Did you know that Janus, two-faced god and namesake for January, is also the patron deity of doorways? Dusting your domicile’s beautiful portals is a perfect way to bring in the new year while scratching off a line on your to-do list. Here are four other acts of practical magic for welcoming 2014.
* Scrub your tub. Use your favorite scent of Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap for a mild, natural clean. Adding a little kosher salt and elbow grease will conquer the grungiest bits. Inspired, but don’t have a brush on hand? Sprinkle the salt directly on a halved grapefruit and use that instead. Then soak that NYE indulgence away with a hot bath.
* Freshen up comforters, sweaters and winter coats with a fabric steamer. It’s also good for getting some of the smell out of the inside of wool hats, especially along the interior band that touches your forehead and can cause breakouts. Try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to the water when steaming your bedding for extra R’n’R.
* You can also steam last year’s gunk out of your face. Infuse a bowl of freshly boiled water with chamomile (use three or four tea bags, if you don’t have it loose) or another soothing herb. I like to use a blend of dried chamomile, lemon balm and cardamom blossoms. It’s basically a mega-sized cup of tea for your pores. Alternately, you can add a couple drops of essential oil, just pick something gentle that won’t bother your eyes. Then lean over the bowl with a towel draped over your head to trap the steam, keeping your face far enough away that you don’t get burned. Inhale deeply and relax for 5 – 10 minutes, coming up for air when needed.
* Hit your kitchen for a hippie face mask. It’s a great followup to a facial steam or any time your skin needs extra nourishment, like after a long, bottle-popping night. It takes about five minutes to mix up and apply a mask from raw honey, turmeric powder and high-quality olive oil. Dab the leftovers on your neck, décolleté and the “under butt” (maybe the French have a more elegant term, but this is what I call it). Then hop into the shower and rinse well as turmeric can stain your skin yellow. Experiment with egg yolk, milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, lemon juice, diluted apple cider vinegar or ground coffee. There’s a wealth of ideas on the Crunchy Betty blog.