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?

Knitting and the New Year

I love knitting. My dear friend Dawn had a bumper sticker on her car: I knit so that others don’t have to die. It always made me laugh because of all the reasons I know that went into her putting it on her car. She is a true textile artist. Her works are amazing and are imbued with emotion and passion. They are almost magical in their uniqueness, creativity, and beauty. For me, I’m really good at scarves, dish towels, and wash cloths. I come to knitting with a deep desire to create. I have dreams of sweaters and socks that never materialize. But that’s okay. Knitting for me seems to be about something else. 

Knitting has always been like the canary in the coal mine. Or should I say,  the lack of knitting has. When I am on vacation, I knit. When I am relaxed, I knit. When I have blocks of time, I knit. When I can shift to slow a couple hours before bed, I knit. I notice that as my stress increases, as time begins to run swiftly, my knitting time decreases, until there is simply none left. The most recent knitting dry spell lasted over one year. When I look back on that year I know all of the crazy things that happened in the intervening time, and how I lost my knitting. Last year was a year where I was challenged with negativity in my work life and upheaval in my personal life. In fact, there was a moment where they collided as my mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away after a short but fierce battle. But through all of that, isn’t that precisely when I should have been knitting?

My current knitting project

I am reminded of a YouTube video that came out in 2015, Relax, Breathe & #LetGo – Find Your Sanctuary. In this video women in the UK provide advice about appreciating life’s precious moments and making time for the important things in life. This video pops back up in my life every so often. Usually it emerges at a time when I need to be reminded about slowing down. This time it came in a blog post by Si on French By Design. And, it came at precisely the moment when I could feel something trying to emerge.

I have spent a good bit of my time looking backwards. Perseverating on what might have been, why things happened, how I got to a particular moment. As 2019 approaches I am choosing to let go of all that no longer serves me. Over the past 108 days I haveĺ been participating in a virtual pilgrimage with over 200 people around the globe. A pilgrimage of community and connection based in living our yoga and finding love, grace, beauty, and inspiration around us. When I started this pilgrimage I did so for many reasons, the most important of which was that I could feel something cracking open within me. Something that had long been unacknowledged but is always there within me, because it is part of me, was trying to get my attention. I could hear the voice even if I didn’t acknowledge or listen to it. Now, I have decided to settle into it and see where it takes me.

And so, between inspiration of the pilgrimage and the video, I have made space to knit again. Very purposefully. Very intentionally. Without regard to outcome or expectation. For me, knitting is like meditating. Knit 2 Purl 1 becomes a mantra. My breathing slows. My mind clears. I feel refreshed when I have completed several rows. I am not sure where this transformation will take me, and I am no longer trying to foresee the outcome. I am okay with not knowing. Because I know within me is everything and I have everything I need. I am stronger than I think.

If you have not seen the video, it is worth taking a few moments to watch it.  Relax, Breathe & #LetGo – Find Your Sanctuary https://youtu.be/ltVPj6-5xpo

If you are interested in the 108 day pilgrimage, you can find it here: http://brittbsteele.com/