diy hair mask for strong, shiny hair

Back in April I had balayage done to my hair. That is when the hairdresser highlights the lower sections of your hair and leaves the roots untreated. I know there is a lot more to it, but I'll leave that to the professionals to explain. I love the effect of this kind of highlight. It brightens my complexion and gives my hair some dimension. I am a low maintence girl and this is just so easy to maintain. The downside is that to get my hair lighter, bleach has to be applied. With that bleach comes some dryness and perhaps a little bit of damage to my ends. Not anything noticeable to anyone but myself, but I love having soft, shiny hair and that is a little more challenging to achieve with the dye put in. So, to counteract those issues I have developed a simple, once per week treatment that I apply before hot yoga. I put this in before class and allow the oils to penetrate the hair shaft in the hot room. The heat helps the oils bond to the cuticles of the hair. Plus, the coconut oil smells so wonderful it becomes a sensory experience. It's a good pick me up. If you don't practice yoga or have a weekly hot class, you can apply this without heat or take a blow dryer to heat it up. I even got my husband to put this in his hair before class. The vitamins and essential fatty acids in the oils helps strengthen hair to promote growth and prevent dandruff by moisturizing the scalp. Plus, this combination really keeps my hair so soft and manageable. 

This recipe works well for my long hair. If your hair is shoulder length or shorter, I would suggest halving this amount for one treatment. 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • If the coconut oil is solid, rub around in your hands until it liquefies.
  • Instead of combining each ingredient in a bowl and mixing, I just apply one and then another to my hair and scalp. I want my entire head of hair to feel drenched and look wet by the time it is all applied.
  • If you have long hair, either braid it or wrap it up into a bun. Anyway to get it up and away from your face and clothing.
  • Leave the treatment on for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can even sleep in this by placing a shower cap on over the hair. 
  • Wash out with your regular shampoo and conditioner. For me that's John Master's Bare.
  • I love how the scented coconut oil smell continues to linger after a wash or two. So nice! 

manual microdermabrasion recipe

I love microdermabrasion. My skin just glows after a few treatments. The texture evens out and any hyperpigmentation diminishes. It was my savior before my wedding day. If I could continue getting treatments bi-weekly or monthly I would, but that adds up quickly! At about $150 per session, I just can't justify the expense. I came across a recipe for manual microdermabrasion in the book Organic Body Care Recipes a couple years ago and thought I'd give it a try. I have incredibly sensitive skin that is acne prone. Because of this I am very careful about what products I use. Written by a licensed esthetician, I trusted her advice. Tourles writes that it is safer than traditional microdermabrasion since it is used with a gentle hand instead of a machine that can remove too many layers of the skin's outer surface, causing irritation.

I have been using this recipe for a couple years now and my skin just loves it!  Acne diminished, scars are less severe, and my skin feels baby soft after each treatment. The other plus is knowing I am putting pure ingredients onto my skin, no chemicals involved. I look forward to my Sunday "facials" every week! Overtime this recipe should help reduce inflammation, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. I am not an esthetician and do not guarantee perfect skin, I just know this is what has worked for me. 

There are only 3 ingredients and one of which I had never heard of before...helichrysum essential oil. I did my research and came to find it to have strong antibiotic and antimicrobial properties to help fight acne. I also read it to be a calming, soothing oil that can help reduce scars and is great for sensitive skin. The oil is pretty pricey but compared to mechanical microdermabrasion this is a bargain! Plus, you use such a small amount with each application that the bottle will last at least a year or two (I still have my original bottle). If you want to learn more about this magical oil this is a great site explaining the benefits in detail.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoons water
  • 2 drops helichrysum

Instructions:

  • Combine ingredients and mix until a paste is created.
  • Dip fingers into paste and slowly massage into skin. Continue until the entire face is covered in the paste. Massage gently in a circular motion, letting the baking soda do the exfoliation. 
  • After about 5-10 minutes your face should be well massaged and you can wash off the mixture.
  • Moisturize afterwards.
  • Try this once a week for best results.

all natural yoga mat cleaner DIY

I don't know about you but I like to keep my mat fresh and clean. Yoga mats can get pretty gross and smelly when they should be your sanctuary. Unfortunately, my mat takes a sweat bath every yoga class since I practice the Bikram series hot yoga. And I smell pretty bad after class, so I know my mat takes a beating. I keep my yoga mat fresh and clean with a homemade spray that takes only 3 ingredients (one of them being water). It's all natural, and smells amazing! I even used this before yoga competition as an aromatherapy strategy to keep calm and centered during warm-up. I can't take credit for this recipe, I actually got the idea from our yoga studio Sweet Heat Hot Yoga, but thought I'd share it all with you, since it's effective and saves a lot of money. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tsp tea tree oil 
  • 1 tsp lavender essential oil

Instructions:

  • Mix ingredients together into a large spray bottle
  • That's it. It's that easy : )

Tea tree oil acts as a disinfectant, and lavender oil is known to support tranquility. The combo of the two scents together is pure bliss in my opinion, and I like my spray quite fragrant. If you don't need your cleaner to be so strong, you can always add less of each oil and play around with ratios. You can also take your quart spray bottle and fill a small spray bottle for travel like the one I have pictured above. 

vision board diy

As part of our New Year ritual, Matt and I decided to create a vision board together. Not only does a vision board help you to think about and solidify goals and intentions, but it is also a nice activity to do as a couple or as a family. This is our first New Year as a married couple, so Matt and I took the vision board as an opportunity to think of goals and create a board that represented our hopes and dreams for our future together. 

