SoulPancake: The Rainn, The Park & Other Things

Last week we watched Taking Woodstock, an Ang Lee movie about the guy who played a pivotal role in bringing the Woodstock Music Festival to Yasgur’s Farm in Bethel, NY. It was a fascinating look into the time period, with wonderfully quirky characters and amazing attention to costuming and set detail that left me feeling like I had traveled through time to see the whole event unfold.

While I know that in reality those times were filled with social and political upheaval, I’ve always had a bit of 60s envy, feeling that I would have enjoyed living in the idealized version of that time with its love, peace, buy-the-world-a-home-and-furnish-it-with-love vibe.

And so when I come across a community, a gathering place for kindred spirits, that espouses that we’re-all-in-it-together-the-world-is-a-pretty-cool-place energy, I tend to gravitate toward it.

Three years ago, I wrote a post on one such community. The then newly-launched SoulPancake, an interactive online community, was created by actor Rainn Wilson as a positive place where people can come together to ask and answer questions about life, philosophy, spirituality, creativity and more. The site is filled with community members’ videos, photos, musings, and other creative expressions.

Serendipitously, the day after I watched Taking Woodstock, I received an email from Nicole Ro at SoulPancake letting me know that they will be launching a premium YouTube channel on July 23. Since I had blogged about SoulPancake in the past, she wondered if I would be willing to help spread the word about their new YouTube channel. I told her that I would be happy to!

The purpose of the SoulPancake YouTube channel is the same as their website – to create a stream of positive, uplifting, thought-provoking, and creative messages. With so many negative messages and images coming at us all the time, it is nice to have a place to turn to see the brighter side of humanity.

To give you glimpse at their content, I’ve included one of the SoulPancake videos at the top of this post. It’s silly and simple. It left me feeling happy and optimistic. It has an updated Woodstock feel, complete with VW van, but without the hallucinogenic drugs.

SoulPancake’s ultimate goal is to reach 50,000 subscribers by their launch date. They are up to about 20,000 subscribers. When they hit 5,000 subscribers, Rainn Wilson offered to meditate in a field wearing only a Speedo. As an incentive, 6 new subscribers will be randomly chosen to hang out with Rainn virtually in a Google Hang out for a half hour to talk about anything. Anything at all.

I highly recommend that you visit the SoulPancake YouTube channel. You can also get updates on Rainn’s Facebook fan page.

Here’s a brief intro, which gives you an idea about the vibe of the channel. Enjoy!


We Are the Champions, My Friends

Today, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a new report, Market Shift, which documents how they worked with cosmetics industry leaders over the past 7 years to raise awareness about personal care product safety. Through the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, companies voluntarily pledge to avoid chemicals banned in other countries, avoid harmful ingredients whenever possible and fully disclose their product ingredients. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, increasing consumer demand for products made without hazardous chemicals has made natural and safe cosmetics the fastest-growing segment of the $50 billion cosmetics industry. This is great news for consumers looking for healthy options, and great news for companies that work hard to provide the safest, purest products for them.

I am proud to announce that Herban Lifestyle is one of the 432 companies that have achieved “Champion” or “Innovator” status by meeting the goals of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ Compact for Safe Cosmetics! In fact, Herban Lifestyle achieved Champion status, which means that we:

• Comply with the European Union’s Cosmetics Directive, widely considered the global gold standard of cosmetics safety regulation,

• Disclose all ingredients, including ingredients in “fragrance,” which in the United States can be claimed as “confidential business information,” even when it contains hormone disruptors, carcinogens and other harmful chemicals,

• Publish and regularly update product information in EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database,

• Comply with any additional ingredient prohibitions and restrictions under the Compact and substitute ingredients of concern with safer alternatives, and

• Participate in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

If you go to the Campaign’s Skin Deep Database, you will see that Herban Lifestyle products contain the safest ingredients available.

Market Shift shows how the Champions and Innovators (who range from small mom-and-pop businesses to some of the largest businesses in the natural products sector) are working toward higher standards of safety for personal care products, and are doing so successfully. As Mia Davis, organizing director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said, “Their ability and willingness to work toward the Compact requirements shows not only that it is possible to make products that far exceed current safety standards in the United States, but also that making safe personal care products can be part of a successful business model.”

[Note: I have seen similar posts to this one on other sites that have attracted comments emphatically stating that there is no need for safer cosmetics because the FDA already assures that cosmetics are safe. It is true that the FDA has standards around cleanliness of facilities and non-contaminated products, which is very important. But safety in this context means that a product doesn’t have the potential to put you and your family at higher risk for cancer, diabetes and a host of other chronic diseases that are not as immediately apparent as a rash, but certainly have more dire long-term effects. For more details, please see the President’s Cancer Panel Report, which was released in April 2010. Also, today’s news on the FDA and contaminated cosmetics products indicates there is still some work to be done in this area, too.]

Our New Brick and Mortar Friend: The Local Market

The Local Market opened less than a month ago in Falls Church, VA. The store features locally produced breads, dairy products, sausages, condiments and in-season fruits and vegetables from farms within a 100-mile radius of the store. The owners, husband and wife team Tom and Laura Coates, came up with the idea after missing too many Saturday mornings at the town’s award winning farmers market, due to their children’s sports commitments. The Local Market is open 7 days a week from 9am to 8pm, so people like me who also often miss the farmers market (due to travel or oversleeping) can have access to all the great produce, dairy products, fresh bread and more any time it’s convenient. I have been wishing for a store like this since I moved to this area, so I was thrilled when two different friends told me that it was coming to town.

In addition to being a great place to do my grocery shopping, it is the first retail outlet near me to carry my full line of bath and body products, so I love The Local Market even more than I would have!

image copyright The Falls Church News Press

The local press has already given it some great coverage, and word-of-mouth news about the new neighborhood gem has been spreading like wildfire. I believe this store is a place whose time has come, so not only are they going to make it, but I believe it will thrive.

So, if you are in town, I hope you’ll stop by The Local Market at 246 West Broad Street, Falls Church VA 22046.

Always Look on The Bright Side!

brightsideHerban Lifestyle is featured this month in The Bright Side Project! The Bright Side Project was started by Miss B and Miss K as a way of bringing a bit of sunshine into people’s lives. And the lovely design, upbeat clever writing, and generous giveaways on their website do just that!

Every month since the site was established (last March), the creators have established a theme. They then feature a different designer each day whose work fits within that them. The designer offers a prize, which goes to the lucky reader who comes up with the best answer to a question posed by the designer.

This month’s theme is “Beauty Full!” And every day throughout July, The Bright Side Project will be giving away items “that celebrate, promote, and reflect the beauty in you and in life.” Winners are announced every Wednesday. And, for our part, Herban Lifestyle will be giving away one gift set.

For a chance to win an Herban Lifestyle gift set, simply answer the question “What is your super power, or what do you wish it was?”

Props to Miss Malaprop

missmalI recently had the good fortune of being interviewed by Mallory, author of Miss Malaprop, a blog dedicated to highlighting the best in “independent designers & artists, eco-friendly and sustainable products, New Orleans & Gulf Coast based businesses and issues, and people & organizations who are working to make the world a better place.”

Mallory is a writer and has also been active in helping to renew New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She is also a gifted designer, creating upcycled and reconstructed clothing. While she no longer sells her items, she is open to custom orders. For more about her designs, see the Dismantled Designs page on her website.

Thanks, Posh Mom!

mccbalmI just came across a review of my mint chocolate chip lip balm on the The Posh Mom Life. I was happy to find out about their website, which is a place filled with all sorts of great information on beauty, fashion, health, food and more all geared toward the interests of the hip mom.

They describe it this way: “This all-natural lip balm is almost good enough to eat.” And this is no mere coincidence! This balm is made from organic ingredients that are all edible (except the beeswax). I developed it at a time when I was trying to lower my cholesterol. My naturopath had put me on something of an elimination diet, which kept me away from things like dairy, wheat and sugar. Since one of my passions is dessert, I found that I was creating bath and body products that emulated some of my favorite sweets. Hence, mint chocolate chip lip balm!

Belated Thanks to Chaptastic

obamabalmsI just came across this post from Chaptastic, which was posted back on January 26th.

Chaptastic is a blog that reviews lip balms of all kinds, but shortly after the inauguration, they expanded their coverage to include balms in general. Well, balms in general if their names happened to play on Obama/Obalma.

The post author, JavaJive, found several fun items that capitalized on the this theme. However, she did say that our O-BALM-A is “Definitely the best-looking of the bunch.” She left out the part that our product is the only one that donates 100% of the profits to charity (Feeding America).

Thanks, Chaptastic, for including us in your fun blog post!

O-BALM-A in Ottawa

obama_ottawa1Yesterday I received a Tweet from M Chen of M Chen Wears in Ottowa, Canada. She wanted to let me know that she had included my O-BALM-A lip balm in her blog post on fun Obama schwag on Etsy. She had put the collection together in honor of Obama’s visit to that city yesterday. Check out her blog, M on the Side — it’s beautifully designed, visually stunning and a fun read, too.

Here’s what she said, “Downtown Ottawa is awhir… the manholes have been welded shut, mailboxes and garbage cans have been removed, and streets will be shut down tomorrow morning. All in preparation for Barack Obama’s visit to the nation’s capital. People have been buzzing about this for weeks, and the visit itself will last all of six hours. As a tribute to tomorrow, here are a few of my favourite à-propos etsy items.”

Belated Thanks to the Washingtonian and Mom-entum!


Thank You Card by My Ugly Kitty

Thank You Card by My Ugly Kitty

I’m behind the times, still catching up after a business beginning to 2009. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful mentions I’ve received over the last couple of months. To start the year, interviewed ecoblogger Sacha Cohen and asked her for her green recommendations for 2009. Regarding buying locally, she said, “Farmers markets are great for produce and cheese. I also love the organic and natural bath products from Herban Lifestyle in Falls Church.” You can see all of Sacha’s recommendations at The Blogger Beat: Going Green DC.

I also got a nice mention on the Mom-entum blog during Inaguration Week. They loved the idea of my O-BALM-A lip balm, all profits from which go to Feeding America. You can read about it here.

And, in December, the Washingtonian listed my products in their green gift guide! “Nature lovers and newbies to the green scene will appreciate these gifts, sold and recommended by environmentally responsible companies, ecofriendly stores, and conservation organizations based in Washington.” You can read the full article here: A Green Holiday: Ecofriendly Gift Recommendations.

Thank you all for your kind words and support!

Kudos from Balance/Act

ba1Yesterday we were featured in a post on Balance/Act, a blog on sustainable living in the DC area. Balance/Act covers a range of green topics, and provides lots ideas for local sustainable shopping and environmental resources.

Here’s what they said about our Tangerine Dreamsicle lip balm:

“DC/metro girls put down that lip-tingling-chemical-whatever-it-is! A local, organic artisan is hard at work making beautiful, all natural, and dare we say…tasty lip balms. Herban Lifestyle is based out of Falls Church, VA and offers your cranky lips a choice between Dolce de Limone or Tangerine Dreamsicle balm flavors.

“Did we mention herbal lifestyle is all natural? Want us to prove it to you? Ok we will!”

Then they go on to compare the ingredients in a typical Bonnie Bell lip balm to my lip balm. Unlike the commercial brand, which has several suspected carcinogens, my list of ingredients is very simple and pure.

Thank you so much for the kudos, Balance/Act!