Things have been very busy here at Pure Bliss lately. I've been steadily creating lots of fun products for the upcoming holiday season as well as prepping for a move! That's right, Pure Bliss will be moving soon which will allow for more production space, wahooo!
With all of this craziness It's been really hard to find a few minutes for me. Back when I was blogging as Cassie the Creative Housewife I wrote an article all about how you can't pour from an empty cup. I guess I totally stink at taking my own advice! Last week I was so close to sinking into full burnout mode. In case you aren't familiar with full burnout mode; it's the level below auto-pilot zombie mode where one wrong look can send you straight to tears, but the tears don't last long because you're just too tired to cry. Oh, you aren't familiar with "auto-pilot zombie mode" either? That's the one where you tell yourself that if you just keep doing "the things" and don't take a minute to think about anything, everything will be just fine. Burnout mode occurs when you accidentally take that minute to think about things.
Don't worry, crisis averted for me because... I remembered that I am in fact, not able to do everything for everybody, all the time and this might sound crazy here, but I need to do things for me! So, I'm setting aside a little time each day that's just for me. I truly hope that if you don't already do this that you join me in taking some "me time".
After apple picking this weekend I decided to concoct a special treat. The result was a really yummy dip that can be lightened up or left heavy if you choose. I think that this Caramel Apple Dip is a great snack to enjoy during a little "me time".
So, after a successful trip to Walmart this morning with three kids in tow [insert gold star] I've decided to treat myself. We all deserve to be pampered and that doesn't necessarily mean an expensive trip to the spa. With a little bit of prep a relaxing spa session can be had right at home. This pedicure post is the kickoff of our monthly spa session plans. Each month I'll pick a different theme featured around the seasons and holidays.
One of the best ways to pamper ourselves during the summer is with a nice pedicure. After spending some time in flip flops those feet could use a nice soak and the nails, a fresh coat of paint.
Setting the mood - The first thing that should happen in order for this to work is children should be busy or not around (if you happen to have little monsters)... this is supposed to be a relaxing time. Once things are calm I recommend finding a quiet spot to have your spa session. Prep your favorite snack and/or drink, I created this Lemon Raspberry Iced Tea recipe just for this occasion. Then grab your favorite book, magazine or coloring book and maybe a comfy pillow too.
Supplies - You could gather most of these ahead of time if you have a time cap. First you'll need a big bucket or foot bath for soaking (a dish washing bucket works great in a pinch). You'll also need a towel, salts/soak, a loofah or pumice, moisturizer, nail polish of choice and remover if you need it. For salts I recommend our Bath Crumbs, if you don't have any on hand just make sure that you grab some with Epsom Salt in the list of ingredients as they are awesome for feet. I also love using our Triple Butter Sticks for a moisturizer because you can treat yourself to a little massage and the nourishing Shea Butter will leave your feet feeling amazing!
Dive in - Start off by removing any old nail polish. Doing this before you soak your feet will give your nails a chance to breath and soak. Besides, nobody wants to smell like nail polish remover. Once your toes are ready fill your bucket about half way with warm/comfortable water. Sprinkle in salts and add feet, haha. While your feet are soaking enjoy your snacks and catch up on that book or meditate if you'd rather. after about 10-15 minutes gently scrub each foot with loofah or pumice to get any flaky patches off. Once your satisfied with your results, rinse them clean and pat dry. Apply and/or massage moisturizer into skin and then wrap them in the towel for about 5 minutes... read some more of that book. after that moisturizer has had a chance to soak in, unwrap feet and paint those little piggies as desired. Make sure you kick your feet up for a bit once you've applied the polish. This will give you another chunk of relaxation time.
Once you've finished your spa session I hope that you feel relaxed and ready to take on the world... or at least your world. Seriously though, I truly hope that you realize how worthy you are and take the time to do things for yourself. Even if spa sessions aren't your thing, find the time to do something else that you love... something just for you!
On Sunday I will be releasing a themed post with ideas for an at home spa session. I plan to do this each month with different ideas that will be themed around seasons and events. To go along with these sessions I will be sharing a quick and simple recipe that pairs well with a little spa time. These recipes will be released a few days in advance so that you can gather supplies if needed. The first recipe is a super easy and refreshing Lemon Raspberry Iced Tea.
Lemon Raspberry Iced Tea
Bring water to a boil then pour over tea bags in a heat safe container. Allow tea to steep for 4-6 minutes, remove bags when finished. If adding sweetener do so now and stir to dissolve. Allow tea to cool for about 10-15 minutes and then refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Before taking the tea out of the fridge slice lemon in half vertically. cut a slice (circle) out of the middle for garnish. Remove cold tea from the fridge and then squeeze the lemon juice into the tea. Stir the tea to incorporate the lemon juice, pour into glass over ice (makes 1-2 glasses). Drop in the raspberries, cut a slit in the lemon slice and place on glass. Sip and enjoy!
