Add a little essential oil to your vacuum to infuse your home and elevate the mood. There are lots of essential oils to select from, but it’s more than just a beautiful fragrance. From insomnia to anxiety and depression to stress, essential oils are powerful and it is easy to add to your vacuum.
Clean your vacuum thoroughly prior to putting in your essential oil. Wipe down the vacuum outside with a damp cloth. Make sure the bag is fresh, or empty and clean the canister on your bagless vacuum. Starting with a fresh, clean vacuum will allow you to infuse your home 100%, rather than dealing with competing odors still remaining in your vacuum.
Open your vacuum cleaner filter pad or dust cup, depending on the type of vacuum you have. Clean reusable parts with running water, refer to your manufacturer handbook or prepare a new filter if the filter is disposable.
Use only two to three drops of the essential oil of your choice. Drop, one at a time, onto the filter or dust cup. Wait a moment or so to allow the oil to drive before replacing. Refresh the oil as scent wears or as desired.
Drop two or three of the essential oil of your choice on a cotton ball or small cloth, place in the vacuum canister or vacuum bag. Refresh as needed.
Drop two or three of the essential oil of your choice in the water reservoir. Refresh as needed.
You can do this seasonally, infusing your home with the scents of the season, to calm, energize, or whatever mood you are looking to create in your home.
It’s astonishing how many harmful chemicals are in standard households. These chemicals range from pesticides to plastic and can have serious adverse effects on our health. Here are just 10 little changes you can make to keep your house cleaner.
Moisture causes mold. We all know this. So, even though it’s a hassle, it may be best to check your house for any potential mold spots.
Check for Chemicals
This one seems a bit obvious, but some chemicals are odorless. It’s best to get a detector or have someone come to your house to check for different types of chemicals.
Look Through your Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are chock-full of chemicals. Well, they’re supposed to, right? That’s how they make things clean. No, not really. There are much safer, more natural products that are available. Dish soap that isn’t nearly as toxic, fabric softeners that don’t deteriorate clothes, just a couple of changes here and there will leave a lasting impact.
Bisphenol A is one of the ingredients with a Banned grade on Soap Hope. It’s very harmful even though it’s used in plastics. These plastics range from baby bottle to Tupperware, where food can absorb it. Be aware, check what’s in plastic and try to buy products that are in BPA-free containers.
Change Self-Care Products
Aluminum is a popular ingredient in deodorants, but it isn’t the best for people. Many self-care products contain toxins that can cause all sorts of side-effects. Makeup, deodorants, soap, try to go for more natural products that replace harmful chemicals with plant-based material.
Get a Plant
The most natural of natural cleaners. Plants don’t just make oxygen, they made clean oxygen. There are even plants that are known for their ability to clean air. Indoor air can be even worse than outdoor air, so a plant is a must.
Fun fact: one time I went to Estonia and accidentally drank the tap water. Nothing happened. Then I went back home and drank tap water and got sick. Tap water isn’t just water, it’s filled with chemicals. It’s been sitting in a metal container, then went through your pipes that are absorbing whatever happens to be in the dirt. Use filtered water. Also, don’t drink the water in Estonia.
Bedding, shower curtains, there’s a chance they contain formaldehyde. You do not want to be sleeping on formaldehyde for 7-9 hours a day.
Why do companies that make products for pets hate pets so much? I mean, I’m just guessing that’s what’s happening with the number of chemicals they put in their products. Protect your furry friend as well as yourself by looking for natural or organic products. You think you need that flea medication, but vinegar can be just as effective. Why spend up to $75 to have someone wash your pet with chemical-laden soap when you can find a dog soap bar, made with natural ingredients for around $10?
This should be pretty obvious when the people who spray it wear the same suits that the government uses around aliens. Or maybe it was just E.T.? Not only are there less harmful pesticides, but there are ways to keep pests out without anything. Plug up holes, keep food in containers, let a couple of spiders settle. I know that one sounds like a joke, but I allowed a spider to take up residence in my home and I haven’t seen any ants in months. Also, once you let in one, they tend to have more. No more waiting for a spider, now you have an army! I kid again, most of them left like Charlotte’s Web, and only two stuck around to continue the cycle.
I love sitting with expectant and newly delivered mothers.
