One Full Year as a Homeowner

One Full Year as a Homeowner

On August 17, 2016, Frank and I closed on our first home. It’s in Richmondtown, a beautiful and historic neighborhood of Staten Island. It has three bedrooms, one of which we converted into our lab/office, the other is a hodge-podge of a guest room-meets-storage, and the third is our bedroom. One and a half bathrooms, with the full bathroom having a very annoying separate tub and shower (my Mom loves this, I hate it, Frank couldn’t care less).  We have all the necessary amenities like a super-advanced washer and dryer who sing to us when finishing a load, dishwasher, full eat-in kitchen, dining room, living room, lots of closet space. We live in a community so there is a pool, people to mow our lawn and shovel our snow. The biggest drawback is no backyard.

In the past year, I thought it would feel more like my home at this point, but there is this eerie sense of impermanence and silent fear of something catastrophic breaking. We have filled the house with decorations and photographs, an electric fireplace, all new flooring, freshly painted walls, a whole new outdoor landscape, but it always feels unfinished.

I kid you not, I spent 7 hours painting the very tiny front gate last year. I was so meticulous not to spill one drop of paint on the ground. It was cathartic – covering up the rust of the house’s past, a fresh coat of white symbolizing our fresh start, and by April of this year, it was completely rusted again. Our hose has nowhere to go so it lays sloppily right in our front walkway. Instead of buying one of those springy hoses, or trying to roll it up, I just walk over it – I don’t know why I just don’t fix it, but looking at it makes me feel exhausted and exasperated.

The house always feels dirty to me. It didn’t feel like this in the apartment. Maybe it’s because we have Lucy now and my attention is elsewhere, or maybe cleaning just feels like one of those uphill battles. I know, why don’t I just hire someone, but it’s as simple as now we have a mortgage payment, double the electric bill, and so much insurance for so many things I don’t even know what’s covered.

The closet doors constantly break off. The doors in the lab are off the hinges and instead of fixing the closet, I have to physically move the door out of the way anytime I need access to the closet. The closet doors holding the washer and dryer fell off right into my toilet paper holder, so now they have a giant, gaping hole.

Having a home has made me feel so inadequate. I don’t know how to fix anything. I am consciously aware of how much of a Xennial I am. I am still calling my Dad to help me fix everything. I think this bothers Frank even more than it bothers me. But I have been wanting an extra shelf in the bathroom for so long, and I don’t know how to anchor screws to do that. If it weren’t for my Dad, I wouldn’t even know I had to anchor screws. I still have the shelf, but it’s not up on the wall…it sits on another shelf somewhere else.

Our couch rubs up against the wall and cuts a hole right through it. I’ve patched it twice already. I’m actually really good at wall patches. I fill with plaster and smooth it over, plaster again if needed, sand, and paint. I love the feeling of filling an empty space. I hate when the empty space keeps returning.

Still, with all of the idiosyncracies, it’s peachy-keen compared to the apartment we were in. We were rained on…for four months. The hot water heater broke at least a dozen times in the two years we were there. We were breathing in mold. We had drain flies. The tiles were falling off the bathroom walls. We had a ghost.

I actually think we still have a ghost.

In the apartment, the hallway lights would turn on and off by themselves. I would joke that we had a ghost, but in my gut, I figured all the roof leaking and being rained on probably damaged the wiring. That’s until we moved into the new house where the hallway lights turn on and off by themselves. Now I somewhat believe we may have a ghost. I don’t mind him/her, I just wish he/she would help us lower the electric bill.

Household maintenance is seriously annoying. As I write this, I am reminded that I should make an appointment to have the dryer vents cleaned out, check the fire and CO2 alarms, fire extinguisher, pour some drain cleaner down just to keep it all flowing.

Plus, there’s never enough money to actually fix anything. People tell me to give it time since we just bought the place, but it’s seriously overdue for new windows. And that bathroom. Eek. Can Bath Fitters drop a whole new bathroom in? How much does that cost?

Still, the place is ours, overflowing with boxes from my daily supplies deliveries and from the things I ask Frank to carry upstairs for me since I have the strength of a 98-year-old. When did we accumulate so much…stuff? Sometimes the inner neat-freak in me (who hides deep within reality) has a breakdown and just wants to walk around with black garbage bags and dump everything.

I can’t believe it’s been only a year. In many ways, this year felt like it was 10. I don’t know if this makes sense, but the days are short and the year is long. I need to learn how to just relax and allow everything to happen in its own time, but I am always so anxious to be finished that having a house unravels me because it’s never done.

I think I need to light an Unstressed Candle and drop in a bath bomb...might as well, there will still be things to fix tomorrow.

 

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Mindful Moments for the Overly Anxious

Mindful Moments for the Overly Anxious

I am an anxious person. I am consistently riddled with various anxieties. If someone were to open the door to my mind right now, this is what they would see:

  • Must write a blog post
  • Should get to sleep because it’s past 1am
  • Less than a month before school starts
  • Did you even think about your lessons for next year?
  • Did you review the summer reading?
  • Where is your summer reading book?
  • Are the clothes still in the wash – they’re going to smell and need to be rewashed…
  • The bath bombs aren’t drying
  • When does the dog need Heartguard again?
  • Why did I eat so much at dinner again?
  • Is dust waging a war against me?
  • The water bill is due this quarter
  • I should really just relax
  • Now it’s 1:15
  • Hellllloooooo…time to blog!

For me to write this post about being mindful is a bit paradoxical. I have to be mindful of my own thoughts in order to write, but I need to be cognizant of my crazy to write about regrouping to mindfulness. And people wonder why I’m anxious.

Anxiety comes from living in the future. We lose our sense of mindfulness when overrun with thoughts about the next moment(s). Of course, we need to plan for our future and consider different future results for our actions; however, the anxiety we feel is not for us to control. 

I have to repeat this to myself when trying to gain mindfulness. I cannot control the future, but I can control right now. Ultimately, if we look to control “right now,” we shape our future.  For example, I have anxiety about the upcoming school year, which I get every single August. I cannot control September and my new schedule, but right now I can review my “first-day-of-school” lesson.

Mindful Practices

  1. If you’re rattled about something, what can you say or do right now to make progress? This applies to almost every anxiety.
  2. Cut off every distractor, whether it’s the TV, radio, phone, other people, etc. and ask yourself: “How are you feeling? Why are you feeling this?” – Treat yourself like you would your best friend in crisis.
  3. Stop and listen to your body. Are you tired, hungry, dehydrated? Drink a tall glass of water before making a decision or taking the next step. Give yourself some breathing room.
  4. Meditate by immersing yourself in a hot bath with calming scents like lavender and chamomile. Feel the steam open up your pores. Pay attention to how the water feels between your fingers. Just rest in the tub without worrying about washing, rinsing – allow yourself to soak.
  5. Clear your space to clear your mind. Spend time to clean one room completely and stay in that room for 10 minutes to appreciate your work. Notice how your mind feels in a clean environment.
  6. When you begin to feel anxiety, stand up, stretch, and walk outside. Do not look at your phone or watch. Take a walk while breathing in fresh air. Be alone.
  7. Tilt your neck to the left so the left side of your face is touching your left shoulder. Place your left hand on your head above your right ear. Place your right hand on the right side of your neck. Gently stretch until you feel the tension release. Repeat on the opposite side, reversing left-to-right.
  8. Take a bottle of Rest Easy, shake, spray right above your head and let the droplets fall onto you. Spray as much as you like. Close your eyes and just take deep breaths – breathe in through your nose slowly, and exhale through your mouth slowly.

When it comes to mindful practices, it’s all about retraining your mind to focus on the here and now. It’s a necessary step towards stress reduction and building new, good habits. If you had a bad habit you would like to break, stop and be mindful of your behavior, try one of the steps above, and do the positive behavior instead.

This takes time and mindfulness doesn’t just happen overnight, but with a continued promise to yourself to be mindful, you can reduce your stress, anxiety, and change your habits.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

 

 

Taking a Moment Away from Social Media

Taking a Moment Away from Social Media

I love social media. I love reading funny updates from friends and family, watching videos of adorable pets, staying abreast of momentous occasions from people I don’t speak with very often. But despite all of the wonderful news I learn from social media, and the glorious “unfollow” button, I am still bogged with political banter, tortured animals, and nefarious messenger-chain-letters.

Even with all of the annoying aspects of social media, I still enjoyed scrolling through Facebook (which is where I spend most of my social media time)…until one day about a month ago. A friend of mine posted a candid photo of a bunch of us working on a project. The photo of me was awful – my hair was in a messy bun, I have gained a bunch of weight this year, and I overall looked like something from “The Worst of Jerry Springer.” I asked the person to take down the photo, but they kindly insisted that I was my own worst critic and it was “such an awesome candid photo of us all working together.” Finally, I decided she was probably right and I was thinking too much into it.

Until someone commented: “Who is that fat beast on the right?”

I was so shocked and hurt, and figured my friend would delete the comment, but no, instead came a mixed barrage of agreements, laughing emojis, and a couple of “you’re a jerk’s.” I quickly untagged myself from the photo and blocked the initiator, but I realized it wasn’t enough.

Something about social media perpetuates the cruelty of humanity. More so, the indignant, maligned sense of righteousness that comes along with the commenter. To him, I am subhuman, an unwieldy mass to be extinguished.

Of all the moments I try to recreate in my products, I never anticipated empathy as being a required sentiment.

I decided I would quit social media.

The hardest part of quitting social media as a business owner is that I drive 96% of my business from my business’ Facebook page and VIP group; without social media, my business would drown.  I thought about having someone else manage my business social media while I took a hiatus, but I realized I would lose the core of my business, and that’s the raw honesty and the community I built around that. When I decided to quit, I could only do so half-heartedly, and that hurt the most. I needed to keep my own page so I could manage everything with my business.

I decided I would quit posting and hide as much as possible from my timeline unless it was directly related to my business.  Part of me thought that I might be giving him power by shutting down, but I was reclaiming my sense of self – my right to not live my life on the web.

Since I stopped posting over the last month, I feel like I have washed off an enigmatic, parasitic need to prove myself. It’s as though I have spent the last 20 years (I’m going way back to AOL profiles and AIM away-messages here) documenting the fun and friends that I have. I spend so much less time searching for the next witty comment or cute photo that I am actually enjoying the little moments.

Now, I’m making it sound like I was hyper-addicted to social media, and that was never true, but I did find myself trying to make people laugh or showing off some fun activity I participated in. Worst of all, though, I would allow myself to keep going through photos of my past and compare my ever-fluctuating weight. I know what I am, but I felt like the consistent reminder of what I was was starting to break me.

I long for the opportunity to just delete my profile and make a strictly-business account, but there is so much good that comes from the ability to quickly message a group of people, create an event, or ask a question in my soaping groups – obliterating social media altogether would just isolate me from my time era.

With that said, it was high time I took a moment away from social media to find a moment of balance.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

The Best Moments Products During Pregnancy

 

The Best Moments Products During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an amazing time for future moms, but it can also be incredibly nerve-wracking. There are so many rules involved about what you can and cannot ingest, wear, smell, etc.; it may feel like pregnant women should be walking around with a caution label.

The Cautions

When it comes to fragrances and skincare for pregnant women, there’s a lot of information warning women against the use of essential oils or certain fragrances. The reality is that most of this information applies to ingesting essential oils – which we never recommend unless under the direct care of a certified medical professional.

The second major precaution for pregnant women is the warning against the use of phthalates. Phthalates are a chemical compound are often found in vinyl flooring, toys, detergents, lubricating agents, and fragrance in cosmetics.  While the FDA has declared they have found no conclusive evidence that phthalates are endocrine disruptors, phthalates are still under strict evaluation. The problem is that the FDA does not require the cosmetic industry to clearly indicate whether or not the fragrance used has phthalates, which is why Bath, Body, Candle Moments always takes extra precaution to always formulate WITHOUT phthalates. Rest assured, we are a 100% phthalate-free fragrance soap, skincare, and candle manufacturer.

In general, because of hormonal shifts in pregnant women, some fragrances a woman used to love may become irritating, and vice-versa. It really comes down to personal preference, and not safety, for pregnant women and fragrance. Fragrances are generally safe to use for pregnant women.

The most important point here is to be sure you’re gathering your information from credible resources.

