Friday, January 30, 2009

Beat that Cold to a bloody pulp

Ok, that sounds really intense but I just wanted to get your attention...hehehe. I want to share some of my tips for beating a cold/flu before it takes over. When you start feeling those first signs of sickness try some of these tips out (I have managed to put the smack down on at least 3 colds this year using these).

1. Get some rest!!!! I know this seems obvious but I know loads of people that keep working until they are completly miserable snot buckets then they take time off. We all have millions of things to do every day but when we start getting sick the best medicine really is rest. It gives our bodies immune system a chance to really fight it out with the cold bug. Not to mention that it reduces the carrier monkey effect in the office!

2. Drink plenty of fluids. They dont flush the cold virus out of your body but they help keep your body hydrated. I like to sip on this tea to keep colds at bay:
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh Thyme (or 1 tsp. dried Thyme - preferably home grown or organic or both). Thyme has been a traditional cold treatment for 100s of years - it is said to have anti-viral properties, acts as a decongestant and can soothe sore throats. More information here and here.
  • 1 1/2 inch chunk ginger cut up - Ginger is another traditional cold remedy. Read more here.
  • 1 tsp. dried Spearmint or Peppermint (tasty and help with decongesting)
  • 1 tsp. Chamomile (another yummy one and helps calm and relax - especially useful when you need to rest!)
  • honey to taste also helps with sore throats
  • for upping the ante you can also add 1 - 2 dropperfuls of Echinacea tincture (organic and "double extraction" or "double decocted" is best) which you can find and any health food or Whole Food store.

3. Eat chicken soup. I know we have all heard this one before but I really think it does wonders and of course its pretty tasty : ).

4. Use essential oils!!! I am totally obsessed with essential oils and totally love using them whenever I can. Using essential oils in the shower is a great to utilize aromatherapy without a lot of fuss and combined with the steam it really helps clear up the lungs and nose. I drop 1-3 drops of Peppermint or Eucalyptus at the end of the tub away from the drain - it seriously does wonders. Another great idea is to use an herbal steam - directions here at the Green Skin Care blog. (Do not store essential oils in the bathroom).

Hope these tips help!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quest for CUTE Organic Undies

It is time for new underwear!! I have been hanging onto the cutest pairs from The Gap for too long. So now that I am finally buying new stuff I am on a quest for organic cotton undies. Why do I want organic cotton?? Cotton production uses 25% of the worlds insectisides and 10% of the worlds pesticides - these chemicals harm the farmers, the soil, livestock and the consumer. For more info read this and this. Although underwear is a small start - its better than nothin.

I started my online search the other day and I was a bit dissapointed to say the least. Many of the styles I found were just too frumpy for my tastes.

image from Rawganique
I know that I am trying to buy cotton undies but I need them to be at least a little bit cute. Like the lovely options from Stella McCartney's eco line of beautiful lingerie coming out in February.

image from Stella McCartney

Other places like here and here and here had cute options but I am a bit of a cheapscate when it comes to underwear and I can not fathom paying more than $8. - unless of course I am paying insane prices for Agent Provocateur . ***Warning slight tangent*** If you have not checked this stuff out you must!!! It is so insanely sexy and beautiful (um and expensive). I actually contemplated paying $300 for a corset because I felt so damn good it in. (I have only every purchased 2 items - when they were on super sale). I know the stuff isn't exactly eco-friendly but I can't help myself.*** So, finally I found these (which I think are pretty cute) on Global Girlfriend a company that sells fairly traded goods to help woman around the world gain economic freedom. I ordered 3 pairs (in black and storm) and I can totally doll them up myself with this lovely DIY project I found on The ├ľko Box . Some other cute inexpensive styles I found are here and here.

image from Global Girlfriends

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Veggies have arrived

We got our first box of veggies/fruit on Wednesday. It was just so lovely I had to share. The abundance of food that is available in January is pretty amazing.

Mister and I created and Super Green Dinner with our veggies - sauteed kale, "cooking" spinach, leeks, onions, a few carrots over wheat berries with a cilantro, lime, chili, sourcream (I had to put some fat in) dressing - we prettied it up with sliced radishes and avacado (yumm...more fat). Pics below.

If anyone is interested in the recipe let me know!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yeah for CSA!!!

