Wellness Community Member: Stacy Karen, Holistic Health Practitioner and Natural Skin Care Creator

Stacy Karen back and white headshotLet me introduce myself:
I’m Stacy Karen, a Holistic Health Practitioner, hobby herbalist, and natural skin care creator. Born and raised in Australia, I currently live in the USA with my husband and three kids.
This is what wellness means to me:
To me, wellness is creating space for the mind, body, and spirit to function optimally so we can become the best version of ourselves. It’s not about wanting to live forever or looking healthy on the outside, it takes into account our entire being, encompassing our inner and outer life as well as our living environment. When we live in wellness, we have the wonderful opportunity to develop our full potential and do the things most important to us.
I contribute to the wellness community by:
I strive to help women simplify wellness so they can create a healthy lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed. I do this through my website, courses, and ebooks, as well as hosting classes online and in my local community.
One item I cannot live without is:
I hate to say my phone, but it’s one tool that makes it very easy to stay in touch with my family back home in Australia. Maintaining those relationships is extremely important to me and I am thankful my phone provides a method for me to do that without a lot of complication.
I practice self care by:
Walking outside! It’s so simple, but it works wonders! A walk outside helps lift my spirits, makes my body feel good, and aids me in working through problems or making plans. If I take a friend or family member along, it’s a great opportunity for conversation too.
This is how I keep my wellness simplified:
Once I find something that works well for me and my family, I aim to stick with it and not continue to research endlessly for other options.
I have spent my fair share of time on Dr. Google and it can be a huge rabbit hole full of anxiety and confusion. It’s not that I don’t consider other options when they present themselves, but I am learning to let go and move on in order to release the mental tension and decision fatigue that comes with over-thinking. Embracing good-enough is a healthier way for me to live rather than striving for the perfection I once did.
This is what motivates me:
My kids. I want to be a good example for them and strive to demonstrate how to be a good steward of the health and resources we’ve been given. I also want to stay in optimal health in order to continue to enjoy life alongside them and stay around long enough to see what they decide to do with their own future.
Learn more about me on:
Instagram @NoFussNatural
Facebook @NoFussNatural
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Soak It All In With DIY Herbal Bath Bombs

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Bath bombs are a great alternative to bubble bath, which is often laced with dyes, perfumes, SLS and parabens.  As you soak in a bath, your skin is absorbing what is in your bath water, so you might want to ensure you are using only natural, chemical-free ingredients.

Baking soda fizzes in water, so as you drop a ‘bomb’ into the bath, it fizzes up in a sort of bubbly explosion, releasing all of it’s wonderful ingredients.

In these I used

  • baking soda: is alkaline and soothes irritated skin
  • cornstarch: gives a nice consistency and soothes irritated skin
  • epsom salt: relaxes muscles, soothes the nervous system
  • olive oil: moisturizing
  • dried flowers or bath tea blend: oats, chamomile, lavender and calendula all soothe skin
  • essential oils: sweet orange uplifts the mind, lavender relaxes the body
  • citric acid powder: naturally exfoliates dead skin cells

I also played around by adding red clay and beetroot powder to some of the balms, different essential oils and different dried flowers. Get creative! Make sure you do a patch test on your skin before using the bath bomb to ensure you do not have an allergy or intolerance to any of the ingredients.

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Recipe makes 9 standard muffin sized bombs

In a glass bowl, combine:

  • 1/4 cup citric acid powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup epsom salt
  • 1 cup baking soda

Mix well, then add:

  • 1 tsp olive oil or other carrier oil
  • 10 drops essential oil of choice
  • 1/4 cup (SLOWLY) water or witch hazel

It is crucial that you slowly add the water or witch hazel as not to dissolve the baking soda.  If your dry ingredients start fizzing, you have poured the liquid in too fast and the powder will all dissolve. Once liquid has been successfully mixed in to the dry ingredients, the consistency should be spongy so it sticks together when squeezed.

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Prepare muffin tins with liners and fill the bottom of each one with dried flowers.

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Press mixture into each muffin cup and firmly press down. Allow to dry for several hours before removing from muffin tins. Store in a tin or tightly sealed jar away from moisture. Drop one into a warm bath when ready to use.

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Did you try this recipe? Upload your creation and tag us on Insta!

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.

5 Ways You Can Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Shine Up Your Skin + Hair

Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV, has been used for centuries for external and internal benefits.

