Peppermint Mocha Soap

Peppermint Mocha Soap 1

When the cold weather hits, you can almost always find me with a hot beverage in hand – cider, tea, hot chocolate and nearly any type of coffee concoction. One of my favorite wintertime treats is the peppermint mocha. It’s the perfect drink to kick off the Christmas season – chocolatey, minty and needlessly caloric. What more could you ask for?

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An Inspiring Home

An inspiring environment breeds creativity.  I realized this for the first time fresh out of high school when I decided to redo my bedroom.  Picking out paint colors, carpet textures, a bed set and some new furniture was so exciting.  Once the room came together I felt so cozy and motivated to create.  I started to draw more, I started to get into crafting more – my life just felt more organized and productive.  Ever since then, it’s been my goal to curate an inspiring space wherever I live.

We made these shelves from apple crates that we ironed with vintage logos and stained to finish!

My tastes definitely drift and change at times, but I’d say my overall style is clean, bright, rustic, vintage and natural.  I love the rough textures and warm tones of reclaimed wood paired with whitewashed walls and brightly painted pottery.  I love chipped and worn wrought iron chairs with a ruffled floral vintage apron draped over the back.  I love quirky little gadgets like misfit toys that have found a home on my shelf.

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Perfect Brows, Makeup for Glasses + a Sigma Brushes Giveaway! (Giveaway Closed)

There’s always something new to learn about how to do makeup.  Every time I pick up a new tip, I wonder how I got by so long without it!  Eyebrow shaping is one of those things.  I remember going to get my makeup done when I was in my teens and the artist asked me if I had ever “done my eyebrows.”  I had no idea what she was talking about so I said no!  She then showed me how to shape my brows and WHAT a difference it made.  Ever since then, it’s part of my weekly beauty routine.  It really freshens up your entire face while making you look more awake – and who doesn’t want that?

Brow shaping ties right in with today’s tutorial: how to do makeup if you wear glasses.  I’m not a glasses wearer, but I LOVE the glasses look so I started experimenting with “glasses makeup”.  I noticed that glasses seem to dull down eye makeup significantly between harsh glares and dusty/smudged lenses, yet they draw attention to the upper half of your face – so it’s important to have your brows and eyes looking tidy and defined!

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Subtle & Pretty Everyday Makeup Tutorial

I’m a makeup junkie. I admit it. I spend hours upon hours flipping through magazines, watching tutorials on YouTube, browsing Sephora and Ulta.com, wandering the beauty aisles at the drug store… and the list goes on. I absolutely LOVE doing makeup. My goal for this tutorial was to put together a pretty and casual look that fits just as well at the office as it would at the local coffee shop. A good friend of mine, Elizabeth (of Bluegrass Goodness) recently got an amazing job offer (CONGRATS!) and asked me what kind of makeup would be work appropriate! So I’ll share my own personal routine here and hopefully it will help anyone out there with the same question. I look forward to doing a future post with Elizabeth, documenting her very own “work makeover”!

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A Recipe for Cafe Soap!

We had a soap party last weekend! A few friends came over and we spent hours melting, mixing, pouring, and having a blast. Coming up with soap recipes and creating them with friends are probably the 2 most enjoyable things about soaping, other than using your very own homemade bar for the first time!

One of the new recipes we tried out was for a coffee soap with jojoba oil. This soap is made with a double-strength coffee base instead of water, used coffee grounds as an exfoliant, and jojoba oil for its great nutrients and skin conditioning properties. We cut the bars last night and now we’re impatiently counting the days until they’re finished curing. We’re really excited to gift these when they’re ready – that is if we don’t end up hoarding them all for ourselves…

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Cold Process Soap Making for Beginners!

About 2 years ago I went on a skincare health kick. I don’t remember exactly what set it off, but it was probably after watching some doomsday documentary about the monsters living in our moisturizers. I’m pretty gullible when it comes to stuff like that, but I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry! I started off by cross-checking almost every bath & body product I was using on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. This is a great resource if you have a favorite product and want to know its potential hazard rating. I only felt comfortable using products with a rating lower than 4.  As helpful as this was, I started feeling less trusting of the companies behind the labels. The cosmetics industry does have certain standards to live up to, but you can never know for sure if a label is completely honest! I know this mindset can send me off the deep end where I move into a tree house and eat leaves for the rest of my life, so in the interest of REALISM, I decided to take on a new hobby: SOAP MAKING!

The idea of knowing exactly what was going into my most frequently used bath product was definitely appealing, to say the least. I set out on a mission to create a moisturizing, cleansing, fragrant, all natural soap with quality ingredients. It also doesn’t hurt that quality handmade soaps make WONDERFUL gifts!

There are a few different methods of soap making, but the one I ended up loving was Cold Process (CP). This method has a short prep time and a long cure time.  The cure time (4-6 weeks) is frustrating if you’re in a hurry to use your soap, but a long cure is necessary to produce the best quality. Making a batch of Cold Process Soap takes 1-2 hours initially and then an additional 4-6 weeks before you should use or gift it. This is how long it takes for the water to completely evaporate, resulting in a harder, longer lasting bar of soap. One misconception about CP cure time is that the soap is unsafe to use within the 4-6 week time frame because it hasn’t “saponified” yet. Saponification is the chemical reaction between fats, lye & water that produces the substance we call soap! It actually only takes about 2 days for saponification to complete. So technically, you can use your soap after 2 days, but it will be very soft and will most likely fall apart in the shower. “Aging” your soap is definitely encouraged! The long wait was annoying at first, but it allowed me to walk away from the project for a while, thus avoiding burnout (which I am 100% prone to) AND giving me something to look forward to!

Researching a topic like this can be extremely tedious, so I’m hoping to save budding CP soapers a little bit of trouble by consolidating everything I learned into this post. By the end, you will be equipped to try your first batch of CP soap!

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