Really comfortable leather shoes

You know how sometimes you try something on in the store and it feels great, just to get home and be worn for a few hours and feel horrible? This happens to me mostly with shoes and bras. Sometimes other things, but these are the main culprits. Bras I have figured out that if I just stick to a couple brands that I know feel good, that helps tremendously. And shoes? Well, I am pretty careful now about buying expensive shoes -- I walk around the store in them for as long as I can get away with, and after 35 years I seem  to finally know which styles bring me the most joy. But still, sometimes I fail. Recently I bought a pair of beauitful Liz Claiborne shoes. Usually her shoes fit so nicely, and these felt great in the store, but now I realize they are uncomfortable in a few places.Luckily, they are leather, and I have a few tried a true tricks to stretch them out.

First, I tried walking in them with thicker socks to stretch them out. Ouch! They needed help. So I moved on to step two: I moisturized them with some great beeswax shoe paste, all over the outside (which will waterproof them too) and a bit on the inside where they hurt, and I stuffed some plastic cups in the to strech right where they hurt. If that didn't work I could spray 1/4 alcohol and 3/4 water solution on the spots that hurt and walk around in them until they are dry -- this would get me a great custom fit. If I needed some all over stretching, I could fill some baggies with water and stuff the shoes with them. Then, freeze the whole thing, which results in gentle expansion of the water as it turns to ice, and a good all over stretching!


Flea Control

Though it's September we are still experiencing warm, dry weather here in the Northeast, and with it the flea populations continue to multiply throughout the region. Vets say that many people are experiencing infestations and general irritation with the little buggers. Our own home has been no exception, as well as that of my mother's. We have bathed the animals, used flea collars, diatomaceous earth, garlic, sprays for bedding, and even bombed the homes multiple times. My mother has sprayed the areas just outside the house, too. 

All these chemicals make me nervous. Obviously, they aren't working, and layering them on one after the other, powder on top of spot treatment on top of collar seems very dangerous for the enture household, but most especially for the animals themselves.

I am especially wary of yard treatments: isn't this part of the reason why there are less bees and praying mantis and such? I usually just stick with diatomaceous earth, a safe inseect killer, and lots of vacuuming though in an infestation situation I have done what I have to keep the home safe. I am ill at ease with the concept that we humans have the right to kill ALL insects outside the house. I mean, I hate the ants that come in my home every year and I do put out traps in the kitchen and spray the base of the house to keep them away, but they are more than welcome to inhabit all space oustide of my home. I have similar distaste for Roundup, and will only use it on persistant poison ivy which refuses annihilation by pulling up (yeah, you know who you are, you, you plant in the back!)... 

There are tons of safe alternatives for flea control out there -- beneficial nematode spray will decrease flea larvae in the yard by 90% within 24 hours. D.E. can be put around your home and rubbed safely into your pet's fur. Nylar is a safe chemical that you can use indoors with a lot less fear of toxicity than other products -- try I.G. Regulator. Flea collars are less toxic to animals than the spot on treatments, but not as effective, and a bit more hazardous to your humans...try natural neem oil or repellants. 

And if you still want to believe all those chemicals are good for your animals, or you, here is this excerpt from the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association’s newsletter:
In response to more than 44,000 potential adverse reactions to spot-on flea and tick products reported in 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of these products. No recalls have been issued at this time. The AVMA will continue to maintain contact with the EPA and monitor the situation, and updates will be posted as they come to our attention. To see the EPA’s statement, including a chart of products, go to www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/flea-tick-control.html. For information about reporting adverse events, go to www.avma.org/animal_health/reporting_adverse_events.asp.
And this from the EPA itself:
U.S. and Canada to Increase Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Pet Products
Release date: 04/16/2009
(Washington, DC - April 16, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for pets due to recent increases in the number of reported incidents. Adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and, in some cases, the death of pets. . . . Incidents with flea and tick products can involve the use of spot-on treatments, sprays, collars and shampoos. However, the majority of the incidents reported to EPA are related to flea and tick treatments with EPA-registered spot-on products.

