7.09.2012

dear janet






i'm introducing a new aspect to my blog.
i'm calling it dear janet.
i've been wishing other blogs i read would do this, so i figure why not do it myself?

so if you have a question that you think i may have the answer to, ask here or email me and i'll give it my best shot.


xo
janet




240 comments:

  1. I have often thought someone should do this. Good for you! Bonnie

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  2. Oh, this should be good. Will you send me all the questions you have to delete?

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  3. Ok - Here goes:

    Janet - how have you managed to so completely "own" your style, both within the cottage and vis-a-vis your wardrobe? Has this been a natural evolution or were you just thusly inclined?

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    Replies
    1. i'm thinking this question could be a post unto itself. i think i will make it one!

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    2. Me too. That could be your first question.

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    3. Me three. Looking forward to it. And by the way, new to your blog, so I read through some of your archives and you sometimes say after a clothing post "... but I don't want to bore you with another clothes post". Except- we need those! There are not many over-50's doing the stylish-wardrobe thing.... and looking so consistently great. Please post as much as you can about clothes because let's face it- it gets tricky after 50!

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  4. This could be very dangerous! ;)

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  5. I am learning to cook with tofu (I'm a whole month in with my plant-based diet and LOVE IT and ain't going back) and wonder if you can recommend good tofu brands and cooking methods. Thanks....Lina

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    Replies
    1. here is my post on how i saute tofu.

      http://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-i-saute-tofu.html

      but i have recently begun to use trader joes baked tofu. they carry 2 flavors (both are good) and i just slice and saute them in a tiny bit of olive oil. they are fantastic.

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    2. I have an excellent recipe for sauteeing tofu from our local Vegetarian restaurant. If you would like it, let me know.

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    3. I would, I would (raising arm and waving wildly)!!

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    4. Cut up firm or extra firm tofu into small chunks.
      Saute in hot vegetable oil, sprinkle with soy sauce, until golden.
      Remove from pan. Wash and dry pan. put in more vegetable oil and when it is hot, return tofu to pan.
      Sprinkle with a little more soy sauce and Nutritional Yeast.
      Saute until browned and crisp.
      This can be used in many ways. I've even made "chicken" salad with it!.

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    5. Yummmmm....I'm going to try it!

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    6. I'll have to pick up some nutritional yeast but I'm anxious to try it! Thanks for posting, Laura! Also, excited to grab some TJ's baked, Janet. Thanks:)

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    7. Laura or if someone else can chime in--what's the reasoning for sauteing & then taking the tofu out of the pan, washing it and putting it back to complete the dish? Just curious if that's what adds to it's texture or the like. TIA!

      Janet, do have a delicious way to prepare tempeh? And how does it differ from Tofu? It was added to a vege dish I ordered out at a restaurant over the weekend and I really enjoyed it. Although I didn't know exactly what I was eating:)

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    8. Sweetsy, I don't know the reasoning behind cooking the tofu twice, but I think it makes the tofu crispier on the outside. Just my own thinking.

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    9. sorry i missed this question. my experience with tofu is that after cooking it, it needs to sit after it is cooked. it takes the wobbliness out of the tofu. so it seems that this particular recipe is doing that also. once it firms up you return it to the pan to coat it in the sauce. i bet it is good.

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    10. and re cooking tempah. i use trader joes tempah and just brown it in a little hot oil and then add whatever sauce i want to it.

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  6. Do you ever entertain big groups? If so, where do you keep all the extra gear one uses to feed the masses? Platters? Big salad bowls? Etc. I can't seem to let go of mine.....just in case one day...... Or have you gone the post-menopausal route and decided "put a fork in me, I'm done."

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    Replies
    1. haha, that's cute.

      since i was a caterer for many years i had a ton of catering equipment, when i switched careers to become an esthetician, i held onto my stuff just in case one of my sons married or i wanted to cater for friends. but last year after the catering stuff had pretty much sat unused for close to 10 yrs, i donated it to a place that could really use it all. so now, if i want to entertain a really big crowd i would have to rent the things i don't have from a party supply store. i wish i had donated it a long time ago!

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  7. I've seen the pics you've shared of your beautiful living room. How long does it take before your home feels "finished"?

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    Replies
    1. well i'd like to think it is done but i know how that can change. right now i'm pretty content with things the way they are. although i'd love to figure out ways to add more color w/o me tiring of it so quickly. so i'd say it takes as long as it takes until you get to that point of semi-satisfaction.:)

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  8. This is a question that I have wanted to ask more than once when looking at photos of your lovely kitchen. Do you own a microwave and, if so, where on earth is it? And if you do not have one, did you used to, and was it a huge adjustment to give it up?

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    Replies
    1. we do have a small microwave that is barely used. it is in the small pantry room in the kitchen. it's on the right side and it is almost impossible to get a pic of that side of the pantry, i have tried. we should just get rid of it b/c it is rarely used.

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  9. How do you clean your turquoise cuffs? I have used the foil/hot water/baking soda method to clean off a really tarnished cuff, but I'm afraid of damaging the stone and taking off the oxidation that should be there if I do that too many times. Silver polish cloths are a lot of work and hard to get in some tight spots. Thanks in advance!

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    Replies
    1. oh i just cleaned all my turquoise:). i use a small amount of baking soda mixed with water. everything came out nice and clean and it is extremely gentle on the silver.

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  10. Great idea. I'd steal your idea if I had more followers. I don't have a question at the moment. But great idea.

