Well, its Sunday and that means cleaning in the Stella Bella household and as usual the dreaded laundry is on the top of the list. As I sorted out my colors from my whites, I realized its been too long since I posted a blogcast to my treasured Stella Bella clients so today I want to share with you some information on a product most of us use on a regular basis without ever really thinking about it. Fabric Softener.
Although they may make your clothes feel soft and smell fresh, fabric softener and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic products around. And chances are that the staggering 99.8 percent of Americans who use common commercial detergents, fabric softeners, bleaches, and stain removers would think twice if they knew the chemicals they contained could cause cancer and brain damage and could be harmful to our children!
Here is a list of just some of the chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets:
So how could products with pretty names like Soft Ocean Mist, Summer Orchard and April Fresh be so dangerous?
The chemicals in fabric softeners are pungent and strong smelling -- so strong that they require the use of these heavy fragrances (think 50 times as much fragrance) just to cover up the smells. Furthermore, synthetic fabrics, which are the reason fabric softeners were created in the first place, do not smell good either when heated in a dryer or heated by our bodies ... hence the need for even more hefty fragrances.
In other words, remove all the added fragrance that endears people to fabric softeners and -- like the clich� wolf in sheep's clothing -- the real smells of the chemical-laced fabric softener and the synthetic fabrics they were designed around may prompt people to shoot their laundry machines and be done with it.
Are "Soft" Clothes Worth It?
Fabric softeners are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time. As such, chemicals are slowly released either into the air for you to inhale or onto your skin for you to absorb. Dryer sheets are particularly noxious because they are heated in the dryer and the chemicals are released through dryer vents and out into the environment.
Health effects from being exposed to the chemicals in fabric softeners include:
Soften Your Clothes Safely With These Tips:
Even if you don't feel the effects of these chemicals today, they can affect you gradually over time, and children, whose systems are still developing, are particularly at risk. There's really no reason to expose yourself to these risky chemicals when natural alternatives exist. Not only are they safer for you, your family and the environment, but they're much more economical. People with delicate skin or allergies are often impacted by these products being used by people around them. Also, they cost an absurd amount of money for some petroleum byproducts and perfume in a big ol plastic jug.
Especially since you can make your own for pennies!!
Here's a quick foolproof recipe for a safe and natural alternative to store bought fabric softeners that works great!!!
1 part Baking Soda
2 parts Hot Water
1 part Vinegar
Essential oils to scent preference. I recommend 1/2 tsp per gallon or less. Lavender is great, grapefruit, lime, lemon, and lemongrass are my faves currently. There are hundreds of natural and synthetic scents and fragrance oils can be purchased online at a candlemaking supply store such as www.candlescience.com
Use a container that is double the size of the ingredients. Put it in the sink or tub in case of spillover.
Mix the baking soda and water, stir till the powder is dissolved (mostly dissolved, you’ll likely have some grains left).
Add the vinegar. Remember that baking soda and vinegar react by fizzing, (remember all those volcanoes in elementary school?), hence the recommendation of a large container.
Once it’s stopped fizzing, pour into clean jars and close. Shake jar before use. Use by adding 1/4 – 1/2 cup in the rinse cycle.
If this still just seems like too much work you can try the pared down version of this recipe by adding 1/4 cup baking soda to the wash cycle and 1/4 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle. But It only takes a few short minutes to create a gallon of your own "April Fresh" concoction with your own signature scent that will not only save you money but make your laundry soft while keeping your loved ones safe and far away from the dangerous toxins better left on the grocery store shelves..
Now if I could only come up with a recipe to eliminate laundry altogether!!
Kristin Provvidenti lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her 7 year old son and is the creator of Mystellabellashop.com, a cosmetic website dedicated to women with sensitive skin and those undergoing medical treatments that compromise their skin. A recent Cancer survivor herself, Kristin champions a cause for single moms and other survivors everywhere. For more information go to www.mystellabellashop.com
Exposing the "myth" behind Bismuth
Rarely occurring in nature, Bismuth Oxychloride is the black sheep of the true minerals' family. A by-product of copper and smelt refining and a heavy mineral similar in molecular structure to Arsenic,(Yikes!) it causes a shiny veneer look on the skin, accentuating fine lines, wrinkles and pores. This subpar filler can also cause itching, irritation and break-outs in skin. So, what do aware mineral cosmetic companies use instead of Bismuth? High quality lines like Stella Bella are using pure silk powder, which adds to longevity of wear and gives the product a smooth, soft, velvety finish.
With over 22 years of experience, Kristin Provvidenti lives in Goodyear, Arizona with her 7 year old son and is the creator of Mystellabellashop.com, a cosmetic website dedicated to women with sensitive skin and those undergoing medical treatments that compromise their skin. A recent Cancer survivor herself, Kristin champions a cause for single mothers and other survivors everywhere. For more information, visit her on the web at:
Stella Bella Pure Active Serum
Active Ingredient: Syn-Coll
Attributes: Mimics the human body’s own mechanism to produce Collagen.
Effect: The clinical effect on wrinkles is a 350% improvement compared to placebo
Ingredients: Deionized water, Glycerin, Palmitoyl Tripeptide 3, Hibiscus flower extract(cert. Organic)Gluconolactone and Sodium Benzoate.
What is it?
Stella Bella Active Serum is a new cosmeceutical serum using the patented technology based on Pentapharm’s many years of experience in synthesizing peptides for the pharmaceutical industry. Our Actives serum contains only the active ingredient in a carrier solution. No fragrance or fillers are used so penetration is not interrupted and results exceed those of crèmes containing the active ingredient. Syn-Coll is a small peptide with the unique sequence to mimic the human body’s own mechanism to produce collagen via TGF-B(tissue growth factor). Syn-Coll is offered unpreserved and is prepared as a ready to use water soluble solution that can be used directly or mixed with any other leave on skin care product.
Properties: Collagen represents the main component of the ECM(Extra Cellular Matrix) of the dermal connective tissue. Thrombospondin1(TSP) is a multifunctional protein that activates the latent but biologically inactive form of TGF-B. TGF-B is known as the key element in the synthesis of collagen and binds to a particular sequence in the TSP molecule. This sequence is known as ARG-PHE-LYS, being similar to this, SYN-COLL also has the capacity to bind and therefore activate TGF-B.
Function: Syn-Coll stimulates Collagen synthesis-excellent healing capabilities for use during radiation or after chemical peeling, laser resurfacing or other invasive procedures.
Syn-Coll actively removes ANY type of wrinkle
Syn-Coll also has firming and moisturizing qualities
Properties: Syn-Coll has been clinically proven to be safe AND EFFECTIVE
Cosmetic Application: Syn-Coll is a deep penetrating, bio-active ingredient developed to remove any type of wrinkle and to repair existing stretch marks. Note: Syn-Coll has not been clinically proven to remove hypertrophic or keloid scars.
As a breakthrough in wrinkle treatment Syn-Coll can be used in any type of anti-aging product for the aspect of wrinkle reduction.
Suggested Concentration: 1-3% Syn-Coll. Most cosmetic preparations contain 1% *Our serum is a 5% solution (at 3 drops per application:
Cost: 79.50 for 1/2 oz. 1/2 oz = approximately 500 drops. (Doctors and Medical Facilities please call for wholesale pricing.) At double the recommended dosage, this bottle will last 180 days using the serum 2x a day at 6 drops per application. Stability for at least one year.
Efficacy tests: In vitro testing in human fibroblasts, Syn-Coll has shown excellent collagen building capacity compared to the positive standard TGF-B(0.4nM) There is an increase of collagen synthesis by 119% compared to the positive standard.
In vitro testing in human fibroblasts, SYN®-COLL has shown excellent collagen building capacity compared to the positive standard TGF-β (0.4 nM).
In vitro test:
To prove the wrinkle repairing effect of Syn-Coll, a study on 60 healthy volunteers has been performed. Various concentrations of Syn-Coll (1% and 2.5% respectively) have been applied twice daily for 84 days.Effect on wrinkles is a 350% improvement compared to placebo.
Motherhood: Apply within.
As a 44 year old mother of a kindergartner, I think it’s safe to say I waited until I was READY to have a child. My strategy was simple. I thought if I waited, raising a child would be easier. I would be mature and prepared and therefore NEVER be caught off guard without a wet wipe and forced to use my own spit on a paper napkin to clean the leftover Oreo that had travelled from the corner of my toddlers mouth to the entire lower half of his face. No I would NEVER be one of THOSE moms. I had it together. I had waited, which, in society, somehow translates into wisdom that protects us from having the dreaded children our parents hexed upon us with that old saying: “I hope you have 5 of them JUST LIKE YOU!” 6 years later I’ve realized it doesn’t really matter when you decide to have children, how prepared you think you are or even how great your kids are-Bottom line: being a parent is hard work.
