FRAGRANT HERB BOUQUETS

{a simple herb bouquet featuring dill, parsley, thyme, oregano, and mint}

I love almost all things green: grass, trees, decorative plants (although I don’t have much of a green thumb), and definitely, unequivocally, edible greens, of which herbs are my favorites. I almost always have a pot of basil on my kitchen counter to cook with, a little vase of fresh mint on my window sill, and my fridge drawer is home to bunches of earthy sage and rosemary, fragrant za’atar and dill, and whatever else is in season. I use herbs rather liberally in my cooking, which has the wonderful effect of not only adding flavor and color to whatever I’m making, but also of making me seem like a more impressive cook than I actually am.

The thing I’ve found, though, is that it gets difficult to use up all the herbs I buy; I like variety—a little bit of this, a sprig of that. The big bunches of individual herbs sold at the supermarket or farmer’s market are often more than I really need (and I suspect this isn’t a problem unique to me), so I started looking for a solution that meant I could still have all the herbs I wanted, without practically drowning in green dressing or pesto for weeks.

Enter herb bouquets. They’re thoughtful, they smell in-cre-di-ble, and they’ll look great sitting in an old jam jar in someone’s kitchen. Make some for your friends, colleagues, and neighbors—anyone you like, really—and I guarantee they’ll be delighted. The other thing you could do is start a herb swap with some friends. It’s pretty simple to do: each of you buys a couple of bunches of herbs and divides them, and then you swap herbs so you each have a little bit of everything.

{with the addition of brown paper–I was, admittedly, not particularly creative the day I shot this and was rushing out the door to my friend Nahla’s house. She makes the best spiced yogurt, but that’s a story for another day}

How-To

The how-to for this is pretty straightforward: select your herbs, group them together, tie with twine, and wrap in brown paper. I also like to put them in old jam jars filled with water so they stay fresh and don’t wilt in transit. You can use any herbs you like, but sturdier herbs tend to do better while really tender herbs like dill and coriander don’t hold up too well. You can make your herb bouquets up to a day in advance and store them in the fridge in a ziplock bag.

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-S

PANTRY BEAUTY: THE KITCHEN ITEMS I USE ON MY SKIN

pantry beauty

I’m not sure why, but I feel like I should preface this post by stating the obvious: I am not a beauty blogger. This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, maybe because even though we consider what goes into our bodies a fair bit (at least I do), we don’t always consider what goes onto our bodies, which is just as important—skin is our largest organ, and it soaks up whatever we put on it.

While I’ve become increasingly selective with the products I use on my skin, I still buy things like shampoo and moisturizer. I do, however, use a few items from my pantry for parts of my skin regimen, and I encourage you to do the same. Not only will your skin thank you, but the earth will, too, and you’ll save a pretty penny in the process.

Here are seven of the ingredients from my pantry that I love using on my skin (note: I use all-organic ingredients, and my coconut oil and butter are food-grade):

Oatmeal and Oat Flour

I’m not going to wax poetic about the benefits of oatmeal for paragraphs on end, but I will say this: it’s awesome as a scrub for sensitive skin (face and body), it leaves you nice and soft if you put a couple of cups in your bath (yes, it’s as creamy as you think), and it makes for a super soothing pomade if you’ve had a little too much sun. Just blend it with water (or almond milk) to form a thick paste and let it sit on the affected area for 10-15 minutes. I use oats for a rougher exfoliation and oat flour for a more delicate scrub (you can make you own oat flour by placing oats in a food processor or blender and blitzing until you get a powder).

Coffee (ground)

Coffee is the perfect body scrub—it’s invigorating, rough enough that you’ll get a nice scrub but not so rough it’ll hurt, and the smell will wake you right up! I use it as a body scrub, and it works particularly well on elbows, knees, and ankles. Bonus points: use the same ground coffee you’ve made your morning cup with—it’s extra environmentally friendly as you’re reusing something that would normally end up in a landfill.

Pink Himalayan Salt

I put a cup of this in the tub when I’m having a bath to help soothe sore or tired muscles. All of the trace minerals in the salt help, and the reason I tried this the first time was because I had nothing else to put in the bathtub, and the pretty pink color called out to me (deep, I know).

Rose Water

I really like rose water, but I’m not crazy about it in my food. I like the tiniest hint of rose, but I always feel like it’s on the verge of being soapy rather than floral. So instead of indulging my love of roses in the kitchen, more often than not I’ll take it to my skin routine. I like to use rose water as a skin toner in the afternoon (a dab on a cotton bud, then a few swipes across my face), in a spray bottle to make my bathroom smell like a spa (or like summer in Provence), and a thimble-full into a bath—along with dried roses or fresh rose petals—for a little bit of bath time indulgence.

Coconut Butter and Coconut Oil

I only jumped on the all-things-coconut bandwagon recently, and I’m so glad I did. Again, I don’t love using coconut butter or oil in my cooking (the flavor reminds me too much of sunscreen), but I love, love, love it for my skin. A tiny bit of coconut butter on lips, elbows, and knees makes them baby-soft, and a rub of the stuff onto my cuticles keeps them healthy and manageable. Coconut oil I like as a body and face moisturizer, (but only the tiniest amount), and I like leaving it in my hair for ten minutes before a shampoo.

pantry beauty {a simple mix of pink Himalayan salt and dried roses for a scented, soothing bath}

3 of my favorite pantry beauty combinations:

  • Pink Himalayan salt + rose water = relaxing evening bath
  • Oatmeal + coconut oil = a gentle, moisturizing body scrub
  • Coffee + coconut butter = my favorite foot scrub of all time

If you have any pantry beauty favorites, please share them in the comments below!

xo

-S

BITS & PIECES | 28.05.17

Summer is in full swing here in Dubai, and the month of Ramadan has just started. This means a slightly slower pace, more time spent indoors with friends, and little tweaks to my routine. There are some big changes underway, the smallest of which is that last week I sold the car that I’ve had for the better part of a decade. It was the first car I bought for myself and, even though it sounds silly, I was really sad to say goodbye and had to remind myself that change is both good and inevitable. I went to my friend Noreen’s beautiful event which restored my faith in blogging and social media, and where I got to meet some wonderful women. Here’s a look at a few moments from the past ten days.

dessert bar {the dessert bar at Noreen‘s Hygge x DXB event}

flowers {part of the gorgeous setup at Noreen‘s Hygge x DXB event}

pizza {a whatsapp message from my mother-in-law, reminding me of what I’m missing by not being in Italy}

moroccan tea spa {a much-needed spa day complete with fluffy robe and moroccan tea}

IMG_8656 {this gorgeous bougainvillea reminding me to always look up}

xo

-S

TWENTY-SEVENTEEN

2017

Oh hi! Welcome. Let’s get cozy, let’s get to know each other a little bit better, let’s be friends. I’m so happy you’re here, 2017.

Let’s talk about the next 365 days, shall we?

Please be kind to me and those around me. Please let some moments pass quickly (swiftly, swiftly), and let others linger (you’ll know which ones).

I promise I won’t have my face glued to my phone when you put on a beautiful sunset, or when I’m having a cat-cuddle that’s just so. I’ll try to be kinder to myself—to give myself a little time and space, to allow for breathing room, for imperfection; for a little more self-care and a lot less self-doubt.

That’s as close as I’ll come to a New Year’s resolution. Happy twenty-seventeen, everyone.

x

-S

REFLECTING ON 2016

This year hasn’t been my favorite (has it been anyone’s?) so I’m extra excited about 2017. I don’t believe in making New Years’ resolutions (you can choose to do or not do something any day of the year), but I like to spend the last week of December thinking about how my year went, what worked, and what didn’t. I learned a LOT this year:

I learned that friendship isn’t dependent on how long you’ve known someone for; that the best people are those who show up (and bring wine), that it’s ok to be devastatingly sad about something and then laugh hysterically about it a few months later; that your true friends will let you be as ridiculous as you want to be, but will mock you for it forever after (and it’s a good thing!); that family can be people who you’re not related to, and that the human experience is vast and varied and deeply humbling.

Thank you to those of you who have kept reading this blog, and who continue to follow me on social media. I have a couple of posts lined up for you this week, so I’m hoping you’ll stick around and that we’ll get to know each other a little better–for real, this time.

x

-S

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