Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving thanks!

Another Thanksgiving is upon us and with it, comes another reason to slow down, count all your blessings and enjoy a company of people who have been with you through thick and thin: your family and friends. So here I am, with a wine glass in my hand and a full heart in my chest, writing this post to all Marmalade Hills’ followers, fans, friends and supporters....
Coming from struggling, post-Soviet Eastern Europe, being the first generation of immigrants in this amazing country and on top of it all, living our dream - there is a lot to be thankful for, and since this is not an Oscar night I will not go into details ;) I tried to dig out my last year’s post and I did! I found it so touching, full of hopes and dreams. Today I am happy to report that one year later we are stronger and better than I thought we would be, a year ago! And it is all thanks to you, because you are that little extra push that I need in the lazy afternoon or past midnight. I want to bring you more exciting ingredients, more innovative natural products and just more positive attitude! Everything is possible if you surround yourself with the right people who are bold, curious, exciting, daring and challenging. This type of people are essential in business and everyday life to share your happy moments and to support you in rough seas. Along the way it was interesting to see how some people, who called themselves “friends”, disappeared into darkness and how new “strangers” came to my rescue. I have learned so much and I am forever grateful for every person in my life who taught me a lesson.

Keep watching Marmalade Hills blossom and know that if not for You there would be no us!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Best Pulled Pork Recipe

Recently I have rediscovered my slow cooker. It was sadly sitting in my garage for years until the day I was introduced to The Best pulled pork sandwich ever! I have been making it almost every week now for my family and volunteered to cook it for my friends a few times. It is extremely easy and unbelievably delicious... and as always, kid friendly! This recipe has been unofficially circulating among my friends and now I have found a few minutes to share it on my blog. Here it goes:

3 lb pork shoulder (or butt, apparently it is the same thing, according to my butcher)
1 (one) 12 oz bottle of your favorite root beer
1 green pepper sliced (I love using green pepper with meat)
1 medium onion sliced
seasoning to taste (I rub meat with Kosher salt and fresh black pepper)
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Additionally you will need sandwich buns and creamy coleslaw.... I am drooling already and I just made it last week :)

Rub your meat with seasonings on all sides. Place it into the slow cooker, cover meat with sliced onions and peppers, pour in the root beer. Fire up your slow cooker to high and leave it to cook for 6-7 hours, turning your meat once after first 3 hours of cooking. Meat should be falling apart with no effort by the end of cooking time.

Take your meat out on a large, flat plate and start separating meat from fat. Discard the fat, cooked vegetables and cooking juices. Shred good meat with a fork and return it to the slow cooker. Add BBQ sauce and mix well. Let the mixture sit in slow cooker on medium for a few more minutes for sauce to incorporate well. Turn off or leave on low until ready to serve.
The only thing that could make this sandwich better is Bloody Mary!

Enjoy! Let me know how you like it ;)


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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Renegade Chicago 2010 Report, Raffle and such

Less than two weeks ago my friend Sofia and I drove to Chicago to participate in 8th Annual Renegade Craft Fair. I had high expectations about the show and OH MY! where they exceeded! We got lucky with beautiful weather and an awesome corner spot, right behind the Prick Cushion (heard lots of funny comments over those two days, ha-ha!). The fair was amazing! The atmosphere was so relaxed and fun for people to shop and enjoy sunshine. Ice cold sangria, beer and wine were sold right on the street. The food along the Division street was delicious, I can still taste it in my mouth! The crowds were flowing non-stop through our booth, we were demonstrating our massage candles, people were friendly and we had barely enough time to run to the restrooms. It was great! Here are a few pictures of Sofia and I.
We started driving at 3AM and met sunrise somewhere on I-94... It was drizzling in the morning but the sky cleared as soon as we set up our booth.

Breakfast from Alliance Bakery was just amazing! Morning breakfast was the only time of rest after the opening it was just go, go, go. We had an awesome time and I just wish I had more time to shop for myself as there were so many talented artists! I LOVE my Etsy peeps!

NEWSLETTER: As some of you may already know, we have a raffle sheet sign up on every show and Renegade Chicago was no exception. I will contact all the participants about the raffle once. Only those who have checked the box for receiving updates in the future will be automatically signed up for our Newsletter and receive 15% off their next online order. Just mention RENEGADENEWS10 in notes to seller at checkout and difference will be refunded to you after your payment clears. If I have added you accidentally to our newsletter emailing list, no worries it is very easy to unsubscribe.

