Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Aromatherapy Quick Tip

Winter Solstice is coming up,
but the cold, dry weather is already here.
We need all the help we can get to keep our insides and outsides from becoming dehydrated.
One easy tip?
A simplistic, passive humidifier using just a bowl of water on top of your radiator.
Bonus: add essential oils to the mix.

Although this works best with the old-style radiators, even small baseboards radiators can be used by using ramekins or finger bowls instead of full-sized bowls (just fill them up more often).
Just fill your bowl (or ramekin, or mug, or whatever heat and water-proof vessel you choose) with water.
Add 3-5 drops of essential oils.
Put on your radiator.
And that's it!
Check every couple days and refill as needed.
The radiator gently heats the water, and the water gently heats the oil.
Water vapor and a subtle aroma are released into the air.
Don't know where to start? Try one of these combinations:

4 drops eucalyptus
1 drop peppermint

2 drops peppermint
3 drops bergamot

2 drops juniper
2 drops lemon

3 drops lavender
2 drops rosemary

1 drop German chamomile
3 drops lavender

Happy winter!


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Friday, October 11, 2013

DIY Natural Air Freshener

DIY Natural Air Freshener

Make Your Own Natural Air Freshener at Home

in just five easy steps:

  1. add 1/4 cup baking soda to a glass bowl
  2. add 5-10 drops essential oil
  3. mix and crush lumps
  4. stir in 1/2 cup dried flowers
  5. pour into decorative bowl or vase
In this example I used lavender, but any dried flower or herb will work. Match up the essential oil for best results (e.g. dried rose petals with rose absolute or essential oil, cedar chips with cedar essential oil). For a light oil like lavender, 10 drops is better, but for heavier oils like rose or cedar, less drops will work. Mixing the baking soda with the essential oils before adding the herbs allows for better blending.

Once in the bowl or vase, this freshener will help pull the bad aromas from the air while releasing the good aromas. How does that work? Magic! No, just kidding. I don't know how it works, I just know it does, and it's long lasting. A blend I had in my bedroom (it was lavender) lasted for six years before a spill caused me to stop counting. Just give the container a little shake whenever you want to release fresh aroma.

Although this is a natural air freshener, keep the mixture away from kids and pets, or anyone who might think it's a good idea to eat it (don't eat it).


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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

You Don't Know What Homeopathic Means.

Ok friends, it's rant time again.

I'd like to scream this to the world...

Homeopathic is not the same as natural.
Homeopathic is not the same as holistic.
Homeopathic is not the same as botanical.

If you use this word for anything other than one small branch of holistic medicine,

you don't know what homeopathic means,

so please find out what it means or stop using it. Especially if you're a writer/blogger. Or any part of a natural healthcare or natural skincare field. (If you're a person not involved in these fields, and you're misusing this word, it's no wonder since "authority"-types are doing it.)

At a herbal conference earlier this year I continuously heard people call small doses of tinctures "homeopathic doses". I don't know what teacher is telling their students that small means the same as homeopathic, but it's wrong. So wrong. This was especially disturbing because if anyone (other than a homeopath) should know what homeopathy is and isn't, it's a herbalist.

But, this rant was brought on by an article on natural beauty products. Not quite as disturbing, but just as annoying.

Why does it bother me so much when this word is constantly used incorrectly? Because it would be like calling all colors blue, or all foods pizza, or all mammals cats. It's just wrong. Completely.

So, what is homeopathy?

It's a branch of holistic medicine using remedies made in a very specific way. These remedies are the only things that can be called homeopathic. A homeopathic remedy is created by making a "mother tincture", and then repeatedly diluting the tincture using a technique unique to homeopathy. The end result is an energetic medicine with none of the original (botanical or other) ingredient left in the menstruum (the liquid). It's a fascinating and controversial field, but unless you are practicing it or using it, all you need to know is this:

All homeopathy is natural (some are even made from natural poisons), but not all natural is homeopathic; all homeopathy is holistic, but not all holistics are homeopathic; all homeopathy is not botanical (there is even a remedy made from fire!), and not all botanicals are homeopathic.

So, please, help me stop this insanity.

If you hear or read someone incorrectly using the term, gently let them know that homeopathy is a branch of holistic medicine, not a general term. With bloggers and other writers, some herbalists, and others continuously misusing the term, it's no wonder that so many people are confused by the terminology.

Lets set the world straight.

Also see 5 Most Commonly Misused Natural Terms for more terms commonly confused.


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Monday, August 26, 2013

Martha Stewart's American Made Nominee!

Martha Stewart's new American Made program (this is the second annual) supports handcrafted, American-made business. This year, Wunder Budder is a nominee!

There are six categories: food, craft, design, style (this includes skincare, and is the category for Wunder Budder), technology, and garden. The winner of each category will win a gift basket, a feature on the American Made website, and a mention on Sirius radio. The exposure alone could change the life of a business (hopefully Wunder Budder's!), but these category winners will go on to compete for the grand prize: $10,000, a trip to the American Made Workshop, and a feature on!

