You Are At The Archives for 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 in , , , ,

Easing In... A short summer report


I'm betting many of us still don't believe that summer is really ending.
I think about the first days back at school when
I was in the elementary grades... One of those time-honored traditions was to write your first essay of the year on what you did during the summer. It made an easy transition for teachers and students alike.

I'm going to continue that tradition with a few photos taken during my summer. It was by no means a summer of vacations. But it had a few memorable moments.
Here in the Midwest one of the biggest things that happened to our entire region was a massive amount of rain that fell during the early summer months, causing flooding all up and down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. My house is exactly 2 minutes from the Mississippi riverfront in St. Louis - I can practically see it from our house. The McKinley bridge was revamped and reopened just this last year. One of the nicest additions to the bridge was the conversion of an old train trestle to a pedestrian and bicycle trail.

One evening we decide
d to have some free, easy fun and walk across the river. These are the quick pictures I snapped from our phone. It was a gorgeous sunset and
we had the entire bridge to ourselves.


in , , , ,

Easing In... A short summer report


I'm betting many of us still don't believe that summer is really ending.
I think about the first days back at school when
I was in the elementary grades... One of those time-honored traditions was to write your first essay of the year on what you did during the summer. It made an easy transition for teachers and students alike.

I'm going to continue that tradition with a few photos taken during my summer. It was by no means a summer of vacations. But it had a few memorable moments.
Here in the Midwest one of the biggest things that happened to our entire region was a massive amount of rain that fell during the early summer months, causing flooding all up and down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. My house is exactly 2 minutes from the Mississippi riverfront in St. Louis - I can practically see it from our house. The McKinley bridge was revamped and reopened just this last year. One of the nicest additions to the bridge was the conversion of an old train trestle to a pedestrian and bicycle trail.

One evening we decide
d to have some free, easy fun and walk across the river. These are the quick pictures I snapped from our phone. It was a gorgeous sunset and
we had the entire bridge to ourselves.


Monday, June 23, 2008 in , , , ,

Pro-Active Natural Sun Protection (or else!)

Ah, summer!
Swimming pools, barbecues, and sunbathing.... oh, wait that last part is maybe a little outdated. Try 1989 outdated.

What I won't do for my readers.... The lovely photo you are gazing upon is me at age 12, enjoying my new, trendy 2 piece suit and a book - likely a fantasy novel from the used book store down the hill. The scrunchy, the sunglasses, the stripes, the sunbathing.... so eighties!

I have seriously pale skin. I really don't tan but at the time of this photo I was still discovering that fact. All the pre-teens in my school were going to tanning salons by the ripe old age of 11 . My family being the budget type I had to use the free tanning salon - the sun. I spent hours laying out, feeling hot and sweaty. My prize? Some very faint swimsuit lines and some likely skin damage. Fortunately it didn't take too long before I decided that laying out was real pain and not very productive for me. I resigned myself to the fact that I am just pale.

Fortunately for me I was way ahead of the real trend - skipping the suntan. As we embark upon the coming holiday week I just wanted to take a moment to offer a few suggestions that are totally 2008.

1. Sun exposure is dangerous. Not only can you end up with a really uncomfortable burn but that burn could someday give you cancer. Sunscreen should be your very first thought if you are going to be spending any more than 15 minutes in the sun. When really desperate even I would choose a Franken-chemical sunscreen from Walgreens over a sunburn. But if you have the option check out your local health food store for their natural sunscreens. California Baby has a great, water resistant sunscreen that works for kids and adults and smells really good. It uses micronized titanium dioxide, which is a physical sunscreen rather than chemical like oxybenzone. It reflects the suns rays like a million tiny mirrors.

2. Did you know that citrus essential oils can be photo-toxic? That means that if you use a product with any significant concentration of orange, lemon, grapefruit or other citrus essential oil before heading out to sun exposure your skin can be discolored and can burn much worse than normally. Skip citrus body oils and don't dribble any of these in your bath water. Bergamot FCF is one of the only citrus oils that is safe to use. FCF means that the components of the essential oil that would otherwise be phototoxic have been removed.

3. Your face will be with you forever. Invest in a hat. It will help save you thousands in cosmetic surgery later on.

4. Your face also receives more exposure than any other body part besides your hands. Wear daily sunscreen. No ifs, ands, or buts.  When I'm going to be out and about I use Lavera's facial sun protection. I have yet to find a product in the Lavera line that doesn't meet my requirements for purity and quality. The texture of their products is amazing, scent great, and they are all approved by the BDIH standard in Germany, the strictest standard for natural personal care products.

