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I have lots of various upcoming topics planned, so please stop by often or better yet, follow me on Facebook and subscribe to my blog! All the wonderful support is greatly appreciated and I send it all back to you as well! :)

Breaking Soap Norms

March 6, 2015

Ever seen an ingredients list like the one here??  I remember feeling SO overwhelmed when I first began changing over to chemical free toiletries and such.  But once you get a few general facts down, you’ll be a pro and know exactly what to avoid when at the store.  Plus, there’s a plethora of online stores that sell great natural products with awesome deals (& free shipping) and your pocket-book will thank you too!  🙂

I’d like to give a general summary regarding the top ingredients you want steer clear of when shopping for toiletries, soaps, and in general.  A long while ago I touched on this subject regarding ‘Top Ingredients to Avoid‘ but since have learned loads more!  The only hard thing is that there are so many long, hard to pronounce words to remember.  So I’m going to try my hardest to make it easier for you…

Top Toxic Chemicals to Avoid Parabens

Fragrances

Oxybenzone

PEG Ceteareth

Polyethylene compounds

PEG # or -eth in the middle)

DMDM hydantoin

Diazolinyl urea

Benzalkonium chloride

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

Diethanolamine (DEA)

Here’s a very general definition of a few popular ingredients without over doing it.  All info has been provided by http://www.ewg.org – which is the encyclopedias of all things regarding ingredients and beyond!

  • Polyethylene Glycol – PEG – widely used in conditioners, moisturizers, deodorants, etc.  Also used in pharmaceuticals as laxatives.  Can be contaminated with 1, 4-dioxane, which can cause cancer.
  • Parabens – which as used as a preservative.  Any word ending in “paraben” ie. Methylparaben.
  • Diethanolamine (DEA) – a pH balancer, contaminate, and non-reproductive organ concerns.  DEA compounds are used mainly to make things look creamier or sudsier.
  • Triethanolamine (TREA) – surfactant, pH adjusting chemical.
  • DMDM Hydantoin – formaldehyde releaser
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) – may be contaminated with potentially toxic manufacturing impurities, such as 1, 4-dioxane, which may cause cancer.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – (SLES) – in products that foam such as shampoo, cleansers, bubble bath, etc.
  • Triclosan – popular antibacterial agent and preservative; possible endocrine toxins.
  • Triclocarban – a deodorant agent, preservative and possible endocrine disruptor

-> See Environmental Working Group @ www.EWG.org for further information about anything you ever wanted to know about products, chemicals and much more.

–> Make your first, easy, cheap, and chemical free change with your very own laundry detergent, which I’ve written about here. {Homemade Cleaning Products – Part II}

To Make Laundry Detergent

I am always about my bottom dollar – so when it comes to organic or not, natural or not, I have my own decisioning list to help me.  When it comes to personal toiletry products and other health items, I will glance at my local store(s) then I’ll see whether Vitacost.com can beat the price or not.  Nine times out of ten, Vitacost wins.  Plus, Vitacost has uber quick delivery (like Amazon quick) and you can easily get various discount codes, free shipping, etc….I love it!  Plus, their brand has great ratings so a lot of the times I’ll same more by choosing their brand instead.

Anyways, save the shortened list above of some of the ‘top toxic chemicals to avoid’ when searching for products.  Even better: Save it to a notes app on your phone – to have easy access when you’re at the store.  Then soon enough, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can spot such ingredients from the top 12 list of ingredients and beyond.  You’ll also be able to decipher which prices/products are better for your dollar and health.

With that being said, remember the shorter the list the better in more ways than one!  🙂

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Here’s a few of my favorite go-to places, brands, and beyond:

Mountain Rose Herbs – Organic herbs, and much more! Excellent suggestion – split with friends to save on their shipping costs!

DoTerra Essential Oils & Young Living Essential Oils

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Vitacost – my personal favorites ordering list of all my top used toiletries (not paid for mentioning):

Nubian Heritage – shea butter, bar soap, lotion, etc.

Burt’s Bees

Jason

Alba

Dr. Bronner’s

Vitamins – Vitacost Brand and lots of others sold; great prices!

Probiotics – which even come with ice packs to keep cool and fresh! 

Don’t forget Amazon too!  As much as I research various places before purchasing, I always make sure to check Amazon too.

At the end of the day, you’re not going to keel over because of the soap you used yesterday, but empowering yourself to make better choices one less ingredient at a time is empowering in itself.

So go empower yourself to make better choices for you, your family, and beyond!

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Making a Facial Toner – Part 2

February 7, 2015

About a month ago I started a ‘tincture’ containing a bunch of herbs soaked in an apple cider vinegar while basking in the sun as much as possible and shaken once a day.  {Making your own Facial Toner – Part 1}

Now that a month has passed, it’s time to complete the making of this facial toner, so let’s get started!

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Items You’ll Need:

Cheesecloth

Tall container

Rubber binder

Witch Hazel

Carrot Seed Essential Oil

Geranium Essential Oil

Dark tinted glass container for storage (1 year shelf life when stored in cool, dry location)

 

1. Affix rubber binder and folded cheese cloth over the tall container.  Then slowly pour contents from the tincture jar onto the ‘strainer’. You’ll probably end up straining in batches depending upon your container size.  No problem.  In fact, do this a few times to get the most out of the vinegar tincture.

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If you end up with a few extra pieces in your strained vinegar mix, just grab a little strainer and strain liquid one last time before mixing.

 

 

2.  Next, you’ll mix equal parts vinegar (in this case 2 1/2 cups) from the tincture and witch hazel together.  Stir well.

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3.  Then add just a few drops of Carrot seed essential oil and Geranium essential oil into the mix.  Stir well again.

 

4.  Grab a little funnel if you want and pour mix into separate glass bottles or containers.

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Directions: When using after washing face, dabble onto cotton ball and wipe across entire face area.  This will help remove any excess dirt and oil missed, and help refresh and tighten skin too.

The wonderfulness about witch hazel is that it doesn’t have that drying affect like alcohol based toners do.  With all the benefits from the herbs to the apple cider vinegar & help from the essential oils, the benefits are endless!  I promise you this toner does wonders, without the drying effects that alcohol toners cause.  Your skin will feel amazingly refreshed, clean, and toned!

If you’re interested in trying this organic rose herbal toner, I have it for sale NOW at the Natural Mommas Etsy Shop.  For a limited time, it’s ON SALE for $8 through March 31, 2015 (And if you’re local in Phoenix, save on shipping and come pick up your order up for FREE!)  Also, get 20% off with WELCOME14 on orders over $20!!

Bath Bomb Fizzlers

January 18, 2015

I wanted to make a fun thing for my son when he took a bath which wasn’t filled with dyes and other harsh ingredients.  So I found a recipe for fizzy bath bombs!  I tried it out and it was a HIT!  Needless to say, now I’m experimenting making more with different essential oils too.  Check it out.

Ingredients:

1 cup citric acid (if necessary, replace with 1/2 cup cream of tartar)

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup cornstarch ( can be replaced with arrowroot powder)

1/2 cup oil (almond, olive, doTerra, etc.) (Personally I chose Olive oil because of its amazing properties for the skin)

8-10 drops favorite Essential Oil(s)

Silicone mold, saran wrap or mini cupcake tins

(About molds – I’ve tried a fish shaped one but due to the fine details it didn’t stay together at all once dried, no matter what.  So stick with simple, curvy molds for the best turn out!  Muffin tins work perfectly too.  In the end, shaped mold or just a ball, the ingredients turn out great in the bath and such a refreshing feeling!  My kiddo loves them too, great entertainment/science experiment for them.)

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Mix:

In a bowl, mix citric acid, baking soda, cornstarch and chosen oil together.

Add drops of essential oils of choice.

Mix well until soft dough formed – use hand and or spoon.  Consistence should be of damp sand.

Also can add dried herbs, coloring, flower pedals, etc. here.

If mixture is too wet, try adding more baking soda and corn starch until consistency is right.

Place mixture into molds.  Let sit for 24+ hours before removing from mold.

You’ll know when their ready to use when COMPLETELY dry.

Just drop into bath water and soak away!

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Making your own Facial Toner – Part 1

January 17, 2015

My skin has always suffered in some area or another from adolescents and far into my 20’s.  It is probably one of the most continuous battles in which I’m glad I have never given up on.  From the time of getting pimples till far past graduating college, I have suffered from very sensitive skin.  I feel like I’ve tried it all – from over the counter you name it, to ‘as seen on TV’ Proactive etc., and even further onto the high end makeup at the department stores.  My skin just didn’t seem to like anything I tried.  (During all my trials my diet was average, however, until recently I was an avid milk drinker but now only drink almond milk.)

