There’s a Pyromaniac in All of Us: Why We Love Fire

There's a Pyromaniac in All of Us: Why We Love Fire

I had an amazing conversation today with one of my friends and customers, Diane Federico. She told me a story about a time she took a winter trip up to Vermont and was sitting by a massive outdoor fire, a “hearth,” as she called it, at a local restaurant. She felt peace, she felt relaxed, she felt an overwhelming calm.

A waitress, and local of the town, came by her and asked if she was interested in some trivia. Of course, who doesn’t love intriguing facts? She explained that watching a fire for 15 minutes has the equivalent relaxing benefits as 90 minutes of yoga!

As a chandler, I had to research this tidbit of information, and it turns out, it’s completely true.  An article published on November 11, 2014 by Evolutionary Psychology explains:

Fires involve flickering light, crackling sounds, warmth, and a distinctive smell. For early humans, fire likely extended the day, provided heat, helped with hunting, warded off predators and insects, illuminated dark places, and facilitated cooking.

In early humanity, fire meant there was light at night – the ability to see your loved ones. It meant food, it meant warmth, it meant survivalFire was communal, and it built camaraderie, as everyone would have to work together to gather around the fire to reap its benefits, just as we all love sitting by a campfire and roasting marshmallows.

In ancient Greek mythology, Prometheus (meaning forethought), the Titan who sided with Zeus in the great war, gave humanity fire in the attempts to help protect humanity from all the benefits awarded to animals by his brother, Epimetheus (meaning after-thought). Epimetheus was charged with distributing “gifts” amongst the beings of Earth, and after giving flight to birds, fins to fish, speed, strength, and agility to mammals, there was nothing left for humanity. So, Prometheus gave us fire. He paid the punishment by Zeus, who wanted to keep the power of fire for the gods, but never regretted his actions.

In our modern society, we can easily access heat and cooking gas, but the natural need to be near fire is instilled in our DNA. According to the same Evolutionary Psychology journal, in a study of 226 adults, it was found that watching, listening to, and smelling fire for 15 minutes decreased blood pressure by five points, and the longer people watched, the more their blood pressures dropped.

It’s safe to say that humans will always gravitate to fire, as we love our campfires, fireplaces, and candles. So grab your favorite candle, and watch it glow. If you want even greater calming, try our holiday limited-edition Fireside Chats candle, which not only gives you the beautiful glimmer of firelight, but smells just like a wood-burning fireplace!

Fireside Chats Crackling Fireplace Candle
Buy Fireside Chats Limited Edition Soy Candle Now!

 

It’s Normal Not to Care Sometimes

It's Normal Not to Care Sometimes

I had a very enlightening discussion today at my day-job with some of my fellow colleagues. We were talking about the difficulties of parenting and nurturing. I am not a parent, but as a teacher, I teach and nurture 150 students every day. Sometimes this comes naturally, but sometimes I have a very hard time opening my heart.

This is hard to say, but I don’t always consider myself the most nurturing of people. As an educator for ten years, and student mentor for fifteen, I have come across some truly dark stories. These situations have pierced my very essence, have made me question humanity, and have generally hardened me over time.

I can’t say I subscribe to the philosophy of the “school of hard knocks,” but I do believe in understanding each circumstance for what it is. I do my best to teach responsibility above all else. I explain that I don’t get angry if a student misses a homework assignment, it’s as simple as receiving a 0, or if it’s turned in late, a reduction in total possible points. I don’t believe in asking permission to use the restroom (especially when I teach 17-18 year-olds), but I expect the student to sign out and return the pass. I try to teach self-management.

This is why it’s sometimes hard for me to nurture. Some of the students of my past could have been on an episode of Law & Order SVU – this is what still brings a rise in me. But when a student evaluation consists of the question: “My teacher will want to see me three years after I graduate,” I have a hard time swallowing that Kool-Aide. What irks me the most is that I am not allowed to say it, or to feel it.

