coffee and coconut oil sugar scrub

It’s 8pm on a Wednesday and I’m sitting here with my stalker – I mean cat – in my pajamas, with a lovely blue-gray mud mask on my face. It’s pretty great, actually.

I’ve been using these Que Bella masks for a couple months (get’em at Target, 8 out of 10 hermits prefer Target to other stores). Probably tried them all but I haven’t chosen a favorite yet. The one I’m using right now is the Repairing Charcoal Mud Mask…it makes my eyes water somethin’ fierce but it’s only for the first 3 minutes of a 15 minute mask. While I waited for the mask to dry I decided to exfoliate/moisturize my hands…which I do a couple times a week…it’s super easy, so I figured I’d give you the “recipe.”

When I do this stuff I’m really messy so I always change into an old shirt before I start. I mix everything together in my tiny kitchen and apply the scrub to my hands over the sink. I don’t recommend using this scrub in the shower, it’s oily and things could get slick in there if you know what I mean. Safety first! I also feel this scrub is too abrasive for the face so stick to using it on your pretty little hands.

The Mix: Combine equal parts sugar and coffee grounds. About 4 tablespoons, each, should do (I prefer damp, used grounds to dry…whatever you prefer is fine), add 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and 2 or 3 drops of sweet orange essential oil. This mixture is soupy, if you like it more dry add more dry stuff or less wet stuff. I’m not very scientific about it, to be honest.

Apply mixture to hands and massage gently. I do about 2 minutes per hands then rinse with warm water. Dry hands and apply your moisturizer. I use this lotion (yes, it’s for babies…if you met me you’d agree it makes sense because I am a giant baby). The scent is decent, although I would prefer it to be unscented. Burt’s Bees has an unscented lotion that I’ve used forever, I love it. I prefer to use baby lotion because my skin is sensitive and this one’s free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, sulfates and it’s not tested on animals. If I’m not using baby lotion I’m using straight shea butter, cocoa butter or coconut oil. Nothin’ fancy. ♡

This is about as wild as it gets for me on a Wednesday. How about you? Do you practice self care during the week or do you reserve these kinds of things for the weekends?

wild, wondrous and worthy

wild-wondrous-worthy©MOTHANDBLOOM.COM

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

“A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.”

Did you know?
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S….43.8 million, or 18.5%…experiences mental illness in a given year.

Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S….9.8 million, or 4.0%…experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. 

Whether you are aware of it or not we come in contact with people dealing with mental health issues every day…your neighbor, coworker, cashier at Publix…me. I write often about anxiety, empathy, coping, mental wellness and the human condition…did you know that I am one of the 1 in 5 adults living with mental illness?

The average person deals with a multitude of stressors, hardships, and difficulties, yet not all of them are mentally ill. How can we tell the difference? Should we be afraid of the mentally ill? Why do some people choose to take medication while others do not? How do you know if you are mentally ill or really just “terrible at life”?

First things first…you are NOT terrible at life…if you feel you may have a mental illness, see a behavioral health specialist and/or a psychiatrist. Depending on your situation you may do really well with talk therapy and not need medication or you might try a combination of both. I’m not a doctor so I can’t say what’s right for you. My best advice about doctors is if you don’t find a person you are completely comfortable with then keep looking, there are some really great professionals out there…and there’s some not so great ones…when it comes to mental health (all health) concerns you have to be your own advocate and speak up when something isn’t working. Speak up and make sure they hear you!

As for the questions you may have about those of us living with mental illness, they are a lot harder to answer. Mental illness operates on a spectrum…and we all fall in somewhere on that spectrum. There can be coexisting conditions, and mental illnesses can improve or get worse…or even seem to go “dormant.” Some people go years without an episode, and just as suddenly find themselves in a psychosis. What I’m trying to say is there’s a lot of layers to mental illness. If you care about someone, and want to get to know them, tell them you care and ask them about their diagnosis. The tricky part about that is it’s really difficult to talk about mental illness with “new” people. There’s still so much stigma surrounding mental illness that people will downplay their struggle or go as far as pretending to be “normal” until they’re alone or with people they feel are “safe.”

Sound exhausting? Yeah, it really is.  So exhausting that we avoid people and places and isolate ourselves when we don’t feel strong enough to keep up the facade.

I’ve always felt my slightly overdeveloped sense of empathy comes from living with or around mental illness. My Father was manic depressive but diagnosed very late in his life (around 50) which means I was exposed to all the terrible things that can happen when mental illness is left unchecked; self-medication, risky behaviors, instability, conflict, violence, abuse – a lot of suffering.

Awareness has come a long way since the 90’s but we have to do better; be better humans and let people know that just because they live with a mental illness it doesn’t mean they’re broken, fundamentally unlovable, or lost – and they definitely don’t have to go through it alone. ♡

If you want to learn more on this topic go to nami.org and here’s some books by Jenny Lawson that have helped me cope with my own mental illness:
Furiously Happy
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

credits:
Artwork © Aimee McEwen. Personal use only. Not for commercial use.
Photo: Alisa Anton   Mental Health Statistics via nami.org
If shared, please link back to this post.

printable memos

hello-Mothers-Day-mothandbloom

Here’s some printable 5″x7″ memo pads, or note sheets if you prefer. I designed them to coordinate with the Mother’s Day card I’ll be sending up to my Momma in New York. The pads I put together are 50 sheets and there’s actually 4 different designs; one to-do list(lined), a notes page(also lined), then two separate note sheets(unlined). All you need to do is download the PDF, print (8.5×11 paper) and trim on the marks provided.  If you’re a Birchbox fan(atic), like me, you can use one of their decorative boxes to house the loose sheets. More specifically, the lids of the pretty boxes that Birchbox sends their goodies in are perfect for these 5″x7″ size sheets:

note-sheets-MOTHANDBLOOM

I got my padding compound here, if you want to try it out. It lasts forever. Oh and I use a chipboard back on my pads but you can use any card stock or even cut down a cereal box if you prefer upcycling.

Here’s what Mom’s card looks like this year. It’s 18″ x 6″ and z-folds to 6″ x 6″ square. ♡

MOM-CARD-2017-2

Click here to download the printable memos.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day! I’ll most likely being celebrating with my furry babies and eating gelato, probably…maybe I’ll work a nap in there somewhere.

credits:
Artwork © Aimee McEwen. Personal use only. Not for commercial use.
If shared, please link back to this post.

Essential Oils Quick Reference Guide

About two years ago I started working on this “quick” reference guide for essential oils when I was  just beginning to try out aromatherapy for my anxiety issues. Click below to download/view the PDF. It’s for newbies like me that are curious to see what benefits/properties of certain essential oils. I use the basic essential oils (sweet orange, rosemary, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, patchouli, geranium, lemon) at home in homemade cleaning products, body scrubs, treatments and I bought a neat little diffuser that has a USB connection. You add just a few drops of essential oil to distilled water, plug it into your computer and off you go.

Please, if you download the guide, read all warnings and considerations on page 2. Thanks!

click to download/view PDF

credits:
Artwork and Essential Oils Quick Reference Guide PDF © Aimee McEwen. Not for commercial use. Personal use only. If shared, please link back to this post.

always & forever

TheLovelies

I am not very fancy. I like simple, unfussy things and tend to stick to using only a few products (for, like, ever).

Sometimes I do branch out and try new products. Above are a few examples of things that have now become “faves”. Like I said, nothing fancy…just simple and pretty…

1. Rifle Paper Co. Temporary Tattoos  (caution: may be habit forming)
You get 8 total tattoos in this pack and they each last about 4-5 days. Of all the Tattly temporary tattoos, the Rifle Paper Co. are the prettiest. I really enjoyed these, especially the scripts.

2. Rifle Paper Co. iPhone Case
I actually have the Rose Gold 5S iPhone case (not the 6 shown). I love how the subtle modern floral design looks on the metallic pink. I’ve dropped my phone a bit too and this case did its job.

3. Essie Nail Polish in Mademoiselle
This is a perfect nude pink. Two coats plus a clear coat gives me an almost-french-manicure look. Best part is chips are barely noticeable. Generally, I use this on my hands and then a bright red on my toes (like Essie-Lollipop).

