An Artist’s Way


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Yesterday, I had a telephone conversation with a creative neighbor and the crux of the topic was: In this life, I strive to surround myself with beauty. Above all else, my eye craves divine images of nature, architecture, and wildlife. Perfection is an illusive goal. This fact I finally resigned myself to a few years ago. Yet, still I strive to surround myself with as much gorgeousness as I can muster, sans the help of a trust fund.

No more strolls amoungst grand estates of Europe, no fantastic scuba trips to the Maldives — I reside locally now and have for nearly two decades. Most of my poetry was penned in the late 1990’s before I began this single family house adventure in 2001. My Book of Garden Poems won no recognition in NYC or London. No longer do I draw and painting has fallen to the chores of this needy box. I have found creative opportunities in my kitchen and gardens. This is my first home on half an acre.

Photography helps me stay attached to my creativity, and this rural place surrounds me with endless visual opportunities. Additionally, this blog, which was born in 2011, provides a home for writing. If you are new to this blog, currently there are over 200 posts that combine both photography and prose. While you are house bound, please take time to explore the two draw-down menus within this work in progress. They are found in the left hand side of this page.

With so much global angst these days, I decided to add slices of beauty I recorded over the past nineteen years. Join me and unwind. These are my images/glimpses of near perfection.

In closing, what thought strikes me significantly this week is the fact that home is my safe place and my gardens are my sanctuary. Are you feeling safe?

Please use this time to discover newfangled ways in which to see the beauty in each and every day. We are in this together.

Your comments are always welcome.

PS. While you are cooped up and looking for exceptional video in 4K Ultra HD…check out this channel, Amazing Places on Our Planet on YouTube. The next best thing to being there. 😉

Copyright © 2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

Sunday’s monster project


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This boulder/stoop looks innocent enough, yes? Slowly over the past 18 years, it settled to the right, causing a problem, since I use this door every day. Project: raise the stone on the right side three inches. Many contractor estimates were outrageously expensive, so it became a DIY with help…

It almost did not happen.

Why a man cannot follow instructions is beyond me. Even when they come from another man of professional experience!

First: The hired help arrived late Sunday, and was unprepared — without the critical stone dust and proper jack. We had agreed on all materials Friday during a phone conversation.

Second: I had to then wait another hour for him go look for supplies.

While I waited, I excavated most of the hole myself….MOI who should not be doing this kind of work as my body pain is fierce the following day, despite rest/meds.


Ready to roll. 


With my tools organized, I awaited the arrival of my hired help…a local handyman. Hurry up and wait became this project’s motto. Sooo


My wheelbarrow quickly filled with wet, heavy clay. This kind of grunt work I outgrew years ago. My mind is willing, the body, NOT SO. 


This dig required depth and undercutting the stone in order to place the bottle jack beneath the edge. 

When the guy finally returned an hour later, his rusty jacks did not work and I thought I might have to stop again and to drive to town to purchase a jack. Turned out, the guy’s son lives nearby, so helper-guy left again in search of that jack. More time to kill.

At least the afternoon was pretty and sunny, so while I waited I weeded (with tweezers) my moss patch by the shed door. (Instead of spitting nails!)


When helper returned, I asked him to place the salvaged 10″ granite square in the bottom of the hole on top of some gravel so the jack would have a solid footing…and he refused. He wanted to keep digging deeper to hit solid ground. If I had agreed, he would still be digging!

Next, he helped himself to one of my small landscape stones and when that stone quickly sank into the wet clay, I suggested the granite again. FINALLY, before I hit him in the head with a shovel, he yielded and added crusher/rock to the hole, added the granite sample, and placed the new jack on top…not in the center mind, but in a cock-eyed position. Safety first, out the window…(No photo of this event, as I had my hand on the shovel, not the camera!)

He then said “I don’t give a s—t what someone on the internet says…I am doing the job my way!” Well. OK then. I had taken advice on this project from a blog follower who built major buildings in DC. (sigh)

Turns out, the use of the gravel/granite worked and up went the boulder….right into the siding. (oops)

Following few more maneuvers with a pry bar, one slab of marble under the front of the boulder, a rectangular paver under the back edge, and a few tosses of gravel dust tamped under the end, I called it quits. Helper promises to return to tamp the edge of the dirt end after a few rains. Then a top coat of gravel will cover the repair. Time will tell.


