It’s a Giveaway!

giveaway graphic 10-2015One of my favorite holidays is just around the corner, and, to celebrate, I’ve put together a giveaway!  This will end at midnight on Halloween, and one winner (picked at random from the comments below) will get these treats:

  • a PLANT WEEDS: THE “S” MAKES IT LEGAL t-shirt.  It’s a unisex size XL in a nice dark chocolate brown.
  • a copy of Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide
  • three travel-sized spray bottles of Urban Moonshine bitters (one each of their maple, original, and chamomile bitters)

I’m pretty excited about this little package:

UM spraysUrban Moonshine bitters – in addition to being delicious – are ideal to have around during the approaching holiday season.  You can read here all about how bitters help curb sugar cravings, balance the appetite, soothe gas and bloating, and relieve upset stomach.  There are always more sweets around than usual through November and December and – whether I want to pass on having an extra cookie at work or alleviate the effects of indulging at a family party – I find it’s a huge help to have bitters close to hand.  These little spray bottles are convenient and also just fun.  Urban Moonshine’s maple bitters are a delicious choice for the bitters newbie (or anyone who’s mad about maple).  Their original bitters are yummy and complex, and the chamomile bitters are beautifully aromatic and soothing.  I’m a big fan of dandelions (as you can tell from the seed featured on the “Plant Weeds” t-shirts), and all three of these contain organic dandelion root and leaf.

RG Med HerbsRosemary Gladstar‘s Medicinal Herbs is a perfect introduction to herbalism for the beginner, but also has tons of material and recipes for more experienced herbalists.  This is the book I like to keep on hand to give to people who you can tell really want to try herbalism but just haven’t taken that first step yet.  The photography is gorgeous and – like most, probably all, of Storey Publishing‘s books – the design and layout are inviting and easy to use.  Rosemary’s style of writing is personable and rich, and her instructions are accessible and practical.  This book features sections on 33 easy to obtain plants, including culinary herbs like basil and turmeric as well as wild and weedy species like dandelion and plantain.  There are plenty of recipes in this book for enjoying during winter months, but it’ll also have you planning your garden and forays into foraging come spring.  You might even decide to set aside some space in your garden for weeds!

Image-2The PLANT WEEDS – THE “S” MAKES IT LEGAL shirt is my own design, and is locally printed by Amalgamated Culture Works.  It’s made of super soft organic cotton.  You can read more about these t-shirts here, and if you can’t wait until November to find out if you’ve won, you can order one here.

How can you enter to win these goodies?  I’m glad you asked!  You can enter up to four times.  When you log in to leave a comment, make sure to enter a correct and valid email address, so I’ll be able to get in touch with you.  Leave a comment for each individual entry:

  1. What’s one of your favorite weeds?  Do you harvest it?  Have you planted it?  Tell me in the comments of this post.
  2. Visit a Vaguely Bohemian shop.  Poke around a little.  Come back and – in a comment on this post – tell me what’s most important to you about these shirts (that they’re organic? that they’re printed locally?) or something you’d like to see (e.g. a different color or fabric).
  3. Follow Vaguely Bohemian via your method of choice, e.g. email (sign up in the righthand sidebar, under “Stay in the Know”) or  twitter (@vaguelybohemian).  Comment and tell me you’ve done this.  Are you already following Vaguely Bohemian?  Comment and tell me so.
    PLEASE NOTE:  You can also find Vaguely Bohemian on Facebook, but following on Facebook is excluded from this method of entry, due to Facebook’s terms.
  4. Share this giveaway, or a Vaguely Bohemian shop, via your method of choice.  This might be word of mouth, on your own blog, on twitter, etc.  Comment on this post and tell me you’ve done this.
    PLEASE NOTE:  Sharing on Facebook is excluded from this method of entry, due to Facebook’s terms.

Good luck!  The entry period ends at midnight EST on 10/31/15, and the winner will be drawn on 11/1.

Giveaway ends 10/31/15 at midnight EST. Open to residents of the US only.  (Shipping address must be in the US.)   Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Vaguely Bohemian will send the prize to the  winner directly. The products offered for the giveaway are free of charge, no purchase necessary. This giveaway is administered by Vaguely Bohemian only, and Facebook and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway.  If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email!


