Clean Start

January 2, 2009



Mud bath anyone? Today I am reading a  compendium of easy recipes for healthy skin in the book, Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin and Vibrant Self , by Stephanie Tourles a prolific natural body care and wellness writer (7 books).  I’ve skimmed through 9 chapters covering an overview of our skin, hair, nails, a chapter on the ingredients, tools needed for prep and storage and application, then onto to face care, hair care, love potions and women only, and herbal comfort for stress, colds and sleep. There are scads of side bars with sometimes TMI…(like the fact that we have 650 sweat glands with one square inch of skin listed among a dozen other complex structures….), pages of resources and huge index cross-referencing natural ingredients and recipes …and 26 recipes for facial masks! This is THE book. She has covered it all. 

Here is my favorite and quick recipe for a moisturizing facial that I learned from Deb Soule, from Avena Botanicals (where you can buy many of the herbal ingredients used in Stephanie’s recipes). It is what I have done for years when traveling and Stephanie has a similar mask in her book. Simple, there is only one ingredient: HONEY. You can find honey at most restaurants, you know those little jars at breakfast? Or, you can carry little one-serving packets with you. Here’s what you do: wash your face and pat dry, gently spread a thin layer of honey over your face, don’t get it in your hair, it’s very messy, lie down for 10-15 minutes. Then before you rinse off, pat all over your face for a few minutes. It will be sticky, tacky and will feel great, too. Rinse, apply your organic skin care and off you go!

picture-3I am not a car freak but after hearing the report on NPR tonight I was totally sold and I really want one of these sports cars just launched by Tesla Motors and who wouldn’t? 244 miles per charge, burns no oil, quiet- there’s a little melody that plays to let you know it’s on, 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds not that I need whiplash but still…, you can read the faq’s and decide for yourself on questions such as what are the benefits in driving and EV, will my iPod and Bluetooth work with the car and how long does it take to charge. Can I borrow $100K? Don’t know if I can wait until the family model comes out next year and the price comes down.

Song Du Jour

November 16, 2008


From a songwriters sing concert at Milton Hall, Litchfield, CT in ’91.

And although my husband still travels alot I have a better handle on my life, and it isn’t as hard as it used to be now that the children are grown.

“The Germs Are Coming”

November 1, 2008

My mother’s germophobia was nothing compared to the phobics today. Okay, I’ll admit that I am loath to touch anything in an airplane bathroom and I do swab my seat and surroundings and myself when flying. I also am not too keen on shopping cart handles in the grocery store- and there are wipes at the door-BUT- what is in those wipes? Something very questionable, actually. There is quite a fuss being made about germs and just as big a fuss about the health dangers of the antibacterial chemicals we use in the name of good health and cleanliness. I am of the opinion that I am not willing to dirty and endanger myself with chemicals thinking that I am cleaner for the application of triclosan and the like. I mean, whatever happened to soap and water? Surely there are herbs and essential oils which can do as good as or even better job of cleaning and protecting my skin, my countertops, my bathtub, my teeth? There is evidence that plain soap and water are as effective.

First of all, a well-known and dangerous ingredient of many household items is triclosan. Found in toothpastes, shampoos, cleaning products, lipsticks, children’s toys, fabrics and would you believe…even toothbrushes triclosan and triclocarbon act as antibacterial agents.  The antimicrobial industry is approaching the billion dollar a year level. It is a huge market for chemical companies. However, triclosan had its humble beginnings as a scrubbing agent for hospital use. Interestingly enough it is registered as a pesticide with the EPA.

The Townsend Letter presents a very compelling look at the oversights of the EPA and FDA with regard to our safety from overexposure to triclosan and other antimicrobial agents. Some hazards include the chloroform toxic gas that is created when using antimicrobial dishwashing or hand soap with chlorinated water! Dr Stewart Levy  in a paper presented to the CDC, suggests that these heavy hitting products are not useful in a healthy household and after years of overuse and misuse of these drugs, bacteria have developed antibiotic resistance, which has become a global health crisis. The “increase of surface antibacterial agents or biocides into healthy households may contribute to the resistance problem”.

The known health hazards are numerous and include:accumulation of residues through skin and mucosal absorption, residues can be found in human fatty tissue and breast milk traceable to use of products containing triclosan. Although it may take years for the EPA and FDA to regulate this toxin, we can easily elect not to use them and change the future of the health of ourselves and our families. 4 major grocery chains in the UK have banned the sale of products containing triclosan.

Choice of materials provide options. Read about copper fixtures! Thanks, Josh. There are numerous choices for personal use which can be found at the natural food store. Here is a great link for alternatives including recipe for your own hand sanitizer.


Check out this traffic video video and though it speaks for itself, let me speak for it as well: Why are we in such a rush when we drive in traffic? Why do we need to “close the gap”? Why do we not let others in front of us? Do you know how it actually slows down the flow when you sneak ahead when merging? The time saved is negligible, so the question becomes whether or not we can relax and create more flow when congestion is visible ahead of us. This guy has a workable, and zenlike, solution. Consciously driving with as little braking as possible can also facilitate the traffic behind you- because when you brake, so do the 3-4 cars behind you! Changing lanes without causing the person behind you to brake is also something to think about. You can read insightful comments about this video and is a site with great visuals for understanding the flow and waves of traffic patterns. Hat tip to Steve Cooperman!

Via: Meta Cafe

Best Flights, Right Price

October 18, 2008

Do you know that the average flight price fluctuates 400%?  It’s crazy work trying to find the lowest prices-what to do? If the price of your ticket dropped after you bought it wouldn’t you want to know about it? Yapta is a cool site that was created to make it easy for you to find the best flight at the right price. Yapta will track prices on your trips, and alert you when prices drop so that you can purchase tickets when they’re most affordable. Yapta also will track the ticket price and if the price drops below what you paid, and you’re eligible for a refund or travel credit from the airline, Yapta can help you claim it. My friend Arthur says he has saved hundreds of dollars this way and has accumulated credits with airlines.

Via: Arthur Greenwald, savvy friend