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

 

Epsom Salts and Roses

It is spring and my roses are beginning to bloom !  I just sprinkled them with some epsom salts to give them  a boost of minerals.  It reminded me what a great combination these two really are.   I love to soak in epsom salts in my bath.  I also love my roses!  Roses are a natural beauty ingredient because they are naturally cleansing yet gentle for all skin types and their scent is uplifting and romantic.  I decided to combine the two into a lovely floral bath salt that is perfect for gift giving or pampering yourself and enjoying your own roses.   Make sure you use garden roses as they not only smell the best but are also free of pesticides.   You can also use your roses in making rose water, scented body scrubs and in facial masks.

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Here is how I prepare my petals for use in beauty recipes:

First I picked a bunch of roses — you can also enjoy them as an arrangement and when they start to fade, then use the petals.

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I picked off all the petals and let them air dry for a few day.  I know some people use food dehydrators or in the oven on low but it is really just as simple to let them air dry and give them a stir once a day — it usually takes a few days to dry. I use an old basket but a cardboard box or cookie sheet works well also.

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I like to chop my petals  up in the food processor this makes them easier to work with and also makes your tub easier to clean.  All the fine bits and pieces easily go down the drain. But this step is totally up to you.

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I found a huge bag of epsom salts at my local grocery and it even says on the label good for plants and your body!   These natural salts were discovered in the well water of Epsom, England and have been used for hundreds of years.  Chemically, Epsom salts are hydrated magnesium sulfate and sulfur.  Magnesium helps with seed germination and the production of chlorophyll in plants.  They also help soothe sore muscles as they are astringent and help boost your circulation.

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

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Garden Rose Bath Salts

Ingredients:

1 cup Epsom salts

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup dried rose petals

4-5 drops essential oil of rose (optional)

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients and pour into a clean container.  To use: Pour into a warm bath and soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Yield: 10 ounces

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For gift giving I like to use a bit of vintage linen and lace tied into a bow and add a fresh rose.  You could also do a whole “Rose” theme basket — with a fresh bouquet, rose oil, rose bath salts and rose water.

 

Have a beautiful day!

xoxo Janice

Icelandic Beauty

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My daughter and son in law just went on an amazing trip to Iceland and brought me back a mud mask!   This is not any mud mask but one from the famous Blue Lagoon.

Most mud or clay masks work in the same way.  They help exfoliate and deep cleanse your complexion.  As they dry they also help remove or draw surface impurities and debris from your pores and skin.  What makes mud mask different is where they originate.  Blue Lagoon Mud is some of the finest in the world.  It is made from geothermal silica mud, a unique and natural active ingredient.  It can be used on both the face and body.

You don’t have to travel to the blue lagoon to create your own mud mask at home, but I want to  now book a trip to Iceland after hearing their stories and seeing photos of this amazing country.   Here is an easy recipe for you to create your own at home mask:

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Natural Mud Mask

Clay or mud masks are some of the oldest natural beauty treatments still used today.  You can find a variety of natural clays at your local natural food store and online.  Remember you never want to use the mud from your yard as it can contain bacteria.  You want sterilized clay or mud that is safe to use on your skin.

Ingredients: 

2 tablespoons natural clay

1-2 tablespoons distilled water

Directions: 

Mix the clay mask fresh each time using equal parts clay and water.  Stir well until you have a smooth paste.  To use: Spread the mixture on clean skin and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes, until dry.  Rinse well with warm water followed by cool water and pat your skin dry.

Yield: 1 ounce, enough for one facial mask

Note:  You can also mix your clay with soy milk, sour cream or aloe vera gel and if you are a fan of using essential oils add a drop or two to your mask for a bit of aromatherapy. 

 

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þú ert fallegur! 

(You are beautiful!)

xoxo Janice

 

 

 

Turn Your Bath Into A Spa

 

We can all use a bit of pampering every now and then but a trip to a high end resort or spa may not be on your calendar or in the budget.  Not to worry with just a few simple “At Home” touches you can turn your own bathroom into your own private retreat.  Here are some Easy spa touches that anyone can do:

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Fresh Cucumber Slices 

Immerse fresh cucumber slices in water for half an hour in your refrigerator.  Lie down and place them on closed eyes.  Water makes cucumbers cool, gelatinous and very soothing.  You can also Create a soothing facial mask using fresh sour cream, honey or a bit of cooked oatmeal.

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Spa Towels: 

Soak cotton hand towels in warm water with a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender, peppermint, sweet orange). Wring out and roll up.  Microwave for 20 seconds.  Massage a rich lotion or natural oil into your hands and feet and wrap then with these warm spa towels.

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Music: 

LIsten to soft music thats evenly paced with minimal lyrics or use nature sounds to set a soothing mood in your spa room (bathroom).

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Tea:  

Make a pot of chamomile or your favorite herbal tea to sip in your bath.  Use a favorite cup and really treat yourself.

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Bath Salts: 

Mix up these relaxing bath salts and soak for 20 to 40 minutes.  Really take the time to relax and unplug .  You may also want to light candles or place a bouquet of fresh flowers on the counter to focus on.

Ingredients: 

2 cups epsom salts

1/2 cup baking soda

5-6 drops essential oil such as lavender or rosemary (optional)

Directions: 

Mix together all ingredients.  Pour into warm bath as your fill tub.  Stir until salts are dissolved.  Soak for 20 to 40 minutes.

Yield: 20 ounces, enough for one bath

 

You are beautiful and amazing!

xoxo Janice

 

Make your Own “Yoga Mist”

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OMMMM  Yoga is one of the fastest growing activities in America according to a recent Wall Street Journal Article.  Nearly 15 million people practice yoga in the USA alone!  If you are part of this growing group  — I am!  You may want to enhance your yoga experience and practice a bit of aromatherapy also.  Like the practice of yoga aromatherapy helps the body,mind and spirit.

Here is a recipe for a simple “yoga mist” that you can create yourself.  it uses essential oils and besides boosting your energy it will also keep your mat clean and healthy too.

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Happy Body Yoga Mist 

Use this aromatic spray to create a clean and happy yoga environment.  Essential oils are easily found at most natural food shops and some grocery stores in the natural food section.

Ingredients:

1 /2 cup distilled water

8 drops of sweet orange essential oil

8 drops of tea tree oil essential oil

4 drops of lavender essential oil

Directions:

In a clean spray or mist bottle add the water and essential oils.  Shake gently to mix.  To use:  Mist over your mat and wipe with a clean towel.  You may also use to mist the air around you.  Just be careful in a public class to ask the people around you.  Some individuals are sensitive to scents.

Yield: 4 ounces

 

Namaste!

Janice

 

 

 

5 New Things for the New Year

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Happy New Year — I love this time of year as it gives us all a “fresh start” on the new year.  I like to try and set new goals for the year ahead and I usually keep this to a short list of three things that I want to accomplish.  I write these down on a post – it note and put on my bathroom mirror.  The amazing thing is they almost always happen.  Probably because I see this list everyday!  There are also some easy things you can do to jump start the new year and make it one of your best ever!  Here is my list :

 Take a detox bath

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This is a simple bath mixture that will help you relax, reenergize and rid your body of built up stress and toxins.  Make sure to drink plenty of water before and afterwards and not stay in your bath for more than 40 minutes.  It is best done in the evening before bed or when you have the time to rest afterwards to receive the full benefits from this bath.

Mix up this simple bath mixture

2 cups Epsom salts

1 cup baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

Draw a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes.  You will feel all that 2015 gunk and toxins leave your body!

 

Go outside

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I have a friend that starts everyday standing outside in her bare feet winter or summer — this simple act of embracing nature and going outdoors will do wonders for your mind and body.  A recent study from the University of Rochester found being outside in nature makes you feel more energized and alive!

 

Sleep More

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Go to bed at the same time each day and try and sleep for at least 7 hours.  Beauty sleep is a very real thing.  Getting plenty of sleep is really necessary for optimal health and well being and a real crisis in our country, where many of us are sleep deprived.

 Take good care of your feet

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This is the year to learn to give yourself a really good pedicure and keep your whole body feeling energized. Here are some simple steps:

  1. Clean your feet and remove all old polish.
  2. Soak for 15 minutes in warm water, add a cup of vinegar to help soften rough skin.
  3. Scrub your feet with a wet pumice stone or natural brush and gently push back your cuticles.
  4. Trim toenails straight across.  Wet nails are easier to cut and you get a cleaner cut.
  5. Massage and moisturize your feet well with a rich cream or natural oil.

 

Plan an adventure

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Having something to look forward to is as much fun as the actual trip, class or get together.  This is the  100 YearAnniversary for the National Park Service  so maybe plan a road trip to a park near your home or across the country.

Happy New Year!!

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This is going to be your year — Own it!!

xoxo Janice

Natural Beauty with Sea Salt

On my recent trip to the island of Kauai,  I was lucky enough to visit a salt company – they sell a variety of culinary salts featuring the Hawaiian red salt produced on the islands. This mineral rich salt gets it’s rosy hue from the natural volcanic clay on the islands. A short drive from their shop, is an actual salt pond where sea salt is made as it has been for centruries.

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Fresh ocean water is allowed to evaporate in small man made ponds leaving behind the pure sea salt. Salt is one of the oldest beauty ingredients and in fact was once used as currency in many parts of the world because of it’s value.

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I like to use sea salt in the bath a spoonful of coconut oil and a cup of sea salt thrown into warm bathwater leaves my skin clean, fresh and silky smooth.

Using sea salt in the bath creates your own “mini ocean” and recent studies have discovered that bathing in salty water not only detoxes the body but also makes our skin stronger and able to retain more moisture.

I also like to use sea salt in making body scrubs and polishes. Here is a simple recipe:

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Sea Salt Body Polish 

1 /2 cup sea salt

1 Tablespoon baking soda

2 Tablespoons light sesame oil

1 teaspoon vitamin E oil

Mix together all ingredients and stir well.  You may add a bit more oil if needed.  You want a smooth, grainy paste.  To use:  In the shower or bath massage into damp skin with long flowing strokes.  Avoid sensitive skin areas.  Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry.  note:  oil in scrub could make your shower floor a bit slippery, you may want to put a towel down to stand on.

Yield: 4 ounces

 

Enjoy and Glow!  You are beautiful

xoxo Janice

 

Natural Beauty with Avocados

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Avocados are a natural beauty staple.  These rich buttery fruits can be used by all skin and hair types  to moisturize, clean and hydrate.  They are rich in natural oil, protein, and vitamins.  Avocados also contain more protein than any other fruit.  They have been used  for centuries in hot and dry climates to protect the skin and hair.

A simple and nourishing hair conditioner is made by mashing an avocado and massaging it into clean, damp hair.  Let sit for a few minutes then rinse out with warm water.

Avocado oil is a pale green oil that can be found in the cooking oil section of most grocery stores.  It is made from the dehydrated flesh of the avocado.  It is excellent for moisturizing the skin and hair because it is light  and also has some sunscreening properties.  It makes a wonderful skin and hair oil. I also like to use it for making creams and lotions

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Avocado pits can be used to create an effective body scrub.  Simply mash or grind the fresh pits until you have a coarse mixture that can be added to body scrubs or mixed together with a bit of your favorite cleanser to keep skin fresh and clean. The ground pits turn a lovely shade of red when exposed to the air.  You can dry ground pits and store in airtight containers.

Here is one of my favorite Avocado facial recipes.  Use weekly for soft, smooth skin.

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Avocado Facial Mask 

1 /2 fresh avocado flesh

1 Tablespoon sour cream

1 teaspoon pure honey

Mix together all ingredients and stir well until smooth.  Spread on clean, damp skin and let sit for 15 minutes.  Rinse well with warm water followed a cool water rinse.

Yield: 3 ounces

For more ways to use and enjoy avocados visit California Avocados link.

Also inside every avocado is a free plant!  Simply  plant your pit and water. It may take several years for your own avocados but the tiny trees make lovely houseplants.

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Enjoy!  You are beautiful

xoxo Janice

 

 

Tropical Spa Treatments and Lokahi

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This week I am off to the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.  It has been almost a few years since my last visit and I can’t wait!  I love Hawaii and tropical beauty treatments.  The Hawaiian concept of Lokahi which means the closer you are to nature, the closer you are to discovering yourself. Is actually a practice we all can do very simply at home going outside and finding harmony and balance.

Here a few tropical spa treatment inspired by this Hawaiian Islands  that you can DIY at home.  Enjoy and Aloha

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Papaya Body Polish

Papayas are excellent skin softeners because they contain “papain” a natural enzyme.  In fact the greener the papaya the higher the papain content.  I like to use ripe papayas as I can enjoy the fruit for breakfast with a bit of lime and then use the seeds in this skin cleansing exfoliating body treatment.

Ingredients:

1 /4 cup fresh papaya seeds

1 Tablespoon sea salt or raw sugar

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Mix together all ingredients in a blender or food processor until you have a coarse grainy mixture.  Spoon into a clean container.  To use:  Massage all over  your body with a clean loofa sponge or washcloth and rinse well with warm but not too hot water.

Yield: 2 ounces

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Coconut Lemongrass Body Polish

This is a good scrub for sensitive or aging skin as it is mild and hydrating.

ingredients:

1 /4 coarsely grated fresh coconut

2 Tablespoons raw sugar

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

3-4 drops essential oil of lemongrass

Mix together all ingredients and spoon into a clean container.  To use:  In the shower or bath massage into damp skin using a clean loofah or cotton washcloth.  Rinse well with warm water.

Yield: 3 ounces

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Volcanic Pumice Foot Massage

Pumice stones are super cooled bits of lava.  You can use pumice stones to remove dead and rough skin from your feet.  They work best when wet.  Soak your stone for a few minutes in warm, soapy water.  You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the water too.  Rub the stone gently over your skin.  You can also create pumice powder by taking a hammer and smashing your stone.  You can add this powder to your favorite rich cream and massage into your feet.  Pumice stones can be found at most pharmacies.

Aloha and Mahalo — If you have any favorite tropical ingredients or treatments I would love to hear about them!

Janice

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