Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters

I have been trying to cultivate a medicinal herb garden lately. I have plans to start making my own tea, essential oils, etc. I have also been using fresh herbs in my cooking, and the taste difference is astounding. I recently planted lemon balm, sage, cayenne peppers, chamomile, echinacea, evening primrose, and lavender by seed. The results were so abundant that I found myself overrun with the seedlings. Not wanting to waste a good plant, I came up with a way to reuse old cans and find temporary homes for the plant babies. I plan to sell or trade (or give away) the seedlings.

It was so easy. I just used scissors to remove the top of the cans, trim the edges, and poke a hole in the bottom for drainage. Then I added a layer of soil, placed the seedling, and filled in the edges with soil. Voila!

Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters -- Sage, Chamomile, Echinacea

Echinacea, chamomile, sage.

 

Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters -- Lemon Balm

A cute little lemon balm.

 

Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters -- Lavender

Sage and lavender sitting side by side.

 

Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters -- Cayenne Pepper

A tiny cayenne pepper plant.

If you happen to be in the Orlando area and would like a baby plant, e-mail me at jrgerbholz@gmail.com

How to Boost Your Sexual Self-Esteem

boostsexualityMaybe it’s been a while since you looked forward to sex, and even longer since you’ve actually felt sexy. Perhaps you aren’t the best at expressing yourself sexually. By reconnecting yourself with your sexuality and getting in tune with your sexual self, you can easily gain the sexual confidence you need. Although bringing back your sensuality will require effort and may seem like a chore, it can also be fun and pleasurable. Additionally, it will make you a stronger woman.

Because we’re so busy improving other aspects of our lives, we often fail to consider ways to enhance our sexuality and get more in touch with our sexual selves. If you’ve been moving too quickly to even begin thinking about your sexuality and libido, then you’re in luck as there are many simple ways you can get reacquainted with your sexual side. Here are but a few tips to help you reboot your sexual confidence with some guidance from HuffingtonPost.com.

Dress to Impress Yourself

Maintaining your appearance is important on a variety of levels. Whether it be for your career, your partner, or just your daily life in general, keeping yourself attractive is an on-going process and may often seem like a hassle. However, it’s an essential part of life. While it’s important that you stay attractive for the reasons mentioned above, you should also preserve your looks for yourself. Part of building your sexual confidence is about feeling good about yourself. And the best way to do that is to make sure you look and feel good on the outside. This can mean staying in shape, dressing with care, and properly grooming—whatever makes you feel good about you.

Try revamping your wardrobe with new, provocative attire or change your hairstyle for a completely different look. Update your lingerie drawer with new, sexy goodies (and not just bras and panties). Pick up some tantalizing lingerie pieces that you wouldn’t normally wear such as babydoll dresses, corsets, bustiers, and other lingerie pieces that, according to AdamEve.com, can “make everyone feel sexy and desirable.” And you can increase those feelings by surprising your mate with your new outfit when he gets home from work. Or use it as a confidence booster and strut around your place in your saucy duds when you’re home alone.

Be Secure with Your Physical Flaws

We all have things we desire to improve about ourselves and when you look in the mirror, there are many things about yourself that you may not like or want to change. Whether it’s the size of your breasts or your complexion, there are certain physical attributes that you probably want to modify. In order to be better in touch with your sexuality, start by embracing your flaws.

While it’s perfectly fine to want to enhance your appearance, you shouldn’t overdo your self-improvements or make outlandish physical goals for yourself. Yes, your thighs may be too large (in your opinion), but they’re yours—so love ‘em. In addition, remember to focus on the physical attributes that you like such as your eyes or high cheekbones. For example, if you wear glasses but have wanted to go with your more natural look, Air Optix suggests ditching your spectacles for contact lenses. That way, you’ll be able to showcase all your features, especially your eyes, without anything getting in the way. These may be small things, but they can help you feel good about yourself, thus promoting your sex-esteem. Who knows, you may even learn to love your faults and blemishes.

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7 Reproductive Questions You Should Never Ask

Questions About ReproductionWe live in a culture that seems obsessed with reproduction. We are always talking about it. One group of people is actually suing for their perceived right to give unsolicited advice to pregnant women. Even if you don’t have children, your ovaries and vagina are often assumed to be in the public forum, in need of group discussion to decide their fate. I don’t have children, but I’ve heard this attitude can get especially tough for moms. One of my mommy friends recently told me, “Having a child has opened me up to a broad spectrum of annoying personal questions.”

But here’s the problem: making reproductive decisions is tough enough without everyone you know wanting to be kept informed and to weigh in with their opinion. It’s hard not to feel personally invaded when someone forces their way in to your private life with their prying questions. “I only ask because I care!”, some might say. No, you don’t. You ask because you are nosy, and we can see through this. Or you ask because you want an opportunity to exert some kind of control into another person’s decisions. Just stop. If you truly care about your female friends and family members and have respect for their privacy then, please, don’t ever ask any of these questions.

1. When are you having kids?

The key word here is “when”. You are assuming that, because I am a woman, I’m going to have children. It is just a matter of when! Not true. Many women choose to remain childless or are biologically unable to reproduce, and they don’t owe an explanation to every person who wants to know “when” the kids are coming. Even worse is the continual pestering that comes after the question. “The clock is ticking!” or “Don’t you want someone who looks like you?” or “The longer you wait, the harder it gets!” etc, etc, etc. I am fully aware of how age affects birth. I am familiar with how genetics work. I am also intimately familiar with my own wants, needs, circumstances, health, financials, etc., and you are not. So butt out.

2. Did you know that birth control can ______?

Give you a stroke? Give you blood clots? Make you fat? Make you emotional? Send you to hell? Fill in the blank. Actually, yes, when you go to the doctor to get birth control they give you stacks of reading material on exactly how it works. I’ll discuss the pros and cons with my doctor. And I am 100% uninterested in you personal religious beliefs on the subject. Thank you very much.

3. C-section or natural birth?

I’ve been told this is a common question. I am completely dumbfounded by that knowledge. You are essentially asking the mother: “How big of an object can you fit through there?” “Do you have a scar?” “Are you all stretched out?” “What do you look like under your clothes?” There are no words to adequately express how inappropriate this is.

On the flip side are the natural birth apologists. If you want to have a natural birth with no exceptions, then that is wonderful. That desire does not translate into the right to tell every other pregnant woman that she should be having a natural birth too. If she wants information on the subject, she will ask.

4. Breast or formula?

When did a woman’s boobs become an acceptable topic of conversation? Don’t ask what a mother’s boobs look like. Don’t ask about her nipples. Don’t try to give her pressure about either breast-feeding or not. This is between a woman, her baby, and her doctor. Again, you can have a strong opinion, but it is *your* opinion. Don’t impose that on someone else. You don’t know her situation, and she doesn’t owe you an explanation of it. And she certainly doesn’t owe you an explanation for what she looks like under her bra.

5. You know how that happens, right?

This seems to be the go-to question for women with more than four children. It makes some people uncomfortable to see lots of kids with one woman. But some people like big families, so get over it. Don’t assume they are on government assistance. Don’t assume the kids are neglected. Don’t assume they are crazy religious wackos. Just be happy that they are happy. If someday we run out of room for everyone to stand, then we can worry about over-population.

6. How do you plan to lose the weight?

Will everyone please just leave us ladies alone about how we look. We know how we look. We know that pregnancy causes weight gain. We know that the world thinks we should be skinny, and we have exactly one week after giving birth to get that way! We may or may not care. Do you really think that asking a woman who just gave birth about her weight is a good idea? Are you trying to make her feel bad? Are you deluded enough to think that there might be any other outcome?

7. Was it planned or an accident?

Oh, you mean were we having unprotected sex? Were we just horny that day or did we have a reason for getting jiggy with it? Would you like a play-by-play? WHY ARE PEOPLE SO INVASIVE? There is no possible reason why you would need to know this information. Furthermore, a baby is valuable to its mother no matter how it came to be. If the mother wants people to knowhow it happened, then she will include it in the stories she tells. Women love to talk about their children so you can almost guarantee that if a certain piece of information is left out, then she doesn’t want you to know.

