Sepia Saturday 293: Cafe, Shopping, Canteen

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Just when I thought I’d have absolutely nothing for this week’s Sepia Saturday theme, I ended up with two photos to fit perfectly.  My husband’s parents recently moved and cleaned out the home they’d lived in for almost 40 years.  During the course of cleaning, they found boxes of old photos that were saved when my husband’s grandparents died.  I remember his father telling us that my husband’s grandmother had been sent away when she had tuberculosis which also ended her engagement to an unknown man.  At the end of her treatment, she met and married my husband’s grandfather and the rest is history!  Hilje Dijkema and Doede Jaarsma were married in 1941, and if I remember correctly, family history tells me that she was in the hospital somewhere around 5 years which would make her intake about 1936 at age 22.  The numbers line up pretty well if you consider she would’ve been newly engaged when she went into the Sanatorium.  Well, when the box of photos came home and I started going through them, I was excited to see there were photos of what looked like her time spent in the Sanatorium, however with no names or dates or anything on the backs.  A few featured the front of the building and after a little googling, I found that it must have been the Sanatorium Sonnevanck in Harderwijk, Netherlands.  The Sanatoriums were split up by religion, so it also clued me in that Hilje and her family were of the Reformed religion (Gereformeerde).  There are just two little photo booklets that show her life inside the Sanatorium, but they’re a precious glimpse into what was undoubtedly a difficult time.  However, even while recovering from TB, she clearly had made friends and they managed to have a little fun from time to time.  In the above photo, Hilje is on the far right with the “x” in the border of the photo.  They appear to be having a meal together and paused for a group photo.

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In another photo, the group of ladies appear to be having tea together.  Hilje is fourth from the right in the front row, seated.  Here you can see some of the ladies are in robes while others are dressed or in coats, presumably having come in from being out in the sun and open air.  Hilje apparently lived in Pavilion III which was demolished sometime in the 1970s.  Parts of Sonnevanck are still standing though and are used as a nursing home.  It’s really neat to see these snippets of her daily life while so far away from home and family and I’m SO glad someone saw fit to hang on to them for so many years.  My apologies for showing up late to dinner this week, but I’m catching up this week, I swear!

Goodebox August 2015

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I think woefully behind accurately describes this month with the blog!  This box arrived in the first few days of August, but here it is, the last week of August, and I’m just getting this online.  For me, this isn’t that great of a box – I’m really only interested in the two smallest items, the eye shadow and the Well People powder.  I still haven’t found a natural deodorant that works, yes, including the one in this box – I keep trying, but they all have the same VERY ineffective ingredients that do nothing to stop the sweat and bacteria growth that causes stink in the first place!  The Lift spray for hair is totally off base for my profile – having extremely curly hair, the last thing I need is extra volume.. I use products that weigh down and clump together the curls instead of lift and separate the strands!  Anyway, before I go on too much, on to the box contents!

  • Au Naturale Eyeshadow – 1 g / $15 – (Product is full size) I really dig the color – it’s a neutral with a little sparkle and shimmer that makes it great for any time of the day.  It’s a pretty basic mineral shadow, and is exactly up my alley.  Not much else to say other than absolutely spot on!
  • Zoe Organics Refresh Oil – .35 oz / $14 – (Product is full size) The main scent of the oil is peppermint and I’m not a big fan of peppermint or aromatherapy oils.  The product information goes on about a “queasy tummy,” an “anxious parent,” and stashing the bottle in a diaper bag.  It’s just a little off base for someone who doesn’t have kids.  We are going on a boating vacation in a few months though, so I’ll bring it along, but haven’t found aromatheraphy to be nearly as effective as dramamine, especially when I can barely stomach the peppermint smell in the first place!
  • Well People Bio Brightener Invisible Powder – 6 g / $24 – (Product is 3 g, value of $12)  I already use something a lot like this in the summer to keep my face from getting shiny and this works just the same but with better ingredients.
  • Love Fresh Natural deodorant – 2 oz / $15 – (Product is full size)  I’ve gone on and on about how much I dislike natural deodorants and the hows of why they don’t work, etc, etc.  And I’m still pretty grossed out by having to apply deodorant with my hands and dig it out of a pot where it gets all under my finger nails.  Gross.  And stinky.  I still try them when they show up in boxes like this and I still remain disappointed.
    Update 31 August 2015: This caused the most horrendous rash on my arm pits.  I don’t know what’s different about it since the ingredients seem to be the same as other natural deoderants and I didn’t apply it right after shaving.  It was red and hot and itchy and well, that was the last time I’ll use a natural deoderant ever.  Straight to the trash!
  • Josh Rosebrook Lift – 4 oz / $22 – (Product is approx 1 oz, value of $5.50)  I spend the majority of my hair-care time attempting to corral and de-poof my curls, so the absolute last thing I need is a spray that adds volume and thickens hair.  The ingredients are basically starch and oils and it’s really sticky stuff – yes, I tried it out on dry hair just so I could form an opinion because you never know, right?  The directions say to comb or brush into damp hair, them blow dry but I do none of those things to my hair and don’t even own a brush at this point!  I finger comb when it’s wet in the shower and that’s it (less damage, breakage that way).  It dried really stiff on my hair and I didn’t like the texture it gave my curls at all – they’re usually really soft and bouncy and this felt more like hair spray than anything else.  I’m going to end up passing it off to a friend since it’s just not the product for me.

The final total for the box comes to $61.50 which is really on the high end for this box!  My personal value is $27 though for the eyeshadow and Well People powder which at least covers the cost of the box (I’m on the 6 month plan at $19 per box), but just barely.  I can’t quite put my finger on why this was such a miss – the products are all quality stuff and they’re great, just.. not for me.  Oh well, September’s box is coming along in about a week, so I’m looking forward to see what’s up for next month!  I did notice though that Goodebox revamped their website and now there’s a full breakdown of each box received including ingredients, product size, prices, offers, and a place to purchase products.  Really incredible – great job, Goodebox!

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 13

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Home alone again, so I decided to try something a little fancier than usual.  Most of the recipes I use are really basic, and for a good reason.  I’ll admit it, I’m a lazy cook.  I like to be finished quickly and be stuffing my face full of delicious food rather than spend two hours creating something that’s gone in under 30 minutes.  I just don’t see the point!  (Some of you do see the point, and cooking is an art form, and that’s wonderful as I do enjoy eating such creations, but dude, the fact that I’m even actually cooking every week is such a big jump from when the microwave was my best friend, that making complicated dinners may never be my thing, and that’s cool too)  Such is the case with this meal.  I got the recipe from here, and it’s one of those ridiculous food blogs with more photos than actual recipe content (20 photos for a recipe that takes up only two pages).  Sadly, I was out of spaghetti squash from the neighbor, so I used the unnamed bumpy yellow generic squash that arrived along with the spaghetti squash the week prior.  Roasted that up in the oven while I prepped the crepes which were actually fairly easy.  Cooked up the mushrooms, combined them with the pureed roasted squash and a little maple syrup while the bechamel sauce cooked down.  BTW, you can halve the recipe for the sauce because it made half a pot full and I needed about maybe a cup’s worth for the amount of crepes the recipe makes.  It’s really absurd, the amount of sauce this made.  Anyway, after the crepes were filled, I crisped them up in the pan, popped them on a plate, drizzled on some of the sauce and called it done.  They were indeed delicious, but took SO long to make, I’m not sure I’d do this particular recipe again (or, at least, skip the bechamel and just grate some cheese on them and call it done).  Also featured are some cheese, a nice juicy peach and another bowl of tomatoes and cucumbers as is become usual around here!

Ingredients:
Cucumber – Full Circle CSA
Tomatoes – Full Circle CSA
Flour – Mill at Anslema, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Milk – Shellbark Hollow
Butter – Handmade by Abby
Cheese – Birchrun Hills, Red Cat
Mushrooms – Oley Valley Mushrooms
Onions – Clover Hill Farm
Maple Syrup – Miller’s Maple
Non Local – Olive Oil, salt, pepper

Kloverbox July 2015

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I decided to try out a new subscription box since I’d seen such great boxes from them on Instagram.  This first one for me?  Not so great!  If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you know about my deep loathing for anything pink, so what did this first box give me?  ALMOST EVERYTHING PINK.  Ugh.  The other boxes I had seen were more generically crunchy granola organic and green instead of girly-sparkles-and-unicorns pink.  The box arrived the next to last day of July and had a theme of, “Cause for Celebration,” for the one year anniversary of Kloverbox.

