Tis’ The Season…11 Homemade Amazing Beauty Gifts

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I know most of you are probably thinking about gift ideas right now… we all know how much people love a handmade gift. At least I know I do! When my daughter came home from pre-school with a handmade gift, it just melted my heart! So much better than anything else I could ask for.

Choosing the right gift for your loved one can be difficult, particularly when you’re shopping for somebody who seems to have absolutely everything already! The last thing you probably want to do is spend money on a gift that’s going to sit on a shelf, unused, or a trinket that they will look at once in a while but which otherwise serves no purpose.

There’s Nothing Like a Handmade Gift from a Loved One!

Does anything hurt more than knowing that a gift you chose to give someone isn’t what your recipient wanted? This can be particularly tough. So if you’re looking or something special & not only unique but one of a kind, then you might want to think about giving a handmade gift instead of purchasing something from the store. You can even make a combination & create a theme basket.

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Package these gifts in vintage French apothecary jar, mason jars,  glass bottles, sugar shakers…get creative & recycle jars you already have. I love re-using my gelato jars (I make the flavor that’s on the jar) This one is perfect for a caramel scrub, I print a label to cover the top part & leave the flavor exposed. 😉

 

Make it personal, one-of-a-kind & crafted with Love!

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Homemade Rose Milk Bath

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered milk (full fat if you can find it, otherwise nonfat will work)
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/4 cup (or more) dried rose petals
  • Red food coloring
  • 5-7 drops Rose essential oil

Mix the powdered milk & Epsom salts together, add 2-3 drops of red food coloring. Mix until you have a uniform pink color. Then add the rose petals & essential oil. If you don’t have rose essential oil you can skip it or use any other soothing essential oil you might have, like lavender or chamomile (you can even add lavender & chamomile flowers). Then pour milk bath into a bottle or sachet & make a pretty gift tag.

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Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub

2 cups granulated sugar, divided

about 1/2 cup almond oil

2 drops red food coloring (or raspberry juice)

8-10 drops Peppermint essential oil

Fill each bowl with one cup of sugar. Add the almond oil to each bowl so that the sugar is a nice soft consistency but not too wet. Stir together the oil and the sugar in each bowl. Set it aside. Take the other bowl of sugar & add red food coloring & mix it together. Add essential oil to the pink sugar & mix it well. Take a clean container & add a layer of pink sugar using a large funnel. A paper funnel works well so the sugar can easily slide into the jar. Follow with a layer of white sugar. Continue until the layers until the jar is full.

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Chocolate Sugar Scrub

1/2 cup brown  sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 Tbsp. cocoa baking powder (don’t add more cocoa unless doubling…it will turn your skin brown!)

1/4-1/2  cup Almond Oil, Olive Oil OR Coconut Oil

1/2 tsp. vanilla

4-6 drops of Vitamin E oil (optional)

*If you want to spice it up you can add some orange, peppermint or cinnamon essential oils for a fun twist.

Mix together the sugars & cocoa in a bowl.  Slowly add the oil until you have your desired consistency (moist not wet).  Add the vanilla & Vitamin E (optional)  & stir all together until combined.  Store in an airtight jar or container.

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Chocolate Milk Bath

1/2 cup Epsom salt or Sea Salt
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup powdered milk

 

In large bowl, mix salt and baking soda. Add cocoa powder & powdered milk. Mix well & store in air tight container.

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De-stress Herbal Bath Salts

1 1/2 tablespoon dried chamomile or chamomile tea

1 1/2 tablespoon (combined) dried lavender, rosemary, &/or rose petals

1 cup Epsom salt

1 cup Kosher salt or sea salt

8-10 drops Essential oils  (combined if using more than one oil)

*Essential Oils for Stress Relief:

  • Cedar Wood – calming, soothing, sleep-promoting
  • Bergamot – uplifting, relaxing
  • Lavender – calming
  • Rosemary – uplifting, increases concentration, mental acuity
  • Lemon – refreshing, mental alertness, calming
  • Peppermint – revitalizing, cooling, invigorating
  • Eucalyptus – clarifying

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Pumpkin Spice Facial Scrub

1 cup brown sugar (the finer the better)

1/2 cup coconut oil, olive oil OR avocado oil

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon ground coffee optional (anti-inflammatory properties that tighten skin,  making it feel smoother!)

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl & mix well. Store in airtight container.

