Spring Skincare

Spring Skincare

Spring is the time we get motivated to clean out our homes, to get rid of things to start fresh. But spring cleaning isn’t just about purging physical items from our lives. After a long winter, it’s also a great time to think about purging toxins from our bodies. Your skin deserves a spring clean to keep everything fresh, glowing and gorgeous.

The key to any skin or beauty regimen is consistency. The skin is made up of several layers and it takes time for skin to adjust to new climates. If you follow the main ‘musts’ your skin will be vibrant and glow year round. Spring skincare begins today – the first day of spring! So let’s get started. Below are key essentials to keep your skin glowing and healthy.

Eat Well

The old adage “you are what you eat” applies not only to our body, but also to our skin. What is lovely about spring and summer is that nature’s skin detoxifiers abound in red and blue, in the form of berries. Try eating what is in local, in season and fresh. Not only will you feel better but you will look better for your spring skincare.

Exfoliate 
Get rid of winter skin for your spring skincare with a gentle exfoliator and stay away from harsh scrubs and chemicals that can damage your skin. Remember your skin sheds cells every minute, think of it as spring cleaning, sweeping away winter. When I was a child my mother would exfoliate with cornmeal which is the reason I created our award winning grits & honey scrub. What customers love about it is that it is not only an exfoliator but a moisturizer as the honey leaves your skin soft and supple. To this day her skin glows and I know it is from her routine of exfoliating and moisturizing.

Cleanse

This is so important. When I lived throughout Europe and Latin America doing international business development, people would always tell me to never use soap to cleanse my face, but to use cold cream or oils. I eventually created, and now swear by, our gentle foaming cleansers that are castile based infused with essential oils. Our cleansing oil is also gentle, yet effective in cleansing. Every country where I have lived, people swear by rinsing with cold water. Notice the people’s skin who you admire, apart from genetics I wonder if you will be amazed at how many use cool/cold water instead of hot water and how that affects their skin’s condition.

Hydrate 

When the temperature heats up and perspiration is inevitable, it doesn’t mean your skin is getting oily. Quite the contrary; it can become dryer and your skin can start to look dull once the sweat evaporates. You always want to drink plenty of water. I mist throughout the day with a non-alcohol based mister/toner, our rose geranium a marigold toners. Our body mist is super hydrating with cucumber, neroli and grapefruit.

Moisturize 

While living in France, I learned that dry oils are the best moisturizer for both dry and oily skin.Why? A dry oil is non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging). One of my favoritesis camellia oil – it sinks right into the skin and has been treasured by Japanese geisha for years. Camellia oil also has uv protection properties. You will find this ingredient in most of our products including face and neck elixir and rose geranium face moisturizer.

The area around our eyes starts showing ages first because the skin there is thinner. And squinting in the sun doesn’t help. It’s best to always use a moisturizing eye cream and apply it with your ring finger from the outside in. Beyond that, summer can cause our skin to become dry. Even if you have oily skin, you still need to replenish the moisture; misters or dry oils work well. Another moisturizing trick is to let your skin breathe by going without make up, just use your moisturizer, sunscreen and don’t forget your hat and sunglasses.

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.

Lavender

Lavender love

My love of lavender began while living in France. The decadent rows of it in the south of France and all the creams and potions were just divine. However, it wasn’t until I moved back home and visited Sequim (pronounced Squeem not seqeem), Washington that I seriously thought about having a lavender farm, a dream that might still come to fruition but very hard to do in Georgia. The Pacific Northwest although rainy, has some of the best in the country and the entire town of Sequim thrives and is dedicated to this dynamic herb. After losing industry in the community they decided to plant fields of the plants  and voila a thriving festival and businesses bloomed.

Lavender History

The history of aromatherapy is thanks to this aromatic herb. Rene Gattefosse burned his hand and used the oil to stop the pain. It healed the hand without scarring or infection. However, the French have the Romans to thank for Provence’s abundance of  farms. The Romans introduced the herb to France. It is thought that the name comes from Latin “lavare” to wash of ‘livendulo” livid or bluish. Before World War 1 the French government cleared the almond orchards. They replaced them with lavender in the hopes of keeping the population there instead of fleeing.

