Calendula

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Calendula is one of the most versatile and useful flowers in my opinion.  It is also a cheerful pop of color for your garden or planted in a container.  It is a hardy annual that I find blooms almost year round.  It has been used since ancient times as a food source, plant dye and cosmetic.  It is soothing, antiseptic and an excellent skin healer, especially for dry, cracked skin and chapped lips.  I like to add petals to creams and baths.  Fresh petals are best. You can also dry petals for year round use and in making powders and bath products.

Here is an easy recipe for you to try at home:

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Calendula Foot Powder

Ingredients:

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 Tablespoons baking soda

! Tablespoon dried calendula petals, finely ground

1-2 drops calendula oil or geranium oil (optional)

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a dry jar or resealable bag and shake gently to mix.  Pour the powder into a clean, dry container  To use:  Sprinkle the powder on clean, dry feet and gently massage into the skin, especially between the toes.

Yield: 3 ounces

 

Have a beautiful day!

Let me know how you use Calendula for skin and hair care —

 

xoxo

Janice

Beauty from the Hive

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I am getting ready today for Oregon Honey Festival this weekend in Ashland, Oregon and just finished making some Lip Balms and thought I would share the recipe.  I am a fairly new beekeeper but I do love my bees and what they have done for my garden.  They are also some of the best “natural cosmetologist.”  Their raw honey and beeswax is amazing and I love using it in my DIY beauty recipes.

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“Honey You’re the Balm” 

This is a simple to make lip balm that is perfect for keeping your lips soft, smooth and protected.  Feel free to experiment with the basic recipe using your own favorite oils.  If you don’t have access to beeswax you can easily purchase some at your local natural food store or from beekeepers.

Ingredients: 

1 tsp. beeswax

1 tsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. Cocoa Butter

1/8 tsp. raw honey

Directions:

Gently melt all ingredients and stir well.  Pour into clean lip balm containers or small jars.  Let cool completely until solid.  To use:  Spread onto your lips.

Note:  This balm can also be used on other parts of your body where you need a bit of extra conditioning such as elbows, knees or heels.

Yield: .5 ounces

Have a sweet day and remember to “Just BEE You”  that is the best beauty tip!

xoxo Janice

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Heal, Balance, Restore – So Hum Meditation

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Om Shanti Shanti Shanti — Shanti means peace and that is how I feel right now after learning more about the power of Meditation.

Meditation is a state of “restful awareness”  through meditation we create our own reality and calm both our bodies and our minds.  A regular practice of prayer or meditation will improve your health.  By reducing stress you can improve your circulation, digestion, mood and improve your physical health.

I just took a short class at The Chopra Center at Lacosta in California and this is what I learned:

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So Hum Meditation

  • Sit comfortably where you will mot be disturbed, and close your eyes.
  • Take a slow deep breath through your nose while thinking the word, “So”
  • Exhaled slowly through your nose while thinking the, “Hum”
  • Continue breathing easily, silently repeating “So …. Hum” with each inflow and outflow of your breath.
  • Whenever your attention drifts to thoughts in your mind, sounds in your environment or sensations in your body, gently return to your breath, silently repeating, “So…Hum.”
  • Continue this process for twenty minutes with an attitude of effortlessness and simplicity.
  • When the time is up, sit with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes before resuming your daily activity.

I learned it takes a bit of practice and I actually think it is easier to do on your own than in a group environment.   I think for most of us quieting our minds and is hard but with practice and time you will find yourself letting go of thoughts and stress and finding peace.

Here are a few benefits that were listed in my class:

  •  Lowered blood pressure and hypertension
  • relief from stress, depression, and anxiety
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Reduced production of “stress hormones” including cortisol and andrenaline
  • Increased gray matter in the hippocampus, a brain area important for memory and learning.
  • Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
  • Improved immune function
  • More restful sleep

I would take any one of these benefits!

Namaste

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xoxo Janice

Baking Soda Beauty

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Look inside your kitchen cupboard and chances are you will find a box of baking soda.   Baking soda as we know it comes from the mineral “Natron” which contains sodium bicarbonate, i.e. baking soda. It has been a part of our everyday lives since ancient times as the Egyptians used it as a simple cleanser and soap. Today it is a household staple with hundreds of uses from cooking to home remedies. There are few commercial products that can compare to baking soda effectiveness and versatility. It is also a simple and effective beauty aide that can be used head to toe to keep your skin and hair looking and feeling it’s best.   It is a mildly abrasive which makes it a gentle cleanser for your skin, hair and teeth. Baking soda neutralizes acid keeping your bodies natural pH level in check. It is also a powerful deodorizer, which you will see featured in many commercial products from foot powders to deodorants. Here a few simple and easy ways to use this natural beauty ingredient:

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Baking Soda Hair Rinse

This simple rinse will get your hair squeaky clean and remove any hair spray or styling gel residue from your hair. If you color your hair many professionals recommend a baking soda rinse, so your hair is super clean and will absorb the color more effectively.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon baking soda

1 cup distilled water

Mix together the baking soda and water and stir well. After shampooing and as a final rinse pour the solution over your hair and massage into your scalp. Let sit for one minute then rinse out with warm water followed by a cool water rinse.

Yield: 8 ounces, one treatment

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Baking Soda Tooth Powders

Tooth powders may sound a bit old fashioned but they are popular today because they are not as abrasive as many commercial toothpastes and do not contain any additives such as sudsing agents (hard soaps and detergents), binders, and artificial flavorings. They are also very inexpensive to make. Try to brush your teeth for at least two full minutes – place an egg timer next to your bathroom sink to keep track of the time.

Classic: Baking soda is the classic basic tooth powder because it is a mild abrasive in cleaning the teeth and gums. Dip a damp toothbrush in a dish of baking soda and massage your teeth and gums.

Baking soda and salt: Mix together equal amounts of baking soda and sea salt to create a gentle cleansing tooth powder. Salt alone can be too abrasive, especially for sensitive teeth and gums but a powerful antibacterial ingredient.

Sage: Sage is a natural tooth whitener. Mixed with baking soda and salt, this powder will keep your whole mouth fresh and clean. Mix together a teaspoon each of dried sage leaves, table salt, and baking soda.

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Super Soothing Soak

This is the perfect bath after a day of strenuous physical activity or when you just need to relax. You can feel your whole body releasing tension and your muscles softening as you soak. This bath can be drying to your skin so make sure to moisturize afterwards with a rich body lotion or natural oil.

Ingredients:

1 cup baking soda

1 /4 cup sea salt

1 /2 cup Epsom salts

Mix all the ingredients together. Fill your bathtub with warm water. Pour the mixture into the bath slowly, allowing the mixture to dissolve completely. Step into the bath and soak for at least 20 minutes but no more than 40 minutes.

Yield: 12 ounces

Dry Shampoo: Sprinkle some baking soda onto your scalp, massage in and comb out as a simple dry shampoo. This is effective when you can’t shampoo to freshen your hair.

Combs and Brushes: Keep your combs and brushes super clean by soaking them in a solution of hot water and 1 /4 cup baking soda once a month.

Facial Scrub: An effective and gentle facial scrub can be made using baking soda. Simply mix a teaspoon or two in the palm of your hand with water to create a paste and massage into damp skin. Rinse well with warm then cool water.

Sunburn Soother: Soak in a warm bath with a generous amount of baking soda (1 to 2 cups) added. Baking soda can’t reverse the effects of the burn but it can take some of the heat and discomfort out of it.

Deodorant: Baking soda can be sprinkled or patted on as a simple deodorant. It contains no other chemicals so is comfortable to use even right after shaving under your arms.

Powder: Make your own body powder by mixing together equal parts cornstarch and baking soda. You can also sprinkle this mixture inside your shoes to keep your feet cool and dry.

Nail Care: Clean your nails with a bit of baking soda on a small nail brush. This is especially helpful after working in the garden or other messy jobs.

Rough Skin: For classic rough skin spots such as elbows, knees and heels massage a paste of baking soda and lemon juice into your skin then rinse off.

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Ok I need to stop haha but as you can see I love using baking soda and it is one of my “must have” at home ingredients.  For more ways to use check out the Arm and Hammer website.

Enjoy!

xoxo 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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