Sept has been non-stop hustle and bustle. I felt a skin breakout coming on so I knew it was time to rebalance the oil in my skin. One of my best beauty secrets is to treat oily skin with oil. Mixed a spoonful of our honey saltbloom exfoliant + super light cucumber seed oil. In 3 minutes I had smooth, and refreshed skin. A little eyeliner, my fave headwrap, and I’m out the door. #bloomsbury_sq #skinreboot #honeysaltbloombathsoak #rosegeranium #exfoliant #cucumberseedoil #thisisforty

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Garden Grown Hydrating Cleanser

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Over the last few months I’ve had so much fun sharing my Garden Grown Hydrating Cleanser at markets, in teacher gift packs and in stores. I love talking about ingredients like Watermelon Seed Oil. Best of all, I relish the oh-wow! looks on customers’ faces when they smell the Sweet Basil + Lavender + Clary Sage aromatics.

In hot weather, our bodies want to slow down, but our family schedules, summer projects and pre-vacation deadlines often keep us on the go. 

With that in mind, our daily skin rituals need to be quick, cooling, lightly hydrating, and gentle. Watermelon Seed Oil offers to the perfect solution for sensitive and combo summer skin because it actually dissolves sebum. Protect skin and unclog pores? Uh, yes please!

To make the cleanser extra refreshing, I came up with an essential oil blend that evokes my favorite spot in my community garden. 

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{I love finding my calm on Riverview Community Garden’s lemon yellow bench}

Sweet Basil and Lavender gives you that instant aromatherapeutic goodness of taking a deep breath in when you walk next to a patch of herbs. Mellowing Clary Sage essential oil invites you to pause, take a minute and savor it.

Similar to Mint, Sweet Basil cools the skin and eases tiredness. Plus, Basil’s disinfectant properties ensure that you’re getting a thorough clean. So whenever you use it - in the morning shower, washing your face, or rinsing your hands, you’ll have fresh starts throughout the day. 

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{Speaking of Basil, I had to post this pic of someone’s plot in my community garden. I’d love to know what she puts in her soil!}

Visit Bloomsburysq.com to learn more!

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Everyday use of Sweet Basil

Basil is one of my go-to herbs. It’s available everywhere and grows like a weed (which is great for new gardeners like myself).  This aromatic and flavorful gem is packed with nutrients including high levels of Vitamins K and A as well as manganese, iron and calcium. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy it in daily life:

1. We all know it’s delicious, but did you know that basil is great for mental clarity and easing fatigue, aches and pains? When I’m feeling a little run down I eat a sprig straight from the plant. Try tossing a couple of leaves into a breakfast juice to get your focus for the day.

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(Photo: LaurenGraceLiving.com)

2. For a quick mid-day refresher, tear off a couple of leaves and toss it into water or lemonade.

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(Photo Credit: Alaska from Scratch)


3. Perk up a salad’s flavor and look by adding some fresh basil leaves.

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(Photo Credit: Spoonful)

4. Best of all, it’s a natural disinfectant and deodorizer. Purchase a potted basil plant and leave it on the windowsill to freshen up the room. I like mix it in with small jars of flowers and herbs. 

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5. When I smell the sweet basil in the shower I literally see green. It has the sweetness of mint, but with a brighter note. Plus, men love the way it smells! I’ve noticed at market days that couples smell the products together (which is very cute to watch!). The garden fresh notes of the Garden Grown Hydrating Cleanser has been a crowd pleaser for men and women to share.

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My hubs, Marc, uses whatever I put in the shower or on the bathroom sink. He’s always my first product tester!

6. I even set a pot of basil right on my market table to give my display a fresh pop of green.

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Head over to our sweet basil pinterest board for some other fun ideas!

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Sneak peak at a custom order of Cucumber Shave Oil for tonight’s JC Fridays festivities. #etittlemouseandco #bloomsbury_sq #jcfridays #jerseycityhandmade

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Adventures in Community Gardening

Someone recently told me that I talk so often about my community garden that it has become like a character in my stories. Wow! 

