Friday, October 10, 2014

Greening Your Cleaning~ Creating an inviting, non-toxic environment for your holiday guests through greener homekeeping!

Some of you are more than ready to think about all the Holiday fun just around the corner! ...And, some of you just covered your ears and started humming at just the thought of it all...

And, whether company's coming or not, you still gotta clean, right?  If you are like me during these last three months of the year, not only do you want to create a clean home, but also an inviting atmosphere? Ambiance, if you will.  Warm scents, nice lighting and all that?  Speaking of atmosphere...

Home is the one place we spend most of our time.  It's where (hopefully) the people we love most live, or visit.  I don't think it would be earth shattering news to you if I told you that two of the biggest factors that cause an accumulation of toxins in our bodies is the stuff we use to clean our homes with and the stuff we use for body care.  In an effort to create a clean, safe, and welcoming environment with heavy commercial cleaners, we are actually counteracting our intent by creating high emissions and off-gassing from chemical toxins.  But we can't just not clean the house, right?

I have great news!  We can make changes that are safe, extremely effective (both in cleaning and in cost), smell good, and you won't even have to wear a mask!  We can rid our homes of microbes and purify our air without it costing our health.

On Saturday, November 1st, The Salem Etsy Team and Phytotherapy will be hosting a workshop at The Fussy Duck!  (Wait.  What? Three amazing entities, all under the same umbrella??) After lots of talk, planning and dreaming, I am (finally) ready to bring you some wonderful workshops in the Salem area, beginning with this one:

 I'm excited about this workshop, not only because I can help participants improve the air quality in their own homes during these long Oregonian indoor months, but also because these easy and effective changes actually make cleaning, dare I say it?... Enjoyable!  You don't have to be afraid of breathing while your cleaning and you can smile confidently when people tell you your house smells good!  (And, perhaps other family members will want to help??) So, start putting together your best "Cleaning The House" playlist, pump up the volume and lets get ready to clean!

Space is limited and registration ends October 25th.  To reserve a space, click below.

Green Cleaning Workshop

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Beauty Subscriptions

"Scrub Of The Month"?  Why the heck not?  
I am so incredibly pleased to introduce the first of several upcoming Gift Clubs available at Phytotherapy!
Now that Summer has finally arrived, I've been having a blast pouring my heart and soul into Phytotherapy and developing new products and ideas for you.  Some of these developments include a vast array of basic sugar, emollient and whipped scrubs... Each one unique and delicious!  So I said to myself, "Self.  You know you probably have enough of a variety of scrubs to cover every month of the year, and scents to go along with every season..." and BOOSH! Gift Club was born.

The beauty is in the process.  (Please take note of the "Certified Organic"
sticker in the background: Booyah!)  Doesn't hibiscus add SUCH a beautiful color??

There are options here, too, people.  Subscriptions are available in quarterly, bi-monthly, and monthly packages, depending on what suits you or the beloved person you may be gifting these to.  AND, if you so choose, you can add the birthday month of the recipient (which might even be yourself...) and they will recieve an EXTRA celebratory scrub!  How lovely.

Grapefruit n' Basil Body Polish
Too hard to choose one, so why not get them all?

Each scrub is made with the highest quality vegan, natural, organic and/or fairly traded ingredients. Not only are they a little piece of heaven in your shower, but they are also moisturizing. That's right. You will be exfoliating AND moisturizing, all while taking in the aromatherapy provided by each scrub... Nothing like multi-tasking, eh?

Hibiscus with Vanilla Bean Infused Coconut Oil... Holla!
A loverly scrub with soothing Epsom Salts.

A one year subscription includes:
Jan~ Lavender/ Basil (Soothing Salt Scrub)
Feb~ Hot Chocolate (Whipped)
March~ Brown Sugar/ Vanilla (Sugar Scrub)
April~ Coconut/Lime (Body Polish)
May~ Green Tea n' Mint (Sugar Scrub)
June~ Calendula Orange (Emulsified)
July~ Hibiscus n' coconut (Soothing Salt Scrub)
Aug~ Grapefruit n' Basil (Body Polish)
Sept~ Coconut/ Vanilla Bean (Whipped- includes Shea!)
Oct~ Sweet Orange n' Clove (Sugar Scrub)
Nov~ Mocha Morning (Emulsified)
Dec~ Peppermint (whipped)

Quarterly and bi-monthly subscriptions come with "Surprise Me" and "Customer's Choice" options.
Stay tuned for "Butter of the Month" and a "Balm/Salve of the Month" Gift Clubs as well.  Oh yeah.  I went there.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


My daughters are heading into the Track and Field season once again. My oldest daughter is concerned about people noticing some (and by some, I mean about 3) small acne-like skin bumps on the back of her leg when she's wearing shorts. (Did I mention they are both in middle school? Hence the assumption there will be a spotlight directly aimed at the back of her leg.) 

