Favorite Floral Products for Spring

This spring I’ve been indulging in a plethora of floral products from head to toe, drenching myself in nature’s nectars day to night.  I can’t keep these delightful treasures to myself any longer, so I thought I’d share my current 10 floral favorites with you:

Jasmine Bliss Radiance Cleanser: I made this cleanser recently and it is divine.  It has a mix of floral EOs with raw organic honey, frankincense, clays, herbal infusions, and extracts.  It’s quite rich in texture and scent and my skin and nose are quite pleased.  It cleanses perfectly and smells like heaven every time that I use it.   I am still perfecting the recipe and will share it once I do.

Amrita Aromatics Aphrodite Perfume: Sadly, this blend has been discontinued, but it’s a perfect blend of Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Rose.  It’s my nighttime perfume of choice and it always uplifts, comforts, and grounds me.  It’s perfect because both the tulsi and the rose come through clearly and vividly, playing off one another in beautiful harmony.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Floral Toner:  I recently scored this for about 40% off and it smells divine.  I have been spritizing my face with it throughout the day to enjoy its hydrating properties and its lovely scent.  Made with rose water, rose EO, and several extracts, it’s geared toward sensitive skin and smells absolutely fabulous.  It carries a sweet, honeyed rose aroma that I love.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Moroccan Beauty Oil: I also got this on sale and it smells divine like the toner.  I haven’t yet used it on my face but as a cuticle oil and it smells and feels wonderful.  I’m used to more power-packed and visibly unrefined oils in my serums and facial oils, but for the scent and price point, this one is an all-purpose (skin, nails, hair) winner.

Bath Petals California Rose Garden Shower Gel: This gel foams like a daydream and is very aromatic.  Once you’re surrounded with roses and geraniums, how can you not smile as you’re whisked away into a floral labyrinth?  It’s truly nourishing for the skin, especially when I add a bit of oil to the bottle, faithfully working as a calming, balancing treatment head to toe.

Neroli Paradise Facial Toner: I made this as well with organic aloe, rose water, coconut vinegar, several hydrosols, a few carrier oils, and a synergy of EOs.  I use it on a cotton pad prior to spritzing my face.  Lovely, lovely, lovely.  A new staple.

Ring Botanicals Quince Hydrosol: Technically, this is not a floral but a fruit, yet this hydrosol is blissfully complex in scent with notes of rose, pineapple, apple, pear, and vanilla.  Mmmmm.  I gladly spritz my face with this hydrosol several times a day.  I need more faces…

Wing and Prayer Berkeley Perfume: I’ve had this for a few years now and over time it has matured into a beautifully fragrant masterpiece.  In fact, I’m wearing it today and the jasmine is still singing on my skin.  I went to UC Berkeley for college, so in addition to its glorious jasmine scent, the perfume holds a special heart place given its namesake.

Amrita Aromatics Precious Beauty Oil: My husband purchased this gift for me as a celebration of a major accomplishment, and I adore it.  This treasure nourishes skin with divine botanicals and aromatically pleases with an even balance of the woodsy, resin scents like Sandalwood, Rooibos and Myrrh and the florals of Elderflower, Calendula, and Rose.  Serums and oils get extra points with me when they boast infused oils, and this one does.  I love it dearly and sadly my sweet little bottle is nearing its end.

Eleneetha Aromatics Blissful Jasmine Sandalwood Cream: With Jasmine Sambac, Orange Blossom, and Sandalwood in a base of creamy shea butter and honeyed beeswax, this cream is a delight to use on hands right before bed, when there are no distractions from its beauty, when you can envelop yourself in scent and completely let go.  It’s very soft and creamy and melts instantly on skin contact.  Sadly, this is sold out.  I hope that Anastasia brings this one back.

Floral or not, what products are YOU loving this spring?

One Magical Experience: Finding Jeanne Rose

 

First, Happy Spring!  I hope that sun-kissed buds and windblown blossoms are adorning your world wherever you may be.

I recently went on a 10-day trip to CA and DC.  In CA, I discovered a first edition copy of Jeanne Rose’s Herbal Body Book.  If you don’ know who Jeanne Rose is, she is an amazing talented herbalist at the forefront of all of the knowledge the public has been able to accumulate over the last 40+ years.  She wrote the first book on modern herbalism in 1969 and also has a column on AllnaturalBeauty.com.

