Rose & Fig’s beauty routine: Three essentials from the kitchen

May 20, 2015

Photo by instagram user lindsayxxmarie

One of the fun things about blogging, is having the opportunity to connect with like-minded people, share ideas, struggles and really connect with them. I’m lucky to have met Jess Hunt of Rose & Fig over the past few months. We have exchanged fun, heartfelt emails about increasing our readership, trying to post more regularly and really engaging with our dear readers. It is really nice to know that someone else shares your concerns, fears and need for a creative outlet.

Jess is based in Georgia and she blogs about simplifying style, all-natural, homemade beauty and health. We are both focused on simplifying our lives, buying less, using natural products and reducing our overall ecological footprint. During our first Skype chat just a couple of weeks ago, we decided it would be great fun to put together guest blog posts for each other that highlight our areas of interest. Below, Jess has lovingly put together a list of three kitchen essentials that she uses in her beauty routine. It’s so simple and the ingredients are so common, you feel silly for not having tried these out before, I know I do!

Over the past year, I’ve worked my way from the pantry to my makeup bag, trading chemical-laden synthetic products with more natural and environmentally friendly solutions. As I’ve “greened” my diet and beauty routine, I’ve also taken a closer look at ingredient labels on well-rated, natural beauty products. Three ingredients have taken the medal podium for being effective treatments for my hair, skin, and body that are healthy for you, natural, and inexpensive.

VIRGIN COCONUT OIL

Trader Joes Organic Coconut OilPacked with essential fatty acids and vitamins, coconut oil is the ultimate anti: antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, and antibacterial. I love to cook with it, add a few spoonfuls to smoothies or let a dollop of it melt into my morning coffee for a nutritional boost that helps stabilize my blood sugar. I also like to swish it in my mouth as an oil-pulling routine when I’m feeling a little under the weather or am looking to brighten my smile.

When it comes to my daily beauty routine I like to use fractionated coconut oil as a super moisturizing spray lotion on my legs and arms each morning, then keep a little jar of virgin coconut oil to use as a gentle makeup remover and lip balm every evening.

Fractionated coconut oil

You can also use coconut oil in the shower as a deep conditioner, leave it on a bit longer for a nourishing hair mask, or combine with a couple spoonfuls with the morning’s coffee grounds for a cellulite-fighting, exfoliating, moisturizing body scrub that fellow blogger Gemma got me hooked on:

COCONUT + COFFEE SCRUB

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine grounds and oil (I like to just add the oil straight into the French Press once I’ve poured my morning cuppa) and rub together with your hands to warm and melt the oil into the coffee. Scrub all over your body in the shower or tub, using long, circular motions. Rinse with warm water and gently pat your skin dry once you’re done in order to leave a bit of the oil on your skin. And of course, be careful if you opt for this in a shower stall as the oil can be quite slick on a tile floor!

SEA SALT

Epsom SaltWithout fail, every May my body starts to crave the ocean – salty air, salty hair, and long swims on hot days in cool seawater. Sea salt is full of minerals that are essential to healthy functioning of our bodies and our skin, and so it’s no wonder that a week at the beach leaves my skin feeling nourished, hydrated, and strong.

I like to pour a cup into the tub for a relaxing bath soak, or substitute sea salt for Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) if my muscles are feeling achy or tired. You can also add a bit of coconut or olive oil to a handful of sea salt for a balancing body scrub in the shower.

Sea salt also works wonders for my hair. To fight product buildup, every week or two I’ll add a handful of sea salt to my regular shampoo, scrubbing through from the roots down, then rinsing clean for a brisk clarifying treatment that can also fight off dandruff.For beach waves, the softest hair, and an extra day between shampoos, I’m also keen to mix up a little ocean potion spray for my locks:

SEA SALT SURF SPRAYSurf Spray - Himalayan Salt

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (or, if you’re feeling fancy: 1/2 tablespoon pink Himalayan salt, 1/4 tablespoon French grey salt, 1/4 tablespoon Epsom salt)
  • 8 tablespoons near-boiling water
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon fractionated coconut oil
  • Optional: 4 drops of essential oil

In a heat-safe cup, stir the mixture until it’s a uniform color throughout and let cool down before pouring into a spray bottle. If your scalp is usually oily, go sans coconut oil. If your hair is usually very dry, double your Epsom salt. Shake up the bottle before each use, and spritz through dry hair or halfway through blow drying. Then tousle those ocean waves through your beautiful locks!

