Friday, February 24, 2012

Ultimate (natural) Manicure and Pedicure

So, it's still technically "winter" and you are looking down at your red raw knuckles and rough heels.  You consider the $50 required for a full "mani" "pedi" and say, "isn't there another way?"  Or, if you are like me, you remember the rash your feet developed after that warm whirlpool at the salon and say, "isn't there another way?"  You admire the lady next to you with perfect nails but you are unwilling to put toxic chemicals on yours.  Practically speaking, you know your polish will just chip off in a couple of days, so why bother?  "Isn't there another way?!"  Well, my friend, there is and you will be happily pampered without any guilt!

I will be citing three of my favorite authors: Janice Cox, Sophie Uliano and Laurel Vukovic, for our adventure.  Stay tuned!


1. Remove any traces of nail polish.

2. Soak hands in warm water for 10 minutes. To this water you may add 5 drops lavender oil and 1 ts. olive or almond oil.

3. Use a nail brush to clean under your nails. Then, use a cuticle stick to push back your cuticles.

4. Cut your nails, if necessary, to desired length and file your nails in one direction.

5. Apply a hand mask for 15-20 minutes.  Try 1 ts. olive or almond oil, (or 1 ts. yogurt in place of the oil) 1 ts. honey and 2 drops lavender oil

6. Rinse off first with warm water, then with cool water.

7. Apply a rich hand cream, or if before bed try shea or cocoa butter.

Hope you enjoy, or rather your hands, this manicure. Remember to always apply moisturizer before bed and anytime during the day. Pay attention to your cuticles, as the practice of massaging them will keep nails healthy.  You can also apply straight olive or coconut oil which is wonderful!  For buffing your nails, you can apply a paste of cornstarch and water and simply buff with a cloth. I do an occasional nail ans cuticle soak with olive oil, warmed, to which a little lemon juice and few drops of lemon oil is added. Soak nails for 15 minutes and buff afterwards.


1. Soak feet in basin of warm water, 1/4 c. epsom salts, 1 ts. olive or almond oil, and 10 drops of tea tree oil (tea tree is anti-bacterial AND anti-fungal, effective in curing athlete's feet and under the nails) for 15-20 minutes.  Throw your pumice stone in the water also to soften up.

2. Clean under nails, cut them straight across, file them in one direction, push back cuticles with a cuticle stick or your finger nails and scrub off callouses with your pumice stone. If you don't have a pumice stone, you can apply an abrasive foot scrub.  Try 1/4 c. cornmeal, 1 Tb. sea salt (or epsom), 1 ts. olive or almond oil and 3 drops peppermint oil (optional, but nice!).

3. Apply oil or shea/cocoa butter to your nails, massage  it into your cuticles.  Apply the same cream/oil/butters/lotion to your feet and put on cotton socks afterwards.  If you are doing this before bed, sleep in those socks!

Hope you enjoy your pedicure!  Try this weekly and try not to apply polish till summer and sandals!  Your feet deserve a break!  Our bee man gives us a foot cream which is only beeswax and olive oil melted together.  It is wonderful and smells delish!

I hope you are inspired and not discouraged with these ideas.  Let me know how it goes for you!  Cheers!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cleaning naturally...

Do you ever walk down the household cleaning aisle at your local supermarket and find yourself blurry eyed and gasping for air? That's me.  I seem to be highly sensitive to cleaning products.  So, I've searched the world over until I found true love.. The results?  Cleaner than ever, beautifully aromatic and a pleasant experience (scrubbing CAN be fun.)!  Most of the ingredients you may already have or can purchase at most  grocery stores, minus essential oils.  Essential oils are the KEY for so many products you'll make that it's worth purchasing a few.  NOWfoods online and other sources sell it as does Wholefoods and some health food stores.  These are all natural, plant derived and if you research them, you'll find why for centuries people have benefitted from God's own pharmacy. A few you should have are: Lavender, Tea Tree (these can be directly added to your skin without a carrier oil), orange/lemon/grapefruit or lime (citrus cleans!!) eucalyptus (add this to hot water for a steam when having any cold/cough ailments) peppermint (great for mouthwash, toothpaste, foot scrubs, and nice smell) and rosemary (great for hair recipes, lip salve).  There are much much more out there, but these are the staples.  Here are my three tried and true cleaning recipes for you.  Enjoy!

All-purpose cleaner

2 cups hot water

1 ts. borax

1/8 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. lemon juice

6 drops lemon oil

4 drops orange oil

2 drops grapefruit oil (optional)


Dissolve the borax in the hot water.  Add remaining ingredients. Shake squirt bottle (Dollar Tree has great ones) vigorously for one minute for the oils to evenly distribute. Then add 1 ts. liquid castile soap.  Lightly shake.  Enjoy! A special use for this cleaner is saturating some paper towels in a baggy and packing it for picnics!

Surface and Glass Cleaner

1 c. white vinegar

1 c. distilled or de-chlorinated water

1/4 c. rubbing alcohol

10 drops lemon oil

10 drops rosemary oil

5 drops peppermint oil  Put ingredients in squirt bottle. Shake vigorously. Enjoy!Blue Shuttered Windows and Red Flowers, Concarneau, Finistere, Brittany, France, Europe Photographic Print

(you may have seen water/vinegar recipes before, the added rubbing alcohol causes evaporation so everything is streak free!  You'll love it!)

Lastly, the laundry!  You'll save mucho bucks per month.  If you need extra cleaning or sanitizing power, add chlorine-free bleach or white vinegar 5 minutes after the wash cycle starts.

Laundry soap

2 1/2 gallons very hot water (in this dissolve the soap)

1 bar laundry soap (Fels-Naptha, Zote or Kirk's hard water castile soap) grated

3/4 c. Arm & Hammer washing soda

3/4 c. borax (all supermarkets)

2 T. vegetable glycerine (optional: its a softener)  20 drops lavender oil (optional)

Here's how I mix it. I use an old 5 gallon laundry detergent pail. I keep it in the laundry room so as not to lug the heavy thing around. I boil some of the water and use hot water from the tap for the rest. Grate your soap in a well-ventilated room, add that and stir till dissolved. I use a big wooden stick. Then add your remaining ingredients except the essential oil (you can use any scent you prefer, but lavender is AWESOME for sensitive skin!) When well mixed, add the oil last. Stir.  Its good to make this so to set up over night. When using it will be like jelly and you can use 1/2 c. to 1 cup per load.  Enjoy!

The beauty of ALL these products is that they are safe on your skin!  No more rubber gloves!  They smell refreshing, do an amazing cleaning job and you don't have to fret about spills or kids and pets being harmed.  Finally, you will save loads money making your own

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

...Let down your hair

It's February and your hair has been through a lot. Winter has taken its toll and this morning you look in the mirror, yes, you may be fair, but your hair is static straw.  What to do when those products don't work? The ponytail or hat routine?  There's hope! Everything you need for beautiful hair is waiting for you in your kitchen! Yes, olive oil, coconut oil, eggs, avocados, honey, molasses, lemons, vinegar, tea, mayonnaise, yogurt and aloe vera gel!  Your hair needs to be PH balanced (lemons,vinegar, tea and aloe vera), cleansed (your shampoo, try one without sulfates) and moisturized (the other ingredients).

Lets get started: let's get all that old product out of your hair.  First, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to your dollop of shampoo, massage and rinse. Then, mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to 3/4 cup water. Pour this slowly over your head and work it into your scalp. Rinse with water. Dry. Blonds, take note: enhance your color with a strong brew of chamomile tea that has the juice of one lemon!

Once a week, do a hot oil or moisturizing pack for your hair.  You can put coconut oil in dry hair and sleep on it, then wash in the morning. Or, first wet your hair, add olive oil and a plastic shower cap, wrap your head in a towel, wait 30 minutes, then shampoo and dry.  A fun recipe is 1/2 avocado (if short hair, 1 whole for long), one egg yolk and 1 Tb. lemon juice. Leave in wet hair, wrapped for 30 minutes, wash and dry.

For promoting hair growth, massage some aloe vera gel with a few drops of rosemary oil into your scalp before going to bed. Also, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fatty fish as well as drinking lots of water improves your hair, nails and scalp.  If you need to supplement, has two full pages dedicated to the topic. They recommend taken Omega 3 tablets and B12.

If you have naturally curly hair and want to enhance it, after washing and towel drying, apply equal amounts of leave-in conditioner and hair gel. I make conditioner from 1 part jojoba oil to 3 parts aloe vera gel with a few drops of rosemary oil. For hair gel, an inexpensive and cheap one is L.A. Looks. Allow your hair to air dry, scrunching it with your hands till all your curls bounce, or if you must, use a hair dryer with a difuser or lowest possible setting.

Hope this helps and your lifeless hair bounces back. Tell me your success stories and ask me for more recipes!

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