For Sore Mommy Belly & Nipples

Carrying a baby is hard enough without the skin stretch irritation, which is why I recommend Butter Me Up Body Butter and/or our Body Lotion. Rich in butters and nourishing oils, it will help keep the skin supple, especially while it’s stretching to accommodate baby’s growth.  The Body Butter and Body Lotion will not necessarily help with stretch marks, as that really depends on genetics, and how hydrated momma keeps her skin, but consistent moisture is key to creating skin elasticity.

For sore nipples before giving birth, Butter Me Up and the Body Lotion will work wonders.  However, we recommend using organic extra virgin olive oil or organic raw cocoa butter while nursing and/or breastfeeding.  This is because we don’t want to risk baby ingesting any fragrance, but before baby comes, slather on that Body Butter and Body Lotion!

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For Hormone-Fickle Face

The hormone shifts in pregnant women can do all sorts of crazy things to your facial skin. You may have not seen a pimple since you were a teenager, and all of a sudden you’re breaking out like crazy, or suddenly your life-long acne has cleared up completely. The most important steps to take during this shift is to consistently stay well-hydrated, exfoliated, and moisturized.

Give your face a beautiful cleansing with our Resting Beach Face Dead Sea Mud Vegan Facial Bar Soap which is scented with soothing lavender, geranium, and ylang ylang essential oils. Follow up with Evanescence at night to keep your skin soft and supple. Two-three times per week use Face the Day to exfoliate and moisturize.

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For Relaxation

Our number-one recommendation for relaxation is our Rest Easy Aromatherapy Spray gently formulated with witch hazel and benzoic acid, scented with the essential oils of Lavender, Roman Chamomile, and German Chamomile. Completely alcohol-free, you can use this lovely spray on your body, face, linens, or you can use it to remove make-up, as a facial toner, and you can even use it to spray baby’s crib – that’s how gentle it is.

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Our phthalate-free cotton-wick soy candles are another wonderful way to just kick-back and relax while you’re pregnant. We highly recommend grabbing the remote, putting on your favorite fuzzy slippers, lighting the perfect Moments Candle, and just taking a deep breath of complete and utter calm and relaxation.

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For Cleansing

For both momma and baby, the purest and most gentle soap we offer is the Purely Free Vegan Soap. Formulated without any fragrance and rich in cocoa butter, known for its super-moisturizing properties, this soap is absolutely an ideal way to cleanse while pregnant or to cleanse baby. It’s completely pure and natural with a luxurious and gentle lather that will leave skin feeling clean and soft with no irritation because it’s free of fragrance and detergents.

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As I mentioned earlier, the best thing you can do while you’re pregnant is to gather as much information as possible and test your own tolerance for different fragrances.


This article is in no way meant to treat or diagnose any disease, nor does it take the place of a consult with a medical professional. Please be sure to speak with a medical professional before using any essential oils while pregnant.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

The Six Wellness Alarms You Need to Program Into Your Phone Right Now

The Six Wellness Alarms You Need to Program Into Your Phone Right Now

I was at dinner with some friends when my phone alarm went off at 8:00 p.m.; it has rung at the same time for the last 14 years. People look at me strangely, and sometimes it has been awkward, but that alarm has saved me from myself, reminding me that I have to take an incredibly important medication at the same time every day.

Since the dawn of the industrial age, some people have criticized and villanized technology, most recently the use of smartphones. But the purpose of all technology has always been to improve lives, and if it’s used as a tool and not a substitution, it can be especially useful for our health and wellness.

You already probably track your steps and/or your food with your phone, and I’m sure you use it to wake you up, but you can use it to be proactive for a multitude of healthy behaviors.

Here are the six alarms I want you to program into your phone TODAY to remind you of your health and wellness.

  1. Any medications that you take! Program your phone to remind you to take your medications. Almost all medications are the most effective when taken at the same time every day. This is especially useful if you have to be mindful of being on a full or empty stomach.
  2. An hourly reminder to take a deep breath. Deep breathing helps to calm and relax you. This can also be great if you’re using an aromatherapy spray, such as Rest Easy; your deep breathing can be filled with lovely essential oils!
  3. An hourly reminder to stretch or take a quick walk. So much of our lives requires us to sit down, especially with the American work-through-lunch mindset, that a quick reminder to get up and keep the circulation moving in your body is healthy and rejuvenating.
  4. Call/Text a friend or family member reminder. The best way to keep your spirits up is by maintaining happy and healthy relationships. Setting a phone reminder is a great way to make sure you’re doing your part to show the people you care about that you’re thinking of them.
  5. Set a water reminder. This is best done in the middle of the day. Once you set your water intake goals, a reminder in the middle of the day can help you remember you should be about half-way to your goal.
  6. Bedtime reminder. The new iPhone actually has a bedtime feature which allows you to program how much sleep you need and reminds you to go to bed. This is really helpful to ensure your body is getting enough rest and maintaining a regular schedule.

