Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Coconut Cream And Coconut Water Article (Natural Skin And Hair Care)

Since I posted about a sugar scrub that contained coconut ingredients yesterday, I thought I would post a related eco living article on using coconut cream and coconut water in skin care.  I wrote this article several months ago; I was asked about using these ingredients in body scrubs and bath soaks.  There are links to some of my other coconut recipes in it!

I usually post this article every couple of months on facebook.  Every time I post this article, I get asked 'where do you find coconut cream?'.  Coconut cream can be found at health food stores or at Asian markets.  I like to get mine at my local Whole Foods since they have organic.  A good organic brand is Native Forest.  But if you don't have coconut cream, just use coconut milk, which is similar to coconut cream but only thinner. I would get canned coconut milk and not the type in the carton, since the ones in the cartons are usually very watered down.  If you open a can of coconut milk, the coconut milk usually is separated (there will be a solid mass on top and thinner liquid on the bottom).  Just use more of the thick coconut stuff on the top and less of the liquid at the bottom.  Note: don't confuse coconut cream with 'creamed coconut' (which is coconut butter).  Some vendors also call their coconut oil 'coconut cream' so read labels carefully!

For coconut water, there are many good brands.  You can find them in many health food stores as well as some regular super markets, and places like costco too.  I like vita coco brand.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Sugar Scrubs Galore! (Natural Skin Care, Carrier Oils, Essential Oils).

I just edited my old post on sugar and salt scrubs.  I shared this recipe many years ago, but was recently talking about sugar scrubs on Earth Alkemie's facebook fan page, so decided to share it again, and updated the information in the post!  This is a basic, classic recipe for sugar and salt scrubs, made with sugar or salt, oil, and essential oils.  They are super easy and inexpensive to make.

A few months ago I also shared my vegan coconut scrub recipe on the anb (all natural beauty) mall.  This recipe uses coconut cream and coconut water instead of a carrier oil.  It smells so delicious and is really great for the skin.  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

D.C. Green Festival (Eco Living)

This weekend is the annual Washington DC Green Festival.  They have lots of green vendors, non-profits, speakers on all types of environmental subjects, food, and activities.  I've been the the DC Green Festival a few times in the past and it is a lot of fun!  Green Festivals are also held once a year in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Qigong Classes (Chinese Energetic Medicine)

This weekend I took a really great qigong class called Spring Forest qigong level 1, at Sports Edge Acupuncture Clinic.  The class was taught by Hon Lee: a license acupuncturist, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and the owner Sports Edge Acupuncture Clinic.  Hon is a Level I and Level II Certified Instructor and a Level I Master Healer in Spring Forest Qigong, and also has a master’s in medical qigong therapy.  I met Hon during Peter Holmes’s and Tiffany Pollard's aroma acupoint class a few weeks ago.

I had taken tai chi many years ago and had learned some qigong back then, but haven’t really practiced either in years.  So I was happy to learn about Spring Forest Qigong, and some techniques to help balance my qi and to learn more about the energetic medicine of my ancestors.  I liked the class because qigong is very simple to do and very calming; great for stress.  Plus Hon was a good teacher; he explained things in detail and very clearly.  The class came with a DVD, book, and meditation CD, which was awesome, so I can review all that I learned.  Hon is going to teach level 2 in the future, so I can’t wait for his class.  He teaches level 1 and 2 a few times a year, so check out his website for more information (such as the dates and costs) on upcoming classes.  He has a free meetup qigong group in Herndon; which often meets once a month.

For non-locals, there is a lot of free information (like videos, downloads, and meditations) on Spring Forest qigong’s website.  Or you can get their CDs, DVDs, and books in their online store.  You can also find a certified teacher in your state if you'd rather take a live class.

