Peppermint

handsPEPPERMINT… Not just for the Holidays!

Recently, I have been bombarded with “Christmas in July” adverts and coupons and therefore my thoughts have been laced with sugar plum fairies and peppermint candy.  Historically (and well before the pineapple) peppermint has been a symbol of hospitality. Of all the essential oils, peppermint is one,that even the most neophyte of consumers, have a distinct memory or experience.  From the smell of indulgent, candy cane laden hot chocolate during winter vacations to an invigorating peppermint tea prepared with healing love to combat a stomach ache peppermint can be found peppered in our lives.  Growing up, the smell of peppermint always is interconnected to home remedies for chest congestion, skin irritations and the rare joy of being allowed to chew gum!

As a new mother many years ago, I distinctly remember relying on the soothing, menthol encumbered ambient air as we struggled with the first upper respiratory congestion that our daughter experienced.  The peaceful properties of peppermint were calming and restorative for my shot nerves.  As a preemie born at 25 ½ weeks, her delicate point were her lungs.  My husband’s face when I suggested that we have faith in the “old school” therapy of lathering her feet with peppermint cream to combat her cough was priceless – only to be outdone when her coughing subsided!

From a scientific standpoint, peppermint is a cross between spearmint and water mint. The plant can be found in Europe, Asia and North America.  While there are close to 30 species of peppermint, the majority of peppermint is harvested in North America.  The Egyptians, who were medicinally advanced, used peppermint leaves for gastritis and indigestion.  In the late 17th century and the early 18th century the Europeans used peppermint not only for stomach ailments but also menstrual infirmities.

The aroma of peppermint has been shown to raise readiness and improve memory.  Who could not benefit from this??  In addition to containing vitamin A and vitamin C, findings indicate that peppermint oil exhibits antifungal, analgesic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

Upon being introduced to the HollyBeth Organics line, I was delighted to find the Orange Peppermint Shea Butter.  The glimmering shea butter consistency and the unpolluted peppermint has a multiplicity of uses.  “Nono” uses it on his face and hair, while my daughter uses it on her feet after a long ballet class and I recently massaged my temples during a debilitating migraine.  As if this was not sufficient, I recently gifted a friend that is fighting breast cancer and she has shared with me that it has helped subside the hot flashes and nausea post treatment.

An ancient medicinal tool and a modern medicine cabinet must have… Peppermint!

10 nature loving reads

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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.)

Everything Avocados

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Everything Avocados

Television, social media, billboards, subway adverts, Instagram pics, Facebook links, and Twitter feeds just to name a few. Avocados seem to be the rage in gastronomy, health and in just about any facet of life. As a child I remember “Nani” making avocado hair masks during our summer adventures at the beach.  She was confident that her Farah Fawcett locks were more lustrous and manageable after her deep conditioning treatments.  While these memories make my heart happy, it still does not answer the question … WHY are avocados the rage???

Historically, the avocado originated from south-central Mexico sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 B.C.  Despite its historical occurrence, it was several millennia before its cultivation. As a California girl, the Hass Avocado was a staple at our house complete with the historical lessons of the Hass Mother Tree in La Hambra Heights that survived the ice storm in the 1920’s and is the matriarch for all California Hass Avocados.  Clearly, avocados have longevity, but WHY so popular?? 

Avocado seems to embody just about the perfect collection of youthful regeneration, have a positive environmental impact, contain wellbeing properties, has perfect, natural packaging, and can boost any diet or dietary circumscribed dinner party. When consumed, they lower bad cholesterol, are rich in fiber and full of nutrients that are paramount for a healthy life. Sometimes called the Alligator Pear, this fruit is consumed in all corners of the earth and can be appreciated throughout all courses of a meal.

Avocado orchards are good for the environment.  The orchards absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen thus aiding in the renewal of our air supply.  Like a trusted friend who guides you during tumultuous times, they prevent erosion, they stabilize the soil and they can help filter rain water, thus creating better-quality water. Avocados advocate a loving world… They usually grow in pairs and need another avocado tree in close proximity to bear fruit as they do not self-pollinate.

Avocado is a welcomed guest at any dinner party.  They are dairy free, vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, cholesterol free and they have over 20 vitamins and minerals.  If that was not enough to convince you that they are a perfect accompaniment, avocado adds a sun-kissed, glistening of heavenly silkiness to chocolate desserts.  Don’t you wish you could find an avocado on match.com?

A few months ago, my brother in law made a sarcastic laden comment implying that we were missing a subliminal, secret campaign by the avocado farmers around the world.  I scoffed at his comment, as per usual, reminding him that hidden agendas don’t always reign.  Well, I am here to stand (slightly) corrected…. Avocado are ALL around and for GOOD reason… 

Try our Cleansing Oil that contains avocado oil.

Cleansing Oil

Postcard Back Side FINAL NO AddressCLEANSING OIL – TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE OR SKINCARE ENLIGHTENMENT???

Growing up in a household that encouraged “back in the old country” solutions,  my life is peppered with hundreds of uses for castor oil,  avocado and cod liver oil to name a few. Our “Mima” solutions were a delicate (and sometimes marked with olfactory offensiveness) creations from the garden, the produce section, or the shelves of ethnic markets around Los Angeles. 

