Thursday, September 20, 2018

How can fragrance lift and positively impact your mood?

Is it possible that a particular scented room spray or an oil diffuser can change my mood?

Well, according to some studies, fragrance possesses the power to affect and change your mood. A pleasant smelling fragrance not only aids in boosting your mood but also enhances the quality of your work patterns and behavior in various ways. Believe it or not scents work like magic on us. This "magic" is based on our associative learning. It is processed in a way that specific items or events an individuals experience is linked to are either good or bad. A particular fragrance may trigger certain emotions and feelings based on ones memories. What might bring a positive feeling, such as tranquility and happy emotions to someone, may not be the same for another person.

How does fragrance affect my mood?
Many oil diffusers and room sprays offer some aromatherapy effect and quality, which can alter and boost your mood. However, knowing this fact that scents can significantly affect mood, you can create a scent library of fragrances that offer you a definite boost to your mood and with it, many benefits.

Here is a list of positive moods that you can have with the perfect aromatherapy spray or diffuser:

•    Uplifting Mood:
Different aromas have a tremendous physiological effect on the human body, and this can lift your mood too. No doubt, pleasant smells help in lowering the heart rate, reduce stress level, and will ultimately lead to you feeling better.

•    Increased Alertness:
Good fragrances not only boost your emotions but also improves your brain health and increases mental sharpness.

•    Invigoration:
Using an organic scented oil diffuser would help to avoid the harmful side effects of chemicals and invoke a sense of invigoration and keep you energized all day long.

•    Relaxation:
Using a good quality relaxation aroma induces a sense of happiness and will also make your muscles relax and you will feel more positive after a long workday.

•    Feeling motivated:
Nothing could be achieved without motivation and invoking motivation can sometimes be the toughest job on earth. But did you know an invigorating room spray can boost your feelings of motivation?

If you need help finding just the right combination of essential oils to achieve any of the above outcomes, feel free to email me at sales@somethinspecial.com or leave a comment below.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Ingredients Deep Dive into my Avocado Lotion via EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

Today we are deep diving into the ingredients in my vegan Avocado Lotion. Full disclosure, I do not make any of my lotion bases, instead I research samples from many, many different companies and then I choose the best ones. You will NEVER receive a runny, watery lotion from me.


In case you were wondering who EWG Skin Deep is, it is my go to resource if I have any questions about an ingredient, with the 2nd being Wikipedia. They use the power of information to protect human health and the environment. Their database gives you practical information to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to chemicals. They have an easy to understand rating system:
And also understand, when listing ingredients, it is done by quantity. So the first few ingredients make up most of the product, while the last few are in the smallest percentages.

Water - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706945/WATER/

Avocado Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/704777/PERSEA_GRATISSIMA_%28AVOCADO%29_OIL/

Glycerin - Hazard Score Key: 2
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702620/GLYCERIN/

Stearic Acid - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706311/STEARIC_ACID/

Cetyl Alcohol - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/701263/CETYL_ALCOHOL/

Dimethicone - Hazard Score Key: 3
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702011/DIMETHICONE/

Glyceryl Stearate - Hazard Score Key: 2
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702658/GLYCERYL_STEARATE_SE/

PEG-100 Stearate - Hazard Score Key: 3
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/721388/PEG-100_STEARATE/

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/721197/ORYZA_SATIVA_(RICE)_BRAN_EXTRACT/

Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705656/ROSMARINUS_OFFICINALIS_(ROSEMARY)_LEAF_EXTRACT/


Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702803/HELIANTHUS_ANNUUS_(SUNFLOWER)/

Tocopherols - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706564/TOCOPHEROL/

Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5) - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/704436/PANTHENOL/

Allantoin - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700244/ALLANTOIN/

Triethanolamine - Hazard Score Key: 5
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706639/TRIETHANOLAMINE/

Phenoxyethanol - Hazard Score Key: 4
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/704811/PHENOXYETHANOL/

Hexylene Glycol - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702849/HEXYLENE_GLYCOL/

Caprylyl Glycol - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/701067/CAPRYLYL_GLYCOL/

Ethylhexylglycerin - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702352/ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN/

I hope this helps you make good choices about your skin care. What you put on your body is as important as what you put into your body.  