I remember when my son Marco was born-the cord hadn’t even been cut yet when my maternal mind began its perpetual spiral into the world of worry that had me convinced my child wouldn’t live to see the 3 month mark. As the nurses began to wheel my wet wonder into the nursery where they would bathe the remnants of “the beauty of childbirth” off, I adamantly insisted they allow my husband to accompany them so as to ensure no one would sneak in and steal my perfect little bundle of goo covered joy. Forget there were 30 other goo covered joys to choose from, the villain would want mine-for he was perfect and the only way to foil this evil scheme would be diligent, round the clock protection by a compliant albeit embarrassed biological guard. I’d blame it on the epidural but have been told its effects are localized.
Once home, I went from being able to sleep through anything short of the Armageddon itself, to being able to hone in on my baby’s breath while nearly unconscious from exhaustion two bedrooms down. One, one and a half, two; if he was so much as a fraction of a second late with that next breath I would spring up out of my slumber wiping the drool from my mouth and sprint down the hall prepared to perform my lifesaving CPR techniques. While each and every time it turned out to be either a sigh or a yawn, no one can ever fault me for not being ready.
Like many first time mothers, I spent hundreds of dollars on “mental stimulation” toys to ensure the “genius “chromosome I was certain my offspring carried would surface. I knew he had this gene in him by the way his eyes followed the moving turtles and seahorses on the mobile above his crib and by how he smiled before his age appropriate time. Turns out, mobiles are made to make babies look at them and that smile-well that was just gas.
Outings with a baby made the international trips to Europe I took in my youth look like a mere jaunt to the corner convenience store. For most of you who remember the days of raising your own young kids, you can attest to the sheer complexity leaving the house with a small child entails. Packed up with enough food, wipes and baby paraphernalia to spend a week on the moon, outings to the local grocery store became projects that required planning with more precision than the construction of the Sears tower.
As I poured all my energy into this little being whose demands grew as quickly as his ever changing body, I also looked for ways to live my life more efficiently and to try to recoup some of the precious moments I had lavished on myself before my promotion to motherhood. I justified pacifiers by buying the Orthodontic “approved” kind and stocked my house with 42 of them each strategically placed where it could be retrieved promptly in times of need. I had it down to a science and could stop the sound of a whimper within 12 seconds flat. Before you knew it I was suckered into every gadget ever aired on HSN or QVC that promised to make a mom’s life easier. I boycotted anything that ate up my precious time right down to shampoo that suggested I lather rinse then repeat. Who were these people? I was lucky enough to get that first lather in let alone repeat it. I bought laundry detergent with the fabric softener already built in and Peanut Butter and Jelly conveniently intertwined together in one jar. While I was once famous for my outlandish beauty regimen I scaled it back to the basics: Cleanse, tone, moisturize then pray to the anti-aging powers that be for a good outcome.
Yes, motherhood is a hard job. But in spite of the hard work and grueling hours, from the boiling of bottles to chaperoning little league, you find yourself saying a daily prayer-“please, please don’t let them grow up so fast”. All the work, all the sleep deprivation, all the downsizing of yourself to build up this little being does not go unrewarded. One day, you get a smile. Another day a kiss and a few years down the road your six year old, beaming, will proclaim to the world that you rank right up there with Superman or Cinderella. These are the moments that make your heart swell and make the job seem simple.
My cousin called me the other day to chat about the new niece her brother and his wife bestowed upon their family. While Marco sat quietly nearby at the counter enjoying his afternoon snack, we gushed about the newest addition to her family and about the excitement being a new parent brings.
She told me about the proud new parents and how they have prophesied the coming of the next “genius” in their bloodline. Apparently, this 3 day old child turns her head in the direction of her parents when she hears their voice, a sure telltale sign of a prodigy if ever there was one.
As we laughed at what seemed to be a rerun of our own early motherhood memories and before I could catch myself, I spit on a paper napkin and wiped the cookie from Marco’s chin.
Happy Mother’s Day. Please share this with the mothers you know.Kristin Provvidenti lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her 6 year old son and is the creator of Mystellabellashop.com, a cosmetic website dedicated to women with sensitive skin and those undergoing medical treatments that compromise their skin. A recent Cancer survivor herself, Kristin champions a cause for single moms and other survivors everywhere. For more information go to www.mystellabellashop.com
As cupid draws his bow in anticipation for Valentine’s Day, a bit about the kiss.
