Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eczema and 7 Things You Can Do To Prevent or Help a Flair Up

Lets start by clarifying not all eczema is created equal.  Not even close.  Most of the remedies I suggest are targeted to mild to moderate flair ups.  No matter the type though, eczema stinks.  There are natural and effective ways, however, to treat and relieve eczema. It took me years to figure out something that worked to help with my son’s eczema.  I have put together a cheat sheet I hope will help you and save you some of the time and frustration we dealt with.
 What is Eczema and What Causes It?
Eczema is a chronic skin condition in which the skin becomes itchy, reddened, cracked and dry. It can be caused by an allergy or external irritant however, often the cause is unknown.

Where Should I Start? 
There is no easy answer to this.  There are different things to consider.  Is the patients eczema sever or mild.  If it is mild using quality skin products might be all that is needed.  However, if it is a moderate to sever case it is really important to try and determine the cause.  You can see an allergist for testing and/or try an elimination diet at home to see if it is food allergy or sensitivity.
I am a big believer that we have more food sensitivities than we often think.  Eating foods that irritates our body causes inflammation within the body.  That inflammation can take a toll in many ways, one being eczema. The best products in the world will not help if you keep fueling the cause of the inflammation.
Here is a great article on elimination diets and what to do. Detox diets are another great option and I will write more on that later. 
7 Things to Avoid to Prevent or Help a Flair Up?

  1. Avoid prolonged periods in hot water
  2. Avoid, rubbing the skin after a shower/bath.  Instead pat dry
  3. Avoid harsh soaps and solvents.  Particularly ones with Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, Propylene glycol, and fragrance. (*Note it is hard to find cleaners free of these.  Sweet Cheeks makes a bath gel that is suitable but castile also works well)
  4. Avoid products containing mineral oil (*Note: mineral oil is used ubiquitously in the US.  Read the labels.)
  5. Avoid any products containing fragrance oil, even laundry detergent.
  6. Avoid tight clothes and synthetic fabrics,. Wear clothes that breath.
  7. Avoid know allergens if possible. If you have seasonal allergies try a Neti Pot

What About Home Remedies?
I would love nothing more than for you to purchase lots of our products!  However, I also know that there is no cure all for something like eczema.  Nothing thrills us more than the letters and e-mails we receive from customers telling us how well our product has worked and how thankful they are for it!
That said, I also understand wanting to test some basic remedies first.  The very first thing I would recommend is stop putting anything on your body that contains mineral oil.  It is a double whammy for eczema.  It blocks moisture from entering  the skin (which is what you want to happen with eczema) all the while that oily layer that sits on top, leaches moisture out of your skin.  There really is nothing worse for it.  From there I would try to get as gentle a soap as possible.  We even went to a 2 part baking soda to 1 part water mixture for a month.  Those two steps, for us…were world changers.  Give it about two weeks.  I would also recommend a quality moisturizer.  Yes, we make them, and there are many reasons I can tell you why ours are so good for eczema.  However,  in a pinch you can use olive oil or even better unrefined coconut oil to start with.  
What Sweet Cheeks products work best for Eczema?
First, our bath gel is great.  It is a castile base that has coconut oil and shea added to help counter the stripping effects soap has to skin.  However, if you don’t use our products please find a cleaner that does not contain the ingredients listed above in the “What Should I Avoid” section.
Second the body butter or solid moisturizer. I would recommend unscented, especially if you are having a bad flair up.  You can also do a combination of the solid after you shower and then keep a small tin of the butter to spot treat.
In another article I will be profiling some eczema treatment products so stay tuned. 
- See more at: http://sweetcheeksallnatural.com/eczema-relief/#sthash.YmBhblrS.dpuf

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Indiegogo!



We experienced huge growth in 2014 and have outgrown our space.  So we have launched an indiegogo campaign to help us revamp a new space.  Please consider checking it out, and sharing!  As alwasy...thank you for your support!!

Love

Sweet Cheeks
http://www.sweetcheeksallnatural.com

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Are You Worthy of Your Wrinkles?

Not so long ago I had some pictures taken for the business.  The one we ended up using, was of a woman, about my age.  The photo we used was of her laughing, head thrown  back, eyes twinkling with joy, set against a bleak winter day.  It was fantastic. 

Before we settled on a picture the guy that took my photos came over one day and we were picking which photo to use.  Once settled upon, he then uses his Photoshop magic to change the lighting a bit, and create shadows that did not exist in the original photo.  It was really cool.  Then he took this app that looked like an eraser and starts to take her smile lines away. 

“Put those back!” I snapped. 

He stopped.  Likely a bit stunned.  And I simply said, “Leave them. I like them.” 

The reality is we chose a woman in her late 30’s early 40’s for a reason. However, I think he and I did not agree on the reason. 

His idea, was to erase the hands of time so that other women will look at her, realize her age and think on some level, “How does her skin look so good? Sweet Cheeks of course!” 

Aside from, as a women, being tired of being lied to with pictures, I don’t really think I knew what my idea was until that moment.  But there it was plain as day.  I love wrinkles.  I love the story they tell.  I love that every time this woman laughed too loud at a joke or cried too hard over a love not worth it, it was on her face.  I loved that the joy in the birth of her babies, was in the folds of her “worry lines.”  I love the way her smile lines highlighted her eyes and invited you to laugh with her.  Simply, she was stunning not despite her lines, but (in part at least) because of them.  Her lines are a map of where she has been.  I map of who she was and what it took to become who she is. They  a map that outlines the story of her life.

However, if I am honest…really honest, I don’t see my own lines that way.  I see every failure in them.  Every harsh word I spoke in anger.  Every extra cookie (not needed ), every pound lost and put on and lost again, and again and again.  I see, “you are not pretty”, “nor good enough”, “nor special.”   I see mostly, “you are not worthy.” Worthy of what?  You fill in the blank.

And I realized why I use “anti-aging” products.  It is not to get rid of the lines of my life.  No, not at all really.  It is simply to get my lines to tell a different story.   I use it somehow so that when you see my lines you will see in them, the time I picked up the spider and put him outside despite feeling like I would throw up from fear,  the time I wanted to yell at my husband because I felt sad/angry/scared, but found the strength to share how vulnerable I was feeling, the time I got it right…every time I managed to get it right.  I want you to see what a good friend I try be, and how much I love my family.  I want you to see despite being imperfect, how hard I try.  I want you to see my light and joy and inherent goodness.  I want you to see that I am worthy.  Worthy of what?  You fill in the blank.

And there it is.  Please, please evening primrose… make me worthy.

So we kept her wrinkles. Because it was honest, and honestly beautiful.  And she was worthy.  We are all worthy.

And the next time I looked in the mirror and felt the surge of disappointment in my lines.  I felt the shame of “not good enough.”  I looked a little deeper.  And I realized that my lines might very well tell the truth of my imperfection, but they also tell the truth of my moments of perfection. 


And the moments of my worthiness.


 Love, 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sweet Cheeks Popping Up in Orange in Carytown


Press Release:


Richmond, VA – January 27, 2014 – Sweet Cheeks All Natural Bath & Body, Richmond-based purveyors of all natural, bath and body products, will take over the second floor of Orange, a Carytown boutique, for their first-ever pop-up shop beginning Tuesday, January 28.  An open house is scheduled this Thursday, January 30 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. to celebrate and welcome guests with refreshments and the area’s only ‘bath bar’, where customers can create and customize their own bath salts and bath bombs. The pop up shop will run for three weeks, closing February 16.
Sweet Cheeks All Natural’s new store will carry a variety of bath and body products for men, women and children. The entire line is all natural, paraben free, and eco-friendly, with many of the ingredients sourced locally.
“We’re attempting to gauge the level of interest Richmonders have in a luxury bath and body shop. The pop up is fun, plus it gives us a front-seat opportunity to meet and educate consumers about the true meaning of all natural, eco-friendly, and green bath and body products and why they’re important,” says  Vanessa McCauley, owner of Sweet Cheeks All Natural.
McCauley was inspired by her children’s--and her own--sensitive skin issues. After trying numerous products and remedies, McCauley created Sweet Cheeks All Natural with the mission to create products that were not only safe for her family, but safe for the planet. 
About Sweet Cheeks All Natural
Vanessa McCauley began Sweet Cheeks All Natural after becoming frustrated with the lack of options for her son’s severe eczema. Setting out on a mission to find something to provide relief without a list of scary side effects, McCauley’s search was fruitless. That’s when she created what was needed—and was better—herself. Beginning with Baby Butter (a soothing moisturizing cream for babies), the line now includes a full-range of bath and body products and candles. 
Free of parabens, petroleums, and preservatives, Sweet Cheeks All Natural products are made from the finest plant-based oils and natural ingredients.  All Sweet Cheeks products are gentle to the body and to the earth, using earth friendly packaging and minimal secondary packaging. 

For more information about Sweet Cheeks All Natural, visit SweetCheeksAllNatural.com or through their online contact form at http://sweetcheeksallnatural.com/contact-us/. Find Sweet Cheeks All Natural on www.facebook.com/sweetcheeksallnatural and www.twitter.com/shopsweetcheeks.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Meet Katherine of Magnolia Fern Studios



I recently had the opportunity to interview Katherine about her lovely polymer creations.  I was interested in how she started, what her inspiration was and where she saw her business going.  Here is what she had to tell me:

Barn Owl Pendant

"Well, alright, I've always been artistic, but I was overly practical as a child and thoroughly believed that being an artist meant you would be a "starving artist." And that never appealed to me, so I attempted everything else under the sun before I ended up back here. I was in politics, I was a dog trainer, I was in sales, tried to study to be a teacher, I repaired watches, everything.

About 5 years ago my sister was broke for xmas and bought a pound of polymer clay to make presents for everyone. She sculpted a character from our favorite Anime for me, and I begged her to show me how she made it. After that I was self taught, pouring over every article and tutorial I could get my hands online.

I'm heavily inspired by anime, it's just such a limitless visual art form, I'm inspired by nature, I'm inspired by Greek and Norse mythologies and I grew up addicted to "The Dark Crystal" by Jim Henson. I need an emotion to drive a sculpt since one can take several sittings over weeks or months.

I work mostly with polymer clay, it's an affordable, safe clay that you can cure in your home oven. It comes in a few dozens colors, with many special effect clays available for experimentation, and stronger varieties for more serious artists. I've also started furring some animal sculptures with Alpaca fiber for added realism.

I make my creations in my home, since I work in miniature I don't need a full studio, but I do have a nasty habit of nesting in part of the house. My husband will come home and see me surrounded by strange tools and reference materials, and he often has to shoo me back into the craft room we have set up. It's a beautiful sun room that over looks our yard filled with birds and animals.

Next on the horizon I hope to expand my inventory by harnessing home resin casting. I've almost mastered pouring my own molds and resin casts of my sculpts. The owl you featured is my best example of that currently. The original took a full day to sculpt and countless days before that to waste on other projects before I found him in the back of my head. But with resin casting I can offer many people the same piece at a very affordable rate. Since it's still made in my home and I still paint each and every one, they're still one of a kind!

This January, I will start my very first Kickstarter campaign, to purchase a vacuum chamber so I can use better and more advanced casting materials. I will use the event to launch posable semi plush art dolls of various creatures. I'm still debating which creatures to feature first (my current choice is a Japanese Flying Squirrel, it's surreal how cute they are)

Wish me luck and thank you for your interest and support, I was raised in Richmond and one of my favorite things is to show off my city to out of towners."

Large Orange, Red and Yellow Sunset Shelf Mushroom Flirty Fungi Necklace

Deluxe Set of 8 Faux Sea Shell Wine Glass Charms


For more of her amazing creations, visit her shop on Etsy, Magnolia Fern Studios

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sweet Cheeks Natural Bath & Body Launches SweetCheeksAllNatural.com

Website Provides Natural Bath & Beauty Products for Gift, Wholesale, & Retail


Richmond, VA – September 19, 2013Sweet Cheeks Natural Bath & Body; purveyors of all natural, paraben-free, petroleum-free, and preservative-free bath and body products; today announced the availability of their complete line of eco-conscious body products at SweetCheeksAllNatural.com

Sweet Cheeks Natural’s new web presence showcases their inventory of vegan, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free offerings including aftershaves, diaper crèmes, body butters, body washes, coca butter, shea butter and solid lotions

In an effort to best accommodate the requirements of their largest target audience – beauty retailers, boutiques, and gift shops SweetCheeksAllNatural.com focuses on educating wholesalers, gift retailers, and consumers about the true meaning of “all natural, eco-friendly, and green” bath and body products and the importance of living an eco-conscious lifestyle. 

Inspired by her children’s and her own sensitive skin issues, owner & founder, Vanessa McCauley created SweetCheeks Natural with the mission to create products that were not only safe for her family but safe for the planet. 

Free of parabens, petroleums, and preservatives; Sweet Cheeks Natural products are made from the finest plant based oils and natural ingredients.  All Sweet Cheeks Natural products are not only gentle to the body but gentle to the earth and are packaged in recycled glass canisters and utilize minimal secondary packaging. 

For more information about Sweet Cheeks Natural, to purchase Sweet Cheeks Natural products, or for Sweet Cheeks Natural wholesale/retail information, visit SweetCheeksAllNatural.com or contact them through their online contact form at http://sweetcheeksallnatural.com/contact-us/.

Sweet Cheeks All Natural Bath & Body is a registered trademark of Sweet Cheeks Natural.  All rights reserved.