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Feb 21, 2020

Creating Happiness Rocks

by Corina, Customer Service Octopus

I recently started a new hobby! Painting and leaving rocks for people to find. It gives me so much joy to see the look on people's faces when I get to see it. Here in Utah, there is a Facebook group you can join and it highlights both the rocks that we paint and the people that find them. I started with mandalas. For those of you that don't know mandalas are paintings with dots. Just dots. I have done about ten of them and they are so fun and it is easy to get started. I went on Amazon and looked up mandala painting tools and I was on my way. Youtube is also a great place to learn about how to go about painting your first rocks. Find a paint that works for you and some cheap brushes, you will be good to go and paint some rocks! Leave them anywhere and know that you are bringing a smile to someone's face. I hope you find this new hobby or idea of a hobby fun and I hope it brings a smile to your face. Thank you for spending some time reading and have a great day.


Feb 21, 2020

Different Types of Medicine

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

At RidgeCrest Herbals, we take an eclectic approach, using ancient herbal knowledge from around the world. Like wine, certain global regions and ecosystems are necessary for the cultivation of the most effective herbs, so why limit ourselves to one school of thought? 

Ancient herbalists didn’t have the ability to put herbs under a microscope and say, “well turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties because the curcumin blocks cytokines and enzymes, including cyclooxygenase-2…” so they had to explain why things worked in certain ways from a more symbolic point of view. Interestingly, when you understand the framing of different traditions, you begin to see a logic that allows you to understand the flow and connection of the human body and the earth we live in. While a particular issue (say a runny nose) may not make sense to you when explained in terms of Chinese medicine, it may click when framed in the Ayurvedic lens. Another issue, (say feeling anxious at a certain time of day) may be the reverse. So how do these different traditions frame the concept of health in the human body?

Traditional Chinese Medicine:

TCM gets it’s framework from Taoism, using the symbolic language of the Yin-Yang (dark/light, heat/cold, etc.) paradigm and focusing on creating balance and harmony in all parts of the body to find a natural state of health. To explain this, TCM uses the concept of Wu Xing, or the 5 elements (fire, wood, water, metal, earth). Within the body, these five elements exist and are continually in a state of flux, and different symptoms are associated with different elements. To create healing and health, deficiencies and excesses must be brought back into harmony. Because the body is considered to be made up of physical, spiritual, and mental aspects, all are considered when looking to heal. The seasons of the year and other external factors also play a part, because the body is interconnected with and affected by the earth we live in. TCM has been honing itself for over 2,000 years and is one of the largest medical traditions in the world today. A trained practitioner can offer treatments such as cupping, moxibustion, Tui Na massage, acupuncture, herbs, and diet. 

Ayurvedic Medicine:

In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means, “The Science of Life.” This tradition dates as far back as 5,000 years ago in India, though nothing was written down until much later. In this tradition, it is believed you need to devote your life to balance, including clear thinking, healthy eating, and living a good life. Ayurveda states that everyone has a unique energy pattern, and that balance is key to good health. The three energies of the body are called vatta, pitta, and kapha, and each individual has their own unique blend of the three, so you need to understand your tendencies for imbalance and work to create harmony within your own natural energies. within yourself. Ayurveda also believes that the five elements affect your body, and use the symbolism of the elements to describe the factors that play into health, but in this case, the elements are Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. A trained practitioner can offer multiple avenues for returning to balance, including herbs, diet, massage, meditation, yoga, and more intense therapies. 

Native American Medicine:

Because of the vast differences between tribes and geographies, pinning down Native American medicine is a little more difficult. However, in general there was a strong emphasis on balance with nature, with a stronger external focus that combined herbs, rituals, and both physical and supernatural causes of health conditions. The tribal healer had extensive license and would seek spiritual guidance and visions before determining a treatment plan. The use of tobacco, music, and dance in ritualistic ceremonies was used to ward off evil spirits believed to cause ill health and call for balance and harmony with Mother Earth. Herbal remedies were ubiquitous, and often sweat-lodges were utilized for purification, which today have been proven to be extremely beneficial in certain circumstances to boost immune function. 

Our amazing herbalist, Brittini Gehring, has been trained in multiple herbal traditions and is an encyclopedia of knowledge. With her help we are able to utilize herbal traditions from around the globe to provide health and wellness to our customers, helping you Reach Your Peak!


Feb 21, 2020

Natural Room Sprays

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

I recently used my Audible subscription to listen to a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. There is a whole chapter on the origins of the popular household product Febreze, and the tale of its origins was quite interesting. When scientists at Proctor & Gamble realized they had created a cheap chemical compound that eliminates odors, it became the marketing department’s job to figure out how to sell it to people, but they ran into a problem. The people whose houses smelled the worst and needed the product the most didn’t notice their own foul smells. The product was in danger of being a massive failure when market researchers met a woman who, instead of using it to eliminate odor, used it as a final spritz to freshen her house and complete her cleaning routine. They rebranded and added pleasant scents, then advertised women (not men, which makes you wonder a bit) spritzing the product and smiling over a sparkling clean room. They made Febreze the reward of a cleaning job well done, and sales skyrocketed. 

While I wouldn’t spray chemicals and fake scents over my house, the idea of a light, fresh smell to complete my cleaning routine did sound intriguing. So I went home, got one of my glass blue spray bottles, labeled it “scent” and threw in some water and lemon essential oil for a natural scent to freshen my house (I have five animals and a toddler, so it’s not like my house doesn’t need it).

It was a massive failure. I hadn’t accounted for the water and oil separating, so all I was spraying was water while the oil floated to the top. I did a little research, and realized that there was a little more I needed to do (but not much!). Here is how to make your own pleasant, natural room spray:

1 8-oz glass bottle

40-50 drops of essential oil

1 tablespoon of sea salt or Himalayan salt as an emulsifier

Distilled water

Take the salt (you can also use other emulsifiers like witch hazel, vodka, or vinegar) and put it into the glass bottle. Add the essential oil and swish it around so the salt absorbs the oil. Then add the water and swish until the salt dissolves. You can spray right away, or give it a little time for the scent to strengthen. It works much better than my original attempts!

You can use any combination of oils you want. I wanted something fresh and citrusy, so I went with lemon. Come fall I could totally see myself using DoTerra On Guard for a spicy fall scent that would also help protect and disinfect my home. Or Peppermint or Pine, Cinnamon, or Clove for Christmas time! DoTerra Breathe is one of my favorites for when I am sick, it is one of the only things that helps my asthma, so I may be using that more during the winter months.

Let us know if you try a particular scent you like a lot, I could use some more ideas!



 


Feb 21, 2020

2020 February Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Feb 12, 2020

ClearLungs Original Taste For Life Essentials Award Feb 2020

by RidgeCrest Herbals

RidgeCrest Herbals is starting out 2020 right, with a new award for its most popular product, ClearLungs Original! They are thrilled that the #1 selling lung-support product in the herbal industry has won the Taste For Life Essentials Award, Respiratory Support category!

The ClearLungs formula is Ridgecrest Herbals’ premier product and holds a special place in our heart as the one that started it all back in the ’90s. For years it has been the #1 herbal product in the country for healthy lungs, which just goes to show how effective Traditional Chinese Medicine can be. The basis of this formula dates back 2,000 years! In TCM, the lungs are considered the “Upper Source of Water” and Qi flows downward from the lungs. Bitter herbs are used to encourage downward flow, and warming herbs support circulation to the lungs to increase heat. The respiratory system is closely related to the spleen and kidneys, so the formula is designed to support all three systems. Just some of the ingredients that work so well together include:

Tangerine Mature Peel: Studies show it has expectorant properties and helps dry the lungs.

Chinese Licorice Root: It contains glycyrrhizin, a chemical compound that supports the body in blocking enzymes that lower the prostaglandin levels responsible for mucus production. 

Ophiopogon Root:  Helps maintain the body’s essential moisture and bodily fluids. 

Chinese Asparagus root: It is particularly known as a lung tonic recognized for its potential to help moisten and gently cleanse the lungs and respiratory tissue.

Schisandra fruit: This herb promotes oxygen supply for the cells, potentiates the body's immune system, protects against stress, and supports stamina.

While this is the first award for their Original ClearLungs product, the ClearLungs line of products has received seven industry awards, the most celebrated being ClearLungs Immune. In total, RidgeCrest Herbals has won 18 industry awards for its line of nearly twenty products. 

For more information, visit rcherbals.com.


 


Feb 7, 2020

Ten Minutes a Day

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

I tend to try to eat an elephant whole rather than one bite at a time and end up exhausting and overwhelming myself. On top of that, consistency is my biggest fault. I can make all the plans and want to do all of the things to better my life but ultimately if I can’t be consistent, I will never get anywhere. And in my life, I haven’t. I have failed many diets and work out plans. I have quit projects in the middle and my home has become a graveyard of the unfinished. I have stacks of books I’ve only gotten part of the way through. 

It makes me feel like a failure in life. This pattern of inconsistency has followed me like a shadow. As soon as something becomes hard or difficult, or I lose interest or get overwhelmed, or one little thing like getting sick throws me out my groove, I am done. 

I was talking with a friend recently about this in regard to all my unfinished books. He suggested just committing to 10 pages every day. I started thinking about this. If I could commit to ten minutes of fitness or ten minutes of meditation or ten minutes of anything that will better my life, I will get further than if I tried to do it in large chunks and overwhelmed myself and gave up. The time will pass anyway getting there slowly is better than not at all. If only I had listened to The Hare & the Tortoise more intently, I might be further in life than I am now. 

So here is to 10 every day and hoping I stay consistent with the small things.


Feb 6, 2020

Balancing Chakras

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

In our 2018 Almanac, I wrote an article introducing the concept of chakras. I wanted to follow up with more details on blocked, balanced, and overactive chakras and how to heal these sorts of imbalances. Chakras can influence physical and emotional health, so when they become unbalanced, it can lead to many health issues. You can balance chakras using meditation, affirmations, yoga poses, diet, crystal healing, energy work, color therapy, aromatherapy, sound therapy, nature, herbs, breathing, and visualization. I have included some of the many ways to heal specific chakras:

 

The Crown Chakra, or The Sahasrara

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in depression, learning difficulties, weak faith, anger, and brain fog.

When this chakra is overactive is can result in being dogmatic, judgemental, having a spiritual addiction, or being ungrounded.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in faith, universal love, emotional and spiritual intelligence, being aware, wise, and finding understanding.

Healing: lavender, child's pose, fresh air, sunlight, nature, clear quartz stone, foods such as eggplant, passion fruit, ginger, and herbal teas.

Affirmation: "I am one with the universe, I am divinely guided, I live my life through my higher self."

 

The Third Eye Chakra, or The Anja

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in poor judgment, lack of focus, poor imagination, and not being able to see beyond the physical.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in nightmares, delusions, hallucinations, being obsessive, or seeing too many spirits.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in being imaginative, intuitive, having clear thought and vision, and the ability to see beyond the physical.

Healing: rosemary, downward dog pose, amethyst stone, foods such as purple potatoes, blackberries, plums, dark chocolate, and omega-3s.

Affirmation: "I trust my intuition, my vision is clear. I trust the guidance of the universe."

 

The Throat Chakra, or the Vishuddha

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in feeling an inability to express oneself or speak out, feeling misunderstood, secrecy, and not being a good listener.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in being too opinionated, loud, critical, gossipy, prone to yelling, talking over others, or being harsh with words.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feeling confident expressing oneself, clear communication, feeling creative, or being diplomatic.

Healing: peppermint, cat/cow pose with lions breath breathing, turquoise stone, foods such as blueberries, figs, kelp, tree fruits, and simple spices.

Affirmation: "I express myself and my emotions freely. My feelings are heard, respected, and appreciated."

 

The Heart Chakra, or The Anahata

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in a lack of empathy, being bitter, hateful, having trust issues, and being intolerant.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in feelings of jealousy, co-dependency, being self-sacrificing, or giving too much.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feelings of peace, love, compassion, tolerance, and being warm and open.

Healing: roses, camel pose, rose quartz stone, foods such as broccoli, kale, chard, leafy greens, warm soups, and vitamin c.

Affirmation: "I am loved, I receive love every minute of life."

 

The Solar Plexus Chakra, or The Manipura

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in low self-esteem and feeling powerless and inferior.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in being power hungry, domineering, critical, and perfectionistic.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feelings of confidence, empowerment, personal power, drive, motivation, and a good self-image.

Healing: ginger, warrior pose, yellow citrine stone, foods such as yellow peppers, lentils, squash, oats, complex carbs, chamomile.

Affirmation: "I am abundant, I always have enough. I love, accept, and trust myself fully."

 

The Sacral Chakra, or The Svadhisthana

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in feelings of low libido, fear of intimacy, no creativity, and isolation.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in emotional overreactions, codependence, addictive personality, and aggression.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feelings of passion, creativity, healthy libido, optimism, and being open.

Healing: orange, bound angle pose, carnelian stone, foods such as seeds, nuts, oranges, carrots, pumpkins, coconut, broth, and teas.

Affirmation: "I am a creative, passionate being. I am in touch with my feelings."

 

The Root Chakra, or The Muladhara

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in feelings of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, instability, and feeling ungrounded.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in feelings of greed, lust, aggression, materialism, cynicism.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feelings of safety, security, feeling centered, grounded, and deep happiness.

Healing: sandalwood, tree pose, red jasper stone, foods such as proteins, root vegetables, beets, and apples.

Affirmation: "I am safe, the universe protects me. I am full of confidence and energy."

 

 


Feb 6, 2020

February 2020 Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Feb 6, 2020

The Island of Socotra

by RidgeCrest Herbals

The remote but fascinating island of Socotra lays in the Arabian Sea over 100 miles off the coast of Yemen and the horn of Africa. It is the number one result If you google “most alien-looking place on earth.” This tiny island has remained remote for many millennia, and one-third of it’s flora and fauna is wholly endemic and cannot be found anywhere else on the earth. The island's geographical isolation, extreme heat, and drought have created this biodiversity gem. 

The most iconic living thing on the island is the Dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari) whose sap is bright red and has been highly sought after for use as a violin varnish, breath freshener, and even lipstick. This beautiful tree has been described as an umbrella or a flying saucer landing on a tree. The island is home to 825 plant species that can't be found anywhere else on earth. 

There are no native amphibians and only one native mammal, a bat, but you will find endemic birds, reptiles, marine life, butterflies, and even a blue baboon tarantula. 

Socotra is home to about 50,000 people, most of whom are indigenous Soqotri people from the Al-Mahran tribe, along with a small population of Africans believed to be runaway slaves and their descendents. The language spoken by the inhabitants of Socotra is completely unique and predates even Arabic. The inhabitants have followed various forms of Christianity, and the tradition goes that Thomas the Apostle brought them Christianity in 52 A.D. 

Socotra has been thought to be the site of the Garden of Eden from the Bible. The name Socotra comes from the Sanskrit word for “paradise.” Its remoteness and uniqueness have made it a place of legend. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2008. It has fascinated adventures from Alexander the Great to Marco Polo. 


 


Jan 27, 2020

Establishing Personal Boundaries

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

I didn’t learn until I was well into my thirties about the importance of boundaries. I had always enjoyed mutually respectful relationships where that really wasn’t that important. Then I learned what it was like to be in a relationship where someone saw your emotional boundaries as challenges to be overcome, not things to be respected. It took leaving that person’s physical space to be able to even begin to establish boundaries, and I still have to deal with them constantly trying to blow through like the Kool-Aid man. So how do you establish boundaries?

  1. Recognize your right to establish boundaries: Because I was so bad at this, for a while as I was getting separated, I had this quote at my desk: “You’re human, and you have the right to say, “That was shitty of you.” You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions. The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.” This was very true for me during that time - everyone from my ex-husband to my mother was shocked and offended when I started standing up for myself, but you know what? They got over it, and while our relationships are different now, they are much healthier.

  2. Recognize the issue: Unless you have a clear idea of what someone is doing that causes you distress or resentment, you won’t be able to talk to them in a way that makes your boundary clear. 

  3. Explore your feelings:  Where is this coming from? Do they have to do with the person involved, or are they more related to things in your past you haven’t dealt with? This will both help you understand yourself and what is fair to ask of someone else and will help you better express the “why” of your boundary.

  4. Communicate clearly, but not combatively: If it is the other person’s fault, you want to make sure you express yourself in a way that allows them to feel safe as you are expressing your needs. If it is something that you need from them because of emotions that don’t come from them, (i.e. this behavior makes me feel triggered because of something my mother did growing up) they need to hear that. Your best bet for success is to express yourself calmly and positively. If it devolves into a fight, take a breather and come back later.

  5. Be ready to stand up for yourself: If the person is the type to disregard your feelings, prepare for that. They don’t have to agree with you or understand that it is important. But they do have to respect that it is important to you. You may not be able to get them to empathize, but that doesn’t mean your feelings are any less valid, and they need to respect your request, even if they discount you. 

For example, I recently told my family I didn’t enjoy jokes they told that related to my son’s safety (i.e., putting him in a catapult - obviously not serious). I explained that even though I knew they were joking I found the jokes stressful because I have a tendency to visualize graphic, violent situations - it’s part of my anxiety disorder. They told me “consider the source, it’s just a joke.” I let them know that their right to make a joke did not supersede my right to be free from the emotional distress their joke caused. They think I’m crazy, but I don’t care. 

  1. Be consistent about enforcement: It may take a while for behavior to change. A few gentle reminders of your boundary should come before you make it a serious topic again. 

  2. Have a contingency plan when you know they won’t honor your boundaries: The less emotionally mature people in your life may see your boundaries as a wall and themselves as the Kool-Aid man. It is extremely important for these people that you have a backup plan to make sure their disrespect doesn’t interfere with your emotional well being. 

