Category: Self-care

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

 

Mexico = Vacation

Adventures & Travel Inspiration Self-care

Mexico = Vacation

“Willing to relocate,” was a phrase I put at the bottom of my resume in English class when I was 16. My mom and sister thought it was hilarious, but I was not joking. I’ve always been a wanderer, and if it’s not in the physical sense, it’s through hearing other people’s stories of their travels, books and dreams. Sean, my partner in this life, has the same desire to wander, it’s something that we share and talk about often. We enjoy taking adventures together, just the two of us, and it has been a while.

Riviera Maya Resort
Walking to dinner!!!

I never imagined we’d be ready to go anywhere without the kids until we were finally ready. Three nights in Mexico (!!) alone! It was a bit surreal, so so fun and everything I’d dreamed it would be.

I wouldn’t say we traveled often before kids, but for a while we took some pretty great trips during our dating years and early marriage. I’d studied in Italy and Sean was later stationed in Italy and Germany with the Air Force so we got to spend some time abroad together. Then in the 6 months before I was pregnant with Brady, we got to travel to St. John for my best friend’s wedding and then we did a 2 week journey from London to Rome.

Then we had kids. : )

Riviera Maya Resort
Grand Princess Sunset Resort

I’m an advocate of traveling with kids if that’s what you want to do. And it has been what we have chosen some of the time. We’ve ventured to Portland, Oregon, the Jersey Shore, Charleston and the Hudson Valley. Nothing too wild, but just enough for us to satisfy our cravings to discover new land, food and people.

We both love to travel and really enjoy it together so to be able to take a mini adventure with just each other was a huge gift (thank you to Sean’s parents and my mom).

I truly enjoy travel research and poking around to find a location and a place to sleep that is unique and fits our tastes. I like to build trips for our family.  So when we decided that we may be ready to spend 3 nights away without the kids (I originally proposed 2 nights and Sean countered with, “If we say three you have a deal.”) I got to work searching any and all direct “islandy” flights from Philadelphia. Our tropical destination awaits!

But then reality set in and the prices of airfare were nowhere near in our price range. I searched and searched and used all my travel notes and favorite resources to no avail. I concluded the search and told Sean, “If we’re meant to go, the right trip will find us.”

Grand Sunset Princess Resort Beach Mexico
The beach!!!

I kid you not, that evening we were watching something on TV and a commercial for Apple Vacations came on. I don’t remember the specifics, but the ad was something about $550 per person for 3 or 4 nights in Cancun including airfare, lodging, food, airport transfers and taxes. We paused the TV and were like, “Huh? How can this be real???” Well, I opened up the vacation search again and after some quick emails with Apple Vacations we were booked and going to Riviera Maya for 3 night getaway!!!!

Our contact at Apple was amazing, the process was ridiculously easy, the price was great and the trip was outstanding.

We flew Frontier (no complaints, actually really enjoyed it because the plane was new and the crew was super friendly), we stayed at the Grand Princess Sunset Resort in Riviera Maya. It was picture perfect. I honestly didn’t expect to be wowed because of the price, but we totally were. The grounds were gorgeous, the rooms were clean and pleasant and the staff was great. For an all-inclusive, the food was good, never great, but that is what I expected.

If you are considering this resort, here are my notes. If not, skip this paragraph.

  • If you go with kids, there is a kid building with pool and cute little kid lounge chairs. They have push cars to borrow and other fun things. Kids are welcome everywhere but this area really caters to families. We checked it out for future reference. We also talked to families and they all loved it.
  • The Platinum rooms are closest to the beach and are an upgrade that we wanted but were not available. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s even necessary because our room category (Junior Suite Deluxe) was perfect as it included the extra restaurants.
  • There is a shuttle that takes you to Playa Del Carmen daily for $4 per person each way.
  • One night a week they bring in local merchants and have a market in the hotel square. It was so cool.
  • Don’t go to the steakhouse. We enjoyed the Mexican Restaurant and La Fleur.
  • They stock your fridge daily with plenty of bottled water (and beer).
  • At the pool bar, try the Alexander if you like Baileys, try the Mango Tango if you like rum.
  • Dance at the nightclub.

The first two days were rainy and it was still a party. We went swimming in the rain, drank at the pool bar (excellent people watching) and went dancing at the resort night club. The energy at the resort was awesome and everyone was so excited to be on vacation.

