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Three DIY Holiday Gift Ideas

I’m a huge fan of DIY holiday gifts since they’re both budget-friendly and add a nice personal touch.  The following gifts are a cheap and easy way to make the loved ones in your life feel … well, loved!

1) Vanilla Extract

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Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe from norecipes.com

Cheat: Instead of waiting the requisite time for the vanilla and alcohol to meld, add half a bottle of authentic (i.e. not the artificial crap that’s passed off as vanilla extract) store-bought vanilla to your container, a few vanilla sticks, and top off with vodka or bourbon.  The gift will have plenty of homey appeal but is much faster to create!

2) Hot Chocolate in a Jar

With this gift, you can go all out and use high-end ingredients, or dump store-bought powdered hot chocolate and toss a few marshmallows on top.  If you really want to play for keeps, consider tying a mini bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream to your jar for Adult Hot Chocolate. :)

Check this recipe out for a nice twist on an old classic.

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3. Gourmet Cookies (or other Yummies)

Okay, so baking cookies for someone isn’t exactly original.  But, if you decide to make high-end, to-die-for, delicious goodies, that’s a whole ‘nother story!  Like this.

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Three (Nearly) Free Holiday Gifts

Stretched a bit thin this holiday season?  Try spreading some cheer by making gifts for your loved ones.

1) Sugar Scrub

Use whatever oil you have on hand (olive, coconut, etc) to make a deliciously exfoliating scrub.  Make a large batch and divide into mason jars for a nice finishing touch.

Recipe Link

2) Lipstick

Use an empty mini altoid tin or a sanitized lip balm tube to house a wonderful lipstick made from crayons(!) and coconut (or other) oil.  Perfect for those on your list with aversions to chemicals and other irritants.

Recipe Link

3. Fancy Shampoo, Conditioner, Lotion, etc

Buy a large bottle of your favorite generic, unscented beauty product, add essential oils and/or other ingredients to spice it up (like moisturizing oils, fragrances, etc) and pour into a cute container (like a mason jar or a dollar store tin) and voila! A perfect, customized gift without all the mixing and matching hassle.  

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~Modern Day Egyptian Makeup Tutorial~

 

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 I really like the cat eyeliner look and use it almost every time I put on makeup. It reminds me a lot of how the Egyptians thousands of years ago would wear their eyeliner. Here’s a tutorial I made using some (not all) budget friendly beauty products. I hope you enjoy.

 

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Products I Used:

Urban Decay Primer Potion

NYX Loose Pearl Eyeshadow in Yellow Gold

NYX Loose Pearl Eyeshadow in Walnut

NYX Loose Pearl Eyeshadow Black Pearl

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero

Elf Liquid Eyeliner in Black

The Color Workshop (cheap makeup brand at Walmart) Eyeliner in Gold

Wet n’ Wild Mega Liner in Indigo Blue 

Maybelline The Falsies Waterproof Mascara in Very Black

Elf Eyelash Curler 

 

First step is to prime your eyes. This helps your eyeshadow to stay on longer, prevents your eyelid oils from smudging your eyeshadow, and helps your makeup look more vibrant.

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Next I put the gold eyeshadow onto just the middle of my lid. I did this so I can have a multi-dimensional look, almost like 3D.

 

After that I put a small amount of the gold liner on top of the yellow old eyeshadow to add a little glitz.

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Then what I did was I took the brownish eyeshadow and applied it on the right side and left side of my eyelid without putting it directly on top of the yellow eyeshadow. I blended the two colors slightly so there wasn’t any harsh contrast. Remember you want to make this look multi-dimensional.

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I blended the brown more and a little towards my brow bone. 

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I added the black eyeshadow to my crease building up the color slightly.

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Next I took the black eyeshadow and with a brush I lined my lower lash line.

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Then you’ll want to bring that eyeshadow up past your lid for that classic cat eye. It can be tricky to do but follow your lash line out and you should get it just right.

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Next you take your eyeliner pencil and line the inside of your eyes both top and bottom. 

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I used just a little bit of black liquid eyeliner to the top lash line.

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 Next (and this was just for fun) I wanted some more color so I used the blue liquid liner on my bottom lash line. 

 

 

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Add mascara and you’re done! 

 

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Make Your Lipsticks More Portable (DIY)

I don’t own many lipsticks because I don’t like to wear them but I know lots of people who have tons of them laying around in a drawer, their purse, or car. Lipsticks are already portable but imagine having five or more shades in one easy place without having to fumble through them. I’ll show you how easy it can be!

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What you’ll need:

Candle

Small knife 

Metal spoon

Lipsticks or chapsticks

Rubbing alcohol (to sanitize)

Small eyeshadow tins (to place metled product in)

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First it’s a good idea to sanitize your metal tin, spoon and knife to cut down on bacteria.