Lavender Uses

In ancient Egypt the flowers were used for embalming, cosmetics, massage oils and as perfume. Egyptians would put it on their heads. The Greeks would anoint their feet. According to the Greek Philosopher Diogenes “When you anoint your head with perfume, it flies away in the air and only the birds get the benefit of it, whilst if I rub it on my lower limbs it envelopes my whole body and gratefully ascends to my nose”. During Nero’s time it was used for indigestion, headaches and to clean wounds. It is said that the plant was first domesticated in the Arab world. They dominated the Mediterranean culture, specifically Spain and from there lavender spread. Fast forward to the Middle Ages and it was used to raise money for King Edward 1. King Charles V1 of France stuffed his pillows with the flower buds. It was also used to treat lice and other pests.

Lavender has been a cure all for centuries, from linen, to inciting passion, repelling insects etc. etc.It takes approximately 175 lbs of the flower buds to make one ounce of essential oil. Lavender hand cream is the second product I made and the first featured in a national magazine. You will find it in skin therapy blended with lime essential oil. Our cleansing oil and lavender mist also contain the essential oil. This essential oil is the most widely used oil probably due to its medicinal properties. I love it because it is relaxing and makes me dream ;).

 

 

Pomegranate Seed Oil

History

Pomegranate seed oil began it’s journey literally eons ago. Native to Persia the pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits on the planet. It was known as the nectar of the Gods. Its first journey was to China in 100 B.C. For Christians the pomegranate represents hope of life eternal. Some scholars believe it was the pomegranate and not the apple that was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

For the Jewish religion, it represents righteousness. In China it represents wealth and is a common wedding present. In Buddhism, it is one of the three blessed fruits along with peaches and citrus.

The varied uses of the tree and fruit include tanning leather, treating leprosy and dyspepsia.

The Fruit

Pomegranates grow on a shrub that can be pruned to look like a tree. They can grow to 20 feet in height. There are some shrubs in Europe that have lived for 200 years. Although there are hundreds of cultivars, only 14 grow in the U.S

Pomegranate Seed Oil

200 pounds of pomegranate seeds are need to make 16 ounces of pomegranate seed oil. There are approximately 800 seeds per fruit. This luxurious oil is made by cold pressing the organic seeds.

The luscious oil produced by the pomegranate seeds contains flavonoids, antioxidants and punicic acid, a fatty acid. This reduces inflammation and hydrates as well as protecting the skin and repairing from sun damage. These components aid in protecting and firming the skin. Research has proven the efficacy of the oil on the skin in its ability to stimulate cell growth of the epidermis. Coupled with its bounty of antioxidants this is a must for glowing and healthy skin.

It easily penetrates the skin without leaving a greasy residue making it perfect for oily and dry skin. The oil is viscous and only a small amount is needed for the skin.

This prized oil is found in our eye serum, nourishing body oil and body balm.

Tupelo Honey

grits honey

Tupelo honey

Tupelo honey is often referred to as Southern gold or the Queen of honey and rightly so. This velvety honey is the only honey diabetics can eat. Its high fructose content means that it is quickly absorbed by the body. Compared to other honeys it is has a longer release of energy making it also perfect for athletes. This also makes it the only honey that doesn’t crystallize, it remains liquid for years.

The Tree

The Ogeechee Tupelo tree was named for the river in Georgia where it was discovered by William Bartram, the Ogeechee River. It is also called sour tupelo gum, white tupelo, and bee tupelo. The trees grow in swamps. Therefore, the beehives are on stilts for them to gather the nectar from the female trees that have the blossoms. As the flower is like a magnolia, quite delicate, the hives have to be close to the trees. The red fruit of the tree ripens in autumn and can be made into jams and as a substitute for limes.

