New and Improved Face and Eye Cream

Our Face and Eye Cream Needed an Update

We are in between orders for some of our packaging but needed to make some more eye cream and are out of the 1 oz jars we have been using.  After a run through our inventory, we realized we still have quite a few plastic bottles and one of them is a great 50ml airless treatment pump, that is a little under 2 ounces.

For a potentially limited time, we have our SVF Face and Eye Cream available in a larger container.  We also took this opportunity to reformulate it a bit and it now contains the Cucumber Hydrosol we created a while back.

Jars Will Be Back

  We are trying to use less plastic, but also need to find ways to use the plastic containers we already have in a responsible manner.   If you like the larger pump bottles please let us know, you can even use them to fill your favorite small travel container to take some with you.

We will be getting more jars, and would even like yours back so we can clean and reuse them!

Three Must Have Base Teas For Blends

Some of your favorite tea blends start from three main base teas: Assam, Keemun, and Darjeeling.  You can make your tea experience much better and conserve cupboard space by keeping these teas in stock.

Let’s go over these teas and then we can get to some recipes and customization!

Assam Tea

Assam comes from India and has a rich, malty flavor which is complimented well with milk and sugar.

The version we get is the highest quality T.G.F.O.P (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) which is mostly tips.

You will find Assam at the base of many favorites like Earl Grey.

Keemun Tea

Keemun is also known as China Black which is one of the highest quality of teas to come out of China.  Often referred to as the “burgundy of teas” it produces a sweet, liqouring, full bodied, dark red cup.  Keemun also makes a great iced tea and does not cloud easily.

Our Keemun is F.O.P. (Flowery Orange Pekoe) which is a high quality long leaf tea with pleanty of tips.

By itself Keemun is a delicious tea and when combined, as we will see shortly, with other teas it becomes something magical.

Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling comes from the southern slopes of the Himalayas, which is located on India’s northern border.  It’s delicate floral aroma and a mildly fruity flavor, with a slight astringent nip makes it indescribably unique and delicious.

Our Darjeeling is a high quality T.G.F.O.P. and is considered one of the fanciest of Darjeeling teas.

Blending some classic teas and making them your own

The three most popular breakfast teas are English, Irish, and Scottish and though there are no standard recipes for them we can get a general idea of the ratios.  They have essentially the same ingredients but in differing ratios:

English Breakfast Tea: 2 parts Assam, 1 part Keemun

Irish Breakfast Tea: 2 parts Keemun, 1 part Assam

Scottish Breakfast Tea: 1 part Assam, 1 part Keemun, 1 part Ceylon

An initial way to customize your breakfast tea blend would be to slightly alter the ratios until it is exactly where you want them.  Be sure to make note of this so you can recreate it each time.

Another variation would be to replace the Ceylon in Scottish breakfast tea with Darjeeling.  This would add it’s unique flavor to the blend and help round it out.

 

We made a post a while ago about making Earl Grey Tea and a slight customization.  As we said in that article Earl Grey is a black tea base with bergamot essential oil.  Though Assam is the primary tea used in Earl Grey, Keemun and Darjeeling make excellent substitutions.

I love mint tea as it is great for clearing sinuses, treating indigestion, and it’s just plain tasty.  Sometimes I really want a little caffeine kick with it so adding peppermint or spearmint to Assam or Keemun does just the trick.  The mint is also naturally a bit sweet so adding sugar or other sweeteners is not necessary.

Keemun is our go to for making iced tea which is great on it’s own but you can take it up a notch by adding fresh fruit slices while you are brewing it.  You can also customize your cup by brewing it straight and adding some of your favorite fruit juice to your glass and blending in the tea until it’s just right.

Running low on Earl Grey Tea?

Darjeeling Jasmine Earl Grey Tea

Earl Grey is one of our favorite teas and is a staple in most tea cupboards.  But what happens if you run out and you really want a cup but don’t want to run to the store?
Well, make it yourself!

What is Earl Grey anyhow?

I am not going to rehash the entire Wikipedia article on Earl Grey but I will summarize.
Earl Grey was presented to Lord Charles Grey by a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey’s men.
The tea is typically made with any number of black teas and bergamot oil. 
Really, it’s that easy!

Some tea companies are branching out and using other base teas like green, oolong, and others but most blends use Assam.

Great history lesson, how do I make Earl Grey tea?