 

Next you’ll need to light your candle.

 

Lay your lipstick down on the counter and cut off the amount you’d like. It’s better to start off by cutting a little because you can always melt more later. 

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Place the cut piece of lipstick on the spoon.

 

Put the spoon over the candle flame. Sway the spoon back and forth above the flame so the product won’t burn. You only need to slowly melt the lipstick.

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Make sure the product is entirely melted and slowly pour it into the metal tin. Melt more if you need to so you have a sufficient amount of product. 

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Wipe off the spoon carefully with a paper towel. The spoon is VERY hot. I repeat it’s HOT!

 

And you’re done! I did a lipstick and a chapstick. 

 

 

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Here are some videos if you need extra help!

 

 

 

 


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~New Years Makeup Look~

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New Years is around the corner which means a fun makeup look to start the new year right. I used high end makeup brands and drugstore brands. For the high end brands I will try my best to give you an example of a cheaper duplicate you can buy to recreate this look. Enjoy!

 

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Products Used:

Urban Decay Primer Potion in color Original

tokidoki Collectible Robbery Makeup Palette

-Bullets, Ninja Dog, Candy Cane

Wet n’ Wild Mega Liner Liquid Eyeliner in color Indigo Blue

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencils in color Zero

Maybelline The Falsies Volum’ Express Waterproof in color Very Black

Wet n’ Wild Lipstick in color Cherry Frost

 

High End Duplicates:

Elf Eyelid Primer – $1 at Target

Bullets – Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion in palette  Blue Blowout 20 – $7.50 Walmart

Ninja Dog – Cover Girl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Shadows in Tropical Fusion – $5 at Target

Candy Cane  - Cover Girl Eye Enhancers 1-Kit Shadows in Snow Blossom – $4 Walgreens

Milani Liquif’eye Metallic Eyeliner Pencil – $6 at Walmart

 

Let’s get started!

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Cut a piece of tape and place it slanted near your eye and figure out where you want your eyeshadow to go. This technique helps create a sharp line for eyeshadow or eyeliner.

 

 

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I took Bullets by tokidoki and placed it across my lid.

 

 

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I then took that eyeshadow up and over to my outer corner.

 

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Next I took Ninja Dog by tokidoki and placed it in my crease lightly and helped shadow a winged effect on the outer corner.

 

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With tape still on.

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With the tape off. A sharp line!

 

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I took Ninja Dog again and placed it on my lower lash line.

 

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I used Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Liner to line my waterline and tight lined. (I put the eye liner on my upper water line.)

 

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Next I applied Wet n’ Wilds liquid eyeliner to my top lid and flicked it out to match my previous eyeshadow wing.

 

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I applied Maybelline The Falsies mascara to my upper and lower lashes. To finish the look I popped on Wet n’ Wilds lipstick.

 

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Happy New Years!

 


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The Aftermath of Christmas: What to do with Unwanted Gifts

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We’ve all been there–Aunt Bessie’s fruitcake, Grandpa Fred’s book on medieval toe-nail cutting customs, Mom’s “absolutely beautiful” sweater that’s just “perfect” for you, etc.  Gifts given in the right spirit are a blessing in and of themselves, and it is important to keep the giver’s intentions at heart, but, there is no sense in cluttering up your home with unusable items.  The question is, what to do with unwanted gifts?  Here are a few ideas:

1. Regift: Save an unwanted gift until an opportunity rolls around for you to give it to someone who would appreciate and enjoy it.  I am a hearty believer of regifting (though, to appease any relatives who may read this blog, I haven’t had to in a few years!).  :)

2. Repurpose:  Many of the gifts you receive can be used in creative ways (perhaps not intended by the items’ progenitors).  Turn an ugly sweater into a Christmas Tree skirt, or a bed for your pet, or a foot warmer.  An unwanted book can be transformed into a hiding place for money, or spray-painted on the outside and used decoratively.  Repurposing gifts honors the spirit in which they were given (and allows you to whip out the item should the giver ever wonder what became of it!).

3. Donate:  If you can’t regift or repurpose an unwanted gift, the third-best option is to donate it.  This benefits both the charity and you (soul and tax-wise).  This is an especially appealing option for food or other perishable gifts you receive.  Local homeless shelters and other organizations will happily accept your donation, and your unwanted gift may become someone else’s welcome one.  (I do not endorse giving crap to homeless shelters and other charities — just items that you personally have no use for.)

4. Exchange: This is an especially good idea if you received unwanted beauty items.  I’m pretty particular about the beauty products I use, and receiving neon pink lipstick would force me to do something aside from wearing it.  Cosmetics and beauty products in general are great for regifting if you can do so within a reasonable amount of time (before they expire), but if you receive something truly outrageous, try to exchange it before resorting to other more drastic measures.

