Tag Archives: natural

Meet the Maker: Thistle Hill Botanicals

Rhonda Withington has pursued natural products since her late teens. She’s passionate about taking care of health-related issues naturally, and has spent most of her life researching her options. Today, that research is something that she shares with the community in addition to handmade products that have changed the lives of her customers. Before she moved to Virginia, she spent time working off room and board on an organic farm in Connecticut, learning as she worked.
“In a way,” she recalls, “the experience pushed me to be independent. I decided to start making a couple of products.”
Her first two, a healing salve and a dental cleaning powder, went over so well that she could barely keep up with the demand. Today, as Thistle Hill Botanicals, she makes and sells these two popular creations in addition to several natural products including Drawing Paste for Bug Bites and Poison Ivy, Foot Soak, Beard and Mustache Oil, Body Scrubs and Butters, Goat’s Milk Soap Bars, Natural Deodorant, and even Dry Shampoo!
Rhonda sells primarily wholesale now, placing her creations in stores around Southwest Virginia and other nearby states. Although she misses the direct interaction of farmer’s markets, what she makes often lasts so long that setting up at one every week is simply not ideal for her business. Fortunately, she’s found that the interaction with the community has not disappeared. Customers still call and request things from her, and she is very active in Floyd, where she lives and works. “The direct customer contact was, and is still, invaluable to me,” she explains. “When customers call to place an order personally, I’m thrilled to talk to them.”
Between the sustainability and quality of her products, and her dedication and appreciation for her customers, Rhonda is making an excellent impression on the community. Floyd has a reputation for being one of the most open and accepting places for diverse groups of people pursuing their dreams, so it is no surprise that they have welcomed her with open arms.
“There isn’t a lot of judgement here, and there are so many people in town that like to help one another. That’s the way the world is supposed to be,” she says.
The Floyd C4 Business Development Series and Competition is proof of that statement. They offer prizes, funded by grants, to local businesses. In 2015, Rhonda won first prize in the com- petition. This gave her a cash prize to boost her business and a discount for a spot in Floyd’s Innovation Center.
“It was a help in expanding the business and making it what it is today,” she says. “Up until then, I was making products in my little yurt. I didn’t have a lot of space. Being able to move it into the Innovation Center, and having money to buy containers in bigger sizes, larger quantities, and redesign labels gave me the push over the edge to get there.”
If you’d like to meet Rhonda and try out samples from Thistle Hill Botanicals, she will be set up at the Roanoke Natural Food Co-Op on Saturday, May 13 from 11am to 2pm. You can also find stores that sell her products via a store locator on her website, or order directly at www.thistlehillbotanicals.com.

Meet the Makers: Brigit True Organics

Organic skin products were scarce in the early 2000s. However, even then, Brigitte Rau had a vision of these becoming the new age of skin care. In 2001, Rau created Brigit True Organics (BOT), based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through this venture, she creates and sells natural body care containing organic olive oil for sensitive skin.

IMG_7155Brigitte, co-owner and founding partner of BOT, understood that not many products were helping the global community with ingredient impact. With this in mind, she stood by creating products that didn’t leave a “footprint” on our planet. All of her skin care products are 100% natural and 74-99% organic. They are great for your skin, and great for the environment too! Even the packaging is green and sustainable to pair with the products.

“As the formulator, my primary goal has always been to find the purest materials and highest quality organic ingredients available”, says Brigitte. “We have followed organic practices since we began in 2001, and are grateful for our loyal customers who appreciate our commitment to quality and purity standards.”

IMG_7157The company offers body lotion, soap, lip balm, skin balm, baby product, and even laundry and cleaning supplies. All of these are now USDA National Organic Program certified. These products can be used for any skin type since they are gentle enough for the most sensitive skin.

“We are recognized as one of the very few true organic body care producers,” explains Brigitte.

The ultimate goal of Brigit True Organics is to create a skin care line that can be worn by every skin and can produce little waste for the environment. This means that BOT’s philosophy goes beyond the life of their products. By supporting sustainable agriculture and green production methods, they join a growing movement of people and companies committed to putting Earth first.

IMG_8038Brigit True Organics’ products can be found at www.brigittrueorganics.com.

