Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dear Gmail: Leave my inbox alone! (An easy fix to new tabs)

By Christi Pugh

Gmail user?  Have you encountered an unwanted change to your inbox?  Logging in this week mine showed three tabs for my inbox: Primary/Social/Promotions.  It was truly crazy-making! 

Basically, it means Google is deciding for you what you receive & marking some emails you’ve signed up to receive, as SPAM.  Grrrr….

Now that I’ve vented, how ‘bout a solution?

--Log in to your Gmail email account
--Find the + sign on the far corner/usually right corner of the dubious new “promotion” tab
--Uncheck all boxes EXCEPT for “primary” (under check tabs to enable)
--Click SAVE
--Viola! Your inbox is back to normal

You will now (fingers crossed) receive the email you have requested! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Time = Skeeter Time

Our Tennessee summer so far is unseasonably rainy and with the temperatures rising, it is pretty much like a steam bath outdoors.  Unfortunately we have a new pest to contend with, the Asian tiger mosquito, who is just as bad during daylight as other mosquitoes are after dark.  Fortunately, I’ve learned not to go outside without my trusty Skeeter Beater. 

There are times it is not practical to use the gel or oil, such as running in and out with the dogs for potty breaks.  For this purpose, I make a spray from our synergy base and leave it beside my back door.  That way I can quickly spritz myself and the dogs before going out.

All you need is our Skeeter Beater synergy, a PET plastic 4 oz cobalt bottle with atomizer, distilled water, and a capful of witch hazel or alcohol (preferably high proof Vodka or Everclear, if available.)  First add the alcohol or witch hazel to the bottle, then add the synergy. I usually count out between 60 and 75 drops (three to three and a half mls.) Cover and shake to blend.  Then add the water and shake it up a bit   Now you are ready for spraying.  You will notice the oils may rise to the top, so it is necessary to shake it before each use.  I don’t recommend this for a long day outdoors or a hike.  I would use the oil or gel.  But if you are just running in and out with the dogs or watering plants, it is an ideal solution.
 These Asian tiger mosquitoes apparently were introduced to the United States around 1985 inside tire imports and have spread mainly across the Southeast.  You will notice they look like regular mosquitoes except they are slightly bigger and have a prominent white stripe pattern over the black.  I’ve found them to be aggressive, as I normally don’t attract mosquitoes.  These little buggers charge right at me! 

I’ve been amazed how the Skeeter spray totally keeps them away.  Mosquitoes love my mother and she came over and wanted to go out with the dogs, so I sprayed her everywhere (except her hairline/neck).  She only had one bite and yes, it was at the back of her neck, the only unprotected area.  She was amazed and asked me to blend some for her as well.

Besides being pests, this particular species of mosquito is a known carrier of West Nile virus, and as it has been found in my area this summer, I also want the extra layer of protection Skeeter Beater provides.  Many ask about making a spray, so I wanted to share my method and experience with using it successfully.

Marge’s comment: SkeeterBeater seems to repel chiggers, as well, so spritzing your ankles before going out on the grass can help prevent a LOT of misery. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Queen for a Day

We get a lot of feedback. Sometimes it really warms our hearts.  Sometimes it shows that we really did make a difference in someone's life.  Sometimes it's just a thank you.  Sometimes it's a complaint.  Yesterday was a day with a lot of complaints.  And then Mary, from Texas wrote, and just made my day.  She so totally GETS who we are and what we try to do.  And gave me permission to share. 

Dear Marge:

I am not a professional in the field or anything like that, so I can’t really compare your products to anybody else’s.  But each time I get my little Nature’s Gift package, I am struck by how luxurious all these products are.  Like the wonderful Golden Shea I just got in this package, which so far is my favorite shea product anywhere.  I’ve bought infused oils, like the gorgeous Champa Flower and Blue Lotus and the wonderful infused aloe in fractionated coconut. 

