Pamper Yourself without Leaving Home

Pampering yourself these days is a luxury, but need not cost a fortune. When I have the time, I like to do a basic face steaming. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and it leaves me feeling refreshed and relaxed. All you need is a towel, a large ceramic bowl, and some hot water. If you have essential oils on hand, that's even better.

Simply boil some water and pour into a large bowl. I prefer ceramic or glass. Sometimes plastic can absorb the essential oils, and a metal bowl may have a reaction. Something like this bowl sold by May Luk Ceramics is ideal:

I usually add a few drops of essential oils to the water, lean over the bowl until my face is directly above the steam, and then drape a towel over my head to keep all the steam from escaping. I’ll close my eyes and relax for a few minutes, then finish up by splashing my face with very cold water to close up my pores.

When I add essential oils, I use different blends depending on my mood. If it is near bedtime, I like to use lavender. In the morning, grapefruit, rosemary, and mint are great for waking up. Or sometimes I’ll use tea tree oil, which is great for “troubled” skin. No matter which essential oils you choose, you need to be careful handling them, and use only a few drops.

Sometimes I’ll take things a step further by covering my face with a clay mask to get all of the impurities out of the freshly steamed pores. I make my own masks, since they are pretty simple to mix up. A nice basic one would be a bit of bentonite clay mixed with water or aloe juice, or even yogurt. Clay is fairly easy to find - I was able to find clay in my local health food store.

No matter what, I always follow the steaming with a nice moisturizer. I actually use my own mixture of light oils, that may include grapeseed, avocado, & fractionated coconut oil.

Face steaming is a great way to relax, restore, and revive the senses without breaking the bank!

Nordea, Nordea's Soaperie

Organization: Fabric Board How-To

I prefer hand written lists. There's a greater likelihood of getting things done if I actually see and read my lists. In my kitchen there's a perfect spot for a fabric board where I can post my to lists.

Here's a tutorial on how to make a simple fabric board for your kitchen or any other part of your home or office.

Foam board 1/2" thickness, cut to desired size
Medium to heavy weight fabric, larger than the board by atleast 2" all around
Heavy duty stapler with 1/4" staples*
2 sets of sticky magnets
*Depth of staples should be thinner than foam board thickness so they do not protrude.


1. Place Board in center of fabric
2. Hold top center of board and pull fabric tight towards you. While holding fabric staple across the top.

3. Flip board and repeat for opposite side.
4. Peel backing from 2 sticky magnets and place below stapled sides, one at the top and bottom.

5. For remainder, choose a side. Tuck and fold fabric neatly at corner edges, while pulling tightly on slight angle downwards and towards center of board.
Staple from top to bottom of board maintaining a tight hold as you staple. Adjust and tuck fabric as necessary.

6. Repeat step 5 for remaining side.

7. Attach 2 remaining magnets to the ones already on board. Peel the backing and hang finished board in desired location.

eco-friendly hair care

as maryanne just taught us all, baking soda + vinegar are miracle products, and are practically the only things you need to have a clean and fresh-smelling home.

and now i'm here to tell you that they can work equally miraculously on...your hair.

i've fought a long fight with shampoo/conditioner. the day i washed my hair, no matter how well i conditioned, my hair looked and felt like straw. it would be okay the next day, good the next, perfect the next, then all of the sudden super greasy and gross the next, and i'd start the dance all over again. then i read about the natural method of cleaning your hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. possibly better hair plus better for the planet? sign me up.

the process is fairly simple. wet your hair thoroughly, then take about a tablespoon or so of baking soda and plop it into your palm and splash in some water to make a fairly watery paste. get the paste onto your fingers and work it all over your scalp, starting at the crown of your head and working outward. massage your scalp with the paste for about 1 minute (for extra green points, turn off the shower while you're massaging:), then rinse. do another rinse using a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in about a cup of water (i keep a large chinese take-out soup container in the shower for this purpose...), then rinse that out thoroughly. that's it!

it does take a little perserverance to make the switchover from shampoo to this method. everything i read about it warned that you'd have "yucky" hair for the first couple of weeks, because your scalp would continue to overproduce oil, as it had been doing to compensate for all the oils that the shampoo stripped away. i could never get a more precise description than "yucky", but now that i've lived through it i can give you one: my hair felt like it was coated in a mixture of wax and motor oil. by day 13, i was getting a little cranky, and tired of bandanas. but then like magic, on day 14, my hair was perfect and soft and glossy.

you may have to fiddle with the proportions of baking soda and vinegar a bit—everyone's hair and scalp are different. if you use too much baking soda and your hair turns out dry, you can use a little bit of natural oil to even it out; just smooth a tiny bit over your hair, avoiding your scalp, once your hair is dry.

and no, you won't smell like a big pickle. :)

- cakehouse

Friday Night Beauty Tip

Seeming as Spring is around the corner I wanted to dedicate this week’s tip to the use of color. Color can be used to beautify a room, a wardrobe, or a face. The Colors of Spring are always in demand; some include yellow, green, blue, and flowers in bloom. Try an accent of sunshine yellow or spring leaf green in the kitchen or bathroom. The usage of foliage, towels, or even some new artwork can bring spring vibes into the home. A sky blue cardigan or tunic sweater would spruce up your wardrobe. But if you want to be daring, try a deep Petunia color lipstick, which will definitely bring a smile to your lips and everyone around you. For a truly unique experience try the colors together as a mixed bouquet in your workspace or office!!

Friday night Beauty tip is brought to you by: Josie creator of Hamsa Custom Crafts
“Beauty in the everyday”