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Monday, June 29, 2015

DIY Face Moisturizer

I've learned in the past year that I simply cannot use only oils on my face. I have to use them in conjunction with other carriers like beeswax or clay, or my face will dry out like the Sahara. 

I had just about given up on using the oil cleansing method until I mixed the oils with clays. Now, my face has found a wonderful, dirt cheap (no pun intended) way to wash the day off my face. However, I was still struggling to find a moisturizer that I could use at night before bed and in the morning mixed in with my mineral foundation. The answer came in the form of non-nano zinc oxide. 

Zinc oxide is what you'll find in sunscreens and diaper cream. It has around a 20 SPF, and it acts as a wetness barrier. The non-nano aspect makes it a lot safer because the particles aren't so small that they sink into your skin. Apparently, this is bad for us when the particles are microsized. Because zinc oxide is a wetness barrier, it gives it a thickness when the summer heat is trying so hard to melt down your butters. Plus, it makes it dry faster in your skin and leaves you with a smooth, silky feeling instead of a greasy one. 

When I started using my homemade sunscreen on my face while out swimming this summer, I began noticing that it wasn't drying out my face. In fact, it was doing the opposite. It was sealing in moisture and providing the SPF benefits. What a great way to moisturize. Lots of companies carry moisturizers and foundations with SPF, so why couldn't I make one for myself? My mineral foundation already has zinc oxide in it, so why not carry that on into my moisturizer? So that's what I did. Luckily, this also works as sunscreen, so it's the best of both worlds. :)

Ingredients

1/4 c. coconut oil
1 tbsp. beeswax
1 tbsp. Rose-infused jojoba
1/2 tbsp. non-nano zinc oxide
2 drops Lavender
1 drop Frankincense
1 drop Geranium

If Rose Absolute is too expensive for you like it is me, use rose petals in your work. Make your own rose hydrosols and infuse your oils to get those benefits from rose. Women have been using rose water and salves for hundreds of years to soothe their skin and manage aging. If you don't have rose, lavender, calendula, or chamomile blossoms would be perfect, too. 

The essential oils of Lavender, Frankincense, and Geranium are perfect for nourishing the skin. They reduce inflammation and help prevent/manage the appearance of scars. They are also soothing and calming oils that aid in immunity. What a better way to incorporate your oils into your day? 

Enjoy!



Saturday, June 20, 2015

DIY Milk Baths


Hydrotherapy is one of my favorite ways to relax. There's nothing like a hot bath after a long day. Maybe you have a tension headache. Maybe your muscles are sore from a long workout, or maybe you can't sleep. Maybe you just need to unwind, reflect, and pray. 

Milk is a wonderful way to dilute your essential oils in the tub. What? You might ask. Surely there's enough water there to dilute properly. Essential oils are attracted to fats; they simply do not mix with water. The water will do nothing in regards to easing the oil gently onto your skin. If you've ever mixed up water with essential oils in a spray bottle, you will have been able to see that they don't mix. Think Italian salad dressing. 

Milk provides that vessel to the skin. It's nourishing and gentle with just enough fat to mix with the essential oils, making it attracted to the fats on your skin in a safe manner. 

I usually get about a 1/2 cup of milk out of the fridge to mix up with my oils, but using dried milk is the perfect alternative. Want a unique gift to give someone? This is the perfect way to make a milk bath shelf stable. Adding herbs, clays, oatmeal, and essential oils make them luxurious, healing, and softening for the skin. 

The following recipe is based on my citrus flower perfume recipe, but I don't use lemon because it's not very skin nourishing. I absolutely adore this aromatic blend. A mixture of lavender, orange, vetiver, and frankincense will calm your mind, soothe your soul, and help you relax. 

Citrus Flower Milk Bath
(I used a four ounce jar.)

