Smell 6 Years Younger

Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Foundation in Chicago, reported that a study showed that women wearing the scent of pink grapefruit were perceived by men to be six years younger than their age.

Other scents put on middle-aged models had no effect, Hirsch said, including broccoli, pumpkin pie, banana, cucumbers and spearmint leaves.

Hirsch, a board-certified neurologist and psychiatrist, said grapefruit's aroma has no effect on a woman's perception of a man's age.

Hirsch's study is getting attention all over the country. The researcher doesn't know why grapefruit's scent has such an effect on men and noted perfumes don't have the same effect as grapefruit. "Maybe it induced men to become sexually aroused," Hirsch speculated.

There are about a million grapefruit perfumes and body sprays out there. You can do a search to find one you like or just hit up Bath & Body Works. However, I recommend investing in a little bottle of essential oil for a few reasons. A) The scent will be a little less diluted and a little more authentic than in a OTC perfume or body spray...since its from the real deal. B) You can do lots with essential oils, so your little $5 to $10 bottle will go a lot further.

Here are 10 ways to use your grapefruit essential oil:

1. Add 10 drops to your bath water.

2. Add 5 drops to a cotton ball, and place in drawers, closets, etc for a homemade sachet/air freshener. This is also a good one for inside shoes or at the bottom of the kitchen trash can.

3. Make your own body spray. Add 15 drops to a 1 oz. glass spray bottle of spring water. Shake well before each use. This can also double as a room spray or fabric refresher.

4. Add 10 drops to a clean dry rag for a homemade, cost effective, and environmentally friendly dryer sheet.

5. Add 15 drops/oz. to jojoba oil for a homemade after bath moisturizure or massage oil.

6. Make your own, chemical free carpet powder by adding 5 drops per cup of baking soda. Sprinkle over carpets and allow to sit for an hour or so, then vaccum up.

7. Make your own diffuser by putting 1 drop on your light bulbs. The heat will evaporate the oil, and fill the room with fragrance. Just don't try it on halogen!

8. You can add 1 drop to a tealight to make your own scented candles.

9. You can add a few drops to the rinse water of your dishes or when cleaning out the refridgerator.

10. Grapefruit is uplifting and rejuvinating. Why not spend 15 minutes in the morning just inhaling the scent. Clothes your eyes, breathe deep, and get ready for the day.

In addition to smelling great, grapefruits are also great for you! Check out my previous post on grapefruits but clicking here.

Free Sachet

You know those scent strips inside magazines that let you preview a perfume? If you are like me, you give them a quick whiff and move on, right? Well, I found the best little use for them! Cut them out and shove them in a drawer or place on the closet shelf for a quick and free sachet!

Postage Stamp Increase

I had heard this was on the horizon, but I didn't pay too much attention to when it was actually going into effect.

As of May 11th the price of stamps will be increasing by .02¢. It will now cost .44¢ to mail a regular old letter. The only way around this is to stock up on Forever stamps now.

In addition to stamps, pretty much every other postal service will be increasing as well. For a full list of the new pricing go HERE.



Today's blog is brought to you today by my eavesdropping. Sort of. I was present during a conversation between my biology instructor and a female student.

She had asked our instructor if he wore sunscreen because he is very tan. He said he did NOT because he found that when he wears it as part of his routine, if he forgets it for a day, he tends to get a very bad burn because his body is so "dependant" the sunscreen. I had never heard this claim before, and tend to think that its a little exaggerated.

Next, the conversation turned to recent rumors or warnings about sunscreens containing cancer causing chemicals. This was a new one for me, too, and I began to feel very out of the loop.

At this point I interjected myself into the conversation and suggested an organic sunscreen. However, according to the other student, the organic sunscreens contain the same carcinogens as the inorganic versions, namely titanium dioxide.

So, naturally, I needed to investigate it.

