Does Force of Nature Really Work?

About a month ago, I succumbed to a powerfully targeted Facebook “infomercial” and bought the cleaning system Force of Nature.

I was intrigued because anything that reduces waste, is completely non-toxic, and boasts powerful cleaning and deodorizing power from three ingredients will pull me in.

I bought a starter kit when Force of Nature was offering a promotion that seemed like a good deal. In my opinion, spending about $60 is about right for what you receive. Additionally, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The TL;DR version is that we are really enjoying using it. All the recommendation details are below! 

The premise behind Force of Nature is this, pulled directly from their site:

Force of Nature miniaturizes the electrolyzed water technology from the industrial space. It uses electricity to transform salt, water & vinegar into 2 non-toxic cleaning ingredients:

  • Hypochlorous acid: The active ingredient. Cleans & deodorizes as effectively as bleach yet non toxic.
  • Sodium hydroxide: a detergent but without bubbles. Contains a non toxic concentration of .0000003%, yet cleans as well as major brands.

So, what’s in the starter kit? You get the electrolyzer charger doo-dad, the bottle in which you do the electrolyzing, a spray bottle, and five “activator capsules” that contain the ratio of water, vinegar, and sodium. Concentrated cleaning magic. (I am a vinegar convert.)

Part of the appeal for me with this product, aside from the more natural cleaning product, is the reduction in plastic consumption. Our planet is choking on plastic and I am actively working to do my part to lessen its dominance in my life, especially one-use items that can’t be recycled.

The activator capsules come packaged in a semi-soft plastic but I was relieved to find out these are recyclable (#5). I like knowing my dependency on buying larger plastic cleaning bottles that have unknown and toxic chemicals in them will decrease significantly.

Before I dive into other nitty gritty details, here is the end result: this stuff WORKS. I have to admit, my expectations were pretty low. I’ve bought similar items from the interwebs before, including products from infomercials back in the day, and the excitement over the product usually wanes pretty quickly after purchase.

However, Force of Nature is proving itself to be a staple around my house. Even my husband admits to liking using it, which is a Big Deal for him. (See below for less-than-stellar video of my making a bottle of FON.)

So, what can you use this stuff on?

We haven’t discovered much it doesn’t do well with! Because it’s mostly water, there is no drying agent in the mixture. I never thought about this before with other cleaners, but that “no streak” factor that I like from some of my favorite cleaning products is somewhat due to the drying agent. Keep this in mind for surfaces like glass or countertops, as it’s not 100% streak-proof. Note: do not use on an unsealed counter top; sealed or non-porous counter tops only. We have quartz counters in our kitchen, which are non-porous, so it’s safe to use on them.

As for smell, it has a less-offensive chlorine scent, and even for a Super Smeller like I am, I don’t find it bothersome. When it dries, the area just smells clean. Force of Nature is more reminiscent of a pool than something as strong as chlorine bleach. My lungs don’t hurt if I take a breath around it the way bleach can hurt eyes and lungs. And lingers. Boy, does bleach linger. But not Force of Nature! It is safe to use around pets and babies and you don’t have to wear gloves to protect yourself from it if you don’t want to. Nor do you have to turn on every fan in your home after you’ve used it.

Effectiveness: in my opinion, Force of Nature is the best de-greaser I have found. I don’t say that lightly. It pulverizes grease, instantly dissolving it. Plus, it gets rid of odors. One of our favorite surfaces we love to use Force of Nature on is our butcher block in our kitchen. I like to spray it down, wipe it up with a paper towel, and then lightly spray on some more to let it air dry. After drying, the butcher block is completely deodorized and food-safe once again. I have always hated how chopping onions leaves a lingering odor no matter what we do, but this stuff gets it right out. Color me seriously impressed.

This stuff is a rockstar for cleaning bathrooms. I know it’s at least half psychological but I just don’t feel as “ucky” when I clean the bathroom with FON as I do with other cleaning agents.

Flooring: we have a large expanse of hardwood floor in our family room and in the natural sunlight, I can see every drip or paw print that has ever left an impression of any kind. Force of Nature gets it clean with no smudges. I wish I could make a whole bucket of it for mopping.

Because of the de-greasing power, I decided to try this on the inside of our oven door after my husband had tackled it with Barkeeper’s Friend. There was still some semi-permanent baked-on crud in there. I saturated the door and let it sit for a minute before I wiped it up. It got more up but didn’t get everything. That said, I love having something non-toxic to use on the inside of the oven. I would venture to say the majority of oven-cleaning products are overtly toxic.

We have not yet tried FON on carpets or drapes with any kind of stains. I would be interested to see how it does with pet stains. We have one of those small wet-vacuum carpet cleaners where you put the formula in one end and it sucks up the dirty water in another. At some point, I’ll test out this theory. Force of Nature does ask you to test out a small patch of carpet or other upholstery before saturating. They also have a comprehensive FAQ on their website about what you can/cannot/should do for different odors, stains, and surfaces.

The only surface I have tried this on that I won’t regularly use it on is brushed stainless, like our refrigerator. It left some obvious streaks and I prefer to use a traditional cleaner with a drying agent before hitting it with the special stainless goop we have on hand. Yet, just before writing this post, I used FON to clean the stainless steel sink drains and strainers in the kitchen. They came out sparkling clean with minimal elbow grease involved. If you’re remotely OCD when you clean, you’ll be happy with this product.

Other items of note: the electric charger base thingy has a counter on it with a very bright blue readout. My eyes are incredibly sensitive to blue light, so I do not keep the charger/base plugged in after I’ve made a bottle. If it doesn’t bother you, you can keep it plugged in and it will count down how many days remain of the 14 you get with each bottle. But if you’re like me, you’ll go through a bottle in under a week cleaning every surface and deodorizing all the things, so you won’t need to keep track of the days. You also have to keep it out of direct sunlight. We stash ours under the kitchen sink.

Refill packs are 25 for $19.99, $1 less if you are a subscriber. Pretty solid deal, if you ask me. The only other product they offer besides the starter kit and refills are travel bottles already made up for you. These would be great for road trips and/or traveling with little ones.

Last but certainly not least, each purchaser gets a referrer link. Here’s mine, if I’ve convinced you to try it. I hope I have! You’ll save $35 on your starter kit if you’re a new customer. (I will earn free refill packets.) Otherwise, there is no gimmick or sales pitch involved. It’s win-win, considering the money-back guarantee.

Force of Nature is definitely a Zoe Recommends product. If you’ve tried it yourself, I’d love to hear from you!

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Thx but no thx

Internet slang and acronyms are not new concepts. Even I succumbed to typing “OMG,” though I resisted for the longest time.

Over the course of time, internet acronyms such as DIAF, GTFO, IDGAF, FML, and other acronyms made their way into my regular chat and texting life, too.

(I still don’t use IDK, bae, fleek snatched, fam, or any of the new-fangled words that the kids are using these days.)

One thing that sticks in my craw and I can’t get unstuck is when people use “thx,” especially in email. I kind-of-but-not-really understand when people text “thx” if they’re in that big of a hurry, but when it appears in an email (particularly a work email), all I can think is, “Really?”

Considering I still send handwritten thank-you notes, it probably isn’t a surprise to people who know me that I abhor “Thx.” Another one that makes me want to light myself on fire is “K.” I flat out don’t understand wasting a text with “K” when the O is just above it, for starters, and if you’re not 10, it seems to me that more of a response is warranted.

Go ahead, text me "K."

Go ahead, text me “K.”

While I understand we live in a hectic world where time feels of the essence 24 hours a day, can we take two extra seconds to make the recipient feel worthy of a reply, and at least spell out “Thanks” or “Okay” or insert some emojis to convey, “Message received”? In a technological universe where our phone software has automated replies AND shortcuts that you can program into your phone, e.g. type “thx” and it spells out “Thank you” or “Thanks,” the excuses seem to fall away, in my opinion. We’re not typing these replies on numbered tactile keys anymore. It doesn’t take typing 84499 to do “thx” any longer.

