28 June 2017

Natural Mummification for Small Specimens

About a year ago Megan found an evening bat in the museum we work at. The little creature appeared to have died of natural causes and she made the right decision in putting the bat aside for me to get later. The moment she told me about it I started researching a natural way to mummify specimens. Finally, after some hardcore searching, I came across this amazing site called Wolftea.

To my surprise, it was pretty easy. All it entailed was borax, pickling salt and some knowledge (and maybe a strong stomach). Being the documenter that I am, I wanted to share the information here, for my records. And who knows, maybe it will help some of you out there who are wanting to do the same thing! Please keep in mind that this works with smaller specimens and the actual mummification time could take longer for larger ones.

HOW TO DRY SMALL SPECIMENS WITH SALT & BORAX

ITEMS NEEDED:
  • Borax Detergent Booster
  • Morton Pickling Salt
  • Tupperware container
  • Rosemary sprigs
DIRECTIONS:
Make a mixture of borax and salt, using a ration of one to one. Add aromatic herbs if wanted.

Take salt/borax mixture and pour a layer to the bottom of the container, about half an inch. Place the specimen inside.

Pour in the rest of the salt/borax mixture until they are completely submerged.

It is extremely important that the container you use is able to breath - don't put an air tight lid on it. I placed some loose clingwrap over the top.

Leave to dry in a well ventilated space for a few weeks. For wings and smaller items, it takes 3-4 weeks. Small bird heads take up to 5 weeks.

Exchange the mixture around the 2nd week to keep it fresh – however, it isn’t fully necessary.

If you’re salting anything for longer than 3 weeks, you'll need to exchange the salt/borax mixture. This is so NO odor sets in. For humid areas: it could take a little longer.

Once the specimens are dry (they will be firm, with no moisture) you can brush off any salt/borax with an old toothbrush.

If you notice ANY odor, allow it to air dry in a well ventilated space for a few days.

Then soak it in a dry bath of aromatic herbs (cedar, clove, flower petals, mint… etc). You can also use smoke to help with odor, all you do is allow any smoke or fumes to further dry/absorb into your specimen by burning cedar, incense or other good smelling things nearby.

Tips: Rub borax or salt solution under as much of the skin as you can.
The goal is to wait until ALL the moisture is gone and item is no longer flexible. The longer it’s cured, the better. For odors, mix in rosemary sprigs.

Luna, My Little Evening Bat

As you can see, this natural mummification process did an excellent job at preserving her. The fur is still soft and pretty and if you look close enough in the first photo you can see her little fangs. This is something that I am very proud of and thoroughly impressed with how it turned out. Especially for my first time.


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave me a message below. I will do my best to give you an answer.


Original source: Wolftea

26 June 2017

Olive's First Sleepover

On Saturday afternoon I took Olive over to my mom's house for her first sleepover. After the whole honeymoon bunny-fiasco, where Olive had a bout of stasis and we had to catch an early flight home, Alex & I decided we needed another way. Because we really want to start going on longer trips.

During our honeymoon we left Olive at our place alone and had Megan feed her and visit her for a few hours. We figured that it didn't work as well because once Megan left, Olive was alone and felt neglected. So, with a two-day trip coming up in a few weeks, we thought it would be best to do a trial run of her spending the night at my parents.


And I'm happy to report that it worked! In fact, the photo above was taken after she wore herself out from running around their living room like crazy. Olive was such a champ with the sleepover and I honestly think that my mom was more nervous than Olive was.


She a great car rider too! I'm just so proud of her. Way to go, Olive!

22 June 2017

Olive's Gotcha Day

Happy Gotcha Day to our furry little girl!

We've had Olive for two years now and I can't even begin to imagine what our lives would be like without her in it. We love you, little fluffer buns.

20 June 2017

How To Air Dry Your Hair Like A "French" Girl

The French-culture is one that I've adored since high school (way back when Amelie came out and I fell in love with all things French). All these years later, the French still hold a special place in my heart. But I'm not French, hence the quotation marks in the title, I'm actually Italian. Although I like to consider myself an honorary French girl. I can do that, right? Sure, why not!

