DIY Exfoliating Pumpkin Face Mask

Face masks are truly one of my favourite indulgences. While there are a bunch of masks I love (especially LUSH’s Oatifix and Sand & Sky’s Australian Pink Clay Mask), it is fun, and cost-effective, to make your own. This fall-inspired formula is one of my favourite recipes. With enzyme-rich pumpkin purée to exfoliate, yogurt and oatmeal to soothe, honey to moisturize and lavender to clarify, it leaves my skin silky and noticeably brighter. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself! You will be hooked.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp Pumpkin Purée
  • 2 Tbsp Organic Plain Yogurt
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Absolute
  • 1 Tsp Liquid Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Oatmeal
  • 1/2 Tsp Lavender Essential Oil
  • liquid-honey-Face-Mask pumpkin-purée-Face-Mask-diydoterra-Lavender-Essential-Oil-Face-Mask
  • DIRECTIONS

    1 // Measure out your ingredients and add them to a bowl.

    2 // Mix well until the mask is a smooth, easy-to-spread paste. If it’s too thick, add a little bit more yogurt and pumpkin purée. If it’s too runny, add more oatmeal. Easy-peasy.

    3 // Spread a thin layer over your face and leave it on for 15 minutes.

    4 // Wash the mask off and admire your smooth and silky face! Dab on a bit of your favorite moisturizer to lock in some hydration.

    And voila! This is a super easy-to-make mask and it’s incredibly nourishing and exfoliating. It also smells ah-maaazing. Give it a try and then immediately report back on how much you love it (or hate it, but I doubt it).

    xoxo,

    Alicia

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    A Bite Of A Poison Apple

    Ruby red lips, waist-cinching tea dresses, a cute little bob adorned with a silk bow – Snow White may have been the fairest of them all but she also had style more wicked than the queen who sought out to have her killed. Lately a matte painted lip has been my go-to beauty look, inspired by sweet miss Snow White. Take it from me, there is NOTHING that will make you look more glamorous or put together, even if you are rocking second day hair and a sweater with bleach stains like I am today. Lush velvet, intricate brocade, ornate embroidery and oh-so-delicate lace – these are the staples of fairy-tale fashion. Need a few examples? Scroll on for elegant ensembles that would make Snow White herself swoon and Prince Charming want more than a kiss.

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    1 // Dynamite – Off-The-Shoulder Crop Top in Snow White

    2 // NARS – Semi-Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red

    3 // Alexander McQueen – Gothic Fairytale Mini Skirt

    4 // R&M Richards – Nightway Sparkle-Embellished Tulle Gown

    5 // Stella + Ruby – Rose Drop Earrings

    6 // Masscob – Floral Brocade Trousers

    7 // Xerjoff – Alexandria li Eau De Parfumerie

    8 // Kemekiss – Mary-Jane Pumps in Red Suede

    9 // St. Xavier – Damask Velvet Clutch

    10 // Macy’s – Lab-Created Ruby & White Sapphire Sterling Silver Ring

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    Homemade Strawberry Ice-cream

    As we are getting into fall, you would think I would be craving cozy meals like soup, stew or chili. While I love a comfort meal on a brisk autumn day, ice-cream is season-less and this strawberry ice-cream has my mouth watering whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here’s how to make it!

    YOU’LL NEED

    INGREDIENTS

    • 2 Cups Of Cream
    • 2 Cups Of Whole Milk
    • 1.5 Cups Of Sugar
    • 1 Package Of Strawberries
    • 1.5 Teaspoon Of Vanilla
    • Drop Or Two Of Red Food Colouring (Optional)

    DIRECTIONS

    1 // First things first, cut off the stems of your berries and chop them up into small cubes (approx. 1/4 inch pieces). They don’t have to be exact, just small enough so that they are easily mashed and don’t appear as giant chunks in your ice-cream.

    2 // Use a fork or potato masher to mash your berries into a jam-like consistency. They should be soupy so that the strawberry juice is able to effectively flavour your milk and cream.

    3 // Measure out your milk and cream into a large bowl and add your strawberries to the mixture. Whisk until the berries are completely incorporated into the base of your ice-cream.

    4 // Add the sugar, food colouring and vanilla to your ice-cream mixture and whisk for four minutes or until completely blended. The milk should be a little bit frothy at this point. For those who are weary of sugar, feel free to experiment with other natural sweeteners. The flavour won’t be exactly the same, but the strawberries and vanilla really are the stars of the show, so don’t be afraid to play and adjust the sweetness to your taste. I just find that the cup and a half of sugar really make the flavour of the berries pop.

    5 // Pour your ice-cream mixture into your machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    6 // Once frozen, either serve or store in an airtight container if you would prefer your ice-cream to have a firmer consistency. It has a soft-serve texture when it’s fresh out of the ice-cream machine. Freezing it for a few more hours (or better yet, over night) gives it a texture that is more like the traditional ice-cream we are all used to.

    7 // Enjoy! It has a fresh berry flavour that is a little more tart than store-bought versions. It pairs well with a touch of coconut whipped cream, berry compote, chocolate syrup and/or desiccated coconut.

    Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    DIY Stress Relieving Whipped Body Butter


    Photo via Poppy Talk 

    In the interest of full disclosure, here’s a little tidbit of information about me – I’m as high strung as they come and have battled varying degrees of anxiety for years. I’ve been a chronic worrier since I was a kid, and while some days are more challenging than others, I do feel that over the years I have found a few things that make me feel better and keep me calm. Some of these things include yoga, going for a brisk walk, painting, or lighting scented candles and taking a bath. These are little comforts for me and I believe that self-pampering and aromatherapy really help to soothe my mind and body. I love essential oils and I find that certain scents have an especially positive effect on my mood. Lavender, rose, ylang-ylang, and vanilla are my favorites and when they are combined, they instantly send me to dreamland. Essential oils also have a lot of effective beautifying properties as well, so what better way is there to reap their stress-relieving benefits than by using them to make an all natural body butter? This particular recipe results in a rich, whipped texture that reminds me of white chocolate mousse, although trust me, you don’t want to eat it. With only two ingredients comprising the actual body butter, it is really easy to make, and you can totally customize this recipe with your own essential oil combinations if you’re not a fan of my soothing blend. It’s totally up to you! Read on for a stress-free mind and super soft skin!

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
    • 1/2 Cup Shea Butter
    • 3 Drops Rose Absolute
    • 1 Tsp Rose Water
    • 1 Drop Frankincense Essential Oil
    • 1 Drop Lavender Essential Oil
    • 1 Drop Vanilla Absolute
    • 1 Drop Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

    DIRECTIONS

    1 // Measure the coconut oil (it should be solid) and shea butter into a medium bowl. Add rose water and stir with a spoon until well blended.

    2 // Blend the buttery mixture with egg beaters or a hand mixer until soft peaks start to form. Set aside. 

    3 // Add essential oils to your partially whipped mixture. Blend further until stiff peaks form.

    4 // Spoon mixture into an empty and clean mason jar. Store in a cool dry place. If you’re giving it away as a gift, feel free to dress the jar up with dried rose petals, lavender buds, ribbon, and/or twine. Get creative! 

    5 // Enjoy your gorgeously floral scented, silky smooth skin!

    If you give this a try, let me know what your verdict is! Also, I’m always on the lookout for beauty DIYs, so please let me in on a few of your favorites!

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    High Tea at Home


    I am someone who truly believes that almost all problems can be made a little better with tea. Happy? Sad? Peeved? Tea is the answer to everything. My love of tea has definitely been passed down by my mom. Ever since I was a little girl she would collect tea cups and teas. Some of my earliest memories as a child are of hosting tea parties with my dolls as the guests and my mom pretending to sip on invisible tea. Flash forward 18 years and I still love tea parties. My mom and I especially love sitting down for high tea, although it has always been a special and infrequent treat because of how expensive it is. I started thinking about ways that I could recreate that luxe high tea experience at home and I came up with these 5 tips and tricks. Here’s how to host an intimate and elevated high tea experience at home and without breaking the bank.

    1. Break out the pretty china.

    Save your university mugs for another time. High tea is the time to channel your inner Marie Antoinette and bring out dishes, cups and cutlery that look like little works of art. It will just add to the whole experience and impress your guests to boot.

    2. Set the mood with scents.

    Our sense of smell is deeply entwined with our memories and emotions. Though it may seem simple, lighting a scented candle, burning some incense, or putting out a dish of potpourri can really create a beautiful atmosphere. You can also choose specific scents depending on the season or occasion – for example, I love soft floral scents in the spring and summer, and woody candles in the fall and winter.

    3. Prep some salty and sweet appetizers.

    You can’t have a high tea without serving some nibbles! It’s always best to serve a variety of different flavours, with savoury and sugary options to please all of your guests’ tastes.


    4. Keep a variety of teas.

    This may seem obvious, but it’s important to have a few different options on hand to suit your guests’ preferences. Some people only drink green tea, while others prefer classic black. It’s also a good idea to offer a herbal tea as well, just in case someone is sensitive to caffeine. Keep things interesting with a variety of flavours – think floral jasmine, sweet vanilla, and classic earl grey.


    5. Leave a lasting impression.

    It’s always a sweet touch to have a little takeaway token prepared to give your guests when they leave. They don’t need to be big or expensive, just a small gift to thank your guests for coming and to remind them of your high tea! Handmade gifts have a personal touch that you just can’t get from a store, and I love the idea of centering your gift around, what else? Tea. And how cute are these tea cup planters?!

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    Chocolate Face Mask DIY


    Photo via Hello Glow

    Let’s face it – most of us are addicted to chocolate. And while my favorite way to indulge with this sweet treat is to eat it, cocoa (what chocolate is made from) is actually packed full of antioxidants and other nutrients that are great for your complexion. This mask DIY is inspired by the ever-so-popular Cupcake mask from LUSH, but with my own tweaks to make it more moisturizing and suitable for my dry and sensitive skin. It’s comprised of only five ingredients and most of them can be found in your fridge. So kick back and relax with this super indulgent mask, a glass of wine, and your favorite Netflix series. Just try not to eat it! 

    WHAT YOU’LL NEED

    • 1 Tsp Cocoa Powder
    • 1/2 Cup Kaolin Powder
    • 1/2 Plain Yogurt
    • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Absolute
    • 1 Tsp Honey 

    Cocoa Powder – Rich in antioxidants, cocoa powder helps to detoxify your skin of the harmful free radicals in the environment. It gives the skin a healthy glow while keeping it supple and youthful.

    Kaolin – This absorbent clay sops up excess oil and purges skin of impurities. 

    Plain Yogurt – Unsweetened yogurt soothes irritated skin and acts as a natural moisturizer. The lactic acid also acts as a gentle exfoliant, dissolving dead skin cells.

    Vanilla Absolute – This yummy smelling essential oil calms redness and gives the skins a more even appearance.

    Honey – Honey has been used for centuries as a natural moisturizer and antiseptic. Not only does it zap zits and kill bacteria, it also acts as a humectant, drawing moisture from the environment and into your skin. 

    DIRECTIONS

    1) Measure out the dry ingredients (cocoa powder and kaolin) and set aside in a small bowl. Mix until the kaolin and cocoa powder are well blended. 

    2) Next add the yogurt, vanilla absolute, and honey. The mask should have a paste-like consistency that is similar to icing (it will smell like icing too!). If you don’t like the consistency of your mask, customize it by adding more yogurt or more kaolin. 

    3) Spread the mask over your entire face, avoiding the delicate area around your eyes. Leave on for ten minutes, then wash off and apply moisturizer. 

    4) Enjoy your silky soft, matte skin!

    If you give this mask a try, let me know what you think in the comments! I hope you enjoy it!

    xoxo,

    Alicia


    Au Naturel

    I have a ton of beauty products littering my life, ahem, vanity. Despite this fact, every now and then I like to put my Martha Stewart pants on and mix up my own skin elixirs using time tested natural ingredients, most of which can be found in my kitchen. What’s great about making one’s own beauty products, aside from it being a lot of fun, is that you can decide exactly what goes in it. This means that there will be no nasty preservatives or cheap, irritating ingredients coming in contact with your skin (mineral oil is the WORST and is in so many store bought moisturizers). You can also customize your potions to better suit your skin type, whether you have ultra sensitive skin or your complexion is a little more on the oily side. Below are four of my go-to beauty DIYs. They can all be made in five minutes out of four ingredients or less. So slice up some cucumber for your eyes, light a scented candle, and pamper yourself with an at home spa day.

    matcha-rose-yogurt-face-mask

    1 // Matcha Rose Face Mask

    Matcha (finely ground green tea) is chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that your skin loves. Rosewater is a natural humectant (draws moisture into the skin, keeping it hydrated) and has anti-aging and antibacterial properties that keeps your skin soft, supple, and youthful. Plain yogurt is incredibly soothing and helps to hydrate your skin while calming redness. This mask is very gentle and excellent for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. I like to do a mask like this two or three times a week to keep it in tip-top shape.

    Things You’ll Need

    • 1 tsp rose water
    • 2 tbsp matcha powder
    • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

    Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until the mask turns a pale green and is a creamy consistency. Spread it evenly over your face and leave on for 15 minutes before removing with a warm washcloth. Rinse your face with cold water and apply a light moisturizer to lock in the hydrating effects of the mask. Easy peasy.

    honey-lemon-sugar-scrub

    2 // Honey Lemon Sugar Scrub

    Honey has natural antibacterial and moisturizing properties, making it an excellent ingredient for fighting both acne and dry, flaky skin (combination complexions, this is your holy grail). Brown sugar softens skin and sloughs away blockages and dead cells, while olive oil deeply hydrates. Lemon juice is great for balancing oil production while brightening dull, tired skin. This scrub can be used on the face and the body. If your skin is sensitive, ease up on the lemon juice as it can be irritating for temperamental complexions. This is great for deep cleansing the skin, keeping it looking glowy and radiant. Because of the astringent lemon juice and scrubby sugar, I would not use this scrub more frequently than once or twice a week.

    Things You’ll Need

    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • Enough olive oil to get a fluffy consistency

    Combine ingredients in a bowl until you get a fluffy, snow-like consistency. Customize the mixture depending on your skin type – if your skin is dry, add more honey and olive oil, if your skin is oily, add extra lemon juice. Apply the mixture to your skin in gentle, circular motions. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry. Apply a light lotion to make your skin even more soft. Your face will feel like a baby’s tush, no joke.

    balancing-witch-hazel-lavender-chamomille-toner

    3 // Balancing Witch Hazel Toner

    Toner is an important, but all too often skipped step in most people’s beauty regimes. This simple version only has three ingredients but powerfully cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Witch hazel, a potent natural material in many clarifying skincare products, helps to kill acne-causing bacteria while balancing oil production. Lavender soothes the skin while acting as a mild astringent, and chamomile tea calms redness and irritation. Use this toner before bed to prep your skin for your moisturizer. Get ready to say ‘bye felicia’ to your pimples.

    Things You’ll Need

    • 1 cup of witch hazel
    • 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil
    • 1/2 cup of chamomile tea (brewed and cooled)

    Mix all of the ingredients well and strain into an air-tight bottle. Keep your toner stored in the fridge to keep it fresh – plus keeping it cold adds to the tingly-clean sensation you will feel when you use it. After cleansing, apply it to your face with a cotton ball. Don’t rinse it off and allow it to sink it before applying your moisturizer. This is my favorite toner and I find it really helps to ward off pimples, even during shark week when my hormones make me breakout like cray.

    coconut-argan-hair-mask

    4 // Coconut Argan Hair Mask

    If you have dry or curly hair like mine, this deeply hydrating mask is a god-send. Even if you don’t, it will help to keep your stresses glossy and softer than a baby bunny. I’ll tell you right now, the consistency is gross and it doesn’t smell great. I hate the smell of raw egg, but it is incredibly nourishing and helps to smooth the hair follicles while strengthening your strands and preventing breakages. Coconut and argan oil are also fantastic lightweight moisturizers that penetrate deeply into each strand, keeping your hair hydrated and unbelievable shiny. I use this mask once or twice a month (although I could stand to use it more) and it totally bans frizz, keeping my mane smooth and silky. I am also very prone to split-ends and this mask really prevents my strands from breaking, meaning that my hair stays a lot healthier in between hair cuts. It is worth braving the slightly unpleasant smell, and after you wash it out you will be rewarded with gorgeous, mermaid hair. You simply have to suck it up and let your hair soak it up.

    Things You’ll Need

    • 3 tbsp coconut oil
    • 1 tbsp argan oil
    • 1 egg

    Melt the coconut oil in the microwave so that it is a liquid consistency. Whisk it together with a whole egg and the argan oil and apply to your hair, focusing especially on the ends. Wrap your head in a shower cap (or towel if that’s all you have) and let the mask soak in for 30 mins to an hour. Afterwards, wash the mask out of your hair and shampoo and condition as you normally would. After using this mask, I like to apply leave in conditioner to enhance its hydrating effects. That being said, you don’t need to, and if your hair is oily you would be better off skipping it. Let your hair air dry and resist the urge to make everyone around you touch your silky soft hair.

    What did you think of these DIYs? Do you have any all natural beauty recipes you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!

    xoxo,

    Alicia