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Christmas

DIY Beauty Gifts | SPIRITPLATEI LOVE making my own skin care. I’ve been using honey (from a responsible source) on my face for a couple years now and I adore it. Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that really keep my skin clear and fresh. A couple months back, I decided to test drive some more homemade skin care products. Now, having used them for several weeks, I can truly vouch for them. These three are my favorite and I think they’d make wonderful gifts. You can always search Pinterest for variations as there are TONS of DIY beauty ideas. Try some creative gift wrapping to make these look extra festive! 

 

Body Butter

1/4 cup shea or cocoa butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
10-15 drops of essential oil in your favorite scent(s)

Melt the butter and oil in a small bowl and whisk to incorporate fully. Whisk in the essential oil (I used vanilla to complement the scent of the cocoa butter). Pour in to a 4 oz.. mason jar and refrigerate until set. 

To use: Rub your fingers onto the surface of the butter and it will melt from the warmth of your skin. Apply liberally to dehydrated skin. (I’ve given a batch of this to my sister-in-law to use on her belly after recently giving birth. I think a peppermint scent would also be nice!)

Facial Cleansing Oil

2 tbsp castor oil
2 tbsp almond or olive oil
10-15 drops of essential oil in your favorite scent(s)

Mix thoroughly and store in your favorite bottle or jar. I used a maple syrup dispenser for easy use in the mornings.

[Note: This recipe is for normal skin. For dry skin, increase the carrier oil to 3 tbsp and reduce the castor oil to 1 tbsp. For oily skin, reduce the carrier oil to 1 tbsp and increase the castor oil to 3 tbsp.]

To use: You can use this oil to wash your face and to remove make up. Simply pour a few drops into your hands and rub all over your face. Wet a small face towel with hot water and place on your face to steam your skin and loosen the oils. Gently towel off the excess oil. You won’t believe how hydrated and soft your skin will feel! (This is also great for acne prone skin! I used lavender, tea tree, and grapefruit essential oils. Aly loves to use it as a beard oil as well.)

Coffee Scrub

1/4 cup your favorite espresso ground
1/4 cup raw local honey
1 tsp coconut or almond oil

Mix thoroughly and store in 4 oz. mason jar. Rub a little of the mixture over the inside rim of the mason jar lid to keep it from rusting. Store with your shower products. 

To use: In the shower, wet skin, then take half teaspoon of mixture into your hands and rub on any area that needs some extra scrubbing. I use this on my face and neck, as well as dry patches on my knees, elbows, and feet. Rub in thoroughly then rinse off with hot water. (I love using this in the mornings as the coffee scent wakes me up! My favorite espresso is a cheap one called Cafe Bustelo.)

There are plenty of things I like to gift myself: Chocolate. Foot massages at that Thai place. Pumpkin spice lattes (soy, of course). Kitchen gadgets. Fuzzy socks. Anything with avocado.

There are few things that I actually need though. In fact, I would call these things treats rather than gifts. A gift is something far grander. A gift doesn’t need to be tangible, but it most definitely should be substantial. 

The important thing to ask yourself here is,
“What do I long for most? – that I have the power to gift myself?”

So what can you gift yourself with?

  1. Grace. Be kind to yourself. When you put your foot in your mouth at a meeting, when you screw up a family member’s big day, when you’re late – again, when you look in the mirror, when you can’t squeeze into those old jeans, when you can’t finish a workout, when you know you should’ve, but didn’t; be kind. Turn off that barrage of hateful commentary in your head, and extend yourself some mercy. You’ll be surprised how light you feel. 
  2. Confidence. Take pride in whatever you’ve accomplished in your short time here on earth and don’t let the small things go unnoticed. It is so difficult for many to simply get up every morning and persevere through each moment of their day. Your struggles are your badges of honor, don’t short change them! There is always much more on the horizon to reach, accomplish, or conquer, but that’s tomorrow’s battle. Get ready for that battle by building your confidence from your past ones and how you’ve learned and grown from experiencing them.
  3. Honesty. Oftentimes, we let our emotions cloud our reality. Whether it’s regarding our health, our wealth, or our emotional well-being, we often lie to ourselves saying we’re OK, or we’re fine, or we’re trying our best, when we aren’t. Not really. Honesty is the foundation for integrity, proactivity, and success. Our truthfulness about who we are, what we do, and how we function is important because it allows us to see our reality and not build false pretenses that will ultimately hurt us in the long run. 
  4. Gratitude. Thank yourself. No, really! Sometimes it’s hard to be a present parent when work is at its busiest time of year, or to listen to a friend’s problems when you yourself have had a long, exhausting day. Much like you would thank others for their time, their energy, their knowledge, thank yourself too! The other side of the coin is to show gratitude to God, the Universe, Fate, or the Powers that Be. Whatever it is that you believe in, showing gratitude to someThing or someOne “above” for your lot in life is one of the most powerful things you can do because it is the most humbling. So give thanks, and give it often! 
  5. Letting go. Often times we hold on to slights against us or slights we’ve made against others. Whether it’s guilt or anger, pride or despair, letting go can be a difficult thing to do. But these emotions bind us, and we can only be free once we let them go. So let go of that hurt, that pain, and gift yourself with a sigh of relief. 
  6. Forgiveness. Maybe you’ve started noticing a trend here 🙂 Forgiveness is a part of letting go, and it’s so coveted because it is something so rarely given. We’re not built to be quick about forgiving or forgetting anything. The smallest of slights stick in our mind forever, but we’ve got to train ourselves to face those tough situations, people, or emotions, and come to terms with them. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings, your weaknesses, your mistakes. Forgive, and in time, forget. 
  7. Love. There’s a difference between learning to stop being your own enemy and loving yourself. Loving yourself requires active participation, it is not a passive act. Loving yourself is very similar to loving others. You take notice, and you begin to find things you like: physical things like the way you smile or crinkle your nose when you laugh, emotional things like how you show restraint when someone verbally attacks you, or mental things like how you persevere through a tricky problem at work to find a solution everyone can agree on. Pretty soon you realize how unique these things make you, and how you light up every time you notice them happen again. This is how our love for others grows, it is also how our love for ourselves grows. Gift yourself with taking the time to fall in love with yourself.  

