Monday, October 5, 2015

The Wellness Business

 Source: a friend over at The Elliot Homestead.

Ok you guys, confession time: I started up a business over the past few months, and it's taken up a lot of my time and energy (in the best possible way)! Like many of you, I have a deep interest in natural and homeopathic wellness. And, like many of you, I have played around with botanicals in a (sometimes failed) attempt to be my own healer. (AND, I suspect like many of you, the sight of a medicine cabinet filled with home-brewed potions and salves gives me a thrill.) So, I've done the damn thing. I'm now a "wellness advocate" for doTERRA essential oils, and I'm so in love. 

I think last year's visit to Salem did me some good, too, because I lucked into meeting a doTERRA leader who needed to fill a (highly lucrative) spot on her essential oil team. We chatted for a bit over the phone, and really hit it off, and within a week I was transferred to a leadership spot that pulls in around $2000 a month (sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on a variety of factors). You guys, that's crazy. That's how much I make at my full-time career. Plus, I'm absolutely obsessed with the essential oils I get to work with. I truly prefer them to the other brands I've used over the years (Aura Cacia, Nature's Alchemy, and Mountain Rose Herbs, for those of you keeping count). In fact, because my nose is hypersensitive, and I've now adjusted so completely to doTERRA's lavender oil, I actually had to throw out two bottles of Aura Cacia's lavender because the smell seemed so off. It's tough to believe reviews like that online, but man, the smells are spectacular.

So anyway, that's what I've been up to. Right now I'm helping one of the ladies on my team plan out her next few months so that she can replace her income with her doTERRA biz. I still kind of can't believe that that's actually possible, but I'm living it, so...

What does this mean for One Weird Moon? Not a ton. I'm still going to be terribly flaky and forget to post, but now you'll occasionally also see honest reviews of the oils I play with. It took me months to commit to the idea of trying oils that I couldn't smell in the store first, so if you ever want me to send a small sample bottle of an oil to ya so you can see what they're like, feel free to shoot me an email or leave me a comment. I'd love to start a circle of ladies who want to meet on Skype or something on nights of the full moon to talk herbal remedies, so if you want to be one of those ladies, hit me up.

Until next time. X

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lavender oil for sleepless nights with a pup

I've been an essential oil user ever since I realized tea tree oil works better for blemishes than any other commercial product. I've always kept botanical bottles in my cabinets, but usually for homemade deodorant or skincare products (or because sometimes work is only bearable if I can hold an open bottle of lavender oil up to my nose.) Like any of us looking for a simple, natural lifestyle (seems to be everyone, eh?), I've long know that essential oils have compounds that have actual effects on our physiology, but I've rarely used them (tea tree is the exception) for their compounds. I should also note that I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, so I've never felt like I needed to experiment with lavender oil.

Enter Basket: the lovable, crazy border collie pup.  This dude has gotten into the habit of waking us up in the middle of the night to play (I guess that's what happens when you nap literally all day), which is a minor problem for me, but a huge problem for my boyfriend. It's hard for him to fall asleep, and once he wakes up it's almost impossible for him to get back to sleep.

Last night, I persuaded boyfriend to put lavender oil on his feet, and I did the same. Basket, who sleeps in his crate next to our bed, sneezed a bunch in protest at first (I was concerned that he might have a bad reaction to the vapors) but we all settled in to sleep. I fell asleep right away, but that's not out of the ordinary; more surprising was that boyfriend and puppy slept through the night, too. Of course, lots of other factors could have been at play: boyfriend started a new job that is exhausting, Basket went for a walk around the neighborhood with my and met lots of new dogs and people (stressful and fun, which can be exhausting for a 12-week old pup). I don't think the lavender oil had much of an effect on the boyfriend, but he fell asleep a little faster than usual and I don't think that's something I'm going to write off as a coincidence just yet.

