Top 5 U.S.-Based Eco-Tourism Accommodations

For the active and eco-chic traveler, the United States’ most popular and energetic cities are home to luxury hotels that practice sustainable techniques. Many of these eco-friendly hotels are LEED-certified (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design), which means that they fit the United States Green Building Council’s criteria for sustainable practices. Some of these criteria include sustainable location, water-efficiency practices, indoor climate quality, and renewable energy techniques and sources.

Below are Charleston Naturally’s Top 5 picks for the United States’ most luxurious and eco-friendly accommodations:

1. Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, Arizona: Proud of their ability to incorporate green initiatives into their operations, Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona, is making great strides in providing guests with a luxurious, yet eco-friendly, experience. They are working hard to protect the environment, reduce their carbon footprint, save on energy, and conserve natural resources.

Some of their specific eco-tourism efforts include . . .

  • The use of green-certified cleaning supplies.
  • The use of local produce and ingredients for their exceptional dining facilities within the hotel, to help reduce gas consumption used to transport food.
  • Participation in the “Adopt-A-Road” program, which works to clean and maintain the street on Scottsdale Road that runs from Indian School to Camelback.
  • The use of dual pane glass in each guest room to ensure climate control and reduce wasteful energy consumption.
  • The use of postconsumer FSC-certified paper for all print marketing materials, including brochures.

Eco Friendly - Hotel Valley Ho

Eco Friendly - Hotel Valley Ho

2. Arbor House – An Environmental Inn, Madison, Wisconsin: Neighboring 1280 acres of sprawling protected woodlands and prairies, the Arbor House in Madison, Wisconsin, is an award-winning eco-tourism inn that exudes a delightful bed-and-breakfast charm. With beautiful, nature-influenced room décor, a variety of environmentally friendly outdoor activities, and delectable, complimentary breakfasts, the Arbor House is the ultimate retreat for the busy, city dweller.

Some of their specific eco-tourism efforts include . . .

  • The use of organic, non-bleached cotton linens and bedroom fabrics.
  • The use of eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning supplies.
  • Energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
  • The use of 100% organic mattresses.
  • Gardening on the grounds that uses all-natural growth techniques, without the use of harmful pesticides.

3. The Willard, Washington, D.C.: As one of the world’s most socially and environmentally conscious hotels, The Willard in Washington, D.C., provides visitors with an urban, luxurious experience that combines eco-friendly practices with stylish accommodations and lavish amenities. With their recently received International Hotel & Restaurant Association’s Environmental Award for Sustainability, The Willard has developed a holistic approach to sustainability with their “Willard InterContinental – The Next 100 Years” plan.

Some of their specific eco-tourism efforts include:

  • The use of 100% wind energy to power the hotel.
  • The use of green-certified room cleaning materials.
  • The planting of 50 million oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Offering organic beverages to hotel visitors such as Mighty Leaf organic tea, Rainforest Alliance Coffee, and Restore Water (with proceeds from purchases going to Restore Water, which helps to support wildlife restoration in the Chesapeake Bay).
  • The use of CFLs, compact fluorescent lights, to reduce energy consumption.
Eco Friendly Hotels - The Willard

Eco Friendly Hotels - The Willard

4. Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco, California: Built from earth-conscious practices and natural fabrics and materials, Orchard Garden Hotel in San Francisco, is a place of tranquility, healthy lifestyles, and escape. With a location in the bustling heart of San Francisco, luxurious amenities and rooms, and superior hospitality, Orchard Garden Hotel is a must-visit destination for those who want to experience the cultural diversity of San Francisco while relaxing in the hotel’s peaceful atmosphere.

Some of their specific eco-tourism efforts include . . .

  • The use of green-certified cleaning supplies.
  • Construction to incorporate natural daylight. In fact, 80% of the hotel invites natural light inside.
  • The use of recycled paper for all print—marketing materials and soy-based inks for print.
  • The use of organic and recycled materials in construction, including wood and carpeting.
The Heathman Hote

The Heathman Hotel

5. The Heathman Hotel, Portland, Oregon: Elegantly fusing contemporary design with nature-inspired details and materials, The Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon, is situated in the charming cultural and financial district of Portland.

