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Herbs I Know Nothing About, Pt. 2: Agrimony

Herbs I Know Nothing About, Pt. 2: Agrimony

Hello, friends!! Welcome back! Today we’re going to talk about another fascinating herb: agrimony. I was again going through my favorite herb website and found it! Continuing with the tradition of my post on vervain, I’ll present some research about it, including that which is backed by science. Unfortunately, unlike vervain, there isn’t a ton of research done with it. I also I want to talk about how I would personally use it. It turns out that it’s something I’d use a ton of.

Before we continue….

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.

Now, the first question we should answer is what does agrimony look and taste like?

Botanical.com has the answer:

From the long, black and somewhat woody perennial root, the erect cylindrical and slightly rough stem rises 1 or 2 feet, sometimes more, mostly unbranched, or very slightly branched in large specimens. The leaves are numerous and very rich in outline, those near the ground are often 7 or 8 inches long, while the upper ones are generally only about 3 inches in length. They are pinnate in form, i.e. divided up to the mid-rib into pairs of leaflets….

The flowers, though small, are numerous, arranged closely on slender, terminal spikes, which lengthen much when the blossoms have withered and the seed-vessels are maturing. At the base of each flower, which is placed stalkless on the long spike, is a small bract, cleft into three acute segments. The flowers, about 3/8 inch across, have five conspicuous and spreading petals, which are egg-shaped in form and somewhat narrow in proportion to their length, slightly notched at the end and of a bright yellow colour. The stamens are five to twelve in number. The flowers face boldly outwards and upwards towards the light, but after they have withered, the calyx points downwards.

Spiceography.com has information about the flavor: 

Agrimony’s fragrance is often likened to apricots or citrus fruit but its flavor is bitter and astringent. Because of this, you may want to sweeten it for making tea.

I want to find a suitable sweetener for it now.

Now that we have an idea of what it looks and tastes like, onto the next question: how is agrimony used medicinally?

Medicinal Uses Of Agrimony

Author’s Note: Using a lot of agrimony will make your skin more sensitive to light due to the chemicals it contains. Also, please bear in mind that I am not a medical professional. Any information I give about this herb is not intended to replace the advice or care of your doctors, nurse practitioners, etc.. Please talk to your docs about using agrimony if you have any questions!

I was doing some digging this morning and learned that agrimony has been used for centuries primarily as a diuretic (a substance that, for lack of a better description, makes you want to urinate more), a digestive aid, and as an astringent (something that makes body tissues contract) for wounds. Historically, the Anglo-Saxons used it much like it is used in modern times – typically as an astringent, to help with stomachaches, and to ease sore throats. Gargling boiling water with agrimony steeped in it was excellent for easing sore throats. 

On another note, medieval soldiers used it to treat gunshot wounds and people generally used it to back ailments, and hemorrhages. 

As stated in the introduction, there isn’t much cold, hard science backing it, though there is a 2013 study that confirmed a few of these properties. It’s also used for treating sore throats and as an anti-inflammatory. People also say that it’s effective for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I’ll be sure to keep that in mind as I add it to my herb stash. 

Now, here’s why I personally like it.

A Bit About Me: Why I Like Agrimony

To begin this story, we must first go back to the year 1998. I was a little baby who had just gone through a medical hell. My heart failed, and in order to fix that, the doctors hooked me up to a machine that would oxygenate my blood for me. After I was disconnected from that, they had to tie off my carotid artery on my right side. (The internal carotid arteries carry oxygenated blood to the brain.) I was at a high risk for having a stroke…and have a stroke I did. 

I suppose my tiny self forgot what life was for a second, pulled my breathing tube out of my throat, and promptly had a stroke. Being the angry individual I am, my anger was evident even after I had my stroke. Things were still bad after this ordeal. I couldn’t keep any food in my stomach, so I was given an operation called a Nissen fundoplication. This operation tied the top of my stomach around the bottom of my esophagus and made it so that food could go down, but couldn’t come up. This caused a lot of stomach pain while I was growing up because gas would get trapped in my digestive tract and took a long time to escape. 