If you are a person who uses “thx” or “k” on the regular, I’d love to hear a case made for it. We seem to be eroding courtesy and etiquette one letter at a time with each of these abbreviated responses, and my reaction to that is,

could-you-not

The Vinegar Trick and Some Magic

Hi, folks. Been a while!

I decided to update this thing because I have discovered a really cool trick to help keep dishwashers (and your dishes) from smelling funky, and it’s too good not to share with the tens of readers who follow this blog. (And just a quick note, everything here is solely my personal opinion and I was not asked to plug any specific product.)

You know how your dishes can be “clean” right from the dishwasher but they smell disgusting? Like someone blow-dried on some nasty invisible funk smell? Well, that wet dog, “earthworm” smell indicates that your dishwasher itself needs a really thorough cleansing in the crevices you can’t reach. Think about if you dipped your toothbrush in the toilet–you wouldn’t want to put it back in your mouth, right? Well, that odor tells you that your dishes have gone in the toilet.

Okay, now that we’re all grossed out, I’m going to recommend a product called Dishwasher Magic.

dishwasher-magic

That stuff is the bees’ knees. We use it every 3-6 months in our household to clean the mechanisms in the dishwasher which do the actual cleaning of the dishes. It not only gets rid of calcium buildup but it disinfects; it claims to get rid of both salmonella and e.coli. That’s a winner right there.

But the second thing you can do, and the trick that inspired this post, is to use good old-fashioned white distilled vinegar as an in-between rinse. I do two things with this: I fill the rinse-aid container with vinegar instead of Jet Dry, which helps with spots and overall cleanliness; I also use a “vinegar rinse” every few cycles (or when I start to smell funk) and pair it with the light or delicate cycle. What that means is, I take a tall glass and fill it halfway with white distilled vinegar, place it securely on the bottom rack where it sits flat, and turn the dishwasher on the delicate cycle.

That’s it!

Seriously, that’s all it takes. I’ve even tested it by putting some “clean” dishes that smell like wet dog in the upper rack of the dishwasher with the cup of vinegar sitting on the bottom, and they come out smelling fresh (read: like clean glass and nothing else).

It saves your sanity, a little money, and you don’t have to actually scrub out the dishwasher itself.

It seriously works and, if you’re like me who has strong smell aversions, you will want to start doing this right away.

Hope this helps anyone out there who is washing everything by hand because the inside of the dishwasher smells like a garbage heap. Let me know if you try the Dishwasher Magic or the vinegar trick and what you think!

 

Forget the water cooler–it’s all about the headache medicine.

Over The Counter Pain Killers

Photo courtesy of Witty nickname on Flickr

 

An interesting phenomenon has been occurring in my office over the past couple of years, though it took place so slowly I hardly noticed it.

I keep a desk drawer full of personal items at work. I presume most people, especially women, have at least one. All sorts of necessities reside in this drawer, including but not limited to a hairbrush, perfume, note cards, nail clippers, eye drops, oil absorbing sheets, lip balm, lip gloss, an old Valentine, business cards, emergency mascara, and (probably most importantly) my go-to drug: ibuprofen.

While the nail clippers have been borrowed quite a few times (though I tend to get skeeved out about over-lending them–nail beds are kind of intimate, in my mind), nothing compares to the number of times I have handed out ibuprofen as if it were the latest craze in candy.

Once one colleague figured out where I keep “the drugs,” as I generically refer to them, this knowledge spread through the inner sanctum of my office through some kind of telepathic osmosis; while no formal moniker exists, I imagine one could call me “the drug lady” or “Woman With Drugs.”

My actual hypothesis on how my drawer became a go-to for relief is that, as colleagues do, we converse about our days or, during a break where someone has come in to chat, we catch up about what’s going on in our lives. Personal injuries and aches and pains top the list of what’s happening in the now, second only to what’s happening outside with the weather. Aside: there’s just something that happens to you when you become an adult and the weather becomes your friend, always willing to be the subject of discussion, always doing something hideous or lovely, with forecasts predicting something completely different or more of the same by the weekend.

Seeing as I frequently hear about an ache here or a headache there during the course of conversation, I’ll ask the other person whether they have taken anything for it, which usually segues into their being empty-handed and then ultimately the question is posed: “Do you have anything?”

In lieu of a water cooler, and since we don’t have one anyway, the desk-drawer-with-the-drugs becomes the proverbial item around which we gather. And so it makes total sense that I ultimately became known for my Magic Drawer Full of Pain-Relieving Goodness.

While I don’t completely understand not always being prepared with one’s personal arsenal of necessities, I am a generous sharer of my soothing wares, even though NSAIDS aren’t the cheapest thing on the block.

(I think greeting cards are actually more expensive–no kidding, I paid $7 for a card once, which equates to two bottles of generic ibuprofen.)

Desk skeletonI believe that no one should have to sit and work through a migraine or a pulled muscle. Or if you’re a woman, anything to do with “female troubles.” Sitting is already the apparent silent killer, after all, so sitting while also in pain from other issues is basically death in a chair.

I have come to silently relish my wee role as Giver of The Drugs as I distribute relief to those in pain. Generally speaking, I trade for warm conversation but if that is lacking, usually people are so grateful to not have to go buy medication in a pinch, that they’ll buy me a soda or a cup of coffee, or even return pills to me at a later date. And the circle of meds continues.

Bottom line: find This Person in your workplace who is the keeper of pain relief and make friends with him or her. It will come in handy, I promise.

Pastel Mania

Pastel Swabs_zoesaysIt being Spring means my love for pastels can blossom for a month or two before it has to shrivel away again for ten months.

Most people associate pastels only with babies. I get that. Should I ever have children, I will have an incredibly difficult time narrowing down colors for the baby’s room. (Official warning to the husband here.)

But I have always been drawn to soft colors. Perhaps it’s because I was born in the Spring; perhaps 80s marketing left an indelible impression on me to the point where my passion for pastels is embedded onto my DNA.

Whatever the case may be, it is Pastel Season and it makes me happy. All the candies are pretty, wrapping paper and tissue explode from displays in my favorite colors, and the world is a gloriously soft rainbow.

To that end, I had a crochet order to fulfill this past weekend and when I was finished, I decided that nothing would complete me more than making some amigurumi Easter eggs.

I only began with three but it’s a pretty safe bet I will make a few more of these during the week. While I am not a religious person, I do love the symbolism that Easter brings: renewal, growth, birth, and of course pretty stuff.

These crochet eggs are so incredibly easy to make and take hardly any time (or yarn) at all. Mine were made with an F hook (3.75mm) and some scraps of DK yarn. I want to keep challenging myself with the different patterns and color changes and add a flower blossom or two to the next ones.

Since the order I was fulfilling happened to be some amigurumi duckies, what could make for a cuter photo session than baby ducks and eggs?

Happy Spring! Happy Easter! Happy Pastels Everywhere!

IMG_0775-Edit IMG_0782-Edit IMG_0785-Edit IMG_0793-Edit IMG_0797-Edit

 

 

The Angst of Buying a Blender

Daily married life, thus far, hasn’t proved to be an entirely different experience than when my husband and I were just “boyfriend-girlfriend.” I take comfort in that.

However, one subtle shift has taken place: buying things for the home. Unless I purchase something completely personal to me that doesn’t wipe out our savings, everything else is a “joint purchase.” There are those little words again: we…us…ours.

Something that has been on my list for some time now is a blender. We have an outdated crappy one, albeit with a glass carafe. That was about its only redeeming quality.

The hubs could not understand why we needed one. He kept insisting that our old one worked just fine, despite the fact that anytime he even wanted to make a protein shake, of which the ingredients are powder, ice, and milk, he would have to physically shake the blender while it was on to assist in shifting the ingredients around in the pitcher. Not ideal.