Some of their specific eco-tourism efforts include . . .

  • The use of 99% landfill-free recycled materials during restoration.
  • The use of showerheads that reduce energy consumption by 10 – 20%.
  • The use of toilets that reduce water consumption by 50%.
  • The use of low-energy-consumption LED lighting throughout the hotel.
  • The use of 13 local vendors during hotel restoration.

Charleston Naturally—Perfect Housewarming Gifts

Moving into a new abode is a huge undertaking. There are heavy boxes, packing and unpacking, and moving trucks to contend with. The process can be an emotional and physical strain.

Having gone through the sweat and tears of several major moves myself, I understand the importance of transforming a foreign space into your own. From an antique oriental rug in the dining room to your favorite painting above the mantel, personal touches are what transform a house into a home.

When offering a housewarming gift to celebrate the move of a family member, congratulate a friend, or welcome a new neighbor, I look for thoughtful items tailored to the moving party’s situation. Here are my never-fail housewarming gifts:

  • Honor Ancient Traditions –  To find a cricket on the hearth has been a sign of household luck for thousands of years. And the idea is prevalent in every corner of the world.  From Native American tribes to the Far East and in Europe, crickets are believed to bring good luck and to serve as a watch for danger.  A Hearth Cricket makes a thoughtful housewarming gift.

Hearth Cricket

  • Comfort with Comfort Food—Bring over a friend’s favorite dish while it’s still hot and fragrant. Not only will it provide a tasty treat, but the familiar scent of fresh-out-of-the-oven red velvet cupcakes or homemade lasagna is a fast way to warm up any space.
  • Neighborhood Flavor—When welcoming a family new to the area, give something that incorporates the local culture, such as Achla Designs Pineapple Bird Feeder in a region known for its wildlife.

    Pineapple Birdfeede

  • Flourish with Flowers—DIY gardens, such as organic seed gifts, Bloembox Habitat Gardens and Potting Shed Garden-in-a-Bag, allow a family to quickly and easily transform their new dwelling into a place of beauty. Planting flora is a fun activity that allows the family to begin a new while simultaneously improving their yard. Everyone on the block will thank you!

Potting Shed Organic Flower Seed Gift

  • Locals Only—Even a move across town can feel like it requires a passport. Help your friend out by getting to know the area for her. Scope out the nail salon and cafés in her new neighborhood. A gift certificate to these places will encourage her to explore the local haunts. Note: when giving a manicure gift certificate, toss a few dollars of cash in for the tip. It’s a small step that makes the gift extremely thoughtful.

Certified Organic Bamboo Mini Me Outside-In Bowl

  • Felicitations!—Nothing is more welcoming than a handwritten “congratulations” on your favorite stationary.

What is your favorite housewarming gift? Drop us a comment and let us know.

Who Says Easter Baskets Are Just for Kids?

Some may associate the Easter basket as kids only, but who says adults can’t enjoy an Easter basket? And for that matter, who says your dog can’t receive an Easter basket? It’s time to crush the Easter basket kids-only stereotype and have some fun this spring.

First, let’s cover the basic components of a classic Easter basket and how you can put an untraditional spin on these delightful springtime goodies:

  • Choose a basket: Use a traditional loop-handle Easter basket and tie a bow around the left side of the handle, or use a bowl-shaped woven basket, a rustic wooden basket, or a wide flower vase to hold all of your Easter treats. We love the Recycled Magazine Bowls by Two’s Company for their hints of color, classic shape, and diversity—not to mention this basket can be used after Easter for holding fruit, makeup supplies, or anything else you can think of.

    Recycled Bowls

    Recycled Bowls

  • Lay your basket base down: Fill the bottom of the basket with thinly shredded recycled paper from a grocery bag, a magazine, or a newspaper, or place a bed of faux grass down to serve as a creative cushion for your basket items.
  • Accent your basket with a small item you’ve made: Purchase some origami paper and create birds, chicks, butterflies, flowers, bunnies, or anything else Easter oriented, and secure them onto the basket or place them on top of the items in your basket. If you’re not sending the Easter basket via mail, you can decorate the basket with more fragile items including painted eggs or eggs you decorate to look like baby chicks situated in a twig nest.
  • Add a little sweet treat: Add some peeps, pastel-colored cupcakes you make, chocolate bunnies, or minichocolate eggs as a tiny sweet treat to satisfy sugar cravings.

Items suggested for an Easter basket for Mommies-to-Be:

  • Zebi Bag of Burpies: This adorable sinimay pouch features a plush Jellycat stuffed animal with a set of five organic cotton burp cloths for babies. We suggest the Easter-oriented Pink Bunny Zebi Bag of Burpies.
  • Erbaviva Baby Gift Box: Nestled in a mound of shoestring hay are three delightful natural Erbaviva organic baby products that will not only make your baby soft to the touch but will also make them comfortable and happy. The products included in the Erbaviva Organic Baby Gift Box include Organic Baby Lip & Cheek Balm, olive oil-infused Baby Shampoo, and Baby Lotion scented with mandarin and chamomile.
    Bunny - Bag of Burpies

    Bunny - Bag of Burpies

Items suggested for an Easter basket for your (30-year-old) daughter:

  • Deep Steep Bubble Bath: Infused with sensual aromas, essential oils, vitamins E and B5, organic aloe, olive, hawthorne, barley grass, and rosehips, the Deep Steep Bubble Bath is the ultimate accent to a stress-free and rejuvenating bath session. The bubble bath comes in three scents including lavender-chamomile, tangerine-melon, and rosemary-mint. And as another plus, the label of the Deep Steep Bubble Bath is accented with light pastel colors that will match perfectly with the other items in the Easter basket.
  • John Ritzenthaler Co. Loofah Scrubbers: Playful and colorful, these kitchenware scrubbers are the perfect mother-to-daughter gift. Your daughter will appreciate the childlike look of these adorable John Ritzenthaler Co. Loofah Scrubbers and love its durability. We suggest purchasing the carrot, flower, or butterfly loofah for a warm spring feel.  

Items suggested for an Easter basket for your pup or cat:

  • Molly Mutt Your Hand in Mine Dog Bed Cover: Designed for the lounge-loving pup, the Molly Mutt Your Hand in Mine Dog Bed Cover provides your dog with a soft and comfortable place to rest, while simultaneously adding a stylish decorative accent to any room. The cover is durable, washable, and preshrunk and comes in three different sizes.
  • West Paw Barn Mouse: Made from durable faux suede and silk, the adorable West Paw Barn Mouse cat play toy is arguably the chicest one on the market. With long curled ears, tufts of whiskers, a leather tail, and a button nose, this jingling cat toy is USDA certified-organic catnip.
  • Barn Mouse - filled wit catnip!

    Barn Mouse - filled wit catnip!

What are your crafty ideas for the ultimate Easter basket? We’d love to hear them in our comments section.

Top 4 Destination and Day Spa Getaways

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

In order to lead a healthy and happy life, it’s essential to take time for yourself and unwind from the stresses of everyday life. From bubble baths to gym workouts and book-reading sessions to gardening, we all have activities we can do every day to help reduce the stress in our lives.

But those stress-relieving exercises can only go so far.

If you can, treat yourself to a refreshing and revitalizing treatment that will help you gain balance in your life, mind, body, and soul and that will give you a boost of energy. Visiting a day or destination spa at least one time a year will help bring your senses back to equilibrium and  soothe muscle tension, irritations, and pains.

