I Spy With My Little Eye: The Herbal Revolution

Looking back, maybe that last entry was a little pessimistic.  Maybe I just needed to complain a bit so that I could complete all of the following yesterday:  grocery shopping (twice), living room tidying, cooking dinner, finishing a book and updating The BIG THAW website.  Now that the steam’s let off, I’ve got some energy for a really positive shout-out to Kathi Langelier at The Herbal Revolution.

I first met Kathi at the Handmade Holiday Fair in Biddeford in December.  We joked about how it’s always so expensive to travel in state and have to stay in a hotel if you want to be somewhere longer than just a day trip.  Then we volunteered each other our ‘spare spaces’ in our houses whenever one was longing for a change of scenery.

While I’m a ‘city girl,’ The Herbal Revolution quite naturally has its home in Lincolnville, ME, where excellent things grow in gardens and forests.  Kathi harvests and forages the herbs and plants needed for her products and makes good use of them without gross chemicals or stuff that makes my skin all red.

 

I am so excited! Click to buy this Halloween Costume for yourself!

The first product I bought from Kathi was the Better Than Botox clay mask ($9) which is more than a bang for your buck.  The jar itself is pretty sizable, but the contents are powder, not pre-mixed, so by adding your own water (or yogurt, lemon juice, tomato juice or whatever else works for you) you can get the consistency and longevity out of BTB that you’d like.  Above is a picture of me looking so excited for how great my skin would feel in a little bit.  The kelp powder tingles as there is mint and rosemary mixed in the clay and it has a very light, pleasant smell.  The mask also includes nutritional yeast for acne prone skin (that’s me!)  When I wash it off my face feels younger, fresher, and definitely more firm.  Yay to 10 minute, natural face lifts.

After making some Etsy sales last week and a Paypal balance burning a hole in my pocket I revisited The Herbal Revolution as a repeat customer.  I bought a St. John’s Wort oil (for pain relief in my bum!  Sciatica boo, herbal remedies yay) and a small pot of Rose Lotion.

 

A lotion by any other name wouldn't smell as sweet!

The Rose Lotion ($8) is light and smells exactly like you want it to.  Feminine, breezy and subtle.  The lotion itself is not pink, but a buttery yellow and that’s super refreshing.  Not all roses are pink, people!  And I don’t need any dye in my product to make me more convinced it has roses in it.  Kathi done good.  This little pot is portable and a tiny bit goes a long way (like a pea size for my whole face or two pea sizes for my leathery old man hands).

 

Pinched nerves don't stand a chance!

Kathi recommends using the St. John’s Wort oil ($12) with her St. John’s Wort tincture ($11)which (Thanks, Kathi!) she sent me as a special gift in my package.  Although it tastes herb-y I mix the tincture (20-30 drops) in green tea and apply the St. John’s Wort Oil to my rear end which, for any of you who know me, is constantly ache-y.  I’ve recently begun massage therapy and am retraining myself to sleep in a proper position but the St. John’s Wort battery combining forces with a heating pad don’t hurt, either!

 

St. John's Wort Tincture, $11

St. John’s Wort is also indicated for depression.  Mainers, I’m looking at you.  It’s been freezing cold for near three months now, fresh snowfall has lost its nostalgic charm and we’re playing the ‘can we make it to April with that much heating oil?’ game.  So:  you’re depressed.  Even if you don’t admit it I know you’re climbing in to bed with a book at 7pm and snoozing by 8.  I know you’re ordering delivery for the second time this week and it isn’t even Wednesday.  Depression has many relievers – this just happens to be my favorite one right now!  Also look at my awesome teacup in that picture up there.

 

Look at my awesome teacup. And that tincture for $11.

The St. John’s Wort Oil is distinctly herby but the odor is only apparent when you stick the vial up your nose (don’t do that).  Plus, after a few days the aroma is actually growing on me!

 

Babies and Springtime are the best.

I’m really quite psyched to have found something natural (and effective) right here in our home state.  Kathi’s products leave my skin feeling great and my derriere comfortably soothed.  I’ve got my eye on Calendula Oil next because I don’t think there is much of anything in this world that is more soothing than calendula.  Maybe it’s because all our Mommies used it on us as babies.  Maybe it’s because it smells distinctly and undeniably like Spring.  Either way you slice it, you’ll be hearing from me soon, lady.

Re-entry 2011, welcome back to Vacationland.

Well, we got back last night fresh from balmy Vermont nights (seriously, 40 degrees in December?!  Global warming is real, people!) with only three extra boxes in tow.  Which is really impressive considering I went to Vermont with ONE box full of presents so we should have returned with less.  But not me, no, not possible.

