We know most of our customers are label readers on food - but do you hold your beauty products to the same standards? We are learning so much about the beauty industry from our friend Tara Foley who founded Follain, a healthy skincare retail store in Boston, DC and Nantucket. Tara was shocked by the unsafe ingredients in U.S. beauty industry, which eventually led her to open up her own company which has strict standards about the type of ingredients allowed in the products sold at her stores --- no cheap fillers and chemicals! We can relate with her on that philosophy! Sounds like how we feel about the ingredients we put into our food!
To help nourish our skin from the inside out, we are teaming up with Follain stores this Thursday (2/18) for a DIY face mask tutorial and education session about two of our favorite superfoods, cacao and rose. We will be at her Beacon Hill location, but all of the other stores will be doing the event as well. In the meantime, be sure to read this interview with Tara to be inspired to choose healthy ingredients, inside and out!
Why is it so important to be careful about what we put on our skin and hair?
Skin is our largest organ! Just like the food we eat, the ingredients we feed our skin can be helpful or harmful. We believe in the importance of feeding our skin nourishing, vitamin-rich ingredients -- to protect it, and make it glow!
Plus, there is little-to-no regulation of the beauty industry in the U.S. In the E.U. and elsewhere, they've banned tons of ingredients (over 1,300 in the E.U.) from beauty products, because they consider these ingredients too toxic to consume. In the U.S., we've only banned 11 ingredients. This means we need to take extra responsibility for our own beauty ingredient consumption -- reading labels, and purchasing from brands and retailers we trust.
How have you seen your industry change since you’ve started your company?
I started writing about this industry in 2009, via my blog The Naturalchemyst. Back then, many of the brands Follain carries didn't even exist! Since then -- and especially since opening Follain in July 2013 -- many more healthy beauty brands and retailers have emerged. The industry is finally catching up to demand. People have taken much more responsibility for their health, through diet and exercise, and are now ready to begin taking responsibility for the ingredients consumed through beauty and household products!
Whats the first cosmetic item you recommend someone to change to something healthier?
We get that question a lot at Follain. Learning about all the toxic ingredients in conventional products can be daunting. It may seem expensive and time consuming to throw away all your products and begin from scratch. This is why we recommend that you begin the switch with deodorant, soap, and then the other products you wear most. Some people wear tons of makeup, and should look to begin switching that ASAP. Others may not wear much makeup, and should begin with their lotions, aftershaves, and anything else that sits on their skin all day.
What inspired you to start this business/become interested in what you were putting on your body?
I was so invested in diet and exercise -- shopping for local organic produce, practicing yoga, and racing triathlons. Then I realized how counterintuitive it was to slather toxic beauty ingredients all over my skin, when I was concerned with fueling my body with the best ingredients possible. This realization -- paired with information about how harmful beauty ingredients and packaging are to the earth -- got me fired up to educate myself, and as many other people as possible. I knew stores were the best venue for this education, because of the one-on-one interaction you get in a store.
Have you ever wanted to make your own chocolate truffles but didn't know how?! This recipe is super easy (almost fool proof) and uses only five ingredients and one pot!
We love these truffles for a few different reasons. First off, they are the perfect texture - soft, super rich, creamy, and magically melt in your mouth in the most decadent way. They are the perfect combination of rich dark chocolate and subtle rose. We think they'd make the perfect Valentine's day dessert for a romantic dinner or just shared with your gal pals or co-workers for a mind blowing treat that is packed with nutrients! They can be stored at room temperature which make them easy to give as a handmade gift wrapped in foil or in a pretty box.
Did you know rose essential oil is the highest frequency food of any natural substance? What does that mean exactly?! To keep it simple, every thing has a frequency because everything vibrates (because everything is made of atoms!). You, me, plants,etc. The human body = 62-72 MHz (unit of measurement), rose = 320 MHz! Think of it as concentrated life force. Consuming it or smelling it can helps raise your vibration (which improves health and immunity). Rose oil is known to be a natural antidepressant, aphrodisiac, and anti-viral and more. We use a teeny tiny bit in a whole batch of chocolate, so don't worry, you wont vibrate away but we do hope you enjoy the health benefits and uplifting qualities of rose.
These truffles are:
rich & creamy
1 Rose Maca bar - finely chopped
1 TBS coconut oil
1 TBS + tsp coconut butter*
1 TBS maple Syrup
1 TBS raw cacao powder (Plus extra for dusting)
1. Start by getting all the ingredients prepared, chop the chocolate bar and measure out the ingredients. The next process uses the heat from the coconut oil in step 2 to melt the rest of the ingredients. So you'll need those ready to go, in order to not have to reheat the chocolate (which can compromise the integrity of the chocolate).
2. Melt the coconut oil over low heat until it is melted and hot 1-2 minutes.
3. Take the coconut oil off the heat completely and in the same saucepan add the coconut butter and mix quickly until completely integrated.
4. Immediately add the chocolate and stir until melted.
5. Add the cacao powder and stir until combined.
6. Add the maple syrup and stir until combined. Immediately place in fridge.
7. Take the chocolate out after it is in solid form (not liquid). Use a tablespoon to scoop out a ball. Form bar with hands until you form a truffle. Place on plate and repeat until all chocolate is used. Place chocolate back in fridge for a minute.
7. Optional: Dump some raw cacao powder into a bowl. Take out the balls from the fridge and toss with the raw cacao powder until coated.