P.S. We are giving away a really cool prize pack over on our Facebook page! Check it out!

 

Written by Stacy Shrader

Spring Cleaning Tips

It’s time to open the windows, take in a breath of fresh air, and bust out those buckets, mops, brooms, and rags because spring is here! We all know that with spring comes spring-cleaning, which some of us dread and some of us anticipate, but those pesky dark corners of our homes that get neglected every winter aren’t going anywhere. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of spring-cleaning tips that will ensure your home is left spotless!
It always feels good to declutter and deep clean after the painfully long winter and an easy place to start is your closet! Whether you’ve kept your weight loss resolutions and you can’t wear a lot of your clothes anymore, or you’ve changed up your look, we all have clothes that we bought and hate or just don’t wear anymore. When cleaning out your closet try to be as objective as possible. Don’t say “what if” or “but”… if you haven’t worn it in the past sixth months, put it in the donate bin! If you’re honest with yourself, when you’re done there will be a huge difference! The great thing is, after you’re done you’ll have an excuse to go shopping and get a new spring outfit to celebrate!
Another great way to get a jump start on your spring cleaning is to tackle those baseboards that have collected a startling amount of dust and grime over the cold months! We all hate grabbing that bucket of soapy water and a rag only to get down on our knees for the thankless task of scrubbing the baseboards, but you’ll notice a huge difference when you’re done! Even your floors will look cleaner after scrubbing your baseboards until they’re squeaky clean. If crouching down on your knees for what seems like forever is just too much, check out Pinterest for all kinds of creative ideas on how to avoid squatting!
Next on our list is ceiling fans… out of sight out of mind, right? We always seem to forget these guys until one day, after we’ve opened up those windows and it’s a little warm, we turn them on full blast only to receive in return a prompt rain of dust on the entire room. Don’t let this happen to you! Just grab a small step stool and a warm damp rag and wipe off the tops of the blades. Depending on how long you’ve neglected them, you might have to go over them a few times, but it’s worth it knowing that you’re keeping dust out of the air and off of your clean floors!
One of the more creative ideas that we’ve come up with is to, while your scrubbing those baseboards and ceiling fans, take your AC vent covers, place them in the dishwasher without soap, and hit “start” to get them squeaky clean*. You don’t even need soap, the hot water will be enough to wash away the grime from the winter! Then, by the time you’re done with your other projects, all you’ll have to do is take them out of the dishwasher and put them back in place!
slice-of-lemon-953987_1920Lastly, don’t make spring cleaning harder than it needs to be! To cut grease and grime in those extra tough places, use a lemon wedge! After you go over the area with the lemon, wipe with a damp rag to clean up any extra. We love this for areas like stovetops and microwaves. It’s especially nice to know that you are using something totally natural and free of harsh chemicals to clean the areas where you prepare food for your family!
As you start to dive into your cleaning don’t forget those tough spots, be objective, and keep in mind that it is SO worth it when you’re done! There’s no better way to kick off spring than with a clean and refreshed space for you to spend time with your family. The Bella girls would love to hear what your favorite spring cleaning tip is, so share with us on Facebook!

*Only do this if your AC vents are metal.

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Bella Loves: Glow Recipe

Ladies, if you’re looking for a new skin care regimen, then get your glow on with new Glow Recipe skincare! The products that Glow Recipe creates are centered on harsh-free ingredients. They avoid parabens, BPAs, tar, talc, or sodium lauryl that could harm your skin.
Glow Recipe’s goal was to create a collection of beauty forward Korean products that would make the latest skincare trends more accessible. All of their products have undergone rigorous testing and reviews to ensure that they are perfect for all skin types and ethnicities!
goldrubbermodelingmask_glowrecipe_1024x1024A good place to start is their Energy Boosting Toner–created to reach the deepest layers of your skin, it makes it  look brighter and more nourished. It is a favorite of many Korean celebrities because of its incredible results! Another favorite is the Modeling Rubber Mask Set, which is designed to lock in moisture, detoxify skin, and remove impurities and dead skin cells gently. If your old beauty regimen isn’t working anymore and you are looking for something new and innovative head on over to www.glowrecipe.com to find something that works for you!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Love Your Healthy Smile!