Additionally, just as asking about the sex that lead to the baby is too personal, asking about the mother’s sex life after the baby is too personal. There is no reason why someone’s sex life should become public knowledge just because they had a child.

With all of that out of the way, let’s end on a positive note. Here are a few questions that you can ask to show you care:

Are you and the baby happy and healthy?

How are you feeling?

Are you interested in having children someday? (and then take the answer with no judgement and no additional prying)

How can I help you?

No matter what the differences in opinion, let’s all have a little more respect for the privacy of the women in our life. If you have been guilty of invasive prying, it’s not to late to change your ways! Change the kinds of questions you ask, and the way you give your opinion. Not only will your friends and family feel more loved and more comfortable around you, but you will gain more respect yourself!

photo credit: westpark via photopin cc

A Lady Doesn’t Take Her Dog to Her Friend’s House

Leave Your Dog at Home

This little guy may have to house sit.

Working with social media, I naturally see a lot of what people are saying on the internet. And I will tell you, it does nothing for my peace of mind. I am more aware of what’s happening in the world than ever before, and most of it doesn’t give me the warm-fuzzies. However, I have an internet happy place, and it is pictures of cute animals, stories about cute animals, and videos of cute animals doing cute things. It’s embarrassing, but I try to keep most of it to myself.

Recently, during my regular cute-animal-internet-search I came across this article. I nodded my head and agreed until I reached the “You Are Welcome, But the Dog Is Not” point. The author seems to think that not being able to take her dog with her to visit is a deal-breaker for the relationship. And let me just tell you what I think about that: It’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard. You spend a whole article asking for understanding and then end it by giving none to those who may not want your precious baby in their private living space? Man, did that strike a nerve with me. The worst part is that I actually know people who feel this way, and feel affronted when they can’t take their dog with them wherever they go. No. Not okay. Stop.

If you want to take your pet to a friend’s house: ask. If they say no, respect that. Don’t show up with a pet unannounced. Don’t threaten not to come if they won’t comply. Don’t stop being their friend. Don’t talk about them later behind their back. Don’t be pissy in any way. Don’t keep asking if you already know how a certain friend feels. Don’t be offended that another pet is allowed, but yours is excluded. It’s their house, so it’s their rules.

Here are the top ten reasons why someone may not find your pet to be a welcome house guest:

  1. They have allergies. Their friends have allergies, and they therefore don’t want a home covered in pet hair.
  2. They don’t want their home covered in pet hair, in general.
  3. They don’t like your particular kind of pet (dog, cat, lizard, snake).
  4. They find your particular pet annoying, or have experienced bad behavior last time your pet came to visit.
  5. They have a small house or apartment, and don’t want it to be extra crowded.
  6. Their pet doesn’t get along with your pet.
  7. They don’t want the distraction.
  8. They don’t want your pet to pee on their couch, scratch their floors, bark and disturb the neighbors, or dig holes in their yard.
  9. You become an annoying version of yourself around your pet.
  10. They don’t want to follow your “rules” about how your pet gets to be treated.

Bottom line is this: No matter how much a person may love animals, they don’t always want to welcome every single one into their home. They might not love animals at all, and that’s ok. You love your animal immensely, and that’s ok. It’s all fine and dandy until you start intruding into someone else’s territory. And that’s something all pet owners should be very familiar with.

Let’s all give a little more understanding to each other, okay?

photo credit: WilliamMarlow via photopin cc

4 Ways to Be Kinder to Yourself and Others in 2014

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I’ve done the mandatory “It’s December 31st. Better sit down and come up with a list of things I should be doing.” thing most every year. But this is the first year in a long while in which I have formulated New Year’s resolutions that I actually feel resolved about and am excited to implement.  These new plans and goals have been overtaking my thoughts lately, and I can’t seem to stop obsessing over the details. In the midst of all of this introspection, it occurred to me that all of my resolutions and, really, most good New Year’s resolutions boil down to this one idea: be kinder to yourself and others. That really simplified things for me. So, here is how I plan to do just that. I hope that a few of these ideas will inspire you in 2014, as well. 

