2017 $25 and Under Holiday Gift Guide

Yay!! The holiday season is in full swing! December 1st starts the gift giving count down for Hanukkah & Christmas. This time of year can be extremely exciting for some and stressful for others. My hopes for this guide is to bring awareness to some eco-friendly and/or ethical brands and to lift some weight off of the shoulders for those that need some gift giving ideas. Whether its for your sister, co worker or a white elephant, this guide has something for everyone. Have fun with your gift giving this year and give a gift that supports your local small shops, artists, and has a purpose or that gives back. Happy Holidays!

Krochet Kids beanie surprise pack – $20.00 –

Krochet Kids provides jobs and fair wages to women in poverty stricken areas of the world. The beanie surprise packs are available while supplies last in men’s and women’s. This is such a fun idea! There are two handmade and hand signed beanies in every mystery pack. 

 

Cocokind rose water facial toner – $16.99 –

I am currently obsessing over Cocokind at the moment. Their mission is to produce pure, quality skincare products with superfoods. Everything on their website seems amazing, but the rose water facial toner is my favorite. It’s organic, vegan and part of their cycle back program. This program allows the person to send back the empty glass bottle once finished in exchange for a 50% coupon to rebuy the product. Eco friendly and a sweet deal!

Tcho Chocolate – $5.99 – $14.99 –

Because who does not love chocolate? Tcho has Christmas and Hanukkah gift collections that range in price. I was recently able to take a tour of their factory and learned so much about Tcho’s connection with the cocoa farmers they work with, and how they source organic and fair trade certified ingredients. I was also lucky enough to taste a good amount of their chocolates and they were all so smooth and flavorful. So good, I ended up leaving the factory with 7  bars of chocolate. This gift will be a guarantee hit!

Healthy Human – Tumbler $22.99 –

Do you know a coffee lover that can use a reusable cup to bring to their favorite coffee shop? Or a busy co worker that drinks their smoothies on the way to work? This Tumbler can hold it all! The 20 oz. Healthy Human cruiser tumbler can keep beverages hot for up to 12 hours or cold for hours 24 hours. It’s also sweat free and lightweight, plus it comes with a reusable stainless steel straw.  This is an eco friendly gift every busy bee will fall in love with.

Pact organic socks gift box – $25.00 –

Socks, the timeless classic. Socks might sounds a tad lame but lets be real, we all need socks. These gift boxes come with 3 pairs of organic cotton socks and are available in mens and women’s. The original price of the gift box is $25 but keep your eyes peeled, there is usually a sale which can lower the price all the way down to $10. I also have a 20% off code I will post below. Pact products are extremely comfortable, I own multiple pairs of  leggings, dresses, shirts and socks and I always feel good about purchasing their goods knowing they are fair trade certified and made with sustainable and organic ingredients.
%20 off code: http://fbuy.me/g-da2

3 pc air plant set – $9.95 + $2.77 shipping to the U.S. –

This is a set of 3 air plants that come in pink sea urchins and are already packed in a gift box for your convenience, so no need to stress about wrapping paper this year! Air plants are a great gift for plant lovers and they are extremely easy to keep alive even if the person you are gifting this to doesn’t have a green thumb (I would know). There is no soil required, they just need to be soaked once a week in water for about 20 minutes.  These will help brighten up any space from an apartment to an office.

Lump O’ Coal holiday bag – $9.99 –

Know someone on the naughty list? This Lump of coal holiday bag comes with 3 hand crafted bars of detox charcoal soap. Pacha soaps are made with environmentally sustainable, real ingredients. Each Pacha purchase helps fuel clean water initiatives and small-scale soap shops, this helps provide much-needed water and sanitation resources in developing countries.

Franklin & Whitman giftcard – $25.00 –

I know what you’re thinking, a gift card? but yes!! Frank & Whit have so much to offer on their website it is too hard choose just one thing, so leave that up to the person you are gifting this to! They have everything from facial masks, dry shampoo, body scrubs to mens beard and grooming supplies, dog balms, and shirts! Everything is plant based and cruelty free. This is a gift that all your dog loving friends and family will appreciate because 5% of their sales are donated to dog rescue organizations.

