Category Archives: Mind•Body•Soul

Profile: Peacock Soap Company

Beyond the Gift

The unique origins of locally-owned Peacock Soap Company

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

To celebrate her 10-year anniversary, Kristie Paxton and her husband spent a week driving along the west coast. One night, they found themselves at a cute, very hospitable, Bed and Breakfast in Oregon. The owners had one room left to offer the Southwest Virginia couple, and it had a bathtub, but no shower.

“They felt so guilty about it that they stocked the room with soaps and lotions,” Kristie recalls. “They didn’t really sell them, but they allowed me to purchase some. I brought them home, used them up, and requested more.”

Soon after, Kristie decided to start making her own soaps for personal use. With a little help from the Bed and Breakfast owners and a few books, she quickly found that her new hobby yielded enough product to sell to the community as well. She opened Peacock Soap Company, lovingly named for her grandmother’s affinity for raising peacocks. For the past eight years, she has made and sold soaps, lotions, and other toiletries at local stores and the Grandin Farmers Market. Recently, she expanded her line to include beeswax and soap nuts.

“[Soap nuts] are literally a nut grown on a tree,” Kristie explains. “The nuts are grown in India. I buy them and package them. They are a really interesting alternative to laundry detergent.” Kristie has started using soap nuts in her home as well. “They are completely reusable,” she adds. “You can throw them in the washing machine five or six times and then compost them.”

Peacock Soap Company stands out from the competition with unique scent offerings. Their beer and wine soaps actually contain beer and wine, and the sugar content makes each soap extra sudsy. (This would be a great stocking stuffer for the wine or beer lover in your life!) Additional scents for the winter season will include Crackling Firewood, Ginger Snap, Evergreen, and the signa-ture Peacock Bar.

Kristie also makes hand and body lotions, lightweight face lotions, lip balm, and liquid soaps. You can find her, on occasion, as a fill-in vendor at the Grandin Farmers Market. Her products are
also sold at Downshift and the Treehouse Collaborative. Additionally, Kristie will participate in the KrisKindle Market at the Clifton Forge School of the Arts this month! Stay updated on Peacock Soap Company and purchase directly from a link to their Etsy page by following them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/peacocksoapco. Finally, if you see Kristie at the Grandin Farmers Market, be on the lookout for a special touch on her table!

Another nod to her grandmother, Kristie displays her packaged soaps on her grandmother’s china. “It’s kind of sweet because I get that question a lot about where my name came from,”she says. “It’s nice to be able to tote her along.”

Hayleigh is a freelance writer, independent author, and writing consultant. In 2017, she published her first novel, The Huntsman: A modern retelling of Red Riding Hood. She spends a lot of time traveling and exploring new regions for inspiration, but Roanoke will always be her home. www.hayleighworgan.com.

Get Creative

Creativity Take Courage

A practical hands-on guide to strengthening creative intuition.

Dare to break the mold with Creativity Takes Courage. This inspirational and thoughtful guide is a practical, hands-on guide to strengthening creative intuition and an interactive workbook focusing on the pleasure of the process, this is a creativity book like no other. Organized around a series of 13 dares, it challenges the reader to bravely silence the critical inner voice, look around at the world through the eyes of a child, disconnect from technology, learn from failure, and even take time to be bored. Paper ‘goodies’ are sprinkled throughout, from postcards to daily project notebooks and a quietness diary, to fold-out posters and pull-out Polaroid-style frames. These surprises bookend chapters and serve as a guide to putting each dare’s lessons into immediate practice.
www.flowmagazine.com

Bella Eats – Fermentation Revolution

Transform the Ordinary into the Extraordinary

Fermentation is one of the hottest kitchen trends of the past several years, and for good reason —it allows us to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary (delicious pickles, olives, ginger beer). But, more than that, fer-mented foods enhance nutritional value, aid in digestion and help regulate our immune systems. Contrary to what you may think, fermenting doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult or over-whelming. You don’t have to disinfect your entire kitchen or worry about weird things growing in your pantry. Home fermentation is an inexpensive way to prolong the life of your food, multiply its nutritional properties tenfold, awaken your taste buds and liven up every meal. Canadians Sebastien Bureau (a food scientist) and David Cote (an organic restaurant chain founder) have written the perfect book providing 70 easy and cost-effective recipes for everything from fermented vegetables, fruits and sugars to milk, grain and legumes. Fermentation Revolution covers the science behind fermentation, as well as types of fermenta-tion processes and useful equipment. Fermentation Revolution is an excellent book to get you started on the road to in-home fermentation. With 70 easy, healthy recipes for sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi and more, this is THE book to help you get started, even if you’re just mildly curious.

www.revolutionfermentation.ca

Get Creative

A Unique Guide to Drawing

International magazine, Flow, presents an unparalleled guide to drawing.

From the creative directors of the groundbreaking international magazine Flow comes an unparalleled guide to drawing: 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons in Pencil and Paper.

Inside these pages, you’ll find a drawing guide filled with beautiful illustrations and plenty of “paper goodies,” from bound-in tracing paper and colored paper to a daily drawing pad, a paper doll fashion sketchbook, and DIY postcards. While encouraging readers to draw inspiration from personal items that carry meaning (things on your desk, furniture in your home), 50 Ways includes fun, approachable step-by-step drawing lessons from professional illustrators across the globe; each exercise allows readers to put techniques into immediate practice as they develop their unique artistic style.

50 Ways celebrates the mindfulness inherent in artistic work, creative energy and enjoying the simple pleasures in everyday life. www.flowmagazine.com 

Komen on the Creeper

Ready to go above and beyond a 5K? Take the next step in the fight against breast cancer along the Creeper Trail in Abingdon.

Over 30 years ago, Nancy Brinker began a national organization in honor of her late sister who lost her battle to breast cancer, Susan G. Komen. With a goal to end breast cancer forever, the Susan G. Komen organization has raised over two billion dollars to date and started many programs to inform women about the effects of breast cancer and the importance of mammograms. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and on October 27th, the Virginia Blue Ridge affiliate of Susan G. Komen is hosting Komen on the Creeper, a 15-mile walk along the Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon to raise money for breast cancer research. In order to participate, walkers commit to raise a minimum of $500. (Did you know 75% of all donations received from every walker will stay in Southwest Virginia to help women in the community affected by breast cancer? The other 25% goes directly to national scientific research.)

The walk will take you through downtown Abingdon and on the Creeper trail in a 10-mile loop. All participants are welcome to a Happy Hour and Sponsor Expo at the Heartwood on Friday and a Celebration Brunch the morning after the walk. Throughout the day of the event, there will be live music, food, and drinks for guests and walkers.

Once registered, there is a training plan available, hydration tips, and mentors to help you prepare for the journey. If you’re looking for more motivation, you can also join a team or make your own! Although each member is still responsible for raising the minimum of $500, you can set a team goal and make a significant impact to end breast cancer.

If you’re not interested in walking the 15 miles and are still passionate about the cause, you can join the event as a Volunteer and help with organizing the event before and the day of. 

Registration is currently open to the public and can be done online at komenvablueridge.org/creeper or over the phone at 540-400-8222 ext. 3. More information about the Komen on the Creeper and the Virginia Blue Ridge chapter of Susan G. Komen can be found at www.komenvablueridge.org.

Creeper photo by Sam Dean.

Summer Skin Savers

Don’t overlook a good facial mist when packing your travel (or pool!) bag this summer. Calm irritated skin, set (or reset) makeup, brighten a dull complexion, balance pH—it’s a simple product but one you need to make a habit of throwing in your bag. We’ve found 4 products perfect for balancing, hydrating and reviving your summer skin for an instant pick-me-up! 

Farmaesthetics Cool Aloe Mist   This simple aloe preparation is a multi-purpose product to restore and protect the skin. The herbal combination wards off travel related flu, colds, sinus infections and coughs. Aloe vera and lavender together provide moisturizing, anti-bacterial action for the skin and nasal passages, which is important in stale, re-circulated air. Use the Cool Aloe Mist to tone and refresh, set makeup, condition the skin or as a sunburn remedy.  www.farmaesthetics.com

Little Seed Farm Balance + Tone Facial Mist   Tone and refresh with this daily pH balancing and pore refining facial mist for all skin types (especially sensitive!). Organic aloe and blue German chamomile soothe and calm skin while reducing redness. Marshmallow root extract plumps skin with naturally present hyaluronic acid.  www.littleseedfarm.com

Mad Hippie Hydrating Nutrient Mist    The Hydrating Nutrient Mist offers a harmoniously hydrating blend to minimize the appearance of photodamage—perfect for face, arms and chest. You can find Mad Hippie products at EarthFare or online at www.madhippie.com.

Lotion Yon-Ka     This versatile healing water drenches your skin with the solar charged energy of five essential oils for purifying, toning and invigorating effects. More than just a toner, this alcohol and paraben free treatment will soothe and tone the complexion. With a gentle aroma, its energizing effects can be felt throughout the whole body.  www.shop.yonkausa.com

Earth Girl Wellness

Which Diet is Best For You?

Written by Tina Hatcher, Earth Girl Wellness

We are pounded daily with a plethora of diet options. Vegan, the New Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, the Zone, Volumetrics…the list goes on! How can anyone possibly know which way to turn! The answer is relatively simple. No single meal plan is a perfect fit for everyone. What may have been successful for your BFF may not be so grand for you. Variations in lifestyles including activity levels, current health, desire or ability to cook, and budget can make or break various menu options. Consider that some individuals have no trouble going on a strict long-term meal plan, while others simply can’t give up their evening glass of wine or weekend ice cream treat!

So where to begin? The following three questions should set you on a course for success! First, where are you now? What time do you have to commit to a new meal plan? What foods can you not live without? What does your budget allow? Do you want a strict routine to follow or more flexibility? All of these variables can change over the course of your life (or even several times a year!) Choose a meal plan that won’t cause major disruptions to your current lifestyle.

As you learn to eat healthier, you can always challenge yourself a little more! Choose a meal plan that will challenge you but won’t create an entirely new routine and lifestyle overnight.

Second, what are your goals? Weight loss? Improve fitness level? Lower cholesterol? Feel happier? Different meal plans are geared towards different results. A small, female cross-country runner will have a far different menu than a large, male weight lifter. A diabetic losing weight will have different considerations than a new mom hoping to take off the last five pounds of baby weight. Choose a meal plan that will provide the energy, protein, and vitamins and minerals that will, first and foremost, create a healthier you. Choose one that still provides you with a few “loves” but encourages you to make wiser choices.

Finally, does the recommended guidelines and meal plans make sense? Let’s go to a reality check here…no one can lose 10 pounds in a week. It’s physiologically impossible, so why set yourself up for failure to begin with? Does the plan eliminate entire food groups? If you are forbidden to eat healthy sources of carbs, where will your energy come from? If you can eat excess volumes of fat, does it make sense you can actually take off a few pounds? Most of us have enough common sense to know deep down when a book makes recommendations that just seem unhealthy! Follow your gut (literally) and choose a healthier option!

Earth Girl wants you to be successful! So choose a lifestyle that will set you up for success! If you can’t sustain a nutritional lifestyle for the rest of your life…it is not for you!

Tina Hatcher is the owner of Earth Girl Wellness, LLC. Her passion for overall wellness has allowed her to work in multiple disciplines from corrective exercise, sports performance and sports nutrition, weight loss, and nutritional counseling across all ages for the last 25 years. www.earthgirlwellness.com

Earth Girl Wellness – What’s a GMO?

What’s a GMO?

Written by Tina Hatcher, Earth Girl Wellness

Food manufacturers praise their products as Non-GMO. A television commercial portrays Triscuits as “Nongenemodiscuit.” So what’s with the Non-GMO trend? Is it worth our interest since most food marketing departments have long tried to lure us in with fancy wording to entice us to buy their product? Especially since many of these marketing ploys are only vain attempts to make a product inaccurately sound healthier? Earth Girl thinks the Non-GMO marketing trend is worth the added effort.

GMOs are “Genetically Modified Organisms.” Essentially natural food items (fruits and vegetables) have their genetic material altered to create a newer, “healthier” version of the food. Take corn for example. One species of corn has a piece of its genetic material taken and inserted into another species of corn to make it more resistant to drought, torrential rain, bugs, or undernourished soil. The new version of corn is then easier to grow in harsh conditions, creating higher crop production and lowering cost. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Cross-breeding of crops has been done for centuries to create similar results. So what’s so bad about that? Cross-breeding is a naturally occurring event. A farmer can put two similar breeds of corn together to make a new breed. Genetically modifying the corn is a scientific process occurring in a laboratory; two unrelated species are forced to combine. Think of it like this: You can create a new breed of dog by allowing natural puppy love to occur or you can create a “Frankenpup” by taking an eye from one and a leg from another.

As a point of debate, most of these new species are created to help bolster food supplies in challenging environments. Unfortunately, food executives have also used the technology to make a maximum amount of profit from their products. Most of the products containing GMO ingredients are of such poor quality, we shouldn’t eat them. But let’s push the point a little bit. What other ramifications can come from GMO products? Not a single GMO product can be labeled as organic and can’t really attest to the health of the nutrition or the potential harshness of the product to the land. There is not a single long term study which can validate the safety of these products. GMOs may not have dramatic effects on the current generation but can side effects show up in our children or our children’s children? Additionally, GMOs can ultimately eradicate normally occurring species of many fruits or vegetables. Cross pollination can occur across GMO farm and organic farms that are literally miles apart.

So how can you know if your food is safely free from GMOs? The most commonly genetically modified crops today are corn and soy. These are found in virtually every packaged product on the supermarket shelf! Earth Girl highly recommends putting any GMO product back on the shelf. Look for the Non-GMO Verified Green Seal of Approval and buy organic when possible. For more information on GMOs, go to The Non-GMO Project at www.nongmoproject.org.

For more info about Earth Girl Wellness, visit here.