I always enjoy trying out different types of annual plants in my planters that surround our house. I am big on perennials, but annuals give me a chance to change up the exterior of our home each year with new pops of color.
I inadvertently chose red, white, and blue for my large pots. I must have been feeling patriotic that day! I tried to keep the color combinations classic this year – red, white, blue, yellow. I’m normally all over the board, choosing whatever I like, but I tried to be a little more coordinated this year.
I wanted to share more information about one of the plants I bought to add a pop of red. I got the basic impatiens and petunias, of course, but in addition, I tried out a plant that is new to garden centers this year – Berried Treasure® Red (Strawberry Fragaria ananassa). It is a plant that produces rich red flowers along with edible strawberries!
In our community, we have a large Burmese population. They have huge gardens overflowing with produce. I noticed some have produce growing right outside their front doors – like cucumbers and other vine vegetables. This concept stuck with me, and I am always thinking how I might do that at our house. I feel like planting Berried Treasure was a baby step in the right direction.
I planted them in mid-May (I planted super late this year because of unpredictable weather in Iowa) and they have established themselves well. They are already quite full and producing up to 4 ripe, delicious berries (in total from all 4 plants I have) daily so far. I have them on the east and south sides of our house. East side is part sun, south side is full sun. They’re doing well in both settings. They seem pretty heat tolerant, they haven’t required a ton of water.
They are graded “Valedictorian” for being both ornamental and having tasty fruit. It is a continuous, long bloomer and doesn’t need to be deadheaded. It also attracts bees! They last from spring into fall, which is always appealing.
I highly recommend this plant if you are looking for a high performing plant with rich color and/or if you are a strawberry lover. I eat the berries while I’m deadheading my petunias…so they don’t last long. Happy summer!
The rate at which we are killing our planet with single use plastic is alarming. Sickening. FRIGHTENING. We as consumers are not taking enough responsibility and the companies producing the single use products are not taking enough responsibility. We are equally at fault.
I’ve written about my disgust with plastic in a past post that included information about a movie I highly recommend you watch. If you didn’t dislike plastic before or hadn't thought about the consequences of using it – you will after you watch this.
I continue to feel overwhelmed by what is happening. But I have control over my actions. And even if I’m one extremely small piece of the bigger picture, so be it. My hope is that there are millions of others out there like me that realize what is going on and are doing what they can to help. No matter how small.
Here are just a few simple things I’m doing to reduce plastic consumption, including some products I like that help with this:
I hope this is helpful to you in some way! If we each do our part to be mindful of what we are buying and how we are disposing of it, we can make a difference. Choose to refuse plastic straws, containers, etc. when you can. I truly believe in the cumulative effect of millions of small actions to make our world green again.
If you have some tips to share – please let me know in the comments. I’d love to find more simple ways to be more conscious about my consumption!
I recently ran across this graphic about ways to reduce ocean plastic and I think it is very helpful so wanted to share!
I try using all-natural products as often as I can. The less chemicals in our home, the better.
I especially think about the chemicals I am applying to my hair and skin through various shampoos, face washes, lotions, and other personal hygiene products. I found a wonderful all-natural replacements for these types of items through Rare Bird Soap Shop located inside NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids.
This little shop charmed be from the beginning when I first visited a few years back. I frequented it when I visited NewBo, but mostly for my essential oil needs. Just recently I have started exploring the full handcrafted line of products Rare Bird offers and as long as they are around, there’s no going back for me!
Here are just a few of my favorite products:
A couple pumps of this foam cleanser is all you need. It thoroughly removes my make-up and leaves my skin feeling soft. I enjoy the natural scent. I struggle with acne and thought I would never be able to use anything but chemical laced, acne specific cleansers, but I feel like my skin reacts even better to this all-natural option. For a little exfoliation, I use a woven exfoliating facial buff, also available in the shop.
Rosehip Seed Oil Facial Serum
Again, just a couple pumps of this serum goes a long way. I never thought I would apply oil to my already oily skin, but I don’t know that I’ll ever go back to a regular facial moisturizer. This oil is light, absorbs quickly, and does not make my face look greasy. I put it on in the morning before applying make-up and again at night. It creates a really nice base for my make-up. My make-up goes on smooth and has better staying power. I also honestly feel that I’m seeing less “shine” on my face throughout the day. I did some research and Rosehip Seed Oil actually has a ton of benefits for your skin!
It will be impossible for me to use regular shampoo from a bottle after discovering this product. The shampoo bar suds up nicely and leaves my hair feeling both clean and moisturized. I don’t use conditioner, just the shampoo bar, and my curly (normally dry) hair has reacted really well. I’ve also noticed that I experience less dandruff. What I love the most about using a bar is that there is no plastic container, so this is a green option for those of you trying to consume less plastic as well!
As I mentioned before, I visit the shop in NewBo, but they also have a website and Etsy shop if you can’t make it to the physical location. I’ve always had a really good experience with the owner. She is very nice and is always willing to answer questions about when and how to use her products. The costs are also very reasonable for what you are getting.
If you are looking for natural, effective products to incorporate into your beauty routine, I highly recommend Rare Bird Soap Shop!
Like so many, I'm a huge fan of essential oils and their benefits. I've shared in previous posts that I like to incorporate them into my meditation and yoga. I also wear them in place of perfume when I'm in need of emotional or physical comfort before I start my day.
I normally apply my oils topically on pulse points - wrists and temples - and on my chest, over my heart. I then inhale from the bottle a few times, passing the bottle back and forth beneath my nose. Although this routine is wonderful and very beneficial to me, I was looking for a way to make the benefits of the oils last all day long. This is where essential oil pendants come in!
Joel and I happened upon an Artist Holiday Pop-Up Shop in Cedar Falls at The Space where I found my first pendant. It is made of lava stone, which absorbs the essential oil, and a quartz crystal, which is a healing stone for a large number of things. I love the combination of the two. Unfortunately, I don't have the artist's information, but here's a lava stone/quartz crystal option from Etsy!
I also found that lava stones have been used for centuries to help reduce anxiety and calm emotions. (AMEN!) Lava stones are a critical element for grounding and stabilizing the root Chakra as well. So when you combine your essential oils with lava stones, you are combining two powerful natural compounds that increase the effectiveness of each other!
The second pendant I have was a gift. A very thoughtful gift because this person didn't know I wanted a clay essential oil pendant option! The pendant I received is from Essential Pendants, LLC. There are so many beautiful options!
When you have your pendant and are ready to use it, you only need to apply one to two drops of your chosen essential oil. The scent from just a couple of drops can last up to three or more days! Wait for the oil to absorb before you put it on, especially if it will rub on your clothing. When you're ready to change oils, wait for the scent of the previous oil to diffuse completely. If your pendant starts to absorb oils slowly, this just means it needs to dry out. Lay the pendant in the sun for two to four days and that should do it!
Are you an essential oil lover, too? Tell me about your favorite oils and how you use them!
I've been on the search for a daily reflection book and was lucky enough to run across this gem in a used bookstore we frequent!
The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo contains a reflection for every single day of the year. There are no days or years tied to the dates, so it can be reused over and over again!
The topic of each passage varies - some are personal stories from Mark, others are stories from or about people he knows. Each one is very brief yet insightful. A consistent theme at the end of each entry is a focus on three mindfulness activities. You're asked to focus, to breathe, to silence your mind, to release anything you're holding onto.
Taking time in the morning for daily reflection has been a great addition to my routine. So far, I haven't missed a day. It's become very important to me to start the day in the right state-of-mind. It takes just a few minutes. Whether or not you personally connect to the message that day, at the very least you can feel good knowing you took some time to be still and focus on your personal growth. Namaste, my friends!
I received Everyone™ Face Tone Skincare as a gift for Christmas and it has become part of my morning routine. To quote this product's website, "Pure plant extracts are combined with Rose Water and essential oils to balance out your skin after cleansing and exfoliating. This mild toner removes any traces of dirt or oil and can help pores appear smaller."
After washing my face, I spray this toner on my face and neck, let it dry, and apply my make-up as usual. Both the spraying process and the scent of the toner wake me up in the morning! This is the first all natural personal care product I've used and I hope to add more products to my collection!