Nearly everything went right for us on the trip and it was so fun to just sit and talk with my best friend for hours uninterrupted.

Grand Sunset Princess Resort Mexico

Top photo credit: Pineapple Supply Co.

Zen Parenting Radio Conference & Why I Went

Adventures & Travel Community Family Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Simplicity

Zen Parenting Radio Conference & Why I Went

On February 24, 2017, Zen Parenting Radio, a podcast on self-awareness and how it relates to parenting, held their second annual conference just outside Chicago. Last year, I decided to fly half-way across the country and be away from my family for a night to be a part of this amazing event.

Todd & Cathy Adams are the hosts of the weekly podcast as well as the conference. I stumbled across their work when my back spazzed out and I literally could not carry my baby a while back. I called in my best friend, Emily, who happened to be off for a couple of days came and stayed with us to help out. A true friend. During this visit, she explained podcasts to me and told me what they were all about.

Having my back “out” for a week and not being able to care for my kids alone felt horrible, after all, it’s my full-time job. After I was better and life was getting back to normal, I wondered why the heck that happened to me. Stress and shallow breathing are the physical answers I came up with but the behind the scenes reason is what I was looking for.

Fast forward a few months and I was a HUGE fan of Zen Parenting Radio. I never would have found them (or possibly would not have found them til much later) if it weren’t for those unplanned days of chatting and hanging out with Emily.

I consider Todd and Cathy to be incredibly powerful teachers in my life. I learn SO MUCH from their shows and found in a short time that we have much in common. I felt connected to something by being a fan of their show. So much so that I decided to fly from Philadelphia to Chicago to hear them speak.

 

I also traveled to the meeting location of the first La Leche League gathering while I was at the conference. An organization that is dear to my heart started just outside Chicago. I wanted to see where it all began.

 

Some of my notes while at the show can serve as a testament to the feeling and the vibe that they created.

  • Something to practice: If we are going to shift the dynamic in our home, we have to make the change.
  • Dr. Shefali Tsbary was the keynote speaker at the conference last year and her talk was as good as her book, The Conscious Parent. I was not disappointed. Something she made me think about is “Guilt is another form of ego.” Hmmm, that was so interesting. I’m a big guilt partaker. I also learned a lot about energy and how engaging with certain energies grows them and how to redirect your focus to dissipate certain things.
    • Her new book at the time, The Awakened Family, was what she was pitching and I was drawn in by her premise to make an “Internal commitment not to walk the mainstream’s ways of parenting.”
    • She asked us to ask ourselves if we could see our children for who they really are. Not who we want or who others want them to be. Makes me also ask myself, can I do that for myself? For all the people in my life?
  • Jennifer Weigel had me on the edge of my seat in her breakout session where she talked mainly about ituition and developing it. I had NO IDEA that is what the session would be about and I was riveted. I’d felt incredibly grateful to be there by accident because I learned so much and her talk gave me tools to explore our innate intuitive nature. Two tools in particular were energy cleansing and how to become grounded and “turn on your heart light” as she said to diffuse certain energies. I found this particularly helpful for screaming toddlers. Mind blown.

At a time when uninterrupted sleep was a foreign concept and connecting with like-minded people interested in bringing awareness to their parenting felt like a dream – I found this event. Or it found me. Either way, the energy that radiated from the experience was at such a high vibration, so fun and positive. I learned so much about how to be open and to be me and be aware and available so that I can be the best me to be the best parent (I can be). Not saying perfect, that doesn’t exist. Or everything is already perfect. Depends on which lens you’re viewing this whole thing called life through.

I wasn’t there there this time around but enjoyed hearing the updates on their 2017 event. I’m hopeful that I will make my way another one of their gatherings in the future.

Zen Parenting Radio Conference
Conference Sign – LOVE IT!

 

 

*top image photo credit: Pyramid From The Stones ID: 16383273
© Nataliya Lukhanina | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Namas Day

Community Inspiration Self-care Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Namas Day

The first time I attended Namas Day, it was at West Chester University and Meadow was just 5 months old. I’d never driven to West Chester and Meadow was still nursing every other minute so Sean came along and agreed to hang with the kids so that I could take some yoga workshops. It was a SUNDAY in the FALL (he missed football for this). And that is where the love affair began.

Namas Day took my yoga practice to the next level. Not because I could do handstands (still can’t) or crow (still don’t). But because it shifted everything energetically for me. The sense of connection and unity that radiates from the entire event blows me away each time.

I’m repeatedly amazed by the teachers and their perspectives, I frequently break out in tears at the end of a class because the power of love is overwhelming and I also transformed immensely at one particular workshop the spring after the fall football Sunday at West Chester.

All it takes is one amazing human. One beautiful soul to challenge you to push you to your yogi edge and plant a seed and visually grow into who you know you are meant to be. That happened on my mat alongside a dear friend one warm April afternoon. I’ll never forget the deal I made with myself that day. It has altered my path in ways I could not comprehend prior to the agreement.

So I return for a fifth time this spring. We’ll meet in Philadelphia and bow and bend and laugh and cry. Together and alone. I’ll shop the amazing marketplace and sip kombucha with people that inspire and uplift me. I find myself wishing this event happened more often, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be as special if that were the case. It’s worth the wait.

Tapping into the mystery

Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Tapping into the mystery

Here I find myself in a cafe at the Himalayan Institute tucked in Pennsylvania mountains. I’ve never been away form my children for more than one night at a time and the separation is bittersweet. Having the privilege of mothering them 24/7 blurs the lines at times of where I end and they begin.

As I inch away, I find quiet space to fill but joy in my belly knowing they will be there awaiting my return tomorrow.

I used to use my free time watching tv and drinking way too much alcohol. Last night I used it to go to a camp fire after evening yoga practice and today I spent my precious time attending an early morning group meditation followed by a breathtaking yoga hike with some truly amazing people. Things are different now.

I have no great wisdom to share and no breakthrough insights to reveal but I feel deeper in love with myself, my husband & best friend, and with my children, my greatest teachers. I feel closer to the women with whom I’ve been chatting and laughing and downward dogging. I feel lighter. I feel grounded. That was my goal and I didn’t even realize it.

Books Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Simplicity

Gift From the Sea – my personal takeaway

A close friend recommended I read Gift From The Sea. I realized why it sounded so familiar, it was a book I’d seen for years on my mom’s bookshelf, completely unaware of what treasures filled its pages. I asked my mom if I could borrow it. We arrived on vacation and my mom brought me my own copy – one that she had purchased for her mom years ago. The bookmark still remained. It is one of those bookmarks with your name and the meaning. Being that I was named after my mom’s mom, it’s extra special that the bookmark says “Marjorie.”
*
I started the little book on vacation and finished it soon after my return home. It seems appropriate to share my thoughts with other mothers at a similar stage in motherhood where I find myself and where I understand Anne Morrow Lindbergh found herself when she authored it.
*
Written in 1955, 60 years ago, I was struck by her take on the world all those years ago. Much of it speaks to me as if it were written this morning. Modern amenities and endless distractions that make life busier and more challenging at times…I can relate! How we are fortunate enough to have the option to choose how complex or simple our lives are. That made me think about my choices and what do they say about me? How solitude and space are necessary for a woman to grow and be and think. How it felt as if she was losing an appendage when she said goodbye to her family for some time away but once she was gone, she knew it would all be ok.
*
Morrow Lindbergh beautifully provided insights to the ebbs and flows of relationships – relationships between romantic partners, sisters, mother and child – using her treasured seashells as metaphors. Many of you may find yourself in what the author described as the “Oyster Bed.” Here is how she describes it:

“It is an oyster, with small shells clinging to its humped back…Sprawling and uneven…It looks rather like the house of a big family, pushing out one addition…to hold its teeming life…It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations.” (80, Morrow Lindbergh)

I know that sounds much like my oyster bed of a house. Amazingly awesome and full of life yet chaotic and almost crazy making at times when everyone including the dog beckons me for breakfast simultaneously. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t like it. These are the days of my life.

She reminds us how therapeutic work can be when we are not rushed and how simple pleasures of earth and conversation are fulfilling. When she talks of “purposeful giving” she perfectly explains it as:

“Is not as apt to deplete one’s resources; it belongs to the natural order of giving that seems to renew itself even in the act of depletion. The more one gives, the more one has to give – like milk in the breast.”

And she further explains,

“Even purposeful giving must have some source that refills it. The milk in the breast must be replenished by food taken into the body. If it is the woman’s function to give, she must be replenished too. But how?” (47-48, Morrow Lindbergh)

 

I’m so grateful for the personal essays Anne shared with me and so many for the past 60 years. Her reflections answer her question of how to replenish and what those moments of solitude and intention did to refuel her soul.