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High Heels: pretty dangerous, but oh, so gorgeous!

Published July 13, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I’ve lost count somewhere between twenty four and twenty seven pairs of high heels that I have bought over the span of a few years. This excludes my flat sandals/ flat heels. Throughout the years there have been some nice dress shoes I bought second hand and made a painful (and blistering) realization as to why the previous shoe owner donated a great looking pair of heels/ sandals /shoes.

 

I believe women have a right to own as many pairs of high heels, sandals, tennis shoes, flip flops (in my day we used to call them ‘thongs’) that she sees fit so long as she has a closet to store all of them. And mine? They’re stored away in shoe bags.

 

What’s a ball park average for say a pair of authentic Valentino stilettos? Well, if you’re a woman who’s beyond ridiculously high maintenance, then $1,000 (USD) for a pair of those original bad boys wouldn’t be an issue.

 

Now for the more *cough*, practical and seasoned shoe shopper that just happens to find a pair of Valentino knock-offs as a lucky thrift store find or perhaps does price-comparison shopping will tell you, sometimes the real deal doesn’t look or feel so sexy after all when comfort is concerned.

 

High heels are fairly standard wardrobe accessories for most women, although not all because others prefer flats as opposed to high heels. Men, don’t feel left out. Perhaps you can glean some gift-giving ideas for that special lady. And it never hurts to ask around, either.

 

It all began with a pair of open-toed high heels I purchased in a thrift store some number of years back. They’re a small size which is likely why nobody else bought them. They fit me nearly perfect. But why did I want to add high heels to my wardrobe when I seldom ever wear them? At least I never wore them daily and don’t plan to because I want to keep my feet and arches in good shape. Secondly, I don’t want to break an ankle while wearing them. And third, I want to keep them looking nice for those special occasions.

 

As a rule when thrift store shopping; if you happen upon a great find, and you’re in a financial position to do so, buy said item(s). Many times over I would happen upon a great find, and reason with myself that said items will still be there tomorrow. Well, in most of those instances the items sold in less than an hour the very same day.

 

I’ll never forget the time I was in the dressing room and my shopping cart was full, and I found a deal on one of those high brand mops with the twist handle so I wouldn’t have to wring out a mop by hand anymore. I thought $2 was a bargain considering these mops sell brand new for about $20… Anywho—I return to my cart and my mop is missing. Some random shopper had the gallbladder stones to snatch it out of my cart. Lesson learned the hard way: when thrift store shopping take somebody along with you to watch your cart contents while in the dressing room. I can’t count how many times shoppers will just take stuff out of other shopper’s carts all the time. If you’re a regular shopper of thrift stores always watch your thrift store hauls like a hawk.

 

I found some good high heels in thrift stores anywhere from .29 cents a pair up to $3. That’s the most I’d ever spend on a pair of high heels, or so I thought before I purchased three pairs of discounted new high heels from K-Mart. Now, I know what the reader might be thinking, “K-Mart? You’re kidding, right?” Nope. I had reward points that expired soon and wanted to use those. I detest Wally world with a passion for reasons I won’t get into and K-Mart has slightly better quality items and fashions. Plus I love the outdated look of K-Mart. It’s all about creature comforts and the layout hasn’t changed much over the decades, either. Whew! 🙂

 

Do I know who Jaclyn Smith is? No, but she broke off my toe nail today as I did a hobble to my vehicle after running errands. I might have spouted off how much I disliked her (brand) of high heel at first before I had a chance to appreciate the comfort level of said high heels. It’s not Jaclyn’s fault K-Mart only stocked one size of her high heels in the discount section and had no half sizes for slender footed women out there. The size I wound up purchasing do fit with ankle cushion inserts so my feet don’t slide and I haven’t experienced any further problems. And the other brand “Attractions” was out of the sleek black shinny “Zoey” high heel on K-Mart’s discount shoe section. The toe was slightly pointy not rounded and caught my eye instantly so that says something about the overall style.

I’m not trashing Jaclyn Smith’s heels nor that of her clothing line. Now some of her clothes do appeal to me. But I can’t find anything of hers that fits me. I mean it’s all very casual and still gives off a sense of “youthfulness” and class that is tailored to just about every woman of any age and income. But her clothes are very cookie cutter ‘one size fits all’ mass-produced a lot of the time.

Since I’ve made it to my weigh loss goal I now fall into the ‘hard to buy for’ petite/ misses category almost veering into a ‘late’ teenager wardrobe section, I sorted through my old jeans and donated all but one pair I saved for when I’m working. The skinny jeans are the way to go for me nowadays because unlike regular jeans, there’s not a massive amount of leg material that needs to either be hemmed or rolled up. I also like the tapered leg of the skinny jeans and jeggings although I always told myself (negatively that is something I really must break myself of), I’d never be able to ‘rock’ a pair of those skinny jeans/jeggings in my lifetime. And as it turns out I’ve been able to find my size without any problems and they fit comfortably, but some good advice when jeggings/ skinny jean shopping; what might fit you great in your average size, may not fit well at all in another brand, so always take the time to try on a few different sizes. I discovered this helpful advice online some number of years ago.

And for the longest time I did my homework when it comes to these impressive, beautiful, sexy, yet somewhat dangerous high heels and what colors go well with both skinny jeans, dresses, and/ or shorts. And the result?

Well, for starters, I pounded the pavement in a pair of chunky sandals that could pass for heels. I tried this because I knew I’d likely break an ankle in stilettos my first time out. Until a woman gets her stride down wearing a pair of those, it’s strongly encouraged to start small with either chunky heels and/or wedge shoes that have more range of stability. So, I started out small and don’t plan to make a career of walking in high heels on a daily basis because I found they are very hard on the arches, ball of the feet, back, legs, etc. Also, keep in mind those thin stilettos have to bare the brunt of a woman’s full body weight, so its no wonders our feet, arches and other parts ache and break after a long day at the office or being on the go.

Well, until you’ve mastered walking in high heels without doing the banana splits or breaking an ankle, practice, practice, practice! Practice walking at home in high heels, at least this was highly advisable by some high heel wearing pros on Youtube. And try to walk on all surfaces like hardwood floors, tile, carpet, grass is quite tricky and the heels just sink into the ground. Always use the handrails when walking up and down the stairs and take it very slow. One other helpful tip: take baby steps and its heel to toe. Your heel is suppose to go down first, then the ball of your foot. Your stride will be different and slowed down considerably in high heels as opposed to tennis shoes. And carry those emergency booties, ladies. I’ve seen these compact ‘shoes’ in Dollar General and really it does sound like good advice even if a woman doesn’t wear high heels. Never know when you might need a pair of them.

I have one little black dress that *sigh* is made of that nasty 100 percent polyester. Until I can find another dress similar in style to it in cotton and a little less “swim suit” feeling against my skin, I’ll hang onto it. I highly doubt I’ll ever don that plastic skin-tight garment anytime soon, (if ever), but it’s made by a company called “Taboo”. Don’t know the exact age of said black dress or if it was expensive. I bought it used.

What other shoe hauls other than Jaclyn Smith and Attraction from K-Mart did I find?

Let’s see here… (sorts through her shoe bags)… I have some Charlotte Russe which retail for $35 new. I bought all of mine used in ‘like new’ condition for about $4 a pair and sometimes at a discount for around $2.00 per pair. And I have some by Fioni and “Fioni Nights” which are a Payless Shoe store brand from my research and retail for about $18 new. They look sexy and sophisticated for being an inexpensive high heel. I even have a pair of Apt. 9 high heels in one size up than what I normally wear. But again, it was the color and style that appealed to me the most and they were a dollar at the thrift store.

I purchased all of my Finoni high heels for about $1-3 each from thrift stores. And there’s another brand I picked up, and even though they’re one size larger than what I usually wear, but when I seen them, I couldn’t put them down! I loved everything about those Antonio Melani high heels, a Dillard’s brand of high heel that retails between $35-109. I bought my pair second hand for $3. And even though it would take a few of those ankle cushion inserts to ever wear these beautiful high heels, I doubt I will because they’re just too ‘Cinderella’-ish to be an ‘everyday’ type of heel, I feel. That, and I have no exceptionally nice outfits or dresses beautiful enough that would compliment said expensive Antonio high heels. And then I have a pair of Gianni Bini high heels that retail for $69-98 at Dillard’s. I bought my pair for $3 second-hand. I plan to reserve those for special occasions and when I gain more practice walking in high heels.

I have some lesser expensive high heels that are a no-frills kind that likely came from a department store for under $10. But its finding these high heels in the right size that won’t make my feet slip or break off a toe nail that’s a challenge. I did see a pair of Fredrick’s of Hollyweird, err, “Hollywood” pair of French Maid/ Role play shoes for $4.99 used. I didn’t buy those because they were gigantic on my slender feet and just fell off. I have heard that Fredrick’s of Hollywood is a famous lingerie store in California. I’ve only seen maybe two other Fredrick’s of Hollywood lingerie pieces ever surface in thrift stores and it’s not often those stick around. And I’ve also seen a ton of Victoria’s Secret lingerie at thrift stores. Some good advice: leave those teddies alone. Don’t know who wore them before you and if lingerie is a ‘must have’, please, buy it brand new just for personal hygiene’s sake.

I have reasonably deducted that the high heels I keep coming across used must have been donated by a hooker or a trio of ladies of the night. I say this because coming across such fancy high heels (in used “excellent” condition in their boxes with hardly any signs of wear) isn’t all that common to find in my local thrift stores. I’ve seen the all-too-familiar ‘clubbing’ high heels that strippers wear. But those are usually a size 10 and up. What woman has feet that huge? I think to myself, however, my mother let me know the depressing mother-daughter fact of life that our feet grow and flatten as we get older. Thanks a lot. Now I can expect to have unattractive basketball player-sized feet when I get older. 😦

The ‘clubbing’/ exotic dancer high heels don’t stick around very long in the thrift stores. And it’s not often I do come across expensive (and well made) high heels used in my size, but I’ve come home with quite a shoe haul for dirt cheap.

My purpose of going to rue 21 yesterday was to look at their picked over selection of standard Valentino knock-off high heels. Now those gladiator sandals really don’t have any appeal to me and feel uncomfortable to try on. But the Valentino knock-offs I’ve read are worth it because sometimes they feel and look far better than the actual Italian-made, outrageously expensive high heel. And then I found the second of the last pair of Qupids that lace up and they were deeply discounted. It was a pity rue 21 only had one size of those lacy high heels in my size. I believe the next size up would run a little too big, but if they’re still there come pay day, I may have to pop in and check those out.

I keep finding Jessica Simpson high heels all the time in thrift stores, but they’re always in a size too big for me. Some of her styles I do like but wouldn’t ever pay full price for when new. Buying used high heels has taught me a lot about fashion as well. Now used sandals are another story. I’ve had to turn around and re-donate a few pairs of sandals that would blister my toes and ankles and they’d feel so uncomfortable on my feet that it was no wonders a thrift store couldn’t practically give them away for .29 cents. As always, thanks for reading, liking, sharing, tweeting, re-blogging, etc. I always appreciate it. 🙂

 

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How to make your own flavored tooth picks.

Published May 14, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

How to make your own cinnamon-flavored toothpicks:

 

Things you will need:

 

Wooden took picks.

 

One bottle of Lor-Ann hard candy cinnamon flavored candy making oil. Actually, any flavor of Lor-Ann brand oil/ hard candy flavoring will do.

 

Take two or three tooth picks at a time and gingerly dip them into the small dram Lor-Ann bottle. Keep tooth picks in the bottle for about a minute, gently remove and place in a custard cup to thoroughly soak up the cinnamon oil and allow to air dry over night.

 

Repeat using a few tooth picks at a time taking care not to spill the contents of the tiny jar of hard candy flavoring to make as many (or as little) flavored tooth picks as you desire.

 

Helpful tip: discard any green-colored tooth picks. This might be a nasty chemical treatment that was used back in the 80’s manufacturing of preserving fence posts and wooden playground/ tree houses when creosol was once used to preserve telephone pole from rotting back in the ground, then not allowed due to possible carcinogens. Creosol resembled black tar and would give off a strong smell in the heat of summer as I recall. I believe this mysterious ‘green wood’ treatment was it’s successor. Anyhow, discard the tooth picks if they’re green and use the best looking ones. Finding American-made wooden tooth picks is pretty much a thing of the past nowadays. When tooth picks used to be USA made never did I come across one made with green-looking wood. It could be inferior wood, who knows. I just remember hearing that the green wood had/ maybe still contains some nasty chemicals that can leave chemical burns on your skin. My ex actually told me this when he put in a fence using the [then] newer treated wood fence posts and sustained splinters that set his skin on fire for days on end.

 

Other Lor-Ann brand varieties that might make good flavored toothpicks: cherry, watermelon, lemon, spearmint (tried), peppermint (personally tried and love), orange oil, bubblegum, crème de menth (has a soft chocolate Andes mint kind of light flavor since its not really an oil, more of a hard candy flavor that would be great in a crème center filling in hard candy, personally tried and liked), cinnamon (personal favorite), raspberry, root beer flavor, etc.

 

I haven’t tried all the above listed except where noted. Also, make sure it is Lor-Ann brand hard candy making oils. If you purchase them at wally world they’ll cost $4 for a double pack. If you purchase from Hobby Lobby they’ll be about $3.67 for a pack of two. If you shop on Amazon for these hard candy oils they make cost more/less depending on shipping.

 

These hard candy oils come in tiny dram-sized glass bottles with imprinted neck bands and a recipe booklet is included I believe for making various hard candies as well. As always, thanks for liking, commenting, tweeting, re-blogging, sharing, I truly appreciate it!  🙂

Get the most out of your store-bought celery: grow it yourself and other inexpensive kitchen food discoveries.

Published May 14, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

celery leaves drying for aloe vera blog

 

And that was another very easy nearly ‘free’ food I found out about two years ago. Surprisingly my first attempt yielded celery during the first freeze we had last year (before winter set in, that is). Now the celery chutes don’t get terribly huge when going form the container growing method. My first celery stalk growing experience left me with small, slender stalks that were young and still went great in soups and salads. They also froze extremely well.

 

Living on a shoe-string budget is tough and wherever nearly free food can be discovered, grown at home, frozen, dried (think in terms of long-term prepping), or even so insanely easy to re-plant and grow I find myself scratching my head thinking, “Why didn’t I think of this sooner? This is so easy!”

 

And my first celery stalk was chopped off mid-way and sat in a bowl of tap water (before I became wise about the fluoridation) on my kitchen window sill. I didn’t hold out any hope and thought my efforts would be a waste of time. Yes, my celery stalk had to share space with my beloved (although somewhat hearty soil-bankrupt) air purifying airplane/spider plant that’s been the dominant houseplant going on five years. I was surprised when I noticed leafy greens sprouting up from the lopped celery stalk. I can’t remember if I changed out the water or if that’s a necessary thing to do. Since my first celery stalk died during the winter and I had no place to bring it in out of the harsh weather, it didn’t last. Yet, I managed to re-grow enough celery from that first stalk to fill a large zip lock bag and I didn’t need to buy celery at the store for the whole year. When frozen about all celery is good for is using in stir-fry, soups and stews. I never had any success using frozen/ thawed celery in leafy green salads. But frozen celery goes great in my freshly prepared plain cucumber salads which means I don’t slather my cucumbers in any type of oils, mayonnaise, or commercial salad dressings since those don’t agree with my system. I make my own mustard-onion dressing that I will share in this post as well.

 

And a year later, I’ve nearly finished off my entire bag of celery. I haven’t tried to grow any celery stalks in the garden. I like to plant them in patio containers and snip off the stalks as I need them and allow the celery to re-grow more chutes. I have two more celery stalks that I re-grew using distilled water and was surprised when they appeared greener and more heartier. I transplanted those to outdoor containers recently and started on my third celery stalk in distilled water. Hopefully it will grow as well as the others.

 

How to make my onion-mustard cucumber salad dressing:

 

Wash, cut and place green onions in a clean mason jar. I like to use a pair of kitchen shears to snip the onions. And other times I will go out to my garden and cut off a large onion leaf. These are very potent and a little bit goes a long way. I also use the small onion bulb as well and chop that up. Next, I mix equal parts of Dijon and Spicy Brown mustard and add that in with my onions. I stir this concoction and leave it in the fridge while I prepare my cucumber salad.

How to make my cucumber salad (no-dressing or oil variety):

 

Wash, peel and slice up the cucumber if its store bought. Believe me, you don’t want to ingest the wax they use on the veggies. I’ve heard horror stories that the wax used is no different than what they use to wax floors with, Yeesh! And if it’s true, that’s a dirty little inside trick to make veggies appear delicious and ‘preserve’ them, I suppose. If you can grow your own cucumbers and don’t use pesticides, you could skip peeling off the outer skin. Since I don’t use pesticides on my garden for the very reason they can be toxic, I don’t have to worry so much.

 

There’s no wrong way to slice a cucumber. If you like thick slices, got for it. If you prefer small, thin slices, that’s excellent too.

 

Next wash, and slice one or two red tomatoes. Again, if they’re store-bought tomatoes they may have been gassed in order to ‘ripen’ them while their still green, and eating green tomatoes is okay too. Ever hear of the old 80’s movie, Fried Green Tomatoes? Anyways, if your tomatoes are home grown, then your assured of the safety of your own produce. Place the sliced tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl and set aside. Next slice up some red, white, and yellow onion (if you have any on hand and this is optional). I’m kind of basing this on my late grandma’s recipe but without the dressing. My grandmother used to use white onion cut into rings.

 

I also like to spice things up with a fresh cut Japeno and throw that in with the cucumber and tomatoes and mix some crushed red pepper as well. I then give this salad a soak in a little Apple Cider Vinegar/ distilled bath just for good measure, rinse and return to the bowl. I like to finish off with a few snips of fresh Kale (the yellow blooms will produce a delicate sweet taste, too), Parsley, Chives, Peppermint, Spearmint, Pineapple Sage leaf, one leaf of cabbage and fresh Brussels sprouts (never the canned or frozen variety for me). So technically its not a straight cucumber and tomato salad, rather an actual salad. Eh, sometimes I enjoy a change of pace.

 

What to do with those celery leaves: don’t throw them out! Wash them off really good and dry them. I say this because the cost of buying celery either in seed, salt, or even the crushed leaf variety can be expensive. Since I don’t have a pestle and mortar I can’t grind the leaves  into a powder so it’s the very old-fashioned ‘drying’ method by placing the celery leaves (preferably washed, dried off, and place on a cookie sheet or in my case a pie pan lined with a coffee filter will do. Allow the celery leaves to thoroughly dry for two weeks or a month or so. When they’re completely dry (and some might be curled), then you can store them in a spice jar or use them immediately in soups, stews, stir-fry, etc. I had great success drying two bunches of half priced cilantro for a month and yielded two huge batches to last me a year or better. Cilantro goes great in homemade pico de gallo (Mexican condiment/ salsa).

Hope my shoe string budget kitchen tips help. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, commenting, sharing, tweeting, I truly appreciate it. 🙂

Aloe Vera leaves, scarves for soft, luxurious hair and Chinese chopsticks: how I discovered some remarkable benefits for the least amount of money.

Published May 10, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

Okay, I admit, it still costs money to buy these things to get started if you don’t have them around your house. However, since I’m always cramming my cranium with more knowledge about health benefits, pros vs. cons using everyday commercial hair care products that I grew up with my entire life and studying up on tons of articles out there both in print (freebie magazines from the health food store and via the internet and Farmer’s Almanac). I used to read the Farmer’s Almanac religiously when it was inexpensive years ago. An issue nowadays will cost $6.97… ouch! And along the way I discovered some fascinating healthy tidbits in my own pursuit of continuing my good health and overall well-being, especially from the of the dusty antique pages of my beloved set of late natural path Bernarr Macfadden Physical Culture encyclopedia. Now, I’m not saying this man is god. His methods and remedies, although outdated by today’s standards, may seem very far out there in left field, but the knowledge he presented (and updated from time to time clear into the 1940s) I find to be highly invaluable and educational. And it was Bernarr Macfadden who essentially opened my eyes to a healthier lifestyle. I also have a copy of his book written specifically for women that includes tailored exercises of the day, ditching the corset, health(ier) clothing choices although plastics weren’t invented yet when this book was written and a host of other information.

And I wanted more than just the egg hair rinse. I began my new hair care routine with the natural and health benefits of the aloe vera leaf. Sure, you can buy an itty bitty spindly aloe plants at Lowe’s on their discount/ distressed plant shelf for about $4 or maybe even at your local grocer for an astronomical amount for a little plant containing three puny leaves that look half dead… and let’s face it, unless you live in an arid, hot year-round climate, then growing your own aloe vera in your backyard for harvesting is nearly impossible to do in cold climates unless maybe if you bring it indoors for the winter. Believe me, I tried keeping small aloe vera plants alive indoors and just didn’t have the right terrarium atmosphere for them to survive. And then again, I only knew as much as my pre-Internet knowledge allotted me back in the day. I understood that aloe vera are desert loving plants and that’s was about it. And I knew back then the juice from a snippet of aloe leaf did wonders for burns, bruises and minor cuts. However, I didn’t come to realize just how beneficial these plants truly are until just a few months back. I live in an area that do stock aloe vera leaves (huge leaves at that). However, sometimes I can find two or even three large aloe leaves bundled for 40 cents-80 cents in the reduced merchandise cooler. Even if the aloe vera leaves look a little expired, I still find that they come in useful for my skin and hair regimen since I don’t consume the juice in smoothies.

 

And what are the health benefits? For starters, the aloe vera juice extracted from a leaf when applied to a burn, minor cuts or even scrapes helps promote healing. But did you know you can also cut open the aloe vera leaf of that clear slimy substance and whip it up in a blender to use straight as a natural skin and hair softner?  Yep, and it feels baby soft to the touch from my personal experience, gives natural luster to the hair follicle, again based on my experience, and when added in with fruit and veggie smoothies packs a lot of vitamins and antiseptics. In actuality the extracted aloe vera gooey stuff has no taste whatsoever. The kind that is produced in the bottles is oversaturated with nasty sugars.

 

It is advised to avoid consuming the yellow-ish aloe vera gooey substance because this acts like nature’s fast acting laxative. And when adding in aloe vera juice to a smoothie, do so sparingly as suggested by some health advocates and avid juicers due to a laxative effect. Also, the leaves I have found to be of use long after I remove the gooey clear substance. I like to cut the leaves in chunks and then freeze them for use later on and scrape the remaining gooey substance and use that to shave my legs with (makes the skin velvety smooth when dry shaving) and it feels excellent after a hard day working outside in the heat as well.

 

The shelf life of aloe vera juice when blended into a frothy foam that settles in the container can be stored in the fridge up to one week. I have heard from many women who also add in olive oil and coconut oil for their hair care routines, but if you hate the greasy weighed down feel it might produce, avoid using these oils entirely. It’s all about personal preference though. Personally, I found the DIY coconut oil and olive oil leave-in hair treatments to soften and restore damaged hair make my hair look and feel really gross as though I haven’t washed it in many months. And it doesn’t help living in a hard water area with nasty, industrial waste fluoride treatments, either. And it took several repeated ACV washings to get said oils out of my hair. I have alternated with the no shampoo, or “no-poo” trials with not so impressive results, either. My hair doesn’t look dirty or anything, but it’s either dry or brittle as a result even though I refrain from using shampoos and conditioners. I do, however, find that washing in city water isn’t helpful at all. I find that I’m literally at my wits end trying to get rid of the chemicals out of my life, especially when it comes to finding a shampoo that doesn’t contain Dimetheicone and its many sneaky aliases which is a polymer silicone and used in a wide array of hair products, skin care products, etc. and I believe I when doing some extensive and exhaustive night owl reading and research into this chemical is also classified as toxic according to the EWG (Environmental Watch Group). Dimetheicone also belongs to the polymeric organosilicon compounds (silicone). It is also used as an antifoaming agent, skin protectant, and skin conditioner. It is also approved for use in food as well. Eww, I’ll pass on that second helping of mystery pie. Here are Dimetheicone’s many different aliases:

 

DIMETHICONE COPOLYOL; DIMETHYL SILICONE; HIGHLY POLYMERIZED METHYL POLYSILOXANE; METHYL POLYSILOXANE; SILICONE L-45; DC 1664; DIMETHICONE 350; DIMETICONE; DOW CORNING 1664; MIRASIL DM 20; VISCASIL 5M.

 

Whew! Now that’s a long list to add to my shopping list of no-no’s. Moving along… the aloe vera leaf has many healthy properties. I heard it might help with anti-aging although I’m a firm believer we all grow ‘old’ gracefully and that is a fact of life. No amount of beauty creams and downright overpriced anti-aging concealers and beauty ‘add-ons’ that are pushed onto us women will amount to much, except perhaps do the exact opposite of what the products promise and could, for example, maybe exacerbate the natural aging process and help it along rather than magically ‘fix’ something that  isn’t broke. I also go by the philosophy, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

 

I noticed first hand the benefits of using pure aloe vera after the first week of using it like lotion. I’m not talking about the chemically-laden fake aloe vera that comes loaded with man made sugars in a 10 gallon oil drum for $1.80 at Big Lot’s. Okay, I exaggerated on the 10 gallon oil drum serving. I think it was more like 32 ounces, but still—that’s sugar overkill if you ask me. I don’t even use sugar in my evening/ morning beauty routine, although I have heard it makes the skin soft and so does pure raw honey. But skin can also absorb the sugars just the same.

 

I like to use straight aloe vera juice and go through one leaf per two weeks (when I can stretch it that far). It does wonders when your hair is damp and you’re drying it naturally (without heat of a hair dryer). I also wrap my damp hair in a soft cotton and/ or silk long scarf and let it completely dry. Using long scarves as in place of a bath towel or hair dryer to dry the hair I stumbled upon quite by accident and I highly credit a youtuber Steph Arizona for using scarves when applying hair masks to prevent it from dripping all over the place and also for throwing out some helpful advice on what to do with all those plastic grocery sacks that can accumulate like dust bunnies around the house. The grocery sacks make really good ‘one use only’ improvised shower caps and you’ll save a few bucks as well.

 

So, I gave some of Steph’s hair care tips a try and went at it with a somewhat skeptical approach at first since most of these DIY hair masks never worked for me in the past. I tried the coconut milk hair mask Steph uploaded on her youtube channel and individual results will vary. Therefore, I wasn’t discouraged when it didn’t work for me. I was only out $1.25. But I didn’t like the chemical they sneak into the Polar brand of Organic Coconut milk that I purchased wasn’t a natural ingredient and the actual coconut content didn’t amount to much. My result was my hair was very weighed down, limp and felt like it had a thick film on it that wasn’t easy to wash out even with repeated ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinses and followed up with a full strength distilled white vinegar rinse with distilled water.

Although it did make my hair look shiny and silky, it was a huge mess to wash out. I then tried Steph’s ‘rice milk’ hair mask. Although, here again I didn’t allow my rice to ferment for three days (I believe that’s what she recommended) so I didn’t notice much of a difference in my hair. And mind you I did these hair mask recipes two weeks apart to give my hair some rest. What I didn’t do was reach for the Mane and Tail conditioner or the even the vegan shampoo (found at Sally’s Beauty Supply). However, even though its listed as vegan the shampoo is still loaded with chemicals in extremely small print, so you’ll need to carry a jeweler’s loop on your person to read these ingredients on the bottle. So I only reserve the vegan shampoo when the olive oil and coconut oil hair mask blunders made my hair greasy, albeit shiny. Also, I had some success with an avocado hair mask mixed with some aloe vera juice in place of shampoo.

 

But since doing the scarves for the hair mask recipes, I do strongly urge to make careful buying choices when shopping for scarves. I admit I buy mine from thrift shops and often times they don’t have tags listing the fabric content. Sounds icky to buy second-hand stuff but if you add a little bleach to the wash (before you put your laundry in), this helps and believe me, anywhere I can save money, I opt for that and leave the big box retailers and online shops alone.

 

Also, when purchasing used scarves for these hair masks I made quite a few ‘disastrous DIY infinity scarf’ shopping blunders, not ‘buyer’s remorse’ per se since I didn’t know said scarves weren’t wide enough, but instead thin, long and slapped together likely by a newbie to using a thimble, needle, and thread (hand stitched in most cases, not that that’s a bad thing). Most of these disastrous homemade infinity scarves I do happen across are less than $1. Sometimes they’ll set me back 49 cents here and there. And if there’s a tag attached to the scarf look for silk and/ or cotton. If its polyester this is spun plastic. And rayon is even worse yet since it’s a chemical that can leech out toxins.

 

Oh, and some helpful buying advice: always look for the tag and read the label for the fabric content. This threw me off a few times since the scarves would lack their tags and feel like soft cotton, when instead they were still stretchy, clingy, and made of either nylon, rayon, and viscose fabrics. Since I did some major spring cleaning yesterday, cleaned out my overburdened closets and donated ten large bags today, I got rid of nearly all of my clothing that not only no longer fit me, but also contained polyester, rayon (which is a toxic chemical and potential carcinogen that can seep into your skin), and nearly all nylons (including hose, trouser socks, trousers, and tank tops). This included many of the scarves that I just recently purchased for my hair mask treatments and natural hair drying.

 

Then what is advisable to wear in place of all these synthetic fabrics? And what if you have extremely sensitive skin? Then what? Look at the tag in the clothing and/ or scarves before you buy them. And do TRY on the clothes before you buy them. I am a repeat offender of ‘assuming it will fit’ mentality, when in fact, it’s the opposite in some cases and it make not look good on me or it make look fantastic on the dress form, but too small around the bust or too large around the waist, etc. And why is this a ‘one size fits all’ society all the sudden nowadays?! Aw, man!

 

I hauled ten trash bags crammed full of clothing and that outgrew me since I lost weight and changed my diet for better and made (hopefully healthier) eating choices for myself in the long run. I’m almost completely vegan now, except I do eat the occasional hard-boiled eggs about once a month. So if I were to say I was full vegan, then it would make me a hypocrite. I am a full vegetarian though and don’t consume meat, chicken, pork, or even hamburger. I don’t even do those ‘veggie burgers’ since here again its all highly processed foods on my ‘no-no’ list.

 

And what does this have to do with Chinese chopsticks? Well, aside from wanting to learn how to use a pair of chopsticks (that’s on my bucket list of things to learn how to do eventually when consuming rice), I also found a new pair of wooden chopsticks today for 29 cents and they were a lucky thrift store find. There’s nothing special about them and they’re not fancy or anything. When I opened the package I was slightly disheartened to see a few splinters so I designated these pair of chopsticks as hair sticks. Hunh? Hair sticks to hold your bun in place. I found some beautiful, elaborate //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=antiquemystiq-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00RHL8XR2&asins=B00RHL8XR2&linkId=89fc8d0b469478d24b773175273788f6&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>hair sticks on Amazon. So, I did a quick skim on youtube for tutorial hair stick videos and used one of the chopsticks to draw my hair in a bun and let it completely dry.

 

I used to keep my hair in a bun all the time back in my younger days with plastic hair clips before I fully understood that plastics are bad for the environment, etc. and keeping my hair in a bun constantly used to give some natural curls to my hair when I let it down so I wouldn’t have to kill my poor [then] chemically treated dyed hair or submit it to harsh hair spray. I used to be a fan of Aqua Net ‘concrete’ super hold hair spray back in the 90’s and that’s how we younger women got that ‘big hair’ look. Back then we called it, “teasing our hair” since the term ‘big hair’ didn’t come into vogue until about, oh… let me think here, around 2008 when I first heard of the term, that and the saying “big hair bands”. We simply used to call our beloved rock stars “hair bands” back in the day and not to be confused with the pony tail holders.

 

So, I’m trying out the chopstick bun in my hair as I write this and will give an update later on. I have a very tough day ahead of me and I need to get some beauty sleep. Oh, and I haven’t packed my lunch, either. I was more pre-consumed with food prepping earlier this evening and making space in my fridge for my leftovers of mashed potatoes mixed with red and yellow onion, fresh broccoli, and Chia seeds and my one pot meal of tri-color Rotini (spinach and tomato variety) without the added man made ‘enriched’ junk. I will post my mashed potato recipe for anybody that might be interested. It’s simple and takes a few minutes of food prep work, but so filling and good after a long day of running one’s legs off. I always say a hot meal, iced herbal tea (not the cheap instant teas), and some dessert of cut up fresh banana, strawberry drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce using Baker’s Unsweetened Baking chocolate bar, two tea spoons of raw honey and a few Carbo unsweetened chips is a real treat! As always thanks for reading, liking, commenting, re-blogging, tweeting, etc. I always truly appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

The eight-legged residents that just won’t leave.

Published June 27, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

I’m writing out my frustrations. I’m not mad at the economy. I’m not upset about anything I read about in the news. I’m nearly at my wit’s end even though I’ve heard that living with spiders isn’t something to go off on a b**** fest crying fit over.

Actually, they aren’t just your average ‘spider’. They are the somewhat misunderstood, yet potentially dangerous brown recluse. Oh, and it doesn’t help that the basement is only 50 % finished, either.

And another thing, the former tenants from what I was later told about (long after I moved in) were heavily into drugs and didn’t take care of the place, if at all.

Well, gosh darn it! I loathe drug users, too. I especially dislike tinkers taking home repair/remodels into their own hands and doing things on the cheap… actually, I’ve never seen handy work like the kind I had to re-fix correctly to the best of my abilities. And no, I didn’t come across any brown recluses in the minor upgrades I had help getting done on my tiny money pit.

The house was just in a nice neighborhood and property taxes are well below reasonable.

And like any older structure that hasn’t been lived in in quite some time, it will attract all different sorts of residents. They hang out in the bedroom, living room, kitchenette, open basement/ crawl space (gross!), the utility area, bathroom (they love the shower walls and scaring yours truly half to death).

The ancestor brown recluses had to be eradicated. And I had never in my natural born days seen spiders get quite as large up to the size of a half dollar. Oh, man, take my word on it, I was driven beyond insane and ended up moving elsewhere for a period of time and put the tiny money pit on the market and write it off as a major loss. And most of my personal possessions went to the trash the first time around since I couldn’t deal with it anymore or the potential that a few hangers-on moved with me in the process. The most sentimental stuff remained in a garage and sealed. I sorted through it all later.

Spiders shouldn’t dictate how a person should live their lives. In fact, it should be the person settling fine into their new home. Instead, I didn’t have one spider to deal with, but up to many different kinds in my first year alone. I had venomous Hobo spiders, St. Anthony spiders, daddy long legs, brown recluse, grass spiders, funnel spiders (mostly in the yard) and wolf spiders that pack a nasty bite, but not lethal to the others mentioned.

“Kill ‘em if you see ‘em.” That’s my motto when referring to the spiders.

I’ve had two different pest control companies to my tiny money pit so many times over I lost count. At first, I was considering what chemicals they sprayed with and if they were safe to be inhaling when the AC or heat had to be used. I was assured what they use is safe around pets and humans. However, a person has to stay gone for a few hours for the fogging because it can be highly irritating. In my case (and I must have an industrial strength eight-legged freaks) that can live through an atomic blast. Moving can be an option, but at the present time unfeasible until I’m more financially stable.

I am wiser now than I was about what to look for when figuring out where to live. Don’t buy the darn place if the price is cheap. It’s priced to sell for a reason even though the realtor may not have any clue what’s been inhabiting the open basement/crawl space or attic longer than man has been on God’s green earth.

Everything was normal during the two walk-throughs I did with the realtor. The only thing I saw were two dead daddy long legs in the bathtub and several dead elm bugs in the window sill of the utility space. The open basement (although spooky and very small), didn’t give off any indication of the nasty surprises that did await me once my heart was set on this place.

I might be in love with the era the house was built in, but wasn’t thrilled that I found myself stuck in a living nightmare few ever find themselves in. I’m not going to get into the specifics as to why I was in such a rush to move from my previous place.

Oh, I guess coming out of a nine-year controlling relationship and failing at loving a Mama’s boy will make a woman go crazy eventually. But I won’t use that excuse in my current situation.

I think what plays a significant role in all of this is that a.) the house sat vacant with no takers or renters for at least three years or better.

And b.) the ancestor brown recluse spiders had been in the house for more than seventy years (no joke). Brown recluse spiders can survive without food and water for many long years and adapt to all harsh conditions.

The first go around made me haul out my personal belongings without even sorting through the contents. I think I wouldn’t call this down-sizing so much as it was more of a lost cause effort to combat this infestation that was reaching epidemic proportions. I couldn’t sleep, eat or even have furniture in the house. What I did have would go curbside after one month. Long curtains, oh yes, spiders LOVE to nest in fabrics, towels and clothes, shoes, etc. So I went with mini-blinds and I plan to wash and return the curtains I do have.

Sad that I can’t even leave stuff out. No books, magazines—nothing stays out. All of that was placed in a storage tub and hauled off elsewhere to be stored off sight. My life feels really boring since I can’t enrich my literary diet. But some day I pray this will change for me and I can have my books and magazines again and leave them discarded wherever I please without worry.

If money was no object… I could go the circus tent route—(yeah, right, if I was made of money I wouldn’t be living in this tiny money pit). The circus tent route is where a pest control company places a fogging tent all around the outside of the house and then fog the hell out of it. Sometimes it works, other times it won’t have any effect on brown recluses. And it’s extremely costly…. Not to mention a waste of resources, money and time if it fails.

The second time I had another pest control place come out they fogged the attic in the dead middle of winter. And guess what? I at first thought it worked completely. I had just gotten hired on a factory and moved back in. Everything for a brief period of time was looking up for me, but it didn’t stay that way. I still took precautions and kept nothing left out not even food or opened containers. Everything food-wise (except canned goods) stays in the fridge.

And I switched to storage containers and trash bags. All my clothes went into bags and containers. This I knew would have to cut down on the spider population since I wouldn’t give them a breeding ground. Well, my hopes were again dashed, and dashed some more.

The second infestation of brown recluses began cropping up in the spring of 2013. This time they ranged in dark brown, light-sandy brown and tan (almost impossible to see on laminated oak flooring). Arrg! I HATE SPIDERS! There, I shouted it in all caps.

I didn’t have quite so many mental melt downs whenever I saw a few spiders running around (and no, I’m no a messy person). I keep a strict, tidy place.

This house, its age and the fact it wasn’t remodeled right (or built eons ago) correctly says a lot about the architecture of its time which I was informed started out as a slave home (which may or may not explain why it was cobbled together without insulation in the utility area where the washer and dryer hook up). So when it gets hot, it cooks. In the winter the pipes freeze and doing a load of laundry is out of the question.

I feel like palm-smacking my head for being a nitwit when it came to first-time home-ownership. But I was young, really looking forward to getting back on my feet and simply couldn’t remain patient until the right house came a long and one had that might have been a lot better in quality. The spiders gave me an education, but seriously, I want them gone so I can live a somewhat peaceful life until I can save up enough or meet a rich Mr. Right and be out of here.