The best news: Learning Strategies is offering many free Spring Forest qigong videos or audio sessions this week; each day has something different free.  It started Monday (the ones for monday are still playing for at least a few more hours, before they switch them to the tuesday ones) and there will be a couple free videos or audio sessions until the 24th.  I hope that others will get to listen to some of the free recordings!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Discount For Tisserand's Essential Oils In Skin Care Seminar (Aromatherapy, Natural Skin Care, Courses)

Just saw that vintage aromatherapist and essential oil safety expert Robert Tisserand has extended the discount for his August New York City Essential Oils In Skin Care Seminar!  The early bird special is good until May 14th.  I'll fix this in my previous post.  The seminar is on essential oils in skin care, so I am so excited for it!  This is an area I know quite a bit about (being an all natural skin care formulator, and learning about & using essential oils for over 13 years!) but nothing like learning from the masters!

Looks like Tisserand is teaching his essential oil skin care seminar in Petaluma California in September too! There is an early bird discount for this course too, which is good until July 14th.

He has some seminars on clinical safety in China too (he travels all over the world to present seminars).  I hope that he will eventually teach some of his clinical safety seminars in the U.S.!

Tisserand did mention on facebook earlier this year that he will eventually be releasing some webinars; I hope that he is still going to do that, because I would love to watch them!

Edited to change one of the dates.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Free Aromatherapy Webinar (Essential Oils)

I just found out there is a free aromatherapy webinar from American College of Healthcare Sciences tomorrow (May 1st).  If you can't listen to the webinar then, sign up for the webinar and they will send you a link to the recording on May 2nd.

Aromatherapy Classes (Essential Oils And Acupoints)

I am very excited!  I just thought I’d post more about upcoming aromatherapy classes.

First I have to say I am happy that I was one of the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy’s giveaway winners (the giveaway was held at the end of March, see previous blog entry on that).  Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy (AIA) is Sylla Sheppard-Hanger’s school.  Sylla is a vintage aromatherapist and essential oil safety expert.  My prize was a workshop, but sadly I can’t make it during that date. :(  Luckily Sylla and her daughter Nyssa (who is also a knowledgeable aromatherapist) let me have a credit for their store instead.  Thanks again Sylla and Nyssa!  I really love Sylla’s books and practitioner course, and I hope that next year I can take some of Sylla’s and Nyssa’s workshops!  AIA offers a practitioner course (which is a correspondence, self study course), a new practitioner training program (which combines their practitioner course with live training workshops, videos, pdfs, etc), and workshops (which are 1-2 day in person/live classes).

I am sad about missing AIA’s workshop!  Next year I hope to take more live aromatherapy and herbal classes with some of the vintage pioneers, including Sylla, Jeanne Rose, and the Tierras.  But it really depends on my health and funds too (since none of them are local so I have to factor in traveling costs too, which quickly add up!).

Unfortunately, there aren’t that many live/in person herbal and aromatherapy courses and schools around where I live.  I’ve learned a lot from correspondence courses, books, scientific studies, etc, but there is nothing like a live course!  So I try to take them when I can!  There are only a couple herbal schools 1-2 hours away, but they are way out of my budget right now.  But I recently found a great live aromatherapy class just an hour away!  Peter Holmes and Tiffany Pollard are teaching a live class.  Peter Holmes is a vintage aromatherapist, acupuncturist, herbalist, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner.  Tiffany Pollard is an acupuncturist and a massage therapist.  Their class is on aroma acupoint therapy!  I am absolutely delighted because it is combining my love for aromatherapy with my newest passion: TCM!  I just started learning about TCM not too long ago (with the Tierras, who teach about the herbs and theories of TCM) and I took a meridian class (with Cindy Black, which taught the meridians and some of the acupoints used in massage).  I started receiving acupuncture treatments a couple months ago, and it has helped me so much with my daily muscle pain and some of my other issues.   So I am thrilled to learn about using (diluted) essential oils on acupoints!  Holmes and Pollard teach in person classes all over the country, so I highly recommend checking Holmes’s website 'Snow Lotus' for classes.

I am planning to take Robert Tisserand’s aromatherapy skincare live seminar in NYC, which is just a few hours away!  I have family there or in nearby states so traveling probably won’t be too hard (traveling is often very physically painful and exhausting for me, plus I also have to consider my food allergies, so it does take a little more planning).  Tisserand is a vintage aromatherapist and essential oil safety expert.  The class is not until the fall but there is an early bird discount if you sign up now (which ends May 14).  It will be wonderful learning from Tisserand on a subject that I love (I am an all natural skin care formulator).  Just hope I feel okay health wise then!

I really love studying plants and I am glad that I am learning even more about them!  I have been studying aromatherapy and herbalism for a long time (13 years; and learning about plants for many years before that), but I have been taking more courses recently to review some info, learn different perspectives on the subjects, and learn a lot of new information!  

Edited to change the early bird special date for Tisserand's class since he extended it.  See also my newest blog post for more about his classes.  Edited again since it is the 14th not the 15th!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day! Eco Living Tips For Earth Month!

Happy Earth Day and Earth Month!  I hope everyone has been learning a lot about environmental issues and participating in many green related activities over the past few weeks.  I have been posting a lot of green and eco living articles and information on facebook (as always!), but just thought I'd pop in here and post a couple of my Earth Day related eco living articles!

For April, I wrote an Earth Day themed eco living article on simple eco actions.  A lot of people care about the environment but may not know where to start, so I have shared a few of my favorite easy but green tips, including information on overconsumption, glass containers, and toothbrushes.  I totally believe that many small actions can have a huge impact!  

In addition to incorporating green actions in people's lives, I think it is also important to spread awareness about ecological issues.  A couple years ago I wrote an article on the differences between conservation and preservation; many people use these terms interchangeably nowadays, but there is difference between the two.  I think that both conservation and preservation are equally important and needed in today's environmental movement.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Free Aromatherapy And Traditional Chinese Medicine Webinars (Essential Oils And Pulse Diagnosis)

I am so excited!  There are a lot of upcoming free webinars by a few aromatherapists and herbalists!

Over the next few days, there are not one but THREE free aromatherapy webinars.  :) The first one is a webinar on aromatherapy for first aid on March 26th.   It is being taught by aromatherapy and herbal pioneer, Mindy Green.  Green is a registered herbalist (through the American Herbalists Guild (AHG)) and a registered aromatherapist (Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC)). She has been teaching for over 35 years. She is on a lot of advisory boards (like the American Botanical Council (ABC) and the American College of Healthcare Sciences), and was one of the founders of the American Herbalists Guild.   Plus she is an esthetician! Green has written some of my most favorite aromatherapy books (A Complete Guide To The Healing Art 2nd edition, and Natural Perfumes), and has written many excellent articles too!  Her aromatherapy webinars are so informative (I've listened to a few of her webinars and AHG seminars in the past).  Since she is both an aromatherapist and an herbalist, she uses both essential oils and herbs for healing and for creating products.  She calls this 'aroma-herbalism'.  Green is one of my favorite western herbalists and aromatherapists; I have learned so much from her books, webinars, seminars, and articles, etc. She is so knowledgable so I am very happy that she is offering this webinar!

The second one is by vintage aromatherapist Andrea Butje.  Andrea Butje has been practicing aromatherapy for over 15 years, and was a massage therapist for far longer.  Her aromatherapy school is Aromahead, which is approved by both  National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) and Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) which are the two U.S. aromatherapy organizations (AIA is international based but headquartered in the U.S.).  Last year she received AIA's life time achievement award.   I wasn't that familiar with her until last year; I don't think she published an aromatherapy book until fairly recently (which I need to get) and I never bought from her former aromatherapy company (Aromatics International, which is now owned by someone else), though I had heard of it before.  But I am glad I stumbled across her work!  I have seen a couple of her free webinars, taken her free basic essential oil course, have read her blog, and seen her free youtube videos and recipes to get a sense of her teaching style, how she practices aromatherapy, and her background.  I really like how she breaks down aromatherapy step by step, and explains things very clearly.  I especially like her personality; she is very calm, relaxed, and is very sunny!  The layout of her courses is innovative in that it is completely online and interactive. (I have taken an online course by another Aromahead teacher too, more about that in another post!).  Anyways her upcoming webinar on March 27th will discuss the aromatherapy courses she teaches, so if you have been thinking about her school, then watch the webinar so you can learn about and ask questions about her courses!

