Sepia Saturday 282: Chess, Games, Musicians



This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt image brought us Mischa Elman, a famous violinist, playing chess which opened up a variety of theme ideas from chess to games and musicians.  Sadly, I have no family photos of chess being played, but we have plenty of musicians!  On the left in the photo above is my grandfather, John Rachocki (1914-1984).  It’s a rare chance that I get to showcase a photo from my maternal side of the family since we have so few, so I jumped at the opportunity to include this one.  Grandpa John, the son of Polish immigrants, stood nearly 6 feet tall, and everyone who’s spoken about him (he died when I was just four years old), has said he was a gentle giant with a quiet demeanor.  He served in World War II, worked in the coal mines, and even worked for a while as a nurse and security guard at a local mental hospital in Pennsylvania.  A living family member spoke about him recently and said that he played the mandolin brilliantly, but with such large hands, it was a wonder how he managed to play such a delicate instrument so well.  I’m not sure who the other two men are, but the hats are certainly interesting for central Pennsylvania.  As far as a date, I’d probably say around 1945 or so.  It’s really a treasured photo, one of I think only two we have of Grandpa John with his mandolin, and I’m happy to have had the chance to show it off for Sepia Saturday.


One Local Summer 2015 – Week 5


Husband took the cooking reins again and grilled up a delicious dinner.  The veal tenderloin was marinaded in red wine, salt, vinegar, and freshly ground pepper and then cooked on the grill.  The spinach was steamed and seasoned with salt and a touch of vinegar.  The last thing on the main plate is a chunk of blue cheese that rounded out the palate of flavors on the plate.  In the salad bowl are mushrooms and snap peas over a bed of mixed greens, dressed with a mix of red wine, vinegar, and olive oil.  The wine is from Seven Mountains Winery and isn’t exactly local since it’s about 2.5 hours away, but it’s on the way out to my grandma’s house, so we consider it local since it’s a trip we would’ve made anyway, not a special trip just to pick up the wine.  It’s absolutely delicious with hints of honey and a nice, crisp dry finish.

Cheese – Birchrun Hills, Blue
Veal Tenderloin – Birchrun Hills
Spinach – Jack’s Farm
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Snap Peas – Jack’s Farm
Mixed Greens – Jack’s Farm
Wine Marinade – Paradocx, Barn Red
Wine – Seven Mountains, Dry Riesling
Non Local – Salt, Pepper, Homemade Vinegar, Olive Oil,

Goodebox June 2015


Another month, another Goodebox!  It arrived within the first week of the month (yesterday, June 3rd if we’re keeping count) which is great.  It feels like a pretty substantial box this month at first glance – 5 products, three of which full-size.  I’m really rather happy with this one!  No pink nail polish, but a lovely nude color along with some really fabulous basics instead of bizarre niche products.  They nailed the selection for the MyChelle product, and it’s a company I’ve come to love through Goodebox.  Anyway, before I go on too much, on to the contents!

  • Lillian Eve Nail Polish – .5 oz / $12 – (Sample is full size)  I received the color, “Nothing But Nude,” which is this really lovely basic neutral tan color.  I’d been wanting a nude/neutral for a while, and somehow Goodebox nailed it!  For a five-free polish, it’s on the more affordable end of the spectrum (for the same size, Butter is $15, Lauren B is $18, Aila is $17).  For being such a light color, it really did cover in two coats, while three made it super opaque, and is enough to look like there’s polish there without being some crazy wild color (I dig crazy wild colors, but not all the time).  It dries quickly and feels durable which I’m surely going to put to the test this week while digging in the garden.  Big fan of this nail polish, so glad it was included!
  • MyChelle Clear Skin Serum – 1 oz / $33 – (Sample is full size)  The formula is for Oily skin and Blemish Control which, while my skin my not be all that oily, I still get pimples, so it works for me.  The ingredient list includes a base of Witch Hazel with plant extracts, clay, tea tree oil, and all kinds of vitamins.  It pumps out as a clear gel that has a bit of an alcohol smell.  Goes on smooth, but feels a little sticky when dry.  This is probably something I’d put on before bed on a clean face for maximum effect.
  • Red Flower Wanderlust Hand + Face Towelettes – Pack of 7 / $5 – (Sample is full size)  I’m not super huge into these type of towelettes, but with it being summer, I can see these being useful for a quick freshen-up on my face to clear off sweat ick if I’m out in the sun all day.  The scent is AMAZING and so totally me – it’s woodsy and warm, with a neat balance between resiny and musky.  The towelette is thick and doesn’t fall apart, nor does the liquid feel sticky or drying.  I couldn’t find a full ingredient list though, not even on the company website which is a little bothersome, especially if I’m going to be using it near my eyes.  In fact, I couldn’t even find this specific product on the website at all, but they do have a Blood Orange scent which is in my top three favorite scents.  These are probably going into my everyday bag to keep on hand for hot and humid summer days.
  • Odacité Intensive Hand + Heel Treatment – 4 oz / $39 – (Sample is .5 oz, value of $4.88)  The product card says this is good for severely dry, cracked, and coarse skin.  That fairly accurately describes my hands and feet during the summer.  I go barefoot most of the summer (unless I have to wear shoes), and am digging in the garden, doing yard work, projects outdoors, etc all summer long, so this is the perfect timing to include a product like this!  It squeezes out of the sample container easily as a thick cream and smells a little citrusy and minty.  A little bit goes a long way, and just a pea sized amount massaged cleanly into my heel.  My calloused heels immediately felt softer.  While it’s a pretty pricey product, it does work and a little bit goes a good long way, so I could see that 4oz full sized tub lasting a LONG time.
  • Vapour Clarity Makeup Remover – .98 oz / $32 – (Sample is .21 oz, value of $6.86)  I don’t currently have any makeup on, so I’ll have to give this a try and report back later.  Price-wise, it’s a pretty good sized sample for something that’s kind of expensive.  The ingredient list includes only oils, so it’s completely safe to use around eyes.  I suppose it’s a lot like the Meraki sample from last month’s box, but at just over 3 times the price.  I’ll have to update this review once I get a chance to use it, but I’ll admit here that I loved the Meraki oil so much that I placed an order for a replacement already!

