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Hey everyone,

I have never done this on my blog before, but I received an e-mail a few weeks ago from a partner in a mineral suncare brand called Block Island Organics (www.blockislandorganics.com).  They have a line of sunscreen products for adults and kids, and they wanted to know if I would be interested in trying and reviewing their product.

When I read that their philosophy is to actively enjoy the outdoors with the motto “Play Smart. Play Safe. Non-Toxic Suncare.”, I was intrigued.  I checked out their Web site and noticed they really strive to make safe, effective and lovable suncare products, as well as to educate the public on suncare issues.  The business started out of an eco spa on Block Island (which is located in Rhode Island) called Koru Eco Spa (www.koruecospa.com).

After checking out their ingredients, and after verifying that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) gave them a high rating, I agreed to try the product.

Block Island’s sunscreens are non-toxic and mineral based (zinc and titanium), as opposed to chemical based, and include a Baby SPF 30 (this product is zinc only), an SPF 15, SPF 30 and SPF 40 product.  All products are non-comedogenic, vegan formulated, paraben free, phthalate free, nano particle free, artificial fragrance free, non-eye irritating, not tested on animals, and made in the USA. I received the SPF-15 to try out.

blockislandorganics

Here are my thoughts:

Does it Work? Yes! First of all, if you don’t know me in person, then you need to realize that I am a redhead with VERY fair skin…this means that all I have to do is LOOK at the sun shining and I can already feel the burn setting in (Just Kidding)! Seriously, though…I burn within just a few minutes of being outside if I don’t have sunscreen on, so I have to be very diligent. I also sweat. A LOT! It’s a constant struggle for me to find sunscreen that lasts through my sweating.

I used the SPF-15 sunscreen on a really hot and humid day here in South Carolina while I took my dogs on a walk (the walk lasted around 30 minutes). The sunscreen performed very well…no sunburn! Despite the fact that I’d put the sunscreen on over 2 hours before taking my dogs for the walk. The directions say to re-apply every 2 hours, so I wasn’t sure what to expect…but it performed like a champ!

Here are the details on the SPF-15 formula:

Active Ingredients: titanium dioxide 3.50%, zinc oxide 3.50%.

Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera Gel) Juice*, Aqua (Deionized Water), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Carota Saativa (Carrot) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, Glycerin, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Lecithin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Rubus Idaeus (Rapsberry) Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Oil, Xanthan Gum. (*Certified Organic)

How does it compare to other sunscreens? There were some noticeable differences between the Block Island Organics sunscreen and the products I typically see in stores:

  1. Block Islands Organics reminded me a little of the sunscreens I used to use when I was a kid, as the ones available way back then (I was born in 1972, by the way) were mineral based as well. This was a little strange at first, since I haven’t used a mineral based sunscreen in YEARS. But the cool thing was that, unlike the sunscreens from my youth, this formula rapidly dried on my skin, and didn’t leave my skin feeling “gloopy” and sticky like most sunscreens.
  2. I am SUPER sensitive to smell, and most sunscreens today are either loaded with artificial fragrances that give me a headache, or they have that “sunscreen” smell. The Block Island Organics sunscreen really doesn’t have a fragrance. When you first put it on, you can smell the natural ingredients (mainly the Eucalyptus), but then pretty quickly, the smell just sort of disappears. LOVE!
  3. Because Block Island Organics sunscreen is mineral based, it does leave a whitish tint on your skin. But if you follow their suggestion of “A little goes a long way”, it really was fine. I put too much on my first arm, and it took me awhile to “rub it in” enough to get rid of the white tint. But the second arm went much better, as I just dabbed on little pea-sized drops along the arm and it rubbed in perfectly.

Do Their Claims Hold Water? After my walk with my dogs, and sweating a LOT on that walk, there were a few areas where the sunscreen had run due to sweating, but it didn’t affect its ability to protect me from the sun. WIN!

Would I Recommend Block Island Organics? Yes, I would. Though I will probably order the SPF-30 or SPF-40, as SPF-15 isn’t always enough for me. It will protect your skin while keeping you from being miserable due to nasty, runny sunscreen. PLUS, it’s all natural…remember, the skin is your biggest organ, so keep it healthy! I particularly love that it has so many ingredients known to be great for the skin (i.e., aloe, coconut oil and shea butter, among others), which makes me comfortable putting it on my face.

Where Can You Get Some? Block Island Organics sells directly through their website, http://www.blockislandorganics.com/. They have offered a discount code for readers of this post, which is valid from July 29 – August 4, 2014. Enter scyogagirl when checking out to receive 20% off your purchase.

