DIY, Homemade, Skincare, Simple, Natural, Fun, Uncategorized

DIY Bath and Beauty: Hand and Body Wash

If you have super sensitive skin, do it yourself (DIY) products can be a life saver. I started out making soaps, and I now have an array of products I like to make at home. Today’s project was hand and body wash.

For this project you will need the following:
* 8oz. foam pump bottle
* 2-4 tbs. Castille Soap (Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby is the gold standard in terms of purity and concentration.)
* 6-7 oz. Distilled Water
* 15-24 drops Essential Oils of your choice

Let’s review the ingredients. Each of them may be used for other diy projects so they’re great to have around. I’ve labeled this hand and body wash, but I’ve used this recipe on my face in a pinch with no negative reaction.

You may reuse a foam bottle you’ve already got, or purchase as many as you like on Amazon or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. In my experience, these bottles last long; so know you should get many uses here.

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Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castille Soap is the centerpiece. It can be found at many drug and health food stores, Target, and countless online stores. I often get mine at Costco, where I get two bottles for about $15.00. Generally speaking, the soap runs around $11.00 for 16oz., but understand this is highly concentrated.

This castille soap is is equal to at least eight bottles of conventional body wash (there are people who dilute it more than I, but I need bubbles in my life). An added benefit, castille soap is pure, cleans much more effectively, and is much better suited to delicate complexions.
Distilled water is available at every drug store and supermarket! You may have wondered if you can substitute tap water, definitely not. A recipe prepared with tap water will go bad quickly, becoming smelly and laden with bacteria. Unless you use distilled water, your product will not keep.

Essential oils will provide the aromatherapy scent and skin treatment in your wash. For the hand soap, I used a pre-made blend that contains cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, rosemary, and citrus. For the body wash, I used my own blend of peppermint and cedarwood (the juniper version). As always, please do your research and purchase from a reputable company.

Take your clean empty foam pump bottle and fill the bottom with 2-4 tablespoons of castille soap (many recipes use less, but I find them to be too diluted).

Next, add your oils. Depending on the oils and desired intensity I’d recommend 15-24 drops. This is a less than 1% to 1% dilution, which is good for sensitive skin. At this point you’ll want to swirl the bottle, ensuring the oils are blended with the soap.

Pour the distilled water to fill the bottle just enough that insertion of the pump won’t cause an overflow. Screw on  lid firmly. Invert the bottle a few times to mix everything thoroughly.


You’re homemade hand and body wash is now ready  for use, and may be recreated with the essential oils of your choice many times with the ingredients you now have on hand. You may also want to place a label on your wash and give it as a gift. Enjoy!

Names, Personal Evolution, Changing My Name, Uncategorized

A Rose By Any Other Name

Our names are often the first thing we share with others.  We all have various images that come to mind at the mention of  certain names. These images may be of a person we know with that name, or a picture our mind generates seemingly at random.

I have always been interested in the naming process.  I’d  even tried to name my little sister, but my parents weren’t having it. As a child, I asked my mom why so many people we knew named their male  children after people in the same house; “It’s tradition.” she’d say. Until my mom assured me I could name any future children as I pleased, I assumed I’d have to marry a man with a name I liked in the event we decided to have children and one was a boy.  What a relief!

It was during sixth grade when finally, I was given a naming opportunity.  My sole positive memory of my time in Catholic School was the privilege of choosing my very own  confirmation  name. In an effort to pick the perfect name, I spent months   with my nose buried in the baby naming book my mom had purchased for me. The process wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped, and I was disheartened to find my options were  limited to choosing either a saint’s name, or a name derived from that of a saint.

I didn’t know many saints, and kept picking fancy french names. My pious sixth grade teacher was not amused. She wanted me to pick something basic. There was no way that was happening. I eventually settled on something saint derived but, at the time, unique.

As is the case with most people, I was generally accepting of my birth name. It wasn’t particularly beautiful, but it was by no means awful either. It was overly  common though, and each time I met someone who shared my birth name they were very much a tomboy. The name fit them better than I.  This  bothered me. Worst of all, many people called me an awful sounding  shortened version of my birth name,which I hated!   I did have my  childhood nickname, which I preferred over the ugly built- in nickname that had come with my birth name; however, only a few people called me by this.

In my early twenties, I began to feel the persistent urge to change my name.  At that time, a legal name change was a highly tedious and expensive process, so I held off.  Nearly a decade later, I finally I decided to take the leap.  I had no idea what name I’d choose, but the options were plentiful.  To me, the possibilities alone were a source of excitement.