Vision boards are also in alignment with the law of attraction, the belief that our thoughts have the power to create reality. The idea is that what we think and wish for on a conscious or subconscious level, materializes in some form. Therefore, creating a vision board sends an order to the universe so to speak regarding what we would like in our lives. If you are not a believer in the law of attraction, at the very least, a vision board is fun, and also a good activity to reflect on and set intention. Vision boards give you a visual aim for your life and clear goals to aim your energy at. 

Materials:

  • magazines
  • glue or glue stick
  • scissors
  • poster board or piece of paper for backing

Instructions:

  • go through magazines and pull out pictures/words that align with your hopes, and intentions
  • break up visions into categories for a well-balanced  dream of the future
  • arrange pictures, words, quotes on board in a collage format and glue down
  • admire your completed vision board 

Matt and I went through magazines and pulled out pictures that aligned with our goals. We broke up goals into 4 categories to ensure we were thinking about a well-balanced future. :

  • Health/Wellness: category for all things health and wellness, mind and body, mental state and emotional intentions.
  •  Love/Relationships: all things love and relationships: this includes friends, professional relationships, pets, romance, family relationship, etc. 
  •  Career/Finance : everything related to money, career, professional identity, and hopes for future work. You could even include how you want your work to feel.
  • Creative/Lifestyle : this can be a catch-all category for all of the intentions that don't fit into the earlier categories. This can also be a place where you think about the life you want to live (e.g. travel, overall tonality of your lifestyle, etc.).

We then arranged them as a collage and pasted them to the board. Check out this short video for a more in depth tutorial.

Now go forth and vision board away. Remember you can place anything on the board! Make sure you focus on whatever it is you want in life, no matter how big or small. The idea behind the vision board is that the you and the universe have a symbiotic relationship and thoughts create reality. Rumi said it best with the quote "what you seek is seeking you". 

diy greeting cards

This past weekend I got to spend some time creating art in my mom's art studio. I feel so fortunate to be able to live close enough to my mom that I can just drop by on a Saturday and spend quality time doing something we both love. Art to me is one of the most therapeutic activities. It calms and quiets the mind, which is so needed right now with the chaos of the holidays in full swing.

Anyways, I decided to share one of the projects we worked on; greeting cards. My plan is to give the set in the pics away as a gift in itself but you could also write in them and give as individual cards anytime throughout the year. This project includes very little and can be done within an hour. I think it took me around 30 minutes to complete this set.

Materials:

  • Panpastels. We used these ones. You only need around four colors max. It is best to limit the colors to a few that are used throughout each card so they are all tied together and look like a package set.
  • Makeup sponges or the sponge that comes with the panpastels.
  • Protective coating. We used Workable Fixatif. If you don't want to buy something for this step you could use hairspray instead. It really does work to seal the pastels!
  • Blank cards and envelopes. We used Paper Accents cardstock, which can be purchased here.
  • Stencil of choosing. Mine was purchased from Stencil Girl and can be purchased here. There are so many fun options and can be chosen depending on the holiday or person who is being gifted.
  • String to wrap the cards up with if given as a set.

Instructions:

  • Grab a card!
  • Choose one or two background panpastel colors. I used lighter colors for the background and brighter/darker colors for the stencil image. Dip the sponge in the panpastel and fill in the background as little or as much as you would like. 
  • Put down the stencil on top of the background you have created and choose a color or two to fill in the stencil with. Dip a clean sponge into the panpastel and pat over the stencil as much or as little as you want to create a design of your liking.
  • Spray the card lightly once over with the protective coating to seal in the pastel so that it stays in place and the image doesn't schmear. 
  • If given as a set, grab the string and wrap up the envelopes and cards and tie in a bow.
  • As simple as that! You can also decorate the envelope or inside the cards as well. 

*A quick tip: it is best to first practice on a separate piece of paper before drawing on the card. It took me a few attempts with different colors to get it all just right.

A big thank you to my mom and Aunt Charlene for teaching me this technique! I am lucky to have two fabulous artists living nearby who are happy to teach a newbie. 

10 simple holiday DIYs

As the holidays approach I am starting to think of DIY gifts to hand out to friends and family. I believe there is something so special about receiving a homemade gift. I have accumulated a list of DIYs that were previously posted throughout the years that I plan on making in the coming month. I decided to share that list here, thinking others may benefit from the links all being in one spot as well. Enjoy!

terrarium diy

Terrariums are definitely trending right now, but they can get expensive. The great thing about succulent terrariums is that they are super low maintenance, really hard to kill, and a great way to bring green into your space. Research shows that our brains and bodies do much better when we are around nature. Terrariums allow you to bring nature indoors and keep your greenery contained in an easily mobile space. You could use a terrarium to spruce up your nightstand, coffee table, office, entryway, kitchen or anywhere really. This terrarium was super easy to make and took around 30 minutes to assemble. 