And there is a third one!  Jade Shutes is having a free blending webinar. I don't know much about Jade Shutes's aromatherapy background; I wasn't that familiar with her work until last year.  I've known that she had an aromatherapy massage book for years (but I don't have her book yet) but I didn't begin reading her blog posts until sometime last year.  She is the current president of NAHA, so her knowledge of essential oils is probably sound.   I like the skin care recipes she has on her blog, they look like great formulations.  I like her essential oil profile posts because they look very thorough and complete, and she often discusses some of the rarer aromatics.  The essential oil blending webinar is on April 2nd.  I am looking forward to seeing it and learning more about her background and philosophies.  Based on her recipes on her blog, she is an excellent formulator, and knows the properties of essential oils well!  Shutes has an aromatherapy school called Theida.

And last but not least, herbalism and acupuncturist pioneer Michael Tierra has a free webinar on Traditional Chinese Medicine pulse diagnosis on April 1 (it was supposed to be at an earlier date but got rescheduled).  This webinar is one of the few free American Herbalists Guild webinars being offered this year.  Tierra was one of the founders of the American Herbalists Guild, and he is familiar with many different types of herbalism and alternative medicine.  He teaches a combination of western herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Ayurveda, so understands herbalism from many different perspectives.  And maybe I am biased ;P since I am currently a student of his 2-3 year professional herbalism course, but he is just brilliant, and very knowledgable on many different subjects.  I've actually taken a previous webinar of his on pulse diagnosis, but I am going to listen to this one too.  Since I have no idea if he will be going over all the same things or not.  And when I heard the previous webinar, I had just started his class, so hardly knew a thing about TCM!  Now that I know a little more, I look forward to his webinar.  Just want to say that his webinars are very in depth, and he goes over a lot of different topics, so take lots of notes!

So register and listen to some or all of these webinars!  :)

Just want to mention I've posted about other free webinars and many aromatherapy and herbal resources (including courses, tips, links to essential oil profiles, etc) and eco living articles (crafting, DIY skin care recipes, environmental issues, conservation, etc) on Earth Alkemie's (my skin care and perfume business) facebook fan page, that I haven't posted here on my personal eco blog.  So check out my business fan page for more resources!  Right now (at the time of this writing) Earth Alkemie has been closed for a long time (due to my and my dad's chronic health issues), but I hope to reopen eventually (I still have no idea when).

Related side note:  I would check out NAHA and AIA for more information about aromatherapy.  NAHA doesn't have as much information on their website as they used to though (some controversy, not so sure about all the details).   And visit AHG's and ABC's websites for more info on herbalism! All of the websites I have linked (the personal websites and school websites) have a lot of info on them too!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Free Aromatherapy Giveaway And Free Herbalism Course And Mentorship (Essential Oils And Herbs)

I mentioned this on Earth Alkemie's fan page, but the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy is having a free giveaway until tomorrow Monday the 24th!  The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy is Sylla Sheppard-Hanger's school.  She is a vintage aromatherapist (meaning a pioneer in aromatherapy that has been practicing for several decades).  She is considered to be one of the best essential oil safety experts. AIA is giving away a few different prizes.  Also I suggest liking their facebook page, they are having great deals (I had posted about the one that was today on Earth Alkemie's fan page; it was only for a couple hours, so no time to post about it here too).   Check over there to see if they have any more specials in the future.

And if that wasn't awesome enough, Susan Weed is offering a free herbal infusion course and mentorship!  Susan Weed is one of the western herbalism pioneers.  I have read one of her books, read her newsletters, and seen some of her webinars.  I like her personality; she advocates reestablishing the spiritual connection to the natural word.  Thank you K for letting me know about the course and mentorship!  I am not sure how long her infusion course will be free.  So if you are interested, sign up for it now!  She is also offering a free mentorship through the link on the Inspired Living website (the Inspired Living website has a lot of other free offers too; I think the offer may be good until April the 13th.  But I am not completely sure if Weed's offer is good until then, but Inspired Living will be offering many freebies until then).  I was so happy to learn about the free course and the free mentorship.  So guess who signed up for them?  :)

