My Tramp Stamp

At first, you would think it was a lovely detail. Second glance, you wonder if there was a two for one, some type of BOGO. As you begin to really focus, you realize there is some kind of preppy neurosis. The scope of this bizarreness hits you.  Is it waspy narcissism? Or maybe it’s that OCD of hers.

Hi. My name is JMR and I am a monogramaholic.

Confession: I have officially transitioned from detail oriented into full blown TACKY. I monogram everything. Napkins, tablecloths, placemats, doillies, towels, bed linens, pillow cases, duvet covers, throw pillows, blankets, button down shirts, handkerchiefs, cufflinks, boxer shorts, casserole carriers, canvas bags, laundry bags, shoe bags, dress bags, leather boxes, tie holders, pajamas, luggage, yoga towels, stationary, soaps, paper towels, matches, chocolates, tupperware, Christmas ornaments, and so on. If I could slap my monogram on Juan Carlos and Harry, I would. It’s my tramp stamp. #JMR. The monogram situation at Casa Rodriguez is overwhelming. I am not in denial… it’s one too many and it’s right out tacky. I have no control over my monogram urge. There is not one linen under this roof that does not have some variation of my name on it.

I don’t do well with unregistered property. This trauma is a direct result of catholic schooling, where God would strike you dead if you did not put your name on every item that belonged to you. There was always a stealthy nun on a mission for nameless property. Claiming  something out of lost and found that did not have your name on it was like openly admitting you had a 16 oz cheeseburger, washed it down with a chocolate shake (or wine), while listening to Madonna’s Like A Prayer on Lenten Friday. It’s a one way ticket to hell FOREVER.

 

 

The font, colors, lines, and size of the monogram says so much about you.  It’s not a matter of making your guest bath towel look southern traditional chic, it’s a matter of a plain white towel showing  flair and character. It’s about making a non descript item, yours. And yes, I am, as is your mother-in-law (perpetual theme), judging you harshly when your guest bathroom towels are not monogramed or worse…….are monogramed improperly (gasp).

The wrong monogram will send you and your reputation into housewife damnation. Granted,this is archaic thinking, superficial, and total first world problems, but honestly, do you want to be the girl who did not properly monogram her linen dinner napkins? Post dinner party chats can be cruel and relentless. That cold-blooded frenemy of yours isn’t going to let it slide that easily.You and your faux pas napkins will be THE topic of post yoga lattes and several what’s app chats.

 

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Call me trap queen. Here is the best cheat sheet for modern monograming rules. I love this  because it includes equal rights.

Monogram inspiration click here and here and here and here.

 

 

You can follow me on instagram @jessicathehousewife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spice Girls

One of my culinary pet peeves is to find a mouthwatering recipe and as I’m dancing through my mise en place, pathetically discover I am missing one tiny key ingredient. A spice like cloves or fennel seeds, not stuff you use everyday, but really something so simple that to schlep back to the grocery store for 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom just disintegrates and sours the intent, inertia kicks in, and the result is a cheese sandwich.

I have made a list of spices I always keep stocked in my pantry.

Scratch that. Who am I kidding? This is not helpful at all. I have the Carrie Bradshaw shoe closet of spices.  My very own personal Indian spice market. The truth is, most I use once or twice a year. I have 2 bottles of mustard seeds and I don’t even know what to use mustard seeds for. Anyone? Recipe? So I am turning this ship around and going back to basics.

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I decided to get scientific and collect data (#analyticalhousewife). I created my Kitchen Dream Team composed of my bad ass girlfriends (and Roberto) who KNOW how to cook hard core. These ladies (and Roberto) are kitchen gurus, culinary virtuosos, maestros of the dinner table. Ladies with swoonworthy instagrams. These are the ones you call when a recipe goes awry and your mother-in-law’s E.T.A. is 3.5 minutes. These are the dames (and Roberto) that you fast, for a minimum of 72 hours, prior to their dinner party so you are 1000000% sure you will have ample space in your gut for everything served. They are the best of the best. Some are chefs, others successful restauranteurs, caterers, or just master housewives who slay in the kitchen.

Without further ado, here is my Kitchen Dream Team:

Roberto Blanch  Family friend (framily), who will single-handedly bring Italians to their knees begging for more of his risotto.

Katy Rood  My food soulmate and Culinary Supreme Goddess. ALL HAIL THE QUEEN.

Sarah Troncoso  Casa De Campo’s most coveted  event coordinator and french cuisine master who taught me that “when in doubt add butter.”

Chef Micaela Tolentino My daily food consultant and guide, who happens to be the GREATEST chef ever and my dearest friend. She created my favorite cookie: Deconstructed coconut macaroons. Mica is a culinary scholar.  From simple traditional staples, to elaborate recipes to pastries and health food, she knows the ins and outs and is a walking gastronomical wikipedia. She is a master of her craft and my mentor.

