Month: February 2016

Want to Know What’s REALLY in Your Everyday Products!? Then Think Dirty!

Think Dirty!


Ever wonder what those ingredients are in your everyday home, health, and beauty products that you can’t pronounce? How harmful are they? What are they doing to you and your loved ones? Can you even avoid these toxic chemicals anymore? The simple answer is…YES!!!! Think Dirty!

So many companies are labeling their products as “natural” or “green”, but when you dig deeper those labels are often very misleading.  For this reason, I started doing my own research about what harmful toxins are in our everyday products.

TD-badges_-01_BestFaceForward-362x350About 6 months ago, a friend told me about the app “Think Dirty”, which has honestly changed my life. (P.S.-It’s FREE!)  A week after downloading this app (and consequently freaking out with each product I scanned) , I realized how many toxic products I had in my home that I was using every single day! The majority of my products said “natural” or had a similar phrasing on them, so I thought I was somewhat safe!

Boy was I wrong!  I proceeded to replace as many of these harmful products asap.  The Think Dirty app not only made researching the products in my home easy, but replacing the products possible and convenient as well.


Think Dirty is an app that allows you to scan the bar code of an item or search for a specific product.  Not every single product ever made is in the database, but there are few hundred thousand, so odds are, whatever you use is going to be in there.
This app will tell you how “dirty” a product is on a scale of 0 (being the cleanest) to 10 (being the most toxic).  It will also tell you WHY, which I find very important.


The “dirty meter”, as they call it, lists three categories that make the product dirty; carcinogenicity, development & reproductive toxicity, and allergies & immunotoxicities.  I find this section extremely helpful because a lot of the time I know an ingredient is bad, but I don’t know why.


Once you go into the ingredient section it will rate each ingredient individually on the same 0-10 scale, so you can see how and why the overall product is rated what it is.  If you then select the individual ingredient, you can see other names for it, what it’s generally used for, health impacts, sources, and warnings from regulatory agencies.

I find the warning from regulatory agencies especially interesting because I have found that there are a great deal of products allowed in our country that are either banned or on a warning list in other areas of the world like Canada or the European Union.


The final section is called “our picks”, which is what the app selects as alternates to the product you are currently reading about.  Therefore, if the product is rated a 9 or a 10 (extremely toxic) and you want to know which products you could replace it with, they give you suggestions of products that are much lower on the toxicity scale.

This is one of my favorite features of this app because sometimes you know that a product is harmful, but you have NO IDEA what to replace it with and don’t have a bunch of time to do research to find a different product.

Another great feature of this app is that you can add all the products you currently use to “my bathroom shelf” and it will provide an overall, combined rating of the products you use.  I feel that this is a great feature because it shows how ONE toxic product can be harmful even if all of your other products are relatively toxin free.


I now monitor the products I use closely with the Think Dirty app and make a lot of my own products with natural ingredients and Young Living essential oils (when applicable) to save money and avoid toxins.  Some of the everyday items I make are deodorant, hair spray, leave-in conditioner spray, hand soap, laundry detergent, lotions, air freshener spray, chapstick to name a few!

If you do not have a smart phone to download this app, or would like another resource to do research on products, try The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.  This site is similar, but focuses on products you would put on your skin.

Think Dirty is a great app, but whatever you do, be sure to research products you use and don’t be fooled by words like “natural”, “green”, etc! It is important to know what you are exposing yourself to on a daily basis and to reduce the toxicity in your life!

Until next time, -Shannon 🙂







Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my research and personal experiences. Use of Young Living Essential Oils and other products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. I am not a doctor or healthcare professional.

What!? A Simple, DIY Hairspray with SUGAR?

Tired of buying pricey hairspray that causes you to breathe in toxic chemicals!?

I know I am!  I was less than optimistic about this DIY hairspray recipe at first, but now I can tell you firsthand that it is easy, effective, AND cheap! I thought to myself, this can’t be true.  How could water, sugar, salt, and essential oils hold my hair as well as those salon quality, chemical-based aerosol products? Also, won’t the sugar make my hair sticky!?

