Life Lessons I learned From Gardening

If you are like me, a beginner, but an ambitious gardener, chances are, you too, planted bushes too close to each other, not approximating correctly how they will grow and which of them might be stronger and take over everything around them in the long run.

In the beginning, I considered them all equally desirable, I planted them all with love:
Morning Glory, Roses and Berries.

Soon, I discovered that the morning glory, and its seemingly delicate flowers, spread fast, are strong and ultimately, strangled the rose bush, which had no choice but to grow into the berries bush next to it, and affect it negatively!

I wanted them all, but yesterday I had to make a decision: Which do I save? Which do I give up or at least limit in its tendency to take over everything?

I settled on saving the berries and the rose bush and sacrificed some of the morning glory which was strangling its neighbors. I didn’t pull out all the morning glory roots, but only those which endangered its neighbors.

As I was clipping and pulling out the roots of what at the beginning I thought was all desirable, I thought of how many times in life I started actions with an abundance of great ideas, but in practice, there came a time when I had to choose ONE idea, ONE action and ONE consequence and as much as I would have liked to use all the initial good ideas, there came a time when we had to choose ONE.

Has this happened to you? If so, please share.20140910_124124




Weekend Easy Dish

Weekend Easy Dish is published weekly and it has the goal to use ingredients we already have in our kitchen.

My ingredient which needed to be used this weekend was BREAD.

It is summer and many of the other needed ingredients are in season or we might grow them in our garden.

I’m assuming your bread was a little old, like mine.
Slice the bread. To make it taste yummy again tap water on all its sides, but do not soak. Then, heat the oven at 400 degrees and heat the bread slices for about 10 minutes. You will know when it’s done by the way it looks, and if you touch it, it will feel toasted (don’t burn yourself!)

Remove the bread from the oven and top with slices of fresh cheese of your choice, a slice of tomatoes and top with fresh basil. You may drizzle olive oil on top and use little salt.

Serve while the bread is still hot.

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Please let me know how did your experiment go and share your tips with us.



Beauty Tip Friday (5) Home-made exfoliator


For readers who are catching up with us, Beauty Tip Friday is a weekly post featuring one easy beauty tip or sharing information on the proper use of common beauty products for maximum benefits.

Home-made exfoliator

Most of us have the ingredients necessary for this exfoliator in our kitchens already: baking soda, commonly used in baking and also to absorb unwanted smells in refrigerators, honey, to sweeten our drinks/foods in healthy ways, and essential oils, such as lavender, to help us relax thanks to their wonderful fragrance. I always keep a bottle of tea tree essential oil at hand, as it fights acne and has powerful antibacterial properties. DO NOT use tea tree essential oil on its own before you READ and UNDERSTAND the instructions on your specific bottle, as it is a very strong oil and needs to be used properly.

Ingredients needed for exfoliation:

1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 honey (raw is best, but I used regular honey with good results)
1 drop lavender or tea tree oil, depending on your skin type and personal preferences

Little water to make paste of right consistency (not too dry or too watery)

In glass or porcelain bowl, using a wooden spoon (NOT PLASTIC or METAL) mix well all the above ingredients.

Apply paste on your clean, moist skin and gently, in circular motions, massage the paste into your skin for no more than five minutes. Avoid the skin around your eyes, as it is sensitive and it requires a different type of care.

RINSE face well with luke-warm water. For maximum results you may follow by spraying your freshly exfoliated face with cool, rose water or simply with cool water and follow with an appropriate moisturizer, depending on the time of the day or evening. I grow mint in my garden and keep in the refrigerator a spray bottle in which I poured water in which I first boiled and steeped fresh mint leaves before placing the minty water in the spray bottle. The mint is very diluted, but it still smells great. Regardless the time of the day, it always feels refreshing to spray your face with cool, mildly minty water. Your pets, would love it too, especially on a hot summer day. Always AVOID the EYES area, keep your eyes closed:)

Before trying any new products do a patch test behind your ear to observe any possible negative reactions and allergies. If you have questions on how to test, or any questions or suggestions, remarks, please comment on our site.

Enjoy your fresh, beautiful skin and have a nice weekend!

