A Monday Update

I’ve been meaning to put together a quick update, but have yet to get to it until today! I wanted to let you know what’s going on at the store…

::Lip balm updates

Some of you may have been around for the whole debate about whether or not I should include the compostable lip balm tubes in my line. As you know, I did end up purchasing a box of them as an experiment and have been disappointed – though not for any fault of the tubes! I have found that my current lip balm recipe (one developed over two months of testing) is too soft in the tubes! (There is enough mass in the tins to keep them hard, but in the small, thin tubes, they are way too soft.) This is why I am offering them at 20% off and will continue to do so until they are sold out. I would give them away if I could afford it, but the tubes are actually more expensive to buy than the tins, so on sale it must be! :) (And please be assured that this is a purely aesthetic problem – the balms still work perfectly.)

I’ve also been dissatisfied with the “look” of the tubes. I don’t like the pattern (the only one you can buy without having them printed by Eco Vision), and have found out why they offer printing in the first place – because the tubes are slick and do not grip the adhesive side of the sticker labels! Ack!

The truth is, I’ve been very discouraged with the way my lip balms have been turning out. As far as the tubes go, I have decided that until I can afford to have them professionally printed, I’m going to have to let them sell out and just keep on offering the tins.

As for the lip balms I have now, I’m seriously debating what to keep and what to scrap. My Chocolate Mint Lip Balm seems to be a favorite, though I did not plan on continuing to offer that (for the simple reason that EVERY bath and body shop offers a chocolate mint lip balm). However, I’m reconsidering my decision on that and may (perhaps) restock the Chocolate Mint.

The Vanilla Woods lip balm became a fast favorite, but I have had nothing but trouble keeping those balms consistent and smooth. Each batch seems to turn out vastly different (which doesn’t usually happen), and too often, the cocoa butter clumps up, making the lip balm grainy. You may have noticed that Vanilla Woods is currently not in stock and that’s because I pulled them until I can figure out what’s going on. (If you don’t mind the clumpiness and are planning on making an order soon, leave me a note with your order stating that you’d like one and I’ll throw it in for free while supplies last.)

Finally, my other lip balms, while lovely, aren’t totally, wholly, completely satisfying to me. Lip balms are difficult in many aspects – for one thing, it’s hard to develop a unique, reliable, consistent recipe without using chemical stabilizers. It’s also hard to find unique lip balm blends. This is something that I’m still working on, eleven months later.

The bottom line is that I want to sell the best of the best. This is really hard when you are on a tight budget, but I feel I have put the money and quality where it counts the most – in the ingredients, in the products, themselves. My packaging isn’t always as pretty or perfect as others, but I’ll get there someday. But my lip balms….now is the time for me to pull back and get it just right before going any further. A friend who has been around since the beginning of Five Seed told me she still has my original lip balm that I sold back in January and that it is the most perfect of all the lip balms of mine that she’s tried. I told her I also still have a tin of that same batch and mine is still perfect, too. Hmmm…maybe I got it right back in the beginning. The problem is that that recipe is not vegan (and people have been begging me for vegan lip balms), and that I don’t want to have to always use cocoa butter in recipes, as the scent is too strong to blend with certain other scents.

To make a long story longer, I’m going back to the drawing board on lip balms! Please bear with me – I’ll get there! And just know that I don’t know what I intend to do with the current line. Once it is sold out, I may decide not to restock those same scent blends. So if you really liked the Wild Patchouli or Sweet Rosemary, grab ‘em while you can.

::Coconut Vanilla Bean Balm

Over the summer, I had a few odds and ends of different ingredients laying about and thought I’d try an experimental recipe. Like another experiment (Rose Hip Calendula Balm) I never intended to restock this item. I figured it may or may not sell, and afterwards, I’d discontinue it. Again, like the aforementioned Rose Hip Calendula Balm, this experiment was wildly popular – every single person who bought it has written me to ask me to make more! So….rest assured, I will have it back in stock within a week or so.

::New Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume recipe!