Thursday, August 30, 2018

What is Zero Waste? How can you start doing it right away?

What is Zero Waste? How can you start doing it right away?
You might have heard the term “Zero Waste Living” but do you know the actual meaning of it?

Well, Zero Waste is more like a philosophy that encourages humans to redesign the life cycles (how resources are being used) so that all the products can be reused again. The primary goal of this movement is to free the landfills or incinerators from trash. It seems interesting when listening to it for the first time, however, the process is not as simple as you think. If you try to dive deep to understand this term, you might kill your enthusiasm for zero waste living before you even begin it. So, let’s find out what baby steps you can take to initiate this movement.

How to get started? (Baby Steps)If you wish to have a change, then it starts with you. You can start living a zero waste life by changing your habits that produce waste. Here are some of the steps that you can consider for the first time.

“Slow changes nurture the world we want better than quick fixes.”
  1. Stop buying plastic bottles: It starts with you and your home! One of the biggest culprits contaminating oceans and seas are plastic bottles. Millions of plastic bottles are bought around the globe every minute. This is one of the biggest sources of plastic ocean pollution. The speed at which we are consuming the plastic bottles, chances are in the near future we will have all plastic bodies. Considering the terrifying environmental impact and also the sheer amount that people spend on purchasing bottles while having safe water to consume-why are people still buying them? Think about it and start with your home. Buy and use the many reusable water bottle options available today.
  2. Reusable bags: One more step in the easy way to a zero waste lifestyle is to switch to reusable cloth bags to bring to the store for shopping. According to a survey, almost 1 trillion plastic bags are being used and trashed which is insane. The best alternative is to take cloth bags to the store and carry home your items in them. Some stores even offer a small discount for bringing in your own bags. 
  3. Stop wasting food: Food waste is becoming a huge problem around the world as 40% of the food that we grow goes to waste. We have discovered thousands of ways to grow excess food but not a single way to value it. So, from today on, take an oath that you will not waste food at any cost and only buy and/or order what you will consume. Always take home any leftovers, either to eat or compost.
  4. Say No to freebies: Most of the problems are due to freebies. Whether it is about promotional pens, bags or the packets of junk that we get at the dentist’s office, all these freebies are not good for our surroundings. These use a ton of resources to create. So, the question is: do you actually need them? A big no!
The positive impact of Zero Waste Zero waste is helping in saving the environment in one way or other and at the same time benefiting communities and a strong local economy. Let’s see what the positive impact of Zero Waste is:
  • Zero Waste helps in reducing climate impact: Focus on reducing, recycling and reusing can play a great part in the overall climate changes and effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Minimize pollution: The best positive impact of zero waste is there is less use of resources which alternatively reduces pollution from disposal, manufacturing, and extraction.
  • Social equity and build community: With a Zero Waste approach, creating a strong community is built right in. It supports large and small communities as well as promotes community health.
So, be the first to start incorporating these practices for this planet-saving movement.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Ingredients Deep Dive into my Vegan Hemp Sulfate Free Soap via EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

Today we are deep diving into the ingredients in my Hemp Vegan Soap.
In case you were wondering who EWG Skin Deep is, it is my go to resource if I have any questions about an ingredient, with the 2nd being Wikipedia. They use the power of information to protect human health and the environment. Their database gives you practical information to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to chemicals. They have an easy to understand rating system:
And also understand, when listing ingredients, it is done by quantity. So the first few ingredients make up most of the product, while the last few are in the smallest percentages.

Glycerin - Hazard Score Key: 2
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702620/GLYCERIN/

Water - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706945/WATER/

Sorbitol - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706239/SORBITOL/

Sodium Cocoate - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706037/SODIUM_COCOATE/

Sodium Stearate - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706190/SODIUM_STEARATE/

Virgin Organic Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil - Hazard Score Key: 2
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/701045/CANNABIS_SATIVA_(HEMP)_SEED_OIL/

Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702679/GLYCINE_SOJA_(SOYBEAN)_OIL/

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/707096/PRUNUS_AMYGDALUS_DULCIS_(SWEET_ALMOND)_OIL/

Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/701141/CARTHAMNUS_TINCTORIUS_(SAFFLOWER)_OIL/

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705966/SIMMONDSIA_CHINENSIS_(JOJOBA)_SEED_OIL/

Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700275/ALOE_BARBADENSIS_(ALOE_VERA)_LEAF_JUICE_EXTRACT/

Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate) - Hazard Score Key: 3
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706569/TOCOPHERYL_ACETATE/

I hope this helps you make good choices about your skin care. What you put on your body is as important as what you put into your body.   