1. Fill up the jar about 2/3 of the way with milk flakes. Nonfat isn't the way to go here. 
2. Add a tbsp. each of bentonite clay (draws out toxins) and colloidal oatmeal. I use oatmeal I've crushed up on my own. 
3. Crush up 1 tsp. lavender buds to make lavender powder. This is so fragrant! Perfect for insomnia. 
4. Crush up 1 tsp. calendula or chamomile blossoms for extra skin nourishment. 
5. Add 2 tbsp. or so of Epsom salts. You could use baking soda here, too, or a combination of both. These are great muscle relaxers. 
6. Add 5 drops of sweet orange, vetiver, and frankincense. When the body is stressed, the immune system takes a turn for the worst. These EOs are great for immunity. You have them on your skin, and the bath acts as a huge diffuser. Best of both worlds!
7. Sprinkle about 2-3 tbsp. into your hot bath and soak for at least 20 minutes. 

Enjoy!! Put this in a pretty jar with a pretty ribbon and nice label for an extra special gift! 

I wish you could smell this! 

Want to change up the recipe? Use any combination of these calming oils: sweet marjoram, vetiver, cedarwood, patchouli, bergamot, geranium, lavender, palmarosa, German and Roman chamomile, sandalwood, ylang ylang*, clary sage**, and frankincense. 

One percent dilutions are gentle for the skin. That's 5 drops of EO an ounce. I wouldn't use more than 20 drops for 4 ounces for this recipe. 

*Ylang ylang and clary sage might lower blood pressure. 
**Do not use during pregnancy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DIY Sunscreen

It's that time of year again. It's hot. The sun is blaring down, and its rays make you loopy and lightheaded just from sitting or working outside for five minutes. Sure, you can wear a hat and long sleeves, but that's not enough, folks. It seems like skin cancer is more rampant than ever.

This recipe is extremely creamy and nourishing to the skin. I use only non-nano zinc oxide where the particles aren't so small that they absorb into your skin. Regular sunscreen isn't like this. Apparently the micro-sized stuff isn't good for us, so changing up our routine can only benefit us. Reapplying is a MUST. This doesn't have all the gunk in it that keeps it on your skin for hours even after you've been in the water. The beeswax does provide a bit of a water-resistant layer, but it's still necessary to reapply consistently. That's a small price to pay for some people. APPLY AT LEAST EVERY HOUR OR SO, especially if you've been in the water. Think about it. Most of us aren't outside for countless hours directly in the sun, so this shouldn't be that big of a deal to 90% of us. 

The SPF factor is for sure around 25. The SPF factor is formulated by the percentage of zinc oxide you put into your jar. If I had a 4 ounce jar, I would fill 20% of it with the zinc oxide, and the SPF factor would be 20. I used a little more in mine, and I used coconut oil which I've read has a small SPF percentage. I've read 8 or so. If this is true about the coconut oil (There are so many hoaxes out there), mine is around 30-35. SPF ratings are important; however, I've read in different places that we should be more concerned with reapplication than with the highest SPF factor available. Try this for yourself and see how moisturizing and effective it is. This is also a great diaper rash cream like Desitin.


I've used this on myself and my two year old. My mom has used it. Isaac can swim for an hour and not get any sun at all. I stayed out when he went in to dry out. I stretched out on one of those long chairs and relaxed for about ten, fifteen minutes. I reapplied the sunscreen to my face but not to my back. Well, my back got red but my face didn't. It wasn't a bad sunburn or one that peeled. It just made me a little red for one day. SO...reapply! That's the answer.


To elaborate a little on those hoaxes I mentioned...I've read that essential oils claiming to have SPF abilities are a hoax and the same goes for carriers like carrot seed and raspberry seed oil. I'm not sure about it, and I don't know for sure, but I feel safer by using non-nano zinc oxide. 

Ingredients (This makes 8 ounces.)

