Shoo Fly! Well Actually, Mosquito.

Ahhh summer, beautiful weather, swimming in the pool, ice-cold treats, trips to the beach, and MOSQUITOES! I have been blessed by what is known as “sweet blood,” the old wives tale way of saying you have the blood mosquitoes want. But what does that really mean? Why are mosquitoes seemingly more attracted to one person over another? And what can you do, if, like me, you are filled with that mosquito loving sweet blood?

My children, much like me, seem to be at the top of the mosquitoes menu every time we venture outside. I spent a mere 10 minutes outside the other day topping off our pool and came in with more bites than I could count on my legs, and I was wearing long (but loose) pants! I sent them outside to play one afternoon because, quite honestly, they were driving me nuts. A few minutes later, they were back inside, begging to stay in with legs that look like they have been used for target practice. No offense to the brand OFF! But when we use it, it’s like we never put it on.

All of this lead me to do some in-depth research about mosquitoes and ways to keep them at bay.

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

First the Facts

Only female mosquitos bite, so the next time you get bitten, just slap it away and yell, “Get off, bitch!!” It won’t stop the bugs from eating you alive, but it may make you feel better. The reason they bite is that they need the protein in our blood to feed their eggs.

Mosquitos are attracted to some over others, but not due to your blood, it’s your metabolic rate that really gets them excited! Drinking alcohol, being overweight, exercising, and being pregnant are all things that raise your metabolic rate. No wonder we all get bit standing poolside drinking a beer!

What Can You Do?

Expert advice also recommends wearing lighter colors as mosquitos can’t see well and are more attracted to dark shadows. Another idea is aiming a small fan at you as they can’t fly in winds faster than 1 mph.

Mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk, although I seem to get bit no matter what time of day, so avoiding outside around those times could prove helpful.

Wearing bug spray, citronella candles, and bug zappers may be enough for some. But for me, one step outside and ZOINK! I’ve been hit.

Since I love essential oils, I decided to look into which ones work best against mosquitos. Turns out, I had everything I needed already in my home! Tea Tree Oil, Lavender, Peppermint, and Rosemary are just a few of the scents that these little bugs hate. So, yesterday afternoon when I went out to watch my kids splash around, I dropped a few drops of each onto a cotton swab and rubbed my ankles, neck, and arms. Viola! Not one new bite!

These same scents are also anti-inflammatory and can help soothe those itchy bites once you have them. So what did I do? I took about a quarter cup of coconut oil and added several drops of lavender, rosemary, and tea tree oil and rubbed it all over my bug-bitten legs. It wasn’t instantaneous magic, but about a half an hour later I noticed, I wasn’t itchy anymore. That and I also smelled fabulous.

Tea tree oil also discourages ticks, and after finding one on myself last week and one on my son this morning, I am ready to bathe in that stuff. I have a large leafy backyard that is attached to a nature preserve. Ticks happen. And as much as I love attempting to detach a tick from a screaming 6-year old who happens to be deathly afraid of bugs, I want to keep them at bay.

Peppermint oil is also fantastic at deterring ants and spiders. I use that inside my house around windows and door frames. It is a safe and natural solution you can use inside without all those nasty bug fumes.

Since I would like to continue to enjoy the outdoors, I am going to keep playing around with the recipe for my own natural bug deterrent and hopefully make it through the summer with my legs still in one piece!

I would love to hear from others who have had success with homemade remedies either as a deterrent or as a relief for bug bites!

Are Dresses Without Pockets Even Worth It?

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No.  A resounding no.  Nothing is a more perfect and essential garment than a maxi dress with pockets.  Done.  I could end the post here.  Of course, I am not going to because I feel the desire, not the need, to expound on why dresses with pockets are a must.  If it needs explaining, then this post probably is not for you. 

Photo by Joanna Malinowska

First, where else will I put all the lovely things my children and students give me throughout the day?  A hundred tiny pieces of white paper my son handed me saying they were diamonds for Valentine’s Day, glad I have a pocket.  The 37th pipe cleaner bracelet one of my students has made me?   In the pocket, it goes; I love my students, but even I have difficulty keeping up the excitement after the 10th bracelet in a row.  Snotty tissue, you guessed it, in the pocket.  Every single damn Lego you find because they are never actually in the Lego container, viola! Pocket.  Pockets are one of the most essential tools when interacting with younger kids. 

