Sunday, 11 August 2013

Review: Carven Le Parfum

I'm a girl who usually like sweet, oriental scents. The kind with descriptions like sandalwood, vanilla and lychee. Floral scents, for me, often remind me of soap. No matter how nice, there just are too many soaps with scents like rose, lily of the valley, iris etc. for floral scents not to be somewhat soapy in my mind.

This is very definitely one such scent. It is nice, don't get me wrong, but if you are looking for a non-soapy floral this is not for you. It starts out smelling rather sharp, of jasmine and I think sweet peas. That scent floats like a sweet cloud around you, following you from room to room. It is very easy to overdo this perfume, for that reason. Just a quick spray in the bend of my elbow is enough for this one. Elbow, because it is the kind of perfume that would have done best presented in a dropper bottle so you could apply just a drop to your wrists and to your neck. A full spray close to your face becomes overwhelming, closing of your nostrils, so you cannot enjoy that sweet, flowery cloud yourself. This is a true Eau de Parfum, a little truly does go a long way.

After quite a while, the cloud of jasmine and sweet peas settles down, coming to rest close to your skin. There is a hint of sweetness, a hint of something floral and of that soap I talked about previously. It is a scent that you carry with you all through the day, smelling suddenly of no particular reason, a hint of something truly good, then it goes away again. Perfume at its best, surprising you throughout the day and making you smile.

It should be noted that when you first pick up this bottle, first smell it, you will be punched by the sweet jasmine followed by the sweet peas with a hint of something like apricot. If I had smelled this bottle in store, chances are I would not even have sprayed it onto my skin, because of that first punch of strong flowers. It's almost overwhelming. If this on the skin as it does in the bottle it would have been horrible, but it does not. It melds with your skin, it develops, it transforms. In my case into the first floral I have ever liked.

Headache inducingly strong if you are not careful? Oh yes. Floral, almost soapy so? Definitely. By the end of the day, however, if you are usually a girl who gravitates towards the sweet and fruity spectrum but need something different for that job interview, something that isn't a date night scent, this might fit the bill.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Positives of Switching to Cloth

There are many simple things a person can do to be just a little bit greener. Not letting the water run while we brush our teeth is an excellent one, and choosing cleaning products both for ourselves and our homes that can actually be completely broken down into harmless nutrients for water living organisms and plants is another. It's not a hard choice to make. You just have to do it, which admittedly sometimes can be more difficult than it sounds.

Sometimes "greening" our lives and habits do take a bit more effort, however. Not much, but enough to cause pause, and sometimes stop us in our tracks. One such choice for women is switching from disposable pads to cloth pads.

Before we continue I think it is only fair to put in a warning right here, and give anyone who are grossed out by the very thought or who simply don't want to read about cloth pads a chance to run screaming in the other direction, or at least find something else to read. You have been warned.

To begin our discussion, I thought I would show you a picture of the first cloth pads I ever tried, taken by the owner of Yurtcraft. For me, it was the beautiful prints and bright, fun colours from Yurtcraft on Etsy that made me overcome my apprehension of cloth pads and so far I haven't regretted switching for a moment.

It might sound strange, but my period is something I look forward to nowadays. It is still as irregular, heavy and messy as ever, and still lasts me a good week but now instead of sticking on a plastic wrapped, plastic backed, chemical filled, boringly white and blue coloured pad to my underwear I put on a cotton topped, fleece backed, bamboo filled, colourful pad. It is a much better experience overall, putting on a cloth pad than a disposable one and I will tell you just why.

First of all, it is nice knowing that my pads actually do not contain any harmful chemicals. Well, not more harmful chemicals than ordinary fabric does that is which is fine by me. If you are concerned about even those chemicals you can always choose all organic cloth pads.

Then, of course, there's the fact that I am not adding overly much to the mountains of used disposable pads. Eventually even the cloth pads will break down and require to be replaced, but a good quality pad will usually hold up just fine for at least 3-5 years if not longer, and if you really are concerned about waste you can always cut it up and recycle the parts that can be recycled.

Environmental benefits however is really just the cherry on top.

The main reason I love my cloth pads is because they are so very comfortable to wear. Setting out on my journey towards a better period, or at least one where I could sleep through the night without worrying, I was a bit apprehensive ordering my first cloth pads because I imagined they would be bulky and heavy and very definitely there. The large pads do weigh more than disposables, there's no getting around that. My largest one, a 14.5" overnight pad, is a hefty piece that do require snug fitting, good underwear not to travel south. I will not deny this. However, this pad is extreme in every way. Normal pads, like my 9.25" ones and my favourite 10.5" do not require you to consider the elasticity of your underwear. Once they have warmed up to body temperature, and formed to your body, they just feel like your favourite pair of soft and warm underwear. Quite frankly, if it was not for the warmth I would forget I was even wearing them. That's how comfortable they are.

Of course, the most important aspect of a pad is actually containing your flow. There is no getting around this fact even though many of us probably would like to. This was another one of those things that kept me from changing to cloth for the longest time, because how on earth can a piece of cloth keep up with my heavy flow? When even an ultra absorbency pad have troubles to keep up with my flow for an hour, then surely nothing will, right?

It turns out that cloth is actually more absorbent than disposables. This might come as a surprise to some of you, especially if you have ever experimented a bit and folded up a towel and poured water on top just to see how much it can hold before soaking through. The result?  The water very quickly soaks through both one, and two, and three, and four and six and eight layers of towelling when the water is poured on the same spot. It sinks right through. Cloth alone therefore really makes for a rather useless, leaky pad, but to be fair so would the absorbent layers in a disposable if you removed the plastic backing. You see absorbency is not only about how much liquid the absorbent part can hold, but about giving the absorbent part a chance to absorb. This is best done with a waterproof or at least water resistant layer underneath. Think of it as laying your folded up cotton towel on the table. Most likely the water will not spread beyond the towel until it is really soaked through and through and the towel simply cannot absorb more water. Then it starts to leak.

A well made cloth pad can be custom made to contain as many absorbent layers as you need, unlike a disposable pad. If you happen to need five layers of bamboo and hemp because you have a heavy flow you can get it with cloth pads. Of course, that many layers of absorbency do cause troubles with drying, but still the option exists. With disposables you really only have two absorbencies: thin or thick pad. All the rest is a matter of length.

It is true that more length does add more absorbency simply because there is more material in the pad, but quite a lot of the time I've experienced that I have such a heavy, fast flow that the centre of the disposable simply becomes overwhelmed and the flow doesn't get a chance to spread properly. With cloth I get the absorbency I need for those first few days. So, cloth is more absorbent simply because disposable pad makers can't be bothered to actually give us heavier absorbency pads. I'm sure they could make them, if they wanted to, but of some reason thin pads is the thing because they are less likely to show under pants. Personally, I solve that issue by wearing dresses and skirts. They are more comfy during that time of the month anyhow, and much less likely to stain if there should be an accident.

To conclude switching to cloth is mainly a positive experience, but of course there are such things as cleaning the pads, being away from home etc. that are not as positive. I will post more about that in another post.

Until next time, bye-bye. :)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Dove Pure Deodorant and Antiperspirant Review

Once upon a time I went to the shop just down the street from where I lived to pick up a deodorant. There wasn't really that many choices back then. The five inches of shelf space reserved for women's deodorant was mostly taken up by different versions of Nivea or Dove roll-ons, and in a plastic basket there was those cheap perfumed ones. A random collection of lilac, rose and I think what they described as a tropical scent. They had colours that matched their descriptions, as ghastly as the scents which had nothing in common with the names on the outside of the packaging. Needless to say, I choose a Nivea roll-on in its white glass roll-on bottle and called it a day because it was what we all used in my home, back then.

The problem was that I was never really happy with the Nivea. In fact, I often think I would have been better off in my early teens just washing with soap, applying some baby powder and calling it a day. That way, I might have had a chance to at least stay dry during the day. As it was, I took to wearing cardigans for a reason. Thankfully, I live in a cold climate so most of the year this was a perfectly acceptable strategy and for the rest of the year, sleeveless tops and dresses solved the problem nicely enough.

As the years passed, the collection of deodorants grew. Soon, there was two and then three whole shelves of choices. I still remember the first stick deodorants showing up in my store, which admittedly was rather late to get on the bandwagon. It was an improvement over the roll-ons as far as keeping me dry went, but who on earth thought it a good idea to base them on fats and waxes that actually melt upon skin contact? I learnt a lot about stain removal thanks to those solid sticks.

Then, one day, I came across spray on deodorants. Rexona was the first one I tried, I think. My lungs burned for hours after application, even though I held my breath, and my room stunk of a sharp, chemical smell even though I opened my windows wide but for the first time in my life I had found a deodorant that actually worked to keep my dry, without staining my clothes and without reacting overly bad with my body chemistry.

One day they were out of my trusty Rexona, and I decided to try one of the Dove Fresh ones instead. Taking a deep, deep breath I sprayed. Breathing out slowly, letting the air escape, going almost light headed, I had to breathe or faint. One small, scared gulp of air that I expected to burn and make me cough. What? Cautiously breathing a bit deeper, a look of utter surprise meeting me in the mirror. No burning lungs, no chemical smell. Just linger, sweet perfume. From that day I was a Dove girl, through and through. I had found my perfect deodorant and antiperspirant.

Of course, bliss never lasts for long. Not when you are hanging around the internet, and start reading about how bad ordinary deodorants are for you and how at the very least you should find one without parabens in it due to the possible link between said chemical and breast cancer.

I did venture into more natural deodorant alternatives for a while after reading those warnings, the only thing that even remotely worked for me was a coconut based body powder from Lush which they of course promptly discontinued after me finding it.

I tried salt on a stick, I tried my home made body powders, I tried creams and I tried sprays. No go. After much trial and error, defeated, I returned to the store down the street. The shelf had now grown to an entire section of products aimed at keeping you dry and fresh. All of them had parabens in them. I read, and I read, and I gave up turning to the dove spray bottles.

And there it was, in a white, sleek bottle looking very fresh with letters on the front clearly stating no parabens. The Dove Pure Deodorant and Antiperspirant.

Usually I can't do unscented products, but surprisingly the Dove Pure range works for me. The spray version I have keeps me dry all day now in summer, it doesn't clash with my perfume since it is unscented, and somehow it manages to make me smell clean. You know that scent right after washing, before you've put anything on your skin? That's what this range leaves me smelling like. Just a clean me, and nothing else.

Now, you should keep in mind that even though the Pure range is free of fragrance, parabens, colourants and alcohol and so is a good choice for most people either needing a good deodorant when working in environments where a scent is not appropriate or who have allergies, it still contains things like aluminium and other chemicals to help keep you dry and smelling good. It is in no way a natural choice, but it still is a good choice, if you just need a modern, simple, scent free deodorant solution and are fed up with trying all natural like me.

I'm sticking to this deodorant. At least until something purer comes along that actually works.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Review: Intelligent Nutrients

Source: refinery29 via Pinterest

I am not as green as I ought to be. There are lots, and lots, of things I could do but I don't. For instance, I could definitely start collecting the water I'm currently wasting waiting for the shower to become hot enough not to yelp when I get into it. I could also opt to fill a pitcher with water and place it in the fridge to get cold water, saving there too. Truth be told, though, the idea of doing these things is a fine one but in practice? In practice, the buckets that could be used in the shower are nowhere to be found since they have a thousand and one other uses in my household and the pitcher of water never seems to be cold when I want a cold glass of water. Facts of life, I'm afraid, and terrible, bad excuses.

Anyhow, this post wasn't going to be about things I could do to be more green, but rather about one particular thing we can all do to be more green that doesn't cost us any extra effort, or force us to plan that much ahead really, namely go and buy a set of Intelligent Nutrients everything. Well, perhaps not everything. You could start with say the shampoo once you are almost running out of your old one and if you don't have special scalp/hair needs and take it from there. It is natural, it is cruelty free, it smells of spearmint and it actually works once you get the hang of it.

I think the shampoo is the product I'm most pleased with, now when I know how to use it properly. It took a while, despite the directions on the bottle. The Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Shampoo is really an 2-in-1 kind of product. It has the texture of a light conditioner, and unless you know what to do, it can be really hard to lather up just like you would except from a conditioner. In fact, the first time I washed with it I had to check the bottle to make sure I had the shampoo and not the conditioner That's how much like a conditioner it felt. The trick to getting it to be a shampoo is to first really soak your hair, and rub just the tiniest amount of shampoo between your palms to get a lather going. Apply this to your scalp. Rinse. Now, repeat with a bit more shampoo. Rinse. Now, you can apply the product as usual, and it will lather up beautifully and leave your hair clean, soft, moisturised, bouncy and everything else you really want after shampooing. The only thing it does not do is help with detangling, for that you do still need a conditioner if you have long, tangle prone hair like me.

You really do want to lather up thrice, the last time properly. If you lather up just once, and have oily hair--like I tend to have once I decide to wash--you will end up wanting to wash your hair at once again with your ordinary shampoo. If you lather up twice, you will step out of the shower with second day hair. Okay, but definitely not the result you want after washing. Lathering up thrice, however, suddenly you have that magical hair. So please don't follow instructions on the bottle.

Once you've fallen in love with the shampoo, which I am sure you will unless you find the slight tingling from the mint uncomfortable, you might want to consider buying the hair spray.

 Hair spray is one of these kind of products that I personally tend to use rarely, so I willingly admit that I am not the best judge when it comes to this kind of product. To me it seems as if the Intelligent Nutrients one give a light hold, just enough to smooth flyways, give pin curls that little bit of extra boost they might need to not fall out of long, heavy hair. Of course, there are lots of products that achieve these things for a fraction of the cost of the Intelligent Nutrients one, but do they come in a mister bottle rather than an aerosol pump that is completely recyclable? And do they smell not like hairspray, but like a delicious grape drink of some sort? And can you honestly say that right after spraying it on your breathe normally? I think it is worth trying this hair spray if all you really want from a hair spray is a little bit of control of unruly tresses, a little bit of help keeping things smooth. Don't except miracles of hold, but except a smile when you smell it knowing you are doing your bit for our planet opting for a better product.

Finally, once you have gotten so far as your shampoo and your hair spray, why not try the conditioner--that's what I plan to do next...once my Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque runs out--or why not replace your leave-in conditioner or detangler?

Overall, I am very pleased with the Intelligent Nutrients products that I've tried so far. They are natural, they work, they are nicely packaged, a thing one shouldn't discard. I'm a sucker for nice packaging. The only true negative about the range is the price which is quite frankly ridiculous and that I have to order online.

Until next time,

Monday, 8 April 2013

Long Hair is Simple

Some days are truly good days. Like today, with the sun shining, the first crocuses boldly opening their buttery faces for all the world to see and a not so healthy serving of pie possibly being in the future. My suggestion, if pie is in yours, is this wonderful rhubarb, lemon and almond pie from mydarlinglemonthyme.

Anyhow, other reasons for a day being good is when your hair finally behaves. I don't know about you, but that definitely always makes my day that much brighter. With tail-bone long, fine but thick, naturally wavy, all virgin hair good hair days are plentiful. I think it is the fact that healthy hair generally is well behaved hair that keeps me away from such hair sins as heat styling, or for that matter using lots of styling products. That, and me being lazy.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of people who believe it takes time and lots of effort to grow long, healthy, beautiful hair while the truth is quite the opposite. While the average woman probably spends at least half an hour if not more on her hair everyday, in order to wash and style it, I spend perhaps half that. Mostly, to brush it through before braiding it or putting it up. If I'm doing a fancy braided style, I might spend a bit more, but really long hair is surprisingly easy to take care of. All you really need is a shampoo that agrees with your hair style, a conditioner that achieves the texture you want - we don't all want silky smooth hair, I personally prefer my hair feeling like cashmere - a smooth towel, for example one made of linen, and a good detangling brush. Oh, and a sharp pair of professional hair cutting scissors to have someone cut your ends every now and again.

I don't know why people imagine that long hair is harder to take care off than short hair, or harder to wash, condition, brush and style. It isn't, if you use the right tools and the right techniques. Fortunately, the right techniques are really only common sense.

First of all, stretch your washes. Really, there is no need to wash hair daily unless you are unfortunate enough to really need it. Most of us can stretch washes at least one or two days. For every day you can stretch your washes, you give your hair a chance to recover from being stripped from moisture and oils. A chance to so to speak, take a deep breath so it can withstand the next wash better. While you are at it, you might want to look for a gentler shampoo than the one you are using. Chances are, you are using something that really leaves your hair screaming for some kind of conditioner afterwards. If you are, you really should look into a shampoo that leaves you feeling as if you could skip the conditioner if you had to. I've only come across two such shampoos on my journey to good hair: Korres Aloe and Soapwort Shampoo which is sadly discontinued and the Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Shampoo.

Secondly, talking about conditioning this is something you really want to do even if you use a gentle shampoo. Especially if you plan to grow long hair. All shampoos strip the hair of oils and moisture. A good conditioner puts some of this back in your hair, a bad conditioner pretends to by coating your hair in silicones. With this said, I personally prefer silicone heavy conditioners because of the silky feeling they give my hair. The natural conditioned feeling of lambswool is not for me, and sadly that's how my natural hair feels. How you apply it is up to you, but I like using my tangle teezer to distribute it through my lengths evenly, making sure all the hair is coated.

