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That's the response I've been getting for the past month. I feel less and less crazy each day that goes by. In fact, I'm feeling quite great about it and wondering why I didn't do this sooner.

Every year I like to give myself a challenge. I'm not a big fan of resolutions because I find the decision to do something with no end in sight unsatisfying. I'm a competitive person by nature and with a yearly challenge, I'm more likely to be successful starting something new or giving up something old.

When I first started doing challenges, they were things like going a year without soda or a year without fast food, both of which were extremely hard at the time (think college days), but now wouldn't be much of a challenge at all. For me, that's the point - loosening the hold that a particular thing has had on my life so that I'm no longer dependent on it or to improve my overall life quality.

The most transformative challenge to date was going a year without buying anything new (don't worry, I had some exceptions including personal care items and food)!  Anything else, and I had to get it used, secondhand or not purchase it at all.  It made me think twice about what I was going to spend my money on.  Shopping became more of an inconvenience than something fun to do to pass the time. It used to be a struggle for me to go a week without spending money on new, useless items or dumping money on buying new clothes. These days I rarely go into any store unless I need something specific.

This year, there's one thing that I'm struggling with - sugar. If you know me, you know that I have a deep love for baking. I love to make people happy by giving them yummy things to eat and indulge in. But I also know that sugar has huge implications to health (and skin!). I'm committed to my health in so many other ways - using natural skincare (obvi), buying organic, gmo-free foods and truly good meat from our favorite local farmers, improving indoor air quality, and so-on. Sugar has been the one thing I haven't been willing to give up. Sure, I've gone some time without it... two months here, a couple weeks there. But a year? No way. There's always some reason I fall back into the sugar trap...

"but, I'm at a birthday party.."

"but, the holidays are coming up.."

"but, i'm on vacation.."

And then I'm right back at it full-force. Not this year. This year I'm doing it. I'm giving myself a few clear perimeters because I believe that's important for success. My rules for this year's challenge:

*sugar means actual added refined sugar, not fruit. 

*any packaged food with greater than 1 gram of sugar counts as off limits unless there is no "sugar" in the ingredients. For example, if something has sugar in the ingredients but it's one gram or less, I can have it. If it's over a gram but there's no sugar in the ingredients, only honey, I can have it. 

*special occasions celebrating me, such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, my birthday, and our anniversary along with Christmas Day will be cheat days. Chances are my palette will change after a couple months without sugar and anything sweet I eat will taste too rich anyway. However, I think it's important to be realistic so I'll succeed.

*eating out doesn't count except the obvious like balsamic glazed brussel sprouts or desserts. I'm not interested in investigating every entree at every restaurant to see how many grams of sugar is used in my chowder or if there's added sugar in the rolls.

That's it! I'm 33 days in to being sugar-free! Would you want to join me? It would be so encouraging to know you are in it with me. If you'd like to join me, or if there's a goal you're trying to reach this year, email me and tell me about it. I read every reply and I want to hear from you!

PS. Many others have already blazed this trail, so I look to them for recipes and encouragement. One of my favorites is The Spunky Coconut. I have a few of her cookbooks and read her blog religiously. She has pre-made mixes and all kinds of resources to make a challenge like this easier. Thank goodness for authors like her!

Many of our customers come to us after trying a myriad of "professional" commercial products created by doctors and dermatologists that just don't work. We aren't surprised by it anymore.

What they've found is that their skin doesn't need some "revolutionary breakthrough" ingredient created by chemists. Those ingredients are usually chemicals designed to provide "results" without actually healing the skin. 

This is why you may notice your skin goes crazy the minute you stop using products with salicylic acid or retinol. Besides, the general public is finally starting to learn many of these laboratory-crafted ingredients are causing all kinds of cancers, auto-immune disorders, reproductive issues and allergies in addition to pre-mature aging - that they sell you an "anti-aging miracle cream" to treat.

The fact is, there aren't many regulations for the skincare industry. Which means, anyone can create any skin treatment with almost any ingredients without being held accountable to the long-term health repercussions. Many people are becoming more aware of this and are seeking out holistic skin alternatives.

Holistic skincare isn't just something for hippies (we ♥︎ hippies), it's for anyone and everyone who wants skincare that is formulated with natural ingredients from the Earth (not a lab) which help treat the skin in a way that supports it's natural functions - so it can perform optimally. Ingredients that have been time-tested over centuries for their effectiveness and used by multitudes of cultures for their skin-benefitting properties.

