Autumnal Palouse Adventure: Moscow Mountain

What a wonderful weekend! My loving mother came up to visit me after many months apart. We chatted until our voices broke, drank coffee all cozy with blankets and early  morning sun. We bought giant onions, balsamic vinegar and gluten free crepes from the local Saturday market on Main St. We ate good food and went on a autumnal picnic to Moscow Mountain were we collected some natures for future projects and became one with the earth. Happy October my friends! Here’s some shots of cool found things and the amazing views up here on the Palouse.
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Look at this cool mushroom clump, I have no idea what type these are (or if they are edible) but I do know that there are many Morel hunting grounds around the area. I have yet to find them….sigh.DSCN1801

The ample amount of deadwood made the perfect mushroom growing environment up and around Moscow Mountain.DSCN1803 DSCN1804 DSCN1805

Mullien babies. I used to make tea out of the flowers long ago when I was at YMCA Camp in south eastern Idaho. Don’t they look like fuzzy floral cabbages?
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Mandatory Bf shot : )DSCN1810 DSCN1811 DSCN1813 DSCN1815 DSCN1816

More mushroom shots. This is an upturned tree and these are growing on the roots and underneath on the other side.DSCN1818 DSCN1819 DSCN1821 DSCN1822

What beautifully shockingly green moss.DSCN1823 DSCN1824

A clump of frilly lichen which looks as if it belongs underwater not in the Pacific Northwest.DSCN1825

Twinning.DSCN1826

And lastly, after spotting 2 adult deer and a faun scampering after its mother we caught the most majestic lone wild turkey, wandering around the edge of a wheat field.

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10 Holistic Tips for Allergy Season

Hello friends! Allergy season is well upon us and if you are anything like me (with a butt ton of allergies) then you will enjoy these holistic and natural tips I’ve found to really help me out through the blooming months. On the subject of allergies, let me give you a overview of the severity that I deal and have dealt with (they have gotten better and more manageable over the years.) I’ve have a skin prick test for upwards of like 100 or so different allergens in the state of Idaho. Big distinction there, depending on where you’re from will influence allergen contact. Anyway my results were severe in grass, pollen, trees, cats and sagebrush (save me! Idaho is like 80% sagebrush.) Essentially I’m allergic to anything in Idaho that blooms, or meows. Add that to my food allergies/sensitivities of gluten, dairy, eggs, cranberries, bell peppers, onions and corn….and that movie Bubble Boy with Jake Gyllenhaal starts looking like an unfortunate reality.

However, there is a light at the end of the bubble…uh…tunnel. Through some trial and error I’ve compiled the best tips to not only get me through my terrible allergies but to actually reduce them! I can only speak for myself so take this all with a grain of sand. Somethings that have worked for me, may not work for you. With that said, let’s get to it!DSCN1737

 

1. Let’s get the obviously not ‘natural’ one out of the way and that is conventional antihistamines. Although I’d love to be able to do away with pharmaceuticals the fact of the matter is science has made amazing leaps in medicine and they can be helpful, downright lifesaving if you wanted to use them in conjunction with alternative medicines. I used to have to take upwards of 10 little pills to get through the worst pollen-filled days. Even though, as my allergy specialist told me, they have a low risk profile in taking more than the recommended dose, I felt it was pretty excessive at  the level I was taking. Now I can take 2 or 3 only on days I know I’ll be outside in nature and all its pollen-y goodness. That with all the other tips have helped me get to a very low maintenance level with the allergies, which is FAR from being Bubble Girl.

2. Nettle Leaf. This one is best for actual symptoms, instead of prevention  but it helps nonetheless. My favorite way is to take nettle leaf is as tea but I also use supplement form because it is a little more convenient but also more expensive. Hot nettle tea or iced nettle tea with a little raw honey (more great health benefits there!) tastes a bit like green tea maybe more planty but very pleasant.

3. On that same thread, Raw Honey and Bee Pollen are great sources of local pollen sources in small doses that help build up your immunities to the area much like allergy shots. I always go for raw local bee products in my area to get my system attuned to the allergens around me. To get the most out of your bee pollen, consume it with fruit. A sprinkle on top of a smoothie or bowl of fruit with do you.

4. Turmeric. This root spice, among other amazing uses is great for reducing inflammation. With many allergies, my sinus’s tend to get inflamed and cause pressure headaches, stuffy noses or internal inflammation if gluten is involved. Turmeric has a very UNIQUE taste….well it tastes a bit like dirt. Fancy dirt. The earthy-ness is pretty strong but the benefits are worth it. My favorite ways to consume it is in curries, golden milk or supplement form for the active compound curcumin. For golden milk, I mix turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, nutmeg, clove and black pepper with some coconut milk and heat it up to a little simmer then drink hot.

5. Coconut Oil. This one kinda goes without saying, if you’ve kept up with popular health trends and how amazing coconut oil is. True as it is coconut oil has anti; bacterial, fungal, inflammatory and viral properties plus it’s composition of medium chain fatty acids means it bypasses cholesterol in it’s metabolism going straight into the blood steam and off to where it’s needed. I like to add some to smoothies, cook with it, use as a facial/body/hair moisturizer and most helpful oil pulling with it. I take a heaping teaspoon of organic virgin coconut oil in my mouth, let it melt, then swish it around for 15-20 minutes (usually while showering/getting ready), spit out in the trash and brush my teeth. Helps draw toxins out as well as improving breath and whitening teeth. I find if I do it consistently, my brain feels clearer and my allergies are less severe.

6. Neti Pot. Another good way to reduce allergy symptoms is the neti pot. I add in a 1/4 tsp of neti salt to warm filtered water, let it dissolve then irrigate my nostrils to free up irritants and excess mucus, also great when you’re sick.

7. After watching holischabits on Youtube I was inspired to pick up a Himalayan Salt Inhaler off Amazon. Occasionally I get wheezy when my allergies hit and having an alternative to a conventional inhaler is nice. Whether or not the magic negative ions in the salt actually help purify my lungs, I don’t know but it’s nice to have in case I do get wheezy.

8. Sleep. This is one of the biggest helpers for overall health. Sleep is your re-charge button that allows your body to heal and re-set. Quality of sleep is also important. I like to eliminate as many light emitting electronics from my bedroom as possible, with exception of my cell phone which I turn face down on my dresser. I put up blackout curtains for complete darkness and use a Himalayan Salt Lamp for red/orange light to promote melatonin production. I generally try to read or do non-technological things before bed so my brain can wind down.

9. Eating a Clean Diet. Of all the tips I’ve shared this is the one that has had the most impact on me. My slow journey of food allergy elimination has finally paid off. Once I took all those irritants (for MY body) out as well as processed foods and refined sugars I started focusing on a whole food, plant based diet (I say based, not exclusive.) Now a few years later, my allergies are hardly noticeable as long as I keep taking proper care of myself, which happily includes my favorite past time, eating. Second breakfast anyone?

10. De-stress;  Another one for overall health. Maybe de-stressing hasn’t had a direct impact on my allergies but knowing when to let things go and having healthy (non alcoholic) ways to relax and unwind keep me from snowballing. Which tends to start with stress and end with illness. It never rains, it pours, am I right? This includes a healthy state of mind. Mental health is just as equal as physical health (you know….holistic and overall) so connect with whatever makes you feel grounded and allow time for that connection.

I hope these tips help you during allergy season and if you have any other tips leave them in the comment below!

April Favorites: Succulents, Skin Care, Aromatherapy and More!

Wee it’s MAY! Not only is it my birthday month (which by default makes it the best month) but the semester is wrapping up and the lure of wedding season, fresh produce and sun to come starts becoming tangible. So before this wonderful month gets too far in swing, let me share with you my favorite items and products from the past month.

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April was the month of succulents….well all plants in general. I have discovered my green thumb and am most enthusiastically potting, re-potting and plant perusing as much as my college student budget and tiny shaded apartment will allow. I can’t help but love succulents with their cool shapes and juicy leaves. The fact that they need hardly any water makes them so low maintenance I find myself deliberately trying to ignore them, least I over-water and drown them. I have no clue what they’re called, except the Jade with it’s teardrop shaped vibrant green leaves (which is simply thriving.) Not to mention my love of bunnies drove me near to distraction when I found this cute ceramic bunbun at Target. It was originally a candy dish but when I saw it, I knew it needed succulents.

