Fall Into Beauty: Four Natural DIY Beauty Recipes


Fall is near. The days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler, and that lovely crisp, spicy aroma of autumn is all around. Many people like to use this season to get outside to hike, garden, or explore a pumpkin patch or two. Others enjoy preparing their home and wardrobe for the shorter days and cooler nights. Still others use fall as a time to slow down, cozy up with a hot drink and a good book, and store their energy for the winter months ahead.


I think fall is a great time to reevaluate your beauty regimen. You can get outside and work up a rosy-cheeked glow with a nice hike through the mountains or woods or do a few sun salutations on a crisp and sunny afternoon. There are so many natural ingredients that are available and in season from September to November. Why not use some of them to whip up a deliciously smelling pumpkin-spice body mask, toning coffee scrub, cranberry-apple facial mask, or pomegranate lip balm?

Anti-Aging Pumpkin-Spice Body Mask


 Pumpkins have some great skin-nourishing nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and zinc, all of which have skin-healing and anti-aging properties. Cinnamon acts as a natural exfoliant and antiseptic, while honey provides soothing and healing benefits.


  • 2 cups canned pumpkin or one small pumpkin, cooked and mashed
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ tsp. olive or jojoba oil


  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Apply to your body and face, avoiding the eye area.
  3. Wrap your body, excluding your face, with plastic wrap or, for a more natural option, reusable beeswax cloth – the pumpkin enzymes are most active when moist.
  4. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes, then unwrap and rinse it off in the tub with warm water. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Toning Coffee Scrub

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Coffee is not traditionally considered a fall crop, though one of the harvests is from November to December. One of the best things about the cooler temperatures is the reintroduction of hot beverages into my daily routine, coffee being one of my favorites. Its rich aroma makes it the perfect ingredient for a cozy morning indoors.

The caffeine in coffee soothes inflammation, evening skin tone, and dehydrates fat cells, reducing cellulite. It contains antioxidants that attack and eliminate free radicals that cause premature aging of the skin, and has been shown to reduce the growth of skin-cancer cells. With this list of skin benefits, I just couldn’t exclude it. I found the following recipe on the blog Gimme Some Oven.


  • 3 tablespoons finely-ground coffee (I used recycled grounds)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used melted coconut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
  • (optional) 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Stir all ingredients together until combined. Store in a sealed jar for up to 2 months.

Renewing Cranberry-Apple Facial Mask


Cranberries and apples are two of the best-known fall fruits. Cranberries have many skin-nourishing antioxidants, such as Vitamins C, B3, and B5, which work to stimulate cell renewal and combat wrinkles, redness, and uneven skin tone. The enzymes in cranberries, along with their acidic nature, also act as a natural toner. In this recipe that I found on communitytable.com, the apple cider vinegar acts as a toner to keep your skin ph-balanced and clear of blemishes. The aloe juice will balance out the acids of the cranberries and vinegar, so this recipe is safe for all skin types.

By Cecilia Wong, founder of Cecilia Wong Skincare


4–5 whole cranberries
1 tsp raw honey
2 drops apple cider vinegar (I recommend the organic, undistilled version to receive all benefits)
A dash freshly ground cinnamon
2–3 drops aloe juice


Crush the cranberries. Mix all ingredients together. Apply for 15 minutes to face and rinse with tepid water. Follow with moisturizer.

Moisturizing Pomegranate Lip Balm

An_opened_pomegranatePomegranates are my favorite fall fruit. They are tart and sweet, and have a wonderful fruity aroma. They have many of the same beneficial qualities as cranberries. The juice and the oil are also great moisturizers.

By: Dr. Axe


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. bees wax
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 7 drops pomegranate oil
  • lip balm tins or lip balm tubes


  1. In a small pot over medium low heat melt beeswax, coconut oil, and olive oil. Use chopstick or other small, long stick to stir.
  2. Remove from heat and add honey and pomegranate oil. Whisk well with chopstick and try to distribute oil throughout the mixture.
  3. Pour quickly into tins or jars. Let cool on counter until hard.

Now that you have a few fun fall beauty recipes, you can be sure that your skin will be ready for the crisp, cool air of autumn!

Four Vitamins and Minerals for a Good Night’s Sleep

Our whole lives, we have been told by parents, doctors, teachers, the media, and even our government that it is very important to incorporate foods into our diets that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals support our bodies’ functions by increasing the efficiency of our bodies’ systems. Sleep is one of our most important functions because it allows us to rest, renew, and detoxify during the night. A good, deep rest also supports cell regeneration.