As the afternoon faded into shade, the boulder now rests a bit more level. Shall we take bets on how long it will remain that way?

At least this dastardly boulder project is over I am without a trip hazard! Geeze! For now.

What I suffer for this (expletive) house/property!

Finally: A hot shower, two tall glasses of local stout, Tylenol, and bed with the heating pad should ease my journey.

Would you have taken on this project? Comments welcome.

Hope that your Sunday was more enjoyable than mine. 😉

Copyright © 2020 By Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved



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Back at Swallowtail Cottage, landscape projects are happening. Monday I awoke with the message, “remove those Nandina and transplant the six young Buxus to the back foundation!” I immediately concurred, yet these subliminal projects are 1% inspiration, and 99% implementation. Conception is the easy part; there is a disconnect with the follow through. Somehow the subconscious fails to understand reality.
I humbly admit, the execution of this project nearly slew me on day three.

During dormant months (November-March) here in Virginia zone 7A, I do my best garden work; most biting insects are absent, and cool/dry temperatures permit invigorating days outside.

This week: Following breakfast Monday, I began making phone calls. This project required man/muscle power. The photos below capture the efforts of four men over three partial days.


Before view of Nandina in the rear foundation planting…really sad after 18 years. FYI: Do not plant this Heavenly Bamboo, as the berries contain cyanide and will kill any wild bird who eats it. I did not know this when I planted them, and for years I removed the berries in the fall. Eventually, this plant became too needy and leggy so OUT they went to a local burn pile.

If you don’t know what Nandina flowers/berries look like, here you go:

snake sunning in the nandina

Yikes! During late spring, Heavenly Bamboo create white blooms. This particular day, I had a black snake sleeping amoungst the blossoms, just below my bedroom window. In the last few years, the Nandina flowers became infested with thrips…a sucking insect not welcome in any garden.

Nandina berries

Pretty but deadly. If these Nandina berries are left on the plants during winter months, wild birds often mistake them for food and when consumed, birds will die a cyanide death. Another reason NOT to have this plant in any garden. Unfortunately, since they are inexpensive plant material, many property developers use them copiously.


The discard pile grows: As my enthusiastic neighbor dug with his wicked serrated shovel, the tarp rapidly filled with stems and roots. What a tough job; not one for the weak, fragile or moi.


Monster roots on eighteen year-old Nandina. Removing the heavy clumps of soil was another laborious task.


Day Two: On a very overcast winter day following removal of the blasted Nandina, the rear of the house is now dull and became my very own Tabula Rasa. Gosh, no curb appeal here! The turf appears especially pathetic.


Meanwhile, the baby Buxus (Green Velvet) await their transplant from the rear border. I propagated these beauties from tiny cuttings about eight years ago. They provide good material for boxwood wreaths come November and benefit from hand trimming. When I asked the landscaper what he thought each plant would cost in a nursery he answered $350! What a fine example of home propagation savings!


Day Three: Bare ground awaits the family duo of landscapers. Yes, only two men and three hours later, the bed was transformed. Of course the landscaper has been in digging commercially for over 20 years, and they did not stop the entire time. Hurrah! I phoned at the right time when he had an opening! Normally he is booked for months.


With the Buxus installed, I watered them in after finding a hose that was not frozen. Around 3 PM, I headed to the home store and toted twelve bags of pine bark mulch and five bags of pea gravel back in Baby 5. The gravel was added over the larger stone next to the terrace wall and at the foundation, to keep mulch/mud from traveling/splashing on the house. Nice and tidy. By dark I was knee-walking exhausted! Soon to bed with the heating pad, Tylenol, and mugs of  hot herbal tea!


Today: Once again, Baby 5 comes to my rescue. Loaded and backed up to the rear turf and my wheelbarrow, this auto has seen me through many a rock/mulch/dirt project. The edge of the rear border now resembles a mine field, and six holes need filling today. I scored ten partially open bags of topsoil for 1/2 price (that I spotted yesterday). The only caveat…get to the home center before 7AM before other frugal gardeners descend. So it goes.


Rock is the solution at the foundation. It keeps termites from migrating to the foundation, and holds back the mulch.  IF any debris drifts onto the gravel, a quick blower pass, and voila! spotless. Today it looks great.


