As I write this post, I’m getting ready to go to Baltimore, Maryland to launch our brand new All-Natural Cleansing Bars at Natural Products Expo East, a huge trade event dedicated to promoting organic and natural products. Pura Botanica will have an impressive showing at the event, with eight products—including all four Cleansing Bars scents and the Freshly Minted Collection—on display. Each one has met the strict standards of the Natural Products Association (NPA) for ingredient purity, animal and environmental safety and responsibility, as well as overall sustainability.
My passion for NPA certification was sparked when we began developing our Cleansing Bars. We set out to create a truly natural bar soap and came up with a formula that was 85 percent organic. Unfortunately, organic standards do not apply to soap. Crazy, right? So, we began to research certifying associations in the U.S. and abroad and realized that many organization’s standards were not high enough to meet our standards! We were proud but also a bit disheartened.
Our mission has always been to create the purest products while educating consumers about the good and the bad ingredients used in everyday bath-and-body products. Our goal is to lead consumers to the good, but how does one know that something labeled “natural” really is? Further, with so much “green washing,” how could we prove that Pura Botanica is the real deal? This led us to the NPA, the oldest non-profit in the country dedicated to natural products. When you see the NPA seal on a product, you know that product has integrity and has been made in the US following strict and honest standards. Not every company takes this extra step to assure consumers of a product’s safety—but we can’t imagine doing anything less for our family of products—and our loyal fans.
Want more details on our new cleansing bars? We are introducing two fabulous new scents, Peppermint Leaf and Herbal Tonic—check them out on our new pinboard
Visit Pura Botanica pinboards at PuraBotanica.com/PuraMissBliss
We all know that good things come in small packages—babies, little blue boxes from Tiffany’s, dark chocolate truffles—and now, Pura Botanica products do too. Readers of this blog know that I am passionate about travel and love experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, and discovering fabulous new products. But I also want to be able to maintain my daily beauty routine while away from home. Who wants to find herself in Marseilles or Melbourne without a trusted conditioner or cleanser? Do you really know what ingredients might be in the hotel freebies? You want to enjoy your vacation; confident you are looking good and being good to your body—and the earth. So we have created a travel kit of our new Freshly Minted collection: two-ounce bottles of our True Shampoo, In Condition, Lotion to Love and Body Beautiful Cleanser, all prettily packed in a classy clear vinyl case that is in perfect accord with TSA guidelines. Sure, zip-lock baggies get the job done, but we think it is important to pack a little luxury and beauty into every experience—even the security lines at the airport.
As you know, it is important to me to create pure and natural products, and three of the four products in the Freshly Minted collection are Certified All-Natural by the Natural Products Association. This is the eco-version of a Good Housekeeping seal of approval or a Consumer Reports rating. You don’t have to slog through a list of unpronounceable ingredients or do any research—the NPA rating assures you a product is safe. Indeed, Organic Spa Magazine’s website chose Freshly Minted as an Editor’s Pick last spring just after the line launched, and response from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive. We think that once you find a good thing, you should stick with it, even when you’re away from home—especially when the good thing comes in a small package. Think of it as a little luxury—to go.
New York City is one of my favorite cities in the world; the crowds, world-class restaurants and chic boutiques make it an incomparable destination to visit. Much as I love it, the fast-paced nature can wear me down. And when it does, I unwind and reboot at one of the city’s many luxurious spas. I just returned from a fabulous couple of days at the Holiday Gift Guide Media Event in NYC and was reminded of some of my favorite hot spots for shopping, hotels, restaurants and, of course, spas. Enjoy!
Where to stay:
My favorite hotel in New York is the Ritz-Carlton Central Park, which has sweeping views looking north onto Central Park. The peaceful rooms are outfitted with the softest linens and beautiful furniture and are void of the incessant honking that can seem inescapable down on the street. I also love that the hotel is located right in midtown, which puts me in close, walking distance to my favorite shopping and restaurants. While the rooms can be pricey, the hotel does offer special rates. Be sure to check their website often for deals.
Where to shop:
The iconic Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue is a must-see. The luxurious department store was a favorite shopping spot for Sex and the City’s main character, Carrie Bradshaw, and she often popped in to pick up a pair of Christian Louboutin stilettos when they went on sale. Keep your eyes open if you make the trip to Bergdorfs as you never know who you may see shopping there.
One spot I am sure never to miss is Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side, just north of the Ritz. Madison Avenue is a shopper’s dream. The wide avenue is teeming with top-tier clothing and jewelry designers such as Gucci and Cartier. In between visits to my favorite boutiques, I make my way over to Rockefeller Center to eat at Brasserie Ruhlmann’s outdoor café. It is the perfect place for people watching while enjoying a glass of fine wine and exquisite food. Try the apple turnover; you have never tried a delicacy such as this.
If a quieter shopping experience is more your style, Manhattan’s NoLita neighborhood boasts a number of low-key, one-of-kind boutiques such as Calypso St. Barth, a unique brand inspired by a love for world travel.
Where to eat:
Whether you’re in NYC for leisure or business, Maialino in the trendy Gramercy Park Hotel is the perfect place for a delicious Italian-style breakfast. I love the house-made pastries—especially the olive oil muffin and brioche—the ricotta pancakes with jam and egg white frittatas with an espresso.
After a shopping spree at Barney’s, Rouge Tomate is the perfect place to grab lunch. The Michelin-rated eatery favors seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and prepares its dishes with the help of a culinary nutritionist.
Before returning to The Ritz to unwind, I love to stop by the bar at Marea for dinner. Marea is known for its fresh, seasonal fish and shellfish, which I enjoy with a glass of crisp white wine.
Where to relax:
If you’re staying at The Ritz, do not miss La Prairie, located right inside the hotel. La Prairie is one of the finest luxury spas in the world and offers a variety of skin care and massage treatments. I always go for the rejuvenating Travel Therapy package that includes a Swedish, deep tissue or aromatherapy massage plus the spa’s signature facial.
O’Live Organic Spa is the perfect place to indulge the mind and body in an environmentally-friendly environment. All of the lotions, creams and oils at O’Live are super nourishing and eco-friendly. Try the Phyto-Greens Facial in which fresh pulp from apples and grapes calm and restore skin’s moisture with the help of organic greens and rosehips.
Take a trip to The Peninsula Spa on Fifth Avenue and you will forget that you are in NYC. The Spa is at once serene and luxurious and combines ancient and modern techniques to create ultra-therapeutic spa experiences. I love to indulge in the Salt and Oil Scrub, which combines sea salts and essential oils to slough off dead skin and restore its vitality. The scrub is the perfect way to prepare for one of the Peninsula’s holistic massages, which range from tension relief to pre-natal massages for mothers-to-be. One of the best kept secrets in New York is The Peninsula’s rooftop pool. The glass-enclosed oasis features a sophisticated look and boasts stunning views of the city.
Rose Retreat Botanic Bath Salt
My last tip: Don’t forget to pack your Rosé Retreat Botanic Bath Salt and an Oh-So-Citrus Soy Candle Tin so that you can transform your hotel room (wherever you stay) into a luxurious and relaxing sanctuary.
Summer is just around the corner, which means that many of us are gearing up for well-deserved vacations and getaways. Whether you are planning a quick weekend getaway or a two-week sojourn to South Africa, preparedness is key to a successful trip. Here are a few of my tips for purely blissful, stress-free travel.
Do your research: Maybe you need help deciding where to go. Or you want to learn more about your locale of choice. National Geographic Traveler and Condé Nast Traveler are top-notch references for tourists. Both sites offer expansive lists of destinations for any taste alongside expert travel tips and reviews of restaurants, hotels and cultural offerings in destinations around the world, from Santorini to San Francisco. Condé Nast Traveler is the perfect choice for the beauty-minded vacationer with its exclusive sections dedicated to the best spas worldwide and an array of helpful beauty and health tips geared towards travelers.
Check out the Travel Blogs: Travel bloggers are also great resources for vacation tips and ideas. I suggest searching for bloggers that speak to your personal taste. I enjoy Nadine Jolie’s blog, especially her posts about all of the gorgeous spa weekends she takes around the world. Jolie also offers tips for dining, lodging and even suggests helpful travel apps for your smart phone! Green Globetrotter is another fantastic blog centered on ecotourism and eco-chic travel. The Green Globetrotter will have you longing for a dip in the natural pool at Agrotourismo Can Marti in Ibiza or a yoga class at the Travaasa Hana resort in Maui.
Pack Wisely: I never leave home without Pura’s NPA certified all natural Lend a Hand Crème Smoother. It is the perfect on-the-go moisturizer that I take with me on the plane, in hotels and on the beach—spots that are notorious for drying out the skin. The silky lotion is packed with antioxidants, West African Shea butter, and Vitamin E and replenishes thirsty skin without leaving behind any residue. Organic vanilla also soothes the senses. Our Rosé Retreat Botanic Bath Infusion is another great addition to any travel beauty arsenal. Simply fill your hotel bath with hot water, drop in the pouch of Andean and Atlantic sea salts infused with rose and geranium and embark on a getaway within your getaway. Because I never leave any detail uncovered, I have designed the compact, vegan friendly Essentials Pouch, where you can stash all of your travel beauty essentials.
Follow these simple travel tips and you will be bound for bliss!
Next up, I will be heading to Manhattan for the 2013 Holiday Gift Guide Show and will share my favorite New York City hot spots.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Pura Botanica will be hosting a Pinterest contest celebrating life’s many moments of bliss.
We want you to craft a Pinboard that captures your very own moments of bliss – sitting by a crackling fireplace on a snowy afternoon, the feeling of cool ocean water lapping at your feet, taking a peaceful bath by candlelight. Don’t forget to include a pin of your favorite Pura Botanica product. Whoever can garner the most repins on Pinterest or likes on Facebook will win Pura Botanica’s special Mother’s Day Bath Gift Set, which includes our Rose Retreat Botanic Bath Infusion, ‘Just Because’ Soy Candle, and All-Natural Cleansing Bar in Spiced Citrus – a $75 value.
A winner will be selected on May 8th and the Bath Gift Set will arrive by May 10th, just time for Mother’s Day. Get pinning and treat yourself or a mother you adore to a few little luxuries that are good for the earth, body, and soul!
For more information about Pura Botanica’s Moments of Bliss Pinterest contest visit us on Pinterest or Facebook.
***Pura Botanica Mother’s Day Bath Gift Set Pin-to-Win Pinterest Contest***
We invite you to create your own Moments of Bliss pin board.
We are beyond excited to announce that we will be partnering with the website Ecocentric Mom to offer a special treat just for moms!
Ecocentric Mom is a monthly product delivery service devoted to helping moms, moms-to-be and even babies live a cleaner, greener life. Ecocentric Mom shares our passion for caring for the planet as well as for our families and ourselves; every product featured in Ecocentric Mom’s monthly boxes is healthy, natural and eco-friendly.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Ecocentric Mom’s May goodie box is packed with all-natural products (think earth-friendly makeup, snacks and essential oil) that will lift mom’s spirit and make her smile. Of course the pièce de résistance is our Rosé Retreat Botanic Bath Infusion, a delicately floral combination of pink Atlantic and Andean sea salts infused with roses and geraniums, that makes a bath feel like a visit to the spa.
You can order the May mom box from Ecocentric Mom until May 12. The boxes will go out to all moms on May 14 and 15, which is perfect because moms deserve more than just one day of celebrating to thank them for all that they do.
In addition to our collaboration with Ecocentric Mom, we are pleased to offer our very own Mother’s Day treat! Stay tuned for more details.
News Flash! Our Freshly Minted line of hair and body products has just been named an “Editor’s Pick” on Organic Spa Magazine’s website. Check it out. I can’t tell you how important this is for me—to have a trusted source like Organic Spa choose our products is validation of our company mission.
You may wonder why I care so much about natural ingredients. Have you ever read the back labels of the hair and body care products on the shelves at your local drugstore? Some contain lead—yes, lead—coal tar (a known human carcinogen) and formaldehyde, an embalming fluid! It’s more than a little horrifying, more so since many of the most dangerous chemicals are disguised as innocuous sounding “fragrance.”
The expression “what you don’t know can kill you” is quite accurate in this instance. You wouldn’t knowingly buy a product that contained BHA, a human endocrine disrupter that may have adverse developmental, reproductive and immune effects; Benzyl Acetate, which has been implicated in pancreatic cancer; or BHT, an immune system toxicant. These are all common ingredients categorized as “fragrance.” What’s wrong with just using natural ingredients that work and smell great?
In a recent column New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about obesogens, which he defines as endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BHA which are, apparently, largely unregulated. “They are in food, couches, machine receipts and shampoos—and a raft of new studies suggest that they can lead to the formation of more and larger fat cells.” These chemicals are playing a part in why Americans are getting so obese. How scary is that?
This is my promise to you: you will never need a chemical engineering degree to understand the ingredients listed on the back of any Pura product. This decision for us is pure and simple, like our products. We’ll stick with the yummy— peppermint (invigorates the body and promotes hair growth), sweet almond oil (with its wrinkle-reducing and skin- moisturizing properties), organic whole leaf aloe (a super cleanser that has anti-inflammatory properties), and shea butter (which boosts hair’s shine)—and skip the yucky (and unpronounceable) —Methylisothiazolinone, P-Phenylenediamine, Triethanolamine. There really isn’t any choice is there?
So, readers, how are we doing now that we are halfway through the “kindness” campaign? I know that making other people happy always gives me a boost—and I hope it does you, too. Here is another week of ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
February 8: Look up a former teacher who made a difference in your life. Tell him or her why—it will make their day (maybe even their year).
February 9: This morning, tiptoe into your child’s room and wake him or her up with a kiss. Tell them it’s a special day, because they are special. Then, do an activity together that you both will remember: bake heart-shaped cookies, make Valentine’s cards for school, or better yet, don’t get out of bed until noon! It’s Saturday, so snuggle, read books or tell stories about when you were the same age. Simply have fun together.
February 10: How long has it been since you reorganized all of the family’s sports equipment? The linen closet? Your closet? Today, clean one closet in your house and donate anything you do not need to your favorite charity. I promise, it is freeing to let go of things that you and your family no longer use. This is recycling at its best: you get more closet space and help others less fortunate at the same time. And you’ll be one step ahead of the game come spring!
February 11: Plan an impromptu coffee with your neighbors. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t yet met the folks down the block with the new baby or the older couple who have lived there forever. Gathering together over conversation, croissants, and coffee will make the neighborhood a more inviting place for everyone. Who knows? Maybe you’ll start a tradition and make some new friends.
February 12: When you do your regular grocery shopping, pick up some extra pasta, peanut butter, and canned goods to donate to your local food bank. People across the country who never dreamed they would end up at a food pantry—the newly unemployed, seniors, young families—find themselves in need.
February 13: Give the gift of life. Sign up to be an organ donor—it’s often as easy as checking “yes” on your driver’s license. Tens of thousands of people are critically ill and waiting for transplants every year. Being an organ donor can turn one person’s tragedy into a life-affirming and life-changing event for so many.
February 14: This is perhaps the most important gift: Be kind to yourself. Sometimes we are our worst critics, constantly wondering if we could have done something differently or better. So, maybe, just for today, refuse to second guess yourself, focus on your many blessings rather than your perceived shortcomings. Have the confidence to know that your best effort is truly more than enough.
(image courtesy of Prevention.com)
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about love and romance, but for many people, it has become an anxiety-inducing obligation: buying roses (knowing that you’re paying a premium) and just the right card, making reservations at a trendy restaurant. I’d like to suggest something different: 14 loving and thoughtful acts to celebrate the days leading up to February 14, little kindnesses that you can give to virtually anyone, that cost little or nothing, and whose effects will last much longer than that beautiful rose bouquet. In my holiday stress reliever post I talked about the studies that prove that doing good for others actually makes you feel good about yourself. I believe kindness is contagious—spread some around.
February 1: Be loving to someone who is unlovable. We all know someone who is surly, short tempered, or just plain nasty. Maybe, a smile, a compliment, or some simple good cheer might crack that hardened exterior and let a little light—and happiness—in. It can’t hurt and you know you’ll feel better for trying. Repeat as necessary.
February 2: Call your local pet shelter and volunteer to walk a dog or foster a cat; while you’re at it, bring along some old towels and blankets, which are always needed. Even better, if you’re looking to add a pet to your family, consider rescuing one of the thousands of wonderful animals desperate for homes rather than supporting “puppy mills” or buying from a pet store.
February 3: When is the last time you called your grandmother, or favorite uncle? Pick up the phone and do it today. No excuses. Ask them to share stories about their life and keep a record of them—you’ll have their favorite memories to keep with you long after they are gone.
February 4: On your next walk around the neighborhood, bring along a bag (and plastic gloves) to clean up garbage that has piled up along the road.
February 5: If a friend or relative is facing surgery or a serious illness, don’t ask what you can do; that puts the onus on them and people in a vulnerable situation can be hesitant to ask for favors. Instead ask if you can pick up groceries or bring dinner over. If the friend lives close by, volunteer to coordinate meals, visitations, and errands among friends; Google’s calendar makes it easy for people to sign up for specific tasks on specific days.
February 6: If you are estranged from someone important to you, mend fences. Apologize for any feelings hurt; that way you can acknowledge the problem without getting bogged down in the history of the argument. And when you apologize—mean it.
February 7: Pack a small gift in your child’s lunch box for a sweet surprise. Or a love note in your husband’s jacket or computer case. Smiles guaranteed.
We have been talking a lot recently about our Natural Products Association (NPA) certification. Three of the four products in our just-launched Freshly Minted line received this certification at the end of last year, giving us three big reasons to celebrate the holidays early! Like any proud mom, we have been bragging about this to everyone before we realized that many of our consumers might not know what, exactly, this certification means.
First, some background. The Natural Products Association was founded in 1936 and is the oldest nonprofit association “dedicated to serving and preserving the rights of natural products industry retailers and suppliers.” In the past 77 years, the organization has become one of the preeminent advocates for the rights of consumers and retailers to gain access to and to sell safe and natural products. It is also one of a handful of agencies that certify household and personal-care products. As I wrote about in another blog, finding natural products became a priority for me and my family many years ago. I realized quickly that natural products were better for me and for the environment. Here is why:
The NPA’s simple green and white logo means that a product has met the organization’s strict standards for ingredient and environmental safety, responsibility and sustainability.
Natural: A product labeled “natural” should be made from a renewable resource found in nature (flora, fauna, mineral), with absolutely no petroleum compounds. Any ingredient must be listed as generally recognized safe by the FDA. This means that the product must not contain any of the following ingredients: toxic compounds, synthetic silicone, polymers, glycols, ethoxylated ingredients (a harmful detergent used in many shampoos, soaps and toothpaste), carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants, or endocrine disruptors including synthetic fragrances, chemical sunscreens, parabens or phthalates.
Safety: All NPA products should avoid any ingredient with a suspected human health risk.
Responsibility: The product should use no animal testing in its development. Companies must also provide verifiable information regarding all company personal care products to confirm that 60 percent of the personal care products in that brand line meet the NPA Natural Standard requirements.
Sustainability: A product labeled “natural” should use biodegradable ingredients and the most environmentally sensitive packaging.
Freshly Minted is the second product in the Pura Botanica line to receive this certification. Our Lend a Hand Creme Smoother is also certified by the NPA and it is our goal to continue to develop products with this certification in mind.