Pumpkin Body Mask

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This has always been the time of year for fresh pumpkins and pumpkin products but it seems like we have all gone even more pumpkin crazy lately — pumpkin is not only for pies and jack-o-laterns anymore — Pumpkin is Beautiful!

I appreciate pumpkin as a beneficial beauty ingredient.  Pumpkin contains fruit acid enzymes that work like alpha hydroxy acid.  The real plus is that these enzymes remove dead skin cells with less irritation than commercial products.  The lovely orange pulp also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it naturally soothing.  this treatment is well suited for all skin types, especially sensitive one.

Fresh Pumpkin Body Mask 

Ingredients: 

3-4 cups fresh pumpkin flesh with seeds

In a food processor, process the  pumpkin flesh for 1-2 minutes until you have a smooth, grainy puree.  To use: Standing in the tub or on an old bath towel, massage the pumpkin mixture into your skin starting at your feet and working your way up.  this mask is mild enough to be used on your face.  Let the mask rest on your skin for 5 minutes.  Then rinse your skin in a warm bath or shower and pat dry.  You may keep any leftover mask in the refrigerator or frozen for future use.

Yield: 16 ounces

Happy Fall and I will share a few more of my favorite “pumpkin” DIY beauty recipes this month.  I would also love to hear any recipes that you use, leave me a comment and I will share.

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Happy Day,

Janice

Natural Beauty with Lavender

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My lavender is blooming and that signals the start of lavender season!!  I love this peaceful and tranquil herb because it is so easy to grow and also can be used to calm and clean both my body and my home.  It also signals the start of Summer !  Plan a visit to a local lavender farm or plant your own.   I like to think of myself as a “Lavender Farmer”  I don’t have a huge farm but the plants in my garden provide myself and my friends with a years supply of lavender.  I use my lavender in creating bath and body products, sachets for my home and in cooking.  Lavender is perfect for scones and added to coffee and lemonade.

How I “harvest” my lavender flowers is simple –I know a lot of people tie them up into cute bunches and hang them from racks and I love this idea but I don’t always have that kind of time.  Here is what I do:

I lay a cotton tablecloth on the grass next to my plants and cut off all of the flowers after they have bloomed but before they are totally dried out.   Cut just above the green leaves and you will even get a second crop in many parts of the country.

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I then let my lavender dry in the sun — if it is windy where you are you can also do this inside.  I then sort of “Pat down” the lavender stalks and collect all of the fragrant flowers that have fallen off.  You can also save the stalks they make lovely fragrant “fire starters” when bundled up.

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Once you have your dried lavender you can use all on their own or mixed together with other ingredients.  IMG_7863

Here are a few of my favorite recipes for you to try:

Lavender Body Mist 

When you are feeling stressed this is a light fragrance you can spray around you or even on your sheets before going to bed at night to help you sleep.

Ingredients: 

1 cup witch hazel

1 tablespoon lavender flowers

2-3 drops essential oil of lavender (optional)

Directions: 

Mix all of the ingredients together and let sit overnight.  Strain out the lavender flowers and pour the liquid into a clean spray bottle or container with a tight fitting lid. To use: Spray onto your skin or air around you.

Yield: 8 ounces

 

Relaxing Lavender Bath 

A lavender bath is not only relaxing it also has skin soothing and healing properties.  Lavender is a natural antiseptic which makes it an ideal bath for calming a bad rash, sunburn or insect bites.

Ingredients: 

1 cup dried lavender flowers

2 cups oatmeal

1 /2 cup baking soda

Directions: 

Place all the ingredients inside a food processor or blender.  Grind until you have a smooth, fine powder.  The powder should have the consistency of whole grain flour.  Pour into a clean airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.

To use: pour 1 /2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub.

Yield: 28 ounces

 

Lavender Mouth Rinse 

Lavender freshens your breath and cleans and disinfect your whole mouth.  This is a mild, almost tasteless mouth rinse that has an airy, floral fragrance.  You can also use this as a skin freshener.

Ingredients: 

1 Tablespoon lavender buds

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons rosewater

Directions: 

Place the lavender buds in a glass bowl and pour the boiling water over them.  Let the mixture steep until cool then strain.  Add the rosewater to the lavender water and pour into a clean container.  To use: Pour a small amount into a clean glass and rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth and gums.

Yield: 8 ounce

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For more recipes check out my book Natural Beauty at Home.

Have a beautiful day!

Janice

 

Pumpkin Body Mask

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This has always been the time of year for fresh pumpkins and pumpkin products but it seems like we have all gone even more pumpkin crazy lately — pumpkin is not only for pies and jack-o-laterns anymore — Pumpkin is the new black !

