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How to make your own foot and body scrub
3/5/2018

How to make your own foot and body scrubI've been using and loving the Majestic Pure scrubs on my feet for a while now. I got it as a gift from my hubby, but now I'm all out :-(  I put another jar of it on my wishlist, but until I get it (and IF I get it), I will need to use something in the interim to scrub my feet.

I dug around my supply closet and found some shea butter from when I used to make scrubs. I figured I may as well use it up. I like to use shea butter because it keeps the salt solidified in the oil so it is easier to scrub with. Here is my recipe for a simple foot and body scrub.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp of shea butter
2 Tbsp of avocado oil (or any other oil you like)
1 cup of epsom salt
a few drops of fragrance oil or essential oil (optional)


Instructions:

  1. Put shea butter and avocado oil together in a measuring cup
  2. Melt in microwave at 50% power so it doesn't burn. Don't let the mixture get too hot, just warm enough to melt.
  3. Stir the mixture of oils so that they are well blended and fully melted.
  4. Add a few drops of your fragrance or essential oil and mix.
  5. Add the epsom salt
  6. Place the measuring cup with the mixture into an ice bath to cool it.
  7. While cooling, mix the oils and salt together until it solidifies.
  8. Store the scrub in a container like an old clean plastic jar. 

How to use: scoop out a small amount of scrub while taking a shower or bath. Scrub gently onto your rough areas, like feet, knees, legs, elbows, hands, etc. Rinse off with water and towel dry. Make sure to clean the bathtub after using this, as it can make the tub slippery.

Note: Use this scrub within a few months. There is no preservative added here, and the scrub can begin to go bad after a while. Try not to get water into the jar of scrub.

How to make an exfoliating scalp spray with salicylic acid
3/5/2018
Scalp Spray with Salicylic AcidI read long ago that if you want to give your hair a healthy environment in which to grow more dense and full, you need to exfoliate the scalp. Much like exfoliating the skin, it allows the scalp cells to breath, take in nutrients, keep the hair follicles healthy, and hopefully grow more hair.

The book I read talked about physically exfoliating the scalp by scrubbing it with a toothbrush and baking soda. I never tried that, but it sounded like a good idea. Just a bit time consuming and cumbersome to do. So instead of physically exfoliating my scalp, I opted to chemically exfoliate with salicylic acid.

I started using the Neutrogena T/Sal shampoo, which has salicylic acid in it to help remove the build-up of dead skin on the scalp. I only use it once every week or two. And although my scalp seems healthier after using it, I feel like its not really enough to get all the skin buildup off the scalp. Some people shed this dead skin as dandruff. Some people, like me, just get that itchy scalp feeling, like you just want to scratch it off.

I usually use a hydrating spray for my scalp every night before bed. The same solution that I use as a toner for my face. It consists of water, witch hazel, plankton extract, and an anti-aging peptide. It has done well for my face and scalp. However, I decided I wanted to add an exfoliant in the spray to help remove the build-up on my scalp instead of using it in the shampoo. I figured the daily use of a small amount of exfoliant will be good for removing my scalp build-up.

I chose salicylic acid as the chemical exfoliant because it seemed to work well in the Neutrogena T/Sal. If this doesn't work, I may try hibiscus extract because it has natural AHA, which is also a chemical exfoliant that I use in my body lotion.

I am beginning this experiment with a plain water solution and a low percentage of salicylic acid. My target is a 0.5% salicylic acid solution in distilled water. I always use distilled water instead of tap water because I know it is pure water, without any additional minerals or chemicals in it (like fluoride, chlorine, lime etc.). If this solution works well on my scalp, I may add in my other favorite ingredients, like witch hazel, plankton, and peptides. I will test this first salicylic acid solution for about a week.

Materials:
Distilled Water (jug from grocery store)
Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda)

Equipment & Supplies:

Calculations for 100mL solution:
.5% salicylic acid = .5g
the rest distilled water = 100mL

Procedure:
  1. Weighed out .5g of salicylic acid
  2. Placed powder into 250mL glass beaker
  3. Added about to 100mL of distilled water
  4. Add stir bar and place on stirring machine
  5. Stir and turn on a little heat
  6. After about 20 mins, about 70% of the powder dissolved.
  7. I measured the pH to be about 1.5
  8. Since salicylic acid doesn't dissolve well in water, and I need to titrate the solution to a higher pH, I added about .3g of sodium bicarbonate (which does both)
  9. This allowed the salicylic acid to fully dissolve, and it brought the pH to about 3 to 3.5. This was about as low as I would go, so I left the solution as is. I could have, and maybe should have added a little more sodium bicarbonate, but I didn't this time. Hopefully I don't burn my scalp off!

Observations:

I'll let you know how this works for me :-)


Update 4/6/2018

This didn't seem to do the trick as far as keeping my scalp any healthier. So I have resorted back to using my DIY plankton & peptide scalp spray, witch hazel, and the Neutrogena T/Sal shampoo. I use the shampoo once or twice a week, and leave it on for a couple of minutes to do the exfoliation. The other days, I spray witch hazel into my hair and rinse it off in the shower. Twice a day, I use my homemade plankton & peptide scalp spray. It really seems to do the trick, in addition to adding a little extra bounce to my hair. I will post the formula for my DIY scalp spray soon.