Utilizing your phone (which has become an appendage for most of us) as a tool for wellness is yet another way you can ensure you’re taking the best steps towards a healthy life.

What alarms do you set on your phone?

kristen-fusaro-pizzopresident-2

Introducing Twenty Paws Rescue: Our New Charity Organization

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Frank and I had been thinking about adding a dog to our family for a long time.  We were waiting for the right moment…pun intended.  When we first got married, we lived in an apartment that wouldn’t allow pets, so it was out of our hands. But when we finally bought our house this past August, it was only a matter of time.

I admit I was hesitant at first. I LOVE dogs. I’ve raised two dogs in my life: Rocky, a lab-beagle mix, and Daisy a pit bull mix, but I was living with my parents and completely aware of how much help they offered. Dogs need tons of love and attention and working two full-time jobs and one part-time job, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to give enough of myself.

And then there was Lucy.

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Frank and I saw this little “pocket pittie” (as she was described by Twenty Paws Rescue) and fell in love. Her bio read she was good with other dogs and kids, perfect for us since we have a niece and nephew, and tons of other dogs in our neighborhood. We put our application in, and after a rigorous interview by Rachel and her team at Twenty Paws, we drove to the Upper East Side of Manhattan on May 6th to pick up our Lucy, who had traveled all the way from North Carolina.

After a visit to our vet, we learned that little Lucy, who is only two (and shares the same birthday as our niece…which is also our dating anniversary, April 17th), was used for breeding purposes. She had also suffered from Lyme Disease (cured now). This poor baby had been through so much.

Now coming into our fourth week with Lucy, she is vibrant, alive, and not a pocket pittie anymore, but very much a full, healthy girl at around 58 pounds.

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Lucy loves her walks! We take her on three a day and hire Wag to take her on a fourth while we’re at work.   (Disclosure: Click the link for Wag to get a free week of walks for your dog and a free week of walks for Lucy!)

So, after many conversations, we decided that it would be most beneficial for pups to make our priority charity Twenty Paws Rescue, a not-for-profit Brooklyn-based charity focused on emptying shelters and saving dogs. We loved our time with Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue and hope all of our donations have served them well, but we are moving forward to help rescue the dogs now.

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A portion of all of your purchases from here on in will be donated to Twenty Paws Rescue and we are so excited to begin this new partnership in honor of all the good they do for dogs, and in honor of our Lucy.

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When You Need a Moment to Step Away

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I haven’t blogged in two weeks. I haven’t made soap in over a month. I only stepped into my lab twice in the last two weeks. I haven’t even logged into my business social media accounts to maintain them. The normal joy I feel from crafting was, strangely, just non-existent. Luckily, since the business is mine to run, I can choose when I want to work and when I don’t, but because the business is almost solely my responsibility, if I choose not to work, my sales plummet.

I try to be open about my anxiety and clinical depression. But we all know there is still a stigma and shame to those of us who suffer from depression – why can’t we just “snap out of it” or “get over it.” Believe me, and I think I can speak for most of us, I wish it were that simple. My whole business was born from my depression; my needing a moment to step away. To take me down from a panic attack, I would light candles of fragrances that would remind me of happier moments in my life….like my wedding cake.  So I started making my own, and the rest is history.

But this blog isn’t about my depression, per se; it’s about recognizing when you need to walk away from things. It became obvious to me that I needed to walk away from my business and concentrate on different moments of my life when we adopted our rescue pup, Lucy. What started as a rushed chore to get home and take her out for a walk became my half an hour of peace. It was just me, Lucy, and the pavement. I didn’t have to worry about posting the right thing, or finishing something up, or some order; I had the perfect reason to put all of it aside and just be present with Lucy.