The Bees

Timing is everything with tupelo honey harvesting. And of course, the bees. Honey bees can produce about ½ tsp of honey in its lifetime and it take about two million flowers to produce one pound of honey. This is probably why they are called worker bees. Tupelo honey has always been my favorite especially in my grits honey scrub.

The Benefits of Cucumber

bodymistinstagram

The Benefits of Cucumber

The benefits of cucumber go beyond your salad plate. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, cucumbers not only benefit the waistline, but also the health of your body and skin.

The Ultimate Water Fruit

Cucumbers, which belong to the same family as squash and watermelon, have one of the highest water contents of any solid food. With over 95% water content, cucumbers are extremely hydrating. Around 20% of our daily water intake comes from food, therefore eating this H2O-heavy fruit is a great way to meet your daily water intake.

Nourish the Body

Cucumbers are packed with vitamin A and C, in addition to B vitamins, potassium, and caffeic acid. These are all powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation and also calm irritation. Combined with its high levels of water, cucumbers nourishing and hydrating effects help prevent memory loss, support a healthy digestive and cardiovascular system, relieve stress and anxiety, and also enhance the health of your skin.

Hydrate the Skin

This superfood is a great addition to your skin care regimen. Its soothing and calming effects help shrink irritated blood vessels, reducing the appearance of puffy eyes and redness. Cucumbers also fight skin irritation, aiding in the relief of sunburn and skin inflammation. And to top it all off, the extreme concentration of water and vitamin C keep the skin smooth, hydrated, and cooled.

Stay Cool this Summer

HollyBeth utilizes these amazing skin-nourishing properties in her best-selling Body Mist. This cucumber-based hair and skin refresher is the perfect addition to your beach bag. Just spritz it over your head and body to stay cool and revitalize the skin. A definite must-have for the hot days of summer.

Sunflower Seed Oil

sunflower2

Sunflower Seed Oil for the skin

Sunflower seed oil is so beneficial to the skin. A study on infants compared sunflower seed oil with olive oil and found that olive oil “significantly damages the skin barrier” and should be discouraged for dry skin treatment and infant massage. They also determined it reduces infection. It is rich in oleic acid, linoleic acid, carotenoids and  high in Vitamins A, D, and E. It is non comedogenic: it doesn’t clog the pores. Safe for infants, sunflower seed oil is a better skin barrier than the petroleum based products as it protects the skin and locks in moisture. The oil also contains folic acide that helps the body manufacture new cells.

According to Dermatology Times, several studies indicate that the oil has anti-inflammatory properties.Thus making it perfect for acne prone skin by fighting the bacteria yet moisturizing at the same time. The National Eczema Association also encourages the use of sunflower seed oil for those suffering with outbreaks.

What does this mean? That this oil penetrates the skins, absorbs quickly and reduces the fine lines. It is a powerful moisturizer and deeply nourishing for the skin. We have sunflower seed oil in our face and neck elixir, body polish, body oil and flourish calming perfume. See for your yourself the results of sunflower seed oil.

Sunflower Fun Facts

Sunflowers, native to the Americas, have been growing since 1000 B.C. The largest producer in the the U.S. is South Dakota. With over 70 species to choose their benefits are eclectic. In Japan, millions were planted to absorb toxins after the tsunami destroyed the nuclear power plant. In French the word for sunflower is tournesol: follow the sun. Birds love the seeds that make some of the best oil for cooking and for the skin.

 

Backyard Inspiration

rose

Natural Perfection

I was walking through my backyard today and found this pink rose in full bloom, soaking up the sun and enjoying the spring weather. I couldn’t help but think how amazing nature is. This entire splendor comes from the Earth, a natural gift that doesn’t need any alterations or additives to bring out its beauty. The innate magnificence of this rose is all it took to remind me that Mother Nature sure knows what she is doing.

