Have a Happy Eco-Conscious, Zero-Waste, Gift-Giving Season!

Have you noticed that once you get in the habit, it’s actually pretty easy to practice zero-waste or plastic-free living for yourself, but when it comes to giving gifts, it feels like an uphill battle? 

You’re not alone.

Fall is here, and the gift-giving season is quickly approaching! 

We want to share how we get inspired to give great eco-conscious, zero-waste, plastic-free, compostable gifts for the whole family!

Sustainable Skincare Blog
When thinking about gifts this year, we can start with two main categories: tangible and intangible. 
One of the major things to keep in mind for tangible zero-waste gifts is to understand and communicate its reusability or compostability. 
  • Invest in your packaging. Whether it’s upcycling a box, choosing glass or tin jars, finding scarves or pretty fabrics to wrap your gifts in, or foraging for greenery, this is time and money well spent.
  • Choose local cards printed on recycled or upcycled paper. Check with your local, downtown shops.
  • Get outside of your comfort zone, be bold!
  • Give a gift certificate for classes at a local establishment: cooking, dancing, yoga, painting, etc. Decline the paper and have an email sent. Get one of those upcycled cards and write the information in yourself.
  • Get crafty.  Are you a great cook? Do you love making jewelry? Knitter?  Most likely you have some sort of hobby that you could put to good use.   Crafting little handmade items is a great way to stimulate your creative soul and give thoughtfully to friends and family. 
  • There are some zero waste basics that many people still don’t have.   Items like reusable water bottles, travel mugs, bamboo utensil sets and reusable straws (if they use them) are all great gifts that are sure to get use and help your friend or family member finally make the switch and start reducing their waste.   
  • Re-gift!  Yes we said it.  Although this may have been considered tacky in the past, re-gifting gently used or unused items is now an acceptable way to gift.   Often times we have the perfect gifts already lying around our house, seldom used by us, but the perfect gift for someone else (books, candles, toys, jewelry, kitchen items, etc). This gives us the opportunity to reduce clutter in our own home (making room for things we truly value), save money and still take part in the tradition of gifting.   When giving gently used items, keep these suggestions in mind:  make sure it is clean and of course well functioning, take care in wrapping it and and write a special note to go with the item.   Being thoughtful and letting someone know why you thought they would enjoy the item goes a long way in negating any judgments that might accompany re-gifting.  
 
Sustainable Skincare Blog
One of our favorite things that’s trending now for gift-receiving is asking your loved ones to donate money to a cause you care about (you can easily do this through a “fundraiser” on Facebook). Or maybe there’s an event you’d like them to attend in person like a local event or a walk-for-a-cure. 

You can also plant this seed into the minds of your loved ones. Ask them if there’s a cause or non-profit they would consider choosing as their gift this year. 

If this type of gift giving and receiving is something you feel passionate about, remember that it can take time for people to change their way of participating in holiday tradition- be loving and patient, but persistent in your approach.

>>All of Blue Heron Botanicals’ products are plastic-free, zero-waste, compostable, and made by an herbalist and mom. <<

When you purchase from Blue Heron Botanicals you can expect products to be:
SUSTAINABLY PACKAGED, LOCAL CENTRIC, UNIQUE & ORIGINAL, MADE WITH TIME HONORED MEDICINAL HERBS & OF THE PUREST INGREDIENTS, HANDCRAFTED IN SMALL BATCHES WITH CARE.
 
Each product sold saves a baby sea turtle through See Turtles Foundation

Skincare for Wellbeing

Taking your health, and the health of your family, into your own hands often starts with eating locally grown and unprocessed foods, keeping a garden, and learning more about your skincare. These are profound steps along the journey of wellbeing. 
 
When we eat local, and use flowers and herbs from our garden for skincare, we start to remove things from our daily lives such as dependence upon and support in the form of dollars for pesticides, soil additives and other chemicals, oil companies and additional air pollution because of truck transportation, and packaging waste. 
What we add to our daily lives is a deep connection to our health- inside and out, support for the local economy, and more nutrient dense foods and skincare products.  Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs 70% of what it comes in contact with. So let’s talk about some simple recipes you can create to heal and beautify your skin from local plant life. 
 
An easy way to practice self care and give your skin some glow is with a DIY facial.  With a few simple steps you will be on your way to renewing that youthful glow and reaping the benefits of slowing down and practicing self care.  You can easily give yourself the treat of a home facial with a few ingredients from your cupboard or natural foods store.    In its simplest form a facial consists of 6 steps: Cleanse, Exfoliate, Steam, Mask, Tone, Moisturize.