By now you have likely heard of charcoal toothbrushes and natural toothpaste. There are a lot of arguments out there on why natural toothpaste is better for you. We decided to give it a try for ourselves and signed up for Boka, a subscription service that sells products promoting better oral health including toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.
Their minty toothpaste is made from natural ingredients with essential oils like peppermint and mint. It contains no sodium laurel sulfate, fluoride, triclosan, artificial flavors or parabens. Full disclosure: talk to your dentist about any concerns you have regarding fluoride before eliminating it from your oral care products.
bokaThe bristles on their classic toothbrushes are made with Binchotan activated charcoal that naturally reduces odor-causing bacteria while providing a soft, gentle cleaning. They also offer toothbrushes for kids and electric heads that are compatible with most Sonicare electric brushes.
We LOVE their floss. It is wrapped in natural beeswax and glides smoothly, expanding between teeth to give you a super-clean mouth and gums. Like their other products, it is all natural—Teflon-free and petroleum-free.
Your subscription will be billed and delivered every three months (which is the time recommended for you to change toothbrushes anyway). You can choose to order the toothbrush on its own or with dental floss and toothpaste.
And the best part? Boka shares the love. For every Boka brush purchased, the company donates a toothbrush to their nonprofit partner, Surge. Surge helps bring life-sustaining clean water to those in need across the globe. They are also working together to provide oral health education to schools around the world.
Visit www.loveyourboka.com for more information on their products and to sign up for your subscription. You can cancel at anytime, but we are excited to keep ours going—our teeth have never felt and looked so amazing!

Product Spotlight: Maya Chia

Does this harsh winter weather leave your skin feeling dry and cracked? Maya Chia is here to help!
Maya Chia is a skin-care company based out of South Carolina that seeks the best possible way to care for your skin year-round! They use only the best ingredients in their products and are sure to leave out all of the harsh chemicals that other companies use to try to repair skin.
balmThe active ingredient that makes all the difference in these products is chia oil. Chia is the richest known plant source of omegas, antioxidants, and minerals so Maya Chia is using this resource as a natural way to repair skin! Their products are all natural, lightweight, and perfect for all skin types (even sensitive!).
The Super Couple, Ultra Luxe Face Oil Serum is a favorite due to its ability to reduce wrinkles, dark spots, and uneven skin tone while also nourishing skin.
Another product that leaves people raving is the Supercritical Chia Waterless Wonder Balm. This balm can be used anywhere from your lips to your hands for long-lasting relief from dryness. To learn more about these and other great products made with great ingredients visit www.mayachia.com, or find them on Facebook.

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Going Natural: Simply Gum

Have you ever wondered what ingredients go into your gum?

It might not seem very important, but if you are an avid gum chewer and concerned about chemicals in your food, you should pay close attention to the packaging. Many (yes, even sugar-free) varieties include high intensity artificial sweeteners (that they claim do not promote tooth decay), preservatives, mannitol, sorbitol, and a synthetic gum base.

DpYbOC8jFortunately, there is a more natural solution–Simply Gum. Simply Gum is made from only natural ingredients. For example, their Natural Mint flavor consists of organic raw cane sugar, natural chicle, natural mint oil, organic vegetable glycerin, organic soy lecithin, and organic rice flour.

When it comes to keeping your body chemical-free, every little thing counts. Visit www.simplygum.com for more information on the flavors available and how to order them!

 

Bakeology: Delicious Natural Snacks

We can give you a long list of reasons to fall in love with Bakeology.
Their delightful cookie bites are made with organic coconut oil, organic flax seeds, and other various pure ingredients that will help satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy fashion. Don’t be surprised if you feel a natural energy buzz after eating a couple of cookies!
Creators Dawn and Sasha (a fabulous mother/daughter team) began
Bakeology with the desire to share their home baked, pure creations with everyone. They believe that the experience of enjoying a cookie should never be marred by unnatural chemicals often used to lengthen shelf life.
Their website also devotes an entire section to yummy recipes from the mother/daughter pair that you can create in your own home– including this one for brownie bites that we will be making multiple times for the upcoming fall/winter seasons!
Order their cookie bites here— seriously, they will change your afternoon (or morning!) snack experience forever!