Our favorite winter reads (and listens!)

Winter is a time for hibernation, getting cozy and soaking up a good book. We asked the Suzi’s Lavender team what books and podcasts are currently on the coffee table or in the earbuds. Here’s what we’re loving right now. What’s on your list?


Books -

The Pocket

The Pocket, Pema Chodron

This collection of 108 brief teachings offers insight, understanding and inspiration for meditation or journaling. It’s the perfect companion for long winter days when you feel stuck, lethargic or just need a little motivation.

 

Braving the Wilderness

Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown

How do we shift our culture to value connection and brave acts of vulnerability? How do we cultivate belonging in a world that feels detached? Brene Brown answers these questions and encourages us to become more authentic, courageous and kind.

 

Sapiens

Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens, a Brief History of Humankind is a historical, scientific, anthropological look at the last hundred thousand years of human existence. This book explores how we’ve evolved, the cultivation and devastation of civilizations, and our interaction with the natural world. It dives into why we think, act and feel the way we do…and if we have the power to change the course of our future.

 

The Cabaret of Plants

Cabaret of Plants, Richard Mabey

It’s no secret that we’re a little (OK, maybe a lot) obsessed with plants at Suzi’s. The Cabaret of Plants uncovers stories, anecdotes and vignettes of the world’s most interesting flora. It paints a glorious picture of this world and our connection to it.

 

Becoming

Becoming, Michelle Obama

The former First Lady’s account of her life and time in the White House has unsurprisingly earned her the top spot as the best selling book of the year. Pro tip...the audiobook, read by the author, is one of the best we’ve heard.



Podcasts -

Science Vs

Science Vs

We have an insatiable interest in the intersection of science and everyday life. Science Vs satisfies our curiosity and teaches us more about the inner workings of the things around us.

 

On Being

On Being

Krista Tippet explores the subtle, foundational parts of being human. She dives into the hard conversations to get to the core of our stories, emotions and spirit.

 

Behind the Brilliance

Behind the Brilliance

Lisa Nicole Bell gives us an inspiring behind-the-scenes look at the lives of people in art, culture, technology, business, lifestyle and personal development. Her interviews consistently enliven us each week.

 

The Joy Junkie Show

The Joy Junkie Show

Amy Smith, with the help of Mr. Smith, share an upbeat, often hilarious, look at personal development. This lighthearted but substantial show has us in stitches and working toward being kinder, stronger humans.

 

The Minimalists

The Minimalists

We constantly look for ways to live out “pure, simple, real.” Minimalism has been a big part of that. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus teach us how to simplify everything from our belongings, to finances, to relationships and emotions.

 

She Explores

She Explores

Being in the natural world is transformative. As the rain and snow here in the Pacific Northwest keeps us curled up with a cup of tea and a blanket, we’re living vicariously through the stories shared by Gale Straub and the women she interviews.

Top 6 CBD myths

CBD has become a global trend for skincare, pet care, stress relief, medical research into autoimmune diseases and for soothing sore muscles and joints. We’re thrilled to see more CBD being used, but this has led to a ton of confusion about what it is and what it does. We hope to help you separate fact from fiction, and determine if CBD is the right choice for you.

13 CBD terms you should know (glossary)

 

Cannabis Cannabis is a family of plants that may be referred to as either indica or sativa. They are kind of like cousins. Indica is the term usually associated with plants with the common name, MARIJUANA. Sativa is the term usually associated with plants with the common name HEMP.

Marijuana – Known for having high levels of THC (see below), Cannabis sativa indica, has been a wildly popular choice for consumers interested in having a euphoric experience. This and other THC dominant strains are also used for treating pain, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety and much more.

Hemp – What we refer to today as Hemp or Cannabis sativa sativa, is a close relative to C. indica but typically has a higher level of CBD (see below). This is a non-intoxicating variety grown and harvested for fiber, seeds and CBD.  It is also called industrial hemp.

Full-spectrum hempFull-Spectrum Hemp Oil contains a full array of cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, CBN and even some THC. It also offers vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein, chlorophyll, flavonoids and terpenes.

Broad spectrum hempA full spectrum oil without any THC.

IsolateA pure source of CBD (99%), where during the extraction process, everything naturally found in the plant matter is removed. This includes any trace of THC, terpenes, waxes, oils, chlorophyll and more.  

