Infinity Jars Review + DIY Lavender Spray

If you’re like me, then you cannot STAND it when your cupboards and drawers are messy. Seeing mismatched baggies full of flour, granola, spices, etc., is just a recipe to drive me insane. Anyone else? 

I also cannot stand shoes in the house, or dirty clothes that have been worn all day on my bed. In fact, I recently purchased a shoe cabinet because I also don’t like having messy piles of shoes by my front door!

But back to my cabinets. For the past several years, I’ve been using mason jars (YES don’t judge) to store my dry goods in the panty, as well as leftover soup in the fridge. I like that they keep everything organized and are extremely affordable. In fact, I had never really considered another storage method, as a lot of the products specifically made for food storage are made from plastic and/ or are a lot more expensive. 

Recently, the nice people at Infinity Jars reached out to me and asked if I’d like to try out some of their storage jars in exchange for a review. Yes please!

These airtight jars are much different from anything you’ve (probably) ever seen at Target or Bed Bath and Beyond. Most glass jars (such as mason jars) let in harmful visible light rays that cause food and other goods to spoil. However, Infinity Jars are made from a premium, deep violet European glass that blocks harmful UV rays in order to help preserve goods for up to two years. In addition, they all have an airtight seal and are scent proof. 

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For these reasons, Infinity Jars are ideal for loose tea, pantry goods, fancy spices, oils, homemade cosmetics, vinegars… the list goes on! You can use them for pretty much anything. AND they not only make screw top jars (similar to mason jars) but also spray bottles, dropper bottle, apothecary jars, olive oil bottles, and more! Like I said, there isn’t really anything else like them on the market right now, especially for anyone who likes to DIY soaps, lotions, etc.

Last week, I received one 500ml screw top jar and one 200ml spray bottle. Right now, I am using the jar to store some Darjeeling tea Rick and I got in Prague at Dobra Cajovna (highly recommend this tea house if you’re ever there), and I am using the spray bottle for my homemade lavender spray (more on that later). While I haven’t had them long enough to test their preservation abilities, they are certainly heavy duty, high quality. I really like the modern, classic style! 

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I was especially excited to try out the spray bottle, as I like to make things like homemade spray cleaners with essential oil. As you may know, it is not a good idea to put essential oils in plastic bottles as the oils can erode the plastic. So, the fact that the Infinity spray bottle is both glass and made to preserve goods is a win-win.

One of my favorite DIY essential oil concoctions is Lavender Spray. It’s sort of like a lavender air freshener, and it’s perfect to spray around your bedroom and on your pillows and sheets before bed.  Sometimes I have a hard time winding down at night, and the scent of lavender helps me get ready for bed. 

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Here is what I used to make it:

  • 3 oz water
  • 3 oz vodka** (to disperse the oil)
  • 60 drops essential oil (you can use all lavender, or do half lavender, half rosemary or chamomile)

Simply combine everything, and voila! *Calm* in a bottle. 

**some recipes call for rubbing alcohol, but to me it makes it smell like a doctor’s office. You know how the nurse will always rub your arm with alcohol before administering a shot/ vaccine? I always tense up when I smell alcohol! 

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So tell me: how do you like to store your panty goods? 

Hiking Mt. Bierstadt

Run out of work at 4:00. Pick up some last minute provisions. Arrive home at 5:00 and finish packing (aka stuffing our massive cooler from Costco with enough food to feed an army). Roll out of Denver at 5:55. Stop at a general store thirty minutes into our trip to get ice. Stop AGAIN an hour into our trip for firewood. Drive up Guanella Pass and find that all the first-come-first-serve campsites are taken. Finally find a spot to camp off the side of the highway at 8:15 pm. Set up our tent, eat a quick dinner, and fall asleep by 10:30 pm. Freeze my ass off all night because my sleeping bag is a child’s size from 1995. Wake up at 6:30 am. Contemplate staying in my sleeping bag. Finally get it together, and wind up hitting the trail head at 7:45. 