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Rosemary Mint Whipped Shea Body Butter

 

1/2 cup sweet almond oil (liquid)

1 cup Shea butter (solid)

1/2 cup coconut oil (solid)

20 drops Spearmint Essential Oil

10 drops Rosemary Essential Oi

 

Place Shea butter & coconut oil in a glass or porcelain bowl. Melt them using a double boiler or over a pan of boiling water. Whisk until completely melted.Remove from the heat, let it cool down a little (for about 10-15 min), Stir in almond oil & essential oils. Whisk again. Put the bowl in the fridge for about 1 hour, until the mixture hardens. Remove from the fridge & start whipping the mixture using a hand mixer for about 1-3 minutes. While whipping, its texture and color will gradually start to change from flat yellowish to creamy & silky white. Spoon it into your choice of container.

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Lavender Whipped Body Butter

1 cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional)

30 drops lavender essential oil

Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Note: Do not melt the coconut oil first. It will only whip up if it’s solid. Mix on high speed with a wire whisk for 6-7 minutes or until whipped into a light, airy consistency. Spoon the whipped coconut oil body butter into a glass jar and cover tightly. Store at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your house is so warm it melts the oil.

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Rose Water Toner

1/2 cup dried rose buds

hot filtered water

8-10 drops Geranium essential oil

Pour the hot water over the rose buds & let sit for 1-2 hours. Use a strainer to separate the rose buds from the rose water. Pour into a spray bottle, add geranium oil, shake the spray bottle well.

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Vanilla Peppermint Foot Scrub

6 peppermint candies OR 1 candy cane

1/2 cup sugar

5 drops peppermint essential oil

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Put about 6 peppermints or 1 candy cane in a Ziploc bag & break them up with a hammer, then crush them finely with a rolling pin. Add 1/2 cup of sugar, peppermint essential oil & vanilla extract. Massage the bag until the ingredients are mixed together & coated with the essential oil. Transfer to a covered container.

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Vanilla Rose Body Oil

Small bottle of almond oil

6-8 drops of vanilla essential oil

dried rose petals

Open bottle & add essential oil. Close the bottle & shake to combine. Don’t forget to remove the label & add your own!

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Homemade beauty gifts are a nice natural alternative to chemical-laden store-bought products, the packaging can be as eco-friendly as you want, you can customize the scents, & they’re unique! Which one will you be making?

Till next time……….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combat Cellulite With Homemade Body Wraps

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For many people, the idea of wrapping their body in fabric & herbs invokes images of ancient embalming rituals that once prepared Egyptian royalty for the hereafter. But for those who have experienced the benefits of modern-day body wraps, dipped in mixtures of clay, salt, herbs & essential oils the vision is likely one of radiant health here and now.

For the past 15+ years, I have been making my own body wraps for myself to combat cellulite. As my friends noticed that my skin was firm & free of cellulite, they began asking what I use & wanted in. Some of them has stretch marks & cellulite, I wasn’t sure if the stretch marks would diminish, but it was worth a try. To my surprise not only had their cellulite diminish, but their stretch marks has faded as well! This became our tradition for girls night.

A spa wrap provides nice pampering. However a do-it-yourself wrap at home will work just as well & you can customize it. This is a bit messy, but the results are worth it!

First I always save my used coffee grinds. Using USED coffee grinds (diuretic) as a scrub  helps release excess fluids. This secret is used on models before photo shoots. It tightens the skin by enhancing fat metabolism & increase circulation, reducing the appearance of cellulite. I will swear by this!

You can do your coffee scrub in the shower (turn the shower off first), massage the grinds where your cellulite & stretchmarks are a problem. Massage in a circular motion.

Here are some massages you can try:

Kneading Technique:

Think of kneading dough. It stimulates the blood by bringing it to the surface, it also loosens up accumulated fats & aids in flushing them out of the system.

 Wringing Technique:

Think of wringing out wet clothes. This technique requires a bit more pressure. You “wring” out the flesh. This is perfect for areas that are prone to cellulite such as buttocks, thighs & hips.

Dry Brushing Technique:

Dry brushing the skin with a natural bristle body brush; then, take a warm shower to open pores. Avoid shaving before a wrap!

Proper hydration is essential when preparing for a wrap at home or at a spa. Drinking plenty of water before (at least 16oz.), during and after (another 16oz.) the application helps boost the detoxification process.

Now for the wrap….

Find a room where it’s easy to turn up the heat or stay warm & ensure privacy for at least 60 minutes. Choose a spot where it’s easy to clean up afterwards. I like to go into my bathtub for the application process.

