Monday, December 12, 2011

Handmade gift: Bath Salts

I make little jars of bath salts almost every year. It's easy and cheap to assemble, and a lot of fun to customize! I use coarse "ice cream" salt, baking soda, and olive oil for my base, then add natural fragrance oils and herbs. Salt draws out toxins and helps soothe soar muscles, while baking soda is great for itchy, dry skin.

Here are some fragrance blends I like:
- Lavendar, clove, and tangerine (great for soothing headaches)
- Tangerine and clove are very festive
- Eucalyptus and mint for circulation and cedar is anti-fungal (great foot soak!)
- Lavender and extra baking soda for someone with sensitive skin

I find most of my essential oils at Super Supplements and a great store in Ballard called Danelion Botanical Company . They have great products at reasonable prices (note: Rose oil is NEVER reasonably priced, no matter where you get it)

You will need:
1+ cups of coarse salt
1 to 2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp dried herbs (your choice)
1/2 tsp citrus zest (optional)
6+ drops essential oil
1 tsp Grapeseed or Olive Oil

A bowl and spoon for mixing
A jar, plastic bag, or other grease-proof container

Add the herbs (here I use peppermint tea) to the salt.

Now add citrus zest, if you are using it. I would recommend chopping it into tiny pieces so it's less likely to clog your drain (forgot to do that in the pictures!)

Stir the herbs and zest together, then add the grapeseed or olive oil. Mix until evenly distributed. Now add the drops of essential oil. You can add more or less, depending on your preference. Mix well.

Sprinkle the baking soda over the mix and stir to combine.

Lastly, spoon the mixture into your bag or container. I like these little decorative cellophane bags, especially since they won't shatter if dropped in the shower!

Note: If you choose to use peppermint oil instead of tea, limit it to 2 drops. I have ruined many baths by putting in too much peppermint oil. My! Does it burn!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Good tidings!

A peek at the holiday cards I've been working on :)

And guess what!

My dad gave me a camera! It's not new or super fancy, but he got it for a good price at a garage sale and he already has a camera... not sure why he even bought this one. Lucky me! It's a Nikon and is working out really well so far!

I bought the stripped top at Zara, downtown San Francisco. It's actually the first thing I've ever bought at Zara! I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but Seattle is a Zara-free zone :(

As good as Zara's stuff looks (the designers are amazing, really) I was a little surprised at the quality. Half the the clothes I brought into the dressing room had busted zippers or were already splitting at the seams. You can't see it on the top, but the sleeve openings are actually two different sizes. I guess they spend all their production money on design and quality fabrics (wool, silk, etc.), but then skimp on assembly. Still wouldn't mind having one here in Seattle, though.

It's good to be back :)

In these photos:
United Colors of Benetton coat
Zara top
Forever21 skirt
Vintage fur stole
Vintage bracelet
Xhiliration flats

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stocking Stuffers: $10 and under

stocking stuffers

I labeled this set as "stocking stuffers", but really, most of them would make fine gifts as well. Especially if you are on a tight budget like I am!

1. Forever 21 Make-up Bag $5-$10
The bag shown has already sold out, but Forever 21 is always a great place to find cute things for cheap!

2. H&M Cotton Mini $6
I have a few of these myself. They fit great, come in tons of colors and are super cheap! They're also pretty versatile. Add some flexibility to anyone's wardrobe for just $6!

3. Forever 21 Nail Polish in Sunset $3
Nail polish is always a fun and affordable gift. Check out Forever21 for a million great colors.

4. iTunes Card $10+
iTunes cards make the best gifts! Just like everyone needs food, everyone needs music as well. Hit up Target or Best Buy for one of those 3-packs and you have a gift for your cousin, your dad, and a stocking stuffer for your significant other.

5. Crate and Barrel Snowflake Soap $1.50
This snowflake soap makes a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift. Throw in a soap dish and you've got a great little gift set! Has a soft, clean scent.

6. Miniature bottles of liquor $1-$8
Even though neither my husband nor I drink, little bottles of alk-ee-hall always sound like fun gifts. I haven't included a link for this one, because there isn't really a place online I would recommend buying these. Instead, visit your local liquor retailer for fun, adult-only stocking stuffers.

7. Cooperative Eyeglass Case $10
This is another great gift that can be used by anyone. Check out Urban Outfitters for more styles.

8. Theo Chocolate Bars $3-$4
I've saved the best for last: Theo Chocolates! Made here in Seattle, this has got to be some of the best chocolate in the World! Creamy and rich instead of waxy and bitter, nothing beats their dark chocolate. They use only organic, fair trade chocolate and have the most delicious selection of flavors. The one shown here is Bread and Chocolate and contains crunchy little bits of french bread.

Well, that's it for the gift buying guides! Keep an eye out for some homemade gift ideas in the next few weeks!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for IT

gifts for all

This gift guide has no gender. Maybe you need a gift for a couple or for a whole family, or maybe you just need ideas for someone you don't know very well on a personal basis, like your boss. Well, this is the guide for you!

1. Crate and Barrel Goodies $5-$22
Crate and Barrel has great general purpose gifts. Their gourmet Christmas goodies are always a hit, because everyone likes food! Everything is relatively affordable and comes festively packaged which is perfect if you're hurrying off to a holiday party and need a last-minute gift.

2. Heifer International $10+
Heifer International is a non-profit organization that provides livestock to poor families in the US and around the World. This gift is great for someone who already has everything or a family that is interested philanthropy. You can "buy" anything from a share in a sheep to an entire "Ark" of animals, which will then be sent to a struggling family in your friend's honor. The organization also accepts monthly donations.

3. Kate Spade Leather Cleaner $10
Most people own something made of leather and every once in a while it needs to be cleaned. This gift is for that practical person on your list. Maybe it's your aunt or your older brother, or maybe you are just trying to encourage your younger sister to take care of her stuff for once! This leather cleaner is perfect for cleaning smooth and patent leathers and can also be used on vinyls!

4. Kate Spade Domino Set $30
I swear, this is the last Kate Spade item. There are just so many great gifts on that site! This set of dominoes is perfect for a family with kids or anyone who likes to play games. Fun, affordable, and can be played by all ages.
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