Friday, January 9, 2015

GPB: #KilltheKcup a Horror Film about the Single Brew

I have some "eco" aspects that I can set aside judgement... but single serve coffee brews aren't one of them. 

K-cups and the like are one of my soap boxes, my line in the sand. They cost more long term, make crappier coffee and are wasteful as shit. 

If you'd like to read a bit of my rant (take two since I posted about this pre-full blown craze in 2010) AND see a ridiculously amazeballs short "horror" film spoof about K-Cups, check out my post at the Green Phone Booth today:


May your weekend be filled with GREAT delicious organic fair trade coffee NOT from a pod.

Friday, January 2, 2015

DIY Natural Orange-Vanilla Scent for Your Home

Today marks the weekend before my two weeks of vacation are over... and I return to work. I will say that I greatly enjoyed having a little over two weeks off, after a particularly sick-filled and stressful autumn it was necessary.

Vacation means quiet afternoons for reading and making suet blocks out of saved bacon fat (and searching through pinterest on the best ways to attract cardinals... still alluding us sadly). After which the entire house smelled like bacon fat... which actually smells quite a bit less alluring than you might expect.

Earlier in the season I caved and bought smelly candles, but they really do smell something awful- just a tinge of chemical scent that reminded me of those silly smelly candle stores filled with ridiculous country knickknacks. Instead of filling my house with a yummy smell, I was constantly reminded of indoor air pollution and icky chemicals.

I remembered, suddenly, that earlier in the week I had purchased an orange on a whim (I usually don't, since they are definitely NOT local, but I was craving orange juice) and that we had some whole spices left over from the Yulemas Mulled Wine. A quick pinterest search revealed a "How to" for stove top simmering scents and storage. I thought I'd give it a try.

And wow, it smells absolutely scrumptious and I am only mildly concerned about the state of having a pot left on "low" heat. I've heated my concoction in a small pot, but we do happen to have a fondu thingy-ma-jigger that I'm going to look into rigging up as a possible contender for the next batch!

For the inspiration (and fabulous tips for different scents and methods) check out "The Yummy Life".

Orange-Vanilla Stove Top Room Scent:

Half an orange, sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon cloves
3 star anise
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add ingredients to a small pot. Add water until covered. Bring to a boil. Lower temperature to "low". Monitor to assure water doesn't evaporate. Afterwards, pour mixture into mason jar, top up with water if necessary and refrigerate. Good for a few more uses.


Storage:
In a mason jar put the other half of the orange and all other ingredients except the vanilla, fill with water. Store in fridge for 1-2 weeks.

I'm actually very excited to go gather some fir and pine needles to try a few of "The Yummy Life's" other scent suggestions! I also really like that for the most part this recipe uses only things that we'd have already in our pantry and that I can store ready-to-use pots in jars.

If you have other scent suggestions- please leave them below- I'd love to try them!

Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY Gentle Coffee/Oats Face Exfoliant

Why Hello There.

I hope you all had such a fabulous Yule and holiday season! Here in the EcoYogini house the past month has been a flutter with decorating, organic tree putting up and trimming, holiday party hosting and culminating with my brother's surprise wedding, organized in 8 days.

(Incidentally, I was also interviewed via skype for Accidental Yogist's "Yoga Chat" radio show on different winter holiday celebrations- my bit was on paganism and Yule :) I'm at the end, around the 1.5hr mark). 

This month has also been awful for my skin, particularly on my face. In recent years the skin on my face has become horrendously dry, I mean flaking off in embarrassingly large quantities with red spots of "not quite acne, but not quite rosacea" along my cheeks to finish it off. I mean really, is it even necessary?

I was so desperate that I started using my whipped body butter (with cocoa butter, shea butter and coconut oil) on my face every morning... to no avail. It was like the oils just sat on TOP of the flaky dry skin. Even the oil cleansing method, for which I only have time in the evenings to do, wasn't enough.

One morning I was so desperate that I used the body scrub made from coffee grinds, sugar and almond oil on my face (VERY gently). And whaddaya know? It worked!

Now, my face, being extremely sensitive (refer to rosacea comment), straight up coffee grinds (that I grind myself, so not uniform) with their jagged edges isn't truly the best approach to a face exfoliant. However, there is a lot to be said for using coffee on aging skin, as it is known to have a toning and antioxidant that can calm red skin effect. Plus a fresh supply will always be on hand.

I also have used with great success oats as part of my face routine. Oatmeal is filled with nutrients and vitamins that help nourish your skin, soothe dry itchy skin and helps to lock in moisture. However, due to my extremely sensitive skin, even using whole, slightly crushed oats, can be tricky as they still have sharp, jagged edges.

Finally, I wanted to choose my oils to add mindfully. Coconut oil has never been the be all and end all in moisturizers for my body. I always found lip balms, body butters and face moisturizers with coconut oils to be absorbed quickly and their benefits just as brief. It was like water on my skin. A quick search and I see I'm not alone in my (gasp!) sacrilegious views on coconut oil.