(update!)
5. Since this article was first written Blissoma has added 2 incredible antioxidant products that can help fortify your skin naturally to better defend itself.  Amend Antioxidant Soothing Lotion is incredible for your body and you can read up on it on another blog entry here. 
As of December 2012 to complement our Amend for the body we have now added an Amend specifically designed for your face packed with 3 times as much Pomella pomegranate extract, Coenzyme Q10, and more Acai and Cranberry seed oils.  Amend Facial Solar Repair Anti-aging Serum is a daily use serum with long term benefits and your new BFF for damage prevention.  Let's just say you'll thank us in 10 years when you're still looking firm, fresh, and with less buildup of those fine lines.

So do yourself a favor and protect! Otherwise people will soon be able to see you were alive for the eighties. I know that's a secret you'd rather keep to yourself (along with all the photos of you with your mall bangs and Z. Cavaricci pants). Don't worry, I'll never tell. 
 

in , , , ,

Pro-Active Natural Sun Protection (or else!)

Ah, summer!
Swimming pools, barbecues, and sunbathing.... oh, wait that last part is maybe a little outdated. Try 1989 outdated.

What I won't do for my readers.... The lovely photo you are gazing upon is me at age 12, enjoying my new, trendy 2 piece suit and a book - likely a fantasy novel from the used book store down the hill. The scrunchy, the sunglasses, the stripes, the sunbathing.... so eighties!

I have seriously pale skin. I really don't tan but at the time of this photo I was still discovering that fact. All the pre-teens in my school were going to tanning salons by the ripe old age of 11 . My family being the budget type I had to use the free tanning salon - the sun. I spent hours laying out, feeling hot and sweaty. My prize? Some very faint swimsuit lines and some likely skin damage. Fortunately it didn't take too long before I decided that laying out was real pain and not very productive for me. I resigned myself to the fact that I am just pale.

Fortunately for me I was way ahead of the real trend - skipping the suntan. As we embark upon the coming holiday week I just wanted to take a moment to offer a few suggestions that are totally 2008.

1. Sun exposure is dangerous. Not only can you end up with a really uncomfortable burn but that burn could someday give you cancer. Sunscreen should be your very first thought if you are going to be spending any more than 15 minutes in the sun. When really desperate even I would choose a Franken-chemical sunscreen from Walgreens over a sunburn. But if you have the option check out your local health food store for their natural sunscreens. California Baby has a great, water resistant sunscreen that works for kids and adults and smells really good. It uses micronized titanium dioxide, which is a physical sunscreen rather than chemical like oxybenzone. It reflects the suns rays like a million tiny mirrors.

2. Did you know that citrus essential oils can be photo-toxic? That means that if you use a product with any significant concentration of orange, lemon, grapefruit or other citrus essential oil before heading out to sun exposure your skin can be discolored and can burn much worse than normally. Skip citrus body oils and don't dribble any of these in your bath water. Bergamot FCF is one of the only citrus oils that is safe to use. FCF means that the components of the essential oil that would otherwise be phototoxic have been removed.

3. Your face will be with you forever. Invest in a hat. It will help save you thousands in cosmetic surgery later on.

4. Your face also receives more exposure than any other body part besides your hands. Wear daily sunscreen. No ifs, ands, or buts.  When I'm going to be out and about I use Lavera's facial sun protection. I have yet to find a product in the Lavera line that doesn't meet my requirements for purity and quality. The texture of their products is amazing, scent great, and they are all approved by the BDIH standard in Germany, the strictest standard for natural personal care products.

(update!)
5. Since this article was first written Blissoma has added 2 incredible antioxidant products that can help fortify your skin naturally to better defend itself.  Amend Antioxidant Soothing Lotion is incredible for your body and you can read up on it on another blog entry here. 
As of December 2012 to complement our Amend for the body we have now added an Amend specifically designed for your face packed with 3 times as much Pomella pomegranate extract, Coenzyme Q10, and more Acai and Cranberry seed oils.  Amend Facial Solar Repair Anti-aging Serum is a daily use serum with long term benefits and your new BFF for damage prevention.  Let's just say you'll thank us in 10 years when you're still looking firm, fresh, and with less buildup of those fine lines.

So do yourself a favor and protect! Otherwise people will soon be able to see you were alive for the eighties. I know that's a secret you'd rather keep to yourself (along with all the photos of you with your mall bangs and Z. Cavaricci pants). Don't worry, I'll never tell. 
 

Monday, June 9, 2008 in , ,

Our Little Helpers

No, we don't have elves that help us here.
But I thought you might enjoy seeing some pics of the folks that help make the products you get to enjoy at home. I've picked up one new helper this summer. She loves to organize, count things, sing and dance.

Yup, that's my now 4 year old, Tru. So I guess we can't say we don't use child labor. Cause she's been in the studio a lot lately. Today she helped our part-time production assistant Kim organize Energize tin candles.

She is also the only studio helper that comes to work with no pants on. Today the outfit was tights and dress-up shoes with stripey green shirt. She loves her tights. 

The order of the day for Frank, our Production Manager, was Stress Serum packaging. Meet the man who makes just about everything except our soap and perfume (my jobs ). And he does darn good for us, braving sleet, snow, rain and blazing heat to make it to our studio every day using only public transit. Believe me, in St. Louis this is not a small feat.

That is our summer Monday at Blissoma. Hope you are nice and cool wherever you are.

in , ,

Our Little Helpers

No, we don't have elves that help us here.
But I thought you might enjoy seeing some pics of the folks that help make the products you get to enjoy at home. I've picked up one new helper this summer. She loves to organize, count things, sing and dance.

Yup, that's my now 4 year old, Tru. So I guess we can't say we don't use child labor. Cause she's been in the studio a lot lately. Today she helped our part-time production assistant Kim organize Energize tin candles.

She is also the only studio helper that comes to work with no pants on. Today the outfit was tights and dress-up shoes with stripey green shirt. She loves her tights. 

The order of the day for Frank, our Production Manager, was Stress Serum packaging. Meet the man who makes just about everything except our soap and perfume (my jobs ). And he does darn good for us, braving sleet, snow, rain and blazing heat to make it to our studio every day using only public transit. Believe me, in St. Louis this is not a small feat.

That is our summer Monday at Blissoma. Hope you are nice and cool wherever you are.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 in , , , , , ,

Healthy Eating with a Healthy Mindset - Being kind to all while pursuing alternative food lifestyles


Eat Healthy.
This is a directive that, despite how simple it appears, seems to baffle most people. Take a random poll in the supermarket and the answers you get would be a wide range of opinions, thoughts, and misinformation.

Some mothers may be pleased with themselves if their child eats their canned green beans. Some people might tell you that they avoid corn syrup in their juices. And some hapless individuals might actually tell you that the HungryMan, Hot Pocket, or Stauffers freezer meal that they plan to consume upon arrival home is the epitomy of a healthy meal.  I have to say I would only eat a Hot Pocket under the most desperate circumstances. Like if aliens invade, using all fresh vegetables as pods for their offspring leaving processed cheese as the only source of nourishment. (ok maybe that is a bit extreme, but you get the picture)

The American public generally all eats 3 times a day. So how can we all be so confused about an activity that sustains and even defines a good portion of our lives? Perhaps it is the fact that the Today show and other semi-journalistic TV shows feature no less than 2 food segments every morning with varying advice on what is healthy. Some of this information is sponsored by food companies and press agents - dubious sources for dietary advice, as it is all focused around getting you to purchase a specific kind of food product. Specifically I'm thinking about when I recently saw a guest food expert promoting 100 calorie snack packs as a "good" choice when looking to cut calories.  The immediate thought in my mind was "good" compared to what? Compared to Oreos - yes. Compared to Carrots - no!

I and many of my clients pursue what can be considered alternative food lifestyles.  I left fast food and most soda behind at age 15 and have zero regrets about this decision.  However, it has taken me until 20 years later to reduce my intake of dairy and caffeine and make other tweaks like boosting my greens consumption.  It has been a long road.  I wasn't an "unhealthy" eater to begin with, but the typical American diet has strayed so far from real food that reintroducing it can take some time and major adjustments to your daily life. 

If you're just starting the goals of eliminating animal products, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and potentially grains too for some individuals from your diet are big ones. These are noble aspirations and will positively impact your overall health.  Despite all the benefits it may be a longer process than a breezy blog article or wellness expert will make it sound.  It's easy to talk about. Implementation can be a good deal trickier.  The good news is that change is possible if you approach it with a flexible, yet determined mindset.

I have tremendous respect for vegan lifestyle and follow numerous vegan and raw food blogs.  There is a lot of exciting thought and adventurous eating to be had when you make your first batch of raw brownies or try a new juice recipe.  Once you get beyond boxed food the world really opens up to a whole new level of creativity, flavor, and connection to what you eat each day.  However, many people may experience unexpected barriers and have to delve deeply into their emotional eating patterns.  This is work worth doing but you need to be ready.  You may find many of your comfort foods have emotional significance due to family relationships and positive memories as well as the simple physiological pleasure.  I tend to find change is most stable when you work into it gradually rather than turning everything on its head all at once.  Start slow and try new things one at a time.

While dietary preferences such as veganism and raw foodism are gaining momentum in areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and even Chicago, the social support for lifestyles like this here in St. Louis, MO is more minimal.  You'll need to be prepared to talk about your new dietary habits a lot to help others feel comfortable.  As a vegetarian teen I went through a good bit of ribbing and ignorant remarks from relatives.  It gets old sometimes, and you have to be spiritually ready to handle the hassling with grace.