Entourage effectUsing the whole cannabis plant instead of removing certain compounds or changing it to have only one component, produces the entourage effect. When the whole plant, with its full spectrum of therapeutic compounds, is used there is an interactive synergy between the cannabis compounds.

TerpenesWhat gives plants their aromas? Terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis and other plants their distinctive smells and flavors like citrus, berry, mint, pine and lavender.  Terpenes also play a critical role in differentiating the effects various cannabis strains will have. Some promote relaxation and stress relief, while others promote focus and acuity.

Cannabinoid –  Refers to any of the natural, bioactive, chemical compounds found in cannabis plants (hemp or marijuana). It may also refer to chemical compounds produced within the body, or synthetically, similar to those found in plants.

Endocannabinoids – Refers to any chemical compound (such as anandamide), naturally produced in the body, which binds to the same brain receptors as cannabinoids.

Endocannabinoid System – A biological system of the body that seeks balance or homeostasis. Kind of like the classic fairy tale of Goldilocks and the three bears, our endocannabinoid system wants to keep our body, “just right.”  Not too hot, not too cold, not too much sugar, not too little sugar. This system is always working to keep the body and mind in balance.

Cannabidiol (CBD) – A non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It is the most plentiful cannabinoid in Sativa (hemp).

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – This is one of two specific cannabinoids with psychoactive properties. It is the most plentiful cannabinoid in Indica (marijuana).

The Presence of Plants in Our Winter Traditions

holly berry holiday tradition

Holly (Illex aquifolium) –

Originating in Ireland, the tradition of hanging a holly wreath or bough symbolizes protection and good fortune in the new year. It started when the druids wore holly headpieces to ward off evil powers.

Personalize it: If you hang a holly wreath on your door, what good fortune might it symbolize for your family? What would you like to cultivate in the new year?

 

mistletoe holiday tradition

Mistletoe (Viscum album)

To the Greeks, Druids, Celts, and Norse people, mistletoe was sacred. It was a symbol of fertility and abundant harvest. In Norse legends, couples caught under the plant were compelled to kiss. The tradition continues today.

Personalize it: How could you use this plant to symbolize fertility or abundance in your home?

 

oak yule log holiday tradition

Oak (Quercus)

Although the exact origin of the Yule Log tradition is unclear, it made its way into recorded history in 1184 in early modern Europe and is part of pagan and Christian traditions. The Yule log is commonly oak, which symbolizes endurance and strength. It is commonly the largest log available and burns throughout the night. An unburt piece is kept to guard against misfortune and common ailments, and to start the Yule fire the following year.

Personalize it: What traditions do you carry from year to year? How will you create an enduring warmth this season?

 

spruce evergreen holiday tradition

Spruce (Picea) –

Many cultures around the world celebrate The World Tree, an icon that represents the connection of the heavens, earth and underworld. It can symbolize wisdom, mother earth and directionality. The type of tree varies based on location and environment. To indigenous American people in temperate climates, spruce is used to represent the World Tree.

Personalize it: How will you use native trees in your winter celebrations this year?

 

mushroom holiday tradition

Fly Agaric Mushrooms (Amanita muscaria)

In Northern Europe and Asia, psychedelic mushrooms have long been part of winter solstice celebrations. Some say that story of Santa Claus has roots in shamanic tradition in Siberia and the Arctic. Many people still decorate the hearth or tree with strings of mushrooms during winter celebrations.

Personalize it: How can you celebrate fantasy and whimsy this year?

 

Cuetlaxochitl / Poinsettia holiday tradition

Cuetlaxochitl / Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

In central Mexico The Aztecs used the flowers of the Cuetlaxochitl plant to make dye, and the sap for medicinal purposes. The Aztec name means, “Flower that withers, mortal flower that perishes like all that is pure." Joel Robert, an ambassador to Mexico, had the plants imported into the United States where they became referred to by his name. It is still commonly used in Mexico and the US as part of Christmas celebrations as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, which led the wise men to Jesus Christ.

Personalize it: What journey have you taken over the past year and where are you heading? Where do you want this next year to take you?

 

Successfully creating a gratitude habit: the science to make it stick

Practicing gratitude improves quality of life, sleep and your desire/capacity to do good in the world. It’s a significant way to gain control over your mood and can be grown into a thriving habit. Studies are clear that when you make time to express gratitude, not only you, but those around you will reap the benefits.