  • Ellison’s Organics 3-Free Nail Lacquer – .5 oz / $12 – (Product is full size) ANY OTHER COLOR, sweet pete, any other color and I would’ve loved this.  I thought it looked orange enough to pass as not-pink, but it looks totally different out of the bottle and is definitely pink.  Gross.  It’ll be passed onto someone who will actually use it and doesn’t hate pink.
  • Praerie Botanicals Tonka Body Balm – 2 oz / $20 – (Product is full size) This is actually the one thing I really love about the box!  A wee small dab covers an entire arm in this rich, creamy butter that melts in quickly and feels incredibly hydrating.  It leaves my skin glowing but not greasy which is terrific for everyday use and works wonders on rough, dry spots.  The scent isn’t strong at all, but smells natural and slightly coconutty/tropical.  I can see why it’s so expensive because the container undoubtedly lasts a looong time.  This is going to be a great skin-saver for winter!
  • Previse Skincare SunSheer SPF30 Sunscreen Moisturizer – 3 oz / $36 – (Product is full size) Okay, I was skeptical, because silly pink packaging, but this is growing on me, plus the value of putting a full size tube of this in a subscription box is pretty incredible.  The sun block uses physical blockers instead of chemical (HOORAY!) and almost feels matte after it has set on the skin.  It actually doesn’t bother me to have on my face where usually I feel like I’m being suffocated by sunblock or it feels greasy or sticky and gross.  I haven’t yet had a chance to test out the efficacy, but I’m sure that’ll happen soon!
  • FlutterFly Scrub – 4 oz / $8.95 – (Product is full size)  I received the scent, “Mango Slice,” which is a really sticky sweet mango scented coarse sugar scrub that’s almost reminiscent of a bathroom air freshener.  It has this odd character about the scent that smells fake and chemicalish?  I’m not sure how to describe it, but it doesn’t smell natural or really like a mango at all.  Outside of the packaging and product color (ugggh more pink), the texture is actually pretty nice – it’s coarse enough to be a great scrub for even summer sandal feet, but still has a rich and creamy feel to it.  In another scent (or unscented), this would be really nice!

All products came with a coupon code, however, two of them have expired by the time I got a chance to write up the blog post which is disappointing – the codes were only good for two weeks after receipt of the box.  Total value comes to $76.95 which is HUGE.  The cost of the box, since I sprung for a three month membership, was $21.37, so that’s a really incredible value for the cost.  Even after taking out the nail polish that I won’t use, it’s still $64.95 which is three times the cost.  Pretty amazing there, Kloverbox, just please, less pink!

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 12

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This summer has gotten ahead of me so quickly, but I finally have time to sit down and catch up on the blog backlog!  This one goes back to June 24th when I was on my own again.  A neighbor had dropped off a spaghetti squash since their garden was going wild with them.  Never one to turn away free vegetables, I steamed the squash, scraped out the wonderfully nutty and delicious spaghetti strands, added some Italian sausage and tomatoes, topped it off with blue cheese, and called that a dinner!  On the side is a tomato and cucumber salad along with a bowl of raspberries from our backyard invader raspberry bush.  The neighbor isn’t fond of raspberries, but the plant has special family meaning (I believe it propagated from another family member’s garden and has been passed down and around a bunch), so she’s more than happy to let us collect all the berries we can have.  This past year it took off under the fence and found a nice spot in our yard, so we’re happy to let it stay.

Ingredients:
Spaghetti Squash – Neighbor’s Garden
Italian Sausage – M&M Creek Valley Farm
Blue Cheese – Birchrun Hills
Tomatoes – Full Circle CSA
Raspberries – Our Yard
Armenian Cucumber – Full Circle CSA
Non Local – Vinegar, Salt, Pepper