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  11. Dear Janet,

    I love your blog and the feeling of peace it instills in me. I appreciate that you inspire me to want less and do more with what I have have - such a refreshing message. My question is this - your life seems wonderful but I have lived enough to know that no one's life is perfect. I have recently watched one of my grown children struggle and, without getting too personal, wonder if you would mind sharing what you have done to help get through the occasional rough patch in life?

    susananicholas

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    Replies
    1. ahh, you are a smart woman. no one has a perfect life, you are so right. i have 3 grown sons and have watched each one of them struggle through varying degrees of hardship. we are so used to taking care of our children but there comes a time when every person has to learn to stand on their own 2 feet. letting go is by far the hardest aspect of parenting but that is exactly what we've had to do on a number of occasions. letting grown children face the consequences of their actions is the only way for them to learn and maintain their dignity. you can email me if you would like to talk about this in greater detail.:)

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    2. No One Gets it All. Ever. I love how you've coped with challenges with stoicism and grace.xx

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  12. Replies
    1. i take all the photos on my blog. but my husband takes the photos of me on my blog.

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    2. What camera do you shoot with and are you self-taught or did you take classes? You are most talented with your camera.

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  13. I love your thrifted style. You seem to get the best 'stuff'. I was wondering how often you visit the thrift shop/swap meets. It seems you need to go frequently to not miss anything.

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    1. i go through ups and downs of shopping. i like to shop off-season for the best deals and the greatest choices. it's hard to think about buying jackets or boots in the middle of summer but that is what i usually do. but i did recently purchase a pair of pink capris from the goodwill and they are spring/summery. shopping thrift stores is just like shopping regular retail stores. you really can be picky. on average i shop about once a month.

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  14. I love how committed you are to having a simple wardrobe - which I am as well. I was wondering if you had determined what is the perfect sized wardrobe for you - not too many things so there is clutter, but not too few so you are scrambling to find something to wear. I would love to see a post about this.

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    Replies
    1. hi grace. for me, i think about 40 items is perfect. but i really don't have a lot to dress up for. i don't work in an office situation so my clothes are pretty much weekend type wear. i think the number will vary depending on your lifestyle. i don't think there is a magic number for anyone. and also, storage space plays a huge role too. i just don't have the room for a big wardrobe.

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  15. Dear Janet,

    When would you say your home was really "your" own? Will I have to wait for all my boys to leave home before I can even entertain the thought of a home like yours? Will you be answering questions on a certain day of the week, or can we just fire off questions willy-nilly like?

    That's all for now. Rosanne

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    Replies
    1. gosh that is tough. when my kids were younger i always felt like my home was mine. maybe b/c i was the only female in the house, i'm not sure. but now that they are gone, it is nice. the house stays clean a lot longer and there is so much less laundry to do! i would not wait until my kids left home to make it my own.:)

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    2. Merethe at Many Little Blessings keeps a very pretty, simple home - with 5 young kids!

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  16. What cookbook would you recommend for a beginner vegan?

    Thanks! Rebecca

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    Replies
    1. oh that is a tough one. there are so many great vegan cookbooks these days.
      i started with the skinny bitch series and the kind diet.

      nowadays i pretty much rely on the internet. whatever it is you want to make just google it with vegan in the title and you will get tons of hits.
      vegan cooking is so easy now!

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  17. Dear Janet -

    I have adopted a simplistic lifestyle all the way from my wardrobe, to my food, to my possessions, to my finances. My husband still enjoys "stuff". How do I nudge him in this new way of life that
    brings me such joy?

    Thanks...Markay in Ohio

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    Replies
    1. living simply also has a lot to do with giving up control. it sounds so easy but it may be the hardest part of simplicity. learning to accept things just the way they are isn't easy, but it's the only way to really have a life. allowing others to choose exactly how they want to live is v freeing. i think when you do this others are attracted to you even more. at least this is how it works for me.:)

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    2. i also wanted to add that this is not easy and it's something i work on every. single. day.

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    3. Janet,

      I think this is so well-put. I have noticed that when I am in my best place, emotionally, I can do this with ease. And when I'm caught up myself, I have a huge amount of trouble doing this.

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  18. Hi Janet!
    I feel very lucky to get to ask you a question! What kind of rose food do you use on your roses? And how often do you apply it? Any other tips for creating a gorgeous flower garden? Cheers!

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    Replies
    1. here is the exact brand.

      http://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/2011/04/orange-and-pink.html

      i apply it in early spring when they are starting to leaf out. so far i only feed them once a year but i'm thinking of feeding them again v soon.

      the majority of the roses here are v old and seem to be disease free. i've never sprayed them, ever. if i see any aphids i just hose them off and they don't seem to be a problem at all.

      i also compost and apply a layer around the base of each plant in the spring around the same time i fertilize them.

      i pretty much water them deeply once a week, except in v hot 100+ degree weather, then i'll add one more water a week.

      that's it!

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  19. I love your blog, you've inspired me to get rid of my junk. I adore your decorating style. I "woke up" this year and finally began to eat healthy so I've turned to your posts many times. I just really enjoy reading what you write but I've always wondered why you don't have a cat or a dog? My life would be incomplete without one. Just wondering.

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    Replies
    1. this is the first time in my entire life that i am pet free. we've always had dogs and cats.
      our last dog passed away around the same time we bought this house. i am enjoying the freedom of no kids or pets at the moment. i'm sure i will eventually get one, i just can't say when.
      i get the incomplete thing, totally. :)

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  20. Hi Janet,
    I'm curious:

    1. What was the house like that you lived in before The Gardener's Cottage?

    2. How do you care for your roses?

    Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. good question. we lived in a very pretty tract home in a lovely neighborhood. perfect for raising kids in. 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 car garage, perfect for a family of 5 but too big for the 2 of us.

      if you scroll up just a bit you can read how i care for my roses:)

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  21. Janet - how do you handle paper clutter, particularly bills and receipts? No matter how successfully I have simplified the rest of my life, I still feel overwhelmed and often paralyzed by this.

