As you may have noticed in my oil pulling posts, I struggle with some skin issues- dry skin, psoriasis, and occasional breakouts. So when I got the opportunity to partner up with Stephenson Personal Care, I jumped right on it. Knowing exactly what I’m putting on my skin seemed like a good idea, and making homemade soap? SO FUN. Seriously.
I decided to ease in to DIY soap making to get a feel for it before I get too fancy, so my first soap is pretty straightforward:
- I used this melt and pour base, chosen because it has all sorts of natural & organic ingredients
- 3 tablespoons of honey, bought at the local dairy farm and from a local town
- a handful of mint leaves, grown in my garden last summer then frozen
- soap mold and microwaveable container (something with a spout is particularly helpful
Putting it all together was a lot less intimidating then I thought it was going to be and only took a few minutes:
- I made 4 bars of soap, so I used half a container of Stephenson’s melt and pour
- Cut the soap base into 1 inch sections using a butter knife (serrated probably would have been easier though)
- Melt the soap in the microwave for a little over a minute, make sure to cover it in plastic wrap
- While it’s melting, grab your mint leaves and chop them up- we want them to go right down the drain during use, not clog it up
- Once the soap is melted pour in your honey and sprinkle in the mint leaves, then GENTLY wisk. We’re aiming for as few bubbles as possible here
- Pour SLOWLY into the soap base, and if you do have bubble spritz them with some rubbing alcohol, then pop in the fridge to harden
I wish the mint leaves were fresh so they’d be a nice green color, but you know- it’s April in New England and it snowed earlier this week. Freshly thawed will have to do!
Matt and I are out of town this week (in New Orleans!!) so I thought this would be the perfect thank you gift for the people we lined up to help take care of our pets.
I cut out the thank you tag on my Silhouette with some construction paper, then wrapped the soap in saran wrap and tissue paper. Super simple, but a nice touch to let people know they’re appreciated. Henry sure is happy someone’s stopping by to feed him all week :).
Have any questions? Suggestions? Leave them in the comments!
After my first week of oil pulling I posted a day by day run down, which you can see here. I thought I’d check back in now that it’s been a month to review it again.
Before I get into the review though, it’s important to note 2 other health-related things I’ve been doing as well, because maybe they’re all working together:
- I have been getting 3 allergy shots a week since January. If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw this picture back in December that basically showed I was severely allergic to all the things. I’ve been told it’ll take about 6 months before I really notice a difference. My husband thinks he notices a difference already, I’m not so sure myself.
- In addition to the shots I thought I’d try a more holistic approach too, so I started taking Juice Plus in January. It’s organic, vine ripened fruit that is basically dehydrated then crushed down into a capsule with a little added fiber- more of a booster then a supplement or vitamin I guess. I absolutely have noticed a difference in my energy level and immune system since I started taking it.
As far as the oil pulling itself:
- Swishing for 20 minutes a day is no problem at all. The texture doesn’t bother me at all anymore- I’ve only missed one day in the whole month and I felt strange not doing it.
- I 100% feel like my teeth and gums are stronger. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but they just feel more grounded in my mouth? That sounds weird, but it’s true. I flossed after not having done so for quite a while (sorry, dentist) and there was no bleeding or swelling.
- I also feel like my nails are stronger (maybe part oil pulling and part Juice Plus).
- My complexion is noticeably better- no more breakouts and in addition, the dark spots from old breakouts are starting to go away too. I have maybe had 2 pimples in the past month, which is amazing.
- It has done nothing for my scalp psoriasis. I even tried rubbing the oil directly on my scalp for a few days because I got desperate. This is kind of a bummer because it’s the result I was hoping for the most.
So overall, I absolutely recommend giving it a try. For me it hasn’t been the miracle worker some others have claimed it to be, but there are absolute benefits. Also, I still brush my teeth as normal. I just felt grossed out by the thought of no longer doing that. It’s also recommended that you oil pull in the morning, on an empty stomach, but I don’t have time then so I do it in the 20 minutes before I settle down for bed instead.
My biggest tip: for the love of God, do not sniff that jar you spit the oil out into. Just don’t. You might be tempted to, but trust me. It might be the worst smelling thing in the entire world. (You can’t spit it out down the drain because the oil hardens at temperatures lower then 76*.)