This holiday season, in all your selflessness, don’t forget about gifting yourself with what you really need: a heart filled with ease and joy. Happy holidays!!

The countdown has begun! Only 21 days until Christmas!!! I am SO excited. This is my absolute favorite time of year – you get to be all cozy and indulge in hot drinks and baked goodies and family and movies and be a cuddle puddle everywhere. While listening to Christmas music of course! My favorite is the Dean Martin holiday station on Pandora; it features my love, Dino, as well as Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and plenty of other classic musicians. This station puts me in a festive mood immediately! 

So this morning, I’m got my station on, a spiced coffee in hand, and I’m trying to think up gifts for my loved ones. Today, I want to talk subscriptions

Oftentimes, if you don’t know what one physical item to get a loved one, friend, or coworker, it can be a challenge to find something meaningful or useful for them. Gag gifts are funny for a split second, but then the receiver is left with the impression that you just didn’t know them well enough to find something meaningful, or that you didn’t take the time to do so. Don’t give a gag gift! They’re the worse!

Subscriptions are the best because:

  1. They allow you to buy an experience or an assortment of products for someone else without worrying about particular items. The specificity of the gift is out of your hands, so you’re buying something general with a theme you know the recipient can enjoy. 
  2. The recipient gets to try new things! A subscription are often curated products, which means you get a surprise of new products or brands you might not have found otherwise. You get to try new things without fully committing to a single brand or product. 
  3. The recipient may not get it for themselves. Oftentimes, because subscriptions have recurring payments, you may not purchase one for yourself if you’ve never tried it before. Receiving it as a gift is a great way to get your feet wet and try something you mightn’t have otherwise!
  4. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Long after the holidays have past, your loved one will keep receiving wonderful new surprises! A gentle reminder that you are, y’know, awesome.

So, without further ado, here are my top 5 favorite subscriptions for that special gal in your life:

  1. For the reader: Darling Magazine [$16/1 Quarter (1 edition) or $64/1 Year (4 editions)] Darling is a quarterly lifestyle magazine for women, by women. Their mission statement: “Darling is…the art of being a woman. Darling magazine holds the modern mold of woman up to the fire to evoke a discussion on femininity and re-shape an authentic design. Darling is a catalyst for positive change; leading women to discover beauty apart from vanity, influence apart from manipulation, style apart from materialism, sweetness apart from passivity, and womanhood without degradation. Darling leads women to practice the arts of virtue, wit, modesty, and wisdom, all the while creating beauty and embodying love. Darling says women are not only interesting, but original, not only good enough, but exceptional, not just here, but here for a purpose.”5 Gift Subscriptions for Women | SPIRITPLATEThe make of this magazine is an incredibly elegant matte print with stunning photography on heavyweight paper.  The articles are divided into 8 sections: The Dreamer, The Achiever, The Hostess, The Intellectual, The Stylist, The Confidant, The Beautician, and The Explorer and are written by women in all fields, including celebrities. There are no adds, no photoshopping, and the products and clothing featured are modest and affordable. I think they’re so beautiful, I use them as decor in my bedroom. This is great coffee table book that is a sure conversation-starter. Don’t forget you’ll need your recipient’s home address! Get it here
  2. For the mindful: Headspace [$12.95 for 1 month; $7.99/month for 1 year] Headspace is a meditation app. It has little modules that evolve as you progress to allow you to become more focused, worry less, eat and sleep better, learn faster, and more. It’s basically an exercise app for your mind and it is amazing!5 Gift Subscriptions for Women | SPIRITPLATEY’all know I love Calm.com. This is definitely an upgrade from that, and it is wonderfully developed with clear instructions and impeccable design. You can sign up on someone’s behalf and then gift them with their login info. Get it here
  3. For the vegan: VeganCuts [$59 for 3 months, $215 for 1 year] VeganCuts curates monthly boxes full of incredible cruelty-free products. You can subscribe to a monthly snack or beauty box that is paid-ahead, or buy individual one-time monthly themed boxes for: athletes, fashion, beauty, yoga and more.5 Gift Subscriptions for Women | SPIRITPLATEsnack-box-currentAgain, this is a great way to try new products without committing to an entire brand. I love it because I can also discover new brands I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise, or try newly released flavors from companies I already love. Again, you’ll need the recipient’s address to sign up. Get it here.
  4. For the yogi: YogaTime.Tv [$16.99/month] or YogiSurprise [$34.96/month] I put two here because they have two different goals. The first is an app for yoga where you can take multiple classes, earn badges, build community and more.5 Gift Subscriptions for Women | SPIRITPLATEIt is a low one-time cost but you also need your gift recipient’s e-mail address and other info to sign up for the app. (Alternatively you can purchase an iTunes gift card and write a note for the recipient.) Get it here5 Gift Subscriptions for Women | SPIRITPLATEThe second is a pricier option that mails monthly products related to yoga including accessories, massage oils, incense, vegetarian snacks, and more. I’ve not tried this one, to be honest, but I’ve heard great things! Get it here
  5. For the beauty-obsessed: Petit Vour [$15/box or $45/3 months or $90/6 months] Petit Vour is a cruelty-free beauty box that mails makeup, perfume, skincare, etc in a curated monthly box. Think of it as high-end vegan beauty products – or as they call it, the creme-de-la-cruelty-free.5 Gift Subscriptions for Women | SPIRITPLATEThe products and companies features use all vegan ingredients, and never experiment on animals. And yet, these products are so wonderfully made, you wonder why other brands do use animal by-products! Get it here.

