Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Interview with Mompreneur Suzanne Price

Suzanne Price and her adorable baby girl.
Suzanne Price & her adorable baby girl with our Elephant in Milky Blue Crib Set.  Pink Honecomb Frame.
Suzanne Price is a true mompreneur (mother entrepreneur) having founded Sprout, an amazing boutique in San Francisco, California. Sprout is a natural and organic children’s boutique, where parents can help create a healthy and safe environment for their children. Just like Raksha Bella, creating a beautiful and organic home is Suzanne’s dream.
Mompreneur Suzanne Price
Raksha Bella: Why did you start your business?
Suzanne Price: I was working at an investment bank as a research analyst focused on the organic industry. I learned so much that I knew when I became a mom I would only want to surround my child with natural and organic products. I looked around and saw that it was not easy to find all of these products for babies in one place, so I decided to create it.
RB: What keeps you balanced and sane while juggling being a mom and running a business?
Suzanne: Sane? I don’t know if I have been able to stay sane, but I have learned to ask for help and to delegate. I have learned that I can’t be in control of everything myself.
RB: Being a Raksha Bella Mama, it’s assumed that you already practice mindful parenting.  What is your most important parenting “practice”?
Suzanne: I am still learning, but one thing I try to do is to let my daughter explore the world around her. I do not put her in a “jumperoo” or “exercsaucer” to entertain her. I let her roam around the apartment and explore while I keep an eye on her.
RB: What is your definition of sustainability?
Suzanne: Sustainability means keeping the earth in the same or better condition than we found it. This is hard to do today. As Sprout, our concern is just to keep our children’s bodies as close as possible to the condition in which they were born and not to taint them with the harmful chemicals that are so present in our world.
RB: How do you integrate that with running a business and child rearing?
Suzanne: In terms of the business, keeping our children surrounded by natural materials is the basis for the decision in every product we stock, sometimes even knowing we are losing potential sales by not stocking something we are unsure of. As a parent, I know my child will be exposed to many things that I wish she would be protected from, so all I can do is control the environment at home as well as possible.
RB: Do you buy organic foods?
Suzanne: I only feed my daughter organic foods and buy only organic for myself when I am cooking. With eating outside the home, it is impossible.
RB: Why do you want organic baby products in your store and in your home?
Suzanne: Babies are so much more susceptible to everything the come in contact with. Their skin is more porous and their endocrine system is still developing. Many chemicals in the food, personal care products, and clothing that are sold these days have never really been tested. They may be okay for us but we do not yet know the lasting effects these chemicals may have on our children’s development.
RB: What are your 5 most essential organic purchases for yourself and family?
Suzanne: The 5 most essential organic purchases are:
1. Organic food and formula – this is directly entering your baby’s system
2. Organic personal care – a baby’s skin is so new and porous and is a much higher percentage of their body than an adult’s.
3. Natural household cleaners – Your child and your family breathe in these products every day.
4. Organic mattress and bedding – babies spend up to 16 hours a day in their crib, breathing in whatever is underneath them.
5. Wood and natural plush toys – babies put everything in their mouths! They don’t need to be chewing on plastic.
Thank you, Suzanne for founding Sprout and dedicating your time to creating healthy home environments for children. What an intelligent and caring mompreneur you are.
San Francisco Store
1828 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 359-9205
Mon – Sat: 10 – 7
Sunday and holidays: 11 – 6
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New York, NY 10075
(212) 861-0670
Mon – Sat: 10 – 7
Sunday and holidays: 11 – 6

Friday, October 7, 2011

Interview with Bina Jangda on Insomnia & Chinese Medicine

Jungle Short Nightie Top & Svetamrita Duvet Cover, Shield Frame 

Now that the bears have started hibernating, 
we've noticed that we're paying more attention
to our own sleep patterns and internal clocks. 

Raksha Bella Organic: Hey Bina, we feel so lucky to have you as such a helpful friend! Sleep is such an important topic for us, and we were hoping that with your expertise in Chinese medicine, you could shed some light for those that suffer from occasional boats of sleep deprivation. We ultimately want to know how to make the most out of our slumber. 
To begin, what is your opinion on insomnia and it's relation to Chinese medicine?

Bina Jangda: If you have ever had a bought of insomnia, you know how it can create havoc in your life. From poor concentration and feelings of irritability, to weight gain and sugar cravings, insomnia can leave you feeling totally out-of-sorts.
     The Chinese medical perspective on sleep is that the yang energy goes into the depths of the body where it is held by the yin energy and so sleep occurs. During this time the yang works to transform all nutrition that has been taken in during the day into qi, blood, yin and yang. These raw materials are the basic building blocks needed by the body to stay healthy and strong. Sleep disorders arise from deficiencies of these basic raw materials and continue to worsen, as the body can’t replenish these deficiencies because of lack of sleep. A vicious cycle!

Raksha Bella Organic: Wow - to have a sleeping disorder prevent our bodies from sleeping properly is a vicious cycle! We always want to staying healthy and strong by getting a good night rest, but sleeping disorders can really seem to prevent us from doing so. What do you think the top reasons for having these sleeping disorders are?

Bina Jangda: In Chinese medicine, there are no diseases but basic patterns of disharmony that over time create symptoms of dis-ease in the body. In regards to insomnia, the four main patterns manifesting are: Blood deficiency, Yin deficiency, food stagnation, and Liver/Gallbladder disharmony. Each manifests with very specific types of insomnia.
Blood Deficiency: The inability to fall asleep, sometimes taking two hours or more to finally fall asleep.
Yin Deficiency: The inability to stay asleep, where the person wakes repeatedly through the night
Food Stagnation: The inability to fall asleep or having disturbing dreams that wakes one up. This is easy to fix by making sure you don’t eat after 7:30 pm at night.
Liver/Gallbladder Disharmony: Waking up between the hours of 3-5 am and not being able to fall back asleep.

Raksha Bella Organic: It's so interesting that Chinese medicine doesn't look for diseases, but rather for basic patterns of disharmony. Lots of people want to cure insomnia by looking at it as a disease. Why is it important to look at our body's patterns of disharmony?

Bina Jangda: The beauty of treating patterns of imbalances versus treating disease is that each patient’s insomnia is treated for their specific pattern or combination of patterns. Taking a sleeping aid only cures the insomnia while the patient is taking the pill. Treating the underlying pattern solves the insomnia for good. Treatment times vary depending on the complexity of the problem. Generally there are diet and lifestyle changes that are necessary in order to see long lasting results. This is the best part of the treatment as it teaches the insomniac to take their health into their own hands. A large part of Chinese Medicine is to empower the patient to live in harmony in his or her own body and with the environment. In so doing, the patient achieves vitality, longevity and good health.

Raksha Bella Organic: Solving the problem for good seems like such a smart choice, even if lifestyle changes are necessary. Of course it depends on how much of our lifestyles we have to change, but naturally curing insomnia by not eating after 7:30 pm doesn't seem like too much of a challenge. 
     We always hear different numbers for the length of time a person is supposed to sleep for. How much sleep should we be getting?

Bina Jangda: The amount of sleep differs for different people. An average of 6-8 hours of sleep per night is needed for the body and mind to be able to function properly. Any amount less than 6 starts to have negative effects on the body.

Raksha Bella Organic: Does it matter what time we get to sleep by?

Bina Jangda: It is best to go to sleep no later than 11pm each night as this allows you to be in deep sleep by 1 am which is essential for good health. According to Chinese medicine, the 24 hours of the day are divided into 12 2-hour blocks. Each of these segments of time are governed by a function and related to an organ. For sleep the Chou (time from 1-3am and yin (time from 3-5am) are the most important. People should be in deep sleep during both these times. The liver meridian is on duty at chou to dispel toxins and produce fresh new blood in the liver. The Lung meridian is on duty at yin to distribute the energy and blood produced by the liver to the organs. Both jobs can’t be accomplished unless people are fast asleep. It is thought that disrupted energy flow during this time leads to health problems as the body can’t repair and replenish from the activities during the day.

Raksha Bella Organic: Our bodies are working on so many different tasks when we are asleep! Earlier you spoke of sleep as a time where the yang connects with the yin in order to help transform nutrients into energy that help us be healthy and strong. Do you recommend any foods or lifestyle habits to help our bodies increase healthier sleep?

