How to Make Whipped Body Butter at Home

whipped body butter

have you ever wanted to make something but were intimidated by it, thinking it would be too challenging? it might surprise some of you but i had always felt this way about roasting beets. up until about 2 months ago i had never roasted one or cooked one on my own before, opting for the pre-roasted ones at trader joes or whole foods. i imagined they would be so hard to peel and chop that i would almost certianly be exhuasted by the experience or slice my finger off. true story. this year has been all about facing fears for me, i.e. quitting my job, becoming an entreprenuer, and yes…, you guessed it, finally roasting a damn beet! much to my surprise its really not that hard at all, very similar to a sweet potatoe. i have to laugh at myself for this one, its pretty ridiculous. needless to say, i’ve roasted several dozen beets this summer since they are readily available at the farmers market from McClendon’s Select here in phoenix. another example of my fear totally getting the best of me would be making homemade beauty products, including toothpaste, lotion, and perfume. I always assumed it would be really hard, time consuming, the result less than stellar. it always occured to me like something i would not be successful at so i never tried. the number of times i have read that not trying is the ame as failing is leaving me with the feeling of redundancy by mentioning it again here but geezuz, its sooo true. not only was this whipped body butter easy to make, its pretty freaking awesome and it gave me the opportunity to use my kitchenaid mixer for the very first time (thanks mom for the gift)! a new thing that has become an issue of sorts is how dry my skin, particularly my hands, since moving to phoenix and being in a kitchen all day. its borderline unbareable at times. itchy, flaky, burning, reall rough, ugh. this is of course in part due to the hundreds of dishes i wash daily at the cafe but the super dry heat out here makes my skin feel like the parched earth of southern california. on the flip side, my cousin and best lady friend have buns in the oven so combine those elements and it was the push that i needed to face my fear and make body butter. i wanted a gift the soon-to-be mommys could rub on their bellys to decrease stretch marks and i could spread on my entire epidumis that was chemical free and smelled really lovely. volia. moral of the entire story here is to face your fears, give that thing a try you have been holding back from. who knows. you just might surprise yourself!

This is deeply hydrating, moisturzing and safe to use on your skin. No chemicals, parabens, or ingredients you cannot pronounce.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup  organic coconut oil (i bought the big tub from costco, kirkland brand)
  • 1 cup shea butter (I purchsed this combo pack)
  • 1 cup cacao butter (I purchased this combo pack)
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (I used bobs redmill)
  • 10-12 drops lavendar essential oil (i love this one)
  • 10-12 drops peppermint essential oil (I used this one)

equipment: kitchenaid or hand mixer, large bowl, oven safe pan, containers with airtight lids

 

Directions:

  1. pre-heat the oven to its lowest setting, mine was under 300. combine your oils in an oven safe baking pan and put in the oven to melt. keep an eye on your oils as you do not want to cook them, just melt them so you can mix them together
  2. once melted, remove and add in your essential oils and arrowroot powder. the arrowroot helps the lotion feel less oily on your skin and is optional. the essential oils are optional as well as this smells really good on its own, but i am a sucker for lavendar and peppermint together.
  3. whisk everything together well and place in the freezer for 30 or so minutes. Since its extra hot in phoenix my oils needed about 45 minutes so keep an eye on them. You want the oils to start to solidify, be a similar texture to a thick gel, not rock hard. You should be able to mix or break into the surface with minimal effort.
  4. transfer to your cake mixer and whip into butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. it took me about 25 miutes to get it to the texture i was looking for.
  5. transfer to airtight containers and use as needed

 

DIY Painted Wooden Serving Utensils and Links Worth Sharing

Painted Spoons8I was browsing Etsy one afternoon when I came across a set of really cute painted wooden spoons. Although they were affordable, at $15 for a pair, I decided it would be a fun and easy DIY project to do myself. If you’re anything like me then you regularly are looking for affordable ways to give your place a fresh new look. Unfortuantely, when it comes to home goods the “out with the old, in with the new” approach is not always realistic or budget friendly but with little projects like this, its easy to breathe new life into my space. I think that this DIY is fairly straight forward, so I do not have step by step photos. All I did was gather supplies, clean and dry my wooden spoons, painted some cute patterns and after they dried, applied a varnish. Easy peasy! Also in this post I included links to some cant be missed goodness from around the web to get you through the weekend! xo

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Avocado Toast by Superba Food and Bread | Venice, CA | Review