First off, all sunscreens work in pretty much the same way whether they are organic or not. They keep your skin hydrated so it is less susceptible to damage and they reflect or absorb UVA/UVB rays...which do the damage. The SPF rating is the degree to which the sunscreen does this. The lighter you are, the less ability you have to do this naturally, and the greater an SPF you need. You can read more about sunscreen, and the extremely complicated SPF ratings,

Next is organic vs. inorganic. You automatically think organic must be better, right? See how easily we are conditioned! For food, organic typically means little or no man made chemicals, but for sunscreens this is not the case. For sunscreens, organic means carbon compounds and inorganic means other chemical compounds such as titanium dioxide. Note that BOTH VERSIONS HAVE CHEMICALS. Also, organic version tend to absorb the rays, and inorganics tend to reflect them. Most popular OTC sunscreens are a mix or both of these.

So, what other option do you have? Well, you can always make your own. Its a little bit of a project, but certainly not an all day event. And, personally, I like knowing what is going in or on my body these days. So, if you're so inclined, the recipe is as follows...

Homemade Sunscreen
3 tablespoons of unrefined sesame oil
1 tablespoon of unrefined avocado oil
1 tablespoon of unrefined jojoba oil
1 tablespoon of almond oil
1 tablespoon of shea butter
2 tablespoons of cocoa butter
1 teaspoon of beeswax
1 teaspoon of soy-lecithin liquid
2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
2 tablespoons of lavender water
½ teaspoon of borax powder
20 drops carrot seed essential oil
3-5 drops of coconut fragrance oil

The majority of these ingredients can be purchased at a health foods store or an organic skincare shop. You can also specially order them online with a simple google search.

1. Combine the first 7 ingredients by melting them over medium heat in a double boiler. Once melted, add the soy-lecithin. Mix these together and remove from the heat.

2. Warm the aloe vera and lavender water, stirring in the borax until it is dissolved.

3. When both of these mixtures are about the same temperature, mix the 2 concoctions forcefully (you can use a food processor). A cream should come out of this. Be sure to blend thoroughly.

4. Stir in the carrot-seed and coconut.

If you're not up for making your own, here are a few ready made, less chemically version to try:

Organic Hemp Seed Oil Sun Block

Organic Mineral Sunscreens, SPF 15, SPF 20, SPF 30 and SPF 40 Lavera Organic All Natural Makeup and Skin Care

Natures Trusted Source

Now, regardless of what sunscreen you choose...organic, homemade, or otherwise...it is important to realize that no sunscreen offers 100% protection from the sun. There are lots of other steps you can and should take.

1. Limit your exposure. It's just like sex...the only safe sex is no sex. Well, the same goes for the sun. The best protection is to stay away or cover up, especially during peak hours (10AM - 4PM). And, wear a hat and sunglasses...your skin isn't the only thing in danger!

2. Use sunscreen all the time, not just at the beach. Lots of lotions and cosmetics now come with a built in sunscreen so those are good options for everyday use, though obviously not sufficient for a day in the sun.

3. When you will be spending time outdoors, choose a sunscreen with a high SPF rating that is water proof. Apply it 30 minutes before sun exposure, like before you get in the car to drive to the beach, not when you get there...and reapply it every 2 hours.

Now you're ready for fun in the sun!

For even more info, check out the
Sun Safety Alliance.


Eat Sun Chips

Frito-Lay has announced one of their snacks is becoming just a bit more sustainable. Starting in 2010, all of the SunChips multigrain chips will come in fully compostable bags made out of plant-based materials. They claim the packaging will completely decompose in about 14 weeks. Let’s hope they begin using this type of bag for all their snacks.

Debbie is right. Why doesn't everyone do this?

You can read more here.


If you aren't planning a trip this summer, why not make staying home more fun? You don't have to leave town to have an active vacation.

Here are 10 ways to liven up your leisure time at home (or at least in the neighborhood).