Serve at room temperature. Store in the fridge covered (chocolate can take on other flavors easily) up to 14 days.
*you can alternatively just use 1/4 cup coconut oil total. The truffles will be much softer so be sure to keep them in the fridge until you serve them.
We hope you love this recipe. Keep in touch with us @notyoursugarmamas (instagram) or @notursugrmamas (twitter) #notyoursugarmamas
Keepin' it real,
Ky & Bennett
P.S. We are excited to announce that we will be a part of health expert Robyn Youkilis's Go with Your Gut book launch party with best selling author Gabrielle Bernstein! If you are in the area, its going to be a great event! You can sign up here.
P.P.S. Don't miss out on our Valentine's Day limited edition bark.
What in your life are you avoiding right now? Notice the energy that this feeling creates in your body. See if you can drop the urge to change whatever this thing is and just accept it for what it is (even if just for a moment) and send it love. Notice the energetic shift that this creates. Let us find peace in our lives by fully accepting what is in front of us instead of resisting and avoiding what is. When we are looking at our lives through the lens of fear, we create feelings of suffering and want things to be different, but through the lens of love, we remove the veil of illusion and everything feels lighter and just as it should be. This way of viewing things takes a little more conscious effort as we are collectively programmed for fear but this is not normal even though we've grown to believe that it is. Love is real, fear is not. In what ways can you be more loving and accepting of your life?
To Make: Combine all ingredients except apple cider vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once a simmer is reached, lower heat and continue to simmer for an additional 10 mins. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour mixture into a quart-sized glass jar and add 1 C of cider vinegar. Shake and let sit at room temperature for 2 days. To use, simply strain the mixture and enjoy!
This is probably our favorite time of year. We tend to feel more creative during these quieter winter months because we have more time for self care and reflection. We have been taking long morning walks on the beach and playing with new recipes in our kitchen (like the white chocolate fudge pictured above—amazeballs). In order to keep ourselves on track and moving forward during this slower time of year we like to start off our week by doing what we call the “circle of life” exercise. We draw a circle and divide it into say 8 categories; Love, Creativity, Finances, Health, Family, Fun, Purpose, and Support for example. You can really use any categories you like but this is a good baseline. Then you judge each category on a scale from 1-10, so if you are feeling low in the “fun” category you would place a dot closer to the center of the circle, or on the outside of the circle if you feel like that is a strong point for you. So at the end you connect all your dots and sometimes it doesn’t look anything like a circle. Sometimes it looks like a shriveled up raisin or a pear maybe. But that’s great! Because now you can have something to focus on for that week. So last week my fun category was low so I chose to focus on that one. I began knitting, I planned a night out with friends, I took walks on my most favorite beaches and I went shopping one day. After a week of putting more energy into having fun now when I do that exercise fun is at a 10. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of effort to make great changes in our lives. It is such an empowering exercise because it puts the reins back in our hands and reminds us that we are in charge of our own lives and changing the things that might need a little tweaking. A little bit goes a long way. What do you guys do to feel empowered around your own lives?
Is anybody else addicted to coffee right now? I'm not saying that coffee is bad by any means, for some people it is medicinal. For me, I tend to go overboard and ignore the signs from my body to stop drinking it. I have pretty big mood swings, strong cravings for sugar and don't seem to cope with stress as well. So I've decided to take a break from drinking it and see what happens. In case any of you are in the same boat, I wanted to share my coffee alternative with you, my Energizing Morning Smoothie. I put some of the most energizing foods around in this smoothie and it gives me a nice clean, long lasting energy buzz. Here's the recipe and let me know what you think and how you feel!
Energizing Morning Smoothie:
1 cup milk of your choice ( I like to make my own almond milk but not required)
1/2 frozen banana
1 T hemp seeds (GREAT source of Omega 3's, brain function)
1 T chia seeds (optional)
1 T Be Cozy or plain Raw Cacao
1 T Maca (GREAT for energy and hormone balancing)
1 T cacao nibs (ENERGY + Antioxidants)
1/2 t cinnamon (Balance blood sugar, fight depression)
Handful of ice for thickness
Blend and drink up!
Okay, so our first attempt at our online “challenges” was fairly successful! Ky was traveling in Spain and my phone dropped in my dog’s water bowl a few days into it and I didn’t have my phone for about a week. So we did what we could and more than anything it was a fun activity to be involved in and we will continue to do it and give it our best. There were many “ballsy” moments throughout our ballsy challenge but there was one day in particular that felt the most empowering. We caught wind of the fact that a woman we hadn’t met was making false accusations about us. Instead of letting rumors fly and harboring any negative feelings towards this person, Ky and I got in the car immediately and drove to her place of work, to introduce ourselves and confront the issue head on as this has always been the best way to approach these situations. I have spent a lot of my life avoiding confrontation so this felt like a really ballsy and scary thing to do. Without going into more detail about that particular situation, on the drive home Ky and I both came to the realization that the “ballsiest” thing that we have done is start our own business and put ourselves out there. You make yourself more visible to the world and with this comes more criticism. It can feel like a really scary thing at first to be “seen” in this way. I know for me, especially at the beginning, I felt so vulnerable sharing something so close to my heart for fear that people wouldn’t like it. Ky and I have both become stronger, more empowered, confident individuals through this process of putting ourselves out there by growing our own business. It has been the most challenging, rewarding, empowering and ballsiest experience so far. We look forward to a lifetime of growing and puttiing ourselves out there. Bring it on.