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Is there anything better than a nice cup of tea and a piece of shortbread? Yes there is! Shortbread scented and flavored with essential oils. I’ve been experimenting with flavors over the past 6-8 months. I’ve made some bizarre flavors such as black pepper-tangerine, lemongrass and grapefruit-sage, but my favorite shortbread flavor at the moment is lavender-lemon.  Many essential oils are safe for internal consumption and Young Living products will always have the nutritional information label for those that are.

My recipe for shortbread is as follows:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats (ground to a fine powder is a spice/coffee grinder or blender, yeilding 1/4 – 1/3 cup oat flour)

1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter (cold, cut into 1/8″ slices

Pre-heat the oven to 450F. Mix dry ingredients together. Add your essential oil(s) of choice, usually between 5-10 drops of each flavor. Add butter slice by slice and mix on low until the ball of dough forms.

Grease the non-grooved side of the collar of a springform pan and place (closed) on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Press the dough into the collar evenly. Cut out the center with a 2″ round cookie cutter (mine is a flower shape and it works just fine!) Leave the cut out center dough next to the springform collar on the parchment and replace the cookie cutter to the center of the dough making an open hole in the center of your dough. Open the springform collar, but leave it in place around the dough.

Bake for 5 minutes at 450F then reduce oven temperature to 250F and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.  Remove shortbread from the oven and turn the oven off.  Remove the springform collar and score the shortbread with a knife into wedges, only cutting halfway into the dough. Poke 6-10 holes in each wedge and return to the oven propping the door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Let the shortbread dry in the warm oven for about an hour. When cooled, break or cut the shortbread into wedges along the score lines.

Now pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy! That’s what I’m going to do right now….

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I love to travel. Part of the travel experience for me is always scent. Scent is more likely to trigger strong memories than any of the other senses. I remember landing in Belgium when I was 18 years old and thinking that the entire country must smell of cheese! Surprising since Belgium is known for beer, chocolate and waffles above cheese. But the smell that I encountered was definitely one of dairy. I’ve been back to Belgium several times since my year abroad and that familiar smell, almost as the plane lands, is like a welcome home hug from my “other” home country.
One of the down sides of travel is the musty smell of hotel rooms and rental cars, especially if they are not designated “smoke free”. Or the flip side when rooms and cars are so overloaded with chemical fragrance that you can’t breathe fresh air through the cloud of “spring fresh” or “summer breeze”.  For situations like these I always travel with a blend called Purification. Just like it sounds, Purification helps to neutralize odors and purify the air when diffused.  In a rental car I simply sprinkle a few drops on the floor mats. In the hotel, it’s easy to freshen up the room quickly by sprinkling a few drops onto the output of the air conditioning unit and turn it on. Within a few minutes the air will smell better.

Most recently we were in Washington DC for the weekend and the hotel we were staying at didn’t have an “under the window” AC unit. The intake and output were both on the ceiling. After a quick deliberation with myself about gravity and the possibility of applying oil directly to the filter, I decided to simply put the Purification on a tissue and hang it from the grill allowing the passing air to diffuse the oil for me.

Purification blend contains lemongrass essential oil and is beneficial in both repelling  insects and treating bites and stings.  In the home, I fill a wide mist spray bottle with 20-30 drops Purification with distilled water for quick sprays in the rooms or on linens that need a little freshening.  I also put a few drops on the outflow of my vacuum cleaner filter so that I get a scent boost every time I vacuum. The clean fresh scent of Purification is pleasant to most noses.

You can find Purification in either of the Young Living kits Everyday Oils or  Essential 7 or it can be purchase à la carte. You can go to my Oils tab above for info on ordering.

I’ll be traveling again soon, back to my home state of Washington (which smells fresh and green and salty). In addition to the Purification, I’ll bring along Lavender, Peace & Calming blend, PanAway blend, peppermint and probably Frankincense. I may also bring Joy blend to use as perfume or my own perfume blend that contains jasmine, cedarwood and lemon.

We were invited to a pool gathering over the weekend. Given that it’s halfway through the summer and despite our light complexion we didn’t get too crazy with sunscreen application. So, when we got home in the evening, we three girls all had some swimsuit lines and pink undertones to our skin. No problema! We’ve got Lavender!

Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile oils and has been referred to as the Swiss Army Knife of essential oils.  If I were only allowed to carry one oil with me (which I practically am when I fly, and since I can no longer fly with an actual Swiss Army Knife) it would be lavender. It is relaxing, calming and balancing. It relieves headache, burns, cuts, scrapes and insect bites/stings. It is disinfecting, purifying and an antiseptic. And it is extremely balancing for the skin making it an excellent addition to your skin care regime for all skin types.

To treat a sunburn I use the following routine: Cool, repair and moisturize.  Cool the sunburn by spritzing the area with a lavender spritz made up of 15-25 drops lavender essential oil in a 2 ounce mister bottle filled to the top with distilled water. Repair the area by applying lavender essential oil directly to the skin. Pure lavender essential  oil is extremely gentle to the skin and I have always used it undiluted, however if you are concerned about applying oils neat (undiluted) then skip to the next step. Moisturize with 10-15 drops lavender oil in a 1 ounce treatment pump filled to the top with jojoba oil (this oil is in my opinion the best oil to put on human skin, but you may prefer to dilute in sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil or another carrier oil of your choice).

By the morning our pink had mellowed to a healthy glow and we were ready for more summer fun!

Welcome

Welcome to Scented Journeys!

As with most things, I suppose it makes sense to start from the beginning. My journey has always been tilted toward a holistic lifestyle, away from allopathic medicine and the pharmaceutical approach to health care. It’s just always made more sense to me to use plants, herbs, and foods as my front line to health, keeping the doctor and medicines for situations that require more intervention. So when my brother-in-law suggested that I might like experimenting with essential oils ten years ago, I gave them a try. I started with a seven oil collection which has now grown into a collection of over 50 oils!  In addition to the possibility of improving health, mental clarity and emotions they just simply smell fantastic! Of the five senses, smell is the one most likely to recall strong memories and emotions.

The modern perfume industry moved toward synthetics after the 1922 unveiling of the ever popular Chanel No. 5 the first perfume based entirely on a synthetic smell.  But recently there is a trend to return to the natural scents of essential oils. How many products are now on the store shelves claiming to be all natural? Are they really all natural? Do they contain synthetic chemicals? The cosmetics industry is not well regulated and a product label can claim “all natural” without having to back up that claim. There is no legal definition of the words “natural” “herbal” or “organic” in the cosmetics industry. Just because your shampoo or lotion or candle is called “lavender” that doesn’t mean there’s a drop of real lavender in it. Take a quick look at the ingredients. The terms “fragrance” or “parfum” equal synthetic chemicals. Look for specific plant essences, such as lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint or tea tree.

So for me, using essential oils to scent my bath salts or my facial moisturizer or my cleaning products is easier (than reading all those labels), cheaper (than buying a variety of products in hopes of finding the right one) and liberating to know that I am in this small way, self sufficient.

As we go along, I’ll share my recipes for using oils and encourage you to do the same or experiment with your own scent profile. It is a journey. Join me and start your own!