Author: Marjorie Sarah

2017 Holiday Orders

Creative Small Business Inspiration marjorie sarah's product line

2017 Holiday Orders

Happy November! I’ve been working hard planning and mixing and curing soap for this time since August. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week. I’m elated! It’s my favorite time of the year – full of twinkle lights, family meals and my son, Brady’s, birthday just a few days before Christmas. He was the best Christmas gift we ever got.

I’m grateful to have so much energizing support for my products and I’ve had a lot of fun putting together gift sets for various price points – whether it’s someone in the office, a teacher, your mom, sister, wife or your husband (yep!), I tried to put something together for everyone with these gift sets.

And if the gift sets aren’t your thing, my lip balm trio makes a great small gift for someone you love or want to say thank you to. Maybe you noticed them in this month’s Gift Guide issue of Grid Philly!!!

How to order:

click here to order all products (to be shipped & picked up)

marjorie sarah's lip balm

I hope you enjoy the packages!!! Please note that I did sell out last year so please reserve as soon as you know you may want one (if we know each other personally and you want to pick up, you can do this without paying in advance…see link on how to order above).

I have a limited inventory that I hope to sell quickly so Meadow and I can bake and sip hot cocoa by the Christmas tree and sing carols while we wait for the time to go pick up our kindergartner. She won’t be three forever, so that is my goal this season – savor it all. : )-

Light and love this holiday season,
Marjorie Sarah

handmade soap philadelphia

In Love

Family Inspiration Simplicity Spiritual Exploration

In Love

As we approach our 9th wedding anniversary this month, I keep feeling pulled to explore what my marriage means to me. Reading Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage had me thinking more on this topic as I enjoy stories of love, partnership and relationships.

“However much we describe and explain love, when we fall in love we are ashamed of our words.”

-Rumi

When I try to put words to why I love Sean, it feels impossible, because it is. I start to say, he’s awesome, he’s funny, I love hanging out with him, he gets me, he puts up with my antics…but that’s not why I love him. I love him because I just love him.

“He’s your lobster!”

– Phoebe from Friends

Sean and I had some kind of magnetic energy since our senior year of high school. Love at first sight, if you will. However, we didn’t know that feeling was love then, having never been in love. I feel somewhat certain that he and I have had past lives together and hopeful that the relationship will continue on and on in future lifetimes.

I feel compelled to share my love story because I believe love changes things. I believe love changes EVERYTHING actually.

“Love is the remedy.”

-Zac Brown Band

This man, I call my husband, became my best friend when we were still kids. We entered adulthood together, found our way together and discovered many layers of ourselves alongside each other.

Sean was deployed with the Air Force and I spent a semester abroad in college, so three separate times our relationship spanned the Atlantic Ocean and when your love is young, as ours was at that time, that is brutal. The few times we said goodbye to each other, knowing it would be months until we got to see each other again, I sobbed uncontrollably at the airports alone.

One particular deployment Sean was stationed near Frankfurt, Germany and I went to visit him for a week. We traveled all over in our rental car, flying down the audobon listening to European music we didn’t know having the time of our lives. We drove through snowstorms, had our car break down and discovered adventures waiting for us in Berlin.

One of the stops on this road trip was in the Medieval town of Rothenburg. Super cute town but the time of year we went it was dead. Nothing to do, nothing going on. Zilch. When you’re 24 and ready to party, that’s a bummer. There was an Italian pizza place across the street and we went there three nights in a row and drank loads of their house wine and ate pizza as if it was the place to be. It was better than the clubs.

On our Honeymoon in St. Lucia, December 2008

I think we’ve had three chances to partner up in this lifetime and I’m happy the 3rd time worked out.

  1. We realized that both of our dads were in the same Roofer’s Union in Philadelphia and we both attended their holiday parties when we were kids. Too soon.
  2. Then when we were in high school, our worlds collided, but quickly divided when we went our separate ways to different colleges. Hit then miss.
  3. Finally, when we crossed paths again once Sean came home from a deployment in Cyprus, the time was then for us to be together. And we basically were ever since. Perfect timing.

I remember the day that my friend called me telling me he was really coming home from overseas. I was crossing Broad street in Philadelphia and I was on my cell phone and stopped in the middle of the street, nearly getting hit by a car. I was so excited and in complete shock.

It was in a driveway in Lawncrest later that night that he told me he’d basically drop whatever he had going on to be with me. Wait, what did he say??? It took more than a couple weeks for me to realize what had been said.