PS: Before the landscape pair departed, I had them relocate this young arborvitae to a sunnier location.


This small Buxus (propagated here) was also relocated to a brighter location. Its former location is now home for the arborvitae. One man accomplished both transplants in twenty minutes. Geeze! Since all material is now dormant, I hope they quietly settle in and wake to spring full of vigor! Me too for that matter! 😉

Now left is to find an area for the adopted/uprooted iris.


The length of their roots surprised me when I dug them on Friday. For now, they will reside in paper bags in the basement fridge at 40F. I will make an effort, as both varieties are beautiful and sweetly scented.


My ongoing dilemma is to find a way to raise the right side of this stoop/boulder. Following fifteen years of stepping on one side to enter the back door, the massive rock has settled enough that I have nearly twice fallen off . Who knew, little old moi could cause a mammoth boulder to settle? So far one pry-bar was put to the test, and the only result was a bent pry-bar. The area is too small for a Bobcat. Any ideas?

The 17F reading this morning has given way to sunny a 52F. I must go have lunch, get out of YouTube mode, and get that frozen topsoil down if thawed. Ah, a gardener’s job is never complete.


The new view from inside the house. Calm and uncluttered.


Now to await spring and warmer soil, so masses of wildflowers can be seeded in the distant herbaceous perennial border.

Finally, I added two vintage tuteurs to the Buxus bed. The largest one is in the rear border where a Nelly Moser resides and climbs with abandon throughout the Oakleaf Hydrangea during the growing season.

Job well done? Have I inspired you to get out in your gardens and tackle a big project?

I enjoy comments placed on this blog…not in an email as this blog is intended to inspire all followers. Cheers!


Copyright © 2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

how fragile we are


Nobody Knows (Paul Brady), Everything Comes and Goes (Down to You, Joni Mitchell), no more i love you’s (D.Freeman/J. Hughes) sung by Annie Lennox, Medusa lyrics tiptoe through my consciousness as I reflect on the tragic loss of legend, Kobe Bryant. As I listen to his many interviews, I realize that Kobe was a man with an extraordinary work ethic, who followed his passion, gave his all to the sport, and said it best here:

Rest in peace Kobe and Gianna.

During his brief retirement, Kobe revisited his artistic side and once again, his efforts were a slam dunk. Dear Basketball won an academy award in 2018 for best Animated Short Film. So much more was in the pipeline…

And in the event you did not follow Kobe’s career/life read here:

Life and Death are one thread; the same line viewed from different sides.
Lao Tzu


what I learned about Keto


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still eating kale and cabbage salad...this time with an egg!

Lightly steamed greens, cabbage and a soft boiled egg make a great meal.

Last April I began the Keto diet. Those of you who follow this blog read a few recipes that inspired my journey. I also joined a FB Keto Reset Group, where many of my questions were answered. I did not buy any books, yet found many at the local library.
Initial Keto side effects were minimal, yet noticeable (leg cramps, headache) and both symptoms passed with conscious electrolyte balance using Himalayan salt and sugar elimination.

At first I enjoyed the morning bacon fest (normally I don’t eat much meat) and the grass-fed burger for lunch. I quickly weaned off sugar and carbs. That was a good thing. I lost cravings. That was the best thing. I stopped grazing. That was even better.
I never lost weight, but I lost body fat. Apparently, according to my doc, as we age, our set point changes, therefore I will never weigh what I weighed in my youth. Sigh.

I continued with this expensive experiment when, six months in my body rebelled. I developed constant indigestion and could not look at meat. Since I never had gut issues before, I surmised it was the meat. In addition, the expense was unsustainable, as I always choose grass fed, organic foods. This teaching moment, “listen to your body” spoke volumes. I also confess I quickly tired of the smell of meat in my kitchen. I feared that my range hood would soon drip grease. 😉


gone are the days of a bacon scented kitchen

Therefore, since October I am off Keto, feel much better, with gut issues instantly resolved. I remain off sugar and most carbs. I returned to whole milk (which I use in my tea) and skip the almond milk as it contains so many fillers, is not organic, and making my own was a giant hassle. Organically raised, grass fed cows produce plenty of quality milk and is found even in big box stores here in America.

So this is what I learned from Keto:

Keto broke my sugar habit. Keto freed me of my gluten/carb addiction. Both are huge in themselves, and would make every household happier/healthier.