One of the great things here is that you can make your own unique blend of Earl Grey that no one else will have, because you made it.  Here’s how:

  1. Select a black tea of your liking
  2. In a mixing bowl put in a few drops of Bergamot Essential Oil.  The amount of oil you use is up to you and is what will make this your blend so experiment and keep notes.
  3. Put some of the black tea you chose earlier in the bowl and move it around the bowl to get it coated with the Bergamot Essential Oil.
    The amount of tea you use is also up to you as this will make it more unique.  Be sure to keep notes on how much you use so you can replicate it later.
  4. Taste test.  Drop a few leaves in some hot water and let it steep.  Taste the resulting tea and adjust the amount of tea and oil until you have it just to your liking.
  5. Don’t stop there.  That is the basic Earl Grey recipe, but there is no reason you can’t keep going.  For instance adding some crushed up jasmine flowers, orange peel, etc.
    This is your tea, be sure it has your signature all over it.

Herbs and Spices, You Are Getting Ripped Off!

You Know You are Overpaying for Herbs and Spices

I know you hear all the time that buying herbs and spices at the grocery store is a rip off, so why are you still doing it?

I think the biggest reason is convenience.  You are already at the grocery store and you just want to get home and get dinner going or relax or whatever.  However, this is killing your pocket book and you may not know how much it’s costing you so I’m going to break it down using Bay leafs and Basil as an example.

Breaking down the costs

On my last trip to the big box grocery store I took a few pictures of some well known herb and spice brand bottles and shelf price tags, their identities have been masked to protect their anonymity.

Basil

Pictured two name brand and one store brand Basil containers.  Each container has about .5 ounces, and if you want a laugh zoom into the photos and check out their price per ounce on the shelf tag.

The pricing on the Basil is $8.99, $7.99 and $3.99.

Bay Leaves

For the Bay leaves I got all three brand names in there and they each have about .14 ounces in each jar, really zoom in on the price per ounce on the shelf tag for these.

The pricing on the Bay is $10.99, $6.99, and $15.99.

Here is where it gets real

In our shop we carry high quality Organic and Kosher Certified Basil and Bay Leaves.  The Basil comes from Egypt and the Bay from Turkey.   There are times that we have to hold our orders because our supplier ran out and is waiting for restock, though annoying it does ensure that we aren’t buying herbs and spices that have just been sitting around for a few years.

Our Basil vs. Theirs

Our Basil currently sells for $0.04/gram.  The equivalent quantity of Basil to the big box store would only cost $0.57 and if you didn’t have a jar we sell them for $1.99.

This means you are spending $6.43, $5.43, or $1.43 more at the big box store than if you were to buy them in bulk.

Our Bay vs. Theirs

Our Bay leaves currently sells for $0.06/gram.  The equivalent quantity of Bay leaves to the big box store would only cost $0.24 and again, we have jars at $1.99.

This means you are spending $13.76, $8.76, or $4.76 more at the big box store than if you were to buy them in bulk.

So Stop Getting Ripped Off!

This post just compared two very commonly used herbs, and I can tell you that bottle of Basil would be gone with one batch of tomato sauce.  I get that we want convenience when shopping, it’s hard enough to get through the work day sometimes and we don’t want to bounce around a bunch of stores.

Another thing to remember is that you really want to replace your herbs and spices at least every 6 months, though hopefully you’ve used them before that time.

What Can We Do To Help?

While I am sitting here writing this I noticed that I am calling you all out a bit, so now I’m going to call ourselves out a little because really what are we doing to help you buy better?

One thing that comes to mind is you can call us with your list and we can have everything packaged and ready for you to pickup at your convenience.  
Another way we could help is if you dropped off your containers and a list of what you want we can fill them up and keep a little more plastic out of our landfill.

You should be able to get and use fantastic herbs and spices without getting ripped off and without it being a huge interruption to your schedule.  If you think of other ways we could make this easier on you please let us know, after all we’re here for you.

Cheers.

A Gift of Tea

The Perfect Introduction to Tea

This holiday season when you are trying to find a special, unique gift why not choose the gift of tea. One of the best things about tea is that it is versatile and can be blended to just about anyone’s taste, even those that don’t think they like tea.

