Mar 15
by Maryclaire Mayes

View From My Window: Springing into Warm Weather

summer party

Spring is hard here in the northeast. The start of fall usually is a welcome relief from the hot humid summer. It is exciting with crisp clean air and the beautiful display of colorful leaves; but no so with spring. There are ice storms and snow storms, cold temperatures, wind, rain and mud.

We know eventually it will all give way to warmer temps and spring flowers, but it is so hard to wait. One thing we have started to do while we are waiting for Spring is to have a Summer party. I use Dean’s March birthday as an excuse to turn our house into a tropical paradise. I turn on the heat and use Yankee Candles Sun and Sand candles to help create our summer atmosphere.  I decorate the house and if it is not sunny I make a big sun and put it on the window. I plan a summertime menu and make big fruit platters decorated with pineapple tops. If I think of it I have beach boys music playing too. Our little friend Peabody even puts on his summer surfer clothes. The grandkids love it all and the grown ups have a fun spring afternoon too.

We all get a little reprieve from the cold weather, even if we have to make it ourselves inside the house.

Feb 15
by Dean Mayes

Dry Skin Care Tips

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 4.43.16 AM

Spring may be just around the corner but Winter may still be drying your skin. The climate varies around the country, but the problems our skin experiences are similar. In the winter your skin is exposed to many harsh environments like dry indoor air, cold and wind outside, and a lack of sunshine. All this causes very dry, flaky irritated skin in the winter months. But there is something you can do to be comfortable in your skin. What you need to do is moisturize, exfoliate, and moisturize again. Your skin reacts differently in the winter so you need to adjust accordingly.

Cleansing: In the Winter one of the most important things to keep in mind is hot water dries your skin. As good as it feels to take a steaming hot shower your skin will suffer the consequences. If your skin is very dry try washing with water that is warm but not hot. You want your cleaning routine to be as moisturizing as possible, so you might want to change to one of our more moisturizing soaps such as Baby Me or Olive soap if you are not already using it.

Moisturize: Replenish Moisturizer is great but if you need something more in the winter try the Shea Body Butter, even though it is a heavier moisturizer, the ingredients are all non-comedogenic, so it can be used on your face without fear of clogging pores.
It is a good idea to use a heavier moisturizer in the winter since your skin has more extreme conditions to deal with. Itchy skin often happens because the dry air of winter is causing the moisture in the top layer of your skin to evaporate.

Exfoliate: This is done to remove dead skin cells and allow your skin to absorb the extra moisturizer you are applying. But don’t exfoliate more than twice per week.

Hydrotherapy: This stimulates your circulatory system for better blood flow to your skin. You can do this at home by using your shower. Start out with a warm shower, before you finish switch the water to cold for about fifteen seconds then back to warm. Repeat the process for two minutes. Try it and see if you don’t feel better.

Moisturize: The best time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower. The bath helps to hydrate your skin and the Shea Body Butter helps to keep it from evaporating.

And remember healthy skin starts from the inside, so eat healthy whole foods and drink plenty of water.

Feb 15
by Dean Mayes

View From My Window – March 2015


Snow and lots of it. Not as bad as some other areas of the northeast, but still it’s plenty. Caddy doesn’t mind it so much, but he doesn’t go all that far from the barn.

The goats really seem to hate it. I watch them from my window and they step outside the barn only if the sun is shining. I finally decided to shovel a path for them to see if they would venture out a little further. I made a loop out to their hutch. The loop was just in case Caddy was following them they would still have an escape route back to the barn.

Well I am happy to report that all the goats approve. Ruth is especially fond of hanging out in the hutch. Now I only wish I had thought of it sooner, but it is hard to think at 10 below!

Jan 15
by Maryclaire Mayes

View From My Window – February 2015


This month I am bringing back a post our son Hal wrote in 2011.


Have you ever wondered what the name Alabu means? We get this question a lot so I thought I’d shed some light on it. It all started way back in the beginning of the year 2000 (that seems like so long ago). My mother had made soap for about three years at this point, and we were selling soap and candles online at a virtual craft fair my father started called Simplerway. I remember listening to my parents discuss in the kitchen what direction to take the business. I recall them talking about all the work involved between the virtual craft fair and the products we were making and selling, and they decided that they really needed to focus on one thing if the business was going to make it. We were getting unbelievable feedback about the goat milk soap, so it seemed like a no-brainer. That was the product we would focus on.

So, Simplerway was sold to my father’s business partner at the time, and we now needed a name for our new business. My sister and I were both pretty young at the time, and my father took the opportunity to assign us the task of coming up with a name. He had a few requirements. The name had to be short & easy to remember, it had to begin with the letter ‘a’, and most importantly, the name had to be an available .com domain name on the internet.

Over the next month we had many conversations around the dinner table about this. In fact I was starting to get tired of it. Even in the year 2000, it seemed like so many good names were already taken online. A few days later, my mother and I were helping out with a program at our church called MOPS (mothers of preschoolers). We would often watch the kids while the mothers met and listened to speakers.

On this day we were showing the kids an animated series called Veggie Tales. In it there is a talking cucumber (Larry) who has a segment of the show called Silly Songs with Larry. In this particular episode he sang a song called The Song of the Cebu (pronounced say-boo). It seemed like a pretty typical day at MOPS to me, but that song sure was catchy.

In fact, it was so catchy that my mother remembered it several days later—I think it was around the dinner table again—when she suggested Cebu as a business name. It didn’t start with an ‘a’, but we all liked the sound of it. One of us went over to the computer to check its availability. Of course, it was taken by a company based out of France. It didn’t stop there though. My sister Nell kept tinkering with the name until she came up with the name Alabu. We all liked the name even better, and to our delight it was available as a domain name. So, what’s in a name?

Nothing, really. Just the cool story behind it. That and one of the most respected brands in sensitive skin care.


Jan 15
by Maryclaire Mayes

View From My Window – January 2015

Triger in snow

I had a lot of opportunity to take pictures of the last snowstorm we had. While it was all very beautiful for those of us who watch it, it was a 72 hour work day for those whose job it is to remove it. Our son, Hal and his partner Duke at Terra Mira Property management worked through the nights and days until the snow stopped so they could make sure all the properties they manage were cleared of snow and safe. While their guys worked in shifts, Hal & Duke worked through the storm with a few hours here and there for short cat naps. They are hard workers with a strong work ethic, I’m very proud of them both.  Oh and the picture is by Hal’s wife, who also works at Terra Mirra, and manages their Facebook page. She has a good eye for photography.