Oct 13

View From My Window – November 2013

941295_10201484812496272_809576386_nThis isn’t quite the view from my window, but I am so excited to be able to follow my big brother’s journey; sailing their new home, a 36 foot sailboat, down to the Florida Keys for the winter. He and his wife left NJ September 30 and started their voyage south. They hope to make it down to Marathon in the Florida Keys by Dec 1st, sort of trying to keep ahead of the  winter weather coming down from the north.  They have had quite an adventure so far, engine trouble, playful porpoises showing up to guide them to port, more engine trouble,  waiting for a submarine to pass, being dwarfed by large ocean going tankers, going through locks, draw bridges  and The Dismal Swamp! that apparently is not dismal at all. They are so thankful that they have been meeting lots of friendly people along the way. I love the fact that they took the leap of faith; sold their business and their house and bought a sailboat. They are living their dream and are having so much fun doing it together.

Oct 13

Seasons of Life

JackWe just want to mention an important passing in our lives. Our long time neighbor and dear friend Jack, died in his sleep about a week ago. He always said we were the best neighbors, but the truth is that was Jack. He lent us tools, and gave his time, words of wisdom, stories and laughs. Jack was a larger than life kind of guy. He always had a smile and a greeting for everyone who came near. He truly loved his wife, his 5 children, their spouses and grandchildren.  He was truly a hard working, unique and rugged individual. He always loved to talk to people and learn about new things or new places or just reminisce about the good old days.  He was a model of how a man should care for his family. Attending his services made me realize how he balanced his life between work and play and always made time for others. His passing has left a big whole in the family’s lives. But I don’t think they feel much regret. They are a very loving family, they knew he loved them and he knew they all loved him. We will really miss him and are grateful to have known him. We pray for his family as they enter this new season of their lives.  

Oct 13

Essential Oils: Powerful Patchouli

Essential oilsAh, essential oils and powerful patchouli! Patchouli is sometimes described as woodsy, sweet or musky, but to me patchouli smells like dirt! It is one of those things that people say you either love it or hate it. I have read that the fragrance of Patchouli is an acquired taste, and I have to say it is starting to grow on me.

Our Patchouli Essential Oils soap has always been one of our best sellers.

I think my constant exposure to it has helped me appreciate it more. But it has such wonderful benefits that I wanted to like it. Unlike other essential oils that loose their aroma over time, the odor of patchouli improves with age. Patchouli oil is made from the dried leaves of a small busy plant in the mint family. It grows in the warmer climates of Asia. It is a natural insecticide and in the 19th century the leaves were placed between shawls exported from India to England to protect them from moths. If the weavings did not have the signature Patchouli fragrance no one would buy them, as they did not believe they were truly made in India. Patchouli has been used for centuries in Asia for skin conditions and for dressings for wounds. It gained increased popularity in the 60’s as incense, that some used to cover the scent of smoking marijuana. The perfume industry is a heavy user of patchouli oil as a base note that helps anchor the other fragrances. In skin care it is prized for treatment of acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, dandruff. It is reputed to help regenerate mature skin.  It is known as an antiseptic, fungicide and is said to be an uplifting fragrance that helps with depression and anxiety. Today it is even listed on WebMD. It says that it is used for colds, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Maybe you should give our Alabu Patchouli Essential Oils soap a try, we think it will grow on you.

Oct 13

Seasons of Your Skin- 6 Tips for Autumn Skin Care

imagesThe variation in the seasons changes your skin care needs. As we fall into autumn, (I know – bad pun) the air outside is getting unkinder and drier.  As we start turning the heat inside, that dries out the inside air. You can see and feel your skin is becoming drier. The dry air inside and outside is a double whammy for your skin. But what can you do? Here are some skin care tips to help keep you comfortable in your skin.


  1. Keep hydrated. One of the most important things you can do for you skin is to drink water. People think they only need to drink a lot in the summer, but the truth is you need to stay hydrated all year long.
  2. If you like hot showers; Stop it! Hot water takes all the naturally occurring protective oils off your skin and dries it our even more. Take shorter warm showers instead.
  3. When it is cold outside, bundle up to protect your skin. Cotton is best next to your skin to avoid unnecessary irritation.
  4. Switch to a moisturizing soap. Most soap you buy in the store is very drying. I never realized this until I started making my own goat milk soap. I grew up with Ivory and Dial and didn’t know my skin wasn’t supposed to feel like it shrank after a shower. Hand made soaps are better than commercial soaps, but I think it is hard to beat Alabu goat milk soap. Our Baby Me soap is especially moisturizing. I actually formulated it for babies but it is our most popular soap now.
  5. Moisturize morning and night. In the morning it will provide a protective barrier to reduce evaporation. Moisturizing at night is most effective when done right after your shower or bath when your skin is clean and still moist.
  6. Switch to a heavier moisturizer in the fall or if your skin tends to be very dry. A nutrient oil based moisturizer with beeswax, like Alabu’s Shea Body Butter is especially helpful to protect against moisture loss through your skin.



Oct 13

Essential Oils: Lavenders many uses

Essential Oils: Lavenders many usesThe first soap I ever made was lavender essential oil.   It was readily available at the health food store and I thought it would make a fresh clean smelling soap.  It turns out that the name lavender is derived from the Latin “to wash”.  People have known the value of lavender for over two thousand years, but not for just washing themselves.  It has been used for a wide range of practices ranging from anxiety to pain reliever.  It had been thought to have protective properties that would ward off the plague.

Today, studies have confirmed that lavender can induce a calming sedating effect when inhaled. It has also shown to improve circulation problems, mental balance, insomnia and depression.  It is also used as a pain reliever for certain conditions like sprains, bee stings and sunburn. Lavender can also be used as a mosquito repellent when applied to the skin.  Scientists are also studying the effects of its elements to calm the pain from cancer.

For centuries lavender has been used in pillows to help with a peaceful sleep and also mixed with chamomile as a sleep aid.  Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders. Studies also suggest that massage with lavender, may improve sleep quality, mood, concentration, and reduce anxiety.

Aroma therapists also use lavender in inhalation therapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Lavender can be used to treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections, wounds, eczema, and acne. It is also used in a bath for joint and muscle pain. One study has shown that found that oxygen supplemented with lavender oil improves pain control after surgery.

Whether you love it or If you are not yet familiar with lavender, give our Lavender Delight soap a try, it is a soothing and relaxing blend of lavender, ylang ylang, and a touch of sweet orange essential oils. Lavender essential oil aids sleep and relaxation. Try it out in a bath or shower before taking a nap or going to bed!