Friday, February 26, 2016

Join Me for a 90 Mile March

dandelion seeds

I had such good intentions for the new year. Twenty minutes of cardio every day plus alternate days of lifting weights to tone up those arms for spring, a great core workout, and let's not forget the healthy tweaking of the food I eat to make up for all those holiday cocktails and desserts.

I woke up on January first with strep and pink eye.

A couple of weeks later I tried to get in the groove but I'll be honest, a stack of books, a fire, and a chai are enough to keep me from putting on real shoes any time the weather looks remotely bleak and days are gray.

Here's a whiny post from the last time I did this. 

February was more of the same and I fought off two colds but felt pretty worthless for about half the month. For most people February is the resolution killer. But we don't have to let our good intentions die for the entire year just because we got off to a bad start.

January and February are rough. The days are short, the weather is cold. You feel like you have permission to binge on Neftlix. But spring is in the air now and your brain is going to be saying "Let's go outside!"

Which brings us to March. March may actually be a better month to start new healthy habits or pick up ones you've been slacking on than January. It's got the first day of spring. This year it has Easter. What says new beginnings better than spring or redemption for your failures better than Easter?

Fresh starts for everyone!

So here's the plan. I'm going to walk 3 miles a day in March. It has 31 days so it has a one day buffer built in. You saw the title and though I was crazy didn't you? But this is doable. Actually I've done it before.

Read The 5 Things I learned Walking 90 Miles in November here.

Generally in summer I try to do it every day and it isn't that big a deal but anytime you've taken time off and have to begin again, a little jump start challenge is a great way to begin.

 And now it's public. That means that on lazy days when I want to stay in my pajamas or busy days when I have a lot on my plate I will be forced to carve out time. A public forum = accountability.

And hopefully encouragement. Read about how I struggled through last time.

If you have been struggling to get back on the fitness train then join me. Maybe you just want to do a mile a day for a 30 mile March. Let me know!

I'll be posting about how it's going. I mean I did a dry January. Walking 3 miles a day should be a piece of cake.

So plot out your 3 miles. At the park. Around your neighborhood. A bunch of laps at the gym.

We'll start keeping score on March 1st. And I'll be posting about how it's going.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Life, Inspiration, Oh, and Bees

I get a couple of questions from people all the time. The first one is "What in the world made you want to get into beekeeping?" (or some variation in that question) The second is "What's the Pen in Pen & Hive for?"

I'm still trying to figure out the answer to the first question. There's a sort of an answer here. As for the second, The Pen in the title is for writing. Anyone who thinks I'm selling them honey or hand cream or that I am some guru beekeeper with all the answers is missing the larger point of all this. My main goal is sharing information and experiences and stories. Not just about the bees but about life...

I want to inspire you. To care about your food, the bees, and to find that thing in your own life that you are passionate about and pursue it. I'll be sharing more about how I got here and where I hope to go in the future with you in some upcoming posts.

Let's face it, you can buy honey anywhere (not really but that's another post). Even local honey isn't that hard to find. What I'm giving you is a peek inside the hive. It's why I always take my camera to the apiary. I want to give you the opportunity to pry open the mysterious box and peer into the darkness with me amid the buzzing. To smell the smoke mixed with the scent of honey and wax. You might not be able to get that anywhere else.

 Beyond that I'd love to share with you what I've learned in the process. About life. About living your creative dream. About chasing something that would make a difference. About the hard days and the magnificent ones. I have heard from several people recently that they miss when I used to write about "everything" I'm pretty sure the stuff I just listed is what they mean.

Are you in? Stick around and keep reading over the rest of the year to share the journey with me. I honestly have no idea what adventures lie ahead but I'd love to share the story of whatever happens with you!

And if you get inspired or encouraged by anything you read here and never buy a single thing from me...well, I'll be thrilled.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Valentine's Scents: Gardenia for Her & Cedar for Him

Are you like me and still recovering from Christmas? I go straight from visions of sugarplums to visions of daffodils and swarming bees. But wait! There's something in between! Valentine's Day always sneaks up on me no matter how many hearts and boxes of candy they put out at the neighborhood Walgreens.

So while testing formulas and scents in the Pen & Hive kitchen I was inspired to combine Valentine's Day and spring. I was looking to create a couple of products with certain qualities. It's still winter so I wanted something healing and luxurious. I wanted to offer something specifically for men. They are so hard to buy for because the only thing they really want is kind of hard to gift wrap.

I also wanted to offer a scent for women that was romantic and feminine enough for Valentine's Day. Let's face it ladies, sometimes we just go ahead and pick up what we really want...just in case. If I could get all that and have a nice floral scent that would carry us right into spring I thought we'd all be happy.

Here are the results.


 Let's start with the men. This Forest Hive Hand Balm is soothing and ...well, balmy. I like using it myself. It has a light woodsy scent from the essential cedar wood oil.  Propolis straight from the hive helps seal in moisture and protect. Calendula infused olive oil and tea tree oil offer healing properties that help hands recover from scrapes and nicks. You can see I tried to keep the label simple and masculine. Nothing about it says he can't keep it in the truck or his desk at work.~ $7.00


  Okay, enough about the men. What about us? I've got you covered. I'll admit that sometimes I enjoy hauling in firewood but this time of year it seems to be the cooking and cleaning that is hardest on my hands not to mention the overall dryness from the low humidity and indoor heat. We need a hero in a tin to combat all of that and if it could smell deliciously girly without being cloyingly sweet, well I just don't think that's too much to ask. 

Introducing Gardenia Hand Crafted Skin Balm with mango butter and olive oil. My olive oils are almost always infused with calendula to be extra soothing and this one is no exception. It's the consistency of a firm balm and goes on smoothly. It stays on the skin longer and the scent lingers throughout the day. I will say that there is a hint of gardenia. It isn't cloyingly sweet or overpowering. *The gardenia scent is a perfume oil and not an essential oil.~ $8.00

If 2 ounces of skin balm is good then 4 ounces of Gardenia Body Frosting must be better. With a slightly heavier scent and more of a whipped cream texture it's a fabulous follow up for a bath or shower since the added vitamin E helps hold in moisture. It leaves a lovely "finish" on the skin. If you purchased Honey Spice Body Butter in the fall this is a similar texture and feeling but whipped and so a bit lighter.~$18.00

  To make it a gift set add a 3 pack of soap. ~$5.00                                                                         

All the items are hand mixed, hand poured, and hand labeled by me. Everything is created in small batches a few times and then they are gone unless the demand is high in which case they may return seasonally. I want to know what you think! Have you used a product you loved or is there a scent you'd like me to make? Leave a comment and let me know. 

Want to read a review? Here's one. 

All products come with hand stamped gift packaging (yellow and white for men, pink and red for women) and tag ready to give as a gift because I think you have more important things to do than stop to pick up tissue paper.