Natural and Organic Cosmetic Companies That Will Naturally Keep You Looking Your Very Best

As part of my resolution to have a simpler and healthier lifestyle this year, I have been reading up on natural and organic beauty brands. Criteria for brands that I am recording here are that the company uses only pure, earth friendly ingredients …never tests their cosmetics on animals…and has ethics that I endorse…(The following list is still a work in progress that will be updated in the next few days)…

1. 100% Pure

  • Best for…shampoo and conditioner
  • Founded…Napa Valley, California in 2005
  • Ingredients…website features an article about the Ingredient of the Month…this month’s highlighted ingredient is bamboo…company uses only high performing antioxidants, naturally occurring vitamins, and essential oils found in such plant based ingredients as yerba mate, blueberries, and pomegranate
  • Mission Statement…Beauty, as pure as it is powerful. Truly, health food for your skin.
  • Philanthropy…all products are completely, 100% free of artificial colors, artificial fragrances, synthetic chemical preservatives and all other toxins.
  • Price Range…$25ish for shampoo and conditioner each

2.  Afterglow Cosmetics

  • Best for…concealer and blush
  • Founded…2004
  • Ingredients…pure organic and natural ingredients such as grape seed extract, aloe Vera, beeswax, grapefruit extract, lavender flower oil, apricot kernel, jojoba seed, rose petal extract, rosemary extract, pomegranate seed extract, tamarind extract, and arnica extract
  • Mission Statement…to bridge the gap between natural and high-fashion cosmetics and bring you a truly natural blend of bio-active mineral make-up with the fabulous, organic infused, highly pigmented color palette you crave
  • Price Range…$28 for concealor…$26 for blush

3.  Alima Pure

  • Best for…eyeshadows, blushes, tinted lip tints, pressed foundation
  • Founded by…Makeup artist Kate O’Brien created this 100 percent pure mineral pigment makeup line because she was reluctant to let her teenage daughter start wearing makeup because of her concerns with many of the ingredients.
  • Ingredients…Our products are free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, phthalates, dimethicone, petroleum, talc, bismuth oxychloride, and nanoparticles. They’re absolutely never tested on animals.
  • Mission Statement…Minimal ingredients for maximum impact
  • Philanthropy…soy-based Inks on recycled paper for packaging… refillable compacts…never use synthetic dyes or tests on animals
  • Price Range…$26 for eyeshadow…$24 for blush…$14 for lip tints…$34 for pressed foundation

4. Antonym Cosmetics

  • Best for…mascara
  • Founded…founded in 2010 by local Miami makeup artist Valerie (Val) Giraud who sought to create a line of makeup and makeup brushes that were cruelty free and gentle on the skin
  • Ingredients…our brand new organic mascara is based on emollient, nourishing and moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter, vitamin E, beeswax and carnauba
  • Mission Statement….We’re big on eliminating chemicals, but refuse to compromise performance. Your skin deserves natural ingredients, it just shouldn’t be at the expense of achieving the look you love. Until now choosing natural makeup meant tolerating poor performance. Gentle ingredients equaled weak pigmentation and color payoff. There was a gap between the function and the formulation. We created Antonym to bridge that gap; a makeup line that offers professional level performance without compromising the integrity of the ingredients.
  • Philanthropy…We’re eco-friendly and so are our products. By definition, this means that our products don’t harm the environment. So we chose to use bamboo, a natural and sustainable material for our compacts and brush handles. We also use FSC certified paper for our outer packaging and marketing material. FSC certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
  • Price Range…$26 for mascara

5. Axiology

  • Best for…lipstick
  • Founded…Ericka’s holistic and vegan lifestyle emerged in her early twenties, when she became dedicated to creating raw vegan smoothies and natural beauty recipes. Once she realized that natural compounds were rarely used in her favorite beauty product—lipstick—she decided to get in her kitchen and give it a go. The result became a labor of love and passion-project, Axiology.
  • Ingredients…vegan ingredients such as avocado, castor seeds, orange, elderberry, coconut, candelilla wax, grapes! and vitamin e oil
  • Mission Statement…100% Kindness, Truth, & Beauty.
  • Philanthropy…committed to supporting organizations that heal the planet and save our wild animals…donate a percentage of annual profits to partners like Orangutan Foundation International, PeTA, and other humane societies.
  • Price Range…$28 for lipstick

6.  Beauty By Earth

  • Best For…bath bombs and tanning oil
  • Founded…2014
  • Ingredients…beeswax, witch hazel, aloe vera, coconut oil, argan oil, algae extract, calendula, chamomile, glycerin, jojoba oil, lavender
  • Mission Statement…providing premium organic and all natural skin care products of the highest quality, without the premium price.
  • Philanthropy..recyclable packaging, cruelty-free…no additives, no harsh chemicals, no junk – ever
  • Price Range…$32 for a six-pack of bath bombs, $25 for self tanner oil

7.  Beautycounter

  • Best for…tinted moisturizer…mascara…lipgloss
  • Founded…by a wife and mom after she learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety.
  • Ingredients…Ingredient Glossary
  • Mission Statement…to get safer products into the hands of everyone.
  • Philanthropy…
  • Education and safety are at the core of our brand. It’s why
  • Beautycounter has partnered with such trusted non-profits as Environmental Working Group (EWG), The Breast Cancer Fund (BCF), and Healthy Child Healthy World.
  • Price Range…$45 for tinted moisturizer…$29 for mascara…$30 for lipgloss

8.  Biba Lips

  • Best for…Lip Creme
  • Ingredients…rosemary, rose hip oil, jojoba, grape seed oil, Kokomo butter, green tea extract
  • Mission Statement…Natural x Healthy x Ethical
  • Philanthropy…100% natural flavors. Hand-crafted from food-grade ingredients. Non toxic. Free of parabens, phthalates, silicon, dyes, and synthetic waxes. Not tested on animals. Made in the United States. Eco-friendly metal compact.
  • Price Range…$38 for Lip Creme

 8. Celtic Complexion: Specifically formulated for fair complexions, this brand specialises in tinted foundations rich in natural SPFs. They match all fair skin tones perfectly and give you a nice little glow, too.

