September 6, 2014

DIY Natural All Purpose Cleaner

I've made a few cleaners over the years, but this is now my favorite. I don't know that I will be purchasing cleanser again. I love this mix that much. I'm also enjoying changing up the scent with essential oils too.

All Purpose Cleaner
2 cups water ( I use filtered )
1 T baking soda
½ cup white vinegar
juice of one lemon
10-15 drops of essential oil - some blends I like are (5) lemon + (10) peppermint,
(5) lemon + (10) lavender, (5) lemon + (10) tea tree, (10) grapefruit + (5) thyme

Heat one cup of water and dissolve the baking soda in it. When the baking soda is completely dissolved add the other cup of water.

Add the remaining ingredients in order. Stir. Pour into spray bottle. Shake before use.

Tips:
Make sure to add the ingredients the way the recipe is written or you will have a nice chemical reaction on your hands and it will make a mess. * see 3rd grade volcano experiment.

Don't use on stone counter tops.

Bacteria Busting Essential Oils - cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, pine, tea tree, thyme grapefruit, lime.

September 3, 2014

For the love of indigo.


I don't know what it is about indigo that keeps me so captivated. It might be it's high contrast, the new age belief that it influences our intuition and perception, or it's long history.

It's both a color and a dye. It's been fought over until it was able to be synthesized in the late 1800's. Indigo has been utilized in art and textiles for centuries in Japan, Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, and Ancient Britain. Just to name a few.

It holds my attention and I just want to wrap myself in it. I even ( kind of ) enjoy it's pig shit scent when dying with it.

Any of you have a favorite indigo piece that you have had forever? Have you dyed with it?

images via ( from top left to right ): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 ( bought it ) | 8 | 9

P.S. Folk Fiber has some great blog posts on natural fabric dying.  

July 2, 2014

Taking the long way. Or my weight loss journey over the past year.



I have gained weight before, but it was hormonal. When Josh and I first got married I went on birth control and it most definitely did not agree with me. I have almost always eaten pretty healthy and that had not changed, plus I was still running and I gained a good twenty pounds.

After getting off birth control and running distance for a few months the weight melted away and stayed away for years. I ran and waited tables and I was fit.

Then I went back to school. The stress and time constraints made exercise a bit harder, but I kept it up. Inspite of that I gained 8-10 pounds in school. Then I started working at a studio right away. I was running 3-5 miles 3x a week and still gaining weight. After 4 years at a desk I was 20 pounds bigger and not very happy about it. 

I had already learned the lessons of calorie in calorie out not working, but I decided that all I needed to do was run more. I started running 5x a week again, but my weight would not budge. Would NOT budge. I ask my doctor about it and she said (after testing my thyroid, which was normal) that my 25 miles a week wasn't going to cut it because I was just sitting too much. 

I was learning to program more and spending a ton of time on the computer. I knew that 2+ hours of exercise a day was not sustainable and started to fret that I was going to be living like this until menopause at which time I would grow to be a house.

I had mostly cut grains out of my diet since Josh and I had done GAPS, but I decided to try a completely paleo plan and that's when I did the Whole30. I lost around 10 pounds doing the Whole30 and continued eating paleo, but didn't lose any additional weight. I kept drinking to the weekends and that also seemed to help keep the weight off. 

Then enter last Fall 2013. I made two major changes. Josh and I adopted Zeke and I started doing a 5 day - 2 day intermittent fast every week. The weight finally decided to start consistently dropping. 

I stopped running. I don't think it was working for me anymore. Having a dog has really helped me because I walk him every single day. Weekend or not for at least 40 min. I think that consistency in exercise has helped quite a bit. I would prioritize other things over exercise for myself, but I would feel like a complete ass if I did that to a little dog.

So a bit about intermittent fasting… I saw a PBS special on it with Dr. Michael Mosley. I only caught the end, but it seemed very promising. I have read a bit about calorie restriction and prolonged longevity, but this seemed like something I could actually do.

I looked up what 5/2 week looked like and why it worked. It's pretty simple for the days that you fast if you are a woman you consume 500 calories and if you are a man you get 600 calories. I'm not a calorie counter. I don't have the patience, so I decided that I would have my normal 2 eggs in the morning and skip eating the rest of the day until dinner. I usually have whatever I want for dinner. You would think I would binge, but I don't. I usually do Monday and Wednesday, but if something in my social schedule conflicts I just switch the day. 

Fasting has other benefits too. Longevity which I mentioned before. It helps protect you from age related illness, such as cancer. It turns on your repair genes. Even short term fasting does that, which is kind of amazing. 

I know everyone worries about being hungry and not having the brain power on the fasting days. I feel like that hasn't been an issue for me after week 2, but I would adjust the plan to meet your needs if that is the case for you. Some people don't eat breakfast or dinner and eat a large lunch. 

If I feel super hungry I make sure I'm hydrated. Water usually cuts any craving for me. In the winter I drank a lot of herbal tea, since it's a little hotter I'm drinking more iced tea and spa water.

Once you get to your goal weight you're supposed to switch to fasting only one day a week. I'm not quite there yet, but I will be soon.

So, anyone else done this? Tempted to try it?

images via: 1 | 2

June 25, 2014

DIY Wedding Flowers.




There will be nothing styled about the photos from this post. I don't even have pictures of the flowers in place, because I was working, working, working on the flowers. The boutonnieres had pins and ribbons to finish them off. I thought I would share in spite of all that.

My sister in law, Gina, got married this last weekend on the Solstice and I offered to do the flowers for her. We had a pinterest floral board and we had done a dry run at the LA Floral Mart a couple weeks before the wedding, so that I knew we were on the same page and I would know where to go when the time came.

I ordered some David Austin garden roses from a wholesaler in Carlsbad and picked them up on our way up to LA. The first day I did 3 table arrangements for the rehearsal dinner I composed those with coral spray roses, bright green mums, astilbe, bougainvillea, and star jasmine. The bougainvillea and star jasmine were pilfered from the silverlake neighborhood we were staying in.

I gridded out the vases with waterproof tape and built from there. I was really surprised by how well the bougainvillea held up. The arrangements only got better over the last few days.

As for the day of flowers I made:

1 floral crown for the flowergirl
6 boutonnieres
2 corsages
1 bridal bouquet
1 moh bouquet
12 tabletop arrangements
3 larger arrangements
1 cake topper

Flowers used:

Pepper Tree cuttings from around town
Fig Vine cuttings thx to Allison and Matt
Thistle
Something that looked like pink pinecones - aka I have no idea what it is called
Kale
Dahlias
Garden Roses
Spray Roses
Roses
Scabiosa
Scabiosa Pods
Queen Anne's Lace
Double-Flower Lisianthus

I started with the floral crown by making a few bunches and arranging them on a copper wire that I shaped and turned the ends into loops that I could string ribbon through. After making that I had a good idea of what I wanted the boutonnieres to look like, so I made those next.

I made a sample of the tabletop arrangements and my sister, Caley, made the rest of those. Then it was on to the Bride's bouquet. By then I was hitting a wall and I was a little nervous to dive in, so I started wiring the garden roses and bunching small vignettes together (can you say thank god for floral tape). I think it turned out great.

After that was done I moved on to the MOH bouquet and that was easy because I just made it smaller and riffed on what I had done for the bride. Then it was on to the larger arrangements and cake topper.

I will say after doing this and getting to take home some of the arrangements I'm most definitely going to have flowers around my home more. Even though I was under pressure I had a great time being creative with nature. It did my heart good.

* Pro-tip buy the preservative it was well worth it. Even overnight out of water my bouquet looked amazing.

I bought all the tools I needed at the floral mart. It was way cheaper than a craft store or purchasing online. For instance the preservative was around 9 bucks compared to 20 on Amazon.

I know this isn't a great step-by-step tutorial, but I thought I would share that it can be done. If you have any questions please comment and I will do my best to answer them for you.

June 16, 2014

A Quick Cacao Drink + What I'm Looking Through.



I'm loving the end of this Spring and can't wait for the Solstice. My sister in law is getting married on the Solstice in LA. I'm looking forward to seeing her marry a great man. Plus it's going to be great to see and hang out with family.

Those stacks of books up there have been making me happy. Remodelista does not disappoint and if you know me don't be surprised if you receive a Plant Recipe as a gift in the future. I'm doing the flowers for the wedding, so I've been looking for some inspiration and The Flower Recipe Book does not disappoint. Although if I had to choose I think I would buy The Plant Recipe Book over the flower.

There's this raw cacao drink that I sometimes pick up at Whole Foods or Jimbo's, but it's pricy, so today when I needed a Monday pick me up I concocted my own.

Cacao Mint Drink

1 ½ - 2 ½ T Cacao powder (approx 1.5 T)
3 - 5 drops of Sweet Leaf vanilla stevia (only kind I like)
3 -5 drops of Peppermint Spirits or Muddled Mint leaf
14 oz filtered water and or coconut milk

I heated the water and added it to the cacao powder and just stirred it together. Then added the stevia and peppermint to taste. It was really good. Had it not been a fasting day (I've been meaning to post on this) I would have added coconut milk or almond milk.

This drink is super energizing and a great alternative to coffee.


May 29, 2014

Outdoor Living.


I don't go out in my backspace much except to water, cook or check on Zeke sunbathing, but I know it could be an awesome space if I put a little effort into it. I have some super rusted out chairs that Josh keeps telling me are going to give someone tetanus if I allow them to sit on them. I either need to take them to get powder coated or sell them and replace with something else.

Above is my dream furniture for the space. If you like this sort of thing you can follow all my outdoor love on my pinterest board. Next I'm going to map out the plant life I would like to have.

images from top left to right: saddle chair | rug | lights | love seat | sling chair | plant stand | blanket | succulents

May 22, 2014

My Aromatherapy Library.



I want to answer Colleen's question about my blends. I have been using aromatherapy for a long time now. I think I bought my first book on it in high school. Here's what I have read and use:

The Aromatherapy Book by Jeanne Rose
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Woorwood
Aromatherapy Scent and Psyche by Peter and Kate Damian
The Essential Oils Deck by Hope Gillerman and Joan Arnold

I also have a ton of body care books. Maybe I'll do another post on those.

All of these resources have blends for specific things, but I find that the more you use essential oils the more you get to know what works for you. Scent and Psyche has an awesome section on chakra blends that I like to use when mixing. The Complete Book has a lot of combos for very specific ailments. It has entire sections on female and male issues, which I really like to reference. One combo I love is:

Loss of Memory and Concentration Blend: Basil (8 drops), Grapefruit (10 drops), Lavender (7 drops), Rosemary (5 drops)

She gets super specific on her stress formula's too, which I really like. She explains what stimulates and what relaxes, so you can make your own blends for each situation. I find that thinking in this way helps me realize how I'm feeling and that assessment alone is valuable to get me into the present moment.

There are so many ways to use essential oils. You can use them in carrier oils for blends you can rub on in massage or for pressure points, add to body oils or lotions, diffusing oil, on a tissue for inhalation, massage and bath oils, facial oils, and/or you can add them to soaps or for dry brushing.
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