Save 20% in my Etsy Shop

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Well, it's hard to believe, but two years ago today I decided to open up my little jewelry shop online. After focusing on the retail shops my line has been in for these two years and selling on another venue, my line is back on Etsy and you can find me there with a special anniversary sale!


Take 20% off all orders through the 7th of January using code Lou20.

In the New Year, I will be adding my vintage home finds to the shop and more new creations (lots of earrings, ladies!), including bookmarks and handmade pushpins to beautify your office space.

Right now, I have a great selection of necklaces, earrings, and more.


Fly over to Loubird's Nest today!

If you are down south in the Virginia Beach area, please stop by Southern Fried Studio & Shop, where you'll find a vast array of Loubird items.


10 Years!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My hubby and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary today. We've been together for fifteen wonderful years and on December 28, 2001, we were married in beautiful Savannah, Georgia.



The Mr. and I will be celebrating these next couple days at a charming B & B in the Finger Lakes and I'll be eager to share our little trip in the New Year!

There are so many beautiful little towns in New York and we'll be in one of my favorites.

I hope you are all continuing to spend some extra time with your loved ones this holiday season!

Holiday Wishes!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hello friends,

I hope that you all had a beautiful holiday surrounded by loved ones.  We've had a wonderful few days. The boys had school right through Friday afternoon and our celebrating began that evening with our dear friends at the annual neighborhood Christmas party. We enjoyed the festivities until late Friday night and then we relaxed most of the day Saturday.

I made homemade sauce and we had an Italian feast Christmas Eve, just the four of us, and we used the Santa tracker on the NORAD site to follow Jolly Old St. Nick's journey.

On Christmas, the boys were up at 7 and full of energy opening their presents. I made a prime rib and load of sides and desserts and our families came for dinner.

Ben and Tom watched football while Nick challenged me to a game of air hockey.

The living room has been full of Star Wars Legos, too, I might add...

We had a glorious time and are enjoying these next several days together.  I will be "replaying" some Chic & Green favorite posts while I take some time away.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Holiday Sweets: Baklava

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Nuts and spices



Nut mixture over some phyllo sheets



About 45 minutes in...



This is how it looks right out of the oven after you've poured the honey sauce on top.



Baklava


1 (16 oz.) package of phyllo sheets (found in the freezer section)
1 (16 oz.) package of chopped walnuts, pistachios, or pecans
2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
2 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey (I used a local clover honey)
1 t. vanilla

Thaw your phyllo sheets for at least 2 hours. In a pinch, I have microwaved frozen phyllo sheets in 30 second intervals.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter a 13 X 9 pan.


To Make:

Chop the nuts and toss with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.

Put 3 sheets of phyllo in the pan. Brush with melted butter. Put three more sheets. Brush with butter. Now, add 2 sheets and butter. Put 1/2 the nut mixture on phyllo. Cover with 3 more sheets. Brush with melted butter. Now add the rest of the nuts and spread over the phyllo sheets.

Add two more layers, then brush with butter. Now add 2 more. Brush with butter. Now three or four more sheets and butter again.

Cut into triangles or squares, not cutting completely through.

Put in the oven for 45 minutes to 55 minutes or until a nice golden brown shade.

While you have about 25 to 30 minutes remaining, make the sauce. Boil water and sugar together. Once the sugar has all melted, add honey and vanilla extract. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes over low to medium heat.

When the baklava is out of the oven, immediately pour your sauce over. You can cut the rest of the way through when it's cool.

ENJOY! You can serve on paper doilies or in paper muffin liners to absorb the honey sauce that may leak through.

Tips:


About baklava--this can get soggy. Do not cover. It will make it more soggy. I typically make two pans and freeze one because it stays in the freezer very well for weeks.

Phyllo can be tricky to work with. That said, I'd much rather work with the delicate, paper thin phyllo sheets than pie pastry any day! Just treat it gently and it will assemble perfectly.

A Look Ahead to 2012

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I will be posting over the holidays still, but thought I would share a look at some changes that will roll out over 2012.


I will be adding some writers to the blog--permanent members of the Chic & Green team.  I have some people in mind for this and also am seeking others.

We will soon have a C & G Lifestyle contributor, All Things Handmade in the USA contributor, and I'm in need of a man to review natural skin care and grooming products for me.

These positions are unpaid, but writers will receive products to evaluate and will be able to gain writing experience for their freelance portfolios.

