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As spring brings light and length to our days, our hair begins to come out from under our winter hats. Now is a great time to think treating your hair to a little extra TLC.

Healthy hair is actually more about doing less than about doing more. The loss of your gloss is actually due to the unhealthy practices of over washing, blow drying, and using chemical products. Even the best shampoo washes out the natural oils in your hair, leaving hair dry even after using conditioner. The first steps to healthy hair are wash your hair less, only once or twice a week. Rotate between shampoos to keep things balanced. Use a gentle, non-detergent based shampoo.

A healthy, balanced diet also contributes to both healthy hair and skin. Brushing your hair and scalp massages not only feel good but help to distribute your natural oils and stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles.

Instead of hair conditioner, consider using an herbal hair rinse or herbal vinegar rinse. You can buy an herbal rinse from companies like Honey Bee Holistics, with their Organic Rosemary Hair Rinse for itchy scalps, or a Sage Herbal Hair Rinse from Dragonfly Herbs. However, it’s also easy to make your own with a little patience.

Here’s a recipe for a vinegar hair rinse for dry hair.

1 oz. nettle

1 oz. marshmallow root

1 oz. calendula

Apple cider vinegar

Drops of an essential oil of your choice (peppermint or myrrh is great for dry hair)

Distilled water

1. Fill a quart jar halfway with the herbs. Cover them with the vinegar and cap tightly. Place in a warm spot for 3-4 weeks. Shake it daily to keep the mixture agitated.

2. After 3-4 weeks, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or double cheesecloth. Add the essential oils, rebottle it in a plastic bottle, and store this is your bathroom.

3. Before you take a bath, dilute the rinse with distilled water. For dry hair, dilute 1 part rinse with 6 parts water. After you shampoo, pour the vinegar rinse through your hair, massaging it into your scalp. Rinse with warm water and if you can stand it, cold water too.

You can play with the essential oils in this mix to give it different scents, but I chose peppermint not only for its properties but also because it is invigorating and awakens the senses. You can also use essential oils such as lavender or chamomile for normal hair, or lemon, patchouli, rosemary, and tea tree oils for oily hair.

I encourage you to get your hair out from under that hat, grab a friend, and exchange head massages with a drop of your favorite essential oil. You’ll thank me!

from Lydia Krupinski

I’m having a serious love affair with the Eco Etsy blog. Not that I’m biased or anything (I’m an official contributor), but I really do find myself enamored by the daily articles and encouragement that ensue. If you’re a clever crafter or a super greenie, you’ll find that the blog has something for everyone, no matter how new you are to the concept of conscious living.

An article that was posted last week brought this home. Despite all my knowledge of DIY, I have still never experimented with home cleaning products made by hand. But this article from the Eco Etsy blog has challenged me to give it a go – and I think you should too! Beyond making life healthier, creating your own cleaners will be easier on your wallet while eliminating all of the packaging that comes along with store bought products.

So if you’ve put off making your own tub scrub or floor detergent – make this week the one where you give it a shot! I’ll be sure to post my updated finds in the comments below, and I hope you will too!

parsley

by Molly Kay Stoltz

Urban Herbal Girl here. Have you ever wondered why they place that piece of parsley on your plate at restaraunts? To add color? To freshen your breath? Yes and no. Turns out it might be the healthiest item on your plate.

Parsley contains the more vitamin C than any other plant and the most iron of any green leafy veggie. It is very high in iron, beta-carotenel chlorophyll, and vitamin A, B, E, K, and folic acid. It’s pretty much awesome! I’ll take some parsley over iceberg lettuce any day. Read the rest of this entry »

written by Molly Kay Stoltz

When I am sick or sore, when I’m uninspired, when it is dark and cold outside, or when I am stressed and need time alone, I take a bath.

Baths have become something of a luxury, but they shouldn’t be. Our lives are busy, and it is always easy to take a shower and get on with your day, but a bath forces you to slow down and think. And the benefits grow when you take a moment to add herbs or salts to your bath water.

The first thing to consider is the temperature of your water. Cool or room-temperature water can help to lower a fever or normalize your system, and can firm and strengthen you if you are able to brave the cold! On the other hand, warm water is soothing and opens your pores which can help you become decongested or eliminate toxins from your body, for example, after a hard workout or a massage. Read the rest of this entry »

by Lydia Krupinski
Do a search for eco resolutions and you’ll see a flurry of articles that will encourage you to use fabric shopping bags, change your light bulbs and skip bottled water. These are great tips for the entry-level eco-curious – but if we really want to push ourselves we should set the bar much higher. Isn’t that the point of resolutions in the first place? To challenge us to change behaviors and grow as individuals?

