Monthly Archives: April 2013

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7 Tips For Earth Day 2013

April 22nd is Earth Day, and the party for our planet is already underway.  Here are some things that you COULD do to celebrate:

1.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Simplify and buy only what you need.   Carry reusable containers for groceries, meals, and beverages.  Think before you toss and take time to recycle, sell, and donate items that you no longer need.

2.  Think locally

Keep your events, activities, and errands close to home.  It’s a great way to boost your community’s economy and conserve energy.  Plus, it saves you time (and who doesn’t want more of that?).

3.  Carpool/Bike/Walk

Oftentimes, whether by choice or necessity, we endure gridlock on our roads and freeways.  Carpooling saves you money, reduces air pollution, and helps to cultivate relationships.  For shorter commutes and errands, you can get exercise and enjoy time outside by biking or walking to your destination.

4.  Plant

You could plant a tree, a vegetable garden, and/or flowers, which helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cleans pollution, secures soil in place to prevent erosion, and provides homes for various forms of life.  Plants can help to beautify our communities and our planet, as well as nourish our bodies.  Visit a local grower, community garden, or nursery, and get inspired to plant!

5.  Go natural

Finding natural solutions to clean your house is a great way to go green.  Water, white vinegar, and baking soda are inexpensive items that are used in green cleaning recipes.  It’s better for you, and better for the environment.

6.  Pick up trash 

This sounds so simple, yet there is evidence all around us indicating that we simply don’t do it.  I am often amazed and appalled at the things that get blown and tossed onto my yard.  Gather your family members, friends, and co-workers together and “git ‘er done!”

7.  Join the party

Check your local calendar for events and activities near you.  Make it a group effort or a family affair.  Have fun learning about how to help the environment, and meeting like-minded people.

Truth be told, every day should be Earth Day.  What are your tips for green living?

 

5 Essential Oils To Have On-Hand

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Image courtesy of wikiHow

I was first exposed to essential oils 12 years ago, during a massage appointment with a therapist who worked exclusively with oils.  She created custom aromatherapy blends on the spot, based on her clients’ physical and emotional needs.  Her use of essential oils, combined with her bodywork technique, was AH-MAZING!!!  I was inspired to complete a massage therapy certification program, work at a spa, and start my own business.

Although I no longer practice massage, I incorporate aromatherapy into my family’s regimen for health and well-being.  Here are 5 essential oils that I luuurve, a few of the benefits that they offer, and examples of how I use them:

1.  Lavender

A must-have in any essential oil kit, this is one of the safest, most versatile oils.  Lavender is calming, helps soothe and heal skin conditions, and is anti-bacterial.  For stress relief, I like to place a few drops in my hands, rub them together, cup them under my nose, and breathe deeply.

2.  Peppermint

One of the most widely accepted oils, peppermint is a digestive aid,  stimulant, and immunity booster.  I place a few drops in the toilet to relieve constipation, which was especially helpful to me post-partum.  Just sayin’…

3.  Eucalyptus

This oil is one of the most popular and is useful for treating respiratory ailments, relieving congestion, and purifying the air.  I place 10-20 drops in a vaporizer to remedy nasal and chest congestion due to colds, flu, and allergies.  It works well overnight, plus it creates a “spa-like” effect in your room.

4.  Bergamot

With its floral, citrus scent, bergamot is uplifting, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial.  I blend it with lavender, clary sage,  and water into a “calming” spritzer that I carry in my bag to use as needed.  Gotta love aromatherapy on-the-go!

5.  Rosemary

Rosemary is clarifying, improves circulation, and helps to relieve pain.  I recently placed some drops in a spray bottle with water and taught some aphids not to mess with my garden.  Buh-bye, pests!

A great way to learn more about essential oils, and to support local businesses, is to visit an herb shop near you.  Furthermore, your local herb shop has relationships with essential oil suppliers, and thus knowledge about the quality and source of the oils.  100% pure, therapeutic quality, organic essential oils are best.  Keep out of reach of children, and check contraindications on all oils.  When in doubt, consult your health care provider and/or a qualified and trained aromatherapy practitioner prior to use.

What are your favorite essential oils, and how do you use them?

 

A Moment in Hairstory

As a child, I had long thick hair.  Friends, family, and strangers alike often commented that they wanted my hair; and some even threatened to steal my pigtails!  They had nooooo idea what I went through.  I remember my mom, literally, breaking a comb while trying to detangle my “wig,” and how I dreaded getting my hair washed.  Eventually, my mom arranged to have my aunt relax my hair just before my 7th birthday.  Once I was “straightened out,” my mom and I both exhaled, and thus began my 22-year “addiction” to “creamy crack.”

After I subscribed to a holistic lifestyle, it seemed natural to address my hair care regimen.  Why spend all of this time, effort, and money to cleanse the inside of my body, yet continue to put toxic chemicals on my head so that I could have straight hair???  So, I embarked on a natural hair journey.  I read books and online forums, and I did a LOT of people watching accosting.  I literally stopped natural-haired women in the streets of downtown San Francisco to grill them about their hair.  “How do you like your natural hair?”  “How long have you been natural?”  “Who cut your hair for you?”  “How do you maintain it?”  Those poor women!  To say that I was on a mission is an understatement.

Since my hairstylist refused to give me the “Big Chop” *gasp*, she referred me to a natural hair specialist who was happy to cut my hair.  My appointment was scheduled for the day before my husband and I were set to travel to Spain for a 2-week vacation.  This would allow me to adjust to my new do in the presence of strangers.  On the big day, the stylist gathered my hair into a ponytail, told me to take a deep breath, then cut it off.  When she finished trimming, I rose from the chair a new woman.  I felt weird not having any hair, yet oddly liberated at the same time.  For the first time in a long time, I saw ME.  Look at the difference:

1079          Cropped Short Hair

It has been almost 13 years since I went natural, and I am thrilled to have reclaimed my health in this area.  And although I admire various styles worn by my fellow naturals, my super short hair suits my personality and active lifestyle.  As a mom, I want to encourage my daughter to embrace her hair and to take care of it…naturally.  To that end, I am constantly seeking ideas and advice from others who are more proficient in longer natural hairstyles.  I found more than enough natural hair info on curlynikki.com and naturallycurly.com to keep any natural-haired beauty or would-be natural occupied.  If you or someone you know are having a bad hair day, you’ll soon be loving your hair!

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