Let’s face it, refined sugar and carbs are addictive and fattening.

What do I eat now you ask?

For breakfast I have a warmed slice of rosemary ham (TJ’s) and two pan fried organic/free range eggs in butter. I often add as a side, steamed organic kale/green beans or sauteed mushrooms. A large mug of steaming organic Rooibous tea (365) with whole milk fills my tank. If I want a taste of chocolate, TJ’s carries an organic, fair trade 72% chocolate bar that is always present in my pantry. One square sets me straight and satisfies…after all a gal cannot be without her chocolate, right? Sugar is minimal too.

For lunch, I warm either a hot soup using WFM’s organic Imagine® Brand chicken or beef broth (skip the low sodium varieties), green veggies of my choice, a hard boiled egg, and either eat that with a spoon or heat and toss everything into the Vitamix and make a drinkable concoction for on the go. I also found a delicious, grass-fed New Zealand sharp cheddar at TJ’s, that I cut it into chunks and keep in a glass container in the fridge. I can grab a square either as a snack or in addition to my lunch. Good fast food.


great meals are created in my Vitamix. Especially when I am tired of chewing. 😉

For Dinner, I rarely eat “dinner” as I am not hungry so around 5 PM I usually have a chunk of cheddar and a glass of water or a cup of herbal tea, along with my magnesium malate supplement. If for some reason insomnia kicks in later, I rise and have a 1/2 c. of whole milk and off I go to dreamland.

Take away, no not the food kind…but in closing:

  • The sugar/carb habit is broken.
  • I eat simple, good quality foods, while supporting sustainable, organic farming practices.
  • I am satisfied. No cravings.
  • I treat myself to chocolate (mentioned above)
  • I also occasionally crave a crunch, so I eat TJ’s olive oil potato chips, in very small quantities.
  • I also make kale chips at home…just type “kale” into the search bar of this blog.
  • The only oils/fats I consume are organic olive and grass-fed butter. Turns out I had an allergic reaction to coconut oil.
  • I boycott all imported avocados, as the farming practices are not sustainable and big Ag is robbing water from native people. Just Google this topic.
  • Cook at home. Involve the family. Turn off all devices while honoring food.
  • Find what green veggies you like and keep them either in the freezer (green beans) or your fridge (kale, veggie tops, fennel, sprouts). Even canned pumpkin makes a great addition to broths/soups/smoothies.
  • Nearly one year later, I never think of pasta or bread. I cooked pasta once in December… meh. I have organic quinoa occasionally, but last time I cooked it, it went wanting. The bread isle misses me.
  • My brain feels more focused and at my age that is a good thing. 😉
  • Stay well hydrated always with pure water only. I installed an RO system at home.
  • I use all the Himalayan salt I desire.
  • Since oceans are exploited, I do not eat sea salt, and rarely eat any fish. During summer months, I make Solo water (1 t. Himalayan salt>1 pint of water) instead of buying electrolyte water…works great.
  • Stay well away from caffeine. That too is highly addictive. My caffeine comes in bits of occasional chocolate and freshly brewed organic matcha.
  • Remind yourself that your body is indeed a temple. It will take much abuse, but revels in practice of moderation, purity, and simplicity.

Go well into 2020.

If we are not getting older, we are dead.

It is better to be over the hill than under it.

Copyright©2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

small steps


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Not sure why Kroger is taking until 2025 to discontinue plastic bags in stores. Other retailers are beginning to break the habit earlier. We as individuals can begin today by using only reusable cloth bags for shopping/ produce/errands. We can also boycott stores/vendors who refuse to stop this consumption of plastic. Do you agree?

Even here in Charlottesville, we have an independent coffee purveyor who refuses to cease offering plastic straws. I am working with local government to make local changes in ordinances, but apparently here a Dillon’s Rule applies. That needs to change. Why should any retailer profit if it is at the expense of the environment?

Anyway I am on a tear this winter, while the garden is dormant, to research and share knowledge on this blog. Are you with me? Let me know in the comments section as words will convey your opinions. Simply clicking the like button does not.

Although I reside in the foothills of central VA, we do have creeks, rivers, reservoirs, lakes, and waterways impacted by plastic pollution. Those of you who reside near oceans, the issues are more grand and your participation in local government decisions carry much weight.

Today I wrote to a vet at Woods Hole to find out more regarding sea turtle barnacle infestations. IF they reply, I will share that info here… in the meantime, have a look:

In the meantime, will you join in and stop using plastics today? Why not look at all the ways plastic enters your life/home. Small steps to reduce this infiltration will make a difference.

Refer to my last three blog posts for details.

Thank you. Diane

do no harm…


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photo of hawksbill sea turtle

Photo by Richard Segal on

The take away from much research on barnacle infested sea turtles is:

  •  everyday boaters should NEVER remove barnacles from infested sea turtles. This action can cause irreparable damage to the sea turtle…even death. There are specific protocols below.
  • What we as ordinary folk can do is to lessen overall pollution to our oceans. Usually infested sea turtles already have compromised immune systems. Two blogs back, I reported on ocean health…have you read that?
  • Take the time to read the following articles/monographs and share this information with anyone who lives in tropical areas where sea turtles inhabit.

WE can all make a difference one household at a time. Have you made a commitment to make positive changes to the way you consume/dispose?

Do no harm…do not squander magnificence. 

photo of sea turtle

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on

For those of you who want to expand your knowledge read this:

The power of the word can make a difference. WRITE to your local officials.

Plastics…a soapbox tale


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When I see videos like this:

And this:

And this:

I cannot rest. Plastics continue to pollute our oceans. Human ambivalence is choking ocean life.  Without healthy oceans and the creatures that live within, WE are toast — well done on both sides toast.

I began recycling in the early 1990’s when I lived in a condo in Arlington, Virginia. Just six of us residents at the condo designed the first curbside recycling program in Arlington. Working with our local/traditional waste hauler we succeeded to educate the area participants and this hauler soon became a millionaire as this recycling program gained traction.

Back then most people mindlessly tossed human-generated waste into the weekly bin and never gave it another thought. In 2008, I watched a PBS documentary entitled Carrier and was horrified to see what just one aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz (CVN68), was dumping into the ocean. These floating warships carry 6,000 + crew, sixty jets, and are deployed for months at a time. (This multi-series film is available online.)

In response to my 2008 concerns/letter, a Rear Admiral US Navy Director of Environmental Readiness replied with a two page document assuring me that many recyclables are merely shredded, placed into burlap bags, and discharged into the sea. This statement alone is one version, yet recorded in the documentary, aluminum cans (one example) and food waste were just dumped directly into the sea.  The Rear Admiral concluded…”These bags sink to the bottom of the sea and are slowly assimilated into the environment without harm.” Right.
Today, over a decade later, there are few fingers pointing at the environmental damage being done to our oceans by seagoing vessels of any kind. Just think how many ships are on our oceans at any one time. Can you guess?
Additionally, laws to restrict fishing gear are slow to protect our large mammals who suffer a slow death at sea from entanglements. Just search online to view these horror stories.
Landlubbers and third world countries are casting waste into waterways without conscience. Are you with me on this?

OK, so in 2020 how can we, as individuals, do better with our consumption and waste?

This is what I do already:

  • I do not hire a single stream waste hauler.  Since 1/3 of household waste is kitchen based (and compostable), I place all my organic kitchen waste into compostable bags (supplied by the recycling center), and drop off weekly to our local recycling center. Later, along with ground up Christmas trees, this compost is offered back to the community.
    If you think about your garbage, wet kitchen waste contaminates dry recyclables (cardboard and pasteboard) and both wind up in the landfill. If you have room to compost your kitchen waste at home (for your gardens), there is plenty of info online. If your waste hauler offers a separate bin for kitchen waste/compostables, sign up.
  • My community (150K population) has one designated location with large bins for source separation/recycling: Two for different plastics, and the others are for cardboard, pasteboard (cereal boxes) and mail slicks, office paper, glass, oyster shells (for repopulating the Chesapeake), mixed metals, newsprint, and aluminum cans. Christmas trees are also collected and shredded into mulch for residents. See my blog post on that topic here…
  • Recently our plastics collection changed, excluding ALL plastics above #2. Therefore all those yogurt/butter/spread/single serve/you-name-it containers now ALL GO TO A LANDFILL AND TAKE  THIS LONG TO BIODEGRADE:
  • Even black tinted #2 plastics are rejected. So all those pretty meat packages at grocery stores, yup, head to the dump around here. I wrote to Jeff Bezos to let him know, hoping WFM will discontinue the use of black #2 packaging. Amazon’s reply was that “regional” was informed. I will follow up.
  • AMZN does have a link (Amazon Second Chance) on their site as to where we can recycle packaging. This is a good thing, but it takes commitment to source separate your waste. Single Stream curbside “recycling” is totally inefficient as most goes to a landfill. Really!

