Valentines for Him – Challenge Winners

Thank everyone who participated in the Valentine’s for Him Challenge. I had a great time. I really enjoyed reading your comments and ideas. It was really enlightening to learn what you do, what people in your lives prefer, and how you would change it up to fit your preferences.

I am thrilled to announce that I have three prizes. Yes, you read that correctly. There were three chances for you to win! I am also thrilled to announce the winners to this challenge. They are… (drum roll) Cecelia, bluebeaker and Kinky Witch!

For those of you who didn’t win this go around, don’t lose heart. We will have more challenges in the future and we hope you participate. We really love hearing your ideas and getting feedback. This means we can test and try things that interest our readers. Thank you for your participation and don’t for get Valentines. It is just around the corner!

Taylor

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Acai Superfruit Soap

With all the cold winter weather lately, you can be sure to find a warm cup of tea on my desk. As I was drinking a cup of Acai Green Tea from The Republic of Tea, I wondered what would happen if I used this tea in soap. Naturally I had to test this out. I decided to also use the Acai Butter for this soap because I thought it would be really cool to have both the Acai Green Tea and the Acai Butter in a soap. I decided that this soap needed just a little more of acai, so I decided to use the Acai & Mangosteen Fragrance Oil to scent the soap.

What can I say? Acai is inspiring!

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
Acai Butter
Sweet Almond Oil
Coconut Oil
Palm Oil
Sunflower Oil
Sodium Hydroxide
Water
Acai Green Tea bags from The Republic of Tea
Acai & Mangosteen Fragrance Oil
Equipment
Scale
Soap Spoon
Gloves
Mold of your choice (I used Dirk’s Guerrilla Soap Mold)
Immersion Blender
Time spent:
Weighing time: 8 minutes
Adding lye to Acai Green Tea: 20 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of stirring
Heating of oils time: 2 minutes
Pouring lye solution into the fat mixture: 15 seconds
Using immersion blender to mix soap solution: 3 minutes
Pour into mold: 10 seconds
Allow soap to rest: 24 hours
Recipe in ounces:
4 ounces Acai Butter
4 ounces Sweet Almond Oil
8 ounces Coconut Oil
8 ounces Palm Oil
8 ounces Sunflower Oil

2 Acai Green Tea bags from The Republic of Tea
12 fl oz water
2.25 oz Sodium Hydroxide

0.56 ounces Acai & Mangosteen Fragrance Oil

This soap took two days to make since I started making my tea as I would normally make it for drinking. I measured 13 oz of water and heated it until almost was boiling. This took about 2 minutes in my microwave. I removed the water from the microwave and added two tea bags to it. Most of the time you will want 1 bag or 1 teaspoon of tea for 6 ounces of water. You can always add a more tea for a stronger infusion if you would like.

As I was not going to drink this tea, I allowed the tea to steep for about 45 minutes. I wanted to be able to have a strong tea that was at room temperature. Due to my not so great timing the tea had cooled by the time the day had ended. I removed the teabags and then placed the tea in the refrigerator so I could come back the next day to make this soap.

First thing the next morning I removed the tea from the refrigerator and allowed it to come back to room temperature. I left the tea for about 90 minutes while it came back to room temperature. After the 90 minutes, I checked the temperature of the tea and it was warm enough that I could begin making soap.

Measure the fixed oils on your scale. Warm on the stove or in the microwave. I melted the fixed oils in the microwave. It took about 2 minutes in my microwave to melt all of the oils.

While the oils are melting in the microwave, add sodium hydroxide to the tea. Mix well. This will drastically change color, so don’t be alarmed. When I first added the sodium hydroxide to the tea, there was a color change to brown where the sodium hydroxide settled to the bottom. Then as I began mixing, the solution turned a rotten green and then brownish-orange! At this point, I started feeling as if this soap might actually be a bad idea. I decided since I had already mixed my lye solution and my oils were melted, that the only thing I could do was to continue making my soap.