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    Replies
    1. well since online bill pay came along, we only get a few bills a year in the mail. i have a file folder for receipts and warranties. all junk mail goes straight into the recycle bin. i used to get overwhelmed with paper clutter too.

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  22. I LOVE THIS Janet!!! I wanna steal this idea, too! What a great thing for bloggers to do - I know that there are a lot of questions that I ask to other bloggers, or other people ask them and I see it in comments but I wonder how much I miss when I don't read comments ... so I know I'm rambling, but I hope you don't mind that I attempt to introduce this into my blog, too!! Now, for my question for you - your interiors are so perfectly edited. There is just enough orchestrated clutter, but it doesn't feel overwhelming and "staged". What is your process for eliminating the fluff, so that simple but sophisticated rooms like yours shine through?
    xoxo
    Artie

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    Replies
    1. hi arte, i don't mind one bit. i'm sure i'm not the first to do this!

      well i don't know about my place being perfectly edited. i just don't like clutter, it's that easy. i wish my place was as nice as you make it sound.:) i've always been pretty ruthless about getting rid of stuff (ask larry) and now i'm getting pretty good about not bringing it inside in the first place.

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  23. Janet....for years I have wanted to return to school to become an esthetician. At 51, I feel like time is running out and that I'd better get going. Do you love what you do? Would you do it again? Would you recommend that career path to others?

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    1. the good thing is that depending on what state you live in, becoming an esthetician is pretty darn easy. in california it takes about 4 months of full time classes. ea state varies its requirements though. i have loved being an esthetician and helping people with their skincare problems and helping them relax during facials. i would definitely do it again. and btw, don't let your age discourage you. mature estheticians are in demand! most people starting in this field are in the 20's. nothing against the younger gals but dealing with ageing skin comes naturally to us.:)

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    2. Thank you! I really appreciate your answering me. I am in NY. I will have to attend school for 8 months because I will have to attend part time (I work full time). It's so scary thinking about moving into a new field!

      I love your blog. Thank you for always brightening my day!

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  24. Hi Janet! I have no questions right now but think it's a swell idea! I will say, however, that you have inspired me (and tons of other people) to simplify my life...to not be so buy! buy! buy! oriented! For that I (and my husband) thank you. It turns out that I feel pretty good when I don't impulse buy and when I look at all my "stuff" and either get rid of it or re-use it! As for plants, my real weakness, I'm trying my hand at cuttings! I've got a million plants, now why do I need to go to the nursery yet again?!

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    Replies
    1. thanks kim. 1/2 of my front garden is from cuttings!

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  25. Hi Janet-how long have you been a vegan?
    Did you choose this lifestyle for religious,
    health or animal's rights issues-or a combo of such?

    Ta-

    Susan

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    Replies
    1. i have been a vegan for 4 years now. i became a vegan strictly for animal rights. the health benefits are just icing on the vegan cake!

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  26. Dear Janet, do you ever get itchy to travel and roam? Did you do much traveling when you were younger? I wonder if some of us were meant to nest and some of us to roam...

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    Replies
    1. i'm just starting to get itchy to travel more. b/c we married relatively early and were raising 3 boys, travel was always put on the back burner b/c of finances. we did a lot of camping and local travel but i have never left this country (gasp!) also, b/c larry is self-employed taking a week long vacation is pretty much out of the question. so until he retires, we'll be staying put.

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    2. Is there a magic number or year that you've established retirement or are you playing it as it comes? I'd like to travel with you via blog :)

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  27. What is your secret to what seems to be such a loving and long lasting relationship with your spouse?
    You seem so very placid - do you have a temper?

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    Replies
    1. ahh, such a sweet question! i think the success of our marriage is due to the fact that we hung in there through the tough times. we never gave up and have always tried to work as a team. that is so important when raising a family. over the years we have both mellowed and we just accept ea other for who we are. in addition to that we remain attracted to ea other. i think that is important romance-wise. we both have tempers but do our best to not let them get out of hand. arguing is such a drag! i would not describe either one of us as placid but strangely, overall, our marriage is.

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    2. and that is such a sweet, lovely answer :)
      wonderful advice too.
      thanks.

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  28. What a great idea. I look forward to reading more of your future 'Dear Janet' posts x

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  29. Dear Janet,

    how much time to you spend surfing and browsing through the Blogsphere, reading other blogs, writing your own postings etc?

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    Replies
    1. hi paula. i spend way, way too much time on the computer. i've been trying to cut back and that means i'm not able to comment on other blogs like i used to. i still read them though! i've read where some bloggers are actually putting time limits on the amount of time the spend online and i think i'm going to start doing the same.

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    2. Hi Janet, thakn you for your reply. I was hoping for some numbers. 1 hour, or 2?
      I am one of those users, who put time limits on the amount of time I spend online. No internet past 10pm. Works very well for me, since I used to spend most of the time surfing past dinner time!

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  30. How do you get enough protein into your diet? What is a typical vegan supper? Do you take a multi-vitamin?

    What are your reasons for going grey?

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    Replies
    1. here is a typical day of eating for me...
      http://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-i-eat.html

      protein is never a problem and i do take a b12 supplement ea day.

      i'm going gray b/c the dye was itching my scalp and i realized i wasn't fooling anyone by covering the gray. i have no idea if i will stick with it or not but i think i will.

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    2. There is protein in every whole food.
      Let me help:
      http://www.soystache.com/sources_of_protein.htm
      this should cover a plethora of protein related questions. Been most helpful to me:)

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  31. Dear Janet,
    How did you get so friggin awesome? :)

    xoxo,
    Eleanor

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  32. Dear Janet
    are there any magazines you read and are you subscribed or borrow them from the library?do you buy books?[that is my big extravagance]do you find library adequate?
    efi.

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    Replies
    1. this is my library and yes it is more than adequate. it is a thing of beauty and i love to go there.
      http://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-library.html


      i never buy books anymore. and i don't have any magazine subscriptions either.

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  33. Dear Janet,

    Am I your favourite commentor?

    Are you still actioning height in your 'do?

    Have you been to London?

    When are you coming to Australia?

    Do you and Larry go to the movies?

    What is your favourite song?

    I found your 1st post on my blog the other day but now I can't remember which date it was. It was def 2009 though.

    Love your work xxxxx

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    Replies
    1. you are one of my favorite bloggers - you know that.
      still actioning height.
      never been to london.
      i want to come to australia asap and ring your doorbell.
      yes, we go to the movies.
      it is impossible for me to pick a favorite song.
      i love your work too.

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  34. Dear Janet,
    Do you use perfume?
    Are there some that you recommend for being safe and not tested on animals?
    Love your blog so much - thank you for being so generous in so many ways.
    Renie
    xx

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    Replies
    1. i only wear aveda perfumes and in all honesty i don't wear them that often.
      i'm surrounded by fragrance at work, i come home smelling like a spa! so i tend to take a break from it at home.

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  35. Dear Janet,
    Are you and your husband native to where you live? Do you think you will ever move to another location?

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    Replies
    1. we are both native southern californians.
      i have not idea if we would ever move away.
      i think not b/c we love it here!

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  36. Dear Janet,
    Did you and your husband used to be on the consumer treadmill of acquisition? Do you have remorse over your former spending habits? Or were both of you always fairly frugal and careful with your funds?

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    Replies
    1. i would say we were somewhere in the middle. we never have carried credit card debt but i wouldn't have called us super frugal. thank goodness we saved when we were able to!
      we are both way, way more frugal now.

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  37. Great idea . . . One which will keep you busy. It will bring people back to read your answer unless your answer automatically returns to their email box.

    Question: I know you live in California . . . Would you say the second hand shops you purchase from are located in more "upscale" areas? I too try to find second hand clothing but have not found the "finds" like you have.

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    Replies
    1. i am lucky in that our town has a lot of upscale families and they do donate great stuff!
      the problem i'm having now is that all the thrift shops in my area are starting to have vintage sections and they are marking up things like crazy. the best finds are at garage sales now.

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  38. This has been fun reading through the questions and your answers....I would love to use this idea on my blog. Can I?

    My real question is....how is it working since you removed the door from your bathroom? I love the look with the fabric but did it take some getting used not having a true door? Yes, I know it's an off the wall question but I'd like to try it in our smaller bathroom in the basement but thought I'd hear your thoughts first. :)

    I'm so glad you and the gardener's cottage are in my life. You are a wonderful friend and a tremendous inspiration. xo

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    Replies
    1. yes it took a little getting used to but really not much. we do have a bathroom with a real door so that is v helpful.:) i think a bathroom in the basement would be perfect!

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  39. Hi Janet!

    I absolutely love you're blog! It's like going on vacation for me! Something so free and simple about it! So, I have a burning question for you. As a wife and mother of 2 young girls, I am struggling with "their" stuff. Mine is at a minimum and theirs, well is not as I would like. Did you struggle with the same issues when you're boys were young? I constantly struggle with just wanting to get rid of their stuff. Its a huge burden for me and is sucking the life out of me.

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    Replies
    1. oh those young years were brutal. my boys all loved legos! i just did my best to corral and keep the mess to a minimum. thankfully their bedrooms were upstairs!
      they were the kind of boys that spent their days outside so that helped a bit too.
      but i took all the suggested steps, bins and labeled boxes, none of it really worked.:)
      so all i can do is wish you luck and tell you to not sweat it too much, it goes by quick.

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  40. Janet,
    I would like you to know that while I do not have a question for you, I have so enjoyed reading through this conversation. It is delightful. I have been a faithful reader for quite some time now. Love this little spot.
    Have a beautiful day!
    Kathy

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  41. What`s the difference between vegen and vegetarian?

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    Replies
    1. a vegan diet does not allow any animal products while a vegetarian eats dairy and eggs.

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  42. Dear Janet,
    Have been reading your blog for some time now and love it. I mean, how can I not love a woman who loves Jack White?
    Here is my question....a skincare question.
    Yes or no to exfoliation? Some say it is good, some say it is not. I'm 43, normal to oily skin, an occasional pimple here and there, and just starting to get some light lines. You know the ones around your eyes and forehead, ugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ahhh, another jw fan! yay.

      yes to exfoliation but take it v, v easy. i would say with your skin type, not more than once a week. and be gentle. you can use a little baking soda mixed in with a creamy cleanser and that would be nice.

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  43. Hey... I thought I was your favorite blogger???! :)
    Okay, well then who was the first person who left you comments and read your blog??? ;)

    So for my questions (this is fun btw;):
    1. I see someone asked about what the house you used to live in looked like, but my question is what did the "interior" look like? It seems from following you from, you know the beginning;), that using vintage and antiques might be something you only started doing in this house?
    2. What does your dream house look like and where would it be?!
    3. Do you think you'll ever paint the house white? ;)
    4. Is it Jack Black or Jack White?!
    Hey, you didn't say there was a limit on questions;)
    love ya... just sayin'!
    xxj.

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    Replies
    1. i said she was "one" of my favorite bloggers!
      and you and trina were my v first commenters. :)

      1. my old house looked a lot like this one inside. creams, whites, touches of black.
      almost every single thing in this house came from that house. the only thing we added was an armoire in our bedroom, our headboard and a small table in the living room. same with the artwork.

      2. i am living in my dream house. but if i could have one more, it would look a lot like this one but just be on a cliff somewhere overlooking the ocean.

      3. omg, i go back and forth on whether or not i should paint it white. have you seen the new wes anderson movie, moonrise kingdom? it is set in a red shingled house overlooking the ocean. i walked out of the theatre and said, well i can never paint the house now. haha. who knows what i'll wind up doing!

      4. JACK WHITE

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    2. love your answers and I think your house is perfect the way it is (haven't seen the movie yet) and I just want your heart to be happy!

      xoj.

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  44. Dear Janet,
    I've been working at minimalism for several years. It makes me happy. :) But I have one area that seems almost too huge to tackle: photos (pre-digital). Do you care to share how you store them and any memorabilia?
    Thank you. ♥Kim

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    Replies
    1. as a person who kept meticulous care of my photo albums, i know what you are talking about. i put so much work into them over the years that i will always keep them. they are stored in the office on the bottom shelf of the armoire. i thought long and hard about this and i finally came to the conclusion that even if i were to digitize them, i'd probably still want the albums. so i just got over it.:)

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  45. What a fabulous idea! There's so much I'd like to ask you, you're my hero for poise, style, interior design and fine food tips.
    1. How long have you practiced yoga and what discipline do you prefer?
    2. What would be your final meal if the world was about to end?
    3. Best day you've ever spent so far?
    4. Fantasy dinner party guests (living and dead) and what would you serve them?
    xxx

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    Replies
    1. hi vix.

      1. i took my first yoga class at 17 and i've been hooked ever since. i just recently started doing power vinyasa and i'm loving it so much.

      2. my final meal would look something like this. a plate of fresh picked lettuces dressed in a champagne vinaigrette, a big plate of seasonal vegetables over a bed of rice, freshly baked bread, a bottle of really great wine and vegan chocolate cake for dessert.

      3. i have been so blessed to have had so many great days it is hard to choose just one.
      but the ones that stand out involve the summers when we rented a beach house on the sand in hermosa beach. the boys were young and still listened to me! the days were sun soaked, long, relaxing and life seemed absolutely perfect.

      4. my fantasy dinner party would include all my real life friends and you, faux fuschia, joan, sarah, steve, trina and jack white as the musical guest, ernest hemingway for fun and conversation,
      charles bukowski for color and someone to fight with hemingway, johnny depp and robert downey jr just because.

      Delete
    2. ohhhhh boy! dinner sounds fabulous! can I sit across from johnny (so I can stare;).... pretty pleeeeeeese?! :)

      Delete
    3. I'd love to go to that dinner party!

      Delete
  46. I hope this question hasn't already been asked, but why, in a vegan diet, is honey omitted? I understand dairy and eggs, but don't quite get why honey isn't consumed. I couldn't do away with honey, and I believe strongly that it is why my seasonal allergies have improved greatly over the years. I eat a teaspoon or so of local wildflower honey several times a week.
    Claudia

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Claudia,
    In veganism, all products made using animals & insects (or their byproducts) are avoided. Thus silk and honey are omitted. In the case of honey, many feel that its production stresses the bees. (See "The Great Vegan Honey Debate" on Slate for more info...)
    Best regards,
    Kim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Little BungalowJuly 10, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      Thanks, Kim. I read the article and another one on the topic. It's good to have an understanding of why honey (and silk, as you pointed out) are avoided.
      Claudia

      Delete
  48. Did you manage to pass your minimalist tendencies on to your children?

    ReplyDelete
  49. Do you every worry about earthquakes?

    ReplyDelete
  50. Did your children end up staying close to home?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. they all live in southern california, all about an hour away.

      Delete
  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the first 2 weeks of being on a vegan diet were amazing. i felt super light and had a ton of energy. i think my body was just excited that it didn't have to work so hard to process food. i have no complaints now but that initial feeling of euphoria did not last.

      Delete
  52. oh, and one more thing... after I asked you the dream house question I was thinking what my answer would be and it too was that I was living in my dream house, but would love to have it sitting on the ocean (Maine)... with no other houses within miles;)! Have you ever been to Maine? I'm thinking we'll have to take you when you come to visit if not!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. when i come visit, we'll def have to go to maine! i'm looking forward to it.

      Delete
  53. Dear Janet,

    I'd like a set of white dishes for everyday use. I think I remember a long-past post about your Buffalo China. Is that what you use for everyday? And if so, is it white-white or cream colored? Can you recommend a good brand of dishes that is not too expensive? I've seen sets at Wm.Sonoma, Sur la Table and PB.

    When looking for simple, frugal solutions, I often wonder "what does (or would) Janet do?" Will "Dear Janet" be an ongoing feature of your blog? Hope so.

    Thanks!
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i do use the buffalo everyday. it is white white, not creamy.
      it is indestructable too and so simple and classic.
      i've only seen the pottery barn version and it seems v nice.

      maybe i'll do this every time i have nothing to say.:)

      Delete
  54. Hey Janet, I am 55 with normal to dry skin. What is your skin care routine for the day/week? Your skin looks so pretty and I love your hair.
    Lynne in Georgia

    ReplyDelete
  55. this is what i do. although i've changed my walking and yoga habit a bit. i now do a 1 1/2 hr yoga class 3x a week and walk on opposite days.

    http://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/2010/05/6-steps-to-beautiful-skin.html

    ReplyDelete
  56. dear janet,
    1. would you ever consider writing a book? (cause I'd buy it)
    2. who is one person that is or has been your muse?
    3. if you were a flower, which one might you be?
    4. how many hours do you sleep a night?
    5. are you now sorry you have this "dear janet" series - just look what you started.
    6. If you could bottle you and sell it, what would it be?
    xo
    pve

    ReplyDelete
  57. janet,
    "cause I'd buy it" after I read every post.....you write.
    pve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are killing me patricia.

