DIY Mother’s Day Gift “Basket”

Hello and Happy First Day of June!

This post from Mother’s Day is a bit overdue. With traveling and going on vacation for Brendan and my one year anniversary I just haven’t had the time to write. But, better late than never right?

I had so much fun putting this gift “basket” (jar, really) together for my mom this Mother’s Day. I wanted to give her something that was pampering but also practical for everyday use. Like me, Mom is into essential oils, natural face soaps, tea, and lovely candles. I wanted to include a few treats in this gift that she normally wouldn’t buy for herself (such as essential oils). While I put this together for Mother’s Day, you can make this for any occasion you want! So here’s a little peek at what I decided to include in Mom’s gift.

Jar from Marshall’s 
The smell from the candle, soap, essential oils, and tea was heavenly. 

I actually found a lot of these goodies at T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s. Surprisingly, they have a great selection of natural health and beauty products. I have seen some of these brands at natural/health food stores, so I trust that they are good quality. I have used some of these brands before, like the Eucalyptus soap by PlantLife and the Cooling Eucalyptus candle by DW Home and I really liked them.


I also tried my hand at making some homemade Bug Bite Salve. Again, I wanted this gift to be pampering as well as practical, so instead of making some body scrub that I knew my mom probably wouldn’t use I decided to make this bug bite salve. Mom loves to spend her time outdoors, so I knew this would come in handy. I bought the tin and most of the ingredients I needed to make the salve from Health Nut Nutrition located in Lynchburg, which is one of my very favorite natural health stores.


While I had never used this brand before, I loved this little aromatherapy roller set from Tisserand Aromatherapy. Each roller has a special blend of essential oils to help you de-stress, give you energy, and aides in a restful night’s sleep. I bought this set from T.J. Maxx.


I also decided to include some dried chamomile flowers (from Health Nut Nutrition) so that mom could make a fresh cup of hot, relaxing chamomile tea. I found the adorable muslin sachet from my local Co-op and then just included a little index card with instructions on how to prepare the tea.


Earlier this year I took a free online course through Herbal Academy which introduced me to herbs and learning how to draw plant monographs. It included a bunch of wonderful resources and free print outs, such as this Tea Meditation practice. This Tea Meditation encourages you to sit with a cup of herbal tea, taste the rich flavors and complicated flavors and take time to relish in the moment. Then, take a moment to journal about how drinking the tea makes you feel – what does it taste like? Do you feel the tea working in certain parts of your body?, etc. Since Mom loves a good cup of tea and journaling, I figured this was the perfect thing to include. In addition to the chamomile flowers, I also included some of our favorite teas from Traditional Medicinals and Yogi Tea.


And finally, I finished off the gift “basket” with some fun packaging! I found the cute bag at Marshall’s and the sparkly tissue paper from T.J. Maxx.


I had so much fun shopping for my Mom and putting this little gift together! Hopefully this will bring you some inspiration for your next DIY gift basket. Have a lovely day everyone.




Ginger Flu “Shots”

Well it’s about that time of year again! No, I’m not talking about autumn, Halloween or even Thanksgiving. I’m talking about cold and flu season. While I love the holiday season, I always dread the sickness that seems to constantly be swirling around through the air. I don’t usually get sick very often, but I’m a complete germaphobe so it’s just a stressful time for me haha. 

Now, you may be thinking that this post is premature because It’s still technically summer and cold and flu season doesn’t seem to come until the air gets colder and people get run down from school and work. However, this is the time when you should be preparing your body for the upcoming onslaught of germs. In fact, I was out shopping at Target yesterday and there were so many people sniffling and coughing. And Brendan came home from the office the other day saying that one of his coworkers is sick. Ugh, already?!

I‘m not a fan of medicine or the flu vaccine, so if there’s a natural alternative out there that will boost my immune system and prevent sickness rather than just alleviate cold and flu symptoms, then I’m all for that. 

Last year I came across a recipe for a natural flu “shot”—a juice concoction that provides immune boosting properties such as vitamin C and antioxidants. The original recipe I came across can be found here. But I recently found a different recipe and decided to give it a try. 

The ginger shots I made for Brendan and me the other day simply contains fresh ginger root, apple, lemon and turmeric. It’s got a spicy kick and is so fresh and tasty! Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits of each ingredient for your immune system. 

Ginger root —  Fresh ginger is a natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It’s the perfect little punch to help knock out your cold and flu symptoms, plus it can help with nausea and upset stomachs. 

Apple — Apples contain plenty of antioxidants such as polyphenols, vitamin C, beta carotene and B-complex, all of which help strengthen the immune system. 

Lemon — Lemons are packed with vitamin C and help to alkalize the body. If you consume more alkaline foods it will help regulate your body’s pH balance, which can help fight of sickness since germs thrive in acidic environments. 

Turmeric — With high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is the perfect additive to this “shot”! Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and is anti-viral, anti-fungal and can even help protect against cancer. 

I plan on making these “shots” at least once a week during cold and flu season, in addition to my other secret weapons I keep on hand to fight off sickness. I plan on doing another blog post about the foods, supplements and teas I incorporate into my diet during cold and flu season soon. 🙂 


Ginger Flu “Shot” 


  • 1 Apple
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger root
  • 2 lemons
  • 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric

Simply juice all of the ingredients and you’re good to go! All I had was powdered turmeric on hand, but you can use fresh turmeric instead. 

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30 Days of Lists Challenge 

Day 13: Modes of transportation I want to take 

  • Airplane
  • Helicopter (hopefully I would be brave enough)
  • Train (even though I’ve taken the train multiple times now)
  • Ship
  • Hogwarts Express (a girl can dream, can’t she?)

Day 14: I want to learn how to … 

  • Do yoga more fluently
  • Cook more tasty vegan meals
  • Do sustainable gardening (increase my knowledge really)
  • Do apartment composting
  • Make latte art
  • Make homemade kombucha

Vegan Smoothies/Juices

I have been on a smoothie/juice kick this past week. I feel like I use my blender everyday over the summer. I am always looking for new and interesting smoothie recipes to try and this past week I found four on Pinterest that I decided would be worth trying. Also, I have been trying to incorporate more vegan meals into my diet, so all of these recipes are vegan friendly. I have linked all of the recipes back to the original source. I may have made a few minor changes to mine, so feel free to add your own twist to any of these smoothies!


Detox Pineapple + Avocado Smoothie

  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 lime


Strawberry Carrot Mango Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut water, chilled
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen organic strawberries
  • 1 cup organic baby carrots
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
  • 1 navel orange, peeled

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Ginger Lime Avocado Juice

  • 1 medium avocado
  • juice and zest of 1 lime 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 cup / 250 ml coconut water (or regular water, or nut/seed milk)
  • ½ frozen banana or 1-3 tsp. raw honey, to your taste (or your favorite sweetener)
  • 2-3 ice cubes (if desired)

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Not Your Mama’s Ruby Red Juice

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 carrots
  • ½” ginger

To prepare these smoothies I just peeled and cut up the fruits and veggies as necessary and then tossed them into my blender and gave them a whirl. I used my blender for all of these because sadly I do not own a juicer. Maybe one day…

Happy juicing!