Combine the fixed oils and lye solution. Stir until thin trace. For me, this took almost 2 minutes to reach the thin trace. I had to wonder about that because I felt like I was making a Castile soap just for the long time that this soap took to reach thin trace. At this point I added the fragrance and mixed well. Once the fragrance was completely mixed into the raw soap, I poured the soap into the Guerrilla Soap Mold. I allowed the soap to sit until was firm.

The next morning cut into bars. Stack to allow good air circulation. Allow to cure for several days before using. Longer curing will result in a harder bar.

Notes:
This soap was firm when I removed it from the mold after 24 hours. I sliced the soap into bars and was very surprised to find that the brown soap had light swirls in it. I was perplexed, so I wandered over to Technical Support to ask why.

It turns out that this will happen when the stearine parts of the oils (most likely from the Palm Oil) were not completely melted and mixed. The soap is poured into the mold with these parts making a swirl. While the soap loaf goes through gel phase and completes the saponification, these separate oil components turn to soap and leave a decorative swirl pattern to the soap. These swirls are easily seen when the rest of the soap is a darker color.

I’m glad to know that my soap is just fine. I asked if this was easily duplicated and to my surprise, I was told yes. When making a batch of soap, have lower temperatures that are around 110° F and add partially melted Palm Oil or sprinkle Beeswax into the soap, lightly mix and promptly pour into the mold. I think I’ll have to try this purposely to see if I can make a tutorial for that!

This soap smells awesome, so I would highly recommend giving trying the Acai & Mangosteen Fragrance Oil for your next batch of soap. Definitely a sweet and fruity way to enjoy a shower!

Tomorrow I’ll share the Blueberry Soap that I made right after this one. I think you will enjoy it!

Enjoy!

Completed soap.
Fixed oils are ready to be melted.
Completely brewed Acai Green Tea.
The Acai Green Tea after adding sodium hydroxide.
Stirring the lye solution.
Wow! What a color change!
The lye solution as it cools.

Adding the lye solution to the oils.

Mixing the raw soap.

Adding fragrance to the soap.
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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

What’s my phone number?

Have you ever been asked to share your phone number, address or other contact information and had your mind go blank?  After all, you don’t call YOURSELF!  The same thing happens around the global every minute, so don’t feel like you are alone.  You might feel like you need your morning coffee just to be alert enough to make the morning coffee!

Here are some thoughts we can share to make your day seem calmer and less chaotic.

Stop. Breathe. Review.

Why do we mention this? Most often it is because we receive daily returns of email order confirmations. What does this mean? It means that some soul out there doesn’t get an email confirmation of their order with Majestic Mountain Sage. ACK! It is also a daily event to get a phone call from someone saying “Would you review what is on my order? I didn’t get an email confirmation and I didn’t print a copy either.” The order could have been placed 10 minutes ago or 2 days ago, it doesn’t matter because the results are the same: Life is so chaotic we can’t remember the last time we were able to….. complete a thought.

So, before you decide to get an IV hookup to administer caffeine all day long, let’s find a way to reduce your stress and daily clutter.

Stop.
This means turn off the TV, hang up the phone, answer the children and close the door for 1 minute of silence before you make any decision or click “submit.”

Breathe.
This means focus on your breathing and allow your mind to slow. Our brains can out-think computers if we give them a chance.

Review.
This means double check your triple checks. Say your shipping/billing/email address one character at a time. You will catch the times you write sbcglboal.net instead of sbcglobal.net, comcast.com instead of comcast.net, ao;.com instead of aol.com.

If you need a cup of tea to go along with these suggestions, send me a note through the Contact Us page and select Community Pursuits. Send your address and the types of teas you like (if you have a preference) and we’ll send you a tea packet from our collection, a MMS note card, and our own postage cancellation. It will be a surprise for your mailbox! You can send in the address for a friend and we’ll send her a tea bag and a note (tell us what to write in your message or we’ll create a message on our own).

Your address will only be used for this purpose and then deleted from our email so don’t think you will get junk mail thereafter because we sold your data. We don’t do that.

To prevent a misunderstanding or inadvertent posting of your address, I am going to close comments on this post.

Enjoy the calm and the tea!

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Valentine’s for Him – Soap

We are almost done with our Valentine’s for Him themed week. Don’t let Valentine’s get away from you this year! It is just around the corner!