Finally, after pretty much trying it all, I found my perfect match and balance!  As much as I would love to some day also conquer homemade face wash and moisturizer, I will stick to what has worked best for over 3 years for me – Burt’s Bees face wash and face moisturizer.  But for a face toner, I have opted for my own handmade mixture that has worked WONDERS!

Face toner, you ask?  Yea, it may seem old school for some but is the perfect natural refresher for many.  By taking apple cider vinegar, an assortment of herbs and a few weeks in the sun, you’ll get the perfect start for a toner {this is called a tincture}.  Take this brew and sift it through a cheese cloth and then add witch hazel.  After adding a few drops of carrot seed and rose essential oil to this mix, pour into individual jars for use.

A toner helps further cleanse and tone the skin after cleansing, it removes any further dirt and residue, leaving the face feeling refreshed and balanced.  Toner also helps tighten the pores, thus making the skin feel remarkably fresh and clean!  An astringent differs only in that it’s alcohol based, usually with salicylic acid to help with oily, combination skin while also helping remove further dirt and oil.

Anyways, until just recently (the past few years) I have finally found the balance my skin needs to be happy and clean of any acne, etc.  It took a lot of you name it, I tried it.  I didn’t have a LOT of acne (thank goodness!) but I never could seem to be break out free for any longer time frame.

I bought all the dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs, a wonderful trustworthy, organic company and began soaking everything in apple cider vinegar for a month.  This part was simple – just had to shake the jar 1-2 times a day as it sits in the warm window-lit sun, then leave it be.

 

Detailed Directions:

Equal parts of: lemon balm, rosemary, calendula, witch hazel bark, yarrow, lavender, and calendula (no more than total of 2 ounces of dried herbs or 4 ounces of fresh herbs.) in organic apple cider vinegar (cover enough to just drown herbs, about 2 inches above plant material).  Then let this mixture sit a few weeks in a ‘warm’, sunny window; shake once to twice daily.

(Other dried herbs which can be used, based upon availability – chamomile, rose petals, elderflowers, peppermint, comfrey leaf, lemon & orange peel, sage)

FYI: This above step essentially is making a ‘tincture,’ which is a fancy word for concentrated herb extract.  Tinctures are the best way to draw out the essential compounds of plants and absorb them via the skin.  They are also the best way to preserve nutrients for a long period of time.

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2-4 weeks later, strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lines, fine mesh sieve.  Reserve the herb-infused vinegar and compost the plant material.

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Combine the herb-infused vinegar with equal parts witch hazel and a few drops of carrot seed and rose geranium essential oil.

Store in a dark-colored glass bottle, in a cool place for up to a year.

USE : Once a day, or as necessary, after washing face to help clean off any extra dirt and residue left behind.  You’ll notice a wonderful, clear sheen within a few days of use and you’ll never go without this toner again!  Plus, people will notice and ask you what your secret to such clear skin is.  🙂  Wear it proud because you deserve it!

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If you are interested in trying this toner, you can buy it fresh and have it at your doorstep by Valentines day.  I also have a previous batch of this toner which I’m selling half price because it needs to be used sooner than later and I would hate for it to go to waste.  So please check out my Etsy Shop to purchase this toner and remember if you are local {Phoenix} I offer free pick up too!  Thanks! 🙂

A New Desk, A New Space

December 24, 2014

After our recent move {about 7 months ago} I lost any designated ‘work area’ I had but recently I have gained my own space back again YAY!!  I feel like everyone needs that niche place where they feel comfortable enough and in their ‘zone’.  I found this awesome, simple, wood desk from this app called ‘Offer Up’, which is a new place to sell and buy stuff.  I just wanted a simple desk, which is apparently hard to find these days, but I was so excited to finally find exactly what I was hunting for, in a great price range too!  So check out my new ‘creation’ space:20141223_014641

I’m a very scatterbrained type so in order to feel the groove and organized, I need to have a place to call ‘my space‘.  I wanted a desk where I could move it into our extra room when there’s not a bed in there for guests.  For now though the desk is in our room and I’m enjoying having a desk and space to call my own.  🙂  The best part is – I’m able to incorporate the exercise ball I’ve had for a while which as been collecting dust, as a work desk – so it’s perfect!  {The only drawback having the desk in the bedroom though is hubby snoring once he goes to bed…}

