Blending new with old

Theatre of Dionysus 4th century BC w/ present day Athens in the background

European Inspiration: Incorporating the New with the Old

In cities like Rome and Athens, while you’re hopping between new 21st century additions like chic bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, it’s fully possible that you may stumble over ruins that are thousands of years old. New apartments are built against old city walls that were both built and torn down centuries ago. Certain streets are still cobblestone. In some countries, old mother tongues are still widely spoken—ancient Greek, Welsh, and Gaelic, for instance.

Certain European countries have not only managed incorporate the new with the old, but they have done so flawlessly. Even now, the past and the present are not separate—in many places, the past is still very much alive and very much a part of people’s day-to-day lives.

How the New and the Old Can Work Together

We can learn a lot from this willingness to incorporate the new with the old. Even though you and I probably don’t have to worry about restructuring historical monuments or, there are still plenty of way we  can apply these principals in our daily lives.

Consider these tips for using old solutions for new successes:

Embrace old medicine. Before aspirin tablets, there was willow bark. Instead of DayQuil, how about using Echinacea to fight that cold? Or ginger for arthritis pain? Natural remedies fell out of fashion for a while, but they are still around and still as effective as ever.

Choose natural over man-made. Today, cleaning products like Windex are staples in most homes. But why surround yourself with all those harsh chemicals when you can make your own with just some water, vinegar, and alcohol? And instead of laundry detergent, how about reusable soap nuts? (I’ve used them—they really work!)

Grow your own. Instead of relying on grocery stores, why not start your own little garden right in your own backyard? (Or even on your windowsill, or in your refrigerator door!) Sure, supermarkets made everything a lot easier and more convenient, but what’s better and more fulfilling than stepping outside for your own fresh produce?

The past and present do not have to exist in opposition—they can work together.

Luckily, there are ways to embrace the past while still being modern. Embracing old methods doesn’t mean doing to live by yourself in a cabin in the woods. (Though we’re not knocking the idea!) It’s just about living as mindfully, productively, and creatively as possible.

 

ALO Blends by Krista Jean are all about embracing the pure benefits of natural substances. These methods are not old or outdated, they’re tried-and-true. They work. It’s like building a new apartment up against a wall that is centuries old—using the past to support the present.

Originally posted March 3, 2015. Updated December 15, 2017

Creating a New Blend

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties” – Erich Fromm


Time to get creative and blend!

A new blend was requested for massage oil to battle aches and pains. Thought I would try using this blog post as a way to think through and then create this new custom blend. After the request was made, lots of questions come to mind (very typical of me). I would hate to make assumptions and end up missing something important.

What I want to know…

-Overall health and wellness of the person as well as any sensitivities or allergies.

-What does ‘massage oil’ mean to this person? Oil like Jojoba, lotion or thick cream or a body butter? Having examples to show or test out was very helpful to narrow down the options.

-Next comes therapeutic value – is there a recent injury, sore muscles from exercise, tight shoulders from stress, etc.?

-Last, but certainly not least is aroma. Are floral scents a favorite? or citrus? Maybe earthy and herbaceous or woody.


Next comes selecting the ingredients. Sometimes I already have an idea of what I want in a blend. It must be all of that information that I have stashed away and experience from every other blend I have created. Other times, I mull it over, research the chemistry of the oil, research that has been done, traditional uses, go back to the research, write some notes, etc. Then it’s time to see how everything smells together.

 

 

Since this blend will be used for massages to relax and to address sore spots from tension, the best texture is a really soft butter. It was a clear winner after some samples were tested. Butters to be used:

Beeswax to act as an emulsifier

Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil and Jojoba Oil combine to provide a wonderful moisturizer for the skin


Next comes the therapeutic expectations – primarily relaxation, but also pain relief and anti inflammatory – and the aroma – floral.


I have narrowed the list of essential oils to Orange, Geranium, Neroli, Ylang Ylang and Vetiver because of their sedative and grounding effects.


Now it’s time to blend…


Wow! I love! Might have to make another batch and save some for myself! Hopefully it is used and enjoyed in the days to come.

Thanks for joining me on this blending adventure. Each one is always a bit different and geared toward the needs of those using the blend(s). Even if the same ingredients are used, the potency or strength of them might be tweaked. There are so many options.

The finished blend is hardening

Healing your skin after a sunburn

Since the summer solstice is tomorrow, it’s time to celebrate the sun – on the longest day of the year it seems only fitting. Many of us need to be careful not to get too crispy from lots of fun in the sun.

Some basic facts:

-Most of us know from experience that a sunburn is red skin that is hot and usually painful to the touch.

-Sunburns are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation –aka sunlight.

-Sunburns can vary in severity. The top layers of the skin can be slightly pink or can suffer the damage of second & third degree burns.

-Tanning happens because exposure to some UV light triggers the skin cells to produce more melanin. Melanin is the dark color pigment in your epidermis that gives your skin its normal color. Production of more melanin darkens the skin and acts as a shield to the lower layers of skin. Genetics determines how much extra melanin can be produced which is why some of us are dark brown, others turn golden brown and others will only ever turn a crispy shade of red after time in the sun.

 

After a sunburn the most important thing is usually minimizing the uncomfortable symptoms. Here are a few natural remedies and suggestions:

-Take a cool bath – will help to cool the skin and lower the body’s temperature to give you a little relief. Avoid using wash cloths, bubble baths and perfumed body washes that will either irate or dry out your already sensitive skin.

-Moisturize – use unscented, all natural products as much as possible. Consider raw or unrefined products such as jojoba oil and coconut oil. Apply these gently to slightly damp skin and let them absorb.

-Stay hydrated – drink lots of water. Stay away from flavored waters or sports drinks. Stick with room temperature water.

Great guide for the amount of water to drink every day is take your body weight and divide it in half, that is how many ounces of water you should drink a day. Example, a 200lb person should drink 100 oz of water a day.

-Wear loose fitting cotton cloths – these should not rub or chafe and will allow for airflow.

Over the years, I have developed an After Sun Spray to combat the ouch and the heat of a sunburn. The chemistry of the ingredients has also shown to aid the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Ready for the beach with hat & towel packed. The spray is ready just in case.

-Applying it using a spray avoids touching or rubbing your already sensitive skin

-Aloe vera & Peppermint are cooling

-Lavender & Peppermint are analgesics (help reduce the pain)

-German Chamomile reduces inflammation

-Helichrysum helps the skin heal

All of these work together to soothe the skin allowing you to rest and heal.

*Be very cautious if you have blistering due to the burn.

The above should not replace the advice or treatment suggestions of your trusted medical professional. Seek help if you feel faint, have a racing heart rate or rapid breathing, if you are severely dehydrated (really thirsty, drinking, but not urine), nausea, fever, severe blisters/burns covering a significant portion of the body and and/or you feel that it is important that your burn be seen by a medical professional.

Other places to find recipes

www.aromaticsinternational.com

www.mountainroseherbs.com

RESOURCES

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sunburn/DS00964

http://douglasmckee.com/pdf/Vitamin%20D%20from%20Sunlight.pdf

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pill/S0190062281701038

Sunrise

 

DIY Pampering for Dad

I don’t know about you, but the dad in our family usually gets the short end of the stick. We are into the summer schedule so the cool artwork projects from school don’t come home and unless there is a new project around the house, no new tools are needed. What oh what do we do for this amazing man who hasn’t asked for anything (so no hints darn it)? He snuggles, wrestles, cooks, cleans and most importantly loves us no matter what!

 

With so many essential oils and various blends around the house over the years, I have learned that men appreciate them too! Only a few days away and here is an idea that should be easy to pull off with ingredients in your kitchen/bath or after a quick trip to the store

 

Dad’s Foot Scrub

The dad in our would never think to go get a pedicure, but he would really enjoy the benefits of one.