6 ounces coconut oil 
2 ounces beeswax. 
3 tbsp. zinc oxide
Essential oils (optional)

You can heat the oil and beeswax in the microwave or in a double boiler until everything is melted. Whisk in your zinc oxide until it's combined. Make sure you have the bottom dregs mixed in really well. This is where you might want to add a few drops of skin-nourishing essential oils like Patchouli, Lavender, Geranium, or Frankincense. I wouldn't use more than 20 drops for four ounces or 40 for 8. I like around 10 just to lightly fragrance it. For babies, I would leave the essential oils out or add just a few drops of Lavender. DONT ADD PHOTOTOXIC ESSENTIAL OILS TO YOUR SUNSCREEN. It will have the adverse effect and possibly cause severe burning. Bergamot is the worst. Look out for Lemon and Lime, too. Sweet orange is alright. There is a Bergamot out there that has been distilled differently, making it sun safe. Read your labels, though. 

 Next, pour into your jar. It will set up really quickly inside the refrigerator. 

Smooth into your skin, and enjoy! You might feel a little grit, but that's just the non-nano aspect of the zinc oxide. If you find your cream too thick, simply reheat and stir in another tbsp. or two of coconut oil to suit your liking. If you find it too creamy, add another tbsp. of beeswax after reheating it. I can't ever stick to a consistent recipe because Alabama weather is so tricky and fickle. It could literally be 70 degrees in December on Monday and 20 degrees on Wednesday. It's that crazy. I used quite a bit of beeswax because it's June. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Seventh Anniversary Trip Up Mt. LeConte

On our way up.
It's not quite time for Isaac to head up LeConte yet (too big to carry, too small to walk), so we got my parents to go with us so we could go up the mountain for our annual anniversary trip. 
We rented a cabin from The Dancing Bear cabin rentals. We've stayed there before. We love everything about them. They're in Townsend, so things are a whole lot quieter. Isaac loves playing on the porch with his tractors. I love the hot tub. I also like the breakfast at Apple Valley Cafe right down the drive. Their complimentary house granola, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruit really hit the spot. They also have gravy and biscuits, sausage, ham, eggs, apple pies, yogurt parfaits...and COFFEE. Let's not forget that.

Back to the cabin...(somehow I always start talking about food...) They have enormous, feathery beds with tons of pillows. I like how rustic all the furniture is and how you feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere. It's just what we need after the school year is over. 

We woke up after day one and cycled through Cades Cove with Isaac. It was a gorgeous day where the fog rested quietly on top of the fields. The temperature was cool and crisp. Every Wednesday and Saturday, Cades Cove closes the loop and allows only runners, walkers, and cyclists to venture through. I saw a barefoot guy running with a baby stroller. It was awesome. Lots of people go out to enjoy the break from traffic. You'd better hurry, though; they open it back up to vehicles at 10 o'clock. 
Loved wearing my Skirt Sports Happy Girl Skirt during the ride!

He did not want to wear a helmet, but it's park rules that kids 16 and under wear one. 



Later that night, we went to eat. We drove over to the new Island center in Pigeon Forge. It's pretty nice. They have a cool fountain and lots of new shops and restaurants. They even have a convenient parking lot shuttle if you don't want to walk. 
The next day, we woke up a little after 4 o'clock and drove to the Bullhead trail head. Alum Cave, the trail we usually take--it's shorter and very scenic, is currently closed Monday-Thursday while they do some maintenance on the trail. I was little nervous about taking a new trail, but it was great. It's slightly longer (7 miles), but the ascent is very gradual. You don't realize you're climbing 4,000 feet. I felt better than I ever have once we reached the top. We enjoyed lots of time on the mountain before supper and sunset. We ate a snack lunch at 12. Their snack lunches include a bagel, cream cheese, summer sausage, trail mix, fruit leather, a packet of Oreos, and a pouch of Gatorade. Plus, you get an endless cup of lemonade, coffee, or hot chocolate. It's $10. You can also reserve a sit-down style meal at least two days prior. You get a sandwich, soup, and a huge cookie along with the endless cup. So...I ate and read a while. I ended up falling asleep like I normally do. 
our favorite cabin...the last one...#9

                                      
our view
Then there was supper. We sat next to the bear catchers who were on top of the mountain for that very purpose. The shelter is actually closed because of so much bear activity. Take that for sweet dreams at night. Supper was huge and filling. It includes roast with gravy, buttery mashed potatoes, cinnamon apples, green beans, cornbread, soup, and a huge chocolate chip cookie.