Ingredients like shea butter, rosewater and essential oils aren't "new", "cutting edge" or "revolutionary", but they actually work. And isn't that the point? Sure that means we don't have trade secrets or proprietary blends, but we believe in transparency when it comes to what you're putting on your skin. Our skincare isn't complicated, and we think that's how skincare should be made. Skin positively responds to being supported by herbs, butters, hydrosols and oils.

Don't take our word for it. Here's what a few of our customers have had to say:

I'm really loving this product! I spent a lot of money on another serum that left much to be desired. Two weeks of using your Repairing Serum and I'm hooked! -kelley

these are the only products that have worked in my sensitive skin and restored my love for my skin again. -amber o.

I have been using Bambu Earth for about 10 months now. I am loving the difference in my skin. Before Bambu Earth, I bought my skincare products from target and trusted that when it said "natural" in the product name, that I was putting a decent product on my face.  Then I met Amber. She took the time to educate me & help me figure out the best solution for my skin without any pressure. My skin now is smoother, all of the splotchy red spots are gone & I no longer go back and forth from oily to dry skin. If I had to pick one favorite product right now, I would choose the [repairing facial serum].  Good bye fine wrinkles! Thank you Bambu Earth for teaching me a better way to care for the face I'll have for the rest of my life. -amanda b.

I am so thankful for the everything balm from Bambu Earth. My son had a terrible diaper rash when he was about 7 months old. I tried everything to try and soothe him and nothing worked. It was so hard to watch him be in pain, but then I heard about the everything balm and heard it really helped with a diaper rash. I received the everything balm and was blown away at how well it worked for my son, it was such a relief, his diaper rash was gone within 3 days. Finally! Something that worked, it was such a great feeling to know he was feeling better and I was using a product that was natural and good for his skin! So thankful for this company and the products they provide! -courtney

gingerbread house

Here's my grandma's original gingerbread house recipe. I've asked her permission to share it so I'm not going rogue giving away family secrets! Growing up, my mother used to make these gingerbread houses every year and sell them. I decided to follow suit in college one year and I realized it's a lot of work to make and sell gingerbread houses. The detail that goes into them takes a steady, strong hand and lots of hours (when you're making 20+). After that year I gave up selling them, but I still love to make one during the Christmas season for my home. They are especially fun to make with kids!

Gingerbread House

1. Cut all pattern pieces from a lightweight cardboard WITH TABS…(about the weight of a manila folder).  These pieces will be used for the frame of your house. 

{Note: I didn't ask my grandma for her pattern because I know it isn't digitalized and I didn't want to bother with that when there are plenty of choices online already. Visit our friends over at Cupcakepedia for 20 Free Gingerbread House Patterns.}

2. Make patterns out of wax paper omitting tabs…cut out the windows and doors. Be sure to bake windows and doors.


3. Make gingerbread cookie dough.

Gingerbread Dough Recipe

3-1/2 C  Sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 C  Shortening
1 tsp  Baking Soda
1/2 C  Brown Sugar (packed) dark brown
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/2 C  Dark Molasses
1 tsp  Ginger
1/2 C  Buttermilk
2 tsp  Cinnamon
1/2 tsp  Vinegar (white)

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Blend in molasses…..sift half the flour with soda, spices and salt …..stir into the molasses mixture. Combine buttermilk and vinegar…..add alternately the rest of the flour to molasses mixture…..beginning and ending with flour.  Cover and refrigerate the dough overnight.

Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Lightly grease cookie sheets.  On lightly floured surface roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness….one half at a time.  Place wax paper pattern on dough. With a sharp knife cut around pattern. (Don't forget to cut out the windows and doors and bake them!) Using a very broad spatula place cut pieces on prepared cookie sheet two inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes….remove to rack and allow to cool overnight before handling.

4. If you have very small gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters make some from leftover dough and bake them.

5. Store the baked sections of your house carefully so they will not break.

6. Make a double recipe of Royal Icing.  (Make one recipe at a time).

Royal Icing Recipe

Pour 1/2 C boiling water over 3/4 C granulated sugar.  Stir until dissolved and cool to room temperature.  Stir in 1/4 C meringue powder and beat until stiff.  Stir one box of powder sugar (sift first) into mixture and beat until well incorporated and icing stands in high stiff peaks.  Make icing using very clean, grease-free utensils.  Store only in glass, not plastic container.


Tips on decorating (these are some things we did to decorate the house and make it look festive!):

  • Make Christmas trees from upside-down waffle cones (use a leaf tip to cover the whole thing in leaves) and don't forget to put one inside before you put on the roof!
  • Candy canes makes a cute fence
  • Powdered sugar for snow
  • Ribbon candy for presents
  • M&Ms for shingles/cobblestone path
  • Get creative with any candy you like!

