I used to hate this time of year. The holidays are over and it just seems like the remaining winter months would stretch on with no end in sight. I would vow that I was moving someplace with warm weather year round when I was younger.
But the past few years, I’ve really started to appreciate this time of year. I don’t know why I had a change of heart, but I can point to a few things I think swayed me. I try to eat locally and in season more now. That takes some planning for the long dark months of winter. I really appreciate all those jars of summer vegetables I canned. Also, I think it’s because the more I garden, the more I notice little changes outside. Like how the frost sparkles on the grass by the mailbox or the way the sun shines through the trees in my backyard when they don’t have any leaves. Even though it’s not my favorite time of year, I find something to appreciate in each season. There are plenty of things to love about this time of year, like being curled up by the fireplace with a cup of tea on a snowy Saturday afternoon. Or taking a walk in the woods this time of year. It’s so quiet and peaceful. And who doesn’t love the food we eat this time of year like big pots of chili and hearty casseroles right out of the oven?
For all the wonderful things about winter, there are always going to be the things about that aren’t as fun. Cases of the sniffles going around my office is one thing I can always do without. Another annoying thing about winter is how dry my skin gets, particularly my hands. This year, I found some things that make the bad parts of winter a little easier to live with. The fine folks at Dr. Bronner’s sent me a package of goodies that are perfect to brighten the winter blahs.
If you’re not familiar with Dr. Bronner’s, it’s a soap company that’s been around since 1948. The high-quality liquid soaps really took off as people began to become environmentally conscious in the 1960s and 1970s, because the company was absolutely committee to using the most sustainable and fair sources of ingredients to formulate its soaps. Today, there are a number of other soap and personal care products that maintain the same integrity to their ingredients that are part of the Dr. Bronner’s family. All of their products are organic, fair trade certified, and come in post-consumer recycled packaging to the extent possible.
Dr. Bronner’s sent me a bottle of their 18-in-1 castile soap, which I absolutely love and already use all over my house. I also got two tins of organic body balm and a bottle of organic hand sanitizer. I’d never used either of these products, but I knew if they were anything like the castile soap, I would love them. I’ve been using the body balms on my hands and elbows, and any where else that gets dry and scaly this time of year. They are absolutely wonderful for softening my hands. One is the “naked” version, which is unscented. I even use this one on my lips since they get really chapped no matter how much you try to prevent it this time of year. I have them on my nightstand, so I get a good coating on my hands and lips right before turning out the light each night. This allows it to really soak in while I sleep so I wake up with less scaly skin on my hands and lips. The other tin is lime patchouli scent, which is really nice and not too strong. The hand sanitizing spray is really nice, too. It is made with organic alcohol to kill germs, and also with organic glycerin, which keeps it from being so drying. I had stopped using other types of hand sanitizer because they dry your hands out so bad, it seems like they do more harm than good. There are tons of people at my office every day this time of year, touching door knobs, the coffee pot, and everything else. And my office isn’t safe from the run-of-the mill colds and viruses that are going around this time of year, not unlike any other public place. Washing your hands with soap and water is the best thing you can do to keep from getting sick, but this hand sanitizing spray is another layer of defense in between those times.
I’m a long-time fan of the 18-in-1 castile soap. I might not use it for 18 different uses, but it’s pretty close. I have been using the tea tree scent to clean my bathroom for about a year, since tea tree oil is a natural anti-fungal agent. I have a bottle of the lavender-scented version in the shower that I use as body wash and to shave my legs. It’s the best stuff ever for shaving your legs, and I figured it out on a whim one time when I ran out of shaving cream. I have made foaming hand soap with the peppermint scent they sent me with this package. The scent is perfect for this time of year–minty and invigorating. Dr. Bronner’s actually hand soap, though, if you wanted to go that route. I’ve never tried it, since I always have a bottle or two of the castile soap around my house, I just use that.
The thing I like about Dr. Bronner’s is that all the products are completely free of nasties like parabens and sulfates that I’ve mentioned on this blog before. We’re learning more and more about how those things interact negatively with our bodies, and thankfully many companies are starting to reformulate their products.
I can find Dr. Bronner’s at my grocery store, drugstore and at my health food store. But you can also order it on their website, Drbronner.com. You can peruse the products and learn more about how they source their ingredients. Also, if you are a devoted Dr. Bronner’s fan, (or if you’re new and decide you just love ’em) be sure and “like” them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DrBronner. I’m sure they’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, I’m just over here enjoying my goodies from them and making my winter blahs a little less blah.
The legal jargon: This is a sponsored post. The opinion, photos and text are all mine.