(Poaring this again so that I can finish my entire list of organic makeup companies…have a bunch more to add…and my Dad always said, if you’re gonna start something to finish it)


Making Sure Your Makeup Is Meticulously Maintained


Now that I’ve started upgrading my makeup collection, I want to be able to take better care of what I buy. Spending at least $35 for a foundation makes you think at least twice before having to replace it because it was somehow “contaminated.”

After all, makeup that has not been taken care of properly can cause such gruesome things as breakouts, acne, pink eye, infections, the common cold, flu, cold sores, hepatitis…need I say more?

And replacing the “better stuff” hurts alot more than replacing a $2 eyeliner that you can’t get to sharpen or $8 mascara that gets ooey and gooey.

Treat your products with care and attention…and they will last longer and look healthier.

First things first…It may seem like common sense, but don’t bother cleaning anything if you don’t first wash your hands…it’s kinda pointless, right?!

Washing your hands keeps you from transferring whatever bacteria may be having a field day on your hands…ever since you handed that Kleenex to the fat lady on the seat next to you in the plane or rummaged through library books that no telling who already touched…from being transferred to your face.

Whether you prefer hand sanitizer or just soap and water, clean hands are the foundation of not only good makeup hygiene, but of a good life.

I always keep a medium hand sanitizer on my desk, in my kitchen, in my car, anywhere and everywhere else that I can think of…and one in every pocket of the outfit I am wearing and every section of my purse. That’s how obsessive-compulsive germophones function, right?!

Anyway, moving onto your “stash”…

Lips…Some people freeze lipstick overnight to weaken and help get rid of any germs and bacteria. (The fact that you should let lipstick “thaw” a little before applying to your lips the next day probably could be go unsaid)..

However, freezing only cripples the microorganisms to some degree without actuall killing it.

Instead, spray your lipstick once with a light mist of rubbing alcohol or use a cosmetic sanitizer wipe to remove the top layer.

You would also be smart to use a lip brush perhaps.

Mascara…Mascara is one of the highest risk products as far as infections go. In order to avoid eye infections, you might want to consider using a disposable mascara spooley instead of the wand that came with your mascara every single day and rubbing the same whatever-the-heck-that-was onto your eyelashes every single day.

Pencils…Sanitize makeup pencils by spritzing them with alcohol and sharpening each pencil after you’ve used it to shed the outer layer where the bacteria collect. Remember to clean your sharpener also.

Powders…(eyeshadow, powders, blush)…Powders do not harbor bacteria, and for this reason these products have the longest shelf life of all cosmetics.

Once you are finished using the product, wipe the top layer off of your product with a tissue. Wiping down the first layer of your powder products removes any oil that has settled on the top of your product…meaning that the oil cannot collect on the product and produce harmful bacteria.

Fill a small spray bottle with alcohol and mist the alcohol onto the surface of the powder to help remove bacteria and keep your products looking new. Just be careful that the alcohol does not compromise the texture of the product and allow the alcohol to evaporate from the product before putting the lid back on.

Another option is Beauty So Clean, a cosmetic sanitizer mist whose main ingredient is alcohol.

Creams…Bacteria can form rapidly in any wet producr…so cream foundation, lipsticks, and blushes are all prime breeding ground for bacteria due to their dark, warm moist atmospheres. Never dip a brush directly into cream makeup. Instead use a palette knife or disposable spatula to scoop these products out so that you will not contaminate your product’s container.

Brushes...Makeup brushes come into contact with your face on a daily basis and require proper cleaning to remove caked-on makeup, dirt, and bacteria…and to avoid infection, inflammation and irritation.

Clean brushes last longer, stay softer, feel better on your face, and keep you from applying any extra makeup that has caked up on the bristles.

High-quality brushes require special attention because the bristles may easily distort, curl, or become damaged. It is important to use a cleaner that gets rid of bacteria and dirt without damaging or altering the brush hairs. If your brushes are made of expensive natural fibers or hair, consider using a professional brush cleansing spray.

After each use, lightly wipe your makeup brushes with an antibacterial wipe.

Powder brushes, blush brushes, and foundation brushes should be cleaned once a week…eye shadow brushes, every other day.

The longer you let bacteria and old makeup build up on your brushes, the more risk you’re exposing your skin to. The more regularly you disinfect your brushes, the quicker and easier they’ll be to clean and the safer they’ll be to use.

