Making Your Own Natural Tzatziki Sauce

I love Greek tzatziki sauce, but it’s difficult to find unless you’re in a Greek restaurant or diner. Plus, you don’t really know how healthy their version is (but it’s usually not terribly bad, no matter where you are). As a solution, I have created my own. I love throwing it over fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, or using it as a dip for fresh veggies in general. Enjoy!

 

 

Ingredients

  •   2 cup(s) fat-free plain Greek yogurt, pour in mixing bowl   
  •   2/3 cup(s) fat free sour cream, pour in mixing bowl   
  •  1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced, pour in mixing bowl   
  •  2 Tbsp dried dill weed, pour in mixing bowl   
  •   1/2 cup(s) cucumber(s), grated, dried out, pour in mixing bowl   
  •  1 Tbsp olive oil, pour in mixing bowl   
  •   1 item(s) lemon(s), squeezed, pour in mixing bowl   

Instructions

  • Grate cucumber directly into mixing bowl. Use paper towels to absorb as much water out of the cucumber as possible. Mince garlic, and place it into the bowl. Pour sour cream, yogurt, dill, lemon juice, and olive oil in bowl. Mix well and let sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.

Summertime Product Care

While each season brings its own benefits and challenges, summer is especially challenging in the bath, body, and candle world. The heat and sun may be beneficial for our mind and our spirit, but it is an artisan natural skin-care maker’s nightmare. The reason: Natural skin-care melts. It melts because we use real ingredients without synthetics, and one of the reasons synthetic additives are usually included is to prevent melting.

So, what can you do when you don’t want to ditch your natural products, but you also don’t want a goopy mess?  Here are some steps you can take to protect your product investment:

**Note – Room temperature here assumes rooms of 67-71 degrees Fahrenheit.

For Body and Face Butters: During the warm summer months, your body and face butters will probably be fine if you leave them in a general room-temperature environment, but if the place you’re storing them is above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, you should keep them in a refrigerator. If you’re temporarily going to be traveling with these items (just a couple of hours), then you should freeze the body/face butters first. If they will be in a prolonged heated environment, without access to a refrigerator, then they must stay in a cooler with ice packs.

For Soy Candles: Soy candles have a lower melting point than other waxes, which make them more susceptible to extreme heat. In most circumstances, your candle will be fine with some extra heat and will re-solidify, but for extreme circumstances, the heat can cause the candle to “sweat” or “reject the fragrance.” This looks like it has liquid coming out from the top of the candle. To fix this, first take the candle out of the heat and bring it to room temperature. Next, grab a heat gun (a hair dryer works if you don’t have a heat gun) and melt the top of the candle evenly. Once it’s evenly melted, leave the candle in room temperature to re-solidify, and that should fix the problem. (Side note – this fix will also work if your candle happens to not be melting evenly.)

For Lip Balms and Salves: Assuming these items are in a pot-type of container, if they start to melt, all you have to do is stick them in the freezer for a couple of hours. Take them out and return them to room temperature and they will be just fine. Packing them up for travel? Then keep these guys in your carry-on or in a cooler.

For Bath Bombs: These can be very tricky! If they are in a hot environment where there’s humidity or moisture, it may set off the “bomb” too early and ruin the product. If you notice the bomb beginning to sweat, be sure to grab it and stick it in the fridge or freezer. You can leave them there until you’re ready to use it, or you can return it to a regular room temperature.

For Essential Oils and Essential Oil Blends: You really want to do your best to keep these out of a heated environment as good preventative practice because an extra heated environment will change the chemical structure of essential oils. If you need to travel with them then keep them in a carry-on or a cooler. Unfortunately, these can’t really be fixed once they’ve been overheated.

For Handcrafted Soap: Most soap can withstand pretty high temperatures. The most you may notice is some sweating. If the temperature is super-intense, your soap may begin to melt. You can go ahead and pop these in the fridge and they will be good-as-new.