Have you tried it yet?
Man, I have posted one of these in a while but thought I’d hop back on it today (you can read more about them here @ The Lauren Elizabeth).
Here’s my top 5 highlights from the week:
1. I got assigned 3 classes to teach throughout summer & fall which I’m super excited about. I love teaching! I have a full time day job as an advisor at the college, but teach adjunct whenever I can.
2. We’re going car shopping for Matt this afternoon… and we are going to pay in cash. Holler. NOT GETTING ANOTHER LOAN. It feels good to be able to do that, and I want to do that more often please.
made by me!
3. Vacation is only a few weeks away. NOLA HERE WE COME! Can’t wait to spend a week away, see some family, and basically have an awesome time. Matt & I have never really taken a vacation together before and we’ve been together almost 5 years, it’s always been for an event or a group trip, so this is a pretty huge deal. We bought tickets to see the house band at Preservation Hall this week.
4. I’m only working until noon today because I had night presentations Monday and yesterday. WOOT WOO. I’m excited for a sunroof open/loud Rob Zombie ride home. Loud music and an open sunroof make me very happy.
5. The weather is finally starting to warm up and I was able to dump some leaves and do a little yard clearing this week. Looks like lots of my plants are coming back in!
A while back I was sent an Influenster VoxBox to review that included some Colgate Optic White products and they worked great, so when I got a new set of their stuff sent to me I was pretty pumped.
a whole box full of goodies
Toothpaste, coupons, and a toothbrush + whitening pen combo came in the box, and if you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve been faithfully using my whitening pen:
The directions say if you use the pen twice a day for 3 days in a row you’ll see results, but I have super sensitive teeth and that made me a little nervous so I’ve used it 5 nights in a row and have definitely noticed a difference.
Here’s what surprised me:
- There’s no funky taste to the whitening stuff- there’s actually no taste at all
- You basically just act like you’re coloring it on your teeth, and then you’re done- no rinsing or brushing or timing yourself
- It did not hurt my sensitive teeth at all
- It 100% removed tea stains and discolorations on my teeth
ALSO- the pen stores inside the toothbrush, which is the most clever idea ever:
Have you tried the optic white line of stuff? I felt like the mouthwash was similar to what gargling with lightening might feel like, but that this pen was freaking awesome.
I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. If you’d like an invitation to join Influenster, just leave me your email address!
1. I live in Massachusetts, where winter is… wintery. It’s in the 30*’s today and everyone is all It’s so warm! No jacket! Look at the sun! It’s one of the most hilarious and charming things about living with New England seasons.
I have this very image framed in my bedroom.
2. Matt and I talk a lot about our imaginary house #2. We’re locked into our house for 2.5 more years (due to our loan), and realistically we won’t move for 4-5 years, but I love houses check listings regularly in the price listing I hope we’ll be at. Lots of houses around here have catwalk 2nd floors. I want that.
This is a real house for sale right now in one of the towns that’s top of my list. I AM IN LOVE. (ahem. but not with the decor)
And because I know my grandmother will ask, it’s this house. And yes, it’s closer to you. And I love it so much I literally gasp at some of the pictures.
3. And on that note… I fall strangely in love with houses regularly and deeply. Maybe one day I’ll become a real estate agent so I can get my fix more often and in person. If there was a such a thing as “professional house stage-r” that you could hire when you want to sell, and I could be one and pay the bills, I would instantly be one.
4. Every time I walk by my updated guest room I smile. I love the new paint. I love the two little pieces of DIY art. I now have a whole shelving unit that corrals my craft supplies into one spot when it was previously scattered all over the house. There’s so much left to do, but I’m happy about it now anyway.
be it ever so humble
5. I’m feeling a little stale about blogging and inspiration in general right now. Rambling Rennovators posted this in January and it really resonated with me. Maybe spring will bring fresh inspiration.
What are your thoughts today?
Happy Valentine’s day, internet friends. Just popping in with a quick note to show my appreciation for you today and every day.
And in case you’re in need of something for your husband/boyfriend/best friend/mailman/intriguing stranger, here’s a copy of the Valentine I shared with my man today:
And don’t forget, tomorrow is the real love day– HALF OFF CHOCOLATE DAY!
