Archive for September, 2009

Ten Minute Hand Massage Relaxation Retreat

Posted on September 29, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This is the first of my posts on mini-relaxation retreats using spa treatments and relaxation techniques.  If your hands hurt after spending time on the computer or just after a session of knitting, this post is just for you.

First, let’s check out some ancient Chinese hand massage knowledge to give use some back ground for the videos that show massage techniques:

Next, a good video on how to give yourself a hand massage: (click on the green arrow in picture to start video)

Now, if you have someone to give you a hand massage, this is a great video to check out:

After your massage, try this Sugar and Lime Juice Scrub for hands:

Here are some tips for those with computer hand pain:

Putting it all together:

1)   Look at the Chinese hand care link to get some general knowledge and print out the reflexology chart to work on certain areas, if you’d like.

2)  Choose either the one or two person hand massage video and follow the steps.

3)  Now for the spa treatment:  Sugar and Lime Scrub to smooth hands.  Remember to rinse the scrub off well after the treatment.

4)  Follow up with some aloe vera gel to soften and protect.

Feel pampered!

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Organizing Your Green Skin Care Routine

Posted on September 19, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

If you have been reading this blog for a few months, you should now have loads of printouts with neat skin care recipes on them.  But how do you organize all this information into a skin care routine?  

Knowing your skin type (see link below) will help.  Also, reading the posts about the Four Good Chemicals In Natural Skin Care (7-27-09 ) and Adding Moisture to Dry Skin (6-29-09) will give you a head start on what feels good and what works.  To simplify things choose just two or three recipes to use for each product (cleanser, scrub, etc.) you intend to make part of your routine.  Some parts of your skin care routine may have to be from the store, because some days you will be too busy to make your own magic.  No worries, just jot down the brand name of the store-bought product you use on those rush-rush days. 

Now, lets take a look at how these two gals greened their skin care routines…

SallyMae has oily skin and uses these products in her skin care routine:

Cleanser:1) Store bought glycerin soap and with a facial brush.                                                                                                                           2) Thyme and Fennel Facial Cleanser (mid-day freshener)(                                                                                                                              3) Honey Oatmeal Facial (once a week)(

Toner:  1) Apple Toner (  2) Watermelon toner (occasionally) (

Moisture:  None needed in Summer.  Occasionally uses olive oil (light application, tissue off) in Winter.

Mask:  1)  Papaya Pumpkin Mask (                                                 2)  Cucumber Face Mask (

Scrub:  Homemade Baking Soda and Kelp Powder Scrub (just equal parts of each, add water to make a paste).  Twice a month.

SallyMae likes non-greasy, astringent ingredients.  Watermelon, kelp, papaya, apple, and cucumber all are great for oily skin.


Olivia has dry skin and uses different products to balance her complexion:

Cleanser:  1) Honey Cold Cream ( or store bought dry skin cleansing bar.  2)  Strawberry Cleanser(

Toner:  Olivia uses Chamomile Tea as a toner, applied with a cotton ball.  See below for a list of herbs suitable as toners  for all skin types.

Moisture:  Store bought lotion with SPF 15.

Mask:  1)  Avocado Dry Skin Mask ( )                                             2)  AvoCarrot Mask (

Scrub:  1)  Gentle Cleansing Grains (           2)  Almond Mayo Scrub (

Olivia likes to calm her dry skin with chamomile and protect it with creamy ingredients like avocado and mayonnaise.  Strawberry provides Alpha Hydroxy Acids to clear away flaky skin.

Both SallyMae and Olivia have used the knowledge they have about their individual skin types to create a natural skin care program that is easy to follow, fun, and very green. 


Finding your skin type:

Herbals for Toners, Masks, and Scrubs:

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A Relaxing Retreat — Creating A Sanctuary

Posted on September 14, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

In A Relaxing Retreat the focus was on understanding the stress response and how relaxation techniques can be used to tame the stress-monster.  This post is about creating a peaceful sanctuary in your home or office (or just on your laptop’s screen) that you can go to to find relaxation on a hectic day.  O.K. someone out there is wondering, “What has this to do with skin care?”  I’m glad you asked.  To put it simply, stress ages skin.  Free Radicals are created by stress (among other things) and we all need a break. 

Now, it’s time to get down to creating a beautiful sanctuary for ourselves. But first we have to get past the spin and hype.  When I searched for “sanctuary” on the web, I got ads, ads, ads.  More stress.  It seems like finding peace involves building a gazebo in a park-like setting in the Hamptons.  OMG.  When will I be able to afford that?  Now, I don’t want to make relaxation hard to find, so check these links for sanctuary building goodies and ideas.

First, getting into the mindset for a retreat.  This link gives you info about one minute retreats that you can use any time:  and this link gives you a four step method to create retreats of various lengths that will fit into your schedule:

To help rejuvenate yourself, you can use your home as a retreat.  Here are some ideas on making your home a retreat:  and… and…

If your home is a shared space and you want to just use one room as a sanctuary, consider creating a retreat in your bedroom:  and…

Or in your bathroom:

This link is about creating a garden retreat: and…

Away from home and want to find a peaceful retreat?  Check out these websites for screensavers and other goodies for your laptop: 

Music:  Google “relaxation music” for more.

Sounds and screensavers: and… these are not cheap but the graphics are good: and… this one is totally free, sit back and relax: and…                                                                                                  this is the one I have:

Quotes to ease your mind: 

Free photos for a limited time:  almost free photos:  and… 

Creating your own peaceful place to retreat is easy now that you have the tools.  Send me photos of your retreat when it’s finished, I’d love to see it.  Send notes to  In a future post, I’ll give you tips on how to combine your relaxation retreat with mini spa treatments.  2x the joy!

Note:  Remember, creating a sanctuary is all the more wonderful when you can find stress-free ways to relieve stress.  Just make sure that your anti-virus software is working before you do any downloading on music and visuals.  Just to be safe.  (Opps, little stress there, sorry.)

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A Relaxing Retreat

Posted on September 9, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Ahh, a relaxing retreat.  Getting away from it all for a few moments.  In today’s busy world it is so important to be able to take some time to de-stress and get ourselves centered.  How are we going to do that?  Well, Sheila is going to try to help.  In the next few posts, there will be some practical advice on managing stress and also some great links to free (and almost free) relaxation music, visuals, quotes, etc.  So when you feel the stress-monster coming after you, just come on over and take some time off in Sheila’s Relaxation Retreat. 

Understanding the natural stress response is an important first step to controlling the stress you feel in every day life.  This link gives you the basics on the how’s and why’s of stress:  Once you understand that stress is a natural reaction to environmental conditions, you have more choices as to what you can do to avoid, manage, and control stress.

Wondering if you really are stressed?  Take the stress test to find out:

These sites offer a general overview of techniques used for stress management.  Some techniques overlap, but each site has a different take on what works and what may work for you:                   

Some great relaxation tips to get through those stress-monster moments:                                                             

Using progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that can help you relax, especially before bedtime:                  

Using positive thinking always helps (especially when you are in a situation where you are not in control, but have to hunker down and get through it):

More stress techniques, some for groups:

Reading these links will (hopefully) help in explaining what you can do to avoid, manage, and control stress.  But we also need to create a little space for our own selves.  A sanctuary with some music and some visuals and a few little uplifting quotations.  It may just be a space created by links to relaxation websites on your computer, or it may be a place in your home or office that you go as a retreat.  In the next post, we will try to create such a sanctuary.

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Adding Herbs to Your Skin Care Routine

Posted on September 5, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

All the talk about Free Radicals and Antioxidants started me thinking about writing a post on how helpful herbs can be in our natural skin care journey.  Herbs can be a wonderful protective force when used on the skin to keep pollution and other chemical scavengers at bay.  

One wonderfully indulgent way to start is by giving yourself an herbal facial sauna.  Choose the herbs you can use in the sauna by checking out the chart on this site: 

Many plants are considered herbs.  Strawberries, roses, and citrus fruits are  also herbs, not just parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.  To be called a herb, the plant must have some benefit to humans or animals.  There is a abbreviated herb dictionary at this site that tells about how each herb listed can help the skin:

For some very good snippets on herbal and other natural skin care creations check out:  This site has a seaweed and aloe vera mask that I have to try myself: 

Making your own recipe for a herbal mask, toner or scrub is simple to do.  First check the herb dictionary above or one that you find in the library (Jekka McVicar’s New Book of Herbs is a great reference) to see which herb will do the best for your skin’s type. 

I’m slightly (o.k. more than slightly) oily skinned, so I like sage.  To make a sage mask, I infuse sage leaves (fresh or dried) in some hot water to get the good stuff out and mix the liquid with a clay or ground oat flour, or corn flour.  Get it to a spreadable consistency and apply on the face.  Leave on for a few minutes and rinse off completely. 

If you want a toner, use the infusion straight or mix with some apple juice or witch hazel. 

If you want a scrub, mix the infusion with coarsely ground oats, corn meal, almond meal, etc. to get the exfoliation you want.  Just remember (as with any thing new) to test the product on your wrist to check if you are allergic to any of the ingredients or combination.  Don’t  want to be red faced walking around town.  I love how sage makes my pores a little tighter, so I have a tendency to use the mask, toner and scrub at least once a week.

 The sites below have more recipes and information for you to peruse through:

Tonics and toners:

Mondo recipes, OMG:

Recipe goldmine (love the web name, recipes are o.k.):


Sheila’s Bookshelf

This herb book is so great.  The pictures are beautiful and the text is terrific.  Not just for skin care, there is information on using herbs in the home and for cooking.

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Organic Beauty Addict

Posted on September 3, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This is a cute blog post:  But, of course I don’t recommend buying all those products in plastic bottles when you can make some of them at home.

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