How to Green Your Holidays – tips for a stylish infusion of nature

Have y’all thought about how to green your holidays? Because here’s a shocking fact: household waste increases by 25% over the Christmas holidays. Yikes!

We here at 512organics think about eco-friendly all. the. time. Christmas takes it up a notch, but here’s the cool thing: using your creative spirit to decorate, buy and wrap with little to no waste actually pumps up the holidays, infuses the beauty of nature into everything, and makes the festivities hands-on in a way our automated world misses out on. It creates a new, fresh, inventive spin, and we really, really like it.

Get in the spirit and green your holidays in a flash

Gift wrapping

There are tons of beautiful options to get into: fabric gift coverings, plain paper with a pop of colorful nature, gorgeous handmade gift tags, bows made from biodegradable materials…

Our favorite earth-friendly gift-wrapping tip at the moment: thrift store fabric (you’d be surprised at the quality you can find) used in the Japanese furoshiki wrapping method. Bonus? Nice, reusable fabric becomes part of the gift! Think kerchiefs, linen tea towels, even small tablecloths. SO cute.

        

  upcycling sweaters as gift wrap               classic newspaper with greenery                furoshiki

 

Decorating

Do you get into decorating for the holidays like we do? Once we incorporated the nature aesthetic, the possibilities suddenly seemed endless.

Wreaths are a great start, but to really “branch out” and get your nature decor groove on, thenotepasser blog has a selected group of zero waste ideas to choose from. It’s amazing how natural beauty can really shine.

Greenery, branches, berries and wood can all look holiday beautiful. Just add sparkly LED lights and you’re set. Gorgeous.

                                

Gifts

Planet-friendly gift ideas are everywhere: terrariums, handmade beeswax candles, herb-potting kits, artisan cups and bowls made from ceramic and wood, vintage shirts, steel pizza cutters, anything glass or bamboo (my personal wish list includes bamboo toothbrushes and razors), leggings made from recycled fabric … the list goes on and on.

Uncommon goods has curated a diverse collection of environmentally friendly gifts, some incredibly elegant. If you don’t love the Recycled Metal Ostrich Planters, send them to us! ;-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee lover in your life? Ecoffeecup makes them from bamboo fiber – they’re cheerful, functional and pretty.

 

Last but not least, our own stainless steel oil-diffusing necklaces, paired with any organic essential oil blends, packaged in biodegradable glass containers. Boho stylish and earth friendly, this way to green your holidays is super practical.

 

 

 

 

 

Also

There’s the environmental and psychological benefit of deciding to green your holidays. Not giving a physical thingbut instead gifting your time and attention (picnic lunch, movie date), a digital gift (e-books, music), gift cards (pedicures, restaurants, experiences such as hiking tours or kayaking), or simply cooking dinner for someone you love is awesome. Bonding over experiences together can make a gift really special.

And don’t underestimate the satisfaction of making something with your own hands! You know you want to learn to knit. ;-)

We’d love to hear your green holiday ideas. Comment below to let us know what we missed.

Happy holidays, y’all!

Breast cancer radiation care – Why oils? + more. Part 3

In part 3 of this series, we wrap up all the reasons that oils + simple, effective self-care can make all the difference in your breast cancer radiation experience. Read on for more:

Helping your skin combat radiation stress

Radiation, especially in the final weeks of treatment, can cause dermatitis and ulceration of the skin. In some cases, radiation treatment for cancer has a low to moderate risk of side effects – in others, it’s very high: up to 95%. Damage can range from a mild, red rash (erythema) and itchy, peeling or flaking skin (dry desquamation) to a more severe reaction with blisters and wet, peeling skin (moist desquamation). (source: National Institute of Health link here)

photo by freepik

Repeated radiation exposure causes an imbalance in tissue damage and repair, so that exposed skin is damaged faster than it can repair itself. The resulting wounds are not “damaged” skin as much as they are “missing” skin. The reaction might look like a thermal “burn”, but is not actually a burn. Moderate to severe reactions can occur near the end of treatment or even several weeks later.

Strengthening the skin

Hydrating prior to beginning radiation is paramount to successfully managing the damage potential. Applying oils that deeply hydrate and encourage cell renewal, repairing and rejuvenation can go a long way toward preventing and minimizing radiation damage. The National Institute of Health encourages skin hydration prior to and during radiation here.

We’ve formulated our Radiation Kit to contain the most hydrating and bio-available oils and botanicals, delivering nutrients and antioxidants known to promote skin wellness. They help increase the skin’s ability to repair itself by boosting cell turnover and renewal, which is vital to rapid healing. We’ve found it’s essential to start applying Step 1 oils 1-2 weeks prior to beginning radiation, and to use Step 2 and 3 oils during and for several weeks after radiation (some people report a lingering post-radiation itch that may also be relieved by hydrating with the oils).

 

At the very least, you may reduce the amount of dermatitis you experience. At the most, you may find that your skin stays remarkably healthy. Results can vary widely, but the very act of lovingly applying nurturing oils sends a kind energy to the area, and raises your awareness to treat the area gently.

Avoid artificial fragrances, dyes or other allergens. Use mild soaps and lukewarm water. Keep it simple and comfortable, and consider wearing loose-fitting cotton clothing and/or covering the area with a piece of soft cotton cloth to keep the skin from rubbing on fabric.

If your skin cannot withstand the effects of radiation (even with careful care) and your reaction to radiation is severe, please consult your doctor and/or cancer recovery center regarding the dressings you may need for wound care.

It is preferable that you NOT apply our loving oils to open skin.

Reducing inflammation

The National Institute of Health reports that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) has been shown to reduce the severity of radiation dermatitis significantly in breast cancer patients (in those who have not had a complete mastectomy). Randomized study patients took 2.0 grams of curcumin three times per day (6.0 grams daily). Consult your doctor to see if this may be right for you.

A clean, unprocessed diet also helps tremendously in encouraging general wellness.

 

Immune system boosters & general wellness

Besides diet and any exercises recommended by your doctor, there is meditation, time with loving family and friends, acupuncture, massages, and music – all good for your body and spirit.

A simple walk in nature cannot be underestimated, and sitting under a tree or in a garden is highly encouraged. “Grounding” is just that – an experience that helps to center and connect you to the soothing energy of nature and it’s rhythms.

 

 

Use rituals that uplift and comfort you as often as possible. Even simply lighting a candle and sitting quietly for a few minutes every day can decrease stress. Your mindset is a powerful ally, and remember: Radiation is just high-energy electromagnetic waves. And as my amazing friend Anita (who was the first to ask for radiation oils) says:

“During radiation (and chemotherapy) you are very rapidly destroying old cells and your body is creating new ones.  This is an amazing opportunity to “imprint” all the new cells being created with the messages you want for your body and your life.  So be very mindful of staying positive where your thoughts and words are about what you WANT, not focusing on what you’re afraid of, or the worst case outcomes!”

photo by freepik

And finally, an Awesome Fact: scents that you enjoy have been shown to boost the immune system. The wonderful essential oils we use are not just anti-inflammatory and hydrating – they can positively affect your mood, your body’s natural defense systems, and even boost your memory and energy level. We hope they bring an added level of healing care to your experience.

Peace and wellness,

Brenda

Breast cancer radiation care – Why oils? + more. Part 2

In the first of this 3-part series (#1 is here), I introduced you to Anita, the force of nature who requested our breast cancer radiation oils into existence.

Asking me to create a special set of oils for her radiation treatment was brilliant. Intuitively, well before radiation ever started, Anita knew what her body would need to get through it. And even though I’d come to know how incredibly special oils can be, I’d never thought of using their healing powers in that particular way. What a fantastic idea!

When it came time to formulate the radiation kit, though, I hesitated for a moment. It felt so…important.

Anita’s faith? Never wavered. She was rock solid.

That’s when the lesson was illuminated: Anita was trusting herself, her intuition. It wasn’t arbitrary – it was full of intention. She was extending that trust to me, and it was a gift.

And just like that, everything, and I mean everything healing, was channeled into those oils.

  butterflies signify transformation

The result? An extraordinary experience that has expanded both our worlds in beautiful ways.

Anita healed beautifully from radiation treatments. In fact, her skin was remarkably unharmed (her review explains that here). We could attribute that exclusively to the Radiation Repair Kit, but what happened was much more than just our lovely oils.

Anita channeled 20 kinds of love to that breast. She turned the diagnosis into a whole new life paradigm. Self-care was the imperative, healing as a way of life, the path. Perception was absolutely everything. Her wisdom was, and is, real.

She made videos to share her thoughts while she went through treatment, and they’re the most calming thing I can find about cancer. You’ll feel that way, too. Find them on her website here.

peace in nature

You don’t need a diagnosis to love and treat your body, mind, and spirit like the beautiful temples that they are. Cancer or not, we all need this message: everything in your life matters. But health issues can be, and often are, a catalyst for change.

