Getting Dressed

Saving Money on Body Care, Skincare, and Cosmetics–Things to Know


Makeup, skincare products, haircare products, and everything else it takes to make you look good at the next Ole Miss game can add up to a pretty hefty sum…

But are there actual tried-and-true ways to save money on those products you actually do use and love…and not waste money on products you will never use and might even hate…without losing that all-important Southern belle image?!

1.  Know how much you are actually spending as compared to other similar products or sizes available in that particular product. Calculate how much a product costs per ounce/gram by dividing the product retail price by the number of ounces in the product.

 

2.  Know what products have won awards, such as…

 

 

3.  Know your skin…The most important step in caring for your skin is understanding your specific skin type. To figure your skin type, gently pat a blotting paper on the different areas of your face and hold the sheet up to the light. The five different skin types are…

  • a.  Combination SkinCombination skin is the most common skin type since there are so many more sebaceous, or oil-producing, glands around our noses than other areas of our faces, but people with this skin type have a consistently oily T-zone with consistent dryness in other areas of the face, such as the cheeks.
  • b.  Dry Skin...Dry skin is characterized by small pores, an overall feeling of tightness, more visible lines, less elasticity and a duller complexion.  Dry skin requires moisturizer throughout the day, especially when you first wake up or after you cleanse your face. Cleansing dry skin leaves it feeling taut and dehydrated.
  • c.  Normal Skin...Normal skin is not too dry and not too oily. Your skin usually has an even tone,  a soft texture, and little flakiness. You may get an oily T-zone in hot weather, but generally this area is oil-free. People with normal skin will feel clean and clear after cleansing…and might still be in need of a little moisturizer, but will not need to apply moisturizer very often throughout the day as the skin stays fairly moisturized on its own.
  • d.  Oily Skin...Oily skin types tend to have larger pores, a shiny and  thicker feeling complexion, frequent blackheads and pimples. Cleansing the face often and avoiding heavy creams and emollients help minimize the appearance of oil. Oily skin feels clean and oil-free after cleansing, but oil returns shortly after cleansing.
  • e.  Sensitive Skin...People with sensitive skin experience a low-level of discomfort-breakouts, rashes, red spots, stinging, swelling, flakiness, itching-at all times. People with sensitive skin have trouble finding products that do not irritate the skin and cause a reaction. Look for mild products without fragrance, harsh ingredients like alcohol and menthol, and harsh scrubbing agents such as crushed walnuts, pumice, and aluminum oxide crystals.



4.  Know yourself...What kind of makeup wearer are you?

We apply makeup to help us project the image we want the world to see…as contrary as this may sound, to help us  be “our true selves.”

Each of us has some sort of “beauty routine ritual” that really works for us as individuals….a routine or regimen that makes us feel fresh, grounded, whole and ready for the day…and propels us forward with confidence, grace and self-empowerment.

This image or “true self” will be individualistic, specific, and perhaps difficult to put into exact words…but each of us has an idea of the type of person she wants looking back at her whenever she takes the time to look in a mirror.

Knowing yourself and the image that you wish to project will help you define your personal needs and aproach both the world of beauty and the world of fashion from the proper perspective.

Starting to know yourself in this arena may be easier if you first understand the following five types of makeup wearers.

  • a.  The makeup hoarder ..The makeup hoarder is an informed customer who feels confident shopping for beauty products and probably has a huge stash, but is uncomfortable actually wearing it.
  • b.   The makeup junkie…The makeup junkie is an informed customer who feels very comfortable shopping for and wearing makeup…who reads the top makeup blogs regularly,  watch Youtube videos, frequent makeup counters. She appreciates and owns good quality makeup products and brushes.
  • c.  The makeup know-it-all...The makeup know-it-all can be shown or told nothing that she haven’t seen or heard before.
  • d.  The makeup novice…The makeup novice is interested in, but also intimidated by makeup. She knows very little about applying makeup and has worn little to no makeup in her lifetime.
  • e.  The makeup wearer…The makeup wearer is an informed consumer who feels comfortable with her makeup and skincare routine. Although she has a general knowledge of makeup and skincare and wears makeup daily, she does not consider herself an expert.
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkins…The Why

Not only does pumpkin make such awesome treats to eat and enjoy, pumpkin can also be enjoyed as a treat to help you feel pampered and relaxed.

