Labels and My Nighttime Skin Care Routine

Reading the labels opens up a whole world of what one is choosing to put on one’s body. I began paying particular attention to my skin care products when I was in my 30’s and was breaking out like a teenager. I started reading labels to try to identify what my skin was responding to. My realization was that so many of the ingredients were synthetic and highly-scented that it was hard to distinguish the culprit.

It was during this time that my dear friend Suzanne traveled to Scandinavia and told me about how the women wash their face with olive oil. It seemed like an odd choice but when I considered the benefits of olive oil – antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial – it seemed plausible. I then researched more on the art of oil cleansing, and I tried it. I have now been washing my face at night with olive oil for almost 25 years. 

This is one of the best changes I have made. I keep a small bottle of oil in the bathroom that I refill as necessary. I have been known to repurpose small little bottles as well as purchase small little bottles like these from mountainroseherbs.com

from mountainroseherbs.com

I love the fact that that what I am putting onto my skin is also something that I am comfortable ingesting. If I run out of oil for my skin, I just run to the kitchen to refill my little bottle.

The oil cleanse method is not a fancy and complicated process. It could become so if I was interested in blending and concocting my own special oil blends. I am all about simplicity so my oil of choice is Bragg’s Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Everyone has to find the oil that works best for their skin. It might not be olive oil. It might be hemp seed, jojoba, avocado, rosehip, or another oil. Bragg’s has been great for me.

from www.amazon.com

I love the way my skin feels. I find there is no need for me to apply nighttime moisturizer except for the occasional Vitamin E oil or Copaiba essential oil around the eyes.

Do your own research before trying the oil cleanse method. Start here at: https://theoilcleansingmethod.com/

A snowy Sunday and warm bread

It’s snowing today. It’s beautiful and sparkling. Still crisp and clean, waiting for people to begin marvelous adventures.


Snow makes me crave warm and cozy foods that I can enjoy by a fire. So, let’s talk bread. Bread. One of the most basic things people eat. It has many manifestations across cultures but all have some sort of bread equivalent – whether yeast or non-yeast – in their traditions.

Look at that label on the bread from the grocery store. How many words do you know? How many can you pronounce? Chances are you see things that have you thinking, “I have no idea what that is.” Most of those ingredients you see are part of the process used to ensure that the bread can travel long distances from factory to store, and still be fresh until someone eats it. Chances are it also includes unnecessary amounts of salt, sugar, and fat.

But bread baking at home takes a ridiculous amount of time, right? Bread is about intention. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It doesn’t have to usurp all of your free time. But it is a choice – a choice to make something, a choice to know your ingredients, a choice to act. For my everyday bread, most of the work is done at night while I am sleeping.

6 cups flour – I use 3 cups sprouted whole wheat and 3 cups sprouted spelt

3 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup warm water sprinkled with 1/2 teaspoon yeast

3 cups warm water

Mix everything together. I use a KitchenAid mixer with a paddle attachment. At this stage I often add in other items such as: sunflower seeds, gluten free oats, flax seed, etc. Shape into a ball and cover; I leave mine on the counter or sit it in the oven. Just make sure it is a safe place where it won’t be disturbed so the ingredients can do their work.

6 to 24 hours later, dump the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a loose loaf. Cover with a bowl. Place a covered dutch oven – I use a cast-iron dutch oven – into the cold oven and turn it to 450 degrees F. Set the timer for 30 min. In 30 min, transfer the loaf into the dutch oven, seam side up. Cover and bake for another 30 min. Remove the cover, and bake for an additional 5 minutes or so until golden brown. Cool on a rack.

This is our daily bread that is used for sandwiches, cinnamon toast, French Toast, everything. For me, it is most perfect when it has cooled just enough to slice and is paired with a cup of tea.

Read the labels on everything. Not just the nutritional information (calories, fat, sugar, etc.) but the ingredients as well. Reading the labels opens up a whole world of what one is choosing to put inside one’s body. What is one thing you have been surprised to see in the ingredients list on a food label?

Daily strokes of effort

I play the flute. I have since I was 10 years old. Classically trained straight through college. I still have memories of practicing for hours. I loved it and had time for it back then so it was welcomed.

But as life does, time begins a cycle of ebb and flow, and I began to find it difficult to “make the time” to play. It had always been one of my main releases. One of my main go-tos in order to decompress and get lost in another world. Without those types of venues the weight of the every day world can be daunting.

I have always assumed that I needed the same amount of time to play as I did when I was 18 years old. I was wrong. It wasn’t until a wonderful vocal music teacher said to me, “It is important that they touch their instrument daily. 15 minutes. That’s so much more important than practicing for 2-hours a day.”

William James said it too: Daily strokes of effort.

We now know from neuroscience that the brain maintains its plasticity and malleability throughout our lives so we are able to create new habits whether we are 22 or 72. And, that’s what playing my flute is all about – creating a new habit. Or in my case, re-creating a habit. We as humans are drawn to things that are easy and convenient. What the music teacher and William James have in common is the reminder to make it easy. To quote, Shawn Achor, I needed to “put the desired behavior on the path of least resistance.” I needed to lower the energy needed to start playing my flute so that I would start playing my flute.

In this spirit, I now have a flute stand. My flute and music now have a place of honor by a window and are always ready and waiting for me. I feel drawn to it every day, and am delighted in the reconnection I am making to the creation of music. As I was preparing to play yesterday it occurred to me that it is the same with any small changes in one’s daily life. Set the intention. Take a baby step forward. If thinking about it is all that can happen today, okay. Tomorrow go one step further. After a while it becomes a purposeful, intentional practice.

For more information on Shawn Achor’s research related to positive psychology check out his book: The Happiness Advantage.