In researching blenders, I came to find out that along the blending spectrum, there is a sharp increase in price as blending technology improves. You’ve got your $30-40 Cheapo brands, which means purchasing one equates to throwing one’s money in the garbage, your mid-priced brands with name recognition–and decent-but-not-great blending functionality–in the $70-150 range, and then you immediately surge up to the $400-600 blenders that promise to change your life FOREVER, which of course means it’s a VitaMix, the Holy Grail of blenders. Not sure what the issues are in blending technology that it takes making a blender that costs someone upwards of $600, but apparently only the wealthy (or irresponsible spenders) are allowed to benefit from it.

It looks like a regular blender, right? But....$500?

It looks like a regular blender, right? But….$500?

As I had no desire to spend an entire year of my life saving up for a blender, we did what most people do: scrounge around for a 20% off coupon from Bed Bath & Beyond and hope they have something decent in the mid-priced range that will do what it’s supposed to do.

Aside from being slightly disappointed at the lack of inventory in stock (and then remembering that, including myself, most people are buying items online nowadays), what surprised me was that blenders with glass pitchers have now gone the way of the black rhino–only a few are in existence.

The only one I saw was a $40 crappy one that I staunchly avoided. Sadly, everything is plastic now, even when you are willing to spend $100 or more on an appliance. I am sure the savings are passed on to the consumer but if I had my druthers, I prefer glass and would pay a little more for it. Aside: my dear father, who is rather old-fashioned, was aghast at this plastic-carafe news when I told him about it. He suggested I try finding a replacement glass pitcher for the Ninja Professional 1000. I love that guy.Ninja_zoesays

Moving along. We had done our proper reviews research (promptly ignoring the one-star reviews from those people who don’t know how a blender works or were mad that the box was dented when it arrived) and with a little leap of faith, we invested in a Ninja–the Professional 1000, to be exact. A Ninja blender sounds straight out of SNL or Made-for-TV Land, but it is, in fact, a legit brand. This thing has three tiers on the blade and when it’s on, there is no doubt that something is being pulverized. Admittedly, it’s loud, but it works.

After the first go around with the blender, in which my dear husband overfilled it and we had a near disaster on our hands, I took over the smoothie-making in the household and lovingly demonstrated the proper proportion of fruit to protein powder to ice to liquid.

Since the implementation of successful blended drinks has taken place, we are blending fools, making one healthy smoothie after another. Our little Ninja is proving itself to be quite the decent purchase, thank me very much.

I am sure we will eventually find our way to discovering other uses for the blender….perhaps we’ll get creative and make Adult Smoothies when we want fruit and a relaxing drink. (I believe they’re called “daiquiris.”)

booze

A successful foray into Joint Married Purchases, if I do say so myself.

On Making and Selling

Well hello, friends! It’s been a little while. Here are some thoughts I jotted down about being an artist and making money at it.

While there are some questionable “arts” out there, generally speaking, I think it’s safe to say that most people who create can be termed an artist of some kind. Not everyone earns money or an actual living from their art, which is fine. There is nothing wrong with art for art’s sake. (Take this blog, for example! I write because I like it.) But it is a heavily sought after dream.

Artists who create with fabric or yarn know that it’s not only popular because it’s fun, challenging, relaxing, and rewarding, but as with any creative endeavor, making any kind of money from this passion is not an easy feat.

Essentially, anyone who knows how to make something out of fabric, yarn, or thread can sell it. That’s the beauty of having an Etsy shop, really. (Or Facebook, for that matter.) I’m no exception to that. I’ve sold a few crocheted things from the shop and I’ve made a few dozen custom orders from people who have seen my finished works on Facebook. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you’ll earn some pocket money from your craft in addition to having fun making the end products. Win-win. Silly baby whales

While there are certainly people out there who have mastered selling finished works and make a pretty penny off of it, it is my observation from both the photography world and the crochet world that the real money is in selling to the artists. I have mixed feelings on that. On the one hand, it makes sense, and bravo to those who have figured it out. On the other, I wish it appeared to be more prevalent that the artists themselves had more success than the teachers, marketers, and “gurus.”

