Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rest and Relaxation

Although I am very reluctant to take vacation I do see its importance in just clearing the mind for new thoughts.  Last week I went to the beach in Mexico for some rest and relaxation and here are some random thoughts.

When on vacation, get in the water no matter how cold it is, its why you are there.
When at an ‘all inclusive’ its best to not start drinking until noon. Drink more water than alcohol.
Simple things like the cleaning staff leaving towels folded like animals makes thing more fun.
At the all you can eat buffet try to focus on fresh fruit; I had some delicious melon.
Talk to new people, even if they don’t speak English. Its fun to figure out ways to communicate.

Living in the US we are lucky to have a relatively short plane ride to warmer weather in Mexico; Europeans don’t have a similar place that is close in the winter.

Sunscreens can damage coral reefs and the ocean. Go easy, try wearing a coverup. You can read a little more about it in my other blog.
Get out of the resort and find an old fishing village to walk around and get a sense of culture.
Europeans smoke alot! I know that is a stereotype, but I am just not used to being around smokers.

Highlights of our trip:

yoga and zumba on the beach
snorkeling on the coral reefs
walking through Mayan ruins
paddle boarding in the ocean
kayaking in the ocean
swimming in pale blue blue ocean water
getting a great book read (Wild by Cheryl Strayed)
long walks on the beach

After not having thought about much for a week (especially work) I’m sure that my business will benefit from some great ideas. One big realization though is knowing that I have a great staff who can take care of things while I am gone. As our company has grown I have benefited from hiring great people who add much to the company.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Easy Herb Drying

This time of year I start to think about spring and what I need to do to get ready for the rush of farming. I remember not having enough space in my herb hut where I dry my herbs. I have a vinyl covered garage building where I dry herbs and inside I have shelves and tables to hold baskets and to lay out herbs. In our dry climate it usually doesn't take long for the herbs to dry so they rotate through the herb hut pretty quickly. But I still need more SPACE.

Two years ago my husband picked up some bread racks at the ReStore because he thought I might find a use for them. Well, I realized that they make very good herb drying racks; I just don't have enough of these plastic bread trays to fully utilize the racks.

So I asked my husband to make some trays that would fit and he came up with these. They are made from standard molding that is 3 feet long, cut and nailed together with a new nail gun he recently got. On the bottom he stapled down some screen material. The sides of these are about 2 inches high and they fit on the bread racks nicely.The screening on the bottom will let enough air circulate so the herbs can dry.

The above picture is our prototype which seems pretty sturdy and easy to handle. Now he can make a lot of them quickly.  This almost makes me excited about cleaning out the herb hut to get it ready for spring/summer!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Five Enzymes Found in Skin

Enzymes are basically proteins that speed up th rate of a chemical reaction. In other words, they make things happen that otherwise would be so slow as to be negligible.  There are many enzymes in skin, these are a few.

1. Tyrosinase – this enzyme regulates the production of skin pigment (melanin).  It is involved in the initial step of melanin (pigment) production by adding a hydroxyl group to the amino acid tyrosine (tyrosine hydroxylation). Some skin lightening products are formulated to inhibit this enzyme.

2. Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMP) – are responsible for breaking down proteins. They are found throughout the body but in skin their role is to breakdown and recycle the skin matrix of the dermis, specifically collagen and elastin. Typically, this is a bad thing because it weakns the matrix and leads to wrinkles; however, this is a good thing if the enzymes are breaking down damaged or worn out structural proteins, facilitating wound healing, or clearing a way for white blood cells to move into infected areas. Some skin care ingredients are designed to inhibit these enzymes.
3. prolyl-4-hydroxylase and lysyl-hydroxylase – These enzymes are responsible for making  collagen, one of the structural proteins of the skin. These enzymes require vitamin C to do their job. In face deficiencies in vitamin C result in the disease scurvy due to impaired collagen. Some skin care ingredients are designed to help boost these enzymes; vitamin C for one.

4. Glutathione-s-transferase (GST) – Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are a family of Phase II detoxification enzymes that work in the skin and other organs to protect cells from attack by reactive electrophiles. They do this by binding reduced glutathione to the toxic agents. This is the first step in removing these agents. The role of GST in cancer is widely studied.

5. Kallikreins – these are part of a large family known as Serum Proteases that break peptide bonds in proteins. In the skin they help with desquamation. They do this by breaking down the proteins that connect one cell to another in the stratum corneum.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ring Botanicals Perfume

One of my favorite things about having a business is the fascinating people that it has brought into my life. One of those is Jessica Ring, of Ring Botanicals, who has a way with both words and plant essences. 

Jessica is a distiller, a perfumer, and a poet, living on her family farm in Oregon. She distills native Pacific Norwest botanicals as well as farm botanicals to create hydrosols and essential oils that she uses to make natural perfumes.

Recently we decided to trade some products and I excitedly chose two of her perfumes perfumes; Copal Rose and Spice Lavender. Rose and lavender are two of my favorite herbs and fragrances and I was anxious to experience what Jessica did with them.

The Rose Copal has a sweet, warm, somewhat spicy aroma with scents of balsam. Just lightly floral the scent is almost springlike. With time the rose fragrance seems to become more dominant. In fact, I liked it even more after it had been on my skin an hou.

Lavender Spice is a very warm fragrant blend that warmed me on a cold winter day. It is lightly floral light but with the warm, woodsy fragrance of balsam and vanilla.  With time it seems to become more spicey and delicious.

Both reminded me of the Northwest Forests where they were made. And both stay on the skin for a long time.

I love that she says she offers ‘wilderness in a bottle’. You can learn more about Jess and her perfumes here.


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