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5 Zero Waste Strategies

We live in a society that consumes, consumes, consumes and it is taking a toll on our planet. The average American throws out 4.4. pounds of trash a day and more and more disposables are ending up in landfills and floating in our oceans.

We’ve seen the campaigns about straws, but that is just the tip of the iceberg, our consumption is going to consume our environments if we don’t take care.

On a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, we were on the beach early in the morning visiting with fisherman and watching them go out into the ocean. Along the beach was plastic and trash that had washed up on the shore and there were women picking up the trash, trying to clean it. Trash from other places far away littering the beach in a community. Imagine the fish and other creatures this trash harms.

So with all this consumption, what can we do to move towards a more waste-free life? Here are 5 strategies to try.

Compost

The easiest way to reduce your food waste is to go to the grocery store with a list and be mindful of what you buy so that you actually use it. The second easiest way is to compost your waste. We toss out about one-third of all food we grow. That is a true waste and if we don’t compost properly the food isn’t able to decompose properly. Instead, they break down under oxygen-free conditions, creating gases that include methane that pollute our breathing air.

Many cities are offering curbside compost removal and there are also community compost sites. A favorite tip we learned this year was to reduce odors, freeze your food scraps and add old shredded newspaper to the bottom of the bin.

Leftovers

Instead of storing your leftovers in plastic containers, try reusing containers from products you have purchased or pick up some mason jars and use those beauties. There are also food storage containers like Klean Kanteen’s stainless steel containers.

Cleaning Solutions

Traditional cleaning products are packed full of chemicals that are harmful to you and the planet. They come in non-recyclable plastic packaging. Lucky for you, Soap Hope sells a variety of brands that provide natural, non-toxic cleaning solutions and come in eco-friendly packaging. These cleaning alternatives are excellent for your clothes, body, and home. Better Life, Indigo Wild, J.R. Watkins, and Seventh Generation have great alternatives that won’t harm you or the earth.

Beauty and Body Tools

Our everyday grooming products can be harmful to the planet too. Consider using recycled materials and renewable products that are good for your body and environment. EcoTools is a favorite of ours with their bamboo and recycled plastic products they are putting something old, back to use in a clean, green way.

BYOB

Bring your own bag! Cut down on those plastic bags by bringing your own to the party. Carrying reusable bags with you takes time to create the habit, but when accomplished makes a world of difference to you and the environment. Consider your own produce bags too if you want to take it an extra step.

These are just a few ways to get started, there are more ways to go zero waste and we’ll continue to give you tips!

Breastfeeding: Why It is Important and Everyone Should Support

As a new mom of eight months breastfeeding was extremely tough for me and my body didn’t want to cooperate. Even though I struggled, I really wanted to breastfeed because I knew how important it was to my new baby girl. While there are so many challenges to breastfeeding, one big one is making sure those around you are supportive and that the environment and communities you are exposed to support breastfeeding. Our offices have a room dedicated to allowing a woman to breastfeed or take care of her child. Remember children are our futures. Since this is National Breastfeeding Month, it’s a great time to talk about how we can support this life-giving effort.

Like I said, breastfeeding is challenging. It may seem like it should come naturally, but just like any new thing, breastfeeding takes time, practice, and support for both mom and baby.

Breastfeeding is good for both mom and baby – research shows it can reduce the risk of chronic diseases for both. Breast milk is the safest, most nutrient-rich food for babies and can provide lifelong health benefits. It also strengthens the bond between mom and baby. It also helps the social and emotional development of babies. On a bigger picture – breastfeeding creates stronger, healthier communities. It is also the eco-friendly and economical solution.

So now how can you support a breastfeeding momma?

In the Home

Breastfeeding is more successful when family members are involved. When your family supports you and encourages you and provides you the solitude time you need to bond it builds a stronger foundation for breastfeeding. Family can also help with chores, take the baby out for a while so the new mom can sleep. Also help supply a mother with the needed vitamins and supplements.

Social Settings

Along with offers to help as needed, friends can be a big support by just listening and making sure their homes are welcoming to a new mom. There are community groups, but friends are the best. Provide advice, guidance, support, and a snack or two. Maybe even gift her a nurturing life gift box by Motherlove to show you care.

