Friday, December 13, 2013

Fun Re-use DIY Christmas Ornaments

Tis’ the season to get crafty! It’s fun to repurpose empty California Baby product bottles, so wait before you give them a toss (into the recycle bin, of course), here are a few easy DIY crafts to decorate your Christmas tree—gratis! Let’s decorate California Baby style!

• Product: California Baby Bubble Bath Cap
• Project: Picture Ornament

1: You’ll need a clean California Baby Bubble Bath flip-top cap, paint and brush, string and decorations

2: Paint Bubble Bath flip-top cap desired color(s) and once dry, start decorating!

3: Cut two pieces of string, wrap the first string through the hole of the cap and knot to secure. Make a bow with the second string and glue on top of cap opening *Make sure the dispensing side is hidden once cap flips closed.

4: To insert a picture, cut a 2 inch radius around picture and place inside cap with a dab of glue to hold in place. Hang on Christmas tree and enjoy!

• Project: Wine Cork Garland
• Why: At California Baby we are big lovers of cork flooring. We even collect used wine corks and send them off to be recycled by the Cork Conservatory. Again, before recycling, we wanted to re-use.

1: Gather up any wine and/or champagne corks, string and a paint or stamp pad

2: Roll corks over stamp pad and let them dry

3: Wrap string around cork making sure to knot each one before tying the next. Leave preferred space between each cork

4: Wrap around tree or hang anywhere to add a warm holiday touch to any room!

• Project: Hoop Garland made from paper shopping bags

1: Don’t throw away your paper shopping bags! You’ll need them for this project, along with left over wine corks, stamp pad, scissors and glue

2: Cut paper bags into long 1-2inch strips and use the end of a wine cork to stamp each strip for a festive decoration

3: Take each strip and glue each end together creating a ring. Repeat this process making sure each ring is looped through the next

4: Continue until desired length and place around tree!

• Project: Flower
• Made from: California Baby product tubes

We’ve showed you this one before—since it’s a favorite, we decided to show it to you again! They look really cute on a Christmas tree or sprinkled around as a festive decoration.

Place flowers around tree or place on top of tree as the main attraction!
Visit here for instructions:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Recipe: A Tasty Vegetarian Holiday Side Dish

It’s that time again for holiday gatherings that could mean you’re the host preparing the hors d’oeuvres or a guest in need of a quick, yet delicious, side dish to bring along. Not to worry, here’s an easy way to pull all the flavors from those last-of-the-season tomatoes. Hint: Never store tomatoes in the fridge, instead allow them to continue to ripen on the counter.

This recipe (it's really more of a how-to) is an effortless way to transform those red globes into warm and juicy comfort food for this chilly season. Serve up a few tomatoes per person as a veggie side dish or puree the whole thing and use as a super tasty pasta sauce (don't forget to squeeze the garlic out of its skin first).
Option: Throw in a few whole jalapeno peppers to turn up the spice dial

  • Casserole baking dish or cast iron pan
Produce & Seasoning
  • Tomatoes - enough to snuggly fit the dish/pan when cut in half
  • Salt and pepper to taste (use your fancy salt here, I love Fleur de Sel from the Camargue region of France)
  • Herbs de Provenance; fresh or dried. Don't have it? Improvise and create your own fresh blend by mixing thyme and oregano and even a little rosemary, chop finely.
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic - leave them whole and in their skins. Allow at least two per person. They will roast and become mild, creamy and nutty; then simply squeeze directly into your mouth or spread on a piece of bread.
Teaching moment: Develop your child's palate by getting them hooked on roasted garlic. They can pop them directly into their mouth or spread the paste on a piece of bread for a sophisticated snack!

Ready to bake!

How To
  1. Wash the tomatoes (I dilute CB Super Sensitive bubble bath or wash for this) rinse well to remove any soap residue and dry
  2. Cut tomatoes in half and fit into your baking dish – a snug fit is what you're after
  3. Tuck in garlic cloves in open spots
  4. Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper
  5. Drizzle with olive oil
Temp & Time
  • Bake at 450 F
  • 30 minutes or when tomatoes are caramelized and the garlic is soft and creamy - check every 10 minutes or so and rotate the vessel if you see one side is cooking faster and for balanced cooking.
Serve It Up
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving as the tomatoes will be HOT!
  • Serve directly from your baking vessel onto plates as it is hard to transfer the tomatoes onto a serving dish without destroying a few.
  • Soak up the 'sauce' that accumulates at the bottom of the vessel with slices of crusty country loaf bread

Oven roasted to perfection!



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What's In My Bag?

