Juicing with Friends

I had fun blending and juicing with friends today!

We did a taste comparison with the same recipe, using two different juicer models and the Vitamix.  We’re all in love with the new Breville Juice Fountain Crush!  I’ve been using a Breville juicer for years, and I’ve overlooked how noisy and messy it was b/c it changed my life!  But, for Valentine’s Day I gave myself the Juice Fountain Crush – and I have a new love :)

This slow masticating juicer produced a delicious, nutrient-rich juice with much less fuss. It was also wayyyy more quiet, easier to clean with much less waste.


And, yes, I made handouts(dork :)  Here are the recipes from today:

Green Juice (Breville Juice Fountain Crush)

My favorite green juice – gives me lots of energy!

Honeydew melon is a rich source of vitamin C and copper, both of which are important for the health of your skin.  (Healthy skin from the inside-out is a little obsession of mine!)

Vitamin C and copper are both involved in collagen product and skin repair.

  1. 5 kale leaves (or, handful of red kale or, 2 collard green leaves)
  2. 1 large english cucumber
  3. 1/2 small bunch of parsley or cilantro
  4. 1 cup honeydew melon
  5. 1 green apple
  6. a few mint leaves (makes everything taste a like a mojito!)
  7. squeeze of lime (I don’t run my citrus thru the juicer unless it’s organic – too many pesticides
  8. Tip: Juice the kale first – the other ingredients will help rinse what is left of the kale into your drink.

Green Smoothie (Vitamix/Blender) – adapted from Vita-mix demo Whole Foods, Annapolis

  1. 2 cups green grapes
  2. ½ banana
  3. ½ cup of pineapple
  4. 1 cup spinach
  5. 1 apple (I use green b/c they have less sugar)
  6. thin slice of lime
  7. ½ cup spring water or coconut water (chrissy’s suggestion)
  8. 1-2 cups ice

Blend ingredients 1-7 on high until mixed well.  Add ice and blend til smooth. Everyone really enjoyed this one.

Blending with my Vita-mix

As usual, everything in the Vita-mix was delicious and easy-to-make. For our final morning blend, I winged it….blueberries, oranges, mango, strawberries, and a few cups of spinach…plus whatever I had in the fridge… with some ice, raw organic shelled hemp seeds for protein and healthy fats, plus acai berry powder as rich source of antioxidants.

Yumm…I could hear everyone’s agreement that this blend was a win.

Next time, maybe a juicing cocktail hour? :) xoxo

Have you planked today?

Day 2 – My gently-used dining room

February plank-a-day challenge: Day 2

I’ve completed my planks for the day!  The hard wood surface is not as comfy as a nice gym mat.  Yikes!  Well, anyway, I was glad to get some use out of this room :)

Have you planked today?


Day 1 – light, fluffy snow plank

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 :)