Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tea infused Chocolate Bars

I was recently doing some browsing in World Market and came across some tea infused chocolate bars. These bars are made by a company called The Tea Room and they are certified organic. The bars come in six flavors: white chocolate w/chamomile tea & honey, milk chocolate w/Bedouin's fear tea, milk chocolate w/ honeybush caramel tea, milk chocolate w/ masala chai tea, dark chocolate w/ green earl grey tea, and extra dark chocolate with green mate, star anise and nibs. Only four of the flavors (chamomile, honeybush, masala chai, green earl grey) were available in the World Market store I went to. I have tried three of the flavors and I like chai and honeybush caramel best but I want to try the green mate bar and the Bedouins' fear bar.

The tea room also offers organic tea infused truffles , loose teas macaroons, and party favors. I definitely want to check out a few of the truffles.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Inexpensive Precious Metal Wire

I have found a company that sells inexpensive precious metal wire and other jewelry making supplies. I was particularly looking for bronze wire so that I could use it to make sample jewelry and to practice with. During my search for bronze wire, I came across Cool Tools. Not only did I find the bronze I had been looking for, but I also got sterling silver wire for cheaper that I had been paying for it. Plus, they have lots of other jewelry making tools, supplies, and they have lots of art clay (PMC) which I would like to learn to do eventually. Cool tools is a great find for pro jewelry makers and novices alike, and they offer discounts for professional jewelry makers too. I will definitely be making most of my wire purchases from them for now own.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fitness Footwear Takes Walking/Exercise to the Next Level!

Over the past few years there has been number of companies launching shoes and other footwear that claim to help people get fit. One of the most notable fitness shoe companies (SwissMasai) makes a shoe called the MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology). The MBT, called the anti-shoe, was created by Swiss engineer Karl Muller in the late 90's. During his trip to Korea, Muller noticed that walking barefoot on rice paddy fields helped to relieve his back pain. He also discovered that in Eastern Africa the Masai Tribesmen walked barefoot and had little or no back pain. Muller wanted everyone to experience the benefits of walking barefoot on natural terrain so he invented the MBT. The Swiss Masai website says that MBTs " creates a natural instability underfoot, which stimulates and exercises the body's supporting muscle system." MBTs claim to improve posture and joint injuries, reduce hip and knee stress, and activate muscles.

I remember first seeing the MBTs (probably in 2000) in a Bliss catalog and it was described as a fitness shoe that was receiving rave reviews from models, actresses, and fitness gurus. The shoe was not exactly attractive then but now there are all type of styles and colors and they even have a boot that is kind of cool.

I have not personally tried the MBT but I have always wanted to-I just could not afford to fork over $225 plus for a pair shoes. However, with the downturn of the economy I have been seeing deals for about $125.

The Fitflop is another shoe or sandal that claims to give wearers an workout while they walk. The Fitflop websites says that their sandals use a micro- wobbleboard technology ( patent-pending) that simulates walking barefoot but with more cushion. The website also lists 7 benefits of wearing Fitflops which includes working "bum" muscles.

Fitflop sandals range in price from $49.99 to $59.99 and they have also launched a shoe ($80) and a boot ($125).

Another fitness sneaker called Springboost uses dorsiflexion to help wearers achieve optimal results during their workout and athletics. The Springboost website says that "The footwear technology Springboost developed allows one to jump higher, run faster while using less energy." There are also sports/activity specific shoes available such as the b-volley for volleyball which helps the wearer to jump higher. And there is the B-Walk Nordic with helps walkers achieve better posture. Some of the benefits that Springboost shoes claim to give wearers are "better blood circulation" and "increase in explosive power." The average price for a pair of these sneakers is $140.

For $150 you can get a pair of Miyata Muscle Trainer shoes which have internal weights (2.2 to 3 lbs) which makes this shoe about 4 times heavier than regular sneakers. The Miyata claims that the internal weights will help you to burn about 300 calories in just 30 minutes.

Earth Footwear is an eco-friendly shoe company that offers a variety of shoes from athletic to casual to boots and more. Their footwear use Kalso Negative Heel Technology that, as says the website, "shifts your weight back, helping you burn calories while strengthening and toning your body." Earth shoes range in price from $69 to about $200. Earth also offers vegan options.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Love A Great Beauty Kit or Set!

One of my favorite things to buy is a great kit or trial sized item-and the best kits are always available around the holidays. Whenever I go holiday shopping (in stores or online) I see lots of great kits that I want to buy for others, but I always want to get one for myself too. Here are a few of my most wanted and/or loved kits and sets.

Zum Bar Soap Metallic Gift Bag

Frankincense & Myrrh Zum Body and Zum Wash w/ metal caddy

Assorted Scents Zum Gift Bag, Zum / Indigo Wild

The Naked Bee Bath & BodyGift Set - Orange Blossom Honey

Red Flower Touch Massage Oil Gift Set

Tsi-La Organic Eau De Parfum Mini Collection

Jo Wood Organics USIKU Organic Gift Set

Jo Wood Organics AMKA Organic Gift Set

Pacifica TUSCAN BLOOD ORANGE (3pc Gift Set)

Pacifica HAWAIIAN RUBY GUAVA (3pc Gift Set)

Diptyque EDT Sampler

Juara Glow on the Go Travel Kit

Juara Glow on the Go Travel Kit

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Komenuka Bijin Premium Hair Care

PeaceKeeper Visionary Natural Cosmetics Gift Box

Crazylibellule and the Poppies - Les Divines Alcoves - Trio Gift
Crazylibellule and the Poppies - Les Divines Alcoves - Trio Gift
Crazylibellule and the Poppies - Shanghaijava - Trio Gift Set #3
Crazylibellule and the Poppies - Shanghaijava - Trio Gift Set #4

Ineke - Deluxe Eau de Parfum Sample Collection -

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hooked On Kaboodle!!!

I recently signed up on Kaboodle which is sort of a social networking site but the main purpose of this site is to connect shoppers. You can make up all sorts of lists like wish lists, or lists of things you already love, or things you would buy if you were rich. Plus, you can create style boards on which you can put together different looks, outfits, or really whatever you want. One of the great features of Kaboodle is the Kaboodle button which you can add to your bookmark toolbar. This button allows you to add virtually any product from any website to your Kaboodle page. And you can import your wishlist. You can also connect with new friends and help them (as they help you) decide on purchases.

When I signed up on Kaboodle it was on a whim but I was on Etsy on which I have a shop and one of the members mentioned Kaboodle as a way to promote your Etsy shop. So I got on Kaboodle and started adding lists of my favorite products, wish list products and the items I have on my etsy shop. The more I added products and made lists, the more hooked I became. I guess I find it appealing because it is sort of an escape. And since I can't afford to really shop right now, this acts as a window shopping outlet. And it also kind of acts as a database of all the things I want, love, and am interested in.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How Safe Are Your Cosmetics and Beauty Care Products?

How safe are your cosmetics and beauty care products? Do you know? Have you ever given it a thought? I do now but that was not always the case. I used to buy lots of cosmetics, bath and body, products, hair care products and never really thought about whether or not they were safe. Although I did look at the ingredients, I never really paid that much attention to the chemicals. I would only scan for the new, hot, buzz word ingredients.
These buzz word ingredients often ranged from vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, and anti-oxidants to plant extracts, herbal extracts, and fruit extracts,tea and many more. And every year there was a new ingredient that popped up in many different products. The new hot ingredient was was often borrowed from the health and nutrition world. For example, if a fruit, tea, herb,vitamin,mineral, etc, was getting praised for it's health benefits, it would end up in the beauty world. Here is a list of some ingredients (from health care world) that have been popular in beauty care over the years:

Vitamin A

Vitamin E

Vitamin C

Panthenol (Vitamin B-5)

Green Tea

White Tea

Red Tea (Rooibos)



Dark Chocolate



Goji Berry



Yerba Mate

Grapeseed Extract

This list could go on and on but I will stop it here.