  • Pour a sink of warm water. Do not use water higher than the temperature of your body, as the makeup brush’s bristles are quite sensitive to heat. The finer the bristles of the brush are, the easier they could be damaged by temperature.
  • Add 1tsp cleaning product. (I use blue Dawn dish soap. Dish soap removes all the oils and excess product without having to scrub brushes and disturb the fibers too much.)
  • Place the brushes into water. Do not soak your brushes for longer than fifteen minutes. The fine hairs of high quality makeup brushes get damaged by over-soaking in water.
  • Work the soap gently into the bristles of the brush using your fingers. Gentle cleaning will avoid warping the brush shape and prevent the fibers from getting warped.
  • Completely rinse the dish soap from the brush.
  • Use lukewarm water to rinse your brushes.
  • Squeeze extra moisture out of the bristles.
  • Place wet brushes so that bristle is facing down as they dry. The water can ruin the glue attaching the bristles to the handle.
  • Brush handles should also be wiped down with this or a Clorox Wipe before being deep cleaned.
  • Dry the brushes for forty-eight hours or more. Do not place them near heat or blow them dry. Heat will damage your makeup brushes.
  • Make sure that every brush is completely dry before you use them to avoid the overgrowth of bacteria.

Tools…Clean tools…tweezers, scissors, sharpeners, spatulas, mixing palettes, eyelash curlers…with spritz of alcohol and a tissue.

Sharpeners…Soak sharpeners in hot water and some cleaner. Dry with a tissue. Use Q-tips to clean out any stuck sharpenings.

Eyelash Curlers…Use a lighter to remove the gunk of your eyelash curler. Light the lighter, gently put the fire into the curler for about five till ten seconds top. Clean the residue off the curler using tissue, and then you can clean your curler up thoroughly.

Sponges/Powder Puffs…Use liquid soap on your makeup sponge at least once each week to ensure that they are free from bacteria. Dip the sponge in water. Let soak for fifteen minutes.Be sure to get a nice lather and to clean it thoroughly. Rinse until it is completely clean. Let it dry. Squeeze any excess water out before putting it back into your makeup bag or organizer.

Beauty Blenders...Sanitize Beauty Blenders by running them through a wash cycle in the washing machine, or by soaking overnight in brush cleaner.

The Makeup Bag Itself…Finally, clean your makeup bag before putting your newly cleaned cosmetics and brushes back into it.

Putting the brushes back without cleaning the bag re-contaminates the brushes before you’ve even zipped the case. The bacteria that the brushes may have picked up are still present in the case unless you clean and sanitize the bag also.

Empty everything from your makeup bag. Flip the bag inside out. Gently use makeup remover wipes to clean the lining. Another option is to flip the bag inside out and simply wash the makeup bag in the washing machine along with your next load of dark-colored clothes.

It’s All About the Bag

Once you have begun assessing and streamlining your “Getting Dressed” routine…and melding together your minimalistic makeup menagerie…you should decide what products you should carry with you in your bag on a daily basis.

For a minimalist, touch-ups during the day do not involve putting on a full face of makeup and lugging around a suitcase, or big Grandma purse…complete with foundation, loose powder, eyelash curlers, and the bathroom sink. 

Instead, carry a small bag filled with powder, lip whatever, at least some of your usual eye makeup, concealer, and/or brow tamer…honestly even that is probably more than enough if you’re not Miss America.

Anyway, the next fun step is to  decide what or how you’re gonna wag these products around with you all day. 

It is important that you pick the right bag…

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect makeup case for both the daily haul and the long haul.

1.  Cost

.A makeup case, just like a purse or anything else, can run the price gamut from inexpensive to “oh my goodness, I just paid how much for that.”

For example, there’s the following “designer” bags who want to pull their very expensive bags filled with very expensive products mainly to impress people.

A few designer options to consider include… 

 1.  Kate Spade Classic Minna Nylon Travel Cosmetics Case 

  • Color…Black/ Clotted Cream
  • Price…$128.00
  • Size…9″W x 7 ½”H x 3″D

    2.  Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Leather Cosmetic Pouch

    • Color…Options
    • Price… $98.00
    • Size… 8″W X 4.5″H X 2.5″D 

    3.  Large Blush & Brush Makeup Case, Vera Bradley

    • Color…Options
    • Price…$64.00
    • Size… 10 ½” w x 7″ h x 4 ¼” d with 1 ½” handle drop

    On the other side of the coin,
    there are women who could really care less about the actual makeup bag because they would rather spend their money on the contents of that bag. 

    A few bargain bin options to consider include…  

    1.  Forever 21 Scuba Knit Makeup Bag

    • Color…Options
    • Price…$6.90
    • Size… 4.5″x 8.25″x 4″

    2.  Sephora Collection Baby, It’s Bold Outside Cosmetic Bag

    • Color…Gold
    • Price…$10.00
    • Size…(not given on website)

    3.  TARTAN + TWINE Micro Suede Small Organizer (Ulta)

    • Color…Options
    • Price…$ 5.97
    • Size… 5.5″ x 2.75″ x 4″

    Other Factors to Consider…

    Lining…Look for a bag with a waterproof liner. The last thing you need is to open your purse or suitcase and find the rest of your belongings covered in powder or liquid foundation because something leaked. Also, a waterproof liner is easier to wipe clean.

    Material…Transparent makeup cases allow you to easily and quickly find whatever lipstick or eyeliner you may be looking for, but often cloth bags are just plain better looking. Regardless of the material that you choose, just make sure that the fabric is durable and easily wiped clean. 

    Pockets…Most people find a simple no-frills pouch to be most convenient…an outside pocket may allow you to slip a small item into your bag easily, but can also allow things to slip out…

    Shape…a square or rectangular bag makes better use of available space than oddly shaped or rounded bags…a bag that is fairly flat  and stiff helps prevent your makeup getting jumbled up in a corner. 