5 DIY gift ideas for heartfelt holidays

Around here, we live by the mantra “Pure. Simple. Real.” It’s not just on our packaging, it’s who we are. It’s how we live.

As the seasons turn and the holidays approach, it’s a great time to reflect on the things you value. If you come from a gift-giving tradition, it’s especially important to remember that what we give is often a reflection of what’s within.

Eating Clean and What That Really Means

The term ‘clean foods’ has become a kind of a catch-all phrase. What does it mean to you? How can we get started?  Are you eating ‘clean’ if you just eat more than one salad per week? Trying to eat ‘clean’ means living with a goal in mind, with a desire to do some good by your body and for the planet. Defining the specifics of that goal for yourself will help you work towards it.  Let’s get started!!

Here are a few ideas:

Eating organic

Non-organic foods contain chemicals you can’t see and probably can’t taste, but simply can’t be referred to as ‘clean’ or safe by anyone who spends more than a moment thinking about it. Organic produce is grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewer sludge, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), or ionizing radiation. Organic animal products are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. These foods are clean because of what they lack—a slew of things that, can cause dermatological, gastrointestinal, neurological, carcinogenic, respiratory, reproductive, (and the list goes on), issues in or on your body!  To be in balance with ourselves, our bodies and our environment, we should try to avoid all of that.

Eating local

Eating local is a part of ‘eating clean’ because it lessens your carbon footprint by avoiding travel that adds to pollution and greenhouse gases. This is clean eating because it’s casting your vote for reducing sources of global warming. Eating local also means ripe produce—produce that was picked at the right time, during its peak in terms of vitamin and mineral content. The nutritional content is not only higher, it is more bioavailable.  By making this choice, you’re getting the most out of your money and doing the environment and local farmers a favor!  LOVE your LOCAL Farmers!!  They will smile a lot and you can feel good too!

 

Eating fewer animal products

It is difficult to justify eating farmed animal products as part of clean eating, even when organically raised. This is in part because livestock production contributes to greenhouse gases. To understand this in more detail, you can read my article, How Livestock Production Impacts Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Animal products are also highly taxing for our bodies to digest, making the nutrition content relatively difficult to absorb—Maybe it’s not worth the hassle considering all those vitamins and minerals can be found elsewhere in the plant world. Why Not JUST EAT PLANTS? (nuts, berries, leaves, stems, roots, seeds, grains and so much more)! Combined in the right amounts, plants alone can fuel your body with most everything you need.

 

Eating healthy and holistically

Interestingly, a person could be an organic-only, local-eating vegan and still not be eating a particularly healthy diet. It’s important to make considerations for the balance of the holistic foods we eat as well as how they are being produced. By consuming the daily recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals required by your body to thrive, your body will feel better and be in balance.

Holistic nutrition is all about eating healthy food as close to its natural state as possible.  Thinking more consciously about what we eat and focusing more on the health benefits of keeping that balanced, will benefit us in the amount of energy and focus we have and might just help us sleep better too! 

Maybe we can look at holistic eating in terms of having gratitude for how foods help every part of our body, and by asking how can we help our bodies achieve a healthier daily balance?

 

Eating simple

It can be fun to experiment with complex recipes in the kitchen but making a new recipe every single meal isn’t really what eating ‘clean’ is all about. Not only does this require tons of time, prep, and shopping, but recipes with long lists of ingredients are often hiding empty calories if not sugars and fats that aren’t beneficial. Opting for simple foods, lightly prepared, usually results in meals where you know exactly what you’re eating and what good it’s doing for you.

 

Eating to support renewable resources

Organic farmers support renewable resources, and soil and water conservation. Because no pesticides or growth hormones are dumped into the water supply during the production of organic foods, our water is cleaner and safer for human and animal consumption. We still don’t know all of the long-term negative effects harmful farm chemicals might be, but in a world where clean drinking water is becoming scarce, it is important to support farmers who are focused on sustainable practices that don’t threaten our future and the future of our planet.

 

Eating clean means a lot to our health today and in the future

By eating ‘clean,’ you’re supporting the Earth, your local economy, wildlife, and your health. Maybe that seems like a lot to think about, but if we consider it more like a contribution, something we have a choice on and a way we can help, that also has the impact of personal empowerment.  I am so very thankful that we have the power of choice.

