April 13, 2014

Open Sesame

Have you ever used the Sesame app? Jake and I use & love it for special occasions. We were first introduced through my mother in law- she's all tech savvy like that- and used to send us care packages through Sesame when Jake was in grad school.

Jake & I have since used it several times to send each other gifts when we were apart- and have always found it to be a wonderfully curated service. Several times we've done their 'snacky ones' and everything has always been tasty & fun.

Let me preface this all by saying that Sesame has no idea who I am. I am writing this review because this is a product that we truly use and love. I recently had an incredible experience with Sesame that only reaffirmed my convictions.

So Jake's in Saudi Arabia, and his sweet self decides to send me a gift via Sesame because sending anything to/from Saudi is damn near impossible.

On the day the box arrives I see it on the doorstep and recognize the blue box immediately. Yay! I didn't know who it was from, but sorta assumed Jake. As you can see, Scootie cannot wait to open this ;D

Open, Sesame. One of my favorite parts. Have I mentioned I love the little things?! 

The little gold 'Hello' card is always included, and contains the message from the sender as well as a QR code that you can scan with the Sesame app to send a thank you note to the sender and confirm you've received your gift. 

 This box is called 'The San Francisco Treat' and it contains a DIY Herb Terrarium Kit, VW notebook, and a chunky coffee soap. My hubby knows me so well :)

So I used the soap immediately and it was amazing. Several days later I went to put together my terrarium and was saddened to realize that although it had been packed incredibly well, that the glass had completely shattered in transit. 

I was pretty sad. I looked up their policies online and saw that you can return a box if things are unused. Already used soap-whoops. I figured I'd email them anyway and see what happened. I included a photo of the shattered glass terrarium.

Color me surprised when customer service got back to me quickly and graciously. After a few questions, they'd tracked down and confirmed Jake's order and sent me an entirely new box. Way more than I expected. I would have been happy with a new terrarium, and honestly wasn't expecting anything. Getting two of those luxurious soaps made my week so much better!

So if you're ever in need of a great gift for a loved one- check out Sesame. They've got some lovely, thoughtful gifts at tons of different price points- as low as $10! You can follow them on facebook or twitter for occasional deals & specials.

April 10, 2014

DIY Coconut Oil Hair Mask

Here's me, still on the beauty kick- and lovin' it. This time I wanted to make a nourishing hair mask with supplies I had in the pantry. So I popped onto pinterest and started browsing recipes. Coconut and olive oil quickly became top contenders, and because you know my affinity to coconut oil already (AND it smells delicious) I was basically sold. Plus, two ingredient hair mask- couldn't be simpler!  

Add equal parts coconut oil and olive oil to a small dish. *If I had a microwave, this is the part where I would have melted the coconut oil just a tiny bit, but I don't-so I didn't- classic case of 'do as I say, not as I do' :)*

Here's my 'before' hair. I crack up at my face in this photo ;) 

No DIY coconut oil venture is complete in the Jenkins household without everyone's favorite trusty coconut oil lovin' assistant Bear! 

If you used a microwave yours won't have the chunks like mine does below. Then again, you probably don't have a 55 lb hairy coconut oil gobbling machine at your feet ready to catch any chunks that go falling- so you know- enter at your own risk. (I'm only using a glove so that I can attempt to still take photos without greasing up my phone!)

So I gathered my hair on top in a bun and poured my coconut oil hair mask on little by little, using the gloves to work into the roots, ends, and everywhere in between. It was actually not messy at all, and even though mine had some chunks, they pretty much melted. It was smelling really good at this point! 

Once my hair was saturated, and my bowl empty I just wrapped my hair in an old towel and let it soak in for about 45 minutes. Then I showered- shampooing and conditioning as usual.

And then because the dog still doesn't think he's had enough coconut oil- let him lick out the dish. Make sure he shares with his brother some too. 

My hair felt great for days afterwards! This is something I'd love to do weekly, but it's probably more realistic that it'll happen monthly. I think this is something men/women and children can all enjoy- it's not particularly 'girly' and does leave your hair feeling great and healthy.

