Spa fun for foodies

Every year in late March, I have a personal holiday on which I pamper, indulge and buy gifts for myself.  It is not my birthday — my birthday is reserved for other people to buy me gifts.  Instead, this is a day all about self love.  It’s a beautiful thing, and I heartily advise you all to take up the tradition.

This year I decided to do something extra special, and spent the evening cooking up natural spa treatments for myself, predominantly made of things found in my kitchen.  I always say any evening that ends with you covered in food is bound to be a good one.  The night and the products were a grand success, so I thought I’d share some of them!

(The recipes I used came from or were inspired by the wonderful book, Earthly Bodies & Heavenly Hair, by Dina Falconi.  Highly recommended, but go easy on some of her essential oil portions, as some she suggests in her formulas are sensitizing.)

First Stop: Avocado Flour Face Mask
Ingredients: Ripe avocado, whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, water, jojoba oil

I started with a face mask made with avocado and flour.  The cornmeal provides a gentle exfoliant, and the combination creates a nice thick and creamy paste.  I combined this with the classic cooling cucumber slices on the eyes.  It was soothing, purifying, moisturizing, and decadent.  I should also mention that it looks fabulously flattering when on…

Next up:  The most luxurious bath you’ve ever taken.
Ingredients: Fresh, organic full cream, local raw honey

This bath could not have been any more delicious.  I put the bowl in a hot water bath so the honey would liquefy while I blended in the cream.  To make things a little sexier, I also threw in some sandalwood and ylang-ylang oils.  Yummy, yummy, yummy.  Milk baths are a favorite of mine (working on an etsy shop… more to come soon, hopefully!), and there’s almost nothing better than making it full cream.  Lactose is a natural exfoliant, and the fats in the milk delightfully softens and moisturizes the skin.  Honey, in addition to all its other magnificent benefits, is also a skin humectant, bringing the natural moisture to the surface.  So not only does this bath look, smell, feel (and probably taste!) sumptuous, you get out instantly moisturized.  Splendid!

La pièce de résistance:  Garden Blend Shampoo
Ingredients: Infusion of nettle leaf, comfrey root and basil, almond oil, castille soap, basil and lavender essential oil


This recipe made three nice little bottles of shampoo (shown above with the ingredients).  The finished product is quite watery, not like a traditional shampoo gel, but it works up an AMAZING lather.  Fantastic stuff, and it smells heavenly.  The comfrey is reparative and smells especially nice.

I also whipped up a little coconut oil hair balm with a custom blend of moisture balancing essential oils to replace my conditioner and tame flyaways.

I have to say I was very pleased with the results.  It made me want to touch my hair a lot and make kissy faces, which is always how I like to end my special day.

All in all, a very lovely time was had by this lady.  And I now have natural products I can use throughout the year that I don’t have to worry about poisoning me or my environment, and I never have to spend excessive money on hair products again!

This week, take a moment to give yourself a little pampering, and pamper the earth a little while you’re at it.

Love to you all!


Because you were certainly wondering…

Many weeks ago, Mister Joseph Magnuson of the Candlesmoke Chapel ever so kindly included me in a Versatile Blogger post, with my humble blog tucked into a long list of intimidating company.  I have been having trouble lately putting thoughts into words for the blog, so I think I will at last go back to this and use it as a prompt to get something posted, even if it is just to say, “Hi!  I’m still here, and thanks for reading!”

Versatile Blogger Award

Per Magister Magnuson, here are the rules to the Versatile Blogger Award:

  • Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading
  • Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award

So, a big thank you to Joseph and Sara at the Candlesmoke Chapel (follow them on Twitter!).  And now to tackle seven things…

I don’t know why, but this popped into my head first.  Here are some of my favorite Yiddish slang words:

  • bashert — like kismet; soul mates, fate, destiny
  • chutzpah — hubris, sort of
  • kibbitzer — a “meddlesome spectator,” backseat driver
  • altvarg — a decrepit person or thing
  • ahntoisht — disappointed; the one thing worse than angry your parents can be
  • farshnoshket — in much less expressive terms, a drunk person

Although much of my family in recent history was raised attending progressive Methodist Christian churches, my mother’s family is reputedly of Jewish descent if you go back far enough, and in the last couple of decades, several of my aunts have converted to Judaism.  Maybe it was just from growing up in Goosetown, but I somehow became accustomed to smattering my speech with the occasional Yiddish color.  These are my Yiddish greatest hits.  Or something.  Also inspired by a trip to the library with my amazing cousin Izzy.  (“He’s stuck in the philanthropits!”)  Eh, moving on…

My proudest moment was winning a Twinkie eating contest during a Late Night Trivia event at undergrad.  I managed to get down three Twinkies in 30 seconds, then do 25 sit ups in the 30 seconds immediately following.  Intoxicated by victory, I celebrated by eating the rest of the box of Twinkies.

Some of my greatest memories and experiences have been linked to gastronomic feats, and I have historically loved weird foods (Braunschweiger was my childhood comfort food).  I am not shy about trying new things (birthday dinner highlights included escarole with anchovy and nutmeg), and I like to pass on to others the adventure of good eating.  To my knowledge, (at least since I have been old enough to think about it), I have only refused to try one meal, and that was a goat head during my study abroad.  Normally I would have been excited about it, but we had already eaten every other part of the goat for the two weeks prior (including the sea-creature-resembling stomach parts), I had seen the head sitting unceremoniously in a bucket day-in and day-out throughout that time, and I just hadn’t worked up quite the energy for it in time for breakfast.  I still feel rather guilty about that.