 

Supplies for the scrub:

-4 oz of course sea salt (found in bulk or in the same isle with iodized salt at the grocery store)

-2-4 oz of olive oil, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil

-Warm water (you can use a bucket or sit on the side of the tub)

-His favorite lotion

-Soft towels

Optional – essential oils to add to the scrub are a great idea but not necessary

Mix your oils and salt in a (plastic) container that can be sealed.

Add as much oils as needed to achieve the consistency that you want. Some like more salt and less oil and others prefer the opposite.

Stir everything together to combine it. This is the time to add the essential oils you have them.

 

Now the trick is convincing your favorite dad to sit still long enough to be pampered. Work a palmful of oil & salt into the foot and rub, then gently rinse, dry and massage with your favorite lotion or oil (use what is left of the olive oil/sweet almond oil/jojoba).

 

You can deviate the above and just make bath salts.

 

Manly smelling essential oils – Balsam Copaiba, Cedarwood, Ho Wood, Juniper Berry, Patchouli and Vetiver. The various pines and citrus oils are also good options.

 

A favorite masculine smelling bath salt combo of mine is

Large palm full of salts

2 drops Laurel Leaf

2 drops Frankincense

2 drops Juniper Berry

 

HAPPY FATHER’s DAY from our family to yours!

Essential Oils to the Rescue

Bee & wasp stings hurt! No wonder everyone takes notice when one is flying around.


Essential oils to the rescue over the weekend when my husband was stung and a few months ago when I was stung. I reacted quickly and used what I had on hand for both stings. For me it was Indulgent Fragrances blend with Sandalwood, Jasmine, Myrrh and Neroli in Jojoba oil and KJ Hand Sanitizer. For my hubby, Indulgent Fragrances went on first, then a drop each of Lavender and Helichrysum.


After I was stung, I did a bit of research. Love it when my knowledge of essential oils comes in handy, and then it usually leads me to more questions. This time it was:

-What type of wasp stung me?—Paper Wasp but not sure about my hubby’s though.

-Why do humans have a physiological response?—Bee & wasp venom are composed of different protein and peptide antigens. These substances elicit an immune response (i.e. histamine is released and causes that itchy feeling). Everybody’s immune system generates at least a localized reaction to the potent antigens.

-Why does it hurt more than a pinprick?— From Pain.com, Stings are painful due to neurotransmitters and chemicals present in bee and wasp venom that stimulate pain receptors and increase the frequency of nerve signal transmission, making the sting more painful than it would be without venom.

REFERENCES:

Just in case you need a laugh, here is a bit more about my wasp experience… I was standing inside, so it was quite unexpected to be stung in the temple by a wasp.  Added to that, the rogue wasp stung me while the national anthem was being sung and I was surrounded by hundreds of silent people.  The above mentioned setting means that my “OWW” was heard loud and clear.

I had to act quickly (again I repeat OWW) because two boys and large crowds, not the place to be distracted or teary eyed over my boo boo.  Out of my purse came my KJ hand sanitizer and my Indulgent Fragrances.  The hand sanitizer went on first, then after it had a chance to absorb for a minute, the Indulgent Fragrances was rolled on to my temple.

Repeated this process three more within 20 minutes when there was a noticeable difference.  The heat was lessened and the pain not as sharp.  Over the next two hours, I reapplied the hand sanitizer and roll-on every 30 minutes (or so).

Later that night, no swelling, no pain, no heat.  I almost forgot about it!  As a just in case, I rolled on a bit more Indulgent Fragrances right before bed.  Over the next few days the area itched a couple of times, but that was the extent of it.

When ‘Just 1 More’ leads to ‘1 Too Many’

When ‘Just 1 More’ leads to ‘1 Too Many’


Talk of the upcoming release of The Hangover 3 as well as various friends’ plans for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend has led to questions about which oils will help combat the not so fun affects of too much to drink.

 

When tons of fun partying until all hours moves into the yuck of the morning after…

 

You know the feeling – Fuzzy headed if you are lucky and a full on jackhammer working on your scull if you are not so lucky, body aches, dry mouth, queasy stomach, nausea, etc.