Are you unsure of which skin care products to use and in which order? We've put together this guide to show you how to create a skin care routine and take out the guess work. This step-by-step skin care routine applies regardless of skin type (oily, dry, normal, or combination).

EVERY MORNING

1.  Makeup/Dirt Cleansing Oil then Rosewater Cleanser​ - It's very important to start your skin care regimen with a good cleanser without harsh chemicals and detergents. Always remove your makeup before cleansing. If you decide to oil cleanse, you can skip the Rosewater Cleanser and move on to step #2.

2. Rosemary Toner- Toner’s role in your skin care routine is to remove any traces of cleanser left behind after cleansing, tighten skin, prepare skin for the absorption of moisturizers, reduce the appearance of pores, and help to regulate oil production and secretion. Our toner also helps to normalize your skin's pH level without the use of harsh ingredients or alcohol. 

3. Petitgrain Moisturizer - This is one of the most important parts of your skin care routine. Even if you are not seeing any signs of aging, proper hydration and maintenance can help your skin stay youthful looking for longer. Our day and night cream contains oils that are non-comedogenic (meaning they don't clog your pores) and their chemical composition mimics your own skin's natural light sebum (oil), so that you aren't left feeling heavy or greasy.

EVERY NIGHT

1. Makeup/Dirt Cleansing Oil​ (if oil cleansing skip to #3)

2. Rosewater Cleanser

3. Rosemary Toner

4. Repairing Facial Serum

5. Petitgrain Moisturizer

1 - 3 TIMES PER WEEK


Masks - Facial masks address many different skin problems, such as congestion, redness, acne, or dullness. A facial mask should be used after you remove your make-up and cleanse. Use it as a great way to pamper yourself before your evening skin care routine.

Exfoliants - It's a good idea to incorporate a gentle exfoliator into your skin care routine between 1-3 times per week. Exfoliation helps to slough away any build up of dead skin cells, which may make your skin look dull, and can cause break outs.  When including an exfoliator in your routine, use it after your cleanser and follow with toner.

Try our Pumpkin Oat Mask & Glow (2 in 1).

FOLLOW OUR STEP-BY-STEP SKIN CARE REGIMEN, AND YOUR SKIN WILL THANK YOU.

SHOP NOW

Apple cider vinegar mother

If you've purchased our Rosemary Toner, you may have noticed something wispy floating around in the bottle. Don't worry, that's what you want to be growing in your skincare! The "mother" is very important because it contains raw enzymes and good bacteria that promote healing and have all those great benefits that raw, unfiltered organic apple cider is known for.

When non-raw organic apple cider vinegar is processed, it is pasteurized and filtered preventing the "mother" from forming. Therefore, it is very important when purchasing apple cider vinegar to get raw, unfiltered vinegar like Bragg so you don't lose all of those health-giving benefits.

Using apple cider vinegar in our Rosemary Toner makes it extremely effective at restoring your pH balance and killing bacteria. Apple cider vinegar is also known to help fade age spots, brighten up dull skin and is age-defying! So, next time you notice the "mother" floating in your toner, remember she's working for the betterment of your skin!

At Bambu Earth we are not only passionate about holistic skincare but we are also passionate about reducing the amount of toxins we use on a daily basis. We clean our homes in hopes to keep our families healthy. However, many cleaners we purchase contain toxins that pollute our indoor air contributing to asthma, allergies, migraines and more. But chemical-free cleaners are so easy to make and will save you lots of $$$.

Last week we held our first Make + Take workshop. We made an all-purpose cleaner for just about any surface (including windows, mirrors, countertops, toilets, etc.) and an abrasive scrub that will easily remove soap scum, grease, and tub stains without leaving a toxic residue that can be absorbed by you or your children the next time you come in contact with a surface such as a bathtub or table.

Workshop

Download the printable version here.

Happy cleaning!

We Have A new look

September 08, 2016

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I know it's been a while in the making. Bambu Earth just got a serious makeover. The heart behind our re-brand is simple. We wanted to convey a story. Our story, really - the motivation behind why we do what we do.

When I started Bambu Earth in 2009, natural products weren't trendy. In fact, most people thought I was a total hippie (not that I'm complaining). Things have changed in the last decade. People are becoming more aware of what they are using on their skin. Large companies are being held accountable for ingredients they have been using for generations that are linked to cancer. We're truly turning a corner.