For example, I have requested that my ex-husband not text me after 11 pm; he has a tendency to send long rants at 2 in the morning. I know there is no way he is ever going to honor that. So I keep my phone on silent so when he does blow up my phone, it doesn’t disturb me. 

  1. If possible, get out of the space of those who don’t respect you: If you have someone in your life who continually disrespects your emotional well-being, especially after you have calmly discussed your needs and they continue to walk over you, it may be necessary for you to take larger action and remove them from your life. It can be extremely difficult emotionally to extract yourself, but take it from someone on the other side - life is much better without them. 


Jan 27, 2020

2020 Winter Garden Guide

by RidgeCrest Herbals

 

Winter is such a cold and dreary time. Mix that with seasonal affective disorder, and some of us can get pretty low. One of my favorite things to do in the winter to help combat this is to dream of the upcoming garden I will have and start planning for it. This is a good time to draw or map out how you want your garden. Start ordering seeds and pre-ordering online & catalog plants, bare roots, and bulbs. Most of the time, the companies will ship them at safe and appropriate times for your growing zone.

When planning, don’t forget about crop rotation so that the soil isn’t depleted of the same nutrients each year. This also helps soil erosion and increases soil fertility and crop yield.

Study up on plants and when to replace them. For instance, strawberries do best for two years before you need to take out the existing plants and replace with new ones. Study up on companion planting as well.

Happy dreaming & planning!

Sometimes in your gardening career, you will encounter a situation where you have a plant you want to introduce into a different area of your garden, or you may even want to take some of your crop and share with a friend or neighbor so they can grow it in their garden, as well. What is the best way to do this? Well, it depends on the plant and the climate, but there are several common ways of doing it.

Mulching: Mulching provides a protective layer around your plants and over your soil. It can be made of organic material like wood chips, pine needles, and straw or inorganic materials like rocks, rubber, or landscape fabric. There are many benefits of mulching: weed control, water retention, and curb appeal. In most cases, a layer of mulch that is 2-4 inches thick is sufficient.

Mulch can also provide protection to plants during the winter months. Another excellent insulator of plants is snow. That thick blanket of snow can protect your plants from winter winds as well as providing moisture in the spring. Wrapping your trees and shrubs in burlap, bubble wrap, or plastic can protect them from ice storm damage as well as provide protection from deer or road salt. However, research has shown that most trees really don’t need to be wrapped and will come through winter just fine if their placement is correct.

Splitting and propagating-

To split or divide? Splitting plants is limited to plants that spread from a central crown and have a clumping growth habit. Numerous types of perennial plants and bulbs work well. However, plants that have taproots need to be divided by cuttings or seed rather than splitting.

When to divide? While mostly dependent on the type of plant and your climate, most plants do best when divided every 3-5 years or when they are overcrowded. Most plants prefer to be divided in the early spring or fall, while some plants can be divided at any time, and other plants do not like to be disturbed and are best divided when they are dormant.

To divide dig up the entire clump of the plant, carefully divide the crown and root ball into two or more sections. Most of the time, hands do just fine, but sometimes a sharp knife or garden spade is needed. Once divided, shake off the excess soil, remove dead growth and replant.

Numerous plant species are propagated by stem cuttings. Most of which can be taken during the summer and fall. Woody plant stem cuttings root better if taken in the fall or dormant season.

A cutting is taken from just below a bud or the vegetative plant part which is then severed from the parent plant. Taking cuttings with a sharp blade reduces injury to the parent plant. Dip the cutting in rubbing alcohol or a mixture of 1:9 bleach to water ratio to prevent disease transmission. Remove flowers, buds, and lower leaves to allow the cutting to use its energy in growing. Use a rooting hormone to encourage growth. Place stem or cutting in bright, indirect light. Root cuttings can be kept in the dark until new shoots appear.

There are many types of cuttings, so research what is best for the specific plant.

Once cut, you can use water propagation by placing the cutting in cool water. Roots will begin to grow. Once the roots are half an inch long, plant in soil. Wait too long, and the roots won’t acclimate to the soil.

Build a basic cold frame

I prefer wood frames because they are affordable, durable, and easy to source, construct, and fix. You can also use PVC, hay bales, cinder block, etc. Build a frame to surround your plants (no bigger than 4’ x 8’). Find a suitable cover, which can be glass or a thicker, clear plastic sheeting material. You can add hinges and a handle if you want for opening and closing.

How to make a “hotbed” (or heated growing bed)

You can grow crops in wintertime (yes, you really can). Many plants have winter varieties available. All this requires is some manure or compost and physical effort. You’ll want to dig down about 18” to 24” under the frame and add fresh manure or compost. Turn every couple of days for about a week until it settles, then cover with roughly 6” of soil. Transplant or sow some new seeds. As the material decomposes, it will generate enough heat to keep the plants alive.

Tips and tricks for cold framing

  • Face beds south for sunlight. The sun in the fall and winter is different than in spring and summer.
  • Shorter cold frames do better at trapping heat (important for colder climates).
  • Use plastic sheeting instead of glass. It doesn’t break!
  • Hot air can kill your plants, so air out during warmer winter days. Some will need to be uncovered entirely, some will need to be opened just a crack. When the nights are warm enough, remove the cover.
  • Water your plants! Even though you water less than in the summer, it is still important!
  • Anchor your cold frame down if you use lighter materials or live in a windy area.
  • Don’t place your frames under trees, they need full sun. Plus less bird poop.
  • Don’t have time to make a bed? Use milk jugs as a temporary cover for smaller plants or use hay bales (good insulation) to surround the bed and cover it with a translucent material.


Jan 27, 2020

Creating a Family Emergency Preparedness Resource Book

by Melissa, Office Manager


 

No one wants to think about disasters or bad things happening, but it is always better to be prepared if you can. The Red Cross and FEMA both recommend you and your family have a plan in case of an emergency. Our family has a simple binder with all of the information printed and gathered in one place so that anyone we choose can be directed to it in case of an emergency. 

In the book, you should have several sections that could include: 

Home - List all of the information about your house, including a picture. Include all of the necessary contact information for insurance and repair companies as well as contact information for neighbors. It is also helpful to list the phone numbers for the electric and gas companies so that you have it in case of an outage or a leak. 

Family - Each person should have their own information sheet with their picture and anything that could be needed in case of an emergency, including medications, allergies, and blood type. Your children’s schools or daycare should make their emergency plan available, and you can print and include it here. 

For anyone with special needs, be sure to come up with a plan to make sure accommodations have been worked out and what those are. Check if your state to see if it has a special needs registry that is used by emergency responders to identify where those with special needs are and what extra help they might need. 

Pets- With a picture of your pet, list all of the information you can to identify your pet. Include their microchip number, vaccine information, their vet information, and any local resources you can think of. You can also lookup if there are any pet-friendly shelters near you or pet-friendly hotels, and have their information included so you can easily access it if you need a place to stay in a pinch.

Emergency communication and evacuation plan - In this section, you want to list all of your family phone numbers, including a contact that lives out of your area that has agreed to be your emergency contact. You will want to establish gathering places for your family that are inside your home, directly outside of your home, in your neighborhood and outside your area. 

Your city or state should have a disaster plan that you can become familiar with and include in your booklet. If you commute, you may want to add a commuter emergency plan and what alternative methods that could be traveled. 

Hopefully, you will never need to use this resource, but knowing it is there could provide great peace of mind. 


 


Jan 27, 2020

2020 January Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Jan 10, 2020

Simplifying the Day-to-Day

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial


I often find myself overwhelmed, overcommitted, and overly stressed. I’m sure that sounds familiar to many of you. We live in a fast-paced world with high demands after all. Not only that, last year was a rough one for me and I dropped the ball on quite a few things. My health took a toll that caught up with me. All the shenanigans. Towards the end of the year, I decided to make some changes, since it drastically needed some improvements, and started to implement a well-known daily practice. It has changed my life. And it’s so simple.

We all have those task lists that feel neverending, which they may well be, all things considered. Some days just looking at the list is daunting and can make you feel overwhelmed, which, for some like me, entices you to just ignore its existence. This exercise is about narrowing down the list to a simple three tasks for the day. Three. No more. No less. And, no, you don’t throw your entire list away. You simply pick the top three most important tasks to accomplish for the day. If you finish those, you can move onto other tasks on your list, but your priority is always those three tasks FIRST.

Keep in mind, also, that they can’t be items like “build a shed” or “clean the house.” They need to be specific, manageable, and timely. If they’re bigger tasks, they need to be broken down into smaller steps. And also keep in mind that if you’re not feeling well or need a mental health day, set your tasks accordingly. You need rest and so does your body and its important you take those moments into account so you can be your best self. Don’t forget to take care of yourself in all the chaos.


Jan 10, 2020

No Goals, No Glory

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

When you were in high school, what was on your required curriculum? Math, English, Science, maybe a foreign language? Did anyone ever teach you how to set clear, measurable, and written goals? Probably not, even though this is one of the most crucial steps in getting what you want out of life. Less than 3% of Americans set written goals, and less than 1% review their goals daily. Why is this? Most people answer that they don't think it's important, they're afraid of failing, or that they simply don't know how to set them.

There is a lot of research to back up the importance of goal setting, but this is one of my favorites: In 1979, a study was conducted among students at Harvard University on the subject of goals. A group of graduates from the MBA program was asked, "Have you set clear, written goals for your future, and made plans to accomplish them?" Only 3% of the grads had any written goals. 13% had goals, but they weren't in writing, and 84% of the students had no goals at all. Researchers tracked down the same group of students ten years later, in 1989, to see how things were going. They found that the 13% of students who had goals that weren't in writing were making twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all. But most interestingly, the students who had made clear, written goals back in 1979 were making TEN TIMES as much as the other 97% of graduates put together, on average.  

Goals aren't just about financial gain (although this one can definitely help), they can be applied to any facet of life. As Earl Nightingale said, "Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal, or goal." A person is truly happy when they are immersed in life with a sense of purpose that is going in a direction toward things that they want. Do you want to take on a new skill or hobby? Travel? Improve your physical health? Achieve a deeper level of spirituality? Maybe you want to improve your family relationships, your community input, or have a child. Any of these subjects can be explicitly written out and planned with proper goal-setting.  

In his book Goals!, Success author and speaker Brian Tracy says that proper goal-setting takes a few things:  

-The first key is that your goals "must be clear, specific, detailed, and written down." The more specific you can be, the better your mind can wrap around creating the next steps for them.  

-Second, your goals should be "measurable and objective." Writing down "I want to travel more" is so vague, that it remains a fantasy - but writing "I want to visit Machu Picchu in Peru by _____ date" is an actual goal.  

-Third, your goals should be "scheduled and time-bounded, with deadlines, and sub-deadlines." Giving yourself time limits becomes a motivator to stay on task, which brings small achievements your way on a schedule, and keeps you excited with progress.  

-Fourth, your goals "should be challenging" and cause you to stretch out of your comfort zone, even if by a little bit. How can you expect change without going beyond what you're currently doing?  

If you're hesitant or not convinced that this can work for you, it's best to start small. After reading this, take out a blank sheet of paper. At the top, title the paper with "Goals for 2020" (or whenever you're reading this), and then list the numbers 1 through 10 down the page. Think about specific things that you would like to do this year, whether it be places you want to see, problems you'd like to solve, things you'd like to experience, or relationships you'd like to improve or start. Using the tips above as guidelines, write out your ten goals. Once you've written your list, put the piece of paper away. I promise that in a year, you can pull that list out again and find that you have accomplished at least one, and possibly many more of those ten goals, even if you never looked at the list again after writing it. Why does this work? Because it got you to thinking about the specific things that you want and would make you happy, which is the ultimate catalyst for change.

"Failing to plan is planning to fail." - Alan Lakein


Jan 10, 2020

The Tunguska Event

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

On the morning of June 30, 1908, an explosion ripped through the sky above a remote area in Siberia, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska river.  The earth was said to tremble as far away as the UK, and 830 square miles of forest (approximately 80 million trees) were leveled, with burned reindeer carcasses littered throughout the destruction. The 15-megaton blast was 1,000 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

The investigation into the explosion found no central crater or origin site, so what happened?  Due to the remote region and harsh seasons where it took place, this strange occurrence wasn't studied until almost 20 years after it happened, leaving lots of speculation over what really took place.  Was this the beginning of atomic testing by Russia?  No.  This incident became known as "The Tunguska Event," and was caused by what's known as an "air burst."  When a large meteor (this one was the size of an eleven-story building) explodes while traveling through the atmosphere, it causes a destructive blast of air to thrust down upon Earth's surface.  

A similar event happened again over Russia that helped to fill in the story, this time in February of 2013.  A giant fireball lit up the sky over the town of Chelyabinsk and was recorded on thousands of cameras and scientific instruments.  Like Tunguska, airwaves collided with Earth's surface after the meteor exploded, this time resulting in shattered and blown-in glass windows, and fallen human structures.  The intense light from the fireball was momentarily 30 times brighter than the Sun and caused over 180 cases of eye trauma and reports of intense sunburn.  A roof at a factory collapsed due to the shock wave, and a total of 1,200 people were hospitalized with blast-related injuries.

While the Chelyabinsk blast has offered up new scientific data to help piece together the Tunguska event, it must be noted that the Chelyabinsk blast was more than 30 times smaller than Tunguska.  Scientists say Earth only encounters a meteor the size of Tunguska once every 300 years.


Jan 10, 2020

2020 January Organtics Cartoon

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Dec 17, 2019

Life is So Precious

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

Recently I have had some health issues that have been pretty scary for me. Mostly because of the fear of the unknown. Mix that with a brain that overthinks obsessively and always goes to worse case scenario and I have been a little ball of stress and worry. I have a strong aversion to doctors, and I won't go unless I have to, so you know it’s pretty serious when I actually do go. I ended up going to two different doctors with zero answers, adding to my frustration. 

As I have been in the midsts of the unknown, crippling pain and the potential possibilities, it has got me thinking. Worst case scenario tells me it’s something as bad as stomach cancer (though I am sure that is farthest from the actual truth) and I have had to really contemplate my mortality. When the pain in the worst and I start thinking about these possibilities, I start thinking about all the things I haven’t done with my life that I have wanted to, and put off. All the truth I haven’t spoke. All the I love you’s and I forgive you’s, I haven’t said. All the places I haven’t seen and the experiences I haven’t felt. I tend to hold myself back a lot. I play it safe more often than not. Always hanging onto the what if’s. One quote that has popped up sporadically throughout my life has been  “IN THE END… We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have,and the decisions we waited too long to make.” ― Lewis Carroll. 

If I didn’t already feel that to my bones before, I sure do now. Life is so precious, and sometimes it takes a tragedy or strong fear to remember that. Hopefully this time I listen more intently and really let that soak in, because life really can be changed or ended in the blink of an eye and I sure would hate to have so many regrets in the end. 

I don’t know what that means for me yet. Once I am feeling back to myself, I really hope that I can remember the way that I am feeling now so that I can cliff dive back into life and really live.


Dec 17, 2019

Letting Go of Emotional Suffering

by Heather Warnock

Get over it!” “Let it go!” “Move on!” Easier said than done, right? Emotional suffering is something that we are all bound to experience. Did you know that 1 in 5 adults in America suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition? It is hard to free yourself of past mistakes, feelings of shame, the pain of broken relationships, guilt, and grief. While it’s normal to get upset or have a bad day, you really shouldn’t unpack your bags and live in that emotional space, which, unfortunately, many people do. Holding onto your anger, sadness, or frustration for an extended period of time has many adverse effects on both the mind and body. As a society, we are taught to easily recognize signs of a heart attack or stroke - maybe we need to do a better job of recognizing the symptoms of emotional suffering so we can help ourselves and others before it’s too late. Suicide is now taking more American lives than highway accidents per year, and if we, as a society, learn the signs of emotional suffering, we can do a better job at getting people the help that they need and deserve. 

Some of the noticeable physical effects of mental strain that should act as a warning if you see them in yourself or others include:

  • Sleep disturbances - sleeping too much or too little, or having nightmares. 

  • Dramatic weight fluctuations or changes in eating habits. 

  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as chronic fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, backaches, or stomach pains. These often act as a distraction from psychological distress. 

  • A decline in personal care. When the body can’t handle the load, it tends to shut down. 

  • Changes in personality and extreme mood swings that have been noticed by more than one person.

  • Turning down social activities or finding little pleasure in things you once loved. 

  • Experiencing little to no interest in sex. 

  • Encountering compulsive or obsessive behaviors like hand washing, repetitive thoughts, or having irrational fears. 

Everything listed here can negatively affect your overall quality of life and can be long-lasting unless you learn to embrace and address your suffering. 

To begin the healing process, one first must invite the pain and welcome it into your world, releasing yourself from fear of suffering. By exploring that emotion, you can reach its source and understand its root cause, a freeing experience. Accept what is, and don’t deny your thoughts and feelings. Allow them to exist and acknowledge them - there is a reason you’ve hung onto them for so long. Once you’ve accepted them, you can move on to getting help, inviting happiness, joy, and satisfaction into your life. 

Start by practicing self-love. Speak kindly to yourself and surround yourself with people who also talk kindly to you and others. Engage in relationships that are mutually supportive and sever ties with toxic people who bring out the worst in you or bring you down. You get to choose your tribe! 

Don’t isolate yourself from good people. When you’re ready, reconnect with friends, volunteer, and say “yes” to social activities. You can ask for support without having to discuss what’s troubling you. Try to practice mindfulness through meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. 

Focus on taking care of your body. Make a conscious effort to get good sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise, and stay hydrated. Get outside and take a walk or go for a hike! Being in nature is an excellent way to check-in and reconnect with yourself. Listen to upbeat, positive music - and dance! All of these things work to repair your nervous system, bringing you an overall sense of wellness.

Above all, remember that you are not alone, and by facing your pain, you’re likely to inspire others to address their own suffering more courageously. You’ve suffered long enough. Don’t allow negativity to hold you back any longer! Use it to propel you in a new, positive direction. Happiness is available if you choose to let go of your past. You are a warrior. Be brave. Stay strong.

 


Dec 16, 2019

Heather's Christmas Salad

by Heather Warnock

Ingredients 
• 1 Head of Red Lettuce
• 1 Head of Green Leaf Lettuce
• 2 Large Grapefruits 
• 1 Large Pomegranate
• 1 Large Avocado 
• 1 Large Pear

Dressing 
• 1 Cup of Sugar
• 2 t. Dry Mustard 
• 2/3 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
• 2 Cups of Olive Oil
• 1 T. Poppy Seeds
• 1 t. Salt

Directions 
Blend dressing in a food processor. Refrigerate until ready to use. Tear lettuce into small pieces and set aside. Peel grapefruits and cut into sections and set aside. Seed pomegranate and set aside. To assemble salads on individual salads, place lettuce on plate, arrange grapefruit sections and pomegranate seeds on top. Slice avocado and pear, put pieces onto each plate, then drizzle dressing over each salad and serve.


Dec 16, 2019

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

Lately, I have become obsessed with making my own food from scratch. Bread, pasta sauce, granola, salad dressing, anything! Picture the Swiss Chef from the Muppets and you have an idea of the daily chaos as I destroy my kitchen. The best part for me is creating delicious swaps for things like Nutella - SO amazing, but not healthy for our bodies or for the environment (palm oil). This recipe from Pickuplimes.com is quick and healthy; try it out (used with permission):

1.5 cups raw hazelnuts

1/3 cup unsweetened plant milk

Tbsp coconut oil

2 Tbsp maple syrup

6 soft dates, pitted

1/3 cup cocoa powder 

1 tsp vanilla extract 

1/4 tsp salt 

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread hazelnuts onto a cookie sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant, stirring once halfway. 

  2. Remove from oven and cool. Rub in your hands to remove the skin. Place peeled hazelnuts in a food processor. 

  3. Blend on high for 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides, until a thin nut butter consistency is formed. 

  4. Add remaining ingredients and blend an additional 3-5 minutes until smooth. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge. Enjoy!

 


Dec 16, 2019

December 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Dec 10, 2019

Finding Holiday Magic

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

Have you heard of the Mommy-blogger Kristina Kuzmič? She is an entertaining vlogger whose main message to parents is “chill out, you are doing fine.” My sister is constantly posting her videos, and she recently had an entertaining one where she pretended to be in therapy complaining about all the things her parents didn’t do for her for Christmas (like how they never did Elf on a Shelf which never taught her personal responsibility so she turned out a failure, etc.). Essentially the message is “you don’t have to run yourself ragged trying to do every single holiday thing for your kids.” This is a great message for my sister. She has five kids, one of whom is autistic, and it is a good reminder to her that she doesn’t have to sacrifice her mental health for the sake of keeping her kids entertained. 

For me, though, I’m super excited to do all this stuff (not Elf on a Shelf, that is crazy to me - but the rest of the holiday stuff). I only have one kid, and this is the first time he will be old enough to start to understand any of the Christmas joys and traditions, so I am going out of my way to establish traditions this year. I have spent more than I care to share on new decorations for the house - things that we will pull out every year. I just ordered all the cookie cutters and icing piping things for decorating cookies so we can use the same shapes for years to come. I have a Christmas-themed doormat and Christmas-scented candles and am completely obsessed with Christmas gnomes for some reason. 

I think the difference between my sister and me is just a matter of exposure. See, I only get to see Christmas through the eyes of my son experiencing the magic once, and I am all-in for this new joy. I only get this time once in my life. With five kids spanning twelve years, she’s been in this a lot longer than I have or ever will be. While my sister had babies in her house for about 12 years straight, I will only ever have two years of life with a baby, and it’s already gone. In a blink of an eye, that experience is in my past, while for her it was a whole segment of her life. 

So you better believe I am gonna cherish every second of making cookies and gingerbread houses and decorating the tree and reading the Christmas story in front of the fireplace and watching A Muppet Christmas Carol curled up with hot chocolate. When you only have one child, and you know you can’t have more, you only get every experience once. 

My point is, regardless of whether you feel the need to take a step back and let things go, or you are ready to ramp up the magic, enjoy every second of noise, every Christmas carol, every look of excitement or wonder or pleasure. Don’t let familiarity or experience make you lose sight of just how special it all really is. Even if you have to keep things simple to be able to do that. 


Dec 10, 2019

My DNA Discoveries

by Melissa, Office Manager

In recent years home DNA tests have become widely available. We probably all know at least one person who has completed one. They have even made the news recently for their use in catching criminals in cold cases. 

My dad (a family history fanatic) gifted my siblings and me home DNA tests. You may be wondering logically why you would need a separate kit for each child, but for my family, it made perfect sense - my siblings and I were all adopted as babies via closed adoptions through different adoption agencies. The DNA test was a thoughtful way for us to discover what some of our genetic makeup could be. 

Once the test arrives, the process is straightforward. You provide a sample of your DNA (mine was through saliva), register your test, seal it up, and send it back to their lab. Then you wait (and wait, and wait) for about a month.

Finally, it arrived, and I was particularly excited to see if anything was surprising in the ancestry section. Sadly, mine came back as slightly less diverse than I was expecting.

The other part of the ancestry goes over your traits, your genetic similarities to Neanderthals and your possible health risks. I am happy to report that according to the test I am unlikely to have a unibrow. 

In addition to all of that information, there is a section for DNA relatives. It will show you all of the people that have taken the same test and based on shared DNA, how you are related. In my case, at the top of the list was a 1st cousin! Their system allows you to email and connect with your DNA relatives, so I sent a message to the individual asking if he had any information on my birth mother or father. I did have my original birth certificate, so I had my birth mother’s maiden name, but honestly, I didn’t think it would go very far. After a few days, I heard back from this cousin. He had contacted his aunt - who happened to be my birth mom, and she had agreed to connect with me. He gave me her phone number. I was able to reach out right away, and we began communicating. As it turns out, even though I was born in a different state, we both live in the same state now - just at opposite ends. We were able to set up a time to meet in the middle at her father’s house. To say I was nervous to meet my birth mother would be an understatement, but when she opened the door, I was face to face with someone that had the same face as me. I felt immediately calm. We spend the afternoon talking and getting to know each other, and I was able to hear her story of when I was born when she was just 16. 

After our meeting, she provided me with enough information to contact my birth father. He lives a few states away, but my husband and I were able to travel to meet him and his wife for dinner. Once again, it was very comfortable and easy to be around them both. 

Looking for similarities and getting to know these relatives has been a really fantastic experience for me. Growing up I always wondered about them, and I am happy to know who they are. Both nature and nurture have made me the person I am today, and I am blessed. I have the best of all of the worlds in my life. 

Two other RidgeCrest family members have also been able to find their birth parents through DNA testing. The ability of modern science to bring together families who would otherwise never be able to find each other is genuinely miraculous. 


Dec 10, 2019

Helping Others First

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

What do these things have in common?

  • A study with toddler-aged children observing that they quickly came to the aid of adults who dropped a piece of paper on the floor

  • Company cultures that put customer service over profit, or who have lax return policies that some may take advantage of

  • A pack of wolves that allows the cub-bearing female to eat first, giving her the best organs and nutrition

  • It is better to give than to receive.”

Answer? They all demonstrate that helping each other is hard-wired into our biology and provides the greatest chances of survival. Altruism is a complicated topic, and some say that the personal benefits of being altruistic are so great that there is actually no such thing as selflessly serving others. But does that even matter? As long as a person in need is being served, does it matter if it benefits the person providing the service as well? Much ink has been spilled exploring these questions. 

In my personal world, some of the greatest emotional highs have come from helping others - to the point that it hurt a little bit. I know some of my fondest memories with my father was him throwing me into uncomfortable situations, like stopping to help someone with a car issue or a person that was homeless. He was always helping with a project for a widow or anyone in his circle who couldn’t meet their needs alone. My father made sure we spent our summers in the mountains, and every year I either had a brand new sleeping bag or no sleeping bag and made do with blankets. I never really wondered about why I didn’t just use the same sleeping bag each year. Then, one early winter he asked me to grab that year’s sleeping bags and come with him in the pickup for the afternoon. Having lived with my father, I knew strange adventures were a way of life, so I just rolled with it. He drove me to an underpass, where we found two homeless men. We talked with them, gave them food, and handed over our barely-used sleeping bags. It turned out he had been doing this for years. I remember like it was yesterday - one of the men, unshaven and dirty, had on a pair of huge skiing mittens. I remember he wanted to know what I liked about school. I remember him asking me what my dream car was. Looking back, I know now he could see how uncomfortable I felt. He was making the conversation for me, he wanted to keep me feeling normal. Now I marvel at this. Imagine someone that did not have a roof over their head and did not know where the next meal was coming from going out of their way to help a privileged child feel safe? To stand in such need and desperation and care about someone else first left an impression of true humanity that has stayed with me to this day. I continue to wonder about his life story. Regardless of the challenges he faced, I know he was a good person. 

The holiday season makes this point better than any other time of the year. We love to reflect on giving. We love to watch behind hidden corners when we have given to someone in need, yet we want to remain anonymous. We enjoy and celebrate holidays where giving is the main custom. And when others give to us, we dig deep to express our thanks and gratitude in return. I believe it is because of a hunger for spiritual and emotional food. And like food, putting others first strengthens us, keeps us emotionally fit and healthy, and reminds us of how much we have to be grateful for. Our opportunities and capabilities are different. Some have strong backs for heavy lifting and physical acts of service. Some have money or free time. Some provide emotional support. Sometimes you hit phases of your life where you gave too much, and you need to take time to conserve and protect yourself and your emotional energy. When this is part of your journey, accepting gifts and help from your tribe is just as important - allowing others to feel the rewards of giving may be your act of service for the times when you have nothing else to give. Regardless of what phase you are at in your life, reflecting on service, kindness, and compassion will help you find gratitude and your sense of humanity.


Dec 10, 2019

Mulled Wine

by RidgeCrest Herbals

What is better than coming home to the lovely smell of mulled wine, and sipping on a glass of a delicious warm drink? Not much!

Ingredients:

1-750ml red sweet wine

2 oranges, 1 sliced, 1 for garnish

3-4 sticks of cinnamon

10 cloves

2-3 allspice berries

3/4 c brown sugar

5 star anise

1-2 cups apple cider

1/4 cup brandy

Directions:

Add ingredients to large pot on stovetop on low to medium heat. Do not boil. Let simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes, stirring often. Bring heat to a low simmer. Pour into glasses and garnish with oranges. 


Dec 10, 2019

2019 December Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Mount Ranier National Park, Washington State


Nov 19, 2019

Respecting and Honoring Life

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

November is one of my favorite months, but personally also one of the most tragic. It’s a celebratory time of my birth and many other members in my family, but it is also one of heartbreaking loss. And this reminded me, especially in November, about honoring all life, including animal life. We all come from the Earth and we all go back to it.
If you’ve ever had a pet that you’ve loved you’ll understand the heartbreak that comes with losing your companion. Raising animals for food, letting them live happily and peacefully, then humanely harvesting them bears a similar disposition. There’s a cacophony of juxtaposed feelings. You feel happiness, sadness, love, discomfort, and more all at once. It is raw and real, like life.  

Tara Couture, from @slowdownfarmstead, says it the best: Something happens when we die. There is a moment when a spirit leaves. It’s not obscure. You can feel it, watch it happen. Call it what you will. Attribute it to what you will. I call it real and I call it peace.
We approach the harvest of every animal with solemnity, responsibility, and the deepest of gratitude. There is sadness and there is joy. There is discomfort and there is celebration. It is, as all the toughest of things are, the full richness of being. We could relieve ourselves of the hard parts by avoiding them, but all that we gain would be forever lost, too. Ease and comfort are sometimes the most expensive things of all.”
So, just remember, this holiday season, especially if it’s a hard one, that the feelings of discomfort and celebration together are okay. These are often the hardest parts of life we have to face, but they are also the ones in which we grow the most. 

P.S. Don’t forget to support your local farmers, if you can, especially in regards to turkey and pigs. Those creatures lived far better lives than anything that was factory farmed. 


Nov 19, 2019

Enrichment Through Asking

by Chris, Director of Sales

Growing up in the Netherlands, my mom, Goverdina (Dinie), often heard her mother say “Nee heb je, ja kun je krijgen!” which means, “No you have, yes you can get!” I was raised with this saying and am now teaching it to my three boys. Now that I’m an adult and have been living by this phrase for many years, I have a much deeper appreciation for all its uses and meanings. 

My Oma, Josina, was an incredibly hardworking, creative, fun woman who cared tirelessly for her 5 children, even during WWII while my Opa, Antoon, was away serving in the Dutch military. She often had to be creative with what they had, and I’m sure this saying helped her through those times. For many years, I only understood it’s surface meaning, which is similar to “It doesn’t hurt to ask,” but now I see a stronger, more motivating and expectant connotation. 

If you don’t ask (for a discount, for a promotion at work, for your relationship to move to the next level, etc.), then you already have “No” for an answer. You are stuck right where you are at. Fear of embarrassment or rejection is usually the culprit behind keeping silent - as if it’s a sign of weakness to pose a question. But it’s actually a sign of strength, curiosity, and intelligence. This can be as simple as asking a store to price match, asking for a discount on a medical bill over the phone, or seeing if a meeting can be changed to a time that’s better for you. I can’t tell you how much money I have saved by implementing this phrase! When I hesitate to ask, I remind myself, “No you have, yes you can get,” and sometimes I add, “Now go get it!” It is crucial to ask in a friendly, polite way of course, and I often envision the other person saying yes before asking. Keep in mind that you aren’t entitled to what you are asking for, so don’t get your feathers ruffled if the answer is no. Just stay calm and cheerful.

My deep understanding of this saying fuels me in my goal-setting and purpose-driven dreams. If I always play it safe and become content with a mediocre life, whether it be in my work, spiritual growth, physical body, relationships, or hobbies, I will have wasted so much! Potential joy, health, abundance, love, peace, and so many things could be mine. It doesn’t serve you to play it safe. It may be the place that feels safe to most, like a docked boat - but boats were meant to be pushed away from the familiar harbor! It only fulfills its purpose by sailing on open water, embracing the exciting possibilities. These yet-to-be-discovered blessings can only be accessed if you decide they (and you) are worth the risk and pursue them. Often we need to soften our pride, get vulnerable, take a baby step out there, or just leap! Then you can get that “Yes” you desired. You are worth the risk! When fear and doubt tempt me to stay stagnant, my Oma’s wise saying resonates in my heart and propels me upward and onward. Now go get that yes!


 


Nov 19, 2019

Sugary Sweet Terminology

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Nov 19, 2019

Grounding to the Earth

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

 In today’s world, it is easy to feel disconnected from Mother Nature. We can go weeks only going from our homes to our cars, our cars to our offices, and then back to our cars again without ever watching a sunset or feeling the earth beneath our feet. Some people believe this is having a negative effect on our emotions, psyche, and physical health. If you want to feel more connected to the earth, you can try a process called “grounding,” Grounding revolves around the idea that the earth has an energetic and physical pull, and when we wear shoes and live too much indoors we cut ourselves off from its rejuvenating energy. So the solution is simple - take off your shoes! Walk barefoot, lie on the grass, breathe in the earth again. Advocates believe that the negatively-charged ions in the earth will help combat the overabundance of positively charged ions in our bodies that lead to disease and ill-health. So if you are feeling like you have too much stress in your life, try simply taking off your shoes and going for a walk in the grass. You may find it makes a big difference!


Nov 19, 2019

November 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Nov 12, 2019

Using Gratitude to Improve Mental Health

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

I keep seeing the quotes that talk about attracting what you think. The quotes keep circulating, and at times I can feel it and put it into practice. But when seasonal depression hits, it's hard to practice that and keep in a positive frame of mind. I have been mulling this over for some weeks now, as I just came out of a really hard and negative place in my life. Now that I am on the other end and so close to it happening, I would like to think of ways that I could help minimize the negativity when it happens again.

I like to keep things as simple and easy as possible and with the season of gratitude just around the corner, I feel like the best way to attract the positive is to be grateful. If I can find one thing to be grateful for every single day, I feel like it is a win. If I can do more that will be so amazing, but some days I know that will be hard when I have anxiety and depression whispering in my ear.  

New studies suggest that gratitude physically changes your brain. The practice of gratitude can increase dopamine production, the brain likes it’s dopamine, so the production will encourage your brain to seek more. If we can find just one thing to be grateful every single day, we will all be in a much better place, and who knows, perhaps integrating this one thing, will help you find even more to be grateful for.


Nov 12, 2019

2019 November Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Fisher Towers near Moab, Utah - Photography by Abbie Warnock-Matthews


Nov 12, 2019

Fall Garden Guide

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Fall is here!  Hopefully, your garden had a wonderful summer of growth and production, but now it's time to clean up for winter.  Not sure when to start taking things down? You can always wait until the first frost of the season, because your plants will naturally start shutting down for winter at this time.

 

Want springtime blooms?  Now is the time to plant flower bulbs!  Tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, alliums, crocus, and muscari need to be planted in the fall, usually from late September through mid-October, depending on your gardening zone.  Plant your bulbs when evening temperatures average 45-50 degrees, but you want to be mindful to get them into the ground at least six weeks before the ground freezes.  There are handy tools out there to dig individual holes for bulbs, we recommend a drill auger that you can use while standing up. However, if you’re planting LOTS of bulbs, we recommend trench planting.  Instead of digging a bunch of individual holes, spare your lower back and try using a spade shovel to dig up a large area with a depth of six inches. Deposit your bulbs side by side with the roots facing down, and then cover them all back up at once.

