Check Out Blog Posts from NEO Image Consultant Tee McBee & Her Advice for Looking Your Best at Any Age

Tee McBee will help you avoid a “Clothes Call” with your wardrobe. How to edit what you’ve got, how to stand out in a crowd, how to look and feel your best – Tee covers it all.

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The Best Things to Keep in a Safe Deposit Box

As digital records and cloud storage become the norm, the stodgy safe deposit box is under threat to join our growing list of things that will soon disappear forever. But don’t rush to declare the safe deposit box a relic of the past just yet. You still need to be able to produce certain original documents, rather than digital scans or photocopies, and some valuables simply can’t be digitized. ...
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An Herb Experience from Blogger Paris Wolfe

Sansho Pepper Experience is Startling


As the Blogmaster for The Herb Society of America, I seek herb experiences when I travel. I want to see what’s different, new or part of the local culture. The older I get the further I have to reach for new experiences; travel is a great way to find them.

A recent visit to the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal was a jackpot. It’s like Cleveland’s West Side Market, but local to the Canadian city.

My favorite store in the historic market was Epices de Cru, a colorful exotic vendor of herbs, tea, and spices. The husband and wife owners travel the world to bring home the best ingredients from the “ordinary” to the unusual. Think: Cinnamon leaf or avocado leaf (use like a bay leaf with a different accent.) I was so entranced I visited twice. The second time I spent an hour perusing shelves and deciding just what to carry home.

Feeling adventurous I asked for the most unusual product and was introduced to sansho pepper. I can’t decide if the person assisting liked me or hated me when I was allowed to sample the small “peppercorn” which comes from the berry of a deciduous shrub – prickly ash — cultivated in Asia.
It was like my first experience with wasabi. Intense nerve confusion. I wasn’t sure if I was going to live or die. I lived.

First, the tip of my tongue numbed. That electrified numbness spread. From cheek to cheek I sensed a citrus – lemon/lime, maybe – coolness. And, my mouth started to water. It wasn’t hot or spicy, but like something had a hold of the nerves in my mouth. It expanded beyond taste to a physical sensation. And, it lasted nearly 10 minutes.

Once I realized that anesthesia was the expected experience and the limit (I wasn’t succumbing to rare nerve poison), I was fascinated.  

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Curate Your Closet

I couldn’t stand my closet. It was overflowing with coats, jackets, work dresses, sundresses, long skirts, short skirts, pants, sweaters, scarves … shoes, boots, sandals. Enough to dress the female population of small country.  

I had clothes for multiple roles mom, exercise enthusiast, media professional, friend, girlfriend and more. Let’s not even talk weight gain and loss. It’s no wonder my closet looked like several women lived there. They did.

Enter Jennifer Marks, a closet curator and stylist by trade, headquartered in St. Louis and Cleveland. She helps clients sort, purge and organize clothing. Marks has a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on social and behavioral sciences, something that has honed her skills for understanding human behavior.

She won me over with a few words:  “My goal is to get to know you and understand your lifestyle to ensure your outer appearance accurately depicts your true inner self.”

A curator of more than 100 closets, she assured me she wouldn’t run screaming into the night when she saw this manifestation of my psyche.  She didn’t.

Instead, she assessed my roles and goals, my aesthetic sensibilities and comfort zone.  Then, we determined who I want to be and what that “me” will wear.

In examining the shadows that shape my closet angst, I saw how my personal history informed my attire. I reflected on how my philosophy, friends, cultural background and daily activities move my fashion decisions.

Freud might suggest the abundance made up for the limitations of Catholic school uniforms. Or, perhaps, I had been trying to find myself after divorce. Or, maybe, I’m more like an actor, choosing completely different costumes for each and every role.

Whatever the case, we pruned my closet to express my unique, powerful self without fracturing into personas and costumes.

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Herbs for All

Save Those Dandelions for Wine

By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster and Kelly Wilkinson, Dandelion Wine ExpertDandelion (2)

When I was a child my family of four bonded over dandelion hunting. We plunged narrow trowels into dry earth twisting and pleading with the dandelion roots to let go. We were removing these pests from my parent’s rural yard.

Today, I’m uncertain why. If you think about it they have cheery yellow faces and whimsical wishing poofs. But, I guess we’ve been cultured to think of them as unsightly.

If you’re going to remove them, why not repurpose them as food. (WARNING: Only use those from yards NOT treated with chemicals.) Young greens are good in salad or sautéed like spinach. Flowers are nutritional in baked goods.

In collecting and creating I was surprised by the short season, which varies by region. Their late spring  appearance in Northeast Ohio is not nearly enough to feed my culinary curiosity.

Quick before they disappear I want to share a conversation with Kelley Wilkinson from Asheville, North Carolina. Kelley writes:

I used to be a wine snob. I worked in a wine shop for a year, and was paid with wine, instead of a salary, and learned everything I could. We held weekly tastings and I even rubbed noses with Robert Parker at national events. I filled my cellar with the finest Bordeaux and California wines. 

But I’ve also been a long-time organic grower and gardener.

The two things didn’t quite jive, since I knew that grape production often involves tons of toxic chemicals. Plus I have been a wild-food aficionado and herbalist for many years. So making my own organic and/or wild alcohol seemed inevitable. I was a bit nervous to begin the journey, since I  have been cursed with a good palette. (I KNOW when I’m drinking awful wine.)

So when I made my first batch, I was not expecting much, to be honest.

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