    Size…When selecting a makeup bag, find one 

    • long enough to fit your pencils at full, just-bought length
    • tall enough for everything to fit without obstructing the zipper
    • wide enough for any bulky compacts

    A few options, arranged by size are…

    1.  Fossil Small Pouch 

    • Color…Taupe Metallic
    • Price…$40.00 (currently on sale for $18)
    • Size…7.38″ W x 4.88″ H x 0.5″ D

    2.  Cole Haan Medium Cosmetics Case.

    • Color…Black with blue trim 
    •  Price…$50…(on sale now for $25)
    • Size…7″ X 5.5″ X 2.5″


    • Color…(see picture)
    • Price…$49.50
    • Size…10″ wide x 5″ deep x 5.5″ high

     4.  Cinda B Medium Cosmetic

    • Color…Available in 11 patterns
    • Price…$20
    • Size… 10″ W x 4.5″ D x 5.5″ H

    What’s In My Bag…

    All that being said…What’s in my bag…
    Or better…

    What will be in my bag once I get rid of all this stuff and start only buying what I absolutely need and will want to use frequently…
    Or even better yet…

    What actually should be in my bag.

    Below are some links to choosing products…

    Right now I’m still trying to finish cleaning out my vanity…(this one drawer is crammed full of stuff that I still haven’t managed to get it open)…and a little overwhelmed with my overload of information on natural and organic cosmetics to even know where my cell phone and purse are…

    Consider this a worksheet…consider yourselves accountability partners…you might be seeing updated lists like this at least quarterly…still brainstorming content…


    ConcealerTen Commndments of Concealor

    FoundationThe 14 Foundations for Every Skin Color

    Lipliner…(Berry Red/Medium Pink/Nude)…How to Use Lip Liner, Harper’s Bazaar

    …(Classic Mauve/Coral/Deep Mulberry /Nude/Peachy Pink/Rosy Pink/Raspberry/Red Red)…The 10 Commandments of Lipstick, Allure Magazine

    Lipgloss…(Cool -Toned Pink/Peachy Pink)…How to Choose the Perfect Lipgloss, Cosmo

    Blush…(Cool-Toned Pink/Neutral Pink/Peachy Pink) …How To Choose the Perfect Blush, Stylecaster

    Bronzer..The Right Bronzer for Your Skin Tone, Birchbox

    HighlighterChoosing the Right Highlighter for Your Skin Tone, Refinery 29

    Eyeshadow Palettes...The Most Gorgeous Makeup for Green Eyes


          1. Gel / Liquid Eyeliner…15 Eyeliner Tips That Make Up for Your Shaky Hands
          2. Pencil Eyeliner…18 Useful Tips for People Who Suck at Eyeliner

            Brow Products...21 Best Brow Products for 2017, Total Beauty

            MascaraFinding the Perfect Mascara, Fashionista

            Tools12 Beauty Tools That Will Make You An Expert, Get the Gloss

                The Women from Genesis


                The women from Genesis are silent actors, hardly ever main characters but instead simply people carrying out their assigned supporting roles. Women enter the story of salvation silently and passively, never for their own sake, always in relation to their husbands or fathers. 

                The women from Genesis become key examples of how God “chooses the weak of the world to shame the strong…and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.” (I Cor 1:27-29)

                The women from Genesis were “hoping against hope… for what we do not see, [waiting] with [patient] endurance.”

                The women from Genesis were by no means perfect. 

                • Sarah stirs with mad jealousy against Hagar, mother of Abraham’s first son. 
                • Rebekah has Jacob dress to feel like Esau to the blind Isaac. 
                • Leah desperately resented her sister Rachel.

                The women from Genesis enable us to understand what Jesus and Paul announce as essential to salvation….that the last will be first…that barrenness becomes the symbol of divine fertility…that honor and dignity are always preserved against the dishonorable and moral weaknesses of man.

                I am so excited, honestly, about a new series of books based on the Book of Genesis.
                The Women of Genesis series explores the lives of the principal women mentioned in the first book of the Bible, wives of the almighty Biblical Patriarchs of the Book of Genesis…men such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…

                • Sarah
                • Rebekah
                • Rachel and Leah

                Orson Scott Card, one of the nation’s most acclaimed and bestselling authors, was honored by Booklist as one of its top 10 Christian novels for 1999 for his novel Stone Tables. 

                Orson Scott Card published the first book in this series in 2000. 

                The three books in the series are…

                1.  Sarah…In Sarah, author Orson Scott Card uses his fertile imagination and uncanny insight into human nature to flesh out a unique woman — one who is beautiful, tough, smart, and resourceful in an era when women get short shrift in life as well as in the historical record. 

                Sarah takes on vivid reality as a woman desirable to kings, a devoted wife, and a faithful follower of the God of Abraham, chosen to experience an incomparable miracle.

                Set in the splendor and excess of Egypt and the starkly beautiful desert landscapes of the Sinai peninsula, Sarah is an altogether believable and provocative drama. 

                This first novel in a trilogy on the women of Genesis illuminates the hardships and the triumphs of a woman destined for greatness.

                2.  Rebekah…Born into a time and place where a woman speaks her mind at her own peril, and reared as a motherless child by a doting father, Rebekah grew up to be a stunning headstrong beauty. 

                She was chosen by God for a special duty. For Rebekah must leave her fathers house to marry Isaac, the studious young son of the Patriarch Abraham. 

                Her struggles to find her place in the family of Abraham are a true test of her faith, but through it all she finds her own relationship with God and does her best to serve His cause in the lives of those she loves. 

                In Rebekah, Orson Scott Card has created an astonishing personality, complex and intriguing, and her story will engage your heart as it captures your imagination.

                3.  Leah…Leah was so young when her sister Rachel was born that she could not remember a time when Rachel was not the darling of the family — pretty, clever, and cute, whereas Leah plugged along being obedient, hard-working, and responsible. 

