Five Tips to Help You Pack When Traveling

Summer time means travel for many, and with airline baggage fees being through the roof, plus stringent TSA regulations, your packing game needs to be on point.  Here are some tips that can help.

  1. Know The Rules

Any liquids must be in a resealable container that is 3.4 ounces or less and all containers must fit in one clear, plastic, resealable 1-quart-sized bag. You will need to take this bag out of your carry-on luggage when passing through airport security.  So either be super-efficient about packing all of your toiletries into one bag, or pay the fee and check a bag.

  1. Get Creative

Many products can do double duty.  For example, our Cosmopolitan Eye Shadow Palette can also serve as a highlighter (Angelic), blush (PS Pink) and contour (Kashmir).  So you’ve really got four products in one small palette.

  1. Sample or Travel Size

Sure our sample sizes are great for trying new shades on your skin, but they also make perfect travel companions.  Five shades of eye shadow would take up quite a bit of room in your makeup bag.  But you can pack lots of our little samples into a very small space, and not have to limit your color options.  Also, our soap samples are perfect for those overnight stays where you don’t know what (if any) amenities will be available.  And they’re great to take on camping trips.

  1. Gift Sets Do Double Duty

Our gift sets are a great value but they are also perfect for packing.  Why pack that 8 oz bottle of our Alcohol Free Hair Spray when the 2 oz size in our Happy Hair Gift Set takes up less space?

  1. Be Smart About Size

Our shipping manager Karla got a nasty sunburn last year, and the only thing that soothed it was our Facial Toner.  And personally, I can’t live without our Herbal Aftershave which I use to clean cuts and scrapes and any other malady I inevitably encounter while traveling.  But why make room for bulky bottles, when you can use this trick instead:  fill a small snack baggie with 10 cotton balls, and then pour in enough aftershave or toner to wet the cotton.  Seal up the baggie and you’ve got a little first aid kit to go.

Have a favorite travel/packing tip?  Share it with us!


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Summer is finally here!  Our calendars are filled with much-anticipated beach vacations, gardening, outdoor sports, picnics and other fair weather fun.  I am a true sun worshipper, but we all know that too much sun exposure causes dryness, wrinkling, premature aging and even skin cancer.  What is a sun lover to do?

Keep Skin Exfoliated and Hydratred:  Exfoliation removes dead, dulling skin debris to prevent congestion and improve hydration from toners and moisturizers. Exfoliating the facial skin by means of a homemade scrub prepared using half a cup of yogurt, five tablespoons of ground oatmeal, a dash of turmeric and six drops of rose water can prove to be an effective option.   Perform in the mornings prior to toner, moisturizer, SPF and make-up application. Tip: Make-up will last longer on an exfoliated skin.  As an alternative to traditional moisturizers, juice extracted from cucumber or watermelon may be used for moisturizing facial skin.  Toners are a refreshing moisturizer prep, working to even out skin porosity. Our Alcohol Free Facial Toner made with rosewater and witch hazel is gentle and effective  Tip: Refresh with a revitalizing HydroSol spritz at your desk, in the car, at the gym, on the plane!

Keep Your Inside Hydrated:  Higher temperatures and more time outdoors leads to internal dehydration, which can result in headaches and dizzy spells!  Eight 8-ounce glasses of plain, filtered water every day help maintain critical moisture balance of the body and skin, and assist in detoxification. Tip: If you drink caffeinated beverages, you should triple the amount of water you drink!

Stay Dry Too:  As the mercury climbs, we naturally sweat.  Sweating is good.  But no one wants to be stinky.  So apply deodorant in the morning as usual, but keep some on hand if you know you’ll be swimming or participating in active sports.  Avoid chemical antiperspirants that keep your body from sweating (sweating is a good thing).  Our Deodorant Powder is the perfect solution.  We’ve combined the natural deodorizing properties of baking soda with the superior absorbent properties of cornstarch and arrowroot. The result is a clean, soft, delicately-scented natural powder with the odor fighting capabilities of the toughest deodorants on the market.

Apply & Re-Apply: It’s not enough to just apply sunscreen; you must apply enough, and apply frequently.   Studies indicate that most people do not apply nearly as much daylight protection as they should.  Make sure that the sunscreen used is applied at least fifteen to thirty minutes before stepping out in the sun.  There is always confusion over which SPF number to use. The truth is an SPF 30 only offers 4% more protection than an SPF 15. You would have thought it was double the protection, right? As you get up in the higher numbers (SPF 45, 50, 70+) that percentage comes down, but you’re also exposing your skin to more chemicals which might result in a negative reaction on the skin. The key to protecting your skin in the sun is to re-apply your sunscreen generously at least every two hours.   Tip: Stay out of the midday sun from mid-morning to late afternoon whenever you can. HBG recommends natural nonchemical sunscreens with “physical” blockers like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, not chemical sunscreen formulations.  The benefit of a physical sunscreen is that it acts like tiny mirrors deflecting all spectrums of the radiation away from the skin, including the dangerous ultraviolet [UV] rays.  Wear sun-protective clothing and seek shade when you can.  One blistering sunburn doubles your risk of melanoma.  Remember to get a yearly skin exam by a doctor and perform a self-examination once a month to detect early warning signs of carcinomas and malignant melanoma. Look for a new growth or any skin change.

Take Care of That Sunburn:  Hard as you try, sometimes you wind up with a sunburn.  Apply cooling preparations generously over-exposed skin, preferably at the first sight of a pink glow.  A common misconception about soothing a sunburn is that you should keep re-applying lotion (especially aloe vera-based lotion) to keep the skin moist.  But layering lotion on sunburned skin traps heat, keeping the skin red longer.  Skin must breathe to let out heat. Cold plain yogurt applied to the skin works as an anti-inflammatory and heat remover. Apply, let dry for 15 minutes, and rinse. Repeat every hour.  If that’s too messy for you, you can use my favorite remedy – a cold, wet wash cloth.  Unfortunately I have lots of experience with sunburns, and over the years I have found that soaking a wash cloth in COLD water and applying it to the burn does wonders to pull the heat out.  Once the wash cloth gets warm (and it will) soak again in cold water and reapply.  Do this until the burning sensation goes away.  Looking for an internal remedy?  Recent research reveals that consuming green tea and curcumin (an anti-inflammatory compound found in the curry spice turmeric) may help combat skin cancer. Packed with potent antioxidants, green tea may also reduce DNA damage to skin cells when applied topically, according to animal studies.  In addition to choosing green-tea-infused sunblocks and lotions, drinking 3 cups of green tea daily and regularly including turmeric in your cooking may provide protection, says integrative physician David Rakel of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health.

Get a Glow without the Wrinkles:  The #1 cause of lines and wrinkles is sun exposure. If you want to look young, avoid the sun. It’s really that simple.  But there are those of us who still think we look better with a summer glow.  Fake it!  There are lots of fake bake products on the market (self-tanners) that can give you the look of a suntan without having to lay out for hours.  Or use a bronzer instead.  A bronzer will darken the complexion subtly and “warms” your skin tone without making it look fake.  Our Health Glow Mineral Bronzer gives you the flexibility to cast a hint of sun or give you that beach babe look.

Don’t Have a Hair Emergency:  Exercising in the scorching heat or swimming laps in the pool can zap the radiance right out of your locks. Boost your shade with these DIY tips:

Blondes –  Counteract brassiness and remove product buildup by mixing together a quarter cup of mild shampoo and one tablespoon of baking soda. Coat dry strands with the paste, leave it on for 10 minutes, and then rinse.

Brunettes –  After shampooing and conditioning hair, combine a quarter cup each of white distilled vinegar and distilled water and two drops of peppermint oil (to offset the vinegar scent). Saturate damp hair with the leave-in mixture before blow-drying to add instant vibrancy.

Redheads –  To reignite your hot hue, boil a quart of water and drop in three chamomile tea bags; steep for five minutes. Remove bags and cool the liquid in the fridge. Then spray the infusion on clean, damp hair and sit in the sun until hair is dry.

So get out there, have fun, but stay protected.  ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!

I Refuse to Let Go of Summer!

Summer is my favorite time of year. And one of the many reasons is because I can grill out on my deck. I’m WAY more likely to cook if I can stand outside and grill. I always keep a trough of kitchen herbs growing on my deck so I have them handy when I’m cooking. Here’s a great article about grilling with herbs. Hang on to summer!!

Shared from an article by Barbra Annino in Aug/Sept 05 issue of The Herb Companion

There’s no better way to grasp that last straw of summer than by firing up the grill. There’s also no better way to savor the season’s herbs. Barbecuing with fresh herbs is easy if you know a few basic rules. Not only does it add a whole new dimension to open-flame cooking, it offers yet another way to enjoy your harvest.

The methods for grilling with herbs are as varied as the plants themselves. Toss them in marinades, thread them through skewers or pop them in foil packets. For a smoky flavor, add whole bunches of herbs, such as sage or rosemary, to hot coals. Soak them in water for a few minutes and after the flames have died down, lay damp herbs across the coals. Replace the rack, cover the meat and you’ll soon be enjoying bold, uncommon flavor.

To further infuse food with flavor, lay fresh herbs directly on the grate and place the meat on top of them. Woody herbs hold up especially well on the grill. Try thyme, lemon verbena or tarragon. Snip off a few sprigs, gently squeeze the leaves to release their flavor, and layer over chicken, fish or pork chops. Discard the sprigs before serving.

Softer herbs, like sage, mint, oregano and lemon balm, work better in a foil packet or marinade. For foil packets, I snip sprigs of whole herbs, gently rinse and dry them, then place them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Then I add meat or vegetables or both, olive oil or butter and seal the ends tight before grilling.

Not sure which herbs pair with your favorite foods? Refer to this chart for some hints.

Rosemary – Chicken, Pork, Potatoes
Sage – Pork, Duck, Sausage
Marjoram – Steak, Egg Dishes, Roasts
Basil – Tomatoes, Chicken, Sandwiches
Oregano – Pasta, Pizza, Meat Loaf
Garlic – Peppers, Steak, Chicken
Thyme – Tuna, Zucchini, Pasta Salad
Spearmint – Lamb, Ice Cream, Tea
Bay – Chili, Stews, Roast
Tarragon – Turkey, Chicken, Eggs
Parsley – Potatoes, Soups, Fish
Anise – Sausage, Cookies, Apples
Lemon balm – Lobster, Dressings, Berries
Chives – Potatoes, Burgers, Fish
Dill – Salmon, Dips, Potatoes

Stop Bugging Me!

There’s nothing I love more than being outside in the warm weather. I especially love sitting on my deck in the early evening, listening to the woods and watching the fireflies. So peaceful. One thing I don’t love is the dang mosquitos! I have citronella torches and candles, but those buggers seem to find me any way.

I’m not fond of commercial bug repellents because most of them contain DEET (N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide). It’s designed to repel, rather than kill, insects. Although DEET is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. Additionally, DEET has been linked to neurological problems; according to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffering adverse neurological effects, as well as the deaths of two adults, have been associated with DEET. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats. DEET has been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. DEET is toxic to birds and aquatic life. DEET has been found in approximately 75 percent of U.S. water sources, including the Mississippi River.

Natural insect repellents are a much safer alternative. And in my opinion, just as effective. Plus they’re super easy to make. Basically, you combine any of the following essential oils in a witch hazel base, and you’ve got a great natural repellent: Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint, Palmarosa, Pine, Rose Geranium, Lemon Balm, Myrrh.

Here’s how you do it:


Essential oils (see list above)
Natural witch hazel
Distilled or boiled water
Vegetable glycerin (optional)

1. Fill an 8 oz. spray bottle 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
2. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
3. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin (if using)
4. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be.

Other quick fix natural insect repellent ideas:

■Add vanilla extract to the above recipe, or just rub on the skin. You can also mix vanilla with witch hazel and water for a spray version.
■Rub lavender flowers or lavender oil on your skin, especially on hot parts of body (neck, underarms, behind ears, etc.) to repel insects.
■Rub fresh or dried leaves of anything in the mint family all over skin to repel insects (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, pennyroyal, etc. or citronella, lemongrass, etc.) Basil is also said to repel mosquitoes.

