Starbucks and Spring Series: Iced Coffee and Flower Planting Tips, A Perfect Match!

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The weather has finally gotten to a point in the Midwest where we can plant our gardens without worry of frost. Gardening season was quite late this year. And in typical Chicago form, we have gone from winter to summer. The late spring days are pretty warm! So when I did my gardening-palooza last weekend, mamma needed some tasty, cool beverages that also had a nice kick to keep he going! I gardened for 7 hours, both Saturday and Sunday.  I celebrated half way through, both days, by sitting on my deck bench and sipping one of Starbucks Iced Coffees, revelling in my progress. 

See, here I am on my sitting bench. I designed and sewed all that on that bench. It's a cozy nook.


You can get these Starbucks Iced Coffees in many grocery stores near you. They have a sweetened and unsweetened version, and the sweetened version is not really very sweet at all. This line is all about bold coffee flavor right out of the bottle, not sugar. Pour it over ice and you are good to go. I liked it with a splash of vanilla almond milk.

After resting up, this nice cold brew gave me the boost I needed to keep planting with a vengeance. Here is a bit of my handywork.

I cleaned up my sun bed, weeded and planted annuals in open areas around perennials.

Brick paver are a main attraction in my shade bed on the side of our house (above photos). My mosaic bench creates a nice seating area in the garden, and I salvaged a big copper pot from a thrift shop that I fill with shade annuals. Shade beds get flowers but for a short time, so to keep color all season long, you need to use some shade annuals.

My potting bench got quite a workout (above). I also unearthed all my various pots to fill and place around the deck and stairs.

The deck is it's own afternoon of work. I cleaned out the boxes that lined the deck, turned the soil over and fertilized it. Then I planted annuals with many trailing vinca plants. I also filled pots here and there, with many plant stands I salvaged from thrift shops. Smaller pots were filled with small kitchen herbs.

New to gardening? Here is a video on how to repot  annuals from the nursery into their summer home around your yard.

  Please note: Starbucks bottle iced coffee was provided by Starbucks. All thoughts, opinions and obsessions about Starbucks coffee are completely my own. Thanks! #starbucks #starbucksspring @starbucks 

Essential Oils: My new found interest and a recipe for "Flora's Hair Mist"

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This blog just keeps expanding and growing as my experiences and crazy life does. My most recent interest was brought around by my sister, and it's all about essential oils. At first I was quiet skeptical. She was claiming all of these crazy health benefits and beauty benefits, and was surprised with how much clean eating and gardening I do I would be such a naysayer. Part of it was money (do I need to spend more money on something like that?) and part of it was overwhelming (do you know how many oils there are and all that they do? It makes your head swim!).

Then I burned myself quiet badly at her house. She quickly created a "burn love" roller ball oil for me to put on my burn through out the day and over a few days. It was unbelievable. My burn never even scabbed or bubbled up and blistered! It just quietly went away within a few days. And the pain went away quite quickly. The last time I had a burn, it turned into a horrible staph infection! This was amazing.

So then, knowing I was beginning to be swayed, she made me a concoction for my Crohn's disease. One night of bad cheating, my tummy was not feeling great. I rubbed that oil on my tummy and inhaled it all evening and felt way better!

I was hooked. Especially after reading some articles around some of the science behind oils.

I got the starter kit from Young Living and the rest is history. I use oils for beauty things, I use it for ADHD hand soap for my daughter, I have made some roller balls for hormone balance, I took care of my husband's skin infection with some. The list goes on and on.

I am not going to go into the science of it all, there is plenty online if you want to research essential oils. There are also a lot of providers, so do your research and figure out what can work in your budget based on your needs.

But think about this, before Western medicine made synthetic chemicals in labs, there was nature. How do you think early civilization cured and cared for itself? Plants, herbs, spices, flowers, fruits were all easily accessible and the smart ones among us could connect the dots between benefits of one thing and another. I am not saying there isn't a place for modern medicine. I think essential oils can work with modern medicine.

The world of essential oils is overwhelming at first. My sister bought me an amazing book that has everything, and it has post-its now all over it! There is also an app on my phone I really love, and there is also Pinterest. Now I am making my own blends. I keep a small journal to keep track of my recipes and my tweaks. I recommend you do the same. Every person is different, and sometimes your blends may change depending on your body's natural rhythms, so keep a journal. It brings organization to the madness.

I have come up with some good recipes, as well as my sister. So I am going to dedicate a section on the blog for me to share some of our favorites.

The one today is a hair mist I came up with.

My sister was like, "Really? Why do you need that? You have more hair than you know what to do with?" Well guess what? The minute you get into..well.....lets just say middle likes to fall out and thin out. You see clumps of it at the bottom of the shower. It's very upsetting. And if you chemically treat your hair, it's going to need extra love. SO this baby I spray on my hair wet, I hit three sprays on my scalp in different areas, then hit the ends twice ( I have long hair and it is thick). If you have short hair, you may just need two spritzs. Focus on your scalp, because that's where you need the oil to do it's work, but massage it in and comb it through so the hair shaft gets some too.

I have noticed a lot less hair at the bottom of my shower and fuller, smoother hair. My color also stays richer longer. This works for me. Will it work for you? I don't know. Give it a try! I would also advise on staying away from citrus oils if you have color treated hair. I just remember squirting lemon juice into water and spraying it on my hair to lighten it in the summer. I have no idea if citrus oils would do that, but I would just be safe and stay away from those. I spend too much time and money coloring my hair to mess the color up on accident!

Flora's Hair Mist

A 4 oz. glass pump
distilled water
8-10 drops rosemary oil
8-10 drops of cedarwood oil
8-10 drops lavender oil

Carefully drop oils in a clean glass pump. Fill with distilled water. Label the bottle. Spritz wet hair near scalp, then massage in and comb through. Style as usual. Don't use too much or your hair will be oily. You just need a touch. Shake bottle before each use. I use it 1-2 times a week.

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