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Safe and Sustainable Cleaning with The Hoot
Joon Hair Elixir Oil – Modern Chemistry Meets Ancient Persian Plant Power
Ilsa Fragrances- A Perfume that Encourages Limitless Possibilities

Safe and Sustainable Cleaning with The Hoot

One of my fondest childhood memories was when I would go to my dad’s house for the weekend. Seeing that he hardly had time to really clean up around the house, I took it upon myself to help out. I really enjoyed showing him a cleaner house after I was done. In those days, the thought of a natural, chemical-free cleaning solution was pretty much unheard of. But fast-forward to the 21st Century, we now live in a society where it’s almost a given to have healthier and more sustainable household cleaning products around.

I had heard about The Hoot All-Natural Cleaning Solution through my Facebook feed, and I wanted to check it out. The Virginia-based small company was launched by Tonya Newsome. Throughout her lifetime, she had always spent most of her time cleaning homes, including her own. Over time, however, she would notice that her hands were aging faster than her face, and that she was having many respiratory issues. That led her to start investigating the ingredients behind common household cleaners, most of which turned out to be harmful. Empowered with the newfound information, she set out to make her own safer cleaning solution, which (since 2014) is now known as The Hoot.

The Hoot wasn’t the original name for her product, but unfortunately, the name she wanted to use was already taken. Tonya goes on to explain, “Because our logo design was completed before we named ourselves, I was 100% set on keeping the logo and finding a name that was befitting of the design and our mission- to introduce an all-natural cleaning product that is safe, effective, and AFFORDABLE. “The Hoot” was actually suggested by my daughter one day while sitting on our porch, and it immediately reminded me of my youth. In the first grade, I was in a play titled, “Give a Hoot.” I could recall a popular song from the seventies called, “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute.” I thought to myself, ‘Perfect! This is a sign!’ The name “The Hoot” stuck.”

While you can pretty much clean just about anything with the solution, it does not polish wood…Yet… Did I also mention that they use bottles that are crafted from recycled plastic?!

Tonya sent me a bottle to try, and I must say… I’m impressed! It does everything a “normal” cleaner would do. It also smells fantastic! It comes in lavender, lemon, orange, peppermint, and pine. I received the lavender, and boy do I love the way it gives off a calming scent when I’m cleaning the kitchen, floors, bathroom, etc. I also use it to clean the tiles in the shower, where the soap scum builds up. I spray it, let it set in for a minute, and use a good scrubbing sponge, and it’s pretty good at getting most of it off. What’s also great about this product, is that I don’t have to use gloves. I have the reassurance that it’s safe to use around myself, my spouse, and my three cats. “The Hoot ingredients are easy to read. We are affordable, and our product contains no SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) or SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) like a lot of natural products on the market today. These are both common additives used mainly to produce foam in cleaning products, but are also known skin irritants and cancer-causing agents. The Hoot All-Natural produces the same (or even better) results without the harmful effects,” Tonya said.

The Hoot All-Natural cleaning solution, natural ingredients

I also love how Newsome is all about helping out and giving back in her community. “At this time, our main focus is introducing and getting the word out about The Hoot All-Natural. In the future, we also hope to expand our mission to include providing information and access to other healthy alternatives, including community gardens to low-income areas.”

You can find/shop The Hoot All-Natural online, in six local health food stores in Virginia (and plan on getting into more), on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tonya leaves us with, “Give The Hoot a try on things outside normal house areas that you need to clean. We have had customers use it on their shoes, car rims, car seats, and even as a glass cleaner!”

The Hoot All-Natural cleaning solution, natural ingredients

It really does work on car rims!


Joon Hair Elixir Oil – Modern Chemistry Meets Ancient Persian Plant Power

Joon Saffron Hair Oil, natural hair care, beauty

For thousands of years, plants have always been one of the main sources of ingredients for beauty products and skincare rituals. Siblings Shiva and Kayvon Tavakoli harnessed their Persian roots to create the ultimate hair elixir- Joon’s Saffron Hair Oil. This oil was actually featured in Allure Magazine as one of the “Best Hair Oils of 2017.”

It all started when the duo spent their summers with their grandparents in Iran. Shiva recalls, “My grandpa was a businessman that exported exotic Persian spices, such as saffron. My grandmother used these same spices and herbs in not only her cooking, but also her beauty rituals. This is where we learned about our culture and also along with it, the deep DIY, natural remedies from anything from hair loss to stomachaches.”

Shiva and Kayvon also have the fundamentals of the beauty industry in their blood. “After my father received his PH.D. in chemical engineering, he moved to Houston to work in the oil and gas industry, which he did for several years. Eventually, he began itching to start his own business. When there was a salon that was up for sale, he decided to buy it. It became one of the top salons in Houston. From that one salon, he began his chain. He owned over 150 salons at one point. As he was expanding his salons, he decided he was unhappy with the quality of hair care products that were available, so he decided to start his own haircare laboratory. He ended up selling his salon empire, but he kept the laboratory, which is where we still private label and make our own hair care products, including Joon. My brother and I worked in both the salons and the laboratory.”

