Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Years Resolutions 2016 + Looking Back at 2015 Goals, Successes, and Fails

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How was 2015 for you? Despite the ups-and-downs, I can't help but be grateful looking back. It was a year of studying, writing, and learning. I accomplished last year's resolution of "summoning spirituality" by re-arranging my apartment using Feng Shui and used the full KonMari method twice. My space is much lighter and conductive to work, relaxing, and entertaining. I even took some esoteric certifications: flower essences and gem stone healing. I may sign up for Reiki next! I took a risk and transitioned to helping indie businesses with their web marketing/online shop set-up full-time and I love it!

2016 New Years Resolutions 

1. Make getting outside a HABIT + Take Pictures.

I need near-daily hikes, bike rides and explorations. I may make a series of his so it stays a habit.

2. Work SMARTER not HARDER. Focus on Profit. Execute ideas INSTANTLY and stop over-planning.

Three action steps in one, but these are all extremely essential habits I must develop for work!

3. Curate a new home and wardrobe. Develop a "Style".

Something to balance it all out and make things fun! Purging fired-up my inner curator, it helps you pick only what truly inspires you. Developing a new home and wardrobe is good design and styling practice, I'll be carrying the practice mode to my photos, too. My full-time occupation is currently styling other business owner's online shops and websites so I need to keep the skills sharp. This third resolution is also important to me as I figure out how to balance all the different modes I'm in writing and business wise.

Ongoing: School | Gym | Business Tasks | Healthy Habit Training (#1 to change is my poor sleep patterns)

 * * * 
2015 Resolutions Follow-Up

1. Get Outside and Explore Nope, not enough. 

2. Summon Spirituality

3. Be Compassionate. Tackle a project bigger than "myself" that helps people.

4. Read! Nope, not enough, again.

5.Write/Study.

6.  Finishing my master herbalism training, enjoying the hell out of it!  Done, and taking new courses!

7.  Starting my 100% natural body care line with my mom and boyfriend  Started, we're selling locally and working on the big online shop launch. 

8.  Upcycled line (art, clothes)  I did a mini line of upcycled shirts and sold them all. 

9. Reselling, smaller scale, only mid century modern or very unique items  I'll be listing more vintage and pop culture items from my personal collection I no longer want on eBay, Craigslist and Etsy next month

10. Secret upcoming projects for Thrift Core like eBooks, before/after projects and DIYs. I want Thrift Core to be a big main focus again! I adore creating content, researching, and writing like crazy. Did lots of DIYs this year and behind-the-scenes writing and research. I didn't get to do before/afters as desired, but will soon! :D

Thank you so much for reading along in 2015, running this blog is one of my favorite things to do and I love interacting with you! I'm excitedly planning the 2016 editorial calendar and I'm as always, open to suggestions. I want to interview lots of businesses and do home tours so please e-mail me if you want to collaborate or have any ideas for what you'd like to read next year. (Or, leave a comment.) Tomorrow is already New Years Eve! So exciting!

What are your new years resolutions for 2016? I need to drill #2 into my head for better productivity!
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Monday, December 28, 2015

Looking to the Past for New Years Home Inspiration: Retro 1960s Room Layouts

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I've just completed my second successful KonMari home run-through! After the second successful completion of the KonMari method my car was filled to maximum capacity with boxes of books to sell and donations. I have boxes of vintage and collectibles I was going to keep "for myself" that I'm going to list on eBay and Etsy next year, and I feel so much lighter! Buuut my apartment now needs re-styling.

The walls feel empty and I'd like to replace furniture pieces with vintage ones slowly over time. One of my goals for the new year is to develop a comfortable new space for entertaining and working, so I'm going through some of my favorite old design books and magazines for inspiration. The first picture above is a favorite! I'd just add my favorite wall hangings and plants and that could easily be my living room! It reminds me of a dated library I spent a lot of time in during childhood. (Early 90s libraries had 70s decor in my world, it may be why I have so much nostalgia for the era despite being born in '86.)


The branch detail is fussy to my eyes but I love the tea set on the little table and how tight and cozy the space is. The green/pink scheme room has a lot of dated details but I enjoy the overall look of it and tidiness. It's a very well-balanced room with great texture and color. Kind of looks like a hotel room.


I wouldn't replicate anything above in my home but it's so gorgeous to look at spaces with this amount of unrefined unnatural materials used within.


And yep, this space further confirms that one day in the future when/if I become a home owner I want a gorgeous late 60s-early 70s space like this! Damn, that's beautiful. I'm liking a lot of these little tables and spread out "entertaining" and "conversation" areas in these images, too. I also like the rails in this image for switching out art pieces.


Another pleasing composition for a picture, but is this someone's actual living space? The tilted books are too styled. Something gravitates me to this look, though.


So cozy! Filled in and a nice mix of traditional and mid century modern without being too full or complicated. Too traditional for me, but I want to borrow for creating comfort at home. I feel like I want to customize an art piece to go above my couch looking at some of these photos. Love that vase and flowers, too.


Interesting mix with the cane chairs, tulip table and almost tribal pattern rug! I actually wouldn't use any of the pieces pictured in my apartment but I like the alcove they carved out here.


Colors! What an interesting space. Is that... a dining room centered around a tiled fountain? Too much! But there's a lot of elements in this space I like, though I want in there and remove a lot of the details. Love the fish plate! I never want to adjust people's homes I see or visit because they're authentic and reflect personality, this one really looks like no soul has touched it or comfortably lived there.


I just especially love that big installed wall unit! I need to find or create one, beautiful. Love that it has a record player.


A smidgen too empty and I'd remove the candle sticks but there's something more real-world about this space. Of course, I appreciate the asian influence.


And completing the asian influence throughout the book, a room with a shoji screen! Nice mix of textures in this space and it's not TOO sterile even though it's quite empty due to a interesting mix of accessories, furniture and texture. I love that shelf and how low all the furniture is to the ground.

Looks like next year I'll be on the prowl for (or making) the right pieces at the right prices to create a new space. I'm looking forward to the curation process. I think next year will a big interiors year for myself and friends/family that have asked for my help. I hope these rooms inspire you, too!

What are some of your home goals for the new year? Anything special on thrift wish list?
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

The World's Best Dressing / Dip Recipe - Bonus "Light" Edition. Eat it. Gift it. Love it.

Three years ago I shared the recipe to the best dressing in the world, The Nutritional Yeast Dressing. I am not exaggerating when I say I've been stopped in the neighborhood about this recipe. Moms and daughters have bonded over it, telling me it was so good they dug salad greens out of fridge to get every last drip of it out of the blenders and into their mouths. My pal Birdie said he'd eat his newborn if they dipped him in it. (Yes, morbid, his words.)


I had a period of mild obsession over this dressing, but then my taste buds changed. The dressing was formulated before I was fully raw vegan for a while, after going vegan my tolerance for salt has drastically changed. The last time I had that dressing it was WAY too rich. For the holidays I've formulated the "light" edition! Make a bunch of it and gift it, make it for Christmas and New Years parties! Yum!

Ingredients

9 T Nutritional Yeast
3/4 Cups 1 Cup Olive Oil
3 Teaspoons Tamari
1/2 Cup Vinegar
3 Dashes of Sesame Oil (or 3 Tablespoons if you'd like, add one at time and taste test)
4 Tablespoons Tamari
1 to 2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder to Taste

Directions

Blend it all together and enjoy! I'd start with 1 tablespoon of the garlic powder and/or tamari and taste-test. The flavor profile is distinctly umami with sweet and savory flavor.

This recipe is especially delicious on: salads, popcorn, pasta, cut raw veggies as a dip, and cooked veggies. I've served it at gatherings and every inch of veggie is devoured because it's a vehicle to bring that precious sauce to an eager mouth!

Have a Merry Christmas! I had this zombie apocalypse survival technique post (It'll make sense when you read it) planned for gift-giving but time conspired against me! Augh! Now I'm off to my moms to make ALL the damn tamales for the holidays.

/Comments Off - they'll be back on Monday :)
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Monday, December 21, 2015

Cleaning Bombs (Or Fizzies) DIY: Great For New Years Cleaning or Holiday Gifting

Cleaning the entire house before the new year is a traditional for me- and most people. I know it's an arbitrary date and measurement, but I like that. I'll take all the mind-tricks for productivity, thanks! A fresh clean space to work in for a new year is wonderful, one that smells of fresh citrus essential oils is even better! These cleaning bombs are similar in concept to bath bombs. The citric acid and baking soda cause an eruption in your sink, toilet, tub, or wherever extra cleaning is needed. They pre-clean the area (or make it completely clean) and make your home smell amazing, not unlike scrubbing bubbles, but sans harmful chemicals. You can even drop some in your mop bucket if desired and mop up the house with them.

Ingredients:

- 1 Cups Baking Soda
- 1/4 Cup Citric Acid
- 30 Drops Essential Oil
- Gloves and Mask (for mixing, mask optional)
- Spray bottle filled with water

- Mold, Any Shape  (I used a flower-shaped silicone mold. You can use robots, fun shapes, or simple shapes)

Good Essential Oils for Cleaning: Peppermint, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tea Tree Oil, Pine, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Thyme.

Tea tree oil and Thyme are powerful anti-fungals, anti-bacterials and mold killing, a couple of drops with any scent you choose will be helpful. BUT all of these oils are inexpensive and excellent for cleaning.


Directions:

1) Mix the baking soda and citric acid evenly in a bowl wearing gloves to protect your hands.
2) Spray this mixture with water as needed, gingerly. It should feel like moist sand.
3) Add your essentials oils and mix evenly.
4) Press your mixture into your silicone mold, hard! So the bombs stay together.
5) Let your bombs dry overnight, then bag them for gifts or put them in an airtight jar to use later!

These bombs will pre-clean muck, keep garbage disposals fresh, and just make your home smell delicious in general! They're simple and inexpensive to make, perhaps consider these if you're still mixing up last-minute crafts for gift giving- or use them in your own home to clean up. For spring I may share an advanced recipe with enzymes and extra cleaning power.

Anyone else still getting it together for Christmas?! I'm still hanging lights, but I do believe my home is stuffed with enough homemade goods for everyone by now, ha!

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Friday, December 18, 2015

A Sad Walk Through St. Augustine's Downtown: Glittering Christmas Light Inspiration

Walking through St. Augustine's downtown, admiring the lights, and absorbing the Old World charm is an annual tradition for me. I've spent a several Christmas Eves, days, and nights here. Some nights were jubilant, light, and carefree. I remember one being a pensive night where I knew change for a relationship was on the horizon. I sensed the end but went through the motions anyway, slightly unhappy.


I recently (this past Saturday) had something happen that broke my heart. I never wanted to feel that type of betrayal again; I'm still coping with the consequences.

When I carried on with my tradition of exploring St. Augustine's old cobblestone streets I felt faint pieces of hope, mixed with heavy doses of anger, anxiety, sadness and doubt.


Crushing heartbreak is a good time to focus on work and goals, and not just because it makes the perfect distraction. Getting sucked into work is therapeutic. I can be wronged again and again but I know I'm lucky that I have an undying, burning passion about the work I put out and improving every day.


That's why even though I feel lower than I've felt all year, the glittering lights of this season spark my dreams and ambitions again. The quaint tourist shops bedecked in glowing electric orbs remind me that someday, years from now, or sometime sooner, I'll have a studio of my own where I can ship products that help people worldwide. The lights inspire me to focus, up my game, improve and execute.


I like to share thoughts and posts like these for the catharsis of putting it out there, and to be honest. I earn very little, but my expenses are paid with a little leftover. I work a dream job and live in a gorgeous area. I play with herbs, essential oils, gorgeous vintage goods and get creative every single day. On the outside and from what I share on the blog, my life can look too-good-to-be-true, and some bloggers choose not to burst the bubble of perfection with honesty. But I love the posts when bloggers get honest and share some of their real pains and frustrations. You connect with their humanity, it makes you feel less alone. (And if I'm totally honest, as much as I love lifestyle and decor blogging, too much of it has become purely: Look at this stuff I bought! LOOK!)


I'm bleeding, but I vow here and now to take that raw hurt and turn it into progress. Starting NOW. I'll be ready for you, 2016. I WILL accomplish all the things! I invite you to read along and do the same with me!

Afterword: If you're down this year, which is common for the Holidays, read this comic (It's Going to Be Okay) by The Oatmeal and this video about his motivation to run. Instant mood lifters, they put a smile on my face instantly. And maybe a tear in the corner my eye...

/Comments Off but feel free to e-mail me with anything at all, questions, comments, etc.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Unconventional Christmas Movie Picks: So Bad It's Good, Kitsch, Horror and More

If it's never been obvious, Christmas isn't my thing like Halloween is. I don't do much gift-giving, since I like to do things for/make stuff for friends and family year-round without a special ceremony about it. But I do love the lights (my apartment is currently bedecked in more than I've ever had up, it's gloriously colorful and tacky), the kitsch, excuses to craft..and even some of the movies. Especially of the weird or scary variety!

The following are some unconventional Christmas movie recommendations. Some have Christmas a backdrop, others mix Christmas, horror, and black humor. (Note: This post has videos that don't show if you're viewing this via e-mail, so click through if you'd like to watch a couple of full-movies)

The Christmas Tree- "'The Room' of Holiday Specials" -CR, Movie Critic 



The Christmas Tree is an animated special that's so bad...it's basically The Room of animated Christmas specials! And I love it, every hilarious inch of it! The animation and line delivery is stilted and awkward, the plot strange to the point of surreal absurdity. It makes the PERFECT watch for a bad-movie holiday party. I hope I can have a little gathering and show it with friends this year. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube via the video above! Make it a special tradition for years to come.

Batman Returns- Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin Laid An Egg...

Gotham will never look more like a Gothic Hallmark Card...

The Prince of Darkness himself, Tim Burton, actually has two favorite holidays. Halloween...and Christmas. It's easy to forget amid the amazing and entertaining performances and overall super-dark vibe that Batman Returns takes place during Christmas; complete with trees, snow, and kisses under mistletoe. Watch it for the light and dark sides of the season. Batman Returns is one of my favorites of ALL the Batman movies (including the Nolan ones). It looks stiff upon re-watch in a post-Matrix action movie world but the color, costume design and shot composition makes up for it! Beautiful. They don't make them like this anymore.

Child's Play- "You stupid **** you filthy **** I'll teach you to **** with me!" - Chucky

No. Do NOT give me this creepy-ass doll for Christmas. 

Chucky himself, a tiny titan of horror mascot recognizability, started as a Christmas gift. Child's Play is goofy, dated, and practically impossible to be scared of, but I love this kitschy flick. The legit creep factor from "is the doll alive or not" is abandoned and all true horror goes out the window, but I can't not enjoy a movie that mocks 80s cartoons and toy trends for kids (the doll design specifically references My Buddy Dolls with a little Teddy Ruxpin thrown in...and a heaping helping of uncanny valley creep-factor) Fun fact: this movie had a 9 million dollar budget and went on to earn over $44 million!

Bad Santa - "You know, I think I turned a corner. I beat the **** out of some kids today. But it was for a purpose. It made me feel good about myself. It was like I did something constructive with my life or something, I dunno... like I accomplished something."


Despite some kernels of kindness to sweeten the bitterness, this movie is dark! It's not for the faint of heart, it's for the fellow watchers that are "meh" (or worse) about the false "goodwill" shoved down your throat during the holidays. I saw it for the first time last year and know it will be my go-to every year henceforth. Marketed as a typical low-brow pervy comedy, most of the laughs are at the expense of greed, consumerism, alcoholism and even clinical depression/abusive childhoods! The biggest laughs are from such a dark movie taking the same beats as your typical Miracle on 54th Street style holiday specials, it lampoons the genre masterfully. It's truly funny and more clever than meets the eye.

Edward Scissorhands- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligiri Meets 1990s Florida Whoville


Edward Scissorhands is a classic, but oddly enough, doesn't seem to be the huge common-knowledge Christmas classic that it should be. Every inch of it is artfully crafted to resemble a Christmas storybook-meets-German Expressionism film. It's legitimately heartwarming, heartbreaking, quirky, funny, and cute. If you forgot how good it was, or have some kids who haven't seen it yet, try it again this year. The snow-and-ice-in-Florida scenes look like a damn snow globe, the whole move is utterly gorgeous.

Gremlins- Thomas Kinkade Picturesque Village Meets B-Movie Creature Feature...in the 80s!


