Tag Archives: beauty

Summer of Herbs: Shades of Green Facial Toner

Of all the treasures and wonders of the summer season, for me, the most revered are the colorful, aromatic, fresh herbs and flowers. Roadsides, railways, gardens, and mountainsides are all alive with wild flowers and plants and dragonflies, butterflies, bees, and winged creatures of all sizes delight in their presence. After months of using their dried counterparts, fresh herbs remind us of the true vitality and essence of herbalism.  photo 3(2)There’s nothing quite like waking up, going out into the sun, and bending down to pick a few leaves of mint, lemon balm, sage, or verbena and making a fresh infusion. A cup of fresh Lemon Balm leaf tea makes the dry version pale in comparison. Working with fresh herbs and flowers is one of the sweetest experiences one can have, and now is the time for these moments. Naturally, we seek to preserve the fresh herb experience much like one seeks to preserve memories through photographs, feelings through a journal, keepsakes through a time capsule buried in the earth for future discovery. This season, I have enjoyed the blessing of a bountiful little herb patch that began with only a few small starter plants and seeds, and has blossomed into a thriving plant community regularly visited by dragonflies, butterflies, and the like. I am astonished each time I visit at the rapid growth and the incessant offering of Calendula blooms, lavender buds, basil, thyme, sage, lemon balm, parsley, and rosemary. The garden’s growth exceeded my wildest dreams and it seems every day the leaves have multiplied once again, and even after leaving behind plenty for other visitors, I am left with an abundance of plant material to take home. One of my favorite recipes that I developed inspired by my own garden is the follow facial toner, called Shades of Green because as it brews, it goes through stages of greens, leading ultimately to a deep, forest green that alludes to its powerful natural healing gifts. I believe the parsley lends a deep glow to the skin, while calendula can heal past damage. The lavender was added for beauty and inspiration, and also lends a cleansing, astringent effect.

ImageRecipe for Shades of Green Face Toner

You’ll need: 1 pint size mason jar, organic witch hazel or vodka, distilled water
Gather enough Calendula blooms and leaves, lavender buds and leaves, and parsley leaves (you can try root here too) to fill the jar to the top, but not over-stuffing completely (there should be enough space for the herbs to move around freely when the liquid is added.) Fill 3/4 of the jar with vodka or witch hazel, and the rest with water. Swirl the herbs around, and leave in a sunny spot for 2-3 weeks. At first, the liquid will turn a bright emerald green, then watch it daily as it absorbs the vitamins, minerals, and magic of the plants – changing to a deep forest green. When the leaves and flowers look as though they have given all their color away, you can begin to use the toner. I like to leave the plant material inside while I use it, then eventually I strain it and store it in a small jar with a spray pump for easier application.
Use: I like to apply a small amount to an organic cotton ball and use it to clean my face – great when camping! Feel free to experiment with the ratios of the herbs – I used more calendula and parsley, and a few lavender sprigs. Go with what you have on hand and let your garden’s supply inspire you. Be well and be beautiful.

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5 Ways to Love + Pamper Thyself

via Cute Kittenz

These days, it seems the fundamental act of truly caring for one’s self (spirit, mind, and body) has been somewhat lost and forgotten amidst the whirlwind of modern life. Our fast paced lives combined with the disintegration of time and space barriers that once meant less scattered living leaves little room for a most important part of well being: uninterrupted, unforgiving self-care rituals. For the sake of world peace, love and pamper yourself.

1. Devote an amount of time each day (or at least each week) to yourself. No phones, no interruptions, just you. Use this time to clear your head, think, dream, and just be. Play music, read a book, take a walk, or simply close your eyes. If you can, establish a ritual that carries as much importance as a meeting for work. I used to treat myself to a cappuccino every Friday morning at my favorite cafe in Prague. Even 5 minutes of solace a day can work wonders.

2.  Listen to your body. If you are craving a certain food or feeling like you need that cat nap midday, don’t immediately shut out the notion. Too often the body is trying to tell us what we need but we are too busy to listen. When to give in and when to resist? A rule of thumb is if you can readjust your priorities without shirking responsibilities, indulge.

3. Tap into the healing power of scent. Aromatherapy is a proven practice with powerful effects. One way is to take an herbal bath. Add 5-10 drops of pure essential oil of chamomile, lavender, and neroli into a warm bath. The heady aroma will transport you to another time and place. It’s amazing how simple and effective this age old pampering technique really is.

4. Respect and tune into your dreams. Sometimes dreams are more important than reality. They can reveal our fears, hopes, and the parts of us that need some love and care. Make a dream pillow with lavender, hops, chamomile, roses, and mugwort – the dreamer’s herb. Before sleep, ruffle the pillow and take in the scents of the herbs. Keeping a dream journal can prove invaluable over time and are often the door to our deepest, wisest selves.

5. Honor your spirit and body. Be grateful for the blessings you do have and make a conscious effort not to dwell upon perceived flaws or shortcomings. A good friend of mine who is a master of positive thinking and believing in herself once taught me a lovely little technique for evoking self-praise. She chooses a letter and thinks of words that inspire and empower her. For example, if the letter is “C” she thinks of creativity, compassion, and courage.

In all, pampering and loving yourself is a matter of listening to your own inner voice. Trusting yourself and your wisdom. Inside each of us there are unique needs and passions that when honored bring about sincere joy and well-being. Wishing you happy pampering.

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Natural Inspiration: Forests + Emerald

Being a May-baby, emerald is my birthstone; I have naturally always been drawn to its mesmerizing hue. The color evokes memories of the archetypal forests of old fairytales, with velvety green mosses, maidenhair ferns, and the deep green canopies of the ancient trees. Worn habitually by the iconic Cleopatra and revered by the Incas as a divine stone, you too can tap into this rare gem’s mystifying beauty with these emerald-inspired pieces:

Lace turban headband by Just Liv’s at Etsy

Dreamcatcher with peacock feathers by Arizona Dreams at Etsy

Lace earrings by White Bear at Etsy

Emerald Skinnies at Free People

image via Frieda Sophie

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Herbal Savior: Kloss’ Liniment

If there is one remedy every household should have, I believe it should be Kloss’ liniment. Formulated by Jethro Kloss, one of the most revered herbalists of the 19th century, it is a cure-all for any type of external infection or skin ailment. Kloss was born on a farm in Wisconsin in April 1863, the year Abe Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and Jacob Grimm (of the Brothers Grimm) passed away. Kloss’ magnum opus, Back To Eden, sold over 3 million copies and is known as the classic guide to herbal therapy. In its nearly 1,000 pages, he lists endless herbal formulas and recipes for wholesome foods and general well-being. One of his most famous formulas is this liniment that Rosemary Gladstar revised a bit for a truly magical medicine:

1 pint of rubbing alcohol
2 ounces myrrh gum (powdered)
1 ounce echinacea powder
1 ounce golden seal root (powdered)
1/2 ounce cayenne pepper

Combine the herbs and cover with the alcohol. Leave in a dark, warm spot for at least 10 days (the longer the better). Shake it daily because the herbs get clumped together. It will turn a black color with a golden hue.
Strain it and bottle it in amber bottles and store in dark, cool place. Label it with the date and make sure to write “for external use only!” Use it freely on any skin problems such as sunburn, scalds, burns, bruises, sprains, oozing infections, zits, and recently I discovered it works miracles on swimmer’s ear. *Do NOT ingest the liniment as it is for external use only! 

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Haircare for a Cause: Why I’m Loving “Onesta” Shampoo

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Art by Barbara Kruger via Art 21 Blog.

H. sapien, woman, friend, lover, thinker, sister, daughter, writer, adventurer…One term I probably wouldn’t list on a bio is “consumer.” But in reality, it’s probably more true than some of those other terms I’d use to describe myself. I buy something nearly every day, and I am consuming information and messages constantly. It’s the world we are living in.  The good news is, we consumers have tremendous power in our hands. Each time we buy a product, we are essentially supporting the company that created it, and sending them the message that what they are doing is dandy by us. And in turn, by not buying something, well that’s one of the strongest messages we can send. Rest assured, that’ll be heard. When buying something, don’t just think of it as a piece of bubble gum, or a bottle of shampoo. Think of what the people who made it did to get it to you. Do you want to give them your money (or give them the finger)?

Which leads me to a new shampoo I’ve been using for a month, called Onesta (Italian for honesty).  Continue reading

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