Herban Lifestyle Store Grand Opening, Feb 8th!

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At the end of November, we moved into a large studio space in the Merrifield neighborhood of Fairfax. The space has a showroom in the front, which we have turned into the Herban Lifestyle Store! To celebrate our new space, we are hosting a Grand Opening on February 8, 2014 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. We will have food & beverages (including delicious treats from Thunder Pig Confectionary and Momme Meals), samples, product-making demo, discounts and a drawing to win a free DIY kit! For more information, check out our Eventbrite invitation or Facebook Event Page.

At the store, customers can see and sniff our entire line and learn about the various organic and Fair Trade ingredients that go into them. The store also serves as a gathering spot for people to share practical ideas about sustainability, self-sufficiency, creative reuse, and safer products. You are welcome to join events or use hands-on resources at the store, including:

• Workshops where you can learn how to make your own truly natural personal care and household products, as well as other green crafting techniques, including a Couple’s Valentine Craft Night on February 12 and Make Your Own Organic Spa Products on February 19.

• A learning library for those of you who want to make your own bath and body products, plus a variety of USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified ingredients and sustainable packaging.

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logoWe hope you can join us!

How to Make Rebatched Soap

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The following post is by Herban Lifestyle Outreach and Operations Coordinator, Lisa Seyfried. 

Here in the Herban Lifestyle Workroom, we have lots of bags of soap ends and pieces sitting around, waiting for us to do some wonderful with them.  I did some research on how to rebatch our soap – ‘rebatch’ means to basically melt down the soap and re-mold it as something new – and found a ton of information.  Site after site told me different ways to rebatch, each site claiming their method was the best.

In the end, I picked two recipes that were fairly close, combined them into my own method, and got to work experimenting.

First Batch of Rebatch Soap - Herban LifestyleMy first batch turned out great! It melted down really well, it molded really well, and it looks really pretty.

Second Batch of Rebatch Soap - Herban LifestyleMy second batch didn’t turn out quite so well.  It’s a little lumpier, a little cracked, and just not as pretty looking. I am chalking this up to attempting to double the recipe and the soap not liking that.

I do think that this recipe will  turn out well again if I keep it in small quantities.  The first batch was enough for three heart soaps, and the second batch made enough for five heart soaps.

To make rebatched soap:

You will need a glass measuring cup, or other microwave safe bowl, grater, your soap, 1/4 cup of water. Ingredients for Rebatched Soap - Herban Lifestyle

1. Grate 4 cups of soap in a glass or microwave safe container.  The smaller pieces the soap is in, the better it will melt.  Grated Soap - Herban Lifestyle

2. Add ¼ cup of water to the grated soap.  Don’t stir it in yet.

3. Microwave for 2 min and stir.  Repeat this process until the soap becomes slightly translucent and takes on the consistency of mashed potatoes.Melted Rebatch Soap - Herban Lifestyle

4. Glob into mold with a spoon.  Fill to the top, then bang the mold on the counter to get all the air bubbles out.  Then squish the soap down with your fingers (you might want to wear gloves for this) to make sure the soap gets into all corners of the mold.Molded Rebatched Soap - Herban Lifestyle

5. Cover the mold with a towel or cloth and let sit for 24 hours.

6. Unmold after 24 hours, let sit out for one week to cure.  One week is probably more time than the soap needs to cure, but just to be safe, I’d go with one week.

This is the rebatch method that worked best for me.  I have a feeling that everyone has their own method that works for them, with whatever kind of soap they are rebatching.  I’d really like to try adding some essential oils or some pigments in my next batch! Have you rebatched any soap? What method did you use?

Artist of the Month: Cynthia Brevil of Karmalades, Household Cleaners with a Conscience

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The following post was written by Cynthia Brevlin, Owner and Founder of Karmalades, the  Herban Lifestyle Store Artist of the Month. During the month of January, Cynthia’s eco-luxurious cleaning products will be featured at our new brick and mortar store in Fairfax, VA.

Physical Therapist by day, eco luxury cleaning maven by evenings/weekends, I take old school ingredients that grandma used to clean her house…baking soda, vinegar,etc and whip them up into fun, natural…and even a little luxurious dare I say … household cleaning products. My concoctions are not only effective but will surely bring a smile to your face every time you use them.

I believe that being green can and should = luxury. I also believe in Karma, or simply put – what goes around comes around. The contents of every bottle that we pull off of the shelf will eventually have some effect on our precious earth.

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With this in mind when developing my line, it was really important to me that my ingredients were easily recognizable to the customer and naturally derived…absolutely no synthetics!  It was also clear that the packaging had to be sustainable. Glass and tin not only look and feel luxurious, but they can also be indefinitely recycled.  And if these materials happen to end up in landfill, they have no adverse effect.

Cynthia Brevil, founder of Karmalades, is a physical therapist, health conscious crafter, painter, tiler, cook, foodie … and a true lover of all things eco-friendly and luxurious.

Cynthia Brevil

Artist of the Month: Anne Ferrari of Vita Pulita

055_0The following post was written by Anne Ferrari, Owner and Founder of Vita Pulita, the first Herban Lifestyle Store Artist of the Month. During the month of December, Anne’s soaps will be featured at our new brick and mortar store in Fairfax, VA.

I was always fascinated by soap. As a child growing up in the Bronx, NY, I didn’t have many soap options, but I was still fascinated with making soap pretty. My holiday gift to my first grade teacher was an ordinary bar of soap on which I pinned a homemade pompom. The obsession with soap remains. It wasn’t until my good friend Mary Kearns shared with me that she had started making soap herself that I was finally inspired to give it a try. And once I did, there was no turning back.

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As a professor with a PhD in psychology, I am accustomed to using research in my work experience. This serves me well as soap ingredients need a great deal of research too. One customer of mine confessed that she didn’t worry too much about what she put on her skin as she believed that it was not absorbed by her body. Unfortunately, research on breast cancer and the use of parabens in beauty products shows us otherwise. Vita Pulita products never contain parabens, as they never contain artificial fragrances or colors. They are products that I feel confident using and sharing with my family. In fact, Vita Pulita was born of necessity, when my pregnant daughter could not find a safe yet still luxurious body butter. I whipped up a combination of unrefined shea butter, unrefined cocoa butter, rice bran oil, and essential oil. I still sell that body butter, and it is a customer favorite.

Although I am not an artist, one of my favorite things about making soap is making it beautiful. Many of us assume that” beauty” and “natural” do not go together and quite frankly, there are some colors that simply cannot be made naturally in soap, such as a vibrant blue. However, natural soap can be just as lovely, especially when one dives into her creative side. Check out my White Wedding Soap, Carrot Orange Soap with Cocoa, Black Charcoal Facial Detox Soap, Cupcake Soap or Pink Sea Salt Bar and see what you think. All of the colors and scents in Vita Pulita Soaps are from natural and healthy sources, such as plant essential oils and ground up spices. If a color or scent cannot be made using this method, then it will not be made.

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It wasn’t until recently that my father shared with me that his mother made soap in Italy from olive pomace left over from the farm. I was shocked, but not surprised. I was named for her after all (over the protests of my mother who did not care for the sound of “Anna Maria”), as I was born on the anniversary of her death. And I chose to name my company Vita Pulita, which means “clean life” in Italian, although I don’t speak Italian myself. Perhaps the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, would say that my need to “soap” is part of my family collective unconscious, inherent in me. It certainly feels that way at times.

You can find Anne’s products online at the Vita Pulita website, on Etsy and seasonally at markets in Westchester County.

Thank you to Everyone for Celebrating with us!

photoby Lisa, Operations and Outreach Associate. 

Last week, we celebrated our 5th birthday with a fundraiser for Miriam’s Kitchen.  It was great! The event had a great turnout, and everyone had fun bidding on the items in the auction.

What I loved the most was getting the chance to talk with everyone.  I met some of the people who donated items, and others who were just there to support Herban Lifestyle.  It was great to talk with people who shared my passion for handcrafted and handmade things.

We especially want to thank all of our generous donors – Catherinette, The Green Mop, Florence Novarro, Moonlight Bindery, Tranquil Space, Third + Grace, Holland Cox, Wildflower WrapUps, Catoctin Creek Distillery,  Divine Chocolate, Tigerflight, Alexander Castro Cycling Consulting, Tesla, Bouquets and More, Thankfully Yours, Andi Ipaktchi, Wunderaround, The Happy Tart, Jenn Crovato, Clare and Don’s Beach Shack, Arlington Automotive, Sunflower Bakery, and Miriam’s Kitchen.

Thank you to everyone for celebrating with five years with us!

Herban Lifestyle’s 5th Birthday Party/Fundraiser for Miriam’s Kitchen 10/16

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Hillyer Art Space, in DuPont Circle

Five years! Time definitely flies when you enjoy what you’re doing! As a heartfelt thanks to all those who have helped us reach this milestone, we invite you to join us in celebrating Herban Lifestyle’s Birthday! The evening will consist of food, drink, cake and great company. We will also be hosting a silent auction, with all proceeds benefitting Miriam’s Kitchen, and featuring great products and services from our generous business partners. The event will be held at the very cool Hillyer Art Space in DuPont Circle.

Our Silent Auction prizes  include a week-long stay at Localita Paradiso in Umbria, a  whisky tasting and tour by Catoctin Creek, a Three-Class Pass for Tranquil Space YogaTesla priority test drive and merchandise gift set, a terrarium and workshop gift certificate from Bouquets & More, original illustrations by Paris-based artist Andi Ipatkchi, eco-friendly house cleaning by The Green Mop, a basket of sweet treats from Divine Chocolate, and much more!

Here are photos of some of the items donated by DC artisans:

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Miriam the Owl, made from repurposed wool, by Tigerflight (voted Best Local Crafter 2013 by CityPaper readers!)

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Upcycled tea cup gift wrapped soap set by Wildflower WrapUps (available soon in the DC area)

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Lady wallet and passport case made from reclaimed leather by Catherinette Leather Works

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Handblown glass vase by Wunderaround

Miriam’s Kitchen (which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month!) is committed to ending chronic homelessness in DC by creating meaningful connections with chronically homeless individuals, placing them in permanent supportive housing, and ensuring they have the necessary support to remain in housing.

For more information, or to claim a free ticket, visit our Eventbrite page https://herbanlifestylebirthdayfun.eventbrite.com

Brick and Mortar Friends: Bouquets and More

We want to highlight some of our wonderful brick and mortar stores.  These are stores that  carry Herban Lifestyle’s products. This series will give you some insight into some of our newest brick and mortar friends. Enjoy!

Bouquets and MoreThe U Street Corridor is a great little section of DC, filled with personality and wonderful little surprise stores along the street.  Bouquets and More is one of those little treats.

The flower shop is owned by Vickie and Carmilla, two wonderful ladies who will not hesitate to chat with you when you come in.  The shop itself is filled with wonderful smelling flowers and great little details in the displays.

Bouquets and More has a wide selection of beautiful bouquets, centerpieces, green plants for the office, and even terrariums.  And, of course, your favorite Herban Lifestyle products!

So check out Bouquets and More at their store, or on Facebook! They will be having workshops in the Fall of 2013, so make sure to check their page for more details!