RAFFLE: I have 30 email addresses in our sign up sheets. I have numbered all the participants as they were added to the list and here it is as follows:
1-Aubrey N; 2-Allison F; 3-Jennifer Bon; 4-Keeley C; 5-Sarah C; 6-Christina I; 7-Anna A; 8-Janina W; 9-Carmen A; 10-Amanda G; 11-Jennifer Bos; 12-Mary H; 13-Kendall; 14-Emily L; 15-Victoria S; 16-Diana T; 17-Kerry L; 18-Jill H; 19-Dan B; 20-Meg R; 21-Beth H; 22-Kenyatta M-E; 23-Dorothy B; 24-Suzi W; 25-Pat S; 26-Ripal S; 27-Patricia C; 28-Jamie L; 29-Cwynar; 30-Miriam S.
The lucky winner will be getting 2 oz Ultimate Body Butter of your choice! And our Rose Hip Oil Lip Balm of your choice! With these items you will be ready to fight back brutal winter cold and dry skin! Good luck!

Drum roll please...

Congratulations Emily!! Please contact me at liana(at)marmaladehills(dot)com to provide me with your shipping address.

Thank you CHICAGO!♥♥♥ We will be back!♥♥♥

Till next time,

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Best Chicken Kabob Marinade

Yesterday I had the best chicken kabob ever! It was tender, full of flavor and it was extremely easy to make (always a huge plus in my household). Although you do need a couple of special ingredients to replicate it, this recipe is a super easy, healthy dinner variation for kids and adults. It goes great with salads and almost any side dish. Did I mention that it doesn’t taste like any other grilled chicken you had this summer?
I have to say that I have borrowed this recipe from my friend’s mom when she made these kabobs for occasional summer gathering. I fell in love at the first bite!

To make 10 skewers of chicken kabobs you will need:

2 lbs of Amish boneless skinless chicken breast
4 medium size garlic cloves
1 bunch or so of chopped fresh cilantro (the more the better)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice*
1/2 cup olive oil (I used regular olive oil)
Kosher salt, seasoned salt and fresh grounded pepper to taste
1 tsp paprika
1 to 2 tbs sumac powder (this is a spice that is used in Arabic cuisine. If you ever had Fattoush salad it is that dark purple/red powder that gives this salad a distinct flavor. It is a must have ingredient in this recipe and you can buy it in any Middle-Eastern market or just ask a friend to share - that’s what I did ;)

In a large Tupperware or a bowl combine cubed chicken breast, crushed garlic (you can mince it but I prefer to use a garlic press), chopped cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings. Stir the mixture well and let it sit in a refrigerator for at least 4 to 5 hrs. (this pictures was taken before I added seasoning)
I usually start to marinate my meat in the morning to make sure it is ready to go on the grill around dinner time. DO NOT forget to soak your wooden skewers in water for at least one hour before they go on a hot grill.

Cooking time:
Preheat grill to high heat. Place kabobs on the grill and reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Or just ask your husband to cook them - that’s what I did ;)

*Hint: I have been making lots of fresh lemonade this summer and I have noticed that it is easier to store your lemons in a form of a lemon juice. Fresh bags of lemons never fit in my refrigerator and they usually have to hang around until one or even more lemons go bad. Now I juice two or three bags at once and store my lemons this way. With all this hot weather it runs out rather quickly: making lemonade for kids, lemon drop cocktails for parents, making marinades and even fingernail soaks.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my whole family did!

Till next time,

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Friday, August 13, 2010


This month Marmalade Hills made its debut in Birmingham, MI. Our products are now available at Suhm-thing. Let me just tell you a few things about this one of a kind place. Suhm-thing is like a breath of fresh air for the same old line-up of traditional gift boutiques. It is young, hip and trendy with a lightly sophisticated twist. This store is full of affordable and unique gifts that you won’t find anywhere else! Their gifts range from jewelry and soaps to hats and baby toys. Even being their frequent visitor I can spend hours just browsing and trying things on. Owners, David and Michael, travel around the country to bring their local customers finest selection of gift options. They are are very down to earth and friendly people that I had an opportunity to do a brief interview with.

Liana: Tell us what you love about your neighborhood. What makes it special?
David: I love the fact that Birmingham is such a quaint and friendly town. People from all over come to walk the downtown area. Birmingham is also a frequent stop for vacationers and visitor from out of state. Most recently there has been a little bit of Hollywood walking the streets and shopping the stores. A few days ago we had Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley's younger sister shopping at Suhm-thing. His wife commented that we were one of her favorite stores in Birmingham. Usher was spotted doing shopping in a neighboring store.

Liana: Tell us a little bit about your store, what makes it unique?
David: We consider Suhm-thing an urban gift store. Our displays are made out of old wood crates, pallets and wooden spools. Our items are unique in that you will not find them at your local big box store. We've had repeated customers that tell us they love giving and receiving gifts from our store.

Liana: What are your customers like?
David: Right now during the peak summer months, we have a lot of tourists shopping in town. I love engaging in conversation with them to find out where they are from, who they are visiting and where they are going next. I also love the first time customers. When they leave the store many people say they loved being in it and it made them happy.

Liana: How do you stay connected with your customers?
David: Suhm-thing has a FaceBook page. We announce new items on FB when we receive them. Our regular customers come in once a week just to see what new items have arrived. A lot of our regulars just stop in to smell what candle is burning or to get a friendly hello from our employee, Jackie. Our most recent post on FB is for an event we are hosting on September 10, 2010 from 6 to 9 pm at Suhm-thing in colaboration with Marmalade Hills. Liana, the creator of Marmalade Hills products, is going to be our special guest that evening. Our customers will be able to shop in fun and relaxed atmosphere, get to meet Liana and experience all of her wonderful products right in the store.

Liana: What is your favorite Marmalade Hills product?
David: I love the massage candles and the bars of soap. The scents are amazing. I also personally use the Lip Balms and they make my lips feel smooth.

Hope you enjoyed this fun interview and please stop by Suhm-thing to meet me on September 10th. Also if you are around Dream Cruise on August 21st stop by and say Hi to Jackie, she is THE best!

Till next time,

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Safe Cosmetics Act - Why I wrote to my state representative.

H.R. 5786, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, was introduced into Congress on July 21, 2010, by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc. As of the publication of this petition, the bill is new co-sponsored by Reps. John Conyers, D-Mi, Diane DeGette, D-Co, Alcee Hastings, D-Fl, Barbara Lee, D-Ca and James Moran, D-Va.
As a small business owner and safe skin care manufacturer I am deeply concerned about the results that this bill may bring into my life. This bill is absolutely certain to hurt businesses and entrepreneurial efforts in Michigan and across the country but it is very questionable whether it will bring any benefit to anyone anywhere. The backers of this bill may be well-meaning, but this bill has a very ambiguous body that needs many more changes before it is voted on. At Marmalade Hills we are certainly all for safe, natural and affordable cosmetics but we wish for our government to be reasonable, use real science and common sense instead of submitting to the mind numbing scare tactics and urban science.

What you can do: I ask you to write to your representative and let them know how much you enjoy unique, well made, skin loving natural skin care products created by small businesses like ours. You can find your representative by clicking here. You can also oppose this legislation by clicking here. I want you to make an informed decision so please consider reading following messages from reliable sources of our Indie Beauty Industry:
Indie Beauty Network
Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild
Essential Wholesale
Anne Marie of Bramble Berry
You can also read the actual bill here.

Thank you for your continuous support,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Featured Product - Body Oils

Would you like to unlock a secret to supple and lustrous skin? Marmalade Hills 100% Natural Body Oils have one of a kind formula that consists of not one but multiple precious and luxurious natural oils which in combination with one another deliver ultimate, long lasting results. It would be fare to compare Marmalade Hills body oils to a power bar for your skin. They are packed with naturally occurring vitamins, antioxidants and various nutrients. Our body oils are absolutely irreplaceable when it comes to long lasting moisture, sun damage repair and supplying your body with needed nutrients to fight off free-radicals and reverse aging effects.