Reaching out for help can be among our most powerful acts. Knowing its power and believing in it can be life-changing, transforming enormous challenges into shared journeys of strength, insight and support. That’s how the burden gets lighter and the path gets smoother.

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer – any kind of cancer – please reach out to Anita at anitacoaching.com. Your own paradigm will change for the better. Really.

hopes and dreams for a better you!

xoxo, Brenda

 

 

Final in this series coming soon!

Breast cancer radiation care – Why oils? + more. Part 1

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this post explains how 512organics ™ joined the global breast cancer support team.

Almost exactly one year ago, my dear friend Anita (more about her below) requested that I do something for her: create a blend of oils specifically designed to help prepare her skin for breast cancer radiation treatments. She’d heard about the potentially devastating effects of radiation, and wanted to approach it proactively. Anita, being who she is, was very confident that whatever I came up with would be helpful and amazing and just what she needed.

Her confidence was (and always is) inspiring, and after a couple days pondering the potentials, I jumped in.

The question on the table was: “What could oils do for her soon-to-be-irradiated skin?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The answer, it turns out, is “everything”.

Here’s the skinny: Radiation, especially in the final weeks of treatment, can, and most likely will, cause dermatitis and ulceration of the skin. In some cases, there’s a low to moderate risk of side effects – in others, it’s very high, up to 95%. This depends very much on the type and location of cancer being treated, with breast cancer having a higher percentage than most. Damage can range from a mild, red rash (erythema, roughness, swelling, tenderness), to itchy, peeling or flaking skin (dry desquamation), to a more severe reaction with blisters and wet, peeling skin (moist desquamation). Moderate to severe reactions can occur near the end of treatment or even several weeks later.

The problem? Radiation causes an imbalance in tissue damage and repair, so that exposed skin is injured faster than it can replicate and repair itself. The resulting wounds are not “damaged” skin as much as they are “missing” skin. The reaction might look like a thermal “burn”, but is not actually a burn.

The answers on how to treat it vary, from aloe to emu oil to fancy dressings. But hardly anyone argues with this statement:

“It is generally agreed that the ideal method for preventing and minimizing skin reactions is moisturization of the irradiated area.” (source: National Institute of Health – link here)

Once that part was settled, it was simply a matter of narrowing down the most effective oils in my botanic arsenal. Here are the basic conceptual premises that drove every decision:

  1. Strengthening the skin prior to beginning radiation is paramount to successfully managing the damage potential.
  2. Providing hydration and nutrition to the skin cells throughout the process helps keep them strong and allows for faster repair.
  3. Applying oils that deeply hydrate and encourage cell renewal, repairing and rejuvenation can go a long way toward preventing and minimizing radiation damage.

So what strengthens, provides hydration and nutrition, and encourages cell renewal, repairing and rejuvenation? I already knew the answer, because oils that are amazing for your skin is what I do! Everything I needed was in front of me. Time to get to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few days later, I presented Anita with her three-step Radiation Repair Kit ™. Secretly I crossed my fingers. I felt optimistic, but being a scientist at heart, I wanted strong evidence that what we were trying to do was effective. Not to mention, letting her down would’ve broken my heart. She needed something truly awesome for this piece of her journey, and I was hoping these oils were it. She started using Step 1 immediately, about 3 weeks before radiation started.

By the end of her treatment and for the weeks following, it was more and more clear: the oils worked. Anita’s results were absolutely outstanding. Not only did she not have a moderate or severe reaction to radiation, she had one so mild and easily managed that her lymphedema physical therapist was blown away. So were her oncologist and radiation doctors. So was she! So was I!

Later, she wrote a lovely review, which you can read here.

Note: every feedback I’ve received from customers since then has been overwhelmingly positive, even from people who are using the oils for radiation treating a different type of cancer.

(photo created by Freepik)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratification is a wonderful thing. The oils devotee in me was floating on a sea of joy, but the medical professional (and friend) in me was over the moon. Helping others be well and heal naturally is my happy place, and this experience took it to a whole other level. The cogs in the wheel of life have clicked into place, and another “why” was born.

There’s another piece to this story, though, and it’s so important that I have to include it in the next post. You won’t want to miss the rest of Anita’s journey, but in the meantime, hop over to her site and hear some of it straight from her. Go here.

xo, Brenda