DIY Masks Perfect for Sweater Weather

Sweater weather has finally arrived! Now that it’s getting colder,  it’s time to raid our kitchen cabinets to make simple yet luxurious masks. When we started out with R&D for Wonderland Organics, the best part was using ingredients found right at home. It was easy using oats, honey, mashed up bananas, coconut oil, and even cocoa powder for fantastic results. (Of course, the best part was setting aside some of the ingredients to eat for later.)

In honor of the new season, we’ve rounded up some amazingly simple DIY masks found from around the web!

 

Image courtesy of Tiffany Ap/ http://www.stylish-chatterboxing.com/2013/11/soft-as-marshmallow.html

Image courtesy of Tiffany Ap/ http://www.stylish-chatterboxing.com/2013/11/soft-as-marshmallow.html

This is a great mask from Tiffany Ap! What you need:

  •  3 tbsp oats 
  • honey
  • warm water
Image courtesy of Crunchy Betty/ http://www.crunchybetty.com/mocha-frappucino-mask-coffee-cocoa-and-honey-facial-mask

Image courtesy of Crunchy Betty/ http://www.crunchybetty.com/mocha-frappucino-mask-coffee-cocoa-and-honey-facial-mask

This mocha frappuccino mask is incredibly fun! What you need:

  • 2 tbsp ground coffee
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp milk

 

diy-honey-mask-wonderland-organics

 

 

This fun mask is courtesy of About Style! This is great for a sunburned face, or as a great moisturizing mask.

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp organic yogurt
  • 1 tsp organic honey
  • a few drops of organic aloe vera (optional for sunburn) 

For more fun DIY spa ideas, try our mini-spa here!

Have you tried any of these masks, or making your own? Let us know in the comments below!

Interview: Noriko Kunimi of Silicon Valley SCORE

Are you thinking of starting your own business? Where do you even begin? Luckily for us, the SBA (Small Business Administration) referred us to the Silicon Valley chapter of SCORE. One of the best parts of this amazing organization has to be the many retired executives, CEOs, and CFOs who volunteer their time and expertise: we’ve relied on their free mentoring services many times. They also offer reasonably priced courses, such as business plan help and Quicken. Today, we talked to Noriko Kunimi, the upcoming Chair for Silicon Valley SCORE.

Wonderland Organics: What area of business do you specialize in?

Noriko Kunimi: My business specialty is Business Alliances Management.  I managed executive relationships with large foreign companies with whom my U.S. companies established formal alliance agreements to do joint technology development, joint marketing and sales.

Wonderland Organics: That’s impressive! Tell us a little about your background.

SV SCORE classroom

SV SCORE classroom

Noriko Kunimi: I originally came from Japan to go to high school in the U.S.  After college and graduate school, I worked for many years at large high tech companies in various areas, such as business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic alliances. When I decided to retire early in 2007, I was vice president of global alliances for a major East Coast company.  Since retirement, I have done management consulting as well as executive coaching, and of course counseling at SCORE. I am currently the Vice chair of the Silicon Valley Chapter, and I will step into the Chair position starting this October.

Wonderland Organics: You’re quite inspirational!  How did you come to work for SCORE?

Noriko Kunimi: Several years ago I had a neighbor who was active in SCORE and he recruited me into the Silicon Valley Chapter of SCORE.  At the time there weren’t many women in the organization, so they were glad to have me join.

Wonderland Organics: We’re sure that SCORE is happy to have you join their ranks! What services does SCORE offer?

Noriko Kunimi: As you may know, SCORE is a nonprofit organization that has about 340 chapters around the U.S. staffed by more than 11,000 volunteers, majority of whom used to own their own businesses or were executives in corporations.  Here at the Silicon Valley Chapter, we have over 50 full time members and several who are in training to become full members.  We provide business mentoring to people who either already have small businesses or those who are starting new ones.  Many clients are very talented in their own fields but may not have any business planning or management background.  We help them organize their businesses for success.  We provide free one-on-one counseling, free business mentoring on an ongoing basis, and provide an array of classes and workshops at nominal prices.

Wonderland Organics: We love using SCORE’s services! What is your favorite part of working for SCORE?

SV SCORE Counselors

SV SCORE Counselors

Noriko Kunimi: I really enjoy working with clients who are passionate about their business but need a little help looking at how they are doing their business.

Wonderland Organics: We agree, it’s great that SCORE provides help for entrepreneurs. Do you have any advice for people thinking about going the entrepreneurial route?

Noriko Kunimi: Yes, be passionate!  It’s hard work, so you have to be committed and really believe in what you are doing.  Then get unbiased help from organizations such as SCORE to develop plans to make it come true.

Wonderland Organics: That’s a fantastic point. And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics website/blog?

Noriko Kunimi: Your interviews are interesting.

Thanks so much to Noriko for talking to us! Interested in SCORE? Check out their website here, and be sure to look for a chapter near you.

 

 

Facial Care Routine for Oil-Prone/Combination Skin

Photo courtesy of stockphotos/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of stockphotos/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Got oil-prone/combination skin? We know it can be troublesome to care for this particular skin type, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. All it takes is following a simple beauty routine and once a week adding in a few quick and easy treatments. Try the following routine and see how it can help clear skin and keep additional breakouts at bay.

Follow these steps twice a day: (first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed)

Cleanse – We suggest using a facial oil wash to remove makeup, massaging gently around the eye area. Cost-effective products such as organic coconut oil are also fantastic for makeup remover! Next, use a gentle cleanser that won’t dry out your skin.  You may want to use a bar of handmade soap formulated specifically for combination skin, and avoid products that contain sulfates.

Tone – Toning helps restore the pH balance in your skin and also clear away any dirt or oil that your cleanser might have left behind. Look for a toner that is alcohol-free: we recommend organic hydrosols, as they are distilled from plants and flowers.

Treat – Next you’ll apply any special treatments for your skin. This may be a drop of tea tree oil directly on a pimple, or at night this may be a facial serum that contains vitamin A, which has been shown to clear skin and reduce acne scarring. We suggest prevention, as using an oil-prone/combo serum may be better applied before the pimple even starts to show.

Balance Serum for oil-prone/combination skin

Balance Serum for oil-prone/combination skin

Moisturize – This is a critical step: just because your skin is oily doesn’t mean it doesn’t need moisture. Moisturizing forms a protective barrier over your newly clean and treated skin, which helps the nourishing ingredients in your targeted treatments sink deep into your skin. We recommend the Wonderland Organics Balance Serum, formulated especially for oil-prone/combination skin! We use it twice a day, utilizing just two-three drops for the face and neck. After our facial oil serum, feel free to use an organic foundation or concealer, and sunscreen.

Once a week add in additional treatments including a facial steam and a clay mask. These will help to draw out toxins and impurities from your skin, reducing the likelihood of breakouts. Following this simple routine on a regular basis should bring about improved skin and fewer breakouts.

Do you have any particular routines you prefer for your oil-prone and combination skin? Let us know in the comments below!

Interview: Jeremy Blum of South China Morning Post

We love Interview Fridays, as they’re a great chance to interact with people across different careers, mindsets, and personalities. We first met Jeremy Blum in Taipei, when we were both writing for City543. Now, he’s working in Hong Kong as an online reporter for South China Morning Post.

Wonderland Organics: What first got you interested in journalism?

Jeremy Blum: I actually wasn’t specifically interested in journalism until fairly recently; I never studied it in college, and the only “media agency” I’d worked for prior to 2012 was my middle school newspaper. I WAS interested in writing, though. It’s been a hobby of mine ever since I was a little kid. I minored in Creative Writing in school and received my major in East Asian Studies. When I graduated, I knew I wanted to leave the US and travel while I still could. (I’d call it a gap year, but this was back in 2010, when millennials didn’t call themselves millennials yet and the term “gap year” wasn’t as popular.) I’m half Taiwanese, so I decided to go to Taiwan for a year to improve my Chinese and work as an English teacher. I had a wonderful time in Taiwan, and my one year there turned into two.

Eventually I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school in Asia. I looked around at programs that were available in a variety of places, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Korea, and I also spent a good month pondering the question of “what exactly am I good at?” Eventually I realized that the answer was writing, something I’d been doing for pleasure for years. I actually prefer writing fiction above all else, but since it’s quite difficult to get a paying job as a novelist, I figured that I’d get a journalist degree first, because that way I could at least make a living doing something I’m good at. I ended up applying and getting accepted by the University of Hong Kong for a Master’s degree in Journalism, and I’ve been here since. At this point, it’s been over four years since I left the United States.

Wonderland Organics: We love that you ended up traveling abroad! It was definitely an amazing experience. Tell us about your background.

Jeremy Blum: I was born and raised in New Jersey and lived there until I was 22. I had a pretty quiet, mildly repressed suburban upbringing – kind of typical of a lot of kids growing up in small town America. Sometime around high school, I slowly realized how boring my town was and began wanting to see the world. Even though I’m half Taiwanese, I’d never been to Taiwan or even left the United States as a kid, and my first time abroad was a trip to Japan when I was 16. I applied to be a student ambassador at a program sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, and I spent two weeks in the summer touring various Japanese cities, meeting Japanese students my age. The trip blew my mind and birthed a strong desire to go to Asia and rediscover my heritage, so that’s why I ended up majoring in East Asian Studies in college.

