All Natural Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

I love making my own bath and beauty products, I think it is a fun way to experiment with all natural living and exploring healthier alternatives to some of the chemical-laden store options out there. I am totally a bath kind of lady.. After a stressful day I think there are very few things out there that feel as good as a long soak in the tub, so many of my favorite recipes happen to be bath products.

This tropical sugar scrub recipe smells so delicious, the coconut and lime aromas make me feel like I am on a beach vacationing somewhere near the equator. I am using it right now because it is summer but I also love to make a batch of this lovely scrub when I am having the Michigan mid-winter stir-crazy blues.

The sugar is a great exfoliator to get rid of dead skin and impurities while the coconut oil is super moisturizing and leaves skin feeling soft and smooth! You can use it in the bath or the shower and the sugar dissolves quickly for easy cleaning. Use this quick and easy recipe to make the sugar scrub whenever you need a little fresh and healthy pick-me-up… or just whenever you feel like it!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 unrefined virgin coconut oil (if you don’t like the smell of coconut you can use refined)
  • 5 drops lime essential oil
  • zest of 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Combine sugar and coconut oil.
  2. Add lime zest and mix evenly.
  3. Add 5 drops lime essential oil. Stir to combine.
  4. Store in a glass airtight container.(*Note: Remember, citrus oils can cause skin sensitivity to the sun so start small, if you add more than the recommended amount avoid direct sunlight immediately following use.)

I simply love this recipe and even with my super sensitive skin I have no trouble in the sun with the essential oil ratio used. Remember that the temperature of your coconut oil may change the consistency slightly so add more sugar or oil accordingly to get the texture you desire in a scrub! I prefer to use an unrefined coconut oil so I get a heavy coconut scent but you can use refined coconut oil if the smell doesn’t appeal to you.

I hope you enjoy your all natural at-home pampering!

love & light

Lena

Bee’s Knees Honey Cocktail

I think honey is one of my favorite things on Earth, at least the organic, local, raw kind of honey. Growing up, I never liked that store bought, mass produced, clover honey but when I had my first taste of raw locally sourced honey, my fate was sealed. If it was acceptable for me to have a spoonful of honey for dessert every night, I probably would. But I can’t – so instead I’ll enjoy this lovely honey cocktail instead.

I discovered this cocktail while Will and I were testing out different signature cocktails for our August wedding. As soon as I read about the Bee’s Knees, I knew it was the cocktail for me! Not only because it has honey in it but because of the name too! Growing up my Dad would always call me Queen Bee, or Bee for short. Now at home Will calls me Bee too, so it is an ongoing theme in my life. My love for honey was merely coincidental…

This cocktail became popular during Prohibition – the honey and lemon were used to mask the not-so-lovely smell of bathtub gin. If it earned its name by being “the best” or the bee’s knees when it was made with bathtub gin, that gives you an idea of how amazing it tastes with a quality gin!

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz. homemade honey syrup
  • 2 oz. gin

Directions:

  1.  Make your homemade honey syrup by combining equal parts honey and water and heating it on medium low over the stovetop until completely combined – do NOT bring it to a boil. (Note: One cocktail calls for 1 ounce of syrup, I usually combine a half cup honey and half cup water and store it in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 5 days – but it is usually gone before I get to day 5…)
  2. In a cocktail shaker combined fresh lemon juice, honey syrup, gin, and ice.
  3. Shake vigorously and strain into glass. We use a coupe glass or martini glass.

Optional: Garnish with lemon twist!

So there you have it, my favorite refreshing summertime cocktail!

When we talk about maintaining life-balance one important thing is to make room for equal parts work and play. When it comes to play, Will and I have fun making artisan cocktails at home on the weekends and in the summer. Sometimes having a little something special at home, like this, is fun way give yourself a treat at the end of the day!

(*Also, here is a bonus picture of little Amelia, always loving the camera..)

What do you think? What are your favorite summertime cocktails to make at home?

love & light,
Lena

My summer sun must-haves…

When it comes to summer, I don’t think there is a time of year that makes me any happier! With my fair and sensitive skin though, it is really important that I take care of my complexion so I can enjoy as much fun in the sun as I can.

Because this is one of the biggest outdoor barbecue and beaching weeks of the year I thought now would be a great time to share my summer skin must-have items! For me, it all comes down to keeping my skin safe from too much sun and keeping it hydrated. So here are some of my must-haves for healthy summer skin!