What if you do get bitten? Personally I apply our Unscented Herbal Aftershave to the bite and it takes the itch out every time (can’t live without that stuff!). But there are several other remedies to try:

• Apply a simple baking soda and water paste directly to bites and leave on for at least an hour.
• For an anti-itch bath, add ½ to 1 cup baking soda to running lukewarm water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Apply a drop of lavender or tea tree essential oil directly onto each bite to reduce inflammation and help prevent infection.
• Make a solution of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water, and rinse the irritated area. Repeat this procedure several times until the itching decreases in intensity.
• Apply a drop of neem base oil to each bite. Neem is naturally cooling oil with antibacterial properties. It relieves many types of skin irritations.
• A common weed probably growing in your lawn, plantain (Plantago, various species), is one of the best herbs to treat bug bites. To use the plant as first aid for a mosquito bite, crush a few leaves and rub them on to the bite.

Summer means PICNIC TIME!

Summer time means picnic time, because food always tastes better outdoors. We’ve compiled some easy, yummy, exceptional recipes to make your alfresco meal a breeze. Warning: You might become “famous” for your special dish, which means you’ll be asked to make it again.

Don’t forget to check out our PICINIC TIPS to ensure your day is all about rest and relaxation.

Avocado Chicken Salad

2 c. chicken, cooked and shredded
1 avocado, chunked
1 T. mayonaisse
1 green onion, sliced
lime juice to taste
salt/pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in bowl and refrigerate. You can serve this in pitas or just eat it with chips.

Tomato & Chickpea Salad

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
About 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
25 large basil leaves, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp honey (10g)
pinch of salt

Toss all ingredients together and chill for at least 20 minutes, allowing all the flavors to merge. Then EAT!

Peach/Mozzarella/Basil Salad

3 ripe peaches (peeled, if desired)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1.Cut each peach into 6 to 8 wedges, then cut each wedge in half crosswise.
2.In a large bowl, combine the peaches, basil, and mozzarella. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss. (You can cover and refrigerate the salad for up to several hours.) Serve cold or at room temperature.

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

12 oz. orzo
1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano*

Bring 2 large pots of water to boil. Add a big pinch of salt in each. To one pot, add asparagus and blanch, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Place blanched asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them green. To the second pot, add the orzo. Cook per package instructions. When tender, drain and place in a large bowl. Add blanched asparagus and tomato halves. Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir into orzo and vegetables. Stir in parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. This can be served warm, room temperature or cold. *Note: If you want to keep this salad vegan, leave out the Parmigiano Reggiano.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

1 lb large strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat)
3-4 tbsp powdered sugar (4 tbsp for a sweeter filling)
1 tsp vanilla extract
graham cracker crumbs

1. Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top and clean out with a paring knife, if necessary (some may already be hollow inside). Prep all strawberries and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or ziploc with the corner snipped off. Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture. Once strawberries are filled, dip the top in graham cracker crumbs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.

Peanut Butter Cheerios Treats

6 cups Peanut Butter Cheerios
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
10 ounces (approx. 40 ) regular sized marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips

Prep a 9×13 pan with cooking spray or buttered parchment. In a pan over medium high heat melt the butter and peanut butter. Add in the marshmallows until you get a nice gooey mess. Add the Peanut Butter Cheerios and stir to combine making sure all of the cereal gets coated. Press into the prepped pan and while the cereal is still warm, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top so they melt slightly. Let cool and cut into squares. These taste best if served the same day.

PICNIC TIPS (courtesy of Food Network):

Freeze drinks the night before. Not only will your drinks stay cold the next day, they’ll help keep your food chilled.

To keep your picnic festive, bring a colorful and comfortable blanket. Extra towels can serve as pillows when sunbathing or napping.

Set up your picnic in the shade.

Although baskets can be quite stylish, a cooler packed with ice is safer.

Make sure foods that are meant to be served cold are thoroughly cooled before packing.

If you’re driving, transport your cooler in the air-conditioned car, not in the trunk.

Throw away any food that’s been out of the cooler for more than an hour.

When packing a picnic, don’t forget these essentials


Insect repellent




Serving utensils

Cups and wine glasses

Corkscrew or bottle opener

Paring knife

Cutting Board


Damp wipes or cloths for washing up

Garbage bag