Overall value of this box is $61.74 which is INCREDIBLE for Goodebox.  The majority of the value comes from that MyChelle serum, so I’m a really happy gal this month.  Looking forward to trying out the Vapour Makeup Remover sample hopefully later this week and will post an update here once I’ve given it a go.  Looking forward to next month already!

Sepia Saturday 281: Kitchens, Pies, Color Slides

There were a couple of different directions to go this week for Sepia Saturday, so I chose two that fit pretty well.  The above photo was taken on peel-apart Polaroid film on March 20, 1970 and is of my grandfather, Leon Kitko.  Why such a specific date?  It was his 37th birthday.  I’m not sure there are exactly 37 candles on that cake, but there certainly are quite a few!  He’s also got a package of socks and t-shirts on the table, presumably his practical birthday gifts.  There’s an open magazine on the table next to a pile of spent matches and a matcbook.  I can only imagine it took at least that many matches to light so many candles.  There are quite a few photos similar to this one and it appears that grandma took special care to bake a cake and have a little celebration for his birthday every year.

Scan2366Grandma and grandpa were both animal lovers, and here we have a photo of Ed the cat perched on Leon’s shoulder while he lifts a fork to the cat.  The date on the back is July 2, 1968, and there are a few photos of Ed in just the same position.  I’m told this particular cat just wanted to eat at the table with you and was happy to sit on Leon’s shoulder during any meal.  Pretty funny.  I suppose I need to apply for bonus points this week since I have a post that is both appropriate for Sepia Saturday and Caturday.



One Local Summer 2015 – Week 4


Another wonderful week of local food!  We’re getting some awesome vegetables ripening, and strawberries are ready for picking.  We’re probably a week ahead, even after the very long, late winter, mostly thanks to a TON of rain in April and then three weeks of full sun.  We could use the rain now though, but it isn’t stopping our local providers from having some great food for us to enjoy.  Husband and I worked together on this one – he did the main plate and I worked up the salad.  We have a pork butt steak cooked on the grill, rubbed with maple sugar, salt, and pepper and marinated in malt vinegar.  Then there are carrots with a touch of maple syrup, another chunk of homemade gouda with milk from a local farm, and cucumbers in vinegar with salt and pepper.  In the salad, we have DELICIOUS strawberries over a bowl of mixed greens and snap peas, dressed with an olive oil, wine, and homemade vinegar dressing.  To finish things off, there’s a glass of homebrewed peach ice wine.

Port Butt Steak – Countrytime Farm
Cucumbers – Jack’s Farm
Carrots – Jack’s Farm
Cheese – Milk from Birchrun Hills
Strawberries – Charlestown Farm
Mixed Greens – Jack’s Farm and Charlestown Farm
Snap Peas – Jack’s Farm
Maple Syrup – Miller’s Maple
Maple Sugar – Miller’s Maple
Wine – Paradocx Barn Red
Non Local – Salt, Pepper, Homemade vinegar, Homebrewed peach ice wine, olive oil