Materials:

  • Whatever plants you want to plant (we used succulents because they are sooo easy to care for)
  • Small pebbles or rocks  (these were gathered from the beach)
  • Activated charcoal (we bought ours on amazon here)
  • Potting soil
  • Terrarium container (this could be a bowl, actual terrarium, vase, large shell etc.)

 

 clockwise from top: terrarium container, succulents, potting soil, rocks, activated charcoal powder

Instructions:

  • Simply layer pebbles/rocks on the bottom of the container. They will be the bottom layer and support drainage for your plants. Our rocks were about 1/2 inch deep.
  • Next put a thin layer of soil, the activated charcoal (to keep your terrarium pure and free from bacterias) and then the remainder of the soil on top. You want the soil to be deep enough to cover all the roots of your plants.
  • Next, use your hands, or a spoon, to carve out space for your plants. Take your plants out of their pots and loosen the soil around their roots. Place the plants into the spaces you've carved out and cover their roots with soil.
  • Done! If you'd like, you can decorate the area around the plants with whatever tickles your fancy. We used more of the rocks collected from the beach, a piece of sea glass, a few shells and special rocks gathered from nearby beaches. Hope you enjoy making your own!

diy antiblemish elixir

This is another fabulous DIY found in the book, Organic Body Care Recipes. I have been using it for a couple weeks now when a pesky pimple pops up. When applied at night, the blemish reduces in size and redness by the next morning. I found the ingredients mentioned below at vitacost.com, Whole Foods, and amazon.com.

Ingredients:

  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 2 drops clove essential oil
  • 2 drops german chamomile essential oil
  • 2 drops green myrtle essential oil
  • 2 teaspoons apricot kernel base oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond base oil
  • 1 ounce dark glass bottle with dropper top

Instructions:

  • combine all ingredients in the glass bottle
  • shake bottle vigorously for 2 minutes
  • store the elixir in a dark spot that's between 60 and 80º for 24 hours so that the ingredients can synergize
  • put a drop onto the blemish at night and sleep with the treatment on. wash off in the morning
  • use within 6 months, no refrigeration necessary

diy makeup remover

I hate a lot of fuss when it comes to removing my makeup at night. I make sure I am applying makeup that can be easily removed (no waterproof anything!) with just my cleanser. But, there are special occasions where I have to dress up a bit, put on some eyeliner and some heavier mascara and those days call for makeup remover. A while back I had read somewhere that jojoba oil works well as a makeup remover. I have been using that ever since and it does do a decent job. What I really like about the oil is that it is doing so much more than removing makeup. It is very moisturizing and so it helps with under eye wrinkles and conditioning my lashes. It is also great for sensitive skin and does not make me breakout at all!  

On my recent trip to Oregon I had to make a stop at Powell's. There I found a great DIY skin care book called, Organic Body Care Recipes. Inside I discovered a recipe for makeup remover that used jojoba. I thought I would give it a try. It was so simple to make, used only 3 ingredients, and I believe does work better than just jojoba on its own. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
  • 7 tablespoons pure vegetable shortening
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • glass jar with lid

Instructions:

  • Warm jojoba oil and shortening over low heat in a small saucepan until the two have melted
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes 
  • Add in the lavender and stir with a spoon until the mixture becomes thick and opaque
  • Pour into a storage jar, cap, and let sit for a couple hours or until it becomes a creamy consistency (to make this go faster you can put the container in the fridge for 30 minutes)
  • Use within 12 months 
  • The remover can be applied with your fingers or a cotton pad. A little bit goes a long way!

Above is a cute way to package the makeup remover if you are making it as a gift. I put a few cotton pads on top and tied it up with some twine. 




diy toilet fizzies

I am sharing with you a super easy DIY. I came across this on Pinterest and thought it sounded interesting. I had most of the ingredients in the cupboard so thought I would give it a go. The first time I tried this the fizzies didn't fizz at all! I adjusted the recipe a little bit and figured out how to make it work. It is a fun little DIY that cleans the toilet and adds a nice scent to the room.  

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid (this was difficult for me to find. I ended up ordering on Amazon. Here is a link to what I bought)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide
  • About 60 drops of essential oils*
  • Spray bottle

*I did a combination of tangerine, bergamot, and grapefruit. Lavender, peppermint, or another fresh scent would be great here. 

Instructions:

  • Mix together the baking soda and citric acid. 
  • In a separate glass container, mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Slowly, drop by drop add this to the dry ingredients trying not to make the concoction start to fizz. 
  • Put the essential oils into a spray bottle and spritz them into the bowl, stirring in between sprays.
  • Gently mix everything together. 
  • Use a 1/2 teaspoon to scoop and mold the mixture onto a baking sheet. A silicone mold would work better for this, but I didn't have one. Using a decorative mold would look really nice.
  • Let the fizzies dry for a minimum of 4 and then place them in a sealed container. I got mine from Ikea. 
  • Whenever you need to freshen up the space, just drop a fizzy into the toilet.

recipe adapted from: savvysugar