Personalized Beauty Regimen

Personalized Beauty 1

Your skin type can be influenced by your ethnicity, your age, and your lifestyle. It would be impossible to cover every imaginable combination of those factors in a short blog, but I hope you will find some guidance by looking at these categories below while creating your own personalized self-care ritual.  Have fun learning. I know I did!    

Skin types

All skin types require cleaning, hydration, and nourishment, but to different extents. Knowing your skin type can help you choose the right products to make your beauty routine well-tailored for your unique needs.  

A teen girl with her hair down

Oily skin 

If you have oily skin, then you may have heard that the source of this situation is overproduction of sebum, a waxy, protective layer. This very natural occurrence can mean different things for different people: clogged pores with results ranging from blackheads to severe acne, large pores, and dull-looking skin.

With oily skin, it might seem that you’re moisturized enough as it is, but providing extra moisture to cleaned skin is actually going to help regulate sebum production. Your skin is intelligent and it’s also wonderfully economical—it’s not going to make moisture if you’re already regularly providing it. A good botanical-based toner can help to tighten pores—look for ingredients like rose or lavender water or witch hazel, ingredients which have been used for this purpose for at least hundreds of years if not more. Try lavender hydrosol (hydrosol essentially means it’s a flower water) to support hydration and cell regeneration.

You can read about my Lavender Hydrosol & Toner here.

An old woman's hands on knee

Dry skin

Keeping dry skin moisturized day and night can be frustrating, particularly when we find out that some of our habits are actually compounding a dry situation. Certain facial cleansers, for example, should be avoided. Avoid cleansers with too much lather or foam, or containing drying agents like alcohol. Instead, use a gentle glycerin-based cleanser &/or facial oil that will maintain your much-needed natural oils. Look for hydrating ingredients such as jojoba, sea buckthorn, argan, avocado, and rose hip seed oil. Dry skin can also tend to flake and result in build-up that needs gentle exfoliation. Exfoliating at minimum once a week will help. Maybe try our Botanical Facial Oil?  This non-comedogenic blend is both a great exfoliator and cleanser. 

A young woman carries another young woman on her back laughing

Combination skin

If you felt stumped by looking at the descriptions above, it might be because you have dry skin in some areas of your face and oily skin in other areas. This might seem to make developing a skincare regimen a bit complicated, but the truth is, both skin types need gentle cleansing and moisture. If the difference is severe from one area of the face to another, then spot treatment is an option.

A young woman covered in prominent freckles read a book standing in the library

Sensitive skin

This could mean different things for different people—perhaps you’ve noticed that many products irritate your skin, or that you are inclined to rashes like rosacea or eczema?  Or maybe you even have allergic reactions to skincare products? Depending on the underlying cause of your sensitive skin, it may help to look for natural products that contain gentle yet effective plant ingredients. There are loads of botanical-based ingredients that calm irritation, control itchiness, and reduce puffiness or redness. Finding the ones that help calm your skin is a critical first step.  Some of our favorite plant-based ingredients are aloe-vera, chamomile, calendula, lavender and even cucumber. Don’t forget to look at the ingredients listed on the back label.  You always want to avoid parabens, phthalates, and petroleum-based ingredients. 

 

Hands touch warm sand in the foamy surf on the beach

How ethnicity plays into your skin’s unique needs

Your ethnicity won’t tell the entire story about the needs of your skin, which naturally varies from individual to individual. However, it can be a great indicator of where to start with your skincare regimen. Here are a few examples of what I learned. This list is far from conclusive, but I hope it will give you an idea of how every person’s skincare routine needs to be uniquely tailored to them. There is no one-size fits all approach. You are unique!

A woman stands with arms out warming herself in the sun

African American, Middle East Arabic

Collagen in the deeper layers can keep darker skin tones looking plump and wrinkle-free longer than many other skin types, often until the mid-fifties. Isn’t that wonderful!!  One source of concern however, might be hyperpigmentation. Daily usage of products with solar protectant ingredients is important for keeping an allover even skin tone. The Increased amounts of melanin only protects so much against UV, so sunscreen is key! Look for natural products, and avoid retinoids and retinol.  These ingredients have been shown to trigger dark spots. Some have trouble with dryness and others with oiliness. If you’re struggling with dryness, look for non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging oils) that restore moisture and last longer. If oil is the issue, ditch your soap and look for something that won’t strip your natural oils—which only makes your body produce more. Either way, stay moisturized!

