six word story no. 172

The duck confite was perfectly divine.

dine

 

Brought to you with joie de vivre and a giant bonne anniversaire to Nora, by Journaling as Sacred Practice: An Act of Extreme Bravery. Available now on Amazon.

Six Word Story No. 52

Another fierce cousin deployed to Baghdad.

A US army Apache helicopter flies over Baghdad as the sun sets, 21 March 2007. Eleven people were killed and dozens  wounded in separate attacks in and around the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Wednesday, security officials said. AFP PHOTO/PATRICK BAZ

A US army Apache helicopter flies over Baghdad as the sun sets, 21 March 2007. Eleven people were killed and dozens wounded in separate attacks in and around the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Wednesday, security officials said. AFP PHOTO/PATRICK BAZ

Six Word Story #1

How fitting that April is the month I’ve determined to write one Six Word Story for each day of the month. Quelle challenge! It’s also National Poetry Month. So, my poet friends, this one’s for you.

She drank love, crafting barbed poetry.

bberries

 

Bring the Spa Home

 

Persephone

Winter is the time when we turn inward, stay indoors, feather our nest. This morning I was enjoying the amber morning light and feeling a little witchy, and a little under the weather, so I whipped up an at-home spa treatment to help loosen a stubborn chest cold. My little alchemical brew worked so well, I had to share it here.

When you can’t get away to a “traditional” spa, there’s no reason you can’t transform your bath into a luxurious spa with a little aromatherapy magic! Try this little goddess-girl two-step alchemy to chase away the winter blahs.

First, make a cold-care chest balm to slather on before bed, bath, or shower time. It’s pretty potent, and that’s the idea, so you won’t want to take this treatment before heading off to the grocery or office holiday party.

Step One.  THE BLEND:

  • ½ cup organic coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil (optional)
  • 30 drops organic peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • Dash cayenne pepper, if desired

Heat the coconut oil to soften and ease the blending process. Combine all ingredients to form a smooth paste. The peppermint and eucalyptus oils lend cooling high notes to the recipe, which will help open airways and ease breathing. Pepper adds a little heat. Jojoba will make the blend more creamy, but the recipe works as well without it. Mix all ingredients and then pour into a jar for storage. This yummy, bright, cold-care chest poultice is guaranteed to chase away any lingering winter blahs!

Step Two.  THE BATH:

To make an amazing spa treatment, draw a hot bath. Add 2 cups Epsom salts to the water. Light a candle if you feel like channeling your inner priestess. Add some music to lend atmosphere. Set an intention for a healing bath. Add unscented bubble solution to the water if you are fond of a little froth. Add 10 drops peppermint oil to the water. Rub a little of the cold-care poultice on your chest before slipping into the peppermint-scented bath. Breathe deeply. Let the essential oils do their magic. While the Epsom salts draw toxins out of your body, notice how the cool peppermint contrasts with the hot water. Imagine healing whatever ails you. Go to your happy place and stay there until the water begins to lose its heat. Drain the bath, then shower off. Afterward, apply your favorite body lotion and savor the sensations of cool and warm that will continue for 30 minutes of more. Repeat as desired.

There you have it. You just brought the spa, home. If you give this recipe for bliss a try, let us know how it goes!

 Yours Sincerely,

The Girls at Seph’s Salon

 

(Fair warning:  Be a smart goddess. Do NOT touch your eyes with any of these blends on your hands. Do NOT apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin. When in doubt, test on a small area on the inside of your arm.)

 

 

 

 

tasty fiction here

kitchens

KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST

::REVIEW::

What a delicious read in J. Ryan Stradal’s debut novel: Kitchens of the Great Midwest.  His treatment of the subject of haute (and low) cuisine is both respectful and poetic, as is his attention to the detail of place. The Midwest has never appeared so endearing, nor possibly as strange.

The star of the story, Eva Thorvald, is born in the late 1980s to Lars Thorvald and Cynthia Hargreaves, the two most unlikely candidates for happy marriage that ever was. But when Cynthia gets knocked up, marry they do, and vigorous ten pound baby Eva follows. 

“Cynthia was still twenty-five, and bounced back to her skinny frame with color in her cheeks and bigger boobs, while Lars just grew balder and fatter and slower. He had learned, before she was pregnant, that he had to hold her hand or touch her in some way while they walked places together, so that other men knew they were a couple. Now she was the mother of his daughter, he was even more wary, snarling at passing dudes with confident Tom Selleck mustaches and cool Bon Jovi hair.”

Lars is a foodie through and through, and Cynthia has a knack for food and wine pairings beyond reason. But gravely oppressed by motherhood from the start, Cynthia ditches husband and child as soon as reasonably possible, running off to California to learn the wine trade.

Lars devotes his life to his darling daughter, whose taste buds he teases with the finest ingredients her pediatrician will permit. He reads Beard on Bread to her. He takes her on excursions through Farmer’s Markets, searching for priceless potatoes and redolent rhubarb.

Lucky for her, Eva is born with a “once in a generation palate.” But is this because of her natural father? It’s hard to say. Not long after Cynthia goes MIA, Lars dies suddenly, leaving baby Eva to be raised by her Uncle Jarl and Aunt Fiona, who while loving her completely, don’t know a mung bean from mozzarella.

Part of the pleasure of this novel derives from Stradal’s juicy narrative. From the start, we know that Eva is a survivor and that she is destined for great things. We love how she loves her adopted parents, how she embraces strays of all kinds, and how even as a kid, she demonstrates great depths of compassion.

“[Jarl] suddenly looked sad and bewildered, like an elephant that had been fired from the circus and was wandering down the side of the highway with nowhere to go. The thought occurred to Eva that if her dad confronted those boys face-to-face, they would make fun of her weak, fat, kindhearted father as brutally as they made fun of her, and she needed to protect her dad from that; his ego was already so fragile.”

It’s not giving anything away to reveal that Eva becomes a celebrated, if mysterious and deeply private, chef. Her love for good food is not for show or for fame; it is real as rice and sweet as whipped marshmallow. In the end, her love of food is about what all great food is about: celebration and gratitude and sharing your bounty with those you love.

c. gregory