Herbal, Black, Green, Red, and yes Blue too

The variety of teas is vast and can be a little daunting when you are presented with a wall of herbs, teas, and spices. I like to keep the following things in mind when I am buying tea:

  • Can I see it?
    • You should never buy tea that you cannot see or, in the case of shops like ours, you can’t see the raw materials that the bags were filled with. Many brand name companies will hide inferior ingredients in prebagged tea but still, charge you a price.
  • Can I smell it?
    • This has two meanings:
      • If I have a stuffy nose it’s not a great time to be looking for new teas. Being able to smell the herbs and base teas is essential to making sure it will be enjoyable.
      • Some teas are in sealed packaging, to keep it fresh so they say, which does not allow you to smell it. When you make hundreds of thousands of boxes of tea that could sit around for quite some time before being sold this is the only way to go. Sadly this also means that you will not always get the best cup of tea or even what you might have been expecting by the manufacturer’s description.
  • Can I taste it?
    • When we get a new shipment of teas and herbs I like to take a little of it, mash it between my fingers and taste it on my tongue. This gives a pure indication of what it will taste like and if there are any oddities. You should do this too when you are looking at buying tea, herbs, and spices so you are sure about the flavor.
    • If it is a prebagged tea it is always nice to get a cup from somewhere first to try it out and see if you really like it. In some tea shops, like ours, we have the bags we make loose so you can get a cup of tea to give it a spin.

Make your gift unique

Tea Gift Box Single Bag

Whether you want a big box of tea, or a few bags we can make custom blends for your stocking stuffers and presents for your tea lovers. We look forward to helping you get one of the best gifts this year, the gift of tea.

SVF Facial Cleaning Pads Redux

We split the facial cleaning pad components apart

We took the facial cleaning pad components apart and made them available separately.  This is part of our ongoing effort to reduce waste from our packaging.

Facial cleaning solution

SVF SolutionThe solution is now available in bulk which you can purchase by the gram.  Our facial solution is made with our own double distilled witch hazel which is infused with rose and hibiscus, and copaiba and tea tree essential oils.

This solution has proven to be effective for treating acne, removing makeup, and refreshing your facial skin.

Organic cotton facial pads

SVF Cotton PadsThese facial pads are super soft and work very well with our solution for applying it to your face.  We have these available for individual sale so you can buy as many or as little as you like.

A container to suit your need

SVF ContainersWe have many containers that we can put the solution in for you.  Previously we packaged the pads in a 4 oz. jar but you can choose a spray bottle or glass round with a dropper.
You can even bring in your own sterilized container and we would be happy to fill it up for you.

Essential Oil Portable Bundle

Prototype Essential Oil Portable Bundle

EO To Go BundleWe have been working on a carrying case to make it easy to carry a variety of essential oils, carrier oils, mixing vessels, and droppers and we have the first prototype finished.

Our goal was to make something that would be easy to stash in a bag, open and close easily, and have everything ready to go.  We are working on the closure to make something that is elegant and functional at the same time.

12 1/2 Dram vials

Bundle OpenRight off the bat you can see that there are 12 1/2 dram vials.  This allows you to have a good variety of essential oils, a few carrier oils, a tincture or two, and leave a couple empty for mixing.

Work areaThe cover flap doubles as a work area.  Since we will be making this out of cloth it is easy to wash, and sterilize if needed, giving you a clean surface to work on where ever you may be.

Handy Storage Pouch

Small PocketOn the other end is a handy little storage pouch for stowing things like the glass tube portion of the droppers or other small items.

On the final product the opening will most likely be on the opposite side and will have a zipper as currently it is a little wonky.  We may even sew some elastic on the inside so the dropper tubes would not be loose.

When It’s Ready

We are hoping to have the final design finished by mid-summer.  Once it is finished we will have versions with empty vials and some with pre-filled vials with a small insert on what the oils are and how to use them as well as some recipes.

New Herbal Arrivals: Butterfly Pea, Elderberry, and Hawthorn Berries!

New Herbal Arrivals

We are always adding to our inventory and our new herbal arrivals are amazing.

Butterfly Pea Tea

Clitoria TernateaClitoria Ternatea, also known as butterfly pea, Asian pidgeon wings, Shankapushi, and other names, is a flower that grows in tropical Asia, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Primarily used in treating neurological issues, especially memory and depression, it has other health benefits that Ayurvedic medicine has benefited from for generations.