Most men are one product type of guys. They like things quick and easy. In some ways, they present a challenge for us. They also inspire quick, multi-purpose and single use products. I wanted a firm bar that lathered well. I also wanted to add something that would keep his hair and skin healthy and soft.

I used Coconut Oil, Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil as the backbone for this recipe. These oil create nice firm bars with excellent and rich lather. I also added Shea Butter to my recipe. It softens, moisturizes and smooths to create luscious hair. This soap just might make you look for more excuses to run your fingers through his hair.

I used Almond Milk in this soap. I made fresh Almond Milk using the SoyaPower Plus Soy Milk Maker.

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
21 oz wt Coconut Oil
25 oz wt Palm Oil
32.75 oz wt Palm Kernel Oil
5.25 oz wt Shea Butter, Refined

16 fl oz Water
16 fl oz Almond Milk
12.25 oz wt lye (sodium hydroxide)

1 fl oz Citrus & Basil Fragrance Oil

Equipment
Scale
Soap Spoon
Gloves
Soap Bucket
Jars
Rubbermaid Drawer Organizer #2915
Immersion Blender
Goggles
Spoon
Time spent:
Weighing time: 8 minutes
Adding lye to water: 15 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of stirring
Heating of oils time: 90 seconds
Pouring lye solution into the fat mixture: 15 seconds
Using immersion blender to mix soap solution: 90 seconds
Pour into mold: 10 seconds
Allow soap to rest: 24 hours
Recipe in Percentages
16.24% Coconut Oil
19.34% Palm Oil
25.33% Palm Kernel Oil
4.06% Shea Butter, Refined12.37% Water
12.37% Almond Milk
9.47% Lye (sodium hydroxide)

.77% Citrus & Basil Fragrance Oil

Measure oils on your scale. Heat your oils until they are liquid. In a separate container, add the sodium hydroxide to the water. Stir well. Combine the oils and lye solution. Blend until you reach a light trace. Add the Almond Milk and the Citrus & Basil Fragrance Oil. Blend well. Pour the soap into molds. Allow the soap to sit until firm. Cut into bars and allow to cure. Longer curing will result in a harder bar.

Taylor

Finished Soap
Finished Soap
Weighing Oils
Adding Lye to Water
Stirring Lye Solution
Adding Lye Solution to Oils
Mixing Soap
Adding Milk and Fragrance Oil

Soap in Mold
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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Valentine’s for Him – Lotion

I wanted a lighter lotion so the man in your life can slather it on and go. I have found most men prefer a light lotion that they can apply then ignore. This is a perfect recipe! Now your hubby can have a lotion he can apply and then go back to work. It doesn’t matter if he is an office guy or an outdoors guy. Scent as your guy enjoys!

I wanted a light lotion so I tried to formulate using light to mid-weight oils. I wanted an almost delicate lotion whose presence could be ignored by your man so he can go on with his day. I added Pumpkin Seed Extract because it softens and treats dull and dry skin. It really rejuvenates and heals the skin for a healthy appearance and feel. I also just had to add Tamanu Oil. It has fabulous healing properties and it smells great. Its nutty aroma blends so well with many masculine scents. Mmn. Who knew great skin could smell so good?

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
Stearic Acid
Emulsifying Wax
Sodium Lactate
Coconut Oil Fractions
Evening Primrose Oil
Pumpkin Seed Extract
Tamanu Oil
Macadamia Nut Oil
Vitamin E Acetate
Squalane

Water, Distilled
Optiphen
Bay Rum Fragrance Oil

Equipment
Microwave safe container for weighing ingredients
Scale
Transfer Pipettes
Spoons
Containers for the finished products (I will be using 8 fl oz low profile jars.)
Recipe in Grams
7 grams Stearic Acid
20 grams Emulsifying Wax
10 grams Sodium Lactate
45 grams Coconut Oil Fractions
10 grams Evening Primrose Oil
5 grams Pumpkin Seed Extract
5 grams Tamanu Oil
5 grams Macadamia Nut Oil
2 grams Vitamin E Acetate
2 grams Squalane

380 grams Water, Distilled
3.75 grams Optiphen
2.5 grams Bay Rum Fragrance Oil

Recipe in Percentages
1.4% Stearic Acid
4% Emulsifying Wax
2% Sodium Lactate
9% Coconut Oil Fractions
2% Evening Primrose Oil
1% Pumpkin Seed Extract
1% Tamanu Oil
1% Macadamia Nut Oil
.4% Vitamin E Acetate
.4% Squalane

76.4% Water, Distilled
.7% Optiphen
.5% Bay Rum Fragrance Oil

Heat all ingredients except for Optiphen and Bay Rum Fragrance Oil until liquid. Blend well. Allow the solution to cool to less than 120 F. Add the Optiphen and Bay Rum Fragrance Oil. Mix well. Pour into containers and label.

Taylor

Finished Lotion

Weighing Steric Acid
Weighing Oils
Adding Water
Blending the Lotion

Filling Jars
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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Valentines for Him – Body Mist

Every man needs to have a body mist. These are great to be used at the gym, work, travel or when getting ready in the morning. I will be using Bay Rum Fragrance Oil. I think it is a great scent that is appropriate for every occasion!

Now remember, this is a dry oil spray so he can apply it right out of the shower without being left oily or greasy. You can take the opportunity to give him a quick (or not so quick) massage in the morning. What a great ritual as you both get ready for your day!

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
Cyclomethicone
Bay Rum Fragrance Oil
Equipment
Small Transfer Pipettes
1 oz Amber Glass Bottle
Bottles (I used the 1 oz Clear PET Cylinder Bottles, Size 20 with the Black Spray Head, Size 20.)
Recipe for Cologne in Percentages:
1% Bay Rum Fragrance Oil
99% Cyclomethicone
Recipe for Cologne in Milliliters for 2 fl oz:
0.6 mL Bay Rum Fragrance Oil
59.4 mL Cyclomethicone

Add ingredients to bottle. Cap and shake. Label. Now the cologne is ready to give! How simple is that? Now you can spend your time doing better, more enjoyable things! Have a great time!

Note: You can also make this using Everclear. However, this can not be shipped due to the alcohol content and we suggest that you use it for personal use only. If you do decide to use Everclear instead of Cyclomethincone, you will use the same percentages listed here.

Taylor

Collect items.
Collect items.
Trim the tube to fit the bottle.
Trim the tube to fit the bottle.
Fill the bottle with Cyclomethicone.
Fill the bottle with Cyclomethicone.
Add fragrance oil to the bottle.
Add fragrance oil to the bottle.
Shake the bottle to mix fragrance and cyclomethicone.
Shake the bottle to mix fragrance and cyclomethicone.

Finished spray waiting for labels.
Finished spray waiting for labels.
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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Valentines for Him – Shower Tablet

I just loved Andee’s Shower Tablets and I thought that they would be great for your special man!

Many men love the scent of anise. What a great way for your sweetie to have an enjoyable shower without smelling like anise all day! These shower tablets are also great for scents that your honey loves that don’t particularly move you. What a great compromise!

Ingredients
12 ounces Baking Soda
6 ounces Citric Acid
2 ounces Cornstarch

20 drops of Chinese Star Anise Essential Oil
1.5 ounces Distilled Water in a spray bottle

Equipment
Container for weighing ingredients
Scale
Transfer Pipettes
Spoons
Molds

Mix the dry ingredients together. I am using a bag because it reduces cleaning and dust. Add the Chinese Star Anise Essential Oil. Mix well. Spritz water in your bag until it is moist. If you want any color, you can spritz it in with your water. Press into molds. Allow to dry and remove from the molds. Package in a bag. Enjoy!
Taylor

Finished Shower Tablet
Weighing Ingredients
Adding Essential Oil

Spooning into Mold
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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Water and Sun are Wonderful!

I found an article about University of Washington students created a way to determine if drinking water is correctly sterilized for drinking.  I’ve giving you a few links to read and watch. My first link is to PC World but some of their links were broken or didn’t result in what I felt made a better article. Great picture though!