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After a recent road trip down to Lewiston and a jaunt to Cost-Co I picked up this Himalayan Salt Grinder. If I were to choose any salt I’d rather go with this due to the supposed boost in health benefits and extra mineral content. Plus the grinder gives very fine flakes, so you get more flavor for less sodium.

Here are my two lone makeup items for the month. Like I’ve said in a previous post, I’ve hardly worn makeup this month and am opting for natural, skin focused, easy makeup when I finally get around to applying it. For that I’ve been loving Josie Maran’s liquid illuminator. I’ve been wearing it almost as a primer all over the face after my skincare routine. It leaves such a lovely healthy glow that shines though the lightweight foundation I put on afterwards. The other natural looking product I’ve been using is Revlon’s Lip Butter in Creme Brulee. I’ve had this before and love it. Now I’ve rediscovered how much I enjoy how easy, moisturizing and quick this is to throw on the lips.

Being as prone to allergies as I am I prefer natural ways to enjoy scents and get health benefits from them. I also live in a tiny space so my little egg shaped aromatherapy diffuser works perfectly for me. It was around $13.00 at my local Co’op and I am in love. It’s battery and USB operated with an LED light display. I’ve been using a peppermint and chamomile mix of essential oils to cool down my bedroom. The only downside is the scents last just a few days to fill the whole room.

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Lastly, I have some bath and skincare favorites. The first is Alba Botanica’s Good & Clean Scrub. I’ve been consciously shifting everything to natural products with purpose and integrity. After randomly reading the label on my previous scrub, I  noticed in tiny print at the bottom a warning about ingredients in that scrub being known to the state of California to be carcinogenic. I promptly threw it in the bin and filled with rage stomped out in search of quality ingredients in a facial scrub. So I found it! I could go on, but a scrub is a scrub and this does the job nicely with a fruity scent and no questionable ingredients.

Having dry, fine, long hair I need thick conditioners to help hold in moisture and this Jamaican Black Castor Oil leave in mask from Shea Moisture is amazing. Castor oil being known as an intense humecant is what drew me to this but the smell….omg….it is so DELICIOUS! It smells like anise seed cookies. Straight up shortbread cookies. Yum. Again, it does it’s job well without crap ingredients.

I have discovered Everyday Coconut products and I am in love. I started out with the body lotion and moved to the face lotion because this is one brand that is so holistic in it’s mission I will happily purchase from now on. The product quality alone is enough but they are fair traded, no synthetic fragrance, parabens, animal testing, soy or gluten and they are vegan. The Alaffia brand also has a strong environmental and humanitarian mission which you can read more on their website. The formula is lightweight and sinks in quick. Lovely, light smell and a good price. The face lotion apart from having SPF 15 (which is great for the coming summer) it was less that $10 for 12 fl oz. That is a TON of product for a day cream compared to the $20 and up prices for tiny pots of daycream.

I hope you enjoyed my favorites! Let me know which natural skincare product you’ve been loving for the month of April.

 

Life Lately in Instagram: Noms

Here’s a quick update on some of the tasty things I make for myself so I can live a healthy happy life! If you’re not following me on instagram, check it out~IMG_3054

Quinoa Sushi with avocado, carrot, sprouts and sesame seeds
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Oven roasted fries with honey mustard

 

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Breakfast of Champions!

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Black Bean noodle RAMEN!

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Golden Milk with tons of turmeric IMG_3087Some exciting new reading and raw strawberry chocolate slice

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Date balls and tea

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Salad in mason jars. How Pinterest-y

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More sushi!

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Chocolate banana ice cream with chili chocolate on top

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Berry, bee pollen and pistachio nice cream!

Collective Health and Wellness Haul

I don’t know about you guys, but I love a good health haul. I’m always trying to incorporate healthier things and lately focusing on beauty products. The less toxins/industrial chemicals I’m exposed to the better, especially if I have control over what I buy and what it in them. I can’t always afford the fancy holistic brands, but somethings are worth the splurge or just making them yourself. Being healthy is never about extremes, but always about balance. So let’s jump into it.

