Handmade whipped body butter

It’s winter and the cold weather can take a toll on your skin. Keeping your body moisturized is essential, but most conventional beauty projects have a ton of toxic chemicals in them. It’s really a shame we don’t have more regulations on beauty products, because many of them contain ingredients linked to cancer, and reproductive/fertility issues. It’s so easy to make your own body butter with high quality ingredients. Below is my simple recipe. It’s comprised of 4 main ingredients with the option to add essential oils for scent. Cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil and almond oil are all you need along with a kitchen mixer. This recipe was enough to make approx 24 oz of body butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter

  • 1/2 cup shea butter

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup almond oil

  • 40 drops of essential oil

  • 1 tbs arrow root powder (optional)


Directions: We have a food scale for our bread baking so I actually weighed out my cocoa and shea butters to make sure the amounts were correct. If you choose to do this, you’ll need 64 grams of each. The cocoa butter is less dense than the shea butter so you need more cocoa butter than you think to equal the 1/2 cup required for this recipe. If you don’t have a scale don’t worry. This doesn’t have to be exact. In a double boiler, melt the cocoa butter, shea butter and coconut oil. Add in the almond oil and arrow root powder and stir. The arrow root powder is optional and only helps the body butter absorb into your skin quicker. Next, cover your bowl, place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. You’ll know when your butter is ready for the next step when it’s solidified but soft enough to push your finger into. This really does take so much longer than you think, so plan to make this when you have a few hours at home. After you’ve taken your body butter out of the refrigerator, this is the time to add your essential oils. The cocoa butter will already give this a lovely rich aroma, but you can make it even more luxurious by adding in about 40 drops of essential oil. Next, whip your body butter with a handheld mixer or the whisk attachment of your stand up mixer. This takes a few minutes to get the mixture light and whipped up but you will know when it’s complete as the body butter takes on a consistency of heavy whipped cream. Spoon your mixture into your containers and enjoy! This body butter should have a shelf-life of approximately 1 year and a little goes a long way!

These make awesome holiday gifts btw! I’m planning on giving them out to my loved ones along with some more hand made goodies.

DIY Hygge Christmas Decorations

I don’t know why, but for some reason I’ve been so into the Christmas spirit. I have also been very into the concept of hygge. Hygge, (pronounced Hue-guh) is the Danish word which encapsulates coziness, comfort, and enjoying the simple pleasures. Think Scandinavian coziness in the simplest, most romantic form. Hygge is a feeling, it's an experience, it is not a thing, or related to possessions. It's about cultivating that feeling, and then being present to experience it. Hygge is enjoying a warm cup of coffee in the morning enveloped by a cozy robe or blanket. It's the smell of dinner cooking, or the candlelight that dances over a dinner shared with loved ones. Hygge is about slowing down, and savoring the moment. The simpler and more inexpensive something is, the more hygge it is. Hygge and the holidays really go hand-in-hand, so I thought I’d try my hand at making some very simple, very inexpensive holiday decor DIY’s. Keep on reading for all of my ideas.

Holiday Greenery Swag

This was so simple to make. I simply gathered a branch from our noble fir tree, a couple of pine branches found in our friend’s backyard, and a sprig of eucalyptus found at our local farmer’s market. The key is to strip the leaves/pine needles from the ends, arrange your greenery, and then tie them together. I loved using some of the gift wrapping ribbon/string. You can make these little bitty to hang from door handles in your home, or large to hang on your front door. So simple, so hygge, and so good!

Windowsill Vibes



Scandinavian decor often includes a single candle in the window, so I thought I’d recreate my own spin on that tradition with some simple tea light candles and candle holders. The little candle holders were found at Cost Plus World Market for 99 cents each, and the tea lights were bought in bulk for less than 50 cents/candle. I also added a couple sprigs of rosemary to the windowsill because I thought it looked pretty, but you could do pine branches as well.

Rosemary Bouquet

I don’t know why, but for some reason spiky greenery feels very holiday to me. We have a rosemary bush growing outside our house so this was so easy to create. I don’t know why, but I’ve never thought of using rosemary displayed in home. The trick is to pull the leaves off the bottom so it looks less like a cooking ingredient and more like a decor item. This little glass vessel was found at World Market for $2.99. Such a great deal!