Karina Rizek  My fellow housewife and dinner party expert. Her impeccable design aesthetic flows seamlessly from menu to tablescape, including the perfect playlist and guests to match. Her husband’s wine selection is always on point, but we all know that behind every great man, is a FABULOUS woman telling him what she needs to be done!

Raquel Baquero She taught me to eat REAL sushi. She is a foodie and gifted in the kitchen. She also introduced me to Thai food in 1998, a palate alternating experience. (Thai Toni, South Beach, coconut milk lobster soup.)

Ani Mederos  My FAVORITE instagram account, who has me in an acute state of #foodenvy. Her hashtag #allwetalkaboutisfood will take you on a titillating journey of her culinary art.

Lina Latorre  My really kind and sweet yoga teacher (Full story here) , who is also a vegetarian and health food enthusiast.

Yahaira Attias  Maker of the best cielito lindo and tuna tartare known to man. No matter how many times I try to replicate her tuna tartare, I always fall short.

Chef Patricia Reyes The Dominican Cake Boss. She makes my favorite birthday cake. Her butterceam frosting is sinful. She is also gin tonic expert, and should moonlight as a comedian.

Nuriana Pimentel  My fellow skinnytaste zealot and raw honey connoisseur.

Lesely De La Torre My  foodie sister-in-law, who loves an exotic recipe challenge and a farmer’s market. Her culinary aptitude rivals Anthony Bourdain.

Chef Vanesa Gaviria  Chef and restaurateur, she runs the show at  La Cassina (prepare to salivate). Vanesa, along with Micaela, are responsible for introducing me to my signature cocktail, St. Germain and the best eggs benedict. She studied her art in Paris, her fantastical gastronomic imagination knows no boundaries.

Chef Laura Morell  Vegetarian, dog lover, and health food chef, notorious for the fanciest gourmet pastelitos on planet earth. Here is Laura’s IG.

Terrily Rodriguez  My gorgeous and sexy lifelong bff and wine partner. She introduced me to the crock pot and slow cooking in this house was never the same.

Erika White  My other lifelong bff and favorite food critic. She is painted on the wall of NYC’s The Palm Restaurant. She is ridiculously intelligent, witty  and pretty. I believe she  should hold court on the Michelin team.

Laura Rivera  Representing the Vega-Rivera kitchen (well worth our envy), fellow foodie and also a skinnytaste cult member.

Mari Catano Because it is my dream team and there should always be fun be in the kitchen. She makes me laugh, pours a great glass of wine, is a skinnytaste groupie, and is a schooled housewife, like me.

*Mirka ceremoniously proclaimed she could not participate in any questionnaire because she would never reduce herself to use any seasoning that is not salt, pepper, or dried oregano. Capo di tutti Capi is still bitter over the washing machine (story here). #coldcoffeehasbeenserved

**Jamal Garcia Rubido was immediately eliminated when she responded Publix rotisserie chicken.

I asked The Spice Girls: Besides salt and pepper, what are the top five spices that must be in your kitchen? (Now isn’t this much more practical info?)

I was prepared to google their responses. I swore, without a shadow of a doubt, they must use the most exotic spices. The answers surprised me. For one, EVERY SINGLE PERSON answered that their first choice is always FRESH. Something must be said, when 18 different people first respond the very same thing. Second, they don’t use fancy spices (except for cardamom).

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These are the results:

#1 Cinammon

#2 Garlic Powder

#3 Cumin, Curry, Nutmeg (whole/ground not specified) and Oregano(dried/ground not specified)

#4 Cayenne Pepper, Onion powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Dried Rosemary, and Dried Thyme

#5 Dried Basil, Paprika, and Turmeric

#6 Saffron, Tarragon, Dried Parsley, Cardamom, and Coriander

Loaded with this information, here is a COMPLETE list of spices you can stock to rival my spice pantry.

Red denotes MUST HAVE.