“Explanation by the tongue makes most things clear, but love unexplained is clearer.”

-Rumi

Someone once told me that couples who make it through the years still argue about the same things they always have, they just change the way they argue. It is something that has always touched me as we transitioned into parenthood and now as our family grows.

A note I wrote to Sean for something I was sorry about

So as Sean and I each journey on our own paths of self-awareness and even self-study I see that we have shifted the way in which we argue and it actually makes us stronger – disagreements and all.

“Then your heart changes your mind and it changes you.”

-Zac Brown Band

Gone are the wild days of driving around anywhere at anytime seeking all the adventure we could find. We did it all, I bet you have too. Often it was just us two finding fun at a Phillies game, out in Center City or going to Dorney Park. We’d drink a million beers talking about everything we could think of with Van Morrison in the background. We’d mention that strange feeling of love at first sight, or knowing there was just something different about the other one. We needed to be together.

“We were young and wild
They say nothing good’s
Gonna last forever
We were pedal to the metal
And always together
When I look back I just smile”

-Zac Brown Band

And together we were. I didn’t have a driver’s license for the first 10 years of our relationship – so we went nearly everywhere together. For TEN YEARS! Like everywhere. Then we both got sick of that. Haha.

Moving in together at 20 years old was fun yet challenging. Our friends were living in dorms or at home still and we were figuring out how to split the bills. The upside is that it gave us practice and by the time the wedding came, we had it somewhat figured out.

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”

-Rumi

Sean has two hands together that hold me up in precisely the areas I need support. And I try to be that same support for him.

One time when I was going through a major transition, he didn’t recognize me but told me that he understood I was like a flower and I needed to grow. I didn’t think I could have loved him more than I did in that moment.

When I was feeling black and blue
I could always count on you
You always made me new
Always made me new

-Zac Brown Band

When we lived in Center City we would often wander the streets and go for long walks and talk for hours. We were bored and broke but we had each other. Those are some of my favorite memories.

Lunch in Playa del Carmen, June 2017

Today walks are for carrying scooters and yelling “Wait at the corner!!!!” to the kids. Our exchanges are checklists of family to do’s and asking the kids to please SHHHSH so we can communicate. Often we only have the chance to talk for real when we are both exhausted and half asleep. Our lives are different now but we still have each other and every once in a while when we do get to spend meaningful time together, it’s just as fun as it’s always been.

An Accurate Family Portrait

I am continuously blown away by the forces and circumstance that united us. I have much gratitude in my heart for this, my most precious friendship and partnership in this lifetime. Nine years of marriage has shown me love,

A Night Out in Mexico

compassion, patience, frustration, compromise and companionship.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our love story. I’d love to hear yours and consider featuring it on my blog. Email me at mslipbalm at gmail dot com.

With Love,

Marjorie Sarah

 

 

I wanna get lost in some corner booth
Cantina Mexico
I wanna dance to the static of an A.M. radio
I wanna wrap the moon around us and lay beside you skin on skin
Make love ’til the sun comes up, ’til the sun goes down again
‘Cause I need you

-Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

 

That’s What I Got

Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

That’s What I Got

Two half-broken hairdryers
A dishwasher that won’t wash a dish
A diabetic, blind dog with diarrhea & fleas
That’s what I got.

Home cooked meals every night of the week
Silly screams
Neighbors that give me beer when I’ve finished my only one
That’s what I got.

Tons of paperwork
Homework
Voicemails to return
That’s what I got.

Hot water
Sacred space
Coffee & tea
That’s what I got.

Mosquitos
Messy clothes
Sticky tables
That’s what I got.

Warm blankets
A stocked pantry
Herbs & spices
That’s what I got.

A cold kitchen in an old house
A broken door
Many creaky floors
That’s what I got.

Love, snuggles, family, health
Big windows for sunshine
Books & candles that are mine
That’s what I got.

I’ll take it all.

 

Photo by Jeffrey Wegrzyn on Unsplash

Difficulty & The Lessons We Aren’t Up For

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Difficulty & The Lessons We Aren’t Up For

Oh hello there again, Shit I don’t want to deal with
How’d you find me?
I’ve been hiding from you
Secretly.

