plastic micro beads

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetLittle plastic micro beads

I like to think of myself as trying to be a person somewhat informed about various things. I recycle as much as possible; paper and cardboard as well as steel, aluminum and plastic containers along with glass jars and bottles all go into their appropriately colored recycle bins. I drink tap water avoiding as much as possible buying water in a bottle. On those occasions when I do make such a purchase, I carry the plastic bottle home with me to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way, if I don’t come across a recycling bin. When not doing my own garden compost, I dutifully put my grass and hedge clippings in the green bin.

I was very surprised then to learn that the micro beads in many, or perhaps most, facial scrubs and washes are plastic. Naïve me thought that they were somehow ‘natural’. Not until reading the article Illinois in Ecosalon’s email newsletter did I learn the facts. Cheap to manufacture, these plastic micro beads are cost efficient to beauty manufacturers. Because they are so small, they slip through the filters during sewage and water processing, thus making their way into rivers where they harm wildlife and pollute waterways. Millions of micro beads have been found in Lake Michigan. As you read in the article, the state of Illinois is the first to ban the sale and manufacture of beauty products containing micro beads by the end of year 2017. Check your scrub’s list of ingredients, does it list that the micro beads are plastic?

A good scrub exfoliates your skin, leaving it feeling fresh and rejuvenated.  Even better, when the ingredients are truly natural. That is why I adore HollyBeth’s Grits and Honey Scrub. It’s my favorite product from her beauty and cleansing range. First of all, it smells delicious! Gently fragrant, smelling of,  what else? Honey. Honey not only smells blissful, but has known healing and hydrating qualities too. What a way to start the day or to have a little pick-me-up at day’s end. Secondly, it delicately sloughs off dead skin cells, leaving skin dewy fresh and moisturized. Finally, it rinses off easily and cleanly and, best of all, contains no plastic microbeads. HollyBeth uses for her wonderful scrub a traditional, natural, organic ingredient—grits! It’s a fond Southern staple, both in the kitchen and in the bathroom.    Thoughts on Grits & Honey by Alicia Strickland

riviera reverie

photo courtesy of

July is often a daydreamy kind of month. Sometimes, especially in the South, when it’s so hot and humid that I can barely move, my thoughts tend to drift out the window to a faraway place. With Bastille Day arriving earlier this week, and from my days in the studio sniffing our Lavender Hand Cream, I’ve found myself drifting off to the French Riviera. Several years ago I took a trip to France and ended up in Eze, which is on the coast, not far from Nice. We visited an outpost of Fragonard, a French ‘parfumeur’ that is almost a century old.  As I remember it (and that’s all that matters, isn’t it? How we remember places we’ve seen, not how they actually are?) Eze was something out of a dream—all crumbly stone walls, blanketed in crawling vines and flowers. At the perfumery, we took a workshop on aromatherapy and learned about the process of making perfume. Do I remember anything specific that I learned that day? No, of course not. What I do remember is the lovely, smiling people, and the place that looked so old and crumbling, but that all my senses told me was very much alive and breathing.

Another old yet alive and breathing place, so very far from the French Riviera, is St. Simons, a barrier island of the coast of Georgia. My family has been making a yearly pilgrimage there for many decades now, and our next trip is next week. There is certainly not an historic perfumery on St. Simons, nor are there fields of lavender, but there are hanging curtains of Spanish moss, magnolia blooms, and warm, salty-spray air. It is a dreamy place in its own right, with its own soul.

Where are some of your dreamy places? What smells, flowers, or colors take you back to them?

Green Bride Beauty

Green  Bride Beauty > Thank you!

Whether you’re bride, bridesmaid, mother of the bride, or a guest, it shouldn’t be hard to achieve baby soft smooth lips. I created my Lovely Lip Scrub with ingredients found at home in the pantry. Formulated with honeyorganic sugar, and sweet almond and peppermint oils, my scrub exfoliates and nourishes to unveil luscious, supple lips after every use.

From the wind and sun to the foods we eat, your lips take a beating. By marrying honey, which is widely known as Mother Nature’s cure-all, with sugar, my scrub ensures that your lips stay hydrated while sloughing away dead skin cells. Sweet almond oil, rich in Vitamins A, B and E, soothes irritation while imparting additional moisture into the skin. The peppermint oil injects lips with menthol, both plumping lips and freshening breath. Simply mix up a batch, apply to lips and massage in a light, circular motion. Remove with a warm washcloth and follow with your favorite lip balm. Store in an air tight container at room temperature or for added refreshment, store in the refrigerator! This scrub also doubles as a lip gloss when the sugar is omitted. I recommend weekly treatments with my Lovely Lip Scrub to ensure your lips are prepped for the big day.

Create an oversize batch of HollyBeth’s scrub as DIY gifts for your bridesmaids. Put your mixture into reusable glass mason jars and simply add a bow in your wedding colors.

hollybeth eco-friendly DIY lip scrub recipe



With over 60 species to choose from, basil is one the most varied herbs in aroma and symbolism. From spicy, citrus to cinnamon basil covers a multitude of fragrances from its essential oils. Sweet basil is one of my favorites, reminiscent of anise or licorice and is easily grown indoors or outdoors.

Considered sacred in Hindu, basil or tulsi represents love, eternal life and purification after the goddess Tulasi. There is no reference to basil in the Bible although the herb was said to have grown near the crucifixion. In Italy, basil was used to attract a lover and in Moldovian folklore if a man took a sprig of basil from a woman he would fall in love with her. It has represented chastity, hatred and love.  A sprig of basil in your pocket would produce wealth, and sprinkling it at the door would bring customers. What a complex herb! Its original purpose was for embalming and taking the poison out of insect bites. Today its properties are so varied it should be considered the super herb. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used as a treatment for diabetes, impotence, allergies, infertility and respiratory ailments. Basil contains natural antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. My preference is basil coupled with bergamot, in my basil bergamot hand wash and lotion, spicy and crisp

basil folklore

basil folklore

anise hyssop

Native to the Midwest, anise hyssop is a member of the mint family. Bees and butterflies are hovering over my anise hyssop that is flourishing in this heat wave. Aromatic of licorice and anise, it was planted in the 1870s to attract honeybees. Historically it has been used to guard against evil spirits, as a cough suppressant and as a wash against poison ivy and leprosy. Culinary uses include tea for digestion, salads, jellies and the seeds in cookies. anise