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Thing I’d like to do better in 2017

Basically, I’m ready for 2016 to be over and since I’m on a roadtrip and today was long, here’s a few thing I got better at this year and here’s a few to work on.

Okay, this year was hard but I think I’ve gotten better at communicating with those (physically!) around me and going out and doing stuff even when things, like the weather make me want to close all the doors and stay in bed.

This is also the first year I have managed to create and manage my budget and I’ve actually kept it up from month to month! As a plus, this made it possible to spend a little money getting family presents (or supplies for presents), which has been lacking in the past.

I was also a lot better at keeping up with working out this year, however, the end on 2016 saw a bit of a drop off – we’ll get back to it in 2017.

But onto a few things I’d like to do better:

1. Communicate better overall – As I said, expressing myself in person is up ten fold but otherwise I kind of suck. I always forget to call in and check up on people both near and far, especially those who have been in my life the longest. This is problematic both job wise and with friends, so I need to work on stepping up my game here.

2. Full time employment – While I did knuckle down and work through CVs and getting my resume out there throughout 2016, I need to step this up next year. I’ve met a few people through this trip and have gotten advice on where to go from here so as the new comes around, so will my next rounds of work applications.

3. Proactive – While this could generally mean being proactive in my life, I am actually talking about the skin care line. I ended up giving in and restarting this ache fighting brand right before Christmas. I’ve been really good about keeping up with my normal routines so I figure that I shouldn’t be intimidated by a three step cleaning process anymore.

As I said, keeping it simple, short, and trying to stay positive.

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Hot Chocolate Pour over.

My early winter/holiday snack of choice.

If you know what a classic pour over is, you can more or less understand what I am going for here. A pour over is ice cream with hot coffee poured over it – you don’t need any cream of sugar because the ice-cream does it all for you and, for an added bit of fun, I know many who spike this with alcohol of their choice (my family leans toward the cinnamon infused Fireball Whisky).

Recently, my mom bought a lite ice-cream brand (Arctic Zero) – lite in flavor and calories – to see what we all thought. While the flavors were hit or miss, I liked the vanilla-maple – it was light but well melded. And with a wonderful,  rich hot chocolate involved in the pour over – perfect.

I can be pretty sensitive to hot drinks – my mouth always needs a break after soup! – so this pour over is amazing because you can drink your hot rich hot chocolate at it cools and the ice cream melts, adding to the creaminess especially if your hot chocolate is water-based. If your proportions are right, the drink should still warm you up plenty.

I like the liter ice cream in this mix because the dessert isn’t overly rich – where you think you’ll go into a sugar crash.

Oh, and for you adult-drinkers, you can add that extra shot of alcohol to make your drink game even stronger. So drink well, drink safe, and happy holidays, all!

  • Taylor Gallagher

 

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Is it break yet?

This is all you will here from two groups in the next days/weeks: students and teachers. This get super compounded as our class sizes drop because of early vacationers and the oddly strong illnesses floating around.  It’s knocked out teacher after teacher, half our eighth grade class, and has now followed me home through my father.

While I’m all about washing hands, exercising, and green tea all day long to keep you immune system working at full capacity, I’m adding one more thing to my list of feel better/get better list: take a bath.

Always watch the temperature (the true hardest part of bath time – it may start off too hot but then it can go temped long before you are ready!), but getting a good steam in the room will help pull up all the phlegminess out as well as relax any tenderness in your muscles.

Throw in a bath bomb, some natural oil, ginger, salt, teabags, or whatever bit of happiness to suit your needs, help you feel good, and just soak for as long as you can manage it. Catch up on reading, turn on your favorite music, close your eyes for an hour, you really are without many limits – just beware those electronics!

Plus, as a added bonus, If it’s cold a warm bath is a beautiful thing. Personally, I seem to have a natural issue heating myself through regularly generated body heat – my hands are always Ice cubes. However, after a hot bath or shower, my body seems to hold onto the heat for a really long time, especially if I head straight for my warm blankets!

So as the cold season – both illness and weather – comes rolling in, indulge and bring on the bath time and the many ways to enjoy it!

  • Taylor Gallagher
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New Skill: Embroidery

After my most recent SCA event, one of my friends explained that there is a specific pattern of picking up skills that generally happen when you are a member of this group: your first year you develop three skills; every year after the first, you add another new skill to your arsenal.

Well, next month marks the end of my first year as part of the SCA (not as an official, card-holding member, but a member non-the-less) and thus far, my skills are minimal.

While I do photography in and out of the SCA, as I begin to post more pictures, we agreed that that can be my first skill. Basically, there are members who have been awarded honors for photographing and videotaping events in the past, so even though these are not period accurate skills, they count as part of our anachronisms.

But now that we are heading into Yule – and therefore, the ‘nicer’ events – I’ve begun something brand new: embroidery.

15401452_10154775029042630_114734399_nFor my first attempts, I kept  things pretty simple despite the Gallagher need to jump in with both feet. I wanted to go straight into knots and color changes, and, while I think I cold have done this passably well, I decided to keep things festive but simple. For my under tunic, I built a color design using two knot styles (two chain stitches surrounding running stitches a looped contrasting color) that gave enough contrast, depth, and visual interest that they could pull the outfit together while letting it stand out from every other outfit I’ve worn this year.

I was a bit more creative and daring with my sister’s collar. I had gotten very good (and fast) at a basic chain stitch so I felt confident that I could do more than simply follow the collar-line in a contrasting color.

15416897_10154775029012630_1655197169_nAdding the basic points and loops was a lot of fun and by measuring out where changes in shape would occur, I was able to have my stitches shape follow the pattern so that each side stayed symmetrical. The collar stitches move in the opposite direction of the ‘leaves’ and the intersecting circles at the bottom of the pattern are threaded so that each side is sown lower than the middle despite moving from left to right. Each of these tricks are easy enough. It’s all about moving and redirecting your strings to create a better flow, while layering circles is all about where you choose to land a stitch – over your previous stitches or under them.

So yep, that is two skills with a month left to go. However, seeing as I’m working on social skills, maybe I can chalk it up to a third! If you are interested in embroidery, or really SCA in general, I have a few pins up for you to look at and can answer any questions below!

  • Taylor Gallagher

 

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Bought / Made ‘Spa’ Gifts for the Ladies in your Life.

It’s getting to Christmas which for many of us means cracking your wallet and separating from some (or a lot!) of your hard earned cash. As I am mostly unemployed so paychecks are few and far between, this is a tough time of the year – do I cash in on presents or extra loan payments?

Luckily, even though I have a lot of people in my life (most of whom are women), most have either given me simple tasks, like going out with grandma to plays or picking out pictures to hang in my parents hall to update the hall for my mom,  or have set up a ‘no money, no presents’.

Still, I love the giving part of this holiday so if I can find some easy and cheap ways of putting together some gifts that my loved ones will actually want and use.

1. Store bought leave-in conditioner for my sister. I’ve been using mine once every week to two weeks and I have seen my hair bounce back from some sun damage. My sister is a new mom with little to no time on her hands and she uses a lot more products and tools on said hair. This means it’s a mess that’s lucky to get a good brushing on bad days and gets the full product treatment when she does get to go out. Giving her a five minute leave-in conditioner allows her to take a little extra time to herself while making her morning routine easier in the long run.

2. Making Bath Bombs! I have seen these popping up all over my Pintrest and I love the idea of making these as Christmas gifts. These can be cheap since you can make a good deal of these from cheap drugstore ingredients. There are a lot of recipes out there that are geared toward different ailments – dry skin, congestion, relaxation, ect. One thing I do have to stress: Be very careful about sugar based ingredients. If you are soaking in a bath, water isn’t just around you but in you, therefore, the sugar in the water will also get into you. the result? potential yeast infections all around.

3. If the fizzy bombs are too complex for you or just don’t seem to work, think Bath Salts (but not the drug kind). Again watch out for your sugar – these have a salt base which is great for soaking in. again, you can add herbs, flowers, or oils to create smells and there are plenty of ways to add in funky colors. Remember, this is a salt mixture, not a scrub so you want to keep everything pretty dry so you aren’t dropping giant, hard clumps that don’t dissolve into your bath.

4. If you know your a bit heavier handed, go with sugar scrubs. Sugar and coffee ground scrubs are great at removing dead skin cells while soothing your skin with any oil bases you add to your mixture – I use these before shavings to get the closest shave possible. My favorite has probably been coffee grounds – when they hit the hot water of a shower, you get an instant wake up scent. Again, just be careful to keep your sugar scrubs away from sensitive areas – this time less for infections reasons but more irritation – scrubs can be irritating if overused and/or on skin it shouldn’t be near (like your face!). If you make this a thicker recipe with a body butter/lotion mix, you can set this as a foot scrub.

Again, my list isn’t long this year and each of these homemade recipes can be stretched across multiple people. These are easy to make and everyone can use them; plus, the extras you can keep for yourself!

Have a merry holiday and if you have to order anything, do it quickly because things will be getting busy!

  • Taylor Gallagher
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