For more info check out this great site:


Smoother Legs, More Free Time, Less Resources: A Product Review!

I'll just start this off by saying that I am a hairy girl. Thank you, mom, for the black Spanish hair that grows in furry profusion  :)  Over the years I have tried waxing, cream depilatories, razors, sugaring, bleaching, tweezing and it was all a losing battle...until my sister-in-law let me try her epilator. This is not the epilady (OUCH!) of the 1980's. These little machines have come a long way, and while not pain-free, are not all that bad. The first time was the worst, and each time after hurts less and less. Most parts of the leg don't really hurt at all after the first time! And, being that VERY hairy girl whose hair also grows incredibly fast (can you say 5 o'clock shadow... on your legs?) I can vouch that the results are long lasting. I only use it once a week. The best part is that my machine (the Revlon RV565 Gentle 2-in-1 Hair Removal System) comes with an electric razor on the other end that actually works!! It shaves really, really close. I never used one that worked on leg hair before, and am ecstatic that this one does. It is perfect for the bikini area and for any hairs that the epilator misses.

So, not only am I more hair-free, but I have more time, and am saving precious resources. I use less electricity and water epilating my legs for 20 minutes than I did shaving each day since I had to take incredibly hot, long showers and shave in the shower to prevent razor burn. I use 100% green energy in my home, so I am good with using an electric machine. Before, I could only use high-end razors like the Venus, so this saves me money (one time price for my epilator/shaver 18.95 on Amazon.) I also save money and resources by not needing to buy shaving cream anymore. After years of experimentation, only hair conditioner would work to prevent razor burn afterwards on my sensitive skin. I used VO5. Amazingly, the epilating doesn't cause me any skin irritation, I just moisturize afterwards as I did with shaving, and I am good to go. I haven't even had a single ingrown hair!

I wish I had owned one of these earlier. I'd probably be leg-hair free by now, since every time you epilate or tweeze or wax you damage hair follicles a bit, and there's always some that simply don't grow back. Ever. And that, in itself, is enough incentive for me :)


Today is.

a beautiful day!  The dogwood leaves are starting to turn colors, and the air is crisp and bright.

Life is always beautiful after you've had a full night's sleep and you and your children are all feeling better after a fall cold.

Perhaps that is why we have illness. So we know what  feeling better really feels like.

Today my daughter is dressed in one of my favorite outfits of my son's, and it brings back such fond memories. She has little pigtails, and has made the outfit all hers, complete with drool and bits of wet paper stuck all over her. Enchanting :)


Holly Flower Essence: Hurricane Holly #9

I've been having some crazy dreams about the number 9 and various herbs, and Holly came up as a good flower essence to create this week. Flower essences are wonderful healing tools: basically you imbue pure water with the healing, energetic imprint of a flower by setting the water and flower out in the sun or the light of the moon. Then you preserve this essence with an equal amount pure alcohol or vinegar and make a dosage bottle according to homeopathic dilution principles. 

Yesterday I made "Hurricane Holly #9", which I really can't wait to start using. This essence was made during the buildup and approach of Hurricane Earl, with two Holly flowers, a four-petaled flower and a five-petaled flower, and with 9 quartz crystals surrounding it. This Holly essence empowers and balances all the forces of nature and the five elements within you to create the strongest clearing effects possible. Parasites, miasms, dark beings and genetic disturbances scurry and flee before it. Damaged cells are purged and you are left feeling clean and clear. If you suffer any de-tox symptoms while taking this essence, drink an 8-ounce glass of water with ¼ teaspoon salt (the higher-vibration the salt, the better: Himalayan, Pure Sea Salt, etc) up to three times a day. Traditionally, holly essence is used to heal and expand the heart chakra, and to alleviate anger and envy while generating acceptance.

Flower and crystal essences are available at www.earthlodgeherbals.com/flowers.htm