Bina Jangda: Diet is super important. In a country known for mega-grocery stores, it always surprises me how malnourished so many of us are. Only 20-30% of what we find in the grocery store is actually real food. The other 70-80% is better labeled “edible food stuff” providing filler for our hunger but containing no nutritional value. Making sure to eat organic meats in small amounts, complex carbohydrates, and abundant amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables will help build up the body’s reserves and thus can curb insomnia.
     If you find yourself having a hard time falling asleep at night, increase the amount of protein in your diet. Make sure you are getting high quality protein and fats in your diet. If you are sustaining yourself on salads and carbs, then it’s time for a change. The fastest way to cure this type of insomnia is by eating red meats. You don’t need a lot. As little as 2oz a day, every day for 1 month, is enough to get you back to an 8 hour/night sleep schedule.
     If waking up frequently through the night is the way your insomnia manifests, then try to cut all alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods from your diet. Focus on yin building foods like healthy oils, nuts, fish, and all legumes. Even dairy is okay for this type of insomnia
     Late night eating can trigger insomnia due to food stagnation. Eating a large dinner late at night puts a big stress on the liver. It’s better to eat the last meal of each day as early as possible. It should be small in size and nourishing.
     The best way to curb insomnia with waking up between 3-5am is to make sure to cut out all highly processed foods. This type of insomnia is considered a liver disorder from a TCM perspective, which can loosely be translated as a central nervous system issue. Whether through stress or hormone imbalance, such as during menopause, this type of insomnia is the result from an over-inflamed system. Taking out refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol is the first step. Be sure to replace these with cooling foods in the form of raw or steamed vegetables and fresh fruits to help control inflammation in the body.

Raksha Bella Organic: Bina, you’re amazing! We love how the advice all relates to what problems we're having when we can't sleep. In the States we hear the saying "Eat like a king at breakfast, a queen at lunch, and a peasant at supper," so eating a big dinner at night is considered not healthy in both cultures - it makes so much sense.
     As the interview is coming to an end, we'd love to hear your top 5 reasons for why we have insomnia. 

Bina Jangda: Absolutely. Here are my general tips for helping with insomnia:
1. Caffeine: Cut out the caffeine after 2pm each day. A cup of coffee supplies about 150-175 mg of caffeine. Tea is about half of that. The effect of caffeine will last in our systems for about six hours.
2. Over-stimulation by light: Start dimming the lights an hour before you plan to go to sleep: over stimulation from electric lights, computers or TV late into the night has a big effect on melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland that establishes cycles of waking and sleeping. Melatonin production in the body is triggered by light. As the day recedes and darkness sets in, the body responds by producing melatonin. So turn down the lights in the evening and turn off the TV.
3. Alcohol: In Chinese medicine alcohol is considered a warm to hot substance that moves and activates the blood and Chi. Some people cannot handle even small amounts of alcohol at night. If you find that that relaxing glass of red wine after dinner makes you fall asleep for an hour but inevitably you wake up and then have a hard time going back to sleep, it might be wise to exchange the glass of wine for a cup of chamomile tea. 
4. Late night workouts: Working out hard at night can actually be over stimulating for some people. Switching to a morning workout might improve your sleep and also help you overcome the need for a cup of joe in the morning.
5. Toxic load: There has been a lot of research on environmental toxicity and the ability to get a good nights sleep. From household products to bedding to food, these days there is no reason to have chemicals around the house. The environment is toxic enough with out additional contributions. As more and more of us demand purity in our products and food, the more accessible organic will become. It’s not only what we can do for ourselves but it’s also our contribution as the caretakers of this earth. Simple yet profound changes make all the difference, like making sure that the sheets and blankets you are sleeping between are high quality and organic. I buy my bedding from Raksha Bella Organics and advise my patients to do the same, because sleeping with organic cotton bedding is simply the best way to sleep.

Raksha Bella Organic: We feel so happy to hear you say that buying our organic cotton bedding can actually help us sleep longer! We love that we are part of living a healthy life which also benefits the planet - this philosophy means so much to us. Thank you Bina for this wonderful interview and for sharing your wisdom with us. 

Bina Jangda is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist with a thriving practice in Berkeley, CA. 
She is the author of “Clinic Handbook of Oriental Medicine.” 
Check out her website or give a call at 510.393.7565 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Raksha Bella Organic in Remodelista

We stumbled upon this lovely article from Lydia at Remodelista.
Thank you Lydia for writing about us on your September 23rd blog. What a pleasant surprise!
From Lydia 
Septmber 23rd, 2011
Carrie Peters of Berkeley-based Raksha Bella was a decorative painter in a former life; after a trip to India, she shifted her aesthetic focus to fabrics. Peters commissions underprivileged women in Jaipur, India, to create hand-block prints on 100 percent certified-organic cotton sateen. The company’s name is also its creed; Raksha means protection in Sanskrit, and Bella is Latin for beautiful. “Raksha Bella’s philosophy is to protect what is beautiful with our devotion to hand-made organic textiles,” Peters says. To see the full line of offerings, go to Raksha Bella.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our Jungle Peasant Top

Our Jungle Peasant Top is such a lovely one. It helps us keep cool in the summertime - both mentally & physically!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer!


After playing in the sun,
we like to bring our blankets into the garden,
find a shady spot under a tree,
listen to the birds chirping,
& watch the clouds float by.