When you’re a mother, you’re always exhausted. I have immense respect for women who are parents and still work full-time because I can’t even begin to fathom how any person can drum up enough love, energy, and spirit to continue to give. Sometimes your own kids irritate you. Sometimes you want to hand them off to a babysitter. Sometimes you just want to go to the bathroom alone. But, as a mother, society has this expectation that every moan, woe, and whine is meant to be accepted with grace, heart, and complete conviction.

I call a bluff on society. No parent wants to be with their kids for every waking moment of every day.

I say it’s not only completely normal to have feelings of annoyance or the need to be alone and away from the people you love, but it needs to be discussed. We need to be able to express and be honest about the hard feelings. Part of what drums up our stress levels is the constant pressure to push down how we truly feel. You have a right to want to be selfish without ever actually being selfish.

A powerful letter from a veteran teacher explains: “We are not here to be popular or please parents, we are here to teach children.”  Evaluating how we are as teachers based on the perception that we may or may not want to see students three years after they graduate has absolutely no reflection on who we are as teachers. Expecting a parent to become so completely devoted to her children that she loses herself is an outrage.

It’s perfectly normal to feel like you don’t care because your care-cup is filled. You absolutely need to take time for yourself. Whether that’s taking a relaxing bath, reading a book, taking a Zumba class, or finding a therapist, these are all perfectly normal needs.  Even more so, it’s normal to want to talk about these feelings. You do not have to hold in your emotions. Taking care of yourself includes your emotional well-being.

You are not alone!

 

 

Evanescence – The Gold Standard of Facial Serums

Evanescence - The Gold Standard of Facial Serums

Let’s face it – your face is your first passage into the world. It’s your place of expression, your main feature, the first place you (and everyone else) looks! But unlike the rest of your body, the skin on your face is much different, with far more needs.

We all have different skin types, and each skin type has different needs, but what if you are the person that has combination skin? What if you have dry skin in the winter, and oily skin in the summer? What if you have sensitive skin under certain conditions, and normal skin under others? Do you need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on different products?

Absolutely not. That’s where Evanescence comes in.

Evanescence Supreme Luxury Facial Serum
Evanescence Supreme Luxury Facial Serum

The creation of Evanescence was inspired by my skin’s fickleness. I have dry skin on my cheeks, oily on my nose, random break-outs, and am starting to see the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

I searched the world, and did immense research, before deciding on the ideal oils to create this serum. I wanted something that would be vegan, dry and quick-absorbing, would be non-comedogenic, something that smelled wonderful, and something to address my problem areas. I wanted it to be oil-based, because despite the fear of oil, oil actually BALANCES your skin (it just has to be the right oils).

Evanescence is created with:

  • Grapeseed oil is made from the seeds of wine producing grapes. The lightest of oils and virtually odorless, it contains vitamins, minerals, high in polyunsaturates and protein. Grapeseed oil is wonderful when used around the eyes and neck.
  • Jojoba oil may be one of nature’s greatest gifts to skin. Non-comedogenic with a light, silky texture, jojoba oil is perfect for delicate skin around the eyes and face. Jojoba oil is a unique oil known for its long chain monosaturated wax esters, making it ideal for cosmetic wear.
  • Organic Argan oil, with it high content of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E, the benefits of argan oil naturally help revitalize skin, increasing moisture. It’s a powerful UV-protector and free-radical neutralizer.
  • Rosehip Seed oil contains unique liposoluble carotenoids, flavonoids and other liposoluble antioxidants beneficial for skin. Rose hip oil is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and is a dry, quick-absorbing oil.
  • Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oils provide extra sensitive support for sensitive skin. Lavender & Chamomile provide a calming, soothing, balancing experience, especially those with troubled skin needs.
  • Frankincense Essential Oil is said to tone and lift skin, as well as has astringent properties.
  • Rose Essential Oil is an extremely luxurious addition to the product. Not only does it create an alluring, exotic, and delightful scent, but it provides a toning and lifting appearance in skin.

