A Blanket for Baby Koschak

Last fall I started knitting a blanket for my dear friend Jana after I found out she was pregnant. I had a number of colors that I thought I could use up plus a stash of small rolls from a yarn dying workshop Jana and I took together in late summer. After finding a tutorial for a baby blanket on CreativeBug.com I knew I had my blanket!

I made up the colorway as I went, and halfway through I started to really dislike what I was seeing. But the brighter orange and pinks at the end saved the day and now I love it. Jana and her husband decided not to find out the baby’s gender and I think this blanket would be perfect for either a little girl or little boy.

Most of the lines in between the larger color blocks are what I dyed myself. I’m so happy to have had something extra special to add to the blanket. Overall, the knitting is by no means perfect – there are lots of mistakes woven throughout. But I know the baby won’t mind and I think its especially beautiful with the imperfections. In a way, each mistake documents the hours, the effort, the love, and the prayers that I put into the blanket and my own two hands most of all. Just goes to show that perfect isn’t always better.

Mo agrees.

 

Self care rituals.

With the harried days of working two jobs and long hours, sometimes self-care has taken the back burner in favor of say…sleep. Ok, and reading blogs. But mostly sleep.

But recently, my friend Jana invited me and a few other friends over for a fun evening and it was altogether kind of, well, amazingly soothing!

We got together to laugh, commiserate, share stories and plan futures. But most of all, to do facials! To get the process started we enjoyed a hot steam that included calendula, rose and other healing flowers.

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Yes, that’s me waving. Ha.

We followed that up with a French green clay mask mixed with honey and rose water. Luscious.

photo 5While we waited for the clay to dry we enjoyed gluten-free cake I baked for the occasion. If your going to try this at home, don’t leave this step out. The cake is crucial.

When the clay dried, some of us enjoyed peeling off the pieces bit by bit. Perhaps a little too much…

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After rinsing off the mask, we lathered on non-toxic lotion and admired each other’s glow.

It was such a great night – not least of all because of how relaxed and nourished I felt.  Later, Jana and I commented to each other about how important it is to take time to enjoy, honor and respect our bodies. Creating fun communal rituals like our recent facials night encourages us to keep it up even when we get busy.

Do you have any tried and true self care rituals?

Natural skincare

Only recently was I finally able to transition to completely satisfying natural skincare routine. I’ve been using natural products since my mom first introduced me to toothpaste 23 years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that I finally fell in love with natural products. Now I’m using stuff that is actually improving my skin’s condition with every use. What’s not to love about that?!

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1. Weleda Skin Food; 2. Ceramic Neti Pot, Nasya oil, salt; 3. Annmarie Gianni facial products; 4. Nature’s Gate Winter Clean Deodorant; 5. Kiss My Face Whitening Aloe Toothpaste; 6. Eco-Dent Floss; 7. Tongue cleaner. [Not pictured, Jojoba oil]

I must mention that I’m no expert in this area but I have a blogger friend who IS. If you have any interest in this topic check out Britanie’s blog, BeautyByBritanie.com. She’s got tons of amazing DIYs (I can’t wait to make my own black eyeliner!), tutorials, and product reviews. Plus she’s the sweetest person ever.

My daily routine:

AM 

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I stumble into the bathroom at 3:30 am most days and start with a quick teeth brushing. Not only do I get to stand at the sink with my eyes closed (and pretend I’m still sleeping) if I choose, but the minty toothpaste helps wake up my senses. Peppermint is a known stimulant great for strengthening focus and memory. Though this toothpaste has one ingredient I wish it didn’t, overall it rates high with me. It’s healthier than most Tom’s of Maine products, it has great flavor, and it really does whiten my teeth! I’ve read recently that some clay products is far superior for cleaning teeth and I’ve found a powder I’d really like to try as soon as our toothpaste runs out. But for now, this Kiss My Face Whitening Aloe Gel is the one toothpaste I keep coming back to over and over (and over). It even comes in travel size! Perfect for cross country flights to visit my California family and friends.

I don’t ever want to live without the tongue cleaner. Not only does it leave my mouth odor free and fresh feeling, but scraping on the tongue actually stimulates the body to prepare for digestion. Our bodies are so magical…

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Next I neti. If I could only bring a few things with me to a desert island, a neti pot would DEFINITELY be one of them. I absolutely swear by it. To neti, all you do is add 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt mixed with 8 oz of warm water. Allow the salt to fully dissolve inside the pots (I usually swish my finger around the base to help it along) and then pour the water through on nostril while you tilt your face over the sink and let the water drain out the other nostril. Halfway through, switch sides and repeat.  I follow the rinse with a couple drops of this really lovely nasya oil to coat the inside of my nose. Sounds weird, I know. But the oil is so soothing (especially in dry winter weather!) and smells wonderful. It’s important to keep the nostrils well maintained just like the rest of the body. Don’t leave out your nose!

You can see in the photo above that I keep my neti salt in a small jar with an airtight lid. There are no additives in the salt so it’s really important to keep it dry and well contained.

Then I wash my face with the best cleanser I’ve ever used. Annmarie Gianni has created the most incredible skincare line full of organic, natural ingredients (and lots of love). Not a toxin to be found in any of them! This aloe-herb cleanser (the green bottle) is a must have.

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Though this cleanser doesn’t lather like others I’ve used in the past, it nonetheless leaves my skin feeling refreshed without that awful taut feeling.

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I follow the aloe-herb with one of Annmarie’s fantastic facial oils. In the morning it’s usually the herbal oil but I also love the anti-aging oil too (smells DIVINE).

A quick application of Nature’s Gate Winter Fresh deordorant (the most effective of the many natural versions I’ve tried) and I’m ready for the day!

PM

My evening routine is very similar to the morning with a few additions.

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After brushing my teeth I floss with Eco-Dent dental floss, a vegan alternative Simeon introduced me to. I love that the packaging is basically cardboard and recyclable. The less plastic in the house the better! And it even has essential oils built in. Love.

To remove my make-up I use a few drops of plain jojoba oil on a cotton square. Not only does it do an ace job of removing even the most stubborn eyeliner, it also naturally nourishes the skin around my eyes and face. Sometimes I’ll even dab a little around the backs of my hands for added softness. [Sorry for the lack of a photo. I just ran out!] 

Another quick aloe-herb cleanser rinse to clean my face of the day’s residue. Once a week I use the powder exfoliator and follow with the anti-aging serum.

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Just before crawling under covers I lather Weleda’s Skin Food all over my hands. My hands are frequently exposed to harsh conditions [high heat of the bakery oven, cold water and the roughness of all varieties of dough] leave my hands even more vulnerable to winter’s wear. Thankfully, the lotion is absorbed while I sleep and I wake with soft skin.

And that’s about it!

The average beauty consumer uses 9 products per day that contain over 126 chemicals! I’m happy to report that my medicine cabinet is decidedly chemical free and I regularly receive compliments on my skin. I like to think that along with good genes my natural skincare routine has something to do with it.

Do you use any natural products that you can’t live without? I’d love to know what they are!

Any questions? Ask in the comments!