So... after much thought and research here is what I ended up with! It works beautifully, smells like a coffee-vanilla heaven and leaves my skin soft, moisturized and happy. Feel free to modify the recipe to best suit your skin, choosing oils that make sense for your skin type and NOT just because some blogger said it was the best oil ever. Facial skin is personal, yo.


Coffee Vanilla Gentle Face Scrub


1/4 cup of used coffee grinds
1/4 cup of ground oats
3 teaspoons of brown sugar
3 teaspoons of sweet almond oil
3 teaspoons of grapeseed oil
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

(Local Haligonians: North Mountain Coffee not only makes the BEST tasting, ethical, organic coffees but the resulting grinds are more like a lovely paste and make the BEST scrubs! You can purchase their coffee at Smiling Goat and Petes Frootique!)
(Coffee grinds all soft and ready!)

For coffee grinds and ground oats use a mesh strainer and massage the grinds through, essentially leaving out any larger, more sharp grinds and oats. It may take a few minutes and you may have to do this in batches, but it's worth it!

Use a fork to mix the dry ingredients together and then add oil. You can always use less oil (2 tsp each was just a tad under oily for my liking, but would probably work just fine!). You can also leave off the vanilla- it just adds a bit of extra yummy smell.

Store in a small glass container. Use a spoon to extract about a teaspoon's worth in the palm of your hand (be careful not to get any water in the jar- it will go bad much more quickly with water), massage in gentle circles on your face. Gently rinse/wipe away either under the shower (close eyes, hold breath!) or using a wash cloth. Only downside? Your tub has little brown coffee grind bits that you'll need to wipe away. Pat dry!

Monday, November 24, 2014

DIY Rustic Yulemas Tree Ornaments

My first ever DIY ornaments!

The day after Halloween, Andrew and I went Yulemas shopping.

I know. I am now that person.

I just couldn't resist, there were these gorgeous, rustic, woodland type ornaments... and I fell in love... so we bought four. Sigh. I will admit that I am a sucker for fancy, coordinated Yulemas trees. I love the organized pretty, the match-y colours or themes. It's awful, I know.

I've also grown up watching my mom slowly amass a few ornaments a year for her tree- since the really nice ones are so darn expensive. So... I could just do that.

OR- as my bestie Heather pointed out, I could just make my own!!!

I then spent HOURS on pinterest, came up with some ideas, fabricated a reason to go to Michael's and OH: how convenient, all the Christmas stuff is 50% including clear glass ornaments?? PERFECT.

Tonight I finished my first six and I will say that a) it wasn't as easy as I had hoped and b) they don't look AS classy as the ones I bought at Thornbloom. Still... I like them!

So I thought I'd share here what I did and what I learned:

Lessons:

  1. Reusing styrofoam that came in moving stuff as "snow" might *seem* like a good idea... but the end result is just an ornament with styrofoam balls inside. You aren't fooling anyone.
  2. Glitter literally gets everywhere. You have been warned.
  3. A funnel is your best friend.
  4. You can't shred paper in tiny, perfect, "snow" pieces using a nutmeg grater. That just results in paper dust that you will need to sweep. Actually, it is basically impossible to do anyway, so let that dream go.
  5. Shaking the ornament to distribute the epsom "snow" salts is a BAD idea.
First step- branches!
For these ornaments I used weeping birch branches I had cut for my Halloween branch drink tag tree. It's important that you choose a type of tree that is bendy and won't easily snap. I pre-bent them carefully to make sure that any "break-y" pieces would snap pre-ornament insertion and so I could get a cool spiral look. I also tried to choose pieces that had some interesting aspects like a few extra branches or buds.

Styrofoam as "snow" looks exactly like styrofoam as snow... #snowfail

I decided on epsom salts for my fake snow- but seriously, don't shake them! I'm now super paranoid that they will get shaken and look all cloudy.... If anyone has a way to shred paper into tiny bits, please let me know! #Ineedpapersnow
(don't shake the ornament! this one is my winner, I will hide the cloudy one on the side of the tree... in it's cloudy shame)

I also had some little fake berries that had fallen off another decoration that I used to drop into the snow+branch themed ones which I thought looked super cute!

ouuuu glitter!

Originally I had glitter remorse when I realized that the glitter I had purchased was the larger flakes... except for these ornaments they are perfect! The glitter tends to stick very well with a little shake and remind me of a more modern type style. 



There you have it! I also have more of larger styles that I plan on trying terrariums in at least a few... we'll see how that goes!



All six in their disgusting plastic tray! Although- a handy place for storage after the holiday season...

Friday, November 14, 2014

GPB: How to hang clothes to dry over the Canadian Winter Months

Winter solar clothes drying... sounds super cool and hip right? All the cool kids are doing it. If you want to check out some fun tips on how to keep hanging your clothes on the line over the winter months (some from my mom, some that I found out on my own), OR if you have tips of your own to share, go on over and read my post at the Green Phone Booth:


(Like a boss)