{My 5-yr old, Remy, took this picture. Ha!} 

I discovered the  Riverview Community Garden in Jersey City Heights last 4th of July. It was sizzling hot and my boys and I were “hangry” (hungry + angry. We’ve all been there!) I spied a wooden picnic table (with shade!) through the garden’s wrought iron fence.  A garden member waved us in and invited us to sit. I was a little shy and unsure of how my kids would behave but so grateful for the table that I parked our gigantic double stroller and headed in.

While Remy and Baz devoured their lunch, I started to take in the serenity of the garden. A sunny yellow iron bench over on the side, a perky blue garden shed in the back,  and a colorful patchwork of garden plots and brick paths.  

     {1st butterfly spotting / Hose connected to the rain basin}

It’s a place that invites you to dwell, to wander, to just sit down and take a load off. Now, I had no idea how to garden, or even if it was possible to put something in the ground in July. Still, I had an instant craving to join.

 It’ll be a year in July, but it’s already given me so much joy and sense of rootedness in our community.

{It inspired my way of thinking about Bloomsbury Sq, so much so that my new product line features ingredients typically found in community gardens like mint, basil, and melon. More about that next month.}

 The huge surprise is that, for my family, community garden time is play time. I used to think that gardening was such an adult thing to do, sooooo serious. Not the case.   Put things in the ground, water them before they start looking thirsty, and see what happens. That pretty much sums up the discovery of my green thumb.  And the fact that it gives Remy and Basile a free space to roam, become dragons, shriek, find slugs and creepy crawlies, and get elbow-deep into soil is a gift for this urban mama.

 

{Fellow member Robin Balles brought fruity herbal teas to refresh the gang while we worked on the children’s plot.}

 Last Sunday I put shovel to soil and transferred small starters of purple sage, mint, basil, and lavender to my plot.  I think I’ll fill it out with hardy flowering perennials from the garden store. That’s right, when it comes to gardening, I wing it!

{A garden plot neighbor gave me some of her extra sprouts. Beans, melon, and peppers. Let’s give it a go} 

And if you want to give gardening a go but think it’s too late, get plants already in bloom at your local nursery or check out this online seed calendar:

http://www.ufseeds.com/What-to-Plant-Now_85b60b42bd4546.html (6 photos)

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Went to our community garden plot to put in@some lavender and purple sage. Took a break in the shade to look at slugs and crawly things with my little helpers. https://m.facebook.com/RiverviewCommunityGarden?_rdr #bloomsburysq #givelovegrowlove #communitygarden #bloomwhereyoureplanted

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First batch of Garden Grown Hydrating Cleanser made in my new studio. Now the studio smells like home! #bloomsburysq #arielesapothecary #aromatic #sweetbasil #clarysage #lavender #watermelonseedoil #givelovegrowlove

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Little touches make my studio cozy. #bloomsburysq #arielesapothecary #creativespaces

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First day actually making products on-site at @arielesapothecary. It’s herbtastic right now! #bloomsburysq #feelgood #madeinhoboken

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Eucalyptus Is Magic

Tuesday was 60 degrees. Wednesday it rained buckets. Thursday I snagged my husband’s furry flap hat and bundled up to stay warm for the full-on 24hr icy blast.  Friday? Still a question mark.

 After 5 winters in New Jersey I’ve learned three things:

  1. Washing your hands is the key to family health.
  2. My husband is NEVER getting his furry flap hat back!
  3. Winter weather does whatever it bloody hell wants so you just have to roll with it, stock up on winter remedies, eat well, and hibernate when necessary.

