What’s in this soap?

beer soapWe love our beer & wine over at Old Town Suds. Every market without fail, I get asked a ton of questions about why we put it in our soaps – besides it being fun.

Wine

Grapes are filled with great properties, which is why many people enjoy a glass of red wine every so often. They contain the antioxidant quercetin, flavonoids, resveratrol, minerals, and vitamins Resveratrol is thought to have anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. When wine is added into the soap making process, you get all of these properties topically. Plus, the natural sugars also create a stronger lather.

Beer

Beer, like wine, is made of several skin-loving ingredients. Sometimes I relate it to oatmeal. Beer is primarily hops many of this herb’s properties and benefits become a skin cleansing asset when added to soap. Oats, barley and wheat are mineral-rich grains that contribute an array of health promoting benefits to everything they touch, including soap. Other great benefits to hops are: it soothes irritated skin, and contains polyphenols thought to account for its antibacterial effects, and also it contains skin-softening amino acids. Beer makes a near perfect skincare addition to soap!

There you have it! So who is ready for a some wine or beer soap?

Cheap Toothpaste Recipe

Have you noticed the blogs talking about oil pulling lately? If you don’t know what that is, check out this helpful piece. While we have tried oil pulling, it is super helpful in keeping bad breath (read: coffee breath) at bay, we prefer something a little easier and a lot less time consuming.

We make our own toothpaste and have been doing so for over a year. It is SUPER simple. Your ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (cheapest is at Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 Tablespoons Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Packet of Stevia (optional)
  • 20-25 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil (at your health food store)

To make mixing easier, I measure out my coconut oil into my small glass container that I’ll be storing the paste in and melt the oil slightly in the microwave. It only takes 3-5 seconds. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees so it really doesn’t take much. Then I mix in the baking soda, stevia and essential oil.

After I adjusted to making my own toothpaste I stop using stevia. Try using it with and without to figure out your preference. Not a fan of peppermint? Try a different essential oil! Maybe you are a cinnamon fan so see how you like that in your new toothpaste – or better yet, create your own personaled combination of oils.

After the first few times using the toothpaste you’ll notice whiter teeth and healthier gums. We do recommend not sharing the container of paste; instead make ones for each family member who will be using it. Since you are dipping your brush in, you might not want to share that many germs.

Easily stop the bug bite itching

Stop The Madness!

Bug bites. We’ve all had them and I’m pretty sure we all hate them. If you’ve been one of the lucky ones this summer, there is a super easy way to stop the itching. The perks? It is super simple, works right way and you may even have everything you need right in your kitchen.

What you need:

  • Cotton balls
  • Medical Tape (optional)
  • White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • At least one itchy bug bite

Take you cotton ball and put a decent amount of vinegar on the cotton ball. We use white vinegar in our house but apple cider vinegar will work too. Place the cotton ball over the bite and tape down with medical tape. If you don’t want to use the medical tape, just hold the ball there until the itching stops. That’s it!

What if you are SUPER lucky and have several bites? That’s super simple. It’s time for a bath. Fill your tub with warm water and add 2-3 cups of vinegar to your bath water. Soak for a few minutes. Add some essential oils if the vinegar smell is too much for you. The smell will dissipate quickly either way.

An Easier Solution

Stop the bites before they start with Bugger Off our all natural bug repellent. Bugger Off is made with essential oils that repel insects and a lotion bar base. It smells like lemongrass with a with a hint of eucalyptus – smells that bugs don’t like, but we do. The base moisturizes your skin making it happy and not sticky like the sprays. At 2 ounces, Bugger Off is bag friendly and easy to use. Just rub on exposed skin like you would a lotion bar. It moisturizes and saves you from bug bites. What could be better? Check it out now!

Soap That’s Bad For You

There is such a thing as bad soap. Since the FDA’s notice, there have been many articles about antibacterial soaps. It’s not the basic soap that is bad for you, it is one of the ingredients that commercial producers put into their liquid soaps, triclosan, that you must be fearful of.

Triclosan is what makes the commercial liquid soaps antibacterial. It was original found in hospitals, a place where you really don’t want germs to spread. But, it quickly moved into the unregulated commercial setting. A Smithsonian.com article outlined 5 reasons you need to stop purchasing any products with Triclosan in them.

