Soy Candles vs. Paraffin Candles

soy candles

Why choose soy candles over traditional paraffin candles?

Everyone loves a good smelling candle, but what if I told you some of the candles you have in your home are dangerous to your health?! Most candle companies today have switched over to using soy wax, but there are still a lot of candles on the market that is made with paraffin. Paraffin wax is a by-product from petroleum, a gas that is non-renewable and releases carcinogens and toxins into the air.  Soy candles are better for our health and our environment.

Soy candle benefits:

  • Burns cleaner –
    A candle made with soybean wax is non-toxic meaning unlike paraffin candles, soy candles do not release toxins into the air as it burns and releases very little soot.
  • Lasts much longer –
    Soy candles burn at a cooler temperature and when combined with essential oils, the smell and burn time of soy candles last much longer than paraffin candles!
  • No toxins, carcinogens or pollutants –
    Paraffin candles are made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable source that contains harmful toxins and carcinogens that are emitted into the air when burned. Soybean wax is the complete opposite, it’s 100% natural and non-toxic.
  • Eco-friendly/biodegradable –
    Soy wax is natural, making it easier to clean up if spilled.
  • Supports farmers & small business owners –
    Using soy candles not only offers better health & eco benefits, but it also supports soybeans farmers and soy candle artisans!

 

 

So, if you’re looking for the best soy candles, my favorites are from Terra Verde Soy, Ethos Handmade, Urban Wanderlust, and Shivelight Candles – you can find their candles here! But, the next time you go to the store to buy a new yummy candle, remember these benefits and make sure it’s a soybean wax candle!

Advertisements

Benefits of Eucalyptus Essential

photo of plants on white pot

Aside from being great for decoration, eucalyptus oil has so many amazing benefits – especially medicinal ones! Surprisingly enough, a lot of over-the-counter products contain eucalyptus oil, but those may also include harmful ingredients too. Eucalyptus leaves contain flavonoids – plant-based antioxidants and tannins – an astringent which helps to tighten pores and draw out liquids.

Not only does eucalyptus oil offer amazing health benefits, but it is also good for the environment! It is a renewable and sustainable resource (which means it regrows after being harvested) and the growing, harvesting and distilling of the plant is an environmentally-friendly process as it does not require pesticides or fertilizers.

Pure eucalyptus oil can be used for the following:

Upper respiratory issues, such as:

  • Cold and congestion
  • Sinus congestion
  • Asthma
  • Cough

How to use eucalyptus oil for upper respiratory issues:

Steam inhalation – Add 10-15 drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of boiling water, place a towel over your head and breathe in the vapors for 5-10 minutes. Play some comforting music in the background to aid in further relaxation. The hot steam will help break up the mucus in your chest and sinuses, allowing for relief from your symptoms.

Use in a Diffuser – Add several drops of eucalyptus oil and lavender oil in your diffuser and breathe in the vapors throughout the night.

Skin-related complications, including:

  • Lice
  • Bug repellent
  • Cold sores
  • Acne
  • Sunscreen (YUP! It’s a natural sunscreen)

How to use Skin Complications:

Lice – mix 40-60 drops of eucalyptus oil with 2-3 tsp. of shampoo and 1 tsp. of neem oil. Shampoo hair and cover with a cap for 15 minutes before washing off. USE CAUTION when applying this treatment to children, be sure to not get this blend in the eyes or mouth.

Bug repellent – bugs and mosquitos hate the strong smell of eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil. In an 8 oz spray bottle, fill half the bottle with natural witch hazel and the other half with distilled water, leaving some room for the oils. Then mix 20-30 drops of eucalyptus oil, cinnamon or lavender oil and peppermint oil into the bottle and ta-da – you’ve made bug spray! I suggest spraying this bug spray on clothes, not directly on the skin because of how potent some of the oils are.

Acne/Cold sores – mix 1 drop of eucalyptus oil with 3 drops of water, then soak mix on a cotton swab and apply it directly to the affected area. For more stubborn acne blemishes and cold sores, mix 1 drop of eucalyptus oil and 1 drop of tea tree oil with 3 drops of coconut oil and apply this blend a few times a day.

Sunscreen – According to some research I’ve done, eucalyptus is a natural SPF 3 and can be combined with a carrier oil such as coconut oil which has a natural SPF between 1-8. Of course, this is only a small shield that protects your skin from the effects of the sun, so if you are serious about protecting your skin adequately from the sun, be sure to use other forms of protection.