Well, you won’t know for yourself until you try it! This DIY hairspray recipe will cost you under $2 and the only reason it will cost that much initially is due to purchasing the glass spray bottles at around $1-1.50 each.  After that, refilling the bottle with this DIY hairspray will cost under $1!

This DIY hairspray recipe is for a “flexible” hold.  Meaning, it’s not going to hold your boyfriend’s blowout or keep pristine ringlet curls all day long.  It is more for flowing curls, up-dos, or taming frizz and those pesky “fly-aways” we all get.


There is a simple solution if you would like more of a MAX hold though.  You could add a teaspoon or two of hair gel to this recipe if you care more about keeping it cheap than all natural.  My suggestion though would be to add another teaspoon of sugar and about a tablespoon of high quality aloe vera gel (organic if possible).  This will provide a stronger hold, but you may need to experiment with the proportions to get exactly the hold that you are looking for.

Tip: If you currently do not have or use essential oils, please, DO NOT go out to the grocery store and buy any old oil! You CAN make this hair spray without the essential oils.  It simply wouldn’t have the added benefits of shine, growth, and texture.  Before going out and buying oils, do your own research, but I only recommend using Young Living essential oils.  Learn more by clicking here!

You can learn more about the essential oils in this recipe and how to purchase by clicking here.  I only use Young Living essential oils due to the superior quality and Seed to Seal promise!

If you try this recipe, please let me know your thoughts! 

Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my research and personal experiences. Use of Young Living Essential Oils and other products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. I am not a doctor or healthcare professional.

DIY Facial Serum for Dry Skin

Is this what your skin feels like this time year!?dry skin

It’s that time of year where everyone’s skin turns into a dry, scaly mess! It may not affect everyone (especially those of you living in the south), but I hear so many people mentioning and complaining about it, including myself! I utilized my own knowledge of oils and did some more research to come up with this simple, easy DIY Facial Serum for Dry Skin recipe!


What I discovered is, in terms of supporting skin health, especially in the winter, frankincense essential oil is key!  After looking at countless recipes, I decided to try a rather simple one. I prefer to make it myself not only to save money, but so I know EXACTLY what is in the concoction I am putting all over my face (which ultimately enters the body system; our SKIN is the largest organ of the body after all!).

FrankincenseBack to the recipe….I chose frankincense as the primary essential oil, then also added tea tree and lavender essential oils.  As my carrier oil, I chose almond oil because I like the texture of it (it’s not too oily and soaks in fairly quickly).

Now, there are PLENTY of other essential oils I could have added to this mix, but remember, I wanted to keep it simple.  I wasn’t sure if it would work or not, but the reason I am sharing this DIY Facial Serum for Dry Skin recipe with you is because IT DID!!!!

The dry, scaly skin on my face generally happens every winter, but for some reason it was particularly worse this year.  After 5 days of using this serum, once in the morning and once in the evening on a clean face, I have seen a total turn around in the appearance of my skin. I am upset with myself for not taking a before picture! This serum soothed the skin irritation I was experiencing, helped restore my skin’s natural moisture balance, and is currently supporting my now healthy, radiant skin!

  • assists in maintaining radiant skin
  • has the ability to smooth the look of healthy skin
  • supports aging skin
  • key ingredient of Young Living Boswellia Wrinkle Cream™
Tea Tree
  • reduces the appearance of blemishes
  • supports healthy skin
  • soothes skin irritation
  • restore the skin’s natural moisture balance
  • calming scent

Remember, everyone’s skin is different! Some people have acne prone, greasy skin and others have dry, uneven skin. What works great for me, might not work as well for you.  It’s all about experimenting with different recipes and deciding what has given you the best results.

If you aren’t interested in making your own, here is a great alternative to the DIY version of my dry skin serum! Young Living’s Essential Beauty Serum for dry skin!

seed to seal**Here is an important fact! If you are buying essential oils from grocery stores or even health food stores….STOP! Do your research first! I always encourage people to go out and find the facts for themselves.

