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?
I just wanted to take a minute to thank all of our amazing customers! I truly appreciate each and every one of you!
I have been so busy lately that I haven't been able to find the time to blog. I promise to find more time and content to share with you! This is just a short and sweet moment to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!! Seriously though, it makes my heart happy to know that so many awesome people are choosing Pure Bliss! You are all helping me fulfill my dreams for this company, I'm so blessed!
Wishing you blissful showers and baths,
We have had a very busy summer here at Pure Bliss, but I wanted to take the time to update everyone on our happenings...
First and most importantly I want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of our amazing customers! Pure Bliss is steadily growing and we couldn't do it without each and every one of you. I have met so many amazing people since I started this journey and I love that I get to share my creations with all of you!
Now for a festival/market update! Yesterday we were back at Classic Clutter Farm in Tamworth and I have to say that we are loving it there! If you haven't checked out Classic Clutter and you are in the area it's so worth the trip. As for the market, it's a lot of fun. The vendors and customers there have been so awesome to work with. As you probably know by now, I'm all about shopping local/small business and this is definitely the place to do that. (A little side note; if you or someone you know makes/sells something amazing and would be interested in becoming a vendor at the market contact Classic Clutter Farm on Facebook or let me know and I will pass the info along.)
Aside from the Market, we spent last weekend in Hiram at the Ossipee Valley Music Festival and we had so much fun that we didn't want to leave! If you didn't get to check out the festival I would highly recommend it for next year. It was a weekend filled with amazing music and very happy/positive people from all walks of life.
Product update time... We will be very busy stocking products over the next couple of weeks. As things are restocked they will become available here at our website and on Etsy. We will also be restocking The Curiosity Shop and Classic Clutter. Another side note; I hear that Farm To Table Market now has smoothies, be sure to check it out!
I know that for some people it's way to early to talk about the holidays, but for those that are thinking ahead we have lots of fun things planned! I've had a few people ask about expiration of products as they have purchased gifts to put away. Our products that expire have an expiration date on them, as far as the soap that won't be an issue for the holidays. At this point in time almost all of our products will last well after the holiday season, but if you want to wait that's totally fine (plus we have lots of things that will be rolling out over the next few months that are designed just for gift giving).
I think that about covers things for now, but one more time I want to say thank you everyone for supporting Pure Bliss! Wishing you Blissful showers and baths. -Cassie
We had our first festival of the year this past weekend and I was asked many great questions about soap. Yesterday I took a much needed day off to rest and enjoy the freedom that we have in this country because of so many brave men and women. While relaxing it occurred to me that sharing some of these common questions and answers might be beneficial to everyone.
Is it safe to use your soaps on your body or are they best for hand washing only?
Answer: Yes, our soaps are great for all over use. They don't contain all of those nasty ingredients and fillers found in a lot of big name brand soaps and body washes. I design our products so they are not only fun (with names like Mermaid), but they are beneficial to the skin.
Do handmade soaps actually lather and cleanse well?
Answer: Absolutely! When making soap, the lather that's achieved depends greatly on the oils that are used. For example: Coconut oil creates a really bubbly lather while Olive oil creates a very creamy lather. For this reason I formulate all of our soap recipes with coconut and olive oil, adding other oils to achieve different lathers, bar hardness and moisturizing, skin benefiting goodness.
Aren't handmade soaps really drying?
Answer: Not as long as they are formulated properly. Just as certain oils achieve different lather qualities they also effect the moisturizing properties of the soap. For Example: (again) Coconut oil can be drying in soap if used at a high percentage. That being said, it can be used at a high percentage when using a technique called superfatting. Superfatting is when a soap recipe contains more oil than will be saponified (turned into soap). This technique makes for a more nourishing bar of soap and counteracts the drying effect that some oils produce when saponified. All of our recipes are superfatted just enough to be cleansing, but non drying.
I have really dry skin, wouldn't your Goat's Milk Soap be best?
Answer: (There's no yes or no for this one). Goat's Milk does produce a very nourishing bar of soap, but I formulate almost all of our soap recipes to be dry skin friendly. The one exception here would be our Charcoal Soap. This is because Activated Charcoal works to balance out sebum in the skin, in user friendly terms; it sucks up excess oils. For this reason I recommend Charcoal for those with oily skin types. Our current facial soap is geared towards those with oily skin (made with charcoal), but stay tuned because I'm currently working on a series of facial soaps geared towards each skin type. For the Goat's Milk Soap lovers, I am also converting some of our regular soaps over to Goat's Milk Soaps.
Doesn't lye burn skin?
Answer: Yes, lye burns skin, but in soap making lye is processed out of the final product. When lye, water and oils come together they create soap. Saponfication is that fun chemical process that turns these ingredients into soap, creating a final product that cleanses and doesn't burn skin.
To wrap this up, if you have any questions I would be glad to answer them to the best of my ability, just ask! I would also like to take a moment to tell you all about the location of the festival this past weekend. Mohawk Falls is an absolutely gorgeous estate that books weddings and events. Their staff went above and beyond to make sure that the festival was a success. If you are in the market for a wedding venue be sure to check them out here.
As always, wishing you Blissful showers and baths. -Cassie
After a long day filled with meal prep, dishes, laundry, "don't jump on the couch", "leave your sister alone", "because I said so"...( I think you get the point) there's nothing better than a timeout. Yes it's true, Mommy's need timeouts too!
Whenever it's "Daddy's" turn to declare timeout in our house and the guilty child is screaming like the world is coming to an end, I very sarcastically mumble (usually out of said child's earshot)... "Can Mommy please go to timeout?" In all seriousness though, for a mom one of the greatest gifts to be given is a timeout. Even just 30 minutes where nobody expects anything... at all. A half an hour without cartoons, changing diapers, cleaning up crumbs and playing referee is honestly one of the best gifts ever! If you're a mom, you are probably silently nodding in agreement and if you aren't a mom and you can help make this happen for a mom, please do so. It's usually that little chunk of alone time that helps moms keep their sanity and it's much appreciated. (A funny side note; I'm currently sitting on the couch with a napping child while her two older siblings are home for a snow day. One of said siblings is building a stuffed animal pile to very loudly jump into and the other has mentioned boredom probably ten times in the past hour alone and he's not looking for suggestions to fix this. Que "Mommy needs a timeout")
There is a Blissful point to my Motherhood rant. Mother's Day is May 14th and I've got big plans for moms this year in terms of Pure Bliss. We've already established that a timeout is a great gift for mom, but even better, give her the tools to have a mini spa session with that time. Soaking or scrubbing away the stress of Motherhood can be so relaxing.
Be on the lookout for our Mother's Day Sets which will include:
Mommy Needs A timeout- This Set will include a Wine Soap, Body Scrub, Tub Truffle and Lotion in a Sangria Rose Fragrance, all in a cute wooden crate. (If your mom isn't into wine, I can make this set in any of our fragrances, just send me a message for special orders, no extra charge)
Cocktail Truffle Collection- 4 Tub Truffles, one each of Sangria Rose, Mojito, Pink Champagne, and Mimosa.
Mud Mask Collection- 4 Single Use Mud Masks with a mud mask brush and bowl. You get one each of Matcha Smoothie, Charcoal & Citrus, Cocoa & Chamomile and Sea Clay.
Pamper Your Feet Set- Includes Foot Soak, Foot Soap and Foot Butter
Green Thumb- A Green Thumb Soap and Hand Cream in a Terracotta pot
These are just a few ideas, more to come. Wishing you all Blissful Showers and Baths. -Cassie
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.