                Then one day a good-looking marriageable kinsman named Jacob showed up, looking for a haven from his brother’s rage, and Leah fell in love at once. 

                It didn’t surprise her at all that Jacob saw only Rachel. 

                But surely, as the two sisters worked and lived alongside Jacob for seven years, he would come to realize that Leah was the one he ought to marry. 

                . .

                  Lessons Learned from Blogging in February

                  Some days I feel like I am writing about so many different topics that there seems to be no method at all to my madness…but my goal is to actually walk through each part of my day and share some things that I have learned that month. So looking back on February…the month that I have been crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s with the Pantone color of Pink Yarrow…

                  STARTING THE DAY OFF RIGHT…

                  • My goal for the year is to study the Book of Genesis this entire year.
                  • This last month I have still been studying Genesis along with the books about Genesis from the Be Series of commentaries by Warren Wiersbe.
                  • In March I hope to get started with Bible journaling by gathering supplies and finding resources.


                   GETTING DRESSED…

                  • My goal for the year is to establish both a capsule wardrobe…to learn more about organic and natural skincare and cosmetics…and turn what a mess my bedroom closet and laundry currently are into places that I would proudly post on my blog.
                  • This last month I found subscription boxes, blogs, books, product lines that would be worth checking into in the days ahead.
                  • In March I hope to clean out, organize, and pull together my laundry room.


                  EATING BREAKFAST…

                  • My goal for the year is to start putting together a cookbook of Southern breakfast recipes that I can sell at my bed and breakfast.
                  • This last month I have eaten breakfast while chasing a three year old.
                  • In March I hope to begin a new regular post called Muffins and a Movie that highlights a movie that I have recently watched on Netflix and a muffin recipe that corresponds with something about that particular movie….after all, the first word in my blog name is “muffins”…


                  DROPPING THE KIDS OFF…

                  • My goal for the year is to make the quantity time that I spend with our three year old quality time also.
                  • This last month we spent potty-training.
                  • In March I hope to update our “syllabus,” as well as our toy box


                  HEADING OFF TO WORK…

                  • My goal for the year is to move closer to the opening of our bed and breakfast.
                  • This last month I studied “branding.”
                  • In March I hope to create a better schedule for working at home… especially working at home with preschoolers. 


                  LASTING THROUGH LUNCH…

                  • My goal for the year is to create a system of keeping healthy, portable snacks and lunches available as we run out the door.
                  • This last month I ate lunch out way too many times to ever admit.
                  • In March I hope to learn more about getting through cold and flu season…may be a little too late as I sit here holding a three year old with a stuffy nose who has fallen asleep in my lap.


                  MAKING DINNER PLANS…

                  • My goal for the year is to study the different cooking techniques.
                  • This last month I was too busy shopping for organic cosmetics to turn the oven on.
                  • In March I hope to pick back up by “Taking up Baking.”



                    • My goal for the year is to start a binder with recipes, decorating ideas, and so forth about every holiday that I can use for reference once our   business is open.
                    • This last month I slept through Valentine’s Day.
                    • In March I hope to prep for Easter and St. Patrick’s Day in a way that “would make Mom and ‘Em proud.”


                    GETTING HEALTHY…

                    • My goal for the year is to start exercising again and learn to prep foods that are more appropriate for my diabetic husband.
                    • This last month I started focusing on foods that you actually should be eating on a diet, such as foods containing iron…but I feel like I have lost my original voice as a bed and breakfast owner…and have started sounding more like a wanna-be nutritionist. this is why I am writing this post before the month ends.
                    • In March I hope to pick back up on this train of thought at a more comfortable pace.


                    CREATING A HOME…

                    • My goal for the year is to create systems and organization so that “everything can be done decently and in order.”
                    • This last month I chose an acrylic organizer and edited my “makeup wardrobe.”
                    • In March I hope to clear, organize, and decorate our laundry room.  


                    SEWING A STRAIGHT SEAM

                    • My goal this year is to do some things honestly just for me…such as finish the umpteen thousand sewing projects sitting around here, starting a legit historical biographies book club, and so forth.
                    • This last month I potty-trained a three year old.
                    • In March I hope to get my sewing room back into working condition and take another look at my book list.

                    4 Lentil Recipes for Every Woman Who is Not Afraid of a Little Flatulence in Her Life 


                    Millions of Christians are preparing to celebrate Lent
                    , a forty-day period of spiritual preparation to grow closer to God in the days before Easter…which will be celebrated April 16th this year.Lent symbolises the days which lead up to Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection…the forty days and nights Jesus spent alone in the Judaean Desert being tempted by Satan.

                    This period of reflection…and time for fasting, abstinence, and prayer…begins every year on Ash Wednesday, the day after Shrove Tuesday.

                    Shrove Tuesday, also commonly known as Pancake Day, will take place on February 28 this year. This is the day that worshippers used up ingredients such as eggs, milk and sugar…before beginning their fast during Lent.

                    Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after Pancake Day. Ash Wednesday is considered a day to cleanse the soul before Lent actually begins. Palm crosses from the last Palm Sunday are burned, and the ashes are used to mark crosses on the foreheads of parishioners to symbolise repentance for sin and a reminder that death comes to everyone.

                    This year Lent begins on March 1 and will end on Holy Saturday, April 15, the day before Easter.

                    Lent is often a time when believers tend to give up something… such as alcohol, coffee or smoking…until Lent ends to “purify” their bodies.