The most memorable thing about Gremlins is the "adorable" mogwai, Gizmo. (Me, I always preferred the more-reptilian Gremlins.) It can overshadow the fact that a lot of Gremlins looks like a Thomas Kinkade Christmas Painting. (If that sounds like hyperbole to Northern viewers, anything covered in snow looks like that for this nearly lifelong Floridian.) Gremlins is part schmalzy Christmas drama, part B-movie 1960s-style creature feature and every inch 1980s nostalgia.

Random note: Our long-haired Chihuahua has the same fur-pattern as this film's title mogwai, so we named him Gizmo! I can't watch this movie without thinking of our dog now!

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer- I have no words...


It's hard to believe a Christmas animated special was created just because of the famous Christmas country song by the same name! And of course, it's so very bad! The animation isn't as amazingly limited as The Christmas Tree, but it's still worth a watch for a laugh. IF you're a crazy person who loves watching weird obscure bad animation like me. You're out there fellow weirdos, right? Right.

Treevenge- 1970s Grindhouse Violent Exploitation meets...uh, Christmas...



Warning: severely violent! Treevenge is an award-winning short film where Christmas trees take gristly revenge on the humans that massacre them every year. It's modeled after 1970s grindhouse exploitation flicks and it emulates the look perfectly, even using the intro music from one of the most notorious titles from the genre.

More Unconventional Christmas Recs: Eyes Wide Shut, Black ChristmasDie Hard, The Nightmare Before Christmas

If you know of more weirdo Christmas movies, send me an e-mail! I hope you get a laugh at of some of these weirder ones! /Comments Off
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Monday, December 14, 2015

Pour and Melt Chakra Soap DIY: Color, Chakras, and Aromatherapy All at Once!

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I've almost written it off before, but my heart has completely changed regarding pour-and-melt soap. Pour-and-melt soap can be an excellent delivery system for healing herbs, carrier and essential oils and supplements. They're also a fun creative outlet, the sky's the limit for what you can do with this method. For Christmas I wanted to make a beautiful soap set with meaning that was also healing and devised these Chakra melt-and-pour aromatherapeutic soaps. Infused with essential oils associated with each Chakra symbol, using and smelling them is an uplifting, even spiritual, experience.

Ingredients For Melt and Pour Chakra Soap...or Any Pour-And-Melt Soap


1) Chakra Soap Molds: Or any molds depending on desired shape. You can use silicone baking molds.
2) Essential or Fragrance Oils of choice
3) Clear Pour-and-Melt Glycerine Soap
4) Mica Colorant Powders: Invest in the primaries and you can mix them to make any colors
5) Infrared Thermometer Gun (optional, but helps preserve expensive fragrances)
6) Small Bowls, heat-proof
7) A microwave OR double-boiler set up (I put a tiny bowl in a pot of water, easy peasy)
8) Something to stir the soap, like a spoon or metal stick



How to Make Your Chakra- Or Any- Pour and Melt Soap


Step 1) If you're using a double-boiled method where you have a bowl (which will hold your pour-and-melt soap) in a pot on the stove, start to heat your water. The water should go up to about half of the bowl. I bought the water to a boil then returned the heat to medium to keep the water warm.

Step 2) Cut your glycerin soap into small cubes for swifter melting. The mold I used took about 1/3 cup of loosely packed soap cubes per individual chakra soap. Sprinkle your mica powder on top. you won't need more than 1/8 of a teaspoon to color it, a little bit goes a long way with mica powder! You can even start by adding pinches at a time if you want to preserve your mica pigment.

Step 3) Add your cubes to the bowl. Stir in your mica powder once it starts to melt so everything is evenly colored and incorporated.

Step 4) Once your soap is completely melted swiftly pour it into your mold. It's better to slowly heat your soap so it doesn't get to hot because that can burn off your essential oils. More on that below...

Step 5) Use your infrared gun here to test the temperature before adding a few drops of your essential or fragrance oil. Each fragrance and essential oil has a flash point, if your soap is too hot it can burn off your expensive oils! For the sake of experimentation I added oils to my soaps a couple of minutes after pouring them into the mold without my thermometer to see if the oils would stick. They are still nice and fragrant, you may not burn off your oils if you don't check first.

Step 6) It's recommended to let your soap dry overnight for easier removal, but I removed mine within a couple of hours. It was tricky until I flipped the soap around (pour-in side down) and pressed down on the center of each soap.


It's not (too) hard to whip up beautiful soaps for the holidays if you already have, some silicone baking molds on hand. Last year I made and gift cute star and gingerbread soaps. Pour-and-melt soap base is not as complex or perhaps and healing and completely chemical-free as making your own cold-process soaps, but it's a fun way to make fragrant, beautiful soaps for yourself and/or for friends and family!

I love holding and smelling these soaps and that the scents chosen are associated with the appropriate chakra. It's relaxing, and the bright colors make me happy, too.

Getting any holiday crafting or shopping done? I have a few more fun ideas to share, but so far, this one has been a favorite!
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Friday, December 11, 2015

Coco Kahlua Lip Balm + Simple All-Purpose Balm Recipe: For Gift-Giving, or Anytime

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Homemade lip balms are one of the easiest last-second gifts to present to friends and family. They're simple, fun, inexpensive, and require few ingredients. Keeping a few butters oils, and waxes on hand can help you yield a variety of different gifts! This year I'm sharing a couple of balms we formulated in herbalism class. Get creative, the sky is literally the limit with these.

Kahlua Chocolate Sunrise Lip Balm

- Cocoa Butter .3 oz
- Hershey's Cocoa Powder (or cocoa powder, whatever you have on hand) 1/4 tsp
- Stevia Coconut Oil Sweetener - 6 drops
- Olive Oil (I used one I'd infused in healing calendula petals) - .2 oz
- Kokum Butter - .10 oz
- Kaluah - 10 to 15 drops (You can sub with something like coffee)
- Pumpkin Seed - .2 oz
- Aloe Butter .10 Aloe oz
- Beeswax - .3 oz
- 10 - 15 Drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Tibetan ochre mica (1/4 tsp, optional)

*Note: All oils and butters can be subbed with other oils and butters you have on-hand

Directions: On low heat, simply melt everything together, then pour into your tins! You can melt it in the microwave but this changes the molecular structure of your beeswax and makes it less anti-microbial and healing. But the product will still work; not a big deal. I use a homemade double boiler method where I put a small bowl inside of a pot of water (filled to where it goes up to half the bowl). I melt all the ingredients until they're fully incorporated, then pour it into the containers. Do it quickly because it starts to solidify fast once it's off the heat!


Simple, Basic Recipe

1 Teaspoon Beeswax
A Few drops Flavor oil of choice
1/4 teaspoon jojoba oil
1 Teaspoon shea butter


Just like your expensive lipsticks, balm, and lotions, don't leave these in the heat or in a hot car too long or they'll melt!  Have fun making balms for the holidays- or whenever you need them. You can, of course, pour these into Chapstick containers you order as well. Just pour it with the bottom twisted all the way down and let it set until ready!

SURPRISE, Giveaway: The first three commenters will get a lip balm in the mail from me! :) Leave your e-mail address so I can e-mail you to get your address!
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My Top 10 Whole Living and Green Wish List Goods for the Holidays + New Years

The latest electronics are one of the biggest sellers for Christmas, but I'm going to make a wish-list, it's going to be related to the most important investment; health! I read on the topic and research the best whole living-related gadgets and goods year-round, these are a few of the things worthy of Christmas and New Years gift-giving contemplation:

1) Berkey Water Filters: I currently drink tap water, but no longer want the impurities. I've looked around and Berkey Water Filters look like the best bet, they purify water while leaving in the minerals and you don't have to change the internal filters for years!

2) Shower Floss: Many holistic dentists recommend water picks for flossing (it's gentler) over regular floss. Shower floss is easy to install and keeps the water pick mess off of your bathroom counter.

3) Water Chef Shower Filter I can't tell which shower filter would be the best, if someone has recommendations, please e-mail me with them! In North Florida (possibly all of Florida?) we have THE HARDEST WATER EVER. My hair curly hair is dry and brittle enough as is, I'd love a shower filter for less exposure to impurities and for hair/skin health.

4) Wooden Bath Mat I can't use my regular standard bath mat because...cat. Everyone else with a cat may understand why! I think a wooden one would fare better against cat abuse. Plus, pretty. Upcycled/green would be best with this mat but the ones that look like Geta sandals (slatted and raised from the ground) look uncomfortable!

5) Eden's Garden Complete Essential Oil Set: It's a "wish' list, so let's dream! For reasons I'll get more into later, I'm not a fan of Dottera or Young Living essential oils, they are high quality essential oils, but their pushy multi-level marketing sales tactics doesn't gel with me. Also, some of their info...incorrect. Eden's Garden has therapeutic (medicinal) grade, high quality essential oils for less! (Check out Essential Oils 101 for more info.)


6) Advanced Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser: According to my research, this essential oil diffuser is the best. Instead of the water or heat based method for distributing the oils, it's a nebulizing type that uses an atomizer to disperse tiny essential oil particles into the air. The result lasts for hours even after running the atomizer for a short period.

7) Earthing Accessories: How about one of everything in Earthing? Or at least a less-expensive bedsheet or grounding mat? The concept is slightly woo-woo; in theory, these mats help us pick up on the earth's natural electricity giving us energy. It makes a little bit of sense to me since evolutionarily, we are meant to be barefoot and outside, not inside, always shod, and never in contact with soil. I'm not sold on the concept but if we're talking "wish" list, I'd love to try the sheet and mat and detect if energy increases from my skeptic's perspective.

8) Breville Masticating Slow Juicer: I miss juicing! I get rid of my standard one because it's a nightmare to clean! Slow juicers are easier to clean and produce a healthier juice. Saving up for one of these!

9) Vibrance Essential Oil Blend: Ann Marie Gianni recently sent me samples of their new Essential Oil Blends to try. My favorite was Vibrance. It's light, bright and citrusy!

10) Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up: Marie Kondo's second book will be released soon! I am definitely going to order a copy! The method revolutionized my home and work flow, I even want to do a second method!

*Note: A couple of the Amazon links are affiliate links, but nothing in this post is an ad or paid opinion. I always share my honest reviews and opinions!

If you have ethical suppliers/clothing retailers and/or whole living products to share I'd LOVE if you sent me an e-mail and let me know! I'm always looking out for them!

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Tea Blend Gift Idea: Cold Prevention and Healing, Delicious, Health-Boosting

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Blending teas is so relaxing. Inhaling the aromas, imagining possibilities, figuring out a way to combine leaves and roots in a way that's healing for particular ailments, it's my happy place. For the holidays I wanted to dream up a delicious tea blend you could gift, share, or use that directly helps with seasonal-change issues.


This tea has natural sweetness from stevia leaf, a tart fruity flavor from the hibiscus and rose hips, and a nice kick from the ginger. I love smelling and tasting it! Here's how you can make it:

Combine the following dry ingredients

1 Tablespoon - Sage : Anti-Microbial and Anti-Viral + Helps with Phlegm if you have a cold
1 Tablespoon - Hibiscus : Vitamin and mineral powerhouse (especially C) + digestion boost
1/2 Tablespoon - Elderberry : Immunity Boosting + Vitamin Rich (again, especially C)
1 Tablespoon - Ginger : Warming, Detoxing, Anti-Viral, Anti-Microbial, Alkalizing, Digestive boost
1 Tablespoon - Rose hips : Tangy and Vitamin C rich- 1 cup has 901% Vitamin C content!
1/4 Tablespoon - Echinacea : Extreme immune system booster, helps prevent + heal colds
1 Teaspoon - Stevia Leaf : Natural sweetener with no affect of glycemic levels, diabetic safe

Serving Instructions




Add the loose tea to warm (not boiling, it can burn off some of the healing constituents) water and steep for 5 to 15 minutes. For a stronger batch (if you like a stronger flavor, of it you're sick), mix 1 tablespoon to one cup of water. For a less potent brew, 1 to 2 tablespoon(s) to 3 cups of water makes a tasty tea.



You can give this tea is a simple silver tin, in draw-string bags or in simple small plastic bags. Labels or a little instruction card on how to brew it or with the ingredients and its uses above makes this tea extra special. If you have trouble sourcing the herbs for this at a local health food store (or have none available online) Bulk Apothecary is a good place to start. And of course, Amazon is a good place to comparison shop.

If you don't make this exact blend, I hope this has you thinking creatively about blending something tasty and/or healthy to give out as gifts for the holidays! I like how you can make a large batch of food at once and bottle it up for friends and family.
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