Turmeric – My New Soap

You may have heard of all the health benefits of turmeric lately. It is getting a lot of publicity and attention in numerous studies.

Turmeric is the root of the Curcuma longa plant.

Turmeric plant

Image from suburbantomato.com

It is a common spice in Indian food and the main ingredient in curry. It is also widely used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

It has strong anti-inflammatory. anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant properties. It is being studied for cancer prevention & treatment, as well as other health concerns, and proving to be very promising.

Because of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties it is also used to treat skin problems such as acne, rashes and eczema. It is said that the anti-oxidant properties make it good for stretch marks, wrinkles, and balancing skin tone.  There are numerous recipes on the internet for face masks made with it that claim to reduce the signs of aging and leave your skin with a healthy glow. I have not tried any because turmeric is also used as a dye and I didn’t want to walk around with a yellow face until it wore off.


It can easily stain your skin or anything yellow. I grated some fresh turmeric root once and my fingers were orange-yellow. Thankfully I know that although turmeric is not soluble in water,  it is in oil so I just used some olive oil on my hands and it came right off.

However I wanted to take advantage of all the skin care benefits this spice has to offer without risking yellow skin so I put it in a soap. I also added some moisturizing coconut milk and a light scent blend reminiscent of sandalwood and roses.

I then tested it out on my human guinea pigs (aka family & friends) and it got a big thumbs up. No one turned yellow and everyone said it made their skin amazing. So I am now offering this special soap to you. Try it out and let me know how you like it.

Turmeric soap

Use the code “Be Well” in the voucher box of the shopping cart and get 20% off your order.

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Mother Earth Day

As May approaches the focus is on Mother’s Day. Most businesses are advertising gifts for you to buy your mother. Although I am a mother, my mom has been gone for 20 years so I’m putting my focus on Mother Earth.

A week or so ago, April 22, was Earth Day. Although I work at protecting the environment every day with better business practices and by producing environmentally safe soap, I wanted to do something more for the earth. After all without it where would we be? Without the tremendous abundance it gives us in food, beauty, and joy we wouldn’t have much of an existence.  So I joined my local environmental committee in a clean-up project.

That is how I learned about Buckthorn. It is one of the most troublesome invasive species that grows just about everywhere.


Photo from University of Wisconsin GB https://www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity/herbarium/invasive_species/rhacat01.htm

It’s a shrub native to Europe and has no natural controls here. It is the first to green in the spring and one of the last to lose its leaves in the fall allowing it to out-compete native plants for nutrients, light and water.

It also produces a chemical that is toxic to other plants so nothing can grow under or around it. It produces berries with many seeds that the birds love which is how it spreads so fast. It degrades wildlife habitat and threatens our forests, wetlands and prairies.

I’m told most people have it in their yards and it is important that we destroy it before it destroys our native plants and habitats. So I was put on “buckthorn killer” duty and had lots of fun doing it.



It is terribly hard to get rid of. Even cutting it down isn’t enough. The stumps have to be treated with an herbicide otherwise it will just sprout new branches. In our forest preserves they also do controlled burns to try to get rid of it.

Working at removing it all day I got to be kind of good at identifying it, although I’m still not an expert. I have found some in my yard though and am working on getting rid of it.

I also did some trash removal from Salt Creek that runs through my town.


All in all it was a very productive day. I felt good (and very tired) after tending to Mother Earth. So this Mother’s Day as you buy gifts and honor your mothers please give a thought to the first mother of all life, the earth.

Please think about the products you buy, the packaging you throw out, what you wash down the drain, etc. Please recycle, compost, reduce and reuse. Be careful of the plants you choose to put in your yard and look for buckthorn and destroy it. Know that caring for Mother Earth can only benefit you in the long run.

To help you help the earth I am offering you 25% off at Scenter of the Mind. Just put the word “green” in the voucher section of the online shopping cart. It’s that simple.


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I Got the First Look

Last Friday night I had the opportunity to attend one of the best fundraising events. It is called First Look for Charity. This is a black-tie event where the guests are the first to gaze upon the new automobiles being unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, the largest in the country.

20160212_222047The best part about it though, is that it generates more than 2 million dollars for 18 Chicagoland charities, one of them being the Illinois Spina Bifida Assoc. Since it started in 1992 it has raised 42 million dollars.

I got to go as part of my job. Many of you just know me as the owner of Scenter of the Mind but I also work a part-time job as the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director of the Illinois Spina Bifida Assoc.

