Category: good ideas

5 Surprising, Clever Ways To Use Fresh Herbs

This post comes us from our new DIY contributor, Katie of Something Winnerful fame. She writes almost daily about living simply, life before babies, and what you shouldn’t ask a newly engaged woman. Go read her stuff!

ways-to-use-herbs
Hey there Yes & Yes readers! Sarah has been lovely enough to allow me to drop some DIY knowledge for y’all on her wonderful blog. I’m hoping to share some great tips/projects that go beyond monogramming and chevron – things that help make life a little bit easier.  I’m your girl for helping you DIY instead of buy, reuse instead of throw away, and update the outdated.

Of my many years of navigating being an adult, one of the biggest areas I struggle is not letting food go to waste. My kitchen is basically hospice care for fruits and veggies. After starting my own herb garden, I realized I needed to get my act together if I didn’t want all those herbs to go to waste!

Through trial and error (and a lot of Pinterest), I’ve managed to keep my herbs well-used.  Below are my favorite non-cooking ways to use to herbs!

Keep Mosquitos Away

Enjoy the outdoors without the bug bites. One way to cut down on mosquitos is plant mosquito repelling plants such as lavender, basil, or citronella. Our favorite way to use herbs outside is in our fire pit. Wrap together some lavender, sage, and mint and throw it in the fire and you have a delicious smelling fire and no mosquitos. We typically just throw in several sprigs of rosemary because I love the smell. If you’re feeling super crafty and don’t have a fire pit, you can make your own candles with the herbs in them to burn outside.

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Treat Your Dog

Store bought dog treats can have some pretty questionable ingredients in them. Whether you’re picky about what you feed your fur baby or you have a dog that’s allergic to everything, homemade dog treats are the way to go. There are many herbs that are just as good for your dog as they are for you.

If you’re lucky, your dog loves ice as much as my big guy and you can simply freeze herbs with water in an ice tray. Another easy recipe is to toss chickpeas in coconut oil, basil, and thyme then bake on a baking sheet at 245 degrees until crunchy (roughly 45 minutes). This is a treat your puppy AND you can enjoy.

herb-dog-treats

Freshen Up Your Home

Herbs are not only pleasing to the taste buds but also to the nose. The greatest thing I’ve ever done is hang a bouquet of eucalyptus to our shower head. Every shower is like a spa experience now. You don’t have to use eucalyptus though, whatever herbs you fancy would be just as fabulous.

Eucalyptus Shower

Decorate For Parties

I currently have a rosemary bush that is producing more than I could ever cook with. Coincidentally, I also have a new house that’s just waiting for a house-warming party. A quick Pinterest search will give you a million ideas for decorating your home with herbs and greenery. Using rosemary for place cards or on menus is my decor of choice. If you haven’t caught on yet, I love rosemary…and have quite a lot of it.

rosemary-place-card-wedding-ideas

Sugar Scrubs or Bath Salts

Skip the spa and create your own spa experience with sugar scrubs and bath salts. They are super simple to make and leave your skin feeling super soft and smelling super good. Here’s a great basic sugar scrub that I always keep in stock.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 sprigs finely chopped rosemary
  • Mix it all together adjusting ingredients to your liking then store in a sealed container, like a mason jar, because everything is better in a mason jar.

You can easily make a bath salt using the same ingredients above, substituting 2 cups epsom salt, 1/5 cup baking soda, and lemon essential oil for the sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice. Sugar scrubs and bath salts are also perfect for DIY gifts.

Lemon-Rosemary-Bath-Salts

Preserve Them For Later

The good news is, if you find yourself with way too many herbs, you have options if you just can’t use them before they go bad. I typically freeze them in an ice tray with EVOO or other liquid. Drying them is also another easy way to go. Here are a few more ideas for preserving them.

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How do you deal with that quickly wilting bunch of cilantro in the crisper? Tell us your ideas in the comments!