About the ingredients:

~According to University of Maryland Medical Center, grapes have been heralded for their medicinal and nutritional value for thousands of years. Egyptians ate grapes at least 6,000 years ago, and several ancient Greek philosophers praised the healing power of grapes - usually in the form of wine. European folk healers made an ointment from the sap of grapevines to treat skin and eye diseases. Grape leaves were used to stop bleeding, inflammation and pain. But grapes - or the chemicals within them, especially oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs) -- have been touted as powerful antioxidants. In addition to being extremely nutritious, Grape Seed Oil plays an important role in massage therapy practices due to its light, non greasy and highly absorbent texture.
~Jojoba Oil is a wonderful, light golden color, luxurious oil that is actually a plant liquid wax ester. Why should you care? Because out of all compounds in nature, this wax ester is the most similar to human skin oil (sebum). As we mature beyond early adulthood, our skin produces less and less lipids, resulting in wrinkles and more fragile drier skin. Jojoba's rapid absorption just deep enough into the skin's surface layer (stratum corneum) provides all-day moisturization that leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth. Another great benefit of Jojoba Oil is that it is a superb massage oil that has outstanding spreadability and absorbs quickly. Jojoba and the skin's sebum are completely miscible. They form a non-greasy, non-tacky layer with exceptional transepidermal water control.
~For centuries, Asian women have attributed their gorgeous glow to the cleansing power of rice. Rice Bran Oil is extracted from the bran or outer coat of the brown rice grain removed during the milling process. It is rich in essential fatty acids, phytosterols and has high level of the antioxidants gamma-oryzanol and tocotrienols (vitamin E). Gamma-oryzanol compound is a component that can impede the progress of melanin pigmentation by restoring the erythema activity of the tyrosinase enzyme as it intercepts the UV rays at the skin’s surface, hindering UV ray transmission. Another wonderful and naturally nutritious, light weight oil that will give you a perfect slip during application.
~Rose Hip Oil - I can never say enough about this oil. It is my absolute favorite oil to use and let me tell you why. This oil is truly a miracle oil as it is extremely rich with essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3). They help nourish skin and keep it plump and youthful, helping to reduce wrinkles, tone and smooth roughness. Essential fatty acids are called "essential" because our body is not able to produce them, they must be obtained through the diet or through supplementation. Rose Hip Oil is recommended for scarred tissue and this makes our oils a perfect solution for damaged skin.
~Vitamin E is considered an antioxidant superstar. Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble vitamin (meaning it likes oil better than water) that is essential for the healthy skin. But don’t just take my word for it, check out what Journal of Molecular Medicine (January 1995, pages 7–17) says about Vitamin E: “More than other tissues, the skin is exposed to numerous environmental chemical and physical agents such as ultraviolet light causing oxidative stress [free-radical damage]. In the skin this results in several short- and long-term adverse effects such as erythema [redness], edema [swelling], skin thickening, wrinkling, and an increased incidence of skin cancer…. Vitamin E is the major naturally occurring lipid-soluble … antioxidant protecting skin from the adverse effects of oxidative stress including photoaging [sun damage]. Many studies document that vitamin E occupies a central position as a highly efficient antioxidant, thereby providing possibilities to decrease the frequency and severity of pathological events in the skin.” ***Please note that Vitamin E has eight different forms, of which some are known for being excellent antioxidants when applied topically to skin, particularly alpha tocopherol and the tocotrienols. All Marmalade Hills products are made with Alpha Tachoperol, not Tachoperyl Acetate which is less beneficial for your skin.
~And the last but not least ingredients are the different Essential Oil combinations that posses aroma-therapeutic qualities like no other natural ingredients. Essential Oils are highly concentrated distilled plant essences. They are very aromatic, and have a wide variety of applications. They are sometimes used medicinally for treating specific ailments. In addition to treating physical conditions, these oils can effect us mentally and emotionally as well. They can clear your mind, uplift your spirit and calm down your fears. As Phyllis Balch points out in Prescription for Herbal Healing, "The inhalation of certain essential oils has been associated with the release of brain chemicals that stimulate various emotions. For example, lavender oil has the ability to evoke and increase the release of serotonin, thus producing a calming effect on the body."

As you can see, our Body Oils are formulated with first class ingredients that even some facial creams can envy! They are a perfect all-natural alternative for easily evaporating, water base body lotions and creams. We recommend using them after shower or bath on damp skin. I find body oils especially useful as an aftershave moisturizer. They are absolutely safe for babies and adults. If you need silky smooth, moisture rich and healthy looking skin you have no better place to go but to our store.

Till next time friends and hope you learned something new today,

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago

I am extremely excited to announce that out of a thousand+ applications Marmalade Hills was accepted as a vendor at the 8th Annual Renegade craft Fair in Chicago.
It is a top notch craft fair featuring 300 finest indie artists from all over the nation! It will be held on September 11 through September 12 from 11:00am to 7:00pm along the Division Street between Damen and Paulina. The Renegade Craft Fairs have become a cornerstone of the blossoming DIY craft world and a pioneer of indie craft shows across the land. Renegade Craft Fair was originated in Chicago in 2003 and since then added couple of other popular locations to their list: Austin TX, Brooklyn NY, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Marmalade Hills team is so delighted to be selected for such a fine event and we are looking forward to participate in many more Renegade Craft Fairs all over the country!

Hope to see you there!

Till next time,

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sixth Fan Page Giveaway winner

Thank you everyone for participating! Your entries reminded me of some of my other favorite summer scents :) And now I have a pretty good idea on what scents I would like to add to Marmalade Hills products next Spring/Summer!
The yummy comments were left in the following order: 1-Sofia, 2-Loretta, 3-Michelle, 4-Heather. Now it is time to find out who is the winner of $25 Gift Certificate to our shop. Drum roll please...

Loretta congratulations! Please send me your email address so I can email you your copy of the gift certificate:

Till next time,

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summer Bring Along Dish

Today I had to take my kids to our neighborhood outing. We have an unbelievable circle of people who keep spirits of our community alive. Cider and donuts for Halloween, Fire truck and bicycle parade for 4th of July and wine events for adults. And this Memorial Weekend was no exception - grilling and good times at one of our courts.
My favorite dish to bring to any summer event is my cold pasta salad with yummy veggies, whole grain pasta and turkey pepperoni!

1 box of Whole Grain Pasta boiled in salty water;
1 cup - chopped turkey or original pepperoni (Mini Pepperoni saves a lot of time);
2-3 cup - chopped red, yellow bell pepper;
1 cup - chopped white onion (or to taste);
1 cup - chopped green and black olives;
1 1/2 jars - chopped marinated artichoke hearts;
2 cups - string or any fine shredded cheese to garnish.

Before serving add more dressing and cheese. Done! If you never tried pasta salads, this one is a must! It is definitely a crowd pleaser and excellent finger food :)

Happy Memorial Weekend! REFLECT, REMEMBER and APPRECIATE!

Till next time,

Revised: Duh! I forgot to mention which dressing to use :) I always use Ken's Zesty Italian.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer Skin Care Regiment

During hot summer months we all have to adjust our skin care regiment. As a nicer and hotter weather moves in more people break out due to increased perspiration and increased time we spend outside. Because of this, our skin produces extra oils and accumulates extra dirt and debris, thus allowing more pimple-causing bacteria to grow. My skin type is combination and I find summer the most challenging time for my facial care. All I'm trying to do during summer is to keep my oil production down and milia or tiny bumps (with white heads or without) under control. You can't really cure these problems, all you can do is prevent them. During hot months make it a habit to wash your face with soapy water a number of times a day. If you have oily skin, wash your face at least twice a day with our Tea Tree Cucumber facial bar or Geranium facial bar. If you have dry skin, wash your face not only in the morning but also at bedtime to remove excess oil and makeup. Creamy Classic Lavender facial bar or Milk ‘n Honey bar would be your best choices. If you have combination skin, I recommend using Geranium facial bar or Milk ‘n Honey twice a day during hot summer months. You can also use our All-Natural astringent toners to clean your face as many times as you need. And here is a hint on how to get the most out of your toner: during especially hot days keep your toner in a refrigerator and use it all over your face and neck to wipe out the dirt, to replenish and refresh your skin.

Everyone spends more time outdoors during the summer, which means that environmental debris and pollutants can have an additional impact on your skin's ability to remain elastic, free of bacteria and excess sebum. I personally notice more problem spots after a day of gardening or day at the outdoor art show. The great way to deep cleanse, sooth, draw out extra oils and firm your skin would be to use of our All-Natural Clay Facial Masks once a week and even more often during summer. Clays are widely used in spas all over the world. I love them especially for their ability to detoxify tone, gently exfoliate and deep cleanse our skin. They are full of rare minerals and they are designed by nature to absorb impurities from skin as they dry. After 15 minutes of our clay mask treatment you will wash away (together with clay) extra sebum and dirt, and add a few years to your looks by returning natural elasticity to your skin. Oily Skin owners: Sea Kelp Detox is for you. Dry and sensitive skin owners: Strawberry Fig would benefit you best. Combination skin: Banana Mango would work great for your skin.

Due to hotter weather you may feel less need to use your moisturizers and it is perfectly fine. For our Facial Serum users I would suggest to play with your usage amounts or maybe even postpone use of it completely during the summer. Try using less drops per area and spread it thinner on your face. Just recently I started using my serum every other day instead of every day and I am thinking about cutting it down to once a week. I just wash my face with Milk 'n Honey soap (in my soap dish now) as many times as I need , use my new favorite Apple Twist Toner and I am good to go until evening! For Oily or Combination Skin owners I would recommend replacing your moisturizers completely with our All-Natural gentle Facial Toners. They are light, refreshing, soothing and moisturizing.

If you have extra oily areas, you can dry problem areas with Glycolic Acid pads. 10% Glycolic Acid and 5% Cylicilic Acid formulation is mild enough to not give you any skin irritations. You can get pads at your dermatologist office or online. Read list of ingredients carefully to make sure there is no Acetone!

Adjust your makeup regimen to the summer climate and your outdoor activities as well. Select powder blushes and eye shadows rather than cream products because they are less irritating and more likely to hold up in hot and humid weather. Use mineral foundations that will double you as SPF protection. If you need a good mineral foundation you can find some here and here. Learn how to apply natural-looking, barely there makeup for those outdoor occasions.

Enjoy your summer friends! Till next time,

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sixth Fan Page Giveaway

Our number of fans has finally reached 200 mark. It has been jumping up and down due to recent changes on Facebook, but I think it is safe to assume that it is a solid mark now. This giveaway is all about summer! The winner of the sixth giveaway will get a $25 Gift Certificate to our store. Please feel free to share this giveaway with your friends, however there are some rules: to enroll in MH's 6th Fan Page Giveaway you must be a Marmalade Hills fan on Facebook; you must be 18 years of age or older; and you have to leave a comment to this post on our blog.

Please leave your comment and tell us: what is your favorite summer scent? It can either be your favorite fruit, flower, food or simply a scent that can instantly remind you of summer even during coldest winter months.

Please leave your comment underneath this post. If you leave a comment as anonymous, don't forget to sign your comment. This giveaway will be closed for comments exactly one week from today-June 1st. As always random winner will be announced on our Fan Page.

I am looking forward to your comments! Good luck!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Clean Sweep 2010 with my family

As you may remember, during the Earth Day weekend my family participated in our locally organized Clean Sweep 2010. In the prior years we used to go for walks in the neighborhood and collect litter whenever we felt like doing it. It was a great way to get some fresh air and do a good thing. And as our daughter got older and learned about Earth Day and taking care of Earth at school, we have decided to make our random family litter hunts more official. So I called our township hall and signed us up. They were providing garbage bags and official t-shirts in XL sizes (don’t ask me why XL).
That Sunday was one of the gloomiest days this Spring. It rained the whole morning and it was chili, wet and sticky in the afternoon. But we were determined to do it. So we got our gloves, rain gear, sweaters, blankets, garbage bags and a magic grabber tool that my husband got at the hospital after his back surgery a few weeks prior to this event. If you are planning on doing Clean Sweep with your family you HAVE to have one and I you can buy one in any drug store or on the internet. This tool came extremely handy when picking up plastic bottles from hard to reach, thick bushes or soaking wet plastic bags from the ditches, our daughter had lots of fun with it. Most of the items that ended up in our garbage bags were fast food packaging, Styrofoam cups, plastic bags and lots of plastic bottles! You wouldn’t have believed the amount of plastic bottles we found! It is disturbing to think that someone can just abandon these things in the middle of the street with no shame.
So here is what we got after two hours of walking just 1 mile distance in a nice family oriented, suburban neighborhood: two full 30 lb garbage bags! All rinsed off with a hose and sorted into recycling bins for garbage collection day.
After two hours of wet and gloomy outside we came home with red cheeks and had the most awesome Carrot Cake with Green Tea! It was all worth it!

Till next time friends,

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chicken Sausage and Bell Peppers Spaghetti

Every busy mom loves easy, healthy recipes and here is one of my favorites! This recipe will provide a dinner for a small family of four and it is a great way to make your kids eat vegetables - with pasta! Everything goes with pasta, right?

You will need 4 chicken sausages from your favorite market; box of your favorite spaghetti; 3 bell peppers: yellow, orange or red work best (not green bell pepper); 1 large white onion; 1/4 cup of Olive Oil; grated parmesan.

1. Add full sausages to non-stick pan (no oil required).
2. Brown sausages on each side. Just wait for them to become semi-firm and lightly browned on each side. Do not overcook.
3. Slice your peppers medium and onion medium thin.
4. Take out cooked sausages and let them rest for few minutes on a cutting board.
5. You can start a pot with water for cooking spaghetti now.
6. Add Olive Oil and sliced vegetables to the same pan. Cook until they turn translucent and soft.
7. Slice cooked sausages in an angle and add sausage slices to the pan with vegetables. Stir well and let everything cook on medium heat for 7 minutes, or just enough for juices to blend and get absorbed by meat.
8. Serve vegetable-sausage mix over hot spaghetti and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese! Done!

Can you say YUM-O?

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Michigan State Youth Entrepreneurship Panel

On April 27th I will be speaking and sharing ideas with local high school students at the "Youth Entrepreneurship Panel" organized by Michigan State University Extension Youth & Community Development. I am so delighted by this invitation and excited to see those wonderful kids who are in their spare time thinking and trying to become entrepreneurs! I already feel so proud of them! I can just wish for my kids to do the same when they hit high school :)

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Earth Week 2010

Originally Earth Day was created to inspire awareness and appreciation for Earth's environment. The celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd began in the United States in 1970 and was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson. Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is getting greener! Just last weekend at the Detroit Zoo I overheard a little girl asking her mom: "Mom, can I recycle this?" pointing at a piece of plastic candy wrap. It was so cute and so heart warming :) Good job moms and dads!
We ALL contribute to a better tomorrow and every effort on our side, no matter how big or small - matters! "Be the change you want to see in the world" -Mahatma Gandhi.

Marmalade Hills was born in a quest for natural and safe skincare products. In our formulations we use only wholesome, plant derived and natural ingredients that are the best thing for your skin and your wellbeing. And just like many other wonderful "green" companies out there, we are trying to raise awareness about safe and natural skincare ingredients and products. But our efforts do not stop just there. As a business we try to minimize production and post production waste by using natural, plant derived and biodegradable ingredients, by recycling metal, plastic, glass, and paper materials, by printing our labels on recycled paper, and using only recyclable packaging. We also offer a Recycling Credit for our returning customers. We are still reusing our shipping peanuts, but just last week I have found a lead to a new and exciting Eco-friendly packaging solution. It will take some time to implement it, but you can be sure - we are improving, as we grow!

On personal frontier we try to live a responsible life and set right examples for our kids. For some years we have been going on hikes around the neighborhood with our oldest daughter and picking up litter. It is a great activity and it gives kids another dimension on responsible living. This year we have decided to make it official and join forces of Clean Sweep team of Bloomfield Township during the weekend of April 24th and 25th. Our family adopted Franklin Rd section between Quarton Rd and Lone Pine Rd, so if you are in the area drive by and wave!

Happy Earth Week! Please, respect your Mother!

Till next time,

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Into Wings Raffle

During our "Spring Into Wings" show in Kalamazoo, MI we have been inviting people to participate in Marmalade Hills raffle. After a short delay raffle results are finally here!
I will contact all the participants about the raffle once. Only those who have checked the box for receiving updates in the future will be automatically signed up for our Newsletter and receive 15% off their next online order. Just mention SPRINGWINGS at check out and difference will be refunded to you after your payment clears.
I have 18 email addresses in our sign up sheets. I have numbered all the participants as they were added to the list and here it is as follows:
1-Jill S; 2-Vicky M; 3-Joyann G; 4-Laurie J; 5-Chelsea M; 6-Julie P; 7-Cameron V; 8-Arlynn S, 9-Lukenia J, 10-Shawn J, 11-Cheryl, 12-Stephanie S, 13-Dianna H, 14-Cheryl E, 15-Jennifer M, 16-Sue V, 17-Liz P, 18-Amy M.
The lucky winner will be getting our Luxury Omega 3 Facial Serum
Drum roll please...

And the winner is Cheryl! Congratulations Cheryl! I will be sending you Marmalade Hills Facial Serum as soon as I receive your mailing address. Email me at with that.
Thank you very much to everybody for signing up and who joined our Fan Page! We hope to see you all at "Christmas at Wings" show this December.

Till next time,

P.S. I just realized that I have not left my contact information. Cheryl please email me with your address at

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Fifth Fan Page Giveaway winner

It is time to find out who is our 5th Fan Page Giveaway Winner. Thank you my dear friends for leaving your comments, they were very useful. 1-Heather, 2-Christine, 3-Michele.
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...

Congratulations Heather! Just let me know which mask you would like to receive and I'll send it your way!

Thanks again ladies, I will take your comments into consideration and will try to offer more sample/travel size items for those who like to try before they buy!

Till next time,

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Skin Care Essentials-Cleanse

I'm often asked "What product would you recommend to make my skin look younger/healthier/acne free?" I wish there was a magic product or even better, a magic pill that you could take once a month and take care of all your skin problems. Sorry to dissapoint you, there is no such thing. Taking care of your skin is an everyday routine. I know that setting-up an everyday routine is probably too much to ask from many of you, but I encourage you to give your best shot at it and see what happens. Can't do it every day, then do it every other day or every three days. I guarantee, you will love the results and at some point you will be happy to do it everyday. There are four steps of skincare regiment that I would like to cover in our future weekly "Healthy Tips". Those four steps are: cleanse, exfoliate, tone and moisturize.

Cleanse - cleanser is a facial care product that is used to remove make-up, dead skin cells, oil, dirt and other types of pollutants from the skin of the face. This helps to unclog pores and prevent skin conditions such as acne. As many of you know already, I have become a natural skincare addict after expiriencing results first hand. My whole family uses Marmalade Hills facial bars every day, even our youngters.
Marmalade Hills has four all natural facial bar soaps for most skin types. Our facial bars are gentle with creamy lather and are packed with nourishing, skin loving ingredients. For oily skin type we recommend Tea Tree Cucumber Facial Bar (in curing): made with natural clays, cucumber peel powder and prescious Australian Tea Tree Essential Oil. This soap will help to draw out impurities and keep production of sebum and appearance of acnes under control.
For sensitive and mature skin types we recommend Geranium Facial Bar: made with pink clay, wheat germ oil, extra vitamin E and envigorating Bourbon* Geranium and Indonesian Dark* Patchouli Essential Oils. This soap will improve skin's elasticity/firmness, clarity and texture.
For dry/sensitive/baby skin we recommend either French* Lavender or Milk n' Honey Facial Bar. Both soaps are made with Goat Milk with addition of extra moisturizing and soothing ingredients like oats, shea butter and golden honey. Milk n' Honey soap is completely unscented while Lavender Facial Bar is infused with French* Lavender Essential Oil.

* - Depending on the region of cultivation there are many different types of Essential Oils. In our facial bars we use only high quality or creme de la creme of essential oils that are considered more precious and exquisite due to their origin.

Still not convinced? Here is what experts say about natural bar soaps as facial cleansers->
Article taken from Spa Magazine:
"For years, women relied on simple bars of soap to wash their faces, but with the arrival of liquid, foam, and cream cleansers came the idea that bars dry the skin and clog pores.
It turns out that some soaps got a bum rap. "In general, they're not bad," says Jennifer Reichel, M.D., director of Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center in Seattle. "Some bar soaps can be very gentle and moisturizing and do not necessarily trap oils and chemicals."
The soaps that deserve the negative attention are those that contain synthetic detergents or surfactants (like alkyl benzene sulfonate). "Synthetic detergents can be drying, which makes them a poor choice for many skin types,"says Angela L. Bowman Wales, president and CEO of Lillian Skincare, a manufacturer of organic skincare products.
But liquid cleansers can cause problems as well, according to Julia Hunter, M.D., founder of Skin Fitness Plus, a cosmetic spa in Los Angeles. Detergents (often sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate), preservatives (such as parabens), and antimicrobials (triclosan, for example) can cause inflammation and disrupt hormones. Instead, opt for soap with coconut oil, shea butter, glycerin, or olive oil. Although these emollients are often thought to cause breakouts, there is generally not enough in soaps to have such an effect. "Personally, I would choose emollients over inflammatory chemicals," says Hunter."

Till next time,

P.S. if you have missed our previous healthy tips you can find them here:
Clean Truth about Antibacterial Soap
10 Foods that are healthier than you think
Healthy Nails Tips
Healthy Hair Tips
When to buy Organic and when it's ok not to
Benefits of Green Tea
Beauty Sleep
Fish Oil or Omega 3 & 6
How to add years to your life

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