Some writers get writers block, I get ‘space block’.  If I don’t feel at home within ‘my space’ then I have to re-vamp my settings.  I probably do this to cope with writers block, however I feel it’s necessary before true writing can happen for me.  🙂  Not that I can’t write any other place, I just prefer a desk space where I know I don’t have to pick up when I’m done.  Some of my other favorite places to write are: outside, the kitchen table or outside.  I find comfort with natural noises like animals, people walking by, traffic buzzing along and when its pitch black out and only the full moon and stars are shining above.  Such a great time to create and be outside – my favorite!  But I digress….

Do you have a special place you enjoy creating?  I would love to hear about it! I hope there’s a few others like me out there?  Maybe you cope with space in your own ways… please share below!  🙂

 

My other drawback to writing has been electronics.  I am cursed with the worst of luck.  My actual laptop (a Dell) is no longer reliable enough to work on for any long period of time due to multiple issues that aren’t worth the headache anymore to fix.  And if I am able to use it, it’s just luck until some program stops working on me!  Long story short, I now use my Surface RT as my main device and my hubby’s computer if I need an actual computer (since mine’s technically a tablet).

So whether its a space issue or a technical issue, I always feel like something is bogging me down from creating and writing.  But things are on the upswing and I’m excited for all 2015 has to bring!!

I appreciate the continued support!  Be on the lookout for more blog posts now that I have ‘my space‘ up and running!   🙂

I hope each and everyone of you enjoyed the holiday season and brought the New Years in with a Bang!!  Happy 2015 and beyond 🙂

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(Belated) Etsy Grand Opening Promotion

December 13, 2014

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{Completely overlooked this and thought I already published this post but better late than never!}

Who doesn’t like a discount, especially around the holidays??  Well I’m all about them.  So in celebration of the Natural Mommas Etsy shop opening, I’d like extend a 20% OFF discount {WELCOME14} when used at checkout in my new little Etsy shop.  Plus, FREE SHIPPING (within the US) through December on orders over $30.

So come check out what’s available, see if anything perks your interest!  And please contact me to let me know if you have any questions, requests, feedback, you name it!  FYI: The Etsy shop is still in the works so if I missed anything which you have questions about, please let me know, thanks!

Posts in the works – Breaking soap norms, face toner, and much more!

I Thank you all and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!!

Changes, Choices, & Lessons Learned: A Reflection about becoming a Parent and how Natural Mommas Evolved

October 3, 2014

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Budding Parenting:

As we grow up we always are looking up to our parents and others around us, as our teachers and mentors in our life.  So now that I’m a parent myself I have a whole new perspective and respect for such roles.  There are many days thus far in my three years or so of being a parent that just zoom by, where my son teaches me more about life from a completely new perspective!  I love every minute of it and wish I could burn every moment (well, almost every moment) in my memory forever!

He’s essentially a clean slate.  What he’s learning is mostly through observation, exploration, touch, and experiences from those around him.  So it’s a pretty wild experience to truly watch in front of my eyes, how he assimilates life from his innocent perspective and melds that information into his own ideas about the world!  For him to then translate this into his own ways/motions/sounds, etc. is even more astounding to watch and be a part of!  At the end of the day, he amazes me beyond words; and his ever expanding imagination and zest for life is the perfect daily reminder. 🙂

Zooming By….

Becoming a parent changes a person in SO many ways!  Before I had D, I always heard the same cliche comments – “time goes by so fast – cherish it”, “I can’t imagine what my life was before (he/she) was born”, etc. and I just brushed it off because I couldn’t truly yet relate or understand.  However, now that I’m experiencing that chapter of life, I TOTALLY get it all!  Cliche or not – it’s all true – becoming a parent is a life-altering, once in a lifetime experience, and the most rewarding role ever!  The gift of life is a magical one and the best gift ever!  Whether your family grew as grass-roots or by other means – at the end of the day, we’re all family and all beautiful humans!  So whichever tree your family may have stemmed from, you’re always family for life and beyond, no matter what!  Without family, who are we anyhow?

