Archive | September, 2015

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Little Yarn Flowers

I have been decorating my house for fall.  Truthfully, I don’t really like decorating for fall.  I know there will be a lot of haters out there, but fall is not my favorite season.  The days are getting darker and even though I am supposed to be enjoying the present moment, I know what is coming down the pipeline… winter.  But unfortunately, summer must end.  My summer decor starts to feel out of place in the fall and I have the need to cozy things up a bit.

As part of my decorating this past weekend, I decided to take on a little craft project and make some of these pom pom flowers in a fall color that I have seen around the internet.

What you’ll need:

  • Yarn (I used Red Heart, any inexpensive yarn will work)
  • Glue Gun (my favorite crafty tool lately)
  • Some small sticks from a bush in your yard
  • Scissors

You first need to make the pom poms.  I found the easiest way to do this is to simply wrap the yarn around two of your fingers.  I wrapped anywhere from 50 to 70 times depending on how full I wanted the pom poms to be.  Don’t wrap too tight, otherwise you won’t be able to get it off your fingers and your fingers will turn blue!

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After wrapping the yarn, slip the yarn off of your fingers.  Cut a single piece of yarn about 6 – 8 inches long and tie it tight around the center of your looped yarn.

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Cut through the loops of the yarn so they are now straight pieces.

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(Sorry the picture is blurry here)

Then give your pom pom a haircut so the pieces are even.

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(Remnants from the pom poms haircuts)

Finally, take a pom pom and glue it to a stick with your glue gun.

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There you have some simple pom pom flowers.  They remind me of the flower allium (although those are usually purple) or maybe even mums.  In any event, I think they are fun, it was a quick craft project and they brighten my fall spirits.  –June

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Clean Hair Care

Last week, June shared her quest to transition into using healthier products on her skin. Over the course of the last few years, I’ve been slowly changing most of my personal care products as well, after learning that many products contain harsh chemicals which, over time, could be toxic to my body. I now choose products with more natural and organic ingredients.

Ok ladies (and gentlemen too), today is all about hair care. Particularly professional color and salons. I thought I’d start by sharing my own hair journey. I was never really much of a hair color junkie. As a teenager, I would comb fresh lemon juice through my hair and allow the sun to lighten up my long brunette locks. Over the years I played with highlights, but nothing crazy. I didn’t do serious hair color done by a professional until I saw those first few grays securely  staking their claim on my head. It was time for action. The color did its job, however, I was never thrilled with the process. I HATED the smell, the staining around the hairline, and the irritation I would get on my scalp and neck afterwards. That little voice in my head kept trying to tell me that the chemicals in the dye were causing this reaction, but I ignored that voice because it was worth the outcome at the time. Also, the redness always went away after a few days.  Unfortunately, this irritation continued, and after one particularly bad reaction, I decided it was time to stop the charade.

Many women opt to go gray naturally these days.  In fact, I have a Pinterest board devoted to these beautiful women and so aspire to one day embrace my gray.  I’m not there yet. I started doing a little research on natural hair color and found some options that I could do at home.  One day, while having lunch with a dear friend, I noticed how beautiful and healthy her hair looked and shared my hair color woes. She told me about a great salon that recently opened in the area that only uses natural and organic products, so I made an appointment that same day. This particular salon uses the Organic Colour Systems, which is derived from aloe vera, comfrey root, orange peel and grapefruit seed. My friend was a little skeptical that her color would stay fresh until her next appointment, but after several months of using the product, she was a very satisfied customer. While at my first appointment, I shared my thoughts and concerns about my hair with the stylist, and together we came up with a plan. It was the start of a new hair journey.  This was almost two years ago, and I’m still thrilled with the results. The products smell wonderful, they last for a long time, and I have never once had a bad reaction. But the best part is that I’m also in love with the salon.

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Ahavah Organic SpAlon opened its doors in January of 2014. It’s nestled in a beautiful courtyard in the heart of downtown Barrington, Illinois, just behind Francesca’s Italian Restaurant. In addition to hair care, the salon offers many services including skin care, body detoxification, and soon, therapeutic massage.  They carry wonderful organic hair, skin, and make up products, which makes shopping easy.

O’right makes some wonderful organic hair products which are also available at the SpAlon.