1. Antibacterial soaps are no more effective than conventional soap and water.

2. Antibacterial soaps have the potential to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria

3. The antibacterial soaps could act as endocrine disruptors. (in lab studies it has been shown to interfere with thyroid hormone production)

4. The antibacterial soaps might lead to other health problems, too. They state that “there’s evidence that children with prolonged exposure to triclosan have a higher chance of developing allergies, including peanut allergies and hay fever.”

5. Antibacterial soaps are bad for the environment. Tricolsan has been showing up in bodies of water after it has been processed through sewage treatment facilities.

A Super Simple Solution

Don’t purchase antibacterial soap. These finding reinforce why I got into soap making to begin with. Not knowing the cause of why my brain is larger than what my skull can contain makes me super cautious of what products I use. Something as simple as one chemical added to what seems to be a safe product, can really cause irreplaceable damage. Old Town Suds‘ products are made with ingredients you could eat & drink. Beer, wine, avocados, butters, pumpkin, olive oil and so on. No chemicals. No triclosan. For the curious, you can even learn how to make your own soap so you control the ingredients!

Enter Soap 101!

soap 101A part demonstration and part hands-on style class, Soap 101 will entire your handmade taste buds! Over two hours you’ll learn about the cold process soap making process. After the class is over you will have made 1 full pound of lemongrass scented soap (that translates into 4 bars of soap) plus 1 bar that you pick from our stock.

Join us on July 26th for bubbly fun!

 

Traveling and Dealing with TSA

My travel schedule has skyrocketed the last few months. I’ve been to Florida, Indiana, and shortly Nevada, Minnesota, Arizona, North Carolina and New York. I try to just pack a carry on whenever possible. My suitcase fits all dimensions of my preferred airlines requirements. But what doesn’t always are my carry on products.

This is where being all-natural in your beauty products can stink.

 

A scrub loaded with chemicals is fine to carry on as long as it is 4oz or under. My baggie full of baking soda, a nice white powered, not so much. I try to avoid being detained by TSA and spend as little time there as possible.  I already opt out due to the images taken and radiation exposure and any extra time spent there makes my blood curdle. But being gone for a week without my facial scrub stinks. Plus, I don’t want to buy a whole box of baking soda when I get to each destination. That is just a waste.

The next few days I am going to experiment with how I can make my facial scrub TSA-safe, meaning it’s not a baggie or plastic container full of white powered. Join me on the journey as I figure out what this is going to look like and my experiments. I am sure this is going to be a mix of Stubborn Steffanie, a little chemistry and a pinch of good luck. I already have an idea in mind and I am really hoping it works! Only time will tell.

525,600 Minutes (Times Three)

I can’t believe it’s been three years already. It also kinda feels like it was a lifetime ago. (If you aren’t sure what I am talking about start here, here, here, here, and here. Oh, and here and here.)

Today, I am celebrating my Brainiversary. That’s at least what I’ve decided to call it. Joel gives me weird looks when I say it and, quite frankly, I don’t care. So what am I doing today?

I’m filming my video interview/Q&A for Career Camp! It’s kinda funny that I am talking to Michelle today. If we want to go back to the very beginning. The very moment I started to get concerned that something wasn’t right, I was actually on a conference call with Michelle. I was participating in a continuation of one of her programs. Then, my legs started to tingle.

So I paced.

I didn’t want to end the call, it was just my legs were annoying me and I didn’t really know what to do. So I walked back and forth across our apartment while participating. I remember leaning on things. Pressing my forehead against the cold glass window while trying to stay apart of the conversation happening around me.

Three years and a titanium skull later, I’m finally letting my hair grow out and am mostly not fearful of something else happening. If you want to scare yourself you can read story after story of unsuccessful operations. But why?

Negativity breeds like rabbits. It is easy to go down that hole and never resurface. That can’t be me. That won’t be me. In my third year my goal is pretty simple: get back to running.

Running the half marathon less than a year after surgery was a tremendous feat. But I need to keep going. I need continue the tradition. I’m attempting to get back to running so I can really attempt to set a half marathon PR in late 2014 or early 2015. I’ve been looking at a few races, many of them just happen to be around my birthday!

Here is to a year filled with soap, spas and running shoes!