Archive for February 2015

Rocky Mountain Gift Show

We have been preparing for the Rocky Mountain Gift Show for months and its finally here this weekend. We’ve worked on our display, we’ve had beautiful brochures printed, worked on wholesale sheets and price lists and more. Here are some pictures taken while setting up. There are a few seminars here I might go to one or two. It snowed quite a bit last night so I hope it doesn’t keep anyone away.

I’ve got some help for the show, especially the times I think will be busiest. Now let the show begin!

Rocky Mountain Gift Show

 

This is the entry into the Gift Show.

giftshowempty2

Our empty booth before setup.


Gift Show Colorado Aromatics

 

Our finished booth (before we cleaned up the floor and debris.

Gift Show Cindy Jones Laura LeeWe are ready to go. Here is myself along with makeup artist Laura Lee.

 

Sun, Sunscreen and Coral Reefs

I just spent a week on the beach near Cancun, Mexico which reminded me of an issue with sunscreen and coral reefs. Coral reefs are a very delicate ecosystem that has been suffering in recent years. Ocean acidification, climate change, sedimentation/pollution and destructive fishing are partly to blame for the increasing collapse of coral reefs but it is also thought that sunscreens that wash off swimmers bodies’ are also to blame. Sunscreens can contain benzophenones, a common UV blocker.

Beach in Mexico

A recent study looked at Benzophenone-2 and found that this substance can harm coral reefs in 3 ways:

kill very young coral
can bleach adult coral and
can cause mutations in the DNA of coral

While benzophenone-2 is not allowed in sunscreens in the US, other, related benzophenones are used. Benzophenones are also found in colored cosmetics and fragrances where they are used to prevent breakdown of the product by UV light. Interestingly, they can also be found in inks to prevent their degradation. So if you are having a UV coating on your printed material you might ask if the ink contains benzophenones.

It appears that how sunscreens bleach the reef is indirectly by activating a virus that disrupts the micro algae that help support the reef biome.

Even natural sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are not recommended. These mineral particles do not biodegrade. The particles block sunlight and can be ingested by fish.

While sunscreen use is very important for some of us to prevent cancer, I challenge you to use less. I see people slathering on so much excess sunscreen on their body at the beach and doing it with undo frequency. I challenge you to wear protective clothing; a lightweight blouse and a wide brimmed hat. I challenge you to let the sun very lightly tan your skin. As far as I know there is no evidence that a light tan is related to cancers. I challenge you to use moderation with sunscreen for the sake of our reefs.

Did you know that coral are actually colonies of tiny animals that secrete calcium carbonate to form the coral skeleton? Many people think coral is a plant. They grow very slowly, multiplying and laying down more calcium carbonate each year. Many of them live symbiotically with microscopic algae that live on the coral’s tissue. These algae produce energy through photosynthesis for the coral to benefit from the energy produced. This is why sunlight is so important for survival of the coral reefs.

coral_stock

Reference

Downs CA1, Kramarsky-Winter E, Fauth JE, Segal R, Bronstein O, Jeger R, Lichtenfeld Y, Woodley CM, Pennington P, Kushmaro A, Loya Y., Toxicological effects of the sunscreen UV filter, benzophenone-2, on planulae and in vitro cells of the coral, Stylophora pistillata. Ecotoxicology. 2014 Mar;23(2):175-91. doi: 10.1007/s10646-013-1161-y. Epub 2013 Dec 19.

A Snowy Hike

I set out Sunday to go snowshoeing at a place called Peaceful Valley along the scenic  Colorado Peak to Peak Highway.  In Longmont I think the temperature was about 70 degrees but with 50 plus mile per hour winds. I was hoping it would be less windy in the mountains and I needed a few hours outside.  I put my snowshoes on and started out on the trail.  The snow was nicely packed down and I didn’t really need the snowshoes. Then realized I had the wrong shoes on and they were rubbing terribly!  I remembered I had a pair of brand new boots in the car so I went back, ditched the snowshoes and put on my new snow boots and set out hiking instead of snowshoeing.

peaceful valley sign

I think the temperature on the trail was in the 50s and the sun was shining bright, what a beautiful day it was. I passed just a few other hikers, skiers and snowshoers along the way. The wind was only blowing high in the treetops so it was no bother to me. The trails around Peaceful Valley and the nearby Brainard Lake are popular for winter activities, but not today.

 

Sun shining through trees

I especially enjoy being outdoors hiking on the warmer winter days because the smell of the pine trees is invigorating. Don’t you love how the sun shines through the pines? While the trail was packed down hard enough that I didn’t fall through wearing boots, when I accidentally stepped off the trail my foot went down several feet.

 

Peaceful Valley snowy trail

I stopped on this bridge over the river to see the shapes the water had made through the ice. I think this picture resembles a backpacker; wearing a big hat of course. What do you see in this picture? The shadow you see on the bottom is me. I was only out for about 2 hours, but it was long enough to be outside to reconnect, renew and relax. I need to hike in the winter more often.

 

melted water in ice

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