Have you ever made a hair mask treatment at home? Have you had one done professionally in the salon? Would you ever put coconut and olive oils onto your hair? 

April 6, 2014

Homemade Carpet Freshener

If' I've said it once, I've said it a million times. I really love a simple little project like this, 15 minutes or less, checking them off the 'to-do' list feels oh-so satisfactory!

This quick & simple project was something I whipped up this weekend to help deodorize our carpet before I vacuum. The supplies are simple: a mason jar (or other) w/lid, baking soda, lavender essential oil, labeling tools. In my case, the chalkboard labels and markers were in my craft stash, the baking soda in my pantry, and the lavender oil in my Young Living Oils kit. Lavender is an essential in our house! The chalkboard labels were $3.99 and the chalkboard markers $11.99 fro Hobby Lobby when I purchased them over a year ago- but I know you know to never buy anything at Hobby Lobby without that sacred 40% off coupon ;) (They let you use it from your phone now too!)

 So I feel almost silly typing out a tutorial for this. I filled the jar partway with baking soda. Added 3 drops of lavender oil, and topped it with an equal amount of baking soda. Three more drops of lavender- add the cap- and shake, shake, shake!

I made mine right on the carpet, because I obviously didn't care if I spilled a bit. I also saved punching the holes in the cap for the end so I didn't make a HUGE mess while getting my shake on. 

I'll also plan to use this carpet refreshing mixture to freshen up our mattress several times a year as well. When we've already got the sheets off for washing, I'll just sprinkle some on\ & let it sit for at least an hour, and vacuum away before putting sheets back on. 

Next time I might try this recipe using lemon essential oil next time- it's my favorite- I cannot get enough. 

Have you been making any homemade cleaning products lately? Do you love essential oils like I do? We have a diffuser now- it's been revolutionary- and I plan to share more on that before too long! 

March 30, 2014

Two Ingredient-All Natural Face Scrub

Simple, natural, organic beauty & skincare is what I'm all about these days. Working on establishing an awesome skincare routine is a huge goal of mine this year- and what better time to focus on that then now, while my hubby is away? I've been experimenting with some new products, and trying some things at home (like bodybrushing!!). One thing I do know when it comes to skin care products is- the fewer ingredients the better. I find these natural homemade treatments are gentle yet effective, and there is no greater feeling than knowing exactly what you're putting on your skin and body.

My journey toward a greener beauty routine has been going on consistently since my college days. Starting with a transition to organic makeup, a greener shower routine, to switching to organic moisturizers, and incorporating body brushing into my skincare routine. It's a baby-steps sort of process.

(Image Source)

You guys know that I drink a lot of orange infused water. I don't like to use the ends of the orange soaked in the water though-so I find other ways to use them. Often, I'll shove an end down the garbage disposal as it's a great cleaner and smells wonderful!

Other times, I'll smear some honey on it, and take it to the shower with me. The warmth of the shower melts the honey just slightly and then I begin. Scrubbing the orange and honey against my face, inhaling the citrus scent. Both honey and citrus have some great skin-saving properties. The acids in the oranges are so great for exfoliation!

  • Antibacterial-great for acne treatment/prevention
  • Anti-aging- full of antioxidants, honey slows down signs of aging
  • Boost- moisturizing & soothing, gives your skin a glow
  • Clarifying- opens up pores, making them easier to cleanse
  • Naturally occurring vitamin C- boosts collagen production in skin
  • Wrinkle fighting- for maximum effect, get doses of Vitamin C both internally & externally
  • Improves circulation
  • Lightens skin (dark patches, scar tissue)
Are you a fan of DIY skincare remedies? Do you have a favorite scrub or mask recipe? I'd love for you to share! 

March 26, 2014

Coconut Oil: A Multi-Purpose Beauty Product

It's true. My love for coconut oil is clearly infinite. You may have seen my little preview on facebook awhile back, but I keep finding more & more amazing ways to use this stuff.

Bear loves coconut oil too- and tries to lick it off me when I use it as a moisturizer after my shower. Tropical Traditions sells the only coconut oil we use.

Most recently I've used coconut oil:
  • to treat razor burn
  • as face lotion
  • as body lotion
  • as a hydrating hair mask
  • as an ingredient in an awesome body scrub
  • to treat a scrape on my hip
While clearly it's what they're known for, they happen to sell a whole lot more than just coconut oil at Tropical Traditions. They offer a lot of other amazing things, like grass fed beef & pastured chickensantioxidant greens powder (we LOVE these!), and organic chocolate-don't mind if I do! I was especially surprised to see they've got raw food for dogsherbal breath sprays, to non-toxic household cleaners. Quite an impressive variety, don't you think? I sorta love that you could cover all of your household needs from their one nifty little online shop. Maybe that's lazy, I think it's efficient! 

I have yet to expand my cooking with coconut oil beyond adding to smoothies and stir fry. I was recently talking with my Mom & Dad after they ordered some, and several of my aunts use it in baking brownies and cookies. I intend to head that direction with my coconut oil obsession next. I'll have to get a few great recipes down in anticipation of Jake's return home! ;) 

Do you use coconut oil in the kitchen or as a part of your beauty routine? 

March 23, 2014

You have my heart...

Although I know many readers of this blog (family and friends) already know this news, Jake recently departed for a three month trip out of the country for work...He'll be living in Saudi Arabia. 

While this is certainly the first mention of his trip and departure on the blog, it's something that's been in the works since last December. Because we weren't sure when exactly he'd end up leaving, mum was the word.

He actually flew out several weeks ago- and this is just the first opportunity I've taken to catch up. It was quite an adventure to get him to the airport during the one and only bout of freezing rain that Portland had this year-something I'll never forget ;)

Right now, I think the dogs and I are still expecting him to come walking through the door at any moment ;) It feels more like he's gone to visit family without me, or something...But I'm keeping busy and that is mostly working as a distraction. He's working crazy hours overseas, making the time pass quickly at least.            

Corniche Seaside Park: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

View from the office

Arabic Text on 7 Up

Saudi Riyal 

Now, to address the title of this post...Valentines day came just a few weeks before Jake was scheduled to leave. Instead of buying me a bouquet of flowers he got me an orchid-much more my style! It's doing lovely- still blooming and looking amazing, and since he's gone, it now sits on my desk so I can enjoy it while I work and blog.

I bought him this 'heart succulent' from one of our favorite terrarium shops. I intended for him to take it to work, something living for his desk, but for now while he's gone, it's home with me looking really sweet indeed. I wanted to post about it, but then suddenly 'heart succulent' sounded dumb, and I needed to learn more. Turns out this is an asian plant called Hoya Kerrii. Who knew? Well now we all do! ;)

March 3, 2014

Hiking in Mount Hood National Park

Jake and I have really taken to waking up (really) early some weekends and driving out and hiking before the sun rises. We took another such trip recently, this time into central Oregon- Mount Hood National Forest.
In case you haven't already surmised from the photos- it's an incredibly gorgeous place!

Hiking has become a great way for our family to bond.  Jake and I love to get out and away from the crowds. Our hikes are a great time to talk, and just reconnect. I like to pack a picnic lunch if I can, other times we stop and find a fun little place to stop for a bite to eat on our drive home. 

The dogs absolutely love the off leash time, and freedom to just run! We often take advantage of the gorgeous scenery to snap a few photos of our boys. Scooter is a ham for the camera as you can see! 

We're not sure what this enormous pipe was carrying, but it went as far as the eye could see...

Some of my favorite memories from living in Oregon so far have been the hikes and various 'adventures' we've gone out on as a family (including furry members!) Oregon offers so many amazing outdoor recreational activities that we've got a lot left to try out.

What do you and your family do to bond? Any fellow hiking fans out there? 

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