Creativity, motivation, releasing anxiety and more… all areas where many claim incense can benefit (depending on what you’re burning). But there are also many ways you can burn in incense.
Cone, stick or resin? What type of incense do you use? Believe it or not, all incense is not created equal. Like anything, there’s a crunchy version and a synthetic version. While there are a few studies about the dangers of incense the main points I have about the incense is “What are you burning?” and “How’s the ventilation in the room?”
In order to not release dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air which can cause harm to your body. You don’t want these VOCs in your home! But there are ways to help purify the home… but I digress.
Direct burning is usually done in the form of incense sticks or cones in which you directly apply heat and burn causing the aroma. When it comes to cones in the cone actually burns the incense with less smoke as there is no wood to burn. You also have to make sure the incense is scented in natural incense and not synthetic which can also be harmful to your health. The wood inside the incense also needs to be “clean” wood as it burns as well.
Resin incense is the most common for of indirect burning. You put the resin on charcoal and burn the charcoal, in turn burning the resin. The traditional way would consist of taking coals from a fire putting it on a stone (or non-flammable surface), then placing the resins or loose incense herbs over the charcoal to release the smell. The important aspect here is to only buy the herbs or resin from place you trust. You have to ensure the product is pure. (Omg I sound like I’m talking about drugs “Make sure the product is pure”, but seriously that’s important). I get mine from my local health food store that I trust.
You also have to make sure the charcoal you’re using is pure also. I use this one made from coconut husks.
There’s also bamboo charcoal that is a better alternative than regular charcoal which often has additives to burn faster and longer, these can release VOCs into your home… (BOOOO!)
WHAT’S SO BAD?
Well, I don’t know exactly what could be in your incense but neither do you. The exact type of pollutants released into the air (and your home) depends on the chemicals present in the incense being burned. That’s why I’m a crazy person when it comes to gettin only pure and natural incense and charcoal. Whether you choose stick, resin or a cone incense, choose something clean and pure to the best of your ability and stay away from synthetic incense.
FINDING THE GOOD STUFF
Incense De Santa Fe
It’s a cone type incense in the shape of a rectangle. This company offers 7 different types of natural wood incense made in the US. There is also a sample back where one could try all the offering for a good price.
Its a modern twist on incense cones. Their most popular mix is called Blood Countess, a dragon’s blood resin and frankincense Combination to lift the mood and add some edge.
It’s a Japanese specialty brand that isn’t too pricey but has been around a very long time! These are natural and trusted brand.
This is the brand my local health food store and local Whole Food’s offer. It is a natural brand with ingredients I can understand (Yay me!). These also offer the tradition scents like frankincense and myrrh that aren’t blended so you decide for yourself on the scents you like.
Also check out your local health food store to see what they offer for incense, just make sure you read the packaging to ensure there’s no artificial or synthetic fragrances.
Not really crunchy related but this is my life. I will admit I was swindled by a moving company. ABC Moving got me. They gave me an estimate to move our items from Wisconsin to Delaware. They get to our house and of course the estimate goes up. So we pay it... then when they get to our house they demand more money. I almost about cried ya'll! Actually I did cry. Lets be real here. This post is to let you know, if you got swindled and just paid the people to get your stuff, you are not alone. Oh, and the icing on the cake, we are missing a box and our first TV we bought together was broken. Like we hired a moving company to ensure it was done right. I messed up crunchy friends. I messed up. Vent over. Return to the normal scheduled crunchy posts!
Now that the hubby, Jake, and I both have days where we are busy typing away on the computer for work, we have to remind ourselves to take time for our physical health. Yoga is now our thing. That's not something many couples will say and legit me actual yoga. But that's what we do. Yoga on demand with out matching mats. Those really make me happy because they have cute sayings on them. Mine says "I am love" and his says "I am strong" plus they are nontoxic fromAffirmats. Who woulda thought that yoga mats were sometimes made with toxic ingredients.... uh YUCK! But I digress.
I didn't think Jake was going to get into yoga and at first he didn't either, but now there are mornings he has our yoga mats out and ready before I am even awake. At first I am convinced he did yoga only for me and then when his muscles started shaking and he realized it was not all easy stretching he got on board.
It really connects us because according to the Peloton app we use (shout out the the yoga instructor Dennis for making yoga look easy), we are not yet intermediate in yoga and we can joke about how one class was hard or help each other keep our form. Honestly, it's great for us (and our 2 year old loves to jump in and try to do yoga (or knock mommy down) also! We even had to get her a yoga mat as well!
Do you and your significant other do yoga? Are there any great apps or on demand programs for us to try? Let me know!
It's my second year of being a crazy garden lady. This year I have less space since we moved to Wisconsin so I decided to do an indoor garden... starting slowly. I decided to get a nice little herb garden to ensure I'm responsible enough to grow my food indoors and water it. An indoor garden needs more care and love than your typical house plants.
In deciding to start my garden I went on my search for organic seeds and dirt. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I buy soil instead of digging up the back yard. But I believe this way, I ensure I know what is growing my food and I am able to have the healthiest food possible!
DO I REALLY NEED ORGANIC SEEDS?
