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Few things are quite as refreshing as crisp, winter air. The cool breeze may be just the breath of fresh air you need, but that fresh air can also cause your skin to lose moisture. Staying indoors to warm up in the comfort of your heated bedroom can be relaxing, but it can exacerbate problems with dry skin too. In fact, there are a handful of things many of us do that actually contribute to dry skin in the winter months. Check the following list of common winter skin habits to see if you have committed any of these skin care faux pas.

Culprit #1: Thinking in extremes – Too much hot and cold

When it’s cold outside, it’s natural for us to run inside where it’s warm. But you should limit your exposure to extreme temperatures that can dry out your skin. Cold air dries the skin and hot air is drier than cold air, according to Harvard Health.

Beyond just the temperature of the air, you also need to be conscious of the temperature of your body. Dress in layers when you go outside so that you can add or remove layers as needed to maintain a consistent body temperature. Too few clothes and your skin can dry out from the cold. Too many clothes and your skin can become irritated from the moisture of your perspiration.

The same rule applies to hot and cold water. Bathe and shower in warm water, not hot water. It’s inviting to come in from the cold, take a hot bath and sit in your plush robe with a cup of hot cocoa, but hot water is a skin care no-no.

Culprit #2: Hanging on to your summer skin care regimen

Chances are, your summer skin care regimen will need to be different from your winter skin care regimen. In the summer months, we tend to rely on lotions and light, water-based moisturizers. In the winter months, however, WebMD’s Susan Davis recommends switching to a thicker, oil-based moisturizer that will protect your skin from the elements and help it to retain moisture.

You may respond, “Oil-based moisturizer? Won’t that clog my pores?” The answer is no, not if you use the right oils. There are several oils that tend to be better for skin and face than other oils. Good oil choices include jojoba, avocado, primrose and almond oil. For your hands and feet, you may want to consider a heavier product. Pay special attention to your feet. You should plan to exfoliate your feet at least once a month. Removing the dead skin will help healthy skin cells to more readily absorb moisturizers when applied.

Culprit #3: Wearing itchy fabrics

Let’s make another strong case for cotton by confirming that it’s very gentle on human skin. You may have a wool coat and wool accessories, but you would be best served to steer clear of fabrics that may cause skin irritation. If you plan to wear wool, consider wearing cotton underneath for an added layer of protection for your skin.

Culprit #4: Cracking a window at night

Tsk. Tsk. Cold air may not be the best strategy to combat hot air. Instead, adjust the setting on your thermostat and rely on blankets to help you sleep comfortably through the night. One way to help control the drying effects of the heated air being pushed through your home at night is to get a humidifier. A humidifier will put moisture back into the air, making it a little easier for you to breathe and minimizing the feeling of a room being “stuffy.”

Culprit #5: Using the wrong soap

Mild soaps help to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation and excessive dryness. But hand soaps can be quite the culprit in the dry skin battle. Particularly in the winter months, you want to make sure that whenever you wash your hands, you pat them dry and immediately replenish the moisture with a thick hand cream or lotion. It’s also a good idea to keep hand cream readily available when you’re out.

Skin care is very personal matter. No two bodies are exactly alike. No matter what you read here or anywhere else, you should get to know your skin so you can do the absolute best thing for it. Go with what works and seek the advice of a skin care professional like a dermatologist or an esthetician who can provide you with the information you need to address trouble areas. Making the right decisions will help battle the winter skincare blues.

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A New Plan For Your Spring Garden: Smart Ways To Make Money

You’ve probably had a lot of practice growing plants for your own personal use. And now that you’re in the midst of planning for your spring garden you might want to consider all the ways you can make a little extra money from it. You can still keep it small and earn just enough to cover your gardening expenses, or turn your garden into a full-time business with a full-time income. The possibilities are endless!

Grow and Sell Plants and Seedlings

Selling plants is an excellent way to make some money from your homestead garden because many folks don’t have the patience, time, or knowledge to grow their own plants from seed. If you’re growing your own seedlings for your garden every spring, why not grow some extras to sell at the farmers’ market or on Craigslist? We have great success with selling herbs (culinary or medicinal), heirloom tomatoes, and peppers in our area, but you can experiment to see what people want in your town.

In fact, you don’t have to limit yourself to just vegetable transplants, either. What about tree seedlings, shrubs, lilies, house plants, or started bulbs in the spring. If you want to get creative, you could make gorgeous porch planters, fairy gardens, succulent gardens, or even windowsill herb gardens. Just be aware of the laws in your state before you get started; there may be some degree of licensing required.

Sell Seeds

If you’re already saving seeds from your garden to use next year you can make some extra money without a whole lot of extra effort. Simply package up your seeds in small quantities and create some cute labels with some basic growing information. Seeds could be sold at the farmers’ market, on Craigslist, and even through websites online.

Sell Fresh Cut or Dried Herbs

Selling fresh cut or dried herbs at the farmers’ market can be a great source of income for your homestead. We sell fresh basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, lemon balm, and parsley at our local market every summer. You could also dry your homegrown herbs to sell for culinary use or making teas when the growing season is over. Try packaging them in plastic or paper bags, small glass jars, or get creative and use something like a corked test tube to really stand out. Cute labels will go a long way toward attracting attention, as well.

Grow and Sell Medicinal Herbs and Tea Blends

You could experiment with medicinal herbs to see if they sell in your area, too. Try selling them as seedlings, fresh cut, or dried at the market. Take it to the next level by turning them into salves, teas, tinctures, or even bath salts. Many people love tea blends of all types.

Grow Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be a great cash crop for the small homestead. They don’t take up a lot of space to grow, and most of them don’t even require sunlight. They can be sold fresh, dried, or even pickled. You could also get creative and sell mushroom growing kits, too.

Sell Your Freshly Harvested Produce

If you grow a large garden each year, there’s bound to be some extra produce to sell. Consider setting up a roadside stand or selling at local farmers’ markets. You might even consider starting a CSA program in your area. Locally grown produce is a hot commodity, so don’t be afraid to approach restaurants and even small grocery stores, too. Consider growing something exotic or unusual in your area to take advantage of an untapped market.

Grow and Sell Cut Flowers

I love selling cut flowers alongside our plants and produce at the market because they really draw in attention from people who might just walk by otherwise. There’s nothing like a gorgeous bouquet of seasonal, fresh cut flowers to attract attention! Restaurants and florists may be interested in purchasing floral bouquets as well.

Grow and Sell Gourmet Garlic

This is another fantastic cash crop for the small homestead. Garlic is easy to grow and doesn’t require vast amounts of space. It stores well, too, which can be a huge plus for taking advantage of the market all year long.

Sell Bulbs or Tubers

Plants like hostas, lilies, daffodils, tulips, and crocuses need to be divided regularly for the best growth, so why not set some aside to sell after you split them in the spring or fall. Early spring bulbs like hyacinth or narcissus could be planted into clear glass vases or jars and forced into early bloom to sell around Easter time.

Make Candles, Wreaths, Soaps, and Jewelry with Your Dried Flowers and Herbs

When the growing season ends, you can still make money from your garden by crafting with your dried herbs and flowers. Sell your crafts online and at winter craft shows to make money during the colder months.

Make Extra Money Through Photography

Everyone loves gorgeous garden photos. Practice taking pictures of your growing flowers and plants. You can sell stock photos and prints online or at the market with your other goods. If you are an especially skilled photographer, consider selling photography sessions in your garden for families, babies, or even engagement photos.

Grow Pumpkins and Gourds to Sell in the Fall

I think every homestead should grow pumpkins because they are so versatile! For personal use, they can be stored to make delicious soups and pies. Because they store well, they are also a great crop to grow for profits during the offseason. Some folks will buy pie pumpkins around the holidays, but decorative pumpkins and gourds will sell for top dollar as seasonal decorations. You’ll need to get your gourds and pumpkins growing early though because they take several months to grow.

Some Other Ideas

There are so many things you can do to make money from your garden all year long. How about making garlands and wreaths out of decorative branches, vines, and pinecones? Maybe you could have classes for people who want to learn how to garden in your area. U-pick farms, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes are also very popular if you have the space for it. The list goes on and on. Get creative and have fun with it!

Find local resources to help get you started.

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