*Please note, prior to 100116, batches of Evanescence used Tea Tree Essential Oil. We have since redeveloped our formula to replace Tea Tree with Frankincense.

Overall, Evanescence was created to enhance your natural beauty by moisturizing, nourishing, and loving your skin. You’ll adore the balanced and youthful glow your skin will have, and the soft, silky texture of your face.

How to Use Evanescence:

  • At night: Cleanse face with a natural, and gentle cleanser. (We recommend the Balance Soap or Purely Free Vegan Soap.)
  • Gently pat-dry your face.
  • Start with one-to-two drops of Evanescence serum, and gently rub, with fingertips, into your face in slow, circular motions until fully absorbed.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • My skin feels greasy?
    • If your skin feels greasy after using Evanescence, you’re using too much! Start with one-to-two drops, and gently rub into skin until absorbed.
  • My skin still feels dry?
    •  Your skin may require a little more serum. Start by adding one additional drop at a time.
  • How long will the bottle last?
    • The 1mL bottle is meant only as a tester, and is good for about two-to-three uses. The 2oz bottle should last for approximately three months with consistent use.
  • How often should I apply?
    • You can apply the serum up to twice a day, but we recommend once at night, before bed.
  • Can I wear Evanescence under make-up?
    • Yes, you can, but we recommend you use less than usual, or only on trouble spots.

As always, if you have any questions, we’re happy to answer them! Email us at info@scentsthemoment.com!

 

*Rose and Frankincense essential oils have been added, and Tea Tree essential oil has been eliminated to the formulation since production of this video.

Physical Signs that Show You May Be Stressed Out

Physical Signs that Show You May Be Stressed Out

Along with being our temple, and the physical existence of our conscious, our bodies are barometers. If we listen to our bodies’ signals, we can often discover underlying ailments and disease. One of the biggest culprits of physical demise is stress.

As defined by Psychology Todaystress is “simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium.” The most curious aspect of stress is how and why it occurs. What makes this aspect so complicated is that it can drastically vary from one person to the next. What would stress you out could be meaningless to a different person.

Stress wreaks havoc on our physical bodies. Consistent exposure to stress can lead to an overproduction of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is what fuels our bodies into “fight-or-flight” mode, and an overproduction of this hormone can begin to develop into these feelings:

  • Sleeplessness or Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Heart damage

As explained on AdrenalFatigue.org, “higher and more prolonged levels of circulating cortisol (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:*

  • Impaired cognitive performance
  • Dampened thyroid function
  • Blood sugar imbalances, such as hyperglycemia
  • Decreased bone density
  • Sleep disruption
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Lowered immune function
  • Slow wound healing
  • Increased abdominal fat, which has a stronger correlation to certain health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems.*”

It’s important to regard and be aware of your personal stressors. Just because other people may not believe something should be stressing you out, it doesn’t mean that the stimuli is not having an affect on you.  Some common stressors are time management, work-related, money-related, and family issues, but stressors could run the expanse such as loud noises, loneliness, feeling incapable, vulnerable, or depressed, and anything else that is causing you discomfort.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, you should most certainly seek the help of a medical doctor or licensed therapist, but there are some strategies you can use to try and minimize stress in your life.

Once you’ve identified your personal stressors, try clearing your perspective of the issue by breaking it down into manageable pieces. You can try aromatherapy and comforting moments directed solely at your relaxation. Devote special time for yourself everyday, whether it’s getting some exercise, taking a bath, meditating, reading, lighting a candle, listening to music, or anything that brings you peace and serenity. Consider delegating complicated tasks, asking for help, eating healthier, and taking care of your physical well-being.

Make This Week a YES Week

Make This Week a Yes Week

I’m going against the grain of my usual message with this week’s blog post. I usually give you tips and advice on how to say “no” because our lives can often be so demanding that we become overwhelmed. This week, I want you to work on YES. I want you to work past apprehensions, schedules, and lethargy to try and make the absolute most of this week.

