Flavoring Kombucha with Essential Oils

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A few years ago I brewed kombucha regularly.    In the moving process 2 years ago, I gifted my scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to a friend and only until recently began brewing again.

(Just a note on the scoby…. read more in the article I linked below. It looks like a slimy pancake and it’s what ferments the tea. Every batch you brew a new scoby is made so your initial scoby is the mother. If friends want to try to brew themselves, you can simply peel one of the baby scobys off the mother, jar it with some of the tea and give it to them to brew their own kombucha. You can find a starter scoby online.)

Ive been buying a bottle in stores here and again but the $4 drink and endless glass bottles didn’t seem sustainable on my budget and on the earth.

If you don’t know what kombucha is, here are the basics.  This isn’t a detailed post on how to brew, but you can find a good one here.

I had read somewhere that you could flavor kombucha with essential oils and I was so intrigued.  Kombucha that is flavored after the initial brewing is flavored simply by adding fruit pieces, juice, or herbs directly into the bottle.   This isn’t difficult, you just have to have everything on hand (frozen fruit works well too).   Now that I live that crazy, mom at home life, adding a drop or two of essential oils to the bottles after brewing sounded sooooooo easy.

So a few weeks ago I did just that: my kombucha had sat for 21 days, I bottled it in recycled glass bottles and then flavored away.  To keep track of the bottles, I used washi tape to label them.   There’s a store-bought bottle of kombucha I buy and love, it’s lavender + melon flavored.  In one bottle I put 2 drops of lavender and it was the first bottle I drank, or rather, attempted to drink.   Essential oils are highly concentrated, so when I sipped on this bottle it tasted like I was drinking perfume, no bueno, and it made me afraid to try the rest of the bottles I had in the fridge. When I got the courage a few days later, I tasted another bottle and it was tasty!  Today I cracked open On Guard + Lemon and it was really good!

I definitely recommend trying this if you brew your own kombucha!

Here are some flavor combos I loved and will experiment more in future batches:

Flavor your home brewed komucha with essential oils (only  1-2 drops needed)

On Guard + Lemon

7up: Lemon + Lime

Ginger

Grapefruit

Wild Orange + Ginger

Zendocrine (detoxifying blend)

Tangerine + Ginger

Grapefruit + Lime

You can mix and match these oils to find your favorite.  Try lavender at your own risk! haha

You might be reading this and wondering a few things…. I’ve imagined some of those questions and answered them below….

  • Is brewing komucha hard?  It’s actually really easy.  You add 3 things in a large wide mouth jar: sugar, brewed black/green tea and a scoby (bacteria that ferments).  Once you place it all in the jar, it needs to sit undisturbed for 7-21 days (this explanation is very basic and if you are really considering brewing, learn more with the links I added above).  I’m happy to put the work into brewing and bottling because it costs very little to made a huge jar, yielding 10 bottles of kombucha vs. paying $4-6 dollars a bottle!
  • You can drink essential oils?!?!?  YES, but quality, pure oils, like the ones pictured.  If you’d like to learn more, contact me!  I always encourage you do your own research too, to decide if internal use is right for you.
  • But oil and water don’t mix…?!  This is true, basic science, but the oils are concentrated, so you get the taste of the oil in every sip of the drink.  Because kombucha is slightly carbonated, I would recommend shaking the bottle, but a couple inversions of the bottle help to blend the bottle before drinking.
  • Does it taste oily? No! When I first started putting oils in my water, I thought the water would taste weird, or the flavor of the oil (grapefruit is my go-to) would taste like the rind of the fruit.   This was not the case at all!  It tasted like an actual grapefruit.

I also wanted to share an update…. as I continue to share about essential oils and my business is growing… I decided to start an Instagram for my oil business– Aceite Mamá (oil Mom). I will also be opening a small online shop!!! More details definitely to come. The Instagram will go live soon, the new shop will open after the new year.

Stay tuned!

Pensamientos & Holiday Photos

DSC_40488.jpgAs a nation, we celebrated being thankful last week.  While all our woke friends posted about Thanksgiving being a trash holiday, (the way most of America celebrates it) Thanksgiving did exist in some form pre-pilgrims in 1620.  I digress, but I want to share what I enjoyed reading for those interested in reading more about Racial Justice Resources for Thanksgiving.

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It sounds cliche to hear and read motivational quotes about living life to the fullest but the last two weeks I’ve been incredibly thankful to be alive and healthy.  My parents were in a 3 car accident on the freeway the week before Thanksgiving, so the last two weeks all of our live’s have been put in thoughtful perspective.  My parents, and everyone involved are ok but as the saying goes, they saw their live’s flash before their eyes.   I have supported their healing with essential oils for bruising, soreness and emotional support and we thank Diosito that they are not more seriously injured.   It’s experiences like this that remind you all of the things you worry about day to day are minuscule in the grand scheme of things.  Existential crisis anyone?

Be in love with your life.  Every minute of it. —Jack Kerouac

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The holidays are a huge hustle and bustle to shop ’til you drop before you can really stop and smell the tamales.   So what I ask is that you stop and smell the tamales now,  and slow down, whatever that looks like for you.   

