Dresdner Essenz Body- And Massage Oil Rose-Lavender

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As someone who believes that less is more I want to keep the number of skin care products small. However, there is one product I like to use that most people don’t view as essential: Face oil (or body oil, I don’t believe in that distinction). Unlike masks and peelings I didn’t have a problem with incorporating face oil into my routine (I’m still working on the peeling). I like how I can apply it immediately after the shower, how most oils I tried smell heavenly and most importantly, how soft my skin is afterwards.

Besides, oil is also great at removing makeup that cleansing lotion and water have a hard time dealing with: Waterproof mascara and eyeliner. A few drops of oil on a cotton pad, cut in half, gently take care of eye makeup. Afterwards, I proceed as usual with cleansing lotion and toner.

Right now I’m using the Body- And Massage Oil Lavender-Rose from Dresdner Essenz. This brand is available in most drugstores and carries several body oils. So far I’ve tried the Body- And Massage Oil Lavender-Rose and the Body Oil Pomegranate-Grapefruit. I found the latter one okay but prefer the Lavender-Rose because it smells much nicer.

The Body- And Massage Oil Lavender-Rose comes inside a 100 mL glass bottle with a screw cap. The oil is yellow in color and smells of lavender and rose. The fragrance isn’t strong, in order to smell it you need to get quite close. Concerning the ingredients, the three top ones are avocado oil, isopropyl palmitate and lavender oil. Some sources say that isopropyl palmitate can be comedogenic, so people with tendencies to break out should be cautious. I haven’t noticed my breakouts getting worse but I must also say that my skin is naturally dry.

INGREDIENTS: Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Tocopheryl Acetate, Rosa Canina Fruit (Rose Hips) Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Citral, Eugenol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Farnesol, Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene.

Are you starving your orchid?

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So this post is overdue. You see, I took the pictures two weeks ago and now every bud but one has opened.  Since I’m keeping a data sheet for my orchids I could track the time it took for each bud to open. The first flower opened on 22/11/13, two months ago. And right now there’s still one bud left! I can’t remember if it always took that long to flower.

But I can tell for sure that I’ve never had so many flowers on this phalaenopsis. Maximum count was five. This time there are eight gorgeous flowers for me to enjoy. That’s three more than usual! I’m taking a guess here and say, it has to do with my new watering and fertilizing routine.  I used to be really scared of overwatering, so I waited until I was really sure that the potting medium was dried out. And watering consisted of drizzling a small amount of water into the pot. I was even more scared of fertilizing. I have this cheap general liquid fertilizer for houseplants (the cheapest I could find) and the instruction on it says to mix one cap (25 mL) of fertilizer with 3 L water. Well, three liters are way too much and you could really only measure 25 mL, so I had to guess the amount I needed. And since I’m such a scaredy cat, I also seldom fertilized.

To put in into a nutshell, I starved the poor plant. Not so badly that it would die but it certainly couldn’t flourish. Researching phalaenopsis on the web helped me a lot to improve my care. I began to use the skewer method: Have a skewer/wooden stick in the potting medium (best in the middle) so that it will be as damp as the medium. The medium is dry when the skewer is dry to touch and not cold. This method helped me to decide when to water. You can’t say: I water weekly all year. There are several factors that influence the speed with which the potting medium dries out: the current needs of the plant, temperature, airflow, light level etc. For instance, last summer I had to water every four days whereas now I can wait up to three weeks.

In addition, I became more confident with fertilizing. The first thing I did was to buy a small plastic syringe (5 mL) from the local pharmacist. I then calculated the amount of fertilizer I needed. Since I wanted to feed each time I water, the fertilizer had to be diluted. I chose to use 1/8 of the amount instructed on the label which is 0,5 mL fertilizer mixed with 500 ml tap water.

This all resulted in more frequent watering and feeding which I’d like to think benefits my orchids. Of course, it could also have nothing to do with my new care routines. Maybe since the plant is older now it can grow more flowers?

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Moving on to my other orchid. Back in November last year I discovered a new growth in a leaf axis and assumed it to be a spike. Well, as it turns out I was right! However, I’ve forgotten how much time it takes to grow a new spike. Patience will never be my strength.