When I was immersed in All Things Photography for the first couple of years, it became overwhelming to muck through all the businesses out there who marketed to photographers who were just trying to earn some money taking portraits. My email was dinging every few seconds with promotional email after promotional email. I even worked with a “photography business consultant” for a little while, until I realized that she had never had a successful photography business herself. (Seriously.) Eventually, when I realized that it was not going to be the business I thought it would, it was a tedious chore to unsubscribe from most of the companies that had my email address. Now I enjoy photography on a much more leisurely basis (see: The Bsns), and I’ve realized that, at least for this period of my life, it’s what works best.

When I jumped into crochet in 2013, the same thing happened where I realized that the gurus exist who are quite successful, and most of them have marketed patterns, classes, or how-to videos on YouTube. (Don’t get me wrong–YouTube is a fabulous tool for learning a craft like crochet for free!) Fortunately, I had learned from my mistakes with photography, and I did not sign up for too many groups, emails, classes, etc, though crochet is a completely different beast than photography.

Aside: I won’t deny that I may have a slight yarn addiction but I think most crocheters and knitters have one. Becoming a yarn snob is something I’ll save for another post down the road.

Before a couple of years ago, I had not browsed Etsy for much of anything. Now that I have my own shop, I have made a point to buy unique gifts for friends and family from others who share their beautiful artistry with the world. Pretty much anything you can think of–and a lot of what you can’t–can be found there. (Here are things I’ve favorited, if you’re into that kind of thing.)

Again, just because one has a shop, it does not mean that people will buy. Standing out from the herd of millions proves to be a frustration for many, myself included. Crochet and photography shops are a dime a dozen and, once again, those craft shops who stand out seem to be doing something truly unique OR they’re marketing to people like me, who are passionate creators but are not necessarily blazing a trail in the design world.

Perhaps designing is in my future; it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But for now, I am a happy little maker of things. Speaking of which….I know it’s a shameless plug, but it ties in so nicely with my topic here, so I hope you won’t mind too much.

I started this post a while back and by the time I’ve gotten around to publishing it, I happen to be having a canvas sale in the Photography section of my shop this week. And if I’m being honest, which I am, it’s a good one.

I’ll just leave this here and if you or someone you know needs some wall art in your life, well then…..yay!

And now I slip quietly back to my creative dungeon…until next time.

Wed

Happy New Year, friends!

I took a little sabbatical from posting in the latter part of 2014 and there is good reason for that.

On October 25, 2014, I married my best friend and the most wonderful man I know. After almost two whole years of engagement, planning a wedding, and designing a honeymoon that we hoped would work out (and it did!), the misty ethereal imaginings of our ceremony and fancy party became a reality.

In terms of anticipation, my wedding day was my entire lifetime of Christmases combined. I just could not fathom how it would all be on the day of until I was experiencing it. And every person who gave me the advice that there would be things happening that were completely out of my control was absolutely right.

  • My dress wasn’t perfectly pin straight after being pressed.
  • We ended up taking a cab from the reception to our hotel because of a SNAFU with the limo company. It was late, it began to rain, and we were hauling all of our wedding paraphernalia into and out of a minivan taxi. Fun times.
  • I found out way later that someone had broken into our car the night before the wedding, something my very wise husband kept from me on the wedding day, as nothing was broken or taken. (My decision to not keep anything of value in our car paid off, at least.)

And you know what?

Courtesy of NBC Universal

In fact, it was the journey leading up to the wedding day that held a number of surprises I didn’t expect–many more than any small things that took place the day of.

Things like:

An imminent wedding brings out ALL the feels in everybody.
There is something about the acts of booking a reception hall, picking out invitations, dress shopping, cake tasting, photographer interviewing, and a million other details in this process that makes anyone who has ever gotten married much more emotional–and I mean every emotion on the spectrum. To be sure, it is a thrilling time. I had a ball during the major part of the last two years and have been touched beyond measure by people’s thoughtfulness and generosity.

But man alive, not only will you go from manic to drop-dead exhausted all in the course of minutes or hours, but anybody involved in the planning will also add his or her feelings into the mix, causing quite the Feels Party. It could be about an accessory, the location of a hotel, what kinds of favors to include in hotel welcome bags, or any number of issues a person has about the Wedding Day Schedule. The fact that my husband and I had two solid months of 2014 that weren’t devoted to wedding planning was the greatest gift of all, quite honestly. The relief that comes with not planning All the Things is indescribable.