  • Achiote
  • Adobo (recipe below)
  • Allspice (ground)
  • Allspice (whole)
  • Anise (star)
  • Anise seed (Aniseed)
  • Basil (dried)
  • Bay leaf
  • Bouillon –Beef,chicken and vegetable
  • CardamomFULL DISCLOSURE: I have no idea what you use this for besides an indian dish, but 8 members of The Kitchen Dream Team listed it, in the spirit of authenticity concerning the data collected, I had to list it as a must.
  • Cayenne Pepper (ground)
  • Celery Salt
  • Chesapeake Bay Seafood Seasoning
  • Chilli Powder
  • Chives (dried)
  • Cinammon sticks
  • Cinnamon (ground)
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Cloves (ground)
  • Coriander (ground)
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Cumin (ground)
  • Curry
  • Dill weed
  • Fennel seeds
  • Garam Masala
  • Garlic powder
  • Garlic Salt
  • Ginger (ground)
  • Herbes de Provence w/lavander
  • Herbes de Provence w/out lavander
  • Honey (raw)
  • Italian Seasoning (recipe below)
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Malaguete pepper (whole)
  • Maple Syrup Grade A
  • Marjoram
  • Molasses
  • Mrs.Dash Salt free
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Nutmeg (ground)
  • Nutmeg (whole)
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano (dried)
  • Oregano (ground)
  • Paprika
  • Paprika (sweet AKA Pimenton)
  • Paprika (smoked AKA Pimenton De La Vera)
  • Parsley (dried)
  • Pepper -Black Peppercorn Supreme
  • Pepper- Peppercorn medley
  • Pepper-Pure ground pepper
  • Pizza Seasoning
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (recipe below)
  • Red Pepper Flakes/Crushed
  • Rosemary (dried)
  • Saffron Threads
  • Salt -Chardonnay Smoked
  • Salt- Applewood Smoked
  • Salt- Coarse Sea Salt
  • Salt- Iodized salt
  • Salt- Pink Himilayan salt
  • Salt-Broiler salt
  • Salt-Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
  • Salt-Smoked Sea Salt
  • Salt-Truffled Salt
  • Sesame Seeds –Black
  • Sesame Seeds- White
  • Sicilian Seasoning
  • Steak and Burger Seasoning
  • Taco Seasoning (recipe below)
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme (dried)
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla Beans
  • Vanilla- Dark
  • Vanilla-White

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MSG Free Recipes:

  • Adobo Seasoning Recipe 1 :2 tbps table salt, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp ground black pepper, 2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp turmeric. Mix in food processor.
  • Adobo Seasoning Recipe 2Recipe here
  • Taco Seasoning Recipe: Recipe Here
  • Pumpkin Spice Recipe 1: 3 tbsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1.5 tsp ground allspice and 1.5 tsp ground cloves. Mix together.
  • Italian Seasoning recipe Recipe Here

 

Spice For Thought:

  • Coriander and Cilantro Read Here.
  • Paprika and Pimenton Read Here
  • Anise and Aniseed Read Here
  • Allspice is the same as Dominican malagueta and Jamaican Pepper (nutty flavor). Malaguete pepper is a type of chilli (hot spice). Two different spices.
  • For some odd reason, Americans decided to add lavander to herbes de Provence. Traditional herbes de Provence, from the south of France, does not have lavander.

Tips:

Best tip I ever received was from Maritza Selman. After hearing me complain about having to toss out spices due to lack of freshness, she wisely told me to store my spices in the fridge. BRILLIANT!!! Having a flair for the dramatic, I took it a step further and keep my expensive spices, along with flour (you can buy almond flour or a car, your pick), in the freezer. Best tip ever! Thank you Dona Maritza!

Whole spices hold freshness longer than ground. The flavor is usually stronger as well. Consider this when shopping. #morebangforyourbuck (Alejandro Fernandez would totally approve this tip!)

I keep a 14 inch Lazy Susan/Turntable with the spices I use daily on the counter, away from the stove. The heat from the stove will harm the flavor and freshness.

Dominican Housewives:  I buy all my spices at Carne Y Co. The owner, Anabella de Castro, has scrutinized a perfect selection with superior quality.

What spice can you not live without? Is there any I should add to the list? Anyone have a great recipe for cardamom and mustard seeds? How does your spice pantry measure up to the complete list? Do you have your own Kitchen Dream team? Would love to read your comments below!

Follow me on instagram @jessicathehousewife and on Twitter @jthehousewife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manic Monday: Mirka vs The Machine

If you thought you had heard the last of the washing machine struggles at Casa Rodriguez, guess again. Grab a seat and join me in a stiff drink. The Washing Machine Saga now has a part deux.

As you have all probrably surmised by now, Mirka is a key player in this house. Although her official title is home manager, she might as well assume the title Godfather. She is notorious for being the “capo di tutti capi”. Her alter ego is Tony Soprano meets Carlo Gambino. Nothing moves without her approval. Nothing gets fixed if she doesn’t say it’s broken. She says when, where, and how. This is her hood and she has the final word. The wrath of Mirka is mighty. You simply don’t want to be on her bad side. To disagree with her, will earn you cold coffee until she feels you have fully understood which side your bread is buttered.  #ladyboss #oldschool #shakedown

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The Capo di tutti Capi, The Don, The Godfather, Mirka. Don’t let the sweet smile fool you. Lady Boss rules with an iron fist.

Capo Mirka hates the new washing machine. Between you, me and the fly on the wall,  I am not sure this is one she can easily move on from. Her spirit of assertion concerning the new washer is alive and kicking. Anyone within a two mile radius has heard her voice her animosity. Fair warning: all should fear for their well being and find safety. Hostility, indignation and irritability are percolating.

We purchased a fancy, high tech, all the bells and whistles, top of the line LG Turbo Smart Washing Machine. (For all those living in Dominican Republic who asked, we went to Plaza Lama. Service was on point and price was fair.) I, naively, believed Mirka would be as excited as I was to go from our 2003 stackable washer and dryer to this modern, digital, work of art, stainless steel, SMART machine.

Someone throw me a lifeline because I could’t have been more wrong. I mean REALLLLLLLLLY wrong. She abhors the new machine and has formally requested we return it for a white machine that has an agitator down the middle of a plastic tub, a turn dial, ample water levels, abundant sudsy water, a regular timer with a straight forward and loud buzz, an agitator that works like a weed whacker, and zero requirement for special detergent. With repugnance and unabated anger, Mirka annouced the new machine is “una desgracia” (a disgrace).

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This is the desired Washing Machine, circa 1982.

Fail #1: She hates that the new washing machine takes 1 hour and 24 minutes to do one load. With the old machine, she could do 2.5 loads in that time. Due to this extended time period, she can only get one load folded during her novela and has been late to bible study, TWICE. The antagonistic machine is coming between her and Jesus, and that makes the sinister machine the devil himself.

Fail #2: Mirka takes issue with the fact that she needs to input the amount of water, type of load, water temperature, the rinse, and the amount of power to agitate on the digital key pad. She feels she is doing all the work. I pointed out that the key pad also has a “smart wash” button that figures all that for you, but her arguement is that when the”smart” machine is left to think on its own, its “brilliant” solution is a 3 hour cycle and she ain’t got time for that. The old machine did not give her all these options and all these alternatives are just complicating  affairs more. She just wants the delicates button with a 30 minute cycle. “Es mucho pedir?” (Is it too much to ask?)

Fail #3: The HE logo on the detergent bottles are just too small for her to see and therefore that is sufficient justification to return the malevolent, masochistic, inept, sedate machine. Moreover, what’s the point of having a washer that can only use special detergent? Wouldn’t a modern machine provide ample detergent selections? Why is it limiting  and restricting her detergent options? And whyyyyyyyyyyy can’t the logo be LARGE? The anemic HE detergent does not make suds. How is it removing the dirt off our clothes if it has no suds?????? I promised her that all the detergents and other products in the laundry room are safe to use. I inspected every bottle myself when I purchased them. The Capo’s innate, mistrusting, sketchy self just doesn’t allow her to take my word as gospel truth. She needs to check the bottle for the HE logo every single time she grabs detergent.

Fail #4: The machine doesn’t agitate enough to her liking nor does it use enough water.  I explained to her (atleast 5 times) it is because it is being more efficient and kinder to the fabrics and the environment. That didn’t fly. She isn’t buying it. Lady Boss says that’s a whole lot of bull. She also isn’t on board with the fact that the machine is an inverter and is using less electricity. Her argument? How can that even be remotely possible if it takes three times longer to wash? ( Tony Soprano has a point there.)

Final Fail: The machine’s timer mocks her with a peaceful, muffled, digital song praising the end of the cycle. She doesn’t want Mozart’s sonata to tell her to come back to the laundry room. She wants a clear and resounding BUZZ. The pressure of trying to make out the soft melody stresses her out and has her running in and out of the laundry room checking to see if the cycle is over. It goes without saying, it is not over. The cycle, as she so often reminds me, takes 90 minutes!

POST Final Fail: Now (as I write this post) the machine is self cleaning. She never asked it to do so. The timer reads 3 hours and 40 minutes. The manure has hit the fan. The Don is furious beyond belief. The door is locked and she can’t take the clothes out. She has given up. Cement shoes comes to mind.

I can’t return the machine. She hates the washer and me for buying it. Juan Carlos, the Consigliere, wants nothing to do with this beef. #hit the mattresses.

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The Cosa Nostra.

In the spirit of washing machines, let me share my favorite laundry tips.

  • Dryer Balls are the best! Shortens drying time and leaves the fluffiest towels ever. I feel 6 dryer balls is the magic number. You can substitute dryer balls with tennis balls or make aluminium foil balls (instructions here).
  • I am not a fan of fabric softener, although I know Mirka has a hidden stash of Suavitel and Downy and uses it every so often. Dryer sheets and dryer balls are much kinder on your fabrics. My favorite dryer sheets are Mrs. Meyers Geranium.
  • Hot water for whites, cold water for colors. NEVER STRAY FROM THIS RULE.
  • NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow stained items in the dryer. It seals the stain.  And for the love of God, do not iron over it!
  • Print out a laundry decoder and a Stain Remover Cheat Sheet . Laminate and post in laundry room. By the way, Who came up with these stupid symbols?  Egyptian hieroglypics in the laundry room?

laundry decoder 2

  • Always wash and dry jeans inside out to keep color from fading. (I this extend rule to all bright colored clothes). I use Woolite Darks detergent and it has yet to fail me.
  •  Linen napkins, placemats, and tablecloths should sit overnight in ice water. This prevents stains from settling in and makes it easier to clean the following day. I like to air dry these, it makes ironing easier.
  • Always wash duvets and pillows with delicate detergent, like Woolite Gentle Cycle. Always dry with several dryer balls and on air fluff. You might have repeat the dryer cycle.
  • I swear by my own stain remover: 1 part Dawn dishwashing soap to two parts hydrogen peroxide. It has NEVER failed me. Pour concoction onto stain, lightly rub with soft bristle laundry brush or dab with a white felt towel. Let sit for a few hours. Launder as usual. This is also a hit on yellowing whites and men’s shirt collars and french cuffs. Alternatively, I turn to  Clorox Stain Fighter.
  • For my regular loads, it’s Tide all the way. I changed for a few months to a cheaper detergent and found my clothes fading and the fabric fibers weakening.
  • Marseille soap and Woolite are my go to for delicates. I wash all my swimsuits and spanx with baby shampoo in cold water. Lay flat to dry.
  • Never wring dry your delicates. Lay out  and roll up in a towel. (This method also works with your make up brushes and will dry in half the time.)
  • Keep a few fabric sheets in your drawers, in between your folded clothes. Keeps them smelling fresh! (Add fabric sheets to your packed suitcase in between clothes. When you arrive, your clothes smells freshly laundered! Also, place dryer sheets inside sweaters and winter clothing when storing during the off seasons.)

Follow me on instagram @Jessicathehousewife  and on Twitter @jthehousewife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manic Monday: Mission Annihilation

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news. It is with heavy heart that I remind you that it’s Monday once again. Mondays are equivilant to stuffing your face while wearing  your two-sizes-too-tight skinny jeans.

monday meme

We all have that one pair of jeans. The ones you can’t get rid of despite the fact it took 3 people to pry them off last time you wore them. The ones that you try to scrutinize, but your myopic, masochist ego is focused on how many “you look so thin” compliments this denim contraption can produce. The ones you can only button by wiggling each leg in, then laying flat on your back, sucking in your gut, and holding your breath like the existence of all humanity depended on you. Once you have these jeans on, you walk out the door, up to the car and spend 15 minutes critically strategizing and acutely analyzing each step as to how in God’s holy name you will get in the car and sit there for the 10 minute ride. Monday and these jeans are one in the same.

Manic Monday‘s to do list continues with the assasination of noxious germs found on innocuous objects. Grab a bottle of isopropyl/rubbing alcohol (I like 90%, 70% is fine), a slew of Q-tips, some cotton balls, and a microfiber cloth. Mission Annihilation is on.

The following is a list of what to disinfect/ decontaminate, without fail, every single Monday:

  • remote controls (tvs, gameboys, ac, cable, apple tv, etc..)
  • door knobs (both sides and don’t forget the additional locks, closet doors, kitchen pantry, hall closets)
  • doorbell
  • light switches (don’t be lazy and use the q-tip on the actual switch)
  • house telephones (if it is corded, clean that too)
  • intercom phone
  • credit cards
  • computer keyboards (additionally, we also use The Rainbow with the dust brush)
  • printer keypad
  • alarm keypad
  • cell phones
  • Ipads

Door knobs and light switches should be cleaned daily, but that’s just being illusive.  Heed my words, these objects are pathogens. It’s all fun and games until someone gets strep throat or bird flu.

The easiest way to handle this is one by one. Do all remote controls first. Then trek throughout your house and do the door knobs. Followed by the light switches. And on and on. Is this fun? Of coarse NOT. Well, maybe if you are dancing to Justin Beiber’s Sorry in the process.

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Is it time consuming? YESSS!!!! ABSOLUTELY YESSSS! I so much rather be watching Lisa Vanderpump’s passive aggressive interviews on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Will it keep you from getting conjunctivitis or bird flu? All I can say is that I have not had pink eye since June 1997.

*Mom, do you remember? I got pink eye the night before the Shoe Show and you STILL made me work.  #meanboss #outstandingworkethic #showmustgoon #putonsunglassesandstopwhining #outtingmycubanmotheronmyblogguaranteesaphonecall

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It may seem excessive and as if my OCD is on autopilot, but in all honesty, it is more about creating a hygienic environment. You will be surprised at the grime you wipe off. Once this becomes a habit, it will become easier and quicker.

So get to work! I have to run, my phone is ringing, wonder who it is?!!!! Don’t forget to follow me on instagram: @jessicathehousewife and on Twitter: @jthehousewife.

 

 

 

 

OCD: Obssesive Cleaning Disorder?

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Jessica The Housewife’s Potion

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I don’t have OCD as loosely termed and incorrectly defined by most as Type A personality with rigid schedules or absolute discipline. Everyone loves to say they have OCD. But I REALLLY have OCD. My doctor diagnosed me September 2008. It was liberating to have a name for my odd behavior.

I have a compulsion and need for everything to be white; white linens, white towels, white duvet covers, white tablecloths, white couches, white chandeliers, white shirts, white underwear, white dog, etc…

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White linens? Check! White dog? Check! Harry Winston Rodriguez, the snootiest, rudest, most haughty and aloof maltese ever.