That's the first think I tackled, finding good organic seeds. I found mine via the local health food store. They usually will have starter plants for the garden as well but the weather has been pretty crappy in the Milwaukee area (but I digress).
You need organic seeds because you know they haven't been genetically modified. There is no foreign DNA or anything mysterious in the seed. A good article about organic vs conventional seeds can be found on The Good Heart Life. I'll sum it up briefly. Organic seed means the crop was grown in an organic environment without pesticides etc therefore the seed is strong and designed to be grown in an organic environment.
THERE'S DIRT OUTSIDE... CAN'T I USE THAT?
Sure, but what's in that dirt? If you don't know then don't even chance it. OR you can test your soil. Since I'm planting indoors, I'd rather keep the outdoors outside and buy soil to go inside. You may say it's odd but it makes sense to me. More info on soil testing and organic gardening can be found on Beyond Pesticides. Buying soil allow you to choose the proper soil for what you're growing. Did you know different fruits/veggies need different nutrients in their soil? I didn't until I started learning and trying to understand why my garden last year didn't get the results I wanted.
That's the technical stuff... Then i got the cutest window planter from Target for $20 on sale. *doing a dance because I love a sale* Put it all together with water and you get my happy window! Let's keep this year's herb garden alive.
What are you growing this season? Share your organic gardening tricks with me in the comments!
Essential oils can be used to help calm the mind and relieve a the stress and anxiety of everyday life.
Instead of banging your head on the wall, try these essential oils. Remember everyone's body chemistry is made differently. Just because one oil doesn't work for you, try another before giving up. Also don't force it. If you hate the way one oil smells don't use it!
You can use these in an inhaler (15-20 drops), with a carrier oil on your body (12 drops per ounce for a typical 2% dilution) or in a diffuser(5 drops per 150ml).
Lavender- This is the oil you're most likely to have in your cabinet already. It has been used to beat stress, depression and anxiety. There is a full review in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice (2013).
Vetiver - It has a smokey spicy woody type scent. My husband isn't really a fan of this oil but I love it. According to a 2015 study on rats, vetiver oil is used in aromatherapy for relaxation. The study showed vetiver has anti-anxiety abilities similar to the drug diazepam. It is a grounding oil. I read in The Healing Power of Essential Oils that is has also been used to help with ADHD.
Ylang Ylang - It has a floral scent but I love it. Besides being and awesome "get it on" essential oil. Ylang Ylang is great for anxiety.
Orange oil - It smells orangey (haha) There are studies that show orange oil used to help with presurgical anxiety in dental patients and it did in fact help!
You can use these oils alone or try a mix to see what you think .
Of course if you are under a doctor's care or taking prescriptions talk to a doctor before taking any oils.
There are many ways to do the same thing. Essential oils sprays are an example of that. I share my recipe and a video of another recipe! The bottle to the right is a 2ml bottle. I like to use dark glass bottles to ensure the mixture holds for as long as possible.
The way I make it is using witch hazel, grain alcohol (like Everclear) essential oils and distilled water. The grain alcohol will mix with essential oil and allow it to mix with the water and witch hazel. Essential oils on their own do not mix with water. Witch hazel and grain alcohol will also help to ensure bacterial won't overgrow. (but if you notice a change in the smell or color then it may be rancid)
If you're using a 2ml bottle then 20 drops each of the Everclear, witch hazel and essential oils. Mix these all together then add the distilled water and shake shake shake!
So you have your essential oils... Now what? Don't get lost in the many many uses of essential oils. Pick on use and try that first!
Personal Uses: You can use these in an inhaler (15-20 drops), with a carrier oil on your body (12 drops per ounce for a typical 2% dilution) or in a diffuser(5 drops per 150ml).
Household uses: Room spray, disinfectant, toothpaste, oral swish, and more!
All of these uses require dilution as essential oils are potent and should not be used on skin alone as they could create irritation.
*This list will continuously be updated
I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE subscription boxes for myself and now there are so many for the kiddos too! But the ones that are educational absolutely have me sold! This one is my favorite so far! All three of my girls (11,9 &2) get these. The 2-year-old version is called the tadpole crate. It is for ages 0-2 and they go all the way to 16! My older girls get the doodle crate (artistic) and the tinker crate (hands on stem). They also love theirs! Here's Ivy playing with her latest Tadpole Kit. This one taught her puzzles in like 2 minutes and she went in her room and started doing the others we have!! She also surprised me knowing more colors than I thought. Yay learning!
Try KiwiCo crates here: (and get $10 off!)