Why should you consider using pumpkin in your “beauty routine” in the first place?

Pumpkin is packed with vitamins—such as vatima B, vitamin C, and vitamin E… as well as beta-carotene. This means that it helps promotes healthy skin and hair.

Other ingredients commonly found in these products…or used when you’re making your own…include…

 

1.Coconut or Olive Oil…These both moisturize the skin, act as an antioxidant, and keep your skin looking younger.

2. Spices…Not only is the “aromatherapy” of the spices rejuvenating, awakening, warm, and comforting…cinnamon also stimulates better blood circulation all over the body and brings blood to the surface of the skin…resultting in plumper skin with a healthier glow, as well as healthier hair.

3. Sugar…Sugar helps the skin retain moisture and gently exfoliates dead skin away.

4. Vitamin E…Vitamin E not only benefits your skin, but also extends the shelf life of your ingredients.

 

 

Not only that…these cosmetics and concoctions will enable you to enjoy the sweet, nostalgic aroma of pumpkin all year long.

 

 

So first let’s look at what I call OTBC products…those Over the Beauty Counter products…and then we’ll talk about a few ideas that you yourself can make at home.

 


Acure-Energizing Body Wash,,,availabile at Target or Kroger…ungredients iunclude organic Argan oil, sea buckthorn oil, Moroccan Argan stem cells, coq10, and pumpkin seed oil

*

Desert Essence Organics Hand & Body Lotion–Pumpkin Spice—…available at Sprouts…other fragrance options—Island Mango, Italian Lemon, Tropical Coconut, Coconut Lime, Bulgarian Lavender, and Spicy Vanilla Chai

 One Love Organics,,,available at Nieman Marcus…ingredients include pumpkin seed oil, sunflower seed oil, green tea seed oil, kelp extract, sea buckthorn oil, chia seed extract, rosemary leaf extract, and rooibos tea extract

 

 

 

Other OTBC products containing pumpkin in some form of fashion include…

 

—Bath & Body Works Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte Super Smooth Body Lotion…available at Bath and Body Works…(go figure)

 

—Burt’s Bees® Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, Pumpkin Spice with Beeswax, $2.97, available at W-almart

—EcoLove Shampoo Orange Collection

Ecosevi Pumpkin Seed Shampoo-

—Good Earth Beauty Shampoo Pumpkin Chai Natural…available at Amazon

—Hempz Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Chai Body Moisturizer…available at Ulta

—Native Deodorant Kit…available at Native

—Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer…available at Sephora

—Sara Happ Pumpkin Spice Lip Scrub Kit…available at QVC

 

 

*****************************

Now as far as DIY ideas…

Pumpkin Body Scrub…Combine…

    • 1C brown sugar
    • 1/2C coconut oil, room temp
      1Tbsp cinnamon
      1 vitamin E capsule
    • ½C pumpkin puree

Scoop body scrub into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to four days. Before using, let the mixture come back it warm up to room temp and stir if needed.

This scrub is best when used immediately because the longer it sits, the more the sugar will dissolve and the less exfoliating the body scrub will become.

The scrub will last for about two months as long as the airtight container hasn’t been opened.

 

 

Pumpkin Hair Conditioner…Combine the following ingredients…

  • 1/2C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4C yogurt
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1Tbsp coconut oil

Pumpkin Hair Serum…This hair serum helps repair dead ends and control “fly-away” hair.  Using apricot seed oil instead of pumpkin oil keeps the pumpkin oil from making your hair feel so weighted because the oil is so much lighter.

To use the serum, lightly spritz water in your hair…and then comb the pumpkin serum through your hair.

Pumpkin Hot Oil Treatment…Combine equal amounts of coconut oil and pumpkin puree. Heat on top of your oven over low heat. Let cool slightly. Apply to soaking wet hair, working from the ends to the roots. Wrap hair in a hot towel, Wait twenty minutes. Rinse well.

Pumpkin Oil Hair Vitamin Mist…Fill a spray bottle with two ounces of pumpkin seed oil and 1Tbsp coconut oil. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Shake before each use.