Birth often steals the limelight, but the season before and especially the season after are oh-so-sacred, perhaps even more so than that fleeting moment.
How similar is Christmas Day! Like birth, it woos our attention but represents a mere day in a significant, hope-filled season.
Advent began a few weeks ago and with it this sacred time of waiting. Our hearts resonate with this season, don’t they?
I’m waiting. We’re waiting.
Many of you are also waiting—and even longing.
for a soul mate
for personal or vocational fulfillment
for Christmas break
for a new year of new possibility…
But what happens when the yearned-for arrives? Is it an end in itself? Or perhaps a gateway in a grander narrative?
Like the days after Christmas, the postpartum period may feel like a letdown (pun intended). But for anyone with the privilege of bearing a child, this may be the most pivotal passage of your life. Below are a few hopes I wish I could share with every new mom.
Even if you’re not a new mom (or a mother at all), there’s something universal about my wish list. You might find that these points resonate with you this season, too.
These 12 points are my (very tangential) ode to the 12 days of Christmas, which like the postpartum days emerge on the heels of a pivotal day yet give rise to a richly imbued time of reflection, joy, and awe for this miraculous, life-giving season.
What I long to tell every new mom
Hold your baby. From meal time to naptime, a kid kept close provides infinite comfort for both mother and newborn. Babies, whether awake or asleep, belong in arms, especially in those precious first few weeks! And it’s much easier to do if you…
Do you really need to go anywhere? Eliminate all non-essential travel, recruit help whenever possible, and savor this season of solitude. That sets you up for success to…
Nourish your baby well. Breast milk is best. Prioritize natures perfectly designed first food. If for some reason breast milk isn’t available to you in your situation, seek out donor milk or a high-end formula that is best for your baby’s needs. But most birth mothers can produce enough potentially if you…
Nourish yourself well. Simple and soupy is the way to go. Favor ample fats, easily digested proteins, and slow-releasing carbs. The well-intentioned casseroles can wait until you’ve emerged from the sacred six-week window, and your digestion can stomach denser fare. And if you want more than just good food…
Sip warm drinks. Teas and tonics (caffeine-free!) help with 3 and 4. Plus, a savored mug provides more than hydration—the ritual can nourish mind and soul, too. And it’s a great carrier to…
Spice it up. From food and drink to aromatics and decorations, herbs and seasonings fortify your body and ward off the maladies of the season. Heating spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, garlic, and star anise also help you…
Stay warm. Wrap up in a blanket, put on a hat, pull out the leggings, take a hot bath—dispel chills in any way you can. Ensconce yourself in not only external warmth but also the ethereal warmth provided when you…
Cherish family. Babies bring generations together in ways that nothing else can. If you have healthy relationships with parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles, and whoever else makes up your extended family, let them help to the extent that you’re comfortable. If you don’t have access to family, then…
Invite friends. It does indeed take a village to raise a child, and postpartum especially is not a time to go it alone. Find ways to re-create that village, perhaps even before birth, so you have helping hands when you need them most. Even with help, there may be times when life feels surreal, overwhelming, disorienting—and you just need to…
New motherhood presents a time of great physical upheaval as your body reintegrates and returns to normal—and also presents unforeseen challenges. Talk through your birth story, confide in a friend, process your emotions now, and then let them go. But at the other end of the spectrum (or perhaps merely the other side of the same coin), take ample opportunity to…
Especially at your baby. She sees little more than the hazy glimmer of your face in those early days, but she can’t get enough of it. You’re her world. Your expressions help her understand that all is alright. But also smile—and perhaps laugh—at yourself. Offer grace in this season. Give yourself space to…
Savor each day. It’s far too easy to count the days. The days to Christmas. To another year. To your baby’s monthly milestones. To the time you can exercise again. To the end of your maternity leave. But this is a precious passage. Let go of expectations and destinations. Enjoy the journey through.
If you have a new baby around, how well are you taking these hopes to heart?
If you will have a baby around soon, how well are you preparing for the pivotal postpartum passage? (If you need help, feel free to connect with me personally.)
And if you don’t have any babies around, this still applies! Don’t merely dismiss this list and move on. Do you see how apropos these points are for so many of life’s transitions? We all thrive on wholesome foods, material and immaterial warmth, community support, and periods of introspection to ponder the miracle and solemnity of life born and sustained. This wish list, while penned with new mothers in mind, isn’t far from what I hope for each of you this season.
