Scent of a Store

via Daily Prompt: Scent

Have you wondered how everything around you has a scent?? A special blend of fragrances to help you remember what the item is or trigger a nostalgic moment?

Any building you go into; be it groceries, shoes, clothes or office buildings; they all have their own scents. I think the strongest would be from florists and parfumeries. People spend hours together looking for the perfect combination of smells in flowers or perfume.

I think it quite interesting that we think of pleasant, nice smells with the word scent or fragrance but with odor we thing of something unpleasant that can cause your nose to crinkle up. My favorite would be the smell of a cool, crisp morning. The air smells cleaner and fresher. I love that about early mornings. Too bad I rarely wake up that early to experience it 😛

Advertisements

Tuesday Tip Day

Welcome to Tuesday Tip Day. Every Tuesday, I will share a tip or an idea. This could be anything from beauty tips to life hacks 🙂

Tip for this week: Use almond oil to revive old Mascara.

For all the ladies out there with old, cakey, dry mascara tubes:

Adding a drop or two of almond oil on your brush and mixing it in the tube will help soften the mascara and make it shine for maximum application. The oil also helps coat your lashes without making them feel brittle and dry.

Essential Oils: What are they good for?

Essential oils are pure, concentrated liquids obtained by distillation from plants containing the unique fragrance of the plant. These oils have existed for a really long time and have been primarily used in aromatherapy. But they can also be used in other areas of well being, if used correctly.

In this blog, I will mention a few of my favorite oils, used for various everyday purposes by me.

Tea Tree Oil: One of my favorite oils is the tea tree oil. This is obtained from a plant found in Australia. It has a very distinctly pungent, minty smell.

I first started using this oil in it’s pure form to help reduce swelling from my cartilage piercing. This worked out really well and I decided to look up it’s benefits and use it in my day to day life.

Using tea tree oil in it’s pure form can cause dryness of skin. The ideal way to use it is to dilute with water.

  1. For dandruff control: Add 6-8 drops of oil to your existing shampoo and rinse hair normally. Make sure to use conditioner after, as the oil can cause some dryness. Additionally, mix a bowl of water with 10 drops of tea tree oil and rinse hair (no shampoo required). Do add conditioner after.
  2. For disinfecting cuts / scrapes: Add 10-12 drops of oil to a small bowl of water and mix. Dab a cotton ball in the mixture and apply to your cuts to disinfect. You will feel a stinging sensation (take some pain people…this only means it’s working 😛 )
  3. For acne control: Add 6-8 drops of oil to a small bowl of water and mix. Take a Q-tip or an earbud and dip in the mixture. Gently rub around the acne spot with the bud. Repeat twice a day for 2 days to see visible reduction. (There might be some dryness, so moisturize liberally).

Eucalyptus Oil: I love using Eucalyptus just for the smell ♥♥. It’s fragrance is so soothing (in mild quantities of course). But the oil can also be used in cleaning surfaces, as an insect repellant and as a room freshener.

Just mix 10-12 drops of oil with water in a spray bottle and use it for cleaning or for spraying in a room. You can also add 5-6 drops of lavender oil with the eucalyptus for the freshener.

Rosemary & Lavender Oils: These are mostly used in food and for aromatherapy.

  1. Home made scrubs: Get a bowl of sugar or salt crystals. Add just enough almond / coconut oil to give the crystals a semi solid consistency. Add 8-10 drops of either oil or both . Mix all ingredients thoroughly with a spoon and let sit for 10 minutes. Voila…Your home made scrub is ready. Apply liberally to dry hands / feet and gently wipe off with a cloth for soft skin.
  2. Relaxing Lavender Tea: Add a cup of water to a pan. Add black tea, sugar / honey (whichever you prefer), fresh lavender flowers or lavender powder (available at whole foods or organic grocery stores). Let boil for 2 mins, steep for 10 mins and add milk and boil again. The resulting brew is wonderfully warming and refreshing.

This is how I use my essential oils. Always remember to add them to a carrier oil (read about carrier oils here: Beautiful Benefits of Carrier Oils

Hope you find this information helpful 🙂

Make Your Own, One-of-a-Kind Harry Potter Wand

As you know from my first 2 posts, I love harry potter and the whole franchise. I recently visited the HP world at Universal in Orlando, Fl and realized that they’re wands, while wonderful, were quite expensive. No way could a student afford that. So I decided to make my own, awesome wand with just paper, a chopstick and a hot glue gun.