 

Eight Ways You’re Poisoning Your Life and Home

After I made a huge mistake when I was interning in college, I attempted to explain my choice to my boss through the mode of intention. He replied: “Good intentions pave the road to hell.” Lesson learnt. Sometimes we think we’re doing something right, we have all the right intentions in place, but perhaps through our ignorance, we’re actually doing something wrong. Believe it or not, you are doing this in your household right now.

You are poisoning your home and life unintentionally. The good news, we’re not quite in the firey-clad basement yet, so there is time to educate yourself and fix your lifestyle. It’s all about awareness, and that’s what the purpose of today’s blog is – to give you awareness of your bad habits so you can be empowered to fix them.

You’re Poisoning Your Life and Home…

1. By spraying aerosols. Whether you’re spraying harmful phthalate-full room “refreshers,” hair spray, or cooking spray, all of the harmful aerosols are damaging to the air quality in your home, and depleting the ozone layer. Use natural candles for home fragrance, and consider aerosol-free alternatives to hair spray, cooking spray, etc.

2. By not disinfecting your kitchen and bathroom. I know you’re cleaning your kitchen and bathroom, but you’re probably not disinfecting it. The only way to really kill germs is to let a bleach-water solution stand for at least five to ten minutes, or spraying a pre-made bleach spray and letting it stand for at least five to ten minutes.

3. By not washing your hands long enough. You do not need to purchase anti-bacterial soap in order to get a quality wash, it’s all about the length of time. You need to scrub your hands (that means between fingers, up through the wrists, under the nails) for at least twenty full seconds, then rinse. If you’re not washing your hands long enough, you may be allowing particularly strong bacteria to linger on your body, which reproduces strong bacteria.

4. By not finishing all of your antibiotics. If you’re prescribed antibiotics to treat an infection by your physician, it’s being prescribed in the exact dose you need to complete the course of treatment. If you stop your treatment when you begin to feel better, you can contribute to causing antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This means that bacteria that has not yet died from treatment will reproduce and evolve to be resistant to antibiotics. Follow doctor’s orders.

5. By trying to get a “base tan.” There is no such thing as a base tan, and over-exposure to the sun’s rays without proper use of sunscreen can contribute to skin cancer, sun spots, and early skin aging. Always wear your sunscreen.

6. By not getting enough sleep. Sleep is our body’s way of rejuvenating. While you sleep, your body creates new cells, works on fighting any bacteria, virus, or fungus, and rejuvenates your organs. Your mind rests and organizes its thoughts (like a computer does when it defragments its hard drive). We need sleep to prevent disease and to stay in our optimal state. Even missing an hour a day can lead to an entire night’s loss of sleep over the course of a week. Whatever is keeping you up can wait; get to bed!

7. By skipping your daily teeth flossing. Flossing helps prevent plaque buildup on teeth, and helps eliminate food particles from gums. Even if you’re brushing the recommended twice-a-day, you still need to floss to prevent periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has not only been linked to various mouth diseases, but also to heart disease. So make sure you floss for your overall health.

8. By not changing your toothbrush, sponge, or bath sponge. Standing water is a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, and these items are always in water. You should throw out your bath sponge and toothbrush at least every three months, and your kitchen sponge every four weeks (depending on use). These items are inexpensive enough to be disposable, go ahead and buy a new one so you’re not “washing” with mold.

Wisdom from Dads

We’re celebrating Father’s Day this year by paying tribute to the many Dad-isms we have come to love and appreciate. Some of the best advice we could receive begins with the wisdom of our parents, and today we are taking a special look at the wisdom of Dads. For those of us fortunate enough to grow up with both parents, each parent usually takes on a specific role in our lives. For mine (Kristen), my Dad was the practical-advice parent – he taught me how to drive, how to open my first bank account, how to purchase insurance, save for retirement, how to fix things (ok, so I never learned how to fix anything, but Dad still comes and fixes it for me).