1. Suntegrity SPF 30 Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer – I wear this just about everyday under my mineral make-up. The SPF 30 was the big draw for me when I started using this primer but the orange citrus scent is pretty wonderful.

2. Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Moisturizer – This is my go-to on the days I don’t feel like putting on makeup. The light tint makes me feel put together on days when I will be spending most of my time outdoors without having to worry about my makeup melting away.

3. Herbivore Botanicals Face Oils – I find it impossible to decide whether I like their Orchid Oil or Pheonix Oil more, they both smell amazing and give my skin great moisture! I use Orchid in the evening and Pheonix in the morning.

4. Josh Rosebrook Advanced Hydration Mask – I love facial masks and I have really gotten into them this summer. There are a few that I use regularly but this new mask is the best hydration mask I have tried! I love putting it on and relaxing for 25 minutes while the mask does all of the work. I like that with this mask you can take it off with just a clean towel and not worry about scrubbing with water!

5. SPF 50+ Sunscreen – I know there is a lot of debate about whether wearing sunscreen is worth the health risks. After lots of talking it over with my doctor, she and I decided together that it was more important that I wear SPF 50 or higher sunscreen, my fair skin is considered high risk for skin cancer, but I love to be in the sun so it is really important to protect myself. Lately I have been using SunBum and I enjoy it!

6. Wide Brim Hat and Prescription Sunglasses – I’m a glasses everyday kind of girl, so having my prescription glasses on hand is always important! And I always wear a hat when I am out in the sun all day, I love this straw cloche hat that I found at Target a few years ago! My perscription sunglasses are from Bonlook.

These are my daily items that I just couldn’t enjoy this warm summer sunshine without but I would love to hear the must-haves on your list for the summer season… Please share!

love & light
Lena

It’s okay to not be perfect…

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“Close your eyes, fall in love, stay there” – Rumi

In the winter I attended a 2 day Self-Compassion workshop with Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Chris Germer. After coming out of a beautiful meditation they shared this quote and I felt like my perspective was forever changed.

In our social-media-saturated world we are constantly bombarded with images that look so perfect I could cry. One of the big reasons I walked away from blogging a couple of years ago was because I felt my life wasn’t worth sharing because it wasn’t perfect. Not even close. And the few “perfect” photos I shared on my Instagram took me so long to style and to get just right that the magic of the moment really was gone. I didn’t like missing out on life because I wanted my Instagram to be flawless.

Then finally one day while deep in my Loving Kindness Meditation I realized, it’s okay to not be perfect. Comparison and striving for perfection had stolen my sense of self-worth and I let it happen without batting an eye. But the beauty is that now I am ready to reclaim my space here and enjoy sharing it in all of its imperfection.

If you are ever struggling with feelings of unworthiness because your life doesn’t seem as perfect as the blog and Instagram feeds you see everyday, you are not alone. The next time this happens…

Stop – comparison is the thief of joy, so let it go.
Breathe – you deserve compassion, breathe in courage, breathe out judgement.
Embrace – you are worthy of love and celebration, explore the reasons why.

Your imperfect world is perfect to me. My imperfect world is perfect to me. Embrace life for all it has to offer. Don’t miss out just because the lighting isn’t right… In the end it is the moments that matter most, so live them, love them, and rejoice in them.

love & light,
Lena

Welcome to my world…

Welcome to my perfectly imperfect little corner of the internet everyone! You may know me in real life, or from my previous blog Tiny Painter, or perhaps we are meeting for the first time, but whether our paths have crossed in the past or not – I am so glad that you are here now.

I have had several blogs throughout my life, and altogether I’ve been blogging for about ten years. It is the perfect marriage of many of my loves, writing, photography, creating, and connecting with like-minded humans. I’ve been away from blogging for almost 2 years now and as I have reflected I realize that all this time, when I felt something was “missing” – it wasn’t life experiences like I first assumed. No, I was still living a life of beauty and joy and pain and love… The difference was I didn’t have a reason to stop and reflect on the simple pleasures of living anymore.

Now, the enjoyment of life should be reason enough… but I’m the kind of person who needs a little extra motivation sometimes. When I blog I share my life, and when I am sharing I am reflecting, and when I reflect I extract new knowledge and wisdom. Blogging slows my pace and increases my quality of life. I am using this space as a way to nourish my mind, body, and spirit. To nurture my creativity. To cultivate beauty in the everyday. And to explore my passion for personal wellness.

I am so thankful that you are here to reflect with me and I hope that this space can bring you a little enjoyment as well. Welcome to my world.

love & light,
Lena