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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Home Remedy for Parched Hair

Yesterday my hair was straw-dry. Today it is silky-soft! I was able to achieve this miracle by slathering on a thick mask of mayonnaise, thoroughly covering each strand. I sealed it with plastic wrap and secured with a beanie (which I later threw into the laundry!) Then I went about my business for three hours before double-washing, conditioning, and styling as usual. What a difference. My poor parched hair drank up the oils like a camel in the desert, and today I am rewarded with glossy hair that would make Tina Fey (spokesperson for Garnier) jealous.

Mayonnaise: Ideally you can make it yourself from scratch; this is always best. When using a commercial-grade mayonnaise, just make sure it is full-fat (using fat-free on your hair would be pretty silly!)


Sugar & Olive Oil

Sugar & Olive Oil

Treat yourself to an exfoliation that is both moisturizing and smoothing, using just two ingredients most of us already have in the kitchen. I take care to use only the best on my skin, such as Artistry cosmetics; and this part of my beauty routine is deliciously soothing and simple. I use this scrub right before bedtime, 2-3 times per week.

For a scrub that is both cleansing and smoothing, I massage a small amount of sugar and olive oil on my face, focusing on my T-zone. I rinse off with a splash of water, and pat dry with a towel, taking care to leave a moisturizing coat of olive oil for a deep, healing, overnight moisturizer. (If you have sensitive or oily skin, adjust accordingly. I have combination/normal skin.)

This also works nicely on the rest of the body, in fact can substitute as a shaving cream for the legs after the sugar is rinsed off. You will need to clean out the bathtub each time to prevent oil buildup.

Enjoy! You are worth it!

Banana Split Parfaits

Banana Split Parfaits

This recipe is as easy as it is healthy—and marvelously delicious! My 3-year-old Royal Taster couldn’t get enough.  I have listed the steps; feel free to adjust according to your craving.

  1. Have your little helper fill 4 fancy dishes 2/3 full with blueberries while you tend to the stove.
  2. At the stove—gently heat up equal parts butter, raw honey, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir occasionally.
  3. While chocolate warms; fill blender with 1 avocado, ½ banana, sprinkle of cinnamon, 3 drops concentrated stevia, 1 T raw honey, 2/3 C buttermilk, 1/3 C heavy cream, and ½ tsp vanilla. Blend until creamy.
  4. Evenly divide banana mixture between your 4 dishes over the blueberries.
  5. Top each dish with 1 T warm chocolate sauce.
  6. Sprinkle raw, unsweetened coconut and garnish with  remaining sliced banana and 3 blueberries to each dish.

Serve and enjoy with your little helpers and with your Sweetie.

Gifts for the 5 Love Languages

Gifts for the 5 Love Languages

What to get your sweetie this year? The “tried and true” cliché Valentine’s gifts, sold in vast quantities at virtually every store in your area, may or may not be in the right “language.”  If you have done any level of relationship research, I’m sure you understand the principle of love languages.  Bearing that in mind, let’s discuss gift possibilities for each one. If your loved one’s language is…

Acts of Service: I know what I would want! Someone to organize my office clutter, and discard unnecessary equipment and records, and make everything look designer-perfect when they were finished. In fact they could even do my taxes (light bulb! Great gift idea!) while they were at it.

Gifts: This one is rather easy, since you have millions of advertisers offering you options. Then again… not so much. Some people are comfortable declaring their wishlist, while others want to be surprised.  If nothing else, maybe you can sneakily look at e-bay’s recently viewed items. This one is always a risk; but a gift receipt can be very handy.

Words of Affirmation:  We know it is good to confront privately, and praise publicly. So, why not create a one-of-a-kind  engraving dedicated to the attributes of the one you love? Present the gift however you like, then hang it in a prominent location for all to see.

Physical Touch: You may opt for a professional massage. Or, if you are feeling brave (in matters of the heart, everything requires bravery!) create a spa experience at home, complete with a footspa, bath salts, massage oils, and maybe even a haircut (this last item is optional and definitely requires both skill and consent from the recipient).

Quality Time: This last one should really be included in your gift, regardless of which language is strongest. We have heard it said, “buy experiences, not objects.”  I believe this is true; the moments spent with your loved one are worth more than all the boxes of chocolates, bouquets of red roses, and electronic gadgets in the world.