Eco-friendly planner – $13.76 –

It’s that time of year to start stocking up on new 2018 calendars and planners! This is a great gift for your super organized friend or family member. This planner is made with 100% post consumer recycled paper, it’s printed with vegetable based ink and 50% of the proceeds are donated to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

Some other fun ideas for gift giving under $25 are:

  • A bottle of organic wine.
  • Locally produced honey or olive oil.
  • Cookbooks.
  • Beeswax candles.
  • Handmade ceramic mugs.
  • A bag of locally roasted coffee or espresso.
  • Essential oils.
  • Crystals or a salt lamp.
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Multi-Use Matcha Balm

This week when I did my weekly Whole Foods trip I found myself perusing through the whole body section, which is rare, but I have had my eye on a couple products from Cocokind. Cocokind is a skincare line out of San Francisco that is certified organic, vegan and is based around superfoods. This year their brand has also launched a cycle back program. If you purchase any Cocokind product in a glass container you can send it back in exchange for a 50% off coupon to. I love brands that encourage reuse and eco-friendly habits.

I did not end up purchasing any of the Cocokind products from Whole Foods that day because I wanted to come home and check out their website a little more. Some of the products I was looking into are the MYMATCHA moisture stick and the rosewater facial toner. I have never been one to have a soft, smooth complexion so I would love to see if the rosewater can give me the balanced looking skin I so long for. After reading about the cycle back program, I decided to give this product a go and I cannot wait to try it. As far as the matcha stick, I need a little dark circle correction in my life, like now! Matcha has many benefits for skin, some being that it is anti aging and anti inflammatory. But fter looking at the matcha stick ingredients, I knew I had all had all 3 in my pantry so I decided to make my own rather that make the purchase. Especially because the matcha stick is in a plastic tube that is not apart of the cycle back program. The 3 ingredients used are organic extra virgin coconut oil, beeswax and matcha tea powder plus a reusable 2 oz glass container and here are the measurements I used.

Ingredients

  • 7 teaspoons of finely grated beeswax
  • 4 teaspoons of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of matcha

Instructions

  1. In a double boiler OR if you’re like me, boil water in a small sauce pan and place a small glass pyrex bowl over the top, put coconut oil into your bowl and wait until the coconut oil melts
  2. Add the finely grated beeswax to the bowl of melted coconut oil and stir well until the beeswax is melted
  3. Now, while stirring, sift the matcha into the bowl. You do not want to skip this step! If you just pour the matcha in it all in at once, it can clump up. I added the teaspoon of matcha into a chinois and tapped the side of the chinois until most of the the matcha was sifted through into the bowl, after most of the matcha sifted through you may be left with a couple of clumps of matcha in your chinois, discard those.
  4. When all your ingredients melted and mixed well together, carefully pour into your container.
  5. Let cool in your refrigerator for 30 minutes and it will be ready for use as a moisturizer, lip or dark circle balm

Naturally Brighten Your Beautiful Smile 

4 ingredients, 1 jar, and a toothbrush is all you need to accomplish this! Coconut oil, baking soda, activated charcoal, and peppermint essential oil, that’s all. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, putting BLACK charcoal on your teeth to WHITEN them!? Activated charcoal works through absorption. Absorbing any plaque in your mouth or on your teeth that might cause staining. It also helps prevent cavities, bad breath, and gum disease by changing the PH and absorbing toxins in your mouth.

This recipe is so simple, you just toss all the ingredients together and mix well. Then, just store in an airtight container. I am all about reusing jars but I’ll tell ya what, do not use an old minced garlic jar! Yeah, I accidentally did that my first time making this toothpaste and my mouth tasted like garlic all day. So, any jar but an old garlic jar will work. Also, this toothpaste is coconut oil based, we all know that consistency depends on the weather with coconut oil.  When it is cool outside the paste is thicker and easier to handle. When it’s hot, the toothpaste is a little looser. just take a spoon and pour it onto your brush unless you would like to keep it in your refrigerator.

For best results use this toothpaste 2-3 times a week. I personally switch off between this and oil pulling.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Brush your teeth.
  3. Rinse your sink very well after brushing, if charcoal is left in the sink it can cause staining.

DIY Eyeliner

I am so excited to share this 4 ingredient all natural DIY eyeliner with all of you! When I was younger (late teens early twenties) I was obsessed with make up. Imagine big make up cases with hundreds of dollars worth of MAC makeup kind of obsessed. Yeah, that was me. I always loved that time before going out or getting ready for work when I sat in front of my mirror, jammed to my music and applied away without a second thought. As I got older I started learning about negative effects toxins and chemicals from the make up have on your body and how everything you apply in your skin ends up in your body through absorption. In addition, learning about brands that test on animals and it being all the brands I was using, I felt horrible, these are things that did not even cross my mind in my younger years. So I quit cold turkey… I quit buying and wearing make up with the exception of the occasional wedding or holiday party. Years have gone by with no make up but lately I have been missing that me time in front of the mirror where I can be in my own girly world listening to music and dressing myself up for date night or special occasion. So I decided to make my own beauty products. I am having tons of fun with it and I know exactly what goes into my product and onto my face and into my body.

I recently purchased a 1/2 oz reusable container from the herb store but any small container with a lid will do. You will also need activated charcoal, beeswax, coconut oil, water and an eyeliner brush to apply. This recipe is quick and easy but I must say if you are not careful it could get messy and activated charcoal can stain. I highly recommend laying a junky rag down at your work station beforehand. If you have a double boiler that will work, I don’t, so I added all my ingredients to a glass mixing bowl and put it in a hot water until all ingredients were melted and well mixed. As soon as everything is melted and mixed pour the eyeliner mixture into the container and then quickly run your bowl under hot water to clean right away. The beeswax in this recipe can firm up quickly and once it gets hard it is a bit harder to clean. Let your eyeliner sit for about 20 minutes, then it should be ready for use.

DIY Eyeliner

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon activated charcoal
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated beeswax
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 water

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to double boiler or glass mixing bowl dipped in hot water
  2. Wait until all ingredients are melted and mix well
  3. Add your eyeliner mixture to reusable container
  4. Wash your pan or bowl right away in hot water to avoid the excess mixture from hardening in the pan.
  5. Wait 20 minutes for eyeliner to firm

The Multipurpose Mask

Bentonite clay mask
Bentonite clay

So this week I started a fun new community page on my Starting From Soil Facebook. Folks can ask questions, share tips, and recipes relating to health and wellness.  You are all welcome to join! While on the topic of natural deodorants, arm pit detoxing came up and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to write about the benefits of bentonite clay and different ways it can be used.

The name Bentonite stems from where most of the clay has been found and is still harvested to this day, Fort Benton, Wyoming. The clay is composed of volcanic ash and has a number of beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, silica, copper, iron, and potassium. This explains why it has been used in traditional healing methods for centuries along with using it as a detox method. When activated by liquid, Bentonite also has the ability to draw out toxins from the body by acting as a magnet to heavy metals, chemicals, and toxins.

Lets get to the armpit detox! Your armpits are an entry way for toxins, especially if you are still using an antiperspirant rather that a natural deodorant. So lets switch that around and let your armpits work as an exit point instead with a bentonite mask. This can be especially helpful If you are looking to make a switch from antiperspirant to natural deodorant. When transitioning, some can experience excessive sweating, odor, skin discomfort, and rash. A detox will help eliminate or shorten this pitfall… see what I did there 😉 If you have already made a successful transition and you just want an extra way to cleanse your body of impurities than this is for you too!

The recipe I am going to provide for you will give you enough to include a face mask in with your pit detoxing. I figure kill 2 birds with one stone right? Using bentonite clay topically has amazing benefits. Earlier, I mentioned this clay was rich in minerals, one of them being Silica, this mineral in particular helps with skin regeneration. Along with beneficial minerals and it being able to bind and release toxins from your skin it also has antibiotic properties and has been used to treat eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, reduce blemishes, unclog and tighten pores, removes dead cells, and leaves your skin feeling soft and fresh!

