Homemade Exfoliating Sugar Scrub

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Everyone likes smooth skin right? (Well, everyone except for my husband who gave me a confused look when told him what I was making. He just doesn’t understand.)

I saw several “recipes” for homemade sugar scrubs on Pinterest and given how easy it looked, I had to try. I also noticed that 95% of the sugar scrubs were photographed in a mason jar. I should have bought stock in mason jar manufacturers years ago.

First, a note.  People have a myriad of reasons for why they exfoliate and/or make their own scrubs. I’m not one who swears by organic anything (I need more science and appropriate regulation of terminology) nor do I believe in the detoxifying qualities of these ingredients (I prefer to rely on my kidneys and frequent bowel movements). Personally, I just like the masochistic act of scrubbing my skin raw for the temporary enjoyment of baby’s butt smoothness. Additionally, I’ve purchased a few bottles of essential oils (for additional projects to be posted later) and this was a fun way to expand my experimentation with them. Whatever your reasons are, they are your own, and you should own them.

There are tons of iterations for exfoliating scrubs. The basic idea is an oil base (i.e. coconut, olive, avocado, baby…the Johnson & Johnson kind. Please don’t squeeze a baby and hope he/she excretes oil), an abrasive ingredient (white sugar, brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, coffee), and optional additives (i.e. honey, essential oils, fruit). My recent trip to Hawaii has made me more coconut-inclined so I started with that to build off of.

Here’s what I used:

  • 5 oz of coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 20 drops of Orange Sweet 100% Essential oil
  • 10 drops of Ginger Root 100% Essential oil


It WAS very easy to make myself and it did fulfill my masochistic need to rid my body of my perceived layers of dead skin cells (and a few healthy ones too most likely). The oil base of the scrub left my skin a little too oily for my taste so I had to follow up with body wash. However, I did feel incredibly moisturized for the next day or so. The scent of the coconut oil persisted despite the body wash follow up and largely overshadowed the orange and ginger, which I could still detect if I unapologetically sniffed myself by burying my nose in my skin.

To make this experiment more fun for myself, I decided to calculate the cost of making my scrub. First, a few parameters. I used Wikipedia’s definition of a drop as 0.05mL and looked up the cost of sugar at my local Target. The other prices listed are my actual costs. I also estimated that I ended up with about 8oz of scrub.

Here’s me being a good student and showing my work:

Ingredient Total Cost Amount Used Fractional Cost
Nature’s Way Coconut Oil $12 for 16 oz 5 oz $3.75
Piping Rock Orange Sweet 100% Essential Oil $4.79 for 2 oz (59mL) 20 drops $0.08
Piping Rock Ginger Root 100% Essential Oil $4.89 for 0.5 oz (15mL) 10 drops $0.16
C&H Sugar $2.89 for 4lb bag 3/4 cup or .33 lbs $0.24

On Amazon, you can purchase an 18 oz tub of Tree Hut Sugar Scrub for $6.49. My concoction comes out to $0.52 per ounce and the Amazon product is $0.36 per ounce. Of course, this number is hugely variable depending on what product you buy, but at a very basic level, this shows you can buy a scrub for cheaper.

I’d be doing my master’s degree a huge disfavor if I didn’t acknowledge the great many variables that are unaccounted for, such as cost of shipping (if any), whether these products are already staples in your pantry vs whether you have to buy them specifically for this purpose, cost of products, quality of products, labor, and qualitative factors like product enjoyability, odor preferences, and crafting enjoyment.

Lessons learned:

  1. Amazon (and Amazon Prime) is still amazing.
  2. Making your own scrub is easy, especially if you already own these products.
  3. Making your own scrub allows you to customize the scents, although it will take some experimentation to get a balanced scent profile.
  4. Making your own scrub may not necessarily be cost saving.
  5. I enjoy being a nerd. Okay, this wasn’t newly learned. I’ve always known this.

End scene.


Book Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler


The only thing better than reading a book by a funny person is listening to the funny person read their book to you. I admit that was mostly familiar with her work only via the Tina Fey pipeline. Now, after reading Yes Please, I would definitely consider myself an Amy Poehler fan. And yes, Parks and Recreation has been added to my TV queue.

The book’s content follows the same structure as most books written by comedians: stories of her childhood, how she got into comedy and the long road to “making it big”, fun stories from SNL, Parks and Rec, and the Golden Globes, as well as some personal insights into her recent divorce and raising her two boys. She brings on a slew of guests including her parents, Kathleen Turner, Seth Meyers (who actually wrote one chapter of the book), David Shur, Carol Burnett, and Sir Patrick Stewart. It’s my understanding that the hardcopy of the book includes many pictures, however, I really enjoyed listening to all the guest narrators. I also think she did an incredible job reading her book. The book isn’t as “Ha-Ha” funny as one might expect from a comedian of her caliber. I would actually consider this to be more about a journey in discovering the secrets of life, with comedic relief bits thrown in.

What I was most struck by was her honesty throughout. What makes me believe that this book is a true representation of who she is in real life is that I can’t tout some superficial statement of “Oh wow, I feel like I know her, I know her struggles.” I got the impression that she told stories not to self-aggrandize nor to satisfy society’s gross curiosity about the lives of the rich and famous, but rather to satisfy her own desire or need to share. I really respect her for that. Don’t get me wrong, I still totally want to be her friend now, but I respect that the purpose of this book wasn’t to fish for new fans (even though it did rope me in).

It’s a great book. Amy Poehler fan or no, Yes Please would be a solid addition to your reading list!

Summer Harvest

When I was a little kid, I remember having a cherry tomato plant in the back patio of our family’s apartment. I LOVED that thing and have always wanted to grow my own tomatoes when I had the space and the time to do it. We don’t have a backyard in our current house but we do have a very sunny deck. When it was time for planting season, I asked my handy hubby to help me put together a (sub)urban vegetable garden so I could grow my own summer fruits and veggies.

I knew this year was going to have mixed results, as this is my first time growing anything, and it was going to take a little trial and error to figure out which plants grow well in containers. Here’s a few pictures of my setup:
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I’ve got individual planters and a two long planter boxes. I learned really early on that the bigger the container, the better the plant will grow. I made the mistake of putting some of my plants in containers that were way too small, which I think stunted plant growth.

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The plants I’m growing are:

    • Zucchini
    • Three types of tomatoes: Sweet Hybrid 100, Patio Tomato, and Yellow Pear Tomatoes
    • Renault Strawberries
    • A thornless raspberry bush (purchased from Costco)
    • A Garden Salsa pepper plant
    • Maxibel french green beans
    • Two types of cucumbers: the classic cucumber and Boston pickling
    • Genovese basil

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I have an irrigation system set up with an automatic timer, which I would HIGHLY recommend. I had the lofty goal of hand watering my plants but as the summer gets hot, I found my plants getting a little wilt-y from the heat, and suffering when I was gone for more than a day or two. An automatic drip system has worked out superbly.

Of all my plants, my zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers seem to be doing the best. The green beans did well…until the zucchini leaves took over the sun real estate space, under which my green bean plants are now living.  My poor cucumber plants have gone through a lot, so it produced a few cukes and then petered out.
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My fruiting plants are doing so in full force, and I was able to make a lovely garden salsa using my tomatoes and peppers. Salsa is an amazingly simple thing to make and it makes a great snack with some tortilla chips, or as a condiment for a morning omelet.
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My zucchini plants are starting to pick up steam…I’m definitely going to have to find more zucchini recipes soon!