Some vitamins and minerals that support sleep are Vitamin D, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and potassium.


Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to cause daytime sleepiness. As our modern lives get busier, we are getting outside less than previous generations. Less time outside means we are getting less exposure to the sun, and therefore, not producing enough Vitamin D.


You can easily and naturally increase your Vitamin D by spending a bit more time outside, though it takes 2-3 months of regular sun exposure to build up the Vitamin D your body needs. Other options include adding fortified cereal or milk to your diet or taking a Vitamin D supplement.


Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are important minerals our bodies need for a good night’s rest. Both nutrients are imperative to the production of melatonin, a hormone produced by our bodies to help us feel sleepy. Magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia. Foods rich in magnesium include dark leafy greens, beans and various nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Salmon, halibut, and tuna are good sources of Vitamin B6.


Potassium has been shown to help people stay asleep and have a deeper, more restful sleep. Though we think of bananas as a potassium-rich option, winter squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and yogurt provide more potassium per serving.

Making sure you are getting enough of these four vitamins and minerals will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better and longer.

Check out the following articles for more information on the benefits of adding these vitamins and minerals to your daily diet.




Ways to Start the School Year Off Eco-Friendly

7327146800_b2e65d6bf3_oSummer is coming to a close. That means it is time to prep for the new school year. which means back to school shopping for supplies, backpacks, lunch pails, clothes, and the list can go on and on. Before you head out to the store to purchase everything, here are some great tips to keep those back-to-school purchases as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible.

  1. Take Inventory

    4588535631_486542047c_oClean out those desk drawers, dressers, and closets and you may find hiding treasures like packs of pencils, notebooks, or clothes you bought on sale that haven’t even been worn yet. Now that you have gone through all that you have, you can make a list of what items are needed. The list will guide you. When you hit the stores, so you won’t buy duplicate items or spur or the moment purchases.

  2. Reuse What You Can

    5093615082_3df15d285f_oLook through what you have to see if any items can be reused. Often there are many items that are still in good condition and can be used for another year. The backpack from last year may be in great shape and just need a quick cleaning to be school-worthy.

  3. Healthy Lunch Options!

    9350757417_4bf3167767_oA bento box makes a great reusable and waste free lunchbox option- no plastic baggies required! Many bento boxes have multiple dividers or containers that allow you to pack a healthy and fresh lunch. If a bento box doesn’t suit your needs, there are many other great reusable containers that allow you to pack delicious and nutritious options.

  4. Reusable Bottles

    6959989243_b5a94e95a5_oRather than packing bottles of water or juice boxes daily, send your child to school with the healthy drink of choice in a reusable bottle. There are many great designs; no need for juice boxes!

    There are many great options when it comes to reusable containers, bbut be sure to check that they are made with recycled material and are BPA-free.

  5. Buy Recycled or Sustainable When Possible

    creative-desk-pens-schoolMake your list so you know the school supplies you need, now it is time to buy. Most retailers now offer many options of recycled and sustainable materials, such as pencils made from certified sustainable-harvest wood or pens, paper and notebooks. made from recycled materials. Every little bit helps eliminate waste!

  6. Eliminate Paper Waste

    apple-desk-working-technologyRather than having many pieces of paper float around ask to be emailed important notices from the school. Every bit helps and this will save many sheets of paper that get lost in the bottom of backpacks. This also allows you to put important dates in your digital calendars rather than keeping stacks of paper around the house.

Here’s to another great school year!

Mr. Sandman is MIA: Modern Kids Lack Sleep

It’s 10:30 pm on a Wednesday night. Your eyes are heavy, and you’re reading your bright-eyed 3-year-old the fifth (or is it the sixth?) storybook before bed. Your teenage daughter, who just arrived home from a play rehearsal that went late, peeks in and asks if you were aware that your husband fell asleep in front of the TV while your 7-year-old is still up watching cartoons on her tablet. If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2014 Sleep in America poll, many American children are missing out on much-needed sleep, especially on school nights. Now that summer is coming to a close and school is about to start again, this may be a good time to reevaluate whether your family is getting enough sleep each night.


According to the NSF poll, parents estimated that their children slept less than the recommended amount, logging 8.9 hours for kids aged 6-10, 8.2 hours for kids aged 11-12, 7.7 hours for kids aged 13-14, and 7.1 hours for kids aged 15-17. The NSF recommends 10-11 hours per night for kids 6-10 years old, and 8.5-9.5 hours per night for kids 11-17 years old. 1-2 hours of lost sleep per night can add up pretty quickly.