I put parental controls on my own devices: Here’s why (and how)

Polylerus at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Does being online sometimes make you feel like one big busy head? There’s an app for that. (Image is “The Wikipedian” by Polylerus)

 Screens are ever so shiny, and I’ve always been something of a magpie.  No matter how much I know – in my brain and bones and even my toes – that I’ll be happier spending the day gardening outside, the screen is still alluring.  It’s even more captivating at night, when I can ensconce myself in a comfy chair and the pale glow of the monitor.  Inside that screen, there is so much internet.  So many thoughts on so many subjects, lots of which are genuinely important.  I confess, I’ve spent too many hours researching and exploring late into the night.  Worse, when I finally do lie down and turn out the light, my brain stays busy, insists on continuing to click away at various subjects and to-dos.  I have yet to wake particularly enlightened for my evenings of seemingly important ether-surfing, nor do those sessions help me wake up well-rested or cheerful.

I’ve decided that computers might as well help me with the solution as well as the problem:  I’m retraining my inner screen-junkie with what are essentially parental controls for grown-ups.

On my pocket oracle (aka an ipod touch), I use Moment, an app that allows you to set limits on the amount of time you spend plugged in each day.  I have it set to send me a gentle notification after every half hour spent on-screen –  a good reminder that the day is passing by outdoors as well as on the clock in the corner of the screen – and to kick me off after a few hours of accumulated screen time.  The more important feature for me, though, is that it lets you set screen-free hours.  I use this to keep myself off this tiny-but-addicting screen from 9:30pm until the morning.

When working past 9:30, I use my laptop, which has the genius program f.lux installed.  While this program doesn’t actually kick me off the computer, it changes the overall tone of the monitor’s display throughout the evening, getting more and more amber starting at sunset.  What’s the point? While light of any kind can suppress melatonin (and so interfere with sleep), blue light, like that from your computer screen, does so more powerfully.  Since I started using f.lux, I find that I’m more likely to turn the computer off as soon as I’m done the work I genuinely want to do, and I’m much less likely to get distracted and click this link and that link and always one more link.  Even better, when I do go to bed, my mind is quieter.  I no longer feel like I’m click-click-clicking at whatever thoughts rise up, but instead can let them float off and take care of themselves for the evening.  If you ever work on a computer after dark, this program is a boon to your sleeping self.

It’s been said that one of the most important skills these days is knowing what questions to ask Google, or your search engine of choice.  But it’s still even more important to ask yourself the right questions.  “Do I really want to be online right now?” and “Is it really productive/creative/useful for me to be online right now?” are two questions in my daily repertoire, and I’m all for any tools that help me remember to ask them.  There is, after all, so much world outside of the screen.


Fired Up about Fire Cider

This post was updated on 2/26 to include new links, and to reflect changes re: the applicable Facebook page.

You may have heard that the term “fire cider” has been trademarked – a term that Rosemary Gladstar coined and that has since become common parlance for a preparation involving deliciously warming herbs like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and turmeric; apple cider vinegar; and honey.  Like many, I was appalled to hear this.  The herbal community is in many ways a gift economy, whereas this move has every appearance of shameless commercialism.  To remove a term in common usage – one that herbalists all over the world use thanks to Rosemary’s generous teaching of this recipe – is detrimental both to the herbal community and to the English language.  Already, words that herbalists might or might not otherwise choose to use are exclusively the realm of the medical community (“diagnose, treat, or prevent” are forbidden except in a disclaimer, and even “tincture” may be iffy because of its early use in conventional medicine), but it’s a new twist for Shire City, an herbal company, to take “fire cider” away from the herbal community.

The good news is that this is not the end of the story.  Here are some resources to keep up on the news and to help make sure that the story ends well:


Halloween Hauntings and Giveaway!

Hello and welcome round the campfire!  Pull up a seat – and throw on some extra logs, if you like, since the nights are getting longer and chillier as we head toward Halloween.  I hope your journey – from Mrs. B’s Haunted Blog Tour, or some other hospitable way station in the ether – was a pleasant one!

I hope you’ll join me in exploring tricks of the trade and misadventures in my quest to live resourcefully, sustainably, and creatively:  Please take a moment to look around, and maybe check out some of my fave posts, like “A Knight in Moderation” and “Trifles of Terrors…or is it Truffles?”  In the future, keep an eye out for more herb-related entries, since I’ve just started a course on herbalism!  You might also like to check out the links above, which will bring you to the rest of VaguelyBohemian.com, a nascent resource for vaguely boho skills, entertainment, recipes and more. 