Clinics and Services

Health care providers are important and provide support to a new breastfeeding mom. They give their wealth of experience and guide the new mother when challenges occur. Like in my instance I needed that type of guidance and it helped. I also learned about More Milk Plus and it became my hero supplement.

Public Spaces

Be it in a mall, restaurant, pool or park all mothers have a right to breastfeed their children and the community they live in should support that too. Accept breastfeeding as a normal way for women to feed their babies and know that it is not indecent, but a beautiful and nourishing necessity. Create a safe, secure, supportive environment for women to breastfeed.

Again we all play a role in supporting breastfeeding mom’s. Think about your own behaviors and how you can protect, promote, and support breastfeeding women and babies in your community all year round, not just National Breastfeeding Month.

 

Homeopathy: How It Works

Homeopathy means “the treatment of disease by minute doses of natural substances that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of disease.” So in other words, it’s an alternative medicine practice that uses the smallest possible amount of an active ingredient in order to help treat or cure an illness, even if the same ingredient caused or contributed to an illness in the first place. The concept is called “like cures like.”

Homeopathy dates back to the late 1700s, and today the World Health Organization recognizes it as the “second largest therapeutic system in the world.”

Homeopathic medicine comes from a range of natural, pure substances, which can be in the form of a plant, mineral, or animal-based ingredient. Examples of this may be: fresh or dried herbs, activated charcoal, vinegar, garlic, caffeine, poison ivy, stinging nettle plants, and the list goes on and on. These substances are extracted and processed to create tablets, ointments, gels, drops, and creams.

Some known remedies that you might recognize: St. John’s Wort, chamomile, calcium carbonate, and potassium.

Homeopathic medicine is considered a safe practice and remedies have been regulated by the FDA since the 1980s.

The great thing about homeopathic treatments is they are tailored to each person’s specific symptoms, body, and needs. This is an individualized process. Homeopathy most often is used to treat the following health problems: depression, allergies, asthma, migraines, tension headaches, digestive problems like IBS, anxiety disorders, dermatitis, skin disorders, arthritis, fatigue, thyroid or autoimmune disorders, and more.

The 5 major benefits from homeopathy are:

  1. All aspects of an individual are considered when finding the right treatment.
  2. Low does of natural products are used.
  3. Helps to treat allergies and asthma.
  4. Can help reduce depression or anxiety.
  5. Helps control pain.

What’s missing from your natural medicine routine? We recommend Hyland’s Homeopathic if you are interested in checking out a brand.

Note: Many homeopathic substances are capable of causing toxicity, poisoning or negative reactions if taken in high enough doses. Therefore, very low doses are usually administered — even doses so low that the substance itself if practically unidentifiable due to be being heavily diluted. Always follow instructions when taking medicine or homeopathic substances. 

Luxurious Soaks Aren’t Just For Winter

Let’s face it – it is hot this summer. While the pool, lake, or beach are great ways to cool off, they come with their own set of problems. So before you think that home spa soaks are only for the winter, think again! I can’t wait to get home and sink into a bath before bed every night. For me, the perfect luxurious soak is best served in summer.

Your summer soak isn’t surrounding yourself with candles and having warm water envelope you. While in the winter this is nice for the summer this won’t suffice. Summer soaks allow for some much needed time alone and cooling off. With a few little tweaks, your regular bathing routine could become your summer soaking in the tub routine. Here’s how to create your perfect refuge from the heat.

Use Cool Water (obviously!)

It’s hot out, so the common sense thing is to use cool water. Immerse yourself in cool water will provide the instant relief from the heat and lower your core body temperature. When it feels like a million degrees this is going to make you feel like a million bucks! It’s the most effective way to cool yourself off. So sink in and soak it up.

Cool Down With the Right Products

You know when you chew gum that is minty fresh and you inhale and feel that icy refreshing air? You can get that same feeling all over your body when using mint or eucalyptus products in your bath. We call it the cool factor, just add some salts to the bath and increase your summer soak. Make sure to pick items that have actual mint or eucalyptus oil, not synthetic toxins or fragrances to get the cooling effect. We love Zum Tub’s Mint Bath Salts or EO’s Eucalyptus & Arnica Bath Salt Soak. These products are packed with minty-fresh vibes.

