CultureHealth

For the holidays, I decided to give my mom a “spa package.” I made her some natural lotions, natural sugar scrubs and got her gift certificates for a mani/pedi and facial (I tried making natural soaps, too, but that was a major fail). While making the lotions and sugar scrubs, I realized just how simple they really were, and I decided to make them for all of my family members and friends.

If you need a super last minute gift idea, or plan on giving friends gifts after the holidays, this is a great one. If not, this is still a simple, fantastic sugar scrub recipe that will leave your skin soft, smooth, hydrated and smelling delicious. It takes about three minutes, two everyday ingredients that I guarantee you already have (if you have a kitchen) and a container, like a mason jar, for storage.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Small mason jars (I found some cute 4 oz. ones at a craft store. You’ll want a fairly small size, because this scrub contains no preservatives and should be used within two months)
  • ½ cup sugar (white or brown)
  • ¼ cup oil (olive, almond and coconut are great options)
  • Optional: essential oils of your choice (I used lavender, rose and peppermint essential oils in different batches)

All you need to do is add the sugar, oil and about 15-20 drops essential oils into a bowl and mix until the sugar is completely coated. Then scoop it into a jar and you’re done! Add a cute label or tie some twine around it for effect.

You can also add different herbs or spices – I added ground cinnamon into my peppermint batch and thyme leaves to one of my lavender batches. Raw natural honey is a wonderful addition, too, as it’s great for softening skin.

A few things to note – be sure you choose a natural, organic oil, or else you’re thwarting your whole natural, chemical-free plan!

Additionally, should you choose to use coconut oil, most will come in solid form. You will need to melt it to liquid form before mixing. It is quite easy to melt – you can scoop it into a glass jar or container and put the container in a pot of simmering water until it melts. You could also use a double boiler or microwave it, although I prefer the glass jar method. It only takes a few minutes at most.

Finally, if you don’t want your coconut oil to smell like its strong coconutty self, be sure to buy refined coconut oil. It’s still natural coconut oil, and I prefer it in natural products because of its scentless-ness.

I used olive oil for mine and the olive oil scent is easily masked by the essential oils!  Olive is a great oil to use in natural products because its smell is light and often undetectable, even when not mixed with essential oils.

I hope you love this sugar scrub! What natural products or homemade gifts do you like making?

Image: Debra

Culture

Halloween is right around the corner, and with that comes the stress of figuring out what disguise you’ll be wearing for the night! As a college student, you’ll likely find the need to have more than one costume at hand. Here is a list of simple, unique, and money-saving costume ideas to help you this holiday season!

1. Nail Polish

We all have a love-hate relationship with painting our nails, so why not make your costume a tribute? This costume idea is simple and can involve yourself or a group of your friends! All that is needed is a solid colored dress and white duct tape to be used to spell out the name brand “Essie” along the side. If you want to spend a little more money, feel free to invest in a white hat to act as a cap! Another cute addition to this outfit is putting a strip of duct tape towards the top of your dress with a flirty and corny nail polish name (because we all know those are our favorite thing) such as “Plum Play With Me” or “Teal Me Your Secrets”!

2. Sesame Street

Why not give a tribute to your childhood and go down memory-lane this Halloween? Gather your best friend and do a Cookie Monster and Elmo duo with the simple purchase of snapbacks dedicated to the characters as well as a few small temporary tattoos to adorn your cheeks! Pair with a black top and blue or red skirt and some black knee-high socks with Converse to complete the look!

 3. Gumball Machine

We all have a sweet-tooth especially around this time of year! Pick up an inexpensive shirt at the store and glue colored pompoms to it with all-purpose glue. Pair this with a red skirt and you’re sure to be a sweet treat!

 4. Valentine’s

Another simple costume idea involving a simple or solid colored dress is to be a valentine! Use colored paper to cute out a heart and write a phrase such as “Be Mine,” “Text Me,” or “Melt My Heart.” Attach it to a piece of yarn and wear it as a necklace to be coordinating with your friends!

 5. Retro

Everyone loves a throwback, and the easiest way to do this is to grab an old boa from your childhood dress-up wardrobe with a simple dress and bold lipstick! Top it off with some winged liner and you’ll be throwing it back to Gatsby!

Have fun, be creative, and enjoy the Halloween spirit in the air (and don’t forget to scare a friend while you’re at it)!

Image: Lenore Edman