I'm all about making life easier and with the crunchy life food is a HUGE part of how I live. So wouldn't it make sense to try to make cooking and shopping a bit easier? Making meals in my crockpot makes life easier on the cooking side. But on the shopping side, not leaving the house to go grocery shopping makes my life SUPER easy! That sounds like sorcery doesn't it? While I wish there was a magic portal or a way to travel through my fireplace (Harry Potter reference), there is not. (Yes, I looked at my fireplace and cried inside for being a muggle)
Not having to leave my house to shop is great and is made possible with a little help from technology. Instacart, Butcher Box, Yumble, Fresh Direct, Amazon Pantry, Fresh or Subscribe and Save are all great ways to live the delivery life. Although they aren't all available in all areas. For example Fresh Direct does not come to lower Delaware neither does Amazon Fresh. It literally pains my soul to say this as I loved these services but I'm surviving. [barely]
Can I write a love letter to Instacart? I love you, my whole family loves you. Same day groceries? Replacements? Picking good fruit? YESSSS please and thank you. Instacart will go to select grocery stores in your area and bring you your groceries you select. They do Safeway, Whole Foods, Giant, Acme, Target and so much more. Okay so the downside for some stores prices are higher than they would be if you went to the actual store. Delivery ranges from $5.99 to $9.99 or you can join and get free delivery for $14.99 a month but there are often specials that allow you to get free delivery. There is also a surcharge to pay for using Instacart and you can tip the driver. But that is a price I am willing to pay for not having to take my 2-year-old, and preteens into the store. AND you can schedule delivery in advance or have them come in the next 2 hours (sometimes 1 hour!) It works great for when I have a recipe I want to try and I can stand in my panty and physically see what I have or don't have.
Save money and get free delivery with my referral!
Here's the link: https://inst.cr/t/TGUyqyyKC
Butcher Box is all about bringing you the best meat. Where we live it is not always possible to get organic meat at the closest grocery store (bummer) and I don't want to drive to the closest Safeway all the time so I get my meat delivered once or twice a month. The animals are humanely raised, no hormones or antibiotics, beef is 100% grass-fed & grass-finished no and their chicken is organic with all vegetarian feed.
You can try Butcher Box Here: (you'll get free meat if I refer you!)
This is for when I'm truly a lazy laze OR for when I make meals my 2-year-old won't eat. I warm up a yumble meal and there's dinner or lunch! For $6.99 or $7.99 a meal (6 meal minimum) I get premade meals for my little picky butt. I subscribe and unsubscribe (like I am now because I have a few saved up) at will with no penalty. You can pick from a pretty good selection of meals that kids hopefully will eat. While it is not all organic they do say they use organic items when possible. You can get referred here.
Fresh direct is another great tool when it comes to the typical grocery shopping although they do not have a "store" they go to but they have their own warehouse of food. They have a pretty good selection of organic foods. The downside is there is no same day delivery and they don't have a good way to keep stuff cold once it is at your house just in case you aren't home with the delivery occurs so you'll have to schedule it during a 2 hour window you're home or nearby! Delivery is $7.99 or free delivery for $129 a year.
Click here to try it out
Amazon, as they continue to take over the world and our mailboxes, has plenty of options for food delivery. My favorite is Amazon Fresh especially since they own Whole Foods now!) But they no longer deliver to my location (Boo! What happened Amazon?).
Amazon also has Amazon Pantry where for $4.99 a month you can order items to fill your pantry, dry foods, non refrigerated juice, paper goods etc. There is a good selection of organic items on here as well!
The option I use is Subscribe and Save. I get items that I know I need monthly or every 2/3 months like toilet tissue, pull-ups, lunch items, lotion, tooth paste all delivered on schedule and I save 10-20% on each item. Yay savings. You can cancel an item anytime before shipping, it's great.
Remember these are all just my thoughts and reviews of the companies listed. I make no money from sharing this info besides perks from referrals if you do try it out.
I hope you know what I mean by the onion arms. I mean if you have a middle school kid, I'm sure you do. I'm "au naturale" but I don't want to smell like the natural outsides right? So what do you do about deodorant? You may ask. Or you may ask what's wrong with the regular old deodorant and antiperspirant? Well, I'm glad you asked.
Traditional deodorant contains aluminum as a main ingredient. This is what acts as an antiperspirant. It basically clogs your pores says no sweat shall pass.
Now, remember what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body. Aluminum in the body can mimic estrogen, and could really mess with your hormone levels. There are also studies saying it is linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer. So yeah, let's err on the side of caution with that right?
I'll link a good article from Times if you want more detailed description than my non medical degree can give.
Once my Toms phase was over I discovered Schmidt's at my local health food store. It's a little more expensive than Tom's ($8.99 on their website) but it works. No you won't stay dry but you will smell good all day. They also have some great scents! My favorite is the Ylang Ylang & Candula. I've also tried the Rose & Vanilla but for me it is overpowering and I don't love rose that much. But if you love floral smells it is perfect for you!
I love the various essential oils Schmidt’s use. But please note if you’re allergic to an essential oil in the deodorant get a different scent. The hubby used a their bergamot deodorant and he was red and itchy under his arms and who wants that?
These not crunchy enough for you? Then forget deodorant all together and use a lemon! I know, you’re looking at me like “Ashley has lost it” But no, try it for a day… or when you’re out of town and don’t pack deodorant by accident. Where would I get a lemon out of town you are asking? Room service or those areas they have the tea and coffee they usually have lemon wedges right? Seriously, just slab some lemon juice under your arms and you’re good to go.
It works! Read more about my love for lemon pits here.
I'm a mom of 3 girls and a husband who I converted to the crunchy life. I buy a lot and try a lot so you don't have to.