 

Start by removing all of the remaining material from your annual plants.  Different plants need different methods of disposal – some plants like peas, beans, and corn can replenish nitrogen in your soil as the plants rot, so you can “chop and drop” them into the beds and let them break down all winter.  However, plants like squash and zucchini can carry disease and parasites, so they need to be pulled out entirely and disposed of in the garbage, not composted. If you’re not sure whether you should be pruning your plant down or leaving the branches on, you can always leave it for the season and clean it up or prune accordingly in the spring.

 

Since your crops have been taking nutrients from your topsoil all summer, it's time to nourish it again before winter.  Erosion from rain and the freeze and thaw cycles of winter will strip your soil, so the more you can boost it up, the better.  If you keep a compost pile, now is the time to cover your garden beds with the compost. It will continue to break down over winter, and will also feed the worms in your bed, who will produce nutritious worm castings all winter. If you don't have compost, you can rake up the fallen leaves in your yard and cover your beds with these. They will help keep your soil in place and will add nutrients to your ground as they break down throughout winter.

 


Oct 18, 2019

2019 July Organtics


Oct 18, 2019

Remineralizing Toothpaste

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

I have horrible teeth - at least, I did. That all changed when I started going

natural and began learning about remineralizing toothpaste. I got this recipe

from thepaleomama.com, and after using it for three months I went to the dentist

for the first time in several years (college days!) and walked out with a perfectly

healthy mouth- a completely unprecedented event.

1/3  Cup bentonite clay

1/4  Cup boiling water

  1 Tbsp of coconut oil

1/4  tsp of Redmond Salt (this company also has a great toothpaste line now)

1/2  tsp of REAL stevia - just the ground leaf, unprocessed

*15   drops of DoTerra OnGuard essential oil (or Immune by Purify Skin Therapy)

*10   drops of DoTerra Peppermint essential oil (or Peppermint by Purify Skin Therapy)

*Sub Tooth & Gum Blend by Purify Skin Therapy for OnGuard and Peppermint 

Put the bentonite clay in a bowl and set aside. Boil the water and add the coconut oil to the water until melted. Use a hand mixer to blend the water/coconut into the bentonite clay. Add the salt, stevia, and essential oils and blend until mixed. Keep in a covered jar.


Oct 18, 2019

2019 Summer Garden Guide

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Your garden is growing, your flowers are blooming, and life is good, so what is left to do?  A lot of your yard may be on autopilot during the summer months, but it still needs your help to thrive.

Monitor your watering – Watch for stunted growth on any plants from underwatering, or fungus on leaves from overwatering.  Keep an eye on sprinkler units that may in hot weather, causing pooling instead of sending the water to your plants.

Stay on top of weeding to keep unwanted plants from growing large enough to distribute more seeds.  When pulling weeds, be sure to pinch at the base of the plant to pull up as many roots as possible to keep them from growing back.  Better yet, purchase a hand tool for weeding that you can stick down into the ground and leverage the roots up and out of the earth.  If you have stubborn weeds use this pet-safe weed killer recipe in a spray bottle: ½ cup vinegar, 1 cup Epsom salt, and 1/8 cup dish soap.

Got aphids?  There are multiple ways to get rid of them without using harmful pesticides.  Many people suggest bringing in ladybugs, but they will leave your garden if they're not a native species to your area. If you have a somewhat large species of aphids on your plants, try donning a pair of garden gloves and pinching them off the plants by hand. There are all natural, premixed insecticide soaps available, or you can dilute a few tablespoons of dish soap in a small bucket of lukewarm water and use a sponge or spray bottle to apply the mixture to plants where aphids have taken hold.


Oct 18, 2019

Make Ice Cream From Juicing

by Chris, Director of Sales

Want delicious, vegan, guilt-free sorbet without having to go out or fuss with an ice cream maker? Try your single-gear, masticating juicer or blender! With your juicer’s blank plate or homogenizing function, you can combine fruit like bananas, strawberries, and mango and immediately enjoy a no-sugar-added, soft serve ice cream that is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients!

Fit your masticating juicer with its blank plate or select the homogenizing function. Place your ice cream bowl under the juicer spout and turn on the machine. Adding a couple of pieces at a time, slowly feed through frozen fruit. Watch with amazement as the vibrant soft serve comes out! When finished, enjoy your treat as is, or get decadent with your favorite toppings like chopped nuts, granola, or honey!

Don’t have the right juicer or part? If you have a Vitamix or comparable high-powered blender, you can achieve the same effect by using the tamper while blending on high for 10-30 seconds.

Word to the wise: small batches turn out better when using the Vitamix, so don’t load it up to the top!

Here are some particularly tasty combinations:

  1. Banana and berries
  2. strawberries and mango
  3. peaches, raspberries, and coconut
  4. banana, strawberry, and chocolate sauce
  5. Just plain Mango!
  6. Coconut and strawberry
  7. Blueberries, cherries, and coconut

     

Oct 18, 2019

The Artist Behind the Images - an Interview with Carel

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

Over the years as the Almanac has grown in popularity, people have asked us who is responsible for our unique cover art, so this year we sat down with the artist, Carel P. Brest van Kempen, to get an insight into his life and artwork. Enjoy our Q&A!

Q.     Carel, you have been an award-winning painter of wildlife for a long time. What first sparked your interest in art and nature?

"Both things have been with me from the very start. Right after I turned four, my family moved to Emigration Canyon, which was the drainage that Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers followed into the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847. It was a wonderful place for a boy to grow up, and living there was a really important factor in shaping me. I took full advantage and spent as much time as I could exploring the backcountry. I used to carry a sketch pad around as a boy, and imagined myself as a 20th-Century Audubon, with grand plans to put together a big illustrated book depicting the animals and plants of the Wasatch Mountains. Since boyhood, I've always studied the natural world obsessively and enjoyed drawing and painting."

Q.     What aspects of your art do you find the most difficult or the most interesting?

"I think the hardest thing about painting is that the artist knows exactly what it is he's trying to communicate, and I find it's impossible to look at my own work from the point of view that the rest of the world sees it from. That makes it impossible to know whether a painting works or not. The most enjoyable part of painting a piece by far is working out the composition, which I do before I do any actual painting. This is where the creativity is."

Q.     You lead a unique lifestyle, somewhat removed from what other people might consider essential conveniences. Why?

"I don't feel the need for a car or a cell phone. As somebody who loves the natural world, I try to limit my consumption as much as I can. I love to ride a bicycle and find that a bike can meet 98% of my transportation needs. I find that a landline and a home desktop do all the cell phone tasks that I need. I only use a cell phone for travel."

Q.     What are the traits that you find most predictive of success for an artist?

"Developing the skills of drawing and painting are like any other field. You have to put in the work. Talent doesn't have all that much to do with it. Going beyond that point and creating important work, that's where talent makes a difference. You can't really teach a person to have a good aesthetic judgment or to have something interesting to say with their paintings."

Q.     What most drove the development of your talent?

"My theory is that I'm always learning lots of little things, then eventually I'm able to tie those bits together. It was during one of those jumps in my late 20s that I decided to try to be a professional artist. That was a very exciting time. I was completely focused on that goal, and throughout my 30s, pretty much all I did was paint. I put my belongings in storage and lived rent-free for three and a half years to make it easier to concentrate just on art. Another big growth moment for me was when I met Carl Brenders, an amazing Belgian artist. I met him when he was the featured artist at an expo in 1993. There's a marked difference in my paintings before and after that. He's continued to be a very good and generous friend as well as an inspiration."

Q.     What have some of the highlights of your career been?

"Studying nature in the field is crucial, and my favorite experiences have been in nature. Watching the courtship of Wreathed Hornbills in Indonesia, birds of paradise in New Guinea, tracking Drills (a large and very rare baboon) in Cameroon, mountain gorillas in Uganda...I have so many wonderful memories of the field. I've also been lucky to have had my work in a lot of really exciting places. One of the most memorable was at the National Museum in Taipei in 2000. I got to be featured in another similar show in Qingdao, China, in 2017. I just participated in a very exciting project that was unveiled in August 2018, “Silent Skies.” Artists For Conservation, a Canada-based organization, commissioned a 100-foot-long mural made up of 678 different 8-inch-square paintings depicting the Earth's endangered bird species."

Q.     Where can people find your work?

"Over the next year, my solo show will visit the Shafer Gallery in Great Bend, KS, the Chicago Academy of Sciences Notebaert Museum, and the Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences. You can see exhibit specifics and lots of examples of my work at cpbrestvankempen.com."


Oct 18, 2019

June 2019 Window to Wanderlust

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Oct 15, 2019

Sunburn Relief

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

There are plenty of ways to shield your skin from damaging UV rays these days, but we can still find ourselves with a nasty sunburn.  Maybe your initial coat of SPF wore off while you were at the lake, you forgot to apply any before a round of yard work, or you went for a hike and forgot to pack the sunblock.  Here are some effective measures you can take after you begin to feel the burn:

Internal relief - while sunburns are a painful surface problem, try relief from within by taking PhysiQOL from Ridgecrest Herbals.  With ingredients like Turmeric, Boswellia extract, Teasel root, and Indian Tinospora (all supportive of the body’s ability to maintain a healthy anti-inflammatory response), this is a great place to start, or as a supplement to other topical remedies.

Salt - Salt has amazing chemical properties when it comes to burns.  Whenever my mother would get burned in the kitchen, I remember watching her immediately wet the area, apply a generous helping of table salt to the burn, then wrap it in a wet paper towel.  She'd wear it for a couple of hours, and the burn would be diminished.  For mild to intermediate sunburns, try an Epsom salt bath.  Start with a warm enough bath to dissolve at least 2 to 4 cups of Epsom salt, then let the water sit to cool, or add ice cubes to bring the temperature to a more comfortable range once the salt has dissolved.  Soak for at least 20 to 30 minutes to feel  relief.  If you don't have access to a bathtub, you can dissolve 2 to 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt into a spray bottle and spray the affected areas.  

Apple Cider Vinegar - Some people swear that apple cider vinegar is the key to sunburn relief, simply by applying it to a rag or paper towel, and blotting the affected skin with it.  While this smell may be too strong for some people, it is a viable option for relief.

Essential Oil Sunburn Spray - If you find salt too drying for your skin type, give this spray a try:  Mix 15 drops of peppermint oil, 15 drops of lavender oil, 5 drops of frankincense oil in a 2 ounce spray bottle, and top off the remaining space with equal parts of witch hazel and a natural aloe vera.  Shake, and spray directly to the burn.  The peppermint and lavender will help to cool and calm the skin, while the frankincense, witch hazel, and aloe vera will help to balance pH and help your skin repair itself.


 


Oct 15, 2019

The Doctrine of Signatures

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

Hey, look at this! Chop a carrot and look at its inside.  Looks a lot like a human eye, doesn’t it? Try it. Better yet, find an heirloom carrot, or maybe some of the mixed color carrots, and you will see an even more familiar “sight,” wink!

There are quite a few foods in nature that look suspiciously close to the human organ they benefit. This association was not lost on the ancients and has been explored through the ages by the great minds of their times. Hippocrates said the now-famous phrase “Let food be thy medicine.” Paracelsus claimed that “Nature marks each growth...according to its curative benefit.” Jakob Bӧhme (16th century) claimed that God marked plants with a “signature,” to help us identify its benefits. William Coles felt the same, and even Foucault argued the merit of the concept. Some plants were so well known to benefit the human body that their names developed directly from the benefits they give, such as toothwort or eyebright. These names are just an indication of how old this concept is. 

While there are many plants and foods that follow these interesting patterns, there are also deadly or toxic plants that do as well - how fortunate that we live in an age where the collected wisdom of humanity can be searched at a glance so that we don’t have to make a deadly mistake when exploring the doctrine of signatures!

Here are just a few foods that have been scientifically proven to provide benefits to the organs they resemble: 

Ginger: Ginger resembles the stomach and is one of the best ways you can naturally cure nausea and motion sickness. it also aids digestion and nutrient absorption. 

Pomegranates: Pomegranates look like little blood cells, and a study out of Israel showed that pomegranates help blood flow and blood health in several ways.

Walnuts: Walnuts look like the brain, with their folds and wrinkles. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, the building block of the more than 100 billion cells in the brain. Omega-3’s aid the function of neurotransmitter receptors. 

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are red and have chambers just like the human heart.  

Mushrooms: A sliced mushroom looks like the human ear. They contain Vitamins C, D, and E, all which help guard against cellular damage in the ears and blood vessels. 

Grapes: Grapes look like the alveoli of the lungs, and are full of antioxidants and resveratrol, which supports free movement in the cells of the nasal passages and lungs. 

Carrots: The most well-known signature, carrots contain beta-carotene, a vitamin that protects eye health, especially in older people. 

Celery: Celery looks like your bones, with that same good crunch! This alkalizing veggie is full of Vitamin K, which is necessary on a cellular level for bone health. It also has calcium, folate, manganese (for the synthesis of connective tissue in the bone), and magnesium.

Kidney beans: Kidney beans are self-explanatory, aren’t they? They are rich in magnesium and potassium, which help keep the kidneys free from buildup.

Sweet Potato: This yummy french fry option closely resembles the pancreas. That makes sense, as it is a low glycemic carb that helps support even blood sugar, making the pancreas's job easier. 

Figs: This one is a bit of low-hanging fruit, but have you ever noticed that figs hang in twos and are full of seeds contained in a sac? Their appearance may be why they have long been a symbol of male fertility. Now science has revealed that figs actually can increase sperm motility and quantity. It’s nuts!

 If you are like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about what is the truth, our purpose, and what we have a responsibility to do for the coming generations and how we respect life, time, and the body we have been gifted. Enjoy digging through the rich history and building your own thoughts around the Doctrine of Signatures. I did!





 


Oct 15, 2019

June 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Oct 15, 2019

Best Herbs for Pest Control

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

Gardening can be a rewarding endeavor, but keeping your plants alive sometimes means doing a little crowd control! Conventional poisons can harm soil, children, and pets, so here are some natural solutions I found:

 

 

Earwig Sauce Trap:

2 tbsp soy sauce 

½ c cooking oil

Shallow bowl/container

Mix together, leave overnight. This catches earwigs, centipedes, ants, and cockroaches. Keep away from pets. 

Ant & Spider Spray:

Water bottle

Water

5-10 drops peppermint or cinnamon essential oil

Mix and spray. I found that ants avoided places sprayed.

Ant Syrup:

½ c powdered sugar

3 tbsp borax

Enough water to make a thick syrup

Mix together, drop near ants. This killed some ants and the colony moved away. Keep away from pets & children.

Boozy Slug Trap:

Beer of choice

Shallow bowl or container 

Leave bowl out overnight. Dispose of caught slugs/snails.

Plants/Herbs for pest control: 

Marigolds - Mosquitoes, aphids

Nasturtiums - Aphids, beetles, squash bugs

Basil & Lavender - House flies, mosquitoes

Lemongrass, lemon balm, mint, rosemary - mosquitoes

Thyme - whiteflies, cabbage loopers & maggots, corn earworms, hornworms

Dill - aphids, squash bugs, spider mites, hornworms

Fennel - slugs, aphids, snails

Allium Family (chives/onions/leeks)- Slugs, aphids

Borage - Hornworms, cabbage moths

 

 


Oct 15, 2019

My Fasting Journey

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

Ever since I was in the third grade, I have struggled with my weight. I have been made fun of and called terrible names. It's been a long-standing scar in my life. So naturally, like so many of us, I am always searching for ways to be healthy. I have explored counting calories, keto, paleo, veganism, vegetarianism, juicing, and the HCG diet, with varied results from each. 

I was browsing social media one day, and someone touted the Snake Diet for weight loss and health benefits. I had never heard of it, so I began to research. The Snake Diet is prolonged fasting with a homemade electrolyte drink. When I first heard about prolonged fasting it seemed so extreme I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But I kept researching and found that intermittent & prolonged fasting has many health benefits, and weight loss is just a perk!

Despite the concept of fasting being new to me, it has been practiced for centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions around the world. We would not have survived as a species had our bodies not been designed to fast. My generation has been told our whole lives we need to eat 3-6 meals every day, making the idea of fasting for longer than a few hours scary to consider, not to mention the sugar addiction that keeps us going back to foods that aren't good for us. 

Scientific studies have found that intermittent and prolonged fasting can support and promote blood sugar control, heart health, good blood pressure, a healthy immune system, brain function, and metabolism.  Fasting has also shown to help with healthy skin, weight, longevity, natural detoxification within the body, and much more. 

One of the best benefits of fasting is that it promotes autophagy. Autophagy is a metabolic process in the body that helps to recycle old, damaged and diseased cells. How amazing are our bodies?

I have PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome, infertility, amenorrhea, anovulation, eczema, dandruff, skin allergies, hirsutism, depression, and anxiety along with my weight problems. I have been on a journey of health for most of my adult life and am always trying to find ways to help myself after doctors have failed to help me. Perhaps fasting was the answer I had been looking for!

The Snake Diet protocol calls to start off with a 48 hr fast to break the fear of fasting. I pulled all my bravery and willpower together and committed to a 24hr fast first. Once I reached the 24hr mark, I felt amazing, so I pushed to the 48 hr fast. To my surprise I lost 2.5lbs in the first round, I had energy, my brain fog cleared, and I felt happy. I couldn’t believe it! I kept pushing with short fasts of 24hr & 48hrs for a few weeks before I made it to the 72hr mark, the longest I have gone so far. I have noticed that I am not as down or anxious, my co-workers have seen how bright my skin glows, and I have lost a total of 20 pounds in two months. My husband, who is doing this experiment with me, has lost 50! 

I have found a new sense of empowerment. I have this great feeling of being in control of my body and my health. I have become acutely aware of what my body needs, what is my sugar addiction talking, the difference between want & need, that hunger is mostly dehydration or sugar/food addiction, and that I eat to find comfort when feeling emotional stress. Fasting has become yoga for my digestive system and eating habits. Less has become more,  and I have a greater appreciation for food. I notice how various foods affect my body, for example, grass-fed beef helps me feel more energized and I can fast longer afterward, whereas chicken makes me hungry sooner and I notice more brain fog.