Later on, I was also diagnosed with IBS myself. I would love to try agrimony because I think it could help with my stomachaches. There are days I want nothing more than for the pain and nausea to go away. The nausea and pain get really bad around the time of my period and it sucks. I want to make a different sort of anti-inflammatory tea for that. I think agrimony and peppermint would definitely help with this in general. 

Fantastic Herbs and Where To Find Them

I want to try agrimony in a blend with anise and peppermint! Try it along with me! Pick up your herbs at the links below. 

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Like Swallowing Fire: Special Edition Tea Making Post

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Hello, friends! I have created this very special special edition of Order In Discord to discuss something very important – swallowing fire.

If you’ve hung around here for a while, you might remember my ginger + turmeric + red pepper anti-inflammatory potion. Ever since making it that one night, I have wanted to make it again. While I was at the grocery store, I found fresh ginger and turmeric. I snatched some up (about 0.6 lbs each), checked out, and headed home.

Eating ginger is like swallowing fire.
Ginger and turmeric roots.

The first task was chopping them up. I was really scared to peel them because I don’t like sharp objects. It took a lot of courage to even cut them.

A bit of a digression here…

Before I picked up the ginger and turmeric, I heard a song that my dad and I both loved – “Walk on the Ocean” by Toad The Wet Sprocket – in the grocery store. I almost started bawling in the middle of the aisle. It’s been a really hard week for me with regards to grief. I think my dad was hanging around last night. My husband was talking to our housemate about how engines work while I worked on last night’s post about the sleepytime tea. Their discussion reminded me of one my dad would have. I thought of that song in the store, last night, and the process of getting over my fear of knives as I cut the ginger and turmeric.

The chopped turmeric.

People have told me that the only way to get over a fear is to face it head on. In the case of knives, I must learn to use a knife if I’m ever going to stop being afraid of them, so I did a courageous thing today and cut the turmeric and ginger up into little pieces.

Stock Pot Tea

After all of the chopping was done, I stuck the pieces in a stock pot and covered them with water. I put the pot on the stove on high heat, stirring it as it came to a boil. I also added 2 cinnamon sticks and a healthy (?) dose of crushed red pepper. I kept stirring as it boiled, and the result was a dark brown liquid. It was incredibly spicy by the time I pulled it off the stove, so spicy that it took 3 cups of whole milk to get the burn to go away at one point.

(Tip for those sensitive to spice: milk is good at getting spicy pain to go away, but butter is better.)

The tea in a mug.

It got less spicy as it cooled, or I got used to it, seeing as I’m on cup #6 of the stuff, I think. I’ve lost count. I still have a long way to go to finish the pot. I want to make this tea when I’m sick because it cleaned out my sinuses! It’s spicier than a lot of hot sauces I’ve tried at restaurants. I’m pretty sure that people who are used to spice would have no problem with it, though.

Like Swallowing Fire

At first I titled this post “Like Swallowing Fire” because I wanted it to have a cool name. After some thought, though, it’s more accurate than I imagined it it would be.

I have been doing a lot of thought about spiritual tests and the nature of grief these last few days. It’s been hard, especially with my dad’s birthday a bit ago. When I’m not writing blog posts, I deal in a lot of imagery because I love to write poetry. I think the image of swallowing fire goes beyond the taste of tea. In my life, I can either swallow the fire and show up to life, or the fire can swallow me. It’s my choice. I’ve been going through a lot of difficult things lately. Like braving the taste of spicy tea, dealing with grief, and cutting turmeric, I can either plunge headlong into hard things or run away from them. The question I must answer is: will this break me?

My answer is no. Absolutely not.

Thank you for reading.

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Herbs I Know Nothing About, Part One: Vervain

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A Research Project, Part 1."

Hey, all! I was scrolling through my favorite herb website to see what all they had to offer. I was looking for something I could write about that I’d had before, not something I was unfamiliar with like vervain or motherwort. It turns out that their selection was more extensive than I had previously thought, and there were many herbs I had indeed never even heard of before. A few caught my eye and I thought what on Earth are these? Why have I never heard of them before? I was very curious about them, so when I got up this morning, I decided to research these herbs I know nothing about and then write about them here. I will also add some suggested herbs to blend with the herb of the day.

