Category Archives: Sustainable

Fresh This Month: Evergreen Tangerine

The smell of pine and citrus instantly conjures memories of winter holidays, warm meals, and cozy nights. Etta + Billie’s latest line of soaps, room + body spray, and hand + body wash is no exception. Inspired by snowy walks through evergreen forests and tangy season citrus, these products are sure to be showstoppers in your home or make great holidays gifts for friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone who like great scents!

etta + billie evergreen tangerine soap

Evergreen Tangerine Soap
Evergreen Tangerine Sea Salt Body Scrub
Evergreen Tangerine Hand + Body Wash
Evergreen Tangerine Room + Body Spray

tangerine gin cocktail© Wendell T. Webber

Can’t get enough of the delectable combination? This cocktail can help bring your favorite evergreen tangerine scents and flavors to any dinner party or happy hour. Simple and delicious!

Ingredients:
10 ounces gin
8 ounces tangerine juice (fresh squeezed is best)
4 ounces simple syrup
8 ounces chilled club soda
Ice

Directions:

  1. Combine gin, tangerine juice, and simple syrup in a large sealable container and refrigerate until chilled (at least 1 hour).
  2. Cover the container, shake, and pour into an ice-filled pitcher.
  3. Strain into individual ice-filled glasses and stir in club soda.

Makers Gonna Make: Bergamot

Bergamot is a citrus fruit from the tropical Citrus bergamia plant, which is commonly found in the Mediterranean, Italy, France, and other parts of Europe. The fruit is typically the size of an orange, yet is closer in color to a lime or lemon depending on ripeness.

Many people are familiar with Bergamot because it’s the fruit that gives Earl Grey tea its citrusy scent and distinct flavor. A highly fragrant fruit, Bergamot is also used to make essential oils (which can be used for perfumes, soaps, or oil diffusion) and can be used in a number of recipes. Bergamot flesh and its zest—which is tart, aromatic, acidic, and spicy—has been used as an ingredient in everything from cookies, custards, and marmalades to syrups, cocktails, and even pesto, mayonnaise, and other condiments.

etta + billie bergamot ginger bath + body oil

Bergamot and Lavender Reusable Dryer Sheets: Both environmentally friendly and easy to DIY, these dryer sheets will leave your laundry soft and smelling great! And with the added bonus of not needing to dispose of the dryer sheets with each load.

Bergamot Ginger Bath + Body Oil: With the invigorating combination of citrusy bergamot and spicy ginger, this bath and body oil is perfect for skin that is in desperate need of hydration or a soothing and relaxing bath. This oil can be used directly on the body as a moisturizer or in a bath, and it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy! (If you prefer a standard lotion for moisturizing, check out the Bergamot + Ginger Body Lotion or Skin Balm.)

Bergamot Honey Frappe: This delicious frappe recipe only needs 5 ingredients, takes about 15 minutes to throw together, and is vegan! Perfect for a mid-morning pick-me-up or a refreshing evening drink this combination of flavors will have your taste buds singing.

Bergamot and Lime Deodorant: Whether you’re in a pinch and need to craft up some homemade deodorant or prefer to use deodorants with all natural ingredients (or without aluminum), this recipe will not only have you smelling great but is easy on your skin as well.

Bergamot Ginger Room + Body Spray: Need to refresh your kitchen, bedroom linens, car, or even yourself? This room and body spray can do it all in an instant! Made with simple ingredients that won’t damage or stain anything, you can spray this product on everything knowing its all natural ingredients aren’t harmful to yourself or your home.

Oyster Mushroom Salad with Apple and Bergamot: A unique combination of ingredients, this salad makes a perfect addition to any dinner or could be enjoyed on its own for lunch. With the apple marinated in bergamot juice, this winter salad will be sure to wow anyone who eats it.