Physical/mental health:

  • Muscle pain
  • Stress relief
  • Arthritis

How to use Eucalyptus oil for physical/mental health:

Use in a Diffuser – Add several drops of eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil or lavender oil in your diffuser and breath in the aroma to help relieve your stress and improve clarity. 

Hair nourishment:

  • Hair moisturizer
  • Itchy scalp/dry skin

How to use Eucalyptus oil for hair nourishment:

Apply a few drops to olive oil or coconut oil and mix together (20 essential oil: 80 olive/coconut oil ratio), then gently massage the blend into the scalp. For itchy scalp, combine 1 tsp. of neem oil to the mixture also. Comb through and let this blend sit on the hair for an hour before washing. For better results, apply and let sit overnight!

“Congested? Sneezing? Runny nose?

E U C A L Y P T U S 🌱 is a powerful sinus essential oil that brings an immediate refreshing and cooling sensation that opens up an easier path for breathing.

Check out Breathe Essential Oil Blend from @deepleaforganics and see two different aromatherapy products that help support sinus health when dealing with the cold and flu season! – @deepleaforganics” –  ExplorBoxes

Follow @ExplorBoxes on Instagram to stay up-to-date on all these types of amazing organic artisan products from small businesses across the US.


Warnings

Essential oils are lovely natural products but can be very potent. Some oils may cause allergic reactions or other skin reactions depending on the sensitivity of your skin. Please use with caution and always read the labels on the bottles before use. If you are nursing or pregnant, check with your doctor before trying any essential oil.

References

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/coconut-oil-sunscreen.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140123/

https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/ethnobotany/tannins.shtml

The Story Behind ExplorBox

img_6222

Recently, I started a small business called ‘ExplorBoxes‘ and since it means so much to me, I want to share with you the ‘why’ behind my business.

The Story Behind ExplorBoxes:

I started this blog about two years, and while I love blogging for fun, I’ve been feeling there is something else I am supposed to be doing…something bigger. I started to think about all the connections I have made with so many great small business owners throughout the past few years. Some through my blog, some friends, and others through social media.

37070649_2088795081345352_6281377498462683136_n

One day I said to myself, “How can I help all of these amazing people grow their businesses and support them?”, and that’s when ExplorBoxes was born! The idea of starting a business has always been something I aspired to do. I started ExplorBoxes in March 2018, and have been working non-stop ever since to help support these small businesses across the US the best I can!

The main idea behind ExplorBoxes is to collaborate and help grow these businesses and their artisan products. Each product featured in ExplorBoxes is handmade, organic, and/or supports a good cause. And because I am an eco-friendly person, my packaging is minimalistic and straightforward for two reasons:⠀

  1.  The products inside are what should stand out, NOT the packaging; and⠀
  2. All packaging material is 100% recycled! (And I encourage you to reuse/repurpose the box for storage!)📦

Supporting local/small businesses gives me a sense of pride and I hope you share that feeling with me! Working from home and running a business on your own comes with many ups and downs – but connecting with others, networking & collaborating with them has all been a learning experience, and I’m loving every second of it. ⠀

If you are looking to explore new homemade/organic products, then I invite you to head over to ExplorBoxes and check out this month’s box!

Why Artisan-Made Products Are Better

Have you found yourself at the store lately searching for products that aren’t full of all the harmful chemicals and crap, and are just not having any luck?  Yeah, me too!  That being said, you DO see a lot of products labeled as ‘green friendly’ or even ‘organic’ – but sadly, a lot of that is just marketing tactics and not very honest. Sorry if that sounded so much like a commercial lol, but it’s true!

So, what the heck is ‘artisan’ and what is all the hype about? It’s defined as a person or company that makes a high-quality, distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand and uses traditional methods (without all the crazy harmful perseverates like the stuff you buy in the store now). Before I started my business, ExplorBoxes, I was finding myself at Target searching up and down the aisles for items made without all the crap chemicals that NOBODY can even pronounce, and I was struggling! I know the stores are now becoming more “conscious” of harmful preservatives and focusing more on the vegan lifestyle and non-GMO products, but some of it cannot be trusted.

A label that says ‘made with organic ingredients’ can be used when a product contains at least 70% organic ingredients but is not accompanied by the official USDA Organic seal. Because of this, I started to realize that big box stores (such as Target and Walmart) are slowly becoming full of products that claim to be organic but aren’t 100%.