Some of you may remember that a concerned customer wanted to know if it was safe for the environment to harvest castor oil, and if not, if I’d be willing to cut it from my line. You can read about that here. I have thought a lot about this and though I am confident that my supplier is ethical, I thought it might be prudent to cut back on castor oil in my products – just in case. I hardly ever use it, but it is a major component in the Herbal Aromatherapy Perfumes. I have recently made a new batch of Sveva using a new, castor oil-free recipe, but….will people like it as much? In order to find out, I’ll be offering the next batch of Sveva at a discount – all I ask is that you drop me a line and let me know how you like the new recipe. I’ll let you know when Sveva is back in the shop.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something here, but hopefully, that will cover things until my next update. I do have more skin care posts in store for you – some of them are a bit time-consuming to write, though. I’ll try to get to them soon. Other than that, I’ll be working on lip balms and some new perfumes this week.

Have a wonderful second week of November!

True Beauty with Mrs. B!

Mrs. B (Photo used with permission.)

I am delighted to share with you True Beauty thoughts from one of my favorite bloggers, Mrs. B. This lovely lady writes Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom where she shares her thoughts and experiences on everything under the sun including cooking, spirituality, autism, and gardening. She also hosts numerous giveaways, most of them from small, home-based Etsy businesses like mine, which I think is very cool.

Speaking of giveaways, she happens to be hosting one for 5 Seed, if you want to check it out. You have the chance to win yourself a lovely Sankalpa Scent!

Here’s what Mrs. B. has to say about beauty:

What makes someone truly beautiful, in your opinion?

I think what makes someone beautiful is that inner spark of passion for something, whether it’s a passion for cooking, or the environment or for their family. Having a passion about taking care of something and learning more about it gives a person a real inner glow that makes them shine.

If you take away the traditional beauty props (makeup, clothing, hair styling, etc.), what makes you feel the most beautiful?

This might sound cliche, but my husband makes me feel beautiful! Whether I’m dressed up for something, or sick with a puffy nose, hacking cough and laying around in my bathrobe! He never fails to make me feel like the most gorgeous thing ever! (That’s why I’m keeping him! ;O)

What do you think about beauty in today’s society?

Over all, I’d say that there is a false view of what beauty is – that whole “Hollywood/model” image of what beauty is. I know very few real men who like the stick thin girls who eat half a salad for dinner. I feel horrible for all those girls out there starving themselves trying to look like that. Thankfully, I do think that there is something of a change coming around on that. Women like Christina Hendricks, from the show Mad Men, who has some seriously killer curves, are starting to get attention and take over the covers of magazines. I hope that trend continues!

If you want to check out more of Mrs. B’s lovely writing on the web, try her Examiner columns, The Domestic Witchery Examiner, and The Newark Cooking Examiner.

Don’t forget to hop over to Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom and enter the giveaway!

Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume: Sveva

Each Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume is named after an earth-lovin’ lady. This one is named after Sveva Gallmann, daughter to philanthropist and conservationist, Kuki Gallmann. Thirty-year-old Sveva is no stranger to hardship. Growing up in Kenya, she lost her father before she was born, and her brother when she was three. As an adult, she started Four Generations, a program that helps African schoolchildren preserve their tribal history. She is also involved in her mother’s organization, the Gallmann Africa Conservancy.

A few years ago, in Marie Claire, Sveva said something that has stuck with me: “Coming back to the U.S., I am often shocked at the misery that Westerners feel sometimes. I have friends buckling under pressure and taking Prozac, feeling trapped by their jobs . . . depression, insecurity, anorexia. What strikes me about Africa is the resilience that keeps people moving forward even after the most brutal experiences. Look at Rwanda, and how they’ve rebuilt. People are ingenious in how they cope with life’s shortcomings.” This really puts life into perspective.

Sveva & Kuki Gallmann

Our Sveva blend contains the organic essential oils of patchouli, and sweet orange, and organic vanilla absolute oil. The blend of the scents is earthy, feminine, sweet, and vital. Patchouli oil is a balancing oil. In aromatherapy, it is sometimes used to repel negative emotions. Sweet orange oil is uplifting, and clears the mind. Vanilla oil is soothing and calming. This relaxing oil is the perfect complement to two oils that sweep the dust out of the mind, clarify thoughts, and dispel depression, anxiety, and negativity.