Although I use bentonite clay specifically for armpit detoxing and face masks there are lots of other ways this clay can be used. Unfortunately, our bodies are exposed to toxins all day, everyday… With that being said, toss some clay in your bathtub for a detox bath. You can also use bentonite clay as a replacement for baby powder, some folks even mix it with water and rinse their mouth with it daily to help fight bacteria. Bentonite clay has also been used to help relieve digestion by neutralizing gut bacteria and killing off viruses.  If this is something that you think you will benefit from, I would look into the liquid form of bentonite rather than the powder. It’s my understanding that if you take the powder form internally there is a possibility it may clump up and back things up a bit and we don’t want that to happen.

Ok, so here’s how to make the mask.  Mix 1 part clay to 3 parts water or apple cider vinegar. That’s it! I like to do a half and half mixture of water and apple cider vinegar, I find if I do all ACV it irritates my eyes and nostrils a little bit.  You will want to avoid mixing your mask with metal utensils. The clay has the ability to pull the metals from your utensil into your mask to avoid leaching mix with wooden spoon. Once the mask is mixed well use a clean brush to apply evenly to face first and then to armpits. Leave on skin for 15-20 minutes, if you have sensitive skin cut that time in half. Remove clay by washing with warm water.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon clay
  • 1 tablespoon ACV or water

Instructions

  1. Mix well with wooden utensil
  2. Apply evenly on skin with clean brush
  3. Let sit for 15-20 min
  4. Rinse with warm water

Finally! A Body Wash With Ingredients We Can All Pronounce!

DIY BodyWash

Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the back of your body wash bottle and not known what they are or how to say them? Well, I have a solution! Yes, This is another diy, but it is simple, quick, and only uses 5 natural ingredients. All off which you can pronounce and some possibly found in your kitchen. As mentioned in a previous post about diy make up, your skin is your body’s largest organ. Everything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body. If you think about it that way, do you really want to use anything topically that you wouldn’t want to eat?

Unfortunately, our body wash does not fall into the vegan category because this recipe does contain honey (Sorry friends). Honey is so good for our skin because it has natural antibiotic properties, it is full of antioxidants and it’s very moisturizing. Along with honey, jojoba oil will be included in our wash and is also amazing for your skin. If you are not familiar with Jojoba oil it is a liquid extracted from a seed of the jojoba plant, native to parts of Mexico, Arizona and Southern California. This oil is commonly used to treat psoriasis, acne, sunburn and chapped skin. Next, lavender essential oil, not only does the oil smell amazing, it is another skin health powerhouse with anti-aging antioxidants. Also, due to its anti-microbial properties this oil also helps speeds up the healing process for any cuts or burns you may have. Lastly, we will be using some unscented castile liquid soap and water. A mason jar with a soup dispenser top is the only hardware you’ll need. I purchased  These tops.  Or a reusable BPA free plastic dispenser will work. This recipe makes 2 cups enough to fill a 16oz mason jar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2/3 cup unscented castile soup
  • 2 teaspoons of jojoba oil

Supplies

  • Glass bottle with dispenser or BPA free reusable plastic dispenser

Instructions

  • Mix it all ingredients together.

DIY Face Cleansing Pads

DIY Facial Cleansing Wipes

A little over 3 years ago, I started breaking out along my jaw line. No one likes acne, but especially at the age of 28! I had only struggled with this one other time in my life, around the age 24, when I started, and very quickly quit taking a birth contraceptive. To help with this new development, I made a little change in my daily routine. A great friend of mine suggested I try tea tree oil, so that very same day I ran out to my local health food store and picked up a bottle. When I got home from the store I immediately ran to the bathroom to dampen a cotton ball with some water, added 2 drops of tea tree oil to it, and started wiping my face down. I was so impressed (and a little grossed out) with how much dirt had I just wiped off my face and I haven’t turned back since.  My acne along my jaw line cleared almost immediately.  In fact, this cleans my face so well I don’t even own or use face wash at all anymore, no need to do both and it is one less plastic bottle in my shower now. They are also awesome for those nights you are in the mood for a face mask, they help scrub any excess mask off that you may have missed in your shower.

So today I will be sharing with you how to make your own face cleansing wipes. Here are some of the ingredients, and supplies you will need. Tea Tree also known as Melaleuca oil, which is derived from a plant in Australia and has many uses! This oil can be used for skin, hygiene, or DIY cleaning products as it has been documented to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Coconut oil will also be playing a role in our cleansing pads to add a little moisture. I found the tea tree was drying out my face a little bit in the beginning so the coconut oil comes in to balance things out. You will also need some cotton rounds, I use and recommend organic because you don’t want to wipe your face or skin down with something that has been sprayed with a bunch of chemicals! You also need water, and a clean jar to fit your rounds. I chose the regular mouth 8oz ball jar, I put 45 pads in my jar but could probably fit up to 60 if I really wanted.

DIY Facial Cleansing Wipes
Gross but they work!
DIY Facial Cleansing Wipes
Pour your mixture over the top and clean away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil
  • 10 drops of tea tree oil
  • organic cotton rounds
  • 1 jar

Instructions

  1. mix all wet Ingredients together well
  2. place 45-50 cotton rounds in a clean jar
  3. pour mixture over cotton rounds while pressing down on the rounds to help all rounds absorb the liquid

 

Are You Still Brushing With Plastic?

Are You Still Brushing with Plastic?

Over one billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year, this is enough to circle the earth 4 four times! These toothbrushes end up either overflowing our landfills or polluting our waterways while destructively impacting our ecosystem. Not to mention the greenhouse gases that are produced while making these plastic handles and nylon bristles that take an average 450 years to completely decompose.

Simply switching from plastic to bamboo will help our environment immensely! This purchase can be the start of your journey into a zero waste life. If the phrase “zero waste” sounds like a little too much of a commitment for you, it could just be the start of a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Many of us, including myself until a couple of years ago, are blind to how the products we use on a day-to-day basis affects our environment and our health. By making the switch you will be reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals like BPA, PVC, and Phthalate. These are just some of the ingredients found in the typical plastic toothbrush.

There have been a good amount of bamboo toothbrush companies popping up within the last couple of years. Bamboo is the quickest growing plant on earth and has natural antimicrobial properties, so there is no need to treat this plant with toxic pesticides or fertilizers. It is a pretty awesome, sustainable choice! Bamboo handles are 100% biodegradable but unfortunately sometimes the bristles are not. With that being said, I always recommend reading up on the company before purchasing.  For example, Humble Brush does not state what their bristles are made from but the packaging is made from 100% recycled materials and each purchase goes towards the Humble Smile Foundation which helps fund sustainable projects for children in need of oral care. Brush with Bamboo is a company that uses plant based bristles and compostable packaging along with their bamboo handle and is a certified green business. This company seems to be the most promising choice for bamboo.

We really have a good amount of eco-friendly options here so breaking up with your plastic toothbrush wont be too hard!

DIY Loose Finishing Powder

DIY Loose Powder

What if I said you could make your own finishing powder out of food? More specifically out of items you find in the baking and spice isle of your local grocer. This three ingredient make-up will leave your face looking, smelling, and even tasting good.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and has the ability to absorb everything you put on it.”Under the law,cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives.” This was sited from the FDA website. I have provided a link for anyone that is interested in reading further. Also, Huffington Post put out an article last year stating the average women puts about 515 synthetic chemicals on their body a day without even knowing. These are just some of the facts that are incredibly worrisome to me. this is why it is extremely important to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals, colors, fragrances, and preservatives found in most beauty and hygiene products.

My rule of thumb is if you can’t or won’t eat it then you should not put it on your body. This is why I took myself to the kitchen to see what I could come up with!

Making your own products is also eco-friendly. Some grocery stores have spices and flours in bulk. Bring your own reusable bags  or jars if you can.

We all have a different yet beautiful complexions, due to this I can only provide the base of the recipe. As everyone’s measurements will be different, you will have to have fun and play with the amounts of the ingredients to match your skin.

*Organic ingredients preferred

-Arrowroot powder
-Cocoa Powder
-Cinnamon

https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceRegulation/LawsRegulations/ucm074162.htm#Does_FDA_approve