Minimalist Christmas Tree Ornaments

I kept seeing these little minimal ornaments on my DIY searches and had to recreate them! I bought glass ornaments from Michael’s on sale 50% off so a set of 8 ornaments cost $3.50. Then I simply used a few cuttings of eucalyptus and noble fir left over from the holiday greenery swag DIY. Measure the size of cuttings you want, drop them into the ornament and place the top back on. It’s that simple. I also want to play around with some gold paint dropped into the bottom of the remaining two ornaments I have.

Gift Wrapping

I love brown paper packages tied up with string! I also love placing a little bit of tree cuttings under the bow. It’s an idea I’ll never get tired of. So simple but beautiful. You can find the brown paper here and red and white bakers twine here. The silver ribbon was found at Michael’s.


Hygge is all about simplicity, coziness, contentment, and handmade! Get creative, and remember you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your home beautiful for the holidays. A few candles glowing with some simple sprigs of rosemary will do the trick!

Small Habits of Happiness

These are some habits I practice on the regular to nurture my own happiness. Sometimes, you have to choose happy, you have to choose healthy, and you have to choose balance. Happiness is a practice, not a destination you arrive to. Hope these habits help you through your holiday season!

Winter Hygge

I am getting pumped over here for winter! The hubbs and I have decided to have an extra simple Christmas this year with lots of homemade gifts, hygge, and coziness inside with the pup. Do you have any winter hygge musts you’re planning on enjoying this season?!

Fall 2018 Playlist

I can’t believe I haven’t posted a playlist for 2018! Music is something I love! I’m always looking for new songs, new artists, and truly believe in the power of music to influence emotions. We have discovered so many new songs in the past few months, but I selected my absolute favorites to share with you all. Below is my current fall 2018 playlist. Let me know which song is your favorite and I hope you discover at least one song that you love!

HAPPINESS | COLLECTIVE FALL 2018 PLAYLIST

If you want to stay up to date on what I’m listening to, follow me on spotify!

Meet Auggie

I don't have a formal post about happiness written for this week but I think this little guy is pretty relevant to the topic. Meet Auggie, the newest member of our family. He's already earned nicknames like Auggie Doggie, and Auggie Bear.  He's an 8 week old West Highland White Terrier also known as a Westie. He stole our hearts as soon as we saw his little face, and the best news is he loves to be held and loves to cuddle. He's mellow, like Matt and I, but also mischievous, and a bundle of energy at times. I am on puppy duty all week, and he has already taught me so much about love, and so much about happiness. He has endless love to give, lives in the present moment, and simply wants to play, sleep, and cuddle. These decisions of the heart: to get married, to adopt a dog, to have a baby, are usually scary at first, but end up filling your heart with even more love, and even more happiness. 

Morning Routine and how it can change your life

Mornings are important. They define the way you begin the day, set the tone, and determine the trajectory of your mood, thoughts, and energy. Just as the first meal of the day is the most important, the first activities, thoughts, and habits of the day are equally important. The husband and I have been slowly placing more emphasis on our morning routine for the past year, and recently committed to a consistent, solid 60-minute routine.

What changed the game for us, was the book "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. Elrod writes about creating a morning routine of any length (but preferably an hour) which includes the 6 personal development practices proven to have the biggest impact on personal growth. The concept is designed upon the concept that mornings are the rudder for your day. Just as a rudder steers a ship, the way you spend your morning, determines the rest of your day. If you begin your day with intention, with positive thoughts, and personal development, chances are, the rest of your day will be more positive and intentional. If you begin your day by hitting the snooze, resisting the day, rushing through your morning, chances are, the rest of your day will be spent resisting and reacting to life, rather than living with intention. The other main concept guiding The Miracle Morning, is the idea by Jim Rohn that "Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become." Elrod explains "Our outer world will always be a reflection of our inner world. Our level of success is always going to parallel our level of personal development. Until we dedicate time each day to developing ourselves into the person we need to be to create the life we want, success is always going to be a struggle to attain". Below are the 6 practices Elrod recommends to practice each morning if you want to maximize personal development:

