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Beauty Recipe: The Ultimate Dry Skin Cream

This recipe was created specifically for my husband, who, at the time, was suffering from eczema. Having dealt with allergies his entire life, he eventually broke out in dry, itchy patches all over. The poor guy was so uncomfortable and felt like he basically wanted to rip his skin off. We dealt with the problem both inside and out focusing on anti-inflammatory foods and super moisturizing creams to protect the skin. One thing was certain, the over the counter treatments wouldn’t cut it and we didn’t want to treat the problem with chemicals.

I formulated this healing cream with the richest butters and oils in my apothecary  to protect the skin from environmental irritants. Not just for eczema, this cream is great for areas that need extra moisture like rough patches, elbows, knees feet and hands. I love to slather it on before I go to sleep during the winter months when the air is particularly dry and my skin needs the extra love.

This all purpose cream is also great for babies! My son’s skin has always been on the dry side; he gets dry patches on his biceps and calves. This cream has worked wonders since he was born, plus, I feel better knowing everything in that little jar is completely natural.

The best part is that this recipe couldn’t be any easier to make. Seriously, if you can melt ingredients, then you can make this cream.

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Ingredients
1 tablespoon cocoa butter
2 tablespoons beeswax
1 tablespoon shea buter
1/3 cup coconut oil (organic, unrefined)
1/2 cup sunflower oil (alternatives: olive, almond, apricot, grapeseed)
10 drops of roman chamomile essential oil (therapeutic grade) – calming essential oil for the skin
8oz glass jar

To Make
Add all ingredients (except the essential oil) to a glass pyrex or double boiler. If using a pyrex, boil water in a pot and place the pyrex into the pot. Warm all ingredients until the solid ingredients are just melted.

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Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Add the essential oil and stir. Pour the mixture into your glass jar and allow to cool. Let it set overnight to give the ingredients plenty of time to harden into a creamy texture. If you’d like to speed up the process, you can let the jar cool in the fridge.

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Enjoy!
xo
Sam

 

 

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Beauty Recipe: The Absolute Best Body Scrub

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You may think it’s crazy of us to give away our trade secrets but we’re happy to share our recipes and we hope you’re inspired to create all-natural skincare products at home. This recipe is so easy that even the most novice can master our coconut body scrub. The ingredients are simple, yet they pack so much punch. For those who love to cook and craft, this recipe makes a great gift when you’re looking to give something with a personal touch.

Here’s the basic rundown…

We opt to use sugar instead of salt. Salt can sting, plus, we find that sugar provides a bit more grit to exfoliate the skin. The ingredient that really makes this recipe shine is the coconut oil. When it’s cold, you’ll find that the coconut oil hardens to a buttery consistency (which means you may need to bring a spoon into the shower). I’m sure I don’t need to wax poetic about coconut oil, you most likely already know this is a super oil. It’s so incredibly moisturizing that you won’t even need to use lotion when you get out of the shower. And of course, you won’t find any artificial fragrances in this recipe. Just a few drops of therapeutic grade essential oil is all you need.

So let’s get to the recipe.

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Ingredients
1 cup sugar (preferably organic cane sugar)
9 tablespoons coconut oil (preferably raw, unfiltered)
20 drops therapeutic grade lavender essential oil
8oz glass jar

To make the scrub:
Make sure your coconut oil is in the liquid phase. If it’s solid, or partially solid, melt the oil over the stove in a double boiler or glass pyrex placed in boiling water. Place 1 cup of sugar into a mixing bowl. Pour the melted coconut oil over the sugar and mix.

consistency-2You’ll want the scrub to have a moist consistency with a thin layer of oil sitting on top of the sugar once it settles (if you need to add a little more oil to reach the consistency you prefer, add it now).

Count the drops of the essential oil as they sprinkle over the top of the scrub mixture. Mix again and scoop into your glass jar (preferably amber or violet glass).

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Variations:
Once you get acquainted with the recipe, you likely won’t even need to measure the sugar and oil and you’ll simply be able to eye the consistency of the mixture. You can even infuse your coconut oil with herbs (more to come on this process later) or you can vary the essential oil blend. Some of my favorite blends include Lemon/Rosemary/Sage and Orange/Clove/Cinnamon/Ginger.

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Happy scrubbing!
xo
Sam

 

 

 

Transplanting Succulents

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Super easy. Highly recommend it.