Before we continue….

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.

Today’s herb is….drumroll, please: vervain!

You might be asking what the heck is a vervain? right about now. Believe me, that was my reaction, as well. After researching, I learned more about it and it’s pretty cool! Here’s a little bit about this spectacular plant!

A Bit About Vervain

This is an herb of many names. Its proper name is Verbena officinalis. It’s sometimes called the Herb of Grace, Herb of the Cross, Simpler’s Joy, and Juno’s Tears, to name a few names it goes by. However, it is more commonly known as verbena. Vervain is not to be confused with lemon verbena. They are two different species of plants, though they both have medicinal properties. There are around 250 species of verbena in the world, fun fact! I even got vervain and lemon verbena confused at first! Let’s talk a bit more about the medicinal properties of vervain. I got this information here and here.

Vervain’s Medicinal Properties

Before we continue: If you’re interested in trying vervain, don’t take it if you’re pregnant. It can induce labor. Also, while I am citing my sources, I am not a doctor. Please use vervain with caution and ask your doctor any questions you may have about it.

I learned in my research that people have been using vervain for centuries to treat many things from anxiety and depression to cramps and pain relief to insomnia and beyond. It’s been used as an anti-spasmodic (relaxant), a treatment for upper respiratory infections, and as a sedative.

Studies About Vervain

A 2006 study in Spain showed that it was effective as an anti-inflammatory in rats. A 2016 study on mice given vervain extract provided evidence for vervain’s ability to act as an anti-convulsant. The mice that were given the vervain also slept more and were less anxious than the control group given a placebo. I thought that this was super cool. I also wondered about how vervain functions in traditional witchcraft.

Vervain in Witchcraft/Spellwork

While searching for information on this topic, I found a website that said it better than I can.

“It is used as protective herb, to open up the third eye, to help the user to be more intuitive and to bring blessings into your life. You can steep the herbs in water or oil for later use. It’s great for cleansing and purifying spaces and magical tools, and for taking before going to bed if you are doing dream work.”

Chris-Anne.com

It’s most commonly consumed in tea and has a bitter flavor. According to the website HealthyHildegard.com, the medieval abbess and saint Hildegard Von Bingen thought this of the flavor:

The traditional application of medicinal vervain is in tea. The flavor of vervain tea takes some getting used to. Our modern palettes are less accustomed to bitter flavors and vervain is particularly bitter.  

Hildegard extoled the virtues of bitter flavors and encouraged working to improve our tolerance for bitter herbs. Notwithstanding the taste, vervain has played an important role in healing and herbal magic since ancient times. So, you should try to include it in your natural holistic healing regimen. Making your own vervain tea is a great way to start.

Healthyhildegard.com

This brings us to the big question of this post – after learning what we have about vervain, how do we use it for ourselves?

Let’s Make Our Own Tea!

Healthy Hildegard has a recipe!

Mix ten dry grams (approx 1/3 ounce) each of vervain, thyme, elderflower, cowslip primrose, and peppermint. 
Add 2 heaping teaspoons of the herbal mixture per one cup of hot water. Allow to steep for ten minutes. 
Drink two to three cups daily, but for no longer than a week (and not during pregnancy). You can drink vervain tea to treat any of the conditions listed previously, but it works particularly well for stomach ailments of all kinds. It will also strengthen your liver and kidneys. 
We often talk about the value of bitter substances, particularly as digestive agents. Vervain has a bitter flavor profile so it is also a natural way to add bitter flavors into your diet.

Healthyhildegard.com

Curious about where to get these herbs? I got you…on everything but the cowslip primrose. I couldn’t find it.

Thank you for reading!! Check out these related posts!
How To Use Chamomile
Frankenstein’s Sleepytime Tea

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Frankenstein’s Sleepytime Tea: A Blend of Blends

Hello, friends! In today’s post we’re returning to the kitchen to talk about a very important tea blend I have crafted. I call it Frankenstein’s Sleepytime Tea. I gave it that name because it’s a tea blend made up of other blends. Side note: Victor Frankenstein and his monster might have encountered the herbs in the tea! I’ll post links to get the herbs in the blend at the end. Without further ado, here’s the story.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.

The Beginning: A Crazy Idea

Like almost all good stories, our tea story begins with someone having a crazy idea. In this story’s case, the person who had the idea was me. My husband wanted me to drink chamomile tea to try and get my body to calm down during an allergic reaction. Being the crazy one that I am, I added more things to the chamomile that sounded good based off of the research I did for my chamomile post. Suffice it so say that my husband was displeased with this venture, but it did help me feel better. Here’s how it happened.

The Process: Making The Sleepytime Tea

I had a handful of tea blends in bags sitting around, plus a bag of lavender. I knew that lavender blended well with chamomile, so I popped some lavender in a jar, ripped open several K-cups and tea bags filled with chamomile, then added an echinacea blend. Echinacea is an immune booster. It could help, I thought. The blend also contained lemongrass and spearmint. Lemongrass and spearmint also popped up in another blend, so that blend went into the jar. It also contained marshmallow root, which helps with sore throats. Again, I figured it would help, so it went in. I added a bag of peppermint tea, which made it smell heavenly. Then I brewed up a batch.

Sleepytime Tea brewing.
The brewing tea.

It was absolutely delicious. I did end up feeling better and the tea was very calming. I want to recreate this blend on a larger scale, so I asked my husband what he would do if he found a small barrel filled with several pounds of the tea inside on the countertop. His response was not the most positive thing ever.

I’ve picked out the herbs from Starwest Botanicals. They come in one pound bags. I recommend getting the bulk bags because you have more to experiment with later.
Chamomile
Lemongrass
Spearmint
Peppermint
Lavender
Marshmallow root
Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea angustifolia
Cinnamon

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Is It Possible To Have Too Many Ideas?

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Hello, all! I am a person of ideas. Ideas are magical. I have many crackpot ideas, some of which are good (like making good food), others are bad, and still others are just weird.

For example, yesterday was National Album Day. I felt left out, so I played my bass with a brass slide for 31 minutes, recorded the whole thing, and popped it on the web under the name sbass.wav. That idea was completely random, but it came to fruition quite well. I am very much a person that flies by the seat of my pants when it comes to my ideas and implementing them.

Burnout

This can make me very exciting and also very, very frustrating to be around. I bite off more than I can chew frequently and spend a long periods of time feeling overextended. I work very well with projects that I can complete quickly with a large rush of creativity, like recording albums in one night. This doesn’t translate well to, say, building a video game. The burnout happens when the novelty wears off.

This is something I’d like to work on. I know consistency is key here. I have the time for everything I want to do currently, I just need to make time for all the things I want to do.

Excuses

I can make all the excuses in the world, but the biggest one I make in writing is that eventually, I think that nobody seems to care about the project but me. “Seems” is the important part here because there are people who care. I was told for a long time to not talk about things like minor plot details in my work in progress all day, so I am hesitant to talk about what I write. I’m gonna throw that mostly out the window.

I’ve been working on a book for 5 years now. It’s come a long way since the original 2014 draft. I write it in great spurts and then stop because I’m afraid of boring people when it’s on my mind. It’s become massive and sprawling, and I want nothing more than to talk about it when I am actually writing.

The Question

This has always caused me to call my ideas into question. I was afraid for a very long time of being a bull in a china shop as far as ideas go – being too intense, too much. I’m thankful for my husband, who has gone to great lengths to tell me that I’m not crazy for having a lot of ideas and being passionate about them. I do, however, need to make goals and stick to them.

How can I do that?

An example: I have a goal to get 1,000 page views a week on OID. I am almost there! OID amassed 508 views this last week and 700 in total! To get these results, I am being consistent, blogging every day, and posting on Instagram and Pinterest occasionally. The same type of thing needs to happen with the book and the music! I need to be consistent.

A Little Time

I have found that with blogging, carving out a little time for writing and doing blog related things each day is not only helpful, but very satisfying. Getting up from my chair after an intense writing session and stretching is the best feeling ever. I want to do the same thing with writing my book, practicing my instruments, and job searching. I need to continue working to find balance.

So yes, ideas are great. I am learning, though, they are not very good without goals and action. Let’s go!

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Are The Things I Do Worthwhile?

Are the things I do worthwhile?

Hey, all. Lately I’ve been asking myself, “are the things I do worthwhile?” because I’ve been getting caught up in a spiral where I berate myself for making tiny mistakes and tell myself that I can’t do anything right. That’s untrue, of course – I can write, I can sing, I can make art, I can cook…but will those ever get me anywhere? Are these activities even worth pursuing? I ask this because I currently don’t have steady work.

I’m a history tutor, but it’s a numbers game there and I only really make steady money when people are panicking about their grades. Meanwhile, those around me have steady work, are making money, and are achieving more goals than me. This is mostly my fault. I was fine with this state up until about a month ago, but now I’m not and I feel awful. As a result, I feel like I have nothing to offer the universe at present and that what I currently do doesn’t matter.

Feelings Aren’t Facts

It’s kind of a downward spiral.

The things I do do matter, of course, but it doesn’t feel like they do. It’s time to make an important point here: feelings aren’t facts. A wise therapist taught me that many year ago and I try to remember it. Most times I forget. When I remember, however, things are better. There is a definite disconnect between feeling and fact here. I do things that matter. My writing matters. My music matters.

I realized last night that I feel guilty about pursuing things I love because I feel that I don’t deserve them. That’s another thing that’s not true. Feelings aren’t facts. I feel like all of my energy should be devoted to looking for work, not writing posts or checking stats or even playing instruments. That’s not true. Of course I should keep searching and searching hard, but I do deserve to enjoy life and do things I love. So what does this mean in practice?

Time, Patience, and Balance

If I give it time and patience, I will see my creative work pay off. I need to be consistent with it, as well. If I drop off the face of the Earth for weeks at a time, it will take longer to be successful. It’s patience that is the hard part. I’m flat-out afraid that nothing I do will pay off, that I’ll be stuck here forever. Something I need to remember is that nothing lasts forever. Nothing bad can exist without something good and vice versa – when discomfort or outright suffering happens, something good will come of it. I need to do something important, though.

Tea helps me calm down.

This is a dirty word for me – I need to find balance. That’s a dirty word for me because I have no idea how to do it most days. Making my lists helps, but sometimes that leads to me spending hours playing Athena (my bass) with a slide and then there goes any semblance of time management. I’m thankful for my husband for providing me with the slide, but practicing my instruments is so engaging that I forget that time is a thing. It’s bad. It’s definitely something to work on.

The simple answer is yes, the things I do are worthwhile. The slightly longer answer is that yes, but I need to find balance and be patient with everything. You might be thinking now, “yeah, this is is great and all, but how in the world does this apply to me? Are the things I do worthwhile?”

Are The Things You Do Worthwhile? How Do You Find Balance?

Yes. Anything good you do is worthwhile. Just keep at it. Your efforts and experiences are sacred and you should hold onto those and celebrate your victories. Celebrate them even if they are small. Regarding how you find your own balance, you can use my tips above. It might be different for you, and that’s okay! Many people recommend mindfulness, but mindfulness makes my anxiety worse. I begin to see everything around me instead of feeling grounded. It may work for you!

I often set intentions consciously or unconsciously while I make tea.

Another favorite activity of mine is setting intentions while I work, especially while I’m cleaning or cooking. I personally think of intentions like making wishes. If you put belief behind those wishes, they will come true. They’re especially powerful with I statements, like saying I am powerful or I attract money or I attract good things to my life. You can do the same things for your house or an object, like I will find my wedding ring or May I find my wedding ring. You can attract balance into your life by saying something similar.

What helps you with your self worth? Do you think the things you do are worthwhile? Let me know in the comments!