The first items are from an online store called Mountain Rose Herbs (check them out here.) They are decently priced holistic store with all sorts of things from beauty products to bulk herbs and spices for medicinal or cooking properties. I really like this site and will probably order from them again, when I’m looking for specific ingredients that I can’t find in person. They seem pretty legit with high quality products, not anything borderline sketchy like you may find on Amazon…etc.

I picked up some Kelp Powder, Primal Pit Paste and Rhassoul Clay.

A little TMI for you, but recently I’ve been coming off of the pill/hormonal birth control and delving into the intriguing world of holistic female health and reproduction (of course I’m currently also learning about pregnancy, babies, etc in my college classes which is serendipitous for me.) With a bit of a weight gain over the summer as I have been off the pill I have been looking for ways to right my hormones and bring my body back into balance. I did a bit of digging on iodine in particular and most of the foods that contain higher amounts of iodine, I do not or cannot eat. Thus I thought to supplement with iodine as I might be deficient. Kelp, as you’ll see I bought some pill supplements as well as iodine drops, is a great source of iodine. I’ve noticed in the past, when I was consistently eating lots of nori for my homemade sushi wrappers and seaweed snacks that I was more balanced, less ravenously hungry and lower in weight.

A little science for you, the thyroid (located on the neck) is a butterfly shaped gland that is responsible for producing quite a lot of hormones for the body. Hormones are crucial for signaling and making the proper reactions/mechanisms occur. The main mineral the thyroid uses for this is iodine. So by supplementing with iodine, I can reasonably help my hormone balance for the whole body.

***Of course this is my own personal choice and unique for my body composition . I am studying to be a dietitian so I have the knowledge to supplement safely but am no way (yet) qualified to give advice on supplements. Always consult your doctor AND a registered dietitian before consuming supplements (especially herbs) since the entire supplement industry is NOT very regulated.

I picked up my Kelp Pills and the Iodine drops from my local Co’op. I’ve been adding the kelp powder to miso soup or sprinkled on rice or in a smoothie with spirulina. It is really strong and tastes like the sea, which I rather enjoy. I don’t use it every day, but switch between the 3. I put the drops in my water, but am careful not to overdo it, because just as low iodine is problematic so is an excess. Always balance.
DSCN1333 Now for the beauty buys.

I picked up some of this fancy Rhassoul Clay, the website said it was like spa grade which was intriguing. I have the benonite clay, which is much better for drawing impurities out, but can be a bit strong. This one I was hoping to use as more of a moisturizing mask, that is gentler. So far it is, I’ve only used it once with a bit of avocado oil and vegetable glycerine (which I also got from my local Co’op.) It is really fine, silky and decently priced.

After hearing Kassie from Cloudy Apples on YouTube (whom I adore) talk about Primal Pit Paste as one of the most effective, natural deodorants she’s tried, I was intrigued. It’s a bit pricey at $8-10 for either a jar or a stick but she was right. This stuff is awesome. The ingredients are amazing and it smells lovely (obviously I went for lavender.) You can get it through Mountain Rose Herbs or straight from their website, which you can find at http://primalpitpaste.com/. The ingredients are coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, arrowroot powder and essential oils. Thats it. How awesome it that? No parabens or aluminum clogging your pores. I may even try my hand at making this myself, so stay tuned for that although a very little (they recommend pea size for each armpit) goes a very long way. They also have a line of seasonal pumpkin products too.
DSCN1334 Another recommendation from Kassie was Thayers Witch Hazel as a toner for the skin, which I love so far and it smells amazing. I’ve taken to using this after taking my makeup off at night, but not in the morning.

I found this Hydrosol spray at my local Co’op and immediately need to have it. It’s from Verditas Botanicals, which is a new brand for me and is made with lavender. If you don’t know what a hydrosol is, it’s essentially flower water you spray to hydrate and refresh your skin, or for aromatherapy purposes. I love it. I always spray it before and after my makeup or through the day or before I go to bed. I may have started a little face spray collection on my makeup vanity, because I like these so much.

I’m not exactly sure what I can use Vegetable Glycerin for, but I was looking for moisturizing properties and plan to use it in masks for face and hair.DSCN1336 I’ve already touched on the kelp/iodine above.