So many of your products make me feel like royalty!  Keep up the good work.  You must put thousands of hours into researching the best suppliers and cultivating relationships with them!  I can tell you that there are a whole lot of products out there that may or may not be less expensive, but so often, they don’t even seem to be the same product at all! 

 When I use your products, I don’t smell chemical smells or feel that nasty chemical itching and burning, you probably know what I’m talking about, and I don’t ever suspect that there are unlisted fillers and chemicals.  You have got the best products.  Hope your business thrives for a very long time!  Thanks once again! 

I love that she says we make her "feel like royalty"... what can we do to make YOU feel like royalty today?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Monday Morning

Monday is going to be VERY busy at Nature's Gift because the Firework's sale has been really really well received. 

The pictured dessert is in the breakroom refrigerator at the office, along with a big box of croissants, several cheeses and some cold cuts.  If someone has some fresh tomatoes from their garden we will be in heaven.

This was originally posted on Beverly's Facebook page, and I had to try it. The recipe as given, with alternatives follows.

1. One "storebought" angel cake.  You could substitute pound cake, or any flavor of cake you have on hand (or feel like baking.)  I suspect the original message called for "leftover cake" but I think that's an oxymoron.  There's no such thing as "leftover cake"

2.  A box (either size) of your favorite pudding mix, made according to package directions.. Beverly used White Chocolate, and because I had never tried it, so did I.  Instant.  You could use vanilla, even chocolate.   I had some tapioca pudding in my refrigerator because I was craving it. I almost used that, but not everyone loves the texture of tapioca, so I didn't.  (Left over red berries are going to be mixed into the tapioca.)  Make the pudding in a bigger bowl than you will need.

3. Whipped cream or a package of premade whipped topping from your grocer's freezer.  You can use low fat (in fact you could buy a low fat Angel Cake and use skim milk in the pudding to really keep the fat grams low.  I didn't.  I used the plastic tub of whipped white stuff from the freezer. I really wish I had bought heavy cream and "done it right"... maybe next time.

4. What fresh berries you can find.  I used Red Raspberries, Blueberries, and mostly Strawberries.   If I were using chocolate cake or pudding I think I'd omit the blueberries.  Sliced bananas might be good with vanilla pudding.    

Blend the whipped topping into the pudding. (Now you know why I suggested a big bowl for the pudding.) It doesn't have to be perfectly blended. If you are using chocolate pudding some white streaks will add eye appeal.

Tear the cake into small bite sized pieces.  Put a layer in the bowl.  Cover with some of the pudding and cream.

Cover with a layer of fruit.

Repeat until you run out of ingredients.

I suspect you could serve this immediately, but waiting overnight lets the flavors mix and mingle, and the cake get soft (if you started with stale cake.)

I suspect if it needed a name the name would be Summer Trifle.   Or you can call it Beverly's Fruit Thing.  I don't think she'll mind.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Green Cleaning - Stovetop

Don't ever buy a WHITE flat burner stove.  Black ones, I'm told, are easy to keep looking good. White, on the other hand....  what was I thinking!

At any rate, this is a very typical view of my stove top (after I moved today's mail and a cookie jar and the tea kettle off it.)

I had wiped some cookie crumbs off it. And I took a razor blade to some really thick baked on goop, then wiped off what came up.  That's all. As you can tell, the right hand side of the stovetop was much dirtier.

Ingredients: 1/2 C (about 120 mls) White Vinegar, approximately 1 ml Sweet Orange. (I cheated, couldn't find the Sweet Orange so used Blood Orange.  Sweet Orange is actually a better grease cutter.)  Add the Orange Oil to the Vinegar.

Cover the (cold!) stovetop with a paper towel. Soak the towel with the Vinegar/EO mix.   Wait for 15 to 30 minutes.

Don't worry, your kitchen will NOT smell like you've been pickling, the orange oil cuts the sharpness of the vinegar.


You may need to wipe hard, and a plastic scrubby is useful.


It's not can see one or two of the worst spots didn't come completely out. BUT, I only cleaned the right side, that had been much dirtier than the left.
Better?  Better!