A woman in profile smiles, walking in a dewy field

East Asian, South Asian

People of Asian descent have the amazing benefit of having higher levels of collagen! Higher levels of this supportive skin protein, means the skin often doesn’t wrinkle until the age of forty or later, and even then, with fewer fine lines than are seen in fair skin. However, the skin type can be relatively thin making it extra sensitive to damage, sometimes resulting in hyperpigmentation, especially after acne has healed.

This skin type may have trouble with overproduction of sebum resulting in acne. Use of a plant-based cleansing oil may seem counter intuitive but as you gently massage the cleansing oil in, you will be removing make up and other oil-based impurities, like sebum, SPF, and pollution. Cleansing oils won’t strip your natural oils.  Follow up with a hydrosol (lavender or rose), to balance, tone, and add an additional layer of moisture before continuing your daily routine. Always use humectant-based moisturizers that include argan oil to draw moisture to your skin throughout the day and avoid soap or chemical products that could disrupt the skin’s natural oil and pH balance.  

A young woman reads a book on a snowy bench in a parka

Latina

Representing a wide array of skin tones, many Latinas don’t see wrinkling until their forties or fifties. Acne and dryness may be a source of frustration however, as well as the discoloration that can result from treating acne or from sun exposure. Gentle exfoliation can help with this hyperpigmentation. Look for natural, homemade facial scrubs that can be made from nourishing ingredients, often found in your own fridge or garden. To treat acne, try a nice essential oil-based toner, and be sure to moisturize consistently. Look for moisturizers with sun protectant ingredients like Vitamin E to prevent damage like “sun spots,” and achieve a more even skin tone.

A woman stretches one arm up, amid sunflowers as tall as she is

Celtic, Nordic, Northern European, Caucasian

Because of low melanin levels, Caucasian skin is light in color and has little natural protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays.  UV rays cause collagen to break down, resulting in wrinkles. Those with this skin type often see wrinkles developing by their mid-thirties. Consistent use of a day cream with vitamins E and C lends excellent photo protection.  Less sun damage and ample moisture will help protect your skin and delay the onset of wrinkles.  Don’t forget to give your skin support at night with a restorative and deeply hydrating cream, especially those with hyaluronic acid.  Our Botanical Night Cream helps support the skin while it restores and rebuilds overnight.  Hyaluronic acid is a natural plant ingredient that deeply moisturizes while you rest.

Taking time to clean and nourish your skin each day is also an opportunity to nurture yourself.  We believe in the importance of this time alone to help restore relationship to the self.  A gentle scalp massage and dry brushing can also bring the mind and body to a balanced and healthy place.  We look forward to hearing what some of your daily self-care rituals include.

Explore face care from Suzi's Lavender to cleanse, moisturize, and nourish your unique skin!

Hemp Is a Global Trend

A woman drops CBD oil into her palm

The speed of Hemp oil’s rise in popularity has been rather surprising. Until very recently, all marijuana products held a certain stigma, and cannabidiol was no different.

Its sudden acceptance is exciting—this means that more natural products will become trusted by those seeking relief. People are asking for alternatives to pharmaceuticals that often come with dangerous side effects. Rather than side effects, naturally healing Hemp oil works together with your body to improve one’s health and over all well-being. Keep reading if you are interested in knowing ways in which Hemp oil can enrich your life:

Skincare

Feet on white sand beach, hydrating in the water

Vegan cosmetics are growing in popularity, but these manufacturers aren’t able to use beeswax because of its animal derivation. Some are turning to CBD oil as a nutrient-rich thickening agent in mascaras and balms, or as an ingredient in serums and moisturizers. CBD's anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for skincare on the face and for minimizing acne. I talk more about its acne-healing abilities and other surprising qualities in my article, 5 Surprising Uses for CBD Oil to Enhance Your Day.

Pet care

A woman watches the landscape from a hill, one arm around her dog

Animals can’t speak to us but as their close companions, it’s clear to us when they need some support. We’re trying our best to vouch for their needs compassionately, ethically, and accurately. With this in mind, it’s nice to know there is a more holistic approach to supporting your pet’s overall health. Pet owners are using CBD oil to treat a variety of issues including separation anxiety, lack of appetite, arthritis, noise phobia, sleeping disorders, and discomfort from old age. As always with our furry loved ones, it’s so important to take great care in considering dosage, so follow the guidelines on packaging carefully!

