Category Archives: apothecary

Review: Soft Focus Mask by Wildcare

It’s no surprise by now that I love a good facial product. When Wildcare announced they were introducing a new face mask made from pineapple extract, coconut milk, and pearl powder, I just had to try it! With each purchase of this new release, they were offering a sample of their Wild Melon facial oil, a little potion created from watermelon seed, black currant seed, ylang ylang, and other intoxicating scents – a perfect follow up to lock in the benefits of the face mask. One of the things I love about the face mask is that it contains only FOUR natural ingredients!

The Soft Focus face mask has a fragrance to it that takes you back to bright summer days, lounging by the pool, freshly-squeezed juice in hand. It’s a nice little pick-me-up for a grey, rainy day but also a splendid way to refresh on a hot, sunny afternoon.

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Pearl powder has been used in China for thousands of years as both a dietary and beauty treatment. One of its benefits is that it can prevent the development of melanin, which is what causes freckles and dark patches due to sun exposure and aging. This is particularly helpful to me, as my Eastern European heritage has left me developing some hyper-pigmentation on my face as I age, and while I don’t hate it – it’s a symbol of who I am -, it’s nice to have a product that will help prevent it from getting out of control. I’m also a Leo-a fire sign, and a July baby, so summertime is one of my favorite seasons. This means spending as much time outdoors as possible, especially at the beach, and while I take precautions to protect my skin, one can never do enough. The pearl powder in this mask will help reverse any sun damage from those afternoons at the JCC and Hilton Head! It’s also extremely beneficial in preventative practices now, as I’m constantly out in the sun, tending to my gardens.

Combine this with pineapple extract, organic coconut milk powder (an added plus: it’s dairy-free!), and white kaolin clay, and you’ve got a face mask that will leave your skin feeling porcelain smooth.

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herbal tea, vintage peignoir, a weighty book, & a face mask = perfect evening!

As for the Wild Melon oil: I’ve added that to my morning routine, in between washing my face and smoothing on lotion. There’s always a bit of apprehension when applying an oil – will it leave my face looking greasy? But this one is quickly absorbed into the skin, leaving your face lustrous and soft.

I love that Wildcare is based on the therapeutic qualities of indigenous plants in the PNW, and a dedication to herbalism. That’s just another of the many things I love the most about the Pacific Northwest – everyone out there is so encouraging of their community, and creating & sustaining a beautiful environment. Being able to support brands like this is the best feeling – and now their Golden Hour body oil and Lemon Light hydrosol are next on my list of goodies to try!

 

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Self Care

A lover of natural, herbal, & holistic remedies, I stumbled upon PDX apothecary, Duck Feather Herbs, a couple of months ago, and have had my eye on their Lavender lip balm, Sleeping Beauty tea, and an array of herbal tinctures ever since. Just after the new year, they hosted a giveaway with fellow herbalists, Tumbleweed Apothecary & Monarch Apothecary, offering a dreamy assortment of health and beauty goods. With a package full of soaking salts, perfume, incense, facial products and more, how could I resist entering?! I was fortunate enough to be chosen as their winner and I couldn’t be more enamored with all of their products. Even their packaging was perfect in its rustic simplicity!

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The Love Manifest perfume from Monarch Apothecary is altogether divine – a consummate marriage of various rose petal essences, rose geranium, bergamot, and ginger lily essential oils, & topped with their own farm harvested roses, it’s a delightfully feminine and romantic bouquet. After a hot bath with their Turmeric & Calendula Soaking Salts, enhanced by the air of Lavender & Sage incense cones, roll on some love-filled perfume and be prepared for an amorous evening!

Keeping my face dewy and lips soft is super easy thanks to Tumbleweed Apothecary’s oil-based facial serum, Stunner. With thirteen different oils, including rose hips, argan, frankincense, & jojoba (“you’ll love it – it has jojoba.” s/o to my theatre “sister,” Lauren!), I apply it after cleansing my face and before adding their ‘Spellbound’ Face Cream. Topping my lips with some Lavender & Mint ‘Peck’ lip balm, my skin is supple & kissable.

I stay busy between my full-time job at a local tv station, part time job at an art gallery, helping run a volunteer-based community art gallery, traveling, & my own artistic endeavors – painting, writing, baking, acting, & photography – so I’m always looking for new ways to relax and unwind. Sleep has never come easier with a cup of Good Belly Tea combined with some Have a Good Rest Tincture, care of Duck Feather Herbs. Adding a couple of drops of this chamomile, catnip, lavender, & bergamot mint tincture to an already quieting cup of mint & lemon balm herbal tea is a foolproof way to end a satiated day.

I’ve added some Elderberry Syrup to my wish list from Duck Feather Herbs, as well as some tinted lip balm called ‘Smooch’ and the ‘Siren’ facial steam from Tumbleweed Apothecary, and a tin of Cacao, Rose, & Rooibos (decaf!) Chai & Herkimer diamond gemstone essence from Monarch Apothecary. My ever-growing Etsy cart is taunting my bank account!

While I’ve linked to each apothecary’s individual shops, they’ve all got Instagram accounts that are equally as tantalizing as their products. Take a peek for yourself at @DuckFeatherHerbs@tumbleweed_apothecary, & @monarchapothecary!