Don’t forget to read this important information about essential oils before making a purchase.

Picture of Gallman by Nell Freeman.

Beautiful Imperfections at a Beautiful Price

When making beauty products, there’s always a little bit of product leftover at the end of the process that is too hard to pour and that doesn’t dry with a smooth surface. I call this the “sludge.” Not a pretty name, and it doesn’t LOOK pretty, either, but it works just as well.

I tend to get a lot of “sludge tins” when making Sankalpa Scents because the candelilla wax hardens very quickly, and I don’t want to compromise the oils by heating them, cooling them, and heating them again. I used to give these “sludge tins” to my friends, but eventually, there are too many to give away! I’ve decided to sell these at a discounted price for those of you who’d like to try the Sankalpa Scents and don’t mind imperfection!

And speaking of imperfection, a small percentage of our tins don’t work the way they should. What does that mean? Simply that the tops are loose, and therefore, wouldn’t be appropriate to carry in your purse, where the top might fall off. The product itself is absolutely perfect – it’s only the tins that don’t work so well.

Both of these items will start appearing on the Etsy store. Sometimes, it will be for a specific item. Other times, it will be a general category (usually Sankalpa Scents), and what you receive will be a surprise.

So be sure to keep an eye out for our Loose Lid Discounts and Sludge Tin Discounts! Embrace imperfection – and its great, low price! ;)

Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume: Butterfly

I’m so excited about this fragrance. It is my absolute favorite. A mix of ylang ylang and vanilla – perfect scent mates.

This Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume (formerly known as Sankalpa Scents) is named after Julia Butterfly Hill, who, in the late nineties, spent 738 days living in a 180-foot tall, 1,500-year-old California Redwood tree in order to save it from being cut down. Hill has become an environmental icon since then, inspiring others to stand up for what they believe in with compassion and gentle fortitude.

Butterfly contains organic ylang ylang essential oil and organic vanilla absolute oil. These two scents blend seamlessly into the most delicate, feminine fragrance. Not surprisingly, both these oils have similar aromatherapy properties. They are extremely soothing, allowing you to breathe deeply and relax. They are even used to help people fall asleep. Additionally, both are prized for their aphrodisiacal properties, and their ability to make people feel buoyant and cheerful.

The beauty of this blend is that each scent completely merges into the other. You can’t tell where one ends and one begins. And as the hours pass, the scent transforms, with the ylang ylang fading ever so slightly to let the vanilla take center stage. It is one of the best fragrance blends I have ever experienced.

Check out this wonderful, short clip of Hill from the Omega Institute.

Don’t forget to read this important information about essential oils before making a purchase.

Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume: Anne

This perfume blend is named after writer Anne Lamott. She writes with bald honesty about life’s struggles, has a deep faith in God, and describes the Northern coast of California in her books so beautifully that you can tell she has a great respect for Mother Nature. She believes “joy is the best makeup” – and I couldn’t agree more.

Lamott describes her struggles with self-esteem in many of her books. In one, she talks about her unruly, super curly hair, and how she finally made peace with it when she decided to turn the curls into dreadlocks. My personal favorite story about beauty is one that involves her late best friend, Pammy, described here:

…I got obsessed with something my best friend had said right before she died, when she was in a wheelchair, wearing a wig to cover her baldness, weighing almost no pounds, but very serene, very alive. We were at Macy’s. I was modeling a short dress for her that I thought my boyfriend would like. But then I asked whether it made me look big in the hips, and Pammy said, as clear and kind as a woman can be, “Annie? You really don’t have that kind of time.” I just got it. I got it deep in my being. And all of a sudden, two years ago, it began ringing through the chambers of my head again: You don’t have that kind of time.

Nothing puts beauty into perspective like that. And that’s why I love Anne Lamott so much.

The Anne blend is crisp, earthy, and pure sunshine. Both lemon and grapefruit oils are used to uplift the spirits in aromatherapy. Grapefruit also improves concentration and self-confidence. Ginger, a warming spice, fires up your inner heat, and gets you motivated!

Please remember that essential oils are potent plant substances. Please click here to read important information.