Today as I dropped my kindergartener off at school, I tussled his hair, told him I loved him and sealed it with a kiss. His little crimson lips puckered up and reciprocated my token of affection leaving me with a sloppy wet ring above my mouth. Unfortunately, being only six, he will require a little more practice to master this art and hit his target with greater precision. Today was no different than any other day. The kiss was no different than any other kiss. How many times had I kissed him or had he kissed me without my having so much as a fleeting thought about it? Yet as he bounded off towards the school playground, I began to ponder the significance of my daily ritual of kissing him goodbye.
It has been said that kissing originated in the day of the caveman, but not in the way you might think. The first kiss was believed to be actually created by a woman and the exchange was not between her and her amorous, drag my woman by the hair-cave mate, but between her and her child. Anthropologists believe that kissing originated in primitive times when women would chew their food and transfer it directly into their babies’ mouths. This method of preparing baby food is still practiced in some cultures today. As early as 2000 BC, various cultures believed bringing the mouths together signified the joining of two souls and according to anthropologist Vaughn Bryant Jr. the first erotic kiss took place in India around 1500 BC. Kissing is often portrayed in ancient Egyptian art and believed to be associated with “giving life” in ancient Egyptian culture but it was the Romans who perfected kissing as we know it today. The Romans kissed each other as a form of salutation and they kissed robes, rings and statues of gods to indicate submission and respect. In the 8th Century Feudal System, kissing became the means by which many a bargain was consummated between a vassal and his king. Hence the term “sealed with a kiss”. A vassal would kneel before his overlord, put his hands in those of the lord and declare himself his man. Then the overlord bound himself by kissing the vassal and raising him to his feet. In the 6th century, dancing was a form of expressed affection and each dance was ended with a kiss. The act of kissing shows up in approximately 46 different references in the Old and New Testaments, one of the most noted being when Jesus was betrayed with a kiss. The act of “blowing kisses” dates back to old religions where they blew kisses to the gods. Women in Ancient Indus Valley Civilizations were the first to use what we now call lipstick to decorate their lips, thereby making them more “kissable”. They were followed by Ancient Egyptians, the most famous being Cleopatra, who used the red dye from the inside of Carmine beetles to give lips a deep red hue. To this day, Carmine is used in many mainstream cosmetic companies (but not mine!). The use of lipstick to decorate the lips is believed to be connected to attracting the opposite sex and to entice that opposite sex even if subconsciously to participate in the act of kissing.
Russians were the first to incorporate the romantic kiss into a marriage ceremony and the French were the first to incorporate it into courtships. Then there is the kiss called Maraichinage. This is a prolonged kiss originating from the people of Pays de Mont of Brittany. It is likely the predecessor of the commonly known modern day “French Kiss”.
Started in prehistoric time, perfected by Romans and intertwined in cultures across the globe, kissing has a long history and its intentions are many in modern day society. A kiss can mean hello, goodbye, have a good day or “c’mere big boy!” but the end result is always the same; A feeling of warmth and contentment. It conveys that you are special and cared about and loved. So the next time your special someone gives you a simple peck before heading out the door to work in the morning or your little one lays one on you before they drift off to sleep at night, take a moment to ponder just how far that kiss has travelled in time to make it to your lips and by doing so the magic of it will linger and you will realize a kiss is not just a kiss but truly is so much more. Pucker up!
How this Makeup artist got the beauty lesson of her life
At 42 years old I thought I had finally arrived in my life. After my husband left when our son was born; after losing not one but two parents unexpectedly in the course of three years, I had finally picked up the pieces and put them together to create a happy existence for myself and my son. An attractive, makeup artist with my own cosmetic line, I had a fabulous five year old who lit up my world and most recently a new boyfriend I was crazy about. Life was finally good again. I spent my days chatting with women about the newest arsenal in the age old fight against wrinkles and "must have" lipstick colors for the season. At the end of the day I would often slip into a steamy bath to perform pampering rituals passed down from beauty gurus before me. I would preen myself with body polishers and lotions until my skin glistened like a new silk shirt. Toes were always properly polished in red and the importance of looking my best was apparent right down to my matching lingerie. Yes, I was a real life "" minus the Minolos, and beauty mattered to me. Beauty had always mattered to me.
It was on one such occasion as I scooped the bubbles around my chest and began my monthly breast exam that I found the lump. The invader took up residence with little fanfare and I was baffled, considering its size, that it had gone unnoticed at all. I told myself it was probably nothing, but, like a trespasser on my premises I wanted it evicted immediately and I wasted no time making an appointment with my doctor to have it checked.
