Whenever I travel or celebrate a special occasion, I make a new essential oil blend. Sometimes I put it in an inhaler, or sometimes a perfume oil, sometimes a body oil, or a spray. Having a new aroma is my way to commemorate special moments in my life.
A few weeks ago, I went to Ireland. I wanted to bring some body oil for relaxing, so I first made a blend with Peace. Then I remembered I recently bought jasmine extract and neroli essential oil for personal use. They are both very precious oils, so I don't often use them, I had purchased them on a whim. It turns out I had a reason, I just didn't know it at the time.
I wanted to make something that reminded me of summer; reminded me of flowers blooming and of fertile earth and fresh green leaves. I started by pulling aside the oils that reminded me of that aroma. I wanted to use neroli and jasmine for sure, not only because I wanted to work with them, but also because their heavy floral aromas were perfect for the heart of the blend.
I needed a top note that was
I'm taking part in an Instagram Challenge called March Meet the Maker. Joanne Hawker started this challenge in 2016, but I only heard of it this year and jumped in late, just a couple days ago. Joanne set up each day with a different prompt, and makers share photos and stories related to that prompt. Today's prompt is "design process", and since this is my favorite part of my job, I wanted to share more than an Instagram post would allow.
Each type of product I make has a slightly different design process, depending on whether it's a lip balm and I'm creating new scents, or it's an aromatherapy blend where the ingredients are therapeutic, or it's a limited edition body product that is completely new. But they all start the same - an idea. Usually followed by the question, "how can I make this scent with just natural ingredients?"
Two years ago, I was browsing in a bookstore, and I picked up a book on their bestsellers table. I liked the way the book looked and felt in my hands, and I made a split second decision to buy it just before they closed, completely unaware that what I felt was what the book was about - an item sparking joy in myself. The book was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Though the KonMari Method is about following your heart, not necessarily your instincts, I'm so glad I picked up that book!
I love stuff. I love to collect things, especially old things. I love the memories they hold, the connections they remind me of, and the history they contain. I am comforted by always having useful things around in case I need them. It's rare I ever leave my house without a bag (although I do try to challenge myself sometimes).
Over the last couple of months, I've been joining new groups and meeting a lot of new people, especially other women in business. When asked what I do for work, I usually end up stumbling over my words a bit, unable to decide between a few different ways to answer.
I make lip balm is a good, basic answer but not the whole story.
I'm a herbalist* and aromatherapist and I make products is a better description of what I do, but it feels like I'm selling my brand short.
I own a small natural skincare and aromatherapy company is my favorite straightforward answer, but it's often met with questions like these:
"Like day creams and night creams?"
"Do you make under eye serums?"
"Do you have something for these wrinkles, haha?"
I love aromatherapy inhalers.
If you've never heard of them, they are little lip balm-sized tubes with essential oils inside, and they are really cool.
They are my method of choice for using essential oils (for anything that doesn't require topical application). I started making them for myself over a decade ago, using metal refillable tubes with a salt chamber - I'd add the essential oils to the salt and the salt would help "disperse" them**. These were easy to refill, but messy and annoying to clean, so I would end up buying new ones for each blend I made.
I was using a particular blend to shorten a bad cold during a trying time (I was a full-time student, worked part-time, was planning my wedding, and trying to build Wunder Budder on the side - not an easy time for my body to fight illness), and found the blend so helpful that I had to share it...
It's a brand new year!
A time for a fresh start, "365 pages, 12 chapters"
(it's the new version of "new year, new me").
Personal growth is necessary to living our best lives. Making intentional positive changes, even small ones, is how we become better people.
So many of us make resolutions to change our lives, make ourselves better, create better lives for ourselves, but so few of us keep those resolutions. It's the running joke (we all know it!) about new year's resolutions. Making big changes is hard! We have the best intentions, but keeping resolutions doesn't always work out.
One of the reasons it's hard to keep our resolutions is that ...
Wunder Budder turns 9 on January 1, 2019!
Nine whole years in business (not even including the 8 part-time years before)! It's hard to believe it's been that long, because at the same time that I feel like I've done this my whole life, I also feel like I'm just getting started.
Over the past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about the beginning of Wunder Budder, back from the first salve I made in 2001-2002, to getting my first business license in 2002, to the web of events that happened over the next eight years, all leading to today, Wunder Budder's official ninth birthday. I will save most of the nostalgia for our tenth anniversary (I'm already thinking about it!), but I have a few photos to share. Look at these baby Wunder Budders from 2006, a few years before what I even call our first birthday!
I love coffeehouses.
Love is not even a strong enough description for how I feel about coffeehouses.
I've loved them since I was a teenager in the 90s, years before Starbucks took over the east coast. Back when independent coffeehouses could be found in nearly every town. Back when coffeehouses were a place to meet people, not to sit in front of laptops, earphones in, oblivious to our surroundings.
Opening a coffeehouse was my dream. I came close once, with location prepared, equipment ready, and business plan in place. Last-minute complications with the realtor and business partners brought that project to a halt (thankfully, or I wouldn't be where I am today).
I spent 10 years as a barista, in four different coffeehouses, in two different countries, and two different US states.
Whenever I travel, I seek out the coolest indie coffeehouses to meet locals. Every town I've ever moved to, I've met the majority of my friends at the coffeehouse. I even met my husband at a coffeehouse, the last one I worked at, my home away from home.
Maybe "obsessed with" would be a better description than "love".
Cleansing grains are powdered blends of clays and botanical ingredients such as herbs, nuts, and seeds. Sometimes called "buffing grains", they are used on their own or in addition to your favorite facial wash to gently cleanse and exfoliate your skin. Depending on the formula, cleansing grains may also be used as a facial mask, making them an ideal solution for anyone who loves the ease of 2-in-1 products.
Wunder Budder cleansing grains are a blend of fine mineral clays, freshly ground flowers, ground seeds, and specially blended essential oils. Handmade, they are shipped and stored dry, and can be used as both a face scrub for refreshing dull skin and as a purifying facial mask.
As I was working with these beautiful dried calendula flowers, I was thinking about why I never wanted to become a USDA certified organic company.
I sourced these flowers last fall. Although I had been happy with my previous calendula flower supplier (a USDA certified organic source), I didn't like that the flowers were being shipped from the other side of the country. In an emergency, I purchased a small amount of these naturally grown* calendula flowers from a local farm, in New Hampshire, just a few hours from where I'm located. I was so happy with them, I turned my my temporary fix into a permanent change. They're a higher quality, they're local, and even though they aren't USDA certified organic, they're still naturally grown.
If I was a USDA certified organic company, I would not have been able to make the switch. I would not have had the choice.
I support USDA certified organic products...
There are a lot of natural beauty products today packaged in clear glass bottles and jars.
I love the way these look. The clear glass looks clean and fresh, and allows the beautiful natural colors and textures of the ingredients shine through. It's no wonder that clear glass has become so popular, especially with emerging modern-style brands. It makes a person want to pick them up, smell them, touch them, use them. They're beautiful.
So, if I love clear glass so much, why do we choose to use amber (brown) glass bottles and jars for Wunder Budder?
Light. Or, more specifically, to block as much light as possible from getting into our products.
Have you ever noticed that the best quality cooking oils and the best artisan beers are bottled in colored glass? This is to prevent oxidation. Oxidized oils are better known as "rancid" (beer is usually called "skunked").
I wear contact lenses.
I have glasses as well, but they never quite felt right on my face, so I mostly just stick with my contact lenses.
I also have chronic (life-long) insomnia.
If you wear contacts, you may know this already, but if not, I will tell you... insomnia and contact lenses do not mix. Wearing contact lenses for too many hours in a row doesn't allow the eyes to breathe, and wearing contact lenses for too many hours in a row for too many days in a row can lead to serious infection. I know this from experience. Painful experience. Painful experience I did not learn from the first time.
In 2000, I moved to a little town in New Mexico to study herbal medicine.
Soon after moving to town, I made an appointment with a local optometrist to get a new pair of lenses. One of my eyes was irritated at the time, but since a year earlier I had a severe eye infection, in comparison it seemed like just an annoyance.
My optometrist did not agree.