I was inspired to write this post after watching the video below – a video presented by Buzzfeed Australia – where people who are generally afraid of dogs are blindfolded and presented with pitbull puppies. As a huge advocate for pitbulls (helping raise my parents’ pitbull mix, Daisy), I was hoping I would watch the video to see people overcoming the harsh stereotype when cuddling with these kind-hearted, family-oriented, sweet little pups. I was right.

 

That’s when the light bulb went on. What if we approached our fears with a metaphorical blindfold? What if we at least tried something new? I have an incomprehensible fear of rollercoasters. Even as a child, I remember staring at the mechanics, as if I was an engineer, trying to calculate all of the moving parts. I say to myself – why on Earth would I want to scare the heck out of myself?

Because being a little scared means you’re taking some risks. To grow and achieve, you have to take risks; you have to be a little scared. A person cannot grow if they stay stagnant.

Try to picture the world as if you were a baby. Babies explore, they try, they fall, they get up again; they keep going because you’re there encouraging them, because you know they’ll be okay. As they take their first steps, they have no idea if they will make it from one couch to the next, you know it’s not a big deal, and even if they do fall, they will get there someday. With that encouragement, babies keep going – you have to view the world as that baby, and the universe as that parent watching out for you.

Of course, there’s a fine line between taking risks for growth, and just being ridiculous. I don’t mean you should go approach the hooded person in a dark alley – that would be ludicrous – I mean attempting to try new things by saying YES this week. If you love what you try, great, if not, at least now you have a basis for your opinion. Here are a few ideas for you to try this week:

  1. Visit a restaurant that offers ethnic food you’ve never tried. Ignore your assumptions, ask the server for newbie suggestions, and just say YES.
  2. Break your schedule to do something fun. That could be going out after work, leaving the dishes to go shopping, whatever it may be, allow yourself to break your routine to do something out of the norm.
  3. Use a different machine at the gym, try a group class, or go by the free-weights (which are often super-intimidating). Ask someone who works there for help; I guarantee they would be pleased to use their knowledge to help you. Don’t have a gym membership? Sign up for a trial and go check it out!
  4. Spend a little more money on yourself. We all have tight budgets, but go ahead and splurge on a luxurious bubble bath, a beautifully scented handmade soap, or a soy candle to scent up your favorite space.
  5. Call that friend who always says “we should get together for coffee” and actually set a date to meet and grab coffee. The sooner, the better!
  6. Plan that weekend trip you’ve always been meaning to go on. Just go ahead and find a free weekend and book it before you change your mind. Just think about all the fun you’re going to have!
  7. Get yourself the haircut, manicure, or pedicure you’ve been putting off. You deserve it.

You will probably be approached with many opportunities this week that you’re not generally keen on, or maybe some things you wouldn’t think twice about, but try and take a different approach to just say YES this week and do it!

Please comment below and let us know what you’ve tried.

 

Turn Your Shower into an Aromatherapy Haven with Shower Steamers

Turn Your Shower into an Aromatherapy Haven with Shower Steamers

Don’t have time to take a bath? Maybe you just don’t like baths? Fear not – You can reap the benefits of all natural essential oil aromatherapy with Shower Steamers

Shower Steamers are like mini bursts of fragrance for your shower. All you have to do is take one steamer, drop it at the bottom of your shower, and ask the water gradually hits it from the side, the steam of your shower will release the beautiful aroma of the steamer, turning your shower into a true aromatherapy haven.

You don’t want the little steamer to lose its power too quickly, so be sure to place the steamer outside of the direct stream of the shower. Instead, place it off to the side where the water still makes contact with it, but not in a direct stream.

The steamers are super-potent, filled with tons more fragrance than a regular bath bomb, so do not soak in them. It’s far too much fragrance that’s recommended for direct skin contact, so please don’t try to replace them as a bath bomb. Seriously, they’re just meant for showers.  Also, because these steamers are so potent, we only recommend you use one at a time. You can use more, but you don’t need it – why waste it?