In this hope-filled season, the mission of Soap Hope rings loud and true: bringing hope to many by investing in women to end poverty. We invite you to support women around the globe—many of them mothers young and old—by gifting your loved ones with products that advance this powerful mission. Here are a few gift-worthy, family-friendly favorites.
Stacy Claxton is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner (FDN-P) and an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner (AHP) specializing in preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum care. She offers a range of services that merge the laboratory investigation of her FDN training and her foundational background in Ayurveda and yoga. As an educator and a clinician, she believes strongly in the transformative power of diet and lifestyle and desires to inspire wise stewardship in the realm of holistic health. Stacy is one half of the dynamic duo behind Preparing to Parent (P2P), where she and her identical twin, Erin, are “growing families with purpose…on purpose.” To learn more about Stacy’s private practice and the mission of P2P, please visit www.preparingtoparent.com.
Written by Craig Tiritilli, cofounder of Soap Hope.
Startups aren’t easy.
Rachel Winstead knows. She’s seen more than her fair share of them.
Before Soap Hope, Rachel was editor of Launch DFW, an online publication that focuses on technology startups in the North Texas area. She discovered her love for writing and building communities through her involvement there.
Before Launch DFW, her early career took her through corporate America and other large organizations with posts in mortgage banking firms and educational institutions. Those less-than-fulfilling experiences helped her realize that she needed to be part of something with a focus on making a real and lasting difference in the world.
A chance meeting with Soap Hope cofounder, Salah Boukadoum, set in motion a career change that would land her in a spot where she could do just that.
Rachel is in charge of what Soap Hope says to the world. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, the Good Life Blog (you get the picture), Rachel is the one doing the talking.
Her natural love for communicating and bringing people together make her ideal for giving a voice to the company. Her formal education in English doesn’t hurt, either.
When asked why she decided to join Soap Hope, Rachel says that the diverse team was a big factor. “The variety of perspectives here is surprising and really positive. Everyone is very different, but somehow it works – it made it easy for me to fit in here at Soap Hope,” says Rachel.
In describing her impression of the company, Rachel says, “Soap Hope is an intense environment. I’ve never worked with a group of people that push harder to accomplish everything they do in a day. At the same time, my coworkers make this such a rewarding and fun place to work. And, of course, there’s our mission of alleviating poverty and empowering women — it’s always top of mind.”
Rachel’s dad was in the army, and her family moved often when she was growing up — so often that she attended three different high schools. Moving around did help her to develop close bonds with her younger sister and two younger brothers. She thinks that the moving around and being the oldest influenced her to be a nurturing person and natural conflict resolver.
Ironically, Rachel is a bit of an introvert. After spending her day writing, posting, blogging, and talking with lots of Soap Hope supporters, she prefers quiet time. Away from the office she can be found hanging with close friends, attempting to run, or reading.
“After a day of total outward focus, I need to recharge with more personal activities,” says Rachel.
In addition to her regular social media and communication activities, Rachel has a lot on her plate. She’s the go-to person whenever an opinion on a customer facing event or item is needed (which, by the way, happens several times a day).
Rachel is also in charge of the company’s Ambassador Program. In that role she recruits, trains and motivates the people that help spread the word about Soap Hope.
It takes a special kind of person to thrive in a startup filled with people building a business and changing the world — which is why Rachel is a perfect fit.
FUN FACTS ABOUT RACHEL:
Favorite color: Green
Earliest memory: Living through a tornado
Favorite food: Ice cream, always.
Favorite book: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
Here are a few of Rachel’s favorite products at Soap Hope!
About three months ago, I started working at Soap Hope. And that’s where I met Kyle Lukianuk.
Kyle falls into the category of what market researchers are calling “Millennials.” The specifics of what age group makes up this demographic has been debated, but it’s suggested that anyone born between 1980 and 1995 might possess Millennial-type traits. Especially when it comes to work habits and career choices.
Millennials are often determined to be driven and passionate — as long as they actually care about the end goal and reason behind what they’re doing.
Meeting Kyle and working with him has been nothing short of wonderful. He’s passionate and charming, and we joke that he’s the most photogenic of the Soap Hope team.
And I think you should meet him.