Pure and Effective

Taking a lesson from Mother Nature, HollyBeth’s products are made with 100% USDA Organic Certified ingredients, harnessing the natural powers of flowers, plants, and trees. Pure and effective, HollyBeth Organics’ skin care solutions deliver radiant skin while maintaining the integrity of the environment. There are no harsh chemicals or artificial ingredients, allowing for a non-toxic, eco-friendly approach to beauty.

Nature knows what it is doing, so why mess with a good thing? Keep it honest and keep it simple.

10 nature loving reads

dahlia

Summer Books
Summer’s hallmark lazy, hazy days and laid back schedules offer ample time to dig into a stack of books for some porch-rocking, hammock-swinging, beach-sitting, lake-floating, story-reading delight. This year, let nature provide inspiration for a summer reading list that showcases the original literary muse as the main character. We’ve picked out a few suggestions to set your mind a-bloom and grow your curiosity.

Anthill by Edward O. Wilson

When a Pulitzer-prize winning biologist decides to write a coming-of-age novel, a modern-day classic emerges. Wilson displays the relentless struggle between man and nature through the heroic actions of boy fighting for the land he loves.

Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken

The subtitle — How The Largest Movement In The World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming — says it all to describe this thought-provoking work on the origins of modern initiatives for environmental awareness and social justice. Grassroots campaigns have successfully tapped into a collective consciousness with a magnificent ripple effect. Drop your pebble in the water…

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A talented florist, who survives a lonely childhood in foster-care, becomes fascinated by the Victorian tradition of using flowers to express specific sentiments. As she learns more about the beautiful messages conveyed in the blossoms, she weeds out the nettles from her own painful past.

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

Establishing a strong connection with nature has always been a vital part of the human experience, yet our modern world increasingly parks us inside a technology bubble. Louv reports on the empirical need for children to enjoy regular exposure to the natural world and to enhance their education with significant time outdoors.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

A Harvard doctorate student finds herself engrossed in the pages of an Puritan woman’s journal, then following a trail of healing herbs and ancient ayurvedic-style recipes that leads her right into the madness of the Salem Witch Trials.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

The author that enraptured readers in The Girl with the Pearl Earring takes on the scientific discoveries of 19th century Britain and the classism creating a cultural “survival of the fittest”. Based on a true story of an uneducated British common woman whose fossil collections impressed the leading scientists of her time.

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

Escape to Nepal on this journey of spiritual discovery as the author accompanies a field biologist on a research climb. The extended trek leads to an emotional quest for both of them.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Born in the Age of Enlightenment and living through the Industrial Revolution, a botanist continues the research of her brilliant father even as her inherent need for questioning is challenged by her love affair with a captivating nature artist. Their relationship must weather the conflicts of Religion and Reason, Science and Spiritualism, Passion and Purpose.

The Thing with Feathers by Noah Strycker

From migration patterns to mating rituals, homing tendencies to nesting techniques, the distinctive behaviors of various bird species can teach us volumes about our own humanity. The truth about instinct and intelligence may be soaring right above us or perched on the limb of a favorite tree.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

With a signature wit and precise execution Bryson puts a hysterical twist on the basic travel guide as he attempts an ambitious hike along Appalachian Trail. Lace up your boots and prepare to giggle. (Hint: Read it quick before the new feature film hits the big screen later this year.)

Garden of Grace

reddahlia

Garden of Grace

Our neighbors recently traveled to China to pick up their new baby. An extensive and exhausting adoption process culminated in a family journey across the world to a faraway orphanage. There, they were united with the 2-year-old girl waiting to officially become their daughter. They’ve named her Grace, after a revered grandmother and the hymn sung in church the day they’d made their decision to move forward with adoption proceedings.

Born with Down Syndrome, Grace has spent her young life in the Jinan Children’s Welfare Center under the care of a devoted staff. She’s received regular medical attention for various physiological and developmental conditions associated with her trisomy, but she’s been ready to meet her true family. Ready to find her authentic place in the world. And find it she did, when our neighbors flew over — parents, grandparents, and two elated brothers (adorable sprites, barely school-age themselves).