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Difficult Choices (IE. Being an Adult):

Now to shift subjects to the role of a parent – it’s one of the most toughest jobs yet also the most rewarding too!!  Decisions you face as a parent could be a matter of life or death for your child and we must live with those choices, whatever the outcome may be – forever.

Things I never used to think twice about and assumed I would just do the ‘norm’ (what I had as a child) are decisions I now research about (such as vaccines, and many other health decisions), to reach my own informed and educated decision for my child.  I want to make sure that my personal decision is something I feel comfortable with in all such possible ways and outcomes.  That’s what an educated decision is all about and I believe that especially as a parent, I have every right to choose differently if I deem necessary.  I want to ensure that others around us are also not at risk, and that is also taken into account during the decisioning process.

Never Ending Decisions….

Such decisions that you can’t reverse, which are some pretty tough life-long decisions, are the most stressful and scariest decisions I’ve had to face thus far in my life.  Things I always followed the norm about, such as using Johnson’s & Johnson’s baby wash/lotion/oil on babies. However, after doing some research I opted out using their brand all together.  I also opted out of many other popular baby toiletries too – due to their countless harmful chemicals, which are known to be harmful on humans and the environment.

Since my early discoveries shortly after pregnancy about harmful chemicals I was putting on my skin daily, I became a personal advocate for safer, chemical-free products.  Learning all this new information about harmful chemicals we use in everyday household cleaners and personal products, I wanted to have a fresh start raising my son in the most chemical-free environment I can control.  It truly just takes discovering a few key ingredients to avoid and why and from there it becomes common sense to switch wherever possible.

Lessons Learned & Lessons Shared:  NATURALMOMMASCIRCLE

1.  Becoming a Mom truly sparked my interest and motivation in wanting to change things for the better; wanting to know more about how to help our future generations make healthier and better choices for the world.  While also helping save our precious planet Earth too!  I have always been passionate about what I believe in.  I also thrive in finding ways to make life easier and greater for the future, especially when things seem gloomier by the day…

2.  It’s been about three years since I first began switching over to less chemically filled products.  I now make and use about 85% of my own toiletries, cleaners, laundry soaps, etc. and I absolutely LOVE it!!  I will never turn back after realizing how much time and money I’ve saved and I hope I can help transform others too :).  I would happily choose the smell of vinegar and lemon when cleaning rather than choking on the harsh chemicals from commercial cleaners, and I’m sure you would too!

I have a natural passion to spread what I’ve learned with others and love trying new avenues for a healthier and smarter future.  We are all more than capable to return back to our natural ways and methods like our ancestors, but this time with a whole new innovative swing to it (hooray for the internet)!  🙂

3.  I also love the feeling of knowing exactly what I’m applying on my skin or breathing in!  Being able to count all the ingredients of the items I use in the bathroom while getting ready.  Compared to using a long list of unpronounceable ingredients, some with numbers at the end {which can never mean anything good, right?} and the list of side effects from said ingredients is way more longer than this run-on sentence!

……I could go on but I’ll cut myself off for now and will return to this in more depth in a future post.

At the end of the day…

We are all parents of some form in this world, together on Earth; we’re all caretakers for the next generation and beyond.  We are all human so we are very capable of ensuring satisfaction as well as being let down too.  Knowledge is limitless – the possibilities of learning are priceless and never ending.  We all must teach and share with each other what we’ve learned, experienced and beyond to move forward to a brighter future!

Spreading knowledge with each other and beyond, for the sake of sharing, for friendship, for survival, for health, and beyond – it’s endless!  Let’s not close our world up any smaller than it already is – let’s reach out more each and every day to others – for we are all here for the greater good and to help each other out and grow stronger together (not against or apart).

In Conclusion….

I would love for Natural Mommas to be a space to share various talents, tips, tricks, you name it, with others.  I am wholeheartedly passionate about something that has become a part of our ever changing lifestyle and would love for others to learn more about how they too can benefit in endless ways!  I don’t have any special secrets or formulas –  just a strong passion to help others to also lead a longer, healthier and beautiful life.  We’re all the same at the end of the day and sharing our endless talents and knowledge with others which makes us that much more interconnected.

Passing down traditions and talents from generation to the next is a huge past time that will soon be lost if we don’t start to truly become more interconnected.  Let’s no loner be ‘strangers’ with our neighbors and become acquaintances with one another and have each other’s backs.

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