ReFa and Other Skincare Favorites


I usually pride myself as a practical and relatively level-headed shopper, and don’t (excuse the pun) buy into the hype behind the hottest “must haves,” EXCEPT when it comes to skincare items!  I can easily walk away from clothing and shoes, but it takes everything in me to say “no” to even what seems like the silliest gadget ever … like ReFa!

I do admit that ReFa, a Japanese face massager that supposedly emits microcurrent that stimulate circulation (I feel silly even trying to explain this so please read about it here for more detail  lol ), was a complete impulse purchase.  I saw one of my celebrity crushes pose with it one day on his Facebook page and I had to have one too!

But impulse buy or not, I’m extremely happy with the purchase!  I’m totally serious here. Of course, I won’t be able to see or feel the real improvement, if any, for good weeks or even months, but it feels incredible when I roll it all over my face (especially around the cheeks, jawline, and hairline) and neck.  I do it every chance I get and especially when I’m reading or surfing the Internet at night.

Another somewhat impulse purchase, but am completely satisfied with, is this facial steamer.  My BFF Maya introduced me to this and I fell in love after the first use!  You can totally feel your pores opening up from the hot steam and your skin feels super soft and moisturized immediately afterward.

And who can forget Clarisonic?  I purchased Mia 1 a few years ago and I’ve been in love with it since. I don’t use it as frequently as I once did because I feel like I need to be more gentle on my face as I age, but I still think this deep facial cleanser is pretty magical.

So, here they are — some of my favorite skincare companions.  I used to spend money on face masks, toners, moisturizer, etc., and although I still like to splurge on those items once in a while, I feel like it’s a better investment to spend money on devices that you can use over and over again.

Blushing for LUSH

Sometime, I wonder if I should just get real and rename my blog to “Things I Purchased at LUSH,” or “Homage to LUSH,” or “How I Got Suckered Into Purchasing Things I Don’t Really Need at LUSH … Again,” or something that shows how addicted I am to this cosmetic joint.

I’m not a fan of every product there (some are too strong in scent and some are just outright weird) but I seldom walk out of the store without a bagful of items that I never knew I needed but could no longer live without.

My latest acquisitions were a bottle of rose and lavender toner water named “Eau Roma Water” (eau my!) and a small container of Rose Cheeks fresh face mask, from the store in Portland’s NW 23rd Street, aka “Trendy” Third.  If you haven’t noticed, I love all things rose.

One good thing about a visit to LUSH, other than brining home fun skincare products, is that the place reignites my love for homemade cosmetics. Every time I leave the store, I come out with a motivation to start creating again.


As soon as I got home from Portland, I got busy making a batch of Marseille soap. I scented it with Lemongrass, Lavender, Rosemary and Sweet Orange Essential Oils. I can’t wait for it to become ready in about a month!

RECIPE: Double Avocado Soap


I named my business, as well as this blog, Lavender and Olive because they are two of my favorite ingredients in a soap recipe, as well as to eat. But it could have easily been called Olive and Avocado, or Avocado and Lavender, or any combination of the three because, holy guacamole, do I love my avocados. They are equally delicious in handmade soap, and in a sandwich.

I would have to say that this Double Avocado Soap is my favorite original recipe. It has a beautiful milky white color that I love in a soap, and a nice firmness that I strive to achieve in each bar of soap I create. But the most amazing part is the stiff and bubbly foam it creates when you lather it with a body sponge and your skin will feel baby soft all day long. It’s simply amazing.

I scented the soap with Yuzu fragrance oil.  The lovely sweet citrus scent is so refreshing that I kept smelling my skin all day long.

Confession:  I was a little hesitant to share this original recipe because I wanted to keep it all to myself 😛 but it’s so great that it needed to be shared.  If you’re going to make just one recipe from this blog, I hope this will be the one.

Happy lathering!

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Double Avocado Soap (Yuzu Scented)
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Avocado Oil (40%): 480 g
Olive Oil (30%): 360 g
Avocado Butter (10%): 120 g
Palm Oil (10%): 120 g
Coconut Oil (10%): 120 g

Distilled water: 467 g
Lye (85% discount): 145 g


Yuzu Fragrance Oil: 4 tablespoons
Lavender Essential Oil: 10 drop
Peppermint Essential Oil: 10 drops
Spearmint Essential Oil: 10 drops
Chamomile Essential Oil: 10 drops

Skincare Superhero: Yogurt Soap

I’m really looking forward to the holiday season this year. I know that I’m getting a little ahead of myself to start thinking about a Christmas tree and holiday cookies (it hasn’t even gotten cold here yet), but I know how December sneaks up on me so quickly every year eek that I can’t be over-prepared. My goal is to finish my holiday crafting by the time we cook up the Thanksgiving feast. It’s going to be a pretty busy next few weeks for me craft-wise but I’m super excited.

I’m planning to give away my handmade soaps as gifts this year again, and I already have a few batches ready to go. I made three batches of soap last month and they’re now ready to be packaged and sent off to my soap-loving friends and family.

One batch that I’m particularly excited about is the Yogurt Soap that I made using my homemade yogurt.  It was inspired by the bowl of yogurt with fresh peach I enjoyed in the summertime when the juicy fruit was in season!

The health benefits of yogurt are widely known but did you know that it can also be great for your skin? It’s great for acne treatment (due to high concentration of zinc), and serves as a much-needed moisturizer during the upcoming chilly weather (due to high fat content). I’m sure you’ve seen girls smother dollops of yogurt on their face during their home spa session on a slumber party, along with other all-natural super skin heros like cucumbers, avocadoes, bananas, and honey. I tried my first bar in the shower this week and I absolutely love the way it makes my skin feel. It lathered incredibly well, with frothy white foam, and the subtle but sweet scents of peach fragrance oil and sweet orange essential oil made my skin smell like wonderful summer days.

Giveaway!  If you’re interested in trying this yogurt soap, leave me a comment here!  I will be happy to share them with first three people to comment on this post!biggrin   

Updated on October 21, 2011:  Thank you to Trisha, Lenna, Va, and Erin, for commenting! You will each receive the homemade Yogurt Peach Soap from Lavender and Olive (which is my Etsy shop). Please kindly email me your mailing address to and I’ll get the soaps out to you! Again, thanks for your participation!

Yogurt Peach Soap: Olive oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, palm kernel oil, palm oil, homemade yogurt (2% fat), distilled water, lye, peach fragrance oil, sweet orange essential oil, lavender essential oil.

It’s 67 days until Christmas!