If this post helped you in any way, consider buying the blog a coffee here. OID runs entirely on donations, so any coffees we receive go towards gathering supplies and trying new things! Thank you!

How To Celebrate The Birthday Of A Spirit

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Hey, all! It’s my dad’s birthday today, October 11. He died in 2016 and I’m still trying to work through it all. One of the questions I’ve been asking myself in the last few days is “How do I celebrate his birthday if he’s a spirit now?”

If I’m honest, I didn’t have a plan going into this post. My cousin put it best. He said that my dad would not have wanted me to be sad. Instead, he would want us to go launch some fireworks and have fun. So that’s exactly what I think I should write about today. I’m writing from personal experience, so take what you will from it!

The Nature Of Spirits

The first thing I want to talk about is the very concept of spirits. I strongly believe that those who have passed on are still around. I believe that my dad is even my husband’s spirit guide. It’s a firm belief of mine that my dad watches over the entire family, but over my love specifically. I hoped that he would be my spirit guide, but I got enough of his guidance while he was alive. It’s time for him to guide my husband, and he has!

The spirits of those who have died leave us signs and even talk to us! It’s a belief of mine that if we acknowledge them, they will communicate more. So for my dad’s birthday, I am going to first make a special effort to reach out to him today.

Things to Do On Birthdays

It would be cool if I could light off some fireworks in his honor, but it is snowing (yes, snowing!!) outside and there are many trees in the area, so…bad idea all around. I want to light a candle today instead, even if just for a moment. I might put some of my essential oil blend that reminds me of him in my diffuser instead if candles don’t work. It has a green light setting, the color of the candle I got for him.

Food To Celebrate

Another thing I want to do to celebrate is birthday is eat good food. He loves oatmeal cookies, but I don’t know if I can eat oatmeal on keto. I don’t think I can. He loved to make peanut butter cookies, so I might eat a lot of peanut butter because I ate all the eggs yesterday…whoops. Cookies are out. We also have a saute packet with garlic chicken, so I will cook that today and set an intention with it. I also want to brew some tea and prepare it in his honor.

I also think music is a part of it. His favorite band was the Police and he also loved U2, the Decemberists, and the Waterboys. I sang “Drowning Man” by U2 at his funeral. Here it is for reference:

I love U2 as well. There might be a marathon a few of their albums today in his honor, although “Drowning Man” makes me cry.

As part of my craft, I love to cook things that my ancestors loved to cook. Someday I’d love to get on my Mimi’s level and cook lobster mac and cheese. She actually made that and it was delicious. My dad’s specialty was chili. I want to make all of the food they cooked. My Mimi even made coffee perfectly. I hope she guides my cooking someday.

But what if the spirit is someone you had a hard relationship with while they were alive? What if you barely knew them as a living person?

How To Celebrate The Birthday of A Spirit Who Was Hard To Love – Or How Not To

My take on this is a possibly controversial one. I believe that if you had a bad relationship with someone who is now a spirit while they were alive, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to celebrate them on their birthday. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. Nobody should make you do so. It’s kind of the same thing as people trying to get you to interact with family that you feel uncomfortable around. That’s unacceptable on all counts. If you love and care about the spirit, celebrate them. If you feel uncomfortable around or angry at the spirit, don’t bother celebrating or even take steps to banish them. It is up to you. Always. Thank you for reading!

If this post helped you, please do the following:

  1. Check out my post about talking to spirit guides!
  2. Consider buying the blog a coffee here! OID runs entirely on donations, so all the coffees the blog receives help me expand and try new tea blends and recipes!

What Do Songs Look Like? Let’s See!

Hi, friends! I have been thinking a lot about art. Painting, as I said in my last post, is one of my favorite ways to express myself. I don’t do it often enough, though, and that’s upsetting. It takes a lot out of me to paint sometimes. This is because I know what songs look like (to me). It’s kind of a magick power.

My mind does this weird thing where I see sound as shapes and sometimes colors. I’m unsure if it qualifies as synesthesia because my color associations are more rare. Flavors also take the form of shapes for me, though to a lesser extent. Savory flavors are round, almost like a bowl turned upside down or the Bean sculpture in Chicago.