Above all, my Dad taught me how to buck-up and own my nonsense. I would call my Mom to whine and complain about the world, and she would sympathize, feel my pain, feel jilted and wronged with me. I called my Dad when I needed someone to listen without bias in my favor.

My Dad was always my rock-star. Despite his pragmatism, he is a hippie with a musician’s soul. He would sing for me – he would sing for my bath time, sing for my bedtime, and he sang at my wedding. I learned a true appreciation of all music from my father.

My father was the one who took me to see The Little Mermaid six times in the theater when it came out in 1989. He was the one to ground me for a month when I experimented with cigarettes. He spent every Sunday morning teaching me how to drive for a year. He also banished me from driving after I got into an accident within the first week of having my license. My Dad taught me balance.


Today we rejoice in the wisdom from all Dads. In a very informal survey, we’ve collected all kinds of fun advice to give honor to the Fathers who have imparted this wisdom. We hope you have a sense of humor, because some of these really made us chuckle!

  • “Always, always keep your promises. A person is only as good as her word.” – Dad of Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo
  • “Measure twice; cut once.” – Dad of Aaron Yavelberg
  • “If you’re not going to do something right, don’t do it at all.” – Dad of Diane Federico-Cogan
  • “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” – Dad of Kaitlyn Lang
  • “Cover their junk with the old diaper while you’re putting on the new one.” – Dad of Michael Leinoff
  • “Guests, like fish, stink after three days.” – Dad of Mary Fusaro
  • “Try to listen more than you talk.” – Dad of Aaron Yavelberg
  • “Funny faces rarely make the situation worse.” – Dad of Aaron Yavelberg
  • “When it comes to men, think of them as a bunch of roses: the first one that wilts, throw it out, but that last one, keep him, he might not stay pretty, but he will endure even when he’s dried up.” – Dad of Ellice D. Harris
  • “If I could read, I could learn to do anything.” – Dad of Angela Carillo
  • “There’s some old doo wop song with lyrics that go “Get a job”. As soon as I was old enough to have working papers and anytime I would ask for something, my dad would sing that song to me. He instilled in me the value of financial responsibility and independence along with a strong work ethic.” – Dad of Heather Brown
  • “You can be right, or you can be happy, but you can’t be both.” – Dad of Brittney Blazicek
  • “My father was an educator. As a high school principal, he considered it his job to make sure his daughter was well educated. I was expected to excel in school or face the consequences. I was never a stellar student though, and I disappointed him often. I was lectured and disciplined if I brought home poor grades.Once, in law school, after being distracted by a boyfriend for an entire semester, I brought home a failing grade. I was sure my father would be angry, and would fuss at me and remind me of what a mess I was making of my future professional life, and then tell me exactly what to do to fix the problem … and help me do so. I was wrong.

    When I told him about my poor grade, he looked at me and said, “I am sorry to hear that. What are you going to do about that?” And he got out of his chair and left the room.

    I was stunned. With just a few words, my Daddy had told me that I had grown up, and that if I wanted to screw up my career, I was perfectly free to do so, while he had other more important things to tend to.

    In that moment, I became a woman. I became responsible for myself and my decisions. I was left to clean up my graduate school career as best I could. I had his love and support while doing so, but he sent the clear message that he was no longer going to spend his time telling me what he knew I already knew. That is, if I let a man or anything else come between me and my ability to achieve professionally, it was my fault, and my responsibility, and that I alone would have to fix the problem.

    I fixed it, Daddy. Thank you for loving me enough to allow me to fall so I could learn how to get back up.” – Dad of Donna Maria

When Should You Exfoliate?

Skin exfoliation is the active process of removing dead skin cells from the body. Our body sheds almost one million skin cells everyday, making room for fresh skin. Our body does this for several reasons: To eliminate external pollutants from the skin (remember your epidermis, or top level of skin is your largest organ, and your first defense against your environment), to adjust to climate, and to shed bacteria and fungus. While our body is remarkable in its ability to self-preserve and restore, sometimes it needs a little help, and that’s where exfoliation comes in.