Another unique property to this herb is that it will turn any clear liquid blue.  This is very whimsical and can be fun for parties as you can color your drinks naturally.  We added this to some hibiscus tea and it turned a beautiful purple.

Elderberry

ElderberriesLong known for their powerful antioxidants elderberries have been used to boost the immune system, prevent and cure colds and flu, lower cholesterol and more.  These have been a bit difficult to get lately as they have been in large demand due to a powerful flu season.

We like to combine these with other healing herbs to create even more powerful infusions that help everyone get over sickness faster and even prevent getting sick in the first place.

Hawthorn Berries

Hawthorn BerriesHawthorn is a well established mild heart tonic which has been especially useful in treating congestive heart failure.  We have had the cut leaves and flowers in stock for some time which are perfect for making an infusion, but the berries are what you want to use when making a decoction or tincture.

Gateway to the Olympics Expo – Day 2

We are open for the Gateway to the Olympics Expo

Normally we are not open on Sundays but today is special as it is the second day of the Gateway to the Olympics Expo.  There are a lot of really great vendors here along with other shops that are open today.

Sample tea of the day

Tea of the DayWe always love coming up with inventive combinations for our sample tea of the day.  Today we combined Darjeeling, Rosebuds, Galangal, and Stevia for a crisp and refreshing tea.

We have all the herbs and spices to make this and many more combinations.  We recently started carrying press and seal tea bags that you can fill up and seal with an iron, we use a mini hair straightener,  If you don’t want to assemble them yourself we would be happy to fill and seal the bags with your choice of teas, herbs, and spices.

Tippy the Owl

Tippy the OwlHave you read this great children’s book from Erica Corban?  This is a wonderful story with a great lesson and fantastiillustrationsns.

This book makes a great anytime gift for parents and little ones alike.  We only have four copies on our shelf but will definitely be ordering more once these are sold.

Beeswax candles from Gathered Sunlight

Gathered SunlightYesterday we lit one of the small votive candles from Gathered Sunlight that we carry.  This little candle provided such a wonderful atmosphere in our store and it burned for over seven hours, we were told that this is longer than most emergency candles that are full chemicals.

We have a wide variety of candles and you don’t have to light them if you don’t want to.

Bulk Lotions and Sunscreen

We have been moving our lotions and other products into bulk dispensing containers to help reduce the waste going into our landfills and allow you to bring in your own favorite container and fill it up, though we ask that you allow us to fill it for you.

Bulk Lotions

Bulk LotionWe have our Nude and Bay Breeze lotions available right now.  Nude is just our lotion base with no scents added but does have a slight chocolate note from the cocoa butter we use.  Bay Breeze harnesses tangerine and laurel bay essential oils for this brisk scent that is very reminiscent of the ocean.

All of our lotions are created from scratch by us using high-quality oils and additives.  We never use harsh synthetic chemicals, petroleum by-products, and toxic preservatives.

Sunscreen

Bulk SunscreenHave you seen the reports about chemical sunscreens and how they are killing off the coral reefs in Hawaii?  The toxic chemical laden sunscreens that you get off the shelf are the reason we created our own using oils that have natural SPF value as well as a touch of zinc oxide that provides a mineral sunblock as well.

We also have our sunscreen with bug repellent in it that we call Sunny Day Skeeter Salve.  We tested this at multiple locations to make sure it had great sun protection and repels insects.

Bulk Sunscreen and More

More products in bulk

Yesterday our container order arrived which included the bottles and pumps we will be using for bulk dispensing of our products.  We are sure this will make it easier and more affordable for you.

Sunscreen

Bulk PumpsWe have two sunscreens available, one with our non-toxic insect repellent and one without.  We have tested these sunscreens on our selves, friends, and family to ensure they do what they should, protect your skin from the sun without harming you or the environment.
The sunscreen alone is 15 cents per gram ($4.30 per ounce) and the sunscreen with insect repellent is 20 cents per gram ($5.72 per ounce).

Bulk Oils and Hydrosols

We also have bulk oils and hydrosols, including our own distilled Witch Hazel, available.  We know there are a lot of you who like to make your own fantastic stuff so we have the same oils we use in our products available for you to purchase in small or large quantities.

 

Your container or ours

We encourage you to bring your own container, be sure to sterilize it as much as possible first, and we can fill them for you.  If you need a container we have many different styles to choose from.