Pumpkin Puree Hair Mask…Mix together…

  • 1tsp argan oil
  • ½C pumpkin puree
    2tsp coconut or olive oil (unrefined)
    1tsp cinnamon
    1 Vitamin E capsule

Apply the concoction on your hair, making sure to cover your strands from tip to roots. Put on a shower cap to keep the goop from dripping all over while you wait. Wait at least 25 minutes before shampooing your hair. Use this mask once or twice a week to help make your hair soft, shiny and silky.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Hair Mask,,,Another option as far as a hair mask would be to use…

1 Tbsp. pumpkin seed oil
1/2 apple puree
1 tbsp. shea butter
1 egg

Process half of the apple in your blender. Add shea butter and pumpkin seed oil. Whisk egg by itself. Stir the egg into the mixture. Apply to freshly washed hair. Leave in for twenty minutes. Rinse out.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking Soda and Dental Care

Getting Dressed

Vegan OTBC Face Masks

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Face masks are a great addition to any skincare regimen. They can help keep your skin clear and healthy, and help you unwind after a long day.

 

And doing a face mask while you are already in the shower is great because the steam from the shower opens your pores and allows the nutrients and vitamins to actually be absorbed into your skin much more easily.

 

 

Key factors to consider when choosing a face mask include…

  1. Skin Type (best for)...People with oily skin should look for a mask that helps control oil and shine, while those with dry skin need a hydrating mask that will restore moisture to the skin.
  2. Specific Issue…such as acne, wrinkles, dry skin
  3. Time Commitment
  4. Type Mask…Masks can be found in several different types…such as vegan sheet masks, powder masks you can mix with water or your favorite skin serum, gel-like masks, and clay masks

 

Some popular cruelty-free and vegan face masks that are available include..

 

  

1. Acure Radically Rejuvenating Face Mask

  • Availability…Walgreen’s
  • Best for…aging skin
  • Ingredients…Moroccan red clay, marshmallow root extract, aloe vera
  • Price…$15
  • Specific Issue…cell repair
  • Time Commitment…10-15 minutes
  • Type Mask…clay

 

2. AHAVA Purifying Dead Sea Mud Mask

  • Availability…Ulta, Macy’s
  • Best for…acne prone skin
  • Ingredients…Dead Sea mud, kaolin, vitamin B, chamomile
  • Price…$35
  • Specific Issue…helps clear acne and prevents further breakouts
  • Time Commitment…two minutes
  • Type Mask…mud

 

3. Aubrey Organics Age-Defying Therapy AHA Mask

  • Availability…Amazon, iHerb, Vitacost
  • Best for…aging skin
  • Ingredients…sea buckthorn oil, natural fruit acids, rice spheres
  • Price…$15
  • Specific Issue…exfoliating
  • Time Commitment..5-10 minutes.
  • Type Mask…clay

 

4. Camu Clay Invigorating Anti-Aging Clay Masque

  • Availability…Live Ultimate website
  • Best for…all skin types and needs, from acne control to hydration to anti-aging
  • Ingredients…organic green tea extract, bentonite clay, kaolin, walnut extracts, acai, Camu Camu berries
  • Price…$34
  • Specific Issue…exfoliating
  • Time Commitment…10-20 minutes
  • Type Mask…clay

 

5. Dr. Alkatis Organic Universal Mask

  • Availability…online
  • Best for…acne-prone or sensitive skin
  • Ingredients…seaweed, vegetables, organic grass juice complex
  • Price…$39
  • Specific Issue…deep cleansing
  • Time Commitment…10-20 minutes
  • Type Mask…powder

 

6. Lush Cup O’ Coffee Mask

  • Availability…online or Lush stores
  • Best for…oily or acne-prone skin
  • Ingredients…coffee grounds, cocoa extract, kaolin
  • Price…$12
  • Specific Issue…under-eye bags and circles, oil control
  • Time Commitment…15 minutes
  • Type Mask…scrub

7. Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful Super Hydration Sleepover Mask

  • Availability…Target, Ulta
  • Best for…dry or sun damaged skin
  • Ingredients…sunflower oil, shea butter, avocado oil
  • Price…$15
  • Specific Issue…moisturizing
  • Time Commitment…overnight, does not require rinsing
  • Type Mask…leave-on
Getting Dressed

Vegan Face Mask Recipes

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Face masks are great for both winter weather—with its snow and hail, cold winds, and indoor heating systems—and summer weather—with the damage that may have been picked up from being out in the sun way too long.  They can also be great for many different skin issues, such as dry skin and acne breakouts.

