Create Your Own Incense & Magical Clouds

Incense, you either love it or you hate it. That’s what I’ve found in being a lifelong pusher of it!

“Hey, you don’t mind if I burn incense do you?”

Often met with a casual eye-roll or possibly a sure and then, can I put this out? It seems a person either appreciates the presence of it in their home or they despise it because of the sheer invasiveness of the smokey scent. Many times powerfully strong, incense can leave your environment highly fragrant in a matter of minutes.

The process of making herbal incense without the use of salt peter, or even charcoal is actually quite easy. However, perfecting the art is another matter. Perhaps the easiest way is by using a binder commonly called Makko. Makko not only serves as a water soluble binder, but as a burning agent as well. Makko is a natural tree bark from an evergreen tree and contains no synthetic chemicals, charcoal, or salt peter.

Incense began use as an instrument in spiritual practices. With the killer scent it packed in such a small size, it also became a hit with hippies and homeowners everywhere. If you can appreciate the presence of lemony-sweet sodapop in your home, or more commonly a woody-spicy fragrance, you’re definitely a contender for incense!

Now, you can buy incense for pretty cheap just about anywhere that sells fragrant candles. If you can’t find it in your area you’re in luck because there’s an even bigger selection online! Be sure to gaze at the carnival of delicious, handmade incense scents on etsy and imagine the sheer wonder of your home or studio being transported to a fragrant fantasy land!

… but if you wanted absolute control over the fragrance you could make your own as well.

DIY Incense

Now, it sounds very easy to create your own incense but the trick is mixing the ingredients correctly so that you get a nice, even burn. Your incense might be too smokey, might not burn properly and could keep going out prematurely.

To begin making your incense (this is the Japanese way), mix an incense base with makko (incense powder), and add some warm water. When using a resin your incense will become more difficult to burn. Therefor you should use resins, like Frankensense, at much lower percentages as the burning agents (makko and sandalwood).

“Sandalwood is common to almost every incense formula, and serves as a wonderful base aroma as well as a burning agent of its own right. If you were making an incense of sandalwood alone, the amount of makko required may be a little as 10%.”

Mix the ingredients into a dough-consistency and knead it thoroughly. Form into cones or sticks (form sticks around bamboo reeds) and Knead the incense-dough thoroughly and form into cones or sticks. Allow them to dry slowly, about a week. Check them to see if they’re dry and enjoy your new incense.

In-SCENTS

My favorite part about candles and incense is the *aroma*, like most people I adore a waft of delicious fragrance to pass by me while working at my desk. It’s a shame you can’t have them in cubicles! It definitely would have lightened the atmosphere in the slightest way. Especially when there happens to be a microwave area in your office.

Don’t use cheap oils — they can irritate the skin and the aroma can provide no benefit.

You can combine your favorite oils to create aromatherapy benefits *or* just to delight your nose.

Incen-spiration

Ehehe.. my favorite part of blogging has always been the eye candy.

lisn_to_finland_5
(By Ilkka Suppanen)

After seeing this incense design exhibit I *had* to find rainbow incense, cute holders, and well-designed incense packages~

cafetime

Japanese incense comes in many shapes in sizes, sometimes with especially cute scents and packing like these Cafe Time incense sticks.

Incense Holders

Now that you have some great incense to try you might want to purchase a cute handmade holder *or* make your own.

Bowl / Teacup Nab a cute bowl or teacup from the local antique shop or use your grandmother’s you’ve been saving in the attic. Fill it with sand, stick your incense in the bowl — add some to the middle or add in a circle around the center. Light and enjoy!

Holder These leave the most ashes but hopefully you’ll have this in an area where ashes can be easily cleaned up! Create a clay sculpture, be it a cupcake, mushroom or anything you like. Grab an incense and stick it into the (still wet) clay where you’d like your incense to be.. Move the incense around a bit to make the hole a little wider. Remove the incense and bake your holder (or let dry if it is no-bake clay).

Tray The typical wooden (or clay) tray is usually longer than the length of the incense stick, has a little ash dip in the middle and a hole on one of the ends for holding the incense. These generally leave ashes scattered also.

Plant That’s right, I often stick a lit stick right in a big, potted plant.

How to Raise Monarch Butterflies

Saving the Monarchs is easy and inexpensive; it just takes patience and planting milkweed (the only thing the caterpillars eat!!). If we all get involved we can make a big difference.

Common milkweed grows abundantly in many areas of the US starting in June. Other types of milkweed, such as tropical or swamp milkweed, easily grow as well. You can harvest milkweed,  locate monarch eggs, and easily raise 100 caterpillars indoors in what is called a “butterfly hamper” until they pupate. Upon leaving the chrysalis you release them 24 hours later bearing the weather. Super easy! If you want a lower maintenance approach, even planting nectar flowers AND milkweed helps immensely.

Create a Monarch Waystation

Plant nectar flowers and milkweed for wandering monarchs to have a place to rest and eat. Some great, low-maintenance plants for butterflies are: cone flowers, Black-eyed Susans, hollyhocks, meadow blazing stars, and, of course, milkweed flowers! Learn more here.

Hungry, Hungry Hippos

Monarch caterpillars, or any caterpillars really, eat A LOT. That means you’ll need a lot of milkweed. Milkweed is the only thing monarch caterpillars can eat. Each caterpillar can easily devour a whole plant before preparing to make its chrysalis. If you can’t grow or locate enough milkweed to feed your caterpillars, only bring in as much as you can feed. In Indianapolis it literally grows wild in ditches, forests, and medians.

You’ll have to place fresh milkweed in your “butterfly hamper” which is what we call a zippable mesh insect cage, daily. You will also have to remove caterpillar poo/frass everyday as well. (They eat and poop non-stop.) Other than that I prefer to place my chrysalis in a separate hamper so no diseases are transmitted to young caterpillars. When the butterfly emerges and dries their wings for 24 hours, release it on a nice, sunny day. If you need to wait a little longer because it’s raining or dark soon, please offer a nectar flower or orange slice just in case! This website was the site I used for information raise mine, they seem to have the process covered very nicely from what cage to how to keep milkweed fresh!

The lovely lady was released recently.

Prefer to Leave Them Outside?

Why bring them in at all? Haven’t they survived until now?

The percentage of monarchs that survive from egg to adulthood is very low. Researchers agree that less than 10% of the eggs that are laid survive to become adult butterflies, and some feel that this number may be significantly under 10%. – Monarch Joint Venture

Overall monarchs have declined by more than 80 percent over the past two decades.

Scientists estimate the monarch population needs to reach 225 million butterflies to be out of the danger zone. Monarchs have lost an estimated 165 million acres of breeding habitat in the United States to herbicide spraying and development. – Center for Bio Diversity

How to Raise Monarch Butterflies FaceBook Group

Join us and get involved!

My Cesarian – The Most Intimate Moment of my Life

A cesarian, or c-section, is usually not the first thought people have when they imagine an intimate, romantic birth. I have to admit, it didn’t seem like a possibility to me. In fact, I wasn’t prepared for that. I was insecure. My husband’s previous children were born at home, something I’m unable to consider in my situation. It’s easy for us mothers to feel less than in so many ways.

The three of us in March [by Ashley Louise Photography]

Our pregnancy was riddled with constant appointments, ultrasounds, bedrest and weekly shots he gave me. I was on medications to calm preterm labor. It was very restrictive but worth it to carry to term. We were all in shock that I actually made it to my surgery date!

I arrived at the hospital with my husband at 5:30am and waited anxiously for my paperwork to be prepared. To claim I was worried is an understatement

Shortly after we followed the nurse to the back of the hospital and up the elevator to a triage room for me to be stabbed with an IV 4 times. One of those 4 times medicine was even injected into my arm, not my vein. As my arm bulged in pain I felt my anxiety intensify. Luckily the shift changed and the anesthesiologist was able to get my vein. Whew.

My husband was given what they call a bunny suit to get ready for surgery. I was taken back ahead of him and told to sit on the edge of the bed. I was told to hold the pillow and lean against the nurse while I get my spinal tap. I was full of fear at this point but I tried to relax.

The room was SO BRIGHT and sterile. The lights above looked like huge saucers waiting to take me away. A team of women peered down at me. The anesthesiologist patted me and assured me everything was going great.

The three of us in April [by Ashley Louise Photography]

I lost all feeling in my legs and panicked. I hadn’t felt that before. My first birth was an emergency at 34 weeks after I had already had an epidural so I was drugged and puking the entire time; unable to focus on my body.