I am taking so many herbalism and aromatherapy classes now!  Some of it is review for me, but a lot of information is new to me too!  So I am having a blast learning all of it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

FREE Aromatherapy Kindle Book Today, March 18 (Aromatherapy)

Today on March 18, 2014, vintage aromatherapist Marge Clark is offering her aromatherapy book, 'Essential Oils And Aromatics' for free.  For the kindle edition.  Here is the description on her website. The link to the kindle edition's page on amazon is on her website. :)  Edited to add the direct link to the amazon page, since certain browsers are having issues showing the amazon link on Marge's website.

Marge Clark has been learning about aromatherapy for around twenty years or longer.  She is considered a vintage aromatherapist in the aromatherapy community.  By vintage I mean a knowledgeable aromatherapy pioneer that has been using aromatherapy for decades.  She is the owner of an awesome aromatherapy company called 'Nature's Gift'.  I buy most essential oils in bulk or wholesale (since I had/have an aromatherapy skin care and perfume business), but I still buy from her store sometimes, for the rarer aromatics.  The quality of her products is excellent to superior: top notch, and one of the aromatherapy companies I recommend the most to others.  Her website has lots of authentic information on aromatherapy, and I enjoy reading her newsletter.

I remember several years ago, Marge Clark put a link to Solarkat's Eco Blog on her blog (Nature's Gift's blog).  I was so excited that she reads my blog!

I have her book both in the printed edition and the kindle edition.  When the kindle edition came out a few months ago, I was so ecstatic, because currently there are very few GOOD aromatherapy, herbalism, natural skin care, natural remedy, etc books on kindle.  I have downloaded a lot of free books, and many of them are filled with mistakes, misinformation, don't list safety information or contraindications,  or there are formulation issues with the recipes, etc.  I like her book since I think it is a good introduction to the world of aromatherapy.  It includes a lot of aromatherapy recipes for different issues.

On Nature Gift's facebook page, she mentioned to me that she wishes she had the time to complete the second edition and get it reprinted in hardcover, so I am hoping that in the future she will have the time to write!  Considering how awesome the first edition is, I know it will be worth the wait!

The kindle book is only free today.  But if you miss it, it has been on sale in the past, and it really isn't that expensive; it costs about $7 or so.  So it's still a great book to get if you miss the free offer.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ayurveda Resources (Natural Skin Care And Alternative Health)

Recently I was answering a question on a facebook group, and someone mentioned she wanted to learn more about Ayurveda.  Since I am studying Ayurveda now, I told her that I would be happy to suggest some good resources.  So I thought I would share my resources here.  Thanks J for the excellent question!  :)

I highly recommend Michael and Lesley Tierra's professional herbalism course; this is one of the herbalism courses I am currently taking.  The Tierras are long time, respected pioneers in herbalism, and they are also licensed acupuncturists.  They are some of the founders of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG). They have a unique way of looking at herbalism: they teach a combination of western herbalism, Ayurveda, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  I have been learning about western herbalism for thirteen years, but Ayurveda and TCM are pretty new to me.  Aside from reading a few Ayurveda based beauty books, and a few articles, I really didn't know much about it.  So I am very glad I am taking their class; I am learning so much!  Their class is very intense and in depth; it typically takes two years or longer to finish.  However they do offer a shorter home herbalist course, which is basically the first third of their professional herbalism course.  Their professional course goes on sale a few times a year.

If you can't take one of their classes right now, then I suggest getting Michael Tierra's 'Planetary Herbology' book (which discusses western herbalism, TCM, and Ayurveda).  Tierra wrote a book with K.P. Khalsa called the 'Way Of Ayurvedic Herbs'.  I've only read a few chapters of both books so far, but they are very in depth, and I have learned a lot from them!

