By now, you’ve probably heard the term “self-care”. It’s the concept of taking time out of our busy lives to do the things that we enjoy or need. Even though this concept sounds super simple, many of us struggle to make ourselves a priority. Here’s the thing though, we need to make self-care a priority. If we’re constantly working and doing for others, but never for ourselves we eventually reach a point of burnout. You know, the point where we’re exhausted both physically and mentally and every aspect of life just feels miserable until we find a way to recharge.
I started a puzzle the other day. Not because there wasn’t anything to do, but because I needed a break from everything that needed to be done and that’s okay. Now, the one problem with me starting a puzzle is that I don’t like to walk away from things until I’m finished with them. I have to regularly remind myself to take a break when I’m doing a puzzle... sometimes my kids remind me too. Taking these breaks actually helps me get farther with the puzzle because I have a fresh set of eyes each time I go back. Have you ever done that? Worked on a puzzle for a long time, getting nowhere and walked away only to come back and put in a bunch of pieces? That puzzle is life... Walk away and come back with fresh eyes and you’ll put in more pieces! Coming back to what needs to be done after taking some time for yourself often leads to an improved mood and better focus which in turn leads to better productivity.
Maybe you’re thinking “I just don’t have time for any of that”. I totally get it, but guess what... that’s one of the biggest reasons why you need to make the time for it. If you’re feeling this way you're probably already headed towards burnout. Once you reach that point, all of the time consuming things in your life that stopped you from taking care of yourself in the first place become a lot harder and maybe even impossible. Make time for self-care so that you can put your best foot forward and do all of the things that you need to do more efficiently.
If you get it, but you’re still feeling like you just can’t find time for self-care try evaluating your days. See what you may be able to cut out to make the time for it. A really good place to start is social media. Most of us are guilty of scrolling through social media, I know that I am. It’s really easy to get sucked into our news feed only to find that 20 minutes has flown by. That’s 20 minutes that you could be using for yourself! Trust me, Karen’s triple shot, vanilla, soy latte is not more important than you. I mean, good for Karen, she’s doing something for herself, but hey, you could be too!
I have one last idea to help you make time for you if you still can’t find a way... it’s actually my favorite... GET UP EARLY! I know that’s super easy for me to say, right? I’m one of those crazy morning people that has my first cup of coffee long before the sun comes up and am ready to take on the world by 6am each day. However, this wasn’t always the case. I have pushed myself for years now to get my butt out of bed before anyone else gets up and starts needing things from me. I am a much happier person when I can drink my morning coffee and plan my day in peace. There’s something magical about that quiet time before the “I’m hungry”s, “I need a drink”s and the “mom can you help me with”s. It was not easy to force myself out of bed early in the beginning, but as time has gone on I’ve come to crave my early mornings. With three kids, a husband, pets and a business, it’s the easiest way for me to get my self-care time in. If you do give early mornings a try, just know that you aren’t alone, I'm up with you each morning too!
To recap, if you are tired, overwhelmed and feel like you don’t have time for self-care... you need self-care! Aside from this... you deserve it! YOU ARE WORTHY OF YOUR TIME and owe it to yourself to do the things that make you happy. You wouldn’t tell your loved ones not to do the things that they enjoy so please don’t do it to yourself! MAKE THE TIME!
Come back next week for a new post that will be loaded with ideas on what to do with your self-care time if you aren’t sure where to start. I’m also putting together a 30 day self-care challenge that we’ll be releasing soon. This challenge will include a free downloadable workbook that includes a self-care tracker, brainstorming pages to help make it happen and information on how to win products by completing the challenge. We also have a self-care Facebook group in the works that will allow for everyone to come together with inspiration, ideas and questions. Yes... Karen will be able to share her latte pic if that’s what self-care looks like for her.
Have you ever noticed that feeling that you get when you support a small business? It’s like a warm, magical, feeling of joy and satisfaction. The idea of getting a quality product or service while supporting an actual person just makes us feel good!
Reasons to shop small this holiday season:
1. Quality product created with love and care.
2. The satisfaction of supporting a person, a family, a community.
3. The warm smiles on your friends or family members faces when they open their beautiful gifts.
2020 has certainly been a year for the books! Many people are struggling to get by and many businesses have closed. Let’s keep our communities moving forward by showing our support! Below is a list of a few small businesses that I have purchased from or have come across in my own Shop Small holiday search. I've also included a list of a few of my favorite subscription box companies. These awesome companies are not only small businesses themselves, but also purchase lots of products from small businesses to go into each one of their beautiful boxes. These lists are just a small fraction of the amazing companies that are out there. When searching for the perfect gift check out places such as Etsy, Amazon Handmade and local shops & craft fairs to support small businesses. Another gift idea to consider this year would be to purchase gift cards/certificates from local restaurants & small shops.
A few small businesses to check out:
Johnna’s Garage is a go to for personalized gifts!
Peridot Cats Jewelry has beautifully made gemstone bracelets & earrings.
Wolfeboro Candle Co has lovely New Hampshire inspired soy candles & gift sets.
Gunther’s Goodies has healthy treats for your furry friends.
Fancy Flamingo Design is a NH shop that we came across on Etsy. Check out their bright and fun pom pom & tassel decor!
Old Town Spice Shop is where I purchased a popcorn seasoning set for Christmas Eve movie time with the family.
Red Barn Wreaths are gorgeously made right in Maine!
Aroma Box Me can help you pamper your loved ones with an aromatherapy themed box!
Fruit For Thought is a fruit themed box that is loaded with lots of unique items!
Unplugged Book Box is perfect for the fiction reader in your life. Two different box options to choose from & well thought out self-care items to go along with each book!
Mystic Pup Box is a unique treat for both your loved one and their furry friend with items for both!
The Homegrown Collective is a growing company that focuses on boxes filled with products from small businesses across the United States.
Let's try to fill this holiday season with a little extra kindness, warmth and magic for our families & communities.
Me Time Snack: Caramel Apple Dip
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".
Spa Session: July Pedicure
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!
Pure Bliss Spa Water
• 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!
DIY: Rainbow Toddler Crayons
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.
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.