Are We Back to Normal? by Gail Ingis

Are We Back to Normal? by Gail Ingis

Gail and Tom

Now that we are back to normal, wait, are we?

Where are you a year and a half later? Are you homeschooling? Are you working at home? Have you started a new business, a new hobby, new friends via zoom? Not too much has changed for Tom and me. We read, write, edit, do various work, and garden. Tom edited my revised historical novels with their artsy new covers. The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin and The Memorable Mrs. Dempsey will be out August 18, 2021, on the anniversary of women’s right to vote.

Gail’s upcoming releases.

We’re an hour from our New Jersey family, not that I’m complaining, but it might as well be another country. Life is busy, no dropping by, we must arrange get-together dates. We live on the way north, so we get visits from a family going that way. Travelers and the rest of the world must pass through the rolling hills of Connecticut to the upper northern New England states and Canada. Grandkids Ben and Stephanie are on their way to Maine, six hours north of us. The stop here cuts an hour off their trip. Grandkids are refreshing and fun.

“You had a long drive—would you like something cold to drink?” I ask.

Stephanie’s eyes sparkle. “Thanks.”

Refreshing SANPELLEGRINO

“Try this new one we found in Trader Joe’s. It’s delicious. SANPELLEGRINO Italian sparkling drinks Aranciata Rossa, it’s good and so sweet.”

Stephanie shakes her head and holds up her purple plastic water bottle. “Some fresh water and ice are fine, thanks.”

Ben holds up his gray bottle. “Me too.”

Spoil the grandkids, my mantra. Goodies—cookies, ice cream, popcorn—they love popcorn, anything but just water. I grab my colossal can of mega-sized peanuts, fill up small scoops, and hand them out. They munch the nuts and sip the water. It satisfies me for a minute. Feeding them supper—pizza, hamburgers and fries, dessert from the Portuguese bakery here in town, Pastéis de Nata, custard tarts with a rich egg custard nestled in shatteringly crisp pastry and chocolate chip cookies the size of your fist. That’s more like it.

These grown-up grandkids, Stephanie, nurse, Ben, mechanical engineer, like any friends I have, propose exciting subjects. Technological changes over the last sixty years. Unknown challenges. I’ve rewired. It’s a struggle, but each wrangle gets easier, even now whoever heard of plugging in a phone to recharge. What the heck? Batteries run life, like a hybrid car. Huh?

My most memorable decade, the 1950s and the polio epidemic summer, all the pools closed, the beaches empty. At fifteen, mother hurried me for my polio vaccine to a nearby doctor. Tom’s brother Will caught the dreaded polio. His right hand suffered from the crippling polio. According to the June 2021 AARP magazine, those who had polio can relapse in their elder years, like shingles from chickenpox.

I danced halfway through the ‘50s. My fav, the lindy, renamed the swing! Can you hear Tommy Dorsey piping in the swingin’ music? Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers swirling and twirling.

Lilian August classic walnut desk

Ben and Steph, both homeschooled. Will they homeschool when they have kids? Maybe. We all agree there’s no simple answer for the best education. The evening ends too soon. That six-hour drive calls for an early rise. We don’t hear a sound when they leave. We’ll have another visit soon, delivering the classic walnut five-foot Lillian August desk to their new home. A gift from us.

How did you make it through with your crew? Who was the first person outside of your bubble that you hugged?

FEELING BEAUTIFUL DURING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

FEELING BEAUTIFUL DURING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Gail in red

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and The Holiday Season is usually the time of year when we love to add a bit of sparkle and color to our beauty regimens. Let’s get dressed up even though we might be spending this Holiday Season at home. Take pictures, videos, and hop online to celebrate with everyone. And what better way to look your best than by using healthy and clean beauty products. That’s why I’ve been using BeautyCounter for almost four years.

I want to share with you a brief history of BeautyCounter, founded by Gregg Renfrew, and why it’s revolutionizing the beauty industry.

Gregg Renfrew, Founder of Beautycounter

Gregg Renfrew: Like many of you, I’m a wife and mom—and, like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. As I applied sunscreen, lotion, and any number of beauty products on myself and my kids, I never thought for a second they might not be safe: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything. So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety. And so I started Beautycounter, a company devoted to progress. Here you’ll find a wealth of empowering information about ways we can all make the world healthier, along with safer products you can trust. Because we all deserve better. Our vision is bold; real answers are never timid. Help us put truth back in beauty.