Jeremy Blum, online reporter for South China Morning Post

Jeremy Blum, online reporter for South China Morning Post

Wonderland Organics: That’s fantastic! How did you like joining the City543 team?

Jeremy Blum: I joined City543 near the end of my two years in Taiwan. That was an interesting time because I had already applied to journalism school, and in the process of filling out my resume I realized that while I’ve always considered myself a writer, I barely had any clips to show future employers. I badly needed experience writing and publishing articles online, so I began trying whatever I could to put my work out there. City543 was one of the first “real” gigs that I got, and it happened purely by luck. At the time I was studying Chinese at Taipei’s National Taiwan University, and I had a friend named Elaine who had another friend named Stephanie. At one get-together, I learned that Stephanie wrote for a blog called Taipei543 (that was its name at the time), and I asked her if she could recommend me. I met the folks in charge of the site and ended up writing a bunch of articles for them during my last two or three months in Taiwan. It was very fun – I got to flex my writing muscle, improve my familiarity with Taipei and finally got some decent stuff up on the internet. At the same time, I also wrote for a technology blog (which is unfortunately now offline), and that was also thanks to connections that I made while studying Chinese. The whole experience taught me that “who you know” and just plain old dumb luck is quite important.

Wonderland Organics: We’re pretty sure the world is incredibly small when we travel abroad! What’s a typical day like at work in Hong Kong?

Jeremy Blum: I work as an online reporter for the South China Morning Post, which is Hong Kong’s English-language newspaper. Generally I work anywhere from 8-10 hours a day, although I have pulled longer hours when it’s crunch time for a big story or multimedia project. When I first started I mainly wrote stories centered around current events in mainland China, including translations of Chinese-language articles and social media commentary. (All of my studies in Taiwan definitely helped with this…although I won’t lie, Google Translate is still a massive help.) I’m also filling in as a social media editor these days, so my hours have been packed with maintaining our Facebook and Twitter accounts and dealing with marketing people. When I’m not doing journalism-related stuff, I’m also blogging and working on a book manuscript. Overall, a typical day at work in Hong Kong is fast-paced, busy and filled with a billion e-mails, just like any other huge city.

Wonderland Organics: Google Translate definitely helps with emails. What do you find most rewarding about being a journalist?

Jeremy Blum:  I’ve always liked writing and story-telling, and being a journalist is essentially about communicating stories that are based in fact and current events. I particularly like bringing attention to lesser-known topics that mainstream audiences aren’t aware of, and I’m lucky enough to have open-minded editors who generally let me write whatever I want. For example, I did a long piece on how American comedy programs like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have found an underground audience in China, and I also wrote an article on Americans who translate relatively obscure Chinese video games. I enjoy shedding light on weird stuff like this.

Jeremy Blum

Jeremy Blum

Wonderland Organics: It’s great to see your passion for writing and the truth! Something that we’re all curious about: what’s the scariest moment you’ve had as a journalist?

Jeremy Blum: I don’t know if I’d call this scary, but I do still get nervous before I have to call or interview someone. I’m okay doing it in English, but a few times I’ve had to call random people in China to try to get quotes for a story, and despite all those years of study, I’m still not the best at speaking formal Chinese on the phone to somebody that I don’t know. (My Chinese has also regressed a bit since coming to Hong Kong, if you can believe that. There’s way too much English here.) One time I had to call this police station in a faraway Chinese province to try to find out what happened to a little boy who’d gotten into a bad accident, and I ended up fumbling over my words everywhere. It was embarrassing, and the fact that the people on the phone were grumpy, had really thick accents and were probably overworked didn’t help. But dealing with this sort of thing and overcoming it is part of being a journalist, I suppose.

Wonderland Organics: A brave man! Do you have any advice for people wanting to follow their dreams and go the entrepreneurial route?

Jeremy Blum: I think anyone who wants to follow an unorthodox path in life needs to stay positive and persistent. It doesn’t matter if you want to be a writer, photographer, an entrepreneur or whatever – if you strongly desire to construct a career out of creating something, whether that “something” is your own business or a work of art, then you’ve got to be prepared for a long road that may not be profitable in the beginning. Other people (like your parents) will probably dissuade you and encourage you to pursue a job with more stability, and whether you take their advice or not is your own decision. But if you feel strongly about a passion, don’t let it slip away entirely. Even if you have to take up a more stable job to pay the bills, try to find a way to fulfill your interests on the side. It’ll be tough, but if you think about it, most people in this world are perfectly content to live an existence simply surviving and making money for someone else. If you desire something more than that and can’t let that desire go, then it’s worth the plunge to cultivate your entrepreneurial spirit. Also, if you’re a creative type, don’t underestimate the possibility of starting your business abroad, or at least leaving your home country to gain some perspective, motivation and self-awareness. Some of the best ways to gather inspiration for that project you’ve always thought about are traveling, meeting new people and expanding your horizons. You never know what can happen.