Stress relief

A woman relaxes, standing before a fresh white sky strewn with light clouds

Some of the most common uses for CBD oil are stress relief, improved mood, and sleep. The fact that CBD oil does not get you high is a huge draw for many people. Among the many ailments CBD treats are panic disorder, social phobia, PTSD, OCD, and mild to moderate depression. Perhaps the best part of this natural mood-support is what it lacks: there are no side effects like those found in pharmaceuticals, no addictive qualities, and no one has ever reported having overdosed on CBD.

Pain relief and disease treatment

Hands cup water from a stream

CBD oil has been used for chronic pain, muscle strain, and arthritis for a long time, often in topical salves or lotions. The idea is that CBD interacts with the tiny proteins attached to brain cells—receptors—and the cells respond with anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects. Other healthcare uses include protection and relief for chemotherapy symptoms.

Looking forward

A woman in a backpack hikes in an arid landscape

Cannabis and its extracts like CBD oil have been present in the world of natural healing for a long time, but until now, this all-natural healing compound has been prevented from holding any kind of respected status. It’s exciting to see how despite the setbacks, CBD oil is now permitted to be legally sold in all but four states.

With the updating and passing of the 2014 Farm Bill later this year, it will become legal for cannabis products to be sold everywhere. This will allow for further clinical testing and use by practitioners across the United States. Imagine what this will mean for people of all ages and for preventative use and treatment!  The value of CBD has already been demonstrated and documented by many who have seen their lives changed for the better.

Try healing CBD oils, salves,
and lotions from Suzi’s Lavender

What About Less Is More? Are You Interested in Simplifying Your Life?

Minimalism is a lifestyle you may have heard about. It is about defining what you need to feel happy, healthy and aligned. At Suzi’s Lavender, we follow a PURE.SIMPLE.REAL mantra. To us it means having fewer things, placing greater value on the things we do have, and on living a more intentional life.  If you ever feel like you are collapsing under the burden of irrelevant stuff, maybe you would be open to hearing a few tips from the minimalist lifestyle? Here are a few things to think about as you get started.

Only do it if it aligns with your goals

Woman holding bouquet of flowers

Beginning to live a more simple life with fewer things may take months or years to achieve. Take time to think it over. Is your intention to have peace of mind? To have fewer distractions? To have less of an impact on the natural world, and to have more clarity about what matters? Imagine having less clutter in your work and living spaces!! Define for yourself what minimalism offers you and make your goals based on that.  

Be honest with yourself about the difficulty of this challenge

Woman reads alone in nature

We are living in a fast-paced, rapidly shifting society that encourages the accumulation of objects. Extricating oneself from the consumption-centric culture can be a challenge. Accept that this won’t be easy, but keep focused on why you’re doing it and how it will improve your life. Consider slowing your life down by growing some of your own foods, allowing yourself and your kids to feel bored, read from a “real” book that you checked out from the library and then maybe keep a journal about your process. Getting your family involved can be a wonderful way to stay determined and be creative about ways to minimize.

Start by donating the duplicates

Man carries a packed box

Start by getting rid of things that you logically just don’t need. For example, no one really needs to have duplicates of most objects. Walk around your home and identify any duplicates you may have. Put all duplicates in a box, and if you don’t need those after a month, then donate them. Keeping just one of each item in your home makes each item even more important and useful. You’ll start to enjoy this feeling of being surrounded by items that are needed and which suddenly have more value to you.

Create a system that works for you

A woman writes in a notebook at a desk

It’s good to get rid of things using a system, otherwise it’s easy to get lost in the confusion over what constitutes something you want to keep and what doesn’t. A system will save you when you realize the enormity of this challenge—you’re essentially going to be examining everything you own and assessing its intrinsic value. Think about and write down criteria for what you want to keep. Write down what you’ll do first—clothes? Kitchen? Living room? You’ll also need to think about what you hope your living space will look like when you are finished.

