This Victorian Mansion’s Modern Makeover is Perfection

This, my friends, is home design goals. A perfect blend of modern and traditional that comes through as effortless and purposeful. I am absolutely obsessed with this space! Interior designer Jodi Morton, founder of 2to5design has created a space that is not only modern, but stays true to the Victorian architecture of this traditionally, elegant home. I just love it when a designer manages to reimagine the function of a home without destroying the character. Seriously, the dining room and the kitchen alone are enough to make me fall in love. Check out these amazing pictures and see for yourself!

All Natural Medicine Cabinet Essentials

I was taking stock of my medicine cabinet in preparation for my annual flu season overhaul. Every year, in fact, twice a year I replace the products in my medicine cabinet to keep them as fresh and effective as possible. I try my best to stick to natural, organic products that contain at least one or two of my five favorite essential oils: peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, cinnamon, and orange. Fortunately, Mother Nature has us covered. Swap out your OTC medicines for these all natural, plant-based medicine cabinet essentials.

  1. Instead of Pain / Headache medication try Past Tense
  2. Instead of Nasal Decongestant, cold and flu medication or allergy relief medication try Breathe 
  3. Instead of cough suppressant try Rosemary
  4. Instead of anti-itch lotion, sleeping aids, burn cream or cuts and scrapes disinfectant try Lavender
  5. Instead of mouthwash, add Peppermint to your homemade mouthwash recipe
  6. Instead of Immune system boost or sore throat medicine, try On Guard Blend. The Throat Drops are very handy for on the go 
  7. Instead of upset stomach medication or heartburn medication try Digest Zen
  8. Instead of a sterilizing agent, try Purify. It also works great as a room freshener.
  9. Instead of whitening flouride toothpaste try On Guard toothpaste
  10. Instead of wart removal cream try Oregano
  11. Instead of athlete’s foot cream try Tea Tree Oil

This Skin Care Ingredient is an Absolute Game Changer

Let’s jump right back in, shall we? It’s been a while since I’ve talked to you guys and I’ve totally missed you. I had an amazing Summer, though, filled with travel adventures and some much needed rest and relaxation. But I could hardly wait to get back to you and share some of the things I’ve discovered over the past couple of months. I’m a year older, a little bit wiser, and so much more focused. So let’s go!

Remember when french clay, white kaolin, and bentonite mud masks were all the rage? Of course you do. I mean there were so many recipes out there that we even had the opportunity to start multi-masking. I still love all of those, but if you haven’t heard of diatomaceous earth yet, let me be the first to blow your mind. This stuff is so safe, gentle, and versatile that it’s used for everything from natural pet care to organic gardening and meal planning. Say Whaaaat?!!

Diatomeceous earth is a naturally occurring, soft sedimentary rock made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called Diatoms. This soft clay is chock full of trace minerals that have some amazing health benefits. Add a bit to your favorite smoothie, make your own toothpaste, or use it to purify your drinking water. This stuff is no joke! Not only is it safe to consume, but you can also use it topically to make what has quickly become my absolute favorite DIY beauty recipe.

Diatomeceous Earth Facial Cleanser

one teaspoon of food grade diatomeceous earth and enough distilled water to make a paste is all you need for this cleansing face wash. You can even add that teaspoon of D.E. to your favorite facial cleanser to add a little gentle exfoliation to your beauty routine.

Diatomeceous Earth Face Mask

In a small glass bowl, add about 2 tbsp of water and 1 tbsp of diatomaceous earth. Add ½ tsp of coconut oil and 3 drops of tea tree essential oil. Mix well and apply the paste on your face and neck, avoiding the eyes. Allow the mask to dry (2-5 minutes). Follow up with your favorite moisturizer.

Organic Travel Size Toiletries

Did I mention that I’m heading to Europe next week for vacation? Ok, so I probably have mentioned it once or twice. Like when I told you about carry-on only travel, or my meticulous planning of post vacation meals, or like when I’m just so giddy I can’t contain myself.  Yeah well, to be clear, I’m not just bragging, I actually hope that I’m giving you some useful information that you can apply in your own day to day, even if you don’t travel. I always use trips to take the opportunity to test out new skin care products.

There’s something just so darn cute and non-committal about those little travel size packages. Besides, my skin always goes crazy when I’m traveling anyway, so I like to experiment with different products just to see how my travel weary skin will react. If a skin care line can make my travel skin look and feel great, then imagine what it will do on the reg. I’ve probably tested out hundreds of beauty lines using the travel size/ sample size method. You can totally get a feel for the product without having to purchase the larger, more expensive version. Here are a few of my favorites, and by favorites, I mean the ones that I actually bought the full version of after trying them out!

Pai Skin Care

Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser melts away make-up and impurities while nourishing skin with Omega 3 and Vitamins A, B & E. Together, the anti-inflammatory rich BioAffinity Tonic and Calming Day Cream instantly soothe reactive skin and provide the perfect level of hydration to keep skin comfortable and hydrated all day long. This kit even comes with an organic muslin cloth!

Laurel Whole Plant Organics

This travel set comes in a USA-made canvas zip bag that’s perfect for travel or gifting. For oily, problem, or combination skin. The set includes a facial cleanser, facial elixir, balancing serum, almond grain exfoliant, and citrus spice lip treatment.

Odacite

Odacite designed a kit specially for oily skin including 6 products enough for 10 days. All products are freshly made with certified organic ingredients. It includes a cleanser and 2 facial sponges, one mint toner, one day moisturizer, one night serum, one exfoliant, and one eye cream. This travel kit also comes in Mature/Dry skin and Combination skin versions.

Make-Ahead Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Before I jump right into the recipe, I have to tell you that these next several weeks are going to be pretty busy for me. If you’ve been checking out my posts, you know that I’m heading over to Rome and London next week. Yay! I’ve been writing lists and getting organized for the trip. I am seriously neurotic when it comes to packing luggage, and I am a total carry-on-only warrior. I’ve got my travel journal ready and all my TSA approved snacks and travel size organic toiletries. Anyway, since I’ve been planning everything right down to the smallest of details, I realized I’d forgotten one of the most important things to consider. After returning home from a long trip, the last thing you want to think about is grocery shopping and cooking. I needed to come up with a meal that I can take straight from the freezer and pop in the oven as soon as I set down my bags.

Because farmer’s markets and summer CSAs are in full swing, and because I have more summer squash than I know what to do with, I decided to make a Summer vegetable lasagna. Lasagna is one of my favorite meals, y’all, and this recipe is nothing short of amazing. The Béchamel sauce really makes every bite a cosmic experience. The best part is that you can make this ahead of time and then freeze portions for a quick, healthy, and oh so tasty meal when you return home from your own vacay. You must try this!!!

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

For the vegetable filling:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 yellow or green summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 3 jarred roasted red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz./875 g) plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh basil leaves, minced
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the béchamel sauce

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
  • 3 cups (24 oz./750 g) ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 3/4 lb. (12 oz./375 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. To make the filling, in a 5-quart (5-l) Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Clean the pot.

3. To make the béchamel sauce, in the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer half of the sauce to a bowl. Spread the remaining sauce evenly on the bottom of the pot. In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper.

4. Cover the sauce in the pot with a single layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them if needed to fit. Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture evenly on top, then one-third of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the mozzarella. Repeat the layering 2 more times, starting with the noodles. Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and bake until the noodles are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is browned, about 15 minutes longer. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.

***To freeze, cut it into individual portions. Wrap the portions in aluminum foil and when you’re ready to reheat, just pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 375°F.

Source: Williams Sonoma