I don’t have time for this
It’s early and there’s so much to do
I turn my head and feel a ping of realization
I have it all backwards here

Those things I have to do
Are not my lessons
They are the distraction
From the work

Right here, in the messy fears and tears of those plugged into me
Is the “to do”
The entire freaking list
Is screaming at me
They need me

I breathe and switch gears
How could I have nearly missed this chance again
The chance to show up
The opportunity to change the day

These are the moments I prepare so attentively for
Through mantras and silence and yoga
And they come and then I trip, with disappointment in my heart
But not this time

It wasn’t perfect
But I tried
Grateful for the opportunity
Maybe tomorrow I’ll be a little bit stronger

 

 

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

3 Ways to Support a Breastfeeding Mother & Other Breastfeeding Resources

Family Inspiration Motherhood

3 Ways to Support a Breastfeeding Mother & Other Breastfeeding Resources

Breastfeeding, like parenting, unexpectedly altered everything about me. I found it an avenue to dive into the topics of food, health, well being, parenting and attachment and an opportunity to connect with like-minded people on a topic that has endless opportunities to learn about myself, my growing baby and my body.

My breastfeeding journey with each of my children was unique, but had many similarities. I found much support and direction from a group of smart, supportive women in my community (La Leche League of Montgomery County East). I also pulled from a variety of resources to collect tools and emotional support along a journey that shifted my view and reframed my perspective on mothering through breastfeeding.

My shadow at Wilder Park (outside Chicago), the birthplace of La Leche League. I had to find my way there and it was worth it.

 

Perhaps you are the partner of a breastfeeding mother or the grandparent of a breastfed baby and you find yourself in unusual territory. Here are 3 ways to show your support for the woman you love:

  1. Go get a glass of water and set it in front of a breastfeeding mother.

    Don’t ask if they want it, they NEED it and it will be much appreciated. There were many times when I’d sit down to nurse and the second Brady or Meadow latched on, an overwhelming sense of thirst took over me. A friend once suggested creating “water stations” around the house and just leaving water bottles where you frequently nursed. That is such good advice!

  2. Show interest in hunger cues and encourage feeding.

    There are signs that a newborn gives when they are hungry. Here’s a handy tool to interpret them. Learning to notice them is like having a conversation with the little baby in your life without words.

    I often felt worried that I was feeding my son too often. Once I realized how easily and efficiently breastmilk is digested, I understood that he wasn’t being a bugger when he was hungry just 30 minutes after a feeding, but that his body had efficiently processed his milk and was ready for some more! Our first pediatrician warned me not to be the pacifier and further warned against nursing for comfort. I was perplexed by that because I felt that was my job and the beauty in breastfeeding – I was providing food and drink along with comfort and security. I could not love this essay more – on the beauty of being a human pacifier.

  3. Provide a pillow and reading material. 

    It’s the little things, but these make a HUGE difference!

Because I had so many supportive mothers who had been where I was to help me on my breastfeeding journey, I choose to offer the same support in return serving as a La Leche League Leader for 2+ years. No matter if your goal is one week or 5 years, you may have many questions – from technical to emotional – and hopefully some of these resources at the bottom may offer guidance.

Resources

  • The most helpful book I found was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. You can buy it through the local LLL group I mentioned above for $10.
  • Infant Risk Center – If you are taking a medication, say getting a cavity filled, or whatever, call them and they will talk to you about the latest research on whether or not to nurse the baby and how soon. I called multiple times and spoke to a real human.
  • United States Breastfeeding Committee – Leadership, advocacy and collaboration resource.
  • Embarrassed: Spoken Word by Holly McNish – a beautiful spoken word piece of her experience breastfeeding in public. It gives me chills every time.

And if you are passionate about supporting breastfeeding mothers – support them! Much of the research states that the community around a nursing mother is one of the most important tools to help her meet her personal goals.

Go to local meetings of whatever group makes sense to you and volunteer or host a gathering. La Leche League has annual local conferences that I attended and even co-led a session and those were very fulfilling and exciting learning opportunities.

Happy Breastfeeding!

xo,

Marjorie Sarah

 

Top Photo Credit: Pixabay 

 

A September Like No Other

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

A September Like No Other

Holy smokes, what an emotional roller coaster.
Just left Meadow’s preschool meeting – she starts tomorrow.
Don’t be alarmed if she doesn’t speak to you, I say.
Last week my little man marched off to kindergarten.
The excitement, the fears, the new world opens; it suddenly appears.

Time has switched all up on me.
No morning quiet, where is my meditation?
Packing lunch, walking to the bus, breakfast chats.
Days are choppy, different, busy, slow, busy, slow.
I hurry then wait, then hurry, then I wait.