  • Silence. this could include meditation, breathwork, mindfulness, or gratitude practice
  • Affirmations. Affirmations are messages you want to train your subconscious to believe so you repeat and/or write them over and over, feeling them as true in your mind. Pick 1 or a few to repeat every morning consistently over time. Revise as needed if values change or affirmations are achieved and no longer needed.
  • Visualization. Visualize the life you want, the person you are, and how you will feel living this life of your dreams. Be as specific as possible in your visualization of your life, including all the details you can think of, and again, try to 'feel' this visualization. 
  • Exercise. It's important to connect with your body and get your heart rate up every day, even if it's only 1 minute of jumping jacks, sit ups, pushups, or L-sits. We go to yoga after work, so instead of the exercise piece, the hubbs and I have been doing breathwork instead. 
  • Reading. I'm going to be cheesy here and say that knowledge is power. Matt and I have been reading something from the personal growth/self-help section every morning, and it's a beautiful way to feed your mind and soul. 
  • Writing. This could be writing of any sort including journaling, gratitude lists, writing a book, writing your affirmations. I usually stick with a mix of journaling, gratitude lists, and writing my affirmations down. Journaling was something I've been wanting to do for years, and now I have the time and structure created to make it possible. Writing gives words and thoughts extra power, so be intentional about what you write down. I try to keep mine positive and focus on writing only the thoughts, desires, and emotions I want to grow. 

So that's the miracle morning. I've actually enjoyed my mornings despite the fact that I'm waking up 30 minutes earlier. I have been more focused, inspired, and having consistently better moods since starting this routine. Matt has also enjoyed it, and it's been nice to do the practice together. If you only have 30 minutes in the morning, you could practice each activity for 5 minutes. Our morning routine is below in the order that we practice each activity:

  • Silence - 10 min
  • Affirmations - 5 min
  • Visualization - 5 min
  • Reading - 20 min
  • Writing - 10 min
  • Breathwork (to replace exercise) -10 min

Hygge and how you can make it work for you in any season

Oh man, do I love the concept of Hygge. Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is the Danish word which means coziness, enjoying simple pleasures, or creating intimacy with others or with yourself. It's a difficult word to define because hygge is a feeling, an emotion. It's the closest concept I've found to our simple pleasures posts, and probably why I love hygge so much. Hygge is part of the Danish culture, and a major protective factor against seasonal depression that can so easily happen in the dead of winter. Read more about how to apply hygge in the wintertime here.

Denmark, year after year, takes the honor as the world's happiest country, and part of that happiness is attributed to this cultural concept. Hygge is a feeling, it's an experience, it is not a thing, or related to possessions. It's about cultivating that feeling, and then being present to experience it. Hygge is enjoying a warm cup of coffee in the morning enveloped by a cozy robe or blanket. It's the smell of dinner cooking, or the candlelight that dances over a dinner shared with loved ones. Hygge is about slowing down, and savoring the moment. As my friend put it when she urged me to research the subject more "Ash, it's all the things you love!". 

Every season brings with it it's own hygge. To develop regular hygge practices, think about the best parts of each season and then how you can savor them. For fall, think sweaters, and scarves, pumpkin baked goods, and the changing color of leaves. Winter hygge may include a warm fire, cozy blankets, lots of candlelight, and hot cocoa. Spring hygge could include fresh cut flowers in your home, the smell after it rains, making berry cobbler with farmers market berries and summer hygge may be the smell of sunscreen, backyard barbecues with friends, laying in the sun, or floating in a pool. The point is to think of simple pleasures associated with each season and then add them into your weekly life, taking the time to be truly present when you experience them. 

If you are loving this concept as much as I am check out "The Little Book of Hygge" by Meik Wiking. Also, keep a lookout for a series of Hygge posts!

Happy Weekend!

This is a lesson I've only learned in my 30's. I've always been a dreamer and a thinker, living mostly in my head, but the true magic happens when you take action. The dreaming and the thinking is so important but it's only half the battle. Changes must happen on an energetic, physical level, so taking action is crucial. Taking action may be as simple as a daily visualization practice, or changing your morning/weekly routines. This concept doesn't have to be a crazy step-by-step action plan, but rather about finding ways to put physical energy towards the things you want in life consistently, and over time. Happy Weekend lovelies!

10 Habits that Drain our energy

I've become more aware of how my habits affect moods, emotions, and energy. These are 10 habits that I've found to be energy vampires. I try to avoid these habits now, but sometimes it's hard to do. See if any of these habits resonate with you and make changes to your lifestyle accordingly. Hope this list is helpful.