Karta Purkh (K.P.) Khalsa is one of the most respected teachers of Ayurveda.  Khalsa is the current president of the AHG.    He has a couple free webinars on the AHG's website and on Floracopeia (an aromatherapy vendor).  One of the AHG's webinars is on Floracopeia's website; it is on Ayurvedic herbs.  I've taken a few of his free webinars, and once I finish some of the herbal and aromatherapy courses I am taking, I hope to take more of his classes!  I think some of his courses on Floracopeia's website are currently on sale (at the time of this writing).

I would check out the works of David Crow (owner of Floracopeia, who is a teacher of Ayurveda, TCM, and aromatherapy).  Floracopeia has several different types of courses, including Ayurveda courses from many different teachers.   There is even an aromatherapy Ayurveda course too!  Best of all they always have free webinars!   Floracopeia courses go on sale a few times a year.

J said that she was interested in learning about Ayurveda for beauty.  I read a few Ayurvedic beauty books years ago.  One of the ones I really liked was Absolute Beauty by Pratima Raichur.  Pratima Raichur is an Ayurvedic practitioner, and she has a degree in biochemistry.  She is the owner of Pratima Ayurvedic skin care, a well respected skin care company.  I have never used her line, but a lot of people are fans of her sunscreen!

I enjoyed the Ayurvedic beauty books by Melanie Sachs.   I think her most popular book is 'Ayurvedic Beauty Care'.  It is now available on kindle; it is one of the few GOOD natural beauty books available as an e-book.

There are so many other excellent Ayurvedic books; these are just the tip of the iceburg.  I am having so much fun learning about this different way of looking at life, and this way of healing.  And I can't wait to learn even more!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Helichrysum And Carrot Seed Essential Oils (Aromatherapy, Natural Skin Care, Blending & Perfumery)

Recently I received a question, in regards to my old helichrysum+rosehip post.  LB mentioned that she didn’t like the smell of helichrysum and carrot seed essential oils, and she asked if they are supposed to smell bad.  Thanks for the great question LB! :)

Helichrysum essential oil does have a unusual scent.  One of its other common names is the curry plant!  I actually like the scent, but many others don't care for it.  To my nose it smells  spicy with some honeyed and fruity notes.  Many people say they don’t like the smell of carrot essential oil too, but I like it!

I can't say whether your helichrysum essential oil smells bad, since scent can vary based on a lot of different factors including growing season, climate, distillation methods, variance in chemical composition, etc.  But quality of essential oils can matter too, and sometimes essential oils (especially one as high priced as Corsican helichrysum essential oil) are often adulterated.  Also there are different species of helichrysum (I am assuming you have (latin name) Helichrysum italicum since that is the one mentioned in my previous blog post), and the different species smell different from each other.  

Helichrysum can be hard to blend with; for example, it took me months to create the blend for one of my elixirs for my skin care and perfume business (Earth Alkemie), but you can create beautiful scents by blending it with other essential oils.

In my experience helichrysum blends well with citrus (peel or the petitgrains), floral notes (for example: rose, jasmine, high altitude lavender, geranium), herbaceous scents (I like roman chamomile, patchouli, lavender, clary sage, geranium) and some spicy scents (such as clove).  I listed some of the essential oils in a couple different categories, because each essential oils has primary, middle, and back notes (they are not just straight notes but each essential oil has a few different notes).  I just listed some of the main notes in each.

To my nose, carrot seed essential oil is earthy, woody, and spicy.  It blends well with citrus, geranium, frankincense, lavender, cypress, spicy, and woody notes.

To blend, start with only two aromatics.  Use drops and vials to make sample blends, with different proportions.  Then once you get the blend you like, use it in your products.  OR add a third aromatic, and continue your blending experiments.  Some people pre-dilute (so they dilute in a carrier before they mix) and some people (like me) dilute afterwards (after all the essential oils are mixed together, then I dilute in a carrier).  Others just forgo making sample blends and just like to just add drops of essential oils directly to the carrier oil (I do this sometimes if crafting for myself, and not the business).  :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

Have a Happy Chinese New Year!  This year is the Year Of The Wood Horse.  Here is a good post I wrote on chinese astrology (including online resources and books) a couple years ago.  Much joy and fortune!