Stay tuned for our first Spa Session post next week!
This one is for all of the Moms out there that are trying to survive and enjoy summer!
Summer Vacation is in full swing here in Maine which means... the kiddos are home from school and driving me kind of crazy! Don't get me wrong, I love having my little monsters home, but boy am I tired already!
As moms, I think it's important to recognize when we need a break... all year long, but even more so over vacation. It's nothing to feel guilty about. We work super hard around the clock and have totally earned a little "me time"! I mean... REAL "me time"... not a chunk of time to get caught up on laundry, dishes or a much needed grocery trip. I'm taking about a real "self-care" session! Whether you like to do yoga, read a book, take a bath, color, etc... you deserve the time to yourself! It doesn't make you a bad mom, I promise, it makes you human. We all need a break every once in a while in order to stay sane... or at least close to it!
Later this month I will be launching a new themed monthly Spa Session post. Each months post will include ideas, inspiration and an easy recipe for either a spa sipper or a snack. I'm super excited, this should be a lot of fun! In the meantime, here are some ideas on how to keep the kids busy while you squeeze in that chunk of "me time".
Hang in there Mamma, you've got this and you're amazing! I hope that you have an amazing summer filled with sunshine and memories. Stay tuned for July's Spa Session post coming out in a couple of weeks!
• 1/4 C Grated Cucumber
• 1/4 C Fresh or Frozen Raspberries
• 2 - 4 Fresh Organic Mint Leaves
(Chopped and Crushed)
• Ice Cube Tray
• Water &/or Sparkling Water (if desired)
Place a pinch of shredded cucumber, 1 or 2 raspberries and 1-2 pieces of chopped mint into each space of ice cube tray. Fill remaining tray space with water (Tip: use boiled water for clear ice cubes). Place tray in freezer and allow cubes to freeze. Once frozen place 2-3 cubes into a glass and fill with cold drinking water. Sparkling water may be used if desired. Garnish with a slice of cucumber, sip and enjoy.
* If you have a bit of a sweet tooth you could add 1-2 tablespoons of honey or a splash of your favorite juice. This recipe can also be customized by adding additional fruits or by swapping fruits as desired.
* Spa water is the perfect compliment to an at-home spa day.
Here are some other ideas for enjoying a spa day: light a candle, put on relaxing music, read a book, practice meditation or yoga, take a warm bath and pamper yourself. You deserve it! You are amazing!
If you're anything like me you have set goals for the New Year. I don't really like to call those goals "resolutions" because well, who actually sticks to those? Also if you're anything like me, those goals might be setting the bar really high. This post is a how-to make those goals achievable once you realize that they are a tall order. I don't know about you, but right now I feel like a goal crushing-boss babe-super mom on a mission to stick to my goals. However, I know that by the end of the month I will most likely be off of this high horse... just being honest. It wont be because I give up or "throw in the towel". It will be from pure and absolute exhaustion. Who the heck can realistically do everything all the time? Not me, that's for sure, but I truly wish I could.
One of those goals that I've set for myself is to find a monthly Mantra and try to keep it in mind all month long. For the month of January I found "You can do anything, but not everything" -credit unknown. At the end of this month when those big goals are in the distance remember that we can't do everything. This will be the perfect time to remind ourselves that we can do anything. Reevaluate those goals, set fourth realistic expectations and make a plan using baby steps. For me, that 40 minute workout will probably turn into 15, the laundry will in fact start to pile up, my organized office will turn back into a semi-organized beautiful mess and I will definitely be eating tacos and mac & cheese. I'm not planning on failing here, I'm just being realistic. Things happen, life gets messy and I get really, really tired. It's okay that we don't live up to those really high expectations that we set for ourselves. Growing up, my parents would always remind me that "Rome was not built in a day". It's alright to take a step back, stumble and fall or totally crash and burn as long as we get back up, look at our goals and realize that even baby steps are progress. Find little ways each day to work towards those goals and know that it's okay that you haven't achieved them yet.
Part of my realization of realistic expectations comes from a piece of advice that I was given last fall. A very wise women said to me "Don't expect to be good at everything, everyday". She further explained that balancing work, family, a household, etc is a challenge and if everyday you feel accomplished in just one of these areas, count it as a win. This is quite honestly some of the best advise I have ever been given. Part of the reason that it meant so much to me was because this women has achieved the long-term goals that I have set for myself. She has made a huge impact on the world, has several successful businesses and a very beautiful family. To hear this from someone that has reached that point in her life made me realize that we all struggle with this. Here I was thinking that I was a "bad mom" or "bad wife" because I couldn't equally balance work, motherhood, a household and being a wife with complete composure. I was totally wrong and the reality of it is that nobody can "be good at everything, everyday".