In major cities you can find restaurants and markets that specifically cater to vegan and raw food eating styles. Here in the Midwest it is considerably tougher. Vegan foods are served at a few local eateries, notably SweetArt, Everest Cafe, Foundation Grounds, Whisk Sustainable Bakery, the recently opened PuraVegan, Frida's Vegetarian Deli, and a few others. Other than that your dining choices may be limited to staying home or just having the salad offered at more conventional restaurants.  Home prepared food is awesome and this is how I eat most of the time, but many other people would experience a pretty jarring culture shock as they realize that accepting a dinner date with a friend means considering if the restaurant will have anything they wish to eat. 

My best suggestion would be that in making a lifestyle choice like this you'd do well to reach out to other local alternative eaters so you don't feel alone. At least you can cook together (or in the case of raw food, not cook). You may wish to plan to be the host for dinner parties. Your lifestyle choice will likely take some time for friends and family to adjust to and can cause some negative or hurt feelings initially when you can't participate in food rituals that are important.  

It may seem easy to you to replace ground beef with soy crumbles in Lasagna, but other people may initially think this sounds like a lot of work, or that it tastes funny. From personal experience it caused a great deal of trauma in my own family.  Suddenly my mom couldn't prepare family meals the way she used to and all her culinary knowledge related to meat was null and void. As someone that nurtured through food, this was a significant blow to her.  Mom has adjusted somewhat, and will now provide a meatless tomato sauce for the pasta as well as a meat version. That way the vegetarians present are not excluded. But I can tell you if I suddenly chose to go completely Vegan or Raw Foodist we'd go through much the same upset all over again.

The adage "It is more important to be Kind than Right" comes to mind.  In social situations I will often eat something that I would not choose to eat at home because I don't want to hurt the feelings of the host.  If they have been informed ahead of time that I prefer veggie meals and somehow made a mistake in their preparation I don't throw a hissy fit about if they slipped up and used chicken stock, if their sugar is officially vegan, or if their dairy is local and organic.  That, IMHO, is just bad form and makes your host feel yucky.  Unless you have a life threatening allergy to something on the table my personal feeling is that you should attempt to be gracious and respect that they tried.  People are prone to get irritated with you instead of educated if they see you as picky, problematic, and negative about what they offered to you with good intent.  If something offered really crosses your personal line then politely excuse yourself from that item without a fuss.  

I've spoken to many other reformed food-focused individuals who have pursued more stringent dietary habits and then relaxed back to a more flexible eating style.  Food obsession can be quite real and at a certain point the mental preoccupation with whether something is raw, organic, or vegan can start to take up an unhealthy amount of space in your mind.  In my opinion it is important to be kind with yourself and with others.  Don't beat yourself up if you have a piece of cheese, a cup of coffee, or a single sugary caramel.  It's fine to strive for purity but your entire life doesn't hinge on one meal.  Life is imperfect and so are we.  The point is to try, and in doing so you'll generate better results than if you didn't.

The overall goal is to feel GOOD not GUILTY about what you're eating.  Mental wellness is every bit as important as physical wellness.  If you beat yourself up every time you eat something "wrong" you're just generating more of the same bad juju you came from.  Instead of apathy you'll be drowning in negativity.  To reverse it try to be compassionate with yourself.  Don't hate on your hangups, explore them.  There's healing to be done as you investigate the whys and wherefores of the food based decisions you make.

I do think a more conscious eating lifestyle is something we should all respect and aspire to.  But there are places inbetween the SAD (Standard American Diet) and Raw Veganism where we can exist that won't cause tremendous strife with friends and family while they learn to understand and respect your new choices even while eating their Whopper.  Take it easy and be kind to yourself and others.  There is no final destination, no absolute perfection to be had - only a journey of expansion as you try new foods, new habits, and new philosophies to see what fits you.



in , , , , , ,

Healthy Eating with a Healthy Mindset - Being kind to all while pursuing alternative food lifestyles


Eat Healthy.
This is a directive that, despite how simple it appears, seems to baffle most people. Take a random poll in the supermarket and the answers you get would be a wide range of opinions, thoughts, and misinformation.

