Happy Valentine’s Day! The day passed as none other I can recall, still largely isolated in the house, except for the brief grocery shopping excursions. My husband managed to sneak a beautiful bouquet of roses into the house. They are still with me. I am cutting the stalks every few days, just to allow them the opportunity to freshen with water.
The weathermen told us to expect up to a half inch of ice blanketing the area here in the piedmont and foothills of NC. Instead, we dodged another bullet and ended up with two more inches of rain, adding more to the rain totals of these last two weeks. Those in the western parts of NC have not fared as well. Still, that’s far more normal than what friends across the country have experienced this past week.
January was tame compared to February, and it seems to be getting worse as the month nears its midpoint. Arctic spillovers have consumed much of the nation—it’s a winter we will probably want to forget. My daughter and her family relocated here three years ago and there’s hardly a day that goes by when I’m not thanking God for moving her from Columbus, Ohio. I saw a picture of that frozen tundra this week.
Please know if you are in the areas hit hardest by this extreme weather, we are all keeping you in our thoughts, hoping you and your family remain safe.
Since we are all mostly relegated to our homes these past many months, I wondered how many of you have created a special place to read or spend your time? I have an office for my writing, having chosen a bedroom (part of jack-n-jill adjoining rooms) and furnishing it in a way that helped create a mood. It’s cozy, has great windows, colors, and always cheers me. I thought that an important aspect. (I’ll include a few pictures.) Since my granddaughters stay with me periodically, I have added furnishings that they love, complete with ‘cubbies’ for their “prize possession of the hour.”
Yesterday, my husband asked me if I enjoyed going to it every day and spending so much time in it. I thought about it before answering. “Yes” I said. I have a small ALEXA gadget that I have saved tons of favorite music to, comfy furnishings and our two dogs always stay in there with me. They love the room. And I do a lot of writing in there.
“Do you enjoy it?” he asked about the writing.
“I really do,” I replied. There’s pressure, but I created it. It’s not someone else’s demands – even if it’s a deadline. I have them because I accepted or pursued a book to write.
My pets have taken their “homebound hoomans” in stride. Here’s a couple of cute snapshots of our time together, when we aren’t walking them—weather permitting.
Not sure, but maybe SHEP is doing his interpretation of the downward dog.
FINALLY! They are sharing and not competing for attention. Shep (on right, still recovering from torn ACL surgery) and Gracie (left). They are under my desk in my office.
Stay safe and warm!
Earl of Shefford
Colin, Earl of Shefford visits a building he has won in a wager, having determined its address to be an excellent location for a new club. Discovering not only a fully functioning orphanage but a beautiful headmistress, who refuses his offer of an alternative establishment, he suffers a pique of temper. Irritated by her immunity to his charms, he foolishly succumbs to his intense attraction and brashly offers her a choice. Either she must accept him in a marriage of convenience or provide proof that the orphanage has value to him.
Impoverished and needing to restore her fortunes, Miss Honoria Mason despises the members of the ton for their extravagance and blames them for her family’s loss of home and fortune. However, Nora's life takes an eventful turn when the handsome Lord Shefford becomes the orphanage's landlord and presents her with an ultimatum. Either she proves the orphanage’s worth to him in two weeks or becomes his convenient bride in order that he may produce an heir. She refuses to lose the orphanage she has worked so hard to preserve and so accepts his offer to marry.
Sparks fly as proximity forces them together, the better to know each other. How can romance bloom when resentment has withered their hearts?
The rule for the Regency Era was a natural complexion, departing dramatically from the white painted faces (the use of the white lead-based paint often led to disfigurement and even death), black beauty patches, rouged cheeks and dramatic looks of the previous century. The era took on a focus of enhancing the natural beauty. This emphasis, rather than safety, is what led women to eventually move away from the use of these toxins.
There was no legislation regulating the safety of such products, allowing many cosmetics to continue to use unhealthy substances. Prominent ladys’ fashion magazines contained advertisements claiming to cure anything (think any skin disorders—from freckles to acne lesions) with their powder, tonic or lotion. While they had recognized mercury and lead as being dangerous, the chemicals were still prominent in ‘cures’ and cosmetics. Perhaps the saving grace for skin was that appearance was everything during the Regency period. The importance was the natural look featuring an unblemished, unfreckled complexion.
While they encouraged outdoor exercise, young women shielded their skin from the sun. Society believed freckles and suntans meant poor health, and their appearance frequently marked that person as part of the working class.
Cosmetics and skincare remedies were both purchased and made by hand. In middle-and upper classes, lady’s maids (or another servant) often created the skincare product. Magazines often included recipes and the ingredients could be purchased from the chemist or found around the home—garden, kitchen, or the like. Often the products included almond oil or milk, making the shelf life of cosmetics short.
While the white paint of the Georgian era was no longer popular as a foundation, it did not mean face cover was ignored. Often the older patrons would use the makeup base to cover the ravages of time. White face powder made from talc, rice, or crushed pearls became the norm. To meet fashion’s dictates for the natural, dewy and delicate complexion, and cover imperfections, lightly tinted foundations came into use, eventually moving women away from the more toxic ingredients.
Most women used rouge—sparingly—to highlight the bloom of nature. It always required a light touch to give that healthy glow dictated by the era. Powder rouge was the most popular, often made with a talcum powder base, although creams were also used. Frequently, rouge was made of vegetable ingredients, red sandalwood, vermilion (description further down) and saffron. Occasionally, more unhealthy ingredients found their way into the pomade or powder, such as muriate of tin, and other compounds used to make it thicker or pigmented.
They usually used matching lip color, even though it was discouraged during the period. The sheerer the better. These lip colors were also often derived from vegetable dyes, with wax, almond oil, melted fat, rose, lavender water, and other additives that combined to give lips a sheer, natural appearance. The bright red painted look came from the use of vermilion, a vivid red pigment taken from the powdered mineral cinnabar, used in art and cosmetics since the ancient days of Rome.
Even while mascara and eyeliner had been in use and available (since Egyptian times), they frowned upon their use. They did not promote the desired natural look and unnaturally covered the eyes. Except for minimal use of elderberry and some light stains on the brows or lashes, makeup stayed off the eyes, save a light brush of powder over the eyelid.
Here is an example of an advertised recipe used to rid the complexion of pimples.
A paleontologist who uncovers fossils who wants to make a name for herself, on her own merit...A painter and a dreamer, he is often forgotten about, which is just the way he likes it – until his brother’s death...Despite all that stands between them, they can't help but fall in love. changes everything.
She's lost her memory...He's been trained in the arts of espionage and breaking ciphers...Swept into a world of secrets, murder, and a plot to end an ancient spy network. Will Juliana’s memory return in time to save them? Or will their foe end all they hold dear?