First Look for Charity

I got involved with the ISBA about 20 years ago. My son Jeffrey, now 25, was born with spina bifida, one of the most common, permanently disabling birth defects. It is the failure of the spine to close during the first month of pregnancy. It is a very complicated condition requiring constant and super expensive medical attention. So my first contact with the ISBA was for financial help, which they so generously gave me twice. I cannot tell you how much that meant to me and the survival of my family.

In later years I used many of their services like Camp Ability and attended their events to connect with other families going through the same things as mine. They were such a blessing to me that I ended up volunteering as the Holiday Party Chairperson for 8 years. Unfortunately I had to leave that post but now just a couple of years later and I am back working with them.

So I put on my best dress and headed to the McCormick Place to set up and decorate the tables in our room where we greeted our most wonderful supporters. The majority of them are from the Windy City Corvette Club,  Bill Kay Chevrolet, and Brandenburg Industrial Service Co.

Room at the auto show.

working with Amy

Even though I had to work part of the evening I still got to go up to the auto show and enjoy live music, champagne, hors d’oeuvres, desserts and all the newest cars & trucks.

live band hors d'oeuvres desserts

I particularly loved this BMW so buy lots of soap. Ha ha ha!


This Mercedes wasn’t bad either.


My shoes clearly were not meant for all that walking so I was thrilled to run into a nice man handing out slippers.


Even with the blister on my toe I still had a wonderful time. So next year if we are still benefactors of this awesome event contact the ISBA for tickets and go. You get to have a classy evening and provide much-needed services for many deserving children and families. It’s a win win!



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Floss My What?

We all know by now that flossing between our teeth helps to clean away bacteria, protect our teeth and prevent gum disease.

Dental Floss

However there is another part of your body that you can floss.

Nervous system

Photo from http://calmag-c.com/


It is your nerves.

I learned of this technique while searching for a reason that my arms fall asleep at night while I’m sleeping. It is very annoying and has been waking me up several times a night.

As expected most medical web sites were not any help with this problem. They listed very few possible causes for this condition and  then, of course, suggest you see your doctor and have all kinds of expensive tests.

Since that is not an option for me I kept looking and found some muscle-building forum posts from people experiencing the same thing as me. Since I work out and lift weights this seemed like a closer fit to my problem.

In reading some of the suggestions I saw the term “nerve flossing” which prompted me to do another search. That led me to a web site called Kinetic Health (www.kinetichealth.ca).

Well I never would have guessed it but apparently there is a nerve in your arm called the ulnar nerve and it can get compressed by the tissues surrounding it. This can cause pain or numbness in the neck, shoulder, elbow or arm. It can also cause “cyclist palsy” which is numbness in the ring & pinky fingers when holding on to the handlebars.

I was floored because I get that too when I ride my bike, although to me it feels like my whole hand.

So what do you do about it? Medicines? Surgery?

Nope, you floss the nerve. The Kinetic Health web site has videos on how to floss the ulnar nerve and other nerves as well like your sciatic. It turns out that flossing the nerve is just doing certain easy movements that gently free up the nerve and strengthen it.

Well I tried it and it worked. I didn’t get “sleepy” arms at all last night.

There is a bonus to all this as well. I also suffer from nerve pains in my left foot as a remnant of herniated disks and back surgery. It usually also strikes at night and nothing makes it go away but some hard-core pain meds like vicodin. I hate taking them because they cause me all sorts of other problems and are harmful to my body. Sometimes though I don’t have a choice because the pain is too great.

I watched the video on sciatic nerve flossing, since I know that nerve goes all the way into the leg and foot. I tried flossing it and it seemed to help the nerve pain in my foot a little bit. I’m not sure if it will make it go away completely but I’m going to keep doing it. I am hopeful it will.

So if you have back, neck, shoulder, elbow or headache pain maybe some nerve flossing is all you need. Hop on over to Kinetic Health and watch their videos. The exercises are pretty simple and free. Just more proof that our bodies can actually heal themselves.

I’m so happy with my new healing powers that I just had to share. I hope it helps someone else suffering needlessly.




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Thinking Spring

Today the snow is melting. The seed catalogs are arriving and I am thinking about spring. I know we have at least 6 more weeks of winter but flowers are in my head.

With the snow being so wet it really does hold together well and is just right for making a snowman, however, I have flowers in mind.

sun snowflower


So I decided to make snowflowers. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and I was tired out after just two but maybe tomorrow I will feel like doing more.



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