Saturday, July 12, 2014

All Is Gray, Hooray!

The moment finally arrived. Since making the decision in November 2013 until now, I grew enough natural hair to be able to finally get a short haircut. The honor of the scissors went to Michel, the greatest, most experienced, and possibly the oldest hair dresser in Lebanon. He did my grandmother's hair, my mother's hair, my aunts' hair, my hair, and next week he will cut my son's hair. If you're wondering how old he is...well, he'll soon be 80!


 The Masestro cutting.

Getting short...I needed  cigarette, c'est normal au Liban..


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cinnamon Leaf Oil: A Solution for Summer Pests, and More!

Wouldn't summer be better if we all didn't get stung by mosquitoes and pests that leave colonies of bites all over our limbs? Personally, I've had more summer vacations ruined by mosquito bites than I care to remember. I'm one of those people who is a living magnet for mosquitoes, and it's been a joke in my social circle that when I'm around nobody else gets stung. I'm like a human citronella candle.

And speaking of those candles, I've never really liked them, nor have I found them to be effective. Before I knew any better, I would always use the commercial bug sprays on myself, which are usually full of toxins. Then several years ago I read something about cinnamon leaf oil and its effectiveness in keeping bugs away and killing mosquitoes better than DEET. So I tried it, and I haven't gone back to anything else since. It absolutely works, when I remember to spray it on, that is. And as my experience with this essential oil grew, I came upon two new discoveries. First, cinnamon leaf oil not only keeps mosquitoes away, but it keeps animals away, too! So for example if you aren't an animal lover and you're visiting a friend who has a dog or cat, rest assured that the pet will stay far away from you if you dab some on. I've recently discovered that you can even mix it into your favorite sunscreen for dual skin protection.

But my newest and most exciting discovery in using cinnamon leaf oil is for gardening. Having lived in condos most of my adult life, I've never been a gardener. But when we moved to our house recently, I wanted to try my thumbs at growing some cucumbers and sweet peppers. But to my utter disappointment, the bugs were merciless on my new plantings and they ate up the leaves and flowers right away. Not wanting to use any insecticide on my plant foods, I decided to try spraying my cinnamon oil solution on the leaves and see what happens. I did this once a day and well, a miracle happened. The bugs stopped eating at the plants, and all the new leaves are now growing healthily without any holes in them. Look at the picture, only the old leaves have been eaten.

Now I don't know how this solution might affect the taste or quality of the resulting veggies and fruits because I haven't found anything at all on the Internet that suggests using it on plants. I guess I'm just going to have to find this out for myself, unless you're a green-thumbed person and are curious enough to join in my continued experimentation with this discovery.

So here's what you do. This is the same mix I use to spray on the body and clothing before venturing outdoors.

In a spray bottle, mix a proportion of 5 drops cinnamon leaf essential oil to each 1 oz. of filtered water (multiply the ratio as needed). Fill a small bottle for personal use and a large one for gardening. Shake well before each use.

Try it, folks. It's simple, inexpensive, safe, and organic! As long as you don't have a personal aversion to the smell  and you don't mind walking around smelling like a fresh-baked cinnamon roll, you might even like the scent. I promise you a bug-free summer with this cinnamon leaf oil solution.

Remember, you heard it here first, so

Keep your ears on!