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A picture of avocado toast is uploaded to instagram every second. I don’t even need a statistic to support that claim, I feel pretty confident declaring it as fact right here on my blog. However, should you feel the need to fact check me, which I would totally understand- you can. My obsession with avocado toast started about three years ago, right around the time I got instagram (coincidence- I think not)  but only recently have I made it my responsibility to YOU, my readers, to test out every piece of avocado toast available in Los Angeles and report back. First up is the Toasty Avocado Toast from Superba Food and Bread. It comes on a crunchy piece of white toast, with pickeled fresno, radish sprouts and avocados. At $8 a piece its not a cheap treat, but it really is fantastic. It might be one of the best pieces I’ve had so far. The texture of the sprouts and cruncy toast really pop against the creamy avocado, and sweet cilantro. The pickled frenso adds just enough acidity to round out the flavor and you have one helluva bite. If find yourself in Venice around brunch time- by all means check it out. And treat yourself to one of their micheladas if its available.  xo

Cara

Superba Michelata

Favorite Finds at the Natural Products Expo West

NPEW ITEMS

A couple weeks back, as many of you might know, I went to the Natural Products Expo West in Anahiem. It is at the convention center, right near Disneyland, and it was the largest show to date. With over 1 million square feet of show floor, it is enourmous and the likelyhood of seeing everything is slim. Granted, I walked around the Expo salivating over all the new products and chatting with health nuts about their creations and the purpose they served. It is hard not to walk away from this event bursting with inspiration from the energy and excitment that we all share for healthy, wholesome food. This industry might not be growing as fast as cannabis, but as more and more people are becoming aware of the toxic ingredients in most foods in the supermarket, the demand for simpler, healthier food is increasing.  I am so excited to share with you what I discovered and what I love from the show with full disclosure: no one is paying me to write about them- I truly loved these products and the people who created them.

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5 Tips to Start your Freelance Career or Break into a Creative Field

freelance
Breaking into a creative field is tough- theres no doubt about it. Whether you are a photographer, writer, designer, animator or blogger, it can be hard to get your work out there in a saturated and noisy industry. But it is possible and the internet has made it easier than ever. Over the last 6 months, I started freelancing on the side for the experience, and exposure. It hasn’t always been easy balanacing a full time job, and a blog, but I am learning what works and what doesn’t. Below are 5 tips to help you break into a creative field and grow your freelance business.

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Christmas in Mexico: Playa Del Carmen, Tulum 2014- Part One!

Morning in Tulum

“Traveling feeds in so many ways” became the tag line for this trip. Originally inspired by the crazy amounts of foods I was eating and later because of how full the trip made me feel; mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Travelling allows you to see how other people live their lives which opens up a whole new realm of possibility. You get to see that there are so many different ways to exist and that you don’t have to choose the life that was given to you, rather you can create the life that you want. Traveling gives you perspective, an opportunity to see all that you have and to cherish it. 

In the states we get two weeks of vacation and for many it is an oppotunity for a break from their hectic life, a job they dislike, a life they don’t love. My 2 weeks is not a vacation from my life, it is always an adventure into the world. I hope to never get to a place where the purpose of my travel is to escape. My purpose is to grow, to explore, to have fun, to share new experiences, eat new food, and to step outside my comfort zone. Bon Voyage. 

friends ruins

We started our trip in Playa Del Carmen, a fun city south of Cancun and used AirBnB to find a super stylish condo right near 5th street, the main strip in Playa, for an amazing price. It was owned by a young New York guy so it was decorated with a masculan undertone, accented with bright red rugs and pillows, but balanced with nutral grey and black couches and counter tops. Sure enough, the fridge was stocked with ice cold Tecate upon arrival. Way to set the mood. 

The first day we cliff jumped into a Cenote, which is a natural swimming pool of sorts. The water was cool and it was an extremely beautiful setting. Next, we snorkled at Turtle Bay, and I am still suprised at how many turtles are hanging out that close to shore. We had a dinner there on the beach and the resturant was playing the best music that I heard on the entire trip. Instrumental house, and I was blissed.

Turtles

The next day was easily my most favorite part of the trip! I met a Squirrel Monkey named John Travolta. He melted my heart and I really got present to how much I love animals. I’ll be honest, animal cruelty was a very small part of why I transistioned to a prodominetly plant based diet. It was mostly for the enviornment, my health and taking a stand against big agri-business. But on this trip, I enteracted with so many different animals and I was really moved.

John Travolta

After a few nights in Carmen we made our way to Tulum, again another destination further south. We took a guided tour at the Tulum Mayan Ruins, and one of the pieces of information that stuck out was the Mayans use of psilocybin for spiritual, mental and emotion growth. It was a ritual experience for them and yet it is illegal in present day. There are so many ancient civilizations who use these substances not in an abusive way but as a way to open themselves up to a different realm of exsistence, and thought.

 

Mayan Ruins

Curious, curious, curious.  Maybe Steve Jobs was on to something.

Tulum was breathtakingly beautiful, filled with eco-resorts, organic vegan spots and yoga studios on the beach. I mean, what more could a girl from SoCal ask for?

Our hotel, Sanara Tulum, which was opened by a friend of a friend, was easily the most picture-esq and stylish hotel I’ve ever been too (see picture below). I am remodeling my apartment and using it for inspiration. The staff was friendly, the coffee was hot and vibe was comfortably laid back. I highly reccommend it.

Sanara Hotel Tulum Sanara

The only draw back to Tulum is the price. Granted, we went during peak season, also known as high season, when prices are a little higher due to demand. Everything from food, lodging, to shopping was as if I was still in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills specifically. Polyester dresses, although beautful were $500+. Beers were $7-$8, wine $10-$12, cocktails $14-$16. Thats pretty standard at a mid-range resturant in LA. However, you can find more affordable options in the city, away from the main strip of beach front real estate.

In Tulum, we ate at a resturant called Simple, where the services was painfully slow (I MEAN PAINFULLY S-L-O-W) but the food was fantastic. I had Yellow Fin Tuna Tostadas. If you followed me on Instagram, I shared about a new word I learned on the trip… “Flexitarian.” I fully embraced that flexible lifestyle on this trip and I am ok with it. I’ve learned you should never beat yourself up about food, it results in an unhealthy relationship and bad habits. Having the mindset of being present and thankful really made a difference and allowed for new space in my relationship to food so I was able to eat things enjoyably. I can confidently say my eating disorder is a thing of the past.   Other resturants we tried: Casa Banana, Ahau Tulum, Casa Violeta We thought about waiting in the crazy line for the popular Hartwood, but decided to pass even though I read so many raving reviews about it. Next time.

fancy sandwhich - Copy chips and guac - Copy Pina Colodas

Speaking of things of the past, I am so happy the overnight ADO bus ride from Tulum, Mexico to Belize City, Belize is over. ADO is the premiere bus line in this part of the world, and the busses are nice, but the AC was blasting (something I read online about from other travelers too), there are speed bumps the entire way so its unlikely you will sleep and when 4am rolls around you make a 1.5 hour pit stop at the border to go through customs and immigration. We all had to get off the bus and wait in line. We were ushered into a room in groups of 2-4, the door than closes and you are questioned by Mexican officials with guns. Remember its 4:00am?

SCARY!

We paid at $25 USD tax exit fee and made our way to the Belize office to have a new stamp stamped in our passports (the best part)!

Belize was beautiul, playful, and bustling. Truly a place in the Caribbean worth visitng. Stay tuned for Part Two of my trip in Belize, where I spent time in Caye Caulker, San Pedro, Placentia, and Belize City… coming to a blog near you. 

xoxox,
Cara

4 Books to Read Before Transitioning to a Plant-based Lifestyle- Vegan, Raw, Vegetarian- Series

china study2

Back in 2010, I was trying to get my health in control. I was Yo-Yo-ing through life; always on a diet, Atkins, Southbeach, Blood Type ect. and battled with an unhealthy relationship to food that basically ran my life since I was a teenager. When I made the choice to get serious about my health I started by watching Food Inc. on Netflix. Eventually, that led me to the book store to research more about what I learned from the film.

I have always had a softspot for good books and think that the books a person chooses to visiably display at their home can say a lot about them. Someone once told me that you should never trust anyone who doesn’t have books. 

The books on this list really helped shape the way I approach my health now and gave be a solid backbone of knowledge to call upon when food was the topic of discussion. I remember when I first transitioned to a vegan diet I was met with a lot of adversity from my meat eating friends and having some information to support my decision was very helpful. I think it is important to do research before altering your diet and if necessary consult a doctor, but don’t be afraid try out different things to see what works for you. Ultimately, the true test of health is how you feel day to day and eating prodomintely plants makes me feel really great. 

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Women I Love: Elizabeth Gilbert and a Talk About Where Does Creativity Come From? – Series

Elizabeth Gilbert

“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert is one of the most moving books a girl like me has read. Chances are if you are a twenty-something babe than you have read it too. And seen the movie (but the book was better). Her book inspired me to go on my own little “Eat, Pray, Love” Journey in 2013 to Thailand after a horrible breakup and a fall out with a best friend. She recently gave a TED Talk and then had a discussion with NPR.org about where creativity comes from. Her idea that fear and creativity are twins really got me thinking about what motivates me to continue to create. I often fear that I will lose my passion and creativity as I age but listening to this Ted Talk provided some peace of mind and inspiration. I love that she does not believe in being fearless because I do not either. Fear in many ways is a motivator and a indicator that you are about to exit your comfort zone, which is where the magic happens anyways.

Watch TED Talk HERE

Check out the NPR special HERE

xoxo

Cara

A Few of My Favorite Things- A Series

fav thing

The beautiful chard wraps that got a non-veggie lover to eat some leafy greens!

Although, it is Thursday it is the last work day for me this week. I am taking a 3 full day plus evening seminar with Lankmark Education this week and I am very excited for what I am going to learn. I have specific goals I want to accomplish but I am also being mindful that I should not have too many expectations so as not to be let down, instead be pleasently surprised with that I do experience. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on a few things that have made me happy in the last week before entering into a focused and exciting weekend.

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