Make Your Own Spa Product Workshop at Be Clean Shop, 11/21

lavender-rosemary-bath-saltsCome to Be Clean’s studio to get a hands-on lesson on natural ingredients and the product-making process! After an explanation of the properties of various herbs, spices and essential oils (think sandalwood and lavender), enjoy crafting your own spa products, such as soaks and sugar scrubs. Throughout, we will give you the tools and knowledge that can be applied to your future DIY projects. Head home with some Herban Lifestyle sample products and your own soothing, aromatic creations. The cost for the workshop is $60.00 per person.

IMG_9550This workshop will be held at the historic 52 O Street Studios, Studio #308. We will have a 6′ table with seats that can accommodate up 6-8 folks. It’s on the third floor, which requires a walk up stairs. We will have sips and snacks for everyone to enjoy throughout the class.

And we will have a special shopping event after the class – attendees can take 20% off their Be Clean purchase.

The workshop will be facilitated by Mary Kearns, who has made it her mission in life to make the world a happier, healthier and more fragrant place. Raised in a family that prized natural foods and recycling, Mary has had a lifelong a passion for the natural, organic and earth-friendly. With a background in health and cancer prevention, Mary is committed to helping people live their best, healthiest lives through her business, Herban Lifestyle.

You can sign up on the Herban Lifestyle website. Or, for more information, please email us at info [at] herbanlifestyle [dot] com or call us at (202) 321-2479.


How to Make an Upcycled Bottle Cap Table!


My husband has been saving bottle caps for as long as I’ve known him, saying that someday he planned to make something out of them. He wasn’t sure what it would be, and the bottle caps kept accumulating. Inspired by the colorful collection, I decided to turn them into a practical gift for him. And given the volume of caps, I thought it would be good to make something that used A LOT of them!

In combing through Pinterest, I found lots of bottle cap craft inspiration. The ones that used the most were tables, so that’s what I set off to make for him.

Here is a list of the items I needed to cover a 2’x3′ table:

  • 1 small table
  • Lots of bottle caps (I used 486 for a 2′ x 3′ table)
  • 1″x2″ wood strips for trim
  • 2″ wood nails
  • Wood filler
  • Aluminum foil
  • 16oz Gorilla Glue
  • 2 quarts ready-mixed grout
  • 2 quarts of pre-mixed epoxy resin
  • Sandpaper
  • Large grout sponge
  • Grout float
  • Bucket filled with warm water
  • Newspaper to catch the drips
  • A well-ventilated, minimally dusty room in which to work
  • At least 3 days to allow for curing time (in other words, don’t start this on Christmas Eve!)


I found a sturdy, basic little table at a local thrift shop. It had a cluster of tiny princess and heart stickers stuck to the top, which I decided to just leave since I didn’t require a perfectly smooth surface.


I started by separating the caps by color, then laying them out to see what type of pattern I could make given the colors and quantities I had. Once I figured it out, I removed the caps, placing them in cups by color.

IMG_8308In order to make the grouting and lacquering easier, I added a rim to the edge of the table by nailing on some 1″x2″s that I had cut to size.


Because the table had rounded edges, and I am not skilled or patient enough to cut the trim to fit, there was a gap that had to be filled.


I improvised by stuffing in some tightly wadded aluminum foil into the corner to fill in the space.


Then I filled in all of the gaps with wood filler to prevent any grout or lacquer from seeping through. Once the wood filler was dry, I sanded it and removed any loose pieces.


Next, I glued the caps into place starting from the outside. I used Gorilla Glue, which worked well. It provides a strong hold, but doesn’t dry instantly, so you can adjust the caps as you work. You don’t need to use a lot per cap, just a few drops. Once I had glued down all of the caps, I let it dry overnight. The instructions say it is 80% dry in 2 hours, but fully cured in 24.


Next, I grouted the caps to give it a tiled effect. Using a grout float, I carefully worked the grout in and around the bottle caps, making sure there were no gaps. I then used the float to smooth the top to make it even and to the point where the caps were just visible. I then used the dampened sponge to wipe across the grout until the bottle caps were visible and the grout was even. It took a lot longer, and required more patience than I had anticipated! I then let it sit for 24 hours.


Finally, I covered the entire surface with epoxy resin, making sure to fill in all gaps. I again let it sit overnight. While not perfect, I was very happy with the results!

Green Festival Coming to Pier 94 in NYC on April 26th

600x250_NYC-BannerOn Saturday, April 26th, and Sunday April 27th, thousands of New Yorkers are expected to attend Green Festival New York at Pier 94. Green Festival will bring together the most trusted companies, innovative brands, national and local NYC businesses, pioneering thinkers, and conscious consumers to Pier 94 to promote the best in sustainability and green living.


Green Festival offers something for everyone, with the widest selection of products and services to work green, play green and live green – from food, fashion, pets, kids, yoga and health, to energy, construction and design. People can shop and enjoy vegan, vegetarian, organic foods, hands-on demos, educational activities and learn from inspirational speakers.


There will be speakers and performers throughout the day, including following. More speakers will be announced as we get closer to the event dates.

  • Matthew Dillon, Agricultural Policy & Programs Manager at Clif Bar & Company
  • Erin Schrode, Millennial Inspiration
  • Executive Director Jacquie Berger
  • founders Sarah Gross and Nira Paliwoda
  • Holistic Moms network President Nancy Peplinsky Massotto
  • Performances from DJ NappyG

And this year, Green Festival will introduce the new “Green Festival Award,” which will recognize the achievements of companies and brands that are transforming the way we live with innovative green solutions.


The Green Festival will be held on Saturday, April 26, 2014 & Sunday, April 27, 2014 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Pier 94 in midtown Manhattan at 55th Street and the West Side Highway. The best subway stop is the 59th Street, Columbus Circle.

For more information about Green Festivals, visit You can also follow them on Twitter at @GreenFestival.

Green Festivals, Inc. organizes Green Festival®, America’s largest and longest-running sustainability and green living event. Green Festival is a vibrant, dynamic marketplace where companies and organizations come to showcase their green products, services and programs, and where people go to learn how to live healthier, more sustainable lives. Green Festival is inspiring and empowering consumers, communities and businesses to work green, play green and live green. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, the organization produces Green Festival events in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

Herban Lifestyle Store Grand Opening, Feb 8th!


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.



logoWe hope you can join us!

How to Make Rebatched Soap


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: 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.


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.


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.

Three Tasty Trees For Your Yard


image copyright Georgia Pecan Trees

The following is a guest post by Liz Nelson, a freelance writer based in Houston, TX.

When it comes time to plant a tree you might have your mind on things like shade, fast growth, or pretty flowers in the spring time. However there are many trees that offer edible benefits as well. Here are three trees that look great and give you something to snack on:

  1. Pecan Tree – The Pecan tree is not only a large shade tree but it also produces very tasty nuts. The Pecan tree typically produces the biggest harvest in warmer climates and does well in areas with lots of rain and sunshine. Pecan nuts form with a bright yellow-green skin over the nut. As it ripens the skin starts to pull back until the ripe nut falls out of the tree. There are several varieties of Pecan trees, some of which have larger or more flavorful pecans.
  2. Walnut Tree – Like the Pecan tree, the Walnut tree also produces tasty nuts. The Walnut tree grows better in cooler climates with less rain however so it can be a great alternative to Pecans if your area does not support them. Walnuts also form with a green skin that falls off as it ripens. The nuts are significantly tougher to shell than pecans however. There are also several varieties of Walnut trees, some of which produce bitter and inedible nuts so be aware of the variety you plant. [Editor’s Note: Dr. James Duke points out that many varieties of seeds and nuts contain tryptophan, an important amino acid that the brain converts to serotonin]
  3. Date Palm – This tropical tree grows best in hot, dry climates. Like most Palm trees, the trunk of the tree is bare and the leaves are clustered at the top. When dates form, the seeds of this plant, they hang down from the crown of the tree in large clusters. Dates are very sweet and are used in many ethnic cuisines. They are best kept and eaten when they have been dried. The sap of the Date Palm can also be used to create a syrup or sweet drink if desired.

image copyright Better Homes and Gardens

As you can see it all depends on your growing zone but you can easily find a tree that gives you both shade and food. Fruit trees are another great option and you can choose climate appropriate ones that serve both your needs and the needs of your environment. Plant a tree and reap the rewards!

[Editor’s Note: If you are short on space, Better Homes and Gardens has a great article on growing fruit trees in pots. This is perfect for the apartment-dweller!]

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @