Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Come Clean: Mindful Cleaning With Natural Ingredients

Pin It Now!
The following are just a few of the countless 
examples of ways to use common,natural 
ingredients to clean and maintain your home.   
(Harsh chemicals need not apply)
For Your Home-

Bathtub scrub:
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 lemon
 Sprinkle the baking soda and squeeze the lemon juice into the tub.  Scrub and rinse.

Fruit/veggie wash:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a small spray bottle.  Spray on fruits/veggies and rinse.

Microwave steam cleaner:
  • 1/2 bowl water
  • 1/2 lemon
 Add the lemon to the water and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Wipe the inside clean.

Clean a stained cutting board:
  • 1/4 cup salt
Wipe the cutting board with a damp cloth, then apply the salt.  Let the salt sit for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse.

Brighten yellowed linens:
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon salt
Boil water and add baking soda and salt.  Add linens and boil for 1 hour.
"Forgotten load rescuer":
  • 2 cups vinegar 
To refresh a load of laundry forgotten in the washer, start the washer again with hot water and no soap.  Add 2 cups vinegar.  After the first cycle add the normal amount of soap.

Open a clogged drain:
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 quart boiling water
Pour salt in first, then follow with the baking soda.  Allow to sit for several hours, then flush with the boiling water.

For Your Body-

Remove a splinter:
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  •  2 quarts warm water
Mix the Epsom salt in the warm water and soak the afflicted area for 15 minutes.

Body and face scrub:
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/3 cup almond oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all ingredients and apply to wet skin.  Rinse and pat dry.

Soothe muscle aches:
  • 3 cup apple cider vinegar
Add vinegar to a warm bath and soak.

Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda, by Shea Zukowski. Metro Books, 2009.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Is This In Your Cosmetic Bag? This Isn't Pretty.

Pin It Now!
It seems this has been a busy couple of weeks for new reports emerging about toxins in common cosmetics. 

What I want to know is who, in the development of beauty products, suggests this?  How does one look at a product that will go on a human being and think that adding known carcinogens- such as lead or formaldehyde- is a good idea?? 

Does that developer then use the product herself?  Or allow her mother, sister or 
 daughter to use it?   

And how have we, as a culture and society, allowed this blind consumption?  Why don't demand transparency, information and education in the products that we will consume?  Think about it.

I've gathered a few links to share:

FDA Finds Lead In 400 Lipsticks, Proving Toxic Cosmetics Are A Legit Health Concern

Top 7 Toxic Ingredients To Avoid In Beauty Products

Brazilian Blowout Finally Admits Product Can Cause Cancer


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pretty Fly For a Pad Thai! Recipe for Veggie Pad Thai

Pin It Now!

We made a pretty great veggie Pad Thai last night.  I was a little intimidated as I'm not very experienced with Thai cooking, but this recipe was an absolute delight!  The sauce was light, a little sweet, and tangy.  And the crisp veggies paired nicely with the soft peanuts.  We have a favorite take-out place that serves a Pad Thai that is perfection- while this dish wasn't the exact same, it definitely gives it a run for the money! It'll be hard to order take-out knowing I can make this for less $, in my own kitchen (and know everything that went into my food, and where it came from).  

It goes like this:
  •  1 10 oz. package rice noodles (I used Udon noodles)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (abut 2 whole limes), plus wedges for serving (1 more lime)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 scallions 
  • 1 cup fresh asparagus
  • 1 cup mukimame beans,thawed (soy beans that have already been shelled)
  • 1/2 broccoli 
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts 

Prepare noodles as per package directions.  When there is about  5 minutes remaining add the fresh veggies (asparagus and broccoli) to the boiling water; cook and drain.  In the meantime, make the sauce: combine the lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar in a bowl; whisk.  Next, heat the oil in a large skillet, and cook the garlic 1-2 minutes.  Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, breaking up small.  When the eggs have cooked, turn off the heat, place them on a plate and set aside for a moment.  Add the noodles and veggies and the sauce to the warm skillet and toss.  Transfer to a large bowl, add the mukimame and eggs, toss.  Serve topped with cilantro, peanuts, scallions, lime wedges, and Sriracha chile sauce- if you like it hot.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For Your Face, From The Earth

Pin It Now!
Mindful is the word.  Expanding our ever evolving awareness, let us thrive as we begin to mind our intentions as well as our actions.  Our so-called "beauty routines" unfortunately often become a form of mindless torture to our skin.  Women daily slather their skin with anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, pore minimizing toxins in hopes of a flawless complexion.  When we work so hard at achieving what a photo shopped magazine cover or character on a television show  tells us we should be (whether consciously or subconsciously) we are admitting that we believe something is wrong with the way we are.  

This is where intention is key- just as with exercise, when a "beauty routine" is meant to change oneself with the belief that one is not right in the first place, an intention of punishment, it is an action that is harmful to the body and soul.  Conversely, when we work to maintain and care for our bodies and souls out of love it is an action of healing and wellness.  Think of the endless diets that fail or gym memberships that expire unused.  When we begin a diet or exercise routine with the belief that we have to because our bodies are wrong, this is an act of self-hate.  By no means am I suggesting that we give up healthy diets, regular exercise, or a daily routine that makes us feel even more beautiful- I simply wish to promote the idea that we do these things mindfully.  A mindful, healthy diet, regular exercise and beauty routines should be done for ourselves- a gift of love- not in spite of ourselves.  

Our bodies are beyond amazing- think of the thousands of actions happening at a cellular level at any given second- we need to be mindful, appreciative and respectful of ourselves.  Our bodies, after all, are ourselves, not something we possess.   

Here are some beautifying facial treatments that are from the earth, and an act of love for yourself:
  • For dry skin-
    • Use an herbal cleanser.  Combine 2 oz. aloe vera gel with one teaspoon grapeseed oil, one teaspoon glycerin, 1/2 teaspoon grapefruit seed extract, 8 drops of sandalwood oil, and 4 drops rosemary oil; shake well; apply to face and rinse.
    • Make a calendula-and-cream moisturizing mask.  Mix 1/4 cup and whipping cream, 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons mashed avocado, 1 teaspoon calendula petals, and 1 teaspoon lavender flowers; let sit for 5-10 min.; then whip; apply to skin and leave on for at least 5 minutes. (This mask can also prevent infection).
  • For oily skin-
    • Make a strawberry and lavender clay mask.  Combine 1 tablespoon facial clay (available from health food stores) with 1 tablespoon witch hazel, 1 mashed strawberry, and 1 drop of lavender oil.  Apply to face, avoiding eyes; leave on 10-15 min.; rinse with warm water.   

Recipes from
Herbs That Heal; Natural Medicine at Its Best, By Arden Moore, Bridget Doherty, and the Editors of Prevention Health Books for Women.  Rodale Press, 1999.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Repurposing Round-Up!

Pin It Now!

What is Repurposing?
Repurposing means to use an object in a way other than was originally intended. Sometimes called Up-cycled or Re-styled.

Re-purposing is a mindset,
a way of seeing things 
for what they are and 
what they could be.
“Bates Lowry in the introduction to his book, "The Visual Experience" notes:
Looking and seeing are as different 
as babbling and speaking.
To look means that our eyes operate only to the extent that they keep us from being hit by a car, assist us in learning the news, or amuse us through television.....
Most people only look and do not see.”

"Frederick Franck in "Zen Seeing/Zen Drawing" argues:
We when learn to see, our brain acts to process visual information based on knowledge gained from prior experiences.”

Before you throw anything away 
PLEASE ask yourself,
  • Is this object really Use-LESS??
  • Can I find a new or different way to use this?
  • Could someone else find a use for it?
 Let's get inspired with some lovely pics of repurposing projects...
Image courtesy of:
Image courtesy of:

Oversized, Vintage
Message Board
Don't turn your back on an old mattress. Hang a mattress spring on the wall for a one-of-a-kind, oversized message board.

Cottage-Style Display Shelf
When you think an item has no functionality, think again. A small, brightly colored stepladder on the wall to function as a display shelf and eye-pleaser


Salvaged Home Office
This home office is filled with items from the junkyard. Sawhorses make up the legs of the desk, a wood pallet works as the desktop and an old ladder provides the framework From:
Headboard Rack
A vintage headboard is given new life as a hanging rack. The designer painted the headboard white and attached a rack with hooks, transforming the headboard into a towel or coat rack for guests.  From:
Repair: No Damage Here
Damaged furniture doesn't have to be thrown away. Marian Parsons suggests hiding imperfections on furniture with decoupage. She used aged sheets of music to hide imperfections on this neglected dresser, while also giving the all-white bedroom a shabby chic look. Other items great for decoupaging furniture are maps, book pages, letters and postcards. "The treatment will hide gouges, water marks, missing veneer and other signs of abuse on furniture," she says. Decoupaging furniture will also add dimension and distinct style to a room.  From: