Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

canstockphoto2212892.jpg

My sister gave me an aromatherapy diffuser from Christmas and I've been obsessed!  My recent favorite essential oil combination is frankincense with sweet orange oil.  My friend Andrea Giordano specializes in essential oils and aromatherapy, so I interviewed her about them!

AC:  What brought you to study essential oils?

AG:  I have always had a great love for plants and their healing properties.  Essential oils are just one area of study for me. While studying feng shui and my background of study in ornamental horticulture I thought it would be SO great to put the two together. And I have! The aromas and energetics of essential oils are very powerful.

Can you tell us about the powers of essential oils?

The energetics of the plant are present in all forms of plant medicine - flower essences, herbal tinctures, dried herbs, essential oils, etc. Depending on what you are treating - physical vs. emotional, internal or external and the potency you want to use, you have all of these different choices of preparation. The human sense of smell is very powerful.   We relate happy, sad, and different periods in our lives with smell. Just think what you could do to change that with different aromas.

What essential oil do you recommend for space clearing, and why?

I find White Sage to be very powerful in clearing all negative forces followed by some Orange to brighten and lighten (uplifting) the area.

What essential oil do you recommend for relaxation and bedrooms, and why?

There are many essential oils to chose from depending on what mood you want to achieve. For relaxation I recommend Lavender mixed with some Sandalwood and a bit of Orange.  For a romantic bedroom, try Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Neroli or Rose mixed with some Sandalwood. Sandalwood grounds the spirit.

What essential oil do you recommend for focus, such as at the desk and workspace, and why?

For me, I love Rosemary, Basil (for getting my brain working) Clary Sage (calms the nerves) and a touch of Peppermint (uplifting) 

What essential oil do you recommend for entertaining, such as at the living room area, and why?

Once again I love Orange (lifts the sprits) refreshes and relaxes.  I call Orange “The happy oil"!

OOh!  I can't wait to try these different combinations throughout my home to create a truly holistic space that supports my needs!  Thanks Andrea.

Are there any special essential oil combinations you want to share with us?

by Anjie Cho


photo.jpg

Aroma - The Scent     Thera - The Healing     Chi - The Energy

AromatheraChi was created from a lifetime interest in plants combined with a devotion to natural and organic products.  These interests led AromatheraChi owner, Andrea Giordano, to pursue a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and begin exploring natural applications for health and beauty.  Ten years ago, she began making and selling all-natural soaps.  It is important to her to make sure that she always delivers the highest quality products.

While there is much to love about the essential oils themselves, the true passion and focus of AromatheraChi is the science behind the oils.  Scientific studies have shown that different scents have positive impacts on well being.

Aromatherachi was born out of the desire to wish for everyone to have access to fantastic essential oils, GC/MS tested, at a fraction of the price typically found elsewhere. 

You can read Andrea's AromatheraChi blog here!


5 Ways to Add More Relaxation to Your Home

After a day jam-packed with full-speed busyness, (and let’s face it, for most of us that’s pretty much a normal day), slipping your shoes off and melting into your favorite, comfy spot at home is likely high on your evening to-do list. That is, until you get home and that transition from ‘doing’ to ‘unwinding’ isn’t as smooth as you’d hoped. Don’t give up. Try these five simple steps to convert your home into a more serene, relaxing sanctuary.

Dedicate a space.

There are areas of your home that are ideal for work and for play. Set aside a space dedicated to relaxing, too. It doesn’t have to be an entire room. Create a nook or corner dedicated to relaxation. Folding screens can help differentiate the space from the rest of the room. If a good book is your ideal way to unwind, add comfortable seating, a shelf of books or a small table to hold your current reads, and proper lighting to the space. If music or movies are more your style, design your space accordingly.

Get organized

It’s hard to relax amidst clutter. Set-aside some time to organize and properly store your stuff. Look for storage solutions that complement your personal style. Look for baskets, bins and other containers that work as décor accents, as well as functional pieces. 

Light matters

Sunlight is a natural pick-me-up, but too much can be more stimulating than calming. Use light filtering shades for some privacy, as well as to create a softer, more tranquil effect. In the evening, use dimmer lights and candles to create a spa-like ambiance. As an added bonus, use a lavender scented candle to help promote relaxation. 

