Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Holidays!

WHEW!!! My first holiday craft show season is behind me. What a relief! I had a blast at last weekend's Indie Garage Sale. It is always so much fun to spend the weekend meeting like-minded people, introducing new customers to my products and especially seeing repeat customers again! Once again, I partnered with my amazingly talented friend Amber of Tumblewool (www.tumblewool.com). She makes and sells handmade woolen goods - the most popular of which are her dryer balls. Man, those things fly off the shelves!

I have been in Central New York for almost 9 years now. That is so hard to believe! Becoming part of the crafting community and participating in local events has really strengthened the bond I feel with the area. A few years ago, that would have been difficult for me to admit! :) It blows my mind that such a small area could be packed with so many unique and creative people.

If you are a crafter or artisan, I stongly encourage you to try a local event or two. There is nothing cooler than meeting other people who have more talent and creativity in their pinkies than I do in my whole body! This is no exaggeration! At the sale this weekend, I bought what is now my new favorite piece of jewelry from Lorelei Eurto (www.loreleieurtojewelry.com). She is a local artisan who makes amazing beaded jewelry!

As for the rest of 2012, I am taking a much needed break. I have a few local orders to fulfill as well as new Etsy orders. During the winter, I will turn my focus to wholesaling. My goal is to have my products in two local stores by March. Yesssss!!!! I also plan to write more regular blog entries focused on how my family uses essential oils, tips to go green and save green and easy DIY projects!

Thank you, reader, for helping me start and grow my business in 2012. I am having a blast, and I can't wait to see what 2013 brings!

Happy Holidays to all!!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I stink at this blogging stuff...and other updates

Hi there! How was your Thanksgiving? I have been so busy with craft show preparations, holiday cooking and traveling that I have neglected the blog for the past couple of weeks. I figured I better check in so that anyone stopping by doesn't think I left town!

I'll update you on a few things:

1. The Annual Sauquoit Valley Fine Arts and Crafts Festival was a success! I partnered with my friend Amber, who handmakes wool products. Her dryer balls sold out quickly both days! Some of my most popular items were my sugar scrub/salt soak sets, beeswax lotion bars and avocado salve.

I don't think these pictures really do it justice, but our setup looked really nice!

2. My sister and her husband came to visit over Veteran's Day. Emily has a top-of-the-line camera (and actually knows how to use it!). She helped me take some great product photos.


I used many of her photos to update my Etsy listings. If you haven't been to my Etsy page lately, please stop by.  I am getting a lot more traffic now that I have some professional looking photos!

I have been hesitant to blow up Facebook with a million posts promoting my products and Etsy pages. People are so inundated with advertising, that I fear my messages will get lost in the shuffle. If you are looking for natural, handmade products for you friends and family, please consider an essential8 product. Everything is handmade one batch at a time.

Until next time....happy shopping!



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Back and Get Busy!

It seems that most people enjoy the end of Daylight Savings Time for the extra hour of sleep. Most people, of course, being those WITHOUT small children. Small children certainly do not understand the concept of an extra hour of sleep. I suppose it didn't matter anyway, because my eyes flung open at 6:45 on the dot.

Since I am in the thick of holiday craft show season, I figured, "Why not use this extra hour for something productive?" I know, I know... I'm such an overachiever! Ha!  Seriously though, my husband took my daughter to a local production of "The Little Mermaid" (her absolute favorite), and my son settled in for his three-hour nap. There was no way I was going to let that precious 90 minutes of quite time go to waste!

I used my time wisely and made a couple of really great products. I know they are great because I have been sampling them myself all evening!  I am trying to focus on making very "giftable" items for my holiday show, and this one is a winner!

Peppermint Lip Scrub and Balm Sets

I started with my favorite vegan-friendly lip balm, which includes cocoa butter, candelila wax, castor oil, vitamin E and peppermint essential oil. I use candelila wax because it is an extremely hard wax-even more so than beeswax. This allows me to use less wax and more of the good stuff. The lip balm alone smells awesome.... but wait!
The scrub comes next! For the scrub, I used USDA certified organic virgin coconut oil (AMAZING!), USDA certified organic sugar, local NY honey, vitamin E and peppermint essential oil. Holy cow this stuff is good!  The coconut oil smells like the beach. Add the peppermint oil in, and it's like your drinking a peppermint pina colada. :) I kept trying the scrub on various body parts (lips, hands, elbows) because I just couldn't get enough of the gentle moisturizing effects. It leaves your skin so soft.
This little set would make a GREAT gift for the holidays or otherwise! I will be listing the Scrub/Balm set on Etsy tomorrow for only $6.50. I only have a limited number of sets (a dozen) to test. If you'd like to order, please visit my Etsy shop or email me directly.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A portable treat for your elbows

My last post was an informational article (yawn) on preservatives. After reading it, you may be wondering what kinds of products you can buy that don't include potentially dangerous preservatives. Well, I just happen to have a perfect example for you! 



