Not Martha

Happy New Year

Each year some friends of mine hold a brilliant party, a post-Christmas pre-New Year white elephant where you can rid yourself of any bad gifts you received. It makes getting bad gifts almost desirable, and it serves as a happy way to prep for the New Year. This year we received this, um, decoration? It’s a five-headed dog made from a glove and glued onto a plastic base of some sort. We heard that it was chosen by a six year old. Notice one of the dog heads is backwards? Awesome.

Here is to hoping your upcoming year is free of backwards headed dog things, and full of yummy things to eat and good hair days.

· comments [11] · 12-31-2006 · categories:mumbling ·

sadly, seeking a new lip balm

Last month I came across a rumor online (ok, all over Ebay in sellers’ descriptions) that Prada had discontinued it’s colorless lip balm. It’s my absolute favorite of all time and my heart broke a little bit. I did some more digging and I found out that whole boxes of the ridiculously expensive stuff were selling at TJ Maxx for $8, and my heart broke a whole lot because I didn’t know about it at the time. I suspect the TJ Maxx special was because of some online store shutting down and dumping their inventory, but I honestly have no idea what was actually behind it. (Something similar happened the first year I moved to San Francisco – a well-stocked dot com shop closed and shortly thereafter a discount store on Polk Street was filled with supercheap aromatherapy candles, yoga cds and fancy facial cleaners, it was great.) I still cannot tell if it has been discontinued but I hope not, it’s one of the things I’m willing to pay way too much for.

In other lip balm news I’ve been unable to find my favorite drug store lip balm anywhere – Blistex Herbal Answer seems to be gone. Upon this discovery I went into full-on lip balm panic mode and bought a pile of sticks in the hopes of finding a new favorite. You should know that I prefer a waxy balm, I find it oddly comforting, and in this germ-tastic season I’ve been sticking to tubes to cut down on the chance of catching a cold. So far:

Chicken Poop, smells of orange oil and lavender which isn’t always what I want but certainly isn’t unpleasant, has lots of jojoba oil beads in it, I like it

– Chapstick All Natural, smells a little of fake vanilla, it’s just eh

– Chapstick Lip Moisturizer, SPF 15, smells exactly like Chapstick All Natural but has a more waxy, Chapstick-y feel

– Aveeno Essential Moisture, SPF 15, smells a little of fake vanilla and unless you try them on one right after the next you’d swear it was the same as the Chapstick All Natural, but it’s not quite

– Blistex Gentle Sense, Hypo-allergenic, very nearly has no scent at all (which is sort of refreshing), the mixture is a little beaded (jojoba?)

Some older trials:

– Kiss My Face for Old Navy, mint, SPF 15, good stuff, don’t know if they carry it anymore

– Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, very minty and I generally like it but I don’t seem to buy it, I think it doesn’t stay on long enough for me

– Chapstick Peppermint (aka Candy Cane) is pretty good but not something I went back for

Here are two lip balm related sites I felt the need to include in this post but couldn’t find a way to put in gracefully so here you are: Kiss Fix (formerly Lip Medic, what’s the story there?) has tons and tons of lip balms for sale. And a new discovery: Chaptasitc tests and candidly reviews lip balms. They have a page on the top rated lip balms by Real Simple magazine.

So, now that my two favorites have been yanked cruelly out of my consumer hands I ask you – What is your favorite lip balm?

· comments [163] · 12-29-2006 · categories:beauty ·


Daiso stores are popping up – Anh-Minh reports from a new one in Daly City, California, and just this morning L from Sharpening My Stick(s) sent me photographic evidence of one opening in Westlake Center in downtown Seattle. The Seattle area, well region, has three stores already – Lynnwood at Alderwood Mall, Federal Way in the Commons, and Puyallup in the South Hill Mall.

· comments [9] · 12-29-2006 · categories:shopping ·


Shortly after I heard about Anthelios sunscreen Michelle wrote to tell me that it has finally been approved by the FDA, at least in SPF 15, and we can buy it in the US now. Here is a list of where to find it in stores and it looks like CVS carries it. Darn, we don’t have CVS in Washington.

I bought some SPF 45 and 60 while we were in Vancouver and I like it because it doesn’t make me break out, but in the higher SPF it does leave me awfully shiny, too much for daily use. Right now I use it when we’re going to be hiking. Hopefully the SPF 15 will be a little softer. Anyhow, Anthelios is worth giving a try if you’re looking for a good sunscreen and daily moisturizer for your face.

· comments [11] · 12-28-2006 · categories:beauty ·

it’s all about the rechargeable lights these days

I’ve been considering getting some Candela lights. I like soft glowy light at night, but I don’t tend to buy candles. I think these would be great to keep in the dining room as a quick way to make a regular dinner more romantic. And now that we have a deck I’m eyeing the Luau portable lamp as well.

And this is a bit late, but take a look a the holiday Fun with Candelas which include PDF instructions on how to make a tree, snowman or angel.

· comments [8] · 12-27-2006 · categories:the home ·


We made homemade sun jars as gifts this year, and it took a little trial and error to find the right solar lights to go inside. So much so that I kept notes so, should you want to make one, you don’t have the same troubles I did. Go see: homemade sun jar.

· comments [2] · 12-26-2006 · categories:craft · things I think are neat ·

Christmas loot

I had a very nice Christmas, here are some of the things I received from family:

Buddha Bowls! Perfect for eating dinner in front of the tv, though not necessarily what they are meant for.