Wonderland Organics: Well said! We hope people thinking about starting their own businesses will keep this in mind. What’s your favorite part of the Wonderland blog/website?

Jeremy Blum: I love how you interview other entrepreneurs and creative types every Friday. Anything that brings attention to other people who are trying to break out of the mold and do things a little different from the norm is good in my book.

Thanks so much for talking to us, Jeremy! If you want to know more, feel free to follow his social media & website:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn

Website

Fine Line and Wrinkle Prevention: Is It Possible?

Wonderland Organics and BonBliss at Face and Body Expo!

Wonderland Organics and BonBliss at Face and Body Expo!

One of the best parts of running your own business is the constant education: we went to the Face & Body Expo a few weeks ago, eager for more skincare knowledge. We loved networking with many like-minded people, and the opportunity to learn from those in the know. Many of the classes focused on anti-aging, anti-wrinkles, new products and ingredients such as retinoids, and skincare tips. We will be adding to the Wonderland blog about our new found knowledge, so do stay tuned!

Since our culture places a high priority on maintaining a youthful glow and smooth skin, many people clamor for anti-aging products. Not taking genetics and family history into account, a question most want to know is: ‘Can fine lines and wrinkles be prevented?’

The unfortunate answer is…no. Everyone will at some point develop fine lines and wrinkles as they age – it is simply a natural part of aging. Lines and wrinkles will develop, and will become more evident over time as the strength and elasticity of skin naturally breaks down with age. The good news, however; is that there are things we can do to help slow the aging process down.

Eat right – eating a healthy, balanced diet can be an excellent first step to beautiful skin. Taking in the proper nourishment, including omega fatty acids and healthy fats help our bodies run more efficiently, which in turn promotes proper circulation, meaning blood can travel to the skin layers to promote the generation of healthy new skin cells. Check out our recommendations for healthy breakfast ideas here!

Drink right – 6-8 glasses of water a day are recommended. Reduce or cut out completely high sugar drinks such as soda and wine. Replace these with herbal tea to provide further benefit to your body. We highly suggest green tea for the polyphenols and antioxidants, though be warned that tea (and coffee) stains teeth.

Image courtesy of duron123 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of duron123 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Get a limited amount of sun exposure – sunlight is an important source of vitamin D, so we do need some sun exposure. The problem is that we often get too much sun. The more sun exposure one’s skin has, the faster it will age. Go for a healthy balance – wear protective clothing including UV hats and sunglasses, and use sufficient amounts of sunscreen that is reapplied regularly. We suggest using a physical sunscreen made of zinc oxide, or tinsorb S and tinsorb M (this active ingredient is found in European sunscreen products).

Reduce stress – stress, anxiety and worry cause us to furrow our browns, frown, and tense up our facial muscles. This can cause lines to quickly develop. By reducing stress, we can reduce the tendency to frown or wrinkle our face with worry, thus saving our facial skin from puckering. We know, this is a difficult one, but those frown lines and forehead lines are never fun to develop.

Get plenty of sleep – this may be anecdotal, but many experts say that getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night can contribute to having better skin, along with better physical and mental health. Some people are incredibly good at this, sleeping at 10 pm, and waking up early. Plus, resting on a silk pillowcase may help decrease lines on your face when you wake up the next day (you know what we’re talking about, the ones your typical cotton ones cause).

Quit smoking – do this not just for the health benefits, but also to reduce the puckering of the lips around a cigarette that lead to those deep lines around the mouth. Quitting smoking will also greatly improve blood circulation, so more of the vital nutrients in blood can reach developing skin cells and promote healthy cell turnover.

Products that help boost your skin –hyaluronic acid, chirally correct ingredients, carrot seed essential oil: these help with skin issues (we will be discussing more of these in our next blog post!), as our skin naturally has hyaluronic acid, just creates less of it as we age. Anti-aging isn’t quite possible, but finding products with certain ingredients will be sure to help, as least for awhile. For best results, follow the tips above in addition to using quality skin care products and you’ll be on your way to holding the signs of aging at bay for just a little while longer.

What products or skincare tips have you tried for prevention? Do let us know in the comments below!