Thirdly, you want to be washing your scalp with shampoo and your lengths with conditioner and you will want to make sure not to tangle your hair while washing. It might sound gross not washing your lengths, but really, they only need conditioner.

And that's it for caring for your hair, really. Step out of the shower, gently squeeze the water out. Do not wring, since wet hair is fragile. You might want to wrap it in a smooth towel or t-shirt to soak up extra moisture. Anything with loops makes hair more frizzy. Let it air dry, to about 75% dry, and there you go. Run a boar bristle brush through it if you brush, and your hair will be shiny and well behaved.

p.s. If you don't have time to let it air dry in the morning, start washing when you come home in the afternoon/evening. That way it will be ready to be braided for the night when you go to bed and in the morning it will be dry and ready to be brushed and put up in your favourite style.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

"The Bother Symptom"

It takes courage to follow your dreams, because there is always this fear that you will never reach them. For as long as you turn away from them you can tell yourself and others that you could achieve them if only you tried.

I'm certainly guilty of the later. Not so much because I am afraid I'll never reach the dream - well, if I am honest that's part of it too - but mostly because I'm one of the laziest persons you'll ever come across. And a perfectionist on top of that. Add these three together and you get a person who really, truly struggle to get anything much done at all.

Before we get into the actual post about this issue, it might be a good thing to take a break and pour yourself something delicious to drink. This is a long post you see. I do recommend the Mango and Cardamon Lassi by My Darling Lemon Thyme if you happen to have some nice mangoes at hand. Frozen works, but doesn't taste half as good as really ripe fresh ones.

Anyhow, now when you have your drink of choice, let's get back to the problem of not getting anything much done at all. We call it "the bother symptom" in my home. You know you ought to do a particular thing, because the outcome will be good for you. In fact, the outcome is something you really desire. But here's the catch: you will have to actually do something for quite some time to achieve the desired outcome. It is not an instant reward. Let's say the outcome would be finally getting back into that size six again which you have not been able to wear since upper secondary school. Or rather, since after you finally stopped being tortured twice a week with P.E. and dance classes.

You know you really want to be a size six again, because you remember how good you felt back then. How light, how strong. And well, let's face it, you have this strange belief that a size six is just that much more attractive than your current almost size ten which you try to tell yourself is really just a big size eight. Even though the only eight you can possibly fit into is a skirt with elastic waist. There are, in other words, a lot of good things attached to the end outcome.

But at the same time, you have to actually pull yourself together. Really pull yourself together. That is, do something you are not that terribly fond of.

You do set out with the best of intentions, for that first week. You even buy the required tools, thinking they will help you stay motivated. And the first week, all is well and good, but this is a long term commitment. One week does not really give you any result at all, except muscles that hurt.

Two weeks does not really yield much better results and by the third week...

The third week, something comes in between your resolve to reach your goal and you working actively towards reaching it. It might be a mild cold. Which you use as an excuse not to exercise for one, and two, and four, and eight days. And suddenly, you are back at square one again. Not having exercised in some time. You do start again, and again, and again. Until one morning you just say "oh, bother!" and throw in the towel and decide to be happy with your nearly size ten.

If it was only a case of not exercising, all would perhaps be well and good. But in my case, it extends to almost all parts of my life. Like so many others I've always had this dream of becoming an author. It is a common enough dream. I see people around me, achieve it all the time. So I know it is achievable. But it is only achievable if you persevere. I give up on my stories already when the main character is, of some reason, falling in love with the wrong person and the villain turns out to be tender hearted. I do begin again, and again, and again...

But the perfectionist in me is never happy. And the "oh, bother!" feeling takes over so quickly.

I don't think there is a cure to "the bother symptom", sadly. Doctor's don't seem to take it seriously, and so no one is working on an effective medicine. We, who are affected, have to manage our symptoms best we can. For me, personally, I found my key to managing when I listened to a wonderful speech by Neil Gaiman where he talks about his mountain and how he always tries to move towards it in everything he does. My key?

Keep a list of achievements for each and every day.

It might sound like the same as a to-do list. But a to-do has never really worked for me to overcome the "oh, bother!" feeling. Rather, it adds to it, as the things I have not done constantly grows. Instead, I keep an achievement list. Noting down only things I have achieved already each and every day that moves me towards my various goals in life. Some of them are small goals, such as having a clean home. Other goals are large ones, such as planting an orchard. There are a thousand and one little things that I do every day that move me towards these goals. And when I see that I am moving towards my mountain, in black and white or sometimes a colour of rainbows when the mood strikes me, I feel better. The "oh, bother" feeling recedes and suddenly I get things done and keep getting things done.

It might sound very silly, to those of you who are not struggling with "the bother symptom", but those of you who are know how overwhelming life can seem at times, when you feel as if you are getting nothing at all done. Feel like you are failing, sometimes big.

I don't feel like that no more, most of the time, after starting recording my achievements rather than writing to-do lists. I suppose, some would call it the power of positive thinking. I simply call it "yay, getting things done!" and leave it at that, with a smile, feeling accomplished for having written a post about this problem. Another thing to add to my achievements list before going to bed.

Good night,


The Importance of Dreams

I don't know about you but I love to dream. I would say it is one of my absolute favourite past times, next to baking and eating cookies or cuddling with my cat. Oh, and watching clouds race by on a blue summer sky and finally, finally waking one morning and being able to bury my nose deeply in my favourite rose. If you have never had the pleasure, I do highly recommend finding a The Pilgrim rose by the end of July when the flower the most. You will be in seventh heaven, as the fragrance wrap around you, a delicate creamy apple and lemon with hints of vanilla porridge. It is all the scents that are good, and summery, and girlish, and delightful all wrapped in the creamy, yellow heart of The Pilgrim rose. It doesn't hurt that it is a very romantic, fluffy, classic so called English rose either. But that is just icing on top of the cake, really. Because it could have been the simplest pink hedge rose, and I would still wait eagerly for that morning when finally it starts to blossom. As does the bumble bees.

In any case, a dreamer. I'm already dreaming my way to summer, when my vegetable garden will scream at me to get rid of the weeds that of some reason always grow better than my vegetables - why is that?! - and the wasps will be flying after me in formation, trying to steal my chicken from me. They do that, my wasps. If I let them, they will cut it up in small pieces and fly away with them. It is fascinating, and annoying, all at the same time dealing with wasps in the garden.

At times I do spend too much time in rose coloured dreams, I think. Some people in my life claim I'd do better to focus on the here and now instead. But I will argue that they are wrong, because I think dreaming is amongst the most important things we as humans can do. Perhaps it doesn't make the top ten list, but it definitely makes the top 100. The reason?

The reason is very simple: dreams is nourishment for the soul and the foundation of the future. Without people who dream where would we be? There would most definitely not be any Doctor Who (so looking forward to the next season!) being shown on television. In fact, I don't think there would be any television period. Because without dreams, no one would have envisioned a machine like the telly, would they? Nor any manuscripts to be turned into shows.

Humans stumble over discoveries all the time, true. So society would not be all doomed without dreams.There might still be fire and perhaps a round wheel. But discoveries need dreams to turn into true inventions. Dreams are important in that very real way. But dreams being the foundation of society as we know it it is not why dreams are important to me, personally. Not really.

For me the importance of dreams is this: they allow me to escape the here and now for something else for a little while. When you live in a country where it seems it is snowing eight months out of twelve, and half the year is dark and dreary, daydreaming is an essential gift to have. It is almost the first of April. It is snowing steadily outside even though the birds are chirping their defiance on our roof. Dreams about a roaring fire, newly baked cinnamon rolls and sinfully rich, dark chocolate is what carries me through days like this. A dream that is easy enough to turn into delicious, and soul nourishing reality with this delicious salted caramel vodka hot chocolate from and the fantastic cinnamon roll recipe from Now, both recipes can be tweaked easily enough according to your tastes and ingredients at hand. I made the cinnamon rolls with apple slices rolled into them, no glacing, and they turned out fantastic. The thing about the pioneerwoman's recipe that makes them so delicious is how she bakes them. Packing them tight, with plenty of butter in the bottom, allows the dough to soak up the butter and preserves the moisture in the rolls. Which makes for much juicer cinnamon rolls, that are particularly well suited to being frozen and then thawed again. Tasting almost like newly baked, if you heat them gently in the oven for a few minutes or microwave them. Personally, I prefer the oven method of heating, only because my microwave has a tendency to make concrete blocks out of everything put into it.

Of course, not all dreams are as easy to turn into reality as this. No matter how much I dream it, the snow never seems to melt. Oh well...

Until next time,