Kyle was born in Michigan, and grew up in a tight knit family. He moved around a bit as a kid, after his dad ended his career as an international lawyer and went into a career in Christian school administration.
“I was in highschool when he made the change, and it made an impression on me – he started pursuing something he was passionate about,” says Kyle.
Kyle also made a shift, of sorts. He became more outgoing, and got more involved in school and sports (especially basketball). His dad was principal (for a period of time) at the highschool he attended before he moved to Chicago after his sophomore year, and they grew surprisingly closer.
When it came time to pick colleges, Kyle decided on Southern Methodist University here in Dallas. He had family here, fell in love with SMU’s campus, and he was accepted into the Business Scholar program.
Kyle studied Finance and was able to land an internship with a private trading firm on the Chicago Board of Trade.
“That’s what I thought I’d end up doing, working as a trader on the Board of Trade. It was challenging, and there was plenty of opportunity to reap financial rewards,” he says.
He enjoyed the competitive atmosphere – the work was intense and the lifestyles of his coworkers matched that intensity.
Then Kyle got the opportunity to live abroad during his junior year, and it was this opportunity that would influence a pretty drastic change in course for his career path.
“I witnessed first-hand the issues that exist in communities around the world: poverty, human trafficking – the kinds of issues that force people into cycles they get stuck in,” he explain.
That’s when he realized he didn’t want turn the internship with the Board of Trade into a full-time job.
“I didn’t want to turn into the kind of person that I saw in that work environment,” Kyle explains.
After turning down the position, he started to go through what he calls his “quarter life crisis.”
He accepted a position with Bank of America after graduation, but continued to feel that same discontent.
“I really wanted to start something that would make a difference, that actually mattered to me, and that might impact other people,” he explains.
Kyle started volunteering with different programs locally, and through that involvement he met Salah Boukadoum (cofounder of Soap Hope).
“I brought an idea to him about microfinancing, and after talking with him for a bit, he sort of tore the idea apart,” Kyle laughs.
But they kept talking, and started to discuss the Good Returns model. Yes, that’s the same model Soap Hope uses to send all of our profits to make an impact on women around the world.
Kyle spent a year and a half volunteering with Salah – they wrote an academic paper on the Good Returns model – when eventually Salah brought Kyle on full time to further develop the model and build partnerships.
Kyle manages Operations here at Soap Hope, ensuring that our day-to-day processes run smoothly and keeping our customers happy.
He wears a lot of hats here at Soap Hope, and working with him keeps me on my toes. Always insightful and generous, Kyle doesn’t hesitate to extend help where he can.
Before he left for college, Kyle’s dad told him two things: always invest in people, and that he hoped Kyle would find his calling and passion in life before he did.
“You only get one chance to live your life, and I’m swinging for the fences,” says Kyle.
Building a small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes a person with a certain kind of gumption to navigate the risks that come with owning and operating a business.
Starting Soap Hope
Craig Tiritilli is no stranger to the world of startups. He met Soap Hope cofounder, Salah Boukadoum, in their previous business that together they managed, grew and later sold. After that experience, they realized that they wanted to start another company together.
“We spent a lot of time coming up with business ideas. The idea of Soap Hope and Good Returns evolved over time – the original pillars of our mission remain, but the implementation has been refined over time,” explains Craig.
He’d always been concerned with healthful living, and liked the idea of natural products, but starting a business like Soap Hope was a new experience.
Soap Hope is a Good Returns company, meaning every dollar of profit is used in programs that support women. Those dollars spend a year doing good for women (both abroad and right here in the U.S.), and are then returned to Soap Hope.
“Cash is a major consideration in any startup, but in one that carries inventory, the issue is significantly magnified. We had to balance the financing requirements with the desire to use our profits to serve our social mission,” says Craig.
“As we got started, there were things we didn’t anticipate. We had to refine the Good Returns program to enable us to grow our business and make resources available for our mission. Eventually the program reached a point that would work not only for Soap Hope, but for a lot of companies of varying sizes.”
Behind the Scenes
Working on Soap Hope and growing it has bled into other areas of his life. He’s a big fan of the products that we carry here at Soap Hope, and uses them in his own household regularly.
“I love the Seaweed Bath Company products and A Wild Soap Bar soaps. And I’m looking forward to using the Better Life cleaning line at the house, too,” says Craig.