*Pictures above: Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume: Anne by Five Seed, Anne Lamott (AP Photos), Bird by Bird (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume: Amelie

(Formerly known as Sankalpa Scents: Amelie.)

Imagination. Creativity.

This Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume is named after the fictional heroine of the French blockbuster Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain. This has always been a favorite movie of mine, as the director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, infuses beautiful scenes of nature into a film that takes place in one of the biggest cities in the world.

The heroine, Amelie, is a young woman with an incredibly vivid imagination. On the surface, she is simply a shy waitress in Montmartre, but behind the scenes, she helps her friends find love, aids strangers in unusual ways, and even extracts revenge on behalf of the simple-minded delivery boy who is tormented by his cruel boss. She never fails to take indulge in the smallest of life’s pleasures, like dipping her hand into a sack of grain, cracking the top of crème brûlée with a spoon, and skipping stones along St. Martin’s Canal. She is vibrant, creative, and lets herself fully connect to the present moment.

Our Amelie blend contains the organic essential oils of tangerine and lavender. Like the character Amelie, this blend is simple, happy, and down-to-earth. It is perfect for encouraging a calm state of mind, as well as a state of heightened creativity. Both tangerine and lavender are calming oils, and tangerine has the additional benefit of uplifting the senses and creating a feeling of inner buoyancy.

Please remember that essential oils are potent plant substances. Please click here to read important information.

*Picture above from Miramax Films

Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume: Jane

Okay, technically, THIS blend was the first to be developed for the Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume line (formerly known as Sankalpa Scents). After all, it is named for Jane Goodall, the recipient of 5% of our profits. Hopefully, having a Jane and a Janie won’t be too confusing! :)

At the young age of 22, Jane Goodall became the assistant of paleontologist and archaelogist, Louis Leakey in the jungles of Tanzania – a very unusual profession of a young woman living in 1957! She famously observed chimps eating meat, when they had previously been thought to be vegetarians. Further, she discovered that they used “tools” (grass stems, branches, etc.) to extract termites from their homes. This observation turned the anthropological world upside down, as it had always been believed that humans were the only ones who made and used tools. As Leakey said, in response to this discovery: “Now we must redefine ‘tool,’ redefine ‘man’ or accept chimpanzees as humans.”

During her subsequent education and observations, Goodall refused to refer to chimps by numbers, as most scientists did. She always named them, and maintained that we are closely related by bonds that extend far beyond genetic makeup.

In the years since her fieldwork, Goodall has established the Jane Goodall Institute (to which we donate 5% of our profits), and the youth-oriented Roots & Shoots. Goodall lectures around the country, sharing her stories of the deep connections between humans and the inhabitants of the jungles and forests. I was privileged to attend one of her lectures a few years ago, and was brought to tears by her words and her vibrant energy. She is truly a mother goddess protecting all the creatures (human or not) of this beautiful planet. (Read more about our donations, and JGI here. Or click here if you want to help JGI.)

Jane contains the organic essential oils of patchouli, ylang ylang, and a touch of lemongrass. It is the ultimate down-to-earth blend. The patchouli is a strong, grounding base, while the ylang ylang gives it a feminine note, and the lemongrass a touch of the exotic. This scent will help keep you focused, and allow you to open your eyes to the world around you. It can help you in situations in which you need sharp observational skills, or when you simply need patience, and a bit of a lift. And believe it or not, lemongrass and patchouli oils are often used as natural insect repellents! So if you really are going out into the jungle, this is the perfect blend for you! ;)

Please remember that essential oils are potent plant substances. Please click here to read important information.

(Photo credit: CBS/Landov.)

Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume: Janie

Welcome the first member of our Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume family (formerly known as Sankalpa Scents). Janie was named after Janie Crawford, the heroine of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. I read this novel twice: the first time, in my 18th year, during my first term in college, and the second, when I was about 26, and had gone back to college after a long break. Both times, Janie’s relationship with nature made a major impression on me (as is true for most readers). She is genuinely in love with her environment, and connects to other living beings in a very primal way. At a young age, she correlates the relationship between bees and flowers with romantic/sexual love:

[Janie] was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation… Oh to be a pear tree – any tree in bloom!  With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world!