It’s true a woman carries her life in her bag. Whether it’s stuffed to the brim or lightly packed, the items found inside tells you a lot about the woman. Let’s find out what’s in Jessica’s bag. Jessica is the founder & developer of California Baby®, a line of natural skin care products of babies, kids & sensitive adults. 

1. Justin’s Almond Butter & Maple Syrup packet: I always have at least one of these in my bag because they are the perfect on-the-go snack. I don’t do junk food, even a “healthy” cookie is not for me, so when I saw these displayed at the checkout at my local Whole Foods market—I snatched them up! Now I buy them by the case and stock up so I’m never without. They come in particularly handy when I’m out shopping and my blood sugar starts to fall—between this yummy and conveniently packaged almond butter and my healthy drinks, I can keep going and going.

2. Lifefactory 16 ounce glass bottle: My lifestyle would be severely impacted if I didn’t have Lifefactory in it! I am totally off plastic drinking bottles and love that glass doesn’t impart any off flavors. Plus, I can feel good about tossing this in the dishwasher knowing that the material won’t degrade and start migrating into my drink as can happen over time with plastic. I usually fill this colorful (and chic!) container with cucumber water, chia water or chlorella.

3. Oversized scarf: Living in Los Angeles means that the weather can go from 80 degrees in the daytime to 60 something degrees and windy at night. A nice soft (preferably cashmere) scarf comes in handy to wrap around the neck, wrap as a shawl or just to add another dimension to any outfit.

4. Cat Eye sunglasses: I’ve been digging Oliver Goldsmith (London) lately for the perfect shape and lightness of the frame that doesn’t leave me with nose bridge dents. I buy mine at my favorite eyeglass shop in Beverly Hills, Roberts Optical. If you go, ask for Isabelle (she owns the shop with her husband), her taste is impeccable and she never tells you that something looks good when they don’t. They have such a great selection that she wants to help you find the perfect pair that you love.

5. iPhone & iPad mini: All labels and marketing materials pass through me, which means large files with lots of detail, and the iPad mini handles it without adding too much weight to my bag. I use the iPhone mainly for email and texting—I’m such a bad phone person that I don’t even turn the ringer on (who wants to be bothered?!) so if someone is calls me, I wouldn’t know it. I check my messages about once a week; I drive phone people crazy!

6. California Baby® trial sizes: These sizes are perfect in a handbag and last a surprisingly long time because they are so concentrated that a little goes a long way. I make sure I have a cream or lotion, a wash and sunscreen on hand. These come in very handy when traveling by airplane. Whenever I use the Calendula cream to moisturize my hands, I fall in love with the scent all over again!

Friday, July 19, 2013

EWG Bug Repellent Report

Have you seen the EWG’s report on Bug Repellents? They provide guidance on what kind of repellent to use in different situations. You will notice that they DO recommend DEET under certain circumstances. Kind of surprising coming from the EWG as their whole philosophy is based on the promotion of safe ingredients and chemical reform, right? We understand where they are coming from on this one though: although DEET is a chemical many of us in the natural world actively work to avoid (see the link below to view the plethora of side effects), they do recommend its use under certain circumstances. For instance, if you are in the Amazon jungle or touring Africa (our example, not theirs), it would seem practical and prudent to reach for DEET. Like antibiotics, when living a natural lifestyle, chemicals like DEET should be considered a short-term option as exposure over time is a very real hazard; click here to view the side effects of commercial bug repellents/pesticides.

Here at California Baby, we feel that for everyday use our Natural Bug Repellent is the safest choice, as well as being an effective and efficacious alternative to toxic bug repellent chemicals (like DEET). Our blend utilizes citronella, lemongrass and cedar—essential oils that  do not cause harm to humans, pets or the environment. Our DEET free natural formula repels bugs such as fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and biting flies and should be included as part of a bug fighting regimen (see below for tips on a complete bug fighting plan). California Baby Natural Bug Repellent is registered with CA EPA as a minimum risk bug repellent.

California Baby Natural Bug Spray also does double duty helping to soothe existing bites with herbs that care for the skin.  

For helpful tips on summer pest control: 

To read the EWG’s full report and tip sheet, click here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


To my California Friends,

I ask that you write and fax a letter to Assembly Member Gatto’s office (916-319-2143) opposing Bill AB 227.  You can view a copy of my letter below:


California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (aka Proposition 65) is under a serious legislative attack in the state Assembly.   

Bill AB 227 claimed intention is to curtail Prop 65 litigation that harms small businesses.  The remedy in this bill would allow businesses 14 days to address any Prop 65 violation after they have been caught in violation of the law.  Unfortunately, this remedy (which would apply not just to small businesses, but also to the largest corporations) would eviscerate the law by eliminating all incentives for proactively complying with Prop 65.