 

What is the best way to battle a hangover???

To not get drunk! Too late for that? Yup, I have been there too. Here are some suggestions.

 

Water – Alcohol dehydrates the cells in the body, so add some water back. Drink small amounts often. No need to overwhelm your already sensitive stomach with a gallon of water in five minutes. A good idea to naturally flavor your water. Instead of using a powder or sports drink, try adding some lemon or lime – good flavor, stimulates the liver and is refreshing.

 

Simple Food – Stick to toast, crackers, soups and pasta. Start with snack size portions to make sure that your stomach is ready for it. Avoid those grease soaked fries and fast food burger. Drowning a hangover is grease will actually impair your liver function for longer and extend your hangover symptoms.

 

Essential Oil Blends – A little relief using therapeutic grade essential oils. Blends combining any of the oils below will help reduce the affects of your symptoms and aid your body’s natural ability to heal itself. These should be added to a lotion, cream or oil before applying to your body. Reapply often as you are recovering from your night. After applying to your skin, hold your hands in front of your nose and simply inhale. This will get you some quick relief while your body is absorbing the oils through your skin and spreading them through the blood steam.

 

Peppermint – Helps with pain from headaches and settle your stomach

Lavender – Soothing and relaxing for those body aches, but it’s also an analgesic for that pounding head ache

Ginger – Great for nausea and stimulates localized circulation (Cardamom is an alternative)

Black Pepper – Increases circulation to help flush toxins and eases aches & pains

Frankincense – Clears the head and cooling to help battle those sweats

Juniper – Powerful detoxifying affects

Roman Chamomile – Calming an upset stomach and aiding in sleep

 

Rest – Don’t forget this simple tool to help your body heal.

 

As I researched various hang over cures, milk thistle (herb) kept coming up… It is used to fortify and protect the liver from the affects of alcohol. I need to do more digging on that one. If it gets added to our herb supply, I promise it will get it’s own post down the road.

 

A little science about why your body feels so bad

As you drink alcohol, it hits the blood stream and causes the Pituitary Gland in the brain to stop producing vasopressin (also known as the antidiuretic hormone). Without this chemical, our kidneys do not absorb water (needed to hydrate our cells and flush out toxins), instead it sends it directly to the bladder. That is why you have to pee every two seconds when you start drinking.

 

This dehydration is one reason your head hurts the next day – your organs deal with their own water loss by pulling it from the brain, causing it to decrease in size and pull on the membranes connecting the brain to the skull = ouch.

 

All of that peeing that you did stripped your body of salt and potassium which are needed for your nerve and muscle function = headache, fatigue and nausea.

 

Alcohol can cause blood vessels to dilate – again where your headache comes into play.

 

Can’t forget our liver, alcohol affects the body’s store of glycogen turning it into glucose (sugar) and sending it around the entire body. This will impact your digestion and over all functioning of your immune system.

My Car Smells Like Boy!

My car smells like little boy and…

I would love to blame it on the forgotten socks and ‘unseen’ sneakers jammed under the seats, but I know that the culprits are too numerous to assign sole (pun intended) blame to stinky boy feet. Unseen defined here as “Momma, I didn’t see it!” Yeah, right! You had to trip over it to get out of the car.

Over the years, the contents of toy bins and costume buckets have all taken up residence, crayons & markers have been left, mountains of dirt & sand tracked in, snacks crushed to bitty bits and last bites of breakfast smashed into every crook and cranny.

 

Yes, I am ignoring all of the years that I basically lived, ate and worked from my car running from meeting to meeting. It doesn’t smell like ‘over stressed working mom’, it smells like ‘boy.’

 

Even with the mess and obvious imperfections, I realized, I like my car and I do not want to trade it in yet. My husband knows that he cannot think about trade in value or build a list of possible replacements until I am ready—over 250,000 miles sounds like a good time. After committing to holding on to my car and when I was finally well past the sleep deprived mom stage, I am better able to handle the massive amounts of stuff that needed to come in at the end of every day. By no means did this actually clean my car though.