1AA103 1AB123 I’m always pampered from the moment I walk in until I leave my appointment.  I was a little nervous this particular salon service would be out of my price range, because of the nature of the products. The good news is their prices are comparable to those at other salons in the area. I also love that more of these salons are opening, because there are other women, just like me, who are struggling with allergies from traditional hair color. Yes, the products are a little more expensive, but because they are such high quality, you don’t need to use as much and they last a long time. I just started with one product and added more over time. I love that my hair is healthy, and I am so grateful that these products are available.

~May

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Marriage of Opposites

September Book Club

It’s time for our monthly book picks.  This month all of our books have a bit of magic in them.  We thought that some magical books may make some good reads as we go into the month of Halloween.  Our picks this month are Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler, Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman and Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.

 

Book of Speculation

Via Amazon:

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival.

One June day, an old book arrives on Simon’s doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of “mermaids” in Simon’s family have drowned–always on July 24, which is only weeks away.

As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly worried about his sister. Could there be a curse on Simon’s family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he get to the heart of the mystery in time to save Enola?

In the tradition of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, The Book of Speculation–with two-color illustrations by the author–is Erika Swyler’s moving debut novel about the power of books, family, and magic.

May’s Review:  I love being introduced to new authors, and thoroughly enjoyed Erika Swyler’s debut novel about a family curse, where the women, who are all circus mermaids, always drown on July 24. I enjoyed Simon Watson’s character, who’s a lonely librarian trying to care for his quirky and somewhat annoying sister, Enola. It’s a novel that travels through time and I enjoyed reading about mermaids and  the magic of tarot cards

June’s Review:  I really loved this book.  It had a mystery to solve, real-life mermaids and a carnival.  I felt for Simon trying to figure out who he was and trying to protect his unique sister.  The book also is interesting when the story takes a turn to characters that lived with a traveling circus during the time of the American Revolution.  The book had a bit of a sad dark quality about it that came through on many pages.  A definite book to put on your to-read list.

 

Marriage of Opposites

 

Via Amazon:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro—the Father of Impressionism.

Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel’s salvation is their maid Adelle’s belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle’s daughter. But Rachel’s life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father’s business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.

Building on the triumphs of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, set in a world of almost unimaginable beauty, The Marriage of Opposites showcases the beloved, bestselling Alice Hoffman at the height of her considerable powers. Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Frédérick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.

May’s Review:  I’m a long time fan of Alice Hoffman and am always excited to read her new releases.  I loved this story about a woman named Rachel, who we meet as a young girl living in St. Thomas in the early 1800’s.  She’s a free spirit bound by her religion and we are taken on a journey of her life until her death in 1889, at the age of 94. As in all her novels, Alice Hoffman always brings a little mystical-magical touch to her stories which for me, makes it all the more beautiful. I definitely recommend this novel….loved it.

June’s Review:  I always look forward to a new book by Alice Hoffman.  Her more recent books are more historical fiction than her earlier books, but they always contain an element of the supernatural.  This is a story about a woman who bucks all convention and tradition for the love of her life.  Life on the island of St. Thomas in the 19th century is beautifully described.  I loved some of the natural elements that were woven into the story.  This is a story about how love can be among the most beautiful of emotions, but also the most painful.  Another one to put on your to-read list.

 

Garden Spells

Via Amazon:

The magical New York Times bestseller.
 In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it….
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants–from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys–except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down–along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy–if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom–or with each other.

Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own….

May’s Review:  June told me about this book a few years ago, and I loved it.  I found this to be a very enchanting story about the lives of the Waverly sisters, Claire and Sydney.  I loved the magic of the foods Claire prepares, and the big old apple tree in the yard that gives magical fruit, and loves to play tricks on people. Although these sisters are very different, they both remain close and connected to their family history.  This was Sarah Addison Allen’s first novel, and I think it’s a must read for anyone who believes in magic.

June’s Review:  This was published a few years ago but it is one of my favorite all time reads.  I love how how the magic just seems normal in the story.  The descriptions of Claire’s foods and her ability to cure ills with flowers grown in her garden are just lovely and makes me want to garden and cook more.  My favorite character is Evanelle who brings people in the book items that they don’t know they need.  And even the tree is main character in the book.  It is a story about sisters and coming to accept who you are and embracing your special and unique gifts.  This is one that if you have not read yet, you simply must.  I am jealous of all of you that get to read it and experience it for the first time.

Let us know what you think about your picks and if you have any other good reads to recommend.  Happy Weekend.  – May and June

 

 

 

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Clean Skin Care

For the last few years, I have been trying to clean up the amount and types of chemicals I use in my home and put in my body.  I am not perfect by any means when it comes to this, but I do try when I can (conventional honey crisp apples are one of my downfalls).  Despite doing this it took awhile for it to occur to me that this should include those things I put on my body as well.

Your skin is one of your largest organs.  I often don’t think of my skin in those terms, but anything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body or it can prevent your skin from doing its job of letting things out and keeping things from getting in (you can tell I was not a biology major by this explanation).  There are theories that certain chemicals in products we use are carcinogenic, which disrupt our hormones causing reproductive and developmental problems, and irritate our immune system causing environmental problems.  Because of this I have been trying to select soaps, skin care products and makeup that contain less chemicals and safer ingredients.  Lately, there is a lot of marketing that goes into promoting products as natural or organic, some of which is just hype.  A good website to check the safety of your skin care is EWG.org .  The information on the website is sometimes limited, but I have noticed that it has become more complete and user friendly then it was a few months ago.

The one thing I do not like about a lot of so-called clean or natural skin care products is they make them unscented which in turn makes them have a funky smell.  So I have found a few products that I like that are “cleaner” than some others that also do not have that funky smell.

For shower gel and body lotion I love the Everyone 3-in-1 Soap.  I really like the Lemon Coconut scent (it smells like the beach) and the Citrus Mint.  I usually buy mine at Whole Foods but you can also buy it on Amazon.  The soap lathers well (I have never used it as a shampoo or bubble bath) and smells divine.  The big bottle easily lasts us about a month.

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Similarly, I also really love the Everyone Lotion.  It comes in the same scents as the soap.  It is not sticky but is still moisturizing.

Body Lotion

For hand soap, I do love the Mrs. Meyers brand because they smell so good.  Although I just looked them up on EWG.org and they did not score that well, partially because it looks like the data may be limited.  I may be looking for a new hand soap so if anyone has one they love, I would love to hear it.

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For skin care, I was recently introduced to Arbonne, which my husband’s cousin sells.  I have been using their anti-aging line RE9 Advanced for about 6 months now and I love it.  My skin feels moisturized and I have had no trouble with sensitivity to the products.  I started using it last winter and I saw the effects right away.  The products are botanically based ingredients and are formulated without  talc, tallow, carbon black, animal products or by-products, parabens, formaldehyde-donating preservatives, phthalates, formaldehyde, alkylphenols, benzene, monoethanolamine, triclosan, synthetic dyes, hydroquinone, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, cholesterol, trans fats, and mineral oil.  It also has no funky chemical smell.

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The one downside with natural skin care products is they do tend to be more expensive then the lower quality drugstore brands.  However, I have found the products do tend to last a lot longer because they are more potent so use a smaller amount.  For example, I bought my Arbonne set in February and I am still using most of the products.  I had to replace the cleanser recently because I ran out.  Also, I find that I have no skin irritation with these products so I do not use part of it and then have to buy something else because I have discovered I am allergic to it.

I am still on my quest to clean up my skin care and beauty routine.  I have heard wonderful things about the brand BeautyCounter, but have not yet tried it.  In another post, I will talk about some of my favorite clean cosmetic brands as well.  Tell me do you have any favorite clean skin care products or tricks?  Have you tried any of the products that I mentioned or have any other good tips for me?  Do you have a good hand lotion (I hate sticky ones and so I forego hand lotion)?–June

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Quick and Yummy Peanut Butter Cookies

I’m very excited to share one of my favorite cookie recipes with you, and it only has three ingredients.  I’ve always loved to bake, and although I occasionally bake during the summer months, who wants to be stuck inside a hot kitchen on a beautiful day?  Now that fall is on our doorstep, I find myself looking through my recipes and picking up a few extra cookie ingredients at the grocery store.  For me, there is nothing like the heavenly aroma of fresh baked cookies on a crisp fall day and though the candle companies try, they don’t quite have that scent of cookies right out of the oven.  I’m always experimenting with recipes and still love the traditional chocolate chip cookie, but sometimes I’m a little short on time yet still want to make something from scratch.  I came up with this basic peanut butter cookie recipe years ago, which got two thumbs up from my cookie tasters (aka, my family). Here’s the basic recipe:

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1 cup of your favorite peanut butter, smooth or chunky

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon flour ( The flour is used to coat the tines of a fork to make the criss cross pattern on the cookie.  You can substitute any flour if you are gluten free)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix peanut butter, sugar and egg well.