Mix Up a Refreshing, Hydrating Beverage

Move over wine for bath time, this is the season of beer and cocktails in the tub! But really if you are looking to hydrate, stick with water, tea, and other nourishing beverages. Since you sweat when your body releases heat, you’ll need some extra liquids in the ole’ system to keep you feeling fine. Infused water is a great way to create a spa-like atmosphere. Think berries, pineapple, and grapefruit. So refreshing!

Actually, Relax in the Tub

Part of a great soak is being patient in the tub. You can’t just hop in for 10 minutes and jump out. Find something that gives you at least 30 minutes to relax and take in the work you’ve put into creating this self-care time for you! Grab a book or your kindle. Take in a meditation TedTALK or podcast. Put the laptop on the counter and take in the latest show you’ve been wanting to catch up on. This is your time – enjoy it!

Treat Summer Skin

Finally, what’s the point of a bath without a little pampering? After spending time in the summer heat or air conditioning, which does nothing to condition your skin you need to take care of that beautiful skin. This is a great time to throw on a mask, give your body a good scrub, and refresh yourself.

After being in the sun your hair has taken a toll. We recommend using a hair mask with Marula Oil like Andalou Naturals Exotic Marula Oil Silky Smooth Hair Mask. At the same time slather on a heaping portion of their Argan and Mint Lip Balm. To top it all off put on an Instant Brighten & Tighten Hydro Serum Mask. Now you’re covered from chin to head. If you want to scrub off all that dead damaged skin, try Deep Steep’s Sugar Scrub, my favorite scent is the Grapefruit Bergamot, but they have a variety of scents.

Say hello to your summer bath routine!

Are you Dehydrated or Dry?

Perfect skin balance requires both, but how do you tell the difference? To keep it simple, think water for hydration and oil for moisture. When you are dehydrated, your cells lack water. You will notice a dull tone, mixed with a tight texture in the skin and a slight pucker to the touch, even when you are moisturized. When dry, your skin lacks oil or a healthy lipid layer, which can result in rough, thickened texture and dry, flaky skin.

How to Hydrate

Your skin is made of almost 64% water. Keeping water and fluidity in the skin will not stop fine lines and wrinkles but it does indeed lessen their appearance. A common analogy in the skincare world is to visualize a grape vs. a raisin. A grape is loaded with water, keeping it plump, rounded and smooth. Dehydrate the grape and it becomes a dull, flat and textured raisin. Most of us love raisins but we definitely don’t want to look like one!

It’s much the same for human skin cells. Your skin needs fluidity and water to maintain a plump and youthful appearance. Also, many structures in the skin that support healthy collagen require adequate water to work effectively. Without it, the skin appears duller and wrinkles, fine lines, and pores appear more prominently. It’s also more likely to become less elastic and crack, potentially allowing in external particles that can irritate and increase blemish activity.

Water is key for almost every function of the body, so the perfect start to hydration is to drink plenty of pure fluids every day. By pure fluids, I don’t mean coffee, soda or even extra juice…those things can actually deplete you of water content and potentially add way too much sugar and preservatives into your system. Instead, drink about half your body weight, daily, in filtered water, decaffeinated herbal teas, and yummy organic broth. I dig a good bone broth for not only hydration but extra electrolytes, minerals, and collagen.

However, here’s the rub…the very last organ to receive the benefits of all your water intake, is the skin. For that reason, external application of hydrating ingredients, in a serum or light-weight delivery, are key in your skin care regimen. These types of ingredients are called humectants, which have the ability to pull moisture from the air, back into the skin. So cool! Ingredients like hyaluronic acid (HA), aloe vera, honey and even alpha-hydroxy acids like Glycolic and Lactic, are fantastic humectant superheroes. HA can actually carry up to 1000x its own weight in water. If that doesn’t convince you, I’m not sure what will!