I plan to continue on my healing journey of fasting and hope that one day my biggest dream of becoming a mother will come true. 

I urge you to do some research on fasting, especially if you have health or weight issues. Who knows, fasting could be the answer you have been looking for! 


 

              




 


Oct 15, 2019

Bee-Friendly Plants that are Bee-Loved

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

Bees are in trouble! The threats of pesticides, herbicides, and other environmental

man-made hazards are drastically reducing their population. Without bees - we

have a food crisis. Here are some plants you can add to your yard that can give

them a much needed helping hand:

Lavender

White Clover

Dandelion

Echinacea

New England Aster

Blackberries

Raspberries

Catmint

Bee Balm

Chives

Thyme

Mint

Oregano

Sage

Rosemary

Lemon Balm

Basil

Hostas

Hyacinths

Snapdragons

Cosmos

Marigolds

Pansies

Geraniums

Other ways to help: use natural weed/pest controls (pouring boiling water on weeds is great!), create a water bath to keep bees hydrated, build homes for native bees, create awareness, educate local families and friends, or adopt a hive!  Our friends over at Host Defense have done some amazing research with bee life expectancy and medicinal mushrooms.  Search “Paul Stamets Save the Bees” for more information.


Oct 15, 2019

2019 Almanac Frequently Asked Questions

by Brit, Herbal Gaia

We regularly get calls from people asking excellent questions about our products. So we thought we would compile a list of the most common questions we are asked, so you both have the answers yourself and know the kind of great questions you should be asking any company about their products. Enjoy!

Will any of our products cause high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is a serious condition and should be discussed with your health care provider. We have never received complaints of this side effect with any of our products, but sometimes people are concerned because several of our formulas include Chinese licorice. While European licorice has been shown to raise blood pressure in dosages over 400mg, much larger doses than our 36.2 mg of Chinese licorice are not known to have the same effect, and Chinese licorice is not used for that purpose in herbal medicine. 

Are our products safe to take while pregnant?

Because we are not medical physicians we legally cannot advise you on this issue, and you should discuss with your doctor about any supplements you are considering while pregnant. We have had customers and staff take our products while pregnant without issue. 

Are our products safe to take while breastfeeding?

In general, herbs are believed to be safe for breastfeeding mothers, and several are commonly used to help lactation supply. Again, we legally have to refer you to your medical advisor regarding this concern. 

Do our products contain tree nuts?

No, our products contain no tree nuts, GMO’s, soy, or corn, and all but Hair Revive are vegan. 

Can all of our products be taken long term?

Every individual is unique, and while some may find long-term use useful, others may see their results are better served by taking our products short term. Long-term use should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner (notice a pattern?). Breaks of 1-7 days can sometimes help increase effectiveness during extended use. 

What is Prop 65?

Proposition 65 is a California-only law so strict even the highest quality products on the market often require the warning. Even a carrot grown organically on a small rural farm often contains too much lead absorbed from the soil to successfully meet Prop65 standards, so legally it is safer for us to include the warning. However, our products don't contain any harmful chemicals or components that would put you at risk and exceed the safety standards set by the federal government. Our products are texted for heavy metals and other toxins at least three times before being released, and we have never had a complaint or adverse event related to Prop65. You can find a more thorough explanation of this law on our website.

Are our products manufactured in the same facility as allergens (such as crustaceans)? 

All our products save one are vegan and free from corn, dairy, gluten, GMO, soy, wheat, and yeast. The exception is Hair Revive, which contains N-Acetyl-l-cysteine derived from feathers (a by-product of poultry production). Our manufacturers rarely produce any products with common allergens and are required by law to thoroughly clean and sanitize their machines between batches of products to ensure no cross-contamination.  We personally audit our manufacturers to make sure they adhere to all regulations as well as our own, higher standards.  

Can the products be combined?

All of our products are safe to use, and it is common for people to take more than one at once. If you have concerns, we recommend you discuss your individual needs with your healthcare provider. You probably only want to start one new product at a time so you can judge the effectiveness and any reactions (though unlikely) you may have, and if you have a sensitive stomach be sure to take the products at separate times of the day with food. 

Can the capsules be opened and take another way?

Sometimes people struggle taking pills. The capsules can be opened and the contents can be added to smoothies, yogurt, applesauce, etc. There may be an herbal or vitamin taste. 

Do we offer coupons?

Currently, we do not offer coupons. All of our products are Buy 3 get 1 Free when purchased from us directly. Each month we have one or two items 25% off.  New customers get 20% off. The new customer and buy 3 get 1 free offer can not be combined. 

Will the products go bad if left in the heat?

This would depend on how hot they got, if the capsules melted or became otherwise compromised, and the humidity in your area. There is always a chance that exposure to heat and moisture could create a potential risk of microbes, and the potency of the product could become affected. Definitely throw it out if it develops an unpleasant or unusual smell. Feel free to contact us with questions if you are unsure.

What is the difference between ClearLungs & Airway Clear? 

The difference lies in the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). ClearLungs is considered a "hot" or "warm" formula. This simply means that it helps direct circulation to the lungs. When you increase circulation to the lungs, you increase oxygen and nutrient delivery and allow the body to naturally and gently cleanse. AirwayClear is considered a "cool" or "cold" formula. This means that it helps to cool the nervous system down - thus supporting open airways. Customers are encouraged to experiment with both to see what works best for them. Alternate doses if combining. 

Are all expiration dates set to 4 years out?

Our products that contain vitamins have a 2-year shelf life because vitamins are known to break down faster than herbs. Most herbs survive longer than our 4-year shelf life but we currently only have tested to prove shelf-stability for that time frame. 

Are your products Certified Organic? 

No. Most herbs are grown without chemicals or GMO’s, but pesticides from nearby farms can travel. We require documentation that no chemicals were used on the ingredients we purchase for our blends. We are always striving to ensure quality and transparency. 


 


Oct 15, 2019

A Living Roof

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

A living roof is a roof covered with vegetation. It provides many advantages, including improved air quality in urban centers, aesthetics, insulation, and vegetation/habitat for small animals. In 2017, I installed a living roof over my potting shed. This is how I did it:

I Built rafters at a 12-inch spacing on ¾ inch MDF, strong to handle snow load. I built a frame around the roof, for a 3.5-inch soil depth. I used pond liner to prevent leaking. The edge of the roof space was lined with shingles. We ran vinyl deer fencing long ways between layers of soil, and we were ready to fill and plant. I made my own mix of soil to keep it light and well-draining - a mixture of coconut peat, vermiculite, perlite, and utilite. The plants took off! They still have a long way to cover the entire roof space but it was clear they loved the space. The birds and bugs quickly started to use the space. Plants cool themselves much as we do. During hot summer days, you can feel the inside of the roof is far cooler than the outside temperature.


Oct 11, 2019

2018 RidgeCrest Herbal's Pumpkin Baking Contest Winner

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Ridgecrest loves pumpkin, so in October we had a contest to see who could make the most delicious pumpkin-based treat! Here’s the winner:

 

Scott’s Pumpkin Pastry

Ingredients

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 cup butter

• 1⁄2 cup water

• 3 large eggs

• 3⁄4 cup sugar

• 1 tsp ground cinnamon

• 1⁄2 tsp salt

• 1 egg beaten

• 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger

• 1⁄4 tsp ground cloves

• 1 15oz can of 100% pumpkin puree

• 4 oz evaporated milk 

Directions

1. In a large bowl, cut room temperature butter into flour until the mixture has a crumb-like texture. Make a well in the center, add cold water. Mix until it forms a ball. Do not over-mix. Chill dough in the refrigerator.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.

3. While dough is chilling, blend pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Slowly stir in evaporated milk.

4. Divide dough into 4 parts and roll into 15-inch strips. Place filling along the center of each long strip of dough. Roll up and pinch the ends to seal. Place strips 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Brush with a beaten egg (the 3rd egg), and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 


Oct 11, 2019

October 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Oct 11, 2019

The Detrimental Effects of Sugar

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

Let me preface this by saying that I am both a sugar-addict and an emotional eater. So don’t think I don’t understand how hard giving up sugar is. But after gaining 70 pounds in two years from stress eating and pregnancy, I was starting to face a future wrought with weight-related health problems. I have always been blessedly healthy and looking into that future scared me pretty badly. I had to give it up. And you know what? IT IS POSSIBLE!

Giving up an addiction is not easy. There are both physical cravings and psychological baggage that have to be considered and addressed. One thing that helps me keep on track is reminding myself about all the ways sugar is terrible for me. When you get that bug in your ear telling you, “this is going to increase my chances of getting sick with the cold going around,” or “if I eat this, it is going to be more painful to get out of bed tomorrow or climb the stairs to my apartment,” it can be easier to say no and stay on track, because it stops feeling worth it. So here are some not-so-fun facts about sugar to help motivate you to drop it from your lifestyle! 

  1. Sugar is classified as a hepatotoxin - “a toxic chemical substance that damages the liver.” OMG! 

  2. When sugar hits your system, it is quickly turned into fat.

  3. When you consume sugar, it enters your bloodstream and your body produces insulin to bring your blood sugar levels back down. When you consume excess amounts of sugar, your body starts to struggle with this, and you get insulin-resistance. This is what leads to diabetes.

  4. The sugar-high is followed by a crash, making you crave more sugar a few hours after consuming. So giving into one sugar craving is opening the path for cravings throughout the day. 

  5. Cancer cells thrive on sugar and use it as food to replicate and grow. 

  6. Sugar messes with your body’s production of leptin, the hormone that tells you when you are full. So eating sugar can lead to overeating other foods - and not feeling full.

  7. Sugar has many names - high fructose corn syrup, and anything ending in “-ose” on an ingredient label, i.e., fructose, sucrose, etc. So you have to read your labels!

  8. Sugar is found in almost every processed food in the grocery store, including yogurts, pasta sauces, bread, ketchup, etc. Even options that look healthy could be contributing to your sugar addiction - and making it harder to feel full!

  9. Your brain gets its fuel from two sources - glucose and fat. It functions better on fat, and excessive sugar consumption has been linked to anxiety, depression, and even schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, and dementia. Some parents with autistic children have found success in improving their child’s mental function by eliminating sugar and processed foods and moving to a high-fat diet. People with Traumatic Brain Injuries are encouraged to eat snacks high in healthy fat every few hours to improve brain function. 

  10. Excessive sugar consumption may be as bad for your liver as excessive alcohol. 

  11. Sugar increases your uric acid levels, which are factors in kidney and heart disease.

  12. Sugar is inflammatory and may contribute to feelings of soreness, difficulty moving, and other health problems associated with inflammation, such as IBD and Crohn’s, arthritis, and asthma.

  13. Refined carbs, such as processed bread, pasta, and cereal, are immediately converted to fructose in your body, so metabolically they are basically the same as eating sugar.

  14. When your body stores sugar as fat, it likes to store it in the belly region, leading to fatty liver disease and other serious health problems.

  15. Sugar, obviously, contributes to obesity and the health issues associated with being overweight.

  16. Detrimental health effects have also been associated with artificial sweeteners. 

It is crazy to me that, even knowing all the health risks associated with sugar consumption, I can still go binge-crazy on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s (Chubby Hubby, if you were wondering). For me, it has to be all-or-nothing. I can’t have just a *little* sugar in a day. I can’t have just a *piece* of chocolate. If I sneak one Oreo from the office kitchen in the morning, by the end of the day there will be a cup full of peanut butter M&M’s at my desk, dinner will be followed by S’mores made on my stove, and a bag of Sour Patch Kids by my bed as I fall asleep. And I am likely to start the next day with pastries or sugary coffee. So I know that it isn’t easy to give up. No one knows it better than me. But if I can make it through the first week or two (or three, or six) staying in control and just saying no until the cravings go away, I feel better, I look better, and food just tastes better. It is hard, but believe me - if I can do it, anyone can!


Oct 10, 2019

Join the Blue Teal Project

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

When my son turned 2, I was faced with a dilemma. We are a whole-food, non-processed, low-plastic household, and I think it is important to spend an extra dollar or two to get organic food free from additives and preservatives for my kid. But when it came to his birthday cake, I needed to get enough to feed approximately 40 people. To get a cake that upheld our usual standards, it would mean spending around $60 on a cake from a specialty store, when I could get a huge sheet cake with plenty for all from Costco for under $20. Was it worth spending that much, especially when most people eating it wouldn’t care? 

Fortunately, the decision was made for me. One of my son’s weekly babysitters, who watched him for free, had a gluten allergy. I thought about just getting her a cupcake, but I didn’t want her to be singled out, so I went ahead and ordered the crazy gluten-free cake from a great (but expensive) local vegan bakery. 

It turned out I made a very good choice. Not only was my babysitter gluten-free, but her daughter was, as well, which I had not known. When her six-year-old daughter realized that she was going to be able to have a slice of REAL birthday cake, she went through the roof. In all the birthday parties she had attended, she had always been given a gluten-free cupcake. She had never had her own, real, honest-to-goodness slice of birthday cake. The excitement she had for getting to experience something so incredibly normal brought joy to my heart and made the cost worth it. It turned out another kid there had an egg allergy, so the fact it was vegan allowed another kid to experience the special joy of a slice of birthday cake. 

There is an organization out there called the Teal Pumpkin Project. It allows you to add your home to a map so kids with allergies in your area will know your house has something just for them. So be sure to get some stickers, trinkets, slap bracelets, Pogs, whatever is in right now - and put it in a separate plastic pumpkin for the kids in your neighborhood. I sign up my house every year. We don’t deal with allergies, but something doesn’t have to affect you for you to be part of the solution.


Oct 10, 2019

Shaes Fall Traditions

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

I grew up in a home without many traditions, except for celebrating Christmas, which as I grew up found was very much commercialized and it took the magic out of it for me. My partner also grew up without many traditions so when we married, we didn’t have any traditions. We even skipped the Christmas tree because I couldn’t bare the thought of killing a tree just to have it for three weeks and I was worried about the ecological impact plastic trees would have. 

As time has gone on, I have found a desire to bring more tradition into my life. Fall is my favorite season. I absolutely love anything that has to do with fall. I have been trying to cement in fall traditions, which include fall hikes, making soup and anything pumpkin. I have been putting together fall dinners and bonfires with friends and family. I am trying to make my own that are special to me and the people in my life. 

I have never done anything by the book so to speak, I draw outside the lines and make my own trail. So for those of you who don’t have traditions or are tired of the ones you do have, make your own! 


Oct 10, 2019

2019 October Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Mesa Verde National Park, New Mexico


Oct 10, 2019

Spider Identification - Friend or Foe

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

One of my fondest memories growing up was when my grandma would read to me. My favorite book was Be Nice to Spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham. It was a story about a helpful little spider named Helen at a zoo. My dad would always catch & release spiders, instead of killing them. These influences sparked my lifelong love of these creepy little arachnids. As I got older, I began researching spiders’ roles as spirit guides/totems. Grandmother Spider is the weaver of creativity, the keeper of destiny & knowledge and the guardian of ancient languages & alphabets. She connects us to the energies of the spirit worlds and is a lunar symbol for death and rebirth, who teaches us that through polarity and balance creativity can be stimulated. 

Most spiders are really just misunderstood, friends!  Here are some facts about some of the most common spiders: 

Black Widows:

Location: The United States. They are usually found in dark, dry areas such as rock/woodpiles, basements, and garages.

Identification: These guys are shiny black or brown with a red hourglass on their abdomen

Bite: While a bite can cause severe pain, their bites are seldom deadly. Young children and the elderly are at the most risk of having severe reactions. Symptoms include nausea, sweating, cramps, fever, and dizziness, and you should seek medical attention if bitten.

Behavior:  These ones are nocturnal, build webs, and typically stay in one spot unless disturbed. They are shy and rarely bite unless provoked. 

Friend or Foe: Friend unless provoked, and they eat harmful insects.

Brown Recluse:  

Location: Found in warmer states between the Rockies and Appalachians. They like dark corners. 

Identification: Small brown, approximately the size of a quarter, with a violin pattern on their backs. They have six eyes instead of eight.

Bite: While their bites can lead to necrotic skin lesions, only around 10% of bites require medical attention and are not fatal. One of the most misdiagnosed bites, they typically look like small pimples or mosquito bites. The fangs are too small and short to bite through clothing. Biting is usually a response to being crushed or provoked.

Behavior: These fellas are not aggressive and run for cover when disturbed. They are nocturnal and shy away from daylight.          

Friend or Foe: Friend unless provoked, and they eat harmful insects.

Cellar Spider:

Location: Everywhere except Antarctica. They like dark, damp areas, as well as basements/sheds.

Identification: There are over 1,500 species of cellar spider, and are usually up to ¾ inch length, and skinny & fragile with long legs. Pale, yellow, light brown, or gray.

Bite: These guys are not aggressive; they have short fangs and don’t bite humans.

Behavior: This species is at least 400 million years old. They groom themselves and vibrate rapidly in response to predators!

Friend or Foe: Friend to us, but they eat other insects, including spiders!

Grass Spider:

Location: United States & Russia. You will find them in grassy areas.

Identification: Brown or gray with two parallel dark lines running lengthwise, with prominent spinnerets.

Bite: Lucky for us, grass spiders are not aggressive; they don’t bite humans.

Behavior: They build non-sticky funnel webs, and are often mistaken for wolf spiders.

Friend or Foe: Friend, of course! They provide excellent pest control.

Hobo:

Location: Pacific Northwest States. You will spot hobos scuttling in dark areas, flower beds, rock/woodpiles, and basements.

Identification: Brown with a zigzag pattern on the back, smooth even-colored legs, and the hobo males have two large palps between their front legs.