A few days later, as I sat across from my doctor, those three little words were the last I expected to hear. "You have Cancer". It was initially thought to be a simple cyst but simple it was not and nothing could prepare me for the conversation that would follow. My stomach tightened as she spoke about "options" with words like "chemo and radiation" and her voice became drowned out by the voice in my own head firing questions too frightening to utter audibly. Would I lose my breast? Would I lose my hair? Would I even live and if I did, would I ever be "normal" again? These are the questions that go through any woman's mind who has just been delivered into the hands of this kind of devastation, but for those who are single moms they are especially terrifying.
My boyfriend gently squeezed my hand, preparing for the tears that wouldn't come. I had always considered crying in public to be a weakness of character. I sat there numb while time stopped long enough for me to be changed forever. I hated the idea of being labeled a cancer victim or even a. I wanted to live my life inconspicuously being defined by neither. In the time it took to say , my happy carefree world as I'd known it had been shattered.
With my port in place to deliver the life saving poison into my body, I stepped on the medical treadmill that would become my life over the next 8 months. Step by step my appearances would diminish to the treatments. With no definitive outcome in sight, I would walk blindly through 16 cycles of chemo towards the hope of a positive outcome. The thick red liquid that was known in hushed tones by the oncology community as "The Red Devil" made good on its reputation, assaulting my body and immune system without mercy. With every treatment the question repeated itself in my mind "would I ever be normal again?"
Even at the tender age of five, I could see the confusion and worry in my son's eyes as my features metamorphosed into something neither of us could grasp. My friends, doctors and coworkers rallied on my behalf. Some brought food, others brought financial assistance and some just brought themselves to sit with me through my treatments making me laugh and forget for a moment I had a life threatening disease. It was here, at 43 years old, that Cancer taught me that love is an action, not a proclamation.
Pain encased me and waves of nausea crashed on the shores of my body with a constant rhythm. My skin took on a sluggish gray cast and my hair fell out in matted clumps that looked like the SOS pads my mom used to use to scrub her pots. My eyes, sunken and hollow, watered unrelentlessly with thick gelatinous tears and my legs trembled and burned at the mere suggestion of having to hold up my emaciated 5'10' frame. I would swipe my fingers across my face only to collect an oily, gritty residue while my nails became brittle and discolored and then, just came off altogether. I would look in the mirror in utter disbelief. The woman that was heralded by many as the "beauty expert" was now held captive; a prisoner of a disease that not only took away her independence but her self recognition as well. I told myself that being concerned with the physical aspect of myself was petty, after all I was alive; but I couldn't convince myself of my own rationalization. Beauty had been my business for 22 years; it mattered to me and being sick didn't change that.
According to the(ACS), a woman in the United States is diagnosed with every three minutes and studies have shown there is a direct correlation between how women look and how they feel during treatment. As I continued with my treatments and met other women like myself, I began to realize the great need for this often overlooked aspect of Cancer. What started out as a fun job would expand the purpose of my company, Stella Bella, to helping other women feel better about the way they looked through cancer treatments. I knew how it felt to avoid a mirror and I knew my products could invite them back to that personal gaze of recognition and feeling pretty again. For the remainder of my "house arrest" I worked feverishly redeveloping my cosmetic line to accommodate women struggling with the effects Cancer and Chemo has on skin. The response I got from women was astounding. Emails started coming in, sporadically at first then more regularly from women undergoing chemo and radiation. All had a unique story but with familiar chapters. Then one day in April, more uneventful than I'd imagined, it was over. I finished my last chemo treatment. Taking a deep breath, and on wobbly legs, I stepped off the treadmill and back into my life.
They say beauty is only skin deep. I couldn't disagree more. Cancer creates a lot of physical changes in a person, but the real changes take place on the inside and these are the changes that are permanent and most often create the kind of beauty that can't be seen from across the room or on the glossy pages of a fashion magazine.
These days, "normal" has become just another setting on the washing machine, "beauty" is something I see with a different set of eyes and I no longer measure my progress on the growth of my hair but on the lives I can touch through my own experience. I have a new purpose for my passion of beauty that goes beyond the latest cosmetic trends of the season. I have learned the real meaning of what it means to be strong and I've learned that that strength comes complete with a full set of tears. Being a survivor isn't a label I got tagged with but an honor I accept with humility. It's an example that is set through sharing a story, a shoulder and in my case, a product that helped a woman with cancer feel like herself again and helps others in their own journey of discovering the beautiful survivor within themselves.