Rodica M.

PA Licensed Esthetician

Netflix Movie Review -Overlooked Treasures (3) (R Rated-People 18 years and older)

Angels of Sex is this week’s movie. ( This is NOT rated by Netflix, but I would caution on the safe side and rate it R-18 years and older)

For readers who are catching up with us, every week, I review briefly a less known and unadvertised, but in my opinion, worthy movie, available on Netflix.

The movies are in diverse categories, ranging from psychological thrillers, to dramas (both domestic and international) and documentaries.

The common “thread,” is that for one reason or another, they are memorable and teach something useful.

This week’s movie is “Angels of Sex,” which is a Spanish movie you could find under International Dramas Category. It is a love story with a “twist,” between Bruno and Carla, when Raj enters into their lives.

What determined me to watch and write about this movie?

I’d say, this is a light movie with a serious message, if we look beyond the surface.

In my experience, many people are uneducated or misinformed about the human sexuality spectrum which is a reality of life.

Truth, as I know it, is, that few talk about anything that is not “acceptable” and “accepted” by our society’s norms of right.

Yet, my professional, direct life experiences, showed me a different facet, one of human confusion and curiosity about the topic of bisexuality. Many people seem sexually confused, frightened, as they lack understanding of their own feelings and true sexuality.

I decided to bring up this movie, for people who might be sexually confused and would like to learn more about bisexuality, and less “accepted,” but possibly real sexual scenarios.

It is my hope that this movie will bring some understanding concerning the spectrum of human sexuality.

Weekend Easy Dish

Egg Salad

At the end of each week, I “scan” my refrigerator and decide what stays, what goes and what needs to be used immediately.

This is how I decided that this weekend’s easy dish is EGG SALAD.

As in previous “Weekend Easy Dish” posts, the ingredients may be replaced or skipped, depending on what each individual has available and likes.

Ingredients for egg salad (adjust ALL ingredients depending on how many eggs you use)

2 – 8 Eggs — hard boiled, peeled and cut in chunks
Place in a bowl.


Chopped red onion or chopped scallions (to your taste)

1-2 baby dill pickles (or any type of pickles you have/like)

Dressing: Mix mayo and mustard in the proportions you like or make your own dressing

Optional: Fresh dill or parsley (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

Serve on toasted bread. You may add fresh tomatoes on top and a fresh basil leaf, or on the side, as garnish.

As with all weekend easy dishes, the ingredients may be switched with similar ones or eliminated.

The goal is to use what we already have and use our imagination, a free blessing from God.

Enjoy making something delicious when at first, we thought there was nothing to eat:)

Beauty Tip Friday (4) Gylcolic Acid and Vitamin C skin treatments

What is the difference between an alpha hydroxy acid (Glycolic acid) and a vitamin C treatment?

How to use each and WHEN to use them.

The two, are both beneficial to our skin but in very different ways. This is why it is important to know the differences and use them to our maximum benefit.

Glycolic ( alphlic acia hydroxy acid) derived from sugar cane, is a powerful EXFOLIANT. Used properly, it will clean clogged pores, break down the dirt and sebum accumulated in the top layer of your skin and reveal the clean, new, bright and healthy new skin.

How to use glycolic acid properly.

If you decide to have professional glycolic acid peels, please make sure they are performed by a licensed esthetician an/or in a doctor’s office. Also make sure you PREP your skin prior to the professional treatment.

What does this mean?

For at least two weeks prior to a professional glycolic peel, which has a very high percentage of glycolic acid, as compared to over the counter products, USE a glycolic acid in a lower percentage, to get your skin used gradually. Professional estheticians and/or doctors, will PROVIDE PREP KITS and instruct you how to use them.

Consequences of using glycolic acid improperly, include redness, irritation and may result in more pigmentation to the skin.


Because glycolic acid and sun do not do well together, I always suggested to my clients to have their biannual professional glycolic professional peels in winter and fall, when there is minimal sun exposure.

For maximum benefit, I suggest using between the professional peels, a glycolic acid of lower concentration and not in combination with other ingredients. Use those separately.

Vitamin C Treatments —

Vitamin C, is a collagen booster and powerful antioxidant. NOT an exfoliant, as is the glycolic acid.

In other words, they perform different functions and used correctly will both benefit your skin.

What is collagen? Collagen is a protein and it helps maintain our skin firm. Applying vitamin C to the skin promotes collagen production and as a result improves the firmness of our skin.

Always use an SPF cream when exposed to the sun, but unlike the glycolic acid, vitamin C treatments may be performed during the summer when we are exposed to the sun.

What I suggest, is to have your glycolic peel before the sunny seasons. As a result, your skin will be exfoliated and clean.
Have your vitamin C treatment a month or more AFTER the glycolic peel, because in this way the vitamin C will penetrate your exfoliated skin easier and thus be more efficient.

In conclusion, both the glycolic acid and vitamin C used properly are beneficial for our skin.

Glycolic is an excellent exfoliant, while vitamin C boosts collagen formation, which firms our skin and is a powerful antioxidant.


Enjoy your beautiful skin!

Netflix Movies Review -Overlooked Treasures (2)

This Thursday’s “overlooked movie,” available on Netflix, is Words and Pictures, an independent movie starring Juliette Binoche.

One might say any movie in which an outstanding actor, such as Juliette Binoche plays a main part, by definition must be an excellent movie. I couldn’t agree more, but Words and Pictures stands out not only because of the excellence of the acting team, but because it makes us think at a deeper level.

“A picture is worth a thousand words!” True? False? If we look at history and the evolution of the human race, what came first were the drawings in the caves to express human activities, their thoughts and feelings as the human brain evolved. Words were added to our arsenal out of the need to communicate more and more complex concepts.

This independent movie portraits the winding relationship between an art teacher (artist) and an English teacher (writer) as they engage in a “war” of poetry and paintings which ultimately brings out the best in themselves and the group of teens they teach.

A meaningful, thoughtful love story expressed beyond only words or just by pictures. To truly understand, we need BOTH and they are used in a flawless, surprising way, in this memorable film.

Weekend Easy Dish (with a touch of Romanian flavor)

For our new readers, I’m recapping the purpose of this regular feature on the blog:

Weekend Easy Dish is a post published every weekend with suggestions of how to use our leftover ingredients into a delicious and healthy meal and avoid wasting food.

The statistics on Word Press show that in 2014 the blog was read by people from 124 countries.
We will not always have the same leftover ingredients, or have the same concept of healthy and/or delicious. Many of the readers are vegetarian, in which case, please make your dish removing the ingredients which you do not like. As the saying goes, “take what you like and leave the rest.”

This weekend’s dish is Cabbage- chicken and Mamaliga (Romanian cornmeal mush)

My main “leftover” ingredient was a cabbage. I build the dish around it:)

Cabbage is known for its health benefits, yet many of us don’t like it. It is a matter of personal taste, but cooked in this manner it was delicious… or perhaps I was very hungry.


One medium size cabbage (chopped)
One onion (chopped)
2-3 chopped cloves of garlic
Chicken cut in bite size pieces which I roll in FLOUR
Bacon (optional)
2-3 Tbs. olive oil
1-2 Tbs Sour cream (optional)

If you have fresh tomatoes available, use chopped fresh tomatoes.
If you don’t, use canned tomatoes or a pasta sauce.

For Mamaliga (yellow cornmeal) and water

Salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare

In large skillet, heat the oil. Add the chopped onion and garlic, little salt and pepper. Stir well for a few minutes and add the chunks of floured chicken. If vegetarian, omit the meat.

Cook these ingredients until the chicken doesn’t look raw (stir and cook on MEDIUM heat, so the ingredients do not stick to the bottom of the skillet.) This step should not take more than 10 minutes.

To these ingredients ADD the chopped cabbage, a few handfuls at a time, as you continue to stir. Add water as necessary.

If you have bacon, add cooked, chopped bacon and stir with all the ingredients.

At the end, add the tomato sauce or the fresh chopped tomatoes and cook on stove for another few minutes. Stir well all the ingredients. A LOT of stirring, but it will pay off in yummy tasting food!

Practically, everything is already cooked, but for extra flavor, I transfer the cooked cabbage-chicken dish in a baking pan and bake it for another 15-20 minutes at 350. Add water if necessary, using your judgement, so the food does not end up too dry or God forbid, burned!

Separately, cook the yellow corn: (if you have no yellow corn meal, serve with bread)


Boil 2-3 cups of water to which you added salt (to taste)
To the water, on medium to low heat, SLOWLY, add the uncooked yellow corn meal while stirring.
For exact proportions of water to yellow cornmeal, please read the instructions on the specific brand you have at hand.
Well cooked mamaliga should be smooth and delicious.

Serve the cabbage-chicken dish on top of mamaliga. For extra taste and calories, top with sour cream.

If you have leftover recipes you’d like to share, please let me know.


Beauty Tip Friday (3) If Burned!

With the summer season here at last, I thought it might be useful to remind everyone about a few inexpensive, natural ways you could soothe skin which has been overexposed to the sun’s damaging UV rays.

Generally, most of us start the right way. Before we hit for the beach we apply our SPF 30 (at least) and if it says on the label water proof, then, we assume we are set for the entire day and going in and out of water would not affect being protected.
Just in case, if you do go in the water and especially if after you did you dried off your body using a towel, please reapply the SPF.

Falling asleep while reading at the beach seems to be an all time favorite and as a result, burned shoulders and back abund.

If for one reason or another your delicate skin is burned from overexposure to sun, try the following:

Take a bath in lukewarm water. Add some regular oatmeal to the water or even better, an Aveno oatmeal bath packet, available at all pharmacies.

After you bathe, do not rub the already irritated skin, but pat gently or let dry naturally.

On the dried skin you may simply apply cold, plain yogurt and keep it on the affected areas for about 10 minutes, then wash it off gently.

If you choose to apply cold compresses, do not apply ice directly to the inflamed skin, as it will irritate it further.

Aloe Vera gel is an all time saver! If you have a fresh plant, cut the leaf and apply on the affected skin only the clear slimy gel found inside the leaf. Or buy Aloe Vera gel at the pharmacy and apply as directed.

Another all time remedy is well diluted apple cider vinegar.

Personally, I’d first go for the yogurt, cold compresses or aloe solutions, which I tried personally and they work.

Whatever your choice, please do not rub, irritate, or overexpose further the burned areas. The worst it could happen is that the area gets infected and that leads to further complications.

Enjoy the Sun, soak all the vitamin D you need and stay cool and safe!

Netflix Movies Review –Overlooked Treasures

Soul searching independent and foreign movies, mind-blowing documentaries, psychological thrillers which I keep discovering on Netflix, in my attempt to escape reality for two hours…

Some movies, I love so much, I make mental notes to share with my friends. I encourage them to get a Netflix subscription, and Netflix does not pay me to advertise. It’s just my selfish need to discuss the movie with someone.
Then I forget the title, or I watch another movie that I love, which doesn’t make the previous one a less impressive work, it just shows my memory is starting to fail me. This is when writing it all down immediately, in this case, right after a movie ends, makes it easy to remember and share.

I’m a Natalie Portman fan, but I didn’t know that her career started when she was 12 years old. Scanning through the hundreds of available movies, I noticed, “Leon: The Professional.” The story line is about the unlikely friendship, soul-connection between Leon, a professional hit man, and Mathilda (Natalie Portman) who is about 12 years old in this moving action filled, psychological drama.

Without giving it away, the movie describes in more than one way, the silver lining, the goodness which exists in the most unlikely people, those marginalized by society, born and raised in worlds few of us experience directly.

Natalie Portman’s acting at the age of 12, reconfirmed for me that the saying “one could do whatever they set their mind to,” is false. NOT all people are born with the same “gifts.” Natalie Portman didn’t “learn” how to be an extraordinary actress. She was born to be an actress and for a child to be able to express the many nuances this part required is extraordinary!

Food for thought:
What do you think?

Could anyone just by setting their mind to it and working hard achieve the SAME LEVEL of EXCELLENCE as one born with the GIFT. I, for instance, know that no matter how much I try I will never be able to sing other than in the shower, preferably alone.