I appreciate pumpkin as a beneficial beauty ingredient.  Pumpkin contains fruit acid enzymes that work like alpha hydroxy acid.  The real plus is that these enzymes remove dead skin cells with less irritation than commercial products.  The lovely orange pulp also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it naturally soothing.  this treatment is well suited for all skin types, especially sensitive one.

Fresh Pumpkin Body Mask 

Ingredients: 

3-4 cups fresh pumpkin flesh with seeds

In a food processor, process the  pumpkin flesh for 1-2 minutes until you have a smooth, grainy puree.  To use: Standing in the tub or on an old bath towel, massage the pumpkin mixture into your skin starting at your feet and working your way up.  this mask is mild enough to be used on your face.  Let the mask rest on your skin for 5 minutes.  Then rinse your skin in a warm bath or shower and pat dry.  You may keep any leftover mask in the refrigerator or frozen for future use.

Yield: 16 ounces

Happy October and I will share a few more of my favorite “pumpkin” DIY beauty recipes this month.  I would also love to hear any recipes that you use, leave me a comment and I will share.

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Happy Day,

Janice

But first, Coffee…..

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Hello!  I don’t know about you but I really can’t get going in the morning without my cup of coffee – in face my husband knows that he really cannot discuss anything substantial with me until after at least my second cup.

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I also love to use coffee in DIY beauty recipes.  Coffee and caffeine are popular ingredients in skin lotions, creams, masks and body scrubs.  When applied to the skin, coffee is useful as a cleanser and an antioxidant and diuretic.  A popular use of ground coffee beans is as a body scrub to reduce cellulite.  The caffeine in the coffee dehydrates fat cells by energizing the, which in turn affects the sodium potassium balance in the cells in a way that allows the cells to eliminate a buildup of excess wastes.  That is a long explanation for sure — bottom line: You cup of Joe could slim your thighs and energize your complexion!

Here are two of my favorite DIY coffee recipes for you to try  — Enjoy!

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Coffee Body Scrub

This scrub is a great way to boost your circulation and exfoliate your whole body.   The massage action is what does the trick so make sure you a good, brisk circular motion and really energize your skin and body.

Ingredients:

1 cup freshly ground coffee

1 /2 cup brown sugar

1 /2 cup sea salt

1 /2 cup almond oil

Mix all the ingredients together and stir until well iced.  Spoon into a clean jar with a tight fitting lid and store in a cool, dry spot.  To use: Massage into clean skin in a circular motion standing in the tub or shower.  Use strong, flowing strokes for at least 5 minutes to boost circulation.  Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry.

Yield: 16 ounces

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Mocha Facial Mask

This mask contains two of my favorite ingredients coffee and chocolate.  The milk and coffee contain naturally occurring acids that help condition, soothe and perk up your complexion.

Ingredients:

1 /4 cup finely ground coffee

1 /4 cup cocoa powder

1 /2 cup whole milk

Stir all of the ingredients together until smooth.  To use:  after cleansing sprad the entire mixture over your face and neck, avoiding the delicate areas around your eyes and mouth.  Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse well with warm water and apt your skin dry.

Yield 4 ounces

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Have a beautiful day and Let’s do coffee soon!

Janice

Pineapples and Pedicures

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Summer is over but that does not mean that you can ignore your feet.  In fact taking good care of  them with a weekly pedicure will enhance your overall health.  Wasn’t it President Abraham Lincoln who said “If my feet don’t feel good, I don’t feel good” such wish words in the history of the pedicure.

Pineapples are also a well known beauty secret when it comes to softening and cleansing your feet — especially after a summer of going barefoot .

Fresh pineapples are rich in the enzyme, bromelain.  This active ingredient cleanses and freshens the skin by removing dead skin cells and other surface impurities.   You can also use the tough outer rind as a skin scrubber on your heels and soles to get them super clean and soft.  If you don’t have access to fresh pineapple you can also used canned but may want to add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar as when the fresh juice is canned the heating process kills all of the active enzymes.

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Giving yourself a pedicure at home is super easy and you only need a few items:

Large bowl, sink or tub

scrubbing tools – pumice stone, loofah, pineapple rind

q-tips or orange wood sticks wrapped in cotton

natural oil or good foot cream

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Here are the steps I follow:

Ultimate Home Pedicure 

  1. Remove all old polish using a mild polish remover
  2. Fill a large bowl or basin with warm water and add some fresh acidic fruit such as pineapples or lemons and any other flower or herbs you have on hand.  (I just love to use fresh herbs and flowers in my beauty treatments).   Soak your feet for at least 10 minutes (15 is even better)
  3. Scrub rough skin spots with a natural pumice stone, loofah or bit of pineapple rind.  Keep soaking for another 5 minutes
  4. Apply a bit of natural oil to the base of your cuticles and gently push them back using a cotton swab or orange stick covered in cotton.  Be gentle.
  5. Clip your nails straight across to avoid ingrown nails.  Do this step after soaking as wet nails are easier to cut and you get a cleaner cut.
  6. Rinse your feet and massage a rich natural oil or foot cream into them.  Give yourself a bit of a foot massage too.

There you are healthy and happy feet!

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Have a beautiful day!

xoxo Janice

Here is a behind the scenes shot I had to include as my cat seems enchanted with the pineapple foot soak – it does smell amazing!

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Honey I love you!

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September is National Honey Month, so of course I have to post something about one of my favorite natural beauty ingredients.  This summer I added a bee hive to my garden and the results have been amazing.  “Busy as a Bee” is  so true these super pollinators are constantly working to make the world a better place full of fresh flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Honey is made by bees from the nectar of flowering plants and trees and contains many vital vitamins and minerals.  It has a very high potassium content which makes it almost impossible for bacteria to survive in it.  Honey is one of the best-known humectants (materials that hold moisture).  My favorite way to use honey is in the bath: a tablespoon or two makes your skin feel like silk!  If you don’t have your own bee hive not to worry honey is easy to find at your local grocery store or local farmers market.

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Here are a some more ways I like to use honey.  I even have a “Honey Bear” in my bathroom as a beauty staple.

Hair Conditioner

Honey can do great things for hair that has been mistreated and damaged by giving it back color, moisture, body, and shine.  It may seem a little sticky but well worth it.  Don’t worry it rinses out of your hair very easily.

Ingredients

1/4 cup honey

massage the honey into your hair and leave on for 20 minutes.  You may cover your head with some plastic wrap or a shower cap.  Wash and condition your hair as you do normally.

Yield 2 ounces

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Honey & Yogurt Facial Mask

One of my favorite facial masks is pure honey it is simple and perfect for cleansing and refreshing tired skin.  Honey also makes an excellent treatment for blemishes simply dab a bit on a breakout in the evening after washing your face and before going to bed.   I also love using plain yogurt as a simple facial mask weekly so this recipe combines both of these natural beauty ingredients into one super skin treatment.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream

1 Tablespoon pure honey

Mix the yogurt and honey together until smooth.  Spread on clean skin and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.  Rinse with warm then cool water and pat dry.

Yield: 1 ounce

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haha I look a bit crazy here but hard to take a cute selfie with honey and yogurt on your face.  For more recipes check out my book Natural Beauty at Home.

Also  few years ago I helped the National Honey Board with a beauty pamphlet  they are a great source of info on all things honey.

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You are all Bee-utiful!!! 

xoxo Janice

Happy Labor Day!

Relax America this is your day to unwind, rest and relax!  Labor Day is a day to celebrate hardwork, passion and what made this country strong!  So if you want to be a bit lazy today – you’ve earned it!

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The end of summer is also a good time for an all over body scrub – after months of outdoor activity you skin may need an good all over cleansing.  Here is my go to scrub recipe.  I like to use raw sugar as it is easier on the skin than salt and less dehydrating.  Feel free to make it your own by adding fresh flowers, herbs or a drop or two of your favorite essential oil.  Get glowing

Basic Sugar Body Scrub 

Ingredients:

1 cup raw sugar

1/2 cup walnut oil or other light oil such as almond, sesame, or canola

1 /2 teaspoon vitamin E oil

Mix together all ingredients and spoon into a clean container.  To use: Stand in the shower or tub and massage a small  amount of the scrub all over your body to gently exfoliate and moisturize your skin.  Rinse well afterward.

Yield: 10 ounces

(For more DIY recipes check out Natural Beauty at Home)

Labor day also marks the end of watermelon season and this summer I have been drinking my watermelons.  It is so easy and a great way to start the day.  Here is what I do.  Peel your fresh watermelon and chop up.  Place in a blender or food processor with some coconut water, lemon juice and fresh mint.  Blend and enjoy! So easy and so good for you.

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Oh and if you want to know how I got “JOY” on my watermelon super easy with some stickers and a sharp knife.  I saw the idea in Womans Day Magazine.

Ok back to my hammock!