My husband was brought into the room as I was feeling small moans and cries floating out of my mouth in a panic. I couldn’t control the shaking. I could feel them washing my body but they assured me I wouldn’t feel pain. I wanted to change my mind. There was not an opportunity for me to experience birth in a different way based on my genetics and my body’s struggle with pregnancy.

My husband held my face close to his, with tears in his eyes. He told me to be there with him, to focus on him. He told me it was ok, that he was with me. I stared into his eyes and I felt like we were one person. I knew we were one person. I melted into him as the moans continued to seep from my lips. Tears involuntarily poured from our eyes as he held me. It seemed to take hours and minutes and yet time wasn’t even real anymore. The only thing that was real was our oneness.

The moment we met.

My doctor said there was one last layer before the baby. I looked at the reflection and cried. I looked back at my husband and felt only his hands. They pulled her out, pulled her out of both of us. Our hearts exploded. We both were uncontrollably crying when we heard her cry, saw her tiny white body. Thats the soul who begged to be born for nearly 6 years. That’s the baby he got a vasectomy reversal for, the baby we planned to the day. The miracle baby that seemed for so many years an impossibility based on endless setbacks with my health.

They handed her to him. I was in shock. The anesthesiologist gave me something in my IV to help calm me. My shaking started to slow. I looked at her tiny face in my husband’s hands. We were all one, all three of us.

In recovery my husband was so grateful I was ok. He was focused on me. I was able to hold my daughter and breastfeed her, something I hadn’t been able to do upon completion of my first birth. I felt whole again.

Our first meeting, recovery, and our first walk~

We had a new understanding, a new experience. He told me we were one, that he felt what I felt. That he was so scared. That he had never experienced anything so intimate, intense, or beautiful in his entire life. I hadn’t either.

A home birth is natural, a vaginal birth is assumed, a cesarian can be the most intimate experience of your life. I know it was for us and I’m incredibly grateful for my body.

My girls, Colette Fawn and Béatrice Fawn.

Indy’s First Annual Macaron Day

You can imagine my excitement when macaron cookies finally starting picking up steam. Now they can be found in bakeries around Indianapolis (and most cities around the USA, at that!) so there’s no need to travel to Paris or order macarons online. Hurrah!

Also, because the macaron is such a fun cookie to experiment with, you can find such an array of flavors, colors and styles! I saw everything from tie-dye, to unicorn-shaped, to sparkly golden macarons in every flavor you can imagine — even tequila! (Rene’s Bakery)

I’m not only going to show you our adventure on this day, but I’m also going to tell you the top bakeries to get macarons in Indianapolis! Please enjoy~

Macaron Ratings:

In order from 5 star ratings.

Rene’s Bakery: Pineapple – Not only was this a new flavor for me but it tasted tart and amazing. The texture was sport on — the shape was a little unique (it was very rounded) but I will be going back here for more. They also had the most unique flavors: grape, tequila, pineapple, mango, etc. Yum!

Luxury Cakes: Orange Blossom – I loved the flavor AND the creme. It was more of a whipped cream ganache and I enjoyed every single bite. It was stuffed with creme!

Macaron Bar: Earl Grey – I love earl grey and so tea-flavored macarons are always a favorite. Great texture, chewy and delicious.

Coat Check Coffee: Fruity Pebbles – I’m sure I am biased but the flavor was amazing, the macaron was the cutest of all and it was a perfect texture.

Cake Bake: Pink Marshmallow – The prettiest macaron. Glittery, perfect shape. Tastes like a traditional macaron. If you really love macarons you must get the Marie Antoinette, it is my absolute, world-wide, favorite macaron.

Circle City Sweets: Raspberry Rose Champagne – Very tasty with both fruit filling and ganache. Great, traditional macaron.

The Gallery Pastry Shop: Matcha – I love matcha as a flavor and the macaron was a very strong matcha. I hate when I cannot even taste it! It was another traditional, lovely macaron.

HoiTea ToiTea: Confetti – For one, they call them macaroons which is a totally different cookie. The macaron wasn’t exceptional in flavor but it was very cute because it was dipped in sprinkles.

Bites: coffee, dessert, bar.: Blueberry Waffle – I enjoyed that the macaron was filled with fruit jam AND ganache but it was bland. I was hoping with the flavor I would be able to taste it but not so much. A little too crisp.

What is Macaron Day?

Macaron Day is a chance for macaron lovers to taste delectable French macarons from various bakeries while also supporting local charities in participating cities: Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Toledo. By mentioning Macaron Day at any of the participating bakeries and you’ll receive a complimentary macaron while supplies last.
Official Macaron Day Website

Reminds me of a cute, colorful town in the Wild West!
Luxury cakes: cute, pink, kitsch.
Cake Bake: one of my all-time favorite restaurants and bakeries.
Cake Bake’s new Pink Marshmallow Dream cake.
Macaron Day passport!
The Gallery Pastry Shop’s decadent, perfect desserts.

Participating Indy Bakeries:

Circle City Sweets | 222 E Market Street, 46204

Macaron Bar | 425 Massachusetts Avenue, 46204 

Coat Check Coffee | 401 E Michigan Street, 46204

HoiTea ToiTea – Broad Ripple | 6283 N College Avenue, 46220

The Gallery Pastry Shop | 1101 E 54th St G, 46220

The Cake Bake Shop | 6515 Carrollton Avenue, 46220

Rene’s Bakery | 6524 N. Cornell Avenue, 46220

HoiTea ToiTea – Keystone Mall | 8702 Keystone Crossing, 46240

Luxury Cakes | 254 Veteran’s Way, 46032

Bites: coffee, dessert, bar | 640 S Main St #100, 46077

Cake pops at Bites — love the sprinkles!

Macaron Fan?

Love macarons as much as I do? I also took along my macaron kitty pins and necklaces to give to some of my favorite stops as a thank you. This pin was made in collaboration with ALTLiAE who is an all star leatherworker and macaron baker in Indianapolis. She wanted a mascot macaron pin so I created this little kitty for her! You can get your own pin or necklace for a limited time in the Miseducated Shop.

Want to collaborate on your own mascot pin to promote your business? Let me know!

Mew for Valentine’s Day: Spoil Yourself in the Bath

With bathing traditions on nearly every continent that can be traced back to the Romans, it’s no wonder that there are so many delicious bath products today. I really fall for packaging and design but more importantly, these bath goodies are all made with natural materials by smaller businesses. Skip the department store bath fizzies and try some of these super cute soaps and sprinkles this Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re in a relationship or not, you can still spoil yourself. After all, isn’t the relationship with yourself the most important one?

Sugar Milk Co.

SKINNYDIP London

New York’s Bathhouse

Antoinette’s Bathhouse

Soak + Unwind

Mood Board: All the Monday Feels

Who said Mondays have to be a draining, uninspired pity party? Let’s have a Monday inspiration party.

Mood Board post category acquired.

Last night we welcomed the new week by having a card game gathering at our home and I was sure to get an array of tasty snacks: dark chocolate, wasabi soy almonds, popcorn and candies~ sparkling strawberry, pineapple water to top it off.

Dreaming of a photoshoot like I used to do. I don’t know why we leave behind parts of ourselves that we truly love! What’s a part of one of your old selves that you’d like to bring back?

xox


TOO CUTE: A new favorite blog by Kate of Scathingly Brilliant


Add edible flowers to your ice cubes!


Kitschy Living


Nyané

You’re Using Self-Help Gurus and Happiness on Social Media to Hurt Yourself

I’ve been through a lot in my life and have experienced a lot of pain. I got so low when I hit rock bottom that I knew it was the end of my life if I didn’t get help. I had to do a lot of work to heal myself and make a new life. I have never again felt as low as I did then. Not even close. I have an amazing life. I’m grateful. I’m truly happy and excited for each day.

But.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I still get sad. Everyone still gets sad. This movement going on in print and on social media is dangerous.

What movement, you ask?

You’ll notice online there is no shortage of self-help books and blogs. Positive, motivational, and personal self-help, social media accounts, even. The quotes, the promises.

You also may notice in your own social media feed that your friends are also posting the great times, the special moments. However is it still acceptable to be honest about being sad? About feeling vulnerable? About heart break or failures?

I can’t tell you how many readers have contacted me about how I gave them hope with some of my brutally honest, personal articles. Hope that things can totally change. That they can be happy. That’s AMAZING! I’m so grateful for that every day.