Oatmeal cookies for lazy days and lazy me

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Lazy me sometimes craves cookies. But she can’t be bothered with chocolate chip cookies or anything with nuts. It’s too much work to chop  chocolate or even chop and toast nuts. But do you know which cookies don’t require any extra work? Oatmeal cookies! You weigh the ingredients, mix them together and portion the dough. And put the cookies into the oven. So simple that even lazy me manages.

The original recipe is from Pioneer Woman, I love the ways she presents her recipes. Very picture heavy, just up my alley! She calls the cookies brown sugar oatmeal cookies but since I don’t use brown sugar I just call them oatmeal cookies. Because of the white sugar I imagine that my cookies are very different in texture: White sugar results in crispy cookies whereas brown sugar leads to chewy ones. I like crispy cookies so I’ll stick to white sugar. These cookies are light and crispy, lightly sweet which means that I can eat the whole tin in one go.

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Oatmeal cookies

Makes about 55: Directions:
  • 120 g butter
  • 200 g white sugar
  • 1 Tbs vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 90 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 150 g rolled oats

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the egg.
  4. Fold in flour, salt and baking soda.
  5. Fold in rolled oats.
  6. Portion the dough and bake for about 12 min till golden.

 

The best Christmas present

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What could this be? Any idea? A hint: It’s one of a kind and super useful in the kitchen. Everyone should have one.

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Do you recognize it now? Come on…

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Ha, did you guess right? It’s a rolling pin. A custom-made rolling pin, if I might add. So why did this piece of wood got me so excited?

Lately I’ve been really into trying out new savory dishes. While I tend to test at least one new recipe for dessert in a month, I haven’t much expanded my culinary horizon on the savory side. But I’m determined to change that! So far I’ve been trying my hand at making gyozas and tortillas from scratch. Unfortunately my attempts weren’t very successful. In both cases, the dough needs to be rolled out – and I didn’t own a rolling pin. Instead I had to make do with a jar which didn’t go well. I needed a proper rolling pin. My mom has one, steel body with wooden handles, but I find it heavy and hard to wield.

I wanted something like a French or Asian rolling pin: a simple wooden body, no handles. Sadly, rolling pins like these aren’t sold anywhere I live. And I didn’t want to order one online since with things like this, I find it better to actually test before buying. So what now? My brother then offered to make me one for Christmas. He bought a plain broomstick, sawed off a piece, sanded everything until it was super smooth and voilà! My very own rolling pin! He even added my initials on one end with wood burning. Pretty neat!

And how does this rolling pin fare, you might ask. It’s awesome. I made some tortillas last week and it was easy to roll them thin and even. I still can’t roll them into circles though, they end up as squares! The rolling pin is 2,5 cm wide and 28 cm long which means it doesn’t take up much space in the cupboard. And since it’s wood, it’s also very lightweight. And it’s handy for knocking out thieves if they come to rob you of your cookies in the middle of the night.

Great week for phalaenopsis

It has been a busy week for my phals:

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The small phal bloomed! And I totally forgot how deep the color is. Look how dark the lip is! It’s so adorable. I was quite surprised when I came back from vacation in October and saw that the spike reactivated and grew several buds.  This plant had this year’s first bloom in July so I wasn’t expecting new buds so quickly after that. You can still see the first flower of the last bloom. Such a hard worker.

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Besides growing buds it’s also working on a new leaf. It’s taking it very slow though. I noticed the new leaf at the end of August. So it has been almost three months and it’s still so small? I guess it’s putting all energy into the flowers.

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For the last couple of months the bottom leaves have slowly turned yellow and dry and then dropped. At first I wasn’t concerned but now it’s probably the fourth leaf. Is this still normal? However, the roots look fine to me. Since a new leaf is growing I will sit back and observe.

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I believe that my other phal is a Minho Princess lookalike. The flowers look very similar. Of course I will never know for sure since this plant came without an ID and I don’t even know which nursery it’s from.  This is one drawback of buying orchids at a big box store. On the other hand, they are super cheap there.

My Minho Princess lookalike hasn’t slacked off, either. I bought it in bloom in June and at the end of August it started growing a new leaf. Compared to the other phal it had a head start of one week but look how big the leaf already is!