Bite: These friends are not aggressive, but will bite if threatened or pressed against the skin. Only about half of their bites are venomous, and none are strong enough to be life-threatening. Get bitten by these, and you might see redness, pain, headache, nausea, weakness, and fatigue. Seek medical attention with these ones.

Behavior: Hobos have poor vision and can only see a few feet away so they may run when spooked, sometimes towards people. They are funnel-web weavers and don’t have sticky webs. They are nocturnal and are poor climbers.

Friend or Foe: Friend unless provoked, and they eat insects.

Jumping Spider:

Location: These guys live everywhere except Antarctica & the Arctic and you will find them in a variety of habitats.

Identification: Black, brown, tan, gray, or white with pale markings. Fuzzy, they can be ⅛”-¾” long. 

Bite: Not aggressive or capable of biting humans.

Behavior: Jumping spiders are active during the day, these fellas like sunshine, plus they have fantastic eyesight except at night. As you can infer, they are great at jumping! These are the most prominent family of spiders in the word and account for 13% of all spiders.

Friend or Foe: Friend, naturally. They eat flies, gnats, and other spiders.

Orb Weavers:

Location: The United States & Canada. They like gardens and vegetation.

Identification: With over 4,000 species, orb weavers are typically brightly colored with patterns and ¼”-1”, long, spiny legs. They can usually be identified by their intricate, wheel-shaped webs. Catface spiders are in this family.

Bite: These are not aggressive and will only bite in self-defense. Their bite is not venomous and produces localized pain no more significant than a wasp's sting.

Behavior: Because of their poor eyesight, they rely on vibrations to tell them what is around them.

Friend or Foe: Friend, they provide natural pest control.

Wolf Spider:

Location: Everywhere except Antarctica. They prefer grassy areas, woold/rock piles, and basements.

Identification: These guys are up to 1”, brown with black markings, and hairy.

Bite: These ones are not aggressive unless provoked, but their bite is painful like a bee sting and can cause red bumps, swelling, and itchiness. Allergic reactions can include nausea and dizziness. Seek medical attention if you run afoul of these ones.

Behavior: They are fast-moving hunters who don’t spin webs, with excellent eyesight. They are nocturnal and carry their babies on their backs.

Friend or Foe: Friend unless provoked, and they eat harmful insects.

While you might find these little guys creepy or scary, most spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them! They eat other insects, they are a crucial part of the ecosystem, and they saved Wilbur! 


 


Oct 3, 2019

2019 February Window to Wanderlust

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Oct 1, 2019

Becoming an Effective Political Advocate

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

Politics are like the weather—people like to complain a lot, but they hardly ever do anything about it! Luckily, politics is slightly easier to change, though it definitely takes longer to see those changes (Here in Utah, we say that if you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes!). Sometimes the pace of political change can seem glacial, but when enough people get behind an important idea, change can come with remarkable speed. Here are a few principles to help jumpstart your political activism:

  1. Your government representatives work for YOU. So when you speak, they want to listen! Your support and vote are important to them. Don’t be shy about approaching them with issues that are important to you.

  2. You are not alone in trying to get your representative’s ear. Each Congressperson currently represents about 711,000 people and each US Senator represents from 563,626 to 37,253,956 people. They can’t personally meet with everyone, but luckily, not everyone is trying to meet with them. Just by making an effort you improve your chances!

  3. Your representatives have staff. Use them! Representative track lots of issues and delegate them to employees for day-to-day monitoring. In many cases, the subordinates may know the problems you are dealing with better than their boss, and they have the boss’ ear, even after you go back to work. Staff members can be your best friend or your worst enemy, so treat them right.

  4. Your representatives are BUSY, so be respectful of their time. Get straight to the point and tell them what you would like them to help with, and how.

  5. Understand the process and be informed. It won’t help your credibility if what you are asking for is impossible, or was soundly defeated three weeks ago. If you understand the lawmaking process, you can better contribute to the discussion.

  6. Every bill is assigned to a committee for initial screening. Work with members on the appropriate committees to make sure your bill gets early traction.

  7. Get bi-partisan support. If your bill or issue appeals only to one party, then its chances of success are minimal. Influential members of both parties will help your issue get serious consideration.

  8. Representatives have differing priorities and objectives. Not every representative may be aware of your issue, and they may be fighting other battles so they may not want to lead out on your topic. Still, if you can find an ally elsewhere to carry the ball, you can at least get your representative to vote in favor of your pet project when it comes up.

  9. Some representatives may just see things differently from you. That’s okay. You don’t have to win all of the votes to your side— only the majority. Treat other views with respect, even if they disagree, because you may yet need their vote on another issue. This is a good rule for life in general, even though it runs counter to the current polarized style of national discourse.

  10. You are not the only person interested in your issue. Organize with others to multiply your voice and make it heard! The more you educate people, the better your chances of success!

  11. Representatives can do more than just make laws. Sometimes a Congressional press conference, letter, subpoena, or hearing can be all that is needed to change the course of public policy. Be creative!

  12. Be persistent. Few legislative successes come easily or quickly. Keep after it until you succeed.

Although these principles are written with an eye toward Washington DC, they also apply to state and local issues right up to the United Nations. Remember the old adage—all politics is local. Representatives listen most to the people they represent, so local connections are always the key to getting things done. Getting your neighbors involved with you on a cause you believe in can be both fun and rewarding and can help make your world a better place.

Finally, don’t limit yourself to thinking locally. Involve friends you meet from other places too! They can work on their representatives, whether they live across town or around the world. 

Armed with these simple ideas, you can do a lot! Whether you want to help bring about world peace or save Franklin’s bumblebee (or both!), you stand a much better chance if you work smart! I hope this helps, and I hope to see you on the Hill - you will find me there advocating in just these ways for the supplement industry!


Oct 1, 2019

2019 April Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Oct 1, 2019

Keeping a Clean Home for Health

by Melissa, Office Manager

Keeping a clean house benefits your body and soul. A clean house is healthier; it reduces allergens and bacteria. It lowers the risk of injury, wards off pests, and reduces mold. Studies show that the "visual noise" of a cluttered home can increase stress levels, impact sleep, and affect long-term health. Cleaning lowers stress levels, so there is no downside!

Having a cleaning schedule helps me to make sure everything gets done. Here what I do, try creating one for yourself:

Daily Cleaning - Making the bed, dishes, wiping counters, etc. These things take two minutes or less - not a big deal, but will save you time in the future. 

Weekly Cleaning: Bathrooms, dusting, and vacuuming. If you don’t have the time to do them all in one day during the week, do one task a day on rotation.

Monthly/Seasonal: Cleaning the fridge, dusting your blinds, and decluttering are jobs that need to be done frequently, but not every week.

Yearly Tasks: I like to tackle one big cleaning project a month. Washing the windows, cleaning out all of your cupboards, cleaning your gutters, etc. 

Create a schedule and follow it yourself to see if you notice the mental benefits!


Sep 30, 2019

Joining the Herbalist Guild

by Brit, Herbal Gaia

Joining the American Herbalist Guild (AGH) by Brittini, MH, Herbal Gaia I have been an herbalist now for over 15 years, during which time I have had some incredible experiences that have led me to believe that I am certainly in the industry that I belong. I chose a career path I would never grow tired of, one that provides endless opportunities for learning and growth. Being an herbalist offers me the luxury of combining my career with some of my favorite hobbies: herbs, natural medicine, nature, interesting people, meditation, spirituality, and so many more. As an herbalist, new opportunities present themselves all of the time and I try to take advantage of as many as I can! In 2018, RidgeCrest Herbals encouraged me to join the American Herbalist Guild, founded by some of the most influential herbalists in the US today. The American Herbalist Guild is an association of Herbal Practitioners that provides many services and educational resources to both herbalists and non-herbalists. Some of these resources include: JAHG (Journal of the American Herbalist Guild) available free to members and an annual fee of $15 for non-members. This Journal “promotes, reports and educates on all aspects of therapeutic herbalism, especially those that emphasize the clinical, historical, and professional application of botanical medicine. The Journal is relevant to practitioners, students, and teachers of herbalism, and those who manufacture, market and dispense botanical medicines.” Directory of Herbal Education that provides a list of herbal schools across the US and includes a search option to find schools near you and a guide to getting an education in herbal medicine. Directory of Herbalists across the US and a search option to find an herbalist near you. Free live webinars that are open to the public. A mentorship program that creates opportunities for working one on one with another established and experienced herbalist. Job listings in the herbal industry. An herbal events calendar that includes all types of wellness events, including herbal events, wellness certifications, aromatherapy, movement clinics, retreats, TCM courses, overseas Ayurvedic studies, and more. Herbal medicine and legal/regulatory FAQs. And more! Naturally, being a member of the AHG feels like a perfect fit for me. My membership fees have been paid, and my name and contact information can now be found under the “Find an Herbalist” tab on the AGH website! I am looking forward to attending the AGH Symposium (yet another exciting benefit) for 5 days in October. The Symposium will take place at the Unicoi State Park and Lodge in Helen, Northeast Georgia (A virtual option for attending is also available!) The theme for this year is “Bio-regional Herbalism.” Some of the classes include topics such as “Celtic Herbal Medicine,” “Journeying into Traditional Ayurveda,” and “Medical Mushrooms of the Southern Appalachia.” These are only a few, so the topics and classes will be challenging for me to narrow down! In addition to the many courses offered, there are other events such as mixers, firesides, dance receptions, movie nights, community lunches, and an herb crawl (I have no idea what that is, yet) which further allow individuals to bond within the herbalist community. This will be my first AGH Symposium. A follow-up article will be in order for next year’s Almanac, but for now, all I can say is I am over the moon to be a new member of the AGH and to be attending this extraordinary event! To access the resources listed above or for more information about the American Herbalist Guild and/or donations or sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.americanherbalistsguild.com.


Sep 26, 2019

2019 September Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Sep 26, 2019

Anyone Can Grow Succulents!

by Corina, Customer Service

I was born the quintessential city kid, so when I say growing anything is a struggle, believe me. Succulents are a new passion of mine. They work in the office or at home.

I recently started 3 different terrariums with both succulents and plants. The plant ones have died! I'm a plant killer! Yet I still can't seem to kill the succulents, so if you are wondering if you can grow and keep alive a succulent, take it from this black thumb, you can! Propagating succulents is very easy as well. You are going to need a lot of patience because it takes months to see new growth, but it is worth the time and effort to see new babies grow.

All you need to make new baby succulents is time and space. Pick off a well-watered thick leaf from the mother and place it somewhere safe. In a few weeks, you should notice a small little plant growing from the leaf. Don't jump the gun though, wait for a bit longer and roots will start to grow. The leaf that you picked off will start to wither at this point. Leave the leaf until it looks like it is a dried crisp. The leaf is where your new plant is getting all of its water and nutrients. Once you have some roots and a baby plant it is time to remove your leaf. Gently pull the leaf off while supporting the roots and the baby plant. It should come off without much fuss. Your new succulent is ready for a home in the soil. A good rule of thumb is however big of a pot you give it is how big it will grow.

I hope you try and enjoy growing and maintaining succulents as much as I have in the last few months!  


Sep 20, 2019

Coffee Smoothie

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

I wouldn’t say I am a coffee addict - lazy weekend mornings I often can’t find the motivation to make my cup o’ joe - but it is definitely one of life’s pleasures. So imagine the stars in my eyes when I realized there was such a thing as Coffee Smoothies! Especially since I am on a strict no sugar, no dairy diet, I was thrilled to find these recipes that create a sense of decadence without the unhealthy ingredients that usually go along with your favorite indulgence. They even have healthy fats to boost your metabolism! Here are just a few I have tried: 

Coconut Cashew Coffee Smoothie: ¾ cup brewed coffee ¼ cup coconut milk ¼ cup cashews 2 tbsp shredded coconut 1 small frozen banana Sea salt 1 tbsp chia or hemp seeds 

Espresso Peanut Butter: 1/4 cup peanut butter ½ cup coffee ¼ cup almond or coconut milk 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

Caramel Mocha: ½ cup coffee ½ cup almond or coconut milk 1 tbsp cocoa powder 1 banana 3 dates (pitted and warmed in hot water for 15 minutes) 1 cup ice


Aug 30, 2019

September 2019 Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Aug 29, 2019

Beeswax Wraps

by RidgeCrest Herbals

DIY Beeswax Natural Food Wraps

Beeswax wraps are great alternatives to using plastic and for cutting down on waste. They are eco-friendly, reusable, affordable, and customizable. You can use them to cover bowls like you would plastic wrap and you can sew them into snack bags. 

Wash them with cold water (hot water may melt the wax) and mild soap for easy cleaning. They are not recommended for meat or items that have a lot of moisture like jello.

Materials:

¼ cup beeswax pellets

2 tbsp pine resin (this is optional but helps the cloth to cling better)

1 tbsp jojoba oil

4-12’’ square of 100% cotton fabric or tight woven muslin (the tighter the weave, the smoother the end product will be and this will help keep the wax from flaking later on.)

Equipment:

Parchment Paper

Baking sheet

1” wide paintbrush (can only be used for this)

Clothes drying rack

Scissors

Directions:

Cut fabric to desired shape and size. Melt the pine resin using a double boiler over medium heat. It may take a while for this to melt completely. Once melted, add the beeswax. Stir using a wooden stick until the resin and beeswax are melted completely. Slowly drizzle in the jojoba oil. Turn the heat to low to keep it melted.

Preheat oven to 225 and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one square of fabric/muslin on the parchment paper and paintbrush on the mixture, which will cool quickly. Place the baking sheet in the oven until the mixture is fully melted again. Only a few minutes. Take it out of the oven and spread the beeswax around again with the paintbrush to coat evenly.

Take another piece of fabric and lay it on top of the first square to blot up the extra melted wax, flip fabric over to make sure the blotting piece is now on the bottom. Return to the oven to melt again. Remove from the oven and hang the first piece to dry on a drying rack. Then repeat for remaining pieces.


Aug 29, 2019

Fulfilling This Dream Helped Build My Body Confidence

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

I grew up in a very rural small town, I am talking small as in the town just got its first stoplight fifteen or so years ago and still only has one. I had big dreams to move to the big city and when I lived there I was going to do so many things. One of those things being, take a belly dance class. I have lived in the “big city” now for ten years and I just barely started a belly dance class. I saw an ad that said we welcome all body types and skill levels and that was the invitation I needed. I enrolled and started taking classes. 

I didn’t realize how hard it would be, not physically, but emotionally. See dance classrooms have mirrors all around, you can’t escape them and I can’t look at myself in the mirror, hardly ever, because I don’t want to look at my body. The first class was so hard. I was full of anxiety, the full-on sweat anxiety and I could hardly pay attention because I was trying to avoid looking at myself.
Well, it's near impossible not to look at yourself in the mirror and learn to dance. You have to look at your form and must present a dancers pose, with your head up, you know like you have confidence? I didn’t have it. I cried on the way home. I was terrified of going back.

The second, third, fourth class I took Anxiety Free (shameless plug because it’s my favorite product and not because I work for RidgeCrest) to even make it to class. But then something happened, the better I got at the dance the moves the easier it was to look at myself in the mirror and not just to see my form but to see me and my body moving. Though I still don’t love what I see, every time, I am learning to. 

I don’t need Anxiety Free to go to class anymore and I am getting more confident at moving, at looking at myself in the mirror, at performing in front of others, though my stomach does flips when the instructor puts me on the spot. I have so much to learn still, but the confidence and empowerment I am learning from this class was quite unexpected and the experience has been very eye-opening. It has shown me not only dance, but it's helping me get over the fear of my body, of mirrors. It's pushing me to stop comparing my body to others, it’s helping me love myself even more.


Aug 29, 2019

Wild Mushroom Identification

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

First thing’s first before you start out on your journey to find wild edible mushrooms: purchase a mushroom identification guidebook. Mushrooms can look very similar and mistaking a mushroom for its poisonous counterpart could prove deadly. Please remember to never eat any mushroom if you’re not entirely sure what it is. All that said, these next five mushrooms should prove relatively easy to identify, primarily because most of them don’t have regular gills. 

Oyster Mushrooms: This is one of the ones that have gills - decurrent white gills to be precise. Decurrent means the gills are attached to and run directly down the stem. These almost always grow on dead wood such as trees, stumps, and logs. If they are not growing on wood - do not trust them. The cap is an oyster or fan shape that grows in a shelf-like formation with overlapping clusters. It is smooth with no warts or scales and has a delicate, anise-like aroma to it. Sometimes it has a stem. It comes in multiple colors but is mostly white to light brown with firm white flesh. They generally like cooler weather, and are very tasty! You’ll find them typically in the spring or fall growing on hardwoods and the occasional conifer. 

Morel Mushrooms: The two most important features to examine when trying to identify a morel mushroom are the cap shape and whether the interior is hollow. Morels have a pitted and deeply ridged, honeycomb-like cap. Most morels will be attached to the stem, they aren’t free as with other mushrooms. They like to hang around trees, particularly ash, elm, and apple trees. They are spring mushrooms and do need to be cooked before eating. Beware of the look-alike false morel: it is not hollow on the inside. 

King Bolete Mushrooms: Also known as Porcini mushrooms, there are several tasty varieties. They typically show up in the summer or fall around oak trees. They do not like acidic soil. Boletes do not have gills under their cap but have a yellow or brownish spongy surface of pores. The cap looks like a slightly greasy bun, with the color ranging from yellow-brown to reddish-brown. The stem is usually quite thick, club-shaped, solid, and white. When cut, the flesh should remain white. There are only a few toxic varieties of this mushroom, which turn blue when cut or bruised. These poisonous varieties also have a spongy surface of pores that are red in color. Careful: worms and maggots like to take up residence in these mushrooms. Make sure to give them a good inspection before throwing them into the skillet. 