Cleanse
Cleansing is the first step and something you most likely do every day, although with your facial you will want to spend just a little extra time and care doing it.  Wet your face with warm water and gently massage your favorite cleanser onto your face and neck.  Use circular upward strokes, massaging for at least a minute.   This gives the cleanser a chance to do its work and helps increase the circulation in your face and neck.  If you want to try something different you can experiment with oil cleansing.  Although it may seem counter intuitive, cleansing with oil is very effective at loosening and removing grime without stripping the skin.  Simply use approximately a teaspoon of your oil of choice and massage into the skin like you would your cleanser, gently wipe off with a warm washcloth.  You can use coconut, hazelnut, olive, sunflower, or any other oil of choice.   Here is a detailed step by step method if you would like more info. 
 
 
Exfoliate
Exfoliation is one of the most effective ways to soften the skin.   Gentle exfoliation helps remove any build up of dead skin so next steps are more effected and can penetrate deeper into the skin.  If you have an exfoliating cleanser, great, just use that.   You can easily make your own exfoliating face scrub by mixing ground nuts, rice, beans or oats to your cleanser or a little bit of clay and water.   You can even use coffee grounds, sugar or salt!  Just make sure that whatever you are using it has a fine consistency.   You do not want to scrub your face with any large particles that may scratch your face.  Rub your hands together with the exfoliant and then gently and thoroughly massage onto the face for approximately 1-2 minutes.  Rinse with warm water or wipe with a damp washcloth.   Your skin will feel oh so smooth after this step. 

Skincare for Wellbeing Blog

Facial Steam 
A facial steam adds plant nutrients directly to your skin and cleanses toxins from your pores.  The steam opens pores and gently loosens excess sebum, grime and dead skin cells priming the skin for a nourishing mask.  You can choose different herbs depending on your skin type.  You will need a towel, a mixing bowl, hot water and herbs.   You simply add your choice of herbs to a mixing bowl (a small handful is plenty).  Pour hot water (boiled) over the herbs as if you were making tea and then quickly sit holding your face over the bowl and drape the towel over your head.   This will trap the steam and allow you to get the full benefits of the herbs.   If your face feels too hot back away from the bowl or let some steam out of the towel.  Allow the steam to fully open the pores and deeply penetrate the skin for approximately 10 minutes. 
Herbs for facial steams:
Rose petals – gentle astringent, calming
Lavender – anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, relaxing
Sage – anti-bacterial, astringent (best for oily, congested skin)
Chamomile – anti-inflammatory, calming
Mints – anti-bacterial, refreshing, invigorating
Basil – anti-inflammatory
Rosemary – astringent, rejuvenating
Thyme  – anti-bacterial, astringent
Calendula – soothing, anti-inflammatory

This recipe from Garden Collage focuses on “plants you’d otherwise compost”. If you’re doing this steam in the evening, and don’t want to use a caffeinated tea, we suggest replacing it with chamomile, rose or both! These flowers have calming effects on the skin, as well as anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, providing relief from redness or acne. 

Skincare for Wellbeing Blog

Mask 
Homemade masks are super simple and can be made from a variety of home ingredients.  Clays are the most common base for any mask.  Kaolin and Rhassoul are suitable for normal to dry skin types and Bentonite and French Green are best for oily skin.  You can mix in other herb or seaweed powders for added benefits.  I usually use about 2 tablespoons of clay and 1 teaspoon boosting powder.   You can also make “active” masks out of fruit, veggies and yogurt – think smoothie for your face.  You can find some simple tips and recipes here.
 
For a clay mask simply mix the dry clay powder with your liquid of choice until it forms a smooth paste.  You can also add 1-2 drops of essential oil for added benefits if you would like.  You can use just water or replace it with a floral water, honey, yogurt, juice or tea.   Apply to your face and neck and allow to set for 15-20 minutes.   It may dry completely or you may still have some moist spots.   When you are ready to remove the mask hold a warm washcloth over your face for min to loosen the clay and then gently wipe off.   Continue until all of the mask has been removed   
 
Tone
Simple, yet essential and often overlooked aspect of any skincare routine is toning.  After all that cleansing, opening and unclogging of pores you need to close them back up so they don’t get all full of gunk again.   Toning takes care of that.   My favorite toner as my skin has matured and become the glorious combination of dry AND oily is an astringent floral water.   They are effective at hydrating and toning the skin at the same time.  And they smell fabulous.   My favorites are Lemon Balm, Lavender and of course Rose.   Rosemary is also a lovely refreshing hydrosol.  If you have dry, sensitive skin you can tone with Aloe Vera.   If you have oily and congested skin you can use witch hazel.   And when you have nothing….just use cold water.  Spritz or pat a small amount onto the face and allow to dry.
 
Moisturize 
Moisturizing is the last step that locks in moisture, protects the skin and leaves you with that glow for the rest of the day.   I would suggest just using your favorite moisturizer for this step.  A proper cream moisturizer is a mix of oil and water and these are not the easiest things to make at home.  I often use a moisturizing oil blend, as they are easy to make and contain no preservatives.   The simplest would be just jojoba oil mixed with a few drops of essential oil.   I prefer lavender, fennel or carrot seed.  Lavender is a fabulous for oil and blemish control, while fennel and carrot seed help with fine lines.  If you want to get creative you can mix in ¼ part herbal infused oil (see recipe below) or other oils such as carrot, red raspberry (natural spf 27-50), pomegranate, camellia, cranberry or macadamia.  These oils all have added anti-oxidants, extra nourishing fatty acids and vitamins.  
 
    
Now look in that mirror and enjoy your soft glowing skin!  If you are going outside be sure to apply sunscreen and avoid applying makeup for the day if possible.   Allow the skin time absorb all the goodness you just gave it.  

Skincare for Wellbeing Blog

Solar infused Calendula Oil
Dried Organic Calendula Flowers
Organic Carrier oil of choice (olive, coconut, jojoba)
 
Fill a jar of desired size ¾ full with dried calendula flowers. Add flowers loosely, do not pack as oil needs to flow freely around the blossoms.  
Fill the jar with oil, be sure that all the flowers are covered and leave a small amount of space at the top.  
Allow to steep in a sunny spot for 3-4 weeks. You can cover the jar with a black cloth if you would like. Gently agitate once a day and infuse with your own healing energy. 
Strain into a clean jar using a strainer and cheesecloth or muslin. Add a few drops of vitamin E if you don’t plan on using it up within a couple months.    
 
This oil can be used as a healing massage oil, baby oil, bath oil, or incorporated into salve, balm or cream recipes!
 
Here is one more fun recipe you can easily make with ingredients from your cupboard.  This scrub is fantastic for the whole body.
 
Sugar Scrub
1 C organic sugar 
1/4 C organic oil of choice (olive, almond, jojoba, coconut, macadamia) 
20 drops organic essential oil of choice (lavender, citrus, rosemary) or ½ tsp powdered herbs (pumpkin spice, cinnamon, turmeric) or organic citrus zest (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime)
 
Mix sugar and Oil together. Add essential oils/herbs/zest. Mix again. Scrape into reusable jar.   Use in shower as needed to exfoliate and hydrate dry skin.  
 
If you are looking for more great DIY recipes one of my favorite companies Mountain Rose Herbs has a fantastic blog here.   This company is also a great resource for high quality herbs, oils, butters and essential oils. 

Skincare for Wellbeing Blog
A garden for skincare
We all want radiant skin. We all want to look and feel our very best. Growing a garden that supports this is time and energy well spent. The following list of herbs are all fairly easy to grow in the garden or in containers.   Each has multiple uses externally for your skin care recipes and many can be used internally as teas or in your culinary creations.  
Calendula
Chamomile
Thyme
Oregano
Sage
Rosemary
Lavender
Rose
Marshmallow

​Mints (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, lemon balm etc) -best in container as they are vigorous and can take over easily.
Comfrey – also very vigorous, plant where you want it to stay! Very difficult to remove once established. 
 
When you purchase from Blue Heron Botanicals you can expect products to be:
SUSTAINABLY PACKAGED, LOCALCENTRIC, UNIQUE & ORIGINAL, MADE WITH TIME HONORED MEDICINAL HERBS & OF THE PUREST INGREDIENTS, HANDCRAFTED IN SMALL BATCHES WITH CARE.
 