These are one of my favorite new products to make. If you like simple, all-natural products, this one is for you! Since I like you all so much, I'll even include a recipe and instructions to make your own at the end of this post. You can thank me later...

My beeswax lotion bars are made with the highest quality ingredients I could find: organic shea butter, pure essential oils, nourishing nut oils (like sweet almond, hemp and coconut), and of course, beeswax. I make them in several popular scents including lavender, patchouli, citrus, cedarwood and peppermint. I also make them without any fragrance, so all you get is the sweet and nutty smell of pure beeswax. Lotion bars make excellent gifts. At just $5 (one ounce) and $10 for the large (3 oz.), they are a great buy!
To make your own lotion bars, you really only need a few basic ingredients in a 2:3:2 ratio. For example, use:
  • 2 oz. sweet almond oil (or any other nourishing oil you have on hand)
  • 3 oz. beeswax
  • 2 oz. shea butter (or cocoa butter)
  • essential oils for fragrance and other beneficial properties (for example, lavender is calming, citrus scents are uplifting). For more information on essential oils, please visit my doTERRA link.

  • You can make lotion bars using either a double boiler or microwave. If using a double boiler, first melt beeswax and oil over a medium heat. Turn off heat as soon as the wax is melted. Then add the shea butter. Stir until the butter melts into the mixture. Do not add shea butter at the beginning because overheating shea can cause it to turn grainy. Once all ingredients are melted together, pour into selected molds. Some great choices to use for lotion bar molds are muffin tins, old laundry detergent cups (wash well first), or ice cube trays. The best time to add the essential oils is after your mixture has cooled a bit.

    If you choose to make lotion bars in the microwave, follow the same basic instructions.  Place your beeswax and oil in a glass, microwave save measuring cup. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stopping to stir after each burst. Once the wax is melted, add the shea butter and stir until it melts. Once cooled a bit, add the essential oil and pour into desired molds.

    You can place your molds into the freezer to help the lotion bars solidify quickly. After 20 minutes in the freezer, you can pop them out of the molds, and they are ready to use!

    I am taking special orders for the holiday season. After November 15, my prices will increase. Please visit my Etsy shop www.myessential8.etsy.com or email me directly for ordering information.

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    To preserve or not to preserve....

    I was cleaning out my linen closet today, and I opened a bottle of body lotion from Bath and Body Works. Ahhh, the lovely smell of lavender and musk that is "Moonlight Path."  Oh...wait a second... this bottle of body lotion still looks and smells exactly the same as it did when I bought it - AT LEAST SIX YEARS AGO!  YIKES!! 

    I hope that since you are reading this blog, you understand why this creeps me out. If not, let me explain...

    Think about a loaf of fresh bread you have just baked (or maybe picked up from your favorite local bakery). You have to eat that bread pretty fast, right? Otherwise, you can almost see the mold spores multiply in front of you. On the other hand, that loaf of bread you picked up from the grocery store two weeks ago may still be going strong. Why?  PRESERVATIVES.

    Preservatives are not inherantly bad things. Hey, without them, we'd all be making daily trips to the store.  BUT, some preservatives are worse than others. Unfortunately, cosmeticdatabase.org, my "bible" of harmful ingredients is offline right now.  Otherwise I'd tell you to grab your favorite major brand of soap or lotion and start researching its ingredients.

    Here are a few of the worst offenders:

  • Words ending in "paraben"
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Triclosan
  • Triclocarban
  • Triethanolamine (or "TEA")
  • Diazolidinyl Urea (the preservative contained in this Bath and Body Works lotion)

  • Do you know where to find most of the preservatives on your product labels? Look at the bottom of the ingredient list. You know that product labels (just like food labels) are labeled based on the quantity of each ingredient, right?. The ingredient that makes up the greatest percentage of the final product is listed first, with each other ingredient following in descending order.  It only takes a little preservative to protect a product, so they are usually one of the last few ingredients.

    Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products; they stop fungus, bacteria and other microbes from growing in your favourite creams and makeup, especially in the moist, warm environment of a bathroom.  This can be a very good thing until you consider the fact that scientific studies have shown that parabens have been found in many types of body tissue including breast tissue and tumors, umbilical cord tissue and urine. Parabens are known estrogen mimicers and hormone disrupters. What you put on your skin DOES enter your blood stream!

    What would happen without preservatives in our personal care products?  If a product contains water, it must contain a preservative to have a shelf-life of more than a couple of months. Otherwise, you could have a moldy, bacteria-laden mess on your hands! It makes sense for large companies to use preservatives. Otherwise, their products would spoil before they ever reached the consumer.

    Are there alternatives to chemical-based preservatives?  Sure! I refuse to use any of these chemicals in my products. There are several very effective natural antioxidants that can help slow down the oxidation process, thereby slowing down spoilage. Some of these natural ingrediens include Vitamin E, Grapeseed Oil, Neem Oil and Rosemary Oil. Not only are these products safe, but since they are antioxidants, they are actually beneficial for your skin! Now, don't get me wrong. These ingredients will not make a product last forever. To be safe, all of my products should be used in six months to a year. Not unreasonable, right?

    As is true with most things in life - everything works in moderation. When I go to the grocery store, I can't buy exclusively organic, but I do what I can. It is nearly impossible to avoid potentially harmful ingredients like the preservatives mentioned above. The key is to limit your exposure to them when you can. I have made the personal choice for myself and my family to use as many natural products as possible.

    Always read the ingredient labels for the products you purchase. If you can't pronounce the ingredient or can't picture the source it may have come from, chances are it isn't natural. If a product doesn't include an ingredient list (yikes!), don't use it!


    ESSENTIAL8 DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensced health care professional. Any information in this blog is intended for informational purposes only. If you have questions about ingredients in your favorite products, please let me know. I will be happy to help you research them.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    I'm back!

    Hi there! I'm back on the grid after a busy week followed by a long weekend out of town. I've been back for about 48 hours, and I've had a chance to catch up with the kids, go to work, cook a couple dinners, sweep the floor 16 times, fold 27 loads of laundry and mop twice.  These numbers may be a slight exaggeration, but it sure doesn't feel like it!

    Does this scenario sound familiar? You clean your house and do all this laundry to prepare for a trip, but as soon as you get back, you have to do it all over again?! No matter how long I'm gone, the "settling in" always feels overwhelming for a couple days. Thank goodness for our amazing baby/pet sitter. She is invaluable!!

    Anyway, to the three of you who read this blog, I just wanted to let you know that I haven't let this fall by the wayside... I've just been a little busy. In the coming weeks, in between crazy sessions in the kitchen preparing for my holiday shows, I will be highlighting more products that make excellent gifts for the holidays.

    These will include: Beeswax Lotion Bars, Healing Avocado Salve, Aromatherapy Sprays, All-Purpose Cleaner and Hardwood Cleaner, plus a few extras that I am concocting especially for the holidays.

    As a completely random side note, I am really excited about a lecture I will be attending tomorrow. Geoffrey Canada, an educational activist and founder of the Harlem Children's Zone, will be speaking in Utica tomorrow. For more information, please visit www.hcz.org.


    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Highlights from the Indie Garage Sale

    Ok. Deep breath. My first major event (alone) is done. Woohooooo!!! 

    It went well, I sold out of a few products (yessss!), and I went home with less than I came with.
    That's all a crafter can hope for, right? I will tell you that my biceps were very tired after loading in all of my heavy bins full of products. 

    Here are a few things I learned from doing the show this weekend:

    1. A hand truck or wagon is an investment well worth the money. 
    I did not have one this weekend, but I sure could have used it! As a relatively petite person who is not of brute strength, lifting and carrying several hundred pounds worth of supplies and inventory into a train station left me with sore muscles and tired feet. Luckily, I spotted one of my high-school-aged students as I was unloading and was able to cajole him into helping me. J My very friendly booth neighbor helped me load up when the event was over. Thank goodness for friendly, helpful people! Next time, I’ll bring a wagon.

     2. It pays to be early! 
    On Sunday morning, I was one of the first vendors to arrive to set up my booth. Since the event was at a train station, there happened to be a large crowd of people waiting to board a train. As soon as I uncovered my table, several people came over to browse. Within 10 minutes, I had sold over $100 in products, and the event hadn’t even begun yet!

    Setting up your booth will inevitably take longer than you expect – especially when you are just starting out. Arriving early ensures you will have a few seconds to breathe before you (hopefully) get swamped with customers. The few minutes before an event starts are also a great time to walk around and see what other vendors and crafters are offering (see point #3).

     3. Even if you don’t reach your sales goal, networking can be invaluable. 
    One of my favorite parts about participating in vendor events and craft shows is the opportunity to meet and chat with other like-minded folks. Not only is “talking shop” fun, it can open doors to opportunities you might not otherwise find. I received invitations to other events and spoke to someone about opportunities for wholesaling.  Hey, ya just never know!

    4. Not everyone cares about keeping it natural.
    While I pride myself on my personal business mission to keep things as green as possible, I realize that this may limit my sales. Potential customers often ask me if I make products in [artificial] scents like vanilla, verbena, pumpkin, etc… There are thousands of fragrance oils that come in practically any scent combinations you can imagine, but they aren’t real. Since I only use essential oils for fragrance, I am somewhat limited in my options. I like it when people ask me about this, though, because it gives me the opportunity to explain why I choose the ingredients that I do. Sometimes, this causes eye rolling and quick steps to the next booth, but for others… maybe it’s the start of a new thought process.

     5. Sometimes you just don’t get the right crowd.

    I have been told so many times that the first year of being a crafter or vendor is spent trying to figure out what events are best for your business. This is SO true! I have been fortunate so far that most of the events I have chosen to participate in weren’t total flops– as in, at least I made my booth fee back. You just don’t always know whether your products will be a hit. It’s frustrating but an inevitable part of the learning process. I suppose that little pinch of disappointment when someone walks by your booth without showing any interest goes away after some time, but it still gets me.

    All in all, The Indie Garage Sale was successful for me because the crowd generally seemed to be interested in eco-friendly products. I covered my expenses, plus a little extra. I paid attention to what people were most interested in (my organic cleaners, beeswax lotion bars, bath soaks), and what they weren’t (reed diffusers). I had a great time, met some really great people and bought some cute things, too!

    Now… it’s back to work on the Etsy page!
                     Happy Crafting!

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

    Product Highlight: Bath Salt Soaks

    I am working like a busy little bee preparing so many awesome products for my next event, the Indie Garage Sale, next weekend. My kitchen smells wonderful (although it looks like a bomb went off)! While I really enjoy making all of these products, tweaking recipes and such.... it is REALLY time consuming!
    I am thrilled with how so many of my products are turning out - not just because of the health and beauty benefits of the high quality and natural ingredients I use, but also in how the packaging is turning out. Hey, I'm finally putting that Journalism degree to good use! Ha! 

    I wanted to share some pictures of my batch of bath salt soaks. Due to the high prevalance of "Bath Salts" (as in the street drugs), I cannot justify calling these bath salts. Every time I tell some one that I'm making bath salts, I get the "Oh, ha ha... so you're in THAT kind of business" line. Oh yes... that just never gets old. 

    Anyway, here is how the salt soaks turned out.

    Another somewhat fuzzy picture

    I made four distinct scents: lavender, peppermint and lemongrass, and eucalyptus lavender. Each soak is made with a healing blend of salts (epsom, coarse dead sea, himalayan pink, and fine atlantic) and pure doTERRA essential oils. The soaks are packaged in a hinged bale jar, include a small wooden scoop, and are finished with a matching ribbon. They would make a great gift!

    I will have these listed on my Etsy page very soon. In the meantime, if you would like to order any soaks, please email me. They are $12 each, plus tax (and shipping).  I can also custom make salt soaks using other essential oils (lemon, wild orange, patchouli, cedarwood, cinnamon, white fir, bergamot, litsea). I am already taking holiday orders!

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    The Best of the Rest...

    Ahhh...Sunday evening. The fun and chaos of the weekend is coming to an end, and the hard work and chaos of the upcoming week is only a few hours away. I spent the weekend taking the kids to the zoo, hanging out with friends and making bath fizzies (more on that next time). Before I hit the sack, I wanted to finish up my mini-series highlighting a few of my favorite natural household ingredients.  In case you missed it, my last post was all about baking soda, and the first post was about vinegar.  I know... pretty exciting stuff, huh?  They may not be the most glamorous of topics, but I guarantee that a little time and research can save you money, waste and exposure to harmful chemicals.

    There are few other products and ingredients around the house that I use frequently, both individually and combined to make natural cleaning recipes.  Here are a few:

    Washing Soda

    Washing soda, or sodium carbonate is very similar in chemican makeup to baking soda. Its chemical compound is Na2CO3. I have read that you can change baking soda into washing soda by baking it in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or so, which removes the carbon dioxide and water. Washing soda is used as a laundry booster and water softener. It is highly alkaline (even more so than baking soda), so it is excellent at removing acidic stains. I use washing soda as part of my homemade laundry detergent.  Washing soda can also be used to remove mineral deposits from things like coffee pots and tile grout.


    Sodium tetraborate is a natural mineral mined from deep within the earth. It is highly alkaline, with a pH of 9.5. This makes it an ideal laundry booster. Borax is used in many products including laundry detergent, soap and other body care products like lotions and moisturizers. This may seem strange, but it makes sense considering its softening effects. Borax is also antifungal. While large amounts of Borax can be toxic (it is used as a natural insecticide), it is very safe in small amounts.  Who hasn't used Borax and Elmer's Glue to make "Gak??"

    The Rest

    Some of my other favorites include lemons (antibacterial, antifungal and moisturizing-make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda to cut through grease and grime), herbal tea (brewed herbal tea makes an excellent additive to any wood cleaner because it leaves a nice shine without buildup), castile soap (an all-natural oil-based soap that I use in all of my handmade cleaners) and hot water (sometimes all you need is a little hot water!).

    So, there ya have it. My virtual cleaning arsenal. The beauty of using natural ingredients like this is that you don't have to worry about chemical exposure (especially in kids), you can save money, and you can waste less (no need to buy all those cleaners packaged in plastic).

    Got any recipes or natural cleaning tricks you'd like to share? Please post them here and share this with your friends. 

    Do you enjoy reading my blog? Why not become an official "follower?" See the link to the right to join. That way, you'll never miss a thing!

    Happy Cleaning!


    Friday, September 14, 2012

    Song of Sodium Bicarbonate (aka: Baking Soda)

    Whew! It's been a BUSY week! Getting one kid started in preschool, first gymnastics lesson, creating some sort of meaningful lesson plans at school... All this on top of the regular cooking and cleaning at home, PLUS trying to get products ready for my next event at the end of the month. I'm not complaining or anything, but I'm just sayin'... Please excuse my lack of blog post over the past week. Especially since I know you have been DYING to read more about natural ingredients you can use for cleaning around your home. ;)

    Ok, enough blabbering. Let's get down to the nitty gritty.  Baking Soda. Sodium Bicarbonate. If you want to get technical, its chemical formula is NaHCO3. Baking soda is weakly alkaline, therefore it helps to break down and neutralize acids. This quality also makes it an excellent tenderizer and leavening agent. Add a bit to tomato sauce or strong coffee to help reduce acidity. Medically speaking, ingesting small amounts of baking soda is said to help adjust the body's pH level to a more alkaline balance.

    We all used baking soda in baking and probably keep a box in the back of the refrigerator, right? Well, there are so many other ways to use this versatile ingredient! For example, you can add it to your conventional or homemade laundry detergent to boost the cleaning power. Ditto for the dishwasher. Mixed with a little water or lemon juice, it makes a gentle abrasive cleanser for kitchens and bathrooms. I sprinkle some down my kitchen drain when the sink gets stinky.

    Baking soda is a key ingredient in bath bombs and fizzies. It softens your skin beautifully.  It is non-toxic and will not harm babies or children if ingested. The best part about baking soda? Like vinegar, it's cheap and plentiful. A box of generic baking soda retails for around 50 cents!

    Here are some additional blogs/articles with more ideas:

    51 Fantastic Uses for Baking Soda

    Arm and Hammer Website

    Medicinal Uses

    Happy cleaning!


    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Ode to Vinegar

    Well, it's that time of year again... back to school. Whether this brings cheers or jeers in your family, it is probably a time of chaos, excitement and a little anxiety. As a teacher, the first day of school is always a combination of these three things. 

