t that a nice way to say goodbye? And that’s not all, southerners say- ‘Y’all come back now’ even if we hope you won’t- at least not very soon or for very long; it’s just the nicest thing we can think of, when you’re leaving. We also prolong the actual farewell… We do it by walking you to the door, on out to the car, truck or tractor, then we stand outside waving until you’re out of sight. (Even if you live less than a mile away.)

Southerners tend to drag out the process of letting you go… Uncle Grady, who wasn’t a big talker said, whenever anyone was leaving- (the long lost relative or his next door neighbor) Uncle Grady had this charming sing song- ‘Oh don’t go, we’ll miss you so!’ You knew it was coming…and the truth is- things just didn’t feel right when Uncle Grady wasn’t around anymore to say it. Unforgettable.

Now, don’t get me started on funerals. Let’s just say, we have an aversion to saying… ‘he died.’ No, instead we say – ‘she passed away.‘ or ‘we lost him.’‘now that Grandmama’s gone.’ Or… ‘Can you believe it’s been 10 years since Daddy left us?.’ It’s confusing, though please don’t ask ‘where did you lose him? or why did he leave? Because- these phrases, might provoke a sinking spell or worse. The phrases are just the most delicate ways of avoiding saying the actual word- ‘Death‘. There are many, maybe hundreds of ways southerners avoid saying ‘Goodbye.’ Whether going home or to the grave… It’s just so final, you know. Okay! Since that’s settled, we’ve got this Crisis going on and we don’t want you ‘falling out on us.’

So, it occurred to me while I was compiling this missive- that one of the kindest and sweetest ways we end conversations is to say… ‘Take care of yourself.‘  which is always important and never more important than now.

  • Take care of yourself.
  • It’s not selfish, it’s smart.
  • Keep your spirits up.
  • Find humor in everyday life, while taking precautions seriously.
  • Physical distancing doesn’t mean- you can’t be social in safe ways- technology, phone calls and more!
  • Our grandmothers and mothers believed in food as medicine. They said things like- ‘An Apple a Day, keeps the doctor away.’
  • It’s important to do whatever you can to build your Immunity.
  • These foods aren’t a cure, it’s an effort to strengthen your body against disease any time. Here’s a few of my favorites:

Beef– Alabama is a beef producing state. Beef is high in zinc and protein! I haven’t been able to find zinc supplements in over a month! Besides, sometimes I just want a good hamburger! Ok, maybe hold the fries!

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I’m thoroughly enjoying Tuna, canned is fine just get the best variety you can… with this nice spring weather we’ve loved a tuna salad! Also high in zinc, protein and those all important- Omega 3’s!img_3830

Almonds are a wonderful source of Iron, protein, a bit of A and Zinc!

img_3829I’d have to feel like something was wrong with you if you didn’t like Sweet Potatoes! a lifelong favorite- these are high in C,E and Beta Carotene! img_3831

Yogurt is a power source, high in protein, a bit of A and Zinc! Add berries and you’ve got your Vitamin C and more!img_3828

Broccoli is a favorite here…Kale is also good. Both are immunity building foods! And let’s face it- green vegetables are just good for you! Broccoli is high in Iron and A- lightly steamed with lemon butter- I think it’s delicious! A bonus with any ‘good for you’ food!img_3832

Oysters are an acquired taste! In the sea soaked coastal cities and states, most of us love our oysters any way we can get them! We love them so much- why, even driveways are paved with them! Now, that’s a lot of  Oysters! High in protein, iron and my oh my! That wrinkle fighting collagen! (which is for another day and time!)img_3838

Red Bell Peppers and Avocadoes are wonderful sources of immunity fighters too! And of course, there’s more…img_3870

Rather than regale you with a long and boring list, which you might not even be able to find in the grocery stores… I thought I’d first talk a little southern to you… Just remember –  these aren’t Cures! Merely, foods that will help build Immunity and it can’t hurt to add them to your diet.

I would add one more way we talk southern to you- ‘Keep your spirits up.’ A good state of mind, has been proven for better outcomes during any crisis, especially a health crisis. And, that’s exactly why we’ve written in a lighthearted way. Do whatever it takes to keep your spirits up. Practice this new thing we’re calling Social Distancing, Wash your hands every chance you get, Stay at Home, Save Lives, Stop the Spread and of course ‘Take Care of Yourself, darlin’.’