Ingredients Deep Dive into my Vegan Macadamia Kukui Sulfate Free Soap via EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

Today we are deep diving into the ingredients in my Macadamia Kukui Vegan Soap.

In case you were wondering who EWG Skin Deep is, it is my go to resource if I have any questions about an ingredient, with the 2nd being Wikipedia. They use the power of information to protect human health and the environment. Their database gives you practical information to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to chemicals. They have an easy to understand rating system:
And also understand, when listing ingredients, it is done by quantity. So the first few ingredients make up most of the product, while the last few are in the smallest percentages.

Glycerin - Hazard Score Key: 2
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702620/GLYCERIN/

Water - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706945/WATER/

Sorbitol - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706239/SORBITOL/

Sodium Cocoate - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706037/SODIUM_COCOATE/

Sodium Stearate - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706190/SODIUM_STEARATE/

Macadamia Ternifolia (Macadamia) Seed Oil - Hazard Score Key:1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/703672/MACADAMIA_TERNIFOLIA_(MACADAMIA)_SEED_OIL/

Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui Nut) Seed Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700227/ALEURITES_MOLUCCANA_(KUKUI)_SEED_OIL/

Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702679/GLYCINE_SOJA_(SOYBEAN)_OIL/

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/707096/PRUNUS_AMYGDALUS_DULCIS_(SWEET_ALMOND)_OIL/

Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/701141/CARTHAMNUS_TINCTORIUS_(SAFFLOWER)_OIL/

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705966/SIMMONDSIA_CHINENSIS_(JOJOBA)_SEED_OIL/

Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract - Hazard Score Key: 1
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700275/ALOE_BARBADENSIS_(ALOE_VERA)_LEAF_JUICE_EXTRACT/

Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate) - Hazard Score Key: 3
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706569/TOCOPHERYL_ACETATE/

I hope this helps you make good choices about your skin care. What you put on your body is as important as what you put into your body.   

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ways I've been able to reduce my trash output and my plastic usage

Here are a few, small tweaks I have made to reduce my waste output and plastic usage:

Instead of paper towels, have a stack of wash clothes stacked by the paper towels as an alternative. I just bought a big stack of wash clothes from Amazon.

I've completely eliminated using the plastic K-Cups by buying a reusable one from Amazon.

My morning drink is an iced coffee with 1/2 coffee and 1/2 almond milk. I used to use a plastic cup and straw and have replacement it with a steel cup and straw from Amazon. I also bring this into Whole Foods when I want a juice drink or coffee.

I have a very minimal face care routine, but did use alot of cotton pads. I replaced these with a 10 pack of reusable, washable cotton pads I found on Amazon Handmade.

No more plastic utensils and paper plates, if it is really needed, I use compostable plates and bowls and wooden utensils.

I have a reusable Contigo water botttle that holds 32 ozs., I make sure I drink 64 ozs. a day. Has a nice wide opening so you can add ice cubes.

Instead of water bottles, I bring a 3L water hydration bladder for all my long distance hikes. Easy to clean and you can fill it with ice cubes to keep the water (and your back) nice and cold.

I have a few microfiber towels around for cleaning windows and mirrors instead of paper towels.

I always keep my reusable grocery bags in my car, so no matter where I shop, I have them handy.

To eliminate plastic wrap for leftovers and veggies, I bought some reusable beeswax wraps. They work really well!

I replaced my plastic toothbrush with these bamboo toothbrushes.

For a more natural way to soften fabrics in the dryer, I use these wool dryer balls. For towels and sheets, I put a few drops of lavender or cananga essential oil on them.

For my tall kitchen trash can, I use the biodegradable tall kitchen trash bags by Biobag.

