Friday, February 24, 2012

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week


Last week I went to my podiatrist and was confirmed a diagnosis of tenosynovitis, which is basically just inflammation of the protective sheath around the tendon in my foot. While it's not anything really serious right now, it does cause intense pain throughout my foot and up my leg, which often prevents me from being my regular, zany self. I've already tried physical therapy, two weeks of rest (not as fun as it sounds!), and custom orthotics (yes, like the ones old people wear)--none of which have made a darn bit of difference.

So, in an attempt to at least control my symptoms, I sought to find an herbal remedy for inflammation. In my research, I found that both turmeric and ginger can be helpful in treating inflammation. Because turmeric is not readily available at my local drugstore, I decided to give ginger a try (plus, I'm kind of obsessed with ginger right now for whatever reason). If taking turmeric, try 400-600 mg  three times daily. If using ginger, take 500-1,000 mg twice daily. Be patient, though--it can take up to two months to see the results. With that said, I'll check in with you guys again after a few months and let you know if my symptoms subside!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Help Fund a Dream

In the past year, I've spent a majority of my daydreaming imagining the possibility of someday opening up my own botanical shop, where I would sell my handmade bath products and candles. While this dream will be years away for me, I recently found out about a great shop who is trying to make a similar dream happen by this spring!

I've been a fan of Ophelia's Apothecary for quite awhile now and I truly admire the yummy products they've developed and the lovely business they have created. Ophelia's Apothecary is currently online on Etsy and on their website, and now they are planning to open their very own brick-and-mortar shop in their hometown of Branson, Missouri. But in order to do this, they need some help in raising the remaining funds. So many of us today are struggling financially, but we still have the desire to make our dreams come true. Please visit Ophelia's Apothecary on IndieGoGo and, if you can, contribute to help support what is sure to be a beautiful shop!

The two women of Ophelia's Apothecary are so inspiring. As if starting your own business isn't hard enough, Heather and Deborah have managed to build a successful handmade business while living with chronic illness. You can read more about their inspiring story and get updates on their progress with the new shop on their IndieGoGo page.What are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week


We've had a fairly mild winter so far, which has certainly reduced the effect of those dreadful winter blues. But every once in awhile, on cold and gray days, I still find myself feeling tired and unmotivated. It's especially tough after coming home from a long, stressful day at work and then trying to gear up to exercise or go to yoga.

To help battle the blues, I figured I'd turn to aromatherapy and see what I could find in the way of energizing essential oil blends. I came across this great recipe for a eucalyptus spritzer on Aura Cacia's website. The combination of minty, floral, and citrus tones sounds like the perfect remedy for getting you energized and ready to move!

Eucalyptus Workout Spritzer
(From Aura Cacia)
This activating formula is great to carry in the gym. Whenever a workout routine needs a little boost, simply spritz your face lightly and inhale the fresh, invigorating aroma.
20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
40 drops lavender essential oil
20 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops petitgrain essential oil
10 dash spearmint essential oil
3 ounces distilled water
Add no more than 36 drops of this blend to 3 ounces of distilled water. Shake vigorously and add to a bottle with a spray atomizer attachment. Be sure to shake the bottle before each application.

Note: The directions say to spritz the mixture on your face, but because it has eucalyptus (which can be irritating on some skin types and can also be dangerous if it gets in your eyes), I would caution to spritz it on your body, and even your neck, but to be careful about getting it anywhere on your face.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week


I know I've been remiss in posting my Weekly Tips and believe me, I've really missed working on them! My day job has been insane, leaving me zero extra time to research a new topic. But I've finally put something together for you guys!

Ever since I did homemade soaps and shampoos for Christmas presents, I've been really excited to dive into the world of soap-making. In the bit of research that I've done so far, I could only really find details on making soap using lye (which can be very dangerous and kind of scares me as a newbie to soap-making) or pre-made bases (which often include a lot of synthetic ingredients, although I have found one or two places that make all-natural soap bases).

Finally, I stumbled across this post on an awesome blog called Crunchy Chicken, which features tons of information on sustainable and non-toxic living. In her post, Deanna Duke (the creator of Crunchy Chicken and author of The Non-Toxic Avenger) talks about a few plants that are naturally high in saponin, making them suitable as natural soap ingredients.

Bouncing Bet (also known as soapwort) is a great option because it grows in most areas of the United States, plus it has really pretty flowers  ;) Deanna also mentions that soapwort smells like cloves, which makes me so excited to start growing it! I am definitely adding this plant to my garden this spring. And when  I finally do try making soap with it, I'll be sure to share my own recipe and photos with you guys!

Here is the recipe that Deanna shares on her blog:

Bouncing Bet Natural Soap
1/2 cup fresh leaves and/or root (or 1/4 cup dried) soapwort
4 cups water (preferably distilled or rain water)

Add the leaves (and/or root) to the water and simmer until it becomes sudsy, about 20 minutes. 

For the full post on Crunchy Chicken, click here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The New Look Is Finally Here!

I spent all day yesterday making the first batch of candles using my brand-new amber glass jars and then spent most of this afternoon photographing them for Etsy. And I must say...they look amazing. I am seriously in love with them! I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my candles and one of the primary things I've wanted to update were my containers, so I am proud to finally introduce my new amber jars. They are exactly what I had envisioned in my mind for so long and I'm just so happy they came out as I had imagined. I love when that happens  ;)

Here's a little preview to pique your interest, but be sure to check them out on my Etsy shop too!