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Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an un-greased cookie sheet.  Dip fork tines into flour and press into cookie ball.  Turn fork 90 degrees and press again, making a tick-tac-toe pattern.

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  Bake 8 to 10 minutes, depending on if you prefer a chewy, or crisp cookie.   Let cool one minute, remove to a wire rack, and enjoy one (or two) while they are still warm.  They store well in an air tight container.

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I personally prefer to use chunky peanut butter because it gives the cookie a little more texture.  If you want a sweeter cookie, you can add a little more sugar. The batter tends to be sticky, so if I’m not in a hurry, I’ll stick the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes or even overnight.  Sometimes I’ll throw in a handful of chocolate chips for that peanut butter cup flavor (my husband’s favorite), or I’ll  use a coconut peanut butter by Earth Balance, if I feel like changing things up a bit.  ( My husband is not a fan of this version.) I usually get between 20-25 cookies, depending on the size.  I often double the recipe if we are having guests or if I just want to freeze some because they disappear so fast.  Enjoy!!

Do you have a quick and yummy cookie recipe?

~May

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A Closet Collaboration

We all have those special occasions, when we gather with people we haven’t seen for a while, and want to put our best foot forward in how we look and feel.

A few weeks ago, June’s mom Sharyn, requested our assistance in helping her prepare for a very special high school reunion.  She made us swear that we would not tell you how many years, but it was a BIG milestone reunion.  Personally, we think we should be allowed to tell you because she looks great.  This reunion was a two day event that required three different outfits.  Friday night was a casual pizza party, Saturday was a mass and and school tour during the day, with a dressier dinner in the evening. Sharyn was feeling a little nervous about what to wear and about attending the reunion.  Although her basic outfits were picked out, Sharyn was looking for a little advice on some chic accessories.  She does not typically wear a lot of jewelry, just basic earrings, a necklace, watch and her wedding ring on a day-to-day basis.  May and June could definitely help with that.  We arrived at Sharyn’s armed with some great pieces, and had a wonderful time pulling it all together.  It’s always so much fun playing in someone else’s closet.  All of these outfits were put together with items in Sharyn’s closet or something that May or June brought over.  We bought nothing new.

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Pizza Party:  Black jeans and a print top.  We added a linen blazer to give it a more polished look (along with providing a little warmth).  We finished it off with cork wedge sandals and a Lapis stone necklace.

 

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Mass and School Tour: Linen printed pants with a coral t-shirt that gives it a pop of color along with a denim jacket.  Sandals and a statement necklace.

 

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Dinner Outfit:  Maxi dress (she was so excited to wear it because it was comfortable) and sandals.  We added a long gold chain and dangle earrings to make it a little dressier for a dinner party.

It’s great collaborating with a trusted friend or daughter when preparing for a special event.  We all tend to make the same safe choices with our wardrobe, when sometimes all we need is someone to give us that extra push to try something a little different. Sharyn felt more confident after she tried on some trendier choices.   She said she had a great time at her reunion, reconnecting with old friends and received lots of compliments on her necklaces.

It just took a fresh pair of eyes to find some great options from Sharyn’s closet, along with a few borrowed accessories.  It was a a fun afternoon and a successful weekend.

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Have a great weekend!

~May and June

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Fun Candy Bouquet

In my family we have a lot of birthdays occurring within the span of one week in September.  My sister-in-law’s is on the 6th, a close aunt’s is on the 7th, my mom’s is on the 8th, and my older younger brother’s is on the 12th.  That is a lot of birthday fun so we usually all get together and have one big birthday celebration.

For my siblings and I, we decided a few years ago not to get each other birthday presents (the only exception being if it is a milestone birthday or if you happen to be at Target on “Force Friday” and they have a Potato Head named Luke Frywalker and your brother loves Star Wars and Potato Heads, but we can talk about that another time).  However, we still like to get each other a little something to mark the occasion, whether it be flowers, a bottle of a favorite adult beverage or a sweet treat.

This year I thought I would give my sister-in-law and my aunt some of their favorite candy (my brother was getting Luke Frywalker as noted above), but I didn’t want to give them a bag with some random candy thrown in it so off to Pinterest I went.  There I found the idea to make a candy bouquet.  Super simple and I think they turned out cute.

Items Needed (makes one candy bouquet):

Mason Jar (I used the narrow mouth ones but if you want to fit more candy you could use the wide mouth jars)

1.5 bags of miniature candy (I used mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, Hershey’s miniature candy bars)

4-5 full size candy bars

Paper Straws (I found  these in the party supply aisle at Target.  They held up just fine and they were cute).

Tissue Paper

Baker’s Twine

Glue gun (I did not have one so I bought one. I was so excited because I’ve always wanted one which I know is a little weird).

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Using your glue gun, glue the paper straws to the back side of the candy bars.  Let the glue cool.

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In the meantime fill the mason three-fourths of the way up with the miniature candy.

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I decided to make a paper flower to decorate the outside of the jar.  Take one sheet of colored tissue paper and cut it into eight equal pieces.  Then laying each sheet on top of each other fold it like a  fan.

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Cut a piece of baker’s twine long enough to wrap around the jar with some extra.  Take the folded tissue paper and tie the baker’s twine super tight in the middle.  You’ll have a narrow spot in the middle but the ends will flare out.

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Then separate each layer and fluff up and apart so you flower is nice and fluffy.

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Take your now cooled glued full size candy bars and stick randomly in the mason jar.  Once they were placed, I put a few more pieces of the miniature candy strategically in the jar to help the straws stay in place.

Then take the long ends of the baker’s twine attached to the paper flower and tie around the mason jar.  I just tied the ends in a bow at the back (making sure it was tight) and trimmed the edges.

And now you have a completed candy bouquet.  —June

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De-Stressing with a Reclined Twist

Welcome back to May Meets June!  Today we have a new look with our Monday post.  We are still a work in progress and will be making a few tweaks to the site as we go along.  We are very excited and look forward to continuing this journey with all of you.

So it’s only been a few weeks since school has been back in session, and I already feel as if we’re looking at summer through the rearview mirror.  Our focus is now on the more structured schedule that comes with fall and with that, more stress.

I always encourage my yoga students to develop a daily yoga practice at home. Unfortunately, most tell me they don’t have time. Here’s the great news. Doing just one posture a few minutes everyday can be a great boost to mind/body health….so no excuses!

Today I’d like to talk about a reclined abdominal twist.  I practice this posture twice a day, everyday.  My day begins with this posture before I even get out of bed in the morning, and it ends my day as well.  There are so many wonderful benefits that go along with this twist.  It stretches the back and outer hips, tones the nervous system, and stimulates the internal organs.  It’s also a great posture for reducing stress, it promotes relaxation and resets the adrenal glands. The adrenals are small structures that sit on top of each kidney and their job is to release hormones. Prolonged stress can wreak havoc on these glands, affecting how we physically feel.  We may feel overtired, anxious, and run down.

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As you move into the twist, the adrenal glands are squeezed, forcing out the old blood. When you release the twist, the adrenals fill with fresh oxygenated blood.  Make sure you twist on both sides, and hold for ten breaths.

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For a simple reclined twist, lie on your back, extend arms out to the sides shoulder height, and draw your knees to your chest.  As you exhale, allow your knees to fall to the right, turning your head gently to the left.  Relax and hold for ten breaths.  Repeat on other side, turning your head to the right.

To learn more about variations of reclined twists, check out the link below.

Have a great day!!

~May

http://www.yinyoga.com/ys2_2.0_asanas_recliningtwists.php

 

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We’re Getting a Facelift!

Ha! May and June aren’t actually getting a facelift, but our blog is having a transformation of sorts. We are really enjoying our blogging journey with all of you but we have realized that our current platform was going to limit the experience we could provide.  We are making some changes so we can continue to grow with you.

First things first, if you did not notice our name has changed to MayMeetsJune.com.  We got rid of the wordpress.com part of our address.  Easier to remember (and less letters to type).

Second, we are going to take a little break this week so that we can do some behind the scenes beautification of our site.  We plan to return next Monday with a new fresh look that continues our vision of living in the beauty of the present moment. So no new posts for the rest of the week and we’ll see you Monday.

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Happy Labor Day!!

~May and June

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Happy Hour Friday- Moscow Mule

Welcome back to Happy Hour Friday.  With the Labor Day weekend ahead, we thought it would be fun to start things off with a very popular and refreshing cocktail, the Moscow Mule.  These are everywhere right now so we thought we would make them at home.

The story of the Moscow Mule goes back to the 1940’s.  Apparently, back then, vodka was not a very popular drink.  A man by the name of John G. Martin bought the rights to the French Smirnoff brand in 1939, but no one wanted to drink it.  He partnered up with Jack Morgan, who was also struggling to sell his ginger beer. With the help of a bartender, they combined efforts, put the drink in a copper mug with a lime wedge, and the rest is cocktail history.  Why it’s called a Moscow Mule remains a mystery.  The consensus is that the name Moscow was used because vodka primarily came from Russia, but Mule?  Who knows?  (June’s theory is that if you drink enough of them you feel like you got kicked in the head by a mule, but she just made that up).  We just know that there’s nothing better than a Moscow Mule by the pool on a hot, “We don’t want summer to end” day.

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1 serving

1 jigger of vodka (we used Grey Goose)

1/2 jigger of fresh lime juice

1/2 cup chilled ginger beer (Fentimans or Crabbies)

1 lime wedge

Fill copper mug with ice. Add vodka and lime juice, then add ginger beer.  Stir to mix and garnish with lime wedge.  We had a whole debate about whether the ginger beer should be alcoholic or non-alcoholic.  We never did get a definitive answer so we just used the alcoholic ginger beer.  Why not?  We could use the extra little kick!

UPDATE:  We had a request from a very loyal and faithful reader for some mocktail ideas for Happy Hour.  We will try and incorporate them in our Happy Hour posts.  We know that there are many people that for various reasons don’t drink alcohol.  We have not tried a mock Moscow Mule, but we think this drink could be easily changed for that.  The ginger beer, even the non-alcoholic, has a kick.  So try a 1/2 jigger of lime juice, and some non-alcoholic ginger beer in a copper mug along with 1 lime wedge. If you try it, let us know how it is.  And next time we will do the taste testing for you!

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Our appetizer this week was a melted Brie topped with toasted slivered almonds served with raw veggies, sliced apple, and water crackers.  We microwaved the brie to melt it a bit, but you could also top the brie with toasted slivered almond and then put it an oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until soft (it was too hot the day we had Happy Hour, so we did not want to turn on the oven).

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Enjoy the long holiday weekend!

~May and June

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Card Holder

Inspirational Card Tree Holder

I love receiving greeting cards whether its for a birthday or for Christmas or for some other holiday (or for no reason at all).  They usually are pretty to look at and it is nice to receive some well written words of love.  We have always displayed greeting cards that we receive.  As a child, the birthday girl or boy (or mom or dad) would set out their cards on a small end table so that the cards could be enjoyed for a couple of days or weeks after the event.  And my parents would come up with different ways to display the Christmas cards they received.  Some years it was making a Christmas tree shape on the wall and filling it in with the cards, other times it was putting them in a basket out for display.

Because I like to enjoy my cards, I wanted to find a way to display them without standing them up on a table.  One of my chores as a child was to dust (which I did not like to begin with) and when there were cards out you had to take them down, dust, and then stand them back up.  And invariably some of them would fall over and knock others over.

A few years ago I found this card holder tree from Pottery Barn:

Card Holder

It must be pretty popular.  I bought mine probably 12 years ago or so and it has hung in a couple of my apartments, my condo and now my house.  I like it because it can be hung vertically or horizontally depending on your space.

Our card holder tree hangs in our dining room.  It fits perfectly in the space between the pass through to the kitchen and the doorway to the kitchen.  I have hung mine vertically because of the space (and let’s face it I’m too short to hang it horizontally because it would have to be above the pass through and I could never hang anything from it without getting a stepladder).

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My husband and I hang our birthday cards on it.  I also hang all of my Christmas cards from it.  It is so nice to look at all of your children’s beautiful, smiling faces on your Christmas cards while we eat dinner.  We go through times of the year when we do not receive many greeting cards so then I hang pictures from it, little notes, wedding invitations, postcards from the Iowa Summer Writer’s Workshop or other small tokens.

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(Silly golden retriever cards, a picture of my husband and me with our late dog Penelope, a poppy from the veterans, and a shamrock)

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(An anniversary card, a summer writer’s workshop postcard, an angel pin, and yet another silly golden retriever card)

I also discovered that Trader Joe’s sells greeting cards for $.99 .  I saw a couple of cards that inspired me, so I bought them for myself and hung them on my card tree holder.

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Basically, I hang anything on my card tree holder that inspires me or makes me happy.  And since I walk by the spot every day several times a day I get to enjoy all of it often.  Thank you to all of you who send me cards and other inspirational tokens.  They are very much enjoyed.  –June

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