Love y’all, Camellia

10 Beautiful Ways to stay Hydrated..

948407C9-974C-4732-A031-DD6C00912C54These 10 Beautiful Ways to Stay Hydrated have given me the motivation I needed to meet one of my goals this year, and I’ve got 10 tips to help you get started too! I’ve challenged myself to stay hydrated and… and well, drinking all that water is healthy and all…for a few weeks, it was going great. Still. As I got into this whole staying hydrated thing, I needed a bit of incentive. Here’s what happened- I was taking part in something else- a food photography challenge. For that, I needed a photograph of citrus fruits. Running out of time…no time to bake, no time to cook – a deadline was looming. Here’s what happened-35C41FF2-F32E-4B4F-A0FC-2FB30FFB197F

I made up a pitcher of pretty water. In fact, I thought it was beautiful. The kind I recall seeing in luxury spas and fine hotel lobbies. Beautiful ways to stay hydrated. Yes, I could do that! Just the incentive I needed. Tip 1: It’s easier if you make up a whole pitcher, similar to Spa Waters I’ve seen! With lemon, mint and cucumber! Let’s just say it’s a refreshing combination! DF8AEF91-2282-45BD-A406-CE4008D4B128

One thing led to another. I figured out that- Tip 2: Staying hydrated isn’t just water, it’s cranberry juice, apple juice, citrus juice and weak tea too. So I included those too.  Thin slices of cucumbers or apples are easy and a refreshing snack too! This one is a re-run of Apple in Glass which I’d tried last Fall- the rerun was wonderful again!

C22A277A-EE39-48CA-BAC5-5CD9C734AD6D.jpegOne of my favorite ways to stay hydrated was an iced tea with lime and mint. Beautiful don’t you think? This time, I made a simple sugar syrup infused with mint. Mint Tea was a beautiful way, my grandmother made iced tea. All the best Sweet Tea in the South starts with a Simple Sugar Syrup– which is – Tip 3: One cup of water simmered with One cup of sugar…until the sugar has dissolved. With Mint Tea, the process is the same except fresh mint is infused into the sugar syrup. Kept chilled, sugar syrups last a long time. See that little jar sitting next to the glass of Iced Mint Tea? That’s the simple syrup made with mint! Which we seem to grow prolifically! Tip 4: Mint Simple Syrup is also wonderful to pour in your morning coffee! 235A23C5-6851-4703-871F-D75471D83442

If you want an extra treat- Rim the glass!  Tip 5:For the Iced Tea, I cut a lemon or lime in wedges, mix a bit of sugar and a bit of salt in a bowl, rim the glass with the citrus wedge, then dip the rim in the salt and sugar mixture for a refreshing and beautiful glass of tea..or juice.. or water.F05E8CD4-761C-4205-B005-5C25CF6558B7

Here I did that with orange zest, a bit of salt, a bit more sugar and believe it or not- I grated a dehydrated strawberry too! Tip 6: Dehydrated fruit is wonderful grated for rimming a glass or mix with powdered sugar and decorate almost anything!  The glass above, with oranges, strawberries and a rim of sugar, orange zest, a bit of salt and grated dehydrated strawberry was my beautiful glass of water this morning! Tip 7: Adding a bit of salt to the rim or the glass, makes me thirstier!

ADBF8513-BD28-42F3-AB00-C27A5F327BEDTip 8: Add flowers to your water! Here and the opening photograph, I’ve used flowers- little violas or rose petals are so beautiful, just make sure they are pesticide free! Not just for your water, they sure look pretty floating in a cup of hot tea!79F2811C-5D5A-44D8-9EC2-0D16FC9DC7B9

With spring and summer headed our way, it seems the garden is springing up weeds- these dandelions and yellow flowers all came from ‘weeds’ Here is another tip I love- Tip 9:  Add leaves or tiny berries to Ice Cubes ! Look at these with shamrocks and wild strawberries!

 

We’re talking good luck here! Tip 10: To make pretty ice cubes, try anything small that you wish! Here’s how you make them- pour a bit of water in the bottom of the ice cube tray, in each section place clean leaves or berries, make sure they fit. Put in the freezer for a bit- to stabilize the leaves. Then fill the tray up and freeze. Okay, truth? If you’re in a hurry… just fill the tray up and insert a leaf or berry, but if presentation’s important? Do it my way! Now, I know you want to see that pretty glass of water with a viola again- So here it is! 948407C9-974C-4732-A031-DD6C00912C54

We all want to look and feel our best, you’ve read the science and seen the articles about how important it is to avoid getting dehydrated… So! I’ve been on a mission! The result was 9 Beautiful Ways to Stay Hydrated! Now, make yourself some of this pretty water! And, I’d love to see how you’re  staying motivated too!

Love y’all, Camellia

*Here’s another shot of my morning glass of water… I couldn’t decide which was prettier!F05E8CD4-761C-4205-B005-5C25CF6558B7

* All photographs are obviously mine! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram- we’re posting almost daily!