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL

Activated Charcoal

This one really falls more into the medicine cabinet than kitchen pantry unless I’m feeling ill: I don’t ingest activated charcoal regularly as it is a super absorbent that soaks up baddies and nutrients alike, scooping up toxins and binding them to itself until it eliminates from your body (read: useful for a stomach ache, jury’s still out if you have a hangover).

All this is to say it also works as an excellent detoxifier and cleaning agent for my teeth, skin, and face. Every couple of weeks I like to substitute toothpaste with one capsule’s worth of activated charcoal, and scrub my teeth and gums for a just-went-to-the-dentist clean feeling and whiter teeth. It also works beautifully as natural eye shadow, or you can add a dab of water and brush along your lashes for an intense liquid liner.

And when my face is feeling cranky and a bump pops up, my first defense for a quick recovery has become one simple mask. Without fail my skin is left rosy, glowing, and bumps seem to disappear much faster:

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL + MANUKA HONEY FACE MASK

  • 1 capsule of activated charcoal (or three pinches, if using loose powder)
  • 1 tablespoon of Manuka honey (can substitute regular honey, as well)

Open the activated charcoal capsule and powder it into a tablespoon of Manuka honey, mixing together with your fingers. After slathering the mixture across your face, pepper your friends and family with charcoal face selfies. Let the mask sit for twenty minutes, then steam your face under a hot, damp washcloth for a minute before rinsing everything away and patting dry.

There you have it – just a few uses for my three favorite pantry-raided beauty ingredients. What’s your favorite kitchen staple to keep stashed in the makeup bag?

EF + Workshop giveaway winner announced

May 19, 2015

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Congratulations Meagan Dalby, winner of the EF + Workshop Mother’s Day Giveaway.

Meagan has won the lovely single ceramic bead necklace by Shayna Stevenson.

Thank you to everyone who entered their choice. Stay tuned for more and have a great week.

Leather fringe coat spring outfit

May 16, 2015

 

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Wearing the same bottoms and shoes as in my last outfit post, but I’m switching things up and going a bit Western. I recently bought this great leather fringe coat from Value Village and I can’t wait to wear it. I don’t think it’s work appropriate (except for Fridays) so I’ll try it out tomorrow since the weather hasn’t been so hot. To keep with the Western/tribal vibe, I’ve added this ever-lasting purse that I bought at a garage sale years ago. I can’t even remember where or when exactly but this baby is so sturdy, I can pack as much as I can into it and it won’t tear or give way one bit.

With a simple, white button-up, this somewhat “loud” coat becomes a classic early spring/fall outerwear.

P.S. Mind that dang outlet that snuck into a couple of the photos. Now that the weather is nice, I’m going to start shooting outfits outside. No more outlets!

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Items:

Leather fringe coat - Value Village – $20.00

White, button-up - Everlane – $60.00

Jeans – Second Clothing – $120.00

Purse – Vintage

Shoes – Zoe Lee Shoes

Minimalist spring outfit

May 15, 2015

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I basically put this minimalist outfit together to show off this pair of new shoes I bought back in September while on a trip in Paris. They’re designed by Zoe Lee, a talented shoe designer and owner of her own lovely boutique in Le Marais district of Paris. The shoes are not at all within my regular budget but I took advantage of a pre-season sale and while in my “how soon will you be in Paris again” mentality, made the purchase. Zoe Lee shoes are all handmade in a small, family-owned factory in Italy. She sources the finest Italian leathers and materials. Only 25 pairs of shoes are made per style. A Zoe Lee shoe is truly a work of art and a quality piece to cherish for years to come.

Enough about all that, what do you think? I chose these black booties because of their versatility and the heel is the perfect height – not too high, but just enough heel to make them fun.

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Items:

Shirt: gifted, vintage velvet top (I have a matching skirt to go with it that I’ll showcase next fall/winter)

Jeans: Second Clothing jeans, a great Montreal-based company that makes the best yoga jeans around.

Clutch: Vintage

Shoes: Zoe Lee

Ten pieces, tons of looks

May 14, 2015

infinite outfits-main

*Please note that the Need Supply Co. link below is a Skimlinks link, meaning I will receive a small commission on any sales made through this link. 