Go-To Tips: Shopping Your Local Farmer’s Market

Your local farmer’s market can be a great spot to buy inexpensive and fresh produce, support your local farmers, and even try some tasty pre-made foods or purchase quirky handmade items. With these tips, you can be sure you get the most out of your visit and walk away with an armful of delicious foods!

farmer's market peaches

5 Tips for Shopping Your Local Farmer’s Market

Bring cash. Some vendors accept debit cards, credit cards, and checks; you will likely run into many vendors that are cash only. The best way to ensure you are able to purchase everything you need (and stick within a budget!) is by bringing cash with you. If you are trying not to overspend but still want to be able to treat yourself to a beautiful handmade necklace that may catch your eye at the market, or if a vendor is offering a great deal on berries at a larger quantity and you’d like to be able to grab some for your friends, set aside some extra cash in addition to your produce funds

Select your time wisely. If you want to freshest, healthiest produce and don’t want to risk missing out on items that sell out before you arrive, your best bet is to arrive as soon as the market opens. On the other hand, if you’d like to scope out some deals and discounts, you might want to consider showing up about an hour before the market is due to close. The vendors will be more likely to bargain since they are seeking to get rid of their items so they don’t have to haul them back home.

Buy in season. Your farmer’s market won’t have the same selection that your grocery store has since grocery stores have produce shipped to them from all over the world, but your farmer’s market will have the best tasting in-season organic foods! And knowing which fruits and vegetables are in season can help you grab the freshest produce and the best deals. Berries, are plentiful in May while corn tends to be sold more in August. Peaches and apples, on the other hand, you’ll see more of in September. Herbs can be easier to buy since they stay in season longer. Rosemary, for instance, is in season in both summer and fall (or year round in temperate climates.) For a full list of when fruits and vegetables are in season, visit the US Department of Agriculture’s “What’s in Season?” guide.

Make a loop around the market before buying anything. You want to avoid buying the first few things you see because another vendor down the line may wind up having better deals on that same item, or worse, you’ll spend all your money and then come across something you wish you has some cash for! To avoid these pitfalls, walk a loop around the entire farmer’s market before purchasing anything and take mental notes of which booths you want to return to. After you’ve seen everything the vendors have to offer, you can make better purchasing decisions and head straight home with your goods, without having to lug them around to continue browsing the market.

Try new things! Farmer’s markets often have samples of their homemade food items, and it’s worth trying as many as you can. You never know if you might wind up falling in love with a local farmer’s sweet horseradish pickles, or if the jalapeno jam will become the next staple item on your breakfast table. If you get thirsty, try a cup of the ice cold lavender lemonade or the locally grown coffee to add some pep in your step for the rest of your farmer market adventure.

farmer's market lettuce spinach salad greens

Farmer’s markets can be a great experience and an opportunity to support your local agriculture. In no time, heading to your local grocery store will have you missing your farmer’s market!

Happy 9th Business Birthday to Etta + Billie! Part 1

Ette + Billie Happy Birthday

It’s hard to believe but Etta + Billie turns 9 this month! I know, it feels like I just started the business yesterday (ok, maybe not yesterday but it definitely doesn’t feel like it’s been 9 years).  As many of you already know, Etta + Billie was created as a way to escape the dreariness of my 9-5 job and express a creative drive I never knew I had. That teeny tiny body care business has grown so much over the past 9 years. From apartment kitchen to studio space from a biz of just one to a team of 4 (plus my very sweet husband and friends), from part-time gig to how I pay my rent every month. Pretty amazing!

I rarely take time to reflect on how much I’ve achieved and how much I’ve learned over the years. When I think about it, it’s funny that I’m even here because I had never wanted to own my own business. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Why? I’ve never had a job that was constantly fulfilling and challenging. This “job” has taught me so much about myself and what I’m capable of. I’ve had to push myself into uncomfortable rolls and I’ve had to sacrifice time, money, and energy to keep things going. Occasionally I haven’t paid myself so that I could pay employees. It is just part of the process. I appreciate the challenges I’ve faced and overcome because I know that those lessons have helped me grow in one way or another. 

I am so thankful for these last 9 years and to all the customers, family members, employees, interns, fellow makers, photographers, designers, bookkeepers, virtual assistants, friends, and vendors who’ve helped make this happen. And of course, my biggest supporter, my husband. He has done everything in the business from sales to wrapping product to handling IT tragedies to hauling 50 pound boxes up multiple flights of stairs. It truly takes a village and my dream is a reality because of all the folks that have helped me along the way. Thank you!

To celebrate our 9th year in business, all orders placed on the website from April 6th – 30th over $50 will receive a 2 oz room + body spray, no codes needed!

Bonus, I’ll be showcasing some new goodies LIVE on Facebook this Sunday, April 8th on the Artisan Made Show, details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2049844035273897/

Time to take a walk down memory lane! Here’s a peek at the first few years and keep an eye out for a new post each week for the next few weeks where you can see more of the E+B journey.