I need things (linen napkins, glasses, towels, pillows, throw pillows, flatware, dishware, etc.) to be in sets of 8 and 12 (or 24 because Anita Messina once told me that you need 24 to properly host a dinner party; if you haven’t been invited to one of Anita’s dinners, I suggest you immediately figure out how to get invited, although any Messina sister will do…there are 5 sisters, get to work). If the set is of 10, it is absolutely useless to me. We either make it a set of 8, or add 2 more to make 12, or just get rid of the whole thing. I can not have it in my home. It will throw me off balance, igniting a nervous breakdown of epic propotions.

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Anita Messina, in all her glory! Queen of ALL that is glamourous. Take note: Her dinner parties are the most elegant, most breathtaking, and most coveted invitation. This hot shot attorney KNOWS how to entertain with style, grace, and warm elegance. #classact

I can not see a floor or counter with crumbs, a drawer open, a sink with dishes, a bathroom trash bin with paper, a chair pulled out of its place or a dryer with clothes. This constitutes a catastrophic mess (visualize an atomic bomb setting off) and makes me “antsy” (much cuter word for panic attack). “Antsy” enough to either have to remove myself from the setting, or grab a microfiber cloth and start wiping, sweeping (vacuum is best), or folding laundry.

I need to shower before I change clothing. It is physically impossible for me to put on one piece of clothing without having showered. If I took a shower at 10am and have not dressed in 30 minutes, another shower is required. Yes, I shower a lot, one day my skin will permanently prune and fall off, that I am sure of.

I do not fear germs, but the thought of them fully makes me gag and curl into the fetal position. When I think of bacteria and germs, I am consumed by an intense feeling that I am contaminated with an infectious disease and need to call the CDC, STAT.

I NEVER touch the rail of an escalator or elevator buttons with my hands. I will NEVER grab a grocery cart without disinfecting it first. Conjunctivitis is always one handle away.

Public bathroom door knobs make me cringe. I will NEVER sit on a couch or on my bed with clothes I wore on an airplane. An airplane is equivalent to a petridish of vileness. Zero details, we all have to get on a plane and I am not going to ruin it for you.

Now all the above said, I have never had to be medicated for my OCD, because it really does not hinder my life or the life of those around me. On the One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Meter, my OCD is just short of one nutty, eccentric housewife. Like Mirka says: “Una loca mansa” (a harmless lunatic).

Poor Mirka is used to watching me endlessly count my linens and disinfect the most random objects. Juan Carlos patiently knows that I need a good 30 minutes before we go anywhere because I need to shower (with Hibiclens http://www.hibiclens.com) before I leave the house no matter what. Micaela understands that I have to wipe my yoga mat more than a handful of times before class and few more times after class and that I would have a mini breakdown if anyone ever stepped or sat on my mat. My mom doesn’t question why I have to clean her house even though it has just been thoroughly cleaned. Katy knows I always have rubbing alcohol in my purse and that I am able to disinfect anyone and anything in 0.3 seconds.

Really, my OCD is more of a quirkiness. If I do not tell you I have it, you might not even notice. With the exception of Sailis, my manicurist, who has to constantly ask me to relax my hands. Manicures are relaxing to some, to me it’s a test of mind over matter loaded with tension and visions of bacteria swimming like tadpoles in the mani/pedi tub.

Silver lining? This OCD is GREAT for organizing and cleaning! I have renamed it ORGANIZED CLEANING DISORDER  and because of this, I have a crazy fixation with cleaning products. I loveeee them all! You want to make me a gift basket, skip the fruits, send me a Lysol or Mrs. Meyer’s basket!

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I have a thing with the cleaning section of the supermarket. It’s my haven! I find a deep sense of euphoria and comfort in all things that involve killing germs, bacteria and mildew and leaving a fresh scent afterwards.

Heaven you ask? The TARGET CLEANING SECTION! SWOOOOOOON! AHHH! It is life!!!!!! I analyze every single product, cartwheel app on hand, like a woman in rapture. To my husband’s dismay, I could spend endless amounts of hours and dollars there alone. Word is that Letty Rivera’s shoe closet is to be envied, I say look at my cleaning pantry!

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HEAVEN ON EARTH. Look at his face, he is mesmerised! http://www.target.com/c/household-essentials/-/N-5xsz1

Being a housewife with OCD has made me a self professed chemist. I love making my own cleaning formulas/potions. From homemade fabreeze to glass cleaner to the best stain remover known to man (dawn and hydrogen peroxide mix). It is so easy, less toxic and so much cheaper.

I confess, I am lazy and do not always make them. Let’s be crudely honest, there is no way of replicating Mrs. Meyer’s lemon verbena or as Mirka calls it “Mistolin Gringo” (American Mistolin).  Hands down, Mrs. Meyer’s are the absolute BEST cleaning products on the shelves and there is no copycat recipe for it. Frankly, google did me wrong on this one.