Sunset was beautiful. That's where we got engaged almost eight years ago! There's just something about being on top of a mountain and seeing a spread of mountains spanning miles and miles, knowing you're seeing something God created millions of years ago. It really makes you feel small when you witness God's great magnitude in this way.
Looking down at the lights in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. This is also a great place to star gaze. You can seem them so clearly...even a planet or two.
We woke up the next morning and had a delicious breakfast. We had pancakes, eggs, Canadian bacon, grits, biscuits, and everything you might want on a biscuit. :) Soon after we ate, we loaded up and headed down. We were missing Isaac like crazy. 

We came down Alum Cave since it was on a Friday. The trail is steep! Oh, and I forgot my hiking boots, so all I had were my running shoes. It's a miracle I made it down in one piece.
Glad to be done. We made it down in less than 2 hours. 
We took a voyage over to the Sevierville Buffalo Wild Wings because we were craving wings. Next up was a quick dip in the hot tub and the LONGEST NAP EVER. 

Now, we're home, but I can't wait to go back. The Smokies have a piece of my heart. So many memories have taken place there, and they keep getting more special since Isaac can come along now, too.



Monday, June 1, 2015

Cedarwood Soap Recipe (Mountain Man)


This was my very first manly scented soap, so I was very nervous. I knew I wanted to add woodsy, earthy, and spicy notes, but I was afraid I would get the blend off somehow. This turned out really special, though! I'm so excited. It's very exotic smelling, but at the same time, it reminds me of my Paw Paw's vanilla tobacco and a pine forest. I am in love with it. I'll be sad when I sell it all. I'm definitely giving Heath a bar of this for Father's Day. Would you like a bar? It's $4 + shipping. I can set you up with a beautiful bar of soap. Just send me an email or leave a comment.

By the way...

This is my very first post about soap. I have always been intimidated about writing about soapmaking because of all the pictures I would need to post and the different stages of soap I'd have to explain...all the safety guidelines with the lye...all the crazy outcomes you might experience if you get one ounce of an oil wrong. However, that was then and this is now. Half the time, I simply make sure I get 908 grams of oil and around 127-128 g. of lye for a 2 lb. loaf of soap. I know about how much of each base oil I should put in, and it always turns out pretty great. I know. At first, I was traumatized and so intimidated. I never thought I would keep at it like I have, but somehow, I have. 

Yes, wear gloves, goggles, a hazmat suit....sure. Bundle up and cover yourself. Make yourself miserable, and then, when you get the hang of it, you can be like the rest of us and laugh at yourself as you stand at the counter pouring lye into your water while you stir the oil in the crockpot with your other hand without even blinking an eye....or wearing a glove. Don't get me wrong. I HAVE BURNED MYSELF WITH LYE. And it didn't feel good. It stung. The stuff flies through the air and clings to your skin. I like the big flakes from Brambleberry. They don't have the clingy static like the pellets. Also, POUR LYE INTO WATER. DON'T POUR WATER OVER LYE. Just remember that your water is bigger than your lye, so pour little into big. 

Don't be afraid of lye. Go outside and mix it if you feel better about it. I've done that before. Lye has to be in soap for it to actually be considered soap. It's no longer lye when it has been combined with oils and been through the whole chemical reaction known as saponification. You can buy soap bases already made up that you just have to melt and pour, but where's the fun in that? :)


*****This is a HOT PROCESS soap recipe, meaning the lye is cooked out immediately. It's technically safe to use pretty much immediately. I don't recommend that, though. Some say three days. I say, the longer the better. I really like it most when it's like cold-process soap--six weeks or more. (Cold process isn't cooked. It's heated slightly so that the oils and lye combine. They're cooked just enough to get to a pudding like texture. (Trace) Then, they're placed in a mold to sit and cure for about 2 months. Some cold-process oils like castile soap--olive oil based--sit for up to 6 months. Whew! I don't have the patience for that. Plus, they're too perfect looking. You don't get that rough, rugged bumpiness on the top that I love so much. My customers seem to love it, too.) So, in a nutshell, the longer it sits, the better it gets. That's my opinion, anyway.

*****This special quick mix recipe makes an extremely HARD, BUBBLY bar of soap, which a lot of people like. That's why I used it for this manly soap because men don't crave the moisturizing aspect like we ladies seem to do. I like to add beeswax to my soaps. For some reason, it makes my soap set up faster. The cocoa butter is a "brittle" meaning it is very hard and breaks apart. It is very moisturizing and makes a harder bar of soap. Shea butter isn't as brittle, but it's one of the "luxury" butters I use sometimes. Shea is cheaper than cocoa. You can use it just like you would cocoa. 

Go to my favorite Lye Calculator to get readouts of how bubbly, creamy, cleansing, hard, etc. your soap will be based on the oils/butters/waxes you pick out to use in your soap. This is such a handy tool. I totally recommend that you use a soap calculator when you're first starting out so you will learn what all those numbers mean and how they affect the end result of your soap. It's just safer that way, too. Go to the site and plug in my numbers just to get an idea of what the soap is going to look like.

Superfat--I used a 5-6% superfat. That means that 5-6% of the soap will be oil leftover from the cooking process. A 10% superfat will have a whole lot more oil left in it. Sometimes, when you use a whole lot of a very cleansing oil like coconut oil, you'll want your superfat to be as high as 20% because coconut oil can be drying on your skin. When a lot of oil is left in the soap, this decreases the shelf life. It will make your soap mushier in the shower, too. It won't last as long as a harder bar of soap, obviously. That leads me to my soap box rant about soap...hehe. Commercial manufacturers take out the natural glycerin in soap so the shelf life will be extremely long and the bar will be extremely hard. The glycerin is what makes homeade soap so wonderful because it is naturally moisturizing and wonderful for the skin. Ok. Rant over.

*****The essential oils in this recipe are calming and relaxing. The cedarwood, patchouli, and lavender are known to be excellent for inflammation and skin healing. 

I encourage you to make your own soap because it's fun, and it's something you can pass down to your kids. We are so fast paced in this microwave lifestyle of ours. It's good to know you can do something for your family in the kitchen where everyone can be involved and have fun. Please try it out! You'll be hooked on soap. The blending ideas are endless. I prefer natural stuff as opposed to colored micas and fragrance oils. Yes, sometimes I get bummed because I can't make a strawberry shortcake soap or chocolate mocha, but I'll get over it. It's not like I'm against stuff like that; it's just how I like my soap to be. I might change my mind one day, but for now, I'm going to keep it the way it is. 


Ingredients
850 g. Brambleberry's Basic Quick Mix
OR
350 g. coconut oil
300 g. palm oil
150 g. olive oil
50 g. cocoa butter
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
58 g. beeswax
344 g. water
128 g. Brambleberry's Lye Flakes (NaOH--Sodium hydroxide)
1-2 tbsp. coffee grounds
1 tbsp. bentonite clay
Essential Oils: .6 oz. Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
.15 oz. Patchouli
.15 oz. Lavender
.10 oz. Balsam of Peru

Equipment
1 big spoon
1 big soup ladle
Crock Pot (as big as you can get)
Paper towels
2 lb. soap mold (I like silicone.)
Sharp knife 
Food scale that measures in grams
Several measuring bowls ranging in size (I have a quart-sized for my oils and little ones for the lye and essential oils.)
Tablespoons for measuring clays, honey, and other dry ingredients

*Wipe out your oil measuring cup with a paper towel. Don't put oils down the sink--especially coconut oil--because it will harden and clog your pipes. This happened to me way back when I first started. It wasn't pretty. Saponified soap is ok to go down the drain. 