                    Lentils have long been used as a staple food during the Lent season…having been found in the Bible not only in the story of Esau, son of Isaac and Rebekah, selling his birthright to his brother, Jacob, for a bowl of lentil stew (Genesis 25:29-34)…but also as being among the provisions brought to David when he was fleeing from Absalom. (2 Samuel 17:27)

                    Compared to other types of dried beans, lentils are relatively quick and easy to prepare. Unlike most legumes, dried lentils do not need to be presoaked.

                    One cup of dried lentils will yield 2-2 ½ cups of cooked lentils.

                    • First spread the dried lentils out on a light colored surface and check for small stones or debris. Next place the lentils in a strainer and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.
                    • Boil your water before adding the lentils. Lentils placed in already boiling water will be easier to digest than those that were brought to a boil with the water. 
                    • Use three cups of liquid for each cup of lentils. 
                    • When the water returns to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cover. Green lentils usually take thirty minutes, while red ones require twenty minutes.
                    • Cooked lentils will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about three days if placed in a covered container.

                    Lentils readily absorb a variety of wonderful flavors from other foods and seasonings.

                    The most “famous” dish containing lentils is the Indian dish known as dhal or lentil curry, an ancient recipe and part of the everyday diet in India.

                    Dal, also spelled dhal, is both the Indian term for dried, split legumes…and various soups prepared from them. 

                    Dal is typically eaten in India with rice, and rotis, a wheat flatbread. The manner in which it is cooked and presented varies by region.

                     The dal typically contains split red lentils is commonly referred to as Masoor orkempu (red) togari bele.

                    Most dal recipes begin with boiling the legumes in water with turmeric and salt. Some recipes also call for other ingredients…such as tomatoes, tamarind, unripe mango…often to impart a sour flavor. 

                    After cooking, a fried garnish…known as chaunk, tadka and tarka….is prepared by frying raw spices…cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, dried red chili pepper, turmeric, coriander, garam masala…for a few seconds in hot oil on medium-low heat. Next ginger, garlic, and onion are generally fried for ten minutes. Once the onion turns golden brown, the spices are added, and the chaunk is poured over the cooked dal.

                    Here is a recipe for Masoor orkempu (red) togari bele, if you’d like to try making your own.

                    1.  Eat lentils with a rich source of Vitamin C… 

                    Eating lentils with a rich source of Vitamin C will give you six times as much iron as you would get from eating the lentils by themselves. 

                    Many vegetables, including broccoli and bok choy, are high in both iron and vitamin C. Try adding lentils to salads featuring dark, leafy greens and orange or grapefruit segments such as the following salad from Pulse Pledge seems like a good choice…

                    Pulse Pledge is a website devoted to “pulses” such as lentils, chickpeas, beans, and dried peas. Check out the website for free recipes, information and more.

                    While there, also take the “Pulse Pledge” to eat pulses once a week for ten weeks and join a “global food movement.”

                    Lentil, Grapefruit and Fennel Salad with Avocado


                    • 2 cups cooked green lentils
                    • 1 head of radicchio, chopped
                    • 1 head of fennel, thinly sliced
                    • 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into wedges
                    • 1 avocado thinly sliced
                    • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

                    Dressing…Stir together…

                    • 1/2 cup olive oil
                    • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
                    • 1 tsp salt
                    • 1/2 tsp pepper
                    • 2 tsp honey

                    Pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
                    2.  Eat lentils with a grain like rice, whole-grain pasta, or whole-wheat bread.

                    Lentils do not contain all of the amino acids required by the body for protein synthesis. Combine them with a whole grain for a meal providing complete protein.

                    Lentils have been cooked into flat breads for centuries…most commonly with barley and wheat. Lentils, barley, and wheat all originated in the same regions and spread throughout Africa and Europe during the same timeframe.

                    The following recipe for Middle Eastern bread, made during Bible times, will supply protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. 
                    Copycat Ezekiel 4:9 Bread (makes 4 loaves)

                    • 8 cups wheat flour
                    • 4 cups barley flour
                    • 2 cups lentils, cooked and mashed
                    • 1⁄2 cup millet flour (grind up millet in the blender)
                    • 1⁄4 cup rye flour
                    • 1 1⁄2 cups water
                    • 1 tablespoon salt
                    • 4 -6 tablespoons olive oil
                    • 2 (1/4 ounce) packets yeast or 1 tablespoon yeast, in
                    • 1⁄2 cup warm water
                    • 1 tablespoon honey

                    Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and honey and let sit for 10 minutes. Mix the wheat, barley, millet and rye flour together. Blend lentils, oil and small amount of water(from the 1 1/2 cups water) in blender and place into large mixing bowl with remaining water. Stir in two cups of mixed flour. Add yeast mixture. Stir in 1Tbsp salt and flour. Place on floured bread board and knead until smooth. Put in oiled bowl. Let rise until double in bulk. Knead again and cut dough. Shape into four loaves. Place in four greased pans. Let rise until double in bulk. Bake at 375* for 45 minutes to 1 hour.


                    3.  Eat lentils with meat to add extra nutrients, protein, fiber, and sustenance.

                    Moroccan Lentil Stew

                    • 2 tablespoons butter
                    • 1# lean ground beef
                    • 2 onions, chopped
                    • 1 celery rib, chopped
                    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                    • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 
                    • 1⁄2 teaspoon  pepper 
                    • 1⁄4 teaspoon ginger
                    • 1⁄4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
                    • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, pureed
                    • 1 cup brown lentils
                    • 1 (19 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
                    • 4 cups vegetable broth
                    • 1⁄4 cup vermicelli, broken (or orzo or other small pasta)
                    • 2 tablespoons flour
                    • 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley
                    • 1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro
                    • 1⁄4 cup lemon juice

                    Melt butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Stir in meat, onion, and celery. Cook, covered, 10min. Add spices. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas and broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes. Stir in noodles. Simmer, covered, about 7 minutes longer. Whisk together flour and 1 cup water until smooth. Whisk flour mixture into soup. Simmer, stirring often, for 5min. 

                    8 Reasons Every Woman with a Lint Trap in Her Dryer Should Be Eating Lentils 

                     Lentils have been a staple food since Bible times…Jacob traded lentil soup to Esau for his birthright…lentils were also an ingredient in the sprouted grain bread that the Jewish people made during Babylonian captivity.
                    Today lentils are still a dietary staple throughout regions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In fact, about 25% of the worldwide production of lentils today is both grown and consumed in India.
                    Four of the most common types of lentils are…

                    • Black lentils, also known as beluga lentils for their resemblance to caviar when cooked.
                    • Brown lentils, also known as Spanish pardina lentils, are the least expensive and are best used in soups in stews.
                    • Green lentils have a nuttier flavor. They stay firm when cooked and make great salad or taco toppers.
                    • Red lentils have a milder taste and cook the fastest. They are typically used in Indian dals and purees.

                    Lentils are low in calories but high in protein and fiber, which helps make you feel full so you’re less likely to snack throughout the day or overeat.

                    1.  One cup of cooked lentils provides 16 grams of fiber…63% of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of fiber for an adult man or woman on a 2,000-calorie diet. 

                    Lentils are one of the most filling “stick-to-your-ribs” foods out there. Lentils contain both insoluble and soluble fiber, which means they make you full by expanding in the stomach and absorbing water. 

                    • helps improve heart, digestive and immune function
                    • helps prevent constipation, IBS, inflammatory bowel diseases, diverticulitis and even diarrhea
                    • promotes digestive system health
                    • may help prevent stroke, heart disease, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, hypertension
                    • helps to increase satiety and reduce appetite
                    • makes you feel fuller for longer 
                    • helps control food cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates 
                    • help balance blood sugar levels
                    • lowers risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and various digestive disorders
                    • fights blood sugar fluctuations that can lead to diabetes or low energy levels
                    • helps reduce blood cholesterol levels
                    • prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal
                    • can help prevent energy dips, mood changes, and serious conditions like diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia

                    2.  One cup of cooked lentils provides 18 grams of protein…the equivalent to eating about three whole eggs.

                    Legumes such as lentils are a better protein choice than beef, poultry and fish because legumes contain much lower amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol.

                    Lentils have the third-highest level of protein by weight of any legume or nut, coming just after soybeans and hemp seeds.

                    Lentils are one of the most alkaline protein sources there is, which is important for balancing the body’s pH level and promoting a healthy gut environment. Eating processed foods high in sugar or fried foods creates an imbalance in bacteria develops that can lead to numerous health problems. Lentils help combat the acidic environment of the gut and promote healthy bacterial growth, which is important for nutrient absorption and naturally preventing IBS, indigestion, constipation and many other diseases, too.

                    3.  One cup of cooked lentils contains 358 milligrams folate…90% DV.

                    Folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B-9…

                    •  supports nervous system health
                    •  aids in energy metabolism 
                    •  is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA and red blood cells
                    • reduces risk of cancer, depression, heart disease and age-related vision or hearing loss

                    4.  One cup of cooked lentils contains 1mg manganese…49% DV.

                    • lessens the risk of an unborn child being born with a birth defect 
                    • protects artery walls
                    • helps support red blood cell formation and proper nerve functions
                    • may help prevent anemia and protect against developing heart disease, cancer, and dementia

                    5.  One cup of cooked lentils contains 6.6mg of iron…38% DV.
                    Dried beans and dark green leafy vegetables are especially good sources of iron, even better on a per calorie basis than meat. …

                    6.  One cup of cooked lentils contains 71 mg magnesium…18% DV.
                    Magnesium improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body by allowing veins and arteries to relax.

                    7.  One cup of cooked lentils contains 8% DV of selenium.

                    Selenium is a mineral found in lentils that is not present in most other foods, that 

                    • prevents inflammation 
                    • decreases tumor growth rates
                    • improves immune response to infection by stimulating production of killer T-cells
                    • plays a role in liver enzyme function  
                    • helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body

                    8.  One cup of cooked lentils contains 731mg potassium…21% DV… more potassium than a large banana.

                    6 Clam Recipes That Every Woman with Red Blood Pumping Through Her Veins Should Try…

                    Clams are nutrient-dense mollusks popular for their chewy texture and salty ocean taste. These mollusks do not have a brain, but some can dig up to an inch per second….and intelligent people would be brainy enough to eat clams because they appreciate the nutritional value of “powerhouse” food that contains many vitamins and minerals. 

                    In fact, a single three-ounce serving of fresh clams, about ten small clams, provides two-thirds of the amount of iron you need in a day.

