Friday, September 17, 2010

Ha ha spa day

I don't know what I was thinking when I invited my friend Becky and her son Leo to my house for a relaxing day of pampering with Hayden and yours truly, of course. If you are a mom like me, you can probably imagine where this post is going.

Let's start from the beginning. I have this amazing "Green Beauty Recipes" book that I've been dying to take for a test drive. You may recall my review of author Julie Gabriel's previous book, "The Green Beauty Guide," a while back (it is still one of my favorite references around here).

Now, she has put together a recipe book of sorts for making your own natural products for beautifying you (and your little ones, too, as she included a section for baby care) from head to what's in your shoes ("toe" didn't rhyme, so I used "shoes. Isn't it strange how "toe" and "shoe" don't rhyme with each other, although they end the same?).

The recipes in the book are divided into sections, including Cleansers & Toners, Creams & Lotions, Hair Treatments, Acne & Anti Aging, Scrubs & Masks, Baby Care Products, Fragrances & Deodorants, Massage Oils & Body Lotions. She explains the basics for making each and offers some troubleshooting tips, too.

I found that there is something for everyone in this book. Not all of the recipes are vegan, but a lot of them are. They can also be easily adjusted to remove any eggs/dairy or to tailor-make them just for you.

For example, my friend Becky and I both have sensitive skin and need to be careful when it comes to what we put on it. When we selected to cleanse with the Peach and Lime Exfoliating Facial Soap, we opted to remove the "soap" (the recipe calls for soap flakes) and sea salt, replacing the two with baking soda. We loved the results, but were a little bummed about how our decision to make the swap dulled the once vibrant color of the peach/lime mixture. At least it didn't have that effect on our skin. We were simply glowing (especially after spritzing with the Skin Detox Toner). Love it!

I'm so glad we found the time to actually try out this recipe, along with a few more. When you get two mommies together with their tiny tots, you never know what's going to happen. Both of us had already had busy weeks (I'm extending the mural at my parents' house, Hayden had her first day of story time, there was Back to School night at Jacob's school, and Hayden decided not to nap, etc.) and were longing for some relaxation.

Unfortunately, I had no time to prep (nothing was ready to use, snack on, photograph, etc.) and was running around like a crazy woman, while still entertaining Becky, who was entertaining the kids. We almost didn't get to any of the spa stuff before making the trek to the bus stop to pick up Jacob.

Luckily, we always enjoy our visits no matter how chaotic they may be. I served up some spa water I made for an upcoming Natural Zing blog post (stay tuned to that blog for it), along with a beet-wrapped melon snack (also in that post). Becky was going to help me with a mandolin and spiral slicer showdown, which somehow didn't come to fruition while she was here. Instead, we enjoyed these fruits of my labor (still referring to the melon and the spa beverage), and I tested out the two gadgets some more later.

Lunch was the best, as we chowed down on a chop-and-toss salad made on the fly (I just chopped and tossed in what I had, such as romaine lettuce, cucumber, carrot shreds, asparagus, tomato, red and green grapes, peaches, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a pinch of sea salt; sorry, I didn't have time to take a picture of this one, so enjoy this past chop-and-toss photo instead), got the kids fed in their seats and soaked our feet in a Lemon and Vinegar Foot Soak from the book. Becky and I agreed that the soak alone made this spa day worth while. We are definitely doing that one again.

Our "ha ha" (and "ah ha") moment of the day was captured quite well in a green-masked photo shoot, involving two kids and a bathroom mirror. First, Becky brought in Leo, who was very attached to her that day (Hayden had gotten a bit rough with her little man; she has a tendency to forget that he is about 4 months younger than her. No wonder he didn't want to be left with her for a second).

I think the looks on our faces sum up everything perfectly. Ha ha :-)

Then, Hayden started yelling for her mommy, so I brought her in for a few more shots. She was very interested in the whole photo-taking process and the green stuff on our faces. One thing led to another and she ended up getting a green beauty facial, too.

Becky and I thought she'd be the perfect model for the book's Troll Princess Mask. What do you think?

I guess I could have gotten away with just posting the pics of Hayden (and/or this photo of my old Troll doll alongside the container of troll princess mask), but I had to follow through with the rest of the recipe instructions. It specifically said, "Don't forget to take your photo while in this mask! ... Now upload the photo on the social network of your choice."

Oops! Now I see that part is optional. Oh well, her sense of humor is as good as mine, so I hope that means she doesn't mind. Girlie girl, you know I'll remove them, if you want me to, but hopefully, you find them as fun as I do.

Anyway, the mask, cleanser, toner (which we followed up with some coconut oil as a moisturizer) and foot soak were all we had time for during our visit. I sampled the Sweet Kisses Lip Scrub and Golden Shimmer Lip Balm after she left. I have to say, I was a fan of those, as well. I can't wait to try out more of these green beauty recipes. I recommend picking up a copy of this book and having a spa day with your friends, too :-)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Don't forget to take a pic

Since I haven't been blogging as much, I've also gotten out of the habit of taking tons of scrumptious-looking food photos. I guess I need to post these as a reminder to pick up the camera more before I take a bite.

This particular photo above is one I took a while back of Brendan Brazier's Sunflower Seed and Beet Pizza from his book, "The Thrive Diet." He so generously allowed me to post the recipe for it here on my blog.

I'm so happy to say that I now have the chance to return the favor, as a representative from Vega asked me for permission to use the pizza photo in one of Brendan's seminars. Of course, I said yes. I was (and still am) very honored.

I also recently had the opportunity to test out and photograph some blast-from-the-past recipes from Natural Zing's newsletter achieves. Hopefully, I'll be able to sample and snap some more soon. In the meantime, enjoy these photos and visit the Natural Zing blog for the rest of the post :-)