Archive for the ‘Life at the Rose Cottage’ Category

The Eddie Show: Season Finale

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

In case you are just tuning in, be sure to read The Eddie Show: Episode 2

…and now back to our program.

Clare began with the Alderman and told him our story. And the Alderman called the Police Commander and told him our story and the Commander assigned his best detective to the Sisters. “Because what we have here,” the alderman told him “is a monster.” What we also had was a Friday followed by a holiday on Monday, so from the very beginning the process was choppy. But, the Alderman also called the State Senator and told him our story and the State Senator, on the weekend, called the Attorney General, at home, and told him our story – and so we had our workaround. Make no mistake, we were assured, Eddie was on the AG’s radar. Which somehow was not reassuring at all.


The Eddie Show: Episode 2

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

In case you are just tuning in, be sure to read The Eddie Show: Season Opener

…and now back to our program.

And so, we marveled as the disintegrating old brick sidewalk (or so Eddie claimed) was rapidly removed and replaced with a fashionable new brick sidewalk – being very professionally laid by the ‘he finally made sense’ bricklayer. For an hour. At which point the brick layer stopped, admired the 20% of the job he’d completed, threw some plastic over a pile of bricks – some old, some new – and left saying, I gotta go, I’ll finish this tomorrow – mañana. That was October. This is April and the path remains the same: 20% new; with a plastic-wrapped pile of bricks in the middle of our torn-up sidewalk; crime scene tape directing everyone to step around the gaping hole; and, while you’re at it, be careful on the steps. The bricklayer had removed the riser on the first step so you climb our front stairs at your own risk.

Our front path still a mess

When we finally put a stop to The Eddie Show some four months later we had four of these damage and dash sites on our property, with none of the contracted work completed and expensive new problems created. Don’t imagine for a minute that any of this was acceptable to us; just know that we’d signed a contract and the mortgage company holding our insurance settlement in escrow had given Eddie close to $8,000 as a deposit on the project. Let’s just say we were desperate to find a way to work with this very charming fellow, who always had an answer, always had an excuse, and constantly added in extras at no cost to sweeten the rapidly souring situation.

But Eddie was fun and he always left us thoroughly entertained and exhausted in the wake of his erratic drop-ins. I’d turn to my sisters following an Eddie appearance, raise my eyebrows and prophetically declare, “Eddie is either bipolar or a criminal or both!” Because renovation à la Eddie didn’t match any business standards I’d ever understood to be normal or acceptable, let alone professional. Eddie didn’t arrive, he entered the scene, and began to perform immediately, claiming every bit of oxygen in the room. Everyone was greeted with a kiss and a request. Annie, please, a Benadryl before your pets kills me. Clare, the love of my life, hot tea, please, I’m dying here. Jokes were told along with great, big, outrageous, over-the-top stories where every character was a mobster or a criminal – everybody’s father was a pedophile and everybody’s kid was a drug addict. Everyone in every story always seemed to be doing time or newly released. One day I challenged Eddie saying, “My God, Eddie, don’t you know any nice stories. It’s like everyone you know is a con.” And Eddie would smile his very winning smile, showing off the fullness of his very nice dental veneers, and he’d wink and I’d think as he exited stage left, yep, bipolar or criminal – mark my word.


The Eddie Show: Season Opener

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Last Fall the Duggan Sisters cautioned customers that they might experience some minor glitches in our customer service. Please know, we advised, that we are undertaking substantial repairs to the cottage. We asked for patience when we should have asked for prayers. We should have been asking folks to call 9-1-1. We should have had our heads examined. We should have seen Eddie coming, but we didn’t. Because all the wouldas, couldas and shouldas in the world weren’t sufficient to prepare us for the performance (con) artist we came to call Cousin Eddie. Or, as an investigator in the Attorney General’s office counseled us a few months later, “some people are very good at being very bad.” And Eddie, our contractor of choice, was indeed very, very good at being very, very bad.  


Deodorant for Love Cats

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

Dr.-Zhivago-ice-palace-interior-VarykinoTwo movies and one great book have come to mind as we’ve been coping with this Polar Vortex; the first is Dr. Zhivago and the scene where he and Lara and have sought temporary safety in an ice castle. With starving wolves howling in the frozen landscape, and the Bolsheviks on their heels, we know the lovers will not have a happy ending. Okay? My sisters have always accused me of being too dramatic; but really this record-breaking cold is scary as the snug little cottage we call home and work has begun to flutter and dim and buzz and melt and worry us.