My mother had a brilliant insight several months back. When discussing sustainability movements and green trends she commented that, “What you are describing is how I lived as a kid.” And she’s right! Growing up in rural Poland my mother and her family rarely drove, grew their own food, mended clothes, and lived life simply, yet fully.

To make 2012 the year you make a real change – try to “Go Retro.” You’ll find yourself living a simpler lifestyle that will reduce your ecological footprint while adding a bit of vintage spice to your life.

Here are some potential “Go Retro” resolutions: Read the rest of this entry »

Here is a collection of favorite items from my hubby and my Etsy hearts! The following are the perfect gifts for the discriminating green gentleman. Many of the items featured below can even be found locally – should you fear last-minute online shopping.

1) No Bottle Shampoo & Conditioner Pack by Ethically Engineered

2) Underwood Typewriter Necktie by Cyberoptix

3) Wooden Slingshot Catapult by Gift Go Green

4)  la pluie de pluie partent Print by Little Pink Pebble

5) Avant-Gardener T-Shirt by Black Sheep Heap

6) Wood Ear Bud Holder by Acoustic Design

7) Reclaimed Wood & Iron Steel Headboard by Blake Avenue

Not numbered: Vintage Camera Bilora Bella 127 Camera from Good Bones Vintage

by Molly Kay Stoltz

Feeling a little indigestion from your last holiday party? You probably have the remedy hiding in your baking cupboard.

Just today at work I was a bit full from my lunch. I reached into my secret stash of tea, and found the ingredient I was looking for- cinnamon.

A cup of chai roobis later, and my stomach was back to normal!

Cinnamon is a tasty herb made from the bark of a cinnamon tree. There are many varieties, but we in the U.S. use cassia, or Chinese cinnamon.  However, cassia is not actually the “true” cinnamon. “True” cinnamon comes from Ceylon, and is much more pungent than the variety we’ve all grown up with. You can find different varieties at specialty spice shops if you are looking for a stronger tasting cinnamon!

Cinnamon has been used as far back as 2700 BC in ancient Egypt and China, and was widely used in medieval Europe on meats and with fruit. Today, we sprinkle it in stews and soups, steep it in teas, simmer it in curries, and of course, bake it in our cinnamon rolls and pumpkin pies. I can’t imagine my morning bowl of oatmeal without a dash of cinnamon.

Cinnamon isn’t just tasty, however. It has many benefits for your health, including soothing an upset stomach and aiding digestion, clearing urinary-tract infections, helping diabetics metabolize sugar better, relieving pain and inflammation, slowing the flow of blood, and killing disease-causing fungi and viruses. Cinnamon is a powerhouse herb, but is also relatively side-affect free- IN MODERATION, of course. IMPORTANT: Too much cinnamon will create a laxative effect. Don’t over-do it!

During the holiday season, when we do tend to overindulge on everything but cinnamon, it can be helpful to use cinnamon to break down fats during digestion and reduce intestinal gas. A spicy tea like chai or apple cinnamon tea or a spiced apple cider is a wonderful after-dinner drink.

Here’s a recipe for a spiced cider- add a dash of amaretto for an extra-special treat : ).

Spiced Cider

5 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
5 whole allspice kernels
5 whole cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 gallon apple cider
1 or 2 oranges

Blend cinnamon, star anise, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and apple cider in a large pot. Use a zester or grater to remove the rind of the oranges, and add to the cider mix. Add the juice of the oranges to the cider. Heat to just below simmer for several hours. Ladle into mugs and serve with a cinnamon stick.

And the extra-added bonus? Cinnamon has a germicidal effect. Using cinnamon may add extra protection from the flu and colds that appear during the holidays. So, here’s to cinnamon for keeping us healthy and happy as we go about our merry way! Happy Holidays!

Resources:

Cinnamon Health Benefits on The Modern Herbal

Cinnamon Varieties by Vanilla Review

If you have a full-out foodie on your shopping list this holiday season – don’t fear! Alisha of the blog i like it too! put together the following suggestions for getting the perfect gift for that gastro-savvy guest or friend:

1) Handmade Table & Bowls from Haymaker Shop

2) Bike Snack Sack from Green Heart

3) Chain Links Apron from Decorative Instincts

4) DIY Indian Spice Rub from Eating Well

5) CSA from Montalbano Farms

6) DIY 3 Bean & Barley Soup Mix from Eating Well

7) DIY Spiced Nuts from Martha Stewart

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