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I’m so full of joy, I feel like I could fly!

I just spent 10 amazing days participating in the Create Natural Beauty Photo Challenge. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came up with the idea of the challenge several weeks ago. Would people want to try something new each day for 10 days? Would they run away screaming at the thought of putting avocado and yogurt in their hair?

It turns out, you guys are amazing and totally jumped into the challenge full force. It was a fun week of learning new things and celebrating each other.  I don’t see why we can’t celebrate creating natural beauty in our lives every week.

For those of you didn’t have a chance to participate in the challenge, let me recap the last 10 days for you – because it’s too fun not to share.

Day 1 – Smile

Day1 - SMILE

Smiling is one of the easiest ways you can lift your mood, look younger, and even live longer.

When you smile, it releases endorphins which directly counteract stress hormones. Smiling naturally lifts the face, and studies have shown that it makes people look younger (3 years on average). People who smile more often live longer too, about 7 years longer according to another study.

Day 2 – Freshen Your Breath Naturally

Day 2

Here are some beautiful herbs you can chew to blast the stank away:

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Fresh sprigs of parsley (my fave!)
  • 1-2 cardamom pods
  • A cinnamon stick

Day 3 – Wash Your Face with Honey

Day 3

Raw honey is an amazing natural ingredient that gently removes dirt and impurities without stripping your skin of natural oils. About 6 months ago, I started using manuka honey and it completely transformed my skin with its antibacterial and healing properties.

Here’s how you do it:
Splash some warm water on your face, then take 1/2 tsp of raw honey and warm it between your fingers. Smooth it gently on your face. Rinse off with warm water and pat your face dry. If you have the time, leave the honey on your face for 10 minutes. Your skin will be so happy.

Day 4 – Hydrate, Beautifully

Day 4

Think of your skin like a sponge. When it is dehydrated (from caffeine, alcohol, or simple lack of water), it will contract – losing elasticity and dry out.  But when you hydrate, you are delivering more moisture to your skin cells – allowing your pores to stretch and release toxins easily, resulting in soft, supple, and radiant skin.

I like to bring some elegance to my hydration game by adding fresh herbs and fruit. It’s pretty, tastes delicious, and gets me to drink more.

Here are some fun combinations to try:

  • Rosemary + Peach
  • Strawberry + Lavender
  • Lemon Peels + Basil
  • Cucumber + Mint
  • Orange Peels + Mint
  • Blueberry + Lime Peels

Day 5 – Eat your Antioxidants

Day 5

When you ingest antioxidants, you protect your skin cells from things like sun damage and the effects of aging (like fine lines and wrinkles). Antioxidants help protect your skin cells and encourage regrowth.

Here’s a list of some foods with a high level of antioxidants:

  • Raw blueberries
  • Pecans
  • Pomegranate
  • Raw pistachios
  • Garlic
  • Artichoke
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberry
  • Apple
  • Green Tea
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Red Wine
  • Sweet Potato

Day 6 – Make Hair Guacamole

Day 6

You can make a deep conditioner for your hair using just yogurt and avocado.  Here’s the recipe:

Take 1/2 an avocado and mash it up in a bowl. Add in 1 cup greek yogurt and mix into a creamy consistency. Apply to damp hair, being sure to get the ends. Wrap up in a shower cap and let sit for 20-30 mins. Then rinse very thoroughly.

Day 7 – Make Natural Teeth Whitener

Day 7

You can whiten your teeth with just two kitchen ingredients: a strawberry and baking soda.

Strawberries contain malic acid, which breaks down discoloration on your enamel. The baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate, which adds some fizz and helps polish your teeth. Together, they are a teeth stain fighting duo!

Smash up your strawberry with a fork, then add in 1 tsp of baking soda. Mix well into a paste. To use, put some of the mixture on your toothbrush and brush for a few minutes. Follow up with your regular toothbrushing regimen.

Day 8 – Make Homemade Makeup Remover

Day 8

Moisture-rich olive oil is less abrasive than most makeup removers and you probably have it in your cabinet right now. Simply swipe your eye (gently!) with a cotton swab o’ EVOO and you are de-makeup’d.

Day 9 – Get Your Beauty Sleep

Day 9

When I skimp on sleep, it immediately shows on my face in the form of saggy skin, discoloration, and bags under my eyes. Combine that with stress, and I look like a wreck.

When you sleep, your whole body goes into repair mode – growing and replacing skin cells and bringing hormones back into balance. I know when I get at least 9 hours of sleep (that’s my sweet spot), I look and feel good.

So tonight, I encourage you to put away your smartphone and laptop, change your bed sheets, or place a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow – whatever you can do to create a bedtime ritual to sleep beautifully.

Day 10 – Get Rid of Bags Under Eyes

Day 10

Day 10 is to get rid of puffy, tired bags under your eyes with a metal spoon.

How does this work?

Take a large metal spoon and place it in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes (I like to leave one in mine at all times). In the morning, before you put on any makeup, hold the spoon under your eyes for 30-90 seconds each to reduce swelling. It works like a charm.

Challenge Winners

I announced the winners of the challenge in an email this morning but, in case you missed it, here they are:

Tea Leaves Measuring Spoons – Kate O’Connor
Mini Colander – Brittany Bexton
Owl Apron – treesdrinkh20 (from instagram)
Poppy Rolling Pin – Maggie Verderame
Tea Towel – blackmickeybones (from instagram)

…and the GRAND PRIZE winner of a free spot in the Alchemy & Wonder Natural Beauty program is Kimberly S. Jones!

*Winners, please email [email protected] to claim your prize!

Alchemy & Wonder Natural Beauty course


I’m also excited to announce that TODAY is the day that enrollment opens for the Alchemy & Wonder Natural Beauty course!

I have been dreaming of Alchemy & Wonder for the past year. I wanted to create a beautiful space online where you can get away from the noise and “busy trap” of life and be inspired to create with your hands. After 6 months of dreaming mixed with a little elbow grease, my baby is born!

The Natural Beauty course is designed to keep your home healthy, save you money, luxuriously treat your skin and body, and get down with your creative side — all in the comfort of your kitchen.

To learn more (and see a sample of the course), head on over to Alchemy & Wonder.


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