Colors count

Bright colors energize; soft, earth-toned shades soothe. If you’re looking to add more peacefulness to your home, incorporate tranquil blues, greens, and neutrals like gray, tans and white into your sanctuary spaces. Keep this in mind when you’re looking for accessories, too. Whether that peaceful space is a nook or whole room, stick with serene hues for your furniture, pillows, rugs and other accents.

Unplug

Your dedicated downtime space should be free of high-tech distraction. Learn to leave the phone, tablet and laptop aside. That reading nook we talked about above should be device-free to eliminate the urge to check your email just one more time or to count how many likes your last Instagram post garnered.  

Above all else, make your space yours. The best way to relax and unwind is to create a space that you feel most comfortable in.

by Anjie Cho


Relax in Your Own Spa Retreat

A chance to slip off the demands of your to-do list and relax is just what your spirit ordered. Yet, if you’re like many of us, your schedule hasn’t got space for a spa day. What if I told you that you could create a spa in your own home? It’s true! A few simple updates will transform your boring bathroom into a peaceful retreat. 

Bathrooms are often given the utilitarian treatment. To create a sanctuary in your home, however, this space needs the same stylish eye you’d want to bring to any other room in the house. Take a good look at the space you’ve got and consider what elements you can introduce to welcome tranquility and rejuvenation. Here are five design elements to consider:

Flooring

Think warm and cozy. Matte finish tiles are a good foundation to begin with, especially when combined with the right rug. Look for textiles that exude comfort but also hold up well to moisture. Cotton and bamboo are great natural materials that handle the damp environment well.

Lighting

Look for a classic hanging chandelier and go for the dimmer switch. Your bathroom has different lighting needs at different times. When you’re dressing or primping, a strong light is necessary. However, when you’re settling in for a spa-like retreat, low lights are the way to go. A dimmer will allow you to select the right glow for the right mood. 

Don’t forget to make space for candles. When you slip into the tub, lighting a bevy of candles transforms your space from bathroom to luxury retreat.

Sound

What is a spa experience without lilting music? You don’t need built-in speakers to create the spa-like mood. Keep a music player or Bluetooth speaker in your bathroom – away from the water, of course. 

Accessories

Remember, we’re talking about pampering and relaxing. Select lush towels for your in-home spa retreat. Use attractive bottles, jars and baskets to display your collection of bath salts and other pampering accoutrements. Be careful not to clutter the space, however. Simple and organized is your goal.

Scents

As you’re inhaling and exhaling in peace, the right calming scents are essential. Look to aromatic essential oils to create your own personal favorites. Coordinate the aroma you’re creating for your space with the candles and bath salts you’re using. If you’re not sure where to start, try the calming scent of lavender.

by Anjie Cho


Holistic Spaces + Jacq's Organics GIVEAWAY

The giveaway includes: 

  • 1- Signed book 108 Ways To Create Holistic Spaces by author Anjie Cho
  • 1- Holistic Spaces Aromastick
  • 1- Sampler that includes a Happy Mist, Clarity Mist & a Clearing Mist
  • 1 - 8 oz Lune Candle
  • 1 - 8 oz Le Soliel Candle

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE!

GOOD LUCK!

Start date: July 13, 2015 (12:00 a.m. Eastern Time)

End date:  July 21, 2015 (12:00 a.m. Eastern Time)

Jacq's Organics, All Natural Beauty

This week, I interviewed Barbara Jacques, founder of Jacq's Organics, an all-natural apothecary created with families in mind. It was so much fun to hear her take on why natural beauty products are the way to go.

Be sure to check in TUESDAY on the Holistic Spaces Facebook for a special giveaway from Holistic Spaces + Jacq's Organics!


AC: Tell me about your story starting Jacq's Organics.

BJ: In 2011, I was inspired to begin my research on all-natural bath and skincare after my husband and I learned I had an ovarian tumor during my pregnancy. I became obsessed with learning about my tumor, baby bath products, preservatives and ingredients.

At the time, the majority of the products available on the market contained the toxic ingredients I was trying to avoid, especially in baby care products. Frustrated, disappointed and irritated with what was available, I started researching; formulating and creating my own bath products for my family.

After the birth of my daughter, we launched Jacq’s Organics in the spring of 2012. 

What are 3 ingredients to watch out for in our beauty products?