When processed, ACV is fermented, the sugars turn into alcohol, and you are left with a vinegar which is a similar PH to skin.  The acetic, lactic, citric, and other acids in the apple cider vinegar help to dissolve dead skin cells, revealing a shiny, fresh layer and restore the acid balance of your skin.

There are many benefits of ACV when used internally, and Bragg’s website claims a few important benefits of using their vinegar externally, including

  • Helps maintain healthy skin
  • Helps promote youthful, healthy bodies
  • Soothes irritated skin
  • Relieves muscle pain from exercise

When purchasing ACV, be sure that the “Mother” exists.  This ensures that the best part of the apple has not been destroyed during processing and that it is rich in it’s natural minerals and enzymes.

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We have 5 ways to use this natural pantry staple in your weekly skin and hair care regime:

  1. Fight oily skin and acne with a purifying ACV mask, made of 1 TBLSP green clay to help draw impurities, and 1 TBLSP ACV to balance PH.  Apply liberally (avoid eyes), leave on for 15 minutes and rinse.

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    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  2. Shine up dull skin using ACV to dissolve dead skin cells.  Apply vinegar to your skin using a cotton ball dampened with purified water. Repeat weekly.
  3. Add shine to dull hair that is built up with product.  Add 1 TBLSP ACV in a small bowl of water.  Pour over hair and comb through.  Rinse. This is one of my weekly treatments that leaves my hair so soft and shiny.hair
  4. Eliminate odour and fungus from feet! Soak feet in a bowl of warm water with 1/2 cup ACV and Tea Tree Oil (5 drops). Soak for 15 minutes, rinse off and towel dry well.

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    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  5. Soothe sunburns, sore muscles and rashes by adding 1/2 cup ACV to your bath water.  Soak for 15-20 minutes.

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    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.

Turn 5 Healing Plants in to the Ultimate Natural Skin Care Remedies

Using plants and flowers topically might seem like the new trend. Companies are including chamomile, lavender, salts and clays in products to 1. bring us back to nature, and 2. create a more healthy product.

In fact, using ingredients from nature goes way back. Think of Cleopatra and her milk and honey baths with a sprinkling of rose petals. Having access to these luxurious ingredients was a sign of wealth. In the ancient Roman baths, prior to the invention of soap, olive oil was used all over the body and scraped off with a rounded metal spoon-spatula to remove dirt from the skin.

These ingredients were used because they were available, yes, but also because they had purpose. Plants contain constituents that soothe, nourish, stimulate and coat. Some plant oils are extracted in the form of essential oils and used in aromatherapy for their healing properties. Some plants are steeped in tea form and ingested or used topically. Either way, our internal and external self can reap the rewards of nature’s gifts.

Here are my 5 top plant picks that work wonders on the skin:

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  1. Oats (Avena sativa): Oats are warming overall. Eating a big bowl of oatmeal soothes the digestive tract, calms the nervous system and topically is a demulcent and emollient. Mix up some ground oats with honey for a weekly face mask, or add oats to your bath to help relieve itching or rashes.
  2. Rose: Roses were grown traditionally for medicinal use but are wonderful in skin care as they are high in vitamin C and aromatic. Rose essential oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it useful in skin toners and cleansers. Try making rose infused face oil or use rose petals in a weekly facial steam.
  3. Aloe Vera:  Internally, aloe juice can aid in digestion with it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Topically, aloe contains constituents that aid in wound healing by  stimulating the growth of skin cells. If you have a live aloe plant, simply break open a leaf and apply to wounded skin. Otherwise, you can purchase aloe juice or gel and use directly on skin. For sunburned skin, keep aloe refrigerated and apply directly as needed.
  4. Calendula (Calendula officinalis): From the pot Marigold flower, Calendula has a purpose in skin care from baby to adult. Topically, it’s major uses are for burns, wounds, skin infections, and reducing inflammation. A cold infusion compress works well on burns and calendula-infused oil is my favourite addition in salves.
  5. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana): A plant with astringent, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties. Traditionally, it is used in skin care to tone the skin, tighten pores, reduce inflammation and protect against UV damage, with antioxidant properties. Apply directly onto cleansed skin, or mix with steeped herbal tea as a face toner.

Get back to basics. Try incorporating one or two herbal remedies into your daily routine to help reduce some toxins, and naturally clean and protect your skin. Experiment with infusions, salves, compresses and even try mixing them together for a synergistic effect. You can grow your own and dry the leaves, or purchase organic plants and flowers at organic markets, dispensaries, wellness clinics and DIY soapmaking/beauty suppliers.