Some mothers may be pleased with themselves if their child eats their canned green beans. Some people might tell you that they avoid corn syrup in their juices. And some hapless individuals might actually tell you that the HungryMan, Hot Pocket, or Stauffers freezer meal that they plan to consume upon arrival home is the epitomy of a healthy meal.  I have to say I would only eat a Hot Pocket under the most desperate circumstances. Like if aliens invade, using all fresh vegetables as pods for their offspring leaving processed cheese as the only source of nourishment. (ok maybe that is a bit extreme, but you get the picture)

The American public generally all eats 3 times a day. So how can we all be so confused about an activity that sustains and even defines a good portion of our lives? Perhaps it is the fact that the Today show and other semi-journalistic TV shows feature no less than 2 food segments every morning with varying advice on what is healthy. Some of this information is sponsored by food companies and press agents - dubious sources for dietary advice, as it is all focused around getting you to purchase a specific kind of food product. Specifically I'm thinking about when I recently saw a guest food expert promoting 100 calorie snack packs as a "good" choice when looking to cut calories.  The immediate thought in my mind was "good" compared to what? Compared to Oreos - yes. Compared to Carrots - no!

I and many of my clients pursue what can be considered alternative food lifestyles.  I left fast food and most soda behind at age 15 and have zero regrets about this decision.  However, it has taken me until 20 years later to reduce my intake of dairy and caffeine and make other tweaks like boosting my greens consumption.  It has been a long road.  I wasn't an "unhealthy" eater to begin with, but the typical American diet has strayed so far from real food that reintroducing it can take some time and major adjustments to your daily life. 

If you're just starting the goals of eliminating animal products, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and potentially grains too for some individuals from your diet are big ones. These are noble aspirations and will positively impact your overall health.  Despite all the benefits it may be a longer process than a breezy blog article or wellness expert will make it sound.  It's easy to talk about. Implementation can be a good deal trickier.  The good news is that change is possible if you approach it with a flexible, yet determined mindset.

I have tremendous respect for vegan lifestyle and follow numerous vegan and raw food blogs.  There is a lot of exciting thought and adventurous eating to be had when you make your first batch of raw brownies or try a new juice recipe.  Once you get beyond boxed food the world really opens up to a whole new level of creativity, flavor, and connection to what you eat each day.  However, many people may experience unexpected barriers and have to delve deeply into their emotional eating patterns.  This is work worth doing but you need to be ready.  You may find many of your comfort foods have emotional significance due to family relationships and positive memories as well as the simple physiological pleasure.  I tend to find change is most stable when you work into it gradually rather than turning everything on its head all at once.  Start slow and try new things one at a time.

While dietary preferences such as veganism and raw foodism are gaining momentum in areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and even Chicago, the social support for lifestyles like this here in St. Louis, MO is more minimal.  You'll need to be prepared to talk about your new dietary habits a lot to help others feel comfortable.  As a vegetarian teen I went through a good bit of ribbing and ignorant remarks from relatives.  It gets old sometimes, and you have to be spiritually ready to handle the hassling with grace.

In major cities you can find restaurants and markets that specifically cater to vegan and raw food eating styles. Here in the Midwest it is considerably tougher. Vegan foods are served at a few local eateries, notably SweetArt, Everest Cafe, Foundation Grounds, Whisk Sustainable Bakery, the recently opened PuraVegan, Frida's Vegetarian Deli, and a few others. Other than that your dining choices may be limited to staying home or just having the salad offered at more conventional restaurants.  Home prepared food is awesome and this is how I eat most of the time, but many other people would experience a pretty jarring culture shock as they realize that accepting a dinner date with a friend means considering if the restaurant will have anything they wish to eat. 

My best suggestion would be that in making a lifestyle choice like this you'd do well to reach out to other local alternative eaters so you don't feel alone. At least you can cook together (or in the case of raw food, not cook). You may wish to plan to be the host for dinner parties. Your lifestyle choice will likely take some time for friends and family to adjust to and can cause some negative or hurt feelings initially when you can't participate in food rituals that are important.  

It may seem easy to you to replace ground beef with soy crumbles in Lasagna, but other people may initially think this sounds like a lot of work, or that it tastes funny. From personal experience it caused a great deal of trauma in my own family.  Suddenly my mom couldn't prepare family meals the way she used to and all her culinary knowledge related to meat was null and void. As someone that nurtured through food, this was a significant blow to her.  Mom has adjusted somewhat, and will now provide a meatless tomato sauce for the pasta as well as a meat version. That way the vegetarians present are not excluded. But I can tell you if I suddenly chose to go completely Vegan or Raw Foodist we'd go through much the same upset all over again.

The adage "It is more important to be Kind than Right" comes to mind.  In social situations I will often eat something that I would not choose to eat at home because I don't want to hurt the feelings of the host.  If they have been informed ahead of time that I prefer veggie meals and somehow made a mistake in their preparation I don't throw a hissy fit about if they slipped up and used chicken stock, if their sugar is officially vegan, or if their dairy is local and organic.  That, IMHO, is just bad form and makes your host feel yucky.  Unless you have a life threatening allergy to something on the table my personal feeling is that you should attempt to be gracious and respect that they tried.  People are prone to get irritated with you instead of educated if they see you as picky, problematic, and negative about what they offered to you with good intent.  If something offered really crosses your personal line then politely excuse yourself from that item without a fuss.  