Sources: Jonas Weckschmied // 1. Mosquito repellent herbs // 2. Dog treats // 3. Herbs in shower // 4. Rosemary name cards // 5. Bath salt // 6. Hanging herbs

2015 Jean Louise “Scout” Finch

Jean Louise was one of those women who was so smart she was good at just about everything, which mostly meant she’d never fully commit to being good at any one thing.
She’d gone to Duke on a full scholarship – based mostly on amazing test scores. She’d never really developed a taste for high school and continued to be annoyed with the entire institution with the exception of field hockey and A.P. English. Once she got to college she changed majors four times (Cultural Anthropology > Earth and Ocean Sciences > Global Health > Philosophy) before settling on the pre-law track.
This quietly pleased Atticus, but he staunchly refused to admit it. Whenever Scout returned home for the holidays he’d complain loudly about his cases and make sure she knew ‘what she was getting herself into.’  Every time she insisted she knew what she was doing, he’d have to take a long swig of sweet tea to hide his grin.
Ultimately, Scout never went to law school. She took a year off after undergrad to ‘find herself,’ leading Outward Bound courses and dating lots of cute people with dreadlocks. She hiked the Appalachian trail and visited Jem in India where he was working with Doctors Without Borders. She hitchhiked across the Sedona but never, ever told her family because she knew they would patently disapprove.
Age 30 found Scout doing deeply unglamorous, deeply important social work in the south. She found housing for people who needed it, connected families to resources, drove her clients to job interviews. Of course, there were trying, challenging days, clients who’d skip appointments or fall off the wagon – again. But every single day Jean Louise Finch did her very best to understand life from other people’s points of view, to climb inside of their skin and walk around in it.
photo found on pinterest – let me know if you’re the original source!

Good Idea: Baby Shower ‘Thank-You’ Text Messages

This is an occasional post series I’m trying out! Short and sweet, sharing clever ideas I’ve picked up from my ridiculously smart and well-mannered friends.

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When you enter your thirties, everyone you’ve ever met will begin to have babies. You will become well-versed in Facebook pregnancy reveals (my favorite was a runner friend who changed her profile photo to include a tiny pair of running shoes next to hers!) and you’ll spend every Saturday afternoon at baby showers.

Common etiquette tells us that when we give someone a significant gift – especially a baby or wedding gift – we can/should expect a thank-you note. But when someone is preparing their life for a loud, sleep-depriving new human? Those thank-you notes are probably low on their priority list.

And then they might feel guilty. And you might feel annoyed.

So let’s all steal my friend Laura’s idea: instead of that new mom spending her limited free time handwriting thank-you notes that you’ll immediately recycle, how about she texts you a photo of her baby using the gift you gave her? 

It’s way easier and lots more fun. Just have someone take notes on who gave her what and their phone number so she can photograph and text at her leisure!

If you’ve got any tips for making baby or bridal showers easier or more fun, I’d love to hear them!

photo by Vanessa Kay // cc

Good Idea: Fancy Breakfast Foods As Hostess Gift

This is an occasional post series I’m trying out! Short and sweet, just sharing clever ideas I’ve picked up from my ridiculously smart and well-mannered friends.

hostess gift ideas
My friend Kate is one of those humans who’s so put together and on top of it you’d resent her if she wasn’t so awesome. Like, why do you have the answer to almost every question, Kate?! And why is your hair always so shiny? And how did you find the world’s most perfect winter coat while the rest of us are toddling around in sleeping bags with arms?!
Annnnnyway, Kate recently introduced me to The Sweetest Hostess Gift Idea and I’m passing it along to you guys so we can all ‘win’ at dinner party guest-ing.
Next time you attend a Friday or Saturday night dinner party, instead of more wine or flowers, bring your hosts fancy breakfast treats! They’ll think fondly of you the next morning when they’re nibbling on your treats among the dirty dishes and empty wine bottles that mark any successful dinner party.
If you’re a DIY-er you could make some Oatmeal Cookie Granola or a Spicy Zucchini Frittata. If you’re more of a pick-something-up-at-the-store type, you could gift them some amazing donuts, mimosa-makings, a loaf of artisan bread and some ripe avocados, or just some berries and nice Greek yogurt!What’s your go-to hostess gift? I like to give these as house warming presents!
photo by jules // cc

2015 Lizzy Bennet

Last month, I imagined Anne Shirley in 2015, this month we’re talking about everyone’s literary BFF, Pride and Prejudice‘s Elizabeth Bennet.
Lizzy never expected to find herself 25 and living with her parents.
She certainly didn’t expect that she’d be 25 and living with her parents, her sister Jane, and that insufferable, selfie-obsessed Lydia. Of course, it wasn’t surprising that Mary was still at home (she was working on her dissertation about water metaphors in classic Russian literature) and Kitty was still in high school …. but Lizzy never thought she’d be sleeping in a twin bed across the room from Jane, post-college.
Lizzy had moved home to help her parents run their rental cottages in Dartmouth. The whole cottage thing was a late mid-life crisis on her dad’s part and though she loved him dearly, Lizzy thought the whole thing was ridiculous. Why sell the farm and the big house to invest in a bunch of tumble down shacks by the sea? Mother couldn’t be counted on to talk any sense into him – she just nattered on about how now they’d be around wealthy weekender types and how those Kardashians really knew how to live life.
Lizzy didn’t listen. She was too busy writing copy for the company website, updating their Twitter account, and attempting to be civil to customers to care much about keeping up with Kim. Jane wasn’t much help – as gorgeous as she was, she’d inadvertently become a muse for a local Instagram celebrity so she was always off, posing for photos on beaches and cliffs with her hair swirling artfully around her pretty features.
Kitty spent all her time snap chatting, Lydia was trying (and failing, thankfully) to become a camgirl, and Mary spent most of her time picking fights with everyone about water metaphors/Russia/sexism in academia. Mother was always pestering Lizzy about trying online dating. Lizzy had given it a try but deleted Tinder after Mother had wrestled her phone away and right swiped 15 questionable men.
All this meant Lizzy needed some time out of the house and away from the family.
Which is how she ended up at a house party at the big place down the road, thrown by some out-of-towners named Bingley and Darcy.

“Darcy?” she thought. “What kind of last name is that? Sounds preeeeetty hoity toity, ifidosaysomyself. He’s probably all handsome and rich and full of himself. Ah well, if nothing else, it’ll be fun to meet the neighbors. That’s the whole point of living here, right? To make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them?”….

Can you spot the direct quote from the book?!

P.S. If our favorite Disney princesses lived in the modern day. Jasmine obviously has a BA in Public Policy with a minor in music.

photo found on tumblr – please let me know if this is yours so I can correctly credit you!

2015 Anne Shirley

This is a new post series idea I’m trying out – imagining our favorite female literary characters navigating life in 2015.

Anne obviously got into the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence on the first try, her collection of poems about birch trees moved the admissions team to tears.

Of course, it was hard to leave Diana on Prince Edward Island, but they kept in touch with emoji-filled texts and frequent Skype dates. Anne was always trying to include her little rescue dog in the calls and Diana spent 40% of every call lamenting her weight. Anne always responded with “Well, you know I think your curves are delightful,” and then she’d send her a link to that Meghan Trainor song.

Anne still got in trouble for talking constantly. Though her ‘Rate My Professor‘ reviews were generally positive, there were still plenty of comments like “couldn’t get a word in edgewise when I went in for office hours” and “seems obsessed with water metaphors and speaks in an overly poetic manner about normal shit. Just give me the assignment, you know?”

Anne wasn’t sure what life held for her after graduate school. She loved the life that she’d built for herself in New York – the sweet little pots of herbs on her fire escape, chats over tea with her Gender Studies PhD roommate, afternoons spent picking through piles of sweaters in the neighborhood thrift stores.

Maybe she’d move to Japan and teach there for a few years. Maybe she’d tag along with Gilbert on a Doctors Without Borders Trip. Maybe she and Diana would start a Youtube channel, reciting pop lyrics in a dramatic fashion.

Whatever happened, she knew she was up to the challenge. Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.

P.S. 2015 Scout Finch and 2015 Lizzy Bennet

photo of model luca hollestelle