You will need:

  1. A4 Paper
  2. A chopstick
  3. Hot glue gun
  4. Black acrylic paint

What you do:

  1. 3b88dd393bf40a388cdc4349e0cb3653Place the chopstick around the edge of your paper and roll the paper tightly around the chopstick. You can use the glue gun to glue the paper as your rolling it in to keep it from unraveling.
  2. Cut the extra paper, on both ends, leaving about an inch of paper above the chopstick.
  3. Place a dab of hot glue at both ends to round out your wand and let dry for 20 mins.
  4. Paint the entire paper with black paint. You might need 2-3 coats. Let dry completely.
  5. Use your glue gun to make swirly designs around the base of the wand up to the wand-3middle. You can design your wand in anyway you like. Let dry for 20 mins.
  6. Optional: Add a layer of mod podge gloss to give a shiny effect.

And ta-da 🙂 Your one-of-a-kind, awesome, under $5 wand is ready for action. Accio Glue-gun!!

FullSizeRender

 

Beautiful Benefits of Carrier Oils

I’ve experimented around with different types of oils to help my skin. I have terrible dry skin so it’s always a struggle to find the right creams and lotions to combat that. But since using oils, I’ve not had to worry. Dry skin = gone…poof…..vanished. It’s been a miracle. 

Recently, I’ve been leaning more towards home made, natural products for hair and skin instead of crazy shampoos and chemical containing washes. True, the back of the bottle always says no additives, no chemicals and so on but can you really be sure? 

What are Carrier oils? 

These are base oils used to dilute 100% essential oils for aromatherapy or massage purposes. But carrier oils on their own can be used for many beneficial uses. Some commonly used oils are coconut oil, pure almond oil, jojoba etc. My two favorites are coconut and almond oils which I’ll be explaining about in this post.

The Problems:  I have four recurring issues that I have always struggled with: Dry skin, dry scalp with extremely curly /frizzy hair, dark circles and chapped lips. Ugh!!! 😦

The Solutions: Almond oil has been my best friend for all of these. The coconut; mostly for the hair.

I usually buy my oils at Indian stores or Middle Eastern stores but Amazon carries some good, inexpensive options. 

  • For dry skin: Almond oil is very light weight and doesn’t stick to your skin. I prefer almond to coconut oil for this reason. I make a spray of the almond oil with a little bit of water for aeration (3 parts oil : 1 part water). I spritz the mixture on at night before going to bed to let the skin take in the oil and soak.
  • For feet / nails: I use the oil directly on the heels of my feet if they feel rough or cracked and on my nails to replenish the cuticle. Almond oil has Vitamin E which helps with cuticle growth and less nail breakage for all the nail polish lovers out there. (You can also use this same remedy for your hands).
  • For dark circles: I take a little of the oil on my fingertip and gently rub it under my eye. Massage the oil into the skin under the eye before sleeping. Do this for about a week or so and you will notice a considerable difference.
  • For chapped lips: You can use both almond and coconut oil for lips. I’m too lazy so I directly apply the oil on my lips before going to bed but you can always make your own lip scrub or balm to apply. All you need to do is take some coconut oil in a small box (use left over eye shadow dishes, just rinse and dry). Let the oil solidify to a waxy consistency. Just rub your finger over it to apply. (You can add sugar granules to the oil before solidifying to make a scrub).
  • For dry scalp: Before washing your hair, generously apply the coconut / almond oil to your scalp focusing on problem areas and cover your head with a warm towel. Leave for 20 mins and then wash hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. Make sure you rinse out all the oil and then apply conditioner and leave for 10 mins. Rinse out the conditioner and style as usual. Repeat this treatment twice a week for a month and you will notice a huge difference.
  • For frizzy hair: Since almond oil is light weight, I use it directly on my hair while detangling. Split your hair into four sections. Take a palm sized amount of the oil for each section and apply from root to tip. This leaves your hair looking moisturized without making it feel too heavy. This also helps prevent knots and breakage. You can make your own leave in conditioner with almond oil, jojoba oil and water. 

Hope this helps get rid of all the dryness and breakage issues. Stay moisturized 🙂 Check out my post on essential oils for dandruff and exfoliation here. Essential Oils

DIY Harry Potter Series – Quidditch Brooms

Now that I have my Harry, Ron and Hermione ornaments, I decided I needed to get Quidditch brooms into the picture. These were the easiest to make. They’re so cute and tiny. I love miniatures ♥♥♥

I decided to make the Nimbus 2000, Firebolt and Bluebottle.