Our Mission To get safer products into the hands of everyone. Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.
There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skincare and beauty industry. What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day, and to make their own judgments about safety. It’s time for a change.
The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and restricted the levels of over 250 more in such products. The United States has only partially banned 30 to date.
We deserve better, and we’re doing something about it. At Beautycounter, we’re committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what’s required by U.S. law: We’ve banned the use of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals through our “Never List”— all while ensuring our products perform and that they’re as indulgent as any other shampoo, lipstick, or oil in the market. It’s not easy work, but it’s well worth it. This is about progress—not perfection. Because every little bit counts.

Learn more about the impact the environment is having on your health.

www.beautycounter.com/ourstory

The prestigious and reliable Scientific American Magazine speaks: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-safe-are-cosmetics/

And just in time for The Holidays- BeautyCounter’s 15% off Black Friday Sale is ON!!!!! Almost everything is included…including gift sets!!! Free Shipping on orders over $50 too. I would be honored if you shopped from me. 🥰

🛒🛍

Give a gift of BEAUTYCOUNTER products. Beauty inside and out.

🛒🛍

My link is below!👇🏼

http://www.Beautycounter.com/gailingis

Gail Ingis is an interior designer, artist, and multi-published author. She is also a wife, mom, and grandma. She takes care of her skin using BeautyCounter. You can contact Gail at gailingisclaus@gmail.com.
Yikes! I’m Going Gray at 84!

Yikes! I’m Going Gray at 84!

Hi-lights and trim

The COVID pandemic, while challenging and exhausting in so many ways has had one positive effect on me and, I suspect on you too. It has helped me “embrace” my gray hair – the color represents those years of trial and error–and all the little pieces woven into my hair. I recently went back to the hairdresser for the first time since COVID, and I decided to let my “golden years” show. 🙂

“Please do not touch my roots,” I said to my hairdresser, “I just want hi-lights.  I want my gray hair to be my face frame.” My older brother, Jay, (he’s 88) has a head full of the most beautiful light gray hair with streaks of white. If I let mine grow, it could be similar, we are alike in many ways. And I’m not losing my hair anymore. Imagine that? Bleaching my hair since I’m thirteen, honest, my mom didn’t like my hair getting dark–then I adopted the system, coloring my hair for so long.

The saying You are only as old as you feel, or look. That is a fact for me. My health and appearance are important. I stay active and walk every morning with my hubby Tom. I enjoy ballroom dancing and sometimes Tom does too, although our dancing shoes are back in the closet for the time being because of COVID.

Beautycounter products are my go to for my skin and hair. Beautycounter’s new serum in the yellow bottle is made to act like Botox for those fine lines, and even for some of the other lines. Apply the serum before your Beautycounter face cream and makeup. But the difference is – it’s not harsh on your skin and it’s environmentally safe. I’m a consultant passing on great products for my friends and family. Today, with everyone concerned about health and the health of our families – what we put on our skin matters. And what we put into the environment matters too. Beautycounter is fast becoming a leader in healthy, safe and beauty products that make a difference and don’t forget the safe shampoos and conditioners, and sunscreen. Take a peek at Beautycounter’s Summer Skin Saviors – I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do.

The best part of beautycounter is that it’s more than great products, it’s a movement.

Summer Skin Saviors

Warmer weather calls for lightweight yet powerful #betterbeauty-to refresh, protect, and perfect your skin.

SUMMER SKIN SAVIORS LP 2400 1340

Gail in red

All the products here are fabulous, with no fragrance, and no harsh chemicals. The yellow bottle is the “All Bright C Serum.” You can order through me beautycounter.com/gailingis or let me know what you would like, touch base, give me your cc, and I’ll order for you.

Are you interested in looking your best at any age and using products that not only are good for you but not harmful to the environment? You can reach me at gailingisclaus@gmail.com. And I’ll give you more details and background about these wonderful skincare products that have contributed to my well being. Come be part of my team.

https://www.beautycounter.com/gailingis?goto=/summer-skin-saviors

 

My current books

Coronavirus Versus Us – Just a couple of lovebirds taking it one day at a time

Coronavirus Versus Us – Just a couple of lovebirds taking it one day at a time

This is us!

That’s Tom on the left. 🙂

It’s a scary time out there for all of us, especially those of us in our golden years. We’ve been through a lot in our time, war, unemployment, illness, divorce, death of loved ones, but we continue to march on because that’s what we do. We are the generation who have learned to make the most out of every day we have. And these days, it’s even more important. Like everyone else, we want to do our part and stay healthy and not overburden the medical system. We’ve done all our shopping and stocking up on supplies. Although it’s tempting to get take-out food from restaurants, it’s probably better to cook at home. Except we couldn’t help getting our breakfast “to-go” this morning from our favorite eatery:  Duchess Diner in Fairfield, CT.

Breakfast Duchess-style: Eggs over easy, sausage, home fries very well-done, and whole wheat bread. We get one order and split. He gets the bigger portion. SO GOOD! – Duchess Diner in Fairfield, CT.

We will keep going on our morning walks, and we decided to have some alternate fun beginning in the garden on those almost warm and sunny days, maybe take out our favorite swing. The plan is to give our little Honda Insight a fresh waxing and make it sparkle.

Happy Birthday, Ed! That’s his granddaughter Carley. She’s hanging out with him for a while.

Runners and walkers love to come to our neighborhood to enjoy the views and the ever-changing spectacular designs of God. We also get visits from foxes, bobcats, coyotes, and packs of deer, eight of them were on Ed’s lawn the other morning. I guess they heard it was Ed’s ninety-fifth birthday and came to offer good wishes. Maybe they were the ones who tied the birthday balloons to the lamp post? (Psst…actually it was Diane, who lives down the street.) Ed is made of sturdy stuff too! He was a navy man in WWII and he walks every morning, our inspiration.

I’ve done a few things in my life too. In 2009 I decided I wanted to write the love story about the artist, Albert Bierstadt. And I did, not before taking enough workshops and courses that would have given me a Masters in writing. I’m eighty-four and I’ve written two historical romance novels (yes even us old folks remember what it’s like to fall in love). And, now, I’m writing my memoir. What a trip down memory lane. Some of it is fun, some not so fun. But that’s the thing about life, you take every day as it comes. Yes, Tom and I are holding hands and are doing well.

I did mention we were going to do something funt?  Today was Hat Day! I wish you all good health and happiness in these coming months. May this time bring us closer together and may we make some good memories pitching in to do our part.

Farewell till next time.

Gail Ingis is the author of INDIGO SKY and THE UNFORGETTABLE MISS BALDWIN. You can find her books on Amazon.

My current books

Let’s Get Cozy

Let’s Get Cozy

Winter is the time for cozy, comfort food. Tom and I love our comfort food on the lighter side as it’s easier on the digestion. That’s why I created this dish – to help my own digestion. There is no combination anywhere like this. The most important part is the spinach and the softness of the vegetable. It’s also healthy for your hair and skin, along with the safe beauty and body products I use from beautycounter.com/gailingis 
I hope you give it a try. Enjoy!
GAIL’S VEGGIE COMPOTE:
Ingredients:
Sweet onion ¼ cup diced
Spinach (6 oz package)
Fresh string beans canned 14.2oz
Mixed peppers 5 oz from a frozen sixteen oz bag
Organic brown rice 10 oz frozen
Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette 2 tablespoons
  • Ingredients can be found at Trader Joe’s even the spray olive oil (it’s fab, I use instead of Pam). TJ’s does not have the canned French string beans, supermarket only, but you can cook their French frozen string beans, boil until soft, (7 or 8 minutes)
  • Spray a large skillet with olive oil and heat
  • Add and sauté one small diced sweet onion
  • Add 6 ounces of washed baby spinach (I use TJ’s it is already washed three times before being packaged).
  • Add one 14.2 oz can of French cut string beans (pour off all liquid) continue to sauté and mix with the onion and spinach (We want these string beans to be very digestible and soft—frozen or fresh never get soft enough for my tummy, but I have used TJ frozen ones and micro-wave, with a drop of water, for seven minutes before adding to my skillet.
  • Continue to mix and cook and add seasoning.
  • Add 5 oz of red, green, yellow peppers, (From a sixteen-ounce bag of frozen peppers) mix in and continue to cook on medium flame.
  • When all is hot and mixed well, add 10-ounces of pre-cooked brown organic rice. I use TJ’s frozen organic brown rice. Only have to cook for 3 minutes. (Make a small cut in one corner to permit steam to escape).
  • I season a little as I cook this with Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette salad dressing from Trader Joe’s. Or Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce from Trader Joe’s. Or your favorite spices. I have even used a spicy barbecue red sauce.
  • This is healthy and tasty. You can adjust to your own taste and have it just the way you like it.
  • Let me know if you have any questions. This is a great way to eat your veggies.
I don’t need to add salt with my seasonings.
If you want a touch of sweetness you can add tomatoes and or blueberries.
This dish is yummy, yummy and so good for your tummy!
Enjoy!
xo Gail
Beautycounter mission: Clean skin care for everyone