Wunder Budder stands a chance to win it all, but not without your help. The contest is entirely based on votes. Entirely. The only way to win is to get the most votes, and the only way to get the most votes is to ask all of you, my friends and Wunder Budder fans, to cast yours. You can vote daily, and you can vote up to six times per day (yes, you can cast them all at once!). To get people involved, American Made is entering each vote to win a prize (AmericanExpress gift cards and Martha Stewart books, some signed).

During the voting period (08/26/13-09/13/13) I'll be posting on Facebook and Twitter daily to remind everyone to vote, and to make sure I catch everyone. Twitter feeds are so fast moving, most people probably won't notice all the tweets promoting the contest, but Facebook is more personal. If I pop up in your feed five times a day, you'll probably get sick of seeing me! But, on average, each Facebook post is only been seen by 2-8% of fans. At best, it's 20%, and that's only with a LOT of interaction: comments and sharing. So, although a few of you will see every post, the majority of you will see maybe one. Because of this, I'll have to post a lot to make sure the link is seen by a large number of people. To make up for all the posts, I'll be offering daily specials starting tomorrow* - a different special every day (except for Labor Day Weekend). The code will be posted in the first comment every time the American Made contest link is shared, so keep an eye out for them. That you for all your love and support...


*Unfortunately my profile page, along with many other nominees', has been down for most of the day. This very frustrating turn of events means that I didn't promote today and lost almost an entire day's worth of votes (who wants to be directed to a page that won't load??). Things seem to be back up now, so hopefully they stay up. But now I need to catch up with all the people who could access their pages all day!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Popular Diets, Commonly Confused: Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian

(originally posted on on 01/22/13)

With constantly changing opinions on what foods are the healthiest, and what foods we should be avoiding, there are new diets emerging on a regular basis. From fad diets, to weight-loss plans, to entire lifestyle changes, it can be hard to keep track of which diet is which. Even three of the longest-standing, most common, and most well known diets are continuously confused with each other. Everyone knows, or at least has heard of, a vegetarian (a term used for over 150 years), a vegan, or a pescatarian, but do we all know what those terms really mean?

Vegans don't consume any animal (mammal, bird, fish, etc.) flesh or products, or any products made by animals (like eggs, dairy, and honey), or any products in general that directly lead to the exploitation, injury, or death of any creatures. Living the vegan lifestyle also includes not wearing or using any animal products, like leather or fur. Vegan is a more recent (still over a half-century old) term for "strict vegetarian".

Vegetarians don't consume any animal flesh, or products made from animals (mammal, bird, fish, etc.), but may consume products made by animals, like eggs, dairy, or honey. Although many vegetarians choose not to wear or use animal products, the vegetarian lifestyle is less strict than vegan and some vegetarians use certain products like leather boots or hand-made drums made from "by-products" (e.g. skin) of the meat industry. Some vegetarians categorize themselves as lacto- or ovo- (or lacto-ovo-) vegetarians if they eat dairy or eggs, respectively, but the term vegetarian has generally come to include eating both dairy and eggs and usually doesn't need to be categorized.

Pescatarians, the most recently (still a couple decades old) defined of the three, are similar to vegetarians, but fish is included in their diets. The distinction between vegetarian and pescatarian is important to make, but being newest, it is also the most often confused. Calling a person who eats fish a "vegetarian" is not only confusing to everyone, it's also incorrect. Pescatarians eat fish, but do not eat any other animals or products made from animals.

Although these diets can seem restrictive, what they do include are fresh vegetables, leafy greens to tuberous roots, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and berries, and beans: a food list with an infinite number of combinations and flavors.

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Hidden Animal Ingredients

(originally posted on on 02/01/13)

9 Common Animal Ingredients, Uncommonly Known:

Carmine (or Natural Red #4)

Sometimes under other names, such as carminic acid or cochineal extract, this red food coloring is made by crushing the bodies of female cochineal scale insects, and is found in foods from bottled juice to candy to yogurt.

Casein (or Caseinogen)

Ironically, this milk protein is commonly found in "dairy-free" cheeses, but can also be found in other foods, and in household items like paints and adhesives.


A protein extracted from the collagen of animal bones and by-products from slaugherhouses (generally cows and pigs), gelatin helps food stick together and is in things like marshmallows, gummy candies, and gel-caps. Kosher gelatin is usually made from kosher fish, but may come from specially processed cows. Vegetarian gelatin is agar, a gel-like substance found in red seaweed.

Isinglass (or Fish Gelatin)

Extracted from fish bladders, this collagen is used in the processing of some wine and beers, but doesn't remain in the final product.


Lanolin is excreted from the oil glands of sheep and is extracted from the wool after shearing. It's used in skincare, haircare, and cosmetics, and is a common ingredient in lip balms marketed as "natural".