Below are Charleston Naturally’s top picks for destination and day spas:

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona: Surrounded by jagged desert mountains and thick vegetation, the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa acts as a modern oasis and refreshing retreat for those looking for balance and an escape from stressful city life.  Equipped with a meditation garden, crystal clear pond, a Watsu pool, and a variety of outdoor treatment areas, guests have the rewarding opportunity to connect with nature while enjoying revitalizing spa treatments. One of their most famous treatments is the Rose Quartz Facial, which is a soothing 90-minute facial that involves energized rose quartz crystals that are cooled on ice and gently massaged on the face. This unique treatment works to calm inflammation and revitalize skin.

The LakeHouse Spa at the Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas: Nestled in the elegant countryside of Central Texas, with 19 acres of glistening lakefront views, The LakeHouse Spa is the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With a nature-inspired interior décor, The LakeHouse seamlessly fuses luxury with the peace and beauty of the Texas countryside. One of their most famous and rejuvenating treatments is the Manaka Tapping Treatment, which works to balance energy and relieve stress and pain. During this treatment, wooden pegs are situated on acupoints across the body, and a little hammer is used to gently tap the pegs in a rhythm. Other treatments include Texas Starry Night Massage Therapy, outdoor healing treatments, and traditional East Asian therapies.

The Caudalie Vinothérapie® Spa, New York, New York: Born from a vision to bring balance to the mind, body, and soul through vinotherapy practices, The Caudalie Vinothérapie® Spa incorporates dark, rich natural hues into its modern ambiance to create the epitome of paradise in the middle of bustling Manhattan. With treatments that include the use of restorative grape polyphenols, each and every service is exclusive to The Caudalie Vinothérapie® Spa. Some of their one-of-a-kind spa treatments include fresh grape manicure and pedicure, Vinoperfect facial, crushed cabernet scrub, and a red vine bath. When you’re not experiencing one of their world-famous treatments, you can relax in the spa’s elegant French Paradox Wine Lounge for further relaxation.

Qua Baths and Spa, Las Vegas, Nevada: Located in Caesars Palace, an elegant roman-inspired retreat awaits you in the Qua Baths and Spa, where stone floors and trickling waterfalls create a deep, sensual experience. This unique and rejuvenating spa incorporates the natural healing powers of water into its signature Roman rituals and treatments. Some of the services offered include the Arctic Ice Room, which is an anti-sauna that helps reduce hypertension and tighten pores, the Tea Room where an in-house tea sommelier prepares the proper teas to complement your treatment, and healing Roman baths with a variety of different temperatures.

What is your favorite spa or spa treatment? Let us know in our comments section.

Spring Flowers: Who Says It’s Too Early to Start Planting?

Mrs. Whaley's Garden

Mrs. Whaley's Garden

Spring is in the air here in Charleston, South Carolina. Well, almost. With the Festival of Houses and Gardens coming up this month, the Charleston Naturally team is ready to start planting.

Depending on where you live, it may be too early to start gardening outside. The good news is that it’s never too early to begin gardening indoors.

Starting your seeds in indoor pots will help to mature and strengthen their roots, allowing them to endure small, early-spring struggles once they’re transplanted outside. When planting seeds indoors, remember to keep them in a place that receives ample sunlight. If you don’t have an area in your home that receives this much sun, try using a fluorescent light to nurture the budding plants.

In addition to plenty of sunlight, your growing seeds also need just the right amount of water to mature. Mist the soil so that it remains moist, but not drenched. If you drown your plants in water every day, that might just kill them. Poke the soil with your index finger to get a reading on the soil saturation. If it’s moist, you don’t need to water.

Now that you have your plants steadily growing indoors, how do you know when it’s time to plant them outside?

Spring planting has no definitive start-to-finish dates. Each year, the planting season begins at different times—depending on your local weather patterns and which plants you plan on growing. Sometimes planting begins early; other times it begins later. If local weather has been fluctuating from freezing to temperate, you may want to wait to transplant until frost is out of the question.

Are there certain plants that can be transplanted earlier than others?

Annual flowers tend to have negative reactions to cooler temperatures, which is why it’s suggested to wait until after the last frost of spring. Perennials, on the other hand, can handle harsher and colder conditions that often occur at the beginning of spring.