If I saw a few of these popular ingredients in a product, I would basically disregard all of the other chemical stuff and buy the product. Besides, I figured that cosmetics companies would not really add unsafe ingredients to their products. Plus, the chemists who develop the products usually say that the chemicals are added in such low concentrations that the chance of them causing harm is minimal to none. So I continued to buy many products without thinking about chemical ingredients.

Then I started to pay more attention. I wanted to know more about what I was putting on my face and body-especially since I was starting to eat healthier. As I changed my diet from fast food, soda and candy to homemade dishes and fruit and veggies-I began to carefully read nutrition labels and ingredients of everything I ate. This then prompted me to examine the labels and ingredients of my beauty products. And this time instead of scanning for buzz word ingredients I scanned for chemicals. I began to research some of the chemicals and found out that they were mostly used to enhance the feel and look of the products. For instance, propylene glycol is a chemical often used in moisturizers as a lubricant. However propylene glycol is also used in anti-freeze and a variety of other products. And then there are other chemicals like parabens that are used as preservatives. Parabens have recently been the subject of much controversy because many believe that they can cause cancer.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, many chemists and some beauty experts have told us that most of these chemicals are harmless since they are used in such small concentrations. However, have they considered that many women use up to and over 16 beauty care products a day. Therefore, a woman could be applying hundreds of chemicals to her hair, body, face, nails, etc, every day. This equals to thousands of chemicals over a woman's lifetime. So do these chemicals have a cumulative affect? What if, in one day, a person uses a shampoo, conditioner, hair product, facial cleanser, facial moisturizer, toner, body moisturizer, body spray, sunscreen, foundation, face powder, mascara, lipstick, and lip gloss that all have parabens or other chemicals? Does this layering increase the possible negative affects of a chemical? How much of these chemicals are actually absorbed into the body? I don't know and I do not have any scientific proof, but my senses (now) tells me that layering on chemical laden products (no matter the concentration) can not be good for your body-inside and out. And the fact that there is even controversy about whether or not these chemicals are harmful makes me not want to use products that contain them.

Now I just try to make sure that all of products I use in my hair, on my face and body are natural or organic and free of chemical. And whenever I am tempted to try a new product I look up the product and its company on the Safe Cosmetics Database. This database has information on most cosmetic companies, their products and how safe or dangerous these product may be. It has been a great help to me as I look for more natural cosmetics and body products.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Painful Periods: How to Ease Menstrual Cramps

It's that time of the month and for many women this is a painful time. First there is PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) which can involve mood swings, back aches, lethargy, bloating, pimples,irritability,breast tenderness,headaches. And then here come the painful cramps.
Menstrual pain, or dysmenorrhea, are sharp pains that occur in a women's lower abdomen when her menstrual period starts. These pains can range from mild to very severe and can last for up to three days.
Prostaglandins, which are hormone-like chemicals made in our bodies from fatty acids, are one of the causes for menstrual cramps-they cause uterine muscles to contract. Therefore, women who have higher levels of prostaglandins may have more contractions which usually means more pains. As a matter of fact, artificial prostaglandins are used to induce labor. How's that for pain!
Now, since we know what menstrual cramps are (as if most women did not already know), and how they are caused, lets find out how to make them less painful. Here are some tips that could make that time of the month easier.

Try taking over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). These pain medicines help prohibit prostaglandins which means less contractions and less pain. They work best when taken just before on at the start of a period. Also, NSAIDs can help lighten up blood flow. However, NSAIDs can be harsh on the stomach and kidneys (especially if you have history of kidney problems) so you can also so try some natural medicines such as Menstrual Magic softgels, which is an herbal supplement made with a blend of essential oils.

I tried Menstrual Magic (it did help) because I wanted to use more natural approaches to help ease pain. Plus, I popped so many Advil, Motrin, and Aleve in my twenties that I am sure my body might have needed a break from them.
Along with Menstrual Magic, there are plenty of other herbal natural supplements on the market that are for pain relief. I find many of these products at
I must also mention birth control pills which may level out hormone levels and regulate periods, and relieve some pain in women. I, however, did not experience less pain when on the pill. As a matter of fact I felt worse, I was an emotional wreck, gained weight, and I broke out badly. I guess I maybe needed a different dosage, but after such a bad experience, I did not want to try again.

Use Heat
Placing heating pads or hot water bottles on you abdomen may help improve blood flow, relax muscles, and ease pain. I use pepper patches or pain patches instead. These patches use hot pepper extract (capsaicin) to release pain relieving heat to achy muscles and I have found that these help ease cramps and back pain. Some patches are sold as one large sheet (I cut these into smaller pieces) and other are pre-cut and are about the size of a larger bandage. I apply them to my abdomen a day or two before I expect my period to start.
Some pepper patches, such as Salonpas, can be found in local drugstores (Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid) while others mostly in Asian marketplaces (Chinatown for example). They are also available at and

Exercise that gets your heart pumping may help relieve cramps. The best relief comes from strenuous exercises such as aerobics, brisk walking,walking,etc. When you do these types of exercises endorphins are released and they help counteract prostaglandins. Plus exercise helps to relieve stress and tension in muscles. I have also found that strengthening my abdominals have lessened my menstrual pain.

Drink Tea
Drinking herbal tea such as peppermint,chamomile,lavender, raspberry leaf, chaste berry, helps to relax muscles and soothe tension. Chamomile contains a compound called glycine which helps relieve muscle spasms and lavender, peppermint have some anti-inflammatory properties.

Get Vitamin and Minerals
Some vitamin/mineral supplements such as calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium,and iron have been shown to help reduce menstrual pain. It is best to get these vitamins and minerals from food sources-especially dark leafy green such as spinach and kale. However, there are some decent supplements that come in pill form such as the vitamins from Super Nutrition. Their products are vegetarian, food-based, and include organic herbs.

Eat Well
Eating a low-fat diet with lots of fruits and vegetables will help ease pain. High fat diets ususally contain a lot of saturated trans- fats (butter,animal fats) which may metabolize into pro-inflammatory prostaglandins while good fats( oil oil,flaxseed oil, omega-3) metabolize into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins which may result in less pain.

Go See Your Doctor
I you suffer severe menstrual pain you should see a physician. Your pain may be a result of other problems such as: fibroids, cysts,endometriosis, infections,abnormal pregnancies, and IUDs.

The Women's Blend - 180 - Tablet
Price: $25.97List Price: $39.95

Menstrual Magic Advanced Formula (15 gcap)
Price: $11.89

Salonpas-Hot Capsicum Patch 5.12in X 7.09in - box of 50
Price: $53.89

Yogi Tea Healing Formula, Woman's Moon Cycle, Tea Bags, 16-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)
Price: $17.29List Price: $24.20

Yogi Tea Organic Chamomile, Tea Bags, 16-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)
Price: $14.59List Price: $20.42

Yogi Tea Organic Peppermint Herbal Tea, Tea Bags, 16-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)
Price: $14.59List Price: $20.42

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Excellent Homeopathic Flu Remedies

Flu virus
Flu virus

Influenza, better know as the flu, is that nasty, contagious virus that we all dread getting. And it seems that no matter how hard some try, they end up with the flu every year. Now, since there is no cure for the flu, we can only try ease the common symptoms (fever, chills, achy muscles, coughing, sore throat). And while there are many over-the-counter cold and flu medicines , there are also many natural and homeopathic remedies that may help flu symptoms. And I have personally used some of these natural remedies aid in easing my cold and flu symptoms. Here is a list of the items that have help me.

Elderberry is said to help break fever and eases muscle aches. I specifically used Sambucol syrup by Natures Way but there are many other brands. And elderberry comes in many forms such as lozenges, tinctures, extracts, and concentrates. I definitely noticed a change in my symptoms from using sambucol.

Zinc helps to boost the immune system. And although the jury is still out on zinc's affect on cold and flu symptoms, it seemed to help me get over my symptoms faster. I used zinc lozenges by Source Naturals but there are many brands.

Kold Kare by Kare-n-Herbs is a natural herbal supplement for colds, flu, and sinusitis. The active ingredient in Kold Kare is andrographis paniculata which, according to the Kare-n-herbs website "has proven to be an effective prophylactic against the common cold, flu and sinusitis." I have used this for a couple of years and it seems help shorten cold and flu duration.

Natra-Bio Sore Throat spray really helped relieve my sore throat. This spray uses an herbal mixture of cone flower, blue gum tree, kava kava, garden thyme, pokeweed, club moss, cayenne, peppermint, and phosphorus.

Drinking warm liquids such as decaffeinated tea , lemon and honey with warm water, and ginger tea (couple ginger slices steeped in hot water) are very soothing to the throat and can help ease coughing, and break up mucus. And there is also Chicken Noodle soup which has been shown in some scientific studies to possibly help ease cold and flu symptoms. Adding hot pepper, curry, and other spices and help with congestion also.

Eucalyptus plant
Eucalyptus plant
Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus essential oil can help to make breathing easier and ease congestion. I usually add a couple drops to a sink full of hot water and breathe in the steam. There are also some rubs containing eucalyptus that can be massaged on the chest.

Garlic is an immunity booster, eases congestion and has some antimicrobial properties. I add garlic to many foods but there are garlic pills if you would rather not taste or smell garlic.

All of these products and natural items have made my cold and flu seasons a lot easier and shorter.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mascara Ads: Are False Eyelashes False Advertising?

I have been flipping through fashion/beauty magazines for most of my adult life and do consider myself a beauty junkie. I am sure that I have spent a small fortune on skincare, bath and body products and cosmetics. I would get my magazines in the mail and pore over the beauty ads and editor's beauty picks. I would fantasize about being an editor and getting to be the first to try all those products for free. I would also take note of the products I wanted to try and then head off to the store, or internet. Usually the products I wanted involved skincare because I had quite a battle acne, so I was constantly trying to solve this problem. And there was product after product claiming to heal my acne and the scars. After being disappointed by skincare so much, I directed my beauty attention to cosmetics-especially mascara. Whenever I saw an ad for a new mascara, I had to try it. I guess mascara offered instant gratification for me because It always worked. Did it work like I wanted it to? Usually not. Did it make my eyelashes longer, stronger, bolder? A little bit. Did my eyelashes look anything like the model's eyelashes in the mascara ad? Heaven's no!! Did I ever expect my eyelashes to look like the model's eyelashes in the ad. Yes! at one point I really did. This was at a time when beauty ads were a tittle bit more believable, but now beauty ads (especially mascara) are a bit ridiculous. The mascara usually makes some type of claim like lifts up to 60% or magnifies lashes up to four times. And the models in the ads have the most unbelievably long lashes. And these long lashes are usually false. Not only are they false lashes but the lashes are also often digitally enhanced. Plus, makeup artists spend hours preparing eyelashes for ad and commercials while the average woman can only spare a few minutes for her lashes.

Mascara Ad
Mascara Ad
Mascara ad
Mascara ad

So can the use of false eyelashes and digital enhancement in mascara ads be considered false advertisement? In theory probably yes, but in reality probably not. I am not expert but I think that most beauty companies know all the lingo and loopholes to protect themselves from false advertising claims. This is why they usually never make promises "to you" -they only make claims. For instance, instead of saying this mascara will make your lashes really long, they will say this mascara is "designed" to make lashes really long. The claims are just vague enough to keep them out of trouble and to keep us wanting more. Plus they never tell consumers that their product will make them look like the model in the ad. The model is there to feed our beauty fantasies and imaginations (and to sell loads of mascara). However, a couple of companies have come under fire from some advertising watchdog groups for mascara claims. L'oreal got in trouble about a year ago in London, and so did Rimmel. But this was a year ago, and mascara ads have not changed at all because of it-and they probably will not. Mascara and beauty ads will only change if consumers don't buy. And as long as consumers want and need to feel and look beautiful, they will buy- regardless of false eyelashes, retouching, and digital enhancement. I know I will, Plus there is just that urge to see how well a product will really work. Though, now I am looking for more natural and eco friendly brands.

Mascara Ad
Mascara Ad
Mascara ad
Mascara ad

Real Lashes !!See the Difference!!!

Non-Mascara Ad
Non-Mascara Ad
Non-Mascara Ad
Non-Mascara Ad
Non-Mascara Ad