Monday Mantra: emerge

I hope this week has helped to remind you that there are so many things to be thankful for in your life!  This time of year can get so crazy preparing for the holidays, visiting with friends and family and dealing with the general hustle and bustle.  Its easy to get so wrapped up!  This marks just about a year that I ventured into a career change and I could not be more Thankful!  What seemed like a terribly stressful time in my life has turned out to be the biggest blessing.  With so many changes happening in the past year I can barely remember what life was like just a year ago.  We have turned a corner in our lives and oh what a beautiful life it is!

“Some changes look negative on the surface
but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life
for something new to emerge”

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Thankful!
~ Jillian

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Coconut Oil (again)

This is a repeat post from last year…BUT so many of you loved it and it’s got some good, healthy tips…so we are rewinding and celebrating our love of Coconut oil all over again!!

So i’m just going to come out and say it…no sense in hiding it any longer…I’m in LOVE with Coconut Oil!  Its true…i’m not afraid to admit it.  Coconut Oil is…well…aWeSoMe!  It’s not just for cooking {which it is totally fantastic for…by the way} but there are sooo many more uses for it!

I started my love affair with Coconut Oil while researching a Candida Cleanse.  The cleanse called for taking 1 spoonful of Coconut oil a day…which at first sounded…well gross…but actually its sort of yummy and wasn’t gross at all!  Because Coconut Oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antiviral, its basically anti all the bad stuff!  So not only does it taste yummy {not at all a sweet coco-nutty flavor like you might be used to…its very mild} but its health benefits make it a great choice for all your cooking needs!  A lot of the recipes included in this cleanse called for Coconut oil in place of olive or vegetable oil.  It’s a much more stable oil because its room temperature state is actually as a solid and can be used at higher cooking temperatures without any concern.

So now we’ve mastered cooking with it, I’ve literally used it in place of other oils for almost all types of cooking!  Let’s talk other uses.  Actually just this past month i decided to try out another one of its many uses {that i found reading this blog post}.  When the seasons change my skin tends to go a little haywire.  Parts are dry and itchy, other parts over moisturized and oily; its almost impossible to find a balance so my face ends up looking like a grease ball and a dry flake ball all at the same time?!?!?  Enter the lovely Coconut oil.  After reading about its moisturizing benefits i thought…what the heck.  It can’t hurt right.  So i gave it a whirl and spread it all over my face and neck.  To my surprise it wasn’t overly greasy {although it did take a few minutes to really soak in} and my skin instantly felt better {and smelled pretty yummy too!}  So fast forward to today and my skin is sooo happy!  Its finding its natural balance…no more greasy flaky ball…and my pores have actually cleared up and less blemishes too!  Who would have thought spreading oil all over your face could actually make you break out less?!

So moral of this story…Why not give Coconut oil a shot…

  • try it out in your favorite recipe
  • slather it on your dry skin
  • put a <little> in your palm and use to tame those crazy frizzy fly aways
  • swallow a spoonful to aid digestion and help with an upset stomach
  • remove chewing gum from your hair after that crazy gum tossing war?!
  • clean and polish your finest pair of leather shoes

Seriously i could go on forever…check out this blog for 80 different uses for this wondrous oil!!

Cheers

~ Jillian

P.s Make sure to always buy food grade Coconut oil {even if you aren’t actually eating it}; its just a cleaner and healthier option!

Winter Skin Refresh

Dry, cold Winter weather is harsh on skin.   This Winter, it seemed that I need to  slather on lotion every 30 minutes!  But, my skin still felt dry and almost like sandpaper at all times.  Attempting to get away from some of the chemicals and other irritants in store-bought cleansers, lotions and other beauty products, I tried out a few skin care remedies using a more natural approach.  After using these moisturizers for a few weeks, I’m ready to share the results.  

Most of these all-natural beauty remedies are under $10 and can be purchased from your local health food store or vitamin supplement store.  As always, try to use organic ingredients whenever possible.  

For the Face: RoseWater
Rosewater is a naturally occurring byproduct of distillation of essential oil of rose petals.  Packed full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and antioxidants, rosewater hydrates and rejuvenates the complexion.  Rosewater has many beneficial properties when applied to the skin, including:

  • maintains the pH balance of skin (controls both oily and dry skin and soothes many types of dermatitis)
  • prevents wrinkles and tightens pores
  • mild antiseptic properties (good for acne)
  • calms reddened or inflamed skin
  • helps to heal or prevent scars
  • stimulates circulation in the blood vessels beneath the skin (reduces the appearance of broken capillaries)

Regular use of rosewater has been shown to reduce and prevent dermatitis and eczema and soothe the skin when those irritations do occur.  Rosewater can also be used for aromatherapy.

Rosewater
For my face, I have been using Heritage Rosewater & Glycerin Spray as my moisturizer.  I absolutely LOVE it!  The added vegetable glycerin acts as a mild astringent, while the rosewater hydrates and tightens pores.   I have combination skin and was really suffering from dry skin in some areas.  After just a couple of days, I was noticing a major improvement in the appearance of my skin!  I have heard great things about Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner for a cleanser, as well.   I like that this toner was alcohol-free, to avoid further irritation to the skin.

For the Body: Coconut Oil & Vitamin E 
Jillian has already talked about some of the benefits of using coconut oil.  Vitamin E oil can also work wonders for your skin and is included in many skin care products.  Packed full of moisture and antioxidants, the benefits of Vitamin E oil include:

  • maintains the elasticity of skin (anti-aging)
  • promoting new skin cell growth and healing scars
  • moisturizes and soothes dry skin
  • prevents and repairs free radical damage (sun spots)

For the rest of my body, I made a batch of whipped coconut oil and vitamin E lotion.  It was as simple as tossing the two ingredients in the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer, turn it on and watch the oil churn into a whipped body butter.  

To make the whipped coconut oil and vitamin E lotion, you will need the following:  

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Yep, just coconut oil and vitamin E oil!  Make sure your coconut oil is organic, unrefined and for medium heat.  The unrefined coconut oil will whip up nicely and stay in a lotion consistency much better than the refined coconut oil.   Because Vitamin E oil is heavy and can difficult for the skin to absorb, it should be used in small amounts.  I used one teaspoon of vitamin E oil per cup of coconut oil.  Add the ingredients to the bowl of the mixer, turn it on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes or until you reach the desired consistency.  Be sure to store the whipped lotion in an clean, airtight container.  I used a lidded canning jar, which can be purchased at any grocery store, Walmart, Target or even Michaels craft store.

Coconut Vitamin E Lotion

A word of caution – this lotion takes longer to absorb than your typical drug store lotions.  Much like a shea body butter, it is thick and takes some time to soak in.  So, don’t slather this on right before you need to get dressed.  I have been loving the whipped coconut and vitamin E lotion!  It works wonders for hydrating the skin and the faint scent of coconut is delightful.

For the Lips: Exfoliation & Natural/Organic Lip Balm
Your lips are just as susceptible to the Winter elements.  To refresh chapped lips, start by exfoliating to remove dead skin.  You can make a simple at-home exfoliant by mixing together equal amounts of brown sugar, honey and olive oil.  Gently rub the brown sugar scrub on your lips and rinse with warm water.  To rehydrate your lips and keep the skin looking fresh, choose a lip balm that contains natural ingredients such as shea butter,  beeswax and vitamin E.  With all its skin rejuvenation and hydration benefits, it is no wonder that most lip balms contain a dose of Vitamin E oil.   Also make sure that your lip balm does not contain alcohol, dyes or fragrances, as these will dry out the skin.  A couple of my favorite lip balms are Burt’s Bees and Desert Essence Lip Rescue.  Although I have not tried them yet, I have been hearing great things about these cute Eos lip balms, which are 100% natural and 95% organic.

lip balms

Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist and am not qualified to give advice on skin issues.  I am simply sharing what has worked well for me.  If you have any skin issues or a form of dermatitis, make sure you consult a dermatologist before changing your skin care regimen.  It is always wise to test a small, inconspicuous area of skin for a reaction, before slathering these skin care remedies all over your body.

– Brittany

Monday Mantra: Smile

Life is full of challenges.  Some that are exciting, some terrifying, some overwhelming but ALL are put in our path to teach us something about ourselves.  To show us that we can do so much more then we ever thought possible!  So embrace these challenges, find ways to turn those obstacles into something inspiring and most important pass on those lessons!  Share your joy, your smiles and your strengths with those around you.  You never know when something you say or do could be JUST the thing that someone else was missing.

“Give someone one of your smiles, it might be the only sunshine they see all day.
It can change the world, maybe not the whole world, but their world.”

old-smiling-woman

{source}

If you follow HSE on facebook…you might have caught this fabulous video: Make the homeless smile.  This is what social media should be used for!!  Encouraging people to share joy with those around them  So let’s follow this new “trend” and use our voice for good!!   

To a wonderful week
~ Jillian

Why flowers make me smile

So you may remember me mentioning in a post before that I have a thing for the flowers and actually own my own company {MOSS Floral} doing floral & event design.  Well my “journey” into the world of flowers was never something I expected to venture into and certainly didn’t happen overnight.  But as many other things in life that are just meant to be, my love of flowers…well…Blossomed {ba dump bump chaaa}  I owe a TON of my skills and knowledge to my fab business partner Annie {otherwise known as Miss A here at HSE}, who has a killer eye for all things beautiful and is quite literally the worlds BEST bow maker…seriously…the woman can tie an insanely gorg’ bow.

But back to the how and why; Annie and I literally fell into the world of flowers helping out a few friends back in the day.  After working on our friend’s weddings we realized that our flower power was just too strong to not be shared with the world.  Now I am still {and will forever be} learning when it comes to flowers but let me tell you the over pouring creativity and pure joy that comes from working with flowers and making other people smile from our flowers is indescribable!

The best way to really make an impact with flowers is to add little personal touches.  Incorporating these little touches brings life and personality to any kind of arrangement!

We are so blessed to work with some of the most amazing vendors on the planet!  Check out the MOSS website to see some of our favorites as well as the photographers for the images featured here today!

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you’ve always wanted to know about the beautiful world of flowers!?!  Want to know how to care for these pretty things?  When flowers are in season?  How to plan for your next event?  Leave a comment with your most pressing questions!

Happy Flower Power!
~ Jillian

Ballerina Project

When we start talking about things we love, things that inspire us and things that make us happy, for me anything related to Dance definitely tops the list.  I grew up dancing, spent hundreds of hours of my childhood in the studio.  Blisters, Tutus, tap shoes and tights were just a regular part of my life.  As i’ve grown older unfortunately me dancing has fallen to the wayside BUT i will never loose my love for all things dance {The hubs knows that when So You Think You Can Dance is on tv I am NOT open for conversation or interruption!}  So when i stumbled on the blog The Ballerina Project I quite literally jumped out of my seat and did a little pas de chat!!  So gorgeous…I can’t even stand it!!!

Happy Dancing

~ Jillian

Flower Power

There is something about flowers that just makes you smile!  They smell delightful and really add life and cheer to a room.  Of course I am slightly bias in that I work with flowers as a part of my living {check out my Floral & Event Design business MOSS Floral} but I find it hard to believe that anyone could say different.  Now when it comes to arranging your flowers…it can be intimidating to some.  But fear not…there are countless {and easy} ways to get those blooms looking their best.  Sometimes in the world of flowers its best to think outside the box…er…vase.  For example…why not use that little model of a VW bug you have lying around the house to hold your sweet smelling goodies.  We put this groovy beauty together using a pretty standard inexpensive grocery store bouquet, a little bit of floral foam and a pair of scissors…doesn’t get much easier than that!!  Be sure to soak your floral foam really well before putting it into your container of choice, try to cut the stems of your flowers on an angle and be sure to keep the foam wet for a longer living arrangement.

So put on your thinking caps and try something other then a typical old vase for your next bunch of blossoms.  As long as your container can stand to get a little wet…your options are endless!  We want to see what creative containers you come up with…so send in your pics or descriptions of the crafty creative flower solutions you test out!!

Peace, Love and Flowers

~ Jillian