Rennet (or Animal Rennet, Enzymes)

Made from the stomach of young mammals (usually calves), rennet is used in cheesemaking. Many cheeses contain animal rennet, but also may use vegetarian rennet, from vegetable sources, or microbial rennet, from bacteria or fungus.

Shellac ( or Gum Lac), Lac Dye

Secreted by the lac beetle, a scale insect, shellac is used as a coating for candy and pills, and in other items from glue to furniture polish to lipstick. Shellac is sometimes labelled as gum lac. The crushed shells of the lac beetle are used to make lac dye.

Vitamins & Fortified Foods

Not all vitamins and fortified foods contain animal products, but those that do are rarely labelled. Most common: vitamin D from lanolin and Omega 3 from fish.

White, and other Refined Sugars

Although sugars themselves are vegan, they are sometimes processed with bone char, used to "bleach" (lighten) the sugar, but will not be listed on the label. "Unbleached" sugars are not processed with bone char.

Want more? Check out...

What is a Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian?
5 Most Commonly Misused Natural Terms
Why Use Natural Lip Balm?

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Monday, August 5, 2013

The Cost of Disposable Coffee Cups

Coffee Cup Waste

(originally posted on on 02/27/13)

Saving the World One Cup at a Time...

"Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings" - Helen Keller

Though we may not want to admit it, we are all guilty of indifference at some point in our lives. To function successfully in today's society, it is necessary to shut out the madness from time to time. On the other hand, apathy and ignorance (the true sense of the word) are taking a heavy toll on ecosystems the world over. While there is nothing wrong with protecting ourselves from too much negativity, Earth, our home that we depend on for our survival, deserves our protection as well. At Wunder Budder, we are firm believers that, when considered collectively, small changes can make a big impact on the future of our planet. By curtailing our own wasteful habits today, we reduce the amount of trash piling up in landfills and create a better world now and for our future.

How Disposable Cups Impact the Environment:

Disposable cups for hot drinks are generally made out of either polystyrene or paper. Certain product characteristics make these containers difficult, or even impossible, to recycle. By now, most of us are aware that polystyrene cups are bad for the environment, but few people realize that disposable paper cups are just as problematic.

Disposable Polystyrene Cups

Commonly referred to by the brand name Styrofoam, disposable beverage cups made of this expanded polystyrene (EPS) are deeply despised by concerned environmentalists. While this notoriously carcinogenic petroleum-based substance is lighter than paper alternatives, the sheer volume of EPS contained in landfills is the real problem. It takes up a lot of space, and nearly incapable of biodegrading, EPS decomposition requires at least 500 years. You may have noticed that some polystyrene cups and containers sport a #6 recycling logo, yet many towns fail to include this in their curbside program. Though it is possible to make insulation, packing materials, and other foam items from recycled EPS, the current demand is still relatively low.

Disposable Paper Cups

Many people prefer disposable paper cups over polystyrene, believing them to be better for the environment. The truth is, they aren't much better at all; in fact, because they are lined with a synthetic waterproof polymer, paper beverage cups are neither biodegradable nor recyclable. An astonishing amount, over 40% by some accounts, of solid waste in American landfills is either paper or cardboard. Much of this waste can be attributed to disposable coffee cups. If you are currently throwing away just one cup per day, you are responsible for consuming nearly an entire tree's worth of paper per year. Next time you're in line at your local coffeeshop, imagine for a minute each person in line as a tree that was cut down. If we truly want to save the environment, our "out of sight, out of mind" mentality regarding trash just won't cut it anymore. Have you ever considered how much waste we contribute to landfills through disposable coffee cups?

Doing the Math: How Do Your Daily Habits Stack Up?

While some say ignorance is bliss, like Stephen Colbert, we think truthiness is better. To create the table below, we compared the weights of three standard disposable cup sizes: a small paper cup (12 oz), a medium paper cup (16 oz), and a large polystyrene cup (22 oz). We then figured out how much trash one person can accumulate from a one-cup-a-day coffee, tea, or hot chocolate habit. These numbers are likely to confirm what you probably already knew in your gut: humans make too much trash!

One Cup a Day Accumulates How Much Solid Waste?*

In a Day (1 Cup)In a Month (30 cups)In a Year (365 Cups)
Small0.375 oz / 10.63 g11.25 oz / 318.93 g8.6 lbs / 3.9 kg
Medium0.5 oz / 14.17 g15 oz / 425.24 g11.4 lbs / 5.2 kg
Large0.25 oz / 7.09 g7.5 oz / 212.62 g5.7 lbs / 2.6 kg
*actual cups from coffeeshops were weighed for this data. Numbers may fluctuate slightly for different brands of cups, but sizes are standard.

Using this table, you can easily estimate how much waste you contribute to landfills by throwing out disposable hot beverage cups. Keep in mind that these totals don’t even include the added weight or volume of plastic covers and cardboard sleeves, nor the impact of double-cupping for comfort. While this information might leave you feeling discouraged, think of it as a timely wake-up call.
By opening our eyes to the truth, we become motivated to make positive life changes!