Brown recluses can bite. And although sometimes their bite can lead to a flesh-rotting wound (this is caused by necrosis, skin lesions). Thankfully the brown recluse’s fangs can’t penetrate through fabric and I haven’t been bitten as of yet. However, I take extreme precautions to shake out my clothes and shoes before I dress. I always check my bed and never let the covers touch the floor.

But I still don’t sleep well even after all the preventive measures and countless sprayings and foggings. This seems to just aggravate the spiders. So I did extensive reading on natural methods to make this place as unpleasant as possible for them. I invested in double-sided sticky tape and it became my best friend.

But—the grass spiders and one new spider that now lives inside of my bathtub faucet that juts out from the fake paneled shower wall (it’s not even shower surround material, that’s how shoddy the landlord and/ or previous druggie renters were), creates a new web every morning and night. I go in knock it down, spider hides inside faucet and doesn’t emerge until the next day.

When does the madness end? Likely it never will. With a house as old as mine (and it’s a crying shame and not remotely laughable), it makes me wonder, “What was I thinking?” when I laid eyes on this tiny money pit.

And then I had all that enormous life-time accumulation of stuff that moved in with me. If wondering, no, none of my personal possessions had any spiders in or contained in any of the moving containers. In fact, I was baffled as to where these brown recluses were just ‘showing up’ in the blink of an eye.

In the beginning they would repel from the ceiling, crawl out of the floors, floor vents (another do-it-yourself job that was s***** constructed long before the house was even on the market). The spiders loved to crawl out from under the fake tile in the bathroom and scurry back in once I spotted them on the edge of the tub.

I wept tears of anger and complained about my living conditions that made me feel like white trash even though I’m a far cry from that. I did everything in my power to combat this spider infestation and became more angry in the process. I downsized some more. Threw out memories, pictures— anything I could get my hands on. I pitched all of my books even some valuable antique ones that were scarce to find in print.

I then began trashing everyday dishes, cups and limited myself to one cup, plate, bowl and silverware. Next, I threw out my extra pairs of shoes, clothing, and towels. I simply couldn’t stand living in a brown recluse house and couldn’t escape the fact that at any given time I might have a nasty scar from a brown recluse bite or be bitten at any given time.

I don’t care what the pest control companies tried to console me with. They see this stuff all the time. Heck, there was an article in the local paper published in 2013 about an alarming influx of brown recluses leaving pest control companies working overtime that particular summer. My place was no different, but the unusual number of them was making my living conditions impractical and impossible. I soon heard that brown recluses were invading the rich homes in the city. So I wasn’t the only one having nightmares keeping them awake at night and it still didn’t bring me any peace of mind.

And I’ve read and picked through every self-help article on battling brown recluse spiders and came upon one disturbing relation: they are EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate once they reside inside a house. I’ve heard of clearing away grass and brush from the foundation. I do that weekly. And the lawn gets mowed regularly. There’s so may cracks that several tubes of caulking won’t fix. And the foundation is so old some of the cement overlay has gaps where some previous renter or landlord shoved rocks into just to cover it up. I can clearly see daylight behind the installed hot water tank. And damn-blasted to the wanna-be never-will-be home un-improvement renters before me never sealed up the cinder block window. They just crammed a cinder block and built a wooden porch over it. That’s another reason why the spiders keep getting in.

And the other un-improvements I won’t bother mentioning because they don’t relate to this blog post. I will, however, offer some tips on keeping one step ahead of this brown recluse:

1. Storage tubs and trash bags. If you have anything of value, place it inside a trash bag, seal it good and store it in the plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

2. Double sided sticky tape. Place this around all inside perimeters of the house, around bed posts on the floor and thresholds. For the longest time I did this around the edge of the bath tub, but the water ruins the stickiness of the tape.

3. Peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle. I heard brown recluses hate the scent of peppermint. I did this tonight around the house, hoping on a prayer this helps combat the issue until the pest control man stops by next week.

4. Vinegar and water. Seriously does this really work? You have to directly spray the spider and most of the ones I did this to did nothing. It doesn’t faze them.

5. Hair spray will freeze them long enough to get the fly swatter to them.
Nobody should have to live like this. But I won’t ever know the freedom for quite some time to just lay my stuff down and not feel the overwhelming compulsion to micro-manage it every second.

One good thing about this, living with brown recluses will be a motivator to save as much dough as possible to get the heck out. I’ve come to realize that this problem existed and went largely ignored for quite some time. Perhaps the former druggie renters worried more about getting their next high than ridding the house of the spiders.

And secondly, knowing very well who the landlord was didn’t help. Living here has taught me A LOT about living. I became a minimalist overnight even though I didn’t intend to live without some creature comforts. I made sacrifices just to tolerate my living conditions and I’m the crabbiest person because of it.

Then I learned from May to July are the active months for brown recluse spiders. And I have one more month to endure and then a grueling long a** winter ahead of me as well to get through. I pray by this time next year or sooner if I can make it happen I can move out of here.

I’m sick of not having my life the way I want it. I’m sad because I can’t relax. I’m frustrated because this tiny money pit will never be a ‘home’ except if you’re a contractor with a lot of money to sink into this place and don’t mind sharing it with brown recluses. Also, investing in the really expensive bug dirt would be nice, but financially out of reach for now. And besides I have my sights set on someplace else hopefully in the near future anyway.

Enough with my b**** fest crying fit. I now return you to your blog. As always, thanks for reading, re-posting, sharing, twittering, etc. I sincerely appreciate it. And if you have any helpful suggestions or tips I’d be happy to hear them too. 🙂