The mosquitos have been plentiful this year, I think due to the really wet Spring we had. While we have always had a lot at night, they seem to be making more daytime appearances. This past week, they got some bites in on my daughters before I could even get the bug spray on (we use Buzz Away, which works really well and can be found online or at your local Whole Foods).
We created this bedtime mosquito bite ritual to to keep the itchies from keeping them awake. It instantly helped the discomfort and the blend of chamomile and lavender (one of the most magical combinations EVER) calmed them closer to dreamland. My littlest was so relaxed, she even asked if she could soak her feet in it! :)
1 handful fresh chamomile (you can also use two dried chamomile tea bags)
1 small muslin bag full of oatmeal
1-2 drops lavender essential oil
- Chop the fresh chamomile and place into a glass bowl along with the muslin bag full of oatmeal.
- Pour just boiling water into the bowl, cover with a plate and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
- Squeeze the muslin bag to get all of the oaty goodness out.
- Add lavender essential oil and stir gently.
- Apply with cotton or a cloth as a compress to individual bug bites. Leave the compress on for 10 minutes, remove and allow the tea to dry on the skin.
You can also make a double or triple batch of this tea and pour it into a warm bath for soaking in. Or you can just stick your feet in it! :)
The tomatoes and basil are in abundance right now and are the subject of July's Mask of the Month - The Marinara!
While it may not seem a likely duo to slather on your skin, it is surprisingly refreshing on a hot summer day and great for those who have oily or acne prone skin. Tomatoes are full of Vitamin C, are astringent and have a cooling effect on the skin. They also contain lycopene, which offers powerful antioxidant protection to cells and can help boost skin cell function. Basil is antibacterial, makes a great treatment for acne/blemishes and is loaded with flavanoids, which also help to protect cell structure.
While you are at it, grab a few extra tomatoes and another handful of basil, add some fresh garlic and onions, chop it up and serve raw over your fave pasta. You will get all of the skin-loving benefits of the tomato and basil internally, then, too. Yum!
Let me know how if you try it and how it works for you! :)
1/2 small tomato or a few large cherry tomatoes
3-4 large basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon honey
- Blend ingredients in a small blender or food processor. This mask will be runny. You can use a clean, soft paintbrush to paint it on your skin. If you like a thicker mask, you can add a pinch of flour, kaolin clay or finely ground oats to make a more spreadable consistency.
- Apply mask to freshly cleansed and exfoliated skin.
- Leave on for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse well with warm water, followed by a splash of cool water.
- Finish with your favorite toner and moisturizer.
I was recently made aware of a new sunscreen called 3rd Rock Sunblock, an all-natural, earth friendly sunblock that has yet to even make it to mainstream store shelves. So I thought I'd give it a go!
3rd Rock markets its product as being not only sun care, by protecting from broad spectrum UVA and UVB rays, but also skin care, as it fights against free radicals and helps make skin stronger on a cellular level. The sun protection comes from zinc oxide. The skin care component comes from, in part, the inclusion of beta carotene (and other carotenoids) and Vitamins C and E, which bind with carotenoids to increase antioxidant protection, fighting free radicals and protecting skin cells.
3rd Rock also does not contain any endocrine disrupting chemicals, nor does the SPF break down with UV exposure (these are two common factors present in many popular sunscreens). The lotion is non-toxic, biodegradable and contains aromatherapeutic oils (mainly Frankincense) that assist in supporting and protecting skin cells.
I've been using it on myself and my daughters for about a week now and overall, it has really worked great as far as sun protection. It goes on like a lotion and soaks completely into skin after about 10 minutes. At first, it does have a bit of the chalky look that oxide sunscreens have, but it disappears when the lotion soaks in. It really stays on well during the day and I've found we can go much of the day without reapplying. It does need to be reapplied, though, after swimming.
The only thing I don't love about it is the fragrance, which is primarily from the Frankincense oil. I overlook this, though, since I know how awesome Frankincense oil is for skin (incredibly rejuvenating and protecting), but I think it would be great if they added a touch of Lavender, too :)
Overall, this is a keeper and will be added along with Lavera (which I like to use when my skin feels dry) to our sunblock rotation. You can purchase it on the 3rd Rock website, but I bought mine at Nourish MD, a holistic parenting website.
If you are looking for an all-natural, functional sunblock, I would recommend it!
Posted by Camille at 8:00 AM
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This past Monday, we spent some time at an old fashioned tea party put on by my dear friend, Steven, for myself and my daughters. The theme was "The Mad Hatter Tea Party." We all came as characters from Alice In Wonderland, complete with costumes we created ourselves. Steven was the Mad Hatter, of course. My daughters came as Alice and The White Queen and myself as The Red Queen.
|The White Queen|
Posted by Camille at 8:00 AM
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|Calendula heading into the dehydrator that runs 24/7 these days.|
The high temps and humidity here in Michigan recently have kicked garden production into full gear! I am harvesting daily and abundantly from the garden and feverishly (literally - its been in the 90s for days!) both drying plants for later use as teas, infusing oils for handmade skin care recipes to come and making a few tinctures here and there, mainly to supplement the family medicine chest. More to come on all of these, when I come up for more air!
|Gorgeous flowers destined to someday become an infused oil or facial tea.|
|Dear basil, thanks for hangin' in there!|
Phew! I could go on and on. I am just so thankful that the plants are thriving and I get to be there with them to watch them go through their many stages and changes. It is truly beautiful and therapeutic for me...