I'm so happy to be a part of this revival of clean beauty, but natural skin care isn't the only thing I'm passionate about. I get to have daily conversations with women about their beauty. Women voice their concerns about their skin looking for solutions. The two most common things I hear are: "What do you have for wrinkles?" and "I don't go out without makeup because I have [discoloration, break outs, wrinkles, dark circles, age spots, etc.]."

These simple statements tell me a lot about how women view themselves. Women fear signs of aging. They're insecure about their imperfections. The truth is, we are all aging. There's no way around it. And we all have imperfections. We can either embrace these truths or continue to fleetingly try to evade them.

My mission is to speak the truth of beauty over women. Beauty doesn't come from makeup, Botox, anti-aging creams, or augmentation. Every woman is inherently beautiful because they were made in the image of our Creator. You were made in the image of your Creator.

My hope is that women start to embrace their true beauty. Sure, we make skincare that helps you age more gracefully, improves the appearance of your skin, evens skin tone, clears blemishes and reduces fine lines. But ultimately our hope is that you can be free from our cultures perception of beauty. Beauty is not looking twenty-something. It's looking radiant in your 50's, embracing your laugh lines and gray hair (okay, I may have lost some of you at "gray hair"), but hear me out!

Our goal is to convey our heart behind our brand by incorporating a simplistic look that is beautiful and encouraging. Each one of our products includes a word of encouragement that I believe every woman needs to hear and have spoken over her. My hope is that as you use our products daily, you'd be reminded of your beauty. Outer beauty, sure, but also your inner beauty. If every woman embraced their beauty imagine the freedom women as a whole would experience!

If you're still reading, thank you. I hope you've been encouraged in some way. And I hope you enjoy our new look! You can also look forward to occasional emails that include encouragements on true beauty. We thank you for being a part of our family!

Love,

Amber + The Bambu Earth Team


Is sunscreen safe?

August 13, 2016

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When I was a teenager, I was all about that deep dark tan. Baby oil was my go-to and maybe a little Banana Boat because it smelled like paradise. I would pay the price later, but as a teenager I was not concerned with side effects. I had other things on my mind and looking tan in my bikini was top priority. I now deal with several types of skin cancer and lots of sun damage.

But sunscreen doesn't go without it's own set of drawbacks. Many sunscreens contain ingredients that are actually harmful and can cause cancer (especially when exposed to heat... seriously?)! I'd like to save myself and my kids from regular "zap" sessions at the dermatologist, but traditional sunscreen doesn't sound all that promising.

I've mentioned before Im a researcher. Just because I'm told something is safe to use, doesn't mean I take it for face-value. I do a little investigating for myself. I recommend you do the same and read up on sunscreen safety for you and your family here. The EWG has a great sunscreen guide that can help inform you on the options you have to protect you and the ones you love.

Here's a quick list of ingredients to avoid when reading your sunscreen labels:

AVOID:

  • retinal palmitate= This ingredient (a form of vitamin A), when exposed to sunlight, may speed the development of cancerous tumors and lesions.
  • spray sunscreen= Aersol sprays penetrate the lungs and enter the blood stream.
  • oxbenzone= This chemical is used as a UV filter in sunscreen. It absorbs through the skin in significant amounts which is concerning due to its ability to cause organ and reproductive toxicity.

Take heart! There are alternatives. An appropriate hat and shade covering are always a good idea. You can also find good sunscreens without toxic ingredients that cause unwanted side affects. Find one here and remember a healthy dose of vitamin D everyday is a good thing!

At Bambu Earth where we source our ingredients is as important to us as the ingredient itself. Too often product contain ingredients that were sourced using forced labor (slavery) or harmful working conditions.

We don't cut corners at the expense of others. You can rest assured that the products you are purchasing are truly all natural, sustainable, ethical, fair-trade, cruelty-free and an all around responsibly produced product. If the ingredient, packaging or source is questionable, we don't use it. Period. 

You can trust that our skincare will make you feel good about the impact your purchase is making in communities and the environment.

Makeup brush cleaner

How often do you clean your makeup brushes? We recommend you clean your facial brushes (used for foundation and concealer) once per week. Brushes used for eye makeup and brows should be cleaned once per month. Cleansing them frequently will keep unwanted oils, bacteria and makeup residue off of your brushes and off of your skin. Remember: cleaner brushes = clearer skin (bonus)!

What do you clean your brushes with? We use our tea tree bar. Simply wet the soap bar in your hand, massage your brush into the bar to work up a good lather, rinse well and let your brushes dry completely before use (overnight preferably). The tea tree essential oil will rid your brushes of bacteria and unwanted oil build up while the essential oils of lemon grass and orange will leave them smelling clean and fresh! 

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