If you think your plants are ready for outdoor conditioning but still cautious about frost, keep them in their pots but leave them outdoors in the sun and protected from the wind. If a chilly night or day hits, bring them inside a garage, greenhouse, or shed.

Remember to immediately bring them back outside once the frost or cold conditions have subsided and water them when necessary.

Once you get more comfortable with the weather conditions and trust that your plants are conditioned to the outdoor elements, you can begin to transplant your flowers from their pots into mineral-rich soil.

If you like this post or spend time outdoors gardening, you might also like:

1.  Best Organic Sunscreen and Use Practices

2.  Home Staging Tips: Backyard Garden and Patio Display

3.  Organic Gifts for Gardeners

Spring Trips: Simplify Your Packing

Whether traveling for work or pleasure, deciding what to pack has always been an issue for me. No matter where I go, I always seem to over pack. Recently, I was introduced to

Lee Heyward, style coach and owner of Charleston Style Concierge, LLC, a company which specializes in teaching women how to achieve easy and effortless style. Immediately, I thought, who better than to offer packing advice to our Charleston Naturally blog readers than Lee.

Below is an interview with Lee Heyward on how to simplify your packing.

CN: How can I cut down on the number of clothes I bring on a trip?

Lee: Choosing clothes for a trip can be traumatic but it is actually an important lesson in the general rules of how to get dressed. A great travel wardrobe comes from proper planning, thinking in outfits, and keeping a focus on versatility. Before you begin packing, plan what you need to bring with a packing chart. A packing chart helps you pack in outfits by considering what you need to wear for the daily activities during each day of your trip.

As you fill out your packing chart, think about how you can make your travel wardrobe more versatile by wearing pieces more than once. For example, a great spring scarf could act as a layer of warmth on a plane, a pillow on a long car ride, and a great accessory with your favorite dress. A lightweight jacket is great for both a chilly spring evening and as an extra hand to hold your tickets and identification as you head through the airport.

CN: I always bring more shoes than I need when traveling. What’s the best way to pair them down but still feel chic and stylish?

Lee: As a fellow shoeaholic, I understand the need to travel with a lot of shoes. However shoes are heavy and take up a lot of room in your bag so it’s important to only bring what you truly need. You can feel chic and stylish on any spring vacation with a strappy sandal, nude peep toe or wedge, and a fancy flip flop.

Coral Strappy Sandal

Coral Strappy Sandal

A strappy sandal is a great shoe that you can dress up and down. It works well paired with a cocktail dress or can dress up a casual skirt for a nice dinner. This example is also versatile because of its color.  A shoe in coral, one of Spring’s hot colors, can be paired with a little black dress, a khaki skirt and crisp white blouse, or even a chic brown pant suit.

Nude Wedge

Nude Wedge

A nude wedge or peep toe pump is one of the most versatile shoes you can have in your closet, and a must-have item for spring travel. The color makes this shoe a chic and fresh choice for spring and it can be paired with anything you pack since it goes with everything.

One of my favorite items to pair a nude shoe with is a black dress.

Nude Dressy Shoe

Nude Dressy Shoe

It’s unique and gives a black dress a more casual feel.  When choosing your nude shoe keep your skin tone in mind. Try on different shades of tan, nude, or camel to find the right one for you.

A fancy flip flop is a shoe that makes a style statement but has the ease and comfort of a flip flop. This shoe is perfect for travel because you will feel stylish and comfortable at the pool, lunch, or even hurrying through the airport.  Pair a fancy flip flop with a walking short or favorite day dress.

Fancy Flip-Flops

Fancy Flip-Flops

CN: How can you prevent being the one in the security line who can’t seem to find her id and tickets? I need to stay organized but still want to look great. Any suggestions?

Lee: Traveling can be stressful and it’s easy to misplace things. I recommend traveling with a great day bag that can hold everything you need in one spot. Choose a bag in a neutral color that can be worn with everything you pack. Stay organized by compartmentalizing the items within your bag. A great way to do this is with cosmetic bags.