Since I talk about many different topics here on the blog, I'd like to add some more voices so I'll be able to add even more content each day.

I have lots of baking to do, but will be back tomorrow with more!

Chocolate Mint

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I have a think for the combination of chocolate and mint.  Who am I kidding?  I have a "thing" for almost anything chocolate.  I remember the "old" Eastview Mall as a kid.  I'd look at Lisa Frank stickers and stuffed unicorns at Fluff & Stuff and then go next door to Fanny Farmer to get their candy bar coated with a minty pale green chocolate. Yum.

I have some favorite things as a grown up in chocolate mint and thought I'd share them with you today:




Mistletoe Mocha coffee from SBS Teas (try their coffees, too!) is so delicious! Mine arrived yesterday and I have now brewed my second pot!



The 100% Pure Yummy Ice Cream Body Set in Mint Chocolate is divine. I bought this for the boys, but admit to "borrowing" the products on a regular basis. It smells just like mint chip ice cream!



Why, hello there, mint lollipops! These mint chocolate chip ice cream ball style lollipops are available on Etsy from Vintage Confections.




Double yum!  From Poggi Pete on Etsy.




My favorite bar of Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap? The Peppermint Goat's Milk with Chocolate Swirl. Smells fabulous and gives you a gentle, creamy lather!




And try my Dark Chocolate Mint Coconut Fudge--just three ingredients!

Remembering Bernie

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'd like to tell you about someone special in my life who passed away last night. 

Her name was Bernie and I met her some time ago at a local coffee shop. Bernie loved her independence & her cat, Margo.  Although she was wheelchair-bound because of her COPD and need for oxygen around the clock, she wheeled herself through the Rochester snow to get to Tim Horton's in the morning. She was particularly fond of maple pecan danishes.  She enjoyed visiting the local Salvation Army thrift store (which she called "Sally Ann's") and finding bargains. She liked the color teal, her view of the city skyline from her apartment, and the occasional banana split I used to bring her from Bruster's.

She was guarded because of some past traumas in her life, but those who were fortunate to have known her will remember her feisty attitude, strong opinions, and her sense of humor. She was a tough cookie with tremendous courage.

She did not have family, but she did have friends who knew her and loved her. She was a giving soul and always put others before herself.

She is one of those people who liked to fill the buckets of other people.  You may be thinking, "Buckets--what do you mean?"


There is a wonderful children's book by Carol McCloud called  Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  It teaches young ones about kindness and about how doing something as simple as saying "Hello" to someone can fill their metaphorical bucket. When you act with kindness, compassion, and respect, you are filling someone's bucket.  When you bully someone or do things that are hurtful, you're what the author refers to as a "bucket dipper."

Bernie was someone who filled the buckets of many people in her life. She thought of others before herself. I remember her being concerned about one of her favorite nurses at a local center which provides resources for seniors. She would be concerned about people behind the counter of the coffee shop if they seemed to be having a rough day.  She was just the kind of person who genuinely cared about others and took that extra minute to make them feel cared about and special.

Life is short.  You never know if you are going to have 100 years or 80 or 60 or 30 in this life.  Live each day fully and completely and let those people in your life who are important to you know that they are important to you and let them know why. Fill someone's bucket each and every day of your life.



Easy Peasy Peppermint Bark

Sunday, December 18, 2011



I cannot think of an easier treat to make for the holidays. This is delicious and oh so simple! It takes two ingredients: a 12 ounce bag of white chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli) and 6 crushed candy canes. I make several different barks each Christmas and this one always goes quickly.

To make:

Simply melt the white chocolate. I do this in a mixing bowl sitting atop a pan of slowly boiling water to create a double boiler effect.  While it's melting, crush your candy canes. You can do it in a Ziploc bag with a hammer or do what I do and just break up bigger pieces and place in a mini chopper and chop quickly that way.

When the chocolate has melted, fold in the candy cane pieces.


Using a rubber spatula, spread onto a layer of waxed paper. Chill for an hour or so and then break apart. Voila!



Sticker Shock: Price Gouging in the Skin Care Industry

Thursday, December 15, 2011

You know I can be a bit outspoken when it comes to people being ripped off.  I've talked quite a bit over the years about overpriced products--or simply ridiculous product claims.



I am not even sure as I type this right now whether I will be disclosing the name of the companies I'm speaking of...I don't want to be a Scrooge, so perhaps I won't.