*Add 1 tbsp. of dry ingredients per pound of soap. 

Instructions
1. Plug your crockpot on high. Measure out your oils ahead of time. I like to turn my scale on and off to keep adding my oils into my big quart-sized measuring bowl.

2. Pour your oils into the crockpot after you're finished measuring.

3. Meanwhile, have your lye and water measured out. Pour your lye into your water. Stir until it's dissolved. This solution is very HOT. Keep it under the hood or go outside to do this because the fumes are pretty bad. 

4. When the lye is dissolved, pour the lye solution into your melted oils inside the crockpot. Stir. 

5. The soap will start to thicken and bubble. This is called the champagne stage. Keep the lid on until it swells to the point of almost overflowing. This can take as long as 20 minutes or so. Stir until the air exits and goes back down. This step might occur 3-5 times. Keep the lid on it. I know you're impatient! Sometimes soap takes a really long time...like 45 minutes to an hour or more. It really depends on your oil combinations.For example ,if you use a lot of olive oil, it will take a VERY long time. SO GET COMFORTABLE. :) Watch it closely. You have to stir quickly and vigorously when it rises so the soap won't overflow. Mine flows over occasionally. I try not to let this happen, but sometimes life happens, and you miss it. It's ok. Just scoop up what went over with a couple of spoons and get back to watching and waiting. Don't touch it, though. It's crazy hot and still might irritate your skin. Keep paper towels handy because when you make soap, you're bound to make a mess. It's just the way it is. If your oils separate, keep stirring and letting it cook. It will be alright eventually. :) Sometimes when it's taking forever to set up, I'll get a hand mixer or stick blender in there to help thicken it up. I usually don't have to do this, though. Like I said...it depends on what oils you're using. 

6. : After the champagne stage, you have the gel/mashed potato stage where the soap gets gloppy looking but looks fluffy at times, too. It's almost finished! It will rise one last time before step 7. Just keep stirring and getting the air out.

7. This is when it stops rising. It looks really thick. This is where I add my dry ingredients like clays. I also add my essential oils and honey if I'm adding it. In this case, this is where I added my coffee grounds, clay, and essential oils that I had measured ahead of time. Remember: For the essential oils, keep a measuring cup on your scale and keep pressing off and on to reset it between each oil. I add these here so they will have less time in the extreme heat. Heat can make the essential oils more volatile, causing them to lose their aroma. This happens especially with EOs high in monoterpenes like the citrus oils. 

8. Quickly stir so that everything is blended. This is where I would test for PH in the past with little PH strips. Now, I can just look at the texture and know. You want your soap around 8 or 9 in PH. Some soap makers say throw the test strips out because they don't make a difference. Do what makes you feel comfortable. Ok.  You're read to scoop the soap into your mold with the soup ladle. I have a silicone mold that is very easy to take off the soap once it has cooled. It's bendable whereas wood has all those contraptions and sections to take off. 

9. I usually put mine in the freezer to cool as quickly as possible. After a couple of hours, it should be good to cut. I simply use a sharp knife to cut my soap about 1 inch thick. Don't cut it when it's still hot!

10. There you go! You have soap!

Please let me know if this helped you out or if something didn't work for you. 


Aromahead Institute ACP Program Review


Wow. I'm done. I finished the Aromatherapy Certification Program at Aromahead Institute. I researched programs for about a month before I finally settled on Aromahead. I pored over NAHA's website (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy). I googled reviews. I prayed. I questioned. What made me finally choose Aromahead? My first conversations with my instructor and the head of Aromahead herself, Andrea Butje. When I emailed Aromahead, I thought I'd get an automated response...some kind of girl behind a desk who answers common questions...a girl who would direct me to some kind of FAQ page and tell me to have a nice day. Aromahead was...IS...not like that. When I emailed, I got Andrea. I asked her assertive questions. I didn't hold back. What sets Aromahead apart? Why should I choose Aromahead over this other school? Her answers were honest, to the point, and basically telling me to keep on looking into her program and I'd discover it on my own. I still have our emails. I truly am so glad I went with AI. 
The ACP program at AI gets you over 200 hours of course work which qualifies you as a CA, or Certified Aromatherapist. Some programs out there use tricky language that make it sound like you'll be certified, but NAHA says you must have over 200 hours, and some schools' CA programs don't have that. They hook you in that way so you'll have to do the next step up, too...the "graduate" program that gets you more hours, which in turn makes you pay a whole lot more money. SO BEWARE OF THAT. AI's ACP qualifies you to sit for the registered aromatherapist exam if you want to go that route. If you don't have 200+ hours, you can't sit for it. It's your choice if you sit or not. I have not and probably won't. It's very expensive to just have your name on a website's list. 