{On snow days I put out a tray of strawberries, broccoli and soy sauce for my boys to snack on. Soy sauce is my
Mary Poppins trick to get my kids to eat green veggies!}

While my stash of balloons, legos, craft supplies, and copious amounts of Netflix eased my kids’ cabin fever, Eucalyptus essential oil was my go-to  for cold symptom relief. From December onwards I bought it just like I buy weekly groceries so that I always have it on hand for the first sniffle. 

{Eucalyptus Bloom Spritz + Winter Sun + Warm Hat = Bliss}

Now,  I don’t play with certain symptoms. If anyone has wheezing, a wet cough, or a high fever it’s straight to the doctor’s office! But, for normal colds it’s all about easing discomfort so that we can rest and let the body naturally recover.  

My regimen is simple: a warm lemon chamomile tea with loads of honey followed by a eucalyptus steam bath.  When I’m sick or overtired I put eucalyptus essential oil straight into my bath. However, when it comes to my kids I prefer to sprinkle it onto cotton, run the shower on hot to get some steam, and then draw them a warm water bath. That way, the eucalyptus-soaked cotton pad can disinfect the air and open their nasal passages. Afterwards the kiddokes get a massage with shea butter and little lavender.  It may seem OTT for young ones, but afterwards they are knocked out, guaranteed. And although I love to pamper myself, there is nothing more soothing for me than to see my sick little guys snoring away.

 

{Eucalyptus tree leaves / I use cotton pads and hot running water to diffuse eucalyptus oil}

Although, many associate eucalyptus’s herbaceous camphor scent with cold remedies, the plant does so much more.  It’s antibacterial, analgesic, aromatherapeutic and anti-inflammatory properties have made it useful for everything from insect repellants to mouth rinse.  Because my goal is to create versatile products for Bloomsbury Sq’s busy customers, it was a    no-brainer to include eucalyptus in an aromatic body spritz.  

{I share the Eucalyptus Bloom Spritz for the first time at small B Sq launch party in Nov. Image by Danielle Guenther }

I’ve come to think of the Workout Afterglow Eucalyptus Bloom Spritzer as my 1 oz multitasker. It’s been fascinating to hear how customers are using it. I’ve heard post-gym muscle soother, face skin toner, air freshener, and decongestant remedy. Some are even using it as a perfume.  Wow!

 I originally made the post-workout spray as a skin refresher for a Zumba classmate, Yali.  She’s an uber busy writer and founder of the “I Am” Project*, a workshop-based program that brings the practice of mindfulness to schools. (Go Yali!)  She has a full-on workout schedule and sometimes there’s no locker room to refresh. So, I wanted to create a spray that she could use to quench her skin after our Zumba sweatathons, sooth tired muscles,  AND ease the daily stress of city life.  

Witch hazel was the perfect base because it’s a natural skin toner and reduces redness. I source witch hazel that is double distilled and alcohol-free to ensure that it is extra gentle.  To boost the spritz’s skin rejuvenating factor, I added one of my all-time favorite beauty secrets for youthful skin: rice bran oil. Geranium essential oil was another must-have ingredient because it works wonders for itchy, extra dry and sensitive skin. Plus its heady floral aroma is the perfect counterbalance for eucalyptus’s woodsy note.

I topped it off with lemon essential oil to give a hit of aromatic sunshine each time you inhaled it.  I had no idea how what kind of winter we were in for, but I’m delighted that the eucalyptus + geranium + lemon combo gave a beautifully fragrant pick-me-up for all those that used it.

 

{My friend Laurie loves the spritz’s geranium and shares it with her son, Kai while we savor cappuccinos and convo at La Isla in Hoboken.}

Now that we’ve had the first signs that Spring is on it’s way, I’m all about a massive Spring cleaning (that means dusting y’all!) and getting my fitness in gear. Eucalyptus Bloom, let’s get our glow on!

                  *Spring is an awesome time for fresh starts!
    Wanna be inspired? Visit Yali Szulanski’s fab "I AM" Project website.
            Make sure to check out the Blog and Student Work pages. 

 

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