blueberry the powerhouse

blueberries

blueberry origin

In a recent search, I read that the humble blueberry is considered one of the oldest living plants on the planet. It has an approximate age of 12,500 years. Native to North America, the wild blueberry has spawned over 450 species that grow across the globe. Although not as common in the south as blackberries when I was growing up, it is now a fixture in most backyards. As animals love the fruit this is a great plant to include in your urban garden.

blueberry folklore

Native to America, Native Americans smoked the berries to preserve them. They used the blueberry to make a jerky that would last during the winter. The roots of the berries were made in tea that was used to soothe the pains of childbirth, to purify the blood and for coughs. The berries were also used to make dye for textiles. In the south, it was said the tea from blueberry leaves would regulate blood sugar. As a child I remember someone would bring my Grandmother blueberry wine and to this day I think about how I wish I had tried it! According to the University of South Florida it has more antioxidants than red or white grape wine.

blueberry nutrition

A cup of blueberries has 80 calories. But this one cup is chock full of nutritious benefits for you. It contains the daily recommended amount of fiber: 3.6 grams. It contains 25% of your daily Vitamin C needs. These powerhouses also have vitamin K, manganese and iron. In one study Blueberry antioxidant properties have been shown to aid mobility in senior citizens who ate 2 cups of frozen blueberries a day. This fruit has been claimed by some researchers has having more antioxidants than any other fruit.

Because this fruit is so powerful, we included it in our new pore clarifying mask for its bountiful antioxidant properties. We know you will love the way it purifies your pores without drying the skin. Thanks to the blueberry, your skin will be glowing and fresh!

Calendula

Calendula

Calendula, a versatile herb, is the essential oil from the pot marigold. This plant has been used since the 12th century for its medicinal properties. Studies abound on its healing ability on the skin specifically on burn victims. Due to its high level of vitamin A compounds (carotenoids) it is also known to calm skin irritations such as rashes, dermatitis, acne and chapped skin. Cream made with calendula, is recommended to those with breast cancer to ease dermatitis and skin challenges during radiation and chemo.

It is known as the poor man’s saffron as it can be used in cooking as a substitute. The petals also make a lovely dye. Another benefit of marigolds is Mother Nature’s bug repellant, planting them around your tomatoes so the bugs won’t eat them. Marigold petals are edible and add a lovely tang to salads.

Marigolds

Marigolds native to Mexico, were taken to Europe and Asia in the 16th century. There are over 50 species of this earthy plant. To the Welsh, marigolds were “herb of the sun” and if they were not open in the morning a storm was coming. They were used as love charms, and were thought to produce visions of fairies if rubbed on the eyes. Others considered marigold poisonous due to the heavy aroma. In Mexico we were surrounded by marigolds on dia de los muertos, and while in India marigolds were omnipresent. Ironically it wasn’t in Mexico that I learned to appreciate marigolds but in Thailand and India.

We use calendula oil in our marigold toner, marigold bergamot dry oil, marigold cleanser and marigold face kit.

Retailer spotlight: Fig & Flower

sara fig&flowerFig & Flower our local retailer, has a new look. But one thing, thankfully, has not changed, the sunny smile on Sara the owner. Sara Lamond is laid back, calm and confident. However, behind this quiet is a very savvy business woman and lawyer. 

  • If you weren’t here today at Fig & Flower where would you be?

It’s hard to say. Something I’ve noticed about myself, and other small business entrepreneurs, is that we’re dreamers. It’s part of the territory. Venturing out on your own means seeing the potential in an idea that doesn’t yet exist, at least for you. So I find myself dreaming up lots of little adventures. In reality, though, I’d probably have gotten locked into an attorney position that didn’t make me happy, so I’m grateful to be where I am. 

  • What is your favorite product? It doesn’t have to be mine… 🙂

My current hero product is your Grits & Honey scrub. With the season changing in Georgia, it’s super important for me to be exfoliating regularly. If I don’t, I get dry, flaky patches around my nose and eyebrows. But aggressive exfoliants can dry me out too much. So I really like the balance of the hydrating honey and the gentle exfoliation of the grits. I don’t rub excessively – that’s the key! I mostly wear the Grits & Honey scrub as a mask and as I’m wiping it away I use just enough pressure to exfoliate.   

Another product I’m loving this season are the 100% Pure Pomegranate Lipsticks. They are super hydrating, which I love in a lipstick, but they aren’t sticky at all. Best of all, the pigment sort of soaks into the lips so even when the hydrating balmy aspect of the lipstick wears off, the color sticks around long after.

