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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Herbs of Spring; it Has Sprung!

Today was beautiful. It was sunny and warm for the northeast, so I had the chance to check out my gardens, such as they are. In this region, perennials are just waking up from their sleep and poking their leaves up as if to check things out. If it's warm and sunny enough, they seem to be thinking, they'll burst forth into the song of spring and grow amazingly fast. It makes me wonder; if I stood looking long enough, could I watch them grow?

I welcome them back, the mints and Sweet Cicely that will soon flavor tea and fruit salads, the thyme, chives, sage (I hope), and perhaps even parsley that will enrich my cooking with their fresh flavor. I see the Bouncin' Bet, aka Saponaria, that I struggle to control every year, and it looks so harmless! I've used it in soap, but want to experiment with it more, and my chance is coming up soon.

Some of the "weed" herbs, such as Dandelion, Chickweed, and Plantain, are showing themselves. Maybe I'll actually get to the Dandy before it gets too bitter and use it in salads and stir-fry. I often miss those first, tender leaves, the ones that taste best and must be harvested before it flowers, but not this year! Of course, I'll also dig them out afterward as I have a love/hate relationship with them.

I haven't seen them yet, but I'm looking forward to the violets. They are one of my favorite spring herbs. They're edible, and I also infuse them in oil for an eye cream. Last year, I made a wonderful syrup with them, and look forward to doing that again.

I only wish my camera was working so that I could capture that fresh spring look. They're small and unintimidating, clean, and promising. They won't last that way for long!

Yea, spring!

This post is part of a blog party hosted by Cory at Aquarian Bath, http://aquarianbath.blogspot.com . Check it out!

Spring Herbs

It's an herbalist's blog party, and it's coming up at the beginning of April! Check it out.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Here it comes!

One thing that an upcoming holiday means to me is a busy week at work. With Passover and Easter here or approaching, we are getting more than the usual amount of flowers and plants in that have to be taken care of. I gear up for it, and so I'm ready.

More importantly, however, as a Christian, Easter is a major and joyful observance. I saw a sign that said something like, "Jesus didn't stay on the cross with nails, He did it with love." He had all the power to prevent his death, but he willfully submitted for you and me. We celebrate His resurrection from the dead. It's a day of triumph for Christians that Jesus overcame death and was victorious, and because of that, we have victory and eternal life. Not only that, but it's open to all who believe. Now that's something to celebrate!


Now, for the business side of things.

I started a discussion about oils last week, pointing out the need for our bodies to use fat, both internally and externally, and specifically talked about sunflower oil.

Today, I'd like to highlight the "C" oils that I use. Note that I am not suggesting medical advice or that my products heal. They are meant to either clean you or make you look better.

Coconut oil - In soap, coconut oil lends hardness and lather, as well as white coloring. It's "foundation" oil, used in virtually every batch. What's good for the skin in coconut oil? Well, it's emollient and moisturizing, and is made up of conditioning fatty acids, poly-phenols, and even vitamins K and E, as well as minerals.

Castor Oil - You may remember castor oil as something nasty tasting that was somehow good for you. And yes, it's true. It doesn't taste good, but it's good for you. It has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities, and is also good for dry skin, in that it not only moisturizes, but helps balance the natural sebum. In soap, it makes for great lather, also, so I use it extensively.

Cocoa Butter - This fat has been used in skin care for centuries. As if the chocolate aroma wasn't enough to make you want to use it, consider this: it's thick and emollient, and melts on contact with the skin. People have traditionally used cocoa butter for dry skin, and for making scars and burns less noticeable in time. It contains cocoa mass polyphenol, instrumental in skin protection and moisturization.

Look for oils like this in your skin care products. Go natural!

We are still unveiling our new Body Glow shower exfoliant. It is a mostly-solid sugar/salt and oil mix that you use in the shower to gently exfoliate your skin. We've worked and worked on our formula, creating one that, while moisturizing, isn't greasy and doesn't make the shower slippery. It feels and smells great, and really does the job.

Just wet your skin, massage it gently, first on the hands, to the arms, then feet, legs, and finally, the torso. It's easy to rinse off, and your skin will thank you!

It's only $12 for an 8 oz. jar. Scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Shea Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, and Spun Sugar. (*essential oil)

Just $10! But only through April 3rd. This is the last week for the introductory price, and then it goes back to the normal $12 price. Exfoliation never felt so good. Try it today!

Not on my site:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

Order now!

Donations made to Missionary Flights International and Cleantheworld.org., bringing soap to people who can't afford it, stemming disease in third world countries.