Let me explain!  The three boxes are full of genealogical manna, unleavened bread of a photophile’s wet dream from the sky.  Or from Grammie’s crawlspace.  FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS.

And we’re not talking “Trip to Asia 1998” or “The Hotchkisses Visit Disneyland 1989” (which we didn’t, p.s.) but rather a veritable treasure trove of honest-to-god silver-on-paper prints from the 1920s and 30s, a small selection from the 40s, and a resurgence in the 50s + 60s when my father and his four sisters were children.

So while I spend the next however-long-it-takes of my life addressing these wonderful items (Grammie wants them back in April when she visits) I’ll be featuring particularly fantastic ones on my blog for your viewing pleasure.

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Naturally, I am participating in the American tradition of declaring resolutions and then quickly forgetting them and doing exactly the opposite.  In no particular order:

GETRIDOFJUNK,i.e. things that are really junk, not the super-cool version of junk that must be saved, photographed and put on a special shelf in the kitchen.  GETITTOGETHER,i.e. why is the notion of putting clothes in the hamper or cleaning up cat fur tumbleweeds completely lost on me?  I suspect getting rid of junk will make getting it together a lot easier.  PHOTOGRAPHIES!  Do more.  do more art.  Start drawing, too, because it’s really fun and usually way more interesting that a photograph (oh my God it hurts to say that, but is usually true, if it’s a good drawing).  COOKNEWTHINGS!, why oh why are we stuck in a delicious brown rice and quinoa rut?  And everything we eat has sweet potato in it.  Please note:  brown rice, quinoa and sweet potato will still be regularly featured but it’s time to learn some new tricks.  SHAREMORE.  Give people gifts that they don’t expect, send photographs I think people might like to them without being asked (i.e. family pictures).  Just more surprises and nice things, in general.

Lastly, I’ve been suffering from a gradually expanding waistline.  I say suffering because today at work I had to unbutton the top button of my jeans…and this particular pair happens to have a hole (small, but a hole nonetheless) in the crotch.  Seriously, Audrey, get it together (#2).  And I’m pretty sure the hole was caused by a stress fracture in the pants’ integrity due to the girth of my thighs, vying for second place in the ‘parts of my body I am pretty sure were smaller last August’ competition.  As a consolation, I’ve found Allie Munier’s Being Bess Marvin. blog and find comfort in some familiar impulses/emotions/reactions to cheez-related foods.

I’m confused, though – I eat well (not like, ‘a lot’ well, but ‘healthy’ well), exercise regularly, dance even more frequently and have a pretty physical job.  So why does it feel like I’m packing bean bags in my pant-line?  I don’t know, but what I do know is I love bubble dresses and baby dolls, stretch pants and leggings here I come.

Art stuff on its way as soon as I can organize vacation pics and start talking to some other artists for future features!

Pictures of Behbehs!

Becoming an aunt came with lots of fun extras:  recapturing hide-and-seek as a normal passtime, random (free) babysitting opportunities, and diaper changing poo-review.  All these and more were worth it to have a 24/7 built in baby girl to take pictures of.

she cannot stop me from snapping!

My lofty goals as a an ‘art photographer’ have dissolved in the mid-to-late 20’s overload of weddings, births and kids growing up.  Dreams of showing cerebral work in underground galleries made way for snapping portraits of thoughtful babies for family photo albums.

C. doing "Kisses"

But because I can do both of these simultaneously (lofty goals, humble portraits) I’m feeling pretty excellent about spending time with these vertically challenged, incredibly observant fresh little human people.

peek-a-boo

Portrait sessions, FYI, are $120, last about an hour to an hour and a half at a location of your choosing and include a CD of high resolution images that you can print to your heart’s delight.  I photograph using a Mamiya C330 twin lens camera ca. 1970s-80s. using medium format film.  Negatives are available for purchase, in addition to the CD, if you’d like.

With the holidays coming up these might be a really nice something to slip in with the the gifts to Grandma, Grampy and everyone else.

And for the DIY crowd out there, some simple tips for photographing kids:  get down low, be on their level.  Try not to overly engage the child you’re photographing – images taken when they’re ‘doing their own thing’ will be a lot more honest and less forced.  Lastly, bring some props that the little bean won’t mind using – i.e. a big lollipop, a bubble machine or a radio flyer:  the list goes on.  Keep the composition simple and focused on what’s important and you’re sure to make some winners.