This last purchase was one I’ve been contemplating for awhile now. I’ve heard about it, I’ve seen it, I’ve known people who love using it so I finally decided to bite the near $40 price tag and get it. There are other brands out there, if you are unfamiliar but The Diva Cup is a menstrual cup, you fold it a bit, pop it in and let it collect. It’s reusable, made of silicone and not going to impart any industrial chemicals into your delicate lady tissues that is arguably the controversy over conventional pad/tampons. If you have concerns about the bleached cotton and it’s effect on your body, I’d give this a try. Honestly, even if you’re not concerned about health/environmental impact of conventional menstrual products, try this.

Since it’s reusable (just boil in water after each cycle), you are saving A LOT of money. They recommend it for a year of use, so thats $40 a year for one thing, instead of buying tampons/pads every month. Smaller carbon footprint….saves money. So far, I really like this. It’s kinda weird at first and take some getting use to but I find it just as comfortable as a tampon AND it can be left in for up to 12 hours as well as holding much more than the average tampon. It also is leak proof, if you get it in right (which isn’t hard, just weird) because it creates a light suction.

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So here’s my little health and wellness haul, I hope you enjoyed!

Let me know if you have any wellness products you’ve found and loved in the comments.

Happy October little pumpkins!

Farmers Market Haul

Wee! I do love our Farmers Market and I thought I’d show you what I picked up. I did some delicious damage and I freely admit accidentally tickling by standers as I walked by trying to get my wallet back into my purse. Oops.DSCN1084 For Food:

I found these cool white patypan squash that have a destiny to be stuffed with mushrooms, bacon and tomatoes.

One GORGEOUS deeply purple eggplant

An assortment of multicolored cherry tomatoes. When it comes to tomatoes I feel the weirder looking the better tasting. As well as my firm belief that purple is the best flavor of all. Gimme those antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Some BEAUTIFUL donut peaches. I’d love to get my hands on some figs to make vegan ‘donuts.’

In the back there is a strange minty green colored melon. I have no idea what kind it is. I just had to have it from sheer strangeness.

I also got a lovely rosemary plant. Which upon further reflection…..I’m not entirely sure where in my tiny apartment it is going to live….but at least I had an extra pot. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs and apricot rosemary one of my favorite flavor combinations. Perhaps I will try peach and rosemary with the donut peaches. Yum.

For Beauty:

I picked up a few things from Sumptous Soaps. These have been a favorite of mine and I love seeing the new things.

First I got a Huckleberry Shampoo Bar, which I’m hoping will help cleanse my dry colored hair without stripping it’s oils or leaving it too greasy. The ingredients are Saponified coconut, palm, olive, castor and jojoba oils, shea butter, red 33, huckleberry fragrance, silk.

I also got some Lavender Ultimate Moisturizer. I love these moisturizers they are really intensely hydrating. This one included shea butter, jojoba oil and lavender essential oil.

Lastly I got a Refresh Body Spray which can be used as a deodorant. I’m all into natural deodorants and can tell you now I’ve stopped using conventional antiperspirants that I actually almost don’t even need anything it’s so mild. This includes water, polysorbate, grapefruit, lavendin, clary sage, tea tree and litsea oils.
DSCN1086 This is the potenially the most exciting purchase of the day. OMG guys it tastes SOOOOO GOOD!

Six-Mushroom WHITE TRUFFLE (truuuuufffffffflllllleeeess….yaaaaas) Balsamic Vinagarette.

Shut up.

Not to mention it is also Non GMO and Gluten Free. Get on my salad. Get on my steak. Get in my mouth. Yum.

I also found this cute booth that sold these pretty patterned no breakage hair ties. I’m sure we’ve all seen these by now but it was $5 for 6 ties which is pretty good compared to other prices. Plus they’re all in my favorite colors. I thing the pineapple may be my favorite. DSCN1087 DSCN1088 It’s no secret that I love peacock feathers. I have many decorating my apartment and these were freshly shed by the birdy owner for 6 for $5. Pretty: )DSCN1090

 

I was far too excited to use my Balsamic Vinaigrette so I whipped up a salad with the cherry tomatoes and some pistachio sheep cheese. Omnomnomnomnom.