How You Can Help Reduce Disposable Cup Waste

We’ll be the first to agree that old habits die hard, but that doesn’t mean they are invincible. By making small, incremental adjustments in our daily lives, eventually the momentum builds, inspiring us to make even more positive changes. One person can make a difference, and that person can be you! Before buying your next hot beverage of choice, consider these simple suggestions for saving the world one cup at a time:

  • Take a break! Rather than getting your favorite drink “to go,” stop and smell the roses for a few minutes. Don’t forget to let your barista know you’ll be sticking around, and that he or she can serve your beverage in a washable mug (if possible).
  • Rinse and repeat! There is no rule that says you can’t reuse a disposable cup a few times before throwing it out. If you’re the type of person who buys coffee more than once a day, bring your first cup back and put a few additional miles on it.
  • Buy a travel mug! Most coffee shops are happy to use a cup provided by you. Look for stainless steel or ceramic (skip the plastic - for the environment, your health, and taste) reusable travel mugs that are easy to wash and won’t spill too easily. The easier it is for you, the more you'll enjoy using it. You can even buy a glass Mason or Ball jar (the best choice for the environment) with handles.
  • Repurposing is rad! No need to shell out extra cash and use up resources. Reuse a 16oz glass peanut butter, coconut oil, or other wide mouth jar. You can even outfit your new favorite mug with a jar cozy for added comfort and cuteness!

Know that you, as one person, can make a difference. Want an easy way to visualize the change you can make? For each cup saved, think of it multiplied by 1,000.

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How to Make Ginger Honey

How to Make Ginger Infused Honey

(originally posted on on 02/06/13)

Ginger + Honey = Love.

Honey and ginger do amazing things when they get together. The spiciness of ginger is perfectly calmed with sweet flowing honey, creating a balance of flavor you'll never want to be without again, and after today you'll never have to be. It's very easy to make ginger honey, and the best part? You also end up with spicy ginger candy!

Besides the taste, ginger and honey together are a must-have in your natural prevention of colds/other seasonal illness plans. Both have long been used to prevent colds and aid in a speedy recovery, and ginger is also well-known for relief from nausea caused by motion sickness or excessive gas. Honey can be used to soothe dry throats and ease coughs from scratchy throats, and many people find taking local honey during allergy season relieves their symptoms.

Add ginger honey to your tea, desserts, smoothies, or take a spoonful on it's own. It also makes a great gift!

What you will need

1 cup freshly sliced ginger root
2 cups local raw honey
double boiler or two sauce pans or crockpot
metal strainer (or other heat-resistant strainer)
two clean glass jars with tops (or other air-tight containers)
cookie sheet (or wax paper)
15 minutes prep time, 4 hours minimum (up to 8-12 hours) heating time (Don't be thrown off by the length of time! It can be split up if needed.)

How to make ginger honey

Set up the double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, you can improvise by using a smaller saucepan resting in a larger saucepan (add water to the bottom pan). You can also use the ring from a canning jar to create a barrier between container and heat, by placing the ring in the bottom of a saucepan, placing a canning jar or glass measuring cup on top of the ring, and adding enough water to cover about an inch or two of the glass. For convenience, you can also use a crockpot. Even on the lowest setting, a crockpot can still be too warm for most herbal preparations, but if this is your only option (or the only option you like), use it.

Take fresh ginger root, and thoroughly wash (scrub it like a potato), leaving peel on. Cut the root thinly, in slices averaging 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch (thinner when cutting a large root, thicker when cutting a small root) until you have about 1 cup. Making herbal food products is rarely an exact science, so don't worry about being exact while slicing or measuring. Add the sliced ginger to the pot.
Measure 2 cups of local raw honey (local is especially important if you are trying to ease seasonal allergy symptoms), and add it to the pot with the ginger.

Turn the stove onto medium low until the water (not the honey!) starts bubbling (light, small bubbles, pre-simmer), then turn it down to the lowest setting. If you're using a crockpot, turn it on to the lowest setting. Cover, and wait. If you're using a jar or measuring cup, lay tin foil over the top, pressing down on the edges just enough for it to stay on (not too tight, there should be some air movement).

The waiting time will vary (see Tips, below), but the honey should warm for at least four hours. Eight to twelve hours is ideal. Keep an eye on the amount of water in the pan and add water as needed.
When the honey is finished, strain into a clean glass jar (a Mason jar, Ball jar, or reused food jar like a glass peanut butter jar) or another heat proof container. Any type of small strainer will do, but metal is the easiest to clean honey from, and a small metal tea or sauce strainer is ideal. One or two layers of cheesecloth can also be used. Leave to cool, then cover.

Spread ginger pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet or a layer of wax paper. Leave to cool, and then put into a small jar or other air-tight container. The ginger candies will harden slightly, but will always remain sticky.

Your ginger honey and candy should be stored in a cool, dark place.

Ginger Infused Honey Tips

Make the honey on a day where you know you will be home for at least four hours, but if you need to split up the process, you may. Leave the honey covered and remove from heat until you can warm it up again.

To decide when the ginger honey is ready, taste a piece of ginger. If the ginger candy tastes too spicy, leave the honey for longer. Test every 1-2 hours. Like stated above, it's not an exact science, so you have freedom to choose how spicy you want the candy to be (the honey can be easily adjusted).
If this ginger infused honey is too strong, add some plain honey to taste and stir well. If you want it stronger, double infuse the honey by straining the ginger candy when ready, putting the honey back in the pot, and adding a new batch of fresh ginger.

As an alternative to heating, you can add all ingredients to a jar and store for a few weeks, but gentle, long heating will give a better result.

Once you get the hang of making infused honey, you can use other herbs and spices to make flavored honey for eating, cooking, or even for natural medicines.

Disclaimer that needs to be added because at some point someone ruined everything for the rest of us: This is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease.


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Is it Natural?

(Originally posted on on 05/25/12)

It's time for my rant.

It's actually long overdue.

How many times have you seen a company or product making the "natural" claim, only to read the ingredients and have it be filled with 400 different types of alcohol, 300 petrochemicals, 200 preservatives, 100 words you can't figure out, and one natural, botanical ingredient? Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I think you know what I mean.

There are basically NO rules for labelling something "natural", "botanical", or any other word you can think of that makes the product seem like something it's not. "Organic" has rules, but even labelling something "organic" means that it's 95% organic. What about the other 5%?? Exactly.
It makes me SO MAD, I can't even fully put words to it without sounding like a child having a temper tantrum. It's unfair to companies like Wunder Budder who aren't making false claims, but most importantly, unfair to consumers. Unfair to YOU. If you're not in the industry, how are you supposed to know what can and can't be called what? How are you supposed to know that anyone can call anything "natural" just because they feel like it? I'm telling you now, and I hope you spread the word.

READ THE LABELS! Alway, always, always, read the ingredient list on products you're buying. I can't stress this enough. You don't even have to know what all the ingredients are exactly. If it seems like it's not natural, it's not. Trust your instincts.

Can I just say it one more time?

There are NO rules for labelling something natural (at least not in the USA), so you MUST read the ingredient list!

This is the reason why we list Every. Single. Ingredient on all of our product labels and their descriptions online, and why we don't use anything like "flavor" or "fragrance". (Update 08/15/13: Well, we started adding some items that are fragrances in a more perfume-style. A few items have "natural fragrance" listed, but each one is blended in the studio using the same ingredients we use for all our other products. There are still no "fragrance" or "flavor" oils, don't worry! We didn't change our core beliefs that natural is the only way to go, we just wanted to expand our horizons.) If it's in it, we list it, so you always know exactly what you are using when you use Wunder Budder. If you have a question about any ingredients we use, check out our new Glossary of Good Stuff. If what you're looking for hasn't been added yet, or if you have more questions, please contact us.

End rant (for now).


Read more about Commonly Misused Natural Industry Terms.

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Goodbye Garden Grease!

Goodbye Garden Grease
(Originally posted on on 12/20/12)
Well, guys, here is it.
For the first time ever, I'm discontinuing a product.
Garden Grease.
This was never my favorite (if it was your favorite, keep reading, you won't be totally disappointed).
It was formulated with my mother in mind: an avid gardener, and someone who spends a lot of time working with her hands, whether it's installing a patio into her backyard, or carefully painting pictures of flowers. 
But, it never became what I meant it to be.
Originally, it was supposed to be creamier, lighter, and come in a larger container. More like cold cream than a salve. And, it was supposed to go along with a hand scrub made especially for hard working hands, but gentle enough to use regularly, even on the sometimes tender skin on the back of hands.
But, for reasons I can't remember now, it ended up as a salve. It was pretty nice, but it wasn't awesome, and it seems that most of you agree (it was, by far, the slowest selling product of 2012).
So, it's time to say goodbye.
For anyone who loved Garden Grease, it will be reincarnated in mid-2013 as a lighter cold-cream-ish salve, as it was originally intended.
And this time it will be awesome.

What Happens When I Clean My Shower, aka I Love Baking Soda

(Originally posted on on 10/24/12)

My husband and I switch off who cleans the bathroom every other week. We have different preferences in cleaners (and soap, and shampoo). When it's my turn to clean the bathroom, I break out the baking soda for all three.

I take a bowl, add about a cup of baking soda, a squirt or two of peppermint Dr. Bronner's (or other natural castile soap), and get into the shower.

I add small amounts of water and stir with my fingers until a paste forms, about the texture of a light frosting. Then the fun begins!

The baking soda mixture goes on my face as a natural exfoliating cleanser, onto my hair as a deep cleaning shampoo, over my body as a deodorizing wash, and onto my shower walls as a non-abrasive powder cleanser. One bowl of "frosting", so many uses! It's just so cool!

Ok, yes, I do get easily excited. I like to think it's part of my charm. But, seriously, it's pretty awesome to get so many things done with one cleanser! At the very least, it makes cleaning the shower not so annoying.

Once everything is scrubbed, I rinse my face and hair. Then, I take my spray bottle filled with orange infused vinegar, and spray it onto the walls and let it do it's job, while I spray a little into my hair to remove any traces of baking soda. Then, rinse everything! What is left, is a sparkling clean shower and me.

And that is what happens when I clean my shower, and why I love baking soda.




Salem BizBaz 2012 Thank You

(Originally posted on on 10/11/13)

The 2012 BizBaz in Salem was a success!

In fact, it was Wunder Budder's busiest show to date (and we've showing at fairs and festivals for ten years, long before we became a "real" business!).
It's hard sometimes. Pouring your entire life into something, and then holding it out for everyone to judge. It makes me feel like a child, smaller than the onlookers, hesitantly holding out my hands with my little creations cradled inside. Or, in this case, spread out upon a table.
Luckily, this is where my husband steps in. If you were at the Wunder Budder table during the BizBaz, it was probably him that you spoke to. I was in the background, jumping in to answer questions or talk with fans (love!).
Someday I may get better at this, or maybe I won't. It no longer bothers me that I can't be awesome at everything I do. (Ok, well, it bothers me a little, but I'm trying to learn to accept it.)
The feelings of vulnerability at shows makes me extra appreciative of all who stop by the Wunder Budder table.
I want to thank everyone who stopped by at the BizBaz this year. My friends and family who passed on hugs and words of encouragement, the already fans who introduced themselves to me (you guys totally made my day! really!), and all of you who made purchases and helped make the show so successful. Lots of love to all of you!
Next up: The Holiday Craft Market  on Nov. 10th in Beverly, MA. (thanks to the organizers who made extra space for a few of us returning vendors!)

Just Live.


Heads Up!

There are going to be some changes over at the dot com...

Last year (or maybe longer?), I moved this blog over to the website. And now, I'm moving it back.

It's all a learning experience, and now I'm learning that I want a more streamlined website. It helps me work more clearly, and helps customers find what they're looking for more easily.

So, heads up!

Over the next couple days I'll be moving the blog over here. Physically. As in, reposting every blog. Not every article, most of those will stay on the website, but all the blogs are coming here.

So if you follow this blog on a feed, you'll be getting tons of notifications! It may just take a day, or it may take a week, but then everything will go back to normal.

Hopefully a little better than normal.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

American Made Contest from Martha Stewart

I just entered.

It's a scary thing to put yourself out there purposely for people to judge you.

And that's what I just did.

Actually, I do it on a daily basis just having a business, but this feels different. It's more direct. People have to vote. And they judge you completely on your photos and two paragraphs of information where you're limited to 1000 characters. They judge you on your ability to convince them that you're awesome.

Especially with only 1000 characters. Or maybe it's better there's a low limit (I know I can get wordy!).

Anyway, here it is:

Martha Stewart - American Made 2013 - Nominee Badge

Check it out. Judge me. And hopefully vote for me. Voting starts at the end of August.

It only lasts for one week.

The shortest, most nerve wracking popularity contest ever.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

K.I.S.S. (not the band)

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Although this saying, and its variations, have been around for decades, it's Michael Scott (from The Office) who taught me this lesson.

As I'm typing this, I think I may have written about this before, but it needs to be said again. Or maybe I just need to rant a little.

Keep It Simple (without the "Stupid" is much nicer, but with the "Stupid" in Michael Scott's voice is how it happens in my head).

Simple is how I like to do things. Sometimes I feel like I, and Wunder Budder, get judged for this. It could be all in my mind, because as I'm recently discovering, there are many things I've been tricked into thinking (it's a long personal story).  But, I do sometimes feel like all the years I've spent studying herbs (plus my in-depth certification in 2000), and all the years I've spent studying aromatherapy (again, plus my in-depth certification in 2003), are ignored because I like to keep it simple.

I love experimenting, but my go-to herbs are the same, especially for skincare. Why would I use 10 different herbs in a skin formula when just one would do, and do better? Not only that, but putting 10 different herbs in one formula, means that there is so little of each one, you can't actually benefit from any of them.

The same with oils.

If you follow the trends, you might see, or believe, that coconut oil is thought to be practically magic. It's not. You probably have heard how you can use it for everything from skincare to polishing wood. Although that's true, it's true of most oils. Multiple uses is not a special characteristic of coconut oil. On a scale of 1-10 for skincare, I give it a 5. It's not a bad oil by any means, but it's not the best. This is just one girl's opinion, but it's one girl who has experimented with practically every oil available for over ten years. It absorbs pretty well, so it's not super greasy, but it doesn't feel that great on the skin, and it doesn't last as long as others. Plus it smells really strong, which is a plus for some, but not for me. Unfortunately, since most people know very little about oils, they try the ones that are hyped the most and think they're as good as it gets. I made a limited edition body butter with a coconut oil base, purely because I kept being asked for it. I love it, this body butter, but coconut oil is still not at the top of my list.

But, this isn't supposed to be another rant on the trendiness of coconut oil, it's about keeping it simple.

If there are 10 oils in a blend, or 12, or 7, or any more than 3 in my opinion, you're not benefitting from them. Just like essential oils in an aromatherapy blend (any more than five is no longer a therapeutic blend, it's heading to a perfume), too many carrier oils is overkill. It serves no purpose, other than to make it (falsely) look fancy. Don't fall for it. K.I.S.S.

I don't mean to trash people who like coconut oil, or other small businesses like mine who make products with too many ingredients. I just want to spread the word that just because something is hyped, it doesn't make it better. And a product with too many ingredients just means you don't benefit from any of them.

Keep It Simple.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gone Coconutty?

Fads. I can't stand them. Almost to a fault.

Bacon? No. Get over it. We're unhealthy enough as it is.

Mustaches? I used to love them, I tried to avoid hating them, but when I heard about a mustache growing reality show, I started to tip.

Owls? I've collected them most of my life, the owl is my spirit animal and I wish I had them back (to myself), but those can stay (I think rainbows and owls might be the only fads I'll never get sick of. At least I hope I won't).

Tropical "super fruits"? Blueberries are better than most, and they're a native food (if you live in the US).

I recently realized, that when I start getting sick of hearing about something, it usually means that it's about to get really popular.

I'm not trying to claim I'm cooler than anyone because I get sick of things easily. Pretty much the opposite. Like I said, I'm against fads almost to a fault (my favorite band didn't get less awesome because more people liked them, so why don't I like them anymore?). I actually got nervous a while back when I started to hear about calendula in the media. Hating things because other people like them is not something to be proud of. Although I won't go as far as to jump on the hipster-hating bandwagon (see?).

What my dislike for fads does do, though, is help me be more critical of things. Critical in a positive way. Critical thinking. It helps me to be able to look at things objectively, no matter how much I'm surrounded by good or bad things said about them. It helps me cut through the hype (ok, it's also partly because I'm an over-thinking Cancerian).

About a year ago, I got my cholesterol levels checked. I'm a 16-year vegetarian who doesn't eat much dairy or eggs regularly, and is in love with fresh vegetables, so I was surprised to find out that my LDL (bad cholesterol) levels were so high that my doctor was thinking of putting me on medication. High cholesterol runs in my family, so I wasn't totally shocked, but definitely surprised. Especially since in the last couple tests, it was only slightly high, but "nothing to worry about".

What had happened to increase my LDL in one year?

I cut back on: drinking (no), fried foods (no), dairy & eggs (no). I started eating more leafy greens (no), and started replacing many fats with coconut oil (wait a second...). Those were my only dietary changes. Cutting back on "bad" things, and adding "good" things.

I had started eating coconut oil based on the hype. Against my better judgment. I could feel something inside me saying that solid at room temperature meant that it wasn't a good oil for nutrition, but I like experimenting. I wanted to see if my health would change by eating more coconut oil, and less of other fats. As I was eating the coconut oil, I couldn't stop thinking about how I had only heard good things about it, and how people claimed that old studies were wrong, and it was actually "good for you". Seriously, I hadn't heard one bad thing, which pretty much always means something is fishy. There's always a bad side, at least to someone. Even a rainbow, possibly the happiest thing in the world, needs rain (I happen to love rain, but lots of people hate it).

And it kind of seems that coconut oil did have a bad effect on my health.

Now, my scientific side was, and still is, telling me there is no way I could blame the high LDL levels entirely on coconut oil. I don't know for sure. There are other factors. I can't narrow it down to one without an official experiment. But, my intuitive side told me to stop eating it. Completely (well, not completely... I think I still eat it on occasion if I have a vegan dessert). And I started feeling better. I haven't had my cholesterol rechecked yet (soon!), but since then I've also quit smoking so I still won't know for sure if it was the coconut oil. I just have a feeling.

At the time, I sent out a post to Wunder Budder's Facebook fans telling them about my experience, and asking if anyone else had a similar experience. Unsurprisingly, the answer was no. "Coconut oil is the best", "coconut oil is a super food", etc. I don't blame anyone for believing the hype. It's hard not to. I even started to wonder if my intuition was wrong.

And then I forgot all about it...

until today.

I'm taking a COURSERA class on nutrition. This week, the first class, is an overview of nutrition. In the lecture on fats, the teacher mentions coconut oil. Coconut oil as being "heart unhealthy" fat and as raising LDL levels.

What? Yes! I knew it! (More than I hate fads, I love when my intuition is proven right.)

Good news for my intuition (really, I got so excited, that I took a break from class to write this blog), bad news for everyone who has been adding coconut oil to their diets based on the latest fads and "information".

The teacher also mentioned that we'd talk more about it later (since this was just an overview). When we do, and when I do more research on my own, I'll be back to share.

I'm not telling anyone to stop eating coconut oil, or that I know more than some of the "experts" (are they really experts?) out there, but I do find this information interesting and important enough to share. Especially with the amount of people basing their diets on coconut oil. If you haven't heard about it, some people even add it to their diets where there were previously little to no fats, like in smoothies. Seriously. The hype is that good. But, it seems that might be all it is... hype.

Now, back to class.

EDIT: I should probably clarify things and mention that one of the main reasons people say that coconut oil is ok for cholesterol is that it increases the levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol). This is true, but it's only a half-truth. The full truth is that it increases ALL cholesterol. The good and the bad. If you're looking for a healthy oil, this is not it, no matter what the hype says.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Good News & Bad News

Ok, friends...
I have news that affects each one of you who use Wunder Budder.

As you may or may not know, I'm not a business person. I mean, yes, I'm learning, but it's been something I've only been learning for a couple of years.

I'm a maker of things.

I've always made things, and I've always wanted to create a business out of making things.

I started as a kid with lemonade stands at the bottom of my driveway. I moved onto making patchwork hats and beaded dread wraps as a teenager, selling them to a shop in Faneuil Hall. In my early 20's I made jewelry and sold it on the streets, spread out on a blanket, of a city I lived in. Mixed in were lots of trades: my work for someone else's.

After studying herbalism and essential oils, my path was clear. Even though I still make other things, my business was formed around my obsession: plants and things made from plants.

I started Wunder Budder many years ago, but it was just a hobby-business for a long time. I had no idea what I was doing, business-wise. In early 2010, I decided to just go for it, and try making Wunder Budder into a full time business.

Most of the time, I still don't know what I'm doing, but I am finally starting to learn from my mistakes.

One of the mistakes I've made, and continued to make for the last three and a half years, was to underprice Wunder Budder.

I like cheap stuff. I shop second hand. Most of the furniture in my apartment (and in my studio) was first owned by someone in my family. In fact, I'm guessing about 90% of my stuff has either been owned by someone else first, or it's something I've made.

One big reason is that I just like things with history. But, the other big reason is that I went from a full-time adult student to a full-time bootstrapping business owner. Which means I haven't had a full-time paycheck in eight or nine years. I've had to live as frugally as possible, and I have a bad habit of thinking other people are like me. Not that anyone is swimming in money, but if it weren't for my husband, I'd be living in my studio, hiding from my landlady, and eating nothing but Ramen noodles.

I've been out of touch. I've been trying to keep Wunder Budder "cheap".

Well, I'm learning that, like most things, Wunder Budder can't be cheap and high quality. It just can't. I tried. And I'm failing. I'm heading towards low-pricing myself out of business.

Another thing I'm learning, is that as the demand for natural products grows, so do the prices of natural ingredients. The price of jojoba oil has nearly doubled in the last two years. Nothing else has gone up quite that much, but every single ingredient is more expensive now than it was two years ago. Increasing demand is just one reason.

Natural ingredients are completely dependent on Mother Nature. If there is a drought, a flooding, a heat wave, an early frost, or any other major weather event, crops are effected. Which means things like apricot kernel oil and lavender essential oil, for example, are affected. In a good season, prices will fluctuate slightly, but loss of crop in addition to increasing demand, means major increase in price. I haven't kept up.

After a few months of cost analysis and market research on similar products, I've realized that not only have I been nearly pricing myself out of business, but Wunder Budder prices were far lower than similar products, even products that are not handmade.

Realistically, what I should have done is started with much higher prices, and then increased them slowly and steadily as prices for ingredients rose. But, I was caught up in trying to remain a lower-priced item, and to not offend all of you with constant price-raises.

It backfired. And if things went on as they had been going, I'd be at risk of total business collapse.

So, prices had to go up today. Some by a little, some by a lot.

I know this will affect people. I know some people will be mad and I'll lose some of you. But my hope is that you'll understand that I had only two choices: raise prices or close shop and lose Wunder Budder forever.

I chose Wunder Budder.

I hope you will too.


I'm back!

Well, we'll see how it goes.

As you may have read in my last post (you know, the one I wrote over a year ago), I created a new website.

Which I love.

And so do Wunder Budder fans, it seems.


for the blog.

The format is different, and unless you're searching for Wunder Budder specifically, I'm basically talking to myself.

And that's not really that fun.

So, articles about herbalism, aromatherapy, living naturally, etc will be staying over at the website, and the bloggy blogs are staying here. The one's where I ramble. Hopefully not to myself.