The mother/daughter relationship in particular during wedding planning is one that goes through a special time. I won’t delve deeply on this particular topic but I will say that wedding planning can damage a relationship if it’s not a strong one. Let’s just say I am grateful that my mom and I emerged with lots of love, even if there were a few bumps along the way.

You try strange things you might never have otherwise.
As the weeks dwindled down, all kinds of thoughts entered my mind about my skincare regime. Since I no longer possess the youth of my twenties to afford me automatic dewy fresh skin on the day of my wedding, I was examining each pore, line, and freckle on my mug.  I have my usual daytime and nighttime routines but like anyone with their looks on their mind, I was paying attention to things that normally I would pass on by. Case in point: I read something about taking coffee grounds and using them as an exfoliant on one’s scalp and face. This struck me as a brilliant thing to try out.

Since we had just brewed some coffee not too much earlier in the morning, I piled some fresh coffee grounds into a bowl and placed it on the edge of the tub. I dumped a bunch of coffee grounds all over my scalp and began rubbing them in. I discovered that sure enough, they exfoliate. Boy, do they. However. The mess that coffee grounds make in the shower is shocking. They go ev-er-y-where. The entire shower from top to bottom was coated in little black flecks. Half the shower was spent chasing these little buggers down the drain and then making sure they were rinsed off my person and then I would have to start all over again with rinsing the tub.

I’m not sure I would keep this up on a regular basis since the clean-up is so time-consuming. I can say that after using a very small amount on my face, that it was extremely smooth after sloughing off the surface cells. As far as cheap scrubs go, I can’t really complain. I would probably caution against using coffee grounds in one’s hair, however, no matter what the experts say it’ll do.

In the end, I did not use coffee grounds on my face or scalp prior to the wedding. Oh and airbrush foundation and having someone do your full hair and makeup is absolutely fantastic. Oprah knows what she’s talking about when she says it’s one of the best experiences money can buy on a regular basis.

Despite the excitement, you can’t invite everyone you know, and those who fall into your Made It and Didn’t Make It lists will surprise you.
Both Kevin and I had some strong disappointments that certain folks couldn’t attend our wedding for one various reason or another. (Our wedding coincided with a TON of babies being born, for starters.) Nevertheless, we had the time of our lives, and the joy of the day dominated any lingering regrets we had about those who couldn’t be with us. One aspect of the wedding that I loved was hearing all the individual stories from people later about their personal experiences having attended. Stories would interweave with one another and I slowly put together this puzzle of what it was like to be one of our guests.

Another favorite was seeing how much fun people had and hearing it was an amazing time for them. As a person who takes pride in her hostessing, nothing makes me happier than hearing that all of the time and energy I spent on the details of this elaborate, expensive party didn’t go unnoticed, and in fact, were ultra appreciated. Never have my organizational and coordination skills served us better. Which brings me to….

Get used to “we” and “us.”
Despite having been in a relationship for years with the man I now call my husband, I’m much more conscientious of using the pronouns “we” and “us.” When I became married, I also became ultra conscientious of being one of an official couple and losing a little of the “I” in my identity. I now represent a family of two people, as does my husband. I find myself having to revert my pronouns when I get onto a “we” streak, because sometimes it doesn’t apply. It’s like, oh yeah, sometimes I’m just me.

Being super "we" and "us" makes me feel like Meg and Hamilton Swan sometimes.

Being super “we” and “us” makes me feel like Meg and Hamilton Swan sometimes.

The whole thing about wedding planning is, and it’s HARD to remember throughout, as long as you’re having fun and you are looking forward to seeing all of the details you’ve planned come to life, you will have a fantastic day. It’s been almost three months already since our day came and went, which amazes me, and I’m still processing and reliving one of the happiest times of my life.

If any of you out there are planning your own nuptials, all I can say is: savor, savor, savor.

ZK