My Go-To: Top 5 Summer Skincare Tips

Beach-Sun-Skin

Here are my top 5 skin tips to keep you and your skin happy and healthy this summer. Read on and get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Top 5 Summer Skincare Tips

  1. Slather on the sunscreen. Apply at least 30 minutes prior to major sun exposure and re-apply every 2 hours or so. I like this brand of natural sunscreen. For your face, use mineral makeup with an SPF or check out this tinted moisturizer.
  2.  Double up the skin protection when heading for the beach, lake or park. Wear a hat and a cover-up. Think about sporting one of these cute printed rash guards (SPF 50).Summer Style
  3. Limit sun exposure. Especially between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm when UV rays are most intense. I know, it’s hard when there are so many fun things to do outside in the summer but it is the most effective method to protect skin.Shady Palapa Mexico
  4. Hydrate! Be sure to drink plenty of water. Not a huge fan of plain water? Add a few slices of cucumber, melon or sprigs of mint for subtle yet delicious flavor.Hydrating Herbal Water
  5. Exfoliate. All that sun, sand and fun takes a toll on your skin. Use a gentle exfoliant for facial skin, like finely ground oatmeal mixed with yogurt or honey, and one of our hydrating sea salt scrubs on your body to keep skin healthy.

Recipe: How to make Cold Brew Coffee

Cold Brew CoffeeI was excited when Alana asked me to guest blog for her. She knows I’m as passionate about coffee as she is about Etta + Billie. She also knows I don’t have a lot of time to spend doing fancy things with fancy equipment. So, when I say making your own cold brew is easy – it’s EASY. It requires no fancy equipment and it is practically no-fail. Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty grinds!

Why cold brew? Cold brewing gives you a wonderful, delicious cup of coffee without the bitterness and acidity that heating the grounds imparts. You’ll start to enjoy coffee for all the nuances and ‘notes’ your beans have. If you are sensitive to the acids in coffee this is a way to enjoy your favorite beverage again. If you love iced coffee it’s the way to go, incredibly convenient. I’ve even heard that some people will make an extra strong batch then add boiling water to make a hot cup. I haven’t tried it this way yet, but it’s an interesting idea.

For a basic set up you need beans, some sort of filter to put them in (like a nut milk bag, here’s the one I have; or disposable filter bags for tea), a 2 liter pitcher, and a refrigerator. I also like to use a mesh strainer to capture some of the sludge. Here’s a shot of mine.Cold Brew Coffee Setup

Today I’m using a nice dark roast from Paramo Roasters, Shadowplay. I’ll use enough beans for about 1.5 cups at a medium to coarse grind. Finer and you’ll have a lot of sludge. Here’s the beauty of all this, just about nothing you could do is wrong. You can’t really do too much or too little! If you make it too strong then you have a concentrate that you can then add water to taste.  Too little and no need to dilute, you can just drink it straight. Well, I suppose you could make it too weak, but that’s subjective.

The how:

  1. Grind your beans. (or get the shop to do it for you, even easier!)
  2. Scoop into filter bag. (use at least 1.5 cups for a 2L pitcher)
  3. Place in pitcher.
  4. Add water.
  5. Place in refrigerator overnight (or longer).
  6. In the morning remove the bag and give it a good squeeze.
  7. Set grounds aside for use around the house. (more on that later)
  8. ENJOY! – Add water, sugar, and/or milk to your preference

Cold Brew Coffee StrainedSome final notes:

If it lasts that long, cold brew will be good for up to a week-and-a-half in the refrigerator. If you run out of time the next morning and have to decide between catching the bus or straining your coffee grounds – go get that bus. Trust me, your cold brew won’t be ruined if left longer – I’ve done it, it’ll just be just more concentrated! I keep repeating myself on this, but there’s just about nothing you can do to cold brew to make a bad batch!

Some people think you should only use espresso roast. I disagree, I say use what you have on hand! This will work with just about anything. Do you have family who love you and know you love coffee but know nothing about it themselves? This could be the only way to salvage that nearly undrinkable bag of beans they gave you. Cold brew requires no special equipment. Some sort of filter bag if you want, but even then some people put the grounds straight into the pitcher and filter through a fine mesh strainer afterward. Can you get fancy equipment? Sure, but I say go lo-fi and spend the money you saved on something wonderful like Etta + Billie Ritual Roasters Coffee Soap or Mint Coffee Scrub!

What to do with all those coffee grinds:

  • Use the them in your plants. They’ll love the nitrogen, especially starter plants.
  • Use them as a natural pot scrub. Used grinds are great for scouring pots and pans. Just put a scoop on your sponge.
  • Also scrub your hands when you need a little extra power. They’re great if you’ve been chopping garlic or onions, too.

There you have it, cold brew coffee in a few easy steps.

About Dawn:Dawn at Grounds for Review

Coffee and chocolate are my two favorite food groups, the darker the better!  I can talk a lot about both, but prefer not to get overly snobby and pedantic about either. When I’m not discussing the finer points of ground cacao or coffee I am hanging out with my honey and two fantastic kiddos in the gorgeous Bay Area. You can follow my coffee adventures at Grounds for Review.

Recipe: Strawberry Basil Smash Cocktail with Rose Water

Strawberry Basil Smash CocktailThis past weekend, me, my honey and a group of friends headed up to our CSA (Eatwell Farms) for Strawberry Days which resulted in carting home about 21lbs of fresh berries. I needed some new strawberry recipes, stat. I found a few wonderful coc   ktail recipes (here and here) that were simple and didn’t require a lot of prep, perfect. My version is below. Tastes like summer.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 strawberries, washed
  • 4-5 basil leaves, washed
  • 1/2 meyer lemon (can sub regular lemon)
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of rose water (optional but highly recommended if you have some on hand)
  • 2 oz vodka
  • club soda
  • ice

Special Equipment: muddler

Remove stems of strawberries and cut in half. Etta_Billie_Strawberry_Basil_Smash_Cocktail_PrepPlace into cocktail shaker or tall glass, add basil leaves and smash using muddler. Etta_Billie_Strawberry_Basil_Smash_Cocktail_MuddlingSqueeze meyer lemon juice into the glass, then add honey, vodka, and rose water. Stir vigorously. Fill your drinking glass with ice cubes. Pour strawberry vodka mixture into glass and add club soda. Pour this mixture back into the original mixing glass/cocktail shaker, then back into drinking vessel to mix. Done. Time to enjoy. Cheers!Etta_Billie_Strawberry_Basil_Smash_Cocktail_sharing

Recipe: Strawberry Banana Almond Smoothie with Cacao

Strawberry_Banana_Cocoa_Smoothie_Gluten FreeIt’s strawberry season! One of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries for the rest of the year is to freeze them so they can be tossed into smoothies and yogurt. Freezing them is a super simple process, check out the directions here. Here is a great recipe for a sweet, fairly healthy, strawberry treat. Use  fresh or frozen berries for this.

Special Equipment:

Blender, Vitamix, or NutriBullet

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 frozen (or fresh strawberries)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut/almond milk (I like this brand)
  • 2 tbsp yogurt (I used goat milk based yogurt from Redwood Hill Farms)
  • 1/2 tsp honey – optional

Place all the ingredients in your blender of choice and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

 

Retailer Interview: Twig & Twine

Twig and Twine-Boutique-Florist-Los Angeles-Storefrontphotos by Ashley Keleme

Aren’t these lovely? Those flowers are from Los Angeles based, Twig & Twine. Owner, Heather Williams, creates incredible arrangements and curates a unique selection of hand-picked gifts, home decor, artisanal goods and other lovely treasures. Check out her interview below and if you’re in LA, be sure to stop by.

1. What is your favorite color?  Favorite? Too tough to name just one. I’m a florist! All colors are great. Just depends on my mood.

2. Favorite smell? Sweet peas.

3. Go to cocktail or beverage? Tequila on the rocks with a lime.
4. What would you choose as your last meal? Pork of some sort. Bacon, pork belly, loin….I’m into it all. A side of seasonal veggies would be great too. And I wouldn’t complain with a first course of cheese. Oh, crap. I just thought about sushi. SUSHI! Pork for dessert. ; )
5. Favorite thing to cook? What’s left in the kitchen fridge meal. I’m the best at that. I’d totally kick ass on Chopped.

6. Favorite dessert? Again!?! Just one?!?! Impossible. I’ll eat and enjoy it all from macarans to ice cream to pudding to salted caramels! Sweet treats are the best.

7. Furthest place you’ve traveled? Technically? Probably South East Asia, Indonesia or Eastern Europe. But that flight to French Polynesia felt pretty long too.
8. 3 Destinations/Experiences on your bucket list? Paris, Japan, New Zealand
9. Favorite memory with your grandmother/grandparents? My youth in my grandmother’s rose garden.

10. Favorite book? Don’t have one. As you can probably tell by now I’m not a “favorite” person.

Where to follow Twig & Twine:

instagram: twigandtwine

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Twig-Twine/255543164473734

pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/twigandtwine/

twitter: https://twitter.com/twigandtwine

blog: http://twigandtwinedesign.com/blog (i’m not really a big blogger though)

The making of…Beer Soap

Payback Porter Soap in the making
Payback Porter Soap in the making.

I am so excited that you can finally purchase Payback Porter Beer Soap on the Etta + Billie website. I’ve partnered with on of my favorite breweries, San Francisco based Speakeasy, to get some fantastic local beer. The beer soap has been months in the making (some of you may have noticed the photos I’ve been posting on Facebook and Instagram) and up until a few weeks ago was only available in select brick and mortar stores and at craft events.

A lot of work goes into the beer soap to ensure that I get a great batch. First, I have to prep the beer by letting it go flat for 2 days. Next, I simmer the beer for about 15-25 minutes to burn off as much of the alcohol as I can. After that, the beer goes into the fridge for 24-48 hours for chill time. Once the chilling and resting phase is complete, it’s time to make some soap! I slowly blend the lye and the beer to keep them from overreacting (they don’t always play nicely together). After that, I can add the lye/beer solution to my melted oils, blend, pour into my molds and then create the beautiful pattern seen above.

I have to say that all the prep is worth it because the Payback Porter Soap has a nutty, malted slightly fresh baked bread scent to it and a wonderful creamy lather. A true beer lovers soap. Grab yourself a bar (or two) and keep an eye on Facebook, Instagram and at the blog for more beer based soaps!

Last week at Etta + Billie

August 14th 2013I’m in a soap making frenzy these days as I prep for the holidays and prep for some new very exciting wholesale partners.  Still had time to test out a new tattoo and work on some new scents.

New Stuff at Etta + Billie

GasMaskCoffeeScrubsRenegadeCraftHere’s a peak at some new things that are happening in the Etta + Billie world.  1. I’ve got a new scrub that will up on the site in the coming week – check out the Facebook page to find out the new scent.  2. Etta + Billie got a craft booth face lift at the Renegade Craft show in SF a few weekends ago.  What do you think?  3.  I have a brand spanking new safety mask with hot pink filters – so fancy!

Etta + Billie is on SALE at BRIKA!

Lucky us, we're on BRIKA
Lucky us, we’re on BRIKA

I’m so excited that we’re a part of the BRIKA collection of amazing makers.  Go check out the collection of soaps, scrubs and lotions along with the a few interesting facts about yours truly.  Hurry, items are only on SALE for another 17 hours!