Like Natural? You NEED to Try This, Seriously!!!

So I know if you’re a reader of my blog that you’re health conscious and are a fan of things that are organic and natural. However, It is SO incredibly hard at times to find products that actually work and hold up to their “natural” marketing claims. What prompted me to take a deep look at all my beauty products recently is that I was diagnosed with a sunflower seed oil allergy. Yep, you heard that right SUNFLOWER seed! Little did I know that the products i’d been using everyday were causing me to get little itchy bumps all over my skin; no skin surface was exempt! These bumps are what prompted me to see an allergist in the first place which lead me to that surprising diagnosis. Anywho, to make a long story short nearly every product I owned contained sunflower seed oil aka Helianthus annuus. Let me tell ya, my mom made out on this allergy ordeal, she proudly inherited a boatload of skin, beauty and hair products….now I hope to heck she’s not allergic!

So there I was sans all my favorite products 😦 Needless to say during this whole process and after reading all the labels on my “natural” products quite intensely, I came to the realization that most of them weren’t “natural” after all and they actually contained quite a bit of ingredients you’d need a chemistry degree to decipher. After some perusing the internet I came across Shea Terra and my love affair began. I promise you I will make this love letter short and sweet 🙂

This company makes amazing and effective 99.7-100% ALL NATURAL products they also provide much needed jobs to communities in areas where their ingredients are sourced (such as Africa). The company also provides interest free loans to women living in those marginalized areas. So not only are you getting an amazing smelling, all natural, wonderfully effective products you’re also inadvertently supporting those in need! Win win!

A small portion of what SheaTerra has to offer.

A small portion of what SheaTerra has to offer.

My favorite product is the Shea Butter Extreme Body Cream. It is incredibly versatile and not your average body cream. SheaTerra offers many choices in scents such as mango, pineapple, white chocolate, guava pomegranate just to name a few. All these scents are natural too, no fragrance, just pure simple natural scent. I use this product mostly for my cracked dry hands in the winter months. One application before bedtime and I wake up with soft nearly crack free hands!! My husband even used it once and commented on how awesome his hands felt. Secondly,  I love baths and I take about a tablespoon of this body cream and lightly rub it on my hands then put my hands beneath the stream of water thats filling to tub to add scent and moisture to my baths (it also creates a little bubble bath effect). This would be perfect to add to your little ones bath time regimen as childrens skin lacks an effective moisture barrier until about 5-6 years of age 🙂 A third way to use this body cream is to use it as a hair masque. Just take a scoopful and smooth it through your hair prior to shampooing, then shampoo as normal. Your hair will be shiny and soft due to the massive amount of shea butter in the product. I can’t express enough how incredibly fond I am of SheaTerras products and mission, Im pretty certain these are the only body care products i’ll ever be buying. Please SheaTerra, never go out of business, I love you!

Ok, now seriously ladies (and gentlemen too) check them out for yourself.

“Toe-mate-Os” or “Toh-mat-Os”…? Garden Planning Excitement!

It’s garden planning season!! One of my favorite things to do is to go through our seed catalogs and pick our lucky victims for planting in the upcoming year 🙂 We really love and have used Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds  since we’ve first started growing our own food about 5 years ago. This company has so many unique offerings and are 100% organic and GMO free, something my husband and I think is very important. I always get really excited about my tomatoes, I LOVE them and am always ready and willing to change the varieties up each season. Last year we planted a “Blueberry” variety from Baker Creek that were absolutely amazing, in addition to some San Marzanos and Striped Romans (good for canning, freezing, and slicing). This year I was lucky to find a small organic non GMO tomato farmer in Pennsylvania who I ordered all my “babies” from. As an added bonus the farm is called Happy Cat Farms !!! For a girl who loves her cats and tomatoes it was love at first glance 🙂

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Happy Cat Farm Tomatoes!

Since our garden is fairly small, these are the varieties I’ve chosen. 

1. The Lloyd E. Frey– This is a great tomato for slicing. If you love beefsteak tomatoes, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with the flavor, texture and juiciness of this fella!

2. Sweet Pea– These tomatoes are VERY teeny tiny, the size of a pea! Why am I excited about something so small? Well, these little guys are the perfect addition to salads, a dish I enjoy almost every single day. They may be little, but they pack a nice sweet punch 🙂

3. Reigart– These medium sized tomatoes are GREAT for freezing and canning. Yes, you can freeze tomatoes and let me tell you, they are awesome to use in soups, stews, curries and sauces when you’re craving the flavor of freshness over the long winter months.

Peppers!

Peppers!

In addition to the awesome tomatoes, I’m also pretty excited about these peppers. I’ve never planted the Corno Di Toro Rosso peppers but have heard they are a great and sweeter alternative to bells, especially great for pan frying due to the thinner skin.

Each year my husband and I plant Shishito Peppers. OMG are they amazing! They are tiny little peppers that when simply sautéed in butter with salt are the most amazing little treat you can have. They are a sweet, slightly smokey, very mild pepper that grows amazingly well and produces a significant yield when pruned properly. I would recommend these to anyone who loves a good pepper, even just one plant can give you a good amount to enjoy.

Homemade Garden Markers.

Homemade Garden Markers.

Lastly, my very talented sister in law made my husband and I these really unique garden markers for christmas. She hand fire etched each name of the plant onto the wood and soaked them in linseed oil to help seal and protect. This is such a great idea that will add a great look to our garden, and the smell of the linseed oil will deter little critters from the plants 🙂 Win win!