Either way, I've started to immerse myself in French beauty routines and have found out that somehow I've always relied on French techniques without even knowing it. Some of the French-esq things that I've been doing forever: the majority of my wardrobe consists of monochrome colors, I hardly wear any makeup and I always air dry my hair. In fact, I didn't even own a hairdryer until Alex decided he needed one a few months back.


But air drying your hair takes a little know-how. Especially if you have hair like I do: naturally wavy. If that wasn't difficult enough, the strands of my hair are thin, but I have A LOT of it. This means disaster for someone who lives in a humidity-ridden state, like I do. Seriously, on most days in June the air is so thick with humidity it feels as if you're wading through water.

This is why properly air drying your hair is crucial. And yeah, it takes practice, as well as a little trial and error. But that's why I'm sharing some tips I've learned from all the years that I've air dried my hair. This way you can air dry your hair like a "French" girl and achieve an effortless look. Which is très chic!

HOW TO AIR DRY YOUR HAIR LIKE A "FRENCH" GIRL

1. Wash your hair at night. 
This is definitely rule number one. And for some people it might take some getting used to, especially if going to bed with damp hair irks you. If it really bothers you, you can do a loose braid or give yourself that Wednesday Addams look - just make sure the stretchies aren't too tight. Those braids will add some awesome waves once your hair is dry.

2. Use cold water at the end.
Once you've shampooed your hair and put conditioner in it, be sure to rinse it out with either lukewarm or cold water. I leave the conditioner on for at least five minutes. The colder the water the better. When you use cold water to rinse out the conditioner it closes the hair follicles so you get less frizz.

3. Gently towel dry your hair.
Remove as much moisture from your hair by gently squeezing out the excess water with your hands (in the shower) and a towel. The last thing you want to do is rough up your hair by rubbing your hair with a towel because it roughs up the cuticle and creates frizz. Just get as much water out as your can, it doesn't have to be completely dry.

4. A little product is your best friend.
After you've washed your hair and removed as much water as you can it's time to add some product. For a smooth finish, use a anti-frizz serum. I use moroccan argan oil, which controls my frizz and adds a little shine without making it look greasy. Adding a serum keeps your hair soft and (for the majority) frizz free. If you want a more textured look, add a sea salt spray. Make sure to comb your hair in order to distribute the product.

5. Don't brush your hair when it's dry.
I know this seems counter-productive. And I don't mean you can't ever brush your dry hair. Just make sure that you use a comb or a boar bristle brush. Something that won't create frizz. And honestly, brushing your hair is the quickest way to lose that natural look.

One final tip: Once your hair is dry, if you want you can add dry shampoo to your roots to add some volume and some more anti-freeze serum to weigh it down a little more.

Do you air dry your hair? What is your hair type? What tricks do you use when you air dry your hair, did I leave any out? Let me know in the comments below so we can discuss!

07 June 2017

Orlando + Winter Park Day Trip: Just the Girls

Last Saturday Megan & I had a much needed girls day. But our girls day is always a lot different than most girls. Ours was made up of finding plants for our back porches and exploring more of Winter Park. Especially the Mill District. Which means, I essentially took her to places that I knew she'd love and a pie place that I couldn't seem to convince Alex to go to with me. The boy detests sweets more than I do - but when there's pie involved - I'm game. Anyways, back to Megan & I Winter Park expedition.
Our first stop was Krungthep we're we indulged in tea (Thai tea for me - always) and killer chicken pesto sandwiches. Then we made our way to Apenberry's where we nearly took all of the plants home. There were seriously so many stunning plants and I fell in love with almost twenty. Luckily for Alex (and our bank account) the size of our porch is only so big. The only downside was that it was super hot and sunny out. I even managed to get a sunburn on my shoulders. Go figure!

