Off the Menu Monthly: July 2023

Off the Menu Monthly: July 2023

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Off the Menu Monthly: A new exclusive, off-the-menu Twinkle treat that ships on the 15th of each month.

Because I want to keep my collection minimal, but what can I say - maker's gotta make!

Also, this month, I desperately needed a bug spray.

 A little backstory: 

I used to make a bug away spray (and perfume, and a lotion stick!) which smelled absolutely lovely, and worked great, until it didn't. Sometime around 2020, I swear the mosquitos in Oklahoma City mutated. There was a particularly disastrous 4th of July followed by a midday mosquito attack (in broad daylight, what?!) where I realized that I could no longer offer a product that didn't hold up. I don't think it was my bug away spray's fault, but rather, climate change - summer keeps getting wetter and hotter, leading to more ideal conditions for mosquitos to thrive. (I also wonder if the fact that everyone now sprays their yard is causing them to mutate into something bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than ever before?) Purely unscientific speculation here, but, I mean, they're HUGE now, right?!

And I'm always the person who gets bit. You know how there's always at least one person in the group who gets all of the bites while most everyone else is unbothered? Well, that person is me. Always has been, even before I started making and wearing all of the pretty natural perfumes! But I don't just get bit - I get pummeled. The bites can even swell to golfball size around my joints. I'm a highly sensitive person with an overactive histamine response, so I really struggle. This summer especially. I realized pretty quickly that I need to wear bug spray pretty much every time I go outside, but, ughhhhh! I hate the smell, feel, and thought of dousing myself in chemical insecticides from store bought brands.

And, look - safety first disclaimer: there are instances (like hiking or camping in deep woods, or traveling to mosquito carrying disease prone areas,) where chemicals like DEET are necessary, but personally, I can't bring myself to use them when I'm just taking out the trash or meeting friends on a patio. (Two instances where I have indeed been pummeled!) So I wanted to make something that felt (and smelled) more, me.

So, I did what I do. I made something effective, pretty, and all-natural.

Bug Away Spray 2.0

This version of bug away spray features lemon eucalyptus essential oil, which is technically not the same thing as the oil of lemon eucalyptus recommended by the CDC to repel mosquitos, but I've found that it is much more effective for me this summer than my previous bug away spray. 

If you're reading this, I hope you understand that I am very small beans. I call what I do "lo-fi" for a reason. I'm a one person business so I don't have the resources to run clinical trials on my products, which is also why I never make outlandish, sweeping claims. (Actually one of my biggest pet-peeves about this industry!) Use common sense, follow the C.D.C. guidelines, and wear E.P.A. approved chemical repellant products when you truly need to be protected. This bug away spray "2.0" is my just-for-fun attempt at making something that works and feels (and smells) good to me. It features lemon eucalyptus as the main ingredient in the blend, but also a whole bunch of other essential oils that are said to repel mosquitos - like basil, geranium, cinnamon, patchouli, clove, and lavender - to create a more Twinkly scent profile, which I personally don't mind wearing daily. Or, I should say that the scent is growing on me - at first it felt a little bug-spray-y but I am enjoying it more the more I wear it!

Again, follow the CDC's recommendation when needed, but I think that this spray is a lovely option to keep on hand for your average backyard, after-dinner-walk-around-the-block, urban park, or patio.

And I'm excited to offer it as a limited edition product for this month only!

To get a bottle for yourself, click here to order the Off the Menu Monthly by Friday, July 14th at 12 pm central. They ship on Monday, July 17th.

And to get the recipe to make it yourself at home, consider joining my Patreon. I'll be sharing it there very soon!

Also, here's a little bonus mosquito-repelling tip, based purely on my own personal experience: I hate to say it, but you've got to wash off your pretty, sweet, floral perfumes before you go outside. I find that I get into the most trouble when I'm wearing my favorite floral fragrances, so I try to stick to herbal, citrus, or woodsy scents. My Zest, Cedar, or Lavender single note fragrances are all more appropriate "summer perfumes" and will all layer well with this new version of Bug Away Spray. Consider your body care fragrances too: unscented Oil or the acne blend would be a better choice than the more floral rejuvenating blend, and Zest body butter would be a better option than, say, Nectar (if you were able to snag a jar of that in the spring!)

The perfume I'm sending out in this month's Surprise Scent Monthly also has some natural mosquito-repelling properties too. Just gotta put that out there!

If this sounds like something you'd like to try, I hope you can snag a bottle by the 14th at noon! I'm having so much fun coming up with and crafting these limited-edition products for you, and I sincerely hope that they add to your summer fun! 

- Stefanie -

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