Sunday, November 27, 2016

Essential Oil Round-Up

Let me start by saying this:  I'm an essential oil bargain-shopper.  There, I said it.  I have friends that swear by Young Living oils, and of course a few of those friends sell YL oils, and if that's what floats your boat, great.  If you're a hardcore EO user, diffusing them constantly and cooking with them, yes, you may want to research to make sure what you're using is really what you think it is.  I'd also suggest reading sources that can't be linked to the manufacturer, which should be a given.

One of my favorite sources for Crunchy Grown Up supplies is Mountain Rose Herbs.  I could really lose my paycheck browsing through their site.  In addition to an amazing selection of herbs, spices, teas, essential oils, and many other products, they also have good specials.  I've picked up a few of my favorite stand-by oils from them, including spike lavender and cajeput (which you may remember reaching about when I linked to this article from my Facebook page).

I've also used and trusted many products from Now Foods, including a few EOs as well as carrier oils like grape seed oil (which I use as a cleanser, more on that later).

However, I like to sometimes experiment with new recipes and ideas, and I don't want to always invest in even Mountain Rose Herb prices when I'm experimenting.

Enter First Botany Cosmeceuticals.  I know, how... "crunchy" sounding... not.  I was skeptical, too, especially with prices as low as $10 for a 4 fl. oz. bottle of pure essential oil.  However, they claim their oil is paraben-free, cruelty free, and it's bottled in the U.S.A.  That's a pretty good start, right?  And again, I'm not ingesting or inhaling this stuff (through a diffuser).  Just using it for a few cosmetic and home cleaning applications.  Shall we begin?

First up:  Peppermint and Eucalyptus oils.

I'm grouping these two together because I tend to use them together, with a few exceptions.  I used the peppermint oil along after I had a bout of flour weevils attack my pantry (don't even get me started on that nightmare).  After I'd thrown stuff away, repackaged almost everything else, and thoroughly cleaned the entire pantry (twice), I put peppermint oil drops on a few paper towels and just set them in my pantry.  I never saw any more weevils, but of course I don't know if that's because I'd finally banished them or if the peppermint offended them.  Either way, my pantry smelled pretty and I was happy.  I also will periodically go open the bottle of peppermint and take a sniff when I'm feeling congested.  Just doing that seems to help!

My favorite application for these oils has been making shower melts.  I used this recipe from Andrea over at utensi, replacing the lavender oil with about a dropper full each of peppermint and eucalyptus oil and omitting food coloring.  I had to add a little more water, too.  I also didn't have a silicone ice cube tray that would work, and, not wanting to go out and buy one for this little experiment, I used my silicone muffin cups.  They worked great!  I just set the cups on a place, added blobs of the mixture (which settled in to form little discs), and froze them.  After they froze, I put the cups in a ziplock bag in the freezer.


I put them on the shower drain to keep them from sliding around on the shower floor and making me slip, and they probably each lasted about 5 minutes or so.  Enough to give you a nice aroma, but not enough to last the whole shower.  I'm going to keep experimenting with them, and I may try putting them in a shallow up in the shower instead to see how long they last that way.  Or hey, I could just put the whole silicone cup in the shower!  Wow, what a smart idea.  I'm glad we had this talk!

Next up:  Bergamot

I honestly don't even know what bergamot is.  Some kind of citrus fruit is all I can tell.  I'm not sure I've ever seen one, but I don't care.  I LOVE this stuff!  Bergamot is now part of my deodorant routine.  Amazingly, I've all but stopped using conventional AND crunchy deodorants, including the crystal.  I kept feeling like no matter what I used, the film that was left behind would eventually make me feel gross and sticky.  I don't even use some homemade crunchy recipe.  All I do is put a few drops of jojoba oil in my hand, add a few drops of bergamot oil, rub my hands together, and apply to my armpits.  That's it!  I do this 1-2 times a day.  I started this method probably in early September, when it's still plenty hot in Texas, and I think it works better than any other deodorant I've tried.  Bam, easy, cheap, and crunchy!

I've also used the bergamot to make garbage disposal bombs.  They don't fizz up like commercial baking soda garbage disposal cleaners I've used before, but they make the drain smell good, and even though I cook with a lot of oil, I haven't had any clogs.  Good enough for me!  I used blue Dawn dish soap in mine, hence the blue tinge.  They've lasted pretty well stored in a ziplock bag under my sink.  A few have crumbled, but I'm perfectly capable of dumping crumbs down my drain!


Finally, the rosehip and helichrysum oil.  I may be following up with another post on these at a later date, as I think it'll take time to see how beneficial each of these are.  

Rosehip oil is supposed to be very good for your skin and mild enough it can be used without a carrier oil.  I've been mixing it with a little jojoba oil each night and rubbing on my entire face.  When I'm good about using it, I do feel like I get fewer breakouts, but it typically takes a day or two of MORE breakouts before I hit the fewer breakout stage.  I'm in my mid-thirties and get most cysts or blackheads, not the chronic acne some people suffer from.  I'll post some before/ after pics in a later post if I can see some more benefits for fine lines as well.  

Helichrysum oil is supposed to be good for inflammation and pain.  I've been having some back issues lately, and I sometimes mix the helichrysum with grape seed oil, since grape seed oil doesn't absorb right away, rub it on my lower back, then take a shower.  The helichrysum is super-yellow, so I don't think you want to risk getting it on your clothes or sheets.  The method with the grape seed oil seems to work for me as a way to let it soak into my skin a bit, with the help of the shower steam, then I can wash it off before getting into bed.  Again, more on this one after I can use it more often!

Do you have a favorite EO?  Maybe you've found an unusual way to use an EO that has really helped you?  Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to First Botany Cosmeceuticals for the discounted oils that I used for this post!  

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Return from Neverland and Feminine Hygiene Products

Oh my, where has the time gone?  Around the time of my last post, I was finishing up grad school, working full time, and attempting to keep my husband and me somewhat fed and in a semi-clean house.

We were also working on making one of these.


No, no, not the big hand.  The little hand.  And everything attached to it.

Our little peanut graced us with her presence about 9 months after my last blog post.  I finished graduate school about 8 months after my last blog post.  Still working and trying to keep this little family in order, though!

Now the little peanut has become The Toddler.  She's full of typical toddler crazies but is also the sweetest, most loving creature ever.  Sesame Street and iced tea and going for walks are her life.


At this point in her life, I'm starting to feel like I've returned from Neverland.  You know what I'm talking about - infant care taking Neverland.  When you never sleep and never eat a hot meal and are drowning in bottles and diapers and laundry.  The Toddler sleeps like a champ now, has been totally off the bottle for quite some time, and is starting to show some interest in the potty.

I've also been working on simplifying my life a bit.  Making the house more tidy, easier to clean, and less filled with crap.

Which leads into my segue into feminine hygiene products.

This is the part where I implore my mother-in-law and really any relatives that are not either my mother or a cousin that's younger than me to stop reading.  Thank you.

Continue on if you fit the above criteria...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Best Eggs Ever

Kids, I ate this for breakfast this weekend, and after I finished going on and on to the hubby about what a wonderful cook I am, I knew I had to share it with you!  I ate it before I could think to photograph it the first time, but I had it for dinner tonight, so voila!  Pics!

Also, have I mentioned my favorite menu planning site?  It's where I post all of my recipes!  If you're on the site, add me as a friend so we can share!

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat



Gather your ingredients:  leftover spring onions, butter, spinach, eggs, fresh corn, goat cheese, and black bean & corn salsa.  It was a corn festival, what can I say?  And the olive oil and garlic were forgotten... oh well!
Then, pet your kitty that is begging for attention, even though she won't hold still and pose for the camera.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Time to Re-pot the Aloe

There comes a time in one's life when one's aloe becomes uncontrollable.  Wild.  Overgrown.  Crazy. 

Or at least, so top-heavy that every time the wind blows just a little bit, it falls over and loses a chunk of itself. 



This was its state after our last round of storms.  The plastic pot it was in couldn't hold up its girth.  We can all identify with that, can't we, girls?  No judgments here!

First let's get some supplies together.  Some cactus soil, new pot or two, and good gloves.  I really only used the gloves initially, then it just became easier to use my bare hands.  You would probably be fine with just standard thin gardening gloves, but I'm Ms. Cautious so I started with the big kid gloves.  For the soil, you may be smarter than me and know how to mix up soil that is cactus-friendly.  I took the easy route.  Finally I got my little bottle of cactus fertalizer (in that small box) to use at the end.





I took the whole plant out and carefully separated it.  Did you know aloe just multiplies into more aloe plants?  I didn't either!  Then I did my best to trim off the dead stuff.  Do this carefully, kids, as too much force easily breaks the stem.  Not that I know from experience or anything.



I of course didn't take any pictures of the segments all laid out, because that would have made sense.  But you can see in the picture above an example of a trimmed up individual plant... and you can see all of its octopus buddies on the ground around it.

Then it was re-potting time.  I initially thought I'd primarily use the azalea pot in the picture above, but quickly realized that some of my plants were already too tall for that.  I ended up reusing the plastic pot, putting smaller plants in the azalea pot, and reserved some to bring to a friend at work.  She gave me a strawberry plant in that blue pot, so I figured I should put something worthwhile in it when I return it!



Oh, and you see that step-child on the left?  Yeah... it got too much water (was in the way of a sprinkler) a year or so ago, and...



Yeah.  It hasn't spread, hasn't got any worse, and the cactus still seems to be alive.  If anyone has any tips, shout out!

I also tried to plant some of the transplants in a bed that has a few other plants in it and my cat otherwise thinks is her litter box.  We'll see how that one goes, as the soil there is somewhat crappy.  I'll update you on those cactus babies later.



While I was at it, I planted some new herbs.  My recent success with some mint got me all cocky.

Hardy and Foxtail Rosemary
Two basil plants and some sage

Then I dead-headed my roses...
Before
After

And snapped a picture of one whiney cat, cramming her face through the gate, who did not appreciate being kept in the yard while I worked on the roses.



I'll post an update once I've seen how the aloe fares in its new home(s)!