Winter Knit Hat with a Brim
2/9/2018

Winter Knit Hat with Sun Visor

Put on this hat and go for a walk

I made a pact with myself to walk the dog as often as I can this winter, rain, shine, or snow. Here in the rainy Pacific NW, I usually walk around with a hood over my head. But on those glorious sunny but cold days, my head is much happier with a warm hat that offers sun protection.

So my hubby got me the perfect one for Christmas. It is a wool knit hat with a bill to shield a little sun from my eyes and face. I am allergic to sunscreen, so I really rely on hats to help keep the sun off my face. Your typical summer sun hat (or even just a normal baseball cap) doesn't keep my head and ears from getting cold during the winter. So I just love this knit cap for the winter.

It truly is the perfect hat for walking the dog and for taking the kids to the park during those cold sunny days. They didn't have hats like this when I was a kid. I wonder what mothers and dog walkers ever did back then?!



Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint
1/20/2018

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating TintI've been loving the Maybelline Dream Velvet Matte foundation for a couple of years now. It has been the only foundation I could use that wouldn't cause me to break out or dry out my skin. But I've always been on the lookout for something better. The Dream Velvet hasn't been hydrating enough in the winter months, and it didn't go on well if I used one of my moisturizers. So I've been spritzing water on my face just to keep it hydrated.

The Dream Velvet also gives a very ethereal look to the face. Very smoothing, yet very luminous. I kind of wanted something that I could use for that "no makeup" look. On days that I didn't want to glam up but I didn't want to look like a total zombie either. Something that looked more natural. Maybe something less heavy that allowed some of my skin to show through. I also wanted something that played well with my face creams so that my face doesn't feel so dry and tight.

Neutrogena recently came out with a new "foundation" to go along with their Hydro Boost line of skin care. It is called Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint. I took a look at the ingredients for it. Much like the Maybelline foundation I love, there weren't too many ingredients, and nothing bad that jumped out at me. So I thought it might have a chance at working for me.

It has an applicator wand, much like the Clinique Beyond Perfecting foundation. Not the best way to get foundation out of a bottle. I smeared a bunch of the "tint" on my face and spread it around with the Urban Decay Optical Blurring brush. It seemed to blend nicely and easily. And it definitely looked more "natural" than the Maybelline Dream Velvet. Throughout the day, my face felt comfortable and hydrated. It doesn't cover flaws as well as the Dream Velvet. But I guess that's why they call it a "tint" instead of  a foundation. It is fairly light coverage. Although, I suppose I could apply more if needed. I usually spritz my foundation brush with a little water to get the foundation to spread better. But if I didn't do that, I might get a little thicker coverage.

It is perfect for a "no-makeup" look. I find myself just blending this on, applying concealer, quickly doing brows, and then a quick nude lip. Sometimes I swipe a little mascara on and maybe a little blush. And there's my no-makeup look. Why would anyone want a no-makeup look? Isn't the point of makeup to look like you have it on? I do the no-makeup look mostly to add some layer of UV protection on my face (since I'm allergic to most sunscreens) and to cover up some dark circles and blemishes. I sometimes use a small amount of blush to give my face a little color. And a little mascara to give my eyes some lift. My natural lip color is a dull almost greyish color. So I like to use a little lip color so my lips don't look like a dead person's lips.

The Hydro Boost Tint also works well with the only two face creams that I know don't break me out. That's definitely an improvement from Maybelline's Dream Velvet. I still spritz my face with water, mostly out of habit. But I may not have to do that if I can use moisturizer under my makeup!

I don't know if I will ever need to use the Dream Velvet again. If I want more coverage, I think I could just build up the Hydro Boost Tint. And for luminosity, I just use a highlighter.

If you do decide to try this Tint, it may help you to know that the color of the foundation in the bottle may appear lighter in the bottle than it appears on your face. I originally purchased the Tint in the color Honey, which seemed to match my skin color, judging from the way it looked inside the bottle. However, it definitely shows up darker on my face. So I sent out an got one color lighter, the Natural Beige. This color looked really pale from inside the bottle. But when I applied it to my face, it seemed to match perfectly. My skin color is a golden medium in the winter, and a peachy-tan in the summer. The Natural Beige works perfectly for me, now that it's winter. But I will keep the Honey one for the summer.

For now, I have found my new HG foundation. It is considerably more expensive than the Maybelline one that I've been using. But if it works better for me, then it's worth it.

Update 2/9/2018

I am totally spoiled by this Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint. It provides so much moisture to my wintery dry skin that I cannot even use moisturizer underneath without my face feeling sticky. And I no longer need to spritz my face with water all day long to keep it hydrated. I can't believe how well this foundation works to keep my skin hydrated. And it doesn't even cause any breakouts for me.

Yes, the coverage is light, but it is enough to tone down my dark spots, veins on my cheeks, and just smooth out the skin and pores in general. I do put an extra layer over my dark spots, which are mostly on my cheekbones. The extra layer of foundation also helps with sun protection. Since I am allergic to most sunscreens, I rely mostly hats and foundation to protect my face from sun damage.

The light natural coverage I get from this foundation has made me go with the no-makeup look more often. It didn't work as well with the previous foundation I used to use (Maybelline Dream Velvet). The Dream Velvet foundation had a little too much luminous coverage to look really natural. It looked a little weird to wear the Dream Velvet without blush, eye shadow, mascara, etc. With the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint, I feel like I am almost bare-facing it out there, but with some smoothing and a little sun protection. It feels good to be able to go run errands and not have to get all glammed up every time.



Dark Brown Faux Leather Jacket with Hood
1/1/2018

My husband surprised me this Christmas with a beautiful dark brown faux leather jacket. I look forward to going out just to wear this jacket. It is a very dark ashy brown. He said it looks like real leather. But here in the Seattle area, I don't like to wear real leather. Polyurethane works better because of the amount of rain we get. And I love that this jacket has a hood. Keeps my hair from getting that drowned rat look when I'm out running errands in the rain.

The jacket is lined with a thin nylon fabric. It doesn't add a whole lot of warmth, but still I'm comfortable with a lightweight sweater underneath, running back and forth from my car to the store. And it is definitely warm enough to walk up and down the aisles of cold Safeway. 

I got a size small which seems to fit fine. I like that there is enough room for a light sweater underneath. This jacket falls right about to my hip bone. I am 5ft 105lbs and have a short torso. I like to wear this length of jacket. I feel like longer jackets, like anoraks, make me look short and stubby because they vertically cut off the legs and make them look shorter.

The brown color is a dark ash brown. In some lights, it almost look gray. I would've preferred a slightly warmer tone of dark brown, but I still really like this jacket. I wanted a dark brown jacket, something different than black. Maybe next year I will brave a color like teal or pink. But for now, I really love this coffee color. It goes with a couple of dark brown boots that I have.

The sleeves are a little long when my arms are down at my side, but when my elbows are bent, it goes right to my wrists. I don't mind the length of the sleeves too much. They keep my hands a little warmer. There is also a sleeve zipper that unzips at the hand and up the arm a few inches. I thought this might bother me, but it is well-placed so that it doesn't clang everything that you touch. And the zipper is great when I want to wear gloves or something on my hands.




Kids Bath Bombs with Surprise Toy Inside
12/29/2017

Kids Bath Bombs with Toy InsideSanta knows how much kids love to play in the bath. And he also knows that bath bombs are all the rage now. They are tons of fun for anyone, especially for our 6 year old boy. So he decided to bring him a special breed of bath bombs made especially for kids by Sky Organics.

The smells are mostly fruity and sort of candy-ish. Our kids at 6 and 8 are old enough to know not to eat them, but you might want to keep an eye on younger kids. The colors are bright and vibrant. Some of the bath balls have different swirling colors that make them look like a planet. Supercool planet bombs from outer space! They do turn the bath a fun color, which doesn't seem to stain or anything. I didn't even see a ring on the bathtub from using these!

I would say they are about 2-1/2 inches in diameter, a standard size for bath bombs that I've seen all over the stores. They are made of baking soda, citric acid, epsom salt, coconut oil, and fragrance. The coconut oil leaves the kids' skin silky and moisturized, even after they dry off. It helps a lot during this cold winter season, when they heaters dry up the skin. I also like the addition of epsom salt to help relax the muscles and condition the skin. Our son had just scraped his knee, and this bath bomb did not aggravate it it at all. In fact, it seemed to sooth the abrasion.

As soon as you put the bath bomb into the water, it immediately begins to fizz and release the beautiful colors into the water. We all really get a kick out of watching it fizz. The more it fizzes, the more the water turns a fun bright color. But when all the fizzing is done and the bomb has shrunk down to nothing, a surprise toy is uncovered! This was pretty exciting to see what toy each bath bomb had hiding inside it. So far, we've used 2 of the bombs, and we got a pig-like character and a turtle-like character. Both supercute and fun to collect.

These kids' bath bombs have really amped up the excitement of bath time. And I love how the baking soda and citric acid are very gentle cleansers for the kids' skin. I worry about letting them soak in a soapy bubble bath. But these bath bombs seem to be much better and gentler for their skin. I think a box of these would make a great little surprise for your bath lover. Or maybe even be a incentive for the non-lover of baths.




Update 1/21/2018

Our son has used up all 6 of the bath bombs. They were such a thrill for him that said he no longer wants to take a bath without them. Luckily, Daddy convinced him to take a bubble bath. "Oh, okay," our son grunted, concedingly. 

Needless to say, he loved these bath bombs and wants to use his allowance to buy more.

BTW, those little surprise toys ended up being little Pokemon characters. Our son was bummed that he didn't get Pikachu. He is hoping he might get them in the next box of bath bombs.



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