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STAYCATION the clean and bright way

If you are planning a staycation before Fall schedules start up again, why not do so with safer products that are more environmentally friendly? Sometimes there is nothing better than quiet time in your own home. Why not add some peace of mind by reducing toxins and working toward more sustainability?

Start by setting a beautiful mood in your kitchen - the hub of most houses. Since it is still summer-time temps for most of us, stay hydrated by putting out a pitcher or dispenser of water with your favorite fruit or veggie added. I love cucumber slices and mint in my water but how often do I take the time to keep it available for myself?

And speaking of setting a beautiful mood in your kitchen, use the china and crystal. Drink your water or tea or wine out of a beautiful crystal glass. What are we saving the china and crystal for?

For the herbs, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables you will need for your refreshing water and yummy meals, go to a local farmer's market at the beginning of your staycation and load up. (In RVA, check out all the locations of the RVAgriculture markets around town and at several times during the week. And while you're at the market, pick up some fresh flowers for your kitchen or bathroom or bedroom - or all of the above! Treat yourself on your vacay.

Now that you have your kitchen set up for relaxing and enjoying, you can take the time to cook or prepare fresh dishes. Here is my favorite summer vacay salsa - my friend Chef Tammy Brawley's corn crack salsa! (crack because it's so addictive!) Watch how to make it here. SO EASY! Make sure to watch til the end for the simple but delicious dressing recipe.

And a new favorite that is perfect for staycation-ing is this vegan crab cake because it is so delicious AND because it made 14 cakes - so plenty of leftovers. Not a vacation of cooking only!

And while you are cooking, enjoy a cleaner glass of wine, from Scout and Cellar brand. Carefully curated, no sugar added, small batch wines from this brand are delicious. At a tasting party for this brand, there were several skeptics in the group who had some wine tasting experience from around the world. We were all pleasantly surprised when everyone really loved the full flavors and legs of the Scout and Cellar wines.

Don't want to spend that much of your staycation in the kitchen? Move on to the bath.

Plan a spa night. You can put on a deep cleansing charcoal mask or a moisturizing mask with the Cleansing Balm from Beautycounter. Draw a bath to soak in while the face mask does its magic. Use a safer bath soak like Pursoma. Read that novel you've been putting off all summer. Dry off with the 'guest' towels that you save in the linen closet for others. Slather on organic coconut oil or Beautycounter's Citrus Mimosa Body Butter to seal in moisture. Wrap up in a big comfortable robe. Light a candle or two. Choose calming scents and non toxic ingredients. Don't use any with 'fragrance' in the list of ingredients, any with parrafin wax or any with metal wicks. Try P. F. Candle Co.

And if all else fails, sit in a comfortable chair outside and stare up at the green trees and blue skies. I may join you.

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