1. Check into adult swim hours at your local pool. Hit the water and swim some laps.

2. Instead of climbing the walls at home, literally climb the walls — at a local rock-climbing gym

3. Dust off your bike and cycle through your neighborhood

4. Grab a partner and visit the public tennis courts or golf course; forgoing the golf cart, of course.

5. Take a walking tour of your town's business and shopping area.

6. Put on a pair of in-line skates and do some laps in the park.

7. Head for the local bowling alley or ice rink for an hour or two

8. Move your weight-training and toning exercises into the backyard.

9. Find some empty bleachers at a local school and do some open-air stair climbing

10. Set up a croquet set, basketball hoop or volleyball net in your yard and challenge your kids to a game.

To "O" Or Not To "O"...

Since I started my organic campaign the ongoing debate, while wondering through the grocery store with Mr. K, is hwat difference it makes...besides the price.

I maintain that even if its a tiny better for you, why not? Don't all the tiny little bits add up? Don't get me wrong, I read the labels and I have a pretty good grasp on which ones mean what. If you don't check out this post.

Mr. K says it is an evil plot to get more money. The end.

So, when should you choose the organic option over the conventional choice?

Here is a little advice on when to splurge on the "O"..

1.Anything that is normally grown using man made pesticides. Fruits, veggies, nuts, etc

2. Anything you eat or drink in large quantites. For example, if you eat lots of cheese or pasta opt for organic when you buy that item.

So, there you go. 2 little steps.


Water 101

Many years ago it was preached to us that we needed to start drinking more water, and lots of it.
So, we did.

And, pretty soon, everywhere you went there were people faithfully carrying water bottles everywhere they went!

Today, people all over the world spend billions of dollars for something in a bottle that all of us can get for free from our kitchen faucets.


Some people say it tastes better and others say its better for you. But, it that really how we feel or have we been conditioned to feel that way?

Check out this
20/20 segment.

Moving on.

More recently we are being told that we should be drinking water, but we shouldn't be drinking it out of plastic bottles. The reasons why vary.

Some people are environmentalist. The billion dollar bottled water industry dumps 60,000,000 empty bottles into American landfills...DAILY!

Personally, I don't think you need to be an environmentalist to think that stat is just plain horrible. Who in their right mind would be OK with this? Even if it's out of sight, out of mind...eventually, at this rate, it won't stay that way.

Some people are health junkies.

They claim that the plastic that are designer water comes in is killing us...slowly and surely! They tell us that the plastic bottle itself is putting invisible chemicals into the water that can lead to cancers, birth defects, and other such nastiness.

Some people are just plain scared, not to mention confused.

It is hard to know what is the right thing to do.

To drink or not to drink?


Stainless steel?


Paper? Yes. They make paper water bottles! Do a search.

So...my 2 cents is this:
A) Water should not be this complicated.
B) This is yet another instance where something good for you has gone bad.
C) You really need to get out and educate yourself.

As I mentioned, there are more than a few dollars in this kitty. For some, there is a lot at stake. And, in any situation where that is the case, the truth can get twisted along the way.

Personally, I gave up bottled water initially for the environment. Maybe not completely, but I stopped buying it in bulk from Costco, and now I only buy bottled if I am in a hostage crisis such an airport layover or a cross country drive. Most of the time we rely on the Pur water filter in the refrigerator. I even switched the dogs recently.

But, a few days ago I got an email with another bottled water warning. This one took things to another level by stating that not only should I not drink water out plastic bottles EVER, and especially if I leave them in my hot car, as this breaks down the plastic which then leaches into my water. OK. But, the email then goes on to say that this is also true of microwaving plastic containers, eating hot food with plastic utensils, warming plastic baby bottles....and so on and so on.

This means no Gladwear in your lunch at work. This means no quick reheating on the go. This means the Brita filter I sprung for might be just as damaging at the bottled water I gave up. This means a whole new ballgame, people!

Among many, there is a chemical called BPA which leaks into everything plastic touches. In a nutshell, BPA seemingly mimics the body's own hormones...therefore over time we OD on the effects of hormones, which can lead to birth defect and cancer. And, apparently, this has been a known fact since the 1930's. Again, as always, I encourage your own independent research.

