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

Hydrating Lemon Sugar Scrub DIY

  
via I Save A to Z

One of my favorite steps in my skincare routine is exfoliating. There is something that is so satisfying about sloughing off all of the dead skin, oil, and dirt that has accumulated on my complexion at the end of the day. My skin is very sensitive though, and so I have to be careful about the exfoliants I use (anytime a product contains crushed shells of any kind – case in point, the walnut shells in St. Ives Apricot scrub, my face freaks out). Lately I’ve taken to making my own face scrubs as opposed to buying them and I find that they work just as well and are a lot gentler on the skin. This lemon scrub is my favorite as it is very hydrating but balances the oil production in my skin with astringent lemon juice. It also smells like lemon merengue pie and takes five minutes to make. In fact, you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. Here’s how it’s done. 

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 Cup – Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup – Course Sea Salt
  • Coconut Oil or Jojoba Oil (enough to get a fluffy, snow-like consistency)
  • 1 tsp – Almond Oil
  • 1 Vitamin E Capsule
  • 1 tsp – Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp – Lemon Juice

Put the sugar and salt in a small bowl and gradually add the oils until you get the consistency you want for your scrub (I like mine to be light and fluffy). Next, split open a vitamin E capsule and stir it into your mixture. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and stir until everything is completely mixed. Store in a mason jar or air-tight container. You don’t have to keep it in the fridge as it keeps pretty well for a few weeks, but I do like the feeling of using this mask on my face when it is nice and cold.

To Use: Massage onto damp skin in circular motions. Rinse off with cold water and pat dry. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer or facial oil.

So there you have it, easy peasy. I really love this scrub and find that it is gentle enough to use every other day (and my skin is very sensitive). The oils hydrate and protect your skin’s natural barrier while the lemon juice tones and brightens the skin. For those of you that may try it, let me know how you feel about the results!

xoxo,

Alicia

The Best (Gross) Hair Mask Ever

 

diy-nourishing-hair-mask

I have been using face masks on my skin for years to keep it healthy, glowy, and in tip-top shape but I used to neglect my hair and would simply slather it in mousse, gel, or hairspray to keep my naturally curly hair frizz-free and manageable (albeit crunchy and lackluster). A couple of weeks ago I was having an indulgent night at home (Netflix, a face mask, popcorn, and Ben & Jerry’s ‘The Tonight Dough’ ice cream were all happening) and I decided to do a simple hair mask. I googled natural hair care ingredients and found that honey, coconut oil/olive oil, and egg were all consistently listed as excellent, nourishing conditioners for the hair. The egg enriches the hair with proteins and nutrients while the oil deeply hydrates the hair. The honey acts as a natural humectant, drawing more moisture into each strand. It also has natural anti-bacterial/fungal properties and helps to kill the fungus that causes dandruff.  I was initially grossed out by the idea of putting a raw egg in my hair (it smells funny y’all) but I decided to include it anyways to see if it would actually benefit my consistently dehydrated hair. Needless to say, this simple but effective hair mask has become a part of my regular beauty routine. While I have used both coconut and olive oil, I find olive oil to be much more hydrating for my hair (although it is heavier). This mask works wonders on parched, colour-treated, and curly hair. Yes, massaging an egg into your hair is gross, but trust me, the silky Princess hair that you will be rewarded with afterwards will make it worth it. Here’s how it’s done.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

DIRECTIONS

1 // This hair mask is honestly so easy to make, it’s ridiculous. First things first, scoop 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil into a little bowl. If you choose to use coconut oil, heat it up in the microwave so that it melts from its natural solid state. Next, crack an egg into the oil and whisk it until it is well blended. Lastly, add the honey. I use liquid honey, but if you do choose to use solid honey, heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds so that it melts. Mix it all together until it’s smooth and well blended.

2 // When you put the mask in your hair, I would recommend doing so over the sink because it can get messy, and the last thing anyone wants is a raw egg, honey, and oil splashed all over the bathroom. Bend your head over, and massage the mask into your hair and scalp, trying to get as much of the mask into your hair as you can without letting any run down the drain. I like to focus on the ends of my hair because they are always super dry with the most damage. Finally, wrap your head in a towel and let the mask sink in for as long as you can stand. I would recommend waiting at least fifteen minutes. I usually leave it in for an hour or two while I relax and watch TV so that it really gets the chance to penetrate the strands of my hair.

3 // When you are ready to wash it out, hop in the shower and rinse all of the mask off before applying conditioner. Rinse out the conditioner, shampoo as usual, and then apply conditioner again to your ends before rinsing with cold water. Comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb and let your hair dry naturally. Enjoy your ridiculously soft, shiny hair. Seriously, I feel like a bunny after I use this mask, my hair is so silky.

So there you are. I love this hair mask and use it once or twice a week to keep my naturally curly soft, hydrated and frizz-free. It has totally transformed my hair and I can’t recommend it enough. For those who give it a try, let me know how you feel about the results!

xoxo,

Alicia

Saturday Inspo

From a 3-ingredient strawberry sorbet to an off-beat illustrator that I found on Instagram, here are few things that have kept me inspired this week.

  1. Natalie Foss

Instagram is an amazing resource when it comes to looking for inspiration in fashion, art, decor, beauty etc. I found Natalie Foss, an artist from Orlo, Norway, while scrolling through my feed. Her style is quirky with a slightly dark, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. With bright colours and an aesthetic that reminds me of the psychedelic sixties, @natillustration is a must follow.

2. Vancouver-inspired candles

Okay. I have a candle addiction that borderlines on out of control. There’s nothing I love more than unwinding at the end of the day with some scented candles, a good book, music and a bath. I discovered Vancouver Candle Co. by chance when walking into a delightful little boutique in Abbotsford called Montrose and George. With a range of scents inspired by different parts of Vancouver, neighbourhoods like Kitsilano, Fairview, Mount Pleasant and Gastown have been interpreted into different fragrances. I have always had a soft spot for historic Gastown and love the amber, tobacco, and leather scent that truly does evoke images of century old brick buildings and rustically stylish cafes and restaurants.

3. Ridiculously yummy (and healthy!) three-ingredient sorbet

I love icecream. I really do. So much so in fact, that I have started making my own so that my figure doesn’t reflect my addiction to frozen dairy. This recipe is ridiculously easy. All you need is a blender, frozen fruit, sugar, and water (or coconut milk or yogurt depending on your taste). Simply blend and freeze in a container. It really is delicious and if you swap the sugar for stevia it is actually super healthy.

4. Five awesome tips for a salon-worthy manicure at home

While I love the indulgence of getting my nails professionally painted, I rarely take the time to get it done. One reason being that I have a tendency to chip my nails within minutes of getting them done. Luckily, I am pretty good at doing my own nails and have found that with a little bit of googling and tutorials from Youtube, the manicures I give myself are nearly as good (cost free). It’s also a fun way to relax at the end of the day. I typically paint my nails while indulging in a Netflix binge. This site has a lot of great tips on how to get salon-worthy nails at home.

5. The perfect minimalist, everyday handbag

are-studio-arc-bag

via ARE Studio

It’s sometimes said that you are either a shoe person or a handbag person. I definitely fall into the bag lady camp. I once lined up all my purses on my bed and took a picture. I definitely have more bags than I need but I can’t help but fall in love over and over with different brands and styles. ARE Studios, a brand from Los Angeles, makes the most amazing, sleek, minimalistic styles that are perfect for everyday. For drool-worthy arm candy, no one does it better than the brand’s designer Cecilia Bordarampe.

xoxo,

Alicia