Afterwards Megan & I went to another garden, left empty-handed, and then made our way to the Mills 50 District. I introduced her to Park Ave Compact Discs, The Lovely, Dear Prudence and P Is for Pie. Which she loved. If you haven't been to any of these places yet, I suggest you make it part of your next trip to Winter Park. Park Ave has a lot more than just CDs too. And The Lovely specializes in incredible mid-century finds. Which is a dream come true for me. Needless to say I left with an incredible mid-century red metal tray with a peacock on it. You can see it over on my Instagram...
All in all our little Saturday expedition added up to a perfect day. I even ended up with a list of places that we need to checkout next time. Especially because we're determined to explore more of Winter Park's districts.

If you have any suggestions of place that we should go, let me know in the comments below - I'd love to hear about them!

05 June 2017

Our Wedding Ceremony Playlist

I still can't believe that it has been 4 months since Alex & I said "I do". It still blows my mind that he is my husband. I know we are still in the "honeymoon" phase, but I still get such a magical feeling when I think about us, our love story and the future that we are creating together. The other day I opened our Spotify account and stumbled across the playlists from our wedding. We made all the playlists ourselves. And one playlist that still gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it is our "Wedding Ceremony". This was what we played while our guests we're seated and waiting for me to walk down the aisle. I must have listened to that playlist at least four times the morning of the wedding, so whenever I listen to it now, it brings back such lovely feelings.

It was a playlist that I had made myself, without telling Alex, because I knew he would be listening to it while he was waiting for me. The song from "Dust To Dust" by The Civil Wars was one in particular that really touched Alex. A month after we were married, he told me - while we were driving back home from Tampa - that song was one the he would listen to a lot before we had re-met. He held a lot of feelings with that song (wanting so badly for the right person to come along) and he was touched when he heard it on our wedding day. Sometimes things are said that just leave you breathless. Fate.

So, I wanted to share with you all the songs on that playlist. Here are the tracks:
  1. City and Colour "We Found Each Other In the Dark"
  2. The Paper Kites "Bloom"
  3. The Civil Wars "Dust To Dust"
  4. Death Cab for Cutie "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"
  5. Alt-J " Warm Foothills"
  6. Foo Fighters "Everlong - Acoustic Version"
  7. Oneke "Echoes of You"
  8. Fleetwood Mac "Landslide"
  9. Sufjan Stevens "To Be Alone With You"
  10. Hozier "Cherry Wine - Live"

P.S If you feel like listening to it... you can head over here

01 June 2017

"cease to resist, giving my goodbye"

 A few days ago a friend I've known since high school hung himself and I'm still in shock about it. It's a tragic thing. And honestly, that's a mild statement. Now another person's story isn't a story for me to tell. But I just needed to type this all out. I needed to remember my friend for who he was and what he brought to the lives of others. Including myself.

He was funny and sweet, caring and intelligent. Though these seem like such shallow words as I type them, but they are true. We spent so much of our high school years together, and sadly as we got older - sometime in our mid-twenties, we drifted apart. But that doesn't change the impact that was made, does it? I will never forget the afternoons after school spent at his house. His mom making us falafels, us listening to music (I'll never listen to the Pixies without thinking of him) and cracking jokes. We went to homecoming together as best friends. He made me feel appreciated and loved when I felt the complete opposite. He knew how to calm me down when my anxiety kicked into overdrive. He gave me advice, I hounded him for his choice in girlfriends, and he hounded me for me choice in boyfriends. He gave me a way out of the bleakness that was my teenage years and was an anchor when my life seemed to spiral out of control in my mid-twenties. And best of all, he could always make others laugh at the drop of a hat. Our last new year's eve spent together (2007) is one that will always hold a special place in my heart. Our friendship, even though our lives took separate paths, will always be one that I cherish.

I will miss you dearly, my friend. You are truly someone that I will never forget.

I struggled a great deal as to whether or not I should post this, but after reading my friend Sean's article on "Helping Yourself To Help Others; Being Strong While Dealing With Mental Illness", I knew that I needed to. Because the message he makes is one that is altruistic and it is something that is greatly needed in today's society.