Photo by Xenia Bogarova

Second, pockets are perfect for the socially awkward adult that I am.  I have no problem talking to kids all day but put me in a social situation where I am expected to speak to adults, and I have no idea what to do with my hands.  Even worse, are one on ones where there is no one to get me out of the conversation I do not want to be having.  For example, when the woman in front of me at Panera Bread turned around to exclaim to me that nobody should eat the food here because it causes cancer, hands in the pockets. Or, how about when my co-worker started telling me about the problem she has been having with her vagina.  Perfect. Pocket. Situation. Or, what about when checking out at the grocery store and the woman scanning my items was talking to the cashier the next station over about her nail fungus? Put ’em in the pockets. 

Third, pockets are everywhere in our life because they are functional.  You have pockets in your car door, and on the back of the seats, I am not currently utilizing any of these pockets, but it makes me happy to know they are there.  Purses and backpacks have pockets because it makes finding things easier.  I love pockets so much that when my mom made me a themed bag as a gift for a theatrical production, I was in, I gave it back and asked for her to add a pocket (which she did, thanks Mom!)  Cabinets are basically pockets for your kitchen, I mean where would you put all your stuff if your kitchen didn’t have pockets?  As a side note, I decided on the spot that I will hence force refer to cabinets at kitchen pockets.

Photo by Amy Humphries

Now perhaps you are not pocket dependent like I am, and if so, I probably am falling flat on my face as I describe the importance of pockets to you.  But, if you love dresses with pockets as much as I do, I know you’re standing beside me in perfect pocket solidarity.  I love dresses with pockets so much that I am wearing one right now as I write this.  This spring, I have systematically started to replace every dress I own with one with pockets.  I have been known to squeal with glee when I discover a dress I like has them; at times, that is the only impetus I need to purchase the aforementioned dress.  When I am wearing a dress with pockets, I lord it around the house like a queen in her castle; somehow, they make me feel instantly better.  Pockets provide a sense of security.  Whether it’s a place to put things, hide my hands or for comfort, I need pockets in my life.  I cannot always hide from the world, but I can slide my hands into those delicious pockets concealing at least a part of me; for that alone, I will always love a dress with pockets.

Essential Mom Outfits

If you are a mom, guaranteed you are busy and have your hands full most of the time. There is often little time to yourself, let alone time for fashion and strategically planning outfits. I have been known to go to Target in sweatpants and a t-shirt because I just couldn’t care at that moment. But, if you’re like me, it feels good to feel put together from time to time, even if it is in a casual way, so, I’ve created a list of my favorite and easy go-to “mom looks” that won’t make you look as haggard as you may feel!

1. This is one of my favorite go-to looks. A Graphic T, Denim Jeggins, and Nude Flats. Toss your hair up in a messy bun and you are good to go. It’s classic, simple and won’t break the bank. I have a selection of graphic T’s that could rival what’s available for sale in the entire Women’s section of Target and Kohl’s combined and own jeggings in light blue, dark blue and pink.

2. For the days you don’t care but still don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed (even though you did), I recommend patterned leggings, a plain oversized sweatshirt and some stylish sneaks. LuLaroe are my favorite leggings and can be found on eBay and in thrift shops. The great thing about leggings is they come in so many colors, patterns and designs there is guaranteed to be a pair out there for you.

3. My other, personal favorite, go-to is a maxi dress, especially if it has pockets. They are sooooooo comfortable and they make it simple to get ready with little effort, while at the same time look put together. I often wear mine with sandals, flip flops or flats. This look is as easy as 1,2…. no 3 needed. I have two of the dressed posted currently hanging in my closet.

4. These are all things you probably have in your closet already. A pair of jeans, a loose T either solid or striped, a cardigan and a pair of white sneakers. Four very basic pieces that can be easily slipped on and have you ready to be out the door in no time. I prefer a pop of color in either the cardigan or shirt but this look can easily be done with more neutral/calm tones like gray and navy and look just as good!

5. Lastly, we have the sweater or sweatshirt dress. I usually pair mine with thick tights and boots in the winter or with loafers or flats in the spring. They are cozy, cute and it’s basically like wearing a hug.

The important thing is that no matter what you wear that you stay authentically you. I love would love to hear from other mom’s about what your “go to” looks are! Please comment so I can get some more ideas for my closet!