      1. no b/c what would i say?
      2. i don't know about a muse but i wish everyday that i lived in a wes anderson movie.
      3. probably a dandelion b/c you can't kill me and i keep coming back.
      4. i always shoot for 10.
      5. starting to.:)
      6. a perfume called simplify.

      Delete
    2. i was going to ask the book question. you obviously have things to say, and we're all adoring readers. i'd buy it too, and i'd put it on the coffee table. i'd pull it out when i want to dream a bit.

      Delete
  58. me ---- again
    7. does larry know that you are a rock blog star?
    pve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 7. i'm fairly confident that he does not know that.:)

      Delete
  59. Would you please share what go-to spices you use most often in your vegan cooking?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. my favorite spice that i use a lot of is freshly cracked pepper. i put it on everything!
      next would be red pepper flakes, sea salt, chili powder and cumin.

      Delete
  60. how did you know i adore dandelions and they are vegan too.....and yes larry sure better know that you are a rock blog star....and wes anderson might want to get your autograph.
    pve

    ReplyDelete
  61. Here's one I've always wondered, and want to copy, regarding your fresh and attractive white slipcovered furniture. Did you have slipcovers made for furniture you already had, or purchase new pieces that came slipcovered. If so, where? Thx!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the sofa is from pottery barn and has the white twill slipcover.

      the 2 chairs in the living room are really old and i had them slipcovered years ago.

      Delete
  62. What information about eating animals made you decide a plants only diet was what you must have? Was it a certain article or book or web site? Or was it a study of animal agriculture over time?

    KO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the movie earthlings did it for me.

      Delete
    2. Thanks!

      Earthlings
      http://earthlings.com/

      "OF ALL THE FILMS I HAVE EVER MADE, THIS IS THE ONE THAT GETS PEOPLE TALKING THE MOST"
      — JOAQUIN PHOENIX

      KO

      Delete
  63. Hi Janet,

    This is great but did you anticipate getting such a large response? :)

    I do have a skin question...I find as I am getting older the blackheads/milia are becoming more and more problematic, especially in the hot humid weather. I am using the Clarisonic once or twice a week but are there any skin products that you could recommend that would help keep my pores clearer?

    Thanks!

    Linda
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  64. linda, i thought i'd get maybe 10 questions.

    well ideally if blackheads and milia are a problem you would get a facial so that they could be professionally removed and then you could use a mask once a week to keep them at bay.
    but if you are talking about just having a few then i would use a clay-based mask for the blackheads in addition to your clairsonic. the milia should be removed by a pro b/c they are v difficult to get out. i can't even get them out on myself. they are tricky. does this help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it does help! Funny that you say that because I just said to my husband recently maybe I need to get a facial. And I wish it were just a few. :( Not a ridiculous amount but enough to make me feel self conscious. Weird thing is, the right side of my face is way worse than the left.

      I'll have to try the mask as well, I used to use the Borghese Fango years ago. I see the Body Shop has a clay mask I might give a try. Thank you!

      Linda

      Delete
    2. linda, aveda makes an amazing clay mask and it isn't really expensive either.

      Delete
  65. Okay, some more...

    What do you think of Obamacare?

    What is the purchase you most regret?

    V. much enjoying this question session with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. w/o getting into politics here, i wonder why so many worry about health-care reform when what they should really focus on is reforming their own kitchen and diets. why leave something as precious as your health in the hands of the government. take charge of your life and reform your own health!

      2. probably car purchases in the past. we recently got rid of 2 cars for 1 prius and i wish we had done that sooner.

      Delete
    2. I agree Janet!! If a lot of people didn't treat their bodies like garbage, maybe Americans wouldn't be so sick and health care costs wouldn't be through the roof!!

      Linda

      Delete
    3. While I agree with the sentiment that we must take care of ourselves, some people live with diseases that are beyond the grasp of lifestyle change and truly do require medical intervention.

      I bring this up not to start a debate, but because I think that it's easy to veer into blame-the-victim territory with this and that it's important to acknowledge that some people, need medical intervention to stay healthy or even just alive.

      Delete
    4. I agree Abby, as I know some individuals that have been dealt a bad hand through no fault of their own. But I also know a few people that didn't take care of themselves and now in their 50's are facing some serious health issues.

      I am referring specifically to those that load up on junk... I see them at the grocery store, not one veggie or piece of fruit in their carts. They are buying soda, chips, sweets, meat and processed food. Also, 50-70% of cancers are caused by lifestyle issues such as smoking, drugs, drinking in excess, being sedentary and/or obese) Not good numbers. People need to be educated more, and as Janet said take charge of their own life.

      Linda

      Delete
  66. Do you worry a lot?

    What parenting advice would you offer to new parents?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. sometimes i do worry too much. it is such a useless/draining emotion. i work on eliminating it isn't easy.

      2. i shared the best parenting advice i ever got here once. it is something i read and i can't remember who said it but it goes like this...mother's aren't for leaning on but rather for making leaning unnecessary.

      Delete
  67. I don't mean to seem presumptuous here re: age, but has your diet and exercise eased the transition through midlife? I was thrust into menopause seven years ago because of surgery, and I still am struggling with mild hot flashes, weight gain, thinning hair and insomnia (in other words, I'm a wreck ;)). Thank you...you are a great inspiration to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. so far, so good. i'll be 55 this year and next month will be 1 yr since my last cycle. so i'll officially be in menopause. YAY! i have had none of the side effects that i've been warned about so i'm really happy about that.