On average, you should exfoliate your face and body 2-3 times per week, but this is largely dependent on the person. Someone with sensitive skin may need to exfoliate less, whereas an active person who sweats a lot may need to exfoliate more. Remember to use facial exfoliants made specifically for the face, as these products are usually more sensitive.

You should always exfoliate clean skin, which means you should follow-up with exfoliation in the shower after you’ve washed with soap. When exfoliating, you should do so in small, circular motions, after you have washed and while you’re in the bath or shower. We recommend using scrubs in the shower instead of the bath. Most scrubs are either sugar or salt based, and sometimes combined, which could become irritating to the skin if soaking in it. Certain salt, such as Epsom salt, is made for soaking (but that’s because it’s not really salt, it’s a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate).

After you exfoliate, it’s important to follow-up with moisturizer, balm, or body butter to ensure your skin is absorbing fresh moisture. In time, this process will produce naturally soft, supple skin. Many products, such as our Salt it Off Shea and Face the Day have moisturizers built into the scrub, so you don’t even need to do anything more after you get out of the shower!

You should definitely not exfoliate any irritated, rashed, sunburnt, or broken skin. This will only aggravate the ailment instead of aid it. Instead, wait until your skin has healed.

When you should exfoliate:

  • Exfoliating before shaving helps to create a softer, smoother, and closer shave.
  • Exfoliating before applying sunscreen helps the skin to best absorb the sunscreen.
  • Exfoliating before applying sunless tanners allows for better absorption and a more even “tan.”
  • Exfoliate gently once your skin has started peeling. Take extra caution with this. You never want to exfoliate raw or sore skin.
  • Exfoliate your hands before giving yourself a manicure and your feet before giving yourself a pedicure to help naturally eliminate overgrown cuticles and produce smoother nail beds.
  • Exfoliate after working out or sweating to help your body eliminate the extra skin cells shed during this time.
  • Exfoliate extra dry spots, such as your elbows, heels, and knees.

Feel free to use your hands to spread scrub, or you can get a scrub brush, or shower gloves, it’s really all a matter of personal preference. A special tip for super-glowing skin and for people who love to exfoliate – drink more water. Water helps your body perform its main functions, such as the shedding of skin; you can read more about that here.

Do you have any questions about skin exfoliation? Feel free to comment below or email us at info@scentsthemoment.com, and we’ll answer your questions right away!

Preaching Peace and Pride

The tragedy of a mass gun shooting , such as the one in Orlando, Florida last night, goes beyond the senselessness of lost lives, it’s also the fueled hatred of bigotry that continues to burn. We pray for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender friends who have suffered such devastation, and we also pray for our Muslim friends who suffer at the hands of ignorance, believing that a whole group of people is responsible for one outrageous act.

In the honor of transparency, I (Kristen, co-owner) was initially hesitant to write this blog post. I do my best to separate my business from my political and social beliefs, hoping not to isolate anyone from our company. But I realized that my silence would be deafening. If I can publicly advocate for the lives of animals, especially pitbulls, who are wrongfully stereotyped, why am I afraid to advocate for humanity? I decided that if people were offended by my preaching of peace and pride, then I am just sorry for them.

I understand the feelings of rage, anger, and the desire for revenge in times of such dismay. I am a child of the first Iraq War, a New Yorker during September 11th, a Staten Islander of Eric Garner, a Northerner of the Boston Marathon, but also a Staten Islander of Hurricane Sandy, an American of Hurricane Katrina, and I still love Mother Nature. I am a born-and-raised Italian Roman Catholic, but I am also an Austrian Jew, whose grandmother and great-grandparents were victims of the Holocaust, and I still love my Germanic heritage.  It’s so easy to hate because history, and moments such as these, make it easy to hate. But hate is what started everything. You cannot drown a fire with the same fuel used to make it burn. As my fellow New Yorker, Billy Joel, once said: “We didn’t start the fire,” but we can certainly do our part to end it.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Today, I will not be silent, no matter who is offended. I am preaching peace and pride for people of all colors, all religions, all sexual orientationsOn Saturday, July 16, 2016, we will proudly have a vending stand at the Staten Island Pride Fest. You don’t have to be something to love something. I proudly stand for the same for all peopleI cannot be afraid to stand for what I believe in; to stand up for people who are being berated, ostracized, indemnified for the crimes of one. I urge you to do the same.