Etta + Billie – The Early Years

2009

We launch on Etsy with photos I took in my living room using a “homemade” lightbox and a digital camera. Very high tech!

First ever soaps sold – Lavender + Peppermint Lime (which are still customer favorites)

Other highlights: my first wholesale account (I almost peed myself I was so excited) with my dream store Paxton Gate (who still carries E+B) and my first craft show (see the very proud pic of me above).

My first soap conference! Yes, there is an annual conference dedicated to soap and cosmetics put on by the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild, and its great! I got to meet so many people who were just as passionate about soap as I was. Dreamy.

2010

Launch my first Limited Edition Collection for Valentines Day. My photos skills have improved a bit. Were you one of the lucky few who got one of those bars?

Moved from a one bedroom apartment that the business had taken over, into a 3 bedroom apartment where I got an entire room just for E+B.

Keep at the business, taking classes, doing shows and all that good stuff.

2011

Completed application and lengthy review process to become the first cosmetics company in San Francisco to receive Green Business Certification

Chosen by Banana Republic to be a part of their SF Made Pop Up Shop! 

Oh and I got hitched. 😉

Check out Part 2 for a peek at the next few years of E+B!

Go-To Tips: Spring Cleaning Tips for the Kitchen

Spring Cleaning Tips for the Kitchen

Who else dreads yet loves a big “spring” clean?  The concept of a super clean kitchen/house is wonderful but not the reality of spending an entire day cleaning it. There is always the option to pay someone else to clean your house but my honey and I are on a money-saving bender right now so that is not an option. In an effort to make our lives a tad easier, I found some great tips for getting the various areas of the kitchen clean and organized in no time. Bonus: they all use natural cleaning methods. One of my favorite tips to make cleaning less terrible – add a mimosa break because nothing makes cleaning more palatable than an adult beverage. 😉

Get the Kitchen Clean

Spring Kitchen Cleaning Checklist from Wholefully with a printable checklist option (I do love a good checklist). Nice way to focus your cleaning efforts and you can always break the tasks up so you’re doing one set each day for 9 days.

The 11 Most Popular Kitchen Related Cleaning Hacks on Pinterest Right Now – from the Kitchn

DIY Natural All Purpose Cleaner – I share my easy and effective recipe here.

Keep the Kitchen Clean

Keep the garbage can, laundry basket, etc smelling fresh with this tip.

Brilliant list of ways to use command hooks to keep your kitchen organized from Apartment Therapy.

A few cleaning hacks to add to your daily/weekly kitchen list to keep your kitchen clean and save you some time too!

Fresh this Month: Etta + Billie Bath + Body Oil Isn’t Just for Your Bath or Your Body

Etta + Billie Bath + Body Oil Isn't Just for Your Bath or Your Body
I have a deep love of product, all sorts of product. When I was younger, I had a bathroom full of different lotions, body sprays, scrubs, body wash (you get the picture). I’d apply all different combinations of aforementioned product, followed by my four different treatments just for my hair. Yowza. As I’ve gotten older, I realize I’d rather spend more time drinking coffee, then applying lotions and potions, plus I have significantly less space in my bathroom to hold a vast collection of items. This means I need products that are effective and have the potential for multiple uses. I can spend less time getting ready and more time doing things I enjoy (but know that my skin and hair are taken care of and looking good). One of my favorite multi-taskers is Etta + Billie Bath + Body Oil. This oil makes an amazing moisturizer for the body, face and hair with a combination of organic jojoba, organic sweet almond, organic sunflower and un-sprayed meadowfoam oils.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

The Breakdown

Jojoba Oil – This oil is easily absorbed into the skin because it mimics skin’s natural sebum. Plus it contains protein, minerals and is very similar to collagen (that stuff that keeps skin looking young and lovely). The jojoba in Etta + Billie products comes from a family owned organic farm in Arizona. 

Almond Oil – High in vitamin E a super antioxidant and skin healer. Great for all skin types, rich in minerals, vitamins, and proteins.

Meadowfoam Seed Oil – An excellent hydrator for skin. Creates a protective layer that helps skin hold moisture yet this oil absorbs quickly.

Sunflower Oil – Also high in vitamin E. Helps seal in moisture but allows skin to breathe.

Vitamin E – powerful antioxidant properties and help fight and protect skin against free radicals which damage and age skin.

Etta + Billie Bath Scene

Options, options, options

Hair: A leave-in/scalp/pre-wash treatment.