Prepare uncomplicated meals

A jar of cucumbers being pickled

What about extending the idea of minimalism to the foods you eat? If we spend less time fixing overcomplicated meals, we are freed up to spend more time together. Simple foods are often more nutritious, have fewer hidden fats, salts and sugars and can be made in larger quantities and stored to be used over several meals. For example, try making a larger version of the salad you love, store it in a bag for the next few days. It’s a great feeling to know you are eating healthy meals with less day to day preparation. Minimalism in your pantry means buying in bulk for fewer trips to the store, stocking up on nutritious and simple ingredients that can be used in several different ways.

Travel lightly

A packed brown canvas duffle bag

Living in a more minimal way can even be applied to how you travel.  How about just bringing a carry-on for a weeklong trip? Can you re-wear the same jeans a few times? There’s no need to bring your entire wardrobe when you take a vacation, and you might be pleasantly surprised by how peaceful the trip is when you have fewer options to choose from. Take notice of whether less time thinking about your clothing options allows for more time enjoying being where you are.

Save money

Money and coins in a Ball jar on a desk

And finally, minimalism helps us get closer to a debt-free life. It gives us a deeper reason to stop buying things we don’t need, want, or value on a long term basis. Avoid impulsive buying so that you don’t purchase things that will not be useful in the next few years. Why not invest in items that will last forever?

This approach to living helps make us more aware of our relationship to the Earth—think about how all the things you buy and throw away might be going into landfills. This includes plastic water bottles, coffee cups, take out containers, plastic shopping bags, even the millions of tags you find on every new piece of clothing or product you buy.  Simplify! Shop at the Good Will for fun and adventure and bring your own bag while you are at it!  Embracing minimalism could be just what you need to help you finally create an emergency fund that you can utilize in the future, save for your retirement, your children’s education or give to a charity.

Notice what you notice

A woman pausing on a rock over a forest

What are you able to become more aware of with less clutter in your brain? This is the question that minimalism answers for so many people. With less chaos and clutter, how can we spend more time on things that we will be happy to look back on? It’s not an easy journey, but I recommend taking a look at your life and asking yourself if there are any lessons in minimalism that you want to take.

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How Livestock Production Impacts Greenhouse Gas Emissions

At Suzi’s Lavender, we maintain a commitment to taking care of our planet.

At Suzi’s Lavender, we maintain a commitment to taking care of our planet. In this vein, we wanted to share some information on livestock production. Today, we wanted to talk about how much the demand for meat and dairy impacts our environment. Maybe not as much as the burning of fossil fuels—in the U.S.,  human-caused greenhouse gas emissions account for 10 times the amount of emissions as animal agriculture. However, it’s important to take into account all of the ways we can work to reduce our impact on earth!

Livestock production leads to deforestation

The livestock sector makes up more than one-fourth of the global land area in order to continuously meet needs for human consumption. Forest lands are decreased year by year to give way to such activities. While deforestation greatly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, there are additional environmental issues caused by it too: land degradation caused by nutrient depletion and soil erosion.

Shop Suzi’s Lavender for skincare products in Earth Friendly, recyclable, BPA Free and recycled glass containers

 Livestock animals create methane

Livestock animals create methane

Livestock animals contribute to global warming in a natural yet unexpected way. Ruminant animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, and their relatives create methane during a complex process called enteric fermentation, in which they produce methane gas during digestion of fibrous grasses within their multi-chambered stomachs.

While livestock animals are not the dominant cause of methane emissions, they are significant contributors to annual increases of this harmful gas. A study showed that methane emission from livestock was actually 11 percent higher than estimated by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change.

Beef and lamb are the biggest culprits

Beef and lamb are the biggest culprits

Of all the livestock, beef and lamb production requires more land, more fertilizer, and more water compared to pork and chicken. While growing plants also requires land, fertilizer, and water, the amount of these needed are significantly lower. So if you can’t say goodbye to all meat and dairy, here’s your challenge to consider: could you say goodbye to just these two?

Large sweet cow face

Less meat, less guilt

With human lifestyles being as dependent on livestock production as they have come to be, reducing consumption of meat and dairy may not be an easy task for some of us. It is however something you can feel very good about if you choose to embark on it as part of your plan to reduce your carbon footprint. Eating meat and dairy may be a part of our cultural traditions, but a safe, healthy, and lasting Earth must be a part of our future.

Sourcing meat from certified local and sustainable farms is another wonderful way to cut back on emissions and support your local community at the same time.