Back to the book:  The book was in very good condition, but what was so magical about the experience was not only having the desire to find her book and then finding it.  It was also the lovely sandalwood rose body oil label on the title page of the book.   Intricately drawn by hand, the label was doused in sandalwood and rose oils that are still fragrant, smelling divine.

It makes reading the book so pleasurable.  Every time I turn a page, a bit of beautiful fragrance wafts around me.  The sandalwood has aged and created an amazing scent.  I don’t believe that we have access to gorgeous sandalwood like that these days.

Such magic.  It makes my heart sing.

 

Home Spa Day: Take Time to Refresh and Renew

It snowed and the city was not prepared.  But I was.  I had a home spa day in the snowpacalypse and it went like this:

  • Facial Scrub with Acure Organics Facial Scrub
  • Steam with flowers and herbs: calendula, lavender, rose, helichrysum, neem, etc. and lavender and sweet orange essential oils*
  • Honey Masque with raw organic honey, strawberries, camu, camu, hibiscus, lemon peel, orange peel, pomegranate, and palo santo, lemon, cardamom, and rosewood essential oils*

 

What a way to spend a day indoors.

Have a blissful weekend, and hopefully a luxurious home spa day along the way.

*Indicates products I made.

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Happy New Year and Rose Love Recipes

Happy New Year!  I wish you and your loved ones nothing but the best in 2014!

What are your goals or intentions for the year?  One of my goals or renewed intentions is to focus more on self-care.  Toward the end of last year, I fell off of my workout regimen.  Now I’m back to working out 5-6 times a week.  I do a combination of Yoga, Cardio, Strength and Toning, and Dance.

Another part of that self-care goal is to focus more on creating space for luxurious relaxation in my home.  To that end, I recently made several pampering products to use up to and on Valentine’s Day (and beyond!).  They include:

Rose Oil Infusion with organic rose gallica, olive oil, and jojoba oil…

Rose Body Scrub with sea salts, oats, raw cacao, roses, honey, argan oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, rose absolute, rosewood, vanilla…

Rose Bath Milk Blend with Powdered Goats milk, sea salts, raw cacao, roses, african black honey, argan oil, sweet almond oil, rosewood, palo santo…

The complaint with a lot of bath and beauty recipes is that they can be either too simple or require too many ingredients.  Here I provide what I consider to be middle-of-the-ground recipes for the three products I made:

Rose Oil Infusion

Ingredients: Organic Roses and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions: Take 1/2 – 1 cup dried rose petals (organic if possible). Crush them in your hands or on a chopping board before adding them to a large clear jar.  Make sure your jar is filled nearly to the top with roses (leave about 2 inches of space).  Then pour olive oil over the roses until they are completely covered, leaving at least 1 inch of space to shake your oil daily.  Place the cap on, shake, and place by a sunny window if possible.  Shake daily and strain after 4-6 weeks depending on strength preference.  Once completed, use as a body oil, hair oil, a mask mix-in, etc. Alternatively, you can also use the stove-top infusion method.

Rose Body Scrub

Ingredients: Sea Salt or Sugar, Whatever Oil you have on hand, Honey, Agave, or Maple Syrup, Roses, Carrier Oil(s) and Essential Oil(s) of choice.

Instructions: Take 1.5 cups of sea salt or sugar in medium-sized bowl.  Add either whole or powdered roses (2-4 tbs.) and mix well.  Then, in a separate container or bowl, add 15-25 drops of EO to 1/2 cup of carrier oil (such as olive, argan, wheat germ, almond, sunflower, coconut,etc., or a blend of your favorites).  Add then at your oils along with 1/4 cup of honey to salt-rose blend.  Mix well and transfer to clear jar.  Sprinkle a few rose petals on top.

Rose Bath Milk Blend

Ingredients: Sea Salt, Powdered Milk and/or Oats plus other Botanicals like Roses, Carrier Oil(s) and Essential Oil(s) of Choice.

