Face Massage, Acupressure, and Homemade Rose + Lavender Skin Cleansing Oil

I'm really excited about this post for a few reasons: 1) I've had it on my list since at least October. 2) The results have been amazing. 3) I've learned some new, amazing things that have made this acupressure facial even more amazing. 

So, I was talking to this Ayurvedic practitioner about some under eye inflammation that I have and I've known for several years I get what is called Vatta aggravated, both emotionally and physically. I tend to have dry skin that's also prone to acne and inflammation, mixed with the emotional component of being a bit capricious and having a scanty, unpredictable appetite. Those two emotional things might be related. So, when talking about these problems one thing I realized is both with my diet and skin care I tend to over detox. Instead of option for mellow toners and a steady healthy diet, I tend to opt for astringent, detoxifying skin care. The same goes for my diet I like detox and sometimes skip meals, because the exact thing I think I should be eating isn't around. All of this leads to all kinds of Vatta problems, combine this with the way I practice yoga which is a whole different beast, creates a real, inflammatory irritable problem. It's not all that bad it's not that my skin is flaky and I'm cranky all the time, but that's where my tendencies lie. We've all got 'em. 

So, while describing these problems he recommended oiling skin at night with a light massage, followed by a little bit of steam to get everything in my skin moving to keep my sinuses and skin clear. Sometimes it's the simplest things that make the biggest difference. I've been toying back and forth with oil cleansing for a long time. I've tried everything but the castor oil that is recommended. I've used avocado, apricot, coconut oil, and any combination of these you can think of and making a general mess of my skin, until I finally go back to other types of face washes. Anyways I thought this would be the perfect time to revisit my oil cleansing saga, while also practicing massage specifically around my lymph nodes and sinuses. Going back to the Vatta thing — I was always taking things out of my skin but never adding them back in creating the types of unbalances I talked about before, but the oil adds a nourishing element that's been missing for me. 

I've learned a bit about acupressure, facial massage, and face exercises over the years. All are effective, but the combo of massaging to relax the muscles, oil to nourish, and acupressure to stimulate works really well for my nightly routine, and it's not quite as time consuming as you might think. Maybe somewhere around 10 minutes, not a bad trade off for clear, glowing skin. So, like I said, I've struggled with acne and inflammation since my late teens, somewhere between 18-19. I made it through high school mostly unscathed by skin conditions, but my onset has really been a part of adulthood, specifically the hormonal kind around my chin, combined with over all dry skin, this can really be something to tackle. Oh, in case you need another selling point I read this article about French women being partial to face massages at night to keep the circulation going and keep their skin bright. There are some good pointers in there too. 

Oh, there's a recipe for skincare oil, too. Like I said, I've tied a bunch but a castor oil base has been the only thing that keeps my skin really clear, removes makeup, and leaves skin hydrated. The problem with the other oils is that, for me at least, they're not as penetrating. They sort of stay on the surface of my dry skin and I wipe the oil off and it looks a little better, but definitely not the supple skin I was hoping for. Plus the thinner oils have a way of moving back into the hairline, which is really irritating, especially for those of us who work really hard to not wash their hair every day. I love washing my hair, but it's just not the best thing to strip the oils daily. 

Here's what you'll need for the cleansing oil:

Note: I really didn't measure the herbs at all. I do use a 2:1 of castor oil to apricot oil, which is the really important part. The herbs are more flexible. 



  • Shake up your oil before using it. 
  • I really just dab my finger into the jar 3-4 times and dab a small amount on my face a little goes a long way. You want to make sure your hands and face are completely dry. 
  • Massage off any eye make up first. You can wipe a bit of it off before you keep going so you don't  rub it into your skin too much. Same with lipstick. 
  • For massaging I usually start at my forehead and with my index and middle finger drag my fingers from the center down to the temple, repeating this down to my eyebrows. Then to around my eyes. I take the same fingers and massage starting from the inner corner of my eyes (underneath) and moving outward up towards the eyebrow. Repeat this 3-5 times. 
  • Then for the eyebrows, start from close to the nose and drag your fingers along the inside of you eyebrows 3-5 times. 
  • Now for where I really need it, puffy under eyes and sinus area. Around her you can use more pressure than the area right around the eyes. Start about and inch under the eye and with bit more oil if needed take your index and middle finger and roll over the cheeks starting at the edge of the nose working slightly upwards towards the ears. I make sort of a crescent moon shape. I pay special attention to under the apples of my cheeks. It tends to get congested there. 
  • You can do a similar thing for around the mouth and jaw, drawing the fingers out and up slightly starting about an inch out from your lips to the side of the face. Follow this down to the jaw.  
  • For around my mouth. I usually take my two middle fingers and place them about half an inch above the upper lip and drag them out to the edges several times. I do the same on the lower lip, fingertips facing upward. 
  • To encourage drainage around my neck area I take my head up a little bit and with the tips of all of my fingers apply broad pressure starting under the chin, then going around and to the sides of the neck towards the collarbone, 3-5 times. 
  • To get the oil off you're going to want to use a clean cloth every time you do this, run it under very warm water. You want it to be producing steam. You can also do this in the shower. Anyways, get your wash cloth hot enough to produce steam and bring it close your face letting the steam cool. Once the cloth is cool enough you can put it all the way on your face. Repeat this and then make sure to use the same cloth to wipe off any extra oil. 
  • I do the acupressure afterwards. It's funny ever after all that I still find the muscles in my face are sometimes really reactive to the pressure points. As in, the muscles still aren't completely relaxed. I follow through the 26 points shown here in the Do It Gorgeously, a book I never get tired of. Just follow the alphabet. You can used your fingers or the end  of a make up brush applying pressure to each point for about 5 seconds. I do both sides at the same time. You're not supposed to but I just do mirror image. My favorite spots are H and G, J and I, V and U, and Y and Z. That's where I tend to get the most tense. 

Most Popular in July

Hey everyone, I hope you all enjoyed the blue moon. They don't come around too often so they can really shake things up I hope you experienced that in the best way. The coolest blue moon story I've heard is how my sister while forest foraging and camping saw a bear, who picked up her backpack and promptly left it alone because there was no food only iPods. I guess bears aren't too keen on those. So, if your blue moon story is not as exciting as that, don't worry, neither is mine. I stayed home reading Barbara Stanny's Overcoming Underearning and it was on of those 'I have to close this book and walk away right now' reads. It strikes so many nerves that you though you could just bury somewhere under your intricate series of connective tissue and muscular structure forever and ever until you die poor and alone. So, I took lots of breaks from this book and finally at night I did some Yin Yoga and just let it all out and back into the earth to be reabsorbed as something better than what I've been using it for. 

One thing this book made me realize is, how painfully insecure I am. I had no idea. I think lots of us get this way when we're forced to examine ourselves, we just kind of skim over it because it's hard. It is hard. It's also worth it. There's also Yin Yoga at the end, but most of us don't get to the painful and bitter end, because we never begin. I, my dears, began. Hard. I'm still reeling in the pieces from the after shock that is my life. Gratefully and humbly so, but still a bit shattered from all I've discovered about myself by way of this book. 

I wish I were in Venice at the maker's market right now, instead of thinking about underearning and all the horrible things I've played on the reel in my mind, but I'm not. I'm self-discovering and sometimes that's a pain in the ass and sometimes the gross stuff that comes up is meant to teach us something and sometimes we're not ready, but you should always start before you're ready. I've learned that much for sure. 

Blue moons and self discovery aside, there is still life on this planet where I make homemade blush and tacos and tiramisu and grapefruit rinse for my hair and all of those good things that make getting your hands dirty so, so worth it. 

Here's the most popular this month:

1. Homemade Tiramisu 

Vintage Bottle Reed Diffuser

I have been going through all of my things once again. My decluttering struggle is very real, and I came upon a bit of inspiration in this article that I loved. The really big takeaway for me was, "You can trust your feelings." As in, you don't have to worry if you don't like it but [enter excuses here] It can just be reduced to you don't like it. So, I'm going through all of my things and I found this reed diffuser kit from Christmas, yes as in seven months ago and I'd never put it together because I didn't love the jar it came in. I got so many amazing thoughtful gifts for Christmas and by no means am I complaining, I just didn't like it and didn't want to get rid of it. So, I thought I could put the fluid in a regular jar and let it diffuse from there, but I learned from making this post (a million years ago) that it's better to use a bottle with a narrow neck. Good thing I've been collecting vintage bottles from thrifting adventures. For this project I used this old bottle of Cointreau. Come to think of it, I don't even think it's vintage. So you can just buy some, drink it, and use the bottle for cute things around the house like reed diffusers. 

To make things even simpler — and healthier — you could make your own reed diffuser oil. I suggest just dropping some essential oils into an inexpensive carrier oil. Then you've got your own homemade, all-natural reed diffuser. You can use skewers for the reeds or you can order some.  

Here's what you'll need:


  • Funnel your scented oil into the bottle and add in reed diffusers. Switch the direction of the reeds every couple of days, or so. 

Life Lately + Gardening Project Updates

You might be thinking this post looks a lot like something you've read on here recently, you'd be right. I recently deleted a post, not only because it was premature, but also I hated the pictures. Occasionally, I do a photo series and the photos are just a bust and I cannot wait until it's off the main page. These are the things I should learn not to post, but I just get so caught up in having something done, that I put it out regardless. Which is a mistake you should all learn from.

Moving on to happier things, I got this pullover from Emi Jay, and it's funny because on first impression I think people the message is a sexy thing, but it's really a lazy thing. So, just in case anyone was confused. Not sexy, just lazy and adorable. Read it again if you don't see it yet. 

I've affectionately termed my spearmint the Loch Ness Monster of container gardening. It attacks from below the surface and suffocates anything in its path. I took out the sage about a week ago and now you can't even tell anything was there before. So for those of you looking to plant spearmint in Mediterranean climates just be warned, it may act more as a ground cover than a cute herb to keep on the shelf. If you want to see it's humble beginnings from just a month and a half ago, check here

I pulled out the remaining three herbs and I'm sure in a week this mint will already have taken over the whole pot. I really had no choice when I saw these new little ones growing around the opposite side. I knew the basils and marjoram's time was limited. 

Here's the sage a week after being moved out. It's looking much healthier and probably ready to be pruned pretty soon. 

These three just got moved out today and they basically look horrible. The had pretty forcibly shallow roots and I had to do quite a bit of tearing a wresting with the mint to get them moved over, but I'll bet in a week. They'll be back to normal. I don't know if you noticed my finger toe down there in the corner. It's long enough to be a thumb but it's a toe. Don't judge me, I've already done that. :) Oh and these are my half painted terra cotta planters from forever ago. It's amazing to me from looking at these posts, just how much you can learn about photography in just a year. 

As for this rosemary succulent planter. All seems well, succulents, are well, succulents and seem to grow under any conditions. The rosemary could stand a bigger pot one of these days, but doesn't really seem to be struggling. Everytime I walk by the rosemary I have to get my hands in there not only because I love the smell, but because it gets just ever so slightly sticky and extra aromatic and I'm not sure why, but it makes me endlessly curious. 

This lavender is new and if you can believe it, this is an improvement over last week. It's still kind of floppy and sad looking, but it was one of those grocery store bargains so it wasn't in the best shape. My sister and I were speculating over why that is. I think it's because they're over-fertilized and their roots get horribly tangled, my sister thinks it's because they must put like 50 seeds in at a time to see which will take. Either way, it took a good long while to free up the roots on this plant so it could grow normally again. 

Again succulents are just kinda succulents, water 'em, don't water 'em, whatever, they'll keep growing no matter what. This salad bowl planter is basically a cumulation of all my different succulent projects from beakers to mugs, they all ended up here. 

That little red and green one in the corner is my favorite one. I picked it on one of my walks, it's kind of weird and splotchy right now, but when they mature they're yellow and red. 

I think I threw my tea tin planter succulent in here, too. 

This is that broken palm I regrew a few months back. The old leaves are looking a little sad now, but overall I think it grew back great. I put some succulents in with it, which will have to move out soon to make space for all of the new growth coming off of the branch. 

I think I counted four new sprouts. There's a little one down in the shadows there, if you look close. 

I destroyed about half of my celery while I was away. It was all sad and folded over, even the green parts, but after watering it, it went back to norma, well, what was left of it. 

I told you I put those elephant plant succulents in with the salad bowl planter and I recently planted inside it this philodendron informally known as the sweetheart vine. I had one before, but I gave it away to the person who was moving into the apartment after me. I thought it was a nice gesture. Also, I didn't have the space in my car. 

Up next, I'm starting The Pineapple Project. I have three different pineapple tops. Well, soon to be four and I'll see how they do together over time. This was Mayumi's idea, I'm helping her with her Chrsymela Pinterest tomorrow. Anyways, she grew up in Japan and she was telling me a story about how they have homework over summer and some of that homework meant they had to learn to grow different things. She then reminded me of how much people like to watch things grow. I felt kind of sentimental about that. So, here comes the pineapple project where we can experience the joy of growing a pineapple together, right here, on this blog. 

Easy Lime Chicken Tacos

I've been a little bit infatuated with the lighting in certain scenes I've seen recently. Specifically one from Sense 8 in Korea and another from this Local Milk feature in Japan. There's something about the feel of the air there. It's so crips and clean. Even in foggy scenes the air feels so unobstructed, vs. the coastal fog in California which backs up to the mountains so it feels very cloudy. I feel like from what I'm seeing in the scenes from Asian countries, precipitation just kind of moves over, clean and flowy. Maybe it's because those countries are surrounded by water and it just keeps moving instead of ever getting stuck, like it does here. As a person who works primarily with natural light, it's become ever more apparent how difficult it is to mimic the feel of other places, but maybe that's a good thing. I think mimicking is over rated. Master what you've got until you get something else and then work with that too. That said, I would love to do some food photography in Japan someday. 

What my recent lighting infatuation has to do with tacos, I don't know. But tacos are always a good choice. These are totally customizable and if you're smarter than me you'll make sure to pick up some cilantro while you're out. When I arrange my tacos, I like to place a full leaf of lettuce inside of the tortilla, before the meat and then add the extra veggies on top after that.

Here's what you'll need:

For the brine:

For the tacos:

Serves 3-4

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 small head of red lettuce - leaves separated
  • 1/4 of a while onion - minced
  • 1 large tomato or 2 medium - diced
  • 1 bell pepper - diced
  • 1/4 of a red cabbage - shredded
  • 3-4 limes - quartered
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil + more for warming tortillas


  • To make your brine dissolve the salt in a quart of water and place the sliced lime and peppercorn in the water. 
  • Add the chicken and let it set for 15 minutes. If it'll be longer cover and put it in the fridge. 
  • Remove the chicken from the water and discard the brine. Pat chicken dry and place in a medium sauce pan and fill with enough water (or broth) to fully cover all the chicken.
  • Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let the chicken cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until it's no longer pink or reaches and internal temperature of 165°
  • Set the chicken aside to cool. This would be a good time to prep all of those vegetables and fruits. I served mine with a bit of salted watermelon. 
  • Once the chicken is cooled pull it apart with two forks going opposite directions to shred it. Once most of the chicken is shredded with a spoon or your hands mix in salt, ground pepper, and vegetable oil. 
  • Heating tortillas (optional) Heat 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet, preferably cast iron. Place a clean, dry cloth on a plate for the tortillas to stay warm. Place two tortillas in a time the skilled at a time. Let them heat for 10-15 seconds and place them inside your cloth, cover then up after each round. Make as many as you need, keep in mind whether you'll be doubling up on tortillas or not.