Friday, March 27, 2009

What I Use...Your Questions Answered

I get asked the question all the time: Stephanie, what do you use for (fill in the blank)? Well, in this blog post, I'm going to bare it all!

What I Use: Hair Care

Shampoo & Conditioner: I switch between using the Unscented All Over Bar followed by a vinegar rinse or our Peppermint & Tea Tree shampoo. This week I've actually used the Lemongrass & Rosemary shower gel on my hair and I'm getting some great results with it as well. I use just plain ole distilled white vinegar in my vinegar rinse. To make sure I don't get the oilies, I make sure to keep my water softener filled with the right level of salt.

Styling Aids: Stevie "B" uses more hairspray than I do! I personally hate the stuff and don't use anything on my hair. On days when I actually pay attention to how I look, I'll heat style with a curling or flat iron. In this photo I'm completely product-free. I just used a curl dryer. I dried my hair with a regular dryer about half way, and then when it was still damp, used the curl dryer. I'll also let you in on a little secret--you can use our lotion stick to tame flyaways and dry ends. Just rub some on your fingers and then rub on hair!

What I Use: Makeup

Mascara: I'm currently using the dark brown mascara from Real Purity.

Eyeshadow: I'm using a brand that's made locally here in Utah called Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques. She has this great cream eyeshadow that's fun to put on and has great staying power. Plus it's as chemical-free as you can get with a mineral makeup.

Foundation: When I feel like I need a liquid foundation I use Physician's Formula Organic Wear. I just picked it up in a pinch at my local grocery store. I don't think I'll be buying it again because it feels really heavy on my face and seems to clog my pores. But then again, I don't like wearing much makeup anyways.

Loose Powder: Most of the time I'll skip the foundation and just use this. I'm currently using the powder from Physician's Formula Organic Wear, although when I run out I'm going to get Lauren Brooke's. I ordered a sample and liked it a lot.

Eyeliner: I'm using the dark brown eyeliner from Real Purity. It's a softer formula, so you have to be really gentle with it. But I like it pretty well.

Nail Polish: Honeybee Garden's Water Colors. These chip very easily and you have to let it cure overnight. The trick is right before bed to apply one very light coat, let it dry, and then apply another light coat. Let it dry and then go to bed. Otherwise you'll pretty much chip it immediately. I ordered a darker mauve color and a light pink. I prefer the light pink because it doesn't seem to chip as easily and the chips don't show as bad.

What I Use: Toothpaste

This is my deep dark secret--the one product I haven't gone organic on! All the health food store brands still contain SLS (hello Tom's of Maine!) I currently use Biotene because at least it's SLS Free.

I did try A Wild Soap Bar's tooth soap--it was interesting and kinda fun. I would recommend it if you want something completely chemical-free.

What I Use: Facial Care

Face Cleanser: I just use our soap! In the summer I like the Oatmeal Spice or the Orange Peel. In the Winter when my skin's a little drier, I use the Unscented All-Over Bar because it has added rosehip seed, jojoba and sunflower oils.

Toner: Every once in a while if I feel like I need a toner, I'll use a little diluted Apple Cider Vinegar.

Moisturizer: I use a face cream of my own invention. I have a little batch of it made up if you want to try it. Click here to order a pre-release sample!

Anti-Acne Treatment: 2 Tablespoons of FlaxPro Flax Seeds every day!

What I Use: Sunscreen

A hat. ;-)

What I Use: Lip Balm

I go back and forth between all of our flavors. I seem to be gravitating towards the Karma Apple lately, which is weird because it was never my favorite, but now it is!

What I Use: Hand Lotion

I go back and forth between the Sunflower Lotion Stick and the Coconut Lime Lotion Stick:

What I Use: In the Shower

My favorite is the Organic Orange Peel Soap. I'll rotate between that and the Lime Shower Gel. for some reason I like having both the bar and the gel.

What I use: For handwashing

Right now I'm using the Red Raspberry Jam Heart Soap we made for Valentine's Day. We tested a few bars before we launched the product--they've lasted so long they're still at the sink more than a month later!

Have more questions? Need more recommendations? Comment below and I'll do my best!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Good News!

The Utah State Organic Program is up and running! We're getting our application in this week!

Friday, March 6, 2009

An Organic Snag

For months we've been working with the Utah State Department of Agriculture to become a certified organic processing facility. It's a great state program, in fact it's the only one in the nation that has the power to certify farmers and producers and to enforce NOP (National Organic Program) rules. It's inexpensive for businesses to get certification, local, and saves the hassle of having to fly an inspector out. It's a very thick packet that I work on in-between every thing else that I do (accounting, answering e-mails, developing new products, overseeing production, get the picture). Back in January, I was getting close to sending it in and was ready to fill out the final part of the application. I sent an e-mail to the person who handles the department with a question. He wrote me back saying that the legislature had canceled the organic program. Now what?!

This was discouraging news, as now I would have to start all over with the application process, and incur thousands of extra dollars in costs to get certification through a private agency. In fact, certification through a private organization was going to cost us $8000, as opposed to the $1500 the state program would cost. The Salt Lake Tribune also caught wind of the story and interviewed me for it. Click here to read the article.

Being the easily fired-up person that I am, I called the State Legislature trying to find out exactly what was going on and when the issue was or would be voted on. I spoke with the Secretary of the Executive Appropriations Committee and he said that it wasn't even in a bill yet to be voted on. By reading the article and from the response at the Agriculture Department, it seems like the program has already been cut. But according to the legislature, no budget cut has been made, and the subject is still up for discussion. The Secretary told me the issue would be presented first to the committee as a possible budget cut. The budget cut will then be added to a bill and the bill will go through the state Senate and the House and voted on in to law. So, we're five steps away from the program being cut, and by all laws, there still is an organic certification program in the State of Utah. So, why did the head of the organic program tell me that "unfortunately, the program has been cut"? Well, inside sources tell me that the federal government was increasing their fees to charge the state for their organic certification and the state didn't want to pay those extra fees.

So, we rallied. Organic companies throughout the state rallied around Neutraceuticals, a large organic company here in Utah that makes supplements. Bruce Hough of Neutraceuticals became our spokesperson and proposed a fee increase instead of cutting the program. He presented our case to the appropriations committee, and it looks like now the program will be saved!

But the State Department of Agriculture still won't take our application---We still have to wait for the legislative session to end in order to solidify the continuation of the program.

So, in other words, as soon as the program's back up and running, we'll be slapping our application on their desk! In the meantime we're keeping up with all our organic requirements--strict documentation of all ingredients and products that go in and out of our facility, not using pesticides or chemicals in or around our building and so on. We'll keep you updated as the process moves forward!