I loved the quick text and VIDEO on King5.com regarding this device and the students who created it.

The official site of the invention and inventors is PotaVida.org. You can read more there.

I hope they get these produced soon. What a wonderful gift to the whole world!

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Winter Amazing

I was reading a few news sites and came up with a few things I would like to share. FoxNews had a report of 7 ways to Avoid the Winter Funk. You can read the article for yourself here: 7 Ways to Avoid. I found the report interesting and I would like to add a few points. After reading these items, please comment about what you think should also have been a point in this article. The article points are:
7. Stay hydrated
6. Start reading
5. Find a winter sport
4. Change your diet
3. Get a cool new winter coat
2. Take public transportation or car pool
1. Wake up early

I would like to add the following:
8. Find a network group. – When socializing it is much harder to feel the winter is pulling you down if you can work with a group of people who are laughing, finding ways to be happy and pulling you UP. It is also easier to be happy when you must pretend, pretty soon the pretend flows over and becomes truth. Don’t stay with a group that gossips or pulls you down, you need to hang out with the beautiful people (people who are beautiful in their thoughts, intentions and actions).
9. Do something for others. – I find that doing something for other people, especially those who may not be able to do for themselves at that particular time, is very heartwarming. This boost in feel good endorphins can be long lasting. A helpful site for boosting the day of all people who find your secret notes is Operation Beautiful.
10. What would YOU put here?

If the winter blahs, icks, blues, or funk is in your life, let’s turn it around by being beautiful, giving, healthy, and smart. Please add to this list and we can make it a round of 10 Things to do in the Winter.

Did you know, the Winter Solstice is one of my favorite days of the whole year? It is a turning point for our resting Mother Earth to turn and give us more light in the morning and evening, it is a sign of good things are coming in the future.

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Valentine’s for Him – Lip Balm

Ahh! Valentines is just around the corner! I thought it would be great to do a week on possible gifts you can give the special man in your life for Valentines Day.

Now ladies, let’s all just admit it. We all like his lips to be soft and kissable. Rough lips just do not work. I have found that most men prefer a more firm lip balm. No problem. No more chapped lips from his time outside!

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
Soy Butter
Beeswax
Castor Oil
Lanolin
Shea Butter, Unrefined
Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Lemon Essential Oil, Argentina
Equipment
Microwave safe container for weighing ingredients
Scale
Transfer Pipettes
Spoons
Containers for the finished products (I’m using the White Lip Balm Tubes and White Lip Balm Tube Caps.)

Recipe:

Recipe in ounces for 50 tubes
2.82 ounces Soy Butter
2.42 ounces Beeswax
2.82 ounces Castor Oil
0.50 ounces Lanolin
1.51 ounces Shea Butter, Unrefined
0.15 ounces Lemon Essential Oil, Argentina
0.15 ounces Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Recipe in grams for 50 tubes
79.8 grams Soy Butter
68.4 grams Beeswax
79.8 grams Castor Oil
14.3 grams Lanolin
42.8 grams Shea Butter, Unrefined
4.25 grams Lemon Essential Oil, Argentina
4.25 grams Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Recipe in Percentages
28% Soy Butter
24% Beeswax
28% Castor Oil
5% Lanolin
15% Shea Butter, Unrefined
To be added after:
1.5% Lemon Essential Oil, Argentina
1.5% Sugar Baby Flavor Oil

Weigh all ingredients except the Lemon Essential Oil, USA and Sugar Baby Flavor Oil into your microwave safe container. Microwave in short bursts until all ingredients are melted. The beeswax will take the most time to melt, but if you stir the lip balm after the other oils have been heated, it will melt quickly. Once the mixture is melted, add the Lemon Essential Oil and Sugar Baby Flavor Oil. Stir until all of the flavor has been incorporated. Fill tubes or jars. Allow the lip balm to cool. Label. Enjoy!

Taylor

Finished Lip Balm
Weighing Oils
Weighing Flavors
Melting Oils
Adding Flavors to Lip Balm
Ready to pour into Lip Balm Tray

Pouring Lip Balm Mixture
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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)