Stylish Cosmetic Bags

Stylish Cosmetic Bags

These stylish cosmetic bags from Charleston Naturally are a great way to prevent rummaging around in your bag for what you need. You can even stick a label on the outside to remind yourself what goes where. With everything properly stored in your day bag, your ticket and identification can be found with ease.

About Lee Heyward

Lee Heyward is a style coach and owner of Charleston Style Concierge, LLC, a company which specializes in teaching women how to achieve easy and effortless style. Lee works with clients one-on-one, virtually, and hosts monthly seminars. She also runs a monthly Stylish Inner Circle. Lee believes anyone can have great style with a little knowledge and an open mind. Charleston Style Concierge is located in Charleston, South Carolina.

Pinot Envy at Charleston’s Wine + Food Festival

Wine Glass Necklace

Wine Glass Necklace

Did you know that Charleston, South Carolina is where the Cocktail Party originated?

My good friend Harlan Greene, author and archivist, uncovered this bit of Lowcountry trivia in a memoir.  As I’ve said before, Charleston is a port city, a sultry melting pot of culture, food, art and music, a celebration of beauty, outdoors and in.  And this mix of fun and beauty is a lifestyle we celebrate and want to inspire for others, regardless of where one lives.

Festival season has arrived!  This past weekend’s Pinot Envy event at Charleston’s Wine + Food Festival was a blast.  The event was held at the new Mt. Pleasant Waterfront Park on a day that boasted 70 degree weather and a clear blue sky.

Pinot Envy Party

5 Gardening How-To Information Sources

This post is the third in a series of 3 weekly posts focused on gardening resources — whether you’re a novice or avid gardener, I think you’ll find these information sources helpful. Make sure to read the other two posts in the series, Tips for Herb and Kitchen Gardening and Resources for the Novice and Expert Gardener.

Field of Sunflowers

My parent’s home has these tall, floor-to-ceiling windows all along the back of the house which make for a wonderful view of birds, flowers, alligators (yes, they live on the water), boaters – you name it. I share this with you to provide context to an email message my Mom sent me earlier this week that went like this:

“Spring must be around the corner. We have had a flock of robins feeding on popcorn seeds. Never have we had so many at one time. Love, Mom”

Mom’s right – as always.

In this third post of recommendations of great resources for novice and avid gardeners, I have 5 new suggestions for you to tap into to find all sorts of cool and inspiring information to support your gardening passions.

How-to Videos: Whether you search the internet or specifically for how-to videos on gardening, specific flowers & plants, you are almost guaranteed to find high-quality videos online.  Produced either professionally or by expert amateurs, the beauty of the online video experience is the ease of viewing and the price – free.  To see how this works watch this great instructional video on growing cut flowers from  And, from the folks at, choose a video from a huge selection of really good gardening videos.

Facebook: Like me you’ve probably heard that Google is the 800 pound gorilla of internet search and it’s true, however, a growing number of searches are being conducted on social networking sites like Facebook.  I was surprised to learn this and initially skeptical that Facebook posts, pages, and groups would offer anything worthwhile on say, gardening.  I’ve been proved wrong.  For example, I conducted a Facebook search on the keyword gardening and located this terrific FB page – Biodyanmic Farming and Gardening and this active FB group – Gardening.  Join in the conversation or simply read and absorb.  You’ll also want to explore the fans and links to find even more enthusiasts and informational posts. It’s amazing what you will find!

Twitter: Searches on Twitter are growing exponentially and Twitter is not just a series of posts on what one plans to eat for breakfast or the latest scores at the World Cup.  This recent New York Times Getting the Most out of Twitter article is a great primer on using Twitter for news, research, and expert advice – for gardening or for any of your other passions.

Public TV and Radio: Like libraries, public television and radio are some of my favorite sources for credible, objective, and helpful news and information.  Your local public stations likely offer gardening programs similar to Victory Garden hosted by Michael Weishan or Gardening in Georgia.  Most often, local public tv/radio programs are geared towards the local area and its unique gardening conditions.  Tune in to your public television and radio, or to one clear across the US, either throughtraditional tv and radios or go online to listen and/or watch via your computer.

iTunes: With a great diversity of programming and media, iTunesU, is full of resources – free or paid.  Conducting a search of iTunes is my recommended starting point.  From your search results you can explore podcasts, audiobooks, tv programs, andiTunesU.  You do not need an iPod/iPhone nor an Apple computer to use iTunes, however, if you do have an iPod/iPhone that supports apps, there are some neat apps for Gardeners like iPlant Reference Guide.  iTunes has such a rich offering that I highly recommend spending time searching and exploring.

The availability of high-quality resources to support your gardening passion are virtually endless.  Remember, the robins are singing and spring is just around the corner.   Explore, learn, and share.

If you like this post or spend time outdoors gardening, you might also like:

1.  Best Organic Sunscreen and Use Practices

2.  Fresh Ideas for Your Garden

3.  Organic Gifts for Gardeners

Nourish Your Baby’s Skin with The Finest Natural Products

Your baby’s skin is not only sensitive to the outdoor elements and temperatures but also to the products you use on his or her delicate skin. From diaper rash to chapped lips and cheeks, baby skin needs constant care and attention. When you use organic lotions, ointments, and treatments, you’re providing your baby with a healthy alternative to chemical-laden lotions that often contain a variety of preservatives that the skin absorbs.

To protect your baby’s skin, avoid lotions with added chemicals. Instead, use natural and organic products packed with nutrients, minerals, nourishment, and antioxidants.

Natural and organic baby products

Bath time

Tips for keeping your baby’s skin moisturized and healthy during the cooler months:

Keep a moisturizing balm handy: Babies’ lips, cheeks, and nose are prime spots for chapping and redness during the winter months. Use a protective balm that works to fight the dry air, while calming your baby and adding moisture to his or her delicate skin.

One of our favorite baby balms is Erbaviva Organic Baby Lip & Cheek Balm, which can be used on the lips and cheeks. Infused with chamomile and natural antioxidants from rosemary extract, the Erbaviva balm works to comfort your baby with its soothing aroma and texture.

Cure Diaper Rash: When your baby gets diaper rash, immediately dispose of his or her diaper, and allow the baby’s bottom to air dry a bit. Apply a lotion that acts to both protect the baby’s skin from further irritation and soothe his or her discomfort.

We suggest Erbaviva Diaper Cream, which is an all-natural cream that works to protect skin and reduce redness, irritation, and pain. The echinacea in this lotion is one of the main active ingredients that works to comfort the baby and protect delicate skin.

Protect against UVA and UVB rays: Even in winter, the sun’s harsh rays can affect your baby’s skin. To prevent sun damage, apply a gentle sunscreen for sensitive skin to your baby’s face 15 minutes before taking him or her outside.

We suggest the extremely lightweight and effective Erbaviva Children’s & Adult’s Sunscreen with SPF 15. This sun lotion’s long-lasting protection puts your mind at rest when your baby is outdoors.

Bathing rituals: When bathing your baby, use warm / lukewarm water to ensure comfort. Rinse the baby with a mild and moisturizing soap that produces a creamy lather. We suggest Erbaviva Organic Baby Washbag which contains pure milk, honey, and essential lavender oils to add moisture to your baby’s skin. Within two minutes of taking your baby out of the tub, apply a moisturizer to prevent dry skin. Moisturizing a few moments after removing your baby from the tub is important because the warm water has opened his or her pores, enabling the moisturizer to fully absorb.

Try Erbaviva Organic Baby Cream, which nourishes the skin for hours and adds a comforting touch to your baby’s skin. Your baby will feel and smell clean and fresh for hours.

Did you find this post to be helpful, or do you have some baby skin care tips of your own? Let us know in our comments section.

Resort Basics: Items You Don’t Want to Leave Home Without

We’ve all been there: in a rush to catch our plane destined for the crystal waters of Bonaire or the fluffy slopes of Aspen, we realize we’ve forgotten to pack something important. Sometimes it’s the underwear. Sometimes it’s the cell charger. Other times it’s our toiletries.