Instructions: Mix 1/2 cup of sea salt with your powdered ingredients (i.e., 1/8 to 1/4 cup oats, goats milk powder, ground roses, cacao, etc.).  Mix in no more than an additional 1/2 cup total of the powdered blend of your choice.  Next, in a separate small bowl, take 3 tbs. of carrier oil (argan, jojoba, baobab, olive, etc.) and mix in 30 drops of EO.  Add your oils along with 1/3 cup honey, agave or maple syrup to the salt-powdered botanicals blend.  Mix well (it will be a little clumpy but try to mix as well as possible).  Transfer to clear glass jar and sprinkle a few flowers or whole oats on top.  Makes enough for 2-3 luxurious baths.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes for January, Valentine’s Day, and beyond!  What ways do you bring more peace and relaxation into your life?

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Candace from Yellowstar Essentials nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Thanks, Candace!

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.

2. Display the award on your post.

3 List the award rules so your nominees will know what to do.

4. State 7 things about yourself.

5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award. (I chose 3, however).

6. Contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them. Provide a link to your post.

7 Things About Me:

1. I started a novel during last month’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  2. I love teas and have been drinking chai lately…mmm. 3. I’ve been vegetarian for 8 years. 4. I love travelling. 5. I make and apply facial masques with my husband at least once a week (our special treat!).  6. I love vintage jewelry. 7. I’ve never been skiing, nor does it interest me that much.

I nominate 3 bloggers:

Earthly Reality

Eleneetha

Yancy Lael

2013 Holiday Gift Guide – Support Handmade and Fair Trade

This holiday season, consider making it even more of a priority to support handmade and fair trade.  When we support artisans here and abroad, we help enable individuals, families, and communities to continue to make a living in this tough economy.  Often times, this season can make or break a business.  Reach out and support those who are pouring their hearts, souls, and precious time into making unique, high-quality creations.

Here are some gift giving ideas for the season:

Teas

Handmade Teas make great gifts for loved ones of all ages.  Everyone enjoys a warm cup of deliciousness!

Good Night Moon Tea, Loose Leaf, by Herbal Revolution

Organic Tea Sampler by Marble and Milkweed

Cedarwood Chai Tea by Flying Bird Botanicals

Medicial Organic Herbal Tea by MediTea

Perfumed Tea Blends and Herb-Infused Honeys at Barefoot Apothecary

Aromatherapy

Like teas, everyone benefits from a bit of aromatherapy.  From perfumes to diffuser blends, the calming, uplifting, sensual, and focusing effects of essential oils are quite a delight.

Cloud 9 Aromatherapy in a Jiffy, by Living Earth Botanicals

Manly Lips, Aromatherapy Lip Balm by Aromatherapy Jewelry

Uplifting Aromatherapy Perfume by Planet Earth Essential Oils

Meadow Bath + Body Oil by Fig and Yarrow

H20Soul Floral Waters by Skinfolk

Ceramic Diffuser Necklace with Essential Oils, Jamilah Aromatherapy

Handmade Soaps

Practical and luxurious, handmade soaps make great gifts for everyone on your shopping list, including yourself!

Rooibos Soap with Rooibos and Red Clay by Dirty Made Clean Soap

Doggie Fresh Soap by Whispering Willow

Organic Soap Sampler Gift Set by Mirasol Farm

Unscented “Pretty Plain” Luxurious Goat Milk Soap by The Northwoods Goat

Baby & Me Handmade Baby Soap 100% Castil by Opas Soap

Dead Sea Mud Goat Milk Soap by Rose of Sharon Acres

Chocolate and Roses Soap by Bulles et Molecules

Honeyed Tobacco Soap by The Scented Djinn

What are your favorite items to buy this holiday season?  Will you support handmade and fair trade this year?

My New Shower Routine – Body Care

Several years ago, I used to shower twice a day.  Ridiculous, right?  That absolutely dried out my skin.  Then I switched to showering once a day and now (within the last couple of months) to every other day.  My skin is no longer dry but normal (dare I say supple?) and healthier overall.

Cleansing:

I will always love handmade soaps, yet lately I have been using Alaffia’s African Black Soap as a body wash.  I purchase the Unscented version in the 32-ounce size from Whole Foods for $9.99.  This lasts me for such a long time.  I pour several ounces of the liquid soap into a reusable bottle and add essential oils and a carrier oil or two to for a bit more moisture.  It’s quite healing to the skin and is such a versatile product.  I’m able to customize the scent whenever I want something different and it can also be used as a shampoo.  Plus, proceeds from purchases support social justice and economic development programs for children and families in Togo, Africa.  I feel extra good about that.

