28 Days of Planking

28 Days of Planking – who is with me?

this is not me…shocker…

Time for a new fitness challenge – this time I’m choosing a challenge that I can fit in anytime and anywhere.

I will perform a plank-a-day every day for 28 days…I’m still working out how long I will plank for. I’ll start with 3 x 60-90 seconds and see how that goes.

Planks work the core, the shoulders etc – for a complete listing of muscles that planks are beneficial for, see your favorite trainer. :)

My unofficial opinion is that I see overall benefits when I make this exercise part of every workout!

I hope to build up my times and my core strength by the end of February.

I hope you join me…c’mon, February is a really short month…

Natural and Glossy Lips

Loving these http://bitebeauty.com/blog/ lip pencils and glosses! I have a minor lip gloss obsession, and lately I’ve  been on the hunt for products that are not only chemical free but also go on well – and have that perfect glossy consistency.


So happy to find these food-grade lip products made with resveratrol (think red wine). Tasty, non-toxic and glossy – perfect. ♥

A Smooth and Aromatic Shave

Besides blending my own all-natural skincare recipes, I also love testing other products that are aromatic and chemical free. Recently, I began using shave foams from eco-armour http://eco-armour.com/.

Eco-Armour Shaving Foam

Eco-armour is a small, eco-friendly bodycare company in Annapolis, Maryland. Robert and Zoe Benzinger started making shave foams as a hobby, and now they are spreading the word on how natural shave foams free of chemicals are much less irritating for our legs – and faces, too!

My favorite of this locally-produced line is the Bergamot/Pink Grapefruit.  This soothing foam smells amazing and always results in a smooth shave – no bumps, cuts or nicks.  Love it!

Robert Benzinger, eco-armour

What makes these products so effective?  They are made with many of my favorite nourishing ingredients, including aloe vera, witch hazel, coconut oil, sunflower oil and lavender.

Shave with Benefits foams are a great choice for natural girls (and guys) looking for a smooth, sexy shave.

Find the Shave with Benefits product line beside mine on the shelf at Restoration Foods, a local community-supported market in Edgewater, MD.

You also find eco-armour on facebook <http://facebook.com/ecoarmour>.

Juicing Papaya and Pomegranate

Carrot, Papaya and Pomegranate Juice

Fresh Juice: Carrot, Papaya and Pomegranate

I love this combination I just made in my Breville!  The papaya makes the juice a little thicker – yum.  Maybe I will blend this with ice and a clear libation (grey goose? rum?) when the temperature goes above 70 again.  Only 5 more months til summer…..

  • 3 large carrots
  • 1/2 cup papaya
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup green grapes


Banana + Papaya DIY Facial

Green Beauty Facial of the Week!

Banana + Papaya DIY Facial

3 simple ingredients=1 great DIY facial :) Gently exfoliate and moisturize with banana, papaya and yogurt. Papaya contains natural exfoliating enzymes and is great for skin any time of year.  All you need is 1 banana, 1/2 cup papaya, and 4 oz greek yogurt.

I love papaya in my winter DIY facial masks when my skin gets stubbornly dry to get rid of dead skin cells. It helps with my sun damage and age spots too. Both banana and yogurt are naturally moisturizing.  Give it a try!

Avocado and Kiwi Facial

My favorite winter skincare tip?  Exfoliate!  Even my Italian skin gets very dry in the winter, and the naturally-nourishing beauty oils I use are much more effective after I exfoliate dead skin cells.

Avocado + Kiwi + Blue Green Algae Face Mask

DIY fruit facials are a regular part of my green beauty routine.  Many different combinations are useful, but here’s one I am loving right now:

  • 1 kiwi
  • 2 tbsp ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp blue green algae
  • tiny squeeze of lemon juice (if your skin is sensitive or very dry, leave this out!)

This mask left my skin feeling felt tight and smooth…like I had just had a professional exfoliating treatment.  The kiwi has more vitamin C than an orange!  Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen production, and the natural fruit acids help me exfoliate. Avocados are a great source of Vitamin A, and Avocado.com says that avocado DIY facemasks not only moisturize but also have a deep cleansing effect, working to remove impurities and dead skin cells.

I used the pestle to crush the blue green algae supplements, which I added because it’s high in proteins and fatty acids to assist with skin cell turnover and repair. This mask is still wonderful without this ingredient but you should be able to find it where you buy your vitamins.

NOTE:  I found this mask extremely effective!  I immediately felt the tingling (exfoliating fruit acids at work) so I only left it on for @5-7 minutes. After I removed the mask with a warm washcloth, my skin was so soft and smooth – and yes, I had areas of redness (redness is not a negative for me, but a sign of success :) however, you may disagree so work with the ingredients to find your own exfoliation comfort level). I applied a thin layer of fresh aloe after my skin was dry.


Ask the Naturalista: Aromatherapy

I’m excited to begin my new series of interviews, “Ask the Naturlista” , where I chat with experts, educators and those living and leading by example on topics like aromatherapy, fitness, green beauty, nutrition and more.

It’s fitting that my first interview is with Andrea Butje from Aromahead Institute: School of Essential Oil Studies http://www.aromahead.com/. Andrea is very knowledgeable and experienced in aromatherapy, and incredibly generous with that knowledge!

Andrea Butje

Andrea offers a an amazing aromatherapy certification program, both in person and online.  For me, this program encouraged the launch of my new company, makemine Bodycare, and her informative “Building Web Presence” class persuaded me to start this blog!

I’m thrilled to have Andrea to kick off my “Ask the Naturalista” series:

1.     Andrea, as a student of yours, I know firsthand how passionate you are about aromatherapy.  What first sparked that passion?

