Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Citrus Shoreline Returns to Center Stage!

The real Citrus Shoreline is back and on the shelves curing! This batch might even be prettier than the first!

This soap will be wonderful for summer, too. It has a lot of shea butter for moisture, and the lemongrass pieces add just a bit of "grab" to gently exfoliate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lively History

As part of a school project, my daughter recently had to write yet another family tree. This time I finally convinced (and drove, literally) her to ask my grandmother about her history. I washed the dishes, cleaned, and eavesdropped as Talen conducted her interview. Here are some highlights - I hope you find them as interesting as I did!

My great-grandmother Asta (pronounced "ous-ta") was born in Iceland. She grew and she grew ...

She traveled to Europe to earn her certificate as a house painter. She and Karen Hansen used the following as their business card:

It must have been effective because she was seen working: 

Grandma does report that the women did encounter some trouble - from other women - who didn't like that these two were working and taking jobs away from the men. A pioneer of women's lib! 

Here she is later with my great-great-uncle Magnus on the left, little Grandma front and center, and tiny baby great-uncle Pudge as a baby on the right. The gentleman holding Pudge is my grandmother's stepfather (her father died when she was 9 months old.) The snazzy dresser in the beautiful knitted sweater is Halldor Laxness, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Can you imagine how interesting conversations must have been?
(and let me point out to those that know my dad ... never mind ... you see it too, don't you??) 

All photos are pictures from a book published about Asta's life:
The tapestry featured on the cover was created by another family member (I think it as Asta's sister but I'm not positive) and the figures each represent one of the siblings ... Asta is third from the left, Mangus third from the right.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Antibacterial Soaps and You

Don't forget to bookmark my new "professional" blog! Here's a quick copy of today's post:

Yesterday on my morning rounds, I heard yet another advertisement (please pronounce it the British way - it sounds so much more clever. Clev-ah.) encouraging me to get vaccinated against H1N1. Is that thing even around anymore? Just saying ...
I took just enough Biology in college to know that killing germs can be a bad thing: you never get them all and only the toughest survive. These tough survivors pass on their toughness to their offspring times two because it took TWO tough germs to make a little baby germ. We are breeding super bacteria when we could simply have washed them down the drain!
Taking the argument further is the point made by Dr. Sarah Janssen in a recent article posted at She refers to antibacterial cleansers as "hormone disrupting hand cleaners." Not soap, because it isn't soap. Not antibacterial, because it merely promotes stronger bacteria.
She writes, in part:
Triclosan and triclocarban are chemicals added to personal care products, such as liquid and bar soaps, body washes, toothpaste and other personal care products for their so-called “antibacterial” properties. Triclosan is found in 75 percent of liquid hand soaps and triclocarban is used primarily in deodorant bar soaps. The widespread use of triclosan has resulted in the widespread exposure of the U.S. population—almost three-quarters of Americans carry residues of this chemical in their bodies. Triclosan and triclocarban are hormone disrupting chemicals and we are concerned that exposure to these chemicals could be causing harmful effects in humans.

Both of these chemicals are hormone disrupting chemicals, but they interfere with different hormone systems and though their toxicity is not fully understood, what we do know about these chemicals is deeply concerning. Triclosan interferes with thyroid hormone. We know that other thyroid disrupting chemicals have been shown to alter development of the brain and nervous system causing problems with learning or behavior later in life and we are concerned that triclosan could have similar effects.
Triclocarban is a unique type of hormone disrupting chemical which has not been found to have any hormone disrupting properties on its own but has been shown to enhance the activity of other hormones, such as the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone. Boosting your sex hormones isn’t necessarily a good thing! For someone with a hormonally dependent cancer, that could mean more hormonal stimulation of cancer cell growth.
Furthermore, within our homes, there are many chemicals that interfere with both thyroid and sex hormones including flame retardants, BPA, and phthalates.
As if I didn't support plain old soap and water enough before: I think I have a few new reasons to go natural!