Martha’s got a very beautiful way of doing it that you can see HERE. But honestly, all I really did is written in 3 simple steps below. And I still got great results. The potted plant above, is on my front step. And it is a mix of a few potted succulents from the Home Depot garden center and half cuttings that I took off of good healthy neighborhood plants. Both have rooted equally healthy, sprouted new growth and you honestly can’t tell the difference. It’s easy, drought friendly and fun… Try it. xo Caitlyn

1. Take a cutting from your favorite succulent (find one that is healthy to begin with). If you can get 2″ of stem, that can be helpful.

2. Put the “root or base” of the cutting in a cup of water for 24 hours.

3. Plant it. I covered the root/base of mine up as much as possible with soil and gave it a decent amount of water the first day. And then checked the soil once or twice a week to make sure it was staying moist. After a month, they were completely rooted in the pot, they’re still going strong, and need watering only 3-4x a month.

 

DIY Beach Spray

The longer my hair gets, the lazier I seem to get with it. But one thing I can’t live without, is my “beach” spray. After buying it a few times, I got the itch to make my own. Google to the rescue again! The wonderful Wellness Mama had a straightforward, simple recipe. And after using it for over a month, I can’t say I have any complaints!

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Beach Spray

1 small spray bottle
1C hot water (not boiling)
2Tbl epsom salt (adds texture)
1/2tsp himalayan or sea salt (adds stiffness)
1tsp aloe vera gel (find one with no alcohol. I’ve tried this one from Whole Foods and this one from Mountain Rose)
a few drops almond or jojoba oil (you can use a 1/2 tsp of conditioner instead)
a few drops of an essential oil or perfume you like (for scent)

Put all of the ingredients into your spray bottle and shake for 1-2min. Spray on damp hair and scrunch with a towel for beachy waves. Or spray on dry hair for extra texture without the waves!

Lasts 3-4 months

My new Hummingbird feeder!

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I bought a hummingbird feeder on a whim this weekend. And as I went to grab a big jug of “nectar” to fill it with, my instincts kicked in and I thought to myself… What’s in this? Isn’t it just sugar water? I bet I can make this. And I was right!

All you need to do is boil 4 parts water with 1 part sugar and BAM, you’ve got nectar.

Plus I’m much happier NOT feeding red dye #2 and a variety of preservatives to my local hummingbird population! xo Cait

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Happy Holidays: The Ugly Christmas Sweater Shoot

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We love a good themed photo-shoot, so naturally, with the holidays just around the corner, we gathered to take some awkward christmas photos. Christmas and ugly sweaters go together like peas and carrots. We took inspiration from the incredibly cheesy and awkward family photos you’ve probably seen hanging in your hallway from your childhood. We hope you enjoy the photos because we sure enjoyed taking them. Happy Holidays!

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DIY: Hanging Air Plants

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If you don’t have a green thumb then Tillandsias, aka Air Plants, are your new best friends. They grow in, you guessed it, air, and therefore, don’t need to be planted in soil. All you have to do is soak them in water for about a minute, once a week and fertilize the water once a month. Easy enough right? Plus, you can do so many crafty things like situating them in unique objects or hanging them in clear glass globes. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to show you how to create indoor wall mounts. This project was super easy and you can modify based on the decor of your home.

Materials:
3 pieces of wood
Sanding paper (if painting the wood)
Spray paint (if painting the wood)
3 air plants
Copper wire and needle nose pliers
Screws
Sawtooth picture-hanging hooks

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Step 1:
Cut 3 square pieces of wood. If you can find some great old barn wood, it would look awesome to leave the wood in its natural state, otherwise, you’ll want to sand the wood to prep for paint. We used high gloss black spray paint since our kitchen features a lot of black accents. Spray paint the wood and leave to dry overnight.

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Step 2:
Nail the sawtooth picture-hanging hooks to the backs of the wood. Next,mold the copper wire to create a half circle with two loops at each end. Your air plant will sit in this loop so make sure it’s not too big so that the plant falls through. Next, attach the copper wire to the wood with screws (that go through the loops that you’ve molded).

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Step 3:
Hang the pieces of wood to the wall by catching the sawtooth hooks to a nail in the wall. Once the pieces of wood are up, carefully rest your air plants in the copper loops.

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Quick jam…

I had been wondering about a “quick” jam recipe- sort of like “quick” pickles– but with fruit. I don’t normally have pectin on hand, and I like the idea of making a small batch of jam regularly with whatever berries I have on hand over buying a big jar and letting half of it go moldy…

Of course, Martha Stewart wins again with the easiest recipe known to man. I halved it, so I wouldn’t end up with an un-manageable amount of jam to eat in 10 days. You could even half it again to make just enough for a few rounds of morning toast.