  • What was your inspiration for leaving the legal field to delve into the natural/organic world?

Well, my love of all things natural actually coincided with law school. Just before law school started, I did a couple months of boot camp at a cross-fit gym. It was there I first learned about the clean food movement. I noticed a very tangible result in how I felt when I cut out sugar and dairy. I really committed to going natural at that point. I stopped using shampoo and conditioner (and blogged about the experience), ran my first full marathon, and – in true lawyer fashion – consumed all the research I could. 

After passing the bar, I started working as an attorney and felt very unfulfilled. It seemed to me if I was going to be spending 60 – 80 hours a week at my job, as most attorneys do, I should strive to enjoy it. And just as important as following my passion, I wanted to contribute to my community in a positive way. Combining my love of natural health and wellness, with something I love and that’s fun to me – like makeup – seemed the perfect fit!

  • If you could do one thing over what would it be?

I wish I had had more confidence in my abilities and desires. Growing up I loved playing with hair and makeup. When I started law school, I joked that if it didn’t work out, I was going to drop out and go to beauty school. In truth, I probably should have pursued a career in cosmetology or aesthetics, but I came from a high business oriented, entrepreneurial family and cosmetology wasn’t deemed a “serious” career choice. The thing I’ve learned is that most passions can become viable careers because the drive to learn and develop your craft is so insatiable. You’ll commit yourself fully and make it work if you love what you do. My husband is a musician, and I think I learned this lesson from him. 

  • What is next on your agenda? Will we see more fig and flowers?

For now, I’ve decided to take things slow. I was considering opening a second location this year, but ultimately I decided against it. I see other stores like mine in other cities expanding and I started to feel rushed to grow faster. But I’ve got a solidly growing small business on my hands, and the whole operation has been bootstrapped by my own initial investment. I think that’s something to be proud of, and I am. I don’t want to rush our growth, and get into a situation that harms, or even derails, this journey I’m currently on. I have to remind myself not to measure my success by someone else’s, because each journey is different. And in the end, I’m really proud of what I’m accomplishing. 

Pumpkin Seed Oil

pumpkin seed oil
pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin History

Before we talk about pumpkin seed oil, let’s talk about the fruit. Yes, the countless varieties of pumpkins are in the same family as squash, cucumbers and melons. Its origin dates back to about 5000 B.C. in North America. Pumpkins are among the most versatile fruits that exist.

The shells were used to make bowls and mats by Native Americans. Medicinally, they have been used to treat acne, fever, parasites, and kidney problems etc. etc. Long a staple in diets, the flowers seeds and meat are considered delicacies in certain cultures. Pumpkin seeds have even been recommended by the World Health Organization for its abundance in zinc.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

We all know about the virtues of pumpkin pies and roasted seeds, but the pumpkin seed oil is the prize for me. Pumpkin seed oil is packed with everything you need for glowing skin. The seeds are cold pressed to obtain the oil that makes a dark green light oil with a slight nutty aroma. It is not a heavy oil like coconut oil and will therefore not clog your pores.

Benefits for the skin and hair

This powerhouse of an oil is packed with fatty acids, alpha hydroxyl acid, Vitamins A, C, E and zinc. These ingredients are all needed to boost collagen production, increase cell renewal that brighten and smooth the skin.

Research by the University of Maryland Medical Center has indicated that the oil is beneficial to hair and skin. Why? The omega 6 fatty acids are vital to help stimulate hair and skin growth. The vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids are essential for hair growth. The oil can decrease the production the enzyme (5 alpha reductase) that is responsible for slowing hair growth.

Vitamin K in pumpkin seed oil is known to reduce swelling, healing and bruising after surgery. It is also applied to the skin to help with rosacea, acne and spider veins according to WebMD.  We love pumpkin seed oil so much that you can find it our nourishing body oil and body oil.

So the next time you carve that pumpkin or make pumpkin pie, keeps the seeds.

fragrance vs perfume

frangrance vs perfume
fragrance vs perfume

Fragrance vs perfumes can they actually be dangerous for our health?

When I lived in Paris I loved going to Galeries Lafayette and smelling all the glorious new scents. Later I realized that the majority of the so called “perfumes” were actually made in a lab and not from a flower.

Perfume

First, what is a perfume and who created the first? The Egyptians created the first perfumes for use in religious ceremonies and on the body.