It goes beyond just what you eat

While awareness of how our foods might be negatively impacting the Earth, we all know it goes much further than that. Take a look at the packaging and ingredients list on everything you buy. Look for sustainability everywhere. On this blog, the focus is often on skincare—what kind of packaging do your products come in, and is it something that’s going to return to the Earth peaceably, or something that’s going to stick around forever? As always, it starts with awareness.

 

Shop Suzi’s Lavender for skincare products in Earth Friendly, recyclable, BPA Free and recycled glass containers

 

A Radiant Skincare Guide for Active Women

A Radiant Skincare for Active Women

No matter what your lifestyle, your age, or your path in life, exercise plays a role in having healthy skin. Your skin oxygenates and cleanses itself through sweating! Increased blood flow from a workout helps bring nutrients to the tissues, creating an opening for the natural exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. However, without proper attention to your skin and without a healthy skincare routine, frequent workouts can also take a toll on your skin.  A dull complexion, acne breakouts, and blackheads can be contributed to clogged pores and overproduction of sebum. Keep your skin breathing and glowing naturally by following a few of our tips below!

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 Clean your skin before you sweat

Clean your skin before you sweat

While some women choose to face the gym or yoga class with makeup on, this does a great disservice to the skin. That is kind of like putting a tarp over your face before starting exercise! When we sweat from exercise, our pores open and allow the unhealthy byproducts of respiration to be released and healthy oxygen to enter. If your skin is not cleaned of dirt, oil, and makeup before sweating, it can get absorbed back inside through the pores. If we take care to clean our skin before we sweat, the skin can cleanse itself naturally.

 Keep lip balm close at hand

Keep lip balm close at hand

Cardio and other extended activities involving heavy breathing can dry out the lips. No one likes to stop mid workout to go find some lip balm, but even a short period of dryness can gently damage the lips for a day or two. Keep a handy lip balm in a pocket or a workout bag, or better yet, simply remember to reapply right before you begin your exercise.  If you like to exercise outdoors, be sure to choose one with a high SPF protection.

 Apply sunscreen for outdoor workouts (but not for indoors)

Apply sunscreen for outdoor workouts (but not for indoors)

No matter what time of year it is, if you’re planning an outdoor workout, be sure to wear sunblock to prevent premature aging, damage, or sunburn. However, if you workout indoors, try to avoid lotions or creams containing sunscreen. As we talked about with regards to cleaning your skin before you work out, when your pores open, the sunscreen is getting deep access to your skin. While it’s a risk you have to afford when outdoors, there’s no sense in exposing your skin to those particles while inside. Instead, use a light lotion with all natural and organic ingredients or a nourishing facial oil—something your pores will be happy to drink up.

Avoid touching your face while working out.

Avoid touching your face while working out

We all know to be careful about what we touch at the gym or even in a yoga class, which often involves lots of shared props. But even if you’re only touching your own yoga mat, or if you haven’t touched anything at all, avoid touching your face when sweating. As we mentioned before, it’s in a delicate state when you’re working out—pores are open, accepting whatever comes their way. Meanwhile your hands are also sweating, releasing unwanted waste that has made its way to the surface. When you touch your face, you’re taking sweat (waste) and introducing it to your face, where it can be absorbed.

Take a shower after a workout.

Take a shower after a workout

Don’t let the dirt, sweat, and oil accumulate on your skin after working out where it can be reabsorbed. Wash your body after exercising. Use a gentle, all natural, and organic cleansing soap to help remove the built-up sebum and sweat without stripping your natural oils. Also, exfoliating once or twice a week is highly recommended to keep impurities away and make your skin healthy and glowing. Use a gentle lotion or a body oil to re-hydrate and re-nourish. You may need to reapply oils or lotions an hour to two after exfoliating if your skin is very dry or if you live in an arid climate.

Drink water during and after

Drink water during and after

Drink lots of water while you exercise and for at least the first hour afterwards. Dehydration can sneak up an hour after a workout, so make sure the rehydration continues post-workout. A lack of water truly affects your skin, making it dry, flaky, and more prone to wrinkling. So, for optimum skin moisture and fewer fine lines, make water your buddy every day.

While beautiful skin makes us look and feel great, good skincare goes deeper than that. Taking care of your skin is tantamount to taking care of your health. Remember, the skin is the largest organ of the body, so make sure that you give it what is due!

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