I knew  I wanted something feminine and nature derived. Choosing my middle name was quite simple. In contrast to the simplicity of choosing a middle name, settling on my new first name took several months.  I had it narrowed down to about five choices when I surprised myself by choosing an exotic version of my birth name. It would be an easy transition for everyone, and it just felt fitting and comfortable.

In the state where we live, I wasn’t required to go before a judge. The process basically consisted of filling out paperwork, sending it to the courthouse, waiting several weeks for the paperwork to return to me with court stamped approval, and going to the DMV for my new license. The entire process cost $380, and a fair amount of patience. It was tedious, but absolutely worth it.

You may be wondering  what happened aferward; I’ll start with the negatives: my parents were mildly upset with me for a while, my sister made fun of the odd spelling of my new name, and a few people still  occasionally call me the dreadful shortened version of my old name ( I suppose I need to ask them to stop doing that).  That about sums up the negatives!

Almost everyone in my life made a seamless transition into calling me by my new name, even my 85 year-old grandmother. Alot of people who know me have told me the new name suits me better; I  have felt that as well. The unexpected perks of my name change have been the frequent  compliments I receive, and the always comedic question, “Are your parents hippies?”.  More important than any of the aforementioned, was the sense of relief I felt when my new name was approved. I remember saying,” I finally got my pretty name!” (and then awkwardly remembering I was home alone, realizing that I’d never be cool, and embracing this fact as I twirled around the dining room, documents in hand).

I’m sure there are people who find my decision to change my name dramatic and self-indulgent, and that’s alright; they’re free to keep the name their parents gave them. For me, when my name is called it feels natural and reflective of my personal  evolution. It’s who I’ve always been except a bit better, like the rosebud that finally began to blossom into it’s full glory after a long winter.

Have you changed your name? Has anyone you know done so? Would you consider changing your name? If so, which name would you choose?

DIY, Homemade, Skincare, Simple, Natural, Fun, Uncategorized

Peaches and Cream: Three Masks for a Magnificent Complexion

Dry skin? Dull skin? Breakouts? Whatever the issue there’s often an antidote in the kitchen.  Experience has taught me that better skin comes from the inside out; dietary changes have helped my skin drastically over the years (stay tuned for a post on this).  However, it’s also important to care for our skin topically. This is where my favorite homemade masks come in.


Many ingredients others seem to use without consequence have caused me to experience eczema, dryness, and serious breakouts. These ingredients include detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate, coconut oil, tea tree oil, preservatives, and the list goes on! Given the fact that these three  masks have been so good to my super sensitive skin,  I feel confident just about anyone will benefit from using them without fear of a bad reaction. That said, I do recommended a patch test.

This brush from Everyday Minerals is perfect for applying facial masks.

Each of the masks are yogurt based. Why? Yogurt is very moisturizing without being greasy or oily. Yogurt  also contains lactic acid which aids in the exfoliation of dead skin cells, revealing a brighter, fresher, and clearer complexion. I recommend drier complexions use a full fat yogurt for extra moisture. I prefer greek yogurt because it’s extra thick and stays put during the treatment.

Here are a few tips before we get started:

1.To avoid masks getting into your hair wear a headband around your hairline.

2.  Masks should be applied after cleansing  to clean skin  that’s free of makeup or other products. You may apply the mask with your fingers, but I recommend a brush; it’s less messy and feels better going on.

3. I recommend using a mask once per week.

4. Unless showering immediately afterward, be sure to thoroughly remove your mask with a wet washcloth or sponge.

5. The measurements below are enough for one use. These recipes may be doubled or tripled for use  on elbows, knees, or anywhere my skin could use some extra TLC.

Here they are, my favorite homemade masks:

*Moisturizing Mask*
1 tbs. Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
1 tbs.Avocado

This is a great mask for mature skin, or a complexion that’s going through a dry spell. The yogurt dissolves dead skin cells, the honey attracts moisture, and the avocado is incredibly moisturizing.  To prepare this  mask mix pureed or smashed avocado with the yogurt and honey, and apply the mixture to clean skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

*Tropical  Brightening  Mask*
1 tbs. Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbs. Pineapple

Who doesn’t love pineapples? When we visited Hawaii, I found myself eating pineapples nearly every day of our trip, often in the form of  Dole Whip!

I’ve always loved the way eating  fresh pineapple made my lips feel, extra soft and smooth. This is where I first got the idea to make a pineapple  mask.  Why does this smoothing action happen? Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that dissolves dead skin! Bromelain, when taken internally is anti-inflammatory, and excellent for our joints, so be sure to eat the leftover pineapple when making this recipe.