Because Mister and I cannot have a garden of our own (at least not the size we want) and the farmers market has turned into a crazed Costco like experience (the only pleasant part being the fresh papusas) we have decided to join a CSA. For those that dont know (I didnt really know what that meant until a few months ago), CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It creates a direct relationship between customer/community and farmers. A group of people pledge support to a farmer, covering anticipated costs of operating the farm, and in turn they get fresh produce and the satisfaction of knowing exactly where their food comes from. For more in depth description/history click here.

There are a lot of great reasons to join a CSA. For Mister and I, joining a CSA is a way for us to support organic agriculture, support a local business and eat more seasonally. Over the course of the last year, I having been making every effort to eat more organic whole foods, at times this can be very difficult (especially because I like sweet treats, pizza and hot dogs). For us, the CSA simplifies part of this process. Eating more seasonally has also become important to us, especially after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma (this is an amazing book, I highly recommend it). Mister is a little worried about some repetition in our box but I think it will be a fun challenge to come up with different recipes.

The hardest part of the process was choosing a CSA - especially for us because we are so indecisive and there are so many options. We did online searches, read reviews on Yelp, went through all the farmers websites and finally decided to join either EatWell or Terra Firma Farms . EatWell had a waiting list so we've joined Terra Firma.

I am now impatiently waiting for my first box to arrive...

To find a CSA near you check here or here. If you are in the SF Bay Area check here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

1st Soaping Adventure of 2009 and some lessons...

So Monday I decided to take a "sick" day to stay home and make some soap (hopefully no one from work is reading this). I had a well thought out plan to have breakfast with Mister, make some soap, meet a friend for lunch at 12:30 and then head to Target for some supplies, leaving a long lazy afternoon to do whatever. Of course, as many soapers can attest, things do not always go according to plans.

While Mister put my mold together, I got started - mixing my lye and water, measuring my oils and melting, preparing my additives and scent. As far as time goes I kinda forgot to factor in the that a larger batch takes a bit more time - half way through I realized I would be late for lunch. Called my friend to reschedule. Back to the soap. Finally it is time to mix the batch. Now its time for splitting the batch. I usually just eyeball this part but this time I actually measured it out with the scale - which is when the first minor calamity occurred. Because I was in a bit of a rush, I poured too quickly and raw soap spilled over my scale and onto the table....WOOPS!! At this point I thought - ooh I should have Mister take pictures. Great idea! So now he is involved in taking pictures of me in our poorly lit small ass kitchen while I continue my soaping. As you see, we got some sweet photos of me in my giant sweatshirt/sweat-pant combo looking extremely attractive. Finally its time to add the fun stuff - I add my ground lavender buds and essential oils to my lavender batch (isn't it pretty!?!?!). Stir it up and then add my colorant (a little more orange than I was expecting), poppy-seeds and essentials oils. I stir some more hoping that my batch will thicken quickly since I am beyond late for lunch and am impatient to put these babies in the mold. Finally, I decide that they are thick enough and I pour the citrus in the mold - beautiful, no issues what-so-ever. OK, now time for the lavender, I start pouring, everything seems OK - then Mister points out that raw soap is leaking out of my mold....OH CRAP! So I scramble to hold the towel to keep the soap from going onto the floor while simultaneously trying to scoop what I can back into the mold (I hate wasting any soap). Eventually, I think that the soap has thickened enough to stop leaking and I continue pouring the soap into the mold - wrong move. The soap starts leaking again more quickly - before I can grab the towel to stop it, it has poured onto my shoe and on the floor....Son of a B*?!@*.

Eventually, the soap thickened and I was able to cover my mold and head out to lunch, but my whole "plan" for my day was shot.
Looking back at Monday (and some other soap days) I realize that I need to learn a little patience while soap making and I need to try not to do "everything" in one day. I am always so excited about coming up with combinations and the final product that sometimes I forget to slow down and deal with whats happening in the moment. My goal for next time is to focus on the process, and not rush things because things usually don't go according to the plan. I am also going to try to not put so much pressure on myself to get everything done according to a schedule cause life just doesn't work that way.

Also, I wont be letting Mister put my molds together ; ).

P.S. I am hoping to have my soaps available on etsy in February, so stay tuned!!!