                    Not only are clams excellent for treating or preventing iron-deficiency anemia, clams are also protect against cellular damage, form connective tissue and sex hormones, and support carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

                    A three-ounce serving of steamed clams provides…

                    • Copper…34% DV
                    • Iron..155% DV…(23.8mg of the 18mg RDA of iron for women and 8mg for men) 
                    • Manganese…50% DV 
                    • Niacin…25% DV
                    • Phosphorus…34% DV 
                    • Potassium…18% DV
                    • Protein..44% DV…(21.7g of the 46g RDA of protein for women and 56g for men) 
                    • Selenium…91% DV
                    • Thiamin…10% DV 
                    • Vitamin A…11% DV 
                    • Vitamin B-12…1648% DV…(84mcg of of the recommended 2.4mcg vitamin B-12, a nutrient important for nerve function and DNA synthesis)…
                    • Vitamin C…37% DV
                    • Zinc…18% DV 

                    Fresh clams have a higher nutritional value than canned clams, but steamed clams are prepared with live clams in the shell. Every time I think about doing this myself, I am reminded of the movie Julie and Julia when Julie is throwing the live lobster into the boiling pot of water…haven’t gotten up the courage to do this yet.
                    Instead, here are “6 Clam Recipes That Every Woman with Red Blood Pumping Through Her Veins Should Try”…

                      1.  Alfredo…Simmer 10oz alfredo sauce, 1/2C white wine, 6.5oz drained can chopped clams, 1tsp garlic for 10min.Serve over cooked linguine.

                      2.  Clam Ceviche…Scrub and shuck 12 cherrystone clams…(or buy them already scrubbed and shucked…as in, aw shucks, I have no earthly clue how to do that myself)….Cut the clams into 1/2″ pieces. Strain 1/4C of the clam liquor over the clams. Add 1/3C minced red onion, 5Tbsp lime juice, 2 seeded and minced jalapeños, one diced tomato, 2Tbsp cilantro and pepper. Cover.Refrigerate two hours.Garnish with cilantro, lime wedges, and avocado before serving.

                      3.  Cheese Clam Rolls…

                      • Season 4 dozen shucked Ispich clams with Creole seasoning. Add clams, 1/2C hot sauce, and 1C milk to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour. Remove. Drain completely. 
                      • Combine 1C cornmeal, 1C flour, more Creole seasoning. Dredge clams in the seasoned flour, coating each clam completely. Fry the clams, in batches until crispy and golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the clams from the oil. Drain on a paper-lined plate. 
                      • To assemble, spread tarter sauce on both sides of each roll. Arrange 1 dozen clams on 1 side of each roll. Top the clams with coleslaw and serve.  

                      4.  Clam Chowder

                      5.  Clam Dip…Combine 8oz softened cream cheese, 1/4C sour cream, two 6 1/2oz drained cans minced clams, 3Tbsp liquid from the clams, 1/3C finely chopped red bell pepper,1 minced shallot, 2Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves, 3/4tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/8tsp cayenne… Serve with toasted pita wedges or potato chips

                      6.  Clam Fritters…(Guy Fieri Recipe)

                      Lovin’ Me Some Liver and Onions

                      Liver contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food…and blows any other “superfood” totally out of the water as far as nutritional value.

                      One hundred grams of beef liver contains 6.5mg of iron…36% of your daily recommended intake. In addition, liver is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamin A, all the B vitamins, folic acid, copper, zinc and chromium.

                      Many of us flat out refuse to eat liver…even fried chicken livers.

                      After all, the liver is a chemical processing plant that converts protein to glucose and glucose to glycogen…manufactures triglycerides…render toxins inert…and shuttles these toxins to be expelled through the kidney as urine…makes you wanna go run for seconds or even thirds, right?!

                      Yet the liver obviously doesn’t just accumulate these toxins…if that were the case, then we’d all be dead…right?!

                      All of us…because “liver and onions” in some form is eaten throughout the world…

                      • In Brazil, liver and onions is served with puréed potatoes or home fries.
                      • In France, liver is fried with butter and bacon.
                      • In Italy, liver cooked with a dash of red wine or vinegar is called fegato alla Veneziana recipe…liver cooked in lard with a dash of white wine is called fegato alla Romana.
                      • In Latin America, liver and onions is served with tortillas or rice and called either, in Spanish, hígado (de res) encebollado…or in Portuguese, fígado (bovino) acebolado.
                      • In the United Kingdom and Germany, calf’s or lamb’s liver is usually eaten along with fried bacon, and boiled or mashed potatoes.

                      Liver and onions once enjoyed widespread popularity in the United States and could usually be found on the menus of diners and American home-style restaurants….Today about the only place you’ll find it is Luby’s and Golden Corral.

                      Liver and onions consists simply of slices of liver and onions…go figure…The sweetness of the onion “cuts” the somewhat metallic flavor of the liver.

                      Meals as simple as liver and onions are totally reliant on the quality of the ingredients that you use. Make the extra effort to get the best ingredients you can find…

                      At the risk of sounding like a tree-hugger again, the liver from “a cow raised in industrial, intensive operations and exposed to environmental pollutants” will obviously taste different than the liver of a “pasture-raised cow with a perpetually cud-filled maw and relatively light toxic load.” 


                      Liver and Onions

                      1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Place a roasting pan or large baking sheet inside to keep onions and bacon warm while you cook the liver.
                      2. Fry eight strips of bacon till browned but not TOO crispy. Keep warm. 
                      3. Fry four large, thinly-sliced onions with 1tsp sugar over medium heat, for about 10min. Add 2Tbsp balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Remove from the pan. Keep onions warm in the oven. 
                      4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat.
                      5. Divide 2 pounds calves liver into 4 even pieces. Pat liver dry. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge lightly with flour. Fry liver over a high heat for about 30 seconds per side. (You want the liver to be browned on the outside and pink on the inside. Cooking the liver too long will make it tough and dry)…
                      6. Divide potatoes, onion, bacon and liver evenly between four plates.

                      Serve the liver with mashed potatoes, salad, and French bread.