I’ve been torn about my feelings because I love my business and I’ve worked incredibly hard to grow it, but I couldn’t ignore my visceral reactions of flooding tears, overwhelming trembles, constant migraines, and persistent illness. Walking with Lucy, I felt a little freer, a little less trapped to my home office, a little riskier with my money. I specifically remember thinking that “I can’t be buried in my money, so they can bury me in debt” as I was walking. I felt like Atlas on a coffee break – alive, weightless, impermanent.

Unfortunately, this need to let go doesn’t always work so easily. For example, my day job as a teacher wouldn’t just let me walk out because I didn’t feel like it that day. So, we persevere and continue to push ourselves beyond breaking points causing irreparable damage.  I started to feel damaged…like the sunken hole I was in had gotten so deep I couldn’t pull myself out of it. If I didn’t act in my favor soon, I would have crashed and burned. Lucy was a big proponent to this since I could not longer hide behind my screen all day.   I had to make a choice, and I chose me.

I always preach that people should just learn to say “no,” and yet I always find myself in the corner of an obligated yes. I do believe that true friends will understand whatever you go through, but that can only go so far when all you want is to say no all the time. You can’t be depressed and a good friend.

The real trick is to listen to yourself before it gets to the point where you want to run and hide from all things in existence. Do things for yourself everyday. Light a candle, take a bath, go for a walk with your Lucy. I wish I would have listened to my signs before I felt broken.

Secrets to Feeling Younger at Any Age

Secrets to Feeling Younger at Any Age

I’ve felt incredibly old these last few months. Not because of my age, but my general well-being. I’ve felt extra tired, overworked, and this extraordinary guilt anytime I wanted to do something fun because there was either some responsibility I should be attending to, or I couldn’t justify spending the money because of some bill I should be paying.

I decided I couldn’t live this way. I can’t change how much work I have to do because once I commit to something, I must give it my all (or there will be other unhappiness). Nor could I change how much income I have flowing in. So, I woke up this morning with a goal to be mindful about feeling young.

  1. Spend one hour a day doing something just for you. Whether that hour is spent getting a manicure, reading, taking a bubble bath, cooking, being crafty, I will do something just for my enjoyment.
  2. Step away from the TV. While I love television shows and getting wrapped up into their storylines, watching TV is doing nothing for my brain or my waistline. When I get home from my day job, I am exhausted and want nothing more than to go watch TV. But, I’ve decided I could spend that time being productive.
  3. Sing! I was stuck in traffic for three hours with my husband yesterday; it took us that long to drive 50 miles (gotta love New York City). We were both getting frustrated and started snapping at each other. So, I plugged in my phone, and started blasting tunes we both love. We started singing together and suddenly the ride wasn’t so bad.
  4. Eat at home. People who eat at least five home-cooked meals a day are 47% more likely to live an extra decade¹.  I feel like I never have time to cook, but I know I can come up with something quick and much healthier than what I order if I just plan ahead.
  5. Self-acceptance. I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s a vicious cycle, really; I feel depressed about my weight and don’t want to leave the house which turns into overeating. I realized if I accept who I am where I am, I will naturally make better choices. Anything worthwhile takes time. Listening to Hamlet, if we learn to weather the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” we are sure to live a longer, happier life².
  6. Choose to Feel Younger. Don’t let yourself be controlled by three things: people, money, and past experiences¹. We can make the conscious choice to let go to actually gain control and feel younger.

Sources:

¹ Life Hacks by Keith Bradford

² Reader’s Digest, May 2017

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The Power of Positivity: Fight Off Toxic People

The Power of Positivity- Fight Off Toxic People

In the natural beauty world, there’s an overwhelming fear of “toxic” chemicals. The more I learn and grow as a chemist and person, the more I have discovered that chemicals are not the toxicity to fear, but toxic people are.

toxic person is someone who draws out your positive energy. They’re always negative and they try to draw you into their darkness, or they try to make their darkness surround you.

The old adage is true; misery loves company. The bigger problem with toxic people is not that they exist, but that they use their parasitic negativity to feed on doubt and self-consciousness.

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We’ve all experienced these kinds of people. Sometimes they are trying to bring us down with them and sometimes they’re just trying to knock us down.  Whatever their motivations are, and it’s usually their own lack of stability and doubt, we must push forward beyond them.