 

A few months ago, here is what I motivated to do…

1-Cleaned out all items that should not be there (this is my every day battle, but the boys are old -enough to help with strong reminders)

 

 

2-Vacuumed (optional and a rare occurrence at our house in recent years)

3-Baking soda lightly sprinkled onto the floor mats (I used a heavier hand under the seats and under the floor mats)

4-Wiped down all surfaces with damp cloth. Just spritz some all-purpose cleaner from spray bottle OR if you are like me… While I was finishing a call, I grabbed that damp napkin needed to clean sticky hands and finally scrubbed off that shiny spot on the dash made from the gooey banana. Call still not done, so I wiped layers of dust from dash, around clock, radio and gear shifter. woo hoo)

 

 

5-Clean windows inside and out. Can use a vinegar water mix (as much as 50/50 mix if really really dirty windows caked w/ sticky kiddo fingers and dog snot) and if you want a fresh scent, then add some essential oils to your spray bottle.

6-To keep it smelling nice will take a bit of a commitment. First, I have to be vigilant against invading forces (those socks, partial costumes and snacks being the worst) and add a few drops of essential oils as needed.

 

Things to remember when creating your own Car Aromatherapy

-Less is More!!!! You will grow accustomed to the smell (good or bad) in your car, so go easy on the application of EOs. Think potpourri in your neighbors house that you can smell on their cloths hours after they left their house, but they are buying three new plug ins because theirs have lost the scent.

-Evaporation and the heat of your car will affect the oils. Reapplication will be necessary. As mentioned above a few drops on some cotton balls or a clean rag under the seat(s) will go a long way.

-Apply oils to clean cotton balls, stray piece of clay (that random terra cotta piece or coaster), clean cotton rag or repurposed piece of cardboard. Place in a spot that is easy enough to get to so you can reapply or switch it out if it gets dusty/dirty. I have been putting mine under the driver’s seat.

 

Suggested oils –

Citrus oils are great deodorizers & uplifting for that grumpy mood on Monday mornings

Lavender is always a favorite & calming for that stressful commute

Pine is a great scent for the fall/winter months, plus it is a wonderful upper respiratory oil.

 

With busy days, I forget for days (ok, weeks) at a time to refresh my under seat air freshener. Not to worry, just grab some stray supplies as you remember.

 

Making Laundry Soap is Easy

Only three ingredients needed to make your own Laundry Soap
Really it is easy! Promise!

As my knowledge and research on essential oils expanded, so did their place in our lives and our home. It started with lip balms and lotions and has expanded to all corners of our life.  

Even with all of the essential oils I have around, changing a product in our home still comes with some basic, but strict guidelines. Is the new product…

  •  Cheaper or the same price as store bought?
  •  Convenient – either fun for me to make or just plain fast & easy to throw together?
  •  Effective? It has to work (windows have to be clear, counters clean, soap scum removed, etc.) or why change.

Essential oils are in every room of our house, but we still bought our laundry soap. I was a bit hesitant after an epic fail with my attempt at dish washer detergent. Granted, I was doing it off the cuff and the dish washer was on its last clunking leg (dishes all done by hand now so no need to perfect that recipe yet).

Tried and true on mountains of dirt-encrusted, dog-smelling, sweat-soaked laundry– Months later, it still makes me smile when I add the laundry soap to the washer.

I started with this basic recipe for Powdered Laundry Soap.

 

2 cups of Washing Powder
2 cups of Borax
1 4 oz bar of coco castile soap
Optional 1-2 tsp of essential oil

Instructions:

1-Grate your bar soap using a cheese grater or if you are doing multiple bars use a food processor (cut into smaller chunks first)

2-Mix grated soap with Washing Powder and Borax

3-Store in air tight container or baggie 

 

To use:  

Scoop out 2 Tbsp of mixture per large to extra-large load of laundry.

 

Note-All of my research states that this recipe should be safe on front load/high efficiency washers, but I do not have one so I have not tested it.