While they were away, a group of families lining our same street, discussed ways to celebrate Grace’s arrival. Her delicate transition needs made the idea of a huge homecoming party impractical, and they’d already been thrown a baby shower. So, we decided to give them something that would grow along with their family. Something that would provide a tranquil, constant testament of our affectionate support. Something that could inspire them the way their beloved family continually inspires all of us.

A garden. A friendship garden of hope, love and grace … for Grace. A garden bursting with  RED, the Chinese color of luck and happiness, and filled with meaningful plants.

As an amateur hobby gardener, I volunteered as project manager and went into the planning phase quite blindly, having only envisioned an explosion of red flowers. I started by mapping out the different areas of the yard, considering what they’d all see most often — the front curb and mailbox greeting them as they drive in and out, the walkways, the entry steps, an area directly in view from their front family room window. I puttered around various nurseries, reading tags, and started to piece together ideas. The garden plan became a little pattern for a patchwork quilt of flowers and plants, giving visual warmth as well as sentimental comfort. As I found plants I liked, I researched them selecting items representing Grace’s personal history and illustrating this first chapter of her new story.

Once all the plants had been selected and delivered, our neighborhood team met together on a clear (thankfully) Saturday morning with both adults and children eager to dig. The kids chattered gleefully as they worked, so excited to be a part of the project and to one day show baby Grace which flowers they’d planted for her. We showed them how to read the plant tags and place them in the right light, which width to dig their holes, how to loosen the roots balls and how deep to sink each one into the ground. We watched them pat the soil down, tucking in their charges with doting concern. As we finished, they beamed with pride, standing out in the street to admire our collective handiwork.

The curb area, in partial shade, already boasted bountiful oak-leaf hydrangea to which we added Chinese Snowball viburnum, Lenten Rose and soft silver lamb’s ear — fuzzy to the touch of curious fingers and known for it’s antibacterial properties. The mailbox now blossoms with bright red Double Knock-Out roses which should provide almost constant flashes of color until winter. Finally, we lined the entire approach with bright red impatiens — after all, they’ve been waiting for this precious gift for a long time.

We lined the walkways with cheer and color from red hot poker plant spiking upward like a Chinese firecracker or dragon’s tongue, red Gerbera daisies, the ‘Celebration’ variety of blanket flower and the familiar golden zest of rudbeckia. Gumpo white azaleas filled in a bare spot near the edge of the garage, and on the opposite end, at the base of their front steps a gardenia infuses the warm air with the glorious fragrance that’s made it a treasured flower of China for over a thousand years.

Throughout the yard, we found spots for special accents that spoke to me during my shopping and research. The Chinese glossy abelia brings a symbol of fortitude, it’s western cultivation almost prevented by 19th-century Malaysian pirate attack on the British sea vessel carrying them back. Nearby we tucked a ‘Little Princess’ spirea to delight the newest princess in our neighborhood, and honoring her darling big brothers, we planted two ‘Red Prince’ weigelas, also a 19th-century import brought from Shanghai to Britain by Robert Fortune.

To attract some butterflies for Grace’s enjoyment, we included Lantana camara, red bee balm, and red autumn sage. ‘Little Angel’ Shasta daisies, ‘Frosty Fire’ dianthus and assorted red daylilies soak up the rays in a sunny section while red annuals such as verbena, penta, salvia, vinca and petunia accessorize the open spaces between young plantings.

We created a small bed, centered prominently in front of their main window. As the family goes through the daily routine and the children play, they’ll all look out onto a white dwarf ornamental dogwood (Cornus florida) which will bloom each year at around the anniversary of Grace’s arrival. Red Hino-Crimson azaleas gather around the base of that dogwood, playing around in the dappled light and offering a special message — my research revealing that azaleas are a Chinese symbol of womanhood and referred to as “the flower of home” by some ancient poets. The flower of home… we’d planted over a dozen. Yes, sweet girl, you are home now and you will grow into womanhood in nurturing love, a blessing to us all.

Huānyíng huí jiā, Grace. Welcome home!