Note: I received this product at no charge for the purposes of review. My review was not influenced in any way by Block Island Organics, nor do I receive any proceeds from sales or affiliate referrals. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own.

I hope you decide to buy this product, and if you do, comment here to let me know (and Block Island Organics) how you liked it!

Namaste,

Melanie

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“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.” ~~ Rick Warren

gutpunch

(Photo Courtesy of DeviantArt)

It’s funny how life works sometimes, isn’t it? Things will seem to be going swell, and then out of nowhere, you get hit with something and it feels like a big ol’ punch in the gut. If you aren’t careful, it can knock you down, struggling to get back up again. Usually, we think of BIG things hitting us, like a divorce or someone we’re close to dying. But it amazes me how sometimes, even “small” things can knock someone out for the count (at least, I notice this with myself…anyone else out there have this same experience on occasion?).

So these past few weeks, I’ve been really focusing on incorporating more positive energy into my life. I’ve created daily challenges for my friends on Facebook (which I am doing right along with them), and some of them are designed to help with bringing in more positivity. Also, I was challenged by a friend to post three positive things each day for a total of seven days, and then name three different people each day to do the same. So by the end of the seven days, I will have challenged 21 of my friends to do what I am lovingly referring to as the “7-Day Positivity Challenge”. Pretty cool, don’t you think? I definitely do.

But let me be completely honest. This morning, I was questioning how cool this little challenge actually was. I had one of those days yesterday where I was hit with a couple of things that most would consider to be “small” things. And they WERE small things, but it didn’t feel small to me at the time. Maybe if I’d been hit with them individually on different days, I would have reacted differently. Who knows! All I know is that by 5:00 p.m. yesterday, I’d hit my breaking point.

The one thing that kept me from totally losing my mind was knowing I was going to meet my daughter at a yoga class after work. I walked out to my car, all excited, and then BAM! The parking garage was PACKED! It took me 20 minutes to get out of the garage, and then once I was out, the traffic on the main road was just CRAZY! This set off a full-blown panic attack. I mean, I totally NEEDED to get to yoga, and now I was wondering if I’d ever make it on time. So I closed my eyes (I was at a dead stop in traffic anyway, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt), took several deep breaths (OK, more like 151 deep breaths), and said a prayer. I asked God to please let me get there as quickly as I could, so I wouldn’t miss the class. I also asked him to keep me from panicking to the point that I’d have to pull over…after all, there was nothing I could do to make the situation better, so me freaking out was doing no one any good.

Well, I made it to class. I walked in right as class was starting, so once I changed clothes and claimed my spot, I really only missed the first 5 minutes. So I relaxed a bit…until we did our first chest opening pose. This was an EASY pose! Simply clasping the hands behind your back from a Mountain Pose and then folding forward while keeping the hands clasped behind you. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even clasp my hands from a standing position. WTH! I used to be able to do this ALL THE TIME! All through the class, every chest opening pose we did, I couldn’t do. It felt like I just had this web of steel across my shoulders, chest and upper back, which was limiting me from stretching any of those areas. As class went on, I got more frustrated with myself, and by the time we reached Savasana, I was struggling to keep the tears back.

The whole way home, I just let it out. I can’t remember the last time I had a really hard cry like that. When I got home, I was exhausted, so I took a shower and just went to bed. I didn’t have the energy for anything else but sleep.

That brings me to this morning. When I woke up, I thought about everything that happened yesterday. I thought about why I went into that tailspin of despair over such small things. Then I thought, “Oh God! I’ve got to post THREE positive things for today! How in the world am I going to DO that???”

Well, it got me to thinking. Maybe that’s why this whole “post three positive things each day for seven days” thing got started in the first place. I mean, it’s EASY to come up with positive things the first day or two…we’ve got the standard positive things to say about our families and friends and health, etc., etc. But as you go, you have to dig a little deeper each day for those positive things, and to me, these are the most meaningful. Because these are the ones we really have to THINK about. Get it?

This morning, I finally got it. And it was nice. I was able to come up with three positive things, despite still being in a rather crappy mood. And doing so made me feel a little bit better and a little more positive.

There are going to be days, for ALL of us, that are challenging. That’s life, right? I love the quote from Rick Warren above…he’s totally right. We can’t just magically be positive. It’s a process, and it takes time. We’re always going to have ups and downs, so we have to appreciate the journey and discover who we are along the way. When you find yourself down for the count, it’s how you choose to react to the situation that will eventually define who you are and how people see you.