While I am a firm believer in the oil cleansing method, I can assure you that my experiences have not been without trauma and multifarious inquiry.  What is the oil cleansing method? Is it possible that using something with the viscosity of an enchanted balsamic reduction actually purifies and cleanses?

What is the oil cleansing method?  It is a cleansing method that uses oil to purify, cleanse and decontaminate.  How can oil do this? Oil dissolves Oil…. All skin types (even acne-prone) need your natural oils to lubricate and protect.  Cleansing oils use the “good oils” to eradicate the unwanted, bad oils. In addition to its purifying effects, essential oils are antibacterial, thus making it an ideal option for even oily or acne-prone skins.  

When you use the oil cleansing method, the cleansing oil binds with the impurities on the surface of your skin.  The scientific, differing properties between the cleansing oil and your natural oils allows for a natural removal of impurities and will not clog your pores.  Imagine for a moment you are driving with the windows rolled down on a well-earned road trip and your all-time favorite song is playing… the connection between that moment in time and your happy place is synonymous to the reaction between the cleansing oils and daily contaminations on your skin.

Many oil-free cleansers can eradicate the natural oils that our skin embraces and needs to reach the utopian state of natural pH balance and glow.  And who does not want to glow and be balanced??? We are thrilled to introduce our first ever cleansing oil that embraces the astounding benefits of the oil cleansing method.

NEW FACE Gabriela Gonzalez-Lamberson

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Mrs. Gonzalez-Lamberson began her career at Kodak and then began working in the International Tourism and Economic Development arena as the Director of the International division of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB).  During her tenure at the ACVB she represented the city with projects such as the bid for the Secretariat of the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as the route development of Delta Air Lines throughout Latin America.  Before returning to Atlanta in 2007 to become the Director of Southeast region for AeroMexico Airlines, Mrs. Gonzalez-Lamberson worked for the US division of the Swiss based company Kuoni as the Director for Europe and South Africa.

She currently serves as the Co-Chair for the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, is a member of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Initiative of the Girl Scouts of America. She is currently part of the educational committee with Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta.   She has served as president of the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s Atlanta Chapter in addition to serving board terms with the Hispanic Initiative of Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, The Mexican Center of Atlanta, and the National Latina Business Women’s Association amongst others.   Amid her recognitions, she has been named Southeast Rising star by Southern Living, Women Leaders in Atlanta by Atlanta Woman Magazine and was chosen to participate in one of initial classes of the Coca Cola Diversity Leadership Academy.

With a passion for art and culture, she continues her philanthropic efforts managing a local non-profit that provides opportunities for cultural exchange, artistic expression and more overly, an opportunity for cultural understanding cultivating a path for global thinking.

Mrs. Gonzalez-Lamberson has an International Finance and International Marketing Degree from the University of Georgia.  She is passionate about health, wellness and keeping life full of laughter and legerity.  She lives in Atlanta and is married to Bart Lamberson who works in the flourishing film industry of Georgia and they have a 5 year old daughter, Gabriela Elisa.

The Royal Attraction of Neroli

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​The Royal Attraction of Neroli

The twisted, thorny branches of the Bitter Orange, Citrus aurantium, produce leaves, fruit and blossoms used for centuries — native to regions from Asia to Africa to the Amazon, the tree enchanted European explorers and traders who delighted to see it root beautifully in the Mediterranean climate. Their cultivations rewarded them with the fruit that became the basis for liqueurs like Grand Marnier and Cointreau, and flowers steam-distilled into neroli oil.

Of course, it took a princess to make that oil legendary…

Princess Anne Marie Orsini of Nerola, Italy, the duchess of Bracciano (1642-1722), adored the orange blossom flowers, using the essence in her bath and on her gloves. Her prolific demand led to the naming of the oil for her lands. A shrewd lady, Anne Marie ultimately acquired quite a bit of power throughout the courts of Italy, France and Spain … probably trailing the scent of orange blossoms along her way. Born into French aristocracy, she was married off at a young age, widowed twice and left in financial ruin at one point. Anne Marie learned how to manipulate the social system through savvy alliances and political diplomacy. She fashioned herself into one of the “It” girls of the day, one of THE women to have at court, and her circle became a noted salon as she entertained the leaders of the time. By successfully arranging the marriage of Spain’s Philip V to Maria Luisa of Savoy, she endeared herself to the young couple, entering their household and attaining a position of great influence during the War of Spanish Succession. Though that didn’t last — Princess Maria died of TB, the despondent king remarried and the new queen exiled Anne Marie back to Italy — she landed on her feet, and delighted the courts of monarchs until her death.

Did Princess Orsini cast a sweet-smelling spell on her audiences rendering them powerless to her charms? Perhaps Anne Marie had already figured out how to harness the energy of neroli and use it to her advantage — high concentrations reportedly cause euphoria or even mild hypnosis and then there’s that whole aphrodisiac aspect. Contemporary blends of the oil calm anxiety, balance mood, decrease tension, enhance emotional health, and stimulate cell production.

Our Body Mist combines neroli oil, cucumber and grapefruit for a royally refreshing spritz anytime of day. An ageless touch in a modern world.