As you know, I am sent several products weekly from different companies for the purpose of possibly reviewing or giving away items. When I am sent products, I try to always give a fair and thorough review of the items in a respectful way.

Last week, I received a facial moisturizer from a company I have reviewed products for in the past--a pleasant enough company to deal with with some nice products that they sell.  This new cream sells for a whopping $74.99 per 2 ounce jar.  Now, if this were enriched with top shelf, potent ingredients I might understand this price.  I am not saying that $74.99 would still be a justifiable price, but I would understand that the company is trying to create an image of being higher end with potent ingredients.

No, this is a cream with the following ingredients:

Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Juice, Persea americana (Avocado) Oil, Aspalathus lineans (Organic Rooibos Tea) Tincture, Simmondsia chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Organic Palm Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Palm Stearic Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), dl-Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Retinol Palmitate (Vitamin A), Salix nigra (Black Willow Bark) Extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Oleoresin, Azadirachta indica (Neem) Oil


With the exception of the palm oil and palm stearic acid, the ingredients are just lovely.  Are they expensive to formulate products with?  Not particularly. I think what caught by eye the most were the Rooibos Tea and Willowbark in this.  These are standard in most organic bases company can purchase from Essential Wholesale.


Indeed, this identical product is sold in the bulk section at Essential Wholesale and called the Vitamin Rich Creme. The cost?  $20.90 for a 16 ounce bottle or $71.70 for a half gallon. For less than the cost of the 2 ounce jar from the company I am talking about, you can get a HALF GALLON JUG.


This is not isolated.  This happens all the time. 


Another company sent me three products two weeks ago. They are all in 1.7 ounce bottles with decent ingredients (along with more harmful ones, too) and the prices of the creams: $84, $94, and $101. Ingredients-wise, these products contain nothing more special or effective than most $20 products.


Here are the ingredients, for example, in the $101 cream:


Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Bis (Tripeptide-1) Copper Acetate, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Ceramide NP, Ceramlde NS, Ceramide EOS, Ceramide EOP, Ceramide AP, Caprooyl Phytosphingosine, Caprooyl Sphingosine, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 80, Lecithin, Beeswax, Ceteareth-25, Glycerin, Behenic Acid, Cholesterol, Sorbitan Stearate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol

A random skin care website I found via Google is selling their "Anti Wrinkle Cream" for $75 for a 1.7 ounce jar as well.  The ingredients:

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Rosa damascena (Rose) Distillate, Persea americana (Avocado) Oil, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Emulsifying Wax NF, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Elaesis sp. (Organic Palm) Oil, Palm Stearic Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Retinol Palmitate (Vitamin A), Rosa mosqueta (Rosehip) Oil,  Allantoin (Comfrey), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Pro-Vitamin B5), Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Daucus carota (Carrot Seed) Oil, Mannan, Triticum vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil, Salix nigra (Organic Black Willow Bark) Extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Oleoresin, Azadirachta indica (Neem), Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid

This is the same exact product as Essential Wholesale's Antioxidant Creme.  You can buy a 16 ounce bottle for $17.30 or a half gallon for $59.  Again, this skin care website is selling a 1.7 ounce pot for $75.

Be an informed consumer. Be aware that the typical mark up of beauty products is around 50%. That is just the norm. Some of what I am finding online, though, is a mark up of well over 1000%. That's quite a profit!


Three Ingredient Deliciousness!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The pieces of red and green make the Cranberry Nut Bark very festive!


We've been super busy the past couple of days with baking and treat making for the holidays.

Making bark is simple, delicious, and when wrapped up in a festive way, it makes a great gift.

Today's recipe is so easy! You will need three ingredients:

*One 11 ounce bag of Ghiradelli Classic White Chips
*3/4 cup chopped pistachios (no shells, of course!)
*3/4 cup of dried cranberries

Melt the white chips of medium heat, stirring frequently. Keep stirring gently until they are melted and smooth.

Remove from heat and stir in the nuts and berries.

Stir gently.

Pour mixture onto cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Using a rubber spatula, gently smooth out until it's about 1/4" thick. Chill for about 30 minutes. Break apart. This will make 15-20 pieces. I often double or triple the recipe to bring to holiday parties.

