by Shelbi Stoneback, content manager at Rodale’s
I thought I knew a lot about organic living and natural products. Growing up in the Rodale family, I learned a lot from my grandparents and family members and the vast collection of resources on science, research, and the history of organic here in the library at Rodale Inc. Then I became the content manager for Rodales.com, where every product is thoroughly vetted to make sure it’s safe for the consumer, the producers, and the planet. It was through this product-selection process, along with the testing of a multitude of organic and natural items so I could better write copy and content for them, that my eyes were opened even wider to the world of healthy, happy living.
Here are just 7 of the things I’ve learned by trying, buying, and using our products that have fundamentally altered how I look at organic clothing, my beauty routines and personal care products, and my daily life:
1. That modal is the best fabric ever. My wardrobe is slowly converting to being almost entirely clothing made from this material, which is crafted from the natural wood pulp cellulose of the beech tree. It’s incredibly silky soft yet has a durable weight, like cotton. One of my favorite things is the fabric’s drape: It hangs beautifully without being clingy. Also, its color will never fade—black will still be true black two years and many machine washes from now. Amour Vert and Nau make my favorite designs in modal.
2. How the natural stone mica is used in beauty products. I’ve always been attracted to shiny things, and I’ve picked up a few iridescent, reflective rocks while out hunting for sea glass treasures. I hadn’t thought before that the type of shimmering reflective rock I was walking over is actually a key natural ingredient in mineral makeup and beauty products and gives them a glittering shimmer. It’s the essential ingredient in nyl’s organic shimmer scrub, which leaves a subtle sparkle behind. I use this scrub every time I want a little sparkle.
3. That monarch butterflies ONLY lay their eggs on milkweed. My grandmother always loved butterflies, and seeing them—especially monarchs—reminds me of her. And now I know that milkweed is the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs. When the larvae hatch, milkweed is their single food source. So if you want to invite the monarchs to your yard and help them prosper, plant organic milkweed. Bees love it, too!
4. That the benefits of a facial steam are worth every peaceful minute. I have a very hard time putting my phone down. I’m always reading articles, shopping online, or checking the Flyers’ score. But a Fig + Yarrow facial steam is worth every phone-free minute. Part facial, part aromatherapy, the herbal steam opens the pores, draws out toxins, and leaves skin feeling cleansed and refreshed.
5. That pour-over coffee really does taste different—and so much better. There are so many brewing methods, from pour-over to French press, machine drip to cold brew…and this year I tried them all to learn more about our coffee products for our blog. I learned that pour-over is my favorite method and that it’s easy to do. I heat the water right on the stovetop in the long-spouted kettle and then pour it over my organic coffee grounds into my mug. It’s simple and tastes so smooth I no longer need a little teaspoon of sugar. Plus, using the organic cotton filter, I save the grounds for my garden, rinse the filter, and just let it air-dry for tomorrow. No fuss, no waste.
6. How to dry brush. Who doesn’t want to improve their circulation, which boosts the immune system (any little bit helps in flu and cold season); combat cellulite; and slough off dry skin? You can learn exactly how to do it in our blog story.
7. That a beautiful, well-made apron is for more than just cooking. I always wear an apron to cook or bake, but the key to wearing one to do much more is pockets, pockets, pockets. I stock those pockets with scissors, tape, ribbons, and tags when I’m wrapping gifts. They hold my phone, usually with music playing, when I’m gardening or cleaning. And an apron serves as a handy napkin to keep my modal shirt and organic jeans clean when I’m eating dinner in front of this week’s dramatic DVR’d show.
I wonder what I’ll learn next…
Shelbi Stoneback is the Rodale’s content manager, spending her days overseeing all things copy related. In sixth grade, she started a juice-box recycling campaign at her elementary school and has been championing sustainability and organic living ever since. She’s a hand model, loud whistler, and polar plunger, and also an avid sea glass collector and treasure hunter, with the prides of her collection being a fossilized great white shark tooth, a message in a bottle, and several 19th-century pot lids.