Middle-Age Memoirs: How to make a face mask in 30 seconds or less (with a filter)

Well what a month it’s been! Spending unending time with my better half and youngest son over the past couple of weeks has been fun. However, I think the phrase “be careful what you wish for” may be applicable here.

I’m the type of person who loves alone time. Normally, I’m alone all day (except for my dog Max of course). I write my blog alone….I do housework alone….I cook alone. I really enjoy being alone. I find it peaceful. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my sons like crazy, now that they are out of the house. I absolutely love spending time with my better half. Since the pandemic began, however, they are rarely out of sight or earshot. I find my precious alone time has completely disappeared and, quite frankly, I miss it. I’m sure most of you can relate. I find myself digging into my old habit of staying up late at night, just to find some peace, and revive some precious alone time.

Anyway…last week, the Governor of Virginia, issued a “stay-at-home” order, which ended up being an extension of the “suggestions” for staying home previously issued. He kept everything else the same. Thankfully, he didn’t take it to extremes, such as arresting people for leaving home, like states surrounding us have done.

On Friday of last week, the CDC issued new guidelines for wearing face masks in public. Here is a link to the CDC face mask FAQ for your information. So, I took to the internet to find the easiest way to make a face mask with little or no sewing required. I tried several before settling on my favorite. AND…once you have all the materials, it can be put together in under 30 seconds. My son timed me and it took me 24 seconds. I got the idea from the video below:

The video above used electrostatic hepa filter material for the face mask filter. I looked for this online. You can find it on Amazon, but don’t expect delivery until June. So I did a bit of research for alternatives. I found an article on smartfilters.com, called “What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks?” The following list of material was tested by researchers at Cambridge University. Researchers tested each material against “0.02 micron Bacteriophage MS2 particles (5 times smaller than the coronavirus)” As you can see, vacuum cleaner bags were found to be effective 86% of the time. So we will be using this as our filter, in place of the hepa filter in the video. If you don’t have vacuum cleaner bags, my research indicates any “non-woven” fabric will help, but not as effectively.

One other thing I discovered…most videos recommended using hair bands. I DO NOT agree. I tried using these and found they didn’t stay on my ears. I prefer rubber bands. I found them to stay better and they were more comfortable.

Materials needed

  • 15 inch x 15 inch piece of cloth (really any size will work see video)
  • 8 inch x 4.5 inch rectangle cut from a vacuum bag (for the filter)
  • 2 rubber bands or hair bands


  • gather materials
  • lay filter (vacuum bag rectangle) in the middle of the 15 x 15 square fabric. NOTE: the filter IS NOT reusable. You’ll need a new filter with each use.
  • fold fabric in thirds. Start by folding the top down. Then fold the bottom up
  • put one band around each end
  • fold the ends toward the middle
  • tuck extra from one side into the folds from the other side. (see video)

Closing thoughts

Keep in mind, I am not a medical professional, nor an expert on medical face masks. Also, this isn’t a “form fitting” mask. It is, by no means, a replacement for a surgical mask or N95 mask. With that said, the CDC is suggesting the use of face masks and many states are beginning to require them in public. This mask is better than nothing, VERY easy to put together and more form fitting than simply a scarf. Plus it has a filter of sorts, so should provide a bit more protection.

As I said, I tried at least 4 different types, some with material, some with paper towels. There are many how-to videos on youtube. If you sew, THIS ONE would be great, as it has a pocket for a filter and is reusable. Anyway, I’m not much for sewing, so this was my solution.

I hope all of you are safe and healthy. GOD BLESS!

Until next time…Namaste my friends


Walk to wellness: DIY Lattes & Syrups & Creamers

Hello everyone! I’m taking the day off! Since today is a holiday here in the USA, I decided to repost this article, which was written about a year ago. I’ll be spending the day with my family. Mean while, you all can read about making your own syrups, creamers and lattes, and avoid the toxins in restaurant and store versions. ENJOY!


Last week, in my “How to eat healthy” series,  I began a series on food additives. In the comments of that article, someone discussed  just how unhealthy Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes are, filled with sugar and chemicals. This sparked an idea. I decided to post recipes highlighting how people can make their own specialty coffees right in their own kitchen.

Before we get to the recipes, let’s touch on just why you want to make your own. Simply put- to avoid excess sugar and, most of all, chemicals. Now, in case you’re thinking “Why don’t l just buy creamer or syrup and make my own?”  Not so fast!

Below I have the ingredients for 3 different “pumpkin spice” items:

  • Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • Jordan’s Skinny Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Syrup.
  • Coffee-Mate Pumpkin Spice Creamer.

As the first infographic says…WHERE’S THE PUMPKIN? None of the 3 have ANY pumpkin. You’ll also notice, except for the “topping” on the Starbucks latte, there’s no “spice” in ANY of the 3 items. only “flavorings”.  (And even the topping contains sulfites!) Have a look:

Ingredients in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte:


Ingredients in Jordan’s Skinny Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Syrup:

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 12.38.48 AM

Water, natural and artificial flavoring, cellulose gum, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, citric acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness), caramel color.

