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.


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.


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.


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?

Staying Ready: Packing an All-Natural Beauty Bag for Overnight Trips

Before I begin, I want to share that this is my 200th post! Finally. It’s been a long time coming.

Since I’ve been doing a lot of travel this summer, I thought I’d share some tips for packing an all-natural beauty bag for overnight stays and other short trips.

Stay packed. If you have trips up and coming, you can do like me and clean out your toiletries bag after returning home, recycle used items, and replace them with new ones.  This saves time and ensures that I’m ready for the next jaunt.

Save samples. When you get samples, keep them for travel! Put them in a small bag and place them inside your travel toiletries bag. They’re usually the perfect size for short trips and are great backups for your main products, too.  Plus, I get to sample new perfumes, facial care, body oils, masques and other products while I’m away, adding a bit more novelty and excitement to the trip. (Make sure that you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients, of course.)

Choose multi-taskers. Instead of bringing a toner, a masque hydrator, and facial mist, bring one product that will accomplish all of these tasks. Take this same approach with each item you decide to include in your beauty bag (as much as feasible) and you’ll save time and space.

Even if you don’t travel frequently, taking this approach when you do will help you save time, ensuring that you’re prepared.

What travel tips keep you ready to roll out for the newest adventure?

What a summer!

Hello Folks! It’s August and summer is not quite over, but I’ve had a blast.  I spent 1 month in Brazil and I recently came back from a cruise to the Bahamas (two islands) with my husband.  It’s been almost two full months since I blogged and I wanted to stop in and say hello.  I hope that you are having a fantastic summer!

Here’s a recipe for a yummy skin and hair treat fitting for the season (and year-round, really):

Floral Infused Coconut Oil


  • 1 cup organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil
  • 1 level tablespoon each: organic dried rose, chamomile, lavender, and jasmine
  • 1 organic vanilla bean


Grind herbs with a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Split open vanilla bean and scrape out contents (paste) in small bowl.  Then cut up the bean itself in 1/2″ pieces.  In a double broiler, melt down coconut oil on low heat and then add in herbs and vanilla bean and paste.  Continue heating on low for approximately 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes and making sure that the mix never comes to a simmer.

Cool for 30 mins. and transfer to sterilized and dry glass jar with lid.  Store on stove top for gentle intermittent heating for further infusion, or place outside or in a sunny window for sun infusion.  Whatever method you use, shake daily.  It will be ready for use in 2-5 weeks, depending on your preference.  Enjoy as a body oil, after-sun treatment, hair oil, delicious ice cream drizzle, and more!

I made a batch a few months ago with several different herbs, flowers and vanilla.  It smells divine and I use it as often as I can for so many things.

What’s your favorite DIY or purchased product/ingredient this summer?


Amrita Apothecary begins Aromatic Muse, a Perfume Subscription



If you like all-natural perfumes, you must know this.  Ananda Lakshmi Wilson, proprietress of Amrita Apothecary, has started Aromatic Muse, a perfume subscription as “a beautiful, sensual way to amplify intentions and stay connected to our sensory wisdom.”  I’m writing this post all the way from Brazil to urge you all to consider signing up to receive her perfumes, which are deeply discounted through this subscription service.

As a member of Lady’s Slipper Ring, a subscription service that is a hybrid of a CSA and much more, I have experienced several of her perfumes, such as Sap Moon, Medicine Woman, and Lakshmi’s Pleasure.  In fact, one of her perfumes, Tulsi Rose, is a permanent fixture on my nightstand – it literally comforts and helps me sleep like a baby.  Lakshmi’s Pleasure is sensual and has a gourmand side with cardamom, cacao, rose, and more.  Sap Moon is an ambery birch – quite unique – and Medicine Woman has proven to be one of her most popular perfumes of late.

If you are looking for a way to pamper yourself or a loved one with a unique sensory experience, consider Aromatic Muse.  You will not regret it as the perfumes are gorgeous and inspired, going beyond straightforward aromatherapy blends, though they certainly lend themselves in this form of support as well.  In short, Aromatic Muse is pure luxury.

[Photo Courtesy of Ananda Lakshmi Wilson.]

Off to…


…Brazil  I’ll be there for a full-month on a research fellowship. I’m so excited.  I’m sure I’ll have tons to share when I return.  Have a happy, fun summer in the meantime!

Before I go, I have a couple of questions for you: What’s one thing that you want to do differently this summer?  What new thing would you like to experience?  

Feel free to answer here or ponder in your own space.  Just make this summer the best one yet!

Soapmaking Class

On Saturday I took a soapmaking class.  I have been wanting to learn how to make homemade, cold-process soap for years now, and I finally had the opportunity.  I learned the basics of lye safety, lye calculation for different oils used in soap recipes, and heard some interesting stories about the history of soap making.  As part of the class, we made a lavender oatmeal soap, which we took home with us.  I let the soap sit in the mold, covered with a towel, for about 48 hours.  I cut it into bars this morning and right now the soap is curing in my kitchen.  It smells fantastic.

One of my humble bars of soap.

One of my humble bars of soap.

Have you ever made soap before?  What’s your favorite soap company or recipe?

Spring Strawberry Bliss: A Facial Masque

For my husband’s birthday party last weekend, I bought a ton of strawberries.  4 lbs. worth.  We had plenty leftover and I’ve been eating them everyday, but I needed to use them up faster.  So, I made a strawberry face masque and it was divine.

Here’s the recipe.

Spring Strawberry Bliss
1 strawberry
1-2 tsp. cornmeal (or ground oats)
1/2 tsp. raw honey
1/4 tsp. argan oil (or any oil that suits your skin)
3 drops lemongrass EO (or any EO that you love!)

Mash the strawberry well by hand or use a food processor.  Mix in all of the other ingredients and add the amount of cornmeal (or oats) needed to get the consistency you desire.  Apply to clean skin and leave on for 15-30 minutes.

I enjoyed it as a face masque and a hand “masque” while soaking in the bath.  It smelled wonderful, making my skin tingle for the first few minutes.  After I rinsed it away, I was left with soft, glowing skin.  Try it.  Feel free to get creative and add yogurt, clay, and/or other ingredients you’re drawn to.

What are your favorite facial concoctions?