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Getting there was a whirlwind, but by the time we started hiking, I finally felt like I could take a deep breath. I had been super anxious about hiking my first 14,000+ foot mountain, as I’d heard plenty of horror stories of people starting too late and getting caught in bad weather/ falling/ dying. Since we’d made it there and started early enough (most people say 7:00, but we’re fairly fast hikers) I felt like things would be ok. Plus, the weather was perfect.

Ever since we moved to Colorado, we knew we needed to hike as many of the state’s 54 14ers as possible. Most of them are accessible to landlubbers like us, however, there are several that I know I will never summit as they are Class 4 and 5 (as in, you need to be a legit mountaineer rock climber person, i,e, you will definitely DIE if you fall… at all). That said, hiking the 14ers is serious business. First of all, 14,000+ feet is no joke and is considered “very high altitude.” Second, you have to be aware of hail and thunder storms, as the weather can literally change in an instant. That’s why you must start hiking first thing in the morning. 

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Looks pretty close, huh? NOPE.

Anyway, our hike started out really well. The first few miles are actually slightly downhill as you cross marshland. Just after sunrise, it was so serene and beautiful. However, once you start going up the mountain, you’re REALLY going up the mountain. It’s steep. It’s rocky. There’s no oxygen. Surprisingly, Rick and I hiked very quickly for a while. I hardly felt out of breath. But, once we made it to like 13,000 or so, my breathing because labored, and I felt mildly lightheaded. Not full-on altitude sick (which feels like a hangover) but just a little lightheaded. As we got closer to the top, I had to take a couple breaks for a minute or two to eat some Scandinavian Swimmers and take in whatever small amount of O2 existed up there. Note: Scandinavian Swimmers are an excellent, affordable substitute for Cliff Shot Bloks or Gu. 

While we hiked pretty quickly, there was this one guy we referred to as “Crazy Mountain Guy” because he walked sooooo fast up the mountain. However, he appeared to be with a group of people who were much slower, so he would stop and take long breaks with them. So, he would pass us, but then several minutes later we would pass him! In the end, he wound up beating us round trip since I’m kind of slow coming down (sensitive knees + long legs make me unstable on the steep incline). 

The last quarter- half mile of the hike is basically a rock scramble without a defined trail (Mt. Bierstadt is a Class 2-3 hike). At this point, I had definitely lost a fair amount of brain cells due to oxygen deprivation, and didn’t even know if I was tired or not. Each time we thought we were close to the top, we’d cross over another crest and see more mountain before us. 

Finally, we made it to the top, along with 10834728 other people who decided to deprive themselves of air that day (Mt. Bierstadt is the most popular 14er in Colorado since it’s so close to Denver). I actually had cell service at the top, and tried to make a Snapchat video. However, even though my phone was fully charged the cold air (it had to be 40 degrees up there) and/or altitude made my battery die immediately after I took a few pictures. 

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After spending a good 20-30 minutes taking in the views, we headed back down. The way down was much less eventful, although I did get very tired towards the end. In fact, the last part through the marshes was the WORST. It seemed to take forever. Did not seem that far when we were going up. 

We made it back to the car at 12:45 (five hours total) and realized just how far we went that day. The mountain didn’t seem that big or far away when we started, but after being up and down, we realized just how big of a feat this was. 

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We drove back to our tent, where I promptly fell asleep and took the best nap of my entire life. Too tired to make lunch. After re-gaining some energy, Rick hauled our portable grill from the car and I feasted on no less than four veggie burgers, grilled vegetables, and cherries. Oh, and more than one Prost Pilsner.

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The rest of the day and night pretty much had us lying around the woods eating and hydrating. Of course, once it got dark, I started to get a little scared! Clearly I have seen way too many X-Files episodes, because I kept envisioning myself getting abducted by aliens or a sasquatch. Or, more realistically, encountering a beer hungry bear (apparently, bears like beer). I did not confess these fears to Rick, and instead told him I was “tired.”

Thankfully no one was abducted, and we went to bed at 10:00. 

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It sure is nice to get away from the city and camp off the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Since we weren’t at a campsite, we were pretty much all alone. There’s also no cell service, so you are pretty much forced to “unplug.” I am definitely the sort of person who is always doing something, but I am also extremely introverted, so it’s nice for me to sit for hours days with nothing but my thoughts once in a while. 

Which large mountain should we hike next? Mt. Elbert?

Friday Favorites: Jolyn Swim

As many of you know, I have a long history with competitive swimming. In addition to being on a swim team for most of my life, I have also been a coach! When we lived in Pennsylvania I coached the high school team I taught at as well as the local USA Swimming team. I just love being active in the water! 

In addition to swimming long practices in the pool, I LOVE swimming in the open water for fun. My favorite activity is probably going to the beach, sunbathing, and body surfing all day long. And, like many women, I like to wear bikinis to the beach, as opposed to one pieces. However, I think we all know that body surfer/ swimming in the ocean at all is a recipe for losing your top and bottoms in one fell swoop. How many times have you ridden a wave to the shore, only to have to duck down in the shallow water to put your suit back on? Yeah… thought so.

Enter: Jolyn bikinis! I forget how I discovered this brand, probably through social media or something, but it is a line of bikinis and one pieces designed for competitive swimming and active water sports. Most of the tops are designed with a cross back tie that holds firmly in place, while the bottoms all have a drawstring you can pull tight so they don’t come off. It’s seriously genius! Last summer, I rode huge waves on the Jersey shore almost every weekend and never had an accident. I went through the “washing machine” several times. In addition, while we were on our honeymoon, I swam butterfly and practiced streamlines in the resort’s pool– suit didn’t move an inch. 

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I have tried many, many brands of bikinis. Most of them fall off when I’m just swimming leisurely in a lake or pool (which really sucks). Anyone with me? I am so, so glad I found this brand so that I can swim without worry.

On top of the fact that these suits perform so well, they are also super cute! They come in many different cuts and styles, and too many prints to count! I am currently loving their shark prints and softy bottoms

And, if it couldn’t get any better, the prices are pretty affordable at around $30- $35 for a top or bottom. So, you could go out an buy whatever suit Gwyneth Paltrow is currently recommending for like $200 that will surely fall off the minute you jump in the water, OR you can get a suit that will not fall off (no matter what) for $60. So, while they aren’t SUPER cheap, I think it’s a fair price for something that is cute and functional. Oh, and did I mention that they are made in the USA? I mean, you can’t really say no now. Why spend the same amount for a suit made in Malaysia that will fall off? I digress.

Lastly, a note on sizing. While Jolyn does have a wide range of sizes, their suits run very small so make sure you check the size chart before placing your order. If you’re unsure, their helpful and friendly customer service department can help you make a decision based on the style you’re buying.

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Please note: Jolyn did not ask me to write this post, and I am not getting paid or compensated in any way for promoting their products. I just LOVE these suits and think everyone should have have one. Seriously– you won’t be disappointed. 

I can’t wait to pick up another suit for our summer vacation in August!

Hiking Green Mountain

This weekend, Rick and I met up with our friends to hike Green Mountain in Boulder. The trail head is located right on Baseline Road, which is super convenient for day hikes as there is a parking lot as well as ample street parking. This hike was meant to be a “test” for our friends who are planning to summit a 14er next weekend. And I have to say, if you can hike Green Mountain, you can hike anything. That mountain is a B*$#%,

In order to hike Green Mountain, (I’m pretty sure) you have to hike another mountain, Saddle Rock Peak first and then cross over to Green. So it’s sort of like two hikes in one. Both part of the hike are STEEP.

With our Camelbaks filled to the brim and our pockets stuffed with shotbloks and cliff bars, we hit the trail at 9AM. THREE HOURS LATER we arrived at the summit. The entire hike, aside from the brief cross over to the Green Mountain summit trail was akin to the dreaded stair master. It’s such a steep grade that they put logs and rocks down to form “stairs.” Stairs that felt like taking normal stairs two or three at a time. FOR FIVE MILES. Yes, this is a ten mile hike round trip. It was by far the hardest hike I’ve ever done. I’ve certainly hiked much higher mountains, but nothing with such a steep grade. Going up was intense cardio, while coming down was a killer strength workout for our glutes, quads, and knees. 

However, while the hike is certainly strenuous, nothing beats hiking in the forest! The views were spectacular on such a clear day, and the air was filled with the scent of pine. Despite being super out of breath the entire time, it was super relaxing and meditative once I was warmed up. We passed so many dogs and other friendly hikers. We even saw a cute blue jay at the top.