A perfume, according to the Oxford dictionary “A frgrant  liquid typically made from essential oils extracted from flowers and spices, used to impart a pleasant smell to one’s body or clothes“. This to me, is the the perfect definition. The words chemical, synthetics or man made do not exist. A perfume is intimate and personal; an aroma that conjures pleasant memories. A perfume is a image and creation that lingers once you leave the room.

A perfume like flourish is essential oils infused in this case, organic sunflower seed oil, and not in an alcohol or chemical.

Fragrance dangers

Most conventional fragrances contain chemicals derived from petroleum that is linked to environmental health effects. Over eight hundred million pounds of chemicals are used each year to make fragrances. Now these so-called ingredients are considered to be the most prominent toxins to the environment.

The chemicals are why a human made fragrance will stay on your skin and in your body longer.

“Fragrances, because they evaporate and we inhale them, need more rigorous evaluation,” says President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and pollution policy advisor for Environmental Defence. “We don’t know what the effects might be because cosmetic ingredients don’t need to be tested for safety before marketing.”

Indeed as long as a decade ago, several ingredients used in fragrances were the subject of an investigation by the US National Academy of Sciences which labelled them as being on a par with insecticides and solvents in terms of the damage they could do to us.

Up to 100 chemicals may be used in an average fragrance, most of which are petro-chemicals i.e. derivatives of the petroleum industry with many suspected to be harmful. In 2004, Pat Thomas from the ‘Ecologist’ magazine analysed a typical and well selling fragrance product, listing the ingredients and possible effects of the chemicals used. Yet there is wide cause for concern as to the health of those who use them. Studies have shown that the synthetic fragrance chemicals are being found in breast milk, with one comparison study measuring levels as having increased five fold in the last ten years alone. This is from a great website I found on a site in the UK.

So the next time you traipse through a boutique or your favorite department store, think twice before spraying.

Atlanta Artisans We Love: Honeycomb Studio

honeycombHB

Atlanta Artisans We Love: Honeycomb Studio

Meet Courtney Hamill

Our city has been blessed with an impressive variety of Atlanta artisans creating unique, hand-crated wares, including Courtney Hamill, creator and owner of Honeycomb Studio, a small-batch porcelain shop located in the Studioplex Lofts (the same creative complex as HollyBeth Organics!).

Honeycomb Studio

Just walk inside the doors of Honeycomb Studio, and you will not want to leave without at least one of Courtney’s porcelain pieces. She creates each one individually, producing one-of-a-kind works of art with each session at her pottery wheel.  The shelves of Honeycomb are filled with gorgeous ceramic bottles, vases, and bowls adorned with hand-painted details of color and gold, as well as striking porcelain antler sculptures and charming salt cellars and barware. Trust me – you will not be able to take the smile off your face as you walk around admiring the beauty of Courtney’s work.

Sustainable Candles

Wanting to create a sustainable candle that not only smells great but looks great, HollyBeth commissioned Honeycomb Studio to create the stunning vessels we use to house our limited edition Rose Geranium Soy Candles. We are excited for fellow candle lovers to enjoy the fragrant, flowery aroma crafted with HollyBeth’s favorite rose and geranium essential oils, as well as a re-usable vessel that will remain yours to keep as a distinctive piece of art.

Go to HollyBethOrganics.com to purchase this two-in-one delight for yourself or as a thoughtful gift for a loved one this Valentine’s Day.

Atlanta Shopping – Fig & Flower

white candle

 

Atlanta Shopping: In Search of the Perfect Gifts

February is a month of gift-giving occasions for me. Of course Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but I also have my friend’s wedding anniversary and my sister-in-law’s birthday to celebrate. So, my present list consists of a fella who insists he doesn’t need anything (my husband), a fashionista with impeccable taste (my friend), and a mother of two who is always on the go (my sister in law). Sounds like a busy weekend of shopping in Atlanta!

Highland Row

Rather than run around the city, I decided to go to one of the best shopping spots in the Poncey-Highlands area of Atlanta. Often referred to as “Highland Row,” this charming lineup of boutiques offers a variety of unique crafts and gifts. First stop, Highland Row Antiques. This two story antique store has something for everyone. I find a musical gift for my husband in one of the used record bins and head next store to Young Blood Boutique, the perfect spot to find artisan crafted jewelry. I pick out a beautiful necklace sure to please my fashionable friend and head to my favorite store on the block: Fig & Flower.