If you have any more tips on how to reduce plastic usage, I'd love to hear them, please leave them in the comments.

Monday, May 28, 2018

New Zealand Volunteer Adventure with IVHQ and Sustainable Coastlines March 2018

After my first IVHQ volunteer trip to Guatemala, I knew I had to do another one. For this trip I chose New Zealand, I've always wanted to visit Aotearoa "Land of the Long White Cloud" and the project was something I am seriously interested in, which is Coast and Waterway Conservationism.
I paid my registration fee, booked my airfare and shut down my business for 2 weeks. After a looooong flight (13 hours), I got my first glimpse of the island.
Next stop was the hostel where I would be living for 2 weeks. Now I've heard interesting stories about hostels and have even seen the movie Hostel, so I was not sure what it would be like. Luckily, the Oaklands Lodge was clean, quiet and fun. I settled in and started meeting people from all over the world and hearing their many interesting stories.
We met on Monday for orientation and had an early morning breakfast on top of Mount Eden and got to know each other. Then to the Flagship Education Center to learn more about conservatism, New Zealand, the Maori, Sustainable Coastlines and the projects ahead of us. The building is beautifully designed, created with a re-purposed shipping containers, reclaimed woods and metals with a compostable toilet and solar panels. They have a goal to be completely sustainable for a year straight and I'm sure they'll do it.
Our project coordinator, Amy Klitscher, was informative and extremely supportive. She made us feel instantly welcome and comfortable. And she was rockin' the best messy bun on the island :) We learned much about New Zealands colorful history and the notables from this area are the singer Lorde and the first man to summit Mt. Everest, Edmund Hillary.
I asked Amy what 3 big takeaways she would tell anyone that wanted to know more about Sustainable Coastlines and conservationism and she shared with me the following:

  1. In the last 10 years we have had 58,000 event participants, picked up 1.23 million litres of rubbish, planted 45,000 native trees, and educated 163,000 individuals through our presentations. We're just a small team so a lot of this is done with the help of incredibly generous and passionate volunteers.
  2. If you love something, you should take care of it. Jacques Cousteau one said - "people protect what they love". So if you wanted to start anywhere, just go and spend time at the nearest beach or river, and just enjoy it.
  3. Education in schools and community groups is really important to us, it's like being the fence at the top of the cliff, as opposed to the ambulance at the bottom. So the more people we can spread the message to the better!
      We also learned so much about the original people who inhabit the island, the Maori, since we will be working closely with them in the nursery on their protected lands during the project.

      We then headed to the bus station to pick up our Hop cards (to hop on and off the bus to get around), I had to find a bank and convert my US dollars to NZ cash and back to the hostel to get a good nights rest before our work started on Tuesday. Their money is so colorful.
      On day 2 we drove to a rainy and cloudy Bastion Point where we were greeted by one of the elders, Merv, and welcomed onto the land. As I came to find out, the New Zealand weather was mercurial and the sun soon came back out. Always carry a raincoat. We worked with Nadia Cooper and she was wonderfully patient and informative, making us instantly feel like one of the family. Her knowledge base about plants, the lands and caring for both was comprehensive and her love for it was immediately apparent. We all worked hard and the day flew by quickly.

       Nadia! ↓


      The next day was spent doing clean-up at the Matuku Link. We first learned a little bit about the land and projects, they are trying to reclaim the native forest plant and wild life. The Kauri tree which was once plentiful on New Zealand was almost wiped out by ship builders, because they grow straight, strong and tall and made very good ship masts. Many birds in New Zealand never developed wings, so when the cats, rats, possums and other small predators were introduced, the Kiwi birds and the like were easy pickings. So they are trying to remove the predatory non-native animals to preserve the native animals.

      We started with some general rock moving and ended with raking straw into big piles. There is so much satisfaction in working outside in a beautiful place with your own two hands, getting sweaty and hot and knowing you are making a teeny tiny contribution. And you are surrounded by people who work as hard as you and have such amazing, interesting stories.

      Afterwards our coordinator, Amy, piled us into the van and treated us to a few hours on Bethells Beach. This was my first time playing in the Tasman Sea and I loved the sparkly black sand beach. Just don't try to walk barefoot on it in the hot sun. We were all tuckered out on the ride home.
       