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My stash of Mrs. Meyer’s, a.k.a. Mistolin Gringo.

I do have a great all purpose cleaner I make.  The cleaning power to it is off the charts, and the smell is great. I have perfected the formula over the years. I like strong scents, so you will have to adjust the essential oils to your preference. Moreover, I bet you have every single ingredient at home.

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In a bowl mix the following:

  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of rubbing alcohol (I like 90%, but 70% is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon ammonia
  • 1.5 teaspoon dishwashing liquid (I am a Dawn girl.)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (the real stuff, not the bottled junk)
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil
  • 20 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 2.5 cups of hot water (maybe more to fill the bottle)

Funnel into a 10oz spray bottle.

I alternate the oils. I love lavander and substitute the lemon and lemongrass for it.  I also use a local oil. It’s cheap and the quality isn’t the best, so I use much more product.  You can use whatever essential oil or none at all. Does it smell like Mrs. Meyer’s? NO. Does it work as well? YES!

I hope this post doesn’t deem me a complete nutcase! I want to be honest, flaws included, about who I am. I really have tried to embrace my weakness and spin it into something that works positively for me. Life is full of challenges, how we confront them is what makes us strong. Follow me on instagram @jessicathehousewife and on Twitter: @jthehousewife XOXO!

 

 

 

 

Manic Monday: The Rainbow Coalition

It’s Manic Monday everyone! Well, sorta! We have been on holiday since thursday in DR, so this is going to be a quick post before I jump in the pool and enjoy the last hours of island living!

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Manic Monday done right!

 

Mondays we deep clean here. We delve deep into my OCD and allow it pleasure by cleaning, disinfecting, dusting, polishing, buffing, sanitizing, degreasing, steaming, and all that lunacy that makes my OCD shrill in euphoria and ecstasy.

The Rainbow, my fancy and ridiculously expensive vacuum cleaner that works on water, is taken out of its resting place and is put to slave labor. http://rainbowsystem.com

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THE RAINBOW.

If you don’t have The Rainbow, it’s time you get a second mortgage on your house and buy one. Then IMMEDIATELY change your phone number because The Rainbow sales agent will call you EVERY.SINGLE. DAY. including Sundays, for the rest of your life, trying to sell you another Rainbow. Fair warning.

This machine is a MASTER OF DESTRUCTION. This is not a hoover or dust devil you casually pick up at Target. This annihilates all dust, germs and allergens with tornado force and Mike Tyson intensity.  It comes with an arsenal of gadgets which you can dust, brush, and even MOP with. It has an exit hole that shoots out air. If you attach the hose to that end, you can blow up an air mattresses… or blow dry your maltese after his bath!

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Harry and his Rainbow wind blown hair.

So what do we do with The Rainbow on Mondays? Mattresses, couches, couch cushions, pillows and throw pillows, rugs, floors, headboards, lamp shades, chandeliers, frames, air conditioning gates and filters, all doors, shelves, windows, curtains, blinds and cabinets (in and out) are rainbowed to pristine status.

Full disclosure, I have an obsession with this machine. We really do use it everyday to clean the floors. I like to be barefoot at home, and brooming just doesn’t cut it. Come mondays, we use it on every possible surface. Truth is, it’s worth every single penny. The end results speak for themselves. It is a good investment.

  • I rainbow, you rainbow, we rainbow (it is a verb, I swear) everything in sight, including Harry.
  •  The Rainbow must touch every surface, if not we risk the chance of dying of dust mites and crazy infectious diseases. Dust bowl anyone?
  •  I firmly believe a law should be passed in congress requiring every bridal registry to have The Rainbow on the very top of the list, (yes, even before the Christofle silverware).
  • If I ever had to decide between Juan Carlos and my rainbow, all I can say is that Juan Carlos will be sorely missed.

Back to my reality today: clear skies, bikini, sunnies and Katy’s Lemon Balm Asti cocktail await me poolside! XOXO

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smells Like Rosemary and Verbena…Or A Brothel.

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Jessica The Housewife with Nest’s Moroccan Amber candle.

 

I must have been a hound dog in a past life. My sense of smell is keen. That said, perhaps this is the appropriate moment to gently address the lady in yoga class: lay off the lactose before class.

If you ever want to pay me a compliment, you can say two things. One, tell me I look thin. Second,tell me that my house smells incredible. This will grant you perpetual devotion and a lifetime of reveling in your light and thinking you are the kindest, most charming, sincere, brilliant human being with impeccably discerning taste.

I am all about smells. I choose my aromas according to season and mood. A holiday dinner party fragrance should not be the same fragrance as spring’s book club meeting, which is not the same as summer’s Sunday family get together. Mood, venue, theme, and time dictate the ambiance I want to create through the sense of smell. In a nutshell, a sugar cookie candle goes in the kitchen, NEVER in the living room. #fauxpas

I have an arsenal of home fragrances such as aerosols, liquid sprays, candles, Lampe Berger, simmer pots, reed, electric,oil, and plug in diffusers. I do not discriminate. I like the expensive stuff  just as much as I like the cheap stuff.