Go Wolverines!

Normally, in our family, if there are any types of skin irritations (bumps, bruises, scrapes, rash, bites, stings, eczema, "skin bumps") we apply a little calendula salve.  The reason for this is because calendula (also known as pot marigold) is very rich in anti-inflammatory properties and is also known to reduce pain.  It is also safe for internal use, so it can even be used on broken skin. We use this instead of a triple-antiobiotic ointment such as Neosporin. (Don't EVEN get me started on the overuse of antibiotics. That's a blog post for another day.) It's great for owies that take longer to heal as well.  However, we are running low on salve and it's time to make more.  We can't have our little runner distracted by a few skin bumps now can we?

The great thing about this salve is that it's super easy to make.
What you'll need:
300 degree preheated oven
 1oz Dried Calendula
 (Or any combination of calendula, plantain-the weed not the fruit-, and chickweed that equals 1oz.  Today I am using calendula and plantain.)
1 1/2 cups of Olive Oil
2-4 teaspoons of beeswax pastilles
(Depending on how "squishy" or firm you want your salve to be. Today I am using 2 teaspoons.)
1/2-1 teaspoon of Essential Oil of Lavender (optional)

Once you've measured out your herbs, you'll want to put them in an oven proof dish and cover them with the oil.  Give it a good stir and pop it in the oven for 2 hours, or you may also turn the oven off and let the mixture sit over night.

It's always important to weigh your herbs to ensure you are getting the correct potency.

Once your herbs are done infusing, remove them from the oven and let them cool.  When the herbs are cool, strain them.  Be sure to "squash" the herbs with a wooden spoon to get every last bit of oil out of those herbs.  The oil that is in those herbs is the most potent and you definitely want that in your salve.

I use a sieve, but cheese cloth is another great way to strain herbs.
Discard the used herbs and add your beeswax to the infused oil.  Place the oil back in the oven until the beeswax is melted.  Remove from the oven.  If you are using essential oil, let the mixture cool for a few minutes so the volatile oil doesn't evaporate out of the salve.  Once that's done, pour your mixture into a container (I use 2oz tins.  The size really depends on your preference and where you will keep it. Cabinet, diaper bag, purse, etc)

Freshly poured!

Once your salve is completely cooled, you can put the lid(s) on and label with the content and ingredients. (For the love of Pete, label!  Never leave things unlabeled!) This recipe yielded four 2oz tins, and one 1/2oz tin, but you can pour your salve into one large (heat proof) tub if you wish.  I like the "divide and conquer portability" of using tins.  One in each bathroom, one in the first aid kit, little guy in my purse, send one with the kids to camp... You get the idea.

You can find any or all of these ingredients, including the tins, at Mountain Rose Herbs, but you can also find most of this in your own kitchen as well!


And my daughter can hold her head high while sprinting, jumping and throwing!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Man, oh, man! Spring is progressing here in the Northwest, but not without adversity from an overcast, and at times, *still* rainy sky.
But colors are definitely popping up out of the ground and trees, and the musical birds are back. And, honestly, while rain is no stranger, there is just such a lovely smell to Spring rain!
AND, one of the luxuries I benefit from working for the school district is, I get Spring Break. That's right. A whole week where I can work from the right side of my brain as much as I want to! Yay me!

The week hasn't even started yet, but here are just some of the "Spring Things" I'm working on...

Beautiful vintage inspired fabrics= Scented buckwheat pillows and hand-stitched herbal sachets.

Now available, toss-in-your-purse sized body butters.  Great for cuticles or a quick moisture fix for winter skin issues.

A new Spring look for lotion bars! Now in a handy 2oz travel tin!

I still have the whole week ahead of me, so I'm really looking forward to whatever else might come to pass this week. =) 

Happy Spring y'all!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Reaching 600+ likes on Facebook = Fan appreciation Giveaway! 

I'm so grateful for all the love from Phyto-fans and now I want to return the favor! I am happy to give 1 lucky winner the Face It! Facial Spa Kit (valued at $20).  It includes Facial Toner, Facial Steam, Clay Mask, Chocolate Mint Lip Tint and recipes and tips for cleanser, exfoliation and moisturizer!  Get ready for Spring Cleaning your skin, naturally and organically!  To enter, follow the steps in the box below (Beginning at 3pm PST today).  There are several ways to gain entries, some of which you can do daily.  The contest will end at midnight,  March 17, 2013 and I will let you know who the lucky winner is!  Good Luck!

*For a more detailed description of the Face It! Facial Spa Kit, go here.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Coming soon! Natural Living Workshops!

I'm sitting here in my favorite local coffee shop brainstorming and drawing up the plans for some up and coming workshops and private event opportunities and having so much fun dreaming it all up! I can't wait to share it all with you!
While things are still under construction, you are welcome to visit the "workshop" tab on this blog to see the types of workshops that I'm developing.
I know they are going to be lots of fun, educational, and easy for the average Joe. Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


This amazing evergreen perennial with it's fresh woodsy scent is such a "Jack-Of-All-Trades" for me.  (Which, now that I think about it, most of my favorite herbs are.)  Beautiful in stature, useful in culinary delights, beauty, housekeeping, natural remedies and aromatherapy uses, there is much to be said for this wonderful herb!  So let me share a few of my favorites...

Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalus)
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!  It's like makin' tea (which is another great use for rosemary). Instead of hot water, you'll need hot vinegar.  What you'll need: pretty decorative glass container, quality cider vinegar, a couple good sized sprigs of rosemary, and, if you really wanna get crazy, a thin slice or 2 of lemon or any other citrus.  Sterilize your glass container.  Once clean and dry, poke your rosemary (and lemon slices if desired) into your jar.  Heat vinegar in large pot over stove (slightly more vinegar than what will fit in jar to allow for evaporation).  Using a funnel, pour vinegar into beautified jar and allow to cool before placing airtight lid on container and let cure in a dark cool place for about 3 or so weeks.  Voila! Pretty little thing to keep in your window sill and can be used to make a killer salad dressing, marinate your veggies and/or your meat!

And it's easy on the eyes...
Rosemary is known to have great antibacterial properties as well as promote circulation, so what better way to incorporate it into your beauty routine than in a scrub?  What you'll need: 3/4 cup of oats, 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried rosemary, 1 1/2 teaspoons of peppermint leaves, witch hazel or rose water, 1 tablespoon of french green clay (oily or combo skin) or 1 tablespoon of white cosmetic clay (for sensitive or normal skin), coffee grinder.  Grind herbs and oats in coffee grinder to make a powder and combine with clay. Scoop about a tablespoon into the palm of your hand and moisten with witch hazel or rosewater to make a paste.  Using a circular motion apply mask to face.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, then remove with warm water. Now don't you feel awake?

Great way to pamper yourself before a big job!
I'm just gonna say it.  Essential oils make cleaning almost fun.  You know what's going into your cleaner, and you can enjoy inhaling the scent rather than feeling your brain cells die and lungs shrivel from the chemical "burn".  In fact, you can call the shots and get creative when it comes to scenting your cleaners. To make scrubbing the sink, What you'll need: 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup vegetable soap (Dr. Bronner's Peppermint would be a great choice here.), 1 tablespoon of vinegar (plain white, or the infused vinegar we just made...) 1 tablespoon of water, and 20 drops of essential oil of rosemary. 

Just scoop and plop into sink or tub and scrub with a brush.  Rinse and enjoy the sparkle and amazing scent!
What you'll need:  The rosemary vinegar we just made! It's not just for the kitchen. Add a cup to your bath water to sooth those aches and revive your spirit.  Attention brunettes: Add your rosemary vinegar to warm water in a 1:4 ratio for a great hair rinse. (Works well for other hair colors, but enhances the dark hair very nicely!)  Fun fact~ Rosemary is known to promote hair growth!  Great for us girls... And a couple drops in hubby's shampoo might be beneficial as well...

Did you know that in the "olden days" Roman students used to wear wreaths made of rosemary while they were studying?  It's not called the herb of remembrance for nothing!  Studies have shown rosemary to improve circulation as well as stimulate the brain.
If you are not into wearing a rosemary wreath, a more acceptable option might be to diffuse it on a light bulb ring during a time when you need to concentrate.  You could also sip some tea containing rosemary.
Diffusing Rosemary Essential Oil Is A Great Use Of Aromatherapy When Studying!
So many ways to incorporate this beautiful evergreen into everyday life!  If you would like to get your own quality rosemary goodness in either dried herb, essential oil or hydrosol form, you can do it at Mountain Rose Herbs by clicking on the MRH icon on the right-hand sidebar.  They have great quality product.

Enjoy your rosemary!