How to Cook Everything, which I immediately used to find recipes for the Cornish hens and sweet potatoes we had for dinner.

A susbscription to Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and the January issue with the article on dutch ovens. As reported by a few people in the comments of previous posts they rate the Chefmate 5 quart ($40 at Target, not online) up there with a Le Creuset, the only reservation being that the Chefmate is smaller so you need to brown meat in a few extra batches.

· comments [7] · 12-26-2006 · categories:food · mumbling ·

Merry Christmas

I wish everybody a Merry Christmas, I hope it’s warm and bright and has full electricity and internet access.

Here are some (blurry and poorly composed) photographs of the gingerbread display in downtown Seattle this year.

This was much larger than it appears here.

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· comments [8] · 12-24-2006 · categories:christmas · seattle ·

more Christmas, maybe to keep for next year

Kiddley continues the great projects:

Simple and charming tealight place settings.

Super cheerful gumdrop wreath, I remember seeing this on Alicia’s site last (?) year!

Alison from Six and a Half Stitches used the Martha Stewart mini pinatas to make Christmas ornaments, I swoon. You can see my Valentine’s day version of them here.

And Kungfoodie has gathered an impressive amount of information on making gingerbread houses, excellent.

· comments [2] · 12-23-2006 · categories:christmas ·

too late for Christmas?

Culinary Fool on sparkling shiraz, I love sparkling reds.

Mint chocolate brownies at Shelterrific. It uses York Peppermint Patties.

Candy Cane Cake! at Sunset Food. (I forget where I saw this one.)

Some very soft trees at Two Straight Lines.

Craftapalooza turns us towards this tutorial on One Hour Craft for Humbug Party Bags.

This is a beautiful chocolate advent calendar, at Brownie Points.

David Lebovitz’s best holiday snack ever.

Pretty snowflake templates at Freshly Blended.

Check out the Christmas stocking with a special access panel at Skona Life (about half way down). Awesome. Take a look at the rest of the site too, it’s beautiful.

Drink accessories at Cool Hunting. I like the chocoates that perch on the lip of your glass.

NPR Holiday Craft Winners.

The Anticandy at Smitten Kitchen. They look perfect.

Martha Stewart’s Tree Trimming How-To at Modern Roost.

It’s beautiful, but might be deadly, go see the Peppermint Fluff Martini at The Spirit World.

Gingerbread house patterns at The Kitchen.

I’ve always wondered if it was safe to eat the silver dragees or not. The Dragee Report at The Kitchen.

DIY Holiday Tree to download and print out, from HP, very cool. At Swiss Miss.

· comments [2] · 12-22-2006 · categories:christmas · links ·

white christmas

Just as I was ready to declare this a White Christmas Because All We Can Get On TV Is Static the cable (and therefore internets) came back last night. I’ll need some time to catch up.

· comments [7] · 12-21-2006 · categories:mumbling ·

good old fashioned fun

So, where do I go to get a puzzle these days? It was an informal tradition in my parents house to have a puzzle set up during the holidays to give you something to do when everybody has run out of things to talk about but nobody will be the first to turn on the television. We usually got a cheesy murder mystery puzzle which you have to construct to learn who dunnit. Scott and I decided to get one for ourselves this year since it’s not looking like we’ll have the internet to distract us for Christmas. I went to two malls to find a games store (I remember these very clearly, they had board games, puzzles and a bit of role playing supplies) but they don’t seem to exist any more. I ended up buying a not too cloying puzzle at Toys R Us (a place I never want to set foot in again) and a Lost mystery puzzle at Target (which I’m pretty sure I’m going to return). Anybody? Know of a store with a good selection of puzzles in or around Seattle?

· comments [34] · 12-20-2006 · categories:mumbling ·

a message from the public library

We’re still cable and internet-less but we’re feeling luckier by the day to have power. The houses around us are still without electricity and it’s been darn cold at night. We’ve been mocking our own “but we’re going to miss Battlestar Galactica” fretting from last week. Sundry’s post, with pictures, is pretty much what we woke up to on Friday. I was lucky enough to find hot coffee at Fry’s (don’t ask) and gas in Renton that day without waiting in horrendously long lines.

· comments [13] · 12-18-2006 · categories:mumbling ·


This is a picture of the picture I took of the bread I was baking when our power went out Thursday night. The bread baked fine, we are super lucky and have our power back already, but we don’t have internet at home (I’m at the library). It’s awful boring.

· comments [4] · 12-16-2006 · categories:mumbling ·

christmas decorating

Evany showed off a little crocheted Christmas tree she received as a dinner party favor (so smart!) and shows off her own little forest. She points us to this thread on Craftster – Crocheted Christmas Tree with Buttons for how to make them. If you are like me and don’t know how to crochet (yet) see the Soft Tree sewing pattern at Little Birds.

These Santa Lucia dolls at Posie Gets Cozy are so sweet.

Mantle villages abound and make me wish I had a mantle: made out of old Christmas cards at Danny Seo’s Simply Green, all lit and pretty at Wise Craft and Angry Chicken and a sweet little one made from cardboard at Kiddley with a decorated update.

Kiddley has been filled with good holiday stuff, check out the pom-pom garland, , paper Santa Lucia crowns, Crazy Hat Crackers, Advent Stick and Advent Activities.

· comments [4] · 12-14-2006 · categories:christmas · craft ·