Moisture:

I pat dry and then use a body oil.  Occasionally, I might use a waterless body butter or a balm, but I favor body oils because they sink in quicker and leave a silkier feel to my skin.  I am a body oil fanatic, so I change up my oils a lot.  I use oils by elaa skincare, Weleda, Shea Terra Organics, Living Libations, The Lavender Cottage and Garden, Dawn to Dusk Essentials, Tallulah Jane, Auromere, Eleneetha, Plantlife, Sarada Ayurvedic Remedies, and many other brands.  These oils range from very affordable to very luxurious, but what they have in common are their stellar ingredients.  They are all organic and/or all-natural with no synthetic fragrance.  I also make my own body oils with a range of carriers, infusions, and scents.  It all depends on how I’m feeling and what I have on hand.

A Few Times a Month:

2-3 times a month I will do a full body scrub.  Currently, I’m using the last of my Trader Joe’s Lavender Salt Scrub, alternating with a Sweet Spice salt scrub I made earlier this fall.

1-2 times a month, I will take a long, relaxing bath, though I wish it were more often.  I use salt and herb/flower blends I make myself.  My most recent bath was a Detox bath that was quite intense!  I made a blend that contained seaweed, epsom, himalayan and sea salts, as well as spices, clay, and EOs.  My baths are usually much simpler with sea or epsom salt, baking soda, and either EOs or a dash of Neom Organics’ Bath Oil.  I always get out feeling brand new, wondering why I don’t take them more often.

And that’s it!  What are some essentials in your bath or shower routine?

 

Autumn Skincare Routine

Happy Autumn!  I hope that you’re enjoying this season, which is my favorite.  Che asked if I would share my current skincare routine.  For many of us, our skincare routines shift or change entirely as climate changes require.  As of today, here’s what I’ve been doing this fall to care for my normal/combination skin.

Morning:

Cleanse In the morning, I do not cleanse my face since there is not much to cleanse just from sleeping (Note: I never use soap on my face anyway).  I simply use a cotton pad with a witch hazel-based toner/cleanser that I make with hydrosols, witch hazel, and a touch of oil.  Sometimes I mix smaller sized toners together to make a blend; it’s always changing depending on what I have on hand and how I feel.  Right now I am storing this blend in a lovely, reused glass body oil bottle with a convenient pump.  Holding four ounces, my cleanser/toner will last me about 4 weeks used twice daily.  I don’t use essential oils in this blend as I feel it is unnecessary right now, though if I did I would probably incorporate rose, rose geranium, lavender, and/or frankincense.

Tone I follow my “cleanse” with a toner.  Right now I am using Sanre Organics’ Rosy Fresh Toner.  I was in Whole Foods in Miami this summer after returning from an anniversary cruise with my husband.  I browsed the skincare aisle as usual.  I sprayed the tester of this toner and fell in love – it smells and feels divine.  I had to have it so I bought it on the spot.  It lasts a long time and really healing and moisturizing.  I love this company’s philosophy and have since bought a few more of their products – all outstanding.

Moisturize I then moisturize with a bit of Grateful Body’s Organic Sun Sense Booster with their Sea Cell Serum.  It’s a divine, moisturizing mix that provides natural sun protection.  I used this blend in Brazil in the hot months of June and July and never got sunburned.

Evening:

Cleanse At night I will either use my homemade cleansing grains or Grateful Body’s Enzyme Cleanser.  If I wore a bit of makeup, I will use Aster & Bay’s Cleansing Oil instead.

Tone I follow that with a pre-tone with a cotton pad and the mix I use for morning “cleansing.”  Then I will tone with Sanre Organics’ Rosy Fresh as I do in the morning.

Moisturize I replenish with a blend of Grateful Body’s Sea Cell Serum or their Supernatural Antioxidant, mixed with a few drops ofShea Terra’s Argan and Berbere Fig Hydra-Toning Face & Decollete Serum.   I really love this oil by Shea Terra.  It’s unscented and packs a punch with argan, berbere fig (also know as prickly pear or barbary fig), and pomegranate oils.  It’s so versatile and comes in a 2-ounce amber glass pump bottle.  I have been using this oil daily since late-April and I still have about 3/4 of an ounce left.  It works so well and Shea Terra has 30% off sales for each month, so it makes their line more affordable.