Their hair oil has since been a hit with all hair types, and has been featured in numerous publications. “Our line is universal, and our saffron hair elixir works on many different hair types. I also want to highlight a diverse group of people who generally have been shut out of the mainstream beauty conversation. They tend to be Middle Eastern, South Asian, Hispanic, Black, and it goes on. I think no matter where you come from, and who you are, it’s important to be true to yourself. There is something to learn from every culture,” Shiva explained. “We make cruelty-free products and use non-toxic ingredients. Besides the obvious fact that non-toxic ingredients are better for everyone, the line was also inspired by Persian culture. Persians use a lot of plant-based remedies in their beauty rituals. I wanted to create safe products that are also in line with my Persian background…I have never heard of a Persian inspired hair care line prior to Joon. The Persian ingredients, such as the saffron (actually floating in the bottle), are not commonly used ingredients in beauty. You will be seeing a lot of new ingredients in our upcoming products that have a lot of benefits for the hair.”

I’ve personally used this product mainly after I’ve washed my hair, or sometimes in the mornings when I feel that my hair needs a refresher. I love that it’s cruelty-free, so I can feel good about putting it in my hair. I rub the remaining oil into my hands, and it also makes a great smelling moisturizer. Other ingredients in the product are rose and pistachio. Pistachio is known to help nourish and moisturize bouncy and smooth hair, while rose is known to help with hair repair.

“It’s a pretty versatile product. You can use the Saffron Hair Elixir on both dry or damp hair. Put a few drops into your hands, rub it together to evenly distribute the product, and then apply it to your hair length and ends. You can even use it before and after styling, and also as an overnight treatment.” Shiva also goes on to recommend that you wash your hair with lukewarm or cold water, as hot water can dry out hair and make it more brittle, as well as weaken the roots.

“We are about to work on creating our next product. I always want to get input from the Joonies before I create anything new. If you want to be a part of our product creation, or just keep up with the latest hair tips and launches, you can always go on our website, and join our Joon email list. Or follow us @joonhaircare.”

Joon Saffron Hair Oil, natural hair care, beauty




Ilsa Fragrances- A Perfume that Encourages Limitless Possibilities

The main reason why I started this blog was that I wanted to give a voice to small brands. I love hearing the maker’s story, especially if there’s a specific do-good purpose behind their product. I first heard about Ilsa Fragrances through an Instagram group that I belong to. As time progressed, I got to know the perfume brand through the posts, and I found that they not only promoted the product, but did so in a heartfelt and encouraging manner.

Ilsa Fragrances founder- Ilsa Manning, was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. She is a self-proclaimed Francophile, as she studied French in high school and minored in it in college. After graduation, she landed a job as a nanny in a suburb outside of Paris. “While I enjoyed fragrance and used my time in Paris to indulge in scent, it was just another product in my toiletry bag. Years later, when I was living in England, I got a job at the largest fragrance manufacturer in the world. One of the main reasons I got the role was because I was American and I had the French background, and the role consisted of working with the company’s French and American locations. Really, I had no experience other than those two things! But it was in this role, and at this company, that I learned about the perfumery world, and that is when I fell in love with fragrance and the impact of scent on our lives,” Manning explained.

On starting her company…” I was inspired to take action and create Ilsa Fragrances after the birth of my first daughter. I had had a winding career up until that point and I never felt I was getting anywhere (progressing professionally or monetarily). I also never really believed in myself or my capabilities, and I never saw or believed in my own self-worth, self-love, self-belief – I lacked all of these things. With the birth of my daughter, I realized I wanted to be the best person I could be for her, and I most definitely wanted her to grow up believing in herself, believing she has incredible worth, and believing that she can do and be anything she dreams. Her birth actually showed me that I have done incredible things in my life and things that I thought were failures had always been successes and had been integral to my life journey. To getting to here. To have the strength and belief in myself, and to pass that on to my daughters and to other women – through Ilsa Fragrances. That is why the first collection is the Infinite Collection – because your dreams, potential, and capabilities are infinite! I established the company in 2015 and launched No 1, the first fragrance in the Infinite Collection, in September 2016.”

Infinite No 1 is an oriental fragrance, which consists of spice, amber, and musk notes. Those notes are some of Ilsa’s favorite scents. She goes on to explain, “I wanted women to feel beautiful when they sprayed it on, that they had a boost of confidence empowering them to tackle their day!”

“Everything with Ilsa Fragrances is about empowering women. Empowering women to feel good, confident, and beautiful (the fragrance); to believe in themselves (quotes and other empowering posts on social media and our blog), and to follow their dreams (Facebook Live- Coffee & Conversations- where I interview women and they share how they achieved their dream/goal so that others can be inspired to do the same/learn from them). Also equally as important, we donate 5% of the net proceeds from sales to Girls on the Run, a non-profit organization that aims to create ‘a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential, and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.’ We are, integrally, #perfumewithapurpose!”

Stay tuned folks, she is currently in development on the second fragrance!

Ilsa Fragrances, Infinite No 1

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