 I wish I could offer you each a cup of tea, but since pixels don’t steep as well as real leaves, here’s a giveaway instead.  The winner will receive a custom-written Looseleaf Handcrafted Five Phrases Story, set on Halloween.  If you win, you just submit five phrases that you would like included in the story. Then, its my job to come up with a Halloween story that those phrases fit into naturally.  (To check out sample stories, click here.)  The one and only first edition of this story will then be printed on 100% cotton paper and bound in a booklet made primarily of reclaimed, recovered, and/or upcycled materials. (Styles vary; the pattern pictured is just one of many possibilities.)

This giveaway will last until October 30th 31st at midnight, and I’ll announce the winner on Halloween Day November 1st.   

  • To enter, be or become a follower of this blog, and leave a comment telling me what your favorite fairy tale or myth is.  Please make sure that you either have a blog I can find through your profile or that you leave your email addy in your comment.  Thanks!

For additional chances to win (leave a separate comment for each entry):

Thank you so much for haunting my blog today;  I hope to see you round the campfire again!


In which our Heroine has the Good Fortune to Win a Set of Runes, and Says Thank-You

A few months ago, I thought I might try learning to read runes. I love letters and words, so the concept of using the letters of an alphabet for divination appealed to me.

I’ve had a tarot deck for a few years, and I’ve found it to be a good resource – and fun as well. I don’t know if I believe the average tarot reading is supernaturally influenced. But I do find that the act of fitting my situation into the pattern suggested by the tarot layout gives me a new perspective – and being able to look at things from a new perspective is invaluable.

Then fate (or a random number generator, anyway) sealed the deal, when I won this awesome rune set at Mrs. B’s 31 Days of Halloween. This handmade set is gorgeous, and each piece is essentially a tiny, hand-embroidered, felt rune pillow. Felt…felt is a friendly material, and I immediately felt at home with this set.

I made flashcards (“Of course you made flashcards,” my sister said), primarily using this translation/commentary of an Old English rune poem as a resource. While I don’t know all of the runes ‘by heart’ yet, it’s kind of exciting how naturally I’m getting to know them. What a wonderful Halloween gift!

Thank you so much to Nydia of Carioca Witch (where you can purchase your own set of OOAK runes!) You can check out her blog through the “Bringing Up Salamanders button. And many thanks to Mrs. B of Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom for putting together a fantastic month-long virtual celebration of Halloween!


Dan Henley, Much Missed

Yesterday I learned that a friend of mine – who was not a particularly close friend, but was a dear one – passed away on May 6. Dan was a jeweler who vended at SCA events, Renaissance faires, and so on; he made these lovely delicate little creations with large, deft hands. He was a serene and good-humored presence in places that can often be rowdy and overwhelming, and although I usually only saw him once a year, he will be missed throughout the seasons.

What an odd thing it is, though, to learn online that someone has died. I want to look someone in the eye when I hear news like that. I want to hear someone’s voice.
At the same time – despite Dan’s own scarce presence on the web – a quick google turned up page after page of blog posts, comments, status updates…all in his memory. In a medium that is often casual and trite, Dan’s friends are poetic and heartfelt. These posts may only be words in the ether, but they are laments all the same.


Virtual Hugs

I’m on Facebook. I rarely log in (as you may have noticed, I haven’t been logging into Blogger very much lately either…) and have my privacy settings ramped up to the max, but it’s a good way to get back in touch with people.

I have one friend from college, who also rarely logs in, who I’ve never lost touch with. We don’t get to hang out much, since he’s off in a sunny, young L.A., but every two weeks or so we’ll talk on the phone, and he’ll get me laughing, because he’s just that kind of guy. I don’t like talking on the phone, but if you have to talk to someone on the phone, he’s your man. As it happens, we’ve both been on Facebook for over a year, and we’re not “friends” after all. LOL.

Every once in a while, one of my Facebook friends will send me an invite: “Be a Vampire Slayer!” or “Poke me back!” or somesuch. And while I did “Become a Fan of Barack Obama!” I generally don’t want an excuse to spend more time staring at a screen, so I hit “Ignore.”

What I do appreciate, though, is this: Really, when someone invites me to slay the undead, what they’re saying is, “Hi! I’m over here, and I haven’t forgotten about you!.” That is something sweet to hear.

I confess, though, that I would rather have tea or drinks or a dance with a friend once a year, than exchange virtual hugs and updates every week. So if I don’t write on your wall, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you.