Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meet Lavender Crème

It was time.  Probably overdue, even.

We've gone so long with only one salt scrub, the Heaven Scent, that it really hasn't been fair to you.  Silly, really. Well... meet our new Lavender Crème salt scrub.

Just as good as Heaven Scent, with premium Dead Sea and Epsom salts and skin-loving olive oil, this one's scented with real Vanilla essential oil, and a dab of Lavender for good measure.

It's amazing!

So what made me think of it?  A Secret Santa exchange, actually.  My recipient said she loved vanilla bath products, especially French vanilla.  Well, as a business that uses only essential oils and no fragrance oils, we're a little restricted when it comes to that sort of thing.  We've got Vanilla essential oil, but alone it doesn't smell quite right to me.  A touch of Lavender mixed in, though, and it's just unbelievable.

Have I mentioned how much I love making up new custom scents?  I do!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How We Celebrated

First, there was Chanukah.

We all met at my sister and brother-in-law's house for mom's brisket sandwiches (yum!) and latkes (yum!), and to exchange gifts.  My nephew became totally enamored with the dreidel, which my brother-in-law spun for him.  I can tell this kid is going to love tops.

I'll have to get him one ASAP, if I can find one for under-three kiddos.

At Chanukah, we gave my nephew his mooshy belly bunny and bear, as well as a See 'n' Say (remember those?) and a CD version of "Free to Be You and Me."  We gave my sister this travel tea infuser from Libre Tea.

And of course we gave her some loose tea to go with it.  She's been taking it to work every day, where people have liked it so much they've bought some too!  To be honest, I really wanted one also, and was deciding whether I should just get one.  Turns out I didn't have to.  I'll get to that.  This is gonna be a long post, so find a comfy seat.

My sis and brother-in-law got us a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, which was funny because then our parents surprised them with one too, so now we can go together on a double date!  And they got me a beautiful paperweight, since I collect art glass.

Our parents gave us great stuff - the serving dishes and cereal bowls to our china set,  plus a remote starter and a gorgeous new Coach bag for me!

Then came Christmas.

On December 24, Eric had off from his day job, and I worked 1/2 a day.

Before we left, the office staff gathered us together to give us gifts, which I thought was really sweet.  I got this great set of pancake & biscuit mixes, preserves, and syrup.

Then we got together in Manhattan with a friend Eric hadn't seen since high school and her husband, who were down from Canada.  From there, we drove them back to her parents' house in Queens, and then went to deliver the Christmas present for our nephew on Eric's side, who lives in that boro.  The baby and his parents weren't home, so we dropped off the gift, and then headed to Eric's brother's job to surprise him.  It worked, too, he was shocked!  From there, we picked up some more of Eric's friends, and hung out for a bit.

It was really a great Christmas Eve, seeing a bunch of people we otherwise wouldn't have been able to see.

Then we came home, in a great mood, and hid from each other to wrap gifts and stuff stockings... and by then it was nearly 1 a.m.  Impatient Eric asked to exchange gifts since it was technically Christmas, and I relented.  He's so like a kid!

The biggest gift I got him was a 14.5 gallon stainless steel conical fermenter for brewing beer.  This is serious stuff!

Should I be concerned that he keeps giggling over it?  I also got him an organic cotton t-shirt that says on it "Save the Ales:  Support Your Local Brewery," which he loves.

In his stocking, in addition to every bag of Reese's candies I could find (his favorite), I put some funny books and a cute little game.  That bottom book is The Zen of Zombies.  Who doesn't love zombies?

For me, he outdid himself!  He got me a SodaStream, which I really wanted, but never mentioned to him.  And he was afraid I'd think it was stupid!  I love it!  I'm a big seltzer drinker, which normally unfortunately can mean lots of plastic bottles.  This is such a green substitute!  Plus, I can order all-natural & unsweetened flavors to add... for healthy and yummy seltzer all the time!  

It was apparently a really hot item, too.  He had to run to a lot of stores to find it, and they were all sold out.

As "stocking stuffers," he got me new Bare Minerals lip glosses.  I'm addicted to Bare Minerals, so that was perfect.

And they're in great colors for me!  He also got me - and this is why I don't need to get myself a Libre Tea  - a travel tea infuser from Teavana!  I swear, sometimes we share a brain, because I hadn't really mentioned that I wanted one of these either.  Instead of the clear glass, he picked a ceramic one for me, because it was blue, my favorite color.