Although I will likely never give up my reign as the queen of fancy cheeses, hopefully, in small steps at a time, I am moving towards healthier adventurous choices.  Only recently the boy and I discovered a delightful recipe for non-dairy “Not-so cheese sauce” made primarily of almonds and pimentos.  Tasty!

Animal attraction.  I have a thing with wild animals.  No, not that kind of a thing, exactly…  Let me try to explain with some examples.  When I was still in the single digits, I called my mom to the front door to come see the squirrel I had brought home.  A live, unwounded, not rabid, adult squirrel cradled in my arms.  This earned for me the nickname “St. Francis” from my immediate family members.  In the summer as a teenager there was a chipmunk that would climb up and perch on my shoulder while I read outside, and sometimes he would ride in my hoodie pocket or in the cuff of my jeans while I went for walks.  In high school while on a camp out with some friends, I rose early to walk down to the lake, and got swept up in a run through the trees with a herd of deer.

There are exceptions, however, that bear mentioning.  I have identified a list of the top five scariest birds.  They are, in no order of preference: Nile shoe-bills, west African vultures, piliated woodpeckers, wild turkeys, and large murders of crows that move like a giant shadowy cloud.  I am fortunate to say I have only had too-close encounters with four of the five, thank goodness.  The fear is a sort of thrill, but I am still uncomfortable about wild turkeys, after the way they ganged up on me, and how they skulk around like they are covered in snakes… *shudder*  Oh, and I was once rushed to the hospital after being attacked by my own cats.  For the WIN!

I am a big nerd.  HUGE.  I was a laminated card-carrying member of a Fox Mulder fanclub.  To be honest, though, my X-phile status kept me out of a lot of trouble back in the day, when I was inside chowing down egg foo young and having viewing marathons with my other nerdy friends every free weekend.  In math class, we would finish our work early and list the episodes in chronological order.  Our lovely and talented teacher, who reminded me of Invisigoth from Kill Switch, would help us fill in the blanks.  As you can imagine, I was in love with her.

My intimate knowledge of X-files trivia did gain me some curious attention recently, however, when I was the only person in a large audience of a live comedy show to gleefully whoop and applaud at a mention of autoerotic asphyxiation.  Raise your hands, nerds, if this also puts you in mind of Peter Boyle and Chantilly Lace.

I love music, and I have aspired to keep it an active part of my life by picking up a series of musical instruments.  I started out tamely enough with 15 years of piano lessons, followed by a brief and frightening tour in show choir (the strangling sequins! clown makeup! a horrifying contraption called lollies!  jazz hands!!), retreated relieved into a small women’s madrigal choir, flirted with violin and guitar, then spun wildly off with the non sequitors of sitar in college and in the last few months, my beautiful concertina.  What next?  I’m thinking bagpipes.  The boy recently took up the glockenspiel, and I have to say that glockenspiel and concertina cover a mean Lady GaGa.

When my sister was little, she wanted to grow up to be a gas station attendant.  It must run in the family to have career ambitions that are falling out of fashion, because I recently applied for grad school to become a librarian.  (*Please, please let that happen!)  I didn’t always have that dream, though.  In second grade, on my birthday, I got to fill out a poster called, “All About Me!”  (Not unlike this blog post, really…)  Under the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question, I wrote in very large, round, pencil letters: “Veterinarian.  … or Parapsychologist.”

Later swayed by new passions, I prepared myself for a future as an archaeologist by teaching myself to read middle Egyptian hieroglyphs and immersing myself in ancient history.  And although fate had other plans for my studies (Practicality! Says the girl with a degree in French literature and medieval and renaissance studies), I still love studying dead languages.  Egyptian, Latin, Greek, Old English, Old French, Sanskrit, you name it… I have flashcards!

The weirdest job I ever had was milking sheep for cheese and soap making.  It didn’t bring in much money for my tuition, but I was awfully fond of the lambs, and I kind of liked mucking around in the barn.  It was also really relaxing to look into the wide vat of pure, fresh milk…

One of my current coworkers is fond of telling me that I have weird stories and I talk about things she never thinks about, but in my experience, there is nothing really new under the sun.  While at an academic conference for medieval studies last spring, I met a total stranger who was not only familiar with my obscure current field of work, but had actually worked on a project my company also handled, and when I asked him the strangest job he had ever held, he said, “This is really weird, but one year I made money by herding sheep…” and I got to say, “No effing way – me too!”

I am really, really clumsy.  I can fall down when I’m not even moving — and I have, on many occasions.  I once kicked myself in the head with a tap shoe while falling backwards down the stairs (while trying to demonstrate my “grace” by dancing for my grandparents).  Once at a birthday party, I got sucked down to the waist into a hidden mud hole, and the birthday girl had to recruit multiple adults to help pull me out.  I once smelled a perfume sample in a magazine, sneezed, and my contact lens flew out of my eye.  I hope I don’t die in some horrible accident, but knowing me, maybe it would be a little bit funny.  I wouldn’t mind that so much, if my death brought a little inexplicable chuckle to the world.

Alright, that’s seven, so we’ll leave it at that!

The original Versatile Blogger Award specified that it should be passed on to 15 blogs, but I am not dedicated enough to blog reading to even be familiar with that many, I don’t think, so I have instead chosen eight.  Here they are — go check them out!

  1. Magick and Mundane
  2. The Forest Witch
  3. New World Witchery
  4. Pagan By Nature
  5. The Juicy Witch
  6. Happily Essa After
  7. A Bad Witch’s Blog
  8. Ivy on the Path

I’d also like to quickly mention how much I am loving the pagan podcasting world lately.  To everyone out there who is taking the time and making the effort to produce shows for us, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You make my little world go ’round.

Thanks for reading!