You may know by now that I am constantly trying to reduce my wardrobe to get it to that perfect number, that ever-elusive ideal amount of items that fulfill all of my style needs. It’s not just about the number though, it’s also about the style and quality of the pieces. I could have the leanest wardrobe of only 37 items but if they don’t fit properly, if their colours wash me out, if they don’t match each other and if I don’t like them, it just won’t work.

So, keep in mind, when you’re donating items that you no longer want, to take note of what you’re donating. If you’re pulling out your only cardigan and you’re a big fan of cardigans, like Mr. Rogers big, than make note of buying yourself a cardigan that you will love. It should go well with at least three other items in your wardrobe, it should be of high-quality material, it should fit well and it should be something that you enjoy wearing.

Above is a stack of clothing items that I pulled from my current spring wardrobe to try and put together into as many outfits as I possibly could. OK, I lie. Into as many outfits as I had the time and patience to that day.

From left to right: a black jumper that I bought off of Need Supply Co. last year. It is soft and comfortable BUT I have to get the straps fixed. My chest just isn’t big enough to fill it out so whenever I wear it I have to use double-sided tape, which just plain sucks. BUT, it’s in this pile because I will wear it all of the time once it’s fixed (mental note: get jumper fixed) and when I don’t want to see the top part of it, I can cover it up with another top and voila, a new pair of comfy black pants.

Second, is my lovely grey, silk camisole from Everlane. Grey goes with everything and this top is often worn to work under my black blazer or out with jeans or a mini skirt.

Next, your good ‘ole pair of light, blue jeans. I bought these at Mango while in Europe last year. Not an ethical choice but I had forgotten pants on the trip so I made the choice to buy durable jeans that I’d wear all of the time.

Then, my aubergine, jersey midi dress from H&M. It’s easily worn to work with a blazer or worn out to run errands. It’s super soft and sometimes, when it’s really cold out, I wear it to bed as a luxurious nightgown.

In the middle you’ll find a pair of white shorts form H&M, easy-peasy, simple white shorts that go with any summer top. I’ve had these for two years now and I wear them all of the time. I use baking soda to get out any stains because, yes, they do stain a lot.

Beside the shorts is a grey sweater that I bought from Lord&Taylor a few years back when I wasn’t as hard on myself about buying from ethical and sustainable sources. It’s great to throw over button-up shirts for that layered look but it’s also a cute “crop sweater”, if I can use that term.

The brown, cap-sleeved button-up is a neat piece my sister gave me from her closet. It’s long, great for layering but it has enough cuffs and buttons to be work appropriate with the right pieces.

The black pleated skirt from American Apparel was a second-hand purchase and it is such a great piece for me. I often wear it to work in the fall/winter but it’s light enough to wear in the spring. I’ll put it away in the summer though. I don’t like to wear too much black in the summer. I’m worried it’ll scare the sun away.

The second-last item is my beloved salmon silk button-up from Everlane. It’s my fancy dress shirt but I often wear it to dinner parties too.

Lastly, a striped tank that I bought at Value Village. I just love stripped tops and this one reminds me of something my mom wore when she was young. I must’ve seen a picture of her with something similar on from a family album.

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Here’s a good Saturday errand-running day paired with cute sandals but you could wear it to a bar that night with some fun booties.DSC_0015

Switch the above outfit up on Sunday with white shorts to make it more suitable for warmer days and a stroll along the canal.DSC_0018

Tired of solids? Add some stripes because, you know, why not live dangerously, right?DSC_0023

And now, switch your shorts for a skirt to wear out to dinner Sunday night.DSC_0026

Wait a minute, the weather is turning a little chilly overnight, put on your jumper under your top and work those bottoms. These look great with strappy sandals.DSC_0028

Why not throw on a sweater if you really need some wind protection?DSC_0032

Let’s go a little more “worky” for Monday and sport the brown button-up under the sweater. It’s cute and preppy.DSC_0036

Work day is over, time to put on the jeans and meet up with a friend for wine.
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Rise and shine, back to work with some layers. I know, lots of colour blocking.DSC_0048

Tired of layering? Just wear the sweater. Black and grey, natural best friends.DSC_0055

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