But wait, there's more!  He also got me, allegedly as a stocking stuffer, only it wouldn't fit in my stocking, a kit and instructional book on how to do aromatherapy and hot stone massage!  

Of course, it's  more important that he read it and learn to do it on me than I read it to do on him.  Right?

Best gifts ever.

On Christmas Day, we spent a rather uneventful but satisfying day completely cleaning our house.  We put away stuff that hadn't been put away since we moved here in September, and cleaned to a state of "sterile" this house has never seen, probably not even when the owner was living here.  It feels great!  It was necessary because of our Sunday guests, one of whom was to be our one-year-old nephew.

And then came the blizzard.

Yeah, that's our wrought iron deck table and the umbrella that had been closed until the wind blew it open.  I righted the table and put the umbrella in the garage, but one by one, our friends and family dropped out of coming to dinner on Sunday, leaving just one couple to brave the snow.  And they did!

A good thing, too, since our 20 lb turkey was already defrosted and marinated.

And I had the green beans and honeyed carrots ready to go (which I served in our new serving dishes from my parents).

And of course we did roasted potatoes.

But first there was salad, served with a dressing Eric made and some amazing homemade croutons from my boss' wife.

All of this, though, was built around the main course, that turkey, which my kamikaze husband and his insane friend deep fried in the driveway on a rig Eric built!

In the blizzard.


When the turkey was finally ready to come in, Gina had to catch the oil on a pan.

While I got the stuffing balls ready for deep-frying.

The turkey looked almost as great as it tasted!  Eric and I both took turns carving it, with some help.

After all that, we were seriously stuffed.  But did you think we'd skip dessert?  Silly, silly people.  Of course there was dessert!  Who do you think I am?

I baked nut fingers!

Oh, and if you ever want to have some great guests?  Invite Rand & Gina.  In addition to a huge umbrella for each of us, they brought Eric a set of Mikasa Brewmaster glasses and me a great tealight holder.

The blizzard turned them into overnight guests, too.  I'm glad we have a guest room!

The next day, we had to deal with the snow.  Eric had already taken the day off from work, but then the governor declared a state of emergency, so my office was closed too.  I shoveled this mess, with some help from Eric.

Meg was happy, though.

Now Eric just has to break out that massage kit, since my muscles are all sore...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holidays in Our House

I was raised Jewish and Eric Catholic, so now we do both.  I think we're confusing the neighbors.  Chanukah was early this year, and during the holiday I had both an electric menorah in the window and a real one indoors.

I figure putting a real menorah, with lit candles and all, in the window is just a recipe for disaster.  Chanukah's been over for a while, as it was early this year.  Our tradition is to get together with my family, this year at my sister's house, and have brisket sandwiches and latkes (potato pancakes), and exchange gifts.

Well, this week we finally got our Christmas tree.  I'd be happy to get it earlier, but Eric likes to wait.  Doesn't he know how impatient I am?  True to his "tradition," he got one that was too tall for the house, so he had to cut it down.


We started to decorate with our all-white lights, and then realized that we had higher ceilings in the new place, and so our tree this year is lots bigger than last year's tree.  The lights looked pathetic!  So off to the stores we went, and got some blue lights too.

They're all the same sort of LEDs, but the blue likes to glow a lot, not sure why.  Our ornaments were already primarily blue and silver themed, but with some "us" ones thrown in for good measure.

Like this fish for Eric, a scuba diver and keeper of fish, and this menorah for me.

This photo of us from our honeymoon in Ireland (at the Cliffs of Moher) and cool New Orleans fleur de lis (the gold, green, and purple hidden in the branches).

Santa on an alligator, also from New Orleans, and this blown glass.

And this great Fima clay pinecone we bought from Lesley Porter (and the cute squirrel that works so well with it) and this beautifully crocheted snowflake I won from LissaBee.

Plus, we've got our stockings out.

One of the things I love at this season is Secret Santa exchanges.  I organized one at the Handmade Artists Forum, and my Santa was Gina Dahl, of Dahlish.

She got me the best gift!

I started to teach myself to knit, you see, several years ago when I was in a show, playing a pregnant woman who needed to be knitting on stage.  Because I'd have to act while knitting, I only taught myself the knit stitch so I could get really good at it and make it a mechanical motion and not be distracted.  But I've really wanted to pick it up again.

So Gina got me a knitting kit, complete with incredibly soft yarn, knitting needles, instructions, and yarn needles (plus some chocolate and a knitted necklace she made me)!

I can't wait to start knitting my own slipper socks!

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