I love preparing the lunch containers, the meals.
I love after school chats and getting the scoop on all that went down that day.
There’s so much joy to be found in the small things like these.

I see the road next to school and as I drive along I realize this: for the next eight years I will be parking, waiting and looping around there for the elementary school pickup.
And I love it. This job of being the mom, the container to both hold it all and serve as a launch pad is again a paradox.
The beauty and the letting go all tangled up.
They are ours but not to keep, just to snuggle & let soar.

Happy September,

xo, Marjorie Sarah

 

 

Photo by Marko Blažević on Unsplash

Why I’m Growing A Handmade Business While Nurturing Growing Children

Inspiration

Why I’m Growing A Handmade Business While Nurturing Growing Children

I thrive on connection, it sustains me more than food and water. In the early days of parenting and being a stay-at-home mother I sought out heartfelt stories of  mothering – stories of the mama bear love along with the real challenges I was facing.

When I had challenges meeting the demands of midnight nursing and pumping at work, I binge read support articles from La Leche Leauge.

When I had a break down because 9-5 and parenting did not mix well for me, I found authors and bloggers who had been where I was and read their words.

When I feared my second birth would be late and a possible induction loomed, I googled success stories of natural births that started with induction. There were many and I was able to visualize the birth I’d been planning for.

So here I am, faced with another challenge of trying to grow a small, handmade business while nurturing a growing family. Every time I find out a business owner is a mother, I immediately hope they’ve written a post on EXACTLY. WHAT. TO. DO. Then I exhale, and remember my favorite life lesson: that you already have all the answers buried within you. Trust yourself, Marjorie Sarah. 

I’ve yet to find that post and, well, nothing is ever that neat and tidy anyway, right?

It’s time again to set the intention on perseverance and give my attention to those that lift me up, then float with the energy.

My struggle is that everything is everywhere. Every thought and everything is tucked into various corners of my living space and I’m just trying to scoop them all together into a pile so I can make something of it.

I have a new goal that I established with my healthcare coach: to journal as a tool to work toward acceptance of everyday chaos. I get a $100 incentive if I reach two goals. Why not???

We are all busy, we are all crazed. At least that’s what it feels like and that’s what most people seem to be telling me. But this chapter of my life where I’m home with two young kids and a diabetic dog, has me feeling exceptionally spread thin.  It also has given me the gift of perspective. I’m able to see my reactions and patterns that appear over and over again. I used to think certain things were hard because of my job at that particular point in time. Oh crap, I see now, that it was me. I have the same reactions to completely different problems. I’m once again in complete overwhelm – it’s not because I’m a college senior or an administrative assistant or a memeberhsip manager or a paralegal anymore. It’s because I get overwhelmed easily. Oh, well now we have that one squared away.

As my latest read in book club has showed me, this path is winding and just when it gets hardest and you want to fold, endure and proceed. This is me doing just that. I keep thinking I should fold up this business. I love every second of it, but if I’m home with my kids (which I also love), why not just be home with my kids? Don’t add a whole bunch of crazy by making tons of awesome soap and lip balm. : ) I can barely get the laundry folded – why take on a business?

Because I love it. That’s what I keep coming back to. No one said it would be easy.

I will continue to make and craft amid the noise, the mess and the chaos. #makersgonnamake

I hope another maker mother finds this article and feels connected to someone on a similar path.

Namaste,

Marjorie Sarah

 

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

The Woman I Hope To Be

Identity Inspiration Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

The Woman I Hope To Be

Listening to a snippet of something on NPR yesterday, I heard someone speak of the experience of your older self visiting you. “Wow,” I thought. I know exactly when that has happened to me – both times – yet I never had those words to succinctly describe the experience to myself.

Every day I wake, I have the option to choose my actions, choose my words, choose the food and the information I nourish myself (or deplete myself) with. Each day I can decide – what’s it gonna be today? Do I have the courage, the wisdom, the determination to fuel up or will I choose some form of food disguised as nourishment and some gossip disguised as conversation? The answer varies.

When I see women in their 60s, 70s & 80s who have beautiful gray hair, their eyes have evidence of frequent daily smiles and their yoga clothes tell the story of their lifetime dedication to their practice, I see who I hope to be.

The women who fondly smile at my children and next at me as they gently tell me how it felt like only yesterday that they were where I now find myself. The women who have made decades of wise food choices and have eliminated toxic self-talk and spent time attentively nurturing relationships they value most – these women are who I strive to be.

Not too long ago, it may have seemed more likely that I’d grow up to be more like the Long Island Medium* than a natural loving soapmaker.

I am neither, yet I will always be both. Labels can be limiting because we are all the sum of so many pieces of ourselves.

The future selves that have payed me visits and shared stories of life, love and loss left me feeling aware that no label or outward symbol, whether it be eyeliner or an organic cotton tee from Whole Foods, really matter in crafting how important the inner landscape of love is in defining your life as the woman you were, are and hope to be.

xo,
Marjorie Sarah

*The amount of hairspray and makeup I used to use is alarming. Thankfully, that has ended. CVS & Sephora surely suffered losses for many consecutive quarters. I hope they are doing well again.

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Creating Clean Beauty Care

Family Inspiration Self-care Simplicity

Creating Clean Beauty Care

It feels unavoidable, everywhere I see stories about the dangers of using beauty products that are full of known toxins and hormone disruptors. Perhaps that’s because I have an interest in that topic and seek it out – who knows? Regardless, I thought it might be worth sharing some good resources in this area in case you have it on your list of things to research. It’s actively been on my list for years and that’s essentially why I began making my own lip balm and soap. If I’m already doing the homework, might as well share my notes.

I choose not to use fragrances in my lip balm, soap and bath salts because I started making these products to avoid those very things. I prefer plant based scents that essential oils provide and clay for natural colorants.

Mother's Day Gift Set
Peace Gift Set

I enjoy making a lot of personal care and cleaning products for my family, some of them don’t work well but many of them are exactly what I needed and all I did was scrounge up a bunch of ingredients around my house that I already had. *Special note, I do not enjoy the actual cleaning part.     : )-

It helps if I remind myself that I don’t need the perfect mason jar bottle with a cute label to get the job done. An old spray bottle or random jar has more often than not been the trusty container. And it doesn’t need to be instagram worthy, it just needs to make my family healthier. (I save the mason jars for my bath salt orders!)

Some good resources on this topic include:

If you’re more of a listenerThe Living Experiment

This episode goes into good detail on parabens, phalates and SLS and why to avoid them.

If you’re more of an online researcherThe Environmental Working Group

This website has been a go-to for me for years. They have a feature in the app where you can scan a barcode of the product and, if they’ve researched it, the score and details come up. They also produce a worthwhile sunscreen guide that I use every summer for my family.

If you’re a book in hand typeThe Honest Life, The Natural Beauty Solution, and Pure Soapmaking, and Kinder Homes: 50 Ideas for Creative Living are on my bookshelf.

I hope some of the resources shared above are helpful to you. Please share your favorite resources on the topic if you have any goodies!

xo,
Marjorie

 

Now What? On Choosing Authentic Self-Expression

Identity Inspiration

Now What? On Choosing Authentic Self-Expression

I remember vividly the emotions I felt in the wake of graduating from college. I used to dutifully do my work to come home often feeling totally empty. I was on the edge of my seat wondering when the awesome feeling of “I did it, I’m HERE, WORLD!” would hit me. Sometimes I waited for this feeling on my porch drinking beer. Or I waited for it while I watched Lost. I waited for it while I bounced around like a ping pong ball doing all the things that everyone asked me to do – the things I thought I should be doing.

The more I read peoples stories, have conversations and just look around, I see that many of us share this feeling of now what? at some point in life. For some, it permeates our whole life. For others it seems to come and go.

For me, the shift came with the transition to parenthood while finding my voice through therapy concurrently. I became aware of how automated most of my decisions had been up to that point in my life and my awareness grew as I learned to follow my curiosity in every aspect of life.

Authentic self-expression can help us make choices again and again that are in alignment with our top strengths. And that is what I understand the core of Positive Psychology to be.

You can take the character survey here for free to help you identify your top 5 strengths. Once you have them, use that information to generate opportunities for exercising those strengths daily as a foundation to leading an authentic life – one that is true to you and not the automated shuffle of everyone else that we can easily get stuck in like ants in honey.

For more on this, here’s a brief article on fostering authentic self-expression as a parent, teacher or supportive human.

My top 5 Strengths from the survey are: Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Love of Learning, Love, Humor & Curiosity.

Go get yours! And let them make you smile and look inside of yourself. Share yours if you feel inclined. If not, you might record them in a notebook and ponder ways to cultivate activities that are in alignment with them.

Be well,

Marjorie

 

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash