Of all of the DIY skin and body care products I love to make, share, and write about, lip care products are easily my favorite. It sounds trivial, and it might be, but I have a lip balm recipe for just about every season, mood, and occasion. It’s something that I use so often, it brings me great joy to create new, unique ways of delivering it. And since lip products are so easy to make in bulk, they are always great gifts to share with family members or friends.
Electuary: just saying it is fun. And after a bit of research, I found out that the word likely comes from the Greek word “ekleikhein”, which means “to lick up.” Or perhaps that’s just one of those constantly regurgitated bits of info that gets passed down from blog to blog. Nonetheless, it’s still a fun factoid worth mentioning. I’ve worked in the herbal industry for a decade now, and over time it’s been fun to see what goes in and out of fashion. Just the other day, my herbalist friend Erika Galentin with Sovereignty Herbs posted on social media about her ginseng leaf electuaries (amazing). I’ve seen a few others post about this ancient herbal tradition over the past few months as well. It occurred to me that after attending countless herbal conferences and taking two herbalism apprenticeships, I’ve managed to never have made one of the simplest of recipes: the electuary. As I explained to one of our photographers here at Mountain Rose Herbs, “It’s basically just powdered herbs mixed with honey.”Read More
Pregnancy is obviously a profoundly life- and body-changing event. Particularly as we move into the second and third trimester, when our babies are growing at super-speed, our bodies make remarkable changes to accommodate the little people who set up house in our wombs. Our joints, muscles, and organs all have to sacrifice space or need to stretch in challenging ways. The most obvious of these changes is what happens to our bellies. Our stomach skin must expand tremendously and can end up feeling stretched to its limits, with skin that is tight, dry, and itchy. And then once that precious child is born, our skin must reverse course, which takes time and has its own set of discomforts. Happily, a good balm helps a lot! Homemade belly butter made with soothing, organic butters and skin-loving herbal oils relieves discomfort and redness and helps the skin maintain its elasticity during and after pregnancy. Best of all, this balm for hard working mamas is easy and economical to make, so you can always have it on hand when you need it.Read More
I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth. I’ll take an entrée over a dessert any day of the week. Thus, I’ve never understood people’s obsession with chocolate. I mean, sure, I enjoy a bite every now and then if an organic, small batch, artisan-made piece of a chocolate bar is offered to me, but I don’t seek it out. Recently, however, as tends to happen for me, an idea and inspiration struck. I could make my own chocolate! Better yet, I could make a chocolate bar sans refined white sugar, which is my main repulsion to most sweets. I declared to my household that I would make a chocolate bar with maple syrup as the sweetener. My daughter found this to be a less than revolutionary statement. “Dad, that’s what you always use.” Hey, sometimes I use honey…Read More
Sitting beside a fire is one of my favorite pastimes. The full sensory experience offers so many aspects of comfort: the sensation of being warm and cozy, the abstract performance of the flames dancing, the crackling sound of the wood changing form, the taste of herbal tea or a craft libation I’m likely sipping on, and of course the aroma! Each of these elements brings me closer to a place of peace and contentment.Read More
Olfactory memories are powerful things. The other day I was at the feed store picking up cat food, and as I walked out, I caught a waft of chewing tobacco. Even before I could identify what I was smelling, my feet stopped walking and my Grandpa Albert—who is many years gone—popped into my head. There in my mind’s eye, he was in his overalls, with a plug of tobacco in his pocket, snuggling small-me in his lap, playing the penny counting game we used to play. This relationship between scent, emotion, and memory is hardwired in our brains—our olfactory bulb routes the smell information it receives to the limbic system, including the areas of our brain directly related to emotion and memory. This is why just a whiff of scent took me back decades and flooded me with the same warmth and comfort I experienced playing games with my beloved grandpa. These powerful connections are a fundamental factor in why aromatherapy can be supportive in managing mood and stress because what we smell literally impacts our brains… all of which brings me in a roundabout fashion to potpourri.
Looking for holiday gift ideas and activities for at-home kids? Me too! As a mother of a five-year-old I am constantly on the prowl for engaging, fun, and educational activities. After years of teaching nature education, I have found some useful tips to engage kids of all ages, abilities, and group sizes!Read More
Candlelight is an element of winter holidays all over the world. Whether part of someone’s deeply held spiritual or cultural practices—as during Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Diwali—or representative of age-old Winter Solstice and Christmas traditions, candles are, for many of us, a fundamental part of our winter festivities… which means it’s a perfect time to make easy homemade scented candles in preparation for the celebrations, decorating, and gift giving.Read More
There’s nothing that puts pep in my step quite the way my morning coffee does. The earthy, roasted aroma and flavor sends signals to my brain that it’s time to “perk” up and get into productivity mode. Knowing what amazing things aromatherapy is capable of doing for our bodies, I wanted to create a way to enjoy this feeling without having that second or third cup of roasted goodness. Lip balm seemed like the perfect candidate as it’s a self-care product that I use often, and I’m always looking for fun and creative lip balm recipes to try. I also appreciate that I can use it as often as I like with no risk of the coffee jitters! This unique lip balm also makes a great gift for your favorite coffee lover.
If you’ve scoured the pandemic-hit canning section at your local store for supplies this year, you know the pickings are slim. My favorite low sugar dry pectin, which was readily available and selling for just a couple dollars a box six months ago, is currently impossible to find here in Eugene, and when I finally turned to online options, I discovered it selling for between $8 and $15 a box…that is madness! And it’s terrible timing, too, because I was recently gifted with a whole pound of organic, dried hibiscus flowers, and I really wanted to make hibiscus hot pepper jelly. What’s a girl to do? Hearken back to the old days!Read More