When he has spare time (which can be hard to come by when growing a small business), Craig likes spending time with his family and friends. Health and fitness have always been important to him, as well, so he enjoys exercising and staying active.
The Future of Soap Hope
“It’s exciting to see how much we’ve grown and accomplished in this past year,” says Craig, “especially in these last few months. Our team is growing, and the industry is really hitting its stride.”
And it’s important to everyone here at Soap Hope that we continue to fulfill the mission that the company was founded on.
“I believe it’s really is up to businesses to be an example when it comes to sustainability and social responsibility,” says Craig.
“Governments and traditional aid organizations can only handle a portion of the burden of addressing the world’s most challenging problems, and the number of individuals with the resources to make a significant impact is relatively small. That leaves businesses,” says Craig. “So being a part of a company that is designed from the ground up to impact communities and larger issues like poverty has been extremely fulfilling.”
“Being attached to that bigger purpose, with people that care deeply about what we are working to achieve, has been really important to me,” says Craig.
In America you can start a business to do just about anything, anytime, and usually without anyone’s permission. We wanted to sell soap bars to change the world. It took a two-page form, twenty minutes, and $300 to incorporate a company in Texas. We filed the paperwork online from the kitchen table.
In America you can freely compete with other businesses. It might be hard, and the big guys might have an advantage, but any person can decide at any time to be an entrepreneur. Here, an entrepreneur’s only limitation is herself.
In America you can freely state your opinions about the rules we live by together, and you can work to change them if they are wrong. If you don’t like the rules, you can get your voice heard, organize a movement, nominate a candidate, and create change.
Do you agree or disagree with the notion that companies should label foods that are genetically modified? Do you agree or disagree that there should not be new taxes on Internet sales? Do you agree or disagree that plastic microbeads should be prohibited in products that reach our water supply? You can elect representatives who share your values.
If you want your voice to be heard you can get to know your representatives, learn about the issues by researching online and talking with others, and vote. Election day is November 4.
As entrepreneurs we value everyone’s right to vote. That’s why Soap Hope has a policy in support of employee voting. Every team member gets paid time off to vote in local, state and national elections. If you are a business owner, we encourage you to consider a similar policy. You can find ours here: Soap Hope Policy in Support of Employee Voting.
Some of you know that I started my working life as a classical pianist, not as an entrepreneur. In 1993 I was very lucky to go on a six week international tour through Africa and the Middle East, traveling through almost a dozen countries and playing concerts in national theaters, universities, and ambassadors’ halls.
The core idea behind Soap Hope really started all those years ago. After one concert, I had the fortune to spend time with the Director of the World Bank in Kenya. He explained to me about his efforts to address poverty in Kenya. He told me that of every ten dollars sent to alleviate poverty in Kenya, nine went to corruption.
That challenge stuck with me for years: only 10% of the aid that was intended for the extreme poor was making it to those who needed it.
It was three companies and 15 years later that Soap Hope was born. When we designed our model for addressing world problems, we wanted to learn from the lessons of that evening in Nairobi. We didn’t want 90% of our effort lost. The Good Returns model was born.
We don’t give money away – we invest in women. When you buy your household products every month from Soap Hope, we send all the profits to women – every dollar – so they can start or expand their own small enterprises around the world, whether in Kenya, or in the Dominican Republic, or right here in Dallas.
How do I know the money isn’t being lost? Because every dollar is repaid after one year, interest-free. We don’t take anything out of our company until those profits are returned. Only then do we get the rewards of our entrepreneurship.
Our intention is to provide opportunity with accountability: yes, all of our business profits are loaned interest free, but all of those profits are required to be returned after they have done good in the world for one year. This approach puts us and those we help on the same page, responsible to each other.
Our vision is to take Soap Hope from the small business it is today to a nationally recognized enterprise, serving millions of customers and millions of women around the world. Then we want to teach many other companies to do the same. I’m so grateful and delighted that you have been an early adopter, creating this vision with us by shopping at Soap Hope and sharing the Soap Hope story.
I still love music and playing the piano, and when the day comes that Soap Hope is big enough to operate without me every day, I will start working on concert material again. The next time around, I want to play fundraiser concerts to raise awareness and money for sustainable social enterprises. I hope you’ll join me then too.
Co-Founder, Soap Hope