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Olive decided to be so serious for this shoot!

Last night I got the email I anticipate at the start of every month, from dōTERRA.  They announce the new promotion for the month and other news.   With all of the great promotions going on this month, they also had a blog post with a call to action: 31 days of Giving and Mindfulness.   It speaks to exactly what I want to do this holiday season… slow down, be mindful, give back and reflect.  The best part?  They included a printable bullet journal.  Because it’s dōTERRA one of the components is using essential oils aromatically to enhance your reflection.   I plan to post about my experience throughout the month on Instagram and likely a blog post at the end of it all— I’m so excited for this and this is just one example of why I love this company!

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Short and sweet today, just some thoughts I wanted to share.  I am also in love with the beautiful photos by Mariana Reed.  I love her style and she’s local, you can find her on Facebook and Instagram.   I got our holiday cards and they are ready to mail out!  I’ve sent out holiday cards for years, even before John and I were married, I just love snail mail.  Normally I order cards from Shutterfly… but this year I went more budget and got them via Walgreens.  They aren’t the best quality, but if you’re on a tight budget and still want to mail cards, it’s a great option.  They were ready same day and 60% off!  I got 40 cards for $25… thats a deal!

If you want to do a card swap, contact me!  Either via the contact page or on Instagram’s direct message feature and we can exchange addresses.

Will you join me in 31 Days of Giving and Mindfulness?

Share some love in the comments.

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— Karissa

Gifts on a Budget & Shop Small Gift Guides

I have dreams of one day being a minimalist.  Don’t get me wrong, I will never be a true minimalist like “The Minimalists” and I see the privilege in minimalism, but I hope to at least own less, consume less and produce less waste.   I say this because peak consumerism season is here with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday sales the push to buy everything and anything for Christmas is here.  I know sometimes Black Friday deals are hard to pass up (John and I were on a tight budget the year before our wedding but wanted to upgrade our TV and did so on Black Friday), but consider shopping small and local this holiday too.   Shopping local and small businesses is great for the local economy and you are directly supporting a real person and their family.  Sometimes our budgets are tight so along with sharing some handmade and small shop items that I’m loving, I also want to talk about alternative gift giving.

The last few years I’ve more and more been giving alternative gifts.  One year I decided I didn’t want to give things but instead give activities or experiences.  So I subscribed my nieces and nephew to the Kiwi crate and Tinker crate and a membership to the local zoo.  Another year I was on a budget, instead of finding different gifts for everyone, I purchased downloadable art on Etsy and different frames for everyone.  It was less than $15 for each person and everyone loved them.

Last year I had just had Olive and was not in a place to Christmas shop so we didn’t give gifts.  This year we’re on a very tight budget, life on one income requires some adjustments, but there are alternatives if you’re into it.

A great way to do gifts on a budget is to pick a theme.  Not having to focus on so many different gifts and price points saves you time and energy but also lots of money.

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I love shopping vintage and second hand stores.  You can find cute vases, baskets, coffee mugs or so many unique finds.  If you like shopping thrift stores, consider checking out your local Goodwill or Salvation Arm, you might be surprised with what you find!

On to the gift guides!

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Just Say No to Synthetic Fragrances

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The “new second hand smoke” is all around you right now.  Scary thought, right?   Look at your bottle of lotion for the list of ingredients and notice the word “fragrance” listed?   You’d be surprised to know that that word alone can be up to thousands of chemical properties that the FDA has allowed companies to list as simply fragrance.  

I have to admit that my old self used to LOVE plugging in fresh air fresheners around the house.  All my life, using my cucumber melon lotion (oh so early 2000s), getting seasonal with autumn scented candles and spritzing myself with my favorite perfume I had no idea the potential side effects of wanting to smell good.

From air fresheners, scented candles, perfumes, and lotions, what’s the danger?  The artificial fragrance and harmful chemicals in those products can exacerbate asthma, cause skin irritations or disrupt hormone production.  This is oversimplified.  Think of people that are particularly susceptible to disruptors.  In pregnant woman where hormone levels are especially important or teenage kids dousing themselves in aerosol deodorants the negative affects can be drastic and more detrimental to their health.

While this topic might be on your radar already, my objective is to give you some tools to clean up your medicine cabinet and home life of these toxins.  I am in no way a perfect example of green, clean, living but I am on a journey to live more sustainably and eco-conscious.  Always do your own research, a simple google search may do the trick, but be mindful of the source!   Below you’ll find some ways I rid my home of synthetic fragrances

Read more on: Women’s Day, TIME, Huffington Post, National Center for Biotechnology Information, Non Toxic Revolution


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Wedding Photo Book on Shutterfly

I’ve shared my wedding book before on Instagram, but I wanted to give a little more details here.  After receiving all of our wedding photos from the photographer I knew I wanted to make my own photo book and design it all myself.   To be honest, it is time consuming this way (when there are easier and quicker features like Shutterfly automatically placing photos on the pages).   But, the many hours I put into the design were well worth it.

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