I urge you to preach peace and pride, because only when we speak up and advocate that intolerance is not tolerated will people begin to shift. We cannot accept hatred and bigotry as the norm. Mahatma Ghandi’s legacy remains: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

How We Began: Our Story

Frank and I were married in February 2015, and two driving passions we share are animals and handmade items. We always crafted together; candles, body care, bath products, and we would often gift these items to friends and family.

Finally, once we settled into our tiny apartment, we decided to take the plunge and turn our love of crafts into a business. We were exhausted. We both work full time; I am a high-school teacher, and my husband works in mutual funds. Any free minute we had, we were studying rules about GMPs, labeling, creating formulas, learning computer code. We hardly ever sleep.

We are especially passionate about rescuing dogs, and dispelling the pit-bull stereotype. We researched our distributors and manufacturers until we could become both PETA and Leaping Bunny certified. Everyone we knew told us to quit – we had too much on our plates, we were too committed, but that only drove us further. We received our cruelty-free accreditation, and partnered up with Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue so that a portion of every sale we make is donated to rescuing abandoned and abused animals.

We not only made it work, but we found people who were passionate about animals and natural body care, to organically become our biggest advocates. We found love and compassion in a sea of doubt. We continue to strive and transcend as we both still work full time and run our business full time, but we know that each push further is saving another life, and is educating the world about empathy for nature. We have defined success through passion and activism.


This story was featured in the May 2016 issue of Handmade Seller Magazine

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Product Highlight: The Rest Easy Spray

On today’s blog we’re going to discuss our fabulous creation, the Rest Easy spray. There are so many different uses for this awesome spray, we would like to teach you how far this product can go to fit your natural lifestyle. It’s truly a hidden gem that you’re absolutely going to need to have once you learn about all of the wonders that can be unlocked with just a simple shake of this bottle.

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Remember to shake the bottle before every spray!

Ingredients: Witch Hazel, Benzoic Acid, German Chamomile Essential Oil, Roman Chamomile Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil.

The ingredients in this spray all work well in combination to help beautify and naturally cleanse the skin.  The scents of lavender and chamomile are soft, mellow, and calming. The scent is a gentle fragrance, and usually appeals to most people.

Different ways to use the Rest Easy Spray

  1. Linen Spray: Spray a little on bedsheets or pillows to enjoy the fragrance before bed time.
  2. Body Spray: Spray a little on your body whenever you feel the need to enjoy the calming and relaxing fragrance.
  3. Skin Toner: After washing your face, spray some in a cotton ball and gently rub over your face in upwards motions to help exfoliate, cleanse, and moisturize your skin.
  4. Makeup Remover: Spray some in a cotton ball to gently remove makeup from your skin. The ingredients are gentle and moisturizing to help soften the skin as you clear makeup.
  5. After-shave: Used the same way as a skin toner and makeup remover, it can be used after shaving – either face or body – to give an additional cleansing and moisturizing effect.
  6. Dog: Safe for medium and large dogs, spray a little on your pup’s bed at night time, or when Rex gets a little stinky. (We do NOT recommend this for small dogs – less than 15 pounds – or for cats.)
  7. Baby: Spray baby’s bed sheets or car seat for a gentle, natural fragrance.  Just be cautious not to spray anywhere on baby or anywhere baby might put in his mouth.

We’re sure that you will find the Rest Easy spray an absolute necessity to have in your bathroom and to toss in your purse. In fact, we’re so sure you’ll love this spray, we’re giving you a special discount to try it out! Use code RESTEASYS at check-out to take an extra 10% off (only for our blog readers!).