I do wonder though, when they get sad or have a hard day do they feel like a failure? When their house is not as perfect as a picture do they feel like giving up? When their vacations and events aren’t Pinterest-worthy do they feel less-than? How about if they spend the day arguing with their partner because they wake up feeling “not good enough” and sad?

I have also been contacted about similar sad situations by readers. About people that eat this motivational stuff up just knowing that one day they will be enlightened like that woman but keep on feeling discouraged because they aren’t. They have hope that their wildest dreams will all be manifested and they will never have an emotional day. They will not have bad days.

The problem I have with some life coaches is that they sell their life, disguised as a coaching product. Perhaps a result of the growing popularity of the lifestyle design industry, these life coaches spend more time trying to live and sell a lifestyle that suits them, rather than investing in the service they are allegedly providing to others. – Medium

Do you know that woman‘s personal life? She does have bad days. She wakes up feeling bad about herself. She recognizes her own failures. She posts another quote and completes a recommended self care regimen and feels better but she still makes mistakes. She still feels blue sometimes.

I know some of the top female gurus and I’ll let you in on a secret:
The positivity and perfection are an illusion and I know that you’ve used it to make yourself feel worse.

That woman does not exist. You are looking through a rose colored lens because you cannot see her behind closed doors. You don’t see her personal life.

Am I saying she is a fraud? No, she’s probably a good motivational speaker and writes inspiring, best-selling books. However, she also has bad days that you don’t see. You can’t use the illusion of perfection to make yourself feel less-than.

You do exist. And you are amazingly and perfectly imperfect. You will have bad days. You will wake up feeling less than. You’re not. We all feel that way sometimes and it’s ok.

Pst, Here’s More Proof

Breakup Rehab: How to Get Over a Break-Up and Impress Your Ex


I’ve finally started writing more self-help based articles and books again. Please enjoy my first official Kindle ebook, Breakup Rehab!

Because I’ve been through it first hand, discussed it with friends over tea and researched the hell out of the current material out there, I feel I have a lot of advice to offer you that actually works. If it works for my obsessive mind, it can for sure help you.

I deeply wish someone would have written this for me many years ago so that I didn’t have to learn things the hard way. However, I am thankful I can provide you with some insight.

The value in this for you is that I know exactly what you need to do to be successful in your endeavor of heartbreak and I know just as well how to ruin your chances. This was once a long article posted here but I have since published it into an ebook for the Kindle to make it easier to read and take along with you during hard times when you’re expected to play it cool, calm and creative.

Please feel so inspired to purchase the inexpensive (it’s only $.99 for a limited time!) ebook and come along aboard the love train with me, keep your hands inside and your rings on tight. This is going to be bumpy ride. I appreciate all of the support I can get and I know my long-term readers will appreciate it.

This article is geared towards those of us in a serious relationship with, or married to, a man. If you’re interested in getting a woman back you’ll obviously need to go about things quite a bit differently but this advice could loosely be used to get a girl back as well since it’s mostly about helping yourself progress to attract your mate so feel free to replace all the ‘he and hims’ to ‘shes and hers.’ If you’re interested in revisiting a friendship just remove all of the romantic parts. This majority of the advice is great for getting over any break-up in a positive and successful way so feel free to make use of it as you please.

Want more advice?

If you’re looking for more ideas to save your relationship or marriage stay tuned for an actual relationship course (that you can take alone but it would be best to take with your significant other). I promise to first subject my friends and eventually my significant other to the course so I can include helpful hints and extra valuable information along the way. You might say we’re still collecting inspiration so if you have a story about parting ways with or reconciling with your ex be sure to let me know all about it! Don’t worry, you can always remain anonymous.

Free How to Plan Promotions Ebook

Best retailing practices state business owners and managers should start planning promotions 1-3 months in advance. That’s why Miseducated has created our ebook How To Plan Promotions.

Please enjoy the digestible advice and good industry tips downloading the first of our up-and-coming ebooks and get inspired to make improvements.

If you’re ready to discuss ways to make your branding or marketing grab more attention in the new year just email or call me for a free consultation.

I’d love to assist you in making your campaigns stand out from the rest!

Our first ebook is our How to Plan Promotions Ebook and you can download it for free by clicking here!