You will need:

  1. Mini brooms ( I got mine at Michaels; 5 to a pack). Michaels: mini wood broom
  2. Acrylic Paints:
    • Craft Smart – Brick Red
    • Craft Smart – King’s Gold
    • Apple Barrel – Black
    • Craft Smart – Dark Grey
    • Craft Smart – Espresso
    • FolkArt – Terracotta
  3. Washi Tape – Silver, Gold
  4. Mod Podge – Matte

What to do?

  1. I decided to make the Nimbus 2000 first. You will need the brick red, king’s gold paints and gold washi tape.
  2. Paint the entire broom with the brick red and let dry for 30 mins. Add 1 more coat of paint and let dry.
  3. Use the back end of a fine tipped brush to gently write out Nimbus 2000 on the handle of the broom. (Does not have to be exact letters, just a hint of the word is enough).
  4. Let everything dry for 30 mins.
  5. Cut out a small section of the gold washi tape and cut into small, thin strips. Wrap the tape 2-3 times around the middle of the broom (where the stick meets the bristles).
  6. I used matte mod podge over the tape to further secure it.

I repeated the same for the other 2 brooms. The blue bottle was the easiest. Just paint the broom black and add some silver paint to the point where the bristles meet the broom. 🙂

The Firebolt involves a little more paint work.img_1824

 

  1. First, paint the bristles with the Espresso paint.
  2. After drying, paint the portion of the broom attached to the bristles the Dark Grey until the middle of the broom.
  3. After drying, paint the end of the broom with Terracotta until it blends with the grey.
  4. Cut out a small section of the silver  washi tape and cut into small, thin strips. Wrap the tape 2-3 times around the middle of the broom (where the stick meets the bristles).
  5. I used matte mod podge over the tape to further secure it. 🙂

I had 2 extra brooms in the pack and I used metallic red and dark gold to paint them. Added some line details with metallic colors and Voila!! 5 perfect brooms complete to hang on your tree. Just tie some cord to the middle of the brooms and make a loop at the other end to hang. Hope you enjoyed doing this as much as I did 🙂

DIY Harry Potter Series – Intro

I am a crazy Harry Potter fan. Wands, Potions, Quidditch, Spells….I love em all. I decided that this year I would make myself a Harry Potter themed Christmas tree, which as Potter fans will know involves an endless number of ideas.

To start of, I decided I needed a Harry Potter ornament (of course!) as well as Ron and Hermione. And this is how it turned out. ( I should have added a mouth to each but I fixed that with the other ones I made).

img_1813     img_1815     img_1817

You will need:

  1. Three old, round christmas ornaments (you can get a whole pack of them at the dollar store or joanns if you don’t have any).
  2. Acrylic Paints ( I used Apple Barrel paints.)
    • Sunkissed Peach (for the skin tone)
    • Black
    • Crimson (for Ron’s hair)
    • Brown (Hermione’s hair, Ron’s freckles)
    • Bright Red / Bright Yellow (Gryffindor scarf)
    • Americana Brand – Bright Salmon (Harry’s scar)
  3. Sharpie marker – Black (to draw on eyes and glasses)
  4. Mod Podge – Gloss

What to do?

  1. Paint the 3 ornaments with SunKissed peach and let dry for 20 minutes. Add 1 or 2 more layers to evenly cover the ornament.
  2. Use a pencil to lightly draw the hairline for all 3 ornaments as well as a line going around the bottom of the ornament for the scarf.
  3. Paint the hair on each, using the right colors, and let dry. Add another layer if required.
  4. Use bright yellow to cover the bottom of the ornaments tracing over the pencil line drawn.
  5. Use bright red to create strips in between the yellow to get the gryffindor scarf colors.
  6. Use the bright salmon to draw a zigzag scar on Harry’s forehead.
  7. Use the brown paint to put 3 dots each on Ron’s cheeks.
  8. Let the whole ornament dry completely (I left mine for 45 minutes).
  9. Add an even layer of gloss mod podge and let dry for 1 hour. (This step is optional. It just gives the ornament a shiny look).

Ta-da. You’re done!!

You now have 3 awesome ornaments from the series 🙂