I've spoken to many other reformed food-focused individuals who have pursued more stringent dietary habits and then relaxed back to a more flexible eating style.  Food obsession can be quite real and at a certain point the mental preoccupation with whether something is raw, organic, or vegan can start to take up an unhealthy amount of space in your mind.  In my opinion it is important to be kind with yourself and with others.  Don't beat yourself up if you have a piece of cheese, a cup of coffee, or a single sugary caramel.  It's fine to strive for purity but your entire life doesn't hinge on one meal.  Life is imperfect and so are we.  The point is to try, and in doing so you'll generate better results than if you didn't.

The overall goal is to feel GOOD not GUILTY about what you're eating.  Mental wellness is every bit as important as physical wellness.  If you beat yourself up every time you eat something "wrong" you're just generating more of the same bad juju you came from.  Instead of apathy you'll be drowning in negativity.  To reverse it try to be compassionate with yourself.  Don't hate on your hangups, explore them.  There's healing to be done as you investigate the whys and wherefores of the food based decisions you make.

I do think a more conscious eating lifestyle is something we should all respect and aspire to.  But there are places inbetween the SAD (Standard American Diet) and Raw Veganism where we can exist that won't cause tremendous strife with friends and family while they learn to understand and respect your new choices even while eating their Whopper.  Take it easy and be kind to yourself and others.  There is no final destination, no absolute perfection to be had - only a journey of expansion as you try new foods, new habits, and new philosophies to see what fits you.



Tuesday, May 6, 2008 in , , , , , ,

Good Energy - daily direction and what is worthwhile


Energy. 
It is one of our most finite resources. And it is in the news a lot lately. From fuel for trucks that carry our goods from coast to coast, to the electricity that keeps a child's nightlight on to scare away the monsters, it runs our daily lives more than we even realize. But I'm not going to be talking today about that type of energy. Nope, I'm talking about *your* energy as one single human being.

You, too, have finite energy. Though we all awake each day with seemingly limitless possibilities we must be careful how we allocate this most precious resource. As a small business owner I am very aware that there is only so much I can accomplish in any given day. So I must be attentive to how I spend my time, and therefore energy. I want to spend my energy on things that will best benefit myself, my employees, and my family. Anything less is an injustice to myself and them.

Sometimes this makes decisions about what to do a little difficult. Every day I ask myself, "What is most important today?". Whether it is calling clients that are late on payments, working on a new label or brochure design, or simply caring for my daughter when she has a cold, there is always something that rises to the top of the pile. There are some activities that are just not worth my energy anymore, as well. I have to try and spend my energy on tasks that only I can do for the business. Anything that can be handed off to employees must be.


In some cases this is actually harder than it seems. After all, I started a business because I like to create. Sometimes it is difficult for me to spend my time on the finances instead of experimenting on a new soap or scent recipe. But we will never reach our collective goals if I can't manage my energy and time well. So for the sake of the company it is sometimes best if I keep myself on the computer instead of in the studio. (sad but true!)


Another factor of energy is the studio's collective energy. I am the steward to everyone here. Each employee brings their own energy to the studio and, potentially, conflicts if not managed properly. I am responsible for choosing the right employees, training them well, and communicating our business goals and methods to them so that they can embody those goals in everything they do here. Effective communication is key, and I have to try to maintain those open avenues so that our workplace remains positive instead of toxic.

Toxic work environments is one of the main reasons I felt inspired to create my own business in the first place. When there is discord in the workplace it diminishes the energy of the whole team. After all, energy spent complaining or bickering is that much less energy that can be spent towards actually accomplishing something. It is the job of each employer/employee team to make sure that a job fit is good.

Not everyone will be suitable to work for Blissoma. Some people (oddly enough) gain pleasure out of conflict and seem to want to foster it for their own excitement. Some people just aren't *really* interested in doing anything. Sure they might need a job, but don't care about the work. None of these would be individuals I would want on my team. I want our business to benefit as many people as possible, but allowing a negative or stagnant individual to be present on our team would damage that goal. I also spend 80 or more hours a week on my business, and as such couldn't stand to be around anyone nonproductive for that much time.


Some people are energy vampires - you've probly heard that phrase before. They take and take, without giving anything back. I can't be around people like that. I also can't be around people that gain joy from energy sabotage - saying belittling things and spending a lot of time trying to seem superior. Something I've found over time is that my energy to contribute to a job is very sensitive to my surroundings. When others around me are excited and active, that excites me! I can give twice as much when surrounded by good people. In that way the collective energy of a business can be exponentially more when a team is constructed of positive people, all feeding each other.