The coursework was very simple and easy to understand at AI. In fact, sometimes it was humorous. Everything is organized in a clean, simple format, and you can do the coursework on your own time. There is no time limit. Have a question? Email Andrea herself. Bless her, she answered countless emails from me. You also get free lifetime access to the AI forum where you can chat and share with other AI students. I have made so many friends through this and learned so much. Confused about something? Just ask the girls on the forum. They know their stuff. 

Ok...onto the ACP coursework. The first thing a student takes is the The Essential Oils 101 class, and it is FREE. Don't want to sign up for the entire ACP? Sure. Take this free class, or sign up for one of the courses AI offers like Essential Oils for Massage Therapy or EO's for Natural Living. They even offer a class where you learn how to make butters and lip balms. It's incredibly fun. We're women. We need hobbies. The next course you take is the entire ACP. Lessons range from learning about the limbic system, safety guidelines for things like pregnancy, etc., learning about GC/MS testing, to discovering distillation, dilution, tons of chemistry, therapeutic properties, blending, aromatic notes, writing your own data sheets, etc. I loved every minute of that. It didn't last long enough. The third part of the ACP is your Anatomy and Physiology class. Ugh. That took me forever to get through. But if you need me to tell you about your heart chambers and your stress hormones, I can fill you in. 

The most intimidating part of the ACP are the tests and the 20 case studies you have to do on five different people. I enjoyed making blends for different reasons. I learned so much. One of my proudest accomplishments was my case study on my mom. She suffered with Restless Leg Syndrome. She's now off of her medicine because of the blends I learned how to make in the ACP. The next thing that intimidated me to the very last day was my research paper...all 10 pages and nearly 3 pages of citations. However, it was incredibly rewarding, and I'm so glad I am finished. I felt like I was back in college. 
When you sign up, you're in for life. That means you have access to the data sheets and all the course work forever. As long as you're a student, you also get a 15% discount at Aromatics International, a store that provides GC/MS testing for every single essential oil they sell. At no cost, too! You can also go to their site and search for oils based on a certain chemical component. Maybe you are wanting to look for a gentle antispasmodic like the ester Linalyl Acetate. You can scroll down to the strength you want. Then, all the oils that fit that criteria will pop up on your screen. You can even search by use/application, origin, chemical family, aromas, and even notes. This site really takes all the guesswork out of shopping. They are very thorough, and the prices are pretty reasonable. I love their wide range of exotic oils you don't hear of much like Mastic, Opopanax, and Davana. They even have five species of Helichrysum. They know their stuff. Looking for carriers? Hydrosols? Jars and inhalers? They have what you need. You can buy in bulk, too. 

What can you do as a CA? 

You can have your own business and even be a personal consultant for individuals, massage therapy schools, and spas. You learn about how you should word and phrase things so as not to find yourself in legal trouble. You can even go on to teach aromatherapy.