3 ingredients...there are a minimum of 12, but to be honest, our skin is the largest organ. What we put on our skin has a systematic effect on your overall health. There's a list of the dirty dozen, the 12 most common ingredients used in products that are harmful. You can find the list on www.ewg.org, The Environmental Working Group site, but the 3 ingredients I'd say to avoid are:

Mineral oil - it's a byproduct from crude oil/petroleum - it clog pores, coats skin like a plastic bag and interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins.

DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine) & TEA  (triethanolamine):  You can find these in many beauty products. Studies show that these ingredients, used as a preservative, cause irritation, and headaches. They're hormone-disrupting chemicals and linked to liver and kidney cancer.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): This preservative is used in many cleansing products including dishwashing detergents, degreasers, bath, hair and beauty products. It's been linked to breaking down your skin's immune system and more.

What are 3 simple tips for readers who want to go organic with their beauty products?

My first tip for readers looking to go organic with their beauty products is to start with your food. The best way to go green with beauty is from the inside out. I strongly believe that beauty radiates from the inside out, and what you eat is just as important as what you put on your skin. The rest will follow.

My second tip for readers looking to go organic with their beauty products is to Keep it Simple. On our blog, we published an article discussing the stages of going organic with your beauty products called What Shade of Green Are You? We elaborate in detail on the simple steps you can take when switching beauty products. We talk about the different stages, including light green for beginners, medium green for intermediate and dark green for individuals that are well versed on ingredients, beauty products and more. As a beginner, shop products that you are able to read the ingredients, and experiment with D.I.Y. facials and scrubs using ingredients from your pantry

My third tip is to arm yourself with tools and resources. My two favorite books for beginners include Eat Pretty Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out by Jolene Hart and Holistic Beauty from Inside Out by Julie Gabriel. Both books are jammed pack with information on food, nutrition, skin care, ingredients and even recipes. 

There are so many resources available online, like the Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org, that work to keep consumers in the know about food, household and beauty products and more. They send out articles on ingredients, laws, environmental changes and more. It's an amazing resource. There's also a cosmetic database compiled with a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of products ranks from 0 to 10 based on their ingredients, so consumers are aware of which ones to stay away from. 

What's your favorite product from Jacq's Organics? 

My favorite Jacq's Organics has to be our Carrot con Leche Cleansing Bar. It was created when a family member really needed a product to help combat breakouts. It's made with fresh, organic carrot that we grate and mash, and organic rice milk that we make in our studio. It's the only cleanser I use on my face and just love the soap bubbles and natural scent.

How have you created Holistic Spaces in your life? 

At home, I try to create a space that feels cozy, warm and inviting, which is extremely important with a toddler running and jumping around. I have throw sheets on every couch with soft pillows for jumping and throwing. Stackable wicker boxes as side tables for her toys and organization. We also have a couple of great abstract art pieces on our wall created by our little one. I really enjoy sitting on the floor with my little one. Makes for a perfect location for crafts, reading or cuddling. Come to think of it, our home is a combination of warm earth tones with pops of green, blue and yellow.

My entire family suffers from allergies, so our home is filled with plants that help purify the air. The plants, for me, are relaxing but they also give me an opportunity to teach my daughter about plants. She loves watering the plants and asking questions about the different plants and herbs we have. I also use aromatherapy in our home. In the morning, I like to light our Le Soliel Candle. The citrus scent is refreshing and a great way to start the day. I also like to light palo santo and hand-made incense from Japan to help clear the air, and the scents are soothing and calming. If I've had a long day, I like to end the night with our La Lune candle.

I've always been into Feng Shui, even more so during my college days. However, between home, work and juggling a family, trying to find a balance can sometimes feel unattainable. One way for me to create a holistic space is by avoiding clutter. This helps so much. When it comes to our home, I try to create an open, clean space that will allow room for more chi so the kiddo can run around and I can breathe and find balance.

by Anjie Cho


Barbara Jacques is a yogi, recovering beauty product junkie, Founder and Formulator at Jacq's Organics. With an uncanny drive to help and aide those in need, she has worked in the not-for-profit sector in Development at a well known national social and community based organizations. After years of juggling a full-time job and running Jacq’s Organics, an all-natural apothecary line created for a growing family, Barbara decided to take on the beauty industry full-time. The company’s mission is to be socially responsible and seek to promote and encourage healthy alternatives that everyone in your family can love and enjoy. She speaks on beauty, holistic health and enjoys all things beauty, volunteering, cooking, running, yoga, traveling and entertaining family and friends.