  • Feed your cheerleaders. For as many toxic people that exist, you will find your cheerleaders, as well. Focus on those people who are cheering you on.
  • Listen to criticism, but ignore critics. True constructive criticism is pivotal and necessary for all of us to learn and grow. No one is perfect. But people who spend their time criticizing without any constructive purpose are toxic and should be ignored as white noise.
  • Get yourself out of toxic situations and relationships. The best way to make a parasite die is to no longer give it a host to feed on. When someone is toxic, excuse yourself from the conversation, and if it’s a long-standing relationship, just continue to make excuses to get out of being with him/her. Don’t try to argue – this just feeds them.
  • Become a rubber ball. For as much ignoring as we can do, sometimes we absorb negativity and start doubting our own self-worth. This is when you have to be a rubber ball and make it bounce off of you. If you’re working hard and doing the right thing, do not allow that negativity in; trust your value.
  • Carve out your roads. Toxic people cling to those who they believe lack direction and focus. If you create a clear path to your goals and vision, then there is no time to stop and allow naysayers to veer you off the road.

When in doubt, just keep putting positivity into the world. The right people will always be in your corner and the negative ones will run from your light.

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The Chemistry and Creation of a Facial Bar Soap

The Chemistry and Creation of a Facial Bar Soap

Our faces are the first introduction we have to the world. Before people look at anything else, they look to our faces. Our faces offer a vast array of information: Our age, our disposition, our mood, our history. Because of how much is attributed to our faces, it’s clear why we need to take extra-special care of how our face appears.

Understanding the psychology behind the face was the first step to planning the recipe for our latest bar soap. The second step is understanding the chemistry.

The ingredients: Aloe Vera Juice, Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Organic Argan Oil, Dead Sea Mud, Activated Coconut Charcoal, Lavender Essential Oil, Geranium Essential Oil.

Aloe Vera Juice – I chose this ingredient because of the long-standing understood moisturizing properties of the aloe vera plant. I used this juice in lieu of the water that normally goes into a bar soap.

Olive Oil – Olive oil is one of the most moisturizing oils that can be used in cold-process soap. It produces a bar rich in essential fatty acids which creates a creamy feeling and skin-softening properties.

Cocoa Butter – Cocoa butter creates a strong, solid bar of soap while also contributing to great moisture. Used for centuries, cocoa butter is known to soften the skin.

Coconut Oil – In cold-process soap, 76-degree coconut oil creates big, fluffy bubbles while also contributing to the hardness of the bar and natural cleansing properties. While the other ingredients create great moisture, coconut oil ensures that the bar soap is also washing away impurities.

Castor Oil – Castor oil makes amazing fluffy lather in soap. Though in its natural form, castor oil is thick and sticky, in bar soap, it makes an extraordinary lather which helps with cleansing and moisturizing.

Organic Argan Oil – This exotic, rich oil is chock-full of nourishing properties for the face. It’s naturally rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids which help soften and moisturize the skin without any greasy feeling. Argan oil is liquid skin gold (which is why we also use it in Evanescence.)

Dead Sea Mud – According to WellGal, “Dead sea mud is high in minerals, such as sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium, so it nourishes the skin. It also naturally softens and moisturizes, so it dramatically improves the appearance and health of your skin leaving it more tone, even in texture, and clearer.”

Activated Coconut Charcoal – This type of charcoal is different from regular charcoal. Triple-purified activated coconut charcoal is pH neutral and it bolsters the same effect in cold-process soap, helping to balance the pH of the skin. Its gentle exfoliating properties help to sludge off excess dirt, clear pores, and dead skin cells.

Lavender Essential Oil – Is there anything lavender essential oil can’t do? Seriously, lavender is the most versatile essential oil because it smells beautiful, is great for skin toning, and creates a calming feeling.

Geranium Essential Oil – Geranium EO is said to also create a mood-elevating feeling from the uplifting fragrance. A little lighter than rose, geranium is flowery without being overwhelming and has a slightly greener scent. It’s also said to have astringent-like properties, which should create a more youthful, toned skin appearance.

This new facial bar of soap will be ready in the beginning of May 2017. We can’t wait to offer this amazing face-loving bar to add to your beauty routine!

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(Watch a Facebook Live of me creating this amazing bar soap.)