I guess what I'm trying to conclude here is that even if we set unrealistic expectations, resolutions or goals that seem to be a complete failure by the end of the month, we can still win. If you find yourself realizing that your goals may have been a bit much for right now, just reevaluate and take baby steps. Appreciate the little wins and know that they lead to the big ones. I can't promise that it will be an amazing year, but I can promise that it will be what we make it. Happy New Year!
Now that the older kids have gone back to school and we've settled into a routine here at Pure Bliss, I have some time to craft with my littlest munchkin. Our first project of the school year has been making crayons that are perfect for little hands. These crayons might just keep the little artist busy so that mommy can get some work done!
Before we get into the how-to lets lay down some mommy truths about kids and art utensils...
Truth #1 - No matter how hard you try to contain situations involving children and drawing utensils you will eventually experience art in random places ...like on the walls or furniture or even on bodies and clothing (especially with markers). Seriously though, my youngest is currently rocking a leg tattoo and our table has a bit of abstract flare. Pro-Tip: buy everything washable, they even make washable crayons now! Oh and whatever you do, keep the Sharpies hidden (you may even want to store them in a safe).
Truth #2 - Kids eat drawing utensils, even the ones that you wouldn't expect. Markers? Who would want to eat a marker? ...Toddlers, toddlers want to eat markers. Who knew? For real, take your eyes off of them for a second and there will be a purple mouthed cuddle monster where you left your toddler.
Truth #3 - You think that box of crayons or markers will last a while? ...Absolutely not, before you know it caps will be missing and each and every crayon will be broken or chewed. As for those colored pencils... you will be making those vanish like the Sharpies because sharpening pencils over and over again is not an enjoyable experience.
Now, to talk about why I absolutely love these toddler crayons. First of all, those broken and chewed crayons now have new life. These are the perfect size for little hands and they are much harder to snap and/or chew. You can also make these in all sorts of color patterns which amazes little artists.
The idea for these crayons came when Pure Bliss switched from the biodegradable Lotion Stick tubes to plastic Lotion Stick tubes. We loved the idea of biodegradable packaging, but the tubes were leaking and degrading faster than we would have liked. Quality is extremely important to us so we had to make a switch. With recycling in mind we looked for packaging that functions well and can serve a new purpose when empty. In fact, this has become a goal with all of our product packaging. There are lots of ways to reuse almost all of our current packaging. We will be sharing more ideas soon!
Last week a friend of mine had posted on Facebook about the ingredients in sunscreen. After reading through the comments it occurred to me that there is a lot of unknown and misinformation out there about skincare products.
First and foremost the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) is responsible for keeping skincare in check. Before I go any further I want to cover a couple of FDA definitions:
Cosmetic; "articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body...for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance" [FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)]
Drug; "articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease" and "articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals" [FD&C Act, sec. 201(g)(1)].
Both of these definitions are taken from and can be found on the FDA website at the following link
Now that the definitions are clear let's talk about regulations:
If a product is considered an OTC (over the counter) Drug it's regulated/controlled by the FDA. Some Examples of OTCs are Sunscreen, Antiperspirant Deodorants, Bug Sprays and Acne Creams. These products all require testing, registration and approval from the FDA. Unfortunately there are a lot of companies out there (including big ones) that break this rule and market their products as cosmetics when they are in fact OTCs. Companies selling OTCs have to meet certain GMP (good manufacturing practices) requirements as well.
Please note: Not all Deodorants are Antiperspirants. Deodorants eliminate odor while Antiperspirant Deodorants intend to stop or minimize sweat.
Cosmetic products are not required to go through FDA approval before being placed on the market. That being said, cosmetic companies are still obligated to follow labeling laws and provide safe products to consumers. If a company or product doesn't comply to these laws, the FDA may take action in order to ensure that products are not misbranded, or unsafe.
Another piece to this skincare puzzle; ingredients:
Though cosmetics don't require approval there are certain ingredients that are deemed unsafe and/or illegal to use in products. This is true for both OTCs and Cosmetics. Certain chemicals as well as certain dyes have been tested and are considered not safe for use. There are different classes of safety as well. For example: some colorants are considered safe for general use, but not safe for lips due to the possibility of ingesting them.