5. Barter:  Got your third mp3 player of the season?  Consider bartering it for something else.  Craigslist and other such sites are great resources for trading what you’ve got for what you want.  This is especially true if you are offering a valuable item in exchange for professional services.

6. Sell:  I admit, this can be a tacky option to consider; but, if you are forced to choose between letting something collect dust or selling it, the latter is definitely better.  Of course, don’t rule out donating something, but if you need cash more than the gift, selling isn’t the worst thing you can do.

The bottom line is that even if you received a gift you will not use, there are options you have.  Just don’t forget to be grateful, even for something bizzare!


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Affordable Christmas Makeup Look

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What I used for this look:

Urban Decay Primer Potion (Elf eye primer will work for the inexpensive primers [$1] but I don’t own any other primer at the moment.)

NYX Ultra Pearl Mania Loose Eyeshadow in color Charcoal ($3)

NYX  Ultra Pearl Mania Loose Eyeshadow in color Light Purple ($3)

NYX Ultra Pearl Mania Loose Eyeshadow in color Yellow Gold ($3)

NYX Ultra Pearl Mania Loose Eyeshadow in color Pale Gold ($3)

Elf Shimmering Facial Whip in color Spotlight ($1)

Elf Liquid Eyeliner in color Black ($1)

Maybelline The Falsies Waterproof Mascara in color Black ($6)

-Side note: Maybelline The Falsies is an awesome mascara. If you’re into youtube makeup tutorials you’ll see a lot of makeup artists raving about it!

Elf Eyelash Curler ($1)

Mary Kay Signiture Lip Liner in color Dark Red ($12)

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Prime your eyes all the way to your brow bone. Next, Apply the NYX Yellow Gold all over your lids.

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What’s great about the NYX Loose Eyeshadows is that when you wet them, it’s like they turn into a different color. Take a tiny bit of pigment and a damp brush, mix together, and put the NYX Yellow Gold onto the center of your eyelid. This will add shine and bring more light to your eyes.

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Take the NYX Light Purple and apply it on your crease and a little above your crease. I put the purple in my inner corners too, but you can skip that if you’d like.

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Blend it out and make the colors smooth.

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Next I put NYX Charcoal on my botton lash line and blended it into the purple that was in my inner corner.

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I used Elf Liquid Liner to line my eyes and flick it out.

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(Before mascara.)

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Have fun and have a happy holiday!

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I like using lip liner as my “lipstick” because I feel it stays on longer and isn’t quite so messy. Dark Red by Mary Kay Signature Collection.


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Pre-Shaving Oil for Men or Women ~ Fast and Cheap Homemade Christmas Gift

Christmas is mere hours away, which means that the mad dash toward the end has begun.  Inspired by this video, I decided to give a few of my (hard-to-shop-for) male relatives some pre-shaving oil (like this, but much cheaper!), which helps soften hair prior to shaving, prepares the skin for shaving, protects it during the process, leaves it soft afterward, and prevents razor burn.  My husband swears by pre-shaving oil, but this is a great last-minute, inexpensive, handmade gift for women or men.

A little shaving oil goes a long way–most store-bought pre-shaving oils come in 2oz jars, so you don’t need much to create a nice gift.

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The Ingredients

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2. Castor Oil

3. Jojoba Oil

4. Essential Oil (optional, but highly-recommended)

5. Measuring cup

6. Garnish (optional)

7. Storage Bottle/Container.  I found the bottles shown above at Michaels Craft Store for about $1, but in a pinch, you can use any jar/bottle you can find.  I almost used a tiny bottle of worchestire sauce (which I planned to empty into a larger container for our use) that had been cleaned and aired-out.

8. Tag with directions for use and ingredients (optional)

The Recipe

1.  If you don’t know how many ounces your storage container holds, fill it with water and pour into a measuring cup to find out (then dry it out).

2.  Pour roughly equal amounts of olive, jojoba, and castor oil into the jar.  I fudged a little on this and added less jojoba oil because I was running out, so this recipe is by no means strict.  To make it a bit cheaper, you can use more olive oil than other the oils. Hint: If you are making multiple bottles of this, figure out the total number of ounces of oil you will need, combine (equalish parts of) them all into a larger container, and pour from there.

3. Add your essential oil, cap the storage container, and shake.  While essential oils are usually optional, olive oil has a lingering odor that may not be pleasing to slather on your face or other body parts, so I highly suggest using a bit of it.  I chose cinnamon, and added about 10-15 drops per ounce.

4.  Add any garnish (like dried mint, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, etc), cap, and present!

The Result

I tested this bad boy out (because I had to know if it worked or not) and was extremely pleased to find that it made shaving much easier.  I slathered it on under conditioner (with which I shave) on one leg, and shaved normally on the other leg.  I had no razor burn on the oiled leg (which I cannot say was true for the other one), my skin was soft afterward, and very lightly scented with cinnamon.  I had such a great experience with it that I’m going to make myself a little Christmas present of it as well!


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Homemade, All-Natural, Ultra-Moisturizing Lipstick: A Cheap, Quick, Last-Minute Christmas Gift

One of my family members can’t use store-bought lipstick for health reasons.  In an effort to find a suitable alternative, I came across a recipe that produces awesome lipstick in less than five minutes and for about $1 a pop here.  I tweaked the recipe to make it a bit softer and more moisturizing and these are the results.

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The Ingredients

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1. 1 to 1 1/2 Crayons, Red or Pink Shade (I know, weird!  But crayons are non-toxic wax that provide great pigmentation).  You can mix and match different sizes and colors to get a customized shade.

2. 1 heaping 1/2 tablespoon of Shea Butter

3. 1/2 teaspoon or so of Coconut Oil

4. 1 teaspoon Castor or Jojoba Oil

5. 10-15 drops of the Essential Oil of Your Choice (optional but highly recommended)

6. Tin/container for storing lipstick (mini Altoids tins work fantastically!), washed and ready to be filled

7. Something tiny to stir with (I used a disposable chopstick)

8. A small metal or heat-resistant bowl (I used a disposable tin-foil pan for ease)

9. A pan to in which to simmer water

The Recipe

1. Begin warming a pan about half an inch of water full.  Do not let it boil at all during this process.

2. Place everything except the essential oil into your small metal container.  Spread the ingredients out so they melt at about the same rate.

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3. Once the water is simmering, put the container in the middle of the pan.  (The tinfoil container floats on top, slowing down the melting process and rendering a very smooth mixture.)  Make sure you constantly stir everything so that it is fully-blended (the crayons take the longest to melt).  I held the container with tongs and used my chopstick to stir and stir.

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4. Once everything has melted, add your essential oils and blend carefully.  The ingredients should be one color and consistency.

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5. Pour the mixture quickly into the waiting tin or container.  It will firm up very fast.  (Don’t worry, if something goes awry, you can always reheat and re-pour).

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6.  Let cool for a few minutes, and wait to enjoy the final product!  (Hint: I use the remnant lipstick in the bottom of the melting container to test it out ~ I would suggest this too.)

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Herbal Bath Tea ~ Beautiful, Frugal Homemade Christmas Gift in about Five Minutes

I’ve been testing out recipes like mad to find great homemade gifts for friends and family that won’t break the bank or spend hours to create.  I was delighted to tweak the bath tea recipe I found here (and to try it out!).  This bath treatment requires ingredients that are very easy to find, inexpensive, and highly customizable, and, it takes about 5 minutes or so to compile everything.

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The Recipe

Basic Ingredients:

1. Epsom Salt

2. Dry Herbs (in the form of tea, spices, etc).

3. Organza bag, washcloth, or other sheer material

Additional Options

4. Olive, Coconut, or Castor Oil

5. Your Choice of Essential Oil

6. Vanilla Extract

7. Food Coloring

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Directions:

1. Pour epsom salt into a mixing bowl (the amount you use depends on how much final product you want to create and what other ingredients you include).  If you want to color it, mix in your food coloring.  I used about 2 cups of epsom salt.

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2. Add tea/herbs and blend well with salt.  I used a 1/3 of a cup of loose tea and about 3 tablespoons of rosemary.

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3. Slowly add oil, blending well.  I used coconut oil because of its fantastic softening properties (and divine scent).  I added about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and blended it extremely well (you have to mash and pound the oil with your spatula/spoon).

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4. Add essential oils and blend well.  A little goes a long way!  If you have any other scents you would like to add (like vanilla extract), now’s the time.  I used about 15 drops of spearmint.

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5. Blend everything well–its consistency should look something like this:

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6. Spoon into air-tight container (to keep it fresh longer).  Include an organza bag (or other item in which to stash the concoction) and attach a note with ingredients and directions for use.

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My Experience

I had my first herbal tea bath right before writing this post.  My legs were sore from running around like crazy yesterday, and I wanted something soothing to help ease the aches.  I drew my bath (tying the organza bag around the faucet so the ingredients would begin to disperse immediately), then sank into deliciously-scented water.

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The coconut oil made the bath water moisturizing but not greasy, the tea added a little color and a wonderful scent, and the peppermint essential oil was invigorating.  I used the organza bag as a loofah on my arms and legs once all the salt had dissolved.  Finally, I finished up bathing, rinsed out my organza bag, and let it air dry in anticipation of my next heavenly bath.

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