 

 

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

I hope everyone’s holiday break was as wonderful as ours! After a quiet holiday with my parents, I flew out to Michigan to spend the remaining part of the year with Matt and his family. Rosie and I were separated for a long ten days, and while I missed my little meatball, I had a blast in Detroit and Toronto. I’ll be playing catch up this weekend and telling you all about the places we visited, where we ate, and, off course, where we shopped!

The beginning of the season starts, for me, when I break out my favorite holiday albums. I usually have this gem on repeat at home and in my car! KC, forever!

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This year, I opted for a jewel colored theme for wrapping presents. As with stationary and other paper ephemera, I collect unique wrapping paper for various occasions throughout the year. This one is a two sided kind I picked up at IKEA several years ago.

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With some rainbow colored popcorn from a new gourmet popcorn shop in town, these gifts added an unexpected pop of color under the tree! I picked up my dad an original cast recording of Porgy and Bess on a 78, and ordered my mom a Lentil ornament and sticker. My favorite part of the gift giving is filling everyone’s stockings with their favorite candies and little trinkets. Dark chocolate oranges, petit fours, marzipan, and a fresh orange each, these stockings hold traditions that nothing can replace. I usually try to get some chocolate coal for my dad’s stocking, but I couldn’t find any during my last minute venture out into the crazed retail world. Next year, pops!

My parents put sweet little surprises in my stocking as well! I have so many little collections, lovely smelling soaps being one of them. The French Macaron and Rose & Green Tea bar soaps my mother found are not only pretty in perfect pink, but smell sooo heavenly! The best surprise was the Leo Zodiac candle I’ve been dreaming about for months. I plan on finally lighting it on the 23rd this month, my half birthday, and making some special wishes!

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Rosie will be with me everywhere I go with this Boston Terrier keychain- how cute is she? Rosie herself picked up several presents this Christmas, too, from family to friends all the way in Washington state. She’ll be sharing her holiday fun over the weekend!

While we enjoyed some delicious treats, I still owe my mom a Yule log! My favorite flavor in the past has been to make a white chocolate one with fresh raspberry filling and marzipan mushrooms, but she has requested a dark chocolate one. I can’t wait to show you the finished product! They are so fun to make!

So, did all of your holiday wishes come true? What was your favorite item to give or receive?

Wolf’s Apothecary

If you’re a regular reader of blogs, then you’re in no doubt familiar with Jen McCabe’s swoon-worthy site, Honey Kennedy. If you’re not, hop on over and let her take you on a tour of Portland’s best right now!

We’re planning on a PDX visit in the near future, and my list of places to see & shops to patronize keeps getting longer and longer, thanks to her blog. Luckily, I haven’t had to wait too long to try some of the fine products out of that dreamy city, thanks to the incredible “Giveaway” section on the Honey Kennedy blog! She hosts giveaways nearly daily with all sorts of makers and shakers, and the gifts are pretty epic- even if you don’t win the big prize, the person or store she’s collaborating with offers a discount, so everyone can enjoy. My most recent win nabbed me a $50 gift card for myself to Portland apothecary, Wolf’s Apothecary, as well as two more $50 gift cards to share with family & friends. Naturally, I chose my sweet mom and darling Matt! The homemade, all-natural products at Wolf’s Apothecary are just plain wonderful, and it was so hard trying to narrow down what to try first! I ended up ordering Rapunzel’s Hair Oil, the Dandelion Milk bath powder, and a tube of Lip Salve-Ation. Rapunzel’s Hair Oil is an intoxicating elixir that one uses to tame & bring luster to ones locks, and its scent alone is luxurious. I can’t help but massage a few drops into my long mane at night since the aromatics are so relaxing!

There are few things I love more than taking a long, piping hot bath, and they’re made even better with sweet smelling, skin softening products. The combination of dandelion root, lemongrass, and lemon verbena was so on point that the wafting steam lured my kitten to sit at the edge of the bath and dip in his tail- it’s even fluffier than before!

A self-professed lip balm addict & junkie, I will try any and all chapsticks. The Lip Salve-Ation has in it infused oils from apricot kernal, sweet almond, and coconut, amongst others. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t have to reapply this lip balm every fifteen minutes-a fairly normal activity for my dry lips, thanks to nearly twenty years of lip balm obsession. Another aspect I liked about this balm was that it’s pretty unisex. A lot of lip balms come across fairly feminine, both in packaging and scent, but this is one that I would feel confident giving to both my boyfriend or best female friend. Stocking stuffers, anyone?

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I’m also a sucker for good packaging, and look at how simply perfect this is! The hoarder in me will reuse these bags for storing my tea-making herbs, and the bottles give my powder room all the fancy feels!

One of the best aspects of sharing these products is promoting small businesses. Having worked for and currently employed by a small business, as well as being an artist, I know first hand the labor and love that goes into creating something you hope will be enjoyed by others. Black Friday is coming up, but it’s important to remember the people who stay up all day and night to bring you a little something special you just can’t buy at big box stores, on Small Business Saturday.

Happy Shopping!