      Delete
    2. i eat a mostly vegan diet, and also will be 55 this year. ;ast period was a month ago :( but thankfully much lighter. i'll be glad to be in menopause as well. the main side effects i've had: hot flashes, esp at night. a nurse practitioner friend told me about a remedy her ob/gyn doc employer would recommend--remifemin, which is made of herbs. the package says many women get results in 8 wks(or 12? haven't read the pkg in a couple years); i got HUGE relief in like 3 days! i buy this at my grocery store, found by the nutritionals.

      the most annoying thing that's been happening to me is that i get little tiny little pimples around my nostrils. the skin will get all red and taut, and then i'll get this zit. my nose gets bright red! i will get these one after the other. i can't really get a facial right now. any other ideas?

      thanks for doing the q&a. really fun to read.

      Delete
    3. hmmm, you may want to have a dermatologist look at that. it sounds almost like an allergic reaaction you could be having. w/o seeing it, it is hard to tell. or maybe book a consultation with a local esthetician, they are usually free and she can prob make product recommendations.

      Delete
  68. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine might have some helpful tips for those suffering menopausal symptoms

    A Natural Approach to Menopause
    http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=166

    Menopause Is Not a Disease
    By Neal D. Barnard, M.D., and Kristine Kieswer
    http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=2115

    Soy Isoflavones Help Reduce Hot Flashes
    http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=3295

    For more information, go to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and search on "menopause."
    http://www.pcrm.org/

    KO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the wonderful links! PJ

      Delete
  69. Janet, I think you are splendid! I love your blog. So please don't take this as an attack of any kind, but I wonder how Pearls fit into the vegan way of life?( I have several items of pearl jewellery) I mean, if vegan is not taking advantage of animals? (I was a vegetarian many moons ago, but no longer, although when I can pluck up the courage I will watch the Earthlings fim)I wonder, is Larry a vegan too? And if not, how does that work?
    Many huggnessess,
    Suzie xxx

    ReplyDelete
  70. here is something to consider...


    grains of sand that get into a molusk are an irritant and the oyster react by putting out a liquid that coats the irritating object. It takes several years for a pearl to form and sometimes the oyster dies any way--average life span is about 6 years some only live a year. whether the irritant is natural or surgically implanted it takes the life time of the oyster to form a pearl. Cultured pearl oysters have to be over three years old before they can be implanted.

    so i really don't know. but good question! i'm sure someone will pop on and give us the lowdown on pearls.

    larry is about 90% vegan. he eats what i cook here but when we go out he will usually order a cheeseburger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oysters and killed in the process that extracts the pearl. Most (all?) vegans I know avoid pearls and anything else that comes from living animals, believing that animals aren't on this plant to meet our aesthetic or dinner needs/wants.

      Delete
  71. Janet, being from New England, I could not imagine Christmas without snow. Does it bother you not to have white Christmases? I often think of moving to sunnier climes but would miss our traditional frosty Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. b/c i was born and raised here, this is my normal. we often do spend christmas holidays skiing though and it is nice.

      Delete
  72. I would like to lose about 15 lbs. to just feel better and lighter. I know what I need to do, but I'm hesitating really getting serious because I'm sure I'll lose in my face first and at 57, look gaunt. I think I'm almost to the point where feeling better will win. What was your experience with your recent weight loss? You, of course, look great!
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i don't think i look gaunt. the weight i lost mostly came from my gut! i feel great so i would encourage you to do it.

      Delete
    2. Thanks! Good point about the gut!! That is definitely a different target point from years past.

      Delete
  73. Hi Janet,

    My husband and I are considering going vegetarian. We stopped eating red meat a long time ago and would now like to stop eating animal flesh altogether. We are in our 50s; I`m 54, Joe is 57.

    I`ve been reading a ton of conflicting information about soy products. I`m trying to set up a menu plan that includes protein substitutes (to meat/fish) and tofu was one of them. Apparently it`s highly processed but tempeh is okay ... I don`t know anymore???

    What do you think? How do you ensure you`re getting enough protein in your daily diet?

    Any information you have would be REALLY appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sue, if you scroll down to the bottom of my page you'll find a plant based resource list that has tons of information that you are looking for. it's all good stuff!

      Delete
    2. More good reads ~

      The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: "The Protein Myth"
      http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/vsk/protein_myth.html

      PCRM: Soy and Your Health
      http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=145

      KO

      Delete
    3. Sue, I'm new to the process and have done a good deal of research. A big misnomer is that one doesn't get enough protein on a vegan diet. This has been proven false, time and again. A key factor to understand is that there is protein in all WHOLE foods. For instance, a small bag of peas has 25g of protein. The issue of eating complete proteins (such as that of an animal) is important but your body handles foods eaten at different times, accordingly. The foods do not have to be eaten at the same meal (which is what was thought to be true the first time I was a vegetarian, 20 years ago). This means, if you have rice at breakfast and beans at dinner, your body will process as a complete protein source. Quinoa is a grain/seed that is already a complete protein, as is soy. I have my concerns with soy as I know it can mess with hormones if it is genetically modified. I'm having some organic tofu here and there but not going to make it a staple of my diet. I also have more to learn but strictly avoid GMO which is in many of the soy packaged foods (processed).
      I had a good deal of interest/concern in the protein component as I do high intensity workouts and have worked hard to pack on muscle and feared losing it by dropping animal flesh from my diet. I have learned there is no reason for concern and there are some fantastic websites out there that will attest to this. I'll name a few but honestly, the info is endless out there on the interwebs:) As mentioned before:
      http://www.soystache.com/sources_of_protein.htm

      http://www.eatdrinkbetter.com/2010/02/11/eating-vegan-where-do-you-get-your-protein/
      (scroll down to the comments to read a couple of good points that refer to my comments)

      http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/protein/
      HTH! Best to you and your husband!

