DIY Beauty: Lemon + Baking Soda Face Mask

IMG_4188 IMG_4192 IMG_4204

In my endless search to find products that will help me finally nix the issues I’m having with my skin lately, I decided to stop spending heaps of money on products and reel myself in a little. After hours of research on the interwebs, I came across some rave reviews advocating the use of some really common kitchen items, which I’ll be happy to share with you here. It’s like a science experiment for my face… cooooool.

One of the skin issues I have that frustrates me almost more than the breakouts themselves is the redness that they leave behind. For the record, I am a chronic picker, which I know is not a good thing, but I just cannot leave something poppable alone. It’s a weakness, and unfortunately that compounds my issues with redness and hyperpigmentation. But when I did my initial google search for easy at-home remedies, a few very basic kitchen staples popped up that made a lot of sense: lemons and baking soda.

When I was a kid, my mom used to squeeze lemon juice into my hair on summer vacation for some easy and cheap at-home highlights. The acid in the lemon juice acts as a bleaching agent (which I suppose the theory goes on to show that its effects may be amplified by the sun, but truthfully I’m no chemist so I don’t know), and thus it makes sense that it should act in the same way when applied to your skin.

To make a face mask out of the lemon juice, you can add baking soda into the mix, stirring it together until it becomes a paste. This can be applied to your face and left on for anywhere from 5-30 minutes (I like extremes, so I go for 30), depending on how comfortable it is for you. Just make sure you don’t add too much liquid, because that will turn your home brew into a gooey, drippy mess that will not stay on your face. The baking soda doesn’t do too much while the mask is applied to your face, but when washing everything off it acts as a gentle exfoliant, leaving you with amazingly smooth skin as a result. I actually saw really great results with this mask, using it about 1-2 times per week, so I wanted to go a bit further with it. I decided to squeezed some lemon juice onto a cotton pad and use it as a toner morning and night. The lemon juice toner visibly reduced the redness over the course of just a few days, and it acted as a disinfectant to help clean and clear up my active breakouts much quicker. Major win!

Whether you’re having some unpleasant skin issues, or just feel like your complexion is a bit dull, I definitely recommend you give this little at-home treatment a try. Besides the fact that it costs mere dollars per application, it’s a natural way to give your skin a little boost. It is worth mentioning that my boyfriend and housemate do think I’m a bit of a weirdo when they see me “wiping acid all over my face” (umm, do they know that Salicylic Acid is an active ingredient in 50% of facial cleansers? Pshh), but the reality is that it’s just too cheap and too raved about not to give it a try! So next time life gives you lemons, forgo the refreshing drink and give your face a pick me up instead. Let me know if you’ve ever tried lemon juice + baking soda for your skin (or if you’re going to), and what kind of results you’ve seen. So far, I’m sold!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • juice from 1/2 lemon, maybe less
  • 4 drops tea tree oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put baking soda in a small bowl. Add lemon juice a few drops at a time, just enough to make a paste. Mixture will foam slightly, that’s normal.
  2. If desired, add a few drops of tea tree oil*
  3. Apply paste to face and neck, and leave for 5-30 minutes, depending on what’s comfortable for you. The mixture will dry hard, so be careful not to move your face too much or you’ll get baking soda everywhere as it flakes off!
  4. When ready, wet face slightly and gently rub cheeks and forehead in circular motions. Exfoliate while rinsing off.
  5. If desired, follow with lemon juice as a toner. Let dry for 5 minutes, then apply lots of moisturizer!

*Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant and is fantastic for the skin. I’ve been using it for years on my face and it really helps reduce the severity and healing time of new breakouts. It can be quite dry though, so be prepared with a good moisturizer.

Take Me Home, Country Road

Country-Road-Home

The first few times I hit the shops here in Oz, I was told to hit up Country Road, a brand that was previously unknown to me but one that’s been recommended by nearly every Aussie girl I ask for shopping recommendations. The first few times I browsed the store I had to get in and get out really quickly, because I wanted to buy about 98% of their stock. These Aussies know their shiz when it comes to cute clothes (for those of you overseas, think J Crew, minus the rainbow explosion. Country Road is more… neutral friendly).