Making Moisture

As mentioned earlier, good moisture in the skin comes from active oil production, otherwise known as sebum. Our hair follicles contain sebaceous glands that produce this lovely, oily substance that helps to lubricate, protect and nourish our skin. The water in our cells can rapidly evaporate through a process called trans-epidermal water loss, so sebum designs a natural barrier to help slow the depletion of water and prevent our skin from drying out. It also helps protect us from environmental assault and free radicals that lead to premature aging.

Obviously, those with dry skin have a lack of oil production. Inversely, those with oily skin tend towards overproduction of sebum. Interestingly enough, an overproduction of oil is often associated with a dehydration in the skin. If the skin is stripped and dehydrated, it tends to panic and overproduces more oil to compensate. This is why drying out a blemish-prone, congested, oily skin type is rarely the answer!

To get your moisture on, eat your moisture-makers! Each skin cell is wrapped in a protective fatty membrane that helps to seal in moisture and ward off irritation from chemicals and toxins in our environment. If you don’t have enough fatty acids nutritionally supporting your body, you cannot effectively replenish this protection in the skin. Loads of beneficial Omega-3s, otherwise known as Alpha-linoleic acids (ALAs) can be found in delicious fatty fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines. Eggs have the perfect balance of omegas (yolk and all) and the perfect touch of useful protein. Grass-fed butter and ghee are fabulous sources of healthy fat without all the antibiotics and toxins. Coconut oil is one of my very favorite cooking oils and sources for healthy fat because of its natural anti-fungal properties, healthy omega ratios and high heat capabilities during cooking. Avocado, hemp, flax and sprouted walnuts are also fat-fabulous!

Additionally, good fats applied topically will really ramp up your skin’s moisture value. In this case, heavier isn’t always better. Most heavy moisturizers tend to have a very fat molecular structure. The crazy thing is, those fat molecules are often too big to actually penetrate the pore. This is where a good facial oil helps save the day! Oils that are a high molecular weight protein (loads of essential fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E) in a low molecular weight oil (lightweight and very absorbable) have great success penetrating that outermost skin cell layer and the nutrients being utilized effectively. Some of my favorites for all skin types (including oily, acne-prone) are Grapeseed, Argan, Marula Blue Tansy, and Rosehip oils.

Here are some fave Soap Hope dynamic duos for balanced hydration + moisture after cleansing!

For skin battling stress, morning or night:

  1. ACURE Seriously Soothing Biocellulose Gel Mask – Provides a closed contour of the face to evenly distribute the hydrating powers of Hyaluronic Acid, Argan, Geranium, and Plant Peptides to soothe and saturate the skin cells.
  2. Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Night Oil – antioxidant-rich blue tansy oil is a concentrated blend to soothe sensitivity and refresh thirsty skin. Excellent used in place of a night cream for those seeking deep hydration and balance.

For skin on the verge of cracking, go to bed with plumping and boosting:

  1. Derma E Anti-Wrinkle Night Serum – Vitamin A encourages cellular renewal, reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles for a fresher, healthier looking appearance while Vitamin E helps to soften, smooth.
  2. EO Ageless Skin Care Transformative Night Serum – the Powerful elixir of antioxidant-rich Argan, Meadowfoam, Pumpkin, Rose, Tsubaki, Avocado, Macadamia, Hemp, Sunflower, and Carrot Seed Oils for intense moisturizing.

For skin working towards a brighter day, upon waking:

  1. ACURE Radically Rejuvenating Oil-Free Serum – Chlorella & apple fruit extract provide an ideal cocktail for rejuvenating hydration and supportive regeneration while Poet’s Daffodil Cell Culture Extract helps to improve overall tone and pigmentation. 
  2. Derma E Radiant Glow Face Oil By Sunkissalba – Nutrient-dense Pumpkin Seed, Seabuckthorn Fruit, and Argan Oils, help combat dehydration and improve moisture concentration, while protective minerals accentuate glow and protection.

Amy Halman is an award-winning skin therapist, speaker and product development specialist. As the owner of EcoBlend Therapies, she connects each client’s diet, lifestyle, body wellness and stress levels to imbalances reflecting on the skin. Utilizing this information, she designs topical, nutrition-packed treatments to feed the skin’s ability to re-engage and optimize. Learn more about her services at ecoblendtherapies.com

The Natural Way to Plan your Summer Trip | Your Must-Haves

It’s that time of year again, where the days are longer and the excitement of fun in the sun is in the air. Summer always makes me think of my childhood.

As a child, I was always in awe of lightning bugs and their green glow, trying to catch them late into the evening, long after the sun went down. Running outside to the ice cream truck, getting to pick out what I wanted, and paying for it myself like a boss from that money made from my own enterprise running a lemonade stand.

There were afternoons playing war with super soaker water guns and water balloons with friends in the sprinkler. Pool days, swimming = summer in my mind. My favorite days were lived in my swimsuit. Finally, was the long-awaited road trip,  getting in the car for that one summer family trip. I’m sure we all have our own memories. They might be similar, but either way, there is just something special about summer. Don’t you agree?

Those pool days were the best too. I remember that each time I would come in the house my mother would lather me, or rather slather me in sunblock and bug spray to ensure my safety. She told me it was my “armor” as I went on my adventures. While annoyed at the delay in my play, one can never have too much “armor” on childhood adventures.

As an adult, I still look forward to summer, but for different reasons. Lounging by the pool in the backyard is definitely one of them, drinking a nice glass of wine by the fire pit with friends and family in good conversation, and I still get goosebumps when planning that special summer trip. This summer my husband and I are going hiking in Redwood Forest National Park outside of San Francisco. I’ve already started packing and we don’t leave until the end of July! The kid in me always comes out. Too excited!

But growing up changes how you view what you slather yourself in. I remember the sunblock my mother used smelling slightly like coconut and very oily. The smell was indeed strong! Nothing natural about that smell. Now I choose the products that are right for me and my family – high-quality natural ingredients. In Soap Hope’s marketplace of over 3,000 items, you’ll never find parabens, petroleum derivative, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or anything that doesn’t meet the Good, Better, Best Standards.

As we venture into our own summer trips, travels, and adventures this year make it as natural as possible. If you’re all about making lists, then you know how magical they can be. To bring a little magic into your summer and save you time, I’ve put together a great short list of items to get you started as you shop and pack.

MY SUMMER ESSENTIALS
If you don’t pack anything else, pack these.

Sun Protection
A summer trip without sunglasses is a crying shame and so is not to slather that beautiful skin with sunscreen periodically.

First Aid supplies
Bring along bug repellent, bandages, lip balm, ointments, and hand sanitizer.

Toiletries
My don’t leave home without essential makeup, makeup bag, dry shampoo, deodorant, and a nice travel bag to put all your items in.

Food
If you want to avoid greasy, unhealthy food and save some money, pack your own snacks. I know I do! I recommend these non-messy containers to pack your fruit, pretzels, granola bars, crackers, etc. Also, be sure you have plenty of water with a beverage container.

For me, I keep packing simple, I know you’ll have items to add to your own personal checklist, but I hope this gave you a good start. Be sure whatever you put on your list its good for you, your family, and your body.

I’d love to hear from you and have you share some of your summer essentials.

The Myth of Natural Anti-Aging Treatments: 5 Tips for Your Best Skin at Any Age

Are there any natural anti-aging treatments that actually work? That’s what we’ve set out to find in this article.

The skin care industry is flooded with natural anti-aging products that promise to lift, firm, smooth, highlight, and perfect our skin. It is nearly impossible to sort through every product that promises a younger look or “your best skin at any age.”

But there’s good news! Healthy, natural skin isn’t limited to the young. It can be achieved through more than just expensive skin care treatments.

Maintaining healthy, natural skin is simpler than it may seem. It can be achieved at any age by simply taking care of both the inside and outside our bodies.

Natural Anti-Aging Tips - In Your Body

Natural Anti-Aging Treatments – In Our Bodies

Hydration:

Did you know that most people are chronically dehydrated? It’s true.

By some estimates, up to 75 percent of Americans suffer with chronic, mild dehydration. It’s a condition that interferes with cell growth, digestion, brain function, memory, and you guessed it, even the appearance of your skin.

We’ve all heard the old “eight glasses of water a day” adage. The truth is that you may only need half that! But, it can be difficult to know exactly how much water your body truly needs to stay hydrated.

Proper hydration adds support and firmness to your skin. It increases your body’s ability to flush out waste, and it has many other benefits for your entire body that we don’t have time to mention.

If you’re unsure how much water your body needs, remember this simple formula:

  1. Take your weight in pounds and divide it in half.
  2. The resulting number is how many ounces of water you should drink in a day.

Remember to drink more water in especially hot weather or when exercising, and limit your intake of sugary and caffeinated beverages that can actually contribute to dehydration.

Nutrition:

Good nutrition offers many anti-aging benefits for your skin, not just for the rest of your body.

When you eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and veggies, you’re not only taking in essential vitamins and minerals, but you’re also contributing to your daily intake of water. Raw fruits and vegetables like strawberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes are made up of more than 90% water. Plus, they are high in vitamins and antioxidants that keep you looking and feeling fresh.

Natural Anti-Aging Tips - On Your Body

Natural Anti-Aging Treatments – On Our Bodies

Hydration:

Hydration is not only an important natural anti-aging treatment for the inside of your body. It’s extremely important for the outside of our body as well.

Our bodies lose moisture throughout the day, but we often lose the highest water volume at night while we sleep. Here’s an explanation of how this happens, according to HowStuffWorks:

Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream from Pacifica
Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream

Overnight, there are two processes that cause you to lose water gradually. The first is respiration. Each time you exhale, you lose a little bit of water (exhale onto a cool piece of glass and you can see this moisture). The second is transpiration through the skin, also known as sweating. Over the course of a night, both of these processes eliminate quite a bit of water.

Daily moisturizers like Pacifica Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream can help your body retain more moisture throughout the day or night by rehydrating skin cells that have been stripped of their natural oils due to the constant barrage of harsh elements like the sun’s UV rays.

Protection:

Sunscreen, or more specifically natural sunscreen, is one of the most important natural anti-aging treatments for your skin. In fact, it may actually be the most important form of skin care protection for your face.

Even if your face is exposed to the sun for only a few minutes each day, it can still lead to premature wrinkling and sun spots, and it can increase your risk for skin cancer.

Many natural skin care makers have come to understand the need for SPF protection in their products, so make sure you are using a natural, broad spectrum daily moisturizer that has SPF protection as part of your daily skin care routine.

Tinted moisturizers and beauty balms like Pacifica’s Ultra CC Cream not only include SPF protection, but they are available in both tinted and clear versions to match your skin tone, mood, and lifestyle.

Cleansing and Exfoliation

The options for facial cleansers are endless. Gone are the days when we used harsh chemicals and drying products to find the perfect anti-aging treatment. Gentle is the word of the day now, especially when it comes to maintaining your best skin at any age.

Pure Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub from Deep Steep
Pure Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

Oil cleansers are quickly growing in popularity as a gentle cleansing solution for your face. Oils are especially good for sensitive skin since they cleanse the skin without stripping it of the natural oils that are present. Badger Balm Unscented Face Cleansing Oil cleans your skin without the irritation of artificial fragrances.

For a more advanced anti-aging treatment, try exploring the world of masks and scrubs. These products exfoliate your skin, helping to shed dead skin cells and improve the regeneration of new skin cells.

Argan Stem Cell and Chlorella Growth Factor Cell Stimulating Facial Mask from Acure
Cell Stimulating Facial Mask

If you’re just starting an advanced skin care regimen, start simple with once or twice weekly exfoliation. Deep Steep’s Pure Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub combines the luxe moisture of pure coconut oil with the exfoliating power of a scrub for soft, deeply hydrated skin.

If you’re not a fan of the abrasiveness of a natural scrub, try a product like Acure’s Cell Stimulating Facial Mask. It goes on like a mask and rinses like a foamy cleanser, leaving behind softer, brighter skin.

Give Your Skin a Little TLC

No matter how you choose to approach your personal skin care routine, Soap Hope has gentle, natural anti-aging options for everyone. But looking and feeling your very best can be achieved without cleansers, oils, or exfoliants. Embrace your beauty – inside and out – at every stage of life. YOU are beautiful.