That’s it! Happy subscribing! 

For my holiday tree this year I wanted to move away from loud colors and plastic ornaments and focus on a more muted, yet festive look that would tie in together with my neutral bedroom. I’ve got pale blue-gray walls, dark wood furniture with white accents, so I decided on a woodland theme to sort of bring the outdoors in and remind me of all the beauty the wintertime has to offer! I’m by no means done decorating our room – but I have finished the tree! 

Easy Sustainable DIY Ornaments | SPIRITPLATEIsn’t she a beauty?! 

Easy DIY Sustainable Tree Ornaments | SPIRITPLATETo stick with the woodland, natural theme, I pulled inspiration from seasonal, easily found, and cheap materials – most of which I already had lying around:

  1. Cinnamon Sticks. Easy DIY Sustainable Ornaments | SPIRITPLATEAll you need is a little jute or twine to wrap a few cinnamon sticks into a bundle, et voila! A rustic look with a sweet and festive scent for your tree! As an alternative, you could glue cloves to round pieces of cardboard to make mini clove wreaths! 
  2. Dehydrated Fruit Slices. Sustainable Natural Ornaments | SPIRITPLATEI chose seasonal and cheap fruit – apples and oranges. I sliced them a 1/4 inch thick and set them at 130F in the dehydrator overnight. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can do the same thing in the oven! Set the fruit on wire racks rather than a solid bottom tray and set your oven to 120-130F. Keep the fruit in the oven overnight and check them in the morning. I stuck ornament hooks easily through the fruit slices without damaging them – these are my favorite ornaments on the tree!
  3. Fallen twigs. Easy DIY Sustainable Ornaments | SPIRITPLATEI ran to my backyard and looked for fallen twigs to create my star. I cut each branch to the size I wanted, then using the same jute twine, I tied the ends together to create the star. I secured the backs of these knots with a drop of glue from a glue gun. I then used the twine to attach the star to the top of my tree, and strung some smaller lights around the branches to illuminate it. 
  4. Birdseed Cookies. Easy DIY Sustainable Ornaments | SPIRITPLATEA quick search on Pinterest shows there are tons of recipes for these birdseed ornaments. I used the recipes here and here for reference. I swapped the corn syrup out for honey, and the gelatin or breadcrumbs out for ground flaxseed, because I felt these ingredients were less harmful alternatives for wild birds and easier on their digestion. When the season is up and I take down my tree, I plan on placing these birdseed ornaments on the pecan tree Aly and I planted in our backyard for our wedding, ready for the birds that’ll come back in the springtime!
  5. Recycled Materials. Easy Sustainable DIY Ornaments | SPIRITPLATEOld clear glass ornaments or light bulbs make great translucent decorations. I filled mine with old glitter and beads I had leftover from other crafts and events using a kitchen funnel. For the ribbon I used a woven jute I had leftover from my sister-in-law’s bridal shower. For the tree skirt, I sewed together old plaid fabric I had lying around from college (I was a textiles major). I used the leftover fabric to sew matching pillows that I stuffed and placed on our bed to tie the room together. 

If you’re participating in our GIVEAWAY this month, don’t forget to follow us and like this post on Facebook and Instagram!

Until tomorrow my lovelies!