1. Be kind to your body. My weakness is sugar. I could eat nothing but sweets all day, every day.  Last year I tried this 21 day sugar detox to try to get some of my energy back and curb a few of the negative health effects that all the sugar has had on my body. As a result, I had terrible headaches, flu-like symptoms, and completely lost my voice. I realized that I was addicted to sugar like I had no idea. I made it 13 days. This year I want to try again, but also take it a step further. I need to moderate my sugar intake permanently, making it part of my lifestyle.

I think everyone knows what their vice is that compromises their health. And it’s just not worth it. Stop thinking about your body as an expendable tool that serves your short term desires. Think long term. Treat your body as if it were your best friend, a separate entity, in need of care and love. Because really, it is.

2. Be kind to your wallet. If you ask me what my number one, long-term financial goal is, I will say “freedom”. I picture myself taking public transportation, being able to travel freely, and having very few obligatory demands on my income. Unfortunately, student loans and the occasional shopping binge to make myself feel better about them (What? Weird, right?) get in my way.

I started this week with a mental exercise: when I see something that I want I will pick it up, admire it, and then put it down and let it go. Telling myself “no” is a skill I am not very good at. But I see that skill as similar to a muscle that I must train to get the results I want. So I’m practicing saying “no” and envisioning myself wandering freely through the streets of Paris every time my short-term desires threaten to get in the way of my long-term goals. I don’t need more stuff. Stuff crowds you in and limits the experiences you are able to have.

3. Be kind to your relationships. Assumptions are not your friend. Is a friend or family member bugging you? Just tell them. I’m terrible at this. I hate confrontation. I tend to start getting mad about the fact that I even have to have the conversation. But the thing is, I am different than those around me. My wants, needs, and expectations don’t line up with every one of my friends and family members. Therefore, they find me puzzling when I don’t line up with theirs, and I find them annoying when they don’t line up with mine.

Just simply telling someone how you perceive their words or actions can clear up a multitude of silly problems. They learn about you, you learn about them and then BAM we can all live in harmony together. Again, I know this, but I am terrible at it. Gotta keep practicing.

4. Be kind to your mind. Don’t get trapped in one way of thinking. The “I see the light and everyone else is blinded” mentality is extremely comfortable and very tempting. However, I know that I am limited by my life experiences and my perceptions. I assume most other people are too. Therefore, there is a really good chance that I am missing something that could be very valuable to me by refusing to entertain dissenting ideas.

Read more books. Pick an ideology that you have previously dismissed, and try to learn about it in order to understand it and think about it in the way that a follower would. Doesn’t mean you have to agree, just understand. I’m a pretty opinionated person, but I try to always tell myself that disagreeing doesn’t mean disrespecting. Have healthy debates, but acknowledge both the rights of the other person to disagree and the equality you share. You are not superior to them. The only thing I will allow myself to vehemently oppose is the use of a belief or opinion to abuse another person who does not agree. Realize that this is a behavior. Not a belief. Control your behavior and continually refine your beliefs.

How are you resolving to be kind to yourself and others next year? Are any of these points on your list too? Feel free to check back with me over the course of 2014 to remind me of what I said I would do. Accountability is my friend. Happy New Year, everyone!

photo credit: Seoulful Adventures via photopin cc

Leggings Are Not Pants: The Final Rant

leggings are not pantsIf you are like me and every “leggings are not pants” rant you see on the internet makes your blood start to boil, then you’ve come to the right place. If you are that person who likes to shame other women for what they wear, then you have also come to the right place. I’ve heard way too much discussion on this topic lately, and I’m really getting tired of it. It’s a subject that affects all of us. At least, it affects those of us who wear leggings and those of us who have opinions on those of us who wear leggings. So, why do leggings seem to cause such emotional responses? The “leggings are not pants” or “sheer tops are to be worn with full tanks” or “cheeky shorts are for whores” condemnations seem to come from one of two places: the critic doesn’t like the look or the critic is upset by the possibility of the the look drawing male attention. The question is: are these legitimate reasons to start shaming other women for their clothing choices? Let’s discuss.

 You Don’t Like the Leggings Look

First of all, any budding fashion trend is going to have dissenters. That’s a given. You have every right to disagree with a certain fashion trend. If you think that leggings don’t look good as pants, you have the right to not wear them as pants. This effectively ends the amount of control you have in the fashion realm. No matter how long you rant, you will never be able to stop another lady from wearing what she wants to wear. Chances are, you already knew that, and you just wanted the offending leggings-wearer to know that you disapprove of her.