Here’s a good analogy:  this bill is like allowing all reckless drivers to get off with nothing more than a warning and a promise not to speed in the future.  How safe would our highways be if every speeder got off with a warning?  How safe will California’s air, water, and consumer products be if Prop 65’s violators have no incentive to comply with the law?

Under Prop 65, children are protected from lead, arsenic, and other highly toxic chemicals in candy, baby bibs, diaper creams, rubber gloves, water filters, playground equipment etc.  Prop 65  protected people in California and across the nation, but none of them would have happened if AB 227 were the law.

Protect the health of you and your family by doing your part and fax your signed letter to oppose Bill AB 227! Click to use this easy template by inserting your name on the blank line, sign it and fax to 916-319-2143 today!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What’s the difference between Organic and Certified Organic?

California Baby® Calendula Growing Field

In a conversation recently with friends who are considering marketing a supplement product line, I commented that unless it’s certified organic, I wasn’t interested in trying it. “Of course!” they said in unison, “It’s organic, wild harvested, all that...” Being privy to the behind the scenes shenanigans of the natural and supplement industry, I know that when it comes to vitamins and supplements, the company you buy from makes a HUGE difference. “What do you want us to do, get a certificate?” they responded incredulously. “That’s exactly what I want you to do, and be sure to verify that it is current,” was my reply. You may be thinking, ‘ohh, that Jessica is way too much of a stickler,’ or ‘if a company says they use organic ingredients, shouldn’t that be good enough for me.’ The answer is, yes, maybe. That is where the word ‘certified’ becomes very important.

What does "Certified Organic" mean?

Here’s the deal straight from the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) (of which I am a member):

 "Certified Organic" means the item has been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. Certification includes inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, detailed record keeping, and periodic testing of soil and water to ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the standards which have been set.

So there you have it, pixel by pixel. A little bit of clarification to help you cut through the marketing hype. And when it comes to vitamins and supplements, my suggestion is to only buy from a company that has a reputation for extremely high ethics and quality (hint: it won’t be the cheapest product on the shelf).

Monday, September 10, 2012

Nasal irrigation. Ever done it?

Yes, you read right! Nasal irrigation involves washing out the nose to clear away excess mucus, pollen and debris. Those of you with sinus issues may know what I'm talking about, but you don't have to have clogged nasal cavities to enjoy the benefits of salt water rinsing.

So many of us live or work in buildings that have dry or stuffy air. In my case, I battle the dry polluted Los Angeles air; instead of reaching for a decongestant or allergy medication, I suggest giving nasal rinsing a try. I usually rinse weekly just because it leaves my nasal passages feeling, um…fresh?

Alright, I can hear the eye balls rolling on this one. I do push the limits of what 'normal' folks will tolerate—and I am passionate about composting and I probably talk too much about the need and beauty of solar power… I get it, I'm different. But seriously, nasal irrigation really does work!

Give it a try and judge for yourself. It's easy, it's cheap and can be a lifesaver. Here's how I do it.

- Warm water—only use purified or distilled—and sea salt. (see link below on why only sterilized water should be used for nasal rinsing).
- A good ratio is 1/4 teaspoon to 8 ounces of water. Mix to dissolve. The water should be lukewarm - not hot!

I like this simple plastic tube, which is technically called a “cup,” this model is small, easy to use and travel with. Neti pots are an option, although I have never tried them, they are popular.
Here’s how to use the cup/tube: Fill with dissolved salt-purified water solution, cover the hole with your thumb, place the spout into one nostril, tilt your head slightly forward and to the side—in the same direction as the nostril you are rinsing (to avoid water going into your ear canal); lift your thumb off the hole, which releases the water. The water flows in one nostril, passes through the sinus cavity and out the other nostril, moisturizing and gently cleansing away dust and pollen.

Fill with the salt and purified water solution, place your finger over the center hole, placing the other part in your nostril.

Then lift your finger to start the gravity flow of water. When you want to stop or need to take a break, place your finger back over the center hole.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions exactly. A few main things to remember:

  • tilt your head forward and slightly to the side so that the water doesn't flow into your ear canal
  • do not breathe in through your nose while rinsing, breathe through your mouth.
  • stay relaxed; it’s a strange sensation, but try not to panic
  •  to stop the flow of water, simply place your thumb back on the hole
  • blow your nose very gently, just to clear away any accumulated mucus
Give it a try! Trust me, you'll appreciate the relief when the heat is blasting and the winds are kicking around dust, pollen, pollution and who knows what else. It's nothing to sneeze at!

Here's more info and a picture on nasal rising: Wikipedia.

My Picks:

Click on the link below to read what the FDA has to say about nasal rinsing: