I should have said NO!

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Odds & Ends | 5 comments

When the 30 day blog challenge was announced, I knew we’d be closing on the house we’d just bought, and that’s a 5-hour trip one way.  We’ll be moving up north near the Mackinaw Bridge and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Well, that turned into 5 round trips during the blog challenge.  In between, we put in 15 hour days to help our son with renovations on his cottage in northern Michigan.  He was preparing for the arrival of the French student we’d for hosted for a year- many moons ago.  She was coming to the US for a visit with her husband and 3 kids.  We wanted to soak up every moment we could with them.

The risk is negligible in moderation

The risk is negligible in moderation

My husband and I somehow agreed to host a barbecue for them in our new empty house (for a total 18 people), and thus far only had toilet paper!

Besides  shopping for food, we had to scramble for seating- thus the extra trips back home to raid the picnic table and patio furniture, and lots of pots & pans, and all that‘s needed to entertain up north.  The other thing I lacked was access to the internet to publish the blog posts, so I tethered my laptop to my phone when I had to and hoped for 4G.

Granddaughters at the barbecue using their imagination to build a fort.

Granddaughters at the barbecue using their imagination to build a fort.

A few days ago, there was the goodbye party downstate for the guests that were returning to Paris.   And these last few days I’ve been stupid busy with a stat order for 250 one-ounce lotions and 500 one-ounce guest bars, and another wholesale order.  (I know this is nothing compared to what others had to do to get their posts out- especially those with little ones.)

Blogging can give you a headache!

Blogging can give you a

Every day & bleary-eyed, the thought of what to write hung over my head.  I had to do a post….and an image…no matter what.  It usually took me all day to think about what to write and by the time I sat down to write it, I was brain-dead and feared it was rambling nonsense.  Grammar and punctuation be dammed.  I had a couple of nights of posting near midnight with only a few minutes to spare.  Then I’d wake up to a new day with the task of writing a post looming.  Low dose-but continuous pressure!

But the blessing is, I now will have 30 days of posts for my tribe to read.  It’s allowed me to express what’s important to me on my own real estate; especially when it comes to my business.

Who I am, what I do, why I do it.  My customers can read:

  • How important cosmetic preservation is.
  • How I make decisions based on scientific data, not world view.
  • They also know I love to use safe synthetic ingredients that allow me to get the sensory properties that they love on their skin.
  • They know better how to spot ludicrous claims, and how to ask for evidence.
  • They know there’s nothing to fear from commercial antiperspirants and other traditional products.
  • They know soap will neither kill them, nor make them look 20 years younger.
  • They know that there’s nothing that proves organic is better.  They know now that organic agriculture uses pesticides and herbicides too- the only difference is the origin of the chemical with no regard to toxicity. Those both conventional and organic ingredients have pesticide residues well below any potential harm.  That organic is one giant feel -good marketing ploy with no significant benefits.
  • They know there are ill-informed charlatans that will use #healthwashing and spurious claims to scare them into parting with their dollars.
  • They know that the beauty looks ugly when painted with fear.  There is no reason to propagate fear.  We already have safe cosmetics and they are still not harming anyone.

They now know I call out bull$hit when I see it.

It took a lot of mental energy to get through the blog challenge, but it feels good to have information for my readers to get to know their maker.  Blogging gives the ability to enrich their lives by posting perspectives that they might not have considered before.

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Thanksgiving in July

Posted by on Jul 16, 2016 in Odds & Ends |

One thing about my family- they’re full of surprises.  Today we had a Thanksgiving dinner “up north” as we say when traveling to my son’s cabin in St Helen, Michigan.

tg dinnerWhat brought this about is a 15 year old French student who has been with us for a few weeks this summer.  Arnoud was an exchange student last year and he had so much fun he asked to come back this year.  About a week ago we took him to a place called Golly Wobblers- a restaurant famous for turkey dinners.  We explained the American tradition and he loved the idea of it- and the food!  So my daughter-in-law fixed Thanksgiving dinner today for Arnoud as he goes back to Paris in a few days.

Since France is a relatively small country compared to the US, he thinks it strange that we’ll drive 3+ hours just to hang out in a cabin, bob around in a hot tub, sing and make s’mores around a campfire and spend a day on a pontoon boat.  If he drove that distance in France, he could be in Germany.  One day on the pontoon boat, a family that was already docked at shore, offered to help push the boat in and asked if we wanted some grilled hot dogs.  He remarked about the friendliness of Americans that offer help to strangers.

Thanksgiving meals (no matter if it’s a sunny summer day can make us stop and think about what we are thankful for.  A few that I’m thankful for:


My family

I can vote

Air conditioning & central heat

Clothes & dish washing machines

Flush toilets & soft TP


Smart phones

Grocery stores

Advances in medicine

Air travel


Better maternal and infant outcomes

Longer lives. More free time

Food preservation

The internet

Improved contraception options

Showers & soap

Dentists & Doctors

Education opportunities

Cars & trucks

Peanut butter cups

Most of the above improvements in our lives, compared to past days are due to science.   That’s why the rejection of science and technology by some who want to go backwards to the “old days” is puzzling.  But there is one thing that makes life worth living and that is pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner!

pumpkin pie


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How do chemicals get into our bodies?

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in All Posts, Odds & Ends |

There’s almost nothing that annoys me as much as chemophobia; the belief that chemicals – especially synthetic chemicals – are inherently bad.  I think because people don’t understand them.  It’s increasingly powered by social media.

Chemicals- Chemicals are essential building blocks for everything we know.  They’re naturally occurring, synthetic or combinations thereof.  We’re all concerned what they do to our body.  And also what our body does to them.  How do chemicals get into our bodies?  Through the skin, lungs, and by what we eat and drink.  First it has to be absorbed.  The chemical is then distributed by the blood- and this is how the body can change the chemical to get rid of it (biotransformation or the modification of chemicals by enzymes).  We can eliminate chemicals- mainly through our liver and kidneys.   These processes:  absorption, distribution, biotransformation, and elimination are called toxicokinetics.

What we’re left with is the biological effective dose that has the potential to cause changes in the cell.  Initially, the changes are molecular.  The more the molecules are changed, the more it changes the biochemistry of the cell and how it functions.  With cell toxicity, can come organ failure.  Toxicodynamics is the potential molecular biochemical and physiological effects that a chemical or toxin may have on our biological systems.  The bottom line is when we’re exposed to a chemical, the effect is dependent upon the dose.  The body handles chemicals on a case by case basis on a molecular level, not caring if it came from Mother Earth or a lab, and generally has the mechanisms to eliminate them, unless it’s something like lead, where it can be stored in the bone.

When did you begin to be scared?  Take a look at the chemical makeup of an egg.  Nothing to be scared about!




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Everything Is Better With Bacon

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in All Posts, Odds & Ends |

pigtails hair serum

I get asked a lot; “why a beauty line with a pig as a logo?”  I know it’s a strange- but I wanted to have something that stood out from the herd and not so vanilla.  It’s meant to be unique, quirky and fun.  I think pigs are so ugly they’re kind of cute.  Back in the day, when I was thinking about a logo, I didn’t know about stock photo’s.  I found a pig farm and asked the farmer if I could take some pictures.  Pigs usually keep their heads down as they roam around, always on the lookout for food.  To get them to look up,  I tied a hot dog bun on a stick and waved it around.  (long story why this was in my car).  Then I found a student to add a little makeup in Photoshop.

The idea behind it is poking fun at the beauty industry.  We’re used to seeing over-edited images of flawless skin, and duck lips that have dominated the beauty industry.  The Dove campaign for Real Beauty is aimed at exposing the “beauty pressures” that are blasted over and over to young girls.

There’s a little pig in some of us.  The days when you pull on the sweats, tie your hair up and go without makeup.  Or maybe its dining home alone hunched over a big plate of spaghetti sucking up the noodles with half of them dripping down your chin.  Earlier today, I played that role to the hilt as I stopped at a restaurant known for its ridiculously huge portions.  What did I order?  A  bacon (1# of bacon), lettuce and tomato sandwich- LOL




Fun Facts- from Tony’s Restaurant Menu (I’ve no idea if these are accurate)

A typical American eats 28 pigs in his/her lifetime.

Americans eat 20.7# of candy per person annually.

Cast iron skillets used to be the leading source of iron in the American diet.

Each American  eats an average of 51 # if chocolate per year (that sounds about right for me)

90% of the world’s problems can be solved with bacon.  There does not exist a food that does not go well with bacon!


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Salmonella Sandwiches

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Odds & Ends |

Traverse City Bay

Traverse City on Lake Michigan

This past weekend we were in Traverse City, Michigan for the Cherry Festival and some business errands.  My husband and I took our 9 year old granddaughter and a student from Paris along for some fun.  There was a carnival and of course the aroma of elephant ears.  After going on most of the rides, the kids started checking out the food court.  The big struggle was cherries in every form imaginable vs something from one of the many vendors.

fresh-cut french fries

Fresh-cut French fries

I was happy to see one of the cooks checking the temperatures of the hot containers of food on his cooking station.  It reminded me of all of the outdoor festivities, graduation and pool parties that take place during the summer where food handling can go awry.

Just like the personal care products we make,  we have to protect the food we serve against all sorts of microbes that can make us sick.  Most problems with food-born illness are related to time and temperature, with pH a lesser variable.  Cold foods must be maintained at 41°F or less.  For hot foods- something can be safe when cooked only to 140F but held for two hours or it can be brought to a higher temp like 165F for 15 seconds.

As food goes from cold storage to final product and back down to cold when kept as leftovers it spends time in the “food danger zone” where bacteria proliferate quickly sometimes to the point where they will never be able to safely be reduced and also have the food remain edible.

Since 48 million people (1:6) in the US will get food born illness this year alone this is something to keep in mind- especially since most foodborne illness happens in the home.  Some types of salmonella  can withstand much higher temps than what is found in most kitchens.  Hopefully all of us will enjoy a healthy summer- sans salmonella sandwiches!










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