Now I know what you're thinking... "there are still ingredients in products that I wouldn't put on my body regardless of approval". I totally understand because that's a big part of why Pure Bliss was created. The FDA requires a whole lot of proof before an ingredient is deemed "not safe". At Pure Bliss we have done and continue to do a lot of research on ingredients. This is why we use phthalate free fragrances, formaldehyde free preservatives, paraben free colorants, etc.
I'm sure that I will catch some crud on this next section of information, but here goes...
Products containing fragrance and color are not all (in my opinion) terrible for you. So often I have customers that insist that they will only use products with essential oils or natural colorants. Everyone is entitled to their choice and I still have lots of love for my "essential oil only" customers. However, just because a product contains EOs (essential oils) does not necessarily make it any safer for you. EOs can be very powerful and when used properly, very beneficial, but it's important to note that many EOs are not safe to use on our bodies. It's also important to note that not all EOs are of good quality and some are even improperly labeled and/or manufactured and may contain other harmful ingredients. It's so important to do your homework when it comes to essential oils.
In regards to fragrance oils, it's pretty hard to do your homework because most companies will not give out ingredient lists for their fragrances. These oils are trade secret and protected as such even in the eyes of the FDA. As a cosmetic maker I am very particular about the fragrance companies that we purchase from. Quality is of the utmost importance when it comes to ingredients.
For those with fragrance allergy concerns- It can be nearly impossible to track down what ingredient in a product has caused a reaction, sometimes it's a fragrance ingredient. Fragrance allergies are very confusing due to the fact that we aren't given ingredient information. Just because we have a reaction to one scented product, doesn't mean that we will have a reaction to other scented products. EO allergies are also common so keep that in mind as well. The quality of the oils can sometimes make a difference with this because those of lesser quality may have been cut with unnecessary ingredients. If at any point you have a reaction to a product discontinue use and rinse immediately.
Natural vs. Organic
I have had a lot of people ask me if our products are all natural and/or Organic. I'm bringing the government back into this one. Organic is a term that is regulated by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). We use USDA Certified organic materials whenever possible/cost effective. Our certified organic ingredients are listed as such on our labels.
As for "All Natural", it's a term that we rarely use. Some of our products we describe as such, but only when we feel that it is completely accurate in describing the product. The problem that I have with this term is that because it is not defined or regulated by a government entity means that it doesn't mean much of anything. Lots of companies use this term as a means to trick customers into buying a product. That being said, some products are all natural and just because they are doesn't necessarily make them any better or safer than products that aren't.
As for the subject that brought all of this to my attention:
There are ingredients in most sunscreens that I personally would not put on myself or my family. When choosing products I encourage you to read labels and research ingredients to come up with the best choice for you.
Another product to research and watch out for is Deodorant. This is why we spent over a year formulating our own deodorant recipe. I could tell you more about that, but I'll save it for another blog post.
So... Summer Vacation has commenced here in Maine. Which means that the sibling rivalry has also started and... is driving me nuts! My kids are 10, 6 and almost 3. If you think that an age gap will minimize the fighting, just trust me, it will not (most likely). Don't get me wrong, I love my munchkins even though there is currently a war transpiring in my living room.
Now to cut to the chase, I've been trying to find ways to keep them busy and help them calm down when necessary. This morning this search led me to Sensory Bottles, the best of both worlds (hopefully).
There are a few big bonuses with this project:
DIY Sensory Bottle
What you will need:
We added glitter, beads and buttons last. Once everything was in the bottle we taped the lid on to keep it secure and the kids got busy shaking and swirling their bottles.
To make this more of an experiment here are some things you could ask or discuss:
When you've finished experimenting the kids can play with their bottles. If you have a child that likes to take things apart it's best not to leave them unsupervised with their bottle as it might get messy. We have a strict no bedroom policy.
If you try this project we would love to see your family's creations. You could share them here or on social media with #pureblissbodyconfections
One of my favorite things to do for someone that needs a little cheering up is send a Box of Sunshine. "What's a Box of Sunshine?" you ask.
A Box of Sunshine is a package full of sunshiny, yellow, cheery goodness that is sure to "turn that frown upside down". I can't take credit for the "Box of Sunshine" idea, but whoever came up with it rocks! I came across the idea scrolling through Pinterest a few years ago and it's been a go-to ever since.
Now, what kind of person needs a Box of Sunshine? Personally, I think we could all use a little sunshine, but the idea here is to send this to someone who needs a little cheering up. Here's a few examples: a friend going through a breakup or divorce, someone suffering from an illness, a friend or family member who has recently lost someone close to them... you get the idea right?
About the Author
Cassie Ennis, owner of Pure Bliss Body Confections is a mom of three who loves all things that pamper. Growing up with sensitive skin eventually led her to creating her own bath & body products with her sister-in-law. Since then, Cassie has expanded that idea to share her skin loving products with others.