This  mask is brightening because of the  dual exfoliating action the pineapple enzymes alongside the yogurt’s lactic acid. To prepare this mask crush or puree the pineapple and mix it with the yogurt. Apply the mixture to clean skin, and leave it on for 15 minutes, rinse thoroughly.

*Breakout Banishing Mask*
1 tbs. Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbs. Lemon Juice

This mask is my favorite home  breakout treatment. I love that I can prepare it right in the kitchen. Lemon’s astringent action makes this mask  ideal for oily complexions and those who suffer from breakouts. If your skin tends to be drier, use whole milk yogurt for extra moisture. Both the lemon and the yogurt are exfoliating. This mask makes an amazing overnight spot treatment for pimples. I dab some over the affected area, cover it with a small band-aid and usually by morning the pimple has improved dramatically. To use this mask simply mix the yogurt and lemon juice, apply the mixture to clean skin, leave it on for 15 minutes, and rinse thoroughly.

Making these masks brings back memories of home facials with my sister,and our cousins.  I hope you’ll try these and enjoy the same complexion enhancing  results I have.

Date night, activities, clean living,sober living, exploring, girls night, Uncategorized

What to Do: Good Clean Fun for Friends and Sweethearts.

img_20170219_131340_017Dinner and a movie may be a go to for friends and couples, but let’s be honest, it gets old quickly. I could think of many activities I’d rather enjoy than sitting in a noisy restaurant or stuffy movie theatre. The following list offers a variety of low key  activities  for couples, friends, or solo time. All of the activities are well suited to clean living. Bookmark this list and try each activitity that appeals to you.

Visit the craft store and choose a project (ex. decorating a picture frame, candle making).

Team up with a friend and make a challenging recipe you wouldn’t attempt alone, enjoy it together.

Have a themed movie night where movies, accompanying snacks, and activities match up to the theme of your choice. The options are limitless!

Head to the store and get any supplies you need for a home mani/pedi, and treat your feet (and hands) right: nail file, trimmer, buffer, scrub, cream, and a pretty polish.  This one is fun alone or with a friend.

6. READING ROADTRIP                            Plan a mini road trip somewhere you can spend the day or weekend. Download a thought provoking audiobook about any subject of mutual interest as a conversation piece for  the drive. You learn about each other, and deepen your connection  in these moments.

Go stargazing with someone you love. Remember the blankets, pillows, and snacks!

Prepare or purchase lunch, and have a picnic at your local park or beach. Afterwards, enjoy a long walk.

Visit your favorite state or national park for the day (or better yet, a few days). Spending time in nature is an ideal way to clear your mind,and grow closer with your significant other.

Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, and plan a visit with each other. If distance is an issue, remember talking over tea and cookies  is still fun over Skype!

Formally introduce yourself to something you’ve always wanted to try. No need to commit until you find something that moves you. Some ideas: dance, pottery, cooking, sewing, yoga,etc.

Plan a trip or staycation. Will you go alone, or with a loved one?  Camp out in a tent or a fancy boutique hotel? The length and distance aren’t what matters, it’s about having a new experience in your town or elsewhere.

Make a Groupon date! Check Groupon for local deals that may be of interest, then experience a day of Groupon activities. You’ll feel like a tourist in your own town.

Visit the spa ,or for a deep discount your local beauty school, and get the royal treatment. What are you looking for? A new hair color or style? Perhaps a makeover? Many makeup counters offer complimentary makeovers with product purchase. How about trying home spa recipes? Some are coming up on the blog!

Take a long bath complete with bubbles,candles, and a good book.

Check out free activities and events in your community. Our local library offers various events and classes free of cost, and our local park hosts free jazz concerts. See what your community has to offer.

Dress up and attend the theatre. Some towns even have theatre under the stars, where you can enjoy a show in an open air setting.  Whether it’s the ballet, the orchestra, a play, or a musical, you’re sure to be entertained. Afterward, go out for dessert or a late night snack.

Weather permitting, go  pedalboating, canoeing, or stand up paddleboarding at your local lake. Remember your sunblock!

Go for a swim. Check out your neighborhood pool or invest in an inflatable three ring pool for your own yard or patio. Serve tropical drinks and snacks.

Grab a friend or partner, and head  out to the store of your choice. Set a budget (I’d recommend between  $5 and $25 dollars each ). Choose gifts for each other, and exchange them.

21. FOR MY LOVE (or any loved one)…
Write a list of things you love and appreciate about each other. Frame the list and give it to them as a gift.

What would you contribute to this list? Comment below.