PROS
1. You can go at your own pace. You can finish in four months or a year. It's up to you. No limits!
2. It's online. Enough Said.
3. They have friendly instructors you can email anytime.
4. Robert Tisserand edited the course.
5. Everything is organized, clean, and easy to understand.
6. You get a 15% discount with Aromatics International the entire time you're a student.
7. You qualify to sit for the Registered Aromatherapist exam. 
8. You can use the oils you already have at home, and you don't have to have every single oil they recommend you get. As long as you have an oil with the same purpose or aromatic note during that blending activity, you're good to go. 
9. Want to learn more? There's a graduate scholar's program where you learn more science, more blending ideas, and more essential oils. 
10. They have a few different payment plans. 
11. You get a personal graduate page in the online graduate directory. 
12. The course is honest and unbiased. You don't feel slammed with marketing in order to get you to buy from a particular brand. 
13. You can become a member of a prestigious aromatherapy organization such as NAHA and AIA.

CONS
1. The essential oils for the course don't come as a part of the package, and some programs do. However, see number 8 on the pros list. 
2. There are probably close to 50 oils you learn about in the ACP, but there are some that aren't included in the coursework like lime, oregano, and pink grapefruit. Just a thought, but I'd love to see more oils in the ACP, especially basic oils like these. 
3. The price is a little steep, or it seemed that way to me at first; however, it's right on with every other school I looked at with the same amount of hours in the ACP. However, there are some schools that are extremely more expensive for some reason.  

My husband told me if I paid for it, I could do it, so that's what I'm doing. I'm churning out soap left and right. My future plans as a CA are to keep on making soap, maybe doing some classes with friends, family, maybe a local spa, etc. I purposefully did the ACP so I could learn more. If I'm going to be making soap and other things, I need to know what I'm doing in terms of safety and what not. My dad is also afraid I might find myself in legal trouble if something crazy were to happen with a customer, so again, this helps with that. On the AI forum, I've learned about different insurance agencies that work with CA's. 

If you're considering getting your certification, consider Aromahead! You won't regret it. I enjoyed every minute. Email andrea@aromahead.com and see for yourself. She seriously emailed me back immediately. No joke. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

DIY Rose Hydrosol


I must admit. I saw this one on Pinterest and had to tackle it. I have paid upwards of $9 for 4 ounces of herbal hydrosol. This was a must if I wanted to learn how to save money. Hydrosols are the steam during the essential oil distilliation process. The oil separates from the water and goes through a different channel whereas the water from the steam (hydrosol) is channeled to a different location. The hydrosol is said to be stronger than about 25 cups of herbal tea. 

Instructions
1. Get a large stock pot. 
2. Place a small bowl upside down inside the stock pot.
3. Place another smaller bowl upright on top of the upside down bowl.
4. Fill the pot with water up to the top of the upside down bowl.
5. Add 1 cup of herbs (rose, lavender, chamomile, calendula, etc.) to the water mixture. I decided to use rose petals this time. I have lavender for my next go around.

6. Put the lid on the pot UPSIDE DOWN. 
7. Place ice packs or ice cubes on the lid to encourage the pot to sweat. This will create a channel for the steam to flow into the upright bowl. 



8. Steam the petals on low heat for as long as you want. I steamed mine for about an hour and a half. 

 9. Strain the "tea" into a Mason Jar. I don't see how this stuff is weaker than the hydrosol. I'm not sure if I believe it or not. Look at the color! I pretty much brewed tea. You can add this to your homemade products just like you would hydrosol. You can even add it to your bath. I'm sure you could even drink it if you wanted to.


10. Next, strain your hydrosol. I only got about 3 and 1/2 2-ounce bottles from this. Bummer, but remember...you can use the tea, too. Don't throw that stuff away. :)


11. This is the finished product. Yuck! Rose petals aren't that beautiful once they have been steamed.


12. Keep your hydrosols and tea in the refrigerator. They last longer that way. 

Use them whenever you would use water to give your products a little more strength. Use them on children and even babies (except peppermint hydrosol) when you can't use essential oils. I like to use them as a base for my Boo Boo Spray and Bug Spray. You can add them as the water base in your homemade lotions, too. I love to spritz my homemade rose hydrosol (or rose water...whatever it is, it sure does smell awesome) on my face every morning and at night before I go to bed. It's a great body mist when you need a little something, too.