I usually use Aura Cacia or Nature's Alchemy oils because they are relatively affordable and can be found in local natural grocers. I'm definitely interested in trying out other brands -- I'm a firm believer that there is not one brand that trumps all others, but I do think it makes sense that some oils will have lower levels of certain compounds depending on a variety of factors like where it was grown, the season that it was harvested, proper farming practices and care, and the overall climate that year. We will see, I guess.

(I just realized I also use lavender oil on itchy bug bites and on burns -- it still surprises me how well it takes the edge off a burn/expedites healing time. So, I guess I do actually use lavender for "medical" reasons from time to time.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sunday Comforts and Living Intentionally

Sometimes, the soul needs comfort food. Sunday was drizzly and slow, and filled with hot coffee and 50s music. The pup (recovering from some nasty puppy virus) curled up under the couch and napped on-and-off.

Family-life has been a little crazy and a little sad lately. Boyfriend played Fallout (I'm not a huge gamer, but man, post-apocalyptia is somehow soothing when shit hits the fan), and I lounged with the recovering pup and pulled out the ol' tarot cards. Sunday was a big thinking day, and I think I'm better off for it.

I've been playing a thought exercise: What would it look like if my aspirations and aesthetics (no matter how indulgent) were fully realized? What elements of that life speak the most to me? Why not try to make that a reality? I love my 9-5 job, but I've been tinkering with the idea of picking up a side gig that would, admittedly, be a little indulgent. I can't jump wholeheartedly into something without considering it from all angles, though, so that's where I'm at. Investing (literally) in a new project is a scary prospect -- we have a mortgage now, after all. At the same time, it's nice to have this business-life yang to balance out the family-life yin.

How are you doing, honestly? What would your ideal lifestyle look like? Why not chase that?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Witches and Spice Bottles

One of the perks of having your own place is being able to shape the ~feel~ to match your aesthetic. For example: I would love to live in Miyazaki's bathhouse or one of the his witch-houses, so I'm arranging and displaying spices in a way that feels about the same. I would love to have an authentic, floor-to-ceiling apothecary drawer filled with spices and herbs -- for now, this is a close second. Don't ever be afraid to favor your soul's aesthetic over practicality. Indulge!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Very grateful for a lot of things lately (new house with boyfriend, perfect pup, promotions at work), but I wanted to call attention to something small.

Today, I am very grateful for peppermint oil. I left my Advil at home by mistake, and naturally had a terrible caffeine-withdrawal headache this morning. A few dabs of peppermint oil along my forehead and temples and ~*~like magic~*~ no more headache.

Thanks, peppermint oil.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Basket the Border Collie

PS - This is why I have been MIA...

Ginger Garlic Miso Sauce

I'm giving away a big secret today, so we've got to keep this on the down low. This, my friends, is the most important sauce to ever happen to steamed vegetables. You see, I used to work at a magical place that served something very similar to this. I was never one of the sauce preppers, so I can only guess the recipe -- I've been trying (and failing) since I left to recreate it, and I've had a breakthrough.

You must keep in mind: This is not the original sauce. I wish I could deliver up all of its secrets, but I literally cannot. Plus, my favorite sauce was actually a mix of two sauces, so that's what I've recreated below. I feel like that's a nice legal disclaimer.

(Gee, lots of build-up, amirite?)

Ginger Garlic Miso Sauce

You will need:

2 garlic cloves
2-3 inches of fresh ginger, juiced (peeled will work too, but the consistency will be off)
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1.5 tablespoon of soy sauce, nama shoyu sauce, or tamari sauce (any of these will do)
1.5 tablespoon of lemon juice (bottled is better than fresh here, folks)

2 tablespoons of olive oil (you can add more if the sauce is too thick)
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of red miso paste (if you can't fine red, another miso paste will still do it)
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder

Throw all of this into a blender (I use a KitchenAid Diamond blender -- it's no Vitamix, but it gets the job done) until all of the elements are well mixed. The sauce should be smooth as silk, unless you used peeled ginger.

This stuff goes on top of everything. It's great on salads and salad wraps, it's great on rice, it's great mixed in with lentil soup. It's best on steamed vegetables (kale, carrot, beats) with rice, quinoa, avocado, some crushed almonds, and a little bit of cheddar cheese. I could literally eat this everyday (and I did, actually, when I worked at this restaurant). Boyfriend loves it too, so we make a bunch of this and keep it in the fridge to use all week. This sauce will last all week, but its best in its first few days. You will definitely have to re-mix the sauce as you go.

If you try it out, let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

View from the office

I spend 40 hours a week in my office, so I'm sure as hell going to make sure it's a place that I enjoy. On my way out tonight I grabbed a few pictures of my favorite bits.

We're lucky in my company; when I got my promotion, the office manager told me that I have a decorating budget. A decorating budget! I had never heard of anything so luxurious. I haven't spent at dime, though, because my office also happens to have a big closet full of unclaimed art. I picked three big pieces for my office, and they go a long way towards making the space feel hospitable.

This lovely lass was a gift from one of my old editors. When I left the company for a job at my current publishing house, my editor-manager gave me this arrowhead plant and a kind note. The arrowhead lives on top of my bookcase, and her note is pinned to my bulletin board.

I keep a bottle of lavender essential oil on hand. It's silly, but sometimes a small break to smell some lavender is all it takes to get me back in the swing of things.

I'm in touch with people all day, be it professors, authors, or folks from other departments. I'm a big believer in thank-yous, and keeping this box of cards on my desk reminds me express gratitude (it also reminds me to be thankful for my job, because I really do enjoy it.)

This is Cal. Cal is a palm tree that was going to be thrown out because it got too big for its old home somewhere else in the building. My end game is to turn my office into a literal jungle, so I quickly relocated Cal from the dumpster to my room. Cal is just big enough to live on the floor and be visible from behind my desk.

Bowls are hot commodities in our shared kitchen. Between salads and soups, I use a bowl with almost every lunch, so I decided to drop $6 on this gem from TJ Maxx. When it's not holding soup, this bowl lives on my book shelf as a decorative piece.

During college, my two friends spent a semester in Los Angeles. I flew out to visit them, and we spent a day bopping around all the hip, curated stores you'd expect to find in LA. I can't walk away from a candle (ever), so I brought this one back with me. Seriously, this thing smells so good. These guys have an Etsy shop, and I recommend getting at least one of each of their scents. I can't light this at work, but it makes my office feel more like home.

Do not underestimate the power of a nice desktop background. It ties all of my office decor together and gives the room a nice ~vibe~, but more importantly it encourages me to keep my desktop clear of unnecessary folders and files.

I love hearing about how other folks make their space their own; what's your workspace like?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Under-$10 Red: Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2012

As promised (hey look, I do occasionally follow up...), here's a taste of an under-$10 red. 

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2012

First, you should know that I'm looking for a bold red with lots of mouthfeel. This one had been recommended to me first by a reviewer and then by the dude behind the counter in the liquor store, and both claimed this was a wine with nice, grippy tannins. At first, I didn't love this wine (a disappointing way to start the search). There were lots of dark berry notes, and a hint of spice; it certainly wasn't bad, but it also wasn't as deep as I'd hoped, so the wine sat open-but-corked for a few days.

Last night, I was feeling wine. Ideally, I would have liked to try another bottle, but we're doing lots of saving until we close on the house. Luckily, I was forced to revisit the so-far disappointing Ravenwood Zin.

I'm sure you've guessed this by now, but it got better. The tannins were more apparent (with small sips, anyway). The intense berry flavor seemed to have mellowed out (or maybe it was exaggerated in my memory...), and there was a pleasant blackberry note that lingered long after the sip. There was also quite a bit more spice in the finish. This won't be my favorite wine, but it'll be a trusted go-to, for sure.

First day, 5/10.
Fourth day, 7/10.

Monday, June 22, 2015

So, looks like I let another month slip by without a check-in. Oops. It has been a busy month, though, because we bought a house. On a whim (basically).