So…what will YOU do when you get sucker-punched by life? Me? I will strive to look for the positive things, even if it’s hard to do…they are there. All I have to do is open my eyes and see them.

Namaste,

Melanie

“Don’t ever criticize yourself. Don’t go around all day long thinking, ‘I’m unattractive, I’m slow, I’m not as smart as my brother.’ God wasn’t having a bad day when he made you… If you don’t love yourself in the right way, you can’t love your neighbour. You can’t be as good as you are supposed to be.” ~~ Joel Osteen

LoveYourself(Picture above Courtesy of Date Safe Project)

Before I get into the meat of this particular blog post, I want to take a moment to thank all of you out there. You probably don’t realize it, but you all provide me with SO MUCH inspiration…all the time! Many of you have taken the time to respond to my posts and also to tell me what you’d like to see more of. And it seems like most of you want to see more things that will inspire you to be a better person. Perfect! I want the same for ME, so it looks like we’re on the same page. WINNING!

The cool thing is that, as I work to find things to inspire all of you, I end up finding inspiration for myself. And your comments inspire me even more, which inspires YOU even more, and….well, I think you get the picture. It feels like we’re starting an Inspiration Revolution, wouldn’t you say? Woot woot!

So this week, for kicks and giggles, I wanted to see what would happen if I posted a Daily Challenge on my Facebook page. I’ve only posted three so far, but already I’ve gotten some decent response. If you’re not one of my Facebook friends, here are the three I posted this week:

  1. Say something nice to YOURSELF today.
  2. Say or do something nice for someone else. Pay it forward.
  3. Get outside! Spend at least 5 minutes outside today, sans distractions (that means put your phone away!) and simply notice the sights, smells and sounds that you encounter. This is good for the soul!

It’s interesting…the first one got 18 “Likes” and a few responses. The second one got only 5 “Likes”, but also got a fair number of responses. The last one…well, I only posted it this morning and I am writing this post during my lunch break…but it’s surpassed the first one already.

It got me to thinking…is #2 really that difficult, or is it just coincidence that it got the least number of “Likes”? Is it really that hard to say or do something nice for someone else? Maybe. In my opinion, we first have to like and be nice to ourselves before we can authentically do the same for others. If you’re not right with yourself, you’ll come across as “fake” when trying to do something for other people. And don’t you agree that it’s hard to be nice to others when you’re down on yourself? If talking positively to yourself is new for you, start by finding something good to say to yourself when you’re on your yoga mat…it can be as simple as saying, “Wow, my hamstrings are feeling more flexible today!”

It all ties back to the whole positive energy thing I’ve been writing about for the past two weeks. The more positive we can be, the more we’ll exude that vibe to those we come into contact with. And once we’re there, it’s easy to do items #1 and #2 each and every day, not just when someone (i.e., ME) challenges you to do so. It shouldn’t be a challenge to be nice to yourself and to others…it should come NATURALLY. But so often, it just doesn’t. For a variety of reasons. We need to stop that, and I mean NOW!

So my plea to you this week is to do all three of the things I listed above. If you’re having trouble with #1 and #2, then doing #3 might be a good place start. At this time of year, how can you help but come away from a walk outside with anything but gratitude? OK, OK….I know it’s really hot in some locations right now, but surely you can find a time of day where you can retreat within nature and get away from all the stress and distractions for at least 5 minutes. For me, first thing in the morning, as the sun is coming up, works great. Or right as the sun is going down. I resonate with sunrises and sunsets, so maybe that’s why I like being outdoors at those times, no matter what time of year it is.

Let me know how these three things go. And if you want to get in on my daily challenges, send me a Friend Request on Facebook and get in on the action. Until next week!

Namaste,

Melanie

“Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.” ~~ Barbara Marciniak

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(Photo courtesy of Awake Peace)

I just want to start this post off by saying, “WOW!” Just. WOW!

Last week’s post was all about how being more positive in everything we do brings about a loveliness…we can’t possibly be UGLY if we think good and positive thoughts. The topic resonated with me, which is why I chose to write about it…but what amazed me was how many of YOU resonated with it as well. WOW!

So many comments came in to me about that post, it humbled me. I always worry when I put myself out there a little bit and say what’s REALLY on my mind, but it was authentically ME so I figured what the heck…go for it! I am SO GLAD I did.

