Sunday, June 28, 2009

enjoy NOW

Here is today's "tea fortune" - what I find to be a more fun version of a fortune cookie - from the tag of a Yogi Tea bag:

"Whatever you are doing now is the most beautiful thing."

What a great reminder!

This weekend has been quite busy. I spent most of my time at home, sorting, cleaning, organizing... and somewhere in between, doing work for my online class. I'm getting a lot out of this class, but for the record, I would say it's at least 50% more work than being in a "live" class. And in all honesty, I haven't been feeling very "yogic" these days.

So I took a break and had a cup of tea. With sudden inspiration, I decided to work on a little project: hand cream!

I started with an 8-ounce tub of 100% pure shea butter from this market, for $8. I thought it was a great deal, though perhaps not the most attractive. Not that it had to be, but it was a mass of white, lumpy... stuff, for lack of a better word. However, shea butter is a really effective, natural moisturizer, and a little bit goes a long way. I work in a hospital and wash my hands so many times during the day, and in the evenings I like to cook/bake, so my hands end up feeling like the Sahara sometimes.

Anyway. I thought I could make it just a little bit more fancy with ingredients I have at home. I set up my makeshift double boiler, which is nothing more than a medium saucepan of gently simmering water reaching about an inch or so, and a heatproof bowl (I use Pyrex) that fits right on top of the saucepan, with the water not touching the bottom of the bowl.

I dumped all the shea butter into the Pyrex bowl, and let the steam from the water melt the shea butter gently. I used a spatula to break up the large lumps and stir it occasionally. Then when it was in liquid form, I added about a quarter cup (maybe a bit more...this is just a "guesstimate") of extra virgin olive oil and some extra virgin cold-pressed coconut oil. I decided to add the coconut oil because it is solid at room temperature, so I thought it would help the mixture set better.

And since I love all things lavender, I added several drops of lavender essential oil--enough for me to catch a whiff of it, but not too much that it becomes overpowering.

I breathed in the relaxing scent of lavender... aaaah.

I reflected on my "tea fortune" again.

"Whatever you are doing now is the most beautiful thing." And really, this can apply to anything - even mundane things like washing dishes, or the laundry. Ugh. I am reminded of the rising pile in my laundry basket. Okay, maybe not the laundry.

But back to my project. I just gave the mixture a gentle stir, then strained it through a fine mesh strainer (as natural shea butter may have some small dark particles in it from the nut) it as I poured it into small jars with tight-fitting lids, and placed them in the refrigerator to set.

That's how the mixture looks in liquid form, above, in the little containers. I wish I had fancier glass jars, but I happened to have those travel-size containers (probably from the dollar store).

I couldn't believe how easy it was!

I've been using it frequently today. It's lightweight, and absorbs easily into the skin... and it smells divine! I won't be using store-bought hand cream for a really long time.

Maybe next time I'll try different scents. I wonder if my bergamot essential oil would work well. Or vanilla....mmmm.

Until then, back to work...

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