Wishing everyone a blissful summer day.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Raksha Bella Organic at the ABC Carpet & Home Slumber Party

What perfect timing! ABC Carpet & Home is hosting a pajama party in their department store, and where we can showcase our new loungewear collaboration with Loup Charmant.

We don't usually have our loungewear at the store, so this even will be the perfect place to do so.

Our short nightie sets with ruffled bloomers, in the Jungle print - so sweet. 

So funny how the goose made it into this pic - who doesn't love a pajama party! 

Love how these flowers match the colors of our Medallion Ministar in Beaujolais sheet

Wish we could just grab some of our loungewear and curl up in our bed of prints!
Also, love how ABC Carpet & Home styled our Tree of Life prints with the Flower Mandala / Flight reversible duvet cover - super pretty. 

Thank you ABC Carpet & Home for hosting us at your slumber party!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Raksha Bella Organic's Loungewear with Loup Charmant

Ooh - we are so excited to announce our newest loungewear collaboration... drum roll please!... Loup Charmant for Raksha Bella. We love Loup Charmant's loungewear and are so happy to see our prints from the Caravan Collection on the loungewear.

Bowing to the Sunset with our Maxi Dress in Shield

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Raksha Bella in ecofabulous

Eco-Chic Between the Sheets

Sanskrit for protection and Latin for beautiful, “Raksha Bella” is true to its name, combining earthly preservation with exquisite artistry. Inspired by the designer’s trip to India, Raksha Bella breathes cradle-to-cradle eco-consciousness into all of their luxurious bedding.

Hand-printed in India using hand-carved wood blocks and low-impact, pesticide-free dyes, the gracious designs offer a contemporary twist on classic Indian motifs. Made from 225-thread count organic sateen cotton, Raksha Bella’s sheets and duvets are silky soft and breathable, offering exceptional quality and attention to detail. Strongly committed to fair trade practices both abroad and at home, you are sure to sleep soundly and wake up refreshed for a greener world.

Merci ecofabulous!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Caravan Collection - Up Close


The Caravan Collection - Up Close

Cut & sewn by hand.
Jaipur, India.

The Blush Bed


Flower Mandala


Svetamrita Warm

The Blue Bed

Blue Honeycomb



Blue Honeycomb


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The story behind the traditional January White Sale

The White Sale is a tradition of having a great sale on bedding in the month of January. It started in 1878 when John Wanamaker decided to spruce up the cold winters of Philadelphia by creating the White Sale. Back then, in the 19th century, people didn’t have the luxury of having bedlinen with beautiful designs on them. Everybody’s’ bedding was simply white. Thus, the sale’s name was appropriately titled the White Sale.
Fast-forward to the present day, and our sheets are no longer just white! There are so many pretty designs that we can decorate our beds with, it’s almost overwhelming! Sometimes we wonder if the title White Sale is misleading, because the prints on our bedding come in lots of different colors, but the term White Sale has stuck with us even today. So enjoy Raksha Bella Organics’ January White Sale and let us all be thankful that we can now adorn our beds with such gorgeous patterns!
We at Raksha Bella Organic also want to thank you all for choosing organic cotton bedding for your homes. We have a mission to create a more sustainable world, starting in our homes. We want everyone to sleep with the comfort of knowing that our bed is a safe place without any harmful chemicals. Our organic cotton bedding is 100% GOTS-certified (GOTS: Global Organic Textile Standard), which we find to be a necessity. The GOTS certification ensures that everything from the duvet covers to pillowcases, our bedding is actually all 100% organic. Click here to read more about the GOTS-certification process.
Raksha Bella Organic is thankful that we are able to keep ancient Indian techniques still alive. All of our organic bedding is woodblock-printed by hand. This is an ancient artisanal technique of decorating fabric. It begins with a large block of wood, into which the artist carves intricate designs. After the wood block has been carved into, it is ready for printing. The dyes we use at Raksha Bella are all nontoxic low-impact dyes. Each color batch is mixed by hand, and color variation can naturally occur. Using this ancient tradition makes each of Raksha Bella’s organic cotton products unique. We wonder if Indians in ancient times decorated their beds with color, or if they were like the 19th-century Philadelphians, and only had white bedding available…?
Either way, Raksha Bella Organics’ January White Sale will certainly please your eyes. From our delicate elephants on Raksha Bella’s organic baby bedding, to the classic Indian Rose print on our pillowcases and duvet covers, we hope you find a design that will add a fresh look to your sustainable home.
Oh, we almost forgot to add this! Our January White Sale will not just include bedding, but also our organic cotton loungewear! We have collaborated with Erica Tanov and Loup Charmant to bring you the most beautiful and comfortable loungewear.