When I read this post on The Design Files about Country Road homewares I was actually kind of blown away. How had nobody mentioned this to me as I chatted endlessly about wanting to decorate and furnish my new apartment? Even more, how had I been in their store and somehow missed the massive homewares section!? Sometimes I can be so unaware.

I am officially in love with every single thing that Country Road sells for the home. Yes, I am even obsessed with their bath towels. Their bowls and glasses are so understated yet chic, and I’m obsessed with their rustic-yet-colourful cushions. Side note, Luke teases me endlessly about my obsession with anything ‘rustic’, and just doesn’t get how I can love distressed woodwork items so much. Boys… they just have no clue. I’ve also been dying to put together a little gallery wall, similar to this one Monica posted, and this one Julia put together, but I haven’t quite found the perfect, understated yet elegant frames to use. Um, hello, Country Road’s photo frames were made for this! They’ve got a few different styles that are classic yet muted, and thus won’t steal the show from your actual photos. Thus, they would be perfect for a gallery wall. Somebody please, hide my wallet.

As pointed out by my friends who finally shared the CR Homewares secret with me, their stuff is actually somewhat pricey for what it is. I mean, I’d pay $100 for a nice pair of pillows (really, I would), but $40 on a photo frame is a bit steep. Thankfully, Country Road has semi-annual sales, which I’m told are around June and December, and their items are up to 50% off. So basically, there is a god.

The timing works out perfectly for me, because I’ll have enough time to save my bucks for sale-time in June. I can’t figure out what I want first, some great bowls to jazz up my recipe photos, or a couple of these cushions to bring life to our bedroom. What would you choose? Have you already got anything from Country Road Home? How do the items hold up? The one thing I know is that I’m definitely dropping some money on at least a few of the frames for my future gallery wall, because for that kind of thing Ikea just doesn’t cut it. And now, I wait for June.

Stylish Bookshelves

stylish_bookshelves_cupcakes_coffee_breaks00-e1362045296237 stylish_bookshelves_cupcakes_coffee_breaks02-e1362047939209 stylish_bookshelves_cupcakes_coffee_breaks03-e1362048129443 stylish_bookshelves_cupcakes_coffee_breaks011

Decorating a new house is fun, but it doesn’t really become a home until you personalize your living space. One of the things I love about having my own apartment is that it’s just so easy to make it ‘me’, with some pieces telling you more about who lives here than others. One of those pieces, in my opinion, is a bookshelf. There are just so many things you can tell about someone from their bookshelf!

I know there’s a lot of internet hype about bookshelf ‘styling’, which I actually kind of dislike. Not that I don’t think it’s totally gorgeous when people do style their shelves (or bedrooms, or coffee tables for that matter), but I prefer to think that it all just came together unintentionally. Call me ignorant but I like to live in a world where everything just is pretty, no effort needed.

After browsing ebay and the like for weeks looking for a good secondhand bookshelf in Melbourne (why are all the furniture stores that aren’t Ikea so expensive. Can I get a Pier 1 in Australia please?), I finally found something I’m happy with. And now that it’s here, I’m trying to find things (you know, other than books) to display that will make our place feel like a home. Apparently you don’t just throw a bunch of junk on the shelf to make it pretty. I won’t tell if you don’t.

The shelves in these photos are some of my favourites from the many floating around the web. They’re not too overpacked, and I love the mix of colours and neutrals, and books with other quirky elements. I’m a big reader but I only buy my favourite books in hard copy (the others live on my iPad), and displaying those alongside fun little statues or candles is the best way to add some style to the functionality of a bookshelf. In fact, I think I’ll be ordered these owl bookends sometime in the next week, because I am obsessed. I also love the idea of framing a few photos and placing them next to my books, for one because I don’t have enough books to nearly fill my little shelf, but also because it’s just one more way to make it feel like home again.

What do you think, are you down with stylish bookshelves? Or do you prefer function over fashion, and just cram your shelves with whatever suits the mood?