    Since I'll be a little short on time for the next couple of weeks while I jump start a new school year, I'd like to do a little mini-series if you will. Each of my next several blog entries will highlight a natural ingredient that I use around my home and in my all-natural cleaning products.

    Tonight, I'd like to extol the virtues of white vinegar. Although the smell of vinegar is, at best, unpleasant, you can't beat this simple ingredient for it's versatility. I probably use vinegar around my house in some way or another at least once a day. I use it diluted with water to clean my hardwood floors. I leave a bowl of vinegar on my kitchen counter after cooking bacon to help clear the air. I sprinkle baking soda on my stove top and then pour on a little vinegar for an awesome grease fighting fizz.  I use vinegar as a rinse aid in my dishwasher with my homemade dish detergent to keep my glass sparkling and spot-free. I could go on and on....

    Instead, I'd like to share a website I found that literally provides 1001 uses for white vinegar. Click the link to be directed to the "Vinegar Tips" website. 

    How do you use vinegar to clean in your home?

    Happy Cleaning!


    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Mystery Photo Winner

    Congratulations to Mary H! You are the winner of my mystery photo contest! No one guessed the picture correctly, but hey, that's ok!

    So, let me fill you in on what this substance is by giving you a little background information. One of the first products I started making under essential8 was homemade laundry soap. I researched for hours on what was considered the best recipe. The basic ingredients in a powdered laundry soap are all pretty much the same - Washing Soda, Borax and a grated bar of soap, such as Fels Naptha. From there, different recipes call for baking soda, added softeners or fragrance agents or different types of soap. I knew that I wanted my recipe to include only natural ingredients - no chemical softeners of any kind or artificial fragrance. Fels Naptha, while I am sure it is a great product, has lots of nasty chemicals in it (a no-no for me). I love castile soap, so I knew I wanted to use that in my recipe.

    Now came the hard work...how to grate the soap. I have a hand-held cheese grater, and that worked fine, BUT... it was taking way too long. Back to the computer for more research.... After trolling many blogs with recipes for the laundry soap, I saw posts from several people stating you could put the bar of soap in the microwave as an alternative to grating it. Hmmm.... what would that do?? Wouldn't it explode??

    I tried it. I cut the remaining bar of soap (that wasn't yet grated into soap cheese) into a few smaller pieces. I put it into the microwave for about 20 seconds at a time to see what would happen. The soap started puffing up into these strange looking pillows. I pulled the soap out of the microwave and let it dry and cool. Once the soap has come back to room temperature, you can basically crumble it in your hands.  SO COOL!

    Once the bar of soap has been fully microwaved, I crumble it into smaller pieces and run it through the food processor with the other powdered ingredients in my laundry soap (Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda), and then I add the essential oils. It works great because everything is the same consistence, and the soap is able to dissolve completely in the laundry.

    So, there ya have it folks. The answer to the mystery photo. It is a microwaved bar of castile soap. :)

    Have you tried making your own laundry soap? What recipe do you use?

    Oh, and BTW, if you'd like to purchase my hand made laundry soap, please visit the "Shop" tab at the top of my page, and you will be directed to my Etsy site. The soap has the most AMAZING lavender scent (from organic lavender essential oils). Enjoy, and happy laundering!  :)


    Monday, August 27, 2012

    Mystery photo/giveaway Deadline Extended!

    The mystery photo/giveaway deadline has been extended! I know you are all breathing a sigh of relief. Please post a comment to vote on what you think this mystery substance is. Each vote will be entered into a giveaway for the Essential8 product that is made with this mystery substance.  The winner will be chosen on Thursday, August 30th, so get your votes in by midnight on August 29.

    Thanks for supporting my blog!


    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Mystery Photo/Giveaway!!

    Ok, so I think there's nothing better to generate interest in my blog than to do a GIVEAWAY!!  Here is a photo of something I am using to make one of my essential8 products.

    Post a comment stating what you think this mystery substance is. If you guess correctly, I will send you the finished product that this mystery substance will be used for. Have I confused you yet???

    This contest will end as of 11:59 pm on Sunday, August 26, so get your votes in now. You can vote as many times as you like, just put each guess in a separate post.

    If no one guesses the correct answer, I will choose a winner randomly from those who posted. If more than one person guesses the substance correctly, I will choose one name from the correct guesses.

    Good Luck! :)

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Are you a label reader?

     I am an obsessive label reader.  I always have been, and I can freely admit this.  Until about 18 months ago, that label reading only applied to food products.  I never gave much thought to the ingredients that were in the cleaning products I used in my home or the soaps, lotions and potions I applied to my skin or my children’s skin.  Through my training when I began promoting "green" products and my own personal research, I have realized what a mistake this was! 

    Our skin is our body’s largest organ.  Babies and children are not just miniature adults.  Their skin is especially vulnerable to toxic ingredients in cleaning products, soaps and lotions.  Some cosmetic companies are beginning to advertise products that are free of parabens and phthalates.  Parabens may have the ability to mimic estrogen in the human body, much as hormones added to our food supply have been proven to do.  Phthalates are often added to products under the guise of “fragrance.”  Exposure to phthalates may cause a wide range of health and reproductive problems in people including kidney, liver, lung and reproductive damage.  A study conducted by the CDC found phthalates in virtually every person tested, but women of child-bearing age had levels up to 20 times higher than the rest of the population.           
    Since my daughter was a newborn, we used a major brand’s “No More Tears” baby wash.  Looking at the ingredients on the bottle, I found the primary ingredient (after water) to be PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, which the FDA considers a probable human carcinogen (EPA, 2003).  It is readily penetrated through the skin.  The fourth ingredient is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a surfactant that strips moisture from the top layers of skin, leaving it dry and brittle.  Virtually every conventional liquid soap, detergent and shampoo contains this harsh ingredient.  No thanks! 

    My daughter has always had very sensitive skin, and she is especially prone to dry, eczema-like patches.  I began using a castile-soap based wash on her, and, I kid you not, her skin improved within two days.  A large dry patch on her back immediately felt softer.  Within a week, she had no more dry patches, and they have not returned. 

    I was surprised to learn that personal care and cleaning products are not regulated by the FDA as food products are.  The FDA granted self-regulation to the cosmetic industry in 1938.   We trust our brands to provide us with products that are safe and healthy.  The only way to truly ensure that we are buying safe products is to read labels.  I recommend only buying products that are forthright about their ingredients. There is a great website, sponsored by the Environmental Working Group. Go HERE to research the products you have around your homes. If you don't see your favorite brand, you can check up on individual ingredients. I use this website very frequently when I am researching new recipes for my essential8 products.

     All of my essential8 products are free of sulfates, parabens, phthlates, artificial fragrance and colors.  They are safe and gentle for babies, children and people with allergies or sensitive skin, including eczema.  

    Stay tuned for more information on why all those cleaning products you use in your home might be making you sick…


    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Eek! It's my first time!

    After years of cleaning, months of research, weeks of planning and hours of staring at the computer screen, I am finally starting a blog. Oh my. If you are actually reading this, you are probably related to me somehow, pressed the wrong key when typing the actual address you wanted, OR you want to learn more about me and the company I have just launched.

    Should I tell you a little about that?  Ok, well... it all started about 15 months ago when I joined a lovely little direct sales comany called Chartreuse. Ever heard of it? Nope, didn't think so. Hence the reason it is no longer in existence today.  They made wonderful organic products, which I used, worshiped and sold like a champ...until they went out of business six months ago. What a shock! I was very sad and dissapointed, but I didn't want that little roadblock to stop me from progressing on what I now call "my green journey."

    After using and promoting all these wonderful, all-natural products for a year, I was totally hooked! I knew I could never go back to using the conventional beauty and cleaning products I had been using before. After some soul searching, I decided that I really loved promoting natural and organic products. I couldn't find another company that I really identified with. I started doing a lot of research and decided that maybe I could make some of these products for myself.

    Along this path, I also discovered essential oils (more on this in another post). I had no idea that essential oils could be used for so many things. What an amazing combinaton-natural and organic ingredients, coupled with the amazing power of essential oils. I was hooked! The former owner of Chartreuse was generous enough to share the recipes for the wonderful cleaners that they made. I could make them myself, and it was SO EASY!  That was the start to my new company, Essential8.

    Boy, I'll tell ya...this whole let's-start-a-business-thing is a lot of work! You have to make products, develop a logo, do social media, start a website.... the list goes on! The logo is in the works, Etsy page is under construction, here's the website.  I am trying to cram as much as I can into the next few weeks before school starts again.

    Thanks for stopping by, and hey... if you're still actually reading this, post a comment, and maybe I'll send you a free sample.  :)