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
Nepeta cataria, commonly called catnip, is an ancient member of the mint family. It has been used in western folk practices for millennia, and is loved for its gentle, calming properties. Herbalists and parents often brew this child-friendly herb into a soothing tisane, but it can also be taken internally as a tincture. For topical use, catnip can be infused in oils, or used as an essential oil or hydrosol to bring an herbaceous, relaxing scent to body care products. Perhaps, however, catnip is best known as the herb most loved by our feline friends.Read More
I’m always striving to tweak and experiment with the food I consume. Whether that means attempting a new cuisine, trying seemingly odd and new (to me) ingredients, experimenting with herbs and spices, or delving further into the world of fermentation, the culinary arts are an endless source of inspiration, fun, and creativity.Read More
On golden summer nights, it is so nice to come home, pour a cup of tea, and get the diffuser going to refresh your space and spirit. Diffusing pure essential oils into the air allows you to enjoy the many benefits of herbal aromatherapy.Read More
When I’m about to embark on a summer adventure, I always do the final check before walking out the door—keys, wallet, water, and lip balm. Being ill-equipped with any of these staples puts a real damper on my ability to take impromptu diversions on the roads less traveled.Read More