The New Year has been and gone and we're still in the depths of Winter with Spring a long way off. So now is the time to spend a little something on gifts and products that help you reset and renew, if even in the smallest way. Here is our pick of helpful little wonders, for face, body, and home.

FACE & SKIN

There are beauty products, and then there are beauty products! Ever had that feeling that your favorite creme or serum just isn't quite right for YOU? It's time you tried doing it yourself—and it's easier than you think. Bellus All Natural Labs is the ultimate plant-based addition to your beauty routine with its Make Your Own Serum Kit. Simply scan a QR code and enter the interactive experience of creating your own luxury serums guided by Kristina Cimo, the head of Bellus All Natural Labs. These craft customized serums consisting of nature's finest oils such as apricot kernel, rosehip, passionfruit, and jojoba resulting in a personalized set of ointments that will breathe new life into your skin during the harshest winter months and beyond. And when you see your glowing results, tag @bellus_labs! Bellus All Natural Labs is an award-winning, clean skincare and beauty company that brings its private label production into the palm of your hand.


One of the worst things about the pandemic is having to wear a mask (you must) but wearing glasses at the same time. Whether your glasses are sunnies, readers, or your regular specs, you will have found out by now that breathing through your mask fogs up your eyewear. Well here's a handy, pocket-sized solution: FogBlocker Eyeglass Anti-Fog Wet Wipes or choose the Anti-Fog Cloth for longlasting fog-free vision. This revolutionary plant-based cellulose wipes have been created by biotech scientists to safely coat your lenses for fog-free vision that lasts all day.

These little wipes reduces moisture buildup with the ultra-fine, natural microfiber cloth lasting for up to 500 uses that last all day. Can be safely used on all lens types, even coated, PPE plastic guards, and goggles.

BODY & MIND

Bluebird Botanicals is a supplier of varied and high quality CBD products that address most aspects of wellness. Bluebird Botanicals products are crafted by trained herbalists using organic Colorado hemp and premium botanicals. Founder & CEO Brandon Beatty says: "We made these products to help you feel your best every single day no matter what." Starting as a company that produced CBD oil, it has now grown into an entire line of foundational wellness products. These are great products for the time in which we live where building immunity and reducing stress might help keep you out of the path of serious illness. We tried the (delicious and potent!!) CBD Gummies, the Complete Concentrated CBD Oil (luxurious, great for ingestion and external use), and the Dynamic Immune CBD Soft Gels (these are great but do contain bovine gelatin and so are not for vegans). But there are so many products for various needs, including for your pets. All these products were effective in their own way—whether that was to calm, to heal, or to relax and restore. After a few weeks our skin and nervous system felt boosted.

Hemp seeds

Sea Witch


HOME & HEARTH

There is no quicker way to bring a sense of luxury and harmony to your home than with a specially scented candle. Well, we have three top recommendations for you in terms of scent and aesthetic. For lovers of minimalist chic with fragrant aromas, RareLumiere candles emit the kind of scents that will have you imagining you've stepped into a European parfumerie. And indeed, each hand-poured creation is elegantly packaged with a corresponding handwritten note included in the box. My favorite scent was "Notting Hill." These elegant, slow-burn cotton-wick candles offer 55 hours of burn time for each candle.

Sea Witch Botanicals All-Natural Essentials Oil Candles are also richly-scented and hand-poured, but this brand is all-natural and scented exclusively with essential oils and plant-derived waxes. Their vegan candles contain no paraffin wax or fragrance oils. And the biggest difference to your usual candle: The wide wooden wicks give a beautiful glow, while the soy candle has a nice, even burn to the bottom. Our favorite scent was "Herbal Renewal" and it surely did renew us with its uplifting and relaxing scent of lavender.

Now who doesn't like a little something rustic, this time out of the wilds of Ohio? The Little Burlap Barn Vintage Mason Jar Candle will transform your humble home into a chic farmhouse with one little spark. Plus, their homey scents will conjure orchards, walks in the woods or a day of baking pies: think scents such as Cran-Apple Pumpkin, Crisp Candied Apple, Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll, and Autumn Breeze. These candles come poured into authentic vintage blue Ball jars with a vintage zinc screw-top lid (keep the lid for snuffing out the candle). Made with 100% soy wax, cotton/lead-free wick, the scent oil is phthalate-free.