So kids, the going advice these days is keep drinking water, but switching to either a reusable stainless steel or glass model. Purchasing a reusable water bottle is not only beneficial in keeping waste from our landfills, but they are also a healthy alternative to plastic bottles that can leach harmful chemicals including BPA. Stainless steel and glass are 100% recyclable and offers great durability.

Some not only hold the water, but filter it too! With normal drinkage, the filter only needs to be switched out once a year. Which will save lots of time and money over my Brita!

Here are some links.


Kleen Kanteen

Love Bottles

48 Second Water Sanitizer

Back to The Tap

Kor One


Heirloom Tomatoes

I have a unique love/hate relationship with tomatoes. There are instances where I do not like tomatoes anywhere near my plate and other instances where tomatoes have a starring role. This endlessly baffles Mr. K, as he can never seem to figure out which instances are which, and therefore cannot determine if I in fact like tomatoes or not. My answer would be...it depends.

In general, I would say I prefer them cooked over fresh. I always order sandwiches sans tomato, and remove them from my salads. On the other hand, I enjoy fresh bruchetta, and salsas.

When I was growing up, my uncle used to grow tomatoes in the backyard. So, for me tomatoes really signal summer. And, whether I am eating them or not, I adore their smell.

Last summer, during one of my grocery shopping adventures, I came across heirloom tomatoes. They really do look so much cooler than a regular tomato. They are bigger, bumpier, more colorful, and less perfect looking. You would probably assume that they are grown to be different, but to some degree it is actually the other way around.

"Regular" tomatoes are grown to be more uniform in shape, size, color, etc....so that they can be sort mass produced to meet the consumer demands. Most of the tomatoes purchased from grocery stores are hybrids. Without taking a detour into genetics, this means that the tomato growers take the best of the best from the tomato seeds, and over time they have created a tomato that is round, red, a certain size, etc etc. They have created the perfect looking tomato. Unfortunately, most people with agree that the taste of the tomato is sacrificed along the way, which is why it is so easy to tell the difference between store bought and home grown.

Heirloom tomatoes, on the other hand, are bred with a greater focus on the flavor instead, not the perfect look. And, rather then selectively breeding them to be something very specific, the good taste seeds are passed down and repeated over and over. Hence the name "heirloom".

You can use heirloom tomatoes in all your recipes that call for tomatoes, and do your own taste tests. There are even cookbooks out devoted completely to heirloom tomatoes!

Here is a summer cocktail to get you started on your own heirloom tomato adventure...
Heirloom Martini
1/4 piece heirloom tomato
Small sprig fresh basil plus more leaves, for garnish
2 ounces vodka
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 ounce Cointreau
In a pint glass or a shaker, muddle the tomato and basil. Add ice, vodka, lemon juice and Cointreau. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a basil leaf.


Grilled Figs

For some reason when I see recipes that include grilled fruits I always feel like I want to try them, but never actually get around to doing so. I don't know why. But, this summer will be different! I got a hibachi for Christmas, and I am going to use it. Fruits are actually really convenient for grilling when you think about since they are much more travel friendly than say steak or chicken.

So...here is the 2nd summer recipe, and the first involving grilled fruits.

Grilled Figs with Ricotta
2 Tbl honey
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 cup of water
3 Tbl slivered almonds
4 large (or 8 small) fresh figs
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbl powdered sugar
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp orange zest

1. Place the honey, cinnamon stick, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick, and stir in almonds.

2. Preheat broiler to medium high heat. grease a shallow baking pan that will accommodate all the figs. Slice figs into quarters, but leave attached at the base by about 1/2 inch (so they fall open like a flower). Arrange in the baking dish.

3. Combine ricotta, vanilla, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, and orange zest in a small bowl. Divide filling among the figs, spooning into the center of each "fig flower". Spoon the honey syrup over the top. Place figs under the broiler until the juices start to come out and the almonds are slightly toasted.

4. Cool for 3 minutes. Spoon any remaining juices from the baking dish over the figs when serving.