Shower Steamers have many aromatherapy benefits to make your shower much more enjoyable. Along with filling your shower with beautiful, clean, and natural essential oil fragrance, they’re a delightful way to set your mood. We all know that scent and fragrance is directly related to our memory and the way we feel, so choose a steamer that you know you will enjoy.

Just like all of our products, our Shower Steamers are cruelty-free, and completely vegan. The only ingredients are Baking Soda, Citric Acid, and a special blend of Essential Oils.

Purchase a pack of Shower Steamers today, and make your shower a delightful moment!

 

Living With Compulsive Anxiety Disorder

Living With Compulsive Anxiety Disorder

I have a big secret that only my parents and my husband know about. I have a compulsive disorder and an anxiety disorder. The combination of each disorder has several effects on me, depending on how bad the day is.  I get debilitating migraines, or I won’t move off the couch. Sometimes I’ll continuously overeat, or clean until I get bleach poisoning. Sometimes I’ll get panic attacks that leave me breathless, or up at night vomiting. I’ve had these since I was a child, but it’s progressively gotten worse as an adult. With more responsibilities, everything becomes exacerbated.

There are times when my compulsion seems like a gift. Once I start something, I cannot stop until it’s completed. It makes me a strong organizer and manager. It makes me a fast learner. But then it cripples me because I always feel like Atlas, carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have a hard time finding joy because I am always worried about the next step.

I bail out on events, and almost always hate receiving invitations because my first inkling is to say no. People think it’s because I’m selfish, arrogant, whatever, but it’s a powerful anxious compulsion to be at home, following my schedule, without a break in my routine. I fear being tired, I fear not being able to drive, I fear being thrown off my sleep schedule. Ludicrous, empty fears which stop me from living.

I have horrifying nightmares for weeks before school begins again, not because I don’t want to work – in fact, my compulsion makes me a work-horse – not because of the students, or faculty – I teach at one of the most prestigious high schools in the country; a school I passionately love – it’s the anxiety of never being finished. Even when a school year ends, a new one begins, and I am never done; there is no next step. I think this is why it’s gotten worse as I’ve aged, because at least when I was younger there were graduations and steady movements; now it’s a redundant mundane sameness that never finishes.

I believe part of the reason these disorders linger is because I cannot determine the root of them. I hope someday I will have an answer, but for now, it’s just a series of management techniques to get through each moment. This is one of the reasons I started crafting and creating bath products, candles, and body products; I find the process of creation cathartic, therapeutic, and relaxing.

Creating products is part of my compulsion to know what ingredients are inside the bath and body products I use. In this way, the compulsion is also a gift, because it forces me to continuously create until it’s perfect, something I know other people will genuinely benefit from, as well.

I also practice mindful meditation with aromatherapy and binaural rhythms. I use different fragrances that help me feel calm and relaxed. While there are classic scents, such as lavender and chamomile, it’s really any scent that you enjoy. The binaural rhythms are special musical sounds, used especially with surround-sound headphones, that help your brain sync with the relaxing sine waves. It may not work for all, but it works for me. (Check out the video below.)

I also have to step back and evaluate my physical health. It’s an ironic rollercoaster because I will be extremely unhealthy when I am in one of my anxiety-funks, but it’s only when I am being healthy am I able to control my anxiety. This is something I am still trying to work on, but one of my biggest goals is to increase my water intake, reduce my carbs, and increase my fresh fruits and vegetables. This weekend Frank and I went out to New Jersey to Wegmans (my favorite grocery store), and invested in healthy options. We meal-planned for the week, to ensure we’re both eating healthier. It’s something I am hoping to turn into a habit because I know I feel better when I eat healthier.

Writing also helps me. Simply sharing my disorders with you through this blog is helping me cope, and making me accountable for my coping. It allows me to be mindful of the thoughts I am having, and to articulate them in a way you will understand my feelings.

If you feel you may be suffering as well, there are some great tips on helpguide.org, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to ask for help. Whether it’s a friend or family member, or seeking the help of a therapist, opening up to the right people will allow you to get you the help you need.