Etsy Love: Candy Canes

Tuesday, December 13, 2011





Peppermint Bark whipped soap from Debaucherous, $10
Lampwork earrings from Cherry & Violet, $25
Lip balm from Bella Fresca, $4.50
Paper garland from Cutie Popper, $5.75
Bath bombs from Berwyn Betty's Bath Shop, $6.50
Primitive candy cane decorations from Cat Tales, $8
Candy cane inspired vintage quilt necklace from That Old Blue House2, $31
Wreath from Glitzy Garlands, $75
Set of 6 candles, Samplers Country Collectibles, $7.95

Chic & Green™ Top 20 Products of 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011


Every December, I award the best products (and runners up) on the market a Best in Beauty Award.  This year is a bit different, as I have narrowed down my list of my 20 most favorite products I use on a regular basis.

Enjoy!



Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap has been a Chic & Green™ favorite for years.  No, you may not receive frou-frou overpriced packaging with fancy adornments, but you WILL receive an exquisite bar of handmade, nourishing, natural bar soap made without harmful chemicals or palm oil. You'll always get a fair price, outstanding customer service, and a lovely assortment of soaps.

The Brightening line from 100% Pure is a must-have in my life.  I absolutely adore the cleanser, tonique, mask + scrub, and the balm to apply before I catch some ZZZZs. It's fabulous!

Seed Fragrance Free Healthy Hand Cream is the best hand cream on the market. It is natural, affordable, lives up to its claims, and is now available right at Wegmans. Not just a swell hand cream, this is lovely when used as a facial cream (trust me, it works because of the fab ingredients).

The lippies -- nearly all of them -- from Silk Naturals are second to none. Made in the Finger Lakes region here in New York, Karen creates some of the best lipsticks and glosses in ANY price range.  My favorite? A shade called Captivate.

Another favorite of mine?  Original Moxie hair care made by the lovely Rachel in Michigan.  From the Get Fresh Shampoo to my favorite styling aid called Straight Up, you won't find a better hair care line.

Hands down the best overall mineral makeup line: Everyday Minerals.  I've been a loyal customer for many years now and from the powder foundation to concealer to blushes, these are really and truly my favorites. Great packaging, great customer service, super fast shipping and overall selection.

Always on the hunt for a great mascara, there are several lovely natural formulas on the market.  My favorite is available right at Target:  Physicians Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Lash. It doesn't smudge, flake, or irritate the eyes and is adds mega volume.

I've tried many greener nail polishes over the past couple years and the best is Priti NYC.  They last for days and the color selection is just wonderful.  The product doesn't smell and is long-wearing.

In need of gentle, yet serious, exfoliation?  The L'Bri Facial Peel is just what you need. It feels luxurious on the skin and reveals a fresh, radiant tone to the skin in just one use.

Without high quality makeup brushes, your products won't apply as seamlessly.  The EcoTools bamboo handled makeup brushes rival high end professional brushes.  They are affordable without having to sacrifice quality. These get a huge thumbs up!

I go through lots of lip balm. I've literally tried over 30 brands just for this blog alone, not to mention the others I have purchased over my lifetime. My favorite right now is Badger Mocha Cocoa Butter -- it's just lovely.

Scrubs are a must for me (and everyone, really). My personal favorite is from Prem Soaps. If you want your legs to feel as smooth as silk, use their salt scrubs prior to shaving. Your legs will be radiant.

Not thrilled about the harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances in your laundry detergent? My most favorite is Vaska Herbatergent, a fragrance free soap made without the nasties. It even works well on the boys' grass stained jeans.

Yes, you can spend much more on hand soap, but why bother? At $3.99 per bottle, Mrs. Meyers makes non-toxic, family friendly hand soaps that last for ages and are gentle on hands. I am 100% hooked on the Basil.

No one wants stinky pits, but you don't want parabens or aluminum in your deodorant either.  Soapwalla Kitchen's Deodorant Cream is simply the best on the market.

Tired eyes? Dark circles? Dry skin? No worries--100% Pure's Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream is a bargain at $19 for a whole ounce (compared to the typical $40 per 0.5 ounces for department store brands).

If you are super parched with cracked and dry skin in need of some love, the absolute best solution is from Suki: their Butter Cream Healing Salve. This delivers true TLC to those in need of dry skin relief.

Are you wanting to smell lovely without harsh synthetics? I recommend LAVANILA from Sephora. Try their mini roller ball set so you can experience a few of their different scents.

Your brows frame the face, so it's worth adding another minute or two to apply a good brow powder.  My favorite comes from Silk Naturals and is superior to those from Bare Escentuals and Smashbox.  Did I mention that a little pot lasts for a year and costs a mere $3.50???

The last product to make the list? Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel. I told you quite a long time ago about how this makes for the perfect makeup primer. The key ingredients are similar to the most highly regarded department store primers and this one truly works. As much as I wish I loved the all-natural ones on the market, this really works even better.

Adore Me Winner!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Paula Zweigle is the winner of our Adore Me lingerie giveaway! Thank you for being a follower of C & G!

Weekend Treats

Friday, December 9, 2011

~Sharing some recipes you can make this weekend. ~

The first comes from the Bakerella blog. It's the Red Velvet Cake Ball recipe. Yum. These little things are addictive! 


Recipe (from Bakerella):


1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
wax paper



1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.

2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting.

3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet.

4. Chill for several hours.

5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.

6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. 









The next comes from The Idea Room blog. I made the Oreo bark. I did two variations: one with melted white chocolate drizzled with dark chocolate and the other is melted dark chocolate drizzled with white chocolate.






My recipe is a bit different than the one from The Idea Room. I use one bag of Oreos, 1 bag (12 oz.) of Ghiradelli White Chips and 12 ounces of dark chocolate.


Directions:


Put the oreos into a large ziploc bag and crush them until they are in small, bite-sized pieces.

Melt the 2 chocolates separately.


When chocolate is melted and smooth, carefully stir in Oreo pieces. I do half of the Oreos in the dark, half in the white.

Spread the mixture onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet, trying to keep the cookies in an even layer.

I reserve a bit of each chocolate so I can drizzle on the bark.


Let cool & harden.  Break into bite sized pieces.




So, here's one of my little dessert samplers:


The peppermint bark that is shown in the middle is the recipe I posted last year on the blog. Find it here. 

HAPPY TREAT MAKING!

Holiday Baking: Spicy Gingerbread Cakes with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I love making these each year in little loaf pans, wrapping them nicely and including them in gift baskets. Pack some along with a mason jar of homemade lemon curd and you have a lovely teacher gift.






My Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cakes
(makes 4 mini cakes in 3 X 5 loaf pans)


1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 t. vanilla extract
1 cup orange juice

To Make


Simmer orange juice over medium heat. While simmering, cream the butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add the egg. Stir in molasses and sour cream.


In a separate large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the first bowl of moist ingredients. Now add in orange juice and stir.


Pour into four 3 X 5 bread pans which have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, checking often as ovens vary.


I serve this two ways. I either whip up some heavy cream with Grand Marnier or use some homemade Lemon Curd. Recipes follow.


Grand Marnier Whipped Cream


Using 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in a chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters, add Grand Marnier. The amount depends on how strong you wish your cream to be. I use 1-2 teaspoons. Add in 2-3 tablespoons of white sugar and beat on low speed for 30 seconds.

Now change to medium-high and beat the cream until soft peaks have formed.

Serve over warm gingerbread and sprinkle with cinnamon.


Lemon Curd (Recipe used is a favorite I found on All Recipes. It will keep in mason jars for a few weeks when kept chilled.)


3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel


To make: In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar. Stir in lemon juice, butter and lemon peel. Cook over simmering water for 15 minutes or until thickened. (Recipe courtesy of All Recipes)

Etsy Love: Christmas Stars

Wednesday, December 7, 2011



Moravian star made of recycled Christmas cards from Binsky B, $15
Ornament from Webster Wares, $15
Lucky stars ornament from Irene 2 Irene, $8.99
Wooden ornament from Dead Serious, $40




Star from So So Rosey, $18
Star by Linda Bloom of Sew Sweet, $8
One dozen pink stars from Peach Fuzz Accessories, $25

Mentioned by Alicia Silverstone today!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This recipe originally appeared here in 2008. I want to share some DIY recipes with our newer readers and also share these with my long-time readers in need of DIY inspiration for gift-giving season. I posted this this morning and it is so ironic because reader Amy let me know that this recipe and C & G are featured in Alicia Silverstone's Gift Guide today on  "The Kind Life"!







I love salt scrubs. As much as I love sugar scrubs, I like salt for serious exfoliation.


My favorite salt scrub from retail shops is Origins Salt Rub. It's over $30 per jar. I started using this way back when Origins sold it in glass jars. Several years ago I stopped buying the Origins and started making salt scrubs myself. It is easy and the homemade scrub we're going to make is (in my opinion) just as good as the pricy one!


Make your own salt scrub in a 16 ounce jar (weighs in about 27 ounces) at home for only about $2.00 for per jar with today's DIY project! I like to make several at one time which I just did earlier to give away as gifts!


The results are wonderul. Your skin will be smoother than silk and feel like butter. If you've ever paid $100 for a spa "Salt Glow" treatment, consider doing this at home and you can do the treatment as often as you'd like!

Before you use it, heed this warning: SALT STINGS BROKEN OR IRRITATED SKIN! I learned this when I first used a salt scrub and didn't think about the sting factor. I applied it all over my legs after I shaved them. OUCH! Scrub first...then shave!

Let's Talk Ingredients

You'll need sea salts, carrier oils, and essential oils. This is a 100% natural product!


I buy my sea salts right at Wegmans. They will come in different grains. I like to mix fine and coarse, so I pick up a bottle of each.

For the carrier oils, today I am using Macadamia Nut Oil, Kukui Nut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Soybean Oil and Olive Oil. You do not need to use 5 oils like I do. You only need one. I just like the blend of these oils. You also do not have to buy the same ones I have listed here. You can use any oils you have handy, such as jojoba, grapeseed, even canola from your baking cabinet!

Now, for the essential oils, I am using Spearmint and Rosemary Essential Oils.

I also add in some chopped fresh parsley to my own....

This is a truly invigorating scrub to refresh the senses while giving your skin the royal treatment!


How To Do It

I start slowly. I like to do a bit at a time. We'll be using 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of oil today. I start by adding 1/4 cup or so of salt into the jar. Then I like to add just 5 drops at a time of essential oil (I add 10 drops of each essential oil total per scrub). Add some carrier oil. Then add more salt, more essential oil, etc. Stir a bit before you add in more salt.

Hmm. Now my scrub looks like applesauce....

Don't worry! I always give the scrub a very quick stir and your scrub will be back to looking very scrubby with the coarse grains visible.

This is a very simple project! I like to even add in a bit of fresh parsley. Why, you ask? No one really talks about the myriad benefits of parsely to the skin. It can help clarify and tone the skin, making it look fresh and bright. It also helps to reduce redness and swelling. I think it's a very underrated natural ingredient for homemade skin care, but it's worth adding in to your scrub.

So that is how you make your scrub! 1 part salt, 1 part oil, 10 drops of essential oil and a sprig of parsley! It couldn't be simpler. Just wait, though, to see how soft and radiant your skin will be!

Evening Thoughts

Monday, December 5, 2011

Today has been a super busy day filled with a belated birthday lunch with my mom, some Christmas shopping, and package mailing. I will be back tomorrow with regular posting.


In the meantime, here are some items from the Vintage Girlfriends Series at Loubird's Nest:




Holiday Sweets: Peanut Butter Cups

Friday, December 2, 2011

A couple years back, I posted several recipes for holiday treats to eat yourself or to give as gifts. I'm going to do that again this year. Some recipes will be new and others will be shared from then as they are tried and true. Here is one of those--Homemade Peanut Butter Cups.

Enjoy!


 
Yum. Each one looks different depending on how you pour the layers.



This is the peanut butter filling. It's creamy peanut butter mixed with melted white chocolate.



These rich peanut butter delights are topped with chopped dry roasted peanuts.


Every now and then you make a treat you fully intend on giving away as gifts, but that you just cannot bear to part with. These are so sinfully rich and decadent that you'll want to make them again and again.

I like peanut butter cups as much as the next gal. They are good, but not a must have in my candy repertoire. I decided to make homemade peanut butter cups yesterday afternoon. These are good. Really good.



NOTES: Below you will find the original Martha Stewart recipe. I tripled this one. Depending on how high you fill the cups, you'll get 8-10 large cups rather than the minis below. 



Ingredients



  • 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped



  1. Line two 12-cup mini muffin pans with paper liners; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine white chocolate and peanut butter. Microwave, until almost melted, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, place semisweet chocolate in another microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, stirring once or twice, until almost melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Dividing evenly, use a spoon to layer semisweet chocolate and peanut-butter mixture into liners, beginning and ending with chocolate; sprinkle with peanuts. Place muffin pans in freezer until peanut butter cups are firm, about 15 minutes. Bring to room temperature before serving.


*Recipe source Everyday Food, March 2008 and marthastewart.com
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