In larger metropolitan areas around the world, there are waste-to-energy facilities where most/all waste is incinerated. Here is a link…

So if you do have a way to dispose of your waste by source separation in lieu of single stream, please make an effort. Source separation is highly more efficient and this effort can be a teaching moment for your children. Our trash does not simply “vanish” at curbside.

How we shop and handle our waste has consequences. 

AS of 2020 I decided NOT to buy any food/dairy in single use plastic containers or any container that cannot be recycled. (I now cringe when I see walls of dairy in stores…all in non-recyclable plastic!) This also includes single-use, plates, utensils, produce bags…the list goes on infinitum.

Why not make your own yogurt/cottage/cream cheeses and give up those products packaged in plastic? Glass makes a great storage container and they are all the rage now with secure, reusable BPA free lids.

Please be aware that plastic straws and balloons are both toxic to the environment and wildlife. Many marine mammals and shore birds suffer horribly from straws and entanglement from both the actual balloon and cords. When balloons are ingested, the sea life can no longer dive.

Take action: Please insist that your coffee shops discontinue use of PLASTIC straws…and forego those balloon releases…this act simply releases garbage into the air, rivers, and oceans causing havoc worldwide. Carry your own reusable coffee mugs to your barista.

This year I will continue to use both cloth/reusable produce bags and cloth totes every time I shop.


This company thoughtfully included the TARE on each bag label. A very good thing.  I found this product at TJMaxx… decided not to go the nylon route, and opted for organic, washable cotton AND the company is right here in Virginia. Check them out at  

If you do nothing else this year, discontinue using plastic grocery bags of any kind. Ask your local grocer to stop offering them. OR boycott all stores who use plastic bags. I will continue dialogue with markets like WFM, Trader Joe’s, and monster retailers like Kroger and Walmart. You too can make a difference…

Wow, have I lost you yet?

Creek bed in late August

Since we are on the topic of water…water is a nonrenewable resource. If you read the links above, you can see first hand what is going on in our oceans and rivers.

When it comes to home keeping, we can make a huge difference by not wasting/polluting potable water. Try these:

  • Do not leave faucets/hoses running.
  • Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth and while soaping up in the shower.
  • Collect cold water in the shower (as it turns to hot) in a bucket and use this to water your garden or houseplants.
  • Fix any leaky faucets/toilets.
  • Collect gray water from the kitchen and use it in the lawn/garden.
  • Do not put any medications down the toilet or drain. Many local pharmacies take back unused RX or OTC medications for free.
  • Do only large batches of laundry. Hand washing small items can be fast and water efficient if done rarely.
  • Use approved soaps, detergents and cosmetics.

IF we all commit make small changes to our busy lives, both we, our families, and our planet will benefit.

A bit of good news:

Your thoughts are appreciated in the comments section. As mentioned previously, I do not profit from mentioning sites or links.

Has this post inspired you to make changes? IF so, please share this post and inspire your friends to make changes too.

This blog is intended solely for education and inspirational purposes.

Copyright © 2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

Let’s clean up our act


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During the winter, when most of the garden is quiet, I keep my brain stimulated by turning my attention to my household and the products I use within. Many products are carryovers from habit. Since I make every attempt to live lightly on this earth, I decided in 2018 to look more closely. Yes, I use vinegar, baking soda, and other benign items, yet scrutiny was necessary for other areas. Fortunately, I discovered early on Do you know it? Hands down, it helped me rule out many products from kitchen, bath, body, dental, cosmetics, laundry, dishwasher, and window categories. Below are some winners that I tested personally and highly recommend. Many were recommended by my dermatologist, and although they are not all rated A, they are rated higher than most. And as a mature gardener, I must pay more attention to my skin, as you will discover below.

Go ahead, have a look at the products and see if they make sense to you. Do you use them already? Of course, every decision is yours. I just make every effort to respect the earth and reduce my carbon footprint. Furthermore, I will make clear that I do not profit by mentioning any products. This blog is solely intended for education and inspirational purposes.