Each product sold saves a baby sea turtle through See Turtles Foundation
 
Learn more! and purchase products at BlueHeronBotanicals.com
 

Why Plastic Free July is More Than Just a Month

Plastic Free July Post
Plastic Free July Post

Inspired by the Plastic Free July movement, we’re here to talk about some reasons why we care about going plastic-free and zero-waste, and we hope to inspire you to do the same! 
First, let’s bring some awareness to why plastic-free and zero-waste is lightyears more advanced than recycling. On average, only 10% of plastic is actually recycled. That means that 90% is NOT. Let that sink in. And even though you’re able to let it sink in, our oceans can’t. Because of the buoyancy and resilience of plastic, along with the amount we consume, and the lack of recycling that is actually happening, on our planet we now have these pseudo islands called garbage patches, or trash vortexes. We currently have 5 of them, the Pacific Garbage Patch being the largest. This patch floats between Hawaii and California, and contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. 

Plastic Free July is here to inspire us to do what we can in every moment of every day. It’s an idea that started a movement to get us thinking about plastic pollution. Plastic Free July gives you a comfortable 31 day boundary to fit your lifestyle. Start slow, build on your progress, award yourself when you’re doing a good job, and be honest with your process. 
What do you find struggling about it? What do you find easy? 
What do you hate about it? What do you love?

Shopping tips & microplastics in our food
With this knowledge, we want to give you some plastic-free shopping tips you may not know about. Shopping can be one of the most challenging places to stay true to the plastic-free lifestyle. We hope these tips help you!

Some well known items to watch for are: water bottles,
offee cups and lids, straws, grocery bags, and those
little plastic bags from the bulk section. Investing in items
you truly love, made by a good company will ensure
they’ll last a long time and you’ll enjoy showing them off,
aka actually using them!


Some items that contain plastic we don’t always think of when shopping are: tea bags. As of 2018, 95% of tea bags have a sealant that contains plastic. Choosing loose leaf teas (bringing your jar versus using a plastic bag of course ;)), or tea bags that are sealed with a staple are the solution to this issue; shopping bags for places beyond the grocery store like the drugstore, hardware store, or your favorite specialty store. This can be especially challenging for men who don’t often carry a purse or backpack like many women; salt. Sea salt is often contaminated with the microplastics that seep into our oceans. Over 90% of sampled salt brands globally were found to contain microplastics. Choose salt companies that market themselves as, and have proof of being plastic-free; honey. A study of 19 different types of honey from Europe and South America showed traces of microplastics. Choose local honey in a glass jar, like from your local beekeeper at a farmers market, or source from a reputable company; canned foods. Unless otherwise stated, most cans are lined with BPA- the plastic chemical that has been linked to cancer, obesity and other serious health conditions; finally, supplement bottles. Think about how you can go bulk with your vitamins in other forms such as more fruits or veggies, less sweets or carbs. We know this isn’t possible with all things, but it’s fun and interesting to research how to source vitamins naturally versus taking the same pill or powder month after month. Switch it up and you may find yourself more connected to your food supply, self-care, and overall health.

Be proactive.
​When ordering to-go items, get used to saying things first, as in, no straws, no salsa, no ketchup.

Get used to a couple extra steps. For example, when you’ve emptied your reusable bags and jars, wash and put them next to the door, or in your car, this creates accountability and utilizes your new habits. Source a nice weaved basket, or a bag with a thick weave for durability (even better if it’s locally made or from a secondhand store). You want to continue to take these extra steps! 

Plastic Free July Post
Plastic Free July Post
PLASTIC-FREE RECIPE IDEA
Bake your own crackers! As a mom and a lover of the outdoors, Blue Heron Botanicals owner and herbalist, Theora, is often on the go with her son in tow. Crackers are an excellent way to get nutrients, keep everyone energized, entertained, and ahead of the “hangry”, but almost all store-bought crackers are wrapped in plastic once you get past the cute cardboard box. Our solution? Bake your own! It’s a small step in the plastic-free, zero-waste movement, but it will show you just how simple it can be to take your home, your health, and loving your planet into your own hands.
 
Evolving into a new way of life is challenging, but at Blue Heron Botanicals we’re here to tell you it’s worth it. Even a few small changes can make a big difference for our planet. Do what’s easiest for you and don’t beat yourself up for not doing everything perfectly. New habits take time to develop, just do your best.  We’d love to hear how you feel about plastic-free and zero-waste! How do you already practice? What are you doing do up your game? Who’s joining you on your journey?

All Blue Heron Botanicals products are plastic-free, and most are zero-waste and completely compostable. 
For every product sold, a baby turtle is saved through See Turtles.

​Remember to follow us on 
Instagram for special offers and more info on the plastic-free, zero-waste movement.
Share this blog with your friends, get them interested, involved, and on your team! 

Take care, 
Theora & Emma

Blue Heron Botanicals
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Grant!

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