Ingredients in Coffee-Mate Pumpkin Spice Creamer:


“Water, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (High Oleic Soybean and/or Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed), and Less than 2% of Sodium Caseinate (a Milk Derivative)**, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan. **Not a Source of Lactose.”

Now that you know why you should make your own, you’ll need a few recipes to get you going. After all, that’s what Wellness Wednesday is all about…doing things a bit healthier. I have 16 different recipes: 6 lattes, 5 syrups, and 5 creamers.

I am a tea drinker myself, so Chai latte or matcha latte is my preference. Let me know your thoughts and what your favorite coffee or tea is. I want to know! ENJOY!


First the Lattes:

Perfect Homemade Latte



  • Coffee or espresso
  • Milk

Click this link for the complete recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Latte


2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more to garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 to 2 shots espresso, about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped until firm peaks form

Click this link for the complete recipe

Apple Pie Latte



  • 1 Shot of Espresso
  • 2oz of Apple Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons of Granulated Sugar
  • A Pinch of Cinnamon
  • A Pinch of Nutmeg
  • 4oz of Milk
  • Whipped Cream (optional)

Click this link for the complete recipe


2/3 cup water
1/3 cup maple syrup (good quality, organic)
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground ginger
teaspoon vanilla extract
cups strong black coffee
cups milk 


  • ½ – 1 teaspoon Aiya Cooking Grade Matcha
  • (or 1 tablespoon Aiya Matcha Zen Cafe Blend which is lightly sweetened)
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup warmed coconut milk
  • optional – sweetner of your choice, to taste



Chai Tea

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 black tea bags
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 TB pure maple syrup


  • 1/2 cup chai tea recipe above
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 TB pure maple syrup
  • pinch ground cinnamon

The Syrups:

Vanilla Coffee Syrup

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 10.32.48 PM.png


  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 quart mason jar, with hole cut in lid to allow for pump dispenser to slide in
  • 1 plastic pump dispenser, available at craft stores

Click here for complete recipe

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Syrup


1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup water



1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water, divided
1 teaspoon corn syrup (I would use raw honey instead)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Click here for the complete recipe (and 4 others!).

Raspberry Syrup


  • 2 cup water, filtered
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 ounce fresh raspberries, rinsed

Click here for the complete recipe

Homemade Mocha Chocolate Syrup



  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup decaf coffee
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Click here for the complete recipe

The Creamers:

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer


  • 1 Can of Coconut Milk
  • 4 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree
  • 3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon Nugmeg
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cloves
  • Dash of Ground Ginger
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla

Click here for the complete recipe

Mint Chocolate Coffee Creamer



  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 5 drops stevia


  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3-4 Tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Click here for the full recipe


  •  1-1/2 cup half and half
  • 5 spicy chai tea bags
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup (optional) (Do not use agave. Use maple syrup or honey instead)


  • 1 can light coconut milk (~1½ cups)*
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tbsp molasses (more or less to taste)
  • 2½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves

Thankful Thursday: Savoury Thanksgiving Pie (Vegetarian) ~ Jody Karen

Just a bit of “housekeeping” before I get on with today’s Thankful Thursday article.  I will be taking the next two weeks off from posting, for two reasons.

  • Next week Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the USA.  I’ll be taking time off to prepare my big meal and spend time with my family
  • I’m at the end of my current class at school. I need some extra time to finish up my final assignment, take my final written exam and study for my oral exam.

So this will be the final main post

until Monday December 4, 2017.

Enjoy today’s article,


I’ll see you all in December!

Now, on to the main article.

Today’s Thankful Thursday article is from Jody at JodyKaren.com. Jody, originally from Canada, is a student at the University of St. Andrews in Scotand.  Jody blogs about delicious vegetarian recipes, as well as her journey to wellness. Here is a bit about Jody, in her own words:

“… I started this crazy adventure by hopping on a plane from Canada to Scotland. Although I miss maple syrup and the mountains, I’m enjoying the Scottish lifestyle of highland cows, afternoon tea, and windy beach walks.

When I moved to Scotland, I started to get into fitness and veggie cooking. I decided to start this blog to document my wellness journey, and to inspire others to be healthy while maintaining that #studentlifestyle (tequila is healthy, right?).” 

Since next week is Thanksgiving, I wanted to share this delightful Thanksgiving pie recipe. This would be a great addition and fun twist to any Thanksgiving table.

Thank you so much Jody,

for following me over this past year.

I truly appreciate having you as a part of

The Purple Almond team.


For Jody’s recipe,

follow the link below:

Savoury Thanksgiving Pie

Here are some other recipes from jodykaren.com


Banana Walnut “Cheesecake” Muffins


Chai Pumpkin Smoothie


Overnight Nutella Oats


Here is a DIY Beauty recipe!

DIY Cookie Dough Lip Scrub