I am happy to say that after making it once, I hope to use it all the time. The recipe is so simple, you could easily switch the fruit and/or ratio of ingredients to fit whatever berries you happen to have in your fridge.

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Quick Berry Jam
1/2 quart strawberries
1/4 C sugar (I tried mine with coconut palm sugar and it worked perfectly)
1 Tbl lemon juice

1. Blend berries.
(If you want chunkier jam, you can chop by hand or with a food processor.)
2. Mix berries with sugar and lemon juice.
3. Pour into a saucepan & bring to a boil. Stir frequently for 9 min.

Getting that jelly-like consistency is all in the boiling. So I suggest: 1. Be patient and hold out for the full 9min of boiling. Just keep stirring. It might seem like it’s burning, but if you pull it off the stove too soon, it will be very liquid-ey, which is awesome for pancakes (!!!) but not so convenient for toast. And 2. Use a medium to large saucepan with as much surface area as possible. The thinner the layer of jam in the pan is, the faster and more evenly it will boil, which helps that excess moisture evaporate as well!

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Note: since this recipe only has the sugar as a preservative, you should keep it refrigerated, and eat it within 10-12 days.

I’ll definitely be making more jam, so expect a few pectin recipes up here soon too! Homemade jam is so much better than store bought. You’ll never go back!! xo Cait

Applesauce!

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For some reason homemade apple sauce hadn’t been on my radar until just yesterday when I saw an article on Food52 that said all the right things. I picked up 5 apples at the market today to try it out. In under an hour, I had 4C of delicious applesauce! This is definitely my new lunchbox favorite. So easy. So good. xo Cait

Applesauce
1.Wash and core apples. Peeling is optional.
**I chose Fuji apples, peeled and unpeeled. Whatever apple variety you prefer is bound to be good.

2.Fill a pot with the cut up apples and 1/4″ of water. Cover. Bring to boil and let steam. Check on them every 8-10min to see how soft they are getting. When they seem mash-able, they’re done.
**Another option is to add a couple cinnamon sticks during this step! Just make sure to take them out before the next step!

3. Transfer apples to blender until it reaches the texture you like!

Balloon Tassles

Our lady circle loves a good crafting challenge, and with one of our dearest girls getting married, we’re bringing our A-game with this one… We’re re-creating the look of those amazingly huge balloons with the awesome tassles at the bottom that you’ve undoubtedly seen all over the internets.balloonBuying this type of thing can cost you a fortune at $30-50 a piece. If you’ve got the time, and a crew handy with scissors and a hot glue gun, they are actually simple to make. Of course, we decided to make 18, in a variety of materials, so we’ve got a ways to go, but all in all, this craft is totally do-able, and DIY can save you a lot of money.

The supplies we used to make this first set of  tassles couldn’t be cheaper, or simpler: plastic tablecloths (99cent store!), hot glue, a handful of clothespins, twine, scissors and a ruler. We cut 2-3 sheets of the plastic into 12″x 10″ rectangles of fringe, leaving an inch or so of solid cloth connecting it all at the top (see photo). Feel free to cut these in any way that seems logical to you. I found that folding the tablecloths and cutting the layers all at once saved on time, but to each their own. Everyone cut them differently in our group! Keep in mind, you are layering the tassles on top of each other, so the length can ultimately be decided when you get to the gluing. And as much as I wanted to get OCD on cutting each bit of fringe to be the same width, at the end of the day, they look great no matter how neatly your fringe is cut.

Once you’re done with the cutting, find someplace to hang your twine so you can plan out how each tassle will be placed. Roll each rectangle of fringe into a bundle and clothespin it in place as a placeholder. Once you like the way they are all layered, start gluing, from the bottom to top! We ended up wrapping the top of the fringe around the twine and gluing a little as we wrapped. A lot of tutorials say to tie each tassle on with twine or strips of the plastic cloth, again, your choice. The glue seemed like a good way to ensure that the garland wouldn’t be sliding around during transport. Again, the top of each tassle will be covered, so if you’re gluing ain’t pretty, don’t stress. And, yes, the glue will melt the plastic tablecloth a little as you glue, so watch your fingers!

balloontassleThis is a stripped down version of this craft, but think of all the possibilities! You could (and we will) use fabric scraps, gold notions, foil, rope, etc. And you can make them bigger and fluffier by just stacking on extra layers. It’s an easy one to change up for whatever event you’re up to.

Ps. If you’re doing this on the cheap, consider buying the big balloons in bulk online and blowing them up yourself on the day of your event. Some balloon companies will charge you $30-40 for just the balloon!
#tlc