Use as a leave-in conditioner by applying a few drops to palms, rub hands together and distribute through damp or dry hair. Start at the ends if using on dry hair.

For scalp, apply a few drops at a time to fingertips and then rub into scalp, may need to repeat 2-3 times to cover entire scalp.

As a pre-wash hair treatment, apply a dropper-full of oil from roots to ends before bed, wash out the next day with shampoo. Note: you may want to cover pillowcase with a t-shirt so you don’t get oil all over.

Face: Works great as a facial oil/cleansing oil when traveling (or anytime).

Apply one to two drops to damp skin and gently massage in.

For cleansing, wet skin, massage a few drops of oil, apply a very warm washcloth, let sit for a couple of minutes, gently wipe oil from skin using cloth. Apply serum and moisturizer!

Hands/Feet: Hands and feet will be hydrated in no time.

Massage onto hands right before bed. Pay special attention to cuticles. 

Apply all over feet, apply some cozy socks and hit the hay. You’ll wake up to super soft feet.

Extra dry skin: you can apply Etta + Billie skin balm on top of oil to help lock it into the skin and add another moisturizing layer.

Bath: An easy way to add aroma and hydration to a bath in minutes. 

A couple of drops in the bath is an easy way to add scent and a boost of moisture.

Body: An alternative to lotion.

Massage onto to damp skin after getting out of the bath or shower. The oil will absorb quickly while locking in the extra moisture from bathing. Skin may have a slight natural glow right after application. Bonus.

The Giving Season: Your Choices Matter

ettabillie-30

UPDATE: Since we started our Move Forward campaign we’ve been able to donate over $1700 to a variety of organizations (listed below). I am so thrilled and I know that both my grandmothers would be so proud. We were able to do this because of your support!

As you continue your holiday shopping (and even everyday shopping), I hope you’ll continue to purchase from makers and local businesses, especially those that are committed to giving back. Know that every time you buy something from a small business owner, you are supporting their dreams and simultaneously helping build your local community. Total win, win. 

Thank you again for helping make my maker dreams a reality and for helping support the organizations that I believe are working to make the world a better place for everyone. We are all in this together.

xo
Alana

DONATIONS SO FAR

Makers Gonna Make: DIY Organic Coconut Oil Lip Scrub

DIY Coconut Oil Lip Scrub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY is a real mixed bag for me because I love a good project but I also want my thing to look like it does on the interwebs (ahem, like everyone else on the planet). Thankfully, I’ve got a great sense of humor which helps me relate to all those craft mishaps here plus I acknowledge the ridiculousness of obsessing over Pinterest perfect photos all the time (ain’t nobody got time for that). That being said, this lip scrub DIY is actually really useful (lip care is no joke) and very hard to f-up so the photos are going to be darn pretty and your lips are going to be super soft and healthy. Make the lip scrub and social media bomb your followers. You’re welcome.

Watch the video to learn how to make your own fabulous lip scrub at home (directions included below)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil (better if organic)
  • ½ tsp sunflower oil or olive oil (also better if organic)
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp brown sugar (even better if organic, are you starting to notice a trend?)
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp turbinado sugar (you can double the amount of brown sugar if you don’t have turbinado sugar. And guess what? organic is preferred)
  • ¼ tsp grated lemon peel (optional and you don’t need to be precise – ALSO please make sure this is organic if nothing else unless you like pesticides in your lip scrub, then you do you*)

Tools
Small bowl, whisk, spoon, grater, a couple of small jars and clean hands

Let’s do it!

  1. Take a small bowl and add 1 tbsp of virgin coconut oil
  2. Add 1/2 tsp of sunflower oil and mix well with coconut oil using the whisk
  3. Add 1 + 1/2 tsp of brown sugar
  4. Add 1 + 1/2 tsp of turbinado sugar and mix until fully blended
  5. Grate about ¼ tsp of lemon peel to add a gentle scent and touch of alpha hydroxy acids
  6. Mix all the ingredients together
  7. Fill your jars using a spoon

Tips
Add an additional ½ tsp of brown sugar or turbinado sugar if you want an intense treatment. Sugar’s crystalline structure is better for more delicate facial skin including lips.

This lip scrub will stay good for about 2-3 weeks if you keep it in your fridge or at least out of your bathroom.