Beth Byrne
http://www.SoapAndGarden.com
Be good to your skin!
http://www.soapandgarden.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Garden Meanderings: Oil, Good or Bad?

Garden Meanderings: Oil, Good or Bad?

Oil, Good or Bad?


Life is swimming along for me, more accurately, it's like an olympic race! On the work front, I'm taking a series of classes to further my floral skills. It's total fun for me, being a flower and botanical lover, but it does take time and makes my week just that much more jam-packed. I'm very thankful for the opportunity, nevertheless.


Getting down to the skin business. . . How do you feel about putting oil on your skin? Do you cringe at the thought, or does it feel good just thinking about it?
Read on and learn more about oils and skin care.


You may never have given it a thought, but a general question when talking about oils for skincare arises. What is oil/fat's purpose? Why do we need it?


If you've heard the terms, lipid, fatty acids, Omega 3's, and even anti-oxidants, you're hearing about fats. Internally, fats contain vitamins that help heal, prevent cancer, and so on. They even help fill us up so we may not eat as much. Unlike the low-fat/no-fat mantra of the 80's and 90's, we now know that fats serve a purpose and we need them in moderation.

The same is true of our skin. Fats provide anti-oxidants and other nutrients to our skin, and also fulfill other essential functions in good skin care. They are nothing to be afraid of, even for those with already oily or acniede skin, although certain ones are better for individual skin types.


Now, we can talk about individual fats and oils, and I'll feature just a few at a time so that you can get to know them.

Sunflower Oil - One of my favorite, sunflower is wonderful because it is light with very little odor, making it ideal for many body products. In addition, it contains tocopherols (vitamin E), conditioning fatty acids and carotenoids that make the skin more supple, help prevent wrinkling, and aid in healing. It is also considered non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores. Sunflower oil is beneficial for all skin types, as well. Incidentally, studies were conducted that found sunflower oil to help prevent preemies from getting infections in their delicate, thin skin.
What's not to like?

I use sunflower oil in many of my products, such as soap, lotion, body glow, and others. It's probably the one I use most. It makes a very conditioning soap, a light, ungreasy lotion, and with all of the goodies in it, it's a perfect all-around oil.

Sooo. . . this week, I am asking you to comment on my blog. Tell me what your basic reaction is to using oils on your skin. Did you learn anything from the post?

This week's special
March is Body Glow Month. Get this luscious salt/sugar and oil mix that will remove those dulling dead skin cells and moisturize besides! It is formulated not to be oily, so you won't slip and slide in the shower, you'll just sing about how good your skin feels and smells. Sale is good through March 31st.

You pay just $10 for an 8 oz. jar.

Scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Shea Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, and Spun Sugar. (*essential oil)

Buy today!

Just check out my website at www.SoapAndGarden.com and then send me a message at beth@soapandgarden.com to order if you want something that is not on my site, such as the new body glow. I'll get you a total and then we can get your goodies out to you.

Not on my site now, but available are:
Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.

Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $5; 4 oz. $8

Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7

Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

Have a wonderful week, and thanks for reading.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oils and Skin

I am happy to report that Beau-dacious is coming along well, healing from his eye injury and subsequent surgery. He goes to the vet tomorrow for another check up, and I fully expect good news. :-) I'm just hoping that he can now get a hair cut, as he is looking awfully fluffy!

How about you? How are you looking now that winter is becoming spring? This is the time that we begin to assess our bodies, hair, and skin. Do we need to lose weight? Need a new haircut? Is the skin looking sluggish and dull? Although I offer products only for skincare, there's no denying that many facets of care are important in helping us look and be our best.

To look as vivacious and beautiful as we can be, we need to take care of ourselves. We need to take care of our physical needs by eating right, exercising, and getting adequate rest. We also need to take care of our spiritual needs.

Building from that, we can use cosmetics to care for our skin and to enhance what we have. Careful cleansing is an important first step, morning and night.

Exfoliating regularly is next. Once a week is usually adequate for dry skin, and twice for normal or oily skin, as more dead skin cells build up on oily skin.

Toning is a third, sometimes neglected step. It helps close the pores, so to speak, and removes the last vestiges of makeup. Toner should also add skin conditioners that will work on skin during the day.

Finally, moisturizer is essential, as it helps hold in the moisture from your skin. Sometimes, younger women, or those with oily skin will opt not to use moisturizer, thinking that they don't need it. A good moisturizer that is developed for your skin type is a vital part of your skin care routine. It can actually help regulate oil production, increasing it in dry skin, and lessening it in oily skin. It can help prevent wrinkles, and it can condition your skin while you're wearing it, all the while making your skin look better.

I do offer a facial soap for $6, and now. . .

We are unveiling our new Body Glow shower exfoliant! It is a mostly-solid sugar/salt and oil mix that you use in the shower to gently exfoliate your skin. We've worked and worked on our formula, creating one that, while moisturizing, isn't greasy and doesn't make the shower slippery. It feels and smells great, and really does the job.
Just wet your skin, massage it gently, first on the hands, to the arms, then feet, legs, and finally, the torso. It's easy to rinse off, and your skin will thank you!
It's only $12 for an 8 oz. jar. Scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Shea Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, and Spun Sugar. (*essential oil)
Just because this is the week of the Lucky Irish, I am extending the introductory price THIS WEEK -- just $10! Exfoliation never felt so good.

Not on my site, but available, are:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender, as well as our regular scents. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

Donations made to Missionary Flights International and Clean the World.org., bringing soap to people who can't afford it, thus, helping to stem disease in third world countries.
Have yourself a wonderful week!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Progress!



Last week, I shared the story of my puppy's eye damage and subsequent surgery. He came home with a "button" on his eye to keep his 3rd eyelid open; so, for last week, his name was "Button-Eyed Beau."

I am happy to announce that today, his button was removed, and the vet thinks he is making good progress toward healing! Now, if I could figure out how to get Tobey to be friendly, things would be terrific. Other progress includes our weather. We went from having a good-sized winter storm to having sun and temps. in the 40's. It's feeling like spring is actually approaching, and I am ready. I even saw daffodils and Iris poking up from the ground. I'm practically giddy.

I've decided to hold over the introductory offer on Body Glow! For this week, it's $10 instead of $12. This is a great time to try it. Start getting your skin spring-ready.

Don't forget about the Luck o' the Irish gift pack of soap and your choice of scent body spray. It's only $10, but you'll have to order soon to get it by St. Paddy's Day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Photos, What a Day, and New Sale!


Yea! It's March! Spring is coming! Yea!

I'm including a couple of photos of our trip to NJ. I really think I have the cutest grandchildren, and am showing a photo or two of them to prove it. :-) Two of my daughters are also in the photo, and they're cute, too.

*having trouble loading photos, so I will try again later.

What a day--should be entitled, What a Couple of Days!" We have a problem. Our older dog, Tobey, has decided that he hates our puppy, Beau. He attacks without provocation and goes for blood. This time, he succeeded in either biting or scratching Beau's eye, right through the cornea. It was bad, and Beau needed surgery to save his eye.

I was a mess, but with lots of prayers and a good vet, Beau came through surgery with the vet hopeful that he will keep his sight in his eye, or at least keep the eye. I'll go pick him up tomorrow and bring him back home, where I have to somehow keep him separated from Tobey and Mickey. Yikes. His healing is expected to take 4 - 6 weeks.

In happier news, I'm offering an introductory discount on our body glow. It is a salt/sugar/oil mix that is gently massaged on the skin to exfoliate it. Why do we need to exfoliate, you might ask? It's because our skin cells die regularly as we manufacture new ones. Some of those skin cells flake off, but not all of them, especially in certain conditions--oily skin, winter skin, little friction to help rub the cells off, not enough phytonutrients to help keep our glowing complexions, and finally, age. For some reason, the younger the skin, the more efficiently the skin cells come off, but as we age, they become more stubborn, and we need help.

The sugar in the scrub becomes a sort of peel and gently coaxes those stubborn dead cells to come off. The salt adds vital trace nutrients, and both of them aid in exfoliation. Oil is added to moisturize the skin so that it doesn't dry out completely. An emulsifier is added to keep the product from separating and works also, to make the product less oily, both on your skin and in the shower to help prevent slips and falls. On top of everything else, it smells good!

The regular price is $12, but for this week only, it's just $10. Now is the time to try! It comes in the following scents:

Love My Lavender*
Groovy Patchouli*
Gingered Orange
Rice Flower
Mint Medley
Spun Sugar
Fresh Herbs
Blackberries & Vanilla
Rice Flower
Rochester Lilac
Romantic Rose
*denotes essential oils

Don't forget St. Patrick's Day! Get a shamrock soap in Irish Mist, and a body spray in your choice of the above scents, attractively gift packaged in a festive box. Get this set at the attractive price of only $10! Give it as a gift, or gift yourself. I won't tell.

Get your own Erin go bragh, lassie or laddie!