Thursday, July 27, 2017

Everyone Has Their Own El Guapo

My personality type, an INFJ, is often called a walking contradiction. 
As much as I hate being pigeonholed, there is truth in this statement. 
I swim in the depths of the creative and adhere to the logical. I want it now and I’ll wait til later. I want your skin attached to mine and I want to be left alone. I search endlessly for my soul mate and fall in love with men that are emotionally unavailable. My music is alphabetized; my closet arranged by color and season, my movies by category and sub-category…i.e.-Sci-fi- Space, Sci-Fi-Time Travel, Zombie, Superheros-DC, Superhero-Marvel etc.

Then I have the pile.

The pile consists of everything in my house I gathered together that no longer brings me joy. A weekend of thinning out the clutter, spurred on by The Minimalists documentary. I piled it up in the middle of my kitchen so I’d have to dispose of it quickly. Now 7 months later, I sweep around the pile, I dust the pile, I’ve told all my friends about the pile and I randomly give it the bird when I walk around it in the morning.
I could put these items in my trunk and take them to the local thrift store. But that wasn't the original plan for these items. I'd already donated most of it; this small man made mountain was actually the reduced version of the pile. These were the items I thought I could perhaps sell and make a little money on since my income is currently derived from freelance. 

Items like various coffee makers in their original boxes. 

I keep original boxes because when I move, it will make them easier to pack.
I’ve been living in the same house for 8 years.

I talk about tackling my pile every weekend. And every weekend I do something else, like pull weeds in the garden or lay on my couch and solve climate change.

To quote Steve Martin's character in The Three Amigos, “All of us have an El Guapo to face”.

Mine happens to be a pile of things that no longer bring me joy but continue to torment when I stump my toe on them in the dark on my way to the bathroom.

While talking about my El Guapo recently with a neighbor, she revealed to me her much larger and overwhelming El Guapo. Her El Guapo had reduced my El Guapo significantly to non-El Guapo status.  It wasn’t even Jefe at that point. 

I started going through my pile, taking pictures of anything I still thought was valuable to make my small eBay fortune and donated the rest. It only took me a few hours and it's no longer in the middle of my kitchen. Why did I let that self-inflicted Everest plague me for 7 months?!

The unknown can paralyze you. Fear of failure keeps you from making decisions. But once you take that first step, everything becomes easier than you thought it would be. Nothing will ever be perfect. Fear breeds in the over thinking, not in the actual doing. Whether you succeed or it backfires, nothing is as awful as being tormented by what if’s in your head.

Where you are right now probably feels like it will last forever. It's helpful for me to think back to where I was 6 months ago, 1 year ago, 5 years ago to realize how much things change. And even so, I may still be tapping my foot and wallowing in the misery. But it will pass. You are transitioning into something else as we speak. Let hope fill your heart to combat the anxiety in your head. 

  I love my imagination and I hate my imagination. It brings me through the tough times and creates the tough times. Maybe balancing my contradictions is my real El Guapo.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tomorrow is bullshit

Harlinsdale Farm Sunset
Franklin, TN

 I lost two family members in the past 2 weeks. Two people, I saw only last month who live 700 miles away. I held their hands. I told them I loved them. I had a strong desire not to wait. I could have put it off, waited for better finances, or maybe the next holiday.  All the excuses were valid.  
But tomorrow is bullshit.

The thunder started before the sun went down. Distant thunder with the sun still setting. We needed the rain. My garden needed the rain. I can water the garden with the hose to keep it alive but the rain is what it thrives in. The rain is what gives it life to bare fruit.  I walked out to the field in the darkness. I listened to the thunder, watched the lightning strike over and over again and I waited for the rain.

I heard it before I felt it on my skin. It rustled through the trees announcing its arrival. When it came down on my head it was cold at first, like jumping into a river. I stood there with my arms outstretched and let it soak me through.

I want to thrive like the garden and bare fruit. I want to be drenched by the sky. Let the lightning wake me up and the thunder shake me. My heart is broken and I want to scream.

Today is all that matters. Someday is bullshit, tomorrow is bullshit, your perfect timing is bullshit.  What are you saving for later, for someday? If you love someone, tell them now. Say what you need to say this very minute. Live in the raw, imperfect you. Stand in the rain and let it soak you through.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sun + Honey DIY Highlights

DIY natural highlights

The sun is out and providing me with free highlights! Nature has everything I need to be blonder. Hair will naturally lighten with regular sun exposure no matter what color you start with. My hair when not exposed to the sun is a medium blonde with a little strawberry courtesy of my late Scottish red headed grandfather. When summer arrives it reverts to the color of my youth. To speed up the process I have concocted this recipe.  First I spritz my head with rose water.
Recipe to make your own rose water here: Rose Water DIY

Mix together in glass bowl:
One heaping tablespoon of honey
One teaspoon of cinnamon
One teaspoon of nutmeg
Mix together and let set for 10-20 minutes

Then add one or more of the following:

If your hair is dry or damaged
Add aloe juice until the mixture is a thick liquid
Add Rose water until the mixture is a thick liquid

If your hair is normal to oily
Add lemon juice until the mixture is a thick liquid

Lemon speeds up the lightening but it can also be drying. I would use it sparingly and not every time.