Beautycounter mission: Clean skin care for everyone

Beautycounter story

Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter Founder

Like many of you, I’m a wife and mom—and, like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. As I applied sunscreen, lotion, and any number of beauty products on myself and my kids, I never thought for a second they might not be safe: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything. So imagine my shock when I learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety.

And so I started Beautycounter, a company devoted to progress. Here you’ll find a wealth of empowering information about ways we can all make the world healthier, along with safer products you can trust. Because we all deserve better. Our vision is bold; real answers are never timid. Help us put truth back in beauty.

My take

Beautycounter, a young innovative, think out of the box company, is always adding new products for the health of us all. I believe in their philosophy, safer formulas for Every Body Head-To-Toe Essentials. Your Essentials w/o Harsh Chemicals-Explore Safer, Effective Makeup. Your family deserves the best.

The latest from the Beautycounter company is their Counterman line. My hubby, Tom Claus, uses my products, night and day creams, intense rejuvenating creams, and more, but men’s skin is tougher than a woman’s, Counterman has arrived and is the answer to men’s healthy skin care.

Tom Claus

According to Beautycounter, when they cast their Counterman campaign, they sought guys who embodied their standards—men who stand for something, who approach life with intention, think outside of the box, like my hubby, Tom, a scientist, having worked in discovery for new drugs for diabetes. Tom has had dry, scaly skin and has been using creams for his face and scalp for years. He’s been using CeraVe, and didn’t realize that it has harsh chemicals like parabens, (methyl-isobutyl-propyl- and other). Even baby sunscreen has harsh chemicals. Imagine smearing creams all over your babies and kids, and washing their hair and yours with shampoo laden with harsh chemicals? Check out Beautycounter’s ample never list and look at the ingredients on the packaging of the products you use.

Having several men in my life, a husband, three sons, two sons-in-law, and seven grandsons, I’m excited for them to climb out of their box and look at the big picture. It’s never too soon to learn how to keep you, your family and your men handsome and healthy.

Beautycounter mission: To get safer products into the hands of everyone.

Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.

There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry.

What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) does not have the authority to remove harmful ingredients from the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day.

https://www.beautycounter.com/gailingis

https://www.beautycounter.com/products/counterman

Get serious about skin care

Get serious about skin care

beautycounter cleanswapheader-these are some of the products available separately

For the sake of all of us, our good health and wise choices, I am doing my blog about skin care products that have no harsh chemicals.This information was taken from a New York Times interview with the founder of beautycounter.com.

In 2011, Ms. Gregg Renfrew founded beautycounter (one word),  manufacturer of cosmetics and personal care products. But instead of creating just another makeup brand, Ms. Renfrew made several unconventional decisions.

First, she made a list of more than 1500 potentially harmful ingredients that she vowed never to use in her products. Next, she turned the conventional business model on its head, shunning department stores in favor of a network of independent consultants. Finally, she embarked on a campaign to introduce new regulations to the personal care industry, noting that the last law governing it was passed in 1938.

How did Beautycounter get going?

I watched “An Inconvenient Truth” and had become impassioned with the environmental health movement. I was washing my children with a natural foaming oatmeal body wash by a name brand, but when I went on the Environmental Working Group’s database, it rated it an eight out of nine for toxicity. I thought I was using natural oatmeal body wash, and in fact I was putting toxins on my babies. I was just outraged. And I became truly obsessed with this.

