What’s in your tea?!



After being a huge fan of Celestial Seasonings Zinger blends for making iced tea for a couple years now, and feeling it was better than juice, I finally made the switch to buying bulk, loose leaf, organic tea & couldn’t be happier! I currently have raspberry leaf & spearmint, with hibiscus & a citrusy blend coming next week, all caffeine free, and all organic. It was my only New Year’s resolution this year, and I’m so thrilled to have made the switch already. The teas I’ve bought so far are ~$10/#, and 1# is A LOT of tea. So it’s economical & environmentally friendly as there’s very little packaging, just the bag it comes in! Do you know what’s in your tea?! Credit to Food Babe for the chart.


I made the front page of my local paper :)


Building a business on safe and U.S. made

A Gays Mills resident and mother of two has taken her passion for American made and eco-friendly products to a new level.

Jessica Brandt describes herself as a “label-reading mama on a mission to find the safest products on the market.” She started a website to share her mission with others, researching and promoting her discovery of eco-friendly and American made products.

Brandt states on her website that her first priority is finding safe products and second that they are made in the USA.

The inspiration for Brandt’s venture came while she was shopping for her son’s first birthday.

Finding that a popular toy company was being manufactured in China didn’t sit right with Brandt. She felt that more USA-made product options had to be out there.  The website lets Brandt share her research and resources with others.

Brandt sees her passion for American-made products as a natural outgrowth of her passion for local economy.

“I’m a huge advocate of shopping as locally as possible for a couple of reasons,” noted Brandt said in an recent interview with American Made Insider. “Reducing the carbon footprint of products, supporting my neighbors, and keeping strong tax and social security base in our country.”

Brandt’s website breaks down the different products in easy to follow categories, thoroughly covered to allow consumers to find just about everything they could need from dental floss to ceiling fans.

Safe products for children are a hot ticket item for Brandt.

The website offers safe toys and sippy cups options. Also featured on the website is a baby registry, helping parents who have an interest in eco friendly and American made products extend that to their baby showers as well.

“A mission was started to try and find the safest baby items, preferably made in the USA, for mama’s to put on their baby registries,” Jessica noted on her website “It can take countless hours and frustration as an expecting mama to go through the infinite material on the internet and try to decipher what is safest for their little ones.”

Some of the items listed include reusable wipes made from bamboo or organic flannel, cribs and crib mattresses, strollers and car seats, binkies and even baby nail clippers just to name a few of the gems Jessica has found in her research.

“My goal is to make you more aware of what you are putting on your body, but especially that of your precious child,” said Brandt. “Most people on my page are here because they are looking for eco-friendly AND family-friendly products. Every parent I have ever met, only wants what’s best for the families.”

With a background in Spanish language education, Brandt put her teaching career on hold to be a stay- at-home mother.

Along with the website, Brandt makes her own deodorant and scrubs available for purchase at the Kickapoo Exchange Co-op in Gays Mills.

The homemade deodorant sells for $8 for a four-ounce glass jar.

“There are no frills, no fluff,” Brandt boasted. “Just a plain Mason jar, a label with ingredients, and the frequently asked questions.”

Brandt’s oatmeal-and- sugar body scrub is available in several different scents. The scrub can be purchased on her website or at the Kickapoo Exchange. It costs $6 for a four-ounce jar.

Offering consumers a one-stop shop for favored products, Brandt has also started a ‘buying club’ through her website.

“I came up with the idea after people were commenting about having trouble purchasing items because of being unable to afford shipping costs,” Brandt said.

Several different package deals are available for people including a beginner sample pack for $20 with $5 shipping. The sample pack includes samples of various soaps, toothpaste and Brandt’s own homemade deodorant.

“I’m trying to diversify, but keep it basic at the same time,” noted Jessica. “The feedback I’m getting is great, people are so excited.”

Also included are medicine cabinet basic essentials and cleaning essentials packages with a large variety of products available.

The products on order lists vary by season. There will be a core list of items available with some additions each quarter to reflect the seasons.

“Last box, I did more Easter stuff,” explained Jess “with eco grass and jelly beans, And I will add sunscreen an other items in the future for the seasonal aspect.”

There are no fees to join the buying club. Brandt doesn’t offer a discount on purchases. Many vendors do not want the club to create competition with their own sales, but she negotiates sales with willing vendors whenever possible.

Brandt also expressed a desire to involve more local producers, who may have a product that would interest those in the buying club.