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Ingredients:

  • Pick your seaweed:

Kelp (sold in grocery stores)

Seaweed/Kelp Powder (health food store)

  • Pick your clay:

I use about 1/3 cup for a gallon of water

Dead Sea Clay – is particularly rich in minerals and suitable for all skin types

French Green Clay also mineral & phytonutrient rich, it is not recommended for sensitive or dry skin types

Pink Kaolin is specifically used for detoxification, exfoliation and it’s super gentle & suitable for all skin types

  • 5-15 Drops of at least 3 of Essential Oils below:

Geranium: Geranium is a great all around oil that is especially supportive of the skin. It also improves circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system, helping to diminish water retention & eliminate toxins. In addition, it can address hormone imbalance to help prevent the skin from curdling and lumping up. In addition to getting rid of cellulite, it will help moisturize your skin too.

Rosemary: a great all around oil that combats fluid retention and toxin buildup in the tissues. One of the best oils for battling cellulite due to its toning & firming properties that reduce the appearance of those unwanted dimples. It also helps to combat lymphatic blockage, further working to get rid of cellulite.

Tangerine: this oil helps to enhance blood circulation as well as digestion to keep toxins moving out of the body.

Lemongrass: is an uplifting oil with both stimulant & sedative properties. It helps to remove toxins & enhance blood circulation while its diuretic compounds give it the ability to reduce fluid retention.

Cedarwood: is effective at balancing the skin & clearing out impurities. It’s role as a diuretic makes it a highly valuable oil for treating cellulite, fluid retention, & the accumulation of toxins in the blood. Cedarwood helps to decongest problematic tissues by drawing out excess fat.

Fennel: provides powerful diuretic properties that help the body speed up the elimination of stored up waste materials & decreases excess water retention in body tissues. It’s also effective for breaking up the fatty deposits under the surface of the skin.

Sage: a very popular medicinal herb. This oil is especially effective for treating cellulite by using it with a body brush. Apply it by adding a few drops diluted in a carrier oil (grapeseed oil, coconut oils or sweet almond oil) to a brush with natural bristles. Then brush the skin utilizing semi-circular strokes that are directed toward your heart, massaging it into the entire body, or specifically on problematic areas. Afterward, rinse in the shower, gently pat dry with a towel and massage in more oil using your fingertips.

Juniper:  well known for it’s detoxifying and cleansing properties, juniper is highly regarded for reducing acne, fluid retention and cellulite. It helps to clear and stimulate the mind as well. It’s a great tonic for the skin and join pain/arthritis as well.

Carrot seed: essential oil is derived from the dried seeds of the wild carrot plant. his is a great oil to help slow the aging process, keep the skin hydrated and fight off cellulite. It’s also considered rather remarkable when it comes to toning the skin and even fading stretch marks. It contains powerful antioxidant & detoxifying properties in addition to triggering the production of collagen & promoting blood circulation.

Patchouli: has been acclaimed for its diuretic properties as well as its exotic scent. It’s commonly utilized in practices like anti-cellulite massage and battling water retention.

Celery seed: oil helps to remove any excess fluid from the body & offers an array of other benefits such as supporting relaxation, stimulating the nervous system. It’s also a strong blood purifier which cleans the blood.

*I also like to add dried flowers such as rose, calendula, chamomile & lavender.

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Instructions:

  1. Boil a half-gallon (64 oz.) of distilled water, remove from heat and place in a stainless steel pot. Add planned ingredients to the water and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir with a wooded spoon to mix ingredients.
  2.  Allow the mixture to become cool to the touch before dipping in strips of cotton sheets or six-inch cotton/elastic body wrap bandages, one at a time.
  3. Wrap specific body areas to treat or you cab wrap your entire body starting at the ankles. Wrap firmly but not enough to stop circulation!
  4. Cover wrapped area with plastic film (saran wrap), also wrap firmly here.
  5. Stay wrapped for at least 30 minutes
  6. Unwrap, properly dispose of materials, & take a lukewarm bath or shower.
  7. Take a hot bath two to three days later to open pores and release accumulated toxins from the skin.

You can also make a massage oil with the essential oils you’ve used (or try new ones) To make a massage oil; add 5-15 drops (depending on how many oils you use, use less (5)  if your using more than 3 different oils)of your favorite oils to either grapeseed oil, coconut oils or sweet almond oil. Massage this oil daily onto your skin.

You can do this wrap ever 3-4 days, I wouldn’t do it more often than that. The oils will continue to work, your skin has absorbed the oils into your system. This is why it’s important to know what we put on our skin!

Body wraps are great for reducing the appearance of cellulite & stretch marks. Whether we elect to pamper ourselves or have someone else do it, body wraps make a perfect addition to any good health regimen.

Are you trying this body wrap or do you make your own wraps? Tell me your results, comment below!

Till next time……..