Mini color intense lipstick vault

At the same time, I was looking at where direct to consumer was going, and where I saw the biggest white space was in beauty. No one had pioneered meaningful change in that industry. It took me a couple of years to concept the idea, the selling model, create the products from scratch. I went in thinking that we could just use white-label products and change a few ingredients. That was not the case.

You’re very focused on bringing more regulation to your own industry. That’s unusual.

Most people still believe that the Food and Drug Administration is protecting them in terms of personal care products. And most people believe that the products on the market are safe. But the F.D.A. is not necessarily screening ingredients for safety, which is very different from the food industry. The F.D.A. can be protective of the consumer in certain industries, but in our industry, we are woefully under regulated, and they don’t have the power to recall products. And this is one area where you have bipartisan support. Everyone agrees that we need to update the laws. It’s been 80 years now.

So what ingredients do you use and not use?

There are mostly natural ingredients that are safer, but some natural ingredients are not safe. There are heavy metals in the ground that are not safe for your health, and there are perfectly benign man-made ingredients. We have something called the Never List, which is a list of ingredients we chose not to formulate with.

To get safer products into the hands of everyone. Learn More

Taken partly from an interview with Ms. Renfrew by David Gelles at the New York Times. Gelles is the Corner Office columnist and business reporter. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter. @dgelles

It’s always Christmas in this camp!

‘Tis the Season For Hot Toddies

‘Tis the Season For Hot Toddies

Image from Wikipedia

It slides down my throat with the greatest of ease. Ha! Who said that? That’s a fallacy. Mom made me drink it whenever I got sick. Yuk. Her recipe was unique, hot water, tea, honey, whiskey, and milk. It was the worst. I got better fast. I had no choice. If I didn’t get better fast, I had to drink another and another. Horrors.

Here are the details, without milk, according to Wikipedia:

It’s called a hot toddy, also hot totty and hot tottie as well as hot whiskey in Ireland. It is typically a mixed drink made of liquor and water with sugar and spices and served hot. Hot toddy recipes vary and are traditionally drank before going to bed, or in wet or cold weather. Some believe the drink relieves the symptoms of the cold and flu — in How to Drink, Victoria Moore describes it as “the vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb.”

Preparation

Traditional Scottish preparation of a hot toddy involves the mixture of whiskey, boiling water and sugar or honey. Additional ingredients such as cloves, a lemon slice or cinnamon (in stick or ground form) may be added.

The Irish version, hot whiskey, generally uses Irish whiskey, brown sugar, a lemon slice with cloves, and hot water.

A common version in the Midwestern United States uses Vernors Ginger Ale, lemon, honey and Bourbon whiskey. In Wisconsin, brandy is often used instead of bourbon.

A common version in Ontario typically consists of heated ginger-ale, honey, and either whiskey or brandy. It is often recommended to heat the ginger-ale before adding the whiskey or brandy, otherwise, the heating process will reduce the alcoholic effects of the liquor.

Image from Irish American Mom

Hot Irish Whiskey

“My best friend who just happens to be Irish made this drink for me one cold night in Chicago and since then, I have been hooked! Warning: it is very potent, just one of these will warm you up and basically make you good for nothing afterward – what a treat! It is super to drink at night if you have a sore throat. My friend said this is what the Irish drink if they don’t feel good but don’t wait until you have a cold to try this recipe!”

Ingredients for one drink

Recipe by Trinka G

8 whole cloves
1 (1/4 inch thick) slice of lemon
1 tablespoon white sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger Irish whiskey

I did not know that whiskey, when heated, reduces its numbing effectiveness. Did you?

References

  1. “Definition of Hot Toddy”. Princeton WordNet. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  2. Nigel Slater (March 13, 2011). “Nigel Slater’s classic hot toddy recipe”. The Guardian. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  3. “How to make a Hot Toddy”. LifeOverHere.com. January 3, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  4. “Wisconsin Winter Toddy”. Princeton WordNet. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  5. “Glossaries: India”. Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie Archive. Macquarie University. 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2012. Toddy: palm wine made from the sap of the palmyra palm.
  6. “Hot Toddies”. Conan’s Pub. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  • MacKay, Charles. A Dictionary of Lowland Scotch (1888)

Chicken soup made with love or hot toddy made with liquor . . . What’s your pick when you have a cold?

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

 

 

 

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