The only essential oils I use are Young Living brand because their oils are proven to be therapeutic grade and 100% pure! For more information, you can head to Young Living’s website or my page on their Seed to Seal process.


Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my research and personal experiences. Use of Young Living Essential Oils and other products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. I am not a doctor or healthcare professional.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Why join?

When I tell people that I belong to a “CSA” I have learned over time just to refer to it as a “crop share” since people will typically know what I mean. If I say “Oh, I belong to a Community Supported Agriculture program”, I get plenty of confused looks or people thinking I am some crazy hippie!

In reality though, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are a great way to get involved in buying fresh, local, and seasonal produce. Doing so provides tremendous support to farmers who want to weed out the middle man and provide high quality, seasonal produce directly to the consumer at a reasonable price.

CSA Fast Facts
The general way a Community Supported Agriculture program works is the farm will allow community members to purchase a certain number of shares for a season’s crops.  The farmer will then divide the produce between the shareholders on each designated pick up date throughout the growing season.  In turn, the money provided up front allows the farmer to spend time focusing on the crops. Read More

Otherwise, time is wasted trying to generate business or sitting around at a farmer’s market that may require a great deal of travel time and more opportunity for crops to be damaged.  Share holders pay a designated fee before the growing season begins, generally in late winter/early spring. This early income helps fund the crops for the growing season including expenses to buy seeds, repair equipment, make upgrades, etc.
produce store

By participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program you are supporting a local business owner (the farmer) and keeping more of your money within your community.  Rather than going to a huge chain grocery store to get your produce and buying bell peppers from “Mexico” (which obviously is a massive country and you don’t know how or where in Mexico the farmer grew the peppers), you can purchase local, sustainable, and seasonal produce right in your backyard! Sure, you aren’t going to get strawberries from a winter CSA or potatoes from a summer CSA, but the experience of joining a CSA and knowing you are receiving fresh, high quality produce from a farm nearby is unparalleled.

product dragon fruit

Another significant advantage of joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program is that you are purchasing local produce.  This means you are not participating in harming the environment by shipping food thousands of miles, which creates a huge carbon footprint.  Read More

Think about how much gas it takes for a semi truck or even an airplane full of exotic fruit (like dragon fruit, pictured above) to travel into the United States from Thailand. Even just transporting out of season vegetables across the United States from California to New York causes a great deal of harm to the environment.  The pollution from produce traveling that far is extensive, let alone the preservatives you are ingesting that companies add to the produce in order for it to survive the long journey! I understand wanting berries in the winter once in a while (because they are delicious and nutritious!), but people are still buying produce from grocery stores during the summer that could be easily obtained simply by participating in a CSA with higher quality, local produce!

produce 4I joined a CSA 3 years ago and enjoy being a part of such a great community supported program! I recently switched the CSA I participate in simply due to the location of pick up, but not because of dissatisfaction with the previous farm or their produce.  There are definite perks and downfalls to joining a CSA, but I would definitely recommend looking into options in your area and asking yourself a few questions before making the decision.  I understand that a CSA may not be for everyone or may not even be available to everyone, but definitely consider doing your research! Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before choosing or joining a CSA.

Can I afford to pay for my share upfront?

Most CSAs require you to pay for your share ahead of time, which can range anywhere from $250-$650.  Some might offer the option of paying in two installments, but you are generally charged a little more for this.  The prices may vary on your location, but this is generally the range of pricing.

Read More

Also, I have seen many CSAs offer different size shares such as “individual”, “small”, or “large/family”, which obviously each cost a different amount.  If you are unsure about how much you will use, I would play it safe and go for the smaller option.  I find it so helpful that these options are offered because I made the mistake of getting a large share one year thinking I would just start eating only what came in the crop share (which did not happen by the way!) 

Do I even like veggies enough to have an abundance of them and am I willing to take the time to prepare/cook with them?

