Hooray for honey! Comvita Manuka Honey and some DIY face masks

Comvita Manuka Honey

A few years ago I traveled to Savannah, Georgia, and I discovered the most amazing varieties of honey.  I’ve been a honey snob ever since, and I’m happy to tell you that one of the best brands of honey is now at Costco and on Amazon.com – Comvita Certified UMF® Manuka Honey.

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Comvita Manuka Honey

I know my honey, and Manuka Honey is one of the most delicious honeys I have ever tasted.  It’s actually made by bees in New Zealand who pollinate the indigenous Manuka tree.  Manuka Honey is a super food – I eat it right out of the jar, I put it in my smoothies, I add it to tons of recipes, and it’s also a killer ingredient for DIY face masks.  

Comvita Manuka Honey

I am fascinated with the story of how this truly delicious honey is harvested:  “A monofloral honey produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the indigenous Manuka tree. The Manuka plant is climate-sensitive and only flowers two to six weeks per year, making the honey a scarce resource. Working with the beekeepers and landowners, hives are placed in remote and pristine areas of the country, some of which are only reachable by helicopter.”

Comvita Manuka Honey

Comvita Manuka Honey

Comvita Manuka Honey has a UMF rating from 5 to 20.  The higher the UMF, the higher the purity and potency.  The UMF® 5+ Manuka Honey (17.6 oz is regularly $32.99 on Amazon, but right now it’s on sale on Amazon Prime for $27.99) is more liquid in texture and tastes sweeter to me.  The UMF® 10+ Manuka Honey (17.6 oz is regularly $59.99 on Amazon, right now its on sale on Amazon Prime for $52.99) stays somewhat solid even inside my pantry, and has a deeper, sort of a ‘wilder’ taste. 

Comvita Manuka Honey

Comvita Manuka Honey

I recently watched a documentary about the food industry and there was a very scary part regarding honey and fake importers.Certified UMF® Manuka Honey products are fully traceable from source-to-shelf which is extremely important in the honey industry – know where your honey is coming from!!  

Comvita Manuka Honey

Honey is great for you from the inside out.  It really does make fantastic face masks, and they are probably the easiest of all do it yourself face masks – the simplest and quickest to whip up to pamper yourself and your skin.  Here are few ideas:

If you have dry skin, just mash up a tablespoon of avocado and mix with a tablespoon of plain yogurt and a tablespoon of honey.  Spread over your face and leave on for 30 minutes for super hydrated, wonderfully smooth skin.

If you have hyperpigmentation and dark spots, mix a few teaspoons of honey with the juice of half a lemon and spread this over your face.  Leave it on for a half hour.  Do this several times a week and those dark areas will fade!

If you have super sensitive skin or suffer from eczema, try some honey mixed with aloe.  I love Desert Harvest Aloe – it’s pure and really wonderful for face masks.  This calms skin and helps it heal quickly.

High quality honey makes for the best face masks, and  Comvita Manuka Honey is the perfect choice.  Plus it makes for fantastic smoothies and I love it in tea as well!  

For more information and to find a store near you visit comvita.com, or check them out on amazon.com.  – Lisa

Two great DIY books: Stunning Braids and Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

For someone who loves playing with makeup, I am not much of a do-it-yourselfer. I can’t get into scrapbooking, I’d rather buy a jar of tomato sauce than make my own and my Pinterest boards are full of projects I know I will never undertake. But I was sent two books that inspire me every day to do something with my hands, and my little projects always turn out great.

Stunning Braids

Stunning Braids

Stunning Braids:  Gorgeous Hairstyles for Any Occassion from Work to Weddings ($17.95) was written by Monae Everett, a fabulous hairstylist/blogger who has worked on lots of celebrities and has been featured in major publications like the Huffington Post and Redbook. Her book is fantastic for those just experimenting with braiding, although seasoned braiders will find lots of great styles to try as well.

Stunning Braids

Stunning Braids

The book starts with the basics, including specific product recommendations for everything from hair spray and serums to flat irons and hair dryers. Monae starts with braiding prep, and includes tips for creating styles like loose romantic waves and flat iron curls. Then she gets down to braiding business.

Each style has a large photo of the finished product, step by step photo instruction, plus additional tips and tricks. It starts with the basic three strand braid, ‘the mother of all braids’, and goes all the way through complicated knotted updos. It also has a great section for African-American hair.

This is one of the best braiding books I own. It’s amazing for working on someone else – my poor daughter is my guinea pig way more often than she would like – and it’s clear and simple enough for working on your own hair.  Stunning Braids is a great staple book to keep right on your vanity.

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

Another super fun book that I don’t use daily but that makes for some awesome weekend fun is Homemade Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs ($14.95) by Kate Bello. This book has 300 recipes for luxurious soaks. While you might have some ingredients around the house like baking soda, coconut oil, and cornstarch, there are other ingredients to plan for like essential oils, Himalayan sea salt, rhassoul clay and flower petals.

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

Bath Bombs, Salts, and Scrubs

There aren’t pretty pictures inside, but there are tons of easy to make recipes that address ailments like fevers, asthma, and cystic fibrosis. There is a section of recipes for skin and beauty concerns like acne, oily skin, and sensitive skin; plus recipes to use for meditation, chakra cleansing, and aphrodisiac baths. There are even recipes for men and for pregnancy, plus a cool section with recipes for baths from ‘around the world’. Here is one that I have made several times that I just love:

Clary Sage Uplifting Salt Soak

2 cups Himalayan salts

1 cup of coarse sea salts

1/2 cup of baking soda

1 cup rhassoul clay

5 drops of clary sage essential oil

5 drops lemongrass essential oil

2 drops of benzoin essential oil

I get a lot of my ingredients, including essential oils, from Whole Foods. Another great online source is Mountain Rose Herbs. I tend to go for the bath salt mixtures, but there are also great recipes for bath bombs and scrubs in this book as well. All of the creations make terrific gifts and Kate has suggestions for packaging and storing your creations as well.

Both of these books are terrific fun and I highly recommend them! They are published by Ulysses Press and can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Pick them up for some DIY that you will actually enjoy!   – Lisa

*received for editorial consideration