      Delete
    4. Thanks, sweetie-pie! I appreciate it!

      S
      xp

      Delete
  74. I won't even ask if you ever tire of talking about yourself, because the answer is obvious.

    The fact that at age 55 you've never left the country speaks volumes.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Hi Janet, I am new to your blog and am really enjoying it! I have a question about your Clarisonic experience (and didn't see that you answered it in your beauty posts). What has been your experience using it on clients who have broken capillaries on their cheeks and nose? I've read mixed reviews online and am curious about your take. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. broken capillaries are most often caused by extreme temperature changes, sunburn, windburn, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption and trauma, like squeezing pimples too hard. i make sure i use very light pressure when using the clairsonic. like no pressure at all. i let the brushes do the work. and if anyone has sensitive skin i always use the sensitive brush. also, i will only pass over any sensitive area once or twice. the gadget is so darn effective at cleaning, i really do like to use it on everyone.

      Delete
  76. Hi Janet -

    Back with another question...& thanks for your response to my previous one. It helps
    a great deal.
    Do you have air conditioning in your home? If not, how do you cope with the heat?

    Love ya bunches,
    Markay in Ohio

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we do have air conditioning...thank goodness.

      Delete
  77. Hi Janet,

    Love your blog, home, veganism and general outlook on simplicity. My question is, in such a small house, do you get rid of what doesn't fit? My problem is inherited furniture. I can't decide whether to downsize because I feel guilty getting rid of it.
    Thanks,
    Betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we got rid of a lot, but none of it was precious or family heirlooms. can you gift to someone who would treasure it or may need it?

      Delete
    2. Yes, I can gift some things to my sons. I love the look of your house, the colors and no clutter. It looks like it would be simple to care for and clean.
      Betty

      Delete
  78. Hi Janet-wow you have a lot of good questions to answer--save some for later so you do not burn out!

    I don't have a question right now but wanted to posted this about
    a really great post over on the Healthy Librarian's blog:

    Two Cardiologists & One Cardiac Surgeon Who Follow an Esselstyn-Style Plant-Based Diet. What's Their Story and What Health Benefits Have They Seen?

    http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/hap ... gists.html

    xoxo
    your fan always
    shell

    ReplyDelete
  79. Janet you said something truly wonderful that I hope your readers will pay attention to:

    " i wonder why so many worry about health-care reform when what they should really focus on is reforming their own kitchen
    and diets. why leave something as precious as your health in the hands of the government. take charge of your life
    and reform your own health! "

    that is what I have believed for ages!

    "The Only Real Health Care Reform" is a statement that the FORKS over KNIVES people released -- this statement twas released hrough social media, and was shared by thousands...and it was that billions could be saved if we educated ourselves on the power of a plant based diet-!!!




    That was from:
    http://healthygirlskitchen.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  80. I got up at 5am this morning and have read through the entire post, comments, and answers. Really captivating. Janet you are one amazing woman - hope you feel it. Thanks for such a great read and so much interesting information.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Dear Janet, this conversation between bloggers is fascinating. I love the way some people answer the questions for you - just as well since you have been overloaded with comments, what have you started! I especially like your advice for us all to take charge of our own health. Here in England there is great concern at the moment over the provision of health care for the elderly. I have the same mindset as you and eat for optimum health. For the lady who would like to lose weight but is worried about sagging flesh I say 'lose that weight then you'll feel great which will make you look great as well. There are worse things than wrinkles!' (I should know, I'll be seventy next year.)
    No question, dear Janet, just noting with pleasure that everyone loves your blogging as much as I do.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Hi Janet,
    I'm loving this post! First off I have to say I read all of the comments regarding Southern California and must say I was out there in January and loved it! I couldn't believe how much I liked it I can see why you would never want to live anywhere else.

    I have another skin question for you. I wear sun block and stay out of the sun as much as I can because I'm prone to hyper pigmentation. I'm currently using a serum and was wondering if you had any other ideas to help get rid of sun spots?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. here's the deal on sunspots. you can use creams or you can have peels or laser, whatever you use, the minute you expose your skin again to the sun, the reappear. so that is just the way it is. when i'm out in the sun i try to wear a hat, sometimes i don't and i have sunspots. and that is just the way it is.:)

      Delete
  83. Janet,

    I love the idea of "Dear Janet"...I'm way too tired to come up with an intelligent or clever question, but I sure wish you could stop by and tell me what to do with all of my stuff! This moving is hard work. I've moved so many times...but it never gets an easier. An old house is really tricky...and I have a feeling you would have some great ideas.

    xo
    annie

    ReplyDelete
  84. i love this post--what fun to read. i want to let you know that i used your baking soda/lemon juice whitening technique on my tired whites. i soaked several pieces, rinsed, and let them dry outside. you're right--fresh and white again! thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  85. Dear Janet,
    This is fun. Sort of like Dear Abby ... or a Proust questionnaire. I've been waiting for days, trying to think of the perfect question. Consequently, my original question has been answered. So here goes another one. Who are your favorite heroines in fiction or real life? And who do you look to for inspiration?

    ReplyDelete
  86. Another question, please.
    I was wondering how tall you are. I am 5'10" and sometimes wonder how the styles you wear would look on me.for instance, the wide legged trousers. I am afraid, being so tall, they would make me look amazonian.

    ReplyDelete

kindness is never out of style.