What would be unexpectedly meaningful to your sweetheart? Here are a few:

  • Season tickets to the Timberwolves.
  • Candlelit dinners prepared by Yours Truly.
  • Couples massage.
  • A family or couples portrait session with a professional or aspiring photographer.
  • Outdoor weekend; hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, etc.
  • Art appreciation; visit a museum, art gallery, dinner theater, collector car show, martial arts competition, and so on.
  • Theme date, such as Iron Chef (except both of you are the chefs, creating masterpieces in the kitchen. If you have kids, they can be the judges);  ballroom dancing; or pretend to be medieval hobos for the weekend, and camp out sans internet, phones, and electricity, wearing period costumes. Whatever strikes your fancy.  I will not judge.
  • *One thing I don’t recommend for quality time is a movie date, as this one is usually an impersonal form of relaxation, rather than a bonding experience.

If you need clarification on what your love languages are, I highly recommend finding out by reading the book and taking the quiz, available at

I trust you will choose an absolutely smashing gift. And regardless of the gift awarded to you, bear in mind (if it wasn’t what you had in mind!) the giver may be confused as to your love language! If that is the case, reading the book is can be good date material in itself. Cliché or not, it is the thought that counts.

So, my dear readers, be blessed, and have a fabulous Valentines day.

Budget: Water, Anyone?

Budget: Water, Anyone?

Trim your budget—again. How? Drink more water! Yes, I do enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, but my true addiction has always been water. And why shouldn’t it be, when 2/3 of the body is constantly replenishing itself with fresh H2O?

Below are listed ten items of inspiration for me, and hopefully a few others, to drink more water, or at least half one’s body weight in ounces.

The water challenge:

  1. Drink a glass of water about 30 minutes before consuming anything (breakfast, coffee, lunch, snacks, etc.) to curb appetite and improve digestion. (Drink more water; as a result of feeling more full, spend less money on food and other beverages; and with improved health, spend less money on health items such as stomach aids, doctors visits, etc.)
  2. Choose the cheaper, healthier option. Drink water instead of pop and other unhealthy, expensive drinks
  3. If you must, dress it up with fresh lemon juice or flavored stevia . I enjoy fresh squeezed lemon and grapefruit juice in my water.
  4. Use your skincare/makeup routine as the perfect reminder to hydrate your body’s largest organ with a delicious glass of water.  This is also great for clearing up pores. (you may be able to discontinue an expensive skincare product by drinking more water and improving diet!  In my case, my skin improved by increasing water, raw vegetables, and healthy fats such as butter.)
  5. Drink water before, during, and after workouts to flush out toxins and improve circulation. Also if there is sickness going around. Get some good exercise in and flush out whatever is going around before it hits you.
  6. Drink water at work (If there are rules about this, kick it. Get a doctor’s note if you have to. Your health and job productivity are at stake. When I was pregnant, my doctor recommended it to my then-workplace without blinking an eye.)
  7. Keep a glass of water by your bedside. I have done this for years, and have a sip anytime I wake up, especially if it is for a nighttime nurse.
  8. Drink extra water when having dehydrating consumables like wine, coffee, sugar, and salt.
  9. Drink good water—At the very least drink filtered water. Ideally a filter should remove all harmful contaminants such as chlorine, lead, fluoride, etc.
  10. When raising your glass in a toast (a thoroughly uncelebrated practice in modern society) take a nice long drink of water and wish “Salud” to all your friends and family.

*Salud: Spanish for ‘health.’ What a better way to celebrate life than to wish yourself and everyone else good health as you sip on antioxidant rich wine; or as discussed in today’s challenge, a refreshing, cleansing, delicious drink of water.

Health: Baby Steps

Health: Baby Steps

Healthy choices: Are those words overwhelming? I understand. How can a person instantly change 100% of their health-related habits, and that of their family members, too?! I’m here to encourage us all to ‘chin up’ and make a change, one step at a time.

The last two months have been challenging for my family, health-wise.We have had make changes in order to see results. Three days ago my daughters and I finally walked around the block once, then came back inside when my eldest began to cough. Yesterday, we walked around the block twice. Today, we braved the cold and walked to the grocery store. What happened? We adjusted our diet, and we got fresh air and exercise according to what we could bare. It took time. And it worked.

Reclaiming my body as a healthy place has not been overnight. It is an ongoing process. I could not have handled it at once. But baby steps do work (Thank you, What About Bob!) Now, I am accustomed to less sugar, and prefer healthy fats any day.

Here are some changes I made.

  1. Making my own food. All of it. Making my own lunches. Eating at home. Packing picnics. This alone did wonders for my health, family time, and finances.
  2. After this became natural, avoiding prepared foods. This includes instant foods, breakfast cereal and most canned foods. The way food is prepared is so critical. For example, instead of shelf-stable cereal, I now enjoy foods like eggs, fruit, and slow cooked grains for breakfast.
  3. The next step for me has been to eliminate “bad sugars” and replace it with better choices like stevia or raw honey. Delicious!
  4. My next goal is finding a local exercise program that is fun and conducive to my lifestyle. If I don’t find anything, speed walking with the girls in the jogging stroller or Pilate’s at home works too.