Throughout this past week, I read the post several times (most specifically when I found myself starting to do that whole negative self talk thing, you know?), and every time I read it, it sunk in a little bit more. I think that maybe, just MAYBE, the gorgeous sunbeams inside of me are starting to shine through. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you saw that yesterday, I had four separate people take time out of their busy days to say something to me that totally lifted me up. I’d like to think they took the time out for me because my earnest attempts at being more positive are starting to pay off…surely they wouldn’t have taken time for me if I was radiating a “Miss Negative” vibe, right?

At the end of the class I taught tonight, I shared the quote above by Barbara Marciniak, and it seemed to hit home with others, in the same way it hit home with me. Pretty darn cool, in my opinion! I love it when, by sharing a piece of my soul with others, it sparks a new connection.

I’m telling you, bring some positivity into your life and things will soar for you! If the positive energy is radiating from you, if it’s authentic, others will notice. They notice in a BIG way! And I am convinced it rubs off on them a little, too. It’s happening all around me, that’s for sure. I am starting to see more and more good coming my way. All I had to do was change my perspective and open my eyes…and there it was, in all its glory.

Focusing on the positive things seems to be hard for so many people I know. Therefore, I think this topic is worthy of focusing on for another week. So if I am lucky enough to have your beautiful and lovely faces in class with me this coming week, get ready to get positive! The world is your oyster, if you let that positive energy radiate from within. Things will start to happen in a way you may not have ever imagined, if you just emit your own frequency and put it out there into the Universe. As Albert Einstein said, “Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality.”

Namaste,

Melanie

”If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ~~ Roald Dahl

sunbeam

(Photo Courtesy of Humanity Behind a Sunbeam)

Who out there has ever read a Roald Dahl book or seen a movie adaptation of any of his books? If you’ve seen or read “James and the Giant Peach”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (think Willy Wonka), or “Matilda” and enjoyed, then you probably appreciate Dahl’s ability to write things that make us stand up and take notice.

In my yoga classes this past week, I focused on the concept of energy. Lots of people associate energy with “levels”…you know, when people say things like, “She is so high energy!” or “Man, I have no energy today.” But I’m talking about your TYPE of energy…in other words, positive vs. negative. You know what I mean?

Merriam-Webster’s Web site defines energy as:

energy

So the energy I’m focusing on in my classes with my students relates to definition 1C above, which is “a usually positive spiritual force.” And THAT is what Roald Dahl is talking about in his quote above, which comes from his book, “The Twits”. In that book, the main character’s wife is considered to have grown uglier over the years due to her ugly thoughts. The full quote is this:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. … A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

You know, I think this is SO TRUE! I really do. I can’t tell you how many people I know who wouldn’t be considered “lovely” or “beautiful” when judged by the conventional definition (I include myself in this mix, by the way)…they may be overweight, or have physical deformities, or (God forbid!) GRAY HAIR! But when I look at many of these people, all I can think of is how lovely and beautiful they are. And it’s because of their positive energy…they just radiate it from the inside out to a degree that it’s infectious and makes me feel great about the world.

There are others I know who are DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS. They could be in magazines, as they are THAT stunning. But there are many of them who, if you asked me, I would call UGLY. And it’s because they are nasty on the inside…never a nice thing to say, never thinking of anyone but themselves, never happy. Who wants to be around someone like that? Not me!

There are many people who tell me I am beautiful, and up until this week, I always thought to myself, “OK…what drugs are you on and can I have some? You MUST be on something if you think that about ME!” But, if I think about what Dahl said, then maybe I AM a lovely person. At least, I’d like to think so.

Of course, I know with 100% certainty that I have been prone to thinking ugly thoughts over my lifetime. I’m only human after all. I’m not sure anyone can be in Utopia ALL of the time. But I can say that the more I’ve evolved in my yoga practice (both the physical and the spiritual sides of yoga), the more I am able to be positive about things. I see good more than negative now, and that certainly makes me feel beautiful…probably because I just see more beauty around me with this more positive perspective.

A quote I shared with the classes I’ve been teaching this week has been one I came across by Shakti Gawain, who is an author of several personal development books. She said, “Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.”

Hopefully, your inner guidance is one that is positive. If it isn’t, then think about evolving your own practice in a way that allows you to develop more positivity. Don’t expect perfection. We all have times when it’s just not easy to find something good in a particular situation. But if you can start to be more positive, even just a fraction of a bit more, you’ll be surprised at how much stress you’ll be able to shed, how much beauty you’ll begin to notice. Things suddenly don’t look so glum when there are sunbeams shining through.

Namaste,

Melanie

 

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