4. Burt’s Bees – Baby Bee, Nourishing Lotion
Using this everywhere. Firstly because it’s great for sensitive skin and secondly, it’s 99% natural. BIG plus is that it’s fragrance free which means I can add my own essential oil to it (1-2 drops in a separate container). That’s about as fancy as I get, people.

5. Badger Balm – Tangerine & Rosemary Stress Soother
This is my latest favorite. Been having anxiety attacks a bit more suddenly lately. I can’t tell you whether this balm is truly therapeutic or a placebo effect – all I know is it helps me calm down and that’s really all that matters.

Of course with the current state of my hair (long, curly and out of control) I’ve got a pretty regular wash, condition, mask, serum and creme protocol I guess I could outline for you in a future post. I also have a wee bit of a lip balm habit (not sure if “habit” is the right word) I misplace my lip balm, so I buy a new one THEN I find the one I lost…

It’s a vicious cycle, really.

* not a sponsored post

5 tips for taking better pet pics

IMG_4128No, I’m not a professional pet photographer (yet!) but I have learned a few things along the way about composing a shot, lighting, and worked out at least a third of the settings on my “good” camera to be able to share a few tips with you on how to take better pictures of your pet; the kind of pictures that someday you might put into a memory book. Because let’s face it, our furry friends are with us for a very short time and when they do leave us, these photos will provide comfort and help us to remember the details that can fade with time.

Tip #1: Get down.

As cute as your furball of joy is, an aerial view is never going to be their most flattering angle. Is there more scenery than actual pet in the shot? Are they straining to look up at you? Taking a photo from above tends to “flatten” your subject (which is less interesting). So, unless your dog’s spots come together to form a heart when they are curled up and napping…

(case in point, my BFF’s beagle)

scout-the-dog…get down on the floor or simply kneel and let their personality shine through in your shots with either direct or indirect eye contact.

Tip #2: Engage your pet.

Find a way to get their attention (like with a toy, word, or treat) that will interest them but not make them completely freak out. Curious pets have the most expressive faces. With my pets the word “treat” is pretty effective, since they all know they won’t get the treat until they sit and pay attention. Toys have never worked for them; as soon as they see the objet d’estruction they are almost immediately out of frame.

Tip #3: Pay attention to what’s behind them.

Okay, this is a fussy thing of mine (almost typed “pet peeve”, almost). If you plan on taking pictures (as opposed to a spontaneous point and shoot) I suggest tidying up a little first. Gym bag, dirty socks, vacuum cleaners, crazy potted plants, a gaggle of electrical cords, a human foot (relax, it’s still attached to a human, probably)… don’t despair if the TV or any other undesirables make their way into the picture. You can almost always crop the photo to bring the attention back to your subject. Another way to “calm down” a photo with a busy background is to make it black and white. And, if you still have a damn time stamp going on in the bottom right corner of your photos… turn that option off, it’s taking up valuable real estate!

Tip #3 Zoom in, like, wayyy in.

Before I get into this one, keep in mind that these “tips” are just things that I try to incorporate into my pet’s brief photo seshes and I’m not assuming that ALL your pictures aren’t already adorable / amazing / sweet / casual / honest depictions of your pets. If you find these tips silly or overindulgent “it’s just a dog/cat/bunny/lizard/ferret, who cares?” you probably took a wrong turn somewhere on the internet and will want to exit stage left. I’m not obsessed with my pets (much), but I do treat them as family (sometimes better, unfortunately) and they are my “children”. That said, many of these tips will also work when taking pictures of children, not that pets are THE SAME as children. Who would EVER say that?

(awkward silence)

Right then, on to tip #3… get nostalgic with me for a moment. You know how you can almost remember what your puppy’s breath smelled like or how green your first cat’s eyes were? These details can get a little fuzzy as we age (no pun, intended). So, take pictures of what you love about your pet, their quirky qualities, their crazy spots or stripes, all their specialness. Take pictures of how awfully sorry they were when they destroyed an entire package of toilet paper or how happy they were when they pulled nearly all the stuffing out of the futon. Yeah…

Tip #4: Natural light = actual magic.

We all love pictures of cats with “laser eyes” but you can’t beat natural light. Shooting in natural, indirect (or filtered) sunlight really does a lot of the hard stuff for you: punches up the color, highlights details, shows you interesting angles, and it can make everything just a tad more heavenly-ish-esque…

Tip #5: Action!

If your camera has a sports mode, use it (it looks like a little running stick figure guy). Taking pictures of a moving target is hard. I’ve learned the best way to keep it fun (and brief) is to take pictures of my little minions in sports mode, that way if something cute happens (or your 15 year old cat actually looks at the camera) you won’t miss it. Plus, you can make silly animated gifs later on…

happy-birthdayLastly, don’t take all this stuff too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun!

images © Aimee McEwen
If shared, please link back to this post.

no peeking!

PrintHere we are in the first week of December and I have so many ideas in my brain right now for DIY projects and the blog and the shop and, and, and…I could BUST! TOO MANY IDEAS, TOO LITTLE TIME.

But don’t you worry about me… I’ve at least got these printable gift tags ready for you. There’s a red and a green version. Download and print them on cover weight paper (both sides), trim, fold (short side, top), hole punch, add ribbon, twine, or string. Once the tag is folded down you could snip off the top corners at an angle, that’d be cute. Spray glitter is my new favorite embellishment. I would spray the heck outta these. I’m spraying EVERYTHING WITH GLITTER THIS YEAR!

Print

Click here to download your printable PDF.

I’m taking one day at a time this month. Doing my best to complete at least one festive project (either personal or for the shop or the blog) each night. Oh, and of course there are some new printables available in the shop right now. If you use coupon code FALALA10 you’ll get 10% off your order.

Merry, happy, falala, and all that…

credits:
Artworks © Aimee McEwen. Not for commercial use. Personal use only.
If shared, please link back to this post.

skill sharing

Coley_Christine_CatalanoHey! So, I signed up for Skillshare… almost 3 weeks ago.

Total classes taken: 0

This is NOT a reflection on Skillshare. It IS a reflection on how much time I spend doing other things like walking the dog, petting the dog, chasing the dog, yelling at the dog while he is chasing the cat, cleaning the dog’s ears, taking pictures of the dog and/or cat, sleeping (dog on bed), working out, planning / prepping/ chopping/ portioning food for my Whole30 (dog watches), and putting glitter (mostly) on my nails.

Yup.

So, for the month of JUNE… I’ll MAKE TIME for actual Skillshare classes. One class a week(end). My birthday is in June and I’m doing a few other things for myself (mostly, upping the HAPPY QUOTIENT).

Anyone that wants to pay attention to my VERY NEEDY dog while class is in session, email me. Oh yeah and Skillshare has a free trial (7 days) and to become a member it’s only $9.95 a month. Not too shabby, eh?

credits:
image via

lil’ fox cake update!

Since sharing my Little Fox Cake in 2012 it has been pinned over a hundred times (that I know of). But, since moving my blog and the way Pinterest works (some images have dead links or are not credited at all) I decided to refresh the template/tutorial with more pin – friendly images and an apology for anyone that couldn’t find my original blog post to download the tutorial. SORRY!!

On my version of the Fox Cake I’ve used coconut, and cookie crumbs for the “furry parts” but I’ve seen where people have just piped the orange and brown areas and then used coconut for the white areas. SUPER CUTE! Or another fox inspired cake I saw used toasted coconut for the “orange” areas. It’s a more natural look, I love it.

Click Here to download a printable PDF. The diagrams are actual size when you use 8″ round cake pans. Or scroll down for images/instructions.

lil-fox-cake-2 lil-fox-cake-3 lil-fox-cake-4

This is how my first lil’ fox turned out (pardon the foil).

lilfoxcakeAnd here is how the second cake turned out (made it for a birthday party)

fox-cakeHave fun, and if you make a lil’ fox cake send me  pic and I’ll add it to this post!

credits:
Tutorial and picture ©Aimee McEwen. If shared, please link back.

happy heart

I’ve got another free THANK YOU card printable for you!

tysampleWhat do you get?
This printable download includes 3 items: a folding card (fits A7 envelope), and 2 coordinating A7 envelope liners.

THANK YOU CARD PRINTABLE

Have a sweet weekend!

credits:
Artworks © Aimee McEwen. Not for commercial use. Personal use only.
If shared, please link back to this post.