I like to think of my possible synesthesia as something like this scene from Disney’s Ratatouille.

This is so similar to how I experience sounds and flavors that I want to learn how to animate just so I can convey what I perceive. This itself is magick. I love making art and food just so I can even attempt to convey how the sounds and flavors look. I fall short many times when painting because what I perceive moves and I don’t yet know how to animate it, but what I make is really cool. There are going to be a few YouTube links to songs in here, be warned. This is “Love Comes Tumbling”, the first song I ever painted. The painting follows.

What do songs look like? Two examples -“Love Comes Tumbling” and “Paper Trails”

Love Comes Tumbling”, the song.
“Love Comes Tumbling”, the painting.

I saw most of the song as those circles because this song seemed to spin and loop. I am pretty happy with this one, but others get more complex. This is why I would love to learn to animate. There’s another song I painted that I love. This is “Paper Trails” by Darkside.

“Paper Trails” the song.

A painting of "Paper Trails" by Darkside. I can see what this song looks like.
“Paper Trails” the painting.

I often get the shapes of the songs I paint right, but it takes several times to get the colors right. I could have gone with a darker background with “Paper Trails”, but I like the color choice as a whole. So what goes into painting a song?

The Act Of Painting

So what does the act of creating song art look like? I decided to paint “Polymorphing” by Chairlift because that’s been my jam lately. It took me about 15 minutes to paint what you see in this video before it stopped recording. Also, it’s not true to color because I had my night settings on. It was only 7:45 AM when I started painting. I paint on a program called Autodesk Sketchbook on my phone because my phone is the most high-tech product I have. It’s also the most true to color.

You’ll see me restarting the song over and over in the video. I want to get an accurate feel for it.

The “Polymorphing” video.
Completed painting.

I think the human mind is magical. I see what songs look like. You may be excellent in math. We all have things we’re good at. I used to think my mind was nothing special because my art and music skills come naturally. It took people saying “how do you do that?!” in order for me to realize I was special. We are all special. You may be able to do gymnastics, you may be able to paint realistically. You may be an excellent public speaker. We are all special. We are all magical. How do you make magick?

Stay cool!

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How Do I Cope With Setbacks?

Hey! As a kitchen witch, I do a lot of work in the kitchen. I was taught by my parents and my grandmother Mimi that food helps me. Food also helps others. I turn to food for comfort a lot, especially since I’ve been having a lot of setbacks and playing waiting game after waiting game. Food helps me cope with setbacks I encounter.

To me, a setback is where you have a goal and you’re trying to achieve it, but something sets you back and you have to either wait, find a new path, or both. I have some special ways to help myself and others cope with setbacks in healthy ways, some involving food, some not. Let’s get started!

1.) Find a new way to look at the setback.

First, I want to talk about looking at the setback in a new, different way. I’m not saying to look it as an entirely positive way, but instead to look at it from a different angle. Re-evaluate where you are. Let me tell you about one of the most major setbacks I’ve experienced recently. My husband and I found out that we likely won’t be able to get a house we really wanted. It might take longer since I’ve had a few plans fall through, as well. That’s forced us to look at our goal in a different way.

What do we want to do now? How can we modify our goal to adapt to the setback? I’ve been job hunting and working here on OID to start. I know it’s a long game and a long road ahead of us. I’m not hunting for get-rich-quick schemes because I know it’s a long game, but am instead (trying to) be patient. By re-evaluating our goal, I’ve been able to realize that all is not lost because results were not immediate.

2.) Track your experiences.

This tip comes from this post on Nerd Knows Life. She writes about how tracking one’s own experiences can lead to inspiration in the future. I’d like to add that tracking your experiences can help you cope with a setback. I kept a journal for many years and it is very interesting to see how much I changed from a giggly, boy crazy 12-year-old to being crazy about my husband (whom you can read about in this post) to infinity and beyond. It is also interesting to see how I failed, how I coped with this failure, and how I ultimately succeeded.