Normally a nifty space heater warms this charming work station. Oh well.

Normally a nifty space heater warms this charming work station. Oh well.

The electrician due to arrive early today has succumbed to sickness and truly the roads aren’t safe yet – so our electric healing has been postponed for one more day. But while we wait and try not to worry, especially about Annie who is sleeping in a room where she can see her breath and ice has formed on the inside of the walls, we remain busy and that keeps us warmer. Annie claims to have slept well and proceeded early this morning to head to the basement where she worked wrapped in a blanket held on with an apron. Her night cap is cashmere and her work cap is polar fleece and we think she rocks both looks. But back to the movies.


Today, for the three of us, was transformational as we abandoned chilling thoughts of Dr. Zhivago and embraced a full-on George Bailey moment here at the cottage. You know the scene – George has come back from the edge of darkness and despair, and been eharry bailey toastmbraced and saved from ruin by the loving members of his community. His brother Harry, the war hero, sweeps in, and proposes a toast to his big brother George, the richest man in town.  Today, that’s what we feel like – the richest gals in town. And that transformation is because of all of you and the support you are showering us with, even as I write you now.


Your response to our SOS has been overwhelming and we are deeply touched and very grateful. We worked last night until 1 am processing the orders and letters of encouragement that arrived from all over the world – and that despite our still very sporadic internet connection. You’ve offered us your warm winter homes, your sunny vacation condos, your internet, and your good old-fashioned willingness to lend a hand. We’d tried hard to be ready for the cold snap; but when our dear neighbor and loyal customer Sam offered to help in any way he could, Clare accepted.

“I hate to ask in this terrible cold, but if you’re out running errands, could you please drop off some toilet paper?” she asked. Because for real, that humble but critical purchase had fallen off the shopping list.

killer_app_cover-664x1024Yes, you’ve restored our faith in our own wonderful life and in so doing you’ve brought to mind a lesson from one of our all-time favorite business classics – Tim Sanders’ LOVE IS THE KILLER APP. If you haven’t read it yet, treat yourself. You don’t have to be involved in business for his message to resonate. Sanders’ small and beautiful little book asserts that in business, as in the rest of life, it’s love that makes the world go ’round. Sanders calls the folks that understand that truth, and practice it in their lives, love cats.

We’re in the process here at the cottage of updating our website and we’ve been toying with new tag lines. My current favorite is THE DEODORANT OF THE FUTURE IS AVAILABLE TODAY.  But after this latest episode in the lives of the Deodorant Sisters of Beverly Hills, I think a more appropriate slogan might be:


Because we clearly do.

I remain hopeful that over the next few days our shared life will return to normal. My morning ritual of turning on the space heater that sits beside my favorite chair, in an always drafty corner of the living room, will be restored. The Chicago Tribune will resume normal delivery. I’ll be able to draw enough electricity to make my morning coffee. I’ll sit and sip my hot coffee and read all about how my fellow Chicagoans survived the Polar Vortex. And I’ll be remembering how all of you helped us to survive it, as well. I’ll be warm, my coffee will be hot – and oh Lord, I better check to make sure Sam has fulfilled on his promise.


We’ll keep you posted as our situation clarifies.


Until then, from the bottom of our very warm hearts, we thank you.


Mary and the Sisters

Mary Duggan

About the author: Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters, creators of lifestinks® natural deodorant that actually works and lifestings® DEET-free bug repellent. 

Spend a few minutes exploring and experience the Sisters’ spirited approach to wellness; discover their award-winning natural products; and read their stories of victory against the odds. They make lifestinks is their home and HQ in Beverly Hills, Chicago.  Connect with the Duggan Sisters today!

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Part 3: Wrap Up The Flu And The Coughing Too

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

We were all on a powerful deadline when our early December bout with the flu landed. Chicago’s One of A Kind Show and Sale was days away and it’s a biggie for us. It’s a massive investment in time and resources and we have to be able to sell, sell, sell to the crowd of 75,000 attendees over a period of four days to recoup our dollars. And selling means on our feet 10 hours a day and talking, talking, talking.

Katie S - in store display w annie


It was time to call in Katie Speh from our local Southtown Health Food Store. We love our doctors: integrative, chiropractic and TCM – but when it comes to OTC remedies and the smarts to know what to grab, we always turn to Katie Mahler Speh for the best there is. (more…)


Part 2: The Flu Is A Miserable Experience, But This Helps

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

If you see Oscillococcinum on the shelf at a pharmacy or your local drug store, grab a box or two. It addresses flu symptoms, which you’ll have plenty of, and it eases things up a great deal.


Though I hadn’t had the flu in forever, I knew enough to jump on Ocillococinum as soon as I felt the first tickle in my nose and body ache in early December. The tiny little glass vials of homeopathic pellets work wonders. If you take them fast enough. When you can find them. (more…)


Part 1: Ideally, Don’t Get The Flu

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Okay, I thought I was invincible. The great thing about using functional medicine to stop autoimmune disease in its tracks is you rarely get sick. Really, I haven’t had the flu or a head cold or an upper respiratory infection or even a sore throat is so many years that I didn’t remember what to do. When I got all of the above. All at the same time. This year.

Grain free, sugar free, soy free, dairy free. You know how we roll here at the Rose Cottage. That’s why you never invite us to your home for dinner. Right? Well, this year that many years-long discipline failed us. When the flu rolled in. And we hadn’t made a plan.



Ruthie’s Favorite Words

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

by Mary Duggan

ruthie mary annie kitchen

Annie and I were crying through tears as this picture was taken. Our final moments with Ruthie in her kitchen, moments before her move to Florida.

If you’ve been following along with the story behind our little business for awhile now, then you probably remember reading about our dear friend and neighbor, Ruth McNeill-Opyt.

We grew up in a big old corner farmhouse on one end of a long block in a tree-lined historic district on the South Side of Chicago. Ruthie lived in her tidy little dollhouse Georgian at the other end of that same long street. The very street where we, as sisters, still live and work to this day. Ruthie raised her 3 children at one end of the block; our mom raised her eleven at the other end. And while their lives did not cross often, they both held each other in very high esteem. Ruthie, a Protestant, used to say that she upheld one end of the block while our mother, a Catholic, upheld the other. Each of them referenced the other as always waving and having such a wonderful smile as they zipped past each other in cars filled with kids. A passing that lasted for decades.

When Clare was a little girl, she used to stop at Ruthie’s (more…)


Dissing DEET Part Two: Keep your sunblock separate.

Friday, July 22nd, 2016


Peanut butter and jelly, Fred and Ginger, tea and sympathy – okay, some things go really well together. Bug repellent and sun block? Not so smart. We know it sounds convenient and maybe more comfortable when you’re fighting the summer stickies; but really – don’t do it.


For critically different reasons, the CDC and the Sisters both say keep ’em separate. In essence, the CDC’s advice against combination products is actually advice against DEET, and here’s why.




The CDC is opposed to combination products because they are recommending the use of bug repellent products containing DEET. They know that DEET is dangerous so they want it applied rarely (once or max twice a day) and sparingly (e.g. never on the face) – the complete opposite of sunblock which calls for heavy application and frequent reapplication and for sure, it needs to go on your face.


The CDC and other reputable scientists are very concerned that when using a DEET-based combination product the DEET interacts with the sunblock formulation, making the DEET even more toxic at the same time that it reduces the effectiveness of the sunblock! See what we mean about it sounds great; but it really isn’t.


stings 5 on rock in woods - 1



Dissing DEET is easy and important.

Friday, July 8th, 2016

by Mary Duggan

ZIKA has everyone scared. And hopefully/probably heeding advice from the CDC. Most certainly women who are pregnant, women who might get pregnant, parents of kids and anyone who is in any way immune compromised. (My personal at-risk category.)

Michael Beach, deputy incident manager for the CDC’s Zika response team, advises:

“If you are going outside, wear mosquito repellent. It needs to be the same as putting on sunscreen or brushing your teeth.”

Great advice, I think. Because the Aedes aegypti means business. In fact, additional CDC directives even advise wearing bug repellent indoors all day long because this mosquito is as likely to be hanging out underneath your bed as in your yard. So saying yes to hours and hours of wearing bug repellent is our new reality. And important for protecting the health of you, your unborn child or your children.

But not if your bug repellent contains DEET. Not when healthy alternatives exist. And not when those alternatives are even more effective than DEET. (more…)