       
      The next day was spent at the Bastion Point nursery again. Time was starting to speed up, so I tried something new and booked a ticket to see a play in downtown Auckland. It was based on George Orwells 1984 book. On the way to the theater, I saw Obamas motorcade, which was quite exciting. I talked to a few locals also standing by the barricade and the general consensus was that they really liked him when he was president and still do.
       
       
       
      Friday (already?) started bright and early with a ferry ride to Motuihe Island. Before we could enter the island, we had to brush off our shoes so we didn't carry in any extra plant seeds or bugs that would be dangerous to the natural balance of the island. We started our beach clean-up and were hit by a quick and heavy downpour. There was not alot of trash on the beach (good), but I did find some plastic straws, the kind you get with juice boxes. We really need to pay attention to the little and micro plastics that are in our waste stream, these are so dangerous since they are small. As they break down further, fish eat them, the birds eat them and then it goes into our food stream.
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

      Early to bed for a 5am wake up to do a full day of sightseeing. I booked a full day package with FlexiTours to visit Hobbiton, Te Puia mud pools and geysers in Rotorua and the Glow Worm Caves in Waitomo. I can only say it was a magical day and everyone should do it at least once in their lives.




      The next day we (my new volunteer friends Sara, Johanne and Alyssa) hopped on a ferry and made our way to the Rangitoto island for a day of hiking. For 11 miles we explored the volcano, lava caves and even made it over to the adjoining Motutapu island for a shady, relaxing lunch.





      Monday brought us back to beautiful Bastion Point and working with our fun and fearless leader Nadia. Afterwards some of the guys (Dennis, Mark & Nolan) were headed to Piha black sand beach about an hours drive and invited me to join them. Watched an amazing sunset and the surfers trying to catch some final waves before the nightfall.


      On Tuesday we spent the day at Hunua Falls doing some gravel relocation (moving rocks) for the day camps rope climbing gear setup, some weeding around the waterfall and a promotional photo and video shoot. Then I met up with my brother Jasons friends that live in Auckland, Chip and Alex, and they took me out for dinner, which was a real nice treat!


      The last 2 days were spent working at the Ancient Tamaki Makaurau Basalt Rock Forest pulling up non-native plants. I learned so much about the native and non-native, invasive plants. Weeding is done by hands or tools and no chemicals are ever used. Big composting bags are left at the site with all the clippings. We got hot, sweaty and dirty and loved every minute of it.




       Since Friday was a holiday, Good Friday, we didn't work, so I flew out early to LA to visit family. I could have stayed another month and still would have found more to see. New Zealand is a wonderful country with friendly, happy people where I could feel safe exploring it from end to end. I learned so much and met so many friends for life, it truly was all I dreamt of and more.

      Some takeaways:
      1. I should have stayed longer.
      2. Sustainable Coastlines does an excellent job of giving us a variety of different projects so we are doing something different and interesting every single day. And they were always teaching us new things about the oceans, our earth and all the critters around us.
      3. Most of the volunteers were in their 20's doing a gap year. This generation really gives a shit about what we are doing to our planet and are not just talking about it, but actually putting in the work to make it a safer, cleaner place for future generations.
      4. I am part of the problem, I'm also part of the solution. I learned so many ways to reduce my plastic use, especially single use plastics, that I am incorporating into my life right away. It's not enough to recycle, we need to reduce the amount of plastics created to keep them out of our waste stream. Once it's created, it's here forever, it does not break down or get destroyed. It can sit in landfills seeping into our soil and eventually into our plants and food stream.
      5. It is everyones responsibility to take care of our planet. We are all affected by it and no one is exempt. If we do not do this, we are choosing to pass on a death sentence to future generations and all of human kind. We think we are the most important creatures on the planet but the truth is our planet is the most important thing. Without it, we will eventually become extinct.

      Sounds serious, right? It is.

      If you are thinking about trying an IVHQ or Sustainable Coastlines project, I'd love to help you in any way I can! Feel free to comment below with any questions.

      Now to choose my next adventure, hmmmm, Costa Rica? Madagascar? Nepal? So many choices....