For my nephew’s first birthday, I made him a DIY play fridge, so for Christmas I wanted to add on a kitchen area using another set of old cabinets:
It’s decked out with:
- a burner made from a $1 circular cutting board and red craft paint
- a sink made from a $6 stainless steel mixing bowl and an old faucet
- a towel hook remnant from my DIY kitchen art
- vinyl lettering and burner dial cut with my Silhouette Cameo
I decided to make the sink vessel style so the inside wouldn’t loose any storage space, and to accommodate that I mounted the faucet on some 2×4 scraps. The faucet has 2 metal pipes (that would connect it to the water line) and I couldn’t cut them off, so instead I bought a set of spade drill bits and just made holes to fit them in, then used a rubber hammer to set the faucet in:
After drilling the holes I painted the whole thing and sprayed the hardware metallic silver. It is literally 4* outside right now so to spray in the house I just made a shadowbox out of an old cardboard box:
The burner is just hot glue gunned on, and the sink is currently loose but I think I’m going to hot glue gun that as well:
Overall, this was a weekend project, but I do plan to put a clear coat of polycrylic over the vinyl as well just to make sure it doesn’t end up peeling.
There’s about a million play kitchen tutorials in blog land, but they’re so customizable and really easy to make- and honestly, I really like to give him nice wooden toys instead of plastic ones (and things that have storage built in are always a plus because good lord to kids have a lot of stuff).
Did you DIY any Christmas gifts this year?
Last year I wrote a post called “13 Goals for 2013,” and recently I did an update to see how I measured up. When I started thinking about goals for 2014 I decided I didn’t want a big huge list- just a couple bullet points to keep me on track:
1. Finish all in-progress projects before starting any new ones!
- Upstairs bathroom needs the painted grout cleaned up & a sidekick to cover the gap between the vanity and the wall
- Half bath needs about half a wall more of wainscoting, then spackle and paint
- Basement stairs need to be sanded and painted
2. Build something from scratch!
- I want a built in desk in the guest room closet (as well as a complete guest room overhaul…) and we need a new console table in our bedroom. I’d really like to build both of these things all by myself, and I think I can.
3. Take better care of myself
- I’m super neglectful of myself, for no real reason at all. I’m kicking off this goal by going to see an allergist this afternoon so I can get started on allergy shots. I’d also like to be more conscious of what I’m eating and what I’m putting on my skin- I need more vegetables, and I need less dollar store shampoo. End of story.
What are your goals for 2014?
I thought I’d pop in today with a quick little bonus post because while I was scrolling through my personal Tumblr page for quotes for yesterday’s post, I stumbled upon these two pictures that I thought were gone forever.
The very first DIY I ever did…. the reason this blog is called Sandpaper & Glue:
About three and a half years ago (ish?)…. before owning a house was even in the picture… before I had ever even heard of a DIY blog… I found two sad little school chairs in my aunt’s basement and decided I needed them for my dining room table. So I brought them to my apartment… and sanded and sanded, then wood glued some of leg spindles back on, then painted each chair teal and added a cushion.
I had completed my first DIY without evening knowing what a DIY was!
Oh, and the table they were added to? Why that came from my Nana’s basement… and it was from the 60s. And there were vinyl chairs (which are awesome, BTW). They were in a room with blue Big Lots curtains tied back with old white shoelaces. There was also a $10 green rug from Walmart.
And a built in hutch I totally didn’t know to appreciate . And moulding I also did not know to appreciate:
I think it’s safe to say I’ve come a long way in 3.5 years.
…but I still totally love that table.
What was your first DIY?
I am feeling completely overwhelmed this month- How is Christmas so soon? How did I not buy all the gifts I need to yet? Also, we don’t even have a tree up. And we’re not going too. Christmas will happen whether or not we have a tree.
And then I thought I can’t possibly be the only one feeling so stressed out right now. So I shared another quote over on my Facebook page and thought I’d take a detour from DIY today to share a few other yeah! I can do it! quotes/pictures, for those of you that are feeling as disheveled as I am:
And ladies, don’t forget:
Ps- sorry for the lack of sources, these are all from my Tumblr page. And Tumblr is a rabbit hole of reblogs and chaos.