Finally, a laundry detergent that delivers. My clothes have never been cleaner. Even my garden togs appear like new. I was happy to discover this jug at Walmart after finding a smaller size at Whole Foods Market at a much higher price.


Another fantastic find thanks to EWG. I found this at Whole Foods Market, fell in love with the cleaning power, then found this 45 tablet pack on AMZN for waaay less money. Go figure. Please note, I run my dishwasher at least twice per week, and NEVER rinse anything before loading…rinsing wastes incredible amounts of water folks. Not necessary with this product. No rinsing aids needed either. Glassware, flatware, pots, pans, you name it, all come out sparkling.


OK, now for the bath & body part of this report…


Normally I take five minute showers, but once a year I will splurge and fill the tub with bubbles, hot water, all my body brushes…dim the lighting, play a favorite CD, and off I go to blissville. Once I made an effort to carry the gray water to the yard, but my back later said “nah.” At least my septic drain field will be happy.


This bath pillow is a must. It came from the Body Shop years ago and is always ready when I take the plunge. Nearby is a bar of locally made soap. Ahhh.


I never used Herbal Essences (bio-renew) products until now. Thanks to EWG, I now know about Procter & Gamble’s efforts step up and clean up their products. When reading the fine print, not only are the ingredients 87-90% natural origin, P&G partnered with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for their endorsement ( and a portion of proceeds support the efforts of this grand historic English garden. Win, win! These products hit US shelves in 2018 but I bought from AMZN. FYI, the fragrance is mild/pleasant too.


Now to the nitty-gritty. As I age, I am always on the hunt for skin moisturizing products that deliver. I have returned buckets to BBB that failed my tests. The products seen here made the cut. The brands were both recommended by my dermatologist, and the specific types match my needs. So far so good. Just remember your coupons if you shop at BBB. I love that store!


First I began with the SA Cream in 2017, then when I faced skin cancer on my right hand this spring, I learned about the Healing Ointment. Now I mix the two…ointment into the SA Cream...great for dry legs, feet, hands. The EO bubbles came from WFM years ago and it is pleasant… with long lasting bubbles.


BEFORE PHOTO: Do you see the weird node between my two knuckles? It came up in early April 2019 and I just thought it was a thorn from the garden. When it failed to heal, I checked with my dermatologist and yes, indeed. The first biopsy revealed skin cancer! GULP! HOW??? I wear garden gloves and attempt slathers of sunscreen, but nope, the doc said, ” this is squamous cell carcinoma from cumulative sun exposure” … from driving the car to whatever else I did from childhood on. Growing up, I never wore sunscreen while horseback riding, swimming, mowing, or the like. And oh, that time I was badly burned when collecting clams during low tide while in Puerto Vallarta in the early ’70’s. Yes. My. Dears. UV rays are cumulative.


DAY AFTER MOHS SURGERY: This is the result of my brilliant surgeon who does nothing but MOHS cancer surgery. I was nearly bonkers by early November when the surgery day finally arrived. How much skin? How much loss of use? How much down time during my wreath/holiday season? I nearly needed anxiety medication. These questions could not be answered until biopsies were examined after each excision at the appointment. Thank angels, the doc removed all affected tissue the first round. After an hour, I was sent home with a bandage. And this is how I learned about the Healing Cream, as the wound was not stitched, just a daily bandage change with Healing Cream for six weeks while the area slowly healed from the edges. Today, I have no loss of use, no pain, just a small scar that will improve over the next year. In closing, let me be an example for readers…see your dermatologist annually for a full body check, and research/WEAR sunscreen. I was lucky this time. Melanoma (the worst skin cancer) will kill us if not discovered early.

The jars of ointment, salves, serums, and lotions will not only improve my overall skin appearance; I already see a difference. My hands appear years younger/smoother than these earlier photos. 😉

So dear followers, when you have time, please visit EWG and see if your current products/cosmetics/home products stand up to environmental scrutiny. Let’s all pay attention and do our part to ease the pressure on our beloved planet.

Since publication I learned about juice BEAUTY (, an organic fruit stem cell skincare technology that received high ratings. I am trying their mascara, foundation, and dust. Jury’s still out.

Go lightly into our tomorrows.

Are you inspired by this post? Comments are always welcomed. Cheers!

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