It might help you to write down your experiences if that’s your thing. I have built an enormous body of work in poetry and music that also serves as a rough chronicle of my life and story. I focus more on the setbacks themselves in the music with more of both in the poems. My poem set “Futility + Joy” talks a lot about finding only despair in the first part and finding joy in the second part. It’s things like that that give me hope when I’m faced with a setback.

3.) Don’t panic.

This one is important, for I am a firm believer in getting what we need when we need it. As a result, I believe that setbacks aren’t here to make me panic, they’re here to make me learn. That helps me cope with these setbacks when they come. When I want to panic, I talk about what’s going on with my husband and people I can trust. They provide comfort and insight when I am sad about something. Because of this, I feel better. I also refer to the first point and try to look at things in a different way.

So let’s talk about short term solutions if you do find yourself panicking or sad.

How do I cope with setbacks in the short term?

1.) Practice self care.

We talked a few days ago about self care. I like to keep busy, you might like to chill out and do things that make you happy.

2. Make yourself laugh!

An example of something that matches my sense of humor from Tumblr.

Laughter is one of the best things I can get when I’m feeling sad, angry, or stressed. Browsing YouTube is always awesome. I also love browsing Tumblr occasionally because there are some funny things on there from time to time. Tumblr posts are great because a lot of them are off-the-wall. I have a Tumblr blog spanning over half a decade that’s filled with stuff like that. Find what makes you laugh and visit it often.

3. Relax.

How Do I Cope With Setbacks?
The mandolin I’m getting soon.

What do you like to do to relax? I love to play my instruments and write. In fact, the very act of blogging relaxes me. It took a long time to find out what works to help me relax, but once I found what helps, I learned how to use it. Running and painting also help. Painting is a huge help because it’s tactile and not something I often do. A lot of times painting is pure venting for me.

Last but not least, I love to cook and try new foods and teas! What helps you deal with setbacks?

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How To Use Chamomile

How To Use Chamomile - A Tea Blend Guide

Hello, all! If you had a childhood like mine, you had chamomile tea to help you settle down before bed. It is a popular sleep aid and just the tea itself can be very calming! If I ever have little ones running around, I’ll whip up a batch of tea that includes this glorious herb before bed! It will be a staple of my kitchen. Did you know that this herb blends very well with other herbs? This post will walk you through how to use it and what to blend it with.

I love blending chamomile with other herbs. Chamomile is very mild and smooth. It doesn’t have the tanginess of hibiscus or the bite of mint. It blends well with many other herbs. I have tried it with blended with jasmine and blended with lavender, but I’ve found some other interesting recommendations from around the web that I’d like to try. Let’s talk about blends!

Jasmine + Chamomile

This blend is absolutely amazing and smooth. I made it for a friend whom I actually met in a coffee shop and then drank almost all of it myself. The blend is named “Smooth Criminal” because of how smooth and delicious it was. I blended it using a 1:1 ratio. It’s cool that I drank a lot of it, but I’m also sad that my friend didn’t get to try.

Regarding where to get these herbs, I like Frontier Co-op’s selection and quality! I’m not affiliated with them in any way, I just like their products. Another awesome thing is that they have free economy shipping on orders over $25. Pick up your jasmine and chamomile here and here.

Adding Lavender to the Mix

Lavender is another calming herb that smells great to most people and helps them chill out. If you like lavender, I highly recommend adding it to your tea blend. It’s got a slightly heavier flavor that I really enjoy. You can also add jasmine again, either by itself or with chamomile. Have fun with it and pick up your lavender here.

Here Be Dragons

Here are some blends that I have yet to try that looked interesting. I found them on the forums at TeaChat.com. Some people suggested pairing it with spearmint, hibiscus, or lemongrass. I personally want to try it with valerian (another sleep aid) for maximum sleep time. I’ll try all of them!

How do you like to blend chamomile, tea fans? Let me know in the comments!

If this post helped you, please do two things:

  1. Check my other tea post out!
  2. Consider buying the blog a coffee on Ko-Fi! OID runs entirely on donations. All the caffeine that we receive go towards growing the blog, buying new herbs, and trying new things! Click that lovely red button below!
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