Below is a collection of simple face mask recipes that contain ingredients that you possibly already have on hand.

 

1. Almond Oil1Tbsp lemon juice, 1Tbsp almond oil or coconut oil

 

2.  Avocado…1/2 of a mashed ripe avocado, 2Tbsp honey

  • Benefits..extremely hydrating
  • Best for…all skin types, especially dry skin

 

3. Banana…one mashed banana, 1Tbsp honey

  • Best for…dry skin

 

4.  Chai...1Tbsp honey, 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp cinnamon nutmeg

  • Benefits…gently exfoliates skin
  • Best for...oily or normal skin

 

5.  Chamomile Tea…1C brewed chamomile tea1Tbsp manuka or raw honey, 1tsp nutritional yeast

6.  Cinnamon...2Tbsp warmed honey, 1tsp cinnamon, 1 wedge of fresh lemon

7.  Clay…bentonite or kaolin clay and enough water to make a paste

8.  Cocoa…1Tbsp cocoa powder, one mashed quarter of avocado, 1Tbsp hone

  • Benefits…pore-refining and a great antioxidant

 

9.  Coconut Oil...1Tbsp coconut oil, tea tree oil or lavender essential oil

  • Benefits…moisturizes, helps fight off any skin infections, helps to keep your skin clean and clear

 

10.  Cucumber...1/2 of a cucumber, 1Tbsp honey, 1tsp or more bentonite or kaolin clay as needed to create a paste

  • Best for…especially oily or acne prone skin

 

11.  Eggsan egg yolk, 1Tbsp of honey, 1Tbsp olive oil, 1/2C oatmeal

  • Benefits…egg white proteins tighten pores and zap acne-causing bacteria 
  • Best for…oily skin

 

12.  Honey...1tsp honey, 1Tbsp natural yogurt

  • Benefitshealing and antibacterial, makes a perfect base for acne-fighting masks.
  • Best for…acne-prone skin
  • Note…True vegans can either substitute a little bit of pureed banana for the honey, or simply omit it.

 

13.  Matcha...1tsp matcha, 1tsp chlorella, enough water or aloe water to create a paste

  • Benefits…”wakes up” the skin and gets your skin glowing

 

14.  Nutritional Yeast…1tsp nutritional yeast, 1Tbsp organic yogurt

  • Benefits…great acne fighter, rich in vitamin B
  • Best for…acne-prone skin

 

15.  Orange Juice…3Tbsp orange juice, 1/2C hone

  • Benefits…vitamin C, helps even out your skin tone

 

16.  Papaya…2Tbsp honey, 1/2C mashed ripe papaya

  • Best for…those who have hyper-pigmentation, sun spots, and uneven pigment

 

17.  Strawberries…3 strawberries, 1oz lemon juice, 8oz plain Greek yogurt, 1oz honey

  • Benefits…exfoliates and brightens the skin, refines pores, natural antioxidant
  • Best forall skin types

 

18. Tomato…Blend half of a ripe tomato into a puree with a fourth of a cucumber

  • Benefits…contains silica which helps firm up sagging skin, improves complexion, soothes skin irritations, reduces puffiness, and balances skin pH
  • Best for…those wanting an even complexion and soft, smooth, flawless skin

 

19.  Turmeric…2Tbsp flour, 1tsp turmeric, 8Tbsp milk or yogurt, a few drops of honey

  • Benefits...antioxidant that slows down skin cell damage, exfoliant that improves skin texture, diminishes wrinkles
  • Best for…acne, dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, and wrinkles

 

20.  Yogurt….…1tsp plain organic yogurt, 1tsp honey, 1/2 ripe avocado, 2tsp olive oil

  • Benefits….yogurt contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that dissolves dead skin cells, helps create a natural glow, prevents breakouts, and instantly softens and smoothes skin
  • Best for…dry skin, acne-prone skin
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cedarwood Essential Oil—Great for Your Skin

In the last post, we learned that cedarwood essential oil is great for your hair—especially in treating dandruff and dry scalp, preventing hair loss, and encouraging hair growth.

Cedarwood essential oil is also great for your skin. The fresh, earthy aroma and the calming effect of cedarwood essential oil will make you want to use the oil as many ways as possible.

The anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties of cedarwood essential oil make it a great tool in safely and effectively treating a number of skin conditions—including eczema and acne.

As far as eczema is concerned, cedarwood essential oil helps regulate the production of sebum, reduce the symptomatic skin peeling associated with eczema, and treats any unpleasant inflammation and dryness caused by the condition.

As far as acne is concerned, cedarwood essential oil is a natural antiseptic that can protect and heal your skin against unsightly acne. Cedarwood essential oil prevents clogging of the pores of your skin and protects the surface of your skin from intrusion by harmful particles and bacteria

Cedarwood essential oil can be used both topically or aromatically through the use of your diffuser, (or even your nose?!)…

  1. Bath Soak...Add four or five drops of cedarwood essential oil to your bathwater.
  2. Facial Scrub…….Combining a few drops of cedarwood oil with coconut oil and oatmeal.
  3. Massage Oil...Blend eight drops cedarwood oil and four teaspoons of a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. (You may also try replacing a few of the drops of cedarwood oil with other essential oils—especially chamomile and lavender.) Massage the mixture on to any infected or itchy areas.
  4. Product Enhancer...Adding a few drops of cedarwood essential oil to your favorite lotions, creams, and other skin care products. This will give even your most favorite products an extra kick in the pants.

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cedarwood Essential Oil—Great for Your Hair

Cedarwood essential oil is useful for many different concerns—including curing skin problems, preventing hair loss, preventing infections, managing stress, getting rid of any moths and pests from your home, discouraging the growth of mildew, helping to cure illnesses, relieving pain.

Cedarwood essential oils gets many A’s, if not A+’s, for its many different roles, including working as the following…

  • alopecia
  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiseptic
  • antispasmodic
  • anxiety and stress
  • astringent
  • anti-ant (insecticidal)

Alopecia…This is simply another way of saying that cedarwood oil is good for your hair.

Cedarwood essential oil can help you have shinier, healthier-looking hair, especially by working to control dandruff, prevent hair loss, and promote hair growth.

1. Damaged Hair…Cedarwood essential oil has moisturizing properties that can help make your hair stronger and repair any damage you cause to your hair from frequent washing, blowdrying, styling, and so forth.

2. Dandruff…Cedarwood essential oil can help reduce any itching or drying that you might be enduring because of dandruff and other scalp conditions such as seborrhoiec eczema.

Cedarwood essential oil can help prevent seborrhoeic eczema, an infection of the epidermal cells of the scalp that results in having dry, itchy and flaking rashes on your scalp. This infection is caused by the sebaceous glands found in the scalp producing too much sebum.

3. Hair Growth and Loss…Cedarwood oil stimulates and strengthens your hair follicles. Stronger hair follicles contribute to hair growth and help prevent alopecia—which simply means hair loss and thinning hair.

Two of the best ways to use cedarwood essential oil for healthier, shinier hair are…

1. Hot Oil Treatment:…Combine eight drops of cedarwood essential oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Massage the mixture it into your scalp for about five minutes. Wait twenty minutes before washing the mixture out of your hair.

2. Shampoo... Add a few drops of cedarwood essential oil to your shampoo and conditioner.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Acacia Honey—The What?! Why?! Which?! and How?!—July 2018 Honey of the Month

Acacia honey is one of the most popular honey varieties. It is widely considered one of the best kinds of honey in the world, provided it is authentic….and is.highly sought after around the world.

Acacia honey is made from the nectar of Robinia pseudoacacia, what we here in America know as the black locust tree, or “false” Acacia…

This tree is not only native to North America, but is also found in Europe—from Northern Italy to the Ukraine, especially in Hungary—where the tree is known as the acacia, even though the honey does not actually come from true acacias.

As far as color, acacia honey is a very pale, light golden colored—much like liquid glass. Acacia honey is often jarred with the actual honeycomb visible in the jar beause the honey does have such clarity and a pale color.

As far as taste. acacia honey is one of the lightest tasting honeys in the world, having a clean, light and mildly sweet, floral taste with delicate vanilla tones and no aftertaste..

Why?!

Adding acacia honey to your diet can provide many health benefits, including…

  1. Dealing with diabetes…Acacia honey has a very low sucrose content and a high fructose level, making it the best choice for diabetics. In addition to being a good choice for diabetics, acacia honey is known for its therapeutic qualities, including…
  2. Helping boost the health of your skin…The rich supply of minerals found in every type of honey, including iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and copper, as well as vitamin C and other antioxidants, can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, soothe inflammation, and decrease the appearance of scars, blemishes, and burns when topically applied
  3. Helping you lose weight more quickly...Honey mixed with water or milk can help satisfy your sweet tooth and make you feel full. This will possibly keep you from munching out while vegging out in front of the TV and stimulate your metabolism.
  4. Lowering your blood sugar…Although most people worry about their blood sugar being too high, acacia honey can help lower the blood sugar. Also, hypoglycemia is a dangerous condition, and eating acacia honey can deliver a concentrated burst of carbohydrates to your system that will balance your blood sugar levels
  5. Helping you deal with allergies…Acacia honey, like almost all other honeys, is great for helping you deal with allergies and other respiratory problems because of the antibacterial properties, rich nutrients, and antioxidants that it contains.
  6. Preventing chronic diseases…Acacia honey contains antioxidants that are able to seek out free radicals throughout the body and reduce the negative impacts of oxidative stress…in turn, lowering cellular mutation and reducing your risk of chronic diseases—such as cancer, arthritis and heart disease.
  7. Supporting your immune system…Acacia honey naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, a powerful antibacterial agent that can help prevent infections throughout the body and relieve strain on your immune system.

Which?!

When buying acacia honey, or any other honey, make sure that you are buying a honey that is pure, organic, authentic, raw, unprocessed, unheated and unadulterated from a responsible source with a reputation for producing “clean” honey that hasn’t been processed, heated or pasteurized in any way.

There are many processed products claiming to be acacia honey. Avoid these. After all, our goal in this “What Now?!” segment of Muffins and Magnolias blog has been to start eliminating processed foods from our diets and replace these foods with healthier alternatives.

Obviously, the best place to buy your acacia honey is directly from a beekeeper, who sources the honey directly from the beehive.

But you can also find sources of acacia honey from sites such as Organic Acacia Honey.comOlive Nation, and Savannah Bee.

How?!

Acacia honey is an excellent choice for cooking because of its mild flavor and the fact that it mixes easily in liquids and batters. Other ideas for using acacia in your kitchen include…

1. Berries…Acacia honey is a fantastic topping and the perfect complement to the natural taste of any berry—such as blueberries, blackberries and strawberries…

2. Beverages…Acacia honey is a good choice for mixing with beverages—such as tea—because it sweetens your beverage, without actually changing the taste of the drink

3. Bread…Acacia honey and creamy butter makes an excellent topping for toast.

4. Cheese…Acacia honey is great when served with hard cheeses such as Grana Padano, an Italian cheese made from unpasteurised, semi-skimmed cow’s milk that has been aged for about two years.

The word “grana” means “grainy” in Italian.

This cheese is a “grana” cheese—a fragrant, dry, crumbling cheese with a firm, thick and deeply straw-coloured rind and intensely sweet flavor…very similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, but much less expensive because more areas actually produce this type of cheese. Grana Padano is also less crumbly, milder and less complex than Parmigiano Reggiano.

5. Wine…The best wines to pair with acacia honey are

  • Barolo…such as this Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia 2013 Nebbiolo
  • Zinfandel…such as this Rombauer California Zinfandel 2016
  • Gavi…such as this Principessa Gavia Gavin 2016

6. Yogurt…Finally, acacia honey is great paired with Greek yogurt…in recipes such as the following Kiwi Smoothie.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

April Essential Oil of the Month—Chamomile…The Why?

Chamomile, an aromatic herb, has been used throughout most of the world for many centuries and is one of the most ancient and versatile medicinal herbs known to mankind. The plant, with its white daisy like flowers and scent reminiscent of apples or pineapple, is native to Europe and western Asia.

  1. Stress and Anxiety...Chamomile is one the best medicinal herbs for helping to lower stress and anxiety because chamomile helps to increase the levels of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that slow down your mind and eliminate the classic symptoms of stress and anxiety—such as hysteria, nightmares, insomnia, and various digestive problems. Drinking one or two cups of chamomile tea per day or inhaling chamomile essential oils through a diffuser are often recommended as natural remedies for stress, anxiety, and depression.
  2. Skin…Chamomile is often used topically on the skin to help fight skin irritation, heal wounds, treat skin conditions such as eczema, and lessen the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles on the face. Try this recipe for a “natural” Calamine lotion to treat mosquito bites during the summer…
  3. Sleep…Drinking a warm cup of non-caffeinated chamomile tea or diffusing it in the home diffuser can be a very powerful sleep aid, particularly for people who are struggling with restless sleep, insomnia, or other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
  4. Menstrual Discomfort…Chamomile tea is often used when dealing with the symptoms of menstruation—like PMS, bloating, cramping, sweating, inability to sleep, and mood swings. Chamomile tea is often also used in some parts of the world, such as Mexico, to soothe the body and mind and to relax abdominal muscles after giving birth.
  5. Immune SystemChamomile works as both an anti-histamine and an antioxidant, meaning that it can strengthen your body’s immune response to allergens in the body and soothe these allergic reactions before they become serious. The phenolic compounds in chamomile tea have been proven specifically good at fighting bacterial infections in the body, and that six glasses of chamomile tea consumed over a two-week timeframe can significantly improve the body’s ability to fight off  any infections.
  6. Gastrointestinal Issues...Chamomile has been used in many cultures for various stomach ailments—such as upset stomach, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, mild bloating, IBS symptoms, gas, acid reflux, indigestion, diarrhea, anorexia, and motion sickness.
  7. Diabetes…Chamomile helps lower blood sugar levels, regulate the amount of insulin in the blood, and prevent massive drops and spikes in blood sugar.
  8. Pain…Chamomile has been referred to as an “herbal aspirin” and has been a popular home remedy for centuries in reducing pain—especially pain associated with arthritis, injuries, back pain, fevers, and rheumatoid arthritis.

 

 

Getting Dressed, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

M&M’s List of the Best Vegan OTBC Body Lotions and Creams

We all know the importance of choosing skincare, hair care, cosmetics, and almost any other household product in terms of not only trying to “save the Rainforest”…

BUT does that mean that every product that we purchase from this moment forward will basically “suck” in comparison to every product that we have been using right up until that moment when you made the decision to embrace a cruelty free, vegan lifestyle?

Not necessarily…

As I begin doing my research and adopting a new lifestyle, I find that there are certain “terms and definitions” that I might need to be able to refer back to later. This is one of those posts that will hopefully beaded into one accumulating glossary.

Today’s “terms and definitions” list consists of ingredients to look for when choosing an OTBC product, particularly a OTBC vegan body lotion or cream…

 

 

1.  Alpha-Hydroxyl AcidAlpha hydroxyl acids are a group of natural acids that can be found naturally in specific foods, or manufactured synthetically. These acids include glycolic acid, sourced from sugar cane…lactic acid, from sour milk and tomato juice…malic acid, from apples…citric acid, from citrus fruits…and tartaric acid, from grapes. The most commonly used of these acids are glycolic acid and lactic acid because they most easily are absorbed by the skin.

Alpha-hydroxyl acids are quoted as providing amazing results as far as your skin is concerned—including making your skin firmer, stronger, and softer…while at the same time preventing wrinkles, softening wrinkles that already exist, stimulating collagen, treating acne, and improving the look and feel of your skin in general.

As far as aging is concerned, alpha hydroxy acids stimulate the growth of elastin and collagen, both of which become depleted with age, and studies have shown that they may also stimulate the production of skin-supporting collagen and elastin.

Most AHA-containing products sold over the counter usually have AHA concentrations that are below 10 percent, and are gentle as long as you follow the product’s directions.

Look for a product that has the AHA listed as the second or third ingredient. Better yet, check the label to see if the product states the concentration of active ingredients. If not, put that one down and look another similar product.

These products are generally safe when used on the skin, but like almost anything else may cause mild skin irritations, redness and flaking….(pretty much a disclaimer so that we can’t all sue them, right?!)…

 

2.  CeramidesCeramides are an oily wax found naturally in the cell membranes of our skin. The waxy or cheese-like coating on the skin of a newborn infant, also known as the vernix caseosa, that serves as a moisture barrier during pregnancy consists primarily of these ceramides.

As we age, our body stops producing as much ceramide, and our skin begins to lose many of the ceramides that had been existing before that point…resulting in our skin becoming thinner, dry, and more susceptible to dry skin and wrinkles.

Skincare products with ceramides help restore moisture, fortify the skin’s natural barrier, and help keep your skin youthful and soft. Most ceramides used in skin care products such as shampoos, shower gels, shaving creams, and body lotions. Even some products labeled “unscented” may contain

 

3. “Fragrances”…Although the FDA does require an accurate list of ingredients on each product marketed on a retail basis to consumers—whether in stores, on the Internet, or person-to-person…the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act allows manufacturers to protect the ingredients that might be considered “trade secrets.”

However these unknown “trade secrets” could be helping us all trade in our current good health and well-being–not just now, but many years down the road–for cancer, migraines, asthma, gastrointestinal troubles and cardiovascular problems…or even killing us if have particular allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients.

The term “fragrance” has become a catch-all through which many manufacturers of skincare products can “sneak” an undisclosed ingredient into their container while nobody’s looking.

Even though our nation in general is in the process of becoming smarter, more environmental-friendly, and health conscientious, it will be a long time before companies will ever simply stop slapping the word “fragrance” on their containers

Always take the time to check the ingredient list carefully. Stop buying products that follow the trade norm of using the “F-word” on their ingredient list to conceal over a dozen secret undisclosed ingredients in the container.

 

4.  Humectants…Humectants help hydrate the surface of your skin by pulling water from the deeper levels of skin to the surface of the skin, and delivering hydration and nutrients to the deeper layers. Humectants can also increase the ability of a product’s other active ingredients to be absorbed into the skin.

Humectants are important ingredients in anti-aging skincare because they lock moisture onto the surface of the skin, keeping it moist and healthy and minimizing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Humectants also help keeping your skin looking and feeling smoother and softer and your complexion more youthful, supple, and radiant.

Look for products that contain such natural humectants as aloe, honey, hyaluronic acid, and vegetable glycerin.

5. Lanolin…Lanolin is the oil extracted from the wool of sheep after sheep have been sheared.  Lanolin enables nourishes and protects the sheep against environmental extremities.

While this may be considered an animal byproduct and therefore not cruelty free, the process does not actually harm the sheep and so can be considered cruelty free.

Lanolin is an excellent emollient that helps soften and soothe skin and resembles the sebaceous secretions of our own skin.

1.  100% Pure Whipped Body Butter

  • Fragrance Options…Coconut, Vanilla Bean, Blood Orange, Coconut Lime, Gingerade, Pink Grapefruit, Honey Almond, Mangosteen, French Lavender
  • Ingredients…anti-aging antioxidants and nutrients, vitamins, skin softening oils, and moisturizing cocoa and avocado butters
  • Kudos…no sulfates or other detergents, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, dyes or any other toxins.
  • Price…$26

2. Avalon Organics Hand & Body Lotion

  • Availability…Kroger, Sprouts, Whole Foods
  • Fragrance Options…Aloe, Peppermint, Lemon, Rosemary, Cucumber, Lavender
  • Ingredients…include such natural ingredients as aloe vera, shea butter, calendula and nutrient-rich beta-glucan…based on fragrance selected
  • Kudos…”Humbled by a profound respect for all living beings, Avalon Organics® products are vegan* and cruelty-free. The Avalon Organics® brand never tests products on animals, and will only source ingredients that the supplier can document are not tested on animals. This commitment to kindness is represented by the leaping bunny logo that appears on product labels.”
  • Price…$8

3.  Beauty Without Cruelty Hand + Body Lotion

  • Fragrance Options…fragrance-free
  • Ingredients…shea butter, jojoba, kukui nut, arnica, and calendula…
  • Price…$12

4.  Desert Essence Organics Hand & Body Lotion

  • Availability…Sprouts
  • Fragrance Options…Island Mango, Italian Lemon, Tropical Coconut, Coconut Lime, Bulgarian Lavender, Spicy Vanilla Chai, Pumpkin Spice
  • Ingredients…such ingredients asIsland Mango. Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil
  • Price…$10