If you are using this as a way to eat more fresh, local vegetables, love all sorts of veggies, and are willing to cook with them several nights a week, then yes, go for it!         Read More

  If you or your family are iffy about vegetables and picky about which ones you will eat, I would suggest first looking on the farm’s website at a sample of what a typical share looks like or contacting the farm directly.  If they grow vegetables that you are not fond of, I would not suggest investing or at least get an individual or small share first if you are the one that loves vegetables and your family or kids despise them! A CSA is a big commitment, so make sure you can consume the amount of produce you will be receiving! 

Will I be able to pick up my share at the scheduled dates/times?

If you are a busy mom taking kids to activities after school every day or stuck at work until 7pm or later, I would seriously look into whether you will have time to pick up your share each week.          Read More

 Most farms offer specific dates and times you are able to pick up your produce, but the good thing is, many offer pick up sites in local communities so you don’t have to travel all the way out to the farm if it is not nearby.  This is definitely one of the reasons why I switched my CSA.  The first CSA required you to pick up at the farm, which was a good 40 minutes from my house.  The CSA I participate in now offers a pick up site 20 minutes from my house even though the farm is over an hour away for me.  Be sure to ask around and do your research online before deciding on a CSA since not all farms allow offsite pick ups and the farm may be a good distance from where you live.  

Does the farm use sustainable, organic growing practices?

This is a VITAL aspect to research about the CSAs you are considering.  Many CSA farms are small (compared to corporate or commercially run farms) and becoming certified organic is quite pricey! Therefore, some of these small, local farms may be utilizing entirely organic and sustainable growing practices, yet are not certified organic.         Read More

If it is not specified on the website or if the CSA does not have a website, your best bet is to contact the farm directly and ask important questions about their farming practices. For example, what type of seeds they use, are pesticides and/or herbicides used, how sustainable is the farm, are they certified organic or utilize organic farming practices, etc.  

I asked these specific questions to my previous CSA farm and the answer was that they follow all the regulations to be certified organic, but have not paid to get the certification due to the costly nature of the process.  Their reasoning was that they would like to keep the share prices affordable for the community and would rather focus on the farm than going through the lengthy process of becoming certified organic.  It is also important that if the claim is made that they follow organic standards, you are allowed to visit the farm and see for yourself.  Anyone can claim organic practices are followed, but if they are unwilling to allow you to see for yourself, that should be an immediate red flag! 

Pros of a CSA:

  • Fresh, local, seasonal, produce
  • Supporting your local community
  • Knowing exactly where your produce is coming from
  • Environmentally friendly due to lack of transporting produce thousands of miles
  • Typically produce is grown with organic practices even if farmer cannot afford to be officially certified organic
  • Cost effective over time
    • Yes, the upfront cost is a lot, but over an entire growing season you will save so much!
    • I broke down my cost over the entire growing season and it was around $25 per week for an abundance of fresh, local, organic produce!
  • Variety of unique produce
    • I can’t speak for every CSA, but I have tried so many new veggies through my CSA! For example, celery root, kohlrabi, Japanese radishes, various types of peppers and beans, unique greens, etc

Cons of a CSA:produce 3

  • Large sum of money up front (some do offer option to pay in two installments though)
  • If you chose the wrong size share, you may waste a lot of produce (BUT you could always share with friends/family)
  • Big commitment (an entire growing season) especially if you are a busy person due to specific pick up dates/times
  • You share the risk with the farmer of a poor growing season
    • If the crop yield is low, the farmer is not obligated to provide a certain amount of produce, only what is able to be harvested
    • On the other hand, if it is a profitable growing season, you will get more produce.  That’s the risk!
  • Produce is limited to what is growing during that time of year
    • Meaning no strawberries, peppers, or corn in winter and no beets, potatoes, or cabbage in summer
    • Some produce does overlap though and farmers may be able to store items for later pickups

Here is the link for the CSA that I belong to. I highly recommend joining if you are in the Buffalo area!

Native Offerings Farm



Disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my research and personal experiences. Use of Young Living Essential Oils and other products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. I am not a doctor or healthcare professional.

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