Lobster Mushrooms: These aren’t actually a mushroom, though they are often mistaken for one! They are a fungus that grows on certain species of mushrooms, engulfing its host, called Sac fungi. Lobster Mushrooms have a hard red-to-orange exterior and a white interior, like (surprise) a lobster. They are typically found in old growth forests from late summer to fall. The best part? There are no poisonous look-alikes of this variety!

Chanterelle Mushrooms: Being able to recognize false gills is the most critical skill for chanterelle identification. False gills appear as forked folds or interlaced wrinkles on the underside of the mushroom, are not easily removed, and look as though they may have “melted.” True gills can be picked off and separated. The cap is either convex or vase-shaped with a yellow to orange color. The stems are solid, about the same color as the cap, and the flesh is white. Chanterelles have a fruity aroma similar to apricots. These are typically found from mid-summer to early fall on the ground in a variety of hardwood forests after the first rainfall. The toxic look-alikes of this variety are easy to distinguish because they have true gills rather than blunt ridges.

Resources & References: www.mushroom-appreciation.com, www.mushroom.world, urbanmushrooms.com   


 


Aug 29, 2019

Cutting the End Off the Ham - Rethinking the Obvious in Your Life

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

Growing up I always heard the story of a conversation between a newly married couple. The new husband asked his wife, “Why do you cut the ends off of a ham when you cook it?” She said she didn’t know, it was just how her mother had always done it. So at the next family gathering, the new son-in-law asked his wife’s mother, “Why do you cut the ends off of the ham when you cook it?” The mother-in-law said she didn’t know, it was just how her mother had always done it. So the man finally asked the grandmother, “Why do you cut the ends off of the ham when you cook it?” and the grandmother gave the long-sought logical answer: “Because that is the only way it would fit into my pan.”

Sometimes our lives take shape in unexpected ways, and we end up just going along for the ride. Recently divorced, I was going through the motions of owning a business and managing a full-time job, the stress and the hard work and it suddenly struck me - “Why am I doing this? Because I want to? Or because I feel like I have no choice? What if my life were different? What if I took control back and shaped a new life for myself?” For the first time in years, I started thinking outside of the box of the life I had been swept into and began reimagining. What IF I didn’t have this burden? What would my life look like? How would it be different? Would it be better? I realized that there was nothing stopping me from reshaping my life into something that worked better for myself and my son. 

When this idea first struck me, it was so revolutionary that I literally had to sit down. I had been so caught up in how things were, so used to doing what needed to be done without room to think about what I wanted, that I had forgotten that I had choices. That I had an actual say in my own life. I’m taking things slowly, but I feel like finally I am headed in a healthier, less stressful direction that will allow me to live a life on my own terms that will, thanks to RidgeCrest’s amazing support, be absolutely ideal for raising a child alone. 

Is there anything in your life like that? Anything that, like a Magic Eye, if you looked hard at would suddenly shift and morph into something else? Why are you cutting the ends off the ham? 


Aug 27, 2019

August 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Aug 27, 2019

August 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Aug 27, 2019

Drying Herbs to Make Tea

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Drying herbs to make tea is one of the simplest, most relaxing ways to begin a homesteading life. Teas are nutritious, healing, and comforting, and bring a sense of peace and grounding to your day. Start with leaves and stems of delicious, locally grown plants free from pesticides, like mint, lavender, chamomile, comfrey, or lemon balm. I prefer the bundling and hanging method of drying herbs, it is fast and the bundles look and smell beautiful. Harvest the stems (with leaves and flowers) early to mid-afternoon when they are dry. Lay them on paper towels to air so that when you bundle them there will not be any moisture inside the bundle - a couple of hours is sufficient.  Gather the dried sprigs evenly with stems at one end and tie them into a bundle 2-3 inches from the bottom of the stems. Hang the bundles upside down to dry in a well-ventilated area. They should hang in a clean, dry area of your home without direct sunlight or complete darkness, away from chemicals. Dry until the stems break easily and the leaves and flowers crumble. Put them in a blender and pulse a few times to grind down into tea-sized bits. Store in a cool, dry area for up to six months.


Aug 25, 2019

August 2019 Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington 


Aug 25, 2019

Remineralizing Toothpaste

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

I have horrible teeth - at least, I did. That all changed when I started going

natural and began learning about remineralizing toothpaste. I got this recipe

from thepaleomama.com, and after using it for three months I went to the dentist

for the first time in several years (college days!) and walked out with a perfectly

healthy mouth- a completely unprecedented event.

1/3  Cup bentonite clay

1/4  Cup boiling water

  1 Tbsp of coconut oil

1/4  tsp of Redmond Salt (this company also has a great toothpaste line now)

1/2  tsp of REAL stevia - just the ground leaf, unprocessed

*15   drops of DoTerra OnGuard essential oil (or Immune by Purify Skin Therapy)

*10   drops of DoTerra Peppermint essential oil (or Peppermint by Purify Skin Therapy)

*Sub Tooth & Gum Blend by Purify Skin Therapy for OnGuard and Peppermint 

Put the bentonite clay in a bowl and set aside. Boil the water and add the coconut oil to the water until melted. Use a hand mixer to blend the water/coconut into the bentonite clay. Add the salt, stevia, and essential oils and blend until mixed. Keep in a covered jar.


Aug 25, 2019

The History of Fermentation

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power


Aug 25, 2019

Summer Garden Guide 2019

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

Your garden is growing, your flowers are blooming, and life is good, so what is left to do?  A lot of your yard may be on autopilot during the summer months, but it still needs your help to thrive.

Monitor your watering – Watch for stunted growth on any plants from underwatering, or fungus on leaves from overwatering.  Keep an eye on sprinkler units that may in hot weather, causing pooling instead of sending the water to your plants.

Stay on top of weeding to keep unwanted plants from growing large enough to distribute more seeds.  When pulling weeds, be sure to pinch at the base of the plant to pull up as many roots as possible to keep them from growing back.  Better yet, purchase a hand tool for weeding that you can stick down into the ground and leverage the roots up and out of the earth.  If you have stubborn weeds use this pet-safe weed killer recipe in a spray bottle: ½ cup vinegar, 1 cup Epsom salt, and 1/8 cup dish soap.

Got aphids?  There are multiple ways to get rid of them without using harmful pesticides.  Many people suggest bringing in ladybugs, but they will leave your garden if they're not a native species to your area. If you have a somewhat large species of aphids on your plants, try donning a pair of garden gloves and pinching them off the plants by hand. There are all natural, premixed insecticide soaps available, or you can dilute a few tablespoons of dish soap in a small bucket of lukewarm water and use a sponge or spray bottle to apply the mixture to plants where aphids have taken hold.




 


Aug 17, 2019

ClearLungs Liquid Wins its First Award!

by RidgeCrest Herbals

The awards keep coming in for RidgeCrest Herbals! This time it is their ClearLungs Liquid that has won the 2019 Taste For Life Back-to-School Essentials Award for Immune Support. 

The ClearLungs formula is Ridgecrest Herbals’ premier product and holds a special place in their heart as the one that started it all back in the ’90s. For years it has been the #1 natural product in the country for lung health. The basis of this formula dates back 2,000 years! In TCM, the lungs are considered the “Upper Source of Water” and Qi flows downward from the lungs. If the lungs fall out of balance, symptoms of stuffy chest, cough, or signs of water stagnation (phlegm, urinary problems, edema, etc.) occur. To support the lungs, bitter herbs are used to encourage a downward flow, and warming herbs increase circulation to the lungs to increase heat. This formula can be taken with their AirwayClear for additional support. Their liquid option provides the same benefits as the Original formula with a pleasant, natural orange flavor for those who don’t like or struggle with taking pills.

Dong Quai Root: Studies show it may help the body to dilate bronchioles to support open airways and encourage circulation to the lungs and respiratory system.

Gardenia Fruit: Commonly used to relieve nasal pressure, to calm the body, and relax muscles.

Chinese Skullcap Root: Contains compounds that support the body’s natural state free from excess inflammation and helps support natural immune function.

Poria Fungal Body: Contains multiple vitamins and other nutrients essential to healthy cardiac function and blood circulation and helps balance electrolytes and revitalizes the spleen for immune support. 

Zhejiang Fritillary bulb: Traditionally used to help reduce mucus, decrease system stagnation, improve the lymphatic system and support overall cardiovascular function.

This is the first award for ClearLungs Liquid, but it the fifth industry award for the ClearLungs family of products, and the 16th award for RidgeCrest Herbals.  


 


 


Jul 16, 2019

Low-Carb Mini Fruit Tarts

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

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Jul 16, 2019

Make Ice Cream From Juicing

by Chris, Director of Sales

Want delicious, vegan, guilt-free sorbet without having to go out or fuss with an ice cream maker? Try your single-gear, masticating juicer or blender! With your juicer’s blank plate or homogenizing function, you can combine fruit like bananas, strawberries, and mango and immediately enjoy a no-sugar-added, soft serve ice cream that is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients!

Fit your masticating juicer with its blank plate or select the homogenizing function. Place your ice cream bowl under the juicer spout and turn on the machine. Adding a couple of pieces at a time, slowly feed through frozen fruit. Watch with amazement as the vibrant soft serve comes out! When finished, enjoy your treat as is, or get decadent with your favorite toppings like chopped nuts, granola, or honey!

Don’t have the right juicer or part? If you have a Vitamix or comparable high-powered blender, you can achieve the same effect by using the tamper while blending on high for 10-30 seconds.

Word to the wise: small batches turn out better when using the Vitamix, so don’t load it up to the top!

 

Here are some particularly tasty combinations:

 

  1. Banana and berries
  2. strawberries and mango
  3. peaches, raspberries, and coconut
  4. banana, strawberry, and chocolate sauce
  5. Just plain Mango!
  6. Coconut and strawberry
  7. Blueberries, cherries, and coconut

     


Jul 16, 2019

The Artist Behind the Images - an Interview with Carel

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

Over the years as the Almanac has grown in popularity, people have asked us who is responsible for our unique cover art, so this year we sat down with the artist, Carel P. Brest van Kempen, to get an insight into his life and artwork. Enjoy our Q&A!

Q.     Carel, you have been an award-winning painter of wildlife for a long time. What first sparked your interest in art and nature?

"Both things have been with me from the very start. Right after I turned four, my family moved to Emigration Canyon, which was the drainage that Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers followed into the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847. It was a wonderful place for a boy to grow up, and living there was a really important factor in shaping me. I took full advantage and spent as much time as I could exploring the backcountry. I used to carry a sketch pad around as a boy, and imagined myself as a 20th-Century Audubon, with grand plans to put together a big illustrated book depicting the animals and plants of the Wasatch Mountains. Since boyhood, I've always studied the natural world obsessively and enjoyed drawing and painting."

Q.     What aspects of your art do you find the most difficult or the most interesting?

"I think the hardest thing about painting is that the artist knows exactly what it is he's trying to communicate, and I find it's impossible to look at my own work from the point of view that the rest of the world sees it from. That makes it impossible to know whether a painting works or not. The most enjoyable part of painting a piece by far is working out the composition, which I do before I do any actual painting. This is where the creativity is."

Q.     You lead a unique lifestyle, somewhat removed from what other people might consider essential conveniences. Why?

"I don't feel the need for a car or a cell phone. As somebody who loves the natural world, I try to limit my consumption as much as I can. I love to ride a bicycle and find that a bike can meet 98% of my transportation needs. I find that a landline and a home desktop do all the cell phone tasks that I need. I only use a cell phone for travel."

Q.     What are the traits that you find most predictive of success for an artist?

"Developing the skills of drawing and painting are like any other field. You have to put in the work. Talent doesn't have all that much to do with it. Going beyond that point and creating important work, that's where talent makes a difference. You can't really teach a person to have a good aesthetic judgment or to have something interesting to say with their paintings."

Q.     What most drove the development of your talent?

"My theory is that I'm always learning lots of little things, then eventually I'm able to tie those bits together. It was during one of those jumps in my late 20s that I decided to try to be a professional artist. That was a very exciting time. I was completely focused on that goal, and throughout my 30s, pretty much all I did was paint. I put my belongings in storage and lived rent-free for three and a half years to make it easier to concentrate just on art. Another big growth moment for me was when I met Carl Brenders, an amazing Belgian artist. I met him when he was the featured artist at an expo in 1993. There's a marked difference in my paintings before and after that. He's continued to be a very good and generous friend as well as an inspiration."

Q.     What have some of the highlights of your career been?

"Studying nature in the field is crucial, and my favorite experiences have been in nature. Watching the courtship of Wreathed Hornbills in Indonesia, birds of paradise in New Guinea, tracking Drills (a large and very rare baboon) in Cameroon, mountain gorillas in Uganda...I have so many wonderful memories of the field. I've also been lucky to have had my work in a lot of really exciting places. One of the most memorable was at the National Museum in Taipei in 2000. I got to be featured in another similar show in Qingdao, China, in 2017. I just participated in a very exciting project that was unveiled in August 2018, “Silent Skies.” Artists For Conservation, a Canada-based organization, commissioned a 100-foot-long mural made up of 678 different 8-inch-square paintings depicting the Earth's endangered bird species."

Q.     Where can people find your work?

"Over the next year, my solo show will visit the Shafer Gallery in Great Bend, KS, the Chicago Academy of Sciences Notebaert Museum, and the Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences. You can see exhibit specifics and lots of examples of my work at cpbrestvankempen.com."


Jun 6, 2019

Tips for Rocking it as a Single Mom

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

Recently on my social media, a soon-to-be first-time mom who was a lawyer asked a Mom group I belong to how to juggle working full time with an infant at home. I ended up giving her lots of advice, so apparently, I had a lot to say about that topic. Here is how I, personally, manage juggling a heavy workload at the office (in my case I have RidgeCrest, I own a boutique, and I do freelance work on the side), and managing life with a child at home.

1. Create routines and habits so that things feel automatic and require less thought.

2. If you can afford to outsource, absolutely do it. Pay someone to do the yard work or to deep clean the bathrooms, or fix that light switch that doesn’t work. For some women raised traditionally this feels like a cop-out, but I’d rather take the generational guilt with a side of clean house than go to bed underneath a mountain of dirty laundry.

3. Caffeine is your friend and there is much less evidence than people think about it being bad for babies; I would not have made it through the first three months of my baby home without a giant coffee to sip on through the day.

4. Prioritize healthy eating, it gives you more energy for dealing with everything else.

5. Embrace minimalism and get rid of all the clutter you can so that things don't build up in your house, and buy with intention - for me that means that my daily objects are mini-stress relievers because things like my two coffee mugs or my Ello water bottle make me happy every time I see them throughout my day.

5. I read a bunch of stuff online about how to keep things tidy and clean and the One Touch Rule has transformed my life, literally.

6. Make lists. I have lists in my kitchen for every type of event that takes me out of the house and what I need for each one so I don't forget an extra change of shoes or sunscreen. I LOVE that I can tell Alexa to add something to my shopping list or words my son knows without having to stop what I am doing.

7. Let go of guilt. I will never measure up to the genetically thin stay-at-home moms with their expensive joggers and handsome, wealthy husbands, and sure, my mom may have told me as I was getting divorced that she “couldn’t imagine working and missing those moments with her child” like I am somehow magically supposed to have money without working, but it’s all good. My situation is mine, my story is mine, and it has given me strength and experience that is unique to me. I can use my challenges to help show empathy and uplift others who go through similar things - and I will know not to say “your problem is portion control.”

8. Buy a Roomba!

9. On the nights you can, give yourself ten minutes to meditate. And don't feel bad about missing a day.

10. Multitask by listening to music or a book on tape while you are doing other things so you feel like you are getting more personal time for yourself by including something you enjoy in your day.

FINAL NOTE: #1 for me was stop caring what other people think of you. At work, this means challenging the status quo and demanding flexibility. Fortunately, RidgeCrest is extremely supportive and flexible with their expectations, making it the perfect place to be as a single mom. But for some moms, there is still a battle to be fought on office grounds. So DON’T let anyone make you feel guilty if your competing priorities of home and work means you have to juggle. It is not your place or role to make it seem like your children don't exist for your employers. It is their place to make the changes in the office environment to support you in your needs. We need moms in the office normalizing motherhood, not hiding it. It may be a shift for your company, but it is their shift to make, and it should have happened a long time ago. They are lucky to have you and by bringing the struggles of parenthood into your office you can not only fight the status quo for other mothers, but for fathers who should have been allowed and expected to have to manage their home responsibilities the way women do while at work to begin with.

What are your tips? Believe me, I could use them!


Jun 6, 2019

The Doctrine of Signatures

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

Hey, look at this! Chop a carrot and look at its inside.  Looks a lot like a human eye, doesn’t it? Try it. Better yet, find an heirloom carrot, or maybe some of the mixed color carrots, and you will see an even more familiar “sight,” wink!

There are quite a few foods in nature that look suspiciously close to the human organ they benefit. This association was not lost on the ancients and has been explored through the ages by the great minds of their times. Hippocrates said the now-famous phrase “Let food be thy medicine.” Paracelsus claimed that “Nature marks each growth...according to its curative benefit.” Jakob Bӧhme (16th century) claimed that God marked plants with a “signature,” to help us identify its benefits. William Coles felt the same, and even Foucault argued the merit of the concept. Some plants were so well known to benefit the human body that their names developed directly from the benefits they give, such as toothwort or eyebright. These names are just an indication of how old this concept is.

While there are many plants and foods that follow these interesting patterns, there are also deadly or toxic plants that do as well - how fortunate that we live in an age where the collected wisdom of humanity can be searched at a glance so that we don’t have to make a deadly mistake when exploring the doctrine of signatures!

Here are just a few foods that have been scientifically proven to provide benefits to the organs they resemble:

Ginger: Ginger resembles the stomach and is one of the best ways you can naturally cure nausea and motion sickness. it also aids digestion and nutrient absorption.

Pomegranates: Pomegranates look like little blood cells, and a study out of Israel showed that pomegranates help blood flow and blood health in several ways.

Walnuts: Walnuts look like the brain, with their folds and wrinkles. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, the building block of the more than 100 billion cells in the brain. Omega-3’s aid the function of neurotransmitter receptors.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are red and have chambers just like the human heart. 

Mushrooms: A sliced mushroom looks like the human ear. They contain Vitamins C, D, and E, all which help guard against cellular damage in the ears and blood vessels.

Grapes: Grapes look like the alveoli of the lungs, and are full of antioxidants and resveratrol, which supports free movement in the cells of the nasal passages and lungs.

Carrots: The most well-known signature, carrots contain beta-carotene, a vitamin that protects eye health, especially in older people.

Celery: Celery looks like your bones, with that same good crunch! This alkalizing veggie is full of Vitamin K, which is necessary on a cellular level for bone health. It also has calcium, folate, manganese (for the synthesis of connective tissue in the bone), and magnesium.

Kidney beans: Kidney beans are self-explanatory, aren’t they? They are rich in magnesium and potassium, which help keep the kidneys free from buildup.

Sweet Potato: This yummy french fry option closely resembles the pancreas. That makes sense, as it is a low glycemic carb that helps support even blood sugar, making the pancreas's job easier.

Figs: This one is a bit of low-hanging fruit, but have you ever noticed that figs hang in twos and are full of seeds contained in a sac? Their appearance may be why they have long been a symbol of male fertility. Now science has revealed that figs actually can increase sperm motility and quantity. It’s nuts!

 If you are like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about what is the truth, our purpose, and what we have a responsibility to do for the coming generations and how we respect life, time, and the body we have been gifted. Enjoy digging through the rich history and building your own thoughts around the Doctrine of Signatures. I did!


Jun 6, 2019

The Power of Positive Self-Talk

by Meagan, Customer Service Mermaid

“Your thoughts are powerful! It is possible to create a happier, more confident self and bring what you desire into your life!”

If you’re like anyone else who has picked up a self-help book, you’ve read similar statements - so have I. For years I heard this, and as much as I wanted to follow through on this advice, I never took that time to invest in myself. But at the start of 2018, I became very ill for close to 4 months.

I had been diagnosed with Clostridium difficile colitis after taking an antibiotic. I was put on a stronger antibiotic once diagnosed, but even after being cleared from the C-diff I was still experiencing stomach problems. I was put on many different medications and put through many tests to find a diagnosis, and they all came back clean. I became depressed, anxious, and struggled with an obsessive-compulsive order, becoming obsessed with germs and re-infection. Not knowing what was wrong or when I would be better was torturous. I had no idea how long this illness could last, and my quality of life was awful.

After so many negative tests, my doctor talked about the possibility of it being psychosomatic. This only increased my anxiety. I couldn’t fathom how my mind could be causing this, or why I would do this to myself. Therapy was suggested about a month and a half into the illness. I went to a Hypnotherapist my mom recommended.

I was familiar with therapy as I had gone years before, but this therapy was different. At each session, I was taught new coping skills, things like how to breathe diaphragmatically and how to stimulate the Vagus nerve to calm down. This was very important since I found myself having anxiety attacks and breakdowns at least once a day. At the end of each session, I was given homework. The first session I was given 2 CD’s to listen to on alternating nights. I did this for two months.

My second appointment I was asked about my fears and desires, and we created personalized affirmations. I would say these affirmations four times out loud - in the morning, afternoon, and evening. I was also writing them. This was done repetitively.

I was fully invested, and once I began doing the work I could feel positive energy around me. I started researching the power of positive thoughts and self-thought, and how they impact the brain. I was learning new things about myself and began feeling less anxious and depressed. I started to feel slight improvements. One powerful affirmation for my situation was: “All of my cells know what to do to heal. Every single one of my cells is filled with wellness, health, and vitality. I am the picture of positive energy and wellbeing. I am healed, healthy, and whole.” I also added visualizations, imagining watching my cells fill with everything they needed.

By doing this, I was affirming that my body was strong and that I was improving, even if only a small amount each day. I was my own cheerleader. These Affirmations were helping me re-wire my brain to think positively. After some time, I was finally in a better place psychologically - though I was still physically sick. It took a bit more time to discover my illness was due to black mold in my apartment. With that knowledge, I moved and never looked back. It still took time to heal, but within a month I was no longer stuck in bed with nausea and shaking. Armed with a more positive attitude and making the physical changes I needed for my health, I was on my way to a more positive existence.

Today I still use my affirmations. I change them up a bit for what I need in my life at various times, discovering new ways to grow. I make it a point to say them at least once every day, holding on to the positive energy it fills me with. I wonder where I would be without that work; I am happier and more confident than I’ve ever been. I took control of my thoughts, emotions, and behavior and it has only made me better. You can too!


Jun 6, 2019

Natural Sunburn Relief

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

There are plenty of ways to shield your skin from damaging UV rays these days, but we can still find ourselves with a nasty sunburn.  Maybe your initial coat of SPF wore off while you were at the lake, you forgot to apply any before a round of yard work that went longer than expected, or you went for a hike and forgot to pack the sunblock.  Luckily, here are some effective measures you can take after you begin to feel the burn:

Internal relief - while sunburns are a painful surface problem, try relief from within by taking PhysiQOL from Ridgecrest Herbals.  With ingredients like Turmeric, Boswellia extract, Teasel root, and Indian Tinospora (all supportive of the body’s ability to maintain a healthy anti-inflammatory response), this is a great place to start, or as a supplement to other topical remedies.

Salt - Salt has amazing chemical properties when it comes to burns.  Whenever my mother would get a burn on something in the kitchen, I remember watching her immediately wet the area, apply a generous helping of table salt to the burn, then wrap it in a wet paper towel.  She'd wear it for a couple of hours, and the burn would be diminished. For mild to intermediate sunburns, try an Epsom salt bath. Start with a warm enough bath to dissolve at least 2 to 4 cups of Epsom salt, then let the water sit to cool, or add ice cubes to bring the temperature to a more comfortable range once the salt has dissolved.  Soak for at least 20 to 30 minutes to feel some great relief! If you don't have access to a bathtub, you can dissolve 2 to 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt into a spray bottle and spray the affected areas.

Keep an Aloe Vera plant in your home - If you sustain a burn from the oven or your coffee, race to your aloe plant, cut a bit off, and squeeze onto the affected area. Immediate relief, without the chemicals from store-bought aloe vera!

Apple Cider Vinegar - Some people swear that apple cider vinegar is the key to sunburn relief, simply by applying it to a rag or paper towel, and blotting the affected skin with it.  While this smell may be too strong for some people, it is a viable option for relief.

Essential Oil Sunburn Spray - If you find salt too drying for your skin type, give this spray a try:  Mix 15 drops of peppermint oil, 15 drops of lavender oil, 5 drops of frankincense oil in a 2 ounce spray bottle, and top off the remaining space with equal parts of witch hazel and a natural aloe vera.  Shake, and spray directly to the burn. The peppermint and lavender will help to cool and calm the skin, while the frankincense, witch hazel, and aloe vera will help to balance pH and help your skin repair itself.


Jun 6, 2019

June 2019 Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

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Jun 4, 2019

My Fasting Journey

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

Ever since I was in the third grade, I have struggled with my weight. I have been made fun of and called terrible names. It's been a long-standing scar in my life. So naturally, like so many of us, I am always searching for ways to be healthy. I have explored counting calories, keto, paleo, veganism, vegetarianism, juicing, and the HCG diet, with varied results from each.

I was browsing social media one day, and someone touted the Snake Diet for weight loss and health benefits. I had never heard of it, so I began to research. The Snake Diet is prolonged fasting with a homemade electrolyte drink. When I first heard about prolonged fasting it seemed so extreme I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But I kept researching and found that intermittent & prolonged fasting has many health benefits, and weight loss is just a perk!

Despite the concept of fasting being new to me, it has been practiced for centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions around the world. We would not have survived as a species had our bodies not been designed to fast. My generation has been told our whole lives we need to eat 3-6 meals every day, making the idea of fasting for longer than a few hours scary to consider, not to mention the sugar addiction that keeps us going back to foods that aren't good for us.

Scientific studies have found that intermittent and prolonged fasting can support and promote blood sugar control, heart health, good blood pressure, a healthy immune system, brain function, and metabolism.  Fasting has also shown to help with healthy skin, weight, longevity, natural detoxification within the body, and much more.

One of the best benefits of fasting is that it promotes autophagy. Autophagy is a metabolic process in the body that helps to recycle old, damaged and diseased cells. How amazing are our bodies?

I have PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome, infertility, amenorrhea, anovulation, eczema, dandruff, skin allergies, hirsutism, depression, and anxiety along with my weight problems. I have been on a journey of health for most of my adult life and am always trying to find ways to help myself after doctors have failed to help me. Perhaps fasting was the answer I had been looking for!

The Snake Diet protocol calls to start off with a 48 hr fast to break the fear of fasting. I pulled all my bravery and willpower together and committed to a 24hr fast first. Once I reached the 24hr mark, I felt amazing, so I pushed to the 48 hr fast. To my surprise I lost 2.5lbs in the first round, I had energy, my brain fog cleared, and I felt happy. I couldn’t believe it! I kept pushing with short fasts of 24hr & 48hrs for a few weeks before I made it to the 72hr mark, the longest I have gone so far. I have noticed that I am not as down or anxious, my co-workers have seen how bright my skin glows, and I have lost a total of 20 pounds in two months. My husband, who is doing this experiment with me, has lost 50!

I have found a new sense of empowerment. I have this great feeling of being in control of my body and my health. I have become acutely aware of what my body needs, what is my sugar addiction talking, the difference between want & need, that hunger is mostly dehydration or sugar/food addiction, and that I eat to find comfort when feeling emotional stress. Fasting has become yoga for my digestive system and eating habits. Less has become more,  and I have a greater appreciation for food. I notice how various foods affect my body, for example, grass-fed beef helps me feel more energized and I can fast longer afterward, whereas chicken makes me hungry sooner and I notice more brain fog.

I plan to continue on my healing journey of fasting and hope that one day my biggest dream of becoming a mother will come true.

I urge you to do some research on fasting, especially if you have health or weight issues. Who knows, fasting could be the answer you have been looking for!

             


Jun 4, 2019

Best Herbs for Pest Control

by RidgeCrest Herbals

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Jun 4, 2019

2019 June Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals

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May 22, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

by Brit, Herbal Gaia

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here at RidgeCrest Herbals, we are always happy to answer your questions. Some of the most common ones are answered here. If you don't find the answer to your question, please call us at 800-242-4649, or email it to us at info@ridgecrestherbals.com.

Herbs are the second safest form of medicine known to man. (The very safest is homeopathy.)

People sometimes think that herbs are safe because they are "natural", but that is NOT TRUE. Hemlock (Conium maculatum), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), and the Death Cap mushroom (Amanita phalloides) are all 100% natural but are also very deadly poisons.

Herbal medicines are safe not because they are natural, but because they have been used for thousands of years, with millions of people, and their beneficial properties and potential side effects are generally very well known. Thousands of years of experience are not to be lightly dismissed, especially when compared to a handful of supposedly "scientific" studies.

Keeping herbal medicine safe requires good formula design and specification, proper growing, harvesting, drying, and processing, and proper manufacturing and packaging. Failure at any of these steps can affect the safety of the finished product. So it is very important to know the sources of your herbs and know that the people who supply them are taking the same precautions that you would take in sourcing them for yourself.

At RidgeCrest Herbals, we take our own products every day, and we give them to our own families. We take every precaution to assure that they are both safe and effective and that they are always of the same consistently high quality that we would expect as customers.

Every medicine we take has at least one effect that we desire, which is why we take it. But that effect can vary greatly from one individual or condition to another, and a medicine that works well for one person, may not work so well for another.

Each medicine or ingredient may also have unwanted side effects, which can also vary from one person to another—so one person may get great benefits with few side effects, while another gets only side effects but no real benefit, even though they took the same product at the same dosage.

A good over-the-counter medicine is one that works pretty well for most people and hopefully has few serious side effects. This one-medicine-fits-all, or “silver bullet” approach, has been the basis of Western medicine for the last hundred years or more.

Complex formulas are different, and though they are common in Oriental medicine, they are less familiar here. Complex formulas use small doses of many ingredients, rather than large doses of one or two. Although people still react differently to each ingredient, complex formulas are more effective for more people—people who don’t respond much to one ingredient are likely to respond better to others. And because the dose of each ingredient is smaller, there is less chance of serious adverse reactions, side effects, and drug interactions.

Well-designed complex formulas, like a complex diet, simply work better than large doses of one or two ingredients. RidgeCrest Herbals products are complex—our simplest formulas have four or five ingredients, and some have over forty. Complex formulas are more expensive to create and manufacture than simple ones since we have to test dozens of ingredients, not just one or two. But the results are worth the extra effort.

No herbal tradition has all the answers. Because they developed in different parts of the world with different climates and plants available, each ancient culture developed unique solutions for various concerns. Some of these disciplines, like TCM and Eclectic medicine, overlap in many ways, and round each other out. Others, like homeopathy and herbs or nutrition, reinforce each other, making for real synergy—where a combination is more than the sum of its parts.

Our multi-disciplinary approach develops this potential synergy and pulls the most effective treatments from each culture to benefit our formulas.

Many health conditions are caused or made worse by nutritional deficiencies. Our modern western diet is not varied enough to provide good nutrition for most people.

In fact, the US Department of Agriculture reports that the nutritional value of many fruits and vegetables is less than half what it was in 1948, when they started keeping records, because of mass production techniques and soil depletion. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other nutritional supplements can contribute greatly to good health, especially when tailored to individual conditions and needs. Our products combine both herbs and vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to provide a well-rounded solution to the needs of our customers.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (or “TCM”) is probably the most comprehensive system of natural medicine in use today. TCM is one of the oldest medical systems, with literature dated as early as 2500 BC. TCM is also the most widely practiced natural medicine, used regularly by over two billion people worldwide. TCM is well documented, with many good reference books, even in English. TCM is also eclectic, borrowing useful ingredients and methods from many other cultures. In fact, TCM has studied and classified over 10,000 natural medicines from all over the world—much more than any other discipline.

TCM ingredients have been combined in many ways over a long period of time, so their characteristics when combined are very well known. In fact, most TCM medicines are complex formulas, not single herbs, and many such formulas have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. RidgeCrest products often begin with TCM herbal formulas, though we often modify them for modern over-the-counter use.

By using only the best quality ingredients, with extensive testing both before and after manufacturing, our TCM-based formulas are among the safest and most effective botanical formulas available anywhere.

Some people, when referring to TCM, are speaking specifically of a streamlined version of Classical Chinese Medicine that was developed during the time of Chairman Mao. While this is the most accurate use of the term, most people conflate Classical Chinese Medicine (pre-Mao) and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and we use the terms interchangeably as well.

America has always been a crossroads for many different influences. Native Americans had many herbal solutions. European settlers brought their own solutions with them as they came to the Americas.

By the early 1800s, American herbalists were also studying herbal solutions brought by natives of Central and South America, Asia, Africa, and even Australia. As they adopted herbal solutions from many different sources, these herbalists began calling themselves Eclectic—a term that means “choosing what is best from various sources or systems.” For over a hundred years the Eclectics were the recognized leaders of medical science until herbal medicines were mostly replaced by pharmaceutical drugs in the 1920s and 1930s.

RidgeCrest Herbals remains strongly influenced by the Eclectic approach. Our botanical formulas are drawn not only from all branches of herbalism, but also from modern nutritional science. We continue to search the world for the most effective natural methods and ingredients, and new ways to use them together.

While European licorice has been shown to raise low blood pressure in large doses, Chinese licorice has not been shown to have the same effects and is not used for that purpose in herbal medicine. Our ClearLungs® Classic formula contains 36.2 mg of Chinese licorice, while it takes over 400 mg of European licorice to effectively raise blood pressure. You should always consult with your physician before making changes to any blood pressure regimen.

 


May 22, 2019

Almanac 2019 Frequently Asked Questions

by Brit, Herbal Gaia

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May 22, 2019

Bee-Friendly Plants that are Bee-Loved

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

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May 22, 2019

May 2019 Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Fern Canyon, California


May 22, 2019

Shaes Spring Shortbread Cookies

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

1 C butter- room temperature

½ C Sugar

2 C Flour

1 tsp extract of choice- vanilla, almond, orange, etc.

Pinch of salt

Edible flowers (I got mine at Harmons in the fresh herb section, you could also collect your own)

Spices- cinnamon, chai, rosemary, honey

 Preheat oven to 350, line sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add salt and extract.

Slowly add in the flour and mix until it just comes together, it looked dry to me so I added about 1 tbsp extra butter.

Fold dough together until it forms a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for about 30 minutes.

Take dough out and either roll sheets out to be ¾ inch thick and use a cookie cutter to cut into rounds or get a heaping tablespoon full, roll in a ball and press into circles, about ¾ thick.

Gently press flowers or herbs into top of cookies. Sprinkle herbs on top.

Bake 16-18 minutes until golden, mine were a bit too thick so I had to cook a bit longer. 
Allow to cool slightly before transferring to cooling rack. Once cool dust with powdered sugar.

Store in airtight container up to 3 days. 

10 Attachments


May 15, 2019

Easy Peasy Veggie Stromboli

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

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May 15, 2019

Alternative Milk Types

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

The page content is not found

May 15, 2019

May 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


May 15, 2019

Building a Living Roof

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

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May 15, 2019

DreamOn Zen Wins Industry Award

by RidgeCrest Herbals

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Apr 22, 2019

Chocolate Crispy Rice Nests

by Meagan, Customer Service Mermaid

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Apr 18, 2019

Finding a Work Life Balance

by Melissa, Office Manager

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