I was always interested in plants and herbs and started to work with essential oils in 1994 – our first year of owning and running the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Ithaca, NY. I went to aromatherapy school in England, and traveled to France to visit some essential oils distillers and that first trip to the distillery transformed me. I loved talking with the famers and distillers and the aroma of lavender at the distillery was extraordinary. Understanding where that little bottle of lavender on my desk at home came from was very exciting. I was hooked.

2.     You teach aromatherapy certification and many other classes both in person and online. What is it that you enjoy most about teaching these courses?

As I read this question I thought about all the aspects of teaching, and how much I enjoy them.The prep work for in-person classes is really engaging. It involves organizing the materiel I want to teach, writing extensive manuals for the students, ordering and testing the essential oils, gathering the supplies, and making the classroom beautiful. For the online classes it involves making dynamic, fun videos for students all over the world and writing the course material in a conversational style.

The actual teaching itself is my reward. All the work is done ahead of time, and the classes are when I interact with students (either in-person or via email) and witness the extraordinary response that people have to the essential oils. I see the oils and the information changing people’s health and lives! It is deeply inspiring.

3.     I imagine your spend a lot of time collecting and recording recipes. What was it that spurred your decision to share these recipes in your first book?

I have always enjoyed sharing what I know about essential oils. My motivation to share the recipes started when I realized how many of my friends had health issues that the oils could address. Additionally, so many had chemical cleaners in their homes, and I see how challenging that can be on the immune system. I know how easy it is to make your own health and cleaning products. I was constantly sharing these recipes with friends. Finally I decided the information needed to be in a book that included a wide range of recipes including body care products and blends for issues like colds and flu, sleep and pain.

4.     In your book, you suggest a list of essential oils for an aromatherapy starter kit. Can you tell us about two of those oils and how you use them?

I use white pine and lemon a lot for cleaning. Both have refreshing aromas and are disinfecting. I add a drop of each to my kitchen sponge to clean the sponge itself. I also add both essential oils to water with touch of vinegar for cleaning the shower, tub and sinks. Pine and lemon also can be used in a diffuser to prevent the spread of germs when someone is sick in your house.

5.     Can you share a favorite recipe for muscle soreness from your book?

Sure! In the chapter called Medicine Chest there is a recipe for a Therapeutic Bath Salt for Aches and Pains. This blend has an essential oil in it that is new to many people called Saro. I love this oil, it smells like eucalyptus and brings relief to sore muscles.

Makes: One 8 oz jar of bath salts (enough for about 8 baths)


  • 8 oz natural, unbleached, bath salts (pink Himalayan salts, epsom salts, sea salts)
  • 20 drops Saro essential oil
  • 10 drops Frankincense essential oil


  • One 8 oz PET plastic jar
  • Stirring spoon


1. Fill empty jar with bath salts.

2. Add essential oils directly to the salt and mix vigorously for at least one minute.

 Add about one ounce (around two tablespoons or a small scoop) to your bath after the tub has filled. Soak and enjoy. Use to soothe the body after a vigorous workout or to relax and unwind after a tense day at work.

Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home

6.    Where can people go to find your new book?

To buy the book (15.95):


To buy the eBook (12.95):


7.  Can you provide a few sources that you rely on for your essential oil purchases? 

Aromatics International, www.aromaticsinternational.com <http://www.aromaticsinternational.com>

Essential Elements,www.essentialelementssite.com <http://www.essentialelementssite.com>

Stillpoint Aromatics, www.stillpointaromatics.com <http://www.stillpointaromatics.com>

Thank you, Andrea, for your time and for sharing your story.  I think I might have to order that Saro essential oil for my next bath :)

Pink Himalayan Salt

Love when my kids ask for these salts after a hard practice or workout instead of the ibuprofen!

Pink Himalayan salts contain 84 vital nutrients known to relax and soothe sore muscles. Whether I am sore, hormonal or tired, I reach for these bathing salts and after 20 minutes in a warm bath, I feel refreshed.

The salts alone are very therapeutic for me, but sometimes I add frankincense, lavender or chamomile for the additional anti-inflammatory benefits. I use @ 5-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of salt to make the bath a 1% blend.

I’m also relying on this salt during my January detox to help me deal with detox headaches and to flush the toxins out of my body quickly.  Be sure to always purchase unbleached, uncolored, untreated pure minerals salts and to check with your doctor to see if these salts are a good fit for you.

I can’t wait for my next salt treatment!


Honey Does Green Juice

Ok, I think I have found my signature juice.

Green Veggies + Green Fruits= WOW

Juicing Greens + Honeydew Melon


Yes, basically looks like liquid chorophyll.  Do you trust me enough to give it a try? It tastes a lot like many fresh juices.  It’s, ya know, pretty good. :)  But, this blend is OMG amazing, I promise.  The energy and focus I feel after I drink this blend is off the charts.

I added honeydew melon, a rich source of vitamin C and copper, both of which are important for the health of your skin.

Vitamin C and copper are both involved in collagen product and skin repair, so you can see why I am a huge fan.

Add in that honeydew melon is an excellent source of potassium, and you can see why I’m hooked for the energy – and skin – benefits.

Here’s the recipe (makes enough for 2 large juices):

  • 5 large kale leaves
  • 1 large english cucumber
  • 1/2 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 cup honeydew melon
  • 1 green apple

Feel free to adjust the ingredients for your goals or tastebuds.  If you give my recipe a try, let me know how you like it.

It’s love…

Love my Juicer and my Vitamix! Putting both to good use in 2013 :)

Here’s a smoothie I made today…. so good!  I juiced dandelion greens and cucumber, then blended it with berries, organic raw shelled hemp seed (10 g of protein in 3 tbsp serving!), acai berry powder and pineapple.  Yum!