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It takes a village.
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Fancy french way to freshen air and kill bacteria. Read history here: http://www.lampeberger.co.uk/the-origin-of-lampe-berger-paris-UK

Top of my list for sprays is AP Fragances, which  I discovered at Homegoods, a.k.a. Mecca. It was a one time deal, never found them again, but super sleuth google always comes through, pinpointed their website http://stores.apfragrance.com and was able to order online. I highly recommend them, great quality and the pricepoint (4 bottles for $22 bucks) is even better. The smell actually lingers, does not dissipate in 10 seconds, and the intensity will not singe your nose hairs or make your lungs collapse.

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My favorites are Sweet Pea, Cashmere, Crisp Linen and Cotton Breeze. The Man Collection is great and useful in Juan Carlos’ closet and home office.

A few years ago, a girlfriend asked what home fragrance I used. At the time, I was all about a liquid air freshner I buy at the local supermarket. It’s by the brand Oro and the scent is Fresca y Natural (Fresh and Natural).

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Oro  Fresca y Natural

 

It smells anything but fresh and natural! To me, it smells oppulent and rich, similar to Bond No. 9 Astor Place and Volupspa’s Blanc Suede. It’s fabulous! It’s a specific and branded scent, like Abercrombie and Fitch. You know you are fast approaching A&F half a mile before you even hit the mall parking lot because of their branded scent. Anyhow, a few weeks later, said girlfriend, casually mentions to me that she followed my lead and purchased Fresca y Natural, but that her husband (insert eye roll) said to throw it away because it smelled like a bordello.

HUH???

WAIT…..

STOP!!!!!!! HOLD ON!!!!! 

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?????????????????????????

Did she just innocently tell me that my home reeks like a whorehouse? Moreover, did she also just reveal that her husband is familiar with a brothel? (OK, that was shade… it can go both ways dear Jedis.) Needless to say, from that day on, he (I still like her very much) catapulted to the top of my persona non grata list. Intentionally, I have never invited them over again because of his grave offense (which, between us, I am certain he is completely oblivious to). Really, we wouldn’t want him to choke while having flashbacks of his wild nights at the cathouse now would we? Meoooooow! #glovesareoff #gameonmister

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Dear Friend’s Husband, you are cordially uninvited from all my dinner parties from now until the end of time. Graciously Yours, Jessica and Eau De Brothel

Here are a few of my simple DIY versions of home fragances that will NOT make you choke or remind you of a brothel.

1-The infamous William Sonoma Scent. I have never gotten a whiff of this at any William Sonoma store, but at any rate, it’s really great. I make this whenever Mirka makes orange juice or lemonade, using the leftover citrus. Fill up a pot with about 2-3 cups of  water, add 2 tablespoons  (or more) of  vanilla,  several slices of limes (any citrus will work), a bunch of rosemary and/or thyme and simmer. Lemongrass and basil work great too, but must always add the citrus. You need the oil from the skin to heighten the fragance. You are welcome!

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William Sonoma Scent
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key limes, rosemary, thyme, vanilla, and a pot with water.
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William Sonoma Scent

 

2- DIY Liquid Air Freshner is so easy and cheap to make. It can also be used as a fabric refresher (homemade febreeze). I repurpose a 10oz spray bottle. Make sure it sprays well and doesn’t spit out thick streams. I really hate that! (Pat Reyes, you know what I am talking about!)  Fill it up with a little less than 1/4 cup of Downy Infusion fabric softner (or whatever fabric softner you have on hand), funnel in 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and fill the remainder of the bottle with hot water. Shake really well and spray away!  Again, you are so very welcome!

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Do It Yourself Home Air Freshner

 

3- This one I inherited from a family friend, Hilda Mena Blanch. Let’s call it Mistolin Simmer. Pour mistolin (scented all purpose cleaner) into a pot, fill about half way and simmer on low. That’s it! No more to it! I use mistolin because it is cheap and because Mrs. Meyer’s (not so cheap) is not sold in Domincan Republic. Mrs. Meyer’s lemon verbena would be amazing for Mistolin Simmer! My all time favorite scent for this is gardenia. Dominican Republic doesn’t carry the gardenia scent,in lieu I use lavanda (lavender) at home in Santo Domingo and while in Casa de Campo I opt for brisa marina (ocean breeze).

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Mistolin Simmer
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Mistolin Simmer Luxe, the upgraded version.

 

Let me know if you try any of these simple concoctions. I would love to hear any of your own. What are your favorite fragrances?  We really need to discuss smelly candles. The options are endless! Don’t forget to like and follow me here and on instagram: @jessicathehousewife. XOXO!