I hope I have encouraged you. It takes time to heal your body. It takes time to re-train your mind on how to live. So give yourself some love and space, and focus on your next baby step. You can do it!

Home Organization: Coffee Mug Hooks

You know something has to change when you close the cupboard quickly to avoid an avalanche. Especially when you’re talking about potentially breakable dishes! Today we just might have a solution for your coffee mugs, and you probably have all the equipment you need right in your toolbox.

My mother-in-law, who inspired this post, is so handy with tools. You can see her DIY skills in her flowery kitchen, artfully celebrating the best part of the day: Coffee time.

You will need: Hooks, a drill, possibly a piece of wood, and paint (if desired). If you wish to get fancier in your design, you may need your whole toolbox, but I’m not going there!

  1. Select your spot to display your mugs. Mark with a pencil, holding up mugs to size the spacing.
  2. Determine if the spot requires extra reinforcement. If it does, plan to add the appropriate wood piece.
  3. Insert the screws, using the drill to help you start the hole.
  4. You may need to use a pliers to flatten the hooks out if the curve is too tight for the mug handles.
  5. Hang your favorite mugs and enjoy!

I recently helped my sister with some kitchen organization, and we were able to put up hooks for her mugs; (OK… I tried to help, except the desired location lacked a wooden panel to put the hooks into. So, her husband graciously took over and created a sturdy wood piece for the hooks to go onto, and attached the piece to the wall.) Any-hoo, the desired effect was achieved with her prettiest mugs on display, and the rest residing much more comfortably in the cupboard.

A note on kitchen clutter…

I don’t feel the need to keep a lot of dishes on hand for that once-every-five-years dinner party with twenty guests. When and if that should ever happen, believe me, I will be using disposable party dishes. This logic recently led me to purge 2/3 of my mish-mash dishes collection. Whew! (It’s liberating to people like me.)

Even though I’m not much for collecting things, mugs, may be an exception. My rule is that if I collect something, it must be used. I love mugs! They offer many uses, from coffee or cereal to holding flowers or pens; mugs provide entertainment and encouragement by their decorative text and artisticl design; mugs might be keepsakes, each one  a memory; and, best of all, while other dishes generally follow a complementing theme, mugs don’t have to match!  So, you see, I have convinced myself. If I like the mug, it stays.

Happy kitchen-organizing! Hopefully today’s tip helps!

Cheers! (Raising my coffee mug)

My New “About”

My New “About”

The time has come! I have updated my “about” page to reflect current themes in my life. See below as it now appears in my “about” section.

Hello, my name is Laura. The purpose of my blog is to encourage and inspire women in their everyday lives.

My inspiration for writing is to encourage women to apply extraordinarity to everyday living. For example, I would like to help motivate women to do things like: wear a dress at least once per week; skip the latest animated movie and play with the kids in the snow (it’s a great workout for grown-ups!); Learn a new skill—such as cutting your own hair (I cut everyone’s hair in my family, and my sister colors it with henna); and get stuff done, such as fixing the kitchen cabinets or using the shop-vac on the car… in short, take that ‘honey-do-list’ and do it yourself!  Be extraordinary!

Most of my childhood was spent in Spain. I have been married over five years to an exceptionally handsome, intelligent, multi-talented “roughneck” (That’s Western for oil-rig worker). Recently transplanted from the rolling hills of Montana, I am now close to family, adjusting to the busier Minnesota way of life. I love and miss Big Sky Country, but I know we are here in Minnesota for a reason. My husband commutes to his work in the Eastern Montana/North Dakota area, and I am blessed to have the company of my mother-in-law. We just moved in with her, a transition which eases life for me, especially while my husband is out for his two weeks on the rigs. While I work on getting used to the change, it is a true joy being with my family once more.

I am a hard-working homemaker who believes that every moment is an opportunity for adventure and greatness. Proverbs 31 is my daily motivator. I enjoy homemaking and teaching such skills to my daughters, writing, playing Princess Beauty Salon with my girls, and learning various art forms such as Latin dance. My mother-in-law Lori and I are fantastic coffee buddies; we also like to have tea parties for the girls. My husband is a ‘roughneck’ but when he is home he constantly works on exciting new projects–deer hunting, building a pole barn, rebuilding the transmission of a car, off-roading in the Jeep, you name it. My motto is, “To find adventure where it exists, and create it where it does not.” Another way of saying the same thing might be, “Smell the roses and drink your coffee.”


Western Woman