Happy Labor Day

xoxo Janice

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Let Your Natural Beauty Shine

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Hello — It is almost labor day weekend which means the end of summer vacation. I am still on our road trip and today doing a bit of reading by our hotel pool.  One of my favorite magazines for beauty and health inspiration is Self Magazine.  This month has the perfect cover not only does it feature Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope) who is a natural beauty but also has this empowering message:  “Let your Natural Beauty SHINE”

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On page 50 are some natural “Beauty Boosters” and some great commercial natural beauty products.  Here are my DIY versions for some of the featured products for healthy and gorgeous skin and nails:

Almond Oil for Shiny Hair:   Almond oil is lightweight and perfect for moisturizing and hydrating your hair restoring shine and luster.  You can find almond oil in the cooking oil section of your grocery store.  Massage a small amount into your hair weekly.

Soothing and Brightening Eye Treatment:  Fresh cucumbers are naturally astringent and soothing for tired eyes.  Simply place a few cold slices over your eyes and rest or juice and mix with equal parts witch hazel for a soothing skin freshener perfect for all skin types.

Refreshing Facial Water:  Clary Sage is a garden herb that is well-known for its use in cosmetics because it is soothing and refreshing to your skin.  If you do not have in your garden you may find at a local natural food shop dried.  Brew up a strong tea with the fresh or dried herb leaves and let cool completely then strain and use as a facial mist or toner.

Invigorating Body Scrub:  Fresh Grapefruit and Mint combined with raw sugar and coconut oil makes an energizing body scrub.  The grapefruit contains citric acid which is a natural exfolliant and mint is a well-known energizing and astringent  Use this scrub in the shower or tub weekly for fresh clean skin.

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup raw sugar

1 /4 cup coconut oil

1 Tablespoon fresh grapefruit juice

1 Tablespoon grated grapefruit zest

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Mix together all ingredients and spoon into a clean container.  Store in the refrigerator.  To use:  Massage into damp skin in the shower or tub and rinse well with warm then cool water.  Be careful as the oil can make things a bit slippery.

Yield: 6 ounces

Restorative Body Wash:  Honey is a natural humectant and can be used head to toe to treat your skin and hair.  Mixed with your favorite cleanser honey is naturally moisturizing and healing to your skin.  It also has antibacterial properties making it an excellent natural beauty ingredient for troubled skin types.

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Ok back to my magazine — Here are some Natural Beauty tips from Kerry Washington:

  •  Start your day with lemon water
  • Use a good face cream and lots of SPF
  • Stretch, pray and meditate everyday

Have a beautiful day and weekend — Shine on!

xoxo Janice

America the Beautiful

Hello America you are Beautiful!

I am currently in Colorado Springs and it is a new month (September)  which is perfect for a new project for me and that is Blogging –so here I go and be patient as this is my first post ever!   Of course you know I love DIY beauty recipes and treatments and find inspiration everywhere.   If you have not discovered my book  Natural Beauty at Home check it out online, at your local bookstore or library!     I am really excited about this new endeavor, as I can journal about what inspires me and share some great recipes and ideas with all of you so together we can look and feel terrific!

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I am here at The Broadmoor Hotel which is in Colorado Springs and a gorgeous setting full of Natural Beauty — in fact the surrounding mountains is what inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the poem “America the Beautiful”  which is one of our best patriotic songs I think.

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The Broadmoor is an amazing resort and the grounds are fabulous they even had one of my favorite at home herbs in their flower beds — Lavender.  If you are lucky to have some lavender in your yard or garden pick it now and dry it you will thank me later.  Lavender is an herb you can use year round and head to toe.  In fact  when I get home I am going to do a whole post all about Lavender and Lavender Spa Products.

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In our room there was a lovely packet of “Lavender Mint Bath Salts”.   I  am a huge fan of bath salts and  I love to make my own and give them as gifts.  My husband had a meeting to attend so guess what I did? — that’s right took a bath with those salts and it was wonderful.

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Here is a DIY recipe inspired by those hotel  bath salts.  They are super easy to make using basic ingredients that you may already have at home.  Lavender and Mint are both naturally relaxing, cleansing and smell so good.  Epsom salts and Kosher salt  are perfect for detoxing your body and soothing your muscles.  These natural salts can be found at your local grocery store — look in the first aid section for the epsom salts and the baking section for kosher salt.    Essential oils are powerful little oils that contain the true essence or scent of the plant.  They can be found at natural food shops and some grocery stores in the natural living section.

Relaxing Colorado Bath Salts

1 cup Epsom salts

1 /2 cup kosher salt

5 drops essential oil of lavender

3 drops essential oil of peppermint

In a bowl or jar mix together all of the ingredients and stir well.   Store in a container with a tight lid or resealable plastic bag.  To use:  Pour a scoop (about 1/2 cup) into a warm bath under the running water taps.  Soak for 20 minutes.

Yield: 12 ounces

Note:  These salts make wonderful gifts so you may want to double the recipe.

Have a beautiful day!

xoxo Janice