In these germ-filled times it's so important to keep your home clean and wipe down all surfaces that comes in contact with the outside world. We were delighted to discover an effective and environmentally-friendly product that has multiple uses around the home, and is as easy to keep clean as it is to be used for cleaning! Pure Sky makes products perfect for fighting germs and grime. Their green cleaning methods make cleaning easy, quick, and stress-free. What a relief to not be tearing through reams of paper towels or cluttering up the kitchen sink with multiple cloths and sponges. This is our favorite product and we're not surprised it's a bestseller: Pure Sky Magic Deep Clean Cleaning Cloth. Works like magic! Simply add water and instantly remove 99 percent of bacteria on your floors and home and car surfaces. It’s designed of patented state-of-the-art composite ultra microfibers, consisting of multifilament yarns that are made of more than 1,000 strands per yarn. It can be used wet or dry, plus it conveniently attaches to the Pure Sky mop pole with clip wings. For more information, visit https://persik.com.

Photo by Sara Dubler on Unsplash

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Photo courtesty of Cecilie Johnsen on Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Healthcare Issues

The Dobbs decision, otherwise known as the court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, has resulted in confusing medical situations for many patients. On top of affecting access to abortions for straight, cisgender women, it presents heightened risks for LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole. Flipping the switch on reproductive rights and privacy rights is a far-reaching act that makes quality care harder to find for an already underserved community.

As the fight against the Dobbs decision continues, it’s important to shed light on the full breadth of its impact. We’ll discuss specific ways that the decision can affect LGBTQ+ healthcare and offer strategies for overcoming these challenges.

How the Right to Bodily Privacy Affects LGBTQ+ Healthcare

When the original Roe v. Wade decision was made, the bodily privacy of people across the United States was protected. Now that bodily autonomy is no longer guaranteed, the LGBTQ+ community must brace itself for a potential loss of healthcare rights beyond abortions. This includes services like feminizing and masculinizing hormone therapy (particularly for transgender youth) that conservative lawmakers have been fighting against this year, as well as transition-related procedures. Without privacy, gender-affirming care may be difficult to access without documentation of sex as “proof” of gender.

As essential services for the LGBTQ+ community become more difficult to access, perhaps the most immediate effect we’ll see is eroding trust between healthcare providers and LGBTQ+ patients. When providers aren’t working in the best interest of patients — just like in cases of children and rape victims denied abortions — patients may further avoid preventative care in a community that already faces discrimination in doctor’s offices.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just a Women’s Issue

While the Dobbs decision is often framed as a women's issue — specifically, one that affects cisgender women — it impacts the transgender and non-binary community just as much. All people who are capable of carrying a pregnancy to term have lost at least some ability to choose whether or not to give birth in the U.S.

For transgender and non-binary individuals, this decision comes with the added complexity of body dysmorphia. Without abortion rights, pregnant trans men and some non-binary people may be forced to see their bodies change, and be treated as women by healthcare providers and society as a result.

The Dobbs decision also opens up the possibility for government bodies to determine when life begins — and perhaps even to add legal protections for zygotes and embryos. This puts contraceptives at risk, which could make it more difficult to access gender-affirming care while getting the right contraceptives based on sex for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Overturning Reproductive Rights Puts IVF at Risk

Queer couples that dream of having their own children often have limited options beyond adoption. One such option is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which involves implanting a fertilized egg into a uterus.

While IVF isn’t directly affected by the Dobbs decision, it could fall into a legal gray area depending on when states determine that life begins. Texas, for example, is already barring abortions as early as six weeks. To reduce embryo destruction, which often occurs when patients no longer want more children, limits could be placed on the number of eggs that can be frozen at once.

Any restrictions on IVF will also affect the availability of surrogacy as an option for building a family.

How Can LGBTQ+ Individuals Overcome Healthcare Barriers?

While the Dobbs decision may primarily impact abortion rights today, its potential to worsen LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole is jarring. So how can the community be prepared?

If you’re struggling to find LGBTQ+-friendly providers near you, using telemedicine now can be an incredibly effective way to start developing strong relationships with far-away healthcare professionals. Telemedicine eliminates the barrier of geography and can be especially helpful for accessing inclusive primary care and therapy. Be sure to check if your insurance provider covers telemedicine.

If you’re seriously concerned about healthcare access in your area — especially if the Dobbs decision affects your whole state or you need regular in-person services that may be at risk — it may be time to consider moving now. While not everyone has the privilege to do so, relocating gives you the ability to settle in areas where lawmakers better serve your needs. However, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, so preparing and making progress on a moving checklist now can help you avoid issues later.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t LGBTQ+-Friendly

The Supreme Court of the United States has proven the power of its conservative majority with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, the effects of the Dobbs decision don’t stop at affecting cisgender women’s abortion rights. In states with bans, it also leads to forced birth for trans men and non-binary individuals. Plus, the Dobbs decision increases the risk of other rights, like hormone therapy and IVF, being taken away.

Taking steps now, whether it’s choosing a virtual provider or considering a move, can help you improve your healthcare situation in the future.