August Favorites

Whoa, guys. I have A LOT of favorites this month. I did a horrendous amount of shopping over the summer, which is OK since I haven’t since like last Christmas but… the sticker shock is lingering. Even though it wasn’t out of my pocket. Thanks Mom. College student realities.

Anyway, let start with beauty favorites.DSCN1072

Lipsticks I’ve been loving: NYX Matte Lipstick in Spirit and NYX Round Case Lipstick in Thalia. I love NYX lip products. I think we know this by now but I think I’ve finally find shade ranges that I really dig. These have a pinky brown base instead of a peachy orange base, which I find looks much more flattering on my olivey yellow toned skin.

I’ve found an equally amazing affordable liquid liner to the Stilla Stay All Day liners in this Essence Liquid Eyeliner Pen. As far as felt tip liners go, this one gets the job done, doesn’t smudge and is nicely opaque black as well as easy to use. I think I like this one better than the Jordana Fabuliner, it’s a bit more thin in consistency, and glides on like a fraction better with sharper lines with more intense pigmentation. Either one is like under $5.

I’ve been adding the Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain Gloss in London Posh over some really purply brown lipstick shades and I love the effect. This is the lightest one in the range with a true peach tone. The consistency is like a glossier liquid lipstick, very pigmented, long wearing and hydrating. The only thing I will say is a little goes a long way and you need to give it some time to ‘set up’ and sort of distribute itself over your lips as your body heat meshes with the product. Otherwise it can seem gloopy and a bit off putting.

I’ve been hearing all about the Beauty Blender and it’s amazing powers of flawless, better than skin but still skin base perfecting powers. However, the Beauty Blender is like $20. Seriously, who wants to pay $20 on a tiny sponge? This Real Techniques Complexion Perfector Sponge is, happily like $5. I love the Real Techniques brushes and I think the Chapman sisters (who created the Real Techniques Line) have done a fabulous job of creating high quality with drugstore prices. Very accessible. I love this sponge. I just get it wet, wring out the excess and use it to bounce my foundation, concealer, cream blush/bronzer/highlight into my skin. It give a very natural finish and helps add extra hydration as well as picking up excess product. Love. DSCN1074 From Right to Left:

  • Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in London Posh
  • Essence Liquid Liner
  • NYX Round Case Lipstick in Thalia
  • NYX Matte Lipstick in Spirit

DSCN1075My next favorite is a pair of faux opal vintage studs that used to be my Mothers. I had them sitting in my bathroom on one of those cheesey flower shaped mesh earring holders that pre-teens always get from Claires (that was totally a younger me, no shame.) A part full of old crazy little studs like bananas and plain round studs encrusted with dust from ages past, these little beauties caught my eye and I had no idea why I haven’t taken them off before now to add to my regular jewelry stash. Needless to say, they have been a frequent addition to my ear lobes.

 

Now for the Home Favorites!
DSCN1079 There is an amazing bee farm outside of Idaho Falls called Browning Honey (if you’re in the area, do check them out.) They have amazing deals on REAL, raw honey as well as other honey based items in their shop. We left there with almost 2 GALLONS of raw creamed honey for less than $50. Amazing. I don’t need to go into the amazing, beneficial properties of honey, especially raw honey. Yum.

My other favorite, which I also got from Browning Honey is this gorgeous wooden cutting board. I’m not sure of the wood it’s made of but I love it.DSCN1080

My one style favorite of the month of August is this adorable I Hate Mondays Grumpy Cat Tee, which I got at Target. I love me some grumpy cat. I have a Halloween look for her, which you can check out in the archives but I’ve been living in this shirt. I is a guy’s shirt, so if you’re looking go to the men’s section. I find it to be unisexy and very comfy.

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My last and most exciting favorite is my Himalayan Salt Lamp, which I picked up for $20 at the Natural Grocers. Salt Lamps are said to give off negative ions when warmed by the light bulb inside that help cleanse the air of allergens as well as negate ions from electronics. I have mine artfully (I suppose) living on a stack of pretty hardback leather books next to my computer. It give off such a wonderful warm, comforting light and I find really helps ease my anxiety and make me feel calm and relaxed.DSCN1082 DSCN1083Happy August my little melted fudgecicles! Here’s to a super super senior year of college and another semester of learning!