Fig & Flower

This green beauty boutique offers natural, cruelty-free beauty products, including HollyBeth Organics, the only 100% USDA Certified Organic skincare product line in Georgia. I go straight for HollyBeth Organics’ Rose Geranium Face Moisturizer, a favorite of my sister-in-law not only for its hydrating power but also for its delightful flowery fragrance.

HollyBeth Online

Knowing my sister-in-law’s love of HollyBeth’s rose geranium aroma, I hopped online and sent her one of HollyBeth Organics’ limited edition Rose Geranium Candles, each hand-made with eco-friendly soy wax and packaged in a porcelain vessel made by Atlanta’s own Honeycomb Studio. Go to HollyBethOrganics.com to purchase this one-of-a-kind candle, beautifully gift wrapped and ready to go.

Looks like I’m all set! Now time to shop for some more HollyBeth Organics products just for me ;).

 

Looking for HollyBeth Organics retailers in Atlanta?

Fig & Flower

Atlanta MADE

Skin IQ Medspa

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift for Her

HollyBeth Valentine's Gifts

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift for Her – Rose Geranium Candles

Valentine’s Day is around the corner: another gift-giving holiday that may leave some of us clueless as to what to give that special someone. If you’re like me, you’ve probably gone the roses and chocolate route every year, which is totally understandable – who doesn’t love flowers and candy? But why not add a little something special with one of HollyBeth Organics’ limited edition Rose Geranium Candles.

Eco-Friendly Candles

Made with premium kosher, EcoSoya wax, each candle is hand-made with love and scented with HollyBeth’s favorite rose geranium essential oil. Enjoy flowery notes of sweet rose and soothing geranium, a luxurious aroma inspired by trips to the Botanical Gardens and the fresh flowers at Hall’s Atlanta Florist.

Hand-Crafted Vessel

Each candle comes in a unique, artisan-made vessel adorned with gold leaf accent rings, crafted at Atlanta’s own Honeycomb Studio. Reuse the vessel as a vase, pen holder, or even a drinking cup. A thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift for anyone in your life seeking roses and romance.

Limited Edition

HollyBeth candles are hand-made in small batches, allowing her to create one-of-a-kind, limited edition scents inspired by the flavors of the season. Stock is limited, so be sure to order soon if you want to surprise that special someone this February 14! And don’t forget to treat yourself, too ;). The perfect Valentine’s Day gift for her – and you!

*Each candle comes gift wrapped in gold tissue paper with ribbon.

Daily Defense from Dry Winter Skin

Cold Weather Skincare Tips

Daily Defense from Dry Winter Skin

Ah, winter. A season of warm fires, big cozy blankets and yummy hot drinks, as well as freezing cold temperatures , bone-chilling winds, and constant runny noses. The harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on the skin, stripping it of moisture, leaving it dry and irritated. Guard your body’s largest organ with daily hydration. HollyBeth Organics has a variety of USDA-Certified Organic skincare products for daily defense from dry winter skin.

Face Moisturizer

The first step in your beauty regimen should be a good face moisturizer. Protect against dry skin by starting your day with our Rose Geranium Face Moisturizer. Rose, camellia, and sea buckthorn oils combine to empower this beautifully fragrant face cream with skin-smoothing, ultra-hydrating ingredients.

Orange Peppermint Shea Butter Cream

As you head out into the winter weather to go about your day, don’t forget to bring your Orange Peppermint Shea Butter Cream. Keep your hands, lips, and other vulnerable areas protected with this moisture-rich shea butter cream packed with the uplifting fragrances of orange and peppermint. You can tame dry hair and frizzy hat-head flyways with a small dab, too!

Lavender Hand Cream

Keep our Lavender Hand Cream handy to sooth your skin with the calming effects of lavender, camellia, jojoba, and sweet almond oil. This antioxidant-rich blend of nourishing oils and Vitamin E is sure to rejuvenate thirsty skin.

Body Balm

Ready to wind down and relax after a long day? Treat your skin with our luxurious Body Balm. A calculated blend of camellia, pomegranate, clove, and grapefruit oils paired with hydrating beeswax creates a strong defense against dry skin. This powerful combination of moisture-boosting ingredients penetrates deep, healing dehydrated skin while stimulating healthy skin cell growth. Your skin will be soft and supple all winter long.

Healthy skin is your first line of defense against all those icky winter germs! Support your well-being with hydrating, protective skincare, lots of warm clothing, good food, and happy spirits.