When we finally completed the hike, we were HANGRY. Rick and I wandered into Pei Wei where I ordered tofu pad thai and we shared a sushi roll. Rick had some Korean BBQ chicken dish with quinoa. I tried the quinoa– it was really good. Full and exhausted, we made our way home and collapsed. For some reason, I went to Costco after showering to pick up cat supplies and to renew our membership. I also picked up some other things, obviously. 

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All in all, ’twas a great day! The next day, Fourth of July, we bought a car to replace my Sonata… more on that to come!

Rhubarb Crumble

The summer before fifth grade, I decided I wanted to sew my back-to-school dress and backpack for the year myself. Had I ever made a dress or a backpack? No. I had made pants, skirts, shorts, and pillows, but not a dress or a backpack. For whatever reason, the idea got in my head and just dove right in and did it! Looking back, the dress and backpack were extremely dorky, but I still applaud myself for trying. The same thing happened when I started making bread. Inspiration often comes to me in this way, and I just roll with it. I love trying new things and being creative. Yes, my fifth grade picture is pretty cringe worthy (YIKES) but hey, how many fifth graders know how to make a dress with zippers and button holes? I digress. 

Several years ago, I decided to make rhubarb crumble. I think it was because the program director of my study abroad program in England was talking about how rhubarb crumble was his favorite dessert. It sounded intriguing. (Plus, isn’t a “crumble” the most English thing you’ve ever heard of? ) Anyway, I had no idea what rhubarb tasted like, and I had even less of an idea if I would like it. But, I found a basic recipe online and crossed my fingers. 

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Boy, was I blown away! In one bite, rhubarb became my absolute favorite vegetable/ fruit. It looks like red celery and is more sour than a lemon (don’t try eating it raw). But, mix it with sugar and bake it and it transforms into The Sweet Elixir of the Gods. It is the ultimate summertime dessert, and I make at least a few times every summer. When baked, the rhubarb softens and breaks down, so it no longer resembles celery (in case you were wondering). If you can’t find rhubarb at your grocery store, check out your local farmer’s market or just head out to a farm to pick your own. pickyourown.org is a great resource for finding farms in your area! When selecting rhubarb, look for stalks that are bright red rather than green. If your rhubarb comes with green leaves at the end, cut them off and throw them away. They are poisonous. 

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Over the years, I’ve made multiple versions of a rhubarb crumble, but the one I’m sharing today is the absolute BEST I have EVER MADE. Rick agrees. We both devoured half the recipe yesterday. While it contains much less sugar than most recipes you find online, you would never know it! The topping is perfectly crunchy and yes, crumbly, while the rhubarb filling is thick and bubbly. HEAVEN. I also added cardamom, because rhubarb loves cardamom. Don’t leave it out. 

For sweetener, I used organic unbleached cane sugar from Trader Joe’s (the conventional super white cane sugar at most grocery stores is made with animal bone char- GROSS) for this recipe, and I have to say it is the best option. I’ve used brown sugar and coconut sugar, but it’s not the same. I also don’t recommend reducing the amount of sugar you use. Rhubarb is like 100x more sour than a lemon, so you really need the sugar to balance the flavor. 

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I should also mention that this tastes phenomenal with vanilla ice cream. 

Rhubarb Crumble
The perfect summertime dessert!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
For the rhubarb filling
  1. 2 pounds rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  2. 2/3 cup sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon corn starch
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
For the topping
  1. 1 cup rolled oats
  2. 1 cup sliced almonds
  3. 1/3 cup flour
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  7. 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and oil a 2 qt baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb with the "filling" ingredients, making sure the rhubarb is evenly coated.
  3. Spread the rhubarb mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Using the same bowl, combine the "topping" ingredients, mixing the dry ingredients first before adding the maple syrup and the coconut oil.
  5. Spread the topping evenly over the rhubarb mixture.
  6. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the cover and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes.
  8. The crumble is done with you see red juice bubbling on the sides and the top is golden.
Simply Rebecca http://www.simply-rebecca.com/