So what is causing later bedtimes and the lack of quality sleep for our kids? How is this lack of sleep affecting them? There are many variables causing less quality sleep for the modern family. The use of technological devices leading up to bedtime, school night homework and activities, and even diet affect sleep. The NSF poll states, “Parents report that nearly three out of four (72 percent) children ages 6-17 have at least one electronic device in the bedroom while they are sleeping.” That statistic isn’t even counting the toddler and preschool age groups, or the parents, whose sleep is probably affected as well. A study reported in the May 2003 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that using technological devices with a bright display for an “exciting task,” such as playing a video game or watching a suspenseful movie, decreases the body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is a natural hormone in the body that is responsible for stimulating and regulating sleep patterns so it is probably best to limit the use of tablets, electronic readers, computers, televisions, and cell phones before bed.


As a parent myself, I can attest to my children’s weekday extracurricular activities and homework causing later bedtimes for all of us, not just for them. Extracurricular activities following school can postpone dinnertime, completion of homework, and previously established bedtime routines. My fourth grader usually gets to bed 1-2 hours later on nights she has dance class. My 13-year-old nephew has weeknight baseball games that last sometimes past 10:00 pm.

Sleeping_while_studyingSleep is very important for healthy brain development and maintenance. Our brains are still developing through adolescence. No matter what our age, our brains need to mentally detoxify and recalibrate during sleep in order to maintain good mental health and efficiency. If children and teens do not get enough quality sleep, they risk decreased academic performance and concentration, i.e. falling asleep in class or falling asleep while driving. Many behavioral problems, like ADHD, and mental health problems, like anxiety and/or depression can also be linked to sleep deprivation.**


So what can we do to improve our kids’ amount and quality of sleep?

1.  Talk to your kids and/or your partner about the importance of sleep and the benefits it provides.

2.  Set bedtimes for everyone in your household, including you.

3.  Limit use of technology at least an hour before bedtime.

4.  Provide your kids with a comfortable sleep environment (comfy bed, dim light or no light, and cooler room temperature).

5.  Do not overbook your kids with multiple extracurricular activities, and try to schedule activities earlier in the evening, or try to do homework earlier in the day.

6.  Most importantly, set a good example for your kids. If you have good sleep habits, they will most likely follow suit.

For more information on the effects of sleep deprivation, check out my previous blog post, “Surprise! Sleep Deprivation Affects Emotional Intelligence.”

** Refer to the following links:



Introducing the Arria


The Naturals by OMI Arria mattress is a truly enjoyable sleeping surface that offers support while maintaining a plush feel. It is made with a base mattress consisting of 6” of medium-firm latex, topped with 2” of firm latex. Additionally, it has a removable 3” extra-soft pillow top with a quilted surface.

  • FIRMNESS: Medium-Plush
  • *DEPTH: Approximately 11”
  • CORE: Advanced High-Density Natural Latex
  • COVER: Mattress: Cotton Blend with Natural Wool/ Pillow Top: Natural Wool Quilting
  • Sizes: Twin XL – King
  • Warranty: 20-Year Limited Warranty

MSRP (mattress only):

twin XL $5,099 • full $6,099 • queen $6,599 • king $7,799

*All dimensions are subject to a slight variance due to being custom made.

Foundation sold separately.

Nature’s Sleep Aids

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? One of the easiest ways to combat insomnia and sleeplessness is to utilize the benefits of natural essential oils. Whether you apply the oils topically, add them to a warm bath, diffuse them, or spritz* them onto your pillowcase or eyemask, certain essential oils provide relief for insomnia and aid in falling and staying asleep.


lavender By now, many people know that lavender helps to soothe and relax tired minds and muscles. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders.” It is also beneficial as a bug repellent and antibiotic, for all you avid campers.

 Ylang Ylang

imagesThis essential oil is one of my favorites for relaxation, probably because of its fragrant floral notes. It reduces stress and relaxes the nerves. I like to mix a couple drops of this with lavender or chamomile for added benefits.

 Roman Chamomile

chamomile-401490_640Roman Chamomile has a sweet, fruity aroma. It has a calming effect, and is great to diffuse for a soothing and peaceful environment, i.e., one that promotes and supports sleep.



Bergamot is a good choice for someone who loves citrus scents, but it is much more calming than the more stimulating oils of grapefruit or tangerine. It is great for “clearing your head” in preparation for a peaceful night’s rest.



This essential oil is extracted from the root of the vetiver plant. It has a warm, earthy scent, and promotes sleep while also relieving stress and muscle tension.

* I recommend adding a couple drops of essential oil to a water-based spritzer so the oil does not stain your bed linens.