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In addition, I discovered a growth in a leaf axis this week. I’m pretty sure it’s a spike since this would be an odd place to grow a new root. So exciting! It probably will take a few months until the flowers appear. This will be the first bloom since I got it so it’s special to me. The roots have been doing good, too.

Sister, sister, she stole her brother’s clothes

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 From now on I shall be known as the sister who stole her brother’s clothes.

Well, stealing may be too harsh a word. It’s more like giving the cable knit sweater a purpose other than sitting forgotten and unloved in my brother’s closet. Anyway, my brother should be happy that I liberated him from what he calls a mispurchase.

It was roughly a year ago when my brother and I went off to find him suitable clothes. I discovered this lovely gem of sweater in the boys’ section and showed it to my brother. It was a pretty thing, the outside lightly bleached so that the cable knit stood out against the rest. One could see the original color of the sweater by rolling up the sleeves. After little discussion the sweater was purchased and taken home where it was put into my brother’s closet and never seen again.

Until a year later, brother and sister went off again to find new clothes. And found the exact sweater in one store. I told my brother: “If you’re not going to wear it, then give it to me.” Brother shrugged and said nothing. And so I went home and liberated the poor sweater from its bleak place.

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So that is how I came in possession of this fine sweater. But how should I wear it without looking like a sister who’s wearing her brother’s things?

I went with pairing the loose-fitting sweater with slim, dark red pants. Slim because it balances the oversized top and red because I think it makes the blue look much richer and deeper. Whereas with normal jeans it would look pretty grey and washed out. The sleeves rolled up since they are too long, because I wanted to show off the dark blue of the insides and to offset the width of the sleeves with a peek of my wrist. Hair swept up to draw attention to the neck. Gold necklace, red earrings and red lipstick to add bling and glam.

Don’t worry, I usually don’t put that much thought into dressing myself. It’s just that I can look really silly and boyish if I don’t pay attention to what I’m wearing. And I really want to avoid that.

igs 2013

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The International Garden Show 2013 was the first garden show I’ve been to. Therefore I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was imagining fields bursting with flowers in every shape and color. I was picturing gardens from far away countries, exotic and strange plants. But reality is indeed a strange place.

At the International Garden Show I saw gardens from odd places like Mars and Atlantis. Bizarre art installations like giant pencils arranged in a Mikado game. I was deeply disappointed. But there were few thing I enjoyed. My favorite places were the Rosenboulevard, where you were led through fields and fields of all kinds of roses, and the Blumenschauhallen, a big hall where new exhibits were held each week.

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I went to three of those shows. The first one didn’t impress me at all. It was called Expedition ins Wohnzimmer, so it was all about house plants. You’d know them from Ikea and other stores, nothing exciting there.

The second one fared much better. It was the Gala der Königin, Königin means queen in German. The hall was filled with dozens and dozens of cut and potted roses! I was like a little child there, in awe in front of those beauties. Some roses had rare colorings I’ve never seen in real life before, lavender petals or even a deep rich purple. I went there in July and the roses outside were in bloom, too! It was a wonderful experience, wandering through those fields of roses. Stopping here and there to admire one particular flower or to take in the great scent. There was one rose I was drawn to, Elbjuwel, with its deep red velvet petals and its heady fragrance that smelled like red wine. The weather was just perfect, the evening sun cast a golden glow on everything and I was walking among those roses in a light chiffon dress, that was bellowing in a soft breeze.

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The third and last show I went to was titled Silberne Rose. It was a competition where florists from Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania ran against each other for the title of the best florist in their state. There were different categories like table decoration and bouquets. I was intrigued by the entries for the category table decoration. Most of them were overcrowded with flowers leaving little space for tableware. Others had huge arrangements in the middle of the table so that dinner with someone might become awkward. One entry caught my eye. It was done by the only male participant and featured a set table in black with white flowers. A white parasol was mounted above and the insides were decorated with dark red flowers like vandas. A very interesting concept.

All in all, the trip to the International Garden Show was worth it even though it wasn’t quite what I expected. Speaking of expectations: Last week the official numbers of the show were announced. 2.5 million visitors were expected but only 1.25 million actually came. And it brought in -37 million euros. Mind you, the minus is not a typing error.