Too often, the things we forget simply add stress to what was supposed to be a stress-free vacation.

Here is a checklist of things to pack to ensure you leave home with the confidence that you have everything you need to enjoy your resort vacation to the max:

1.  Wide brim hat: Not only does a wide brim hat look classic and stunning, but it also protects your hair and your delicate facial and neck skin from harsh UV rays. Even when you’re wearing sunscreen, UV rays can still penetrate your skin if you are out in the sun long enough. We love the Coolibar packable wide brim sun hat, in tan. This gorgeous tan hat matches almost anything, and its lightweight material blocks 98% of UV rays and can easily fit into a small space when traveling.  
2.  Sunscreen for the face, body, and everywhere in between: Whether you’re traveling to a ski resort or beach resort, sunscreen is absolutely necessary because UV rays are always active—even when it’s cloudy.

Coola Sport Unscented

Sunscreen: If your skin is sensitive to certain products, make sure you have a sunscreen designated specifically for your face and another for your body. We suggest SPF 30 for both your face and body. If you tend to sweat a lot or enjoy swimming in the pool or ocean, go for a water-resistant sunscreen, such as Coola Sport Sunscreen.

Don’t forget to protect your lips. Your lip skin is extremely delicate and sensitive to the sun. Lip sunburns cause the skin on the lips to decrease in elasticity and give a rigid appearance. And the immediate results of lip sunburns are, well, not pretty. Try the vitamin and antioxidant rich lip treatment, Coola Liplux. This lip product not only nourishes chapped lips but also protects against harsh UV rays.

3.    Spa travel kits: Whether it’s the sun and the sand or the snow and the dry wind, weather can have devastating effects on your skin. Be prepared and avoid skin blunders with a spa travel kit.

Deep Steep Rosemary Mint Travel Set

Packed with miniature bottles of your favorite skincare and bath products, spa travel kits reduce the bulk in your suitcase to and from your destination. You can create your own spa travel kit by purchasing clear minibottles and pouring your favorite products into each and labeling them (you don’t want to put your foot moisturizer on your face by accident), or, for an easier approach, purchase a premade spa travel kit with the finest products for your skin.

We suggest the Deep Steep Spa Travel Kit, which contains body lotion, butter, polish, and wash, and bubble bath, and moisture stick. The set also comes in three different scents: Lavender – Chamomile; Tangerine – Melon; and Rosemary – Mint.

4.  Travel cosmetic bag: Traveling with makeup can be pain. Products are buried deep within a large bag, and instead of taking the usual 15 minutes to do your makeup, it takes double that time when you have to sift through your bag for that small eye shadow. Organize your makeup products accordingly in smaller bags within a large one to reduce frustration.

Since makeup brushes can be extremely delicate—not to mention expensive—you always want to make sure you have them nestled away safely while traveling. We recommend putting your brushes in a thin, yet long, pouch and your other makeup products in a separate pouch. This ensures that your brushes aren’t being crushed and your small makeup products can be found quickly and easily. And nothing is worse than pulling out a mangled brush from your makeup bag or having to empty the entire bag just to find your eyeliner.

We suggest Cosmetic Bags by Lapin Vilardi, which come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and colors to fit your taste. You can choose an entire set or two or three bags—depending on your packing situation—and organize your makeup the way you want.

5.  Beach bag: If you’re visiting a resort in a tropical location, a beach bag is crucial to hold your fun-in-the-sun belongings. From beach toys to sunscreen and towels to beach reads, a tote bag is the best way to carry everything you need for a day in the sun.

We suggest a tote bag that is water resistant, washable, and durable, such as a tote from Mixed Bag Designs. These bags are designed to sustain the wear and tear of the beach and hold up to 50 lbs.

Mixed Bag Department Store Bag

Did you find this post helpful, or do you have your own tips for successful packing? Let us know in our comments section.