*So why is organic my go to? Well, besides the reduction in exposure to super nasty chemicals for myself and my loved ones, it’s better for the environment (think less chemicals leaching into waterways, oceans, forests…you get the picture) and better for the farmer workers (think about how much direct exposure they deal with every day as part of their job). 

5 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Protect Mother Nature

5 Simple Ways to Help Mother NatureAs a Certified Business, I work really hard to make the most environmentally savvy choices when it comes to raw materials, production and the day to day tasks associated with running a business. My love for all things green started as a child, growing up around the forests of Northern California. Family camping trips, lake adventures and working on our summer garden deepened my connection with nature and passion for protecting it. In former jobs, I helped educate my fellow office mates on the importance of recycling and composting. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been known to dig recyclables out of the garbage just to make sure they go to the right place. While I don’t expect everyone to dumpster dive for the environment, I do think it’s important (and easy) for all of us to make simple conscious choices that will collectively impact on the world around us. So what can you do? The Etta + Billie crew has put together a few simple tips on keeping this beautiful planet of ours healthy. Read on for easy ways to reduce your impact on a daily basis.

  1. Hydrate + Save
    Hydrate without negatively effecting the environment and its creatures. Be part of the solution by investing in good water bottle, like the hip ones found at bkr or S’well (my favs are here + here), and refill as needed. BPA-free preferred, of course. About 17 barrels of oil are used in producing plastic water bottles and nearly 90 % of them aren’t recycled. Many end up in landfill and can take up to 1000 years to break down. Those that don’t make it into a landfill often end up in the sea where they break up in small pieces, killing marine life that can mistake it for food.Etta-Billie-DIY-Herbal-Water
  2. Buy Local
    Supporting locally made and grown goods reduces pollution by decreasing the amount of generally fancy but not earth-friendly packaging that goes into the landfill and reduces the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are distributed across the country and world. Support local also helps keep money within your community and supports makers like me.
  3. Shower Consciously
    Try shortening your shower by even just a minute and you could save 150 gallons of water a month! Imagine what 5 minutes could do. Try sneaking in a shower with your partner to add extra zest to your morning (add some refreshing Peppermint Lime Soap). This tip is especially useful for Californians who are in the 4th year of a major drought. Anything we can each due to reduce our water use will help! Bonus tip: It’s wiser to water your plants during the evening when it is cooler and dryer since hot and dry condition in the morning, just lead to water evaporation.
  4. UNPLUG
    Your appliances may seem idle when you turn them off, but they are still raising your energy bill. This phenomenon, called “phantom load,” is gouging your bank account (and increasing carbon emissions) needlessly. Many appliances and electronics are designed to have continuous displays and a standby resting states for quick start-up. This convenience is a waste of energy and dollars!
  5. Paperless Please
    Bills and bank statements substantially impact the environment. Production of this mail, kills 18.5 million trees every year, produces 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste. Switching to electronic notifications can massively impact the destruction of forests and resulting waste plus who really wants to keep all those paper statements anyway. You can also utilize your bank’s apps to get up-to-date info on your accounts.

What is your favorite easy eco friendly tip?

Etta + Billie Interview: Why I love all things natural

I was recently interviewed by the fabulous crew over at Makers Market (online retailer focusing on well crafted American Made goods). Get a little insight into my natural philosophy…

Makers Market_Etta + Billie_Handcrafted Soap

Alana Rivera of ETTA + BILLIE (shop her products here)

“I think there is no way to truly mimic what mother nature has created and the only way to feed our skin is to choose ingredients that come from natural sources.”

When we scroll through your instagram feed we get hungry. Why is it
important that the things we put on our skin should be good enough to
eat? Do you use any preservatives? Could we really eat your products if
we wanted to?

I think it’s important to be as conscious of what we put on our bodies as we are of what we put into our bodies. While synthetic ingredients can be effective, I think there is no way to truly mimic what mother nature has created and the only way to feed our skin is to choose ingredients that come from natural sources. These ingredients have been used for years to nourish and heal. Residue from all the products we use, will eventually end up in our water system and choosing natural ingredients helps reduce the harmful impact on wildlife and plant-life. I do not use preservatives in any of my products with the exception of the lotion, it is a aqueous based formula that needs a preservative to maintain it’s integrity. I suppose you could eat the products, but I wouldn’t recommend it, they taste terrible!

What are your favorite California plants to work with?  Do you get any
of your herbal ingredients locally?

Read on over at the Makers Market Blog.