Weekly:

About twice a week, I will mix up a masque with clays, herbs, flowers, hydrosols, and honey, or I’ll use a pre-mixed dry masque like the Antolina Rose Clay Masque by Amrita Apothecary and add whatever I’m feeling like frankincense CO2, aloe, honey and/or tinctures.

Mixing It Up:

Sometimes, I will use other products if I am feeling in the mood for something different.  Some examples include Rosemary Hydrosol by The Scented Djinn, Hydrate Serum and Cleansing Oil by Aster and Bay, Dawn Delight Cream by Sanre Organics, and Acure Organics‘ Brightening Facial Scrub.

With this routine, I experience very minimal breakouts, and when I do have the occasional pimple, I use Burt’s Bees’ Herbal Blemish Stick.  It works well to shrink pimples without leaving marks behind.

Stay tuned for my shower and bath routines! How have you been caring for your skin?

Pamper me, please.

Ever had one of those weeks when the train took off before you could hop on?  You’re running and running to try to catch up, and finally you hop on at the last car, but you’re struggling to hold on and get things together.  You struggle with tunnel vision, braving the elements, and drowning out the noise of the grinding tracks.  This, my friends, was my week.  And it is not over yet.  But I’m planning on pampering myself this weekend with:

A body scrub

Facial with clays, herbs, and raw honey

A long soak in the tub with flowers, herbs, NEOM Organics body oils and salts

See some of my recipes and pamper yourself too yourself this weekend!

What do you do to pamper yourself after a long and especially trying week?

Beauty Products I Don’t Use

As a sort of follow-up to my last post (it was the 200th one, by the way!), I’d like to spend a little time discussing beauty products I don’t use.  On blogs, we talk a lot about what we love and presumably use regularly.  In the spirit of simplicity and multitasking, I thought I’d discuss beauty products that don’t make it into my regimen.

1. Lip Scrub.  Going for $5-30 each, small sticks and jars of lip scrub are a huge waste of money to me.  My alternative: Facial Scrub.  These days my facial scrubs are cleansing grains, and I use a bit on my lips as I’m cleansing my face and it keeps my lips soft and smooth.  Just be careful not to open your mouth before rinsing.  Another DIY alternative: Mix 1/4 tsp. honey, 1/4 tsp. jojoba, argan, or sunflower oil and 1/2 tsp. finely-ground sugar for your own sugar scrub.  Add a drop of vanilla extract for flavor.

2. Foot Creams.  The same idea goes for hand cream, neck creams, etc.  My alternative: A good multitasking balm. The sign of a good balm or moisturizer is that it’s a multitasker.  If you can use the same balm for your hands and feet as you would other places, then that means you’ve got a good product.  Why pile up creams and balms for every area of your body?   Another alternative: Make a salve with the many recipes online.  Tweak it until you love it!  Or buy a highly-rated one from Etsy.

3. Shaving Cream.  I’m sure that there are varied stances on this one. It really comes down to preference, which is possibly based on how frequently you shave.  My alternative: I simply use a bar of soap for lather or a shower gel for shaving.  My last and best shave came from using Bath Petals Greek Honey Mint Organic Shower Gel. Other alternatives: Use a moisturizing and rich lathering soap or body wash that you already own to shave.  Or, use a pre-shave oil or make your oil from like oils like jojoba, sunflower, etc.  If you do use a shave oil, make sure to wash your razor thoroughly after.

4. Facial Wipes. In my opinion, not only are these a waste of money, but most of them, even the “natural” ones, can wreck havoc on your skin.  I’ve tried them before and they often don’t clean well, are over-perfumed, and leave a film on your skin that can be very irritating.  My alternative: In the mornings, I don’t wash my face, as I usually shower and wash my face nightly.  Instead, I have a pump bottle of a toner mix I make or rosewater and I use a bit on a cotton pad to cleanse and refresh my face.  This is similar in concept to the facial wipe, except that you can control the ingredients and how much you use.  Another alternative: Just cleanse your face as you normally do!  It make take an extra minute or two, but if you’re in the position to do so, I don’t see why you wouldn’t.

What are some products that you don’t use, and why?

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