8 Ways To BEAT Holiday Stress NOW

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2017’s holiday season will be a challenge this year. Mercury went Retrograde on Dec. 3, & will last until Dec. 22! It’s bad enough we set ourselves up for intensity every season, this year may take it up a notch…So BE prepared!

As with every holiday season, the pace of life speeds up & we expect so much from ourselves & others. Our feelings & emotions can quickly get out of control & lead to some pretty serious stress.

I believe that our attitudes make a huge difference in how each day unfolds before us. This means that setting the intention for a smooth holiday season will be your first step in realizing a smooth holiday season!

Avoid the unnecessary & unexpected stress that comes with each holiday season, & step into the TRUE feelings that the holiday’s are really about.

Here are some simple ideas & habits that will help manage our stress so that we can take care of ourselves during the upcoming holidays & into 2018.

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  1. Essential Oils

Try some amazing essential oils that will keep you calm. You can add them to your body lotion, bath, shampoo, make a sugar scrub or even rub the oil between your hands & take a whiff!

Some oils great for helping keep calm & anxiety are:

  • Wild Orange
  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Frankincense

Perfectionist- I think it’s normal to want to create a perfect memory making holiday. However, things sometimes don’t work out as we planned.

These oils are great for promoting letting go, enjoying the present moment, reducing perfectionism, etc.

  • Cypress
  • Lime
  • Peppermint
  • Bergamot
  • Geranium
  • Cedarwood

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2.   Lay In Bed for 5 Minutes & Express Gratitude

I love this one… As soon as I wake up, I don’t jump straight out of bed. Instead, I allow myself to savor the realization that I’ve awoken to a new day, with new opportunities &  a fresh new start. For the first 5 minutes of my day, I indulge in gratitude for all that I have, remembering how fortunate I am & thanking the universe for blessing me with so much.  Gratitude improves our health, relationships, emotions, personality, & career! So give thanks for all that you have.

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3.  Take a Short Nature Walk

One of my favorite things to do is to connect with nature. Stepping outside into the fresh air walking for 5-15 minutes can shift your energy completely. It can help you reconnect, rejuvenate & recenter yourself. Walking, in a purposeful & conscious way has the most magical of all benefits. It connects you to a higher spiritual place, a source of unlimited possibilities.

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4.  Just BE

Easier said than done, it’s not always easy to stop what we’re doing & be where we are…  until we practice it. Life unfolds in the present moment, that’s all we ever really have, this moment. So often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved & unseized precious seconds of our lives. Worrying about the future & contemplate about what’s past, keeps us in the loop of yesterday & tomorrow while we’re missing out on the present moment.  If we can set aside five minutes a day to sit quietly, close our eyes, & just breathe, it immediately resets our system & reconnects us with our highest & truest self again.

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5. Take an Epsom Salt Bath

Taking a hot bath with Epsom salt is a quick & effective way to let your worries go. Epsom salt increases the water’s specific gravity, making you feel more light-weight & buoyant while helping your muscles relax. Most of us are deficient in magnesium, a mineral that is reduced with stress, Epsom salt which is high in magnesium, is one of the easiest ways to get a boost. Your body also absorbs the salts, which helps replenish magnesium. Magnesium can help decrease irritability since it reduces the effect of adrenaline on the body.

*If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, please check with your doctor before using Epsom salts.

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6. Dance Like No One Is Watching

Any type of physical activity releases the neurotransmitter, endorphins, which serve to alleviate stress. Neurotransmitters are chemicals within the brain that help communicate messages throughout the body. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller to reduce stress & improve the mind’s perception of the world. Dance is an outlet for emotional expression, stress reduction & creativity. So put on your favorite song & dance it out.

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7. When In Doubt, Eat a Piece of Dark Chocolate

This is my answer to life’s most challenging issues. I am just a chocoholic & I’m proud of it! Dark chocolate is a tasty treat that’s loaded with nutrients with stress relieving properties, helping to lower stress hormones. You’ll want at least 70% cocoa content to get the most health benefits out of it. There’s now evidence that eating dark chocolate every day can reduce stress (like I needed the study!). The study found that people who rated themselves highly stressed to begin with had lower levels of stress hormones after eating chocolate every day for two weeks!

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8. Laugh! Laugh! Laugh!

A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally. It lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, & boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you laugh. BOTTOM LINE: Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.

When we practice rituals like these, we realize that the simplest, smallest actions make a profound difference in our lives. What we do for 5 minutes can affect how we carry on for the remaining 23 hours & 55 minutes of our day.

What are your favorite tips for reducing stress? Let me know in the comments.

Till next time…