You don’t oppose all leggings, you say? Just ones worn in certain ways or by certain people? Certainly, you can make the argument that different clothing items are made to flatter different body types. You can make the argument that certain clothing items look better with other specific clothing items. But even if you find another’s outfit unflattering, who made the law that says she has to look fantastic to everyone at all times? Who made you the fashion god that everyone must answer to? Maybe she has a right to choose what she wants to wear, regardless of what pleases another person’s eye. Maybe she dressed for comfort today. Maybe she feels confident in the clothing she chose. Why is your displeasure about what she wears more valid than her happiness with her choice?

That all being said, I still think that there is a deeper reason for all the legging angst. I have a really hard time believing that the general population is really that emotionally invested in the everyday clothing choices of others. If they are: damn. We have bigger problems that I thought. Here’s the deal: I would say that at least 50% of the outfits I have seen wouldn’t be something I would choose to wear. Am I offended by this? No, I actually barely notice. When I see a look that doesn’t appeal to me, I decide not to imitate that look and then forget about it. When I went to lunch today, I purposefully looked around to see if I could find any outfits that I would want to emulate. I didn’t. But if I hadn’t been actively looking, I wouldn’t have even thought about it. I don’t think I’m alone in this, either. It seems as though the more extreme emotional responses to leggings as pants must be rooted in something a little deeper than just an opposition to the fashion choice.

 You Think Leggings Draw Male Attention

Whether it’s your personal sense of morality or your ex who couldn’t stop looking at other girl’s butts: the biggest problem other women seem to have with leggings is that they are afraid of the wearer getting male attention. This is a big problem. Petty jealousy has always been the scourge of woman-kind, but mask it in the form of slut-shaming and suddenly everyone feels justified. The possessiveness that women have over male attention is really bizarre. It’s as though every woman writes her own set of rules about the “fair” way to obtain male attention, and then gets pissed every time she sees a woman getting what she considers to be an “unfair advantage”. The most bizarre part is that it doesn’t even matter if the other woman was trying to get male attention. She still gets the brunt of the wrath! Seriously, ladies?

Don’t Be a Hypocrite

Let the one who has never left the house in an unflattering outfit throw the first stone. Let the one who has never dressed herself to be attractive to someone else throw the first stone. Let the one who has never drawn unwanted male attention throw the first stone. Let the one who has never dressed down for the sake of comfort throw the first stone. Let the one who seriously considers the opinion of everyone they know before getting dressed in the morning throw the first stone. Let the one who has never been jealous because they think another lady looks better in an outfit than they would throw the first stone. Any takers? Didn’t think so.

I want to ask a few questions. Is all of the negative emotion and time spent thinking about leggings or any other clothing item helping you or helping anyone else? Has your life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness ever been hindered because someone else wore leggings as pants? I am willing to wager that this form of slut-shaming has only made both the judger and the judgee’s lives worse. Furthermore, another person’s clothes do not affect your life unless you let them, but your judgmental attitude is definitely affecting the life of the slut-shamed recipient.

If none of that convinces you then consider this. You are lowering your own self esteem and self worth with every second spent over-analyzing another person’s looks. If you judge another person so harshly on how they look, how much harsher are you judging yourself? You can’t concentrate on being the best woman you can be when you are mad because someone else’s pants are too tight.

So. Let’s end this. We could make this the last rant about leggings. Who’s with me?

A Lady and Her Food

This six minute clip from the documentary Samsara by Ron Fricke sheds additional light on the state of our food predicament globally. Obesity is on the rise.  Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are at an all time high. Is it any wonder? When the animals we eat for food live in such unhealthy conditions and are processed to such an unhealthy level, should we expect to be healthy living on them? If any of you have seen the documentary Food, Inc. then you know how few companies are actually controlling the food being purchased and eaten by mainstream America. The point of sharing this video is as follows: Be an aware consumer. If something bothers you then let your voice be heard by how you spend your money. What you buy or refuse to buy can change the world. Just think about it.