Five Seed‘s Janie blend contains the organic essential oils of lavender, sweet orange, and ylang ylang. It is earthy, floral, sweet, and sensual. It is meant to help you open your senses to the world around. It will aid you in feeling connected with other living beings, bring out your inner vibrancy, and remind you of the sensuality of your inner Earth Goddess. It’s safe to say that you’ll be walking barefoot in the grass before the day is over, if you wear this feminine, earthy blend.

Please remember that essential oils are potent plant substances. Please click here to read important information.

Top picture collage: Herbal Aromatherapy Perfume: Janie, Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (Harper Classics), Halle Berry as Janie (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

New Product: Sankalpa Scents

Our two debut scents: Jane & Janie. Yeah, we know – confusing!

There are two things I have wanted to primarily focus on here at 5 Seed: natural remedies (if only I could figure out how to ship liquids without getting in trouble), and aromatherapy products. These are two of my passions. With the help of some creative friends, I decided to create solid aromatherapy balms – which not only keeps me on the good side of the USPS, but it makes this item perfect for traveling, or just keeping in your desk or purse.

My sister (and her brilliant unborn baby) came up with the idea for the name (Sankalpa Scents). I was reluctant, at first, simply because I don’t wish to capitalize on the whole “yoga gimmick” movement. But I decided to go for it, and hope that my customers will trust that further commercializing yoga is not my sankalpa. ;)

To back track a bit, sankalpa is Sanskrit for resolve, intention, will, purpose, and/or determination. According to Yoga Journal:

To make a sankalpa is to set an intention—it’s like a New Year’s resolution with a yogic twist. While a resolution often zeros in on a perceived negative aspect of ourselves…, a sankalpa explores what’s behind the thought or feeling… A sankalpa also praises the nobility of the effort rather than focusing on what you are doing wrong.

This description might give you an understanding of why I decided to use this name. Each one is meant to help you shift your internal focus to where you want it to be. Some are invigorating, some are motivating, and some are calming. They are meant to be used with strong intentions – a vision of the quality you wish to experience. Confidence. Peace. Joy. Love. Energy.

Each scent is named after a woman – real or fictional – who embodies the qualities that are enlivened and enhanced by the essential oil blends. We will list specific aromatherapy information for each blend here on the blog, and on the corresponding product pages.

The beauty of Sankalpa Scents is that you don’t have to believe in aromatherapy to use them. They can be used simply as solid perfume, rubbed on at your pulse points. The scents are always light and natural – never overpowering and artificial like commercial perfumes.

For those of you who wish to take advantage of the benefits of aromatherapy, you can not only use these as perfume, but can keep them in your purse or desk so they are available when you need to recenter, recharge, and rejuvenate. Simply rub a pea-sized amount into your palms, creating warmth which will enliven the scents in the blend you’ve chosen. Open your hands in front of your face and take a few moments to breathe the scent in, meditating on the quality you need at that moment (tranquility, energy, patience, etc.). You can also rub small amounts of this perfume balm into your temples or at the back of your neck to relieve headaches. When you’re done, simply wipe off your hands, or give them a quick rinse in the sink.

Having said all that, I do want to make sure you understand the potency of essential oils. They aren’t potentially toxic, chemically derived fragrances, but they are extremely potent natural substances. First of all, please click here to read more about this. Secondly, please be aware of your allergies. We cannot stress this enough. Essential oils are plant materials, so if you’re allergic to, say, oranges, then you will want to avoid all Sankalpa blends containing citrus oils, just to be safe.

Finally, if you are pregnant, the safest thing to do is to consult your doctor before using ANY product from any bath & body business containing essential oils. There are multiple reasons for this, but I’ll leave the explanations to the professionals. This doesn’t mean that essential oils are harmful or dangerous – it is simply wise to inform yourself about anything you use on your skin during pregnancy.

Please remember that all information here is for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose any illness, nor dowe make any medical claims or guarantees about our products’ ability to treat or cure any disease. Remember, if you are pregnant, or are suffering from a disease or illness, please consult your physician before using products containing essential oils. We do not recommend use of Sankalpa Scents on children.