How are your gardens doing? I'd love to hear about any goodies you might be crafting with your harvest!
Posted by Camille at 9:25 PM
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In my experience, there is no quick-fix or miracle solution when it comes to skin (although, some may argue that point). However, there are little, easy fixes that can have a huge impact on your skin's health and appearance. The following are the top 5 skin care faux pas that I see in my skin care practice that can easily be changed right this second...really!
Here's to your happy, healthy skin!!!
1. Keep it simple
One of the most common mistakes I have seen over the years is product overload. People will say "I'm using all of these products and my skin looks terrible!" It is easy to feel that the more products you use, the better your skin will be. For most people, what happens is that skin will become sensitized from being bombarded by too many ingredients and either react with rashes or irritation, become overly dry or oily, or just become plain upset and confused as to what is supposed to be doing. This applies to even natural products, but infinitely so for more chemical-laden products that include added fragrances, dyes or preservatives.
Streamline to a three part daily skin care routine that you use both in the morning and at night: Cleanse, tone, moisturize/protect (this last step also includes eye cream and sunscreen as needed).
Once a week, you can add in an exfoliant, such as a scrub or enzymatic exfoliant, and a facial mask suited to your skin type. These steps can be incorporated into a luxurious, weekly at-home facial (more info to come soon!).
There are other targeted products you can use for specific skin care concerns, such as spot treatments, night treatments or serums. If you choose to use these, do so only a few times a week, or for brief periods of time so that your skin does not get overwhelmed.
2. Scrub yer mug at night
"I forget to wash my face at night" is the number one confession I receive from clients and one that I can totally relate to. At the end of the day, I just want to beeline to dreamland and skip all that stuff, but my skin would be a wreck if I did. While not everyone needs to cleanse their skin in the morning, everyone should do it at night. It removes stale makeup, environmental pollutants, dirt, oils and general funk that has accumulated on skin during the day. Not removing this stuff can lead to blackheads, breakouts, inflammation and can even contribute to aging. Plus, your skin is not able to complete the natural rejuvenation process that happens when we sleep. Spending just 5 minutes at night to quickly wash your face makes a huge difference.
3. Kindly step away from the exfoliant
Exfoliating skin periodically, whether with a scrub or other type of exfoliant (enzymes, glycolic, etc.) - great. It helps to remove surface debris and dead skin, keeps pores clean and stimulates collagen production. Scrubbing skin daily like a bathroom sink - not great. It leads to redness and irritation, leaves skin super vulnerable to the elements and can actually lead to the breakdown of collagen (which leads to wrinkles - eek!). Treat your skin as if it were a fairy wing. Exfoliate gently only once or twice a week.
4. The Old Switcheroo
Skin changes over the course of the seasons and your products should, too. It is a good rule of thumb to switch your products with every seasonal shift, rather than using the same stuff throughout the year. Products better suited to summertime can be too drying and stripping during the winter months and those suited to winter can be too heavy and pore-clogging in summer. Seasons aside, skin also "gets used" to products over time. A product or regimen that worked great for you at first may not work as well months down the road. Switch to other products for a time to refresh and revive your skin.
Water intake makes such a huge difference in the health and appearance of skin, so ensure that you are getting enough. Drinking enough pure water and keeping the body hydrated assists the skin in eliminating toxins. If the body is not eliminating these toxins properly, they can begin to be purged through the skin, which can cause or contribute to conditions such as acne or eczema. Water also carries nutrients to support healthy skin cells.
When the body is properly hydrated, it can help your skin to stay hydrated (along with a proper skin care regime). Drinking adequate amounts of water can also help to alleviate dark circles under the eyes, which are frequently caused by the body being dehydrated. Keep a pitcher full of water or herbal tea in the fridge and drink it throughout the day.
For more healthy skin care tips, check out my previous blog post The Top 10 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Skin Healthy.
Posted by Camille at 9:12 AM
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I know there are a lot of really wonderful folks that read this blog, some who I know personally and others I have never had the pleasure to meet. I'd love to hear more about you! Do you have an interesting business that you run that you'd like everyone to hear about? An interesting hobby? Or something happening in your world that you would like to share?
Please leave a comment and tell us about yourself! Don't be shy! :)
Wishing a safe and happy 4th of July weekend to those of you in the US! And a happy summertime weekend to others!
Posted by Camille at 8:14 AM
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