Perfect Pairing

It pairs very well with our Unstressed Candle to create a fragrant environment embodying peace and tranquility (just never, ever leave a burning candle and then go to bed!).

Try our Rest Easy Roll On for extra nourishing oils to keep with you as a skin moisturizer, perfume, cuticle oil, and more!

We love to hear your stories! What are some of the fabulous ways you have used your Rest Easy Spray?

A Day in the Life of an Indie Maker

One of the most common questions we receive is “What does your day look like?!” People are often intrigued by the process behind our business, so we would love to give you a glimpse into what our day looks like!  We’re going to take a look at Kristen, our CEO’s, typical day from start to finish.

Kristen’s Day

  • 4:30am – Wake up, check emails, check orders, do a load of laundry
  • 5:00am – Take a shower, get dressed, pack up breakfast and lunch. (Sure to use Beach Bumming, Coffee Break, or Balance soap for face and body. Follow-up with Face the Day Scrub.)
  • 6:00am – Pack up any orders and prep for mail pick-up
  • 6:30am – Head to the local coffee shop and pay for a coffee that she could very well make at home (a little daily luxury), then drive to work
  • 6:45am – Arrive at school, prep lessons, grade papers
  • 7:00am – 1:45pm – Teach a bright group of sophomore and senior high school students
  • 2:00pm – Check emails, check social media presence
  • 2:30pm – Check inventory, order any needed supplies
  • 3:00pm – Begin making inventory, check on drying soaps
  • 7:00pm – Take a break for dinner
  • 7:45pm – Plan lessons, grade some papers
  • 8:30pm – Plan social media, check on orders, return emails
  • 9:00pm – Design and quality-check labels, package products
  • 10:00pm – Create tomorrow’s to-do list
  • 10:30pm – Get to bed for a full night’s rest. (Moisturize with Butter Me Up.)

That’s just a typical day in the life!

Explaining Our Logo

When we decided to rebrand our company earlier this year, we took great pains to think about our logo. We knew we wanted something to demonstrate elegance, grace, class, luxury, and beauty. We also knew we wanted to show that we were more than candle artists, as we now offer a whole array of bath and body products, along with the candles which made us famous.  Of course, the whole point of our company (besides for saving animals), is capturing moments through scent, which is why we also use the taglines “Scents the Moment” and “Life’s Moments, Perfectly Scented.”

Candle Moments Logo 2016

The color purple always appealed to us. Perfectly explained by Jacob Olesen of Color-Meanings.com: “Purple combines the stability of the blue color and the energy of the red. Through the ages, purple has always been associated with royalty, nobility and prestige. The color purple can symbolize mystery, magic, power and luxury. Purple color meaning is often used to portray rich powerful kings, leaders, magicians and even sorcerers.” There is a clear spirituality associated with the magical and royal aspects of purple. This spirituality, for us, is a deep connection to Mother Nature and all of her essences. We felt this color best embodied the balance of serenity and majesty, which is how we believe our products will make you feel.

The vine in our logo is precious to our message of balance with nature. According to Greek mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and Poseidon, the god of the ocean, had a contest to determine who would become the protector of the newest city in Attica. Poseidon gave the gift of the horse, and Athena gave the gift of the olive tree. The people of the new city felt the olive tree was a more powerful gift, and named the city “Athens” after their newly appointed guardian goddess. The symbol of the olive branch has evolved into a meaning of peace, which can also be attributed to the biblical symbol of the dove holding the olive branch. To us, our vine embodies the wisdom of Athena, the peace and tranquility from the bible, and our commitment to use natural resources and always protect nature. (In our efforts to extend the proverbial olive branch, we even created The Vine Vendor Network, a specialized group in which we help guide other local small businesses and vendors to find their success, as we have.)

vine_burned

For us, and any business, the logo is the first message you send to your customers, and we certainly hope we have embodied our mission, our pride, and our passion in ours.