Honey is natural peroxide.  You could also lightly spritz your hair with hydrogen peroxide BUT since that is stronger you could end up with orange, yellow or white hair. 

With a paintbrush or your hand, coat your hair with the mixture. I put it on my whole head, and do the ends last with not as much of the mixture.  I then go outside and work in the yard…pull weeds, mow the yard, harvest the garden etc. When I’ve been outside for at least a couple of hours, I come back inside and wash out the mixture. It’s important to use hot water at first to get all the honey out. Massage your head to take advantage of the cinnamon/nutmeg, which will exfoliate as well as offer anti-bacterial properties.  Added bonus, goodbye dandruff.

Spitz rose water after you lightly towel dry and done!
Rose Water, which is packed with antioxidants, naturally balances your PH making it great for the scalp. It also makes your hair soft and smells fantastic. 

Here are two photos that were taken in my yard about 10 days apart without filters. There were about 3 applications between the two photos.

honey cinnamon nutmeg hightlights Hiwandergirl

I don’t use shampoo or conditioner anymore and my hair has never been healthier. I tried all the various no-poo options. I used watered down coconut milk for a year or two but now I don’t use anything. I rinse my hair in the shower to get off the outside environment. It is important to wash off the day so to speak. Since I spend a lot of time in an urban city, you wouldn’t believe what just walking down the street leaves on your skin and hair. If I wipe the side of my face with an oil soaked cotton ball after walking around downtown, its dark gray!  EWWWW! 

Everyone’s hair is different. If you aren’t a risk taker with your hair, try a few small strands first before adding to large sections. I’ve been doing this for years on my hair and haven’t noticed any issues or drawbacks. Many people have asked me if the bees chase me when I’m outside and try to land in my hair… umm no. But I’m in the garden every day and I’d like to think they all know me by now. =)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Smell Like A Rose - DIY Rose Water

I've never been a fan of the artificial fragrance.  I've gotten so sensitive to it I have to hold my nose when I walk past the perfume section or the laundry detergent isle. It makes my eyes water and tickles my nose. I love real smells like baking muffins, stir frying veggies and I love love love the smell of roses and peonies. Real flowers, not a smell concocted in a lab.

The first time I bought rose water spray years ago at a health food store, I was immediately hooked. I would bathe in it if I had a bathtub. Then I discovered you could buy drinkable rose water at the international market for a fraction of the price. This budget friendly alternative rocked my world.
Now I know how easy it is to make it and its free!!

Rose water isn't just a fragrance to transport you to a summer garden scene in a Jane Austin movie. It's been used as a beauty concoction for thousands of years. It makes your hair soft and conditioned. It maintains the PH of your skin, strengthens the cells and aids in healing scars.

I use this spray every day and it's so easy to make yourself.

1) Pick a few roses from your garden
2) tear off the petals
3) boil them in 1 3/4 cups of filtered water until petals lose all color
4) take off heat and let cool
5) strain
6) pour in spray bottle

Start with fragrant roses that have not been sprayed with pesticides. Remember you are putting this on your skin! I use my heirloom orange climber roses because they smell divine.  For this recipe, I picked 3 blooms.

Pull the petals off and put them in a pot of 1 3/4 cups of water. Use distilled or reverse osmosis water. You want the petals to just be covered with water. Put it on med/high heat and let it come to a gentle boil. You don't want to boil the water out! Let it simmer until the color has drained from the petals. When the color is gone, remove from heat. Let cool, strain and then pour into your spray bottle.

If your roses are white, just watch the petals until they start to look a little translucent.

TIP: I pour the contents into a French Press. I own two french presses, one for coffee and one for everything else. It's great for loose leaf tea too!
A French Press is perfect for straining rose petals because it also has a little spout to pour into your spray bottle or container.

You can refrigerate to make it last longer. I go through mine pretty quickly since I use it every day. I leave it out on the counter in the bathroom and I've never had an issue with it going bad.

I have a few little blue glass spray bottles I bought at Whole Foods for a couple of dollars. I also have a previous store bought rose water tall dbottle with a little spout that I just refill.

I spray it on my hair and body after a shower.  I keep one mini spray bottle in my purse. I use it to calm my skin when I'm stressed or the summer heat has gotten to me. It's a nice mid day pick me up and great to spray on the skin before a night out. ...or to balance your skin after a night out. =)