“I would love to add any local stuff,” Brandt said. “I’m always looking for new things. ”

Currently, the two local vendors are LuSa organics and Brandt herself.

Some of the items available through her buying club are also available at the Kickapoo Exchange in Gays Mills.

Area residents who would like to be involved in the buying club should contact Brandt via email, both to order and to work out arrangements for picking up orders.

The orders are placed quarterly. The next order will be accepted May 1-18, and can be emailed to ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com. There is complete list of product on her website ecofriendlyusa.wordpress.com.

There is no minimum order policy for the buying club or obligation to ever purchase again. Shipping is also available to anywhere in the world with shipping insurance as well.

“Mainly I want to get safe products to the people who want them,” Brandt concluded.

Article link: http://www.swnews4u.com/section/157/article/20832/

Review of oil cleanser from The Natural Cajun



Oil cleansing—have you heard of it? Have you tried it? A Mama who has been on my page for quite some time let me know that she had just launched her own business & accompanying website/FB page: The Natural Cajun, and asked if I’d ever tried oil cleansing. I had heard of it, but not tried it, so was very interested in it. I always enjoy trying new things as long as the ingredients are completely safe, which these certainly are. I was very pleased when I received her package to see that the product comes in a cobalt blue glass bottle, which screams quality product to me! I was also very happy that she sent 2 pages of info with it fully describing the ingredients & even their sources, and the info as to why oil cleansing is beneficial. Here’s some info from those sheets. Ingredients for the combo skin formula I was sent:
Avocado oil: Swanson foods Organic
Hemp Seed oil: Mountain Rose Herbs Organic
Olive oil: Bragg’s Organic Extra Virgin
Borage Seed Oil: Raw Gaia Organic
Hazelnut Oil: Mountain Rose Herbs Organic
Grapeseed Oil: Mountain Rose Herbs Organic
Sweet Almond Oil: Swanson Foods Organic

Directions: apply a teaspoon worth of oil (I use a cotton ball), place hot rag over face until no longer hot, wipe clean. My favorite part is definitely the hot rag treatment on the face! I find myself looking forward to it, it feels really, really good at the end the day! Also, it smells wonderful, with a slightly sweet but very mellow scent. I definitely see dirt on the cotton ball daily, which shows me it’s working to remove it. I have come to like this method of cleaning my face much more than using soap. It’s both super easy, and soothing- it’s really grown on me.  Of course it’s best to use it daily, but I usually do it every other day. I know many of you can relate to the evening chaos of bath & getting the kiddos ready for bed, I put my needs last of course, but am trying to get in the habit of doing this while my kids are in the bath. But even with every other day use, I feel my skin is very healthy right now. I have always had combo skin: my forehead & nose always have dry spots, while my neck & cheeks are oilier, and break out in pimples at times. Bailey told me to leave more oil on the dry parts (don’t wipe it away), and that definitely seems to be helping! My previously oily parts are doing much better than they have in a very long time! I love it! She makes one for dry, oily , acne, or combo skin.  They are $15 ($17 for acne blend) which includes shipping. The 4 oz bottle is a month’s worth of cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.

SO, how does it work?! Here’s some info from Bailey, including her personal testimonial: “Now to tell you why I love oil cleansing! I have always had mild skin issues. I am a nutrition counselor and despite my clean, omega 3 balanced diet, I still occasionally break out, or at least I did before I discovered this amazing method. The chemistry behind it is simple: like dissolves like. Your face is constantly producing oil (known as sebum). Even if you have dry skin, oil production continues. When you use harsh cleansers or even sensitive mild simple organic cleanser, your face is being stripped of its natural oils. The result can vary from complete skin chaos to barely noticeable. When you strip your skin of its sebum, no matter how little, it goes into overdrive to produce more resulting in breakouts, dry patches, and oiliness not good. I use different blends for different skin types, but each blend has this in common: astringent oil, nourishing oil, and moisturizing oil. After a few days of oil cleansing my face got the point. I was going to let it do its job, no need to hyper produce sebum and clog up my pores.”

Also, I greatly appreciated this info she passed along to me, showing me she’s very educated about the products she’s using: “ I also wanted to let you know that most oil cleansers, especially DIY ones, use castor oil.  I do not use castor oil because of the awful harvesting practices.  The workers are exposed to the toxic chemical “ricin” (which is completely removed when the oil is refined).  I can’t, in good conscience, use castor oil for this reason.”

I’m very grateful to Bailey for sending me a jar of this to sample, and plan to keep using it in the future.
FB: https://www.facebook.com/thenaturalcajun

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