I also definitely believe that every person has a right to employment that really feeds their spirit. No one on earth should have to do work that beats them down inside. Your working hours make up a huge percentage of your life. I was never one that could think of a job as "just a job". If it wasn't really what I wanted to do I spent the entire time dreaming of the other things I wished I was doing. Very dissatisfying. Each person has their own calling, which is what is truly marvelous! Together we can all function as a society if people really find their calling. Whether that calling is communications, construction, agriculture, or research there should be places for all of us to thrive.


Here is hoping that anyone reading this finds the tasks that are truly worth your energy. It is our most important and lifelong pursuit.
 


in , , , , , ,

Good Energy - daily direction and what is worthwhile


Energy. 
It is one of our most finite resources. And it is in the news a lot lately. From fuel for trucks that carry our goods from coast to coast, to the electricity that keeps a child's nightlight on to scare away the monsters, it runs our daily lives more than we even realize. But I'm not going to be talking today about that type of energy. Nope, I'm talking about *your* energy as one single human being.

You, too, have finite energy. Though we all awake each day with seemingly limitless possibilities we must be careful how we allocate this most precious resource. As a small business owner I am very aware that there is only so much I can accomplish in any given day. So I must be attentive to how I spend my time, and therefore energy. I want to spend my energy on things that will best benefit myself, my employees, and my family. Anything less is an injustice to myself and them.

Sometimes this makes decisions about what to do a little difficult. Every day I ask myself, "What is most important today?". Whether it is calling clients that are late on payments, working on a new label or brochure design, or simply caring for my daughter when she has a cold, there is always something that rises to the top of the pile. There are some activities that are just not worth my energy anymore, as well. I have to try and spend my energy on tasks that only I can do for the business. Anything that can be handed off to employees must be.


In some cases this is actually harder than it seems. After all, I started a business because I like to create. Sometimes it is difficult for me to spend my time on the finances instead of experimenting on a new soap or scent recipe. But we will never reach our collective goals if I can't manage my energy and time well. So for the sake of the company it is sometimes best if I keep myself on the computer instead of in the studio. (sad but true!)


Another factor of energy is the studio's collective energy. I am the steward to everyone here. Each employee brings their own energy to the studio and, potentially, conflicts if not managed properly. I am responsible for choosing the right employees, training them well, and communicating our business goals and methods to them so that they can embody those goals in everything they do here. Effective communication is key, and I have to try to maintain those open avenues so that our workplace remains positive instead of toxic.

Toxic work environments is one of the main reasons I felt inspired to create my own business in the first place. When there is discord in the workplace it diminishes the energy of the whole team. After all, energy spent complaining or bickering is that much less energy that can be spent towards actually accomplishing something. It is the job of each employer/employee team to make sure that a job fit is good.

Not everyone will be suitable to work for Blissoma. Some people (oddly enough) gain pleasure out of conflict and seem to want to foster it for their own excitement. Some people just aren't *really* interested in doing anything. Sure they might need a job, but don't care about the work. None of these would be individuals I would want on my team. I want our business to benefit as many people as possible, but allowing a negative or stagnant individual to be present on our team would damage that goal. I also spend 80 or more hours a week on my business, and as such couldn't stand to be around anyone nonproductive for that much time.


Some people are energy vampires - you've probly heard that phrase before. They take and take, without giving anything back. I can't be around people like that. I also can't be around people that gain joy from energy sabotage - saying belittling things and spending a lot of time trying to seem superior. Something I've found over time is that my energy to contribute to a job is very sensitive to my surroundings. When others around me are excited and active, that excites me! I can give twice as much when surrounded by good people. In that way the collective energy of a business can be exponentially more when a team is constructed of positive people, all feeding each other.


I also definitely believe that every person has a right to employment that really feeds their spirit. No one on earth should have to do work that beats them down inside. Your working hours make up a huge percentage of your life. I was never one that could think of a job as "just a job". If it wasn't really what I wanted to do I spent the entire time dreaming of the other things I wished I was doing. Very dissatisfying. Each person has their own calling, which is what is truly marvelous! Together we can all function as a society if people really find their calling. Whether that calling is communications, construction, agriculture, or research there should be places for all of us to thrive.


Here is hoping that anyone reading this finds the tasks that are truly worth your energy. It is our most important and lifelong pursuit.
 


Monday, April 21, 2008 in , , , , ,

Green Birthday Party - DIY for less waste and healthier treats


Birthday parties are almost synonymous with piles of plastic toy swag from the cheap favor aisles at Target or other discount stores. Bouncy balls, plastic rings, and other toys that get played with for about 30 minutes, and then end up in a pile of mixed up plastic junk that no kid really needs that badly. We have whole drawers full of it that has accumulated from other events. 

We needed to throw a little bash for our beautiful little girl, but what to do?  My heart just couldn't bear giving out bags full of cheap plastic favors that would end up in a landfill.

I decided that an affordable and fun solution for favors was to make a few giant batches of Homemade Play Dough. You can make it with flour, water, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and oil. Completely biodegradable, completely natural, and tons of fun. Yes it was messy to make and took about 40 minutes per batch to mix and cook, but Tru has already played with it twice, making it at least doubly as useful as the plastic junk, and it is still plenty squishy for many more hours of fun.

See the recipe I used and make some yourself.

I recommend mixing any colorants in BEFORE cooking, and use a handheld mixer to whip up the flour and water mixture, otherwise you'll have trouble getting rid of all the lumps.  Use beets or turmeric for color if you want something natural, or check out this site for more ideas.  It's pretty fun even without color though.

We also picked up biodegradable disposable cutlery. It only came in mixed boxes of forks, spoons, and knives so we've got lots of leftover knives, but I still feel way better about this than the ubiquitous plastic utensils that appear at most events. The memories of the party will last forever, but the utensils shouldn't.

I checked the cups at the store while shopping. Only 1 type of plastic cup was made of #1 plastic. Others were all #5 or #6, which is not recyclable in many or most places. Something to think about when buying cups.

It has become a tradition that I always - always - make the birthday dessert.  Hooray for no wasted cake trays, and no mystery ingredients and funny food colors!  My desserts frequently look a little lumpy and not picture perfect, but they always taste great and have always featured organic and natural ingredients.  

Is dessert an absolute healthfest?  No, I still use sugar and real butter but it's a lot better for you and better tasting than the shortening and preservative filled Frankencakes from the grocery store.  Most people have never even tasted a REAL homemade cake or dessert these days.  Their eyes get big when they take their first bite.  It's worth the reaction, and since it's just an every once in a while treat we don't sweat about the sugar.  The birthday person always gets to pick their treat and past selections have included fruit tarts, creme brulee, strawberry and cream cakes, berry pies, and giant chocolate chip cookie cakes.
 
Tru and I enjoyed the party prep together and I think she'll remember that we put the time in on something just for her. And time and the memories are way more important than all the loot in the world. 

in , , , , ,

Green Birthday Party - DIY for less waste and healthier treats


Birthday parties are almost synonymous with piles of plastic toy swag from the cheap favor aisles at Target or other discount stores. Bouncy balls, plastic rings, and other toys that get played with for about 30 minutes, and then end up in a pile of mixed up plastic junk that no kid really needs that badly. We have whole drawers full of it that has accumulated from other events. 

We needed to throw a little bash for our beautiful little girl, but what to do?  My heart just couldn't bear giving out bags full of cheap plastic favors that would end up in a landfill.

I decided that an affordable and fun solution for favors was to make a few giant batches of Homemade Play Dough. You can make it with flour, water, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and oil. Completely biodegradable, completely natural, and tons of fun. Yes it was messy to make and took about 40 minutes per batch to mix and cook, but Tru has already played with it twice, making it at least doubly as useful as the plastic junk, and it is still plenty squishy for many more hours of fun.

See the recipe I used and make some yourself.

I recommend mixing any colorants in BEFORE cooking, and use a handheld mixer to whip up the flour and water mixture, otherwise you'll have trouble getting rid of all the lumps.  Use beets or turmeric for color if you want something natural, or check out this site for more ideas.  It's pretty fun even without color though.

We also picked up biodegradable disposable cutlery. It only came in mixed boxes of forks, spoons, and knives so we've got lots of leftover knives, but I still feel way better about this than the ubiquitous plastic utensils that appear at most events. The memories of the party will last forever, but the utensils shouldn't.

I checked the cups at the store while shopping. Only 1 type of plastic cup was made of #1 plastic. Others were all #5 or #6, which is not recyclable in many or most places. Something to think about when buying cups.

It has become a tradition that I always - always - make the birthday dessert.  Hooray for no wasted cake trays, and no mystery ingredients and funny food colors!  My desserts frequently look a little lumpy and not picture perfect, but they always taste great and have always featured organic and natural ingredients.  

Is dessert an absolute healthfest?  No, I still use sugar and real butter but it's a lot better for you and better tasting than the shortening and preservative filled Frankencakes from the grocery store.  Most people have never even tasted a REAL homemade cake or dessert these days.  Their eyes get big when they take their first bite.  It's worth the reaction, and since it's just an every once in a while treat we don't sweat about the sugar.  The birthday person always gets to pick their treat and past selections have included fruit tarts, creme brulee, strawberry and cream cakes, berry pies, and giant chocolate chip cookie cakes.
 
Tru and I enjoyed the party prep together and I think she'll remember that we put the time in on something just for her. And time and the memories are way more important than all the loot in the world. 

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