Recently, I started searching on Etsy and other websites for products that are handmade and TRULY organic/eco-friendly. I started coming across so many small artisanal businesses that make AMAZING body & beauty products that it made me think… “Ugh, why can’t I find more of this in the big box stores?!”. That’s when it dawned on me and I started thinking of ways to get these businesses more exposure. 

I have done quite a bit of research and have learned that most all homemade products sold by artisan businesses are preservative free. This is why getting products from them is beneficial because they do not require the preservatives since they are made fresh and are used within a short period of time. But, sometimes the use of preservatives is necessary to ensure quality products and to prevent bacterial growth and skin infections. If they are required, those businesses I’ve come across during my search use natural preservatives, such as grapefruit seed extract or antioxidants, because they want the same benefits as you – safe and healthy.

Every business I’ve partnered with through ExplorBoxes has not only provided me with fantastic products, but the customer service is spectacular and that’s what makes me love what I do even more! I invite you to check out my website for ExplorBoxes and subscribe to a monthly box! You’re going to love what you receive in each monthly box, I guarantee it!

www.explorboxes.com

What the Heck Are Macromolecules?!

There is an equation to life and it goes like this: Food + Water + x = Life.

Put on your science nerd glasses and let’s learn about macromolecules.

Macromolecules (food) are essential for living. Every cell in the human body is made up of millions of elements, which are used to help us function, reproduce and much more. The four primary organic compounds found in all living things are carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids and lipids – also known as fats.

So, let’s break this down.

Carbohydrates (sugars) are the primary source of energy for all living things. The building block of carbs is glucose, which is considered the fuel to our bodies.

Nucleic acids (DNA & RNA) are composed of smaller units called nucleotides, which contain sugar molecules, a phosphate group, and a nitrogen base. There are two essential nucleic acids – DNA and RNA.

Proteins are more than just big muscles and protein shakes. Nucleic acids rely on proteins, which are composed of long chains of related simple amino acids. There are 20 different types of amino acids that our bodies depend on to continue to exist – histidine, isoleucine, lysine, leucine, phenylalanine, methionine, tryptophan, threonine, and valine.

Lipids help store energy and consist of a large group of molecules, including fat-soluble vitamins, fatty acids, and sterols which are hormones and cholesterol.

BUT – That’s not all that’s essential for living.

Along with macromolecules, water is crucial. The human body weight is approximately 60% water, meaning it is incredibly vital to a functioning body.  Your body uses water in all its cells by regulating its body temperature and maintaining other bodily functions.

Macromolecules and water are essential to life at a cellular level because the cell itself cannot perform or function properly without them. The four primary organic compounds are broken down by their own enzymes through a process of chemical reactions.

So, the answer to the equation: the x in Food + Water + x = Life is enzymes. For example, proteins are essential for building and maintaining the tissues and muscles in the body. When consuming proteins, the body uses enzymes called protease in the stomach to break down the protein into amino acids. Amylase is another enzyme that is used to break down starches and carbohydrates into sugars, and lipase is used to break down lipids.

Now that you know what the heck macromolecules are, you should continue being healthy by eating your fruits and veggies, but don’t forget the carbs! So many try the ‘no carb’ diet, but as you now know, carbs are crucial to living!

#CarbsAreLife

Improve & Simplify Your Beauty Routine

affiliates-organic-to-green-logo-728-x-90
I’ve been searching for an all-in-one organic beauty product, and I’ve finally found it! Coconut oil has become well known for its versatility, and if you didn’t know already – because of its medium-chain fatty acids is kills harmful microorganisms, which makes it an antibacterial and anti-fungal product. Organic to Green offers award-winning liquid coconut oil products that help improve your overall beauty routine for anyone and any age.
Beauty Facts:
– Coconut oil can be used as a makeup remover
– Help treat acne- Gargling with coconut oil can help freshen your breath
– Treats sunburn
– Use it as a highlighter on your cheeks (No more expensive products!)
– Adds shine to your hair, just apply a small pea size to your dry hair
– Great for shaving, helps get rid of razor bumps (if you haven’t tried this, you’re missing out)

 

Finding products that are this universal is hard, especially at an affordable price. Organic to Green’s products are non-greasy (yes, you read that right – coconut oil that is non-greasy!) and are also non-staining.
All of their products are FREE of parabens, petrolatum, artificial colors or phthalates, AND by supporting them, you support our planet. 10% of their profits go to keeping our planet green by supporting community programs. So, protect your skin this summer and go check out their All-In-One Liquid Coconut Oils at www.organictogreen.com!

Travel: Cape May Favorites

Last week, AJ and I took a day trip to Cape May, New Jersey and I fell in love! This little town is full of beautiful Victorian homes, delicious places to eat, and cute shops. The nightlife is pretty low key in Cape May. There are a few spots like Rusty Nail, The Brown Room, and some local breweries, but this is nothing like Ocean City, MD where it’s full of shenanigans happening. But if you’re looking to party you are not too far from Atlantic City.

From Havre de Grace, it took us about two hours and fifteen minutes to get to Cape May. The drive is through a lot of cute little farm towns, and I can’t forget to mention the awesome Cowboy Rodeo jam we passed on the way about an hour into the drive haha. Oh and just a heads up to those who are really obsessive about their car *cough AJ cough* … some of the roads on the way are not in the best shape, so look out for potholes and other big ass bumps!

Food & Coffee

Dock Mike's Breakfast

On our way to the beach, we stopped at a pancake house called Dock Mike’s. They have breakfast/lunch hours only. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, which of course we chose outside. Its very airy and has hanging plants all around, so of course, I felt right at home! The food is delicious, our waiter was very polite and offered great service and we got our food within a few minutes after ordering! This is definitely a place I’d go back to every time.

Just to give you a little heads up, mostly all stores in Cape May take cash only! All the stores and restaurants that we visited had an ATM available inside but there is a $2.00 service fee every time, so be sure to get as much cash out as you can or bring cash with you before you go.

While walking through the town, we stopped at a coffee shop called Coffee Tyme. Again, the service was fantastic and the iced coffee’s AJ and I got were phenomenal – so good I almost asked for another! They have A TON of flavor options for both hot, cold and frozen drinks. If you love coffee, you MUST stop by Coffee Tyme!

Beaches

Cape May Beach

I don’t think there is any part of Cape May I wouldn’t suggest, but we only went to part of the main beach near the Convention Hall and later around dinner time we went to Sunset Beach to watch the sunset. There is parking along Carpenter Lane, just know they are all metered. We did not find any free parking anywhere we went, but there is apparently an app you can download for the metered parking. It cost $10 for 10 hours of parking with the app or the same just in quarters – $1.00/hour without the app.

Sunset Beach Cape May

Sunset beach has a few little shops and a restaurant nearby. This is the beach known for the shipwreck that can be seen just for the shore. The sunset was beautiful but we could only stay for so long. There seems to be a large number of gnats at this beach and they will get in your face and annoy the crap out of you!

Shopping

Washington Street Mall Church

Talk about cute shops! Convention Hall has a surf shop that has adooorrrrable clothes. Along Carpenter Lane where you park for the beach, there are a few stores but the main shopping area is Washington Street Mall. The mall reminded us of Disney World. The shops are alongside a brick walkway and have a lot of character and charm to each store.

My favorite stores were Across The WayWhale’s TaleGalvanic, and Madame’s Port. All these shops have handmade jewelry, home decor, Christmas gifts, your typical beach souvenirs, little hippy things and Across The Way has a TON of air plants and other nature things!

Once you’re done shopping, I strongly recommend you walk up and down the streets surrounding the Washington Street Mall. Ocean Street and E. Lyne Lane have nothing but beautiful Victorian homes, and bed & breakfast’s that you MUST stop to see. The detail in some of the homes is breathtaking!

Lighthouse & Hiking Trails

Cape May Lighthouse

Eeeek, this was my favorite part of it all! The Cape May lighthouse at Cape May Point State Park is open to the public, and you can walk to the top for $8.00/adult and $5/child (ages 3-12). There are 199 steps, so make sure you’re ready for a little workout! Once you get to the top, you can go out on to the lookout and see all of Cape May and far out the Atlantic Ocean.

In the same parking lot of the lighthouse, there are a few hiking trails. The trails are not too long, and you see some pretty trees and little birdies along the way. There is also a pond you can stop by if you follow the red trail. TIP: Pay attention to the sign when you first enter the trail though, to make sure you know what color trail you want to walk. Watch out, there are a few snakes that will spook you but your walking on a maintained pier type trail! AJ and I walked the red path but somehow got lost, but if you do the same… don’t worry there are arrows to tell you how to get around and it’s not a crazy trail.

Pond at Cape May State Park

So, there you have it. Our first trip to Cape May was a success and we can’t wait to go back!