We had been looking for an apartment somewhere along the train line for a while, but Drew found a rad house and we decided to take a look at it. Start to end, the process took two days (the house was only on the market for those two days!) It's a really neat, 100-year-old bungalow, and it's the perfect size for us. We're formally closing at the end of July, which leaves plenty of summer nights for our new yard.

I'm super excited to live with Drew in a more serious way, and I'm really looking forward to making the space feel like home. Money is going to be tight for a while (duh), but I found a few cheap essentials on Craigslist and Overstock that have me really excited (I don't know if I ever imagined I could be excited for a couch to arrive in the mail.)

Speaking of finances, I've also picked up a freelancing gig at one of my favorite publishing houses. The work will be sporadic for a while, but it'll be a nice way to make a little extra on the weekends. (I've got my eyes on you, pendant lights...)

In other news, I'm on the hunt for a new favorite under-$10 bottle of wine. If you like the same reds as me (bold, full of tannins), check back every now and then -- when I find a gem, I'll post it.

Happy first full day of summer to all of you!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sick As A Dog

Well, I'm not quite there yet, but this is one is going to be a doozy.....maybe. 

When Drew and I talk about weird peanut butter combinations, like peanut butter and tomato (one of my dad's creations) or lettuce, peanut butter, and mayo sandwiches (I actually saw someone eat this at work...) he likes to tell me about how, when he was little, his dad would make him eat peanut butter on a cracker with a raw garlic clove to fight the early stages of a cold. (We actually talk about weird peanut butter combos fairly often, I'm realizing...)

He says that, more often than not, the cracker/pb/garlic combo worked. Obviously, the garlic was the heavy hitter. Fortunately for me, my Italian roots have granted me an affinity to garlic, and I really enjoy raw garlic. So, this morning I ate a few cloves of garlic (no pb, no cracker).

So, do I think it worked? Maybe. For the first hour or so after I tore through the raw cloves, my sore throat vanished and the garlic seemed to serve as an expectorant. I still smell like garlic (and I probably will tonight -- sorry Drew -- and tomorrow -- sorry coworkers) but the sore throat has returned. I'm tempted to chew on one more clove before bed tonight, but we'll see how it goes.

Here's the thing: garlic is incredibly strong and permeates everything. It stays in your body for days, sometimes, and comes out through all of your pores, saliva, etc. It's easy to imagine that it attacks germs, too. I'm on day one of a week-long illness (if it's the same illness that has been plaguing friends and boyfriend, which, probably), so I have my fingers crossed that the garlic coursing through my veins will slash a few days off my healing time.

I'm sucking on a few of the gross-but-reliable Cold-EEZE lozenges too, just in case.

The Lighter Beers of Summer

I'm usually a dark beer (or hoppy beer) kind of gal, but I make a few exceptions when those beers start to feel too heavy in the summer.

Curious Traveler is a fun shandy that comes together more naturally than other beer-lemonade hybrids. Too many shandies have an odd yeasty, bitter aftertaste, but Traveler somehow concocted a lemon beer that finishes clean and doesn't taste like someone spilled super sweet lemonade in a beer.

Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ might actually be my favorite summer beer, because it's hoppy and light, somehow. I always think I taste grapefruit in there somewhere, but that may just be wishful thinking. (By the way, Traveler makes a nice grapefruit beer if you're into that sort of thing.) It finishes dry, so it's easy drink through the whole bottle on accident. I think Little Sumpin' Sumpin' is technically an American pale wheat ale, but it definitely has an IPA feel.

OKAY. We're in untested waters now. I haven't tried these next two beers yet, but they are on my "to try" list. I think I'm going to love them. 

Stillwater Artisanal describes Of Love & Regret as a saison brewed with heather, chamomile, lavender, and dandelion. Let it be known that I'm a sucker for anything floral tasting (especially lavender). Stillwater Artisanal also says this beer is "like a fresh meadow in spring," which sounds pretty much perfect.

Deschutes Brewery touts this beer's awards on their website (Gold Medal, Bitter Category in the 2005 North American Beer Awards; World's Best Seasonal Pale Ale in the 2012 World Beer Awards). One reviewer says, "It’s for those long hours of summer sunset when you need something a little more than a basic thirst-killing lager but not quite ready for a full on hefty ale in the darker hours. So, yeah, calling it Twilight about nails it." I'm intrigued.

Any summer staples missing from this list? Please shout 'em out!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Indian Butter Paneer from Half Baked Harvest


Haven't tried out this recipe yet, but I'm saving it here for future use. The tikka masala leftovers in the fridge are calling me....

All credit goes to Half Baked Harvest for this recipe! I'll update with comments once I've had a chance to make it a few times. 

Recipe link HERE

Vanilla & Fruit Chia Breakfast Pudding


I know, I know. Chia-anything is too trendy right now.

I was introduced to these goopy seeds a few years ago when I worked at Life Alive (an amazing "organic oasis and cafe" in Cambridge, MA -- seriously, if you're ever near a Life Alive, you should go). Life Alive uses chia seeds in their smoothies, but the texture of the seeds is perfect for pudding (think tapioca). This recipe has been posted all over the internet with countless variations; what I'm posting here is my go-to office breakfast when I'm feeling productive the night before.

PREP TIME: as long as it takes you to pour liquid in a bowl and cut fruits

1/4 c chia seeds
1 c vanilla almond milk (or any almond milk, or any milk at all)
fruit (e.g., peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries)

Pour the almond milk in a breakfast-sized bowl (I usually use something with a lid so I can bring it to work). Then, add the chia seeds and stir until most of the seeds aren't clumped together.

You're basically done at this point. This mixture needs to sit for about an hour to allow the chia seeds to absorb the almond milk. Once it's "set", you can add chopped fruit, and then you're fully done. Easy, right?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stream of consciousness #1

I haven't been keeping up with this blog because, honestly, I'm too lazy. It's exhausting for me to even think about writing. Maybe the best approach is a stream of consciousness approach. This has been nice and easy so far, but I'm sure I'm going to end up with some sloppy writing.

Ultimately, I want to get back into the practice of writing often. I'm feeling a familiar urge to make a story, but I'm out of practice. I think just getting words on a page is a step in the right direction, though. I'd talk a bit about what's inspiring me, but I feel like once it's recorded somewhere the need to create will vanish. I'll keep that seed inside for now.

While I'm flowing along here, let's nail down something concrete. This has all been so vague.

Yesterday, I went to a local festival, Boston Calling, with two friends. The two artists I wanted to see happened to billed for the same night, so that was great. Sharon Van Etten was powerful, and Tame Impala was everything. The two Sam Adams summer beers I had were nice too, even though I don't usually love Sam Adams brews. Before I left Boston, I grabbed a couple bottles of Lapis Luna "Moon Eyes" (a cabernet sauvignon from California). I haven't been able to find any of the stuff in Rhode Island, and I really like it's woodsy, silky depth.

Once I leave off here, I'll probably pick up some Indian food for me and Drew. (Yes, in this case, "me" is correct.) I'm going to spend too much money, probably, but eff it. I was just promoted, so I'll probably have room in my next paycheck for this...but also maybe not. (My company is almost notorious for underpaying its editors, and my new salary is really more appropriate for the job I'm being promoted out of.) There might be another post on this sometime in the future (I really hate promising any posts, because I'm terrible about the follow-up) but despite the low pay, I'm really looking forward to this new position. It's much closer to what I'd like to be doing ideally, and unless I want to move to New York City (I don't), it's probably the best job around.

I've been sitting with my hands clasped for a little while now, so I think I'm done writing. If I stay disciplined, I may even be back soon. I'm thinking of changing the name of this blog, too. I've been calling it "Roots" in my head since I first became interested in blogging, but the name must have been taken. On the other hand, "One Weird Moon" fits nicely with my Murakami-fever, so it might stay. WHO KNOWS.

Here's an amazing Sharon Van Etten song that you need in your life:

If you haven't ever heard Tame Impala, shame on you. Go listen to literally any song (if you need more direction, I recommend starting with Lonerism).